Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 24
The land, located at a premium place in Mohali, was proposed to be offered to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), headed by Mr Mukesh Ambani, to start his dream project in agriculture and allied sectors in Punjab and certain other states, including West Bengal.
Informed sources said the land did not figure in the memorandum prepared for the approval of the state Council of Ministers scheduled to meet on June 26 to take significant decisions, including the one regarding the abolition of octroi. In its columns on May 8, The Tribune had reported that the state government wanted to give away the Board’s land, worth several crores, to the RIL at a throwaway price. After the report, not only in Punjab but also in the neighbouring Haryana, a wide-ranging hot political debate began among politicians and economists of all hues about the Reliance projects in this region and the terms and conditions on which offers have been made to the RIL by the respective governments.
The sources said the Mandi Board’s land had been delinked from the RIL project following a written instruction given by a senior officer to the state Agricultural Department which is performing as a nodal office to handle the project.
Instead of the Board’s land, the state government has proposed to offer 150 acres of land to the RIL at Laddowal farm, near Ludhiana, where earlier another big industrial house was given 300 acres of land. However, the RIL will be given the 150-acre land at Laddowal on lease at the rate of Rs 6,000 per acre, per year. And there will be an inbuilt condition to raise the lease money by 10 per cent every five years. The ownership of the Laddowal land will not be transferred to the RIL and Industrial house, it is learnt.
Besides the Laddowal land, the RIL will be given land, which is owned by the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC), at Muktsar, Malout, Tanda, Mansa and Abohar. In total, it is 347.22 acres of land at these places which was taken to promote industrial focal points. The sources said at each of these places, the PSIEC would retain 10 per cent of the land while the remaining would be handed over to the RIL at the price at which it was acquired.
The thinking in the government is that with the development of commercial hubs by the RIL at these places, the price of the 10 per cent land retained by the PSIEC will go up substantially. And that will compensate the PSIEC, which otherwise had pegged the existing price of the land at Rs 164 crore. It is now expected to be given to the RIL, after retaining 10 per cent, at Rs 40 crore or so. For any escalation in the price of this land, due to any pending litigation after handing it over to the RIL, the state government will not bear the liability.
At Goindwal, the RIL will be given 150 acres of land at the rate it was acquired. The land, which at present is with the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, will be surrendered to the PSIEC, its earlier owner, for further handing over to the RIL. Besides it, the panchayat land at various places will be given on lease to the RIL. A few days ago, the Rural Development Minister, Mr Lal Singh, had told The Tribune that he had a detailed meeting with the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R.Lakhanpal, with regard to the offering of the panchayat land at various places for setting up procurement centres and 52 commercial hubs by the RIL.
Mr Lal Singh had stated that at no point of time the ownership of the panchayat land would be transferred to the RIL.
The half of the total land available with the interested panchayat would be given to the RIL on lease at a rate of Rs 16,000 per acre and no where would the land be given without the consent of the panchayat. The RIL would be given a waiver on the market fee, rural development fund etc for procuring horticultural produce and from the stamp duty for buying land. A unified licence for its marketing operations in the state would also be given by the Mandi Board.
There are four major components of the RIL project. The first is direct procurement from farmers of the agricultural produce such as vegetables, fruits etc for sale in the national market through its proposed chain of retail outlets; the second is trade of agricultural inputs, including the sale of various seeds, fertilisers and pesticides; the third is processing of foodgrains, such as wheat, into flour and pulses for which flour mills etc will be set up at Goindwal; and the fourth is the entry of the RIL in the milk processing and vending market. At Laddowal, the RIL will set up a modern agricultural farm.
Bansal urges banks to help common man in rural areas
Chandigarh, June 24
He was speaking here at an international summit on infrastructure and economic development of Punjab. The summit was hosted by the Department of NRI Affairs, Punjab, and the International Punjabi Chamber for Service Industry. It was a part of the series of programmes envisaged under the ‘‘Think India-Think Punjab Agenda-2006’’. Its focus was on that what role NRIs could play in the development of Punjab and other parts of this region.
Besides Mr Bansal, the Punjab Minister for NRI Affairs, Mr Amarjit Samra, and the Chief Secretary of the Haryana Government, Mr Prem Prashant, were amongst the speakers. Mr Partap Singh Bajwa and Mr Surinder Singla, who were also invited to speak, did not turn up at the summit. Only about 20 NRIs attended the summit.
Mr Narpal Singh Shergill, a UK- based NRI and columnist on overseas affairs, said the Punjab Government was groping in the dark and was not aware of what it should do to attract investment from Punjabis settled abroad. He said officers like Mr N.S. Kalsi, Commissioner, NRIs, Punjab, were talking about the distant future of India and Punjab, but they were not talking about what should be done at this moment to pull the Punjab economy out of a crisis and usher the state into the development era.
He said the crisis at the social service sector level, such as on education front and acute power shortage, had sent a wrong message to investors in the state.He said the Punjabi NRIs settled abroad got all information about the day-to-day problems faced by investors in the state through various sources of communication.
Mr Shergill said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had promised to set up a special directorate for NRI affairs, but the promise had not been fulfilled yet. He said the Chief Minister himself had not made efforts to contact NRIs. He should have visited various countries once in a year to contact Punjabi NRIs. ‘‘If the Punjab Government is serious to attract investment and cooperation for the development of the state, it should send a clear message to the NRIs that they will be received with open arms and not be left at the mercy of bureaucracy’’, said Mr Shergill.
Mr Prashant highlighted the investment opportunities in Haryana. He said tourism economic zones would be developed in Haryana in view of the fast-developing leisure and entertaining industry. The focus at the proposed education city at Panipat would be on developing employability skills of youth.
Another probe ordered into land scam case
Gurdaspur June 24
It is for the third time that investigation has been ordered into the case due to the involvement of some influential persons in it. The reinvestigation has been ordered after the former Pathankot SP, Mr Manminder, dropped serious charges against the SDM after an inquiry conducted just before his transfer.
Earlier, the local police, on the directions of the former SSP of Gurdaspur Pramod Ban, had booked SDM of Moga Iqbal Singh Sandhu and a senior sub editor of a vernacular daily Ashok, a resident of Jalandhar, along with seven others in a land scam.
A case was registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 B of the IPC against the suspects. The SSP ordered the registration of a case after an inquiry conducted into the scam revealed the involvement of the above mentioned persons.
The SSP, Mr P.S Umrananagal, admitted that re-inquiry had been ordered in the said case. He said the re-inquiry had been ordered as proper procedure had allegedly not been followed while dropping the charges against the SDM accused in the case.
The case pertains to 1995 when the accused SDM was posted as Tehsildar in Pathankot. As per the inquiry report Dhian Singh, a resident of Indora village, had in 1958 donated 70 acres to the SMDRSD College of Pathankot. The land was donated to the college for establishing an educational institute in Indora village. The college authorities, however, did not show any interest in running the educational institute.
The land remained unused till 1995 when the accused allegedly planned to grab it. They formed an education promoting trust. Mr Samrinder Sharma who was then working as a lecturer in a college was made the coordinator of the new trust registered to allegedly grab the land.
The office-bearers of the new trust got it registered by the then Tehsildar. Seventy acres were then sold by the new trust members at a registered value of Rs 8.80 lakh. However, the sources here told that the actual value of the land was Rs 80 to Rs 90 lakh as it was located on the Pathankot-Jalandhar National Highway 1.
The kin of the person who had donated the land for setting up the college then filed a case for the cancellation of the registry. They complained to the police that the land had been grabbed and sold illegally by the members of the trust that had been formed just to sell the land donated to the college.
Mr Samrinder Sharma, who was then a lecturer in SMDSRD college later turned into a complainant in the case. The society running the SMDSRD college also lodged a police complaint in the matter later.
The other accused in case, include Ms Madhu Sharma wife of Ashok Plato, Ms Raj Rani, Kailash Bharadwaj, Sarala Barawaj, Satpal, Arun Prashar all residents of Jalandhar and Jatinder Mohan Dogra, a resident of Pathankot.
Senior Congress leader quits
Patiala, June 24
He made this announcement in presence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD (Badal), at the house of former Akali minister, Mr Surjeet Singh Kohli.
Mr Jalota accused Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh of spreading corruption in Punjab in the past four years and alleged that he had also failed to carry out development works in Patiala and other parts of Punjab.
He said that he would make the formal announcement of his joining SAD (Badal) by organising a big function shortly.
Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Badal said that the time had come that not only commoners but also Congressmen had started feeling suffocated under the rule of Capt Amarinder Singh.
PPCC plans major changes in Ropar Congress
Ropar, June 24
During a function organised to honour him in Nurpurbedi town, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma told The Tribune that all district president of the state will be meeting again after 15 days with PPCC president Dullo to discuss the change in the bodies of the office-bearers of the district Congress. I will definitely make changes in the officer-bearers in district Congress and at subdivision level. Only party workers who have been working for people and associated with the problems of the people will be given responsibility in the party, he added.
This time there is no place for the people who wanted to take the post in the district Congress just to improve their position and have not been associated with ground level workers and people, he added.
The elevation of Mr Sharma to the post of president came as a surprise for many as he did not have good equation with the CM, Capt Amarinder Singh. While Mr Dullo become the president of the PPCC, Congressmen expecting Mr Saini to lose the post as he had completed his three year term as the president. It is also a setback for the CM camp in the district and may also affect the equation of the Congress leaders. This is believed an attempt of PPCC to strengthen the Bhattal camp in the district.
Mr Sharma became the state minister when the Congress was voted to power in 2002. But later when the state government decreased the strength of its ministers, he was dropped. One group of the Congress leaders that had been neglected for the past many years after the Chief Minister came to power will become stronger in the district because of their proximity to Mr Sharma.
Defiant Calcutta may quit
Amritsar, June 24
The DAC Chairman, in his notice, accused Mr Calcutta, the main architect of Badal-Tohra rapprochement, for holding ‘‘secret parleys’’ with Chief Minister’s Media Adviser, Mr Bhart Inder Singh Chahal and Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, launching ‘‘war of ’’ against party supremo, Jathedar, Akal Takht, and SGPC Chief and absenting himself from PAC meetings.
The DAC Chairman also enclosed various press clippings, including ‘‘Bajwa, Chahal, Calcutta hold secret parleys’’, published in various English and vernacular papers.
However, it is learnt that Mr Calcutta would like to resign from the primary membership of the party and won’t wait for the proposed action against him.
The notice reads that Mr Calcutta had indulged in ‘‘un-necessary, irresponsible accusations against party leadership’’.
Mr Calcutta confirmed the receipt of the show-cause notice. The sources, close to Mr Calcutta pointed out that the beleaguered leader had great command over language and would draft a reply that would become part of the recent Sikh history. Mr Calcutta would bring forth the fact that the leaders who listen to their conscience are never afraid of any action and could sacrifice any post.
Some of the press clippings, sent to Mr Calcutta pointed out that he had used harsh words against Jathedar Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti. Jathedar Vedanti was accused of working at the behest of Mr Badal whereas the SGPC Chief, Mr Avtar Singh, was dubbed as a ‘‘political lilliput’’, having no experience to manage Shiromani Committee.
A confident Mr Calcutta said he would ask the DAC Chairman that the SAD had become a virtual ‘‘one man show’’ with a single family dominating the party affairs. Mr Calcutta is of the view that he had been fighting to preserve the age-old Sikh traditions and principles. He had repeatedly announced that he held Sikh principles in high esteem and hence could not remain a silent spectator.
Mr Calcutta has also been accused of writing an ‘‘open letter to Jathedar Akal Takht’’.
SAD (A) activists back Bira
Phillaur, June 24
Bira, a ‘militant’, was deported from the USA and brought here on June 19 in connection with several criminal cases.
Meanwhile, activists of All-India Anti-Terrorist Front raised slogans against terrorism.
DSP Maninderjit Singh Grewal said the Judicial Magistrate had sent Bira into police custody for two more days for further investigation.
The accused would be produced before the Judicial Magistrate on June 26.
Three members of the US Embassy and Human Rights Watch Commission had visited the police station to check on Bira’s health and get information on any police harassment.
Rain water devours 2 young lives; MC apathy decried
Patiala, June 24
The mishap is said to have happened when they were plying their cycles on the adjacent road and then suddenly fell into the overflowing nullah.
A pall of gloom descended on the Top Khanna area locality even as the kin of the ill-fated children jammed the traffic on the busy Mall road to lodge their protest against the negligent attitude of the Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities.
They alleged that had the nullah been covered properly by the MC authorities, the tragedy could have been averted.
Information gathered by TNS revealed that two children, aged 10 and 7 years, respectively, were riding their cycles when suddenly tragedy sprung upon them as they turned their cycles towards the invisible and overflowing nullah which had not been barricaded by the MC authorities.
One of the children has been identified as Honey. The authorities pressed the fire-brigade men into service who after frantic efforts managed to pull out the cycles while they were trying desperately to locate the children.
The agitated residents of Top Khanna area and surrounding localities, who raised slogans against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Mayor and the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, alleged that firstly the fire-brigade personnel made an inordinate delay in reaching the spot and when they finally arrived, they were ill-equipped to carry out the search and rescue operation.
Mr S.K Ahluwalia, Commissioner MC, said the MC authorities should not be faulted for the tragedy which had occurred.
Elaborating, he added the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) had recently dismantled four bridges situated over the nallah due to which the gruesome tragedy had taken place.
He also said when the PWSSB authorities were dismantling the bridges, he alongwith the Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, had vehemently protested but to no avail.
He added that barricades had indeed been erected alongside the nullah but at certain pockets they disappeared after the same were stolen by miscreants recently.
He further said he had been monitoring the search and rescue operations which had been launched at various points by different teams of the MC.
The sharp downpour inundated various parts of the city and threw normal life out of gear.
Today’s rain has also exposed the poor drainage system in the city of the Chief Minister who has pumped crores of rupees for its development.
Villagers cry for power
Tarn Taran, June 24 Kala Singh, Sarpanch of Dalake village; Bhagwant Singh, former Sarpanch of Takhuchak village; and others said some employees were demanding a bribe for the supply power or power would be knowingly disrupted. Er S.S.Sarna, senior executive engineer of the local division of PSEB, has denied the charges leveled by the villagers.
Tarn Taran, June 24
Kala Singh, Sarpanch of Dalake village; Bhagwant Singh, former Sarpanch of Takhuchak village; and others said some employees were demanding a bribe for the supply power or power would be knowingly disrupted.
Er S.S.Sarna, senior executive engineer of the local division of PSEB, has denied the charges leveled by the villagers.
Dalit family stages dharna in front of SSP’s office
Patiala, June 24
The family members also brought Mr Bant Singh, who was lying on a cot, to the dharna site. They demanded that proper legal action should be taken against Mr Harchain Singh, a farmer, who had beaten up and abused Mr Bant Singh few days ago. They alleged that failing to pocket the insult by Mr Harchain Singh, the Dalit youth consumed poison to commit suicide.
Mr Satwinder Singh Tohra, Sarpanch, Tohra village and member, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC), who had been helping the victim in getting justice, while talking to TNS alleged that the police authorities were going soft on the issue. He added that a criminal case was registered against Mr Harchain Singh under very soft offences.
He said though Mr Harchain Singh had beaten up Mr Bant Singh in the victim’s house, no offence in that connection was made out against the accused. Not only this, the police authorities also failed to made out an offence for inciting a person to commit suicide against the accused despite the fact that Mr Bant Singh consumed poison after he was beaten up. He said though Mr Harchain Singh used derogatory remarks against the caste of the victim, the police authorities also failed to make out an offence in that connection also.
Mr Harchain Singh, when contacted, while denying all the allegations levelled against him, said he was Congress man and his wife was a panchayat member of the village. He added that as Mr Satwinder Singh Tohra, who was Sarpanch of the village, was an Akali leader, he (Mr Tohra) had been playing a political game by levelling false allegations against him.
He alleged that Mr Tohra had been putting pressure on him to join the Akali party for the past many months. When he refused to toe the line of Mr Tohra, he was implicated into a false criminal case.
Mr Jagdish Singh Kahlon, SP (Headquarters), when contacted, said a case had already been registered against Mr Harchain Singh. He added that what Mr Satwinder Singh Tohra was alleging was out of political considerations as his allegations were baseless.
He said he had deputed a DSP and SHO concerned to make an on-the-spot inquiry and to make efforts to sort out the matter. He added that if the matter was not solved, then the law would take its own course.
Six held for immoral activities
Batala, June 24 While talking to media persons here today, Naresh Kumar, DSP, Batala, disclosed that four men namely Manprit Singh, Talwinder Singh, Dipak Kumar and Maan Singh and two women namely Kinder of Shakala village and Rani of Nurpur village were apprehended and produced in court today. A case under section 4/5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act of 1956 had been registered.
Batala, June 24
While talking to media persons here today, Naresh Kumar, DSP, Batala, disclosed that four men namely Manprit Singh, Talwinder Singh, Dipak Kumar and Maan Singh and two women namely Kinder of Shakala village and Rani of Nurpur village were apprehended and produced in court today.
A case under section 4/5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act of 1956 had been registered.
2 gangs of criminals busted
Fatehgarh Sahib, June 24
The police has seized four weapons, including a .12 bore rifle, .315 bore pistols, live cartridges, iron rods, keys and other equipment. The Sirhind police has registered separate cases under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, SSP, said the Fatehgarh Sahib police had arrested members of two gangs.
He said members of one of these gangs used to loot the rich by entering their houses in the night. Members of the second gang used to loot the poor. Man*9y such incidents were not at all reported to the police. Arrested gang members said they had stolen over 1,000 pigs worth Rs 50 lakh.
The Sirhind police got information that certain suspicious persons armed with weapons were present on the bank of the Bhakra canal. Two police parties raided the place and arrested five persons with arms.
One of those arrested was identified as Bittu, a resident of Sahabad Markanda and kingpin of the gang. He was involved in 26 criminal cases in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh.
He had come out of the jail on February 25 after getting bail in a rape case. After coming out the jail, he constituted two gangs and recruited criminals. They struck at Mandi Gobindgarh, Nahan, Kurukshetra, Pinjore, Delhi and parts of Haryana.
He said the gang members used to recce the area and enter the house at night to commit dacoities. If any member of the house resisted, they used to injure or even murder him.
Recently, they had looted gold, silver and other valuables worth lakhs from Mandi Gobindgarh.
Other arrested members of the gang were identified as Satbir Singh, Gandhi, Hari Gunga and Parmod Kumar.
Giving details about the second gang, he said the police arrested three members of the Moga-based gang involved in the theft of pigs. The gang was active for the past 10 years. Their modus operandi was to mix intoxicant in the wheat flour and offer it to the pigs. After the animals become unconscious, they used to carry these away. The animals were taken to a Moga-based butcher, who used to supply meat to shops in various towns.
Those arrested were presented in a court.
Youth kills drunken father
Moga, June 24 The youth, Raghubir Singh (22), reportedly killed his father Sukhwinder Singh (48) as he was upset over his father’s habit of abusing his mother and sister after drinking and taking drugs, said Varinder Singh Gill , SHO of the police station concerned. The SHO said the trouble started when Sukhwinder started abusing his wife and daughter after drinking alcohol. Raghubir tried to stop him but he tried to attack his son with a spade, the SHO added. Following which, Raghubir pushed his father in self-defence and snatched the spade from him and attacked him. As a result Sukhwinder sustained injuries on his head and died within 10 minutes. An FIR under Section 302 of the IPC was registered against Raghubir on the basis of information gathered by duty officer of the police station concerned, said the SHO adding, that the accused had not been arrested so far.
Moga, June 24
The youth, Raghubir Singh (22), reportedly killed his father Sukhwinder Singh (48) as he was upset over his father’s habit of abusing his mother and sister after drinking and taking drugs, said Varinder Singh Gill , SHO of the police station concerned.
The SHO said the trouble started when Sukhwinder started abusing his wife and daughter after drinking alcohol. Raghubir tried to stop him but he tried to attack his son with a spade, the SHO added.
Following which, Raghubir pushed his father in self-defence and snatched the spade from him and attacked him. As a result Sukhwinder sustained injuries on his head and died within 10 minutes.
An FIR under Section 302 of the IPC was registered against Raghubir on the basis of information gathered by duty officer of the police station concerned, said the SHO adding, that the accused had not been arrested so far.
Moga, June 24
The injured identified as Nasib Singh and his father Ajaib Singh were hospitalised in Ludhiana and their third relation Lakhbir Singh was admitted to the Civil Hospital here.
According to the FIR, lodged on the complaint of Jasbir Singh, the other son of injured Ajaib Singh, accused Gurmit Singh, Gurpreet Singh along with one more under the influence of liquor and armed with weapons arrived near the house of injured and threatened with dire consequences if they did not stop giving evidence against them in a case pending in the court.
On this, when the injured objected the accused started firing and then managed to escape.
The police has registered a case. —PTI
Three killed in accident
Pathankot, June 24
The truck driver managed to flee. The bodies of the victims were handed over to their kin after the post-mortem examination at the civil hospital, Pathankot. A case has been registered.
Gang of thieves busted
Kharar, June 24 Acting on specific information, a police party signalled two persons riding a motor cycle to stop. The motor cycle was stolen by them from the jurisdiction of the Kharar police station. The two persons were identified as Rajwinder, a resident of Morinda, and
Parvinder, a resident of Maloya in Chandigarh.Following interrogation, three more scooters were recovered from them. A case has been registered.
Kharar, June 24
Acting on specific information, a police party signalled two persons riding a motor cycle to stop. The motor cycle was stolen by them from the jurisdiction of the Kharar police station.
The two persons were identified as Rajwinder, a resident of Morinda, and Parvinder, a resident of Maloya in Chandigarh.Following interrogation, three more scooters were recovered from them.
A case has been registered.
Madrasas to get incentives
Chandigarh, June 24
A spokesman for the Punjab Education Department said under a centrally sponsored scheme, the state government would launch an area incentive programme for educationally backward minorities and to provide financial assistance for the modernisation of madrasas.
Madrasas volunteering to teach modern subjects such as mathematics, science, social sciences, English and Hindi to their students along with their traditional subjects, could be assisted.
Voluntary organisations, societies, trusts or voluntary agencies, registered under the central or state government Acts or wakf boards, will be eligible to apply for the assistance.