P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Now, Badal promises Amritsar-Delhi monorail
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 6
Three days after SAD acting president Sukhbir Badal promised metro in the state, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today rolled out a new plan to start an Amritsar-Delhi mono rail which he said would cover the distance in just two hours.

Interacting with mediapersons here before addressing a series of rallies for MC polls, the Chief Minister said his government was not just trying to show dreams to the masses; all these projects were already in the pipeline. He said he had held discussions on these proposals in Delhi with the company officials who had designed the metro project there.

Badal said finance was not a problem as the projects would be undertaken on BOT basis. Terming the statements of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and leader of Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal on siphoning off of a huge amount from the state exchequer as false, he said the Congress had left the state indebted with payments due to the tune of Rs 53,800 crore.

The Chief Minister also announced that three new thermal plants were on the anvil which will produce 5,000 MW of electricity each. He said 90 per cent of formalities were complete to start the plants at Goindwal, Sangrur and Bathinda.

Asking people to support the SAD during his election campaign, Badal said more urban development would be possible if the same alliance also takes over the charge of the civic body.

Eyeing Christian vote bank in Jalandhar, Badal even met Bishop Anil Kutto at Bishop’s House. Though the meeting was kept completely confidential, he reportedly put in a request to the Bishop to ask the minority community to vote for his party.


SAD claims total victory

Patiala, August 6
Sukhbir Badal here today claimed total sweep for the SAD-BJP government in the upcoming Municipal Corporation elections.

Congress candidate from ward No. 40, Meena Kumari, withdrew in favour of the SAD candidate. She claimed that she had joined the SAD voluntarily.

Meanwhile, Patiala MP (Congress), Meena Verma, has alleged that her husband Nanrinder Pal Singh Lally was picked by the police today and there is no information about his whereabouts.

Sukhbir announced that former councillors and senior Congress leaders, including Pawan Nagrath, Harbir Singh Bira, Sharda Devi, Monica Grover, Harjinder Kaur, Rajinder Dhindsa, Hachinder Pal, Balwinder Singh and Banti, have joined the SAD. — TNS


Low BP cuts short Amarinder’s road show
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 6
The former Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today carried out a road show in his home town Patiala to campaign for Congress candidates in the Municipal Corporation elections.

He left his residence in an open jeep at about 1.30 pm and made a tour of the city. Congress workers and contestants greeted him on the streets.

However, the former Chief Minister found himself on a sticky wicket when asked about the Congress candidates withdrawing from the contest. He said, “I did not have any knowledge about the Congress candidates withdrawing from the contest.”

He, however, regained his composure and said the police officials indulging in politics would be pulled up. They were threatening the Congress candidates and their activities were being noticed, he added.

The Congress was getting a good response in all corporation elections, he said.

However, the scorching heat of the afternoon proved too much for Capt Amarinder Singh. He had to leave his rally in between as he started feeling unwell. He moved back to his residence where doctors checked him up. Sources close to Capt Amarinder Singh said he had low blood pressure (BP). The doctors advised him rest and so his campaign for corporation elections of Patiala ended today.

The close aides of Capt Amarinder Singh allege a conspiracy to defeat the Congress in Patiala corporation elections. The rivals of the former CM are trying that the Congress should get defeated in Patiala as it would be a personal embarrassment for him and would affect his chances of resurrection in the state.

With the campaigning for the civic elections coming to an end today evening, there is hardly anything the former CM can do to retain his last bastion and hometown Patiala.


Vigilance raids Dawar's dyeing units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 6
Two days after deputy speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Satpal Gosain alleged irregularities in the dyeing unit run by former parliamentary secretary Surinder Dawar, the Vigilance Bureau raided 16 units belonging to him and his close associates here today.

The action came just two days before the Municipal Corporation elections. Three teams of the Vigilance led by DSPs Ravcharan Brar, Mandeep Singh and Gurcharan Singh raided two units at Daresi, six on the Humbran road and eight in Industrial Area A and B. The related records have been summoned to the Vigilance office tomorrow.

The teams videofilmed the raids. Brar said action had been taken following the directions of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Brar’s team raided two dyeing units of Dawar, a cotton yarn and acrylic yarn at Daresi, and seized some pieces of pet coke, a fuel that was not permitted to be used by his units in residential area as it released 8 per cent sulphur in the air after burning. Moreover, an NOC was required for the same.

Brar asked for the NOC from Dawar’s brother and son, Avinash Dawar and Manik Dawar, respectively, who were present there, but the duo could not produce the same, though they claimed they had it.

The official said that six units on the Humbran road also did not have the requisite NOC and they were also throwing their discharge directly into Budda Nullah. These had not even installed a treatment plant.

He said they were handing over the video films to experts to evaluate the harm being done to environment by these units.

The raids were on in the units at the Industrial Area till the filing of this report.

Gosain had written to the Chief Minister about the irregularities two days ago. He had also levelled allegations against Dawar's close aide Ramesh Joshi, who was the director of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

Meanwhile, Dawar termed the action as political vendetta. He added that he had applied for the NOC in June, but it had not been issued.


Kang’s case in court, but police to probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Punjab government has constituted a fact-finding inquiry into a case that is already being dealt with in court. The person allegedly involved in the case is close to the ruling SAD.

A special investigating team has been formed and it will be headed by the DIG, Ludhiana police range. It will be an inquiry into a case in which Kiranbir Singh Kang, a resident of Mohali and close associate of the Badal family, is facing trial. Sources in the Punjab police confirmed the development today, saying the inquiry would be completed in the next few days, but raised questions on holding such a probe. A senior police official said if Kang was innocent, the court would exonerate him and wondered why the police was being involved at this stage.

Kang till last year was in the SAD and has remained in the background since then. Kang had even contested the 2002 assembly elections from the Kharar assembly constituency on the SAD ticket. This time the SAD ticket went to Jasjit Singh Bunny, son of Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Kang often protested during the personal appearance of Parkash Singh Badal in the Ropar courts in cases of corruption launched by the previous regime.

Already, the ruling SAD-BJP combine has ordered the review of 178 cases registered against SAD workers during the previous Congress regime. The deputy commissioners heading the review committees have recommended the cancellation of several cases.


Poll Defeats
Gaganjit accuses Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 6
Organising secretary of the SAD Gaganjit Singh Barnala today indirectly held secretary-general of the SAD Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa responsible for the party’s defeat in the Sangrur and Barnala districts during the February 2007 Assembly elections.

Talking to The Tribune on phone this evening, Barnala said the party had to find out the reasons behind this defeat.

Barnala today also held a meeting with his supporters and SAD workers at his residence at Dhuri.

Barnala further said his supporters had also decided that if Parkash Singh Badal allotted party ticket to Bhupinder Singh Bhalwan, SGPC member, for the next SGPC elections, they would oppose him in the elections.

Meanwhile, this reporter tried to contact Dhindsa on his mobile phones for his comments, but failed to do so.


MC Poll Campaigning
Rains play spoilsport
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 6
Incessant rains played spoilsport on the last day of campaigning for the Municipal Corporation elections here today. The much-touted road shows of the two star campaigners, MP Navjot Sidhu and CLP leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, had to be cut short due to heavy showers.

With rain dampening the spirits of candidates, their plans of ending the campaigning on an enthusiastic note, with a host of rally in their wards, were washed way. Many SAD-BJP candidates, who were hopeful of Sidhu brightening their prospects, had to call off their programmes.

Bhattal’s road show, wherein it was planned that she would visit different areas of the city in an open truck, had to be cancelled. She instead held indoor meetings with party workers in marriage palaces with an aim to bring along those who were frustrated after being denied party tickets.

Braving the rains, Sidhu, however, managed to hold a rally in Kot Khalsa where hundreds of party workers had converged with umbrellas and rain coats. Sidhu too came out of the rain shelter to address the party workers in heavy rains.

Sidhu promised complete revamp of the four corporations in the state going to polls.

“The Congress has made the corporations defunct with its wrong policies. The corporation has a debt of Rs 44 crore and the mismanagement could not have taken place in just two months,” said Sidhu. Almost all key candidates in the city had to cancel their poll programme for the day and many of them were disappointed that they might not have done enough campaigning to win over the fence sitters.


No fresh taxes if voted to power, says Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 6
In an attempt to woo voters, Congress Legislature Party leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today promised that no fresh taxes would be levied on the urbanites if voted to power in the municipal corporation poll.

“The Congress mayors won’t come under pressure from the state government while fulfilling the promises made with the voters,” she said.

Talking to the media here today, Bhattal said the Congress was ready to take on the SAD-BJP government if it continued to commit atrocities on its workers. She said the party had chalked out a four-point programme, which included warning the state government against the atrocities committed by SAD workers, submitting memorandum to Governor, Chief Justice, Prime Minister and President in this regard, filing PILs in the court, and lastly by not allowing the bureaucracy and other political leaders to function.

She said the Congress would urge the union government to hold a high-level enquiry to ascertain as to how the state government had emptied the state coffers within five months of taking the reigns while the Congress government had left the exchequer richer by Rs 812 crore.

The former Deputy CM rued that it was for the first time that the payment of general provident fund (GPF) to the employees had been stopped by the government. 


Shift SSP: Cong
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 6
The Congress has written to the election observer for Patiala MC elections to remove Patiala SSP S.K. Asthana. It has demanded that he should be barred from entering Patiala district till the August 8.

The representation has been signed by Preneet Kaur, MP, Patiala, Sajjan Kumar, in charge, Patiala elections, Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, Randeep Singh Nabha, Ajit Singh Mofar, Surjeet Singh Dhiman, Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Makhan Singh, all MLAs and Jasjit Singh Randhawa, former minister. The Congress leaders have alleged that police officials were threatening Congress candidates with cases. 


BSP charge
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 6
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has alleged that its candidate from ward No. 6, Bhuwneshwar, was abducted yesterday at the behest of his opponents and was made to sign some blank papers.

Addressing a press conference, Narinder Kashyap, all-India general secretary, BSP, alleged that the party candidate was threatened to withdraw in favour of the candidate of another party and when he refused, he was forcibly taken away and made to sign blank papers. This was followed by reports in the local media that the BSP candidate had withdrawn from the elections.


Murdered Dera Sacha Sauda manager’s father ‘getting’ threats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Father of murdered Dera Sacha Sauda manager Ranjit Singh today alleged he was being threatened by people close to the Dera and asked not to raise voice against the Dera chief.

Ranjit's father Joginder Singh told a news conference organised here by the All- India Anti- Terrorist Front chairman, M.S. Bitta, here today he had been getting threats from people close to the Dera asking him to remain silent and not rake up the issue. At times, I am even told to compromise and assured compensation and asked if he had complained to the police about these threats, Joginder, who hails from Kurukshetra district, said, "it is not easy to take up the cudgels against the Dera head. I know what I have been going through to get justice and bring to book those responsible for my son's cold- blooded murder in July, 2002".

‘ My family members were booked in false cases and had it not been for the courts, we would have been languishing behind bars. Despite the odds, I will fight even up to the Supreme Court to get justice, Joginder Singh said.

The CBI on Wednesday last charged Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, embroiled in a row with Sikhs over his alleged blasphemous act, in two cases of murder and one of sexual harassment. The cases related to the murder of Ranjit Singh and Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhattrapati and the rape of a disciple.

Meanwhile Bitta said the issue of Dera Sacha Sauda was being politicised and alleged people like P.S. Sarna, Jasbir Singh Rode and Daljit Bittu were using the situation to their advantage. Sarna on one hand was claiming to be the champion of Sikh rights but on the other hand, was managing the “apologies” from the Dera chief.

Bitta said Jagtar Singh Hawara had insulted the entire Sikh community as he killed an innocent man - Beant Singh former Chief Minister. 


Search on for dera head’s dress
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 6
The district police has started an intensive search for the dress and plume (kalgi) worn by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh during the baptising ceremony, at the Salabatpura dera branch. Police sources said the recovery of the dress and plume was must as the same was required to be presented in the court in connection with a case registered against him under Section 295-A of the IPC.

Sources added that the police was also trying to find out the tailor who had stitched the dress to know on whose orders he had stitched the same.

In the Punjab and Haryana High Court, where a bail application moved by the dera head was pending, the district police had also made a request that he was not cooperating in connection with the investigation of the case. The police party, which also mentioned that the dera head was not disclosing about the dress and plume, got relief when the court directed the counsel for the dera head that the latter should cooperate.

A senior police official said the dera head would have to hand over the dress and plume, failing which another offence of destroying evidence would be made out against him in the same FIR already registered against him.


Breach in sub-canal : 6 houses razed, crops damaged
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 6
A major breach in the Daulatpura sub-canal, near the western city bypass, last night razed about six houses to rubble, besides damaging crops in 150 acres of land.

Kunwar Lal and Sodharan, migrant workers at a wood coal manufacturing unit near the bypass, said they had noticed the breach in the left side of the 10-foot-wide sub-canal yesterday and had informed the owners of the unit before vacating their dwellings. Darshan Lal, owner of the unit, has claimed loss exceeding Rs 1 lakh. The workers were still busy shifting to safer places when this correspondent visited the affected area today.

Sub divisional engineer Mukhtiar Singh Rana and junior engineer Devi Lal, who were monitoring plugging of breach using 40 labourers and vehicles, said water supply had been suspended by flashing message to the officials at Sotha head in Muktsar district immediately, but it took nearly nine hours to reduce the discharge to zero level.

The Irrigation Department had to seek help from SDM N. S. Brar for deployment of the police on Sunday night as the farmers had tried to obstruct the natural flow of water. The electricity supply to the entire area was switched off to avert any tragedy. A 95-foot-wide breach is expected to be dug tomorrow.

Sources said the sub-canal had 139 cusec discharge against a capacity of 150 cusec to make water available at tail ends of Usmankhera village. Visuals confirmed that the 30-year-old sub-canal had been badly damaged at many places. The brick lining was virtually not visible at many places. The Irrigation Department had reportedly made repeated requests for budget allocations to get the sub-canals in the region repaired as breaches were reported in each quarter of the year, but the files gather dust at the headquarters.

Rupinder Singh, sarpanch, Dhaani Bisheshar Nath village, said at least six houses were razed and roofs collapsed giving the residents no chance to save their household goods. Water was about 3 feet deep in most of the affected areas. The Kandhwala road, that had already been damaged by breaches, was under water again. Fresh poplar plantation, vegetables, BT cotton and kinnow plants were too submerged. Interestingly, the councillor had not visited the affected colony till the filing of the report. Sarpanch Rupinder Singh and other members of neighbouring Dhaani Bisheshar Nath village urged the administration to take immediate steps for the rehabilitation of the affected families.


Balwant’s family for Takht’s intervention

Amritsar, August 6
Family members of Balwant Singh, who is awaiting implementation of the death sentence in connection with the assassination of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, today met Jathedar, Akal Takht,Joginder Singh Vedanti to seek his direct intervention to fight the cases of all those in various jails of the country.

The family members also presented a memorandum to Jathedar Vedanti in which they claimed Balwant Singh had seen Akal Takht building damaged in Operation Bluestar and had decided to take the "revenge".


Case against Dimpa reopened

Amritsar, August 6
Miseries of the former Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa seem to be unending as the Amritsar (Rural) police has reopened investigations in an attempt-to-murder case registered against him here during the Ajnala by-elections.

Iqbal Singh, SSP Amritsar (Rural), said the police had started the investigations on court orders as it was not satisfied with the earlier report. The case was registered under Section 307, IPC ,on February 23, 2005, at Ajnala police station. He said the investigations would be conducted by DSP (Ajnala) Jatinder Singh.

The police had registered the complaint on the basis of violence in the Kamalpura area. — TNS


Bajwa quits as PEDA chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Brig Mohinder Partap Singh Bajwa today quit as chairman of the Punjab energy development agency as the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government set in motion the process of removal of all political appointees of the previous Congress government from various public sector undertakings.

Brigadier Bajwa, a step-brother of Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD minister in the previous Amarinder Singh government, was appointed chairman, PEDA, in October last year.

“I am a soldier. Since I have come to know that the Punjab government does not want me to continue as chairman, PEDA, I have decided to put in my papers,” Brigadier Bajwa told The Tribune this evening.

A hero of the Kargil war, Brigadier Bajwa became close to Capt Amarinder Singh in 2000 when the latter was writing a book on Kargil. At that time Bajwa was a brigade commander in Kapurthala.

Sources reveal that the Punjab government has already initiated proceedings to ask all those appointed to various public sector undertakings, including boards and corporations, by the previous Congress government to quit or they would be removed.

The SAD-BJP government, the sources reveal, will replace Congressmen along with their loyalists in various boards and corporations. Besides, those appointed directors in various public sector undertakings by the Amarinder Singh government will also be removed and replaced by SAD-BJP loyalists or supporters.

Among the major boards and corporations, the new government appointed Ajmer Singh Lakhowal the chairman of the Punjab mandi board. Since Gurcharan Singh Babehali, chairman, milkfed, quit the Congress and joined the Akali Dal before the elections, his continuation looks certain. Incidentally, Babehali is also a sitting Akali MLA.


Metro project not possible: Rana
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 6
Dismissing the metro rail promise of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) acting chief Sukhbir Singh Badal as a ‘poll stunt’, Jalandhar MP Rana Gurjit Singh has asserted that giving a practical shape to the rail venture was nothing short of ‘day-dreaming’ in a financially ‘ill-managed’ state of Punjab.

During his poll campaign in Jalandhar yesterday, Sukhbir Singh Badal had promised that the state government was going to introduce a metro and a mono-rail service in all four major cities of the state. He had also assured that AC buses, with normal fare, would also be pressed into service.

Extending a vehement reaction to the assurances given by Sukhbir Singh Badal, Rana Gurjit Singh took a dig at the ruling SAD-BJP combine. “From where will they arrange the huge money to the tune of over Rs 30,000 crore for the metro project? The venture is simply not possible when the revenue collection in the state has dropped by over 50 per cent during the past five months. The SAD-BJP leaders are promising moon to people as they have realised that people will not cast them votes,” Rana Gurjit Singh said here today.

He described the five-month performance of the SAD-BJP government as dismal.


Guru Granth Sahib Maryada
Government contemplating Act
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 6
The state government is contemplating enacting an Act to preserve the maryada of Guru Granth Sahib as per Sikh traditions approved by Akal Takht and SGPC.

A high-power committee comprising SGPC chief, Sikh scholars and chief secretary has been formed to finalise the draft in this regard.

This was confirmed by Balwant Singh Dhillon, a senior professor, Guru Nanak Studies, and Waryam Singh, secretary, SGPC’s Dharam Parchar Committee, here today. Jasbir Singh Sabar, a director in the SGPC, said the proposed Act might debar all publishers other than the SGPC to publish Guru Granth Sahib.

The other members of the committee included Kharak Singh, Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia and Jodh Singh. The proposed Act would also debar taking of Guru Granth Sahib to marriage palaces and hotels.

Meanwhile, some Sikh organisations today served an ultimatum on the state government to stop the publication of Guru Granth Sahib by private publishers by August 15.

They have also submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner in this regard.


EVMs for poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used in the elections to the four municipal corporations while voters who have been issued voter I-cards will have to produce these to exercise their franchise.

The poll is scheduled for August 8 in the MCs of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala.

Voters who had not been issued this card and also against whose names no EPIC numbers appeared in the voter list, could establish their identity by the production of any of the following documents: passport, driving licence, PAN card, service identity card with photograph issued to employees by the state/ central government, public sector undertakings in public limited companies, passbook issued by a public sector bank/post office, kisan passbook, property documents, ration card, SC/ST/OBC certificate, pension documents, freedom fighter’s identity card, arms licence, certificate of physically handicapped issued by the competent authority and defence personnel identification card with photograph.

Holiday for poll

The state government has declared a public holiday on August 8 in all state government offices, all offices of corporations, boards and all educational institutions within the jurisdiction of the municipal corporations of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala on account of the general municipal elections.

1 more holiday

A holiday has been declared on October 12 on account of Agarsain jayanti in lieu of the restricted holiday already declared on this day.

Stating this here today, a spokesman of the state government said this had been done by partial modification of the government notification in December, 2006. The holiday would be observed in all government offices, all offices of corporations, boards of the state and all educational institutions.

Fort at Patti

The fort at Patti, also referred to as Qila Patti in Tarn Taran, has been declared a protected site under the Punjab ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains act, 1964. At present, the fort houses a police station.

A spokesperson of the cultural affairs department, Punjab, said the state government would take measures to get this site vacated from the present occupant and preserve it as a historical monument.


In footsteps of their spouses
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 6
Spouses of several former councillors are in fray for the coming Municipal Corporation elections.

Bimla Sharma, wife of former councillor Krishan Dutt Bholla, is the Congress candidate from Ward 25 while Sarita Duggal,wife of former councillor Naresh Duggal is the Congress nominee from Ward 49.

Sons of two senior SAD leaders, one of former Punjab minister Surjit Singh Kohli and Patiala Akali jatha chief Inder Mohan Singh Bajaj, are also in the ring.

Ajit Singh Kohli is being projected as the next mayor. During campaigning, he highlighted the development works undertaken in Patiala by his father and grandfather. Several senior Akali leaders campaigned for him.

Senior leaders of the two main parties today held street processions to garner support for their candidates. Posters of several candidates have been put up across the city in violation of norms.

Deputy Commissioner D.S. Grewal, when told about the violations, expressed ignorance about the matter. He said necessary instructions would be issued to the candidates to ensure that the name of the printer was mentioned on the banners and posters.


Rs 3,334 cr for Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 6
The Punjab government to provide modern facilities and infrastructure to 40 cities of the states, will spend Rs 3,334 crore to develop Amritsar as model city. Work in this direction has been started after making a master plan. The Amritsar Development Authority for the overall development will also be set up.

In a statement here today, Birkam Singh Majithia, Information and Public Relations minister, said to solve traffic problems in the city, the government had planned to construct a new ring road on the outer periphery of the city, railway bridges, elevated roads, besides developing parking zones.

The minister said Bhattal was aware of the fact the only contribution of coterie of the former Chief Minister was to slap false cases on Akali leaders.


Protest against Badal govt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 6
Members of district unit of the Democratic Employees Front, led by district president Swarnjit Singh, today staged a dharna outside the district administrative complex protesting against the stoppage of government payments by treasuries on verbal orders of the state government. They also alleged anti-employees attitude of the Badal government.

The dharna was addressed by Swarnjit Singh, district president, Democratic Teachers Front, Tarsem Lal, state president, Technical and Mechanical Employees Union.


Five killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Jaintipur, August 6
Five persons, including two women, were killed and six injured when Amritsar-bound Pathankot DMU passenger train collided with a jeep at an unmanned railway crossing at Mugusohi village late in the evening today.

Giving details, SHO Kathunangal Surinder Singh said 11 persons of two families in the jeep, owned by Baba Gurmej Singh Ballewal of Karsewawale, were going to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple when it collided with the train at the unmanned crossing at 7.45 pm. The impact was such that the bodies were thrown 50 m away.

The deceased have been identified as Amrik Kaur (33), Gurinder Kaur (18), Gurjant Singh (16), Harjit Singh (17) and Jagjit Singh (10).

A case has been registered.


Less to Cheer, Much to Desire
Faridkot is 35
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, August 6
This district celebrates 35th anniversary of its creation but with less to cheer. Thanks to the indifferent attitude of the successive governments, the tag of “backward” is still intact with the district.

The then Chief Minister Giani Zail Singh elevated the status of the town, a part of Ferozepur district, into a full fledged district. The native village of Gianiji, as he was fondly called, Sandhwan is closely located to the town. He was also instrumental in bringing Guru Gobind Singh College here.

It has the credit of producing two more Chief Ministers Harcharan Singh Brar and Parkash Singh Badal. It was the latter who laid the foundation stone for the campus of Baba Farid university. However, work on the site is yet to take off. Currently, the university is carrying out its day to day task on the campus of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital.

Apart from this, residents of the town are anguished that the establishment of the medical university failed to give the desired results. They feel that the very purpose of turning this tiny historic town into a tourist place was defeated when counselling and entrance examinations were not being conducted here.

In 1995 Chief Minister Brar reduced its area by carving out Moga and Muktsar districts and this formerly princely town was left with the sub-towns of Kotkapura and Jaito. The decision generated a lot of resentment from the residents and to compensate them the town was announced to be a divisional headquarter with Bathinda and Mansa, besides Faridkot districts, under it. However, the decision did not go well with the bureaucracy as no officer was willing to be posted here. For this reason, head of divisional headquarter at Ferozepur holds its additional charge. Similar was the case with offices of the IG and DIG.

All attempts to set up industry also fizzled out, though the demand for establishing agro-based industry is still strong. A cooperative sugar mill located on the Faridkot-Kotkapura road has been lying closed for the past two years while a spinning mill situated at the native village of Giani Zail Singh was also shut down.


A Work of Lok Bhalai
2 travel agents made to return money
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 6
Lok Bhalai Party chief and former union minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia here today returned the money which had been paid to travel agents in the region by persons aspiring to go abroad.

At a press conference, Ramoowalia said scores of persons had been cheated and even after paying lakhs to travel agents they could not go abroad.

He handed over Rs 5 lakh, which had been taken by a travel agent from Kiranjot Kaur of Dhodike village with the promise she would be settled in a foreign country. Sukhjit Kaur of Amritsar also got back her Rs 60,000 paid to a travel agent, besides others from the adjoining areas.

Ramoowalia appealed to the youth of Punjab not to get lured by dubious travel agents, who fleece them without keeping the promise of sending them abroad. He alleged the previous Congress government did not initiate any legal procedure to check this menace and even though the SAD-BJP alliance had promised to do this, no effort had been made so far to save the future of youth of the state from being jeopardised.


Chemist shops raided
Tribune News Service

Lalru, August 6
A police team led by the drug inspector, Mohali, today raided over 10 chemist shops here following information that these were supplying banned drugs to the local youth.

However, nothing incriminating was found from any of the shops, said the police.

The shopkeepers were let off with a warning issued by drug inspector Pradeep Kumar and SHO Sukhvinder Singh.

The team also raided a chemist shop being run without licence at Sangroli village. The shop was sealed.


Clean-up drive at Bassi Pathana
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, August 6
Newly elected municipal council president Sunita Malhotra launched a cleanliness drive in the town today.

Malhotra, accompanied by councillors, safai workers and others visited various bazaars and colonies to take stock of the situation.

The workers were provided with new cleanliness equipment, donated by the local unit of the Lions Club, and carried out the clean-up operation.

A sum of Rs 1 lakh, which was donated by council president on the eve of her election, is being used to carry out the drive.

She had earmarked the money for the cleanliness of the town. The town has been facing poor sanitation for the want of funds with the council.

She said her priority would be to make the town clean and ensure that no funds were wasted.

She appealed to social organisations and individuals to contribute for the betterment of the town.


Here men, animals share final resting place
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Jeond (Bathinda), August 6
This small village, located about 45 km from Bathinda, is unique in its own way as human beings and animals share a common final resting place because its cremation grounds and carcass dumps are located in the same place.

The cremation of residents of Jeond and disposing of dead animals is done at three common places. Interestingly, all these places are located in thickly populated areas of the village, which has a population of about 6,000.

Having no separate places for cremating their dead and disposing of carcasses, the residents are left with no other option.

The biggest problem for them is that they have to guard their dead even after cremation as stray dogs, present on carcasses dumps, carry away the final remains of dead human beings.

Rachpal Singh, son of sarpanch Harbans Kaur, said though the panchayat had written to the state government for making arrangements for a separate cremation ground and a carcasses dump, the village has been facing this situation from the past many decades.

He added that a number of times it is even difficult to stand in the cremation ground due to the foul smell from the carcasses dump.

The Basti cremation ground, located on the Gharauli road, has become a major source of health concerns as it is near a residential area. Another cremation ground and carcasses dump is located adjacent to the water works and the third one is located on the Zaid road.

The villagers said they had approached the authorities a number of times regarding the issue, but so far nothing had been done.

Uma Shanker Gupta, SDM, Rampura Phul, said the matter never came to his notice, adding that he would look into it and do the needful.


High Court
Gangrape witnesses seek protection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Taking a serious view of alleged threats to the life and liberty of gangrape witnesses, Justice L.N. Mittal today directed the SHO, Kotkapura, to file an affidavit in response to the allegations levelled against him and issued notice to Punjab for August 24.

The counsel for the petitioners, P.S. Garewal, averred that the petitioners were the main witnesses in case bearing FIR no 178, registered at City Kotkapura police station.

The said case referred to the repeated gangrape of a girl who was now residing with the petitioners. The petitioners, Baljinder Kaur and Santosh Rani, were providing her with food, clothing and shelter.

The victim girl was also having pregnancy of 7-8 months as a result of the rape committed upon her by the accused who were influential and powerful persons of the area.

The petitioners submitted that the SSP, Faridkot, be directed to ensure protection of their life and liberty. Also, the SHO, Kotkapura, be directed not to issue threats of life and false implication to them

Security sought

The high court today directed the SSP, Jalandhar, to provide security to petitioner, Joginder Singh Tony, who is a sitting member of the municipal corporation, Jalandhar, till August 10.

The counsel for the petitioner averred that the petitioner, who has been a member of the municipal corporation for 10 years, was again contesting elections and was facing threats to his life and liberty.

The counsel, in view of his submission, sought security for Tony and also prayed for other incidental reliefs.

The court said that for other reliefs, the petitioner was as at liberty to go to the deputy commissioner, Jalandhar. It was also observed that since elections were going to be held after two days, there was no time to issue notice to respondents.

Review petition dismissed

A full Bench the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed as withdrawn a case regarding the order of the former Chief Justice, B.K. Roy, to constitute a larger Bench to hear review petition against the judgement of a Division Bench.

The full Bench comprised of Justice P.Sathasivam, Justice K.S. Garewal, Justice M.M. Kumar, Justice Rajive Bhalla, Justice A.K. Mittal, Justice Surya Kant and Justice S.N. Aggarwal.

The matter was related to the controversy that started following the decision of former Chief Justice Justice B.K. Roy to order filing of a review application against the order of Division Bench, comprising Justice H.S. Bedi and Justice Nirmal Singh.

Justice Bedi (elevated to Supreme Court) and Justice Nirmal Singh had on August 12, 2004, withdrawn from a Full Bench, headed by Justice B.K. Roy, after questioning his authority to constitute such a Bench to hear the review application.

The review pertained to the order of the Division Bench, by which it had dismissed a writ filed by Punjab Police Constable Ramesh Singh challenging his transfer from Rajpura to Faridkot.

The Division Bench had also put an end to all inquiry proceedings against Judicial Officer Jatinder Walia, initiated on the complaints of the constable. Following their withdrawal, Justice Roy also rescued himself from the case.

The Seven-Judge Bench was to determine if the Chief Justice was within his rights to constitute a bigger Bench to hear the review application with or without including the two Judges who gave the judgement.


Chahal’s bail pleas adjourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The much-awaited hearing on the regular and pre-arrest bail pleas of B.I.S.Chahal, media adviser to former CM Amarinder Singh, was adjourned today as Justice Surya Kant wanted time to peruse the files.

Incidentally, the cases have come before Justice Surya Kant’s court following Justice Uma Nath Singh’s reported request to the Chief Justice that the city centre cases be transferred from his court.

The regular bail plea, adjourned to August 13, had been filed by Chahal in the case of alleged land grab and attempt to murder registered against him by the Ludhiana police. Also, his anticipatory bail application in connection with Ludhiana City Centre case has been adjourned to August 24.

Four Today Homes officials, G.K Gambhir, Vinay Subhichi, Sunil Sharma, Syed Arshad Hussain Naqvi, who too were accused in city centre case, had filed anticipatory bail plea which was adjourned to August 24.


4 booked for attack on sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Batala, August 6
A piece of land (pond) at Ghaniye ke Bangar village has been the cause of dispute between sarpanch Tarlok Singh and some members of the Communist Party of India (IFTU). The village pond measuring 8 kanals and 10 marlas is said to be the joint property of the sarpanch and his brothers out of which 3 kanals was mutated in the name of the wife of Tarlok Singh.

However, members of IFTU claim Tarlok Singh was trying to grab the village common land against which they propose to take out a march. A clash between the two groups came to the notice of the police which has registered a case against Phool Chand, Kala Masih and Gyan Masih etc.

Kanwar Preet Singh, SHO, police station Ghaniye ke Bangar, stated that no complaint against Tarlok Singh had been received regarding alleged illegal possession of the village pond. However, a case was registered in connection with the attack on the sarpanch.


Panel to review suspensions ordered by VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 6
In a bid to resolve the on-going tussle between the vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, and the joint action committee seeking his removal, the syndicate at a crucial meeting today formed a sub-committee under Prem Singh Chandumajra, a syndicate member and senior Akali leader.

The five-member sub-committee that, besides Chandumajra has DPI (colleges), director (language), dean (colleges) and a principal, will review the suspensions carried out on the orders of the VC and submit its report before the next meeting.

This has come as a major relief for the members of the action committee, whose two leaders Manjit Singh and Kulbir Singh Dhillon, professors in Social Works and History Departments, respectively, were facing suspension on the orders of the VC.

Another major issue decided by the syndicate was reinstatement of Hem Raj Verma, a professor in the Department of Physics. Verma was given forced retirement on March 29, 2005 on the complaint of a PhD student, Punita Verma that he had tried to harass her sexually. Verma had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court that directed the syndicate to take a final decision on the pendency of disciplinary proceedings initiated against him. It was on the direction of the court that today’s meeting was convened. However, two increments of Verma were stopped and he was debarred from exercising administrative powers.

The appointment of B.S. Sandhu as registrar also came up for discussion. The agenda regarding ratification of appointment was kept pending till the next meeting.

Chandumajra said it was also decided by the syndicate that the decision regarding the delegation of its powers to the VC would be reviewed every year.

The official spokesperson of the university said at the meeting members appreciated the efforts of the VC in promoting technical education in rural areas. The syndicate approved regularisation of services work charged employees who had been working in the university for the past 10 years. Extension to ad hoc teachers and non-teaching employees was also granted till vacancies were filled on regular basis. Syndics Raj Khurana and Gurpreet Singh Kang were nominated as members of the university finance committee.

The syndicate also approved the appointment of Sucha Singh Gill, professor of economics, as coordinator of the centre for south-west Asia study established under the UGC. The appointment of Jagtar Singh as dean, colleges, and Gurmeet Mann as director, public relations, was also approved.

Meanwhile, the action committee continued its protest outside the venue of the meeting.


VAT on Verka ghee to be cut
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Punjab cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh today said that VAT on Verka desi ghee would be reduced to 4 per cent from the existing 12 per cent. He said this was being done on the demand of various milk unions in the state.


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