P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


SMO alleges threat by Majithia
Undertrial shifted to general ward
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 5
Even as undertrial Bikramjit Singh of Bohar Wala (Ram Dass) village was shifted from a private AC room to the general ward following yesterday’s vigilance raid, senior medical officer (SMO) S.K. Kapur today alleged that public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia threatened him with consequences if the undertrial was not kept for a longer time in the hospital.

However, while talking to The Tribune, Majithia denied that he had ever talked to the SMO for keeping the “jail bird” in the AC room of the hospital. “I have never come across such a person and hence question of recommending him VIP treatment in the hospital does not arise”. The minister said his name was being dragged into one or the other controversies without any reason.

However, in a recorded statement, the SMO alleged that he had brought the matter to the notice of health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla. He claimed that the health minister had directed him to do as per rules. The SMO said he had exchanged “heated words” with Majithia when the latter threatened him.

The SMO said he wished to discharge the patient after initial check-up. However, they insisted that they wanted the patient to be properly examined. He had constituted a board of three doctors who recommended admissions in the general ward. “During a routine round of the hospital wards, when I found the patient missing from the general ward, I enquired from the nurse concerned. She said he had been shifted to the private room No. 5”. I immediately visited the private room and directed the staff that he be shifted to the general ward.

However, the SMO claimed, the patient was again shifted to the private room. When asked about the allegations of bribe, the SMO quipped that he was a reputed doctor.


Rise in cancer cases, kidney ailments, infertility
Green Malwa hit by pesticide poison: NGO

New Delhi, October 5
Punjab’s Malwa region, once referred to as “Makheon meetha Malwa” (sweeter than honey) for its rich agricultural produce and cotton farming, is today battling environment-related health problems, including a noticeable rise in cancer cases, kidney ailments and infertility as a result of large-scale use of pesticides and fertiliser.

The green revolution of the 1970s that brought a windfall to the farmers in terms of prosperity is now revealing its side-effects - large-scale environmental degradation with strong chemical pesticides, having led to contamination of water bodies, food and air, says Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM), a non-governmental organisation working in the area.

“Punjab is in great danger. It is only when you go to the villages that you realise how much the environmental pollution has affected the people there,” it said.

In Malwa region you will get to see girls and boys as young as nine years with grey hair. There are five to 10 cancer cases in each village, plus numerous other health problems,” KVM head Umendra Dutt said.

According to Dutt, the total dissolved salts in the water bodies is much higher than permissible levels, forcing women and schoolchildren to spend valuable time in fetching potable water from approved sources. “The water is not fit to be given even to animals. The high toxicity in the environment has affected the cattle too. Their milk yields have gone down, and like humans there they have developed bone problems. They do not walk properly and the cows are not conceiving properly,” he added.

Malwa region comprises nine districts with Ludhiana, Barnala and Sangrur in the non-cotton growing belt and the rest, Bathinda, Mansa, Moga, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar, comprising the cotton belt.

Dutt and his team went on a door-to-door survey in Ferozepur, Faridkot, Muktsar and Bathinda districts a few months ago and met the people there, right from grandparents to children.

“What we saw is very disturbing and terrifying. The dance of death by cancer is everywhere,” Dutt said. The disease was taking an economic toll on the families as they were forced to sell their land to get the victims treated, said Dutt, who was from Ferozepur.

Dutt and his team came across several cases of childhood arthritis, reproductive health diseases and an alarmingly high number of childless couples.

“Most people don’t even know what went wrong in the past few years,” he says. His team also saw many kidney patients, mentally challenged children, diabetic patients and young men with fertility problems.

A study was done on the rising cancer cases in Talwandi Sabo block in Bathinda by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research more than two years ago. It found that cancer cases were indeed high and attributed it to “more use of pesticides, tobacco and alcohol”.

An angry Dutt says that the “study has diluted the aspect of high use of pesticides in the area. Tobacco is against the Sikh religion and how can people in a largely Sikh area be accused of tobacco use, including women? So how does tobacco feature in the area as a cause at all?”

Dutt feels that the region needs a pesticide holiday and should be declared an environmental hot spot. — IANS


Saini Blast Case
CBI probe ordered into ‘elimination’ of POs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Perturbed over the allegations of elimination of at least one of the "proclaimed offenders" in the "Saini bomb blast case", a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered a CBI probe into the matter.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court, the Bench, comprising Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice A.N. Jindal, directed the CBI to "investigate as to whether Balwant Singh Multani, Navneet Singh, alias Pal, and Manjit Singh, alias Doctor, were eliminated in false encounters and if so, as to who were the police officials responsible for it so that they be brought to justice".

Turning down the premium investigation agency's claim that it was overstrained, the Bench ruled: “It is difficult for us to take into consideration the CBI's view that they are overburdened. Allegedly the death of Navneet Singh took place in Rajasthan, while the death of others, Balwant Singh and Manjit Singh, allegedly took place in State of Punjab or Chandigarh.”

The Bench added: “The case has intra-state ramifications, which the Chandigarh Police and the Punjab Police may not be in a position to investigate. Furthermore, Sumedh Singh Saini, Punjab Director Vigilance, was posted as the SSP and was at the helm of affairs of the Chandigarh Police. As of today, he is holding a very important post and is in a position to influence the investigating officer, if it is handed over to the Punjab Police or for that matter to the Chandigarh Police.”

The car bomb explosion had taken place in Chandigarh on August 29, 1991. While three cops had lost their lives and several others were injured, IPS officer Sumedh Singh Saini, then posted as the UT Senior Superintendent of Police, had sustained multiple injuries.

During the course of hearing before the High Court, retired IAS officer Darshan Singh Multani filed an affidavit, alleging that his son Balwant Singh Multani had been eliminated.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the Bench observed: "The court while trying to procure the presence of the proclaimed offenders was perturbed by the new development of allegations of one of the proclaimed offenders being eliminated."

The Bench added: "It is difficult for us to look over the affidavit of D.S. Multani regarding allegation he has made of his son being eliminated. This aspect of elimination must be looked into... The CBI is at liberty to register an FIR on the statement of any of the affected parties or on the statement of Darshan Singh Multani."

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Gill added: “The CBI is further directed not to disclose the identity of the witnesses to anyone, apart from this court, that also only on the asking of the court. They are at the liberty to change the names of the witnesses, or they be named as witness-A, witness-B etc.”

The Judge also asked the police chiefs of Punjab, Rajasthan and Chandigarh to fully cooperate. The special investigation team, set up by the Chandigarh Police, for bringing the proclaimed offenders to justice was also ordered to be disbanded.


PSEB issues orders to implement new tariffs
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Even though ruling alliance partners, the SAD and the BJP, play out a game of nerves and have issued statements over the recently hiked power tariff in Punjab, the ground reality is different. The commercial wing of the Punjab State Electricity Board has already issued a circular to implement new tariffs, to be applicable from September 1.

This even as the BJP has “knocked at the doors” of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, saying that the hike is affecting only the urban consumers - read the BJP vote bank. In turn Badal publically assured the BJP that the power tariff hike will be discussed at the forthcoming Cabinet meeting next week. However, senior leaders of the SAD are taking BJP’s move as “yet another pressure tactic”, saying the BJP ministers were present at the previous Cabinet meeting when the power tariff hike was okayed.

The government had just given its nod to the tariff order announced by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission. The BJP may have read the PSERC order in the media and known its implications, said a senior Akali leader. Sources said the BJP’s protest was being taken as a delayed reaction among political circles.

Sources in the SAD said the core group of senior leaders of the party today met at the residence of Badal. The SAD may not be in a position to bend much as rolling back the tariff will be next to impossible. The increase will net about Rs 423 crore to the PSEB. Well-placed sources in the PSEB confirmed that there was no written or verbal orders to stop the implementation of the new tariff.

Out of the existing subsidy of Rs 2119 crore okayed by the PSERC, an amount of Rs 1,950 crore is subsidy for the farm sector. The BJP feels that a major portion of the benefits is being kept aside for the farm sector - read the SAD vote bank -- while the urban population was paying a heavy price for the subsidy.

The BJP’s core group had met last week and decided to approach Badal on the hike. The resentment of the BJP was conveyed and on the same issue the SAD leaders met today. Within the SAD there are two opinions: One that the farm sector should pay “something” and free power cannot continue at this exorbitant rate. The second opinion is of a vocal group which says that free power to farmers should continue as more than 70 per cent of the state economy is dependent on it.


Canal water: Maharashtra shows the way
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Maharashtra has done it. When will Punjab and Haryana, both facing crisis on water front, do it, no one knows.

Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to link the use of canal water with the agriculture production. Now what will matter in Maharashtra is how much water has been used to produce 1 quintal of cotton. Earlier, all emphasis was on how much cotton or other crop was produced from one acre as is the case in Punjab, Haryana and other states in the rest of the country at present.

Maharashtra, which has been facing grave shortage of canal water for irrigation purposes, has set up the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority. It has fixed benchmarks for utilisation of canal water.

“For management, administration, operation and maintenance of canal water resources, Maharashtra passed two Acts, one to set up the authority and other for the management of irrigation systems in 2005. After framing rules and regulations, these Acts have been implemented now,” said J.S. Samra, chief executive officer of the National Rainfed Area Authority, who was sent to Maharashtra by the Union Government to prepare a report on the crisis in agriculture sector and reasons for suicide by farmers in the Vidharaba region.

The authority has fixed benchmarks for the management, administration, operation and maintenance of canal water. Failure to achieve benchmarks means inefficient use of canal water for agriculture purpose. “For instance, during Rabi season at least 1million cubic metre water should irrigate 150 hectares of land and during Kharif it should irrigate at least 110 hectares. And there should be production worth Rs 26,000 from an hectare with that water per crop. On the operation and maintenance of canal water, the cost should not be above Rs 1200 per hectare,” said Samra.

“Punjab and Haryana must follow this system. They should start the audit of canal water immediately. That is the only way to tackle the growing crisis on water front in both the states. With efficient use of canal water, the pumping out of subsoil water can be reduced significantly,” he adds. “By introducing audit, you can find how much water is being stolen, how much being wasted and how much is actually making to the fields from various dams through canals,” said Samra.

In fact, all states should follow the Maharashtra pattern. Other states can make amendments and additions suitable to them in the model adopted by Maharashtra, he added.

The first report of the water audit has come out in Maharashtra. It has been found that 50 per cent canal water-supplying systems are inefficient. Their maintenance cost is also Rs 1850 per hectare against the required Rs 1200 per hectare. Value of production is also less by Rs 500 per hectare. Of course, there is provision of punishment for officers who show inefficiency in the utilisation of water.


BSP introduces UP concept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The Bahujan Samaj Party( BSP) which achieved surprising results by introducing social engineering as a political concept as well as strategy in the last Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, has begun to introduce the same concept in Punjab now.

It has started inducting politicians and influential persons from rich classes in its ranks in the state. Two to join today were J.K. Jindal, a former secretary, and Rattan Lal Gupta, a former general secretary of the state unit of the Congress party. One former superintendent of police-turned-politician Madanjit Singh would join the party, formally on October 26 at a rally he is organising in this regard at Sangrur.

“ We are all set to introduce social engineering in Punjab politics and beginning is being made today,” said Narender Kashyap, general secretary of the BSP, who is in charge of party affairs in Punjab. Many senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal( Badal) and of the Congress were in touch with us and ready to join our party, he added. “We have completed first round of talks with them and after another round we would decide how many of them would be accepted in the BSP fold,” Kashyap said.

He was accompanied by Avtar Singh Karimpuri, president, and Paramjit Singh Kainth, senior leader of the Punjab unit of the BSP. Only those political leaders who have faith in the Constitution would be taken in the party, he added.

“ We would go alone in Punjab. There will be no tie-up with the Congress, or the BJP or any other party. Our aim is to take people of Punjab along and not the political outfits,” he added. “We will replace these parties at the national level soon,” he added.

He said a big gathering would be held at Lucknow on October 9 to observe the first death anniversary of Babu Kanshi Ram, founder of the party. On November 1, the anniversary would be observed at all district headquarters of Punjab, the parent state of Babu Kashi Ram. 


Milk losing nutritive value: Experts
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 5
Milk, it seems, is fast losing its nutritive value, thanks to the low-grade cattle feed in the market due to the inferior quality raw materials used in its production. This low-quality material is not only endangering the lives of the cattle but also jeopardising the health of the human consumers.

The degradation in the quality of milk was first noticed by the experts procuring milk for companies offering packaged milk. Confirming the fall in quality of milk, these experts told TNS that often they had to throw away huge quantities of milk procured from private dairy farms after it failed the quality tests.

A practicing physician, Dr Banmeet Singh, said it was being widely believed amongst the doctors that instead of improving health, use of substandard milk had led to an increase in health problems like infertility and hormonal disturbances. However, it remains to be ascertained medically what other ill-effects the low-grade milk could have on human beings, he added.

Some of the cattle feed manufactures at Khanna, which is one of the biggest clusters of feed making units, said on condition of anonymity that several units were using low grade raw materials.

President of the Feed Manufactures’ Association Dharampal said due to non-availability of raw materials, some firms were left with no other option but to use whatever supplies they got. He said the matter had been brought to the notice of the state government, but till date no steps had been initiated to increase the availability of raw materials.

As per an estimate, there is a requirement of more than 10 million tonnes of feed each day in Punjab itself. Instead of rice bran, the feed manufactures are using ‘howler phak’ or ‘sheller phak’, which has less oil content.

Besides, other ingredients like maze, barley and cotton seed are used to bring down the manufacturing cost.

Though regular samples are collect and tested by the Punjab Dairy Development Corporation, the manufactures manage to scape through the tests.

A dairy owner from Daudpur village, Sarabjit Singh, said government should ensure that samples are collected from the shopkeepers and not directly from the firms to avoid any foul play.

Dr Banmeet suggested that people should go in for packaged milk so as to avoid consumption of substandard milk.


PSEB high-ups had liquor on duty: Union
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 5
The Ropar Thermal Project Contractor Worker Union has accused high officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) of consuming liquor while on their visit to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Power Plant today.

President of the union R.K. Tiwar said a delegation comprising PSEB chairman Y.S. Ratra, member (distribution) J.S. Sekhon, member (transmission) S.C. Sabharwal and member (generation) G.S. Saran visited the thermal plant today to attend the inaugural ceremony of the two-day training programme initiated by a German company, VBV.

The union workers and waved black flags as a mark of protest during the ongoing protest against PSEB.

“At one side PSEB says that it does not have enough funds to pay us pay parity equal to that of regular employees and on the other its officials enjoyed non-veg food and liquor on the premises of thermal plant itself,” Tiwari said while demanding a high-level inquiry into the incident.

Meanwhile, when contacted, deputy chief engineer of the plant S.C. Chabba said union workers were levelling false allegations.

"These workers have been agitating since long for pay parity, a matter that is under adjudication before the Labour Commission, Punjab. Now, the union is levelling baseless allegations," he said. He added that the representatives of the German company might have been having beer in their respective rooms but as such there was no public consumption of liquor during the board meeting.


4 students die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 5
Four students of BHMS direct degree course the local Homoeopathic Medical College and the driver of the Indica car (DL 3 C 7827), in which they were travelling, were killed when the vehicle rammed into a roadside tree near Ramsara village on the Abohar-Hanumangarh road today.

The vehicle belongs to “Art of Living” expert Suresh Gogia. Manoj Kumar of New Delhi, who was on the wheel, lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a turn outside the cremation ground of the village, 10 km from here, hitting the tree. The watchman of the cremation ground called up principal of the college Rajinder Girdhar and informed him about the accident. But, by the time he, along with others, reached the spot, all four students had died.

The driver of the car was taken to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital where he too succumbed to his injuries within few minutes.

The students killed in the accident have been identified as Ashish Tayagi, son of Anil Tayagi of Bagpat, UP, Sukhjinder Singh Chahal, son of Makhan Singh Chahal of Purani Abadi, Sriganganagar in Rajasthan, Virender Yadav, son of Radheshyam Yadav of Allahabad, and Amit Gujjar, son of Ram Kumar Gujjar of Ghaziabad.


Mega projects to boost textile industry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The screening committee under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh today approved nine mega projects worth Rs 1500 crore.

A spokesman of the government said with the setting up of mega projects in various parts of the state, a new industrial hub would be evolved, thereby giving boost to textile industry.

Giving details, he said Aarti International Limited, Ludhiana, would be installing 60,000 spindles at Ludhiana at a cost of Rs 242.06 crore. Another project by Avani Textile Limited, Sangrur, a manufacturing cotton yarn, would be set up at Sangrur at a cost of Rs 134.50 crore. A project by Oswal Spinning and Weaving Mills Limited, worth Rs 143.50 crore, and the one by Aggarsain Spinners Limited (ASL), worth Rs 115.00 crore, would be set up at Ludhiana. Similarly, Shiva Fibers Private Limited and Grospinz Fabz Limited, both cotton spinning units, would have their projects set up at Doraha in Ludhiana district and Muktsar-Jalalabad Road, respectively.

Khalsa Heritage Complex

Moshe Safdie, a world renowned architect, who had been engaged in building the Khalsa Heritage Complex (KHC) at Anandpur Sahib, today called on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here on Thursday.

While discussing the project, Safdie expressed his satisfaction over the quality of work. Approximately 95 per cent of the work has been completed.


Government agencies and private millers have procured more than 2.6 million tonnes of paddy till last evening.

According to an official spokesman, government agencies have procured 14,62,720 tonnes of paddy (70.8 per cent) till date whereas millers have lifted 6,01,847 tonnes (29.2 per cent) of paddy.

Result declared

The Punjab Public Service Commission has declared result for the post of drug inspector after holding interviews on October 4. The complete result can be seen on Punjab Public Service Commission's notice board and on the website www.ppsc.gov.in. This was disclosed here today by a spokesman of the commission.


Blind to intensify agitation from Oct 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The Punjab unit of the National Federation of Blind (NFB) is on a warpath again. Tired at the dilly-dalling attitude of the Punjab government on the issue of 1 per cent reservation for the visually impaired, the federation today decided to intensify agitation from October 15.

The federation general secretary Rajesh Mohan said during the first phase of the agitation, the federation would organise a rally in front of the social security department office on October 15, as part of the ‘international cane day’. Later the statewide and the nationwide agitation would also be launched if the demands were not met, he warned. Federation president Gopal Krishan Kaushal regretted that the SAD-BJP government had failed to initiate any steps for the welfare of the visually impaired.

This was despite the fact that both the parties had made tall promises for the welfare of the visually challenged in the run-up to the February Punjab elections.

The federation had been representing to various functionaries of the government from time to time but to no avail. What to talk of taking any action on the representations of the federation, the NFB representations were not even acknowledged by the government departments, Mohan, who led the campaign for 1 per cent quota in government jobs, alleged.

It was after a long struggle that the federation was assured of 1 per cent quota for the visually challenged by the state government. However, the implementation of the government order remains much to be desired.

The federation had been demanding a uniform policy for the reservation of seats for the visually impaired with a view to uplift this section of society.


Education board’s former chairman Bharpur Singh dead
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 5
A former chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, Bharpur Singh, died at a hospital in New Delhi late this evening.

Bharpur SinghAccording to Amar Singh Dhaliwal, president of the Non-teaching Employees Association of the board, Bharpur Singh underwent a heart surgery a few days ago and had regained consciousness. But a message was received in the evening that he breathed his last today. His body is still in Delhi. He lived in Phase VII here while his children had settled abroad.

Dhaliwal said Bharpur Singh remained the chairman of the education board for six years. He was also the founder registrar of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He even served as principal of Guru Gobind Singh College, Chandigarh. He had started his career as a lecturer from Lyalpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar.

Dr D.S. Gupt, chairman of the Swami Ram Tirath Educational and Cultural Society, condoled the death of Bharpur Singh. He said the educational world had lost a gem.


Rs 1,500-cr road project launched

Tarn Taran, October 5
The Rs 1500-crore project for recarpeting and expansion of the road network in the state was here today launched by minister for public works Parminder Singh Dhindsa. The project was being funded by the World Bank and about 1,100 km of roads would be covered under it.

Dhindsa laid the foundation stone of the project at Noordi village, 6 km from here. Des Raj Dhugga, chief parliamentary secretary, PWD (B&R), Punjab, was also present.

The roads being taken up under this project are Kharar-Landran-Banur (39.53 km), Ludhiana-Malerkotla-Sangrur (71.92 km), Attari-Chabbal-Tarn Taran (41.59 kms), Ferozepur-Zira-Dharam Kot (59.16 km), Chandigarh-Landran-Chunni-Sirhind-Patiala (65.6 km), Phillaur-Aur-Rahon-Nagar (33.51 km) and Kapurthala-Tarn Taran (46.2 km) roads. — OC


Amarinder gives details of proposed foreign visit to HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh October 5
After filing a plea in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for permission to visit Dubai and the UK, Punjab’s former Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has submitted an application giving detailed account of his proposed visit.

In his application submitted today, he stated that after receiving a communication from his doctor, Dr Sisir Ray, he would like to visit Dubai from October 11 to October 18 and would like to depart for Delhi on October 11.

Referring to the suggestions made by the doctor in a letter dated September 29, Amarinder said from Dubai he would like to go to London on October 19. His medical examination, including blood tests, would be conducted from October 20 to October 24 and he was to be admitted to the hospital on October 25 for further examination and follow up action. After completion of the process, he would return on November 30.

The matter is expected to be taken up on October 8, when the blanket plea of Amarinder Singh is also scheduled for hearing.


Leaders urged to develop Bassi Pathana
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, October 5
The leaders and workers of SAD (B) and BJP today met senior SAD (B) leader Rajesh Pal Singh Lalli and urged him to take up the issue of development of the township with the Chief Minister.

They requested for Bassi Pathana’s inclusion in the list of towns selected under the UDISMT central government-sponsored scheme in place of Mandi Gobindgarh, which is already developed.

In a press release issued today, senior SAD (B) leader and secretary of DFA Amarjit Singh Kohli said the Municipal Council of Bassi Pathana was probably the only council in the state without a regular executive officer, a sectional officer and an accountant since June, 2006.

The municipal council had become a liability for the town as it was unable to pay its own salaries, electricity bills and other contingency expenses, he said, adding that the body was under a debt of Rs 65 lakh.

Lalli assured the delegation that he, along with Didar Singh Bhatti, would take up the matter with Parkash Singh Badal.


Immolation: Panel summons SSP

Batala, October 5
Taking note of a news item published in The Tribune regarding immolation by a Dalit boy after allegedly being harassed by certain influential persons of his village and the police, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes Buta Singh has summoned the SSP, Batala, and the Inspector-General of the border range.

The commission has sought from the officials clarification on the alleged harassment of the boy and asked them to appear before the commission on October 11.

It has been alleged that Sandeep Singh of Matholla village in the Sri Hargobindpur area, was driven to self-immolation by certain influential persons of the village and the police who believed he had stolen the mobile phone of his teacher. Batala SSP R.N. Dhoke said he had not received the summons yet. — TNS


4 docs refused anticipatory bail

Bathinda, October 5
The anticipatory bail applications of four local doctors moved in different courts here were declined by judicial magistrates concerned. However, another doctor was granted bail. The five doctors were booked under the PNDT Act and the IPC in 2003.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that 12 persons, including five doctors, were accused of carrying out ultra sound tests on pregnant women in violation of the provisions of the PNDT Act. Arrest warrants were issued against all these persons by a local court.

The anticipatory bail applications of J. Sidhu, Preeti Sidhu, Sunit and Amarjit Singh (all doctors) were declined, while Nidhi, another doctor, was given the relief.

Meanwhile, Amrit Sethi, president, IMA, Punjab, alleged that these doctors had been falsely implicated. — TNS


Man who ‘saved’ girl booked for kidnapping her
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 5
After claims and counter-claims over the alleged kidnapping of a minor girl in Tarn Taran put the police in a bind, a case has now been registered against the “saviour” of the girl, who claimed to have saved her from being sexually exploited by the family for which she was working as a domestic help.

Tarn Taran SSP P.K. Rai said for the past three days the minor girl was in the custody of Jasbir Singh Jassa, a resident of Valtoha village, even though her mother had given a complaint to the police that her daughter had gone missing.

“The whole case seems to be suspect and the allegations made by Jassa appear to be cooked up. It is a clear case of abduction,” he said,” he said.

On the other hand, producing the “victim” in Amritsar today Jassa alleged that she was being sexually exploited in the house where she was working as a domestic help for the past three years. “The girl ran from the house three days back and pleaded that I should give her shelter,” he said.

On the kidnapping case registered against him, he said, “For the past 15 years, she has not seen her parents but now suddenly her mother has surfaced. It all seems to be a well-planned conspiracy. The police should get a DNA test of the woman who claims to be her mother conducted,” he said.

“I had approached the SHO, Valtoha, three days back and today I gave an application to the DIG. The police has not shown any inclination to bring the guilty to book. My wife and about twenty-four persons from my village have supported me in giving the girl shelter. The allegations of abduction are baseless,” he said.

Sources in the police department said there were reports of personal animosity between Jassa and the family against which allegations were being made.

Avtar Singh Deol, convener, Akal Council, said the girl was being kept captive in the house and was not allowed to go out. “She has even told us that she has aborted pregnancy thrice in the past three years. All this can be proved by a medical examination,” he said.


In-laws booked for driving lecturer to suicide
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 5
The body of DAV College lecturer Praveen Kapoor, who allegedly committed suicide on October 3, is still to be cremated as his parents and close relatives have been demanding that the police register a case against the in-laws of the deceased for abetment to suicide. They held a protest with the body lying beside them in the Hall Gate area here today.

His parents and relatives raised slogans against the college management for its failure to take Kapoor to the hospital. They blocked the road for over four hours.

Meanwhile, the police registered a case under Section 306 of the IPC against deceased’s father-in-law Somnath Bembi, brothers-in-law Chetan Bembi and Jatin Anand on the basis of an 11-page suicide note written by the deceased.

Kapoor has accused the persons, against whom the case has been registered, of harassing and driving him to commit suicide.

According to the suicide note, Kapoor had gone to Faridkot to attend a religious ceremony where his in-laws tried to kill him by offering poison-laced cold drink. He had demanded Rs 7 lakh from his father-in-law whom he had loaned the amount a few years ago. However, the cold drink was mistakenly consumed by his wife and daughter resulting into their death.


Punjabi University fest from Oct 15
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 5
The Punjabi University inter-college zonal level youth festival will be held from October 15 to November 3 at different venues, a spokesman of the university disclosed here on Thursday. The competitions will be followed by the inter-zonal level competition and will be held in 27 events based on four categories — literacy, dance, music and theatre. Besides this, competitions in 17 folk items aimed at reviving the vanishing folk arts will also be held separately during these youth festival.

Director (youth welfare) Dr Sunita Dhir said the zonal festivals would begin with Punjabi University neighbourhood campus in Rampura Phul hosting the newly instituted Mansa zone festival from October 15 to 17. The Ropar zone festival at Shivalik College, Mohali, will follow this from October 18 to 20. Public College, Samana, will conduct the Patiala zone festival from October 23 to 25, while Bathinda zone contest will be held at Punjabi University College of Education, Bathinda, from October 26 to 28.

Desh Bhaga College, Mandi Gobindgarh, will hold the Fatehgarh Sahib zonal festival from October 29 to 31, while Guru Tegh Bahadur College, Bhawanigarh, will host the Sangrur zonal festival.

The University’s inter-zonal competitions will be held on the Punjabi University campus from November 6 to 8 and the North Zone inter-university festival will be organised by Kanpur University and the National Festival by Kolhapur University said sources.


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 |