P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


No surplus water for Haryana: CM
‘Ban on land purchase in HP unconstitutional’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh told reporters here today that Punjab did not have surplus water for giving it to Haryana. Let Haryana raise hue and cry, I am not going to listen anything on this issue, he quipped.

A special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha had passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill, 2004, thereby “knocking down” the very basis on which the Supreme Court had passed its order on construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal on June 4, 2003.

He said water level of the state was going down at an alarming rate, posing a great threat to its prosperity, he added.

The Chief Minister described the ‘ban’ on the purchase of land in Himachal and Rajasthan by outsiders as unconstitutional. He said it was unfortunate that such states had enacted such a law which was not in the interest of the country. He, however, said the case of J&K was different. To a question, Mr Amarinder Singh said he had been taking up this ‘unconstitutional’ matter with states concerned but chief ministers concerned had not taken any concrete step in this regard.

On the transfer of Chandigarh and other left-out Punjabi speaking areas to Punjab, Mr Amarinder Singh stated that ‘Chandigarh was made capital of Punjab and would continue to be so’. Giving a justification, Chief Minister said like Haryana, Himachal too was carved a separate state on November 1, 1966 at time of the re-organisation of state, but it (HP) never laid any claim on Chandigarh .

He said though reservation had been ensured in different sections but the Congress party would ensure uplifting at economic level of those who continued to live below the poverty line.

On the possibility of an economic package by the Prime Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh claimed Dr Manmohan Singh had already given much more than what Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee had given to the state during his tenure.

On the challenge thrown by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary SAD for contesting next Assembly election from Lambi Mr Amarinder Singh quipped, “Let his father (Mr Parkash Singh Badal) dare contest election from Patiala instead”.

The Chief Minister said apart from the upgradation of Rajasansi international airport, the government had earmarked 400 acres for another international airport.


Vikas Yatra in Amritsar
Massive response created panic among Akalis: CM
Tribune News Service

Amritsar/Ajnala, November 23
Ticket-seekers for the forthcoming Assembly elections went all out to please Chief Minister Amarinder Singh by ensuring large gatherings at various places in Amritsar on the second day of Vikas Yatra here today.

The cavalcade of the Chief Minister had to stop at more than 12 points in the city starting from Ram Bagh, the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, due to exuberance shown by the residents.

The Chief Minister met people and shook hands with them breaking security barriers. He also listened to their grievances.

Hundreds of men and women standing on the rooftops of their shops and houses welcomed him by showering flower petals on him and bursting crackers.

Addressing mediapersons on the outskirts of Ajnala town, the Chief Minister said the massive crowd that gathered on both sides of the roads passing through the Majha belt had not only made him emotional but also further emboldened him to give a drubbing to the Akalis for their wrong doings that led the state to the brink of disaster.

He said the massive response to the yatra in the Malwa and now in the Majha region had created “panic and frustration” among the rank and file of Akalis who were now apprehensive of losing the battle of ballot in the next Assembly elections.

Replying to a question on the possibility of denial of ticket to a few sitting Congress MLAs, he said the party would view the situation in totality. If the overall position of the party was strong in a particular constituency, but the candidate was week, it would recommended to the AICC to make a suitable change. He, however, said the party high command would be the ultimate authority to decide on the issue.

Referring to the manifesto for the elections, he said the thrust would be to put state economy on high-growth trajectory. “When we assumed office, the state economy was in a shambles, but now there was no dearth of funds for development works,” he added. He said the welfare of all sections would be the top priority of the Congress.

He made a brief stopover and had a cup of tea at the Balmiki Samaj Dera at Gaggo Mahal village. Head of the dera Baba Hazura Nath honoured the Chief Minister with a siropa.


Brar dares CM to contest against Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
By not contesting elections against Mr Parkash Singh Badal in Lambi Assembly segment, it will seem that Capt Amarinder Singh is avoiding electoral battle, said Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, a senior Congress leader here today.

Mr Brar further said Capt Amarinder Singh was a “General” of the Congress which had declared electoral war on the SAD supremo. At the proposed December 8 rally at Badal village, Capt Amarinder Singh should announce his candidature from Lambi segment, he added.

On being quizzed about his projecting Mr Dullo as the next Chief Minister, Mr Brar said while doing so, he was referring to past history of the party. “All incumbent PPCC presidents in the past became Chief Ministers on winning the Assembly elections. Same should be in the case of Mr Dullo,” he added.


Mann’s plea dismissed in Bhattal case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
A local court today dismissed the plea of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann to become party to the ongoing corruption case against Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Being investigated by the Punjab Vigilance Department, the case pertains to the alleged misappropriation of Rs 20 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund during her brief tenure as the Chief Minister.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr R.S. Baswana, observed that he had no locus standi. The vigilance had stated that the receipts submitted by the Deputy Chief Minister had been found to be genuine.

During the hearing of the case, Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, complainant in the case, submitted an application to argue the reported move of the vigilance to close the case on the basis of re-investigation. On the plea of Mr Dhillon the court observed that no application has been moved so far by the Vigilance to close the same.

On being asked, the public prosecutor for the vigilance said an application under Section 173(8) of the CrPC had been moved wherein supplementary evidence in form of a report had been submitted. In light of the new evidence the vigilance would plead for dropping of the charges against the Deputy Chief Minister.

The court asked the public prosecutor to quote any law point where charges could be dropped after framing of the same. In 2004 the charges had been framed under Section 409 of the IPC and Section 13 (1) D of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Later, talking to mediapersons outside the court, Mr Mann said the two ADGPs, Mr A.P. Pandey and Mr Izhar Alam, who had re-investigated the case, had been given promotions despite being chargesheeted by the CBI. “If the receipts have been found to be genuine, then the case should be registered against the vigilance officers for registering a false case,” he said.


Parents rough up teacher for ‘harassing’ girls
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 23
Irate parents today thrashed a drawing teacher at Government Elementary School, Janata Nagar, here for reportedly making ‘vulgar gestures’ and ‘harassing’ girl students of the school.

According to sources, parents of these students converged on the school at about 11 am and started beating up Roshan Lal, the teacher, who was serving in this school for the past 11 years. The parents alleged that he had been ‘harassing’ their daughters for several days and had also warned the students not to tell their parents about it. They claimed that many girls chose to switch over to another school due to continuous harassment by the teacher.

Later, seething with anger, the parents reportedly took him to a vacant room and bolted the door from inside before thrashing him once again. The protesters also stood on the school's boundary wall and waited for an opportunity to pounce upon the teacher. A police team from the Canal police post reached the spot, but was unable to take the teacher along with it. They made a couple of attempts, but the angry mob didn't let them move out with the teacher.

The protesters continued to manhandle the teacher, following which the police locked him in a room and stood guard outside the room’s gate. He was taken out of the school only after the arrival of more police force. The police had not registered any case against the teacher till the filing of this report.

Though no Education Department’s official could be contacted for comments, unconfirmed reports said the teacher had been placed under suspension and a departmental enquiry had been initiated against him.


Quality of rice: Millers, FCI cross swords
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23
Rice millers across in the state are in disagreement with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) over the quality of rice. About 2800 millers of the state have announced to go on strike from November 27 if the FCI did not relax specifications for accepting rice.

The millers allege this year the FCI refused to accept rice with more than 3 per cent damage and 3 per cent discolouring. Last year the specification was relaxed to 4 per cent damage and 4 per cent discolouring.

Mr Brij Mohan Julka, former national president of the Rice Millers Association said this being the election year the procurement agencies had procured all kinds of paddy. The paddy had high moisture content especially if the pin point damage was taken into consideration. However, still the state procurement agencies procured the paddy to avoid ire of farmers in the Assembly elections.

The state procurement agencies have procured paddy worth Rs 6,000 crore in the state and stacked it with the rice millers.

The FCI itself did not procure paddy due to high moisture content. The FCI was given target of procuring 25 lakh metric tonnes paddy this year. However, the organization procured just 1.5 lakh tonnes in the state.

Now it was refusing to relax the specifications. It was not accepting the rice milled by the millers from the paddy stacked with them by the state procurement agencies.

The millers also alleged pin point damage that was minute black spot on the grain was being taken as plea by the FCI for rejecting the milled rice. The pin point damage is generally caused on the grain due to lighting and cannot be assessed earlier. The Ministry of Health in a notification issued earlier has stated pin point damage to rice was not detrimental to health. Internationally also the pin point damage was not taken into consideration while assessing quality of the foodgrains.

Besides, the FCI was directing them to supply 67 per cent yield. The millers have to supply to the FCI 67 kg rice per 100 kg of paddy given to them. The actual yield, however, remains at about 64 per cent. The millers have to add 3 kg rice themselves to fulfil the specification of the FCI.


A day of mishaps
8 killed in separate incidents
Tribune Reporters

Barnala, November 23
Two person died and one was injured in truck-van collision today morning 12 km from here near Shaina.

A Mahindra van (No-PB13 Q-3866) was going to Jaito from Malerkotla. It got collided with truck (No-RJ13G-3491) near Shaina. Truck was parked on the road. Accident happened due to fog in the region.

Deceased have been identified as Mohammad Yunus (25) of Malerkotla and Narain (27) of Malerkotla. Driver Mohamad Akhtar (45) was injured seriously. He was hospitalised at Malerkotla.

Tarn Taran: Three persons died in an accident near Sheron village when a private bus and a Maruti car collided. A case under Section 304A, 279, 337, 427 of the IPC has been registered by the police .

The deceased have been identified as Raghbir Singh, his brother Jaspal Singh of Dibwala (Makhu) village and Mohinder Singh of Bhana (Faridkot). Jaspal Singh, younger brother of Raghbir received serious injuries. He was admitted to the local civil hospital from where he was shifted to Amritsar. He succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital.

Hoshiarpur: Three persons were killed in separate accidents in the district in the last 24 hours, the police said here today. The police said, Gulwinder Singh son of Gulcharan Singh of Kaloya died on the spot when a car hit his motorcycle at the village bus stop last evening.

In another accident, Atma Singh of local Bhagat Nagar mohalla died on the spot when a tractor-trailer hit him at Bhangi choe bridge here last evening.

Cyclist Kulwant Singh son of Karam Lal of Jakowal run over and killed by a truck near Tanda yesterday.


Makkar likely to get another term
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
As usual, the Political Affairs Committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal authorised the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to announce the party's nominees for the annual election of the President, other office-bearers and executive members of the SGPC, due to be held on November 25.

However, sources said the incumbent President, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, would be given another term as the SGPC chief. Many senior leaders are keen on becoming the President of the SGPC, but because of political considerations, Mr Badal is expected to opt again for Mr Avtar Singh, said a senior Akali leader and member of the PAC. Akali factions opposed to Mr Badal's party in the SGPC are also expected to put up a joint candidate against Mr Badal's nominee.

The PAC, which met here today under the chairmanship of Mr Badal, rejected the meagre hike of Rs 17 per quintal in the price of sugarcane by the state government. The meeting described it as a cruel joke on farmers. It said this price was even lower than that fixed by the Haryana Government. It demanded that a minimum of Rs 160 per quintal should be given to the farmers.

In another major decision, the party changed the venue of the December 8 rally from Moga to Ajitwal town, situated at a distance of 18 km from Moga on the Moga-Jagraon highway. This was done due to inadequate space available in Moga.

The meeting also discussed in detail the arrangements for the rally. The party's general secretary and Member of Parliament, Mr Sukhbir Singh, has been assigned the task of arranging transport for the rally.

The meeting also expressed concern over the extensive damage to crops in Bathinda and Mansa districts due to a hailstorm. It demanded that a special girdawri should be conducted to assess the loss and the giving of adequate compensation to the farmers.


BSF officers, Pak Rangers meet at Wagah
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 23
An eight-member team of senior officers of the Border Security Force led by G.S. Virk, DIG, today met a nine-member delegation of Pakistan Rangers led by Brig Mohammad Qasir Khan Taureen at its monthly meeting in BSF conference hall at Wagah joint check post here.

The meeting which lasted more than five hours started at 11 a.m. Issues like joint patrolling, checking of smuggling and infiltration from both sides of border, destroying of wildgrass, smuggling of narcotics and repair of border posts, pillars, burjis, etc were discussed in the meeting.



Doorstep power bill collection on cards
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 23
Consumers in the state will be able to pay power bills at their doorsteps. The Punjab State Electricity Board is in the process of procuring hand-held billing machines. The PSEB staff will go to the doorstep of customers, take the reading and feed it in the hand-held billing machine. The bill will be delivered to the consumers and the payment will be received on the spot.

The Member Administration, PSEB, Raman Bhalla told this to The Tribune.

He said initially the scheme of hand held-billing machines was being introduced in select areas of Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana, and Gurdaspur districts.

The objective of the move is to help the consumers. In many areas the consumers have to cover long distances and stand in queues for hours to deposit power bills. However, the PSEB staff would go to the doorsteps of the consumers, deliver the bills and collect payment, he said.

He said the PSEB had initiated the process of taking power cables underground in urban areas. The overhead power cables in many cities posed a threat to human life. Therefore, the PSEB has initiated to put these cables underground. The telephone companies that dig the areas for laying cables are proving to be a bottleneck in laying power cables underground in many urban areas.

The PSEB has also initiated process for recruiting engineers. There are 500 posts of engineers in the board. The government has given approval to the PSEB to recruit engineers on contract. The government has cleared the installation of power units of 40 MW on the UBD canal system. The tenders are being invited from companies for installing power units on the canal.


110 depart for Haj Yatra
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, November 23
Nearly 110 pilgrims (Haj yatris) today left Malekrotla railway station for Delhi to fly to Mecca, Madina and Minar (Saudi Arab) for Haj.

Ms Razia Sultan, a Parliamentary Secretary Punjab and chairperson of the Punjab Haj Committee was also present at the Railway station to see all of them off.

The Dhauladhar Express today stopped for half an hour at the Malerkotla Railway stations for Haj yatris. The train was decorated with flowers.

Residents of Malerkotla thronged the Railway station to see off the Haj yatris. Some of the relatives of the Haj yatris also accompanied them to Delhi.


Nambardars get honorarium

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 23
Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary today organized a function at Bassi Pathana to hand over cheques worth Rs 3500 to each nambardars of the sub division as honorarium recently increased by the Chief Minister. He distributed cheques worth Rs 21 lakh to nambardars. — OC


BJP MLA hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 23
Mr Tikshan Sud, leader of the BJP in the legislature party Assembly, Mr Satish Baba, former District President of rural wing of the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha and driver Avtar Singh were injured when car (No. PB-12F-2145) were travelling in rammed into a traffic circle at the Phagwara bypass crossing here at 1.30 a.m. today. All injured were admitted in to Civil Hospital here. Mr Sud had a fracture.

Mr Gurjeet Singh, gunman and Mr Kamaljit Satia, a supporter of Mr Sud, who were accompanying him in the car were unhurt. Mr Sud was returning from Delhi after participating in the Sankalp rally of the BJP.


high court
Suspension of medical college Principal stayed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 23
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the operation of the order issued by the Punjab Government on November 16 vide which the charge- sheeted Principal of Government Medical College, Amritsar, Dr J.S. Dalal, was placed under suspension.

Taking up a petition filed by Dr Dalal, challenging the legality of the charge sheet as well as the suspension order, a Division Bench of the High Court issued notice of motion to the respondents.

In his petition, Dr Dalal, who has been at loggerheads with the Congress government for many months, has stated that even though the Departmental Promotion Committee recommended to the government that he should be promoted as Director, Medical Education and Research, the same was not done.

In fact, he has further alleged Dr Kiranjot Kaur, who is junior to him, was posted as Director, and when he protested, he was charge-sheeted and later placed under suspension. Incidentally, Dr Dalal is the same officer who, on November 8, alleged that two scooter-borne youths had made an attempt to kidnap his son, a student of Class X. Addressing mediapersons in Amritsar, Dr Dalal had alleged that he and his family were not safe under these circumstances as his rivals in the medical profession wanted to get them eliminated. He alleged that he had been receiving charge-sheets and notices from the state government on flimsy grounds.

He had also levelled serious charges against the Chief Minister, Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, his Media Adviser, Mr B.I.S. Chahal, the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid Health University, Dr Ravinder Singh, and the VC’s wife, Ms Kiranjot Kaur, who is at present the DRME.

Ms Indira Dalal, wife of Dr Dalal, had also threatened self-immolation in the hometown of the Chief Minister if any harm was done to her husband. She had also asserted that she would contest the next Assembly elections against Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mann’s passport

Mr Justice S.K. Mittal of the High Court on Thursday ordered that the passport of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann should be returned to him.

The Amritsar police, on the directions of the court, had impounded Mr Mann’s passport. In his petition, Mr Mann had prayed that his passport should be returned to him as he planned to visit some foreign countries.

While ordering the release of the passport, Mr Justice Mittal directed him not to make any derogatory and anti-India remarks in foreign countries.


Hawara’s 2 accomplices granted bail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 23
Baljit Singh and Jasbir Singh Jassa, both of whom allegedly harboured Jagtar Singh Hawara, main accused in the Beant Singh assassination case after his escape from Burail jail, Chandigarh, were granted bail by a court here today.

A case was registered against Baljit Singh Bhau and Jasbir Singh Jassa for their alleged involvement in harbouring Jagtar Singh Hawara after he escaped from Burail jail in June 2005.

Baljit Singh Bhau came close to Jagtar Singh Hawara when the former was in Burail jail in a separate case. Bhau was acquitted but later joined ranks with Jagtar Singh Hawara. He was made an area commander in which Jagtar Singh Hawara was working.


Nepalese confesses to another murder
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 23
A 35-year-old Nepalese man, Jagmohan Gir, arrested by the police in connection with the murder of a 65-year-old priest of a dera in Kurali, today reportedly confessed to his involvement in another murder — of Satinder Singh, who had gone missing six days ago here.

The accused, said to be an “Aghori sadhu”, after killing Satinder at the dera burnt his body and ate its pieces, the police sources claimed.

After sustained interrogation by the CIA staff, the accused admitted to killing Satinder due to personal enmity.

SP (Detective), Mohali, Harbaj Singh, who also visited the crime scene, said Jagmohan had confessed during interrogation to killing Satinder.

After burning the body of Satinder on the dera premises, the accused had resorted to cannibalism.

The accused had murdered a 65-year-old Arjun Das Sita Ram of Dera in Kurali on Monday.

The police had arrested Jagmohan on Wednesday after getting a lead from another priest of the dera.

The accused had hit Sita Ram repeatedly on the head with a log while the latter was asleep. After the murder, the accused cleaned blood stains from the floor of the room.

The recovery of the remains of burnt body parts from dustbins and other places led the police to suspect that it was that of Satinder Singh, who had gone missing on November 18.

The remains of the body were sent to the CFSL in Chandigarh this evening.


7 persons held in Rajasthan
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 23
Seven persons of Bathinda district were arrested by the police in the Peelibanga when they were on the way to Nihalpura village of Hanumangarh district late last night. They reportedly had been “hired” by Ninder Singh to attack his grandfather over a land dispute, the police said this morning.

The sources said a police party at night-vigil drive intercepted a car (PB 10 AC 3383) and an unnumbered motorcycle and questioned the occupants who reportedly were armed.

As Ninder Singh revealed he had hired them to assault his grandfather at his Nihalpura village the police arrested Kulwinder Singh, Hardam Singh, Yadwinder Singh and Jaspal Singh of Phulomithi village, Gursewak Singh of Jaisinghwala village, Narenderpal Singh Bathinda and Gurpal Singh of Ferozwala village.


One held, 4 booked for poaching
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 23
The district wildlife officials have arrested one person and booked four on the charge of killing a hog deer. Gurdaspur Wildlife DFO Raj Shekhar said they got information that a hog deer had been killed in Kot Majha Singh village.

They recovered the deer’s carcass from the house of Avtar Singh. While Avtar Singh was arrested, his accomplices, including Shinda, Chander, Didar Singh and Ghella, fled the spot.

The deer was protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Preservation Act. A case under the Wildlife Protection Act was registered against the accused.

In another case a small hog deer entered the official residence of Gurdaspur SSP Paramjit Singh Umranangal.

The police captured the deer and handed it over to the wildlife authorities who took it to Chhatbir zoo.


Jobless trained teachers’ dharna continues
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 23
Boys and girls, who have done D.P. Ed, B.P. Ed and M.P. Ed courses from institutes of Punjab have been on dharna near new Moti Bagh Palace, private residence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for the past two days to protest against non-filling of posts of physical training teachers in Punjab.

The youths, sitting under open sky, have decided not to lift dharna till given government jobs by the government. They demand instead of taking out “Vikas Yatra”, the Chief Minister arrange for them jobs.

Posts of physical training teacher were lying vacant in Punjab, they claimed.

Policemen were posted near the palace and the area has been converted into police cantonment. Water cannons have also been deployed in the area.

Talks with protesters by civil and police officials for lifting the dharna or changing site of the dharna also failed.

The youths alleged the Chief Minister had promised them suitable jobs which could not materialise for reasons known to the authorities.

They said the authorities concerned should not recruit those persons who had done courses from universities outside Punjab. Such candidates be given employment under ‘other states’ quota scheme.

Meanwhile, parents of a section of protesters today supplied woollens to their wards to save themselves from cold winds blowing since last night.


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