P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Lodhinangal accused of fraud
SSP marks inquiry into ‘illegal’ land transfer
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 19
The prospects of former Batala Improvement Trust Chairman Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, who had recently joined the SAD, to contest from Quadian constituency on party ticket have suffered a setback following the filing of a compliant of fraud against him in the office of SSP L.K. Yadav.

In the complainant, Harjeet Singh, a resident of Lakkar Mandi, has alleged that Mr Lodhinangal used power of attorney of a dead person to transfer land through a registered deed.

In the complaint, a copy of which is available with The Tribune, Harjeet Singh alleged that Mr Lodhinangal got executed a joint power of attorney on May 30, 1997 from two persons — Gurbachan Singh and Balwant Singh, both residents of Ujagar Nagar, Batala.

The power of attorney was for a piece of land measuring 28 kanal at Dhir village in Batala tehsil. However, no revenue record regarding the land was mentioned in the complaint.

One of the persons who gave the power of attorney, Khushal Singh, died on June 21, 2002. Consequently, the joint power of attorney issued by him automatically got cancelled.

However, the complainant alleged that Mr Lodhinangal, on the basis of the power of attorney, sold half of the share of land on May 25, 2005.

In the sale deed, Mr Lodhinangal fraudulently mentioned that the executors of the general power of attorney, which he was using to transfer the land, were alive.

As the general power of attorney did not mention the revenue record of the land, Mr Lodhinangal sold the land belonging to the complainant through an illegal power of attorney, the complainant alleged.

The complainant has sought the registration of a case of fraud against him.

This has come as a setback to Mr Lodhinangal’s ambitions to get SAD ticket for the Assembly elections.

The SSP has marked an inquiry into the case to DSP(R) Batala.

Mr Lodhinangal when contacted on the phone termed the charges baseless and politically motivated.

He said: “I registered the land of Balwant Singh, who is still alive, on the basis of the power of attorney. The share of the deceased was sold by his legal heirs.”

When asked if he could use the power of attorney even if the one who issued it had died, Mr Lodhinangal said he had not done anything illegal.

“If one person in a joint power of attorney dies, the part of the other person still remains valid.”

“I will cooperate in the investigation,” he added.


PM visit likely next month
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, is expected to visit Punjab in the second week of November. Sources said the visit was likely between November 10 and 15.

“By November 10, the Halwara international airport project is expected to be cleared by the Union Cabinet. The Prime Minister is keen on laying the foundation stone of that project”, said a senior functionary of the state government.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said that it was not necessary that the Prime Minister should announce a package for Punjab whenever he visited the state.

He said the Prime Minister had given many projects to the state in the past two and a half years and the state government was thankful to him. In fact, what had been given by Dr Manmohan Singh to Punjab had not been given in the past 50 years, he added.

When asked whether the Prime Minister would give Chandigarh to Punjab, he said that no such issue had been discussed with him.

He said the government was busy finding a solution to the problem of indebtedness faced by farmers. “ We are also talking to commission agents to streamline moneylending by them”, he added. “ I am hopeful that some way out will be found in this regard in the days to come”, he added.

He said the total amount of loan against farmers was to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore. But bad debt which required to be waived or rescheduled amounted to Rs 2,500 crore. 


Water supply scheme for 5,744 villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
A rural water supply scheme backed by the World Bank is to be implemented in 5,744 villages in Punjab. Also, a project to strengthen state highways at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore has been agreed to in principle by the World Bank.

A total of 2,124 villages do not have a piped drinking water supply system and 920 villages have been partially covered. These will be fully covered over a period of five years.

Besides this, the existing water supply scheme in about 2,700 villages will be augmented by undertaking minor repairs and replacements wherever needed, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, announced here today. The World Bank had cleared in principle a project of Rs 1,280 crore for water supply and sanitation in the rural areas and another project of Rs 1,800 crore for the upgradation of the road network, he told a press conference here.

The water supply project would also have a provision to provide small-bore sewer schemes in 100 villages as well as the remodelling of ponds in 1,000 villages. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 1,280 crore.

The World Bank would provide Rs 751 crore. The Punjab Government and Government of India would put in Rs 245 crore and Rs 207 crore, respectively, whereas the contribution from the community would be Rs 77 crore.

The World Bank had also approved the widening of certain roads. These were the Kharar-Landran-Banur-Tepla road (39 km), including four-laning from Kharar to Landran; the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road (39.67 km), widening to four lanes, including a bypass at Pohir and Gil; the Malerkotla-Sangrur road (33.28 km), widening to two lanes, and the Attari-Chabbal-Tarn Taran road (40.50 km), widening to two lanes. A few more roads had been kept under Phase II of the project.


Docs working in rural areas stage protest
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 19
Hundreds of rural medical service providers from different parts of the state staged a rally in support of their demands here today.

They also blocked traffic at the Hanuman chowk for around half an hour before proceeding to the mini-secretariat to register their protest.

Doctors working in the rural areas of Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda, Ferozepore, Faridkot, Muktsar and Moga participated in the rally.

Addressing the protesters, Dr Aslam Parvez, state president of Rural Medical Service Providers Association, alleged that qualified doctors were being discriminated.

Their main demands included regularisation of jobs without pay hike, privilege of maternity leave to women doctors and check on “undue pressure and interference by local politicians, sarpanches, panches and zila parishad authorities”.

Dr Parvez said the denial of maternity leave to female doctors was violative of human rights. He alleged that the contract system was responsible for conflict between doctors and villagers.

He apprehended that the clash would escalate in the coming days due to “wrong policies of the government” and it would ultimately affect the rural health system.

Dr Gurpreet Singh Badal, district unit president, said dispensaries had been handed over to a non-technical department that was unable to understand the doctors’ problems.

He rued that they were denied the benefit of PG quota. He also alleged that they were not getting salaries on time. The association later handed over a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister to the Deputy Commissioner.


We know nothing about CM’s road show, says Dullo
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
With the Punjab Assembly elections round the corner, there seems to be a difference of opinion between the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the state Congress chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, over the style of campaigning to be adopted in the run-up to the poll.

The 38-day road show planned by Capt Amarinder Singh to tour various parts of the state seems to have been put on the back-burner. Mr Dullo today chose to announce a mass-contact programme of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. He said the party would give its programme and that has to be followed. He added: “At present, we had decided to start a mass-contact programme from October 31, the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi. The Chief Minister will join that programme lasting 10 to 12 days across all 117 Assembly constituencies in the state”.

When asked specifically if the road show of the Chief Minister would carry on as scheduled or had it been postponed, Mr Dullo said: “ The party will announce its programme. So far we have decided to launch a mass-contact programme and we know nothing about the road show or any such plan”.

The road show of the Chief Minister was scheduled to start in the last week of October. He had also announced this a few days ago.

Mr Dullo today got visibly irritated when asked about the special bus that was being built for the Chief Minister’s proposed road show saying: “ I am not aware of any such bus, but have read about it in the newspapers”.

Significantly, sources said the proposed road show had been postponed in the wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s scheduled visit to Punjab later this month. The dates would be changed accordingly.

The mass-contact programme was aimed at redressing the grievances of rural people and highlighting the achievements of the government in the past four years, Mr Dullo, who chaired a meeting of party vice-presidents, general secretaries, secretaries, district Congress chiefs, MLAs and Ministers, said. The Chief Minister also attended the meeting.

The Congress would also distribute a booklet showing comparisons regarding development and the release of grants for several purposes including education and health, in all Assembly segments during the tenures of present regime and the previous Parkash Singh Badal government, Mr Dullo asserted.

Also suvidha camps would be organised. At these camps, officials of the district administration along with the MLAs concerned and ministers would redress the grievances of people on the spot, he said.

He said party rallies would follow the mass-contact programme. The first one would be on the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal on November 14. A political rally would be held in the state, Mr Dullo, adding that the venue of the rally would be decided later.

He said the Punjab unit of the Congress had sent invitations to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son, Mr Rahul Gandhi, to campaign in Punjab. Ms Gandhi was likely to address a rally in the last week of November in Punjab, Mr Dullo said.


Complaint against councillor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, Ferozepore, has lodged a complaint with the Department of Local Bodies here alleging that a councillor had driven-off with his official Gypsy a few days ago and has not returned it since then.

In his complaint, the EO has said that his driver Subhash Chander had reported that a few days ago, councillor Gurdeep Singh Dhillon drove off with the said vehicle. A copy of the complaint has been sent to the Deputy Commissioner and to the SSP of the district.


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