P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab’s cotton being sold in Haryana
Bid to evade market fee, sales tax
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 17
A section of cotton traders from Punjab is selling the cotton in the markets of Haryana after making direct purchase from villages in a clandestine manner. Experts say the trend is causing huge losses to the state’s exchequer as these traders were indulging in evasion of market fee as well as sales tax.

Sources said cotton arrival had declined in markets in the past 10-15 days. A cotton exporter attributed the trend to poor quality of cotton in Haryana.

He said some traders were making cotton purchase from border stations like Budhlada, Sardulgarh, Bareta and Rama Mandi and selling it in Sirsa and also Hisar.

He received a call from a factory owner from Hisar for ginned Punjab cotton. He said factory owners in Punjab would now have to offer good prices to retain cotton in the state. In wake of poor quality cotton in Haryana, ginners had no option but to purchase cotton from Punjab.

He said the trend was also witnessed in the previous years. He said the state’s farmer stand to gain, as decline in cotton arrival would further boost its prices in coming days. His observation came true today only as cotton fetched a high of Rs 2,000 in the local market, which saw a decline of about 1,000 quintals in daily cotton arrival over the last few days.

A ginning mill owner said the scenario had changed in the last about fortnight and the cotton arrival in Gidderbaha, Malout, Abohar and Fazilka had registered a decline of over 50 per cent.

He said he was not getting even 50 per cent of his actual demand. He said the Punjab Government should take immediate measures to check the flow of the state’s cotton to Haryana.

He rued that if the trend continued the ginning mill owners as well as the state government would suffer huge losses despite having a bumper cotton crop.

Mr Bhagwan Bansal, president of the Punjab Cotton Factories & Ginners Association, claimed that scores of trollies loaded with cotton were entering into Haryana through Dabwali and Sardulgarh barriers and the government was suffering huge revenue losses.

Deputy Commissioner Rahul Bhandari said he would direct the market committee and sales tax officials to take necessary measures to check such activity.

Mansa DC Raj Kamal Chaudhuri said they were keeping a close watch in this regard, but still he would ask officials to be strict.


Child’s death: parents write to Hooda
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
The parents of Master Neeraj Jain, a student of Shree Atam Jain Sharman Upasak Vallabh Gurukul, Ambala, who was found dead in his hostel room on the night of November 9 and 10, have written to the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice D.K. Jain, seeking their intervention in bringing the accused to the book.

Harish Jain and Archana Jain are too shattered to talk anything. They said although an FIR has been registered in Ambala City police station under Section 302 of the IPC, not all the persons have been arrested. They alleged that the police had arrested only one person while the other person, whom they held equally responsible for the murder, was moving around freely.

They alleged that the school management tried to hush up the case.

They alleged that on the morning of November 10 they received a call from the school that Neeraj had passed away in sleep apparently due to cardiac arrest. The school management wanted that they take the body themselves to Ludhiana. However, when the parents accompanied by some relatives and friends went to the school, they found injury marks on the neck of Neeraj. Later the post-mortem examination revealed that he had been strangulated.

Suspecting foul play, as the management had not even called the police till they reached there, they have been demanding an independent inquiry into the murder. They asked as how could police let anyone go free when he had been booked under Section 302.

In the representation to the Chief Minister and the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Harish and Archana said: “Only hostel cook has been arrested and it looks police is going soft with the management who is trying to hush up the case and have also tried to destroy the evidence”.

The parents have asked why the management did not refer the student to a doctor or take him to a hospital. And why it did not inform the police and wanted the body to be rushed to Ludhiana instead.

They claimed that even the local doctor had tried to make them believe that the 10-year-old Neeraj had died of heart attack.


Decision unacceptable to Panth: Vedanti
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Giani Iqbal Singh and Giani Rattan Singh, Jathedar and Deputy Jathedar of Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, respectively, while leaving for Pakistan to attend a meeting of the international advisory board of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee
Giani Iqbal Singh (left) and Giani Rattan Singh (right), Jathedar and Deputy Jathedar of Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, respectively, while leaving for Pakistan to attend a meeting of the international advisory board of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, at Wagah in Amritsar on Thursday. — Photo by Rajeev Sharma

Wagah, November 17
Even as Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Patna Sahib, and Giani Rattan Singh, Deputy Jathedar, Takht Hazoor Sahib, who returned from Pakistan after attending the first meeting of ‘International Advisory Committee’ of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee from Wagah land route, announced that the word ‘easy access’ to the Sikh shrines from daily ‘ardas’ (prayer of Patna Sahib Takht) stand deleted, while Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, who stayed away from the meeting, said such ‘unilateral’ decision was unacceptable to the Panth.

However, Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, President, Patna Sahib Management Committee, while endorsing the decision of Jathedar Vedanti said that Jathedar Iqbal Singh had no right to change the ‘ardas’ which was finalized after eight years of marathon discussions (from 1936 to 1944).

While, Jathedar Patna Sahib said that the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib had the right to take independent decision, Mr Romana said that it (the decision) would be declared ‘null and void’ in the forthcoming meeting of the management at Patna Sahib.

However, Jathedar Iqbal Singh said that the ‘ardas’, being performed at Patna Sahib had been altered when the Government of Pakistan allowed ‘Sikh Babas’ to carry out ‘kar seva’ of the Sikh shrines there. He said Baba Amrik Singh was given multiple visa and he could visit Pakistan anytime. However, Jathedar Vedanti said that it carried no weight as Sikh sangat still required visa to visit Gurdwaras in Pakistan. “Whether Jathedar Iqbal Singh and Giani Rattan Singh had gone to Pakistan without visa,” he asked.

The Sikhs in their daily ‘ardas’ pray to the Almighty for the ‘Khule darshan didar’ (easy access to the Sikh shrines) in Pakistan which were separated from the Sikhs after Partition. However, Jathedar Iqbal Singh said that no sovereign country like Pakistan would allow anybody to visit the country without passport or valid visa. He said the Pakistan and the PSGPC had done a lot to reconstruct gurdwaras at behest of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

Meanwhile, Mr Makhan Singh, an SGPC member who attended the meeting of PSGPC, announced that Jathedar Iqbal Singh could not take decision regarding ‘ardas’ on his own as such Panthic decisions could be taken by the Akal Takht only.

It is pertinent to mention here that the PSGPC had constituted a 15-member International Advisory Panel in September last year. While Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, had expressed his inability to be member, Jathedars continued to figure on the committee. However, Jathedar Vedanti claimed that he did not receive invitation from the PSGPC to attend the meeting.

Among those who attended the meeting of International Advisory Board, held at Lahore included Mr Harwinder Singh Sarna, a member of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Dr Ganga Singh Dhillon, President, Nankana Sahib Foundation and Dr Pritpal Singh, President American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee etc.


CM attacks Bir Devinder, tough action likely
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Challenging times seem to be ahead for the firebrand Congress MLA from Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, as the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is annoyed with him over his statements against the Local Bodies Minister, Chowdhary Jagjit Singh.

Lashing out at Mr Bir Devinder Singh, the Chief Minister said today that the “MLA has no business to make such statements. It is not acceptable at any cost what Mr Bir Devinder Singh is doing,” he added.

Capt Amarinder Singh, said that he was fully supportive of the action being taken by the Punjab Pradesh Congress president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, against the MLA. He said that he along with Mr Dullo would meet the party high command to inform it about the statements made by Mr Bir Devinder Singh against the Cabinet minister.

“On what grounds is Mr Bir Devinder Singh raising an accusing finger at the minister?” said Capt Amarinder Singh, ruling out any inquiry against Chowdhary Jagjit Singh. In fact, Capt Amarinder Singh gave a clean chit to Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, asserting: “I know better about my minister than Mr Bir Devinder Singh”. The MLA was “nobody to tell me” who was corrupt in the Council of Ministers, Capt Amarinder Singh said. “I will not allow such conduct,” he added.

If Mr Bir Devinder Singh had any problem, “he should have brought it to the notice of Mr Dullo or me.” And he should have approached the All-India Congress Committee’s general secretary, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, or the President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

When told that Mr Bir Devinder Singh had stated that he would meet the party high command along with other party MLAs against the minister, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was free to do so.

It was clear from the tone of Capt Amarinder Singh that strong action would be taken against Mr Bir Devinder Singh. There is a possibility of suspending from the party membership.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh had stated a few days ago that if action was not taken against Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, he would think about quitting the party. The Congress MLA is upset because of interference by many Congress leaders, who are close confidants of Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, in his constituency.


CM: Nankana Sahib palki to be kept intact
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that the existing palki at Gurdwara Janamasthan at Nankana Sahib (Pakistan) would be kept intact and it would not be replaced by the golden palki which would be taken there by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

He said he was fully conscious of the heritage value of the existing palki at the gurdwara. The golden palki, which was to be offered at the gurdwara, had been made in such a manner that it would be adjusted inside the shell of the existing palki. Capt Amariner Singh would accompany Mr Sarna to Pakistan to offer the palki.

Talking to mediapersons, Capt Amarinder Singh said the PSEB had been told to issue advertisements to guide Dalits to avail themselves of the benefit of 300 free units of power. “We will give this benefit to Dalits from September 1, the day from which it was given to farmers,” he added. He said that in the case of farmers, the decision to give free power had been implemented.

Asked about the unbundling of the PSEB, Capt Amarinder Singh said the government was not in a hurry to do so. “We are examining all aspects and have also gone into cases where the privatisation of power boards had failed,” he added. No decision regarding unbundling would be taken in isolation.

Replying to a question regarding Lovely university, he said the state government had sent a reply to the queries raised by the Punjab Governor with regard to the Lovely University Bill. He did not like the way Mr Bir Devinder Singh had met the Governor to request him to return the Bill to the state government. Mr Bir Devinder Singh had voted in support of the Bill in the Punjab Assembly and he should not have met the Governor.

He said he was trying to secure Chandigarh for Punjab but without making “any noise” in this connection. “There is always a peaceful way to do things,” he added.

He said he had nothing to do with the business of Mr Arvind Khanna or his family members.

He said Punjab and the rest of the country was totally free from bird flu.” But we are very alert on this front. Till date, we have got examined 600 birds,” he added.


Book on Tohra released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Punjab Chief Minster, Capt Amarinder Singh, today released the biography of the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who remained President of the SGPC for 27 years. A large number of camp followers of the deceased leader were present on this occasion. Among them were Mr Gurdarshan Singh Bahia, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mr Inderjit Singh Zira.

Bibi Joginder Kaur, widow of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, had been invited to attend the book release function, but she did not turn up. "She is ill," said a supporter of the Tohra family.

The book is written by Prof Balkar Singh, former Dean Colleges, Punjabi University, Patiala.

It is a detailed account of the Akali and Punjab politics revolving around Tohra and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal( SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for decades. It critically examines the role of Mr Badal and Tohra in the state politics. What went wrong with the Akali politics and Akali leadership in the past four decades and why the present day Akali leadership is different from the previous one are the questions raised and answered in this book.

The Congress party's role in the State politics vis-a-vis Akalis also finds detailed mention in the book.


PSSSB about to complete term without any recruitment
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Repeated announcements by the Punjab Government to lift the ban on recruitment notwithstanding, the 11-member Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board (PSSSB) will complete its three-year term next month without making even a single new appointment.

The government had reconstituted the board on November 10, 2002, by enhancing the number of its members from seven to 10. Brig Chiranjiv Singh Harika, who was named the new Chairman of the board, assumed office on December 10, 2002, for a term of three years. The remaining members are Mr Naresh Kataria, Mr N.S. Sahota, Mr Joginder Nath, Mr Harinder Singh Jaurkian, Dr Harbans Kaur, Mr Anil Mehta, Mr Avtar Singh Sidhu, Mr K.S. Sehgal, Mr Kamal Bakshi and Mr Kanwaljit Singh Randhawa.

Each member of the board was provided with a car, some personal staff and other benefits, including accommodation, besides a regular salary. The annual expenditure on salaries, perks and establishment of a non-operational board and its nominated members ran into several lakhs of rupees a month. And for three years after spending a few crores of rupees, not even a single youth in Punjab got a job through the board.

There was speculation in political circles about the possibility of extending the term of the board by a year as the government may like to rush through recruitment in various departments in view of the coming Assembly elections.

After the 2002 swearing-in ceremony, Capt Amarinder Singh had announced that an appraisal of the available vacancies would be completed soon to set in motion a recruitment process, which would be selective and need-based and primarily pertain to technical services. He also favoured recruitment through the PPSC and the PSSSB, as these had the appropriate recruitment mechanisms.

But neither the Punjab Public Service Commission nor the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board has made any recruitment in the past three years.

The earlier board constituted by the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government was disbanded by the present Congress government immediately after assuming office. Certain members of the previous board were arrested for alleged irregularities in recruitment.

Posts that come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Punjab Civil Secretariat and posts for war heroes were excluded from the purview of the board, which was supposed to make recruitment to fill all group “C” posts.

The government also took the stand that it was not necessary for it to consult the board for appointment to a temporary post which was unlikely to continue for more than six months or appointment against a permanent post of a person for six months where it was necessary to do so in the public interest. But as of now no process of recruitment against any of the available “C” class posts has been set in motion.


IT raids on builders, colonisers
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 17
In income tax raids on seven builders and colonizers, namely Mr Sunder Sharma Arora, Mr Shadi Lal, Mr Tilak Raj Gupta, Mr Ravi Kumar, Mr Deepak Bagga, Mr Ashok Bagga and Mr Rajiv Sud — the department recovered unaccounted money of more than Rs 60 lakh here today.

According to official sources, seven raiding parties consisting of over 125 income tax officials led by Mr Sanjay Misra, Additional Director of Income Tax Investigation, Jalandhar, descended on houses, offices and business premises located in different localities of Hoshiarpur city of the said builders and colonizers in the wee hours and remained there till the filing of the report.

These raids were conducted on behalf of Ms Sudha Sharma, Director General (Enforcement) Panchkula, under the supervision of Mr Mohinder Singh, Director of Income Tax (Investigation), Ludhiana, under section 132 of Search and Seizer Act and section 133 A of survey of Income Tax.

Sources further said that two bank lockers had been sealed and a large number of documents relating to unaccounted deals of property and other business had been seized. Bank accounts of all of them, including their relatives, have also been sealed.

These raids have created panic among those businessmen of Hoshiarpur who indulged in income tax evasion.

According to official sources, five more bank lockers of builders and colonisers have been sealed now. Besides, unaccounted gold jewellery worth lakhs of rupees and documents relating to undisclosed property deals worth crores of rupees have also been recovered.


House to meet on Dec 20, 21 for debate on development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The winter session of the Punjab Assembly will be held on December 20 and 21. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the state Council of Ministers today. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who presided over the meeting, said the session had been convened in response to a demand made by the Opposition leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for a debate on the issues of development, law and order and corruption in the state. He said he had given enough time to Mr Badal to prepare himself to discuss these issues in the House.

Besides the debate, other business such as the passing of various bills would also be transacted during the session, he added.

He said the Lambi rally, which was to be held this week, would now be organised on December 11. The rally, which was to be organised by his party, had been postponed on the advice of the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo. Mr Dullo had said that most of the farmers of the Malwa belt were busy picking cotton and sowing wheat and would not be able to attend the rally.


All set for opening of old-age home today
Tribune News Service

Badal (Muktsar), November 17
The native village of former Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal has come alive after a long gap, as the stage is set for opening of a newly built old-age home here tomorrow.

With the Vice-President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, slated to inaugurate the old-age home, the village will witness a large number of vehicles with red beacon atop probably for the first time after SAD was voted out of power four years back. The Vice-President will arrive at the venue at 12 noon and address a gathering.

Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, SAD office-bearers, MPs and MLAs, and a host of other VIPs will attend the inaugural ceremony of the old-age home that had come up at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore.

Tight security arrangements have been made and top police officials of the district held a meeting to review it. A huge pandal has been erected to accommodate scores of party workers, who will participate in the opening ceremony of their leader’s project.

The old-age home, had come up on five acres on the outskirts of Badal village, comprises well-furnished rooms for elderly, a gurdwara in the middle, a dispensary for round-the-clock medical aid, accommodation for doctor, a langar hall, a solar-powered geyser and an orchard to cater to nutrition requirements of elderly.

Talking about his initiative, Mr Badal said he came across childless couples and also those deserted by their offspring during his visits to villages, which prompted him to build a home for them where they would have nothing to worry in the twilight years of their lives.


26 Pak nationals to be repatriated today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 17
India will release 26 Pakistani prisoners at the Wagah border post as part of efforts by the two countries to speed up the repatriation of people languishing in jails on both sides tomorrow.

India decided to release the Pakistanis, all civilians, after the Pakistan High Commission confirmed their identities, the Home Ministry said.

The move follows an agreement between India and Pakistan on dealing with civilian prisoners during the second round of talks between their Home Secretaries held in August.

As part of the ongoing composite dialogue process, the two sides have agreed to provide consular access to all prisoners within three months of arrest and to release prisoners immediately after completion of sentence and verification of their nationality.


Cheema flays delimitation proposals
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 17
The delimitation of Parliament and Assembly constituencies has come in for a sharp criticism from the ruling party leaders in the state. Mr M.M. Singh Cheema, vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), while criticising the proposals, has alleged that the Delimitation Commission of India has violated its own guidelines.

The commission had decided administrative units, contiguity of the area, and physical features as the major deciding factors for delimitating the constituencies. However, all said criteria have been ignored in the proposals reported in the media.

In constituting the Parliament seats, more than one district has been included and different administrative entities have been merged. Physical features, like rivers of Punjab, have also been overlooked. Culture wise also, different areas have been merged where as these could have been easily avoided.

Punjab consists of three regions, Majha, Malwa and Doaba, having 27, 25 and 65 Assembly seats, respectively, and three, two and eight Parliament seats. In the new setup, both the seats of Doaba, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur, are proposed to be reserved which is against guidelines that states that these should be evenly distributed in the state.

Presently, the reserve Assembly segments are 29 and these are being increased to 34. Surprisingly, all Assembly seats of urban areas like Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana have been de-reserved in the delimitation.


Stone crushers, hot-mixing plants pollute region
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Kiratpur, November 17
The release of ash from the stone crushers and hot mixing plant along the Lohand seasonal rivulet passing through Kiratpur Sahib has been posing a threat to environment and health in the surrounding villages. In addition, illegal sand mining in the rivulet has been causing a risk to the forest area along the rivulet.

Following the neglect of the departments concerned, ash spewing out from the stone crushers and hot-mixing plants spreads in the internal areas of Kalyanpur and Dandhi villages. The agricultural land of these areas has also been suffering losses as many of the plants in the surrounding areas have stopped yielding fruit as the ash released from the stone crushers and hot mixing plants deposits on the plants.

Another problem is that the stone crushers and hot-mixing plants are situated near the National Highway and the ash released from them creates problems for the commuters. It also causes water pollution in the Bhakra mainline passing nearby.

Though the contract for the sand mining expired in March this year, these sites have not been auctioned again. The sand mining continues and much of the area along the rivulet has been dug to a height of more than 15 feet which is likely to cause major soil erosion in the area.

The Pollution, Mining and Forest Departments do not seem to have woken up yet to the danger posed by the ash.

Fearing a serious threat to the lives and environment, some villagers have sent a complaint to the Chief Minister, Secretary Forest Department, Rural and Panchayat, Pollution Department and Industry for strict action against the stone crusher plants and hot-mixing plants.

The villagers have complained that the pollution caused by the stone crushers and hot-mixing plants units causes chest, throat, skin, nasal, eye and other diseases and adversely affects the wildlife.

The owner of an orchard and nursery, Mr Lakha Singh, said the dust particles from stone crushers and hot-mixing plants were regularly destroying plants and causing air pollution. Besides, new-hot-mixing plants were coming up in the absence of any check.

The villagers have also alleged that sand mining in the seasonal rivulet has become a good source of income for some influential people of the area. While the Sarpanch of Kalyanpur village, Mr Talwinder Singh, said there is no violation of the law in installing the plant and stone crusher in the village here, he expressed concern over sand mining in the area.

Similarly, the owners of the stone crushers and hot-mixing plants jointly denied the allegation of pollution and said the units were set up in this region after completing all formalities. The plants were installed temporarily for the carpeting of roads from Ropar to Mehatpur, they added.

The District Forest Officer, Mr S.S Bhatti, said after getting a complaint from locals, they were conducting an inquiry whether the plants and stone crushers were installed in the Forest land or not. Instructions had been issued to mining contractors to stop the work, he added. They would take action if it fell under Section-4 and Section-5 of the Forestland Preservation Act.


400 examined at medical camp
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 17
A free chest diseases and dental check-up camp was organised by the Nishkam Sewa Sabha, Dhuri, in the Bazigar basti at Dhuri, 14 km from here, today. Dr Nirpal Singh, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, inaugurated the camp.

Dr Nirpal Singh sought cooperation of social and educational organisations, besides the NGOs, for playing an important role in generating awareness about TB amongst common masses to make the government’s Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) a success. He also sought cooperation of these organisations in various national health programmes so that poor people could take the maximum advantage of these programmes.

Dr Surinder Singla, incharge, District TB Centre, Sangrur, told the gathering that directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) in the RNTCP had beneficial effects, much beyond simply curing patients with TB. DOTS helped in reducing the number of deaths due to TB, prevented further spread of disease and reduced chances of development of drug resistance. He urged the gathering to do advocacy of the RNTCP amongst masses as diagnosis and treatment of TB patients was done free of cost under the RNTCP.

About 400 patients suffering from various chest and dental diseases were examined by Dr Surinder Singla, Dr Vijay Kumar and Dr Rajiv Garg at the camp. Medicines were given free of cost to the patients by the Nishkam Sewa Sabha.


Reward for nabbing robbers
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 17
The Inspector General Police, Punjab, Jalandhar Zone, Mr Hardip Singh Dhillon, today announced a award of Rs 2 lakh to anybody who gave information about the two robbers who had snatched foreign exchange worth Rs 33,35,705 from two bank employees, Jai Parkash and Amandip of a private bank, UAE Exchange and Finance Services Ltd, here last night.

He assured that the names of those giving information would be kept secret.

Sketches of the robbers were being prepared and would be released to press, he said.


State govt to upgrade medical colleges, hospitals

Chandigarh, November 17
The Punjab Government has decided to up-grade infrastructure of the government medical colleges and hospitals attached with them in the state to improve the quality of medical education. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting presided by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

At the meeting, Dr Ravinder Singh, new Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) made a presentation highlighting the immediate need to release funds for buildings, laboratories, library of the university. He also put forth a proposal to allot Rs 373 crore and Rs 42 crore under capital and revenue heads respectively for the university and Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital Faridkot.

It was decided to provide Rs 103 crore to meet various requirements of the university and Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and the hospital. Meanwhile, the government today ordered a techo-economic feasibility study to evolve and implement skybus metro rail project at Amritsar and Ludhiana on Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.


Lok Suvidha Camp evokes good response
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 17
Grievances of several persons were redressed at a Lok Suvidha Camp organised by the District Administration at Khera village in the district. Surjit Kaur, wife of Harchand Singh, a resident of Timberpur village told the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jaspreet Talwar, that she had no means to support herself as her husband had deserted her and had started living somewhere else. She sought that some financial aid should be given to her. Taking cognizance of her complaint the Deputy Commissioner immediately called the officers concerned and got financial aid sanctioned for her immediately. Some of the persons who had come to the camp with their problems told the Chandigarh Tribune that earlier it used to take months and a lot of money to get their problems solved but now all formalities are completed under one roof and work was done without any hassles.

Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, said such camps were a great success. She called upon the people to take benefit of such camps as all the district officials were available to redress their grievances.

Heavy rush was witnessed at the counter of Social Security Department, where senior citizens queued up to get Senior Citizen’s cards. Pension forms of more than 200 pension seekers were completed.

District Transport Department made more than 300 learner’s driving licenses. The Revenue Department officials completed more than 100 mutations, hundreds of affidavits were attested, the district health department officials conducted a medical-cum-eye check up camp, certificates for physically challenged persons were issued, Animal Husbandry Department officials administered treatment of animals, the BDPO issued yellow cards. The police department had also set up a counter to sort out the complaints of public. The camp started at 9 am and continued till 5 pm. Various application regarding the allotment of plots to houseless people, death and birth certificates, opening of bank accounts, water, sewerage connections, grants under Ashirwad Scheme, registration of unemployed youths, passports, arms licenses and electricity were received, which would be decided within the stipulated period.


Members of co-op societies exhorted to join health scheme
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 17
The district Co-operative Department organised a seminar at Bachat Bhavan today. Members and employees of all co-operative societies in the district participated in the seminar. In this seminar information regarding “ Sanjivni”, a new health care scheme for rural people to be launched in the state on November 20, was given and a plan was chalked out to implement the scheme in the district to ensure its impact at grassroot level.

Addressing the seminar Dr S.K. Batish, Deputy Registrar Co-operative Societies, said the department was going to launch “ Sanjivni” to provide cost effective quality healthcare facility to the members of Rural Co-operative Societies. Givin details, he said all members of co-operatives would be covered under this scheme and they will have the facility to get medical treatment at more than 132 hospitals in the state identified by the Sanjivni Trust.

He said the scheme would also be of great benefit to the debt ridden farmers in the state as by paying a nominal amount of Rs 350 to 400 and an additional amount of Rs 40 to 45 for his dependents, a farmer would be able to have medical treatment like dialysis, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, eye surgery, lithotripsy, tonsillectomy, coronary angiography, maternity etc, costing up to Rs 2 lakh . He said people living in the rural areas who can’t afford costly treatment shall be eligible to get medical aid in state-of-the-art hospitals. He said the Sanjivni Trust is headed by the Chief Secretary and the scheme would be launched by the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, on November 20, the concluding day of the 52nd co-operative week celebrations. He said the scheme is so ambitious and purposeful that other states are also interested to launch it. He called upon all members to take benefit of the scheme.

Mr Harbans Singh, AR Amloh, Mr Surjit Singh, AR Sirhind, Mr Inderpal Singh, AR Bassi Pathana and Mr

Ram Swarup Bhanot, AR, Khamano also spoke on the occasion.


6-day eye camp
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 17
A six-day free eye check-up-cum-operation camp was organised on Tuesday at Guru Hargobind Sahib Sant Nirmal Dera by followers of Hansali Dera. Sant Ajit Singh Hansali wale inaugurated the camp. On the first day more than 600 patients were checked and out of them 77 were recommended to undergo operation. A team of doctors from the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib, led by Dr Harcharn Singh, Civil Surgeon conducted the camp.

Mr Sadhu Ram Bhatmajra, a follower of the dera said all the expenses would be borne by the dera. He said arrangements for boarding and lodging were also made. The lenses would be fixed and expenses on the lenses would be borne by the Health Department.

Dr Harcharn Singh, Civil Surgeon, said such camps were useful for those, who could not afford expenses of operation in private hospitals.


CM to open new judicial complex

Patiala, November 17
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, Mr Justice D.K. Jain, will inaugurate the newly constructed lawyers chambers complex at the district courts here on November 19.

Also expected to be present are senior HC Judges Justices H.S. Bedi, J.S. Kher, K.S. Garewal, Jasbir Singh, M.M. Aggarwal, S.N. Aggarwal and M.M. Kumar. — TNS


Murder accused acquitted
Our Correspondent

Batala, November 17
The Gurdaspur Sessions Court had acquitted a murder accused, Sukhwinder Kaur, because of the lack of evidence. She was arrested on the charge of causing death of her two minor daughters in 2003.

While talking to mediapersons here today, she alleged that her in-laws had implicated her in this case with the help of police.


It’s a local problem, says PTDC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Punjab Tourism Development Corporation Limited (PTDC) has claimed that its management could not be blamed for non-payment of salaries to the staff of some tourist complexes.

Reacting to the news-item headlined “300 PTDC employees not paid for months” carried in these columns on October 27, PTDC deputy general manager R.K. Sharma has added that the complexes were independent units running on commercial basis.

In a communication to The Tribune, Mr Sharma said in some complexes the employees were to be paid arrears but the PTDC management at the head office was not at fault. In any case, it was totally incorrect to say that the PTDC staff had not been paid salaries for 13 to 18 months.

Mr Sharma further claimed that the employees, relieved under the voluntary retirement scheme, had been paid their dues as per the state government policy.

As far as employees’ provident fund was concerned, Mr Sharma added that the head office had deposited Rs 29.61 lakh against the liability of Rs 48.60 lakh on behalf of the complexes as the local managements could not remit the amount.

The Tribune correspondent adds: Mr Sharma has not contested the fact that salaries have not been paid to the employees. The PTDC authorities have simply shifted the onus on to the local managements.


2 HCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Haryana Government has transferred two HCS officers with immediate effect. Mr Lajvir Singh, awaiting posting orders, has been posted as Deputy Secretary, Industries and Commerce and Mines and Geology Departments, against a vacant post.

Mr H.C. Bhatia, Subdivisional Officer (Civil), Ratia, has been given additional charge of Managing Director, Cooperative Sugar Mills, Bhuna, relieving Mr Yogesh Kumar Mehta of the charge.


Jammu girl dies at CMC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
A woman, who was allegedly pushed into fire by the Jammu police in that city on November 5, succumbed to burn injuries at CMC hospital here this afternoon. She was oscillating between life and death for over 10 days after being admitted here.

Asha Jamwal was allegedly pushed into fire by the Jammu police, who had come to assist the demolition of her husband’s shop in Tope Sherkhanian colony of that city. During demolition fire broke out in the shop. According to her father, Satpal Singh, a group of policemen pushed her into fire and fled from the scene. Other policemen and demolition staff also allegedly did not come to her aid, he said.

The Deputy Commissioner of Jammu had ordered a probe into the matter after a news channel showed video clippings of the horrifying scene. The DC also visited CMC hospital recently and recorded statement of the victim and her family members.


Gang of car thieves busted; 3 held
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, November 17
The police has arrested three persons — Harpreet Singh, Narinder Kumar and Sanjay Singh — on charges of stealing two Zen cars and driving them by using fake documents. An official press note said that the cars bearing registration numbers ( PB-11AA-4445) and (PB-11AB-7677) were stopped at a naka.

The police found that the actual registration numbers were from Delhi, and that they had been stolen. A case under Sections 379, 411, 420, 408, 473 and 471 of the IPC has been registered.

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