P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Do justice with riot-hit: Vedanti to Manmohan
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 26
Terming the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “Sikh genocide”, Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide relief and justice to families of riot victims.

He was talking to mediapersons before addressing the families of the riot victims here today. For the first time in 24 years, the Jathedar, Akal Takht, addressed and met families of victims of anti-Sikh riots.

He said the riots were “planned” and senior Congress leaders were involved in the massacre of Sikhs, besides in burning gurdwaras and property of Sikh families.

Jathedar Vedanti lauded the AISSF for raising the issue of riot victims and announced that Akal Takht would support the federation in all possible ways to get justice and relief to the families of the victims. He asked the SGPC president and Sikh organisations to go to Delhi on August 26 and protest outside the CBI court, which was dilly-dallying in recording the statements of eye-witnesses of the riots. The AISSF has announced to stage this protest.

Taking a dig at the Akali leadership, he said it was unfortunate that Rs 400 crore for over five years was not being distributed as relief among the families of the victims. He asked Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal to have the amount released by issuing red cards to all families of the victims whose cases were pending before various authorities of the state government.

President, AISSF, Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad said the riots were planned and guided by politicians, policemen and paramilitary forces in 14 states and over 30 cities. He referred to a few incidents from the documentary evidence recorded by commissions, particularly the Nanavati Commission, on the massacre of Sikhs and said even after the reports of these commissions the guilty were not being punished by the judiciary.

The AISSF and the Sikhs For Justice, in a statement issued from the United States, also announced that if the SC failed to deliver justice to the riot victims, the matter would be taken to the United Nations under the Genocide Treaty.


Sarna discusses Sikhs’ demands with Sonia
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Sikh Marriage Act and Sikh Code Bill can give the community an independent identity and existence. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) stated this during a meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Led by president of the DSGMC Paramjit Singh Sarna, a joint delegation of the committee, Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) and other Sikh organisations of the Capital met Mrs Gandhi at her residence to congratulate her on the government’s victory in the trust motion. The delegation placed before her long-standing demands of the Sikh community.

“It is not that we want something back for supporting the Prime Minister or the UPA. These are some of our long-standing demands that we had been placing before the union government from time to time,” says Sarna.

Though Pakistan has notified the Sikh Marriage Act, the delegation wanted that a similar Act be enacted in the country. The new law will help the community maintain its independent identity and existence.

The Sikhs have been demanding for a long time that they should not be covered under by the Hindu Marriage Act as the Anand Marriage Act of mid-20s has still not been implemented in the country.

They also want that a Sikh Code Bill be passed so that succession, adoption, marriage and other related issues of the Sikh community could be settled under the new legislation, Sarna said.

Sonia assured the delegation that the UPA government would take appropriate action to fulfil the demands of the Sikhs at the earliest.

Sikhs also want return of relics, manuscripts and various rare articles seized from Sikh Reference Library Amritsar by the Army during Operation Bluestar and annulment of a black list prepared by the ministry of home affairs during the unrest in Punjab.

The delegation demanded the construction of a corridor on the banks of the Ravi to facilitate visit to historical Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which is situated in Pakistan, which had given its consent for the project.

Sarna demanded the release of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who had been sentenced to death in a split judgment by the Supreme Court. While deciding the mercy petition, the apex court had recommended it to the President. No one has ever been given death sentence in a split judgment, says Sarna.


N-energy best option:Kalam
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 26
People should vote for the leaders who were for development to take the country on the path of prosperity, said former President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam while interacting with the media here in the evening.

Dr Kalam said at present only 30 per cent of the leaders were for development politics which was not good for the country. He said in earlier times 70 per cent of the politicians took decisions for the development of various projects in the country. He said before blaming political leaders people should introspect whether they had exercised their franchise responsibly or not.

He is in the city to preside over a function at Bhavan’s SL Public School here tomorrow.

Dr Kalam said the whole political system should be like a family system and they should take a decision which was good for the country. While stressing the need for reintroducing the joint family system, good leaders, doctors, engineers and bureaucrats could be produced only in the joint family system. He said no government could make better citizens. Only the father, mother and teachers could make children better citizens.

The former President said during his tenure he had stressed on nuclear power as the country lacked proper infrastructure to develop solar energy. He said though there was thorium available in the country to be used in the nuclear reactors, it would not have lasted long. He said the best option was the nuclear power as the country needed neat and clean energy. Thermal plants had done great harm to the environment of the country, he added.

To a question who was a better Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Dr Manmohan Singh, the former President said though Vajpayee was a better politician, Dr Manmohan Singh was an able economist who had a vision to make India an economic super power in the world.


Public participation must to check pollution: CJ
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Sultanpur Lodhi, July 26
Expressing concern over increasing pollution, Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Vijender Jain said only public participation and pressure to make the environment pollution free could improve the things. He was addressing a gathering at Nirmal Kuteya in Sultanpur Lodhi where an eight-day function was being organised to mark the eighth anniversary of the cleansing of sacred Kali Bein.

The Chief Justice observed the pollution in state rivers was a stigma on Punjab.

Though the High Court got various progress reports submitted by government departments regarding check on pollution, he was not at all satisfied with the state of affairs, he said while replying to queries of mediapersons after addressing the gathering.

The Chief Justice made it clear that nobody was against industries but they had no right to pollute the environment. The industries should be given a chance to rectify themselves, failing which strict action should be taken against them, he opined.

Appreciating Ek Onkar Charitable Trust chairman Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal’s exemplary efforts to cleanse holy Kali Bein, he said the public at large should learn from Babaji how environment could be saved from further degradation.

Baba Seechewal said there was no need to create any new Act to protect environment but the need was to implement the existing laws properly.

Earlier, Justice Jain paid obeisance at Ber Sahib Gurdwara and visited the treatment plant in the town.


Upgradation of medical colleges in phases
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
The Punjab government has planned to upgrade and expand government medical colleges and hospitals at Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala in phases.

Meanwhile, the government has sent Rs 5 crore project to the Centre for the revival of the ayurvedic college here. While 60 per cent of the expenditure will be borne by the Punjab government, the rest of the outlay will be met by the Central government. Besides, this college will also get an annual grant of Rs 50 lakh from now onwards.

In the first phase of the expansion programme, Rs 140 crore will be spent on the Amritsar Govt Medical College and Hospital, followed by expansion of the Government Medical College at Faridkot. The expansion programme of the two institutes will be completed in two years even as the Punjab Medical Education and Research Department is planning to give a new lease of life to the Patiala Govt Medical College in the third phase by spending Rs 100 crore.

“The expansion programme is based on equipping these institutes with modern equipment and technology to give people the best treatment at these institutes. Apart from this, the Centre has been approached for seeking Rs 10 crore to upgrade the trauma centre at Patiala’s Govt Medical College and Hospital. The department is also looking for a 20-25 acre plot for shifting of the local TB hospital, said Punjab medical education and research secretary Jagjit Puri. He was here to inaugurate a medical camp at the ayurvedic college today.

Puri said efforts were on to equip the Punjab hospitals with emergency services.



Cong to fight LS poll on power
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
“Aap hamein vote do, hum apko bijli denge” will be the slogan of the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Party spokesman Manish Tewari said here today that the country was heading for a secured energy future with the way cleared for the Indo-US nuclear deal. “We would give nuclear energy to the citizens and would be fighting the elections on this issue mainly.”

Tewari said the shortage of power in the state made the nuclear deal all the more important for it. He claimed the country needed 6 lakh MW of power whereas the generation was just above 1 lakh MW daily.

He said once the deal was ratified, the first nuclear power reactor should be ready within two or three years.


Polluting Units
Gosain a saviour and complainant within a year
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Senior deputy speaker and BJP MLA Satpal Gosain may have acted as a saviour for Ludhiana's industry before Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal recently, but he sought action against 27 industrial units discharging harmful effluents soon after the SAD-BJP government took over.

It was only at his insistence that the Vigilance Bureau had raided several units. Gosain, in a long letter to Badal, had claimed the units that belonged to former MLA Surinder Dawar (from his Assembly segment) were polluting not only the city’s water but also its air.

At that point of time, he was concerned about the environment and harmful discharge into Budda Nullah. He had also complained about the use of petro-coke, a fuel prohibited in residential areas.

Gosain in his letter had asked the CM to shut down units that polluted the environment. He had even asked Badal to order an inquiry into the role of Dawar, calling him a “close aide of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh”.

Levelling allegations, Gosain had said during his regime a scam amounting to Rs 600-700 crore took place in the city with the connivance of officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, in which some red category units were permitted to thrive without an NOC from the board.

Alleging that Dawar had got a confidant, Ramesh Joshi, inducted as director, PPCB, even though the latter was not technically equipped for the post.

Meanwhile, defending his complaint, Gosain said he was never in favour of an industry that pollutes the surroundings. But he wanted that the industry should never be shut down. “What I was suggesting to the CM was that common treatment plants should be made functional and the industry was ready to spend any kind of money. Where is the doublespeak here?” he asked.

Act against polluters: Gill

Chandigarh (TNS): Expressing concern over the poisoning of water of various rivers in Punjab because of what he described as pollution being caused of heartless industrialists, Union minister Manohar Singh Gill said yesterday that such people were forgetting the state’s only wealth was its fertile golden land and sweet water.

He said the Pollution Control Board had failed to do its duty for reasons known to them. Peasantry of the state was being fed with poison through polluted drinking water. Reports of large number of cases of cancer in Malwa belt were a proof of it.

He said the Chief Minister should act decisively against those involved in pollution, as constitution of the fact-finding committees with regard to the pollution would serve no purpose.


Shops abound near monument to 1857 mutineers
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 26
Shops have come up along with the tehsil complex (old police station) of border town Ajnala, the protected monument where at least 200 mutineers of 1857 Revolt died of asphyxia. The rest of the mutineers were executed at the behest of then deputy commissioner Fredric Cooper. The incident dates back to June 3, 1857.

The huge complex of the Old Tehsil where the mutineers were imprisoned is in a state of desolation. There are encroachments galore though the government has declared it a “protected monument”.

While the mutiny, sparked by Mangal Pande, has become integral part of the Indian history, the sacrifices made by army deserters of the Lahore camp have been forgotten. They are hardly remembered by anyone, what to talk of a suitable memorial for them. The USA-based software engineer Paul Joseph who is writing a book on Revolt of 1857 said it was shocking that the state government had failed to preserve the monument.

It is said about 300 jawans had revolted in the Gaddar of 1857, which started in Uttar Pradesh. The 300 mutineers, who had fled from Lahore after revolting, reached Fatehwal and then Lakhowal, travelling along the banks of the Ravi. They were kept in Purani tehsil by the then tehsildar.

However, this order, issued under the seal of the deputy commissioner, is being violated with impunity. A large number of kiosks dot the boundary wall of the “protected monument”. Garbage can be seen strewn inside and outside the heritage building. What is worse, the BSNL has installed its tower in the tehsil complex, posing a threat to the monument. The overhead wires of the BSNL make the front of the building ugly. Though the telephone building has been shifted to the new adjoining building, no step has been taken to remove the tower. The keys of the old tehsil are said to be with officials of the BSNL.

Old-time residents said the monument had been the office-cum-residence of the tehsildar and the treasury officer even after Independence and it had been in a good condition till late ’80s.

Residents of the town claim a few years back a local person found some skeletons from the site of the historical well while digging near the place. It is said after that the administration banned digging in the area. There has been a demand for proper excavation to dig out the skeletons of the mutineers so that their cremation is done as per rituals.

No efforts were ever made to know the names of these “freedom fighters” by the state or any social organisation.



PSEB reopens VDS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
On the demand of farmers, the PSEB has re-introduced voluntary disclosure scheme (VDS) for tube well owners to get regularised unauthorised loads of higher capacity motors/submersible pump sets.

An official spokesman said special camps were also being organised at many places to regularise such loads at nominal charges without penalty. Regularisation charges had been fixed Rs 1,000 for per BHP for extended load only. However, the rates of security would remain Rs 200 per BHP for extended loads only.

Tube well connections released in the past three years either under general category or priority category should not be entitled to get unauthorised load regularised under VDS. However, such consumers were allowed to get load regularised at Rs 3,000 per BHP. Except for connections released under discretionary quota of the chairman, the rate for enhancing load would be Rs 5,000 per BHP. 


Body of Israeli accident victim taken to Delhi
Tribune News Service

Nangal, July 26
The bodies of the Israeli woman and the taxi driver were taken to Delhi today.

Officials from the Israel Embassy in New Delhi arrived in Nangal late last night and took 55-year-old Din's body today afternoon. Her husband Jacob, daughter Adi and son Aaj are under treatment at BBMB Hospital.

Family members of taxi driver Surjit Singh were also informed in Delhi. They too took away his body today.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case of negligent driving against deceased driver.


Runaway groom grounded
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
For sure, this runaway groom would not get another chance to escape from matrimonial ties. Booked for rape and other offences after his refusal to marry the girl he was intimate with, he had again assured her of wedding. This time to get out of the case registered against him. But, he flew off to England soon after, instead of legalising his relationship with her through marriage!

And when the girl moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging contempt, he came back to India and tied the knot with the girl, a day before the date of hearing. As the matter came up for hearing before the High Court, the couple presented themselves before the Judge. Contented, but still not sure of him, the girl made it clear she wanted more than just assurances.

So, on her counsel R.S. Bajaj's plea, Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has passed only-one-of-its-kind order to prevent the groom's solo-escape to land of anonymity.

Acting on the Jalandhar district resident's plea, Justice Surya Kant has directed against his leaving the country till the bride's visa papers were in order. The SHO of the police station concerned too has been asked to take into custody the groom's passport.

Leaving nothing to chance, Justice Kant has also directed Jalandhar's collector to ensure property in the boy and the family's name is not alienated. For taking final stock of the situation, the Judge has also fixed the case for further hearing in September. The names of the couple are being withheld to protect their identity.

In her petition before the High Court, Bajaj had initially claimed the bride got the first information report registered against the boy in January 2006 after his refusal to marry her. In no time, the boy was taken into custody.

While the bail plea was pending, the boy's counsel made a statement on his behalf that good sense had prevailed upon the alleged exploiter and he was willing to walk down the aisle with the girl. Similar statement was made before the trial court, which, on the basis of his undertaking, acquitted him of the charges in September 2006. But the boy went to England with his mother, following which the girl filed the petition seeking the initiation of contempt of court proceedings against him as he had violated the undertaking.

After report on their stay in foreign land was received, the court issued bailable warrants. In response, he came to India and married her before the court hearing.

As the petition was taken up by Justice Surya Kant in the couple's presence, Bajaj expressed his apprehension that the groom may still leave the country without the girl, following which the orders against the accused leaving the country till the preparation of the girl's papers were issued. 


Capt lauds Indian democracy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
“There were aberrations and mistakes in the recent panchayat elections in Punjab but the will of people by and large prevailed,” said Capt Kanwaljit Singh, minister for cooperation, Punjab, while inaugurating a one-day workshop on “Panchayat elections in Punjab, 2008” at Panjab University (PU) today. The worshop was organised by the department of Political Science in collaboration with the Institute of Social Science (ISS), New Delhi.

In his inaugural address, Capt Kanwaljit lauded the democratic pattern in the country and said it was far better than the neighbouring nations. He suggested that there should be simultaneous polls across the different levels so that the functioning of the government is not hampered by the implementation of the model code of conduct time and again.

Prof Partha Nath Mukherjee of the ISS delivered the keynote address and compared the recent panchayat elections in Punjab and West Bengal. Others who spoke on the occasion included Dr George Mathew, director, ISS, Prof B.S. Brar and Dr Ronki Ram of the department of Political Science, PU. 


Warrants against Nijjer Agro MD
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 26
Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Daljit Kaur has issued arrest warrants against the managing director of Nijjer Agro Foods Limited for failing to appear in a cheque-bounce case. It is one of the leading agro food processing companies of North India, supplying products to Nestle.

The court has directed the SHO of the Majitha police station to arrest and produce managing director of the company Satbir Nijjer on November 15 for the dishonouring of two cheques issued to Kulwant Singh of Bal Kalan village, near Amritsar.

Kulwant has said that he had supplied husk worth Rs 5,39,128 to the company for which the company issued him two cheques for Rs 2,59,830 and Rs 2,48,013 drawn on Punjab National Bank. The bank authorities refused to honour the cheques want of sufficient funds in the bank account of the company.

Nijjer said he was not aware of the arrest warrants. He said he would try to settle the issue with Kulwant.


PTU affiliation for 21 management colleges
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 26
The All-India Council of Technical Education and the state government have been too liberal this time in granting approval to new colleges under Punjab Technical University (PTU). While 18 engineering and five pharmacy colleges had been granted university affiliation earlier, 21 new management colleges have got the same now.

Having received a notification in this regard from the government, university officials are in the process of conducting inspections in the new management colleges, each of which have been sanctioned 60 seats, raising the total number of seats by 1,260.

There had been 53 management colleges, 43 engineering colleges and 27 pharmacy colleges affiliated to the university till last year.

Today was the last day of first counselling for the general quota seats for BTech admissions being filled by the university. Nearly 36 per cent general quota pharmacy seats had fallen vacant in the first counselling that concluded about two weeks ago.

The management seats this time will be filled through centralised counselling to be conducted by Punjabi University.

The new management colleges include A&M Institute of Management and Technology, Pathankot, Aryans School of Management, Rajpura, Baba Farid College of Management and Technology, Bathinda, Dr I.T. Business School, Rajpura, Dr I.T. Institute of Management and Technology, Rajpura, Rayat and Bahra Institute of Management, Hoshiarpur, Rayat and Bahra Institute of Management, Kharar, RIMT School of Management Studies, Mandi Gobindgarh, Satyam Institute of Management and Technology, Jalandhar, Sri Sai Institute of Management, Amritsar, Swami Vivekanand Institute of Management, Banur, Swami Vivekanand Instititute of Management (Women), Rajpura, Global Institute of Management, Amritsar, Chanakya Institute of Management, Kharar, Swami Satyanand College of Management and Technology, Amritsar, Rattan Professional Educational College, Mohali, Punjab Business School, Fatehgarh Sahib, Gurukul Business School, Rajpura, Shri Raghunath Raj Memorial School of Management, and Shri Atam Vallab Jain College, Ludhiana.


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