Akali leaders clash
Anandpur Sahib, July 1
Senior Akali leaders and seven party winners of municipal council elections at Ropar had come to pay obeisance at Sri Kesgrah Sahib Gurdwara. When the entire troop came towards the porch of the Jathedar’s residence, local press photographers asked them to strike a pose for a group photo.
Suddenly someone pushed Amrjeet Singh Walia, an Akali leader from Ropar, and within minutes Hira Singh Gumbar, Inderjit Singh and Satwant Singh Gill started quarrelling. In the fight, their turbans were dislodged.
Akali workers standing around had a tough time dissuading the fighting leaders.
Jathedar Tarlochan Singh tried to pacify both groups, but to no avail. The episode happened in the presence of area MLA Sant Ajit Singh, SAD leader from Ropar R.S. Parmar, Gurnam Singh Thekedar, Jarnail Singh and other Akali leaders.
Akali leaders from Ropar alleged that the issue of photograph was not the real one. “The two groups have not been on good terms since long over issues of factionalism. Hira Singh Gumbar, Satwant Singh Gill and Inderjit Arora were uninvited. They tried to sabotage our plans and sadly succeeded well,” said a senior Akali leader from Ropar.
Later Akali leaders condemned the episode and termed it unfortunate. “It was indeed sad that turban’s sanctity was degraded at the very place where Khalsa took birth,” said an Akali leader.
Chandigarh, July 1
This penetration of the SAD among the urban voters is not because of its alliance partner, the BJP, which has been ranked third in these polls with the Congress in the second place. There are many theories that try to explain this shift in the SAD support from villages to the cities. But what appears to be the primary factor is perhaps the shift in focus of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who, in the party manifesto and his personal “Vision Statement”, has shown a considerable urban shift from agriculture to infrastructure development, building of super highways, etc, that has evoked a strong urban response.
Out of total 1,517 wards, the SAD has emerged on the top with winning 610 wards. Despite various claims and counter-claims, the Congress has ranked second (338 wards) and the BJP third (296 wards). The Independents and others have wrested 263 wards. When translated in terms of actual power holding, this means out of 94 MCs and NPs, the SAD will have its presidents in over 50 places.
The shift of the SAD from stronghold in rural areas to cities and towns has not happened overnight. It started sometime during the Congress regime around 2003 when then Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took to the “Panthic” or rural agenda till then followed by the SAD by talking about water, irrigation, better lifting of crops, etc. The SAD, on the other hand, gave up the “Panthic” agenda of morchas, dharnas, etc, and Sukhbir started talking about modern economy, industry, infrastructure, need for power, etc. Perhaps due to his business background and education.
Even when Sukhbir and his father were jailed, they called it “political vendetta” and “murder of democracy", but never exploited the “Panth is in danger” slogan like former SAD leadership. This somewhere appealed to the urban voters and de-communalised Punjab politics. The result of this, perhaps, by default, has helped the SAD in cities.
Barring Doaba, where the SAD has received some drubbing (Pathankot, Tanda, Nawanshahr and Banga), the SAD has performed well. A region-wise analysis of the wards won shows that the SAD won 410 municipal wards out of 935 in the Malwa region, 110 out of 262 municipal wards of the Majha region and 90 municipal wards out of 320 in the Doaba region.
The success of the SAD in 610 of the 744 wards it contested has resulted from the strategy drawn by Sukhbir and based upon meticulous selection of the areas of focus and high concentration of efforts. The expanding SAD urban base is likely to change the future of politics in Punjab as much as the party’s relationship with the BJP that is considered a necessary ally to take on the Congress.
PTU approves 14 new colleges
Jalandhar, July 1
Unaware of the consequences like lower pay package for B.Tech pass-outs, difficulties in keeping check on the standard of education, the PTU, the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the state government have been liberal in approving new colleges in Punjab, including four for girls.
The PTU already has list of 43 affiliated engineering colleges. The other engineering colleges in the state, include three each of Guru Nanak Dev University and Punjabi University and one each of Punjab Agricultural University and Lovely Professional University.
Three pharmacy colleges have also received approval increasing the number to 30. The seats in these colleges are being filled by separate merit and counselling. Besides, the management college of Rayat and Bahra group has also got approval for 60 MBA seats at Hoshiarpur.
The same group is coming up with an institute of engineering and nano-technology at Hoshiarpur with 60 seats each in computer science engineering, mechanical engineering, electronics and communication engineering and civil engineering. A pharmacy college of the group is also being set up in the same district. In addition, a college for girls of the same group has been sanctioned at Kharar.
Three other colleges for girls given the nod include Shaheed Udham Singh Women Engineering College, Tangori in Mohali, Sachdeva Engineering College for Girls, Mohali, and Doaba Women Institute of Engineering and Technology, Kharar.
The other five B.Tech colleges include Northwest Institute of Engineering and Technology, Moga, Baba Isher Singh Engineering College, Moga, Jasdev Singh Sandhu Engineering College, Patiala, Continental Institute of Engineering and Technology, Fatehgarh Sahib, Global College of Engineering and Technology, Amritsar.
The two pharmacy colleges, other than those of Rayat and Bahra, include St Soldier Pharmacy College, Jalandhar, and Swift Institute of Pharmacy, Rajpura.
PSEB Introduces VDS
Patiala, July 1
Punjab State Electricity Board chairman Y. S. Ratra said here today that with a view to give uninterrupted power supply during the paddy season, the board had decided to give another opportunity to AP consumers to get their unauthorised loads regularised through the voluntary disclosure scheme with effect from today.
The scheme will remain open till July 31. The AP consumers can get their unauthorised loads regularised by depositing Rs 1,000 per BHP as service connection charges.
Those consumers with connections less than three years old shall have to deposit Rs 3,000 per BHP as service connection charges.
However, the consumers who have taken connections under the chairman’s discretionary quota and a period of three years has not elapsed shall have to deposit Rs 5,000 per BHP as service connection charges.
The consumers, who had got their temporary tubewell connections regularised shall be required to deposit Rs 5,000 per BHP for regularisation of additional load. All consumers will have to pay Rs 200 per BHP as security for the extended load.
The chairman further informed that none of the consumers shall be harassed and the load declared by the consumers shall be deemed to be regularised.
Ratra appealed to agricultural consumers to get their loads regularised as per actual to avoid breakdown and tripping of the system due to
He assured that the board would augment transformers wherever required and try to provide scheduled 8-hour power supply to tubewell connections during the ongoing paddy season.
‘Bhattal trying to save her skin’
Sangrur, July 1
Chandumajra said as the Congress had won six seats, out of total 13 seats of the Lehragaga Municipal Council, so it was a big proof that no rigging or booth-capturing had been done neither in Lehragaga nor at any other place in the state. He said Bhattal had been levelling baseless charges against the SAD-BJP alliance just to save her skin as even in the ward No. one of the Lehragaga MC, where Bhattal had cast her vote, the Congress candidate had lost to SAD candidate Dular Kumar Goyal.
Chandumajra also said as seven SAD-BJP candidates had won the elections to Lehragaga MC, so the SAD-BJP would install its candidate as president of the council. He said it was a matter of concern for Bhattal, which had forced her to level baseless allegations against the SAD-BJP alliance, that the Congress could not capture the council in Lehragaga, which was a part of her constituency.
He also claimed that the victory of the SAD-BJP alliance in the municipal elections was a good sign and beginning of the alliance’s victory towards the ensuing Lok Sabha (LS) elections.
He said the SAD-BJP alliance would perform in a big way in the LS elections to form the government at the Centre as steep hike in the prices of essential commodities had broken the backbone of common masses.
J-K stir echo in Bathinda
Bathinda, July 1
Expressing resentment over the alleged anti-Hindu policies of the Jammu and Kashmir government, the representatives of these Hindu bodies warned that no interference in Hindu religious affairs would be tolerated.
When asked about the logic behind damaging the J&K transport bus last night en route to Jammu from Anupgarh, Sukhpal Singh Saran, secretary of the state unit of the VHP, said: “It was just a symbolic act to protest against the action of the Congress-led Jammu and Kashmir government”. SP (H) Maminder Singh said: “Those who attacked the bus have been identified and a case against them has been registered”.
Maluka attacked, guards open fire
Bathinda, July 1
Maluka escaped unhurt, but seven others received minor injuries. Glasspanes of three vehicles were smashed in the attack.
The police personnel attached with Maluka for his security fired in the air when stones and other missiles were heavily pelted on the procession at Phul. Maluka, who is the Bathinda district chief of SAD, took shelter in a house. SAD activists exchanged stones and brickbats with Congressmen and there was virtual chaos in the area.
Later, policemen allegedly ransacked the houses from where stones were being pelted. They beat inmates and innocent persons who came in their way.
Maluka described the attack as a “pre-planned conspiracy” of the Congress that was jittery on losing the election.
Congress had accused Maluka and his son of capturing booths and rigging the elections for local bodies and the Bathinda Municipal Corporation. He is the right hand man of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal here.
New rules for Jathedars
Amritsar , July 1
This commitment was given by SGPC president Avtar Singh after the Executive committee meeting today. He said the rules would be framed after tercentenary celebrations of the Gurta-Gaddi of Guru Granth Sahib.
The Sikh high priests had directed the SGPC to constitute a sub-committee of Sikh intellectuals and subject experts for the purpose about eight years ago but nothing has been done so far. Akal Takht had also directed the SGPC the sub-committee should also recommend basic principles and ‘maryada’ for issuing hukamnamas to resolve the Panthic crisis from time to time.
On the other hand, the SGPC executive committee formed a three-member committee today to look into the allegations that certain senior officials of the Shiromani Committee had received five per cent commission from an insurance committee. The SGPC had applied for five per cent extra commission, pertaining to the group medical insurance of employees to the extent of Rs 1.50 crore from the Oriental Insurance being a religious body. However, a senior SGPC official had concealed the letter accepting the recommendation of the Shiromani Committee.
Kewal Krishan cremated
Hoshiarpur, July 1
It was attended by state’s top political leadership, besides thousands of supporters of the late leader.
Amid chanting of hymns and a gun salute, Dr Kewal Krishan’s sons, Dr Avineesh Kumar and Rajneesh Kumar, lit the pyre.
People thronged to his residence to offer condolences to the bereaved family. Before leaving to the cremation ground, his body was wrapped in Tricolour.
Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha Nirmal Singh Kahlon, chief parliamentary secretary Arunesh Shakar on behalf of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, joint development commissioner H.I.S. Grewal on behalf of Chief Minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda, PPCC chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, working president of the PPCC Mohinder Singh Kaypee, former ministers of Punjab Ch Jagjit Singh, Tej Parkash Singh, Amarjit Singh Samra and Avtar Henry, MLAs Lov Kumar Goldy and Sangat Singh Gilzian, transport minister Master Mohan Lal and former deputy speaker of the Vidhan Sabha Bir Devinder Singh laid wreaths on the body.
Maharaja-Moran relationship in new light
Amritsar, July 1
He had come here to see “Moran Sarkar”, a play written by Manveen Sandhu and directed by Kewal Dhaliwal here today. Impressed by the play on Moran, he said finally justice had been done to the woman who was remembered for all wrong reasons. He said it was a historical fact that Maharaja Ranjit Singh married the Muslim dancer to uplift the down-trodden. Her relatives were rehabilitated in local Hussainpura and Sharifpura localities.
There was also a school of Persian and Arabic set up for youth of Punjab, who otherwise used to travel to Persia for similar education. Manveen also discovered Moran had a spiritual guide by the name of Mian Jaan Mohammad of Laverian, whose “takia” is in Amritsar city.
Saif-ud-Din said with the construction of “pul” (bridge) between Amritsar and Lahore at the behest of Moran, the area witnessed an economic boost. Most of the rare commodities which were not available in Amritsar and Lahore used to be available in the market of Pul Kanjri village. Once a prominent trading centre, Pul Kanjri village scripted ‘love story’ of the Maharaja. He appreciated the announcement made by deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu that he would recommend to the state government to change the name of Pul Kanjri as Pul Moran.
The DC has said he would ensure necessary amendments in the revenue records so that the historical village might be renamed Pul Moran.
On the other hand, Shiromani Punjabi poet Ajaib Singh Hundal showed his poem, “Pul Moran,” published six months ago.
Manveen said : “When I was writing my book on the life and times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, one character that played constant hide and seek with me was Moran”.
Manveen said she felt such half-baked stories amounted to misinformation about the personality of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his relationship with Moran. “This set me on my mission to trace the truth about Moran. I was pleasantly surprised when my friends in the literary world on both sides of the border where the Maharaja ruled said in popular legend she was known as Moran Sarkar. Fakir Saifuddin of Fakir Khana Museum had some interesting stories about the marriage of the Maharaja with Moran. I found Jean Marie Lafont in his book ‘Maharaja Ranjit Singh Lord of the Five Rivers’ published in 2001 under the aegis of the government of Punjab had also documented the year of their marriage as 1802,” she said.
Tension on rise as ageing NRIs turn homewards
Ludhiana, July 1
This phenomenon of more aged NRIs returning to birthplace to reclaim property, is also giving rise to tension with relatives grudging these demands saying they had contributed to their going abroad in difficult times and should be compensated for it.
A visit to NRI police stations in Ludhiana and Jalandhar started in April this year, reveals maximum number of complaints received are from NRIs above 60 years of age. After having been abroad for decades in some cases, they have turned attention to their native land after retirement.
In a few cases, especially in Ludhiana and surrounding areas, the visit to the homeland has not been without a twinge of regret. A booming economy and high land prices have NRIs wondering how things have levelled out. One such NRI claimed, “I didn’t come to India for more than 10 years and only recently realised my property is worth Rs 25 crore”.
A case of an NRI remembering her inheritance after decades is of Upinder Dulley of Canada who alleged that one of her brothers-in-law living here was selling off her ancestral property. The property in question involved 22 acres at Bhahman village worth around Rs 40 lakh per acre. Inspector Navreet Singh of the local NRI police station, who investigated the case, says investigations revealed the girl’s mother, who was the owner of the property, did not want her to have any share in it. The mother told the police her NRI daughter had never looked after her and she wanted her son-in-law to handle her affairs.
In another case an NRI is pursuing a case to get his name included as co-owner of a factory plot in Jalandhar focal point. The NRI had earlier been denied share in the family property with his father leaving everything to another son living in Punjab. Despite being given equal share in the property by his brother who chose not to follow his father’s will, the NRI has now approached the police to get a share in the industrial plot also.
If rising prices have evoked interest in the property back home, these have also led to resentment among those who stayed back. S.S. Dhillon, who has a brickkiln and has also started an Anti-NRI Sabha, claims many NRIs are demanding shares in rural land even though they had left for foreign shores informally forgoing their share. “There is no record of such informal arrangements and many farmers, including myself, are facing this problem”, he added.
Punjab DGP N.P.S. Aulakh says while the inheritance law is clear, efforts are on at NRI police stations to resolve complex land disputes though persuasion keeping in view the social angle. “NRIs want prompt justice in case of land disputes but their relatives who have possession also have rights”, he added. NRI Sabha vice-chairman Zorawar Singh Dodd admitted undue expectations of NRIs in some cases, but said the NRI population expected zero tolerance for wrongs like false ‘girdwaris’, saying the community had contributed to the family coffers in most cases and should get its due.
SAD-BJP to safeguard interests
Chandigarh, July 1 He said the state government was making all-out efforts to resolve the issues pertaining to the
NRIs. A statement released here yesterday said Mattewal urged the NRIs to make huge investments in development
programmes. He pointed out that during his visit to London he called upon the NRIs to come forward to invest in Punjab in a big way. He also met various deputations of NRIs there and assured them of the state government’s fulsome support and cooperation. Appreciating the historic decisions taken by the Badal government for the welfare of the NRIs during the NRIs Sammelan held in Punjab, Mattewal termed it as a ‘step in the right direction to win over the confidence of the
NRIs’. A high-level committee was also constituted during this
sammelan, which had so far resolved many vexed issues relating to the problems of the
NRIs. Mattewal said Badal had already set up special police stations for the NRIs in the state to redress their complaints and grievances on priority.
Chandigarh, July 1
He said the state government was making all-out efforts to resolve the issues pertaining to the NRIs.
A statement released here yesterday said Mattewal urged the NRIs to make huge investments in development programmes. He pointed out that during his visit to London he called upon the NRIs to come forward to invest in Punjab in a big way. He also met various deputations of NRIs there and assured them of the state government’s fulsome support and cooperation.
Appreciating the historic decisions taken by the Badal government for the welfare of the NRIs during the NRIs Sammelan held in Punjab, Mattewal termed it as a ‘step in the right direction to win over the confidence of the NRIs’. A high-level committee was also constituted during this sammelan, which had so far resolved many vexed issues relating to the problems of the NRIs. Mattewal said Badal had already set up special police stations for the NRIs in the state to redress their complaints and grievances on priority.
Extension to chief engineer opposed
Chandigarh, July 1
In a signed statement, the forum said Harashok Sharma, chief engineer (Buildings), should not be granted any extension in service as such a move on the part of the government would hit the promotional avenues for engineers down the line. The forum said as senior competent officers with an experience of 32 to 35 years in service were waiting to be promoted, extension to Harashok Sharma would impede their chances to move to the top-level in the department.
The forum said there were several competent engineers to handle projects such as the upgrade of medical colleges at Faridkot, Amritsar and Model jails at Faridkot and Kapurthala. The forum urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to give justice to engineers, who are awaiting to be promoted.
Dept ‘blocks’ benefit to students
Ludhiana, July 1
Director of the SC/BC Welfare Department Hussan Lal said: “The department is ready to spend the amount, but the delay is on the part of the Education Department. We have sent them repeated reminders, requesting them to submit the list of SC/BC students, but to no avail.”
Under the Pre-matric Scholarship Scheme, students from Classes I to V and VI to VIII are entitled to get Rs 40 and 60, respectively, while Rs 75 is given to students belonging to senior secondary classes.
To encourage the attendance of the girl child belonging to SCc/BCs, the government has announced an incentive of Rs 50.
‘Court can suo motu intervene
in fraud cases’
Chandigarh, July 1
Justice Ranjit Singh has ruled: “This court would not feel bound with any self-imposed restrictions while exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India in cases where there is fraud found”.
The ruling came on a petition filed by Punjab Beverages Private Limited against G.T. Agencies. The petitioner had contended that an ex parte decree of over Rs 5 crore was obtained by fraud in favour of G.T. Agencies.
The petitioner’s case was that G.T. Agencies filed a suit against it for recovering loan amount before a civil judge. Col A.S. Judge, the managing partner in G.T. Agencies, was also the general manager of Punjab Beverages.
The petitioner had contended that Colonel Judge accepted the summons issued in the suit and engaged a counsel, who appeared on behalf of Punjab Beverages. Later, the advocate did not appear and Punjab Beverages was proceeded ex parte.
Elaborating, the petitioner had stated that Colonel Judge got notice issued to himself and engaged a counsel. He appeared on one day only to stay away at a later date, following which the court held ex-parte proceedings.
The petitioner had added it came to know about the decree after over a year when a real estate agent informed it that the property was being sold. But the district judge “framed issue” in the matter, even though there were sufficient grounds to condone the delay. Aggrieved, the petitioner invoked the jurisdiction of the court under Article 227 for setting aside the order.
Taking up the matter, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled: “A simple application, seeking direction for the court, which is dealing with an issue of setting aside ex parte decree and judgment, has led to an interesting and a significant debate in regard to the scope of Article 227 of the Constitution of India, especially in the background where allegations of fraud are made”.
Justice Ranjit Singh further ruled: “Though there was some lively debate in regard to the nature and power of this court to interfere while exercising revisional jurisdiction under Article 227, it was not urged that this court would not have jurisdiction to suo motu interfere, especially when fraud is alleged; and to an extent is made out from the record”.
The Judge further ruled: “Fraud has been defined as an act of deliberate deception with the design of securing some unfair or undeserved benefit. The fact in the present case would fit in the definition of fraud. In a case of this nature where there is a gross miscarriage of justice, the High Court can interfere suo motu…. The case for exercising jurisdiction, thus, is clearly made out to set right the effect of this fraud”.
Allowing the revision petition, and setting aside the impugned order, the Judge added: “Since the matter in regard to setting aside of this ex parte decree is pending before the appellate court, I am leaving it for the appellate court to deal with this ex parte order decree and pass an appropriate order… This court would have such power to guide the appellate court while exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution”.
Amritsar, July 1
Dr Mahinder Singh Dhillon, dean, College Development Council, in an order has instructed private and government colleges to initiate steps for appointing a regular principal by July 31. He said if educational institutes failed to appoint the principals by the specified date, they would be penalised on the lines of B.Ed colleges affiliated with the university.
This order came from the university after The Tribune had published a report on June 16, about the appointment of junior-most professor, Prof Gurvinder Singh Samra, as vice-principal of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, in violation of norms and rules of the GND varsity, which had led to the resignation of principal Dr Satish Kapoor.
The teachers union had raised the matter with the vice-chancellor as the appointment was in gross violation of the norms and rules of the university. According to the university rules and regulations, in the absence of the principal only senior most professor of the college could perform the duties of the officiating principal.
Dhillon said the university syndicate in its meeting held on March 25, had passed a resolution to this effect which was later circulated to various colleges affiliated with it.