P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Violence mars MC elections
Mayor among 36 hurt in Amritsar violence
Varinder Walia and Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 8
Widespread violence, alleged rigging, booth-capturing and firing today marred the civic body elections even as supporters of SAD and Congress fought pitched battles in various parts of the Holy City that left more than three dozen persons injured, including mayor Sunil Dutti.

Violence despite the presence of a heavy posse of policemen, which is reminiscent of the Bihar poll scene, is unprecedented in corporation elections here.

The police picked up Ashwani Pappu, senior Congress leader, when he went to cast his vote in the polling station. The agitating Congress workers then gheraoed C Division where Ashwani Kumar was taken. An old man, Kashmiri Lal who had levelled serious charges against Baxi Ram Arora, former chairman of the Improvement Trust, was thrashed by BJP workers on Lawrence Road. The ruling party leaders did not spare even crew of electronic media.

The local administration had allegedly failed to stop armed outsiders from entering the city.

Panic gripped ward number 5 when some workers of the ruling party opened fire. In the melee that ensued, somebody carried away the electronic voting machine (EVM) from polling booth no 4, in Gumtala village where polling was subsequently postponed.

The clashes between Congress and Akali workers in this ward left over a dozen persons injured. Workers of both parties also pelted stones on each other and polling staff and voters had to take shelter in the rooms. The clashes resulted in the suspension of polling at booth numbers 4 , 5 and 6 for more than an hour. Agitated voters later burnt the furniture of the polling station. Senior Akali leader Manjit Singh Manna and SHO Sadar also exchanged hot words.

The deputy commissioner said the persons who engineered violence were being identified. The presiding officer of booth number 4 said he had bolted the room from inside when he heard acrimonious sounds at the polling station. He alleged that about 15-20 persons manhandled him and took away the EVM which was later returned.

There was a close fight between Gurjit Singh Aujla of the Congress and Harjit Singh (Bablu) Gumtala of the SAD in the ward. Trouble started around 11:30 am when word spread that the Akali worker, who had been allegedly roped in from the adjoining villages, tried to capture booth numbers 4, 5, 6 and 7. Following this, the Congress workers went on the rampage and smashed the windowpanes of cars parked outside the polling station.

A senior Akali leader allegedly barged into the polling station in ward number 40 and virtually captured the booth at Kot Baba Deep Singh Senior Secondary School. In Ward number 20, Congress candidate Navdeep Goldi had to withdraw his polling agents in protest against the alleged highhandedness by the ruling party leaders.

The situation continued to be tense and no voting could take place after around 12.30 pm. Later, the district electoral officer gave directions to resume polling around 2.30 pm and extended the deadline till 6 pm in all booths, except booth no 4, for which polling has been postponed.

After taking a round of the ward, he declared that counting for the entire ward had been postponed and would take place after a couple of days.

Soon after voting ended, Congress leaders were quick to allege booth-capturing in most of the 65 wards in the city, especially where SAD candidates were in the fray. O.P.Soni, MLA from Amritsar (West), said the matter would be brought to the notice of the AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Former MLAs Darbari Lal, Jugal Kishore Sharma and Harjinder Thekedar added that booths were captured in ward nos 29, 36, 40, 39, 4, 5, 65, 52, 60 and 64 by Akali Dal workers in connivance with the police.

“This day would be remembered as a back day in the municipal corporation election history of the city,” they said.

In ward no 9, people who were not allowed to cast their votes forced the polling officer to stop the polling. Surdarshan Bhalla and Rekha Vohra said three days ago polling agents of the two main political parties had confirmed to them that their names were in the voter list but today when they came to caste their votes they were not allowed to vote as the polling officer asked them to caste their votes in ward no 8. However, the polling was resumed only after the polling officer present there assure them. 


Alliance victorious in Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Polling cancelled in 3 wards

The district returning officer (DRO) recommended the cancellation of the election to wards no 29 and 40 on which Navdeep Goldi of the Congress and Kailash Kaur (Independent) were contesting the elections. There was also report of the cancellation of election to ward number 5. 

Amritsar, August 8
The ruling BJP-SAD alliance is heading towards electing its mayor by winning clear majority in the 65 member-house of the local municipal corporation. The CPI had to be satisfied with a single seat while the Bahujan Samaj Party lost the contest on all 42 seats contested by it.

Former Mayor Sunil Datti (Ward No. 2), Raman Bakshi (Ward No. 65) and Navdeep Goldi (Ward No. 29) of the Congress have been able to retain their seats while Bakshi Ram Arora (Ward No. 50) and Swet Malik (Ward No. 51) of the BJP have won the elections. Former deputy mayor Om Prakash Gabbar (Ward No. 12) and Dharamvir Sareen of the Congress are the main losers.

Out of the 65 seats, the BJP-SAD alliance has been able to win 31 seats (BJP 16 and SAD 15) while the Congress and the CPI have been able to win 18 and one seat respectively. Nine independents have made to the house.

The other candidates who won the election were Amandeep Kaur of BJP (Ward No. 1) , Surinder Chowdhary, Independent (Ward No. 3), Harbhajan Kaur , SAD (Ward No. 4), Gursharan Singh BJP (Ward No. 6) , Onkar Kaur Sandhu, Congress (Ward No. 7), Ranjan Kuman, Congress (Ward No. 8), Sanjeev Khanna, BJP (Ward No. 9), Kashmir Kaur, Congress (Ward No. 10), Sukhminder Singh Pintoo, BJP (Ward No. 11), Anuj Sikka, BJP (Ward No. 12), Surinder Kaur, SAD (Ward No. 13), Narinder Singh, Congress (Ward No. 14), Anek Singh, Congress (Ward No. 15), Sukhwinder Kaur, SAD (Ward No. 16), Mukhtar Singh, SAD (Ward No. 17), Jatinder Pal, SAD (Ward No. 18), Charanjit Kaur, Congress (Ward No. 19), Ajeet Singh, Congress (Ward No. 20), Kulbhushan Duggal, Congress (Ward No. 21), Rajni, BJP (Ward No. 22), Rakesh Kumar, BJP (Ward No. 23), Anil Sharma, Congress (Ward No. 24), Surjeet Kaur, Congress (Ward No. 25), Pappur Mahajan, BJP (Ward No. 26), Rajesh Kumar Honey, BJP (Ward No. 27), Gurmej Singh, SAD (Ward No. 30), Ranjit Kaur, SAD (Ward No. 31), Shamsher Singh, SAD (Ward No. 32), Amrik Singh, SAD (Ward No. 33), Manjit Kaur Independent (Ward No. 34), Surinder Singh, SAD (Ward No. 35), Avtar Singh, SAD (Ward No. 36), Anita, Congress (Ward No. 37), Ajay Beer Pal Singh Randhawa, SAD (Ward No. 38), Inderbeer Singh Bularia, SAD (Ward No. 39), Kawalnain Singh, BJP (Ward No. 41), Ashwani Kumar Kaleshah, Congress (Ward No. 42), Chaman Mahajan, BJP (Ward No. 44), Neelam Khanna, Congress (Ward No. 46), Meenu Sehgal, BJP (Ward No. 52), Avinash Jolly, Independent (Ward No. 53), Sukhdev Singh Chahal, BJP (Ward No. 54), Talwinder Kaur, Congress (Ward No. 55), Surinder Kumar, Independent (Ward No. 56), Vijay Kumar, Independent (Ward No. 57), Neeru, Congress (Ward No. 58), Jagchannan Singh, SAD (Ward No. 59), Sukhbir Singh, Independent (Ward No. 60), Bhawna, BJP (Ward No. 61), Kashmir Singh, SAD (Ward No. 62), Lakhanpal, Independent (Ward No. 63) and Mamta Datta, Independent (Ward No. 64).


Bhawna youngest winner
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 8
The victory of 21-year-old Bhawna, the youngest candidate who fought the Municipal Corporation elections on the BJP ticket from Ward No. 61, came as a surprise for many.

A student of Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bhawna told The Tribune that the fact that she was a political novice and had no experience in public life should not be considered a disadvantage for her. She is committed to fulfilling the expectations of the voters. “Being leaders of the BJP, my parents have devoted their life to social service. I want to continue the task further and do something for people of my city,” she said.

“Like a true patriot, I want to change the face of our country but that cannot happen unless we start with development of our neighbourhood. We all keep cribbing about the lack of basic amenities, but things will not change until the youth come forward and add element of social service to politics,” she added.

It was celebration time in the ward as news of Bhawna’s victory spread. I have my agenda worked out, the sewerage is in poor shape, roads are potholed, streetlights do not work and there is no regular water supply to the area. It is a mammoth task but somebody has to make a start, she smiles.

“After the initial reaction about my age, people do tend to realise that I am serious about bringing about a change and do something for the area. Ever since I started meeting people of my area, I have struck instant connection with people and they briefed me about the lack of basic amenities in their colonies,” she said.


Congress decimated in Patiala
Attar Singh & Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Sevice

Re-poll in Ward 27

The district election officer late in the evening ordered re-polling in Ward 27 from where SAD candidate Kanika Sharma was initially declared elected. On a recount, Independent Harish Nagpal was declared elected. The re-poll will be held on August 12. — TNS

Patiala, August 8
The SAD-BJP combine swept to power in the elections to the Patiala Municipal Corporation held here today.

Out of 50 seats, the ruling alliance bagged 42. The Congress got just four seats. The other four were bagged by Independents, three of them Akali rebels.

In the 2002 elections, the Congress had romped home with an impressive 38 seats, while the Akalis had to take the back seat, winning in just six wards. Six seats were then bagged by Independents.

For the Congress, the biggest surprise came from Ward 36 where former Mayor Vishnu Sharma was defeated by 125 votes by Kishen Chand Budhu, an Independent, who had won the last election on the Congress ticket.

Polling in this ward came to a standstill for 90 minutes when supporters of Kishen Chand Budhu and BJP candidate Radhey Shyam clashed. Later, on a call by former chief minister Amarinder Singh, Congress candidate Vishnu Sharma, who has demanded countermanding of poll, boycotted counting.

For the SAD-BlP, the biggest margin of victory was registered by Jaspal Singh. He won by 3,574 votes from Ward 39. Interestingly, from this ward, all 10 candidates, including the official Congress nominee, had withdrawn their papers in favour of Jaspal Singh. He is seen as a candidate for the post of mayor by senior Akali leaders.

The Congress was virtually wiped out by its rivals with senior Congressmen tasting defeat. Besides Vishnu Sharma, other prominent Congressman who had to bite the dust was former deputy mayor Inderjit Singh Boparai.

The sole consolation for the Congress was former senior deputy mayor Kabir Dass, who scampered home from Ward 44. Other Congress winners were Varsha Devi, Kamla Devi and former president of the Patiala Municipal Committee Niranjan Dass.

Prominent among the winners for SAD-BJP alliance were Jaspal Singh, Ajit Pal Singh Kohli, son of former Minister Surjit Singh Kohli, and Sohan Lal Jalota, who a few months ago turned his back on the Congress.

Among BJP leaders who won the elections were district BJP president Anil Bajaj.

The Akali rebels who contested as Independents and have won are Paramjit Singh Pamma, Rajinder Singh Virk and Jatinder Pal Singh Matta.

The fourth Independent, Kishen Chand Budhu, defeated former mayor Vishnu Sharma. 


Poll violence: 7 cases registered
Tribune News Service

Patiala August 8
The police has registered seven cases of violence during the municipal corporation poll conducted today. Unauthorised persons scaled the boundary of a polling station in Wards 49 and 46.

Pargat Singh of the Congress from Ward 3 was booked for carrying weapon. In Ward 27, the brother of Independent candidate Harish Nagpal was booked for damaging voting machines.

A clash between two groups was reported in Wards 12 and 36 in the afternoon. A case has been registered. Naresh Duggal, husband of Sarita Duggal, a candidate from Ward 49, had an altercation with rivals.

On the complaint of the presiding officer of Ward 5, an FIR was registered with the Tripuri police station against Davinder Singh, Hardip Singh and Willam jit for obstructing a public servant from discharging official duty.

BJP leader from Ward 36 Inder Kumar alleged that Akali workers had helped an Independent win from the ward. “SAD leaders and the local administration have conspired against us and election in Ward 36 should be countermanded,” he demanded.


Pregnant voters hit as rigging rules
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 8
The MC election was marred with allegations of pregnant women being hit, policemen acting as the private army of the ruling party, presiding officers helping voting in favour of SAD candidates and voters being attacked with sharp-edged weapons even as election observers remained absent.

Such was the plight that even the finger of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was not marked with ink when he cast his vote at the Modi College polling booth.

Ramanpreet Kaur, wife of Ravinder Pal, a candidate contesting from ward No. 32 is lying in a private hospital. She is eight months pregnant and her fault was that she went to cast her vote. Talking from the hospital bed, a sobbing Ramanpreet alleged that the henchmen of the SAD candidate pushed her to wall when she went to vote this morning.

Reena, another pregnant woman, was allegedly hit by henchmen who were trying to take control of polling booth in ward No. 32.

In ward No. 26 being contested by Ajit Pal Singh Kohli, son of senior SAD leader Surjeet Singh Kohli, booths in the PRTC workshop on the Patiala-Chandigarh road were reportedly captured. When The Tribune team visited the polling booth, a group of SAD workers was standing around the voting machines and pressing the first button- the election symbol of SAD.

The policemen posted at the ward under the supervision of DSP Sukhdev Singh were mute spectators.

Voters carrying Congress slips were not being allowed to enter the polling booths. Neelam Bhandari, Congress candidate there, alleged that she and her daughter were physically assaulted by SAD workers. In ward No. 12, SAD workers fired at Congress workers with .12-bore guns injuring Pratap Singh and Amrik Singh who were admitted to Rajindra Hospital.

Another resident, Jagwinder Singh, was admitted in the Emergency ward of Rajindra Hospital with injuries due to sharp-edged weapons.

In ward No. 29 at 10.30 am, polling booths of the Congress were uprooted and SAD leader captured the polling booths allegedly in connivance with presiding officers.

Former senior deputy mayor and Congress candidate from ward No. 44 Kabir Dass was allegedly beaten up by SAD workers when he tried to resist the booth-capturing efforts.

In ward No. 31, the Independent candidate alleged that Bibi Jagir Kaur and Surjeet Singh Rakhra entered the ward and helped cast bogus votes.


Cong withdraws, wants re-election
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, August 8
Miffed at the alleged mass-scale booth-capturing by SAD, the Congress today announced its withdrawal from the MC elections.

Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh while taking to newsmen said the party had withdrawn all its candidates this afternoon after witnessing mass rigging. He demanded a re-poll under vigil of central security forces.

He has also written to the Governor of Punjab, alleging that all 50 wards in the city were captured by the Akalis who brought rural people from all over the state.

The candidates of all opposition parties, including the BSP, CPI and CPM, also withdrew from elections due to mass rigging, he stated in the letter.

Capt Amarinder Singh alleged that the official staff was conniving with the ruling party and police acting as its agent.

Moga: Claiming large-scale irregularities in the nagar council election for Ward No. 31, Congress candidate Chanchal Kumar and his supporters boycotted the election today. However, the district administration declared the results of the election. Independent Lakhpat Rai, supported by the SAD-BJP combine, has won the election by securing 1,634 votes against 223 garnered by Chanchal Kumar of the Congress.

Organising sercretary, PPSC, Sham Lal said they would apprise the Election Commission of India of large-scale irregularities in the election to the ward. They said their repeated requests to the official concerned fell on deaf ears. Chanchal said they decided to boycott the election at 11 am. He claimed that people from nearby villages were casting votes and workers of the SAD and the BJP were freely roaming in the polling booths.


Led by Preneet, Cong men block highway
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 8
To protest against the alleged rigging of polling booths, Patiala MP Preneet Kaur along with Samana MLA Brahm Mohindra and state president of the Youth Congress Vijay Inder Singla blocked traffic on the Patiala-Chandigarh road for about three hours.

Preneet Kaur along with hundreds of Congress workers sat on dharna on the road at about 1.30 pm. She called upon all Congress candidates to withdraw themselves from the polling process. Braving the scorching heat, she sat on dharna for three hours till 4.30 pm.

She blamed SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal of hijacking the poll process just to settle personal scores with her family. Preneet Kaur also announced that the Congress would launch an agitation to protest against such misuse of power.

Vijay Inder Singla, while talking to newsmen, alleged that the BJP had won many seats in the last assembly elections. The SAD hardly won any seat from cities or urban areas. However, the SAD now wants to take control over urban areas by proxy. It would not only harm the interests of the Congress but also the BJP that is dependent on the Congress vote.

The minister of cooperation, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, came in support of his candidate in ward number 12. However, the SAD rebel who had the support of the local party leader resisted his move. The supporters of SAD rebel candidate tried to pelt him with stones.

All Congress candidates, on a call from Capt Amarinder Singh and Preneet Kaur, boycotted the counting. They have been directed against receiving the winning certificate even if they win. 


Peaceful, here
Broadly peaceful polling in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
As many as four persons were injured in sporadic cases of poll violence in different parts of the city today even as the polling remained broadly peaceful.

According to reports two persons were injured in a clash between Akali and Congress workers in Sherpur Khurd here today. The incident took place near Sherpur market when both the parties pelted stones at each other.

Tension gripped the area till the time Focal Point police reached the spot led by Station House Officer, Sandeep Sharma. They police had to resort to mild lathicharge to restore peace.

Two youths were injured during a brawl between supporters of various political parties near Daba also. Some youth brandishing swords took law in their hands and created ruckus.

There were reports of sporadic violence in Kochar Market, Chawni Mohalla and Shimlapuri. Akali and Congress workers were alleging rigging at several places. However, nobody was admitted to a hospital.

There was no major violent incident in the city till the evening and no case was registered. 


SAD-BJP sweeps Jalandhar 
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 8
The SAD-BJP combine won the Jalandhar MC poll with a clear majority, the results of which were declared four hours after polling concluded here today.

Of the 33 seats won by the alliance out of a total of 60, the credit for 19 went to the BJP and 14 to SAD. Congress walked away with 18 seats. The BSP managed a single seat while the independent candidates took away as many as eight seats.

The BJP that managed a good show in recent Vidhan Sabha poll came down in its performance in the MC polls as it managed to win only half of the 38 seats it had contested. Even more surprising is the fact that the three favourite candidates of the local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia lost the BJP seats. They include his kin Shekhar Kalia from ward 26, his close aide Gurbaksh Mintu from ward 35 and Amarjit Singh Amri, brother of SAD district president Gurcharan Singh Channi, from ward 30.

Barring a few sporadic incidents of violence, the MC polls went off peacefully in the city . An incident occurred in Guru Harkrishan Nagar falling in ward 44 where a supporter of Independent candidate Sunanda Malhotra was attacked with swords by those favouring Congress candidate Kuldeep Mintu. The victim, Tinku Dua, received bruises all over his body and was admitted at civil hospital. The police registered a case under Section 307 against the son of Kuldeep Mintu, Amit Kumar, and six others. 


Cong wins ward bypoll
Our Correspondent

Pathankot,August 8
In the byelection of ward no 26 of the Municipal Council which was held here today, the SAD-BJP alliance suffered a major setback. The Congress candidate Usha Bedi won the seat by a margin of 481 votes.

The SAD-BJP candidate Madhu Saini could bag only 712 votes while the Congress candidate bagged by 1193 votes and Independent candidate Bina got 364 votes.

During the polling in the ward, Punjab transport minister Mohan Lal campaigned with his wife but did not get a good response from the voters.





Cong retains Goraya; rebel wins Phillaur
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 8
Despite the SAD-BJP combine being in power in the state, people of Phillaur subdivision have given verdict in favour of the Congress in the byelections to two wards at Goraya and Phillaur.

Phillaur SDM Pritam Singh said in Ward No. 8 of the Goraya Municipal Committee, 600 votes, out of a total 688 votes, were polled. Twelve votes were cancelled. Congress candidate Ravinder Paul Rinku polled 299 votes while his rival Anil Tahim (SAD-BJP) could get 287 votes.

In Ward No. 10 of the Phillaur Municipal Committee, only 979 votes, out of a total of 1,336 votes, were polled and six votes were cancelled. Kanshi Ram (I), a Congress rebel, won the byelection with a margin of 30 votes. He polled 414 votes while official Congress candidate Matwinder Singh Sachdeva secured 384 votes. Harminder Singh of the BSP polled 46 votes while Vipin Kumar, an Independent, supported by the SAD-BJP alliance, could secure only 129 votes.


Kharar’s Ward 8 with Jasvir Singh
Tribune News Service

Kharar, August 8
The election to Ward 8 of the Kharar Municipal Council saw MLAs Balbir Singh Sidhu from Kharar and Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib turning polling agents for their respective candidates.

Congress leader Sidhu's candidate Jasvir Singh Bhola won the seat by 82 votes. In all, 824 votes were cast in favour of Bhola. Channi’s candidate Sukhwant Singh Sukha secured 742 votes.

Out of the 3,026 voters, only 1,8039(60 per cent) exercised their right to vote.

In the morning, both MLAs had a verbal duel at the BDO's office. Sidhu objected to the presence of Channi near the polling booth, saying since he was the Chamkaur Sahib MLA, he had no business in the Kharar civic elections. At this SDM Rajeev Kumar Gupta intervened, saying anyone could become a polling agent.

Bhola thanked the people for their support and vowed to root out corruption. 






Congress leader’s kin build colony without official nod
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, August 8
Throwing norms to the wind, relatives of a senior Congress leader and former Punjab Minister, are allegedly developing a housing colony along the Mamun-Madhoupur road at Pangoli village, near here.

Enjoying political patronage, they are allegedly flouting the Indian Forest Conversation Act, the Indian Forest Act and the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) Act, 1995 and the Punjab PWD Act with impunity.

The colonisers have changed land use of about 100 acres of agriculture land for developing a housing colony, Victoria Estate, allegedly without obtaining the mandatory clearance from the Forest Department, PWD and the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

Moreover, in connivance with officials of the Town and Country Planning, they have got approval for two separate chunks of land, measuring less than 10 acres, for the colony.

During a visit by The Tribune team to the site, construction of internal roads was in progress. A part of the colony is coming up at the cost of a mango orchard.

The company-SB Realtech Private Limited- has constructed a kutcha link road through the PWD and forest protected land without obtaining permission from the departments concerned.

Certain other colonies have also come up in violation of rules on the road.

The PWD (B and R) executive engineer, PP Chaudhary, when contacted said the company had sent an application seeking access from the PWD land to the colony two days ago. The case would be sent to the higher authorities.

Gurdaspur divisional forest officer Chaman Lal said the company has not been granted permission yet. “We will verify the facts after visiting the site and then the case would be taken up for granting permission," he said.

District town and country planner, Gurdaspur, Madan Lal Kaushal said the coloniser was given approval for developing two chunks of land, measuring about 9.9 acres each. He warned that action would be taken if construction activity was found beyond the approved plan.

A director of the company, Sanjeev Adhlakha, claimed that the company started construction work after obtaining licence from the government. He admitted having obtained approval from the district town planner for developing only two chunks of land, measuring 9.9 acres each. 


Tribune Impact
Help to trace man from Pak jail pours
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, August 8
Help has started pouring in for Mohinder Singh, the 58-year-old ex-Army personnel, whose son Sarabjit Singh is believed to be lodged in a jail in Pakistan, but was declared dead by the Army. Mohinder's plight was highlighted in these columns following which the Missing Defence Personnel Relatives Organisation (MDPRO) along with one of the advocates of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have come forward to help Mohinder Singh find his son.

Dr Simi Waraich, representative of the MDPRO who recently visited Pakistan to trace defence personnel missing since the 1965 Indo-Pak war, today stated that the organisation would take up the case of Sarabjit Singh. She said it was possible that Sarabjit was still alive and lodged in a Pakistan jail. She said it was possible to bring Sarabjit back.

She said during their visit to Pakistan in June, they had met some missing defence personnel lodged in civil jails. The MDPRO had been successful in tracing some of them and a few had already returned to their homes.

Meanwhile, advocate Ranvir Singh, who practises in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court, also got in touch with the family of Sarabjit Singh and offered help. He assured them that he would take care of the legal aspects involved in the case.

Mohinder Singh, who was overwhelmed with the help offered to him, stated that given his limited resources he had been unable to pursue the case to a great extent. Now, with this help he was hopeful that his son would come back home.

Sarabjit Singh is reported to be missing since September 1, 1998, after he was washed away in a rivulet in Ferozepur cantonment which flows into Pakistan, during an Army drill.

Though the Army produced a body, which it claimed was that of Sarabjit Singh, his father and family members had rejected the Army's claim after they were shown the mortal remains. Some media reports had reinforced Mohinder's belief that Sarabjit was in Pakistan.


42-Year Wait
Kin of SP who cracked Kairon case await reward
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
Subdal Singh, a police official who cracked the then Punjab Chief Minister Partap Singh Kairon’s assassination case, has died while making a relentless struggle to get Rs 50,000, the reward money announced by the government for unearthing the murder of one of the most important political figures of 
joint Punjab.

Seven years after his death, the family members are still fighting the injustice done to Subdal Singh, who retired as SP (vigilance) in 1987. He had solved the Kairon murder case and subsequently arrested all four accused.

The denial of reward money to Subdal Singh, who died in September 2000, has been traumatic for the family for the past many decades.

What has added insult to their injury is the fact that the Punjab police has categorically stated that it has no information in connection with the murder of Partap Singh Kairon.

“It is not a question of money. It is a question connected with the honour of an achievement, which my husband made by solving the mystery of murder of Partap Singh Kairon, who is known as the architect of Punjab,” pointed out Harbhajan Kaur, widow of Subdal Singh.

She alleged that some colleagues of Subdal Singh played foul whenever the authorities concerned took notice of the repeated representations moved by him in connection with reward money. But the successive governments should have shown the grace of awarding the person who had done a commendable job.

“I hope the authorities would adopt a path to improve their mistake which they have been committing for the past 42 years, after the assassination of Partap Singh Kairon, and give due honour to Subdal Singh, even after his death,” she added.

Harbhajan Kaur claimed that Subdal Singh had met a number of ruling politicians and police functionaries during his lifetime in this connection. He had also met Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, grandson of Partap Singh Kairon, but he failed to meet any success.

Kairon was assassinated near Rasoi village of the then Rohtak district while he was travelling on the Delhi-Chandigarh road. He along with three other persons died on the spot.

Subdal Singh, who was sub-inspector at that time, was handed over the investigation of the case. He managed to arrest all four accused involved in that case. Some of the accused had studied with Subdal Singh in college and one of the accused was his senior in college.

Not only this, the effective prosecution led to the death sentence of three of four accused while the fourth was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The judgement was pronounced on June 6, 1969.

P. C. Dogra, former DGP, Punjab Police, Punjab, to whom Subdal Singh gave a representation in 1987, when contacted, said as per his memory he got the matter inquired into and it was found that there was some dispute over the claim of reward money.

He, however, said the reward money should have been given to Subdal Singh as his achievement was big and rare.

He said that it was not a question of money but of honour for those who performed excellently in their official duties.


25.57-Acre Scheme
Improvement Trust ‘cheating’ plot allottees
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
The local Improvement Trust (IT) authorities seem to be ‘punishing’ allottees of residential plots of the 25.57-acre scheme developed by it in 1995 by reportedly cheating them and charging penalties from them in an illegal manner.

Allottees were first cheated when the IT authorities allotted plots in June 1995 to them despite the fact that in a case pertaining to the 25.57-acre scheme, the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed an interim order on February 14, 1995 that IT was restrained from going ahead with the scheme after hearing a writ petition of Ganga Singh, whose land was acquired by the IT for this scheme.

Not only this, the IT authorities did not inform the allottees about the interim order passed by the high court despite the fact that its legal adviser had advised the IT to do so.

Information reveals that allegedly to save itself from earning the displeasure of the high court, the IT authorities imposed a ban on the sanctioning of site plans, construction on the plots by the allottees and transfer of plots by the allottees to bona fide purchasers through sale deeds in May 2003. However, the allottees were never informed in that connection, too.

The IT authorities lifted the ban in December 2003, but that same decision was never conveyed to the allottees.

The allottees came in for a rude shock when they approached the IT authorities for sanctioning of the site plans for construction of their dwellings, they were asked to pay non-construction penalty for failing to raise construction over their plots within stipulated time and, hence, liable to pay penalties.

Revealing this, some allottees added that the IT authorities had started charging non-construction penalty from June 1998 despite the fact that sewerage and water supply to the colony were provided by it in November 1999 and roads were completed in 2002.

They added that whenever, they presented the site plan to IT authorities for sanctioning, they were forced to give an undertaking in the shape of affidavit that allottees would raise construction at their own risk and cost. If the IT was directed to demolish the building over plot/shops, the allottees would demolish the same without objection and would not claim any compensation for the same.

Gora Lal Jindal, executive officer, Improvement Trust, said he would have to look into the record of the scheme for making any comment. He added that non-construction penalty would be charged as per the instructions of the state government. 


3 Central Excise employees, conduit in Vigilance net
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
A high-level team of the state Vigilance Bureau, Chandigarh, busted a racket allegedly run by three employees of the Central Excise Department late this evening with the arrest of an alleged "conduit" clearing agent, who was authorised to take the money from industrialists on behalf of the main accused.

The conduit, Ranjit Kumar, caught for corruption, was carrying the identity card of a Punjab State Anti-Corruption Organisation.

The special team head, joint director vigilance, H.S. Bhullar, said the three accused employees used to entrap industrialists by threatening to impose a false tax evasion case on them. Later, they offered to foregt it all if their palms were greased.

Bhullar said the employees -- inspector Raj Kumar and superintendents-- Sewa Ram and KS Manhas-- have been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120-B of the IPC. They allegedly entrapped owners of MB Exports Ltd, Focal Point, manufacturer of pipes coupling, by claiming they had made tax evasion and would be fined Rs 80 lakh.

The accused allegedly claimed they would not press tax evasion charges if the owner Baldev Singh paid them Rs 20 lakh bribe. Later, the deal was struck at Rs 11 lakh. The accused took Rs 1 lakh in advance. Ranjit Kumar came to collect Rs 4 lakh in the evening when Vigilance officials inlcuding Bhullar and DSP Ravcharan Brar, nabbed them.

Bhullar said a number of registers of the Excise Department were recovered from the accused. He was not a government employee, yet he possessed official documents. He revealed he used to take money on behalf of the accused. The excise employees have absconded. The raid took place in the presence of SDO Subash Chander and JE Tarsem Lal.


Dispute over gurdwara land
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, August 8
Uneasy calm prevailed in Machaki Mal Singh village near here today following demolition of a gurdwara by the family who once donated land for it.

According to Nihang Singhs of Buddha Dal, Bakhtawar Singh, his two sons Goga Singh and Kulbir Singh along with about 50 other persons descended at the gurdwara last evening and dug out the “Nishan Sahib” and took away Guru Granth Sahib.

Meanwhile, DSP Sewa Singh said neither any gurdwara was constructed nor the land was donated for the purpose. It was private land given to Nihang Singhs for their stay, he added.


Ordinance to ban private publication of Guru Granth Sahib
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Punjab government will issue an ordinance banning publication and publishing of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, by private publishers. The government decided this after receiving a letter from SGPC president Avtar Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal told mediapersons here today the government would issue an ordinance in this context. He directed his principal secretary, Darbara Singh Guru to issue the ordinance which would be valid till the next Assembly session.

In the letter, the SGPC chief had pointed out despite the ban, a number of publishers still published and printed the Sikh scripture. He had sought the government’s help to curb this trend.

Referring to the demand of the SGPC chief, Badal said it was a genuine one and should be implemented. The scriptures printed by the SGPC at Amritsar are supplied to Sikh shrines all over India and abroad and even while 'transporting' Guru Granth Sahib to shrines abroad, a proper religious procedure is adopted by the priests accompanying the scripture.


Rs 2-lakh grant given to Dalbir’s family
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today sent a special grant of Rs 2 lakh to the family of journalist, late Dalbir Singh, who died suddenly last week.The cheque was delivered on Badal's behalf by his media advisor Harcharan Bains to Jasbir Kaur, widow of the late scribe. Bains was accompanied by the secretary, Information and Public Relations, Jagjit Puri, and deputy director of the Press Megha Singh.

Bains also assured Jasbir Kaur of continuing moral and material support of the Punjab government to the bereaved family.


Chief Minister to unfurl Tricolour in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will unfurl the National Flag at a state-level function in Ludhiana on Independence Day.

Stating this here today a spokesman of the state government said that Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon would unfurl the Tricolour in Gurdaspur.


Addicts say no to drugs
Our Correspondent

Ferozepur, August 8
Several drug addicts decided to quit drugs during a function organised by the Punjab Police Committee against drug abuse here today.

They included Natha Singh, Nishan Singh, Shabbu and Raj Kumar and several others who were impressed by the inspiring stage play performed by students of the Department of Theatre, Punjabi University, Patiala.

They conveyed their decision to quit drugs to DIG Ishwar Chander at the function. The DIG then instructed deputy commissioner Bhagwant Singh to make arrangements for their de-addiction at the Civil Hospital.


160 donate blood at camp
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 8 
As many as 160 volunteers donated blood at a camp organised by Rotary Club in collaboration with the district administration, here. The camp was inaugurated by Punjab chief information commissioner Rajan Kashyap. Speaking on the occasion, commissioner, Patiala division S.K. Ahluwalia said that more NGOs should come forward to motivate the masses to donate blood.


Two brothers killed in road accident
Tribune News Service

Rupnagar, August 8
Two brothers were killed in a road mishap on Rupnagar-Nurpur Bedi road today. The mishap occurred at around 8.30 am. 

The accident took place at a blind curve when their motorcycle collided with a CTU bus bearing registration number PB-12-J-6401. Sukhbir, aged 22, and his 13-year-old brother Mandeep Singh were the victims. They were residents of Garh Doliyan village.

Sukhbir was going to drop his brother to school in Garhbagha village when the accident took place. While Sukhbir died on the spot, Mandeep breathed his last on the way to Ropar civil hospital. 

Sukhbir was taking Mandeep to school as his cycle needed repair.Their brother, Bhupinder, who also studies in the same school as Mandeep’s had gone to school early in the morning on foot.

Sukhbir, a truck driver, left behind his one-year-old daughter Arshpreet and his widow. His father Prem Singh is a farmer. 










CM: Give state freedom to choose farm policies 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Concentration of all fiscal powers in the hands of the central government has a negative impact on the growth and development of states. Punjab should be given the freedom to choose its agricultural policies, said Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while talking to mediapersons.

He pointed out that in the agricultural field also the states had no powers to decide on the input or output costs for the benefit of their farmers. ''Farmers in each state have their own problems and the states are the best judge of these, not the central government,'' he added.

Having a dig at the industrial policies of the UPA government, he said that even for setting up a ''small project'' the states had to take ''permission from Delhi''. ''If a project flops, the states have to worry as the centre takes no responsibility,'' he added.

Punjab had failed to progress further due to fund distribution and lopsided policy-making of the union government. Badal said Punjab was surrounded by states which had been allowed special incentives for industry.

Referring to the distribution of funds on the basis of taxes collected by the states, the Chief Minister pointed out that ''the criterion of road connectivity is a wrong concept and against the interests of progressive states''.

Punjab achieved connectivity to all villages a long time ago.It was ironic that a state that achieved its goal received less funds from the centre.''The funding should be proportionate to the tax collection'', he suggested.

Badal said the defence sector was the most sought after sector of employment in the state. However, with the introduction of the quota system, the centre took away this opportunity from people, he claimed.

Badal said the members of the planning commission must know the problems of the poor. He said the centre had plenty of resources to improve sectors like health and employment and alleviate poverty. "However, nobody is concerned about such issues," he said.

There was need to improve the economic condition of people rather than giving them subsidies , he said.

Badal evaded a direct reply whether his government was contemplating the imposition of tax to tide over the financial crisis.

He referred to improving the tax collection system in order to increase revenue. He rejected the suggestion being made by certain quarters that the government should do away with its policy of providing free power to the agricultural sector.

Regarding the reservations expressed by finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal on the atta-dal scheme, the Chief Minister made it clear that the government was committed to launching it on August 15.














Man booked for pushing daughter to death
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 8
The police has registered a case against Lal Chand, son of Bal Ram of Alamgarh village under Sections 302, 307, 506 and 201 of the IPC.

He had allegedly thrown his daughters from the roof of his house around 1 am under the influence of liquor upon the advice of a tantrik on Monday, official sources said today. The tantrik had assured the culprit of getting a male child if a female child was sacrificed, family sources indicated.

His relatives and neighbours had maintained silence over the bizarre act out of fear.

But Raj Kumar, a brother of the accused, reportedly revealed this to the police inspector who visited the locality for investigation last evening. Raj Kumar reportedly said Lal Chand was depressed over having female children only. He had thrown two-month-old Mukta and Simran (5) from the roof and threatened his wife and other family members of dire consequences if they intervened or revealed his act to anyone. Mukta had died on the spot.


China-made pesticides seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
A team of the Agriculture Department today seized China-made pesticides and biofertilisers from a godown of a leading company here. Agriculture officials estimated the cost of total seizure of pesticides and biofertilisers to around Rs 50 lakh. The officials had taken the samples of all pesticides and biofertilisers.

Paramjit Singh Sandhu, chief agriculture officer (CAO), Bathinda, said a team led by Harmanjit Singh Sandhu, deputy director of the department, were on a routine checking when they came across a vehicle, which was being loaded with the pesticides from a godown. When the team members enquired about the pesticides, some persons, who were busy in loading, fled from the spot, he added.

He said after taking permission from the SDM, Bathinda, godown from where the pesticides were being loaded was checked. During the search of the godown, which was being run without the valid license by the company, a large quantity of pesticides and biofertilisers was recovered.


Woman posing as Captain held
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, August 8
Serious security lapse in the Army area came to the fore after a 21-year-old woman, dressed as an Army Captain, was found roaming on the premises of 401 AD Regiment, near Military Hospital, here  yesterday.

When Army guards asked the “woman officer” for her identity, she tried to flee from the scene. She was speaking in English fluently.

She told officers that her name was Mamta Guleria and she was a resident of Kandwal village in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

The army police handed over the impersonator to the Pathankot police.

Though the Army authorities were tight-lipped on the issue, SP, Pathankot, Harpreet Singh said the woman had admitted to be a daughter of a retired officer of Dogra Regiment. She was pursuing BEd at an institution of Nurpur subdivision, Kangra district.

The police has registered a case of impersonation under Sections 171-F, 419 and 420 of the IPC. She was today produced before a local court that sent her to police custody for two days.

Meanwhile, Raman Singh, brother of the girl, alleged that a doctor of the rank of Colonel in the Pathankot Military Hospital had been exploiting his sister by making false promises of providing her job in the Army. He alleged that the doctor arranged the Army dress for her and even helped her in getting an entry card to the  defence area.

The doctor, who has undergone a surgery at Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, denied the allegations while talking to The Tribune on the phone. Bed-ridden for the past one month, he expressed ignorance of knowing any girl by that name. 


Tantrik case: Man booked for pushing child to death
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 8
The police has registered a case against Lal Chand, son of Bal Ram of Alamgarh village under Sections 302, 307, 506 and 201 of the IPC. 

He had allegedly thrown his daughters from the roof of his house around 1 am under the influence of liquor upon the advice of a tantrik on Monday, official sources said today. The tantrik had assured the culprit of getting a male child if a female child was sacrificed, family sources indicated. 

But Raj Kumar, a brother of the accused, reportedly revealed this to the police inspector who visited the locality for investigation last evening. Raj Kumar reportedly said Lal Chand was depressed over having female children only. He had thrown two-month-old Mukta and Simran (5) from the roof and threatened his wife and other family members of dire consequences if they intervened or revealed his act to anyone. Mukta died on the spot.




Counselling for MBBS from Aug 11
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 8
The Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) will resume counselling for admission to undergraduate courses in medical and dental streams in the government and private colleges in the state at Government Medical College, Amritsar, on August 11,

Vice-chancellor of the university, Dr Ravinder Singh, said the counselling for admission to MBBS would be conducted for four days beginning August 11 while the counselling for BDS would commence from August 16.

The counselling for admission to ayurvedic and homeopathic colleges would he held after the process of admission to medical and dental streams was completed, he added.

According to Dr Ravinder Singh, those students, who were admitted to government medical colleges during the counselling held on August 2 and 3, would be permitted to opt for admission to a private college, if they so desired. 


Defaulting BEd colleges barred from counselling
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Punjab government has instructed the Punjabi University authorities not to allow any defaulting BEd college to participate in the counselling being held for admission to such institutions in the state.

For admission to BEd colleges, the common entrance test this year was conducted by Punjabi University. As many as 39,500 students appeared in the test and 28,000 passed . There are 15,000 seats available in 156 BEd colleges in the state. However, 37 colleges are not eligible to take part in the counselling because these have not met the conditions laid down by the respective universities in the state, say official sources.

The sources said the colleges which were fined for not fulfilling the conditions for BEd colleges would not be allowed admission against the management quota seats. Guru Nanak Dev University had been proving very strict in the case of defaulting colleges. Most colleges affiliated to it are not eligible to take part in the counselling, it is learnt.

Three colleges of Panjab University and two of Punjabi University are not eligible to take part in the counselling on the basis of the conditions laid down by the state government.


Contention over post of DEO (S)
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 8
Contention between two Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) employees over the charge of solitary post of district education officer (Secondary) here has affected working of the department.

Resham Singh Aulakh claims that he joined the office following written instructions from the department while Gurdip Kaur Kaler says she is the original DEO. She alleges Aulakh has occupied her office while she has to sit in the adjacent office of superintendent.

Gurdip says she was appointed DEO (Secondary) here on November 14, 2005. In less then six months of taking charge, she was transferred to in-service training centre, Faridkot, and her junior was posted here. She moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court. She claims that the court stayed her transfer and re-appointed her DEO (Secondary).

She was again transferred to Bhimnagar Senior Secondary School here on May 21, 2007. She moved the court again. It granted her permission to remain in the same capacity as she was due to retire on September 30, she claims.

She alleges that Aulakh is on two-year extension and has wrongfully occupied her seat.

Aulakh says on the orders of the principal secretary issued on May 21, he took charge. He admits that he is on two-year extension and as such eligible to discharge duty in the capacity of DEO. He refuted Gurdip’s allegations that he joined the office by using force.








Sick coop sugar mills to be given on lease
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Six sick cooperative sugar mills and three non-functioning distilleries will be given on lease. “We have planned to revive the sick sugar mills and proposal has been prepared to give these on lease,” said a senior officer of the cooperative department. However, the final decision in this regard will be taken at a meeting with the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal.

Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the revival of the sick cooperative mills was a must to protect the interest of the farming community in the state. He said that dependence of farmers on private sugar mills would not be in their interest. The case with regard to the revival of sick mills had been moved to the Chief Minister.

The sick mills are located at Zira, Jagraon, Rakhra, Budhlada and some other places.

At present, only three of the 15 cooperative sugar mills are doing well. Capt Kanwaljit Singh said three distilleries are attached to three cooperative sugar mills at Nawanshahr, Gurdaspur and Nakodar. The distillery at the Gurdaspur mill functioned for 15 years till 1997. However, since then it was not working. At the Nawanshahr mill, it functioned for three years and at the Nakodar mill, it remained inoperative, he added.

However, now they want to make these functional because Punjab mills have a huge stock of molasses for conversion into raw spirit and alcohol.

In Maharashtra, certain cooperative sugar mills have been given on lease, with the condition that no employee will be retrenched.

Meanwhile, this year sugarcane growers are expected to face a tough time during the cane-crushing season. Private millers will not be very enthusiastic to crush cane this year because of the low price of sugar in the market. At present, sugar is selling at Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,350 per quintal. And the market price is almost on a par with manufacturing price of sugar in the private mills in Punjab.

Keeping in view this factor, Sugarfed has started preparing to make its nine cooperative mills operational by November 15. Sugarfed has sought Rs 18 crore from the Finance Department to clear the dues of farmers. It already has a stock of 8 lakh quintals of sugar worth Rs 105 crore and molasses worth Rs 20 crore.




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