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Bank dacoity: Two accused held, other two ‘killed’
Jalandhar, March 8
Eight days after four armed dacoits looted Rs 1.56 lakh from the Maqsudan branch of the Centurion Bank of Punjab here, the police said it had arrested two persons accused to be the dacoits. The two other accused, the police believes, have been killed in an encounter on the Haridwar-Dehradun border, even though the SP (City I), Dr Surinder Kumar Kalia, said the reports could only be confirmed after a special police team reached the spot.

PSEB importing coal for thermal plants
Cost of power generation expected to rise

Phagwara, March 8
The Punjab State Electricity Board has started importing coal to meet the requirement of its three thermal plants in the state. According to sources, it will put an additional financial burden of Rs 150 crore, including freight charges, on the board. This will increase the cost of power generation by 20 paise per unit.


 

CM puts off foundation stone laying of PTU building
Jalandhar, March 8
After months of dilly-dallying the Punjab Technical University (PTU) authorities had finally decided to start the construction of their own campus on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala Road with the foundation stone laying ceremony fixed for March 18, the schedule has now been postponed by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, who is to perform the ceremony.

Sale of chicken yet to pick up, say poultry farmers
Jalandhar, March 8
To dispel the apprehension of the bird flu infection from the minds of city residents, the Jalandhar Poultry Farmers’ Association organised a “chicken mela” at Guru Nanak Mission Chowk here this afternoon.

Visitors eat fried chicken at a roadside stall put up by the Jalandhar Poultry Farmers’ Association in Jalandhar on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Visitors eat fried chicken at a roadside stall put up by the Jalandhar Poultry Farmers’ Association in Jalandhar on Wednesday.

Committee to probe charges against nursing school
Kapurthala, March 8
The Punjab Nursing Registration Council has constituted a committee to into allegations that the management of the Guru Teg Bahadur Nursing School at Jandiala Guru is charging fees more than the amount specified by the Department of Medical Education and Research for a GNM course in a private institution.

High SPM content in air choking residents of Phagwara
Phagwara, March 8
With the town recording Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) as high as 492 micrograms per cubic metre — more than twice the permissible limit of 200 micrograms per cubic metre — Phagwara residents may find themselves vulnerable to a number of ailments.

Proclaimed Offender arrested
Kapurthala, March 8
The Subhanpur police today claimed to have arrested a proclaimed offender, a resident of Bahadurgarh, Haryana.

Viral disease caused death of goats?
Phagwara, March 8
PPR Viral disease is suspected to be the cause of the death of about 110 goats at the nearby Pandwa village in the past four to five days. PPR is a virus that reportedly decreases the immunity level in goats.

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Bank dacoity: Two accused held, other two ‘killed’
Anuradha Shukla
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 8
Eight days after four armed dacoits looted Rs 1.56 lakh from the Maqsudan branch of the Centurion Bank of Punjab here, the police said it had arrested two persons accused to be the dacoits. The two other accused, the police believes, have been killed in an encounter on the Haridwar-Dehradun border, even though the SP (City I), Dr Surinder Kumar Kalia, said the reports could only be confirmed after a special police team reached the spot.

Those arrested are Rajan Sharma, alias Minu, a resident of Shiv Nagar in Dada Colony, and Vinod, alias Nikki, a resident of Bagichi Sodal here.

One Mohan Singh and one Bawa, the two other accused in the case whom the police now believes to be dead, were residents of Dehradun.

Though the police is yet to recover the entire amount that was robbed from the bank, the case, the police claimed, was solved through the sketches of the accused that were circulated among the public and a mobile phone that the dacoits had snatched from the bank’s cashier, Ms Harjot Kaur. The cell phone, police officials said, was sold off in a shop in Doaba Chowk by one of the accused, Rajan Sharma who used the money to buy a new set.

Interestingly, the police had arrested the two accused three days back, but confirmed it only today.

Mr Kalia said the other two accused had “most likely been killed, but nothing could be said till the final confirmation was received in this regard”.

The police said it had also recovered Rs 8,200 and two mobile phones from the possession of the two persons arrested. The dacoits, the police said, had snatched two mobile phones — one from the cashier of the bank, and another from a customer. Both the sets, along with a cell phone belonging to one of the accused, had been recovered, the police officials added.

The accused have been booked under Sections 394 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act.

The investigation into the armed dacoity was conducted under the supervision of the SP City I, and DSP (Rural II) Rajinder Singh, and was led by a team comprising Station House Officer Nirmal Singh, SI Onkar Singh, ASI Baljit Singh and ASI Bikram Singh.

Police officials claimed that the accused had admitted to the crime. Mohan and Bawa, the police said, had brought the weapons and the car used in the crime from Phagwara. After dumping the car used in the dacoity, the accused had distributed the looted money among themselves, the SP (City I) claimed.

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PSEB importing coal for thermal plants
Cost of power generation expected to rise
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, March 8
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has started importing coal to meet the requirement of its three thermal plants in the state. According to sources, it will put an additional financial burden of Rs 150 crore, including freight charges, on the board. This will increase the cost of power generation by 20 paise per unit.

Sources said that due to acute shortage of coal in the country, the Central Government had asked all state electricity boards about a year back to import around 100 lakh tonne coal, out of which Punjab had to import 7 lakh tonne during the current financial year. Indian coal costs the PSEB Rs 2,300 per tonne, while the imported coal will cost around Rs 5,000 per tonne.

The PSEB can avert this additional financial burden by getting coal from the coal mine in Jharkhand, which was allotted to it in 2000 by the Central Government for the Lehra Mohabat Thermal Power Plant.

However, in the absence of environmental clearance from the Centre, the development of the mine was hanging fire, disclosed a senior officer of the PSEB. He added that the mine could provide coal at rates 10 per cent lower than the prevailing market rates in India.

According to power sector experts, the coal imports in the country are expected to increase in the next financial year, from 100 lakh tonne to 130 lakh tonne. Presently, the total demand of the Punjab State Electricity Board is 95 lakh tonne a year.

The first unit of the Lehra Mohabat Thermal Plant is scheduled to start functioning from December 2006 and the second unit from December 2007. Both units will increase the demand by another 25 lakh tonne.

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CM puts off foundation stone laying of PTU building
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 8
After months of dilly-dallying the Punjab Technical University (PTU) authorities had finally decided to start the construction of their own campus on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala Road with the foundation stone laying ceremony fixed for March 18, the schedule has now been postponed by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, who is to perform the ceremony.

Confirming this to The Tribune, Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, PTU, said the Chief Minister would not be able to turn up on March 18, and the function would be held sometime later.

The project to start the first phase of construction of an ultra-modern and eco-friendly building on a 75-acre land had picked up pace ever since Lord Swraj Paul, the UK-based steel magnate, had visited the site. Lord Paul had seen the building designs and had said that an amount of Rs 5 crore was ready with his charitable foundation here for setting up the ‘PTU-Lord Swraj Paul School of Excellence in Manufacturing and Material Sciences’ on the same campus. The university, too, has almost Rs 30 crore already earmarked for the purpose.

As per the plans, the university building would house paperless offices, as the entire data would be saved on computers and each system would be connected through networking. The building would be eco-friendly in other ways too. The proposed structure would have its own water-harvesting system. The system would ensure that water used in the campus or the water pouring down in the form of precipitation goes into soil pits that would be used in replenishing the water table.

Dr V.K. Arora, Dean, PTU, had said that the building plan was being designed in such a way that most parts of the complex could be constructed in vertically rather than horizontally, leaving as much space for greenery as possible.

In the first of the three phases in the construction of the building, the university plans to set up three blocks, including an administrative block, an examination block and an information and resource centre in less than 1 lakh sq feet area.

A facilitation centre, equipped with display boards and other digital devices, would help the students gather information pertaining to examinations, change of syllabi, date of results and admissions. A hi-tech examination centre with halls for stacking answer sheets of over 35,000 students of distance education centre and 45,000 regular students, paper checking centres and coding and decoding centres would also be set up. He said that only examinees would be allowed inside the halls and their thumb impressions would also be taken by a digital system.

The information and resource centre would house a library with a vast amount of electronic data on a wide variety of subjects. A studio, VSATs and other devices to be used for relay of programmes for distance education students would also be set up in this centre.

The biggest utility of the new building for the students would be the setting up of five ‘Schools of Excellence’ for postgraduate and research scholars. The working hostel and recreational areas like health centre, shopping centres, swimming pool, badminton hall and indoor stadium would be created in the last phase, the university authorities said.

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Sale of chicken yet to pick up, say poultry farmers
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 8
To dispel the apprehension of the bird flu infection from the minds of city residents, the Jalandhar Poultry Farmers’ Association organised a “chicken mela” at Guru Nanak Mission Chowk here this afternoon.

Fried chicken was sold for Rs 10 per plate (250 gm), while boiled eggs were sold for Re 1 per piece. As much as five quintals of chicken were prepared and sold at stalls set up for the purpose. The mela got a good response, as hundreds of residents, many of them from middle class families, halted on the roadsides to buy chicken and eggs.

The association members had put up banners with messages from the National Egg Coordination Committee and the All India Poultry Development Services, saying that consumption of properly-cooked chicken and eggs could not cause any bird flu infection.

Members of the association rued that as many as 2500 families in Jalandhar whose livelihood depended on poultry were badly affected due to the bird flu scare. Mr Subhash Chugh, a member, said that the wholesale price of chicken had fallen from Rs 45 per kg to as low as Rs 15 per kg. He said that an egg, which was earlier sold for Rs 1.75, was now being sold for just 85 paise.

He pointed out that the sale of chicken and eggs had plummeted to as low as 42 per cent after the news of a few bird flu cases in a pocket of Maharashtra broke out. He said the sales were still very depressing for the poultry farmers here. “Even now the sale is just 60 per cent behind the average mark at this time of the year,” he added.

Mr Sarabjit Singh Makkar, SAD (Badal) leader, too, came to attend the mela in support of the farmers.

Interestingly, the members of the association alleged the “non-cooperation” of the Municipal Corporation Jalandhar (MCJ) in the mela. “The MCJ authorities asked us to pay Rs 20,000 for using the corporation land for holding this langar,” said the association members. They added that the price at which they were selling chicken was almost like holding a langar. They alleged that instead of giving them a compensation for the losses they had suffered, the government officials were trying to be harsh with them.

A compromise was finally reached between the two parties after the poultry farmers agreed to pay an amount of Rs 2000 to the MCJ.

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Committee to probe charges against nursing school
Arun Sharma

Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 8
The Punjab Nursing Registration Council has constituted a committee to into allegations that the management of the Guru Teg Bahadur Nursing School at Jandiala Guru is charging fees more than the amount specified by the Department of Medical Education and Research for a GNM course in a private institution.

While talking to The Tribune over the phone, Ms Kiranjit Kaur, the council’s Chairman, said that a two-member committee, comprising Dr Amrit, a biochemistry lecturer, and Ms Lalita Kumari from a nursing institute would inquire into the allegations levelled by the students and their parents against the management of the school. She said the committee would submit the report to her.

Parents of some of the students of the school had alleged in their complaints to government authorities, including the Chief Minister and the state Health Minister, that the school was forcing their wards to deposit Rs 18,000 in excess of the Rs 35,000 fee specified by the Department of Medical Education and Research.

Mr Sulakhan Singh, a resident of Kapurthala, alleged that his daughter, Paramjeet Kaur, took admission in the nursing school for a three-year GNM course last year. According to a state government notification, Rs 35,000 were deposited with the school authorities at the time of admission, he said.

But after eight months, the school management, Sulakhan Singh alleged, started asking his daughter to deposit Rs 18,000 more for the session. “Though in the beginning I was unwilling to give the extra amount demanded, I had to deposit it with the management before the commencement of the annual examinations in order save a year of my daughter’s education. However, I was not given any receipt by the school authorities for the amount I paid.”

Mr Paramjeet Singh, also resident of Kapurthala, and the uncle of one Jashandeep Kaur, another student of the nursing school, expressed similar views.

“We have lodged a complaints with the SP (Vigilance), Jalandhar, also on the issue,” the parents of some of the wards said. “After we lodged the complaints, the school management started harassing our wards and we had to apply for the migration to other nursing institutes,” they added.

Meanwhile, Dr Hardeep Singh Jammu, who runs the nursing institute, when contacted, refused to comment on the allegations levelled by the students and their parents, saying that “only the government could decide the matter”.

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High SPM content in air choking residents of Phagwara
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, March 8
With the town recording Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) as high as 492 micrograms per cubic metre — more than twice the permissible limit of 200 micrograms per cubic metre — Phagwara residents may find themselves vulnerable to a number of ailments.

Sources said that the amount of SPM in Phagwara had remained around 400 micrograms per cubic metre for the past one year. SPM is believed to carry toxic and carcinogenic matter that may alter the immune system, reduce visibility and cause many long-term respiratory disorders and at times, even lead to premature death.

Asked about the cause for such alarming and consistent levels of SPM in the town, a Punjab Pollution Control Board official put the blame on the poor condition of the roads and vehicular pollution. “I have not sent any communiqué to the Phagwara administration briefing them about the causes of this increased level of SPM,” the official said. He added that he would write to the authorities on the issue.

Asked about the levels of carbon monoxide (CO), the official said, “We don’t have the infrastructure to measure the levels of CO.”

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Proclaimed Offender arrested
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 8
The Subhanpur police today claimed to have arrested a proclaimed offender, a resident of Bahadurgarh, Haryana.

According to Mr Swaran Singh Ball, SHO, Shubhanpur, the proclaimed offender, Satish Kumar, was wanted in a case related to defrauding Jagatjeet Industries Ltd, Hamira. In 1998, he had fled with a consignment of VIVA, a food supplement manufactured by the company, worth Rs 7,72,000, in a truck, Mr Ball said.

The police had been in search of the accused after he was declared a proclaimed offender in 1999 by the court.

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Viral disease caused death of goats?
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 8
PPR Viral disease is suspected to be the cause of the death of about 110 goats at the nearby Pandwa village in the past four to five days. PPR is a virus that reportedly decreases the immunity level in goats.

However, this would be confirmed only after the postmortem report of a goat sent to Jalandhar came out, health authorities said today. Dr Alam Singh Sangha, officiating as the head of the Civil Veterinary Hospital, Phagwara, when contacted, claimed that the disease was under control.

“We were not informed in time about the disease, otherwise we could have saved many goats,” he said.

“We have started treating the other ailing goats,” he informed.

“There was nothing to panic, as PPR Viral disease is a common disease among goats,” Dr Sangha added.

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Gas leakage

Phagwara, March 8
Fire broke out in a house at Chaheru, near here, after leakage of cooking gas from an LPG cylinder on Monday night.

Fire brigade personnel reached the spot and controlled the fire. — OC

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