P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Denied entry into Canada, Bhai Ranjit Singh back today

Amritsar, September 1
Former Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh, who was stopped at Vancouver airport and questioned for about 12 hours, would land at New Delhi with a brief stopover in Hong Kong tomorrow. He had gone to Canada to attend religious meetings in Abbotsford and British Columbia, but was stopped at Vancouver by security agencies.

When contacted, Mr Gurbachan Singh, a member of the DSGMC and elder brother of Bhai Ranjit Singh, confirmed that Bhai Ranjit Singh was not allowed to leave Vancouver airport. He said Bhai Ranjit Singh had gone to Canada on a valid visa and was carrying all necessary documents with him. To a question, he said someone opposed to him might have played mischief.

Mr Swarn Singh, General Manager, DSGMC, who is considered to be a close confident of the former Jathedar, said the actual story about denying entry to him could be revealed by Bhai Ranjit Singh himself on his coming back to India. The former Jathedar had kept his visit a “top secret” and he did not inform even his near and dear ones before leaving India.

It is pertinent to mention here that the ‘hukamnama’ (edict), pronounced by Bhai Ranjit Singh in his capacity as Jathedar Akal Takht, directing the Sikhs not to partake langar (community kitchen) on tables and chairs had virtually divided the community into two groups in Canada. — TNS


Punjab to have surplus power by 2012: Bhattal
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Banarasi/Chottian (Sangrur), September 1
Punjab will have surplus power by 2012 after meeting its agriculture, industry, domestic and other requirements as the state government has made elaborate arrangements to generate and arrange power from various sources in the years to come.

To achieve this target, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Power Trading Corporation to get 200 mw power from the Karcham Wangtu hydro project in Himachal Pradesh.

Besides this, the PSEB will also sign a memorandum of understanding with National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) in a fortnight to get another 200 mw power from Teasta-3 hydropower project in Sikkim. The power from the hydro projects will cost Rs 2.21 per unit to the PSEB while Punjab will get power from the Teasta-3 hydro project in 2011-12.

After laying the foundation stones for two new 66 kv sub-stations at Chottian village (near Lehragaga) and Banarasi village (near Khanauri), to be constructed at a cost of Rs 5.60 crore, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Irrigation and Power, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons at Banarasi village said this evening that she had also fixed a deadline for the completion of two new units of Lehra Mohabbat Thermal Plant. The first unit would be completed by January 2007 and the second unit by March 2007. She had also ordered the authorities concerned to do work round the clock to complete both the units, she added.

Ms Bhattal also disclosed that the state government would issue a notification with in 10 days to give 200 units of power, free of cost, to Dalits in the state with retrospective effect i.e. from September 1, 2005. She said the government would also refund the power bills of the Dalits, who had deposited their power bills after September 1, 2005. She said she had also withdrawn the orders regarding the installation of electricity meters outside the houses. Now the power connections would be given to a cluster of five houses, in place of 20 houses’ cluster.

Ms Bhattal also disclosed that the state government was also creating a special wing to look after the Ghaggar project. The Chief Minister had recently met the NABARAD authorities for the release of Rs 72 crore for the Ghaggar project. The NABARAD authorities had assured the Chief Minister that funds would be released soon. The government would start work soon to build five bridges on the Ghaggar river.

Ms Bhattal also said she would set up a girls’ college in Khanauri if the nagar panchayat provided land for the college. She also announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh for starting a girls’ college and opening of classes from this session in a private building.


Dalhousie road a bone of contention

Pathankot, September 1
The MC has demanded the control of the Amritsar-Pathankot road back from the local Improvement Trust. The council authorities have maintained that the trust authorities are illegally retaining the control of the road that is leading to illegal constructions and revenue loss to the council.

The Amritsar-Pathankot road that is popularly known as the Dalhousie road is the lifeline of the city. It passes through the middle of Pathankot city and property around it has the highest value in the area.

The road was handed over to the Improvement Trust in 1971 for implementing a development scheme in the area. As per Section 55 of the Punjab Town Improvement Act 1922, instructions had been issued time and again that the old development schemes of the trust should be handed over to the municipal councils concerned after five years of the announcement of the award.

As per the said rule and the directions of the Punjab Government the Amritsar-Pathankot road should have been handed over the council in 1976. However, despite the fact that the council had passed resolutions many times, the control of the road had not yet been handed over to it.

The council authorities disclosed that the scheme had not been handed over to them despite specific directions of the local governments in this regard. The council authorities in their resolutions had also maintained that while they were maintaining the streetlights and other maintenance of the road the trust authorities were pocketing the revenue.

The road has become a bone of contention between the two local bodies here due to the value of land around it. Recently, the Improvement Trust authorities allowed the construction of a shop right in the middle of the road. The SDM, Pathankot, got the area on which the shop was constructed measured from the revenue officials. Thereafter it was found that there was encroachment on 15 feet area of the road. The SDM then directed the trust authorities to demolish the illegal structure.

However, till date the trust authorities have taken no action. The sources said the SDM was now writing to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, who has to power under the Municipal Act to revoke the resolution of the trust through which the construction of the shop was allowed.

The council was also planning to object to the new proposals of the Improvement Trust to construct commercial establishments over the road. — TNS


US fellowship for Punjab doc

Patiala, September 1
Dr Mehboob Singh Sran, who has been doing his postgraduate degree in family medicine in local Rajindra Medical College, has done the state proud after being becoming the only candidate in the country who has been selected for prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship programme in USA for further studies.

Under the Hubert H. Humphrey fellowship programme, Dr Sran would be given $ 55,000 by the institutes for studying in the field of drug abuse prevention and treatment for a year. — TNS


Services of 2 contract employees terminated
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 1
Project Director Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan, Ms Seema Jain has removed from service two contract employees when they were found absent from duty.

Ms Jain told The Tribune the teams were constituted recently to check the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) centres formed under the Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan in Gurdaspur district. In a surprise checking Nirmaljit Kaur posted at Kuba centre in Dorangla block and Sukhdev Singh posted at EGS centre in Passial village were found absent from duty. Orders have been issued to relieve both absentee contract employees from duty, she said.

She also said that surprise raids were conducted in the district after receiving reports the certain teachers posted in the EGS centres were sub-contracting their service. They were taking salary from the government but were employing other employed youth from the area at Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per month to teach students.

Action would be taken against the employees found absent from duty or sub-contracting their job to others, she said.

She added checking was also done in other districts. At many centres strength of students was found to be below prescribed targets. 


Widow in search of son for 13 yrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Mrs Satwant Kaur, a widow hailing from Dhuri in Sangrur district, is struggling to know the whereabouts of her son, Harjit Singh, alias Pappu, who is missing for the past 13 years.

According to Mrs Satwant Kaur, certain policemen in mufti who had come in a Maruti van without a number plate, allegedly whisked away Harjit Singh on March 1,1993 at about 1 pm. Ever since, his whereabouts are not known.

The helpless widow has been approaching high ranking officials ever since and submitted representations to the then Governor, Chief Minister besides other senior officials but to no avail.

Incidentally, Harjit Singh was the sole bread earner in the family.


MCPI delegation meets SDM
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, September 1
A delegation of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) today met the local SDM and brought to his notice the alleged corruption in the Revenue Department.

According to a press note, the delegation also submitted a complaint to the SDM in which serious allegations of corruption were levelled against Mr Manjit Singh, a resident of Bhoglan in Rajpura tehsil.


Nagar kirtan on parkash utsav
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 1
Even a heavy rain could not dampen the spirits of devotees to participate in the nagar kirtan to mark the 402nd parkash utsav of Guru Granth Sahib here today.

The devotees made a beeline to pay obeisance to Guru Granth Sahib carried from Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib to the Golden Temple complex in a procession led by Panj Piyaras. The devotees, singing hymns, were following the golden palanquin in which Guru Granth Sahib was kept.

The procession passed through various bazars, including Ramsar Road, Chowk Crori and Chowk Baba Sahib, of the old city.

Meanwhile, Mr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, former president, Amritsar Vikas Manch, in a statement to the Press, criticised the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President and other senior members for their absence in the procession. He said that it was unfortunate that SGPC members were more involved in political programmes, while religion had taken a back seat in the agenda of SGPC members.


CM for Bill on money-lending to farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is keen to bring a Bill in the coming session of the Assembly with regard to regularising and streamlining the system of money-lending to farmers by private persons in the state.

He has set up a committee headed by Mr Lal Singh, Food and Supplies Minister, to discuss the issue with commission agents and money-lenders. The committee has submitted its report. However, it has not recommended the framing of an Act to streamline money-lending to farmers.

The committee has suggested framing of code of conduct for money-lenders. However, sources said the Chief Minister is of the view that the code will not be enough. First of all the committee recommended that the commission agents should be allowed to charge interest up to 18 per cent on the money lended to farmers.


Septuagenarian tries to molest 4-yr-old

Ropar, September 1
A 70-year-old man was today booked by the police for trying to rape a four-year-girl after luring her into his room. The incident took place this afternoon when the accused, Surjit Singh, took the girl to his room while she was playing outside her house. Thereafter, the accused made an attempt to sexually assault her, but the girl started crying and was rescued by her mother, said the police.

The mother of the victim, who is a widow, had been living with her daughter in a room rented out to her by the accused in Sampura village. She was working as a housemaid.

When contacted, the SHO, (City), Mr Manvir Singh, said on the complaint of the victim’s mother, a case under Sections 376 and 511 had been registered against Surjit Singh this evening. — TNS


Teacher booked for molestation
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 1
Teaching remained suspended in Government High School, Najochak, today amidst allegations of molestation of a Class VIII student by a teacher. The students did not attend the classes today with their parents demanding action against the teacher. The District Education Officer today visited the school to take stock of the situation.

The incident happened yesterday when a Class VIII girl student alleged that schoolteacher Prem Nath molested her. She alleged that the teacher called her to an isolated room on the pretext of bringing a glass of water and molested her.

The girl reported the matter to her parents. The villagers gathered at the school and thrashed the teacher yesterday.

The supporters of the accused teacher, however, met the SP, Pathankot, today. They alleged that the teacher had been framed as he had complained against the school authorities alleging mismanagement of funds. The police has registered a case.


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