P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


It is no work, all pay for 449 cops
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
In an amazing incident, the top brass of the Punjab Police has detected that 449 policemen are virtually on a “paid holiday”.

They have been willfully abstaining from duty for the past several months and some of these “missing cops” have not reported for work for the past couple of years!

Except for a few genuine cases of serious illness, a large number of them could be abroad and with no intention of coming back to India.

Also, more than 200 cops, who have been suspended in the past one decade, are not only getting the mandatory 75 per cent of their salary but also doing private work like farming or some other job.

The list under both categories includes constables, head constables and even non-gazetted officials like Assistant Sub Inspectors and Sub Inspectors. Just the salaries of these cops amount to a few crores of rupees annually.

Senior police functionaries said in the case of 449 cops, most of them had gone away to foreign lands without informing their superiors and without taking prior permission for foreign travel. The Punjab Police has now initiated the process of locating these men.

The Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk, confirmed the development to The Tribune today.

He said a check was ordered a couple of months ago to find out the place of posting of each and every member of the force.

The details of the “missing cops” and those who had been suspended years ago emerged a just a few day ago.

Now, the process has been initiated to stop the salaries of all those who have not reported for work even after the expiry of their scheduled leave.

Meanwhile, sources said some of these policemen could be genuinely sick or injured and thus were not able to attend to their duties.

Letters have been despatched at their addresses and they have been asked to report back immediately. The SSPs concerned or their immediate bosses have been asked to take action against defaulters .

The accounts branch has been asked to find out if any of them was withdrawing salary without attending to his duties.

“Action will be taken against those who may have wrongly facilitated the withdrawal of salary without working,” the DGP said.

In the case of suspended cops, the matter is even more mysterious. Some of them were suspended about 10 years ago and were getting salaries that were normally due to suspended employees. That is 75 per cent of the salary and most of them were found to be working on their own.

The Police Department has initiated a process to find out who stopped the process of further action in each of the 200 cases of suspension. As per rules, either these cops should have been reinstated or dismissed from service, if found guilty.

There seemed to be some insider at the lower-level who had been sitting over the suspension cases and preventing any action while allowing these cops to get a portion of their salary without any work, said senior functionaries.


Farmer-arhtiya row growing, govt urged to act
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Trouble is brewing again in Punjab’s various towns, especially in the Gurdaspur belt, over the issue of bonus on wheat which was announced by the Union Government during last Rabi season.

Tension is building up between farmers and arhtiyas (commission agents) over the issue of non payment of bonus on the wheat which was bought by private traders through commission agents.

Farmers have been building pressure on arhtiyas asking them to get their dues, with regard to bonus, cleared either from private traders or from the state government.

Farmers have also warned arhtiyas at some places, including Gurdaspur, Batala and Dinanagar, that they would not be allowed to deal in paddy in case the bonus dues were not cleared.

Mr Baldev Prasher, President of the United Arhtiyas Association (Majha), Punjab, told The Tribune here today that arhtiyas in his area were facing a lot of problems in absence of clearance of bonus dues to farmers who had sold wheat to private traders.

Mr Prasher, who had come here today to meet the Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Lal Singh, said three cases of scuffle had been reported in Batala and Gurdaspur between arhtiyas and farmers in the past few weeks.

He added that two cases had been reported from Batala and one from Gurdaspur.

“ Though paddy has started arriving in our areas, where it matures early, yet we are not going to our shops because farmers keep asking us to clear the bonus dues,” he said.

“Farmers often hold demonstration in front of our shops in this regard. How can we clear dues which are to the tune of Rs 4.5 crore in Gurdaspur belt alone,” he said.

Mr Prasher, who had come here with a sizeable deputation of association members, said they would urge Mr Lal Singh to sort out this matter before it takes a vicious turn.

He said as records were available with the Punjab Mandi Board, the state government should build pressure on private traders to clear the dues pertaining to bonus of farmers.

The Union Government had announced Rs 50 per quintal as bonus on wheat on April 21 over and above its minimum support price (MSP) that was Rs 650 per quintal.

However, it was admissible only on the wheat which was procured by the government agencies.

Before April 21, a substantial stock of wheat was purchased by private traders from farmers through arhtiyas by paying from Rs 1 to Rs 20 per quintal above the MSP ( Rs 650 per quintal).

Though this purchase was recorded in the registers of various market committees, however, the Union Government had refused to give the bonus on wheat sold to private traders by farmers.

Because of this reason, farmers, who sold wheat to private parties, suffered a loss varying between Rs 30 to Rs 49.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had taken up the issue with the Union Government urging it to pay bonus to those farmers also who sold wheat to private traders by tabulating the difference between the price at which they sold the wheat to private traders and the MSP plus bonus.

In fact, Capt Amarinder Singh had assured farmers that in case the Union Government refused to pay the difference to farmers then his Government would compensate such farmers who sold wheat to private traders at a price less than Rs 700 per quintal.

The state government had roughly calculated Rs 27 crore that was to be paid to such farmers.

Mr Prasher said the Chief Minister should also intervene to sort out this matter.

He said because of the indifferent attitude of the officers concerned to sort out such issues, farmers, arhtiyas as well as traders were facing problems and an unnecessary bitterness had been created among them.

The government should first solve the problems which were its own creation, he added.

Mr Prasher was accompanied by Mr Sucha Singh, Mr Sukhraj Singh, Mr Raj Ladhar, Mr Anil Mahajan, Mr Tarlok Singh, Mr Prem Nath, Mr Kulwinder Bajwa, Mr Devinder Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Gurdeep Singh and Mr Banarsi Dass.


11 kids faint during I-Day rehearsals
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
Eleven schoolchildren, including five girls, today fainted during rehearsals for the Independence Day function at the local sports stadium here, as they were made to practice under sun sans proper arrangement of drinking water and refreshment. They were also reportedly made to stay back for a practice session before the ADC (D).

According to sources, the administration has roped in around 3,000 schoolchildren for the function. These children had to rehearse for the Independence Day function at the local sports stadium from August 10 to12 in front of district administration officials. Various school authorities had demanded that a tent be put up at the stadium to protect children from hot weather conditions, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Though two children fell unconscious before the arrival of the ADC (D), Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, four fainted afterwards. Two of these belonged to the Police Public School, while the rest were from St Joseph school. A teacher of St Joseph school said the children had already performed rehearsals. The ADC (D), who was supposed to watch the rehearsals at 9 am, reached there only after 11 am as he was busy in a meeting. The children were made to stay for the ADC.

The teacher said five girls of Class VII also fell unconscious on reaching the school. St Joseph students who fainted included Aksh Bansal, Siddhant, Hitesh, Hemal Bansal, Isha, Vinima, Ria, Naveena and Vandana. He said though a water tanker was sent to the stadium, its water was contaminated. An ambulance and a doctor were also deployed, but there was no water in the ambulance to administer ORS to the students falling unconscious. A student, who went to fetch water from the tanker for administering ORS to his classmate, also fainted midway. The Principal of St Joseph School, questioned the authorities whether harassing children to this extent for making a function colourful was justified.

On the other hand, the ADC (D) said the children were supposed to perform rehearsals between concerned, as they had to get accustomed to the stadium’s ambience for the Independence Day function. He said there was no delay on his part in reaching the stadium. He said he had sought an explanation from the MC EO who was asked to put up a tent for rehearsals. He said school authorities were supposed to bring along refreshments with them. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, said he had asked the officials concerned to cut short the rehearsal time from 9 am to 12 noon to 10.45 am only as the function would also be of the same duration. He said he had also directed them to make arrangement for providing refreshments to schoolchildren.


Decks cleared for Godrej agro-venture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
After the Reliance and the Bharti group jumped into the agri-business in Punjab, the Godrej group, which is already into the processing of vegetables and fruits, today entered the Punjab market with a contract- farming project associated with more than 10,000 farmers.

Their project was approved at a meeting of the empowered committee, headed by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today.

The company will ask farmers to plant maize across 50,000 acres to meet its requirement of 75,000 metric tonne per annum for their poultry feed unit.

It would also associate with 800 poultry farms each having capacity of 5000 birds for sourcing required number of broilers to its processing plant.

Under the project, the company will launch the Godrej Aadhaar Retail Initiative and it plans to open 150 stores by March 2009, with an investment of Rs 77.50 crore, and nine such outlets were already functional in Punjab. Godrej ‘aadhaars’ would be located in semi-urban and rural locations.

A press statement of the Punjab Government claimed that a meeting of the Empowered Committee today approved 32 new mega projects worth Rs 6853.95 crore which included 21 industrial, four agro and seven housing and township Projects with an employment potential for about 22,000 persons.

The spokesman of the government said the project included manufacturing units to be set up in the districts of Ludhiana and Mohali with a collective investment of Rs 476.64 crore.

The committee had given approval to 8 multiplexes in the districts of Amritsar, Ferozepur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Mohali, entailing an investment of Rs 1,192 crore. Hotel projects in Amritsar, Ferozepur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Mohali districts have also been approved.

The spokesman further said the committee had also given its nod to set up four industrial parks in Ludhiana, Nawanshahr and Mohali districts with an investment of Rs 10,889 crore.

Giving the details, the spokesman said the committee also approved to grant special package of concessions to industrial parks projects namely the Industrial Park Project of the Messers Nahar Industrial Enterprises Ltd, the IT Park of A-.TECH Buildcon Pvt Ltd, Chandigarh, and the IT Park of A-TECH Infrastructure Pvt Ltd.


Woman alleges assault by daughter’s in-laws
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
A former journalist, Ms Jiwan Jyoti, alleged that she was abused and assaulted by in- laws of her daughter in the court complex.

Talking to this correspondent here today, Ms Jyoti said she had gone to appear in the court in the case of annulment of the marriage of her USA-based daughter yesterday when the incident occurred.

She said as soon as she moved out of the court of the Sessions Judge, she was pushed by an uncle of her estranged son-in-law. The other relatives of her son-in-law also abused her, she alleged.

She claimed that the incident was witnessed by some members of the staff of the Sessions Judge who immediately took her inside the court. She made a complaint in writing to the Sessions Judge who referred it to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Varinder Aggarwal.

Her only daughter, an engineering topper and a student of Berkley University in the USA, got married to a local resident in 2000. She alleged that before marriage her son-in-law claimed that he was a software engineer in Australia which was not true. She said her daughter was a green card holder and went to the USA for completing her studies while her son-in-law left for Australia a few weeks after the marriage 

She claimed that her son-in-law started harassing her daughter in the USA after getting the green card.


Doc caught doing private practice
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
The Civil Surgeon has recommended appropriate action against a doctor after reportedly finding her doing private practice at her husband’s clinic during office hours here yesterday.

The doctor, Seema Gupta, is posted at the mini-PHC in Bandi village.

A team comprising the Civil Surgeon, Dr Dilip Kumar and Deputy Medical Commissioner Dr Khemraj Bansal on Thursday raided Delhi Dental Clinic on Mall Road after receiving complaints that Dr Seema had been practicing at her husband, Dr Yogesh Kumar Gupta’s clinic every Thursday.

The Civil Surgeon said when they reached the clinic she was examining a patient. The team seized some prescriptions reportedly signed by her apart from her visiting cards from the clinic.

He said he had sent a detailed report to the Health Secretary and recommended necessary action against her.


SAD to issue ‘white paper’ on govt
Tribune News Service

Bhawanigarh (Sangrur), August 11
Holding Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, responsible for “rampant corruption” and acts of terrorism in the state, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), yesterday announced that after coming to power the SAD-BJP alliance would order a high-level inquiry into the “corruption” by the Congress men, including ministers, and the excesses being committed by the police and the civil administration against the common people.

Mr Badal also said the SAD would issue a “white paper” against the “misdeeds” of the Amarinder government two months before the Assembly elections. He also said the SAD’s election manifesto would not have any false promises.

Mr Badal was here to attend a workers’ meeting at a local gurdwara in connection with the preparations of a SAD conference to be organised on August 20 at Longowal village to commemorate the martyrdom of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

Commenting on the Rajiv-Longowal accord, Mr Badal said the Congress had “deceived” the Sant, due to which he had to make the sacrifice. Regarding seat-sharing between the SAD and the BJP, Mr Badal said the seats would be shared on the basis of winning ability of the candidate.


34 B.Ed colleges not allowed to admit students
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
As many as 34 colleges offering Bachelors in Education in Punjab have not been allowed to admit students for this session, pending affiliation from universities. Candidates seeking admissions to these colleges now have at least 3000 seats less than what had earlier been expected.

Over 30000 candidates have cleared the joint entrance test for admission to over 120 BEd colleges in the state and Chandigarh and the counselling for admission began at Panjab University here yesterday. Counselling of candidates for admission to 85 per cent state quota seats in various Punjab colleges took place today.

The list of affiliated colleges that reached the counselling venue showed that many colleges which had been affiliated to Punjabi University, Patiala, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Panjab University, Chandigarh, last year and had already run the college for one session had not been granted affiliation again for running classes in this session.

Among Guru Nanak Dev University-affiliated colleges, 14 old colleges and only one out of the 20 colleges which had opened just before the last session have been allowed to admit students this year. As a result there would be only 1955 seats available this year as compared to 3855 last year. The university has, however, granted two new colleges fresh affiliation and the number of seats is likely to go up by another 200.

Among the BEd colleges affiliated to Panjab University the 15 old colleges and 22 out of the 24 colleges which opened last year had been allowed to admit students this year. While two colleges of PU cannot admit students this year, one new college has been granted fresh affiliation. The number of seats in PU-affiliated colleges is now 5050 as against 5150 last year.

Out of the BEd colleges affiliated to Punjabi University, 10 old colleges and only 19 out of the 32 colleges which opened last year had been allowed to admit students this year. While 13 colleges of the university cannot admit students this year, three new colleges have been granted fresh affiliation. The number of seats in Punjabi University affiliated colleges is now 3300 as against 4300 last year.

Stating that these colleges had been included in the list of colleges which would be admitting students for this session, Dr Satinder Dhillon, coordinator of the joint counselling for admission to BEd for Punjab and Chandigarh colleges today added that candidates had been also told that affiliation to these colleges was pending and there could be a last minute change.


Lalpura joins Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The veteran Akali leader and former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, Mr Prem Singh Lalpura, announced his decision to join the Congress here today.

Mr Lalpura, who had been the SGPC chief for two terms — 1958-59 and 1959-60 — made this announcement at the Punjab Bhawan here in the presence of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, was not present.

A large number of Mr Lalpura’s supporters, who had come all the way from Tarn Taran, his home district, welcomed the announcement with slogans.


‘70 pc city residents consume adulterated milk’
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 11
Six to seven lakh residents of Jalandhar city, which has a population of about 10 lakh, have been drinking either adulterated milk or getting milk with low nutrients like proteins, minerals and carbohydrates due to ‘over confidence’ in ‘friendly’ milkmen.

This is the finding after tests conducted by the authorities at the Jalandhar-based Doaba Milk Plant of Milkfed, which manufacture Verka milk products.

The tests on 264 milk samples, taken from 1800 homes which get milk from milkmen, were conducted at milk plant laboratories, revealed that 60 to 70 per cent buyers were being supplied with adulterated or ‘low quality’ milk, said Mr S.K. Mahajan, General Manager of the Doaba Milk Plant. The quality of 58 samples of milk was so poor that its consumption could be dangerous to human health.

Investigations, based on tests of milk samples, revealed that though the minimum required level of fat in buffalo milk should be 6 per cent in a litre, it was found to be between 4 and 5 per cent. Similarly, in cow milk, the minimum fat levels should be around 4.5 per cent, but a large number of samples depicted that it ranged between 3 and 3.5 per cent, said Mr Rachpal Singh, Manager (Quality Control) of the milk plant.

In the case of solid non Fat (SNF) the milk supplied by milkmen generally was deficient in a large number of cases. SNFs, it was learnt, consists of protein, minerals, carbohydrates and vitamins, in milk.

The samples revealed that against minimum requisite level of SNF at 9 per cent in case of buffalo milk, it was found to be around 6 or 6.5 per cent. When it came to cow’s milk, the presence of SNFs was again found to be around 6 per cent against the minimum acceptable levels at 8.5 per cent.

“In the light of these tests, we recommend people should consume only pasteurised milk as it had all essential nutrients matching that of pure milk,” said Mr Mahajan. He said to create awareness among consumers about the quality of milk, the Punjab Milkfed and the Doaba Milk Plant would organise more testing sessions in different parts of the city.


Civil Surgeon raises doubts about PGI report
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 11
While admitting that 164 cases of gastroenteritis have been reported from Tiba village so far, the Civil Surgeon, Ropar, has raised doubts about the PGI report, confirming that 40-year-old Sohan Singh from the same village has Cholera. In a detailed report sent to the Health Secretary, Punjab, today, he expressed the need to review the PGI test report.

While giving details in the report, the Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Dr Y.P. Singla, said four-year-old Jasbir Singh, a gastroenteritis patient, was referred to the PGI as his condition deteriorated on August 1. Sohan Singh accompanied his nephew Jasbir Singh to the PGI. But after four days, Sohan Singh was also admitted to the PGI and was tested positive for cholera.

Dr Singla claimed in the report that Sohan Singh did not get affected in the village, but from other sources in Chandigarh while he was attending on his nephew. He said a team of doctors had been deployed round-the-clock in the villages and so far, each house of the village had been visited by the doctors seven times and medicines provided to the villagers.

At present, besides two persons of the same village admitted to the PGI, three were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ropar. The sad state of government negligence was that none of the departments concerned so far had given any thought to finding the root cause of the spread of gastroenteritis. It was believed by the health authorities that leakage of the pipe supplying water might have led to the spread of gastroenteritis.

Dr Singla said he had submitted a detailed report to the Secretary, Health, and mentioned doubts about the PGI report. He admitted that there was a need to find the cause of the problem and said he had discussed cases of the village with the Department of Community Medicine, PGI.


Letter with RSS fake, says Akal Takht chief
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 11
Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti today claimed that the letter in the possession of the national president of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat (RSS), giving ‘clean chit’ to the organisation on the letterhead of Takht was ‘fake’.

Personal assistant to Jathedar Vedanti, Prithipal Singh Sandhu said there was no such letter in the record of Akal Takht’s secretariat as claimed by chief. He said the RSS might have doctored the letter to defame the Akal Takht Jathedar. He said Akal Takht could not take any decision which amounted to the violation of Sikh ‘Maryada’.

Earlier the meeting of Jathedar Vedanti with Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, a Member of Parliament and Mr R.P. Singh, a senior leader of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat in the presence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the SGPC Chief had sparked a controversy in Sikh circles.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur and Dr Sukhpreet Singh Udoke - both members of Akal Takht’s five-member committee had already expressed surprise over the letter perportedly giving a ‘clean chit’ to the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat on July 7, 2004. Bibi Kiranjot Kaur asked ‘how it is possible that the Jathedar issued a directive giving a clean chit to the RSS, before receiving recommendations from the Sub-Committee?’ Mr Gill had claimed that the Jathedar had directed the SGPC to allow the RSS to participate in its functions, organised to mark quadricentennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib in 2004, three days before the submission of the report by the Sub-Committee.

Interestingly, the first directive shot off by Jathedar Vedanti described the RSS as ‘anti-Panthic’. However, Jathedar Vedanti made a U-turn after 14 days and gave a ‘clean chit’ to the RSS on August 7, 2004 after meeting Mr Gurcharan Singh Gill, Mr Rulda Singh and Mr Raghbir Singh, national president and state leaders of the RSS respectively. The five-member committee’s report, comprising of Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, Dr Sukhpreet Singh Udoke, Mr Surinder Singh Gharyala, Dr B.S. Dhillon and Principal Amarjit Singh had, however, framed eight parameters for allowing the RSS to take out a March on the basis of Sikh ‘Maryada’. Jathedar Vedanti sensed trouble within 72 hours and he issued third directive on August 11, 2004 that claimed that Akal Takht had not lifted the ban on the RSS’s procession.


Left parties protest against price rise
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 11
The joint front of the Left parties, including CPI, CPM Punjab, CPI (ML) Liberation, Forward Block and RSP, today held a rally here to protest against the Central and the state governments for their failure to control the rising prices of the essential commodities.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, state secretary of the CPM, said the Central and the state governments were adopting anti-people policies, which were responsible for the rising prices and increasing unemployment.

He said the economic policies adopted by the government were negatively affecting the small-scale industries. He said Amritsar, which was once famous for its textile industry, was now facing crisis and with the closure of various small textile units, hundreds of workers have been rendered jobless.

Mr Pasla said the government had been adopting the policy of reducing the number of employees. He said the Punjab Government had taken the lead by abolishing thousands of posts of teachers. He said on the dictates of the imperialist agencies, the public distribution system had become nonfunctional. He cited hoarding as the main reason for the price rise and accused the government for not taking against the hoarders. 


30 students hurt as bus falls into ditch

Bathinda, August 11
As many as 30 students of Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) and some teachers were injured when a school bus carrying them overturned at Thamaya Chowk here today.

Sources said the accident occurred when the bus was on its way from NFL Colony to the school located in the cantonment area. Sources said the bus fell into a six-foot-deep ditch when the driver tried to apply brakes.

Army personnel and members of a patrol party broke windowpanes of the bus to bring out the children and teachers and rushed them to the Army hospital. All the injured were discharged after first-aid. — TNS


Dharna against school principal
Our correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 11
Activists of the SAD (1920), led by Mr Varinder Singh Bains, staged a dharna and blocked vehicular traffic in front of Mount Carmel Senior Secondary School at Kakon on the Hoshiarpur-Dasuya road from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. today to express their resentment against the Principal of the school for instructing Sikh students to remove their turbans while coming to the school. They raised slogans against the attitude of the Principal.

Later, Father Peter, Principal of the school, came to them and said that there was no bar on wearing clothes and turbans in the school by students.


SAD (A) moves SGJC against SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 11
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today filed a petition in Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) here against members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) for huge financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore.

Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa, a leader of SAD (A), has accused Mr Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, and secretaries Dalmegh Singh, and Harbeant Singh, general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, former general secretaries Kiranjot Kaur, Hardalbir Singh Shah, former secretary Gurbachan Singh Bachan and former president Kirpal Singh Badungar for causing a loss to the committee.

Demanding realisation of Rs 2.5 crore along with 18 per cent interest per annum from the date of expenditure to be deposited in the committee funds, Mr Sirsa alleged that the construction of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Amritsar, was started in 1999 on the occasion of the tercentenary celebrations of the foundation of the Khalsa Panth.

The college started functioning from Sri Guru Ram Dass Khalsa Senior Secondary School and for this Rs 1 crore each had been provided in the budgets for the year 2002-03 and 2003-04, respectively. He further alleged that work came to standstill after the boundary wall and few rooms were constructed at the site.

Mr Sirsa further said that Rs 50 lakh had been provided in the budget for the year 2006-07 for the purchase of land and construction of the new building for the college.

He said this provision was itself contradictory to the earlier provision and spending of Rs 2 crore and it showed that the respondents caused losses to the SGPC funds through misappropriation of Rs 2 crore.

He said even the present sum of Rs 50 lakh was being misappropriated as it had been wrongly mentioned that land was to be purchased for the college with the said amount. Hence, the total misappropriation amounted to Rs 2.5 crore, he added.


3 travel agents booked
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 11
On the complaint of Mr Prabhdayal Singh (25), resident of Johal Raju Singh village,10 km from here, the city police registered a case under Sections 342, 323, 506 and 420 of the IPC against three fake travel agents today.

The travel agents have been identified as Balkar Singh of Bhojian village, Rishi Raj and Kittu Jaggi, both of Amritsar.

Mr Prabhdayal Singh alleged that he was tortured by a relative of one of the fake travel agents in South Africa, where he was wrongly sent by the travel agents.

Prabhdayal Singh in his statement to the police alleged that Balkar, Rishi and Jaggi took Rs 4 lakh from him to send him to Italy. But he was sent to South Africa, where he was kept under lock by a relative of Kittu Jaggi and others.

They used to torture him daily and made him call his parents in India and forced them to pay more to the agents. He alleged that the agents took Rs 7 lakh from his parents, who had to sell a piece of a land to pay the agents.

He alleged that one day something was put into his eyes, as a results of which he could not open his eyes for a week and after this his leg was also fractured. However, he managed to escape after six months of captivity.

Mr Prabhdayal Singh brought the matter to the notice of Senior Superintendent of Police Parveen Kumar Sinha, who referred the case to the CIA for investigation.

No accused have been arrested till now.


Man held after 17 years
Tribune News Service

Samana, August 11
Surjeet Singh, a resident of Asmanpur village of Samana subdivision of Patiala district, had been playing hide and seek with the police authorities and was evading his arrest for the past 17 years after he committed a crime connected with the Excise Act in 1989.

However, he fell into the trap laid by the police on July 28, 2006.

Similarly, Sukhdev Singh of Marodi village, who had committed a similar offence fell in the police net on August 7. He managed to evade arrest for about seven years.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, DSP, Samana, in a press note issued here today said the Samana police had arrested 10 proclaimed offenders in the past 15 days.

These proclaimed offenders had been involved in smuggling of narcotics, illicit distillation of liquor, theft and assaults on public servants.

He said the police achieved this success after a special campaign was launched to arrest the proclaimed offenders. He said that a number of those who had been arrested had jumped their respective bails.

The others, who had been arrested included Swaran Singh, Pal Singh, Soch Singh, Puran Singh, Gian Singh, Sattu, Joga Singh and Khajan Singh.

He said the police also achieved another success in its campaign launched against the smuggling of narcotics as it seized about 4.7 kg opium and 119 kg poppy husk in the past two months.


Aided college teachers strike work
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 11
Teachers, working in the government-aided (privately managed) colleges of Sangrur, Patiala, Bathinda, Ropar, Mansa and Fatehgarh Sahib districts today stayed away from their classes after second period and submitted memorandums to the Deputy Commissioners in their respective districts to forward them to Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister. In the memorandums, the teachers reminded the Chief Minister to fulfill his poll promise of granting pension-gratuity scheme of 18.12.1996 to the teachers of government-aided colleges of Punjab.

Prof P.K. Sharma, secretary of Punjabi University area of PCCTU, said If the PCCTU reminder was not given any heed then the PCCTU would organise a “poll promise reminder march” on August 18 from Barnala to Patiala.


Kalam to meet VCs on Aug 17

Chandigarh, August 11
The President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will hold a meeting with Vice-Chancellors of the universities in Punjab, in Jalandhar, on August 17.

The venue of the meeting will be the Punjab Technical University (PTU). The President will also visit Kali Bein Nadi near Sultanpur Lodhi on that day. — TNS


Sales tax staff to check railway goods too
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 11
The days of traders bringing fake and illegal goods through railways are numbered. The railways ministry has decided to allow the sales tax authorities to seize their goods at the railway stations and their parcel houses to check the evasion of sales tax.

The decision to this effect was taken by a joint committee of the railways and finance ministry. The committee comprised of additional member commercial of the railways and additional secretary department of revenue. The committee gave its recommendation in January and the same has now been circulated to the railways for implementation.

Earlier, the railway authorities did not allow the sales tax authorities to check the consignments and parcels that were brought through railways at the railway stations. Despite definite information regarding fake or illegal goods coming through railways the sales tax authorities had to wait outside the railway stations for the goods to come out.

Taking advantage of this lacunae, the contractors hired entire bogies to bring fake and illegal goods. In Pathankot, a few months ago, a full bogie of fake goods was unloaded at the local railway station. The sales tax authorities got the information. However, the tax authorities were not allowed by the railway authorities to check the packed consignments. The result was that the taxmen had to wait outside the railway station. Ultimately, to evade taxmen, the contractors once again booked the bogie and sent it back to Delhi.

The other recommendations of the committee are that the railways would permit the sales tax or commercial tax officials to collect details of consignments from railway records maintained in railway parcel offices and take copies of such records.

The sales tax authorities would also be allowed to set up a check post at the exit of each parcel office, the space for which would be provided by the railways on lease. The cost of constructing the check post would, however, be borne by the sales tax department.

The railway authorities have also been directed to ensure that complete address and sales tax number of consignor should be mentioned in forwarding note of the goods. Railways would, however, not be held responsible for genuineness of the sales tax number. The entire liability of fake number would be on the consignor.

The steps are being taken by the railways at the instance of the revenue department. The revenue department officials were for long complaining that large scale fake and illegal goods were being transported through the railways.

However, the steps taken to check the evasion of sales tax are leading to a decline in revenue for the railways. The railway officials, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, said since the recommendations had been implemented, the number of parcels coming through railways have decreased to considerably extent.


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