Centre creating problems for state govt
Chandigarh, August 6
The latest problem created by the Centre is the extension in the industrial package to Himachal Pradesh. The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and Union Finance Minister P.Chidambaram had assured the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that no further extension in the package would be given to Himachal.
Because of the exemption from excise duty and income tax along with subsidy on investment provided for installing units in Himachal, industrialists have been shifting their businesses to that state from Punjab, Haryana and even Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Consequently, the industrial growth of Punjab and even of Haryana had been hit hard. The Punjab Government had already lodged a strong protest with the Union Government.
Opposition parties, especially the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), have strongly criticised the Union Government as well as Capt Amarinder Singh for not protecting Punjab's interest with regard to the industry.
Earlier, because of a notional increase of Rs 10 in the MSP of paddy by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Capt Amarinder Singh had come under sharp attack from various farmer and political organisations. The criticism forced the Chief Minister to say that the hike was " meagre and inadequate".
Sources said the State Government had officially conveyed to the Centre that there was resentment among farmers because of measly increase in the MSP and demanded a further increase of at least Rs 50 per quintal in the MSP.
Capt Amarinder Singh accompanied by other senior Ministers and officers is to meet the Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar, and the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, on August 8. He will take up with them the issue of the extension in the package to Himachal, the paddy price and other matters related to farmers.
Punjab is a paddy surplus state and contributes about 50 per cent of the total rice to the national pool. Sources said Prof T. Haque, Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, had recommended Rs 40 per quintal as bonus on paddy over and above the MSP announced recently.
The other issue on which the Union Government embarrassed the Amarinder Singh Government was the package to debt- ridden farmers of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, ignoring Punjab where the issues of debt burden as well as suicide by farmers are equally serious. In fact, Punjab was the first state to report suicides by farmers.
Till date, the Centre has not recognised the fact that the crisis in the agrarian sector of Punjab is serious. Only, a few days ago, Mr Sharad Pawar had stated in Parliament that his Ministry had no report regarding suicides by farmers in large numbers.
Interestingly, there is a well- documented report, which was prepared by the crime branch of the state police regarding suicides by farmers from 1987 to 2005 in Punjab, for the Union Government. Only a few days ago, the Congress General Secretary, Mr Janardhan Dwivedi, had created an awkward situation for the Punjab Cabinet at a press conference here by taking a dim view of the agrarian crisis in the state.
For the past two months, the Punjab Government has been urging the Union Government to announce a package for farmers in the state. However, there is no adequate response yet from the Union Government. Punjab has sought a package of Rs 2,059 crore to give relief to debt- ridden farmers. The Union Government, sources said, was ready for one-time settlement of loans of commercial banks.
However, it is not keen on putting a moratorium for one year on interest on loans advanced to farmers in Punjab. The issue will again come up at the August 8 meeting, it is learnt.
Collection of canal water charges may be suspended
Chandigarh, August 6
Informed sources on Friday said the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, mooted a proposal in this regard to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
She proposed an inter-departmental committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary K.R.Lakhanpal to resolve the issue in the light of complaints made by farmers.
The government is supposed to collect Rs 85 crore from farmers as canal water usage charges for rabi and kharif crops for the current year. And there is a huge accumulation of dues on farmers since year 2002 when the charges were reimposed by the present government.
Farmers using canal water have to pay Rs 40 per acre for each rabi and kharif crop. However, there are farmers who have got bills with charges up to Rs 800 or above per acre. There are farmers, who did not use canal water, but received bills.
Farmers have complained that the system of raising bills should be corrected. Bills should be raised taking into actual usage of water and should not be based on the whims and fancies of the officials concerned.
Amritsar boy killed in Bahrain
Amritsar, August 6 Mr Manjit Singh, brother of the deceased said that according to information received here today stated that Subeg Singh had minor scuffle with his friend from Gurdaspur, who had joined him seven months back. It further stated that his friend hit him with a blunt weapon due to which Subeg Singh collapsed on the spot. The two had been living together in a single room, it added. He further said that according to information the body of deceased Subeg Singh would reach the village on August 8.
Amritsar, August 6
Mr Manjit Singh, brother of the deceased said that according to information received here today stated that Subeg Singh had minor scuffle with his friend from Gurdaspur, who had joined him seven months back. It further stated that his friend hit him with a blunt weapon due to which Subeg Singh collapsed on the spot. The two had been living together in a single room, it added.
He further said that according to information the body of deceased Subeg Singh would reach the village on August 8.
Daily-wage worker bludgeoned to death
Kharar, August 6
According to the SHO Kharar Mr Gurinder Singh, the victim, Bahadur Singh, was hit by bats wielded by Vilaiti Singh, his son Gurnam Singh and their neighbour Baljit Balli following a verbal duel in the village late last night.
The three armed with bats stood outside Bahadur Singh’s door and asked him to face them. They also told him to stay away from the woman and not ruin her married life.
“However, Bahadur Singh, who was drunk at that time, came out and started abusing the three following which they attacked him,” said Mr Gurinder Singh.
The wife of Vilaiti Singh, Kuldeep Kaur and wife of Gurnam Singh, Anita have also been booked and arrested by the police. “They tried to wash away the splattered blood from outside the house after the incident took place” said the police adding that the three men were objecting to the alleged advances being made by the victim towards their relative who was married in the village.
“Bahadur Singh was unmarried and used to visit the lady regularly and Vilaiti and Gurnam who were related to the woman and were her neighbours also.
Baljit Balli was only a neighbour who went along the two last night,” said Mr Guruinder Singh.
The police is now on the look out of the three men who are absconding.
MLA, Mayor charged with harassment
Amritsar, August 6
In a missive to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Mr Phulwinder Singh , a resident of Sarwerpura, Sultanwind road alleged that he was kept in police custody without an FIR at behest of Mr Sharma, Chairman Improvement Trust . He alleged senior Congress leaders were eyeing his prime land in connivance with the land mafia.
When contacted Mr Sharma said that he had already asked the police authorities to withdraw his gunman Sukhwinder Singh following serious allegations against him ( his gunmen).
The Congress leaders, however, refuted the charges of land grabbing . They claimed that the allegations were ‘baseless, misleading and factually incorrect’.
The alleged victim sought a CBI inquiry into the attempts of senior Congress leaders who were indulging in the ‘shady land deals’ in the past.
The complainant alleged physical and mental harassment by the local Congress leaders .He alleged that despite a number of complaints no action had been taken against a alleged accused.
He claimed that he was an owner of property in Sarwerpura locality and a close relative of Mr Sharma was his sub-tenant . He alleged that his tenant started causing hurdles in the construction work by using the offices of his uncle, the local MLA. He alleged that his tenant wanted to purchase his property at his own terms by using political influence.
He alleged that some false cases were also registered against him to harass him. He apprehended threat to his life and property as well as to his family members since they were receiving anonymous threats.
2 Armymen exonerated of weapon-theft charge
Chandigarh, August 6
The GCM, which concluded at Ferozepore this week, held Naib Subedar Madan Lal and Hav Krishan Kumar not guilty of all seven charges faced by them under different provisions of the Army Act.
A carbine was lost from the premises of 72 Medium Artillery Regiment, following which the aforementioned personnel were held blameworthy for stealing government property, abetment and giving false statements before the court of inquiry (COI). Subsequently, a GCM was convened to try them.
The prosecution had relied, among others, upon three prime witnesses, Lt-Col Vivek Sarpal, Hav Thanabalan and Nk Rajesh Kumar to prove its case.
The court observed that Hav Thanabalan was reluctant to bring out the truth and his replies were contradictory.
On the deposition of Lt-Col Sarpal, who was a member of the COI, the court observed that his contention of affirming and recording the statements of 23 witnesses, asking a total of 287 questions, getting 119 pages typed and having them counter signed all in one day was not physically possible. Hence the court could not rely on his statements that the accused had given false statements.
Further, the regiment’s kote NCO Hav Om Parkash testified before the court that the accused were not present in the kote or its vicinity when the weapon was stated to have been stolen.
“The acquittal has exposed the cover-up plan, but the truth still remains hidden,” Col S.K. Aggarwal (retd), the defence counsel said.
“If these two soldiers did not steal the weapon, then the simple question is who did so and for what,” he added.
“In fact, we have also brought on record that a memorandum be sent to the GCM’s convening authority along with the trial’s proceedings to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the COI’s presiding officer, three officers and seven others,” Colonel Aggarwal said.
Expelled SAD leader plans show of strength
Amritsar, August 6
Mr Randhawa was ousted from primary membership of the party in July. He said circumstances were being created to plant Mr Amarpal Singh Bonny, son of Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, Akali MP, as the party candidate from the constituency.
He claimed that about 20,000 people would participate in his rally. He said he had been campaigning in the villages of Ajnala for the past some months in order to convince voters. He said in no way it would help the Congress. He said he would render support to the SAD (Badal) after winning the election as an Independent.
It could prove to be a serious jolt to Mr Parkash Singh Badal whose party has traditionally been occupying the seat. Mr Randhawa said the candidature of Bony would mean overshadowing and superseding senior Akali leaders who had worked for the betterment of the party.
He said if the SAD (B) decided to elect either a ‘taxali’ Sikh or senior party leader of the party from the constituency then they would unilaterally support him.
He categorically stated that he would file his nomination independently if Bony was given the party ticket. He said how could a person become a leader after failing to clear even a single semester during a seven-year stay at the Medical College run by the SGPC.
He said he had not paid the fee of the college running into lakhs of rupees.
SAD (L) to ensure triangular contest
Fatehgarh Sahib, August 6 He was here to preside over a meeting of party workers to mobilise them for the commemorative ceremony of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal to be held on August 20 at Longowal. He said both Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Leader of Opposition Parkash Singh Badal had failed in performing their duties. Instead, they had been busy fighting each other out in courts. He criticised the Centre for extension of concessional package for industries to hill states by another three years. He said his party would submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister and President on August 7 and 8, respectively, to increase the MSP.
Fatehgarh Sahib, August 6
He was here to preside over a meeting of party workers to mobilise them for the commemorative ceremony of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal to be held on August 20 at Longowal.
He said both Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Leader of Opposition Parkash Singh Badal had failed in performing their duties. Instead, they had been busy fighting each other out in courts.
He criticised the Centre for extension of concessional package for industries to hill states by another three years.
He said his party would submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister and President on August 7 and 8, respectively, to increase the MSP.
Ravi Inder distances from Panthic panel
Ludhiana, August 6
He said he had sent two of his party leaders as observers only and his consent had not been taken before being nominated as one of the members of the panel.
Addressing a press conference here, he betrayed his aversion for Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann. He said he and his party could not have any truck with the people whose nationalistic credentials were suspect and doubtful.
Moreover, he said he was not in favour of holding dharnas at Harmandar Sahib or Akal Takht. He said in spite of everything, the SGPC was a democratically elected body. However, he said, he did not accept Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti as the Akal Takht jathedar.
He blamed both Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann for the incidents of July 4 at Harmandar Sahib. He said while Mr Badal had made a political speech, Mr Mann was equally responsible for creating trouble there.
“He (Mr Mann) could have made his point in a proper way at some other forum instead of acting in a way that led to sacrilege of the bir,” he observed.
He apprehended that the programme of marches and dharnas announced by the panel would further complicate the matters. He said while reforms were important, these must be carried out in a proper manner.
Dullo to meet PM over MSP
Jalandhar, August 6
According to Mr Dullo, the recent hike in the MSP was not sufficient keeping in view the hike in cost of farm inputs and the contribution of Punjab farmers in the green revolution.
“It is not possible for the farmer of Punjab to continue to bear the losses caused by the hike in prices of farm inputs. I am going to meet the Prime Minister and Ms Sonia Gandhi and apprise them of the plight of the farmers,” said Mr Dullo while talking to The Tribune.
He, however, kept mum over possibility of the PPCC adopting some hard measures to press for its demand of a “viable hike” in the MSP. Though party sources pointed out that the state party president could even go to the extent of holding a dharna in New Delhi in case the demand was not accepted. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has already planned to hold a dharna on the issue in front of the Prime Minister’s residence in New Delhi on August 8.
Land grab charge against official
Amritsar, August 6
Sukhdev, who is the cousin brother of the official, has land adjoining to latter’s land. He has urged the Chief Minister, the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chairman of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission besides the DGP and the DIG, Border Range, to order a high-level inquiry by an IPS officer into the case.
Sukhdev alleged here today that the official (now posted at Kapurthala) and his brothers Balraj Singh, Jassa Singh and Harinder Singh were trying to grab the one-acre land belonging to him. He, along with his brother, was tortured at the Kahangarh police post while his minor son was kept in illegal confinement to pressure them to transfer the land in the official’s name.
He said the Gharinda police, on the “directions” of the official was harassing his family. On July 20 it picked up Sukhdev and his brother Shamsher Singh from his house and took them to the Kahangarh police post. They were brutally beaten up by DSP Harinderjit Singh, SHO Arun Kumar, ASI Iqbal Singh and several other policemen.
He alleged that when his condition deteriorated they registered a false case under Sections 107, 151, which was later scrapped by the court. However, the police kept visiting their house.
However, Mr Harinderjit Singh, DSP, refuted the allegations. He said a number of cases of altercation were pending against Sukhdev.
Patiala, August 6
In a press release, Mr Sat Pal Rahi, Senior Vice-President of the Association, said that if the branch office of the Accountant General, which at present is located in Chotti Baradari area here, was to shift to Chandigarh, it would jeopardise the interests of Punjab government pensioners.
He said that pensioners would have to travel all the way to Chandigarh and added that that it was not feasible to shift the office as there were thousands of pensioners in Patiala.
He appealed to the Punjab Government to take up the matter with the head office of the Accountant General so that the proposed shifting is avoided. — OC
Seminar on preserving Punjabi culture
Patiala, August 6 The one-day seminar was held to throw light on the growing trend among some Punjabi singers to ‘popularise’ vulgar songs. Dr Madan Lal Hasija, secretary general of the forum, welcomed the participants and said Surinder Kaur, and her contemporaries were “never tempted by dollars and pounds”.
Patiala, August 6
The one-day seminar was held to throw light on the growing trend among some Punjabi singers to ‘popularise’ vulgar songs.
Dr Madan Lal Hasija, secretary general of the forum, welcomed the participants and said Surinder Kaur, and her contemporaries were “never tempted by dollars and pounds”. — OC
Man gets RI in dowry death case
Moga, August 6 Handing down the RI to Swaranjit Singh, husband of Karamjit Kaur, Additional Sessions Judge Varinder Singh, however, acquitted Swaranjit’s mother Nasib Kaur, father Sukhdev Singh, sister Jaswinder Kaur and another relative giving all of them the benefit of the doubt. The victim Karamjit Kaur died of burns on September 10, 2003.
Moga, August 6
Handing down the RI to Swaranjit Singh, husband of Karamjit Kaur, Additional Sessions Judge Varinder Singh, however, acquitted Swaranjit’s mother Nasib Kaur, father Sukhdev Singh, sister Jaswinder Kaur and another relative giving all of them the benefit of the doubt.
The victim Karamjit Kaur died of burns on September 10, 2003. — PTI
Moga, August 6
Sessions Judge US Gera yesterday passed the sentence against Kulwant Singh, a resident of Behak Khas.
Two accused, including Kulwant Singh and his accomplice, who was a minor, were arrested on the charge of committing the crime on February 19, 2000.
The other accused being a minor is facing trial in a juvenile court at Faridkot. — PTI
SMO suspended, wife at large
Bathinda, August 6 While Dr Thukral was arrested in the case last evening, his wife was still absconding. DC Rahul Bhandari told that the woman’s foetus could not be saved despite efforts from the doctors at the Civil Hospital. He said a post-mortem examination would be conducted on it to ascertain its sex, though prima facie it appeared to be a female foetus. A case has been registered against the doctor couple under the PNDT Act and the MTP Act.
Bathinda, August 6
While Dr Thukral was arrested in the case last evening, his wife was still absconding. DC Rahul Bhandari told that the woman’s foetus could not be saved despite efforts from the doctors at the Civil Hospital. He said a post-mortem examination would be conducted on it to ascertain its sex, though prima facie it appeared to be a female foetus.
A case has been registered against the doctor couple under the PNDT Act and the MTP Act.
Disabled woman raped for 3 months
Abohar, August 6 The woman (21) has told the police that she belonged to Gudiya village, near Loonkaransar. She had been begging to survive after the death of her father in 2003. Her mother had died a long time ago. Her both legs were affected by polio in the childhood and she couldn’t walk. In May, when she was begging on the roadside near her village, three occupants of a truck forcibly took her to a village. They had been raping her in a house, located at an isolated place, since then. When she became pregnant, the kidnappers forcibly put liquor into her mouth and abandoned her on the outskirts of the town in an unconscious state.
Abohar, August 6
The woman (21) has told the police that she belonged to Gudiya village, near Loonkaransar. She had been begging to survive after the death of her father in 2003. Her mother had died a long time ago. Her both legs were affected by polio in the childhood and she couldn’t walk.
In May, when she was begging on the roadside near her village, three occupants of a truck forcibly took her to a village. They had been raping her in a house, located at an isolated place, since then. When she became pregnant, the kidnappers forcibly put liquor into her mouth and abandoned her on the outskirts of the town in an unconscious state.
Journalists seek arrest of attackers
Ludhiana, August 6
Dr N.K. Trikha and Mr Prajnananda Chaudhri, president and secretary-general of the National Union of Journalists at a press conference at Circuit House here today said that the press was not allowed to cover an event and also treated in an inhuman
The union leaders said they were also perturbed to note that the police was yet to identify the culprits and the case was registered only when the media brought the matter to the notice of the senior officials of the district and the state.
Journalist succumbs to injuries
Nabha, August 6
He was admitted there on Friday as he was hit by a tractor trailer of Nagar Council at local Kartar Pura mohalla. He was referred to this hospital where he underwent abdominal surgery for removing ruptured spleen. His condition had been unstable since then. Janwadi Naujawan Sabha and CPM leader Sukhminder Dodah was also sarpanch of village 10 km from here.
His cremation was attended by people from all walks of life. He leaves a wife three school-going sons.
Scribe beaten up
Patiala, August 6 Mr Komal, who is also the Chairman of the District Electronic Media Association, has been admitted to the government Rajindra Hospital with serious injuries. Mr Komal alleged that late yesterday night his car was stopped near the petrol pump of Phase-2, Urban Estate, by some unknown persons who bashed him up. The Sadar police has recorded his statement and investigations are on.
Patiala, August 6
Mr Komal, who is also the Chairman of the District Electronic Media Association, has been admitted to the government Rajindra Hospital with serious injuries.
Mr Komal alleged that late yesterday night his car was stopped near the petrol pump of Phase-2, Urban Estate, by some unknown persons who bashed him up.
The Sadar police has recorded his statement and investigations are on.
Blind murder solved
Kapurthala, August 6
Addressing mediapersons on Saturday, the SSP, Mr Ahir, said Raju, a resident of Ranchi, in Jharkhand, had killed his namesake, Raju, a resident of Ladhugarh village, in Purnia district of Bihar, on the night of July 28. both worked as domestic helps.
The accused had loaned Rs 17,000 to the victim, who instead of returning the money was allegedly threatening the accused, SSP said.
SSP said the accused buried the body near a crematorium and returned the next morning to exhume it. He removed the shirt and cut its head off with a sharp edged weapon. He then put the body in a gunny bag and threw it in a nullah.
Gurdaspur district short of 105 principals
Gurdaspur August 6
The situation of headmasters in various schools is also dismal. There are 124 posts of headmasters in the district, of which 112 are vacant.
The teachers while speaking on the condition of anonymity alleged that those in power were deliberately trying to avoid promoting and filling the posts with regular principals and headmasters. By not making regular promotions, those in power were able to post their favourites as principals and headmasters on ad hoc basis.
The schools in the district are also being hit due to vacant posts of teacher. There are 761 posts of lecturer in various schools of the district. Of these 247 posts are lying vacant. Maximum vacancies are in the master cadre. There are 3,763 posts of master in the district of which 1,000 are vacant.
These posts include 60 posts of social studies masters, 40 of mathematics, 70 of Hindi, 23 of physical education, 29 of science and two of agriculture.
Surprisingly, there is no teacher in the master cadre for teaching English. It is being taught by masters of social science. Sources here said the government had not recruited even a single teacher specialised in English in the master cadre.
Besides, of the 1,067 posts of classical and vernacular teacher in the district, 128 are lying vacant.
In the elementary section the situation has improved to some extent. There are 1,548 elementary schools in the district, of which 518 have now been transferred to zila parishad. It has recruited teachers on contract to teach in these schools. The surplus teachers from the schools transferred to the parishad have now been posted in remaining schools, solving the problem of vacant seats to some extent.
School sans staff, students suffer
Tarn Taran, August 6
According to the information collected yesterday, it was learnt that last year only two students out of 80 passed the plus two exam.
There are more than 250 students of plus one and two classes in the school whereas there is not even a single lecturer for humanities, which include English, history, Punjabi, and physical education. The post of Principal, too, is lying vacant for the past four years.
Two lecturers of vocational subjects have been shifted from here by the department for allegedly failing to check copying in the exams.
School sources revealed that the only post of Hindi master is lying vacant for the past 15 years. Repeated requests to the department made by the school authorities to fill the post have been ignored. Four posts of others subjects are also lying vacant, revealed school sources.
Precious apparatus of the school science laboratories is reportedly missing under mysterious circumstances. The matter came to the notice of the chemistry lecturer when he came after availing long leave.
The school authorities have refused to comment on the issue. They have neither informed the police nor the department till date.
Protest by computer teachers
Amritsar, August 6
They organised a march and burnt an effigy of the Congress government in front of the residence of Excise and Taxation Minister Sardool Singh Bandala.
Computer teachers are protesting against pay of Rs 3960 and that too without allowances and perks. Though they are highly educated than other teachers as their eligibility criteria is post-Graduate degree in computer like MCA, M.Tech, MSc (Computer Science), MSc (IT), but are paid for salary.
Holding banners and raising slogans they started march from Ram Bagh in the morning and concluded it in front of the residence of Mr Bandala.
Mr Sardool Singh, president of the Union, said the minister was not at his residence and his personal assistant asked them to come tomorrow in the morning to submit the memorandum.