P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Police Modernisation
Badal seeks 300 cr from Centre
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Kup Kalan/Sherpur, January 4
Criticising the Centre for not providing funds to Punjab for modernising police, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today demanded a special package of Rs 300 crore for the state police to tackle militancy-related activities and security problems.

He said the Centre had reduced Punjab’s grant for the police from Rs 65 crore a year to Rs 24 crore .

He added that he would take up the matter at the meeting of Chief Ministers of various states with the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister on January 6.

At this meeting, convened to discuss the country’s security situation, the Chief Ministers would give views on strengthening the security network in their states.

He said in the absence of funds, the states could not train security forces and equip these with modern weapons.

Badal today visited Kup Kalan village (near Malerkotla) where he inaugurated a meditation centre, Sadhna Avam Sewa Kendra, in Adishwar Dham, a new religious place of the Jain Samaj.

The Centre has been constructed by the Bhagwan Mahavir Meditation and Research Centre Trust, Kup Kalan, and the followers of the Jain Samaj. Badal also announced Rs 51 lakh for the Adishwar Dham.

Later, Badal attended a vikas rally, organised by former Punjab minister Gobind Singh Kanjhla at Sherpur village, where he gave Rs 4.23 crore to 80 panchayats of the Sherpur constituency for development and ownership letters to 98 Dalits and poor persons, who had panchayat or government land in their possession in villages.

MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Punjab minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Gobind Singh Longowal, Gaganjit Singh Barnala and MLA Balbir Singh Ghunas also addressed the rally.

At the rally the police took more than 20 ETT teachers, including district president of the ETT Adhyapak Union Sukhvir Singh, in custody to foil bid to create disturbance and approach Badal to remind him of SAD-BJP promises to the ETT teachers on shifting to the Education Department from Zila Parishads. Later, they were let off.

Badal said the government was allotting development funds to every assembly constituency, irrespective of the MLA’s party without discriminating against Congress MLAs.

He also said the Congress had done nothing during Amarinder Singh’s first two years of regime, while his government had given crores to every constituency for development. He also appealed to people to vote for Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa in the Lok Sabha elections.


Admn reforms on Sukhbir’s mind
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Going by the indications, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal is all set to spearhead the recently announced State Administrative Reforms Commission that he hopes will turn his party into “one that delivers”.

Wary about the issues of governance or the lack of it, the young leader of one of the oldest political parties in the country has identified a number of services that require immediate attention to streamline the bottlenecks and remove red tape from the administrative machinery.

Visualised in April, 2008, after the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC), led by its member V Ramachandran, held deliberations with the Punjab government, Sukhbir reportedly said to his father and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, “We have to ensure a qualitative shift in the administrative reforms to make them more responsive and public-oriented. Modern day political parties can draw strength only from one fact and that is good governance”.

To be headed by Dr Pramod Kumar of the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC) in an honorary capacity, Sukhbir has already held several rounds of discussion with the former to ensure that no area requiring attention is left out of the purview of the commission.

“Sukhbir has taken up administrative reforms as his personal commitment to improve the delivery mechanisms that affect the people. He has identified over 70 services and areas for improvement that will receive priority”, his close aide told The Tribune.

He said Sukhbir had given the commission six months to complete the work and another six months to have the recommendations that range from land and vehicle registration to simple attestation of documents.

Some other areas that the commission is expected to deal with include revenue records, registration of land and other properties, police, transport, excise and taxation, health services, official verifications and certification of various documentations.

Sukhbir feels that outsourcing work can go a long way in easing work burden in government offices. For example, work will be outsourced in registration and licensing offices.



LS Polls
BJP weighing options for Amritsar seat, says Sidhu
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, January 4
After meeting na tional president of the BJP Rajnath Singh and PM candidate LK Advani, Amritsar’s Lok Sabha member Navjot Singh Sidhu has said the party high command is contemplating to give him the role of a star campaigner for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

Talking to The Tribune on telephone, Sidhu said the party high command had directed him to pack up his bags in the national Capital and rush to Amritsar to take charge of the election campaign.

On whether he was contesting from the Amritsar LS constituency for the third time, Sidhu said the party high command was weighing different options on the issue.

The BJP high command had already declared Sidhu candidate of the party for the Amritsar seat.


Shekri to stress on unity among Cong top leaders
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Batala, January 4
Convener of the state’s Congress election campaign committee Ashwani Shekri will take up the issue of unity in the top leadership of the party's Punjab unit at the coordination committee meeting convened by Mohsina Kidwai, in charge, Punjab Congress Affairs, tomorrow in Delhi.

Unity of the top leadership of the Punjab Congress was badly needed was the demand of party workers.

Shekri will take up this issue with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Punjab Congress chief Mohinder Singh Kaypee and Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal also at the meeting.

“Unity among these three leaders will be the main item on my agenda for the coordination committee meeting in Delhi,” said Shekri this evening.

“I have no doubt that Amarinder has emerged as a mass campaigner and vote catcher for the party due to his popularity, hence it is the right time every leader helped him by keeping aside his ambitions and ego,” he claimed.

He added that those trying to stop Amarinder in his campaign against the Akalis were weakening the party.

He disclosed that even Kidwai had lauded the workers’ meeting held by Amarinder as chairman of the election campaign committee in parts of Punjab a few weeks ago.

“I will appeal to Bhattal and Kaypee to join the next leg of campaign of Amarinder after Lohri. In this campaign, all 20 districts of Punjab will be covered and he, along with the campaign committee chief, will meet maximum number of workers and commoners. If all three leaders work in tandem, the Congress will give a crushing defeat to the SAD-BJP alliance candidates in the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.


Minister ‘blocking’ development work
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 4
A day after chief of the SAD youth wing Kiran Bir Singh Kang lashed out at the Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh for his comment on SAD president, Sukhbir Singh Badal, another loyalist of the Badal junior today targeted the minister.

“While commenting that the Lok Sabha elections would test Sukhbir’s leadership, the minister should discuss the outcome of Kharar assembly elections where his son Jasjit Singh Bunny lost.

Bunny was given the ticket despite the fact that there were many deserving candidates. The results of the Zirakpur MC elections also proves the point”, said N K Sharma, president of the Zirakpur MC.

Addressing a press conference, the MC president alleged that the minister, who was also the Banur MLA, was acting as an impediment in development work.

Citing examples, he further alleged that the minister was laying foundation stone of old projects.

The minister was blocking the progress of various developmental agendas being passed by the MC. The minister, however, declined to comment on the issues.


Black ibis spotted in Ludhiana village
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Ludhiana has something to rejoice about after gaining notoriety as the most polluted city of the state as a village in this district has invited the attention of migratory birds that have flocked Ballowal village this winter.

The city can now boast of these winged vistors, who are roosting on treetops of the village for the last one month.

Identified as Black ibis by experts, the winged visitors were spotted by the villagers who called experts curiously to know about the birds who were spotted there.

After the confirmation came from the experts, the villagers are now inviting people to come and have a look at the birds. The villagers are themselves observing them very closely.

The experts feel that the birds seem to be visiting the village in search of food but there was definitely a change in the pattern of their winter visits.

It was worth studying. It would help the ornithologists to study what was making the birds choose a village in Punjab while they were giving Nangal a miss for the past many years.

The black birds with bald head and a patch of crimson red, and a white patch near shoulders, first attracted the attention of a curious nature lover, Raghubir Singh, who contacted Dr Sandeep K Jain, member, Punjab State Board for Wildlife and Chief Coordinator, CAPE-India to know about the birds.

Wildlife Inspector Varinderpal Chawla was specially assigned by the Chief Wildlife Warden from Chandigarh to identify the birds. When Chawla came, he could not find them as they stayed away from the fields that day.

Jain said as the birds were very shy, these were spotted at sunset on the treetops. He somehow managed to click the pictures and sent them to Lt. Gen. Baljit Singh, a keen wildlife enthusiast and wildlife author. “He identified the birds to be Black ibis.”

Jain said the birds scientifically known as ‘pseudibis papillosa’ also known as the red-naped Ibis and Kala bujja in Hindi is found in parts of SE Asia, UP, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Nepal and surrounding countries but not in Punjab. These were winter visitors and fed on snails, worms, reptiles, fish, amphibians and grains.


Army movement not seen on border, say residents
Sanjay Bumbroo and PK Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Dauke (Indo-Pak border), January 4
Unfazed by tension between India and Paksitan following Mumbai strikes, villagers have been going about chores, working in fields near the border fencing along the Radcliffe Line.

Village children were playing cricket even near the Indo-Pakistan fence near Rajatal village (near the Indo-Pak border) taking advantage of winter vacation in schools.

Kashmir Singh of Dauke village said they had not seen Army movement in the area which was there during the Kargil war 1999 and after attack on Parliament in 2002.

He said though there was fear among people of this remote border village, surrounded by Pakistan from three sides and linked with India with a bridge on the defence drain, there seemed nothing unusual on ground. He said their village became the first target of Pakistani attack whenever there was war.

Another villager Balkar Singh said come what may they would not leave the village and support the Army if war erupted.

He rued that though the Centre had announced to pay compensation for laying landmines in their fields during Operation Parakaram and Kargil war, they had received very meagre amount.

Even then they would not leave their village, as every time they were uprooted, they had to begin life anew, he added.

Meanwhile, Balkar Singh of Neshta village, a few hundred metres from the border, said he was shocked to read news about Army movement on the border and rushed to his fields across the fence to see if there was any such situation. He could not find even a single Armyman near the border.


Ghadar Party founder remembered
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 4
Warm tributes were paid to Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna, founder of the Ghadar Party, at the annual mela held at his ancestral village Bhakna, near Pakistan border, to mark his birth anniversary.

But no leader spoke about the dilapidated condition of the heritage attached to the great freedom fighter.

The ancestral house of Baba Bhakna in the village, where he penned his autobiography, has been demolished to make way for a new building.

However, a resolution passed on the occasion asked the district administration to stop alteration of the Jallianwala Bagh and install the statue of Shaheed Udham Singh there. No such resolution was taken up to preserve the heritage of Bhakna village.

Jagroop Singh, a member of the National Council of the CPI, said Baba Bhakna had played a significant role to free the country from the British rule and went to jail even after independence.

He said Baba Bhakna felt “complete independence” was yet to be achieved. Baba Bhakna had migrated to the USA in 1907 and joined Punjabi immigrants in California.

The CPI leader said the central and state governments should come to the rescue of farmers and labourers by waiving their debt, apart from other steps to uplift them economically.

Baba Bhakna was among those sentenced to death, along with Kartar Singh Sarabha. However, legal help by Pt Motilal Nehru saved him from the gallows a day before hanging.

During the British rule, he faced torture in jails of the country. The Cellular Jail in Port Blair, where Baba Bhakna was kept, was a mute witness to the torture meted out to freedom fighters who were incarcerated in this jail.

A bumpy 4-km approach road from the Amritsar-Lahore Marg takes you to the ancient village, Bhakna, believed to be as old as Amritsar city.

The village, once a centre of higher learning, was also called Kashi in the olden days. Learned pandits from all over the sub-continent used to visit Bhakna for discourses.

However, the ancestral village which is only 7 km from the Pakistani border seems to have been forsaken by the administration.

The historical but neglected village, which is known for being a harbinger of the freedom movement, has not witnessed any development after independence.


Jobs aplenty despite global meltdown
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 4
Despite the global meltdown and low sentiment in industrial and business world in recent months, job opportunities are still available in engineering, management, pharmacy, bio-technology, computer applications, hotel management, airlines and tourism sectors in India.

As many as 3,000 students from various engineering and other colleges of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh had got offer letters from various multinational companies and other leading institutions at joint placement drives held at the Chandigarh Group of Colleges during 2008.

Chairman of the Chandigarh Group of Colleges Satnam Singh Sandhu said during 2008, 30,000 students from different engineering and other professional colleges of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh were interviewed for placement by various leading multinational companies and leading IT and other companies.

Of these, 3,000 students from different colleges of this region got offer letters. In a single placement drive, Satyam Computers selected 550 students. Accenture, an US-based company, recruited 214 students and HCL Technologies selected 101 students.

Other top companies such as Tech Mahindra, Infosys, Wipro Technologis, HCL and IBM also issued job offers to a large number of students of the 2008 batch, said Sandhu.

“It is true that the level of hiring of professionally trained engineering and other students has come down in the past 3-4 months. However, companies were continuing the recruitment drive. At least 10 companies will be coming to our campus to recruit students in the next four weeks,” said Sandhu.

“We have prepared a detailed report that will be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University regarding the placement of students of various professional courses,” he said.

Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, president of the Chandigarh Group of Colleges, said there was no dearth of job opportunities for mentally sharp and communicative students. The annual package being offered by IT companies was as high as Rs 3 lakh.

He said even students of 2009 batch, who were still to pass the final examination, have got job offers from some companies.


Call to intelligentsia to cleanse political
system of criminals

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 4
The intelligentsia can play a crucial role to cleanse the country’s political system, stinking due to criminal elements in it, provided it follows progressive writers who played a major role in liberating the country from the colonial rule, says Dr Harbhajan Singh Deol, scholar and former Commissiner, Linguisitic Minorities of India.

Recalling the role of progressive Urdu poets in the country’s freedom and social change, Deol says academic prowess and intellectual power of young progressive writers like Mulk Raj Anand, Sajjad Zaheer, Jyoti Ghosh and Promed Sen Gupta created in them an urge for liberating India from British imperialism, feudalism and cultural primitiveness in the 1930s.

“If writers in the 1930s can help through pen and thoughts to change the destiny of the country, the same role can be played by writers today and other streams of intelligentsia to weed out ‘operator’ type of politicians and their supporters from the Indian political system,” says Doel, who has authored “The Romance that Stayed” on progressive Urdu poets whose writings inspired millions to liberate the country from British rulers. The role of such writers has not been recognised by politicians ruling the country since 1946.

“In my book I have given an account of the contribution of Firaq, Josh Malihabadi, Asrar-ul Haq Majaz, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ali Sardar Jafri, Jan Nissar Akhtar, Kaifi Azmi and Sahir Ludhianvi, who through the poetic medium nurtured a movement giving fillip to the ideas of liberation from the foreign rule. Poetry and rhetoric when fused becomes a social fact and a social movement is born,” says Deol. “Present-day intelligentsia and writers can make this happen now,” he asserts.

The ground is fertile to bring about a change in the Indian social and political reality that is dominated by elements with a shady past and present.

Voices being raised here and there against such elements are capturing the popular imagination, but there is no collective effort by progressive intelligentsia, especially writers, to make it a movement for a change, he says.

“Artists and poets are the uncrowned legislators of the world,” he says adding that unfortunately the Indian social democracy succeeded in confining the radical poets to decorative titles, prizes, honours and the masses remain as desperate as ever.


Truckers’ stir: 2nd round of talks fail
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 4
It seems, following the breakdown of talks between government and the All-India Motor Transport Congress, the stage is set for a countrywide strike by truckers.

AIMTC chief Charan Singh Lohara said on the phone from Delhi that the second round of talks too had failed.

“A delegation of the truckers’ body today met Brahm Dutt, secretary, Transport, at 11 am and the meeting lasted over three hours. Apart from suggestions of calling off the strike to give the government more time to consider demands, nothing meaningful could be achieved,” he revealed.

“The government must realise that the time of giving vague assurances has passed and our patience too has run out,” he remarked.

“The ministry should realise that they had plenty of time to complete groundwork since we had given the ultimatum of the strike on December 17 following the meeting of the AIMTC in Indore,” he added.

However, sources said last-ditch efforts were on by the Ministry of Surface Transport to defuse the crisis since more than 70 lakh trucks would not ply from midnight.

Major demands of the truck owners include reducing price of diesel by Rs 10, special package on the pattern announced for farmers, breaking the cartel of tyre companies and scrapping road tax, toll and collecting allied taxes from them.


Farmers block rail traffic
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 4
In protest against the non-procurement of “narma” by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) in Sunam and Lehragaga grain markets, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) activists today blocked trains for eight hours from 12 noon to 8 pm pm at Lehragaga railway station, 40 km from here. Rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Jakhal section was hit.

Lehragaga block president of the BKU (U) Balbir Singh Jhaloor said on the phone tonight that they had been compelled to block trains at Lehragaga as the CCI, despite assurance, had not started purchase of the “narma” in Sunam and Lehragaga.

The BKU (U) leaders who addressed the protesters were Hardeep Singh Tallewal, Janak Singh Bhutal, Darbara Singh Chhajla, Jaswant Singh Tolawal and Balbir Singh Jhaloor.


Function to pay homage to Op Prakaram martyrs today
PK Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Mahawa (Indo-Pak border), January 4
Tributes will be paid to martyrs of Operation Parakram launched by the Indian Army following attack on Parliament in 2001.

Sixteen defence personnel of 113 Engineers and Dogra regiments and three civilians Pargat Singh, Saheb Singh and Gurjit Singh had lost their lives when laying landmines in this border village a few hundred metres from the Radcliffe Line.

As a mark of respect, villagers of the area had constructed a gurdwara in the memory of those killed.

The gurdwara, which has pictures of the martyrs, is managed by the villagers, but the Army too contributes for its upkeep.

The memorial situated beside the gurdwara has names of jawans and three civilians who sacrificed their lives for the country on January 5, 2002, when a truck unloading the mines rolled back on the mines resulting in a blast.

Lt Avinish Sharma of 113 Engineering Regiment of Bombay Sappers said the Army never forgot brave soldiers who laid down their lives for the country.

He said the regiment and the Army every year paid floral tributes to the martyrs on January 5 along with villagers.

The families of Pargat, Saheb and Gurjit were specially invited on this occasion. He said the Army also took care of the problems faced by the families of the three civilians and tried to solve these.

He said the villagers had demanded a fountain, decorative chains around the memorial, besides floor tiles on the ground.

At present the floor was being cemented and its renovation would be taken up with the higher authorities of the regiment. He said they also provided clothes to the families.

The villagers have organised an akhand path and the bhog will be performed tomorrow, besides holding a langar in the gurdwara.


Power cuts: People feel left out in cold
Cuts cost industry Rs 500 to 600 crore a month
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 4
Affected by global meltdown, the state’s industry and exports have been losing between Rs 500 and 600 crore due to power cuts imposed by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Meanwhile, life has come to a standstill in urban and rural areas due to day-time power cuts from four to eight hours a day even as the PSEB has been trying to pass the buck to factors like lack of coal supply due to fog in the region.

Already the poor power situation has deteriorated and domestic, industrial and commercial consumers have been made to run homes and establishments with diesel generating sets which contribute to pollution and push up industrial cost by 10 to 11 per cent.

PSEB chairman YS Ratra and his team had claimed in summer that the board would have surplus power and there would be no power cuts in winter.

While urban and rural areas have four to eight-hour-long power cuts in the peak of winters, units of the state are being made to have two weekly offs as cuts, three-hour daily peak-hour cuts and three to three-and-half hours of un-scheduled cuts, leading huge losses, particularly when the industry is facing meltdown coupled with lack of incentives.

“If we calculate the two weekly offs, daily three-hour peak hour cuts and daily three-hour unscheduled cuts, it means we are working for three-and-a-half to four days a week. It has pushed up cost by 10 to 11 per cent and leading to loss of Rs 500 to 600 crore a month to the state’s industry. Now the PSEB says units are being allowed to work between 9 pm and 5 am. But who will come and work in units at these odd hours?” rued SC Ralhan, chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (North Region).

Ashwani Kohli, vice-president, Punjab Chamber of Small Exporters, alleged that long power cuts had hit production in small units across Punjab manufacturing cycle parts, diesel engines and parts, sports goods, nut and bolts, steel pipes, textiles, combine and threshers and utensils.

“How can we compete globally by not running units 15 days in a month? Production cost has increased by 12-13 per cent as units are run on diesel generators,” complained Kohli.

Describing the PSEB as the "biggest ailing public sector unit", president of the Federation of Small Industries Association VP Chopra alleged that the PSEB top brass was going overboard in exhorting people to adopt CFLs, but in fact it had failed to manage itself despite promises.

“Power cuts have been running for years and we have got fed up of promises of PSEB top officials that the power situation is going to improve,” said Chopra.


Special home loan package announced
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 4
The State Bank of Patiala has launched a special home loan package. The rate of interest has been fixed at 8.50 per cent p.a. for loan amount up to Rs 5 lakh and 9.25 per cent for above Rs 5 lakh and up to Rs 20 lakh.

The sources said the rate of interest was fixed for five years and wwould be reset after 5 years.

The margin under the scheme is 10 per cent for loan upto Rs 5 lakh and 15 per cent for loan above Rs 5 lakh and up to Rs 20 lakh.

No processing fee, no pre-payment penalty will be charged under the scheme. This scheme is available up to June 30.


NRI family hits jackpot
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Financial meltdown may have hit the US hard. But, for the Hundal family from Harthola village in Hoshiarpur district, now based in California, New Year and the visit of Canadian MP Nina Grewal and her husband and former MP Gurmant Grewal have brought luck.

A ticket sold from one of the Seven Eleven stores, the Hundals have been owning for the past three years, got California its first ever Mega Million lottery winner.

“It is for the first time in the history of California that an individual has won a jackpot of $ 46 million. Since I am the owner of the store from where the lucky ticket was sold, I would be richer by $ 1,15,000,” says Palvinder Singh Hundal.

The Hundals immigrated to the US in 1993. The Mega Million is most famous lottery in 12 US states and its draw is held on every Tuesday and Friday.

This morning, the lottery company called up Palvinder when he and his family members were busy in hosting a lunch in honour of visiting Canadian MP Narinder (Nina) Grewal and her husband Gurmant Singh Grewal, former MP and Deputy House Leader.

The Grewals have been the first ever Indian-Canadian couple elected to serve consecutively in the House of Commons. Both have been elected MPs for three terms each from Surrey, British Columbia.

The winner of the lottery, Richard, said: “This store is very lucky and the visiting Canadian couple brought good luck charm from the North during Christmas holidays”.

Interestingly, it is for the first time that a winning ticket of Mega Million lottery has been sold from the store owned by an NRI.


Direct recruits stand to gain in police gradation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Direct recruits stand to gain in the newly released gradation list of the Punjab Police on Internet which arrived after an eight-month-long exercise paving the way for filling up as many as 15 posts of the Indian Police Service (IPS) which are presently lying vacant in the state.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier on April 10 ordered the finalisation of a seniority list within three months by assigning seniority between promotees and direct recruits in the ration of 4:1.

The court had also noted: “If on the re-determination of seniority, it is found that juniors have been appointed as members of the IPS without considering the claim of seniors, the case of such seniors shall be considered for appointment with reference to the date on which juniors were appointed as IPS”.

According to the new list the affected candidates include those from the 1991-93 batch who are presently serving as DIGs after being promoted from the PPS. These officers face demotion if the list is made effective.

These officers have, however, been given time to file their objections before it is sent for Department Promotion Committee (DPC) review.

The top 15 senior officers who are now favourably placed for promotion to the IPS rank are Rajinder Singh, Iqbal Singh, Balkar Singh, Rajinder Kumar Sharda, Gurinder Singh Dhillon, Mohnish Chawla, Pawan Kumar Uppal, Surinderpal Singh, Inderjit Singh Randhawa, Amar Singh Chahal, Jatinder Singh Aulakh, Mukhwinder Singh Chhinna, Iqbal Singh, Paramdeep Singh Sandhu and Jaskaran Singh.


Punjab gets loan from Nabard
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The Punjab government and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned Rs 8176.96 lakh to upgrade technical institutions in state.

This was disclosed by a spokesman of the Punjab government who said out of the total loan Rs 6187.24 lakh was from NABARD and Rs 1989.72 lakh was the contribution of the state government.

The money will be used to upgrade two engineering colleges into multidiscipline academies, construction of one new multi-discipline academy and three new polytechnics institute in the state.


Badal extends greetings on Gurpurb
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today extended warm greetings to Punjabis on the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, Tenth Guru of the Sikhs, and exhorted them to follow the noble teachings and precious legacy of great Saint Soldier.

In a message on the eve of the birthday of the Guru, Badal said Guru Gobind Singh preached and practised the gospel of love, oneness of mankind and universal brotherhood throughout his life.

Badal said the creation of the Khalsa by the great Guru in 1699 had a universal significance by which he raised an unifying vanguard force in the world ever ready to make supreme sacrifices for achieving the goals of justice, equality, social good and protection of fundamental rights of humanity.

The order of the Khalsa was more emphatically an egalitarian social order. He molded the Sikhs through the sacrament for the nectar (amrit) into saint soldier for upholding the values of dharma, humanism and secularism.

The Chief Minister appealed to people to collectively strive hard for carving out a healthy and harmonious society by following precious legacy of Guru and celebrate this occasion rising above petty considerations of caste, creed and religion.


Death in clash converted into murder case
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 4
After several protests by Congress leaders and farmers’ bodies, the police changed the Section voluntarily causing hurt (323 IPC) case into a murder case after the death of Ravinder Singh who succumbed to injuries in the civil hospital on January 1.

The police booked Davinder Singh, Surjit Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Surinder Singh, Harinder Singh and Kuldeep Singh in the case.

The Ajnala police had converted the case of Section 323 of the IPC (voluntarily causing hurt) to Sections 302 (murder), 492, 148, 149 of the IPC and 25, 27, 54, 59 of the Arms Act against the accused.

The clash occurred on December 23 in which two groups one led by Gagandeep and the other by Gulzar Singh, former Army Captain and father of Ravinder Singh, had exchanged fire over land dispute in Dhupsari village which resulted in the death of Gagandeep. The police earlier booked Gulzar and seven others for murder.

Congress worker Ravinder Singh, who was injured in the clash, succumbed to his injury on January 1, which had sparked protests, amidst the allegations of denied treatment and police inaction by the family, farmers’ unions and Congress leaders led by Harpartap Singh Ajnala who organised a protest in Ajnala on January 2.

Amrik Singh, SP said case had been registered on the statements collected during investigation as per directions of the SDM after protests.

He said after getting medical and post- mortem reports, they would examine role of Dr OP Gupta, who had issued medico- legal report (MLR). He said raids were on to arrest the accused of killing Ravinder.

Meanwhile, Ravinder was cremated at his native village last evening. His brother and family members who were in the jail on charges of murder of Gagandeep were also present at the cremation.


2 commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, January 4
A man and a woman committed suicide by jumping before a moving train near the PSEB office on the Nanga-Ambala railway track last evening.

The dilapidated bodies were found lying on the railway track late in the evening.

The victims were identified as Harmesh Kumar (40) and Roshni. Roshni was a widow and was the wife of Harmesh’s cousin, Ram Krishan.

They both were residing in Hayatpur village under the Nurpur Bedi Police Station.


1 dead as crackers catch fire
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, January 4
One youth died and his two brothers were injured in a blast that occurred after crackers loaded in a jeep caught fire during a nagar kirtan being carried out to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh at Harike this afternoon.

The deceased has been identified as Nishan Singh (18) of Harike, while the injured are Sukhwinder Singh and Manjit Singh, both sons of Harjit Singh of the village.

Kanwaljit Singh Dhillon, DSP, Patti, said the Harike police had initiated proceedings under Section 174, CrPC.

The injured had been admitted to Community Health Centre, Sarhali, where their condition was stated to be normal.


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