P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Forest Dept in dark over status to villages
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 19
The recent claim of Cabinet Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang of getting the Nagar Panchayat (NP) status for Nada, Karoran and other villages has left the Forest Department officials in a quandary. The decision, if it is true, will also benefit the controversial Forest Hill Resort.

Sources said the Forest Department had not received any official information about the NP status to villages. If Mr Kang’s claim is true, then some of the area of the resort will not come under the Punjab Land Preservation Act(PLPA) and the Forest Act with the Chief Minister’s green signal for the NP/NAC status to Karoran.

However, the Central Government had approved the delisting of 442.11 hectares in Karoran village from these Acts with the condition that no commercial activity would go on in the area and it could only be used for agriculture and sustaining the livelihood of the people.

The Chief Minister, senior bureaucrats and journalists were, incidentally, named honorary members of the Forest Hill Resorts and the Golf Club in Karoran. After the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions in October 2004, the CBI has been probing the case against the resort and the club which were allegedly violating many norms of the Forest Act and the PLPA.

Karoran that earlier fell under Ropar when the resort hill controversy surfaced now lies in Mohali district.

The Divisional Forest Officer concerned, Mr S.S Bhatti, said the Forest Department had not received any information from the government about the NP/NAC status to the villages. About the resort and the club, he said some of its area would be cleared from the Forest Acts and the PLPA, if the NP/NAC status was granted to Karoran village.


Punjabi Sahit Shiromani Puraskar for Giani Gurdit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The Advisory Board of the Punjab Languages Department, which held its meeting here today, announced the Punjabi Sahit Shiromani Puraskar for the eminent writer, Giani Gurdit Singh.

This is the most prestigious literary award given every year by the Department for contribution to Punjabi literature.

Giani Gurdit Singh is known in the literary world for his book” Mera Pind” that is considered a classic in Punjabi literature. The winner of this award gets Rs 2.5 lakh in cash. However, this amount is expected to be enhanced to Rs 5 lakh this year as the board made a recommendation to the government in this regard at today’s meeting. The award will be given in the first week of November.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, presided over the meeting of the board. As many as 12 other eminent persons representing different languages and fields were also selected for the Shiromani awards. The Shiromani Punjabi Sahitkar Puraskar has gone to Gurdev Singh Rupana and the Shiromani Hindi Sahitkar Purskar to Dr Phul Chand Manav.

Dr K.L. Jakir has been selected for the Shiromani Urdu Sahitkar Puraskar and Dr Inder Mohan Singh for the Shiromani Sanskrit Sahitkar Puraskar. Darshan Singh Buttar has been selected for the Shriomani Punjabi Kavi Puraskar and G.S. Rial for the Punjabi Lekhak and Critic Puraskar.

Pakistani writer Bushra Ezaz gets the Shiromani Punajbi Sahitkar Puraskar meant for writers from abroad and Dr Vanita the Shiromani Punajbi Sahitkar Puraskar for writers outside Punjab. Prem Bhushan Goel has been given the Shiromani Punjabi Bal Sahit Lekhak Puraskar and B.S. Bir the Shiromani Punjabi Patarkar Puraskar. Puran Shahkoti has been selected for the Shiromani Singer Puraskar. Inderjit Hassanpuri has been chosen for the Shiromani Natak Puraskar.


Thekedar admits visiting India
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 19
UK-based separatist leader Jaswant Singh Thekedar (60), who was declared a proclaimed offender and carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head after he was accused of throwing cow parts into temples in Amritsar in 1982, today admitted that he had entered India on a valid visa on October 5 and attended the wedding of the son of an Ambala-based journalist on October 7, as mentioned in these columns.

Talking to the TNS from England, Mr Thekedar said he had also visited the Golden Temple to pay his obeisance and met Bibi Amarjit Kaur, widow of Bhai Fauja Singh, apart from visiting his native village in Gurdaspur.

However, Mr Thekedar claimed that he never threw cow parts in temples and was “implicated” in the case following a “conspiracy” hatched by Manmohan Singh, another UK-based Dal Khalsa leader who had mentioned his (Thekedar’s) name during a press conference held in Amritsar after the incident.


Captain, Kidwai attend Iftar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The United Progressive Muslim Front hosted a high-profile “Iftar” at hotel Mountview here tonight. Eminent among those who attended the party were the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai.

The Chief Minister asked the Muslims to come to him with any problem and promised that he would solve them personally. The Haryana Governor opined that Hindus and Muslims in Punjab and Haryana enjoyed good relations with each other. Capt Amarinder Singh and Dr Kidwai mingled with the gathering and had a healthy interaction with them.

Qawalli singers were invited from Malerkotla on the occasion. Senior officers of Punjab and Haryana also attended the party.


No VIP to inaugurate jail

Ropar, October 19
District jail officials were disappointed for the second time on Tuesday when a VVIP did not turn up here to inaugurate the jail, which has been functioning informally for the past two months.

The Punjab Jail Minister, Mr Lal Singh, was to inaugurate the jail in the morning. But on the last moment, he cancelled his programme.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had recently cancelled his tour to the city to inaugurate the jail.

All senior officials had been making preparation for over one week for the function. Even senior police officials, including the ADGP (Jail), visited the jail to check the arrangements on Monday.

The jail has been built at the cost of Rs 6.78 crore in over 10 years. The jail has the facility to lodge 525 undertrials, including 25 females. At present 370 undertrials have been lodged here.

Earlier, in the absence of the district jail, only 30 undertrials could be lodged in the sub-jail here. While other undertrials of the district were sent to Patiala and Nabha jails.

The district jail was in the news recently following the death of an undertrial under mysterious circumstances. — TNS


Wetland’s ‘winged’ guests return
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 19
The much awaited guests of this season here — the three species of migratory birds have arrived in the wetland area of Ropar. These birds include great cormorant, ruddy shelduck, poachard were spotted near the water headworks. However, so far the strength of these birds is very less despite the fact the first pair of ruddy shelduck was seen early in the first week of this month. Usually the migratory birds from Central Asia generally arrive here October 10 onwards every year.

The member of these birds expected to increase till mid-November. The migratory birds can be seen near Dr Salim Ali Ornithologist track, water headworks, the boat club along Sutlej near Bunga Sahib and in lake in Nangal till the end of March.

But despite the fact that wetland area is of much importance for the survival of the local and migratory birds more than 250 species it so far failed to get the desire attention from the authorities. The silt accumulation in Sutlej and release of pollution in it from the industrial units are posing a threat to the existence of wetland and birds.

The wetland area here is spread over 1365 hectares on the banks of Sutlej provides natural habitant for to these birds. Other birds expected to reach here in the coming days, include common shelduck, mallard, wigeon, pintail duck, and cotton teal, garganey.

But the river water passing through the district is much polluted due to release of pollutants from Industrial units in Nangal and Ropar and this has been causing much damage to natural habitat these birds. Besides this erosion from Shivalik hills near the river too has increased amount of silt in it. Moreover, these birds face permanent threat of poaching.

“The number of migratory bird has continue to decline in the past few years here following increase in pollution levels and silt accumulation in the river. The birds have started staying here for few days and then go to other places. Wetland is a refuelling place for the birds arriving here. Last year the people had kept a distance from the birds as the three species suspected to be carrier of bird flu virus had arrived here, said bird watcher, Mr Jaspreet Singh, who has been keeping a record of migratory birds in the area for over 10 years.

The District Forest Officer, Mr S.S Bhatti, said this time we are going to make record of these birds and are planning to these photographed. Besides it, we would also organise an awareness programme for schoolchildren.


Agitation threat

Ropar, October 19
The RTP contractor workers union yesterday threatened to launch a protest from October 20 in thermal plant on the ground that one of the employees of the thermal plant was beaten up by some influential persons but the police had failed to registered a case in this regard.

Giving details at press conference here the president of the union, Mr R.K Tiwari, said that “we have given representation to the SSP and DGP. If action is not taken then we would resort to an agitation.” — TNS


Move to sell DAP through govt outlets
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 19
Peeved at traders hoarding of fertilisers, the Punjab government considering selling DAP fertiliser received from the Union Government through open sale. The governments considering using the outlets of the state agencies as IFFCO, Markfed and Punjab Agro to sell DAP fertilizer instead of issuing it to registered dealers. Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, stated this to The Tribune today.

He said a decision was being taken to stop hoarding of DAP fertilizer by traders. The government was making arrangements for the supply of DAP fertilizer every year, however, still there was shortage.

As per estimates the total area sown under wheat is 34 lakh hectares this year. Out of it 80 per cent would be sown from October 25 to November 15. Total requirement of DAP for coming rabi season is 5.5 metric tonnes.

A meeting of suppliers and manufacturers of DAP fertiliser was held yesterday. At the meeting it was found that 1.86 lakh metric tonnes of DAP fertiliser stock was available with the state on October 1st. Another .36 lakh metric tonnes was received on October 17.

Till the end of October 3.38 lakh tonnes DAP would be available in the market against the requirement of 3.15 lakh tonnes.

Despite such arrangement the traders were hoarding the fertiliser and creating an artificial scarcity. Only yesterday 200 bags of DAP fertilizer hoarded in a store near Pathankot were recovered by the Agriculture Department authorities.

If the traders continued hoarding in the next few days and farmers would be forced to pay more for the DAP, the government would stop supplying fertiliser to private dealers. The fertilizer would then be sold through outlets of the state agencies and cooperatives in the state, Mr Randhawa said.

The farmers of the state almost every rabi cropping season face shortage of DAP fertiliser. Most of the DAP fertiliser is imported by the Union Government and supplied to the state. The government, however, claims that it is not availability but hoarding that causes the shortage of DAP.


DGP asks cops not to accept Divali gifts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Director-General of Punjab Police S.S. Virk has asked officers of the Punjab police not to accept Divali gifts from anybody. In a communique sent out yesterday, he has pointed out that members of the public offer expensive gifts on Divali and the practice was unhealthy by itself.

This is not the first advisory from the DGP to the force. In the past, he had stopped the misuse of vehicles and manpower by senior officials.


Cop, 2 others held for murder, robbery
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 19
The police has arrested two persons for involvement in several cases of murder and robbery in different states and a police constable for harbouring them. However, their two other accomplices gave the police the slip.

SSP Varinder Kumar said the police received a tip-off about their presence at the residence of police constable Satwant Singh in Basti No. 6, Bir Talab. A police party last night raided the premises and arrested Amrish Rana, Gurjant Singh and Satwant Singh.

Their other two aides Harjinder Singh and Kuldeep Singh Kala fled in the cover of darkness. Rana, who is a resident of Sahwa in Nawanshahr escaped from the custody of the Kangra police on September 6.

He had 22 cases of murder and robbery registered against him in different states. His accomplice Gurjant Singh of Barnoh in Una, had also fled from the custody of the Solan police from the inter state bus terminus in Chandigarh four years ago. He too was involved in a number of robbery and murder cases. The SSP said these persons were in the city for the last 20-25 days and trying to establish base here exploiting their links in bordering areas of Haryana. He said Rana had escaped despite heavy presence of police personnel around him. Harjinder Singh was also wanted by the police in many cases and he was declared a proclaimed offender after he didn’t return to jail following a leave six months back.

The police also recovered a 30 bore China-made pistol and eight live cartridges from Rana and a country made pistol and six cartridges from Gurjant Singh. During his interrogation, Rana revealed that he along with Gurjant had carried out three murders during his college days. He also confessed to have killed his aide Ashok Kumar who was planning to turn an approver against them. He then formed a separate gang with Gurjant and committed robberies in Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh.

A case has been registered against them under Sections 399, 402, 212 and 216 of the IPC and 25/54/59 of the Arms Act. The SSP said they would soon place Satwant Singh under suspension apart from initiating a departmental probe against him.

Meanwhile, sources said it was Kuldeep, who persuaded Rana, Gurjant and Harjinder to accompany them to Bathinda. Kuldeep was a brother-in-law of Satwant, who was posted in the police lines here.


‘Blackmailer’ lensman remanded in police custody
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The city police has started investigation into two other CDs allegedly made by the photographer Amrik Singh alias Prince in which he had caught a local trader in a compromising position with a woman while in another he had attempted to bribe a warrant officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Meanwhile, a court here has remanded the accused along with two women accomplices, allegedly used to trap traders and politicians, in two-day police custody. The accused was caught yesterday on the complaint of city Mayor, Nahar Singh Gill, who accused him of trying to blackmail him.

The police sought his remand claiming it wanted to recover a Blue CD from the accused in which he had caught a local trader with the help of accomplice women.

SSP A.S. Rai told The Tribune the accused could not make any CD of the city Mayor as per the investigation so far.

However, he tried to blackmail the senior Congress leader by waving the CD of the trader only. The episode of the allegedly trapped and blackmailed trader is also being incorporated in the FIR registered against the accused on the complaint of the Mayor.

Mr Rai said in the CD the accused with another person had tried to bribe a warrant officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in lieu of showing some hitherto unidentified person locked up in illegal confinement in a city police station. The warrant officer and the two accused were travelling in a car from Chandigarh to Ludhiana. However, the warrant officer had not accepted the bribe and told the accused to turn back to the high court, which they did.

Amrik Singh, however, claimed to mediapersons that the entire police story was fabricated at the instance of his rivals.

He said there was no evidence that he had made the CDs, if there was any such CD.

The accused has been booked under Section 394 and 387 of the IPC besides relevant section of the Immoral Trafficking Act.


Two arrested with heroin, fake currency
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 19
The Special Narcotics Cell (SNC) has arrested two smugglers linked with terrorist organisation Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) with 1 kg of heroin and fake currency notes worth Rs 1 lakh.

The seized contraband was smuggled from Pakistan through the Khemkaran border in Tarn Taran. The accused were identified as Sarwan Singh, alias Samma, a resident of Chak Pandori (Lopoke) village, and Satnam Singh of Nanakmata in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Makhan Singh, SSP of the narcotic cell, at a press conference here today said that in the preliminary investigation it was found that the contraband was smuggled from across the border by Rafi who had close relations with Paramjit Singh Panjwar, chief of the KCF living in Pakistan.


PPS Nabha’s founder’s day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Nabha, October 19
“In today’s global scenario India is emerging as one of the world’s economic powers.” These views were expressed by Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Chief Secretary, Punjab, in a speech on the 46th founders’ day of Punjab Public School, Nabha. He said for the development of any nation education and health were the two essentials. Education being the most important. Sharing memories of his student life he said he was from a rural background. He praised achievements of PPS in various fields. He lauded the role of school headmaster and the faculty. he gave Rs 10 lakh to the school and said the Punjab Government would take steps to take care of the building of PPS.

School headmaster Commodore I.L. Syal (retd) highlighted achievements of school students in academics, sports and other activities. He said PPS believed in overall development of the personality of students to enable them to face challenges of life. Mr Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, a (USA) based entrepreneur, and an old student of the school, was awarded Roll of Honour for 2006. Senior Ravi house won sports, co-curricular activities and cultural trophies and the most prestigious award “Presi-dent’s Championship Trophy” for Senior Cock House, donated by Dr Rajinder Parsad in 1966. In middle houses, Jumna house and in junior houses Ravi house won respective cock house trophies. Senior Satluj house won athletics and cricket trophy, where as Senior Jumna house besides winning the academic trophy also won hockey and football trophy. Last year’s headboy Simranjit Singh got the President’s Gold Medal where as Headmaster’s medal went to Rajan Saggu. Navjot Singh Sidhu and Karan Sharma were jointly declared the best sportsman of the year. Sukhman Kaur the topper of ICSE (X) won Sardarni Jaswant Kaur Memorial prize where as Harsimranjit Singh got the Gen Kulwant Singh Memorial Prize being the topper of ISC (XII), Kanwar Yuvraj Singh and Taranjit Kaur declared the best boy and best girl respectively amongst senior houses.

Dinesh Thapliyal from senior school and Ginni Bedi from junior school were awarded the best teachers award (sponsored by ONA).


No govt land for RIL: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Keeping all speculation to rest about Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that the industrial giant was not being given any government land in the state rather they were buying land in the open market.

Asked about the prospects of Reliance keeping its words of creating six rural hubs to give boost to the state’s agriculture sector, Capt Amarinder Singh said the government had nothing to do with Reliance now as the company had now conveyed that it would be purchasing land on its own from the people.


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 |