P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Copter pilot ignored warning signs: SSP
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 14
The controversy over, who was at fault in the helicopter crash of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is refusing to die down.

SSP Batala LK Yadav, who was responsible for making arrangements, while clarifying on the issue, said that they made best possible arrangements in the situation available. The strict guidelines as per the book could not be followed at the landing site. The spot chosen for the landing of the helicopter was best available site at the venue. The situation under which the helicopter landed in fields, it is very difficult to find the site that is clear of all obstructions.

The pilot landed at the spot safely. The dust rose from the spot during landing also. If he had any doubts about the safety while taking off due to dust, he should have told us to make the requisite arrangements. While three sides were clear of any wires and obstructions, the pilot chose to fly towards the wires.

He also ignored red flags hanging from the wires and building nearby, the SSP said.

The sources also told The Tribune that the tendency of the politicians to hop short distances on helicopter to attract public gathered at the rally venues also makes flying risky.

As per schedule with the officials, earlier the Chief Minister was to come Bahadurpur village Rajoa in a helicopter. From there he had to go to the rally venue that was 20 km away in a car. However, to attract public gathered at the rally venue some chose to cover even the 20 km distance in a helicopter. However, the helicopter met with an accident and the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, who had lucky escape had to go to the rally by car.

The sources also told that during the recent visit of Punjab Governor SF Rodrigues to Kahnuwan also the helicopter landed quite close to high tension wires.

During a recent visit of the Chief Minister at Ramdass village on the border his helicopter landed in Singpura village near Dera Baba Nanak. Here also the helipad was made near an overhead water tank and high tension lines. However, it is only when an accident takes place that the guidelines are remembered by the authorities.


Dal Khalsa to meet over Akal Takht Jathedar’s powers
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 14
Virtually challenging the authority of the Jathedar of Akal Takht and the SGPC, the Dal Khalsa has observed that there was an urgent need to build consensus among Sikhs regarding appointment, removal and working sphere of the Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Though the Dal Khalsa leadership has decided to hold a discussion on a draft aimed at fixing norms for the jathedar of Akal Takht after incorporating views of varied groups of Sikhs on September 24, it has made it clear that the final draft would be presented to the SGPC for implementation.

The Dal Khalsa leadership felt that if the SGPC had “wrongly presumed that it represented the will of entire Sikh community” and hence never attempted to lay down rules for the appointment of jathedars of Akal Takht, it was of the view that it was the need of the hour to restrict jathedars from becoming all powerful.

This was stated by Mr Jaspal Singh Dhillon, Mr Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh, Dr Manjinder Singh, Mr Sarbjit Singh Ghumman, all members of the executive committee of the Dal Khalsa, while talking to the mediapersons here today.

Giving details about the September 24 conference, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh Dhami said more than 300 participants would take part in the conference and the opinion of the Sikhs from all over the world would also be incorporated in the final proposal. Prior to this, the blueprint of the proposals would be circulated among the participants for discussion.


Dutch environmental experts to visit Punjab
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
A team of environmental experts from Holland will visit Punjab from September 18 to sensitise the public, especially students, about solid waste management. The week-long visit is part of the awareness campaign launched by the Lions Club International, district 321-F. For this, the club has identified various organisations, including colleges and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and municipal councils, throughout the state.

The experts — Mr Jan Laurijssens, Mr Roel Pot, Mr Henk Klosters and Mr De Witte — are from PUM (Netherlands Senior Experts), an organisation based in The Hague.

PUM is financially assisted by the Netherlands Government and the European Union. It does not financially assist any project, but it provides technical know-how directly in various sectors in 91 developing countries. It has more than 4,000 advisers on the panel.

Under the awareness campaign, action-based programmes will be undertaken in Faridkot, Muktsar, Patiala, Bathinda, Ludhiana and Moga districts.

“The participants will get in-depth training in ecology, pollutants, characterisation and monitoring of solid waste,” says Mr R.K. Rana, district governor, Lions Club, International.


PSEB employees hold rally

Patiala, September 14
Hundreds of members of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Employees Federation held a demonstration in front of the PSEB head office to protest against the implementation of the Electricity Act 2003 here today.

They later blocked traffic on the Mall Road here, putting thousands of commuters on one of the busiest roads here to inconvenience.

Addressing the rally, Mr Amrik Singh Masitan, general secretary of the federation, said due to the ban on fresh recruitment, nearly 15,000 posts in the PSEB had been lying vacant. TNS


Talks on with Centre over paddy bonus merger
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has said that the state government was taking up the matter regarding the merger of the bonus of Rs 40 per quintal on paddy into the existing minimum support price of Rs 610 with the Central Government.

However, this will have no impact on the income of the farmer who will get a jump of Rs 50 per quintal over last year’s price.

He has claimed it was concerted efforts of the Punjab Government that resulted in an enhancement of Rs 40 per quintal for the paddy. This is over and above the already announced increase of Rs 10 in the MSP for paddy. 


Press photographers shot at; five arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 14
Two groups of press photographers clashed at Dharam Singh Market, near the Golden Temple and Kotwali police station, which led to firing, resulting in injuries to two photo journalists, Avdesh Kumar Lali and Om Parkash, of two Hindi dailies published from Jalandhar late last evening.

The police has arrested five persons, including Pardeep Goel of the same newspaper in this regard and a case under Section 307, IPC, has been registered against them.

According to a complaint lodged with the Kotwali police, Avdesh Lali had a quarrel with Pardeep Goel yesterday afternoon, which was settled after intervention of some journalists and they were invited in the evening for a compromise. However, Goel allegedly reached with some companions in a car and again started abusing them. This altercation led to indiscriminate firing by the group of Goel.

Mr Kaustubh Sharma, SP (City), reached the spot and ordered registration of a case and arrest of the accused.


5 nabbed for illegal sale of crops
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 14
The Market Committee has nabbed five arhtiyas for illegally dealing in cotton and wheat. The accused are Pawan Kumar, Devinder Kumar, Bhola Ram, Manohar Lal and Pawan Kumar.

Cotton, wheat and narmah—a special variety of cotton—worth Rs 3.5 lakh were seized from their possession. These crops were purchased without paying the required market fee and rural development fund.

Market Committee Chairman Bhola Singh Jhalur said he was coming to Barnala from Jhalur village when he saw some tractor trailers loaded with these crops parked on the road. The tractor trailers were without any number.

It was found that the accused were selling crops illegally. They did not have a licence to sell the crops. They were causing a loss to the Market Committee by not paying 2 per cent fee as market fee and 2 per cent rural development fund.


5 booked on abduction charge
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 14
Five persons, including two women, have been booked by the Goindwal police for allegedly abducting a college girl. A case under Sections 363 and 366-A IPC, has been registered.

The accused are Harpal Singh, his wife Sandeep Kaur and son Karambir Singh, and Bhupinder Singh and his wife Mandeep Kaur.

The case was registered on the complaint of the father of the victim who alleged that his daughter who studies at Mata Sahib Kaur College, Bharowal, was abducted by the accused to get her married to Karanbir Singh. No one has been arrested yet.


St Paul’s church vandalised
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 14
Unidentified elements last night vandalised the St Paul’s church near the Circuit House. The priest of the church, Uday Singh, in a complaint lodged with the SSP, stated that some unscrupulous persons entered the 200-year-old church by breaking open the windows and indulged in act of sacrilege of historic and religious items, including the holy book.

Uday Singh said the accused also broke opened the donation box and took away Rs 6,000.

Levelling the charge of theft, he alleged that they suspected the involvement of Balwant Rai, Satpal, Joginder Pal and other members of the family.


Cop held for forging document

Hoshiarpur, September 14
The district police has arrested Head Constable Sewa Singh posted at Garhdiwala police station and RMP doctor Lakhwinder Singh alias Lakha, a son of Piara Singh of Khurdan, under Sections 465, 468, 471 and 120 B of the IPC and Sections 7 and 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 for allegedly preparing forged documents against Kuldip Singh, alias Bittu, a son of Chain Singh of the same village, for pocketing Rs 50,000 from him.

Mr R. N. Dhoke, SSP, said here today that an FIR had been registered against both the accused at Garhdiwala police station. — OC


Dr Gurjeet Singh youngest VC of law university
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, September 14
Dr Gurjeet Singh (46), Professor, Department of Law, GND University, was appointed as first Vice-Chancellor of the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, today. He has been appointed to the post for five years.

Notification to this effect was issued by the Punjab Government today evening. He is perhaps the youngest Vice-Chancellor of the University in the country. He will join tomorrow. It is rare honour for the GND University to give two Vice Chancellors in less than two months.

Mr Narinderjit Singh, Secretary, Higher Education has confirmed the appointment . He said notification had already been faxed to the VC office GND University, here.

Interestingly, he also worked as free lancer with BBC Radio World Service (Hindi) during 1992-93 and was instrumental in production of a BBC ‘series on Law’. He participated in various International conventions in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain etc.

Dr H.S. Soch and Dr S.P. Singh, both former Vice Chancellors of GND University hailed the appointment of Dr Gurjeet Singh .

Earlier, the Punjab Assembly had passed the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, Bill, 2006, to establish an exclusive university to impart legal education in the state. Its headquarters will be at Patiala. He is the first Professor who posses two P.hd degrees in Law, one each from GND University and School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) , London respectively. The University was coming up with an initial cost of Rs 60 crore. The capital cost on the project as well as the maintenance grant will be shared by Punjab and the Union Governments on a 50-50 basis.

There will be provision for distant and continuing legal education in the university. The Chief Justice of India, or his nominee, who will be a senior Judge of the Supreme Court, will the Visitor of the university.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Gurjit Singh said he would prepare the students to deal with the cyber laws, cyber crimes , environmental law, business ethics, economic laws and challenges being faced by the legal profession in India in the post-WTO regime. Another endeavours would be to enable the students to compete in the proposed All India Judicial Services and state judicial services.


Students block traffic
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 14
Activists of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) and students of the Akal Degree College, Mastuana Sahib, today blocked the Sangrur-Barnala road in protest for 10 minutes in front of the main gate of the college at Mastuana Sahib, 5 km from here, against the ‘’beating up” of Sanjiv Mintoo, state president of the PRSU, allegedly by the employees of the Himmatpura Bus Transport Company near Barnala some days ago.

The protesters also held a rally at the main gate of the college and raised slogans against the Himmatpura Bus Transport Company and the bus owner. They also sought punishment for the “erring” bus employees.

Addressing the rally, Sukhwinder Singh, state secretary of the PRSU, flayed the police by saying that the police was raiding the houses of students to harass them and PRSU leaders, in place of initiating action against the “erring” bus employees, who had “beaten up” the president of the PRSU. He said they would continue their struggle till the police initiated stern action against the “erring” bus employees, and the owner of the bus tendered an apology.


Varsity centre gets Rs 36 lakh grant

Patiala, September 14
The Advanced Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi Language at the Punjabi University here has received a shot in the arm.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has allocated a grant of Rs 36 lakh to the university for the development of commercial Gurmukhi optical character recognition system.

Dr Gurpreet Singh Lehal has been made director of the centre of the project, which is for a period of two years.

In a press note, he said the system read printed text and converted it to an electronic format for use in document processing applications. TNS


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