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Report on potato crop damage by
February 10

Jalandhar, February 2
The three-member committee, formed by under the Punjab Transport Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, to assess the damage frost has caused to the potato crop in the Doaba region and elsewhere, would submit its report to the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, on February 10.

Members of the Potato Growers’ Association discuss their demands with Punjab Transport Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee, in Jalandhar on Thursday. Members of the Potato Growers’ Association discuss their demands with Punjab Transport Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee, in Jalandhar on Thursday. 
— Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

LIC told to pay policy claims worth Rs 5 lakh with interest
Jalandhar, February 2
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Life Insurance Corporation of India to pay the widow of a Sansarpur resident an amount of Rs 5 lakh as policy claims, along with six per cent interest from the date of filing of the complaint, and Rs 3000 as the cost of litigation. The LIC has been directed to pay all this within a month’s time.




 

Students of BD Arya Girls College take a shot at kite flying during a cultural programme organised on the occasion of Basant Panchmi in Jalandhar on Thursday.
Aspiring for the sky
: Students of BD Arya Girls College take a shot at kite flying during a cultural programme organised on the occasion of Basant Panchmi in Jalandhar on Thursday.
— Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

BSP holds rally against ‘victimisation’ of Dalits
Jalandhar, February 2
Hundreds of workers of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today organised a dharna in front of the District Administrative Complex here in protest against the rising incidents of “atrocities” against Dalits in the state. Leaders of the party also submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor through the Deputy Commissioner.

Road pile-up leaves over 12 injured
Phagwara, February 2
Over twelve persons were injured, some of them seriously, in a fog-induced road pile-up involving as many as thirteen vehicles on the stretch of the GT Road along Sapror village, five km from Phagwara. The accident occurred around 7.30 here this morning.

SAD (Mann) flays ban on Sarna
Jalandhar, February 2
Spokesman of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann), Prof Jagmohan Singh Toni, today criticised the decision of the Akal Takht Jathedar calling for a social boycott of the head of the Delhi Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna.

Removal of hyacinth in Kanjli begins
Kapurthala, February 2
To remove hyacinth from part of the Kali Bein in the Kanjli wetland, a conveyer belt, a hydraulic tractor-trolley, an engine and a powerboat were made operational on the International Wetland Day today.

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Report on potato crop damage by February 10
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 2
The three-member committee, formed by under the Punjab Transport Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, to assess the damage frost has caused to the potato crop in the Doaba region and elsewhere, would submit its report to the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, on February 10.

The committee, comprising Mr Kaypee, the minister, Mr Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Gurpreet Kangar, both MLAs, is busy finalising its estimates about the quantum of the crop damage, particularly in the potato belt falling in the districts of Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr. The first stage of the study has indicated that 60 to 70 per cent of the potato crop in these districts was damaged due to an unprecedented spell of frost this season.

“Special “girdawari” has been ordered to assess the damage and it will be conducted by the officials of the Punjab Horticulture Department,” Mr Kaypee told to The Tribune today. The committee, he said, had already visited Lambra and Sultanpur Lodhi and “it seemed that the damage is somewhere between 60 and 70 per cent”. He said the committee would hand over its final report to the Chief Minister on February 10.

The minister said it was for the first time that special steps like assessment of the crop damage were being taken in case of the potato crop.

The committee also met potato growers of Doaba region today in the presence of the Deputy Commissioners of the four districts. According to Mr Iqbal Singh Chatha of the Potato Growers’ Association, the loss incurred by potato growers was nearly Rs 300 crore.

The potato growers also alleged that though it was widely-known that they were in deep crisis due to the damage to the crops caused by frost this time and earlier by untimely rain, no government official had come to visit them.

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LIC told to pay policy claims worth
Rs 5 lakh with interest

Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 2
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Life Insurance Corporation of India to pay the widow of a Sansarpur resident an amount of Rs 5 lakh as policy claims, along with six per cent interest from the date of filing of the complaint, and Rs 3000 as the cost of litigation. The LIC has been directed to pay all this within a month’s time.

The LIC had not paid the amount for the past more than four years ever since Sushil Kumar, husband of Ms Unita Bansal, had met with a railway accident and passed away on July 28, 2001. The authorities had been claiming that since the incident seemed to be a case of suicide, the complainant was not entitled to the claim as he had died within a very short span of time from the commencement of the policy. But the forum, in its judgment passed yesterday, decided in favour of the complainant. It said there was no strong evidence to prove that the death had taken place due to suicide.

In two separate complaints filed on April 29, 2004, Ms Bansal had stated that her husband had insured his life for two policies, one for a sum of Rs 3 lakh and the other for Rs 2 lakh, with accident benefit for a term of 26 years from the LIC, and deposited the premiums for both. The date of commencement of risk under the policies was June 26, 2001. She said that her husband died on July 28, 2001, around 5:50 am at Jalandhar Cantonment-Jalandhar City Railway Line near PAP Flyover Bridge.

The complainant alleged that she had filed claims with the LIC, but these were repudiated on the allegation that the deceased had committed suicide within one year from the date of the policy. Ms Bansal had claimed that since the repudiation of the claim was done illegally and it amounted to deficiency of services on the part of the LIC, the authorities concerned be told to make the payment of the policy claims, along with 18 per cent rate of interest per annum, Rs 50,000 as compensation and Rs 5,500 as the cost of litigation.

The LIC authorities, on the other hand, had alleged that Sushil Kumar had taken a number of policies in order to grab money and give benefit to the family at the end of his life which he had planned at the time of taking the policies. The authorities claimed that the deceased had committed suicide at odd hours with criminal intent, without disclosing his intentions to anyone. They said that the claim was not tenable, as the death was not accident as was being described. The circumstances under which the body was found on the track lead everyone to conclude that it was a suicide case, they had added.

The forum comprising Mr M.M. Bhalla, President, and Mr Surinder Mittal, member, decided that since the LIC authorities had failed to prove (by either producing a certificate of the doctor or evidence of an eye-witness at the time of the accident) that it was a case of suicide, there was no ground to presume that it was a suicidal death. The forum stated that the deceased had sufficient income and had been paying installments for the last many years from 1996 onwards. The forum relied upon a similar case of LIC v/s Ms Usha Jain in the year 2003 in which the judgment had been passed in favour of the complainant in the absence of any evidence.

The forum decided that since the amounts as per the policies had not been repudiated, it amounted to the deficiency of services. 

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BSP holds rally against ‘victimisation’ of Dalits
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 2
Hundreds of workers of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) today organised a dharna in front of the District Administrative Complex here in protest against the rising incidents of “atrocities” against Dalits in the state. Leaders of the party also submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor through the Deputy Commissioner.

Earlier, party workers shouted slogans against increasing “anarchy” in Punjab and blamed it on the “absence of proper governance” in the state.

Addressing the rally, Mr Pawan Tinu and Mr M.P. Singh Goraya, both General Secretaries of the Punjab unit of the party, alleged that the Dalits had suffered maximum incidents of torture during the present Congress regime. “Dalits are being subjected to rapes, murders and inequality and also being booked in false cases,” Mr Tinu said.

Mr Goraya said Dalits were being subjected to “discrimination” in government offices and their human rights were being violated with impunity. “In cities and semi-urban areas, usurping of lands belonging to Dalits has become a common phenomenon.”

Mr Amarjit Sidhu and Mr Prabhdayal Rampur, BSP’s General Secretary and Secretary, respectively, alleged that on December 26 last year, some Dalit families in Najka village near Adampur were beaten up and their houses set on fire, but nothing was done by the police beyond registering a case against the accused. “The victims are being threatened by the accused, but no action has been taken so far,” Mr Sidhu and Mr Rampur alleged.

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Road pile-up leaves over 12 injured
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 2
Over twelve persons were injured, some of them seriously, in a fog-induced road pile-up involving as many as thirteen vehicles on the stretch of the GT Road along Sapror village, five km from Phagwara. The accident occurred around 7.30 here this morning.

Most of the injured were tourists travelling by a tourist bus that was coming to Jalandhar from Delhi.

Many of them had to be hospitalised. Some were taken to Jalandhar and some to Amritsar by their relatives.

One of the injured, Dhana (20), was said to be in a critical condition.

Eyewitnesses said that the accident occurred after a tractor-trolley loaded with sugarcane came to the GT road from the opposite side.

Since the area was engulfed in a thick blanket of fog that had reduced visibility to a few metres, the bus rammed into the tractor-trolley followed by a tanker, a canter, three private transport buses, five cars, and an SUV.

The pile up, they said, was nearly half a kilometre long. The police rushed to the spot and cleared the road.

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SAD (Mann) flays ban on Sarna
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 2
Spokesman of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann), Prof Jagmohan Singh Toni, today criticised the decision of the Akal Takht Jathedar calling for a social boycott of the head of the Delhi Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna.

Addressing media persons here, Professor Toni said the ban on Mr Sarna was declared only a day after the announcement of February 10 as the date for him to appear before the Akal Takht.

Professor Toni also invited all “like-minded” parties to his party’s February 6 meeting at Fatehgarh Sahib. “Invitations have been extended to all such factions, which are against the social ban on Sarna,” he said. He added that the Jathedar’s decision was only meant to “sabotage the chances of a section from taking active part in politics.” 

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Removal of hyacinth in Kanjli begins
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, February 2
To remove hyacinth from part of the Kali Bein in the Kanjli wetland, a conveyer belt, a hydraulic tractor-trolley, an engine and a powerboat were made operational on the International Wetland Day today.

The Punjab Science and Technology Council has sanctioned Rs 10 lakh for the project that would be implemented by the Drainage Department.

After inaugurating the project during a function organised with the help of Pahal, an NGO, Mr Samir Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, said that a sum of Rs 9 lakh had been spent on this project.

Ramsar Convention, regarding wetlands, was adopted at Ramsar (Iran) on February 2, 1971, in which 25 wetlands from India were listed, including Kanjli, which attracts hundreds of migratory birds.

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