P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Experts to study feasibility
Dera-Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib corridor
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), June 28
Union foreign minister Parnab Mukherjee, said positive steps had been taken by the UPA government to make the Dera-Baba Nanak-Kartarpur (Pakistan) corridor reality.

Mukherjee, who visited the Dera Baba Nanak area today to see the historical gurdwara at Kartarpur with binoculars and assess feasibility of the request of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, said a group of Indian experts would conduct feasibility study for the construction of barbed corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

“The feasibility study followed by the clearance from government of Pakistan would finally materialise this project,” he added.

The union minister said he was well aware of the fact a great sanctity was attached to gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib and lakhs of Sikh devotees wanted to visit it to pay obeisance there . He said he would hold talks over this issue during the bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart.

Later, taking to media persons, the minister, who has been making efforts to make the Left parties agree to the Indo-US nuclear deal, said he did not agree with the statement of Parkash Karat, general secretary, CPM, in a section of the Press in which he (Karat) had alleged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was responsible for plunging the country into a political crisis over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Mukherjee said he wanted to make it clear the Indo-US nuclear deal was necessary to meet the power demand of the country by using nuclear fuel to produce pollution- free power. He added production of nuclear power was the only option to meet ever-increasing demand of the country.

Badal thanked the union minister for his favourable response to the request forwarded by the entire Sikh community.

“With green light from the union minister, the proposed corridor from Indian border to the holy town of Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, now seems to be a reality,” said Badal.

He added the corridor would be an important channel of hassle- free pilgrimage for the devotees as a compared to the long, strenuous journey through circuitous route via Wagha, Lahore and Narowal. This, he said, in the long run would help foster better relations between the two countries and would further give a push to the ongoing confidence building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan.

“The corridor to the holy shrine would turn out to be the corridor for peace and prosperity in future”, claimed Badal. With the increase in the inflow of pilgrims desirous of paying obeisance at Kartarpur Sahib via the corridor from Dera Baba Nanak, the region would also experience thrust in economic activity and emerge an important tourist hub.

Badal informed he had even suggested the union minister to accompany him to Sri Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan and be abreast of the ground realities but the minister politely declined the offer saying he would visit the shrine along with the officers concerned only after going through the feasibility study report.

Nirmal Singh Kahlon, speaker, Punjab Vidan Sabha, accompanied by Rattan Singh Ajnala, MP honoured Mukherjee and Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal with a shawl and sword during their visit to Dera Baba Nanak. Kuldeep Singh Wadala, senior leader of the SAD and member of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) was present on the occasion.


Akali leader Wadala ‘detained’
Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), June 28
Kuleep Singh Wadala, member of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the SAD, who was invited by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to attend a function organised in connection with the visit of union external minister, Pranab Mukherjee, was allegedly ‘detained’ near the venue by a DSP- rank officer of Punjab police for one hour.

“The moment I climbed the stage at the venue, a senior police official asked me to come down. Then I was taken to a canteen manned by the BSF near the Indo-Pakistan border in this area and was told not to move out,” alleged Wadala adding, “I was released only after Badal came to my rescue.”

He disclosed Badal sent the deputy commissioner to take me to the stage where the union minister along with other dignitaries was sitting: “ I lodged protest in connection with my humiliation with the CM, who assured me to look into the matter.”

However, DSP Naresh Kumar, refuting the allegations of Wadala, claimed as it was a function connected with the private visit of the union minister hence no politician was allowed to go on stage.

Moreover, the police authorities were not informed about the fact Wadala was invited to attend the function.

He clarified Wadala was not detained and was simply asked to sit in the canteen. Wadala kept on sitting into the canteen till the CM asked him to come on stage, he added.

Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, deputy commissioner, , said he was not aware of any such incident.


MCI notice to govt medical colleges
Parents of wards seek assurance from CM
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Parents are worried and want categorical assurance from Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that the government medical colleges in the state will not be de-recognised by the Medical Council of India( MCI).

The MCI has given a month’s time to the state government to remove the deficiencies pointed out by it, otherwise, the government medical colleges having several shortcomings related to academic necessities will be de-recongised. What worries the parents at this stage is that they will not be able to get their wards admitted elsewhere because admission process in other parts of the country is expected to be completed soon.

“ We have not applied in medical colleges elsewhere, we are now completely at the mercy of the government medical colleges in the state”, said father of a student, who has got a good ranking in the Punjab Medical Entrance Test( PMET) and is sure to get admission in case government colleges were not de-recognised. Result of PMET was declared a few days ago and admission process is to begin shortly. “ Our worry is if the colleges were de-recognised after admitting our wards, what will their fate”, said the father.

There are three government medical colleges- one at Patiala, other at Amritsar and third at Faridkot. The college at Faridkot is now part of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. The MCI team had visited the colleges at the beginning of the current year. It had then given two months time to the state government to do the needful. However, the state government did not bother much with regard to removal of shortcomings pointed out by the MCI. Then again the MCI team visited the colleges after the expiry of the two months deadline and it found that there was no change in what it had seen earlier. Warning the state government on this count, the MCI gave a month’s time more to remove the deficiencies.

Sources said the vice- chancellor of the Baba Farid University had been asked to take decisive steps to remove the shortcomings pointed out in Faridkot college. “ As the Faridkot colleges is under the direct control of the university and the vice-chancellor is competent to take decisions at his own level, he has been told to do the needful to remove the objections raised by the MCI”, said a senior functionary of the Punjab government. In case of two other colleges, the government authorities concerned are to do the needful.

Sources said except one objection, others can be dealt with at the college level by the principals concerned. The one objection that is difficult to be removed is the shortage of teaching faculty- about 20 per cent. As medical teachers are not available and the private medical colleges luring teachers to their institutions from government colleges by offering “ fat salary cheques”, this problem cannot be easily tackled. In fact, it is national problem faced by the government medical colleges. Punjab government had approached medical teachers, who retired from Pune Armed Forces Medical College and elsewhere but things have not moved in right direction so far. Other serious objection raised by the MCI is number of indoor patients in the hospitals attached to government medical colleges. The intake of indoor patients in such hospitals is only 60 per cent of the total requirement for a hospital attached to medical college.

“ It is for the doctors posted at such hospitals and colleges to win the trust of patients so they can prefer treatment in government medical college than availing treatment in private institutions”said the government official.

These include better upkeep of operating theatres, auditoriums, better facilities for patient registration and maintenance of records and data regarding various diseases etc. “ Even efforts have not been made to remove such objections small in nature”, said the official.


Cong worker alleges humiliation
by Akali supporters

Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Ashwini Kumar, a resident of Gurdaspur, has complained of inaction by Punjab Police when his face was allegedly blackened and he was forced to move about by a group of five miscreants.

The incident took place on June 2 after the panchayat elections were over in the state. The complainant stated he was a supporter of the Congress party and during the recent Panchayat elections he opposed the ruling Akali party. He added due to his political links five accused named - Sanjeev Soni, Rajiv Kumar, Janak Raj, Nirmal Singh and Shammi had allegedly humiliated him.

Ashwini stated in the complaint the accused called him outside his house at 11pm and allegedly assaulted him in the presence of the police. Later his clothes were torn by the accused and he was forced to walk on the streets naked.

He alleged all the accused who have misbehaved with him were supporters of Nirmal Singh Kahlon, speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha. He claimed the police has filed false case against him under Section 326 of the IPC. He appealed to the PSHRC his medical examination be got done by a board of doctors under the direct supervision of the commission. The complaint was submitted before the commission along with photographs.

Counsel for Ashwini stated, “The offence committed is serious in nature. Such an act is violation of human rights of an individual and leaves an impression on the psyche of the victim.”


Punjabi Youths Abroad
Congress MLA writes to Patil, wants
blacklists reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Sukhpal Singh Khaira, a Congress MLA representing the Bholath Assembly constituency has written a letter to union home minister Shivraj Patil seeking review of the blacklist of youths of Punjabi origin living abroad.

Khaira has said the intelligence agencies, both of the Centre and Punjab had blacklisted many people who neither had any criminal record nor were they wanted for any crime. He has cited an example of Daljit Singh, son of Ghasita Singh, resident of Baagwanpur village in Kapurthala district who has been residing in the USA for 25 years. Reports by intelligence agencies have however included his name in the blacklisted people.

He has parents are living in Punjab and there is no body to look after them, since his other brother also resides in the USA, Khaira has written adding. “I have personally taken up his case with the authorities in Punjab Police, but I was told reports by intelligence agencies continue to have suspicion about him, although he has never participated in any anti- national activity even while living in the USA and carries a clean record in that country”.

“There are many such Sikh families in my constituency and whole of Punjab and even outside the state, who continue to be victims of this negative policy being pursued by government of India. I personally feel with changing times the parameters of this blacklist policy must also be amended liberally and compassionately, to allow at least those Sikhs who have no criminal records in India and have never participated in any anti- national activity, to visit their families in Punjab and India”, Khaira has sought.

The Congress legislator has gone a step further and said even those people who have been identified with some suspicious record in India, should be given a chance to join the main stream.


All set for MC polls using EVMs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
For the first time electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be used in elections for 87 municipal councils/nagar councils and eight nagar panchayats in the state on June 30 from 8 am to 4 pm.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesman for the state Election Commission said 2,950 polling booths had been set up and 28 observers deputed for ensuring a smooth conduct of the polls. Around 12,000 polling staff had been assigned duties.

He added more than 1 crore electorates would exercise their franchise to elect their councillors from 1,527 wards in 87 municipal councils/nagar councils and eight nagar panchayats. Out of this, 251 wards had been reserved for SC candidates, 132 for SC women, 352 for women and 97 wards had been reserved for BC candidates. General category candidates were contesting in 699 wards.

The counting of votes would be held at the polling centers on the same day. The commission had directed all district electoral officers to keep a strict vigil on the poll process to maintain peace.



Cong seeks probe into youth leader killing
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
A deputation of Congress leaders, led by state working president Mahinder Singh Kaypee, today met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here to lodge protest against the alleged killing of Batala Youth Congress leader Ranjit Singh Laddi (21) by BJP leaders last night.

The delegation, which included former minister Ashwani Shekhri and former MLA Raj Kumar Verka, termed the killing as political murder and demanded immediate arrest of the suspects.

They demanded action against erring police officers who reached the spot late even though one of party leaders and an eyewitness to the killing called up the in charge of police station concerned.

They alleged that Laddi was killed by BJP leaders Naresh Kumar, Raman and Bharat along with two identified persons who hit him repeatedly on his head with a baseball bat. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister assigned the probe into the killing to the IG (border zone) Rajpal Meena and asked him to file the report soon.

Later, Kaypee said even the post-mortem was not conducted till evening. He alleged that the police was helping the suspects as no FIR had been registered against them.

When asked about the motive behind the killing, Shekhri said the SAD-BJP combine wanted to win the ensuing municipal committee elections at any cost. He said the suspects did not want Laddi to canvass against them. This was not a lone case, he said, adding that SAD-BJP leaders were using physical force to pressurise Congress workers and leaders to win the elections.


Chamkaur Singh’s shardhanjali samaroh
Bhattal seeks security
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal will attend the ‘bhogh’ and ‘antim ardas’ of Chamkaur Singh, a Congress worker who, was injured in shooting on June 5 at Kishan Garh village and had subsequently, succumbed his injuries on June 18.

Gurcharan Singh, father of Chamkaur Singh who, was elected panch’ ,was killed on the spot on June 5 in the same shooting incident.

Spokesperson of the PPCC Bir Devinder Singh said the Congress held the Akali leadership responsible for the violence against the family belonging to the Schedule Castes. He said the resolve of the family of Chamkaur Singh to vote for Congress candidate for the post of sarpanch had invited the ire of the SAD “killers.”

Bir Devinder Singh met Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala S.K. Asthana today and demanded arrest of the remaining accused persons named in the FIR no 56 lodged at the Bhadson police station sub division. He also demanded security arrangement at the time the ‘shardhanjali samaroh’ to avoid any untoward incident.

The SSP has assured action in the matter besides, adequate security arrangements, said Bir Devinder Singh. A number of other Congress leaders, including, former ministers, MLAs, MPs, former MLAs and other functionaries of the Congress would also attend the bhog to pay homage to the ‘victims of the violence’ unleashed by the Akali-BJP combine in the election to panchayati raj institutions in Punjab, he added.


Youth Cong goes for revamp
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
The Punjab Youth Congress has removed presidents of five of its district units in the state and has introduced two new faces as chiefs of its Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur units.

Though its chief Vijay Inder Singla has sacked its district presidents, including Ravinder Pal Singh Sethi, Jalandhar (Urban); Navdeev Singh Goldy Amritsar (Urban); Karamjit Singh Rintu, Amritsar (Rural); Amarinder Singh (Tarn Taran); and Jaswinder Singh Sikhanwala, Faridkot, he elevated Sikhanwala as state coordinator of the “Aam Aadmi Ke Sipahi” programme, initiated by Rahul Gandhi. Kuldeep Singh Benipal has been appointed chairman of the sports and cultural cell.

“The new presidents of Jalandhar and Amritsar districts would be appointed shortly. Sikhanwala has been elevated for his good work in the organisation,” said Singla. Amanpreet Singh Lally and Gurdarshan Singh Randhawa have been appointed presidents of the Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur units.

There was intense pressure in respect of appointments of district presidents in Jalandhar and Amritsar districts, it was learnt.


Will not contest LS polls: Sukhbir’s wife
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 28
Harsimrat Kaur, wife of ruling SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, today put an end to the speculations that she might contest the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Talking to The Tribune, she expressed her inability to contest the elections citing her busy familial life as a reason.

She was accompanying Sukhbir, who was here to lay numerous foundation stones, including those for RO plants, widening of distributaries and two 66 KV grids.

When Sukhbir was asked about the relief of Rs 986.82 crore under agriculture debt waiver announced by the union government, he flayed the government for granting much less than the statistical analysis.

The SAD chief visited Gulabe Wala, Baja Marar, Chotra irrigation minor, Muktsar distributary, Lubanianwali irrigation minor and various places in the city. Talking about the recently held Bathinda MC elections, he alleged that the Congress leaders were not backing up their candidates in the elections and after losing the same they were accusing the SAD of rigging the polls.

He also made it clear that none of the expelled rebels of the SAD would be taken back in the party, even if some of them had won the polls. “The party has no place for such persons, who sacrificed the party interests for their individual interest.”

Flaying Brars of Sarainaga, the stalwarts of the state Congress leadership, for being failed to solve the matter of seepage in their home turf, he assured people of an early solution to the menace. He also assured them of an overall development of the area.


Security to Virk’s family
M’rashtra writes to home ministry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Failing to elicit any response from the Punjab Police on the issue of security for the family of former Punjab and serving Maharashtra DGP, S.S. Virk, the Maharashtra government has now taken up the issue with the Union Home Ministry.

A letter has been sent to Delhi saying exposing the family of a decorated officer to risk was demoralisin for the force. Maharashtra has asked Delhi to prevail upon Punjab to restore protection to Virk’s family immediately.

Locally the Punjab Police headquarters is almost divided on the issue with many officers refusing to come out in the open in favour of Virk for fear of reprisal, but in private say, “After this incident, even if required, officers will think twice before sticking their necks out for the nation.”

The Punjab Police has also gone back on its earlier stand of a partial security withdrawal saying, “There has been no security withdrawal,” whereas there is no security cover outside Virk’s house. The Tata Sumo provided to Virk and his family as an escort has also been withdrawn, while a fresh intelligence report lists Virk’s son, Pardeep, in the category of highly vulnerable people.

Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann has added yet another dimension to the ongoing controversy by demanding withdrawal of all Punjab Police security from Chandigarh.

Terming the letter written by Maharashtra to Punjab seeking restoration of security as unconstitutional, Mann said it was the duty of the Chandigarh Police to provide protection to all people who are under threat and living in the Union Territory.


Protester jumps before train
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 28
Protesting alleged rigging of elections for the local Municipal Corporation by the SAD, an elderly Sikh, Jugraj Singh, threw himself before a running train here today. He was referred to the medical college in Patiala.

Jugraj, along with activists of the Congress, CPI and other Opposition parties, was protesting against the “unfair” elections. They staged a dharna near the railway line in the vicinity of the TV station demanding of re-election and action against those police personnel and officials who were involved in booth-capturing. They blocked the road near the Model Town.

When the police diverted the traffic to an alternative route through the rail line, Jugraj jumped before the train and got injured.

Meanwhile, addressing the protesters, Joginder Dayal, national executive member of the CPI, asked Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to step down as he had “failed” to uphold democracy in the state.

Congress MLA Harminder Singh Jassi and CPI leader Jagjit Singh Joga were among the protesters.


Varsity extends conditional admission
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
Guru Nanak Dev university has decided to allow plus 2 compartment candidates admission to BA/B.Sc/ B.Com in its affiliated colleges.

Such candidates would have to clear compartment till December 31 otherwise their registration would stand cancelled.

This decision was taken by the College Development Council (CDC) which met here. Dr Jai Rup Singh vice-chancellor chaired the meeting while Dr M.S. Dhillon, dean, College Development Council presented the agenda.

Meanwhile, the CDC in a resolution urged Punjab government to unfreeze the posts under grant- in- aid scheme and permit the colleges to fill these posts.It was also decided a special meeting of the principals of the colleges with the DPI (colleges), Punjab and officers of the Department of Higher Education of Punjab would also be convened to resolve the problems faced by the colleges.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh, assured the members World University service fee collected from the students would only be utilised for the welfare of the students.

He said at least one student-fellowship would be provided to each college of the university out of WUS fund. The college principals participating in the welcomed this decision of the university.

Dr M.S. Dhillon, dean, College Development Council said the meeting has also decided to revive the Gyan Yatras of college principals and in this regard a committee would be constituted by the university. The administrative allowance has also been increased to Rs 3,000/-. 


Pakistan’s gesture to Mukherjee
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
In a gesture of goodwill the Pakistani government today allowed Indian government’s chopper carrying Pranab Mukherjee, minister of external affairs, and Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, to fly over its territory to oversee the plan of a corridor to historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, under the consideration of the union government.

Media adviser to the Chief Minister Harcharan Bains said although Mukherjee and Badal had the permission to fly over but they did not avail the opportunity in view of the death of close relation of Pakistan’s foreign secretary.

Meanwhile, Surinder Kumar Billa, president, All- India Hindu Shiv Sena submitted a memorandum to Mukherjee for taking up the matter with his Pakistan counterpart to increase the number of Hindu pilgrims visiting Pakistan- based Hindu shrines.


Widow allowed insurance claim
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 28
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here has directed the New India Assurance Company Limited to pay Rs 1 lakh with 9 per cent interest to Jasvir Kaur, widow of Ranjit Singh of Ballian village in Dhuri tehsil of this district.

President of the forum M.D. Sharma and member Harvinder Sharma ordered the company to pay Rs 2,000 as litigation expenses to Jasvir.

Ranjit had opened an account with the Kanjhla branch of the Sangrur Central Cooperative Bank under the Saving Bank Sehkari Bima Yojna Scheme.

Under the scheme, every account holder gets an insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh each in the event of accidental death and permanent disability.

Ranjit died in an accident near Ballian village last year. The company repudiated insurance claim on the ground that his death was a murder.


440 cases of country liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 28
A team of the Excise Department officials led by ETO Surinder Pal Pahuja, today raided two “unauthorised premises” at Ubhawal village (near here) and took 440 cases of Punjab medium liquor (country liquor) into possession from there.

Pahuja said this evening they got a tip-off that country liquor was stored at two unauthorised shops at Ubhawal village for supplying it for use in municipal council elections.

He and inspector Ravinder Singh made a raid and seized 440 cases of Punjab medium liquor from there as these cases had been stored at unapproved premises.


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