P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Stone-pelting, gunshots mar MC re-poll
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
Tempers ran high and the police had to use force to push back protesting SAD workers amidst pelting of stones and firing of gunshots outside booth 6 of ward No. 29 where re-polling for the Municipal Corporation elections was held today, along with six booths in two other wards. Akali workers alleged that Congress supporters had indulged in bogus polling.

The police failed to learn any lessons from the widespread violence at ward number 5 in Gumtala village on the earlier day of polling on August 8. Despite heavy police bandobast, large crowds of SAD and Congress supporters managed to converge on ward No. 29 from other parts of the city.

Trouble started early in the morning when several hundred Akalis assembled outside the polling booth in East Mohan Nagar. Lathi-wielding policemen had a tough time controlling the crowd, which put up a stiff resistance.

The police rounded up about a dozen SAD workers, claiming that they were outsiders, who had gathered outside the polling station to create trouble.

Ward No. 29 had district Youth Congress president Navdeep Goldie, pitted against Jaskirat Singh Sultanwind of SAD.

According to SAD leaders, trouble started when an uncle of Goldie entered the polling station along with other Congress workers and started casting fake votes. When the SAD supporters objected to it, the workers of the two parties entered into a scuffle and started pelting stones at each other. As the supporters of the two parties chased each other in large crowds, somebody fired three shots in the air.

District electoral officer K.S.Pannu and SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh separately visited the ward and claimed that the situation had been brought under control. Asked if the police had not apprehended the convergence of such large crowds, the SSP said timely action by the police had saved the situation.

The police registered a case for firing gunshots against Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, son of senior Congress leader and former Punjab minister, Surjinder Singh Lalli, president of the District Congress Committee (Rural), and 15 other unidentified persons under Sections 336, 148 and 149 of IPC.

The SSP, however, said the charges that Congress workers had fired the gunshots were yet to be established.

Meanwhile, SAD candidate, Sultanwind, claimed that about half a dozen SAD supporters sustained injured in the clash between the two parties and one of them even got hit by pellets during the gunfire. “The SAD workers had peacefully assembled in the park opposite the polling station and it was the Congress which provoked them by throwing bottles and stones at them. A Congress worker fired the gunshots and he has been identified by SAD workers,” he said.

On the other hand, Vijay Inder Singla, president, Punjab Youth Congress, alleged that he had got hold of fake voter ID cards used by SAD workers to cast bogus votes. “The matter was brought to the notice of the district electoral officer, who assured us that he would personally visit ward no 29 to take stock of the situation,” he said.

Kaustubh Sharma, SP (City), said the SAD workers had apparently gathered there in large numbers for a virtual show of strength to display support for their candidate. However, the scene took a violent turn when the two parties entered into a clash with each other.

Re-polling was also held in booth Nos. 8 and 15 of ward No. 40 and booth Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7 of ward No. 5. Kailash Kaur, an Independent candidate, had a close contest with Amrit Kaur Minhas of SAD in ward No. 40 while Gurjit Singh Aujla of the Congress fought it out with Harjit Singh (Bablu) Gumtala of SAD ward No. 5.

The situation continued to be tense in ward No. 40 as well but heavy police presence averted any untoward incident. In sharp contrast, re-polling in Gumtala village in ward no 5 was peaceful and the police claimed no outsider was allowed within a radius of 300 m of the polling station.

Ward No. 5 goes to Cong

In ward No. 5, Gurjit Singh Aujla of the Congress defeated Harjit Singh (Bablu) Gumtala of the SAD by 1,669 votes. While Aujla got 4,382 votes, the count was 2,713 in favour of Gumtala. The result was declared here this evening.

As per directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the counting of votes for ward Nos. 29 and 40 would be done later.

A jubilant Aujla said it was no less than a challenge for him to win the elections with the entire government machinery working for the ruling party candidates. “I am committed to the development of the city and a solution to the problem of the drain passing through the Gumtala area in my ward would be found on top priority,” he said.

Congress workers celebrated the victory of their leader by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.


Re-polling for Malerkotla MC post today
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla , August 12
Deputy commissioner, Sangrur, S. R. Ladhar today said repolling for the election for the post of vice-president of Municipal Council here would be held tomorrow in the committee hall of the council. ADC, Sangrur, Dr Indu Malhotra had been appointed election supervisor, he added.

Earlier, Sabran Bhappa, who was elected vice- president of the Municipal Council here by Congress councillors had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the suspension of her election by the Sangrur deputy commissioner after an inquiry conducted by the ADC.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court reportedly had issued a notice of motion to the DC Sangrur and ADC Malhotra in this connection ordering them to produce record of the council on August 17 in the court.

The deputy commissioner ordered the ADC conduct the election despite of the high court's order.

Tomorrow's election may create a controversy as the case is pending regarding the suspension and cancellation of earlier election of the vice-president.


Patiala MC repoll smooth
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 12
Unnerved by claims of massive rigging by the Akalis in the August 8 Municipal Corporation elections, the district administration this time made flawless arrangements to ensure that the poll at booth number 98 of ward no 27, where re-polling was ordered by the state election commission after an EVM could not be decoded on August 8, went off smoothly.

SAD-BJP combine candidate Kanika Sharma is pitted in a straight fight against the Congress-backed Independent candidate Harish Nagpal.

However, due to a High Court order, the result of today's polling will be declared later.

In a state election commission order dated August 11, the declaration of results of ward no. 27 shall be done only after the receipt of the verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in CWP no. 12324.07.

Officials of the district administration were on their toes right from the time polling at booth number 98 commenced at 8 am. The police was out in full strength with the Patiala Range DIG Paramjit Singh Gill making his presence felt in the morning with other senior police officials. Election observer Rahul Bhandari too was present for the entire day at the ward. AICC member and Samana MLA Brahm Mohindra camped for the entire day in the area. The Akali brigade was led by former minister Surjit Singh Kohli.


Takht Patna Sahib calls SGPC chief
Another jolt for Maryada uniformity move
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
Even as Takhts at Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib have not yet implemented the Nanakshahi Calendar approved by Akal Takht and Shiromani Committee, the summoning of SGPC president at Takht Patna Sahib would further cause complications in forging uniformity of Maryada (Sikh traditions) of all takhts.

The Maryada of Takhts Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib is different from that of Akal Takht, Kesgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib. While the recitation of Dasam Granth is a part of the daily Maryada of Takhts Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, it is not done at the Takhts of Punjab.

It is not for the first time that Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Patna Sahib, has embarrassed Jathedar Akal Takht or the SGPC. In May 2003, an emergency meeting of five Sikh high priests held at Takht Patna Sahib had declared that Akal Takht had no right to declare any ‘hukamnama’ (edict) issued from any Takht as ‘null and void’.

The ‘hukamnama’ signed by the Sikh high priests of Patna Sahib read: “The Sikh clergy of Takht Patna Sahib were competent to issue any directive or edict and hence Akal Takht could not challenge its authority”. The edict further stated that: “If Akal Takht would take any decision against the ‘hukamnama’ issued from Takht Patna Sahib, it would be considered most unfortunate and anti-Panthic”.

He had claimed: “Takht Patna Sahib is the supreme Takht established by Guru Gobind Singh. Hence any directive issued from Takht Patna Sahib cannot be challenged”.

Sounding a note of warning, Giani Iqbal Singh had stated that if Jathedar Vedanti initiated any action against him, he (Jathedar Vedanti) could also be summoned at Takht Patna Sahib.

In an unprecedented move in June 2004, the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib had summoned the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Giani Gurdit Singh, then member of the SGPC’s Dharam Parchar Committee, and another Sikh scholar, Mohan Singh Guard. They were asked to personally clarify their position regarding the book “Mundawni”, authored by Giani Gurdit Singh.

It was for the first time that the jathedar of Akal Takht had been summoned by the Sikh clergy of another Takht .

The next year, i.e. in 2005, Giani Iqbal Singh had threatened to boycott the meetings of Akal Takht after jathedar Vedanti said that the clergy would discuss the charges of polygamy received at Akal Takht secretariat.

However, jathedar Iqbal Singh is reportedly annoyed with the SGPC because he had not included the jathedar and deputy jathedars of Takht Patna Sahib in the committee constituted for appointing four granthis of the Golden Temple.

However, it is learnt that jathedar Iqbal Singh had the tacit support of jathedar Vedanti and Giani Gurbachan Singh, head granthi of the Golden Temple, who would be removed as granthis after the new appointments because they are on extension.


Chakki Bridge Collapse
Residents forced to use ‘death track’
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, August 12
Even after three days of the Chakki bridge-collapse the authorities concerned in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have not made alternative arrangements for the commuters of at least 35 villages who are forced to take short cuts through the railway bridge putting their lives in danger.

The worst affected are students, patients and the farmers who are forced to cross the bridge to reach their respective destinations.

Students belonging to Kandwal, Chakki Pandan, Nagni, Kandrah, Jasur, Jwali and other villages of Himachal Pradesh have to cross the bridge to reach their schools and collages in Pathankot and Mamun. In the absence of institutions providing technical education and higher education in the Nurpur area, hundreds of students, pursuing education in Pathankot and surrounding areas, could also be seen crossing the bridge.

Farmers, daily-wage earners and milkmen too are using this “death track” to reach Pathankot. Since the railway authorities have fixed “'tin” sheets along the railway lines (to be used by the railway staff to repair minor defaults and daily checking), the commuters are using it as a short cut.

The Himachal government has cleared the Kanwdal-Bhadrowa-Damtal road and diverted vehicular traffic through this link road but the commuters are avoiding it.

Thought the local administration has placed notice boards cautioning the motorists on either approaches of the collapsed bridge, yet no signboards have been placed at the main roads in the city to divert the long route vehicles.

The villagers lamented that though three days had passed since the mishap, the authorities concerned had done little to ease the problem.

A visit by The Tribune team to the area revealed that the commuters heading from Pathankot to Jasur and vice versa were crossing the bridge although security guards were on duty on either sides of the bridge. The swirling Chakki water has even eroded the foundation of the pillars. The railway bridge may also meet the same fate.

S.K. Pathania, a resident of Kandwal, said the government should, at least, set up a make-shift bridge so that pedestrians could cross the river.

Meanwhile, regional officer of the ministry of surface and transport, Chandigarh, A.K. Nagpal, who inspected the collapsed Chakki bridge, expressed his concern over the illegal quarrying within restricted limits on the river bed saying that it might cause damage to the railway bridge, too.


Ludhiana-born doctor funds US university
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Mohinder Sambhi, a Ludhiana-born doctor and hypertension specialist, who spent his career teaching at Indian and US universities, made the second endowment in two years in the memory of his wife, Minno, by offering $2 million to John Hopkins University for setting up the Centre of India Studies, Washington. Two years ago, he helped set up a chair on Indian classical music at the University of California, Los Angeles, with a donation of $1million.

Sambhi, who remained a professor from 1971 to 1994, is now professor emeritus at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California.

Jessica P. Einhorn, dean, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Washington, says in a message that Sambhi’s endowment will create a Chair in India studies and will provide the impetus for what is planned to be the leading center which would provide a forum for discussing key issues relating to India.

The deepening relationship between India and the USA is a consequence of a decade of profound political and economic changes within India as well as the result of a shift in the US understanding of its own interests in the region. This is the ideal moment for a sustained focus on the relationship between the two countries, partners in creating a more stable and prosperous world, she said.

The center would seek to train and educate future generations of decision-makers while providing an arena for continuous high-level analysis and appraisal of developments in India and in evolving Indo-US relationship. It would also work as a platform not only for discussions on bilateral relations but also for broader issues where appropriate, such as India-China trade, energy and, of course, critical South Asian topics relating to regional stability and progress, she added.

The center will be formally launched on September 25.

Carcinogen fear grips 17 dists: Mission
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 12
Residents of at least 17 districts in the state are living under the fear of coming in contact with carcinogens found in underground water. The government has decided to fight the menace in three sensitive districts at its initial stage.

The crusade against the spread of the dreaded disease has been launched under the aegis of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). Responding to a question by The Tribune, NRHM state coordinator Dr Suprya disclosed that the agency had launched a crusade against substances that produces cancer in Muktsar, Nawanshahr and Gurdaspur districts. The situation in other districts would be reviewed only after the agency was able to control carcinogenic factors in these districts. She accepted that adequate preventive and curative treatment for the disease was not available at government-run hospitals in the state.

“We have reports that a large number of cancer patients have been going to neighbouring states like Rajasthan to get themselves treated. It is after a meeting with senior state government functionaries that we adopted these three districts to check the spread of this malignancy,” Dr Suprya said, adding that alternative systems of medicine like ayurveda, yoga, unani and homeopathy were likely to be incorporated in this crusade.

She pointed out that selenium contamination had surfaced as a major cause of the disease in the areas under study. “Selenium contamination gets so severe that it not only affects animals but human beings as well. The hardest tissues, including bones, horns, hoofs and hair, were also not spared by the deleterious affects of the toxic metal,” maintained Dr Suprya.


Seminar against foeticide, drug abuse held
Tribune News Service

Budhlada (Mansa), August 12
“Launch a war against female foeticide and drug abuse to save society,” was the message given at a seminar organised here today.

Vijender Jain, Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, while dubbing female foeticide as more heinous than murder, said no ban could be imposed on it by law alone and everyone should fight against it like a ‘general’ of the Army.

The seminar was organised by the Punjab Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, in association with the Bar Associations of Mansa and Budhlada.

A section of ruling politicians, medical professionals, students, panchayat members, representatives of non-governmental organisations, educationists and judges of the high court attended the seminar.

“Female foeticide is a product of hundreds of years old mindset. It cannot be changed easily, but no one should take it as a defeat. One has to come forward to fight this evil,” said Chief Justice Jain. He added that on the one hand unborn daughters were being killed and on the other, drug addiction was devouring human lives.

He said what was more painful was the fact that people worshipped goddesses Durga and Laksmi, but they also killed unborn daughters.

The Chief Justice urged the people to pledge to eradicate this evil.

“In Punjab, which is known for its contribution in every field in the country, the killing of unborn daughters is the biggest stigma on its face. It is painful that some doctors have been doing it to satisfy the lust of money,” the Chief Justice remarked.

P. Sathasivam, executive chairman, Punjab Legal Services Authority (PLSA), Chandigarh, said so far 142 seminars had been held by the PLSA to reach out to the people in every nook and corner of the state to make them sensitive about the evils of female foeticide and drug abuse.

Paramjit Kaur, MP, said female foeticide could be fought by making women strong in this male-dominated society. Seeking a respectable representation of women in the state and national judicial services, she suggested that all private ultrasound centres should be closed and panchayats involved in this noble cause.

Jatinder Jain, DIG, Faridkot range, said a signature campaign had been launched in the Malwa region to involve people against drug addiction. Under this project, villages were being adopted to make them free of drug abuse.

Later, Chief Justice Jain administrated the oath to doctors and students of nursing that they would never indulge in sex determination, female foeticide and would fight against the same by making the people aware of this evil.


MLAs allege bias
Tribune News Service

Budhlada (Mansa), August 12
Mangat Rai and Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, both Congress MLAs from the Budhlada and Sardulgarh Assembly segments, alleged that they were not treated as per their protocol at a seminar organised on female foeticide and drug de-addiction here today.

Talking to TNS, the two alleged that first they were made to sit among the public despite the fact that officials of the district administration were sitting on the dais. Also, Mangat Rai was not invited to address the seminar.

The seminar was organised by the Punjab Legal Services authority (PLSA), Chandigarh, in association with the Bar Associations of Mansa and Budhlada.

They alleged that the district administration had discriminated against them under the ‘diktat’ of leaders of ruling parties.

They added that Paramjit Kaur, SAD MP of Bathinda, was made to sit in the front row on the dais and was asked to address the gathering.


Milkfed plans 100 dairies
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 12
In a reversal of the decision of the previous Congress regime to sell six of 15 sugar mills of Punjab, the SAD-BJP government has decided to lease out these mills to the private sector for their resurrection.

At the same time, Punjab Housefed will be dishing out ultra-modern houses to government employees and weaker sections while, Punjab Milkfed is working on an ambitious plan to set up 100 large dairies across the state.

All six sugars mills, fitted with outdated machinery, were lying closed for years and the previous Congress regime had decided to sell them.

“These mills will be extended to the private sector on lease. Actually, old machinery and less crushing capacity had rendered these mills financially unviable. These mills can crush only 1,500-2,000 tonnes of cane in a day whereas, nowadays no mill can make profit if does not crush at least 5000 tonnes a day. Punjab Sugarfed’s accumulated loss is Rs 460 crore and our effort is to decrease it,” said the Punjab Cooperation minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, while talking to The Tribune here today.

“We are also going to make all three state-run distilleries in Nawanshahr and Gurdaspur operational. These distilleries are producing medical spirit and we are approaching the government for seeking permission to make alcohol.

There were no buyers of Punjab molasses as VAT at the rate of 22 per cent was slapped on it as against 4 per cent in other states. We have made the government decrease it to 4 per cent and the revised VAT rate would be applicable from next month,” said Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

He said the first priority of Milkfed was to decrease its accumulative losses of Rs 124 crore. “I have asked the Milkfed officers to pull their socks up and increase the milk collection percentage from village societies from existing 43 to 75. Milkfed is going to set up 100 large dairies, with each of them having at least 100 animals in Punjab in the next one year.

We will give incentives to milk farmers. On the other hand, Housefed is going to set up ultra-modern houses for Punjab Government employees and people belonging to the weaker sections. The first such settlement is already under way near Banur,” said Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

The minister said the village-based agriculture cooperative societies would be converted into multi-purpose entities and they would install sewerages in villages. “They would get money by providing treated sewerage water to farmers for irrigation. These societies are going to prove vehicles of women empowerment,” he said.


Panel to inspect housing projects near polluting units
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 12
The housing projects in Punjab that have come up in less than 100 metres from a polluting industrial unit and NoCs of which have been cancelled by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) now will be studied on a site-to-site basis by a special committee set up by the government.

The committee headed by the PPCB chief will also in future consider all housing projects, commercial complexes where rules require these to be more than 100 metres away from a polluting unit.

In an affidavit by the government before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, it has further decided to fix the distance between such complexes and hazardous (maximum accident hazard) units at 100 metres.

Hazardous unit have to be notified as ‘hazardous’ by the director- general, factory Advice Service Labour Institute.

To protect interests of builders, who had, following the dilution of rules by the PPCB ,set up projects next to units, the government has in the affidavit stated the cancellation of their NOCs/CLUs would cause irreparable loss not only to the promoters but would also be a wastage of massive resources.

“Keeping in view huge investments made by the project proponent and the prospective buyers in these projects, the committee observed all such projects shall be studied unit to unit basis by the inspection committee as per the guidelines.”

Earlier a high- powered committee of the government headed by the chief administrator, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had reported on the status of 40 residential projects, NoCs and change of land use approvals of which were cancelled following an interim order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The committee had recommended t the NOCs be restored to the projects also which have green category (less polluting) industries within 100 metres.

However the committee’s report had listed some housing projects which were next door to hazardous polluting units. These projects will now be considered by the inspection committee.

The government also pointed out in its affidavit no minimum distance from existing industrial complexes had been fixed by any authority.

The Punjab Industries Department had, as part of the regulations for the setting up of multiplexes and industrial parks, clearly laid down this distance to be 500 metres.

It seems the government’s committee did not refer to its own industrial policy.

The government has also decided there was an urgent need to prepare master plans for the entire state designating industrial and residential zones. “Once these plans are in position the respective activity should be allowed in the designated zone, eliminating conflict between industrial and residential usage of land.

The master plan is the final legal solution to the planned development,” noted the government in affidavit.

The inspection committee will include chief inspector of factories, chief town planner and a nominee of the Department of Industries.


Sethusamudram Project
Dharna by Hindu bodies
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
Various organisations of Hindus here today united under the banner of the Rameswaram Shreeramsetu Raksha Manch and held a dharna at Hall Gate to protest against the proposed Sethusamudram project of the central government at Rameswaram.

Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, former health minister, Punjab, said the Sethusamudram was not merely a bridge, but sentiments of crores of Hindus, who constituted 85 per cent population of the country, were attached to it.He said the proposed project of the Union government could cause destruction to the bridge constructed by Lord Rama about 1.7 million years ago. He warned that the Hindus were ready for any sacrifice to save the monument.

Decrying the central government for ignoring the interests of the Hindus Arun Khanna,state secretary, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, asked the Hindus to unite and protest against the policies detrimental to the interests of the community. He said the so-called secular government wanted to demolish the monument so that the time taken by the ships could be reduced and for this a contract had been awarded to a foreign country. He said secular credentials of the Congress government had been exposed as it was pursuing the policies to appease Muslims. He said the government would have spent crores to save the monument if the bridge was constructed by a Muslim ruler.

The RSR Manch also submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner besides constituting a committee having one member each from the various religious organisations of the city for future programme.


I-Day Bonhomie
Artistes sing Pak anthem, too
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
In a rare bonhomie, following the rendition of the Indian National Anthem after the curtains were drawn, the audience sought to sing the Pakistani national anthem as well at the end of a performance by Pakistani artistes staging a Punjabi play, ‘Toba Tek Singh’, late last evening at Punjab Naatshala Theatre here.

The Pakistani artistes gathered after the performance immediately responded to the request of their counterparts which gave a sense of brotherhood between the Indian and Pakistani artistes.

The play was staged as part of the Independence Day celebrations between the two neighbouring countries. It was organised in the city by Ajoka, a theatre of Pakistan.

The play depicts the long and painful journey of mad men lodged in various mental hospitals and jails of the two countries during the traumatic period of Partition. The story is about ‘Toba Tek Singh’ who breathed his last on no-man’s land, the divide created by the man-made partition of a once great Indian subcontinent. The play portrays that even these hapless psychic cases, who were ignorant about the happenings outside the complexes where they were lodged, were not ready to accept the reality that the country had been divided and they were living in a newly created nation Pakistan.

Directed by Malik Aslam and adapted by Shahid Nadeem, ‘Toba Tek Singh’ is a short story by famous Urdu story writer Saadat Hassan Manto whose stories have become neo-classics. His stories ‘Khol Do’, Thanda Gosht’ and ‘Toba Tek Singh’ became popular in the region as these dealt with the horrific events that accompanied the partition of the country. He has been able to go into spaces where historians and social scientists have failed to reach besides compelling people to adopt new approaches towards developing an alternative theory on inter-community relations.

Ajoka, a theatre for social change, was created two decades ago in Lahore as part of a struggle for secular, democratic, humane, just and egalitarian Pakistan. The founder of the group is Madiha Gauhar, a leading theatre personality from Pakistan who has devoted her whole life for live performances.


Book on Maharaja Ranjit Singh released
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 12
A book, “Ranjit Singh Personalities Extraordinaire”, written by an educationist and philanthropist was released here today at a special convention at the Naatshala theatre.

Giving a brief glimpse into the lives and times of the legendary king, Sandhu said this book had brought into focus the glorious chapter of the Indian history for the present generation. Making an audio-visual presentation, she said she had a strong conviction that understanding the philosophy of the Maharaja and reasons behind his actions would help us decipher his ways in maintaining harmony during his rule. She said through learning the history of the legendary king we could bind the two countries together for the betterment of our people.

She said during the course of listing the facets of the Maharaja she got an opportunity of interacting with historians, artistes and intellectuals in India and Pakistan.

The book was released by Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, Nadira Naeem from Pakistan and Radha Sharma, professor of history, Guru Nanak Dev University. Among those who presented views on the Maharaja’s rule included S.S. Behal, B.S. Sekhon, Kewal Dhaliwal and Balwinder Singh Sandhu from the Department of Heritage of the university.


Residents’ threat on garbage dumping
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 12
Residents of te Municipal Council Employees’ Colony have decided to have a place to dump garbage in the abandoned motor garage. Sensing clearance of the place by JCB machine the employees resolved to resist. Shopkeepers on the main road said they would support the move. The city police station-2 is also located near the proposed dumping place, they added.

Meanwhile, residents of other localities in the old walled city threatened to dump garbage outside the house of the council president if arrangements to remove the garbage stacked in the streets were not made in 48 hours.

Consumer Movement chairman Sat Pal Khariwal and S. K. Rama, president of the Youth Cricket and Welfare Club, in a memorandum to the sub divisional magistrate here on August 8 had regretted safai sewaks of the council faced problems after shifting of garbage collection centre from the Patel Nagar entrance in the heart of the old walled city on July 30. Alternative arrangements were not made after removing the old garbage centre recently under orders of the Chief Minister. The old city had garbage-dumping centre only opposite the main post office in the corner of the Nehru Stadium. The safai sewaks had expressed inability in traversing such long distance with hand-pulled rehris.

They said the safai sewaks were now unable to dispose of garbage collected from houses in street Nos.1 to 12 besides the old grain market. Garbage was getting stacked outside houses and in the crossings making citizens face stink emanating from heaps. The sanitary inspectors of the municipal council were approached but they did not respond. This posed threat to environment .Khariwal and Rama urged the authorities to find a solution to it.

SDM N. S. Brar has asked the council to find a solution. The council authorities preferred to use the abandoned motor garage in the residential colony but this too faced stiff opposition. Residents met former BJP MLA Dr Ram Kumar Goyal and urged him to prevent the Congress-led council from polluting their colony.


Man dies on release from police custody
Tribune News Service

Kharar, August 12
Naresh (31), alias Rajan, died in mysterious circumstances while being taken to the Mohali civil hospital at 10 pm tonight.

Naresh's brother, Bobby, a resident of Mohali in Phase I, brought him to the civil hospital in an autorickshaw. Doctors at the hospital declared him ‘brought dead’. Bobby alleged the Balongi and Maloya police had tortured him , leading to his death.

Naresh worked at a dhaba in Zirakpur and was a an addict. The dhaba owner claimed he had asked Naresh's brother to take him to a de-addiction center.

On Friday night at 11 pm, Naresh appeared on the doorstep of a house in Balongi in an inebriated state. The occupants, four girls and their father, beat up Naresh and handed him over to the police.

His brother Bobby alleged the Balongi police subjected Naresh to torture and then sent him to the Maloya police in Chandigarh. "This morning I got three calls from the Maloya police station - at 9 am, 10.30 am and 11am. The cops asked me to take away my brother. When I went to fetch him, I saw he was badly beaten and had bruises all over his body," Bobby said.

In the evening, Naresh's condition deteriorated and he was brought to the Mohali hospital. The SP (Headquarters), Mohali, Harinderjeet Singh, visited the hospital along with the SHOs of the Mohali Phase I, Kharar and Balongi police post.

Till the filing of the report, the police was taking statements of Bobb. Mohali SSP R.S. Khacchra said Naresh had been brought from the Maloya police station and it was not under the Mohali police jurisdiction.


Tributes paid to Kiranjit
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Mehal Kalan (Barnala), August 12
A shradhanjali samaroh was organised here today to pay tributes to Kiranjit Kaur who was gang raped and killed at Mehal Kalan village 10 years ago.

In a resolution passed at the function, thousands of men and women by raising their hands demanded death sentence, in place of life imprisonment, for those who had abducted, gang raped and murdered her.

In another resolution the gathering also asked the Punjab government to immediately reinstate headmaster Prem Kumar and a PSEB employee, Narayan Dutt (both members of the Kiranjit Kaur Agwa/Katal Kand Virodhi Action Committee) as the Punjab Governor had already granted pardon to them in a case of murder of Dalip Singh, a member of the family of the accused in the Kiranjit case.

Headmaster Prem Kumar and his wife Krishana Devi, Manjit Singh Dhaner and his wife Harbans Kaur, Narayan Dutt and his wife Neelam Rani, parents of Kiranjit Kaur, Darshan Singh and Paramjit Kaur and Prem Pal Kaur, wife of a former convener of the Kiranjit Kaur Agwa/Katal Kand Virodhi Action Committee late Bhagwant Singh and her son Monu, were honoured with “sanman patras”.


Indo-Pak festival begins today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 12
Thirtyeight dignitaries, including 12 parliamentarians and office-bearers of SAFMA, from across the border are expected to reach here tomorrow to participate in the two-day Hind-Pak Friendship Festival, beginning from August 13.

Artistes from both sides will present a play, “Yatra : 1947”, to depict the tragedy of Partition.

General secretary of the manch Satnam Manak said Imtiaz Alam, secretary-general, SAFMA, would lead a delegation of writers, journalists and traders from Pakistan. Ramesh Yadav, president, Folklore Research Academy, said many MPs of the Left, including Mohammad Salem, Alka Kshatria and A.R. Sahin, and dignitaries from Germany and other countries would also participate in the seminar on Indo-Pak relations scheduled to be held here tomorrow. Rajya Sabha member from Haryana Tarlochan Singh and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general, SAD, had also confirmed their participation.


PSEB holds Lok Darbar
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, August 12
To sort out the problems of its consumers, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) organised a Lok Darbar at Badali Ala Singh village falling in Bassi Pathana subdivision.

J.S. Sekhon, member distribution, presided over the camp. B.S. Bath, chief engineer, Central zone, Ludhiana, G.S. Birdi, superintendent engineer, circle Khera, R.K. Goyal, senior executive engineer member and Dalbara Singh, Additional SC(D) heard the grievances of the consumers and sorted them out on the spot.

On the occasion, 57 complaints were received and most of them were sorted out on the spot.

Addressing the gathering, J.S. Sekhon said that on the directions of the state government, the PSEB has decided to organise public darbars at block level to sort out the problems of the people regarding electricity on their doorstep.


2 more cancer deaths reported
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, August 12
Cancer has reportedly claimed two more lives in Chandbaja village near here.

According to villagers, Schinder Singh and Harpal Singh, both Dalits, died two days ago.

The Tribune had, in its columns on July 29, reported the prevalence of cancer among the villagers.

The 14-member team of the local health department had confirmed that five persons were suffering from cancer while seven cases were placed under the suspect category.

When contacted Dr Rakesh Gupta, Chief Medical Officer, said he was not aware about their deaths.


Medical camp held
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 12
A free medical camp was organised at Shri Sanatan Dharam Kumar Sabha Dharamshala by Wholesale Chemists Association at Sheranwala Gate here today.

The camp was inaugurated by former minister Surjit Singh Kohli.

About 530 patients were examined by a team of doctors and free medicines were distributed to them.

Ramesh Singla, general secretary of the association, thanked the chief guest and the doctors for making the programme a success.


Rs 1-cr grants for panchayats released
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 12
Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, minister of Panchayats and Rural Development, Punjab, released Rs 1 crore grants for the Naushehra Pannuan area villages.

Grants are for Chohla Sahib, Rattoke, Marhana, Brahmpura,Chamba Kalan, Raniwalah, Gharka and other villages for development works like draining of water, school buildings, retaining walls of the village ponds, latrines for down-trodden sections of society etc.

The minister also held a sangat darshan on the occasion and redressed 200 complaints of residents of the area.

Officials of different departments were also present on the occasion.

The minister advised the panchayats to use the grants properly for the betterment of people of the area.


250 examined at free check-up camp
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, August 12
The Bharat Vikas Parishad today organised a free Ayurvedic medical check-up camp at Aggarwal Dharamshala here.

Leading social worker Sunil Khullar, president, Sant Namdev Educational Trust, was the chief guest while a team of doctors comprising Dr N.K. Sharma, Dr Pathak, Dr K.P. Jagdev, Dr Jyoti Rana and Dr Raghbir Singh from Government Ayurvedic College, Patiala, conducted the camp.

Tilak Raj Sharma, project chairman, said that in the camp more than 250 patients were examined and medicines were given free of cost to them.


Body found

Kharar, August 12
A badly decomposed body was found in the fields of Bairopur village today. The Majat police post in charge Bawa Singh said that body has been identified as that of Ranjit Singh, a resident of Maujpur village.

His family members told the police that Ranjit suffered from a serious mental illness. A sweeper by profession, he was married and has two children. He has been missing since August 9. The body was sent to Kharar civil hospital. — TNS


PG masters not given due scale, says union

Batala, August 12
Talking to the mediapersons here today, Surinder Mohan, president of the Post-graduate Masters Union, Punjab, alleged that the DPI (S) Punjab, Jagtar Singh Khatra, had not honoured the decision of the Supreme Court dated March 19, 1996, in which it has given instructions to the DPI(S) to give the lecturer scale and other benefits to the post-graduate masters.

The union has written letters to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the education minister, Dr Upinderjeet Kaur, in this regard.

Mohan further alleged that Khatra was harassing them by not giving them the lecturer’s scale. — OC


6-yr-old boy drowned

Batala, August 12
Two persons, including a minor boy, drowned in two ponds near here today.

According to the police, Ankush (6) drowned while taking bath in the Achleshwar Dham pond while an unidentified person drowned at Gurdwara Phalahi Sahib pond near Wadala Granthi village.

Efforts were on to recover the body. — PTI


2 brothers held for killing wives
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 12
Kaka Singh and Balwinder Singh, brothers, who killed their wives Sukhminder Kaur and Manjinder Kaur, both sisters, yesterday at Fatta Balu village of the district, were arrested today.

They allegedly killed their wives after they delivered girl children recently. The brothers had sought the help of their third brother Gurjinder Singh to commit the crime.

Sources said after killing the women the accused had fled the village. A sharp-edged weapon was used to commit the crime. The accused had been harassing the deceased for the past many days for delivering baby girls. The Talwandi Sabo police station had registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC on the complaint of Balvir Singh, who had acted as middleman during marriages of the accused and deceased.


Two babas beaten up, 1 arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 12
Members of the Damdami Taksal, Dharam Parchar Committee and Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee today exposed two “dera heads” involved in exorcism. The two were severely beaten up by the members and people of the area.

While Baba Jarnail Singh of Dhatal village (under the Chheharta police station) was arrested, from whose possession drugs and CDs were seized, Baba Lakha Singh of Gaggobua village in Jhabal area was released after a warning.

The members of Taksal, Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee and Dharam Parchar Committee took the holy book, Nishan Sahib and other related material from the deras to the Taksal.

Eyewitnesses revealed that Baba Lakha Singh had installed a ‘gaddi’ near Guru Granth Sahib.

The baba apologised and admitted in front of the mediapersons that he had no magical powers. He also confessed that he even could not recite verses from the holy book.


Dowry Cases
11 booked

Moga, August 12
The local police has registered cases against 11 persons since the past 24 hours. The Sadar police station has registered a case against seven persons on a complaint lodged by Kuldeep Kaur. She alleged that her husband and in-laws used to harass and beat her up for bringing insufficient dowry.

Cases were registered against her husband, Buta Singh, his father Jeet Singh, mother Amarjeet Kaur, brothers Kirpal Singh and Sultan Singh and sisters Nikky and Babli, all residents of Mullapur Dakha village in Ludhiana district.

In another case, Amandeep Kaur said she was turned out of the house after she refused to bring more dowry. A case was registered against her husband Sandeep Singh, his father Major Singh, sister Gurdeep Kaur and Gurdial Singh, all residents of Rampura Phul in Bathinda district. — TNS


Atta-dal scheme takes off before I-Day
Ration depot dealer arrested
Our Correspondent

Batala, August 12
The Batala police today arrested Vinod Kumar Chopra, a ration depot dealer, at Shri Hargobindpur, for selling wheat and pulses meant for the poor under the atta-dal scheme before August 15.

The SSP, R.N. Dhoke, said Vinod had been arrested and had got police remand till August 14.

The police had also urged the food and civil supplies department in Gurdaspur to cancel the license of such dealers.

On the statement of 11 poor persons of the area, the police had raided the depot.


Yeoman service to women
A college providing flavour of values, culture
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Ferozepur, August 12
The Dev Samaj College for Women here has become a must-visit place for those visiting the town. Innovative and ingenuous approach coupled with a desire to providing flavour of Indian values and fast disappearing traditional village culture to students coming from various regions of north India has given birth to an aesthetic environment on the college premises spread on 35 acres.

One of the oldest residential institutions in the region dating back to pre-Independence era, the institution has done yeoman service to women. The fame of its remarkable interiors has spread so far that the college administration often receives requests for facilitating visits to the campus. The interiors of the building transport visitors to a world full of creative art juxtaposed with historic events, idyllic scenes and thought-provoking concepts. Almost all departments, rest room, garden and common room depict scenes aiming to inspire students to utilise their power to the hilt.

Incidentally, principal of the college Madhu Prashar is behind the concept of the paintings on walls. Becoming the principal at 36, she has been holding the office since 1992.

Discipline and value-based education are watchwords of the institute credited to have produced first Hindu woman BA BT, first MBBS officer, both in undivided Punjab. Besides, it has several firsts in its kitty, including first woman IAS officer and first woman principal of Lady Irwin College, New Delhi. Its other renowned alumnae are Sarla Grewal, former principal secretary to late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, sisters of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, sisters of senior Congress leader Balram Jakhar and a sister of late Chief Minister Beant Singh.

A reformer of late 19th and early 20th centuries, Bhagwan Dev Atma, also founder of the Dev Samaj, was the person behind setting up of the institution in 1901. It became a full-fledged college in 1934.

It has 64 classrooms, three centrally air-conditioned computer labs, eight science labs, language lab and four home science labs. Unlike other educational institutes students here sit on mats. The college does not allow students to wear jeans and carry mobile phones.

The principal said for nearly 800 boarding students coming from as far as Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, besides Punjab, they provided ATM facility and other daily need item shops on the college premises itself.


PTU VC is also a missile man
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 12
Not many people know that the Punjab Technical University (PTU) vice-chancellor, Dr S.K. Salwan, is a ‘missile man’ of international repute like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and warheads for missiles like “Agni”, “Prithvi,” “Akash”, “Nag” and “Trishul” were successfully designed and developed between 1989 and 1992 under his leadership.

He was also a founder-member of the Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme.

He has also been credited with the establishment of Hyderabad-based High Technology Missiles Research Centre. He holds a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.

“Teaching has always been my chief passion. I still go and teach students,” said Dr Salwan while talking to The Tribune.

He was the programme director of the state-of-art weapon system ‘PINAKA’, a multi-barrel rocket launcher system.

Dr Salwan has been nominated as expert member by the Organisation of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a UN organisation, and is also technical expert in the executive council.

As adviser (strategic project), he headed the development of strategic weapons. He was appointed emeritus scientist defence research by the President of India in January 2003. Dr Salwan was a member of the Prime Minister Committee on Railway Safety and headed the water mission project of the technology missions apart from being the member, Punjab State Council of Science and Technology and chairman of the Apex Committee for modernising technical education in the state.


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