P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


State strapped for cash
Netas, babus act as ‘courier boys’
Invitations for NRI sammelan 
Chitleen K.Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 11
The strapped for cash Punjab government seems to have no shortage of funds to send chosen politicians and officers abroad on all- expenses-paid tours.

And the pretext is invite personally NRIs abroad for the forthcoming Punjabi NRI sammelan being held in Punjab in first week of January.

Members of the Empowered Steering Committee constituted for the organisation of the sammelan will go to the USA, the UK and Canada to “invite and mobilise the NRIs for the successful conduct of the sammelan”.

And the list of members of the steering committee, include the state’s who’s who. Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, minister for information and public relations Bikramjit Singh Majithia, minister for industry and commerce Manoranjan Kalia, Punjab’s BJP president Rajinder Bhandari, adviser to Chief Minister Daljit Singh Cheema, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Jathedar Tota Singh, former MP Balbir Singh, former MLA Surjit Singh Rakhra, principal secretary Home, DGP Punjab, principal secretary finance, principal secretary to the CM, principal secretary information and public relations and commissioner, Jalandhar division.

Sources said the suggestion to send delegations abroad came from some members at the last meeting of the committee. In their enthusiasm, these members even offered to go to the USA and Canada on their own expense to invite NRIs to the sammelan. But when it came to the crunch, no one seemed to have the heart to loosen their purse strings for the trip. Obviously the state was expected to pay for the proposed touring.

Minister for industries and commerce, Manoranjan Kalia, who is also member of the steering committee said the suggestion to go abroad did come up but till date none of the members had gone outside the country for the purpose. “The means of communication these days are so advanced, where is the need to go abroad? E-mail, Internet, chatting etc., every form of interaction is possible at the click of a mouse” said Kalia.

The Department of NRI Affairs is learnt to have asked for Rs 1.25 crore from the Department of Information and Public Relations for the organisation of the sammelan at two places. The Chandigarh function will cost the government Rs 50 lakh and the conference at Jalandhar function another Rs 75 lakh. Private event management companies will be asked to arrange both functions.

Over 250 NRIs are expected to participate in the sammelan in Punjab to be held in Chandigarh and Jalandhar on January 5 and 6 to be followed by the Parvasi Bharatiya Diwas being organised in New Delhi from January 7 to 9th.


Medicos to have access to AIIMS, PGI classrooms
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Medical students (MBBS) of government medical colleges, Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot, will have access to the classrooms of the All- India Institute of Medical Sciences( AIIMS), Delhi and the PGI here. In fact, already such an arrangement has been made with AIIMS. Soon, similar arrangement will be possible with the PGI, it is learnt.

“ We have telephone hot line and Internet connection with the AIIMS”, said Jagjit Puri , secretary, Medical Education and Research. He said the classroom access arrangement had been made via satellite. He said the ISRO had been engaged for providing satellite facility to link up Punjab government medical colleges with the PGI, he added. Even students can ask questions to the teaching faculty of AIIMS, he added. Queries were to be answered later, he added.

However, due to certain technical reasons link-up between the PGI and Punjab medical colleges had been held up, he added.He said even students of government medical colleges in Punjab would have access to the proceedings of the International seminar on orthopaedics being organised by AIIMS at Delhi. Students and faculty would also be provided to access to operating theatres at AIIMS and certain other important institutes, he added. Hotlines had also been provided to medical colleges to consult doctors of AIIMS and PGI for diagnosing diseases.

“ Arrangement had also been made to refresh skills of doctors posted in government medical colleges under the guidance of doctors posted in the PGI and Mumbai and other places”, said Puri. For instance, doctors of government medical colleges at Amritsar had been attached to director of the PGI Dr K.K Talwar, a noted cardiologist. Likewise, certain doctors had been sent to Mumbai to brush up their knowledge to treat burn cases under the guidance of Dr Deshmukh. Apart from certain doctors had been sent to Oswal hospital at Ludhiana where treatment of burn cases was excellent, said Puri.

Super- speciality hospital, which was held up for five years, would become functional by December end. Heart surgeries would be performed in that hospital in due course, he added. Health budget for the five years had been enhanced by 55 per cent. With cost of Rs 100 crore, a child and mother care centre would be set up at Amritsar and administrative block of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences would be set up at Faridkot.

Puri said the Finance Department had approved to appoint 57 medical officers as lecturers in government medical colleges which were facing teaching staff shortage. He said about 90 per cent posts would be filled in all government medical and dental colleges before the beginning of next academic year. Now there were 113 vacancies in government medical colleges and 31 in dental colleges.

Already 50 teachers had been promoted assistant professors and professors etc. Soon promotion of 20 more teachers would be made and some teachers be promoted on January 8 when a meeting of the Departmental Promotion Committee would held. First time so many promotions had been made in one go, he added.


State to set up 3 eye banks
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 11
The Medical Research and Education Department has decided to set up three eye donation banks in the state. Keeping in view the Human Organs Transplant Act, the department has decided to set up these banks at the local Government Rajindra Hospital, the Government Medical College Amritsar and the Government Medical College, Faridkot. Sources said final touches had already been given to the proposal and a final nod may come anytime.

A team from the Medical Research and Education Department from Chandigarh has already visited the Rajindra Hospital to chalk out the modalities and remove bottlenecks for setting up the bank at Rajindra Hospital, Patiala.

In addition to this, the government has also planned to set up 75 eye donation centres at the subdivision level in the state. Sources disclosed that each of these banks would have 25 eye donations centres directly under its jurisdiction.

To make sure that the eye donors did not suffer much, the government was making it mandatory to open such donation centres at civil hospitals at the subdivisional level. However, transplants can only take place at any of the three eye donation centres at Patiala, Jalandhar and Faridkot, respectively.

This decision of the government to open eye donation banks comes at the right time, reveal sources, as earlier according to the provision of the human organ transplant act, there was not even a single eye donation bank in the entire state.

Sources say that earlier there were some private eye banks doing roaring business but when the controversial issue of smuggling of eyes in the Pingla Ashram came to light at Sanaur, near Patiala, the government took the decision to open banks of its own. 


New road to link Anandpur Sahib with Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 11
The district administration Ropar has proposed a new road linking Chandigarh to Anandpur Sahib that would boost the economy of the area.

The road has been planned along the Shivalik hills from Siswan road linking Kurali with Chandigarh. It would reduce the distance between Chandigarh and Anandpur Sahib by about 20 km. The distance between Chandigarh and Anandpur Sahib after the road would be made operational would be just 50 km.

Deputy commissioner Ropar AK Sinha said that the proposal for construction of road had been submitted to the government. The PWD officials had completed the survey and work on the road would start after funds were made available for it.

Officials opined that reduced distance between Anandpur Sahib and Chandigarh would also lead to real estate development in the area.

Earlier also the government had planned to develop Anandpur Sahib during the tercentenary celebrations of birth of Khalsa in 1999. During the celebrations a plethora of announcements had been made about the development of area. The government had also formed Anandpur Sahib Urban Development Authority for the purpose. A junior leaders’ academy of army and Anandgrah project had also been planned.

However, none of projects had materialised. The development authority had failed to bring up any planned colony here. The Anandgarh project was also shifted to the vicinity of Chandigarh and later struck down by Punjab and Haryana High court.

The other development projects in the area were also in limbo due to lack of funds or proper management. The Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex that was to prove as major tourist attraction was to be completed within few years. However, even after about nine years its completion is nowhere in sight. The three star Ashoka hotel and tourist reception centre has failed to take off. The infrastructure built for it has disintegrated with lantana bushes growing there.

A marshal arts academy was carved out of Dashmesh academy. However, that, too, has become operational as yet.

The administration is of the view that reduction of distance between the city and Chandigarh might provide the much-needed impetus to the development of Anandpur town and its surrounding areas.

However, with the state facing financial crises it remained to be seen how long the government took to provide necessary funds for the development of said road.


Advani right for PM’s post, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has welcomed L.K. Advani as the Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate for the post of Prime Minister, saying it was "as a very significant and positive development for the country."

Badal said as a confidant of Vajpayee for many years, Advani had always made an unmatched contribution to the emergence of opposition unity in the critical days of the Congress misrule.

He described Advani as an able, highly competent administrator and a far- sighted leader. "Advani is conversant with the problems of common people and is committed in finding immediate as well as lasting solutions for problems faced by the country." 


Sena bandh; SAD(A) ‘fateh’ march
DGP tells officers to be effective
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Director- general of Punjab Police N.P.S. Aulakh today cautioned officers that complacency during the bandh called by the Shiv Sena (Hindustan) and the “fateh” marches planned by Simranjit Singh Mann-led Shiromani Akali Dal ( Amritsar) would not be tolerated. Both things are scheduled for December 14.

Aulakh was presiding over the monthly crime review meeting here today. He directed the officers to take preventive measures besides keeping strict vigil on the activities of those trying to disturb peace in the state.

Advocating strict action against unscrupulous travel agents Aulakh directed the field officers not only to book these agents but also ensure expeditious challans to get them convicted. He also emphasised on the need to look into the grievances of NRIs facing problems regarding land and other property.

The police will also soon have its own DNA laboratory and facilities like brain mapping and narco analysis keeping in the view long waiting period for such cases in existing laboratories.

Taking serious note of the increasing road accidents in the state, the DGP directed strict enforcement of the use of seat belts and wearing of helmets, proper parking of stranded vehicles on roads keeping in view foggy conditions. 


Don’t interfere in Sikh matters, BJP told 
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 11
President of the SGPC Avtar Singh here today stated that the leadership of the BJP should not interfere in the Sikh religious matters.

Replying to a query, Avtar Singh said the installation of the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the Sikh Museum at the Golden Temple complex was a religious matter and leaders of other parties should not get themselves involved in it. The senior leadership of the BJP in the state and some other organisations had objected to the installation of the portrait.

He said the act of calling Shaheed Bhagat Singh a “petty terrorist” was a foolish one. He said Bhagat Singh was widely accepted as a national martyr and there was no disputing the fact. He said the law would take its own course against those who had spoken against Bhagat Singh.

The SGPC chief stated that the Haryana government was deliberately creating hurdles in the project of setting up of a medical college at Shahbad Markanda by the SGPC. He said Haryana has so far not issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the SGPC due to which the construction of the college building had failed to commence. 


Mian Mir’s descendant calls on Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Sain Makhdoom Syed Chan Pir Qadri, the 19th descendant of Sain Hazrat Mian Mir Ji who laid the foundation stone of Sri Harmandar Sahib, today called on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at his residence to show him glimpse (darshan) of the belongings of Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji, including Guru ji's Simrana (mala) and necklace of Mata Ganga ji.

In an interaction with the Chief Minister, Syed Chan Pir Qadri urged Badal to take up opening of a visa office at Amritsar with the Centre and get declared area of I km radius within the Harmandar Sahib 'holy zone'. The Chief Minister gave an assurance in this regard.


Passport trouble: Jalandhar girl held up in Spain
Blames Indian embassy for her plight
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Rajbir Teja, a girl from Jalandhar, is held up in Spain because Indian embassy there is not extending her helping hand on a very minor issue of passport renewal. Rajbir, who spoke to Rajya Sabha member from Punjab, Manohar Singh Gill,on the phone today from spain, told him she was feeling harassed and disappointed over the attitude of Indian embassy that she could take any desperate step.

After doing B.Sc and MBA, Rajbir stayed in Germany for two years and for three years she has been doing job in Spain. Her passport expired in normal course and she sought its renewal from the Indian embassy. However, she told Gill attitude of embassy people was totally non-cooperative. “ Whereas the Spain government authorities have offered to extend her all help, Indian embassy had denied the renewal of her passport on some irrelevant pretext”, said Gill. “ I will talk to foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee and others concerned in this regard”, said Gill.

“ Rajbir told me Pakistan embassy was extending all help to its citizens and it has even shifted its office from Madrid to Barcelona to resolve problems faced by Pakistanis in that country. However, attitude of Indian embassy is stubborn and arrogant”, said Gill.

“ At least our officials in embassies abroad should learn from their Pakistani counterparts how to extend help to their citizens when they face any problem”, said Gill.

Following a desperate telephone call from Rajbir,Gill said he was feeling so upset that he would resort to protest required to help her. He said it was unfortunate an Indian suffered abroad because of the non-helping attitude of Indian officials.


Another Punjab student meets tragic end abroad 
Prabhjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 11
On the heels of the death of a Ropar student by robbers at Santiago (US), another youth, Avneet Kaur, has met with tragic end in Australia as she drowned on the sea shore of Melbourne yesterday.

The news of the girl's death reached her native Middu Khera village of Muktsar district this morning and the bereaved family members said the documents required to get the body of the 24-year-old girl back home had been sent to the Australian embassy.

Avneet went to Australia last month only for an MBA course after graduating from a Chandigarh college. But she lost her life when she was playing with her two friends on seashore in Melbourne. The two others, also from India, had a miraculous escape, the bereaved family sources said after receiving the tragic news.

The body was expected within a day or two, said the dead girl's landlord father Gurdial Singh.

The girl was bright and she had got admission in Delhi's Lady Shri Ram (LSR) college after her schooling from Shimla. But she later shifted to a Chandigarh college in the secnd year as she could not get hostel accommodation at the LSR.

This incident became second tragedy of its kind within two days as Preet Rupinder Singh, a student of M. Tech (Electronics), from Ropar was shot dead in Santiago during a robbery at a store where he used to work on weekends.

IANS adds from Sydney: Avneet was killed after being swept away while taking a dip in the sea.She with two friends had entered the water at Hutt Gully near the seaside town of Anglesea,110 km southwest of Melbourne.Around 6.30 pm on Monday, a friend had raised an alarm after seeing his companion being dragged out to sea by a rip. She had been wading in water, perhaps with no intention to swim, and was dumped by a wave and taken about 50 metres to sea.


Rally stops paralysed Sikh’s deportation 

Vancouver, December 11
In one of their biggest anti-government rally, thousands of Indo-Canadians forced authorities to stop the deportation of a paralysed Sikh.

Laibar Singh, a failed refugee claimant who had entered Canada on a forged passport in 2003 and was paralysed last year, was ordered last week to be deported Monday at 2.30 pm.

But about 3,000 Indo-Canadians, along with some Pakistanis, Chinese and people of European origin, surrounded the car carrying Singh at Vancouver International Airport and denied the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to access him.

CBSA agents were to take Singh in their care before handing him over to the immigration authorities to put him on board a Cathay Pacific flight to New Delhi via Hong Kong.

But fearing angry protesters shouting slogans against the Tory government and threatening to boycott the airline, CBSA officials decided not to approach the car carrying Singh and allowed him to temporarily stay in Canada.

There was a sense of relief when CBSA official Derek Mellon said: "For safety and security reasons Singh's removal has been delayed." This is the third reprieve for Singh in the last six months.

Singh has now been put in the care of the Khalsa Diwan Society Gurdwara in New Westminster, near Vancouver.

Addressing the protesters, former Canadian revenue minister Herb Dhaliwal said the decision to deport a "helpless man showed the mean-spiritedness of this government". — IANS


Father of pension schemes is no more
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 11
The man behind pension schemes in India, Parduman Singh (83), who fought a relentless fight against militancy in Punjab died after a brief illness at his residence here late last night. He will be cremated here tomorrow.

Hailed as “Father of Pension Schemes in India”, Parduman Singh had been a ray of hope for the downtrodden. The International Social Security Association and the Social Security Association of India had recently given him the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Owing to his relentless efforts nearly 35 lakh retired workers or their families (in case of death) are enjoying the benefits of pension. His two booklets on “Employees Pension Scheme” were translated into many regional languages. Five of his books had been published by German Foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Some of his books had worldwide circulation.

Comrade Parduman Singh was born on March 7, 1924, at Jhelum (now in West Pakistan). He got his education at various district headquarters in Punjab due to regular transfer of his father Ram Singh, who retired as an ADC. He graduated from Government College, Lahore, in 1944.

In the eighties he conceived an old age, disability and survivor pension scheme for industrial workers who were members of the EPF by partial conversion of provident fund. He put his proposal before the central board of trustees. The board accepted it and the government promulgated such a pension scheme for 40 crore private and public sector employees on November 16, 1995.

After completing his studies, he joined the Sarvodya Movement of Mahatma Gandhi along with a friend by going to a village near Amritsar and cleaning the streets and distributing medicines among the poor. During the days of Partition he worked actively for the refugees from Pakistan. In lieu of this he and his friend were offered a job. He declined but his friend accepted the offer and retired as DPI.

He joined the CPI and started organising industrial workers into a trade union under the banner of AITUC in 1948-49. He had to remain underground for about two years as an arrest warrant had been issued against him. During that period he worked at villages in Amritsar. Later, he became whole-time functionary of AITUC in 1950. From 1980-92 when terrorism ruled Punjab, he was one of those who mobilised and involved not only workers but also people against separatism. A party committee was formed for this purpose and he was made its convener.

He had authored many books on social security in India, Asia-Pacific and in developing countries of Asia, Africa and South America. His maiden book “Social Security and Struggle for Human Dignity in the Developing Countries” hit the stands in 1988. The World Federation of Trade Unions translated it into French also.

He has penned reports on “Exempted Provident Funds” as the chairman of a committee of the CBT, “A Manual of Social Security in India” and “Social Security in Asia and Pacific”. His “New Approach to Minimum Wages as Measure of Social Protection” appeared in three volumes (co-authored with RKN Subrahamanya, secretary-general, Social Security Association of India).


Tiwana Foundation to reward Ishmeet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The Harpal Tiwana Foundation is all set to confer the Harpal Tiwana awards for promotion of Punjabi culture on the late litterateur Harcharan Singh and educationist Satish Verma, former head, Punjabi department at Punjabi university.

The Vivek Singh memorial award, instituted by the foundation in the memory of trustee Jagjit Singh’s son Vivek Singh, will be presented to Ishmeet, the Star Voice of India.

The awards will be presented on December 15 at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan, Ludhiana, where ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh will also hold a concert.

While Harcharan Singh is being posthumously awarded for his immense contribution to Punjabi literature, Dr Vishwanath Tiwari Award for enrichment of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat is being given to Satish Verma.

The Vivek Singh award aims to encourage exceptional young talent; this year the honour will be of Ishmeet’s, said Manpal Tiwana of the foundation.

While the Harpal Tiwana award will be presented by Jagjit Singh, Dr Vishwanath Tiwari Award will be presented by Sarswati award winner and Padma Shri Dalip Kaur Tiwana. The Vivek Singh award will be presented by Chitra Singh. 


Utilisation of MPLAD funds
Punjab among top 5
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Punjab figures in the top five states as far as utilisation of the funds released under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) programme is concerned.

Sources said that utilisation of funds in the Punjab till November 30 was 92.78 per cent whereas in Tamil Nadu it is 97.18 per cent, which is the maximum.

In Mizoram, the utilisation of funds is 95.72 per cent and Madhya Pradesh 94.10 per cent. In Arunachal Pradesh it is 97.50 per cent.

Uttar Pradesh has benefited most because of the release of maximum funds to it under this programme. Since 1993, the Uttar Pradesh has got Rs 2510.20 crore under this programme whereas Punjab has got only Rs 448.55 crore and Haryana Rs 337.25 crore.

Other states, which have got high allocation of funds under this programme because of the large number of their Members of Parliament, are Tamil Nadu (1314.35 crore), West Bengal (1204.85 crore), Bihar (1227.40 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (1348.45 crore).

In Punjab, Varender Bajwa’s utilisation of funds is 92.64 per cent followed by M.S. Gill 80.41 per cent, Ambika Soni’s 79.10 per cent and Ashwani Kumar 72.40 per cent till November-end.

As far as members of Lok Sabha from Punjab are concerned, the maximum utilisation of funds is Rana Gurjit Singh (95.84 per cent). He is followed by Preneet Kaur (95.42 per cent); Zora Singh Mann (94.52 per cent); Rattan Singh Ajnala (94 per cent); Paramjit Kaur Gulshan (93.88 per cent); Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (93.54 per cent); Vinod Khanna

(93.03 per cent); Avinash Rai Khann (91.35 per cent); Sukhdev Singh Libra (91.12 per cent); Sharanjit Singh Dhillon (90.58 per cent); Charanjit Singh Atwal (90.15 per cent); Navjot Singh Sidhu (89.11 per cent) and Sukhbir Singh Badal (88.55 per cent).


Dept of Employment Generation seeks files from c-pyte
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The Department of Employment Generation is facing problems in the absence of transfer of official files by the Centre for Punjab Youth Training and Employment (c-pyte) to it by the authorities concerned.

Chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh recently transferred the work of the c-pyte to the department on the direction of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Sources said the department had written to the c-pyte authorities and also to the secretary coordination for getting the order of the chief secretary implemented in this regard, but nothing had happened so far.

Sources added the department, headed by Badal, had allocated the work of c-pyte to its officials, but was facing problems in the absence of transfer of official documents.

The department had tied up with the Army and the Air Force to motivate Punjabi youth for employment in Defence forces.

It had also made arrangements with the Punjab Police to train unemployed youth in security of important private buildings, malls, shops and other important private institutions.

Earlier, c-pyte was given the responsibility of training the youth for employment in the armed forces and elsewhere.

However, Badal wanted the entire work regarding the employment of youth to be looked after by the department, which is under his control.


CM launches software at office of Advocate General
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Welcoming the projection of L.K. Advani as the prime ministerial candidate, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said he was an able and experienced administrator.

Responding to queries of the media, while inaugurating the newly constructed complex and the new software launch to streamline the functioning of Punjab Advocate-General’s office, Badal said he had already greeted Advani and was happy to know about it.

He added that former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpaee had himself taken the decision, as he has not been keeping well. Replying to another question, Badal said Gujarat Chief Minister Narender Modi was a strong leader and he did not need any external support.

As such, the timing of the announcement had no link with the Gujarat elections and would not have any bearing on his political fate.

Badal added that the final decision had not been taken with regard to free power to the farmers and octroi.

He further added that certain measures would have to be taken. As such, new schemes were being prepared.

“Things cannot be rectified in just about six months. We need some time to streamline things,” said Badal.

He also exhorted the legal fraternity to play a pro-active role in bringing social awakening among the masses against the evils of drug addiction and female foeticide and pledged state governments’ full support and cooperation in this regard.

Badal said since AG’s office was an important institution, the state government was committed to provide all basic inputs to ensure congenial atmosphere to the law officers.

In his address, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijender Jain said the AG’s office was acting as a bridge between the judiciary and the executive.


Lawyers call for strike on Dec 14
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 11
The Bar Association Dasuya has given a call to all Bar associations of Punjab to observe a compete strike in state on December 14 to support its demand of closing Punjab’s first mobile court being run in four villages of Dasuya subdivision of this district.

President of Dasuya association Balbir Singh Gill said today that all members of Dasuya association had been observing strike since December 4, in support of their demand to discontinue the mobile court as it was not only causing inconvenience to the litigants but also was creating difficulties for the lawyers of the area as well. Moreover, the mobile court had made justice quite costly for the litigants. The Dasuya association would continue its stir till the closing of the mobile court.

Gill urged the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court to discontinue the functioning of the mobile court.


Land Deal
NBWs against Himachal ADGP
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, December 11
A local court of Rajpura has issued fresh non-bailable warrants (NBW) against top cop of Himachal Pradesh police Bhupinder Singh Thind, who is holding the charge of ADGP (law and order) there. The police have been asked to produce Thind in the court by December 24.

The warrants were issued as Thind failed to appear before the court in connection with a case pending against him, in which he had been accused of fraudulently selling a prime piece of land measuring 46 canal and 6 marlas in Chaparchirdi village near Dera Bassi. The land belonged to NRI Prithpal Kaur, who had filed a complaint against the ADGP through her niece Aninder Jawanda, accusing him of selling the land that belonged to her by getting a fake general power of attorney made in his own name.

The case was registered against Thind at Dera Bassi police station in November 2005 and the challan was produced in the court in January 2006. As Thind did not join the investigations, the Patiala police moved the court seeking issuance of non-bailable warrant against him. It was on June 4 last year that the court had first issued non-bailable warrant against the cop in connection with the case.

However, Thind continued to elude the police teams that had gone to arrest him from Shimla. On June 23, he joined the investigations and appeared at the Patiala police headquarters where he submitted replies to over two dozen questions asked by the police.

Thind was also arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on October 26 last year in connection with another case of fraud registered against him and some real estate promoters. He had been accused of availing loans worth lakhs of rupees from different banks by mortgaging the same piece of property. He even had to undergo a 14-day judicial remand after being arrested by the CBI.


Jallianwala Bagh
Go ahead with plan, HC to govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Modifying its earlier order directing the state of Punjab and other respondents against tampering with the national monument at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today clarified that the authorities concerned could go ahead with the revitalisation plan.

The orders were passed on a petition filed in public interest by High Court advocate-cum-historian Malwinder Jit Singh Waraich.

He had stated that the state and other respondents were tampering with the original structure and had done away with two entrances, which were there on the crucial day. This, they had done by demolishing some buildings in September this year.

Taking up the petition, the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, also directed the authorities concerned to submit a plan of “gullies” there and fixed January 7 as the next date of hearing

Arguing before the court, Waraich earlier pointed out that at the time of the incident there were three or four entrances. In an attempt to substantiate his contentions, he submitted a copy of a 1920 report.

Handing over the copy of a photograph appearing in an NCERT textbook, he quoted the caption saying: “All exits like this were piled high with dead and the wounded”. He added that the pathways formed an integral part of the scene.

Counsel for the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust and other respondents Rajiv Narain Raina, on the other hand, contended that all work had come to a standstill following “stay orders” by the court. Seeking a short date, he added that they wanted the project to develop the area to be over by April 13.

After hearing the parties, the Bench clarified that the only direction was against tampering with the national monument and they could go ahead with their plan.

Virk’s bail plea

Taking up a petition filed by Punjab’s former Director-General of Police S.S Virk for the grant of blanket bail, Justice H.S Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the issuance of a seven-day notice in case an FIR was registered against him in the next 90 days from today.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court, Justice Bhalla added that the orders would become inoperative if no case was registered during the 90-day period. With these directions, the judge disposed of the petition.

Virk has already been granted regular bail by the High Court in a corruption case.

Allowing his plea, Justice Bhalla had, on October 31, ruled that keeping behind bars would put him on “slow fire” as the trial was likely to take time.

Claiming to have been implicated in the matter due to political vendetta, Virk, in his current 283-page petition, had sought pre-arrest blanket bail or 10-day advance notice in any case likely to be registered in Punjab by any wing of the police.

In his petition, Virk had virtually questioned the powers and authority of the vigilance bureau to inquire or investigate cases on its own. He also claimed that the Chief Director of the Vigilance Bureau (CDVB) was removed in contravention of law.

He had added that the vigilance department was also restructured to make it an “oppressive outfit”. In fact, the Badal government had, soon after coming to power, proceeded to restructure the police and bureaucratic set up to achieve “ulterior motives”, he alleged. 


With new VC in chair, 9-month-old stir ends
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 11
The tiff between the university authorities, teachers and staff members came to an end with the lifting of the nine-month-old dharna by the joint action committee (JAC), representative body of teachers, students and staff members following assurances by vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh.

Head of the Department of Social Work Manjit Singh, reader of History Department Kuldip Singh Dhillon, lecturer Sumrinder Singh and assistant Darshan Singh had been suspended while as many as 12 students had been expelled by former vice-chancellor S.S. Boparai. Baltej Singh Maan, who was head of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur National Integration Chair was also reverted as reader, IAS training centre run by the varisty.

Manjit Singh not only gave a memorandum to the vice-chancellor and demanded putting an end to victimisation of teachers, staff and students but also urged him to revoke the suspension of students and teachers, transfer of employees, and reversion of Maan.

Jaspal Singh assured them that he would look into the matter and asked them to end the dharna.

This was immediately accepted by the agitating teachers and employees. 


‘I will side with no group’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 11
Jaspal Singh, vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, after taking over chargehere today said he would strive to provide conducive academic atmosphere on the campus to help promote academics.

There would be no vendetta politics, he said, adding that he would not side with any group when pointed out that there were generally pro and anti-VC groups on the campus. “The entire faculty would be my group,” he remarked. To a question that would the neighbourhood campuses set up by his predecessor Swarn Singh Boparai would be allowed to continue, Jaspal said he would like these to continue functioning.

The vice-chancellor was accompanied by general secretary of the SAD Prem Singh Chandumajra, chief parliamentary secretary Raj Khurana, former Punjab ministers Baldev Singh Mann and Surjit Singh Kohli, Dalbir Singh Dhillon, chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, and former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar. Avtar Singh, SGPC chief,also paid a brief visit.


Govt funds freshers’ party
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The Medical Education and Research Department, Punjab, to check ragging in government medical colleges in the state, has allotted Rs 1 lakh to every college for freshers’ party.

Following the new arrangement, not a single case of ragging has been reported from any government medical college, says Jagjit Puri, secretary of the department. Senior students were told to host party to new entrants in the medical colleges with the money provided by the department, he said.

For medical students, sports meet, musical evening will be organised soon.

And de-addiction centres will also be set up for medical students in their institutions, Puri added.


Awards: PAU invites entries from farmers

Chandigarh, December 11
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has invited applications from the farming community in Punjab for participating in Chief Minister’s awards contest.

PAU would honour two progressive farmers for their excellence in agriculture (crops) and horticulture with these awards, said an official release here today.

The award consists of cash prize and citation. PAU has invited applications containing information on different aspects of crop growing as well as fruit growing from progressive farmers, to be submitted by January 15, 2008, said the release.

These awards would be distributed at the Kisan Mela to be held in March 2008 at Ludhiana. — PTI


RDX Seizure
‘Main conspirator’ held
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 11
The police here has arrested a ‘Khalistan’ ideologue and author of controversial book " Holy war of Sikhs" on the charge of being the main conspirator in the plot to target Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other VIPs by bringing and planting RDX in the state.

Dr Bhagwan Singh (over 60) a resident of Kharar, whose association with Nagaland separatist leaders was also known through his book, was nabbed from the main bus stand here this evening.

SSP R. K. Jaiswal called him main conspirator behind the supply of RDX and the plot to target VIPs. About 3.5 kg RDX was recovered in a car abandoned in Mullan Pur Dakha in september this year.

Jaiswal said the accused would be questioned in the Shingaar cinema blast case. He was an activist of the Kendri Shir Singh Sabha Sanstha.

Bhagwan Singh’s name figured during interrogation of Bhavdeep Singh, one of the four accused held for bringing RDX and harbouring a wanted terrorist Gurpreet Singh. 


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