P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM should announce ‘action programme’, says Badal
All-party meeting on SYL canal today
Tribune News Service

Challenge Section 78,
says Kumedan

MR P.S. Kumedan, a renowned river waters expert, said today that there was no other legal alternative except to challenge Section 78 of the Punjab State Reorganisation Act.

This section could be challenged as it violated the Constitution in which river water had been declared as a state subject. Under Section 78, the Centre has the right to intervene in any dispute between Punjab and Haryana over the division of assets such as river waters. A comprehensive suit should be filed to charge royalties on the river waters given earlier to Haryana and Rajasthan. Royalties should be charged even on power supply, Mr Kumedam said. “River water were a natural resource and all other states were charging for providing natural resources such as coal to other states. No state gives coal and kerosene free to Punjab,” he added.

Chandigarh, June 11
SAD President and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Parkash Singh Badal will urge Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to announce an “action programme“ to stop the construction of the SYL canal at tomorrow’s all party meeting. The SAD’s political ally — the BJP — will also participate in the meeting.

Mr Badal got a written request from the government today to attend the meeting.

Party sources said Mr Badal would lead a big team of Akali leaders to the meeting, Mr Badal had sounded Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and some other senior leaders to reach Punjab Bhavan, the venue of the meeting.

Asked as to what line the party would take at the meeting, a senior party leader, said “our stand is very clear that no other state was entitled to any share in the Punjab river water. Nowhere in the country has any non-riparian state been given a share in the river water flowing in the riparian state. There is no justification for giving a share in the Punjab river waters to any other state”. Akali leaders participating in the meeting would ask Capt Amarinder Singh to take a clear stand on the river waters and canal issues.

Meanwhile, Punjab BJP President Avinash Rai Khanna, said today that his party would also attend the meeting. “The state BJP is prepared to make any sacrifice to safeguard the interests of Punjab on the river waters issue,” Mr Khanna said.


SYL canal a national issue, says Bir Devinder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 11
The construction of SYL canal is not a state problem but a national issue as the water level in Punjab is declining fast and the land is becoming unproductive. So keeping in view the state as well as national interest, the Union Government should also file a special review petition in the Supreme Court. Moreover, there is no spare water with the state and hence, there is no use of constructing SYL canal. This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Assembly, while talking to mediapersons at Chuni village of the district today.

He had come to preside over a meeting of district officials to review various developmental at projects in the village falling in his constituency.

He said keeping in view the 300 years of the martyrdom of Sahibjadas of Guru Gobind Singh, all roads around Chunni leading to Fatehgarh Sahib was being widened at a cost of Rs 31 lakh, while 18 lakh were being spent on water supply schemes.


Bhakra water level falls alarmingly
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 11
The water level of the Bhakra Dam, that caters to the irrigation needs of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan has fallen alarmingly.

As of today the water level in the Bhakra reservoir had fallen to 1,470.12 that was 102 ft lower than the 1572 ft level of the reservoir on the same date last year. The 1,470.12 ft water level is the lowest that the reservoir has ever recorded in June. The previous lowest level recorded in June was 1,474.84 ft in 1997.

What is of greater concern to the BBMB authorities is that the inflow in the reservoir still remains below the outflow. As on today the inflow in the reservoir was 13798 cusecs against the outflow of 20800 cusecs. Sources said despite the increased demand for water due to the paddy season the BBMB authorities were now planning to curtail the outflow. They are planning to keep the outflow equal to the inflow to stem the fall in the water level.

The level has remained low due to decreased inflow in the Sutlej. Sutlej is basically a snow-fed river. It receives its maximum water from the snow melting in its catchment areas. However, this year due to the unprecedented rain in the summer months, the temperature has fallen in its catchment areas leading to lesser melting of snow.

Experts in the BBMB feel that the water level is going to remain a record low in the Bhakra reservoir this year after the filling period ends in September. They are pinning their hopes on the good monsoon now to retrieve the situation to some extent.

Surprisingly, some of the experts consider the low water level as a blessing in disguise for the Dam. They are of the opinion that the silt that was depositing in the live storage area of the Bhakra reservoir since long would move further into the dead storage due to the low water level.

Engineers of the BBMB had been expecting the silt delta in the Bhakra reservoir to move into the dead storage area of below 1,462 ft since long. However, due to higher level of water, the silt kept depositing in the live storage area. Now that the water level is lower, the silt will get eroded into the dead storage area, they said.


SGPC to conduct PMET for Sikh students
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 11
While the Punjab Government has set up a committee headed by a retired judge of the High Court to fix the tuition fee for the unaided private medical colleges, the managements of these colleges are restive over the delay in the conduct of the PMET and the final counselling for the admission to the MBBS and BDS courses.

The management of the Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences and Research and the Guru Ramdas Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Amritsar, has formed the Association of Unaided Sikh Minority Medical and Dental Institutions (Punjab State) and announced to conduct the PMET on June 30 for the Sikh students who will be admitted under the minority status. These institutions can admit 50 per cent Sikh students of the total number of seats. However, the state government wants that the entire admission process should be one and as held by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

The managements of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, are waiting for the decision of the government on the fixation of seat quota and the tuition fee.

The Punjab Government has not yet issued the necessary notification for the admission and tuition fee structure for the unaided private medical and dental colleges. The government has formed a committee headed by Justice G.R. Majithia of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the fixation of fee and seat quota.

Meanwhile, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary secretary, SGPC, has informed the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, that the Association of Unaided Sikh Minority Medical and Dental Institutions (Punjab State) will be conducting independent entrance test for admission to the MBBS and BDS courses under the Sikh minority institution quota. The number of seats to be filled under the minority quota in the two institutes comes to 21 and 25. The Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences and Research has 50 seats for MBBS course and the dental institute has 60 seats for the BDS course.

According to Mr Manjit Singh, the independent test, which would be conducted by the institutes on June 30, would be on the pattern of the test conducted by the CBSE.

According to Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, Director, Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, the state government has adopted double standards as it has allowed the engineering colleges to conduct independent entrance test for the Sikh minority institutes and a notification for the same has been issued.

Mr Calcutta has written to the Punjab Medical Education Secretary, who is also the member-secretary of the Majithia committee, to give time for submitting the fee structure proposals and proposals for an entrance test, management quota and NRI quota for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 sessions.

Mr Calcutta said that they had also finalised the fee structure for the NRI students which had been fixed at $ 75,000 for the MBBS course and normal fee for the MBBS course has been fixed at Rs 2.5 lakh per year.

Dr Mohan Verghese, Principal, Christian Medical College and Hospital, said that they had national Christian and charitable minority status and they had been admitting more than 50 per cent Christian students to the MBBS course every year. Their main concern was the fixation of the quota of seats and not the fee. “Our fee is the lowest among all the medical and dental colleges in the state,” he said. The CMCH management also runs a dental college.


Nomination papers of 119 found in order
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 11
After the scrutiny of nomination papers of 122 candidates for 16 seats for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections in Sangrur district, the nomination papers of Mr Harkesh Singh Sidhu, additional Secretary, Public Health, Punjab, and 118 others were found in order today. However, the nomination papers of three candidates were rejected on different grounds.

Mr Sidhu is contesting the SGPC elections from the Dirba SGPC constituency as an Independent candidate.

Mr Mit Singh Sehjra, who has contested Lok Sabha and Assembly elections many times, had filed his nomination papers from the Channanwal SGPC constituency, but his papers were rejected on the grounds that he is not a Kesadhari and Amritdhari Sikh.

The nomination papers of Ms Surjit Kaur, a candidate from the Moonak (woman-general) constituency, were rejected as she cannot read and write Punjabi, while the nomination papers of Ms Amanjot Kaur, a candidate from the Malerkotla (woman-general) constituency, were rejected as she was underage (23). The required age for contesting the SGPC elections is 25.


SGPC elections: papers of 1 nominee rejected
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 11
Nomination papers of one nominee were rejected from Doda (SC reserve) seat in Muktsar district during scrutiny of the papers for the SGPC polls here today, while an objection for Muktsar (women reserved) seat against another nominee was not found valid.

Balkaran Singh’s nomination papers from Doda (SC) seat were rejected on the complaint of sitting SGPC member and SAD candidate Mukhtiar Kaur, wife of late Punjab minister Sujan Singh.

Muktsar DTO-cum-Returning Officer of Doda constituency Rajiv Prashar said that the objections had been found valid after which Balkaran’s paper were rejected. In her complaint, Ms Mukhtiar Kaur had alleged that Balkaran was under-age, used to cut his hair and had not attached any attested copy of a SC certificate.

However, another complaint filed by another SAD candidate from Muktsar (women reserved) seat, Mrs Manjit Kaur Chrewan, against Ms Paramjit Kaur was found invalid. The SDM Muktsar-cum-RO for the same constituency, Mr J.C. Sabharwal, said that Paramjit Kaur’s candidature was allowed as objections against her candidature had not been found valid.

Meanwhile, Mrs Manjit Kaur said that she would lodge a complaint with DC-cum-district RO Buta Ram Banga against the decision of the RO concerned.

She stated in her complaint that Paramjit Kaur had not mentioned in her papers that she wanted to contest elections from reserved seat, so her candidature should either be rejected or be considered for Muktsar general seat.

Meanwhile, the Panthic Morcha has announced Gurdev Singh Lubanwalo as its candidate from Muktsar general seat.


Fresco of Ranjit Singh’s era destroyed
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, June 11
The old wall painting of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s era depicting Maharaja Ranjit Singh holding a Darbar has been destroyed from the haveli in the congested walled city opposite to the Hindu College which was demolished reportedly to raise a shopping plaza.

Mr Jasbir Singh Bhatia, a research scholar on Sikh portraits brought the broken pieces to The Tribune office, revealed that this was the rarest wall painting and seemed to be made during Maharaja’s era. He said the painting has shown Maharaja Ranjit Singh in white and black beard and also having a halo behind his head which is rare to be found. In most of paintings Maharaja is shown in white beard and halo.

Mr Bhatia expressed his anguish over the attitude of Government which had failed to preserve such rarest treasure. He said government should have identified such heritage and preserve them with available latest techniques.

He said the painting seemed to have been made before 1830-32 when Maharaja Ranjit Singh was alive. He said majority of paintings found were of after 1838 having the influence of British painters and made after his death. He revealed that in 1838, Emily Edan, a British painter had painted a picture in a pose which became very famous and adopted by many artists later on. However, this painting had not such influence as this had shown Maharaja Ranjit Singh holding a rose and a man waving a cloth ‘chanwar’, he added.

Mr Bhatia said Maharaja has been shown as sitting on Golden Chair embedded with various precious stones along with Maharaja Kharak Singh, Maharaja Sher Singh, Maharaja Naunihal Singh, Sardar Lehna Singh etc. He said in the facial expression and cloth wearing style showed their status in the Darbar.

He said the painting seemed to be the result of Rajput artisan having Rajasthan technique. The base of painting have been prepared with successive layers of limestone, brick powder, white clay mixed with coat of bone and shell powder, curd, milk and honey. This technique is known as ‘Pore’ technique of Rajasthani art in vogue before the beginning of 20th century.

Ms Mejinderpal Kaur, Director, United Sikhs Organisation, a human development organisation said that their organisation would do their best to play any role which they were asked to play to preserve such structures and paintings. She said it would be short-sightedness of us if we failed to appreciate and preserve them. She expressed dismay over the government’s attitude towards preserving our heritage.


J&K students visit Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 11
Mohammed Din (16), class XI student of Senior Secondary School in Sunderbans, terrorist-infested border district of Rajouri in Jammu sector, is thrilled by the first outing in his life. He has never seen anything like the Golden Temple. He feels no fear here. A resident of Banipur village, Mohammed Din recalls that he and his family could not sleep for days after they heard sounds of four-hour-long encounter between six terrorists and the Army near their house in September last year.

Thirty teenaged students, many of them witnesses to terrorism, from border district of Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, felt the first whiff of freedom here today. They had arrived here under the Armys national integration programme “Operation Sadbhavna’.

Seventeen-year-old Mohammed Wasim’s memory of long-bearded, tall, lifeless bodies of terrorists being dragged from an incomplete house near their vicinity four years back is still vivid. Many of them from border villages of Banipuri, Kalakote, Rowaritala and Chenni Chawa, dread the season of “maize growing” next month, when terrorists hide in tall vegetation and make surprise attacks.

Nevertheless none of these teenagers are ready to send out their mothers or sisters unescorted. Every boy has a duty to escort his sister to and from school,” they reveal.

Thirteen-year-Mohammed Wasim of lower Hathal village, youngest in the group, said “I want to become an Army officer”. —We too”, The 30 schoolchildren chorus after him in unison. Mohammed Sehzad (18) is overtly exited over the prospect of joining the Army which would also allow him to pursue adventure sports.

The children have arrived here to enjoy new sights. They visited the Army’s Panther division today. The programme aims to bring the new generation in terrorist-infested areas of Jammu and Kashmir into the mainstream by weaning them away from insurgency.

This is for the first time they have stepped out of their villages, said Major M.S. Jamwal, in charge of the batch who selected these children from 10 schools, mostly from farming, Bakhwala nomadic tribes and low income groups, to save them from being lured or forced into terrorism.

The children visited the Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir and Jallianwala Bagh and witnessed the retreat ceremony at Wagah. They also enjoyed the Army’s hospitality.


I did not want to die, says granthi’s son
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 11
“I did not want to die and was at my wits end when my parents asked me to jump into the canal”, says 11-year-old Paramjit Singh who along with his mother was rescued, after a family of seven jumped into the Bhakra canal near Sonda village near here yesterday. “However, when I saw my sisters jumping into the canal one after the other I thought there was no point in living any longer and jumped into the canal alongwith my mother”.

Paramjit and his mother Rajinder Kaur were rescued because they were the last to jump into the canal. A landlord who was supervising his workers in a field near the canal jumped into the canal, along with his another person to rescue the two.

Back in his house which is empty now except for his mother who is inconsolable and has been advised rest by doctors, Paramjit is seeking succour in his old friends. Four to five of his friends are always with him and he has even blurted out his experience to others.

“He is reluctant to tell us what happened but is confiding in his friends”, says Harnek Singh, a relative of the family. Other relatives also disclosed that they did not want to disturb the boy mentally due to which they were not asking him any questions. However, what the boy had told till now was startling, they added.

Paramjit told his friends and later also TNS that his parents decided to commit suicide last morning. “They told my sisters, who were aged 22, 20, 17 and 14, respectively about the suicide pact but did not tell me anything”. He said last morning his parents asked everyone to get ready following which they paid obeisance at the Jyoti Swarup gurdwara near their house. He said after this the family went to Fatehgarh Sahib gurdwara and performed an “ardas” (prayer) there.

The boy says even after this his father Harnek wavered a little from committing suicide. “My father started to take the way to a relative’s village but my elder sister Jagdeep said the family must do the act it had agreed upon before hand. “It was only after this that my father took the car to Bhakra canal”, Paramjit said, adding he came to know only after reaching the canal that the entire family had decided to commit suicide. The boy said he did not want to die but had no choice but to hold on to a finger of his mother and jump into the canal with her.

Though Paramjit’s father Harnek had stated in his suicide note which was left in the car, that the family was committing suicide due to his foster father Hardayal Singh, friends and neighbours of the family said there could be some other reason for the act also. Balwinder Singh said Harnek’s foster father had given his son his entire 10 acres of land and other property and there could not be any financial dispute between them. “The man accused of being responsible for the suicide is more than 80-year-old and in ill health”, he added. But other neighbours said Harnek had a volatile temper which could have been responsible for the act.


2 of missing family found dead
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 11
The bodies of two members of a family, which had gone missing on June 3, have been found from the Bhakra canal.

The entire family of the younger brother of Jaspal Singh, sarpanch of Nogawan village in the district, comprising Kulwant Singh (42), his wife Harjit Kaur (40), daughter Ramandeep Kaur (17) and son Arvinder Singh (14) had been missing, since June 3 under mysterious circumstances.

The in-laws of Kulwant Singh had alleged that the family had been murdered by Jaspal Singh, who, in turn, blamed the former. Some villagers apprehend that the family committed suicide as it suffered a loss in business.

According to an FIR registered at the Bassi Pathana police station, Kultar Singh, brother-in-law of Kulwant Singh, has alleged that Jaspal Singh, his son Sandeep Singh and a neighbour, Amar Singh, kidnapped the family members of his brother-in-law with the intention of killing them to grab property worth crores.

Kultar Singh, a former sarpanch of Pohlumajra village in the district, said on June 2, Kulwant Singh came to his residence and took his car as he wanted to go to Poanta Sahib the next day to pay obeisance at a gurdwara there.

He said the next day he was informed on the telephone that his car had been found on the periphery of Suhavi village. The family had been missing since then.

On June 7, the body of Ramandeep Kaur was recovered from the canal.

Jaspal Singh charged Kulwant Singh’s in-laws with murdering the family over losses suffered in business, in which Kulwant Singh and his in-laws were partners.

The body of Kulwant Singh was recovered from the canal today, along with his driving licence, PAN card and a loaded revolver.

The last rites were performed at Nogawan village under tight security. Two bodies are yet to be recovered.


Rape case: woman alleges police inaction
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 11
A woman employee of the local Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital who belongs to Vimukti Jati, has charged the Faridkot police with adopting an indifferent attitude in arresting an employee of the district Public Health Department here despite the fact that a case was registered against him at Kotwali under Sections 376, 452 and 506 of the IPC on April 28.

At a press conference here yesterday in the presence of senior state office-bearers of the All-India Taprivas and Vimukt Jatis Federation, she alleged that Ravinder Singh Bedi, an employees of the Public Health Department, forcibly entered her government quarter number 123 on the night of April 20 and raped her. Before leaving the house, he threatened her with dire consequences if she reported the matter to anybody. She reported the matter to the SHO, but no action was taken. Later, she, along with her mother, met Maharani Preneet Kaur, Congress MP and wife of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who directed the Faridkot police to register a case against the suspect.

She, accompanied by senior leaders of the Taprivas and Vimukt Jatis Federation, had met the DIG, Faridkot Range, and the Deputy Commissioner on Wednesday, and sought their intervention in arresting the suspect.

She said she would approach the Chief Minister and the human rights commission if she failed to get justice.

Mr Kulshinder Singh, SSP, Faridkot, said the matter was under investigation.


Balance your goals, says expert
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 11
Happiness is a state of mind which one can find within oneself. This was stated by behavioural therapist Bharath Chandra while delivering a lecture on personality development in the city yesterday.

There are 10 secrets to success, according to Dr Chandra, Chairman of Winners Institute in Bangalore. They include goal setting, time management, relationship, stress management, communication skill, assertiveness training, positive attitude, enthusiasm, networking skill and mind management.

Later talking to TNS, he said success and personality development were one and the same thing. Balance among different goals was the key to achieve it, he said, adding that one should maintain balance among personal, family, financial and spiritual goals.

The seminar was organised by Sinesoft Education of Bathinda in association with NUMGEX (Network University of Multimodal Global Educational Exchange, Chhatisgarh).

The seminar was organised as some special courses are being started by NUMGEX in the city. Mr Sumitra Joshi, registrar of NUMGEX, gave details of various courses. Besides, the director of Sinesoft, Mr Vicky Singal, and OSD of the university, Major Susheel Goel (retd), also spoke on the occasion.


Rajesh Pilot’s death anniversary observed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 11
The fourth death anniversary of senior Congress leader Rajesh Pilot was organised at Ram Bhavan near Sanauri Adda here today.

Paying tribute to the departed soul the state Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mr Ramesh Chand Dhogra, asked people to come forward and contribute to the development of the nation. He added that this would be the real tribute to the late leader who had worked selflessly for the nation.

Speaking on the occasion BACKFINCO Chairman Nirmal Singh Bhattian, who is a former associate of Rajesh Pilot and had organised the function, appreciated the ‘anti-corruption’ drive started by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Lauding the sacrifices of Rajesh Pilot to the nation, Mr Bhattian said it was heartwarming that Mr Pilot’s son Sachin Pilot was now following in his father’s footsteps.

A large number of people, including those from the Gujjar baradari from the Dakala Assembly constituency participated in the function. 



Cong leader denied anticipatory bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
An anticipatory bail plea moved by the Moga district Congress president, Dr Tara Singh Sadhu, accused of bigamy, has been rejected by UT District and Sessions Judge H.S. Bhalla.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court on Mr Sandhu's bail application, the Judge ruled that powers under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code for the grant of anticipatory bail were "to be exercised sparingly and in exceptional cases".

Mr Sandhu was apprehending arrest in a case registered under Sections 406, 498-A and 494, IPC, in May this year at Sector 26 police station on the complaint of his wife, Dr Kanwaljit Kaur.

In her complaint to the police she had accused her husband of second marriage, saying that she and her son were shocked to learn that her husband "was living with another woman as husband and wife".

She had also claimed that the petitioner had managed to get a petrol station allotted in his name by furnishing false information regarding family income.

Mr Bhalla ruled: "The petitioner has allegedly performed second marriage during the subsistence of his marriage with Dr Kanwaljit Kaur and also harassed her.”



Zila Parishad Budget passed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 11
The annual budget of the Zila Parishad, with an expected income of Rs 67.88 lakh and expenditure of Rs 62.99 lakh was passed by the authorities concerned here today.

The budget was presented by the Chairperson of the Zila Parishad, Ms Gursharn Kaur, in a meeting held here at Red Cross Bhavan. In addition to this, the annual budgets of nine Panchayat Samitis of the district, including Patiala, Sanour, Nabha, Samana, Patron, Rajpura, Dera Bassi and Ghanour were also passed.

The annual income of the local Panchayat Samiti was expected to be Rs 1.31 crore while expenditure was Rs 1.29 crore, annual income of Sanour was expected to be Rs 66.32 lakh and expenditure Rs 56.83 lakh whereas the annual income of the Nabha Panchayat Samiti was expected to be Rs 1.13 crore and expenditure Rs 1.3 crore.

The annual income of Samana was expected to be Rs 84.13 lakh and expenditure Rs 55.64 lakh, annual income of Patron was Rs 1.73 crore and expenditure to be Rs 1.66 crore, annual income of Rajpura was expected to be Rs 59.33 lakh and expenditure Rs 56.38 lakh, annual income of Ghanour was Rs 2.4 crore and expenditure Rs 2.3 crore, annual income of Dera Bassi was Rs 1.85 crore and expenditure Rs 1.63 crore.

Speaking on the occasion Ms Gursharn Kaur further said a grant of Rs 4.19 lakh under ‘Sampuran Grahmin Rojgaar Yojna’ had already been granted by the Central Government. In addition to this, a grant of Rs 22.52 lakh had been granted under the ‘Indira Vikas Yojna’. She further added that a grant of Rs 25,000 and Rs 12,000 would shortly be granted for the construction of new houses and repair of old ones.

The Vice-Chairman of the parishad, Mr Madal Lal, directed the officials concerned to complete the repair work of link roads of various villages of the district. She added that strict action would be taken against officials who were not present in the meeting.


Development plan sent for approval
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 11
The District Planning and Development Board, Muktsar, has sent a plan of Rs 96.68 crore for various developmental schemes for 2004-2005 to the state planning board for approval. This was stated by Punjab Animal Husbandry and Sports Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang while presiding over a meeting of the district planning board here yesterday.

Mr Kang said the plan included Rs 12 crore for ensuring supply of potable water in villages of the district. Besides, Rs 10.2 crore had been demanded for providing pension to the aged and widows. The minister told the meeting that Rs 17 crore had been demanded for the construction of a judicial complex in Muktsar. Similarly, Rs 5.1 crore had been sought for providing basic facilities in Muktsar, Gidderbaha, Malout and Bariwala, he added.

Similarly, Rs 9.83 crore had been demanded from the state for ensuring better electricity supply, Rs 3.55 crores for education and Rs 82 lakh for more health facilities.


SE, EO asked to explain auction cancellation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 11
Taking serious view of a lapse on the part of two senior officers of the Improvement Trust here, the Chairperson, Mrs Ratna, yesterday sought an explanation from the Superintending Engineer and Executive Officer, who were allegedly responsible for the last-minute cancellation of the public auction of commercial sites on the basis of a fax message received from Chandigarh.

Mrs Ratna said here today that according to a preliminary enquiry the then Executive Officer had received a letter dated March 22 from the Department of Local Bodies, Chandigarh, on April 5 and marked the same to the Superintending Engineer for necessary action. The Chairperson said the letter had directed the trust to revise the reserve prices of all trust property according to the current market rates, which were to be determined by the Deputy Commissioner.

Mrs Ratna pointed out that she did not receive this letter. She asserted that the officers concerned never informed her about the directions of the government to revise the present reserve prices and go for fresh assessment through the Deputy Commissioner.

She added that she had already apprised the Principal Secretary, Local Government about this.


Four arrested for kidnapping businessman
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, June 11
The police has arrested four persons for alleged involvement in the kidnapping of Mr Darshan Lal Arora, an Army contractor of the town. The Beopar Mandal here today gave an ultimatum to the district civil and police administration to trace the victim by Monday evening.

“If the administration fails to trace Mr Arora, we will observe a bandh in the town to protest against authorities’ failure,” pointed out Mr Ashwani Mehta, President, Beopar Mandal, Ferozepore.

He added that the mandal had urged the police authorities to come out with something concrete by Monday evening about Mr Arora. This was decided at a meeting of the mandal today.

Mr Arora was allegedly kidnapped by professional rivals on June 6 while he was returning home after attending a marriage in this town. After Mr Arora disappeared on June 6. Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, district police chief, sent Mr Surinder Sud, Station House Officer (SHO), Police station, cantonment, to the police lines for his negligence in a case of alleged kidnapping of a businessman.

Though Mr Arora was allegedly kidnapped on June 6, the case in this connection was registered by the cantonment, police station against seven residents on June 8 under Sections 364, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Bhagwan Dass, a brother of the victim.

Those arrested in this case are Surjeet Singh, Harminder Singh and two others. The remaining three accused, whose names figure in the FIR, were yet to be arrested police sources said.

Yesterday evening, a warrant officer appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court raided the CIA police station to find out whether the police had picked up certain residents of this town in connection with the kidnapping of Mr Arora or not. The warrant officer recorded an entry in the DDR of the police station in connection with the outcome of raid conducted by him it could not be known yet.

Police sources said that some of the accused, who were sitting outside the police station clandestinely, tried to enter it when the warrant officer raided, to establish the fact that they had been illegally confined by not their arrest formal in the case registered against them in connection with the alleged kidnapping of Mr Arora.

Sources added that the police officials, who were present in the police station, prevented the accused to enter it. The warrant officer would submit his report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


420 bottles of liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 11
The police seized 420 bottles of liquor that was being smuggled from Chandigarh during a naka set up last night. Two persons were later arrested in this regard.

According to a press note released by the police, a naka had been set up near Mundi Kharar by ASI Sham Singh, Excise Inspector Kuldeep Singh, along with police personnel. A Maruti car coming from Chandigarh was signalled to stop. But the driver, who wanted to escape with the vehicle, was stopped by the police.

On questioning the driver of car identified himself as Buta Singh, a resident of Badhni Kalan, Moga, and the other occupant of the car identified himself as Meeti, a resident of Moga. After checking the vehicle the police found that the smuggled liquor was hidden under a cloth.

The police said that the arrested persons confessed that they had been illegally smuggling liquor for the past over one year and cases in this regard had been registered against them in Chandigarh and Moga.

The police registered a case under Section 61/1/14 of the Excise Act against the two.

However, office-bearers of the National Consumer Protection Awareness Forum, Kharar, met the SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, today and complained that they had informed the local police the liquor that was being smuggled from Chandigarh last night. When the police reached the scene, it started harassing the informers, instead of being grateful. The SDM has asked the DSP to give his comments in this regard within two days.


One held for smuggling poppy husk, car impounded
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 11
The police yesterday overpowered an alleged smuggler after an encounter.

The police denied the encounter but identified the person as Chamkaur Singh alias Bhola, of Chak Bajeka Rai Kot of Jagraon district.

Police sources said that one of the associates of Chamkaur Singh identified as Gogi of Kothe Guru village, Bathinda district escaped. The police seized an Esteem car used for transporting poppy husk. Five bags of poppy husk were also recovered from the car. A case had been registered.

Reports said that Chamkaur Singh and Gogi were travelling in an Esteem car with consignment of narcotics, was signalled to stop by the police at Singawala village of the district. The police overpowered one of them.

Senior police officials were not available for comments.


BDPO caught accepting bribe
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 11
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today caught a Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) accepting Rs 7,000 from a former sarpanch of Feroz Sanghowal village for the clearance of a file.

Mr Tulsi Ram, SSP (Vigilance Bureau), stated here today that Balkar Singh, a former sarpanch of Feroz Sanghowal village in Kapurthala, in his complaint alleged that Mohinder Singh Sidhu, posted at Nadala in Kapurthala as BDPO, was demanding Rs 10,000 for the clearance of accounts of the panchayat. He said the deal was finally struck for Rs 7,000. A trap was laid with two shadow witnesses and Sidhu was caught accepting the money.


Patwari arrested for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 11
The police today arrested a patwari on the charge of demanding a bribe of Rs 2,500 from a farmer in the city.

The patwari - Baldev Singh was arrested today while taking Rs 2,500 from Rajinder Singh, a resident of Urban Estate in the city.

Deputy Superintendent of Police G S Bedi effected the arrest. The accused will be produced in court tomorrow. 


Vigilance probing bogus transfers of teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has launched an inquiry into bogus transfers of school teachers in the state. The bureau has also booked Moga District Education Officer (Secondary) Parkash Kaur in a corruption case on the charge of accepting money from newly selected teachers under the garb of donations.

In a separate development, Block Development and Panchayat Officer Mohinder Singh Sidhu posted in Kapurthala district has been caught "red handed" while allegedly accepting bribe.

Disclosing this here today, Punjab's Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Chief Director of the Vigilance Bureau, Mr A. P. Pandey, said Mr Sidhu had been arrested while accepting Rs 7,000 from former sarpanch of Ferozepore Sarangwal village Balkar Singh.


Opening of more petrol stations flayed
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 11
Terming the ongoing race among major oil marketing companies to open hundreds of new retail outlets in the state allegedly without considering viability of the trading area as a disastrous step for oil business, the Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association today demanded a Vigilance Bureau probe into the grant of no objection certificates (NOCs) by different state government departments to the new petrol stations in violation of the prescribed norms.

Addressing a press conference here, the president of the association, Mr J.P. Khanna, said while about 800 new outlets were given NOCs for the opening of petrol stations by different state government departments in the recent past, some of these were being set up in densely populated areas, thus, posing a great risk to the locals.

Mr Khanna said, “The site plan of most of these outlets contains wrong information about the measurement of front and depth of the plot while concealing information about its surrounding residential and industrial areas, which are prone to fire hazard. Besides, the safety norms, in some cases, have not been considered. It is observed that NOC issuing agencies are overlooking these norms and haphazardly placing the area under fire zone.”

“We have written to the Punjab Chief Secretary to order a Vigilance Bureau probe into the whole issue as it involves risk to the lives of people,” Mr Khanna said, adding that the competition among major oil marketing companies to open maximum number of outlets would, infact, severely hit the trade. Terming the state government’s failure to abolish extra levies on petroleum products a major reason behind the flow of business to neighbouring Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, Mr Khanna alleged that more than 400 petrol stations in border towns, including Mohali and Shambhu, were facing a serious threat to their existence due to availability of around 12 per cent cheaper petrol in Haryana and Chandigarh.

He said while there was a total tax of 32 per cent (25 per cent sales tax, 2.5 per cent surcharge, 3.5 per cent cess and 1 per cent octroi) on the basic price of petrol in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh had imposed only 20 per cent sales tax and no extra levies. The petrol is cheaper Rs 3.20 per litre in Haryana and Rs 2.50 per litre in Chandigarh.” The state government should bring down tax structure to place Punjab at par with neighbouring states to safeguard the interests of its own people, failing which there is every possibility of the closure of petrol stations in border towns,” he said, adding that the consumers would also have to bear extra cost.

The association demanded that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas should hike it commission to 5 per cent on petrol and diesel.

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