P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


CM lays stones of Ghallughara Shaheedi
Marg, memorial
Mahesh Sharma

Kutba, February 8
Admitting the government should have constructed memorials to Sikh martyrs, including 35,000 persons massacred by Ahmad Shah Abdali’s forces at Rohira village in Sangrur district in ‘bara Ghallughara (major holocaust) on February 1762, much earlier, Chief Minister Punjab Parkash Singh Badal announced to earmark funds for at least four such memorials in next budget.

He laid the foundation stones of Ghallughara Shaheed Marg and Ghallughara Shaheed Memorial here today.

Eighteen -foot wide, road proposed to be built at cost of Rs 50 crore will join the Ludhiana- Malerkotla road and the Barnala- Moga highway through Rohira , Baurhai Kalan, Kanganwal, Dhaler Khurad, Jhuneer, Sandaur, Kasba Bharal, Lohgarh, Chhappa, Hardaspura, Kutba, Bahmania, Nihaluwal, Gangohar, Kirpal Singh Wala, Kalal Majra, Dhaner, Moom , Gehlan and Tallewal villages. Ghallughara Shaheedi Memorial will be constructed spending Rs 10 crore on five acres provided by the panchayat.

After laying the foundation stones Badal said memorials to commemorate sacrifice of 35,000 Sikhs, including women and children massacred during Wada Ghallughara, Chhotta Ghallughara and other incidents should have been constructed earlier. "I feel sorry even I could not do it earlier. Now I will ensure work on memorials starts after architectural plan is drafted and approved by the committee for the purpose," said Badal.

Work on Baba Banda Singh Bahadur memorial Victory Pillar ( Fateh Sitambh ) near Sirhind and Diwan Todar Mall Haveli at Fatehgarh would also be completed next year, claimed Badal.

Badal had announced construction of memorials at places, at Kup Kalan and Rohira last year.

Process for erecting memorial at Kup and Rohira has not yet been started. Former Minister Gobind Singh Kanjhla succeeded in getting these two projects sanctioned.

Besides presenting a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to the village gurdwara, Badal announced Rs 10 lakh for development projects in the village.

Avtar Singh president, SGPC, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa MP, Baba Balbir Singh Ghunas MLA Bhadaur, former Minister Nustrat Akram Khan Bagga and Rajinder Singh Kanjhla were among the speakers.


International community comes to former
law officer’s rescue

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Harpreet Sandhu is receiving support from unexpected quarters.

UK-based International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has called on the Indian government to ensure protection is provided to Punjab’s former additional advocate-general from implication.

The association has written to the Prime Minister and others to also make sure Sandhu is not made to face the heat of political vendetta.

The Prime Minister has also been urged “to take steps to ensure lawyers feel safe to accept politically sensitive cases without intervention from the government”.

Giving details, Justice Richard J. Goldstone, Human Rights Institute Council Co-Chair, asserts: “The arrest and torture of Sandhu appear to be an attempt to extract information regarding politically sensitive cases in which he is acting as a lawyer, such as those against the current Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. It is thought that this is an act of vendetta politics between the ongoing rivalry of the present and former Chief Minister”.

Quoting reports, the association has stated: His alleged refusal to disclose information that would contravene the client lawyer fiduciary relationship resulted in threats of arrest and third degree methods of interrogation.

“It is alleged that he was then arrested and subjected to humiliating forms of torture. Physical methods were also apparently applied to obtain a signature and coerce him into views that contradict 
his opinion”.

Sandhu claims that, due to this treatment, he now suffers from severe psychological illness. “We are concerned that the arrest and questioning outlined above are in breach of India’s obligation under its own constitution, as well as international law….

We would also like to draw your attention to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. The reported treatment of Harpreet Sandhu contravenes Article 16 of this Principle, which states that lawyers shall not be indentified with their clients....”



Import of Rs 400-cr cycle parts from China cancelled
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
In a blow to China’s cycle component industry ,reeling from global meltdown, cycle and cycle parts industry here has decided not to import Rs 400-crore cycle components from China. The local industry has started in-house production of the components.

This will make the industry self-reliant and result in increase of annual turnover of domestic bicycle and bicycle parts manufacturing industry from the present Rs 6,000 crore.

It has paved the way for the revival of the sick units which had shut operation in the city after the industry had started importing components these were producing.

President of the United Cycle Parts and Manufacturers' Association Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma said cycle components, mainly spokes, steel balls, plastic parts and pumps, were being imported from China and Taiwan till now as these were cheaper. "But now steel prices in the Indian market have become extremely competitive, in-house production of these components will be more cost effective than their import from China."

He added "The import of cycle components last year was worth Rs 400 crore. However, this year we are expecting our imports will not exceed Rs 50-Rs 100 crore."

This, Vishivkarma said, would result in the production of better quality products as Chinese counterparts were cheap and of low quality. "Moreover, the industry is happy over the revival of the sick units. Now, labour will get more work and turnover is sure to rise. This is a breather for the industry in tough times."

Apparently, the Indian raw material producers, including almost all Indian steel giants like SAIL, TISCO and ESSAR Steel, were exporting at prices significantly lower than they were supplying to the local industry. This had led to shortages and price increases. Thus, locally produced key raw material, primarily steel and nickel, as also the Indian mild steel sheets and coils, were more expensive in India than abroad.

In short, Indian raw material was available lot cheaper abroad benefiting foreign cycle parts makers, who used it and exported lower parts back to India. Naturally, local bicycle manufacturers preferred to source parts from abroad. As a result of which, the component industry has suffered as had its exports in the face of stiff competition from Chinese goods. 


‘Govt decision to regularise encroachments’
Land along Beas, Sutlej
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 8
The decision of the government to allot 17,053 acres in the pond area along the Beas, the Sutlej and within the barbed wire fencing in Gurdaspur was blatant attempt to regularise encroachment on government land by the politician- bureaucrat- policeman mafia.

This was conspiracy by well -connected beneficiaries to legitimise benami acquisitions and the government bent over backwards to help them. Instead of regularising the encroachments the government should have a survey got done and declare names who actually owned the land.

Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this issue, said the Cabinet had endorsed an illegal scheme that would not stand the scrutiny of law. Besides, it was unfair on the part of the original owners whose land had been acquired in 1952 for setting up the Harike Water Headworks at the confluence of the Sutlej and the Beas.

If the government has decided to allot the land it should have been ideally returned to the original owners and not handed over to the encroachers on a platter, he stressed.

Ironically, instead of punishing the encroachers and getting the land cleared, the government had decided to reward them, he pointed out.

The decision would also hit fragile environment of Harike Wetlands , home to migratory birds and other flora and fauna. The pond area and the sanctuary had been declared wetlands in accordance with the 1971 International Ramsar Summit held in Itlay, he added.

As the entire 148 square km barrage area falls in Tarn Taran, Kapurthala, Ferozepur and Jalandhar districts, such a step would damage not only the environment but also affect ground water recharge and harm the habitat of wildlife, he said.

Khaira said the PM should order a probe into the episode.


Manmohan candidature does not worry Badal
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, February 8
Reacting to a recent statement of PPCC campaign committee chief Amarinder Singh, saying the Congress would approach the Election Commission, seeking deployment of central police forces for the general election, Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal said central forces were needed during the Congress regime for the general election. The SAD-BJP government did not indulge in excesses on workers of any political party.

He stated this to media persons here, at a sangat darshan programme. On Dr Manmohan Singh as PM candidate in Lok Sabha elections, he said, “This will not make any difference for the voters as people vote for development and party. We have proved our worth and brought development in the state.”

Denying the government was taking loan to distribute grants at sangat darshans, he said, “When I take loan, I am aware that I have to repay them. This is no big deal.”

Meanwhile, he distributed Rs 2.93-crore for development of the rural area of Anandpur Sahib and gave Rs 1 crore to the municipal council. Similarly, he gave Rs 2.76 crore for Nangal.


IMA backs rural doctors’ agitation
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 8
The ongoing chain hunger strike call given by Rural Medical Services Association (RMSA) entered its fourth consecutive day today. The feverish pitch of the call given by RMSA was further strengthened by admission of a VVIP patient in the roadside intensive care unit (ICU) of rural medical officers.

Dr Ravi Kant, vice-president, RMSA, released the 'health bulletin' of the high profile patient and told that the patient was none other than Akali-BJP government, which was in a very critical stage. The doctors were trying very hard to save the government from its spiritual death, which however seemed to be breathing its last.

Meanwhile, this afternoon, doctors declared that they could not save the government and it had died its own death due to past two years of calorie rich diet of corruption and goondaism.

Intensifying their agitation, rural doctors decided to burn the effigy of Punjab government tomorrow.

Dr Aslam Parvez, president, RMSA, said that the RMOs today started a 'youth signature campaign' asking the youth of Punjab about the policies of Punjab government and that whether the government should go or stay?

He further said that the RMOs would start 'relay rural rallies', in which 10-15 villages would be covered everyday apprising rural people about their right to health and misdeeds of Akali-BJP government.

Dr Deepak Goyal, spokesperson for the Bathinda unit of RMSA, said that he was totally disillusioned with the shortsighted and anti-poor policies of the Akali-BJP government. He said that on the one hand, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was trying to project youth as the lifeline and future of Punjab by installing his son Sukhbir Singh Badal as the deputy chief minister; and on the other, his policies were pushing the young doctors, teachers and other sections of the society towards the dark well of misery, unemployment, psychiatric problems and criminal activities.

Meanwhile, the free medical camp on floor mats, being organised by RMOs for the rural people, was attracting lots of patients with as many as 132 patients being examined, diagnosed and treated yesterday. The medicines were provided totally free of cost to the needy people.

The chain hunger strike of RMSA today got a shot in the arm with the local unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA) coming out in full support of rural doctors. Dr Shiv Dutt, president, IMA Bathinda unit, said that they would not allow this gross maltreatment of rural doctors to continue.

He assured the agitating doctors that the IMA would support the rural doctors in their noble cause and reiterated that the services of RMOs should be regularised at the earliest. The local unit of VHP has also assured full support.


Medical institute to be functional in 6 months
Project hanging fire for 15 years
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 8
The Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) project, that had been hanging fire for over 15 years, will be functional in six months.

The Cabinet approved the public-private partnership (PPP) project awarded to the Consortium of the NRI Academy of Sciences, St Joseph’s Healthcare System Inc and EDS Technologies.

The institution, spread over 56 acres with 9-lakh square metres covered area has been ready since many years.

SS Sandhu, MD, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, said the project had been delayed as the government did not have funds. Such an institute requires over Rs 300 crore . So the need of going in for the PPP mode, he pointed out.

He said the consortium would run 500-bed hospital, besides 100-seat medical college. Medical equipment, infrastructure for medical education, research and treatment of patients will have to be provided by the company.

Dispelling fears of high treatment charges from patients, he clarified charges would be on a par with those at the PGI, Chandigarh. The standard of the treatment will be among the best in the country.

Sandhu said fee structure for the medical college too would be in keeping with the decision of the Supreme Court under which a ceiling had been fixed for fee. Punjab too has framed rules in line with the directions of the apex court, he said.
While the college would begin admitting students from the next academic year and the hospital would be functional in six months, he said.

The state would not interfere in case the consortium builds separate super-speciality block on the campus. The consortium was free to charge for this. But they could not increase the cost of treatment in the main hospital, he added.

The consortium will pay annual concession fee of Rs 6.55 crore after the eighth year of the agreement.

Since the land has not been sold but granted on a 99-year lease, the state would be richer by Rs 11,528 crore on the expiry of the lease.


KPS Gill for policy against terrorism
Says Kasab statement of little value
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 8
The statement of Ajmal Amir Kasab arrested in connection with Mumbai strikes, in custody did not have much value in the international law , said former DGP Punjab KPS Gill. Gill was here today for a seminar on terrorism.

Gill said, "The biggest problem with us is our attitude. Changing home ministers for terrorist attack is no solution to tackle the menace which needs to be dealt with a policy. We always wake up when we are left wounded and the government policies are like brush and polish which dress up the incident for the time being." He added absence of experts while framing anti-terrorism policies was the biggest reason of terrorism having roots in India.

He said the political thinkers in the government and outside did not think rationally was the other reason.

He said even mounting international pressure on Pakistan would not solve the problem till we gave a wake- up call. To was an attack on Pakistan a solution, Gill replied India and Pakistan were nuclear powers and attack would not be a solution to tackle terrorism.

On the question if human rights organisations were soft towards these terrorists, Gill said, "Some organisations do make it propaganda, while some really want to promote and care about the basic rights of people." He added every person whether a terrorist or any other, had the right to express and say what he wanted to.

On role of press during the Mumbai attacks, he said, "Freedom of press should never be curbed. During Operation Black Thunder, I had invited the press to see what was being done." If you try to suppress it,it would surely not be in the interest of society, he added. 


Forest Dept campaign to green urban areas
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 8
The Forest Department has launched green- urban areas campaign by setting up ‘forest awareness parks’ on land earmarked for forests.

RK Loona, chief wildlife warden, said yesterday the campaign aimed at converting degrading forest areas, which had come into sprawl of cities, into green areas.

These areas will be developed by protecting the reserved forest land with fencing. Besides filling up low-lying areas, creation of lawns would be taken up.

Loona added this would be done under the guidance of landscape experts and senior forest officers. He said the department had developed these parks at Anandpur Sahib, Patiala and Samana.

This year, parks would be developed at Moga, Palanpur in Ropar and Hoshiarpur, he said.

Loona said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had wanted a park at Moga at a cost of Rs 2 crore for awareness about forests and environment conservation.

He said similar parks would be developed at Palanpur and Hoshiarpur to generate awareness and conserve remaining forest areas in cities and towns.


Dr JP Singh is health director 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Dr JP Singh has taken over as the new director, Health Services, Family Welfare, Punjab. He is an MS in general surgery. He joined the state government as a medical officer at PHC Paldi in district Hoshiarpur in the year 1981 and later got promoted as senior medical officer (SMO) at Phillaur in the year 1987. He also later remained posted as SMO at Samrala and Khanna.

Dr Singh took over as joint director in the Directorate of Health Services during September 2008 and was serving in the same office since then.

While outlining his priorities on the new assignment, Dr Singh said that he would work towards the implementation of PNDT Act with an objective to further improve the sex ratio in the state; bring remarkable reduction in IMR & MMR and thoroughly implement the National Rural Health Mission.


‘India can be world leader’
Our Correspondent

Nabha, February 8
Punjab Public School, Nabha, will celebrate golden jubilee in April 2010. The year-long celebrations started here today with talk on “India’s Democracy: Her peerless Assets” by Wajahat Habibullah Chief Information Commissioner India.

In Sixth Lt Gen Gurbachan Singh Buch Memorial Lecture, Habibullah said India had the potential to become world leader in the present scenario. Main feature of democracy was that all citizens were an important part of the country.

Habibullah said it was the duty of every Indian to keep democracy alive and build the country strong. On global economic crisis, he said India had faced these crises boldly. He also talked about public and private sectors and said opportunities were everywhere, but one needed to identify these. He advised students to plan strategies to achieve goals of life.

Earlier, Commodore (retd) IL Syal, headmaster of the school, welcomed the chief guest and paid tributes to late Gen Buch, who had played great role in the development of the school.


Scaffolding collapses at Rajasansi
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 8
About 100-foot high iron scaffolding put up to install decorative glass on the ceiling of the arrival terminal of Rajasansi International Airport here came crashing down yesterday.

Two of the four persons working on the scaffolding sustained injuries. They were taken to the nearby private hospital and their condition was stated to be stable. Mohan got his arm fractured. Pinto suffered minor injuries and was discharged from the hospital after first aid. Meanwhile, airport Director Arun Talwar said the project authorities would look into the matter.

Mohan told this correspondent said that they were fixing glass on the ceiling when one of the iron scaffolding slipped and the whole structure came crashing down.


No clue to stolen police vehicles
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, February 8
The official Maruti Gypsy, belonging to the DSP (Traffic), here has not been found so far. The vehicle, with a wireless set fitted on it, was stolen from outside the residence of the DSP in Jamalpur Urban Estate on January 18.

Four police vehicles have been stolen in the past few months. A police Gypsy with a wireless set, attached with a senior officer of the rank of ADGP, and two police Gypsies belonging to the Chandigarh police have been stolen and there has been no clue to these vehicles.

According to RK Jaiswal, SSP, Ludhiana, he has written to the state police headquarters to initiate departmental action against the DSP (Traffic) for his alleged negligence in ensuring safety of the official vehicle.

Meanwhile, the wireless fitted on the gypsy of the DSP (Traffic) has been decoded.


Aggarwal Sabha seeks Cong ticket
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 8
The Aggarwal Sabha has urged the Congress for a Lok Sabha seat in the Malwa belt claiming it had strength to 
influence outcome of several seats in the state.

In a letter to AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, general secretary of the sabha Prem Kumar Garg pointed out their community had majority in the Hindus of the state and had winning stake for the Bathinda and Sangrur Lok Sabha seats.

Hardeep Kumar Goyal, an aspirant for seat, said his community comprised 21 per cent of the electorate of the Sangrur constituency.


Samrala Tripple Murder
Family pays for efforts to mend ‘drug addicts’
Gurdeep Singh Mann & Gurminder Grewal
Tribune Reporters

Khanna/Samrala, February 8
The three boys, who had killed a couple and their son last night by repeatedly hitting their vehicle with a SUV, were arrested today.

The family paid a price for making an effort to mend the alleged drug addicts, who told the police that they had taught a “lesson” to the family for interfering in their “personal matters”. Despite repeated warnings, Harvinder Singh and his family had been disclosing their parents that they (boys) take smack, the arrested youth added.

Harvinder (35) his wife Jasvir Kaur (30) and their eight-year-old son Pavneet were killed in the incident while one of their relatives Sher Singh and a 10-year-old boy Lovepreet Lali were seriously injured.

The arrested youth have been identified as Gurpreet Singh, Jaspreet Singh (both brothers) and their cousin Ravinder Singh Ravi.

According to the police officials investigating the case, the three brothers are addicted to drugs, including smack. Harvinder’s family, in order to make them shun drugs, had been informing the youths’ parents about their addiction.

The boys and Harvinder’s family were living in the same locality of the Dugri area in Ludhiana.

Last night they came to attend a marriage party in Samrala wherein they entered in a brawl with Harinder when he tried to dissuade the boys from “teasing orchestra girls”.

Later, the boys chased them and hit their car repeatedly with their SUV, leading to the death of the family members.

The police said relatives of Harvinder, who were in touch with him over the phone last night, gave vital leads, leading to the arrest of the three youth from Dugri today. 


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