P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Vacant posts may hit small savings collection 
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 28
Small savings collection is likely to be adversely affected in several districts in the state in the current financial year as posts of District Savings Officer (DSO) are lying vacant in in as many as seven districts.

According to sources the posts of DSO are vacant in Sangrur, Mohali, Fatehgarh Sahib, Nawanshahr, Mansa, Bathinda and Tarn Taran districts in the state. Due to this DSOs of other districts have been deputed to look after the small savings work in these districts. So the Patiala DSO is also looking after the work of Sangrur DSO. Likewise, the Ludhiana Deputy Director (Small Savings) has the additional charge of Fatehgarh Sahib district. The Ropar DSO is holding the additional charge of the Mohali district while the Hoshiarpur DSO is also performing duties of the Nawanshahr DSO. The Amritsar DSO is looking after the work of Tarn Taran district. The Ferozepore and the Muktsar DSOs have the additional charge of Mansa and Bathinda districts, respectively.

The DSOs having additional charge of other districts are reportedly facing difficulties in achieving the targets of small savings collections in both the districts being looked after by them. These DSOs have to pay visits to their additional charge districts twice a week. As they have a five-day week so it is becoming difficult for them to pay proper attention to the small savings agents, collections and official work, due to which small savings business has been suffering in both districts under the charge of one officer.

It is a matter of concern that though the state government receives 100 per cent loan from the Centre against small savings collections in a financial year to run the affairs of the state smoothly yet the government seems to be less interested in filling these posts. It is also being felt that if the state’s small savings collections target is not achieved in this financial year then it may adversely affect not only the small savings collections in future but may also hit development work in the state. 


Protest against shortage of water, power
Tribune News Service

Dhar (Gurdaspur), August 28
Activists of the BJP, led by former minister Mohan Lal, today organised a rally here today in protest against the shortage of drinking water and power in the Dhar area.

The activists gathered here in the morning and raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

Mr Mohan Lal, while addressing the gathering, said Dhar was the most backward area of the state. However, due to the apathy of the present government the situation had deteriorated further.

“The residents are getting water for just 2 to 3 hours in a day. They are being forced to buy water from private parties. The people are also facing power shortage,” he said.


IMA to carry out survey of quacks
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 28
Even as unregistered medical practitioners and quacks have been carrying out their illegal business, the state branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided to carry out a survey of quacks in the state.

For this, it has urged its members to inform the authorities concerned regarding the working of quacks and unregistered practitioners in their area.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that the laxity shown by the government in checking their business resulted in rise in the number of quacks and unregistered medical practitioners in the state.

Dr G.S. Gill, Dr O.P.S. Kande and Dr D.S. Bhullar, all office-bearers of the IMA unit, said the Punjab and Haryana High Court order in 2001 clearly stated that the Health Department and the police would take action in case any IMA member informed them regarding the quacks.

They said the IMA had already cautioned the government that with the implementation of the PNDT Act and MTP Act the government must check the quackery, failing which the number of illegal abortions would increase. They said the Patran case was an eye-opener.


Khushwant to get Punjab Rattan Award 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Leading media persons and intellectuals from Pakistan will join a galaxy of personalities from the field of art, culture and literature on August 31 when Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will honour Khushwant Singh, eminent writer and journalist, with the Punjab Rattan Award.

The Punjab Government has instituted the Punjab Rattan Award to felicitate personalities whose eminence in the field of art, literature an culture transcends national boundaries and frontiers. Khushwant Singh, who has become a legend and icon in his lifetime, is the sub-continent’s most prolific writer, historian, critic and columnist.

Capt Amarinder Singh will present an exquisitely crafted silver memento to Khushwant Singh, which will be followed by a citation. About 20 eminent persons from Pakistan are likely to participate in the function.

He is the best selling author of over 80 books and two weekly columns syndicated in over 40 English publications. India Today described him “the Capital’s best known living monument.”

Khushwant Singh was awarded the Padam Bhushan in 1974. Khushwant Singh was Member of the Rajya Sabha, from 1980 to 1986. 


Panic as water inundates villages
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 28
There was panic in several villages of Anandpur Sahib sub-division when water entered fields and residential areas following overflow of Sutlej triggered by rise of water in seasonal rivulet Swan flowed into it here and release of water from Bhakra Dam here today. Besides it, several villages of Nurpur Bedi Chamkaur Sahib and Ropar sub-division downstream also face similar threat. Many villages are virtually cut off.

The affected villages situated in low-lying areas along the river in Anandpur Sahib sub-division include Lodhipur, Gajpur, Shahpur Bela, Chandpur, Burj, Hariwal Sahib.

Situation worsened late night when the flow in the seasonal rivulet witnessed sudden rise due to rain in upper part of Himachal. The flow in Swan increased up to 70,000 cusecs while the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has already been releasing 37,000 cusecs water from Bhakra Dam keeping in view the increase in the inflow 56,425 cusecs per day. Thereafter water from Sutlej that was in spate due to increase in flow in seasonal rivulets water merged with the water discharge from Bhakra dam entered the villages in Anandpur Sahib sub-division.

Total inflow of water received at Ropar headworks was 51,529 cusecs. As a result, 32 sluices of headwork were opened to release the 38,000 cusecs of water in downstream.

In addition to it, life of people in Nurpur Bedi and also downstream of Ropar headwork along the river become more miserable as the only means to reach distant places here is through boats. With the rise in water level of river, most of the villagers and school children remained stranded.

Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Bhavana Garg, visited the affected villages in Anandpur Sahib area while SDM, J.C. Sabarwal toured Daudpur, Sultanpur, Sarangpur villages of Chamkaur Sahib, Mrs Bhavana Garg, told The Tribune that water from the villages started receding and arrangement to deal with any situation had been made. A control room has been set-up here to monitor the situation round the clock, she added.


Preneet felicitates six PCS appointees
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 28
The Patiala member of Parliament, Mrs Preneet Kaur, felicitated six city residents who recently cleared the PCS (Judicial services) examination at a special function organised by the District Bar Association here today.

The six who were honoured were Ms Archana Kamboj, Mr Amit Garg, Mr Aantdeep Singh, Mr Gurpartap Singh Bangar, Mr Mohan Bansal and Mr Sharad Gupta.

Later, Mrs Preneet Kaur said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had decided to sanction Rs 50 lakh from his discretionary fund for setting up of a lawyers’ chamber while she herself had sanctioned Rs 10 lakh from her discretionary quota for the same.

Speaking on the occasion, Mrs Preneet Kaur, who presided over the function, said Patiala residents were proud of the fact that six among them had been selected for the state’s elite services.


Police harassment led to violence: Bihar legislators
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
The three-member delegation of Bihar legislators deputed by the Chief Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar , to make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation in the aftermath of violence in Ludhiana on August 24, today termed it as ‘‘police harassment of the migrant labourers’’. The delegation included Mr Sanjay Jha of the BJP, Dr Aslam Azad and Devishchand Thakur both from Janta Dal (United).

Talking to reporters after meeting members of the Bihari community, they said, ‘‘the process of registration (of the migrant labourers) in itself was undemocratic and against Constitution of the country’’.

They said their interaction with the labourers had revealed that they were subjected to the worst type of humiliation and harassment during the registration process. They said, although the district administration had suspended the registration process, it was too late.

While refusing to give specific details of their findings they said, these would be submitted to the Chief Minister of Bihar only.

The legislators also sought to clarify that there was no communal angle to the issue.

Later, the legislators met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr A.S Rai. They reportedly conveyed their displeasure over the incident and wanted assurance about the safety and security of their people working and staying in the city. 


Tree plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 28
Helping Hands Society, a social organisation, started a tree plantation drive at Leela Bhavan market here today.

The drive, in which 30 saplings were planted, was inaugurated by the president of the Leela Bhavan Market, Mr M.J.S Randhawa, in the presence of Mr Bhagwan Dass Juneja, renowned social worker and students of various schools.

Mr Juneja, who has bagged the ‘green man of the city award’ three times, assured the society of 50 tree guards every year.

Mr Vijay Gupta, president of the society, assured the gathering that his society, which had been planting saplings for the past seven years, would look after these plants till they became full-grown trees.

On the occasion, Mr Vijay Zakhmi, member of the society, donated plants to the society meant for future tree plantation drives.


Rs 123 lakh grant to council
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 28
Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, today handed over a cheque for Rs 123 lakh as grant for the development of the town to the president and Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, at a function organised at Sirhind today.

Earlier during a separate function at Bassi Pathana, he handed over a cheque for Rs 55.73 lakh as grant to the Municipal Council, Bassi Pathana.

Addressing the gatherings at both towns falling in his constituency, he recounted various achievements of the government and said the Chief Minister had got increased the MSP by Rs 40, ensured smooth purchase of produce, got passed a resolution on water issues and now efforts were being made to waive interest on loans of farmers as well as SC/BC sections of society.

Mr Charanjeev Channa, president, MC, Sirhind, Mr Subhash Sood, Mr Samsher Singh, Pandit Naresh Sharma, Mr R.N. Sharma, Mr Gulshan Arora and Mr Kirpal Singh also addressed the gathering.


Ban on child labour from Oct 10
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The Punjab Government, in keeping with the guidelines of the Central Government, will impose a complete ban on child labour with effect from October 10.

Mr S.S. Channy, Secretary, Labour and Employment, said that the notification in this regard was issued on July 10. He said that as per the notification, a time period of three months had been given to prohibit employment of children below the age of 14 years as domestic workers or servants in road-side eateries (dhabas) restaurants, hotels, motels, tea shops, resorts, spas or other recreational centres.

He said that the action plan and the directions had been sent to all district offices and departments concerned for strict compliance of the orders.


Plea against IT exemption to MLAs dismissed
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 28
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court headed by Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi today dismissed a PIL challenging the decision of the Punjab Government to exempt MLAs from the payment of income tax on salaries, allowances etc received by them.

The petitioner, advocate H.C. Arora, had sought directions to quash the notification dated March 25, 2004, which specifies the exemption. He has stated that the amendment carried out by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to the Punjab Legislative Assembly (Allowances of Members) Act, 1942, was arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional.

The petitioner had referred to a report in The Tribune that first disclosed that a sum of Rs 77 lakh had been paid from the state exchequer as income tax on the salaries, allowances etc of Punjab ministers, parliamentary secretaries for 2005-06, while Rs 70 lakh was paid towards income tax on the salaries and allowances of the MLAs.


Man electrocutes wife, buries body at home
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 28
A bizarre case of a man electrocuting his wife and burying her body at his own residence has come to light in Rama Mandi.

Sources said the accused, Saravjeet Singh, got married to Sukhpreet Kaur three years back. He was a drunkard and often used to fight with her wife on petty issues.

The other day when he returned home he had an altercation with her over some matter. He beat her up with his belt and electrocuted her.

He had played stereo on high volume so that people couldn’t hear her screams. He then dug up a pit at his residence and buried her body. He also planted a sapling at that place.

When his neighbours enquired about his wife he said she had gone to her parents’ home.

The villagers got suspicious and lodged a report with the police. Following their complaint, the police rounded him up and interrogated him. He spilled the beans and confessed to his crime. The police has recovered the body of Sukhpreet and sent it for a post-mortem examination. A case has been registered against Saravjeet under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC. 


Baby girl found abandoned
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 28
A day-old infant girl child was found abandoned near Old Sabzi Mandi in the cantonment area today. According to the information, Satpal, a teastall owner, found the infant girl lying when he came to open his stall early this morning.

Satpal informed the people living in the vicinity but no one could give any details about the baby. Satpal said that he found the infant lying near a heap of grass where some animals were grazing.

When he came to open his teastall, he overheard cries of a baby. Later, Satpal took the girl to a doctor for treatment, who declared that she was only a day-old, but hale and hearty.

As the news broke out, a lot of people approached Satpal to adopt the girl but he has decided to keep the baby with himself until he gets some clue about her parents.


Cop beaten up, robbed

Moga, August 28
Four persons robbed a Head Constable posted at Bilaspur police post under Nihalsinghwala police post on Sunday night.

The robbers not only robbed HC Manjinder Singh of his scooter, cash, mobile phone and identity card but also beat him up when he tried to resist 
their action.

The cop was on his way from Dholia village to Buttar Kalan when the four robbers attacked him. The incident took place at around 10.30 pm.

An FIR has been registered against the robbers at Badhani Kalan police 
station. — TNS


Rayat students boycott classes
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 28
Students of Rayat Institute of Engineering and Information Technology today boycotted classes alleging that poor quality of food was being served to them in the hostel mess.

They alleged that their demand to improve food quality continued to be ignored by officials. Besides, two students of first year alleged they were beaten up by their seniors after they refused to obey their orders during ragging last night. They submitted a complaint to the police.

When contacted, the vice-chairman of the Rayat college, Mr Gurvinder Singh, said the complaint of the students regarding hostel meals had been solved. “We are running the mess on a no-profit, no-loss basis,” he said.

He said he was not aware of any complaint to the police by students alleging ragging.


Polytechnic staff block traffic
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 28
The staff of Polytechnic colleges across the state, which gathered here under the banner of the Joint Action Committee of the Punjab Polytechnic Staff Association, went on a one-day protest leave before staging a rally at Nehru Park here today.

Later, hundreds of employees blocked traffic at YPS Chowk in protest against the decision.

Addressing the rally, the president of the association, Mr Gurbakshish Singh Antal, and Secretary Jasvir Singh Mahpur said their protest was aimed at the government’s decision to hand over the administration of polytechnics to private societies in the state.

Venting his ire at the government’s decision, which he termed as hasty, Mr Gurbakshish Singh said it was under pressure of private societies that the government was taking this decision.

He said the Punjab Government was all set to implement this decision at the next Cabinet meeting slated to be held on 
August 29.

Mr Gurbakshish Singh said if at all this decision was implemented, promotional avenues of 1200 polytechnic employees would be blocked.

Mr Gurbakshish Singh also said that land, property, infrastructure and other equipment belonging to polytechnic colleges across the state would be lost to private societies. He cited the example of Government Polytechnic College, Lehra Ghaga, which had been handed over to a private society, a decision which led to resentment among employees.

He said now the staff of the Lehra Ghaga college was trying to find employment opportunities elsewhere.

The association president further added that officials of the government’s Technical Education Department were playing into the hands of some private individuals which was proving to be detrimental to the interests of employees of polytechnic colleges.

Mr Gurbakshish Singh said the association would be forced to intensify its agitation if the government did not take back its decision on handing over these colleges to private societies.


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