P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD (A) congratulates Badal on 81st birthday
Reminds him of unfulfilled commitments to Panth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today congratulated Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on his 81th birthday saying Badal during his four terms as Chief Minister had participated in several struggles for the sake of Punjab, which needed to be reviewed and taken to logical conclusion as many Punjabis had struggled hard for them, but these remained inconclusive.

Chief spokesperson of the party Bhai Ram Singh appealed to the Chief Minister to intervene and get Section 25 of the Indian Constitution amended that classifies Sikhs as Hindus. Also, the party appealed to Badal to get the Anand Marriage Act,1909, adopted by the union government after getting resolutions passed in its favour by members of the state Assembly.

Lauding the Chief Minister for what the SAD (A) considers to be the three most important events in the history of the Sikh Panth facilitated by Badal, the party released a picture of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and late SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra presiding over the “dastar bandi” (turban-tying ceremony) of late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale along with a copy of an appeal to UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali during his visit to New Delhi on April 22, 1992.

Flanked at a press briefing by party leaders like Iman Singh Mann, Gursewak Singh, Jit Singh, Teja Singh and Iqbal Singh, Bhai Ram Singh said his party wanted to remind Badal about his positive contribution to the cause of the Panth in the past and hoped he would continue to work for fulfilment of these commitments he had made to the Panth.

The third significant contribution of Badal to the Sikh cause had been his active support to the SGPC in putting up a portrait of Bhindranwale in the Sikh Museum at the Golden Temple, he said adding that moments like the Punjabi Suba movement, struggle on the languages issues, capital for Punjab, etc have remained inconclusive despite Badal being at the helm four times.

Referring to the appeal made jointly by the SAD and the SGPC to the UN Secretary-General which bears signatures of Badal and Tohra, Bhai Ram Singh said, “We hope Badal remembers the demand he made for the Sikh people to enjoy full freedom to exercise their economic, social and cultural rights as a Sikh nation”.

The party criticised the ruling SAD-BJP alliance for arresting their party president Simranjit Singh Mann by registering a false case against him. He declined to comment on the matter saying the issue was sub-judice.

DSP Anand was terror in Nabha area
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 9
Despite 40 of a total of 43 witnesses, including brother and aunt of victim of custodial death Balbir Singh of Bharoh village, turning hostile, what brought nemesis in the shape of life imprisonment to Nabha DSP Rajinder Pal Singh Anand and five other police officials was a set of glaring loopholes in the “fractured” police theory.

Patiala Additional Sessions Judge Kuldip Singh, in his 52-page judgment, has also given adverse remarks about then Nabha Civil Hospital doctors and members of the three-member medical board constituted for finding factors responsible for the death of Balbir.

Fractured police theory

After filing of the complaint made by granthi Gurmail Singh Panchi, the police moved on a supersonic speed and arrested Balbir within 30 minutes and in the next 20 minutes he was shown to have confessed his crime

Contradictory medical opinion

The judge found contradictions in the medical experts’ opinion regarding presence of water and mud in the stomach of the deceased and not in his lungs

On the other hand, a CBI probe in its exhaustive probe pointed out that after inflicting inhuman torture on Balbir, then inspector Rajinder Pal Singh Anand, along with his staff members, had taken the injured to a private nursing home for treatment. The nursing home refused to admit him as his survival chances were slim.

The police party then allegedly took him to the Nabha Civil Hospital where doctors advised Anand not to get the injured admitted to avoid the proof of injuries and promised to help him. “Inspector Anand was a terror in the Nabha area and doctors of Nabha hospital did not like to offend him,” said the CBI in its investigation report presented in the court.

Balbir, according to accused Anand, Darshan Singh, Raj Pal Singh, Vinod Kumar, Jasdev Singh, and Mohinder Singh, all posted at the CIA, Nabha, then, had managed to remove his handcuffs and escaped from the Allwyn-Nissan vehicle in which he was being taken for the recovery of the utensils stolen from Gurdwara Tibbi Sahib, near Nabha, at about 4.30 pm on July 28, 1996. Thereafter, he jumped into the Thuhi canal from the bridge, leading to his death.

But, the CBI probe and the 52-page hard-hitting judgment have pointed out that 25-year old Balbir was, in fact, brutally tortured and then thrown into the canal by the DSP, then posted at Nabha as inspector, and his staff.

Throwing light on the investigation into the case, CBI special prosecutor H.P.S. Verma had said: “Then inspector Rajinder Pal Singh Anand, along with other police officials, committed the cold-blooded murder of Balbir in broad daylight in the presence of a group of residents of Thuhi and Dharonki villages. In place of taking Balbir to a hospital for treatment, when they observed he was almost dying, they threw him into the canal in full view of people who were doing ‘kar sewa’ in a ‘marhi’ near the said bridge”.

The judge has held that Balbir, who was detained on the basis of suspicion of theft at the gurdwara, had been tortured in the police custody, resulting in fracture of his cervical vertebrae and five more injuries. The crime has been committed in a ghastly manner and is a rare one.”

People dreaded Anand and his team to such an extent that nearly 40 of a total of 43 eyewitnesses to the crime and other witnesses, including deceased’s brother Labh Singh and his aunt Gobind Kaur and a number of sarpanches, panches and Akali Dal leaders, had turned hostile in the case.

So much so, Balbir’s father Modan Singh, who had filed a writ petition on the basis of which the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the CBI to probe the death of his son, had later moved an application before the High Court that he had instructed his counsel Ranjan Lakhanpal to withdraw the petition and that the latter had not done so.

The judge did not agree to the opinion of the medical board, comprising Dr Paramvir Singh, Dr Rajesh Goyal and Dr Raminder Kaur Bedi, that the cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning and injury to the cervical spine probably inflicted after victims falling from the bridge on a concrete canal bed or after hitting some hard objects.

“The burn marks on the deceased’s body were not explained. Defence witness Harish Tulli, who claims to be former Professor and head of Forensic Medicine Department, Government Medical College, Patiala, did not disclose about his present job though it is well-known that he is working in Amar Hospital. I find that the opinion of Dr Tulli is not honest one,” says the judgment.

“After filing of the complaint made by granthi Gurmail Singh Panchi, the police moved on a supersonic speed and arrested Balbir within 30 minutes and in the next 20 minutes he was shown to have confessed his crime. The DDRs show that the FIR was registered 5 minutes after the inquiry was entrusted to a police official by Anand,” said the judgment. What aroused the curiosity of the judge was that that Balbir had got drowned in the canal at around 4.30 pm on July 28 but the police officials did not seek help from any government agency for his rescue.

Though the police had been shown to have obtained thumb impressions of Balbir on his alleged confession, he had studied up to middle class at the Government Senior Secondary School, Nabha.


Cabinet nod to luxury tax on hotels, marriage palaces, banquet halls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The state Cabinet today gave green light for the setting up of 1800 MW Talwandi Sabo thermal power plant at Banwala village in Mansa district.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the Punjab government said the cabinet also granted ex-post facto approval to the recommendations of the cabinet sub-committee chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for the acquisition of 2100 acres for this thermal plant at a price ‘ based on market trends’. 

  • 1800-MW Talwandi Sabo thermal power plant cleared
  • Third session of Vidhan Sabha from Dec 17

The setting up of thermal plant will help the state to become self-sufficient in power by 2010 end. The state government already e has embarked upon to generate additional 5000 MW power by setting up three new thermal plants at Rajpura and Abohar besides at Banwala in Mansa district.

The Cabinet also approved the summoning of the third session of 13th Punjab Vidhan Sabha from December 17, 2007 and was likely to continue till December 24.

The Cabinet also decided to amend Old Age Pension and Other Financial Assistance Schemes Rules 1996 of Punjab for the disbursement of pension and other financial assistance in the rural areas to the eligible beneficiaries through commercial banks instead of the gram panchayats as per past practice.

These schemes included old age pension, financial assistance to widow and destitute women, dependent children and disabled persons.

The Cabinet also approved to enhance the testing and inspection fee chargeable by the State Electrical Inspectorate in pursuance of the notifications issued by the state government in 1990. The inspection revenue of the state was likely to increase from Rs1.62 crore to Rs.3.24 crore annually.

Other major decision taken in the Cabinet include approval of the conversion of the Indian Stamp (Punjab Amendment) Ordinance, 2007 into a Bill for presenting in the ensuing session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, abolishing the octroi tax in the area of Cantonment Boards on the pattern of urban local bodies in the state, thus bringing the cantonment areas on a par with the urban areas.

The Cabinet also gave approval for the transfer of approximate 12 acres of district Jail Faridkot to the Department of Medical Education Research for the construction of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College Complex at Baba Farid Medical University, Faridkot. Also, it was decided that the Punjab Value Added Tax (second amendment) Ordinance, 2007 (Punjab Ordinance No.4 of 2007) be converted into Act through presentation of a Bill in the forthcoming session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The Cabinet also gave its nod for the reduction of Turn Over Tax (TOT) from 1% to 0.25% in pursuance of the representations from various trade organisations in the state.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved the enhancement in percentage of tax deducted from the amount payable from work contractors thereby bringing an amendment in section 27 of Punjab VAT Act, 2005.

The Cabinet also approved the draft legislation for imposing luxury tax on hotels, marriage palaces and banquet halls and the total tax realization in this regard was likely to be Rs 20 crore annually.

The Cabinet also gave its go ahead to the conversion of the Local Areas (Amendment), Ordinance 2007 regarding tax on entry of goods into an Act. The Cabinet approved the introduction of a bill for the purpose in the forthcoming session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

It decided to amend section 13 of the Punjab VAT Act, 2005 regarding provisions for input tax credit through presentation of a Bill in the coming session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The Cabinet gave its approval for the creation of posts for the newly created districts of SAS Nagar (Mohali), Tarn Taran and Barnala. 


News Analysis
Portrait politics: State issues take a back seat
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Political parties in Punjab have started sidetracking critical issues pertaining to the state and move the focus of attention onto themselves by using communal politics. Unfortunately most politicians trying to gain cheap popularity this way have themselves been victims rather than beneficiaries of terrorism. Consequently, it is Punjab that will suffer.

Issues such as education, health, political vendetta, fiscal health of the state, industrial investment, etc have suddenly taken a back seat after the ruling SAD-BJP alliance failed to persuade certain elements within the SGPC to refrain from unveiling the portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the Sikh Museum.

The matter came up for discussion at the core group meeting of the SAD, before the portrait was hung. The opinion on the issue was sharply divided with nearly half of those present strongly opposing the proposed move. Others, who saw nothing wrong with the move, suggested that the portrait be hung without a ceremony to avoid much publicity to the event. In fact, the portrait was put up a night before it was formally unveiled.

But instead of accepting the failure of his party leadership in stopping a section within the SGPC from ruffling the sentiments of fellow Punjabis, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal made a statement that the entire act was an internal matter of the SGPC. Though opposed to the move, BJP, too, has tried to sidetrack the issue by playing the blame game.

The Congress, which did not leave any opportunity to lash out at the SAD-BJP alliance, said the move was, in fact, itself playing the same political card that burnt Punjab for over a decade. Punjab Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal met Governor S.F. Rodrigues and submitted a memorandum on the issue. Former minister Harnam Dass Johar, Kewal Krishan and many others have issued statements blaming the BJP leadership of sidetracking the issue. But, the fact of the matter remains that the Congress, too, has deviated from its role of a vigilant opposition to play its role in communal politics.

Perhaps not many people have taken note of other developments that have taken place in Punjab over the past few days. The communal clash between two factions in Mohali and the surfacing of certain posters in Ludhiana may have gone unnoticed, but their implications are serious. The act of weakness shown by the SAD leadership has hurt Punjab more than all acts of poor governance attributed to all political parties that have ruled Punjab since the early 1990’s.

Chief Minister Badal’s statement saying that no one would be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the state has come as a welcome note. Not because he has tried to comfort the people of the state, but because the statement suggests that he acknowledges that attempts are being made to vitiate the atmosphere in Punjab.

Badal has said: “The law enforcing agencies are keeping a round-the-clock vigil against any attempts to create disturbance in the state. District chiefs will be held individually accountable for safeguarding peace, communal harmony and the rule of law”. He has also appealed to all political parties “to act responsibly and not give any quarters to anti-social and anti-national elements who have been rejected by the people of the state”.


Pak likely to pass Anand Marriage Act this month
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Attari, December 9
The Pakistan government may pass the Anand Marriage Act this month by promulgating an ordinance.

Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), who returned from Pakistan here yesterday via Attari border, said as Pakistan was under emergency, an ordinance had to be issued and the process might be over in a matter of days.

Sarna, who along with Sikh lawyers, including K.T.S. Tulsi, senior Supreme Court advocate, took a draft of the Act with them on December 6, said though the Pakistan government already had the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, in place, certain amendments to it were needed to implement it as the Sikh Marriage Act 2007.

“The draft we carried was more comprehensive. It had definitions of Sikh practices - ‘lawan’ while solemnising the Sikh wedding.

The Anand Marriage Act also dealt with issues like adoption, succession, divorce, besides weddings solemnised per the Sikh maryada,” he said.

Sarna said they met Pakistani law minister Syed Afzal Haider, who accepted the draft prepared in India, and said it would be forwarded to the Department of Laws. Since the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan had given consent to the Anand Marriage Act, it was likely to be implemented this month.

“We told the minister existing Act was not sufficient and the one taken by us should be accepted,” he said.

On the controversy over Gujarat Chief Minister Narender Modi’s statement “Sohrabuddin got what he deserved”, Tulsi said it would be difficult for him to represent the Gujarat government in the case before the Supreme Court unless Modi withdrew his statement.


Ropar power plant officials in the dock
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 9
Senior officials of the local Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) are in the dock over the registration of contractor M/S Sodhi Erectors for highly technical jobs relating to turbine generator maintenance.

Chairman of the PSEB Y.S. Ratra, in an affidavit filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has stated that the matter involving the registration of the contractor was dealt in a casual manner by senior officials of the plant.

M/s Sodhi Erectors have not been registered as per tender specifications for executing two tenders issued on 3.8.2007 for maintenance of pumps and turbine generator maintenance. The experience of firm in similar equipment has not been compared in right perspective at the time of its registration for the contracts.

The approach of the office of Chief Engineer, GGSSTP, in dealing with the case on the noting sheet is casual. Remedial measures are being taken and disciplinary action is being initiated against the delinquent officers, the chairman has stated in the affidavit.

The other companies, which had earlier carried out the work of turbine generator maintenance at the plant, boycotted the tendering process in protest against the registration of M/S Sodhi Erectors.

One of the agitating companies, RMEC Project Ltd., moved the High Court citing violations in guidelines for awarding a contract.

Ratra had formed a committee, comprising chief engineer (designs), Patiala, V.K. Singal; deputy chief engineer, Lehra Mohabat, C.S. Suman; and deputy chief engineer, Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda, Kawaljit Singh.

As per the notices of the tenders, suitable firms with two-year experience in similar jobs were to be registered for the contract. The committee opined that the matter had not been properly deliberated on noting sheets. The viewpoint of senior executive engineer and additional superintending engineer dealing with the job was not brought on record properly.

Since Ratra admitted the fault on the part of his officials, the High Court disposed of the writ.


NRI Punjabi Sir
He captured footage of Vietnam war aftermath
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News service

Phulanwal (Ludhiana), December 9
Mohinder Singh Dhillon’s is an inspiring success story of an NRI Punjabi “Sir” who captured rare footage of the Ethiopian famine and the aftermath of the Vietnam war. Work of Sir Mohinder Singh forms part of the BBC and National Geographic Channel archives, besides a number of international documentary libraries. Besides scores of international awards, the ace photographer was knighted by the Order of Saint Mary of Zion in November, 2005, for television footage that helped Ethiopian 1984 famine victims to receive world attention. Prince Philip is the Grand Master of the Order which constitutes a valid chivalric Order of Knighthood.

On a visit to his place of birth, the pioneer war TV cameraman, spread a pile of papers and reports of his achievements during an interview today. The “treasure” includes pictures of ravaged Vietnam, riots in Kenya and famine in Ethiopia, besides trouble in Bangladesh and Thailand. He also has in his bag the draft of a book being written on him.

When India was waking up to independence in 1947, the 16-year-old travelled by ship to Kenya with his father to make a new beginning in life. His father worked for the Railways and the little educated Mohinder did not qualify for any government job. He started photography and never looked back.

Mohinder started a studio and then joined a publication. During the process he started making documentaries and his “After the Fire” based on the Vietnam war won him critical acclaim. The script aired by the BBC had the voice of famous star Arthur Kitt. His movie on the Ethiopian famine in 1984 also won him international recognition. Mohinder also served as official photographer of Prince Philip Makonnen Haile Selassie of Ethiopian for at least eight years.

Mohinder captured rare images in photographs from the lands of Asia and Africa, in particular. Everything was going fine for the ace photographer, till he had a miraculous escape from a helicopter fall from a height of more than 8,000 feet in the Rift valley more than a decade ago. He did manage to walk back to normalcy, till a couple of years back when he retired from active work.

An epitome of never-give-up spirit, Mohinder these days delivers lectures at an institute of American University in Nairobi. He gives inspirational notes, besides of course camera technicalities. "It is easy to find technical teachers, but for a special kind of photography, an artist needs to be inspired and real-life examples are the best source of inspiration", he remarked.

"I sometimes cannot believe my picture of tagging along on the arm of my father from Babarpur village of the district when I travelled to Kenya in 1947. I had never seen any motor car, rail and never even thought about an aeroplane. Determination and hunger to excel goaded me in my life to do something different and interesting as photography,” he added.


Row over blowing of car horn
VIP’s men block traffic
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 9
Supporters of chairperson of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) Santosh Chowdhary and her husband former MLA Ram Lubhaya blocked traffic for more than half-an-hour at Piplanwala on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road (from 5:45 pm to 6:30 pm) this evening to express resentment against chief parliamentary secretary, Punjab, Mohinder Kaur Josh, her son Karamjit Singh Babloo and security guards for allegedly giving threats to Santosh Chowdhary, her husband Ram Lubhaya and gunmen for blowing hooter of their official vehicle while they were passing near the lane of her residence this evening. The protesters raised slogans against Mohinder Kaur Josh and her son and were demanding registration of a case against both mother and son and their arrest.

Santosh Chowdhary told media persons she recently shifted her residence to Piplanwala. She was chairperson of the NCSK set up by the Union government and had status of a state minister.

She with her husband was going in a car in connection with an official work. The hooter fitted in the car was being sounded. When her car reached near the house of Mohinder Kaur Josh, her son Karamjit Singh Babloo along with her security guards came out and allegedly ordered her to stop playing of hooter before his house.

Meanwhile, Mohinder Kaur Josh also came out and allegedly started using unparliamentary language against her and her husband. Both son and mother also allegedly threatened them .

Chowdhay demanded registration of a case against Mohinder Kaur Josh and her son. She has brought this incident in the notice of th director- general of police, Punjab. On his assurance for the registration of a case against Mohinder Kaur Josh, her son and gunmen, she had requested her supporters to lift the blockade.

Mohinder Kaur alleged that Santosh and her husband were interfering in her constituency. Santosh Chowdhary's security guard Harjinder Singh was driving the car when the incident took place. Santosh and her gunmen allegedly threatened her and her son. SP (H) Opinderjit Singh Ghuman said he had not received any complaint from Santosh as yet.


Govt to recruit 150 specialists
Boosting Health Services
Tribune Reporters

Tarn Taran, December 9
The state government has decided to recruit 150 specialists doctors in full pay scale to provide better health services in the state.

This was disclosed by Laxmi Kanta Chawla, minister for health, Punjab, at Sarhali, 22 km from here, here today. The minister had come here on the second day of the three-day Health Fair being organised under the National Rural Health Mission scheme by the Health Department.

" Special teams have been formed to keep a tab on the violators of the Drug and Cosmetics Act. — Laxmi Kanta Chawla

The minister further said the department had also decided to appoint more 250 medical officers (MOs) on contract basis and para-medical staff to was being recruited very soon. Professor Chawla also said the health employees and medical officers who had been appointed on deputation basis would be brought back to their parent places till March, 2008 .

Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, MP, presided over the function. 

As many as 2,640 patients were examined today at the Health Fair.

Mohali: Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, said the department had tightened the noose against medical stores which indulged in the sale of intoxicants and habit-forming drugs. Special teams had been formed to keep a tab on the violators of the Drug and Cosmetic Act.

In a press statement issued here, she disclosed that six different teams of the Health Department had simultaneously raided various chemist shops in Moga. She said the senior superintendent of police, Moga, led the special campaign. Large quantities of intoxicant drugs were seized during this campaign that continued for more than six hours. The drugs had been sealed by the department and further legal course initiated. One shop had been sealed by the department.

She congratulated the department officers for their effort. She also lauded the efforts of the Health Department staff of Amritsar district, where a huge consignment of adulterated ghee had been seized.

Chawla strongly appealed to all drug retailers to come forward and pledge not to indulge in the sale of habit-forming drugs. She said no doubt there were lots of chemists in the state, who were sincerely and honestly doing their job and also supportive in the department’s fight against the sale of habit-forming drugs. Yet, a few traders were still indulging in the ill-practice and bringing a bad name to others also.

She added that the campaign against illegal sale of drugs would continue on the pattern similar to the campaign launched during the festival season to check the sale of adulterated food items and sweets.


New Buses
Govt yet to decide on company
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 9
The Punjab government will introduce 300 new buses soon, most of which will be air-conditioned and have better facilities for passengers. This was stated by state transport minister Master Mohan Lal here yesterday.

“To finalise the bus model, I, along with Sukhbir Singh Badal and some other officials, had gone to Goa. We have held a conference with five bus manufacturers. However, the final decision on the selection of the company is yet to be taken,” said the minister on the sidelines of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s 81st birthday celebrations.

When the minister was confronted with the fact that the condition of most of the bus stands in the state was poor, he said reconstruction work at many of those was under way. He said all bus stands in the state would be interlinked, and night bus service would be started at more bus stands.

On the move to change the colour of buses, he said, “It is just to differentiate whether these are purchased during the tenure of the previous regime or the present government.”

The minister stated that the new buses would ply on long-distance routes covering Anandpur Sahib, Katra, Amritsar and several other stations.


Minimum Wages
‘Govt adopting delaying tactics’
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 9
Labour unions have taken a strong exception to the recent decision of the SAD-BJP government to constitute a 21- member Punjab Minimum Wages Advisory Board (PMWAB).

Talking to The Tribune, general secretary of the Jalandhar Wine Salesman and Labour Employees Union Ravinder Singh Ravi alleged that the Badal government was adopting dilly-dallying tactics to revise minimum wages in the state as instead of implementing the recommendations made by the earlier Board during the previous Amarinder government, the Badal government had reconstituted another the PMWAB which would submit its report in three years.

The earlier PMWAB headed by then Cabinet minister Chaudhury Jagjit Singh had recommended last year to revise the minimum wages by 40 per cent, Ravi said, adding that then state government was yet to issue any notification in this regard.


Board decision on Class V exam
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 9
The Punjab School Education Board has made it compulsory for Class V students to pass their annual examination for promotion to the next class. This was decided by the Board chairman at a meeting of district elementary education officers.

The chairman, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, said the Class V examinations would begin from February 18.

The last date to receive the examination forms is December 31 without late fees and January 8 with a late fee. He added the result would be declared on March, 31.

The pass marks for the examination would be 33 per cent. Only 1 per cent grace would be given to a student.

A 5 per cent marginal grace could be given in exceptional cases. The minimum age to appear for the examination is nine years.


Inside Babudom
PPS officer ‘close to Badal family’ appointed to cadre post
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Punjab government has ordered posting of the SSP, Muktsar, by giving charge of the district to Gurpreet Singh Gill, a Punjab Police Services (PPS) officer, thus ignoring IPS officers. The PPS officers senior to Gill have also been ignored.

Earlier on November 17, Gurpreet Singh Gill was posted SP, headquarters, Muktsar, and the SSP of the district, Parmod Ban, was transferred. Gill now has been made SSP Muktsar replacing Ban. Orders were issued a couple of days ago by director-general, Punjab Police, N.P.S Aulakh to hand over the charge of the important district to Gill, who is considered close to family of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Muktsar is the home district of the Badal family.

It covers the CM’s Assembly constituency, Lambi, Sukhbir Badal’s parliamentary constituency, Faridkot and state finance minister Manpreet Badal’s Assembly constituency, Gidderbaha.

The DGP’s orders say the charge handed over to Gill is “on a temporary basis”. The SSP Muktsar is a cadre post and normally an IPS officer should have been appointed. Already a case is pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court wherein an IPS officer of the Punjab cadre had challenged only an IPS officer be posted against cadre posts. Normally the post of an SSP of a district is a cadre post.

Yesterday’s orders were issued after the Punjab government cleared the file to hand over charge to Gill. As per instructions of the Home Department issued in 2001, the DGP is empowered to post an officer as SSP “on temporary basis” and against “vacancy arising out of leave taken by the regular SSP”. It is on this premise the orders were issued. Sources in the Punjab Police said such orders could be issued only on temporary basis for a period of three months. After that period ends the DGP will have to issue fresh orders if the government wants Gill to continue after three months that is after March 4.

There is no bar to extend the service of Gill, said sources and the DGP was within his rights to issue the order.

This is the third post of SSP of a district going out of the IPS cadre. A few months ago, the SAD-BJP government re-cast Jagraon police district as Ludhiana (rural) and Majitha as Amritsar (rural) and posted PPS officers. Meanwhile orders to appoint a SSP for Moga were not issued as SSP Faridkot L.K. Yadav holds additional charge. Yadav is the in charge of the special investigating team formed by the high court in the “Moga sex scandal” hence he could not be replaced.


5 of marriage party killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 9
Five members, including two women, of a marriage party were killed and nine others were injured when the Tata Sumo in which they were travelling collided with a truck near Kan Sabo village (under Nakodar police station) here today.

Confirming this Nakodar SHO Satinder Chadda said the deceased had been identified as Hem Raj, Veena, 12-year-old Munish (all residents of Rishi Nagar locality in Nakodar city), Paramjit and her 17-year-old son Daman (residents of Shah Pur village).

The victims were on way to Nakodar from Jalandhar after attending a marriage when the mishap occurred. The injured have been admitted in a nearby hospital.


ASI arrested
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 9
Assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Jaswant Singh and head constable (HC) Harbans Singh were arrested by the police on charges of corruption.

Sunam DSP Joginder Singh Sandhu told The Tribune on phone this evening that the ASI and the HC had been arrested on corruption charge as during investigation corruption charge against them had come to the notice. However head constable Satnam Singh was absconding, the DSP added.

Some days ago the Dirba police had booked the ASI and the head constable under Section 376 of the IPC for allegedly “raping” a woman from Dirba village, 26 km from here. The woman had alleged she had been raped by ASI Jaswant Singh and HCs Harbans Singh and Satnam Singh. An inquiry had been ordered by the police authorities into the case.


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