P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal welcomes Amarinder’s offer on debate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today dared the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, not to back out of his promise for an open debate in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on all aspects of the Punjab problem.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Badal hoped that the debate would be about the genesis of militancy, the under-cover operations by Central agencies in Punjab and the conspiracies of the then national leaders of the Congress party to use “gangs of killers” for neutralising the democratic leadership of the SAD.

“We hope Capt Amarinder Singh does not run away from this like he has done from a probe into the same issue by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court,” said Mr Badal, adding that although the Chief Minister’s bravado on debate was an attempt to divert popular attention from his betrayal of peasantry on free power issue, yet the SAD would grab the debate opportunity with both hands.

He challenged the Chief Minister to discuss everything from the decision of the Congress government in 1947 to declare the Sikhs a “community of professional criminals” (jaraim pesha quom) to the Army assault on the holiest of the holy Sikhs shrines, then to the inhuman massacre of innocent Sikhs in 1984 and to the role played agencies like the RAW in keeping Punjab in a pool of blood for over a decade and a half.

Mr Badal said his party welcomed the debate offer despite its belief that killers and their victims did not deserve to be on the same stage. Describing the Chief Minister’s statement as a God-sent opportunity for Akalis to conclusively expose the top national and Punjab leadership of the Congress party for its communal and opportunistic role, Mr Badal said his party would use it to highlight the supreme sacrifices made by the Akali leadership in the defense of peace, Hindu-Sikh unity, communal harmony and Punjabi fraternity and amity.

“The noble and saintly sacrifice of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal was the high point of the selfless role played by the SAD which lost as many 29 of its assembly candidates to assassins’ bullets in 1989, while not a single Congress leader was targeted by the militants when that party contested in 1992,” he said.

The Akali leader also said that the Chief Minister’s personal role during those years, including his stage-managed resignation from the Congress, could also be discussed, especially in the wake of the disclosures made by the PPCC President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, yesterday that Amarinder had been sent by the then Congress leadership into the Akali ranks to fulfil a specific agenda.

“The slogan of Khalistan and the fratricidal bloodshed that followed in its wake were authored by the then leaders of the Congress party with the sole objective of sabotaging the Akali agenda. From the role played by Indira Gandhi to the tamasha of Amarinder’s own resignation from the Congress ostensibly to protest against the Operation Bluestar and the betrayal of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal by Rajiv Gandhi, everything can be discussed,” Mr Badal said.


Akalis encouraged militancy, says Mehta
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 21
Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee secretary Parminder Mehta has endorsed the demand of PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo to set up a high-level commission to enquire into the causes and expose the forces behind the decade-long violence in Punjab.

Talking to newsmen here yesterday, Mr Mehta claimed that truth could be exposed only with detailed enquiry made by a high-level commission. He alleged that Akalis always tried to play with the sentiments of the people of the state by encouraging militancy in the name of Sikh religion.

Commenting upon the statements of several Akali leaders, including SAD president Parkash Singh Badal, on the issue of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, he alleged that Akalis wanted to exploit and politicise the issue, but their all attempts would not be succeeded at any cost.


Mysterious disease strikes buffaloes
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, August 21
A mysterious disease has struck buffaloes in Patiala. In one case, a dairy farmer has lost his 10th buffalo to the disease. Despite the matter being reported to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, and the Animal Husbandry Department, the two departments failed to come to his rescues and in the meantime, the animal died. The farmer has also written to the Chief Minister, but to no effect.

The farmer is also trying to get in touch with soothsayers for a solution to his problem. Devinder Singh, son of the farmer said a senior officer of the Animal Husbandry Department, had expressed the fear that someone might be trying to poison his buffaloes. A team of experts from Jalandhar visited the farm, but it neither took any corrective steps nor went into the cause of the death of the 

The farmer, Daljeet Singh, a resident of Mathura Colony, Patiala, has a dairy farm with 80 heads of cattle. He said, “In March I noticed swelling on the neck of one of my buffaloes. The next day, the swelling increased and spread to the whole body. I consulted a local veterinary doctor, who prescribed antibiotics. Despite following the prescription, my buffalo died within days.”

The farmer said after two months his second buffalo died. He consulted the local government veterinary doctors. They, too, failed to diagnose the disease.

When the mysterious disease claimed the life of his fourth buffalo, he contacted Dr Mohan Singh, a Patiala-based veterinary doctor, who performed the autopsy. The report failed to pinpoint the reason behind the death.

On July 18, after his fifth buffalo died due to swelling, he wrote to the Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, PAU, Ludhiana, highlighting his plight. He alleged that despite going in for expensive treatment, he could not save his buffaloes. He requested the authorities to look into the matter and sought their help in diagnosing the disease. Copies of the letter were sent to the Chief Minister and the Director, Animal Husbandry, besides the Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Patiala.

After a few days, a team headed by Dr Hardeep Singh visited his farm and took random samples. They have not come to any conclusion. Devinder Singh added that when another buffalo died, he called PAU experts to conduct a postmortem. They allegedly did not pay heed to him and kept on instructing him and a local doctor on the phone about the postmortem. When he carried the body parts of the buffalo to PAU himself, he was told that they had failed to get the required blood samples. However, they prescribed penicillin.

When contacted, the Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Patiala, Dr Deena Nath, while denying the allegations said, “we are doing our best. A team of doctors is providing treatment. It has succeeded in saving a buffalo”. He admitted that he had never come across such a disease. He added that they were constantly in touch with PAU and the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL), Jalandhar. A team of the DDRL had taken samples yesterday.

Dr Deena Nath also suspected foul play.


Indian on Pak death row: sister writes to PM
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, August 21
Ms Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarbjit Singh whose death sentence was recently upheld by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, shot a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, here today seeking his intervention in the matter.

She threatened that if the Central Government failed to save her brother, all five members of the family of Sarbjit Singh would commit suicide. She said her brother was the victim of mistaken identity. The Pakistani judiciary had sentenced him mistaking him to be Manjit Singh who carried out a series of bomb blasts in Pakistan in 1990.

She stated in the letter that the government must use its good offices to convince the Pakistani government that Sarbjit Singh was innocent. She said the family would otherwise commit suicide on the day of the hanging of Sarbjit Singh.

She alleged that the Government of India had not taken up the case of her brother with its Pakistani counterpart.

Earlier, Mr Sheetal Das Kaler, Secretary, South Asian Human Rights Group, Canada chapter, had met Sarbjit Singh in Kot Lakhpat Rai Jail, Lahore.

His association had collected a substantial amount in Canada to file the review petition in the apex court of Pakistan.

The family members alleged that Sarabjit Singh had been arrested in an inebriated condition from the Kasoron border outpost by Pakistan Rangers.

The Government of India had assured to take up his case when his family members had met the then State Minister for External Affairs, Mr Vinod Khanna, in 2003.


Free us, Indian, Pak prisoners urge PMs
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, August 21
Desperate to return to their countries, Shahbaz, a Pakistani prisoner lodged in Amritsar jail, and Gurjit Singh, a Punjabi youth lodged at Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan, have appealed the Prime Ministers of both countries to initiate talks to pave the way for their release.

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, said he had received letters from both these prisoners.

In their letter from Kot Lakhpat jail dated August 13, Gaurav Singh, Gurjit Singh and Amolak Singh, said the marks of torture by the police of Turkey and Iran could still be seen on their bodies even after 32 months.

They said they lost all their money to deceiving travel agents who sold youths in countries like Iran and Turkey.

They said each person was sold off at least five times. They alleged that the Turkey police snatched whatever valuables and clothes they had and did not even spare foreign currency that they had concealed in their undergarments. They were all praise for Pakistan’s jail staff and prisoners. They had also raised the issue of the release of Pakistani prisoners lodged in Indian jails who had completed their jail term.

On the other hand, Shahbaz wrote there were over 50 Pakistani prisoners in Amritsar jail who had completed their term around five years ago and 24 of them were mentally disturbed. He said only a few of them were in good shape and their family members did not even know that they were alive.

Mr Bhullar said he, along with families of some Punjabi youths languishing in the Pak jail, would leave for New Delhi tomorrow. He said he had shot off missives to the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and his Pakistani counterpart, Mr Shaukat Aziz, to discuss the issue on the hotline so as to ensure the release of prisoners.


26 off-loaded from AI flight to Birmingham
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 21
As many as 26 passengers were off-loaded from the Air-India flight to Birmingham and Toronto in view of the overbooked flight emanating from Mumbai via Delhi.

The agitated passengers were later sent to Delhi by a special air-conditioned coach for taking flights to the UK and Canada.

The Station Manager of Air India, Mr Ashwani Arora, said that the Air-India flight had become very popular with a large number of NRI Punjabi population settled in the UK and Canada during its three months of operation. He said that the carrier had been facing this problem, as more and more passengers were opting for this flight. Mr Arora said it had been the general practice to accommodate such passengers through additional facilities, including stay in hotels and provide them seats on other flights. Special arrangement was also made for the off-loaded passengers so that they faced little inconvenience to reach their destination.

Meanwhile the passengers who could not board the Air-India flight pleaded with the airport staff to accommodate them in the flight but the airlines authorities expressed their inability to do so in view of the packed flight.

An aggrieved passenger, Ms Sushma Sharma, a club class ticket holder, who had to attend the marriage of her niece in Toronto on August 22, rued that she was carrying wedding gifts and other items, and now she was in a quandary as there was no chance of her attending the wedding.

Mr Vijay Gupta, a Canadian national, who had to join his job next week, faced a similar predicament, as he would not be able to report for duty on time.

Mr Arora, however, said that both these passengers did not carry confirmed tickets as their travel agent in Jalandhar had misled them that Air-India would definitely would provide them seats.

In view of the popularity of the Air India’s direct flight, the confederation of Indian Industry has sought more daily flights.


Purewal Citizenship Judge in Canada
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Dr Shinder P.S. Purewal, an NRI in Canada, had been appointed as a new Citizenship Judge there, his close friend said here today. His appointment had been announced by Mr Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

He is a respected academician and author in Surrey, British Columbia. Since obtaining his Ph.D in political science from Queen’s University in 1998, he has served as lecturer and Professor at Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the Queen’s University.

He has also been a research associate at the Simon Fraser University Institute of Governance Studies and at the Centre for Indian and South Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.

Citizenship Judges are appointed by the order-in-council and are responsible for making decisions with regard to applications, presiding over citizenship ceremonies and administering the oath of citizenship to new citizens.


Kang levels allegations against Cong MLA
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 21
Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, state organising secretary of the SAD, levelled serious allegations against Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa at a press conference here today. He said the court of SDJM Baba Bakala had issued non-bailable warrants against him in a cheating case. However, he alleged, due to connivance of senior police officials he was never arrested.

Refuting the allegations Mr Dimpa said he was only a witness in that case and two parties had reached a compromise. Hence, the case came to an end.

Mr Kang alleged that congress MLA’s name had figured in many land-grabb cases in his constituency. However, the police remained a mute spectator. He said the role of a DSP of the area was also questionable in all these cases. However, Mr Dimpa said there was no substance in these allegations.

The Akali leader and former chairman of Forest Corporation took exception of allegations leveled by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh that Shiromani committee’s money was used for organising a rally at Baba Bakala on the occasion of Rakhar Punnia. He claimed to have all documents related to expenditure made for organising the rally. He urged the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, to summon him to Akal Takht. He said Capt Amarinder Singh should feel sorry for this and should resign on moral grounds.

Mr Kang sought a CBI inquiry into alleged misuse of power and authority by certain vigilance and police officials. He said the Vigilance Bureau filed a supplementary challan in the court in the corruption charges against him. He said under a complete conspiracy, the accused officials prepared a false report dated August 8 that despite a request for acceptance of the summons, he (Mr Kang) refused to accept. He said he was out of station at that time and claimed to have documentary proof to prove it.


SAD councillor joins Cong
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 21
The Congress got a boost in the Gurdaspur Municipal Council yesterday as one of two SAD councillors joined the party. Ms Sita Devi, SAD councillor in Gurdaspur, joined the Congress at a function presided over by the president of the Municipal Council, Mr Raman Behl.

Mr Raman while talking to newsmen said that Ms Sita Devi joined the Congress after being disenchanted with the policies of SAD.


Illegal colonies coming up despite HC order
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot August 21
Despite the directives of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to reconsider the implementation of development scheme framed by the Pathankot Improvement Trust, known as “Timber Market and Truck Stand” the same is hanging fire causing a lot of inconvenience to public and direct losses to the state exchequer.

According to sources, the Trust had issued a notification under Section 36 of the Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1922. Approximately 300 acres of prime land within municipal limits was covered belonging to various land owners of villages Saili and Anandpur villages after holding a special meeting on March 30, 1971, by the Trust.

The High Court, while disposing of the writ petitions no. 2352 of 1991, had directed the Trust to reconsider the entire matter in consultation with the state government. Ironically, even after passing of the orders of the High Court, a large number of illegal colonies had mushroomed in the proposed land.

The sources revealed that there was none to stop the colonisers to raise constructions on the prohibited area. A large number of people had not only raised permanent structures over the land but the local authorities had sanctioned their site plans.

The revenue officials concerned had not stopped the sale deeds of the prohibited areas and thousands of structures had been raised. Even a large number of residents residing in these posh and semi posh localities had managed to arrange all civic amenities.

Not only the locals but the Trust and other government departments had reportedly permitted the unauthorised colonies to come up. It is widely said a “blue eyed ” employee of the Trust has masterminded all the illegal constructions.

It is pertinent to mention here that more than two dozen employees of the local self-government were charge-sheeted for getting the plan sanctioned and allowing unauthorised constructions.

When contacted, Executive Officer of the Trust said, he was reportedly away to Chandigarh in connection with some court case regarding illegal constructions over the Rehabilitation Department Land.

The Trust had already abandoned two schemes College Road and adjoining Civil Hospital development schemes with the proposed area of approximately 8.5 and 4 acre, respectively, in prime locations.

Meanwhile, taking suo motu cognizance of the news items published in The Tribune on August 3, “Improvement trust flouted rules” the Deputy Director Local Bodies, Amritsar, Mr G. S. Bal, has ordered a probe and summoned the relevant records from local Trust office.


Bank served false loan recovery notice, allege women
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, August 21
Thirty girls and married women were shocked when the Ghallu branch of Punjab National Bank served them notices for the recovery of installment of loan which they had reportedly never received.

One such notice for the recovery of Rs 81,953 as the first installment of loan, amounting to Rs 1,71,953, was served on Ms Seema Rani leader of one of the three groups of women, whose each group has 10 members.

Some of the affected families told newsmen here this evening that 15 of them had recorded their statements with the Tehsildar, posted at Fazilka, who had been entrusted with the investigation on complaints received by the state government.

According to the complaint, they were trained at the Handloom Training Centre at Khippanwali village in weaving bedsheets etc for six months. They were reportedly charged Rs 100 per month each. On the completion of the training, they were to receive Rs 7.5 lakh but only Rs 1 lakh had been paid. The Ghallu branch of Punjab National Bank had sanctioned loans on March 22, 2004, and started serving notices to the “beneficiaries” on June 20, 2005. A notice was also served on Mr Chuni Lal, who had signed as guarantor. Each beneficiary was to get Rs 5,000 as first installment of the government subsidy. The same was paid to 25 of them.

The affected families said that the Tehsildar of Fazilka had summoned them for recording statements on June 19 but no action had so far been taken because active members of the ruling party were allegedly involved in “siphoning off” the amount of loan.

The Sarpanch of Khippanwali village, when contacted on phone, refuted allegations suggesting a scam and said that the trained women were interested in getting amount in cash than preparing sheets etc. so they had only been paid the first installment of the subsidy. He blamed complainants of playing into the hands of his rivals, who were initially Congressmen but had now joined hands with the BJP. He, however, confirmed that the amount of loan had not been given to members of the self-help groups. “It was in safe hands and would be deposited in the bank shortly” he said. The Sarpanch also confirmed that each woman was to receive Rs 18,000 for buying raw material and the bank was supposed to release the amount to the supplier of raw material only.


Two brothers electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 21
A youth and a married woman today committed suicide in separate incidents here today.

According to sources, 22-year-old Sonu, a resident of Mata Rani Gali, committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan when his family members had gone out. He took the extreme step due to some family problem. His body has been sent for a post-mortem examination.

In another incident, Sonia, who was a member of an orchestra group, committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan. Sources said she had got married recently to a man who had children from his first marriage too.

Surprisingly, neither her husband nor her parents received her body after a post-mortem examination and Sahara volunteers performed her last rites.

In yet another incident, two brothers were electrocuted in Rama Mandi today. The deceased were identified as 16-year-old Dinesh Kumar and 14-year-old Rakesh Kumar. They were both engaged in some work at their newly constructed home.

Sources said an iron rod kept at home came in contact with electric wires passing through its front portion, resulting in the electrocution of Dinesh.

When Rakesh ran to save him he too got electrocuted. Both of them were declared brought dead at the local Government Hospital.


Shramdan at Kanjli wetland
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, August 21
The shramdan at Kanjli wetland evoked a good response from local residents and those from adjoining villages. Students, employees of different government departments and environmentalist Sant Baba Balbir Singh Seenchewal and his followers also took part in the shramdan.

Mr Sameer Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, students of Kamalia Khalsa High School, MDSD High School, and Mandi Harding Ganj High School and employees of various government departments reached the spot to contribute in the movement. Students were involved in extracting wild grass on the banks of Kali Bein, while others were extracting the hyacinth from Bein using the boats.

The wetland, measuring 183 hectares, was declared a national wetland in 1988 and recognised in 2002 at the international level. It is losing its charm due to the cropping up of hyacinth in the Kali Bein, which is resulting in the shrinking of its area and deposition of silt on its bed.

Due to effluents drained in the Kali Bein by industries and villages situated on its 170 km-long bank, the number of fish in it has been diminishing and the number of migratory birds has also been decreasing. Some fish were found dead in the Bein in the recent past only.

After Sant Baba Seenchewal held kar seva of Bein at the Kanjli wetland and cleaned all hyacinth last year, wild shrubs resurfaced due to lack of flow of water in the Bein. Later, on his motivation 68 panchayats pledged not to drain sewage of their villages in the Bein on the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5 last year.


Blood donation camp in memory of Longowal
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 21
Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor, Tamil Nadu, today inaugurated a blood donation camp and free medical check-up camp. The camps were organised in memory of late Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

The camps were organised by the Malwa Sabhyacharak And Welfare Club at Barnala to commemorate Sant Longowal for his contribution to the society in promoting peace, communal harmony and national integration.

While remembering Sant Longowal, Mr Barnala called upon Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and voluntary social organisations to continue doing such noble and social welfare project for the society.

Mr Barnala said in the Southern India the culture of social welfare was quite popular one.

Mr Gurjinder Singh Sidhu, president of the club, said Dr John Abrahams of Christian Medical College (CMC), Ludhiana, led 45 member team of doctors and para-medical staff. They examined 600 patients of Barnala region.

Mr Sidhu further revealed that 10 tricycles, 15 hearing machines and 15 set of crutches were offered to needy patients. He said 45 units of blood collected at the blood donation camp.


'Village of drug addicts'
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, August 21
More than 100 cases have been registered under NDPS Act this year and 4 lakh ml of illicit liquor seized from residents of Lattiyanwal village in Sultanpur Lodhi subdivision in this district. Most of the males in the village are drug addicts and are engaged in manufacture and smuggling of illicit liquor and drugs.

As most of the families are engaged in farm labour, they are never certain about getting work in farms regularly.

Barring one family of Jat Sikhs, one family of Banias and one family of Ramgarhias, all others belong to Rai Sikhs and Mazhabi Sikhs out of which not more than 15 families have sufficient cultivable land holdings and the rest have no other option but to work as farm labour on daily-wage basis.

Lack of job opportunities in the area due to absence of industries force the people to work at farms at wages as low as Rs 40 per day. The amount is slightly higher in the paddy season.

The underground water level in the village has fallen to 200 feet and all hand pumps in the village have been rendered useless. For water, the people are dependent on the gurdwara pump or tubewells in the fields.

Quarrels between landlords and labourers are a routine affair. There is no arrangement for toilets in the village.

“The government considers us as residents of the state only at the time of elections. Otherwise they have done nothing to improve our living conditions,” rued Sarpanch Onkar Singh.

The building of the only primary school of the village is under construction for years and two teachers are deputed there.

“Though the government has not provided the village school adequate staff, parents of students studying in classes three to five decided to pay from their pockets as they don’t want the children to become a farm labourers and face the difficulties which we are facing,” said Mr Jagir Singh, a villager.


Painter laments bureaucratic interference
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 21
The 74-year-old noted painter Anand Dev, who remained chairperson of Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi, for record 20 years, said that unnecessary bureaucratic interference had marred the efficiency of premium academy of artists in the country.

Dev was here to participate in the five-day All India Art Exhibition, which started at Thakur Singh Art Gallery on Friday. He remained the chairperson of the Academy from 1972 to 1992. He said the Academy, which was established in 1954, was democratised in 1974 with the involvement of 15 artists across the country in its panel.

However, the government subsequently specified the powers of head of the Academy resulting in more than necessary interference of bureaucrats. He said, for instance, the government was handling external programmes. The artists selected by bureaucrats and not by senior painters were taken to the foreign exhibitions.

Apart from this, he said, the government was not evincing keen interest to promote and develop the art. Earlier, annual Kala Melas used to be organised at different cities but the government had discontinued releasing funds. He said from 1980 to 1992, five regional centers were set up at Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Delhi and Chennai. Thereafter, no centre was established when there was great need to do to promote the art and provide platform to artists, he added.

As many as 75 paintings of 65 artists were displayed in today’s exhibition. The national level exhibition was organized by WISDOM Society of Creative Arts, New Delhi, in collaboration with The Indian Academy of Fine Arts, Amritsar.

Harish Srivastava, president of the society, said that first part of the exhibition was held successfully at Delhi. He said afterwards they would hold exhibitions at Jammu and Jaipur.


Ghazal cassette released
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 21
“Khushboo,” the fourth audio album of ghazals rendered by Dr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Editor -in-chief of Ajit Group of Publications, was released here on Saturday night.

The album is a collection of ghazals, penned down by renowned Urdu poets such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi, Ameer Kazalbash, Abdul Hameed Adam, Moeain Ahsan Jazbi and Firaq Gorakhpuri. The music has been composed by prominent music director, Jawala Parsad.

Though all numbers of ‘Khushboo’ have been selected by Dr Barjinder Singh. The rendition of “Woh Sarfiri Hawa Thi,” and, “Marne Ki Dua Kiyon Maangoon,” was marvelous. The album concludes with “Yeh Mana Zindagi Hai Chaar Din Ki,” of Firaq Gorakhpuri.


Clot bust therapy for paralytics
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 21
Dr Ashok Uppal, a Neurologist, on Wednesday claimed that he was the first one in the country to start a revolutionary form of treatment for stroke patients known as clot bust therapy (CBT). He said “Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology” had acknowledged his experience as the first case in the country.

Dr Uppal, talking to mediapersons, said the CBT was a new technique in which TPA injection was given on the one hand and on the other hand, Trans-cranial doppler (TCD) machine was used on the head. By its continuous 2 MHz waves, it broke the clot and exposed it to the TPA which dissolved the clot in the blood vessels of brain and the patients recovered within two to three hours. He said the CBT not only corrected paralysis, but also prevented further damage if given in the first three hours.

If a patient complained of disturbances or loss of speech or weakness or numbness of one side of face or body or severe giddiness, loss of balance and then falling, these would all be the initial symptoms of paralysis. He said if the patient was treated within the first 2-3 hours, success could even be 100 per cent, with some variations.


Jayanti Devi temple to be on tourism map soon
Tribune News Service

Kharar, August 21
The historical Mata Jayanti Devi temple at Mullapur Garibdass, near Chandigarh, is soon going to be on the rural tourism map of India. A meeting to discuss the proposed status for the temple was held at the SDM Kharar’s office today.

A large number of devotees throng the temple built on the top of a hill in the village through out the year. One of the largest events of the year for this otherwise sleepy village is the maghi celebrations at the temple. The temple is considered to be more than 500 years old.

The SDM, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, today called representatives of the Mata Jayanti Devi Mandir Prabandhak Langar Committee, Mullanpur Garbidass, that was involved in organising various festivals at the temple.


Camp on cancer
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 21
A seminar on lung and eye cancer was organised by Mrs Nirmal Verma Memorial Cancer Society at Amar Ashram on Thursday. Dr Kaustubh Sharma, SP, Patiala, delivered a detailed talk on symptoms detection and cure of lung and eye cancer.

Dr Sharma had worked at the AIIMS before joining the police services. The seminar was chaired by cardiologist Dr B.K Chopra.

The President of the society, Mr Sudesh Verma, announced that a general check-up camp for cancer detection will start in the first week of September, where 50 persons would be examined.

He said in a year about 2400 patients would be examined by renowned gynaecologist of the city and radiotherapist of the local Government Rajindera Hospital.

Mr Mohan Lal Gupta, advocate, Prof Manmohan Sehgal, Dr Harjot Bagga, Dr Yoginder Bakshi, Col Karminder Singh, Mr Prem Handa, Mr Nirmal Singh Jassi, Mr Sharesht Verma and Mr Lakhwinder Sareen were also present.


Poor development of area angers residents
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 21
Hundreds of residents belonging to more than a dozen colonies on Ajnala Road today blocked the road leading to Rajasansi airport, protesting against the non-development of the area.

The agitators burnt the effigy of Mr Sunil Datti, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, and raised slogans against the MC authorities. The traffic remained suspended for several hours.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gurjit Singh Aujala of the Sri Guru Amardas Avenue Welfare Society, alleged that the Ganda Nullah, passing through the area had contaminated the drinking water and resulted in a number of deaths. He alleged the chemical wastes from industries were also polluting the nullah. He alleged the MC had neither planned to cover the nullah nor installed water treatment plants.


Security slack at railway station
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, August 21
The recovery of two hand grenades from Pathankot railway station recently and a blast in Shramjeevi Express train coming from Patna to Delhi a few days back do not seem to be adequate reasons for extra alertness as far as Phagwara railway police is concerned.

The Phagwara station, through which as many as 60 trains pass daily remains, vulnerable to terrorist attacks due to lack of foolproof security measures. Passengers have an unchecked entry to the railway station through various points. With the influx of migrant labourers, the station has allegedly become a haven for criminal activities, especially at night.

There is no metal detector at the railway station. Entry point to the station many a times was found unmanned. The compartments went unchecked even as intelligence reports had warned that slack security could pose a threat to railway station in the Ferozepur Railway Division.

Intelligence reports said strict vigil should be kept on railway bridges and tracks in view of the terrorist threat in the region and the passengers boarding and getting down at small stations should be searched properly.


Singh Bandhu presented award
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 21
Music maestros Singh Bandhu were presented Punjab Today’s ‘Punjabi of the Year’ award for year 2004 at a solemn, but impressive, function at Central Library here last evening.

The award for 2003 was to be given to late Sunil Dutt, former Sports Minister, social worker and filmstar. His son-in-law Kumar Gurav was to receive the award but could not come due to delay in connecting flight from Delhi to Chandigarh. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejvir Singh, and the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, jointly received the award on behalf of his family.


Skeleton identified
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 21
The partial skeleton recovered yesterday by the police from a sugarcane field at Mehtan village has reportedly been identified.

It was said to be that of a college student Shiva of New Satnampura mohalla. Shiva had been missing since July 27.


Lok Adalat settles 179 cases
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 21
As many as 179 cases were disposed of and more than Rs 48 lakh settled during quarterly Lok Adalat organised by the District Legal Services Authority, Patiala, in the Judicial Courts Complex here yesterday. As many as 292 cases were taken up by the Adalat.

Most of the cases were of matrimonial disputes. Others came under the preview of the Negotiable Instruments Act or were accident claims.


Malwa’s farmers go moneylenders’ way
Maintain books on farm practices
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 21
With cost of agricultural inputs rising and profit declining, farmers of the Malwa region have become pennywise. Over 3,000 farmers hailing from 25 villages of the region have started maintaining “bahi khatas” (account books) on the lines of moneylenders.

Mr Jagtar Singh, an educated farmer of Kotha Guru village, told The Tribune “bahi khatas” were the only way to limit unnecessary expenses and add to whatever little savings one had. Gurmail Singh of Gehri Butar village said not maintaining record of farming expenses was one of the primary reasons behind the area’s farmers becoming debt-ridden. He said earlier only commission agents used to keep their records that they were tinkering with to reduce their profit margin. Malkit Singh of Gehri Bara Singh village, who was under a debt of Rs 4 lakh, said earlier moneylenders used to keep record of their expenses like diesel and spray, but now with “bahi khatas” being introduced to them they know how moneylenders duped them. Now, he is confident of returning the money he borrowed from moneylenders.

Sources said despite being educated farmers never thought of keeping a record of expenses incurred and profit made. But, efforts of Mr SP Oswal, chairman of Vardhman Group, bore fruit and farmers of 25 villages, which have been adopted by the consortium of some leading spinning mills of Punjab along with two nationalised banks led by Vardhman for increasing their productivity of cotton, began the practice of maintaining records. “It is only when we treat farming as industry, keep all records, monitor income and output only then can we make agriculture a profitable industry” is what Oswal told them.

Mr IJ Dhuria, Chief Commercial Manager, Vardhman, said “bahi khatas” help farmers know about their input costs and also the per acre return. He said the company aims at changing attitude of the farmers so that they become conscious of small things that can make big difference to their profit. Adoption of villages that started with a aim to treat agriculture as an industry led to a successful trial at Navan village in 2003 and five villages last year.

Mr Dhuria said a large number of people were approaching them with the request to adopt their village also, but Vardhman believed in working in a planned manner. He said they are going to adopt as many as 500 villages in the next five years in clustered approach.


Bacterial blight hits paddy crop
Ashok Grover

Jalalabad, August 21
Deadly disease bacterial leaf blight has hit paddy crop in this border belt. There is panic among farmers as there is no immediate remedy available to treat this disease.

The disease is widespread in the entire Ferozepore district and in the border belt of Mamdot to Fazilka, where the effect of the blight is clearly visible. The affected villages in Jalalabad block are Kathgarh, Vairoke, Dhab Khushal, Shahbaj Ke and Alam Ke. The 3-acre paddy crop of Chanan Ram of Chak Sukkar village has been completely damaged due to the disease.

According to agriculture experts, as a symptom of the disease, a yellow line appears along the border of the leaf and the leaf starts shrinking and bending from its end.

Mr Teja Singh, local Block Agriculture Officer, said a team of agriculture experts from Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) visited the affected fields a few days back. He said the disease had spread due to high temperature and humidity. He said according to the PAU experts, an overdose of urea was one of the prominent reasons for the disease. He said the maximum recommended dose of urea for 1 acre farm was 110 kg, whereas farmers were using dose of 150 kg per acre. Moreover, the dosing of urea fertilizers should have been completed in 42 days from the sowing of the paddy crop.

Mr Teja Singh said as advised by the PAU experts, the pesticide spray had no effect on the disease. He advised the farmers not to spray any kind of pesticide, especially in the affected fields.

However, he said in case of symptoms, advice of experts should, be sought, as other diseases with same symptoms like blast and sheet blight could be controlled by pesticides.

The watering from the affected farms should also be avoided as the bacteria of the disease spread with water, he observed.

Mr Ram Chand, a farmer of Kamre Wala village, said many pesticides dealers were exploiting the affected farmers in this situation.


Elevated road project mooted for Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 21
To counter the problem of acute traffic congestion being faced by residents of the city for the past many years, an ambitious multi-crore proposal has been drafted by the Municipal Corporation (MC) that proposes to initiate the first-ever elevated road project here.

According to the preliminary draft, the proposal is estimated to cost Rs 196 crore and will have multi-lanes to ease traffic at several points, which are considered traffic bottlenecks.

Mayor Sunil Datti said 20 per cent of the cost was proposed to be borne by the MC, while the rest was sought to be borne by the state and the Centre.

In this regard, a meeting has been scheduled with Chief Minister on August 29 in Chandigarh, he said.

The elevated road is proposed to run 3.43 km over the reinforced piers/walls across the city. The proposed width of the “deck-slab” will be 16.9 metres.

As per the project, a four-lane elevated road from Sri Guru Ram Dass Dental College, GT Road, to the railway station has been framed.

It will have multiple approaches from Phoola Singh Road, newly built bus stand, railway station, Hukam Singh Road and Chali Khoo Road.

A feasibility report has also been prepared for a dual carriageway from Baba Phoola Singh Road junction at GT Road to Golden Temple.

The proposed elevated roads will be designed to provide direct access to vehicles coming from either Wagah Border or from Delhi/Chandigarh to Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh.

The report adds that at the existing GT Road a provision for a dual lane with service road and footpaths on either sides have been drafted for the length of the elevated road.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that global tenders will be invited for the proposed project and a Malaysian firm is already being considered among the “favourites”.


MC turns blind eye to encroachment
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Batala, august 21
The role of the Batala Municipal Council in the case of encroachment on its land has raised many eyebrows. Some persons started raising walls around the prime land on the Kanuwan road in Batala about a month ago.

The local councillors and residents raised a hue and cry. The matter was brought to the notice of the higher authorities of the local governments department when the Batala Municipal Council authorities failed to take action. The authorities rang up the Batala SSP, Mr Jatinder Jain, and the Deputy Commissioner Gurdaspur, Mr Vivek Pratap, to get the encroachments stopped.

The authorities sent the police force to get the encroachment stopped. However, the council authorities failed to remove the encroachments. Only the person involved was asked to stop the work of raising illegal structure on the disputed land for some time.

After that local council authorities turned a blind eye over the issue. The illegally raised structure on the council land was still standing but no action was being taken to remove it. The action was not being taken despite the fact that a majority of councillor passed a resolution seeking action in the matter.

The president of the Batala Municipal Council, Mr Subhash Sekri, when contacted stated that the land in dispute was earlier an octroi post. It was given on rent by the council to a person. The tenant started raising wall around the land about a month ago. The working of raising structure in the disputed land has been stopped. However, the council till date has not issued a notice to remove illegal structure, he said.

When asked about the reason for delay in removing the encroachment, Mr Sekri said that he had joined office after about a two month leave and was not aware of the details of the case.

The executive officer of the Batala Municipal Council was not available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact him.

The SSP Batala said that the police help was provided in the case after the higher authorities of the local government department asked for it. However, the action in matter was to be taken by the Municipal Council and not the police.

The Deputy Commissioner said that after receiving information from the higher authorities of local government, he got the construction work stopped. However, further action to remove the encroachment was to be taken by the local council.

The sources available here revealed that no action was being taken to remove the encroachment from the council due to the alleged interference of senior Congress leader of the town. The council authorities were buying time so that the controversy over issue settles down and prime council land is encroached upon by the people with political backing.


Thousands benefit from Lok Suvidha camp
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib,  August 21
The district administration organised a Lok Suvidha camp at Sonti village in Amloh subdivision of the district on Thursday. Thousands of people queued up from the early morning to get their works done and the camp proved a boon for the people of the area, who were fed up with repeated visits to various government offices for getting their work done. Mr Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Parliamentary Secretary along with the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jaspreet Talwar, inaugurated the camp and listened to the grievances of the people.

After the camp many people while talking to The Tribune said it was like a dream come true and they had never imagined that their grievances would be redressed at their doorsteps within minutes. People of the area were of the view that if the government continued to organise such camps in future, the people might get relief from corruption prevailing in various government offices, particularly revenue offices.

Mr Dharmsot said the Chief Minister had directed to organise such camps in all the subdivisions, so that the grievances of the people were redressed at their doorsteps.

The Deputy Commissioner told The Tribune that this was the third suvidha camp in the district and the response of the people was over whelming. She said the fourth camp would be organised in Fatehgarh Sahib subdivision. She said in the camp more than 3,000 persons from the area came to get their grievance redressed.

Heavy rush was witnessed at the counter of the Health Department, where thousands of people stood in a queue since morning for free medical check-up and the line continued till late in the evening. Dr H.P.S. Sandhu, Civil Surgeon, said more than 2,500 persons were examined by a team of doctors.

Ms Amrit Bala, District Social Security Officer, said the forms of more than 200 pension seekers were completed.

Mr Rajesh Tripathi, District Transport Officer, said more than 300 learning driving licenses were issued.


Dy Director held taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has arrested a Deputy Director, Agriculture, and a doctor in separate corruption cases.

A spokesman of Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, said here today Subash Chander Khurana, Deputy Director, Agriculture Department, posted at headquarter here, was allegedly caught red handed while accepting Rs 10,000 as bribe by a Vigilance team lead by Mr Kashmir Singh DSP (Vigilance Bureau), Amritsar, on the complaint of Mr Jatinder Singh of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, Amritsar. The complainant alleged that the accused Deputy Director was demanding Rs 20,000 for not taking sample from his pesticide shop.

A deal was struck at Rs 10,000 and vigilance team laid a trap to nab the accused. The money was recovered from his possession, bureau spokesman said.

After a search of his house at Patiala, Rs 40,000 in cash, fixed deposits worth Rs 5 lakh, three bank account passbooks containing an amount of Rs 4.40 lakh, gold 5 tola and a Santro car was recovered by the vigilance team. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against him at Amritsar. Further investigation was under progress, said the spokesman.

In an other corruption case Dr Avinish Sood, ENT specialist posted at Civil Hospital Hoshiarpur, had been arrested by a vigilance team headed by Mr Ram Asra, DSP, Hoshiarpur, for amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income. A vigilance enquiry was conducted in this regard and the above accused was found guilty for having disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 18.70 lakh. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against him, he added.


Man wanted in 12 cases held
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 21
The police here nabbed the most wanted criminal, Joginder, alias Sukha, involved in 12 cases of extortion, bank robbery, theft of cars at various places in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

At a press conference Mr Sudhanshu Srivastava, SSP, said Sukha was arrested in Jalalabad yesterday, when he with his wife Mamta was travelling in a stolen Santro car (HR-24 G9881). He added that after information about his movement in that area, the police laid a trap on the outskirts of Jalalabad.

Mr Srivastava said in the evening when the police spotted Sukha travelling in a car, he was signalled to pull in. Noticing the police, Sukha was frightened and not able to flee. He said while an ASI Shinder Pal Singh ahead to arrest Sukha, he tried to take out his country-made pistol from his pocket and fired from the pistol which hurt the ASI in his arm. The ASI was rushed to hospital and Joginder, alias Sukha, was arrested by the police.

The SSP added that other members of Sukha’s gang which included Baljinder Singh, alias Babbu, Bachittar Singh, Makhan Singh, Dalbir Singh and Sarvan Singh were arrested earlier.

The SSP added that the gang was involved in a robbery at Oriental Bank in Uttaranchal when it decamped with Rs 19 lakh from a petrol station in Talwara. He added with Sukha’s arrest nine cases of bank robbery, car theft and money extortion are likely to be solved. Sukha was wanted for cases registered in Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Patiala and Sangrur. He was wanted by the Haryana and Rajashthan police also, claimed the SSP.


Girl shot by drunk father
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 21
A man shot his daughter at Kotkapura, 12 km from here, this afternoon under the influence of liquor.

Jaswinder Singh, an industry inspector, posted at Moga, killed his daughter Sharanjit Kaur (19) at about 3 pm and fled away with the gun.

Mr Bakshish Singh, DSP (D), Faridkot, who reached the spot, told mediapersons that Jaswinder after consuming liquor often used to quarrel with his family.

This afternoon, the same thing happened and when his daughter intervened to save her mother, she became a victim.

The body has been sent to the Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital here for a post-mortem.


Tantriks escape with 150 gm of gold
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 21
Two tantriks reportedly duped a woman of 150 gm of gold and fled at Goniana Mandi, near here, today. The police has registered a case and launched a hunt to nab them.

According to sources, the accused, Surinder Kumar and Sanju Kumar, were earlier residing at the local dharamshala. Later, they developed proximity with Anita Rani who got them a rented accommodation near here home.

She recently told them about her family members remaining ill for most of the time. They asked her to leave her gold with them for a day and assured her to find a solution to her problem. She kept the gold in their home one day, but was stunned to find nobody there the next day.

First, she raised hue and cry about “theft” of gold, but when the matter reached the police she spilled the beans. Both the accused have been booked under Section 420 of the IPC and police teams have been sent to nab them.


Troubled by ‘spirit’, man injures neighbour
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, August 21
A resident of Manakpur Kheri village attacked his neighbour with a sword, claiming that he was being troubled in sleep by her brother-in-law’s spirit, near here this afternoon. He said the mother-in-law of the woman had occult powers.

Surinder Sood, a resident of village, took a sword and stormed into the house of Usha Rani. He allegedly attacked her thrice. The victim sustained two injuries on her left arm.

According to villagers, Usha Rani and her sister Santosh were in the house when the assailant barged in. Santosh had become a widow two years ago.

A week ago Surinder Sood had called Usha’s mother-in-law a witch, the villagers said.

Today morning, members of the village panchayat headed by Mr Surinder Kumar, alias Bittu, decided to take Surinder Sood to a temple.

Usha Rani was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura. The police is searching for the assailant.


Veterinary university in financial mess
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
The newly set up Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University has started functioning with a deficit and has to depend on the parent university, Punjab Agricultural University, to meet its day-to-day expenses. The Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, which came into being on August 9, is already worth Rs 21 lakh to the PAU.

The Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, has issued instructions to the authorities concerned to meet the day-to-day expenses of the veterinary university till August 31. The veterinary university had got 14 vehicles from the PAU and the same will get petrol from the PAU filling station will August 31. Similarly, the other expenses will also be met with the PAU help.

Enquiries made by The Tribune reveal that the state government simply enacted a law for the establishments of the veterinary university and the college of veterinary sciences affiliated with the PAU has been separated and made a part of the veterinary university. The government has not made any additional allocation of funds for the new university and the present allocation of the college of veterinary sciences will only meet the expenses of the new university.

Enquiries further show that the college of veterinary sciences (now veterinary university) has received Rs 56 lakh from the ICAR so far under the scheme funded by the ICAR. Some more funds are expected from the ICAR. Besides, the admission of NRI students has brought fees worth Rs 80 lakh.

The total income of the college of veterinary sciences to about Rs 1.60 crore from its own sources, including tuition fee of the students.

The Punjab Government gives a grant of Rs 10 crore to the college of veterinary sciences every year which is not even sufficient to meet the salary component of the staff.

The veterinary university will have to have some senior posts filled, including those of Director of Research, Director of Extension Education and Registrar and Director, Students Welfare. The government has appointed Mr D.S. Bains, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, acting Vice-Chancellor till the appointment of a regular Vice-Chancellor.

The major questions before the new university is from which sources it will receive funds to run the university smoothly. No doubt, the new university has managed to get some prime land belonging to the PAU through the Veterinary Act and the sale of the same will fetch a handsome amount.

Meanwhile, the PAU is also facing financial problems and the Vice-Chancellor, while making a presentation to the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has pointed out that the state government has not granted Rs 10 crore meant for salaries of the PAU teaching and non-teaching staff for March. The university had to pay the salaries from its own funds.


PCCTU to protest on August 23, 25
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 21
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) will observe save education day on August 23, and poll manifesto reminder day on August 25, by observing a two-hour strike from 12 noon to 2 pm on both days in protest against the anti-education policies of the Punjab government and the non-implementation of poll promises made in its manifesto.

PCCTU sources today said gate rallies and campus dharnas would also be held on both days. The union would observe Teachers Day on September 5, as ‘Protest Day’ by resorting to a statewide strike in colleges.

The strikers will converge in front of the DPI (C) office that day at Chandigarh, and march to Matka Chowk. They will hold a state-level protest rally there on September 5.

Failure of the Punjab government to restore grants to 95 per cent, non-implementation of pension-cum-gratuity scheme as enshrined in ruling party’s poll manifesto of February 2002, ban on recruitment, threat of retrenchment, non-merger of 50 per cent DA and threat to phase out grants are some of the sore points of teachers working in 170 non-govt colleges, added the union sources.


Foundation stone laid
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 21
Mr Hemant Contractor, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India (SBI), laid the foundation stone of a nursing college at Adesh Institute of Medical Sciences and Research here on Saturday.

The college will offer three years’ general nursing and midwifery (GNM) course to 100 students from this session. From the next session it will offer B.Sc nursing with 60 seats, post basic B.Sc nursing with 50 seats and from the session 2007, M.Sc in nursing. — OC


Direct allotment letters for industrial plot holders
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 21
In a move that is expected to give relief to hundreds of industrial plot holders in the state, the Punjab Government has decided to scrap the system of letters of intent (LOI) issued to the allottees over the years, thereby putting an end to the entire system of issuing LOIs. These LOIs would be automatically converted into regular allotment letters, dispensing with a host of conditions that had to be fulfilled before regular allotment letters could be issued to LOI holders.

The government has also framed uniform extension and transfer clauses for all industrial plot holders in the state. These decisions are part of various modifications recently okayed by the Punjab Chief Minister to the land allotment policy being followed by the Department of Industries and Commerce.

LOIs were being issued by the department since 1998 to allottees of industrial plots in the state. In 2002, while the LOI system continued for allotments under the off-the-shelf scheme, general allottees started being issued regular letters of allotments. LOI holders had to fulfil a host of conditions and a chain of formalities in order to take the possession of the plot and a regular allotment letter from the department. Hundreds of LOI holders defaulted in these conditions, leading to losses to the department on one hand and the plot holder on the other.

In this new no-LOI regime, a regular allotment letter would be issued in the first instance and the allottee would be required to bring the unit in production within three years from date of allotment. In case the allottee failed to bring the unit into production during this period he would be allowed extension after payment of extension fee calculated at the rate of 1 per cent of the current reserve price of the land fixed by the department for every extended year.

“This new extension rule would be applicable to not just LOI holders and future allottees in both general and off the shelf schemes, but also to all the allotments of plots made in the state effective from the expiry of the last permissible period. This was a golden opportunity for those defaulting industrial plot holders who had due to various reasons not been able to fulfil the various conditions and not started production,” pointed out Mr S.C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Punjab.

Dispensing away with a multiple set of transfer rules that governed various categories of allotment, the department has also adopted a uniform policy with regards to the transfer of industrial plots. Under the new policy, the transfer of the plot/land would be allowed following the payment of a transfer fee equivalent to 3 per cent of the current price of the plot fixed by the department in the concerned focal point or area operative at the time of allowing the transfer. However, some categories of plots have been exempted from payment of a transfer fee.


Coop sugar mill returns stake to govt
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Batala, August 21
The Batala Cooperative Sugar Mill has returned the government share in the institution. Sources said the government’s share of Rs 72.50 lakh invested in the mill had been deposited by the mill management in the government treasury.

Earlier, the government had 35 per cent stake in the mill while 65 per cent stake was held by farmers and the local cooperative societies. After returning the share the entire stake in the mill had been transferred to the farmers and cooperative societies.

The sources said the management had decided to return the government stake to block the move to privatise the mill. The government had earlier decided to sell out all cooperative sugar mills in the state on the plea that they were incurring losses. This year, however, nine of the 12 cooperative sugar mills had registered profit, due to which the privatisation move had been shelved by the government.

With Batala sugar mill now returning the government share, questions are being raised about the locus standi of the government over the mill. Workers of the mill are maintaining that the government has now no right to sell off the mill as it has no stake in it.

Higher officials, however, said the matter was still to be legally clarified. As per the Cooperative Act, besides the elected directors, representative of the Registrar, cooperative societies is always nominated is member. By virtue of that the government can always have a say in the matters of the cooperative mills. However, with no share holding they cannot impose anything on the mill management.

During the regime of the previous SAD/BJP government, no quota was given to the cooperative sugar mills.

It was only after the present Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, threatened to stop the sale of outside sugar in Punjab that the state cooperative mills started getting their due quota.

However, the issue of sale of molasses produced by the cooperative sugar mills at low prices to distilleries was unresolved. While private sugar mills sold molasses at the rates Rs 350 to Rs 500 per quintal, the cooperative sugar mills were forced to sell the product at Rs 75 per quintal.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |