P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Stray animal leads to death of 4
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 1
A stray animal led to the death of four residents of Amritsar on the Ropar-Chandigarh road, 8 km from here, this morning. The car (PB-02-AJ-0770), in which the four persons were travelling, collided head-on with a truck when the stray animal abruptly came on the road.

All inmates of the car, Avtar Singh, Jasjit Kaur, Parminder Kaur, all residents of Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar, and Surjeet Kaur of Mahal village in Amritsar district, died on the spot.

According to sources, the Amritsar residents were going to the gurdwara in Sector 8, Chandigarh, to participate in the bhog of their kin. Their relatives, who arrived at the spot, requested the district administration not to get the post-mortem examination done on the bodies.

The police has registered a case under Section 174 of the IPC.

The accident has once again brought to the fore the menace of stray animals in the state. Most of the stray animals are those that are left by their owners after they stop giving good milk yield.

The state government had mooted a Herd Registered Act under which people would have to register their cattle with the authorities concerned so that they could he held accountable in case they left them to stray.

Though the Act has been approved by the Centre, it does not seem to have been implemented in the district. Not even a single case has been registered against a person despite a large number of animals roaming around in the district.

Only certain private organisations have opened gaushalas that are not enough to contain the menace.


Action plan for development of Sultanpur Lodhi formulated
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Sultanpur Lodhi, March 1
The district administration has formulated an action plan for the development of the holy city of Sultanpur Lodhi for the next 20 years. A meeting to get suggestions from prominent citizens on the action plan was held here today.

Interestingly several speakers, including president of the Ek Onkar Charitable Trust Baba Bablir Singh Seechewal, asked the district administration to provide the Punjabi version of the plan.

Talking to The Tribune, Baba Seechewal said he welcomed every effort made by anyone for the development of the holy city, but as the action plan was available in English only and most of the speakers spoke in that language, he, along with several other persons, could not understand in detail about the plan. After getting the Punjabi version of the plan, he would definitely make suggestions, he added.

Deputy commissioner J.M. Balamurugan assured them that the Punjabi version of the plan would be made available to them.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, education minister Upinderjeet Kaur said the all-round development of Sultanpur Lodhi and surrounding 10 villages would be done at an estimated cost of Rs 113 crore on the basis of the action plan.

Upinderjeet Kaur, also local MLA, said the action plan would be sent to the Centre through the state government for getting financial aid. Besides, money would also be collected from government and non-government financial institutions for the implementation of the action plan, she said, adding that NRIs and other rich people should also donate generously for the purpose.

The district administration had got the action plan prepared from a private consultancy firm.

According to the plan, Rs 52.80 crore will be spent for providing basic facilities under the Sultanpur Lodhi Municipal Committee, Rs 10 crore for making alternate arrangements for jhuggis, Rs 15.40 crore for the smooth flow of traffic in villages, Rs 9.2 crore for the sewage and cleanliness system, Rs 4.95 crore for the smooth flow of traffic in the city, Rs 3.80 crore for street lights, Rs 3.60 crore for water disposing system and Rs 2.50 crore for ensuring proper water supply.


India-born Canadian doc develops new heart drug
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
India-born Canadian doctor N.S. Dhalla has achieved a breakthrough in inventing a drug to revolutionise the heart treatment in the world.

“The drug had already been patented and is likely to see the light of the day during the conference of the American College of Cardiology in April this year,” Dr Dhalla, executive director, St Boniface General Hospital Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnepeg, told The Tribune here yesterday.

The drug, coded named as MC-1, had already been tested successfully during the Phase I, II and III clinical trials.In fact, the drug seemed to have met the stringent norms of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) which were necessary for mass production of the drug for marketing in the world. Earlier, 24 medical research centres in Europe, Canada and the UK had already given positive reports about the drug.

Given it successful trials, the drug would prove to be a boon for millions of patients undergoing angioplasty all over the world, Dr Dhalla, who is at the PGI to attend a conference being organised by the International Society of Heart Research (ISHR-2008), hoped.

Currently, angiolplasty was perhaps the most-common surgical procedure to repair a damaged blood vessel or unblock a coronary artery. Millions of patients, particularly diabetes patients in India, run the risk of developing complications during angioplasty.The new drug would take care of the complications during the operations and take the treatment of the heart diseases to the next level, doctors said.

Saying that he was keen to bring the drug to India after its approval, Dr Dhalla was of the opinion that angioplasty was not needed in about 60 per cent of the cases. In fact, the need of the hour was to have doctors, who could create awareness about the cardio-vascular diseases so that preventive steps could be taken to control lifestyle diseases,he asserted.

Exercise, mild execise, including yoga and meditation, and changes in food habits could go a long way in preventing lifestyle diseases which were threatening to assume alarming proportions in India, he added.


Nayar vows to save Punjabi
Punjabi language will disappear in 50 years: Unesco report
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
Noted journalist Kuldip Nayar has taken it on himself to preserve the Punjabi language and culture.

“I have gone through a report prepared by Unesco which says the Punjabi language will disappear from the world in 50 years. It shocked me. I am out to save Punjabi language and culture,” he said here today. He was invited by the Punjabi Bachao Manch seeking his help to save Punjabi in Chandigarh, capital of Punjab, a state carved on the basis of Punjabi language.

“Tomorrow I will be in Jalandhar and the next day in Patiala to speak in favour of Punjabi language and culture,” he said. “Our roots, Punjabi language and culture, are decaying and none in Punjab is worried about it,”he said, adding, “I have been to Pakistan and people there also feel their new generation feels hesitant to converse in Punjabi”.

It was shame for Punjabis that they were discouraging children from conversing in Punjabi while at home and want them speak English or Hindi. “I am not against Hindi or English, but I will not like these languages to become a cause for the demise of Punjabi language,” he added.

He said politicians linked the language to politics and it caused huge damage to Punjabi language. He said at the time of the Punjabi Suba Morcha, he had met then Congress president Kamraj, who had agreed to keep the boundary of the Punjabi Suba up to Panipat and for including the remaining part in the greater Delhi region. Even Bhagwat Dayal, a leader from the Haryana region, had agreed. But Sant Fateh Singh, who was leading the morcha, did not agree, he said. “Now you see how much damage has been caused because of reducing Punjab, which was one of the biggest states in the country, into a tiny state. It happened because of political reasons,” he said.

A former vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University Dr S.P. Singh said at the cost of Punjabi language, Adarsh schools, dominated by English language and culture, were being set up in Punjab. Political leaders were creating an elite class in urban and rural areas to strengthen political bases, he said.

He said the elite class was dominating bureaucracy, politics and other spheres whereas commoners had lost identity. Dr Darshan Singh, journalist Tarlochan Singh, manch’s convener Gurpartap Singh Riar, former editor Shingara Singh Bhullar and Prof Rajpal Singh were among the speakers.


Embezzlement Case
Bhattal submits rejoinder
Swati Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
Former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today tried to set the record straight in the Rs 20-lakh embezzlement case against her. She submitted a rejoinder to the reply filed by the complainant, Balwant Singh Dhillon, regarding the prosecution’s plea for withdrawal of the case.

The rejoinder, placed on record in the court of additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg, stated that Dhillon cannot raise objection if the public prosecutor withdraws the case.

An order was passed while disposing of an application that requested the court to discharge the accused.

Earlier, Dhillon, president, District Amateur Boxing Association, Bathinda, said the application for withdrawal of the case was moved under Section 321 CrPC and has been in violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court. He added that Section 321 CrPC was to be made in good faith i.e. in public interest. Dhillon alleged that in the present case, the application had not been moved in the interest of public policy.

Interestingly, in December 2001, the complainant averred that he did not want to pursue the case and was convinced that the accused was innocent. He had also made a request to terminate the embezzlement case. Thereafter, he made a representation before the Punjab government for the same.

The court has deferred the hearing to March 22.

The investigating agency in the case has found the receipts that showed the utilisation of Rs 20 lakh taken by Bhattal from the Prime Minister’s relief fund. The investigating agency stated that the receipts are genuine. Thus, no case was made out and the court should allow them to withdraw the case.

During the pendency of the trial, the state government had placed few receipts on record saying: “It was found out that there was a file containing receipts with regard to the distribution of the disputed Rs 20 lakh out of the Chief Minister’s relief fund. These receipts were inadvertently mixed up with other files".


Leaders differ on Budget
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, March 1
While former Congress Minister Umrao Singh and former chairman of the Mandi Board Choudhary Darshan Singh have hailed the Union Budget as a new landmark in the history of the country, senior Akali leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said the Budget’s reality would soon be exposed and lead to frustration, especially among farming community.

Umrao Singh and Choudhary Darshan Singh said this was bold and unprecedented step taken by the UPA government under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. He said while the Union government had done so much for farmers, the SAD-BJP government did nothing for them.

On the other hand, Akali leader Chandumajra said benefit to Punjab farmers from the loan waiver would be only to the tune of Rs 700-800 crore. Demanding that loan of Punjab farmers should be waived keeping in view their contribution of wheat and rice in the national pool and not on the basis of formula suggested by Union Finance Minister Chandumajra said the loan against Punjab farmers was to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore as per the latest studies. “Who would take care of non institutional loans?” he asked.

MOHALI: Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has welcomed the loan waiver announced to farmers in the Union Budget. Talking to The Tribune he said “The benefit to farmers will be in several thousand crores and that should bring cheer to the farmers.”

Other than making a reference to the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research that had been established in Mohali, P. Chidambaram’s Budget speech did not make any specific reference to Punjab.

“One of the 16 universities that the union Finance Minister referred to probably includes the one that had been planned for Punjab. We have already received a letter from the Union government in this regard,” said the Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh.

“In fact, a central university has been planned for each state that does not have one already,” said the Chief Secretary adding that Punjab had proposed two sites for the university to the Centre. “One of these is close to Mohali and the other site is in Bathinda. We have been told that a team from the Centre would visit the state and inspect the two sites before taking a final decision,” said Ramesh Inder Singh.

The announcement of the three IITs made by the union Finance Minister for Rajasthan, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh was, however, a disappointment for Punjab as the state had also demanded an IIT from the Government of India.


NRI repents the good done for village
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Manuke (Jagraon), March 1
An NRI, who had donated his ancestral house to the panchayat of his native village in 2003 to be used as a senior citizens home, was pained to see it razed to the ground, and no signs of a new project coming up there either. The NRI, Ishar Singh Sandhu, is on a trip back home from Canada.

Talking to The Tribune, Sandhu remarked: “Mere good intentions are not sufficient for good results”.

Most shockingly, the old man discovered that the panchayat had sold the house. Sandhu is livid. “Such incidents will dissuade the NRIs from giving any aid back home,” he said. Sarpanch Shinder Pal Kaur said: “The panchayat has no ill intentions. The money will be definitely used for the welfare of the village.”

Sandhu said: “I loved my ancestral house and wanted to maintain the structure in memory of my family. That is why I donated the house and not the land, independently”. Even the panchayat, on March 1, 2003, had issued him a letter of “thanks”, saying that the village “was indebted for donating your parental house to the panchayat. We assure you that it will be entirely used as a senior citizens home”.

Ishar, in a letter addressed to the deputy commissioner recently, has pointed out: “I am shocked to see that my house has been demolished without my consultation.” He has sought that “stern action should be initiated against the panchayat and a senior citizens home be constructed on the place of the ancestral house”.

Gurmukh Singh Sandhu, a former sarpanch, said: “The house was located on the side of the village pond and the building was a very old structure and unfit for use. We sold the land for Rs 1.62 lakh and the amount lies with the sarpanch. The money will be utilised to make shops in a busy market place. The returns will be spent on welfare activities of the village, particularly health”.

Ishar does not agree with the argument. “The villagers should have shown the courtesy to at least inform me about the developments. I am very sure a special place could have been created for activities of senior citizens at the same site. In case, more money was needed, I could have easily arranged money from Good Samaritans abroad.”

The village sarpanch said: “The decision for the disposal of property was not taken unilaterally. The ultimate aim of the donor was the welfare of the villagers and the village panchayat will ensure that it does its best to benefit the village”.


‘Panthic martyr’ status demanded
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 1
Former minister and in charge of the Kila Raipur Assembly constituency Jagdish Singh Garcha has demanded the status of “panthic martyr” for Darshan Singh Fauzi (53) of Jangpur village and Sadhu Singh (60) of Lehra village, both SAD activists, who died during the course of the Insaf Rally, organised in Delhi on Tuesday.

While Fauzi died while proceeding towards the rally, Sadhu Singh succumbed to his injuries, sustained after being hit by some unknown vehicle near Gopalpur village on return journey.


Rural medical officers protest against Chawla
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 1
Representatives of the Rural Medical Services Association (doctors working under zila parishads in Punjab) met Laxmi Kanta Chawla, health minister, regarding amendment to PPSC rules on basic qualifications of PCMS doctors recruited through the PPSC.

Aslam Parvez, president of the association, said here yesterday that the minister did not pay heed to their demands due to which members walked out of the meeting hall and held a dharna outside and raised slogans against her and secretary T.R. Sarangal. The dharna was lifted when MLA of Fatehgarh Sahib Didar Singh Bhatti supported their demands and assured them justice.

Meanwhile, Aslam said an urgent meeting had been called on this issue on March 2 in Patiala. He said the statement by Chawla appears to be irresponsible in which she had claimed that PPSC would be recruiting 147 medical specialists with basic qualification of MD and MS while MBBS doctors would be given contractual jobs in the Health Department.

He also stated that the qualification for PCMS doctors through PPSC was MBBS and the state government was trying to bring a major amendment in the PPSC rules for directly recruiting MD/MS doctors. 


Sohal takes over as director, health services
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 1
S.P.S. Sohal today took over as director, Health Services (DHS), Punjab. He will also hold the charge of director, Family Welfare.The post of DHS had fallen vacant after the retirement of Dr Sukhdev Singh on February 29. Also H.K.Nagpal, joint secretary, Health, has been given the assignment of director, ESI, Punjab.

Sohal joined the Punjab Civil Medical Service as medical officer in Kapurthala district in 1977. He took over as director, family welfare, in June 2007. Dr Sohal as DHS will take steps to curb female foeticide, ensuring attendance of doctors and paramedical staff in government health institutions.


Framing of Charges in Dowry Cases
Only prima facie allegations to be considered: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 1
In a significant judgement the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that at the time of framing charges, only prima facie allegations are to be seen in dowry harassment cases and truth and veracity of the allegations is not to be gone into.

Pronouncing the orders on a revision petition by the State of Punjab challenging Ludhiana Additional Sessions Judge’s order of discharging four accused in a dowry demand matter, Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia of the High Court has ruled: “Section 498-A specifically states that husband or the relatives of the husband of a woman, if they subject such a woman to cruelty, are to be punished.

“Cruelty and demand of dowry are matters of evidence. At the time of framing of the charge only prima facie allegations are to be seen. Truth and veracity of the allegations is not to be gone into. A mere suspicion is sufficient to frame charge.

A first information report in the matter was registered on August 1, 1987, at Ludhiana Civil Lines Police Station under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC by one Kulwant Kaur.

She had stated that at the time of her marriage with Ashwani Kumar Bedi on May 18, 1986, dowry articles and cash worth Rs 51, 000 had been given to her in-laws. It was further stated that after 10 days, Ashwani Kumar went to Germany. He was, subsequently, declared a proclaimed offender. In the FIR, eight accused were named. Taking up the case, Ludhiana Chief Judicial Magistrate discharged some of the accused, while coming to the conclusion that offence under Sections 406 and 498-A was made out against four.

Aggrieved against the order, the four, unmarried brothers and sister of Ashwani Kumar and his mother, filed a revision petition. The Additional Sessions Judge accepted the revision and discharged all the four.

Acting on a petition challenging the order, Justice Ahluwalia ruled: The Additional Sessions Judge, while accepting the revision stated that there are vague allegations against the accused and it was further stated that even though it is stated in the FIR that the complainant was maltreated, there is no specific allegation as to which of the accused has committed the offence of cruelty”.

The judge added: Since minor brothers and sister have no role to play in the demand of dowry and the cruelty, the order of discharge qua them need not be disturbed by this revisional court. However, impugned order qua Surinder Kaur, mother-in-law, cannot be sustained…. So, the order of discharge qua Surinder Kaur is set aside. She will appear before the trial court on or before April 30 to face the trial.


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