P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Security at thermal plants to be beefed up
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Punjab Police has recommended the beefing up of security in and around the three thermal power plants in Ropar, Bathinda and Lehra Mohabbat. All the three plants are included in the category of “restricted” establishments.

The authorities concerned of all the three plants have also been advised to reverify the credentials and antecedents of all the employees working on sensitive positions.

A letter in this regard has been written to them by Mr Lalit Bhatia — the state’s Director-General of Police (DGP) in charge of Punjab State Electricity Board’s internal vigilance wing. Copies of the letter have been forwarded to the Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) concerned with the safety of the plants.

Though senior police officers are tight-lipped about it, the sources in PSEB do not rule out the possibility of increased militant activity in the state being the provocation behind the issuance of the orders.

Giving details, the sources claim that the orders were, in all probability, issued by the DGP as plans to revive militancy in the state were unearthed soon after the arrest of Babbar Khalsa International’s alleged chief Jagtar Singh Hawara by the Delhi Police.

The alleged militant was preparing human bombs for targeting certain political and religious leaders. His plans of attacking key installations in the state are currently being probed by the police, the sources claim.

Mr Bhatia refuses to divulge the details of the orders or the reasons behind the issuance of the same. He simply asserts that “security imperative require high state of alertness in and around the plants”.

The sources in his office, meanwhile, assert that the DGP has also recommended the carrying out of massive combing operations in the vicinity of the plants in an attempt to ensure against the presence of anti-social elements.

Besides this, he has suggested the carrying out of mock security exercises with the help of the district administration with the intention of checking the level of alertness among the security staff in these plants.

The DGP has also asked the authorities concerned to make sure that facilities, including rescue, relief, medical, transportation, and communication, are “in a high state of preparedness” for meeting any kind of eventuality.

The recommendations were reportedly made after Mr Bhatia visited all the three plants for carrying out on-the-spot assessment of the security measures adopted by the authorities concerned.


SEZ project draws mixed response
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, July 28
The state Cabinet’s approval for clearing SEZ yesterday for Amritsar has evoked a mixed response. The project had been given a go-ahead with a rider that the Centre must subsidise the cost of land.

The industry in the border belt, which had been at the receiving end during the militancy, had been waiting for a special economic package but the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, announced a special economic zone (SEZ) during his last visit in September, 2004.

The general secretary of the Shawl Club, Mr Piyare Lal Seth, said that intervention of the Prime Minister had been sought for taking up the matter of setting up SEZ with the Punjab Government with earnest so that the project was not jeopardised in view of the state government’s unusual demand of providing subsidy to purchase of one thousand acres of land.

Mr Seth added that the state government had taken a long time to initiate the project which could have changed the fortune of local industry.

The chairman of Amritsar Zone CII, Mr Gunbir Singh, welcomed the decision of the state cabinet with its decision to go ahead with establishing SEZ which will go a long way in boosting the crises ridden local industry and give thrust to large scale investment in the area.

Mr Gunbir Singh felt the government must fulfil its obligation of procuring land at the earliest so that the vision of the Prime Minister for an investment of Rs 1100 crore materialised. He added that 650 acre of land was available with PUDA on the GT Road. Some more land could be notified to club with this area for a SEZ.

Mr K.R.S. Sobti, vice-president of all-India Rice Exporters Association, lauded the effort of the government to give its approval for SEZ at Amritsar. He said that this would provide great opportunity for agro exports and help the farming community to get remunerative prices for its produce.

Mr Brij Bedi, a social activist and industrialist, suggested that the government must encourage the local small-scale industry which had been the backbone of industry. Mr Bedi pointed out that the government must provide a special package to revive sick industry in the border areas, which had suffered immensely during the last 50 years.


Punjab Govt has failed to acquire land for SEZ: Sidhu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 28
Accusing the Amarinder government of delaying the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project for Amritsar, a BJP MP, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, said today that the government had failed in its task of acquiring land for the SEZ for which the Centre had sanctioned Rs 1,600 crore.

Reacting to remarks of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that the cost of land in Amritsar was prohibitive and the state government had sought Central assistance, Mr Sidhu said it was state’s responsibility to acquire the land. He said cost could not be a factor in a project which has a huge economic and employment potential.

He said like some other states which had set up SEZs, the Punjab Government should have enacted a legislation to remove all bottlenecks in setting up the SEZ which had been promised by the Prime Minister in September 2004.

“The Punjab Government should have availed of the huge incentive being given by the Centre by promptly acquiring the land...Good intentions die unless executed,” he said.

He said the Punjab Government had miserably failed in its task of acquiring land.

“It is a clear dilution of Prime Minister’s mandate,” he said.


Illegal colonies hit Urban Estate
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Batala, July 28
Residents opposing the extending of basic infrastructure of Urban Estate colony to illegal colonies raised by influential persons are receiving life threats. The president of the Citizens Social Welfare Forum of the Urban Estate, Mr Sukhwant Singh, alleged that henchmen of influential illegal colonisers who have the support of ruling party leaders, were threatening them on phone.

The residents of Urban Estate are opposing the extension of the sewerage and water supply of their colony to the illegal colonies developed by influential people in the vicinity. After the matter was highlighted in these columns, the ACR of PUDA, Mr Vikas Garg, visited the colony along with the District Town Planner. He assured the residents that the interests of the residents of Urban Estate would be protected.

However, the residents allege that despite the assurance from PUDA certain local administrators were planning to open the Urban Estate facilities to illegal colonies under pressure from local ruling party politicians.

The illegal colonies mushrooming in the area are turning out to be a bane for the planned Urban Estate. The recent spate of rains inundated a portion of the Urban Estate. Some houses were under half foot of water, leading to a huge loss to the residents. Blaming the illegal colonies, they said that as per the rules, the plinth level of houses in the Urban Estate could be raised only by one and a half feet. Most of the law-abiding residents of the estate constructed their houses within the laid down parameters.

However, many illegal colonies have mushroomed around the Urban Estate over a period of time. The houses constructed in these colonies were unplanned and without any proper facility. The waste water of these colonies used to collect on the main road of PWD linking Batala with Qadian and spoil the road.

The PWD opted for an easy method out of the problem. It raised the road height to 4 feet. However, this has turned out to be a bane for the Urban Estate. The sewage, especially after rains, was now collecting in the Urban Estate.

Residents of the Urban Estate and Citizens Urban Welfare Forum have been repeatedly writing to the PWD and the PUDA authorities regarding their problem.


Police lathi-charge protesters
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 28
The police today resorted to a mild lathi-charge to disperse a large number of villagers who had blocked traffic near Lutheri village in protest against the alleged sale of narcotics in chemist shop in villages. Some of the protesters including old women, received injuries.

The protest began at around 10 am when residents of 12 villages raised slogans against the Civil Surgeon and Drug Inspector for failing to prevent the sale of narcotics. They alleged that for the past over three years a large number of persons, including teenagers, had become drug addicts.

The situation aggravated when the police picked up some sarpanches. The villagers then blocked traffic and demanded immediate action against chemists.

Seeing the deteriorating situation, the SDM, Mr J.C Sabarwal, reached the spot and assured protesters that action would be taken against the chemists found guilty.

A sarpanch, Gurdev Singh, alleged that the administration had turned a blind eye to the sale of narcotics by chemists as a result of which a large number of youth and children had become addicted to various drugs.

The SHO (Morinda), Mr Balwant Singh Majitha, claimed that with a view to maintaining the law and order situation, the police had prevented the protesters from blocking road and did not hurt anyone.


Doctor made him a drug addict
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 28
He had normal fever about five years back, but the doctor whom he approached, in a bid to fleece him, administered him five-six injections. Though he got rid of temperature, he was shocked to know that the injections administered to him were of drugs.

Gurmakh Singh of Kakhawali village, whose both arms have almost decayed, is lying on a bed at a de-addiction camp being held at the local Adesh Hospital. Narrating his horrifying tale to The Tribune here today, Gurmakh said later when he confronted the doctor on the matter, he said if he would discontinue the dosage of drug he could suffer a heart attack or get paralysed.

Fearing for his life, he continued the intake of drug and later became addicted to it. He said till now the doctor had administered him hundreds of injections in his arms and legs. He said the doctor would give him five to six injections daily and would charge Rs 150 per injection.

His mother said Gurmakh used to threaten them and take away money for injections. She said he even sold off ceiling fans and her ornaments for his addiction. She said they would lock him while leaving home, but the doctor would come in their absence and give him injections.

She said her 80-year-old husband had to work on fields to earn livelihood. She said they had come to the de-addiction camp to rid her son of drug addiction, as they could not afford those injections anymore. “I hope that my son would get rid of drug addiction soon and would lead a normal life in coming days,” she added.


Improvement Trust members
demand Chairman’s removal

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28
With six Improvement Trust members today demanding the removal of the trust Chairman, Mr Jagroop Singh Gill, the tussle between Gill and Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla has intensified.

Addressing a press conference here today, six trust members today urged the state government to remove Mr Gill from his post. They also demanded from the PPCC chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, that the chairman be expelled from the party for his anti-party activities.

Trust members Mansa Ram, Sham Chaudhary, Chhote Lal, Anil Bhola, Darshan Ghuda, and Krishan Kumar Singla alleged that Gill had carved out three schemes on the Multania road to benefit his relatives of crores without the consent of the trust members. They said the same schemes were cancelled following the probe conducted by the Additional Secretary, Local Bodies.

They alleged that the chairman drafted the resolutions (No.12 to 19) on his own and they were not placed in the meeting’s agenda, due to which the DC clamped a ban on the schemes. They said they had taken up the matter with the CM and the Local Bodies Minister, following which a probe was ordered into it. They denied any role of Mr Singla in these schemes. Mr Gill had alleged yesterday that Mr Singla had hampered the development of the city by getting these schemes cancelled. The members demanded that the schemes be brought to agenda so as to plan them properly.

The trust members said the probe also revealed that Gill kept a nearby piece of land outside the scheme, as it belonged to his relatives. They alleged that he included the land of poor located on the other side of the scheme. The trust members clarified that they were not against the plan of a hospital in Paras Ram Nagar, but had asked for changing its location, as it was close to railway line. They alleged that Gill didn’t take possession of 45.57 acre of land near the Ring road, as it would have resulted into financial losses to his relatives.

They alleged that the land owners were ready to give possession, but the chairman had been maintaining silence. They demanded a high-level probe into the schemes carved out by the trust.

Trust member Anil Bhola alleged that Mr Gill had not made payment to safai karamcharis, gardeners, and other staff employed in the colonies developed by the trust. He alleged that Mr Gill had done nothing about installation of streetlights and removal of jhuggis from the trust colonies despite a resolution being passed to this effect. They accused the chairman of his involvement in illegal colonies carved out in the city and sought probe into it. People whose land had been included in a scheme on the Multania road were also present at the press conference.


BSF to import new surveillance devices
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 28
Despite the fact that relations between India and Pakistan have become cordial in the recent past, the Border Security Force (BSF) does not seem to be showing laxity with regards to its security arrangements. To keep a tab on intrusions across the Indo-Pak border, especially after dusk, the force has decided to import new surveillance devices.

Mr G.S. Gill, Inspector-General, Punjab Frontier, said this soon after the inauguration of a newly set up office of the All-India Ex-Paramilitary Personnel Association here today. The IG said since most intrusions took place at night, thermal imagery devices were being introduced that could help its men view any person entering the Indian territory from far off.

Explaining working of the new device, Mr Gill said the device would work by detecting the body heat radiated by any living being and forming its virtual image. He said the new surveillance technique would be useful during misty nights when most other optical instruments failed to produce the desired results.

The IG said the instrument had been put to use in some parts of Jammu but he said more such devices were required in other sensitive areas including Amritsar.

Even as Mr Gill said fencing was complete all along its border except for some rivers and nullahs, he confirmed sporadic cases of smuggling of narcotics in the form of heroine across the Amritsar border. He said around 20 kg of heroine had been confiscated in the past one year. He even confirmed reports of some Bangladeshis trying to barge in through the north-west border as he said around 50 to 60 men from Bangladesh had been caught by the Punjab Frontier in the last one year.

The IG, however, denied smuggling of weapons across the border as he said, “This could have happened via Samjhauta Express but not by any intruders sneaking into our land”. He also ruled out any connivance of BSF men in smuggling of consignments though he agreed that one Punjabi constable of the force had been caught this year indulging in such an activity.

Talking about toning down of the gestures during retreat ceremony at Wagah checkpost, Mr Gill said the BSF men taking part in the parade had been directed to shake hands properly, shut the gates quietly and not to create any unnecessary sound showing disgust during the ceremony. He said the same gesture was now being reciprocated by the Rangers on the other side even as they took to it much later than the men on the Indian side.

The IG said the next meeting with his Pakistani counterparts was scheduled to be held at Jodhpur in October. He said though such meetings had not been earlier held for almost four years because of the tense situation but now these were being held regularly. “Even the DIGs are meeting regularly every quarter at Wagah checkpost”, he concluded the conversation with that.


Experts’ group for review of cancer studies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
An experts’ group set up by the Punjab Government to study widely reported cases of cancer in the cotton belt of the Malwa region has decided that a joint study will be undertaken by the Oswal Institute of Cancer and Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to review studies related to the incidence of cancer and its relation, if any, to the use of pesticides.

The earlier result linking the occurrence of cancer to the use of pesticides is based on a small number of persons.

The group is of the view that a scheme should be introduced to provide financial help to the patients of cancer and other incurable diseases belonging to families living below the poverty line through a mediclaim, which should be subsidised up to 50 per cent by the government.

The recommendations of the experts’ group will be considered by a high-powered committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister.

The meeting was held under the joint chairmanship of Dr K.K. Talwar, Director, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, and Dr S.S. Johl, vice- chairman, Punjab State Planning Board. During the discussion, the group felt that there was no fear of a cancer epidemic in certain parts of the state.

A recent survey conducted by the Health and family Welfare Department covering the districts of Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa and Faridkot has revealed that the prevalence of cancer is less in these areas as compared to the national figure of 140 per lakh.

The Chemical Examiner, Patiala, could not find any residue of pesticides in 235 samples of human blood and urine taken at random from the rural population of 12 districts of the state. No arsenic content was found in deep tubewells or canal water.

It was only present in water from shallow pumps which had got mixed with industrial waste as revealed by a study conducted by PAU.


State to promote medical tourism in a big way
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 28
Eying big flow of NRIs, who are descending on Punjab to get cheaper and better medicare, the Punjab Government and the Indian Medical Association (IMA-Punjab) have joined hands to promote Punjab as one of best global medical destinations of the world and to ensure standardised treatment quality and rates of super-speciality hospitals and doctors, which are to be identified by the IMA, Punjab, within a period of about one month.

A panel of those hospitals and doctors, capable of providing super-speciality medicare in the fields of eye surgery, cardiology, plastic surgery, dental care, renal treatment and general surgery in major cities of Punjab such as Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Amritsar, Mohali, Patiala and Sangrur, was likely to be shortlisted by the IMA by end of August.

The IMA has also been entrusted with the job of fixing uniform treatment rates for NRI patients by the Punjab Government and to examine common minimum treatment standards available with the proposed shortlisted hospitals and doctors.

The Punjab Government, it was learnt, had already lifted restrictions on medical visas for those NRIs, who were intending to visit the state for their treatment, about a month ago. The first round of modalities to be chalked out to implement the project has already been discussed during a meeting headed by the Punjab Tourism Department chief, Mr Jagjit Puri.

Dr R.C. Garg, chief of IMA, Punjab, representative of Health Department, Dr K.K. Sharma, Director, Ayurvedic Department, representatives of CII (North chapter) and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Dr Daljit Singh of Fortis Hospital, Mohali, attended the meeting held in Chandigarh.

“Now our basic purpose is to identify those hospitals and doctors, who can offer super-speciality treatment to NRI patients in both the Allopathic and Ayurvedic streams of medical system. The next job is the finalisation of packages for various categories of treatments. These medical packages or rates of treatment would be fixed by the Punjab Government in collaboration with the IMA-Punjab. The medical packages, availability of medicare and locations would be floated on the Punjab Government website so as to help NRIs to fix their budgets in advance,” said Dr R.C. Garg, President of the IMA-Punjab.

Efforts were also under way to rope in insurance companies so as to provide airport-to-hospital and hospital-to-airport insurance cover to patients and indemnity insurance cover to hospitals, doctors and other staff.

“The department of tourism is also trying to involve some tour operators with the dual purpose of providing all facilities to visiting NRI patients and promoting medical tourism in the state as well,” said Dr R.C.Garg.


Dera being spruced up with bathroom tiles
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Sirhali (Amritsar), July 28
Unmindful of heritage value, bathroom tiles are being put on more than 800-year-old Dera, belonging to Naath Jogis, in this township, dominated by Sandhu Jats.

However, the “Dhuni”, lit by Baba Bhim Naath, founder of the sect, still smolders. As per recorded history, Naath Jogis had settled in this area much before the foundation of Amritsar and Taran Taran towns.

According to Gazetteer of India, Sirhali is predominantly inhabited by Sandhu Jats. The 22 adjoining villages are offshoots of Sirhali where members of the same clan spread with the passage of time. Their forefathers were said to be followers of Naath Jogis. It is believed that they have their origin from Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). Still most of the families bring their newly wed daughters-in law to pay obeisance at the Dera. The Naaths are revered in almost all the 22 Jat-dominated villages.

The renovation of the Dera has been going on war footing with a view to give ‘modern look’ to the whole complex. The beautiful dome made of Nanakshahi bricks has already been covered with bathroom tiles. The rest of the structure is being white washed. The front portion of the Dera has also been plastered and the management is planning to put bathroom tiles at this portion of the complex too.

The idol of the founder of Dera, Baba Bhim Naath, has also been covered with white marble.

However, the old tree, planted by the founder and other rare trees have been preserved with extra care. The present chief of the Dera, Baba Vichar Naath and Baba Onkar Naath said that the work being done was need of the hour. Repair and renovation work was being carried out with a view to ‘preserve’ the ancient structures.


Set up judicial panel to probe killings of Dalits: BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Bahujan Samaj Party( BSP) has urged the Punjab Government to set up a judicial commission to probe the alleged killings of Dalits during the past three years in the state. The BSP says that it has information that 300 Dalits had been “murdered”.

Mr Paramjit Singh Kainth, secretary of the Punjab unit of the party, further alleged that a good number of Dalits had also been killed in police custody. The government should release a list of all Dalits killed in police custody and also of those murdered in the state in the past three years, he added.

Recently, this issue was also raised by the Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The Punjab Government had indifferent attitude towards Dalits and it had never taken the issue of atrocities on them seriously, he added.

The BSP leader said the state government should also clear its stand on the issues raised by the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, regarding the financial condition of the state.


Villagers complain of scam in sale of land
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Salempur Musalmana (Jalandhar), July 28
The role of the Punjab Local Bodies Department, the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation and the Improvement Trust has come under a cloud as residents of this village have not only been upset over the alleged “usurping” of about 17 acres of prime village common land worth about Rs. 15 crore “forcibly” by the MC. They also apprehend that the land’s further sale by the MC to the local Improvement Trust for just about Rs 5 crore under “mysterious”circumstances” could be part of a bigger scandal.

Residents of the village, including its councillor, Mr Des Raj Jassal, and Nambardar Gurjit Singh, have contended that the “village common land” in question was sold by the MC to the Improvement Trust at about half of the minimum rate fixed by the Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar, for the area.

They have alleged that though the minimum land price fixed by the Deputy Commissioner for the area, on the city outskirts, was Rs 30,000 per marla, the MC, which, according to them, was “not even an owner” of the land, had sold it to the trust for peanuts, at a price of about Rs 15,000 per marla.

The market rate, according to villagers and Mr Jassal, of the land was much more than the government rate and it could be anything between Rs 60,000 and Rs 80,000 per marla and the current market price of the land could be between Rs 15 crore and Rs 20 crore. The villagers have already filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. According to them, the MC could have caused a huge loss to the villagers, running into crores of rupees.

“Actually, it was the village common land belonging to about 32-33 families and had been given on annual contract to a person till his death about 10 years ago. Before his death, he got the ‘intqual’ of the land done in favour of the MC. The MC, with the help of the police, drove us out and took possession of the land in 1999 to build a dairy complex on it. Though the MC spent lakhs of rupees to build roads and other facilities for the proposed dairy complex, it could not be shifted here due to the pressure exerted by villagers,” said Mr Gurjit Singh, Nambardar of the village, who, asserted that “as per the revenue record”, villagers were the “owners” and not the MC, in which, the village was included in 1984-85.

Residents, including Mr Jasbir Singh, alleged that the land had been “usurped” as part of a larger conspiracy, involving land sharks who enjoyed political patronage. “At the nearby Surya Enclave Colony, the land was bought by the trust from people for low prices, but it was sold off at a rate of about Rs 80,000 per marla. But prices by land sharks were manoeuvered in such a way that the current price of this land was about Rs 1.5 lakh per marla, which is 10 times more than what was paid to the MC by the trust,” said a political leader.

“If it was a government-to-government deal, then what was the need for the MC to take money from the trust? The market price of the land is so high that one of residents of the village was still ready to pay Rs 12-13 crore for the piece of land. So, instead of taking just about Rs 4-5 crore, the MC should have gone for open bidding,” said Mr Jassal, the first political leader to take up the case. He alleged that a minister was also involved in what he called a “shady deal”.

Mr C. S. Talwar, MC Commissioner, said since he had just joined at Jalandhar, he had not gone through the case as yet. “But I will look into it,” he said.

Mr Tejinder Bittu Chairman of the Improvement Trust, said since the MC had claimed that it owned the land, so the trust had paid the money accordingly and as sought by the MC. “It is not our fault anyway if there is any problem somewhere” he said.

The trust engineers maintained that as the village had merged with the MC, its land had gone to the MC automatically and as per the norms. “Before purchasing the land, we had gone into the land records, which say that the land belonged to the MC,” said a trust engineer.


Fazilka residents seek opening of Indo-Pak border
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 28
Thousands of residents of Fazilka and surrounding areas participated in a programme demanding the opening of the Indo-Pak border in Fazilka sector on Sulemanki and opening free trade and transportation between the two countries. The programme was organized by the Border Area Vikas Front and the Indo-Pak Sulemanki International Trade Front, Fazilka.

Representatives of different forums, including Umesh Chander Kukkar, president, Bar Association, Fazilka, Dina Nath Sachdeva, president, Pakka Arthia Association, Ashok Gulbadhar, president, Beopar Mandal, Fazilka, Satish Kumar Dhingra, organising secretary, Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal, H.S. Bedi and Munish Bhateja, patron and president, of the Fazilka Press Club, respectively, Lila Dhar Sharma, secretary-general, Indo-Pak Sulemanki International Trade Front, Baljinder Singh, president, Border Area Vikas Front, Rajesh Kumar Angi, former president, of the Bar Association, attended the programme.

They said by merely laying 10-km railway track from Fazilka to Amruka railway station in Pakistan, the rail track between Ludhiana and Karachi in pre-partition days can be revived. This would not entail any extra financial burden on the government instead it would enhance the revenue by way of transportation of containers in large numbers between Ludhiana and Karachi. Both the towns in India and Pakistan are the industrial houses of their respective countries.

Besides, the trade activity would flourish and the poor labourers of the border belt would have more avenues to earn their livelihood. Majority of the speakers exhorted the public not to expect much from the politicians and bureaucrats as the unholy nexus between them was constantly indulging in fleecing the common man. Mr Baljinder Singh, president of the Border Area Vikas front, also demanded abrogation of visa system between Pakistan and Indian Punjab and called for implementation of permit system for travelling between the two neighbouring states.

Umesh Chander Kukkar, president of the Bar Association, said by opening the international borders, there could be a global progress.

Later, hundreds of activists of the two fronts took out a peace march in the town. On conclusion of the march, a deputation of both the fronts presented a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister to the SDM, Fazilka.


Dry port at Amritsar sought
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 28
Hailing the opening of trade between India and Pakistan via the Wagah land route for the first time after Independence, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, former SGPC President and member, Political Affairs Committee of Shiromani Akali Dal, today demanded the setting up of an international dry port at Amritsar for further boosting trade between the two neighbouring countries and also developing the holy city of Amritsar.

Talking to newsmen here, Professor Badungar claimed that the trade between two countries would further strengthen cordial ties and improve the economy of both Pakistan and India.

Consignments of garlic had started going from India to Pakistan via the Wagah border this week. He said the demand of dry port was pending since 1978.

Professor Badungar rued that the launch of the Amritsar-Lahore bus service was being delayed inordinately.


Special meeting to redress grievances held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 28
Presiding over a special meeting held to redress grievances, members of the District Grievances Committee and common persons, Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, said here today that he had no solution to political complaints at this platform, so he was not ready to hear the same. However, he added that he would certainly hear grievances and complaints, related to common people.

Mr Singla also supported a suggestion, given by Comrade Chand Singh Chopra, that the members of the District Grievances Committee be called to weekly “sangat darshan” programmes, being organised by the district administration. He said it would be better as private members of the Grievances Committee also contributed in redressing and presenting complaints and grievances of the public. However, Mr Surinder Singla heard grievances and complaints, aired by members of the District Grievances Committee, but he heard grievances and complaints of 15 common persons though a large number of complaints were sitting outside the meeting room. Mr Singla left the meeting by asking the Deputy Commissioner to hear the remaining grievances and redress the dame.

In today’s meeting, cases related to encroachments, drinking water, sewerage, bridges, old-age pensions, development works, were discussed. Mr Husan Lal, Deputy, Commissioner; Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur; Mr G. Nageshwar Rao, SSP, Barnala; Mr Sham Singh Makror, Chairman, Zila Parishad, Sangrur; Mr Gurdial Singh Chatha, Chairman, Market Committee, Sangrur; Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A) attended the meeting.


Rs 1.67 lakh realised as fine from rail passengers
Our Correspondent

Phagwara July 28
In a major drive against ticketless travelling in Ferozepore Division of the Northern Railways, a high-level railway team, headed by Mr G.P. Singh, Assistant Commercial Manager, Ferozepore Division, today realised Rs 50,000 as fine from 200 passengers here for ticketless travelling, irregular travelling and travelling by breaking norms.

According to railway sources, in a dawn-to- dusk checking, as many as 30 trains were checked at the Phagwara railway station by a contingent of 75 railway staff, including 50 TTs and 25 RPF personnel.

In the past two days, Rs 60,000 as fine was realised from 200 passengers during checking at the Ludhiana railway station while Rs 57,000 as fine was realised from 190 passengers at the Sahnewal station, the sources said.

This drive had generated a total of Rs. 1.67 lakh revenue for the Railways, claimed sources. The special checking would continue at other stations too.

The drive was launched on directions of Mr MS Chalia,Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Ferozepore Division.


Two feared drowned in canal
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 28
Two persons were feared drowned as a motor cycle slipped into the Indira Gandhi Canal in the afternoon near Tibbi village, the police said.

Sources said that Hardev Singh was taking four persons, including three women, on his motor cycle from Kariwala village to Tibbi As he lost control the motor cycle fell into the canal.

Farmers in the nearby fields rushed and rescued Hardev Singh, Shingara Singh, a son of Partap Singh, and Ram Piari, wife of Boota Singh, residents of Khara Khera village. Meera Devi, wife of Banta Ram of Khaat Sajwar village and Ratno, wife of Shingara Singh of Chak two “O”, village, were feared dead.


Home Guards plan stir
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28
The Punjab Home Guards have planned to gherao the Punjab Chief Minister’s residence here on August 2 in protest against the non implementation of their pending demands.

Apart from this, the Home Guards will also hold a series of rallies across the state, the final programme of which will be drawn up, at a state-level protest rally to be held at Chandigarh on August 15.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the Punjab Home Guards Welfare Association held here yesterday.


Sarkaria gets status of Minister of State
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Punjab Government today gave the status of Minister of State to Mr Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Chairman of the Punjab State Agriculture Marketing Board.

A notification in this connection has been issued by the Financial Commissioner (Development).


high court
PMET: CBSE report submitted
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 28
The report of high-powered committee of experts constituted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to revaluate the 21 controversial questions that were part of the PMET 2005 examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University was submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

After going through the report, the Bench of Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice S.N. Aggarwal directed that copies of the report be provided to the parties in the case, who would file replies, if they want, by August 2.

On July 22, the High Court had directed the Director, CBSE, to constitute a committee to revaluate the 21 questions. These are the questions whose answers are alleged to be wrong or ambiguous by the petitioner challenging the result of the second examination for PMET 2005. The Bench had directed the Director, CBSE, to ensure that the committee, comprising two experts each for the four subjects of PMET examination, submitted its report on or before July 27.

An official of the rank of Assistant Registrar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had been deputed to go to New Delhi with the relevant record submitted by the petitioners as well as respondent university. Hearing will now resume on August 2.

Mann’s PIL

The Punjab Government on Thursday requested the High Court to dismiss the PIL filed by Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Simranjit Singh Mann seeking quashing of appointment of Mr S.S. Virk as DGP, Punjab.

During resumed hearing of the PIL, the affidavit filed by Mr B.S. Sidhu, Special Secretary, Home Department, Punjab, was taken on record.

In its reply, the government has stated that by filing such writs, Mr Mann was promoting animosity between Hindus and Sikhs. The PIL, it has claimed, should not be heard further as only public-spirited persons can file PILs and not people like the former MP, who is himself facing serious charges of sedition.

The affidavit also says that Mr Mann had been arrested in August, 1991, under TADA.

Mr Mann has challenged the appointment of the Maharashtra cadre IPS officer to the top post in the Punjab Police on the ground that the same was “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Sometime back, the High Court had directed the Union of India to furnish all relevant record pertaining to processing of extension of deputation period of Punjab DGP S.S. Virk to the court. The record to be produced included the officer’s request for change of cadre to Punjab and the status of the case.

Today, after hearing counsel, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta adjourned case to August 25.


Mann files plea against Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simaranjeet Singh Mann, has moved an application in a court at Anandpur Sahib, seeking contempt proceedings against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and also the state Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk.

Quoting from media reports in which the Chief Minister said “The state would love to keep him (Mr Mann) behind bars till he learns to behave,” the Akali leader said that “these statements can prejudice my case.” He went on to question as to what is the kind of behaviour he is expected to show which will enable his release.

Further in his application, Mr Mann said Mr Virk had alleged that “ I had brought crores of rupees from abroad to revive terrorism in Punjab.” As per law, Mr Virk, should have got the same mentioned in the case diaries and informed the court. Saying that these statements could prejudice his trial, Mr Mann demanded contempt proceedings against the Chief Minister and the DGP.


Lok Adalats’ schedule announced
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 28
The Punjab Legal Services Authority (PLSA) has announced the schedule of Lok Adalats for July-September, 2005, in which 57 Lok Adalats will be organised at various places in the state.

According to a PLSA spokesperson, Lok Adalats will be organised at Labour Court, Amritsar and Bathinda tomorrow.

The other scheduled Lok Adalats are at Amloh, Ajnala, Abohar, Anandpur Sahib, Baba Bakala, Barnala, Batala and Balachaur on July 30; at Dhuri, Dasuya, Fazilka, Gidderbaha, Garhshankar, Jagraon, Kharar and Muktsar on August 6; at Amritsar, Bathinda, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ferozepore, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ropar and Sangrur on August 20; at Labour Court, Gurdaspur and Jalandhar September 2; at Khanna, Mansa, Malerkotla, Nakodar, Moga, Nawanshahr, Nabha and Jalalabad West on September 3.


Farmers lift dharna on SDM’s assurance
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 28
Activists and members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), who began their indefinite protest dharna yesterday in front of the office of the PSEB SDO at Dirba, about 25 km from here, today lifted the dharna following an assurance given by Mr Ravinder Singh, SDM, Sunam, to solve their problem.

Earlier, under the leadership of Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), the farmers also blocked the Dirba-Patran national highway today for about half an hour in support of their demand.

The farmers were protesting against PSEB officials for not replacing a burnt transformer, installed in a field of a farmer at Harigarh village (near Kohrian village), with a new one. Due to the burnt transformer, their tubewell motors have not been functioning for the past many days.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone, Mr Ugrahan said they had lifted the dharna as the Sunam SDM had assured them that the tubewell motors of the farmers would start functioning by tomorrow evening. He said the SDM also assured them that appropriate arrangements for running the tubewell motors would be made by the PSEB.

Mr Ugrahan said they had also told the SDM that in case the tubewell motors of the farmers did not start functioning by tomorrow evening, the farmers would gherao the office of the PSEB SDO at Dirba for an indefinite period without giving any ultimatum to the PSEB authorities in this regard.

The protesters were addressed, among others, by Mr Ugrahan, Mr Ran Singh Bhaini Bagha, Mansa district president of the union; Mr Dalbara Singh Chhajla, Mr Jasbir Singh Maidewas, Mr Nath Singh Ubhian, Mr Balbir Singh Jhaloor and Mr Dilbag Singh Harigarh, all leaders of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan).


DC orders legal action in benami registries
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28
The district administration has asked the SSP to initiate legal action against Ram Krishan of Rampura Phul for getting registries done under fake names during sale and purchase of land.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner had probed into the matter and had submitted a detailed report on it to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari. Legal action has also been ordered against former municipal councillor Ram Chandar and another witness, Ashok Kumar, for giving wrong testimonies.

The investigation revealed that Ram Krishan, who had been working as an employee of a commission agent based at Grain Market of Rampura Phul, had bought one kanal 10 marla land posing as Darshan Singh. He said he had spent Rs 25,000 in the deal, while money transaction worth Rs 95,000 had taken place in it. It had been shown that Darshan Singh had sold land to three different buyers, whereas all registries had the photograph of Ram Krishan. All buyers had produced Satnam Singh, who works as a taxi driver with the commission agent, from their side. The same person was also produced as Ram Krishan at the time of another registry on May 12 last year.

The Deputy Commissioner has also asked the SSP to probe into the role of Jaswant Rai Ballo, who appeared before the investigating officer without any summon for giving some clarification. In light of Ballo’s statement on his disproportionate income his matter has been sent to the Income Tax Commissioner for further investigation.


DC suspends patwari for demanding bribe
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 28
The Deputy Commissioner of Patiala has placed Mr Rulda Singh, a Patwari of Bijanpur and Bhukari villages, under suspension for allegedly demanding bribe from villagers.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, after hearing villagers’ complaint at a “Lok Suvidha Camp” organised at Samgoli village near, suspended him with immediate effect. He also warned two other revenue officers — Mr Gurnaib Singh, a patwari, and Mr Karan Singh, a kanoongo. The Deputy Commissioner also directed Dera Bassi Tehsildar Sanjeev Kumar for maintaining transparency in his works relating revenue and keep a watch on patwaris.

While interacting with mediapersons, Mr Tejveer Singh said he would not spare corrupt government officials who have been harassing public. In case he receives complaint against any official, a vigilance inquiry would be ordered against them.

The Punjab Agriculture Department conducted tests of 42 water samples collected from different villages and found five of them contaminated. The health authorities also examined 272 patients in a camp. The district Red Cross Society, also distributed five tricycles and four artificial limbs among physically challenged persons. Kissan Cards (Gold and Credit) were also distributed among farmers.

Besides residents of 42 villages, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, vice-chairman, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), Mr R.R. Bhardwaj, vice-chairman, State Planning Board, Mr Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, Additional Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Narinder Kumar Sangha, SDM, Dera Bassi, were also present at the camp.


SHO caught while taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 28
A flying squad of Vigilance Bureau today caught the SHO of Mehna police station and his gunman while accepting bribe for reportedly letting off a drug peddler.

According to sources, the Mehna police had arrested a Lohgarh resident with 200 gm opium some time back. During interrogation, he told the police that he had bought opium from Shamsher Singh of Aklia Jalal village in Bathinda. The police then raided Shamsher Singh’s house, but didn’t find him there. However, they rounded up his son Amanpreet Singh.

Sources said the village panchayat then approached the police and requested them to release him. The panchayat also assured the police that Shamsher would be handed over to it. The police released Amanpreet on the day the panchayat produced Shamsher before them.

However, when the police didn’t take any further action in the case for three days, the panchayat urged them to release him too. The SHO, Jasbir Singh, demanded Rs 15,000 for the job to which Shamsher Singh agreed.

After his release, Shamsher sold off his buffalo and some household goods to amass the amount. In the meantime the ex-sarpanch of his village, Major Singh, lodged a complaint in this connection with Vigilance DIG Nirmal Singh Dhillon. A trap was laid as Shamsher handed over Jasbir Singh Rs 15,000 today. Jasbir passed it on to his gunman Jaswinder Singh. When Jaswinder was counting the amount he spotted a Vigilance team heading towards him. He ran away from the spot, but was caught after about a kilometer.

During a search operation at the SHO’s quarter, Rs 70,000 was recovered.

Both of them have been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Most-wanted criminal held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 28
The district police has arrested a dreaded criminal Gursewak Singh of Ladpur village for committing six murders including that of his minor niece.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for three other murders but was declared proclaimed offender by the courts. The police has recovered a .38 bore pistol and 4 cartridges from his possession.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said during interrogation Gursewak Singh revealed a heart rending incident. When his sister, Baljit Kaur, came to know that he had been arrested by the Amloh police, she approached it and complained that in 1998 Gursewak Singh had taken her three minor sons, Harvinder Singh, seven years, Sukhwinder Singh, five years, and Manpreet Singh, two years, along with him to Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa, Haryana, on the pretext of educating them. She said since then neither her sons nor he himself was traceable.

The SSP said Gursewak Singh revealed that he had thrown the bodies of Baljit Kaur’s sons in a canal near Jore Pul village after murdering them.

The police has registered a case under Sections 302,201 of the IPC. The SSP further said in 1991 Gursewak Singh had murdered Gurcharn Singh of Tanna village and buried his body in fields. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in that case but was declared proclaimed offender by the court. In 1999 he murdered Mr Ishar Singh of Chanagaran village in Patiala district and Madan Lal of Kotla Ajner. Gursewak Singh was remanded in police custody till July 29.


Case registered for killing woman
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 28
A young woman was killed by her husband and mother-in-law for more dowry at village Nangali of Hoshiarpur district yesterday.

According to police sources, Bhajan Singh, of Talwandi Dadian village, father of deceased Daljit Kaur, stated in his complaint to the police that he married his daughter to Surjit Singh, son of Basakha Singh of Nangali village, about five years ago. He gave sufficient dowry to Daljit Kaur during her marriage according to his status. Daljit Kaur had two children and was eight months pregnant.

He alleged that members of her in-laws family used to torture and beat her for bringing less dowry. Recently Surjit Singh demanded money for going abroad.

On July 26, 2005 he along with his brother Balbir Singh went to Nangali village to meet her daughter. Both stayed there in the night. He stated that he alongwith his brother was lodged in one room of the house whereas Daljit Kaur, her husband Surjit Singh and mother-in-law Baljinder Kaur slept in some other room.

At about 4.00 am, they heard cries of Daljit Kaur. They rushed out of the room and saw from the window of the room that both son and mother were strangulating the neck of Daljit Kaur. Daljit Kaur was struggling to save her life. They raised a hue and cry for help to save Daljit Kaur and also requested Surjit Singh and Baljinder Kaur to open the door of the room but they did not listen.

Bhajan Singh further stated that his one more daughter was also married in the same village and when nobody came to rescue his daughter, he along with his brother went to the house of his second daughter for help. After some time when they came back, they found that all the doors of house were open and Daljit Kaur was lying dead.

On the statement of Bhajan Singh, Tanda Police has registered a case under sections 302, 34 of the IPC against Surjit Singh and his mother Baljinder Kaur.

After getting the postmortem done, police handed over the dead body to Bhajan Singh. Surjit Singh and his mother were at large.


Woman killed by husband
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 28
Simarjit Kaur, a resident of Karial village, in Ajnala tehsil, was allegedly killed by her husband Hardip Singh, brother-in-law Sarabjit Singh, Kuldip Singh and Piara Singh, both nephews and two daughters Rimpi and Kanwal.

A case under Sections 302, 201, 120-B of the IPC has been registered against them at Ajnala police station.

Mr Jagdip Singh Hundal, DSP, told newsmen that the accused wanted to grab her land. He said Simarjit was married to accused Hardip Singh in 1999. Hardip Singh had already two daughters Rimpi and Kanwal from his first wife who was also allegedly killed by him. 


Two booked for deceiving youth
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 28
Two persons have been booked for duping a youth of Rs 2.5 lakh under the pretext of sending him abroad. According to sources, Amandeep Singh of Chak Shere Wala village in his complaint to the SSP stated that when he was looking for some travel agent who could send him abroad, he came in contact with Gurvinder Singh and Hari Chand of Bathinda. They told him that they could arrange a visa for Kuwait in Rs 2.5 lakh and that he could earn Rs 30,000 a month there.

Amandeep arranged the money from his friends and relatives before handing them over Rs 1.5 lakh as advance.

After about two months they took him to New Delhi and handed him over his travel documents. At the same time they got the remaining amount from his family members.

Amandeep stated that when he landed in Kuwait, Hari Chand’s son contacted him and said if he wanted to stay there he would have to arrange another Rs 1 lakh. When Amandeep showed his visa to Gurdeep Singh, who was also staying in Kuwait, he told him that it was a tourist visa and it would expire in two months.


Life term for three looters
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 28
Mr P.P. Singh, Additional Sessions Judge of Fast Track Court-II, Hoshiarpur, today convicted three members of the Kale Kachhewale gang for killing Jatinder Kumar and looting the house of Vijay Kumar, a son of late Surinder Kumar, at Bajwara Kalan on the night of July 24, 2003.

Mr P.P. Singh has awarded life imprisonment to Maghar Singh, alias Bomb, his brother Balbir, alias Billu, both of Akhrot village under Amb police station (HP), and Sital Raj of Ram Nagar, Sangrur, and fined Rs 5,000 each under Section 460, IPC, and two-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 500 each under Sections 459, 148 and 149, IPC. In case of non-payment of the fine, they would have to undergo further imprisonment of nine months.

According to the FIR registered in Sadar police station 10 to 12 members of the gang appeared in the house of Vijay Kumar on the night of July 24, 2003. Jatinder Kumar, younger brother of Vijay Kumar, woke up and said that he had identified some of the looters. On listening this, they beat him to death.


Minor girl sexually abused: report
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 28
Though final clinical report will be available after a fortnight, preliminary medical examination of a minor girl at Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here indicated that she had been sexually abused, sources said today.

The victim had approached a judicial court here yesterday. She said that though born in a family of Dharam Nagari locality, she had been brought up and living with another couple at their house near 132 KV power distribution station located on the Malout road.

She alleged that her adopted parents had been forcing her to entertain strangers for some consideration. She refused to entertain three persons on Monday night. This irritated her “parents”, who they attacked her with sharp edged weapon.

The victim ran out and reached street 10 at the Thakur Abadi locality. Mr Ram Avtar and others came to her rescue as the “parents” reached there chasing her in a car. The residents of the locality forced the “parents” to run away.

In the morning she went to the civil hospital but found the “parents” present there. As police was not inclined to listen her, she approached the court. She was medically examined under instructions of the court.


Bank cashier dupes customers
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, July 28
The cashier of Punjab and Sind Bank’s extension counter at Rajindra College here is reportedly absconding after duping the bank customers of thousands of rupees.

According to sources, cashier Narinder Singh used to take the amount to be deposited from customers and even issue them receipts, but didn’t deposit the same into their accounts.

He had reportedly usurped about Rs 10,000-12,000 of 30-35 customers in a similar fashion.

However, police sources said he had duped 10-12 persons of about Rs 50,000.

Sources said whenever a customer came to know about it and raised his voice he would return his money and ask him to keep mum. Sources said the situation turned worse for him when a number of customers raised hue and cry on the matter simultaneously.

Later, the cashier was booked under Section 420 of the IPC. The police has launched a manhunt to nab him.

The SSP, Mr M.F. Farooqui, said the cashier had been absconding even before the registration of the case.


2 unidentified bodies found
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28
Two unidentified bodies were recovered from different parts of the district today. While a body was found in a minor, another was recovered from a road.

Sources said Sahara volunteers got information about a body spotted in a minor flowing from Nathana to Goniana. The police also reached the spot. Sahara workers extracted the decomposed body from the minor.

In the other incident, an unidentified body was found on the Bathinda-Malout road, near Behman Dewana village. Sources said a vehicle might have hit the deceased causing his death. He appeared to be a mental patient.


Baba Farid varsity told to reschedule counselling
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 28
The Punjab State Commission for Schedule Castes has issued orders that Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, should change the counselling schedule as it was in contravention of the policy issued by the Welfare Department in December.

The university was directed to issue a fresh counselling schedule as per the instructions of the Welfare Department for the counselling of SC candidates.

The commission has also sought a detailed compliance report on how many SC candidates had been admitted in PMET on the basis of merit and reservation.

The commission has directed that a copy of the orders should be sent to the Department of Medical Education and Research and the Department of Welfare of SCs and BCs through its secretary for compliance. 


Institute building to be ready by Oct
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The governing body of Shaheed Beant Singh Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences, Jalandhar, met here today and announced that the building of the institution would be completed by October, enabling the commencement of classes from next year onwards.

The meeting, held under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was to review progress on the project.

A spokesperson of the government said 85 per cent of the construction work had already been completed at a cost of Rs 106 crore out of the total cost of Rs 175 crore.


Dairy board approves embryo transfer project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Punjab Dairy Development Board (PDDB) has approved the implementation of a special embryo transfer technology project at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the PDDB here today.

Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, would be entrusted with the task of research and development while the Department of Animal Husbandry would look after the operation of the project. This project would be implemented in two zones. Zone A (Patiala) comprises Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda, Ropar, Nawanshahr and Fatehgarh Sahib districts and Zone B Ludhiana and all other districts of the state.

Giving details of the project, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the process of multiple ovulation and embryo transfer would produce 50-100 calves per cow instead of 5-10 at present.

It was also decided at the meeting to finalise the setting up of a milk price stabilisation fund.

The Chief Minister expressed concern over widespread adulteration and availability of spurious milk and milk products in the state.

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