P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Major changes in fertiliser policy on cards: Paswan
Tribune News Service

Nangal, July 26
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government would effect major changes in the fertiliser policy implemented by the NDA government. As per the fertiliser policy, in the second phase starting from April this year, the entire control over the fertiliser sector would be withdrawn.

However, the UPA government has decided not to implement the 100 per cent decontrol in the fertiliser sector as promulgated in the policy. The present government was even thinking of reviewing the 50 per cent decontrol in the fertiliser sector implemented by the previous government.

Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Fertilisers and Chemicals, stated this while addressing a press conference here today. He along with Mr K.P.S. Rana, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Commerce, Punjab was here on a visit to the Nangal-based NFL plant.

Asked about the phasing out of the subsidy on fertilisers by 2007 as proposed in the fertiliser policy, Mr Paswan said the subsidy on fertilisers cannot be finished. Even the developed countries subsidise their farm sector.

The government has kept a provision of Rs 12,000 crore as subsidy on fertiliser for the current financial year against the requirement of Rs 18,000 crore. The Finance Minister and the Prime Minister have been told to give the additional Rs 6,000 crore for restoring the current prices of fertilisers in the market.

He said a four-member ministerial committee had been formed to evolve a strategy to save the old fuel oil and naphtha-based fertiliser plants. The committee would review the availability of various types of feed stocks needed for the fertiliser industry and feasibility to convert old fuel oil based plants into gas-based plants.

The countries’ joint venture fertiliser plants based in Oman and Hajira are also in advanced stage of implementation. The Oman-based plant would be functional by July 2005.

To look for the better feed stocks for its plants, the Fertiliser Minister besides buying fuel, oil naphtha or gas from the Ministry of Petroleum venture would also float open global tenders, he said.

Earlier Mr P.S. Grewal, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of NFL, told Mr Paswan that the NFL plant Nangal was naphtha-based. The prices of naphtha have gone up from Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000 per tonne in the open market. Due to it, the cost of production of urea in the fuel oil or naphtha-based plant has gone up to Rs 11,000 per tonne against the Rs 5700 per tonne cost of production in the gas-based plant.

Unless the government provides special dispersions package for old plants it would become unviable to run them after the third phase of the national fertiliser policy comes in force from 2006. Presently there were four fuel oil and seven naphtha-based fertiliser plants in the country, he told.

He also said the CAN unit in the Nangal-based plant had become unviable as the government had withdrawn subsidy given to it. The plant is run on demand these days.

Mr Paswan assured to look into the points brought to his notice by Mr Grewal.

Mr K.P.S. Rana while speaking on the occasion urged Mr Paswan to take a sympathetic consideration of various demands raised by the local worker unions.

On the demand of the local workers’ union, Mr Paswan directed the NFL authorities to reduce the fee in their schools. He also announced an award of Rs 500 each to all workers of the Nangal-based unit of the NFL.

Later Mr Paswan along with the Chairman of BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, visited the Bhakra Dam.


Paswan fails to visit fertiliser plant
Admn feared row over Dalit Sena’s protest
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 26
The failure of the Union Fertiliser and Chemical Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, to visit the local plant of National Fertiliser Limited (NFL) has left its management poorer by thousands of rupees as a lot of money was spent by it on making arrangements in connection with his visit today.

Mr Paswan, who has visited a large section of fertiliser plants being run in the public sector in the country after becoming the Union Fertiliser and Chemical Minister, was supposed to visit the Bathinda plant.

Though the management of the local plant left no stone unturned to give a massive facelift to the plant, its GM, Mr C.M. Nagpal, was told at the last moment that Mr Paswan had changed his programme of visiting the Bathinda plant at the last moment. Not only employees, a large section of Congressmen and members of the Dalit Sena led by its state unit president, Mr Kiran Jit Singh Geheri, were present at the helipad to receive the VVIP guest.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mr Paswan was persuaded to cancel his Bathinda visit today by the state government as it apprehended major controversy. The Dalit Sena was to lodge its protest against the discrimination allegedly being done by a religious dera, located near Bhucho Mandi of this district, with the members of Scheduled Caste community. The dera is visited frequently by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, his adviser, Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal and a section of leaders of other political parties of the state.

Mr Geheri, who addressed the workers’ rally in front of the NFL township, alleged that the state government today got cancelled the visit of Mr Paswan deliberately so that it could not be get into trouble on account of caste-based discrimination being done by the religious Dera. He said the Dalit Sena would hold its meeting on July 28 at Baba Jeewan Singh Gurdwara where the modalities of next phase of the agitation to be launched against the caste-based discrimination would be worked out. He said National President, Dalit Sena, Mr Ram Chander Paswan, would make a visit in this connection in the first week of August.

Information revealed that district police and the civil administration was on its tenterhooks ever since Mr Geheri had launched an agitation against the dera. To avoid any controversy, the authorities concerned did not invite the mediapersons for the coverage of the function that was scheduled to take place in the NFL plant in connection with the visit of Mr Paswan.

Meanwhile, Mr Nagpal, when contacted, said no money was spent in connection with the visit of Mr Paswan. He added that the housekeeping wing of the plant had been maintaining it quite well and as usual it was in good condition. There was no need for a special facelift.


Declare Punjab drought-hit, says SAD
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 26
In a resolution, adopted at a meeting of the district unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at Gurdwara Nanakiana Sahib near here today, the gathering urged the government to declare Punjab as a ‘drought-hit’ state. It also demanded compensation for farmers and financial assistance for industrialists due to power shortage in the state.

The meeting was convened in connection with making preparations for observing Sant Harchand Singh Longowal’s martyrdom on August 20 at Longowal, about 20 km from here. It was attended among others by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary-General of the SAD and MP from Sangrur, Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, MLA from Dhanaula, Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLA from Bhadaur, Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, Mr Abdul Gaffar, all former ministers and Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, district president of the SAD.

In another resolution, the gathering urged the Punjab Government to make proper electricity arrangements for the agriculture sector. It also resolved that the SAD would not allow flowing of Punjab’s waters to other states.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa announced the formation of a district-level committee under the presidentship of Mr Gobind Singh Longowal for making preparations for Sant Longowal’s martyrdom day function.

Mr Dhindsa also honoured 10 newly elected SAD’s SGPC members of the Sangrur district by presenting them a “Sri Sahib” and a “siropa” each. Those who were honoured included Mr Udei Singh Longowal, Sant Baba Take Singh Dhanaula, Mr Jasbir Singh, Ms Mukhtiar Kaur, Mr Ajit Singh Chanduraian and Mr Baldev Singh.


Medical college seats on sale
Price Rs 14 lakh
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
Seats in Punjab’s medical colleges are being offered those not interested in clearing the PMT test by persons running consultancy services in Mumbai and Delhi.

These people have advertised in Punjab, offering consultancy service for admission in Medical Colleges of the state. When contacted aspirants are told by these running consultancy services that admission in top medical colleges in Punjab in Maharashtra and Karnataka could be obtained if they are paid money for it. Seats in medical colleges in Punjab, including Christian Medical College and Dayanand Medical College are being offered for Rs 14 lakh each. The Punjab PMT test is scheduled for August 1.

Dr Viresh of Mumbai is the person if in case one wants to talk shop. The “doctor’s” number has been made available through an advertisement which lists his office as Emergency Medical Services, MILAD W Systems, Mumbai and gives two telephone numbers - 022 - 32520357 and 9870 456257. Another office listed in the advertisement is that of Aman Consultancy, ITL Twin Tower, Delhi with telephone numbers 98998 -18053 and 011 - 55452693. Upon ringing up the Mumbai number, an office secretary gave this correspondent Dr Viresh’ mobile number and said she would also ask Dr Viresh to get in touch with the ‘aspirant’ to give details for securing a seat in the Medical College in Punjab.

Dr Viresh rings up in minutes. When he is told the name of a doctor in Punjab who has told this correspondent about him he has no qualms on talking. about sale of seats in medical colleges. He says for Rs 14 lakh he can ensure a candidate’s name figures in the first 100 or first 200 names in the merit list of the Punjab PMT examination. He asks this correspondent to talk to one Dr Ravinder “who is presently in Ludhiana” so that the needed roll number of a candidate and other details can be submitted to him.

Dr Ravinder too does not wait for this correspondent to ring him up. He too calls up promptly on his own. He says once the ‘rate’ is finalised with Dr Viresh the candidate can meet him and deposit his marksheet of class X and plus two besides the roll number and other details along with a ‘security money’ of Rs one lakh. Dr Viresh says the candidate can meet him in Ludhiana, Jalandhar or Hisar according to his convenience.

Dr Viresh rings up again in the evening to ask when this ‘aspirant’ plans to meet Dr Ravinder. When asked how he would ensure admission of the aspirant, he says that is an internal matter. He however does say that he has an arrangement whereby the candidate is directed to submit a blank answer sheet which is later on filled. “We do it every year”, says adding “you can rest assured we will be successful this year also”.

Meanwhile, a few doctors who have negotiated with Dr Ravinder claim that the ‘doctor’ is openly negotiating with parents in most of the cities of the state. “Dr Ravinder is ready to go to the residences of candidates or send his representative to them, they said.

Dr Viresh when questioned again on the issue on behalf of The Tribune, says he does not know anything about the Punjab PMT. ‘’”PMT kya?, main samjha nahin’, he said. He says his consultancy firm is not doing anything in Punjab. “Few students from Punjab had come to us and we are pursuing their cases for management seats in the NRI quota in Karnataka”, he added. The “doctor” said he did not know anything about himself or his associate Ravinder demanding money for ensuring clearance of the Punjab PMT. Nor, he said did he know anything about any assurance to anyone to get the PMT test cleared after the submission of blank answer sheets.


MBBS admissions: govt in a fix over MCI order
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 26
Even as the Medical Council of India (MCI) has directed the authorities all over the country to complete admissions to MBBS by July 31 so that academic session could be started from August 1, the Punjab Government seems to be in a quandary as it had scheduled the entrance test for 25 seats in private colleges of the state on August 1.

The counselling for these 25 seats will be held on August 8.

Meanwhile, the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital Trust, in a unanimous resolution has declared the Justice G.R. Majithia Committee stand “defunct and directionless” and hence resolved to go ahead with the fee structure as published in the prospectus for MBBS admission. The trust has also decided not to increase the strength of MBBS students from 50 to 100 till the 900-bedded hospital attached to the Medical College is not fully operational.

In the hard-hitting circular, the MCI stated that if any medical college or institution failed to strictly follow the directions of the Supreme Court, it is expected that the affiliating universities shall initiate appropriate action for the withdrawal of affiliation of any such erring medical or institution. The MCI further clarified that in the event of any affiliating university failing to discharge its responsibility in this regard, the council would take appropriate steps for initiating action for derecognition of the affiliating universities , in accordance with the provisions of section 19 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

On the other hand, the SGPC-run medical trust has failed to abide by the recommendations with regard to admissions in the MBBS. According to Mr Dilmeg Singh, Secretary SGPC, the trust resolution stated that the member secretary of the trust informed the meeting that as per the orders dated February 19, 2004 the admission committee, constituted by the state government had decided to quash the notification dated April 3, 2001, granting minority status to the Sikhs. The committee had also prohibited the sub-reservation within the 50 per cent of the management quota and directed to fill the NRI quota from the amongst the 50 per cent minority quota. However, the trust meeting observed that in the decision made by the Majithia Committee two members — Mr Satish Chandera and Dr J.S. Gujral — from state government had given dissenting note. In their dissenting note both the members had stated that the Majithia Committee did not have the power to go into the question of grant or refusal of minority statues to anyone. Interestingly, another member of the committee, Dr K.N. Pathak, had stated that he did not agree with the decision given by Justice G.S. Majithia and he was in agreement with Dr Gujral and Mr Satish Chandera on the point that the admission committee did not have the jurisdiction to go into the minority status.

Mr Dilmeg Singh said the Majithia Committee had no jurisdiction to go into the minority status . He said the orders of the Majithia Committee was in gross violation of principles of natural justice as members of the association or the trust were never heard on this issue.


Only a ‘blue revolution’ can save Punjab
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Punjab is in deep waters, not so much due to Termination of Agreements Act-2004 but due to over- exploitation of the underground water with no discernible steps on the conservation of water.

Going by the use or misuse of water in the state, Water Conservation Society president J S Gill has warned that by 2010, the entire central Punjab will have water table below 14 metre depth. In Barnala area of Sangrur or Patran in Patiala, the water table will dip to 24 metres. This is indicated by the fact that between 1997 and 2001, the water table in the central Punjab fell by 42 cm per year.

The ground water balance studies have shown that out of 138 blocks, at least 84 have been categorised as ''dark''. In 17 blocks ground water exploitation is over 200 per cent.

These warning statistics and alarming facts are supported by World Bank Punjab Development Report as well.

In Punjab out of the total net irrigated area, tube wells feed 75 per cent area and canal net-work covers 25 per cent.

Total available water resources are 31.3 lakh hectare metre with surface canal water providing 14.5 lakh hectare metre, rainfall 15.7 lakh hectare metre and seepage from canals 1.1 lakh hectare metre.

There is demand of 43.7 lakh hectare metre water to meet the present levels of production. The excess demand of 12.4 lakh hectare metre is met through ''over exploitation'' of ground water through tubewells.

To this reality, Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor K S Aulakh adds, ''There are over 9 lakh tubewells. While more than 1.5 lakh tube wells have been replaced, another around 3.9 lakh centrifugal pumps will have to be replaced by submersible pumps since water table is depleting fast. This is a very costly

replacement and will mean more withdrawal of power to pump water. Also, both cost of pumping as well as cultivation will be higher and there will be deeper exploitation of ground water, much to the consternation of farmers, whose incomes and economies are already in the pits''.

To this analogy, Mr Gill adds, ''As a result of replacement of centrifugal pumps by submersible pumps, at least Rs 4,000 crore will required to install 4 lakh tubewells''. Can Punjab farmers, reeling under debt and diminishing returns afford to do so, while canal water is already inadequate?

In other words, energy requirement will go up threefold to pump the same quantity of water.

And water in south-west districts is brackish, thus unfit for irrigation and is also unpotable. Says Dr Aulakh, ''In some areas in the south-west districts, where a thin layer of sweet water is floating over saline water, a multiple skimming technology will have to be employed, incurring additional cost''.

These are the real concerns and future worries of Punjab. Alarmed at such forecasts, scientists like J S Gill, a retired Chief Conservator of soils, have formed ''Water Conservation Society''. One of its aims being is to educate and enlighten Punjab on the need to conserve water to avoid related social tensions and breach of peace.

Thus, if water is the blood-life of earth, it does not apply only to agriculture or livestock alone but involves other important issues concerning water—increasing costs of new water, wasteful use of existing water supplies, degradation of existing water supplies and of land and irrigated crops, ground water depletion and threats to eco-system, increasing pollution and declining water quality.

Without politicising the water issue, available data shows that in future

sustainability of the Green Revolution will be in danger unless appropriate water usage legislation is enacted or on-farm new water management techniques are evolved.

All focus at present is on water, may it be due to termination of water accords or failure of monsoon or scattered, scanty rain, scarce power to operate tubewells.

But this calls for long-term perspective to initiate a ''blue revolution'' in agriculture to focus on increasing productivity per unit of water.

For this Mr Gill says it has to be ''more crop, per drop'' so that the present generation saves for posterity.


Punjab Bill on SYL challenged
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 26
A public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill 2004 has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Act annuls the 1981 Indira Gandhi award and subsequent agreements relating to the distribution of Ravi- Beas waters among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

In his petition, Mr Naresh Kumar Kadian of Rohtak in Haryana has questioned the validity of Act, passed recently by the Punjab Assembly. He has sought quashing of the Act.

He has also prayed that the recent judgement of the Supreme Court regarding the completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal be immediately ordered to be complied with.

Today, the case could not be taken up and will be listed for tomorrow before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant.


Monsoon failure casts shadow on music industry
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 26
Monsoon failure in the northern region has not only affected agriculture and industry but it has also dashed the hopes of the multi-crore Punjabi music industry and a large number of Punjabi singers who are reluctant to release their cassettes on the presumption that hardly anybody, particularly people in rural areas, would be able to see promos or advertisements of their numbers on various TV channels for huge power cuts in rural as well urban areas.

Music industry pundits and most of Punjabi singers have even preferred to postpone releases of their numbers as they think that it would be just a wasteful exercise to come out with a number — each of which involves big money ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 20 lakh — at this juncture when the people of most of villages were getting power supply for merely three to four hours a day.

Sources in the music industry maintained that a grim situation has grappled the Punjabi music industry of the northern region of the country, based on about 50 prominent music companies, due to failure of monsoons and subsequent acute power shortage. “I have postponed the release of my cassette ‘Lachhi’, which was scheduled to be released on August 3, for another week or so, for I think that nobody from my target audience, which are rural people, would be able to see its promos or advertisements on TV channels as they are not getting enough power,” said Sukhnain, a Punjabi singer.

Similarly, Mr Deepak Bali, the managing director of Plasma Records and a member of the Music Association of India (MAI), which is an organisation representing about 35 music companies, said instead of going in for a folk or pop number, his company would prefer to release some “seasonal” or devotional numbers, which are based on lesser number of promos. “Though this is a slump season in the music industry from April to September, this time, the situation is unprecedented and God knows for how long this would continue,” said Jalandhar-based video director Satwinder Singh.


Traders resent govt order on closing time
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 26
Traders in Punjab feel unhappy with the government asking them to close their establishments before 6 p.m. Traders’ organisations maintained that this would hit them as in these months people come for shopping after 6 p.m only.

Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal said that this was an “authoritarian order” and ignore interests of traders. He pointed out, “electricity remains off for four hours between 11 a.m to 3 p.m in the day... we are told to close down at 6 p.m. means we will get just three working hours between 3 p.m to 6 p.m”.

Mr Aggarwal pointed out these were the most lean hours for the traders as not many people shop during this time. People shop only after finishing their work by 6 p.m. and this is the time when they had been told to shut down.

Six lakh traders will be affected by this order. Nearly 55,000 traders are registered in Ludhiana alone. Mr Aggarwal said that this order would also lead to fall in sales. This he added would affect the Sales Tax and Income Tax collections also. He said traders in the state would hold demonstrations against this “black law” at all district headquarters and important towns.

Shopkeepers of Chaura Bazar, the busiest and the oldest city market said that they might not be able to comply with the government orders. They said they had no option. Another trader voicing his protest said, “I have employed 20 salesmen with an average salary of Rs 3000 per month...besides I have to pay hefty monthly rent and if I am asked to close my shop I will go bust”. He said he was prepared to face consequences instead of going bankrupt and make his employees jobless.

Another shopkeeper said, if the government was bent on jobless going ahead with its authoritarian order, let it allow the traders to use their own power. “After all when electricity remains off, we use our own generators...the government should work out some arrangement so that we are not forced to close down our shops”, he observed, adding, there was no logic in asking the traders to close down by 6 p.m as sunlight is full at that time.

There was no impact of government order in the markets here today as traders had decided to defy it. Markets witnessed usual bustle. Workers of the Bharatiya Yuva Janata Morcha also demonstrated at the Clock Tower against the government order.


Police to act tough with jail officials
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
In an attempt to prevent the smuggling of contrabands into jails, the Prisons Department of Punjab Police has decided to identify officials who were themselves consuming drugs.

The authorities have also decided to identify and proceed against officials involved in corrupt practices. A substantial number of other officers — posted at the same jail for over five years — were also likely to be transferred by July 31.

Inspector-General of Punjab Police S.K. Dutta — in charge of the prisons in the state — was not available for comments on the issue of transfers despite repeated attempts.

Though other officials in the Punjab Police Headquarters were also maintaining strict silence over the issue, the sources in the Prisons Department claimed that the menace of drugs was rampant in at least some of the jails because in several cases the lower staff was itself involved in the consumption of narcotics.

It was difficult to prevent the smuggling of drugs and other prohibited stuff — including mobile phones and weapons — in case the personnel posted on duty were themselves drug-addicts, the sources added. The presence of corrupt officials was also resulting in the same problem, they said.

Giving details of the process of transferring the jail officials, the sources said the staff posted at the same place for several years developed vested interests, As such some of the officials staying at the same jail for long were not only involved in drug trafficking, but were also sympathetic towards their “favourites”. Every now and then, they were also involved in passing messages to the inmates.

The sources disclosed that jail wardens posted in Amritsar circle for more than five years had already been shifted out. Jail Superintendents, Deputy Jail Superintendents, even Assistant Jail Superintendents, would now be shifted out, the sources said.

The department had already identified such officers in Patiala and Ferozepore jails. In all there were about 26 jails in the state, including 10 sub jails, five Central Jails and one women jail.


Hostages in Iraq: prayers in HP, roads blocked in Punjab

Una/Ropar, July 26
The family of Antaryami today performed ‘puja’ and people of Dehlan in Una district of Himachal Pradesh organised ‘ardas’ (prayer) for the safe return of Indian hostages held captive in Iraq by an Iraqi insurgent group, Black Flag, since July 21.

But in Punjab relatives and friends of Sukhdev Singh blocked the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway at Morinda to protest ‘’apathy’’ of the State government towards the fate of Sukhdev’s poor family.

Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP also blocked the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road for three hours today, demanding safe return of the hostages.

Though the families of Antaryami and Tilak Raj, two of the three Indian hostages from Una district, looked relaxed today on hearing the news of militants’ extending deadline for killing of total six hostages, yet Antaryami’s mother Bhago Devi said ‘’I will feel better only on seeing my son in my arms’’.

She, along with Antaryami’s wife Kusum Lata, continued to be in a state of shock as doctors from the Health Department have been frequently visiting to monitor their health.

Antaryami’s family organised ‘puja’ for the safe return of their son, while the Gurdwara also held ‘’ardaas’’ for the well-being and safety of the Indian hostages.

Tilak Raj’s wife Promila, who was shifted to the Una zonal hospital for treatment, is reportedly ‘’stable’’, according to senior medical officer Dr V.K. Raizada. He said her vital functions were normal but she remained in a state of shock. This, he added, could subside only after the safe return of her husband.

Ms Promila, the SMO said, was under watch and they have posted a Home Guard jawan outside her private ward to check entry of visitors. Ms Promila was hospitalised after her condition deteriorated because of malnutrition, dehydration and shock, the doctor said.

Agitators in Punjab disrupted road traffic at two places today, Dehlan youths threatened to again disrupt traffic on the Chandigarh-Dharamsala highway. But Antaryami’s family members dissociated from the move. His uncle Ram Das said ‘’such people who take law into their hands and harass innocent people can not be the well-wishers of the hostages or their families’’. ABVP activists besides some youths from the village disrupted traffic on Saturday and Sunday.

About 200 agitators, including Sukhdev’s brother Harvinder Singh, today blocked the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway for two hours at Morinda to protest against ‘’apathy’’ of the Punjab government towards fate of hostage family in Makrona Kalan village. Led by former Akali MP Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal and the village Sarpanch and Panchayat members, the agitators lifted blockade at 4.45 p.m. when Ropar SDM Daljit Singh assured that Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain would visit the family tomorrow.

The three-hour blockade of the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road was organised by Akali and BJP activists led by former Ministers Mohinder Kaur Josh and Mr Tikshun Sood, also an MLA of the BJP.

Amritpal Singh, whose brother Swaran Singh is also away to Iraq, said he came to know of insurgents’ extending the deadline from Sadhu Singh, a trucker from nearby Makrona Khurd village, who rang him up today. He said Swaran Singh, who had left for Kuwait along with Sukhdev on April 17, had not rung up home. He said Swaran was away to Iraq and no Indian trucker was allowed to ring up home from the violence-torn country.

Amritpal said Ashok Amrohi from the Ministry of External Affairs also rang him up today, assuring that the Indian government was making every effort to secure the release of the hostages.

Antaryami’s father Ram Murty, along with two others, continued camping at Delhi to be in regular touch with the Crisis Management Group (CMG) and the PMO regarding the latest updates on the crisis.

Himachal Co-operative Minister Kuldeep Kumar today again visited the aggrieved families of Antaryami and Tilak Raj and extended support to them.

He criticised those trying to gain political mileage out of the crisis, adding Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was concerned about the safety of the Himachali hostages.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today visited both families and gave Rs 5,000 to Promila for her medical expenses. — UNI


BBC Toronto aid for hostages’ kin

Ropar, July 26
A Canada-based radio channel, BBC Toronto, today announced a Rs 1 lakh cash assistance each to aggrieved families of three Indian hostages in Iraq.

Company owner Joginder Bassi, in a telephonic statement from Canada, said the help was being provided from the fund collected from their listeners who responded to the radio's appeal for helping the families in the distress.

He said they would talk to the families to make arrangement for disbursement of the cash.

Tilak Raj and Antaryami, two of the hostages, hail from Una district in Himachal Pardesh, while the third, Sukhdev Singh, hails from this district in Punjab. — UNI


Bhattal revokes doctors’ transfers
MC staff threaten strike
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
In a new twist to the municipal corporation-Government Rajindra Hospital doctors imbroglio, Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today took the decision to reverse the transfer orders of six doctors from the medical college and hospital, including the medical college Principal and the hospital’s Medical Superintendent.

Ms Bhattal took the decision following a meeting in Chandigarh with a delegation of doctors of the Punjab Medical and Dental Teachers Association, hospital PCMS Association, Junior Doctors Association and members of the Joint Action Committee that had been formed to resist the move to transfer any doctor from the medical college or hospital.

According to sources, Ms Bhattal told the delegation that she did not know that so many doctors had been transferred, indicating that the transfer order, which was issued by the Secretary, Research and Medical Education, Mr Satish Chandra, did not have her full clearance. She assured the doctors that she would revoke all the transfer orders.

Mr Chandra, when contacted, said it was earlier felt that the issue of taking punitive action in the case was being delayed. A three-member committee had already submitted that there was an “inexcusable delay” in the treatment rendered to union leader Harjit Singh, who was brought to Rajindra Hospital after an acid attack. Mr Chandra said he had talked to Ms Bhattal, who was in Delhi, over the phone and she had told him to take “appropriate action” against all doctors in the case.

The Secretary said following this he had issued the transfer order against the six doctors. Subsequently, Ms Bhattal felt that the action was very extensive and she had now done a rethink on the issue. Mr Chandra said the orders would be issued tomorrow. He also announced that a new committee would be constituted to probe the allegation of negligence against the doctors. A senior medical teacher from the Chandigarh Administration or the PGI would be associated with it.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Corporation Employees Union is upset at the latest development. Corporation Workers Union chairman Pushpinder Pathak said the union would hold a meeting in this regard tomorrow, following which it could again give a strike call on the issue.

Mr Pathak said Ms Bhattal could have met representatives of the corporation employees also if she was not satisfied with the “guilt” of the doctors. He said the manner in which the transfers had been ordered, with action being taken against six doctors instead of two as demanded by the workers, and the subsequent revocation was not above board.


Panel seeks report on Dalits’ discrimination
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 26
Taking a serious note of the complaint by the All-India SC, BC and ST Bhalai Ekta Manch, the National Commission for SCs and STs asked the Punjab Chief Secretary to send a detailed report regarding the alleged discrimination of dalits in the state.

In a letter sent by the Research Officer of the commission, Mr S.P. Meena on July 15, the commission sought a detailed report from the Chief Secretary regarding the alleged discrimination of Dalits in the state. A copy of the memorandum, handed over to the Vice-Chairman of the commission, Mr Faqir Bhai Baghela during his Chandigarh visit on June 25, by the president of Manch, Mr Jagdish Rai Dhosiwal, was also sent along with the letter.

The Chief Secretary has been asked to make arrangements to furnish facts of the case to gather comments on the points raised in the representation to the commission for further inquiry within 30 days of the receipt of the letter.

It was also stated in the letter that the commission was a constitutional authority set up under Article 338 and hoped that the report would be sent within the stipulated time failing which the commission would have to use constitutional power to deal in the matter.

In its memorandum given to Mr Baghela, the manch had raised a number of issues regarding the alleged discrimination against the SCs and STs in the state. The main issue was regarding non-promoting of Dalit employees.

Similarly, the issues of not implementing roaster system during appointments in government departments was also brought to the notice of the commission through the memorandum.

In the same way, the matter of Balkaran Singh was also raised in the memorandum who had allegedly become sarpanch in Rameana village of Jaito subdivision in Faridkot district after producing fake SC certificate. The manch demanded to book Balkaran Singh and action against the Naib Tehsildar, Jaito, Mr Hans Raj, and Patwari and nambardar concerned under the SC Act for helping Balkaran to get the fake SC certificate.

It was also demanded that separate police stations at all sub-divisions of the state should be set up to deal with the cases regarding SCs and STs.


Chandumajra announces office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, today announced the office bearers of his party.

Col Jasmer Singh Bala (retd), Baba Gurdial Singh Bedi, Mr Sarabjit Singh Variana and Mr Ranjit Singh Dumna, have been appointed as senior vice-presidents. Mr Surinder Singh Dhuri, Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Bhola, Mr Harbhajan Singh Hoshiarpur, Mr Karnail Singh Bhavra, Mr Bahal Singh Patti and Mr Kuldeep Singh Dhos have been appointed as vice-presidents.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann will be secretary-general of the party. Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, Mr Narinder Pal Singh Hundal and Mr Sukhwant Singh Dhanula have been appointed as general secretaries. Mr Inder Mohan Singh Lakhmirwala, Mr Jagjit Singh Gaba and Mr Narinder Singh Tiwana have been appointed organising secretaries.

Mr Haripal Singh has been appointed as treasurer and Mr Hardip Singh Mohali as secretary of the party. Besides, 22-member executive of the party has also been announced. Mr Randhir Singh Rakhra has been appointed as president of the youth wing of the party.


Lambi hospital was ‘upgraded’ on board only
Tribune News Service

Badal (Muktsar), July 26
Perhaps to befool voters in the name of development in his constituency, signboard of civil hospital was put up outside a rural hospital in Badal village of Lambi constituency of SAD president Parkash Singh Badal when he was the Chief Minister in 2001 to give the impression that the rural hospital was upgraded as civil hospital.

In reality nothing was changed in the hospital. Neither sanctioned strength of the paramedical, non-paramedical staff and class IV employees nor supply of medicines was increased.

Only two posts of medical officer are there as were sanctioned earlier, sources told The Tribune. So was the case with pharmacists and nurses and peons for the hospital.

Sources said nine doctors were brought to the hospital on deputation during Badal’s regime. Almost same number of pharmacists, nurses and peons were also brought on deputation when Mr Badal was in power. When Mr Badal lost and Mr Amarinder Singh became head of the government, the staff on deputation was sent back to respective hospitals. However, some specialist doctors visit this hospital twice or thrice a week even now. Signboard of Civil Hospital is still fixed outside the hospital.

Sources said during Badal’s regime only the building and medical equipment were changed. Rupees five crore were spent on renovation of hospital building and installation of medical equipment. The money was spent under a scheme of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation for which it had got a loan of over Rs 400 crore from the World Bank.

Renovated building and installed medical equipment are not beneficial for residents of Badal village and nearby areas as staff was not available to run these.

Sources added that there was no provision to set up a civil hospital in any village. A civil hospital may be set up either at district or at sub-division level, whereas a rural hospital or community health centre can be set up in a village of the different blocks.

Acting Civil Surgeon of Muktsar district, Kulwinder Singh Sandhu, admitted that sanctioned strength of medical and paramedical staff for the hospital was the same as was earlier. He added that the hospital was not elevated to a civil hospital from rural hospital as far as staff was concerned.

On the sign board of Civil Hospital outside the building, he said that it would have been put up during Mr Badal’s regime. To a question, he said that several doctors, pharmacists and nurses were sent to hospital on deputation when Mr Badal was in power.


SGPC general house meeting next month
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 26
The general house of the newly elected SGPC is likely to meet in the first week of August to elect its office-bearers. According to Gurdwara Act, 1925, the general house of the SGPC will be summoned by the Deputy Commissioner. The general house has to meet within one month of its elections. As many as 167 members were elected and three constituencies were countermanded by the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections. The Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, would also be present in the house.

Meanwhile, the race for the presidentship of the SGPC has started and three names are being mentioned. They are Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar. All three have served the SGPC for one term as president. The track record of Bibi Jagir Kaur has been far from satisfactory. Moreover, she is facing trial in connection with the mysterious death of her daughter.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur is another strong contender for the post. Mr Parkash Singh Badal is also under pressure to accommodate Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta in the SGPC. The SGPC has to co-opt 15 members to the general house and five of them will be co-opted from Punjab and remaining from outside the state. The Panthic Morcha has a strength of 35 members, including seven from Haryana. The Panthic Morcha can get three members coopted and it will have its share in the executive committee also.


Panthic Morcha SGPC members not to claim TA, DA
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 26
A meeting of all newly elected SGPC members belonging to the Panthic Morcha was held at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib today under the leadership of Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Jathedar of Akal Takht. Various problems being faced by the SGPC as well as irregularities and commercialisation of the Sikh body was discussed at the meeting.

While talking to the mediapersons, Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, spokesman of the members, said all members have expressed faith in the Panthic leadership and thanked the Sikh Sangat of Haryana for giving mandate in favour of the Panthic Morcha.

He said it has been decided that none of the Panthic Morcha SGPC member would claim TA, DA from SGPC for attending its meetings and while discharging their duties. It was also decided to raise the issue effectively that all those so-called SAD leaders whose kin have studied at the Guru Ram Dass Medical and Dental College and had not paid their dues must clear their dues as these colleges were being run through “guru ki golak”.

It was also decided that stress should be laid on introducing information technology during booking of sarais and residential inns, so that people could book their rooms at Amritsar through Internet.


SGPC demands ban on Ashutosh
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
The acting President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today urged the government to ban the Ashutosh Divya Jyoti Sangathan.

In a press note issued here today, the SGPC said that in case the government did not check the anti-Sikh activities of the sangathan, the situation may take serious turn during the present critical situation for which the government would be held responsible.


Slow implementation of health scheme resented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Expressing dismay over the slow pace of implementation of the Ex-servicemen's Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), ex-servicemen settled in and around the city have also raised several other issues which pose problems to them while availing medical treatment.

At a meeting held by the Ropar unit of the Indian Ex-services League, members said that only a handful of hospitals had been empanelled under the scheme so far. In Punjab, for instance, just one hospital at Jalandhar had been empanelled for heart treatment.

Laboratories for investigations are yet to be empanelled, leaving patients dependent on military hospitals, where several facilities like the MRI are not available. Ex-servicemen have to get several tests done from civilian establishments and face problems in getting reimbursement of money spent by them.

Members pointed out that before the introduction of the ECHS, the Kendriya Sainik Board used to reimburse some of the expenditure incurred by ex-servicemen, but had now stopped doing so due to paucity of funds.

Earlier, the application form was free, but now it has been priced. Further, the form is very lengthy, intricate and difficult to fill even by officers, let alone jawans, they pointed out.

There have also been a number of cases where membership has been denied on technical grounds, they added.


Needless long wait for truck drivers at Killianwali barrier
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Killianwali (Muktsar): A long queue of parked trucks may easily be seen while passing through the Delhi-Punjab National Highway number 10 at Killianwali village on the Punjab and Haryana border in Muktsar district. Actually, truck drivers and cleaners from Delhi, Haryana and other parts of the country have to wait for several hours at Killianwali sales tax barrier for getting certain formalities completed before entering Punjab.

When The Tribune team visited the barrier recently, the scene was not much different. Several truck drivers and cleaners were playing cards sitting on a cot under the shadow of their parked trucks to pass time waiting for their turn to get the formalities completed.

The drivers told The Tribune that they had to wait for several hours at the barrier for getting the formalities completed, resulting in wastage of their precious time. Sometimes they had to wait even for more than a day sitting idle at the barrier, they added.

A Delhi- based truck driver Vijay told The Tribune that he had come with a loaded truck from Delhi on one Saturday evening. However, the formalities were completed after a long wait of over nine hours at 7 on Sunday morning.

Abohar- based truck driver Kakka Singh said that the supply of the material loaded in the truck to the person concerned at his destination also got delayed for hours. Further, the drivers also did not find a suitable shop for eating and had to bear the brunt of the scorching heat while waiting for their turn at the barrier, he added.

Another truck driver Parveen Kumar said that their work could easily be done within 15 minutes if three computer operators were deployed at the barrier instead of only one. Drivers of the trucks parked at the nearby Doomwali barrier related almost the same story.

When asked to comment, sales tax inspector at the barrier LM Sharma said that they tried their level best to complete the formalities without any delay for the convenience of the truck drivers. At the same time, he admitted that the formalities could be completed much earlier if at least one more computer operator was appointed at the barrier.

Mr. Sharma said that he had already written to the ETO, Bathinda, Mr. R S Ramana, in this regard two months back to provide at least one more computer set and an operator for getting rid of any type of delay in the work.

When contacted, the ETO said that most of the trucks passing through the barrier carried goods of over 20-25 firms in a single consignment, which took time for the formalities to be completed.

At the same time, he said that he had sent the proposal to AETC (mobile wing) regarding opening one more window with a computer set and an operator at the barrier for approval. Regarding the Doomwali barrier, he said there was not any such problem at that barrier.


ACs run in the SSP’s office despite ban
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
While the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) took the lead in switching off all air conditioners at its headquarters here, the same could not be said of the local law-enforcers in the city — the district police.

The air conditioners in the office of Senior Superintendent of Police were running at noon today despite a state government directive banning the same in all government offices. It was not only the SSP’s office which was making use of its air conditioner but also the Superintendent of Police office in the same complex. In the Mini Secretariat, an air conditioner was also working in the office of the Public Health Department.

Meanwhile, sources said most of the markets in the city started closing at 6 p.m. and had downed their shutters by 6.30 p.m. The air conditioned market near Adalat Bazaar closed at 6 p.m. while others downed shutters a little later. However, some shops remained open. These included shops in Adalat Bazaar and those selling ladies suits and accessories. Sweet shops in the inner city also remained open. Some shops in the Tripuri township also remained open till 7 p.m. There was, however, no attempt to get shops, which were open after the 6 o’clock deadline, closed by officials of the PSEB or others.

Patiala also started experiencing power cuts since yesterday after having been exempted from the same since more than a month. The city has started experiencing regular power cuts since yesterday with various parts of the city being without power for two to three hours at a stretch. Today morning also a power cut was imposed for around two hours while there was no power in the evening for more than one hour.

The PSEB has again requested consumers to make judicious use of air conditioners due to the present crisis saying use of air conditioners was putting a heavy load on the system. The Board today held hectic consultations with various power utilities, including the Power Trading Corporation, the National Thermal Corporation and others, besides the Power Ministry in order to increase the flow of power to the state.


Power unit shut due to snag
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 26
The power situation in Punjab further deteriorated with one of the four units of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) shutting down after a tube in its boiler leaked yesterday.

Official sources said one of the units of the GNDTP had already been closed for renovation and modernisation (R and M) exercise to increase its life span. With the shutting down of unit No. 3, the production of electricity from the GNDTP has come down considerably.

Mr P.S. Luthra, Chief Engineer, GNDTP, while confirming the fact that unit No. 3 had been shut down due to leakage in its boiler tube, said it would only start generating power by tomorrow after repairs.


Cultural forum to organise all-India mushaira
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 26
The Mehak Cultural Forum, in collaboration with the Sufi Foundation of India, is organising an All-India Mushaira on August 12 at the Central Library auditorium here in the city.

India’s noted poets, including Nida Fazali, Waseem Barilevi, Dr Bashir Badar, Dr Naresh, Ana Delhivi, Dr Sardar Anjum, Dr Azeem Amrohi, would participate in the mushaira. Giving this information, Dr Naresh Raj, chief organizing secretary of the forum said state Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh will be the chief guest on the occasion while Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, and Dr A. A. Siddiqui, DGP, Punjab, will be the guests of honour at the function. Dr Raj added that the Mehak Cultural Forum promoted art and culture in the region.


Protesters lock Block Samiti office
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 26
The arrest of BDPO of Sidhwan Bet by vigilance police for accepting bribe of Rs 2,500 has sparked protest. Member of Zila Parishad, Block Samiti and Panchayat Samiti have protested against the arrest of the said officer and alleged that he had been framed.

But today the agitation took a serious turn when as many as 80 members of Zila Parishad, Block Samiti and Akali and Congress leaders locked the office of Block Samiti.

They said the office will remain closed till the false case registered against BDPO was withdrawn.


Pensioners protest against government
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
Even as the district administration claimed to have disbursed more than Rs 4 crore as pension to various beneficiaries, a large number of people, including old-age and widow pensioners, were still deprived of this.

Agitated over this, a large number ` of old-age and widow pensioners today held a demonstration against non-disbursement of pension. They raised slogans against the state government and held pension cards in their hands. The women headed by Mr Jagtar Singh Karampura, president, district unit of the Dehati Mazdoor Sabha, started the agitation from New Rialto Chowk and ended in front of the Subdivisional Magistrate’s office. They held a protest dharna there.


Seminar on Indo-Pak peace process
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
Folklore Research Academy will organise a seminar on “Indo-Pak peace process: possibilities and challenges” at Art Gallery on July 28 here.

In a press conference here today, Mr Ramesh Yadav, senior vice-president, and Mr Talwinder Singh said a six-member national assembly from Pakistan comprising Choudhry Manzoor Ahmad, Chowdhry Qamar Zaman Kaira, Sameena Khalid Gurki, Baigam Shakeela Rasheed, Yasmeen Rehman and Zulifkaar Gondal were likely to participate in the seminar.


Kang, others want probe to be given to CBI
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 26
Two petitions, seeking handing over of investigation in the July 2 incident at Kharar, in which exchange of fire between two groups of Shiromani Akali Dal supporters left two persons dead and many injured, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or any other independent agency have been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In their petitions, Youth Akali Dal leader, Kiranbir Singh Kang, one of the main accused in the case, and Mr Pavittar Singh and Mr Gurpreet Singh, both of whose bothers died in the incident, have claimed that in view of the political pressure and biased attitude of the Ropar police, the investigation in the case be handed over to an independent agency like the CBI.

Kang, who is still absconding after allegedly escaping from police custody from the PGI, Chandigarh, has claimed that he has been falsely implicated in the case. He has also levelled serious allegations against the Ropar police, including Senior Superintendent of Police Surinder Pal Singh.

Kang was booked by the Punjab police for murder of Akali leader Harbir Singh and worker Paramjit Singh at a public rally. Saying that he did not flee from the PGI but was whisked away by his supporters after it became known that he would be eliminated, Kang has said that he was tortured while being brought from Kharar to Chandigarh for treatment.

He has also offered to surrender before any independent agency that is handed over the probe by the court.

The other petition states that despite repeated attempts on the day of the incident, the Kharar police did not listen to their pleas for registration of cases. They have claimed that wrong persons have been booked by the police in the case.

After hearing their counsel, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice BK Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant issued notice to the Punjab Government and Punjab Director General of Police for August 8.


Power cuts hit paddy crop
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 26
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked the government to grant Rs 15,000 compensation per acre to the farmers who had suffered loss due to shortage of power for running tubewells and insufficient canal water.

Secretary-General of the SAD, at Nanakiana Sahib Gurdwara here today said the Central Government should also send a team to Punjab to assess the situation, following drought-like situation. The Central team should visit the entire state to identify drought hit areas, he added.

He said all sections of the society, including farmers, traders, were protesting against long power cuts. He also criticised the Punjab Government for poor power management.

Mr Dhindsa disclosed the SAD leadership met Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr L.K. Advani and Mr Jaswant Singh, appealing them not to favour any state on the River Waters issue. These leaders did not given any assurance to the SAD leadership in this regard, he said.

Mr Dhindsa said the Punjab BJP was with the SAD. The SAD had no objection if the Haryana BJP or the Rajasthan BJP units spoke in favour of their respective states over water issues. The SAD wanted the Central BJP leadership not to favour Haryana or Rajasthan, he added.


Campaign to remove encroachments soon: DC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 26
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the District Grievances Committee held at Bachat Bhavan here today, said all complaints and problems would be sorted out within fixed time. He urged the members to rise above petty party politics and work together for the development of their respective areas. He said it was unfortunate that whenever any development activity in village or town was initiated, rival groups start complaining and levelling allegations. And when enquiries were ordered these allegations in most of the cases proved wrong.

He urged the members of the committee to first verify the complaint at their level before raising it at the meeting.

He appreciated the efforts of the members in extending cooperation to the district administration for the smooth functioning. He said that a special campaign to remove encroachments from the government land would be initiated from the next week and all encroachers have been given the time of one week to remove it at their own. He said it was unfortunate that in various cases, the officials connive with the encroachers and do not pursue the cases properly, which resulted in losses and humiliation to the government.

He urged the people to cooperate the district administration in its fight against social evils. He directed the officials to sort out the problems of the people on priority basis and to do their duty honestly and serve the people with dedication.

Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, in his address appreciated the working of the Deputy Commissioner and said the district administration was serving the people of the area in true sense. He said all the government-sponsored schemes should be implemented at grassroot level. He said the government was committed for the overall development of the district.


Punjab floats development loan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Punjab Government, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has floated Punjab State Development loan 2013 of Rs 689.02 crore.

A government spokesman today said that this 9-year tenure loan would bear interest at 6.35 per cent per annum and the sale would be on tap during banking hours from July 28. The Reserve Bank of India reserved the right to close the sale at any time during or after the close of banking hours on or after July 28, he said.

Interest would be paid half-yearly on January 30 and July 30, each year. The loan would be repaid at par on July 30, 2013, at the Public Debt. Office of the Reserve Bank of India at which they were registered.

The spokesman pointed out that the interested persons may submit applications in the prescribed form obtainable from the Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai, and New Delhi offices.

He further added that the Reserve Bank of India also would have the discretion to accept or reject any or all applications either wholly or partially, if it deemed it appropriate to do so, without assigning any reason at the time of closure of sale.


Murder accused held
Our Correspondent

Nabha, July 26
The police today claimed to have resolved the mystery behind the disappearance of a local PSEB employee with the arrest of a scooter mechanic.

Mr Shemsher Singh Bhoparai, DSP, said that it turned out to be a blind murder what was earlier being considered as a case of missing person. He said that the deceased, Jagdish Chand, who had been living in the house of Subash Chand for long, developed illicit relations with his mother, Habans Kaur.

Enraged over this, Subash Chand planned to eliminate Jagdish. On February 26, 2002, he invited Jagdish to an ahatta at Patiala Gate and consumed liquor along with a friend of Purshotam Das. Subash took Jagdish towards Patiala on a scooter and pushed him into the Bhakra canal, near Rouni village. In the meanwhile the family of the deceased kept tracing Jagdish on there own for two years.

On a tip-off, the SHO, Kotwali, Mrs Bindu Bala, rounded up Purshotam who admitted that Subash had told him about murdering Jagdish. An FIR was lodged on the basis of an affidavit given by Purshotam Das.

The police party arrested the accused on July 22, 2004. According to the DSP, Subash who managed to obtain a power of attorney of the deceased’s property in his favour on April 5, 2002, also withdrew Rs 1,84,771 from Jagdish’s account and deposited a major chunk in his mother’s account in the same bank on May 7, 2002. He was sent to judicial remand till August 9.


2.6 lakh looted from petrol station
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, July 26
Robbers shot at and injured Mohan Lal, an employee of a petrol station at Kiratpur Sahib and looted Rs 2.60 lakh from him today.

Sources here said that Mohan Lal was carrying the cash in a bag to deposit it with the State Bank of Patiala there. Two scooter-borne youths stopped him 100 yards from the bank. One of them asked Mohan Lal to hand over the bag containing the case.

On resistance from Mohan Lal they shot at him from his .12 bore gun and snatched the bag containing the case. Mohan Lal was injured and shifted to Anandpur Sahib Civil Hospital. His condition is stated to be out of danger.

Employees of the petrol station raised the alarm following which people and police men tried to chase the robbers. The robbers left the scooter near Charan Kamal gurdwara near Kiratpur Sahib and sped in a Zen car they had parked there.

They drove towards Anandpur Sahib. The police had raised a naka on the main road. They entered Anandpur Sahib town and parked the Zen car near Guru Teg Bahadur inn. They fled with the cash from there.

The mode of robbery appears similar to one committed earlier at Morinda in which two scooter-borne persons had shot dead a PSEB cashier and robbed him of cash.


Varinder Kumar alive, says police
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 26
The Bassi Pathana police has got proof that Varinder Kumar, who allegedly disappeared from their custody and whose parents and children alleged that he had died in the police custody, is alive and had been visiting his relatives to take shelter. Clearing all speculations of his being died in the custody, Mr Harbans Singh, SHO, Bassi Pathana, said certain relatives of Varinder Kumar met the SSP today and made written statements.

Mr Dharm Chand, a resident of Badali Ala Singh and maternal uncle of Varinder Kumar’s wife, said after disappearing from the police custody, Varinder Kumar came to his residence and narrated the incident. But, refused to give him shelter, he said.

Mr Devinder Kumar, brother-in-law of Varinder Kumar, in his statement said Varinder Kumar came to his residence for shelter but he refused. They said that now he was hiding with some relative and they were making all out efforts to get him surrender. Rumours were ripe today in the town that he might surrender before the Deputy Commissioner. The SHO said the family members of Varinder Kumar knew that he was alive but they had been alleging that he died in police custody.

A minor daughter of Varinder Kumar had run away from house along with one Ranjit Singh Rana. Varinder Kumar had lodged a complaint with the Bassi Pathana police and police had recovered the girl and her friend. Girl made sensational discloser with the police alleging that her father had been raping her, so she asked her friend to take her away. The police took Varinder Kumar in custody for investigating but he gave a slip to the police and fled. The residents of town had blocked the traffic and observed a complete bandh. It was only after the assurance from the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP that the blockade was lifted.


SDO, JE caught taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
The Vigilance sleuths today nabbed Natha Singh, SDO, Department of Communications, Majitha and Rajinder Singh, Junior Engineer of the Department, Kathunanagal, were caught accepting bribe of Rs 500 each from Kuldip Singh, a resident of Rasulpur Kalan village. Mr Dilbagh Singh Gill, SSP Vigilance, today said the accused were allegedly demanding bribe for giving report on new STD/PCO connections. 


Woman kills husband
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 26
A woman, Sukhi, killed her husband Tarsem Lal (25) at her Gandhi Camp residence here last night.

It is alleged that Sukhi and one her friends, Bimla, had been indulging in immoral activity and the residents of the area had objected to it.

Sukhi and Bimla allegedly attacked Tarsem Lal and also gave him some poisonous substance, after which he died.

Hundreds of persons of the area assembled at the local Civil Hospital today seeking the arrest of the suspects. Prominent among them were Mr Buta Ram, MC, Ms Achhra Devi, MC, Ms Keemto, former MC, and Mr Munshi Ram, former MC.

The Civil Lines police station had not registered a case in this regard till the filing of the report.


Flesh trade racket busted
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 26
The police claims to have busted a gang involved in flesh trade near Gurdwara Manji Sahib. Sunita, Balwinder Kaur and her daughters Bablu and Jyoti, had been arrested under the Immoral Traffic Act, 1956.

Phoola Singh is the uncle of Bablu and Jyoti and had been acting as a pimp.

The police, after on a tip off contacted Phoola Singh and Sunita on their telephone and sent a decoy customer. He opted for Bablu and the deal was finalised for Rs 1000. Then, the decoy customer informed the police. The police recovered two notes of Rs 500 denomination duly signed by the DSP (D) from Sunita and Bablu, respectively, said the police release.


Teachers: implement Johl panel report
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 26
The district unit of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) yesterday asked the Punjab Government to implement the Johl Committee’s recommendations, relating to higher education, in letter and spirit, immediately. The Johl Committee’s recommendations, include 100 per cent funding of salary of the teaching as well as non-teaching staff of the private colleges.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at a meeting of the district PCCTU unit, held under the presidentship of Prof. P.K. Sharma, president of the district unit, at S.D. College, Barnala.

Giving details of the meeting Professor Sharma said the meeting was of the view that the Johl Committee’s recommendations, regarding higher education, were pro-private colleges’ teaching community so these must be implemented at the earliest.


CNC training centre inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 26
Mr P.N. Garga, member, Mechanical Railway Board, today inaugurated a computerised numerical control (CNC) machine training centre at DMW.

He also inaugurated two high productivity CNC machines. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Garg said with the installation of these training centre and machining facilities, the DMW has gained a competitive edge in the industry.

The CAO (R), Mr A.K. Gupta, highlighted various diversification activities, including manufacturing of rail-cum-road vehicle.


85 pc quota filled for B.Ed courses
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 26
Dr Surjit Singh, coordinator of counselling of B.Ed-2004 admissions today informed that the seats of general category (code-1) in combinations under the humanities group of commerce-economics, commerce-English, commerce-Hindi, commerce-Punjabi, mathematics-economics, mathematics–Hindi, mathematics-Punjabi, mathematics-economics, mathematics-Sanskrit, social studies-Punjabi and mathematics-computer under the 85 per cent quota (for Punjab resident candidates only) have been filled today and the candidates of these combinations should not come for counselling on July 27.

Dr Surjit Singh said the social studies-English combination for rural candidates is only available in Malwa Central College of Education for Women, Ludhiana.

The counselling for admission to B.Ed. course in the colleges of education situated in Punjab and affiliated to Guru Nanak Dev University, Panjab University, Chandigarh and Punjabi University, Patiala are being conducted at Guru Nanak Dev University here.


Industry seeks uninterrupted power supply
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 26
Industrialists in Patiala and Mandi Gobindgarh want the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to increase power cuts if necessary, but give continuous power supply to the sector.

The industrialists say besides facing losses due to long power cuts, their production is being adversely affected due to interrupted power supply. Patiala Industries Association president Naresh Gupta said the industry in the city was suffering due to two days’ compulsory off. He said, industrialists running continuous process industries needed uninterrupted power supply.

Mr Gupta said besides facing peak load restrictions of three hours in the evening, the industrialists had to reckon with frequent power cuts. He said these cuts were causing a severe loss to the industry. He maintained that if the government could provide uninterrupted power supply to the farming community for tubewell operations, the same could be done for the industrial sector. “We even pay a minimum charge on the connected load whether we get power or not”, he added.

Industrialists of Patiala, mainly running plastic and cutting tool units, said as they were running small-scale industries, they did not have their own generators. “We are dependent on the PSEB, which has let us down, severely affecting production in the past two months”, they added.

Mr J.N. Goel of Mandi Gobindgarh, running an oxygen manufacturing unit, said despite peak load restrictions and two consecutive offs, the PSEB was resorting to unannounced power cuts.

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