P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Alhuwalia transferred for indulging in politics: CM
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said that Mr S.K. Alhuwalia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Patiala, had been transferred from that post as there were reports that he was indulging in politics.

Mr Alhuwalia was posted as the Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs, Punjab.

The Chief Minister made this disclosure in response to a question about the transfer of Mr Alhuwalia while addressing a press conference after presiding over a state-level function organised in connection with Valmiki Jayanti.

He said he would not tolerate any bureaucrat to indulge in politics. He added that some sort of politics was going on in the working of the local Municipal Corporation and conduct of a section of officials was giving rise to sloganeering on its premises.

For the past around eight months, the feud between Mr Alhuwalia and the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, had been taking toll on development of he area despite the fact that he gave liberal funds for the same.



Protesters seek action against jail officials
Death of undertrial
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 7
Tension prevailed here when a large number of villagers and family members of an undertrial who died under mysterious circumstances yesterday in the district jail here today protested, demanding action against jail officials.

Raising slogans against the officials, they initially refused to take the body of the undertrial, Harinder Singh, from the Civil Hospital for cremation and decided to stage a dharna till action was not taken.

The villagers who waited since morning at the Civil Hospital lost temper at about 3.30 pm, when they learnt that no action was initiated against the jail officials after the statement of undertrials was recorded by the SDM and postmortem conducted.

The situation was aggravated when the SDM ordered the release of the body, but the villagers demanded immediate action against the jail officials and the registration of a criminal case against them.

The father of the deceased, Mr Karnail Singh, said his son Harinder Singh did not have any medical history and he was murdered in the jail.

Although he died at about 5.30 pm, they were informed about it around 8.30 pm.

It took more than half an hour for the SDM, Mr Sanjay Popli, to convince the villagers that appropriate action would be taken against the jail officials as per the viscera report and thereafter, the villagers took the body of Harinder Singh for cremation.

Mr Popli said he had recorded the statements of at least 50 undertrials in the jail and the police officials who had dropped the undertrial from the district court to jail.

The exact cause of death would be revealed after the viscera report and would take at least six days to prepare the final report in the case, he added.

He said to make everything transparent, the postmortem was conducted by a team of four doctors and videography of the postmortem was also done. 

The district jail where the undertrial died yesterday had not been formally inaugurated. It started functioning two months ago and was to be inaugurated by Capt Amarinder Singh on October 10.

He would come in Nurpur Bedi to lay the foundation of a bridge over the Sutlej near Bunga Sahib. Now after the incident, he would not come here. 


Double tragedy hits family
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 7
A broad-daylight theft in street 8 of old Suraj Nagari here has come as another shock to the family, which had lost a young daughter at Ludhiana.

Sources said that Sudharsh Juneja son of a BSNL employee, had locked the house at 10 am and returned at 12 noon. On return, he found the locks of the rooms broken. Goods were found littered on the floor. Miscreants had stolen gold ornaments besides some cash.

Other members of the family had taken Gulshan, daughter of the BSNL employee for treatment to Ludhiana. She passed away there after a few hours of the theft, sources added. 


Improve grievance redressal machinery, says DGP
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
Mr S. S. Virk, director-general of police (DGP), Punjab Police, yesterday urged the field officers to make efforts to improve the grievance redressal machinery at the grassroots level for better policing and to be more accessible to the public.

Mr Virk, who was accompanied by Mr. B. K. Uppal, DIG, Counter-Intelligence, Punjab, said this to police officials in a meeting of Patiala Range held here today. The meeting was held to discuss the crime situation in the area.

He discussed various points relating to the maintenance law and order with officers of the range. He stressed upon improving the grievance redressal machinery at the level of police chowki and police station.

He also urged the officers to carry out effective detection of heinous crimes, to take efficient and effective steps to curb corruption and to do computerisation of records at the police station level.

He said proper sharing and dissemination of information to public were other important areas, which should be given adequate attention.

After the meeting was over, the DGP held another meeting of police personnel of various ranks of the Patiala Range to know the fact that whether they were interested in writing write-ups for publication in the Punjab Police monthly magazine titled ‘Punjab Police Darpan’ to be carried out shortly.

Mr S. K. Sharma, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Patiala Zone, Mr H. S. Randhawa, DIG, Patiala Range, and the SSP, Mr Parmod Ban, attended this meeting.

Mr Virk discussed all modalities for the publication of this magazine. There was an enthusiastic response from the officers and men who attended the meeting for the success and early release of this magazine.


PCMS body for Ramadoss’ ouster
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
The PCMS Association Punjab has demanded the immediate sacking of Dr Ramadoss, Union Health Minister, for misguiding the country on the issue of dengue by making false statements and for his unethical, casual and unrealistic attitude towards a national medical emergency which amounted to criminal negligence.

Dr M.S. Randhawa, patron of the association, in a press note issued here today, said dengue spread was an epidemic because current situation clearly fitted into the definition of an “epidemic”, which needed to be tackled on a war footing.

He added that the association had contested the statement of the Union Health Minister made day before yesterday at Delhi that current spread of dengue was not an epidemic as the number of cases this year was much less compared to those reported last year” and for placing the onus of dengue prevention on the masses and washing his hands by saying it was not possible to check every household.

He said the association had invited him for a public debate on the issue.

He said the association had put a public question to the Union Health Minister, who happened to be a doctor, that could he specify what more he required to declare the alarming situation as an epidemic and medical emergency when a large number of cases of the deadly disease were reported from all over the country with daily increasing trend.

The epidemic had resulted into so many deaths and had afflicted three members of the family of the Prime Minister of the country.

He said the association also felt that the Health Department could not escape the responsibility for the current situation on dengue, because it was the direct result of virtually ignoring of the National Malaria Eradication Programme for the last few years by the authorities concerned as it was given a back seat in priorities of the Health Department.


Contract labourers hold rally
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
Protesting against the “step-motherly treatment meted
out to them by the management”, activists of the GHTP Majdoor Union today held a gate rally at the Lehra Mohabbat thermal plant.

Addressing the protesters, the union president, Mr Mukhtiar Singh Jatana, alleged that the management was doing injustice with the contract labourers who had been working at the plant for the past 10 years.

He demanded that the contract system be discontinued at the plant in the interests of the PSEB and common people. He also sought regularised recruitment in the PSEB. He warned that their proposed indefinite strike would hamper key operations at the plant. Mr R.K. Tiwari from Ropar asked if contract workers could be regularised at Ropar thermal plant why not here. He accused the management of giving step-motherly treatment to its contract workers. The union decided to hold a state-level rally in this regard on October 10.


Burning of paddy stubble continues
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 7
Despite warning by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), farmers are resorting to the burning of paddy stubble in the fields. Thick clouds of black smoke emerging from the burning rice stubble in fields are engulfing roads in the district.

Ironically, a large number of paddy fields are being cleared by burning down stubble in Quadian, residential town of the Chairman of the PPCB, Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa.

The efforts of the PPCB to check farmers from burning paddy stubble that leads to a large scale pollution of air seem to be restricted to just issuing notifications and advertisements in the media.

Fires in fields along the roads are also spreading to plantations on the roadsides and banks of the UBD canal. Many small plantations are getting destroyed. The plantation and bushes along the UBD canal are home to some rare varieties of birds, including the National Bird, peacock.

The smoke on the road, besides being a traffic hazard, is also increasing atmospheric temperature. Farmers are burning stubble to clear the fields for further sowing. They allege that the harvesting of paddy is generally carried out these days with combines. The combines chaff off just the top portions that contains the produce from the stubble.

There is no alternative for the farmer but to destroy the stubble with fire. Manual or mechanical clearing of the stubble proves to be very costly due to high cost of diesel or hiring labourers.

However, agriculture experts maintain that fire in fields kills friendly pests and bacteria that increase the fertility of soil. Besides, the experts have calculated that stubble burning adds 38 lakh tonnes of organic carbon every year.

The large scale stubble burning also brings about adverse environmental changes. The suspended particles left in the air due to fire in fields are also considered to be one of the reasons for the South Asian brown haze that engulfs the region in winters.

The haze, according to scientists, is responsible for most of the climatic changes in the region. Besides, the suspended particles can cause respiratory problems and other health problems for people. The farmers are the worst affected due to it.


‘Save Panth rally today’

Rajasansi, October 7
To save the sanctity of gurdwaras and their properties all over the world a ‘save Panth rally’ will be organised here tomorrow.

Stating this to the media yesterday Mr Raghbir Singh, secretary, SGPC, said he along with other expelled members of the SAD would organise the rally in which leaders of various Panthic parties, including SAD, Nihangs and Sant Samaj, had been invited. He said major decisions would be taken to save the sanctity of gurdwaras and their properties all over the world.

Mr Raghbir Singh was suspended by the SGPC for organising political rallies and projecting himself as a candidate from here for the forthcoming Assembly elections. He later joined the duties as he got a stay from the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission in this regard. — TNS


Nagar kirtan organised
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
A large number of devotees here today participated in a nagar kirtan organised in connection with birth anniversary of Guru Ramdas.

The nagar kirtan, which started after an ardas at Akal Takht, was led by Panj Piaras. The procession marched with Guru Granth Sahib carried in a golden palanquin. It passed through various bazaars of the walled city, including Ramsar Road, Chowk Krori, Chowk Baba Sahib and also Gurdwara Baba Atal.

The devotees lined up on either side of roads to pay obeisance. 


Witnesses depose against former SAD minister
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur October 7
Witnesses yesterday deposed in two cases of corruption registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau against former SAD Minister from the area Sewa Singh Sekhwan. Proceedings in the corruption cases against Mr Sekhwan are going on in the court of additional Sessions and District Judge cum special Judge Gurdaspur.

In the first case in which the witnesses deposed today was registered against Mr Sekhwan on allegations of Patwari Hazoor Singh. The patwari had alleged that the minister had taken money for transferring him from Shahpur Kandi to Shekhupura in Gurdaspur.

Witness Avtar Singh who corroborated the allegations of the patwari alleged in the court that Mr Sekhwan had initially asked for Rs 30,000 for transferring the patwari. The deal was settled at Rs 25000 and the patwari was transferred.

In other case allegations were levelled against Mr Sekhwan that he used the government officials to work in his private hospital in Sekhwan village. The witnesses, who deposed against the former minister in the case, include Tilak Raj, senior assistant in Gurdaspur Civil Hospital, Dr Upinder, Dr Chetna and Hardial Singh laboratory assistant.

Mr Sekhwan and Mr Hajinder Singh Thekedar main accused in the case were present in the court today while the witnesses testified against them.

While proceedings in corruption cases registered against SAD president Prakash Singh Badal and other former SAD ministers by the present Congress government had been stayed on the issue of jurisdiction and sanction from proper authority, proceedings against Mr Sekhwan were still on.

He is the only former minister in whose case the challan had been filed and the witnesses have testified.

The Supreme Court in cases of Mr Sekhwan has stayed the pronouncement of the order.


Birinderjit Singh made PPCB member-secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Punjab Government has appointed Mr Birinderjit Singh member- secretary of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) for period of one year.

He has served in the PPCB for 22 years in different capacities and is at present posted at the PPCB’s Jalandhar Zonal Office as Senior Environmental Engineer. Mr Birinderjit Singh will replace, Mr Malvinder Singh, who had been appointed member secretary, on October 24, 2003. Now, he has been posted as Senior Environmental Engineer, Zonal Office, Ludhiana, against a vacant post.

In a separate order, the state government extended the term of Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, MLA, as Chairman of the PPCB, up to March 31, 2007. The order was issued yesterday by the Principal Secretary, Environment and Technology, Punjab.


3 booked for cyber crime
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
The police has booked three persons in connection with an Internet fraud in which a resident of Noida was duped of his money when he made online bidding for a laptop.

SSP Varinder Kumar said complainant Amit Jain had committed to purchase a laptop for Rs 75,250 listed by Panther Solutions Company on www.ebay.com during an online bidding in September.

Pradeep Kumar called him up on his mobile phone after a couple of days in that regard. After negotiation, the deal was finally struck at Rs 45,000 and Pradeep asked him to deposit the amount in one of his two bank accounts.

He assured him that the laptop would be delivered within a couple of days of depositing the amount. However, Amit did not receive the laptop even a week after he deposited Rs 45,000 in Pradeep’s account in UTI Bank.

He rang up Gopal Paswan, a “representative” of the company after tracing his number from the website. Surprisingly, the person who answered the call said he no more had any link with Paswan. He again logged on to the website and found a Dell laptop on auction and Pradeep’s number was listed as that of the seller.

Amit impersonated as Shailesh Malik and won the laptop in bidding, after which he received an e-mail asking him to deposit Rs 20,300 in the ICICI Bank account of Pradeep. He then sent a request expressing his wish to deposit the amount through a draft and sought address for it. He got Pradeep’s address in response to his plea.

Subsequently, he lodged a complaint with the police. DSP (City) Gautam Singal probed into the matter. During interrogation, Pradeep revealed that he was working as a salesman in a local hotel. He came across a Gujarat-based trader, Dinesh Chaudhry, about a year back. Chaudhry indulged in Bt cotton trade in Pradeep’s name and also opened his account in the HDFC Bank. He also used his ATM card.

He also got another account opened in his name in the ICICI Bank the ATM card and cheque book of which were used by his friend Sanjay Kumar.

Investigation revealed that Pradeep, Sanjay and Dinesh had duped Amit and many other unsuspecting people in this manner. 


Black magic claims life, tantrik held
Tribune News Service

Patti (Amritsar), October 7
In a bizarre incident, a patient died after a tantrik inflicted numerous knife injuries on his body claiming to cure him of some illness.

Tantrik Amrik Singh, a resident of Kamalpur village, used the cheap tactics of “black magic” to cure Joginder Singh of the same village, who was suffering from some chronic disease.

When the wife of the deceased, Gurpreet Kaur, approached Bero, wife of the tantrik, for the treatment of her husband, the tantrik said Joginder Singh was under the “spell of some evil spirit”. The innocent villagers agreed for undergo “black magic treatment”. The patient died after one day of the “treatment”.

Mr Parveen Sinha, district police chief, Tarn Taran, said the tantrik had been arrested under Section 302 of the IPC. The district administration has decided to launch a drive against those indulging in black magic.

It is alleged that the tantrik first pulled the beard of Joginder Singh and slapped him in the face repeatedly. Later, he started beating him with an iron rod. Joginder Singh fell unconscious. He was taken to a private hospital in a serious condition where he succumbed to his injuries yesterday evening.


1 held for defacing Bhagat Singh’s statue
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 7
Sonu of Bhoosar, Ranchi, Jharkhand, presently residing in the local Dhobi Ghat area, has been arrested in connection with defacing of a statue of Bhagat Singh.

The statue, installed at the DC road crossing near the district jail, was defaced on the night of October 4. A case was registered under Section 295 of the IPC.

SSP R.N. Dhoke said here this afternoon that during investigation it was found that Sonu, who performed the role of Bharon (a deity) in the Dasehra festival, had mixed black colour in oil and painted himself with it.

On the night of October 4, he along with some other persons, had gone to the area where statue is installed. While dancing there, someone pushed him. In an effort to avoid falling, he clung to the statue which resulted in the defacing of the statue. The SSP said those involved in the incident did not have any intention of insulting Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh.


Fake currency racket busted

Hoshiarpur, October 7
The district police has busted a fake currency racket with the arrest of Dharampal.

Mr R. N. Dhoke, SSP, Hoshiarpur, said here today that on a tip-off, a police party headed by Mr Mohinder Singh, SHO, (City), raided the shop of Kiwi Complex opposite the Tehsil complex and arrested Dharampal. During his personal search, fake currency notes of Rs 6000 was seized.

During interrogation, Dharampal revealed that his two accomplices Megh Nath and Dashrath were also involved in the racket. He along with his accomplices brought fake currency from Nepal and circulated it in Patiala, Baddi, Chandigarh and Hoshiarpur. — OC


Girl run over by vehicle
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 7
A small girl was allegedly run over by a speeding vehicle today.

According to information available, Kirandeep, a resident of Swara, died on the spot.

The accident occurred when she was trying to cross a road and was hit by a speeding car.

The police registered a case in this regard.


Sekhri questions PSIDC claim on delay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, yesterday contested the claim of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation that referred the matter of his company Abhinav Cotspin to the Projects Approval Board to seek permission to condone the “delay” in applying for the one-time settlement.

Mr Sekhri presented documents, including an application for OTS, which is dated June 30, 2004, and was received in the office of the PSIDC on the same day. The last date to apply under OTS, a scheme launched by the Punjab Government to recover some money from defaulting industrial units, was June 30, 2004.

Mr Sekhri questioned this agenda saying that there is no delay in his application. He presented another letter to further substantiate his claim of having applied on the last date hence being eligible for OTS. This letter was written by the PSIDC on July 28, 2004, and it acknowledges that Mr Sekhri had applied on June 30, 2004. However, it goes on to mention that the amount deposited by him by way of 10 per cent initial payment was short.

Also some issues raised by Mr Sekhri, including his having applied to the Board for Finance and Industrial Restructuring were referred in the latter. Mr Sekhri says that it was at the behest of a written communication from the PSIDC that he applied afresh while his original application dated June 30, 2004, was treated as withdrawn.

The PSIDC has posed several questions in the agenda sent to the board. Mr Sekhri claims his unit suffered losses when the Indian Army took over his unit in Batala, during the Kargil operations in 1999.


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 |