P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Akalis clash over sarpanch’s election
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Kotli Sabo (Bathinda), July 21
Twelve persons, including a panch, sustained injuries in a clash among Akali workers during the victory procession of the newly elected sarpanch in this village late last evening. The police has booked 18 persons.

Two groups had the support of three panches each while one independent panch held the decisive vote. The elections were slated for yesterday at the BDPO’s office at Sangat.

Supporters of the Malkit Kaur group, whose nine members were admitted to the civil hospital, Bathinda, after the clash, said: “We, along with three panches, reached the BDPO’s office in time in the afternoon but the presiding officer asked us to wait for some time. Later, when we tried to enter the BDPO’s office, the officer announced the declaration of Jashan Preet Kaur as sarpanch.”

“In an attempt to avoid any untoward incident we approached a leader of the SAD and sought action in this regard. Meanwhile, we came to know that the Jashan Preet group, which was holding a victory procession, was shouting abuses in front of our houses. We requested Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, for arranging police protection for us,” they added.

“After we reached the village, we expressed resentment over the alleged malpractices in the election of the sarpanch. Members of the rival group, who were carrying out the victory procession, assaulted us with lathis, sharp-edged weapons and hurled stones at us”, said an injured, Baljeet Singh, husband of Malkit Kaur. He alleged an ASI sided with the attackers.

On the other hand, the Jashan Preet group said the election was once postponed due to the absence of the Malkit Kaur group. “Now on Sunday, they reached the BDPO’s office two hours late and started creating disturbance when the officer declared Jashan Preet Kaur the new sarpanch in their absence,” said Mohan Singh, a member of the group.

When contacted, SHO, Sangat, Davinder Singh said around 18 persons had been booked for assaulting the Malkit Kaur group. The statement of the Jashan Preet group was yet to be recorded as they were unconscious when the police went to the hospital to record their statements.

Meanwhile, elections for sarpanches at Bhucho and Nathana villages were also marred by controversy. Congress MLA from Nathana Ajaib Singh Bhatti, talking to The Tribune over the phone, alleged that senior civil and police officers were hand in glove with the ruling party.


Foodgrains major earner of revenue for state
Wheat fetched Rs 1,300 cr
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Punjab has set a record by contributing 105.83 lakh tonnes of wheat to the central pool thus , the foodgrains sector becoming major contributor to the state’s revenue.

Contribution of revenue in form of VAT, infrastructure cess, rural development fund and market fee etc from the sale of wheat alone is Rs 1,300 crore this year. And revenue from the sale of paddy last season was Rs 650 crore. In the coming season it will touch Rs 1,300 crore, it is learnt

Contrary to the perception that rural economy is not making any contribution to the state’s revenue, foodgrains sector has become the second best source of revenue for the state government. If collection of revenue from the sale of cotton, maize, mustard etc is included then the contribution from the foodgrains sector will touch figure of Rs 3,000 crore. Besides it, income from the foodgrains sector to the commission agents is in the range of Rs 800 crore per annum.

In this connection Punjab food and supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh, said in 2001, state’s contribution to the central pool was 105.79 lakh tonnes till June 30 and it was a record. “ However, this year, by June 30, the state has supplied 105.83 lakh tonnes to the central pool, which was a new record”, he added.

He said procurement of wheat was handled in a manner the farmers faced no problem at any stage and they were given payment in 48 hours. “ The role of the state government resulted in record procurement of wheat. Farmers preferred to sell instead of retaining the stock”, he added. This year, farmers have got about Rs 3,000 crore additional from the sale of wheat compared to the last year. It would further result in adding to the state revenue because when farmers would spend additional money, the state government would earn revenue in form of VAT etc.

Adesh Partap Singh said record contribution to the central pool had made it easy for the state government to make the Union government announce MSP of wheat and paddy well before the sowing season. “ Moreover,we are able to get released some of our share of wheat meant for above poverty line( ABL) category, BPL families and under the Antodhaya scheme”, he said.

Earlier, the Union government used to give us only 13,000 tonnes per month but now it had been increased to 20,000 tonnes for ABL category. Beside it, the central government has also started releasing 16,500 tonnes per month for below pover line families and under Antodhaya scheme. For ABL families, wheat is given at Rs 6.50 per kg and for BPL at little over Rs 4 kg and for families covered under the Antodhaya scheme it is given at e about Rs 2 per kg. Adesh Partap Singh said “ the state government was very comfortable with atta-dal scheme and faced no problem”. About 40,000 tonnes of wheat is released for atta-dal scheme every month, he added.

The state government is exploring the possibility of direct sale of wheat to deficit states. Adesh Partap Singh said he recently visited Tamil Nadu and was hoped to sell about 40,000 tonnes of wheat to that state at a reasonable price. The state government has some stock with it that would be disposed of in the national market. Last year, it g ave the surplus stock lying with it to the central pool. However, as central pool this time has already enough of buffer stock of wheat, the state government has decided to dispose o the stock in national market at its own level.


Court shifting: HC-Moga Bar impasse continues
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Crisis has erupted in the Moga judicial courts over the proposed shifting of a sub-judge’s court to Nihal Singh Wala village.

It seems that the Punjab and Haryana High Court is on the one side and the Moga District Bar Association on the other.

While the High Court wants to establish the judicial court at Nihal Singh Wala for reasons unexplained to the Bar, the advocates are protesting against the move since May-end.

In fact, the Bar is claiming that “it was not taken into confidence”. In protest, the members unanimously resolved at a meeting held on June 4 to “suspend their work”.

It was also resolved that “no advocate shall cooperate in the establishment of a judicial court at Nihal Singh Wala” and no advocate would appear there, if a court was set up “without fulfilling the norms and providing proper infrastructure”.

As such, the lawyers have been on a dharna and observing a strike since then. The strike was to come to an end on July 19 but the Bar has decided to abstain from work after lunch till August 2.

It claims a delegation, led by its president Nasib Bawa, had met the administrative judge, Justice Rajesh Bindal, for an early end to the impasse. Justice Bindal was apprised “of the ground realities” and the “practical difficulties” in setting up the court in that village.

The members claim Justice Bindal was of the opinion that proper infrastructure was not available at Nihal Singh Wala for setting up a judicial court. He had also assured them that the Bar would be “taken into confidence before setting up a court at Nihal Singh Wala”.

But, the lawyers add they came to know that the process of establishing the judicial court at Nihal Singh Wala was not stopped.

They claim the shifting of the court to Nihal Singh Wala will give rise to a “host of problems”. To begin with, proper infrastructure is not available for the establishment of the judicial court.

Proper courtroom is not there and the residence of the judicial officer is not in accordance with the norms. There is no Bar room, or office for the government pleader. Even judicial lockup is not available.

To make the matters worse, there is no space for the construction of chambers for 250 Moga-based lawyers. Facilities like public toilets and water for the general public are also unavailable.

The distance too is an issue. Nihal Singh Wala, a village controlled by a gram panchayat, is 40 km away from Moga and 25 km away from Bhagapurana. Direct bus service is not available and justice to the public at large will become more expensive. Moreover, there is no demand for the court at Nihal Singh Wala from the general public.

Bawa says they are not only against the shifting of the judicial court, but also want Moga to be converted into a sessions division. The district courts, he says, were established at Moga more than 13 years ago and need to be upgraded.


PSEB suspends engineers for negligence
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 21
Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Y.S. Ratra has suspended three engineers of the board for their alleged negligence towards duty.

Among those placed under suspension are Jeet Ram, senior XEN, Gidderbaha subdivision, Manjit Singh, AEE, Gidderbaha suburban subdivision, and K.L.Sony, AEE, Khui Kehra subdivision, falling under Fazilka subdivision, for negligence in performing their duties and leaving the headquarters.

Ratra informed that the supply of three No. 11 kv feeders, namely Mallan (rural), Kothe Chhappari (rural) and Chhatteana, falling under the jurisdiction of 33 kv sub-station Bhalaiana in Gidderbaha subdivision failed two days ago.

An angry mob of villagers surrounded the 33 kv Bhalaiana sub-station and demanded officials to restore the supply.

In view of the volatile situation, SE, Muktsar, instructed Jeet Ram and Manjit Singh to reach the sub-station immediately and make arrangements for attending to the faults in their presence and pacify the agitated villagers.

It was claimed that Jeet paid no heed to this and without realising the gravity of the situation, passed on the message to his colleague Manjit to reach the spot, who instead of getting the faults repaired, left the sub-station fearing the angry mob.

The power supply to these feeders was restored yesterday by senior XEN (DS division), Malout.

Ratra further informed that Sony failed to locate the fault in the Singhpura feeder, which emanates from 33 kv, Khui Khera for the past three days. As a result, a mob entered the 33 kv Khui Khera sub-station and broke a door and windowpanes and took away the mobile phone of the SSA on duty.

Not only this, they themselves closed all 11 kv breakers and cut the telephone wire.

Yatra stated that strict instructions had been issued to board officials to be present at their respective headquarters and attend to the complaints and faults at personal level during the ongoing paddy season.

The board is monitoring the situation round the clock and control rooms have been set up at various levels.

The chairman appealed to the consumers to immediately bring major breakdowns and power disruptions to the notice of the Board authorities concerned.

He also assured the consumers, especially farmers, quality power supply and reliable consumer service during the paddy season.


Sub-inspector in the dock again for torture of Cong worker
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, July 21
Police officer Rashpal Singh is in the dock for a second time for allegedly torturing a Congress worker Lakhwinder Singh of Raian village in Chogwan. The latter was referred to the DMC, Ludhiana, in a serious condition by the doctors of a local private hospital yesterday. Lakhwinder was one of the persons booked by the SI after ruckus at the place of the sarpanch’s election here recently. The head constable, accompanying the presiding officer of the election, had to fire into the air to disperse the crowd that had gheraoed the officer.

Sub-inspector Rashpal, posted at the Lopoke police station in Amritsar Rural police district, had booked 32 Congress activists, including 11 women, in an attempt-to-murder case besides 40 unidentified persons after the incident. He had arrested 24 persons, including the women activists.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria said the trouble started when the presiding officer, after holding a meeting of panches, refused to pass the resolution postponing the meeting to elect the sarpanch as two Akali panches failed to turn up at the meeting. The head constable, accompanying the presiding officer, fired into the air to disperse the persons who had gheraoed the presiding officer as he tried to flee the spot. However, the matter was settled on the spot after the intervention of senior persons of the village.

Sarkaria alleged Lakhwinder was beaten up by the SI despite repeated pleas of the victim that he was ill.

Meanwhile, SSP, Iqbal Singh said he had not received any official complaint. However, an inquiry based on the news reports had been entrusted to SP (detective) Amrik Singh.

The SI was already facing an inquiry into the alleged torture of a woman worker of the Congress a few months ago. He had been transferred to some other place but managed to get the posting at Lopoke using his political connections.


NRI murdered in US
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Raipur Rajputan (Khanna), July 21
A US-based NRI from this village of Khanna was murdered in Las Vegas in the USA a few days ago over a petty dispute.

NRI Narinderjit Singh (29) had been working at a petrol station in Las Vegas for the past few years.

He was shot dead by a black on July 16 during his birthday celebrations. The killer had been his colleague and was employed at the same petrol station before Narinderjit.

Family members and relatives of Narinderjit, while talking to TNS, said the black was an old employee at the station, which was owned by another Punjabi.

The problem arose when the owner of the petrol station left Las Vegas to spend some time in Punjab. "Narinderjit was assigned the task of looking after the station in the absence of the owner. This upset the black, who objected, saying he was senior to Narinderjit and should have been given the charge of the station in the owner's absence," said Narinderjit's cousin Amanjeet.

He revealed that when Narinderjit informed about the problems created by the black to his employer in Punjab over phone, the latter told the black not to work at the station till he came back.

"Infuriated over the reprimand, the black reached the house of Narinderjit, where he was celebrating his birthday with friends. He first created a ruckus at the party and then fired a gun shot, which hit Narinderjit's neck. Narinderjit, in turn, hit the black with a crate. The black, in a rage, then shot two rounds at Narinderjit's chest, leaving him dead on the spot," said his cousin.

Kewaljit Singh Bhullar, who recently met Narinderjit's family, said the NRI had left to meet his two sons and a sister a few months ago.

Narinderjit lost his mother last year. A brother and sister of Narinderjit are residing in England and one brother is in Holland, he said, adding that Narinderjit had recently shifted his base from California to Las Vegas.

He also revealed that the black was yet to be arrested by the police, though a case in this connection had been registered against him.

The body of Narinderjit would soon be brought to his native village in the coming days, said 
the relatives.


‘Indian’ Bhola may return soon
Bhola Ram may soon get a second chance to live with his family

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Alienated from his relatives after straying into Pakistani territory some eight years ago, he was taken into custody and detained in Kot Lakhpat jail. Even after the completion of his sentence, he has not been deported to India because of the question mark over his nationality.

The “consular access” was sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs on February 28 for confirmation of his nationality. But, no response was received from it.

The way for his repatriation has now been paved with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs confirming Bhola’s “nationality status”, and discussing the matter with the High Commission of India.

“The matter is also being taken up with the Pakistani authorities for Bhola Ram’s immediate release and repatriation,” the Centre today claimed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Taking a note of the assertion, a High Court Division Bench directed the Union of India to take immediate steps for securing Bhola’s release. The directions were issued by the Bench of Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary on a petition filed by Bhola’s brother Mangal Singh, now putting up in Jalandhar.

The High Court, since long, has been striving hard to remove obstacles in the way of Bhola’s return. But, its efforts were met with a tepid response from the Centre.

In fact, the Centre’s numb response to the issue had compelled the High Court to record its anguish on the previous date of hearing - June 10.

Taking up the matter, another Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina, had in their order categorically stated that they were expressing their “anguish with regard to the attitude adopted by the respondent Union of India, which had displayed complete insensitiveness to the fundamental rights of an Indian citizen, who had been languishing in a Pakistani jail after the completion of sentence”.

The High Court had ruled there was flagrant violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Referring to the petition, the judges had observed Bhola Ram “is little bit mentally retarded already” and had directed the “Ministry of Home Affairs to consider obtaining status report with regard to the nationality status of Bhola Ram”.

In his petition, Mangal Singh, through counsel R.S. Bains, had asserted that Bhola had taken the cattle out for grazing in the first week of January 2000, when in thick fog he strayed into foreign territory. At that time, the family was putting up in Buddwal village in Jammu and Kashmir. Bhola, he had added, was “mentally retarded” and had not realised where he was going. The matter will now come up for further hearing on August 4.



Back Manmohan: Calcutta
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 21
Describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a true Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh who has staked his position and prestige for the sake of national interests over the Indo-US nuclear deal, Manjit Singh Calcutta, Akali leader and member of the SGPC, today appealed to all right- thinking people to support and strengthen the Prime Minister for going ahead with the deal.

Addressing various organisations from the platform of the District Congress Committee (Rural), Calcutta lashed out at the Communists who were toeing the Chinese line for not allowing India to emerge as a super power through this 123 nuclear agreement. He said the Communists had a history of back-stabbing such an issue which would propel India into the top nuclear group of the world.

Senior Congress leader and former deputy speaker Darbari Lal said only economically powerful countries could become super powers and added that the nations with poor economic growth would become slaves. He said the PM, a true nationalist, had once again shown the country could come out of serious economic crises after he took over as finance minister in 1991.


Eight districts selected for learning session
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 21
The Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) has initiated a move to identify and recruit three persons from each of the eight villages selected by the All-India Youth Congress (AIYC) in Punjab to implement its ‘Aam aadmi ke sipahi’ programme initiated by Rahul Gandhi.

The PYC programme to identify and recruit three persons, preferably two men and one woman, from eight villages of Punjab has already taken off. Patiala (rural), Sangrur, Barnala, Mansa, Moga, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Ludhiana (rural), have been selected by the AIYC to implement its much-publicised programme aimed at training village youths in dealing with their day-to-day problems. These three selected candidates will be known as ‘facilitators’ who will be imparted training by unemployed graduate teachers to be selected by the PYC.

“These facilitators will not only guide the villagers, but will also be equipped to impart knowledge about the UPA policies and programmes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Besides, they will also make the villagers aware about their rights and the Right to Information Act (RTI),” said PYC president Vijay Inder Singla.


Curse of Budda Nullah
IHRO: Dyeing units polluting groundwater
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 2I
A team of the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) today said even when a number of electroplating and dyeing units were polluting water bodies through Budda Nullah, some politicians favoured leniency towards these.

The IHRO said industrial houses were discharging toxic effluents into the Budda Nullah, despite orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court “not to throw untreated industrial waste into the nullah”.

IHRO chairperson D.S. Gill and general secretary M.S. Grewal, also criticised Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who had deferred action against 24 units accused of poisoning the nullah with effluents.

In the wake of the recent reports in The Tribune and specific orders of the state’s high court, the IHRO constituted a team to monitor the situation of the Budda Nullah, Clean Budda Nallah IHRO project manager Sukhdev Singh Ramgarh Sibian said.

The IHRO monitoring team, comprising coordinator for the Environment and Women's Rights Inderjit Kaur, executive associate Gurpreet Dhunna, legal associate Gurinder Singh Lali and investigative associate Shashi Kant Verma yesterday visited several spots, including areas most affected by the discharge of industrial effluents, especially downstream of the Sutlej treatment plant.

The team found the dyeing and electroplating units, on and around the Tajpur Road, were the main polluters, which made the nullah water poisonous and cancerous not only in Ludhiana, but also in the Malwa belt up to Rajasthan wherever the polluted water of the Budda Nullah mixed with the Sutlej went, said lawyer activists of the IHRO.

"We in the IHRO are of the view the change of the government in Punjab has badly affected the work at the nullah as the district administration and Municipal Corporation stopped cooperating with the P. Ram Committee, earlier appointed by the Congress government and subsequently approved by the high court," said the IHRO communiqué.


Angry anganwadi workers block traffic
To meet Punjab Chief Minister on July 30
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
After blocking the Matka Chowk for around two hours today, anganwadi workers from across Punjab finally managed to get an appointment with Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal on July 30.

The workers are on an indefinite hunger strike from July 7 protesting against non-fulfillment of their long-pending demands. Anganwadi workers are demanding immediate release of their pay withheld for the past several months, TA/DA and other financial benefits, increased amount of rent to be paid to owner of the buildings housing the anganwadis etc.

Led by their president of Punjab Aganwadi Workers Union, Usha Rani, the workers began assembling outside the office of director social security, women and child development, Punjab, in Sector 34, in the morning today and from there marched towards the Matka Chowk.

The agitated protesters tried to break the barricades, violating prohibitory orders, following which extra force was called to restrain them. The protesters threatened that in case Punjab Chief Minister refused to meet them they would not vacate the place. Traffic at the roundabout was brought to a standstill for around two hours.

Usha Rani criticised the Central and the state governments for ignoring the genuine demands of anganwadi workers and helpers. “The Punjab government is ignoring our demands for the past one year. The government has failed to fulfil the promises it had made. The meeting with the Punjab CM is surely a step forward,” she said.

Meanwhile, worried by the strength of the protesters, the local police remained on its toes throughout the day. The force only heaved a sigh of relief when the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) arranged for a meeting with the Chief Minister.


Poor release of water in canals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Several villages in the Mansa area are facing problems due to the non-availability of drinking water from the government-operated waterworks. In the absence of water supply from the canal system, most of the waterworks have dried. People of the area have urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to direct the authorities concerned to release sufficient water to direct the canal authorities to release adequate water to feed waterworks.

Sources said the canal authorities had cut the flow of water in the Uddat branch of the canal drastically.

Farmers said they were not getting adequate water supply from the system and had to spend a lot of money on diesel to run their diesel sets to irrigate their fields.


Dera follower attacked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 21
Five persons, including two children, suffered minor injuries when the family of a Dera Sacha Sauda follower and a group of youths opposing them pelted one another with stones in Kamla Nagar, Model Town, late this evening.

The trouble arose when Amrik Singh, a dera follower, was allegedly worshipping before the pictures of the dera head in his cement shop in the colony. A group of Sikh youths, allegedly armed with sharp-edged weapons, attacked him. He and members of his family repulsed the attacked by hurling stones at the attackers. Soon more dera followers reached the spot. They nabbed three Sikh youths and handed over them to the police. Heavy police force was rushed to the site to prevent any further trouble.


Flag march in Sangrur, Dhuri, Sunam
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 21
Keeping in view a call for Punjab bandh on July 23 by the Khalsa Action Committee, 600 policemen, led by SSP Naunihal Singh, held flag marches in Sangrur, Dhuri, Malerkotla, Bhawanigarh, Moonak and Sunam areas today as a precautionary measure.

DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said SSP Naunihal led around 200 police personnel’s flag marches in Dhuri and Malerkotla areas.

Thind said the flag marches would continue till July 23. He said about 1,000 policemen would take part in flag marches on July 22 in the district.


Bhagat, Jain assume office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Mahinder Bhagat and Vinod Jain assumed charge as chairman, and vice-chairman, Medium-Scale Industry Development Board, respectively, in the presence of industry and commerce minister Manoranjan Kalia at Udyog Bhawan here today.

While addressing mediapersons Kalia said the chairman of the Small and Medium-Scale Industry Development Board would have the rank of Cabinet minister while the vice-chairman would be in the rank of minister of state.


High Court
Sangrur SP in dock
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Sangrur superintendent of police G.S. Pannu has landed himself in dock. Following his reported refusal to comply with the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders, he has been asked to remain present in the court.

The directions were issued after Sangrur district resident Darshan Singh, through counsel S.L. Chandershkhar, contended that the High Court had on May 5 directed the officer to look into their representation in a land dispute. It was to be disposed of in accordance with the law.

But the counsel contended that the order was presented to the officer. But he refused to take the same.

Issuing a notice to Punjab advocate-general and Pannu for August 20, Justice Arvind Kumar directed the officer to appear in court. The judge also directed that the service of the summons would be effected through the state director-general of police.

Panches stopped from taking oath

If the allegations in a petition filed before the High Court are to be believed, the newly elected panches belonging to the opposition parties are being prevented from taking oath.

In one such petition, Hakam Singh and Nirmal Singh of Patiala district have claimed they were “duly elected in the village elections”. The panchayat of Lubana Teku village was to be formed, yet some private respondents were preventing them from taking oath due to political reasons.

Even the station house officer of a police station was hand in glove with them. As such, directions should be issued to the State of Punjab and other respondents to protect their life and liberty, the petitioners had demanded through counsel Anil Pal Singh Shergill.

Taking up the petition filed and fixed for hearing today, Justice M.M.S. Bedi of the High Court issued a notice of motion to the state. The judge also asked Patiala’s senior superintendent of police to ensure against the breach of peace. The case will now come up on August 4 for further hearing.

Ropar MC poll

The High Court Division Bench of Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary, in a significant order, directed that the elections to the posts of president, senior vice-president and vice-president of Ropar municipal council would be held through secret ballot, if so desired by any councillor.

The directions to the returning officer were issued on a petition filed by Ropar councillor Varinder Chaudhary. The petitioner had challenged amendment in the rules through a notification issued in 2001. The notification enabled the councillor to elect the office-bearers through the show of hands. The petitioner contended this was bad in law and would prevent actual truthful mandate.

Notice of motion issued

The High Court today issued notice of motion to the State of Punjab for October 23 on a petition for vigilance inquiry into loss of Rs 15 crore into Punjab State Cooperative Bank due to alleged purchase of sub-standard computers.

In its petition, Hind Sangram Parishad, a social organisation, had submitted that the board of directors of the bank had set up a sub-committee in 2005 for computerisation of all branches of the bank.

As per the petition, at least 75 per cent work of the project was given to one Spectra Computech Private Limited company of Chandigarh, which had not taken part in the bidding.

As much as Rs 12 crore-order was issued to the company which actually belonged to A.K. Batta, deputy general manager, and one of the members of the purchase committee. The petitioner stated that big companies like Tata Consultancy etc were ignored while issuing purchase orders.


Teachers of aided schools to launch stir today
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, July 21
Thousands of teachers of government-aided privately managed schools will launch an agitation outside DPI Schools from tomorrow to get their long-pending salaries in view of the government’s inability to clear their dues under the 95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme.

A spokesman of government-aided schools said the state government had failed to disburse 95 per cent grant to nearly 400 privately managed schools under the grant-in-aid scheme since last February even as arrears were mounting. He said despite numerous representations to the government, the government had failed to give any favourable response and the dilly-dallying attitude had irked the teachers who were facing economic crisis.

He pointed out that the government had been giving them excuses of being cash starved and being unable to clear the backlog of several crores to meet obligations to schools.

The spokesman said at present there were 6,000 teachers employed by schools facing serious financial hardships and even finding it difficult to meet both ends meet.


Council to train 50,000 teachers in English
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 21
The British Council, educational arm of the British High Commission, has decided to impart training modern techniques of learning English to 50,000 BEd teachers.

Chief of the State Partnerships (Project-English) Alison Barret stated this at the State College of Education here today. She was here in connection with the inauguration of English teaching course in the college. The course will run till July 25. She said 25 BEd college teachers would be selected master trainers.Special secretary (Education) Jaspal Singh said under an agreement between CM Parkash Singh Badal and the British Council authorities, efforts would be made to popularise English in the state.


Expel students indulging in ragging: Sud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 21
Punjab Medical Education and Research minister Tikshan Sud today issued direction to all principals and staff of all government and private medical, dental, ayurvedic, homeopathy, para-medical and nursing colleges to immediately expel students found indulging in the practice of ragging.

In a communiqué addressed to vice-chancellor, Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, director, Medical Education and Research, director, Ayush, and principals of medical colleges, since the new session in all medical institutions is about to commence, there is greater need for the authorities of the institutions to keep a strict vigil on the activities of students to check the practice of ragging of newcomers.

The minister said any laxity shown by the management, administration, principal, faculty or staff in implementing the guidelines of the apex court would be treated very seriously and invite stern disciplinary action.

Making it imperative for the management to implement the latest guidelines of Supreme Court of India, the minister said the every institute was required to nominate medical superintendent as nodal officer to check ragging.


226 passports made using forged documents
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 21
As many as 226 passports prepared during the past one year in Moga district by the regional passport office, Chandigarh, have been found to be made fake by tampering with official records.

Forging of documents of age, education, address proof and police verifications has been detected in the ongoing investigation in the infamous passport scam that was unearthed by the police last week.

Police officials, investigating the case, revealed that the scam could be one of the biggest to have been unearthed in the history of Punjab with the involvement of hundreds of individuals and officials/employees of various departments.

SSP, Moga, Ashok Bath, while confirming that 226 passports had been found fake, told The Tribune that the investigating team had summoned the official records of all passports issued to residents of this district by the regional passport officer during 2006 and 2007.

After verifying the records, the investigation would further be extended to passports made from 1995-1996 onwards, when the passport branch was opened in the district.

Many police officials posted here during the past 13 years, attesting authorities (officials), employees of the passport branch, officials/employees of the regional passport office Chandigarh, many travel agents and hundreds of individuals who fabricated and tampered with the original documents are likely to fall in the police net as the investigation proceeds, said Jaspal Singh, DSP (City), head of the police team investigating the case.

Six persons, including Didar Singh, an employee of the regional passport office, Chandigarh, Jaswinder Singh, Ranjit Singh, Gurdial Singh, all employees of the police department, earlier posted in the local passport branch, and Ranjit Singh, an employee of the Municipal Council, had already been booked by the police under Sections 420, 465, 468 and 471, IPC, Section 2/8, Passport Act, and Sections 13 (2) and 88, Prevention of Corruption Act.

No one had, however, been arrested in this regard so far, said the SSP, adding that investigation was still on.

The modus operandi in the fake passport racket was that police employees posted here in the security branch/passport branch prepared fake documents of police verifications and then by manipulating with travel agents or employees of the regional passport office, Chandigarh, tampered with the original forms submitted for passport issuance.

In some cases, even the original forms had been found changed by them.

They had also taken into confidence local postmen who delivered passports to persons concerned even as the addresses mentioned on the registered/speed post envelopes carrying passports were fake.

In some cases, these policemen were themselves involved in taking away passports from the postmen and delivering these to the addressees after getting heavy amounts from them.


7 kg heroin seized; Pak national held
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 21
Close on the heels of the seizure of 6.5 kg of heroin yesterday, the special narcotics cell of the Punjab Police has seized 7 kg of the contraband from four smugglers operating in this border belt with the help of Pakistani drug mafia.

Among the arrested persons was a Pakistani national, who had settled in Reeva district of Madhya Pradesh.

SSP (Narcotics Cell) Tulsi Ram said they had been on the trail of this gang of smugglers following a tip-off that smugglers would bring in a big consignment of heroin from Ferozepur sector.

They intercepted a Toyota Innova and a Maruti Zen near Kathunangal and arrested the four persons while their accomplice Jaswinder Singh of Jalandhar escaped in the Innova car.

Tulsi Ram said Munir Ahmed, alias Sandhu, previously a resident of Lahore and now settled in Reeva, told the police that he was earlier too arrested under a Section of the Passport Act and had been lodged in Tihar Jail for quite some time.

Munir had been active in drug-trafficking for the past 25 years and was one of the kingpins in this trade.

He was close to Pakistani drug lord Ashraf Bhola, the key man behind the smuggling of the contraband from across the border.

The SSP said they were trying to get more details about this drug racket from intelligence. The others who were nabbed along with him were Niranjan Singh, Sarabjit Singh, and Ranbir Singh, all residents of Tarn Taran district.


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