P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

6 killed in Banur accident
40 workers of a catering company were 
returning from a wedding
Their bus driver was drunk and speeding 
at 100 km per hour

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Six persons were killed and 36 injured, two of them critically, in a head-on collision between a tipper and a mini-bus on the Patiala- Zirakpur highway today. The bus, carrying at least 40 employees of a catering company, was coming from Patiala. The tipper coming from Zirakpur was carrying construction material.

The accident took place at 5 am when bus driver Mangu Ram, reportedly in a drunken state and driving at over 100 km an hour, rammed into the tipper. Most of the bus passengers were asleep when the accident took place.

The bus driver and five passengers were killed on the spot and the rest trapped in the mangled remains of the ill-fated bus. Police vehicles from Zirakpur were the first to reach the spot but unable to cater to the injured. Passersby were requested to shift them to Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh and AP Jain Civil Hospital in Rajpura.

“We brought five of the seriously injured to the GMCH, but two died on the way,” said Jaswinder Singh, a dairy owner from Rajpura.The accident led to a traffic jam. The bus was in mangles. The roof was ripped off. “It took about an hour to extricate the injured from the bus,” said a policemen. Among the dead were Bhagat Singh, Mohan, Dhiren Singh and Babu Ram, all employees of the Ludhiana-based catering company.

The tipper’s driver, Sukhdev (28), and Parkash (35) are in serious condition.

The injured brought to the GMCH include Moovan (25), Rajesh (33), Shamlal (27), Anil (22), Kaushal (24), Krishanand (30), Lal Bahadur (22), Bhagwati (36), Baldev Singh (39), Haripal (35), Ganesh (30), Ramesh (44), Varinder (31), Surinder (32), Raju (23), Arun (28), Mohan Singh (35), Kailash (22), Rinka (20), Arvind (26), Digambar (20), Dinesh Rawat (34), Harbhajan Singh (32), Budha Kumar (18) Avtar Singh (22), Deepak (18), Abhishek (18), Ranjit Singh (32), Ranjit Singh (21) and Bhola Kumar (18).

Parkash has been shifted to the PGI. Three were discharged after first-aid and another three left the hospital without informing the authorities. Four of the injured admitted at Rajpura are Surinder Kumar, Ram Singh, Ramesh and Lalji.

Most of the injured belonged to Uttarakhand and were living in Chandigarh and its vicinity. The bus belonged to Chandigarh-based Jagota catering company and had been hired by Ramesh for a wedding at the Spring Gold Marriage Palace on the outskirts of Patiala.

One of the injured, Arvind, said they worked through the night at the wedding. “The driver was drunk and was driving at a high speed. We kept telling him that he should slow down but he did not bother,” he said. Arvind is a resident of Railway Colony, Chandigarh.

The Banur police has registered a case against truck driver Sukhdev Singh.


No rail link; threat to sanctuary
Thermal plant at Seeto Gunno a distant dream
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, September 21
The fate of the proposed thermal plant in the subdivision may hang in balance. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his parliamentarian son Sukhbir Singh Badal have announced that one of the next four power projects will be located in Abohar subdivision. A team of experts have carried surveys and finally recommended that the thermal plant should be set up at Seeto Gunno village. The Chief Minister, accordingly, revealed the location during a public gathering at Khadoor Sahib near Taran Taran on Wednesday.

The state government had in the past decade planned to set up an atomic power plant near Balluana village on the Abohar-Malout road (National Highway No. 10) and surveys were carried out. But farmers who were likely to be affected by the project managed to get the plan dropped.

Experts say a thermal plant at Seeto Gunno village might not be a viable project.The village has no rail link that is considered essential to ensure the supply of coke at reasonable transportation charges. The village is more than 20 km away from Abohar and Malout. There is a proposal to link Abohar with some parts of Rajasthan by rail, through Seeto Gunno, but the plan is yet to get a final shape. However, the government has an option to acquire sandy heaps, where no cultivation is done, for the thermal plant project, sources add.

Others fear the thermal plant can also endanger environment in Asia’s largest open wildlife sanctuary equipped with maximum number of black bucks (more than 3,000) in the Seeto Gunno belt. Badal family’s love for Seeto Gunno is widely known. Badal had upgraded the village, located on the Abohar-Dabwali road, to sub tehsil during his last tenure. However, infrastructure was yet to be developed for an independent sub tehsil headquarters. The SAD supremo had campaigned in this Bishnoi-dominated belt thrice close to the formal beginning of the election campaign early this year. His brother Gurdas Singh Badal, a former MP and party think-tank, had said in all public meetings that he would nourish the area as his child.

Some residents of Seeto Gunno, recognised as billionaires, were married in the families of senior politicians in Haryana also and running business in the state, besides New Delhi and abroad. Meanwhile, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), led by Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, has started convening meetings in the villages of the sub tehsil to mobilise farmers against the acquisition of agricultural land for the proposed thermal plant. The state government will not be allowed to acquire land for the project, a BKU press note issued after its meeting at Bhagsar village said. 


CM: I am aware of all developments
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 21
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said his not interfering into the day-to-day functioning of various departments, including the Vigilance Bureau, did not mean that he was unaware about the developments taking place in his state.

Talking to reporters before inaugurating a conference on the surgical oncology here, Badal ridiculed the criticism against him that he was claiming that he was not aware of the former director-general of police S.S. Virk’s arrest.

He said he had only meant that he did not interfere in the process of law. “But that was being taken as if I said I did not know anything”, the Chief Minister asserted.

About the corruption, Badal said it was like the cancer and was spreading fast. When asked if he meant it was incurable, he remarked, “We know the treatment and we will cure it”. He said it would certainly need sometime to be cured.

Clarifying his last-minute withdrawal from a function of the Shankaracharya here, Badal said he was not aware that people were waiting inside the venue. He said there was no security threat to him and he would have loved to address that function. 


Basking in Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s glory
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Khatkar Kalan, September 21
Khatkar Kalan, the name synonymous with Shaheed Bhagat Singh in Nawanshahr district, is today basking in the glory of the martyr’s name.The village is one of the modern villages of Punjab. The government has spent crores to develop it for its historical importance.

Ironically, the martyr fought against the British and now every household has a foreign connection and the least knowledge about the great martyr.

“The village has a population of nearly 2,000 and almost every household has a foreign connection,” says Kashmira Singh, an octogenarian who has spent his entire life in the village.

NRIs’ palatial houses with modern gadgets, swanky cars and bikes and huge gates dot the village. One of the oldest structures seen in the village was the martyr’s house, now a protected monument. Most of the houses have either been renovated or rebuilt.

Pucca streets, tiled pavements, channelised sewage lines and lush green parks speak volumes about its prosperity. Recently, the government had spent Rs 2 crore for the development of a park in the village with fountains, under paths, canopies and concrete benches.However, the level crossing is unmanned.

Located on the Chandigarh-Jalandhar highway, a magnificent gate built in Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s memory welcomes visitors to the village.

The village also boasts of India’s largest grid interactive solar photovoltaic power plant. It was inaugurated by the then President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, in 2003. The plant is also supplying power to nearby villages.

“In the past 60 years, the village has turned into a modern village and attracted the attention of historians and politicians. But sadly it has not been given proper status like the Jallianwala Bagh,” rues Gurmel Singh, another villager.

At the entrance of the village, a museum exhibits rare photographs and articles of the martyr. As per visitor’s book of the museum, annually over 25,000 visitors visit the museum, but residents of nearby areas rarely visit. It even contains a copy of The Tribune soaked with the blood of the martyr.

“We know about Bhagat Singh. He sacrificed his life for the country,” say children, when asked about the martyr. This was the only information that they had about the great martyr who once walked into those very streets.


Tandon seeks meeting on power tariff hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Former president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Balramji Dass Tandon, here today urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to call a meeting of alliance partners ( SAD-BJP) to discuss power tariff hike before its implementation by the PSEB.

He said the PSEB should be told not to implement the revised tariff till the holding of such a meeting.

The BJP leader said today he had failed to understand that if the state government had the capacity to pay Rs 2,600 crore as subsidy to the PSEB why it could not pay Rs 300-400 crore more to save people from the financial burden of increased tariff. He said increase in tariff for domestic sector would be another blow for ordinary persons and the middle class. Of the 2.50 crore people in the state, there would hardly be 1 per cent who may not resent the hike. 


Surya Kiran shines at Rajasansi
Our Correspondent

Rajasansi, September 21
The Surya Kiran acrobatic team of the IAF today gave a scintillating performance to the thunderous applause of spectators at the forward base of the Air Force station here today.

Breathtaking manoeuvers by nine flaming orange and white machines kept the audience on the edge of their seats during the 30-minute show. Doing manoeuvers from diamond formation to delta, columbia and the vertical barrel rolls to the low level criss-crossing, the team dazzled the crowd comprising schoolchildren, families of Air Force officers and men, senior officer of the Army and civil administration.

Station commander Group Capt Vishwas Gour while briefing the mediapersons said the acrobatic team had been specially brought to the city to commemorate its platinum jubilee year.

The team was led by Wg Cdr Sandeep Bansal. He was accompanied by Wg Cdrs Nandi and Pujari and Sq Ldr Dhaliwal and highly skillful team of pilots.


Jatha of 75 cross over to Pakistan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
A jatha of 75 devotees reached Pakistan to take part in the “jyoti jyoti smaon divas” to be organised at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, Narowal district, from the Attari International Railway Station here today .

Jagjit Singh Bhullar, who led the delegation, said they would also interact with the political leadership in Pakistan to take up the issue of proper upkeep of Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, SGPC president Avtar Singh has condemned the decision of the Pakistan government not to allow the SGPC jatha to cross over even as delegations of some other organisations were allowed visa.

Avtar Singh also took a dig at the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee by calling it a non-effective body. He said the real reason for not allowing the jatha organised by the SGPC to cross over to Pakistan was the poor upkeep of Sikh shrines in Pakistan.


Mistaken identity or fake encounter?
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
In what could be yet another case of mistaken identity or a planned fake encounter, the sister of a victim here today claimed that the actual “militant” the police claimed to have killed was still alive.

Lakhbir Kaur alleged that the police killed her brother, Kinder Singh, who was an innocent truck driver, on August 13, 1993, for no reason. Interestingly, Jaspal Singh, who had an award of Rs 5 lakh on his head and was shown killed in police files, was still alive. He was present with Lakhbir Kaur here today.

Addressing a press conference, Col G.S. Sandhu, chairman of the Majha Ex-Servicemen Human Rights Front, demanded a probe by a retired high court judge to bring out the truth of fake encounters so that compensation could be given to the families of the victims.

“Kinder Singh of Nagoke (20) was pulled out of a truck in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, and shot dead. The story planted was that militant Jaspal Singh of Nangli, carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh, was shot in a police encounter. Kunan Singh, father of Kinder Singh, sold his 3 acres of land and shifted to UP and the family is now living in abject poverty,” said Colonel Sandhu.

“Already, leaks from police sources suggest that Kinder Singh and Sukhpal Singh of Kala Afghana were killed as a result of mistaken identity as no reward money was claimed and the records being old have been destroyed as per laid down rules and now it is difficult to pinpoint responsibility at this stage. The issue is why the families of the two victims were not informed about their deaths,” he questioned.

Colonel Sandhu demanded “the state should not shy away from admitting past mistakes, render apology, provide compensation and bring the guilty to the book.” He also sought downsizing of the top-heavy police in Punjab. He has also started a terror helpline in Tarn Taran (9876169922). 


Doctor claims ancient cure for asthma works
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 21
A local doctor claims to have revived the ancient therapy to cure asthma completely. Dr Anil Garg, who is working in the state ayurvedic department, says he has revived the ancient therapy through which he has so far treated a large number of patients.

Dr Garg, who has organised several camps to treat asthma patients, said while going through ancient literature he came across a medicine which is made by heating calotropis, a plant which grows as a wild shrub across the country and is easy available. He said that the medicine if taken with milk or cream twice a day proved to be very effective in asthma. 


Rs 3 lakh grant for sports centre

Jalandhar, September 21
The government will spend more money on showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the state besides constructing a new building to house its Archaeology Department.

This was stated by Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for public relations, water supply and sanitation, while addressing a gathering on the concluding day of the three-day Punjab Police inter-zone cultural meet at the PAP stadium late last night.

The government would construct a building at a cost of Rs 2 crore to house archaeological artifacts, he added. Majithia announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh for the sports centre from his discretionary fund. Those present on the occasion included ADGP Rajan Gupta, IG G.S. Sahota and DIG P.S. Sidhu. — TNS


Relief sought for Jalbhe ‘victims’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Global Human Rights Council, through its chairman Arvind Thakur, filed a PIL petition in the high court today seeking compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to victims of alleged police brutality unleashed at Jalbhe village in Jalandhar district.

The petitioner seeks further directions to the respondents, including the Centre, Punjab and SSP, Jalandhar, to take disciplinary action against the erring officials who failed to protect the human rights of the Jalbhe residents.

Importanly, directions be issued restraining erring officials to visit and interfere in the affairs of Jalbhe village in any connection and a CBI probe may be conducted.


A clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Reacting to a news item published in these columns under headline "BSNL officers shifted after theft probe" on September 20, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited(BSNL) today clarified that two senior officers had not been shifted as a result of any probe into the theft of cables in Ludhiana.

According to a press note issued by assistant director(public relations) of the BSNL, there had been a wrong reference to S.K. Nigam,general manager, and S.C. Badal, deputy general manager, in the newspaper report.


Notice to Punjab on Amarinder’s plea 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Justice Ranjit Singh today issued notice to Punjab for September 27 on a petition filed by the former chief minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, wherein he has sought the court’s permission to go to the UK and Dubai.

The petitioner averred that he had to undergo medical examination in the UK while he wanted to make some investment in Dubai following the Centre’s decision to ease restrictions on investments abroad. Incidentally, the Centre has allowed investment up to $ 1 lakh in a financial year.

During the preliminary hearing, his counsel submitted that since the petitioner needs to go abroad every now and then, it would be appropriate if he was granted a blanket permission to leave after intimating the court. The matter, along with the reply of the state, would now come up for further consideration on September 27.

Tampering stayed

With a PIL petition by an advocate making shocking disclosures that Amritsar district administration was allegedly tampering with the entrances, buildings, structures, etc of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial, situated in the walled city, the high court imposed an immediate stay on any such administrative moves.

Also, the Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, issued a notice for September 28 to Punjab chief secretary, deputy commissioner, Amritsar, Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust chairperson and to the union cultural affairs ministry, New Delhi.

The matter was raised by advocate Malwinderjit Singh Waraich seeking directions to restrain the respondents from going ahead with the demolition, alterations, restoration and recovery, etc of the buildings. He pleaded that these structures were an integral part of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial. 


Farmers sell paddy above MSP
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 21
With private traders paying as much as Rs 740 per quintal for the paddy, farmers here seem to be in a rush to sell their produce before procurement by government agencies starts on October 1.

As against an arrival of 24,000 quintal of paddy here last year, Khanna Mandi has already registered an arrival of over 33,000 quintals of paddy till date. Farmers, mostly locals and some from Nawanshahr, are bringing their produce, hoping to get more than the MSP fixed at Rs 675 per quintal this year.

Balwant Singh, a local farmer, said apprehensions were high among the farmers that once the government agencies start procurement the prices of paddy would fall. As of today, paddy was being bought by sheller owners, who had even paid around Rs 770 to some of the farmers.

Kuldip Thapar, secretary, market committee, said most of the paddy was being bought by the local traders. He said that some paddy was also sold to a sheller owner in Hisar district, who had paid more then the MSP to the farmers here.


‘Admin drive selective’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 21
The district administration seems to be following different set of rules in its drive launched against encroachments here a few days ago.

While the squatters on footpaths, a major section of whom have been earning their livelihood by running petty businesses there, have been “uprooted” on the pretext of creating free passage for pedestrians and smooth flow of traffic in the main bazars, lanes and bylanes of the town, a school has been allowed to encroach upon the state government’s land worth crores of rupees. In the past one week the authorities concerned had got vacated all footpaths and corridors of the main bazars.

What has generated resentment among residents and shopkeepers is the fact that every day officials of the municipal corporation, along with a large number of policemen, have been going from shop to shop, forcing the squatters to vacate the corridors while on the other the encroachments which have come up allegedly under political patronage have not been touched. Rajinder Kumar Raju, president, Bathinda Beopar Mandal, while appreciating the anti-encroachment drive launched by the authorities concerned, said the policemen should not be used for the same.

Rahul Tiwari said he was not aware of the fact that a local school had been allowed to encroach upon government land worth crores of rupees. He added that he would look into the matter and added that the anti-encroachment drive would continue.


3-yr-old bears brunt of teacher’s wrath
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 21
Three-year-old child Tanish landed in the local Civil Hospital after his arm got fractured when his teacher allegedly beat him up yesterday.

The police registered a case under Section 323, IPC, against the teacher today. The police is awaiting the X-ray report of the child and if more injuries surface in the report.

Tanish, who was studying in a school here, was allegedly slapped by one of the teachers of the school when he was playing on a platform. The child fell on the ground and got his arm fractured.

Meanwhile, police sources said the teacher had also moved an application against the victim’s father Pardeep Kumar for misbehaving with her. 


Cop killed in encounter

FEROZEPUR: Punjab Police head constable Ranjit Singh was killed and two constables Bhupinder Singh and Arvinder Singh were seriously injured when two drug peddlers whom the police party was chasing opened fire at them. This was disclosed by SSP Dinesh Pratap on Thursday.The two accused had been identified as Deepak Khurana and Davinder Khurana,both residents of ward No. 10 near Government Girls School, Makhu. A case had been registered. — OC

2 escape

MALERKOTLA:Two thieves, Mohammed Gonsal and Babu Mohammed, escaped from the lockup room of the local police station on Thursday night. Policeman Munshi Ravinder Singh and home guard Kirpal Singh have been suspended in this connection after registering a case against them. — OC

Gang busted

SANGRUR:The district police on Friday arrested five members of an inter-district gang of criminals allegedly involved in the kidnapping and looting of Rampuraphul’s SDM kin on September 1 from Gurdaspura village, near here. SSP Arun Pal Singh said the arrested persons were Inderjit Singh (Punnawal), Mandeep Singh (Barnala), Gurpreet Singh (Dhanaula), Harinder Singh (Dhanaula), and Gurjant Singh (Bhucho Mandi). — TNS


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |