P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Land for Kuka martyrs
 CM to write to Centre
Tribune Reporters

Malerkotla, January 17
In response to the demand of the Namdhari sect for 67 acres belonging to the Defence Ministry, adjoining the Kuka martyrs memorial complex here, where 66 Kukas were blown up with canons by the British on January 17 and January 18, 1872, the Punjab government will rite to the Centre to hand over the said land to the Namdharis.

After paying tributes to 66 Kuka martyrs at a state-level function here today Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the state government would take steps to get the said land for the Namdharis (Kukas), as they had played vital role in India's Independence movement.

The Kuka Martyrs Memorial Trust is demanding this land on lease from the Defence Ministry for 99 years for the expansion of the Kuka martyrs memorial complex here by way of converting it into a green-belt, setting up a technical institute etc. there.

Badal also announced the state government would set up memorials in native villages of all 66 Kuka martyrs. He mentioned the names of two Kuka martyrs (out of 66), Bishan Singh, a young boy of 12, and Waryam Singh. The memorial of Bishan Singh will be set up in his native village of Rarr (near Malerkotla) and the memorial of Waryam Singh in his native village of Rampura Phul by the state government.

Badal also paid tributes at the Kuka martyrs memorial at the Kuka Samarak here. Satguru Jagjit Singh, head of Namdhari sect, also participated in the function. Besides Badal, MP from Sangrur Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and an MP from Canada Rubi Dhalla also paid tributes to the Kuka martyrs.

To a question on the Congress demand of a 'white paper' by the Badal government on financial crisis in the state, Badal asked the Congress to issue a 'white paper' of its five-year tenure first. He said the Amarinder government had left the state in heavy debt. Besides this it had done nothing to control unemployment and for the welfare of the farmers.

Badal also said his government would suggest to the Centre to name Mohali international airport after Shaheed Bhagat Singh. 


Municipal Council Poll
BJP to contest on own symbol
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Punjab president Rajinder Bhandari has announced to contest forthcoming Municipal Council elections on party symbol. BJP’s national secretary and in charge of Punjab affairs Balbir Punj was also present at the press conference after the executive committee meeting in Chandigarh yesterday.

Bhandari said his nomination as president of the party had been formally ratified by the executive committee that is here to evaluate and review the performance of the government and take stock of the party’s own strengths and weaknesses. On the functioning of the government, Bhandari said, “It is moving in the right direction, but we would like the pace of development to be speedier”.

Bhandari said the BJP executive committee after a deliberation on various issues had concluded it was satisfied with the working of the SAD-BJP alliance and BJP ministers in particular. He added the economic situation in Punjab was not grave and hinted to boost economy, people would have to bear with some hard decisions ( some taxes and levies).

To a question Punj stated the BJP had since long buried the demand of a deputy Chief Minister from among its ministers and also said the SAD was the bigger party in the alliance and there was no question of the BJP ever staking claim to the Chief Minister’s post in the current Vidhan Sabha. "It will be unnatural on our part. The office of the CM will remain with our dominant partner, the SAD”, Punj said. On the possible elevation of SAD working president Sukhbir Singh Badal to the Chief Minister’s post in place of his father Parkash Singh Badal, Punj quipped, “When it comes, we will discuss it in our party”.

Punj said as far as the BJP was concerned its primary focus was on issues concerning the development of Punjab, problems of the people and revival of fiscal health.

Referring to the issues discussed in the two-day executive meeting that concluded today, Bhandari said the performance of the state government and the BJP ministers was satisfactory. 


Fix responsibility, gurdwara panel to SGPC
Row over Meera Bai hymns in Guru Granth Sahib
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 17
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) today directed the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) to find the officials responsible for the publication of a controversial book on Sikh history , authored by Sher Singh who claimed that the hymns of Meera Bai were included in Guru Granth Sahib.

This direction followed a petition filed by Baldev Singh Sirsa, a leader of break-away group of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).

However, the three-member SGJC , , headed by Kashmir Singh Patti was of the opinion notices could not be issued to the present SGPC president , Secretary and other respondents because they were not holding such posts when the controversial book was published in 1982 by the Shiromani Committee.

Meerabai was born in 1499 A.D. in Kurkhi village near Merta, a small state in Marwar, Rajasthan. Meera Bai was brought up amidst Vaishnava influence, which moulded her life in the path of devotion towards Lord Krishna. She learnt to worship Sri Krishna from her childhood. 


Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The Punjab government today transferred four IAS and two PCS officers.

A.S. Chattwal goes as secretary, science, technology and environment, S.K. Sandhu, back from deputation from Chandigarh Administration, has been posted as managing director, Punjab Agro Industries. G. Vajralingam has been transferred as secretary, food and civil supplies, and Ashadeep Singh Thind has been posted as ADC (development), Ferozepur. 

Inderyash Bhatti becomes ADC (general), Gurdaspur, while Upkar Singh has been given additional charge of SDM, Nawanshahr, besides that of AC (general). 


Leadership: Cong polarised into Bhattal, Capt camps
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Conflict in the Punjab Congress party over the issue of leadership is on the rise. Indications by the party high command of a reshuffle in role and responsibilities have polarised the body - one loyalists of party chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and other of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Amarinder Singh camp wants his rehabilitation, while the Bhattal camp is for for Bhattal’s retention as president.

The first to come out with public statement in favour of Bhattal is former Congress minister Lal Singh, who wants Bhattal given both offices (president and leader of the Congress Legislature Party) till Lok Sabha elections. The ongoing talk among party circles that he had been lobbying for the post of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) and had been camping in Delhi for a few days made him make the statement.

Congress factions have become active after party general-secretary and in charge of Punjab affairs Margaret Alva indicated a change. The Amarinder lobby looks at it as an opportunity to rehabilitate the “maharaja sahib” into Punjab politics, especially after the Aroosa controversy has blown over. Even in the Ludhiana City Centre scam, he has got reprieve from court.

After the Bhattal camp failed to get the party high command to issue any directive against Amarinder after Aroosa acknowledged her friendship with the former Chief Minister, it is now the turn of the Amarinder camp to strike back. “Many senior leaders have been frequenting Delhi to appraise the party high command of what they call Bhattal’s failure to lead the party and make the party’s presence felt in the just concluded Vidhan Sabha”, a senior party functionary said.

At the same time Captain Amarinder Singh’s calls to party leaders to accompany him to a court in Ludhiana in the Ludhiana City Centre case met with luke warm response. “He did not bother about them when he was Chief Minister, but now he wants us to accompany him for show of strength”, said another party leader.

Bhattal wants to retain the post of the party president which is believed to be more prestigious and in the past there has been precedence that in the event of a party’s victory in elections, the president becomes the Chief Minister. As per indications, the Congress high command wants to appoint a Hindu as the CLP. The two names that are in the reckoning according to party sources are that of Braham Mohindra and Sunil Jakhar.

Even as there are many alignments and re-alignments happening within the party circles, indications from Delhi are the party high command does not want to add fuel to the flames at this stage, especially in view of the uncertainty hanging over the Lok Sabha polls. “I don’t think the status quo will be disturbed in the near future. After Gujarat and Himachal the Congress wants to maximise the possibility of its winning at any cost, any disturbance in the party leadership at this stage could be disastrous”, the leader close to Delhi circles of the party said.

Moreover, Bhattal is choice of party president Sonia Gandhi, who picked her from among many others in the reckoning, it is unlikely that she will be demoted.


Punjab can afford to go slow, says Montek
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
“The state of Punjab is not poor and it can afford to go slower as compared to other states which need to match steps with national growth rate”, said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman, Planning Commission of India, while delivering the Brij Narain memorial lecture organised by the department of economics, Panjab University, today.

In fact, Montek Singh took the opportunity to do some plain speaking.

Talking about agricultural growth in the state, he said till 1996 the agricultural growth rate was nearly 3.6 per cent and it had slowed down to 2 per cent thereafter.

But according to the data available, an overall growth of 4 per cent in the agriculture sector in the country is feasible.

“Under the 11 Five Year Plan, there are a series of initiatives in this direction. One of the prime initiative being the Rashtriya Vikas Yojna where the focus would be on districts specifically and they would be asked to chalk out a plan of their own. The state government would ensure that they maintain a cost account of the expenditure of the plan it and whatever the over extra expenditure would be, the Centre will share it”.

He also emphasised the linkages among food processors, domestic retailers and farmers to achieve diversification. However, he regretted the state government’s policy to give free power and subsidies. “I am not against subsidies, but they should be controlled”, he said while referring to subsidies in terms of power, water and fertilisers given to farmers in Punjab.

He also pointed out that the actual growth performance of the Indian economy had laid to rest the initial fears expressed by many against the reforms.

“The economy has clocked an average annual growth rate of 8.6 per cent in the past five years along with the attendant structural changes”, he said.

He further observed that we must follow the message of the 11th five year plan that of moving faster in terms of growth or else there will be no resources left to sustain the growth rate.

He made a case for widening the definition of poverty to include the deprivation of essential services like education, health etc.

He pointed out that the government resource position had improved over the years and could further improve if the government got out of areas best handled by the private sector.

Arguing that sustaining high growth rate needs infrastructure facilities, he informed that the government proposed to increase investment in infrastructure from 5 per cent of the GDP in 2006 to 9 per cent by 2011-12 through public-private partnerships wherever possible.

As another determinant of growth, he emphasised the need for increased investment in quality education and skills development.

“Its not possible to write a successful story of economic growth till we don’t script a successfully for power. “State governments should not waste money in generating power rather should focus on distribution of power”, he asserted.

Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal proposed a vote of thanks in the end and vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti presented mementos to the distinguished guests. 


Martyr’s wife wages a battle of her own
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Nearly 45 years after Amar Singh, a soldier of Sikh LI, was killed defending Indian territory in the Indo-China war, his widow Mohinder Kaur is fighting a different battle for retrieving 50 kanals of land promised to her.

Mohinder Kaur of Sil village in Kharar was allotted just 30 kanals of the disputed land in a nearby village, in lieu of 80 kanals originally allotted in faraway Kangthala village in Samana tehsil. Even after 10 years of her husband’s supreme sacrifice she is running around for the remaining 50 kanals.

All this has prompted Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell’s president Lt. Col S.S. Sohi to say that the land mafia, with “deep connections”, was targeting the “poor Defence community”.

In a representation to Punjab chief secretary, deputy commissioners of Mohali and Patiala, along with the director sainik welfare, Col Sohi has sought a probe into missing 50 canals and its re-allocation at the earliest in a nearby village.

He added that 70 per cent of war widows and other ESM were suffering and had lost their property due to the land mafia’s unchecked activities. Giving details, he has asserted that Mohinder Kaur, an illiterate, was approached by a property dealer through her husband’s relative.

On his assurance, she handed over the general power of attorney, along with some blank papers and her thumb impression. “That’s how she was allotted 30 kanals of disputed land,” he added.

Even though the land was registered in her name on September 30, 2005, after she won a case in the Kharar court, more property dealers moved in. “Now the land has changed many hands, without any payment to her”, Col Sohi further said.

Going into the background of the matter, he asserted that Mohinder Kaur could not initially gain physical possession of the allotted land as it was in a faraway village. Following the failure of Punjab Revenue Department to allot her an alternate piece of land near her village, she was forced to move the court of Patiala chief settlement commissioner.

Deciding the case in her favour on September 10, 1987, the court directed allotment of alternative land to her which would be closer to her village.

Although land was available, the department took its own time and allotted just 30 kanals of disputed land on January 29, 1992, in nearby Sohara village.

As such, she was forced to fight a legal battle for even those 30 kanals for 13 years. Lt Col Sohi added that an appeal was forwarded in writing to Kharar tehsil on May 29, 2006, but to no avail. 


Rejection of visitor visa highest among Punjabis’
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Immigration consultant from Canada Seema Bhayana, who is also the executive assistant to Canadian MP of Indian-origin Ruby Dhalla, says large number of genuine people from India are being refused visitor visas for Canada.

Dhalla has taken up the matter with the counsellors at the Canadian consulate in Delhi and they have promised to look into the matter, said Bhayana, who like several other NRIs is in India at present attending various NRI conferences.

One of the highest rejection rates of visitor visas is of Punjabis, said Bhayana, who was visiting her in-laws here in Chandigarh. Dhalla, the MP from Brampton-Springdale, has told the consulate that rich people in India have no intention of staying back in Canada.

Several of the people who were rejected visas wanted to go to attend marriages of their children or relatives. Bhayana opines that the high commission has to have an open view of the changes in Indian society and its economy besides the fact that people genuinely need to only visit Canada and not stay on illegally.

Rejection of genuine request affects the Punjabi community the most, said Bhayana, who is herself a first generation immigrant having gone to Canada about two decades ago. Punjabis form the largest chunk of immigrant population in Canada and they have the maximum number of people coming in from India for a short period.

On other issues, Bhayana said the Indian community faces serious problem with regard to fraud marriages. People are being cheated and in certain cases the purpose of the marriage turns out to be only gaining an entry into Canada.

Other people in Canada, who are not from India, look down upon this system where people are cheated in the name of marriage. Notably, she said the cases of trying to gain entry into Canada on fake visas is negligible.

NRIs living in Canada are also facing a problem with regard to properties in India. Bhayana said a detailed list of such cases was sent to the previous Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. People have developed a fear of their properties being usurped at the hands of unscrupulous persons.


Only 6 convictions under PNDT Act in Punjab
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
While the Punjab government claims that it takes measures to curtail female foeticide and strictly enforces the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) Act, the fact is so far only six persons have been convicted under this Act in the state.

The success rate of this Act, formulated 13 years ago to keep a tab on the declining number of girl children, is very low. Out of 97 court cases and first information reports (FIR) recorded, there have been only six convictions till date. While two cases have been dropped due to the death of the accused, the courts have set 13 odd cases aside.

There are at present 78 cases pending in various courts. Taking into account the steep decline in the child sex ratio in the decade 1991-2001, the implementation of the pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques (prohibition of sex selection) Act 1994 was taken as a top priority by the government.

On October 17 last, Jagdish Singh Aulakh of Aulakh Hospital in Jalandhar was sentenced to imprisonment of two years along with a fine of Rs 5,000 for getting an advertisement printed in violation of the Act.

Out of 17 clinics in Punjab allegedly carrying out the sex-determination tests using ultrasound machines, three were discharged, while 14 cases are pending at the respective courts.

Under the Act, those ultrasound centres that are not maintaining a proper record of their clients can also be booked. Among 29 such clinics, which were sealed by the team implementing the Act, only two have been convicted.

As Dr V.K. Goyal, the nodal officer for the implementation of the Act in Punjab, pointed out: "The ultrasound test must be conducted only to determine the abnormality in the mother or the child. However, ultrasonographists are blatantly misusing the test for sex determination."

Since the inception of the Act, there have been seven centres in the state against which cases of female foeticide were slapped. While six of the cases are pending in various courts, one was discharged giving the accused the benefit of the doubt.

Figures show that the officials concerned have not been given a free hand to tackle the problem of foeticide. 


Heritage pruned
Branches of tree where Namdharis were hanged cut
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service
Branches of the ancient banyan tree which were cut.
Branches of the ancient banyan tree which were cut. —Photo by Vishal Kumar

Amritsar, January 17
Heritage lovers were today aghast to see the branches of an ancient banyan tree pruned from where five Namdharis were hanged to death. The tree was pruned by the Namdhari Sangat.

A big memorial was raised at the site, which was bifurcated from the Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. However, except for the old banyan tree, the other buildings have already lost their original contour. The heritage structure, which was once part of Ram Bagh and later served as a jail during the British time, had been plastered without consulting conservationists or heritage experts. The old well on the premises had been plastered from inside and a modern well added in the langar section. The boundary wall of the memorial had been constructed to separate it from the Summer Palace complex.

The Kukas were hanged to death for assassinating butchers who had slaughtered cows.

The branches of the heritage tree were pruned during the year-long state-level celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Baba Ram Singh’s Kuka movement. The incident came to the notice when a state-level function was being held at Malerkotla to pay tributes to the 66 Kuka martyrs.

However, Ranjit Singh, president, Namdhari Sangat, justified the action as these were touching the ground and creating a hurdle for the devotees. He said it was the peepal tree which had been cut adjacent to the banyan tree. With this, some branches of the banyan tree were also cut. aRanjit claimed that he had ordered the pruning after getting verbal permission from the chief of the Namdhari sect.


Influential rule the road
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 17
Defying government instructions, some private bus operators have been plying buses in the state.

According to sources, these buses, owned by influential persons have been plying illegally in the district since many years much to the discomfiture of the Punjab Transport Deparment.

Such illegal plying of buses also means heavy financial drain on the state exchequer.

Sources pointed out here today a majority of these buses ply on long routes through this district. These buses come and enter this district from all over the state, particularly from the towns located in the Malwa region and after passing through the district these make way for the state and national capital of New Delhi.

These buses may be source of worry for the state government and the Transport Department but these are welcome relief to passengers.

Sources point out passengers normally prefer to travel by these buses as it saves them time and money and also provides them with additional comfort.

Owners of these private buses, who are often said to be hand in glove with Transport authorities, have monopolised these long routes. They, in connivance with the authorities, tie up things to garner the maximum number of passengers from the most crowded of places.

This has put the Punjab Transports Department and the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation authorities in a bind as they are left with little or no passengers when their buses ply on these routes.

Sources claim due to some reasons these private operators are having a free run in the state and moreover there is no system of checks to stop buses plying on these routes.

Top state Transport sources claim due to illegal plying of these buses, the state exchequer is suffering financial loss of lakhs every month.

These buses operate in such a manner they don’t touch bus stand and take or drop passengers near the bus stand without taking buses into the bus stand. Operators make it a point to park these buses at night at some petrol stations across the district.


Direct payment: Arhtiyas, farmers to meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The Federation of Arhtiyas Associations, Punjab, has invited representatives of farmers at a function to be held at Moga on January 19 to find an amicable solution of the notification issued by the state government to make direct payment to farmers through cheques in lieu of the foodgrains marketed by them.

Besides Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, senior cabinet ministers and acting president of SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP Rajinder Bhandari have been invited to attend the function.

President of the federation, Ravinder Singh Cheema, told The Tribune on the mobile phone that Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of the BKU, and certain other leaders of farmers had been invited to attend the function and to discuss common important issues, including the payment through cheque, related to farmers and arhtiyas (commission agents) in the state. “ We are for finding some viable solution by evolving consensus on this issue after discussing the matter with the representatives of farmers and others concerned”, said Cheema.

He said there would be a debate on the draft of the new proposed Agricultural Marketing Act. As the World Bank had agreed to give Rs 500 crore to modernise certain markets in the state, the government had been preparing a new draft of the Act in the light of the conditions laid down by the bank. Under the new Act, farmers would be allowed to market their produce direct to buyers removing middlemen in the process.

However, sources said it would be allowed in case of vegetables and fruits and some other few items and not in case of food grains.

Cheema said as on that day commission agents from all over the state would gather at Moga. He clarified that the federation had given no call for a Punjab bandh on January 19.

“ We are holding a function and have invited almost all cabinet ministers and senior leaders of the SAD-BJP. So, there is no question of holding any protest or giving a call for bandh”, said Cheema.


18 depts sans citizen’s charter
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 17
Many government departments do not have citizen’s charter on solving grievances and problems being faced by citizens in their day-to-day dealing with these departments. Besides, it also contains information about the functioning of the department concerned and the services being provided by it.

Under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Department of Information and Technology (Administrative Reforms Branch) has recently told to Kamal Anand that only 24 government offices/departments had prepared citizen’s charter so far while 18 government offices/improvement trusts were yet to prepare one. The government is going to issue warning letters to those departments that have not prepared the charter yet.

The government had constituted a seven-member core group in December, 2004, on citizen’s charter under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to examine and approve all draft citizen’s charters formulated by various departments/organisations before they are issued by them.

Talking to The Tribune here today, general secretary of the NGO, People for Transparency, Kamal Anand said though the government of India had published a handbook regarding citizen’s charter to guide the states in that regard, the Punjab government had not initiated enough steps in this direction. No major department like Local Government, Education, Health, Social Security, and the Food and Supply had citizen’s charter.

He said it was the need of the hour that all government offices, boards, corporations, etc, should come forward to provide better services to the public.


Security training institute in 2 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The state government will complete its prestigious Rs 40-crore project of setting up the Punjab Security Training Institute (PSTI) at Jahan Khelan to impart two-month vocational training for unemployed youth within the next two years.

A decision to this effect was taken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while presiding over a high-level meeting here yesterday. He asked the Home Department to finalise the modalities to notify the rules for this institution.

While approving the model of a state-of-the-art institution, Badal said Rs 20 crore was being released to start the construction. He also asked officers to complete structural designing in two weeks. DGP N.P.S. Aulakh, along with other senior police officers ,was present at the meeting.


Demolition Drive
Traders at loggerheads with BBMB
Tribune News Service

Nangal, January 17
Traders here today once again are at loggerheads with the BBMB over the demolition drive against alleged illegal occupants. The BBMB officials today asked the occupants of an illegal house constructed on their land to vacate it. They said they had a high court order to demolish the house.

As the news regarding the reported move of the BBMB spread, traders and other local leaders, including women, gathered at the spot. They staged a dharna to oppose the drive and said they would not allow the BBMB authorities to demolish the house. The BBMB has now called them for talks to resolve the lease issue.

The traders said they would request the state government to intervene. It was the state government that had acquired the land from them for the project. It had taken the land from the BBMB for construction of a hospital and administrative complex. The land available with the traders should be resumed by the state government, they added.

However, the BBMB authorities are of the view that they have to comply with the high court order. They held the people encroaching upon government land as responsible for the present situation. The district administration had also assured help to the BBMB in removing the encroachments.

Tension was eased after the BBMB finally postponed the move to demolish the house. It said the move had been postponed as the appeal application of illegal occupants of the house was to come up for hearing before the Supreme Court tomorrow. 


3 more cancer centres to come up
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 17
Two ultra-modern regional cancer centres, being set up by the Medical Education and Research Department, Punjab, will start functioning in Amritsar and Faridkot within six months and two years, respectively.

The department will set up three regional cancer centres in Patiala, Faridkot and Amritsar.

A large number of people have fallen prey to cancer in certain pockets of Malwa and its adjoining areas. The prevalence of the malady is more intense in Patiala, Bathinda, Faridkot and Sangrur districts. 


Two SAD youth leaders ‘trying to grab’ 27 acres in Gulab Nagar
KMC comes to rescue of Bazigar families likely to be ousted
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune news Service

Amritsar, January 17
Bazigar families living in Gulab Nagar near the Daburji area of the city have alleged a few persons were trying to grab the 27 acre plot on which they have been living for more than 82 years.

Raghbir Singh Beera, president, Bazigar colony, alleged SAD Youth wing leader Davinder Singh Dhillon alias Babbi and Upkar Singh Sandhu had prepared bogus registry of the plot and were threatening them to vacate the plot. He alleged the accused were sending goons to the area to terrorise children and women by displaying fire arms.

Beera claimed earlier too brother of Sandhu, Harminder Singh Sandhu,former president of the All-India Sikh Students Federation was killed by Parmjit Singh Panjwar for such illegal activities in January 1990. He said the accused, in connivance with former president of the colony, Bau Ram, were trying to grab the land.

However, Sandhu termed the allegations baseless against him as he had purchased the plot and was in possession of documents of it. He said issue was raised by Nihang Baba Inder Singh, who had tried to grab the land on December 5 and they had already complained to the police station, Jandiala Guru in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) has launched “Save Village’ campaign to help these families being uprooted from the place which was donated by relatives of Governor of Kerala R. L. Bhatia to these families. Surinder Singh Ghariala and Jasbir Singh Padri, patron and chairman, respectively, of the KMC said the courts, including the sessions court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court had stayed eviction of these families.


Two held for threatening 2 businessmen
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 17
Two persons running a finance company tried to extort money from two businessmen by making threatening calls.

Presenting themselves as high-profile criminals working for an underworld don, they claimed that Jalandhar was part of their area of work allotted to them by the don. They tried to intimidate the businessmen, saying that they would be eliminated if they did not pay the money.

Interestingly, the two extortionists did not forget to say it were they who had got ransom of Rs 1crore after kidnapping a city youth, Gagan Mickey, and that they were behind the murder of KMV principal Rita Bawa.

Vinod Kumar of Dilbagh Nagar Extension and Pradeep Arora of New Rasila Nagar had been making the threatening calls for the past few days to a city jeweller, Varun Ram, and a Kapurthala-based industrialist residing in Jalandhar, Neeraj Kumar, for paying them Rs 25 and 10 lakh, respectively, SSP Arpit Shukla said.

Their mobile phone (bearing number 9914463676) had been issued in the name of some other person by producing fake documents, the SSP added. A team headed by SP, City-I, S.K. Kalia comprising SHOs of divisions IV and V Vibhor Kumar and Yogi Raj was constituted in this regard.

The police recovered three mobile phones and six SIM cards from them, who were running a finance company, Krishna Finance, at the local 120 Feet Road. Two FIRs were registered against them.


Woman sarpanch held in case of cheating
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 17
Gurpinder Kaur, sarpanch of Kalia village (Lehra block), was arrested yesterday by the Lehragaga police in a case registered against her and a former block development and panchayat officer (BDPO)of Lehragaga under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating and dishonesty) and 120-B of the IPC.

Lehragaga DSP Tarun Rattan said a case against the woman sarpanch and a former Lehragaga BDPO was registered a few days ago for embezzlement of Rs 22 lakh. He said they received grant from the government but had not spent it on development works.

The DSP added an inquiry into the cheating case had been conducted by engineer Parkash Singh, chief flying squad officer. A secretary to Punjab government sent the report to the police which took legal opinion before registering the case against the sarpanch and the former BDPO, he added.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |