P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


‘Killer road’ claims five lives
P K Jaiswar

Manawala (Amritsar), July 29
The Amritsar-Jalandhar highway, infamous as a killer road, today took five more lives when a speeding truck coming from the wrong side hit a three-wheeler head on at 12 noon near the Amritsar branch of Delhi Public School here.

The impact of the collision was so strong that four persons including the driver of the three-wheeler died on the spot while one person succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. Those killed were identified as Surjit Singh of Wadali Dogra (driver), Kulwinder Kaur (Manawala) and Dharam Singh (Nawan Kot) and two women could not be identified till the filing of the report.

According to eyewitnesses, the three-wheeler (PB-02-W-8093) was coming from the Amritsar side while the truck (HR-37-6557) was coming from the Jalandhar side. The driver of the truck fled immediately after the mishap. The police has registered a case under Section 304-A and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the driver.

Meanwhile, Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, announced compensation of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased during a sangat darshan programme at Rayya, near here.

It is learnt that the persons were hiring the auto-rickshaw when the incident happened. The eyewitnesses alleged that the truck was coming from the wrong side, which resulted in the accident. The traffic remained disturbed for about half an hour as the bodies remained lying on the road till the police authorities reached the spot. The three-wheeler was almost crushed in the mishap due to which the bodies of the victims were chopped leading to the death of persons on the spot.


Beant Singh Case
Govt to work for Tara’s extradition
Tribune News Service

Rayya, July 29
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here today said necessary action would be taken for extradition of Jagtar Singh Tara, who has allegedly fled to Pakistan and is wanted in the Beant Singh murder case.

In an interaction with mediapersons after holding sangat darshan, Badal said, “The government will take steps to get back Tara as per law.”

Taking a dig at Capt Amarinder Singh, Badal said he had put the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery project on hold due to his personal interests. “Interestingly, he takes pride in this fact. Had it been implemented in time, it would have put Punjab on the road to development,” he said.

Asked about the attack on a DDPO in Gurdarpur, Badal said the inquiry into the case had been taken away from SSP, Batala, R.N. Dhoke and handed over to SSP, Amritsar (Rural), Iqbal Singh.

Commenting on the rebellion among workers of the SAD and BJP for the candidature for municipal corporation elections, he said this happened every time before the elections and soon the party functioning would be back on track. The Chief Minister clarified that the government was not influencing the police inquiry into the case against former Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa.

Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, rural development and panchayat minister, Ratan Singh Ajnala, MP, Manjinder Singh Kang, MLA, Beas, and senior functionaries of the state and district administration were also present.

Medical officer suspended

At the sangat darshan, the Chief Minister received complaints of irregularities against Dr Lakhwinder Singh Chahal, a medical officer in the Baba Bakala area, in view of which he was immediately suspended.


The Patiala connection
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
There is a strong connection of the Beant Singh assassination case with Patiala. Five of the total six accused who have been convicted for killing the former Chief Minister belong to Patiala. Four of them resided in the same locality while three were employed with the Punjab Police.

The human bomb, Dilawar Singh, and four others, including Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Balwant Singh and Shamsher Singh, who is still at large, belonged to Patiala district.

Dilawar was a suspended SPO of the Punjab Police. His father was an employee with Punjabi University. Lakhwinder Singh was a Punjab Police constable, then posted in Chandigarh, and Gurmeet Singh was an engineering student. Balwant Singh was also a constable who served as a gunman with a local reporter and a local BJP leader. He was the second human bomb, who was to act in case Dilawar failed.

Interestingly, all accused belonged to the Guru Nanak Nagar locality of Patiala. The fact that all of them belonged to the same locality might have brought them together for plotting the assassination. Some members of their families still reside here.

Shamsher belonged to Uksi Jattan village in Patiala district.

Jagtar Singh Hawara was also connected with Patiala. He allegedly kept hiding in the city after escaping from the Burail Jail.


Claims, counterclaims on refinery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Seemingly stung by advertisements eulogising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi for getting the Bathinda refinery back on track, the SAD-BJP government today issued a carefully worded statement to show how the efforts of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had borne fruit.

The statement went on to claim that Badal used his “charisma and stature” to get not just the refinery but other central government projects also.

A press note of the government said during his five-month stint, Badal has been able to get the Rs 18,991 crore Sri Guru Gobind Singh Oil Refinery at Bathinda cleared from the Government of India (GoI) through his “visionary approach and passion for state's development and prosperity”. The union ministry of petroleum and natural gas has issued full-page advertisements in leading newspapers of the region to show that the central government was instrumental in getting the refinery started. This had not gone down well with the ruling combine.

The Punjab government today said it was the biggest-ever development project in the history of Punjab to be set up over 1,200 acre of land having direct and indirect employment potential for 1.5 lakh Punjabis.

The government claimed that in a series of path- breaking decisions, the central government had also approved inter-city transit projects worth Rs 3,035 crore comprising a network of four and six-laned expressways in Punjab. It has also given clearance to the expeditious completion of the six-laned expressway to link Chandigarh with Ludhiana and four-laned highways for the Ludhiana-Moga-Ferozepore and Chandigarh-Ropar-Kiratpur Sahib segments.

In addition, the Centre gave a commitment to "actively pursue" the four-laned highway project for the Chandigarh-Patiala-Sangrur and Bathinda route. All these road projects would be completed in the mode of national highways and would completely transform inter-city transport in the state.

The statement further claimed that the Chief Minister had been able to prevail upon the central government due to his “political charisma and stature” to seek expeditious central approval for generating additional 8,200 MWs of electricity in the state over the next three and a half years.

The Chief Minister has demanded more share in power projects and also a special scheme for rural electrification.

The Planning Commission has agreed in principle to provide liberal financial assistance for our proposed initiatives for full and effective rural electrification plan (REP).


2 Lalru youths feared drowned
Tribune News Service

Lalru, July 29
Gurbeen (24) of Sardarpura Colony, and Gaurav Kaushik (25) of Prem Nagar here, are feared dead. The two were a part of a group of five on a visit to Haridwar. They were reportedly drowned while taking a dip in the Ganga at Rishikesh.

Aashish, who was part of the group, informed the parents of the deceased about the mishap. He told them that he saw Gurbeen and Gaurav being swept away. The police was informed immediately.

Gurbeen is a student of first year of B. Pharm at Longowal College, Dera Bassi.

Gaurav is working with JCBL, Lalru. His elder brother Sanjeev and Gurbeen’s father Avtar Singh, a JE with BSNL at Chandigarh, have reached Rishikesh.

The anxious families are hoping against hope that the boys will be found alive.


A Revolutionary’s Case Diary
Shaheed Udham Singh married US girl, had 2 sons: Scholar
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 29
Though Shaheed Udham Singh, who shot dead a former Lt Governor of Punjab, Sir Michael F. O’Dwyer, on March 13, 1940 in Caxton Hall, London, to avenge the Jallianwala Bagh massacre after 21 years, had two sons, but many people do not know anything about this aspect of the life of the great martyr of the nation.

Prof Sikander Singh, a research scholar on Shaheed Udham Singh’s life and works, said today no one knew about the whereabouts of the sons of the martyr even today as they had neither exposed themselves as sons of Shaheed Udham Singh nor made a claim to this effect so far. In the light of this, the Central and Punjab governments should initiate steps to locate the sons of the great martyr, as they were not the sons of Udham Singh only, but of India also now, he added.

Prof Sikandar Singh added that as per the statement of Udham Singh, made on September 9, 1927, at City Kotwali, Amritsar, he reached Claremont in California (USA) in February 1922 where he got a job in the mechanical section of Hudson garage. There he became acquainted with an American girl, Lloope, with whom he solemnised marriage in 1923 at Long Beach (USA) where he had found a job in the Aero-plane Department of a company.

As Udham Singh was associated with the Gadar Party, the party shifted him to New York in the last week of December 1924 for organising revolutionary activities from there. Udham Singh had said in a statement that he had two sons from his American wife, Lloope, with whom he stayed at Lexington Avenue in New York up to 1927.

Prof Sikander Singh, who visited the USA from December 2006 to February 2007 for research on Shaheed Udham Singh and locate the whereabouts of the sons of the martyr, told this reporter that he had come to know from a Claremont resident, Leo, who claimed to be a classfellow of the sons of Shaheed Udham Singh in 1932 at Claremont’s Sacramento School, that in those days Udham Singh’s sons had been called “Indian’s sons”. As per Leo’s statement, Lloope, the mother of the “Indian’s sons” was very beautiful and talented with big eyes, who died before 1935. After that Lloope’s sons left for Arizona (USA) with a relative of their mother, he added.


Poll List
18 sitting Congress councillors ignored
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
The Congress packed some major surprises in its list for the municipal corporation (MC) elections slated to be held on August 8. The list was announced late yesterday.

As many as 18 sitting councillors have been denied tickets and a number of new and inexperienced faces have been fielded in their places.

Earlier, reports from the new Moti Bagh palace, the official residence of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and sitting Patiala MP Preneet Kaur had suggested that sitting councillors would not be ignored.

Prominent among the sitting councillors who have been left out are Gurjit Guri, Rupinder Tiwana, Rajwinder Kaur Dhindsa, D.C Sharma, Tharu Ram Kalra, Monica Grover, Narinder Singh Neetu, Pawan Nagrath, Anil Kumar Mangla, Kishen Chand Budhu, Narinder Lally, Harish Aggarwal, Santosh Kumari, Sanjeev Kumar Bittu, Budh Ram, Sharda Devi, Meena Sharma, Suman Sharma and Baljit Kaur Punia.

In an interesting development, former Patiala Improvement Trust Chairman K.K. Sharma and District Youth Congress President Sanjeev Kumar Sharma had applied for the party ticket, but finally withdrew their names at the eleventh hour.

Former mayor Vishnu Sharma has been shifted from his old Ward and will now contest elections from Ward No. 36. Senior deputy mayor Kabir Dass and deputy mayor Inderjit Boparai, both sitting councillors, managed to retain their tickets.

Sources reveal that several councillors, who have been denied party tickets, will prove to be an embarrassment to the party as they will be putting up their candidatures as independent candidates.

Samana MLA Brahm Mohindra had a major say in the distribution of tickets as a major part of the Samana Assembly segment falls in Patiala. The list: (Ward numbers in brackets): Asha (1), Surjit Singh Diwan (2), Pargat Singh (3), Sunita Rani (4), Balwnder Pal Sharma (5), Ved Kapur (6), Mamta Rani (7), Sarabjit Singh (8), Shivinder Singh (9), Raj Rani (10), Gurcharan Singh (11), Inderjit Singh Boparai (12), Harjinder Kaur (13), Chaman Lal (14), Rama Puri (15), Navjot Kaur (16), Parveen Kumar (17), Kaka Singh (18), Kamla Devi (19), Daljit Singh (20), Gurdev Singh Punia (21), Kamlesh Kumari (22), Gian Chand (23), Harvinder Singh Nippy (24), Vimla Sharma (25), Neelam Bhandari (26), Harish Nagpal (27), Raj Rani (28), Rajinder Pal (29), Niranjan Dass (30), Asha Bhatia (31), Ravinder Pal Singh (32), Anuj Trivedi (33), Dhani Devi (34), Vishnu Sharma (36), Raj Dulari (37), Ashok Wadhera (38), Harbir Singh (39), Ritika (40), Swatanter Bansal (41), Narinder Singh (42), Neelam Khosla (43), Kabir Dass (44), Nar Bahadur Verma (45), Sumita Gautam (46), Atul Sharma (47), Gopal Singla (48), Sarita Duggal (49) and Sushil Singla (40).


SAD-BJP activists in tug of war
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 29
The tug of war going on between SAD and BJP activists yesterday took a fresh turn when some BJP workers rallied around five persons who had been handed over to the police here last evening by some commission agents. They succeeded in getting them freed.

The commission agents alleged that these persons were removing the skin of a dead cow in an unauthorised cremation ground between the new grain market and Ajit Singh Nagar. SAD district general secretary Surinder Saluja said he would bring it to the notice of Chief Minister that some senior BJP leaders had been getting “underhand payments” from a group involved in lifting dead animals from different parts of the town.

The Congress-led municipal council had not revised the contract for lifting dead animals last year following complaints from different quarters that the contractors indulged in poisoning stray cattle to mint money.

Sources in the BJP, however, denied the allegations.


Atta-Dal Scheme
Cards distributed
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 29
Under the Badal government’s scheme to provide subsidised atta (wheat flour) and dal (pulses) to poor families, blue-coloured ration cards were distributed in the district at nearby Beganwali village by Surjit Kumar Jyani, MLA and vice- president of the state unit of the BJP.

Jyani distributed the ration cards to members of 151 poor families of the village at a programme organised by the sarpanch.

Sat Pal Bhusari, district food and supplies officer, said the Food and Supplies Department had received atta and dal stocks.

He further said one more promise would be fulfilled on August 15 when Fazilka would be made a mini district by establishing offices of Additional Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police.

Jyani also said the government had released Rs 8 crore for the town’s development.


Villages sweat it out for atta-dal
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Khanpur (Kharar), July 29
Members of 306 families of Khanpur village had a tough time today sweating it out in the queue for blue cards, issued by the government to beneficiaries of atta-dal scheme.

All families, converged at village dharamshala, were kept waiting for three to four hours before being informed that the distribution of cards has been cancelled. Reason is that the code of conduct was imposed due to the Kharar Municipal Council byelections.

"I have been waiting since 9 am. And now its 11:30 am. We were earlier asked to go all the way to the office of the district food supply controller at Mohali and collect cards. Later, we were informed that cards will be given on August 10," said Harnam Kaur, a village women in queue.

The DFSC Rakesh Bhaskar and his subordinates had reached the village laced with lists of blue-cards beneficiaries, the cards and other requisite documents. They had been directed to distribute these cards in the village, instead of summoning them to the DFSC office in Mohali.

"We have been informed that the code of conduct has been imposed due to the municipal council Kharar byelections of Ward number 8. So it would have been the violation of the code of conduct to distribute cards today," said Bhaskar. The election is pending on August 8.

Meanwhile, the work of distributing cards in Dera Bassi, Majri and Kurali was completed. A total of 1,484 families will be given blue cards in entire Mohali.


Attack on DDPO
Bajwa for CM’s intervention
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 29
Former public works department minister Partap Singh Bajwa today sought intervention of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as law and order situation had worsened in the state, alleged Bajwa.

He said attack on the Gurdaspur DDPO was a example of this when some Akali workers allegedly chopped the ear of DDPO Ranbir Singh Mudal when he was on duty on July 21. He visited the DDPO in a private hospital here.


Dera Chief’s Arrest
SGPC chief seeks Haryana govt’s help
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, July 29
SGPC chief Avtar Singh has sought cooperation of the Haryana government in getting the Dera Sacha Sauda chief arrested after proper investigation. He said the dera chief would be dealt with strictly and his arrest made soon to avoid any untoward incident in the near future.

He was here to attend a function organised to baptise apostate Sikhs at a gurdwara at Model Town today.

The SGPC chief said he had already written to the President of India, Centre and home minister about the Sacha Sauda chief’s functioning and demanded a high-level probe into it.

He said during the campaign “Sikh Virsa Sambhal Muhim” and “Singh Sajjo Lehar,” the SGPC would strengthen Sikhism at the village level. He also said the SGPC was against small deras in the state.

He expressed concern over increasing drug-menace in the state.

The SGPC chief baptised over 300 persons on the occasion.


Women in narcotics trade worries police
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 29
The police is worried over the major participation of women in the narcotics trade in the region. DSP Parampal Singh confirmed today that four women, all from the neighbouring Malout area, were yesterday arrested under the NDPS Act and four of them belonged to the same village Jhurar.

The police nabbed Palo Rani, Lakhi, Raji and Manjit Kaur near Shergarh and Bakainwala, close to Pakistan border, and recovered 11 kg poppy husk from them. Interrogation revealed that they had been smuggling poppy from the neighbouring district Sriganganagar where the contraband was available easily at government-approved sale outlets.

The women said their daily-wage earning husbands had been wasting much of the money on consuming liquor forcing them to enter in drug trafficking that fetched them a margin of Rs 150 per kg.

Another woman resident of the local Government Seed Farm Colony, inhabited by former farm workers, was arrested doing retail selling of smack in the notorious locality.

Parampal Singh said a major chunk of 1 kg smack recovered during recent raids had come from women. Earlier, there was feedback that drug addicts had been frequenting Sadulshehar on the other side of the inter-state border, but the police now found that drug trafficker Asha Rani and her daughter Rajni had started visiting the colony for retail sale of smack. Rajni’s 18-month-old child will also stay in jail during judicial remand now. The police had recovered 400 gm smack from them.

Another woman in the upper streets of Nai Abadi here had been selling smack for a long time and involved her daughter and daughter-in-law also in the business. All of them had been arrested during raids in the past quarter of the year.

Drug peddlers had for a short period stopped using women as carriers or retail sellers, but the menace had re-developed recently. The police will smash it, he hoped.


Kohli’s family claims his innocence
‘We have lost faith in Indian judiciary’
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
“We have lost faith in Indian judiciary and the government as well. In fact, we feel ashamed to be Indians.” This is how family members of Maninder Singh Kohli, who was extradited to England on July 28, reacted today.

Kohli was handed over to the British police and would be tried for the rape and murder of Hannah Foster, a British student.

Talking to TNS at his residence, Jagjit Singh Kohli, father of Maninder, alleged that his son was innocent and they have ample evidence to prove it. But, everything was ignored intentionally to clear the way for extradition just to please the British government.

He rued: “On one hand the government went out of way to help Haneef and on the other, in our case, it has shown extra swiftness in handing over its own citizen to another country to face trial. Nadeem, the music director who is said to have a hand in the murder of Gulshan Kumar, has been living a lavish life in England. Their government has refused his extradition to India. Why has not the Indian government helped my son?”

“It took the authorities only 20 hours to send Maninder back to England after the Supreme Court pronouncement its judgement. They did not give us even a chance to meet him,” lamented the hapless father.

Jagjit Singh, a retiree from the Industries Department, Punjab, alleged that his son has become victim of racial discrimination and his Briton colleague implicated him in a false case.

Ishtpreet Singh, younger brother of Maninder, said they had filed a SLP in the Delhi High Court on the evening of July 27. “But now it’s all over,” he said.

Hoping for a silver lining, the family feels that the justice would be meted out in the UK.

When asked about Maninder’s confession to the crime before the Punjab police, Ishtpreet said the confession was extracted out of him under duress.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Maninder was interrogated at Alton Police Station where charges of rape and murder of Hannah Foster have been framed against him.


Driver averts boy’s abduction
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 29
Four armed persons attempted to abduct an eight-year-old schoolboy of Saint Kabir Public School, Dasuwal, last evening. The boy was on way to home in the school van. However, the alert driver foiled the attempt.

The boy, Jajbeer Singh, is a resident of Talwandi Sobha Singh village, 30 km from here.

The police has identified the abductors. They are Kabal Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Major Singh and Harpal Singh of Talwandi Sobha Singh village.

Baljit Singh, the driver of the van, told the police that he saw three persons on motorcycles at Mann village. Two of them forcibly boarded the van. When the van stopped at Ghairala village, two miscreants travelling in the van tried to abduct the boy. The driver had a scuffle with them. One of the abductors, Major Singh, even fired at the driver.

As some residents gathered, the abductors fled. Police sources said the motive behind abducting the boy was ransom.


JEs threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 29
Up in arms against the state government for ignoring them for promotion, 42 junior engineers of the Irrigation Department have sought the same as per the decision of the Supreme Court. Being members of the AMIE (India) Engineers Association, Punjab, they have demanded that the government should follow the rules in promoting the department’s junior engineers (JEs) to sub-divisional engineers (SDEs).

The association alleged that the government had been promoting diploma holder JEs against the Supreme Court directions while the the department had already 42 AMIE JEs. The government had been ignoring the promotion rules (Punjab Irrigation Grade-A rules) framed in 2004, it added.

Moreover, the meetings of department promotion committee have been postponed twice as the chief engineer of the department had reportedly called the same to favour diploma holder JEs, alleged the association’s working general secretary Surinder Singh Kaler.

The association has threatened to stage a dharna in front of the house of the Chief Minister in Chandigarh on July 31 in this regard.


Trade unionists take out march
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 29
Activists of the joint action committee of national trade unions led by convener Harmuni Singh, Rajesh Thapa, president, Punjab Nirman Mazdoor Union Ganga Parshad, Mangat Ram, vice- president of the Paper Mill Workers Mazdoor Union, today held a march here against alleged corruption in the state’s Labour and Employment Department, to the residence of minister for labour and employment, parliamentary affairs, medical education and research and forest, Punjab, Tikshan Sud.

Earlier, the activists assembled at the Railway station here from where they went in procession to the residence of the minister, but were not allowed by the police to move towards his residence from the head post office.

Later, they staged a dharna before the main gate of PWD Rest House, near the house of Sud. The SDM, Hoshiarpur came there and collected the memorandum from them assuring to send it to the labour minister.


Rs 15.50 lakh SIM card owner goes into hiding
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
The Rs 15.50 lakh SIM card owner, Amit Malhotra, has reportedly gone into hiding along with his family. Their residence, a mere 50 sq yard house in Haibowal, is lying locked since last evening.

Some say the family, including his parents and brother, has gone away to avoid the visiting team of income tax officials, while family sources said the youth wanted to avoid the media.

Interestingly, after spending so much money on one phone number, the family was now forced to switch off all their phones.

Inquiries made by The Tribune reveal that the family falls in the category of average ones with regard to economic conditions.

Though Amit and his family could not be contacted, a local journalist-cum-close friend of Amit revealed that the family was safe. The friend brushed aside the fear of the Income Tax Department and added that “no problem on that. Let them serve us notice. We would satisfy them”.


Municipal councillors on holiday

Bassi Pathana, July 29
A majority of the municipal councillors of MC, Bassi Pathana, are away to the hills to enjoy the hospitality of the presidential candidate.

These councillors are on the fun trip since the agenda for the election to the post of president, to be held on July 30, was issued by the deputy commissioner. All the ‘holidaying’ councillors would reach Bassi Pathana tomorrow and would be served brunch at the residence of Rajeshpal Singh Lalli, senior SAD (B) leader and thereafter, accompanied by Didar Singh Bhatti, MLA, would reach the council office at 12 am. — TNS


Security guard attacked, grievously injured
Tribune News Service

Lalru, July 29
Armed men attacked and grievously injured a 45-year-old resident of Roorkee village near here tonight. The victim Najar Singh is a security guard at a road construction project in Dandrala village. He was returning to his village from work when he was attacked. Najar Singh’s rifle was snatched by the assailants.

According to Basant Singh, a relative of the victim, two persons with their faces covered, on a motorcycle accosted Najar Singh when he was riding home alone on his cycle. They asked him to handover his rifle.

He tried to reason with them but when they insisted angrily he handed over the rifle. Following which one of them took out an axe from his clothes and hit him repeatedly with it. Najar Singh had injuries on his head and his hand, which was almost amputated due to the repeated attacks.

Najar Singh was rushed to the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital from where he was referred to Government Medical College and Hospital Sector 32 in Chandigarh and later shifted to the PGI.

DEAD: A young man, Pawan Kumar (28), was found dead at his home, here this evening. He was a resident of Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar.

In his statement to the Kharar police, the deceased's father stated that Pawan had been married for the past four months. His wife had gone to her parents' home. Pawan had gone out on his bicycle at 2 pm and returned a few minutes later. However, when they went to wake him up at 4 pm, he was not breathing.

Pawan was rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he was declared brought dead.

In another incident, Shanty (35), a rehriwalla, was found dead in Lalpur area.

A resident of Harlalpur village, Shanty had been living in poverty. The police is investigating both the cases.


Molestation case against SGPC member
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 29
Ranjit Singh, a blind granthi of Bir Baba Budha Sahib gurdwara near the Jhabal area, whose wife had filed a case of molestation against Baldev Singh, a member of the SGPC and president, Dhadi jatha, today alleged he was beaten up by a brother of Baldev Singh and his accomplices last evening.

He said he was returning home along with his son Satnam Singh when the accused stopped him and pounced on him thrashed him. He alleged Ranjit Singh (a brother of Baldev Singh along with 20 others also poured liquor in his mouth and hair.

However, Baldev Singh refuted the allegations. He said it was an attempt to defame him. He said they were at home when the so- called incident said to have happened. He said the allegations of molestation against him were also fabricated.


Man, son held, 10 kg heroin seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials here arrested a man and his son and seized 10 kg heroin from them. They were taking the consignment to Chandigarh from Ferozepur.

DRI officials told reporters this evening Tara Singh and Major Singh belonging to Tarn Taran were intercepted near Mullanpur . Search of the jeep they were travelling by revealed drug packets hidden in doors and behind seats.

The oficials said the two claimed to be workers of the Congress party in Tarn Taran.


Havildar beaten up by in-laws

Kharar, July 29
Harjinder Singh, a havildar posted at Ramgarh in Uttar Pradesh, was allegedly attacked by his in-laws in Chhapar Chidi village.

Harjinder, a native of Bassi Pathana, was married in 1992. Due to some family problems, his wife returned to her parents’ home in 2002.

Today, Harjinder went to meet his friend in Chhapar Chidi. As he was passing by his in-laws' house, three persons - Harnek Singh, Satnam Singh and Baljit Singh - beat him up. The police has booked the accused. — TNS


An ailing medical college
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 29
The Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital (GGSMCH) here is on the verge of de-recognition, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the successive governments in the state.

Woefully short infrastructure, lack of sophisticated gadgets required for the training of doctors and treating patients, besides the absence of lecture theatres, have cast serious doubt on the efficiency of the institution.

The staff of these two institutions has been agitating for the past fortnight. The current face off between GGSMCH and the state government is the result of a notification issued by the former Congress-run state government. The notification stated that the control of GGSMCH would be shifted from the Punjab government to the Baba Faridkot University of Health Sciences.

This has compounded the problem and crippled even the normal services of the institution, which is the main source of treatment for people, especially from the lower income group, in the Malwa belt.

In the absence of a clear policy for the health institution and fearing for their uncertain future, a number of senior faculty members have tendered resignations and joined the highly remunerative private health sector. This has reduced the number of faculty members in the institution to the lowest ever.

A look at the number of specialists available in the institution makes the picture crystal clear. Against the approved strength of 24 professors, only eight are available and three associate professors are working against the six approved seats. Merely seven assistant professors are available against the required 26 while six posts of senior lecturers are lying vacant and same number of posts are unoccupied in lecturer grade.

Seven seats of medical officer and four posts of other gazetted staff are lying vacant.

G.S Gill of the Joint Action Committee of GGSMCH said over 600 gazetted and non-gazetted employees were working in these two institutions and most of them had put in 20 to 25 years of service. He reasoned that the major cause behind exodus of the faculty was clause 3 which declared that the existing strength of staff as on October 31, 2006, had been frozen and all cadres were announced to be "dying cadres".

A visit to the university campus revealed that the college was being run in the erstwhile FCI warehouse. Students allege that tin sheets had been put in the name of roof and these leaked during the rainy season.

They complained that even ventilators, CT scan and other necessary equipment was not available in the college and added that even the electrical system and apparatus were insufficient and faulty.

Dr Ravinder Singh, vice-chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, said shortage of staff and absence of equipment were not new problems. It was only in November that these institutions came under the control of the university and the grant was yet to come, he stressed.

Meanwhile, describing the shortage as severe, the vice-chancellor added that they had hired as many as 70 doctors on their own on contract basis.

Admitting that these institutions were facing nearly 60 per cent staff shortage, he said in spite of this the government had shifted about 10 doctors from the college. The university had intimated the state government several times about the problems, he added.


Varsity prepares for youth festival
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
A meeting of the Punjabi University's Youth Welfare Executive Committee was held under the chairmanship of dean, academic affairs, Dr Sucha Singh Gill, here, yesterday.

In this meeting, some vital decisions to promote maximum participation and ensure complete objectivity and transparency in the Punjabi University Youth Festivals were discussed.

Giving this information, Dr Sunita Dhir, director, Youth Welfare, said the number of zones has been increased from five to six for conducting the zonal youth festivals. The sixth zone added was Barnala-Mansa zone to the earlier existing Bathinda-Faridkot, Patiala, Sangrur, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib.

The inter-zonal competition will be conducted for four days, while the number of winning positions was increased from three to four at the zonal levels, she said.

The University's efforts to promote rural folk culture got a booster dose with its Youth Welfare Executive Committee approving the inclusion of "Kurian da bhangra" in the list items for its fourth annual Punjabi Rural Youth Folk Festival.

The committee also took a decision to increase the amount of subsidy to the hosting college to Rs. 75,000 which will be at par with colleges hosting other traditional youth festivals.

Dr Dhir further said zonal and inter-zonal competitions will be finished before November 10 so that proper trials and workshops could be held for selecting best contingents for the inter-varsity competitions.


Export zone planned near Rajpura
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 29
Punjab has sought the Centre’s nod for setting up a special export zone near Chamaru village on NH-1. Chief parliamentary secretary Raj Khurana said the state government was keen on creating a conducive atmosphere for the industry to flourish.

Talking to mediapersons, Khurana said the government aimed at wooing non-resident Indians (NRIs) and big industrial houses to this special export zone. Efforts were afoot to get special tax exemptions on the pattern of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

A proposal for a 1,250-MW power plant at Nilas village was in the pipe -line.

Once commissioned, it would play a major role in meeting the state’s power demand.

The legislator said that there was no conflict between the SAD and the BJP over the ensuing MC elections.

Both parties would work hand in hand to win the maximum number of seats.


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