P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Principal of medical college charge-sheeted
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 4
The state government has charge-sheeted Dr J.Dalal, Principal of Medical College and former Director, Research and Medical Education, for issuing a “ wrong experience certificate” to a Dr Karn Kumar Sharma, an Associate Professor in the ENT Department with a view to promoting him as Professor. The state government has withdrawn administrative and academic work from both Dr Dalal and Dr Sharma. When contacted Dr Kiranjot Kaur, DRME, confirmed that the state government had written to Baba Farid University of Health Services for withdrawing academic work from the two doctors.

The Medical College teachers had expressed reservation over the elevation of Dr Sharma. In a communication to the Chief Minister, they had alleged that Dr Sharma did not possess the requisite five years’ experience as Associate Professor and, hence, could not be promoted as Professor. The PPSC had promoted Dr Karan Sharma to the post of Professor, ENT, on the basis of the 'experience certificate' , given by Dr Dalal in violation of service rules.

As per the norms, one is eligible for the post of Professor only after completing five years as Associate or Assistant Professor in the speciality of ENT. However, Dr Sharma was made Professor despite the fact that he had rendered just over two years of service as Associate Professor. However , Dr Dalal, under whose tenure as Director ,Research and Medical Education (DRME), Dr Sharma was promoted, claimed that proper procedure had been followed in the case.

The charge sheet served to Dr Dalal reads that he had misused his authority as Principal of Medical College and the DRME in giving a 'wrong’ experience certificate to Dr Sharma. Dr Dalal was accused of conniving with Dr Sharma in obtaining 'undue advantage'.

The forwarding letter of the charge sheet by the Joint Secretary, Medical Education and Research, states that the 'Punjab Public Service Commission has withdrawn the recommendation regarding the selection of Dr Karn Sharma as ENT Professor. The PPSC has recommended initiating action against the erring officers. In view of the facts established, the Punjab Government has initiated action against them under the Civil Services Rules '.


Council of Ministers may clear 4 ordinances
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
A crucial meeting of the Punjab Council of Ministers will be held on November 17. As many as four ordinances are likely to be approved at that meeting. One of the ordinances relates to the settlement of cases of violation of building by laws in areas under various municipal corporations and councils in the state.

There are certain politicians involved in the violation of the bylaws in Jalandhar, Amritsar and other cities. They have raised huge structures in Jalandhar and other cities violating the building bylaws. Along with others, such politicians will get an opportunity to make a voluntary disclosure of the violation and seek regularisation of the same. Such persons have been pressing the state government to find a way to settle their cases.

The last meeting of the council approved the proposal on voluntary disclosure with regard to the violation of the bylaws.

There can be an ordinance on the regulation of moneylending by private persons on the pattern of Kerala. The proposed visit of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and Mrs Sonia Gandhi to Punjab in the last week of November will also be discussed at the meeting.

Sources said that the note with regard to the conversion of Halwara airbase into an international airport had gone to the Union Council of Ministers and would be cleared before November 23. The Union Defence Ministry, the Environment Ministry, the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry had given their approval to the proposal. The sources said that once the Halwara airport project was cleared, the state government would start the process to procure land for the expansion of the Chandigarh civil airport. The Prime Minister is to lay the foundation stone of Halwara airport during his visit.

On the instructions of the Union Government, seven nationalised banks had sent proposals with regard to the one-time settlement of loans of defaulter farmers to their respective Board of Governors for the final nod. Under the scheme, such banks had agreed to waive loans worth Rs 500 crore of the farmers who had already returned the double of the amount which they had taken from such banks.

The government had planned to give 1.5 per cent rebate on interest to farmers who had been regular in returning their loans to cooperative banks which intend to waive loan amounts worth Rs 545 crore. “ In a way nine lakh farmers will get relief on loans availed of by them from various banks”, said a senior officer. A proposal to revive 800 defaulter agriculture cooperative societies is also being given final touches.


Missing trucks: small truckers may be made witnesses
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 4
The CBI is in the process of nailing Gurdaspur and Jammu-based FCI officials in the case involving missing trucks carrying foodgrains. Highly places sources in the CBI said that the investigating agency had decided to make small transporters as witnesses in the case.

Till date the CBI has detected 126 trucks of foodgrains that were dispatched from Gurdaspur FCI stores for Jammu but did not reach their destination in the past 18 months. The total value of the missing foodgrains has been estimated at about Rs 4 crore. As per the rules, the Gurdaspur FCI officials have to intimate their Jammu counterparts as soon as the trucks have been dispatched from stores. If the trucks do not reach Jammu, that is just 130 km, from Gurdaspur within three days, they have to inform the higher authorities and take appropriate action.

However, surprisingly in this case the FCI officials kept mum for over six months about the missing trucks that indicates their connivance, the CBI sources say.

With the small truckers becoming witnesses in the case, the noose might tighten on M/s Cadha Transport Company that was the main contractor for carrying FCI foodgrains from Gurdaspur to Jammu. The sources say that after the CBI started investigating the case, the company got a case registered against small transporters who were further engaged for transporting grains at Gurdaspur to the Punjab Police.

The small transporters from the district, however, maintain that they were just carrying out the orders of the company. They were paid the full freight for carrying the foodgrains from Gurdaspur to a Kathua-based flour mill. The freight was paid to them by the mill.

The Kathua-based mill used the stolen grains for making flour and allegedly sold the same in the market. The transporters, mills owners and FCI officials made money out of the stolen grains.

The CBI officials investigating the case are of the view that the small transporters who were engaged by Ms Cadha Transport company should not be nailed. They are, however, witnesses in the case and the CBI is recording their statements.

The CBI officials had requested the Gurdaspur police against proceeding in the case . They, however, maintain that the case registered by the Gurdaspur police against the small transporters will in no way hamper their investigation.

The police in the recent past had booked many Gurdaspur-based small truckers on a compliant made by Ms Cadha transport company. It had impounded many trucks and maintained that 86 truck loads of foodgrains were missing.


Red tape ‘grounds’ fort repair before takeoff
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 4
The much-awaited repair work of Quila Mubarak here seems to be getting mired in bureaucratic hurdles even before its start. The state government has already released Rs 1.25 crore for the fort's repair, but the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is apparently not "too enthusiastic" on the matter.

The Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, had announced Rs 1.25 crore for Quila Mubarak's repair

on June 21 at a function held to mark the tercentenary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh's visit to the fort. Sources said the district administration received the funds about a fortnight back and since then it had been following up the case with the ASI authorities at different levels. Sources said the

local ASI officials asked the administration to discuss the issue with their higher- ups in Chandigarh, from where it was further directed to contact their New Delhi office. Sources said the Deputy Commissioner then shot off a missive to the Director-General of ASI requesting him to clarify as to which organisation these funds were to be released and with whom the administration shall sign the MoU. He had also submitted a copy of the SDM's report regarding the works to be taken up on priority basis. Sources said the DC also referred to the CM's announcement that an equal share of Rs 1.25 crore should be remitted by the union ministry concerned and urged the Director-General to personally look into the matter.

Sources said the ASI's New Delhi office told the administration that a report in this connection would be submitted to them by the Chandigarh office and the work shall only start after its approval.

When contacted, the DC, Mr Rahul Bhandari, confirmed that they were awaiting completion of the ASI's process in this regard. He said he had deputed the Bathinda SDM, PWD officials and the local ASI officials to work out the modalities for the works to be undertaken at the fort. He said the SDM in his subsequent report listed 11 works to be taken up on priority basis, which included the main entrance, Rani Mahal Bastion, rooms adjoining the main entrance, bastions on the front road side, a corner bastion near the government school and inner portion near the existing gurdwara.

The DC said he had also sought assurance from the ASI that the funds would only be utilized on the fort's repair and that too on the purposes identified by the administration. The ASI had also been urged to set the time frame for the repair work.


MC ex-chief booked for murder of daughter-in-law
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 4
Kulwant Singh, former chief, Municipal Council, Patti, and eight other members of his family have been booked for murdering the daughter-in-law, Ms. Vimaljit Kaur (38), yesterday.

The other accused include Harjit Singh, husband of the deceased, her mother-in-law Amarjit Kaur, Gurjit Singh (Harjit’s brother) and Sakattar Singh, Lazaya, Kawaljit Kaur, Happy and Renu, other members of the family.

A case has been registered on the complaint of Mr Ajit Singh, father of the deceased and a resident of Ludhiana, who alleged that her daughter was beaten to death by the accused, who had been demanding Scorpio vehicle as dowry.

The deceased was married to Harjit Singh, son of the former municipal council chief, Patti, about 13 years back. The couple has two kids.

A case under sections 302,148, 149 the IPC has been registered. The post-mortem examination was conducted at civil hospital, Patti, today.

The police said investigation had been initiated and the viscera sent to Patiala for finding out the cause of the death.

No arrest has been made till now.

The police sources that the arrests, if needed, would be made after the completion of the investigation.

Kulwant Singh, while talking to this correspondent, said that they are totally innocent, saying that it was a natural death and they provided her proper treatment in time.


Inter-state gang busted; weapons seized
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 4
While cracking the abduction case of Kuldeep Kaur, a newly wedded woman from Bhagsar village, the police has busted an inter-state gang involved in abduction, land grabbing and robbery. The police has arrested key members of the gang apart from recovering arms and vehicles from their possession.

The SSP, Mr G. Nageshwar Rao, said the gang members were arrested near Bhullar village by a police team headed by Sadar SHO Arshdeep Singh. The accused were commuting on a Balero and a couple of Maruti cars at the time of their arrest. These vehicles were used in carrying out kidnapping of Kuldeep Kaur. The police has also recovered the jewellery that she was wearing at the time of the incident and her mobile phone from the accused.

The SSP said Kulwant Singh, Pradeep Kumar and Bhimsen were the main members of the gang. The other accused were identified as Kuldeep Singh, Preetam Singh, Sarabjeet Singh, Shobran, Gurpreet Singh, Babbu Kumar and Sarbjit Singh. A majority of them belonged to different places in Haryana, while one each were from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab.

The police has also recovered three pistols and cartridges from their possession.

The SSP said Kuldeep Kaur’s paramour Dalvinder Singh approached one of his relatives, Preetam Singh, and told him about his plan to get her kidnapped, as she was unhappy with her marriage. He introduced him to a gang of criminals and a deal was struck at Rs 60,000. Dalvinder paid Rs 45,000 as advance for the entire operation. At the time of abduction the accused were armed with weapons and they had also fired some gunshots, but nobody got injured, the SSP added.


Dr Sidhu finds rare literature on Bhagat Singh
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
A few days ago, the police authorities concerned at Chandrapur in Maharashtra seized a number of books from the stall of Daanish Books that was put up at the Chandrapur Book Fair by Ms Sunita Narayan, owner of the store.

Among the seized material, there were certain books on Shaheed Bhagat Singh, whose 100 birth anniversary is being celebrated in various parts of the country this year.

Ms Sunita told The Tribune on phone from Delhi that none of the books seized by the police were banned by the Union Government or any state government. She said in all 41 titles were confiscated and a case was also registered against her under Section 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Ordinance, 2004.

Interestingly, what happened in Maharashtra a few days ago, used to occur almost daily when Bhagat Singh was in jail and later when he was hanged to death on March 23, 1931 by the British.

Dr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, a former Vice-Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, has recently edited a book on literature, especially poems and songs, written from 1929 to 1945 as a tribute to Shaheed Bhagat Singh. This book has many poems which were banned by the British.

“I have to do a lot of hard work to find the banned poems to include in the book entitled — Ghoria-Shaheed Bhagat Singh,” said Dr Sidhu. “Ghoria” is a special form of Punjabi songs written mostly in praise of folk heroes.

Dr Gurdev Singh has included poems such as Piara Bhagat Singh, Sardar Bhagat Singh, Lahore Ki Suli, Mardana Bhagat Singh, Bali Vedi Par Sardar, Fansi Ke Shaheed, Anmulle Lal, Lahore Ki Fansi and Shaheedon Ke Ganne in the book. Most of these poems were written under assumed names.

“British rulers used to treat all those harshly who used to write anything glorifying Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his other colleagues”, asserted Dr Sidhu.


BJP demands action against Transport Minister
Tribune News Service

Sujanpur (Gurdaspur) November 4
The BJP organised a protest rally here today demanding action against Transport Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri who earlier heading PUDA department.

Hundreds of BJP workers led by the former minister, Mr Satpal Saini, BJP president, Mr Ashok Prashar and Mr Parmar distributed copies of a vernacular paper ‘Desh Sewak’ among general public. The paper carried a news story regarding a sting operation in which the District Town Planner of Ferozepore, Mr Khosla was demanding bribe, had levelled serious allegations of corruption against Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri.

Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri when contacted said he was ready to face any inquiry.

The BJP leaders said they would intensify their agitation if no action was taken against the minister.


Don’t play into Congress hands, Badal tells Mann
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 4
In a departure from his earlier stance, the SAD supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today made an appeal to SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann not to play into the hands of the Congress to defame the Sikh community.

He said all those parties which wanted to give a crushing defeat to the Congress in the coming Assembly elections were welcome to join hands with his party.

The party got a shot in the arm when Ms Seema Sharma, an independent municipal councillor, and Mr Nirmal Dass Malhotra, president, Beopar Mandal, Patiala, joined the SAD.

Mr Badal said Mr Mann should not play into the hands of the Congress and Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

During a press conference, when asked whether there was any chance of unity between his party and the Akali Dal headed by Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, he said not only Mr Chandumajra but any party which wanted to give a defeat to the Congress was welcome to join hands with him.

Mr Badal, who addressed a rally in this town late in the evening today, said the Congress had established an Emergency-like situation in Punjab.

The Congress government had been harassing and victimising people without any reason, looting them on various pretext and denying them the facilities extended to them during the previous SAD-BJP government.

“The Congress leadership is confused about its proposed road show. It has changed the name of its road show thrice. The Congress leadership has been finding it difficult to project any achievement before the people during the road show,” claimed Mr Badal.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa had met the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and sought central forces in Punjab for conducting the coming Assembly elections in a free and fair manner, he said.

He said the SAD would field new faces in the coming Assembly elections.

Regarding the selection of candidates for the post of President of the SGPC, Mr Badal said that it would be discussed and decided at a meeting of the PAC and by members of the SGPC.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister, and Mr Balwinder Singh Saifdipur, general secretary, SAD, also attended the rally.


Soni not to get ticket: Dullo
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 4
In a surprise move, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), has announced that his party would deny party ticket to Mr O.P. Soni, an MLA, and Chairman, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), for the forthcoming Assembly elections slated for February next.

Mr Soni, who was elected as an independent MLA in 2002 from west constituency, was hand picked by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh as an associate member of the Congress party. Not only this, the Chief Minister had appointed him Chairman of PSIDC.

However, when contacted, Mr Soni said he would speak to the Chief Minister before reacting to the statement given by Mr Dullo. He said Mr Dullo was perhaps unaware that the Chief Minister had entrusted him a big responsibility to head the prestigious corporation.

Earlier, Mr Dullo had given reason for denying the Assembly ticket to Mr Sony on the pretext that he was not even a primary member of the party. Mr Dullo was here today in connection with a the function organised by the district unit (rural) of the party.

Earlier, addressing party workers, Mr Dullo said he had urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give thousands of acres of land belonging to the Central Government to poor people of the state. He said state government had already allotted five marla plots to Dalits and poor people in villages for constructing houses. 


Dullo calls party meeting on Nov 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), has called an urgent meeting of ministers, MLAs, MPs, former MLAs and MPs, members of the PPCC and the All-India Congress Committee besides presidents of the District Congress Committees and party candidates who contested the Assembly elections in 2002 for a mass-contact programme on November 7 at Punjab Congress Bhavan here.

The meeting will be addressed by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister. The political scenario in the state and the programme for the proposed visit of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, to Punjab will also be discussed at the meeting.


BJP raps Cong over inflation
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 4
The BJP today organised a district-level rally at the Hanuman crossing here to protest growing inflation rate and price rise in the country.

The rally was addressed by party state president Avinash Rai Khanna and Kisan cell chief Harjeet Singh Grewal. The BJP leaders flayed the Congress for failing to check price rise.

“The prices of essential commodities, including eatables, had skyrocketed. The prices of pulses are at their all-time high. The government has failed to reduce the prices of petroleum and diesel despite the fact that prices have gone down,” they said.

The growing rate of inflation had made the life of poor difficult, yet the state and Union Governments had failed to come to their rescue, they alleged.

Mr Khanna alleged that the Congress government, which was targeting leaders of the Opposition on charges of corruption, was now finding itself in a tight spot.

The Congress was finding it hard to act against the accused in the Ludhiana City Centre scam due to the alleged involvement of its top leadership.

Mr Grewal alleged that the Congress government at the Centre had never watched the interests of the state. It was only during the previous NDA government that the state got its due from the Centre.

Interestingly, none of the BJP leaders took up the issue of allocation of Gurdaspur Assembly constituency to the BJP at the rally.

Also, SAD leaders from the district stayed away from the rally apparently to express their opposition to the BJP demand.

BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Navjot Sidhu also failed to turn up at the rally.


Equality Front to contest 65 seats
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 4
The National Equality Front (NEF) at its meeting held here today under the presidentship of Dr S. S. Sharma has decided to contest 65 seats in the coming Assembly elections and will have an alliance on the remaining seats with like-minded parties.

This was stated in a press note here this afternoon by Dr S. N. Tiwari, state president of the NEF. The list of candidates would include doctors, engineers, teachers, retired officers, architects and advocates. Dr Tiwari said the front would fight for equality among all sections of society, irrespective of caste, creed and gender.

It was unanimously decided at the meeting that payment of ‘inflated’ water and sewerage bills of the Municipal Council, Hoshiarpur, would be boycotted.

A rally would be organised on November 7 at the local Government College chowk at 11 a.m. on the issue.


Dist training centres sought
Tribune News Service

Samana (Patiala), November 4
Punjab Youth Congress chief Vijay Inder Singla today urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to make arrangements to open training centres in all districts to equip unemployed youth with necessary education and enable them to get jobs being generated by mega projects coming up in the state.

Mr Singla, who was on his first visit to villages and towns falling in the area after taking over as state Youth Congress unit chief, said it was imperative to equip unemployed youth with the know-how to get jobs generated by mega projects.

Mr Singla, who also attended a prayer meeting held at the gurdwara of Dhainthal village to mark Gurpurb, while addressing different meetings said the state government had already taken computer education to the village level to make its youth face global competition.

The government was working toward generating more jobs for the youth.

He claimed that Punjab, which had lost its glory in the past, had regained the same and had made significant achievements in all sectors under the Congress rule.

He added that people should draw a comparison between the development carried out by the previous SAD-BJP regime and the ruling setup before casting their ballot.

He said though the SAD had set up a youth organisation to project that the party had a mass base in the country, the party had failed to make an impact in neighbouring states.


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