P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Govt may enact anti-terror law: Jaiswal
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 27
Union minister of state for home affairs Sriparkash Jaiswal said today that the government would definitely bring a law on terror if they felt it was needed.

“We are aware of the increased terror attacks in the country and are studying all aspects before enacting a law that will act as a deterrent for terrorists,” he added while talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of the birth anniversary celebrations of Shaheed Bhagat Singh at Khatkar Kalan.

He said the investigating agencies and the police had done a good job and the suspects in the attacks had been arrested without much delay.

Commenting on opening of the Hussaniwala border for trade, he said it was on the back burner for now, but it would definitely figure in the scheme of things in the near future.



Intelligence agencies have failed to track terrorists: Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
Concerned over the failure of intelligence agencies in curbing terrorists from striking at will, BJP leader and Punjab state chief of the party’s investor cell Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal said here on Wednesday that the misuse of electronic surveillance equipment and the Internet had to be stopped immediately by introducing tough laws like POTA.

Talking to the media, Grewal said terrorists were taking the advantage of technology and the BJP investor cell had decided to write to the heads of states of 20 important countries that had the high usage of the Internet and cell phones to collaborate with each other to prevent terrorism.

He further added the government must restrict contents that help terrorists to make bombs easily. “You visit Goggle or Youtube and it will give you detailed instructions on how to make a bomb,” he said.

Grewal further added that even social networking sites were being used to pass messages between militant groups and the government needed to be more vigilant. He cautioned people to take preventive steps in making their Internet connections safe as terrorists could use an insecure connection to communicate with their partners or send unsolicited mail through their network like it happened in Mumbai recently.

The government, he said, had to pay heed to cyber terrorism, an area neglected by the intelligence agencies and exploited by the terrorists.


City Centre Scam
Deadline set for case inspection
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, September 27
To speed up proceedings of the City Centre scam case, the court of sessions judge G.K. Rai today set a deadline for the inspection of case file by defence lawyers.

The court also fixed November 15 for hearing arguments on framing of charges against the accused, including former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who did not appear before the court as he was away to the UK.

The judge asked the defence lawyers to conclude the inspection work till November 8 and no further opportunity would be granted in this regard.

Taking up an exemption application filed by Chaudhary Jagjit Singh through his counsel, the judge warned him not to file such applications in the future. His counsel had submitted that the former minister was suffering from spondylitis and was unable to attend the court.

Meanwhile, the court exempted the personal appearance of two more accused.

Vigilance Bureau’s special public prosecutor Mitter Sain Goyal had submitted before the court that the charge sheet was filed in the case on December 12, 2007. A period of 146 working days had lapsed since the inspection of the case file by defence lawyers started. He alleged that it was a delaying tactics adopted by them.

While, the defence lawyers refuted his allegations, they accused the prosecution of not supplying them with legible copies of documents. It was pleaded that the inspection work of the case file having more than 20,000 pages was bound to take considerable time.

An application moved by one of the witnesses in the case, Sunil Kumar Day, seeking cancellation of bail to 18 accused, would come up for hearing on October 6. The judge has asked the accused to file reply to the application on the next date positively. Day has alleged that he was being pressurised by the owners and officials of the Today Homes company to resile from the statement given to the bureau


Doc accused of stealing appliances
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
It sounds unbelievable, but is reportedly true. The panchayat of Mansooran village in Ludhiana district has lodged a complaint with the police and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) alleging that a doctor who was transferred there from Government Rural Hospital had taken with him several appliances like air-conditioners, generators etc that had been donated to the hospital by villagers. The panchayat has sought registration of an FIR against the doctor and the pharmacist.

According to the complaint submitted to the DGP, Punjab, SSP, Jagraon, and chairman, PSHRC, the said woman doctor was facing an inquiry into alleged blinding of patients while trying to perform cataract surgeries. Facing shortage of doctors, the office of the director, Health Services, thought it more prudent to transfer the doctor rather than suspend her.

After joining her new place of posting at Raikot, the doctor came back to her old place of posting and with the help of the pharmacist at Mansooran took away air-conditioners, ceiling fans, fridge, generator, water cooler, inverter etc from Government Rural Hospital. According to Om Parkash, former sarpanch of Mansooran, “The stolen goods were taken away on a holiday at night. The theft was discovered in the morning.”

The doctor after joining at her new place of posting sent a leave application to the department. She started a private clinic about 500 yd away from the Mansooran hospital.

The villagers lodged a complaint against this, forcing the Ludhiana Civil Surgeon to raid her clinic and he caught her red-handed. The doctor tried to get away by saying, “She was holding a free camp”. But contrary to the Supreme Court ruling on holding camps, she had neither sought any approval nor intimated the Civil Surgeon about the “camp”.

Once caught doing private practice, she has reportedly sent resignation in panic. But thinking that she needn’t have done it, some of her supporters came and met the Health Minister at the BJP’s party office at Chandigarh. They asked health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla to transfer the doctor back to Mansooran. On her refusal, the doctor’s supporters “gheraoed” the minister’s car, forcing her to abandon her vehicle and leave in another vehicle.

The panchayat of Mansooran has now written letters to the PSHRC, SSP, DGP, SHO, Sudhar, etc asking them to book the doctor and her pharmacist for theft. The villagers allege that the pharmacist is running a chemist shop outside the hospital in his wife’s name and forces patients to purchase medicines from there.

Meanwhile, the government has appointed another doctor at the Mansooran hospital and asked the Ludhiana Eye Mobile Unit to cater to the needs of people in and around the village.


GM crops cause cancer, birth defects, says expert
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 27
Dr John Fagan, a leading US-based bio-medical researcher, has warned that the increased incidence of cancer and birth defects in Punjab might have been triggered by genetically modified (GM) crops and excessive use of pesticides.

Fagan, who had refused to accept the US government’s $ 1.6 million research grant to protest against the pushing of GM crops into the fields without sufficient research was here for five days, visiting rural areas of the Malwa belt to study the impact of such crops.

He said certain GM crops were found to have 12 to 14 per cent less of cancer-fighting isoflavones identified by the US department of agriculture.

Umendra Dutt, executive director, Kheti Virasat Mission, who has raised voice against multi-nationals dumping such hazardous technologies in developing countries, accompanied Fagan during his tour to the fields.

Fagan said the GM crops could be highly disruptive for the ecosystem, leading to the loss of biodiversity and disruption of the food chain, resulting in long-term harm to the environment, economy and food security. This also resulted in soil pollution and increased incidence of cancer, birth defects and other diseases.

He said scientists as well as agriculturists in the US and some other countries had expressed serious concern about genetically engineered crops as bio-technological agriculture caused adverse effects on health. The mealy worm had come due to Bt cotton. Farmers across the US had resisted using genetically engineered seeds, but in India genetically engineered seeds were being used without assessing its impact.

Fagan said instead of following other countries blindly by introducing the GM crops, the Indian government should keep in mind that Western multinationals continued to attempt to cut losses by dumping such technologies in developing countries. Scientists have now developed much more effective and safer approaches, such as marker assisted breeding, which uses the most cutting-edge discoveries in modern genetic science to develop new and valuable crop varieties rapidly, economically and safely.

Suseol, a social scientist and wife of John Fagan, said Indian farmers should follow indigenous traditions instead of running after genetically engineered crops.

Dutt said the Kheti Virasat Mission was of the firm view that farmers in Punjab should consider the issues related to GM and Bt crops. The Punjab government and agriculture institutions that were promoting these crops should also reconsider their stand.

He urged farmer groups, consumer organisations and health professionals to join hands to stop the commercial release of Bt brinjal.



LBP to strengthen base in villages
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
To connect with common people at the grass-root level, the Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) today sent experienced leaders and workers to strengthen the party’s base in villages in nine Assembly segments in the state. Each of the leaders will publicly showcase his fieldwork between October 30 and November 10, the party has decided. The leaders will gather families enrolled in the Sangrur constituency during this period.

B.S. Ramoowalia, president of the party, said to strengthen the party further, a daylong training camp was held in which the participants were directed to re-organise all sections of the society, including farmers, unemployed youths and deserted married girls. Among other focus segments of the party would be small traders, retail shopkeepers, sports persons and aanganwadi workers.


Cutting of border wires baffles BSF
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 27
Close on the heels of the killing of four Bangladeshi nationals who were shot dead by Border Security Force (BSF) jawans in Fazilka sector on September 21 while crossing over to Pakistan, cobra wires of border fence in Amritsar district were found cut at two points near historic town Rajatal today.

The BSF is baffled over this incident and intelligence agencies don’t rule out the possibility of crossing of Indian or Pakistani smugglers from this point after cutting of the wire near gate No. 113/11. Electric current in the fence is switched off at 6 am and BSF patrol parties change duties at the same time. The BSF is managing 553-km-long border in the five sectors - Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur and Faridkot.



Troops celebrate Gunners’ Day
Chander Parkash and Bharat Bhushan Dogra
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 27
Our gunners have been equipped with better tank technology than that possessed by Pakistani troops. This was stated by Major-Gen Ravi Harsh Vardhan, GOC of Gurj Division, during an interaction with troops and mediapersons as the Regiment of Artillery celebrated the 181st Gunners’ Day at the Mamun military station here today. He said the Indian Army had made elaborate arrangements to check smuggling and infiltration on Indo-Pak border.

The regiment was raised on September 28, 1827, with the raising of Bombay Artillery which was later renamed as 5 Bombay Mountain Battery. This day is celebrated by the regiment as Gunners’ Day.

By the end of World War II, Indian Gunners had won one Victoria Cross, one George Medal, 15 Military Crosses, two IOMs, 22 IDSMs, 18 Military Medals, five OBEs, One MBE, three BEMs and 13 Burma Gallantry Medals.

The Gunners, as the artillery soldiers are called in military parlance, have a chequered history of gallantry and bravery from World War II to the Kargil operations. Brig S.J.S. Sangra presented a trophy to the regiment.


Finally, a battle won by mother
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
It took four years for one Ajnala-based 33-year-old woman, Manpreet Kaur, whose US-based husband had divorced her by allegedly misleading the court and also managed to ‘abduct’ their two kids, to successfully convince the US court that she was kept in the dark.

Considering it as an exparte divorce, Malwaukee County Circuit Court, Wisconsin, has arranged a Commissioner from the Guardian ad Liten Division, a Legal Aid Society, to hear her side.

Also, the court has been requested to adjudicate on the issues of child support and custody. The court after taking note of her concerns has given her the opportunity to meet her children.

A Chandigarh-based Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer Amardeep Singh Walia, looking at her financial constraint, fixed the court hearing through telephone. After the arguments which continued for about a year, the court issued her 10-year multiple entry visa on special grounds to meet her kids whom she had not seen since 2002.

On September 23, Manpreet flew to USA to re-build a relationship with her kids but has strong resentment against her husband. While talking to The Tribune over the phone, Manpreet said, “This was something I could have never expected in the wildest of my dreams. I was fighting for my rights for the last so many years but today I feel like having some respite.”

The last communication she received from the US Court mentioned that the case was very sensitive as the youngest son ‘does not remember’ her at all and the oldest one has only ‘negative memories’ about her. “Due to the amount of time it’s been since they last saw each other, it is in the best interest of both the children and their mother to build a relationship gradually.”

Reaching the US, Manpreet would be allowed to spend some time with her children for seven days, one hour each day, in the presence of a supervisor Harpreet Singh, whom the children feel very close to. The court further says that if every thing goes well, Manpreet could be allowed to meet the children without the presence of supervisor.

Manpreet Kaur got married to Jaspal Singh, a US resident, on March 4, 1995. After seven years, Jaspal Singh, migrated to USA alongwith his two sons Nabjot Singh (14) and Vishnujot Singh (13). Manpreet did not leave India at that time. On March 4, 2004, she got the shock of her life when she received a divorce decree issued by the Circuit Court, State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, USA.

According to information, Manpreet filed a criminal case (u/s 498-A, 406 and 365 IPC) for abducting her children against her husband in 2002. “My passport and other immigration documents, prepared then, were also taken by my husband. I was fighting for the custody of my children since 2004, when my husband sent me the divorce decree, that too one-sided”.

Partap Singh, brother of Manpreet, said: “We came across a news item about somewhat identical case published in The Tribune a year back, where a woman was granted special permission after she fought for her rights through telephonic hearing with the US court.”

Amardeep Singh Walia said in 2007 he appealed to the US Court to reopen the case and sought permission for appearing through phone, which was granted. “I had been constantly in touch with the Staff Attorney at USA. Amazingly, on our simple request, the Court also scheduled the hearing time according to the convenience of Indian Standard Time. Finally, the court agreed to appoint the attorney to look after and represent the interest of the two children,” said Walia.


BDS counselling ‘as per merit’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today gave green signal to counselling for Bachelor of Dental course in colleges across Punjab after the state counsel said it would be conducted “as per merit”.

The high court had on Friday put on hold the counselling till the noon today on a petition filed by Arshdeep Kaur Pannu and three other students.

As the matter came up for hearing, the Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia ruled: Our sole concern that the meritorious students are not deprived of their legitimate due, made us assemble on Saturday morning.

The Judges observed: The grievance of the petitioners is that the respondent state has now decided to conduct the extended second counselling, but such counselling process is not as per the merit in the entrance test.

In their detailed two-page order, the Judges also took note of the state’s contention. “Madhu Dayal, additional advocate-general, Punjab, appearing for the state, states that a policy decision has been taken by the government to conduct the counselling as per merit.

“Since a better sense has prevailed upon the respondents and a policy decision has been taken to the effect that all actions of the respondents shall be guided on the touchstone of merit alone, the present writ petition is disposed of as infructuous. It is open for the respondents to proceed with the counselling in accordance with the policy decision”.

The students were granted admission to first year BDS course in the initial counselling session and admitted to private institutes, but were debarred from appearing in the extended second round of counselling.

In the petition, the students had contended that they had taken admission in various colleges across the state on the basis of the first counselling. But as some seats were vacant, a second counselling session was called for. The students appearing in the first session were allowed to participate and were permitted to shift to state-run colleges.

However, in the extended second round of counselling for filling up the remaining seats, it was decided that those admitted earlier would not be allowed.


Amritsar on country’s tourist map
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 27
Amritsar is among the 22 cities selected for inclusion in the tourist map of the country that will witness unprecedented development in the coming months.

Talking to The Tribune, Union minister for tourism and culture Ambika Soni said a special grant of Rs 25 crore had already been released to the state government. This amount was in addition to the money sanctioned for other projects, she added.

Commenting on the pagri issue raised by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the release of the commemorative coin showing an unturbaned Bhagat Singh today, she said she would raise the matter with the Union finance minister since the finance ministry had the authority over such matters. She also said the Jallianwala Bagh had been restored and would be ready for the public by October-end.


Punjab to promote entertainment industry
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 27
The Punjab government has plans to promote entertainment industry in the state. For this purpose, a comprehensive plan would be chalked out to set up infrastructure facilities for television serial and film shootings.

This was disclosed by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while inaugurating the ‘Cinematic Tourism Conference’ organised by the Institute of Technology and Future Management Trends (ITFT), an educational group, on the ITFT campus near Mullanpur village here today.

The Chief Minister said since the glorious land of Punjab was blessed with landscape that illustrated prosperity, valour and emotional bond of love, it was obligatory on the government’s part to explore new avenues in the fields of entertainment and tourism industry. He called upon film and TV serials makers to shoot their serials and films in the region and promote rich Punjabi culture through their creations.

The Chief Minister pointed out that Punjabi youth had tremendous potential in performing arts and cultural activities, adding the Punjab government would set up skilled development centres to hone their talent.

Speaking on the occasion, Charanjit Singh Atwal, deputy speaker, Lok Sabha, said the Indian film industry was one of the biggest film industries in the world and films should showcase society on one hand and influence the society on the other.

Eminent film personality, Harry Baweja, while addressing the gathering, said in order to explore the tourism potential, the Punjab government should encourage TV serial and film making in the state.

Ujjagar Singh Badali, MLA from Morinda, and Maj Gulshan Sharma (retd), executive director, ITFT, also spoke on the occasion.


Shagun scheme for Muslim girls soon: CM
Tribune News Service

Malerkotla, September 27
The government will issue appointment letters to 8,865 already selected ETTs within two or three days.

This was disclosed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at the local Eidgah after participating in an Iftar party, organised by the government this evening. Around 10,000 Muslims participated in it. This was the first time that an Iftar party had been thrown by the state government here.

Badal assured the Muslim leaders that a shagun scheme for Muslim girls would be launched soon.

He handed over a cheque for Rs 25 lakh to the deputy commissioner for the development of the Eidgah.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |