P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


4 die in blast at scrap dealer’s shop
Two Army men ‘had gone to sell shell’

Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Mehna (Muktsar), June 26
Four persons were killed and two injured in a blast outside a scrap dealer’s shop at Mehna village on the Malout-Delhi highway at 11.15 am today.

One Army jawan died and another was injured. The two had allegedly gone to sell a bomb in scrap when it exploded.

According to police and aarmy sources, the deceased were Nayak Amar Singh (33); Mitha Ram (40), a scrap picker of the village; Jai Narain (50), a resident of Dabwali; and Jaswinder Singh (28), an electrician of Rai ke Kalan (Bathinda). The injured were naib- subedar Tej Veer (26) and Pala Ram (32), a tea vendor.

The deceased were taken to the Dabwali civil hospital, while the injured were referred to a hospital in Bathinda.

Sources say the two Army personnel of Mahar regiment, Bathinda, took a live bomb in an Army truck to the shop of Dhulli Ram, a scrap dealer, when he was not there. They expressed willingness to sell the bomb, which they claimed was used one. Scrap pickers around the shop showed interest and began inspecting the bomb. Insisting the shell was used one, one of the the army men hit the bomb with a hammer and it exploded.

After the incident, police and Army officers, including Rajat Aggarwal, Muktsar ADC (D); Kuldip Singh, SP (D); M.K. Sharma, DSP, Malout; tehsildar Rohit Gupta; Col R. Sharma and Major I.J.S. Gill of Mahar regiment, reached the spot to investigate the matter.

Col Sharma said, “The accused did not take the bomb from Bathinda cantonment. There is a possibility they would have hidden it during the training period, which takes place at various ranges in Rajasthan. Investigations have been initiated at the headquarters level.”

Confirming the casualties, Rajat Aggarwal said: “The incident resulted in four deaths and two people getting injured. Now scrap dealers would not be allowed to purchase anything suspicious from anyone.”

Kuldip Singh said, “We have recorded the statements and after completing the prima facie investigation, a case would be registered under Section 304-A of the IPC against the guilty.”


Relief to 1400 riot victims
Six-member panel to scrutinise claim
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
Punjab government has formed a fresh committee of six persons to go into the veracity of claims of compensation to victims of 1984 ant- Sikh riots with a direction to conduct even house- to- house investigation.

Nearly 1400 cases will be scrutinised afresh by the committee. In earlier inquiries only 100 cases were approved for compensation. Others were rejected owing to lack of documents, proofs or for being fake claims.

The government is also awaiting the lifting of the code of conduct in the state, imposed due to the elections of the gram panchayat and local bodies, to take action on a report submitted by the commissioner Patiala Division, on the alleged compensation disbursal scam.

The report had indicted a number of local administration officials for irregularities in scanning the cases besides suspending three class III employees. The report had also taken note of hundreds of fake claimants of the Rs 2 lakh compensation.

Sources said the 1400 cases would be scrutinised afresh by the committee. It has been specifically told to submit the report to the government by July 15. Only the cases approved by the committee will be given the compensation.

The decision to form the six- member committee was taken at a meeting presided over by the commissioner Patiala Division S. K Ahluwalia here late Wednesday.

The members were secretary Zila Parishad Sukhdev Singh, SDM S. M. Sharma, district grievance officer Neeru Katyal and three members of the Danga Peerat Welfare Association- Surjit Singh, Amarjit Singh and Amrik Singh.

Surjit Singh said the committee would conduct in-depth inquiry of all the cases and carry out on field research as well.

Earlier, due to sharp differences in the three- member committee comprising two civil officials and Surjit Singh, president of the Riot Victim Association. They had accused each other of helping fake claimants or ignoring genuine ones.

This had forced Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to depute commissioner S. K. Ahluwalia to find out the truth.


Second counselling scrapped
Admission in engg colleges

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Punjab government has decided to hold only single counselling for admission to engineering colleges on the basis of common entrance test(CET) in the state.

Official sources said a decision in this connection was taken after a meeting of the Association of Punjab Technical Private Institutions with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The counselling for admission to the engineering colleges is scheduled to begin on July 1 at Jalandhar. The Punjab Technical University, that had conducted the CET on behalf of the state government, will hold the counselling.

As many as 21,000 students have cleared the CET this time. Counselling for admission will continue till the second half of August, it is learnt. On every working day, about 800 students, who have been ranked on the basis of CET, will appear for counselling, it is learnt. On the decision of single counselling, a senior PTU official said “ We are supposed to implement the decision taken at the government level”.

At a meeting with the Chief Minister, the representatives of the association had asked for single counselling on the pattern prevalent in Haryana and some other states. They had argued that if second counselling was held it would take at least three months to complete admission process and by that time examination for first semester would be due.

Besides it, the association had proposed the degree course in various streams of engineering should be integrated with plus II non-medical stream. Engineering colleges should be allowed to start plus-II non-medical classes and then absorb the students in various engineering streams on the basis of competence of students concerned. The Chief Minister had agreed to that proposal of the association. In fact, he had told the association that they should prepare a proposal to take the responsibility of students in non- medical stream in the schools located close to their institutions.


Play establishes Maharaja Ranjit Singh-Moran marriage
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 26
Finally, Moran, a young dancer (nautch girl), hailing from Lahore, received justice!

But, it took nearly two centuries to remove the stigma attached to legendary Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was declared “Tankhaiyya” (guilty of religious misconduct), by then Jathedar, Akal Takht, Akali Phula Singh for having relations with the Muslim dancer.

The play “Moran Sarkar” ( Moran government) being staged for the first time by actors of Lahore, Peshawar and Amritsar at Naat Shala, here on June 30 will be first attempt to establish Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s marriage with Moran not just an act of honour but a conscious effort to rehabilitate a particular down- trodden section of society.

After painstaking research Manveen Sandhu, principal of Springdale Senior school, Amritsar, established Maharaja Ranjit Singh had married the Muslim dancer as part of his social reform movement and to win over other communities.

Finishing touches are being given at a theatre workshop organised by the Manch Rangmanch here in collaboration with the National School of Drama, Punarjyot and young theatre artistes from Pakistan by consulting historians of India and Pakistan to avoid distortion in the script. Bollywood actor Raj Babbar also saw the rehearsal and gave valuable suggestions. Research of Ms Sandhu revealed Moran was not a nautch girl but belonged to a family of entertainers. After coin was minted in the name of Moran, she became “Moran Sarkar”.

As per Dr Fauzia of Pakistan, who has written a book “Taboo” on Lahore’s Hira Mandi , the Twaif community of Moran had set of rules and regulations to ensure its performing art was preserved in its pure form. Moran's charm captivated the Maharaja's heart when he was just 21. His was a transition from physical to spiritual love and attachment.

The Maharaja soon realised the women in Moran’s community were being exploited by society. To give a message to society at large he decided to sanctify his love for her by marrying her. The Maharaja married her in 1802 and they went to Hardwar for a dip in the holy Ganga.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh made an effort to uplift Moran’s community. Moran's ‘biradari’ lived in a village called Makhanwindi near Amritsar. The Maharaja gave the biradari a place near Amritsar city and named it Sharifpura to rehabilitate honour of the community and encourage them to explore other vocations in case they wished to do so. She led a life of simplicity and piety after her marriage with the Maharaja. She soon became the Maharaja’s link with the common man. Moran earned the love and respect of people of Lahore, who lovingly called her Moran Sarkar. This disturbed many influential people in the Darbar. Moreover society at large was not evolved enough for such a radical change.

After 10 years of living in Lahore and contributing to social, educational and religious fabric of the Durbar, she finally moved away from Lahore.

It is important to give Moran her deserved place in history as Pul Kanjari is now going to be part of national heritage circuit.



‘SAD (A) not responsible for crime by ex-member’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 26
Referring to the name of Jaswinder Singh Akoi in the FIR registered by the Sangrur police in connection with a murder, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann said today some years ago Akoi had been a senior leader of his party, but later he joined the SAD (Badal) by quitting the SAD (A). He said if the persons, who had already left his party and had joined the Congress, the SAD or the BJP, committed any crime then his party would not be responsible for their any act. Mann wanted if such persons committed any crime the government should not involve any person of his party.


Sanitation in rural areas
Sulabh International, Punjab govt sign MoU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Global social service organisation, the Sulabh International, today firmed up strategic tie-up with the Punjab government for a statewide hygiene programme. The Sulabh will join up the state government initially for the construction of public and private hygiene units, including improvised, low flush toilets for the rural and the urban poor in three districts, focusing on the Kandi areas of Hoshiarpur, the waterlogged areas of Muktsar and the border belt of Tarn Taran districts. These however would be pilot projects for ultimately bringing the entire state within the ambit of the project.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding when the founder of the international social service body Padam Vibhushan Dr Bindeshwar Pathak called on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here this morning. All 12,500 villages and several urban areas of the state are proposed to be covered under the project.

The India-based organisation SISSO works to promote human rights, environmental sanitation, use of non-conventional sources of energy, waste management and social reforms through education. Initially, the organisation will execute the construction of of 519 units of Sulabh Shauchalya (flush toilets) in four villages Panjwa (105 units), Sikhwala (192 units), Tarmala (93 units) and Gaggar (129 units) at total cost of Rs 51.90 lakh. Each unit will cost Rs 10,000.

The Chief Minister expressed concern to provide Sulabh toilets in the poorest of the poor areas in rural and urban Punjab. He invited Dr Pathak to visit the interior Punjab to have first hand information about the sanitation problems and suggest ways and means to tackle these effectively. The Chief Minister was highly impressed by the presentation made by Dr Pathak to highlight the activities and achievement of SISSO.

Badal assured Dr Pathak of state government's support in his mission to provide sanitation to people of Punjab especially in the rural areas through the concept of 'Sulabh Shauchalaya'.


Manwal residents deny grabbing shamlat land
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
In a suit filed before a Pathankot court, four residents of Manwal village in Pathankot have refuted the allegations of grabbing 15 acres of shamlat land.

The plaintiffs, Jarnail Singh and three others, have also refuted the charge of getting the soil lifted from the shamlat land.

The suit has been filed after a news item, "15 acres of shamlat land grabbed", was published in these columns on April 22. Describing the news-report as "wholly false and incorrect", the plaintiffs have stated they are neither politically influential, nor in collusion with the police.

Moreover, their fields had not been merged with the land as alleged; and they had not sold "the shamlat land or any part of it" to anyone. They were not involved in the cutting or removal of trees from the land, and the block development officer had not issued notice for vacating the land.

They added the kanungo halqua and the patwari submitted their report after the demarcation was carried out following the publication of the report. They were of the opinion the plaintiffs had not grabbed the shamlat land. Only, there was “some mal-alignment vis-a-vis the land of the plaintiff and the panchayat land”.


Eunuch leader to focus on amenities for down-trodden
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 26
Having scored a hat-trick by winning election to the Bathinda Municipal Corporation (BMC), eunuch leader Santosh Kumari Mahant is all set to take up development activities in the town.

She won the recently concluded election to Bathinda Municipal Corporation with handsome margin over others in the fray.

Mahant, who belongs to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), said her priority would be to improve the drinking water supply and sewerage that was causing a lot of problems to the common people.

She had won the earlier two municipal council elections at Rampura Phul, but this time Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal handpicked her to fight the election here.

She said she wanted to do a lot for the development of the town and would also take up social work for the downtrodden.


New to any place? log on to Samfra.com
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
After doing his B.Tech in computer science and engineering, Amritsar’s Jeet Singh got a job in Infosys at Bangalore, there he faced problem related to food. He felt homesick, as he was unable to find any suitable Punjabi eatery near his working place. Soon he realised that there were many others in Bangalore who were working with various IT companies and were encountering the same problem.

Jeet Singh resolved to solve the problem. Soon, Gagandeep Singh, who did his postgraduation from GND University at Amritsar, joined him at Bangalore. Both developed a local search engine, which they named Samfra.com.

This would help people find restaurants, hotels, banks, ATMs, hospitals, clubs in cities like Bangalore, Cheenai, Amritsar etc.

The search engine can also be accessed on mobile phones that have Internet link. Jeet Singh is looking for financers to fund his project further and to expand his operations to various other parts of the country. The search engine developed by them can help people locate local addresses of restaurants, hotels, banks, ATMs, hospitals and clubs in 20 cities. They are Ahemdabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigargh, Delhi, Faridabad, Goa, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Mysore, Nagpur, Noida, Pune, Hyderabad and Rajkot.

Movie-show timings can be searched in 6 cities such as Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai. Latest news, reviews can be read and certain other user-friendly facilities are also available.

Users can search thousands of videos and watch them right on samfra. Com. Jeet Singh and Gagan have signed a deal with Max Yellow Pages to use their data for Samfra search results.

“ I have quit my job in the infosys to dedicate myself to samfra.com along with my friend Gagandeep Singh. Now we are looking for financers to expand our operations to other cities”, says Jeet Singh. He said “ Local search engine can prove to be a great help for outsiders coming to any city for business purpose or as tourists”.


‘Restore security of Virk’s family’
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Maharashtra government has written to Punjab government asking to restore security of former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk’s family. The letter written by principal secretary (home) K. Subramanium has said the Maharashtra government was very concerned over the manner in which a highly decorated officer and his family had been exposed to terrorist threat.

But the Punjab government that received the letter in the form of fax yesterday has chosen to do nothing. The Maharashtra government sent copies of the fax to the Punjab DGP, the ADGP (security) and the home secretary.


Syndicate nod to appointment of profs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 26
The Syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev university today approved the appointments of professors under the UGC’s Career Advancement Scheme besides approving employment on compassionate grounds and amendments to the Guru Nanak Dev University Non-Teaching Employees Association constitution.

Dr R.S. Bawa, registrar, in a release to the media here said the Syndicate had also approved the appointments of Dr Sohinder Singh, reader, School of Punjabi Studies and Dr Kuljeet Kaur, reader, Department of Laws as professors under the UGC’s Career Advancement Scheme.

Dr Bawa said the House also approved the amendments to the Ordinances of Guru Nanak Dev University Non-Teaching Employees Association Constitution. Under the new amendments, two new office-bearers of senior vice- president and secretary (public relations) had been included, he added.

The registrar added the Syndicate had also approved the award of Ph D. degrees to Baljeet Randhawa (Languages Faculty), Ali Abbas Vani (applied sciences faculty), Kushwinder Kaur (economics and business faculty) and Simranjit Singh Bains (economics and business faculties).

Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh told members the Sahit Academy, New Delhi had nominated Prof Harbhajan Singh Bhatia, director, Acadimic Staff College on its advisory board for five years.


Pbi varsity results
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 26
Punjabi University, here has declared results of B Sc (Bio-Tech. Part-II), Gayani, M.B.E. semester-IV, M.A. English part-I, M.A. Fine Arts semester-II, M.A. Defence Studies part-II, M.A. Sanskrit part-I & II, M.A. Women Studies part-II, M.A. Social Work semester-IV, L.L.B. semester-VI, B.P.Ed. part-III and B.C.A. part-III.

According to coordinator, examinations Dr Gurmel Singh results will be available on the university website www.punjabiuniversity.ac.in from tomorrow.


BCA part-III result today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 26
Result of BCA (part-III) examination of Guru Nanak Dev university will be declared on June 27. Dr R.S. Bawa, registrar said the result could be accessed from the university website www.gndu.ac.in after 5 pm.

Meanwhile the university has declared result of B.A. part-II (compartment and special chance candidates) which was also available on the university website.


2 cops attacked by thieves, hospitalised
Tribune reporters

Pathankot, June 26
Two Punjab Armed Police (PAP) cops, were attacked by thieves late last night near Madhopur railway underbridge when they tried to stop the accused, who were carrying stolen iron scarp in a tractor-trailer.

The injured cops, identified as Najjar Singh and Ashwani Kumar, were admitted to local civil hospital.

One of the injured cops said the accused attacked them with sharp-edged weapons and lathis when they signalled them to stop their vehicle for search. Ashwani Kumar said that assailants did not give them enough time to took react.

He said they were three constables on duty and one of the constables ran to inform the nearest police station of Sujanpur.

Harpreet Singh, SP, Patahnkot, said policemen, who were patrolling that area, were attacked with sharp edged weapon by the accused. The accused fled from the scene with the stolen articles after rendering the policemen seriously injured.

He said one of the accused identified as Bir Singh was arrested and tractor-trailer loaded with the stolen iron scrap was also recovered from his possession. He said Bir Singh had disclosed the names of other accused.

He said the police was also verifying the fact that whether the owner of tractor-trailer, which was used into this crime, was involved into the same or not.

A case was registered under Sections 353, 186, 379 and 411 of the IPC against the accused.

Meanwhile, Kartat Singh Ojla, owner of the tractor-trailer used into this crime, claimed his vehicle was stolen by the accused and he was searching for his vehicle when he came across the injured cops.


Supply of raw material from China falls
Prices of medicines to rise

Rajnish Sharma

Nabha , June 26
Prices of medicines are likely to rise soon adding to the woes of people. The pharmaceutical industry which witnessed decline in the prices of medicines due to competition recently is likely to reverse the trend.

Prices of the drugs have gone up substantially in the international market. Decline in the supply of raw material and the intermediaries, mostly supplied from China have contributed to the rise in medicines’ prices. According to sources, because of Beijing Olympics, there was pressure of work on the government officials and it was taking its toll on clearing of papers for export. Sensing crisis ahead in the raw material market, suppliers in India have started hoarding chemicals and as a result base prices have gone considerably up. Source added other reason of prices going up was withholding of supply of essential raw material from China due to increase in its domestic need due to earthquake there.

Manufacturers, particularly engaged in the third party manufacturing (job work), are incurring huge losses as they had to supply the finished goods on the pre-negotiated prices. But they are not able to supply medicines due to rise in prices of raw material on daily basis. Sometimes, there is a lot of difference between morning and evening prices of raw material. A manufacturer, pleading anonymity, said paracetamol that was available for Rs 155 per kg till couple of months ago is now priced at Rs 350 kg. Similarly another analgesic nimesulide is available at double the price compared to its price two months ago. Prices of almost all types of vitamin have also gone up by two to five times. Prices of common antibiotics like ceftriaxone, azithromycin, ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin too have shown upward trend. Though the manufactures are giving most of the products on almost the same rates because of previous stock holdings, they would be forced to increase the billing prices for the marketing companies very soon.

Rajesh Kumar, MD, Neptune Life Sciences, Baddi in Himachal claims the pharma industry engaged in job work is badly hit because of the unprecedented rise in the prices of the key chemicals. He told at present drug manufacturing industry was in loss and it had no choice but to increase the prices. He said because of the break in the supply of the base chemicals, there could be shortage of some drugs in the market.

Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh (BBN) Industrial Association general secretary Arun Rawat said hoarding of the chemicals by unscrupulous traders in India, hike in the petroleum products and break in the supply chain from China was responsible for hike in the prices of the pharmaceutical products. He said he had made Chief Minister Himachal P.K..Dhumal aware of the problems faced by pharmaceutical industry at Laghu Udyog Bharti (LUB) conference held at Kufri on June 21/22.


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