P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Firing incident: MLA’s brother targets officials
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 8
After reaching a compromise with his opponent, Mr Harpinder Singh Gill (Rajan), a younger brother of the Congress MLA from Beas, who was booked for opening fire on a former sarpanch under the influence of liquor now has targeted senior officials of the district.

The volte-face by the complainant has put the Amritsar police in a fix. In his written compromise, the former sarpanch claimed that he had complained against the brother of the MLA due to an error of judgement and rumours. He said Mr Rajan was not involved in the “firing at all”.

Mr Rajan, who is also a brother of the S.P. (Detective), Tarn Taran has said that he and his family members would put forth the ‘facts’ before the Chief Minister so that officials concerned are ‘taken to task’ to restore their ‘dignity’ Mr Amarinder Singh is to visit Beas, the constituency of Mr Dimpa tomorrow in connection with Mr ‘Rakhar Punnian’. festival.

On the basis of the compromise between the two parties, Mr Rajan Gill said his name was dragged due to ‘vested political interests’ with active support of Akalis’.

On July 29, the police here booked Mr Rajan, two gunmen and an accomplice at the Sadar police station after the shooting incident. A few hours later, the police lodged a counter FIR against Balkar Singh — a former sarpanch and others under the similar sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act which were invoked against Mr Rajan.

In a pressnote Mr Rajan Gill stated, to put to rest the whole controversy, a compromise had been affected both by Balkar Singh and Puran Singh Party’. He alleged the episode was blown out of proportions due to “undue haste” by the Amritsar police in registering a ‘false case’.

However, when contacted Mr Balkar Singh and his family said the compromise had been effected with Mr Rajan, who had agreed in principle to accept their demands.

Earlier, in his FIR, the complainant had alleged that Mr Rajan had approached him for the purchase of his prime land, near the land where the Dimpas’ were constructing a five-Star hotel and flats, near Rajasansi international airport in collaboration with the Radisson chain of hotels. However, following a altercations, one of the parties opened fire.


Poll body to start voter education programme
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Election Commission of India plans to start a voter education programme so that not exercising one's right to franchise is no longer considered a fashion, particularly among the so-called literate section of the electorate. Rather, not to vote should become an embarrassing proposition. This was stated by the Election Commissioner, Dr S.Y. Quraishi, in an interview to The Tribune here today.

Dr Quraishi is here to interact with election officers of Punjab, which is slated to go for the Assembly elections next year. He also met election officers of Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Dr Quraishi said it was a matter of concern that the voter turn out was extremely low in the areas like Chandigarh where literacy rate was comparatively high.

The Union Territory, on an average reported a voter turn out of about 50 per cent against the national average of about 60 per cent. There was an urgent need to change the mindset of the educated voter, which bordered cynicism.

The voter education programme will also aim at highlighting as to why electronic photo identity cards(EPIC) were important. The voters will be educated that the revision process of the electoral rolls was a continuous process, undertaken round the year. Therefore, they should ensure that the rolls had their names. Dr Quraishi said in a city like Chandigarh, the voters could access the rolls on the net also.

Dr Quraishi, who is an expert in social marketing, said the commission will follow the principles of social marketing for launching the voter education programme. It will hire professional research and communication agencies to ensure the success of the programme.

The commission, he said, was now planning to appoint booth-level officers, who may be teachers or any other government functionary, who will be responsible for maintaining the electoral rolls of the booth concerned up to date.

The experiment had all ready been tried in West Bengal. The commission will give top priority to Punjab now. The commission had also decided to involve the Divisional Commissioners in the electoral process. So far, they were not a part of the process.

Dr Quraishi was not happy with the distribution of EPICs in Punjab. Till the start of this year, only 40 per cent cards had been distributed. The election authorities in Punjab had been told to achieve the 100 per cent target by the end of December.


Mukerian project work halts
Contractor abandons construction
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur August 8
Work at the 18 MW Mukerian hydro power project(stage II) of the PSEB is again in a limbo. The contractor entrusted with the job of constructing the power house at the site has abandoned the job. This has left the PSEB in a maze with the work of the project coming back to square one.

The PSEB is thinking of black listing the contractor and forfeiting his security. However, the contractor on the other hand is contemplating filing a damage suit against the board authorities.

After trying to implement the project for more than three years now the PSEB is thinking of outsourcing the job of constructing the project. The board is thinking of handing over the project to the BHEL.

The Chief Engineer, civil design and construction, PSEB, Mr Bhupinder Singh Sabarwal, when contacted admitted that the contractor had abandoned the work at the project. The action to be taken against the contractor would be decided by the board, he said.

Earlier, the work at the project had come to a standstill due to water eruption at the proposed foundation of the powerhouses in September 2004. The PSEB authorities failed to stem to flow of underground water even after trying different options for about nine months.

Consultants of the PSEB then suggested that the site of the power houses should be shifted either up stream or down stream. The site of the power houses was shifted a few meters on the suggestion of the consultant. The organisation suffered a loss of about Rs 30 crore.

However, again the same problem has erupted at the new site leaving the authorities in a quandary.

The Chief Engineer had claimed that project was conceived quite close to Beas river. In the past two years the Beas has been receiving a lot of water and the water level in the area is quite high. A senior irrigation expert, Mr MR Goel, was also consulted to tackle the problem.

Besides the eruption of water, the canal to the power house is also creating problems. A siphon on the canal developed cracks after the water was released in it for the first time. The siphon has now been repaired.

Sources, however, say that delay in the Mukerian hydel power project and breach in the newly constructed Mukerian hydel canal and the escape canal of the Ropar thermal plant has raised a question mark over the ability of the civil wing of the PSEB to executive hydel power projects.


Sarna offers to get palki case probed by judge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), today offered to get the entire golden palki (palanquin) case inquired by a Judge maintaining that all actions taken by the DSGMC “Were transparent and without any blemish”.

“We welcome the plan of leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal ( Badal ) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthak) for visiting Pakistan to confirm the gold in the palki. It will be better if Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Capt Kanwaljit Singh also go to Pakistan so that their meeting with the higher authorities of Pakistan may be easy. We want that they should bring measuring system of gold with them by which they can test the gold in the palki as this will enable them to measure the gold of all palkis made by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee , ” he added.

He further said a separate management committee of nagar kirtan had decided to give the amount of golak to Baba Jagtar Singh. The representative of the SAD (Badal), Mr Ravinder Singh Khurana, the then general secretary was also one of the signatories to it.

“We have reiterated many times that this decision was taken by the management committee of the nagar kirtan. But the opponents we are trying to raise suspicion as this decision was not taken by the Executive Board of the DSGMC. They further clarified that all issues related to the nagar kirtan were decided by the management committee of the nagar kirtan.


Taksal calls for Sikh unity
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
The Damdami Taksal passed seven resolutions on the occasion of its tercentenary celebration which concluded at Talwandi Sabo yesterday.

Raising the issue of a separate Sikh state, the Taksal resolved to continue its “struggle for freedom”. Another resolution was passed to intensify its efforts to ensure the release of Sikhs who were languishing in jails since the days of “Dharam Yudh”.

The Taksal alleged that agriculture, which is the backbone of the Sikh community, has been pushed to the verge of devastation. It gave a call to all Sikhs to unite on a single platform to find a way out of the crisis.

The Taksal also raised strong objection against “distortion of Sikh history” in various text books. An appeal was made to the Sikh Sangat to respect Sri Guru Granth Sahib and keep away from deras mushrooming in the state. Baba Isher Singh, the son of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, was felicitated with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur award.

Others who were honoured on the occasion included Beant Singh, Satwant Singh, Kehar Singh, Gen Shubeg Singh and Harjinder Singh Jinda (all posthumously) and Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar. Taksal Chief Sant Harnam Singh Khalsa, Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Keshgarh Sahib Jathedar Tarlochan Singh, Takht Sri Patna Sahib Jathedar Iqbal Singh and head granthi of Takht Sri Hazur Sahib Partap Singh, were present at the function.


Despite flak, state govt promotes top cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Despite facing flak from all sides for having a top heavy administration in the Punjab Police, the Punjab Government today promoted four IPS officers from the rank of the DIG to IG. Another 11 SSP-rank officers have been given “selection grade”.

Four 1988 batch IPS officers — Mr R.C. Singh, Mr Prabodh Kumar, Mr Rohit Chaudhary and Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota — have been promoted as IGs. Mr R.C. Singh is on deputation with the UN forces and has been given a proforma promotion while the others are presently serving in Punjab.

This means the Punjab cadre will have as many as 26 IG-level officials. All Punjab cadre officers between the 1981 and the 1988 batch are now IGs. The promotions are with immediate effect.

The 1993 batch of the Punjab cadre who have been given “selection grade” has the following officials : Ms Gurpreet Kaur Deo, Mr Varinder Kumar, Mr Ishwar Singh, Mr J.K. Jain, Mr S.K. Asthana, Ms Shashi Prabha Dwivedi, Mr R.N. Dhoke, Mr Kartar Singh, Mr Mann Singh, Mr P.S. Grewal and Mr Arpit Shukla.

The selection grade has been given with retrospective effect. While Mr Mann Singh, Mr P.S. Grewal and Mr Arpit Shukla will get the grade from April, 17, 2006, the rest of the officers will get it from January 1, 2006. Ms Deo is on the Central deputation and will be given a proforma promotion.

It may be mentioned that the state will soon have 9 DGPs as the Chief Minister has given his approval to promote 5 ADGP's as DGPs. The Tribune in its edition today had highlighted how the Auditor -General, Punjab, had objected to creation of excess posts for IPS in the state.


State IPS officers under-represented at Centre
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Punjab cadre IPS officers are not ready to go to the Central Government on deputation citing flimsy reasons. Informed sources said the state government authorities got response from only one officer while 25 others cited various reasons to stay on in Punjab.

The sources said on the basis of state's quota, there should be 31 IPS officers from Punjab with the Union Government on deputation. However, at present, there were only 6 officers, out of a 144-strong cadre, with the Central Government. Some of the officers said their wives were serving in Punjab and Chandigarh. A few others said their children were studying in the local educational institutions. They also gave old age of their parents as reason not to proceed to Delhi.

The sources in the Chief Minister's office said the file with regard to the deputation of the IPS officers had been sent back to the Home Department for forwarding the same to the Punjab Police chief, Mr S.S. Virk. The police chief had been asked by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to send him the list of the names of IPS officers who should be sent to the Centre on deputation.

The Home Department had sent the file to the Chief Minister for okaying the names of the IPS officers. However, sources said, the Chief Minister opined that first willingness of the officers concerned should be availed. However, as no officer, except one, came forward to opt for deputation, the Home Department forwarded the file again to the Chief Minister saying that he should okay the names of officers to be sent to the Union Government, the sources said.

However, now the Chief Minister has returned the file to the Home Department for sending the same to Mr Virk for finalising the names of the officers for deputation.

The sources said Punjab had always remained under represented at the because most of the officers of the IPS cadre escaped going on deputation, either by using their political clout or citing some other reasons. Punjab has a very top heavy police set up.

A senior IPS officers costs about Rs 5 lakh per month to the state government which has to provide him an official car, a bungalow, supporting staff, security and office.

The state government can save at least Rs 12 crore per annum by sending its full quota of IPS officers on deputation to the Central Government, said a senior officer of the state government.

The sources further said today officers avoid going to Delhi because Punjab was the best place to serve in the country. Only limited facilities were available in Delhi to officers on deputation. Without having gained exposure at the national level especially in organisation such as Intelligence Bureau, the CBI, the SPG,the BSF, the CRPF etc, no IPS officer could claim to be a perfect member of the police force.


Cholera threat looms large over Ropar
1 patient referred to PGI
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Tiba (Ropar), August 8
Cholera cases were reported at Tiba village in Nurpur Bedi subdivision today. While two patients — Roshan Lal (35) and Jasbir (4) — were referred to the PGI, two admitted to the Ropar Civil Hospital. So far, 80 persons suffering from gastroenteritis got treatment in the Civil Hospital and various private hospitals in Ropar.

The situation became grim in the morning when a large number of villagers fell ill due to vomiting and diarrhoea. A team of 15 doctors, headed by the Civil Surgeon, Ropar, visited the village.

“Two villagers fell ill about 10 days ago due to vomiting and diarrhoea. Thereafter, the number of villagers with similar symptom increased,” said villager Arjun Singh.

“The patent remained unattended in the Civil Hospital, so we prefer private hospitals. My relative, Pooja (15), remained admitted to a private hospital,” said Maya (55), who also suffered from diarrhoea.

Ravinder Singh, another villager, added that a leakage in the pipeline that supplied water to six villages was responsible for the spread of the disease. He said the leakage was noticed about 10 days ago, but nobody repaired it. The leakage resulted in the mixing of sewage with the drinking water.

He added that this was for the first time that a team of doctors visited the village.

When contacted, the Civil Surgeon, Mr Y.P. Singla, said one person was tested positive for cholera and was admitted to the PGI.

“We have visited the village and provided medicines to families. One or even two persons in each family found ill due to vomiting and diarrhoea,” he said, adding the damaged water pipe was repaired.


State mulls hike in minimum wages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Punjab Government is contemplating to raise the minimum wage of unskilled workers to Rs 3,500 per month.

A meeting of the Punjab State Minimum Wage Advisory Board was held yesterday in this regard under the chairmanship of Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, Labour and Employment Minister.

Representatives of workers’ unions, industry and government officials concerned took part in the meeting.

Chowdhary Jagjit Singh said the meeting was convened to know the views of workers and others concerned in this regard.

He said the state government had studied the minimum wage being paid by other states.

Delhi was paying Rs 3,271 per month, Chandigarh was paying Rs 3,211, Haryana was paying Rs 2,447 and Punjab was paying Rs 2,440 per month, he said.

Views expressed by the board members at the meeting would be put before the Union Council of Ministers for taking an appropriate decision on this issue, he added.


CBI probe sought into allotment of civil works
Tribune News service

Patiala, August 8
Mr Surjeet Singh Kohli, former minister, today demanded that state government should make arrangements for launching a probe by CBI into the alleged bunglings in the allotment of civil works by the local Municipal Corporation authorities through fake tendering process.

In a press note issued here, he said that execution of civil works was being allotted to the contractors, who were favourites of the Municipal Corporation authorities saying that no development works had been carried out in those wards, which were represented by Akali Municipal Councillors.

He alleged that tenders for various civil works, which were floated by the local municipal corporation authorities, was a mere eyewash as a section of contractors started the work before the tender process was completed.

He added that a section of Congress leaders had prevailed over the authorities concerned in the allotment of execution of civil works.


UK police team visits Punjab Police Academy
Tribune Reporters

Phillaur, August 8
The British Police is convinced of the efficacy of the working and the strategy adopted by the Punjab Police to combat terrorism.

This was stated by West Midlands Police Authority Bhagan Devsi while talking to The Tribune during his visit to the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, this afternoon. He is here on the invitation of PPA Director R.S. Gill and Deputy Director D.J. Singh.

He said the Punjab Police had courageously struggled against terrorism and the British Police wanted to undertake exchange programmes with it.

Mr Bhagan Devsi, who is also Customers Community Relations subcommittee chairman in the UK, said he had also held detailed discussions with the Punjab Police authorities on curbing matrimonial crimes being committed by NRI brides and bridegrooms.

He said the “community policing” approach of the Punjab Police was commendable as no case could be solved without the support of the people.

PPA Director R.S. Gill and Deputy Director D.J. Singh stressed the need for working against women and children atrocities, drugs addiction and other social evils.


Three killed in wall collapse
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 8
Two women and a child died as the kutcha wall collapsed in a village early thus morning, sources said.

According to information, Karamjit Kaur (25) had come to her parental house along with her 10-month-old son Karandeep at Ratnewala village in the neighbouring Sriganganagar area.

She, her child, mother and father were sleeping in the open when the kutcha boundary wall collapsed at 2 am.

Some residents of the locality removed the debris but Karamjit Kaur and Karandeep were found dead.

Karamjit’s mother Gurdev Kaur and father Manga Singh were rushed to a nearby hospital but Gurdev Kaur died within a few minutes. The condition of Manga Singh was stated as serious.


Enhance retirement age, say PSS officers

Chandigarh, August 8
The Punjab Secretariat Service Officers Association today welcomed the move of the state government to enhance the retirement age of state government officials from 58 years to 60 years.

The association has also given a representation to the Punjab Government to upgrade 10 posts of Under Secretaries to Deputy Secretaries which will involve a negligible financial liability of about Rs 50,000 per annum. — TNS


All-India Mushiara in Patiala on August 12
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 8
The Mehak Cultural Forum in collaboration with Sufi Foundation of India will organise an All-India Mushiara at the Central State Library here on August 12.

The Mushiara, which is an annual affair, will be presided over by Dr Girija Vyas, Chairperson, National Commission for Women, while the guests of honour will be Mr Izhar Alam, Chief Director (Vigilance), Punjab, and Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Patiala.

Prominent among those who are slated to part in the Mushiara are Dr Sardar Anjum, Dr Bashir Badar, Prof Waseem Barlevi, Dr Naresh, Dr Rahat Indori, Dr Nashir Naqvi and Dr Qasim Imam.

According to Dr Naresh Raj, the chief organiser of the event, the Mushiara is being held to commemorate the country's Independence day celebrations.


Seminar on female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, August 8
The Punjab unit of the Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) today organised a seminar against female foeticide here.

Addressing the seminar, Ms Rohini Patekar, Adviser of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNPFA), alleged that the problem of female foeticide was more prevalent among upper strata of society.


Colonies welfare association

Patiala, August 12
The following have been elected office-bearers of the Ghuman, Gian and Kishore Colonies Welfare Society: president-Mr Jitendra Kishore; vice-president: Mr B.S Grewal; general secretary: Mr T.L Pathak; finance secretary: Mr Surinder Garg. TNS


"Intelligent devices" for decision making
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 8
"Intelligent devices will take over human beings as for as decision making is concerned and will act as the best alternative to human brains. But this technology can never dominate the human intelligence because this artificial intelligence is the outcome of human intelligence."

This was stated by Prof. Mukesh Kumar while addressing a seminar held at Mata Gujri College Fatehgarh Sahib today on the topic of Artificial Intelligence to the teachers and students of Computer Science.

Prof Kumar said artificial intelligence devices are going to be highly effective for use of common man and will reduce his stress of continuously involving in decision-making process. It will reduce the burden of managerial executives and computer professionals.

He said the whole system of information technology had undergone sea change with the emergence of technology of intelligent devices. Now a days, this technique has been extensively used in home appliances like washing machine, water geyser, AC and mobile phones. By the use these techniques the devices can be made to think and behave like human beings.

He said the technology was developed totally on the pattern of human brain and saluted the inventor of this technology Dr. Lotfi Zadeh for developing the concept parallel to human brain.

Prof. Rashmi Arora, Head of the Department, said the department would make every possible effort to enlighten students and faculty about the emerging trends in the field of Information Technology.


Teachers’ selection irks ZP chief
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 8
In spite of tussle between Chairman of Sangrur Zila Parishad (ZP) Sham Singh Makror and ADC (Development)-cum- Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sangrur ZP Harnek Singh, a list of 260 B.Ed. candidates selected teachers against ETT posts vacant in the district was released at 5-05 pm here today.

After the release of the list Mr Makror said he had signed the list (at 5 pm today) in the larger interests of the candidates though he had never been taken into confidence at any stage by the ADC (D)-cum-CEO of the ZP while making selections of the teachers. He alleged on August 7 when he came to the ZP’s office in the morning he found the staff and the computer, containing the list of candidates, missing from the office.

Mr Makror added that on August 7 at 4.30 pm the CEO came to the ZP’s office then he asked him to show the list of selected B.Ed. candidates to him, but the CEO declined to show him the list. So feeling insulted at the hands of the CEO, he left the office to go to his home.


Dharna by unemployed BEd teachers
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 8
Members of the Unemployed BEd Teachers Front, led by Mr Surjit Raja, staged dharna in front of the Zila Parishad office here today to express their resentment against the authorities of the parishad for not making their appointments against the 351 posts of ETT teachers.

Mr Surjit Raja criticised the authorities for not filling the vacant posts. He said according to his information, appointment of BEd teachers was being made only against 180 posts.


Punjab Govt slammed for not using project funds
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, has shot off a communiqué to the Punjab Government for not responding to them regarding a grant that had been sanctioned to the government in 2001 but remains unutilised till date.

According to the letter written by a Joint Secretary in the ministry to the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) here dated July 27 2006, the Government of India had granted Rs 8.4 crore to Punjab under Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure and Allied activities (ASIDE) scheme during 2001-2002. This amount had to be utilised for the setting up of the second module of an effluent treatment plant at Jalandhar.

For reasons known only to the Punjab Government, this amount could not be released till 2005-2006 when Rs 4 crore was finally received from the central ministry, following which the remaining amount of Rs 4 .4 crore is due to be paid to the state this year but in the absence of any communication to the ministry, this amount stands to lapse.

The letter points out that the state neither furnished the progress reports of the said project nor sent any request for more funds.

“In case the relevant details are not furnished within 15 days from the date of issue of this letter, it would be presumed that no ASIDE funds are required for the work mentioned during the current financial year and the funds earmarked if any for the project would be diverted to other projects,”

Interestingly the list attached with the letter shows that Punjab was one of the earliest states to have taken the grant in 2001 for the construction of the II module of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant at leather complex in Jalandhar.

Now when Punjab seems to have forgotten about the grant, many other states who took much larger grants under this scheme later are following it up with the ministry.

Punjab seems to have also not demanded any more grants under the scheme. Some other states like West Bengal, Kerala Madhya Pradesh and many other state agencies have been given huge grants for the setting up of trade-cum-exhibition centres, software technology parks, business facilitation centres, strengthening of evaluation laboratories, construction of convention centres, auction houses, construction of industrial sheds and even widening of roads.


Petition against Reliance soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The employees association of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) has decided to file a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the allotment of land owned by the PSIEC to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail Limited.

The employee association is claiming that the land handed over to Reliance for Rs 40 crore was valued at Rs 208 crore. There was a loss of nearly Rs 168 crore.

The employees will also be requesting the main opposition parties in the state to become parties in the case against the government.

The case will be filed either by the end of this week or early next week.


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