P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Another legal notice slapped on SGPC chief, 2 secys
Charged with favouring contractor
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, November 1
Another legal notice has been slapped on top functionaries of the SGPC for alleged illegal allotment for the construction of underground parking, residential accommodation besides cycle stand and scooter stand in Gurdwara near Chatiwind gate Baba Deep Singh Shaheed.

A resident of Khanwal village of the Ajnala area Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa, senior leader of the SAD (Amritsar) through his counsel today issued a notice under Section 143 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 seeking disqualification of Avtar Singh, president SGPC and two secretaries Harbeant Singh and Dilmegh Singh besides Bibi Jagir Kaur, a former chief of the SGPC and Mr Harbhajan Singh Manager of Golden Temple.

Charges of illegally allotting construction work around the gurdwara to Kulwinder Singh on the basis of some alleged resolution no 1747 of November 2, 2005 by the executive committee of the SGPC were levelled. It added the resolution was only in the form of the general proposal to construct the said building. It however added the resolution was not only vague but also did not specify if any sanction was given for the construction.

In another allegation the complainant enumerated the case of the same contractor building the residential house for SGPC president Avtar Singh at Ludhiana and for secretary Harbeant Singh at Amritsar. He alleged the house for the president and the secretary have been constructed free of cost by the contractor.

The notice pointed out work was allotted to Kulwinder Singh in December last year for constructing the building at a cost of Rs 7 crore initially and alleged that due to complicity the tender amount was likely to go up to Rs 14 crore. It also alleged the SGPC had already released Rs 1.48 crore which was in excess of the construction work actually already executed. It further alleged according to the information total amount for the construction of the complex would be around Rs 14 crore but only Rs 7 crore worth of tender was allotted to Kulwinder Singh.

It also alleged the rates had been unilaterally increased from the earlier allotment letter and the construction was tardy, as it will not be completed in 12 months, which would result in the escalation of the cost.

In another instance referred to the notice the counsel pointed out same contractor had been allotted the work of langar hall and another complex at Kapurthala state gurdwara without following the due process. He alleged this had been done to facilitate misappropriation gurdwara funds. Similarly Kulwinder Singh has also been offered the construction work in various gurdwaras in the border districts of Amritsar and Tarn Taran.


Regulate moneylending to farmers, PM tells Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has urged the Punjab Government to regulate the system of moneylending to farmers by private persons and agencies.

Sources said the Prime Minister discussed this issue with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during a recent meeting between the two in Delhi.

Dr Manmohan Singh has constituted a committee to deal with this issue at the national level. The Deputy Governor of the RBI has been made the chairman of that committee. Besides representatives of various banks, including Nabard, a senior officer of the Punjab Government has also been included in that committee, it is learnt. The committee held a meeting early this week in Mumbai and resolved to frame the draft of the guidelines to regulate the private moneylending system. The draft would be circulated among all states by the committee for comments.

The Punjab Government has been saying that farmers owe Rs 12,000 crore to moneylenders in the state. “As such a huge sum is involved, there is need to regulate the system.

In the absence of any system to regulate the market, serious social problems have cropped up in the countryside”, said a senior officer. The government had prepared the draft of an Act to regulate this system. However, after a discussion at the political level, the plan to pass a Bill in this regard was dropped.

The sources said the state government was now contemplating issuing an ordinance in this regard keeping in view the Prime Minister’s advice. 


Breach in distributary inundates cotton crop
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 1
Cotton crop along with fertile land being readied for the next crop spread on about 70 acre was flooded with water today following a breach in Behman Distributary on Malout road here.

The farmers, whose crop was submerged in the canal water, rued that the canal was in neglected state for long. They said, earlier too, breach had occurred twice and they had got the canal repaired by spending money from their own pocket. They alleged that they had taken up the matter with a Punjab minister who had told them that he had got the necessary funds sanctioned for the canal's repair. However, when they contacted the officials concerned they were unaware about any such funds.

On the other hand, officials attributed the breach to the delay in repair work due to lack of funds. When contacted, SDO Vijaypal Singh Mann said out of the total area inundated 20 acre comprised of cotton crop, while the rest was vacant after harvesting of paddy. He said though water had entered into cotton fields, it had not caused much damage. He said the canal was closed 15 days back and water was released a day before only. He said they had plugged the breach and were also strengthening the canal to facilitate immediate release of water to the farmers.

He said the canal catered to 22,000 acres of land in the area. He admitted that the canal was in a poor condition and added that they were yet to receive any funds for its reconstruction from the state government despite sending it a project report in this regard thrice.


Amarinder orders probe into supply of maize seed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today ordered an inquiry into the supply of hybrid maize seeds by a company, Dhaanya Seeds Private Limited, Bangalore, through Markfed to farmers in Nangal and Nurpur Bedi blocks of Ropar district, following complaints of poor yields.

A spokesman of the Punjab Government said the inquiry would be conducted by the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, to ascertain the extent of damage caused to the crop on 5,000 acres in Nangal and Nurpur Bedi blocks and fix responsibility accordingly. The Registrar was asked to submit the report within two weeks.

The Chief Minister also directed Markfed to initiate arbitration proceedings against the company that supplied the seeds to Markfed. He also asked the Financial Commissioner, Development, to take corrective measures before the registration of such suppliers for the sale of seed in the state. “Appraisal by Punjab Agricultural University may be sought so that such things do not occur in future”, asserted Capt Amarinder Singh.

Besides, the Chief Minister asked the Revenue Department to associate Markfed to examine the possibility of the payment of compensation to the affected farmers.


Morinda councillor sues SHO
PSHRC seeks report from ADGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
A municipal councillor from Morinda, Mr Jagpal Singh, today moved the District Courts against the Station House Officer (SHO), SI Morinda, Balwant Singh Majithia, and an Assistant Sub Inspector, Morinda, Darshan Singh, for allegedly manhandling him and hurting his religious sentiments.

In the application before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here, the applicant has stated that on October 25, when he went to the PGI to enquire about the wellbeing of Naresh Kumar, a 16-year-old boy, who was tortured by Station House Officer (SHO), Morinda, he was manhandled and his hair were pulled by the cops.

He was threatened that he would be implicated in fake cases. The incident was reported to the Chandigarh Police on the same day but the Chandigarh Police has failed to initiate an inquiry after filing a daily diary report (DDR).

Later, addressing a press conference, Mr Jagpal Singh, along with Naresh Kumar, told mediapersons that the cops had let loose a reign of terror and were implicating anyone who came in the way of their illegal activities.

Mrs Balbir Kaur, mother of Naresh Kumar, alleged that the Chandigarh Police was hand in glove with the Punjab cops as they were not taking any action on her complaint.

She had complained that a few metres short of the main gate of the PGI, she had to jump from a slow-moving vehicle while trying to free her self from the custody of the Punjab Police cops who were taking away her son. While trying to free herself from the cops, her shirt and undershirt were torn.

Acting on a complaint filed by Mr Arvind Thakur on behalf of the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) in the torture case, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has sought report about the incident from the ADGP (Crime) and Principal Secretary (Home) by December 1, 2006.

In the complaint, the SSP, Ropar, Mr Kapil Dev, the DSP Morinda, Mr Daljit Singh, the SHO, Morinda, Balwant Singh and the ASI, Morinda, Darshan Singh, have been made the respondents.


3 killed, 39 injured as bus overturns
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 1
Three persons were killed and 39 injured — one of them seriously — as an overcrowded mini bus overturned on the Pandori-Gurdaspur road here today.

According to sources, the mini bus belonged to Dhillon bus service. There were about 40 passengers inside the bus while many were hanging to the door and sitting on the roof.

According to sources, the bus overturned near Makanda village as the driver was driving it at high speed.

Three passengers, who were hanging to the doors, were crushed to death under the bus. Among the deceased was Baldev Singh, a resident of Talibpur village. He was the ticket collector on the bus and also its owner.

The other deceased have been identified as Roop Rani, a resident of the Lakhanpal village, and Gian Kaur, a resident of Pathala village.

As many as 39 passengers received injuries. Villagers from the surrounding area helped carry the injured to the Gurdaspur civil hospital. Prakash Singh who was seriously injured was shifted to Amritsar.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vivek Pratap Singh, visited the site of the accident and injured in the hospital. He said that medication to the injured passengers would be given free by the district Red Cross. However, no grant was announced for the deceased.

About a month ago, seven passengers were killed when a Punjab Roadways bus met with an accident on the Gurdaspur-Pathankot road. Transport minister Raghunath Sahai Puri had announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 to those injured seriously. However, no grant has been given till date.

As per the data available from the Gurdaspur police, over-speeding buses claim over 150 lives on main roads of the district every year. Still no efforts have been made to check over speeding buses as these belong to powerful politicians from the district.

The police has registered a case under Sections 304 and 379 of the IPC against the driver of the bus.


Six killed in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 1
Porus Syag, a nephew of former BJP MLA, Mr Arjun Syag, and his friend were killed as the car they were travelling in hit a tree near Hakoowala village on the Seetogunno-Dabwali road late last night, family sources confirmed this evening.

According to available information, Porus (27), a son of Mr Bhim Singh Syag of Dhinganwali here, had left for Sirsa along with a friend, Rajinder Kheechad, a son of Mr Baldev Singh of Bishanpura village by his car last night.

The vehicle hit a roadside tree near Hakoowala village, late at night, killing them on the spot. The tree got uprooted. As the road had not much traffic, the information reached the family much late.

Phillaur: Four persons were killed on the spot in a head-on collision between a truck and a car near Samrai village on the Phagwara-Jandiala road on Tuesday evening.

According to Phillaur DSP Gursharanjit Singh Randhawa, a truck (PCJ 4792) was going from Phagwara to Jandiala and an Alto car (PB 08AD-0255) coming to Phagwara from Jandiala.

When both vehicles reached near Samrai village, the speeding truck dashed head-on into the car, killing four occupants of the car on the spot.

The deceased were identified as Gurjinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Avtar Singh and Kulwant Singh, all residents of Jandiala.

The truck driver managed to flee from the scene leaving behind the truck. The Nurmahal police has registered a case against the truck driver and impounded the truck.


3 Nigerians held for fraud
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 1
Two of the three Nigerian arrested by the Rambagh police in a fraud case were reportedly football players who came to India to join leading soccer clubs here.

However, luck had something else in store for these two Nigerians - Billy Adam and Temple Ammunal- who reportedly lost their passports and money in Delhi where they met fellow national Kaka Bale. He promised them to provide duplicate passports and cash.

However, the police authorities said they were investigating the role of two Nigerians footballers to ascertain their antecedents and stories they have narrated and how much they were involved in the alleged crime. They were sent to three-day police remand and would be presented in a court on November 3.

The police has arrested three Nigerian for allegedly encashing stolen travelers' cheques belonging to American Express Bank, Nigeria, from a local branch of the bank.

Although the case was registered against the accused on October 19 when the cheques were encashed. The accused were arrested yesterday evening when they came to encash more cheques. However, the bank authorities recognise them and called the police who arrested them on the spot.

According to preliminary investigations, Kaka Bale who provided duplicate passports to other two accused, asked them to encash the cheques. They encashed the travelers' cheques worth $ 800 from the local branch of the bank. However, during clearance of cheques, the bank authorities came to know that the cheques were stolen from the American Express Bank, Nigeria. They immediately informed the police which registered a fraud case against them.


Police Reforms Act: panels to study SC guidelines
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 1
As per the recommendations of the Supreme Court of India regarding the implementation of the Police Reforms Act, two separate committees of senior officers have been formed to study the guidelines which would submit their report at the earliest. Subsequently, these reports will be tabled before all senior police officers of the state and after considering the facts, gist will be implemented. This was disclosed by Mr S.S. Virk, Director General of Punjab Police, while talking to mediapersons at PWD Rest House here today.

He said 44 officers of the rank of SP, 105 DSPs and 150 inspectors of the Punjab Police had recently been promoted. When asked about the promotions of Assistant Director Generals of Police, Mr Virk said he had already discussed the matter with the Chief Minister.

The DGP said 500 constables and 400 wireless operators had been appointed recently. The process to recruit 500 more constables was being done. It had also been decided that 1,000 constables would be recruited annually in future.

He said out of 500 recruited constables, half of them were SPOs. Fifty per cent SPOs would be recruited during each recruitment of constables in future also, as per the directions of the high court.

He said recommendations had been made to the state government for recruiting six Deputy Superintendents of Police through the Punjab Public Service Commission.

Mr Virk said there was no activity of terrorists and law and order situation was quite normal in the state.

Referring to the unsolved mystery of firing incident in which four persons were killed at a liquor vend at Dholbaha village of Hoshiarpur district, Mr Virk said investigation into the incident was going on.

Possibility of terrorist attack from Jammu and Kashmir could not be ruled out. He hoped that mystery would be solved very shortly.

Referring to the campaign being launched to detect the old pending cases of different crimes, especially of murders, he said in some areas of the state, 50 per cent such cases had been solved.

Answering to another question, Mr Virk admitted that corruption was still prevailing in the Punjab Police. Some of the corrupt elements were existing in the department. To weed out such elements, he had recently dismissed 40 police officials up to the rank of inspector. Complete transparency had been made during recent recruitments, transfers and promotions, he added.

Mr Virk was on his way to Bodal village (Dasuya) for participating in the bhog ceremony of late Mr Jaswinder Singh, DIG of Orissa Police, who was allegedly gunned down by his security personnel.

Mr Virk said he had already conveyed feelings of the deceased DIG’s family over the controversial statements about the killing of the officer to his counterpart Mr A. Patnaik of Orissa.

While paying tributes to Jaswinder Singh, he said he was a dedicated and honest officer who laid down his life for the cause of nation. The Punjab Police will extend its all type of help to the family of slain DIG.


Akalis wreaked havoc during their rule: Raninder
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 1
Kicking off the Congress' Jan Sampark programme in the district today, the PPCC general secretary, Mr Raninder Singh, today said that while the Congress regime had succeeded in ushering in an era of development in the state, the Akalis had only wreaked havoc during their rule thrice.

Addressing a public rally at Goniana Mandi, he said the smooth procurement of farmers' produce 10 times in succession was no small feat of the government. He termed the recently announced package of Rs 750 crore for government employees as a historic decision. He accused SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal of serving his own interests when in power.

Exhorting his party workers to reach Ludhiana for the Congress rally on November 14, he said over one 1 lakh party activist would participate in it from Bathinda district alone. He also announced a grant worth Rs 50 lakh for the development of Goniana Mandi.

Transport Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri said 400 new buses would be added to the PRTC fleet by the end of the year. He said the state government was also giving a serious thought to the transporters’ demand of reducing penalty charged on detection of any irregularity on their part. MLA Gurjant Singh Kuttiwal, ex-Minister Avtar Singh Brar, ex-MLA Jasmail Singh, district Congress president Ashok Kumar and district rural Congress chief Narinder Singh Bhuleria were also present.


BJP unit reconstituted
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 1
In view of the ensuing Assembly elections, the local unit of the BJP was reconstituted today by making several changes. Mr Jatinder Kalra, a local BJP Municipal Councillor, has been appointed vice-president of the district unit while Mr Bhagat Singh (Sangrur), Mr Shankar Bansal (Sunam) and Mr Kulbhushan Goyal (Dirba) have been appointed secretaries of the district unit of the party.

Giving this information here today, Mr Vasudev Arya, district president of the party, said Mr Achhru Ram (Khanauri), Mr Dinesh Mittal (Bhawanigarh), Mr Ashok Kumar (Moonak), Mr Shamsher Singh, a Municipal Councillor from Moonak, Mr Surinder Singh Pappu (Sangrur) and Mr Rajiv Garg (Sunam) had been appointed new executive members of the district unit.

Other office-bearers of the district unit are: vice-presidents—Mr K.K. Modgil (Sangrur) and Mr Yash Pal (Dhuri); general secretaries—Mr Prem Gugnani (Sunam) and Mr Jogi Ram (Sangrur); secretary—Mr Charnjit Singh Lucky (Sangrur); press secretary—Mr Pawan Chhahrria (Sunam). 


BJP wants Patiala MC bypoll annulled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Two days after releasing video CDs showing alleged rigging of the Patiala MC byelections, the Punjab BJP today accused Mr B.I.S Chahal, Media Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister, of exercising undue pressure on the Patiala district administration by being present at polling stations, which witnessed large-scale rigging on Saturday.

Submitting a memorandum to the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), the state unit sought annulment of the MC byelections in ward number 32 in Patiala.

To investigate the role of functionaries, including Mr Chahal, the BJP sought a fair investigation into booth capturing and mass-scale rigging as exposed by media reports and video CDs released by the party early this week. The BJP state president, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, led a delegation comprising BJP youth leader Vineet Joshi, former minister Sat Pal Saini and Khushwant Rai Gigga, to the Governor and apprised him of the scale of connivance of the district administration.

The party leaders expressed concern over the bias and high-handedness of the Punjab police. The BJP leaders sought action against police officials who failed to perform their duties. As a government official, the presence of Mr Chahal was questionable as he was openly mingling with cops and councilors, who were either involved in booth capturing or shielding truant leaders.


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