P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


PRTC to include 125 AC buses in its ageing fleet
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 4
In its effort to make the journey of long-route passengers more comfortable, the Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) is all set to include as many as 125 air-conditioned heat ventilation (HV) buses within the next three months in its ageing fleet of 1,046 buses.

Ironically, more than half of PRTC’s existing fleet of 1,046 buses have got ‘over aged’ or have almost been rendered unworthy for long hauls.

So much so, most of the about 525 ‘over aged’ buses have completed 15 years on road as against the stipulated norm of 7 years, even as the PRTC authorities are busy in replacing the old buses in a phased manner.

All passengers will require to shell out an extra 10 per cent on the existing normal bus fare. All new buses will be operated by the PRTC under the ‘kilometre scheme’ and under the Punjab government-run Shaheed Bhagat Singh Rozgaar Yojna.

Apart from air-conditioning, heat ventilation facilities and better seating, passengers travelling in these buses will also be able to enjoy music during their long-distance journey.

“We have already invited tenders for new buses and hope our new AC bus travel service will take off within the next three months. What is being kept in mind while introducing these buses is the comfort of passengers,” said PRTC general manager Manvesh Singh Sidhu.

He said apart from 125 AC (HV) buses, the PRTC was also going to induct as many as 25 more pre-fabricated integral coaches in its fleet.

The new AC buses were being introduced by the PRTC on a number of busy routes, including Delhi, Jammu, Chandigarh, Udhampur, Shimla, Dharamsala, Haridwar, Dehra Dun, Panipat, Hisar, Rohtak, Mathura, and Agra.

The interiors of these buses would be designed in such a manner that it had more baggage-carrying capacity.

Besides the introduction of AC buses, the PRTC was also envisaging to phase out old buses and replace these with new buses in a phased manner.

“The PRTC is going to get the first lot of the 100 new ordinary buses within 15 days. We are planning to replace 250 old buses in the next one year. We are plying our ‘over aged’ vehicles after duly obtaining fitness certificates. Since the Punjab finance minister has earmarked an amount of Rs 3 crore for the corporation, we hope the replacement of old vehicles will not be a problem,” said Sidhu.

He added the PRTC had virtually come out of the red. “There has been an increase of Rs 62.36 lakh as compared to the corresponding period of last year. The credit goes to the hard work put in by the employees and to a number of efforts made by the management,” said Sidhu.


Jaspal Singh is Pbi varsity VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 4
The Punjab Governor today issued orders appointing Dr Jaspal Singh, noted academic and former Indian Ambassador to Mozambique, as vice-chancellor of Punjabi university, here.

He will assume charge either on Friday or Monday. The post had fallen vacant after Swaran Singh Boparai resigned last week.

Dr Jaspal Singh, whose name had been doing the rounds ever since the exit of Boparai, at present was working as principal of Sri Guru Gobind Singh college of commerce in New Delhi. He is Ph.D in political science. His topic was concept of state in Sikh Scriptures and historical perspective.

He also remained lecturer of political science in Khalsa college, New Delhi. He has also authored two books -Raj da Sikh Sankalap and Sikh Itehas Lekhan de Dharam Granth. Dr Singh is also a member of the SGPC on behalf of the Dehli Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and also a member of the political affairs committee of the SAD.

Dr Jaspal Singh is said to be close to former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral who had appointed him ambassador.


Nationwide Satyagraha
Marches mark protest against Centre
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 4
As part of the nationwide satyagrah, activists of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), along with other organisations, here today held marches and dharna separately in support of their demands and against the “anti-people” economic and industrial policies of the Central government.

The activists of AITUC, led by its district president Avinash Sharma, and some other organisations took out a protest march and held dharna at the traffic lights chowk, near the main bus stand here, against the privatisation, especially of the PSEB, rising prices, non-implementation of labour laws and the nuclear deal with the USA. Sharma, along with ex-MLA Achhra Singh, Jagdev Singh Bahia and Nirmal Singh addressed the dharna.

As part of the satyagrah, the activists of CITU, the Punjab Kisan Sabha and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU) also took out a protest march and held dharna in front of the main gate of the district administrative complex (DC office). They were addressed by state secretary of the CPM Balwant Singh, state secretary of CITU Dev Raj Verma and state president of the PKMU Bhup Chand Channo, besides others.


Of drug addiction and will power of two brothers
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 4
Love of a Hisar-based youth for his wife and affection of his brother for him sucked two brothers into substance use.

The two became drug addicts but their will power to give it up and medical support paid off. “Don’t take it (use of drug) light and don't dare to try it for fun," is their message to the younger generation.

The story of Amit Singh (29), a computer professional, and his younger brother Ashish Singh (26), an undergraduate, is an eye opener for substance users.

Amit claimed that after the separation of their parents in 1989, they accompanied their mother, Seema, to Uttar Pradesh, while their father stayed at Hisar.

A patient of migraine, Seema was prescribed fortwin and calmpose by doctors for pain relief. The drugs became her source of relief and with passage of time she became an addict.

The problem became severe after Seema got in touch with Nirmal Massy, a staff nurse, who also was a substance user.

Their meetings at a local church developed into family relations. After a couple of months Nirmal died and her daughter Aradhana was left alone.

Since Amit and Aradhana were close friends, so they decided to get married. Amit disclosed that he was aware Aradhana was also a drug addict, but married her thinking his love would bring her back on the right track.

A couple of months after Amit's marriage his mother, Seema, also died following which both brothers, along with Aradhana, rejoined father Jacob H. Singh at Hisar in 2002.

Efforts to stop his wife from taking injections of the drug, Amit's motivation and fights failed. His promises too failed to yield positive results. To teach her a lesson, Amit tried the drug a couple of times.

The use of drug also gripped him and a month later Amit felt he could not survive without it, he revealed.

Intensive use of injections cut short Aradhana's life and she too died in 2005 leaving behind two-year-old son Ashmit.

"It was a great shock for me after I came to know that after mother Seema and sister-in-law Aradhana, my bother Amit had also developed same addiction. In an attempt to know how can one turn into a drug addict, I also tested a couple of dozes, but history repeated itself. I was an addict in a month’s time," claimed Ashish.

The brothers found a suitable place for the cure of their addiction at the Red Cross Drug De-Addiction Treatment-cum-rehabilitation Centre in Gurdaspur.

After undergoing treatment for over a month, Amit and Ashish claimed that the centre had given them a new life. Centre project director Romesh Mahajan has even provided Amit with the job of an instructor by setting up vocational training centre.


He once had 42-men security cover, now depends on crossbow, catapult
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, December 4
Beleaguered Taruna Dal Nihang chief Ajit Singh Poohla, who once enjoyed a high security cover with 42 official gunmen and 77 sophisticated weapons during the peak of militancy, now depends upon catapults and crossbows for security.

Interestingly, Poohla has named the USA made crossbow “Bush”, catapult “Laden” and another traditional weapon “Sadam Hussain”.

During a casual visit to Nihang Chhawni, his headquarters, Poohla revealed that some of his staunch followers are giving him security cover while a few policemen had been deployed by the district police due to the high threat perception. Talking to The Tribune here today, the Nihang chief said he was still facing threat to his life from Sikh militants, especially Pakistan-based Babbar Khalsa chief.

However, many vehicles like Gypsies with red beacon lights were seen parked at his headquarters. When asked about the permission regarding red beacon, Poohla said he had been using them since the militancy days when senior IPS officers and politicians had removed them for fear of being identified.

The Nihang chief, who has been embroiled in controversies and was released on bail after three years of imprisonment in different criminal cases, showed his pictures with senior politicians of different political parties, including Harcharn Singh Brar, a former Chief Minister, Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor, Tamil Nadu, and senior IAS and IPS officers. He claimed that he enjoyed close relations with all of them.

“There was a time when nobody would dare register FIRs against militants. I was the first one to get an FIR registered against top terrorists like Sukhdev Singh Sakhira, Avtar Singh Brahma and Amrik Singh Jaura after an attack on Nihangs and securitymen in November 1985.”

On the security cover, Poohla said there was a time when he was given GPM (general purpose machine), ALRs, SLRs, LMGs, bullet-proof car, escort vehicles, etc. He said though he had helped Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, cabinet minister, but he seemed helpless in providing him adequate security cover.

Poohla was first arrested on July 29, 2004, from his headquarters at Jhutha Kartarpur, near here, in a joint raid conducted by the Nawanshahr and the local police. He was arrested in connection with the murder of a Nihang, Sukhdev Singh, at Mazaar Sayeed Jora Peer Behram in Nawanshahr police district on June 20, 2002. He was again arrested on April 9, 2007, along with his followers, following a crackdown on his headquarters, Gurdwara Damdama Sahib, near here.


White ribbon campaign makes debut tomorrow
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
The white ribbon campaign is set to make a beginning in India. It will be launched on December 6 at Gian Sagar Medical College and Hospital, near Banur in Patiala district.

The Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine has taken the initiative to set the campaign in motion.

By the way what is a white ribbon campaign? There will be only a few people in the country to explain what it means. The campaign has emerged from a gory incident that occurred on December 6, 1989 at Montreal in Canada. An anti-feminine, Marc Lepine, armed with a semi automatic gun entered a classroom of Ecole Polytechnique. He shot at 28 girl students, killing 14 of them on the spot before killing himself. Marc had segregated female students from the males to kill the former in the institute.

Two years after the incident, pro-feminist men gathered in Canada to launch a campaign to protect women from violence of all sorts. Since 1991, December 6 is observed as a day to end violence against women. This is called the white ribbon campaign.

Dr R.K. Gorea, president of the Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine, told The Tribune today that 55 countries had adopted the campaign. 


Govt to amend co-operative Act
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 4
Punjab co-operation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh today said the Punjab government would soon amend the co-operative Act to make the elected chairmen and directors more accountable for ensuring the smooth functioning of milk unions of the state.

He was presiding over a meeting of chairmen and general managers of the milk unions held here today.

He said the main purpose of the proposed amendment would be to streamline the functioning of the milk unions on a professional pattern.

He categorically said the performance would be the sole criteria for becoming and retaining these plum posts. He said for better performance of the milk unions it was imperative for elected representatives and employees to work hard on professional lines as non-performance led nowhere.

Urging Milkfed to open up its market base in rural Punjab, he said the network of milk societies could be helpful to boost the consumption of milk products instead of cold drinks.

Besides, he said these societies could also play a big role in ensuring health insurance of milch animals. He suggested empanelment of retired veterinary doctors by the societies.

He also directed Milkfed to undertake a study for selling of its products in metros across the country. A plan for selling of curd, paneer and some products of Milkfed in Delhi had already been finalised and its working would soon begin.

The minister took a serious note of complaints regarding the selling of milk packets at higher rates in some areas and directed that a system of monitoring be put in place at every level from bottom to top to keep regular checks. 


Rs 57.68 cr Central grant for road repair
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways today sanctioned Rs 57.68 crore for seven road repair works in Punjab under the Central Road Fund (CRF) scheme.

Ministry officials say Road Transport and Highways Minister T.R. Baalu sanctioned an approval for seven works in the state, including Rs 818.64 lakh for widening of Kurali-Siswan Road in Mohali.

Besides, Rs 1,013.06 lakh has been approved for strengthening of Sangrur to Balwan road (section of Sangrur to Gurdwara Nankana Sahib).

An amount of Rs 638.53 lakh has been approved for widening of Amritsar-Ajnala Road and Rs 627.82 lakh has been sanctioned for widening of Lohian-Gidder Pindi in Jalandhar. The minister also sanctioned Rs 774.28 lakh for widening of Gidder Pindi-Makhu in Ferozepur.


Providing sight to the sightless
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
It takes a little more than just money to ensure prevention of blindness on a lakh of people. Dedication would perhaps be an under statement to describe Anup Singh Jubbal, president of the Canadian Eyesight International.

He heads this NGO and frequently travels back to India from Vancouver so that no one remains devoid of sight for want of financial resources.

But what will come as a good news to many, the Canadian Eyesight International will now have a permanent hospital set up at Chabba village in Amritsar district.

Supported by Rotarians and Rotary Clubs from across the globe, Project Eyesight-India as Jubbal likes to call his mission, has been recognised by the Government of Canada, Rotary International and many other international philanthropic organisations.

‘What was on paper till recently is now a reality. We have got a building and Shri Guru Hargobind Sahib Mata Sulakhani Eye Hospital at Chabba on the Tarn Taran road is a reality with 24,000 sq feet of space on two floors. It will cost about Rs 4 crore to renovate the existing building and construct an operation theatre. But not a single paisa will be charged from the people who will come there for treatment,” says Jubbal.

Jubbal, a Canadian of Indian origin, has made giving people healthy vision his mission. Recipient of a Queen’s Meritorious Service Medal in 1997, Jubbal was also felicitated by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last year for his services to the cause of humanity.

Even before the hospital comes up, he has announced eye camps at Dakha (December 14), Fatebad (near Goindwal, December 16), Chabba (December 30), Galib Kalan (February 24) and Makhupur (March 3).

Jubbal who moved to Canada in 1968 after his senior secondary education had to struggle in his initial years. At one stage, he had planned to start a private airline in India but delayed clearances and red tapism forced him to withdraw himself from the project.

“My only mission is to serve people who have lost their eyesight because of lack of resources,” he says, adding that his wife Sarup Kaur Jubbal is the motivating force behind all his work.

Though most of the money for the project has been arranged from sources overseas, still the organisation would be grateful to anyone for financial help. Jubbal is hopeful that the Punjab government will release some funds for the purpose.


Rs 135 cr reserve price for 4.5 acres in Bathinda
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 4
Encouraged by the overwhelming response to the auction of commercial sites in Jalandhar, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) will now auction a 4.5 acre site for commercial use in Bathinda.

The auction will take place on December 7 and the price of the site has been reserved at Rs 135 crore. The site measuring 21,780 sq yards is located on the Gole Market roundabout on the Mall, Bathinda.

Land use of the site provides for its development into a high potential business of shopping mall/hotel/multiplex. Also the maximum floor area ratio (FAR) and ground coverage has been allowed to maximise commercial utilisation of the site.

The participants will be required to deposit 5 per cent of the reserve price as eligibility fee. The eligibility fee has been raised by PUDA recently with a view to discouraging speculators and encouraging genuine buyers. The mode of payment provides for a 5 per cent discount on lump-sum payment.

The chief administrator, PUDA, Som Parkash, said top real estate investors have expressed interest in the auction. He said the auction held recently in Ludhiana generated Rs 77.11 crore for a commercial site measuring 5,107 sq yards.

The price per sq yard comes to Rs 1.51 lakh, which is highest so far in the state. The last auction in Jalandhar of a multiplex site measuring 2.94 acres had fetched Rs 107.30 crore and was purchased by the Reliance group of industries.


Sesquicentennial anniversary of 4 Horse celebrated
Tribune News Service

Colours being trooped during the ceremonial guard mounting at the sesquicentennial celebrations of 4 Horse somewhere in the Western sector.
Colours being trooped during the ceremonial guard mounting at the sesquicentennial celebrations of 4 Horse somewhere in the Western sector.

Chandigarh, December 4
The three-day sesquicentennial celebrations and reunion of 4 Horse, an elite armoured regiment, culminated at its location somewhere in the Western sector this week.

Over 400 retired officers and men of the regiment, including five former Colonels of the Regiment and 16 ex-commanding officers, attended the event.

Addressing a special sainik sammelan, the Colonel of the regiment, Major-Gen B.S. Grewal, recollected the outstanding performance of the regiment in the Indo-Pak wars and also the sacrifices made by its gallant soldiers.

He also commended the phenomenal work carried out by the regiment in Jammu and Kashmir, during aid to the civil authorities and flood relief operations.

He added that there was a need to maintain a high degree of professionalism and preparation, so that the regiment continued to live up to its motto, “Tyar Bar Tyar”.

Several commanding officers who had led the regiment during various wars and operations also addressed the gathering and shared their experiences.

A special trophy was presented to the regiment by the General Officer Commanding 2 Corps, Lt Gen V.K. Singh.

War widows were also honoured on the occasion. The widow of Dafadar Harbhajan Singh, who was decorated with the Shaurya Chakra while combating terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, donated her husband’s medal to the regiment.

Among the solemn functions organised during the celebrations were the ceremonial guard mounting which was held despite a heavy downpour and a memorial service at the regimental war memorial.

Other events organised for the troops and their families included a dare-devil motorcycle show by an army team, performance by a dance troupe at the Barakhana and a performance by the internationally acclaimed Armoured Corps Brass Band.

Also known as Hodson’s Horse, the regiment was raised and embodied by Major William S.R. Hodson in May 1857 as a Corps of Irregular Horse which consisted of horsemen drawn primarily from Punjab.

Well before the commencement of the First World War, the regiment had distinguished itself in battles and won laurels for itself by earning numerous battle honours, both in India as well as overseas.

During the Second World War, the regiment fought in Iraq and Palestine. In the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak conflicts the regiment saw action in some of the fiercest tank battles in the sub continent.

It has to its credit 21 Theatre and Battle Honours, one Ashok Chakra, one Maha Vir Chakra, one Shaurya Chakra and 12 Sena Medal for gallantry.


Jathedar dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, December 4
Veteran leader jathedar Pritam Singh, circle president of the Mukerian Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), died in a road accident on the Mukerian-Gurdaspur road, near here, today.

Pritam Singh was riding on a scooter when a truck hit the vehicle leaving him dead on the spot. Seventy-two-year-old jathedar was the circle president of Mukerian circle for the past 30 consecutive years.

The jathedar was a close associate of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. He is survived with two sons and four daughters.


Honorary professorship for German geneticist
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 4
Guru Nanak Dev University today conferred honorary professorship on human geneticist Karl Sperling, director, Institute for Human Genetics of Humboldt University, Berlin (Germany).

He was awarded it at a special ceremony held on the varsity premises here. Sperling is the first international scientist to be offered this prestigious assignment.

Ravinder Singh, vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Medical and Health Sciences, Faridkot, and Jai Rup Singh, vice-chancellor, presented this honorary professorship to Sperling in view of his outstanding research and contribution in the field of human genetics.

A scientist of international repute, he made outstanding contributions in the fields of human molecular genetics, genetic epidemiology, human cytogenesis and is currently working on DNA repair and cancer. He has over 300 research publications in international journals.

Recognising his outstanding contributions in the field of human genetics, he also had been awarded the Medal from the German Society of Human Genetics.

The vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Medical and Health Sciences said the valuable research of Sperling regarding DNA repair and cancer would be helpful in mitigating the sufferings of humanity.

Rup Singh announced that the university would also identify international scholars of all disciplines and would request these scholars to come to the university and share their experiences and knowledge with the teachers and students.


Dal Khalsa to organise seminar on minorities
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 4
To highlight the human rights conditions of ethnic and religious minorities in the country, the Dal Khalsa will organise a seminar on “Whither Human Rights in India? -An Ethnic Minorities Perspective” on December 8 at Chandigarh.

Justice (retd) Ajit Singh Bains will preside over the proceedings. Senior advocate and author of "When A Tree Shook Delhi" Harvinder Singh Phoolka will be the guest of honour.

Prof S.A.R. Geelani of Delhi University will share his travails as a convict on the death row and demonstrate the inadequacy of the criminal justice system while dealing with minorities. Dr Ghulam Rasool Dhar, general secretary of the JKLF, will speak on the right to self-determination of Kashmiri people.

Top functionary of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference Haqeem Abdul Rasheed and its human rights wing head Mohd Ashraf Lone (advocate) will address the gathering on the deteriorating human rights situation in Kashmir.

Onil Kshetrimayum, coordinator, Reachout, will speak on the issue of rights of Manipuri people.


Khushi Ram transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
The Punjab Government has transferred Khushi Ram, IAS, special secretary, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs as special secretary, revenue, against a vacant post.

A spokesman of the state government said Devinder Singh, PCS, SDM, Balachaur, had been transferred and posted as SDM, Ludhiana (East) vice Jagwinderjit Singh Grewal, PCS.

Grewal had been posted as deputy secretary, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, vice Khushi Ram, IAS.


Moga Sex Scam
Ex-SSP’s name surfaces in proceedings
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
The name of IPS officer Davinder Singh Garcha has surfaced in the Moga sex-scam proceedings.

As the matter came up before a division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Harbans Lal, counsel appearing on behalf of Punjab state Gurminder Singh informed the court that in all 61 persons, including eight police officials, had been summoned in connection with the case related to the Moga sex-scam.

Upon the asking of the court, Gurminder Singh said the police personnel included Moga’s ex-SSP Davinder Singh Garcha.

When asked to explain the circumstances leading to his summoning, Gurminder Singh told the court that Garcha and sub-inspector-cum-accused in the sex scam Raman Kumar had been named by one Surjit Singh.

In his affidavit, Surjit had alleged that Raman Kumar, while asking for money, had told that a part of it was to be passed on to Garcha.

Gurminder added that the sub-inspector, posted as SHO then, had accepted Rs 12 lakh as illegal gratification for setting free certain persons. As such, they wanted to subject Raman to custodial interrogation for finding out whether the money had been kept by the sub-inspector himself or had been passed on.

After hearing the counsel for the state and Raman, the Bench verbally observed that they would not hesitate to hand over the case to the CBI in case they felt the police was not functioning in a fair manner.

The High Court registry was also directed to hand over the petition, the written statements, affidavits and status reports to CBI’s DSP, present in the courtroom, along with counsel Rajan Gupta.

Interim bail for SI

After observing that the apprehensions expressed by sub-inspector Raman Kumar about his being made a scapegoat in the matter were to a certain extent correct, the Bench granted him interim bail for a week.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Mehtab Singh Gill directed Raman to appear before the investigating officer, DSP Bhupinder Singh, daily between 11 am and 5 pm from Wednesday till December 11.

The Judge also asked the state not to register any FIR against him during the period of interim bail without seeking the court’s permission.

He was also asked not to leave Moga district without the IO’s permission and to surrender passport, if he had any.

In the order, the judges noted down the apprehensions expressed by the petitioner about his being made a scapegoat to make doctored statements as number of senior police officers and politicians were involved in the matter.

The judges also made a note of the arguments put forward by the state counsel to the effect that the IO was to see whether the money demanded and extorted by the accused was kept by him or had been passed on to senior police officers and political leaders. The judges fixed December 11 as the next date of hearing in the matter.


High Court
Notice to Baba Farid varsity VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Taking up a petition for initiation of contempt proceedings against vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Ravinder Singh for alleged disregard of an undertaking given in the court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a show-cause notice to him.

Justice Hemant Gupta also fixed February 26 as the next date of hearing on the petition filed by Jagdeep Singh Darapur of Hoshiarpur district, seeking action against the respondent for disobedience of the court order.

The petitioner stated that he had filed a petition for quashing appointment of P.L. Garg as registrar of the university on April 23, 2006, on the ground that he was not eligible for the post.

Later, the university counsel gave an undertaking following which counsel for the petitioner did not press the petition and it was disposed of on September 1, 2006.

The petitioner maintained that in disregard to the undertaking and the earlier directions, the vice-chancellor again appointed Dr Garg as a co-ordinator and liaison officer on December 14, 2006.

Except for change in the designation, there is no change in the terms and conditions of appointment.

CBI probe sought

Just over a year after a police-public clash took place over a dispute of land between two gurdwaras, the Bhadaur Gurdwara Kand Virodhi Action Committee and four residents of Bhadaur tehsil in Sangrur district have sought a probe by the CBI into the matter.

The petitioners have contended that the crime branch of the Punjab Police has made it clear through its action and conduct that it is not keen on conducting a free and fair investigation in the matter.

Taking up the plea, Justice H.S. Bhalla of the High Court today issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents. The judge also fixed February 15 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

The petitioners had earlier added that in spite of a fair reinvestigation by SP (crime) R.S. Dhillon, the state was getting the matter further reinvestigated “under suspicious circumstances” into two FIRs registered in the matter on October 11, 2006.


Kandahar Hijack Case
Conspirator disowns confession
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala , December 4
The Indian Airlines Kandahar plane hijacking case got a new twist today with alleged ‘chief conspirator’ Abdul Latif disowning his ‘CBI elicited confessional statement’, recorded on April 4 before the then special judicial magistrate.

Abdul is one of three alleged co-conspirators of five Pakistani hijackers, who had hijacked the Indian Airlines plane IC-814 while it was on its way from Kathmandu to New Delhi on December 24, 1999, with 159 passengers and 11 crew members on board.

The CBI had arrested three alleged conspirators---Abdul Latif from Mumbai, Dalip Bhujal of Bengal and Yusuf Nepali of Nepal. All three are lodged in the high-security Patiala Central Jail where special anti-hijacking court was set up.

The court is headed by District and Sessions Judge Inderjit Singh. While Abdul was represented by advocate Barjinder Singh Sodhi H.B. Rai was counsel of other two accused Dalip Bhujal and Yusuf Nepali. On the other hand, the CBI, which was represented by counsel Y.K. Saxena, also roped in Chaube from Lucknow.

Blasting the prosecution theory, Abdul had conspired with the hijackers, nick-named ‘chief’, ‘burger’ and others, defence counsel Barjinder Singh Sodhi said Latif and others were ‘falsely implicated’ in the case by the CBI.

“The confessional statement of Latif holds no water as the CBI flouted the Punjab and Haryana High Court guidelines pertaining to recording of confessional statements.

The prosecution counsel said the defence arguments and points were baseless and quoted certain related cases of the Supreme Court and the Kerala High Court.

Earlier, Judge Inderjit Singh asked the prosecution and the defence counsel to argue on legal points in respect to this particular case. The next date for hearing has been fixed for December 18 and 19, the sources said.


Language labs to teach English pronunciation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
The Punjab School Education Board will introduce science and commerce streams from the next academic session in all nine adarsh schools functioning under its control in the state.

Disclosing this, the chairman of the board, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, told The Tribune today that he had visited all nine schools in recent days to find out what sort of infrastructure was required to start science and commerce streams in these schools.

There is a need to set up science labs in certain adarsh schools, he added. He said adarsh schools functioning under its control were located at Nandgarh, Butter Kanal, Bhagu, Khatkar Kalan, Gurdaspur, Moga and Muktsar areas.

The board had decided to spend Rs 6 crore in toning up the functioning of these schools. Beside, the state government had also promised to give Rs 4 crore to help the board in improving the functioning of these institutions, he added.

The board has also planned to set up language labs in various schools where students would be taught proper pronunciation of the English language. Punjabi students have a complex as far as speaking of English is concerned. “That is why most of them fail at the interview level for high- paid jobs,” said Dr Dhillon.

He said the board had been virtually reduced to a government department in 2005 when all powers from its chairman were virtually withdrawn by the authorities concerned.

“I would soon ask the Education Minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, to restore the pre-2005 independent status of the board to make it more efficient in functioning and decision making,” said Dr Dhillon.


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