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PUNJAB

AMRITSAR
Afforestation drive: Land banks comprising large tracts will be offered to NGOs and corporate houses for planting saplings and their subsequent maintenance for three years or more. Divisional forest officer Nirmaljit Singh Randhawa said this and added that a large-scale afforestation drive would be launched in the city soon.

BARNALA
Sangat darshan: Ten cases out of 30 were settled a sangat darshan programme held here on Wednesday. Deputy commissioner V.K. Ohri presided over it. It was held at the Community Policing Resource Centre here. SSP Paramjit Singh Grewal, ADC(development) Harpreet Singh Garcha, civil surgeon Balbir Singh, SDM Pushpinder Singh Kailey were among those present. 

BATHINDA
Rally: Activists of the National Federation of Telecom Employees Union on Thursday held a rally in front of the local telephone exchange to press the authorities concerned to accept their demands. Uddam Singh, district secretary of the union, said the main demands of the employees included merger of 50 per cent DA into the basis salary of the employees, payment of interim relief from January 1,etc. 

FARIDKOT
Found absent: Thirty government officials, including heads of a few departments, were found absent from their duties when deputy commissioner V. K.Meena visited various offices on Thursday. Meena has sought explanation from these officials within three days. He said if the explanation were found to be unsatisfactory, legal action would be taken against such officials.

HOSHIARPUR
Probe demanded: In a representation to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, member of the national executive of Janta Dal (Secular) Balwant Singh Khera today demanded a CBI probe into the alleged involvement of the SGPC in human trafficking. He urged the President that a high-level inquiry by the CBI should be initiated and embassies of other countries should be asked not to consider recommendations of the SGPC in future. 

MANSA
Arrested: In its campaign against drug peddlers, the district police on Thursday arrested Telu Ram, a local resident, and seized 3.5 kg of opium from him. A case has been registered against him. 

TARN TARAN
Gang busted: Mangal Singh, Jarmanjit Singh, Gurvail Singh, Mangal Singh and Malkiat Singh of Sanghar village were arrested by the local police while Jawahar Singh and Jatinder Singh were arrested by the Gurdaspur police for stealing tractors. Four members managed to escape. They used to steal tractors from here and sold these in other states. Two revolvers and six cartridges and two tractors were recovered from them. A case under has been registered.

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HIMACHAL PRADESH

BILASPUR
Freedom fighter dies: Mirza Hussein Beg (90 years), a prominent freedom fighter breathed his last in Diara sector in Bilaspur on Thursday morning. A prominent social workers , he was ailing since some time. He took an active part in Praja Mandal Movement which was another name for freedom struggle against princely states of Raja of Bilaspur in 1940.

Challaned: Led by Regional Transport Officer Shyam Lal , a team of the department on Thursday inspected scores of vehicles at Barthin and challaned them. Rs 18,000 was collected through challaning. Shyam Lal said those challenged included those using pressure horns, crew not wearing their uniforms, stereos being played in buses, overloading, buses not sticking to running and departure schedules and conductors not issuing tickets to the passengers etc.

Nahan
Nagrik Sabha: The local Nagrik Sabha has decided to move the high court for an improvement in the functioning of the district hospital, having exhausted all official channels. President of the sabha Digvijay Gupta said posts of many specialists and general doctors, besides para-medical staff, had been lying vacant in the hospital. 

Youth killed: A youth was killed when his Alto car (HP-01 S-351) hit a bridge opposite the Paonta Sahib fire station on Thursday. A post-mortem was performed on the body in the civil hospital, Paonta Sahib. 

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