P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Barnala may be new district
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Barnala is expected to be made a district soon.

The Bhattal Committee had made a recommendation in this regard. It is already a police district.

Sources said yesterday the Raikot, Tapa, Bhadaur, Dhanaula and Dhaula areas were expected to be included in Barnala district. Though officially it has not been confirmed, the revenue records of these areas are being checked by the authorities concerned, it is learnt.

If Barnala is made a district, it will be the 20th district in the state. Earlier, Tarn Taran and SAS Nagar were made districts by the Amarinder Singh government.

Lawyers oppose move

Sangrur: The Sangrur District Bar Association (DBA) has urged the state government not to carve out Barnala as a new district out of Sangrur district.

Mr Sanjay Garg, secretary of the Sangrur DBA, said a resolution to this effect had been adopted at a meeting of the DBA held under the presidentship of Mr Gurtej Singh Grewal.

The secretary further said the DBA opposed the division of Sangrur district. In case the state government did not give up its proposal, the DBA would oppose the exclusion of Dhuri subdivision from Sangrur district and its inclusion into the proposed Barnala district.

He said Sangrur was just 13 km from Dhuri whereas Barnala was 35 km from Dhuri. Besides, Dhuri and Barnala were also not connected with each other through a main road. One had to go through link roads to visit Barnala from Dhuri. Thus, Dhuri residents would face a lot of inconvenience if Dhuri was included in the proposed Barnala district.

The secretary of the DBA said Sangrur had small Sessions Division on account of area, so it would not be in public interest if the area of Sangrur Sessions Division was further reduced.


Sidhu lands at Rajasansi on Air Slovakia’s maiden flight
Our Correspondent

Rajasansi, October 14
The Air Slovakia’s Cologne-Bratislava-Amritsar flight with its NRI owner, Mr Harjinder Singh Sidhu, and his daughter Ratanjeet Sidhu landed at Rajasansi International Airport here today.

Not only crew members, but also passengers, largely Punjabi, felt elated that the owner was a native. Mr Sidhu acquired the airline about two weeks ago in Bratislava. The deal is said to have been struck at $ 30 million. However, when asked about it, Mr Sidhu refused to disclose the amount. The airline has three aircraft — two 757 Boeings and a 737.

Mr Sidhu, a British citizen of Indian origin, said they would augment the fleet to nine by purchasing six more modern planes by March next year. Reluctant to disclose the worth of his company, Mr Sidhu said his primary interests continued to be real estate and petrol stations across the UK, the USA and Canada.

Elaborating on his future plans, Mr Sidhu said the airline would introduce more flights on the Athens-Bratislava-Amritsar and Barcelona-Bratislava-Amritsar routes. Subsequently, a flight to Birmingham would be started.

Son of a cop, he went to London as a teenager for greener pastures.


37 injured in bus mishap
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 14
Thirtyseven bus passengers were injured when the bus in which they were travelling fell into a 15-foot deep gorge near Makhu, 50 km from here, last evening.

According to information, 59 followers of the Beas sect were going from Abohar to Beas when the bus (RJ 31 P 0617) overturned and fell into the gorge near Makhu bridge. According to some injured passengers, due to hailstorm and thundershowers, the visibility had reduced considerably and resulted in the driver losing control of the bus.

The injured were immediately taken to a local private hospital near Makhu where they were given first aid. Out of the injured passengers, three women — Veena Rani, Paramjit Kaur, and Pushpa Rani — who had sustained multiple injuries, were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Ferozepore.


Seven cops suspended for harassing woman

Phagwara, October 14
Seven policemen were suspended here today for harassing a woman lecturer.

The woman was travelling in a car with one of her male colleagues when they were stopped by the cops who began demanding money from her. They threatened that they would otherwise file a false case against her and her companion.

The woman lodged a complaint at the Phagwara police station following which the cops were suspended by the Kapurthala SSP, according to ASP Sukhchain Singh Gill.

The accused were constables Baldev Singh, Balwinder Singh, Kuldip Singh, Kashmiri Lal, Baldev Singh and Balwinder Singh. — UNI


Bhattal celebrates birth of grand-daughter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
It was Punjab Deputy CM’s way of telling others that she cared a great deal for the girl child. All this morning, there was an atmosphere of jubilation at her home, as also the home of her daughter Simran Bajwa who delivered a female child.

Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, known for her strong stand against female foeticide, reacted instantly by ordering mass celebrations. She ensured refreshments were distributed and served not only to those who came home to congratulate her, but also to those that were far away. She was happy and proud that her daughter and son-in-law Vikram Bajwa, who already have one male child, had now been blessed with a girl.


Hailstorm lashes region
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 14
High velocity dusty winds yesterday and hailstorm today again lashed the region in less than a month. The district administration has not been able to submit papers to government for releasing compensation to the farmers who were affected by an unprecedented hailstorm on September 22. Most of the officials involved in finalising the claim at the local and district level have been transferred.

According to the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-ugrahan) cotton crop and citrus fruit were damaged in a dozen of villages in Balluana assembly segment as well as in the neighbourhood. These include Ghuriana, Kuharianwali, Dabwala Kalan, Tahliwala, Bodiwala Peetha, Katehra, Khuikhera, Kamalwala, Kandhwala Hazar Khan, Bazidpur Kattianwali etc.


Wrongly placed board causes mishaps
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 14
An erroneously placed iron board on the busy GT road near the Hide Market here today led to inconvenience to commuters and caused accidents.

Two persons sustained bone fractures. A private concern engaged in construction had placed the heavy movable iron board to allow workers to do their job without hindrance.


Badal records his statement in defamation case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), today recorded his statement before the Chief Judicial Magistrate(CJM), Chandigarh, Mr Y.S.Rathore, in a defamation case filed by him against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. The next date of hearing in the case has been fixed for December 2, 2006. The defamation case had been filed against him during the Punjab Assembly elections in February, 2002.

Through a civil suit filed in August, 2002, Mr Badal had accused Capt Amarinder Singh of spreading and publishing false reports about his assets and property. Mr Badal had sought damages of Rs 5 crore through the civil suit.

The Chief Minister is on bail in this case. During an hour long proceedings, the SAD President was also cross-examined by defence counsel. The SAD President in his statement maintained that Capt Amarinder Singh had levelled baseless allegations against him through advertisements in newspapers. One of the charges was that Mr Badal and members of his family had amassed wealth worth Rs 3,500 crore. Later talking to media persons, Mr Badal claimed that clean image of the Capt Amarinder Singh had turned out to be political gimmick. The Chief Minister is a "clean chit image" politician, he claimed. On the issue of electoral alliance with the BJP, he said it would be premature to comment on the issue. Planning was going on as there were still four months to go for the Vidhan Sabha elections. Mr Badal further demanded a CBI inquiry into the Ludhiana City Centre scam.


Fake encounter: cop retracts statement
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
M.S. Rao, a crucial witness to the alleged fake encounter killing of Kulwinder Singh, alias Kid, by seven Punjab Police personnel, including SP Surjit Singh Grewal, today retracted from his statement recorded by a magistrate earlier under Section 164 of the CrPC.

The court of the CBI Special Judge, Mr Jagdeep Jain, recorded the statement of witness M.S. Rao, a retired Sub-Inspector in the CRPF, here today.

However, Anil Kumar, a constable in the CRPF, who was also present there at the time of the killing, stuck to his previous statement recorded by a magistrate earlier. There was contradiction in the statement of the two witnesses to the same incident.

The deceased was killed in a “fake encounter” in July, 1989, by the accused on the Tangori Kurda road, under the Sohana police station, Mohali. In 2002, the District and Sessions Judge, Chandigarh, framed charges of murder and abduction against the police officials. A CBI probe had also held them guilty.

Today, M.S. Rao, now a retired Sub-Inspector of CRPF, retracted his statement made in front of a magistrate in 1997 that no firing had taken place from the side of the alleged “terrorists”. He also said that an AK 47 rifle was found near the bodies of the deceased. Earlier, he had said that some arms were fund near the dead body.

The CBI counsel said one of the witnesses had been won over by the defence. The court had earlier framed abduction charge against Surjeet Singh Grewal and ASI Amarjit Singh, while murder charge was framed against five other police personnel — Birbal Das, Gurcharan Singh, Nikka Ram, Chanan Singh and Dayal Singh.

It was alleged that Surjeet Singh Grewal and Amarjeet Singh, along with some other CIA personnel, had raided kothi number 1752 in Phase V, Mohali, on July 22, 1989, in search of terrorists, Dhyan Singh, Kulwinder Singh, alias Kid, and Jagbir Singh, alias Panjola.

During the raid, Phulwinder Singh was shot and Kulwinder Singh was picked up by the raiding party. Later, Kulwinder Singh was killed by the police personnel in an alleged fake encounter.

Trilochan Singh, father of the deceased, had moved a writ petition against the police personnel in the high court. Acting on the petition, the court directed the then Sessions Judge M.S. Lubhana to inquire into the case and submit a report.

He submitted his report on April 24, 1995. After the receipt of the report, the court directed the CBI to register a case against the police personnel. In its investigation, the CBI revealed that Kulwinder Singh, alias Kid, was picked up by Surjit Singh Grewal and Amarjeet Singh and five CIA personnel.

Later, Kulwinder Singh was killed by Birbal Das, the then SHO of the Sohana police station Gurcharan Singh (Head Constable), Nikkaram (Head Constable), Chanan Singh (ASI ) and Dayal Singh (Constable) on the intervening night of July 23 and 24, 1989.

A company of the CRPF headed by Inspector M.S. Rao was also present there at the time of killing.

In spite of having sufficient knowledge about the identity of Kulwinder Singh, his body was cremated as that of an unidentified extremist. The police personnel had also submitted a false report and tampered with the photographs of the deceased. After the completion of the investigation, the CBI held the accused guilty under Sections 120-B, 302, 364, 201 and 218 of the IPC.


GND varsity youth fest begins
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 14
More than 700 students from colleges of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran affiliated to Guru Nanak Dev University are participating in different events of music, dance, fine arts and theatre etc. in the Zonal Youth Festival for Men (A-Zone) commenced at the university premises here today.

Expressing his views, Prof Sarup Singh said such festivals provide youths a platform to exhibit their talent and inculcate a sense of discipline and national integration among them besides helping them for their all round development.

The festival started with bhangra competition in which teams from Guru Nanak College, Batala, Sri Guru Angad Dev College, Khadoor Sahib, DAV College, Khalsa College, Amritsar, and SSM College, Dinanagar, besides students of GNDU campus participated.

On October 16, there would be competitions of shabad/bhajan, geet/gazal, folk song, quiz (preliminary).


Milkfed looks to take on Reliance
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Milkfed, Punjab, is marshalling its resources to compete with Reliance Industries Limited, which plans to enter the milk market in a big way in the state.

Milkfed has planned a two-pronged strategy for this purpose. First, firm its relationship with milk producers of whom it has a vast network and second, improve its internal efficiency by recruiting talented young dairy technologists well-versed in the trade.

The RIL is keen on buying milk from Punjab for supply to other parts of the country, especially Mumbai. It has already recruited some officers working earlier with Milkfed.

Nestle is another company in the business — it procures 8 lakh kg of milk from the state daily.

“Yes, we are pulling up our socks to face new challenges,” said Milkfed Managing Director V.K. Singh, while talking to The Tribune today.

“We have reasonably hiked the procurement price of milk to bring the prices on a par with those of a private company,” said Mr Singh.

Price of average quality buffalo milk has been raised to Rs 13 per kg and price of cow milk has been raised to Rs 9 per kg.

Milkfed has the capacity to handle over 12 lakh kg milk daily. Its plant in Mohali has been graded as one of the best in the country for using latest technology.

“We have resumed the manufacture of cheese, which was stopped in September because of scarcity of milk,” he said.

According to an estimate, 250 lakh kg of milk is produced daily in the state. The biggest procurers of milk are milkmen. And then there are companies in Delhi that procure milk from the state.


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