P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Cong leader quits as bank Chairman
Our Correspondent

Fazilka,September 21
Senior Congress leader Parmjit Singh Pammi, Chairman, Primary Agriculture Development Bank (PADB) who also remained Congress Municipal Councillor twice, and his wife Ms Gurbakshish Kaur, Congress Councillor from ward No. 1, today resigned from their respective posts to protest against alleged excesses against them by Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, MLA Fazilka. Mr. Parmjit Singh while addressing a press conference here today announced these resignations.

He maintained that his wife and he were elected Municipal Councillors during the past 15 years. He said while in opposition during 2000 he was elected Director P.A.D.B. and subsequently elevated to the post of Chairman of the bank unanimously in 2003.

He alleged that the political future of the first and second rung leaders of the Congress in Fazilka was marred through intimidation. He said that during the past one year, he had been harassed and attempts were made to implicate him in false cases.

Mr Parmjit Singh revealed that on Wednesday one of his employees was picked by the police under political pressure. His employee was released today following intervention by the Beopar Mandal and other prominent people of the town.

He revealed that while holding responsible posts in the Congress, he had to seek anticipatory bail to protect himself from being arrested in false cases. Mr Parmjit Singh declared that he would contest from the Fazilka Assembly constituency and would seek the Congress ticket. He strongly flayed the statement of the local MLA, Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, that nobody could become a legislator by wearing a white kurta pyjama.


Amritsar-Hardwar Jan Shatabdi launch on Sept 27
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 21
Amritsar-Hardwar Jan Shatabdi Express will be flagged off from here by Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, on September 27.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Prof Darbari Lal said after the flag-off ceremony here, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would flag off the train from Ludhiana. As a large number of labour from Uttaranchal came here during the harvesting season, there had been a demand for a faster train to the city by the people of the hilly region.

He said he had made a representation in this regard to Union Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav during his visit to the city a few months ago.

Dr Manmohan Singh would lay the foundation stone for the Dedicated Freight Corridor route from Ludhiana to Howrah and also inaugurate the Morinda-Chandigarh railway line.

According to sources, as per the tentative timing set by the Railways, the train would start from Amritsar at 7.30 am and reach Hardwar at 1.40 pm. From Hardwar it would start at 2.40 pm and reach Amritsar 10 pm. 


Acquisition of land: PM’s intervention sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Rajya Sabha member from Punjab, Dr Manohar Singh Gill, today sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in restraining the state government from compulsorily acquiring the land of farmers.

Reacting to news reports published in The Tribune as part of the investigation “Govt as landgrabber”, Dr Gill, who is a Congress MP, said the acquisition of the land of poor farmers for handing it over to industrialists was irregular and should be stopped immediately. He also urged the Prime Minister to immediately order a review of the special economic zone scheme, adding that it would turn out to be just another means to become richer at the cost of farmers.

He also said he would write to the Prime  Minister in this regard to urge him to take corrective steps.

“Taking the land of small and marginal farmers under the Land Acquisition Act, which was prepared by the British in 1885, must be done away with. Nowhere in the world except India is this Act still enforceable. However, even the British used this Act for acquiring land for public purposes only. How can compulsorily acquiring the land of small and marginal farmers and giving the same to rich industrialists, whose only motive is profit, be termed public purpose?” Dr Gill asked.


Unemployed teachers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 21
Demanding withdrawal of a police case registered against four of its leaders, the Unemployed BEd Teachers Front today blocked traffic near the local Civil Hospital for about an hour.

A few days ago the police had arrested four leaders of the front. They launched a fast inside the jail. The leaders were admitted to the Civil Hospital when their condition deteriorated. Now, they have been sent back to the jail, where Bathinda MP Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Gulshan met them today.

In a fresh development, parents of many jobless teachers also took part in the today’s protest. Condemning lathi charge and arrest of their workers, the front leaders warned the government of a backlash during election campaigns in villages and towns.

The front said on the one hand the government claimed it was running short of funds for recruiting teachers while on the other “it has hiked salary and pension of MLAs and ministers”. It alleged that the government was deliberately not appointing teachers in schools so as to deprive children of poor farmers, labourers and Dalits of proper education.

There was a lack of coordination between the Education Minister and the Chief Minister and it was reflected in their statements at the Assembly session, the front alleged.

Meanwhile, the flow of traffic was affected in front of the Civil Hospital as the protesters did not allow any vehicle to pass through. Later, a delegation of unemployed teachers met the Additional Deputy Commissioner who assured them to get the matter re-investigated. 


Mobile phone recovered from militant
Question mark on Nabha jail security 
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Nabha, September 21
In a significant development, which has put a question mark on the security of Nabha jail, a mobile phone has been recovered from a top militant, Daya Singh Lahoria, currently facing trial in militancy-related case.

After the mobile phone with one sim card and a spare battery was found in the possession of Daya Singh Lahoria on the night of September 18, the jail authorities became tight-lipped and did not bother to inform the district or local police authorities about it.

Official sources said the development sent shockwaves among the jail authorities who sounded an alert and directed the field staff to carry out massive checks in all jails. The mobile phone was found in possession of Daya Singh Lahoria when Deputy Jail Superintendet Jagir Singh carried out a check.

Daya Singh Lahoria, who is an active member of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), faced a number of criminal cases. He was also accused of triggering a bomb explosion near the office of the then Indian Youth Congress president Maninderjit Singh Bitta in New Delhi.

Mr Jagjit Singh, AIG, Punjab Jails, when contacted said what had happened in the high security jail at Nabha was a serious matter and the state jail authorities were probing it thoroughly.

Mr Gursharan Singh Sidhu, Senior Superintendent of Jail, Patiala, who was deputed to conduct an inquiry, while refusing to disclose anything to this correspondent said he would submit his report to his superiors within day or so. He also recorded the statement of Daya Singh Lahoria in a closed room.

Sources said the state jail authorities would be able to proceed in this connection only after the DGP, Jails, Punjab, Mr HR Chadha, resumes duty.

Mr Kuldip Singh, Superintendent, High Security Jail, said a mobile phone was recovered from Lahoria following a tip-off. Mr Santokh Singh, DSP, Nabha, said the local police would be able to take action only after being informed by the jail authorities.


Badal opens poll campaign, calls CM looter
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 21
Even as the next Assembly elections are about five months away, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today formally launched its campaign in the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh’s home district by holding four rallies at different places where the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, made an announcement that a former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, had been appointed the election in charge of the district.

The moment Mr Badal announced the launch of the party’s election campaign at a rally held at Ghanaur, a purse containing Rs 5 lakh was presented to him by senior leaders.

Those present in all four rallies included Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Harmail Singh Tohra, Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur (former ministers), Mr Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu, former chairman, Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, and Mr Balwinder Singh Saifdipur, general secretary of the party.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Badal said though the names of the party candidates for the Assembly elections would be announced at “the appropriate time”, the party was ready for the elections. He said poll alliances with parties, including the BSP, would be looked into and a formal decision in this connection taken at the right time.

The rallies were held at Ghanaur, Gandian village in Shambhu, Harpalpur village and Bhadurgarh. 


Badals blowing City Centre issue out of proportion: CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 21
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today alleged that Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal were deliberately trying to blow the issue of the Ludhiana City Centre out of proportion.

He ridiculed the allegations that there could be a scandal to the tune of Rs 2,100 crore in a project which was worth Rs 1,352 crore only.

Addressing a press conference here today, Capt Amarinder Singh said Mr Badal and his son wanted to deviate the public attention from his own cases of corruption.

He pointed out that the court had reserved the decision on the corruption cases of Mr Badal. He said as he and his son were feeling panicky, they were now trying to create stories out of nothing.

He said the government had not invested anything in the City Centre, so there was no question of its loosing anything. He disclosed that so far Rs 72 crore had been received from the sales and out of which Rs 22 crore had been deposited with the Improvement Trust as its share.

He said this was one of the biggest projects in Asia and prestigious for the state government. Any sort of discrepancy in awarding the deal would be sorted out as the Deputy Director, Local Government, Mr S.R. Kaler, had taken over as the administrator of the Improvement Trust.

The Chief Minister said the state government would recruit 482 veterinary doctors within a week. He said veterinary assistants and pharmacists would also be recruited soon as per the requirement of the department.

Reacting sharply to the agitation launched by the veterinary students on the PAU campus, the Chief Minister said their pressure tactics would not work. He said their deputation had met him in the morning at Sutton House and they had assured him to call off their agitation.

“Such agitations won’t help them to achieve their objective when the government had already accepted their demands and the entire process of recruitment of veterinary doctors would be completed within a week,” the Chief Minister said.

Asked to comment on the package of rural indebtedness likely to be announced by the Prime Minister during his two-day visit to Punjab , Capt Amarinder Singh said Dr Manmohan Singh was coming to inaugurate North-East railway freight corridor and Farm Fresh Agri-Centre of Excellence at Ladowal.

He, however, said the state government had already presented its case to the Central Government for rural indebtedness.

He said he had already attended a meeting of the Chief Ministers of 11 states, jointly convened by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Finance Minister P.Chidambaram, to elicit their views on rural indebtedness.

He hoped that the Central Government would concede their genuine demand because the Punjab farmers were already in great distress.


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