P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Action on Akal Takht Hukamnama
Panthic groups to wait and watch
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 4
Various panthic groups today decided to adopt a wait and watch policy about the execution of Akal Takht Hukamnama on Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of the Dera Sacha Sauda. These groups, in a marathon meeting at the Gurdwara Shaheedan, Model Town, here today took several decisions, including the constitution of a 15-member Khalsa Action Committee with representatives of all panthic groups to chalk out the further course of action.

It was decided to wait till June 18, the deadline of the Sant Samaj ultimatum to the government for executing the Akal Takht hukamnama, which includes the arrest of the dera head, closure of all deras in Punjab and the social boycott of the dera followers. In order to avoid any confusion that might lead to differences among the panthic groups, the meeting placed on record the appreciation for the Sant Samaj decision to court arrest for the implementation of Akal Takht hukamnama.

The meeting, supported the decision of the Sant Samaj to court arrest in case the Baba was not arrested. The panthic leaders made it clear that, as desired by the Sant Samaj, they would not participate in the agitation programme but would be extending the support only. However, they added, they would join the protest in case the samaj wanted so.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Parmajit Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Managing Committee, Daljeet Singh Bittu, senior vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Kanwarpal Singh of Dal Khalsa, Jasbir Singh Rode of the Shiromani Akali Dal-1920, Baba Sukhchain Singh of the Sant Samaj, Bhai Mohakkam Singh of the Damdami Taksal, R.P Singh of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and others.

Ahead of the June 18 deadline, a delegation of the panthic organisations will meet Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on June 11 at Chandigarh to insist upon him to initiate action for the execution of the Akal Takht hukamnama. The meeting expressed regret at the state government not being serious about pursuing the case against the dera head. In case nothing happens till June 18, the panthic groups have decided to hold a route march on June 24 from Dina Kangar in Moga district, where Guru Gobind Singh wrote the Zafarnama, to Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo. A 15-member core committee, named Khalsa Action Committee, led by Paramjit Singh Sarna was also constituted to coordinate activities of various panthic groups and chalk out the course of action.


Sikh bodies’ memorandum to Governor

Chandigarh, June 4
A group of Sikh organisations, led by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Paramjit Singh Sarna, today submitted a memorandum to Punjab Governor S.F. Rodrigues in which they have protested against the blasphemous act of the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda.

The memorandum has demanded that the dera chief be booked under Sections 295-A, 298, 302, 307, 326, 120-B, IPC, and arrested without any further delay. — TNS


Guru’s Kalgi
Bhai Ranjit calls on foreign Sikhs to boycott Sikh clerics
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 4
Even as Jagbir Singh , a relative and personal assistant to Jathedar Akal Takht has denied using letterhead of Takht for signing the list of the delegation, proposed to be sent to Canada for holding meetings for bringing “kalgi” ( sacred Crest ) of Guru Gobind Singh to India , Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar Akal Takht has called upon the foreign Sikh Sangat to boycott the proposed visits of the Sikh clerics to different countries by showing them “black flags”.

At a press conference here today Bhai Ranjit Singh alleged some relatives of Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti had “misused” the letterhead of Akal Takht in an attempt in “human trafficking”. He alleged it was a matter of great concern the Sikh institutions were being “denigrated” for personal benefits. The former Jathedar Akal Takht alleged the kin of Jathedar Vedanti had also tried to misguide the foreign embassies by “fake designations” like “religious preacher” or “officer on special duty” to get visas on priority.

On the other hand, SGPC chief Avtar Singh has said he would take up the matter with Jathedar Akal Takht tomorrow. He agreed the matter needed thorough probe.

The Baba Sangat Singh Khalsa Dal and the Sikh Shaheed Baba Sangat Singh Memorial Trust have also taken a serious note of the proposed delegation. Prof H.S. Bolina, a Sikh scholar and confidant of Bibi Jagir Kaur , a former SGPC chief said the issue of “Kalgi” got credence when Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, then Shiromani Committee President had established in 2003 the plume belonged to Guru Gobind Singh. Later, Bibi Jagir Kaur had brought out a calendar mentioning the sacrifice of Baba Sangat Singh. The “Kalgi” was also mentioned in Nanakshahi Calendar.

Eyebrows were raised even as kin of Jathedar Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti including his wife dominated the list of 12 persons who are planning to go to Canada for “preliminary preparations and holding delegation” with Sikh organisations and officials of government of Canada for collecting holy “Kalgi” (sacred Crest) of Guru Gobind Singh from Canada. The holy Kalgi was taken to England in 1851.


Gujjars block traffic
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 4
Gujjars led by former MLA Ram Krishan Kataria, Harbhajan Singh and Chaman Lal blocked the vehicular traffic in front of the mini secretariat for about half-an-hour today as part of their agitation over Rajasthan killings. Meanwhile, the agitation was withdrawn later in the day.

The 20 Gujjars were raising slogans against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her government. They also burnt her effigy to lodge their protest. They demanded Rs 20 lakh each as compensation and a government job to the kin of those killed. They also sought registration of a case under Section 302 of the IPC against police officials responsible for the killing 20 Gujjars.

They sent a memorandum to the President and the Prime Minister through the Deputy Commissioner.

Later in the evening, the eight-day old agitation by Gujjar leaders in Rajasthan was called off today, following successful parleys with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on their demand for the ST status.

Meanwhile, according to a PTI report, in Jalandhar the local unit of the Gujjar Kalyan Sangarsh Samiti, today burnt an effigy of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia holding her responsible for atrocities on innocent Gujjars.

Sarwan Ram Chechi of the samiti said as the Gujjar community had suffered a lot before and after the Independence the community should to be given st status to immediately defuse the situation. 


Govt allows transfer of zila parishad teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Punjab government today unveiled a transfer policy for school teachers appointed by zila parishads to enable them to be posted at places of their choice.

Under the proposed policy, unmarried girls, the physically challenged and persons facing adverse circumstances would be given preference.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held here at Punjab Bhavan under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal with a delegation of the Punjab mulazam front led by its president Surinder Singh Pehalwan.

Badal asked the education secretary to invite applications from willing teachers who wanted to seek transfers indicating their choice of station. He, however, said that after effecting a transfer once, nobody would be allowed to be transferred again.

At the meeting, no one supported the move to enhance the retirement age to 60 years.

Conceding the demands of the front, Badal asked the finance and personnel departments to jointly examine the demands pertaining to the regularisation of the services of ad hoc and work-charged employees within the parameters of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court. He said 10,000 vacant posts of school teacher would be filled soon on a regular basis in a transparent manner. He also directed the department of personnel to find ways and means to reinstate panchayat secretaries, home guards, SPOs and computer teachers who were dismissed from service by the previous government.

He also asked the principal secretary, cooperation, to finalise the modalities for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for employees of the cooperative sugar mills that had been shut down due to the lack of adequate financial resources and optimum crushing capacity. In the meantime, till the VRS was made operative, the employees who had not been paid salaries for months together should be immediately paid these for at least two months.

He also asked the departments concerned to ensure the promotions of employees within a timeframe and agreed to refer the proposal on the contributory pension scheme to employees that had been made operative from January 1, 2004, to the government of India for reconsideration. This scheme had been implemented by the state government at the behest of the union government.

The Chief Minister informed the members of the front that the terms and conditions of the fifth Punjab pay commission would be notified shortly.

He also directed the finance department to refer the demands of employees with regard to the grant of a promotional scale ( 4-9-14 years) from January 1,1996, enhancement of the fixed medical allowance from Rs 350 to Rs 500 per month and allowing the benefit of the revised formula of commutation of pension to those who retired between July 29, 2003, and October 31, 2006, to the fifth pay commission.

The issue of the privatisation of the PSEB was also discussed. Badal told the leaders of employees that they should hold a meeting with the secretary of the PSEB. “If you assure the secretary that you will bring the PSEB in profit, it will not be privatised”, Badal told the leaders.

He also assured the delegation that its other genuine demands, including jobs to employees on compassionate grounds especially in the Punjab state electricity board and computation and maintenance of provident fund accounts of the health department at the level of drawing and disbursing officer would be considered sympathetically. Surplus employees of the tourism department would be adjusted in some other departments.


Dullo calls meeting on June 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Punjab pradesh Congress committee (PPCC) president Shamsher Singh Dullo has called a meeting of the presidents of district Congress committees in the state on June 8 in Punjab Congress bhavan here.

The meeting will be presided over by Dullo. The presidents of the committees have been directed to bring detailed data relating to cases of political vendetta in their districts.


Phagwara Sewerage
Rights body takes notice of admn’s efforts
Vishal Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) today appreciated the government’s efforts in tackling the sewerage problem in Phagwara and hoped that remedial measures enumerated by the DC, Kapurthala, would be taken in all sincerity.

The commission had taken a suo motu notice of a news-item titled “Sewer in their localities, residents block GT Road”, appearing in an English daily on March 22,2007, and sought a report from the DC, Kapurthala.

The DC informed the commission, through letter, dated May 14, of the measures being adopted in Phagwara to control the occurrence of the cases of jaundice and to solve the problem of sewerage.

The administration had constituted five teams of the field staff of the municipal council, Phagwara, under the leadership of municipal engineer, Phagwara, which were undertaking the job of door-to-door inspection of sources of contamination on a daily basis.

The field staff of SDM, Phagwara, had also been pressed into service to augment the work of the MC, Phagwara, in detecting and rectifying sources of water contamination, the DC informed.

Medical teams of Senior Medical Officer, Phagwara, were conducting surveys to spread awareness of maintaining clean surroundings and distributing chlorine tablets and to detect cases of jaundice in earlier stage for necessary treatment, the DC added.

Another highlight of the DC’s letter was that the principal secretary, department of local government, had been requested to expedite the sanction of funds for the new project of laying of sewerage pipes, estimated to cost Rs 22 crore, which would ultimately solve the problem of inadequate capacity of the existing sewerage system of Phagwara.

Following the request, the principal secretary, on May 4, conveyed the sanction and release of Rs 15 lakh as grant to the MC, Phagwara. A committee had been formed to implement the sewerage project, the DC stated in the letter.

The commission today acknowledged the efforts made by the administration and opined that the work on sewerage project would be completed expeditiously.


BKU(E) to block traffic for 2 hrs
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 4
Blaming the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for backtracking on the issue of sorting out the Trident land dispute by May 31, the BKU (Ekta, Ugrahan) has threatened to block traffic from 12 noon to 2 pm tomorrow.

This was stated today by BKU district secretary Gurmail Singh Burja. He regretted that the SAD-BJP alliance after coming to power had neither succeeded in checking suicide by debt-ridden farmers nor helped in solving their problems.

The SAD-BJP alliance before coming to power had assured the farming community to waive all kinds of loans, he added. But, cooperative institutions were offering one-time-settlement scheme that was introduced by the previous Congress-led government and falsely trying to take credit for it. The scheme had offered regular defaulters to pay an equal amount of interest on long-pending loans. Contrary to these nationalised and private banks had offered much relief in the rate of interest besides its period if the traders or industrialists were ready to repay the actual amount of loan advanced or limit offered to them.


Couple attempts suicide, girl dies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 4
A girl and her paramour attempted to commit suicide by consuming poison here today. While the girl died before reaching hospital, the boy was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition. The couple reportedly took this drastic step after their parents refused to give consent to their marriage. According to information, Bableen (23), a resident of Kot Mangal Singh area on Tarn Taran road had an affair with Satnam Singh (25), a resident of Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar who runs a cosmetic shop on Tarn Taran Road.

After consuming poison near Sun City amusement park Satnam Singh informed his brother-in-law (sister’s husband) Harmeet Singh who runs a medical store near his shop. Harmeet immediately rushed to spot where he found them in semi-conscious state. He rushed them to government-run Guru Nanak Dev Hospital where doctors declared the girl brought dead. The condition of the boy is stated to be serious.


Hospital OPDs to be overhauled
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 4
In view of the increase in the number of patients visiting Government Rajindra Hospital here, the hospital authorities have decided to go in for an overhaul of the out -patient departments (OPDs).

Sources in the hospital said a comprehensive plan to restructure the OPDs had been finalised after deliberations with senior doctors. The sources added that the restructuring of the OPDs had been planned in view of the increase in the rush of the patients and to provide better seating arrangements for the doctors and the patients visiting.

The sources pointed out the restructuring was also partly to fulfil the recommendations made by a team of the Medical Council of India (MCI) that visited the hospital some months ago and interacted with the staff. Under the plan envisaged by the hospital authorities,OPDs of various departments would be shifted to other rooms.The idea behind the exercise was to provide better amenities to the visiting patients.

Doctors have had the grouse that they did not have proper rooms for OPDs and in certain departments three to four doctors were sharing one room with makeshift partitions or no partitions at all. This, they averred, definitely affected efficiency. 


Community radio stations to get boost
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Punjab government will encourage entrepreneurs to set up community radio stations (CRS) in the state since the union government has recently liberalised the policy for the grant of permission in this regard to non-profit organisations having a proven record of at least three years' community service.

Stating this here today, a spokesman of the Punjab government said that community radio, as distinct from private FM broadcasting, served to bring small communities together, focused on the common man’s routine concerns and helped realise local aspirations. It would also focus on issues relating to education, health, environment, agriculture, rural and community development, etc.

He added that any organisation desirous of operating a CRS would have an ownership and management structure that was reflective of the community that the CRS took to serve. Individuals, political parties and their affiliate organisations, an organisation with a motive to earn profit and expressly banned by the union or state government were not eligible.


IPS officer Umranangal chargesheeted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Punjab government has chargesheeted IPS officer Paramraj Singh Umranangal for allegedly having demanded a bribe in a case pertaining to a land dispute and then grabbing the same land while he was the SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib.

The home department served the chargesheet in which Umranangal has been asked to explain his conduct, sources said today. The matter pertains to an old case in which a person from Khanna had lodged a complaint that Umranangal had allegedly asked for a bribe for ensuring possession of a piece of land which the complainant should have rightfully got as he had won a case after a protracted legal battle between 1970 and 1998. The Supreme Court had decided in favour of the complainant.

The police officer allegedly got a sale deed prepared in respect of the land and then himself took possession.


Rs 126-cr plan for border area development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Punjab government has embarked upon a plan to spend Rs 126 crore under the border area development programme (BADP) during the current fiscal year covering 18 blocks of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore districts.

Each block will be given Rs 7 crore for the development of the area under the BADP guidelines.

A decision to this effect was taken at a high- level meeting held here at Punjab Bhavan under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal with the MLAs of these border districts. The main objective of the 100 per cent centrally funded BADP is to meet the special development needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border. Badal asked the MLAs to prepare a plan for the blocks falling within their assembly constituencies for overall development that would broadly include the upgradation of at least four schools, a civil hospital or community health centre, a veterinary hospital and a skilled training centre or industrial training institute (ITI) with the latest infrastructure besides trained manpower. The Chief Minister asked the MLAs to submit the plan within 10 days to the deputy commissioner concerned or direct to the secretary, planning.

Emphasising the need to ensure the availability of qualified teachers, doctors, veterinary doctors and paramedics in the border areas, Badal asked the departments of finance, personnel and rural development and panchayats to draw up a proposal for the appointment of the requisite staff, especially teachers from the border areas by creating a special cadre of teachers at the border block level, to avoid the problem of frequent transfers.


Location of Polluting Units
PUDA yet to find answer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
What should be the safe distance between a residential project and an industrial unit? The Punjab government seems to have no answer to this question.

The committee headed by the Chief Administrator Punjab urban planning and development authority (PUDA) that has recommended the restoration of NOCs to most of the residential projects which were allowed to come up near the polluting industrial units has, however, not been able to give any suggestions regarding what should be distance between the industry and the residential unit.

The committee’s report states that the department of factories was requested to communicate the safe distance between the industrial unit and habitation but no satisfactory report has been received so far. Further, the committee requested the chairman Punjab pollution control board (PPCB) to send any document wherein a safe distance from any factory or industrial unit has been specified by the government notification but no reply was received.

The committee also noted that there is no mention of this distance in the Factories Act 1948, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981.

Stating that the committee does not even have the requisite expertise to ascertain such a distance, members suggested that the department of factories and the PPCB may jointly be asked to give specific recommendations on this issue.

The PPCB had started with a norm that no housing project would be set up within 500 metres of an industrial unit. In May 2005, the board diluted this norm to 100 metres. PPCB officials claimed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that they were following the department of industries and commerce policy of March 4, 2005, in this regard.

However, this policy clearly stated that no industrial parks, including residential units, multiplexes etc, can come up within 500 metres of a polluting industry.


10 hurt in group clash
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 4
As many as 10 persons sustained injuries in an alleged clash between members of two groups at Gharachon village (near Bhawanigarh) today. Five persons of one side were admitted to Sangrur civil hospital while five of the other side were admitted to Bhawanigarh hospital for treatment. Sharp-edged weapons and sticks were used, allegedly by both groups, in the clash. A member of one group also reportedly fired two rounds from a rifle. But no one sustained any firearm injury.

According to information the trouble started when some workers came to lay premix on a road near the fields belonging to persons of both groups at Gharachon village. Members of one group claimed that a water pipe, laid and buried under the road allegedly by the other group, would become instrumental in damaging their standing crops if extra rain or tubewell motor water entered their field through the pipe from the fields of the other group. So members of one group were not in a mood to allow the workers to lay premix, which led to an altercation and clash.

Five injured persons, who were admitted to the Sangrur civil hospital, were identified as Mohinder Kaur (60), Gurdhian Singh (27), Balwinder Singh (27), Amarjit Kaur (42) and Sher Singh (60), while the other five injured admitted to the Bhawanigarh hospital, were Paramjit Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Surjit Singh, Gurjant Singh and Gurdial Singh. According to doctors of Sangrur and Bhawanigarh hospitals no person had sustained firearm injury.

Talking to this reporter at the Sangrur civil hospital Sher Singh and Gurdhiyan Singh, both from one group, alleged that a member of the rival group had fired upon them with a rifle, but luckily no one was injured, however, they snatched the rifle from their opponents.

Sangrur DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said the police had registered a case against the person who had fired in the air. He has been booked under Sections 336 and 188 of the IPC. Legal proceedings against other persons of both groups would also be initiated, added the DSP.


Six booked for disrupting satsang
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 4
The city police this evening defused tension that had resulted after the alleged desecration of a portrait of Guru Ravi Das, by registering a case against six persons. More than 500 Dalits had staged a dharna in front of the city police station last night against disruption of a satsang at Idgah Basti.

The family of Shri Ram had alleged that some residents of the same colony and their relatives living in Dyal Nagari on the Johri Mandir road had thrown a dead snake in the utensil used for performing aarti. They had also pelted brick pieces in their compound and showed disrespect to the portrait of Guru Ravi Das.

The miscreants had objected to the use of loudspeaker for satsang for the past 11 days.


Bathinda: Fifth murder in 8 days
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 4
Sat Pal Singh of Beed Behman village of this district was murdered in his house at night allegedly by residents of same village.

This is fifth murder in this district in eight days. Earlier a student of local engineering college, a driver of Ludhiana , a minor girl and a woman were murdered since May 28.

Kin of the deceased knew about the murder of Sat Pal Singh today morning. The police was informed about the incident.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered at Sadar police station on the complaint of Baljeet Singh son of the deceased. The deceased used to deal in sale/ purchase of cattle.


Five held for selling pirated CDs
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 4
The police has arrested five shopkeepers allegedly for selling pirated CDs in different towns of the district. It has registered cases under sections 292A and 420 of the IPC.

SP Samsher Singh Boparai said today that on the directions of SSP Nilabh Kishore, the CIA staff of the district constituted five parties to conduct raids.

The accused have been identified as Kirpal Singh, alias Laddi, Rajinder Kumar, both residents of Mandi Gobindgarh, Gopal Krishan, owner of Sagar Gallery, Amloh, Kuldeep Singh, owner of Laddi Musical Store, Sirhind, Pawan Kumar, a resident of Sanghol, and Sandeep Singh, a resident of Khammano.

He said x-rated and pirated CDs had been recovered.


DEO clips principal’s powers
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 4
Vijay Kumar Kaushal, DEO (S), has withdrawn the (DDO) powers from Jaswant Kaur, officiating principal of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sirhind, and handed it over to lecturer Amarjit Singh.

The orders in this regard have been passed by the DEO after conducting enquiry against the principal on the complaints of Sanjeev Kumar, Municipal Councillor, Sirhind, and Bant Singh, a resident of Sirhind.

Both these had complained to the Chief Minister and the education minister about the alleged malpractices in the school’s affairs, misappropriation of school funds and overcharging from students.

The school does not have a regular principal since March 31, 2003 and Jaswant Kaur had been officiating since then.

Sanjeev Kumar, who used to be the chairman of the PASWAK committee of the school, was removed and a new chairman was appointed.

Bant Singh in his complaint had alleged that her granddaughter who studied in the school and when he went to get her school leaving certificate the principal demanded Rs 651, for which she had no justification. He had also levelled corruption charges against her.

On these complaints, the DEO (S) conducted an enquiry and issued the orders. The DEO said he had not yet completed the enquiry but orders had been issued to change the DDO powers.

Meanwhile, Jaswant Kaur said it was all due to personal enmity. She said these charges had already been probed and nothing was found. She said the school had made remarkable achievements in every field and it had become one the leading school of the state.


200 get B.Ed degree
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 4
Expressing concern over the continuous deteriorating standard of education in the state, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjeet Singh Barnala said it was getting worse with every passing day. In a recent survey to find out 10 best institutes in the country the name of the state nowhere figured in the list.

Barnala was here in the city to confer B.Ed degrees at a convocation organised by S .D. College of Education. About 200 students received degrees at the convocation. Principal Rakesh Jindal thanked the chief guest for conferring degrees on successful candidates.


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