P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Virk refuses food, condition worsens
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 10
Former DGP, Punjab, S.S.Virk, who has been on a virtual hunger strike ever since his arrest by the Vigilance Bureau yesterday, today said he was ready to face it all. Talking to mediapersons while leaving the Civil Hospital here this afternoon, Virk said, “Everyone knows about those who have amassed wealth and those who have links with terrorists. I am not one of them.”

Dressed in the same clothes as yesterday, Virk looked pale, but put up a brave face. “I am not well and undergoing treatment.Once I am well, I will counter these allegations,” he said repeating that the case against him was fabricated and a result of political vendetta.

He, however, said he had been treated well and was kept comfortably. “I have no complaints against the district administration or the district police.”

After a 20-hour stay at the Civil Hospital here, an adamant Virk was sent to the PGI for a “medicals consultation” after his blood pressure continued to remained high. Doctors attending to Virk at Mohali said he seemed to be on a hunger strike to protest against his arrest. “He has remained without food for 36 hours. Through the night we offered him food, but he refused. He only drank water,” said Dr Surinder Bhagat, member of the medical board, on duty for Virk.

Dr Bhagat added that after much convincing Virk did “break” his fast this morning when he took a cup of tea with a few biscuits. “But in the afternoon again he refused food saying he was as adamant as the Vigilance Bureau officers. Virk is suffering from multiple problems and a consistently high blood pressure would require cardiac monitoring for which facilities are available at the PGI,” said Bhagat.

For the bureau it was a day gone waste, as on the first day of Virk’s two-day police custody he could not be questioned at all by the bureau’s investigating officers. The DIG, Vigilance, B.K. Bawa camped at the hospital waiting for doctors to give a go-ahead for Virk’s questioning. After lengthy consultations with the doctors it was finally decided that he be shifted to the PGI for an assessment of his condition.

"Let a single Vigilance Bureau officer see me in the eye and say I have indulged in corruption," the former DGP is reported to have said before the duty magistrate when he was produced before him last night at the hospital.

Virk spent the night in an air-conditioned private room in the male ward which remained heavily guarded. The police did not allow anyone to meet Virk through the day other than his lawyers. Mediapersons were kept at bay and so were a group of Human Rights lawyers. They claimed that according to a Supreme Court ruling, no one can be stopped from meeting an accused while he is in police remand.


Virk’s accounts scrutinised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Even as the Punjab vigilance bureau today scrutinised at least half a dozen bank accounts of former chief of Punjab police S. S. Virk which revealed transactions of several crores of rupees, it also found four new accounts of the family in various branches of the Punjab and Sind Bank.

Meanwhile, indications are that Virk may be referred for cancer treatment to a hospital outside Chandigarh.

Sources in the PGI said an opinion had emerged that Virk should be allowed further treatment for cancer at Breach Candy Hospital, Tata institute of cancer or Jaslok Hospital, all three in Mumbai. Virk had undergone treatment a couple of years ago. A final decision has to be taken by the medical board of the PGI. However, sources said if Virk’s condition deteriorated, options would be open to send him to Mumbai.

Ironically, chief of the VB Sumedh Singh Saini had stood by Virk in his medical crisis a few years ago. Both were known to be close to each other at that point of time.

Sources in the VB said the bank accounts had many transactions running into a couple of crores of rupees even though the annual income declared by the 1970 batch officer was in lakhs.

Sleuths had been sent to different banks to get details of the transactions and certified copies of Virk's accounts held singly and jointly with family members, including wife and brother, the sources said.

Virk has been accused of possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, misuse of official position and harbouring an offender (former terrorist Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, alias Harjit Singh Kahlon).


Virk should not return Padma Shri: Father
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 10
Former Punjab DGP SS Virk’s father Kuldeep Singh Virk has advised his son not to think of returning his Padma Shri award to lodge his protest against his arrest in connection with the case of amassing property disproportionate to his known sources of income.
DGP S.S.Virk’s father Kuldeep Singh Virk makes a telephone call at their residence in Jalandhar
DGP S.S.Virk’s father Kuldeep Singh Virk makes a telephone call at their residence in Jalandhar on Monday. — Tribune photo byPawan Sharma

Talking to The Tribune at his house in Wadala village on Monday, Kuldeep, a retired IAS officer, said he came to know that his son had decided to return the award while talking to a section of the media.

Following this, he rang up his other son and asked him to convey his advice of not to think of returning the award as the same had been conferred on him by the Centre for fighting militancy whereas the case was filed against him by the state government.

Reiterating his statement that Virk had been made victim because of his closeness with former CM Amarinder Singh, he refused to say anything about his properties, saying that the matter was sub-judice.


Minister concerned about deteriorating education system
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 10
Expressing concern over deterioration in the education system Dr Upinderjit Kaur, education minister, said the government had begun to revamp the system.

She, being a teacher, knew problems of the school and college teachers, but it would take time for implementing the reforms for quality education, she said.

The minister was addressing a gathering after releasing the biography of noted social worker and president of the Guru Nanak Mission Medical and Educational Trust, Dr Budh Singh Dhahan, at Dhahan Kaleran, 20 km from here, today.

Intellectuals, educationists, literary personalities and representatives of social, political and religious organisations attended the function.

“The dharnas and demonstrations can not provide any solution to the problems of the teachers. The qualitative improvement in the education system can only be brought through negotiations on the table," said Dr Upinderjit Kaur adding that she had already held talks with representatives of the various school and college teachers' unions in which all points had been discussed.

But, the unions are still resorting to protests though she has responded positively to their demands", she lamented.

Though the SAD-BJP government came into power six months ago, the process of recruiting 14,000 schoolteachers, promotions of teachers, revival of aided posts and 95 per cent grant-in-aid to government-aided colleges has not been started.

Besides, Rs 123 crore has been earmarked for converting three schools in every Assembly segment into “Adarsh schools” for quality education.

The infrastructure, teachers, laboratory equipments etc would be provided on priority to these schools.

Mohali will be developed as " Knowledge City" in the state and public participation would be encouraged for ensuring quality education, added Dr Upinderjit.

She lauded Dr Budh Singh Dhahan, an octogenarian social worker, for providing quality education and health services in the rural areas.

Terming him an epitome of simplicity and service, she exhorted people to extend him support for realising the dream of setting up a medical college and university at Dhahan Kaleran. She announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the trauma centre under construction.

She also lauded Jasbir Singh Bhullar, author of the biography, as it would serve as an inspiration for the coming generations.

SGPC general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, chief parliamentary secretary Nand Lal, Gulzar Singh Sandhu, former Editor, Punjabi Tribune, Sarup Singh Alag, Sukhdev Singh, Manjit Indira (noted writers), Surinderpal Singh Thammanwal, former minister,and Mohinder Singh Virdi, retired IAS officer, also addressed the gathering.


BSF curbs force farmers to migrate
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Rania (Indo-Pak border), September 10
Not able to cultivate their land across the fence, farmers living in villages near the Indo-Pak border are migrating to other parts of the country to find work.

Farmers of Rania, Kakaru and Badru villages near the zero line have been forced to migrate as they have not been able to cultivate their 2,750 acres of land across the fence due to restrictions imposed by the Border Security Force (BSF).

Atma Singh (90), a farmer who had also participated in World War II in Burma, here today said either the central government should acquire their land and pay them compensation or provide them alternative sites in the state so that they could earn their livelihood. He said he had around 40 acres of land across the fence, but due to restrictions, he had not been able to cultivate the land for the past 20 years.

Now he was left with only 10 acres on this side of the fence and it was not possible for him to feed 25 members of his family. He said his sons along with their children had migrated to other parts of the country.

Singh said the other factor responsible for the migration was the change of course by the Ravi river which had usurped the agricultural land and the district administration failing to provide and compensation in this regard. Whenever the administration announced any compensation or relief, revenue officials were not allowed to cross the fence by the BSF authorities to take stock of the situation, he added.

Another farmer, Jaskaran Singh, pointing towards hundreds of animals grazing on his fields, alleged that the security agencies had no control over these animals which had come from across the border. He further alleged that there were five gates in their village but the BSF opened only two gates which further added to their problems as they had to cover long distances to reach their farms and hardly found any time to work in their fields.

Meanwhile, the farmers of three borders districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ferozepur led by the Border Sangharsh Committee and the Jamhoori Kisan Union will gherao the office of Inspector-General Border Security Force in Jalandhar on September 14 to protest against the dilly dallying approach of the security agency for not allowing them to work in their fields from 7 am to 6 pm as endorsed by Parliament.

Satnam Singh Pannu, agricultural expert, said farmers were not being allowed to cultivate their land across the fence which could yield 11,000 tonnes of foodgrains. He said these farmers were losing Rs 22 crore every year, besides causing loss to the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 1.76 crore.


I will not surrender, but fight it: Sukhi
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 10
Former militant-turned police cat Sukhjinder Singh Sukhi, alias Harjit Singh Kahlon, has said he will not surrender before the police but fight the legal battle in an attempt to bail himself out of the present crisis.

Talking to The Tribune on his mobile on Monday, Sukhi denied allegations of land-grabbing and said that he would not surrender but file three different cases on Tuesday.

Sukhi said he would file a case for securing anticipatory bail, fearing his arrest in connection with a case against former DGP SS Virk of amassing property disproportionate to his known sources of income as a team of the Vigilance Bureau had raided his house on Sunday.

The second case in the shape of habeas corpus writ in Punjab and Haryana High Court would be filed to get his servant Kishan released from illegal detention of the VB, he said, adding that the VB had picked up the servant from his house during the raid.

The third case would be filed by his wife Pawandeep Kaur for recovering documents, passports, cheque books etcetera seized from his house by the VB, he said. He added that not a single illegal document or item had been found from his house.

Denying charges of land-grabbing, Sukhi said he did not grab even a single inch of land. Had he done so, some case should have been lodged against him or some complainant come forward against him, he added.

However, he admitted that he had been working as a real estate agent for some time as he had to leave his earlier work of tour operator ever since one of his clients, a police constable, did not return from Austria and his company, Sailor Tour and Travels, was blacklisted.

Alleging that the police was trying to use him as a tool against Virk, he questioned how the VB could either raid or take action against a person who was not a government employee.

Sukhi said all four passports confiscated from his house belonged to his family members, including his brother Manjit Singh and three maternal uncles.

Regarding the recovery of gold-plated coins, he said they had been kept in his house by his NRI friends Pawan Singh Dhindsa, hailing from Garhshankar, as the latter had been cheated of Rs 17.50 lakh last month. His friend had kept these coins in his house as the matter of cheating was being inquired by DSP Mukhwinder Singh and they were to be produced before the police as and when required and his house was in the city itself, he added. 


Youth Cong enrols new members

Sunam, September 10
Emphasising on quality membership during the Youth Congress membership drive, Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) president Vijay Inder Singla today hoped that the PYC would be able to enroll more than nine lakh members against the target of 4.40 lakh in the state. The drive is on till October 31.

Singla was here today in connection with the drive in the Sangrur district. The MLA from Sangrur, Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, MLA from Dirba Surjit Singh Dhiman, general secretary of the PYC Aman Arora, and district president of the PYC Rajinder Singh Raja also attended the programme. — TNS


Where minister’s son rules
Jasjeet Bunny is not even chairman of any board or committee. 
How can he move around giving orders?
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 10
Jasjeet Singh Bunny, SAD youth wing in-charge of the Kharar area, virtually has the entire government machinery in tow for he has been holding sangat darshan programmes in the area, redressing the “problems” of public, in spite of the fact that he doesn’t hold any public office.
SAD youth wing area in charge Jasjeet Singh Bunny during a recent sangat darshan programme at Kharar
SAD youth wing area in charge Jasjeet Singh Bunny during a recent sangat darshan programme at Kharar. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Son of Banur MLA and cabinet minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Bunny has not only been making rounds of the Kharar constituency like an MLA, but has also full “support” of various government departments, which assist him in his endeavours.

At a sangat darshan programme held on September 6, officials from the public works department (PWD) and block development panchayat office participated and even the public relations department of Mohali issued a press statement highlighting Bunny’s concern for the constituency.

Bunny plans to hold at least 11 more sangat darshan camps this month itself.

Not only has he been holding such camps in the constituency of Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu but also inaugurating various government functions on behalf of his father.

He had contested the assembly elections from Kharar against Sidhu and lost the seat by 14, 000 votes.

Sidhu said: “Not only Bunny but many other SAD candidates who lost like him are indulging in similar practice all over the state. We have decided to put up a plea in court at the party level and are working on collecting data of the same.”

Terming this undemocratic, he said: “Jasjeet is not even chairman of any board or committee with the department. How can he move around giving orders?”

Bunny was not available for comments.

Meanwhile, Ludhiana MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, who is also SAD youth state president, initially dilly-dallied over the issue but later added: “Even the Congress did this in the past. So what’s new in that?” He refused to elaborate further.



Driving on highway to become costly
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 10
Driving on the national highway will soon become costly in Punjab as nine more stretches will become toll roads in the times to come.

In other words, toll will have to be paid after covering a few kilometres of National Highway Nos.1 and 1-A falling under Punjab.

Thanks to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), which is constructing these stretches of roads on Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.

These stretches of roads are Patiala to Amritsar, Chandigarh to Bathinda, Chandigarh to Ludhiana, Ludhiana to Hussainiwala, Jalandhar to Amritsar, Amritsar to Wagah, Jalandhar to Pathankot, Dabwali to Malout and Chandigarh to Kiratpur Sahib.

While construction of some of the above-mentioned stretches of roads was going on, construction for other stretches was in the pipeline, said PWD (B&R) minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa.

To a query, he said the decision of taking these stretches under the purview of toll roads had been taken during the previous Amarinder Singh-led Congress government. No new stretch, except for those about which the decision had already been taken, would be brought under the purview of the toll road, he added.

Earlier talking to mediapersons, Dhindsa said the functioning of the PWD would be streamlined with the introduction of long-term maintenance contract system, which would be introduced within a month. Under the proposed system, the contract of maintenance for a period of six years of a particular road would be given to the same contractor, who built it, he added.

Further, a system of independent quality assurance consultant would be started. Well-known private companies would be hired for counter check of the quality of an under-construction road under the scheme likely to be started within a month, he added.

In reply to a question, he said if the Centre debarred Gammon India for collapse of an under-construction flyover in Hyderabad on Sunday, the state government would also do so.

Admitting acute shortage of staff in the PWD, Dhindsa said the department had already written to the CM for getting permission to recruit 18 SDOs. There were much more vacant posts as compared to sanctioned posts and at least 30 JEs should be appointed immediately, he added.


40,000 girls await govt shagun
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 10
When will the Scheduled Caste girls married after November 2006 get the shagun from the state government? The authorities concerned seem to have no answer to this.

As the state government is facing a shortage of funds, about 40,000 Scheduled Caste girls, who got married after November 2006, are yet to get shagun of Rs 15,000 from the state government under its Shagun scheme launched by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in 1997.

Their parents lamented that they had married their daughters after borrowing money with the hope that they would repay the loans with the shagun given by the government.

Ranjit Singh, director, Punjab Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes Welfare Department, said applications, which were received till May 2007, had been disposed of and the requisite funds sent to district welfare offices for disbursement of money under the Shagun scheme to the eligible beneficiaries.

He said that delay in the distribution of money was because the government was reviewing the applications received after November 2006 as it was suspected that some applicants had made false claims under the scheme.

Earlier, the number of applications was more than 40,000 and it had come down drastically after the review.

However, the applicants who are yet to get the shagun money alleged that instead of paying Rs 15,000, the government had imposed a new condition on them. Now they were supposed to submit an income certificate, to be issued by government officials, to become eligible for getting the benefits of this scheme. Earlier, they had to submit their own affidavits in connection with their income.

However, Ranjit Singh pointed out that income certificate condition had been imposed to keep the unscrupulous elements out of this scheme.


Block samiti offers sops for girls
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, September 10
A meeting of block samiti was held here today under the chairmanship of Gurwinder Singh Dhillon. The Samiti passed six resolutions. Dhillon said the samiti had allowed three village panchyats, Lullon, Talania(Rural), and Abdulapur, to recruit the staff of Anganwari workers.

The samiti also passed a resolution to develop water harvesting structure in the office at the cost of Rs 1.27 lakh by which the rain water would be gathered at one place and redischarge in the ground so that the water level might increase in the area, similarly it had been decided to construct a community hall in the office premises at the cost of Rs 14.4 lakh.

He said as per the government plan to promote girl child, the samiti would distribute FDRs worth Rs 500 each in 35 villages to parents of girls.

He said similarly under the Kanya Jagriti Yojana, all girl children born since 2002 would get FDR of Rs 5000 each and a scholarship of Rs 100 per month up to matric and Rs 200 up to the graduation level.


Eucalyptus effect on natural water bodies 
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 10
The eucalyptus plantations carried out by the Department of Forests in the Shivalik ranges of Punjab have come under a scanner.

The plantations that had been made under a Japan-aided bank project in already water-scarce areas of the Shivaliks are adversely affecting water in natural bodies if the study conducted by the Central Soil and Water Conservation Research Institute, Dehra Dun, is believed.

Director of the institute V.N. Sharda while talking to The Tribune said they had carried a study on the impact of eucalyptus plantations on natural water bodies in the Nilgiris. The results of various parameters of the study had been published in 2000.

In the study it has been observed that if eucalyptus is allowed to grow around a natural reservoir for about 10 years, the water in it gets reduced by 16 per cent.

If the off shoots of the same plant are again allowed to grow for another 10 years the water goes down by 27 per cent. The results have also indicated loss of moisture ranging from 10 to 12 per cent in the areas where the eucalyptus trees are allowed to grow for more than 20 years.

The suggestions have been adopted by many state governments, including Tamil Nadu, that have banned the plantations of eucalyptus around natural water bodies. The plantations are, however, recommended around the water-logged areas, Sharda said.

According to the study the eucalyptus trees will reduce the inflow in natural rivulets of the Shivaliks. This will also affect water level in small dams in the Shivaliks, which are used for irrigation and drinking water purposes in kandi areas.

Principal chief conservator of forests B.C. Bala said the eucalyptus had been planted in private forest areas as these were beneficial to farmers commercially.

About the impact of plantations on ecology water reserves, he said it varied from one area to another. He said that he had not gone through the report. 


Kidnapped child untraced
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 10
Even more than 48 hours after kidnapping the police has failed to find any trace of five-year-old Harprabh who was allegedly kidnapped by the killers of his grandmother on September 8.

Deepinder Kaur, wife of an NRI, who was killed in the worship room of her house was today cremated after her body was handed over to her family members. Her viscera has been sent for a chemical examination. Police officials today evening once again questioned the family members of the deceased to get some clues regarding the murder and kidnapping.

The police officials investigating the case are perplexed at the reasons of the kidnapping of Harprabh as no demand for a ransom has yet been made from the family. They are working on various theories, including the suspected involvement of some insider, in the crime.

The SP, City, who is heading the investigating team, said they had got some clues in the case. 


Implement Syndicate decision: Retirees
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 10
The retirees of Punjabi University, Patiala, between July 12, 1995, and February 22, 
2000 have sought the implementation of syndicate decision that gives them another chance to opt for the pension scheme.

They had challenged the earlier decision of the university in the Punjab and Haryana High Court whereby it had fixed the pension cut-off date as February 23, 2000 after they had opted for  the scheme.

On October 18, 2006, the court in its judgement allowed the writ petition and quashed the pension cut-off date fixed by the university.

In compliance with the orders of the court, the matter was placed before the syndicate on  March 29.

The syndicate allowed another chance to the retirees to opt for the pension scheme, provided they returned the requisite amount along with interest in one go.

Daljit Singh Rosha, a retiree, today said the university was dragging its feet on the implementation of the decision.

They recently met the vice-chancellor and urged him to expedite the implementation of the syndicate decision.


Ethiopia celebrates new millennium today

Patiala, September 10
Ethiopia, the only country that has 13 months in a year, will celebrate its new year tomorrow.

Shiv Kumar Gupta, professor of history at Haramaya University of Ethiopia, who is here these days said the country was entering the third millennium tomorrow and year-long celebrations that the world had observed seven years ago would start in that country tomorrow.

The reason is that Ethiopia adheres to the ancient Julian calendar, which up to 1582 was used by the entire Christian world. The calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. It includes 12 months of equal duration and a thirteenth month of five days or six days in a leap year.

Most of the Christian world began changing over to the Gregorian calendar some 400 years ago during the time of Pope Gregory XIII after whom it was named. However, the Ethiopians still continue with the Julian calendar, which is seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian one. Interestingly, a day begins at sunset in Ethiopia, Gupta added. — TNS


Minority panel reconstituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
The Punjab government has reconstituted the state advisory committee on minority affairs under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The official members of the committee include the finance minister, the minister of state for welfare of SCs and BCs, the chief secretary, the principal secretary (finance) and the principal secretary to the CM. The additional principal secretary to the CM will be the member-secretary of the panel.

The non-official members from the Muslim community are Abdul Gaffar, former minister, Dilbag Hussain from Jalandhar and Hazi Farzaldin from Moga. From the Christian community the members are Munawar Masih, Gurdaspur, Manga Masih, Gurdaspur, and Hamid Masih, president, Punjab Christian movement. From the Jain community, Vishwa Jain from Ludhiana has been nominated.


Probe into petrol theft begins

Bathinda, September 10
A high-level team of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) led by commandant Rattan Chand today formally launched the inquiry into the scandal pertaining to the theft of petrol and diesel from oil tankers of goods trains at Katar Singh Wala railway station.

A scandal pertaining to the alleged theft of petrol and diesel from railway tankers supplying the same to the oil dump of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) located near Katar Singh Wala village of this district and subsequent sale of the same at cheaper rates was exposed by a private electronic channel yesterday. — TNS


Power station stone laid at village
Our Correspondent

Ferozepur (Zira), September 10
The Punjab government will revive all closed sugar mills in the state for which parleys were going on with private companies for leasing them out, said Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for water supply and sanitation, information and public relations, science and technology, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Majithia was here to lay the foundation stone of the 66-kv substation at Bhago Ke village, the land for which was given by the panchayat.

Majithia said all freedom fighters would be honoured by the government at Jalianwala Bagh on September 26 as part of the centenary celebrations of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.


Youth loses sanity to drugs, spends days chained 
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, September 10
For 60-year-old Fakir Singh, life has been a rude shock as his son lost his sanity to drugs and is now spending his days tied to chains in his own house.
Jarnail Singh tied to a chain in his house.
Jarnail Singh tied to a chain in his house. — Tribune photo by J.S.Virdi

Perturbed by his fits of rage, his wife left him about two years back and his aged parents are finding it hard to fund his treatment with the limited resources they have.

Fakir Singh's son Jarnail Singh, who owned a motor-mechanic shop, got hooked on to drugs about five years back.

Fakir Singh said his son was difficult to control and all felt terrorised by his behaviour. He said his behaviour made them worried that he might kill the family members and even his two children.

Fakir Singh, who is finding it hard to make both ends meet, said initially he got his son admitted to the PGI, where after spending about two months he regained his senses.

However, after coming back home, Jarnail again started behaving in the same manner. Following this they got him treated from a private hospital in Ambala, but it all went in vain.

Depressed to see his son chained in his own house, the aged father said it was not possible for him to get his son treated anymore, given the high cost.

He had approached some NGOs and the district administration for help, but none came forward.

Aware of the fact that it was a violation of human rights to keep a person chained, Fakir Singh said it was the only way to protect other members of the family.

He said he had even thought of admitting his son to a mental asylum, but having already spent all his money on Jarnail's treatment, this was not possible now.

He was hoping that some NGO or the district administration might offer help to relieve his son of the suffering of being tied to chains.


85 Dalits get judicial remand
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 10
Eightyfive Dalits, who were arrested from Ghorrenav village (near Lehragaga) yesterday while taking out a march under the banner of the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan, were today remanded in judicial custody by the Moonak SDM R.P.S. Walia till September 17. National president of the andolan Jai Singh Phillaur was also among them.

These persons were arrested as a preventive measure as there was apprehension of a clash between them and the landlords of the village.

Meanwhile, activists of the andolan today held a demonstration and rally in front of the office of the SDM at Moonak against the stoppage of their padyatra and arrest of their colleagues. They demanded cancellation of the case registered against the arrested persons and release of all arrested persons immediately.

Meanwhile, a large number of villagers of Koonran village, near here, blocked traffic at a chowk near the main bus stand here for about an hour. They were protesting against the police for not initiating action against a person allegedly involved in the murder of Harcharan Singh (35) of their village. 


Secy summoned

A division Bench, comprising Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice M.M.S. Bedi, today directed the secretary, department of social security/social welfare and women and child development, Punjab, to appear in person before the court tomorrow over a petition seeking quashing of a termination order of an Aanganwadi worker

The petitioner, Narinder Pal Kaur, had sought quashing of an order dated June 20, 2005, passed on the directions of the director, social security and women and child development whereby the services of the petitioner as an anganwadi worker of Dadihar Sahib village in Taran Tarn had been terminated. Narinder also prayed that appointment of Sukhjit Kaur, who was allegedly much lower in merit, in her place should be quashed.

The Bench expressed dissatisfaction with the joint statement filed by the respondents in the case and observed that it did not deal with the serious issues highlighted in the writ petition.


Farmers hold dharna 
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 10
Farmers held a dharna and demonstration at the divisional office of the Irrigation Department in the Canal Colony complex here today to protest against the reduced supply of canal water for irrigation.Office-bearers of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, led by president Bhupinder Singh Panniwala, submitted a memorandum of demands to the authorities. The samiti demanded canal water for irrigation in Panniwala Mahla, Gumjal, Usmankhera and Bakayanwala villages in proportion to the command area, renovation of sub-canals and outlets which draw excess water, flying squad to check theft of water,formation of a sub-committee giving representation to the samiti to ensure transparency in suspension and distribution of water and remodelling of all distribution points attached to the Malukpura distributary.

Meanwhile, senior officials who had been summoned to Chandigarh reportedly clarified on return that additional pipe, used during the Congress regime to facilitate extra water for the tail-end villages, would not be restored. The 10-inch pipe had been removed by residents of Achadiki village loyal to the ruling SAD early this month. The farmers of the tail-end villages had brought it to the notice of a senior member of the Badal family and claimed the green light had been given to restore the pipe. They had dug land for relaying the pipe also but the authorities today gave negative signals.

Sources in the department said higher authorities had advised to reshape the water outlets to ensure adequate supply of water at the tail-end fields. Accordingly work had been started in Kikkarkhera, Pattibillah vllages etc. At present supply at the tail-end was 35 per cent of the prescribed quantity. But remodelling of the water outlets in some villages, including Dalmirkhera it would satisfy the farmers, officials maintained.

The samiti however termed the formula as eye wash and decided to continue the agitation.


Mandi board chief’s assurance on wheat bonus 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Chairman of the Punjab mandi board Ajmer Singh Lakhowal today said he would take up the issue of the release of the remaining amount of wheat bonus with the Chief Minister.

He gave the assurance at a meeting with the association of commission agents here .Vijay Kalra, association president, told Lakhowal that of Rs 27 crore, the previous government released only Rs 18 crore to pay Rs 50 per quintal as bonus on wheat to farmers. He said the balance amount should be got released from the Badal government.

Lakhowal said commission agents had agreed not to charge more than 18 per cent interest on the money advanced by them to farmers. The money would be advanced by following the old pattern of making an entry in a daily record book maintained by commission agents and farmers would not be asked to sign any other document. He said he would write to the government to allow the sewing of grain-filled gunny bags through commission agents.


Youth stabbed to death in clash
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 10
A group of Gujjars stabbed a 21-year-old boy to death, besides leaving two others critically injured, at Jammu Ghaliari village in Sujanpur, near here, this morning.

The incident occurred at about 8 am when Pawan Kumar of Jammu Ghaliari had gone to drop his children at their school and a group of Gujjars stopped him. This led to some heated arguments. Hearing the noise his cousin Vijay Kumar along with Pawan Kumar, alias Sonu, reached the spot.

Both groups indulged in a scuffle, following which the Gujjars dragged the three into their dera and attacked them with sharp-edged weapons. The Gujjar allegedly stabbed the three, leading to the death of Sonu.

Critically injured Pawan and Vijay were taken to the Civil Hospital, Amritsar.

Sources in the village, however, revealed that illicit relations of a girl from the Gujjar community with a boy belonging to Baazigar community of the same locality led to the clash.

Superintendent of Police Harpreet Singh said the members of both communities had approached the Sujanpur police station in connection with a case of eve teasing last night. Since the case could not be solved yesterday the SHO had called both today.

The police has arrested Mahashu, his wife Jhanu, their daughter Summa, Narian Singh, his son Mehtab Singh and Bhaua of the Gujjar community.

A case under Sections 320, 307, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC and the Arms Act has been registered against them at the Sujanpur police station. 


SHO behind bars in own police stn
Tribune News Service

Gidderbaha, September 10
The lust to become rich in illegal manner has put Harbans Singh, additional SHO, behind bars of the same police station where he used to keep the criminals.

Harbans Singh was allegedly caught redhanded while taking a bribe of Rs 44,000 from Gurdev Singh, a veterinary doctor, yesterday at a food joint located on the Malout-Bathinda road.

Jagjit Singh Bhagtuana, DSP, Gidderbaha, said Harbans Singh was arrested in the presence of Avinderpal Singh, tehsildar, and Devinder Singh, SHO, Gidderbaha.

He said Harbans Singh took the bribe to hush up the matter connected with a complaint lodged in the local police station by one Rajesh Kumar, who had alleged that Gurdev Singh had made derogatory remarks against his caste.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Gurdev Singh had a dispute with his sister and nephew in connection with land. Harbans Singh started blackmailing Gurdev Singh on the basis of the complaint lodged by Rajesh Kumar. Harbans Singh was demanding Rs 1 lakh as bribe money to hush up the matter.


1 dies as truck hits canter
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 10
An assistant of a canter driver was killed as a truck hit the vehicle parked on the roadside, near here, today.

A canter was returning from Chandigarh. It had to be parked following some technical snag late last night outside Gobindgarh village, 6 km from here, on the NH No.10. A truck hit the canter at 3.30 am pushing it to nearby fields. Driver Joginder Singh and his assistant Ram Pal, both from Uttar Pradesh, who were sleeping on the canter, were crushed. Joginder sustained serious injuries.

The driver and cleaner of the truck fled after the accident. A case has been registered.


Fraud Case
Punjab VB ordered to probe role of MC officials 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
A division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, today asked the Punjab Vigilance Bureau to investigate the matter and take appropriate action against culprits while hearing a matter related to the municipal council, Dhariwal.

The Punjab state counsel, A.G. Masih, submitted before the court a preliminary inquiry report by the Vigilance director. The Bench perused the report and said it prima facie suggested the presence of a nexus between accused MC officials and the bank employees.

On August 3, the Bench had observed that it had been admitted by the authorities concerned that in 2001 the then executive officer of the MC, Tilak Raj, and its then president, Satish Kumar, got a loan of Rs 45 lakh sanctioned from a cooperative bank for the construction of a shopping complex on a public park land.

The said amount was not actually used for the benefit of the MC and was allegedly misused and embezzled by the said two officers against whom an FIR was registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Trial was still pending in the this case.

The Bench had also observed that it was surprised as to how a cooperative bank could issue loan against the mortgage of a public park but for obvious and extraneous considerations. It had asked the Vigilance Bureau to initiate a thorough probe into the transaction and establish the “nexus” between persons who were involved in it.


Opel Astra catches fire, driver unhurt
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 10
The engine of an Opel Astra car (HR 30 D 0089) caught fire outside a marriage palace, near Balongi, around 8.30 pm today.

The incident took place when the car driver, Rahul, was going from Sunny Enclave, Kharar, towards Chandigarh. The driver got off as soon as the engine caught fire. A fire tender reached the scene and doused the flames.

The police was in the process of taking statements till the filing of the report.

Man succumbs to injuries

Amarjeet Singh of Khanpur village, who was seriously injured in a road accident on September 7, succumbed to his injuries at the PGI in Chandigarh today. Amarjeet’s scooter was hit by a motor cycle near Jhungiyan village. The police has booked motor cycle rider Harpal Singh of Chamkaur Sahib.

Power theft

A team of the Punjab State Electricity Board has detected 30 cases of power theft and levied a penalty of Rs 2.5 lakh on the offenders.

The thefts were detected during a raid by a team headed by XEN P.S. Bains at Rangauna, Khijrabad and Makku Sangatiyan villages.

Also, the connections of consumers who had not paid their bills of the past two months were severed.


Khalsa College registrar resigns
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 10
The Registrar of Khalsa College here has put in his papers following alleged differences with the principal.

D.S.Pannu, registrar, has accused principal Daljit Singh of creating an environment which had made it impossible for him to carry on even though he had had been the college registrar for over five years.

In the copy of the resignation sent to honorary secretary Rajinder Mohan Chhina the proceedings of a recent meeting of the Department of English had been attached as an indication of the principal’s style of functioning.

Chhina said, “The registrar’s post is not a permanent one. If the principal and the registrar do not go along well with each other it is in the interest of the college that someone else takes over. Pannu is a senior teacher of the college and is the head of the English Department,” he said.

The principal insisted that there was no difference of opinion with the registrar. “A registrar has to be the senior-most lecturer of the college and therefore we decided to appoint Jagjit Singh Padam of the Department of Political Science as the new registrar,” he said. “There is no notified post of principal and it is an honour that the college bestows on the senior-most teacher and Pannu does not qualify for it. He had been informed of this even before he put in his papers.


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