P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM’s remark about Hawara shameful: CPI
Tribune Reporters

Phagwara, June 11
The Punjab CPI secretary, Dr Joginder Dyal yesterday described as shameful the remarks of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that Babbar Khalsa terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara was a gentleman and that the Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal was a “bug” (stupid).

Talking to newsmen here, Dr Dyal asked Congressmen to clarify their stand vis-a-vis the CM’s remarks about Hawara. If Hawara was a gentleman, then what was slain CM Beant Singh whom he had eliminated? asked Dr Dyal.

Earlier, the then PM Rajiv Gandhi had eulogised Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale as a saint and now Capt Amarinder Singh had eulogised Hawara as a gentleman, Dr Dyal said.

NAWANSHAHR: Dr Dyal, while talking with mediapersons here, said that the Left parties had joined hands to oppose the “anti-people” policies being pursued by under the guise of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation by the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre and the Punjab Government.

He said that the economic policies of the previous BJP-led NDA Government and the UPA Government were by and large the same, except for the “resistance by the left parties” in the implementation of these policies.

The Left parties had been opposing the proposed hike in the prices of petroleum products and did not subscribe to the logic being but forward by the Manmohan Singh Government that the hike in petroleum prices was inevitable due to an increase in the prices of petroleum products in the international market. Besides, it would generate an additional revenue of Rs 22,500 crore.

The CPI leader said that the Left parties were of the view that instead of putting further burden on the common man by hiking the prices of petroleum products, the government should dare to evolve a policy to recover tax arrears due from the 200 big industrial houses. About 60 per cent of the GDP was in black money and the government should take immediate steps to turn this black money into white, opined Dr Dyal.

The Left parties — the CPI, the CPM, Forward Bloc and the RSP — would resort to a nationwide agitation if the Manmohan Singh Government did not relent on the issue of hike in petroleum prices.

Dr Dyal came down heavily on the Amarinder government in Punjab for its proposed policy of privatising the PSEB, schools and hospitals.


One held for links with Hawara
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 11
The Special investigation team of the Delhi police accompanied by the Punjab police today picked up the ex-sarpanch of Mianpur village, Mr Sudagar Singh, about 15 Km from Ropar city, in connection with his alleged links with Jagtar Singh Hawara and other accused in the Delhi bomb blast case.

A team of nine police personnel, including six in mufti, picked him from his house while all the members of his family were present there.

Khanna: Meanwhile, the Khanna police today arrested two persons on charges of harbouring dreaded terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara. The police recovered two US-made guns, 172 cartridges and a motor cycle from the accused.

The arrested persons were identified as Kuldip Kaur and Inderjit Singh, sister and nephew, respectively, of Hardeep Kaur, with whom the Babbar Khalsa International chief Jagtar Singh used to stay.

The SSP, Khanna, Mr Naunihal Singh, told mediapersons here this evening that one gun and 25 cartridges were seized from Inderjit Singh. On his interrogation, the police arrested his aunt Kuldip Kaur from Samrala.

She led the police to a school where another gun was recovered. It was buried in a playground. Later the police seized 147 cartridges from her house.


MC cancels tenders, orders probe
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 11
In an unprecedented move, the local Municipal Corporation authorities today decided to cancel tenders floated by it for the execution of some development works following misappropriation, allegedly by certain civil works contractors with connivance of some officials.

Apart from cancelling the tenders, the municipal council authorities have also decided to take legal and departmental action against guilty officials. This caused a huge revenue loss to the MC.

Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, and Mr S.K Ahluwalia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation (MC), while disclosing that the income of the MC had been witnessing significant jump due to certain measures, said so far tenders of different works amounting more than Rs 3 crore would be cancelled as the contractors concerned who made their bids, joined hands to eradicate competition among themselves, and to execute the work at higher rates.

An inquiry committee, which was conducting a probe into this matter, would submit its report within two days and action would be taken against the guilty officials, they said.

Mr Sharma said as per his information, some senior officials of the municipal corporation were involved in it. He said that a section of employees did not follow proper procedure while carrying out the tender exercise to eradicate competitive bidding among the contractors. He added that he would write to the state government to take action against these officials.

Mr Sharma and Mr Ahluwalia said in future the corporation authorities would make the tender process more transparent. The welfare committees of each area would supervise the construction work. The payment to the contractor concerned would be made after examination by the commissioner.

He pointed out that the tenders in which the misappropriation were made related to the work of streetlight for dairy complex in this town. He said no councillor of the municipal corporation was involved in this matter directly or indirectly. Mr Ahluwalia, while disclosing that a reshuffle of the employees had been carried out on the basis of their stay on post, reputation and efficiency, admitted that many wrong-doings had been taking place in the sanitation wing of the municipal corporation. He said he had been confronting the situations where a section of councillors had been allegedly facilitating unauthorised construction in the city.

Both Mr Sharma and Mr Ahluwalia pointed out that in the anti-encroachment drive launched by the municipal corporation authorities, more than 30 unauthorised buildings had been demolished. All site plans lying with the municipal corporation authorities were sanctioned with in past few days. The MC authorities would sanction all the sites plans received by it in future within seven days from their receipt. Similarly, the water and sewerage connection would be given to the applicants within seven days after the receipt of application.

The employees had been given their provident fund dues. They would be paid their salaries regularly and on the first of every month. And they would not be allowed to skip their work.


Dust storm: five more deaths reported
Raj Sadosh

Sadhuwali/Abohar, June 11
The high velocity storm that struck border areas on Thursday night leaves behind horrible tales of devastation with officials confirming this morning that four children were among those killed.

Mr Kunji Lal Meena, District Collector, Sriganganagar, today announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 for each victim.

According to district officials, Shyama (2) and Mafia (3), both daughters of Junas Ali, died on the spot when a wall of a cattle shed collapsed near Padampur. Their mother had a narrow escape.

Jyoti (3), a daughter of Jagdish Chander, died at Mateeli Rathan as roof of the house collapsed. Bhagwana Ram (27) and Karan Ram (10) were killed as their sheds collapsed in a brick-kiln located on the Abohar road, near Hanumangarh.

Several villages along the Indo-Pak border were still without electricity supply though it was restored after 22 hours in most of the affected areas, the officials said. Nearly 200 electricity poles and scores of transformers were damaged.

At Sadulshehar, six transformers and 37 poles were damaged. Most of the breaches in sub-canals and canals were caused due to uprooting of trees. The officials said breaches were reported in the H Minor, the Sameja Canal, the F. Minor, the B.B. Minor, the BBA distributary, the Nirwal distributary, the S. Minor and the Farm Minor. A 70-feet-wide breach in the P. distributary of the Indira Gandhi canal flooded tubewells and cotton fields.

At least 22 sheep were killed as a tree fell on them at Nathrana village.

Seven houses collapsed at Duca Kheechad village. However, no loss of life was reported. The authorities blamed the Irrigation Department, Ferozepore, for releasing 500 cusics of water in the Karni Singh branch canal from the Sirhind Feeder on Friday to save Punjab areas. This caused overflowing of sub-canals in the border region, they said.

At Kikkarkhera village, located on the Abohar-Kandhwala Amarkot road, water entered colonies following a major breach in the Malukpura sub-canal. Other villages affected due to breaches included Daulatpura, Raipura and Dhaba Kokrian. Breaches were also reported in the Lambi sub-canal. Irrigation Department engineers hoped to plug the breaches by Monday.

FEROZEPORE: Many areas in the cantonment and other parts of the city have been without electricity since the June 9 storm.

Even after 48 hours, the administration has failed to set the system in order and initiate any kind of damage-control exercise. Four transformers and almost a dozen electric poles were damaged.

On the Jhoke road, two transformer which were uprooted are still lying on the road making it difficult for commuters to use the road. At several places the authorities have failed to remove uprooted trees. — OC


Petro dealers up in arms over provisional NOCs
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association has strongly opposed the practice of issuance of provisional no-objection certificates (NOC) to under-construction petroleum outlets in the state by various district administrations. The association has also given many memoranda to the state government in this regard.

In the past three years, over 750 new petrol and diesel outlets have been added in Punjab, while over 250 are in the pipeline.

One such memorandum, which was submitted yesterday, objects to the practice of issuance of NOCs by Deputy Commissioners on provisional basis. It alleges gross violation of Government of India instructions regarding issuance of NOCs for retail outlets as also petroleum rules, 2002.

“Look at the threat to safety if half-built outlets are allowed to stock and sell petrol and diesel. While the petroleum companies are engaged in a game of one-upmanship in so far as setting up of new outlets are concerned, the district administrations should at least take safety of localities into consideration while issuing NOCs. Who will be responsible if any mishap happens?” asks Mr J.P. Khanna, President, Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association.

The memorandum submitted yesterday also alleges that the guidelines of the Department of Town and Country Planning, Punjab, with regard to the way leading to and away from the pump are also being ignored.

Also, the memorandum says pumps, which are meant for two and three-wheelers only are selling petro products to LMVs and other bigger vehicles.

As per available information, there are scores of petroleum outlets across Punjab that are functional inspite of the fact that they are still under-construction.

When contacted, Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies, said that strict instructions were being issued to the Deputy Commissioners not to issue provisional NOCs for setting up of retail outlets. “We are writing to all DCs to stop this practice,” he told The Tribune.

Incidentally, a few days ago, the district administration of Kaithal district in the Haryana Government had cancelled the NOCs given to three pumps as they were not conforming to the fire safety norms.

Earlier, the NOCs issued to 15 filling stations in Kaithal district had been suspended for not abiding by the statutory rules.


Bathinda boys top in PTU entrance test
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 11
Two boys from SSD Senior Secondary School, Bathinda, have attained the first and second rank in Combined Entrance Test (CET) conducted by Punjab Technical University (PTU), the results of which were declared here today.

While Vikramdeep Singh Sidhu has got the first rank with 109 marks out of 120, his classmate, Vishal Gupta has secured the second position. Mohit Khanna of DAV College, Chandigarh, has got the third position.

Announcing this in a press conference, Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, said result was also available on the website of the university, ptu.ac.in. He said counselling for admission to 11,400 seats in engineering, architecture and pharmacy colleges would be held from June 20 onwards at Government Women Polytechnic, Ladowali Road. He said a counselling helpline had also been introduced and students could call up at 0181-2232556 for any information.

The Vice-Chancellor said counselling for admission to 15 per cent seats reserved for students from outside the state is likely to be held on July 14 and July 15 at New Delhi. He said 2,500 such students had sent their applications for nearly 1,700 seats.

Meanwhile, PTU has reduced 900 seats of 14 engineering and management colleges of the state. The decision was taken by AICTE on the basis of an audit report submitted by PTU.

The total number of seats have come down by as many as 270 in Punjab College of Engineering and Technology, Lalru Mandi, 120 each in College of Engineering and Management, Kapurthala, and Bhai Maha Singh College, Muktsar, 105 in Adesh Institute of Faridkot, 90 in Guru Teg Bahadur Institute, Malout, 75 in GGS College, Kharar, 60 each in Sarwanand Institute, Dinanager, Guru Gobind Singh College, Talwandi Sabo, the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bhaddal, and Baba Kuma Singh College, Amritsar, 30 each in the Apeejay Institute of Management and Lala Lajpat Rai Institute, Moga, and 15 each in Sai Iqbal Institute, Badani, and ASAAS, Mohali.


Haryana, HP yet to give Punjabi its due status
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Promises and official announcements notwithstanding, Punjabi is yet to get its rightful due both in Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.

While the Haryana Government passed legislation to give Punjabi the second language status late last year, no official notification has been issued in this regard.

Today, when the Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, was asked the reason for the delay in notifying Punjabi as the second language of the state, all he could say was that it would get its due status. He, however, did not give any firm commitment regarding the date of the notification and how the process of recruiting Punjabi language teachers for schools would be 

The new academic session in schools started a couple of months ago.

Interestingly, while one faction of Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular have been agitating in Haryana to demand a separate Sikh gurdwara committee for historic gurdwaras in the state, no one has taken up the case of the delay in making Punjabi the second language.

The same is the case in Himachal Pradesh, where Chief Ministers had stressed the need for giving Punjabi its rightful due in the state.

In 1999, the then Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, announced at the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa that Punjabi would be introduced as an elective subject in select schools. Even the Himachal Pradesh School Education Board included Punjabi as an elective subject for students Classes IX and X.

Last year in September, the new Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, too, announced that Punjabi would be introduced in Himachal schools. But even after eight months, the process for the recruitment of Punjabi teachers is yet to be initiated.

Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr Paramjit Singh Chanana, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Himachal Pradesh Shiromani Akali Dal, say the state government, after making commitments at historic and religious functions, backtracked on its promise. Neither the BJP nor the Congress government kept its promise to the Punjabi-speaking community in the state.

The Himachal Pradesh Government subsequently proposed the introduction of Punjabi in a limited number of schools against 100-odd schools identified earlier by the previous government.

Next week, when the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Mr Tarlochan Singh, visits Shimla, he is expected to take up the issue of the teaching of Punjabi in Himachal schools with Mr Virbhadra Singh. The commission had a couple of years ago summoned the Education Secretary and other senior officials of the Himachal Government to Delhi to ascertain the status of Punjabi as a minority language.

Both Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr Chanana say that while the Central Government has made provision for financial allocation to the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar Governments to facilitate the teaching of Urdu as a language of minorities, why cannot such grants be given to Himachal and Haryana for Punjabi.


No letter written to PM, says SGPC chief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 11
In a volte face, Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, today said the shiromani committee had not written any letter to the Prime Minister, the President and the DGP, Punjab, for seeking action against those who had raised provocative slogans and brandished swords in front of Akal Takht on June 6, the 21st anniversary day of Operation Bluestar.

The statement of Mr Dalmegh Singh, SGPC for seeking the intervention of the state government and the Centre had created a flutter. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a veteran member of the SGPC, had strongly criticised Bibi Jagir Kaur for seeking action against the Sikh leaders.

Talking to TNS on telephone here today, Bibi Jagir Kaur said the SGPC won’t think of writing such letters to the PM, the President or the DGP for taking action against them. Instead she claimed that the SGPC, Secretary, had given a statement in the press criticising both the state government and the Centre for the unsavory situation inside the Akal Takht complex on that day.

Meanwhile, as many as 12 members of the shiromani committee, loyal to Bibi Jagir Kaur, have urged Mr Parkash Singh Badal for taking strict disciplinary action against Mr Calcutta. They have also urged the Jathedar of Akal Takht to initiate action against Mr Calcutta.

It is to be mentioned here that, in an open letter to the SGPC chief, Mr Calcutta had strongly criticised Bibi Jagir Kaur for seeking intervention of the Centre and the state government, against those who had raised provocative slogans in front of Akal Takht on June 6.


SAD (A) men assemble to thwart Sena bid
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 11
Taking a serious note of the plan of the Shiv Sena and other Hindu fundamentalist organisations to burn the effigies of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and others in front of Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, hundreds of SAD (A) activists led by Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa, SGPC member, today gathered at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib to thwart the attempt of these organisations. The workers of SAD (A) kept a close watch on the gurdwaras around Fatehgarh Sahib particularly at the historic gurdwara. The district administration had made elaborate security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident. Police and civil officials were deputed in large number to keep a close watch on the situation. Mr Ranjit Singh Cheema, official spokesman of SAD (A), appreciated the efforts of administration in making arrangements to avoid a clash.

Mr Ranjit Singh Cheema, official spokesman in a press note alleged that these organisations were interfering in Sikh affairs at the behest of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur. The party alleged that these two leaders were bent on destroying Sikh principles and to please their bosses in the BJP they were allowing training of RSS and Shiv Sena activists in gurdwaras.

The party warned Hindu organisations not to interfere in Sikh affairs and said Sant Bhindranwale was a great martyr of Sikhs and any insult towards him would not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, a handful of Shiv Sena Hindustan activists burnt the effigy of Babbar Khalsa International at Sirhind city. Vaid Amarjit Sharma, senior vice-president of state unit of the organisation in a press note said, despite arrest and security arrangements, activist of the Shiv Sena burnt the effigy of the terrorist organisation.


Mann holds press conference
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 11
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today held a press conference in Circuit House here.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had stated that he would be arrested and trial for having raised the demand of Khalistan on June 6 in front of the Akal Takht.

Mr R.P.S. Brar, district police chief, said that he would be arrested only after investigations. However, the police failed to say with certainty whether FIR had been registered against Mann in Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib or Damdama Sahib. SSP Brar said that Circuit House had been booked from Chandigarh.

Mr Mann told newsmen that no case of sedition had been filed against Mr Badal when he had signed a memorandum to UN’s Secretary General, seeking separate state for the Sikhs.


Special panels to clear kidney transplant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Responding to the genuine needs of bona fide kidney recipients, the Punjab Government has set up authorisation committees for providing permission for transplant in every district. The committees have also been given a fair amount of functional autonomy.

A government spokesman said the “broad-based” district level committee would consist of Deputy Commissioner and Additional Deputy Commissioner as its Chairman. The other members would include Senior Superintendent of Police or their representative, Chief Medical Officer or his representative, a Nephrologist, Urologis, surgeon or medical specialist. He would be nominated by the Deputy Commissioner. Along with them, there would be three representative of NGOs or social workers. They would be nominated by the Deputy Commissioner.

The development is significant as the Authorisation Committee, earlier constituted by the state government, was found mechanically turning down nearly all applications for kidney transplant.

The decision-making process was driven by an element of lurking fear of allegation in the backdrop of alleged kidney transplant scam, which had surfaced in Amritsar. The mechanical rejection of proposals amounted to awarding death sentence even to the deserving patients, the spokesman said.

He said the government was of the opinion that it was desirable to regulate, and not completely prevent bona fide transplant of human organ, between the unrelated donors and recipients.


COFEPOSA detainee in hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
A detainee for one year in an over Rs 13 crore fraud case under COFEPOSA has been admitted to the Civil Hospital here after he complained of chest pain and hypertension.
There was no guard near his bed .

Detenue Adishwar Jain, who had to be kept in solitary confinement for one year as per the Act after being arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) last month., is a relative of a Congress MP.

While a board of doctors constituted by the Civil Hospital observed today that Jain needed treatment, he jumped from his bed towards the Tribune photographer Sayeed Ahmed who had captured his ‘stay’ in the hospital yesterday afternoon. Later, his relatives and he made an attempt to delete the pictures from the camera.

Jain claimed he had followed all procedure. When asked why was he worried about being caught on camera, Jain said he just wanted to avoid unnecessary trouble. A senior jail official said that permission was taken from the Union Ministry of Finance through the IG -Prisons Punjab. The Finance Ministry has stated that the Jail authorities should take action according to the jail manual.

Dr Harwinder Singh, SMO, Civil Hospital said the Board of Doctors have opined that the ‘patient’ should be kept under observation for few days. He was admitted on Thursday.


Award instituted in name of Bhai Vir Singh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 11
After 48 years of the death of the poet and sikh scholar, Bhai Vir Singh, the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, yesterday announced the institution of an award in his name to mark his death anniversary here.

The award will be given to Sikh scholars doing research on different aspects of the versatile writer, considered as the father of modern Punjabi literature.

Appreciating the efforts of the management of the Bhai Vir Singh Sadan in preserving various belongings and the 100-year-old house of the writer, Jathedar Vedanti said people should be motivated to visit the building. The palatial house of Bhai Vir Singh, built on 5 acres, is on the posh Lawrence Road.

Mr Sarbjit Singh, president of the sadan, said he would urge the Vice-Chancellors of various universities and the managements of other educational institutions in Punjab to encourage their students to visit the memorial.

Since the approach to the memorial is in bad shape, the memorial society has decided to take steps to attract the local residents. Most residents are not aware of the existence of the house. Some admirers of Bhai Vir Singh said Lawrence Chowk should be named after him after installing his life-sized statue there.

Bhai Vir Singh’s house, which is surrounded by gardens and an orchard, should have been a pilgrimage centre for Punjabi writers, but is not visited by many people.

A casual visitor is impressed by the folk items of Punjab kept in the museum. An old room heater, a fan, a bathtub and rare pictures throw light on the lifestyle of Bhai Vir Singh. Furniture with unique carvings, including a cot and a writing table, is preserved in the house. A hand pump, installed by Bhai Vir Singh himself, is another attraction. He had also installed an old idol of the Buddha, which was gifted by a monk, in a beautiful corner of the house.

Bhai Vir Singh found spiritual lessons in nature. The kikar tree is a symbol of the spiritual seeker who must face the slings and arrows of worldly people. His choice trees included the chikoo, the cheel, the walnut, the litchi, the kachnar, the jackfruit, the kadi patta and the simbal.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former Akali Minister, quoting stanzas from Bhai Vir Singh’s poetry, said he had raised the issue of the freedom movement in a beautiful style.

He said though the Padma Vibhushan was conferred on Bhai Vir Singh, much more needed to be done to make people familiar with his works. He appreciated the contribution of Bhai Vir Singh to the Singh Sabha movement.

Bhai Vir Singh was multifarious personality. He had also set up a lithographic press in collaboration with Bhai Wazir Singh, a friend of his father’s. This was the first printing press in Amritsar, established in 1892.


PSEB staff gherao SE
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 11
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board yesterday gheraoed the Muktsar-based Superin-tending Engineer here and blocked vehicular traffic near the police complex road for more than 35 minutes.

Members of the Technical Services Union started converging at a three-star hotel on Thana Road as the Superintending Engineer was having lunch with other officers. As soon as the SE came out the employees carrying banners and black flags started shouting slogans and gheraoed him and his colleagues.

The union criticised the SE for having transferred a JE from Fazilka subdivisional area allegedly under pressure from a legislator to Tarn Taran. Four employees who opposed the transfer have been placed under suspension.

The union alleged that the ruling party legislator and the SE wanted to teach the employees a lesson for checking theft of electricity by workers of the ruling party. The TSU and allied associations had held a dozen protest rallies but the transfer was not cancelled, nor were suspension orders revoked.

The police was called in to rescue the SE and other officers. The TSU workers dispersed after warning the officers of demonstrations if their demands were not accepted. Those who led the demonstration included Mr Bhanwer Daan, circle secretary, Mr Wazir Singh, Mr Radha Krishan, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr Malkiat Singh and activists of the PWSSB Employees Union.


MC okays development projects for Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 11
The home town of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is once again going to witness a change with the local municipal corporation authorities floating a number of projects. The state government will provide funds for such projects.

Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, and Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, while addressing a joint press conference pointed out that coverage of open drain, developing of parking lots, shopping complex and modern library, shifting of bus stand to new place and dairies and junk shops outside the city were on the agenda to give this heritage city a massive facelift.

Not only this, the expansion of cattle pond, 100 per cent coverage of population of city with sewerage and potable water facilities, development of rehri markets, check on the temporary and permanent encroachments, shifting of vegetable market to a new place and regulation of sanitation services were also on the agenda.

Due to increase in its income, the corporation authorities had increased its annual budget by Rs 45 crore for the current financial year from Rs 30 crore previous year, they said.

They said arrangements would be made to check the defacement of public property by advertisers and the same would be regulated to increase the income of the corporation. The building of library being run by the corporation and which had been declared unsafe would be exploited for commercial purpose with adequate space for parking and a new library complex.

While admitting the fact that the corporation had been suffering on account of laxity on the part of a few employees, they said some of its wings were being computerised so that people could get their work done at the earliest.

Mr Ahluwalia said a resolution would be passed to ban plying of rehris outside earmarked areas. This would decongest interior roads of the city.

The Chief Minister would formally inaugurate the shifting of dairies from the city on June 18.


Meeting to discuss Ludhiana project on June 14
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Rejecting reports in a section of the media which said that the Punjab Government had scrapped the controversial Ludhiana city centre project, Punjab Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh said a meeting would be held on June 14 to take a final view on the matter.

A release, quoting the Minister, said the meeting, which would also be attended by the Punjab Advocate-General, would try to understand the implications of the Punjab and Haryana High Court order staying any further action on the construction of the over Rs 350 crore city centre.

The project had been awarded to a Delhi-based firm by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust.

The Minister said the chairman of the Trust had been asked to bring the relevant records to the meeting, where the legality of the order issued by the government on May 27, would also be discussed.


Improvement Trust chiefs’ terms extended
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 11
Tug of war for the chairmanship of Pathankot and Gurdaspur improvement trusts is over. The Punjab government has extended the terms of Chairmen of both improvement trusts by another year. A message in this regard was received in the offices of trusts on Thursday.

With this Mr AK Kaushal Chairman of the Gurdaspur Improvement Trust and Mr Rajbir Chairman of the Pathankot Improvement Trust would continue to hold offices.

Earlier chairmen of improvement trusts all over the state were given extension in-terms by the government.

Extensions of above said chairmen were withheld at the alleged intervention of the local Congress leaders. Mr A.K. Kaushal is known to be close to Mr Khushal Behl, former Minister for Education and MLA from Gurdaspur. Mr Rajbir is close to Rajya Sabha Member from the district Mr Ashwani Kumar.


1 killed, 6 hurt in road mishap

Phagwara, June 11
A woman, Kamlesh Devi, was killed and six were injured when their Tata Sumo collided with a truck on the GT Road near Jaiswal filling station today.

The occupants of Sumo were on their way to Vaishno Devi.

Those injured included Raj Kumar, the husband of the deceased, Mohit, Jatin, Konica, Priyanka and Sher Chand. The police has registered a case against Dharam Singh, driver of Tata Sumo, for rash and negligent driving. — OC


Extortionists’ gang busted, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 11
The Phagwara police has unearthed a gang of extortionists with the arrest of one of its members Pankaj and booked three others. It has also recovered Rs 1 lakh of extortion money from Pankaj.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, DSP Lakhwinderpal Singh Khaira said Narinder Singh of Kapurthala district had gone to Slovak. He fell prey to extortionists Jagdish of Lamian Mohalla Phagwara, and his cousin Romi of Nawanshahr. The two held Narinder Singh captive. They made Narinder ring up Balraj through his aunt to pay Rs 1.5 lakh for his release.

Narinder Singh’s relatives reached Glassy junction near the bus stand and handed over Rs 1 lakh to Pankaj a brother of Jagdish.

The police laid a trap and arrested Pankaj. Veena Chowdary, mother of Romi has also been booked besides Romi and Jagdish.


Held for selling duplicate DVDs, VCDs
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 11
The police has confiscated nearly 6,000 duplicate VCDs and DVDs, 30 VCD and DVD writers and other equipment used for copying CDs, VCDs and DVDs.

Three local businessmen, Paramjit Singh, Rajiv Khurana and Atul Jain, who were said to be the main operatives in the duplicate CD racket, have been arrested. A large number of duplicate CDs of blue films have been seized from their possession, police sources said.

The police also conducted raids on shops in Bains Market that houses a large number of CDs and video shops. Shopkeepers of the market closed their shops in protest against the police action.

Earlier, the police questioned Paramjit and Rajiv and on the basis of their confession it raided the Kishanpura residence of Paramjit, the Nijatam Nagar residence of Rajiv and the Phagwara gate shop of Atul. From all places a large number of duplicate CDs and VCDs were recovered. A case has been registered against them.


JE commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 11
A 57-year-old Junior Engineer, Jugal Kishore Sharma, working in the Ropar thermal plant, today committed suicide by hanging himself from ceiling fan in his house in Power Colony. He was found dead by his wife at about 2 pm when she returned from the market after purchasing household items.

The police has recovered a suicide note from his house in which he had written that nobody should be held responsible for his death. The police sources said that Jugal Kishore had three years of service remaining and he was under stress.

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