Villagers lathi-charged at public hearing
Fazilka, July 14 They protesters had gathered at the venue of a hearing of public grievances organised by the Punjab Pollution Control Board on the issue. The police, which tried to prevent the protesters from reaching the venue, had to resort to mild lathi charge. Much to the chagrin of the protesters, the venue was converted into a virtual fortress. They alleged that it had been done so at the behest of politicians and owners of Bhankerpur Distillers Ltd. Parmajit Singh, village sarpanch, who had been opposing the setting up of the proposed distillery, was however allowed to speak at the venue where the entire proceeding was videotaped. He had been nominated as one of the panel members. He said the distillery should not be set up at the village as it would lead to environment pollution in the area. He alleged that distillery owners enjoyed political patronage and that they had started the construction on the factory without obtaining an NoC from the pollution board or the panchayat. He said around 10 lakh litre of water would be used daily in the factory, which would ultimately affect the village and its surrounding areas. Contrary to this, around a dozen persons aired their views in support of the distillery. Interestingly, slogans in support of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and local MLA Mohinder Kumar Rinwa were also raised at the venue. Former MLA Surjit Kumar Jyani and president BJP Kisan Morcha, Punjab, and a large number of other supporters opposing the move were not allowed to speak. Children and women carried placards that read: “We want water, not wine”. The protesters went on to block the Fazilka-Abohar National Highway No. 10 to protest against the alleged partisan manner in which the organisers had conducted the proceedings. Environmentalist and activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan Vimal Bhai, who had come from Delhi to express his views, rued that he too was prevented from speaking at the venue. He alleged that people had been terrorised by the police and described the action as undemocratic and an attempt to gag the voice of common people.
Fazilka, July 14
They protesters had gathered at the venue of a hearing of public grievances organised by the Punjab Pollution Control Board on the issue.
The police, which tried to prevent the protesters from reaching the venue, had to resort to mild lathi charge.
Much to the chagrin of the protesters, the venue was converted into a virtual fortress. They alleged that it had been done so at the behest of politicians and owners of Bhankerpur Distillers Ltd.
Parmajit Singh, village sarpanch, who had been opposing the setting up of the proposed distillery, was however allowed to speak at the venue where the entire proceeding was videotaped. He had been nominated as one of the panel members.
He said the distillery should not be set up at the village as it would lead to environment pollution in the area.
He alleged that distillery owners enjoyed political patronage and that they had started the construction on the factory without obtaining an NoC from the pollution board or the panchayat.
He said around 10 lakh litre of water would be used daily in the factory, which would ultimately affect the village and its surrounding areas.
Contrary to this, around a dozen persons aired their views in support of the distillery.
Interestingly, slogans in support of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and local MLA Mohinder Kumar Rinwa were also raised at the venue.
Former MLA Surjit Kumar Jyani and president BJP Kisan Morcha, Punjab, and a large number of other supporters opposing the move were not allowed to speak.
Children and women carried placards that read: “We want water, not wine”.
The protesters went on to block the Fazilka-Abohar National Highway No. 10 to protest against the alleged partisan manner in which the organisers had conducted the proceedings.
Environmentalist and activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan Vimal Bhai, who had come from Delhi to express his views, rued that he too was prevented from speaking at the venue.
He alleged that people had been terrorised by the police and described the action as undemocratic and an attempt to gag the voice of common people.
Wheat left to rot in the open for want of cover
Jalandhar, July 14
Roughly, about 60,000 metric tonnes of the 1.21 lakh MTs of wheat with the corporation have allegedly been stacked in the open.
Since the corporation had neither purchased new polythene covers for the past three years nor it was equipped with the requisite number of old covers, an estimated one fourth of the total quantity of wheat stock was exposed to the vagaries of nature. Advanced fumigation had also allegedly been affected by the shortage of polythene covers.
Though, the scientific life span of polythene covers is said to be a maximum of two years, but, according to the Punjab State Warehousing Field Employees Union, the corporation had purchased no new polythene covers since 2004 despite an “acute shortage” of covers.
“The top authorities of the corporation have floated tenders for the purchase of 3,880 polythene covers on July 9. But this will not serve the purpose as it means that the covers will practically land in godowns in August, whereas the Warehouse Corporation storage guidelines specify that covers should be ready with the organisation by April 30 or before the onset of the arrival of wheat. Not only this, the guidelines of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) stipulate that the prophylactic or preventive fumigation of stocks should be completed by June 30, but in this case it could also not be done for want of serviceable polythene covers.
Hence, the lack of proper fumigation could lead to damage to wheat. Is this not a huge national wastage?” questioned Mr Akshar Kumar, president of the Punjab State Warehouse Corporation Field Employees Union.
The food grain storage agency, it was learnt, was in need of 7,260 polythene covers on June 30 this year. But since it had about 2,700 old and expired covers, the effective requirement was 4,560 fresh covers.
The authorities allegedly did not purchase these in time. A tender was, however, floated on July 9 by the agency inviting bids for the supply of 3,880 covers.
The shortage was affecting more in districts like Patiala, Jalandhar and Kapurthala where a sizeable part of wheat stocks lying in the open were either being stocked without any covers or were provided “old, torn and expired covers”.
“We had taken up the matter with the Managing Director of the corporation and he had promised to raise the demand for new covers in the board meeting. But nothing has been done so far,” said Mr Akshar Kumar and other office-bearers of the union.
On the other hand, Mr Ashok Kumar Goyal, MD, preferred not to divulge any specific information and said,” I don’t know anything. You are talking in the air. Purchase is always need based. I don’t know whether any stocks were lying in the open or not. You are wrongly informed”.
Badal to lead SAD-BJP poll campaign
Chandigarh, July 14
During the last Assembly elections also, the command of the campaign was in the hands of Mr Badal. However, at a vital stage in a run up to the elections in 2002, he had a nasty fall in his bathroom that resulted into a fracture in his hip joint that proved costly for the alliance which failed to raise the level of the campaign.
Top brass of the SAD-BJP met here today at the residence of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary of the SAD, to outline the broad contours of the campaign. Its most important decision was the resolve to contest the elections under the overall command of Mr Badal.
Talking to The Tribune, Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, national secretary of the BJP, said the SAD-BJP alliance would make “corruption, unemployment, inflation, prevailing mess on education and health services front, autocratic style of functioning of the government and dismal law and order scenario” as the main issues.
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the SAD and Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP, and other BJP leaders, including Mr Vijay Sampla and Mr Rajinder Bhandari, also attended the meeting.
Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the SAD had already been holding rallies. A coordination committee of the SAD-BJP leaders would soon be set up to organise rallies in all 117 Assembly segments, he added.
The alliance in a statement said it had also decided to take steps to further strengthen the understanding and cooperation between the two parties at all levels. “A committee of senior leaders of both parties set up for this purpose would act both as a cementing force in the common fight for the welfare of the people of Punjab and as a live mechanism for addressing all inter-parties issues, especially at the grass-root level.”
The leaders also condemned the incidents of serial bomb blasts in Mumbai and Srinagar and held the UPA government responsible for security lapse.
Meanwhile, the ruling Congress party will also hold a meet tomorrow to decide its election strategy. AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi will address the workers and leaders of the party.
Amritsar girl tops PCS (Judicial) exam
Amritsar, July 14
She is among the five out of 36 candidates from Amritsar who have been declared successful in the examination.
Also, it was a grand birthday gift for Neetika Verma (25) when she learned that she had stood 15th in the list of successful candidates.
The other three successful candidates from the city are: Aashish Abrol (rank 7), Pooja Andotra (rank 24) and Ajitpal Singh (rank 33).
Neetika, just like Rashmi, cleared the examination in her first attempt.
Talking to The Tribune, Rashmi, who is 24 years old, said she did her schooling, graduation and degree in Law with distinction from local educational institutes. “I won the gold medal in LLB with 75 per cent marks,” she said.
Interestingly, she was declared successful in the Haryana Public Service Commission (Judicial) last month, standing 12th in the list.
Rashmi had also brought laurels to the city by winning a number of table tennis matches in the past.
Before starting her practice in the District Courts a couple of years ago, she worked for an English daily published from Chandigarh. On her selection, Rashmi said she had never dreamt of standing first in the examination.
“It was a pleasant surprise for my parents, who are bank employees.”
For Neetika, who completed her schooling, graduation and university education from Chandigarh, said the selection process of the Punjab Public Service Commission was very fair.
Governor pardons ex-minister’s son serving life term
Bathinda, July 14
According to police sources, a couple of years back Additional Sessions Judge Jaspal Singh had sentenced Sandeep Singh and his two aides to life and slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on each for the murder of Harpal Singh and Rasal Singh, both residents of Multania road here. The case in which they were convicted dated back to 1998. As per the complaint lodged by Jagroop Singh, father of Harpal Singh, with the police, he was engaged in a legal battle over land with Sandeep Singh. He stated that while he and his elder son were settled elsewhere, his younger son Harpal Singh used to look after their land on the Multania road. He alleged that on the night of October 30, 1998, when Harpal and his farm hand Rasal Singh were irrigating their land he saw Sandeep and his two aides armed with .12 bore pistols and a mauser heading towards them. He further charged them with opening fire on his son and employee killing them on the spot. He termed it as a “bid to takeover his land with force” while a court case was on in this regard. On the basis of his statement, the police had registered a case against Sandeep, Jagga Singh and Monti under sections 302 and 34 of the IPC and 25/27/54/59 of the Arms Act on October 31, 1998.
Police sources said 12 criminal cases were registered including that of murder, attempt to murder, illegal possession of arms and brawl against Sandeep Singh in places like Bathinda, Talwandi Sabo and Hisar between 1991 and 2002. He was first convicted in the murder case of Harpal and Rasal on July 14, 2004.
His mother Rajinder Kaur filed a petition for pardon before the Punjab Governor on August 5, 2004.
Exercising his powers conferred under Article 161 of the Constitution, the Governor finally pardoned him paving the way for his release. A letter from the Department of Home Affairs and Justice states — “After solemn consideration of relevant material and taking into reckoning the peculiar compassionate features of the petition pardon is granted.” His mother now has pleaded with the District Magistrate to direct the jail authorities to release her son.
Sonia will decide chief ministerial candidate: CM
Patiala, July 14
He said, “Neither I am to decide nor Punjab Congress chief Shamsher Singh Dullo is to decide about the candidate. Ms Gandhi will decide it after the elections are over.”
The Chief Minister said that working paper for the manifesto was being prepared at different levels of the party and the state government with the sole aim to put Punjab on the higher side of development. The development of the state in the past five years would be a major poll plank in the next Assembly elections, he added.
Addressing the media persons after laying the foundation stone of railway over bridge (ROB) over the 21 number level crossing in this town, Capt Amarinder Singh disclosed that about 25 per cent new faces would be given party tickets to contest next Assembly elections.
The Chief Minister, who seems to have increased his access to the party workers and commoners with an eye on the coming Assembly elections, said that two days Assembly session would be conducted in September 2006 where a debate over the development of Punjab in the past more than four years and development during the rule of Mr Parkash Singh Badal would be held. He said that he was ready to increase the duration of session if Mr Badal desired so.
He said that the Punjab Government would bail out small and marginal farmers from the burden of rural debt by bringing legislation on the rural indebtedness in the Punjab Assembly during its specially convened two days session from 14th to 15th September.
He said the response of government of India was positive and he hoped of full support and cooperation from the Centre to mitigate the sufferings of the farming community. A committee under the chairmanship of Punjab Power and Rural Development Minister Lal Singh had been constituted to negotiate with the commission agents in connection with the waiver of farmers’ loans, as they were the major stakeholders in the whole gamut.
When asked why incidents connected with murder, looting of banks and kidnappings were on the rise in the state on the one hand and on the other policemen had also been indulging in criminal activities significantly, the Chief Minister claimed that statistics showed that the number of crimes, which had taken place during the Congress government so far, were less than the number of crimes which had taken places during the rule of SAD-BJP combine in Punjab.
Replying to another question Capt. Singh said that Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) had approved 22 ROBs, 14 corridors, which would be constructed on built, operate and transfer (B.O.T) basis. He said the work on these projects was likely to be commenced shortly so that these could be completed with in the stipulated time frame.
On the issue of environmental clearances of mega industrial and housing projects, Capt. Singh said that the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had conceded to the state government to grant power to the Punjab government to accord environmental clearances to the mega projects up to their cost of Rs. 250 crore instead of existing amount of Rs. 50 crore. He said that this land mark decision of union government would hasten the process of setting up of 218 mega projects worth investment of Rs. 73,000 crore with an employment potential of 20 lac jobs in the state.
He said that Congress government had already projected Punjab as the one of the best investment destinations in the world. He said that Punjab was amongst the few states that had deposits of Rs 2000 crore with RBI, which was a testimony to its sound financial credentials.
SAD moves NHRC on attacks at party meetings
Chandigarh, July 14
In a statement, SAD said it would also urge all non-Congress democratic parties to send their official delegations to have a first hand report that how Capt Amarinder Singh and his close relative, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, were trying to disturb peace and communal harmony in Punjab.
SAD has sought a high level probe into the conduct of the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana and other officers, who allegedly ignored the request made to them by Mr Parkash Singh Badal with regard to the expected violent attack on his party meeting by supporters of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Secretary General, and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, General Secretary of SAD, in the statement said apprehending defeat in the coming Assembly elections, the ruling party had started creating disturbance in the state. They said by doing so, the ruling party wanted to divert the attention of the people.
Service providers to run vet hospitals
Chandigarh, July 14
Sources said the Animal Husbandry Minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, and the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, and other senior officers concerned held a meeting here to appoint more than 700 service providers.
The issue of running the veterinary hospitals and dispensaries in an effective manner had been hanging fire for several months because of differences between the Minister and a section of the officers.
While Mr Kang favoured the recruitment of doctors and pharmacists on a regular basis, a section of the bureaucracy was for running the show through service providers. A decision on the issue was deferred twice by the Punjab Council of Ministers in the absence of a consensus.
Veterinary services are in a mess in the countryside due to the shortage of veterinary doctors and other staff.
The service providers, who will get payment in lumpsum, will make the required arrangements, including the recruitment of doctors, pharmacists and other staff, to run the dispensaries and hospitals. The government will deal only with the service providers and have nothing to do with the veterinary staff, it is learnt.
Post-breach, special girdawari ordered
Muktsar, July 14
The minister announced that the government would give appropriate compensation to the breach-hit farmers on the basis of the girdawari.
The farmers told Mr Kang that they had intimated the officials concerned about the possibility of a breach, but nobody paid heed to them.
They said if the Dhigana drain had been in a good shape, their losses would have been lesser.
They alleged that the desilting of the Dhigana drain had not been carried out for the past six years.
The minister pulled up drainage officials and asked them to make sure that no breach occurred in the future.
He directed them to initiate measures for the desilting of drains, warning them that no laxity would be tolerated.
He took a serious notice of the farmers’ allegation of officials not being available in their offices or on field duty.
Parking charge at Rajasansi airport Rs 120 a vehicle
Amritsar, July 14
Mr Bikram Singh Virk, a Columnist based at Kapurthala in missives to Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, and local BJP MP, Navjot Singh Sidhu said that the contractors were charging Rs 120 for parking opposite the boarding lounge and Rs 70 just a few yards away.
Mr Virk talking to The Tribune here today said that like many others, he too was a first-timer, went to see off his brother to Canada today. He said that just after leaving his brother before the lounge, as he returned, the group of men blocking the road, who have no identity cards attached to their clothes and was not clear whether they were contractors or airport employees, asked him to pay Rs 120 as parking. He said when he protested they were adamant on getting it and being four-five in number, were bent on showing their muscle power.
He said there was no board indicating such a hefty charge and it appeared to be daylight robbers by these ‘gangsters’ from gullible passengers and their relatives. He said there were about 100 persons like him, gone to see off their relatives and these fellows made a cool 12,000 in an hour’s time! He said one could guess about the total collection if there are six-seven flights a day!
Officers fail to produce records
Gurdaspur, July 14 The meeting was held to review the works carried out under the Centre sponsored schemes in the district. However, as soon as the meeting started the members complained that they had not been given the agenda of the meeting. Only the letters inviting them to join the meeting were issued. They could not come prepared for the meeting as no agenda was provided to them. A few officers who came to the meeting also failed to produce adequate record regarding expenditure incurred under various Centre sponsored schemes. Peeved at this, Mr Atwal said show cause notices would be issued to officers who did not bring complete records.
Gurdaspur, July 14
The meeting was held to review the works carried out under the Centre sponsored schemes in the district. However, as soon as the meeting started the members complained that they had not been given the agenda of the meeting. Only the letters inviting them to join the meeting were issued. They could not come prepared for the meeting as no agenda was provided to them.
A few officers who came to the meeting also failed to produce adequate record regarding expenditure incurred under various Centre sponsored schemes. Peeved at this, Mr Atwal said show cause notices would be issued to officers who did not bring complete records. — TNS
Naib Tehsildars to issue residence certificates
Chandigarh, July 14
Similarly, people who possessed immoveable property in the state for a period of five years would also be issued certificates, the spokesman said, adding that children of all such people would also qualify. All persons born in the state would also be eligible.
Dy Director retired prematurely
Chandigarh, July 14
Mr Bhatia had been under suspension and the government invoked the rule which permits premature retirement at the age of 55.
Woman held for hiring criminals to kill son-in-law
Pathankot, July 14
The SSP, Gurdaspur, while talking to The Tribune said that the daughter of the accused, Ms Rimpa Manjotra, had married Mr Mohan Lal against the wishes of her parents. Peeved at the act of her daughter, Asha planned to kill her son-in-law. She contacted one Pawan Kumar, alias Bobby, a resident of Sujanpur, for executing the killing.
Pawan Kumar further contacted Sukhwinder Singh Sukha, who has many other cases registered against him at Amritsar, for the job. Pawan Kumar also arranged a meeting of Sukhwinder Singh and his associates Raj Kumar and Rajinder Kumar with Asha. She paid them Rs 35,000 in advance and agreed to pay Rs 1 lakh more after Mohan Lal was killed.
Raj Kumar and Rajinder Kumar were given the initial task of befriending Mohan Lal and lure him into taking drugs. They, however, informed Mr Mohan Lal about the conspiracy to kill him. When Pawan Kumar and Sukhwinder Singh pressed Rajinder Kumar and Raj Kumar to execute the plan the latter recorded the conversations on phone.
Later Rajinder Kumar and Raj Kumar met Mr Mohan Lal and told him to give Rs 4 lakh to them and threatened to kill him.
Mr Mohan Lal went underground along with his wife and informed the police about the threat. The police investigated the matter and arrested all accused.
The SSP said they had the recording of the conversations between the accused in which they planned to kill Mr Mohan Lal. Another person Satish Kumar, alias Bobby, has been booked for being party to the conspiracy.
The sources said the accused were close to certain police officials and had been carrying out their criminal activities in the area for quite some time. They were also forcibly occupying some government houses in the Shahpur Kandi dam colony allegedly in connivance with some officials.
A case under Sections 387, 109 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against the accused.
Batala, July 14
The Batala district police chief, Mr L.K. Yadav, told mediapersons here today that Manjeet Singh, a resident of Parowal village, and Sarabjeet Singh, a resident of Nassirke village, had lodged a complaint that Surinder Singh, a resident of Riyali Kalan village, and his son, Kuldeep Singh Boparai, had duped both of Rs 6 lakh and Rs 9 lakh, respectively, on the pretext of sending them abroad.
They told the police that Surinder Singh and Kuldeep Singh provided them visas but these were found to be fake when they got them verified and checked.
When the complainants demanded their money back, both refused to refund the money. The police has registered a case against them under Sections 420, 466, 467, 468, 471 and 506 of the IPC.
Mr Yadav said the SHO along with a police party conducted raids and arrested Surinder Singh but his son escaped.
He added that Surinder Singh confessed that he had duped many persons on the pretext of sending them abroad. He admitted that he received Rs 10 lakh from Sikandar Singh of Sundal village, Rs 5 lakh from Amritpal Singh of Chachowali village, and Rs 2.5 lakh each from Amarbir Rama and Sarabjit Kaur of Der Gawar village, and Kulwant Singh of Lala Afgana village and Rs 80,000 from Baljeet Singh of Dullat village. — OC
Moga, July 14
According to police sources, two scooter-borne persons were signalled to stop at a naka set up under the supervision of the Kot Isse Khan SHO, Mr Ravinder Singh, at Mehal village on the night of July 12.
As soon as they slowed the speed of their scooter, one of them attacked Constable Buta Singh with a sharpedged weapon and tried to flee from the spot after accelerating the speed again.
The other policeman came into action and nabbed one of them, later identified as Gurmej Singh, alias Teja, of Dholewala village. However the other person, identified as Amarjeet Singh of Kapurthala district, reportedly escaped on foot under the cover of darkness.
As much as 71 kg of poppy husk was allegedly seized from Gurmej Singh, the police said, adding that the scooter was confiscated.
An FIR under Section 307, IPC, and the relevant sections of the NDPS Act was lodged against them.
Abohar, July 14
According to information, Ram Darshi (20) and his cousin Sanjay Chahar (25) were going back to Dhaani Sardarpura village in this subdivision on a motor cycle (PB-15C-0236) which was reportedly hit by a heavy vehicle of the Army on the city bypass.
Both died on the spot. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 427, IPC. — OC
Kharar, July 14 According to the police, an 18-year-old girl of Dashmesh Nagar consumed Celphos tablets. She was immediately taken to the local Civil Hospital from where she was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. The police said that statement of the girl could not be recorded as she was not in a stable condition. Investigations were on.
Kharar, July 14
According to the police, an 18-year-old girl of Dashmesh Nagar consumed Celphos tablets. She was immediately taken to the local Civil Hospital from where she was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.
The police said that statement of the girl could not be recorded as she was not in a stable condition. Investigations were on. OC
Urdu Amoz results
Patiala, July 14
Chandigarh, July 14