P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Failure to auction liquor vends costs govt Rs 15 cr
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Punjab Government's failure to auction liquor vends soon after the pronouncement of orders by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has resulted in an estimated loss of Rs 15 crore.

The court on March 31 had directed the setting aside of liquor vends auction in three districts.

But the state government, instead of complying with the orders, filed a special leave petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court of India. as a result, the process of reauction was delayed by almost seven-and-a-half months.

The sources in the Punjab Government claimed that the vends in Jalandhar I and II, besides Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur districts, were initially auctioned for Rs 163.16 crore, even though some other liquor contractors were willing to pay much more.

But the government preferred to go ahead, instead of accepting "more money that was being offered".

Giving details of the calculations, the sources asserted that the state, as per an estimate, would have earned approximately Rs 24 crore extra in one year by going in for reauction at the right time.

Going by the figures, the government lost approximately Rs 15 crore in seven-and-a-half months.

The sources added that filing SLP before the Supreme Court was not a "wise move" as the state had challenged High Court's orders even though the same were in its larger interests.

The auctions had come under severe criticism with liquor contractors and even advocates moving the High Court. In a public interest litigation, the advocate and other petitioners had rather questioned the state's decision to allot liquor vends on "lesser price when other contractors were ready to pay even more".

They had added that "if people were willing to pay more than (liquor baron) Ponty Chadha or Inderpreet Chadha — to whom the liquor vends were illegally given — then their bids should be accepted...."

Another petitioner, liquor contractor Sanjeev Bhandari, had alleged that liquor vends in Nawanshahr were allotted to Mr Chadha's firm for Rs 37 crore against an available bid of Rs 40 crore.

Appearing before the court, Mr Mohan Jain had submitted on the petitioner's behalf that the auction for vends in Hoshiarpur was closed at Rs 70 crore despite the fact that the petitioner and his associates had offered Rs 72 crore.

Taking up the case, the Bench on March 31 had directed the setting aside of liquor vends auction in the three districts. The Bench had also allowed the existing licencees to continue till April 10 or till the date of reauction, whichever was earlier, on payment of existing fee.

The SLP filed by the state was on Friday dismissed by the Supreme Court. The court, in its order, directed the government to have fresh bids for auctioning the vends. Pronouncing the orders in an open court, the court had ruled that the "new licencees will be allowed to start their shops from November 15".


PUDA notice causes panic among plot purchasers
List of Bathinda’s illegal colonies released
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 16
A public notice issued through a national daily yesterday by the Punjab Urban Planning Development Authority (PUDA), listing various illegal and unauthorised colonies of the district, has sent shivers down the spine of purchasers of plots, resulting in their frantic attempts to contact respective sellers for a “workable solution” to the problem.

What has caused panic among those who have built dwellings in these colonies is the fact that PUDA has mentioned it categorically in the notice that it could demolish the same without giving any prior notice to the owners. PUDA has mentioned in its notice that there are about 80 illegal and unauthorised colonies, developed over various pieces of land in Bathinda, Rampura and Talwandi Sabo area of this district.

Interestingly, PUDA has woken up in connection with the mushrooming of unauthorised colonies only after the prices of real estate in this town went sky-high and stamp duty to the tune of crores of rupees was evaded by a section of those, who developed illegal and unauthorised colonies in and around this town and minted money like anything.

Those who have built their residences in these colonies after purchasing plots of different sizes by paying through their noses have been finding themselves doubly cursed, as on one hand they had been facing a threat to their dwellings from PUDA, while on the other hand, the authorities concerned would not make any effort to provide these colonies with the civil amenities after the same had been declared illegal and unauthorised.

“ I am not at fault if I bought a plot in an unauthorised colony as at that time, PUDA had not declared the same as unauthorised. Why PUDA officials kept mum when the illegal colonies have been coming up in this region,” asked a plot holder on the condition of anonymity.

A cross section of plot holders demanded that if higher PUDA officials were serious about checking the growth of unauthorised colonies, they should first take action against its field staff who actively promoted the development of illegal colonies. Besides, they should also explain why the residential colonies developed by PUDA itself in this region had been lacking in basic amenities even 20 years after the same came into existence.

Sources said that a majority of transactions in connection with the transfer of a big chunk of land from one person to other and from that to third person, which had taken place in connection with those sites where the illegal colonies had been developed, were not registered in the local Revenue Department, causing a huge loss to the state exchequer.

Sources added that in some cases plots had been sold up to 10 times only on the basis of the power of attorney or the “biyana” and not a single transaction was recorded in the respective tehsil. Though the state exchequer suffered a huge loss in this process, middlemen managed to pocket huge sums.

The prices of the land in some of the areas listed by PUDA in its notices has jumped from Rs 15,000 per square yard about a year ago to nearly Rs 75,000 per square yard. All pieces of agriculture land on the roads connecting the city with nearby towns have been sold as commercial and residential plots during the past two years.

Some unauthorised property dealers had been indulging in “cyclic trading” (selling plots amongst themselves), without registering the same with the revenue authorities just to show that there was liquidity in the market and hefty profits could be made and thus managed to make the prices of real estate jump at an unprecedented rate.


Victory has proved people have faith in us: CM
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that the state government would go by the directions given by the apex court for holding fresh auctions of liquor vends in some districts of the state.

“We have tried to be as transparent as possible, But the Chief Minister alone cannot oversee each and everything. But whatever the apex court has ordered, we will follow that and if fresh auctions are to be conducted, we will do it,” he added.

Talking about the quashing of recruitment of seven Deputy Superintendents of Police by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chief Minister said that “the government would go by the directions and guidelines of the High Court as and when fresh recruitments against these posts are made.”

Patiala, October 16
“The two byelections were a referendum on my government,” says Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, holding that the massive verdict given by people of Kapurthala and Garhshankar was vindication of the policies and programmes of both the Congress and the Punjab Government.

Talking to The Tribune at his palace, the Chief Minister said that the massive victories of Congress candidates — Mrs Sukhjinder Kaur Rana (Kapurthala) and Mr Luv Kumar Goldi (Garhshankar) — reflected the people’s unflinching faith and confidence in the democratic process.

In Kapurthala Mrs Sukhjinder Kaur Rana defeated Mr Raghbir Singh (Shiromani Akali Dal) by 13,290 votes, while Mr Luv Kumar Goldi defeated Mr Mohinder Pal Mann (Bharatiya Janata Party) by 18,080 votes in Garhshankar.

“Such a massive turnout on the polling day and completion of the entire process in a peaceful manner indicated fair and free elections. People’s verdict was also an endorsement of the initiatives taken by the government in safeguarding the interests of the state on emotive issues like rivers water.

“I also think that the great gesture of Mrs Sonia Gandhi in making Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister has been a major factor in the victories the Congress has recorded in these elections.

“Termination of all agreements on rivers water, smooth and hassle-free procurement of six crops, improvement in power supply and empowerment of the Panchayati Raj institutions were some of the factors which made people prefer the Congress to the Akalis in almost all villages where byelections were held. In fact people have rejected all Opposition parties, including the Akalis, the Bharatiya Janta Party, Communists and even the Bahujan Samaj Party,” he said.

Dressed in a T-shirt and pyjama, the Chief Minister looked relaxed as he had decided to spend the day with the family. His phone, however, had been ringing continuously ever since the results started pouring in. “The Garhshankar triumph is like a new baby born in our Congress family. After 19 years, we have returned to the constituency and people have given us an outright verdict,” he said.

The Akalis had threatened to disrupt the poll “but we made it clear that no one would be allowed take the law into one’s hands.”

“Since people of Punjab have placed their unflinching faith in us, it is now our turn to return the favour. For the next two-and-a-half years, we will be focussing on all-round development of the state. We already have 1,600 crore coming from the World Bank for public health that will take care of rural water supply and sanitation. We are also getting 800 crores from the bank for roads. Besides, the work has reached tenders stage for construction of 18 corridors, 12 of which will be done by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board and the remaining by the Public Works Department.

“We also have approved a major bridge over the Ravi. Work on this project was held up because of objections raised by the Ministry of Defence. But now it has been cleared. Besides, work will also be starting on 40-odd rail over bridges (ROBs),” the Chief Minister said.

The government, he said, would also concentrate on improving power generation and industrialisation so as to create more and more jobs.


‘Have a Son’ nursing home in police net
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 16
The Patiala police has registered a case against a couple running a nursing home at Patran. The case was registered against Dr Ashok Kumar and Ms Devender Kumari, running the Patiala Nursing Home, on October 14, sources said here today.

They said the case had been registered after the matter was taken up by the Civil Surgeon, Dr Hardev Singh, with the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr A.S. Rai.

A team of health officials raided the nursing home on May 31 and caught Ms Devender Kumari conducting an abortion. The team seized the contents of the terminated pregnancy and the instruments used to conduct the operation. It also recorded the statement of the woman who had come to the nursing home to get her foetus terminated.

Though the health authorities wrote to the Patran police to register a case, this was not done, with the police station authorities claiming that the case should be routed through the SSP. Following this, the matter got more complicated, with the nursing home couple claiming before the police that the District Mass Education Information Officer of the Health Department was demanding a bribe, with the assurance that the record of the seizures made from the nursing home would be returned. The officer was subsequently caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000.

The Civil Surgeon’s office maintained all along that the arrest of its officer did not take anything away from the “crime” committed by the nursing home authorities and that a case under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act should be registered against them. After referring the case to the district attorney, a case under the MTP Act as well as Section 15 (2) of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Act was registered against the couple. The latter section was imposed as they were practising allopathy without the requisite medical degree.

Dr Hardev Singh ‘’Dr” Ashok Kumar had claimed that he had acquired a BAMS degree, but could not show the same when asked to do so. He said as far as Ms Devender Kumari was concerned, she had not obtained any degree recognised by the MCI.

The health authorities also decided to book the couple under the PNDT Act. Dr Hardev Singh said a letter pad had been seized from the couple’s office, which had “Have a son” printed on it, along with claims that medicines were given to beget a child at the hospital.

He said as such claims were violative of the PNDT Act, a separate case would be registered against the couple under this Act. He said a drive would be launched in the district to check whether nursing home owners were following provisions laid down under the PNDT Act.


Couple held for duping people
Over 2.5 lakh, jewellery seized
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 16
The police has arrested a women known as “chuni wali mata” and her husband for duping people. The SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said here today that ‘chuni wali mata’ was actually Kalo, wife of Saleem Raja of Delhi.

The couple moved to Pathankot about a year ago. They lived in rented accommodations. Kalo started claiming herself as an expert in sorcery and witchcraft. Soon, she became famous as ‘chuni wali mata’.

The couple used to dupe people who came to them for a solution to their problems. They would tell the people that one of their near and dears would die if they did not follow their advice.

Everything went fine till they duped Varjinder Singh of the Model Town area, Pathankot, of Rs 50,000. He complained to the police that the women, and her husband assured him to treat him for small pox and his mother for chronic headache. They demanded Rs 50,000 for the treatment and warned that if the treatment was received one of their ailing family members would die.

Fearing the warning of the woman, Varjinder Singh paid her Rs 50,000. However, he did not feel any improvement in his or mother’s condition.

The police arrested the couple while they were trying to flee from Pathankot in a Maruti car. A sum of Rs 2,65,000 and jewellery worth Rs 75,000, besides other material were recovered from the them.

During the investigation, it was found that the couple had also duped many other people of the Pathankot area. Those who have complained to the police against the couple after their arrest include Vinod Kumar of the Model Town area. He has alleged that the accused robbed him of Rs 4,000 by claiming that they would solve his problems.

A case under Sections 420 and 380 of the IPC has been registered against the accused.


Police remand for Dimpy
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, October 16
Prabhjinder Singh, alias Dimpy, one of the top gangsters of the country, was today remanded in the police custody till tomorrow by Mr Rakesh Kumar, Judicial Magistrate, here in connection with the murder of liquor contractor, Darshan Kumar in this town in February.

Dimpy was brought to court from Delhi by Delhi police personnel, accompanied by the Punjab police, under heavy security.

A large number of politicians cutting across the party lines reached the court premises to meet Dimpy. A battery of lawyers from Bathinda and this town were also present to defend him in the court to prevent the police remand for him.

A police team was despatched to Delhi in October to arrest Dimpy, facing a murder case in the local police station. The local court, had declared him a proclaimed offender in the murder case.

However, the team returned empty-handed as it could not secure the custody of Dimpy.

Another team was sent to Delhi about two days ago. It managed to secure the custody of Dimpy last evening.

Dimpy was arrested by the Delhi police in the first week of October along with his associates.

Dimpy belongs to a well-to-do Jat family of Chand Bhan village, Faridkot district. He entered into the world of crime around 1985 when his name was associated with the murder of the then student leader of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Makhan Singh. His name also figured in the bloody violence that took place in a Chandigarh-based private college in those years. Dimpy also suffered injuries in the violence.

Having a big land holding and education in one of the best schools here, Dimpy, the only son of his widowed mother, kept on expanding his contacts in the world of crime and politics.

Though his name did not surface prominently during the days of terrorism in Punjab, he kept on operating in other states by associating himself with various criminal gangs, heads of which later became MLAs and MPs. After joining big gangs based in Uttar Pradesh, he took to contract killing, kidnapping and looting. He allegedly used to act as a henchman of a section of politicians in Uttar Pardesh, Punjab and Haryana in lieu of “protection”.

Facing a number of CBI cases pertaining to kidnapping of business tycoons at Bangalore and Benaras and other criminal cases in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Dimpy, who is hardly 40, had been roaming scotfree in Haryana for the past few years. He had escaped from the custody of the Haryana police while he was being taken for medical treatment after his hearing in a court case.


NCC cadets’ plea to Musharraf
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, October 16
If pronouncements made by hundreds of NCC cadets, who came to witness the beating retreat drill at the Indo-Pakistan Hussainiwala Joint Checkpoint are any indication, the day is not far when the governments of the two belligerent nations will be compelled to end their hostilities in the interest of the people of both countries hitherto separated by hatred.

The NCC cadets drawn from various schools of Mandi Dabwali, who came to pay homage at National Martyrs Memorial, handed over a sentimental letter addressed to the President of Pakistan, Gen Pervez Musharraf, to Pakistani Rangers after the ceremony.

In the letter signed by over hundred students, they appealed President Musharraf, to find peaceful solutions to problems, and instruct misguided and disgruntled elements to stop abetting cross-border terrorism.

The NCC cadets led by 2nd Lieut Shashi Kant Sharma also lit candles at the samadhi of Shahid Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev situated on the banks of the Sutlej. They resolved to eschew hatred and contribute towards peace, harmony and amity between the two nations. The school students then raised slogans like, “ India-Pakistan dosti, Zindabad”. One of the cadets Lalit Jain one of the NCC cadets, said the youths of both, India and Pakistan wanted peace and friendship to prevail and added that it was high time that instead of bothering about the misinformation which disseminated through textbooks, media coverage and political rhetoric, the youths of the two nations should come forward and herald a new era of peace and harmony.

Mr Satya Pal Baghi, freedom fighter, who also accompanied the schoolchildren to the memorial, said the barriers of cultivated animosity should give way to tolerance, mutual respect and appreciation. He said children, who were the future of tomorrow, had a great role to play in bringing together the two hostile nations on the path of friendship and progress

Another cadet, Rohit, said he was aware of the hiccups in propagating views that do not match the official stand of the country but was prepared for it. “Religious fanatics do exist in both countries but they are in minority. We need to wipe out the hatred so widely spread in our society”, said Surubhi, a student of Class IX.

These cadets also plan to spread the message of peaceful co-existence and tolerance through street plays.

“There is no difference between India and Pakistan. Both countries share a common heritage and our social concerns and problems are so similar, then why this enmity”, asked Nisha, another student of Class IX.


Ponds to earn revenue for panchayats!
Tribune News Service

Sheikhupura, October 16
Ponds or “tobas” as they are called in Punjab may well turn into a source of revenue for their respective village panchayats with a simple technique and a wonder plant making them thriving centers for pisciculture.

Village panchayats are set to earn profits with a simple technique which has been demonstrated here. The technique, put into practice here for the first time through a pilot project, is already set to be implemented in two villages in each block of the district besides in other parts of the state.

All panchayats have to do is to dig a separate ‘kutcha’ water channel all along their pond and plant typha plants in the channel. The plants through their unique action remove impurities which would have otherwise polluted the pond.

Fisheries Extension Officer Kesar Singh while explaining the technique, says the typha plant supplies oxygen in the air to its roots and reduces the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the water in the process.

Typha is so effective that the BOD levels fall from an average of around 200 milligram per litre to 30 milligram per litre at the fag end of the channel. This water, which attains a greenish colour from the earlier blackish one, is then released into the pond.

Though the making of channels and planting typha plants is easy, village panchayats will also have to go in for cleaning of their old ponds before they can venture into this technique.

This, sources said, was because sometimes carnivorous fishes were already present in ponds. Besides this there was a lot of silt and sometimes even unwanted plants in village ponds. There is, however, no need to brick line the ponds or for any kind of construction.

Ranjit Singh of this village says villagers can see the difference in the pond right now. “There were fishes earlier also in the pond but they never attained a good size because of the polluted water and other factors”.

He said fish species like katla, rahu, mrigal, grass carp and silver carp which had been released into the pond were gaining in weight in a matter of days and were likely to pay rich dividends to the panchayat.

As the village waste already contains a lot of edible waste and goes through a treatment process, there is no need to feed the fish in the ponds at all.

Thus, “Constructed Wetland Project”, will be taken up in a phased manner all over the state by the State Science and Technology Department.

Initially pilot projects were approved for this village and another in Ropar following which district authorities will be approached to take up the project in collaboration with the Fisheries Department.


Sarpanches stop work of ongoing projects
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 16
Sarpanches affiliated with the Progressive Sarpanches Union in a meeting organised at Kotkapura today decided to stop the work of all ongoing projects in their respective areas following the failure of the Punjab Government to decentralise the powers granted to them under the Gram Panchayat Act.

In an unanimous resolution passed in this regard they objected to the government’s move for not allowing them to make the payment of the material or the labour charges as per the market rates for the effective mobilisation of the projects.

Mr Yadwinder Singh, senior vice-chairman of the union, and Sarpanch of Kasambhatti village, presided over the meeting.

He criticised the state government for treating the sarpanches and panches as its employees. He also flayed heads of various government departments particularly the police for not according due respect to them during their visit to police stations. He also urged the government to give at least Rs 10,000 and Rs 3,000 along with other facilities to sarpanches and panches, respectively. Mr Sukhdev Singh, president, Sarpanches Union, Ferozepore, and Sarpanch of Nawan Bare Ke village in the district also addressed the meeting.


Priests make Laxmi at Kali Mata temple
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

The garbage-littered premises of the Kali Mata temple
The garbage-littered premises of the Kali Mata temple. — RS

Patiala, October 16
Priests at the Kali Mata temple are “milking” its coffers dry with “supervisors” posted on the temple premises by the district administration remaining mute to the goings on.

The “supervisors” are not only turning a blind eye to the misappropriation by priests in the temple, which is under the control of the district administration, but are also not doing enough to keep the temple clean during the ongoing Navratras, with a number of devotees complaining of filthy conditions on the temple premises.

A visit to the inner sanctum of the temple, which is adorned by the idol of Goddess Kali, revealed collection of offerings by priests by keeping them out of sight behind the idol, instead of putting these in the donation chest installed in front of the idol.

Also, most of the devotees preferred to throw coins or currency notes at the feet of the Goddess instead of putting their offerings in the donation chest.

The TNS team saw a priest collecting the money offered to the Goddess and then putting it away behind the curtained idol of the Goddess.

This was repeated a number of times and on no occasion did the priest try to put the money into the donation chest, which is mandatory under the norms laid down by the district administration.

“Supervisors” posted at the temple were found sitting outside the sanctum. They included Harmesh Singh, a storekeeper and responsible for administration, Ghanaur Naib Tehsildar Hazara Singh and a Superintendent of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.

When they were asked about the manner in which the priests were milking the coffers of the temple, they denied it saying that they were keeping a strict vigil.

However, the Naib Tehsildar admitted that though checks were conducted, “they could not check human nature and misdemeanours happened sometimes”.

They admitted that no person from the district administration was present in the sanctum at that time.

Besides the blatant “milking”, the system to distribute liquor bottles offered to the Goddess is completely amiss with vagabonds and beggars making a beeline to the temple and walking away with the liquor.

Some of them are even seen lying on the outskirts of the temple in inebriated state.

Also there is no system to check beggars and those seeking alms in the name of “Shani Dev” from “harassing” devotees.

Various religious organisations who have their offices in the temple complex remain busy collecting donations from makeshift desks, which have been set up at various points in the temple.

Some of these voluntary organisations even badger and stand in front of devotees to seek donations.

Devotees coming to the temple complained of filthy conditions on the temple premises.

Manmeet Singh, a retired teacher, said he saw “prasad” littered all over the floor of the temple.

Besides, the floors were slushy and no effort was being made to clean them, keeping in view the huge influx of devotees.

Others complained of poor arrangements for streamlining the flow of devotees coming to the temple for “darshan” of the Goddess. People jostled with each other into the inner sanctum, they said.

Similarly, they said some of the devotees were seen wearing footwear on the temple premises and that there was no system to check the desecration of the temple.


Wind up Nehra panel, says CPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Punjab CPI today urged the Punjab Government to wind up Nehra Commission that was set up by the government to probe allegations of foreign currency transactions by Mr Raninder Singh, son of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and hand over the probe to a Supreme Court Judge.

In a statement here, Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the state unit of the CPI, said the Supreme Court should be requested to set up a commission to probe the allegations. The drive against corruption launched by the Chief Minister had been fully exposed. “Now it has become clear that the Chief Minister, members of his family and some other senior officers holding high positions are not without blot”, Dr Dayal said.

Dr Dayal said that “illegal and extra-constitutional forces” operating in the state had become very powerful. There was a threat from such forces to the democratic system in the state and people should be alert in this regard.


Amritsar-Lahore fest from October 21
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 16
Artistes from Pakistan will showcase the common heritage of the two Punjabs during 'Saanjh: Amritsar-Lahore Festival' from October 21. The eight-day festival will be organised by 'Punarjot' under the aegis of the Spring Dale Educational Society.

Ms Manveen Sandhu, Director, Punarjot, said the aim of the festival was to share the joy of common heritage of both Punjabs, ranging from sufi, folk, theatre to other traditional ethnic cultural symbols.

She said artistes, especially from Lahore, would perform at the festival.

Iqbal Bahoo and Sayian Zahoor will render sufi songs on the inaugural day at Khalsa College. Multan dancers and Sufi dholias group will present a folk night at Ram Bagh garden on October 22.

Famous Pakistani Rafi Peer group will stage a play, 'Patey Khan' and a 90-minute video documentary, 'Laatoo', at DAV College Sports ground and at Thakur Singh Art Gallery on October 23 and 24, respectively.

An interaction with Ms Madeeha Gauhar, a noted director, Ms Zohra Sehgal and Ms Uzra Butt will take place on October 26 at Rotary Club Civil Lines.


Milch animals of 120 villages dewormed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 16
In the first phase of its deworming campaign for milch animals, which ended today, the authorities of the Sangrur milk plant of Milkfed, during the past 30 days, administered bolus, containing fenbendazole salt, to about 15,000 milch animals. These milch animals belonged to 4,225 milk producers of 120 milk producers’ co-operative societies of 120 villages of Malerkotla, Sangrur, Sehna and Bhawanigarh areas of the district.

Talking to The Tribune here this afternoon, Mr R.K. Sharma, general manager of the Sangrur milk plant, said the deworming campaign for milch animals was launched by the plant authorities on September 17 to cover about 10,000 milch animals during the first phase and a veterinary team covered about 15,000 milch animals in 30 days. He said after the deworming of milch animals, the team had received reports about better milk yield and better chances of conception, artificial or natural.

The general manager stated that with the deworming of about 15,000 milch animals, milk procurement would be enhanced by about 7,000 litres daily, as de- worming helped the animal in better nutrition, health and productivity in terms of milk, in addition to more chances of conception, resulting in more milk in future.

Mr Sharma said the second phase of deworming campaign for milch animals would start from November 1 to cover another 120 villages of this district. Mr D.K. Kapoor, manager (procurement) of the plant, said all 4,225 milk producers, whose milch animals had been administered bolus for deworming, had got a benefit of Rs 3.6 lakh directly in term of availability of deworming bolus (3 mg) at the rate of Rs 15, in place of the market rate of Rs 39 per bolus.


Diverse cultures under one roof
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala: Neither the facade nor the interiors of this red sprawling bungalow on the Nabha Road, named the Platte, can be said to belong to one particular style of construction. The house has an international flavour to it also.

Its facade and the traditional countryard in the centre of the house decorated with bells and lights with its temple-like pillars and stone hedges transports one back to South India, albeit with a dash of Rajasthani jharokhas and stone murals and panels. Yet the next very moment it may remind you of an “atrium” (courtyard) found commonly in most Mexican houses or bring you a whiff of the British Raj via its antique metal fireplace.

The house spread over 2.5 kanals is truly unique both in flavour and character. After walking up the porch, you enter through a wooden door reminiscent of old grand havelis which takes you to a green courtyard surrounded by an exotic looking covered verandah..

The house is definitely a labour of immense love. Both interiors and the landscaping around the house has been done by the owner of the house, Ms Ravi Singh, Principal, Blossoms School, Patiala, along with local architect L.R. Gupta.

The facade has been done up in Dholpur stone while burnt bricks line the patio. A stained glass mural hangs on a wall in the courtyard which has abundant ethnic light fixtures all over. Rajasthani jharokhas, mounted mirrors, murals and rural motifs lend an old world charm to the courtyard, the centre of which has tulsi plant.

The flooring is all stone, no marble for this house. If one room boasts of Udaipur green marked with startling contours done with Jaisalmer yellow, another is embellished with the carappa, while yet another is adorned by a dash of green kota or black stone.

The brown parke stone goes well with pergo-synthetic planks used in the living room which make it appear chic and dignified yet immensely livable.

The living room has a huge Roman couch, comfortable sofas and a small round dining table besides having the TV and the music system.

Quaint antiquities, wooden chests, pots of all shapes and hues, Chinese blue pottery, cabinets from the British times, the house is a veritable collector’s treat. Liberal yet unorthodox use of benches in her verandah and rooms is refreshing indeed. A variety of lamps both old and new impart a distinct character to the insides.

The house also sports a mud room which reminds one of the insides of a thatched hut. Wooden antiques from Chor Bazaar in Delhi can be seen in almost every room. The house is an amalgam of ancient period furniture coupled with the comfort of modern amenities.

It boasts of lots of storage space, state of the art bathrooms with dressers attached, besides abundant light and air. 


Employees stage dharna, demand 15 pc HRA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 16
Telecom and other Central departments’ employees today staged a dharna opposite the Judicial complex here to demand 15 per cent house rent allowance (HRA) on the pattern of state government employees.

A press note here said employees from various departments, including the Railways, telecom, postal, diesel modernisation works, the National Institute of Sports, the MES, the Income Tax the CPWD, the Central Excise, the All-India Radio and the Railway Mail Service, participated in the dharna.

Central Government Employees Coordination Committee General Secretary Tejinder Singh said the demand for 15 per cent HRA was genuine and should be given to the Central employees immediately. He said despite the fact that the population of Patiala had crossed the six lakh figure, the Census Department had shown it to be lesser.

He said the employees would urge the state government to recommend an increase in House Rent of the Central employees keeping in view the change of classification of the city.


22 bombs, rockets found
Our Correspondent

Khanna, October 16
Twentytwo bombs and rockets were found at Boothgarh village this morning. Some villagers found the bombs lying on the road and in a choe.

The police took the ammunition to the police post, Kotan. The DSP said the ammunition included three rockets, four shells and 19 bombs. The bombs are two feet in length and 15 or 20 kg in weight, he added.


Labour Dept to settle disputes on Oct 20
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 16
The Labour Department of Punjab will organise a special camp on October 20 to settle all pending disputes relating to their gratuity and compensation in accidental cases. This was disclosed by Mr Som Parkash, Labour Commissioner, Punjab, here today. He said there were about 1,000 cases of gratuity and accidental claims pending in the Labour Department.

Mr Som Parkash said with the declaration of new dearness allowance, the minimum monthly wage of an unskilled labourer had been increased from Rs 2,260 to Rs 2,280.


Legal literacy camp organised at Bamial
Our Correspondent

Bamial (Pathankot), October 16
A legal literacy awareness camp was organised in Bamial sub-tehsil, near the Indo-Pakistan border, Pathankot sub-divison, to make people of this belt aware of their legal rights.

Members of legal fraternity, panchcs and sarpanches actively participated in the camp.


OPD timings changed
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, October 16
The Punjab Government has changed the timings of Out Patient Department (OPDs) in all civil hospitals and dispensaries of the state.

Now, OPD patients will be examined in all civil hospitals and dispensaries from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from today.


In-laws booked for woman’s death
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 16
A case of dowry death has been registered against the in-laws of a newly married girl.

Hoshiarpur Superintendent of Police Lok Nath Angra said here today that a case had been registered against Jagat Singh and his wife Gurcharan Kaur of Dashmesh Nagar, Tanda, under Section 304 of the IPC for murdering their daughter-in-law Jasbir Kaur.

He said the body of a young girl, in her late teens, packed in a bag was found in a sugarcane field at Ganipur village yesterday.

The deceased was later identified as Jasbir Kaur.

According to Kuldip Singh, brother of the deceased, Jasbir Kaur was married to Sukhjinder Singh, son of Jagat Singh, on May 9, 2004. Soon after her marriage, her in-laws started torturing her for more dowry. Meanwhile, her husband went abroad shortly after marriage.

On Friday, Kuldip was informed that Jasbir Kaur had gone somewhere. On reaching Tanda he enquired about her but came to know that the police had found an unidentified body of a girl, which turned out to be his sister’s.

During interrogation the accused confessed that they had killed their daughter-in-law by strangulating her and thrown her body in a sugarcane field.


ASI held for accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura (Faridkot), October 16
A Vigilance Bureau team has arrested an ASI of Kotkapura city police station while accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000. Surprisingly, when ASI, Baldev Singh, was taking the bribe, the SP (D) was inspecting the police station.

The Vigilance team led by the DSP, raided the police station yesterday afternoon and recovered two Rs 500 notes from the ASI’s pocket. The DSP told mediapersons that the ASI was investigating a case registered under Sections 324 and 326 of the IPC following a complaint lodged by Tek Chand Sharma of Laleana village on March 22.

He said the ASI had demanded Rs 2,000 from Mr Sharma for presenting a challan in the court.

Mr Sharma then lodged a complaint with the Vigilance Bureau in this connection. As trap was laid, by the Vigilance Bureau. Mr Sharma struck a deal for Rs 1,000 with the ASI. The ASI was caught red-handed while accepting the bribe.

A case has been registered against the ASI under Section 13/88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Flesh trade racket busted, 6 couples held
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, October 16
The local police has claimed to have busted a flesh trade racket after arresting six couples from a hotel on the Dhaki road today evening.

The SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargav, when contacted said the raid was conducted on a specific tip-off that flesh trade racket was being run in the hotel.

In the raid three couples were arrested from the rooms of the hotel and three while waiting for their turn to go the rooms.

Those arrested in the raid conducted under the supervision of th DSP, City, include Surinder Kumar of Sunder Chak village, Rakesh Kumar and Vinod Kumar, both of Pathankot, Given of Sarna, Amritpal Singh of Gurdaspur (son of a police officer) Jasvir Singh of Kapurthala, and Rakesh Sharma, owner of the hotel.

Besides them, six girls have also been arrested, who include two from Gurdaspur, one from Delhi and there from the areas near Pathankot.

A case under the Immoral Trafficking Act has been registered against them.


Gurdas Mann reunites with alma mater
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 16
Noted Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann today returned to his alma mater — Government Physical College — in style.

He scaled the college wall in true Punjabi style to arrive on the stage of the Zonal Youth Festival being conducted in the college and went on to sing his favourite numbers.

The youth festival also saw Government College of Girls students lifting the overall trophy.

Gurdas Mann, who has been a product of the college, said it felt like a homecoming for him today.

“Seeing the college wall and the institution has given me a high, which I cannot describe,” he said.

Students of various colleges who had gathered to witness various performances on the concluding day of the festival also went delirious.

They got together the necessary harmonium, “dholki” and Mann’s hallmark “dafli” and made the ever-ready Mann sing his favourite numbers.

Mann sang a “tappa”, “Kuriya Kismat Puriya”, besides his all-time hits “Chhalla” and “Pindan diyan gallian”.

He also interacted with students and reunited with one of his old friends.

The youth festival also saw Bhagwant Mann at his best. He had the students in splits with barbed wit and jokes.

Parliamentary Secretary Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, who was the chief guest, announced a special grant of Rs 1 lakh from his discretionary quota for the college.

Director, Youth Welfare, Punjabi University, Sunita Dhir while speaking on the occasion praised the college for organising the festival despite lean staff.

College Principal Prabhsharan Kaur also spoke on the occasion.

The local Government College of Girls lifted the overall trophy at the festival. College Principal Gursharan Kaur Jaggi received the trophy on behalf the of the institution.

GCG girls took the top slot in western solo, western group and quiz competitions and were followed by the University Campus in the second spot.

The GCG also took first spot in mime and cartoon categories in which Khalsa College came second.

In traditional crafts of “Pakhian di bunti” and “Chhikku banana” Jasdev Singh Sandhu Memorial College came first and Mohindra College came second.

In other competitions, Mohindra College bagged top spot in “Rassa tapna” competition followed by the GCG and also in “chikha and kadai” competitions in which they were followed by the Jasdev Singh Sandhu Memorial College.

Mohindra College also came first in the skit competition.

The University Campus came first in the mimicry category, followed by GCG. Government Physical Education came first in bhangra, beating Khalsa College to the second spot.


Bairagis seek Banda Bahadur Chair in varsity
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 16
Bairagis from Sangrur, Bathinda and Mansa districts today urged the Punjab Government to set up a Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Chair in one of the universities of the state.

The demand was made by the Bairagis at a function organised to mark the 334th birthday of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at Panchayat Bhavan here. Mr Gurtej Singh, SDM, Sangrur, presided over the function.

They also urged the government to set up a memorial dedicated to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

Mr Gurtej Singh, SDM, assured the Bairagis that he would forward their demands to the government.


Neha Jindal wins science quiz
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 16
Neha Jindal and Mandeep Kalsi of the local Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School have stood first in the zonal science quiz competition organised in Guru Nanak Dev Public School today.

The principal of Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School said 50 schools participated in the competition.


Beopar mandal: VAT ok, but on terms
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 16
Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, President, Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal, while addressing a press conference here today said traders of Punjab would not object to the enforcement of VAT system provided the government offered them facilities equivalent to those 123 countries where it was prevalent.

He alleged that contrary to this enforcement officers of the Taxation Department in Punjab were bent on fleecing traders. Hence the government should first of all stop charging octroi, central sales tax, market fees and lift sales tax barriers and then only impose the VAT system in Punjab. Mr Kapoor also pleaded for the uniform taxation structure in Punjab, which would go a long way in stabilising the prices and checking the tendency of hoarding and black marketing.

Mr Kapoor along with Mr Satish Kumar Dhingra, state general secretary, and Mr Subhash Kakkar, joint secretary, was here to enquire about the health of Mr Ashok Gulbadher, president, local Beopar Mandal.

He also criticised the registration of a false case against Surinder Kumar Chugh, press reporter, under the SC ST Act.

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