P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Abolished posts in schools to be revived
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
A meeting of the Punjab Council of Ministers held here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today approved to convene two-day session of the state Assembly from September 14. The council also approved the revival of abolished posts in schools and creation of new posts in polytechnic institutes.

However, the minutes of the meeting are silent on the issue of pending demands of employees, enacting of law to regulate lending of money to farmers by private institutions, including money lenders and commission agents.

It is learnt that the council sanctioned Rs 1.44 crore for the treatment of a daughter of an IPS officer.

A decision was taken to provide 1,193 additional service providers (doctors) at sub-centre level on the same pattern as at the subsidiary health centre (SHC) level through Zila Parishads.

To bring efficiency in the functioning of schools, the council cleared the proposal to revive the abolished posts in the department. However, the government has not revealed that how many posts will be revived.

It also okayed to revive 278 posts and to create 324 new posts for filling posts of teaching/supporting staff of polytechnics/special trade institutes on contract basis and converting government polytechnics/special trade institutes into registered societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1862. Likewise, it also gave nod to the revival and creation of posts in the office of Lok Pal. The creation of new posts at Sub Treasury Patran in Patiala district was also cleared.

The council gave approval for the extension of validity period of New and Renewable Sources of Energy (NRSE) Policy 2001 up to March 31, 2009, which was notified on July 24, 2001 for a period of five years and expired on July 23, 2006.

The filling of 62 posts of Assistant District Attorneys on retainership basis at the rate of Rs 13,000 per month in the Department of Prosecution and Litigation was also approved.

The council approved to present Bills for the conversion various ordinances passed during the year into Acts in the forthcoming session.

The ministers also gave nod for the amendment to the Punjab Municipal Rules, 1994 for the use of electronic voting machines in municipal elections and amendment to Section 167 of the CrPC for the purpose of facilitation of judicial remand through the medium of video conferencing and linkage. Apart from these, the ministers also gave nod to amend Section 25 of the Punjab Infrastructure (Development & Regulation Act), 2002 and amendment in the Punjab State Public Sector Undertaking Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), 2002. 


Purview of dist courts in civil suits enhanced
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
Making a far-reaching amendment to Section 39 of the Punjab Courts Act, 1918 by issuing an ordinance, the state government has empowered the courts of the District Judges and the Additional District Judges to hear all appeals against the judgements of subordinate courts regardless of any monetary (pecuniary) jurisdiction.

As of now, District Judges and Additional District Judges have the jurisdiction to hear appeals in the cases of a value up to Rs 5 lakh against the orders passed by the subordinate courts such as Civil Judge (Senior Division) and Civil Judge (Junior Division). And the appeals involving disputes more than Rs 5 lakh are heard directly by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The objective of making the amendment, a senior officer said, was to provide justice to people concerned nearer their home. He said, “As the jurisdiction of the courts of District Judges and Additional District Judges has been enhanced, the litigants will not have to come to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to file an appeal in such cases”.

Official sources confirmed today that the Punjab Governor had signed the ordinance and a notification had also been issued. The copy of the notification will be forwarded to the authorities concerned in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for necessary action, it is learnt.

The ordinance will be presented in the state Assembly on September 15 to convert it into an Act. The Council of Ministers have already approved the draft of the Bill in this regard.


1.225 kg heroin seized; 3 held 
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 29
The Ferozepore police has arrested three persons on the charges of drug peddling and seized 1.225 kg heroin, worth over Rs 1.25 crore in international market, from their possession.

Addressing mediapersons here the SSP, Mr Arpit Shukla, said the police had got a tip off regarding the movement of a drug peddler, Bachan Singh, along the Indo-Pak border near Mamdot.

A special police team was constituted under Sub Inspector Major Singh, in charge, CIA, Abohar. The special police team laid a naka near a bridge on Lakhoke-Mamdot road. When the police team spotted three persons riding a black motorcycle without any registration number it signalled them to stop. On this the three tried to flee but they were overpowered by the police team. Those arrested have been identified as Bachan Singh, Chhinder Singh and Mohinder Singh.

Mr Shukla told that during search the police team recovered 1 kg heroin from Bachan Singh, 125 gm from Mohinder Singh and 100 gm from Chhinder Singh. Mr Shukla told that during preliminary interrogation, the accused revealed that they had smuggled the heroin consignment from Pakistan border. He told that the interrogation was still going on and more disclosures were likely to be made.


Mentally challenged finds temporary home
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot August 29
Taxi drivers found her roaming with her child in the Mamoon area. Mentally challenged, she cannot speak or make others understand what she wants. She carries a one-year-old child crying in her lap and waiting to be fed.

A few philanthropists had tried to help her. However, they failed to comprehend what she wanted. They took her to Mamoon police station, where she had been putting up for the past four days.

As per information gathered by the policemen from her belongings, she seemed to be from a middle class family of the Kathua area in Jammu and Kashmir or the Chamba area of Himachal Pradesh. She seemed to be in mid twenties and her child is about one-year old. She had a bus ticket up to Pathankot in her belongings.

The policemen suspected that she might have to board a bus from Pathankot to some other destination. She was either lost or her family members deserted her at the place.

The Mamoon policemen took her to Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. They said on reaching there the woman seemed happy. She, however, failed to give any clue about her village.

She is staying at Mamoon police station. The policemen disclosed that efforts were on to locate her family.

Those who helped her and her child have demanded that the government should allot some card or identification to such people so that they could be sent back to their place if they were lost.


Assurance on Beant memorial 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The governing body of the Beant Singh Memorial Society, at its meeting held at Punjab Raj Bhavan here today, resolved to speedily complete the memorial and other components of the project, with focus on highlighting the late Sardar Beant Singh’s commitment and vision for Punjab.

The meeting was chaired by Punjab Governor and Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), and attended among others by Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, and Mr Tej Parkash Singh, MLA son of late Sardar Beant Singh. Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, PPCC, also attended the meeting as a special invitee.

In his opening remarks, General Rodrigues said Sardar Beant Singh led Punjab in its most difficult period and strengthened the confidence and courage of patriotic Punjabis to fight fissiparous tendencies. He emphasised that there is a need of re-conceptualising the project, to ensure that the problems of Punjab can be studied and solutions found, especially drug addiction, female foeticide, indebtedness of farmers and crop diversification.

An institute should come up which should evolve and identify areas for the growth and development of the State’s potential. He suggested that the real tribute to Sardar Beant Singh would be to make this memorial a research centre for the realisation of these social objectives and for giving guidance to our youth who are very eager to change the face of Punjab.

The Governor formed a core group of senior officers of Punjab and the Chandigarh Administration to prepare an action plan with the focus on social objectives within a month.

He asked the officers to undertake the landscaping and beautification of the memorial site to make it an attractive place for visitors.

General Rodrigues observed that this project, which is a joint venture of the Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration got delayed due to some legal problems and unavoidable circumstances. He suggested the new concept plan of the project should be workable. He said the Chandigarh Administration has spent Rs 11 crore from its own resources. He felt that the proposed convention centre and the library hall, in the original design, would not be of much use and would remain underutilised, as the Administration has already started the process for the constructing the Nehru Centre for Performing Arts in Sector 34 and a Convention Centre in IT Park besides increasing the capacity of Tagore Theatre.

He said the progress of the project would be reviewed after every three months.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh while assuring full support for the early completion of the project said the Punjab Government would explore the possibility of associating the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to make this a research centre for people of different walks of life. He assured that money constraints would not be allowed to come in the way of speedy completion of the project.

Prominent among the senior officers who attended the meeting included Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab, Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to Administrator, Mr D.S. Kalha, Principal Secretary, Finance, Ms Kusumjit Sidhu, Principal Secretary to Governor Punjab, Mr. Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, UT, Mr Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr D.S. Jaspal, Principal 
Secretary, Information and Public Relations, Mr B.S. Sudan, DPR, Punjab, Mr Vivek Attray, DPR, UT, and Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer.


Dhindsa seeks action against govt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 29
Regarding a news item, published in The Tribune on August 27 under caption “CAG raps Punjab for Rs 934-Cr cess misappropriation”, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and MP from Sangrur, has written to the Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation seeking what action had been taken by the Centre against the Punjab government for “misappropriating” Rs 934 crore collected as rural development cess during year 2001-05.

Talking to The Tribune here this evening, Mr Dhindsa said he had also asked the Union Minister to disclose why the cess was not utilised for the specified purposes by the Punjab government. Besides this he had also asked the Union Minister to explain that whether the unutilised cess amount could be utilised during the next years, he added.

On credit taken by the Amarinder government that with its efforts the MSP of paddy has been increased by Rs 50 per quintal for this paddy season, Mr Dhindsa said Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, wanted to project himself as a martyr by applying blood on his finger.

Mr Dhindsa also disclosed that the SAD and the BJP would prepare their manifestoes separately, but would fight the Assembly elections as alliance partners.


Effigies of CM, Chahal burnt

Patiala, August 29
Hundreds of activists of the Youth Akali Dal (Badal) led by its district president, Mr Jaswinder Singh Jassi, yesterday burnt the effigies of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his media adviser Bharat Inder Singh Chahal and staged a dharna in front of the mini secretariat here to lodge their protest against the holding of path by them in a gurdwara located in Ropar district, “seeking physical harm of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal”. — TNS


Politicians’ phones being tapped: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29
The BJP has alleged that thousands of telephones belonging to eminent persons in Punjab are being tapped.

These phones are being tapped illegally on the order of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh by his trusted officers, it alleged. As many as 6,000 telephones of eminent politicians and journalists were being permanently tapped, said a statement issued today by Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, national secretary, and Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, state president of the BJP.

The leaders also claimed that 22,000 telephones were on “occasional” tapping list. These phones are being tapped either on a regular or on an intermittent basis in Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Patiala, claimed the BJP leaders while demanding a CBI inquiry.


SAD meeting on Aug 31

Chandigarh, August 29
A meeting of MLAs of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will be held on August 31 to discuss the strategy with regard to the coming session of the state Assembly. 


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