P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



40,000 police officers go without salary
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 13
Over 40,000 officials of the Punjab police, some of the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) , Additional Inspector General (AIG), SP, DSP, Inspectors, have been going without salary, thanks to certain 'objections' raised by the Finance Department, Punjab, over temporary posts of the Punjab police.

All these police officials are regular employees and have been going without their salary for the month of June. Their only fault seems to be that they worked against temporary posts, which were created in thousands between 1988 and 1990, at the height of the militancy in the state.

Since, the officials concerned were permanent but had been posted on temporary posts, which were yet to be regularized even after a passage of about 18 years, their salaries had to be okayed by the Punjab Cabinet every year.

Interestingly, though in the past they had been getting their salaries two days before the end of every month, it was for the first time they were made to wait for about 15 days for their salary .

The most interesting aspect of what was being dubbed as a “strange confusion” was that even those junior employees, who were temporary but had been working against permanent posts, got their salaries. In other words, a large number of senior officers, who have put in more than 15 years of service, had to go without salaries. But their subordinates, who were still working on temporary basis, were adjusted against permanent posts.

It happened due to objections raised by the Finance Department of Punjab in the release of salaries.

Sources in the police said the Home Department, Punjab, had taken up the matter with the office of the Director-General of Police.

“Officers and other employees are likely to get their salaries within a day or so as the Punjab Finance Department has already granted the requisite sanction today itself,” said a senior IPS officer.


No takers for PTU architecture courses
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Despite the realty boom in Punjab, engineering colleges across the state are having a difficult time finding students for their architecture courses. The counselling for engineering colleges affiliated to Punjab Technical University (PTU) started on June 21, and till date only 17 out of the total 163 seats in architecture engineering in the state have been filled.

According to the status data released by PTU today, almost halfway through the counselling, there are very few takers for pharmacy and chemical engineering courses as well. Out of the almost 600 seats in pharmacy being offered by PTU colleges more than 400 are still lying vacant. While some pharmacy seats have been filled at some of the renowned private institutes and government colleges, most of the new colleges of pharmacy have no students.

The most coveted courses have proved to be computer science engineering and electronics and communication engineering. Other than a few colleges where seats in these courses are still available, most colleges have filled all the seats in these courses. Students have also favoured IT engineering over mechanical engineering while electrical engineering comes fifth in the race.

Students have also preferred government engineering colleges over private ones though many of the new private engineering colleges have managed to pull some of the better ranking students. Seats at Guru Nanak Dev University Regional College, Gurdaspur, and GND University Regional College, Jalandhar, PAU, Ludhiana, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, were among the first to fill and Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, was the first among private colleges to fill all the seats.

Many other private colleges have fared well. All courses in DAV IET, Jalandhar ,are full except in chemical engineering. All courses at Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran, are full and at Chitkara Institute of Engineering and Technology, Rajpura, all courses except architecture are full.

However, there are also colleges which are yet to open their account and are still waiting their first student. Almost all seats in all courses are available at certain colleges in Ludhiana, Lehragaga, Muktsar, Amritsar, Moga, Kapurthala, Kharar, Mandi Gobindgarh, Talwandi Sabo, Malout, Abhipur, Pojewal, Nawanshahr, Lalru Mandi, Phagwara, Dera Bassi and Pathankot.

Sources added that this year too, there are chances that many engineering seats would go vacant in these colleges. The joint counselling for PTU engineering colleges is taking place in Jalandhar with over 800 students being called each day in accordance with the Common Entrance Test ranking. Sources pointed out that while the response of students to PTU colleges was better than last year, only half the number of students called for counselling each day were actually turning up. Counselling began on June 21 and would be on till August 2.


Development: Badal accepts CM’s challenge for debate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal today accepted the challenge of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, with regard to the holding of a debate on the floor of the Punjab Assembly on the issue of development in the state.

Capt Amarinder Singh had stated yesterday that the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was spreading disinformation with regard to development during Congress rule and he should be ready for a debate on the issue in the Assembly session on September 14 and 15.

Capt Amarinder Singh had further said that during the two- day session, the ruling party would present a full picture before the people about the development work carried out by his government during the past four and a half years.

He had also stated that there would be a live telecast of the debate to enable people to make up their mind whether the state made more progress during SAD-BJP rule or during the rule of the Congress.

Accepting the challenge, Mr Badal accused the Chief Minister of running away from facing the elected representatives of the people and dared him to convene a full-fledged session of the Assembly if he was at all serious about a meaningful discussion on development .

If the problems of the people were to be discussed, it would take much longer than the two days fixed by the government for the session, said Mr Badal in a statement here.

He said at least two days should be reserved for a discussion on “the serious power crisis in the state which has assumed the dimensions of a national calamity. Similarly, at least two days should be reserved for the problems of the farming community as reflected in the alarming rise in the number of suicides in the state. Then, there are problems relating to trade and industry as well employees' issues that need indepth discussion”, he said.

The Akali leader also disclosed that his party was working on the draft of a Bill to waive farm loans in the state. Mr Badal accused the Chief Minister of indulging in falsehood as convening of the session at this stage was merely a legal necessity as it was mandatory to hold a session at least once every six months. "What can be discussed during the session when one of the days will be devoted to the customary obituaries and much of the remaining time taken up by official and non-official bills?” he asked. 


Badals shielding PMT paper-leak mafia: ministers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
A section of Congress ministers today alleged that SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal were linked to the PMT paper-leak mafia, whose members were recently nabbed by the Chandigarh police.

In a joint statement issued here, the ministers alleged that “Badal family was providing protection to the members of this mafia”. The statement issued by PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa, Excise and Taxation Minister Sardool Singh, Local Government Minister Ch Jagjit Singh, Cooperation Minister Jasjit Singh Randhwa and Power and Irrigation Minister Lal Singh alleged that one of the accused, Devinder Singh Bhappu, was SAD’s district leader of Fatehgarh Sahib.

The Fatehgarh Sahib unit of the SAD had been demanding the expulsion of Devinder Singh Bhappu, claimed the leaders.


SAARC ministers agree to set up fund, says Bansal
Neeraj Bagga

Wagah, July 13
The seven-member conglomerate of SAARC agreed to set up finance ministerial secretariats at Kathmandu (Nepal), head office of SAARC, for managing the corpus of $300 million with the help of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance, stated this after returning from Pakistan where he participated in the SAARC Finance Ministers meet in Islamabad, which concluded in the shadow of blasts which rocked Mumbai and Srinagar, here today.

India had already committed to contribute $100 million to the corpus. The fund would be devoted to finance projects for poverty alleviation, infrastructure development and quality education.

The meeting, at which Mr Bansal represented India, drew up modalities for operationalising the SAARC Development Fund, proposal of which was mooted in the 13th SAARC meet held at Dhaka. The envisaged corpus of the fund is $300 million. Striking a positive note he felt that the realization of corpus and setting up of secretariats were other significant steps towards bringing coherence on economic relations among the South Asian countries.

He informed that India and Pakistan had agreed to open two branches each of two national banks of theirs in each other’s territory. He said that though it would take some time to finalise the modalities but two banks from India — State Bank of India and Bank of India had come forward while from Pakistan’s Habib Bank had forwarded its name.

When asked about Pakistan’s persistent refusal to accord the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, Mr Bansal said they were working on the matter. He said Pakistan was following notification issued last year while dealing with business to India. He said that Pakistan was scared of opening borders for trade with India, which was 


Sidhu’s plea disposed of
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 13
The High Court on Thursday disposed of a PIL filed by former Indian cricketer and Lok Sabha Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, seeking directions to the Congress government in Punjab to release Rs 34 crore to the Municipal Corporation, Amritsar, as its share from taxes collected from there.

Mr Sidhu had alleged that the civic body was facing financial crunch and could not carry out development works.

Earlier, while the government informed the court that the excise duty arrears had already been released to all civic bodies in the state, Mr Sidhu countered the claim of the government vis-à-vis release of excise duty arrears.

While the government informed the court that it had already released the entire amount of Rs 148 crore that it owned to various civic bodies in the state, Mr Sidhu claimed that the annual budget of the MC, Amritsar, presented on March 13, showed arrears of Rs 19 crore due with the government. Thereafter, the Bench gave a week’s time to the government counsel to seek further instructions in the matter.

After Mr Sidhu’s counsel again brought to the court’s notice the inherent contradiction in the affidavits filed by the government and the civic body, the Bench directed the Punjab Government to file a detailed affidavit about the amount paid by it to the Municipal Corporation, Amritsar, in lieu of the excise duty arrears payable by it to civic body.

Today, after the counsel for the civic body informed the Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi that all arrears had been received by it, the court disposed of the petition of Mr Sidhu.


Charges framed against Akali leader
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 13
The district court today framed charges against the Akali leader Rajbir Singh and five others who were involved in the Kharar shootout case in which two persons were killed during a rally in 2004. The charges have been framed under Sections 302, 148, 149 of the IPC and under Arms Act by the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr G.S. Saran. The next hearing of the case was fixed for August 5.

Two persons were killed and three injured, in a firing at an SGPC election rally held at Anaj Mandi in Kharar on July 2, 2004.

It was alleged that the incident took place when the workers of the two factions of the Akali Dal in order to prove their strength on the stage entered into an altercation.


SGPC restores kar seva to Baba Jagtar Singh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 13
In a volte face, the emergency meeting of the SGPC executive today decided to restore kar seva to Baba Jagtar Singh of Tarn Taran.

Interestingly, the meeting was presided over by Mr Kewal Singh Badal, senior vice-president of the shiromani committee, while Mr Avtar Singh, SGPC chief, arrived late. The meeting called to discuss sole agenda lasted for about ten minutes only .

However, the SGPC has decided in principle to preserve rich heritage of the community at all costs. Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, said in future the kar seva of any Sikh shrine would be carried out as per the project reports to be prepared by the shiromani committee in consultation with various experts. The architecture and designs would be prepared as per the aspirations of the Sikh community.

It is learnt that the SGPC chief deliberately skipped the meeting for obvious reasons. Earlier, a press release, issued by the publicity wing of the shiromani committee had stated that the kar seva was being withdrawn from Baba Jagtar Singh and Baba Labh Singh for their ‘anti-SGPC activities’.

However, Mr Bhaur claimed that the press note issued by the SGPC regarding withdrawal of kar seva was ‘misleading’ since names of the babas of kar seva wale were not mentioned in the resolution passed in the previous meeting. He said the SGPC always held the babas of kar seva wale in high esteem and their services were appreciated by the Sikh Panth from time to time . He said irrespective of their (Babas), personal alignment and attachment , kar seva could not be denied to them.

Earlier, the decision of the previous SGPC Executive to withdraw kar seva had evoked strong reaction from Panthic circles. It was alleged that the kar seva was withdrawn from Baba Jagtar Singh for not attending the function on quadricentennial of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev organised by the SGPC while Baba Labh Singh was ‘punished’ for allowing the SAD (Amritsar) and other Sikh organisations to hold a meeting at Gurdwara Toot Sahib .

The SAD (A) alleged that the shiromani committee had been taking decisions as per the ‘directions’ of SAD (supremo Parkash Singh Badal.


Another Indian spy awaits gallows in Pakistan
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Surinder Kumar, an Indian spy, who has returned after remaining 15 years in Pakistani jails, shows scars he received at the hands of jail authorities there.
Surinder Kumar, an Indian spy, who has returned after remaining 15 years in Pakistani jails, shows scars he received at the hands of jail authorities there.
— Photo by Jangi

Gurdaspur, July 13
Sarbjeet is not the only Indian spy facing death sentence in Pakistan. The Punjab High Court in Pakistan has also awarded death sentence to Kirpal Singh, a resident of the college road, Gurdaspur, on the charges of spying. Kirpal Singh is at present lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

Surinder Kumar, an Indian spy who has returned home a few days ago after serving 15 years in Pakistani jails, gave this information while talking to The Tribune today.

He disclosed that Kirpal Singh had filed an appeal in the Pakistan Supreme court against his death sentence. However, like Sarabjit he was not getting any support for any Indian or other organisation. He is dejected and is likely to face gallows in case he did not get active help from the human rights groups or the India Government authorities.

Surinder Kumar alleged that the plight of Indians in Pakistan jails was pathetic. Balbir Singh, a resident of Haryana, was hanged to death in 1997. Bihari Lal, a resident of the Sujanpur area of Gurdaspur district, was beaten to death by the authorities of the Kot Lakhpat jail just for moving a compliant that the soap and oil were not being supplied to them. Makkar Singh, a resident of Amritsar, was taken to hospital from jail, but was reported dead later.

The bodies of Indians kept lying in hospitals and were not cremated for long times. I my self cremated a few bodies that had decayed beyond recognition, he said.

Surinder Kumar further alleged that many others had already served the sentence awarded to them by Pakistani courts, but were still not being allowed to return to the country.

A few of his cell mates, including Sahabudin, a resident of the Poonch area in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, Surjeet Singh, a resident of Ferozepore, and Kuldeep Kumar, a resident of Gujarat, had been in Pakistani jails for the past 25 years. They were awarded sentence ranging from 10 to 15 years. However, due to the lack of support from any quarter they had not been set free despite the completion of their sentence.

Narrating his woes, Suirnder Kumar said he was in the Indian Army from 1970 to 1978. He left the Army after he was lured by intelligence agencies to join them as spy. They assured better pay and facilities for his family in case he was caught in Pakistan. He went to Pakistan five times and stayed there for a period of about five years. However, in 1992 he was caught in Khiara village in Narowal district of Pakistan.

He was kept in military jail for about one year and given third degree torture. Electric shocks deteriorated his health and he was shifted to the Kot Lakhpat jail and awarded 12 years of jail sentence. In jail he was operated seven times for the reasons never explained to him.

“Now that I have returned home, I find my family shattered. Due to the lack of support from the intelligence agencies his children have been deprived of education. His wife had to work as housemaid to make their both ends meet”.

Feeling betrayed, Surinder Kumar said he would move court if the intelligence agencies did not come forward to help him and his family.


ITBP jawan scales Mount Everest
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hussan Singh Jaggi
Hussan Singh Jaggi

Gurdaspur, July 13
Hussan Singh Jaggi, a jawan of the 21st battalion of ITBP and a resident of Atehpur village near Sujanpur, has become the first person from the district and the third from the state to have climbed Mount Everest.

He was honoured by Punjab Rajput Mahasabha president Davinder Singh Darshi and general secretary Vicky here today.

Talking to The Tribune, Hussan Singh said climbing Mount Everest was his dream. He felt like standing on top of world after climbing the highest peak in the world. He joined ITBP in 2000. Due to his interest in scaling difficult mountains, ITBP chose him for the expedition to Mount Everest. He received training in Leh and Uttaranchal.

On March 25, Union Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil flagged off the 28-member ITBP expedition. They reached Kathmandu on March 30 and the base camp on April 5.

The team started climbing on April 11. The expedition countered rough weather conditions, lesser oxygen and steep slopes.

In an unfortunate incident, one member of the expedition Krishan Kumar slipped and lost his life. Due to rough weather conditions, 14 members of the teams left the expedition and returned to the base camp.

However, the remaining 13 continued their pursuit despite hardships. On May 19, the team hoisted the national flag over Mount Everest and paid homage to their deceased companion.

The members completed the decent from the highest peak in one month and 4 days.

The members of the expedition were awarded appreciation letters by the President and Prime Minister.

Tehal Singh Jaggi, father of Hussan Singh, said he was proud of his son. He has become an inspiration for the youth of his village. Hussan Singh said he would continue to hone his skills in mountaineering and join other expeditions planned by the ITBP.


Farmers oppose land acquisition
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 13
Protesting against the acquisition of land by the Punjab Government for big industrial houses in the state, especially in three villages of Fatehgarh Chhana, Sanghera and Dhaula in Barnala subdivision, members and activists of various farmer organisations staged a dharna and held a rally in front of the office of the SDM here today.

The farmers also presented themselves for arrest as part of their agitation, but the SDM declined to arrest them by saying that the administration had no direction from the government in this regard. Earlier, they gathered at Kaula Park Market here and took out a protest march to the SDM’s office. They raised slogans in support of their demands.


Meeting on traffic

Patiala, July 13
Ms Sunita Rani, DSP (Traffic), Patiala Police, presided over a public meeting of the Lower Mall Shopkeepers Association this afternoon at a local hotel, near Fountain Chowk. She sought the cooperation of the public for improving the traffic situation. TNS


Judicial remand for Gurcharan Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 13
Gurcharan Singh, who was deported from Canada and spent 13 days in police custody, was today remanded to judicial custody.

Meanwhile, president of the SAD (A) Simranjit Singh Mann has alleged that the police was framing Gurcharan Singh. Talking to TNS, he alleged that no case had been registered against Gurcharan Singh in any police station. It was only after his deportation that a case under the Arms and Explosives Act had been registered against him.

The SAD (A) would take up the case of Gurcharan Singh with the Amnesty International.

The SSP, Mr Paramjit Singh Umranangal, when asked to react to allegations of Mr Mann, said that although Gurcharan Singh did not himself carry out any of the terrorist operations, he masterminded and planned many such acts. The police had got vital information regarding activities of terrorists from his acts. The police kept Gurcharan Singh in rest houses of Dhar and Ranjit Sagar Dam during the interrogation period. 


Police remand for two in kidnapping case
Tribune News Service

Daljit Singh and Kulwant Singh, both accused in a kidnapping case, being produced in a Bathinda court on Thursday.
Daljit Singh and Kulwant Singh, both accused in a kidnapping case, being produced in a Bathinda court on Thursday. — Photo by Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, July 13
A local court today sent Daljit Singh and Kulwant Singh, both of whom were arrested yesterday on the charge of kidnapping a Delhi-based person, to one-day police remand.

Earlier, the police registered a case against Daljit, Kulwant, Pankaj of Amritsar, Jaspal Kadian and Iqbal Singh of Raike Kalan under Sections 364-A, 365-A, 344, 506, 120-B and 381 of the IPC.

Police sources said that both the arrested accused had criminal background. While Kulwant had some robbery cases registered against him in Gujarat, Daljit was involved in terrorist activities in the past.

They were arrested yesterday when they were reportedly collecting the ransom amount for Charanjeet Singh whom they had kidnapped from Ambala on July 2. 


Bheora’s aide handed over to Rajpura police
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 13
Over three-and-a-half months after the Delhi Police arrested Jasbir Singh, a resident of Hulka village, near here, for allegedly harbouring Paramjit Singh Bheora, top Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) militant, the accused was today handed over to the local police.

Jasbir Singh, who was earlier produced in a local court amid tight security, was remanded to police custody till July 15. Jasbir, along with Bhupinder, also a resident of Hulka village, was reportedly arrested by the Delhi Police on March 20 this year on the charges of harbouring Bhoera, the main accused in the assassination of the former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.


Undertrial thrashes woman cop
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 13
A woman undertrial Jasbir Kaur allegedly thrashed woman constable Rajni Bala in the district courts complex in Moga today. She had been brought from Ferozepore jail to Moga to produce her in the court of Additional Sessions Judge BS Sandhu in a case.

According to police sources, Jasbir Kaur,’s relatives handed over on the court premises some material to her for her use in the jail. The woman constable wanted to search the material, but Jasbir Kaur allegedly refused to hand over the same to her.

When Rajni Bala tried to snatch it from her to do her duty, Jasbir Kaur allegedly thrashed her. Her uniform was also reportedly torn at some places. Some policemen standing in the court premises came for Rajni Bala’s rescue.


5 cops booked on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
The Patiala Vigilance Bureau today booked five Punjab Police personal after they were caught receiving illegal gratification at different places.

According to Mr G.S. Bhullar, Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala Vigilance Bureau, a team, led by the DSP, Mr Kuldeep Kumar, nabbed ASI Kuldeep Singh and constable Balkar Singh while they were demanding money from a car owner, Mr Prem Chand, a resident of Ghagga, near here, on the charge that he was indulging in immoral trafficking. Mr Prem Chand himself turned out to be the complainant in the case.

Both Kuldeep Singh and Balkar Singh, after being booked, were produced in the court of Ms Lakhwinder Kaur, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), who remanded them in a day’s police custody.

In another case, the Vigilance Bureau booked ASI Ajaib Singh of the Special Staff, Fatehgarh Sahib, Head Constable Jagir Singh and constable Bhag Singh after they were caught taking bribe near Sirhind, 25 km from here, today.

All three Punjab Police employees, who were trapped on a complaint filed by Dewan Chand, a resident of Sirhind, have been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act. 


Woman commits suicide

Kharar, July 13
A woman allegedly committed suicide here today by consuming some poisonous substance.

According to information available, Karamjit Kaur was immediately taken to the local Civil Hospital after she had taken the extreme step. However, she was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, where she was declared as having been brought dead.

It is alleged that some property dispute was going on among members of the family. The father-in-law of Karamjit Kaur had died a few days ago. It is reported that the family members had decided to tackle the dispute after the bhog ceremony of her father-in-law. OC


Fulfil poll  promise, PCCTU asks Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Members of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), representing teachers working in more than 150 non-government colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh, have appealed to Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, to fulfil his promise regarding implementing the pension-gratuity scheme for college teachers made in the Congress poll manifesto.

In a joint statement, Mr H. S. Walia and Dr Jagwant Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the PCCTU, welcomed the statement of the Chief Minister that after abolition of octroi, all promises made in the party’s poll manifesto except one had been fulfilled. They urged him to fulfil this last promise regarding the pension scheme for the college teachers.

They said almost every state, including poor states like UP and Bihar, had implemented the pension scheme for college teachers.

Dr Jagwant Singh announced that the teachers would use all opportunities to remind Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress leaders of the poll promise made in February 2002. During July, teachers will call upon Congress ministers, MLAs and party office-bearers and submit memorandums demanding fulfillment of the poll promise.

On August 1, teachers of colleges in the Guru Nanak Dev University area would cease work after the second period and submit memoranda to Deputy Commissioners. On August 7, teachers of colleges in the PU area and on August 11, teachers of the Punjabi University area would repeat the action The phase of reminding about the poll promise would end on August 18, when the teachers would proceed on mass casual leave and stage a “poll promise reminder march” from Barnala to Patiala.


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