P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Hooliganism in Gurdwara
Pak board given clean chit 
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 24
A day after the assurance given by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha that the Indian government would take up the matter of hooliganism in a gurdwara in Lahore, the fact-finding committee of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has given a clean chit to the Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board ( PEPTB).

In its preliminary report submitted to the DSGMC president, the committee has claimed that no damage has been done to Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh in Naulakha Bazar, Lahore. The committee comprising Kuldip Singh, Balbir Singh, Harbhajan Singh Matharoo, Harjinder Singh and Chanchal Singh had gone to Pakistan yesterday and visited the gurdwara. It also held talks with the PEPTB and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) officials.

Talking to The Tribune, Parmjit Singh Sarna, president of the DSGMC, said he would also visit the gurdwara on August 29. He alleged that the matter was being exploited out of proportion and the reports of hooliganism on the gurdwara premises were found baseless. He said the PETPB was contemplating creating a common path on the pattern of Gurdwara Sis Ganj and Sunehri Masjid, New Delhi.

On the other hand, Bishan Singh, president of the PSGPC, said Sikhs were not being discriminated against at the gurdwara. He claimed that the Pir was buried on the gurdwara premises and the Sikhs and Muslims had been visiting it for many years. However, he said the act by the hooligans was illegal and not supported by the PETPB. Bishan also opposed the painting of one of the gurdwara domes green.


Police caught on the wrong foot
Human bomb theory goes boom
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 24
Realising their folly in pasting the photographs of innocent women on notice boards, the police today removed these. Interestingly, all police officials remained tightlipped on the issue. However, sources said the photos were removed after the matter was reported in The Tribune today. No case had been registered against the five women.

Sources here said that the photos were circulated among the police personal as they allegedly threatened to become human bombs in protest against the treatment being meted out to the dera chief by the Punjab government. These were circulated as a precautionary measure for police officials on security duty during VIP visits. However, some adventurous police officials here pasted their photos on the notice board along with hardened criminals and terrorists.

The SHO, Kotwali police station, said the women were a threat to Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal as per intelligence reports. He agreed that no case had been registered against them.

The DGP, N.P.S. Aulakh, who was on a visit here today, declined any knowledge about the matter. But if the DGP had no knowledge regarding the suspected human bombs, then how their photos made way to the notice boards of police stations is anybody’s guess.


Inquiry marked into cop’s suicide
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 24
Inspector general of police (IG), Border Range, R.P. Meena has marked an inquiry into the alleged suicide of sub-inspector Shiv Kumar who was posted at the Police Lines falling under the Amritsar (Rural) police district here, accorrding to sources.

The SI was found dead under mysterious circumstances on the railway tracks near Joura Phatak here. The General Railway Police (GRP) has registered a case under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The SI allegedly committed suicide as he was depressed for he had felt humiliated when a senior police officer caught him drunk and put him in the lock-up a few months ago.


Probe against SHO ordered in torture case
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 24
After receiving report from the DSP (H) with regard to the torture of Ravinder Kumar of the local Bahadurpur Mohalla by the CIA staff on August 22, SSP, Hoshiarpur, Anita Punj today ordered a department inquiry against the then SHO, Parveen Kumar Kanda, who was recently transferred from the city police station in another case.

The SSP said the preliminary inquiry conducted by the DSP (H) revealed that Kanda was responsible for torturing Ravinder, who was now under treatment at the local Civil Hospital. An officer of the rank of SP would conduct the inquiry, she added.

Ravinder Kumar had been booked for theft in a garments showroom located at the local Sutehri road.

Members of Ravinder’s family also met the SSP and apprised her of the issue. 


DGP’s clean chit to Patiala cops irks Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 24
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today criticised DGP N.P.S. Aulakh for giving clean chit to the Patiala police for its role during the recently concluded municipal corporation elections.

He was reacting to the statement issued by the DGP yesterday that the municipal elections in Patiala remained peaceful. He said the DGP should instead take action against the police officials who helped in vote rigging during the corporation elections. His statement of giving clean chit to police officials was encouragement for those who were following undemocratic practices in the state.

Amarinder said the SAD-BJP combine who had never been voted to power in Patiala have won over 43 seats. In many cases SAD candidates had got 99 per cent of the total votes polled. This clearly showed how fair the municipal elections were. I would write to the union minister for home against the IPS officials who reportedly worked for the ruling party during the corporation elections.

Amarinder also held a meeting with Congress candidates who boycotted the elections on his call. About challenging the corporation elections, he said legally these could be challenged in the court of district magistrate. When the district administration was also a party to rigging how could we expect justice from them. There was no use of challenging the elections before the district magistrate.

The former Chief Minister was seen gathering his ranks in Patiala today after news reports that many Congressmen of his camp were joining Bhattal and Dullo camps.


16 IAS, 14 PCS officers get new postings
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Punjab government today ordered fresh postings for the 16 IAS and 14 PCS officers. Three districts will get new deputy commissioners while five subdivisions will have new SDMs.

R.N.Gupta is the new financial corporation (Appeals), Swarn Singh has been posted as the principal secretary (Public Grievances and Pensions), Roshan Sunkaria goes as the secretary (Forests and Wildlife) and S.S. Rajput as secretary (Personnel) will also hold an additional charge of MD, PSIEC.

K.S. Saroj will be the new director, Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, while R.L. Kapoor is the new secretary (Home). S.R.Ladhar goes as commissioner, Jalandhar division. Karam Singh becomes special secretary (Home) while Samir Kumar goes as the director, local government.

Dilip Kumar is the new special secretary (Health and Family Welfare). He will also hold an additional portfolio of the project director (National Rural Health Mission). Manjit Singh goes as special secretary (Defence Services Welfare) while R.L. Mehta has been posted as the deputy commissioner, Barnala, and V.K. Ohri becomes deputy commissioner, Sangrur, while Ajoy Sharma has been posted as the deputy commissioner, Taran Tarn.

Kamal Kishor Yadav will go to the department of housing and urban development as the chief administrator, Bathinda development authority, while Balwinder Singh goes as the additional secretary (social security).

Diprava Lakra has been posted as the SDM, Dhuri, while S.M. Sharma is the new SDM (West), Ludhiana. Puneet Goyal will be the new Pathankot SDM and T.N. Passey will take charge as Zira SDM. Ravinder Pal Singh is the SDM of Moonak.

Ritu Aggarwal is the new additional secretary(Excise and Taxation). Pardeep Kumar will be deputy director (Urban Local Bodies), Amritsar, while Amarpal Singh has been posted as the joint secretary (Freedom Fighters).

Kiran Rosy will function as the deputy director in the chief engineer (Irrigation) office, while Arun Sekhri goes as additional secretary (Irrigation). N.S. Brar will hold an additional charge of the joint M.D Punjab state warehousing corporation and Sunil Bhatia is the new joint director (Health).

Amrit Kaur Gill is the new AETC-I, Ludhiana, while Harbir Singh becomes AETC-I, Jalandhar.


Hippo fossil found from Shivaliks
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 24
Nowadays hippopotamus are only found in Africa. However, about 5 million years ago they used to roam in the Shivalik ranges of Patiala. Former principal, Government Mohindra College, Dr V.S. Soni, has found fossils of hippopotamus from these ranges.

While talking to The Tribune Dr Soni said fossilised upper jaw of a hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon Sivalensis) had been found in the Miocene era rocks (more than 5 millions year old) of the Shivalik ranges.

This fossil has been found a few decades after the first hippopotamus fossil of the Miocene era was found in Myanmar. Soni has also found the fossilised jaw of the rarely found pig teeth of the Miocene era.

Besides this, Soni has found a large number of other fossils from the Shivalik ranges that indicates the presence wildlife similar to one that existed in the African continent. Among his collections are the fossils of a large tortoise that are now extinct, giraffe bones, crocodile teeth, fish and numerous grass-eating animals, which flourished here in large numbers.

One of the best specimens collected by Soni is an 11-foot long pair of the extinct stegodon elephant’s tusks.

Only two species of elephants are now found on this planet. These are Asian and African elephants. However, 30 million years ago about 162 species of elephants lived on the earth at various periods of evolution.

The Shivalik rocks show the presence of at least nine genera and 22 species of elephants, which had large populations at various stages of the geological period. The elephants whose specimens have been found from the Shivaliks had attained heights up to 4.5 mts and they had 4-mt long tusks, Soni said.

Soni started taking interest in anthropology about 15 years ago. He used to occasionally go to hills and saw fossils for the first time at Dalobaha in Hoshiarpur. After that he started collecting fossils every time he used to visit the Shivaliks.

His works have been published in the Anthropological Survey of India’s science journal and in a book published by the Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkatta.

He plans to set up a fossils’ museum at or near Patiala if gets financial assistance from the government or private agencies. 


Bittu sticks to Khalsa committee
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 24
A day after the SAD (A) decided to pull out of the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), party leader Daljit Singh Bittu has said he will not leave the committee. He, however, asked party president Sirmranjit Singh Mann to reconsider his decision stating that the KAC was only seeking action against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief and the masses supported their struggle.

Speaking to The Tribune, Bittu said the decision to play a vital role in the formation of the KAC had been taken in a meeting of the political affairs committee of the SAD (A) on June 2. He said Mann decided to break all ties with the KAC without holding a general house meeting of the party.

He said he had all the respect for the party president, who should consider that the KAC was only forwarding the panthic agenda through peaceful means. Mann had yesterday snapped all ties with the KAC.


Cong, Independent candidates win

Amritsar, August 24
Navdeep Singh Goldy of the Congress and Kailash Kaur (Independent) won the MC elections the results of which were announced here today.

Navdeep Singh won 3,381 votes defeating his nearest Akali Dal rival by 783 votes, while the Independent Kailash Kaur polled 2,828 votes defeating her rival Akali Dal candidate Surjit Kaur by 766 votes. The Congress’ tally in the house has moved up to 22. 


Intelligence wing to report on graft
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Adding a new dimension to policing in Punjab, the intelligence wing of the state police — long known to provide political inputs to the government — has now been asked to provide specific information relating to corruption in departments, especially public-dealing ones that collect revenue.

Sources confirmed that inputs were being provided by field units of the intelligence wing with regard to the conduct of officials of the departments of sales tax, excise, revenue and food and supplies. The last one has been added to the list in the past two weeks as it is conducting the delivery of subsidised wheat and dal in the state.

Officials confirmed that the operations were being handled discreetly from Chandigarh on the basis of specific inputs provided from the field units. The district police chiefs have been provided with specific inputs in the immediate past about corruption in a few departments.

Revenue collection has fallen in Punjab during the first quarter of this financial year that has led to various suggestions to reverse the trend. A special watch was being kept on the food and supplies department due to the huge scope of pilferage of wheat and dal, said the sources. The VB had its hands full with several high-profile cases. Hence, day-to-day activities would have to be watched by an additional agency, said an official. 


Best Village of India
Working hard to remain number one
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Nurpur Sethan (Ferozepur), August 24
Even as nearly three and a half decades have passed since this village was declared the best village of India for not reporting any dispute, its panchayat and senior citizens work hard to maintain its reputation. According to villagers, Indira Gandhi and Chief Minister Giani Zail Singh had visited the village to bestow the honour.

Located on the Ferozepur-Faridkot road, the village could not remain untouched with the progress of the country. Courtesy politics and politicians, altercations and disputes have started taking place. However, successive panchayat members and senior citizens want to hold on to the honour given to the village. Sarpanch Harbans Singh says that villagers reside peacefully with one other and hardly any dispute has been reported to the police.

He says the best village status has become a heritage for the present generation.Their effort is to amicably resolve disputes on their own. They discourage to take matters to the police or court. “Generally, people dissuade warring parties from going to the police as it would bring disrepute to the village,” he says.

According to the Sadar police station record, only six cases were reported last year. The cases pertained to confiscation of liquor, gambling and theft. This year, three cases have been registered so far. In one case, a villager had said he had been duped by a Ludhiana resident while in another, the complainant alleged that his daughter was being harassed for dowry by her in-laws who live in Moga.

A display board at the entrance of the village states in Punjabi that the village was declared the best in 1972-73. It also mentions names of the then panchayat members.

With 2,200 acres being farm land, farming and dairy are the major occupations of villagers and canal water is used for irrigation. About 6,000 residents rear nearly 7,000 cattle.

The village has a grain market, a post office, a dispensary and a veterinary hospital, besides government primary and senior secondary schools.


Licence of 8 ration shops suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
The district food and supply controller suspended the licence of eight ration depots today. A criminal case has also been registered against a salesman of a cooperative agriculture service society at Dhade village and the other for allegedly diverting the wheat meant for those living below the poverty line in the open market.

District food and supply controller Sukhdev Singh said various shortcomings were found in the functioning of eight ration depots of this district. Notices have been issued to the allottees of these depots to explain their position. He said about four-ration depot holders had not lifted the food grain stock to be distributed under the kanak-dal scheme of the state government.

He said not only this; notices had also been issued to the allottees of 15 other ration depot holders. The Ballianwali police station has registered a criminal case against CASS salesman Kuldeep Kumar of Dhade village and Somi for diverting the wheat in the open market.


Occupants of civic body property to get ownership
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced that the state government had taken a decision to transfer the ownership of property belonging to municipal corporations and committees to occupants who had been in possession of the property for a considerable period.

This decision will automatically bestow ownership rights on these occupants and save them from eviction from the property.

Badal was presiding over a meeting of the deputy commissioners of the state.

While reviewing the computerisation of land records, Badal asked the revenue department to expedite the work to ensure accountability and transparency in the procedure of registration.

Badal also ordered the re-verification of the beneficiaries of the kanak-dal scheme. Those who had been wrongly enrolled and the genuine ones who had been left out on account of negligence of the surveyors would be issued blue ration cards by the end of September.

The Chief Minister also reviewed the arrangements for paddy procurement.

Badal ordered that the quota system of mining of sand and bajri must be stopped immediately and a transparent auction of river beds and other sites be carried out by the deputy commissioners. Also, the DCs were told to identify vacant government land in their respective districts so that it could be properly utilised in accordance with the requirements of the state government.


Sukhbir promises water, power

Moga, August 24
Even after 60 years of Independence there is shortage of basic amenities like potable water and electricity in most of the villages in this district. SAD’s officiating president Sukhbir Singh Badal came to know about this after listening to the grievances of panchayats of a few villages falling under this district today.

He claimed that the state would be made self-sufficient in power supply, potable water to each house and water for irrigation purposes. The government was trying to arrange a loan of Rs 1,500 crore for the Sirhind feeder in this regard and added that the Rs 1,280 crore World Bank project was initiated to provide basic amenities in villages. — TNS


Unit-based assessment of house tax soon: Kalia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Punjab will follow Gujarat in weeding out the “inspector raj” in urban local bodies.

Hinting at a major shift in system to charge house tax, Punjab local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia today said the state government was planning to introduce a new system of unit-based assessment system to charge the tax, a major source of income for the civic bodies.

The new system has been successfully implemented in Gujarat. It is based on a system wherein the assessee will be able to assess the amount of house tax payable due toward their properties.

Consequently, litigations will be curbed, thus ruling out the chances of corruption and “inspector raj”, said the minister while inaugurating a food festival at Chandigarh Press Club here.

He added that the state government had decided to create a Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Fund (PMIDF), which had been approved by the Chief Minister on May 16.

Under the scheme, the state government may put a one-time corpus (deposit) into it and mobilise regular amounts through loans from financial institutions and amount realised from the sale of properties of the urban local bodies and major improvement trusts.

Around Rs 150 crore is available with the urban local bodies and improvement trusts that can be utilised for the purpose.

The minister also announced that the state government will introduce a city bus service in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar from November 1 on the Indore pattern with ultra-modern facilities in the buses, like electronic ticketing machines, modern shelters and GRP satellite linkup to inform passengers about the exact time of arrival of each bus, etc.

Also, infrastructure projects like metro rail, mono rail, ring road, flyovers, etc. in Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala on the public private partnership (PPP) mode is under the consideration of the state government, he added.

Later, the minister inaugurated the food festival at the club and announced Rs 2 lakh for the club.

The two-day festival is being organised in association with the Hotel and Catering Management Institute. D.J. Singh of the institute said dishes from across the country will be made available to gastronomes, who will be treated to a seven course meal.


Draft Gurdwara Bill
Badal convenes meeting for discussion
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will preside over a meeting to discuss the draft All India Sikh Gurdwara Bill-1999 sent for the Punjab government perusal by the union ministry of home affairs. The meeting is scheduled for August 28.

Sources told The Tribune that an official invitation for the meeting, dated August 23, has been sent to the state’s chief secretary, principal secretary, advocate-general and prominent Sikh scholars who are part of the committee constituted to vet the draft Bill and come out with recommendations and suggestions, if any.

The home ministry has sent the draft Bill to various state governments to seek their opinion on it before it can be given the final shape acceptable to the Sikh community.

The draft Bill has been prepared by the Gurdwara Election Commission on the basis of the Sikh Gurdwara Bill, 1986. It was presented to joint secretary of ministry of home affairs Shiv Basant by Harbans Singh, chief commissioner of the Gurdwara Election Commission.

The Sikh scholars who have been invited to the meeting are Dr Kharak Singh, Dr Jodh Singh, Dr Jaspal Singh, Dr Variam Singh, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia (former vice-chancellor, Punjabi University) and Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon of Guru Nanak Dev University.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar and Sukhdev Singh Bhaur have also been invited, as they also part of the committee constituted for the purpose.

The draft Bill consists of 14 chapters dealing comprehensively with almost every issue relating to the gurdwara management and makes a mention of various measures to regulate the affairs of gurdwaras. Chapter one defines terms like Amritdhari Sikh, historical Sikh gurdwara, notified Sikh gurdwara, etc.

Chapter two deals with the registration of Sikh gurdwaras. It says that every state board or regional board (these entities too have been defined in the Bill) shall appoint a regulatory authority for each state for the purpose of registering Sikh gurdwaras falling in their respective jurisdiction.

Every gurdwara, whether in existence immediately before the date of commencement of the Act (if the Bill is enacted), shall be required to be registered with the registering authority of the state in which such a gurdwara is situated.

The Sikh gurdwara includes: a notified Sikh gurdwara, a Sikh gurdwara under the management of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee constituted under the Delhi Act, in existence immediately before the commencement of this Act (if the Bill is enacted) and thirdly a historical Sikh gurdwara.

Also, term “Sikh gurdwara” includes “any other place of worship by whatever name called, which has been established for use by the Sikhs for the purpose of public worship and is being used for such worship by the Sikhs and others having faith in teachings of 10 Gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib”.

Finally, the term also comprises “any other place of worship by whatever name called wherein Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the main object of public worship and where general Sikh sangat and others having faith in teaching of 10 Sikh Gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib have free access for such worship”.


Free transport proposed for AIDS patients 
Doctors instructed against denying HIV treatment
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Punjab Health Department will take up with the Transport Ministry the issue of free transport facility for AIDS patients on treatment at its antiretroviral therapy (ART) centres. About 2,162 patients from Punjab are on treatment at present.

Besides, the department has issued strict instructions to government doctors against denial of treatment to patients. Seriously viewing the recent incidents of discrimination against the patients, the authorities are also drawing up a list of doctors who have denied patients access to treatment after learning about their status.

The most significant development, however, is the decision of health authorities to offer free transport facility to AIDS patients, who are being lost to follow up. Enquiries reveal that 200 AIDS patients from Punjab on antiretroviral therapy (ART) at th PGI, Chandigarh, have been lost to follow up. At the Amritsar ART centre, 13 per cent of the registered patients did not return for treatment. The percentage was 5 at the Jalandhar ART centre.

Confirming the news to The Tribune today, K.B.S. Sidhu, Punjab health secretary and project director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society, said most patients dropped their treatment because they were unable to afford the cost of travelling to ART centres.

“We are proposing free transport for the AIDS patients, who must be tracked down on a regular basis, as also required by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). Adherence to ART is the key to treatment. But patients are lost either to death or to poverty. We just want to help,” said Sidhu.

The facility will be valid for the AIDS patients from Punjab on treatment at ART centres in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Chandigarh and Rohtak. It will, however, not be extended to HIV positive people not yet on ART. As on July 31, Punjab had 2,162 AIDS patients on therapy. Of these, 970 are on treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh, and Rohtak. The rest are on treatment at the Amritsar and Jalandhar ART centres.

The Transport Ministry under the previous government had turned down the Health Department’s idea of free transport for the AIDS patients on grounds that it was not viable. The department is, however, hopeful of clearance this time, now that it has data on lost patients to show.

If the proposal gets cleared by the Punjab Transport Ministry, Punjab will become the third state after Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh to offer free transport to AIDS patients. The proposal will also encourage the AIDS patients to own up their status because unless they do that they won’t be able to avail of the facility.

Rajasthan has got ID cards printed for AIDS patients. These have to be produced while on board any mode of public transport.


Punjab’s factfile

  • HIV prevalence rate — 0.12 per cent as against national average of 0.36 per cent
  • Estimated HIV positive persons — 16, 868
  • AIDS patients on antiretroviral therapy - 2,162
  • ART centres — Amritsar, Jalandhar, PGI Chandigarh, PGI Rohtak
  • Reported HIV cases in integrated counselling and testing centres till July 31 — 6,632


Gill opposes golf course project
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Opposing the setting up of a golf course by acquiring 250 acres belonging to small and marginal farmers of Chappar Chiri village, near Mohali, member of the Rajya Sabha M.S. Gill said the project should be scrapped immediately.

He said Chappar Chiri was a historic village where Banda Singh Bahadur had for the first time defeated the Mughal rulers in 1708 after their domination over a long period in this region. The setting up of the golf course, building houses for the rich and mighty and the opening of five-star hotels there would amount to tampering with the history of the region. The state government authorities could not be allowed to do this, he said.

This act was now being misused in the garb of public interest to acquire the land of farmers for creating facilities for the leisure of rich persons.

Seeking the scrapping of the land acquisition act which, he said, was being misused across the country to rob farmers of their land and livelihood and serve the interests of the rich, Dr Gill said the world’s leading democracies such as the US and European countries did not have such an act.


Cigarettes sold at Teej mela
Health minister was chief guest
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 24
Gutkha, cigarettes and pan masala were sold openly at Aam Khas Bagh where Teej celebrations were held under the presidentship of Punjab health minister Luxmi Kanta Chawla.

These were sold bang next to the venue of the function organised by the district administration, even when the health minister was present. A vendor did brisk business barely 50 metres from the venue.

“Are they propagating Punjabi tradition and culture by making arrangements for gutkha and cigarettes," remarked a visitor to the Teej mela.

Arrangements at the mela left a lot to be desired. Some senior officials said they had been forced to contribute `money' for the festival. They said despite the contributions, there were no seats for them during the celebrations.

There were no local leaders, either from the BJP or the SAD, to receive the minister. The local BJP chief reached the venue late. Local Akali MLA Didar Singh Bhatti did not turn up though he was later represented by the his son, who stayed only for a short while.

Deputy commissioner Alaknanda Dayal was ‘not available’ for comment. 


50 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Patiala August 24
Fifty units of blood were donated at a blood donation camp organised by the State Bank of Patiala, Bhadson branch, at Government Senior Secondary School, Bhadson, here today. S.K. Ahluwalia, commissioner, Patiala division, inaugurated the camp.

SDM Nabha Balra Singh Sekhon and AGM of the bank J.S. Aneja also participated in the camp. Fifty school students and school staff members donated blood. Ahluwalia praised the contribution of teachers. He also reminded them of their role and responsibility toward students and society. Blood donors were honoured. 


High Court
Chahal’s petition adjourned

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Justice M.M. Aggarwal today adjourned the bail pleas of Today Homes’ officials and B.I.S. Chahal to August 30. The pleas are in connection with the Ludhiana City Centre case. The judge also ordered that the interim relief against arrest granted to Chahal would continue.

The counsel for Today Homes officials, Shanti Bhushan, who came from Delhi, submitted that all affidavits related to the case had been filed before the court. 


Gill is legal services chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court has nominated Justice Mehtab Singh Gill as the executive chairman of the Punjab Legal Services Authority.

The schedule of the quarterly lok adalat to be held in districts of Punjab is as follows: labour court, Amritsar (Oct 5); Sangrur, Moonak, Barnala, Malerkotla, Dhuri and Sunam (Oct 6); labour court, Bathinda (Oct 12); Ropar, Mohali, Anandpur Sahib and Kharar (Oct 13); and Amritsar, Patti, Ajnala, Baba Bakala and Tarn Taran (Oct 20).

The lok adalat will be held at the labour court, Gurdaspur, on November 2; Mansa, Sardulgarh, Budhlada, Bathinda, Talwandi Sabo and Rampura Phul (Nov 3); labour court, Jalandhar (Nov 16); Ludhiana, Jagraon, Ferozepur, Abohar, Fazilka, Zira, Jalalabad, Gurdaspur, Khanna and Batala (Nov 17); and Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Nakodar, Phillaur, Balachaur, Kapurthala, Sultanpur Lodhi and Phagwara (Dec 1).

It would also be held at the labour courts of Ludhiana and Patiala on December 7; Patiala, Rajpura, Nabha, Samana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Amloh, Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Malout and Gidderbaha (Dec 8); and Hoshiarpur, Garshankar and Dasuya (Dec 15).


Pulse production to be encouraged
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 24
Officials of the Central Institute for Post Harvest Engineering Technology (CIPHET) and NITCON, sensing problems faced in arranging sufficient stocks of pulses under the kanak-dal distribution scheme of the Punjab government, today resolved to promote pulse production and provide seeds for various crops in the state under the institutes’ crop diversification plans.

Senior consultant with NITCON Vijay Arora said at the concluding function of a four-week training programme relating to food processing technology here today that NITCON would organise a four-week special training camp to educate farmers. CIPHET director Dr R.T. Patil also spoke at the concluding function.


Firing outside Sunam college
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 24
In the wake of the on-going tussle between two groups of the students of Government College, Sunam, over the issue of the students’ union presidentship, an uneasy calm has been prevailing on the college campus for the past two to three days.

According to an information, someone from a group of the students opened fire in the air outside the college campus yesterday. The identity of the person, who opened the fire, is yet to be ascertained by the police.

Sunam DSP Joginder Singh said today that a SHO had received information from someone the previous day about the firing in the air outside the college campus. He immediately rushed to the college but failed to nab the suspect. A case has been registered a case under the Arms Act.


Peddlers smuggle poppy husk in trucks
Tribune News Service

Mansa, August 24
Even as the police has intensified its drive against drug peddlers, smugglers have started adopting a new modus operandi to smuggle narcotics into the district by hoodwinking police authorities.

This fact came to light when a team of narcotic cell intercepted a truck near the Boha area of this district yesterday and a Qualis on August 21. The team searched the truck and found that it was carrying bags of broken rice. However, when the truck was intensively searched, a special cavity made of wooden sheets was found in which about 15 bags of poppy husk were found hidden.

The SSP said when the truck driver, Lakha Singh, was questioned, he admitted that he had been smuggling poppy husk in the same fashion from Gwalior (Madhya Pardesh) for the past few years.

In another case the narcotic cell has seized poppy husk from a Qualis on August 21. Bags of the poppy husk were hidden under its seats and covered with clothes to confuse the police. One of the Qualis occupants, Balbir Singh, was arrested while the other accused, Baljinder Singh, managed to escape. 


Teachers not paid salary
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
A large number of teachers, working in the state government-run senior secondary schools, seem to be doubly cursed as they have not been paid salaries for the past three months. They have been left with no other option other than borrowing money from their contacts and relatives to meet their daily expenditures and depositing the monthly installments of loans taken from various financial institutions.

Having fed up with the state government’s apathetic attitude, the teachers have now decided to launch an agitation against authorities concerned.


State to have civil aviation varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Punjab will soon have a civil aviation university, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said here today.

Badal stated this in his inaugural address at the daylong workshop on Punjab strategy of human resource development, employment generation and training organised by the state’s department of employment generation and training.

Badal has sought the services of V.Mulekar, adviser, aviation services, Maharashtra airport development company, who played a pivotal role in the upgradation of Amritsar international airport in 1999 and increased the number of international flights.The Chief Minister said the services of eminent consultants and key players in the field of civil aviation would be availed of for the preparation of the blueprint of the proposed university.

Badal also announced that the state government would make provision for the creation of one lakh employment opportunities every year for the youth.

He called upon the captains of industry in the state to run the ITIs to train the workforce required by them according to their needs. A trained workforce in the fields of textiles, garments, automobiles, hand tools and agro processing could be gainfully employed in these industries.

He also said there was great scope for employment in the field of construction.The state government would soon sign an MoU with Larsen and Toubro to set up an institute.


Four copying cases detected
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
As many as four cases of copying were detected when the flying squad led by Parminder Kaur Sandhu, member, Academic Council, Punjab State Education Board (PSEB) conducted checks at two examination centres at Jaitu and Faridkot towns today.

Sandhu, in a press note issued here today, said checking by the flying squad was carried out in those examination centres where the supplementary exams for classes X and XII were being held. All candidates accused of copying were boys.

She said at one of the examination centres, she relieved an invigilator from his duty as he teaches the subject the exam for which was taking place. 


Dhillon may be new school board head

Chandigarh, August 24
Dalbir Singh Dhillon, former dean, colleges, Punjabi University, Patiala, is likely to be the next chairman of the Punjab school education board.

Sources said that Dhillon met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal this morning. His name was approved by Badal, it is learnt. 


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