P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


UPA govt dividing people: Rajnath Singh
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 23
Holding that India has reached a dangerous turn, primarily, for “communalist and separatist” approach of the UPA government, Mr Rajnath Singh, chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has alleged that the UPA and the Congress policies had divided India on basis of religion and put security of the country in peril.

“This government has taken a number of steps, which, show that the UPA government has been trying to institutionalise its communalist and separatist approach. Allocation of 15 per cent Budget on basis of religion is an example of it,” said Mr Rajnath Singh.

Mr Rajnath Singh, who was accompanied by former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Avinash Khanna, state BJP president and Mr Navjot Sidhu, BJP MP from Amritsar, was here to participate in the 95th “Shaheed Parivar Fund” function organised by the Hind Samachar group of newspapers. Apart from fixed deposit certificates worth Rs 15.60 lakh, sewing machines, utensils, clothes and fans were distributed among 872 terrorist-affected families on the occasion.

Earlier, talking to reporters Mr Rajnath Singh said that the Navy War Room leak case, information about intrusion of two Al-Qaeda men in Indian Air Force, hike in petro-product prices for seven times in the past two years and recent closure of share market for the first time in the history of independent India depicted that security of the country was in danger.

“Navy War Room leak case is a serious issue and circumstances show that the accused are patronised by some big persons. I demand that a joint parliamentary committee or commission should probe this case as the CBI was not allowed to work independently in the case. We also demand that the Sachar Committee should be dismissed. I also suggest that the existing system of deputation, should go and intelligence agencies should be provided with their own cadre. We also feel that the UPA government is not left with a will to fight terrorism and what it was doing was leading to the division of the country on religion basis,” said Mr Rajnath Singh.

Alleging that conversions were being encouraged in country, the BJP chief also appealed to Muslims to ignore the approach of the UPA government. “Those responsible for conversions should be booked under Section 295 of the Constitution,” said Mr Rajnath Singh.

He alleged that apart from deterioration in security environment, the country was also facing food insecurity. “With his toil Indian farmer had made the country self-reliant in case of food. But look what has been done by this government, which, is importing wheat through AWB Limited, a Volcker tainted company. Is it not a big question mark? We demand that farmers should be provided with cheaper loans and they should get farm income insurance cover instead of crop insurance,” said Mr Rajnath adding that his party would raise issues pertaining to Indo-US deal, snooping in sensitive areas in the Parliament.

“It is for the first time in the history that a government is trying to re-introduce a Bill (Office of Profit Bill), which, has been returned by the President, without effecting any changes in it. It is amazing.”

Coming to Punjab, Mr Rajnath Singh announced that the SAD-BJP combine would contest Assembly elections under the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He also projected Mr Badal as , “ Future CM, “ and said the people were suffering under Mr Amarinder Singh-led state government. He lauded role of the Hind Samachar Group of Newspapers in country’s fight against terrorism and said sacrifices of group’s family members and 62 employees of the group failed to deflect Vijay Kumar Chopra, Managing Editor of Hind Samachar, or affect his determination against terrorism.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said the newspaper had contributed a lot in the restoration of democracy in Punjab, while Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, said the newspaper’s contribution was unparalleled.

Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Avtaar Henry, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, both ministers, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, a former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, Rana Gurjit Singh, both MPs, Mrs Viplove Thakur, president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, Baba Kashmira Singh, chairman of the SGL Trust, former Punjab Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of Punjab BJP were among the speakers.


Badal vows to tame Ghaggar
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Moonak (Sangrur), July 23
To tame the Ghaggar River and solve the Ghaggar problem the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janta Party (SAD-BJP) alliance, after coming to power, would allocate a large amount of money in its state Budget to complete the project. The Ghaggar project would be the main project of the SAD-BJP government and work on the project would be done on war footing, assured Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, while addressing a huge gathering at a SAD rally of the Lehragaga Assembly constituency at the New Grain market here yesterday.

Mr Badal said no favouritism would be done for allotment of the party tickets for the ensuing Assembly elections. He said the party tickets would be given as per the wishes of the residents of the constituencies concerned.

Mr Badal also claimed the SAD-BJP alliance would sweep all seats in the state in the ensuing Assembly elections. He said the Congress would win only eight to 10 seats, as people of the state were unhappy with the functioning of the Amarinder government.

Mr Badal promised people-friendly manifesto whose every clause would be implemented by alliance after coming to power.

Mr Badal also lashed out at the Congress government for inaction on various state issues, like control over unemployment, rising prices and corruption etc. He also criticised Capt Amarinder Singh for resorting lathicharge on the unemployed teachers and other employees at various places.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the SAD, exhorted the party workers to extend full support to those candidates to whom Mr Badal would allot ticket for Assembly elections.

He promised no ticket would be given to any tainted minister or MLA unlike in the present Congress government whereas Capt Amarinder Singh had admitted of having tainted ministers in his Council of Ministers and MLAs.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary, SAD, claimed Capt Amarinder Singh would not waive the loans of the farmers. He said if Amarinder tabled a Bill in the Punjab Assembly to waive the Rs 24,000 crore loan of the farmers then the SAD would support the Bill in the Assembly.

Among others those who addressed the gathering included Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, MLA from Dhanaula; Giani Naranjan Singh Bhutal and Mr Garja Singh Khandebad, both senior SAD leaders from the Moonak area.


Badal contradicts Cong claims
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 23
Contrary to the claims of the Congress on fulfilling all its election promises, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, has said the Congress has not only failed to keep its election promises, but has also not provided any facilities to Dalits and the down-trodden.

Mr Badal was addressing the “Dalit chetna rally” organised at Bir Baba Budha Sahib, about 20 km from here today.

Reading from the Congress manifesto, he said the Congress had provided not a single facility to the Dalits, particularly Dalit employees, who deserved more facilities for their uplift. Mr Badal said the government had given a single job neither to the Dalits nor to other sections of society despite promising it in its manifesto.

The government did nothing during its four-and-a-half-years rule, but now with an eye on elections it was indulging in ‘corrupt practice’ by releasing grants in the name of development.

Mr Badal promised that facilities would be given liberally to the Dalits if the SAD came to power. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and general secretary of the SAD, condemned the state government and called upon the public to be ready for the ‘war’ that had begun against the it.

Others who addressed the rally included Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala and Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majithia, both MPs, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Mr Harmit Singh Sandhu, Mr Veer Singh Lopoke, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, all MLAs.


SAD charge-sheet against Congress at election
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 23
Former Punjab Finance Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh has said the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) would release its charge-sheet against the Congress as and when the model code of conduct was implemented in the state in respect of the Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, Captain Kanwaljit has also indicated that the SAD (B) might not forge any alliance with the party of Ms Uma Bharti. "The SAD is a part of the NDA. Though the political situation is fluid, but we would not do anything which would affect the alliance of the SAD and BJP," he said, talking to mediapersons here today.

He said his party would give a decisive defeat to the Congress in the forthcoming polls. "Congress has failed on all fronts, at Central and state levels. Increasing crime in Punjab is an indicator. Politicalisation of police has further compounded the situation. People of Punjab are not safe," said Captain Amarinder Singh.

He further clarified that he had no objection if Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary of the SAD, was made Chief Minister of Punjab.

"The SAD-BJP alliance has decided to fight the Assembly poll under the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal," said Captain Amarinder Singh.


Vedanti meets Badal, BJP leaders
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 23
In a significant development, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP member of Parliament, and Mr R.P. Singh, senior BJP leader today held a closed-door meeting at the SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Medical College here today.

The meeting was held, two days after the “Gurmatta”, passed by the Sikh clergy in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, inviting all excommunicated persons to re-join the Sikh fold by January 13, 2007, without undergoing ‘tankhah’ (religious punishment).

This exemption to excommunicated persons, including the Nirankaris, has evoked strong reaction from the Panthic leadership.

It is believed that the BJP leaders had sought a meeting with the Jathedar Akal Takht by using the good offices of Mr Badal to find a way out to withdraw an edict against the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, a body of the RSS, pronounced by the Akal Takht chief. The edict had dubbed the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat as “anti-Sikh”.

When contacted, Jathedar Vedanti confirmed the meeting with Mr Badal and BJP leaders in the presence of the SGPC chief. He, however, refused to divulge the details.


Government concerned over illegal publication of Guru Granth Sahib
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Keeping in mind the sentiments of the Sikh community, the Punjab Government has decided that it will ask the Central Government to provide for a law to take action against a person who tries to publish the holy Guru Granth Sahib on his own accord or tries to conduct the “Parkash” of the Guru Granth Sahib at an unauthorised place.

Sources in the Punjab Government said the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had requested for legal sanction to curb any unauthorised publication of the Guru Granth Sahib and its “Parkash” at places that are not approved by the Sikh clergy. The Punjab Government is seeking imprisonment of six months and a fine of Rs 10,000 for any person who violates these two aspects.

It may be mentioned that the Jathedar of Akal Takht in a edict had banned the private publication of the Guru Granth Sahib by anybody and empowered only the SGPC to carry out the task. Similarly, the Akal Takht had also banned the conduct of “Parkash” of the Guru Granth Sahib at places like marriage palaces.

The opinion of the government is that such stray reports were still coming in about violations of the edicts of the Takht. 


CPM activists lathi-charged
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 23
Hundreds of activists of the Communist Party Marxist (CPM) Punjab were lathi charged here today for protesting against the Khanna Paper Mill for spreading pollution in the area.

The peaceful activists and the residents of various colonies around the paper mill had gathered at the Fatehgarh Churian bypass road to protest against the company. When the activists reached near the gate of the mill, the police team led by SHO Sadar Hardev Singh, who was present in civilian dress, ordered the lathi charge.

Jagtar Singh Karampura, talking to the TNS, said they had already announced that they would lead a silent protest march up to the mill but the SHO started hitting him and also removed his turban. He said several persons were injured in the lathicharge.

The owners of Khanna Paper Mill had earlier refuted the charge of the CPM activists that the mill was causing pollution. The company had claimed that certain land mafias had bought land around the mill for speculative purposes and were trying to misinform the public by filing litigations against the company in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

SHO Hardev Singh said the protesters were trying to enter the mill premises due to which they had to resort to mild lathi charge.


14-year-old alleges rape
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The life of a 14-year-old girl from Gobind Pura Papra village (Sangrur) is on the verge of falling apart. Allegedly raped at gunpoint by a village youth on July 10, the girl has been running from pillar to post to get justice. Despite the passage of 14 days since the alleged crime was committed, no FIR has been registered in the case.

The police maintain that the victim’s family has compromised with the accused. But the girl, her family and the village panchayat members rubbish the police claims. They accuse the police of harbouring the accused and trying to hush up the matter.

Landing in Chandigarh today in pursuit of justice, the girl recounted her horrors. She said she was sleeping alone at her uncle’s house when the accused took her to the adjacent house of his sister-in-law at gunpoint, where the alleged crime was committed.

As the girl broke into tears, her uncle Pawan Kumar from whose house she had been taken away said he returned home very late that night. “When I saw the girl was missing I raised an alarm in the street. But the sister-in-law of the accused misled me by saying that the girl was in another house. My search yielded no fruit,” he said. A day later when he and his niece went to the police station to complain, they were sent back.

Panchayat members Jarnail Singh, Makhan Singh and Kirna Rani, who were with the victim all day long today, were unanimous in their complaints against the SHO, police station, Moonak, who allegedly manhandled the victim’s uncle Harmesh Kumar when he asked for an FIR in the matter.

“Harmesh Kumar was forcibly made to sign some documents. When we came to know of police high-handedness, we approached them to undo the wrong, but to no avail,” said panches Makhan Singh and Kirna Rani.

They will approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court for justice tomorrow.

They are demanding an FIR in the matter and a medical examination of the girl, who is one of the seven daughters in a family which has lost its breadearner.

Her mother is mentally unstable. She is a dropout from primary school and there is little hope of her attending school again.


Minor raped, case registered
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 23
In a bizarre incident, a minor girl and student of class VII, a resident of this town, was allegedly raped by a boy in her house located in the Arorianwala Mohalla today.

Police sources said that accused, identified as Tushal, who was about 19 years old, raped the victim when she was alone in her house. The father of the victim reached his house after hearing the hue and cry raised by the victim. However, the accused managed to run away from the spot.

Sources added that medical examination of the victim had been conducted. The victim and the accused were known to each other and were living in the same locality.

A case in this connection had been registered. The accused was not arrested so far.


District courts to have more powers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 23
The acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, today announced that the state government had accepted a recommendation to grant unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction to the district judges in Punjab. This would result in the shifting of thousands of cases pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court back to the district courts, thereby reducing the burden of the high court.

Earlier if the subject matter of litigation was worth more than Rs 5 lakh, the district court was not competent to hear an appeal in that case. Such cases directly came for appeal to the Punjab and Haryana High Court from the trial courts bypassing the district courts. Now the district courts invested with the requisite jurisdiction would be able to hear the appeals regardless of the pecuniary value of the case.

An ordinance to this effect was expected to be passed by the state government soon said Mr Justice Bedi. Mr Justice Bedi was addressing a gathering after inaugurating the judicial courts in SAS Nagar here this evening.

Mr Justice Bedi also stated that Punjab had lagged behind Haryana if one compared the state of infrastructure that the two states were providing to the judiciary. “Not just in terms of the work places but also residences and other infrastructure,” he said. Talking to media persons later, Mr Justice Bedi also reiterated that the high court would not post any judges in the labour courts in Punjab till the government ensures proper infrastructure for them to function. Peeved at the lack of infrastructure for the courts, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had some time ago withdrawn its judges from the various labour courts in Punjab.

Stressing the need for better training facilities of judicial officers Mr Justice Bedi pointed out that education of law should keep in tune with times. “What we teach in law colleges is archaic and has not kept pace with the changing needs” he said. He added that the establishment of the judicial complex in Chandigarh was already on and the Punjab Government had reported that they had released Rs 6.66 crore as part of their share of payment towards the construction of the academy. 


Punjab wants 2 villages delinked from land Act case
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Having suffered a setback in its efforts to free land in over 470 villages in Punjab from the provisions of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 1900, the Punjab Government has now written to the Centre to at least consider the case of villages Karoran and Nada separately from their earlier requests pertaining to the entire state.

The state Forest Department officials have in a communication to the Ministry of Environment and Forests ,New Delhi, stated that there is a need to de-link these areas from the main case and delist these from the list of forest areas.

The communication dated July 17, 2006 also includes the land records of these two villages and details of the areas measuring 656 acres in village Nada and another 1092 acres in village Karoran which are notified under the PLPA and are required to be excluded from listed forest areas.

Under pressure from over 40,000 residents of the two villages who have been promised freedom from these restrictive laws on the grounds that these areas had been included in the list of forest areas by 'mistake', the politicians of the area are said to have catalysed this move. Also in limbo is the decision of the state government to declare Nayagaon and nearby areas as a notified area .A large part of which falls within these two villages.

Large portions of over 470 villages in the state are "locked" under the provisions of the Preservation of Forest Act ,1900, and the Indian Forest Conservation Act ,1980. The Forest Department had early this year sought prior approval from the Centre to exclude over 65,670 hectares of cultivation and inhabited land falling in districts SAS Nagar (then in Ropar), Ropar, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur from the jurisdiction of these Acts.

In a reply to the state in March 2006, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had, while allowing the exclusion in principle, however added some riders. Apart from other things, the Punjab Government had to ensure that no commercial activity was permitted on the de-listed land and that it would be used only for bona fide agriculture purposes for sustaining the livelihood of the owners of the land.

The State Government has also been asked to furnish a detailed list of the de-listed lands, the land use and status of the lands before October 25, 1980 , and after December 12, 1996 . 


Israeli-Lebanon crisis: SAD (A) for peace, ceasefire in West Asia
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 23
Expressing concern over the situation in the West Asia, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and former MP from Sangrur, today said if the on-going Israeli-Lebanon crisis was not handled wisely it might turn into a war of greater dimensions as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had already rejected United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s suggestion that a ceasefire was the best solution to 
the Israeli-Lebanon crisis.

In a statement, sent from Sunam today, Mr Mann said the latest provocation to act aggressively by Israel had come from the Iran-supported militant Hezbollah group, stationed in Lebanon, which operated aggressively within Israeli sovereign territory.

Mr Mann further said the SAD (A) supported a ceasefire in Lebanon as Israeli forces, backed by the USA, might attack Iranian nuclear facilities to teach Hezbollah a lesson. He said such an attack would inflame Islamic passions all over the world and the US-supported regimes in Islamic world would not be able to stop this. In fact Islamic emotions might even topple such regimes, he added.

Mr Mann said because of India’s new Hindutva foreign policy and perhaps a secret military alliance with Israel, such a step-up in war activity by Israel would engulf the Indian sub-continent in the war. He said the SAD (A) cautioned the UPA government at the Centre not to embroil India in a war as his party stood for peace and ceasefire in West Asia.

Mr Mann said if India took a unilateral decision to disturb world peace, Sikhs would remain neutral and did not support an unprincipled war.


Ground water alarm in Sangrur, Moga; Jalandhar in peril too
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Alarmed at the dangerously worsening ground water situation in many blocks of Sangrur and Moga districts, the Central Ground Water Board has issued a notification seeking a ban on hand pumps, tube wells and other ‘energised sources of water abstraction’ in these blocks.

“The notification for the regulation and control of ground water development and management has been issued.

“The authorities concerned at the district level have been authorised to ban the use of equipment of water-abstraction,” Mr C.P. Srivastava, Director, Central Ground Water Board, North Western Region, Chandigarh, told The Tribune.

The notification for regulation was preceded by another notification which asked the officials, at district-level, to number and register all tube wells, hand pumps, etc in the affected blocks.

“When the data regarding total number of water-abstraction equipment used in a block is ascertained, we move on to the regulatory stage,” Mr Srivastava said.

The blocks— Moga I, Moga II in the Moga district, and Sangrur, Mahal Kalan, Ahmedgarh in the Sangrur district — have shown an alarming trend of declining ground water levels over a period of time and fall under the ‘dark’ zone.

Their ‘stage of development’ (in percentage), which in lay terms means the quantity of water abstracted or taken out in proportion to the quantity of water replenished, is at dangerous levels.

While Moga I was the worst-hit with the stage of development at 205 per cent, meaning the water was being abstracted at more than double the rate it was being replenished, it was no better at 187 per cent for Moga II.

Similarly, Sangrur was precariously poised at 169 per cent, so were Ahmedgarh and Mahal Kalan at 180 and 119 per cent, respectively.

The trouble does not end here. Jalandhar district emerges as the worst-affected in Punjab with Jalandhar East and Jalandhar West recording 350 and 274 per cent, respectively.

Another block of the district— Nakodar— is parching at 317 per cent. But Jalandhar, along with a few blocks in Patiala, is yet to be covered under the regulation notification.

Presently, the district officials have been told to register and collect data regarding water-abstraction tools used in these districts. Soon, the move towards regulation will follow.

Mr Srivastava also expressed concern that Punjab was somewhat lax in implementing the board’s directions though Haryana was quick to respond.

The board’s concern assumes significance as the Prime Minister has only recently constituted a high-level committee to promote artificial water recharge scheme and rainwater harvesting.


Punjabi translations of English classics released
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 23
Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, yesterday released the Punjabi translations of three English classics — “The Old Man and the Sea” by Earnest Hemmingway, “Animal Farm” by George Orwell and “The Mayor of Casterbridge” by Thomas Hardy done by Prof Achhru Singh and Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha at a function held in the college.

Congratulating the translators, Dr Walia said while on one hand these translations would enable the Punjabis to be conversant with the great works of English literature, on the other it was a great step towards the enrichment of Punjabi and literature.

He also appreciated the efforts of Unistar Books, Chandigarh, for publishing useful and high quality books.

Prof Achhru Singh said earlier he had translated “Hints for Self Culture” by Lala Hardyal, “India Unbound” by Gurcharan Das, “Kings, Queens and Lovers” by Achla Moulik, “Men and Women in my Life” and “Sex, Scotch and Scholarship” by Khushwant Singh into Punjabi.


Udham Singh’s bust unveiled; admn absent
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 23
Shaheed Ram Mohammad Singh Azad Foundation today unveiled the bust of legendary freedom fighter Shaheed Udham Singh at the new bus stand here.

Even as the representatives of various organisations were present in strength, the local administration virtually “stayed away” from the function organised to pay tributes to the freedom fighter. This was despite the fact the several local officials were invited to the function, organisers said.

The bust was jointly unveiled by Mr Karnail Singh, president of the foundation, Mr Basant Singh, a former MLA, Mr Balwinder Singh Saifdipur, president of the Bhau Bhaichara Sangathan, Ms Manjit Kaur and Ms Joginder Kaur, daughters of former President, Giani Jail Singh.

Paying rich tributes to the martyr, Mr Karnail Singh called upon the people to preserve the unity and integrity of the country for which the freedom fighters laid down their lives.


Dullo assures jobs to BEd teachers
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 23
Members of the Unemployed BEd Teachers Union blocked the way of Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, PPCC, at canal bridge on the Jalandhar-Banga road, near Garhshankar, this afternoon. They did so to express their resentment on not getting employment. The teachers were led by Mr Paramjit Singh, state committee member of the union.

Mr Dullo was going to Ravi Dass Temple at Khurali village to pay obeisance there. The teachers urged the PPCC chief to provide them government employment. They also presented him a memorandum in that regard.

Mr Dullo said according to his information, there were around 40,000 vacancies of BEd teachers in the state. He assured them that he would take up the issue with the Chief Minister and get them provided employment within 15-20 days. On his assurance, the teachers allowed Mr Dullo to resume his journey.


Govt to fight drug menace, says Dullo
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 23
Lakhs of women-folk, tormented by their husband's addiction to drugs, may get some respite as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) under its proposed campaign against drug will organise de-addiction camps at the block level in the state from August 31.

The PPCC leadership is seemingly so serious to help people in fighting out the menace of drug abuse that it has decided to float a dedicated cell on August 15 within its organisational framework to work against drug addiction. Certain major points of flow of drugs like heroine and smack, have also been identified and would be exposed by the party.

Interestingly, Mr. Dullo has even put forth a piece of advice to leaders of other political parties to initiate a similar exercise for a "common noble cause".


SC power consumers to get refund
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 23
The Punjab Government has initiated a state-level campaign to refund the amount taken from SC consumers having domestic power connection up to 500 watts.

This was announced by the former Punjab Social Welfare Minister and Phillaur MLA, Mr Santokh Singh, while talking to newspersons and later addressing a gathering here yesterday.

Mr Santokh Singh, who distributed Rs 14 lakh to 997 SC domestic consumers as refund, said over Rs 23.77 lakh would be given as refund to 2,445 SC consumers in Phillaur subdivision while the government had started the distribution of over Rs 23.13 crore to 2,89,110 consumers.


Flesh trade racket busted
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 23
The police unearthed a prostitution racket and arrested six persons, including its kingpin who is a resident of Ravidass Nagar here, last night. Two pimps, Baldev Singh, alias Rinku, of the same area and Navjot Singh, alias Sunny, of Gokal Nagar were among the arrested persons.

According to Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Hoshiarpur, an ASI of the Sadar police station was sent to the brothel as a decoy customer. The ASI insisted the girl be dropped at Ram Colony Camp on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road for which he paid up in signed notes. When the kingpin, along with two pimps and a prostitute of Bhilowal village, arrived at the decided place, the police arrested them and recovered the signed notes from them.

Later, the police raided the house of the kingpin at Ravi Dass Nagar and arrested three more girls. Two girls were from the same locality while the third one was a resident of Mahilpur, he added.

The SSP said the owner of the brothel used to charge hefty amount from her customers.


GND varsity VC to focus on research
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 23
Newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University Jai Rup Singh today took charge.

Addressing the faculty, officers and non-teaching staff, Dr Jai Rup Singh said universities were not known by its buildings only but by the real product produced by them. Academics and research were needed due attention.

On reaching the Senate Hall, he was received by Registrar R.S. Bawa and other senior faculty members, officers and employees of the university.

Talking about his priorities, the Vice-Chancellor said he would make his earnest efforts to improve academics and research. He would create a congenial and peaceful atmosphere for teaching and research on the campus.

At the same time, he would uphold the university calendar to bring improvement and efficiency in the administrative system.

To maintain transparency, Dr Jai Rup advocated the involvement of all sections in the decision-making process.


10 scholarships instituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The Punjab Government College Retired Teachers Welfare Association has instituted 10 scholarships of Rs 500 each for students studying in universities and colleges of Punjab.

The scholarships are meant for needy and brilliant students. Application forms, free of cost, can be had from Prof B.K. Bhalla, 1292, Sector 15-B Chandigarh or from the offices of the principals of Government College for Boys, Ludhiana, Government College for Women, Amritsar and Government College, Hoshiarpur.

The last date for receiving the applications is August 20.


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