P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No record of antiquities at Quila Mubarak
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 8
The Durbar Hall and various other buildings in the Quila Mubarak complex may have hundreds of priceless antiquities but there is nothing on record to show their presence. This has resulted in the pilferage of valuable objects.

The Punjab Cultural Affairs, Archaeology and Museums Secretary, Mr D.S. Jaspal, who visited the Quila Mubarak in the wake of three miniature paintings that had gone missing from a painted chamber in the ‘Ranwas’ building of the fort palace yesterday, said he was surprised to know that there was no existing inventory of the objects of value in the fort complex.

Mr Jaspal, while talking to TNS, said he had got in touch with the Director, Information Technology, and requested for immediate digital cataloguing of all items in the fort palace. He said once the cataloguing was done, it would be put on the website.

It was not only the lack of record, but the absence of security in the fort palace complex which had come in for scrutiny. Mr Jaspal said he had talked to SSP A.S. Rai who accompanied him to the Quila Mubarak today to strengthen the security in the outer complex.

He said the Cultural Affairs Department would use the PESCO security in the inner complex. A detailed security plan was also being drafted in this regard.

He said besides this no register was being maintained detailing visitors going into the inner complex

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh when contacted on this issue said neither any district official nor Ms Gurmeet Rai, who was leading the team of experts on the occasion, informed him of the missing paintings and that he had came to know of the development only after reading about it in The Tribune.

Meanwhile, a FIR had been registered with regard to the missing paintings under Section 380 of the IPC at the Kotwali police station.

Mr Jaspal said besides the FIR, a departmental inquiry had been ordered to establish administrative culpability and also suggest remedial measures.

The missing miniatures were encased in glass in the corners of a dome in the Ranwas chamber.

They are stated to be of the Kangra School and are around 200 years old. The chamber where the robbery took place had been sealed by the ASI.


Don’t use liquor to woo voters: Hanspal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 8
Commenting on The Tribune report that huge consignments of liquor had reached Kapurthala, the PPCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, termed the development as most unfortunate and pleaded for a clean, liquor-free elections.

Addressing newspersons here this morning, Mr Hanspal refused to be drawn into the controversy as to who was using liquor to win over voters.

“I am also against character assassination during electioneering,” asserted Mr Hanspal. He gave this answer when his attention was drawn to nukkar nataks being played by the Akalis in which AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Punjab CM, Capt Amarinder Singh, were shown in poor light.

“Our leaders don’t need certificates from Akalis, as public had already given them their mandate,” he claimed.

Mr Hanspal said the Akalis were misusing religious places and funds for political purposes.

“Akalis represented a party which was not even regional now while we represent the Congress which was a big national party,” he said.

He denied that the electoral scale had tilted in favour of the Akalis with the scion of the Kapurthala royal family, Tikka Raja Shatrujit Singh, supporting Akali candidate Raghbir Singh.

“Shatrujit was a non-political person and hardly lived in Kapurthala and his support to the Akali candidate hardly mattered at all,” said Mr Hanspal.

Mr Hanspal also brushed aside the suggestion that the Congress was playing the Dalit card in Punjab with CM talking about implementation of the 85th Constitutional amendment in state and the PM, Dr Manmohan Singh talking about reservation in the private sector during electioneering in Punjab and Maharashtra respectively.

“The Congress was committed from the days of Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru to the upliftment of the downtrodden,” he said.


A day of rallies against Cong
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 8
While members of the Unemployed ETT Union have been protesting against the ruling Congress for the past nearly one week, many more associations today came out and held rallies against the government. They also declared support for the nominee of Shiromani Akali Dal for October 13 byelection.

The various associations that came out in support of the SAD included the Punjab Pradesh Muslim Welfare Committee, the Ex-Servicemen Association, the Employees Federation and farmers’ unions. Together the unions form at least 15,000 members.

The SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, held rallies with his supporters. At noon, a rally was held in a Jhanj Ghar with the members of the Ex-Servicemen Association, where Mr Badal assured the members of fulfilling their long-pending demands pertaining to “one-rank, one-pension” formula. He also assured them that the party would recommend setting up of a separate pay commission, if the party managed to win the bypolls.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who also attended the rally, said that the imposition of sale tax on CSD material was an injustice with the working as well as retired soldiers and their families.

The rally was arranged by Brig Kuldeep Singh Kahlon, former Director of Sainik Welfare, Punjab. Another rally was held at Moorish Mosque where Mr Badal participated in a prayer along with Mr Dilbagh Hussain, president of the association.

Shortly after the prayer, Mr Hussain addressed the gathering in support of the Akalis.

Members of the employees’ federation, most of them represented by the employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board, had been holding rallies against the Congress party as Mr Surinder Singh, president, said that members wanted to condemn the decision of the Punjab government on unbundling the PSEB. The members also protested against Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, saying that he was following anti-employee policies.

The biggest rally, however, was that of the farmers who came to the city in scores of trolleys. The rallyists, who were at least 3,000 in number, spoke of the policies against the farm community.

Meanwhile, members of the Unemployed ETT Union said that they held a meeting with the CM at Ropar today where he assured them that a decision in their favour would be taken on October 18.


30 poll complaints received
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
The Punjab Chief Secretary — chosen by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for looking into so many allegations against different political parties — is not the number one as far as submitting reports is concerned.

Though the grievances are time and again referred to the Chief Secretary’s office for carrying out the probes, replies are seldom filed on time. In several cases, reminders have to be sent by the CEO’s office. The story is not very different in case of Deputy Commissioners.

Sources in Punjab Government reveal that as many as 30 election-related complaints have so far been received by the CEO’s office. A substantial number of them — alleging model code of conduct’s violation — have been filed against the ruling Congress members. Several of them have been forwarded by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) members, including its secretary.

But so far reply to only 18 complaints have been received. Rest 12 complaints are pending replies either before the Chief Secretary or before the Deputy Commissioners of Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur.

As far as the complaints before the Chief Secretary are concerned, the sources reveal that replies to “very few” have so far been received. Even now out of 12 pending complaints, five are before the Chief Secretary.

Though functionaries in the CEO’s office refuse to divulge the figures, the sources in the Punjab Civil Secretariat reveal that reminders have been forwarded in at least three cases.

The complaints pending before him include objection to the implementation of 85th Amendment Act pertaining to accelerated promotions for employees belonging to the Scheduled Caste category. Also pending is another complaint related to the issuance of a recruitment advertisement in newspapers.

The sources add that in almost all the cases, in which replies have been submitted by the authorities, clean chits have been given to politicians and government officials accused of violating the code of conduct, including the Chief Minister. He was accused of misusing state chopper for electioneering purposes.

Blaming government officers for “working directly under the Chief Minister’s pressure”, SAD members have, in fact, demanded that the inquiries pertaining to the violation of election code should be referred to Central Observers in larger public interest.

So far, action has been initiated only against the Sub Divisional Magistrate-cum-Returning Officer for the Kapurthala Assembly constituency, Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia. Reconsidering its earlier resolve to get a case registered against him, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had recently directed Punjab Government to “issue charge-sheet for awarding major penalty proceedings” to him. The action was initiated only after a team arrived from Delhi for looking into the allegations pertaining to the preparation of bogus votes.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) can, and must, take action against state government officers not acting independently while dealing with poll related complaints — at least this is what legal luminaries have to say.

Former Member of Parliament-cum-senior advocate Satya Pal Jain says that under Article 324 of the Constitution of India, the ECI has complete control over the electioneering process and the officers are expected to deal independently with the grievances. 


EC vigilant, not subdued: CEO
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 8
Putting aside all allegations pertaining to subdued reaction of the Election Commission over the complaints filed by Opposition parties pertaining to the violation of model code of conduct by the ruling Congress, Mr G.S. Cheema, Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, said the EC was quite vigilant as it was not only verifying the complaints but also keeping a track of every activity of the parties.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Mr Cheema said this perception probably came after the EC reverted the orders of suspension and registration of case against former Electoral Registration Officer-cum-SDM Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia.

Mr Cheema was in the city to preside over a polling process rehearsal at Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Government College today. Prior to the rehearsal, he also held a meeting with Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, District Election Officer, Mr Jaipal Singh, Returning Officer-cum-SDM, Mr S.K. Asthana, Senior Superintendent Police, Mr Davinder Kumar Dhadawat and Mr Jagjeevan Garg, both election observers.

Mr Cheema said the EC team had visited the election office here and held an inquiry into the matter. During the inquiry, he said, it had been found that some irregularities in the enrollment of voters had taken place.

“Since Mr Sandhawalia did not commit any irregularity there was no reason to suspend or get a case registered against him. The orders against him had to be reverted under such circumstances”, the chief election officer added.

Asked about the case in which Mr I.S. Dhami, Assistant Director, Youth Services, and an Executive Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board were seen attending a meeting of Congress workers for the byelections, he said he had sought explanation from Mr Dhami. He said that even though Mr Dhami had dispatched a reply in this regard to his office, he was yet to go through it. He, however, said he was not aware of any PSEB officer attending the meeting.

When he was asked about the demand of SAD pertaining to disqualification of the Congress candidate in view of its expenses going beyond the limit set by the EC, he said the commission had already appointed Mr Garg from the Revenue Department as election observer for the same.


Warm welcome for SGPC team in Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
The Government of Pakistan is unlikely to accept the demand of the SGPC to scrap the PSGPC even as a five-member fact-finding committee of the shiromani Committee was accorded a warm welcome at Lahore today.

Among those who received the SGPC’s delegation in Lahore included Mohammad Khan Bangaz of the Aukaf Board, Mr Izhar-ul-Hassan, Additional Secretary, Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board, Mr Mastan Singh, president-designate of the PSGPC, and Mr Rawel Singh and Mr Bishan Singh, all members of the PSGPC.

The leader of the fact-finding committee, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, SGPC, held discussions with officials of the PSGPC and the Aukaf Board.

The SGPC delegation would also meet Chaudhary Parvez Ellahi, Chief Minister (West Punjab), and would visit Nankana Sahib tomorrow in connection with the attack on Gurdwara Janamasthan, Nankana Sahib on September 25.

Earlier, before crossing over to Pakistan, Mr Bhaur said the SGPC had no objection over the construction of a serai at Nankana Sahib but it wanted that the kar sewa should be given to a religious body instead of a political party like the Shiromani Akali Dal, (Delhi).

Bibi Jagir Kaur has sent a communication to Chaudhary Ellahi in which she hoped that the government of Pakistan would ensure the safety of Sikhs there.


Helipad, subways for Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
A helipad and subways to the Golden Temple may soon become a reality, according to the new proposals for the unfinished phases of the ‘galiara project’ — a centrally-sponsored scheme for the beautification and decongestion of corridor around the Golden Temple.

The new plans were discussed and proposed at a high-level meeting in Chandigarh. A helipad has been proposed over a multi-storeyed parking to be located at Saragarhi school or the Kesri bagh.

Mr Jai Singh Gill, Chief Secretary, presented the proposal to the Home Secretary for approval at the meeting which was attended by Principal Secretary, local government, Mr R.R. Bajaj , Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Mr K.S. Kang and SGPC secretary, Mr Dilmegh Singh .

Mr Kang, while talking to The Tribune, said the review of the old plans and new proposals have been proposed for the incomplete phase IV and V of the ‘galiara project’.

The earlier plans in the centrally-sponsored project have been modified keeping in view the imminent recognition of world heritage site to the Golden Temple by UNESCO.

A helipad proposed to be built on the multi-storeyed parking would take care of the traffic congestion in the area due to large number of VVIP and VIP visits to the Golden Temple .

The subway of about 450 metres from the fountain chowk crossing to the Golden Temple has been contemplated to decongest the surroundings of the Golden Temple, which has been a part of the preamble of the ‘galiara project’, said Mr Kang.

A subway of 129 metres up to the Jallianwala Bagh memorial would be further connected with 220- metre subway.


Nagar kirtan held on Parkash Utsav
 Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
A nagar kirtan was held on the eve of Parkash Utsav of Guru Ram Das, founder of the holy city of Amritsar. The nagar kirtan was taken out from Akal Takht today. The procession was led by Panj Piaras. Guru Granth Sahib was carried in a golden palanquin through various bazaars before culminating at Akal Takht in the evening.

Senior SGPC members, religious societies, jathas, associations and schoolchildren participated in the nagar kirtan. Free stalls of tea, cold drinks, fruits, sweets and water were put up by the sangat on the occasion. All gurdwaras were tastefully decorated.


Surprise check by Bibi lands raagis in trouble
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
Even as the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today conducted a surprise check to assess the functioning of Shiromani Committee offices, she found certain raagis of the Golden Temple violating “Raag Maryada”.

She also checked the booking office where staff had misbehaved with a couple a few days ago. The clothes of a woman pilgrim had been torn by some members who were later placed under suspension by the SGPC chief. She said indiscipline by the staff member would not be tolerated.

It is for the first time that such a check was conducted by the SGPC chief. Though complaints were pouring in from devotees the worldover about the violation of the “Raag Maryada”, no corrective measures had been taken so far. Most of the raagis even go abroad without getting their leave sanctioned.

In a statement, the SGPC chief said many raagis went abroad after acquiring the “tag” of hazoori raagis”. She said such a trend among the raagis amounted to commercialism which was a matter of concern. She said the SGPC would formulate rules to discourage such a trend.

Earlier, the SGPC executive had clipped the wings of the Sikh high priests by suggesting certain restrictions on their frequent foreign trips. The SGPC had urged the Sikh diaspora to send invitations to the Sikh clergy through proper channel only. It was noticed that most of the high priests and raagis hardly deposited the collections with the SGPC which they made from the sangat abroad.

Bibi Jagir Kaur said the SGPC would also take measures to streamline the rush of devotees at the time of the carrying of Guru Granth Sahib in a palanquin every day so that all the devotees could have easy access to the “Paalki Sahib”.


Two granthis get ‘tankhah’
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, October 8
Bhai Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, has directed granthis and three others of Chottian village of Bathinda district to undergo Tankhah (religious punishment) for their alleged involvement in undermining the dignity of Guru Granth Sahib and violating Sikh tenets by holding “sehaj path” at the samadh of their ancestors.

Bhai Nandgarh and Panj Piaras awarded the religious punishment when Gurtej Singh, another granthi, Ajaib Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Jaswant Singh presented themselves in front of them in the local Bhai Bir Singh Dhir Singh Gurudwara late last evening and confessed to their “fault”. They also urged that they should be given punishment.

Information revealed that when Ajaib Singh and others were holding the path, a complaint was lodged that Bhai Nandgarh by somebody. Bhai Nandgarh sent the Panj Piaras to Chottian village to make an on-the-spot verification.

Those who were connected with the recitation of the path were issued a show-cause notice.


Decks cleared for construction of bridges, flyovers
P. P. S Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
It is official. After the inordinate delay and dithering, political hurdles and ego blocks have been cleared, and work on new roads, bridges and flyover projects has been divided between two strong contenders — the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) and the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board (PRBDB).

The tussle between the PWD and PIDB had not only delayed the completion of projects of the first phase but also of the projects of the second phase.

The effective intervention of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at a meeting on September 30 clinched the issue with 12 road corridors going the PIDB way on the modified build-operate-transfer mode to be executed through a private firm, while the PRBDB executing the projects related to improvement and strengthening of six corridors it had identified.

In so far as 22 flyovers, six on the 12 road corridors are to be built by the PIDB and the remaining 16 by the PRBDB.

On the identified road corridors and flyovers, the clear stamp of the choice of Capt Amarinder Singh is visible, as seen from the approved flyovers at Guru Harsahai and Dasuya and one to improve road connectivity to Dera Baba Jaimal Singh from two sides, Grand Trunk Road and Baba Bakala.

The meeting, sources said, decided that the viability gap funding for the six corridors to be taken up by PRBDB would be funded either from the state plan budget or by PIDB by raising institutional loans. In fact PIDB has already issued tenders inviting banks and financial institutions to raise Rs 200 crore loan, which would be used for eight identified projects to be executed by the administrative department concerned. Part of Rs 200 crore loan would be used to make up for the state’s and Nabard’s share in the projects that the state had failed to release due to its own financial crisis and the remaining sum would be given to the state as loan.

These eight projects are for slum development, water supply and sanitation, Central and PWD road projects, completion of UBDC — Uppar Bari Doab Canal — land compensation, tubewells in the bet area and development of command area.

A similar stamp is visible on the eight towns selected for water supply and sewerage projects, namely, Samana, Malout, Fazilka, Nabha, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Qadian and Dinanagar. These would be executed in the second phase by PIDB. For these, money will come from the Urban Infrastructure Fund, which is still in a nascent stage, a baby 
of PIDB.

Another important decision was on execution of Shahapur Kandi project by PIDB. For this the National Hydro-Power Corporation is to be engaged as “project developer’’. For this an MoU would be signed and modalities would be finalised by a committee headed by the Punjab State Electricity Board Chairman, Y.S. Ratra. The PIDB executive committee has approved this. 


Welfare body a boon for pensioners
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 8
Government pensioners here are leading a peaceful life thanks to the Government Pensioners Welfare Association, which has been playing an important role in getting their pension related problems solved and grievances redressed for the past many years.

This was the view of some pensioners, who visited the office of the association today in connection with their pension related problems.

Nearly 10 pensioners visit the office of the association, situated in the SDM office building complex, daily.

The association now has more than 940 members while at the time of its registration in December, 2000, it had less than 700 members. Some of its members belong to Haryana and Himachal Pradesh who get pension from the Punjab Government.

The association has been providing the service free of cost to the pensioners.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Raghbir Singh Dardi, office in-charge and association's vice-president, claimed that after the setting up of association's office in the SDM office building complex, harassment faced by the pensioners in government offices in getting their works done had almost ended as the pensioners now visited the offices fully prepared. 


Notice to Cong MLA over edict violation
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, October 8
A notice has been issued to Congress MLA from Malout Nathu Ram to appear before Akal Takht to explain his position in connection with the alleged violation of an edict of Akal Takht by him in the recent past.

Bhai Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, said a notice had been issued to the MLA for allegedly taking Guru Grant Sahib to a marriage palace a few days ago.

He added that the holy book was taken to the “shardhanjali samaroh” of his (Mr Ram) brother. He added that the MLA and a granthi did so despite the fact that this is allowed.

He said if Mr Ram failed to do so then the jathedars of all takhts would take a decision accordingly. Mr Ram, who was away to Kapurthala, when contacted on his mobile phone, said he was not aware of the above said fact. 


Road work begins with public aid
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 8
The district administration has started the patchwork of a 5-km stretch of road between Kotkapura Chowk and the bypass road with the public support. This stretch of road had been in bad shape for the past about three years.

The truck unions of Moga and Baghapurana have contributed Rs 50,000 each for the work.

The contractor carrying out the patchwork has also decided to work on a no-profit-no-loss basis.

The work began on October 6 and would be completed on October 10. 


SC engineers hail CM’s stand
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 8
A meeting of the executive of the PSEB SC Power Engineers and Officers Association, Punjab, was held here today to take stock of the situation arising out of the decision of the Punjab Government to implement the 85th Constitutional Amendment which allows the benefit in seniority to the SC category employees.

The executive hailed the stand taken by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab to implement this amendment in Punjab, 17 other Congress-ruled states and by the Central Government. The association had been urging the government for the past two years for implementation of the amendment as the promotions of SC officers were held up and a huge backlog had arisen.

Members of the association also condemned the false propaganda spread by the General Category Welfare Association, Punjab, that it would block their promotions. They alleged that nothing adverse had happened to the general category in the Central Services and 17 other states where it had already been implemented.

The executive was informed by some members that a large number of promotions of the general category were being processed in haste in many categories like JE-II, to JE-I, JE-I to AE, etc in the PSEB to nullify the benefit of the 85th Constitutional Amendment to SC category employees. The association has appealed to the Chief Minister, Punjab, to issue a directive to all departments not to carry out any promotion to avoid meting out injustice to the SC category employees. 


BJP nominee wins as MC trustee
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 8
The Congress here got a jolt today when the BJP candidate for the post of trustee of the Pathankot Improvement Trust won the election by five votes. The Congress-led Municipal Council has 21 members, including Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Punjab minister, and Mr Ashok Sharma, local MLA, while the BJP has only 14 members.

At a monthly meeting held today, all other items on the agenda were passed unanimously with the support of the BJP councillors.

When the item of the election of trustee was tabled, 10 Congress councillors, led by Mr Vibhuti Sharma, senior vice-president of the council, walked out from the meeting alleging that prior to proposing the name of the Congress candidate, they were not taken into confidence.

The Congress proposed the name of Mrs Manju Salaria as its nominee, while the BJP nominee Mr Som Raj Somi, was elected.


Lawyer's plea dismissed

Chandigarh, October 8
The High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by a Hoshiarpur-based lawyer, seeking the quashing of the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him by the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana on the complaint of a Punjab DSP.

In his petition, lawyer Sarbjit Singh had also prayed for summoning of the record of the proceedings and quashing of the original complaint and amended complaint.

In his complaint dated December 23, 2003, DSP Parminder Singh had accused the lawyer of trying to intimidate him through false cases in league with a woman, who had accused the DSP of graft.

However, the Bench of Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice J.S. Narang dismissed the petition.

Petition to quash FIR

Khalistan ideologue Jagjit Singh Chouhan has moved the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR registered at Tanda Urmur police station in 2001.

The FIR was registered on a complaint of Balkar Singh, who accused Mr Chouhan and some others of having driven tractor-trailers on standing crop, destroying it completely.

However, in his petition, Mr Chouhan said that he was 75-year-old, with one arm amputated. He claimed that the case was the result of his rivalry with the then ruling party.


Coloniser remanded in judicial custody

Kharar, October 8
Mr Mehar Singh Saini, a coloniser from the town, was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days by a court here today.

Mr Saini was arrested yesterday for of developing an illegal colony on land opposite the court complex here.

However, Mr Saini reportedly said he owned the land on which he was developing the colony. OC



Punjab seeks report on new highly rated wheat
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
How has the seed of a highly rated new variety of wheat named as PBW 502 got into the hands of private traders? This development has baffled the Punjab Government which has sought a report in this regard from the authorities concerned.

The new variety was recently approved by the Varieties Approval Board of the state government. After that it was to be distributed among farmers through official outlets such as Punjab Agricultural University and the state Agriculture Department. However, it has come in the notice of the Punjab Government that the seed of this variety was available with private traders before the beginning of its official distribution after its approval.

The new variety which is resistant to several diseases has also been rated excellent yield wise. Its average production has been recorded over 20 quintals during the trials. It has been developed to replace the PBW 343 variety, which has been dominating the state’s wheat scene for the past some years. In fact, the PBW 343, which had replaced PBW 2329, proved good for farmers. It was good in cooking as well as eating.

However, as is the practice to replace the old varieties with new ones after a gap of a few years to avoid susceptibility to pest attacks and various diseases, the new variety PBW 502 has been recommended for farmers. The sowing time of this variety is from October 4 to November 4 and it takes 150 days to mature.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, who looks after the Agriculture Department, told The Tribune that he was surprised that how private traders have managed its seed. He said that he had sought the report in this connection from the authorities concerned. “It was a serious matter and required to be probed,” he added. He said that the department authorities concerned had been told to check whether private traders were selling certified seed of new variety. Some other variety should not be sold to farmers in the garb of new variety, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Randhawa has also sought a report from the DC, Bathinda, regarding a “wet lunch” held during the kisan mela at Bathinda early this week.


Official-trader nexus dupes farmers
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 8
The nexus of the procurement agencies and the traders is duping the farmers in the district. While talking to The Tribune many farmers in the procurement mandis alleged that they were not being given sufficient value of their produce.

The allegations of the farmers are also being corroborated by the officials of the Agriculture Department. The Agriculture Department officials have written to the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Harjit Singh, that certain traders were duping the farmers. They alleged that the produce of the farmers was being weighed less by the traders in connivance with the marketing committee officials.

In many cases, about 60 to 65 kg of paddy was filled in bags stipulated for 50 kg by the traders. The farmers were, however, paid for just 50 kg of paddy. The Agriculture Department officials have recommended action against the traders indulging in such practices.

The Deputy Commissioner has marked the inquiry to the Mandi Officer. Though the inquiry was marked on October 4, no action has been taken against the guilty traders so far by the mandi officer.

The Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, admitted that he had marked the inquiry. He said many fresh complaints had also been received from the mandi officials. The inquiry into the matter would be expedited, he said.

However, the sources said in many cases the procurement agencies had made the farmers party to excess weight bungling. One farmer, on the condition of anonymity, said his produce was just 45 quintals. However, the procurement agency officials gave them the receipt for 65 quintals. For accepting the extra receipt of 20 quintals, he was paid Rs 2,000 extra, he said.

Besides the said bungling in the mandis, the farmers were suffering due to denial of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to procure IR-8 and PR-113. In the procurement schedule of the FCI, it has been stated that the said varieties would be procured through out the country. However, the FCI was not procuring the said varieties in Punjab.

Due to the non-procurement by the FCI, the farmers are being forced to sell their produce at much lower rates to the traders. The traders in connivance with the procurement agencies then mix the IR-8 variety with PR varieties and sell it at the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government, highly placed sources told The Tribune.

In other cases, the paddy with high moisture content was being procured from the farmers at low cost by the traders. Later, the same paddy was being sold at the MSP to the government.

The District Food and Civil Supplies Controller, Gurdaspur, Mr Sukhdev Singh, when asked to comment on duping of farmers, said license to traders were issued by the marketing committee. They had no power to check the traders and it was the duty of marketing committee officials, he said.


Banks told to ensure distribution of loans
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 8
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, said the responsibility of banks did not end by sanctioning loans only, they should ensure proper distribution of loans so that people could take benefit of the government schemes.

He was addressing a meeting of bank officials and the departments concerned with the disbursement of loans.

He reviewed cases under various schemes at the meeting. The banks had set a target of 355 cases under the two schemes this year, but till now only 136 cases were sanctioned, out of which

loans had been disbursed in only 11 cases.

He expressed his dissatisfaction with the banks’ working on this front.

He asked them that as per the guidelines of Reserve Bank of India, five per cent of the total loan amount must be given to women entrepreneurs and all banks should send their reports to the lead bank in time.

Earlier, the Zonal Manager of Punjab and Sind Bank, Mr Joginder Singh Dhingra, said the target for agricultural loans had been increased by 30 per cent to Rs 383.78 crore, out of which loans worth Rs 90.19 crore had been disbursed. He said for the small-scale industries and other industries related to agriculture, loans worth Rs 133.84 crore were disbursed against the target of Rs 129.82 crore. 


Brothers-in-law held for murder
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, October 8
Two brothers of Udekaran village of this district who allegedly murdered their sister-in-law, buried her body and tried to implicate other residents of the village in the case, fell into the police net and have facilitated the recovery of the body.

Police sources alleged that Jeet Singh and Beant Singh strangulated their sister-in-law Kuldeep Kaur on the intervening night of September 30 and October 1 as they suspected her character.

After killing her, they buried her body near the railway line passing through the village. Later they raised a hue and cry that Ranjit Singh and Harjinder Singh and one of their friends Balkaran Singh had abducted Kuldeep Kaur. Kuldeep Kaur had been working as domestic help in the house of Ranjit Singh and Harjinder Singh, both brothers.

To make people believe them, the accused inflicted injuries on their bodies themselves and got themselves admitted to the local Civil Hospital. They said in a statement that Ranjit Singh and others had abducted Kuldeep Kaur after injuring them.

Suspecting foul play, the police started investigating the matter. Apprehending that they might be exposed and arrested, the accused started behaving in an abnormal manner and confessed to the crime in front of the sarpanch.

On getting information from the sarpanch, a police party arrested the accused and recovered the body in the presence of the Duty Magistrate.

The body has been sent to the Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

A case under Sections 302 and 201, IPC, has been registered.


Commissioner accused of graft; denies charge
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 8
A local lawyer has levelled graft allegation against the Commissioner of Faridkot range, Mr B. Sarkar. The lawyer, Harpartap Singh Sandhu, has sent a complaint in this regard to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Prime Minister, Punjab Chief Minister and Governor.

In his complaint, Sandhu alleged that the commissioner, had taken Rs 55,000 from him in a case of mutation of inheritance, but gave his verdict in favour of the opposite party.

He has accused the commissioner of changing his verdict. The complainant said his wife had filed an appeal in the court of Commissioner of the division here.

He said after the death of her father, Mahinder Singh, the Assistant Collector of Jaito had done the mutation of his property in the name of all his natural heirs, but later the collector here ordered the mutation of his property in the name of his only son on the basis of an unregistered will.

Nirmal Kaur had appealed against this decision in the court of Mr B. Sarkar.

Mr Sandhu alleged that after they filed an appeal, the commissioner sent a message through his reader, Paramjit Singh Brar, demanding Rs 55,000 as bribe for giving the verdict in their favour.

He alleged that he had given this amount to the commissioner in presence of a few witnesses, but he allegedly took bribe from the other party too and gave his verdict in their favour.

He alleged that when they demanded their money back from the commissioner he threatened them.

When contacted, the Commissioner, Mr B. Sarkar, denied allegations of corruption against him and said that he gave his verdict on the basis of evidence and testimonies within the framework of law.


Ex-EO of Improvement Trust arrested
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 8
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) today arrested former Executive Officer of the Improvement Trust Parminder Singh along with two other officials for their alleged involvement in the Rs 55.77 lakh scam. The others arrested one Section Officer Rai Singh and surveyor Bakshish Singh.

Later this evening, the three were produced in the court of the CJM, Ropar, who remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days. The VB alleged that three accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy with the connivance with a senior manager with Ranbaxy Limited and cheated the government.

The VB submitted in the court that in 1989 the Improvement Trust allotted land to Ranbaxy Limited in Nawnashahr for the construction of residential flats at Giani Jail Singh Nagar. But when it failed to make the construction the Improvement Trust imposed a fine of Rs 55.57 lakh on it.


BDPO held for accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 8
The Vigilance Bureau, led by Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, today caught Mr Manoj Kumar Dhand, Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO), Malerkotla-1, while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 3,000, from Mr Amrik Singh, panchayat secretary of Manvi village, in his office at Malerkotla.

Talking to TNS Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, said the BDPO had been held, while accepting bribe, on the complaint of Mr Amrik Singh, panchayat secretary, who had stated that the BDPO had been demanding Rs 5,000 from him to “hush up” a case, related to a “sheesham” tree of the Shamlat village, against him. The deal had been struck for Rs 3,000.

The DSP further said Mr Amrik Singh approached the Vigilance Bureau which laid a trap to nab the BDPO today and arrested him, while he was taking the bribe, he added. A case was registered against Manoj Kumar Dhand.


Wife poisoned to death
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
Varinder Kaur, a resident of Gurdaspur, was allegedly poisoned to death by her husband. The incident came to light today when her maternal grandfather went to meet her at her in-laws’ house at Mardiwal village falling under Majitha police district. A case under Sections 302 and 201, IPC, was registered against her husband, Ranjit Singh, at Majitha police station here today.

Preliminary investigation revealed that her body was cremated hurriedly by the accused. Police sources said the accused had illicit relations with another woman which remained the cause of regular dispute between the deceased and Ranjit Singh.

No arrest has been made so far as the accused had absconded.


Murder case solved, two arrested
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 8
The police today claimed to have solved the murder case of Balwinder Singh, resident of Mehatpur Ulladhani village, by arresting his maternal uncle, Tara Singh and his son Sukhwinder Singh, alias Sukha. Another accomplice, Parvinder Singh, is still at large.

The badly burnt body of Balwinder Singh along with his motorcycle was recovered near the Dhussi bundh along the Sutlej river near Mahhaddipur village on Tuesday. The police has registered a case.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr M.F. Farooqui, told media-persons that the police identified the body by tracing the registration number of the motorcycle.

During investigation, it came to light that there was an ongoing dispute between Balwinder Singh and Tara Singh over the issue of a piece of agricultural land and money transaction amounting to Rs 50,000. 


Wife, son of MC chief booked
Tribune News Service

Mansa, October 8
A case against the wife and a son of the president of local Municipal Council was registered after they, along with other persons, were found involved in developing unauthorised colonies in this city by violating the norms laid down by the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that a case against Ms Nirmala Devi and Mr Munish Kumar, wife and son of the president, Municipal Council, Mr Bagirath Danewalia, respectively, was registered on the directions of PUDA officials based at Bathinda as they had been taking care of the Mansa area also.

Apart from these two, a case was also registered against other 14 persons for their alleged involvement in developing unauthorised colonies.

Ms V. Neerja, SSP, Mansa, when contacted, said that though the case was registered on the directions of PUDA and they had not got bail so far, they were not arrested yet as the evidences was being collected against them. She added that case was registered against them in the city police station.


Students block traffic, SDM denies lathi charge
Our Correspodent

Phagwara October 8
Students of local professional colleges today blocked traffic on the G.T. Road in front of the bus stand here for ore than half an hour. They were protesting against the shoving of a student, Rajdip Gill, in Ludhiana by a crew of Kartar Bus Service from a bus when he boarded it from Phagwara to reach the local Ramgarhia Polytechnic. He received head injuries. Moreover, he was having a bus pass.

The studets had earlier blocked traffic on Wednesday for one and half hours in this regard.

The protesters were today lathicharged in which six students sustained injuries. But local SDM Pritam Singh, Executive Magistrate-cum-Tehsildar Hardip Singh Dhaliwal and DSP Jaspal Singh denied the lathi-charge.

When told that certain students had shown their injuries to the Press, the officers shot back that they might have sustained these while trying to board a bus or could have got these after being pushed down from a bus in Ludhiana.

The police also rounded up six students, including Gurinder Singh Patiala and Raminder Singh, presidents, Ramgarhia Polytechnic and Degree College units of the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta group). This led to the convergence of students in front of the city police station on the Banga road.

After prolonged negotiations those rounded up were released.

Meanwhile, SDM Pritam Singh and DSP Jaspal Singh asserted that today’s incident had taken place in Ludhiana and there was no logic in blocking traffic on the national highway No. I at Phagwara by the students. They added that they had taken up the matter with the SP (City), Ludhiana, Mr Pritam Singh, SPs of Hoshiarpur,Jalandhar, GM of Punjab Roadways, Hoshiarpur, and officials of Kartar Bus service in this regard. All had given an assurance to do what was needed, they claimed.

Officials of Kartar Bus Service had given in writing that they would allow five bus pass holder students at a time to board the bus, the SDM and the DSP added.


Thapar students get degrees
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 8
Over 500 students of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET) received their degrees from the Director of the institute, Dr S. C. Saxena, of the 18th convocation of the institute here today. Mr Sunil Bharati Mittal, founder chairman and group managing director of Bharati Enterprises, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Dr Saxena in his report highlighted the achievements and progress made by the institute in the last academic year. He said the institute had registered an increase of about 10 per cent in the student intake during the year. He said 88 per cent of the institute’s first class graduates secured placements with reputed companies.

The Director said the institute received Rs 1.47 crore by way of sponsorship of research projects past year and 116 doctoral research projects were going on at present in the institute. Dr Saxena said a programme for infrastructure development had been undertaken on the campus, which inlcuded augmentation of laboratories and construction of a new lecture hall, computer network and other student amenities.

Mr Gautam Thapar, vice-chairman and managing director of Ballarpur Industries Limited, presided over the function and distributed the medals to toppers in thier respective disciplines. Mr Hardeep Singh Brar was awarded the President’s Medal for securing the highest marks as well as the Ranbir Singh Memorial Award for the best all round performance.

Other notable students who have been recommended for Institute’s medals for ranking first in BE degree are: Amit Gupta (civil engineering). Jaspreet Kaur Oberoi (computer engineering), Megha Dadhwal (chemical engineering), Tushar Amba (electrical engineering), Ankush Gupta (electronics and communications), Monika Goyal (electronics - instrumentation and control) and Mr Garish Kumar (industrial engineering). Gurpreet Singh Bakshi (MCA), Sapna Rajpal Sharma (ME robotics), Amit Gupta (biotechnology), Kirak Khurana (ME software engineering), Meenakshi Gupta (ME - electronics and cmmunication) and Mr Sandeep Singla (M Tech -envirnoment science and technology) qualified for institute’s medals in their respective disciplines.

The institute also honoured Mr Jagmohan Kaul, Managing Director designate of Dresser-Rand India Private Limited and a 1968 batch alumnus of the institute, with the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his professional achievements. Mr Sunil Bharati Mittal also inaugurated the lecture hall constructed by Lalli Constructions on the occasion.

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