P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Henry on stone-laying spree, promises cheaper pulses
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 28
While elections are a few months away Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his council of ministers have been laying the foundation stones of development schemes and making announcements to woo voters.

Food and Civil Supplies and Public Health Minister Avtar Henry laid the foundation stones of several rural water supply schemes in a number of villages in Moga district today. He also announced pulses would be provided to poor families at cheaper rates at ration depots.

Addressing reporters at Ghal Kalan, village Mr Henry said the state government had decided to buy 6000-tonne pulses to provide them to AAY, BPL and APL families at cheaper rates through ration depots.

Mr Henry said that AAY, BPL and APL families would be provided these pulses at 75 per cent , 50 per cent and 35 per cent subsidised rates through public distribution system. Pulses have gone beyond the reach of common man due to increase in prices.

The minister said wheat and rice would continue to be provided at ration depots. To a query, he said that officials of the departments concerned had been directed to take stern action against hoarders of essential commodities.

To a question, he said the employees looking after the octroi work need not worry with the decision of abolition of this levy as the government had decided them to adjust properly.

He also addressed a gathering at Ghal Kalan village where he highlighted the Amarinder government’s achievement. He said most of the promises made by the Congress party during previous Assembly elections had been fulfilled.

Earlier, he laid the foundation stones of rural water supply schemes at Kokri Kalan (with estimated cost of Rs. 77.32 lakh), Bughi Pura (with estimated cost of Rs. 36.84 lakh), Ramu Wala Kalan (with estimated cost of Rs. 27.64 lakh) and Ghal Kalan (with estimated cost of Rs. 73.90 lakh) villages.

The minister said augmentation of water supply would be done in 119 villages of Moga district under 117 different schemes. Besides 141 deep tubewells would be sunk and 833-km-long water pipes laid he added.

Former ministers Ms Malti Thapar, Darshan Singh Brar, ex MLA Vijay Sathi, District Congress President Babu Singh, Chief Engineer Water Supply and Sanitation Department Manmohanjeet Singh, DC V.K. Meena were also present on the occasion.


Poor inflow of migrant labour hits agriculture
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The implementation of the National Employment Guarantee Scheme has not only impeded the inflow of the migrant labour from the poverty-stricken areas of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and other states to this region, but it has also resulted in the increase of the transplantation cost of paddy in Punjab and has set alarm bells ringing among government officials associated with management of agriculture in the state.

Informed sources said the cost of transplantation had gone up to Rs 750 per acre in certain districts whereas it was in the range of Rs 500 per acre last year. In Punjab, paddy is transplanted manually in about 65 lakh acres every year. And the job is performed by migrant labourers, who are engaged by Punjab farmers on contract basis.

About 15 to 17 lakh labourers work in the state in a period lasting just a month — starting from June 10 to July 10 — to transplant paddy. However, this year, according to reports, the inflow of migrant labour has declined substantially and local labour is demanding higher wages to do the job.

Sources said under the employment guarantee scheme, labourers, who used to come to Punjab, earn about Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 in their own states and hence they are reluctant to come here.

However, this year, the Punjab Agricultural University( PAU) has told farmers to transplant paddy after June 15, and due to this the total effective period for transplanting has come down to 25 days instead of 30 days. Reduction in the effective period has further resulted in jacking up of demand for labour and increasing the transplantation cost.

Mr K.S. Pannu, Member Secretary of the Punjab Farmers Commission, when asked to comment on this development, told The Tribune that the commission had convened a meeting of experts to discuss this issue.

He said Dr Jaskaran Singh from the Department of Farm Power and Machinery, and Mr M. B. S. Sandhu, Chief Manager, Markfed, had attended the meeting. He said after discussion on the issue, it was decided to prepare paddy transplantation machines for farmers. In Japan and South Korea, 90 per cent of paddy is transplanted with machines.

Mr Pannu said Markfed had imported six Korean machines costing Rs 42 lakh about three years back. These were lying unused at a Markfed store in Batala. It has been decided that Markfed should transfer two of the machines to the PAU for testing and modification, if required, to make them suitable for paddy transplantation in Punjab.

Likewise, Dr Jaskaran Singh has been asked to develop a paddy transplanter that could be used by farmers without any technical hassles.

Mr Pannu said the employment guarantee scheme would be further expanded in years to come and as a result the inflow of migrants would come down even more. “We are preparing accordingly to cope with the emerging situation in this regard,” he added.


State resents non-inclusion in farmers’ package
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
While the Union Government has announced a package for debt-ridden farmers of four states — Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala — there is no mention in the package of states like Punjab and Haryana, where small and marginal farmers are in great distress. There is resentment in political quarters in Punjab because of the non-inclusion of the state in the package.

In fact, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, is to visit the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra, where from cases of suicide by farmers have been reported, on June 30 to announce the package. The Union Agriculture Ministry, headed by Mr Sharad Pawar, has selected 31 districts — 16 in Andhra Pradesh, six each in Karnataka and Maharashtra and three in Kerala — for the package worth Rs 1,21, 210 crore to implemented in next five years.

Asked to comment in this connection, a senior official of the Punjab Government said today that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had recently met the Prime Minister, Union Agriculture Minister and the Union Finance Minister. They all had assured to give package to Punjab in the form of development fund. He said that Capt Amarinder Singh had asked for Rs 2,059 crore from the Union Government as package for Punjab farmers.

In 31 districts of four states, the Union Government has proposed a one-time settlement of loans pending against farmers, insurance of their crops, health, assets, development of irrigation system in various forms, including setting up of check-dams and helping farmers in certain other ways.

Why was the Union Government not treating the Punjab and Haryana farmers in the same manner as farmers of certain states in the South? Raising this question, Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, a senior leader of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), who is an active member of farmers front, said the Punjab Government had failed to represent the state’s case before the Union Government properly.

He said all states had sent updated data to the Union Government regarding suicide by farmers but the Punjab Government had failed to do so. He said recently the Union Agriculture Secretary had given a statement that the Union Government had a report regarding only two suicide cases of farmers in Punjab and none from Haryana.

Mr Prem Singh said Punjab farmers were facing crisis because the state government had failed to protect their interests at the national level. Punjab farmers grow foodgrains, which are used as staple food by millions of people across the country. Farmers in Maharashtra and other states in South grow commercial crops. While the Union Government had announced a package for farmers who grow commercial crops, there was no package so far for farmers who grow staple food for crores of people.

Mr Prem Singh said the so-called package announced by the Punjab Government was a mere eyewash.

Meanwhile, the MCPI has opposed the handing over of the land owned by various government departments to Reliance Retail Limited. He said big industrial houses should not be given land in such a manner. They should be told to buy land from the open market.


PSIEC objects to govt selling land to Reliance
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Reliance project in Punjab seems to be jinxed. Now the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) has objected to the Punjab Government's move to sell 330 acres of its land to Reliance. While the company has offered the government Rs 40 crore for this land, the PSIEC claims that the land is worth at least Rs 170 crore.

Sources added while discussions to this effect have taken place between the Industries Department and the PSIEC, the Cabinet has already taken a decision in favour of giving this land to the PSIEC.

The 330 acres of land is in the form of separate chunks owned by PSIEC and is located at various industrial focal points across the state. These include over 100 acres at Abohar, 27 acres at Tanda, 50 at Mansa, 88 at Malout and 60 acres at Muktsar.

The company has calculated the cost of the land at the reserve price of industrial plots set by the government at each of these focal points. However, the company has not calculated this rate for the entire chunk of land. The company has agreed to pay for only a certain portion of the land which it considered as "chargeable land". For example at Abohar while the company is seeking the transfer of over 100 acres, it has offered to pay for only 68 acres of land. Reportedly, this the company has done keeping out the areas which would be used for open spaces and roads etc which it considers non-chargeable.

Objecting to these calculations, the PSIEC Employees Union patron Mr Gurdeep Singh further pointed out that Reliance was paying for the entire piece of land on the reserve price of industrial land. "When the government sells industrial land, it charges separately for the residential and commercial component," he said.

"The Reliance is, however, paying the government at rates applicable only to industrial plots while 30 per cent of these chunks are going to be used for residential purposes and another 10 per cent are to be used for commercial purposes. The rate of commercial and residential component in an industrial area is substantially higher than the industrial rates," said Mr GS Oberai of the union, adding that the union members are planning to go on a mass hunger strike over the issue.

Sources added that the PSIEC could earn about Rs 170 crore from the sale of these chunks of land to private parties in the coming years specially since the demand for land in these areas had increased.

However, sources in the Industries Department pointed out that the lands which were being sold to Reliance had not been in much demand. The PSIEC had allotted only about 45 acres of land of the total the PSIEC land of over 380 acres at these five focal points. Sources added that it was unlikely that the PSIEC would be able to find a buyer immediately for the said land at the price they expect.

The Punjab Government had earlier run into a controversy over the allotment of 20 acres of land owned by the Punjab Mandi Board at Mohali to Reliance.


Reliance deal a blow to farmers: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
SAD General Secretary Sukhbir Badal yesterday blasted the Punjab government’s controversial deal with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance group as “a complete sell out of the interests of the people of Punjab”. The decision will sound the death knell for hundreds of thousands of farmers, traders and arhtiyas in the state whose work the company would monopolise, he said.

“The decision to sell government land at cost price is shocking beyond belief and smacks of corrupt deals amounting to thousands of crores,” Sukhbir said.

“Will Captain Amarinder Singh explain the reasons behind his “restless zeal” of offering government sops to the company when he himself has said that Ambani was willing to set up the project even without government assistance,” he asked.

Reacting sharply to the reported government approval to the controversial Rs 5,000 crore Reliance agri mega-project, Sukhbir demanded a CBI probe into reports that the Chief Minister had allegedly received Rs 500 crore as a part of the deal with Reliance.

Sukhbir said, “The whole deal stinks of massive corruption and the Chief Minister and his cronies are the direct beneficiaries.” The clause allowing Reliance to change the nature of its activity on the proposed sites clearly showed that the intentions of the company were far from clean.

The Akali leader also expressed “shock” over the clause that the lease sum on the Panchayat and other government lands given to Reliance would be increased by a meager 10 per cent every five years.


Education scam: Vigilance case on cards
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Punjab Government is all set to hand over the issue of the “Punjab education scam” to the state Vigilance Bureau. The Education Department has sent a formal note to the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, seeking a Vigilance probe in the matter.

Confirming the development to The Tribune, Mr Lakhanpal today said: “The matter is being examined as to what needs to be done”. He added that what course of action would be decided after he received the report of the Education Department. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was also apprised of the matter today.

Sources said some part of the scam was a pure police case and it was expected that the Chief Secretary may also choose to hand over the part where funds have been embezzled from government bank accounts to the police.

It may be mentioned that the scam relating to crores of rupees in the Punjab State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) was first highlighted in The Tribune.

Meanwhile, all accounts of District Education Officers relating to the conduct of Class V examination were frozen with immediate effect today.

Sources said more than Rs 3.5 crore was being collected annually in the past decade or so in the name of conducting the exam. About 4.75 lakh students in government, private and aided schools take the exam. The fee is Rs 70 per child. About 40 per cent of the total collection is transferred to the headquarters here while the remaining sum is retained in a special bank account meant for the conduct of class V examination with the DEO of various districts. The SCERT here has asked all DEOs to send details of account numbers and the money deposited in it by tomorrow. These accounts will also be checked to find about if any irregularity was committed.

The Director-General of Police, Vigilance, Mohd Izhar Alam also confirmed that a communication about the developments in the past three weeks had been received in his office. “We will take appropriate action”, he added. He refused to divulge details about the case.


11 IAS, 32 PCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Punjab Government tonight transferred 11 IAS officers and 32 Punjab Civil Services(PCS) officers. Among the IAS officials to be shifted were Deputy Commissioner of Jalandhar and also Managing Director of PSIDC.

The PCS to be transferred are those who are not holding additional work for the Election Commission of India. The EC had stopped the transfer of PCS officers, who were doing election related work, like revision of voters lists in the state.

The government posted the DC Jalandhar, Mr Anurag Verma as MD, PSIDC, vice Mr Mandeep Singh Sandhu who has been posted as Secretary, Social Security, Women and Child Development. Mr A. Venu Prasad, who just returned from study leave, will be the new DC Jalandhar. Mr R.L. Kalsia has been posted as Secretary Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Director Technical Education, Mr Gurdev Singh will relinquish the additional charge of Director Industrial Training and Mr Harjit Singh shall replace him. Mr Vikas Garg will be ACA, PUDA, Mohali. Mr Sumer Singh Gurjar will be the new Additional Secretary, Higher Education, while Mrs Bhawna Garg will be the new ADC ( general), Ropar. Mr Garg, Mr Gurjar and Mrs Bhawna Garga shall hold posts that were earlier held by PCS officers.

Mr Surjit Singh shall be the new Additional Director Industries and Commerce, while Mr Bhagwant Singh will join as ACA, PUDA, Jalandhar.

Among the PCS officers, Mr Dipinder Singh shall be the new Additional Secretary , local government. Mr M.R. Aggarwal has been posted as PSO to Commissioner, Patiala Division. Mr Harbhupinder Singh is Additional Secretary, Animal Husbandary and Fisheries. Mr P.S. Mand, on his return from leave, has been posted as Additional Secretary, Agriculture. Mr Yashvir Mahajan will be the new Secretary of Punjab State Board of Technical Education.

Mr Baljit Singh, on return from his leave, has been posted as ADC (general) Tarn Taran. Mr Harkesh Singh Sidhu is Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner (Admn) Patiala.

Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Parmjit Singh, Mr Surjit Singh and Mr Sukhwinder Pal Singh have been posted as ADC (general) at Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Jalandhar, respectively. Mr Inder Yash Bhatti has been posted as Joint Secretary, Technical Education. Mr Ajmer Singh-I, has been posted as Deputy Director, Urban Bodies, Amritsar. Mr Sanjay Popli is the new SDM Ropar while Mr Vimal Kumar Setia is the new SDM Gurdaspur with additional charge of Dhar Kalan. Mr Manmohan Singh Kang is SDM, Dera Baba Nanak.

The following are the other transfers: Ms Kiran Rosy - Deputy Secretray Freedom Fighters; Mr D.S. Mangat - Joint Secretary Health; Mr Amarjit Singh Dhindsa - Joint Secretary Housing; Mr Gurlovleen Singh - Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Ludhiana; Mr G.S Ghuman -- Joint Secretary Medical Education; Mr Dilraj Singh - Joint Secretary Transport; Mr M.L. Sharma - Joint Director Agriculture; Mr H.K. Nagpal - EO, PUDA, Mohali; Mrs Raghbir Kaur - Joint Director ( Admn), DPI elementary; Mr A.S. Prabhakar - Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Jalandhar; Mr Gurmit Singh - Joint Secretary, welfare of SC's and BCs; Mrs Neeru Katyal - AC ( grievances) Ludhiana. Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Sukhjit Singh, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh and Lakhmir Singh have been posted as AC (general) at Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Tarn Taran and Nawan Shahr, respectively.


CM wants quick clearance of mega projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today asked the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, to tie-up loose ends to implement all the housing, township and multiplex projects approved by the Empowered Committee. He has asked that work should start by July 31.

Presiding over a high-level meeting to review the implementation of these projects, the Chief Minister said in unequivocal terms that procedural delays would not be allowed to hamper the implementation of these projects. He asked the agencies concerned like Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), Town and Country Planning, Forest and State Pollution Control Board etc to ensure prompt clearances to the promoters without any procedural hurdles.

Showing deep concern over the inordinate delay in the clearances of these projects, Capt Amarinder Singh said the very objective of the Empowered Committee on mega projects was negated if all these projects approved by the committee had to undergo tedious and cumbersome procedure. He said the basic role of the State Government as a facilitator was to motivate the entrepreneurs without causing any undue harassment. A delay could send a wrong signal and hamper investment.

The Chief Minister was informed that the Empowered Committee on mega projects had so far approved 36 multiplex complexes at an investment of Rs. 6,222.04 crore. Another 44 housing and township projects at an investment of Rs 27,696 crore had been approved. Out of this, agreements for 14 housing and urban development projects and 19 multiplexes at an investment of Rs 3,310.81 crore and Rs 411.70 crore, respectively, had been completed.


Punjab to complete immunisation by March, 07
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 28
Punjab will achieve 100 per cent target of immunising its children upto the age of 1 year against six deadly diseases by March 2007.

The Health Department is making efforts in this regard and all resources of the department have been activated and review meetings are being held regularly to make it a success as well as a mass movement, said Dr Rana Harinder, Director, Family Welfare, while addressing the meeting of Civil Surgeons, District Health Officers, SMOs and other health officers of Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar and Mohali districts at Bachat Bhavan here today.

Concrete strategies had been chalked out and after meetings with the district-level officers, meetings would again be held with the grass root-level health workers.

She stressed that pregnant mothers should be registered at the earliest and each should be given three ante-natal check-ups and educate about diet and immunisation. She urged social organisations and parents to join the campaign for the future of the country as healthy baby meant healthy future of the Nation.

Earlier Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the meet and in her address, she stressed upon the declining sex ratio of girl child. She took keen interest in the PNDT Act and discussed in detail. She warned the ultrasound centers of the district that if anyone indulged in any illegal activity, strict action would be initiated. She said if anyone found committing irregularity under the act would not be spared. She urged the Civil Surgeon to implement the Act strictly.

Dr Rakesh Gupta, Civil Surgeon, gave detailed information about the implementation of the PNDT Act in the district. He said one ultrasound centre had been booked. He assured that District Health Department would implement all programmes initiated under the National Rural Health Mission. He said district would achieve the given target. He said regular samples of drinking water in private factories were being checked and were being directed to take water purification measures.

Dr V.K. Goel, State Immunisation Officer, gave the detailed information about the immunisation programme. He said there was no shortage of immunisation syringes or any other material.


20 Pak prisoners to be repatriated on June 30
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, June 28
Mr H.R Chadda, ADGP-cum-DG Prisons, here today distributed Rs 1,80,470 among 11 Pakistani prisoners who along with nine others would be repatriated to Pakistan from Wagah joint check post on June 30.

The release and compensation to Pakistani prisoners were made possible following the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s judgment delivered two months ago.

Zia-ur-Rehman, resident of Fishra in Pakistan, received maximum compensation of Rs 30,984 for his over three-year stay in the Jail. Asked had he expected to get money after his release he answered in the negative. Unable to hide his emotions on receiving the amount from Mr Chadda he remarked that he would donate half of the amount to his village’s mosque.

A division bench of the high court gave its judgment on April 27 following a petition filed by Mr Ranjan Lakhanpal, President, World Human Rights Protection Council. Mr Chadda said the compensation was given as per the High Court’s ruling that each detainee must be paid Rs 10,000 for every year or Rs 100 per day.

The DG Prisons said that overstaying of Pakistani nationals in Punjab jails was not due to their fault. He said they informed the department concerned after completion of their sentence and it was a long process of identification by the Pakistani embassy. of their citizens which took time.

Mr Chadda added that four prisoners in Sangrur jail would be released by the Jammu and Kashmir government.


Bus permits to private operators opposed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
The Punjab Pensioners Welfare Association (PPWA) has protested the proposed hike in bus fares from 46 paise to 56 paise per kilometre as is being demanded by a section of private bus operators.

In a press release signed by Mr Dayal Singh Bajaj and Mr Amar Singh, members of the presidium of the association, the PPWA has warned the government that any enhancement in bus fares would prove suicidal to the ruling Congress government in the state.

Mr Bajaj and Mr Amar Singh added that the government should give concessional bus fare to students and senior citizens on the pattern adopted by Indian railways.

The PPWA also asked the state government to set up a state transport regulatory commission on the lines of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The PPWA also said that the system of granting bus route permits to private operators in the state should be scrapped and a new system should be put in place as influential persons usually ended up with garnering the maximum number of bus permits leaving others in the lurch.


More IPS officers sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Punjab Government has urged the Union Home Ministry to allocate more IPS officers to the State. Informed sources said that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had written to the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, to allocate 13 IPS officers to the State.

Sources said that the State Government had asked the Union Home Ministry to allocate four officers from the 2007 batch of IPS officers and the remaining officers should be allocated from two next batches. From the 2006 batch, the Union Home Ministry has allocated only two IPS officers, it is learnt. Capt Amarinder Singh has stated in his letter that the State wanted young officers at this stage as a long term management of its IPS cadre.

At present, Punjab police is a top-heavy organisation. It has more officers at the higher level than young officers at the lower level of the IPS cadre.


Councillor alleges trespass, assault on family members
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 28
Mr Paramjit Singh Pakho, municipal councillor from Ward 21 here and a son of former MLA Bachan Singh Pakho, has alleged that five persons trespassed on his house on the evening of June 24.

He has charged Raghbir Singh, alias Billa, Manjinder Kaur, alias Akki, Nachhattar Kaur, Mandeep Kaur, alias Tina, and an unidentified person with breaking windowpanes, doors and the main gate with bricks and iron rods and thrashing his wife and children.

In a letter to the Barnala SSP, Mr Pakho stated that he was busy with his brothers in the measurement of land on the Raikot road when he was informed over the telephone about the incident.

He claimed that Baljit Kaur, alias Usha, and Balvir Kaur had chalked out the plan at Nachhattar Kaur’s house.

He alleged that some politicians who were involved in a conspiracy were behind the incident.


Chained man freed after 25 years
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, June 28
Continuing with its campaign to rescue mentally challenged people, the district administration admitted Gurjant Singh of Panjgarai village, who had been chained for the past 25 years, to the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital here today.

Interacting with media persons, Deputy Commissioner Rakhi Gupta Bhandari said 11 mentally challenged persons had been treated at the hospital and they were now leading a normal life. She said it was unfortunate that kin of such people, instead of believing in medical science, approached “tantriks” for their treatment.

Gurjant’s mother Jasmail Kaur told said he had been chained for the past 25 years. She said Gurjant was a bright student and had secured the first division in Class X. He took admission in Brajindra College, Faridkot, where he took a plunge into student politics. He lost his mental balance after resounding victory of the candidate he was supporting.

She said he was treated in Kotkapura and Amritsar, but to no avail. He once jumped into a well after which his family was compelled to chain him.


Badal expresses shock at woman’s torture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has expressed deep anguish and shock over the bizarre incident of torture of a pregnant lady in labour pains at Kuttiwal village in Majitha police district, resulting in the death of her baby.

He demanded a high-level independent inquiry into the whole incident and strict punishment to the guilty. He also directed the local unit of the party to extend help to the aggrieved family.

In a statement released to the press from the party head office in Chandigarh today Mr Badal said, “This incident has exposed the plight of human rights values in the state of Punjab. The incidents of police excesses have reached such an alarming level that even pregnant ladies are being subjected to torture inside labour rooms.”


Tractor-trailer falls into canal, driver missing
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 28
A tractor-trailer fell into the Bhakra canal on the Sirhind-Sanipur road last evening. The tractor-trailer was taken out of the canal today, but the driver is yet to be traced.

The police has registered a case.

Dilbagh Khan (20) of Chanarthal village in the district was going on his tractor-trailer to his village from Sirhind. As he approached the bridge on the Bhakra canal, he lost control over the vehicle and fell into the canal. Passersby raised the alarm, but to no avail.

A crane was pressed into service today and the tractor-trailer was taken out, but the driver could not be traced.

The bridge over the Bhakra branch line on the Sirhind-Sanipur road is narrow and traffic has increased manifold, making it vulnerable to accidents.


Reorganisation of districts discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
A meeting of the Punjab Districts Reorganisation Committee was held under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, here today. The committee has been set up to reorganise the boundaries of the districts, sub-divisions and sub-tehsils in the state.

After discussing various aspects it was decided that the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission should be kept in mind while re-organising various districts.

Mrs Bhattal said that the committee would consult people while reorganising districts. sub divisions and tehsils.


Revision of electoral rolls on
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 28
The Deputy Commissioner has undertaken the revision of electoral rolls for elections to three Vidhan Sabha constituencies. According to DC Tejveer Singh, The rolls are available at various designated places, including SDM offices in Banur, Kharar and Morinda, besides tehsil offices.

Claims and objections would be received at the SDM offices till July 3 following which these would be verified till July 24. The final lists would be displayed on August 31.

No bulk applications for changes in voters list would be entertained. Only individual requests on prescribed forms should be given.


PSEB employees hold rally
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
The Technical Services Union (Western Zone) of the PSEB held a rally in front of the office of the Executive Engineer (West Subdivision) in protest against the board’s decision to outsource its work to private agencies.

According to TSU secretary Charanjit Singh Chouhan, the employees were also against the management’s decision on not marking employees present during the period they were on strike. Mr Charanjit Singh said if the Executive Engineer (West Subdivision) failed to fulfil the demands of the employees, the union would have to intensify their protest.


Bira remanded in police custody till July 1
Our Correspondent

Phillaur June 28
Khalistan Commando Force militant Kulbir Singh Bira was today produced before the Judicial Magistrate here at 11 am.

Bira was again remanded in police custody till June 29 in a criminal case of Tarkhan Majara village and till July 1 in another criminal case of Dhakka Colony. No activist of SAD(A) was seen near the court here today.

Three lawyers belonging to the Human Rights Commission-- Mr Navkiran Singh, Mr Manpreet Singh Chahal, and Mr Tejinder Singh Sudan besides local lawyers were also present in the court.

They urged the court to instruct the police to produce Bira in the court at normal working hours and not at odd hours. Following this request, the court ordered the police to produce him at normal working hours.

Meanwhile, the court fixed the date of June 30 for hearing the application of SAD(A) President Simaranjit Singh Maan, seeking permission to meet Bira.

Dal state unit general secretary Harjinder Jakhu told newsmen here today that the dal activists would hold a demonstration front of the court complex on July 1, when Bira would appear in the court.

Meanwhile, the SSP Jalandhar, Mr Ishwar Singh, has denied the charges of Mr Simaranjit Singh Maan that police was not allowing anybody to meet Kulbir Singh Bira.

Talking to mediapersons here today, the SSP clarified that the father of Bira, Mr Ajit Singh, and his brother, Mr Balwant Singh, were allowed to meet Bira with the permission of the court.

The SSP said the police was investigating the case in a transparent manner and was strictly following the law.


Stress laid on crop diversification
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 28
As the water level was depleting fast and continuation of the paddy-wheat rotation would lead to disaster, said Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing the first meeting of District Scientific Committee at newly set-up Krishi Vigyan Kendar by Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, at Attewali village in the district. So the diversification of crops would be beneficial for the farming community. The agriculture experts should to educate the farmers about this.

She said that with the opening of this new centre here, the farmers of the district would benefit and they would get extensive training from the experts of university to start diversification of crops, use of new technology, equipment, fertiliser. She said that all new researches made by the university in the field of Agriculture would also be available to the farmers of the district. This centre would constitute self-help groups of farmers and would impart them training in other fields like dairy farming, bee keeping and use of compost fertiliser.

In his address Mr S.P.Mehra, Director Extension Education, PAU, said that this newly set-up centre would benefit the farmers of the area. He said that at present on 26 lakh hectare land was covered under paddy plantation and on only 2 per cent land the vegetables were grown in the state, where as in other countries 70 per cent land was used for this purpose. He said that if this trend continued, we would face acute scarcity even for drinking water but to talk of other purposes. Dr Dinesh, Dr Sanjay Ahuja, Dr Harmanjit Singh, Dr Devinder Mand, Mr Kuldeep Singh Joshan, Chief Agriculture Officer, also addressed.


Car falls into canal, two killed
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 28
Two persons, including a woman, were killed when the Maruti Zen car in which they were travelling fell into the Rajasthan feeder canal after the driver lost control of the vehicle near Ghal Khurd village, 22 km here, late last night.

According to the information received here, four persons, Chandan Sunder, a son of Ram Lubhaya (35), his wife Ashu (32), his father-in-law Balram Kapil, a son of Hans Raj of Sher Khan village, and his cousin Aman, a son of Om Parkash, were coming towards Ferozepore from Moga around 9 last night when the Zen car (PB-26B-0940) fell into the Rajasthan feeder. Chandan Sunder was driving the car.

Chandan Sunder and his father-in-law Balram managed to reach the bank of the canal as they could swim, but Ashu and Aman got stuck inside the car and were drowned.

The police fished out the car along with two bodies this morning.

Balram termed the incident as a conspiracy, alleging that Chandan Sunder, who was driving the car, deliberately lost its control of the car in order to kill them all.

A case has been registered at Ghal Kurd police station under Section 304, IPC, on the basis of a compliant lodged by Balram Kapil.


‘Two arrested’ in kidnapping case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
After five days the district police has registered a case in the kidnapping of Raghav (10), Raghav was abducted on June 19 by some persons for ransom. However, he escaped from the clutches of the kidnappers, who took him to Delhi and threw him in a forest area considering him dead after they had strangulated him.

Raghav was allegedly kidnapped from the Durgiana temple area where he had gone to see ‘Ram Leela’ programme along with his parents on June 19. The incident came to light when the family found him missing after the end of the programme. When they failed to locate him, they filed a complaint at D-division police station.

Next day the family got a call from Delhi where accused had taken Raghav. He was saved by a taxi driver, who handed him over to the Delhi Police. They also received a call from kidnappers demanding a ransom of Rs 5 lakh. The Delhi police consulting the family shifted the case to Amritsar.

Raghav in his complaint identified the accused as Dani Pandit and his two friends Bhura and Kanhaya. Raghav told the police that Pandit had kidnapped him while Bhura and Kanhiya took him to Delhi. He also disclosed to the police that they (accused) tried to strangle him to death. They threw him in a forest area thinking him dead.

According to sources the police has arrested Dani Pandit and Bhura. However, Kanhiya was still at large. But the police did not confirm this.


Travel agents dupe 2 persons
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 28
Two cases of duping innocent persons of Rs 90,000 each by travel agents were reported in city and Dasuya police stations in Hoshiarpur district yesterday.

According to official sources, a so-called travel agent, Rattan Chand, a son of Chint Ram of local Mohalla Krishna Nagar, had allegedly duped Naresh Pal, a son of Talwan Singh of Musapur, of Rs 90,000 on the pretext of settling him in Kuwait.

In another case, Mohan Lal and his son Sham Singh of Bhakhwal took Rs 90,000 from Joginder Singh for sending his son abroad.

The police has registered FIRs against Rattan Chand and Mohan Lal under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC.

Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, said here today that a special campaign against so-called travel agents had been started in the district. As many as 16 cases against travel agents had been registered in various police stations from May 1 to June 24, 2006. Twentyeight persons were involved in these cases of cheating. He said these travel agents had duped innocent persons of Rs 63,88,200. Out of this the police had recovered Rs 31,06,300.


Transferred JBT teachers a harassed lot
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 28
Many JBT teachers of some government primary schools in the Barnala block of this district are a harassed lot as they have been transferred or dislocated from their respective schools either under a “deep-rooted” political conspiracy or some “ bungling” at the level of District Education authorities (Elementary), Sangrur.

Thirty-three teachers have been adjusted (transferred) in other schools by showing requirement there. As per the policy of the state government, schools having no teacher, single teacher or two teachers are to be transferred to the Zila Parishad for appointing ETT teachers.

On the other hand some schools in the Barnala block have been excluded from the list of schools without a teacher or two teachers so that the same could be saved from going into the hands of the Zila Parishad.

As per information, the DEO (Elementary), Sangrur, has ordered the transfers (adjustments) of 262 JBT teachers and head teachers etc., to various government primary schools from those schools, which have been handed over to the Zila Parishad for appointing ETT teachers. In this list of adjustments of 262 teachers, three teachers have been transferred from Jumla Malkan (near Barnala) by showing that this school is without a teacher. Likewise, primary schools at Uppli, Badbar, Dhanaula road, Barnala, and Attargarh villages have been shown as one teacher schools, while the DEO (Elementary) has transferred six teachers, including a head teacher, from Uppli, six teachers, including a head teacher, from Badbar village, three teachers, including a head teacher, from Dhanaula road, Barnala, and three teachers from Attargarh village. The primary schools of Pakho Kalan and Bhaini Mehraj (Barnala block) have been shown as having two teachers each, otherwise these schools have eight and four teachers, respectively. Now the DEO (Elementary) has transferred eight teachers from Pakho Kalan and four teachers from Bhaini Mehraj.

However, the education authorities have not included the primary schools of Harigarh and Kube villages that have one teacher each and the primary school of Bhattlan village (Barnala block) that have no teacher in the list of schools to be handed over to the Zila Parishad. The authorities have shown in information sent to the government that three teachers posted at Harigarh, two teachers each at Kube and Bhattlan villages.

The DEO (Elementary), Mr Roshan Lal, told The Tribune that he had issued adjustment orders of the teachers of various schools as per the list notified by the Punjab Government in its gazette. He said he had also sought options regarding their posting to the next station from the teachers and on the basis of their options he had issued the adjustment list of the teachers.


Counselling schedule for law courses
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 28
Guru Nanak Dev University has released the state-level counselling schedule for admission to LLB (three-year), BA LLB (honours) and BA LLB (five-year) courses.

Dr Sukhdev Singh, Coordinator, while releasing the schedule, said the counselling for LLB (three-year course) would be held on July 4 and 5 while for BA LLB (honours) and BA LLB (five-year course),it would be conducted on July 6 and 7, respectively, at Dasmesh Auditorium of the varsity. For admission to LLB (three-year course), the counselling for 15 per cent quota- all categories belonging to the SC/ST, BC and general) will be held at 10 am while for the SC/ST category (code no. 01), it will be at 11 am.

For other reserved categories ( code numbers from 02 to 10), the counselling will be conducted at 2 pm on July 4.

The candidates belonging to general category (rank 1 to 250) have been invited at 9 am while remaining (from 251 onwards) have been called for counselling at 2 pm on July 4.

The counselling for BA LLB (honours) and BA LLB (five-year course) of the 15 per cent quota- all categories, the SC/ST, BC and general will be held on July 6 at 9 am. The counselling for SC/ST (code no. 01) will be held at 11 am and for all other reserved categories having code numbers from 02 to 10, the counselling will be conducted at 2 pm on July 6. The general category candidates (rank 1 to 250) have been called for counselling at 9 am on July 7 and those having rank no. 251 and onwards will present themselves for counselling on the same day at 2 pm.


Irregularities alleged in allotment of schools
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 28
Chairman of the Zila Parishad and important members of the committee constituted to make appointment of 676 primary teachers in the district today alleged irregularities in allotment of the schools.

While 448 ETT candidates were allotted schools in the district after issuing selection letters to them till 8.30 pm in the office of Zila Parishad, the Chairman of the Zila Parishad, Kuldeep Kaur, was not called to be part of the committee dealing with selections.

A total of 448 ETT teachers were issued selection letters and also schools of their appointment while rest the candidates will be allotted school of their appointment later on.

“I was kept in the dark. Other members of the committee have made fun of the Panchayati Raj system under which the notification was issued to select candidates. I was not called when the selection letters were issued to selected candidates and allotted to schools in the district”, alleged the Chairman of the Zila Parishad, Ms Kuldeep Kaur. She was sitting outside her office while other officials were completing selection process.

“I have received a complaint from the candidates that their appointment were made in distance schools although they deserve to be placed in the nearby schools as per their merit. Thereafter, I called the committee members but no one pick up the phone”, she alleged while talking to The Tribune.

She added that as per notification issued under Panchayati Raj Act, the members of the committee for the selections of the teachers include Chairman of Zila Parishad, ADC-cum Executive Officer of Zila Parishad, District Education Officer, member of Sainik Welfare Board and a member from Sports department. Besides, candidates are appointed in their village. If not possible, in nearby viilages and then in other towns as per the merit.

When contacted the ADC, Mr Parkash Singh Lamhe, heading the committee, said everything was transparent and computerised. “There is no possibility of irregularity. We have selected candidates as per their merit”, he said.

She might be upset as we did everything according to the merit. We did not get any complaint with regard to selection,” he added.


Blank answersheet fetches 62 pc marks
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 28
Ever heard a student getting 62 per cent marks for submitting a blank answersheet.

A preliminary inquiry by Guru Nanak Dev University has confirmed that a student of Bir Baba Budha College (Amritsar) had submitted the “blank answersheet” for the BA-II (economics) examination conducted by the university. However, in alleged connivance with certain officials, he was able to get the stamp of “blank paper” erased.

On declaration of the result, the student got 62 per cent marks in the subject. However, on a complaint, the university conducted an inquiry and found that the student had indulged in cheating.


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