SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

J A L A N D H A R

Hundreds of trees being axed for flyover project
Environmentalists silent as one eucalyptus after the other falls
Phagwara, January 16
Over 50 eucalyptus trees were felled near Mehtan village here today to make way for a proposed flyover. More trees, numbering in hundreds, and most of them eucalyptus, would be felled.

SAD to move court over election of Bholath MC Chief
Jalandhar, January 16
Following the dilly-dallying in elections to the post of the President of the Bholath Municipal Committee, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to file a petition before Punjab and Haryana High Court tomorrow.

State BJP to launch election campaign in February
Phagwara, January 16
The BJP party, Punjab, would launch its election campaign from February with a kisan rally at Fazilka. The rally would be addressed by the party’s newly-elected National President, Mr Rajnath Singh.


EARLIER STORIES

 
A little bird perches on a marigold in a garden along the Kali Bein in Kapurthala
A little bird perches on a marigold in a garden along the Kali Bein in Kapurthala. — Tribune photo Pawan Sharma

Punjab State Electricity Board to impose a weekly off on industries
Phagwara, January 16
Keeping in view the shortage of power supply due to the increase in demand owing to the prevailing cold wave across the state, the Punjab State Electricity Board has decided to impose regulatory measures.

Boycott of power bills continues
Jalandhar, January 16
Continuing their campaign against the state government for not giving free power as “assured” to them, the Pendu Mazdoor Union represented by dalits, Christians and landless people, burnt their electricity bills in Khusropur, Pattar Khurd, Maliya, Kudowal and other villages of their district.

Bittu cannot hold two posts: Co-op Bank MD
Jalandhar, January 16
Managing Director of the Jalandhar Central Co- operative Bank, Mr Anil Dutta, today said that the Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Mr Tejinder Singh Bittu, must give up one of his posts “abiding by the one-man-one-post rule of the Congress High Command.”

Vajra Vocational Institute holds annual convocation
Jalandhar, January 16
Vajra Vocational Training Institute held its sixth convocation ceremony at Vajra Sainik Institute in Jalandhar Cantonment here today.

A jawan marches forward to receive his certificate during the convocation organised at Vajra Sainik Institute in Jalandhar Cantonment on Monday. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

A jawan marches forward to receive his certificate during the convocation organised at Vajra Sainik Institute in Jalandhar Cantonment

Top








 

Hundreds of trees being axed for flyover project
Environmentalists silent as one eucalyptus after the other falls
J.S. Gandam

Phagwara, January 16
Over 50 eucalyptus trees were felled near Mehtan village here today to make way for a proposed flyover.

More trees, numbering in hundreds, and most of them eucalyptus, would be felled. Trees on the left side of the Phagwara-Jalandhar stretch of the GT Road would face the axe for the construction of the flyover that aims to link the Mehtan-Mehli-Phagwara bypass.

The process would denude the area that is densely covered with green groves, including eucaplytus, sheesham and others varieties of trees.

When this correspondent visited the site in the evening, the felled trees were being chopped and the logs loaded into tractor-trollies.

It was learnt that the felling was being carried after getting a due permission from the Forest Department and a nod from environmentalists.

However, no authority was around for a comment except for the labourers who were busy dispatching the logs.

The flyover project, said to cost around Rs 17 crore, would be constructed after the level of the GT Road is raised from both sides —towards Phagwara as well as Jalandhar — and the Union Transport Minister, Mr T.R. Balu, would lay the foundation stone for it on January 19.

The contract for the flyover has been given to a Mumbai-based company, Valecha Engineers Construction Company.

Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, is said to be the man behind the flyover project. Sources said that Mr Atwal had already held meetings in this regard with the district administration and other departments concerned. The six-lane flyover would be erected in one year and slip roads would be laid, sources added.

Those bound for Banga, Nawanshahr and Chandigarh from the Jalandhar side would be given a path under the flyover, while the traffic to and from Jalandhar, Phagwara, Ludhiana get a straight path.

Since the upraised portion of the flyover would cover nearly a kilometre-long stretch of the GT Road on both sides, the groves of eucalyptus on the left side would face the axe, baring the otherwise shady and green stretch of the road.

Studies by experts say that eucalyptus, promoted by the Forest Departments across India, is a species that (according to policy makers) rural communities need for the common good.

The tree, also considered a colonial legacy, is now the favoured choice of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, and donor organisations, add the studies. “It is a symbol of development and a symbol of aid — a neo-colonial vision,” an expert here said. There have been signs of scepticism among environmentalists about the usefulness of eucalyptus.

But whether any tears would be shed for these trees by environmentalists is yet to be seen.

Top

 

SAD to move court over election of Bholath MC Chief
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 16
Following the dilly-dallying in elections to the post of the President of the Bholath Municipal Committee, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to file a petition before Punjab and Haryana High Court tomorrow.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC Chief and MLA from the area, said this today soon after attending a SAD meeting here.

She alleged that since the Congress party leaders knew that it was a clear majority for SAD, they were trying to postpone the elections time and again.

She said that as the time period to hold the elections to the post within 90 days from the civic poll had also exhausted, the party was left with no option but to knock the door of the court.

The elections that had first been scheduled for October 5 were cancelled due to “unruly scenes” created by the Congress councillors.

These could not be held again on December 23 as no one from the administration, including the presiding officer, turned up to conduct the elections.

Bibi Jagir Kaur alleged that the district administration had connived with the ruling party as it was not announcing the next date of the poll.

The MLA said that it had become important for the party to turn to the court as the ruling party leaders from the area had started lodging “false complaints” against the elected councillors.

Even as they had tried to do this, the Akali party had acted as their “saviour and got them out of the trouble”, she added.

“Since then, I have been apprehending that the Congressmen would try such tactics on other Akali councillors. I want to safeguard them from such tactics,” she stated.

Her statements, however, were countered by Mr Sukhpal Khaira, a senior Congress leader.

He claimed that the allegations were false and that they had no substance.

He denied all allegations levelled by the Akalis. He claimed that the allegations about the involvement of the Congress with the bureaucracy for getting the polls postponed were “absolutely false”. He also denied the use of pressure tactics against the SAD loyalists.

It may be recalled that complaints had been lodged with the local government department against two SAD-supported councillors over “flagrant misuse of power”.

A case had been registered with the police under Section 420 against Sukhwant Singh Takhar, an Akali confidant who fought independently from ward number 9.

His bail plea that had earlier been rejected by the Additional Session Judge was later granted by Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Yet another complaint had been lodged with the local government authorities against Ms Kulwant Kaur, an Akali councillor from ward number 13, for alleged misuse of power.

The allegations against Ms Kulwant Kaur included those pertaining to the encroachment upon the land of the Nagar Panchayat.

The Deputy Director of the department also reportedly visited the area for verifying the complaint.

Mr Iqbal Singh Sandhu, Assistant Commissioner (grievances) and presiding officer, said that it was up to the Deputy Commissioner to announce the date of the elections.

Mr Sandhu said that as his mother had been unwell for quite some time, he had to go on a long leave from December 23.

Mr Sameer Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, when contacted, said that since the schedule of the administration was very tight till January 26, the elections would not possible till that time.

Top

 

State BJP to launch election campaign in February
Anil Jerath
Tribune New Service

Phagwara, January 16
The BJP party, Punjab, would launch its election campaign from February with a kisan rally at Fazilka. The rally would be addressed by the party’s newly-elected National President, Mr Rajnath Singh.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Punjab BJP Chief Avinash Rai Khanna said the party would hold nine rallies till March 6 to mobilise support for the party in the run-up to the Assembly elections slated for early 2007.

The BJP President also alleged that conversions to Christianity had been on the rise after Ms Sonia Gandhi had become the Congress President and UPA Chairperson.

To appease Ms Gandhi and Christians, the Punjab government had announced reservations for Christians in Punjab, Mr Khanna further alleged.

He said religion-based reservations had been struck down by the apex court. Such concessions to appease minorities were politically motivated and against the spirit of the Constitution and must be opposed, he added.

On the party’s “commitment” to make on-the-spot assessment in Kashipur in Uttaranchal, Mr Khanna said a committee led by party general secretary Harjeet Grewal had met about 500 persons from four villages. Though the Uttaranchal government had made many promises, yet nothing had been implemented so far, he alleged.

He also threatened to re-launch the agitation in Kashipur if the government failed to honour its commitment.

Top

 

Punjab State Electricity Board to impose a weekly off on industries
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, January 16
Keeping in view the shortage of power supply due to the increase in demand owing to the prevailing cold wave across the state, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to impose regulatory measures.

To cope with the situation, the PSEB has imposed a compulsory weekly off on all categories of industries in the state from 6 am to 6 pm with immediate effect. This was disclosed by a senior official of the PSEB.

In another significant move to save the potato crop, the PSEB has inter-changed the timings of the existing groups of the crop on a daily basis. PSEB officials said Group-I was being supplied power from 7.30 am to 12.30 pm, and Group-II was being supplied power from 12.30 pm to 5.30 pm, with immediate effect, and the timings of these two groups would be inter-changed every alternate day.

He further disclosed that the average power availability was 732 lakh units in the current month, which was 18 per cent more than that in the corresponding period last year. Last year, the availability was 622 lakh units.

He said the average demand had increased from 722 lakh units last year to 810 lakh units in the current year.

Top

 

Boycott of power bills continues
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 16
Continuing their campaign against the state government for not giving free power as “assured” to them, the Pendu Mazdoor Union represented by dalits, Christians and landless people, burnt their electricity bills in Khusropur, Pattar Khurd, Maliya, Kudowal and other villages of their district.

The members made an effigy of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, out of power bills worth thousands of rupees. After holding protest rallies, they burnt these effigies on prominent road intersections in the villages.

The members claimed that they were unable to pay the bills and as a result they had burnt them. They also claimed that instead of getting a power waiver, they had now started getting hiked electricity bills.

Demonstrations in this regard had been held earlier at Sadiqpur village in Shahkot, Pabwan village in Noormahal and Parha village in Kartarpur.

Mr K.S. Atwal, Mr Balwinder Singh Sandhu and other executive members of the union said the officials from the Punjab State Electricity Board should not “harass” them for the non-payment of bills, as such an act would amount to “interference in their struggle” against the state government. He said the campaign would continue on till January 19.

Top

 

Bittu cannot hold two posts: Co-op Bank MD
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 16
Managing Director of the Jalandhar Central Co- operative Bank, Mr Anil Dutta, today said that the Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Mr Tejinder Singh Bittu, must give up one of his posts “abiding by the one-man-one-post rule of the Congress High Command.”

Talking to media persons here today, Mr Dutta added that following the same party principle, he had resigned as Chairman of the Punjab Infotech a day after he joined as the Co-op Bank’s Managing Director.

“I sacrificed the post of the chairman at a personal cost and all party leaders must work on the same principle.”

He said he would be meeting the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, in this regard. “I will also seek the guidance of Ms Sonia Gandhi in this regard to make sure that the party workers get an opportunity to serve the people more effectively.”

Regarding the dual posts being held by Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Mr Dutta, he said the Chief Minister could decide on the issue since the ministries were under his charge.

Top

 

Vajra Vocational Institute holds annual convocation
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 16
Vajra Vocational Training Institute held its sixth convocation ceremony at Vajra Sainik Institute in Jalandhar Cantonment here today.

Sixtytwo Junior Commissioned Officers from various units in the Western Command, who were less than two years away from retirement, received certificates for clearing four vocational courses, including Applied and Information Technology, Motor Vehicle Engineering, Maintenance and Repair of Construction Plant and Electrical and Electronic Engineering Craft Studies.

The training programmes were aimed at providing a second career option to the troops after retirement, Lieutenant General Mandhata Singh, General Officer Commanding, Vajra Corps, said.

He added that 317 sainiks had passed out from the two-year old institute after completing 22 different courses.

Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, said that besides the vocational courses, the sainiks were also being imparted five weeks of practical training in various civil agencies, a month’s training in English speaking and computer operating “so that they did not have any problem in finding a suitable job.”

Top

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 |