P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


CBI raids Sangrur MLA’s house
Nothing incriminating found
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 10
A 10-member team of the CBI, led by Mr S.S. Sandhu, DSP, today raided the house of local Congress MLA Arvind Khanna situated on the Gaushala Road here. The search of Mr Khanna’s house continued for five hours from 7 a.m. to 12 noon, but nothing incriminating was reportedly found from the house and the CBI team did not take anything in its possession.

The raid was conducted by the CBI in pursuance of search warrant issued by Mr I.K. Kochhar, Special Judge, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, for conducting search of Mr Khanna’s house here.

Talking to The Tribune here, Mr Rocky Gill, Political Assistant to Mr Arvind Khanna, said the CBI today conducted raids in various parts of the country on all the registered companies, dealing in arms and ammunition. The Khanna family was also running one such company. The CBI team neither found anything incriminating nor taken anything in possession from the local house of Mr Khanna.

Earlier in the morning, the CBI team met Mr Rocky Gill, who was present in the house of Mr Khanna, and explained him the purpose of its visit. The team also thoroughly checked the Qualis provided to Mr Khanna by the Punjab Government, but found nothing incriminating.

The CBI team has mentioned in a written report signed by the CBI officials and the two independent witnesses that thorough search of the house was conducted but nothing incriminating was found. Nothing was taken into possession.

Chandigarh: The CBI carried out simultaneous searches at two residential places of Mr Arvind Khanna in Sector 9 and 39 here. Sources said nothing objectionable was found in the raids. However, the CBI officials preferred to remain mum over the issue

The raids begin early this morning continued for over five hours. The sleuths raided Sector 39 based officials residence of Mr Khanna and also a building previously taken by him on rent in Sector 9. He had housed an office of Khanna Foundation in the Sector 9 house. However, the house has lying abandoned.

The CBI officials also found the Sector 39 residence of Mr Khanna locked. It was only after the CBI officials contacted someone that the house was opened.


Govt pursuing package for farmers with Centre: CM
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Bunga Sahib (Ropar), October 10
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said today the government was pursuing with the Central Government early announcement of a viable financial package on rural indebtedness to bail out debt-ridden farmers in the state. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to make an announcement of a special package for farmers during his proposed visit to the state by the end of this month. The government has submitted all details — cases of suicides by farmers in Punjab — to the Centre highlighting their plight for a special package for them, he added.

On the possibility of an alliance with Left parties for Assembly elections, the CM said we would consider patch with Left parties — the CPI and the CPM, if their leaders assured cooperation and support to the benefit of the Congress in election. Earlier experience of tie-up with the Left showed their leaders did not turn up seriously to move their supporters for us and we had not got any benefit, he added.

He was answering questions of reporters after laying the foundation stone of 675.04-metre-long high-level bridge across Sutlej crossing Nurpur Bedi-Bunga Sahib link road at Sarhna Ke Pattan at a cost of Rs 44 crore to be completed in one-and-half-years. It was a 60-year-old demand of the people of region as they have been using boats to cross the river. With the construction of this bridge, over 100 villages and neighbouring areas of Himachal including Nalagarh, will have better connectivity.

The CM said the government was devising a mechanism to give relief to farmers from the burden of debt due to outstanding loans from commission agents, cooperative and nationalised banks. He said Punjab could not be compared with Vidharba as the nature and composition of loans was different from those four states recently included in the financial package of rural indebtedness by the central government.

On the grant of promotional scale of 4-9-14, the CM said the financial implication of Rs 700 crore was involved in it and the government would have to look into the financial aspect. It was part of our manifesto and we would soon implement it after taking a balanced view considering the sub-committee’s report on the demands of employees, submitted by Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

He said the issue of status of division to Ropar district, as promised by the government after granting district status to Mohali had been referred to the reorganisation committee headed by Mrs Bhattal.

The reorganisation of the some subdivisions in other districts would also be taken up to ensure regional balance and growth but it could only be implemented after the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice Kuldeep Singh.

PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo, Animal Husbandry and Tourism Minister, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Parliamentary Secretary Rana K.P. Singh, MLA, Anandpur Sahib, Ramesh Dutt Sharma were among the speakers.

The PPCC president, Mr Shmasher Singh Dullo, expressed the desire of the Congress to provide free power to backward classes in Punjab on the pattern of Dalits by the state government. He said the Congress was fully geared up for the next Assembly elections.

He blamed Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal for his negative role in misleading the innocent youth of Punjab.


Sidhu demands enactment of relief to indebtedness Act
Tribune News Service

Mehal Kalan (Sangrur), October 10
BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu paid a visit to members of the family of Sukhdev Singh (30), a farmer at Khyali village, near here, who had committed suicide.

Sukhdev and his wife Sukhwinder Kaur (28), father Mohinder Singh (60) and five-year-old daughter had consumed a poisonous substance at the village a few days back.

The condition of Sukhdev’s daughter, the only survivor, had been improving at the DMC Hospital in Ludhiana.

Mr Sidhu expressed sympathy to the bereaved family and said he would fight a battle against rural indebtedness for improving the financial condition of farmers.

Talking to mediapersons, he said politicians had never tried to get to the root cause of the problem. He said rural indebtedness could not be eliminated by adopting temporary methods.

He asked the Punjab Government to enact the Punjab Relief to Agricultural Indebtedness Act 2006 on the pattern of the Relief to Indebtedness Act 1937. He demanded that payment of farmers’ produce be made directly to farmers through account payee cheques in place of payment through arhtiyas.

He asked the state government to make arrangements for implementing the Punjab Registration of Moneylenders Act 1938 in letter and spirit as several provisions of this Act were being violated by moneylenders.

Mr Sidhu demanded the computerisation of land records of every village so that every farmer could know the actual status of his land.

He said these measures would prove fruitful in preventing farmers from committing suicide. He said the government should constitute debt relief boards for the welfare of farmers.


Ludhiana doctor held for youth’s murder
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 10
A surgeon killed a youngster who wanted to go abroad, in a hotel here.

The doctor used a syringe to kill the youth. He booked a room in a hotel under a fake name and address, killed the youth by administering injections and fled. The police was clueless for more than a month. Mystery shrouded the murder, but a vial which was left by the doctor helped the police to crack the murder case.

The matter came to light with the arrest of a surgeon Dr Ravinder Singh Thind of Grewal Hospital near Ludhiana when the city police here today claimed arresting the accused for murdering youth Visakha Singh, in a hotel of the city on September 3.

Mr S.S. Srivastava, SSP, told reporters an injection vial led the police to infer that a person linked with medical profession was involved in the case. Next clue the police worked on was that it might be a case of sending the youth abroad. A police team headed by an SP and a DSP was sent to Mohali, Chandigarh, Panchkula for identifying the batch no of the vial and the shop from where it could have been purchased.

The SSP said they came to know about a news item got published in newspapers about the missing of a person of Ludhiana by Mrs Kulwant Kaur. A team was sent to Ludhiana to contact the mother of the missing youth and when the police showed her the photograph of the victim she recognised her son. She told the police that she paid Rs 15 lakh to the doctor for getting a job in Canada. She said the doctor had told her that he had sent her son to Canada. But she got suspicious and told the doctor that she would enquire from her relative in Canada. Thereafter the doctor went underground.

The SSP said raids were made with the help of Ludhiana police at the residence of the doctor and at the residences of his relatives. Later they got information that the doctor had been serving in Grewal hospital in Doraha. After Mrs Kulwant Kaur pointed towards the doctor the police arrested him he added.

The SSP said during investigations the doctor revealed that he had brought the victim along with other relatives to the Rajasansi Airport.

Later the accused asked the relatives to return to their places as the victim had boarded the plane. Later he brought the victim to the hotel and murdered him by injecting a drug.


Tribune Impact
62 patients of skin diseases identified, treatment started
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 10
A total of 62 patients suffering from skin diseases have been identified at a special camp organised in the Kallar Colony here by the district health authorities, which swung into action after a news item appeared in this connection in these columns on October 9.

The district health authorities, which were not convinced with the fact that a sizeable section of Kallar Colony residents had been suffering from skin diseases, today identified 62 patients of skin diseases, with most of them found suffering from scabies and bacterial infections.

Though Dr Rakesh Gupta, Civil Surgeon, today claimed that all patients who had been suffering from skin diseases had been getting treatment from dispensaries being run by the state health authorities, a section of those were not having prescription slips of treatment from dispensaries.

Dr Gupta said he sent four teams of doctors to the Kallar Colony today.

They were of the opinion that regular treatment should be ensured to skin disease patients and hence, arrangements were made accordingly.

A section of residents pointed out that they managed to catch the attention of the health authorities only after their plight was highlighted in the print media.

They added that the authorities concerned had not organised a camp at the colony earlier despite repeated requests.

They stated that most patients had been left with no other option but to avoid interaction with persons from outside.

Children suffering from skin diseases had been turned back from their schools and a patient or two had been confined to bed.

They pointed out that they had been finding it difficult to get treatment at private clinics due to poverty.

Dr S.V. Pandhi, SMO, CHC, pointed out that there were seven or eight families where more than one member had been suffering from skin diseases.

He said the colony had kutcha roads and dirty surroundings, adding that it appeared as if some patients had not bathed for weeks.

He said about 100 bottles of skin lotions and tablets were distributed among the patients identified today.

Officials of the Badungar and Partap Nagar dispensaries were instructed not to deny medicines to patients.

He said there was a need to organise a camp on health education in the colony and surrounding areas so that people could be made aware of measures to save themselves from various diseases.

He added that it was felt that the residents of the colony should be asked to live in hygienic conditions.


Engineers, MBAs willing to be ASIs
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
The burgeoning employment drought in Punjab and the declining physical standards of the youth have come to the fore in the recruitment of Assistant Sub-Inspectors (ASI) of Punjab Police currently under way in several places in Punjab.

As many as 15,000-odd applicants, mainly including Engineers, MBAs, MCAs, BCAs and post graduates in other extremes, have queued up for just 30 posts. But only one-third of those have been able to clear the physical tests. Two weeks ago, as many as 38,000 applicants had turned up for less then 900 posts of constable with the Punjab Police.

The physical tests of the recruitment are under way at Ludhiana, Patiala and Kapurthala. Most of the applicants have been tested with only a few remaining one to be tested on the last day tomorrow.

Though a graduation degree, including mainly the Bachelor in Arts, is the base qualification for the posts, more than 80 per cent of the over 15,000 applicants were carrying post graduates degrees.

While the courses they had done were termed as highly lucrative, the youth in search for jobs were willing to settle down for Rs 8000-odd salary of an ASI, which is equivalent to the salary of a JBT teacher.

Some of the applicants said they were attracted to the honour of wearing the Punjab Police uniform, others said they could not get employed elsewhere.

But while the recruiting police officials were happy to have the option to have highly qualified officers, they were in for major disappointment as only about one-third of the applicants have been able to meet the required physical standards of a 33-inches chest, a 5 feet 7 inches tall height, stamina and speed to cover 1600 meters in 6 min 45 seconds and the long jump of 11 feet.

Sources said the stories of the physique and strength of the Punjabi youth seem to be a fairytale seeing the physical standards of the youth. Many faltered at the first step of the height and chest measurement while others could not complete 1600 meters in the requisite time.

Many batches of 15 to 20 youths running the distance were completely wiped out. On an average, only four to five could clear the test. Ironically, almost all the ex-servicemen candidates who were much old than the civilian applicants had comfortably cleared the tests.

Among the civilian qualifiers, majority were from rural areas or suburbs, sources said.

Police officials said the lack of physical exercise, addiction to TV video games and increasing consumption of junk food seemed to be the factors responsible for the decline.

In order to make the recruitment process transparent and foolproof, the entire process was being video-graphed by several cameramen apart from cameras installed at key points in the Guru Nanak Stadium here, the venue of the recruitment process of eight police districts of Ludhiana and Jalandhar ranges.


Seelam Sohi stakes claim on Banur segment
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 10
Even as the Punjab Assembly elections are almost four months away, the electoral scene in the Banur segment has hotted up with Ms Seelam Sohi, senior Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee(PPCC) leader and widow of veteran Congress leader Ravinder Singh Sohi, today throwing her hat in the electoral ring.

The announcement assumes importance in the wake of several contenders for key constituency, currently being represented by the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) stalwart Capt Kanwaljit Singh. Ms Sohi had lost the 2002 elections to Capt Kanwaljit Singh by a narrow margin of about 700 votes.

In fact, at a function to mark Sohi's birth anniversary here today, a host of leaders, including the president of the Mohali district unit of the PPCC, Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, virutally endorsed the candidature of Ms Sohi, who is also the PPCC general secretary.

While Mr Sidhu was guarded in his support for her candidature saying that choosing a candidate was the prerogative of the Congress high command from a panel of candidates recommended by the PPCC, Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, PPCC general secretary, went full throttle to support her. The presence of the president of SAD(Longowal), Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, surprised even Congressmen.

The gathering virtually proved to be a show of strength for Ms Sohi with hundreds of her supporters thronging the Sohi Resort run by the family. Talking to The Tribune, Ms Sohi asserted that she was very much in the race for the Banur Assembly segment as she and her family had devoted their whole lives to the service people of the area.

In may be recalled that the Banur segment had many contenders from the Congress, prominent among them is Ms Deepinder Singh Dhillon, vice-chairman of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), who is credited with several development works in the assembly segment.


No poll tie-up with Cong in state: Karat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The CPM, which held a meeting of the State Committee here today to discuss various aspects related to the Assembly elections in Punjab, decided to make the SAD-BJP combine its main target in the poll and not have any adjustment or electoral alliance with the ruling Congress in the state.

The CPM general secretary, Mr Prakash Karat, told a group of mediapersons that the CPM would like to establish its identity in the state instead of becoming a partner of the ruling Congress. “Our tie-up will be with the CPI and other like-minded parties”, he added. He said the main objective was to stop the SAD-BJP alliance from coming to power.

Asked about his party’s assessment of the Assembly elections, Mr Karat said he had been given to understand by the state unit of his party that there would be a hung Assembly and the balance of power would be in the hands of a third front led by the Left parties. “We would like to provide an alternative platform to the people of the state”, he asserted. The CPM would contest 10 to 12 seats. Quizzed about the division of secular votes in the absence of the alliance of the Left parties with the Congress, Mr Karat said the polling pattern of the secular vote was not always homogenous.


PYC to raise village-level committees
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 10
The Punjab Youth Congress (PYC), led by Mr Vijay Inder Singla, organised a rally outside Nabha Gate here today. Almost all the speakers criticised the Shiromani Akali Dal for its policies, and appreciated the Amarinder government for its development-oriented projects in the state.

The rally was addressed, among others, by Mr Singla, Mr Neetu Sharma, secretary of the All-India Youth Congress, Mr Karanbir Singh Brar, vice-president of the PYC, Mr Jasbir Singh, former Punjab minister, Mr Aman Arora, general secretary of the PYC, and Mr Jagtar Singh Dhanaula, district president of the PYC.

Mr Singla said in the light of the ensuing Punjab Assembly elections, the PYC would constitute committees in more than 12,500 villages of the state. Thus the PYC would be able to raise an “army” of about 1.5 lakh youths to work in the Assembly elections, he added.


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