P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


CM blames Centre for economic divide
Sanjay Bumbroo
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, August 28
A master plan for this historic city would be prepared soon by a world-renowned architect to turn it into a global destination for religious tourism.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced this while addressing a rally held on the occasion of Rakhar Punnia here today. Leaders of its alliance partner BJP were conspicuous by their absence.

Badal reiterated his commitment to work with sincerity and missionary zeal to develop Punjab. He said his government had started a comprehensive reconstruction of the state’s economy in a phased manner.

He was trying to give equal importance to agriculture, trade, industry, power, infrastructure and service sectors to bring a revolutionary change in the state. Critcising the previous government for allegedly not generating even a single unit of additional power, Badal said is government had chalked out a plan to make Punjab a surplus power state within next four years. In a short period of six months after taking the charge, his government had initiated a number of projects promised in the manifesto. He reiterated his commitment to weeding out corruption from the state, adding that no laxity would be tolerated in that regard.

Lashing out at the central government for failing to initiate any plan for the uplift of the downtrodden people of society, Badal said the Centre’s recent report showed that 70 per cent of the population of the country was under debt besides there being a considerable increase in unemployment.

The policies of the central government were responsible for the growing economic divide among the people as the poor were becoming poorer and rich were becoming richer, he added.

Putting his case for more rights for the states in the country, he said all states wanted more funds for the economic progress for their people but whenever the SAD and the Dravid Munetra Kazagham (DMK) made any such demand they were dubbed as separatists.

On the issue of Dera Sacha Sauda, he said the CBI was inquiring into the charges of rape and murder against the dera chief and the state government would take action against him after the investigating agency submitted its report.

Earlier, addressing the rally, Sukhbir Badal said canals would be constructed in the state within the next three years at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore.

Cong warns against vendetta

Congress leaders here warned the Badal government against political vendetta let loose against Congress workers across the state who were being framed in false cases.

At a largely attended party rally, organised on the occasion of the Rakhar Punniya fair by supporters of former legislator Jasbir Singh Gill, alias Dimpa, who is currently in jail, the leaders vowed to retaliate when the party came to power.

Raninder Singh, son of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who could not make it to the rally. He ridiculed the policies and programmes of the SAD-BJP government, saying that in less than a year of the Badal government being in power, people had got disillusioned with the agenda being pursued by the SAD-BJP alliance.

“With no money in the exchequer, the SAD-BJP alliance is making false promises like starting Metro trains in the state,” he said.


SAD writes to PM on turban checks at US airports
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 28
Expressing dissatisfaction over the “failure” of the UPA government in handling two national issues,nuclear pact with the US and ban on turban in French schools, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) acting chief Sukhbir Singh Badal today accused the central government of not having consulted Opposition parties, including the SAD on the nuclear deal.

He urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue of security screening of the turban with the US government. “I have already written to the PM urging him to ask the US government to withdraw the controversial law which has hurt the feelings of the Sikhs. The turban, the US government should be made to realise, is a religious symbol of the Sikhs,” said junior Badal at a press conference here today.

He also inaugurated, Punjab Plus, a Punjabi TV channel run by Ravinder Grover and Richi Garg. The channel will inform Punjabis about day-to-day events and can be viewed through Connect Cable Network in the state. “The government of India should have taken everybody into confidence, but they are not even asking the Opposition about this issue of national importance. The SAD too was not consulted on the issue. The PM should call an all- party meet as national interest is involved,” suggested Sukhbir.

He rued that the attitude of the Centre over the turban issue in France had not been satisfactory. “The government of India has been saying it is examining the matter, but no positive result has come out of this examination so far. We want the cooperation of the government of India, but I am not satisfied the way the matter was handled. We have raised the matter at every level, but they (the central government) is not responding except for putting forth its assertion that it was examining the issue,” said Sukhbir, who was accompanied by party leaders former MP Balbir Singh, MLAs Sarbjit Makkar, Jagbir Brar and Avinash, BJP MLA K.D. Bhandari, Gurcharan Singh Channi and Baljit Singh Neelamahl.

The SAD acting president said his party was also going to examine a Bill on according Sikhs separate entity status.

Denying allegations of a rift between the SAD and the alliance partner BJP in the post-MC election period in the state, Sukhbir said there were no differences between the two parties. “We work like a team and we will continue to do so. The difference story is cooked up by the media. Moreover, there is no difference between urban and rural population as far as freebies are concerned. These are wrong perceptions,” he asserted.

Denying that the SAD had usurped the control of the cable TV in some cities of the state he said, “How can we be blamed when cable operators are working freely in all cities of Punjab. Cable operators had blacked out two channels, Punjab Today and Balle Balle, even during the Assembly elections as they had not paid the requisite fees to operators for five years. Gurpreet Raju has not usurped cable TV operations in Patiala,” said Sukhbir.

The acting SAD chief said urban development was a priority of the SAD-BJP government. “We are in the process of making master plans in respect of big cities of Punjab and results will be there in six months. Fortyfour cities have been put in the Urban Renewal Mission programme. Our all promises would be implemented in a year”.


Gurdwara Bill
Badal for thorough debate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Agreeing to the demand of Akali leader Simranjit Singh Mann and others, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who held a meeting here today with legal experts and Sikh intellectuals to discuss draft of the Sikh Gurdwara Bill,1999, today stressed an in-depth study of the draft of the Bill prepared by the Gurdwara Election Commission.

The draft is based on the Sikh Gurdwaras Bill, 1986. Badal wanted debated on, discussed and reviewed by all sections of the Sikh society before a final decision.

A few days ago, Mann urged Badal to set up a committee representing various Sikh groups and Akali factions to discuss the bill and the discussion on this sensitive and important bill be not confined to the Shiromani Akali Dal( Badal).

At the meeting Badal said the opinion of a cross section of intellectuals, theologians and religious persons should be taken before finalising draft of the bill. He said for this a thorough and detailed discussion on the draft Bill by the legitimate religious representatives of the Sikh community was a pre-requisite.

Adviser to Chief Minister D.S. Cheema, advocate general H.S. Mattewal, chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, principal secretary to Chief Minister D.S. Guru, president SGPC Avtar Singh and others attended the meeting.


Lack of will, red tape hit project hard
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 28
Political one-upmanship, lack of planning and red tape has hit the Shahpurkandi dam project hard, thus delaying it for over 15 years. The construction of this most prestigious project could not be started even though the Planning Commission and the Central electricity authority had given the green light for it in 1992.

Thus, the cost of constructing this project has gone up to Rs 1,945-crore from Rs 895-crore, the initial cost of its construction.

Moreover, the delay in the construction of this dam, which would have acted as a balancing reservoir to the Ranjit Sagar Dam project, the PSEB has also failed to yield the optimum power generation (600 MW) of Ranjit Sagar Dam.

Having a potential of generating nearly 700 MW electricity, Ranjit Sagar Dam is being used to generate only 207 MW electricity.

The board is unable to generate the rest in the absence of adequate water carriers or reservoirs that could help in accumulating the discharge of the dam’s hydel channels. If the board starts generating maximum power, a flood-like situation will develop in a large number of villages on the Punjab border and in Pakistan, a senior PSEB official revealed.

The construction work of the project was suspended many a times due to the political interferences after former Prime Minister late P.V. Narshimha Rao laid its foundation stone in 1995.However,its construction started in June 1999. Manpower and equipment were also shifted from Ranjit Sagar Dam to the Shahpurkandi Dam project, but this too could not give life to this dream project and the work came to a halt due to the paucity of funds with the state government in 2003.

Government sources revealed that the construction work was lingering on as a large number of the Congress and the SAD had made it their prestige issue. Whosoever came to power wanted to take credit for commissioning this project. But that was not feasible within five years of any government.

The state government has allocated Rs 98-crore in the current budget for the project having an estimated cost of Rs 2,100 crore. The state has also got Rs 245 crore released from the accelerated irrigation benefit project. A sum of Rs 141 crore has been spent on the Shahpurkandi Dam project till date, reveals secretary, Power and Irrigation (Punjab), Suresh Kumar.

Experts, however, opined that the construction of Shahpurkandi Dam would not only enhance the daily power generation of Ranjit Sagar Dam, but also help in generating 75 MW power at upper bari doab canal (UBDC)-III and 57 MW power at Shahpurkandi extension, besides its own power generation of 168 MW.


Muktsar incident of parading woman in torn clothes
Still no justice for victim
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 28
A woman, who is a prominent educationist of this district, was paraded in torn clothes torn by certain persons, including her kin, at Tarkhanwala village in this home district of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on May 25. She is yet to get justice as no case has been registered against the culprits so far.

The suspects paraded Inderpal Kaur, a retired school principal, with her clothes torn and beat up ex-serviceman Gurdev Singh before looting them of Rs 3 lakh, a mobile phone set, household goods and agriculture implements. They allegedly grabbed a piece of agricultural land belonging to Gurdev with the connivance of certain police officials posted in the Malout area.

Gurdev, who had fought three wars for the country and is also citizen of the US, was beaten up mercilessly by the suspects. He lost mental balance after the Malout Sadar SHO registered a case against the victims on the same day while they were under treatment in a hospital.

Now, Gurdev is under treatment in a hospital at Phoenix, US. His son Bilhar Singh Aulakh took his father to the US after he came to know that his father had been traumatised.

Aulakh said the suspects beat up Gurdev and others despite the latter having expressed danger to their lives. The victims had submitted two applications to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal one at Chandigarh and the other at Badal village expressing danger to their safety.

Interestingly, police officials registered a criminal case against the victims, Inderpal Kaur, Gurdev, B. S. Rahi and Amarjit Singh Sandhu, at the Sadar police station, Malout, on May 26. However, they refused to register a case on the statement of injured Inderpal Kaur and Gurdev.

The suspects, including brothers and nephews of Gurdev, have been roaming freely despite their guilt being established in an inquiry conducted by a senior police official of the district.

Though Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has come to the rescue of the victims, the much-needed relief is yet to reach them.

Rahi, son of late Waryam Singh, prominent freedom fighter and husband of Inderpal Kaur, who has been making rounds of offices to get justice, has alleged that though the “misdeeds” committed by the then police officials in the case have been established in the inquiry conducted by the SP (D), no case has been registered against the erring police officials.

The police has not taken any step to recover the cash and valuables looted from the victims. The suspects are still in the possession of the piece of agricultural land allegedly belonging to Gurdev.

Sadar police station, Malout, SHO Jaswinder Singh Chahal said three police officials, including the then SHO of the Sadar police station, had been suspended. A departmental inquiry into the case was also on against them.

A case would be registered against the suspects after recording the statement of the victims today as they had been informed to come to the police station for the purpose.


‘Sisters’ from Pak cross Wagah to tie rakhi to Indian ‘brother’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 28
Two Muslim “sisters” from Lahore and Islamabad today tied rakhis on the wrist of their Indian Hindu “brother” after crossing the Wagah border for the first time to celebrate Raksha Bandhan, here today.

With this, the newly-fostered ties between India and Pakistan have started bearing fruit with rakhi strings arriving for the first time from across the border.

Cheerful Shahida Latif, chief editor of Islamabad-based, Overseas International, and Imrana Mushtaq, a professor in the College for Women, Lahore, also penned beautiful poems on the significance of the festival of Rakhsa Bandhan. “Eh bhai bhain da naata e, ehda rakha jag da daata e” (This is a sacred relation between a brother and a sister, the Almighty is the rescuer of this relationship) earned applause from the audience. They were also accompanied by Afzal Raaz , editor of Pakistani newspaper, Rozan.

The Pakistani “sisters” were received by Harbhajan Singh Brar, resident, Sain Mian Mir Foundation, Swarn Singh Gill, P.S. Bhatia of the Nanakana Sahib Yatra Committee and Amrik Singh Shergil, president, Shaheed Bhai Jeewan Singh Society.

As per history, the practice of tying rakhi strings helped bind the Hindu Rajputs and the Mughal rulers of Delhi. According to a legend, when Bahadur Shah of Gujarat attacked Rani Karnavati of Chittor, she sent a rakhi string to Humayun and requested him to help her.

Earlier, some Pakistani women, who had visited India in the recent past, were fascinated by the festival.

Traditional brotherhood between Amritsar and Lahore cities of the Majha region hopes for “reunion of hearts”. Rakhi may be abhorrent to Islamic fundamentalists across the border, but it has touched a chord of many on either side of the Radcliff Line.

They hope the simple rakhi string, may build everlasting bridge between both these ancient cities torn asunder by Partition. They said many Muslim “sisters” from Lahore are keen on sending rakhis to their Amritsari “brothers”.


Secy justifies cuts
Costly power from other states
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 28
Financial crisis in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been taking its toll. The secretary, Power, has written to the government to impose ‘tolerable’ power cuts in the state.

He has justified the imposition of power cuts saying power being purchased from other states or traders was proving too costly to the PSEB and having adverse bearing on the financial health of the state.

In a communication by additional secretary, Power, A.S. Miglani, a copy of which is with The Tribune, it has been stated that on an average the PSEB received Rs 3.29 per unit for the power sold in the state.

However, the PSEB purchased 3,548 million units of power for Rs 1,791 crore from various traders on average cost of Rs 5.04 per unit during 2006-07. This was in addition to 674 million units purchased through banking 9,380 million units purchased from central sector.

The average sale price of power received through trading in the entire country was Rs 4.51 per unit. However, the PSEB purchased at an average price of Rs 5.04 per unit. It is highest rate paid by any organisation for purchasing power in the country.

Out of the total power traded in year 2006-07, 23 per cent was sold at less than Rs 4 per unit, 47 per cent at rates ranging between Rs 4 and Rs 5 per unit and rest 30 per cent at more than Rs 5 per unit that was purchased by the PSEB.

The first quarter of the current year the PSEB got 273 million units through banking and 866 million units of power through traders for Rs 551 crore. The average cost of the said purchased power comes to Rs 6.41 per unit against the average national sale price of Rs 4.61 per unit.

The PSEB purchased 18 per cent of the total power sold by traders in first quarter of the current year. Besides, out of total 866 million units purchased 415 million units were purchased in April and May generally perceived as lean period at an average cost of Rs 6.60 per unit, the additional secretary power has stated.


Sand Mafia
Industries Dept seeks police force
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The department of industries and commerce, which has been asked to generate an income of Rs 200 crore from minor minerals such as sand, gravel, etc, has sought police force to check the illegal removal of minerals from various quarries.

The department has been facing problems in getting complaints registered against the sand mafia. “The police generally does not register cases against offenders and consequently they go scot-free”, says a senior official of the department.

In fact, the issue will be discussed at a meeting of senior officers of various departments called by chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh to look into the activities of the mafia. By streamlining the sand and gravel trade, the state government could earn several hundred crores of rupees. At present, the government earns only Rs 12 crore from this sector.

The department has urged for putting up barriers at certain places to check the quantity of the extracted material from quarries by authorised contractors and stop movement of vehicles carrying minor minerals illegally.

Meanwhile, the rural development and panchayats department has said panchayats concerned should be given 50 per cent share from the revenue earned from the auction of the quarries. At present there is a provision of 33.33 per cent share to the panchayats. However, sources said the panchayats were not being paid a single penny out of their share.


Housing projects may bear rainwater drain cost, MC
Tribune News Service

Kharar, August 28
The mega housing project in Kharar may have to bear the cost of rainwater drain. Municipal Council Kharar disapproved the proposed project for laying rainwater drains in areas of Chajju Majra, Mundi Kharar, Desu Majra, Shivalik, Sante, Majra, Ansal Group, Landran road and other areas.

It was decided that instead this would be merged with the rainwater-harvesting scheme and another blueprint of expenditure will be worked out for the same. It was also decided that instead of burdening the public with cost of these projects, the colonisers would be asked to bear expenses of project in respective areas.

Also a proposal was approved to install automatic traffic signals near Government High School Desu Majra worth Rs 6.5 lakh. The council has decided 32.55 acres of town planning scheme around the area of Kharar bus-stand. It was unanimously decided to drop this scheme in the interests of general public.

19 acres of this land already has buildings that cannot be subjected to any kind of change under the town planning scheme. These include PSEB office, rest house, two crematoriums, defence ministry land and remaining 75 to 80 per cent also already has constructions done on it.

It has been decided to install barriers at the entry points of residential areas on Landran road following repeated demands of area residents. The area Residents Welfare Association has approached Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) demanding a ban on the heavy traffic in area.

MC also passed proposal for erecting dharamshalas in Chogiyan Wala Bagh worth Rs 1 lakh and another worth Rs 2 lakhs in ward number 8. Estimates have also been sanctioned for beautification of office of Gurudwara, flooring of Balmiki Mohalla Park and installing a tube well in ward number 7 Green Enclave.

Prominent among others present at the meeting included president Ranbir Singh Kala and executive officer S.K. Gulati.


Lawlessness at Bareta
Trigger-happy union chief creates fear
Tribune News Service

Bareta (Mansa), August 28
Fear gripped residents of this town after president of the Truck Union, Sirsiwala, Binder Singh, along with his accomplices, opened fire twice in the thickly populated Bareta crossing area last evening and again in the morning.

This has been a second such incident in the past three weeks where anti-social elements, allegedly having patronage of influential people, indulged in hooliganism.

Fed up with the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned, residents have approached the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and principal secretary (Home) for steps by the authorities to restore a peaceful atmosphere in the town.

The residents alleged that Binder had been involved in assault on a number of people of this area in the past few months. They added that though cases as serious as attempt to murder had been registered against him, the police had failed to put a check on his illegal activities.

Budhlada MLA Mangat Rai, in whose constituency the town falls, alleged connivance of police officials in various illegal activities being carried out here in the past few months.

Budhlada DSP M.S. Malli said Binder, along with his six accomplices, had been arrested under Sections 307, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act.


New citrus varieties planted in 19 dists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
All 19 districts of Punjab have been covered under a pilot project of planting citrus launched by the citrus and agro juicing council of Punjab. Announcing this here today the council said the first phase of planting citrus had been completed in Ferozepur, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Muktsar, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Jalandhar, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mohali, Gurdapur and Hoshiarpur districts.

The work of preparing the soil for planting the citrus has also been completed in Moga, Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa, Faridkot, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr. It will commence in the first week of September. With this, the total area covered under the new citrus varieties is 5,500 acres.

The new varieties have been planted keeping in view the soil and climatic conditions of the area. Under the new initiative, the soil was first tested and then prepared before actual planting. For example, the soil in South Punjab is high in PH and hence gypsum was applied to reduce its PH level. In all districts, addition of nutrients and bio-fertilizers was done for quickening the plants’ growth.

These varieties had earlier been planted at demo sites at multi-locations in the state. The varieties, which did well at the Abohar demo site, have been planted in South Punjab. These varieties are known to be traditionally resistant to high PH. The varieties that did well at the Khanaura demo site were planted in North Punjab.

These varieties will mature before or after kinnow. This will ensure that there is no glut in the market at any given time. The citrus project was started in the state due to the urgent need for diversifying from the wheat-paddy cycle.


DSGMC team back from Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 28
The delegation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) said the historic Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh gurdwara in Lahore was under the control of the Evacuee Board.

The four-member delegation which returned from Pakistan said reports that the gurdwara was occupied by hooligans of Muslim community was wrong. They informed they had met additional secretary, Evacuee Board, Khurram and Bishan Singh, president, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee during their visit.

The delegation comprised Kuldeep Singh, Balbir Singh, Harbhajan Singh Matharoo and Rajinder Singh Khanna.


AWWA Raising Day function concludes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 28
Black Elephant AWWA, a week-long programme, which was organised to commemorate AWWA raising day, concluded here today.

In this programme, various lectures on the concept of AWWA was delivered by members of the association. Surinder Malhi, president of the Black Elephant AWWA, told that various lectures on medical and health facilities, educational facilities, cancer awareness and prevention of stress were delivered during this week-long programme. Various competitions such as painting, poster making, healthy baby, dance and talent hunt were also organised by children.

The North Zone Cultural Centre Troupe presented a colourful entertainment programme which was applauded by the audience. A magic show was presented too. Surinder Malhi distributed prizes to the winners of the various competitions.


High Court
Ensure safety of ex-minister’s kin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Justice Pritam Pal has directed the SSP, Batala, to ensure the safety of petitioners Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa and Gurbachan Kaur, son and widow, respectively, of Satnam Singh Bajwa who was a former minister.

G.S. Kaura, the counsel for the petitioners, had averred that the late Satnam Singh Bajwa was assassinated in 1987. In 1989, attacks were made by the militants on the petitioners and also upon their kin Partap Singh Bajwa, former minister, Punjab. Some people were killed during the said attacks.

The petitioners had been provided security by the Punjab Government but the same had been withdrawn with the change of the ruling party in the state.

The judge, vide order dated August 24, also issued a notice to Punjab for September 28, 2007, and directed the SSP to immediately provide gunmen, if need be, after appreciating the facts contained in the petition and perception of threat.

The petitioners had filed a petition under Section 482 of the CrPC for seeking directions to Punjab and the SSP, Batala, to provide them with adequate security with sophisticated weapons and at least six gunmen each keeping in view the peculiar facts of the case and in the interest of justice.

Report sought

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Rajive Bhalla, today gave a week’s time to the Punjab state counsel to file a status report on the steps taken to ensure the protection of life of the petitioner who was engaged in cable TV business in Patiala.

The Bench also observed that the SSP, Patiala, shall ensure protection of the petitioner and also file his personal affidavit regarding the status report failing which he shall remain present in the court on the next date of hearing on September 6. The Bench also made some really harsh comments on the sorry state of law and order situation in Patiala.

Manoj Thakur, the petitioner who is a Patiala resident, averred that directions be issued to respondents, including the Centre, the Punjab DGP and the Patiala SSP and also to Gurpreet Singh, Vikas Puri and Sarfraj Khan, all partners in ‘Patiala Today’ cable business, not to interfere with his livelihood.

He averred that his entire business had already been snatched away by Gurpreet Singh, Vikas Puri, Sarfraj Khan and some others and he had been left with the control room only. The petitioner sought the restoration of the entire equipment forcibly taken away from him.

Beant case

The Division Bench, comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Rajive Bhalla, today dismissed the petition filed by Balwinder Singh, a witness in Beant Singh assassination case. The petitioner had sought additional security from the UT administration.

he orders came following the UT counsel’s submission that according to the information given by inspector Kashmir Singh, the petitioner had been provided with adequate security.

The counsel also stated that the petitioner had been employed in Punjab Home Guards and has been given accommodation within the precincts of the Police Lines, Chandigarh, where his children were studying.


Govt shuts treasury for MLAs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
In a significant decision the Punjab government has decided against giving loans to the MLAs from the state treasury. Henceforth, they will have to take loans from banks of their choice like any government employee.

In the past a few MLAs were defaulting on loan repayment, sources revealed. The MLAs used to get loan at 6 per cent rate of interest.


5 IAS promoted

Chandigarh, August 28
The Punjab government today promoted five IAS officers to the rank of secretary and gave them super time scale. The officers are: A. Venu Parsad, Seema Jain, S.R. Ladhar, Iqbal Singh and Ranjit Singh. — TNS


Three Thapar students booked for kidnap
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, August 28
Three students of B.Tech of the Thapar institute of engineering and technology were booked here for kidnapping a friend “ with the intention of murder.”

The three were booked when Tarun Veer went missing under mysterious circumstances after the car in which they were travelling met with an accident near Ganda Kheri village adjoining the Narwana canal on the Rajpura-Patiala highway. Tarun Veer's friends Akshay Tyagi, Rahul and Vishnik Bhan sustained injuries in the accident. It was earlier suspected that Tarun Veer may have fallen into the Narwana canal and drowned. The police got suspicious when it learnt from rescuers who pulled the boys out of the car that there were only three persons in the car at the time of the accident. The doors of the car were found locked.

As per the FIR registered with the Sadar police, the three accused picked up Tarun Veer from his house in Patiala, where he stayed on rent, on the pretext of visiting Chandigarh. They never reached Chandigarh.

The case was registered on a complaint by Tarun's father Gurdev Singh, who stated that despite persistent queries, the three boys refused to reveal anything about the whereabouts of his son.

The case against the three boys was registered under Sections 365 and 120 (B)at the Sadar police station. None of the boys have been arrested. Sources said the motive behind the crime was yet to be ascertained.


Missing lecturer yet to be traced
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 28
The sudden disappearance of a lecturer of the Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC), just three-days after his marriage, still remains a mystery for the district police despite their having put in constant efforts to trace the lecturer.

26-year-old Sanjeev Kumar, who was working as a lecturer in computer science department at the BBSBEC, had reportedly gone missing on August 1, just three days after he was married to a girl from Sirsa on July 28.

Sanjay had shifted his base from Sirhind town to Mandi Gobindgarh after marriage. According to the police he left his house on the morning of August 1 but never returned. Sanjay marked himself present at the college in the morning but in the evening he was found to be missing. Even as the family members tried to contact his acquaintances, all denied having any knowledge of his whereabouts.

SSP Nilab Kishore said the police was keeping a track of Sanjay's mobile phone, which at times was reported to be switched on. The SSP said the police was still working on the case and headway was expected soon.


Cops torture youth
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 28
Sher Singh, a young sugarcane juice vendor in the trans-railway colonies, landed in the local Civil Hospital after he was allegedly tortured by some policemen of the General Railway Police (GRP), yesterday.

Ashok Monga, a doctor of the hospital who attended the victm, said preliminary investigations revealed that he had suffered injuries on his genitals, wrist and jaw. Kuljeet Singh SHO, GRP station, Bathinda, said he had started an inquiry into the case. The victim was picked up by policemen on the pretext that somebody had lodged a complaint that he possessed two illegal revolvers.

They took him to a house near the police station, where he was tortured. The victim said he was beaten up by lathis until he fell unconscious and his repeated pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears.

Finally, some prominent residents of the area, with the help of a politician, managed to get the victim released from custody yesterday.


Three held for illegal sale of luxury cars

Sangrur, August 28
The police today arrested Rajnish Kumar, alias Dimpa, Ravi Garg, alias Rinku, and Sanjay Kumar, all of Sangrur, and claimed the busting a gang purchasing luxury cars in fake names and addresses through bank loans and selling these at low prices after getting fake registration papers of the vehicles prepared from the office of the registering authority.

The police said four vehicles, including an Eskoda car, a Ford Fiesta car and an Innova vehicle, were recovered from the accused. These were said to be worth Rs 47 lakh, he added. — TNS


‘Remove rural-urban disparity in schools’
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 28
Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon has called upon leaders of various social, educational and constitutional bodies to help the board authorities remove disparity between rural and urban schools and fight copying during board examinations.

Terming disparity of education in rural and urban areas and copying as the root cause of non-achievement of desired results, Dr Dhillon said he would make efforts to bridge the gap between teaching in urban and rural schools. "Unfortunately, a majority of educationists had been ignoring potential of rural students, hence lesser importance was given to provide required facilities in rural school. We will ensure the disparity between the two is abolished," said Dr Dhillon.

Dr Dhillon pointed out that copying had played a significant role in degrading the standard of teaching in certain schools affiliated with the board. He regretted certain officials in the Education Department, who were supposed to check copying, had been succumbing to pressures of many kinds. This resulted in a situation when the sanctity and authority of invigilators and members of flying squads vanished completely. "Though I have full faith in schoolteachers and heads, I will associate university lecturers and heads to curb the menace during coming years," said Dr Dhillon.

Born at Bhasin village in Pakistan, Dr Dhillon did his schooling from various state-run schools at Panipat, Karnal and Pehowa and graduated from MLN College, Yamunanagar. He topped MA (history) from Kurukshetra University.


527 teachers promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The Punjab education department has promoted 527 ETT, classical and vernacular (C and V) teachers to the master cadre and initiated the recruitment process of 4,000 teachers who will be called educational service providers.

Stating this here today Dr Upinderjit Kaur, education minister, said the promotions of members of the teaching and non-teaching staff had been expeditied. She added that 312 ETT teachers, 118 C and V teachers and 97 non-teaching staff had been promoted to the master cadre. The next meeting of the departmental promotion committee would be held on September 26. She said preference would be given to handicapped persons, widows/widowers and the wives of working defence personnel.

She said 4,000 educational service providers were being recruited in the secondary school education department on a consolidated pay of Rs 5,400 till March 31, 2011. The eligible candidates could apply till September 17.


From Schools
An 11-ft-long rakhi
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 28
The festival of Raksha Bandhan was celebrated in Scholar Fields Public School with great fervour and gaiety.

A 11 feet long Rakhi which was prepared by the students of this school was presented to S.K. Ahluwalia, divisional commissioner, here today. The school was tastefully decorated by the students, and this national festival was celebrated with two themes, “Be Environment Friendly” and “National Integration”, the principal of the school said on the occasion. Teachers enlightened the students on National Integration to foster the true spirit of love, goodwill and compassion among the students.

The teachers exhorted the students to pay attention to their environment. Climatologists say that India has been warming and to protect the ecology of many regions we should pay attention to our environments and also bring awareness among our children on priority basis.


Principal objects to VC’s style of functioning

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 28
Principal of Mata Gujri College Gurmohan Singh Walia has locked horns with Punjabi University vice-chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai over issues related to his style of functioning.

Walia said today that the vice-chancellor tried to make the sport committee meeting, held yesterday, a platform for targeting those working against the university administration. He said on being objected the vice-chancellor used harsh words that led to arguments during the meeting. — TNS


Punjabi varsity gets nod for BA LLB
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 28
The Bar Council of India has accorded approval to the five-year integrated BA LLB course of Punjabi University to start from the 2007-08 session. Sources said this course is different than the existing Law courses of the university. Counselling for seats will be held on August 29 and 30 on the university campus.


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