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Industrialists flay hike in water charges
Export-oriented units refuse to pay water bills
Jalandhar, February 3
Up in arms against the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) for sending them “unjustified” water bills, owners of over 750 export-oriented industrial units in all four focal points of Jalandhar have refused to pay the bills. Though Friday was the last date for the payment of the bills, none of the industrialists, it was learnt, paid their water bills today.

Resham Singh Hayre NRI Sabha president
Jalandhar, February 3
Despite the apprehension that the NRI Sabha poll may be stalled because of the petition filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court by some of its members, the sabha’s election was held today at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar Hall here.
The NRI Sabha’s new president  after the election at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar Hall in Jalandhar on Friday The NRI Sabha’s new president (centre) after the election at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar Hall in Jalandhar on Friday. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma




EARLIER STORIES

 

Pandemonium in District Planning Board meeting
Jalandhar, February 3
Even as funds amounting to Rs 34 crore were released for development projects in rural and urban areas of the district at the District Planning Board meet today, the meeting turned out to be a noisy one. Both the Akali and the Congress leaders joined hands to raise their objections against the disbursal of grants in Shahkot Assembly constituency after ignoring elected representatives of the people of the area.

Row over dyke on Kali Bein ends
Sultanpur Lodhi (Kapurthala), February 3
The dispute between the local administration and Baba Balbir Singh Seechewa, an environmentalist, over the removal of a temporary dyke raised by the Baba to stop sewage water from falling into the Kali Bein somehow subsided today when the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ms Bhavna Garg, after visiting the site, asked the SDM of Sultanpur Lodhi, Mr Tarlochan Singh Bhatti, to submit the estimate for extending the pipeline by two kilometres which had been laid to take sewage water from a treatment plant into the fields.

2000 kg of poppy husk seized, 4 held
Jalandhar, February 3
The police today seized over 2000 kg of poppy husk in four major hauls, and arrested four persons under the NDPS Act. According to the SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh, a vehicle was intercepted in the Talwandi Butian area in Shahkot and 480 kg of poppy husk was recovered from the possession of one Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Talwandi Madho.

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Industrialists flay hike in water charges
Export-oriented units refuse to pay water bills
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 3
Up in arms against the Punjab State Industrial and Export Corporation (PSIEC) for sending them “unjustified” water bills, owners of over 750 export-oriented industrial units in all four focal points of Jalandhar have refused to pay the bills.

Though Friday was the last date for the payment of the bills, none of the industrialists, it was learnt, paid their water bills today.

Interestingly, the PSIEC has ‘imposed’ water bills, ranging from Rs 5000 to Rs 7500 on each of those industrial units where submersible pumps have been installed by owners on their own by using their own sources of power supply.

The issue has generated much heat, as industrialists feel that the bills are “totally unjustified”. Their plea is that if individual pump set units have been installed by them on their premises after bearing the entire cost and if they are also not getting any electricity or water supply from the PSIEC, there is no reason for them to extend any payment to the corporation.

“The PSIEC step is unprecedented and uncalled for. When we are not using any of its facilities for the installation of the pumps, why should we pay anything to the PSIEC? Such kind of shabby treatment to industry is not heard of in any part of the world. If the PSIEC authorities have failed to provide water and other infrastructure facilities, then the fault lies with them and not with us,” lamented Mr R.K. Gandhi, Mr Narinder Saggu, Mr Sukhdev Raj and Mr Parveen Kumar, presidents of the Sports and Surgical Complex Association, the Jalandhar Focal Point Extension Association and the Punjab Leather Federation, respectively.

“As if this was not enough, the PSIEC shot a letter to the industrial associations that if they wanted a new tubewell in their focal points, a sum of Rs 10.77 lakh had to be paid by the industrialists. This is besides the unjustified increase in the rates of the water charges,” said Mr Satish Wasan, the Chairman of the Sports and Surgical Complex Association.

Nearly 65 per cent of the industrial units here, most of which are into exports and are known for production of leather, sports and surgical goods, are situated in four focal points, which were set up in a gradual manner in the city after 1992.

According to Mr Gandhi, the industrialists were not only facing shortage of water, but also there was no arrangement for street lights in the focal points.

“We have pooled our resources to install street lights and to re-lay roads there. Nothing is being done by the PSIEC, which is just a mute spectator to our predicament. It is better if the focal points of Jalandhar are taken over by the Municipal Corporation on the pattern of Ludhiana, as we are already paying house tax to the MC, Jalandhar,” he said.

He added that the associations of all four focal points would also meet the MD of the PSIEC to apprise him of the plight of the industrialists of Jalandhar. “But anyway, we have decided not to pay the water bills,” reiterated Mr Gandhi and Mr Saggu.

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Resham Singh Hayre NRI Sabha president
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 3
Despite the apprehension that the NRI Sabha poll may be stalled because of the petition filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court by some of its members, the sabha’s election was held today at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar Hall here.

Yet another surprise was that the sabha president was elected unanimously, though there had been a clear bifurcation between the two rival groups.

Mr Resham Singh Hayre, an ex-NRI from the UK who was also the first president of the sabha, was elected unopposed. Mr Jasbir Singh Shergill, who belonged to the rival group and was the vice-president in the previous term, was chosen the senior vice-president this time.

Nearly 350 members of the sabha, including the nominees, were present during the election today. Though the number did not fulfill one of the proposed guidelines about having at least 10 per cent attendance of the members or their nominees at the time of the elections, the process went on. The members made efforts to get the president elected unanimously.

Some names proposed included those of Mr Hayre, Mr Shergill, Mr Major Singh Sahota (a close aide of Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Avtar Henry, who is one of the patrons of the sabha) and a few members from Nawanshahr and other parts of Doaba. But it was found that almost half of the members were in favour of Mr Hayre and the other half were in favour of Mr Shergill. Those seconding Mr Sahota and other members were less than 10 per cent of those present.

Finally, Mr Shergill agreed to be the senior vice-president, a post that was created by the president on the spot, as allowed by the sabha’s constitution.

Talking to media persons soon after getting elected as the sabha’s president, Mr Hayre said all decisions pertaining to the pending issues of the sabha would be taken after an executive committee was constituted in a week’s time. He said his priority would be to get a fast track civil court established to ensure speedy justice to NRIs.

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Pandemonium in District Planning Board meeting
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 3
Even as funds amounting to Rs 34 crore were released for development projects in rural and urban areas of the district at the District Planning Board meet today, the meeting turned out to be a noisy one. Both the Akali and the Congress leaders joined hands to raise their objections against the disbursal of grants in Shahkot Assembly constituency after ignoring elected representatives of the people of the area.

Shahkot MLA, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, even went to the extent of alleging in front of the board Chairman and Punjab Health Minister, Mr Romesh Dogra, who was presiding over the meeting, that the District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) was distributing grants in Shahkot after taking hefty bribes from the recipients.

Taking the allegations seriously, Mr Ashok Gupta, the Deputy Commissioner, directed the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) to enquire into the matter and prepare a report within a period of seven days.

There was a pandemonium when Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, the Shiromani Akali Dal MLA from Shahkot, got up and alleged that the DDPO, Mr Jarnail Singh, was distributing cheques of government grants in his area after taking bribes. This, however, was vehemently denied by Mr Jarnail Singh.

But an unrelenting Mr Kohar alleged that a resolution, which decried the actions of the DDPO, had been passed by the Shahkot Block Samiti. The resolution, passed by an 11-member Shahkot Block Samiti and headed by Mr Buta Singh, Chairman of the samiti, also pointed out that the DDPO was “not even taking any development work proposals from the samiti and was, instead, doing things on his own”.

“The DDPO can distribute any amount of grants, but at least he should take the representatives of the people into confidence. He is not even distributing grants through the MP or through the Congress leader of the area, Mr Brij Bhupinder Singh Lally, who is also a former minister,” alleged Mr Kohar. Mr Lally also levelled allegations against the official.

Meanwhile, an amount of Rs 34 crore was released by the Deputy Commissioner out of the Punjab Nirman Fund for development of rural as well as urban areas of the district. “This amount would be spent on creation of facilities like sanitation, additional rooms in village inns, roads and other development-related projects,” he said.

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Row over dyke on Kali Bein ends
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Sultanpur Lodhi (Kapurthala), February 3
The dispute between the local administration and Baba Balbir Singh Seechewa, an environmentalist, over the removal of a temporary dyke raised by the Baba to stop sewage water from falling into the Kali Bein somehow subsided today when the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ms Bhavna Garg, after visiting the site, asked the SDM of Sultanpur Lodhi, Mr Tarlochan Singh Bhatti, to submit the estimate for extending the pipeline by two kilometres which had been laid to take sewage water from a treatment plant into the fields.

Later in the day, the SDM submitted an estimate of Rs 20 lakh after getting a report from the Sewerage Board.

On Wednesday, efforts of workers from the Municipal Council to demolish the temporary dyke were frustrated by the followers of Baba Seechewal.

The Baba has been getting the bed of the Bein dug up to clear its hard surface for water to flow through and thereby raise the level of the underground water in the region.

To keep the riverbed dry, he had stopped the flow of sewage water discharged from the sewage treatment plant by raising a dyke.

“Though the district administration has prohibited the draining of dirty water into the Bein under Section 144, its officials are bent upon putting that water into the holy rivulet,” Baba Seechewal alleged. “If the administration keeps throwing sewage water into the Bein, then for what purpose did they spent more than Rs 2 crore on the sewage treatment plant to take the treated water into the fields?” he asked.

According to sources, the sewage water, after being treated in the plant was supposed go into the fields through a pipeline but due to paucity of funds, the pipeline could only be laid for one kilmetre. Hence, after entering a few fields near the pipeline, the sewage water goes into the Bein.

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2000 kg of poppy husk seized, 4 held
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 3
The police today seized over 2000 kg of poppy husk in four major hauls, and arrested four persons under the NDPS Act.
According to the SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh, a vehicle was intercepted in the Talwandi Butian area in Shahkot and 480 kg of poppy husk was recovered from the possession of one Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Talwandi Madho.

In another case, he said, one Balbir Singh from Sultanpur Lodhi was held with 640 kg of poppy husk. His vehicle was intercepted at a naka in Issewal.

In the third case, the Shahkot police arrested one Gurvinder Singh, a resident of Kotla Hera village, after recovering 440 kg of poppy husk from his vehicle near the Lasuri Grain Market.

One Hardip Singh from Talwandi Madho was also arrested after the police found 520 kg of poppy husk in his vehicle. The naka was laid near the old brick kiln in Chak Chella.

Meanwhile, the SSP said that the Shahkot police had arrested one Jaswinder Singh alias Kala, who was a Proclaimed Offender under the NDPS Act. He had been absconding for five years.

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ABVP holds rally
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 3
Hundreds of students from various schools and colleges here participated in a rally organised by the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) here today.
The students gathered near Adarsh Nagar, moved past Kapurthala Chowk, Mai Hiran Gate and other major intersections, and finally converged at the District Administrative Complex. Members of the union then submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, demanding the lifting of the ban on student polls, the continuation of scholarships to SC/BC students and the opening of a government college in the district. 

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Foundation stone laid
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 3
Foundation stone of a 0.45 km long rural link road between Sham Shanghat in Pipa Rangi village and the railway station was laid here today by the local MLA, Mr Joginder Singh Mann. The construction of the road would cost over Rs 3 lakh, the MLA said. 

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