P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal’s wife ordered to appear in court
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

The SP Vigilance Surinder Pal Singh remained three days in Delhi to personally hear the proceeding of the SLP filed by Mr Badal and others in the case in the Supreme Court. The investigating agency is taking no chance and keen that the case should not be delayed at any cost. The state has engaged Mr Ram Jethmalani to represent the case in the Supreme Court.

Ropar, September 24
The Special Court Judge, Mr S.K. Goel, today directed Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, the wife of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, to appear personally in his court on September 28, in the case of disproportionate assets registered against her and others, including Parkash Singh Badal, her son Sukhbir Badal and three others, by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

While disposing the application moved by the SP Vigilance Bureau, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, that the presence of all accused were not only essential but also indispensable as their signatures have to be obtained on various papers, including papers pertaining to the charges to be framed against them on September 28, the Special Court Judge, Mr Goel, directed Ms Surinder Kaur Badal to appear before the court.

The Judge observed in his order that Ms Badal have granted bail on the several conditions, including that she would have to appear before the court whenever her presence would be required.

He also stated that the High Court had passed an order for the day-to-day hearing of the case to complete the trial speedily and expeditiously within the specific time of one year.

While providing information to the court about the SLP filed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and others in the Supreme Court against the High Court order and for the grant of interim relief by issuing orders or directions to the trial court for stopping proceeding in the case, the SP Vigilance submitted in the court that a three judge Bench, headed by the Chief Justice, Mr R.C Lahoti, declined to issue any order or direction for the grant of the interim relief.

The SSP also said the Supreme Court of India had passed a remark that “It is not like demolishing a building that cannot be reconstructed, let the trial court proceed with its job, we will see your points during the normal course of hearing of this SLP”.

While addressing a press conference at his residence this evening Mr Surinder Pal Singh said the investigating agency had prepared all documents related to the framing of the charges against them and would be submitted in the court on September 28 and the charges against all accused would be framed on the same date. He added the accused, including Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal, had been appearing in the court but Surinder Kaur Badal had been granted bail in the case. Therefore, the investigating agency secures her presence on September 28.

The challan filed by the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, against the Badals included disproportionate assets amounting to over Rs 78.39 crore.


I have full faith in judiciary: Bibi
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 24
She seems to have learnt a lot from her past mistakes. After taking into hand the reigns of the SGPC for the third time, she is in no hurry to touch the ticklish issues like allowing baptised women to perform sewa in the Golden Temple or forcing Giani Puran Singh, head Granthi who was sacked as Jathedar during her previous tenure to attend the meetings of Sikh clergy.

Unlike past, she won’t stop jathas from visiting Pakistan to pay obeisance in Sikh shrines there, though she has categorically refused to give any recognition to the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).

During her earlier tenure, she had to go into ‘ekantwas’ (seclusion) for some time due to variety of reasons. Obviously, this time she wants to run the SGPC in a smooth manner.

“I shall restore ‘maryada’ and resolve all vexed issues in a phased manner”, she quipped. However, she reiterated her determination to restore discipline in the SGPC at all costs.

Terming the registration of a case on the charge of eliminating her daughter as ‘politically motivated’, she said she had full faith in judiciary. “I shall fight it out,” she said.

On the reaction of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who described her appointment as ‘unfortunate: as there was a case pending against her, she said, “I don’t want to remind him of the ‘shameful immoral acts’ that had hit the headlines of newspapers not very long ago.

She said Capt Amarinder Singh should mind his language against women.

“People will be convinced that the cases pending in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission or the CBI were politically motivated, when I will come out clean”, she added.

She said she did not have to get certificate from the CM or her political opponents about the cases that were yet to be decided by the court. “She said such questions should be addressed to the Sikh sangat that had elected her member of the SGPC by ignoring all politically motivated cases. “Moreover, I have mass following. About 11 crore Wanjaras, Sikligars and Lobanas in the country had already honoured me with the title of ‘Wanjara Maa’ (mother of the community)”, she said.

She asked why the Chief Minister or her political rivals had raised such cases when she conducted the stage to mark the quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in presence of the Prime Minister, more than 60 prominent Sikh sants and representatives of Nihang sects.

Replying a question, Bibi Jagir Kaur said she would lead a delegation of SGPC members to Pakistan for holding meetings with those at the helm of affairs for getting the controversial Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) disbanded.

She still feels that the SGPC had the sole right to manage Sikh shrines in Pakistan as per the Nehru-Lyakat Ali pact, reached between the two countries. She, however, expressed eagerness to carry out ‘kar seva’ of gurdwaras in Pakistan.

She said she would seek appointment with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for taking up all pending issues pertaining to gurdwaras with his Pakistani counterpart.

When asked whether she would allow baptised women to perform sewa in the Golden Temple, she said such issues would be settled amicably. She said was it not enough that the SGPC had elevated a woman to the coveted post?. Everything would be done in due course, she said .

On the booking of Mr Baldev Singh, an SGPC member, on the charge of molestation, she said action would be taken up as per the directive of Sikh high priests who would hold meeting on October 4.

Interestingly, instead of visiting her home town Begowal, Bibi Jagir Kaur went to Tohra village to seek blessings of the widow of Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Later, she visited Guru Nanak Engineering College to persuade students to end their fast.


State BJP chief hails Bibi’s election
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, today hailed the election of Bibi Jagir Kaur as President of the SGPC.

Meanwhile, he has complained to the Election Commission regarding alleged misuse of official machinery by the ruling party for two byelections. He said the lifting of the ban of recruitment in government departments was a violation of the code of conduct operative in the state because of the coming byelections.


Uma ridicules Left’s ‘double standards’
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, September 24
Senior BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Ms Uma Bharti, today ridiculed the Left leadership for its double standards. She said while the leftists were opposing the appointment of foreign consultants in the Planning Commission, they did not have any objection to a foreigner (Ms Sonia Gandhi) presiding over the United Progressive Alliance, which ruled over the country and of which they were a part.

Addressing a party rally at Janakpuri here today, during the last leg of her ‘Tiranga Yatra’, Ms Bharti said when she raised the issue of the foreign origin of Ms Gandhi, when attempts were being made to “foist” her on the country, the leftists condemned and criticised her. “Now the same leftists are opposing the appointment of foreign consultants in the Planning Commission panel”, Ms Bharti pointed out.

She wondered as why the Left was not taking a similar stance on the UPA issue as how a foreigner was presiding over it. She said compared to the UPA, the Planning Commission was too small an issue. “This only implies the double standards of the leftists”, she argued.

The BJP leader had, however, full praise for the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. She said Dr Singh was a man of high integrity and capable of delivering enormous good to the country. She said he should have courage and take a bold initiative and remove the tainted ministers from his Cabinet. She said, “but for the tainted minister, Dr Singh would prove to be a very good Prime Minister”.

Referring to her own resignation, she said there was no compulsion for here to resign. “But I felt that I should prove myself right as I was right and justified and people have realised it as who was wrong and who was right”, she observed, while adding that she had no lust for power.

Ms Bharti condemned the attack on her yatra allegedly by the activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), who she alleged, had not attacked her but meant disrespect to the national Tricolour. The Tiranga Yatra will conclude at Amritsar tomorrow where a joint rally of the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) will be addressed by senior leaders.

PHAGWARA: In her twenty minute address to joint BJP-SAD roadside rally held near Bhanoki Tower this evening, Ms Bharti devoted half of her time in denouncing those workers of Mann Dal who had shown her black flags after she had entered in Punjab today. It was not the handiwork of Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (A) President but of Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, who had allowed this just to please Ms Sonia Gandhi, she alleged. While the Punjab police allowed Mann Dal workers to show black flags to the Tiranga Yatra, it beat up our yatra participants when they opposed the detractors, she alleged.

She refused to say anything to a query as to whether she was an aspirant for the office of BJP President as rumours were rife that the present President Venkaiah Naidu was about to put in his papers. Rushing into her specially fabricated vehicle, Ms Bharti tried to avoid newsmen but when the query was virtually flung at her she refused to say anything over the matter.


Tribune Impact
Cong may find itself in spot
EC seeks report on poll code violation
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The ruling Congress is heading for trouble.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken note of a news report appearing in these columns that brought to the fore the violation of the election code by ruling party members during the filing of nomination papers by Congress candidate Sukhjinder Rana.

Reacting to the report, the ECI has asked Punjab Chief Electoral Officer to look into the matter and submit a report.

The copy of the communique, along with the news report, was today forwarded to the Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner (DC) by the election department here. The DC has been asked to look into the matter immediately and furnish a detailed “factual report”.

The Election Observer has also asked the DC to inquire into the incident. The officer is expected to submit his report by Monday.

Sources in the election office say that the Congress “may soon find itself in a spot as the report carries with it a photograph showing the vehicle of a “VIP” with a beacon light and a flag.

The Tribune report, published on September 23, had revealed the misuse of official machinery by the ruling party members during the filing of nomination papers by the Congress candidate for the Kapurthala Assembly constituency.

Giving the details, the report had stated that President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee H.S. Hanspal, accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, had commuted from the PAP complex in Jalandhar to the returning officer’s work station at Kapurthala in the Chief Minister’s official bulletproof car. Details regarding the use of the state helicopter had also been mentioned.

Quoting the Chief Minister, the report had stated that Capt Amarinder Singh had denied allegations regarding the use of official machinery by him and his ministerial colleagues. He had claimed that there was no violation of code as he had used the helicopter for attending the meeting of officials at Jalandhar.

On the use of cars by ministers, he had asked the media to publish a picture in the newspaper if they had any.

The elections are scheduled to be held on October 13. As many as 16 nomination papers were initially filed. After the rejection of five papers, 11 candidates are in the fray. In 2002, the party had won the seat by a margin of over 10,000 votes. The seat fell vacant following the election of Rana Gurjit Singh to the Lok Sabha during the recently concluded parliamentary elections.

In another election-related development, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President-cum-former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today objected to the timing of lifting the ban on recruitment by the state government.

Describing it as “another act of violation of the Model Code of Conduct”, he demanded action against the government. “We are not against the lifting of the ban, but its timing is highly objectionable”, said Mr Badal in a statement released from the party head office here.


News Analysis
Congress miscalculation is Akalis’ gain
by P.P.S. Gill

Chandigarh, September 24
A major part of the credit for the re-election of Bibi Jagir Kaur as President of the SGPC — Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee — on Thursday must be apportioned to the Congress.

Keen to take advantage of the ‘’fluid’’ equations and factionalism in the SGPC and the Akali Dal and to queer the pitch for Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Congress was given wrong advise by some “vested interests”.

They suggested “blocking” the nomination papers of three SGPC contestants, Mr Alwinder Singh Pakhoke, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Mr Sucha Singh Langha, all presidential candidates. Their gameplan was that if the three did not make it to the SGPC general house, it would give them political advantage in their respective constituencies.

On the contrary, this political miscalculation of the Congress proved to be a blessing in disguise for the SAD President, Mr Badal, who was saved much of political jugglery and balancing that he would have had to perform had the three made it to SGPC general house. With them out of the way, he hand-picked a person of his choice and confidence to foist as SGPC President.

Bibi Jagir Kaur is neither new to the Akali brand of politics nor unfamiliar with in-house intricacies in the SGPC, involving the burgeoning babudom and head priests, where groupism is as strong as in the SAD. With Bibi Jagir Kaur as President and an executive committee of his choice, Mr Badal has now almost complete control over the Akali politics and the SGPC.

The political calculus which has placed Bibi Jagir Kaur in the chair demands a high degree of fair play from her, given the religio-political responsibilities that go with it. The tasks before her are as challenging as are the serious criminal charges against her.

The CBI has charged her with ‘’murder’’ of her daughter. The case is in court. This aspect of her political career cannot be ignored.

So intertwined are religion and politics in the SAD-SGPC relationship that it is difficult for any incumbent SGPC President to refrain from politicking or confine to assigned tasks — management of gurdwaras and sorting out individual and institutional controversies and conflicts.

The new SGPC President can neither wish away the noticeable presence of several Akali Dal factions, religious sects, groups and institutions nor muffle their voices.

Bibi Jagir Kaur may have been rewarded for her ‘’loyality’’ to Mr Badal or may even be dismissed as his ‘’rubber stamp’’. The fact, however, is that her presence could be of immediate political advantage, given the upcoming assembly byelections in Kapurthala and Garhshankar. The Bibi’s own assembly constituency, Bholath, falls in Kapurthala. She belongs to Lobana caste and this community has a pronounced vote bank that could now be of advantage to the SAD candidate, Mr Raghbir Singh.

A teacher-turned-dera head-turned politician, she is articulate, sharp and well-versed with the Sikh scriptures. If her grassroots base has helped her find her way amidst political booby traps in the Sikh politics, she now has the unstinted support and protection of Mr Badal in dealing with men and matters.

Will her presence as SGPC President, yet again, be of any consequence to the women as a class? What should women expect from her in the religious domain, when women are denied equal participation in several religious “ceremonies and rituals’’ in the Golden Temple, despite having been given respect and equality by the Sikh Gurus?

One would expect her to first "’educate" the SGPC and work studiously to take general, technical and professional education to the masses using the SGPC as a special purpose vehicle for socio-economic transformation of a society, where drug abuse is rampant.

Health is another important field where she can play a decisive role by involving SGPC money and manpower.


Bogus voters: RO likely to be transferred
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 24
Keeping in view the serious nature of complaints pertaining to bungling in the enrolment of bogus voters for the Kapurthala Assembly segment during the recent revision of electoral rolls, the Election Commission is likely to replace the Returning Officer (RO), Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia, to ensure free and fair elections.

Highly placed sources in the State Electoral Office revealed that during a meeting of the Election Commission officials with the administrator officials, the SDM-cum-Returning Officer and election observer at Civil Rest House here yesterday, was observed that prima facie the officials concerned did not respond in a requisite manner to redress the complaints.

The sources further revealed that the EC officials suggested the replacement of Returning Officer to avoid any further controversy regarding the functioning of the Election Commission. “The returning officer for the Kapurthala byelections needs to be replaced immediately to ensure free and fair elections”, an EC official was quoted as saying by a senior civil official who attended the meeting.

The sources pointed out that EC officials had recommended the names of the SDM of Sultanpur Lodhi, the GA to Deputy Commissioner or any other PCS officer of the rank equivalent to the SDM for appointment as new Returning Officer.

Earlier, a SAD (Badal) in a missive to the Chief Election Commission had alleged that the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, the SSP, Mr S.K. Asthana, and Mr Sandhawalia were hand in gloves with the ruling party candidate as they were making all out efforts to influence the electorate on one pretext or the other.

Subsequently, the EC officials after scrutinising the records had reportedly found the claims of only 785 voters out of a total of as many as 8,627 applications as genuine. While the names of 396 voters were recommended to be deleted as against 2,777 applications.

On the other hand, a massive rally was organised on the district administrative complex by the Congress workers on the last day of filing of nomination papers. It was seen as a violation of election code of conduct.

When contacted, Mr Sandhawalia said he had not received any order in this regard. Meanwhile, there were rumours regarding the transfer of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, and the SSP, Mr S.K. Asthana. Mr Verma, however, maintained that though he had also learnt about the orders regarding his transfers from various quarters but he was yet to receive any formal orders in this regard.


Bogus votes: CPI calls for strict action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said here today that the Election Commission should go deep into the issue of bogus votes detected in Kapurthala Assembly constituency and take the strictest possible action against those involved in the enlisting of bogus votes.

Speaking to mediapersons this evening, Dr Dayal said the Congress party was responsible for bogus votes and all its senior leaders associated with this exercise should be taken to task by the Commission. He said that it was the first time that the Commission had done such a remarkable job of on-the-spot checking of voter lists to detect bogus votes.

He said that neither any officer nor any politicians connected with the bogus votes should be spared because strict action by the Commission at this stage would go a long way to eliminate the menace of bogus votes in Indian democracy.

Meanwhile, he has urged the Congress to withdraw its candidate from the Garhshankar constituency where byelection will be held on October 13.

He said the CPI had put its candidate in this constituency and the Congress should support him.


Head of Dept, Reader exchange blows at board meeting
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 24
The Head of the Department of Business Management & Commerce of Guru Nanak Dev University and a Reader of the department exchanged blows in the board of control meeting here today.

Apart from exchanging blows, Dr G.S. Bhalla Head of the Department, and Dr Balwinder Singh, Reader, threw telephone, tumbler and chairs on each other. This is for the first time that such a situation arose in the board of control meeting of any department of the university.

The students of the department observed strike and urged the Vice-Chancellor to take immediate steps to ensure decorum in the department.

The trouble started following an objection by a teacher as regards convening a meeting of the board following a minor complaint against a clerk of the department . While Dr Bhalla alleged he was severely beaten up during the meeting, Dr Balwinder Singh alleged it was the HoD who threw telephone at him.

Earlier, both of them used abusive language against each other. Dr Balwinder Singh said he had to intervene when Dr Bhalla used unparliamentary language against Dr Subash Chander, another senior professor of the department, during the meeting.

The trouble has been brewing in the department for the past about more than six months. Earlier also explanation letters written by the HoD against certain teachers were withdrawn on the intervention of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh.

Today, the Vice-Chancellor called an emergency meeting of the department. He also held a separate meeting with representatives of the GND University Teachers Association, including Dr Devinder Singh, and Dr Kuldip Singh , president and secretary of the association respectively . The association urged the Vice-Chancellor to take immediate action to restore discipline in the department . The VC is likely to order a regular inquiry into the case.


Govt to pay more than MSP for clean paddy
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Punjab Government has decided to pay 1.5 per cent over the minimum support price (MSP) to farmers and co-operative societies bringing and selling clean and dry paddy at Markfed mills and mandis designated by it.

The Markfed authorities revealed that the payment would be made to the farmers and societies the same day. They said Markfed had four modern rice mills at Rajpura, Macchiwara, Nawanshahr and Bagapurana, besides six Korean mills at Guniana Mandi, Gidderbaha, Naushera Pannua, Jaitu and Batala.

The procurement of paddy would start from September 27. Markfed’s Managing Director S.S. Channy said in order to ensure smooth and quick procurement of paddy suitable directions had been issued to all District Managers and other officers concerned.

“They have been asked to make pre-requisite arrangements of crates, polythene covers, nets and other stuff as per the requirement at mandis and purchase centres allotted to Markfed”.

He said Markfed had been allotted 403 mandis and purchase centres. As many as 162 were joint while over 240 were exclusive. In all, 1461 mandis and purchase centres had been opened in the state.

The procurement would be made on the minimum support price of Rs 560 per quintal for common and Rs 590 per quintal for grade ‘A’. Another officer said Markfed had been allotted share of 20 per cent — equivalent to 22 lakh metric tonnes of paddy during the season.

About 128 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was expected to arrive in the markets for procurement this year. The government agencies would procure about 110 lakh metric tonnes. The remaining paddy was expected to be purchased by traders.

He said the Punjab Government had allocated Rs 520 crore to Markfed, out of Rs 1891 crore released by the Reserve Bank of India for paddy procurement operations.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director said any harassment to farmers would not be tolerated and they should be paid their due within the stipulated time. He said stern action would be taken against erring officials. The MD also asked the farmers to bring clean and dry paddy to the mandis.


Libya-returned youth robbed, tortured by co-worker
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 24
Antaryami, Tilakraj, and Sukhdev suffered at the hands of foreigners. But Gurpreet Singh of Tallewala village in Sangrur district, who was working as a truck driver in Libya, was allegedly robbed and tortured by his own Indian co-worker.

A traumatised Gurpreet is in a state of shock. He is not in a position to give a statement. He somehow managed to reach his grandparents’ home at Ghal Kalan village in Moga yesterday.

Gurpreet’s father, Kunda Singh said his 21-year-old son had gone to Libya in December 2002 to work as a driver for an India-based firm, SSVV, having its headquarters in New Delhi.

He said in the first week of September they received a call from Guljar Singh, a resident of Sirhind, who asked about some goods sent by his brother, Sukhwinder Singh, also working in Libya, through his son.

The family was surprised, as they had no knowledge that he was coming back to India.

They called up his company’s office in Libya from where they came to know that Gurpreet and one more person, Lakhbeer Singh from India had resigned a few days ago and they had been paid all their dues.

The family was informed that Gurpreet had left for India on September 7.

They obtained the address of Lakhbir Singh who was accompanying Gurpreet from the office.

However upon reaching his home at Sarai Khas village of Kartarpur in Jalandhar district his family members behaved rudely with Kunda Singh.

They refused to divulge any information about Gurpreet.

Initially they said Lakhbeer was yet to return from Libya, but later said he would call them up tomorrow.

Very next day, Lakhbeer contacted Gurpreet’s family and told them that he had got down in Ludhiana and that was the last time he saw him.

When Kunda further enquired about his son Lakhbeer allegedly threatened him.

His family members suspect that Gurpreet might have been robbed of his money.

“Clueless, Kunda Singh lodged a complaint with the Kartarpur police.

A couple of days ago his mother received a call from Gurpreet who said he would reach his grandparents’ home at Ghal Kalan soon However, the family’s relief was short-lived.

Gurpreet is in a state of shock. Kunda Singh said that he wasn’t even able to identify his friends.

It seemed someone had given him intoxicating drug.

His clothes were also torn as if he was thrashed,” he added. Sobbing Kunda Singh said that they had dreamt big for their only son when he left for Libya in his teens.


VIP cards ‘sold’ at Baba Farid Mela
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 24
While people exhibited enthusiasm in the nine-day Baba Farid Mela, government officials apparently cashed in on the opportunity with a case of VIP invitation cards being sold by them coming to light.

Keeping in view the presence of VIPs, the police and district administration were on their toes to ensure a smooth programme.

But a chink in their arrangements came to light when the CID informed the Deputy Commissioner through a letter on September 22 that invitation cards for the last day’s function were being sold for Rs 100 to Rs 200.

Surprisingly, many district officials, mediapersons and other dignitaries were left without the cards, while general public succeeded in laying their hands on them.

Unconfirmed reports said government officials made quick buck by selling these cards.

When contacted, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, said all invitation cards were cancelled following the CID report and these were issued afresh bearing the signature of the Additional Deputy Commissioner.

He said police personnel were told not to allow anyone in possessing cards without the ADC’s signature.

He also admitted that the cards were not meant to be sold. The DC said he had sought a report from the CID in this regard.


Minister ‘misleading’ media on Electricity Act: forum
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 24
A joint forum of PSEB Employees has alleged that State Finance Minister Surinder Singla has been wrongly interpreting the Electricity Act 2003 to the media to legitimise unbundling of state electricity boards whereas the Act specifically provides for continuing of State Electricity Boards as a company working under integrated mode. Thus it is misleading to propagate that the Act mandates the separation of generation, transmission and distribution functions, the forum claims.

The forum has stated that the Finance Minister seems to have forgotten that the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre is being run on common minimum programme (CMP) which states: “The review of the Electricity Act 2003 will be undertaken in view of the concern expressed by a number of states. The mandatory date of June 10, 2004, for the implementation of the SEBS will be extended.”

In this context, the forum says, the Central Government has already given one year extension to certain states. The fact is that the Punjab Government sought extension for six months up to December 9 even before the formulation of the UPA common minimum programme. The forum also claims Mr Singla had taken a U-turn over the Chief Minister’s stand over the non-privatisation of power boards.

While defending the efficiency of the PSEB, it says in our country 56 per cent homes are yet to get electricity whereas the PSEB achieved 100 per cent electrification target in 1976. The forum questions which unbundled SEB has brought down the transmission and distribution losses up to 25 per cent whereas the PSEB is having the lowest T and D losses of 24.5 per cent.

The PSEB is the only board in the country which earned profit during 2003-04. On the other hand an experimental pocket privatisation in Noida failed. Private discom getting power delivered at 1.52 paisa per unit from UP transco and retailing it to industrial, commercial, domestic consumers at high tariffs ranging over Rs 4 per unit has failed to pay UP transco over Rs 400 crore.

The forum has asked the government and board management to clear the position of GVK private company which signed an MoU with the PSEB for generation 500 MW, but not even a single unit has come from the company.


Pak MP visits ancestral village
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Sarawan Bodla (Muktsar), September 24
A section of women of this and its surrounding villages offer prayers in the names of Bodla Pirs (saints of Bodla) whenever their near and dear ones go out for various works connected with agriculture or other jobs.

Before Partition, about four families of the descendants of Bodla Pirs used to live in this village. These families were respected by residents as they were considered descendants of the Prophet.

Yesterday evening, the residents of the village got a pleasant surprise when Pir Mohammad Aslam, one of the descendants of Pir Bodla families and now MP from Mian Channu district of Pakistan, visited the village of his ancestors after about 57 years.

The residents extended him a warm reception. He was honoured in every house that he visited. A function was organised by the villagers in his honour and he was made to stay in the house of Mr Jagtar Singh Dhillon, whose forefathers were close friends of members of Pir Bodla families that lived in the village.

He was taken to village gurdwara set up in an old mosque. He also saw a well got dug by his forefathers. He was presented “Kalma” (religious literature of Muslims) and picture of that well by Mr Balkar Singh, a senior official of the Punjab Police, who also belonged to the village.

All four families of Bodla Pirs, including the family of Pir Sanallah Bodla, father of Pir Mohammad Aslam, had migrated to the west Punjab area of Pakistan following Partition.

Pir Mohammad Aslam could not hold back his tears when married and unmarried persons and daughters-in-law of the village touched his feet as a mark of respect to him, when he left around noon.

Members of Pir Bodla families have been enjoying reverence in this and its surrounding villages as they are said to possess the power of curing diseases by exorcism, especially snake bite and hydrophobia. They are recognised as saints.

Most of the buildings that were occupied by members of Pir Bodla families before Partition are now in bad shape. These “havelis” were allotted to those who migrated to India from Raja Jung village, near Lahore.


Roshani Begum case: arrest of guilty sought
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 24
The Muslim Welfare and Roza Committee, Dera Bassi, and members of Muslim community have demanded arrest of five persons who allegedly assaulted Mrs Roshani Begum and constructed a brick-wall at the door of her house in Haripur Hinduan village on September 12.

Apprehending threat to the lives of Roshani Begum, her husband Mr Sahib Ram and their children, Mr Mohammad Sitar, president of Muslim Welfare and Roza Committee, Dera Bassi, has demanded action against the assailants.

To express sympathy with the victim family, leaders of different Muslim organisations visited the village since after the incident. The leaders have also demanded justice for the family, claimed Mohammad Sitar.

The police booked Ajit Singh, Colonel (retired), Mangat Ram, Gurdev Singh, Jarnail Singh and Niab Singh, of the same village on the complaint of Mrs Roshani Begum on September 13. A case under Sections 452, 323, 506, 120-B and 34 of the IPC was also registered against them at Dera Bassi police station.

Mr Ram Saran, ASI who is also the investigation officer of the case, said that both the parties have agreed to settle the issue on a compromise. He, however, also claimed that the case was being inquired into by a senior police official.


Dharna in support of SHO facing rape charge
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 24
A large number of residents of Balarwal village in Ajnala Tehsil, member of the nagar panchayats and councillors today held a dharna in favour of the Station House Officer (SHO) of Ajnala police station who was charged by a minor girl with rape at main chowk of Ajnala, about 25 km from here.

The girl at a press conference held here yesterday had alleged that she was picked and raped by two boys of the same village on September 14. She alleged that on September 18, the SHO summoned her to the police station for recording her statement. He took her in a room in police station and raped her.

However, the residents of the area, who blocked traffic for about five hours, alleged that the charges against the SHO were baseless. They gave clean chit to him and raised slogans against Kishori Lal, Mohan Lal and Lakhwinder Kaur of the area who, they alleged, had provoked the girl and her parents against the SHO.

The girl was raped by two persons, Ninder Singh and Bittu, and a case had been registered under Section 376/34, IPC.

The nagar pachayat and residents gave “panchayatnama”, “majornama” and a memorandum to be forwarded to the chief minister.

In the meanwhile, the SSP, Majitha police district, Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, today ordered a probe by the SP (D). He said stern action would be taken against the culprits.


Lions Club installation ceremony
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 24
The installation of cabinet of District Governor (321 F), Mr Jaswant Rai Garg, will be held at hotel Sappel on September 26. Mr A.P Singh, International Director, of Lions Club, will be the chief guest on the occasion.

Members of more than 140 clubs will attend the installation ceremony, this was stated in a press note issued on Friday.


Bank staff hold demonstration
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 24
On the call of All India Oriental Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) and the All India Oriental Bank Employees Association (AIOBEA), more than 400 bank employees of Oriental Bank of Commerce held a demonstration in front of Regional Office, Chotti Baradari, here against the merger of private sector Global Trust Bank with the premier Public sector Bank Oriental Bank of Commerce.

The employees demanded a full scale parliamentary or judicial enquiry to check the alleged nexus between the promoters of the bank and brokers of stock market. It was demanded to stop outsourcing of employees of the erstwhile Global Trust Bank and an enquiry was also demanded negative impact of the loss of about 1000 crores and Non Performing Assets to the tune of Rs 1500 crores on the performance of OBC.


Woman handed over to in-laws
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 24
A resident of Mundi Kharar, near here, who had received blunt injuries in her abdomen after she was allegedly beaten up by some woman of the locality on September 15, was handed over to her in-laws.

The girl, Sunita, who was treated at the local Civil Hospital, was handed over to her in-laws after the municipal councillor of the area ensured that she would not be facing any problem from her in-laws in future.

The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who intervened in the case, directed the SHO to take action against persons who had allegedly beaten up Sunita.


SDM submits report on acid throwing case
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 24
After six months of wait, Mr Iqbal Singh and his wife Manjit Kaur, residents of Ubnawal village, near here are likely to get justice in connection with the acid throwing incident that took place on March 10.

The couple were in their sleep at their residence, when someone threw acid at their faces.

Later Mr Darshan Singh, a relative of Mr Iqbal Singh, submitted a complaint to the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner. On this complaint, the Deputy Commissioner ordered the Sangrur SDM on July 30 to conduct an inquiry and submit his report.

In his complaint, Mr Darshan Singh named one Darshan Singh and one Leela Singh, the culprits.

The complainant claimed Darshan Singh himself in a threatening tone told him about the incident.

The Sangrur SDM, Mr Gurtej Singh, conducted inquiry and sent his report to the Deputy Commissioner office a couple of days ago, recommending registration of a case against the alleged accused.

On the basis of the report, the Deputy Commissioner will send the case to the local police for registering a case against the alleged “guilty” persons.


High Court
Bail granted
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 24
Mr Justice A.K. Goel of the High Court on Friday granted regular bail to Gidderbaha Akali MLA Manpreet Singh Badal in a corruption case.

Mr Manpreet Badal, nephew of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was booked by the Zira police on September 26, for having forcibly grabbed the land of a dera in Sekhwan village, Ferozepore.

The allegation against him was that he vacated the land only after taking a huge sum of money. He was on interim bail.

Notice of motion

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Mr Justice SS Nijjar and Mr Justice J.S. Narang today issued notice of motion for October 4 on a petition filed by a lawyer who was not re-appointed as Deputy-General (DAG) by the Punjab Government in the recent reshuffle.

In his petition, advocate Inder Pal Singh Sidhu, whose one-year contract as law officer was not renewed by the government, has sought quashing of contractual clauses in his appointment letter.

He has also prayed for directions to the respondents to allow him to continue in his position.

Mr Sidhu was first selected Assistant Advocate-General on June 21, 1991. In February 1996, he resigned on the asking of the government. However, he was re-appointed on April 21, 1997.

In December 2001, the petitioner was promoted as DAG.

When the Congress government was formed in Punjab, the petitioner, along with other law officers, put in their papers on the direction of the Advocate-General (AG). He was re-appointed.

However, in the latest re-shuffle in the office of the Advocate-General (AG), the petitioner was not re-appointed, following which he moved the High Court. The case will now come up on October 4.


Inside Babudom
Punjab Government prunes police posts
3 posts of IGP, 5 of DIG to go
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Punjab Police has reportedly decided to reduce the number of Additional Director-Generals of Police (ADGPs) and Inspectors-General of Police (IGP) by half.

As a step towards the pruning of posts, the Punjab Government today ordered that three posts IGPand five posts of Deputy Inspector-General (DIGs) were being abolished.

The government also ordered that three posts of ADGP were to be abolished "as soon as they fell vacant". In an order issued by the Punjab Government's Department of Home Affairs and Justice, a decision to redesignate six other posts was also taken.

The redesignation of 52 more posts, including the posts of Superintendent of Police (SP), was also taken. This has led to widespread resentment among the IPS lobby.

Reacting to the resolutions, senior Punjab Police officers claimed that the same would lead to stagnation. Elaborating , they added that the officers would have to wait for years together for being promoted to the next post.

Moreover, the government had taken the decision to abolish the posts as far as the IPS officers were concerned. The authorities had not taken any such decision regarding IAS officers.

Giving details of the policy aimed at pruning the posts, the officers asserted that the government had also decided to have two IGPs under one ADGP.

Punjab Government officers, on the other hand, maintained that the orders had been passed to "rationalise and restructure the posts in the Punjab Police".

a copy of the order revealed that two posts of IGP (Operations I and II), besides IGP (Security) had been abolished.

The order further stated that five posts of DIG, including Operations and Security (Bahaburgarh), besides Operations and Training, along with Intelligence-II, Government Railway Police and Training (Punjab Armed Police) had been abolished. The posts of ADGP, to be abolished "as soon as they fell vacant", included Operations, Training and Rules.

The order said that ADGP in charge of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) were to be redesignated as IGP (PSEB) and IGP, PHRC, on vacancy.

The posts of ADGP Security-II and IVC were also to be redesignated. The ADGP Security-II would be ADGP, Computers and Telecommunications, and ADGP, IVC, would be ADGP, IVC-cum-human rights. IGP ,Litigation, would be IGP Human Rights, and DIG (PAP) would be DIG (Litigation).

The order further added that Amritsar's SP Operations would be SP City-II. The SP Detective ,Majitha, Batala, Nawanshahr and Muktsar, would also be SPs, Vigilance Bureau. Mansa's SP-Detective would be SP Crime-II and Khanna's SP-Detective would be SP, Human Rights.

Assistant Commandant (AC) of 5th IRD at Amritsar would be SP, Litigation Wing, Chandigarh. Jalandhar's SP-Operations would be SP City-I.

AC 80th Battalion, PAP ,would be SP Detective ,Hoshiarpur, AC IRB Ladda Kothi, would be SP, Headquarters, Kapurthala, and SP Operations of Kapurthala would be SP, Detective.

Ferozepore SP, Operations, would be SP, Detective, Barnala's SP, Detective, would be Sangrur's SP, Detective. Ludhiana's SP Operations would be SP, Detective.

AC 5th CDO, Bahadurgarh ,would be Zonal Crime, SP, Jalandhar, Moga's SP, detective, would be SP, Zonal Crime, Patiala.

AC 36th Battalion, PAP, Bahadurgarh, would be SP, GRP, Jalandhar, AC 6th IRB, Ladda Kothi, would be SP ,Headquarters, Ropar. SP, Research Cell, would be SP, Zonal Ludhiana. Faridkot's SP Operations, besides AC of 82nd PAP battalion, AC 4th CDO battalion at Mohali, AC 4th IRB Jalandhar, AC CDO battalion at Mohali, AC 75the PAP battalion at Jalandhar and Jagroan's SP, Detective, would be SPs, CM Security.

SP, Security Intelligence Wing, would be SP, Security Wing.


MC to get tough on commercial licence
Building fee hiked to Rs 40 per sq yard
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 24
Unable to persuade owners of commercial establishments to apply for licences despite various deadlines and extensions, the corporation has decided to get tough with defaulters. Five teams have been constituted to conduct checks on business establishments from Monday and levy a five time penalty on those who do not have the required licences.

Against around 50,000 commercial establishments in the city, owners of only 4,500 have the required licences. During a recent drive in this connection, the corporation was able to issue only 3,500 more licences despite repeated extensions of the deadline for acquiring the document.

All commercial establishments are required to obtain a licence from the corporation fee of which ranges from Rs 200 to Rs 2,000 per month.

Mayor Vishnu Sharma told TNS that it had been decided to get tough on this issue to raise funds for the corporation. He said five teams had been constituted to conduct door-to-door check in all commercial areas from Monday. He said the Assistant Town Planner (ATP) and superintendents of Water Supply and Octroi and Land would head the teams besides other officials.

The Mayor said the defaulters would be given the necessary G-8 receipt for their licence but would have to pay a five-time penalty on the spot. He said establishments which did not obtain the licence even after the drive would be challaned and persons would have to pay a composition fee of Rs 1,000 after compounding of their fine.

All those who are issued licences for various businesses would also be brought under the house tax head. At present owners of only 15,000 residences in the city pay house tax to the corporation. A survey of buildings would be conducted to bring more people under the house tax head, he added.

Simultaneously the corporation has increased the building fee from Rs 12 per yard to Rs 40 per yard which is prevailing in Ludhiana. This is expected to more than double the income of the building branch of the corporation from Rs 2.20 crore to nearly Rs 5 crore.

If the increase in revenue from the licence and house tax heads is also taken into account the revenue of the corporation is likely to increase by nearly Rs 10 crore annually. At present the budget of the corporation is around Rs 30 crore.

Efforts are also being made to increase revenue from octroi after reshuffling staff and intensive checking. The revenue has picked up with a generation of Rs 76 lakh till September 21 this month as against Rs 61 lakh generated during the same period last year.


CTU GM booked for conductor’s death
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 24
The Dera Bassi police has booked the General Manager (GM) of Chandigarh Transport Under Taking (CTU) Surinder Kumar Dhaiya and his relative for forcing a conductor Nachhatar Singh of the CTU to commit suicide.

The GM has been booked on the complaint of Mrs Kiran Lata, wife of the conductor, and a case under Sections 306, 511 and 34 of the Indian Penal code was registered against him at Dera Bassi police station, late last night.

In her complaint to the police Mrs Kiran Lala had alleged that the General manager had been harassing her husband for the last a couple of months and putting him on duty at odd hours. The GM had also threatened him to get suspended from the job. Following the pressures Nachhatar Singh took the extreme step, she alleged.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh Government Transport Workers Union and the CTU Employees and Workers Union have condemned the statement of Nachhatar Singh’s wife.

In a press noted issued jointly by the unions, Mr Hem Singh Rana, president and Mr Kanhaya Lal, general secretary, of CTU Employees and Workers Union, Mr Pashora Singh, presidents and Mr Jagdish Singh, general secretary, respectively, of the Chandigarh Government Transport Workers Union said that the allegations leveled against Surinder Kumar Dahiya, GM, by the deceased wife were false. They said that some elements of the CTU might have instigated Mrs Kiran Lata to give such statements.

The unions have also appealed the authorities to cancel the FIR against Surinder Kumar Dahiya.


Land mafia gets huts demolished
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 24
The land mafia here with the help of their henchmen allegedly got demolished some huts constructed by dwellers yesterday. They not only damaged jhuggis there but also threatened the occupants with dire consequences. The dwellers in their self-defence pelted them with stones before they fled.

According to victims, about 30 to 35 hired henchmen of a group of colonisers gathered near Kapoor Hospital at Indera Colony Road here and started demolishing a wall of the house of Prithvi, who is a vendor at the local railway station.

Majority of the dwellers had gone to their jobs and only some female members were present at the time of incident. The colonisers have reportedly purchased the colony land.

They residents alleged that they had been living here for the past more than 20 years and without adopting a legal procedure the colonisers were using illegal means to evict them. Sources revealed that the colonisers had constructed shops and sold some plots on the basis of power of attorney without permission of PUDA.

Local SP Manminder Singh said today that he had issued a directive to register a case against the culprits.


3 quacks arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 24
As many as three quacks were arrested at different places in this district when four medical teams of the district health authorities accompanied by senior civil and police officials under the supervision of the Civil Surgeon, Dr Yashpal Singla, raided their premises late last night.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that those arrested for their alleged involvement in carrying out the medical practice without having valid documents included Prem Verma, Tarsem Verma (both of Raman Mandi) and Mohinder Pal Kalra of Talwandi Sabo. Three criminal cases were registered against them in Raman Mandi and Talwandi sabo.

After the raids were conducted at different clinics being run by the quacks under the garb of licence of “vaid”, a large number of quacks, who have been doing roaring business in the Malwa region, including Bathinda, Mansa, Sangrur, Faridkot and Muktsar district, have started vanishing to evade arrest.

Dr Singla, while talking to mediapersons, said that a quack, Mohinder Pal Kalra, was operating an X-ray machine in his clinic set up at Talwandi Sabo town. He added that all the three quacks, who had been arrested, were running clinic without having valid degrees and other documents. He said that a number of parents were found in the clinic who were getting indoor treatment when the raids were conducted.


7 injured in group clash
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 24
Seven persons, including a former Block Youth Congress president Surinderjit Singh Sagri, were injured in a group clash on the premises of the City Club late last night.

Others injured in the clash included Mr Harjinder Singh Raja, Mr Bihari Lal and his son Vikas, Mr Brij Lal and his son Saurav and Mr Raveti Raman.

While Mr Sagri, who sustained injuries in his head, alleged that he was assaulted with sharp-edged weapons and bottles by the rival group when he was busy in a conversation with his friends.

The rival group’s member, Mr Bihari Lal, a property dealer, who was also injured in the clash, attributed the cause to old hostilities.

The police is investigating the case.


One booked for paddy misappropriation
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 24
A case of misappropriation of paddy worth about Rs 56 lakh has come to light at the local warehouse.

A sheller owner has been booked on the complaint of warehouse manager Paramjeet Singh.

The SSP has asked the anti-fraud cell to probe the matter.


Private college teachers stay away from classes
Demand release of grant-in-aid
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, September 24
A large number of college teachers working in private colleges of this district today stayed away from their classes after the second period to express their resentment against the Punjab Finance Department’s inordinate delay in clearing two bills worth Rs 33 crore pertaining to the grant-in-aid for the private colleges of Punjab.

Giving this information, Prof P.K. Sharma, president of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union’s Sangrur district unit, said the private college teachers paralysed teaching work after the second period in SD College, Arya Mahila College, Barnala, Akal Degree College, Mastuana Sahib, Khalsa College, Sandaur; and Jain Girls College, Malerkotla.

In Jain Girls College at Malerkotla, a protest rally was also organised. Addressing the rally, Prof Kanwaljit Kaur regretted that irregular flow of grant-in-aid was posing problems and hardships to private college teachers as they had not been paid their salaries by the college managements for the past one to 10 months.

AMRITSAR: On a call given by the PCCTU teachers of Khalsa College went on strike after the third period in protest against the indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government towards higher education. Union secretary S.S. Rangi and president Gurdev Singh urged the state government to immediately restore 95 per cent grant-in-aid and accept the pension scheme.

BATHINDA: College teachers working in government aided and unaided private colleges of the district observed a strike by organising protest rallies and dharnas in their respective colleges.

Addressing a rally at local DAV College, Prof N.K. Gosain, district president, PCCTU, criticised the Finance Department for non-clearance of bills worth Rs 33 crore.

Prof Gosain further said that 50 per cent dearness allowance (DA) had not been merged in the basic salaries of the staff of aided colleges.

PHAGWARA: Local college teachers owing allegiance to the PCCTU observed a strike after two periods.

The strikers sat on dharna and held a rally. The speakers, including Prof Jasbir Singh Johal, Prof Satnam Singh Dhaliwal and Dr Jagir Singh Noor, flayed the government for stonewalling for non-clearance of bills.


Conference on electronic circuits
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 24
A national conference on Electronic Circuits and Communication Systems (ECCS 2004) was inaugurated by Dr K.K. Aggarwal, Vice-Chancellor, Indraprastha University, at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology here yesterday.

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