P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bhakra level not alarming for Punjab: PSEB
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
Lack of snow melting in the past two months is the reason of the alarming fall in the water level of the Gobind Sagar reservoir of the Bhakra Dam, say Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) experts. They have given an assurance that any further fall in the water level of the dam reservoir will not affect Punjab as it is getting almost a negligible amount of power from the dam.

Experts give two reasons for the alarming decrease in the water level. First was the late snow received in the higher reaches and the second was the absence of a heat wave.

They said April and May did not see any intense heat wave and June saw pre-monsoon rain due to which snow melting was still to take place in the real sense of the word. They said snow melting was at least 30 to 35 per cent less this year as compared to the corresponding period last year. This they said was why the water level in the reservoir had fallen by as much as 100 feet this year.

Sources said yesterday the discharge was 20,000 cusecs, which was more than the inflow of 15,860.

Meanwhile, Board Member, Distribution, H.C. Sood, said though every unit of power was important for the state its reliance on Bhakra power was minimal. “At present we are only getting 90 lakh units from the Bhakra while our total consumption is 1,200 lakh units”, he said, adding that a further drop in the supply of power from the Bhakra would not have much impact on the state.

Mr Sood said the state was buying a considerable amount of power even as thermal generation continued to be its mainstay. “We are producing 450 lakh units of power from our thermal plants besides getting power from the state hydel projects also”. He went on to say that the board was tying up with agencies to ensure adequate supply of power during the next two months.

The PSEB has tied up for supply of 200 MW of power from Andhra Pradesh, which has promised another 200 MW in case the monsoon spell in the state lasts longer. Besides, Capt Amarinder Singh has approached the Rajasthan atomic power agency for supply of 140 MW.

The board is also looking forward to the start of supply of 100 MW of power from the Nathpa Jhakra power project. The PSEB has a 7 per cent stake in the project and the sources said it could start getting 100 MW of power in the coming days.


GNDTP units being renovated
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 12
A major renovation and modernisation (R & M) work of the units one and two of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), which have completed their designed lifespan, has been undertaken by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to increase their lives by 20 years.

Official sources said the unit two had already been shutdown for carrying out major renovation and modernisation works. The existing boiler of the unit two had already been dismantled and a new boiler of modern design was being erected. The unit would be ready for commissioning by November.

The sources said all four units of 110 MW capacity each, which were commissioned between 1974 to 1979, had outlived their designed lifespan of 25 years. Each of these four units had run 1,60,000 hours against designed life of 1,00,000 hours.

The Chief Engineer of the GNDTP, Mr Luthra, said the two units of the GNDTP would be renovated and modernised at a cost of Rs 229 crore. The work on the unit two had been going while the work on the unit one would start after the work on the unit two was completed.

Under the renovation and modernisation exercise, the old boilers of each unit would be replaced with the boilers of modified design, new protection and monitoring systems would be provided, turbines would be modified new electrostatic precipitator (ESP) field would be added, he pointed out.

He said though all units had outlived their designed lives, these were performing remarkably well as compared to the contemporary units installed in the country. The GNDTP had won number of meritorious productivity awards and cash prizes in the past 25 years.

The GNDTP helped in bringing an industrial revolution in Punjab, it proved itself as of no use for the residents of the town as they have been experiencing unscheduled and unannounced power cuts and coal ash rain due to heavy and large emission from its chimneys, which have become a major source of health hazard. All four units of the GNDTP, the first thermal power station of the state, also failed the farmers of this region number of times.

Mr Luthra claimed that by the end of March, 2007, all four units of the GNDTP would be renovated and modernised in a phased manner to make them environmental friendly by bringing the level of emission from chimneys to lowest.

He added that project report for carrying out the renovation and modernisation of the units number three and four had been cleared by the PSEB and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

He said in the unit number three and four, the PSEB had already installed Flue Gas Conditioning System and it had resulted in the reduction in emission level from its respective chimneys.


PSEB posts profit after years
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has posted a profit of Rs 72 crore for the first time in years by collecting a revenue of Rs 5,431 crore in the last financial year.

An official release here said the Ludhiana zone had collected the most revenue of Rs 1,879 crore till March this year against a revenue generation of Rs 1,647 crore in the year before last. The release said south zone comprising the Patiala Sangrur, Ropar and Mohali areas had collected a revenue of Rs 1421 crore in the last financial year compared to Rs 1,261 crore collected in the year before last.

Similarly in the north zone comprising Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr areas, the board had collected a revenue of Rs 902 crore as against only Rs 788 crore collected in the year before last.


No water to sow paddy
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Malout (Muktsar), June 12
The decision of the Irrigation Department to put the Abohar branch canal under the B category has added to the woes of thousands of farmers of Malout subdivision in the district.

There was already a shortage of irrigation water to sow paddy in villages of Malout subdivision. The decision of putting the Abohar branch canal in the B grade has made matters worse.

Due to the shortage of irrigation water, thousands of farmers in the subdivision have not been able to sow paddy, while the crop of those who managed to do so has been damaged for lack of adequate water. Paddy may not be sown in at least 1 lakh acres in the subdivision.

While the Sirhind feeder passing through the subdivision is near empty, almost all rajbahas (mini-canals) emerging from the Abohar branch of the Sirhind feeder are dry.

Farmers of the nearby Channu and Khuddian villages are drawing water using motors of their tractors from the near empty Sirhind feeder on the Malout-Dabwali road. A farmer of Channu village, Gurpreet Singh, told TNS that the Teona rajbaha, from where their fields got irrigation water, were dry for the past several weeks.

Farmers allege that contrary to claims of PSEB officials regarding providing electricity for at least eight hours a day, power was being supplied for only two to three hours.

The Doda, Malout, Lal Bahi and Burj Sidhwan rajbahas are also dry. A prominent farmer of Aulakh village, Dr H.S. Khurana, who gets irrigation water from the Doda rajbah, told TNS that the rajbaha had been dry for over a month now. Most of the farmers had not sown paddy, he said.

Farmers Lakhwinder Singh and Gurbax Singh of Badian village, and Rajinder Kumar and Satpal Singh of Aulakh village demanded that the Abohar branch canal, from where most of the rajbahas of Malout subdivision emerge, should be kept under the A grade, which could solve the water shortage problem.

The Abohar Executive Engineer, Irrigation (Canal), Mr S.C. Garg, under whose jurisdiction most of the parts of Muktsar district, including Malout subdivision fall, admitted that there was an acute shortage of water in the area. However, he attributed it to a low level of water in the Pong Dam.

Mr Garg said the water level in the Pong Dam was 17 ft below the level on the same day last year.

The Executive Engineer said the priority of the department was to provide drinking water to residents and hence it had stopped all irrigation supply.


Rise above party politics to solve SYL issue: Gill
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Just one look at his resolute eyes peeping from behind the glasses is enough to tell you that country's former Chief Election Commissioner-cum-Member of Parliament M.S. Gill has a solution to the water dispute between Punjab and Haryana. But the bureaucrat-turned-politician is careful with words as he simply mutters, "Rajasthan is getting substantial share of Punjab's water... It should be looked into".

Reposing on a sofa set in the Sector 35 residence of his relative Major-Gen Himmat Singh Gill after attending a meeting on the SYL issue, Mr Gill asserts, "Efforts are on to make Punjab out of Rajasthan, while the state owning the rivers is being converted into a desert".

Giving details of the water issue, he says, "In 1960, Punjab was given 15.8 million acre feet. Out of it a major portion was gifted to Rajasthan. The authorities there have carried the water right up to Gujarat border. They have even lifted the water to higher levels for irrigating areas like Jodhpur, while Punjab is facing problems".

Referring to a Yale University book on Indus basin printed way back in 1960, he asserts, "There are clear indications in the book that Rajasthan soil cannot sustain heavy irrigation due to its peculiar nature".

He adds, "In any case political parties in and out of power all over the country should come together for resolving the matter. Statesmanship at the highest level is required".

Waving his determined hand, Mr Gill says, "For once, national parties should rise above the level of their own political differences. Instead of scoring points over each other, they should come out with a reasonable time-bound solution that is favourable to all. In the process they should take into confidence the masses at large, with the Prime Minister's assistance".

He adds, "The need of the hour is to maintain cool and rational thinking. After all, residents on either side of the border are brothers living in united Punjab before the division".

Describing the problem as "politico-legal", Mr Gill says, "Everywhere in the world, water disputes are resolved at the highest political levels through statesmanship because such matters are not merely legal in nature".

Further on, he adds, "I am certainly not criticising the Supreme Court judgement, but after taking into consideration the Rajiv-Longowal accord, the court says that the work of constructing the link should be completed. The decision regarding water would be taken subsequently. But what if the Eradi Commission looking into the matter comes to the conclusion that the water is not to be released? Otherwise also, the Apex Court was too harsh on the state".

Coming down heavily on the commissions appointed for looking into all such matters, he says, "The members go on and on for decades together without offering any solution. For instance, the Eradi Commission was appointed in 1985. The matter has been still hanging fire". Dismissing it as rumours, Mr Gill denies being in race for Punjab Chief Minister's post.


Chief Secretary seeks records of govt men in BBMB
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 12
The Punjab Chief Secretary has called for the record of Punjab employees working in the BBMB. Sources available here state that the Chief Secretary has written to the Personnel Department, Punjab, to provide him the above record. The department has further written to the BBMB to provide the department-wise record of the Punjab employees working there.

The record has been summoned to settle the controversy created by the recent orders of the Personnel Department. The department in a letter issued on March 31 had directed all departments of Punjab to direct their employees having three years of service left to get themselves relieved from the BBMB and report back to their parent departments.

The letter has also directed the BBMB against paying any additional allowance to employees of Punjab posted in the organisation after 1996.

Earlier also the department had issued a similar letter directing the department concerned to withdraw all their employees from the BBMB who had either completed five years of service in the organisation or have two years of service left.

The employees had given representations to the Punjab Government in this regard. The Finance Department then realised that besides retaining control over the vital irrigation and power project, the state was saving about Rs 11 crore annually in salaries due to its employees in the BBMB. The move to withdraw them was then dropped.

The only dispute regarding the Punjab Government employees in the BBMB was that they were paid the PSEB scales while serving the organisation. The Personnel Department has objected that the Punjab Government employees get entitled to higher pension due to their higher last pay drawn from the BBMB.

However, BBMB sources stated that the issue of pension to Punjab Government employees has been settled by the Supreme Court. In a judgement it had clearly ruled that only the Punjab Government employees working in BBMB before 1966 were entitled for last-pay drawn pensions. The remaining employees would be paid pension as per their scales.


Call to boycott Chandok for honouring Tytler
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 12
Giving a call for social boycott of Mr Parhlad Singh Chandok, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), for allegedly honouring Mr Jagdish Tytler, Union Minister (his name had figured among those who allegedly engineered the anti-Sikh riots in 1984), in a Delhi’s club, Mr Gurcharn Singh Babbar, president, All-India Sikh Conference ( AISC), today criticised the Jathedar of Akal Takht ,Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, for their silence on this issue .

In a communication to the Akal Takht secretariat, Mr Babbar expressed shock that the Sikh clergy had failed to take suo motu action against Mr Chandok for presenting a siropa (robe of honour) to Mr Tytler. He said various reports on the riots compiled by non-Sikhs had indicted Mr Tytler and Mr Sajjan Kumar.

However, Mr Chandok refuted the charge that he had presented a siropa to Mr Tytler . He said anything given in a place other than a gurdwara could not be described as a siropa. He said the DSGMC would issue a circular to Sikh organisations that nobody should present a siropa in social gatherings .

It is learnt that Mr Tarlochan Singh , Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, has spoken to the Akal Takht Jathedar and told him that it was wrong to call it a siropa, since the occasion was a social function.

However, Mr Babbar said his organisation would mobilise victims of the riots and would expose the Akal Takht Jathedar before the Sikh Sangat during the general elections of the shiromani committee.


Students resent delay in announcing exam date
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 12
Resentment prevails among hundreds of students aspiring to take admission in MBA or MCA courses in various colleges of Punjab Technical University (PTU) over delay on the part of Punjabi University in announcing the date of entrance examination.

The candidates said the delay in conducting the test could have an adverse effect, as their session would be delayed by almost a month this time. They said it was on the same day that the Punjab Government had declared that the PTU would conduct engineering entrance test and Punjabi University would conduct MBA/MCA entrance test. While the PTU had conducted the test and even declared its result yesterday, Punjabi University was yet to announce the schedule of the entrance examination, they rued as they flayed the latter for delaying the process.

While earlier it had been declared by Punjabi University that the entrance test to be conducted for nearly 2,500 seats of its own Guru Nanak Dev University and over 23 colleges of PTU would be conducted in June, but now the university officials revealed that they were planning to hold the test on July 18.

Officials of the Admission Cell of Punjabi University had earlier finalised July 11 as the date of the test but since SGPC elections have been scheduled on the same day, it is likely to be postponed by a week.

During the recent academic council meeting of the PTU, it had been declared that the new session would begin on July 26 but it will be impossible for the university to begin its classes for MBA and MCA students. If the test will be held on July 18, university officials will take at least a month to declare result and arrange group discussion, interview and counselling.

Even the Directors of PTU colleges are much disappointed over the delayed schedule. They said meritorious students of the state had already started taking admission in colleges of other states through MAT and CAT tests. As a result, they would be losing on quality of students taking admission in their colleges, they added.

The Directors have condemned the decision of the Punjab Government to pass off the responsibility to Punjabi University. They said the PTU should have been entrusted with the job as the authorities here were experienced enough to conduct the entrance tests.

The faculty of Apeejay Institute, Jalandhar, said the college had been receiving numerous inquiries daily but since they did not have any information, they simply tell the students to keep in touch. Last year, the entire admission process that was conducted by the PTU had been completed by mid-July but this time even the test schedule had not come till date, he rued.

Citing reason for the delay, Dr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, said the state government had delayed the dispatch of notification to the university, without which they could not advertise for the admission. He said now that he had received it, they could incorporate it in the prospectus that would be printed in a week’s time.


Notorious smuggler held
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 12
The Rampura police today arrested an inter-state smuggler, Raj Moddar, under the National Security Act on the orders of the Additional Secretary, Department of Home, Punjab. The order was issued on June 9, after taking permission from the Governor of Punjab.

Raj Moddar, who has allegedly been smuggling narcotics in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, was arrested today by the Rampura police and subsequently sent to the Central Jail here for an indefinite period.

He was involved in smuggling for the past several years and has been facing a number of criminal cases in different police stations. He was also arrested about four years ago by the Bathinda police in connection with a smuggling case. A heavy quantity of opium was seized from his associates.

Raj Moddar, who has allegedly been getting support from politicians of different states, was at presently on bail in a case registered against him at the Sangat police station of this district.

The district police authorities have launched proceedings to attach his property.

According to police sources, Raj Moddar, who at one time was running a tea stall, became rich over a short span of time through his illegal business. Once his arrest was allegedly thwarted by political pressure.

He was arrested on October 8, 2002, and got bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court on April 7, 2003. Allegedly due to certain pressures the police could not extract much information from him regarding the politicians and officials who had been helping him.

Mr Devinder Attri, SHO, Rampura, when contacted, said two relatives of Raj Moddar had been arrested a few months ago by the Moga police for their alleged involvement in the smuggling of narcotics.


Cancel Pakhoke’s candidature, says KMC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 12
The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) in a letter to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, today sought the cancellation of the candidature of Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke and Mr Sucha Singh Langah for the coming general election of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Mr Harmandip Singh Sarhali, chairman of the KMC, Mr Joginder Singh, president of the Gurmat Prachar Sabha, and Mr Gurdip Singh of the Waheguru Sewa Simran Society, in a joint note issued here today said the two had violated Sikh maryada.

They alleged that Mr Pakhoke had been seen with “tilak” on his forehead while Mr Langah had organised a Ramayan path, as such, they should be disqualified.

In another press note, the KMC, condemning the custodial death of farmer Jaspal Singh in the Khalra area on June 10, alleged that it was a result of a nexus between the police and commission agents. The commission demanded that next of kin of the deceased must be give Rs 5 lakh.


SGPC poll: voters asked to establish identity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
The Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections, Justice J.S. Sekhon, today directed the voters to establish their identity at polling stations during Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections on July 11.

Gurdwara Election Commission Secretary Gurdev Singh said identity could be established by producing identity cards issued under the authority of the Election Commission of India.

The voters can also establish their identity by producing any other documents specified by the Election Commission of India in its order dated April 2. Justice Sekhon has further directed that the presiding officers appointed at the polling stations will ensure that only keshdhari voters are allowed to cast votes. Youngsters below the age of 21 will also not be allowed to cast their votes.


Panthic Morcha  candidate flays Badal
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 12
Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, Panthic Morcha candidate, while addressing a press conference here today said Mr Badal was the enemy of the Sikh Panth and he had always denigrated the Akal Takht, destroyed the principles of Sikhism, promoted family interests and always humiliated sincere party leaders and workers. Mr Panjoli was accompanied by Mrs Surinder Kaur, another candidate of the Panthic Morcha, and Mr Imsn Singh Mann.

He said Mr Badal had politicised the religious institution of Sikhs and due to his wrong policies even the highest temporal seat of the Jathedar of Akal Takht had been affected due to his interference. He said Mr Badal had degenerated all principles of Sikhism and of “Miri and Piri”. He said all those, who had great respect for Sikh principles had decided to unite on one platform to defeat Mr Badal. He said it was a matter of great concern that the SGPC ticket had been allotted to those, who don’t fulfil any condition announced by the Jathedar of Akal Takhat, whereas the Panthic Morcha had given ticket only to those, who fulfil all conditions. Mr Panjoli said all Sikhs should honour the sentiments of the Jathedar of Akal Takht to elect only true Sikh and the candidates should obey his dictates of not distributing liquor and other intoxicants to influence the voters.


MC sleeping over manholes’ desiltation
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 12
Contrary to its claims, the district administration has failed to do anything to ensure proper disposal of rainy water.

As far as the town is concerned, no work has yet been started for the desiltation of manholes and drains on the Abohar road by the Municipal Council and Public Health Department.

Sewage water has already accumulated in the low-lying areas of Gandhi Nagar and Khaddianwali Gali in the past couple of weeks. The situation in these areas and other parts of the city during the monsoon can be imagined.

“Sewage water also enters the houses of a number of residents of the locality every now and then,” said Mrs Kamlesh Watts, a resident of Gandhi Nagar locality.

Muktsar SDO of Public Health Department Amrik Singh and the President of the Municipal Council, Mr Krishan Kumar Teria, claimed that the desiltation of manholes had been done last year too. Work was still continuing in Gandhi Nagar locality, they added.

However, Gandhi Nagar councillor Raman K.P. termed the SDO’s statement a lie. He said a couple of sweepers were sent to the locality only when a number of complaints of accumulation of sewerage water had been made.

Mr Teria said a proposal of Rs 94 lakh had already been sent to the Punjab Local Bodies Department for desiltation of the Abohar road drain. In reply to a question, he said he would try to get the money sanctioned and get the desiltation work completed before the monsoon.

Deputy Commission Buta Ram Banga could not be contacted to get his version despite repeated attempts.


Gastroenteritis outbreak under control, says Dogra
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 12
Gastroenteritis outbreak is completely under control in Punjab. This was claimed by Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Family and Welfare Minister, Punjab, while addressing a press conference at the local Civil Hospital today. He said only seven deaths had been reported on this account and about 4,000 patients had come to government hospitals for treatment since May 23. As many as 159 patients were getting treated at various government hospitals in state, he added.

He said in Hoshiarpur district 27 fresh cases of gastroenteritis were reported at government hospitals and seven in private nursing homes today. As many as 20 patients were under treatment in local Civil Hospitals.

Mr Darbara Singh Guru, Secretary, Health, Punjab, said an awareness campaign in this regard would be launched.


Badal all set to be re-elected SAD chief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 12
Mr Parkash Singh Badal is all set to be re-elected president, Shiromani Akali Dal, at a session to be held at Teja Singh Samundari Hall.

Mr Badal would be authorised to nominate other office-bearers as per the past practice of the party. There are 418 delegates of the party.

The process for electing delegates or other office-bearers is nothing more than a formality. Before the formal election of Mr Badal, the SAD would perform ‘shukrana’ for good performance of its Lok Sabha candidates during the recently held parliamentary elections.


Jahajgarh made temporary bus stand
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 12
Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, has ordered the use of Jahajgarh (Patakha market) as additional temporary bus stand due to traffic pressure on the Amritsar — Jalandhar road.

Earlier, a bus stand was made at Mall Mandi, which was not found suitable. The decision on additional bus stand was taken in a high-level meeting.

The DC said since the start of the construction work at the bus stand, it was shifted to premises of the Punjab Roadways workshop area.

It was changed to Jahajgarh for buses operating from Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Patti (including Chola Sahib, Goindwal Sahib, Moga, Faridkot, Ferozepore etc), Khem Karan, Ajnala, Attari, Chogawan routes till the completion of general bus stand.

Other routes would continue to be operated from temporary Mall Mandi.

No bus will enter the city beyond the Ram Talai temple chowk and all buses coming from all corners would stop only at these bus stands. The Deputy Commissioner said the buses violating the new plan, would be impounded.

The Deputy Commissioner, had withdrawn earlier order banning the construction within a radius of 1,000 metres around the Beas Ammunition Depot.


Residents fear threat from phone towers
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 12
Shopkeepers and residents of the local Sadar Bazar are apprehending threat to their lives and property from private cellphone companies base transreceiver station (BTS) towers after one such tower fell due to a storm on June 7 near Chhatta Khoo Morcha of the bazar, injuring a few persons and damaging two vehicles.

Dr Jiwan Jain and Mr Surinder Mohan Garg, along with many shopkeepers and residents of the bazar met Mr Zora Singh Thind, Subdivisional Magistrate, on June 8 and made a written representation to him. In their complaint, they told the SDM that the Hutch telephone company was going to install its BTS tower on the first floor of an old building, which was in a very poor condition. The residents alleged that a big generator was also to be installed, which could result in the collapse of the building.

The residents alleged that the company had neither sought permission from the Punjab State Electricity Board nor obtained an NOC from the Municipal Council.

They informed the SDM that earlier Airtel had tried to install its BTS tower at the same site but following objections raised by residents, the court had stalled the move.

They have urged the SDM to prevent Hutch from installing the tower.

They have forwarded copies of the representation to Executive Officer, Municipal Council, the Subdivisional Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Barnala, and the SHO, Kotwali police station.


Issuing of SC certificates to be simplified
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, June 12
The students seeking admission in professional colleges. Can get domicile, SC/BC certificate and birth certificate made in less than two days through the Suvidha centre.

The administration has provided forms to the Municipal Councillors, Sarpanches or Nambardars. Those needing a certificate can go to any of the three functionaries fill his name in the form. The form can be attached with an application to be submitted in the Suvidha Centre where employees will process it and deliver it the next day.

The new method will save students from harassment by tehsildars, patwaris and kanungos.

Deputy Commissioner, Rakesh Kumar Verma, said software for the purpose would be ready in a week. He said that the staff would be trained for a week before the services begin by the next month.

The DC said that information pertaining to all 16 kinds of services pertaining to getting of arms licence, driving licence, fertilisers licence, affidavits, identity card, small savings and ration card available in the centre would soon be made web-enabled He claimed that the centre was receiving nearly 5000 applications in a month and more than 90 per cent of these were disposed of in the scheduled time.


Mini-secretariat staff apprise DC of problems
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 12
A delegation of the district unit of the Punjab State Ministerial Service Union today met Deputy Commissioner K.A.P. Sinha and urged him to solve the problems being faced by employees working in the local Mini-Secretariat.

In a press note issued here, Mr Gurjant Singh Grewal, president of the union, said Mr Sinha was apprised of the problems regarding arrangements for drinking water, scooter and cycle stand, sanitation in bathrooms and toilets, dining room and display of rate list of the items being sold in the canteen in the Mini-Secretariat. He said Mr Sinha promised that a lift would be installed.


Sirhind financier murdered
Wife injured; servant’s hand suspected
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 12
Sirhind town plunged into gloom when the news of the heinous murder of Kulwant Mehta, 70, a leading financier of the town and secretary of the local Ashoka Educational Trust, spread in the town this morning. His body was found lying in a pool of blood in his bedroom, while his wife Kusam Mehta, 65, was found in a critical position in the lobby.

She was rushed to the PGI, where her condition is stated to be out of danger. Mehta is suspected to have been killed by his recently employed servant, who was found missing. The door of the main gate was locked from outside.

Mr Shiv Kumar, SSP, said Mehta and his wife lived at Sirhind while his son lives at Panchkula and daughter is married in Delhi. He said Mr Sodhi, manager in Mehta’s office, came to his residence and found the door locked from outside. He waited for some time, thinking that the Mehtas had gone somewhere. The manager also made calls on the mobile phone and landline phone of Mehta, but both were unanswered.

He said around 11 a.m., he got suspicious and entered the house by jumping the wall. He also informed the police of the matter. The police broke open the door and found the couple lying in a pool of blood. The SSP said their servant, Ramesh, was missing.

He said the Mehtas had employed him only 15 days ago as he was sent by their daughter from Delhi.

Mr Shiv Kumar said Mehta was apparently killed with a “kundi sota” as it was found near the body. Ms Mehta was also hit with same object in head. The television set and the lights of kitchen were on but no lock of any almirah had been broken.

The SSP said the police had contacted the daughter of Mehta, who was in Spain. She informed the police that they got the servant employed through an employment agency of Delhi being run by Mr Chander. The SSP said a police party had been sent to Delhi to nab Mr Chander and to know the details of Ramesh.

Meanwhile, Mr Bir Devinder, Deputy Speaker, S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, Mr Rajiv Dutta, acting president of Ashoka trust, Mr R.N. Sharma, president, Citizens Welfare Council and hundreds of people from every walk of life visited the site and expressed their grief.


Chit fund firm owner booked for fraud
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, June 12
Following pressure from investors and an inquiry, the district police chief yesterday issued direction to register an FIR against Sublime Chit fund company owner Kulwant Singh Nagi for duping public to the tune of Rs 60 crore.

Kulwant Singh Nagi had been reportedly under pressure from his depositors to pay back their amount, as they were fearing that Nagi would flee from the city after the cheques issued by his company bounced. A complaint by a former CBI inspector, Mr Ranjit Singh Nanda, to the SSP brought the fact to the notice of the police on June 4 that Mr Nagi was likely to run away as he was delaying the payment of his huge pension deposit.

However, the delay in taking cognizance of the complaint of Mr Nanda led to the disappearance of Mr Nagi and with his family, a day later. Investors had reportedly deposited around Rs 60 crore in his chit fund company for attractive returns.

Though many such chit fund and non-banking finance companies had duped the public of several crore rupees but the district administration and the police had often failed to nab them.

The district administration had been regularly issuing ban orders under Section 144 to caution the public about such companies, including Prabhat Finance, Shazda and others people continues to fall prey to the attractive bait offered by these companies.

According to information a number of government officers, businessmen and renowned personalities had deposited huge amounts with the Sublime chit fund company. Nagi’s house in Majitha Road Colony has been sealed.


3 held for abducting minor girl
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 12
The local police has arrested three out of seven youths booked under Sections 363, 366,506, and 120-B of the IPC on the charges of inducing, intimidating and abducting a minor girl of nearby village Chak Hakim, it was learnt today.

Those arrested and remanded in police custody included Hardip Kumar of Dakoha village, Beant Singh of Chak Hakim village and Sonu of Partap Nagar, Jalandhar. Those still at large included Raju and Mesha of Partap Nagar, Banti of Wadala Colony, and Suny of Dakoha village.


Narcotics worth Rs 6 cr destroyed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 12
The district police yesterday destroyed narcotics worth over Rs 6 crore — seized since 1996 and dumped in the Malkhana as evidence in 275 cases — at the Police Lines here.

This is for the first time that drugs have been destroyed in the border district by the police. The narcotics included 2 kg of pure heroin, 4.30 kg smack, 1.95 kg charas, 24.50 kg poppy, 455 gm ganja and 5,556 capsules.

The drugs were burnt following orders from the high court asking the police to destroy such narcotics on a regular basis after constituting a committee headed by a DIG for the purpose and getting clearance from the courts concerned. Drugs and narcotics had been piling up for the past several years as there was no proper mechanism to dispose of them.


3 women held, 100 kg poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 12
Three women and a man were arrested by the Talwandi Sabo police for alleged smuggling of narcotics in this region. More than 100 kg of poppy husk and one kg of opium was recovered from them.

District police chief, Kapil Dev, said yesterday that a naka was put up on the Raman-Bathinda road. A Maruti car (DNB-6616 was signalled to stop. On a search, three bags of poppy husk weighing 108 kg and one kg of opium was recovered from it.

The four occupants of car, identified as Sukhdev Singh and his wife Mandeep Kaur, Jeet Kaur and Gurdev Kaur.

He said it was found that the accused had been purchasing poppy husk at the rate of Rs 8,500 a kg and selling it at the rate of Rs 14,000. They used to purchase opium from Haryana at the rate of Rs 18,000 a kg and had been selling it for Rs 22,000.


Centre for Guru Granth Sahib Studies set up
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 12
Lyallpur Khalsa College has set up the “Centre for Guru Granth Sahib Studies” on its premises to spread and preach the thoughts enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib by encouraging the youth to take up research projects to improve the moral structure of the society.

Prof Niranjan Singh Dhesi, newly appointed Director of the centre, said “The centre will provide an opportunity to students to acquaint themselves with the ideology of the highest Sikh religious book as well as to promote their interest in adopting research projects on different subjects.” He said, the centre was first of its kind in the country.

Prof Dhesi, former head of the Punjabi Department of the college, reveals, “The centre will be inter-linked with gurdwaras in major western countries including the USA, Canada, England, Germany and Australia through V-SAT for imparting information on the Sikh affairs to the wards of NRIs, particularly those hailing from Punjab. The basic idea is to improve the information level of children in these countries, who are fast loosing interest in their religion and culture under the influence of westernisation.”

“We are making elaborate arrangements for holding online seminars and conferences through video conferencing, wherein, anyone sitting abroad can directly interact with the experts here to know about even minute details about ideology and philosophy of Guru Granth Sahib. Besides, we had already signed an MoU with the US based. Jaswant Singh Rai Memorial Public Charitable Trust, Birmingham-based Guru Hargobind Sahib Memorial Trust and Punjab Arts Council in this regard,” Mr Sukhbir Singh Chatha, principal of the college said.

Besides, the Jaswant Singh Rai Memorial Public Charitable Trust would establish a gurmat research centre dealing with broad array of topics in Sikh history, philosophy, theology and culture. The research contributions that would emerge from the centre would be published in recognised professional journals and monographs in India and abroad. The trust would give Rs 5 lakh for the construction of a separate building for the research centre.


Protest against hiring teachers on contract
Our correspondent

Faridkot, June 12
Unemployed elementary trained teachers (ETT) from different parts of the state took out a protest march through the main streets of this town today in protest against the Government’s policy to fill the ETT posts on contract basis, depriving the unemployed ETT teachers of permanent jobs.

Carrying black flags and placards condemning this policy, the protesters alleged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had adopted a “rigid attitude” on the appointment of teachers on a permanent basis despite nearly 13,000 posts of ETT lying vacant in the state.

The agitators also criticised the Chief Minister for refusing to meet members of the association who sought an appointment with him in May to remind him of his promise made to ETT association at Moga on April 30 to appoint the teachers on a permanent basis.

MR Parminder Singh, convener of the Unemployed Teachers (ETT) Union, accused the state govt of misutilising Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan funds in the recruitment of teachers on contract. He also alleged that about 3000 regular teachers from different elementary schools had been shifted in implementing the new recruitment policy to meet political ends.

He said if the govt failed to change its policy on unemployed teachers, they would intensify their stir at the state level by holding dharna and protest marches.

Later the protester submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.


BCA exam result

Amritsar, June 12
Guru Nanak Dev University will declare the result of the BCA (final) exam on June 13. According to Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, the result will be available on the university website. — OC


PRTC to induct 200 new buses
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) will induct 200 more buses during the current financial year and build two new bus stands at Patiala and Phagwara besides strengthening its long-route and night services.

Addressing a press conference here today, PRTC Chairman Ved Prakash Gupta said up to 15 buses would be produced every month at the bus-building facility of the corporation here. The first lot of 10 buses would be flagged off by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on June 14.

Mr Gupta said the new buses were of the semi-deluxe type. These would be put to use on long routes and also on night service. With the induction of more buses, the corporation expects to start plying on routes it had surrendered earlier, including the Chandigarh-Jaipur route.

The Chairman said the corporation had decided to build a new bus stand at Phagwara at a cost of Rs 2 crore. A new bus stand would also be built in Patiala once the district administration allotted the land for the purpose outside the city.

Mr Gupta said despite a reduction in the fleet strength, the corporation had increased the effective kilometres logged by it. The receipts had also increased from Rs 173 crore last year, to Rs 180 crore this year. There had also been an increase in the operating profit from Rs 54 lakh last year to Rs 3.21 crore this year, he added.

The Chairman disclosed that the corporation had requested the government to allow it to increase the fare from 42 paise per km to 50 paise.

Mr Gupta said the corporation had merged the Bathinda and Patiala depots besides surrendering 475 posts to reduce the wage bill. Activities like gate control, security and cleanliness had been outsourced.

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