P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Now, saline water worries flood-hit Malwa farmers
Prabhjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 3
After suffering heavy losses due to water logging this kharif season, farmers of the Malwa region are a worried lot with their fields still inundated and the wheat-sowing season already in the offing.

With over 50 per cent of their paddy and cotton crops totally perished, the land tillers in villages of Bahmanwala, Takhtmalana, Jhabelwali, Chadhewan, Thandewala, Widing, Udaikaran, Chauntara, Bajja, Vattoo, Haraj, Sarainaga and Jammuana helplessly watched the migratory birds in their flooded or marshy fields. They are looking for remedies to get rid of the menace of “sem” (saline water logging in fields).

As one walks over these “sem”-affected fields, the feet sink in the earth as if the water below is waiting to come up.

The “sem” has blackened the top layer of soil. A farmer will have to plough such a piece of land at least four times to make it fit for cultivation. Those who don’t have tractors will have to shell out Rs 2,500 for an acre to get the land ploughed.

But even for this exercise, they will have to wait for a good number of days for the water to evaporate. And where the water is still more than ankle deep, it needs to be drained out with the help of pumps.

“The past 20 years of my life have gone, struggling to get over the problem of ‘sem’,” said Makhan Singh of Chadhewan village on the Muktsar-Kotkapura highway. “Nothing grows here, as you see for yourself,” he said, pointing towards the coloured barren landscape. Four of his six sons have migrated to Jalalabad, finding no remedy to the water logging here, he added.

“We are now scared for the coming Rabi season as well,” said Sukhwinder Singh, who saw a very little hope that the underground saline water would not come over his fields this time. “If the water comes up now, I will be finished, with no money left,” said the poor farmer, whose all four acres were inundated with the entire cotton crop perishing before his eyes in Jabhelwali village.

Then came the episode when senior politicians of the area, led by Faridkot MP Sukhbir Badal, visited the affected areas about a month ago, promising remedies to fight “sem” and a sufficient monetary compensation. The promises are still awaited.

The farmers in this region, which is known as a cotton belt, seemed to be unhappy over this annual practice of compensation and unfulfilled promises.

“I got a little compensation of Rs 5,000 for an acre for the damaged wheat crop last year, but we want this saline water to be drained out systematically to get good yield rather than being poorly compensated for the damage,” said Karnail Singh, as he stood over the blackened soil in his fields in Thandewala village.

As per the figures available at the Deputy Commissioner office, 35,000 acres were waterlogged in Muktsar district alone. Deputy commissioner Vikas Garg said all affected farmers would be duly compensated for the damage to their crops very soon as nearly Rs 2.5 crore had been sanctioned for the purpose.


State gets common plant to treat waste
Tribune News Service

Nimbuan (Dera Bassi), October 3
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal inaugurated 
the common hazardous waste management plant here today.

The first-of-its-kind project in north India, Nimbuan Greenfield Punjab Limited (NGPL) is a joint venture facility of the union and state governments and, in collaboration with the industry, would cost Rs 17.19 crore under industrial infrastructure upgradation scheme.

Addressing the public, Badal said industrial waste and effluents recklessly discharged in open drains were posing a major threat to the health of society. An example of the gross negligence of the industry was the polluted Buddha Nullah of Ludhiana.

He added that the estimated waste generated by the industry in Punjab was about 36,000 tonnes per annum (TPA), out of which Ludhiana alone contributed 40 per cent.

Referring to a unique feature of this project, Badal mentioned that the regulator of pollution -- Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) -- and the polluters -- industries of Punjab -- had joined hands in this cause of cleaning the environment. The PPCB in association with the industry had developed this site with top nine companies of Punjab: Vardhman, Nahar, Ranbaxy, Avon Cycle, Hero Cycle, Aarti Steel, Indswift Laboratires, Abhishek Industries, Trident Group and Steel Strip Wheels.

Science and technology minister Bikram Singh Majithia said with the commissioning of the common treatment storage and disposal facility at Nimbuan, around 2,700 industrial units of the state would benefit as they would now send their waste to this facility and vacate their valueable storage areas for expansion purposes.

Prominent among who spoke on the occasion included local government and industry minister Manoranjan Kalia, Jasjit Singh Banni, and S. P. Oswal, chairman, Vardhman Textile and General Mills. 

60 units sign up

Around 60 industries have signed up with Hyderabad-based Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, to dispose of their industrial hazardous waste at the plant.

In the first phase of operations, the company intends to target around 200 industries mostly centred in the industrial belts of Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Mohali.

The set-up, however, does not have an incinerator, a place to burn the waste. As of now, the waste will be buried.


Pak trucks roll in to a welcome
Bring dry fruits, lemons from Afghanistan
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Attari (Amritsar), October 3
Reciprocating the gesture shown by India in allowing the free movement of trucks across the Indo-Pak joint checkpost, the first lot of three trucks from Pakistan here today rolled into the Indian territory to a tumultuous welcome.

The trucks carrying consignments of fresh lemon and dry fruits, brought all the way from Afghanistan via Pakistan, crossed the border around 1.45 pm.

The tone and tenor for the festive reception was set by the Punjab police band which played as the trucks moved into the Indian soil. The drivers of the well-decorated trucks were received with garlands as part of the joint reception organised by the BSF and Customs Department.

Interestingly, a group of porters could be seen performing bhangra as the police band played “Mein nikla gaddi le ke”. Irate porters had ransacked trucks on October 1, when the first consignment of tomatoes was sent to Pakistan.

Talking to The Tribune, Virat Dutt Chaudhary, assistant commissioner, Land Customs Station, said though the consignment in the first lot of trucks had come from Afghanistan, it is expected that the Government of India would soon issue the notification for the import of cement from Pakistan next month.

“Cement from Pakistan is already coming to India by rail but considering its growing demand in India, trade would be started through road as well. On the other hand, India would soon start export of cotton to Pakistan. No, wonder, an increase of at least 100 per cent is being anticipated in road trade over the coming few months. As many as 19 trucks full of tomatoes and two carrying meat had crossed over to Pakistan yesterday,” he said.

“A hotline has been set up between the customs departments of the two neighbouring countries, which would help in a hassle-free movement of trucks. More such steps are on the anvil to encourage trade,” he said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, in consultation with the Department of External Affairs and Ministry of Finance and Commerce, entered into an agreement with Pakistan in August this year for the opening of the road route for trucks loaded with goods from both sides, he said.

Salah-ud-din, the driver of the main truck, said he had never expected the warmth and affection the Indians showered on him the moment he crossed the zero line. “I have already made some friends and the next time I come around in 10 days, I would love to bring some gifts for them,” he said.

“It was a wonderful experience to shake hands with BSF jawans as they greeted me across the Radcliffe Line. I have been to India before but this time it was an entirely different experience,” he said.

It took four days for the drivers to bring the consignments of dry fruits and fresh melons from Afghanistan.

The carrying of consignment boxes on heads by porters across the zero line is time-consuming and cumbersome and only a few trucks manage to cross over in a day. To streamline the truck movement, the government has earmarked Rs 300 crore to set up an integrated checkpost, which would provide six-lane routes to Pakistan and would be equipped with a modern warehousing infrastructure, like the one on the Indo-Bangladesh border, said Choudhary.


Commission directs dept to amend service rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The Punjab State Commission for Scheduled Castes today directed secretary of the Rural Development and Panchayats to amend Punjab Panchayati Raj Primary Teachers (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2006 in the light of the reservation policy as conveyed by the Department of Welfare for Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes.

The order in this regard has been passed on a petition filed by Harmohan Singh Sakrali, president of the protection of human rights dal, Punjab.

Challenging the advertisement given by the Panchayati Raj Department for the recruitment of primary teachers, Sakrali had prayed that the department should be directed to amend the rules to make commensurate with the reservation policy laid for the Scheduled Castes for recruitment in government departments.

The department had kept a condition of 50 per cent qualifying marks for Scheduled Caste candidates on par with those in general category.

However, government rules and policy say that there is no condition of qualifying marks for Scheduled Caste candidates.

They should have only academic qualification to be eligible for recruitment, claimed Sakrali


Both parties claim possession in Nayagaon land controversy
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 3
The Nayagaon land controversy that erupted on Saturday night wherein six people were arrested, took a new turn today with both the parties holding press conferences and accusing each other of highhandedness and claiming right possession of land.

Jasbir Singh Sandhu, a resident of Sector 33, Chandigarh, who was among those booked by Nayagaon police, convened a press conference at Chandigarh wherein he alleged that land grabbers were trying to encroach upon his 35 acres of land in Karoran village in connivance with some senior Punjab police officials.

He alleged police inaction in the case and added that he was wrongly arrested. He presented land records and claimed ownership of the aforesaid land and claimed to have approached police officials with his complaints, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, the other faction, headed by complainant Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Nayagaon, convened a press meet at Mohali.

He claimed that he was illegally kept in police custody at Nayagaon on September 29. “In the meantime, Sandhu arrived with his people and tried to take over the land. The villagers opposed him and police had to take action,” he stated.

Arvind Thakur of the Global Human Rights Council claimed that an IG-level official was involved and his jeep in the area.

The council has approached Punjab State Human Rights Commission on behalf of Kuldeep Singh. The commission accepted their complaint and has sought a report from ADGP (Crime) and principal secretary Home regarding the case.

The next date of hearing has been fixed for December 7.


Vehicle carrying newspaper supply fired at
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 3
Three unidentified persons opened fired at Sirsa-based Sach Kahun newspaper’s supply vehicle on October 1 night at Cheema Mandi, near Sunam.

The Sunam police has registered a case in this regard under Sections 307, 427 and 34, IPC, and Section 25, Arms Act.

SP (D) Bhupinderjit Singh Virk said yesterday that a van carrying bundles of the Sach Kahun newspapers from Sirsa to Chandigarh for supply in different towns, had been attacked by three unidentified occupants of a Scorpio car near Cheema Mandi on Monday night. He said one of the occupants of the car opened fire on the three occupants of the Sach Kahun supply vehicle with a .12-bore rifle. However, the bullet did not hit any one, but it hit the glass of a door of the vehicle.

Virk added after the firing, the driver of the vehicle Ramandeep Singh applied the brakes. Then he headed the vehicle towards a nearby dhaba and made a phone call to the police about the firing incident. At this the attackers fled away.


Power tariff hike to be discussed 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Within days of the BJP protesting against power tariff hike in urban areas, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the concern of the BJP would be addressed and the matter would be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the Cabinet.

Badal while talking to reporters here this morning said he was open to discussion with the BJP on the subject. It remains to be seen how the government wriggles out of this as the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission had ordered the tariff hike.

Meanwhile, Badal said he would be taking up the issue of bonus on paddy to farmers with the union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. He would be demanding a hike on the expected bonus of Rs 40 per quintal and also seek immediate announcement in this regard.

Badal also categorically denied that the deputy commissioner and SSP of Amritsar were being shifted at the behest of Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for public relations. Badal said Majithia had clarified that he was wrongly quoted in the media as having demanded the transfer of the DC and the SSP for bad handling of the function to mark the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

On the issue of media reports that certain IPS officers had held a meeting to discuss the matter, Badal said “as per my knowledge no meeting has been held” but he added” I can assure all officers that no undue action will be taken and all cases will be dealt on merit and on available evidence. 


SAD wins nagar council election
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 3
Following Congress members’ defection to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at the 11th hour, the latter managed to get president and vice-president posts of the nagar council here today.

The election took place amidst tight security. Former Congress members Sukhdeep Kaur and Ranjit Singh Khera defected to the ruling Akali Dal, which had six members and the Congress had 16 members.

Sukhdeep was awarded with the presidentship of the council, while Akali supporter Narinder Pal Singh Ninda, who had contested elections independently, was appointed vice-president of the council.


Kewal Dhillon given ‘clean chit’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Industrialist Kewal Dhillon, who is also the Congress MLA from Barnala, has been given a “clean chit” by the inquiry officer conducting a probe into the alleged recovery of “liquor and drugs” during the assembly elections in Punjab in February last.

Dhillon had then claimed that he was being framed. Now a DSP-level officer of the crime branch has submitted a report to his superiors at the Punjab Police headquarters here, saying that Dhillon had no link with the recovery of liquor and drugs from a location near his godown.

Sources in the police confirmed the report and said it would be sent to the government and also the Punjab state human rights commission (PSHRC). 



Punjab gives promotion to Major after 20 years
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Twelve years after he retired from the Punjab Government, a Major who had served in the Army during the emergency period has been granted his due seniority in the state cadre along with consequential benefits. The notional promotion comes 20 years late.

Major J S Sodhi, who had superannuated as an executive engineer in December 1995, has been granted the grade of chief engineer. He will now be entitled to higher pension and some other benefits commensurate with the post of chief engineer, though he would not be entitled to arrears. The orders to this effect were issued by the Punjab Government today.

Major Sodhi had joined the Punjab Government in December 1962 as a lecturer in civil engineering. In February 1964, he volunteered for Army service as an emergency commission officer and served in the Corps of Engineers till May 1972, when he returned to his parent state. In the 1965 Indo-Pak war he served with the Border Roads Organisation in the Khem Karan Sector and in the 1971 war he was deployed with the 236 Engineer Regiment in Punjab.

On joining the Public Health Department in May 1972, he was granted seniority in the PSE-II under provisions of the Punjab Government National Emergency (Concession) Rules. The grant of seniority, however, was challenged by several officers in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The High Court ruled in favour of Major Sodhi, but the officers affected filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, which upheld the High Court’s ruling. In the meantime, the grant of seniority had been put on hold.

The government sought the advice of the Department of Defence Services Welfare, which too decided in his favour. Despite court rulings and the advice, the case of Major Sodhi for grant of seniority he was entitled to did not make any headway.

It was only last year that the Punjab Advocate-General, in his advice to the state government, stated that Major Sodhi should be treated as a permanent employee and would be entitled to seniority as PSE Class-II and PSE Class-I with effect from 1962 and 1964, respectively. Since he had already retired, notional promotion should be given to him.

Had he been given his due service benefits at the appropriate time, Major Sodhi would have become chief engineer in 1987. Even his promotion to superintending engineer was delayed from 1972 to 1981.


PCS officers’ appeal to govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The executive committee of the PCS officers association met here tonight and decided to “appeal to the government to ensure that no innocent officer is victimised.”

The reference was to investigations of various ongoing cases.

A few members of the committee had attended the meeting at the office of a semi-government corporation of the Chandigarh Administration. The meeting had been convened to discuss the case of M.P. Singh, a former OSD to former CM Amarinder Singh. M.P. Singh, whose name has cropped up in the Ludhiana City Centre issue, had sought support from the association. However, sources said Singh himself did not turn up at the meeting. It is not known whether he was invited to come and present his views.

Meanwhile Gagandeep Singh Brar, OSD to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was among those officers who attended the meeting.

Separately, the association wished to clarify that it was “not up in arms” against the government. It was wrongly projected in the media that the association had reacted sharply after the names of a couple of PCS officers had cropped up in investigations launched against Capt Amarinder Singh by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.


Govt committed to jail reforms, says Gabria
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 3
The Punjab government is drafting a new jail policy under which centers for vocational training will be built inside the jail premises to impart skills to prisoners that can be helpful for them in becoming better citizens after their release, said Hira Singh Gabria, Punjab minister for tourism and jails, during a programme at the Amritsar Central Jail here today.

Revealing a new approach adopted by the state government for inmates, Gabria in a statement to the press, informed that small two-room family apartments would also be constructed in the premises of these jails where prisoners having good conduct would be allowed to stay with their families for seven days.

He said jails should be treated like 'Sudhar Ghar' where inmates were treated like human beings and added that a conducive atmosphere must be created in these modern jails with facilities like open-air theatre, playgrounds, better health facilities and place for worship and meditation be made to make them better citizens.

The minister said this innovative approach would not only help the government to make prisons self-sustainable, but also act as an income generation source. Since the new jails would be linked with industry, the prisoners would be assured minimum wages, half for maintenance of jails and the remainder would be deposited in the prisoner's account and handed over along with interest on completion of the sentence.

Under the new policy the government will set up modern jails with a capacity of 2, 500 to 3, 000 each, Gabria said while adding that jails would have vocational training centres for hosiery, computer training centers and cycle and spare parts manufacturing units. 


Wildlife Week
Chhatbir roars with delight
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 3
The Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir, witnessed a heavy rush with as many as 20,000 people visiting the zoo on the first day of Wildlife Week celebrations today.

A unique experience awaited the visitors as they were allowed to touch feathers of various birds, horns, antlers, egg shells of snakes and rats, weaverbird’s nests and other such things.

“The visitors were told about the difference between antlers and horns,” said the zoo authorities. Apart from this, an extensive exhibition was also held on the occasion.

On display were the newspaper and magazine cuttings on zoos, particularly Chhatbir zoo that had been printed during the last two years.

On tomorrow’s agenda are events like bird watching, tour of termite mounds and colony of fruit bats in the zoo. Six volunteers from Air Force School have been engaged to guide visitors in these events.

Besides this, a quiz for school students would also be held for which the zoo authorities have informed around 50 schools of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

The student visitors would also be allowed to participate in the quiz, zoo authorities added.


Who listed officers’ properties?
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Who was the author of the two-page neatly typed note in Punjabi, listing properties of some of the senior police and civil officers of Punjab, recovered from the briefcase of DGP Sarabdeep Singh Virk?

The office of the Director-General of Police issued the note, according to sources, and it reached Virk through the Mohali police. All properties listed in it are located in 
Mohali district.

Subsequently when the Vigilance Bureau “stumbled upon” this note after arrest of the DGP, it reportedly made it a case property. The note also listed some of the properties allegedly owned by Virk and his brother Rajdeep Singh Virk.

Though the Vigilance Bureau has reportedly not followed up the recovery of the note, its disclosure caused panic in the bureaucratic circles. Some of the senior police officers even went up to the DGP to protest against the “action” of the Vigilance Bureau. The DGP office reportedly feigned ignorance about the note, copy of which was recovered from Virk.

Interestingly, the Punjab IPS Officers Association has denied holding any meeting where the issue of exposing some senior functionaries of the Vigilance Bureau was discussed. Incidentally, ADGP J.P. Birdi heads the association and the Vigilance chief Sumedh Saini is its vice-president.

Sources reveal that Intelligence Wing had circulated a note saying that some senior members of the association, including DGP A.P. Pandey, ADGP J.P. Birdi, IGPs Rajinder Singh and R P Singh, DIG B. K. Uppal and AIG M. S. Chhina attended the meeting held at the residence of a businessman of Panchkula.

Subsequent investigations revealed that most of the officers named in the intelligence note were either not in Chandigarh or Panchkula or were not aware of the meeting. In fact, Birdi has gone on record, denying that any such meeting was held.


Did Bhagat Singh visit Bara Makana? 
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 3
Had Bhagat Singh and Sukdev visited “Bara Makana” (cluster of dozen houses) in the Shaheed Islamabad locality here and taken shelter in the house of freedom fighter Sohan Singh Josh in 1928 after shooting ASP of Lahore J.P. Saunders?

The issue has become murkier with claims and counterclaims being made by leaders of various political parties and residents of “Bara Makana”. While deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu has ordered an inquiry into the matter, Laxmi Kanta Chawla, health minister, and veteran CPI leader Satyapal Dang have alleged that Dev Dard, a Punjabi poet, was “misguiding” the public by claiming that Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev took shelter in his rented house.

After visiting the site of “Bara Makana”, Dang and his wife alleged that Dev Dard had succeeded in illuminating his house at the expense of the local administration on the eve of the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Dang alleged that the Punjabi poet had “cooked up” the story for “selfish interests”.

On the other hand, CPI district secretary Amarjit Singh Asal, CPM leader Vijay Mishra, Dev Dard, and noted story writer Talwinder in a press conference have claimed that the course of events given in the autobiography of Sohan Singh Josh were correct and that the great freedom fighters had visited the site after the assassination of the British officer in Lahore.

They also produced historical documents to substantiate their claims. However, Asal said it was not yet clear which house Josh took on rent where Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev took shelter.

Interestingly, the locality’s most famous guests also included Netaji Subhas Chander Bose who visited the place while escaping to Kabul, popularly known as the ‘Great Escape’.

Most of the residents of Amritsar seem to be oblivious of one of the best kept secrets that Bhagat Singh used to edit ‘Kirti’ , a newspaper of revolutionaries along with Sohan Singh Josh for secret circulation from Bara Makana in the local Islamabad area.

Netaji had a brief stopover at Amritsar en route to Afghanistan that generated patriotic fervour among the local residents. A resident of Bara Makana, which was the hub of revolutionaries, established the visit of Netaji to Amritsar who escaped to Kabul in disguise with the help of the revolutionaries of Punjab.


UK elderly Sikhs plan march
To fight corruption in India
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 3
The decision taken by a section of Indian-origin Britons to launch a fight against corruption in India smacks of irony.

Earlier, during the days of the ‘Raj’, Indians collectively fought against British occupation to achieve freedom for the country.

Now the wheel has turned full circle as a section of British citizens, having origin in India, has decided to fight against the scourge of corruption that has been eating up the fabric of the Indian society.

They will start the fight in Punjab and take it to other states later.

The UK Elderly Sikh Association, based in East London, has decided to take out a ‘march on foot’ in Punjab, from Bathinda to Chandigarh, to launch the fight against corruption prevailing in the state government departments.

Amrik Singh Dhillon, secretary of the association, who originally belongs to this town, while talking to TNS today said the march would start on October 20 from Bathinda and cover the distance up to Chandigarh in about 10 days.

After reaching Chandigarh, the association would submit a memorandum to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, urging him to make arrangements for defeating a daunting enemy like corruption.

Dhillon said idea of taking out a march in Punjab was floated by him and backed by the association comprising about 60 members.

He added that Fauja Singh, the world number one champion in marathon and other prominent figures of London, might join the foot march. Some ex-servicemen of Punjab, writers, prominent social activists and intellectuals would also join the march.

Dhillon, who landed in this town on October 1, said the march would bring awakening among the people of Punjab and was hopeful that it would give birth to a movement against corruption. He added the foot march was a small and simple way to start a fight against any evil.

He, along with other members of the association, had decided to launch a movement against corruption as they were fed up with the sarcastic remarks passed to them by the original British people in connection with corruption prevailing in the country and references of corruption in India being given by the British in their daily life.

“Not only this, we have to grease the palms of officials of different departments of state government to get our petty works done in Punjab,” he said.

He added that the association would make efforts to channelise the energy of all the elderly Indians in this noble cause.

He said the association was expecting Badal to root out corruption from Punjab and set an example for the rest of India.


Ancient temple found
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 3
People have started visiting Kalewal Bhagtan village in Mahilpur block of this district to have a glimpse of the remnants of an ancient temple, recently found during an excavation in the village.

According to 90-year-old Pt Khariti Ram of Kalewal Bhagtan, this ancient temple is believed to be about 850 years old.

A temple was built for the Brahmin community of the village which was completely damaged during the heavy rains in 1988. Instead of re-building it, some villagers constructed a new temple 50 yards away from the original site of the temple by using material of the demolished temple. However, a mound remained at the site.

During a recent excavation by the villagers when they wanted to construct a wall around the mound, they found nanakshahi bricks. They were surprised to see them and further intensified the digging work.

First, they found old walls and later the whole temple under the earth. The wall of the temples are 3-foot wide. The entrance door was found locked and a pitcher-like object placed in front of it. A havan-kund, a shivlingam, a conch shell, trishul, earthen lamps and other articles used in puja were also found inside the temple.

The rear of the house of Rajesh Kalia adjoins the temple. He told this correspondent here today that according to the old people of the village, the temple was about 850 years old. At that time, Pandit Mahi Dass, along with devotees of Goddess Durga Mata from this temple, used to visit the holy shrine of Jawalamukhi during the navratras annually.

This tradition is still prevalent in the village. But nobody was aware of this temple now. The 23rd to 27th generation of Pandit Mahi Dass still lives in the village. The owners of the plot under which the temple was found live in Ludhiana and are from the family of Pt Mahi Dass.

The villagers want the Archaeological Survey of India to further excavate the site to find the history of the temple.


Mystery shrouds prof’s death
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 3
Mystery shrouds the alleged suicide by chemistry professor Parveen Kapoor (38) of DAV College whose body was found outside the college premises in the walled city here this afternoon.

According to the eyewitnesses, Parveen had come to the college this morning and was apparently seen disturbed over the recent suicide by his wife and daughter. He was facing the charge of abetment to the suicide attempt by his family levelled by his father-in-law.

They said the college authorities sent him home on a rickshaw after it was found that he had consumed some substance and was in a semi-conscious state. However, the rickshaw-puller returned to the college as he found the house of the professor locked.

Some passers-by alleged that the rickshaw-puller dumped the body of the professor on the roadside when the college administration refused to take care of him.

Principal of the college V.K. Sharma said since he was away to Chandigarh he was informed about the suicide by the professor on the phone. He, however, said Parveen had been on leave for the past 12 days and later the college was shut for autumn break.

The uncle of Parveen, Prof R.K. Vij, alleged that the father-in-law of the professor wanted to finish the Kapoor family as he wanted to grab the academy and business run by his daughter. 


Train hits truck;one killed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 3
A person was killed and at least four were injured when an express train, going towards Bathinda from Patiala via Dhuri, hit a truck at the Dohla railway level crossing, Dhuri, this evening. The level crossing was open leading to the accident. The train hit the truck, which rammed into other vehicles.

Emergency medical officer at the Dhuri Civil Hospital Vijay Jindal told The Tribune over the phone tonight that an unidentified man (50), a victim of the mishap, had been brought dead to the hospital while Roshan Lal Yadav (Barnala) and Gurdeep Singh (Gurdaspur district) had been admitted to the hospital with injuries.

A person, Yadav Gupta from Barnala, who was travelling in the train, sustained injuries and was admitted to the Sanatan Dharam Charitable Hospital at Dhuri.


Student drowned in Yamuna
Tribune News Service

Rupnagar, October 3
Nineteen-year-old Ishan Sharma, a third semester student of mechanical engineering in IET College, Bhaddal, got drowned at a college tour in Paonta Sahib yesterday.

The incident took place in the evening when Ishan, a native of Phagwara, and his friend Lakhvir Singh were having a dip in the Yamuna while other 41 classmates of theirs were having langar. They ventured into the deep waters where both of them started drowning. While Lakhvir was saved, Ishan drowned.

His body has not been found yet and divers have been pressed into action. 


City Centre Scam
Amarinder aide Gill gets interim bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Issuing notice of motion on a petition filed by advocate R.S. Gill accusing the state government of turning its guns on him in the Ludhiana City Centre scam as he was a part of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s legal team, Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that the petitioner shall be released on interim bail by the investigating officer in the event of his arrest.

Taking up Gill’s petition in a jam-packed courtroom, Justice Surya Kant added that the interim bail granted to him was subject to his furnishing of bail bonds to the satisfaction of the investigating officer.

Justice Surya Kant also issued notice of motion to the state, which was accepted by Punjab’s Deputy Advocate-General Rajesh Bhardwaj. The case will now come up for further hearing on October 17.

In his detailed order pronounced in an open court, Justice Surya Kant directed Gill to surrender before the investigating officer, if the same was required, as and when he was summoned. The Judge also asked him to join the investigations and co-operate fully.

In his order, the Judge also noted down the contentions of Gill’s counsel stating that the investigating agency was reportedly accusing him of getting Rs 3 lakh as kickbacks in the City Centre scam on the basis of a purported disclosure statement by advocate Harpreet Singh Sandhu.

Going into the background of the matter, the counsel stated that Sandhu, working as the petitioner’s junior, had been arrested on September 28 during the course of investigations. In view of the developments, the petitioner was apprehending his arrest.

In the petition, the counsel added that Gill was Amarinder and his son Raninder’s counsel. As the respondents were now using the state machinery, pending cases and investigating agencies to turn their guns on the legal team and lawyers attached with Amarinder Singh’s family, he was apprehending implication in false cases.


Warning by Judge
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Less than a week after the Punjab Vigilance Bureau arrested a former law officer in the Ludhiana City Centre case, Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today verbally observed in the open courtroom that action would be taken against officials concerned, which may be in the form of suspension, if any lawyer of the court was taken in custody. The Judge also took note of the media briefing by the Vigilance Bureau before court hearings.

The observations were made during the resumed hearing of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh's blanket bail plea after his counsel R. S. Cheema referred to the issue of arrests. Just before the culmination of the day’s proceedings, the Judge observed: “Tell Vigilance, no counsel of this court is to be arrested. If any counsel of this court is arrested, the official concerned will be suspended.''

Earlier, during the proceedings, Cheema contended that arrests were made under the garb of probe due to political vendetta with a motive to humiliate and defame higher officials and others close to the former Chief Minister.

If reports appearing in newspapers are an indication, the Captain and others close to him have all the reasons to apprehend their arrest and implication. Taking note of the contention, Justice Ranjit Singh raised the issue of dissemination of information to the media by the Vigilance Bureau.

The Judge, in fact, questioned the reason behind the VB’s move to brief the media whenever a related case was to come up for hearing.

Referring to the Bureau’s statement following the arrest of former Additional Advocate-General, the Judge asked if such statements were being made with an intention of influencing the court.

The Judge reiterated that the Court decides the case only on the basis of merit and the material made available to it.

“What is the point of issuing a statement or making revelations which have no legal validity”, the Judge asked. “Why can't the officials desist from getting such things published and what do they achieve except for defaming a person,''

Earlier, Cheema stated that the petitioner apprehended arrested in at least three more cases. State counsel, on the other hand, stated that they would respond to the contentions if the petitioner filed an affidavit giving details of cases he apprehended arrest

The case will now come up for hearing on October 8.


Disproportionate assets case against Badal
Notices issued to Punjab, chief secy, hostile witnesses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Singh and Justice Mahesh Grover, today issued notices to the State of Punjab, chief secretary, vigilance bureau and all 23 witnesses who have turned hostile in the alleged disproportionate assets case against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The case is currently being tried in the Special  Court at Ropar.

The notices have been issued in a public interest litigation filed by advocate H.C. Arora. The witnesses include 13 officials serving in the Punjab Government.

Describing it as an exceptional case, the petitioner stated that all 23 witnesses were under  pressure and threat.

He added that the VB should be asked to file  appropriate application in the court of Special Judge, Ropar, for initiating proceedings against witnesses.

The petitioner added that he was not  concerned whether present Chief Minister  was innocent or not, but was concerned about  the conduct of witnesses. After hearing the petitioner, the Division Bench issued notices to the respondents for January 29.


Notice to UT on Hawara’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Taking up a petition filed by Jagtar Singh Hawara alleging segregation from others after being sentenced to death penalty in Punjab's former Chief Minister Beant Singh assassination case, Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the Chandigarh Administration.

The notice was served on the Administration in the court itself. The petition will now come up for further hearing on November 1.

At the very onset of the hearing, Hawara’s counsel Navkiran Singh sought a short date in the matter as the rights of a prisoner were involved. In his petition against the Chandigarh Administration and Burail Jail Superintendent, Hawara had earlier sought directions for declaring illegal the action of lodging him and co-accused Balwant Singh in solitude and segregation.

He had added that the death sentence awarded to him by the Special Court was yet to be confirmed. In an attempt to substantiate his contentions against the segregation move, Hawara had also quoted Apex Court judgments.

Beant Singh was assassinated on August 31, 1995, in an explosion outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat. While human bomb Dilawar Singh was killed in the blast that also took the lives of 17 others, Hawara and Balwant Singh were granted capital punishment on July 31.

The gravity of the crime was further compounded by the sensational jailbreak in which Hawara, and three others escaped from the high-security Burail jail on the night of January 21, 2004, by digging a 94-ft-long tunnel under the barracks of the jail.


Farmers to get land status cards
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 3
With a view to helping farmers choose suitable crops for their fields, the Punjab Agriculture Department (PAD) would soon launch a plan to record fertility status of land.

Joint director (plant production), PAD, Gurinder Singh Gill said here today that under the Soil Health programme, fertility status of land would be recorded. The programme would last five years under which cards carrying fertility status of respective land of farmers would be issued to them to help them choose suitable crop for their fields.

Gill was here to participate in a district-level farmers’ training camp to impart latest technical knowhow on rabi crop and water resource management.

Advising farmers to only use certify seeds, Gill said complete seed replacement of the existing stock would be carried out in the next three years.

The process would be done in phases. As much as 20 per cent of the stock would be replaced in the current year while 40 per cent each in the next two years.

He added that under the Village Seed Scheme, foundation seed worth Rs 1.31 crore would be distributed among 50 farmers. 


Road Rage
Man shot at
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
In a case of road rage, a car-borne man shot at a truck driver in the Shivpuri area late this evening.

The truck driver has been identified as Harbhajan Singh. He was injured severely in the stomach and was rushed to a local hospital.

According to police sources, the car was hit by the truck. This annoyed the man driving the car and he took out his revolver and shot at the truck driver. He fled from the spot.

Eyewitnesses noted the number of the car. No case had been registered.


Body of man hit by roadways bus found
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 3
The body of ex-serviceman Dharampal Singh, a resident of Gharuan village was found abandoned in Harecha village in the morning today. He was involved in an accident with a PRTC bus yesterday at the Gharuan village bus stand while he was going on his bicycle. He was seriously injured and the driver and the conductor of the bus, Balwinder Singh and Shingara Singh had, at that time, said to those present at the scene that they were taking Dharampal to Morinda Civil Hospital. 
It is believed that they later abandoned the body of Dharampal Singh at Harecha village.

The bus bore the registration number PB-11-AB-7338. The accident took place on Tuesday afternoon at around 2 pm. The bus was going from Chandigarh to Faridkot. “We too got the information of the accident and reached the spot. By the time we reached, the bus had already left with the injured man and people there told us that Dharampal was being taken to Morinda Civil Hospital,” said Gharuan police post incharge Anil Kumar. He added that thereafter, in the evening, police went to Morinda Civil Hospital but could not trace Dharampal there. They also checked various private hospitals of Morinda, Samrala and DMCH and CMCH, Ludhiana, till late night but were unable to find Dharampal. 

In the morning police got information that an unidentified body has been found near Harecha village under police station Khamano. When police personnel reached the spot, they found that body was of Dharampal Singh.

Gharuan police have booked Balwinder and Shingara under Sections 304, 427, 201 and 120 B of the IPC for accidental death and for trying to conceal the dead body. No arrest has been made so far. 


Design your smile with dentist’s help
Tribune News Service

Sunam, October 3
The Guru Nanak Dev Dental College and Research Institute, Sunam, today organised a continuing dental education programme on “Predictable smile design” on its campus.

About 200 delegates participated in the scientific deliberations. Teachers, postgraduate students of various dental colleges of Punjab and adjoining states and students and interns of the college also participated.

It was organised in association with visiting faculty: Dr Trent W. Smallwood, Dr James H. Arnold, Dr Les Prasad from the World Institute of Dental Aesthetics, USA, and Dr Roshan from R.V. Dental College, Bangalore.

The speakers said “Predictable smile design” was the most upcoming branch of aesthetic dentistry where crafting a smile was not just an art but a combination of art and professionalism.

Dentistry had changed a lot over the past few years and with new materials and refined concepts, a dentist could change a patient’s life, confidence and smartness. This branch was not only helping the common man improve his quality of life, but also celebrities who were visiting dentists around the world for improving their smile.

The morning session was conducted by Dr Smallwood, a trendsetter in this field. The afternoon session was conducted by Dr James H. Arnold and Dr Les Prasad. They exhibited how the smile design could be exciting and a lifeline of patients with beautiful features.

The faculty also interacted with local dentists in updating their knowledge in field of aesthetic dentistry. They have desired to have an MoU with the Sunam college for an exchange programme/ advanced training of budding dentists in the USA.


Bhaddal student drowns at
Paonta Sahib
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 3
19-year-old Ishan Sharma, a third semester student of mechanical engineering at IET College, Bhaddal, drowned last evening at Paonta Sahib while on a college tour.

A team of 43 students and staff members are on an educational tour to Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited in Haridwar and Mussorie. Ishan, a native of Phagwara, and his friend Lakhvir Singh were having a dip in the Yamuna while their classmates were having langar.

The two ventured into deep waters and began to drown.

A teacher managed to save Lakhvir, but Ishan could not be saved. Divers are looking for his body. Sources said the local unit of the Army at Paonta Sahib has been requested tofind the body.

Officials of the college, including the principal, and Ishan's parents are at Paonta Sahib. 


Pbi varsity gets 8-storeyed
girls’ hostel

Patiala, October 3
The Vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Swarn Singh Boparai, inaugurated a state-of-the-art, eight-storeyed girls’ hostel, today. The hostel, attached to the University College of Engineering, has been named after Mai Bhago.

The V-C said the construction of this hostel had met a long-pending demand of the girl students, who had been suffering due to the paucity of accommodation. The hostel, built over an area of 90,000 sq ft and has a capacity to accommodate 392 girls, provides a modern space along with a healthy environment, he added. — TNS


Affiliation for physiotherapy college
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 3
Gian Sagar College of Physiotherapy has been granted affiliation by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Dr Sukhwinder Singh, vice-chairman of Gian Sagar Educational and Charitable Trust, stated.

College principal Dr Jagmohan Singh said with this affiliation, 50 students will be admitted in the course of physiotherapy in the current session. Dr Vijay Sharma, director of the Gian Sagar Educational and Charitable Trust, said PTU has also granted sanction of a learning centre for paramedical courses at Gian Sagar College of Paramedical Sciences.

Dr Harpreet Kaur of Clinical Biochemistry Laboratories informed that there are three diploma courses of one year duration each.

Sukhwinder Singh, vice-chairman of the trust said Blood Donation Day was also celebrated by the blood bank department at Banur.

A.S. Sekhon, principal of the college, highlighted the importance of voluntary blood donation. Blood donation camp organisers Jagtar Singh of Youth Welfare Club, Jhansala, Gurmukh Singh of Vande Matram Dal, Patiala, Manpreet Singh of Simar Surgicals and about 100 blood donors were honoured at Gian Sagar Hospital.


Floriculture unit worth Rs 4 crore auctioned
for Rs 6 lakh

Amritsar, October 3
An entrepreneur who had set up a hi-tech rose floriculture project with foreign collaboration for over Rs 4 crore had been auctioned to a scrap dealer by the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC) for Rs 6 lakh.

The management of the Roses Floriculture urged the Chief Minister to stop this harassment to a man who had worked all his life for the project to initiate a major floriculture revolution in the border belt. Chairman of the company Narinder Kumar Jain, has written a letter to the CM saying that the benefit of the government revival policy for the floriculture projects was not extended to the unit. — OC


Officers in trouble over iron ore export
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
From management and handling of foodgrains to export of iron ore has got some officers of the Punjab Agro Foodgrain Corporation into trouble.

The Punjab Government has issued show-cause notices to both officers and they have been shifted to other departments. Asked in this connection, chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said, “I have received a report in this connection, which was being examined.”

Sources said what was now bothering the corporation was recovery of about Rs 18 crore from the Mumbai-based private firm through which export was made. “Till money is recovered it should be taken as lost or done for,” said a senior officer aware of the facts of the case.

It was not in the charter of the corporation to export iron ore. Its job was handling and management of foodgrains. Why did it diversify into the area that was not part of its operations.

Moreover, no proper and adequate bank guarantee was taken from the firm. Secondly, the firm was hired without resorting to competitive bidding.

Action would be taken on the basis of officers’ replies to the show-cause notices issued to them, it is learnt.


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 |