P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Anandpur resolution caused turmoil: CM
Sanjay Bumbroo

Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, August 9
Lashing out at the Shiromani Akali Dal for raising the demand of the Anandpur Sahib resolution Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said the resolution was responsible for bloodshed for 21 years which had claimed hundreds of lives of innocent youth.

Addressing a rally on the occasion of the ‘Rakhar Puniya’ the Chief Minister said it was for the people to decide whether they wanted a government which was for development or the government, which never cared for the welfare of common people. He said the Akali leadership had always been using religious platform for ulterior motives and to mislead the common people.

The CM announced that the Centre had agreed, in principle, to increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy in a few days on the demand of the state Government. He said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar would soon announce adequate hike in the MSP of paddy. Criticising at the Akali Dal he said the Akali leadership was raising the issue of the MSP as they were aware that the government was going to revise the MSP soon. He described it as an attempt to mislead the public by hogging limelight during Parliament session.

Earlier the CM laid the foundation stone of Rs 1 crore development project at Pheruman the village of late Darshan Singh Pheruman and of 66 KV Sub Station at Lidhar village to be completed in five months to meet power need of 15 villages at cost of Rs 3.25 crore.

On the issue of registered medical practitioners (RMPs) the CM said the state Health Department would soon draw up a policy to impart three-four months training capsule to enable them to take up practice.

PPCC President Shamsher Singh Dullo said Mr Parkash Singh Badal was misleading the people that the Akalis were coming to power, which was no so. He said the progress in the state under the leadership of Mr Amarinder Singh had put Akalis in a spot, as they had no political agenda for the Assembly elections. He predicted that the Congress would again come to power with majority as the people had reposed faith and confidence in the policies and programmes of the government.

Meanwhile, hundreds of B.Ed unemployed youths started raising slogans against the government as soon as the CM stood to address the rally. The police chased them away from the venue. The police also used mild lathi charge to disperse them. Visibly annoyed at the situation created by these unemployed youths the CM said that the government would not succumb to their pressure tactics and added that the state had already given jobs to more than 12,000 such graduates through panchayats.

He, however, admitted that the plight of government schools was bad in rural areas was a major factor for mushrooming of private schools in the villages that were doing good business. The CM said the recruitment of ETT teachers through panchayats was a step in the right direction to bring accountability amongst newly recruited teachers.


Probe hawala deals of CM’s son, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal today demanded that the scope of operations of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the food -for -oil scam be extended to cover the common links between the Natwar Singh case and the alleged hawala transactions by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's son in the Punjab Intranet Company.

The party also asked the Congress president Sonia Gandhi to come clean on the alleged nexus between the two relatives in the alleged money laundering deals, especially those originating from Punjab.

“The exposure of the role played by one Chetan in both the Natwar Singh case and the hawala transactions in the Punjab Intranet scam, has made it absolutely necessary that the wider links between the two scandals be thoroughly probed by an independent central agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) or the ED.

In fact, the Chief Minister had promised on the floor of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha that he would ask the CBI or the DRI to investigate any allegations brought against any member of his family or government, But this was before his son's role in the alleged hawala deal got exposed.

Now that Chetan has been named as one of the principal players in the Natwar Singh case, investigations into the Punjab Intranet case and the role played by Raninder can only be ignored at the expense of truth, ” said Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, the SAD general secretary and a former Union Minister.

In a statement here, Mr Badal alleged that the Congress president Sonia Gandhi had shielded both Natwar and Amarinder Singh so long as it suited her designs. But now that even she had been forced to dissociate herself from the long time Nehru-Gandhi loyalist, she must come clean on the allegations of a nexus between the two in siphoning off massive corrupt money from Punjab to the middle east and other countries.

The former Union Minister had set up a virtual cartel with the present Punjab Chief Minister and some of his other relatives.

The Chief Minister, he said, owed his very existence to his senior relative who had played a decisive role in saving Amarinder during the infamous crisis within the Congress party in 2003.

Mr Badal reminded that his party had insisted right from the beginning of the food-for-oil scam that that there was a Natwar-Amarinder nexus on corrupt money made from mega projects, real estate deals and liquor loot in Punjab. But we were not taken seriously by the Central agencies then.


Cong behind splinter Akali groups: Badal
Sanjay Bumbroo and Gurbaxpuri

Baba Bakala, August 9
The large number of splinter Akali Dals are the creation of various intelligence agencies to confuse the Sikh masses on the directions of the Congress.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal made these comments at a rally held on the occasion of Rakhar Puniya here today.

Mr Badal said his Akali Dal was the only panthic representative of the Sikh masses and the other factions had no public support or political representative in the Assembly and Parliament.

He said such parties had no political standing and agenda and had scant regard for the welfare of the people of the state.

Lashing out at the state government, Mr Badal said it had failed on all fronts and unable to satisfy any segment in Punjab. He said the Central Government had taken a decision to waive off the loans of farmers in Andhra Pradesh and wondered why Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to press for a similar concession for the farming community in the state.

He said the Chief Minister lacked the guts to take up such serious issues with the Central Government. He said the state government had crossed all limits by unleashing repression on Akali workers and leaders.

Others who addressed the SAD rally were Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, MP, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP MP, Mr Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC president.

Radical Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa and SAD (A) also held a parallel rally here. Striking a discordant note and upping the ante against the Amarinder Singh government, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD (A), challenged the Congress government to stop the “danda raj” in Punjab.

Mr Mann decried the daily dose of lathis on unemployed youth and political activists and sought exemplary punishment for the errant police personnel.

Like all other leaders in election mode, he too asked the affected sections to join him for justice and prosperity of Punjab.

Dal Khalsa leader Kanwarpal Singh warned the people of the designs of the Congress, which he said were reminiscent of the East India Company.

In another resolution, the parties urged the Central Government to waive off all debts of the Punjab farmers on the pattern of the Vidharba package.

The parties urged the Punjab Government to stop the “pseudo-Sikh” activities of the Ashutosh dera, which they said was “a direct intervention in the religious affairs of the Sikhs” and which would lead to a 1978-like situation if their “nefarious designs” were not contained.


Hike price of paddy by Sept 1, says M.S. Gill
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
A member of the Rajya Sabha and former Union Agriculture Secretary, Mr M.S.Gill, has urged the Centre to further increase the minimum support price of paddy by September 1 and free the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices from the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Agriculture.

Rejecting the Rs 10 increase announced by the Centre, Mr Gill said the government should fix the MSP of paddy in such a way that the growing of paddy became profitable for farmers. The present price of paddy was inadequate as the cost of inputs such as diesel, fertilisers and seeds had gone up manifold. He said there should be some saving from the crop to enable the farmer to look after his family.

Mr Gill said a further increase in the MSP of paddy was required to be made by September 1 because the crop would start arriving in the market in the third week of that month.

He said the delay in the announcement of bonus on wheat had earlier hit many farmers hard. " Many farmers had sold their wheat to traders by the time the government announced Rs 50 per quintal as bonus", he said. " And the same thing can happen during the paddy season if the government delays a further hike in the price of paddy", he asserted.

Talking about the commission, Mr Gill said it should be a powerful, independent body with powers to enforce the MSP announced by it. The Union Government should not be able to influence its decisions in any manner. The commission should also not be under the control of the Union Agriculture Ministry, he said. Many a time the commission had to follow the line of the Central Government while fixing the MSP of various foodgrains.


MCPI activists stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 9
Activists of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) United, held a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office, near Mini Secretariat, here today. As many as 500 party workers participated in the dharna. The activists were protesting against the ‘sky rocketing prices of essential commodities of daily use.’

The members also lodged their protest against “rampant corruption in government offices” and also demanded MSP of Rs 762 per quintal for paddy in the forthcoming paddy season.

The issue of giving land to private groups like Reliance and Trident also came up during the protests and a memorandum listing the above mentioned demands was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Chander Shekhar, a member of the Preparatory Committee of the MCPI (United), demanded that due to the unprecedented hike in the prices of commodities of daily use the minimum wages of workers should be raised to Rs 6000 per month. He accused the Punjab Government of failing to address the problems of workers across the state and also added that labour laws should be properly implemented in the state.

Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, who is also a member of the MCPI’s preparatory committee, said the life of the common man was being made miserable due to the spiralling prices. He added that corruption in government departments had reached a state that no work could be done without paying bribes to government officials.

Prominent among others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Hari Singh Dhindsa, Mr Ram Singh Patiala, Mr Nachatar Singh Nabha, Mr Balwinder Singh Samana, Mr Iqbal Singh Sarpanch and Mr Balwan Singh.


Revenue panel told to give interim report
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Punjab Government’s biggest worry at the moment is to check rampant corruption in the Revenue Department. Sources yesterday said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had told Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa to take tough steps to deal with corruption in the department.

The sources said a week ago, Mr Randhawa was allotted the Revenue port folio by the Chief Minister with clear instructions that the department should be cleansed of graft. Earlier, Mr Randhawa was the Cooperation Minister.

A senior officer told The Tribune that Mr Randhawa had convened a meeting of officers of the department to get feedback from them on its functioning at the field level. Department officers gave him their frank opinions and cited reasons, including political interference at the field level, for corruption. The officer said Mr Randhawa was told that often less influential politicians build up pressure on the officials concerned at the subdivisional and district levels for the transfer of employees posted in the field.

Mr Randhawa, the officer said, also interacted with the president of the Revenue Commission set up for reforms in the department and updating of the revenue laws. The commission had been told to give its interim report at the earliest. It had also been told to frame rules with regard to the acquisition of the land of farmers in the state. The dominant opinion at the meeting was that the government should only acquire land from farmers for public utility projects such as bridges, schools, colleges and hospitals. Besides, it should not interfere as far as acquiring land by private parties, including industrialists, is concerned. Industrialists should acquire land at the prevailing market price for their projects.

The commission was also told to set a time frame for deciding family-property partition cases which usually took years to be decided. The number of appellate courts should be reduced and it should be clearly laid down which property-related cases should be heard by civil officers. A time limit should also be fixed for disposing of mutation cases.

The officer said Mr Randhawa had sought details regarding pending mutation cases and reasons for the delay in settling these. The department had also been told to complete the computerisation of all revenue records at the earliest.

The officer said Mr Randhawa wanted that the tehsildar and naib tehsildar’s discretion to reject deeds presented to them for registration should be curtailed in cases where the parties concerned were paying stamp duty and other charges on the basis of the land rates fixed by the Deputy Commissioners concerned. It was felt that such discretion had become a source of corruption at some places.


Ministers to meet today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
A crucial meeting of the Punjab Council of Ministers will be held tomorrow. Economic agenda will dominate the meeting. Number of ordinances, including one to abolish octroi and other to reduce price of petrol and diesel will be approved by the council tomorrow.

Besides, the council will approve the setting up the Pay Commission for its employees. Other issues related to employees will also be discussed.


Road mishaps claim more lives than murders
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Eight lives are lost on roads in Punjab every day. This is almost three times the number of murders reported from various parts of the state annually.

Interestingly, if one looks back, even terrorism at its peak never claimed so many lives in a year as are being lost in road accidents year after year.

Although the death of six persons, including four children, in a tragic mishap near Rarra Sahib in Ludhiana yesterday morning has prompted the Punjab Police to ban goods carriers — trucks and tractor-trailers — from carrying passengers, little has been done over the years to minimise the loss of life on the roads of the state.

Both trucks and tractor-trailers are frequently used to ferry pilgrims and others to various religious festivals and melas held in the state throughout the year. Besides, these vehicles are also used to carry workers to political rallies.

How effectively the police is able to enforce the ban remains to be seen as the Assembly elections in Punjab are round the corner.

Yesterday morning, a truck carrying 40-odd pilgrims was on the way to a historic place when it fell into a canal near Rarra Sahib killing six persons on the spot. Most of the remaining passengers were rescued by villagers and an Army unit stationed nearby. The cause, according to reports, was a narrow bridge whose widening has been caught in red tape with the departments concerned blaming each other for the delay.

Of 27 major accidents in which three or more persons were killed this year, 11 involved buses and 10 others, trucks. In almost all cases, buses or trucks had collided head-on with either private cars or multi-passenger tourist vehicles like the Sumo or the Qualis.

Although Punjab now claims to have a highway patrol and a traffic wing headed by an Inspector-General of Police, the fatalities in road mishaps have remained either the same as in previous years or shown an upward trend.

Interestingly, Patiala has been the worst killer zone. It has more fatalities than any other major town or city in the state.

The average number of fatalities in the state in a quarter since the beginning of 2002 has been between 675 and 750. If 2,656 persons died on roads in 2002, the number increased to 2,703 in 2003.

In 2004, it came down a little to 2,584, but rose to 2,777 in 2005.This year, more than 1,400 lives have been lost so far.

An explosion in the number of vehicles, introduction of high-speed cars, very little control over the issuance of driving licences and absence of any authority to prevent both unfit vehicles from coming on the road or misuse of goods vehicles for transporting men and women continue to be major identifiable causes of the alarming rate of fatalities on roads in the state.


Endangered pangolin caught
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

The DFO (Wildlife), Gurdaspur, Mr D. Rajashekar, with the pangolin at Pathankot on Wednesday.
The DFO (Wildlife), Gurdaspur, Mr D. Rajashekar, with the pangolin at Pathankot on Wednesday. — Photo by Jangi

Gurdaspur, August 9
Officials of the Department of Wildlife caught an endangered Indian pangolin (manis erassicaudata) near Hayyatnagar in the district today.

The DFO (Wildlife), Mr D. Rajashekar, while talking to The Tribune, said it was the first recorded sighting of the animal in the district.

It is an endangered animal and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Act.

The animal is about 2.5 feet-long with large hardened plate-like scales around its body. The plates are actually clumps of hair that look like scales. They can curl up into a ball when threatened, with their overlapping scales acting as an armour.

The animal caught today was in good health. On verbal instructions from the Chief Wildlife Warden the animal would be released in the Takhni Rehmapur sanctuary in Hoshiarpur, the DFO said.


Work on Shahpur Kandi dam starts
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur August 9
Work on the Shahpur Kandi dam project started here today after a low key ceremony. The Chief Engineer, Shahpur Kandi dam, today performed the ceremony of starting the work.

The engineers present at the site said today one shovel and three heavy duty trucks were pressed into service to start digging at the site.

The government has approved Rs 25 crore for starting the work of the project.

The amount is peanuts for the project work but it has raised hopes of workers that the government was serious to construct the dam.

However, sources at the dam said it was for the third time that the work at the project had been started ceremoniously. Earlier at the fag end of its tenure the SAD/BJP government also started the work. Later the work was abandoned again. Now again work of the dam has been started just when the tenure of the present government is about to end.

Workers at the dam comprise substantial part of the electorate in the Sujanpur constituency.

Member administration PSEB Raman Bhalla also stated recently that the PSEB was in the process of raising a loan of Rs 2000 crore from the Power Finance Corporation for the Shahpur kandi project.

The Shahpur Kandi Dam was part of the Ranjit Sagar dam project. The Shahpur Kandi dam was to be built downstream Ranjit Sagar dam. The objective of the dam was to stop the water released from the Ranjit Sagar dam due to generation during peak hours. The water was to be released from the Shahpur Kandi dam into the Upper Bari Doab Canal (UBDC) system in the process generating an additional 168 MW power.

Due to the non construction of the Shahpur Kandi dam the optimum generation capacity of Ranjit Sagar dam has never been reached.

The Ranjit Sagar dam can generate 600 MW power.

However, about 25000 cusecs of water is released from the dam if it is operated to full capacity. At present the old Madhopur headwork has silted up. So it cannot stop or store 25000 cusecs of water.

The Shahpur Kandi dam was designed as part of project to realise full generation capacity of Ranjit Sagar dam at least during peak hours.

The state was losing about Rs 1000 crore of power every year due to the non-construction of Shahpur Kandi dam.


NGOs protest against doctor couple
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 9
Sounding a stern warning for those perpetrating and indulging in female foeticide, activists of various NGOs today held a “siapa” in front of Thukral Nursing Home.

The protest was organised under the banner of the Youth Clubs Organisation and the PNDT Cell after the doctor couple running the nursing home was booked under the PNDT Act.

Hundreds of protesters, including women, staged a dharna in front of the nursing home and raised slogans against the doctor couple. Then they took out a protest march that passed through the main areas of the city.

The protesters called for a social boycott of those committing the heinous act of female foeticide. The Youth Clubs Organisation chief, Mr Jasbir Singh Grewal, said legal sentence was not enough for such people and they should also be punished socially.

He stressed on the need for holding similar protests against those killing female foetus.

The Project Officer of the PNDT Cell, Mr Sadhuram Kushla, said a concerted campaign against foeticide menace was the need of the hour. He said it was high time that society took corrective measures before the social evil attained an alarming proportion.

The Eknoor Welfare Society, Dost Welfare Society and women from Jodhpur Pakhar village participated in the protest.

A team headed by the Deputy Commissioner had raided Thukral Nursing Home last week and caught its staff while aborting foetus of a woman.


Ex-municipal councillor beats up JE
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot August 9
A former municipal councillor, Mr Jang Bahadur Bedi, beat up a junior engineer of the Pathankot Municipal Council, Mr Desh Bandhu, today.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Desh Bandhu alleged that he had called labourers in Guru Nanak Park to assign them duties in the morning. The former MC, whose wife is at present is a municipal councillor, came to the spot. He started telling him that all labourers should be sent to his ward.

When he expressed his inability to do so, the former MC attacked him. He allegedly beat him up with shoes. The junior engineer was saved by the labourers present there.

The beating up of the junior engineer has evoked strong protest from the workers' union of the municipal council.

The workers organised a protest outside the municipal council office. They alleged that the husbands of the women councillors acted as de-facto councillors. They regularly interfered in their work and kept sitting in the council office.

The employees threatened to paralyse the civic amenities if no action was taken against Mr Bedi.

They later met the SSP Gurdaspur, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, who was at Pathankot and submitted their complaint.

The SSP, when contacted, said strict action would be taken against the culprit. No case had been registered against the municipal councillor till the filing of the report.

Sources alleged that the political mentor of the former municipal councilor was trying to effect a compromise between the two parties due to which the police had delayed the registration of the case.

The accused municipal councilor was not available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact him on the phone.


BBMB divers called to recover missing children
Our Correspondent

Rara Sahib, August 9
The authorities today called a team of professional divers from the Bhakhra Beas Management Board after the muddy water of the Bathinda Feeder Canal frustrated search for the four missing children who are feared to have drowned when a truck carrying 46 devotees fell into the canal yesterday.

Two bodies were taken out of the feeder on Tuesday.

Demanding the removal of obstructions and strengthening of the canal bank, the authorities have urged people not to use vehicles meant for transporting goods for carrying passengers on this stretch of the road.

Meanwhile, the Payal police has registered an FIR under Section 304 A against Darshan Singh, driver and owner of the truck for allegedly causing death of two persons and injuries to others.

Search for the children, including two brothers Akashdeep (6) and Amandeep (7), Pooja (12) and Vijay proved futile as the divers could not see anything under the swift flowing muddy water of the canal. Another factor which hampered the operation was that the canal seemed to be carrying more water today.

‘‘Though the divers have been doing their best with the help of two Army boats and a number of life jackets, the exercise proved futile. We will resume the search operation tomorrow with the help of professional divers of the BBMB," said Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, SDM, Payal.

Col Dal Singh of an Army Engineering unit claimed that the divers had combed the water in a span of about 1,000 meters but the efforts did not bear any fruit. ‘‘However we will continue our operation till the everyone is accounted for,’’ he said.


Bridge to open soon
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 9
Another political battle seems to be brewing over bridges in Gurdaspur district. The Kathlore bridge that will link over 100 villages of Narot and Bamiyal blocks with the rest of the district is almost ready. Congressmen are planning to inaugurate it in a month to reap political benefits for the Assembly elections.

However, local MP Vinod Khanna recently visited the bridge ostensibly for claiming credit for the bridge. Mr Khanna told reporters that like Mukerian, the Kathlore bridge was also the result of his efforts. The Congress turned a blind eye to the area during its 45-year rule. Not even a temporary bridge was built for the population of one lakh in Narot and Bamiyal blocks of Gurdaspur district.

It was only during the NDA government that both Kathlore and Mukerian bridges were passed. The temporary bridge over the Ravi in the area was also built during the NDA government’s rule at the Centre and the SAD-BJP government in the state, he said.

However, claims of Mr Khanna have left Congress leaders fuming. The PWD and Education Minister, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa said the claims of Mr Khanna were a bundle of lies.


Bill on piracy soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Punjab Government has decided to present a Bill in the forthcoming Assembly session, on prevention of piracy.

The decision to this effect was conveyed to film maker and film-industry leader, Yash Chopra, by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during a meeting between the two in Mumbai.

At the meeting, Chopra told the Chief Minister about the grim scenario that the industry was facing because of the threat from piracy. The Chief Minister took a note of the points and declared his government's resolve to take firm steps to combat the menace.

A spokesperson of Yash Chopra said his company regarded piracy as a cancer that was afflicting the whole industry. The Indian film industry loses a whopping Rs 17 billion annually due to piracy.


9 posts get parity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Punjab Government issued orders today to give nine posts held by IAS officers in the state parity with the post of Commissioner of a division or Secretary to the government.

The posts are MD, Milkfed, MD Markfed, Commissioner, MC, Patiala, Secretary, State Information Commission, Director, Industrial Training, Commissioner, MC, Amritsar, Director, Technical Education, Secretary, Mandi Board, Member Finance and Accounts, Punjab State Electricity Board.


Four diarrhoea cases reported
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 9
While the public health authorities have claimed to have made proper arrangements, four new cases of diarrhoea were today reported from Tiba village.

Besides the two cases of cholera, 80 persons suffering from gastroenteritis of the same village received treatment at the Civil Hospital and various private hospitals in Ropar.

The villagers today complained that there was a need of proper repair of water supply pipes to Tiba and other five nearby villages as leakage had surfaced at many places.

“We have deployed doctors in the village round the clock and a number of villagers were treated”, said the District Health Officer, Mr S.P. Surila.

The Xen (Public Health Rural), Mr V.K. Wadhawa, said there could be some other cause of the spread of the disease.


Artistes honoured

Patiala, August 9
National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) honoured some prominent personalities at their monthly Garden Theatre presentation of the Punjabi Musical Play 'Sanu Kee' dedicated to NTAS patron and noted philanthropist Seth Chiranjilal Navyug on his 11th death anniversary here yesterday.

The Chief Guest was Mr K.K. Sharma, Chairman, Improvement Trust, Patiala, presented an award of Excellence to pathologist Dr. Ashok Gupta, formerly Head of the Department of Pathology, Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, in recognition of his services in the field of pathology.

The chief guest also presented an award of honour to a veteran public figure, Mr. Satpal Kapoor, former Member Parliament better known as the pioneer of the scheme of getting Patiala declared as Habitat City of India. — TNS


Quash FIRs against mentally ill undertrials: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising acting Chief Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice R.S. Randhawa today ordered the quashing of FIRs against eight undertrials lodged in Government Mental Hospital, Amritsar.

The court also ordered that four other undertrials accused of serious crimes be examined and treated at the PGI.

The court had earlier taken a suo motu notice on the basis of a news item revealing that 13 undertrials were languishing in the hospital. They had reportedly developed psychiatric problems during the course of the trial and the trial was pending for a long time. One of the undertrials died some time ago.

The court observed that the FIRs should be quashed because the eight persons had undergone a period of treatment in the hospital which was more than the sentence they would have been awarded had they been held guilty.

It observed that it would be difficult for such prisoners to be released to their families as there would be hesitation on their part to take them back. Accordingly, it directed the governments concerned to make proper arrangements for their treatment and lodging if they were not taken back by their families.


Rs 80,000 looted from bank
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 9
Three armed persons looted cash from a rural branch of the Punjab National Bank near here today. Mr Om Parkash, branch manager, told newsmen that three persons forced entry into the branch office, located on the Abohar-Muktsar road at Kundal village, at 1.10 pm by pushing the chowkidar. Two of them had revolvers and the third carried a long knife in his hand.

They asked the staff and the customers to raise their hands.

All four members of the staff and customers were forced into the strong room. The miscreants then asked the cashier to hand over cash in the strong room. He told them that the keys were lying in the drawer at the cash counter. The miscreants moved to the counter and packed their pockets with currency notes worth about Rs 80,000 and threatened the cashier that he would be stabbed if tried act smart.

Meanwhile the bank staff pressed the button of the hooter. As they heard sound of the siren the miscreants fired a shot and escaped.

According to preliminary investigation one of their accomplices stood guard at the main gate of the bank. As people questioned the escaping robbers the latter said the bank office had caught fire.

Later it was found that their fifth accomplice was waiting near a white car parked under a tree on the Dharangwala road. They escaped in the same car.

The bank guard had gone to Ferozepore to collect his arms license after its renewal by the district authorities. The bank staff claimed that the sadar police station had been informed of the movements of the guard.

According to the information provided by the bank staff two miscreants were clean-shaven while the third one had a heavy beard and covered his head with a piece of cloth. The dog squad and finger print experts have been pressed in to service.


Bid to rob bank, guard hurt
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 9
Three motorcycle-borne armed youths made an abortive attempt to rob a Punjab and Sind Bank branch at Nagoke village, near here, today.

According to bank officials, three youths entered the bank premises at about 12:30 pm and asked officials and public to stand at a particular place.

They tried to snatch the rifle of guard Charan Singh, an ex-serviceman.

Meanwhile, peon Paramjit Singh managed to press the alarm button. It resulted in panic among the robbers. They fired at the chest of Mr Charan Singh and made a hasty retreat.

Mr Inder Mohan Kaila, Branch Manager, took the guard to a government hospital at Mianwind village on his motorcycle.

Mr Charan Singh was later referred to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar. His condition is said to be serious.

Mr Parveen Kumar Sinha, SSP, said a case under Sections 392, 511, 307 and 34 of the IPC was registered.

Mr Baldev Singh Ghotra, Zonal Manager, PSB, said he had urged the higher bank officials to acknowledge the vigilance and bravery of the branch staff by awarding them.


Pregnant woman beaten up; dies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 9
Gurmeet, wife of Bittu Masih, a resident of Bhindi Saida village under Lopoke police station in Majitha police district, was allegedly killed by Billa Singh, a contractor, and his wife and relatives. She had been allegedly beaten up by Billa Singh and others over a minor dispute. The Lopoke police had initiative action under Section 174 CrPC.

The post-mortem examination of the body was conducted here today.

Bittu Masih, talking to media persons, alleged that he and his wife were employed at a private farmhouse in Jalandhar on July 14 by Billa Singh. However, they couple got some dispute with the employer firm.

He alleged that enraged over this, Billa Singh and his wife along with several other women beat up his wife who was pregnant. He alleged the child died in her womb after the incident on July 24, while Gurmeet Kaur died at a government hospital here last night.


Decomposed body of woman found
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 9
The police today found decomposed body of 68-year-old woman, in her house in Geowal village . Sanjogita, a widow was living alone after the death of her husband. The police said the matter came to light after a relative of woman came here to meet her. But when despite his repeated attempt, Sanjogita, did not opened the door, then he called the villagers, and then they reported the matter to the police.

This is second case in the past two days when someone was found murdered by unidentified persons. A 20-year-old youth was founded brutally murdered in a petrol pump in Nurbedi sub-division yesterday. The unidentified assailants after hitting him with a shape edge, weapon took away his mobile and Rs 6,000.

Meanwhile, the police has conducted raids in the various places of the district in search of the assailants.


17 teachers suspended
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur August 9
The District Education Officer, Gurdaspur, has suspended 17 teachers who were found absent from schools during recent raids conducted by the Director, Education.

The orders of suspension of the teachers were issued today on the direction of the higher authorities of the Education Department. Sources here said three more teachers from the Dera Baba Nank area, who were found absent, had been transferred to Mansa.

The teachers who have been suspended include Sukhraj Kumari, Bimla Devi, Kamlesh Bala, Tarsem Chand, Prem Nath (who was found drunk on duty), Tarsem Chand, Balwinder Singh, Arti and Prem Nath, all posted in Narot Jaimal Singh block.

The others who have been issued suspension orders are Amandeep and Neeru Arora from Batala, Sumitra from Fatehgarh Churian, Sukhjinder Singh, Harpal Singh from Sri Hargobindpur and Santosh Kumari, Tarsem Kaur and Baldev Raj from Kahnuwan.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |