P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kanak-dal Scheme
Sukhbir asks PM to give Rs 1,400 MSP on wheat
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Jhundan (Sangrur), September 4
Admitting that there were about 10 per cent ineligible persons among the beneficiaries of the kanak-dal scheme, launched on August 15 by the SAD-BJP government in the state, acting president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Sukhbir Singh Badal today said all ineligible persons from the scheme would be shunted out in two to three months.

He said the government would not allow the continuation of ineligible persons on the rolls of kanak-dal scheme while it would also initiate steps to include the names of the left out eligible persons in the scheme. The entire system would be streamlined in two to three months.

He was here in connection with a function organised by Dhuri MLA Iqbal Singh Jhundan to honour him. Punjab PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa was also present.

The SAD leader asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,400 per quintal on wheat (equal to the import price of wheat) to the Indian farmers. He said if Central government could pay Rs 1,400 per quintal for wheat to the foreign countries then why it could not pay the same to the Punjab as well as Indian farmers. He said he would write a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard.

With regard to the sharp differences in the Dhindsa and Barnala groups in the district, Badal said it was a natural phenomenon in a big party, like the SAD.

He said the SAD-BJP government was working on a big irrigation project, under which a Rs- 4,000-crore plan was being drawn up.With the execution of this plan 40 per cent canal water would increase in the state, which would help in irrigating another 10 lakh acres. He asked the Central government to give a subsidy of Rs 2,500 crore on this project to Punjab.

Regarding the Dera Sacha Sauda controversy, he said it was not a political matter, so its solution would come out in a natural process. 


N-deal will make India US ally: Left
Tribune News Service

Comrades in Arms

Leaders of Left parties attend a convention on the Indo-US nuclear deal in Jalandhar on Tuesday.— Photo by S. S. Chopra
Leaders of Left parties attend a convention on the Indo-US nuclear deal in Jalandhar on Tuesday.— Photo by S. S. Chopra

Jalandhar, September 4
The operationalisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal will make India a junior military ally of American imperialism and has serious repercussions on our independent foreign policy.

A resolution to this effect was adopted by hundreds of delegates from the CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc and the RSP at the first state-level convention of Left parties on the issue in Punjab at Desh Bhagat Memorial Hall here today.

Rachhpal Singh, Bant Singh Brar, Pritam Singh and Karnail Singh presided over the function.

The leaders urged the government to stop the deal for it would make the country a subordinate, strategic ally of the US besides negatively influencing our independent foreign policy.

In fact, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s act of repeatedly using the words “courage to change” the policy is in fact a violation of the commitment made on the foreign policy in the Common Minimum Programme. The nuclear deal is a continuation of the pro-America policy of the NDA government and has been acknowledged by the Prime Minister in an interview to a leading English magazine a few days ago, the speakers pointed out.

The delegates were also of the view that on the 123 Agreement the Prime Minister has not only backtracked from its assurances given in Parliament but also concealed the fact that the Hyde Act bound India as a strategic partner of the US. It provided that India was bound to serve and act on the directions of the American foreign policy that was aimed at global hegemonic designs, they added.

The hype generated that nuclear power was the panacea to our power blues was a bundle of lies. Even if the deal went through, we would only be able to produce 20,000 MW of power by 2020 while it would be cheaper to harness 50,000 MW of untapped hydroelectric potential at five times cheaper the cost.

It was also a fact that America had not even set up a single nuclear power plant since the 1970s.

In another resolution, the convention demanded that the joint parliamentary committee, set up for the purpose, should allay all concerns of the people.

Later, the delegates took out a protest march from the venue to the Company Bagh.


As cameras rolled, rumours kept everybody guessing
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Garibdass, September 4
To many onlookers it seemed the Punjab Chief Minister had come to their village to launch a tractor!

This village, in the Shivalik foothills with its lush green surroundings, provided the perfect backdrop as Parkash Singh Badal and his MP son Sukhbir Singh sat poised on a tractor posing for a photo for the cover of a national magazine here this evening.

It was all over in five minutes and the villagers, the local MLA, the entire SAS Nagar administration and mediapersons who waited for an hour for the Chief Minister’s arrival were calmly told it was a “private” event. Interestingly, the public relations department had invited mediapersons for a tractor launch but, once there, no one really knew what was happening.

Brand new tractors arranged by the police from an agency of a tractor company in Kharar were parked on the Shingariwala village link road. Traffic on the link road remained halted and only pedestrians were allowed to use the road.

A tent was pitched near the location where the district administration officials and villagers waited along with local MLA Ujagar Singh Badali.

Curiosity got the better of onlookers and everyone risked wild guesses why the Chief Minister was coming all the way to sit on a tractor for five minutes.

And just minutes before the Chief Minister arrived the rumour mill churned out an even weirder version of what was going to happen: The CM was arriving to pose for an advertisement for the tractor company which had roped in Priyanka Chopra also for the ad!

As photojournalists got ready for the picture of the day, Priayanka Chopra and Badal advertising for a tractor, thankfully CM’s cavalcade arrived.

As it turned out there was no Priyanka Chopra and this was no advertisement campaign. The Chief Minister and his son poised themselves steady on a tractor posing for a national magazine cover, which intended to run a story on the state under their leadership.

“How long will it take?” asked Sukhbir even as the police tried to stop photojournalists from clicking the “private” event. Five minutes later the Chief Minister gracious enough to accept the MLA’s request to address mediapersons before leaving.

Talking to the mediapersons, the Chief Minister said no decision yet had been taken to revoke the Punjab land Preservation Act, 1900, from the area.

“While public interest is supreme, the law too has to be taken into account. We intend to find a solution within the precincts of the law which is in public interest,” he said. He added there was no move to get the Punjab Capital Periphery Control Act repealed.


Tele-revolution hits Punjab

Chandigarh, September 4
Punjab is undergoing a not-so-silent revolution and it is certainly not green in colour.

The state that saw a green revolution in the 1960s and 70s is now undergoing another one, this time in telecommunications with every second resident having a telephone - be it mobile or landline.

The tele-density of the prosperous state is nearly 46 per cent - double the national average of 20 per cent.

While one out of every five Indians has a telephone nationally, the figure in the state goes up to almost one out of two people.

Latest figures with mobile and other telecom companies reveal that there are over 11 million telephone subscribers in the state with a population of over 24 million (according to the 2001 census).

Most of the subscribers are mobile phone users.

The initial years in the state - where cellular telephony started in June 1997 with mobile operator Spice - were sluggish. Till Dec 31, 2000, the number of mobile subscribers was as low as 136,509.

A little over a year later, in February 2002, entered Bharti Telecom’s Airtel brand followed by BSNL and Hutch.

And by June 30 this year, mobile subscribers in the state had swelled to over 7.4 million in the global system for mobile communication (GSM) category itself.

“Punjab has shown such a scorching pace in telephone growth. We as market leaders are indeed proud of it. The people of Punjab are known the world over for their dynamism and practical approach, embracing technology that helps improve their efficiency and profitability,” Airtel chief executive officer (mobile services) Rajiv Jaitly said.

“In the coming months, we expect to see this rapid pace to continue for companies like us who continuously invest in state-of-the-art technologies and make the mobile experience of customers an enjoyable one.”

The preferred technology among mobile users seems GSM with 68 per cent mobile users opting for it. — IANS


Experts to help preserve rare Birs
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 4
The SGPC has decided to engage the services of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to preserve more than 400 rare manuscripts, including that of holy Guru Granth Sahib, lying in the Sikh Reference Library at the Golden Temple complex here.

Chief of the committee Jathedar Avtar Singh and deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu held detailed discussions with experts in this connection.

After holding a meeting with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at Chandigarh, the SGPC president said the issue of preserving the rare manuscripts, including hand-written Birs, would be taken up at a meeting of the executive committee likely to be held after September 20.

Talking to The Tribune, Pannu said the district administration would work in tandem with the SGPC to preserve the monuments of Sikh heritage, including Ramgarhia Bungas and Gurdwara Baba Atal. He said the services of D.P. Gupta, who is a consultant with the ASI, and Manvinder Gill, an expert, were being solicited.

Earlier, many manuscripts of the library, repository of over 1,500 rare manuscripts, including copies of the Adi Granth, Damdami Bir (dated Bikrami 1739) and various portraits and manuscripts, were destroyed in the Operation Bluestar. The SGPC collected the manuscripts from various sources.

The library also has a number of handwritten manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib and Hukmnamas, some bearing signatures of revered Sikh Gurus, and a few rare documents pertaining to India’s struggle for Independence.

The library was established in 1946. According to Sukhdev Singh Jhand and Santokh Singh Shaharyar, eminent Sikh scholars, the credit for establishing the library goes to the SGPC, but a significant role in its establishment was played by the Sikh Historical Society, established in 1930 at Lahore under the leadership of Bawa Budh Singh.

Though the society could not remain active after the death of its founder, it laid the foundation for the establishment of a central library, which could house the literature related to Sikh Gurus, Sikh religion and the related fields. To look into the issue, a meeting of Sikh scholars, historians and others was held on February 10, 1945, at Khalsa College, Amritsar, under the presidentship of Princess Bamba, daughter of the late Maharaja Duleep Singh, the youngest son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The Sikh Historical Society was formed at the meeting. Bylaws of the society were passed and a working committee was constituted. The society comprised Teja Singh, Bawa Prem Singh, Bawa Harikrishan Singh, Gurmukh Nihal Singh and Ganda Singh. It became instrumental in establishing the Central Sikh library the name of which was later changed to Sikh Reference Library.


3 of family drowned in water tank

Abohar, September 4
All three sons of a daily-wage earner drowned in a water tank at Killianwali village, 7 km from here on the Abohar-Hindumalkot road, yesterday. They were cremated today.

According to information, Ram Chand (14) and his brothers Sukh Ram (12) and Anil Kumar were playing cricket near the water tank that had been constructed last year in a farm house complex owned by Preet Mohinder Singh Jakhar. When the ball fell into the tank, one of the boys entered it using a rope. As he lost hold of the rope and shouted for help, his brothers jumped in though none of them knew how to swim. Their mother Bimla Devi was cooking food at some distance, but could not hear their cries.

At night when their father, Teja Ram, returned from the fields and found them missing, he contacted the landowner and a search was initiated. They found a rope hanging along the wall of the water tank, besides spotting footprints. A diver, Chhinder Jyani, later spotted the bodies on the floor-bed of the tank. — OC 


Badal Jr does a balancing act
Visits houses of rival leaders
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 4
Differences between the factions of Dhindsa and Barnala came to the fore once again today forcing acting president of the SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal to visit residences of Gaganjit Singh Barnala at Dhuri and Dhuri MLA Iqbal Singh Jhundan at Jhundan village, near Amargarh. Jhundan (independent) had defeated SAD candidate from Dhuri Gaganjit Singh Barnala in the last Assembly elections.

Jhundan is supporting the Badal government and has allegiance to the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s camp in Sangrur district. On the other hand some prominent SAD leaders, including Gaganjit Singh Barnala, are reportedly in the Surjit Singh Barnala camp. Both camps have been at loggerheads for the past many years.

Sources said Gaganjit Singh Barnala today invited Sukhbir to his residence to show his influence in the SAD as Jhundan had joined the Dhindsa camp.

Political observers said Sukhbir today visited the residences of both leaders as he didn’t want to annoy members of any of the two groups. Jhundan organised a function near his residence to honour Sukhbir. Punjab PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa and some leaders of the Dhindsa group were present at the function.

When reporters asked Sukhbir at the residence of Barnala at Dhuri that why he was going to Jhundan village as Iqbal Singh had defeated the official SAD candidate, he replied he was going to Jhundan’s residence just to have a cup of tea there as he (Jhundan) had extended support to the SAD as an MLA.

Talking to this reporter over the phone, Barnala said being organising secretary of the SAD and area in charge of the Dhuri Assembly constituency, he had more say in the SAD.


Cong drive a big draw: Singla

Ferozepur, September 4
The membership drive launched by the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) in the state has evoked a good response as against a target of four lakh members, already eight lakh youth have expressed the desire to join the PYC. This was stated by Vijay Inder Singla, president, PYC, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Singla was here to participate in a function organised by PYC district chief Harinder Singh Dhindsa. — OC


Hospital staff demanding bribe, alleges wife
Mentally challenged man chained
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 4
“Please take this man away to save my life and that of my two teenaged daughters as he wants to kill us,” said Kiran, wife of a mentally challenged person, Sushil Kumar, here today. Sushil has been chained to a bench for the past 10 days.

Talking to The Tribune, Kiran, a resident of Khandwala, said her husband became a drug addict. He would beat her whenever she refused to give him money for buying drugs. He had lost his mental balance since June.

She said she spent Rs 4,000 on his treatment in June and after that he became normal for two weeks. But, his condition deteriorated and for the past 10 days he had to be chained to the bench. He used to get so violent that he would attack the members of the family with whatever he laid his hands on.

Kiran alleged that she, with the help of her neighbours, took him to a mental hospital to get him admitted there. But, the hospital authorities demanded Rs 15,000 for his treatment citing the reason that an attendant would be needed to look after him. It was not possible for her to arrange the money as she worked as a domestic help in houses to make both ends meet, she lamented.

However, director of the mental hospital B.L. Goel said no such case had come to his knowledge. The hospital never refused admission to any mentally challenged person and was only charging Rs 750 per month as diet charges. If the members of the family wanted treatment for Sushil free of cost then they would have to seek permission from the chief judicial magistrate.

Kiran said she had left the home in disappointment but the neighbours brought her back, assuring her that Sushil would be handcuffed if he attacked her again. She was forced to send her daughters to her parents’ house, as he would remove his clothes in front of them. Even her two brother-in-laws shifted her house, fearing threat from Sushil.


Involve Haryana, HP in airport project: Khangura
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana September 4
Kila Raipur MLA Jassi Khangura has urged the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to involve the Haryana and Himachal governments and the Chandigarh administration in the proposed airport project.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Khangura said the proposed international airport at Mohali would be too small to cater to the growing needs of the region. He said 250 acres of land would not at all be a futuristic proposition.

He observed that ideally an international airport should have an area of at least 1,000 acres with an expansion scope up to 4,000 acres in the coming 50 years with an area of about 50,000 acres for residential and industrial development in the vicinity. He said, such an airport could cater to the needs of the three states and the union territory.

Khangura said it would be best if Punjab evolved a consensus on the issue with other states. He pointed out, since international airports were not developed so frequently, there was a need to plan it to cater to the growing needs of trade and traffic.


Boy ‘concocted’ story of tying him to horse
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 4
Contrary to the initial allegations of the parents of Ithwari, a 10-year-old boy, of a Gujjar dragging him after tying him to a horse at Raowali village on Sunday morning, the district police found during investigation that the accusations were concocted to grab money from the Gujjar.

After talking to eyewitnesses and recording their statements, the police concluded that no such incident of tying the boy to the horse had taken place.

Soon after visiting the spot on Tuesday evening, Maqsoodan SHO Sakkatar Singh told The Tribune that according to eyewitnesses the boy had been entangled with the rope accidentally while trying to move the horse from one place to the other.

On seeing him entangled, Gurmeet Kaur, who was standing near the farm, shouted for help. On hearing her cries, another villager Ram Prakash and some workers of Sagar Plastic Factory, including Rajesh Kumar Yadav, stood in front of the horse to save the boy, the SHO added.

In the meanwhile, the horse jumped a 2-and-half-foot wall and the rope automatically broke, the eyewitnesses told the police.

Lakhbir Singh, owner of the fields being guarded by the boy’s parents, also corroborated the statements of Gurmeet Kaur and other eyewitnesses, the SHO added.

Lakhbir Singh had in fact allowed Somwati and her family to live free of cost in the kachcha house located in his fields in lieu of guarding his crops from stray animals.

The animals of the Gujjars living nearby, often used to stray into Lakhbir’s fields for grazing. The migrant family used to tie these grazing animals and release them only after getting money from the owner of these animals.

Kasib Ali’s horse had strayed into Lakhbir’s fields on Saturday night and as usual the migrant family tied it. When the Gujjar went to get his horse back, Lakhbir asked him to pay Rs 200 to Ithwari for getting the horse back, but he was not ready to pay the amount and left.

Following which, the boy tried to move the horse to another place and that was when the acccident took place.

Sakkatar Singh said the FIR lodged in this regard, under Section 323,,IPC, would be cancelled. Interestingly even after the statements of the eyewitnesses, the migrant family took Rs 8,000 from Kasib as the boy had been injured by his horse, the SHO added. 


Sangrur-Chhittanwala road to be renamed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 4
Punjab PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa has announced that the Nanakana Sahib (Sangrur)-Chhittanwala road will be named after Jathedar Nachhattar Singh Bhalwan, who died during Operation Bluestar in Amritsar. Jathedar Bhalwan was district president of the Shiromani Akali Dal at that time.

Dhindsa made this announcement at a function, organised in the memory of Jathedar Bhalwan in a gurdwara at Bhalwan village, about 12 km from here, today.

The function was also attended by Ropar MP Sukhdev Singh Libra, general-secretary of the SGPC Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Dhuri MLA Iqbal Singh Jhundan, and SGPC member Bhupinder Singh Bhalwan.

Dhindsa also announced that roads from Bhalwan to Dhuri and Bhalwan to Bhawanigarh would be widened. He also highlighted the sacrifices made by Jathedar Bhalwan.


Pak designers to vie in fashion show
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, September 4
Top Pakistani fashion designers will be vying with brands from Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chandigarh for the two-day fashion forecast show here starting on September 8.

The event host and promoter of the show, Tania Chatha, said she had received an overwhelming response from various participants from across the country and abroad to display their products to fashion-conscious people of the city.

The Pakistani designers have shown tremendous enthusiasm and are bringing in top-of-the-shelf range of suits, dresses and other ensembles for stirring up the local fashion scene. Chatha said it would be a unique combination of traditional, ethnic and modern creation to catch the fancy of the young and trendy women of the city.

Another unique feature of the fashion festival would be the Thewa jewellery, based on Kundan designs, from Jaipur. She said top jewellery designers from the Pink City would display their work for the first time. 


Donors helping hospital treat poor
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
Mata Kaushalya Government Hospital is involving voluntary donors to help poor and needy patients, hospital sources disclosed here today.

The hospital authorities said voluntary donors had been extending help by distributing medicines and giving monetary aid to the poor patients for the past 12 years. 

Dr D.S. Gill, medical superintendent of the hospital, said Mata Kaushalya Government Hospital had been receiving a regular supply of standard and essential medicines worth Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 from the Jaswant Kaur Memorial Trust for the poor patients for the past 12 years. 

Today, the members of the trust, Brig D.S. Grewal, member of the Punjab Public Service Commission, Brig G.S. Sekhon, Harneet Grewal, Nairnder Kaur, and Dr Major M.B.S. Grewal were honoured at a simple ceremony for their contribution to this noble cause. 

Dr Madhurima Chawla, Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa and Dr Balraj Kaur maintained that they had learnt from experience that the involvement of the community was the only way to supplement limited resources in government-run hospitals.


Dera man held; cases against 33 
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 4
Lilli Kumar, a functionary of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, was arrested for his alleged involvement in initiating a violent clash at Alam Pur Mandra village yesterday by holding naam charcha in his house and subsequently attacking members of the Sikh community who tried to stop it.

Fourteen persons, including two women and members of various Sikh organisations and followers of the dera, were injured in a group clash at Alam Pur Mandra village, 25 km from here, yesterday.

A case under Sections 307, 148, 149 and 324, IPC, was registered at Boha police station on the statement of Amrik Singh, one of the injured, who was later shifted to a Patiala hospital.

Ram Singh, SSP, said investigation had been initiated in the case, which was registered against 18 identified and 15 unidentified persons. More arrests were likely soon, he added.

Information revealed that a section of the dera followers tried to hold naam charcha at Alam Pur Mandra village on September 2. However, after a section of villagers belonging to different Sikh organisations opposed the same, the police effected a compromise between the two groups under which the dera followers were asked not to do so.

Yesterday, Lilli Kumar, who is also a state government employee, started the naam charcha in his house and threw a challenge to members of various Sikh organisations to stop him.

This led to a clash in which both groups pelted each other with stones. A section of the dera followers allegedly threw acid on the other group.

Meanwhile, Gursewak Singh Jawaharke, general secretary, SAD (A), has demanded that the Punjab government should seal all naam charcha ghars and deras of the Sacha Sauda in Punjab apart from imposing a ban on the holding of naam charcha. 


Dera women launch campaign
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 4
Women followers of Dera Sacha Sauda under the banner of the Sarv Dharam Samaj Sudharak Veranganyae have launched a campaign in favour of the dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by distributing pamphlets in the Barnala area.

The pamphlets, “sadde be suno” (hear us also), were found thrown in houses of various villages in and around the Mehalkalan block about 25 km from here today.


Block samiti chief thrashed
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 4
The block samiti chairman of Bassi Pathana was reportedly beaten up by villagers for illicit ties with a woman of Bheronpur village. The police has booked 16 villagers. The villagers attacked Gurvinder Singh Dhillon while he was visiting one of his friends.Villagers said Gurvinder was a married man but continued to be intimate with another woman, despite having been warned several times against it.

Labh Singh, a former sarpanch, who was also booked by the police along with some women, said Gurvinder deliberately rammed his car into his motorcycle yesterday following which the villagers gathered there and beat him up. 


Man returns kidnapped nephew
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
Jaspreet Singh (7) of Bhokra village, who was allegedly kidnapped by his uncle Jagsir Singh about three weeks ago, was handed over to the police by the accused today.

Jagsir Singh handed over the boy to the police today after getting information that his wife, who had disappeared under mysterious circumstances, had been traced in Haryana. Jagsir Singh kidnapped his nephew alleging that he had done so to get his wife back as he suspected that his elder brother Balbir Singh and his sister-in-law (Balbir Singh’s wife) were responsible for the disappearance of his wife.

Police sources said Jasvir Kaur, wife of Jagsir Singh, had allegedly eloped with a distant cousin of Balbir Singh’s wife. 


Six hurt in Janmashtami vandalism

Pathankot, September 4
At least six persons were injured when youths pelted stones on devotees during Janmashtami celebrations at a temple in Sujanpur, near here, late last night.

According to eyewitnesses, over a dozen youths, allegedly under the influence of liquor, started creating a ruckus when members of the temple management committee restrained them from eve-teasing. The youths called some of their armed friends and indulged in vandalism leaving over half-a-dozen devotees injured. — TNS


100 commercial dairy farms to be set up: Kanwaljit
Tribune News Service

Morinda, September 4
To meet the shortage of milk at the milk producing plants, the Punjab government has decided to set up 100 commercial dairy farms in the state.

The Cabinet minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh announced this while presiding over a ceremony held to distribute cheques of bonus to the milk producing society of Mundiyan village, near here, today.

He added that the new milk procurement policy would soon be introduced wherein the 100 intended commercial dairy farms would be given loans from co-operative banks along with the technical know-how.

Small-time dairy farmers, who own two or three cattle, would be encouraged to enter bigger ventures by providing them easy loans.

Besides facilitating them to buy more cattle, they would also be imparted latest technical know-how on the subject. Incentives would be given to best performing dairy and they would be given bonus, the minister said. 


Family remanded for using fake CSD card
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 4
Four persons, including three members of a family, were remanded in judicial custody for using fake CSD cards here today. The police seized a fake CSD card and impounded the Tata Indica with a fake number belonging to the accused identified as Savita Puri, alias Sandhya, her husband Kamal Puri and son Sahil, alias Sunny, residents of Ludhiana and Sanjeev Kumar of Hanumangarh (Rajasthan), at present residing at Ludhiana.

The police said Savita posed as Baljit Kaur, wife of Subedar Dalbir Singh, to buy commodities from a CSD canteen on the fake card. She used to procure goods from the CSD canteen and sell those in Ludhiana with a view to earning profit. Earlier, their accomplices Deepak and Kulbir were arrested on the same charges on August 3 while they were travelling in an Innova car.


School sans teachers has villagers on road
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 4
Residents of eight villages and various social organisations today blocked traffic on the Moga-Ferozepur road in protest against the failure of the authorities concerned to provide teachers at the government primary school at Mahesri Sandhwan village.

Located about 18 km away from the town, the school has been without a teacher for the past few months. The villagers and activists of the three organisations blocked the traffic for about two hours. They lift the blockade after the officials of the police department assured them that they would convey their grievance to the district administration.


Student consumes poison
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
Ramandeep Singh, a student of Government Senior Secondary School, Kot Shamir village, was admitted to the local Civil Hospital after he consumed some poisonous substance in the school premises yesterday.

Atma Singh, father of Ramandeep Singh, alleged that his son had consumed poison after his name was struck off from the rolls by the school authorities yesterday.

Neelam Garg, principal of the school, denied that Ramandeep’s name had been struck off from the school rolls and said he had been indulging in eve-teasing for the past many months. At a meeting of the school staff and the PTA there was a complaint lodged by the parents of one girl, who was allegedly being chased by Ramandeep.


Scholarship scheme

Chandigarh, September 4
The Punjab Government College Retired Teachers Welfare Association will award 12 scholarships of Rs 1,000 ( one time only) each to deserving students studying in colleges or universities of Punjab. The application forms are available with Prof B.K. Bhalla, who lives in 1292, Sector 15-C, Chandigarh. The last date for receiving the applications is September 30, says Prof S.P. Dhawan, a spokesman of the Association. — TNS


NSUI seeks elections through ballot
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 4
Guru Nanak Dev University has wrongly interpreted the judgement of the Supreme Court by ordering its teachers to nominate students as class representatives.

Stating this at a media conference here today, president of the NSUI Gautam Majithia said the university could hold indirect elections only if there was any law and order problem in the area. He said even in that case class representatives would have to be elected by the students through ballot.

The elections of students union had been held till 1983 and later the government banned the elections due to law and order problem in the state.

The NSUI leader said they would hold dharnas and demonstrations against the university authorities if direct elections were not held. 


New industrial policy on anvil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today made it clear that Punjab would have a new industrial policy to overcome the discriminatory policy of the Government of India that extended special incentives to the industry in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal.

Badal said the proposed policy should offset the negative aspects of the incentives extended to the neighbouring states that had resulted in the massive flight of industry from Punjab, thereby adversely affecting the state’s economic growth. Badal urged economist Isher Judge Ahluwalia to suggest measures for inviting fresh investments in the state and for the revival and upgradation of the existing industry in the state by optimum utilisation of the strengths of Punjab.

Badal said the new industrial policy should aim to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to over 20 per cent to bring it at a par with the national growth rate and to make Punjab the most competitive destination for investment in the country.

The Chief Minister underlined the need to revive small-scale industrial units in the state which were becoming sick due to global competition and locational disadvantages.

Badal also suggested to Ahluwalia to give due attention to issues like creation of employment generation opportunities for unemployed youth, upgradation of infrastructure, optimum utilisation of locally available raw material by setting up agro-processing units and strengthening traditional industries like textile, auto parts, hand tools, sports goods etc.

Ahluwalia asked the Chief Minister to regularly monitor the progress of industrialisation in the state and gear up the bureaucracy to keep close liaison with the Centre to fully avail the central sponsored schemes in the industrial sector. She said that the new industrial policy would be submitted by the end of December.

UNIDO representative in India and Head Regional Office for South Asia Philippe R. Scholtes who was also present at the meeting said that Punjab was a vibrant economy and the shift from agriculture economy to industry was the need of the hour. He said there was tremendous scope for the growth of agro-processing industry.

He also underscored the need for diversification of agriculture because traditional agriculture was affecting the health of the soil besides resulting in the depletion of water table. He said Punjab must gear up to accelerate the growth rate of its economy through industrialisation.


NRI to build hotel linked to Heathrow
Prasun Sonwalkar

London, September 4
Surinder Arora, who arrived in the UK from India in 1972 woefully short of money, went on to become a property developer and is now building a new hotel that will link directly to Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport.

The hotel, called Sofitel London Heathrow, will cost 180 million pounds and will feature a bridge connecting one of its five steel-and-glass atriums to the terminal building, which is due to open in March next year.

It will be one of the largest high-end airport hotels in Europe. The Sofitel, due to open in the spring, will house more than 1,300 people in 600 rooms and is the largest new hotel planned for London before the Olympics in 2012.

As Arora grew up in Britain, he invested family savings in property, buying a row of derelict houses opposite Heathrow. He eventually bulldozed them to make way for his first hotel, according to the Evening Standard.

He now has two hotels at Gatwick, two at Heathrow and one in Manchester city centre. He is also building one at the Oval cricket ground. Arora told the newspaper: "Sofitel London Heathrow at Terminal 5 is set to become the gateway to the world. As the world focuses its attention more on our capital city and Heathrow airport in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games, the new Sofitel will represent world-class hospitality, with the luxury and comfort you'd expect from the Sofitel brand, along with the convenience and ease the modern-day traveller needs and expects."

It will become the third largest convention space in Europe, with conference facilities for up to 1,700 delegates or banqueting facilities for up to 1,000. — IANS


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