P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



‘Tainted’ ministers, MLAs may not get ticket
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 20
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today hinted at denying party tickets to ‘tainted’ ministers or MLAs on the recommendations of the committee constituted by the party.

Mr Janardhan Dwivedi, In charge Punjab Affairs, and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, were already doing the internal assessment of party leaders.

The Chief Minister said he, along with Mr Dullo and Mr Dwivedi, had already made his stand clear on the issue.

“Our party has a convention of denying tickets or shift incumbents to any other constituency. This was done in Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh,” the CM said. Referring to the claims on Chandigarh, he said it was not a part of our manifesto, however, adding that Chandigarh belonged to Punjab and would ever remain in Punjab regardless of the counter-claims by the neighbouring state.

Earlier, the state government tried to give a religious colour to the laying of foundation stone of an elevated road to the Golden Temple by bringing five Sikh sants for the project.

‘Ardas’ was also performed by five Sikh priests, led by Baba Darshan Singh, head, Gurdwara Bir Baba Budha Sahib, who laid the foundation stone of the prestigious 5.3 km elevated road project to Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) to be constructed at a cost of Rs 173 crore.

Elevated road, flyovers, subways for pedestrians across the GT road and parking places were mooted to beautify Amritsar in November, 2002. It took four years to implement the first phase with a view to removing traffic bottlenecks and re-routing traffic at many places.

The recommendations on regulating the traffic were made in a comprehensive report prepared by the RITE — a consultative agency — on the request of the Local Self Government Department.

The report, initially submitted in 1999, was taken up by the government to beautify the city which is often thronged by VVIPs.

In a semi-official letter to Mr Sunil Dutti, Mayor, Corporation, Amritsar, the then Secretary, Local Bodies, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, had asked him to place the report of the RITE before the general house of the corporation.

Meanwhile, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo today successfully brought back youth leader Mr Bhupinder Singh Randhawa, who had joined the BJP, back to the Congress fold.

Ruling out the possibility of a nuclear power plant in Punjab, the CM said his stand was unequivocal on this issue.

On overall development in the state, he said 218 mega projects worth Rs 73,000 crore, having potential of 16 lakh jobs, had been sanctioned by the empowered committee

On the power scenario, Amarinder said the Punjab Government had spent 24 per cent of its budgetary allocation on power generation.

Earlier, the CM along with the Union Minister for Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Ms Ambika Soni, laid the foundation stone of Neem Chameli Complex renamed as ‘Aman Ummed Bhawan’ at Attari-Wagah Border at a cost of Rs.1.23 crore.

Later, the CM also laid the foundation stone of the Tourist Reception Centre and Yatri Niwas here at Ranjit Avenue to be built over an area of 2 acre at a cost of Rs 3 crore under additional Central assistance scheme within 15 months.

Meanwhile, the CM inaugurated Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama — the visual documentation on the great ruler of Punjab.

The Chief Minister also performed the inaugural ceremony of Rs 3 crore 66 KV grid station in the vicinity of the Golden Temple.


Labourers protest police torture
Tribune News Service

Migrant labourers protest in front of the office of SP in Pathankot on Thursday.
Migrant labourers protest in front of the office of SP in Pathankot on Thursday.
— Photo by Jangi

Pathankot July 20
Migrant labourers of Pathankot today staged a dharna outside the SP office here today in protest against the alleged maltreatment at the hands the police.

About 100 migrant labourers assembled before the office of SP, Pathankot, this evening and raised slogans against the police. Sanjeev Kumar, who was leading the protest, said yesterday night some suspected thieves injured constable Harmesh Kumar.

The police suspected migrant labourers for the crime. They raided their houses and were picked up. They were beaten up mercilessly at the police station. Even their children and wives were beaten up.

The policemen beat up the migrant labourers asking them about the details of the missing weapon of the injured constable. Some leaders of the migrant labourers were also roughed up when they went to the police station, he said.

The protesting migrant labourers also got the support of left parties. The leaders of the left parties opposed it. They alleged that the police had acted with vendetta.

The labourers threatened to intensify their agitation in case no action was taken against the guilty police officials in the case.

SSP Paramraj Singh Umranangal said the police was just investigating the case and no person has been tortured illegally. He, however, still assured them to look into the matter.


80 truck operators taken into custody
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 20
Tension prevailed when the police arrested more than 80 truck operators, including the president of the Punjab Truck Operators Union, Mr Tarlochan Singh, here today. The truck operators were protesting against Ambuja Cement plant officials for not allowing them to transport their cement.

The truck operators were taken into custody as a preventive measure when they staged a dharna at a dera in Lohgarh Fateh village, near the Ambuja Cement plant about 6.30 p.m.

The situation has aggravated since last evening after the police had arrested three main leaders of the truck operators, including the chairman of the Punjab Truck Operators, Mr Charanjit Singh Lohara, its general secretary, Mr Prem Singh, and the president of one faction of the truck operators, Ropar, Mr Magar Singh.

A large police force had been deployed in the border areas of the district to prevent truck operators from others districts to join the here. Still a large number of truck operators from nearby districts reached at the dera to join the protest.

When the situation became tense in the afternoon, more than 350 police personnel, equipped with tear gas shells and water tanks, were on deployed around the dera to prevent the truckers from carrying out their march towards the cement plant.

Mr Tarlochan Singh alleged that the Ambuja cement plant, which earlier hired about 750 trucks from Ropar to transport cement, now took on only 25 trucks. “Earlier as per an agreement with us, the officials of the Ambuja Cement plant had agreed to hire trucks from the truck operators society to lift 50 per cent of the cement to other states,” he added.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said Mr Magar Singh and his few associates had also been arrested in a case of cheating and forgery. They had committed a fraud to the tune of Rs 10.79 lakh in the Cooperative Trucks Society funds as shown in the preliminary inquiry.


Crops on thousands of acres submerged
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Lambi (Muktsar), July 20
It’s been over a week since it rained heavily here, but thousands of acres of cotton and paddy crop is still submerged in Adhnia, Maniawala, Deonkhera, Kuttiawali and nearby villages as farmers lament government apathy in draining out water from their fields.

The Tribune team today visited these villages and saw some farmers draining out water from the fields, while others seemed to have resigned to their fate. Cotton and paddy spread over vast stretches of land were submerged in a downpour on the night of July 11.

Farmers of Adhnia are the worst-hit as about 2,000 acres of their crop has been inundated. The approach roads to their fields are flooded. “There is 4-5 feet of water in low-lying fields spreading over hundreds of acres, giving an impression of a lake,” said Harpinder Singh, who has lost his entire cotton crop.

“Absence of a ‘sem nullah’ close to our village has spelt devastation for us,” said Kewal Singh, another farmer. “I had taken five acres on contract at the rate of Rs 16,000 per acre and spent Rs 30,000 on sowing. This is what I’m left with now,” rued Gurpal Singh of Deonkhera.

Amandeep Singh of Kuttiawali village said about 300 acres of cotton crop was destroyed in rain. Gurvinder Singh, a farmer owning 20 acres in Deonkhera, has been draining out water on his own for the past five days. “I have succeeded in disposing of only 5 per cent of the water. Though I can’t save my crop, once the water is gone I can think of sowing wheat,” he said.

He said though the administration had given 24-hour power supply for four days to drain out water, it was inadequate keeping in view the amount of water that had accumulated.

While small farmers in these villages could not think of draining out water themselves, rich farmers were in a spot over the place to dispose it. “We have to request the farmers having fields in upper areas to let us drain the water into their land and they allow it to some extent,” said Tejinder Singh.

“While those draining out water in sun are falling sick, waterlogged fields are serving as breeding ground for mosquitoes thus posing a serious health hazard,” said Kuldeep Singh of Tappakhera.

He said a water channel from their fields to Sukhchain Minor could solve the problem. The farmers also alleged that de-silting of drains in the area had not taken place for the past few years.

The Malout SDM, Mr Jaspal Singh, claimed that the water level in low-lying fields had reduced due to the administration’s efforts. He said revenue officials would submit a report to him on the status of villages where the fields were still badly flooded, following which measures would be taken to drain out water.


VB powers: Alam keeps Chief Secy’s order in abeyance
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The issue of allocation of powers to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau is getting tied up in knots. The Chief Director, Vigilance, Mr Mohd Izhar Alam, has shot off a letter to the state government stating that he had discussed the matter with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who, in turn, has given an assurance that all powers of the bureau will remain intact. On the other hand, the state bureaucracy says there are no instructions from the Chief Minister on the matter.

Also, in his letter to the government, Mr Alam has said that in the light of the discussion with the Chief Minister, he has kept in abeyance the instructions pertaining to curtailing and defining the powers of the bureau. Which means the bureau continues to function independently and without bureaucratic control as far as dealing with corruption cases is concerned.

The Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, a few weeks ago had told the bureau that the instructions issued in June, 2000, on defining the powers of the bureau had to be followed.

Meanwhile, sources said the Chief Secretary, while presenting the case, has told the Chief Minister that he did not issue any order on his own. Rather, he has observed that the bureau was told that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had vacated a stay it had imposed on an order of the government dated June, 2000. In that order the then Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, had laid down what all the Vigilance was required to do before registering a case. It was supposed to act on the advice of a special committee and not on its own. This had been contested in court, which had granted a stay.

On July 15, the Chief Minister had disagreed with the Chief Secretary and told mediapersons: “I have also seen the order and do not agree with it. The powers to investigate cases of corruption and other related aspects will remain with the Chief Director of Vigilance”.

Even as the fight for “powers” continues, the Punjab Government has sought an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code to provide legal sanctity to these special committees that accord sanction to cases handed over to the bureau. The government plans to set up two committees that will decide which case will be handed over to the bureau.

One committee will be headed by the Chief Secretary and will look into complaints/cases against gazetted officers and others of that status while the second one will deal with cases relating to non-gazetted officials. Both committees have fever than five persons on board and the formation will be on the basis of rank.

The bureau has been always headed by an IPS officer. Senior officers in the IPS cadre have resented the “lack of teeth” for the bureau, said sources. They say Mr Mann’s order can very well be held in abeyance as it is only an executive order and has no legislative backing. Also, politically the Chief Minister has been advised by his aides not to define or curtail the role of the bureau at this stage with the Assembly elections just a few months away.

The bureau had shot into prominence in 2002 when it registered cases against high-profile persons like Mr Ravi Sidhu, a former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission, and the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.


Rare FRCS honour for Ludhiana doctor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Dr Kuldip Singh, Professor of Surgery at Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, has become the first doctor from the region to be conferred Fellowship ed eundem by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), England. He was conferred the honour at a ceremony in London on July 11.

So far only four Indians have been conferred this honour. The ed eundem fellowship is specially conferred on surgeons whose standard of training is equivalent to the length and type of professional study required for the fellowship examination of the RCS.

The fellow enjoys identical privileges with his British counterparts from the RCS, which includes getting elected as council member. Besides, ed eundem fellows are also eligible to practice in the United Kingdom without getting an equivalence certificate from the board which is otherwise mandatory even for those with an FRCS degree.

Dr Kuldip Singh is president of Indian Association of Laparoscopic Surgery and governing council member of International Federation of Endoscopic Surgery and Asia Pacific Laparoscopic Association. He has presented more than 70 guest lectures in national and international conferences.


80 students punished for not wearing uniform
Gurbax Puri

Arwinder Singh
Arwinder Singh

Tarn Taran, July 20
Eighty students of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Public School here managed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) were given corporal punishment by a teacher for not wearing school uniform.

Left arm of Arwinder Singh a student of plus two class was fractured .He is under treatment at the civil hospital here where his condition is stated to be out of danger.

Arwinder and his brother Parwinder Singh who also studies in the same school in class X told newsmen at the civil hospital that they being in the habit of wearing a “patka” instead of turbans were called out at morning assembly yesterday along with other eighty students. These students were given corporal punishment by Mr Gurvail Singh a teacher of the school with a stick.

Arwinder alleged main cause of the punishment was that he had been raising objection as the teacher calling him ‘Lambu’ instead of using his real name. The matter was brought to the notice of the police.

Ms Paramjit Kaur Principal of the school denied the allegation of the student but said there was no personal grudge against the student she said not only Parwinder was punished but other students were also punished for not wearing uniforms. Mr Alwinder Pal Singh a former president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, intervened in the matter and the parents of the student were pacified and they agreed not to take any legal action against the teacher.


Patiala blind murder case solved
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Patiala, July 20
With the arrest of Jasbir Singh, a resident of Rajpura town, the district police authorities have managed to solve the mystery of blind murder of another resident Kuldeep Kaur, which took place on the intervening night of June 20 and June 21 in her house located in Gobind Colony of Rajpura town.

Mr Parmod Ban, SSP, while addressing a press conference here this evening said that accused Jasbir Singh killed Kuldeep Kaur with kitchen knife and then fled from there after bolting the door of her house. The accused also took away the mobile phone of the deceased.

He said that during the questioning, the accused disclosed that after the death of his parents, he was seeing some photographs lying in one of the boxes in his house. When he was seeing the photographs, he saw some of the photographs in which his father was shown as marrying with Kuldeep Kaur by garlanding her.

He added that he felt upset after seeing that photograph because of the fact that while on one hand his mother died on the same day when his father died after she failed to bear the shock of death of her husband, on the other his father cheated his mother by marrying off another woman.

He further said that after seeing those photographs, he went to the house of Kuldeep Kaur and asked her that when she was having brother-sister relations with his father then why did she get married to him. He added that instead of answering Kuldeep Kaur slapped him.

He said following this incident he stabbed Kuldeep Kaur number of times with a kitchen knife. He added that he bolted all the doors of her house after leaving the same. A case in this connection has already been registered, Mr Ban said.


Punjabi actor’s son booked for killing black buck
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 20
A son of Punjabi film star Guggu Gill and his four accomplices are booked for hunting a black buck near the wildlife sanctuary area here, official sources said this evening.

According to information, the wildlife and Forests Department today moved a court accusing Amritpal Singh, son of Kulwinder Singh alias Guggu Gill, resident of Mahnikhera village in Muktsar district of killing a black buck on July 17 near Bahadarkhera village located in the neighbourhood of Khairpur village which is a part of the notified wildlife sanctuary area.

One of his accomplices has been identified as Ram Kumar Poonia of village Khairpur. Three unidentified persons also allegedly accompanied the film star’s son, the complaint said.

Two range officers of the Forest and Wildlife Department yesterday visited the village and took samples of the bloodstains found in the field of former sarpanch Surinder Kumar.

Footprints of the black buck, shoe prints of the hunters and jeep tyre marks were also confirmed on the spot.

The case has been registered under sections 9,39,41 of the wildlife Act 1972, sources added.


Calcutta forms joint front
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 20
Various Panthic groups, including SAD (A) and the Damdami Taksal, opposed to Parkash Singh Badal, today formed a joint front under the leadership of former Akali Minister Manjit Singh Calcutta.

Mr Calcutta, talking to the media, said their main aim was to spread the “Gurdwara Sudhar Lehar” (Gurdwara Reform Movement) and liberate SAD from the clutches of Mr Badal who was trying to impose the dynastic rule by ignoring the dedicated workers who had sacrificed their lives in the service of the Panth. He said a meeting would be held to form a coordination committee after the “Miri Piri Divas”, here tomorrow.

He said there has been a murder of Sikh principles during the centenary celebrations as Mr Badal had invited BJP leaders, who, as coalition partner, had never invited him to take part in their (BJP's) functions.

He said Mr Badal in SAD's poll manifesto during 1997 elections had mentioned to settle various issuing, including the demand of Chandigarh, water problem, relief for the 1984 riot victims, police atrocities and false encounters but had not fulfilled a single promise made to the people during his rule. He said Mr Badal had never cared about the economic development of the Amritsar district whenever his party was in power.

Further accusing Mr Badal of selling the interests of the Sikhs settled in Uttaranchal, Mr Calcutta claimed that Mr Badal had not attended even a single meeting of the committee headed by Mr George Fernandez, of which he was a member, to solve the problems of the Sikhs settled there.

Former SAD leader said he was instrumental in bringing compromise between Mr Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. But after Mr Tohra's death, he deceived his (Tohra's) supporters.


Planning committees for districts soon
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 20
In the light of the 74th Constitutional Amendment,1992, and the Punjab District Planning Committees Act - 2005, the Punjab Government has ordered all Deputy Commissioners to hold elections for members from among directly elected members of the Zila Parishads and the Urban Local Bodies from their respective districts for the constitution of District Planning Committees(DPCs). Besides the elected members, some members will be nominated by the state government to each DPC.

The DPCs are being constituted with a view to consolidating plans, prepared by the panchayats and the urban local bodies in the districts, and to prepare the draft development plans for the districts as a whole in the state.

As per information, the total number of members in each DPC has been calculated on the basis of population of the district. The districts, having population not exceeding 10 lakh, will have 15 members while there will be 24 members in a DPC of those districts which have population exceeding 10 lakh but not exceeding 20 lakh.

Districts having more than 20 lakh population will have 40 members in each DPC.


Govt failed on job front: Badal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 20
Frustration is prevailing among the educated youths, in Punjab due to unemployment. Capt Amarinder Singh’s government has failed miserably in providing job opportunities to them. This was stated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, while talking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Avtar Singh Johal, a local SAD leader, here this afternoon.

He said if the SAD had come in power it would form a separate department in the to deal with unemployment.

Referring to the proposed transfer of six more departments to panchayats by the state government, Mr Badal said his party was in favour of decentralisation of power. But transfer of departments should be done after providing basic infrastructure and requisite funds to the panchayats. The transfer of three departments, including health and education, to the panchayats in the past did not prove successful. He pointed out that there was no complainant in cases registered against SAD leaders. 


Mann warns Badal
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 20
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president SAD(A), has strongly resented the move of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar by which he has written to all the gurdwaras being run by the SGPC in and outside the state to send at least 20 armed men to guard the proceedings at Akal Takht on July 21.

Mr R.S.Cheema, office Secretary of Mr Mann, today released the copies of telegrams sent to Mr Badal. In this telegram Mr Mann had cautioned Mr Badal that his SGPC president had ordered all the gurdwaras to send armed sewadars to guard the Akhand Path bhog at Sri Akal Takht Sahib. He has written that if any sewadar caused any harm or murdered any Sikh, Mr Badal would be held personally responsible for that like Mahant Sewa Dass for the murder of innocent Sikhs.


Filing of papers for MC poll ends
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 20
The filing of nominations for the Municipal Council elections scheduled to be held on July 30 ended with 61 prospective candidates filing their papers here today. With this the total number of nominations has reached 175.

After seeing a heavy rush of supporters of prospective candidates at the council office yesterday, the administration today restricted entry to the premises. Both gates of the building were closed for supporters. Only candidates, along with one or two persons were allowed to enter the council office premises.

As a number of prospective candidates had to go back without filing their nomination papers yesterday because of the heavy rush, they returned in haste today and the work of filing nominations ended much before the expected time.

Following are the names of those who filed their nominations papers today. The number of the ward is given in bracket: Mr Ravinderjeet Singh (5), Ms Kuldeep Kaur (28), Ms Daljit Kaur (28), Mr Mohanbir Singh (14), Mr Bharat Bhushan Mynee (3), Mr S.N. Mynee (3), Ms Manpreet Kaur (10), Mr Manjit Singh (23), Mr Ghansham ( 2), Mr Jaspinder Singh (2), Ms Gurpreet Kaur (7), Mr Bhupinder Singh (6), Mr Tilak Raj (12), Ms Rajni Bala (12), Ms Kiran Bansal (1), Ms Meena Kaundal (4), Ms Urmila (4), Ms Sukhwant Kaur (22), Ms Baljinder Kaur (22), Ms Surinder Kaur (28), Mr J.S. Gujral (9), Mr Surinder Singh (5), Ms Usha Rani (28), Ms Paramjit Kaur (28), Mr Jarnail Singh (20), Mr Rajiv Malik (9), Mr Balkaran Singh (23), Mr Paramjit Singh Kahlon (23), Mr Ravinder Singh Sodhi (29), Mr Amrik Singh (26), Ms Daljit Kaur (31), Mr Malkeet Singh (29), Mr Rajinder Parsad (2), Ms Joginder Kaur (4), Ms Rakesh Rawat (29), Ms Usha Sahi (28), Mr Karam Singh Dhanoa (24), Mr Bharat Bhushan (2), Mr Harbhajan Lal (18), Mr Babu Ram (18), Mr Gian Chand Aggarwal (9), Ms Raj Kaur (25), Ms Parvinder Kaur (25), Mr Sarvinder Bir Singh (24), Mr J.S.Grover (24), Mr Karnail Singh (27), Mr Sukhpreet Singh (30), Mr Kulbir Singh (23), Manpreet Kaushal (3), Mr Amrik Singh (24), Ms Pritam Kaur (7), Mr Harjit Singh (21), Mr Jaswinder Singh (15), Rakesh (24), Mr Baljinder Singh (5), Mr Charanjit Singh (23), Ms Surinder Pal Kaur (23), Ms Meena Garg (4), Mr Jaspal Singh (30), Ms Ravinder Kaur (12), and Mr Jaspal Singh (6). 


Cong wins 3 seats in dist planning committee poll
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 20
In the elections held for the three seats of the district planning committees, to be chosen by the councillors belonging to all five municipal councils of the district, the Congress candidates won all three seats, while the lone SAD (B) candidate lost the elections.

The Congress workers, led by both the Congress MLAs from the district — Dr Harbans Lal and Mr Sadhu Singh — celebrated the victory, whereas the SAD (B) workers, led by Didar Singh Bhatti and Jagdeep Singh Cheema, protested the method adopted for the election and raised the slogans against the high handedness of the Government and termed the results as a moral defeat of the Congress.

The elections were conducted for the constitution of district planning committees to be formed in all districts as per the 74th amendment of the Constitution. The committees will have 12 members, nine from Zila Parishad and three will represent the councillors belonging to all the councils falling in the district. Seventy four councillors caste their vote today.


CM orders construction of road
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, July 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has ordered construction of a metalled road between Kot Patial and Nangal Jarial on the Punjab-Himachal border. The 5-km stretch of the road falling in Punjab has been causing inconvenience to motorists.

Stating this here yesterday, Kot Patial sarpanch Sukhraj Sharma said a delegation had met the Chief Minister recently and given him a memorandum in this regard.

The delegation included HP Co-operative and Industry Minister Kuldeep Kumar, Punjab Health Minister Ramesh Chander Dogra and advocate K.S. Thakur.

The delegation had informed him that the road falling in Himachal Pradesh up to Nangal Jarial had been completed under the Prime Minister’s Gram Sarak Yojna. They sought completion of the 5-km stretch falling in Punjab up to Kot Patial.

They said due to the absence of a metalled road, local population had to take a 70-km detour to reach places like Chintpurni, Jwalaji, Una, Kangra and Dharamsala.


Kargil martyrs’ kin await petrol stations
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 20
To quicken the pace of allotment of oil product agencies to wives and next of kin of Kargil martyrs the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Commission has pulled up state governments, including Punjab, and has sought the intervention of chief ministers for removal of bottle-necks.

The Government of India in consultation with the Ministry of Defence had formulated a scheme in 1999 for allotment of as many as 500 retail outlets of petrol and LPG to widows and next of kin of the defence personnel killed in Operation Vijay in Kargil.

Despite efforts at different levels, the scheme could not be implemented in toto in certain pockets of the country even after seven years. This had even invited the ire of the Prime Minister, who had shot off a letter to Mr Murli Deora, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, on June 1 in this regard.

Mr Deora has in turn shot letters to all Chief Ministers, including, Capt Amarinder Singh, (a copy of which is with The Tribune), seeking their “intervention and cooperation”. He has also cited examples of as many as five widows of Kargil martyrs, who had not got the allotment owing to varied factors, such as bureaucratic hurdles and procedural delays. These five widows belonged to Gurdaspur, Patiala, Ropar and Amritsar districts and they either were waiting for land acquisition or no-objection certificates from the Forest Department or the local authorities.

Meanwhile, Punjab Government sources said as a reaction to the minister’s letter to the Chief Minister, the officials concerned had been directed to do what was needed.


Assn to hold protest against erratic power
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 20
Upset over the erratic electricity supply, the Durgiana Market Association today decided to organise a protest march and hold a demonstration at the subdivisional office of the PSEB here on July 24.

Mr Prem Kalra, president of the association, said this afternoon that despite the claims of the board, there was no improvement in the power situation.

More than 1.35 lakh consumers here had been enduring undeclared cuts and tripping for the past few months. There has been sparking in loose wires in the Nai Abadi locality many times and the maintenance of transformers was poor, he alleged. The complaint office staff usually kept the phone off the hook after sunset.

He said the PSEB had not changed area-wise rotation of cuts for the season. The supply was to be suspended from 1 pm to 5 pm as per the schedule announced by the board but today the consumers were deprived of power till 12 noon and the regular cut was imposed at 2.30 pm, in addition to breakdowns in between.


Govt urged to reject Bajaj panel recommendations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Punjab Non-gazetted Employees Organisation has urged the state government to reject the recommendations made by the Bajaj Committee with regard to the various demands of employees.

Mr Oma Kant Tiwari, general secretary of the organisation, said the government should pay immediately the promotional scale on completion of four, nine and 14 years of service. He said before the last Assembly elections, the Congress had promised the employees that it would give the promotional scale if it came to power. However, the Bajaj Committee had recommended to refer this demand to the next pay commission, thus indirectly opposing the payment of the promotional scale at present.

He said the committee’s recommendation to increase the medical allowance to Rs 300 per month was absurd. He said the employees should be given Rs 500 as medical allowance per month.

Mr Oma Kant said the demand for enhancing the retirement age should be referred to the next pay commission.

There were thousands of educated youth who were waiting for jobs. He said the government should in fact fill thousands vacant posts.

There were about 25 per cent sanctioned posts which were lying vacant in various departments, he added.

He said the government should immediately pay bonus. Prices had increased many fold in the past few months and employees were facing hard times because of this reason. Mr Tiwari said his organisation would resort to agitation in case the Bajaj Committee recommendations were not rejected by the state government.


Pashchatap divas today, SGPC task force put on alert
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee’s (SGPC) task force has been put on a high alert in view of the Pashchatap (repentance) divas to be held at Akal Takht here tomorrow.

The day is being observed for ‘unfortunate incident’ that happened on July 2 at Manji Sahib Dewan Hall during 400th centennial celebrations of foundation day Akal Takht Sahib. During the celebrations, activists of the SAD (Badal) and the SAD (Mann) clashed at Manji Sahib Hall in the Golden Temple Complex. Sri Guru Granth Sahib had to be carried even before Ardas of the path and turbans of various leaders and SGPC members fell off in the presence of holy book.

A press statement issued by the Shiromani Committee here today said that bhog and ardas of akhand Path was being held as part of pashchatap (Repentance) Divas, would be held tomorrow at Akal Takht. It said ragi jathas will sing the Bani of Guru Granth Sahib while Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht will read out a message to Sikh sangat.

Meanwhile, Mr Harbir Singh Sandhu, office-secretary of the SAD (Mann) in a press note alleged even as they wanted to observe the divas peacefully, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president SAD and his party members besides Mr Avtar Singh, SGPC chief were trying to spoil the atmosphere by bringing several sects on the occasion. He warned, Mr Badal would be responsible for any untoward incident. 


Panel on biomedical waste disposal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 20
The Patiala branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has formed a two-member committee to oversee the disposal of biomedical waste following the directions of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

According to Mr D.S. Bhullar, president of the IMA unit, the members are Dr O.P.S. Kande and Dr Jagbir Singh.

The IMA has asked private hospitals to renew their registration as provided under rules.


Promotional scales sought
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 20
The Punjab State Karamchari Dal has condemned the state government for not implementing the demands of government employees.

In a press note, Mr Kulbir Singh Saidkheri, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the dal, said the government had done injustice to employees by deferring a decision of not giving promotional scale of employees after 4,9,14 years of service despite an assurance given by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to this effect.


Bar takes serious view of cop-lawyer nexus
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 20
Taking note of the allegations levelled against a city lawyer of connivance with some policemen for procuring work, the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council will ask the lawyer to send his comments on the accusations. The president of the council, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, said the Moga District Bar Association (DBA) had already brought the matter to his notice.

“As and when I get a written complaint, I will ask the lawyer, Mr Roopinder Singh Brar, a former Deputy District Attorney in Moga, to send his comments,” he said.

Mr Dhanda further said after getting Mr Brar’s comments, the matter would be put before the full house for taking a decision.

The president of the DBA, Mr Ramesh Grover, said he would submit the written complaint against Mr Brar to Mr Dhanda within two-three days.

In a news item in The Tribune today, it has been stated that some policemen here have allegedly discovered a “refined” way of corruption. They book a person under a criminal case, ask that person to engage a particular lawyer who gets a hefty amount for representing him in court and the policemen receive their commission from the lawyer.

Mr Grover said the DBA would not only request to the council for the cancellation of Mr Brar’s licence, but also request to make a rule to debar such influential persons from practising at the places of their posting before the expiry of minimum five years.

He would also send a request to the DGP to order an inquiry into the matter.


Life term for murder

Moga, July 20
Mohinder Singh of Burj Dunna village, falling under Badhan Kalan police station, was sentenced for life today for murdering Balwinder Singh of the same village in 2004. Additional Sessions Judge B.S. Sandhu sentenced him to life imprisonment after finding him guilty for the murder, after hearing arguments of both the prosecution and defence counsel.

An FIR under Section 302, IPC, had been lodged against Mohinder Singh on the complaint of Balwinder’s father Resham Singh at that time. Mohinder Singh had shot Balwinder dead. — TNS


JIT Chairman’s sentence order set aside

Chandigarh, July 20
The State Commission today set aside the April 4 order of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Jalandhar, by which the Jalandhar Improvement Trust (JIT) Chairman, Mr Tejinder Singh Bittu, had been awarded three months’ imprisonment for “non-compliance” of the Forum orders. Mr Bittu had been found guilty of not complying with orders passed by the Forum in a case filed by Ms Sanjogta Bhandari, resident of Master Tara Singh Nagar, Jalandhar.

On April 4, the President of the Forum, Mr M.M. Bhalla, had held Mr Bittu guilty under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act and sentenced him to three months’ imprisonment. — TNS


White paper sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 20
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) today asked the Punjab Government to issue a white paper before August 20 on the loans taken by farmers from nationalised banks, cooperative banks and arhtiyas.

The total loan amount due from state’s farmers is said to be more than Rs 24,000 crore due to which farmers have been committing suicides for the past several years.

Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, President of the SAD (Longowal), was here today in connection with the preparations of a conference to be organised by his party on the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal on August 20 at Longowal village.

Mr Chandumajra said the Punjab Government should not only mention the loans taken by farmers from the banks and the arhtiyas, it should also disclose the total number of defaulting farmers and total amount of the interest due from the farmers.

Prof Chandumajra said according to experts, about 85 per cent farmers in the state were under debt.


SAD for waiver of farmers’ loans
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 20
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) demanded that the Congress government should waive all loans of farmers. If the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh failed to it the SAD decided to move a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha to expose him.

The SAD leadership will also force the Chief Minister to hold a debate on issues connected with law and order situation and so called mega projects apart from development of Punjab in next Assembly session to be held in September.

Senior SAD leader Capt Kanwaljit Singh told a press conference here today that people of Punjab had seen through that the Congress Chief Minister had been misleading them on various issues. He added no development project had been set up in the state, the Chief Minister had been befooling people by projecting development on paper only. Under the garb of development, the Chief Minister had started privatisation in various government sectors, which would harm interests of the state.

The former Akali minister alleged the Chief Minister had also cheated with employees of state by deciding to refer the implementation of policy of career promotion after four, nine and 14 years of service to the next pay commission, which would take years to come into existence.

To a question, he said that the SAD had given answers of all queries raised by the Election Commission in connection with the petition filed by the party with it in connection with the disqualification of Congress MLAs holding the office of profit. He added though the answers were given about a month ago, no communication was received from the Election Commission in that connection.


31 SMOs promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Punjab Government today ordered the promotion of 31 Senior Medical Officers (SMO) as Deputy Directors. Those promoted are: Dr Jagdish Pal, Dr Ashok Nayar, Dr Ravi Kant, Dr Arudaman Singh, Dr Dalip Kumar, Dr P.K. Mittal, Dr S.S. Walia, Dr B.S.Mohi, Dr Ranbir Singh, Dr Rakesh Kumar, Dr Satinder Wadia, Dr Mohinder Singh Toor, Dr M.S. Brar, Dr Sat Pal Sharma, Dr Avtar Singh, Dr Karanjit Singh, Dr Maninderjit Singh, Dr Manjit Singh, Dr Hem Raj Garg, Dr Balbir Singh, Dr Kamaljit Kaur, Dr Rajinder Singh, Dr Arjun Singh Gill, Dr Mohan Lal, Dr S.M.S.Sidhu, Dr Balbir Singh, Dr Lehmbar Singh, Dr Usha Dhingra, Dr Amrit Kaur, Dr K.C. Kundal and Dr Satwant.


CM asks panel to consider promotion of 5 ADGPs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Punjab Chief Minister has asked his officials to immediately convene a meeting of the departmental promotion committee to consider the promotion of five Additional Director-Generals of Police (ADGPs) and elevate them as DGPs, well placed sources in the government confirmed today.

The five officials in line are Mr N.P. S. Aulakh, Mr R.S. Gill, Mr A.P. Pandey, Mr Mohd Izhar Alam and Mr Anil Kaushik. While Mr Aulakh is a 1972 batch officer and is presently on deputation with the Border Security Force (BSF) the others are serving in the state. Mr Gill is of the 1973 batch, while Mr Pandey and Mr Alam are from the 1974 batch. Mr Kaushik is from the 1975 batch.

Instructions to convene a DPC at the earliest have been conveyed to the Department of Personnel, the sources in the government confirmed.

The state presently has three DGP's. One of them, Mr P. Lal retires on November 30. That will leave Mr S.S. Virk and Mr K.K. Attri as the two serving DGP's. The sources said the contention of the IAS officers is that the grade of the Chief Secretary has been given only till the 1973 batch hence they feel the promotion to the rank of the DGP in the IPS cadre should also be till the 1973 batch.

If the 1975 batch of the IPS is promoted as the DGP, the state may also extend the Chief Secretary's scale till the 1975 batch. 


Thieves injure cop, flee

Pathankot, July 20
Thieves injured Constable Harmesh Kumar who tried to stop them from committing a theft in Jodha Mal Colony here today. The SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, told newsmen that Harmesh Kumar, along with another constable, was on patrol duty.

They spotted a few thieves trying to break into some shops. The constables challenged the thieves, who tried to flee. When constables followed them they struck Harmesh Kumar on the head and tried to flee with his SLR. Later they threw the SLR and fled.

The SSP said that the theft incident was averted due to the alert constables but also lamented that the accused managed to flee taking advantage of the narrow lanes. — TNS


Money withdrawn from ATM fraudulently

Hoshiarpur, July 20
A case of fraudulently withdrawing a huge amount from an ATM of the local branch of the SBI by some person was reported last evening.

According to police sources, Ms Tajinder Kaur of Tibba Sahib mohalla stated to the police that she had an account with the SBI for which she had obtained an ATM card. On June 12, she went to the bank branch to withdraw some money but she was startled when she noticed that someone had withdrawn Rs 55,300 from her account between May 15 and June 2. — OC


Prof Nirbhai Singh made ICPR member
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 20
Prof Nirbhai Singh, who retired as head of the department of Philosophy, Punjabi University, has been nominated as member of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, Government of India.

Prof Nirbhai Singh is at present senior fellow of ICSSR.

The HRD Ministry nominates 12 philosophers of repute for their contribution to philosophy. 


BEd teachers taken into custody
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
A number of unemployed B.Ed teachers were taken into custody when they tried to protest against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was here to inaugurate a number of development projects today.

According to information, the unemployed teachers, including women, under the banner of the B.Ed Unemployed Teachers Front, collected outside Circuit House for presenting a memorandum to the CM. They were reportedly not allowed to meet the CM and later taken in custody at the Civil Lines police station.


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