Saturday, December 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab to move apex court
To question Reorganisation Act
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
In an apparent change of track, Punjab plans to move the Supreme Court to question, among other things, certain provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, on the basis of which Haryana claims a share in the surplus river waters of Punjab.

Punjab argues that Haryana has no claim on Punjab river waters even when examined from the standpoint of riparian laws and principles and basin structure of the Punjab rivers. Therefore, there is no need to construct the Satluj-Yamuna link canal to carry Haryana’s share of waters in the Ravi-Beas waters.

The points to be included in the petition were discussed at length by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, with the state’s counsels in the New Delhi last night. A sense of urgency has been lent to the move to file the petition by the fact that the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement on a Haryana petition, has already directed the Punjab Government to complete its portion of the SYL by January 15, 2003, failing which the Centre should step in and complete the much-delayed canal.

Haryana bases its claim on the fact that it is the successor state and all assets and liabilities are to be shared between Punjab and Haryana on 60:40 basis following reorganisation of Punjab on linguistic basis in 1966.

An indication of the government’s thinking on this ticklish issue was given here today by the Chief Minister, in a talk with media persons. He said they were going to the Supreme Court for relief and were confident that the apex court would do them full justice. He asserted that Haryana had no claim on Punjab’s rivers when examined from the standpoint of internationally accepted riparian laws and principles and the river basin structure.

If anything, Haryana should claim a share in the Yamuna waters which flowed through the state and on which Haryana had a legitimate claim. Lakhs of cusecs of water of the Yamuna was going waste to the sea every year and could be utilised by Haryana to irrigate its land. The Chief Minister emphasised that Punjab had no surplus waters to spare and if any water was diverted to Haryana, three sourthern districts of Punjab would go dry.

He pointed out that the bigger state of Punjab measuring 105 lakh acres had been allocated only 12 MAF, while the smaller state of Haryana measuring 80 lakh acres had been allocated 14 MAF of water. In fact, there was no surplus water with Punjab where the groundwater level had already steeply gone down in recent years and if any further Punjab waters were diverted to Haryana, the whole of Malwa region of the state would turn into a desert, threatening the agricultural production of the land of the green revolution.

He also said that various fiscal reforms undertaken by the State Government had started yielding positive results thereby moping up an additional revenue of Rs1000 crore by March 31, 2003. He expressed the hope that financial discipline would be restored in the State by pursuing its fiscal agenda in right earnest so as to put back the State’s economy, growth and finances on track.


Talwandi: SAD chief ferried Nirankari head to
Delhi in ’78 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Former SGPC President Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi today said he was not surprised at his ouster from the Political Affairs Committee of the Sad since “any top-rung leader who safeguard Sikh tenets, institutions, principles and traditions will meet a similar fate.”

The visibly composed leader quipped :” It is a gift to an old Akali by a caucus of hypocrites who have been denigrating the Sikh Panth. I have been targeted since I have always stood up to this coterie who have no other agenda but their own vested interests.”

Talking to TNS at his residence here this noon, Mr Talwandi levelled serious charges against the SAD President. “ It is ironical that he has been expelled by a leader who himself actively helped the Nirankaris, who were excommunicated by the Panth. After the massacre of innocent Sikhs at the hands of Nirankaris at Amritsar on Baisakhi in 1978, Mr Badal rescued the then Nirankari chief, allegedly responsible for the gory killings, and ferried him from Amritsar to Delhi in his (Badal’s) car”.

The former Chief Minister then prevailed upon his close lieutenant, police officer Anoop Singh, to give a clean chit to the Nirankari chief he added.

Holding Mr Badal responsible for the spread of ‘dera culture’ in the state, he alleged that the SAD chief had extended his patronage and offered all possible assistance to the self-styled godmen. It was due to this policy that deras like Sacha Sauda had come up in a big way at Sirsa. This had emboldened persons like Piara Singh Bhaniara, Ashutosh Noormahlia, Chandra Swami, and Asa Ram to indulge in blasphemous acts, distorting Sikh tenets and philosophy, he pointed out.

Jathedar Talwandi maintained that being Chairman of the SAD Disciplinary Committee and senior leader of the party it was his foremost duty to protect Panthic traditions, but he had been expelled in an undemocratic manner without completing the required formalities.

On the recent SGPC elections, he said committee members were kept in captive custody at Balasar and they were forced to pledge support to the party nominee.

He alleged that the caucus around Mr Badal had tried to use him for anti-panthic activities following his election as SGPC chief, but he had refused to play into their hands. They had had him replaced with one of their sycophants.

Accusing Mr Badal of hobnobbing with the Congress since the times of Partap Singh Kairon, Jathedar Talwandi said it was on record that as an SGPC member, Mr Badal had voted for Mr Prem Singh Lalpura to oust veteran Akali leader Master Tara Singh as SGPC President in 1958..

“Now this caucus has won the committee election with the blessings and active assistance of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, he alleged.


No differences with Bhattal, says CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today described his Cabinet Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, as his sister and said that he had no differences with her.

Talking to pressmen here, the Chief Minister referred to a press report that he had a prolonged closed door meeting with Mrs Bhattal in Delhi yesterday in a bid to settle differences with her and said he had had no closed-door meeting with her. “Actually, I was in Delhi to discuss with the party high command the forthcoming elections in Himachal Pradesh.

Several party leaders attended the meeting. Mrs Bhattal was also there.

But only Himachal elections were discussed”.

Mrs Bhattal has been up in arms against the Chief Minister ever since the state government fled a challan against her in a Chandigarh court in connection with the alleged embezzlement of Rs 20 lakh during her term as Chief Minister. Mrs Bhattal had earlier met Mrs Sonia Gandhi and other top AICC leaders to lodge a protest against the Chief Minister’s action.


Pherurai’s bail plea rejected
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 13
A local court today rejected the bail application of former Ferozepore SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai in case involving alleged bribes paid by him to sacked PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu to secure jobs for his son and daughter.

The court of Ms Sabina today rejected the bail application filed by the former SSP with regard to FIRs 65 and 68 registered against him. The prosecution had earlier alleged that he had paid the former Chairman of the PPSC Rs 3.5 crore to get his son appointed as DSP and his daughter into the Punjab Civil Services. Ms Sabina had earlier reserved judgement into the case on December 10.


Shahpur Kandi project may go into pvt hands
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Ranjit Sagar Dam, December 13
Even as the standing committee of the Ranjit Sagar Dam Construction Board, headed by the Chief Secretary, has already decided in principle that the Rs 1,324-crore Shahpur Kandi dam project would be constructed by a private firm, a high-level team of a multinational company today visited the site here today to conduct a preliminary survey.

The team, headed by the Director of the company, Mr Khalid Ali Beg, also held detailed discussions with the higher officials of the project.

The minutes of the standing committee meeting read, “certain institutions from the private sector had expressed keen interest in taking up the matter. Institutional finance was also available. Moreover, the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board was involved in the process of selecting partners from the private sectors”.

The committee claimed that some companies had made presentations to the Chief Minister and the Punjab State Electricity Board.

The move of the state government is likely to raise a hue and cry among dam employees as they apprehend retrenchment of the “surplus staff”.

The committee has also decided that the two projects — Ranjit Sagar and Shahpur Kandi — should be integrated. A plan for the structuring of a composite project would be prepared with the assistance of professional consultants already working for the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board and submitted to the board in the next meeting.

The consultants, appointed for the purpose, would give their observations on the financial and technical status of the ongoing Ranjit Sagar dam project. The exercise would also include suggestions on the utilisation of machinery, equipment and manpower available at Ranjit Sagar dam site.

Senior officials of the Irrigation Department on the condition of anonymity said it was unfortunate that the state government had decided to hand over the project to a private firm while engineers, trained foremen and workmen of the department were quite competent to execute the project while maintaining the quality of the work. With the help of a loan given under the AIBP (accelerated irrigation benefits programme) and a matching grant by the state government earth work and long dyke required for the protection of dam had already been completed in the dam. This year the Punjab Government decided afresh that the construction work worth Rs 1,200 crore shall be done by the Irrigation Department and the rest of Rs 500 crore (power houses) by the PSEB. The Shahpur Kandi Project has been cleared by the Central Water Commission and the Planning Commission. 


Doctors refuse to hand over undertrial to police
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 13
The Government Rajindra Hospital authorities today refused to hand over an undertrial who had been awarded a police remand by a local court to the police authorities, saying he had severe injuries on his lower abdomen and other parts of the body, including the private parts.

Surgery Ward number three In charge Dr Surinder Singh told TNS that 25-year-old city resident Mukesh Kumar was not handed over to the police today even though he had been remanded to police custody by a local court due to the nature of his injuries. He said Mukesh had blunt contusions on various parts of his body, including his private parts. He said the boy needed hospitalisation and that he was being referred to the Orthopaedic Department also. He said Mukesh would be kept in the hospital for at least two days till his condition stabilised.

Earlier yesterday also Mukesh had been remanded to police custody by a local court. However, his advocate while interceding on his behalf asked the Judge to see the nature of injuries on the body of Mukesh for himself. When the Judge saw the injuries he ordered that he should be checked up medically. The Judge also ordered that a special panel of doctors be constituted for the purpose.

According to sources, the examination of the boy by the medical panel revealed that 60 per cent of the body was swollen up. Besides this the panel reported that there were blunt contusion on his lower abdomen as well as private parts.

There also seemed to be impressions of a rope on his hands and legs and pus had formed in his scalp because his hair had been pulled at severely.

Earlier the parents of Mukesh, who is a resident of Vikas Colony in the city, had claimed that he was picked up by the Kotwali police on December 2 on the allegation of stealing a vehicle. They alleged that he was kept in illegal custody for nine days during the course of which he was severely tortured. They said his condition worsened when he received blows on his private parts adding he had also started vomitting blood.

The parents have alleged that when the police felt that Mukesh’s condition was getting serious, they recorded that he had been arrested on December 11 and admitted him in the Government Rajindra Hospital from where he had been taken to a local court yesterday.


Panchayat secretaries lathicharged
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 13
The local police today lathicharged suspended panchayat secretaries when they tried to take out a procession to the residence of state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, after organising a protest meeting at Nehru Garden here.

The police swung into action when panchayat secretaries numbering around 500 started coming out of Nehru Garden holding placards with the aim of marching to the residence of the Chief Minister. Around a dozen persons received minor injuries during the lathi charge.

Local police officers did not spare two press photographers covering the lathi charge, snatching their cameras and slapping them to prevent them from clicking any photograph of the lathi charge.

Earlier, the secretaries during their meeting charged the state government with discrimination, saying their services had been terminated unjustly. The suspended employees have decided to further agitate in the matter.


DIG asked to probe DSP’s conduct
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 13
In an unprecedented step, the Patiala Zone Inspector General of Police has “advised” a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) to vacate rented accommodation in his possession besides ordering the Patiala Range Deputy Inspector General (DIG) to hold an inquiry into the conduct of the DSP within a fortnight.

Chandigarh Tribune had recently highlighted how DSP Rajinderpal Singh Anand had carried out an inquiry against a Station House Officer (SHO) who had been instrumental in recommending the cancellation of an FIR registered by the DSP against relatives of his landlord. The DSP had in the FIR complained that the relatives of his landlord, including a Punjabi University Professor, had broken the main gate of his rented accommodation and indulged in vandalism on the premises. The SHO who had visited the spot had commented that the case registered by the DSP was false. Subsequently, DSP Rajinderpal Singh Anand was entrusted with the responsibility of investigating a complaint made against the SHO. The DSP had recommended the registration of a criminal case against the SHO.

Patiala IGP Anil Kaushik in the “advice” given to the DSP yesterday said: “In 1996 you took a two-room set in a house (13, Gaushala Road) on rent. In 1998, you occupied the whole house unlawfully. This conduct of yours is unbecoming of a police officer. You are advised to improve your conduct and take remedial measures to correct the situation”. The “advice” also mentions “you had earlier been advised vide letter number 13686/PA dated 30-10-02 to vacate the residence of DSP, Nabha” also.

Meanwhile, in a separate communique to the DIG, the IGP has asked him to submit a report into the conduct of DSP Rajinderpal to him within a fortnight. The IGP has also enclosed a copy of the letters written by him on the issue to Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal to facilitate the inquiry. Mr Kaushik, when contacted on the issue, said the facts of the case would become more clear after DIG Sahota conducted an inquiry into the issue.

The IGP has also decided to change the inquiry officer in the case involving illegal detention of a person by now suspended Rajpura City SHO Balwinderpal Sharma, who had held the FIR of DSP Rajinderpal to be false. While the SSP had given the charge of the inquiry first to DSP Rajinderpal and only changed the inquiry officer few days back, the IG has ordered Fatehgarh Sahib Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) Utpal Joshi to investigate the case.

It has also come to light that the controversy surrounding the DSP and his landlords and the role of SHO Balwinderpal Sharma was in the knowledge of SSP Umranangal. This can be seen from the number of times the IG has asked the SSP to inquire into the case and submit a report on it. This direction was given when one of the parties — Prof Harpal Singh Pannu of the Punjabi University — approached him complaining that the DSP was harassing him and had got a false case registered against him and some others.

The IG wrote the first DO letter to the SSP in the case on September 18 directing him to inquire into the case. Following this, a letter was written by the IG on October 10 stating: “Your reply is still awaited. Kindly send your reply within seven days positively”. Another letter on September 24 said: “No report received so far. Please ensure report is sent immediately”. Another letter on November 11 reminded the SSP that a period of two months had passed but his report on the issue was still awaited. Another letter on November 20 said another complaint had been received against the DSP and that the SSP should send his report within seven days. The last reminder was sent on November 28.

The SSP did reply to the letters only a few days back saying the house was taken on rent by DSP Rajinderpal in 1996 and that a case in this regard was going on in court. 


Horse on the run in Punjab
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Punjab now has an animal breeding policy prepared by Dr P.N. Bhat, Chairman, Working Group on Animal Husbandry and Dairying for the Tenth Plan in the Planning Commission.

What Dr Bhat has recommended can best be implemented and effected provided there is legal and administrative framework as well as a herd registration authority scheme.

Mr D.S. Jaspal, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, told TNS today that both legal and administrative backup support was on the anvil. So is the draft Act on a herd registration authority. It is awaiting approval of the Council of Ministers.

He disclosed “Punjab is the first state in the country to have the two instruments ready to improve the dairying sector, which has tremendous scope for generating incomes and jobs, particularly to the benefit of small and marginal farmers and landless labour. Dairying is a viable alternative to diversification in agriculture, where stress is to break wheat-paddy rotation”.

The animal breeding policy cautions about new challenges under the WTO regime, makes interesting disclosures on Punjab livestock, particularly, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep and goats, poultry and pigs, unfolds a roadmap to improve the milk production and gives impetus to non-food grain items like meat and eggs. The Policy also focuses on exploring export markets for “buffalo meat”.

The Policy outlines the methodology like setting up a performance recording system, herd registration authority and a bull production programme. Incidentally, Punjab produces 10 per cent of the total milk produced in the country. Dr Bhat talks of “livestock revolution” that is “knowledge-intensive and technology-driven” and is aimed at ensuring higher incomes and jobs in rural Punjab with appropriate linkages with market and industry.

Any improvement in animal breeds can be effected through genetic/reproductive technologies, feed improvement and management. The envisaged “livestock revolution” will provide food security as well as economic/environmental sustainability, once production, processing and distribution of livestock products get started. A chain of breeding societies can be set up in villages.

The policy gives technological options—development of cross-bred synthetics, setting up bull farms and semen banks, multiple ovulation and embryo transfer, progeny testing programmes etc.

If the agricultural sector is dominated by wheat-paddy, in the breeding policy and the dairy sector focus is on cows and buffaloes. Where it reveals interesting data, it also calls for further investigation as to why population of horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, poultry, pigs, goats, camels etc. is decreasing. The Policy paper says that about one lakh sheep daily transit through Punjab to J&K for mutton. Punjabis are not fond of mutton. But why cannot Punjab breed sheep for mutton purposes and export to the neighbouring state? Punjab’s sheep breeding policy could meet 50 per cent of the mutton requirements of J&K.

Punjab may not have any horses by 2060, if the present trend of declining horse population persists. Thoroughbred horses can be yet another option to breed these for sports and entertainment just as in case of camels for ceremonial purposes and promoting tourism. Similarly, while elsewhere in the country the population of goats is up, it is going down in Punjab at the rate of 2 per cent per annum. Poultry is another casualty, where it is being treated neither as part of agriculture nor industry. Its decline is at the rate of 3.2 per cent annually since the 1990s. Slaughter or culling of unproductive animals is strongly advocated by keeping inferior animals out of breeding programmes. A revolutionary step suggested is setting up of rural-based abattoirs to take care of unwanted, uncared animals.

Dr Bhat estimates that if Punjab opts for abattoirs, it would increase its contribution to the gross domestic product by almost $ 30 million annually as there is a vast export potential for meat.


Municipal elections on January 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The elections to Punjab municipalities will be held on January 23, next year.

The Punjab State Election Commissioner, Mr C L Bains, declared in a notification issued here today. As per the schedule announced for the general election to 82 Municipal Councils and five nagar panchayats, the last date for making nominations is January 13; the date for scrutiny is January 14; the last date for withdrawal is January 15. The entire election process will be completed by January 25.

The polling will take place from 8 am to 4 pm.


Objections to ward changes
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, December 13
Nine objections and suggestions have been made about the reorganisation of 21 Municipal council wards here. A dozen residents of ward No. 12 have suggested that if Chakarwalo Jhuggo locality should be included in ward no. 13. Sunil Kamra of ward no. 19 and Munshi Ram of ward no. 9 have demanded some alteration of the ward. Residents of ward no. 10 have resented the reservation of their ward for women for the second time. The Northern India SC BC Welfare Association, Fazilka branch, has demanded reservation of five wards instead of four at present. Ram Krishan and Ashok Kumar, residents of ward No. 5 have demanded that in view of large population of SCs BCs in their ward it should be reserved for these castes after reorganising ward no. 6.

Satsaroop Singh of Ward No. 17 had demanded some alteration in his area.


9 of marriage party killed in accident

Sangrur, December 13
At least nine members of a marriage party were killed and eight injured when a Tata Sumo in which they were travelling towards Haryana collided with a truck near Khanauri today.

The police confirmed the mishap, saying that six occupants of the badly smashed sumo died on the spot while three succumbed to their injuries on way to hospital.

The injured have been hospitalised, the police said. UNI


Tehsil complex awaits VIP
Ashok Grover

JALALABAD: The newly built tehsil complex here has been awaiting a VIP for its inauguration for the past three month. Constructed at a cost of Rs 4.5 crore, the huge building has sufficient space for accommodating all tehsil-level offices.

The complex also has a designated space for the establishment of judicial courts. Besides, some residential houses have also been constructed for officers and other staff members.

This state-of-the-art double-storey building has provided a facelift to the town. The shifting of all state government offices here would help streamline administrative work. This has also brightened the chances of setting up judicial courts here. Moreover, this will also lead to the vacation of Kisan Ghar and the Canal Guest House currently occupied by the SDM, Jalalabad.

The people of Jalalabad had to sacrifice a historic building — kothi Nawab (the palace of erstwhile Nawab of Mamdot) — which had to demolished to make way for this complex. The architect, however, took care to keep the design of the main gates and the boundary wall similar to that of Kothi Nawab.

The plan to construct a tehsil complex was envisaged by the previous government. As the land of ‘Kothi Nawab’ had been under the Education Department since 1947 and a primary school and an office were running in it, it was not easy to transfer the land in the name of the Revenue Department. At the initiative of Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP from Ferozepore, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, constituted a high-powered committee comprising the Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretary, the Financial Commissioner, the DC, Ferozepore, and the SDM, Jalalabad, which cleared the project and transferred the required land to the Revenue Department. Its construction was assigned to PUDA which completed the job within the stipulated period.


University told to reconvene process of counselling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Allowing a bunch of eight petitions filed by students seeking admission to medical courses, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that the claim of the petitioners for being considered for admission to Bachelor of Dental Surgery cannot be denied merely on account of the fact that they did not indicate the course as one of the preferences while filling the application form.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, also directed Baba Farid University of Health Sciences “to reconvene the process of counselling and consider the claim of the petitioners and others to the BDS course afresh on the basis of their ranking or marks in Punjab Medical Entrance Tests — 2002”.

In their detailed order, the Judges added: “We are satisfied that the petitioners were liable to be considered for admission to BDS course and could not be excluded from consideration merely for the reason that they did not indicate BDS as one of the preferences while filling up the forms.”

Going into the background of the case, the Judges observed: “Having qualified PMET — 2002 examinations, the petitioners were required to fill up the application forms. Almost all the petitioners filled up the form by expressing their preference for admission to MBBS course.... None of the petitioners were successful in gaining admission to MBBS course on account of limited seats offered. During the process of counselling for admission to the BDS course, the University declined to consider the claim of the petitioners as they had not indicated any preferences for admission to BDS course while filling up the application form”.

Cutting of trees

Coming down heavily upon the state of Punjab for taking the issue of tree felling “lightly”, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Punjab’s Chief Secretary to file an affidavit about “the action proposed to be taken for preventing the cutting of trees and also to prevent easy compounding resorted to when trees are cut”.

Issuing the directions on a bail application filed by a forest guard, Mr Justice Goel ruled: “Counsel for the state submits that there is proposal for amending the Indian Forest Act of 1927... Even though two years have passed since the papers were sent, it is not clear as to what further progress is being made. Cutting of trees involves violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and in the wake of awareness about environment, legislations on the point have been reviewed in the country. The matter cannot be taken so lightly as is being done in the state of Punjab.”

The Judge added: “In the present case, felling of trees has been compounded by the Forests Officers. It is utmost necessary to regulate the power of compounding. Before any further directions are issued, let the Punjab Chief Secretary file an affidavit in this behalf”. The case will now come up for further hearing on December 16.


One gets police remand in Langah case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 13
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, today sent to police remand till December 16 one Sudarshan Kaura in connection with the Sucha Singh Langah case.

Mr Jatinderjeet Singh Punn, public prosecutor, and DSP, Vigilance, Mr Jaspal Singh Jassal, demanded a 14-day police remand and said that the accused used to take bribes at the behest of the former PWD Minister, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, for transfers and promotions in the department.

He even secured contracts for “favourites” of the minister.


No action on Sanitary Inspector’s plea
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 13
The Nangal police has failed to register a case against safai karamcharis of the Nangal council, who allegedly beat up a Sanitary Inspector and threw dirt in front of the residence of municipal council president.

The police has not registered a case against the erring safai karamcharis despite the Sanitary Inspector, Mr Gurmail Ram, submitting a complaint endorsed by the council President and seven other councillors of the Nangal council, on December 10.

The complainant Sanitary Inspector while talking to mediapersons at Nangal today alleged that a safai karamchari of the local council, Ms Kamlesh Rani, allegedly beat him up in the council office with shoes. Thereafter, the president of the safai karamcharis, Mr Kushal Kumar, along with his associates attacked him and he had to save his skin by hiding in the office of the Executive Officer of the council.

The safai karamcharis in the presence of the police also abused the councillors and gheraoed their residences. Later, using tractor-trailers of the council they dumped dirt in front of the residence of the president of the council. On the directions of the council president he submitted a complaint to the police. But the police was not acting on his complaint, he alleged.

The Nangal police authorities when asked about the reason for the non-registration of the case, said that the case would be registered only after the investigations into the matter were completed. The SSP, Ropar, was not available for comments.


Encroachments bane of upcoming colony
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 13
Encroachments on more than 90 acres of land of Phase III Colony of the Punjab Urban Development Authorities (PUDA), worth crores of rupees, seem to have come in the way of developing basic amenities for the plot holders.

Though the PUDA authorities have passed the zoning scheme for the construction of houses by the plot holders and sanctioning of site plans will start next week, the encroachments have been creating problems in developing green belts. Work on sewerage, streetlighting, water supply and paving of roads is going on at a fast pace.

Official sources say that they could not succeed in removing all encroachments due to political interference.

Mr D.S. Grewal, Assistant Chief Administrator, PUDA, when contacted, said on about 60 acres of land, temporary encroachments had come up and on the remaining land, permanent encroachments like bricked houses had been constructed. He added that some of the encroachers had also got their site plans sanctioned from the authorities concerned.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that about 1,500 residential plots had been demarcated in Phase III besides a number of parks and green belts in the original scheme. However, the encroachment on a major piece of land had been forcing the authorities to leave certain portions of the scheme incomplete.

Information revealed that encroachment could not be removed fully despite the fact that PUDA had given 25 square yards plot to the jhuggi dwellers for their rehabilitation. All basic amenities had been provided to them.


Work on railway line from next year
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 13
Work on the Tarn Taran-Goindwal Sahib rail line will be started from the next financial year and the preliminary steps have been taken in this regard.

This was stated by Mr Bhupinder Singh, SDM, and Railway authorities at a press conference organised here today.

Mr Bhupinder Singh said Rs 36 crore would be spent on this 21.5-long rail line, which included Rs 9.50 crore to be given to the land holders of Tarn Taran and Khadoor Sahib subdivisions as the cost of land.

He said land of Fatehbad, Khan Rajada Tanda, Dhotian, Lalpur, Shingarpur Malmohri, Begampur, Aladinpur, Chander, Jodhpur and Muradpur villages had to be acquired for the purpose.

Malmohri and Vainpoin will be the two railway stations on this rail line. Thus, the Goindwal Sahib industrial complex will be linked to the town.

Railways officials present on the occasion said the work on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail line was under progress while the work on the rail link from Abohar to a Fazilka would be started soon.


Dental health fortnight ends
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 13
A dental health fortnight, which started in the state from November 20, and was extended to December 12, concluded at Dasuya, today.

During the period 70 mass dental camps were organised at the district and subdivision-level hospitals in which more than 1.50 lakh patients were treated and 2,500 poor patients were given sets of dentures free of cost. In order to create awareness about oral health exhibitions, on-the-spot painting competitions and relay races were held.

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, Mr R.C. Dogra, was the chief guest.

The Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, also spoke on the occasion. 


One dead, 12 hurt in bus mishap
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 13
A private bus of Garg Transport Company, Patran, Patiala district, on its way to Mansa met with an accident near Kot Lalu village at 6 p.m. today.

Harbans Singh Dhillon (50), an official of the Co-operative Bank at Budhlada, died and 12 persons were injured. They were rushed to the Civil Hospital at Mansa. Some have been identified as Gursewak Singh (50), Gauri Shankar (20), Kewal Krishan, an official of the Municipal Council, Budhlada.


BJP men seek report 
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 13
The city unit of the BJP today urged the SMO of the Civil Hospital here to immediately send the detailed medico-legal report to the city police regarding the injuries caused to Congress worker Dev Raj Ahuja. A deputation of the party workers, led by the district president, Mr Faquir Chand Goyal today met the SMO, Dr Dalip Kumar Karwasra, and submitted a memorandum in this regard. They said the FIR lodged by a Congress worker against senior BJP councillor Satish Narang was false and politically motivated. The deputation further said neither an X-ray of the injured Congress worker had been done, nor any report regarding the injuries submitted. 


46 farmers get notices for land sale
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 13
The District Primary Agriculture Development Bank (PADB) authorities of Bathinda have served the first notice regarding the sale of agriculture land to those farmers, who had not repaid the instalments of the loan taken from its branches about two years ago.

Officials sources said about 900 farmers, who had defaulted in making payment of the periodical instalments of the their loan amount had been served with the first notice of sale, while 46 farmers had been served with a final notice of land sale.

Sources added that these notices had been issued under the Land Mortgage Act 1957. Under the act, a piece of land pledged with the bank by the loanee as security could be disposed of by the bank authorities any time after he or she became a defaulter for a period of more than two years. The bank authorities had sent the cases of 46 defaulters to the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Bathinda, for fixing the dates of auction of different pieces of land.

A senior official of the district branch of the bank told TNS on condition of anonymity that land of those farmers, who had been served with the first notice of sale, would be disposed of after about a year by completing all formalities. He added that land of 46 farmers, who had been served with the final notice of sale, could be disposed of any time.

He pointed out that during the ongoing exercise of recovery of the loan amount, the bank authorities had not issued warrants against any defaulter. No farmer, who had not yet repaid the instalment, had been arrested so far.

Official sources said the bank authorities in Rampura block had recovered only 12 per cent of the total outstanding of Rs 8 crore, the Bathinda bank authorities had recovered only 14 per cent of the total outstanding of Rs 14 crore and only 11 per cent of total outstanding of Rs 8 crore had been recovered by the Nathana bank.

The loan recovery by the Talwandi Sabo and the Raman Mandi banks was also very low.

Sources added that though the recovery of loans would continue up to January 31, the field staff felt that it would not cross 25 per cent of total outstanding amount.

Mr Jarnail Singh, Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, when contacted, said that he had not received any documents from the bank authorities, Bathinda, for fixing the dates of auction for sale of land. He added that Mr Gurcharan Singh, Manager, PADB, Bathinda had intimated him only verbally.


6 farmers’ bodies to hold rally
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 13
To oppose the “anti-farmers” policies of the state and Central Government, six farmers’ organisations have decided to hold a protest rally at Patiala on December 20.

This was decided at a meeting attended by representatives of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), the Kirti Kisan Union, the All-India Kisan Sabha, the Agriculture and Farmers Development Front, the Punjab Sabha and the Zamhoori Kisan Sabha here today.

The general secretary of the Zamhoori Kisan Sabha, Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu, said that the meeting criticised the state government for its failure to announce the MSP for sugarcane during the current season. A sum of Rs 100 crore as arrears towards the sale of sugarcane had not been released by cooperative and private sugar mills despite repeated assurances by the state government in this regard, the meeting observed.

Drought-hit farmers were not even given relief as announced by the Central and state governments. “We have decided to hold a protest rally at Patiala on December 20 while dharnas will be organised at all sugar mills in the state on January 6 to press the demand for the release of dues of the farmers, Mr Sandhu added.


Inter-state meeting of cops held
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 13
An inter-state coordination meeting comprising police officials from Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab was held here today at Madhopur. Mr Rajan Gupta, Inspector-General of Police, Border Range Amritsar, presided. Other police officers who attended the meeting included Mr Gurdev Singh Sahota, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Border Range, Amritsar, and Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, Gurdaspur.

The meeting emphasised the sharing of intelligence regarding the movement of terrorists in the three states. Illegal trafficking of Bangladesh nationals, smuggling of illicit liquor from Chhanni Bela in Himachal Pradesh to Pathankot and problems relating to law and order of the three states were also discussed.

Gidderbaha (Muktsar) (TNS): To evolve a strategy to keep a tab on any terrorism related activity, check inter-state smuggling of narcotics, contain the activities of inter-state gangs of criminals and arrest the proclaimed offenders (POs), a meeting of high-ranking police officials of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan will take place at Abohar next week.

Mr R.P. Meena, DIG, Ferozepore, who was here on Wednesday in to inaugurate a de-addiction camp, told TNS said police officials would exchange information pertaining to the activities of inter-state smugglers and criminals in their respective areas. 


Food Dept staff threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 13
Mr Gurjant Singh Grewal, Acting President, Punjab State Ministerial Services Union, today said that the union had been time and again urging the Chief Secretary, Punjab, to make arrangements for conducting an inquiry into the misdeeds of a senior official of the Food and Civil Supplies Department while he was posted at Bathinda, but without any success so far.

In a press note issued here today, he pointed out that the senior official of Food and Civil Supplies Department had committed a number of frauds and extended favours worth lakhs of rupees to a section of rice-mill owners through illegal means. The said officer also remained absent from duty for a considerable period of time.

He said an independent inquiry by a senior IAS officer could unveil his misdeeds and bring the big scams out.

He said the union was holding a meeting at Ludhiana to work out the modalities of the agitation to be launched against the state government shortly in protest against the non-implementation of its demands.


Encroachments removed
Our Correspondent

Nangal (Ropar), December 13
The district administration today removed encroachments in the town. The police swung into action at about 4 a.m. today and cordoned the entire area around the PTDC tourist complex here.

In the presence of the Executive Magistrate, local council workers removed rehris and some structures using tractor- trailers. The operation was completed at 6 a.m.

The president of the Citizen Welfare Society, Mr Parmjit Singh, in a press note, lauded the Deputy Commissioner for the anti-encroachment drive.


MC to defy order on octroi
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 13
The municipal council here today unanimously resolved to defy the directions given by the Regional Deputy Director, Local Government, Ferozepore, regarding the auction of octroi posts. The meeting was originally fixed for December 9 but had to be postponed until today as the Executive Officer was not present on that day. Today’s meeting was presided over by Mr Babu Ram Arya, President of the council. More than 17 of the 31 members were present in the House.

Mr Satish Kumar Singla, Regional Deputy Director, had in his letter dated November 14 expressed concern over the shortfall in the collection of octroi. The Executive Officer had reported to the authorities that only Rs 1.72 crore have so far been collected against the target of Rs 3.48 crore. The councillors, however, censured the officials of the octroi branch for their inefficiency, but unanimously rejected the directions from the department to auction the octroi posts.

The meeting resolved to purchase two sirens costing Rs 1 lakh for civil defence exercises.


Funds for development works
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 13
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP from the Ropar Lok Sabha constituency, has granted money from his MP Local Area Development Fund for various development works in Kharar.

Giving this information, municipal councillor Natrajan Kaushal informed that the Deputy Commissioner Ropar had already written to the local municipal council for the utilisation of the fund.

The development works covered by fund will be Shri Ram Bhawan Rs 2 lakh, Muslim community centre Rs 40000, Harijan Dharamshala in Mundi Kharar (1 lakh), Balmiki Dharamshala in Choti Majri (50000) and Nanumal Dhramshala (Rs 1 lakh). 


Six held for stealing phones, vehicles
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 13
The district police has arrested six persons for stealing mobile phones and vehicles.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, SSP in a press statement issued here today said a police party had laid a naqa near Maqsoodan and intercepted a Maruti in the afternoon. The occupants of the vehicle, after sustained questioning, admitted that they had stolen it about two months ago. Robin Sood, Gaurav Bhalla and Nitin Dhir, all residents of Mahendru Mohalla, were arrested. The police recovered three cars, two motor cycles and three scooters from them.

Meanwhile, the police arrested Sunny of Guzan Basti, Vicky Bakshi and Yuvraj Kumar, both of Sheikh Basti, for stealing mobile phones from Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Amritsar.


Dang writes to CM on admission racket
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 13
Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader has written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to intervene in a case pertaining to admission racket in Guru Nanak Dev University, which is allegedly being hushed up by some ‘high-up’ in the administration. The letter alleged that some high-ups in the administration seemed to be determined to shield people involved in the racket.

In the letter, Mr Dang said that it seemed to be an attempt to scuttle a case registered against responsible persons after indictment by prolonged police investigation in connection with the admission racket.

Rakesh Sharma, who had taken admission in the MCA in GNDU by giving a donation of Rs 2 lakh, was given a roll call number which had been given to someone else also. He was then allotted a vacant roll number, which was further found to be allotted to another student during the first paper of semester-I. Rakesh then asked the HoD, to intervene, who allegedly handled him over to the security guards. A case was also registered against him.

When the issue was taken by Mr Dang, an inquiry was initiated by Dr S.K. Kalia then the SP II, who indicted PA to Dean Academic Affairs and the HoD. The case against Rakesh was cancelled and a case against both was registered which was later handed over to the DSP, Ashwani Kapur. However, no accused has been arrested so far.

Mr Dang also enclosed within a letter of Rakesh to the CM.

He urged the CM to intervene in the matter and ensure justice for the victims and punishment for the accused at the earliest. 


Pro-VC for updating research
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 13
The newly appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Satinder Singh, said he would use experience for achieving excellence in academics, update research and monitor the existing courses.

Talking to The Tribune here today, the Pro-VC said it would be his endeavour to showcase this university in other countries to attract not only NRI children but also bring in foreign students to study here.

Dr Satinder Singh said his priority would be to expedite the completion of regional centres being developed at Jalandhar and Gurdaspur as centres of excellence in higher education.

The Pro-VC, who had earlier headed the Namdhari Guru Ram Singh Chair, said he was planning to organise another international conference soon on the lines of one held earlier at Shri Bhaini Sahib in Ludhiana.

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