P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Capt promises better education, health care
Mahesh Sharma

Jaure Pul (Ahmedgarh), December 18
Better education, health services and facilities to weaker sections of society will get priority in the election manifesto of the Congress party for the Assembly elections.

The Congress government sees demand of a special package to be announced by the Prime Minister as unnecessary propaganda.

Mr Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, stated this after inaugurating a project to line the Patiala and Kotla branches of the Sirhind canal here today.

He claimed the projects launched by his government had benefited all sections of society and the farmers gained the most.

To a question Mr Amarinder Singh said the party had started working on the election manifesto and education, health services and facilities for weaker sections would get priority.

The Chief Minister claimed the project to be completed at a cost of Rs 123 crore would enable farmers of the southern parts of the state to get more water for crops. Besides supplementing irrigation facility to 2,36,000 hectares in more than six Assembly segments of southern parts of the state, it will bring 66,000 hectares under irrigation. The benefit will reach all sections, including traders, as prosperity of farmers is sure to effect economy of the state,” said Mr Amarinder Singh adding conservation of water was need of the hour.

He said problem was more serious in the southern belt as ground water was not fit for consumption there. He pointed out diseases like cancer and other orthopaedic disorders had been reported from certain villages in that area and contamination of water was seen to be reason for it.

Rejecting the apprehension of cessation of recharging of watertable due to the lining of the canal, Mr Amarinder Singh said only sides were being lined and bed would remain as such and recharging would continue without threat to the present level. He reminded the canal was got built by his great-great-grandfather in 1881.

Mr Amarinder Singh expressed dissent on norms prescribed by the central commission regarding BPL status for people of the state and claimed he like some other CMs had suggested norms be drafted according to economic status of the state concerned.

He maintained 10 lakh individuals in Punjab were really poor but present norms did not allow them to be registered in the category.

He directed the Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department, to ensure recharging of Lasara drain to the extent of 250 cusecs.

Mr Amarinder Singh criticised the Akalis for creating hindrance in the development of the state.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh Kotli, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, Mr Randip Singh Nabha, Mr Ravinder Singh Babbal, Mr Ajit Mohinder Singh Sidhu (all MLAs), Mr Nahar Singh Gill Mayor Ludhiana, Mr Krishan Lal Bawa, Chairman HOUSEFED and Mr Gurkirat Singh Kotli, political advisor to the PPCC chief also spoke.


CM gives grant of Rs 50 lakh to Patiala Press Club
Kewal Dhillon to file defamation case against Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 18
The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh, today said a criminal defamation case would be filed against Mr Sukhbir Badal, General Secretary, SAD (B) by Mr Kewal Singh Dhillon, Vice-President of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) and Mr Kulwant Singh as the former had levelled serious allegations of corruption against them.

Talking to mediapersons before inaugurating the Press Club at Baradari Gardens here, the Chief Minister said the state government had given only one project to Mr Dhillon and he would get more projects only he ran the first one successfully. He added that the state government had done no hanky panky in granting that project to Mr Dhillon.

Mr Badal had alleged yesterday that Capt Amarinder Singh has given undue benefits to Mr Dhillon by approving a series of mega projects for Mr Dhillon’s company Ms Silicon Construction. He also said Mr Dhillon would gain concessions to the tune of Rs 3,258 crore.

Presiding over an inaugural function organised by the local journalists of electronic and print media, the Chief Minister urged mediapersons to do objective reporting. He asked the journalists to present a true picture to enable the readers to get first hand information.

He appreciated the media for playing a constructive role in the dissemination of the policies and programmes of the state government. He said healthy criticism was always welcomed but criticism for the sake of criticism was undesirable.

Referring to the demands of journalists about the allotment of government accommodation, reservation of plots in the housing schemes of PUDA, allotment of land for Press Colony, enhancement of the amount for the bus travel concession, grant of Rs 5 crore for the development of infrastructure of the Press Club, Capt. Amarinder Singh announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh for the renovation of the building allotted for Press Club. He also assured that he would get all their demands thoroughly examined at government level and would implement them accordingly in the near future. He, however, said he would not make false promises.

He hoped that the Press Club would offer a healthy platform to the journalists to interact with each other in order to develop a sense of professionalism and commitment. He said the state government had already established a Press Club at Jalandhar and now at Patiala in the first phase and two more such clubs would be set up at Amritsar and Ludhiana soon. On the occasion, the Chief Minister asked his Adviser B.I.S Chahal to look into the demands pertaining to the regular accreditation of journalists and enhancement of the amount of bus travel facility. Members of the Press Club honoured the Chief Minister and MR Chahal with mementos. The function was attended by Mayor of the Municipal Corporation, Mr Vishnu Sharma, the Chairman of Improvement Trust, Mr K.K Sharma, Administrative Member of PSEB Mr Hardayal Kamboj and the Chairperson, Zila Parishad, Ms Gursharan Kaur Randhawa, I.G Patiala Zone Mr S.K Sharma, DIG, Patiala range, Mr H.S Randhawa, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K Verma and SSP Parmod Ban besides the journalists of print and electronics media of the district. 


SAD (A) manifesto to focus on rural uplift
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 18
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) will focus on development of villages, bettering lot of Dalits and unemployed youth by creating jobs to contain unemployment in Punjab. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, of the Dal told reporters at PWD rest house here yesterday. He regretted that villagers were without hospitals, schools, colleges and power.

Mr Mann said industrial pollution was so much that canals and drain waters were being polluted and people in the Malwa region were contracting diseases like cancer, typhoid, cholera and malaria.

Mr Mann, wanted Mr Amarinder Singh Chief Minister and Mr Parkash Singh Badal to think of ways to make Punjab a self-sufficient state.

Mr Mann said his party would urge Dr Manmohan Singh during his visit to Amritsar to strive to open borders with Pakistan for free trade and commerce in the best interests of Punjab and India and solve the Jammu Kashmir problem to improve nation’s economy.


Govt urges court to summon Badals
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 18
In a significant move after the recent apex court verdict, the Punjab Government today made a plea before the Special Court, Ropar, to summon the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his family members in a corruption case registered against them by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

The case has become more important for the Congress in view of the coming Assembly elections in the state.

In an application moved on behalf of the state by the District Attorney (DA), Mr Pardeep Mehta, before the Special Court Judge, Mr G.S. Saran, it was pleaded that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his son SAD (general secretary), Mr Sukhbir Badal, and his wife and others accused be summoned in person to the court on the next date of hearing which falls on December 23.

While submitting the recent apex court judgment in the court to resume the hearing of the case, the DA also requested the court for the framing of charges against Mr Parkash Singh Badal and others.

The hearing of the case had been stayed after the petition moved by Mr Parkash Singh Badal in the apex court challenging the grant of sanction to prosecute them in corruption cases.

On December 6, the Supreme Court ruled that that prior sanction was not required for the prosecution of public servants, including chief ministers and ministers in corruption cases.

The Vigilance Bureau had accused Mr Badal, his wife, Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, and son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, of possessing disproportionate assets worth several crore in India and abroad.

The bureau had alleged that Mr Badal and his family members had disproportionate assets worth over Rs 78.39 crore.

The Vigilance Bureau had estimated the total value of the Badals properties, both inland and overseas, at Rs 4,326 crore.

The bureau had filed challan against Badals and others in the case in the Special Court on November 22, 2003. Besides the Badals, their other close associates included in the challan were Narottam Singh Dhillon, Harbans Lal and Jagnandan.


RTI Act not being implemented in SGPC: SAD(A)
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 18
Mr Baldev Singh Sirsa, national executive member, Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar(SAD-A), today alleged that the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) had not been implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act in its offices, whereas it should be executed in all offices within 100 days of its beginning.

Mr Sirsa alleged that he had approached persons concerned in the SGPC office a number of times to get information regarding funds being used for various purposes. He alleged that the Guru Ki Golak and gurdwara funds were being illegally used by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, and party members for their vested interests.

Citing an example, he alleged that certain employees were not working in the SGPC, but were being given full salary.

He said the SGPC should implement the RTI Act immediately which would help in stopping of the illegal use of the gurdwara golak.


Paths, roads being made to hoodwink Forest Dept
‘Developers’ removing trees in Punjab
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
“Development activities” are being carried out by owners of petrol stations, restaurants, industries, colonisers and others along the national and state highways at the cost of the forest cover. They do so by cleverly exploiting an amended order of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

The “developers” are eating into the forest area by making paths and roads on the plea that no trees existed there. The Act states that two petrol stations have to be located at a distance of 5 km from each other outside the municipal area. But the catch line is that the requirement of 5 km distance can be given a go-by, if no tree felling was involved.

Using the clause cleverly, certain fuel pump owners, have slowly removed trees, while forest conservation staff allegedly turn a blind eye to the practice. Then, they easily prove to the Ministry of Forests that no felling of trees was required and get the clearance conveniently.

What the forest staff or the ministry officials overlook is that such paths cannot be made naturally. The trees can not disappear on their own in a systematic manner in the form of a straight path or diagonal one. It has to be a man-made one.

While the glaring exploitation of the forest land is evident on all national highways and state highways in Punjab, especially in Ludhiana, the industrial hub of the state, forest officials have not taken any action to prevent it.

A Tribune team spotted a glaring such example on the Payal-Rara Sahib-Ahmedgarh road where prospective fuel pump owners are in the process of removing the forest cover slowly and systematically to bypass the 5 km-distance clause.

At milestone number 3, Rara Sahib-Jagera bridge road, a path has come up with tree no 63 on one side and tree number 70 on the other side with two trees standing without any numbers. Clearly the trees have been removed with the Ludhiana divisional forest officers unable to stop it.

Some prospective petrol station owners are also deploying Gujjar families strategically to remove the forest cover gradually. The Gujjars set up their hamlets in private land and clear the forest. They move to a new location after the job is done.

Near Rara Sahib, huge mounds of sand were seen in the forest area. These were created by certain sand contractors or by Irrigation Department officials who dumped the sand removed from the canal bed here. All this is again at the cost of the forest cover with trees crushed under the sand.

Farmers, too, have made their own paths. Forest cover all along the three canals of the Abohar feeder is dwindling in this manner. The area falls under the Division Forest Officer, Ludhiana, whose officials are seldom available in office or over the phone for hearing complaints.

The misuse is in the notice of the state Forest Department. Mr Kuldip Singh, Chief Conservator, Forest, (Headquarters) said they had been writing to the Centre and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to end this controversial clause that “ Punjab and Haryana, which are the only states to declare roadside forest as protected forests, have been voicing their opposition to this clause but the Centre was still continuing with it.”

He said he, too, had received complaints of the inaccessibility of the Ludhiana forest officials from general public and the government was taking corrective action.

This year’s report on forests in Punjab states that over 85,000 hectares of the cover had been lost. In 2001, the state was 11th in terms of forest area but now it is placed at the last in the list.


Setback to govt on PPS officers as SSPs
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The plan of the Punjab Government to post Punjab Police Service (PPS) officers on the crucial posts of Senior Superintendent of Police before the coming Assembly elections has run into rough weather.

For, the Union Government has also become a party to an ongoing case dealing with powers, functions and other duty-related issues of the police — Resurgence India versus State of Punjab — where the issue of legality of posting of PPS officers as district police chiefs is also under scrutiny.

Now, with the court adjourning the matter to January 19 - by when the code of conduct will come into force in the state - the government can do little to post its favourite PPS officers as district police chiefs.

The only district where an officer can be shifted is Mohali as the post of the district police chief is still not included on the list of cadre posts reserved for IPS officers.

In its application, which came up for hearing before the Division Bench comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Saron, the Union Government prayed that it should be impleaded as party to the writ.

It also placed on record a short-written statement on the issue, saying that cadre posts were created by the Centre in consultation with the state government.


BJSP may have poll pact with SAD
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 18
Uma Bharti’s Bhartiya Jan Shakti Party (BJSP) is looking to form an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the coming Assembly elections in Punjab. Ruling out the possibility of a coalition with any party except the SAD, the national General Secretary of the BJSP, Mr Vishwanathan, said the party had decided to have an alliance with the SAD only and was hopeful that things would workout in a right manner. He was here to attend the party function in Sector-68 here yesterday.

He said the party had decided to contest the elections only the areas where it had a strong base. Our national president Uma Bharti will decide the share of seats with the president of SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he added.

When asked that the BJP too had contested elections with an alliance with the SAD, would it be possible for the two rival parties to stay together, he said if we could not able to form alliance. Then the party would contest the elections all the assembly constituency in the state and hopeful of winning at least 25 seats in the elections, he added.


Badal launches poll campaign of Parminder
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sunam, December 18
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is not for revenge in politics but if voted to power will teach a lesson to Mr Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, as he had put leaders of the SAD behind bars. Besides this, the SAD-BJP alliance, after coming to power will look into all scams, including Ludhiana City scam and scams in mega projects, to expose corruption.

Launching the election campaign of Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Sunam, MLA and son of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, at a rally at the new grain market here today, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, said Mr Amarinder Singh would be sent to Sangrur jail for his “misdeeds”. Mega projects were not for the betterment of Punjab but for the benefit of one person.

Terming the today’s rally as the “biggest ever of an Assembly constituency”, Mr Badal said, “I think you people will make me the Chief Minister of Punjab for the fourth time”.


Badal woos Tohra loyalists
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 18
Sensing a tough contest ahead in the coming Assembly elections, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, president SAD, is not taking any chance and to win over Tohra loyalists in Fatehgarh Sahib. He visited the residence of Mr. Narinder Singh Tiwana leader of the Tohra loyalist group working for SAD (Longowal). He heard their grievances and managed to get them back into his partyfold.

Addressing media persons at Tiwana’s residence, Mr. Badal said the coming election would be a contest between democracy and “rajwada sahi”. He said there would be a silent revolution in Punjab and the Congress would lose all 117 seats as Indira Gandhi lost after the emergency.

Commenting on the roadshows of the Chief Minister, he said that people were brought forcibly whereas at his sangat darshan he heard the grievances of people and released grants as per the requirement.

Reacting to the visit of Prime Minister to Amritsar, he said during his last visit he did not announce any concession for the state farmers as was declared by Congress leaders on his return to Delhi, he announced a package for south Indian farmers.

Latter addressing a rally, he admitted that the Akali Dal had lost the previous elections only due to his differences with late Jathedar Tohra. Had he forged unity with him, there would have been an Akali government in the state.

He urged the local SAD leaders to sink their differences and fight the poll unitedly.

Mr Tiwana assured Mr Badal that his group would support the SAD candidate and would not seek any office of profit.


Dist Youth Cong chiefs appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Mr Jaswinder Singh Sikhanwala has been appointed president of the District Youth Congress, Faridkot.

Mr Paramjit Singh Brar and Mr Paramdeep Singh Baidwan have been appointed presidents of the District Youth Congress of Bathinda and Mohali, respectively. 


CM seeks ATR in Siti Cable sex scam
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has sought an action taken report (ATR) within two weeks from the DIG Border Range Amritsar with regard to the Siti Cable sex scam.

According to the orders, a copy of which is with the Tribune, the CM has directed the DIG to re-investigate the case in pursuance of FIR No 289/05 filed on December 10, 2005.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Varinder Aggarwal, had rejected the cancellation report submitted by the police and the police file was returned to the SHO concerned for further investigations, as he was not satisfied with the investigation. It further said that the investigations were done in a "hasty manner as Inspector Harbir Singh recorded the statements of 19 persons on December 10 last year and on the same date, SP City II Amritsar had cancelled the FIR and the cancellation report which were submitted on the same day.

The complainant had requested DGP Punjab to arrest the accused persons namely Hari Om Dhanuka, managing director, Siti Cable, his son Baldev Parkash Sethi, Kirandeep Singh Kapoor and Sunil Jain as they had assaulted his son on a number of occasions and the matter was reported through a representation to the CM on July 27, 2006, and the matter was under investigation with the SP Head Quarters, Mr Manminder Singh. He also alleged that the Siti Cable management continued to harass them. They cut their main supply cable to pressurise them to withdraw as witness in the case.


Youth goes missing on way to Nigeria
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, December 18
A Punjabi youth, resident of Aur and employee of a Mumbai-based shipping company, has allegedly gone missing from a vessel during its journey from Houston in the USA to Nigeria.

Vikram Singh, 2nd Engineer on board MT “Jag Leela”, owned by Great Eastern Shipping Company Limited, has been reported missing since December 11 and his family suspects that he has been murdered.

According to details available with the family here, Vikram Singh was found missing on the morning of December 11 while the ship, a tanker, was heading for Nigeria from Houston to get crude.

The matter has been reported to the Indian Embassy in Nigeria.

Vikram’s wife, Palwinder, suspects foul play and has sought a thorough probe into the matter.


Female foeticide: Probe sought into cops’ role
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December18
The Public Grievances Association, a Bathinda-based non-governmental organisation, along with 40 other voluntary organisations, has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a CBI inquiry to identify and punish those top police officials who have allegedly been helping those medical professionals and others involved in female foeticide.

In a memorandum, to Justice V.K Jain, Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High court, yesterday by the representatives of 41 voluntary organisations, they alleged that in most of the cases related to female foeticide, a section of top ranking police officials had been indirectly helping the accused by manipulating investigations of the same.

The representatives of these organisations, who submitted the memorandum to Mr Justice V.K Jain after a seminar on ‘Eradication of female foeticide’ organised here yesterday jointly by the Punjab Legal Services Authority and the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, alleged that though they had been working for the eradication of the menace of female foeticide, they had not been getting a positive response from senior police officials and the prosecution agencies.

They alleged that in nine cases where medical professionals and others of the Bathinda region had been booked under PNDT Act and various other offences of the IPC for their alleged involvement of female foeticide , the officials concerned of the police had failed to present challans in respective courts within the stipulated timeframe and allowed the accused to go scot free.

Talking to TNS, Mr Dharamvir Walia and Mr Amarjit Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Public Grievances Association, alleged that if the attitude of police officials did not change, it would be difficult for the voluntary organisations to fight against the evil of female foeticide.


Ex-servicemen seek more benefits
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 18
The Indian Ex-services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, has alleged that a sum of approximately Rs 100 crore is lying with the state government as liquor tax collected for Cantonment Boards and the same has not been released to the Boards.

Stating this here yesterday, Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retired), president of the league,said the Chief Minister had already instructed the department concerned to revert this money to the Boards. The Boards had gone to the court and now the officials were giving the excuse that ‘the matter is subjudice’. He said this showed the mala fide intentions of the bureaucracy.

Colonel Dhillon said the league would meet the Sixth Pay Commission set up by the Union Government and present the problems being faced by the ex-servicemen. The anomalies of the Fifth Pay Commission would also be brought to the notice of the commission.

Colonel Dhillon expressed anguish over the fight between the serving and retired personnel of the defence forces on the issue of alleged miscarriage of justice. He said the cases of alleged miscarriage of justice of serving personnel were being fought with public funds while those of retired personnel from their own pocket.

Colonel Dhillon further alleged that the guidelines of the Director-General,Resettlement, were being flouted by the State Sanik Welfare Boards.The guidelines for the rehabilitation of the defence retirees were being amended, which was wrong. Moreover, the reservation of ex-servicemen in state services was not being implemented and the same should be pegged at 20 per cent.

He revealed that Punjab and Haryana states had barred Captains and Majors from the posts of Deputy Director of Sanik Boards at the district headquarters. This was contrary to the guidelines of the Director General,Resettlement of Defence Ministry.

Colonel Dhillon further disclosed that the Chief Minister, Punjab, had announced an enhancement grant for the marriage of daughters of other ranks to Rs 15,000 and the ex-gratia grant for war widows had also been raised to Rs 500 per month from Rs 300. The same had not been implemented.

He charged that the Defence Department of the state government was not serious in implementing the orders of the Chief Minister regarding the welfare of the ex-servicemen and their families.


Akalis clash over control of gurdwara

Amritsar, December 18
Supporters of two Akali factions exchanged blows during the election of a gurdwara’s management committee at Verka village, near here, yesterday.

The supporters of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) led by Dr Dalbir Singh came to blows with supporters of the Panthic Dal, after Balbir Singh got support of three of the five members of the management committee of Nanaksar gurdwara. Mr Balbir Singh candidate for the President’s post of the Committee, had the support of the Panthic Dal.

In the clash that followed turbans fell off as certain members of both groups brandished swords and a few even took out pistols or revolvers, the police officials who reached the site confirmed. The matter was brought under control by the police. Supporters of the Panthic Dal including Balbir Singh fled the gurdwara premises to save themselves from attack of rivals. — UNI


Tuteja to head pay panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Mr S.K. Tuteja, former Union Secretary for Food and Public Distribution, will head the Fifth Punjab Pay Commission.

Its other members will be Mr R.S. Ghuman, economist, and Mr A.S. Oberai, who retired from the International Labour Organisation. Mr R.C. Nayyar, IAS officer, will be the member-secretary of the commission, it is learnt.

Mr Tuteja is a former IAS officer of the Punjab cadre. He retired in June last year. 


Surinder Arjun to take on Darbari Lal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
Mr Surinder Arjun, former president of the Durgiana Managing Committee, has announced to contest against Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab from the holy city in the coming elections.

Without specifying the third front, Arjun told mediapersons here yesterday that he would fight the elections as a third front candidate. He said he would expose the leaders of the Congress and the SAD-BJP, who were out to destroy the social fabric of this district.

Mr Arjun, who worked as media adviser of Prof Darbari Lal during the last Assembly elections, said his family had served the Congress for the past 60 years. 


Ex-minister S.S. Kohli dead
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 18
Former Akali minister Sardara Singh Kohli passed away at his residence here this evening. He was 88. Sardara Singh Kohli remained a two-time MLA from Patiala and was also president of the Patiala Municipal Committee from 1964 to 1966.

He remained the state PWD minister during the Lachman Singh government from 1967 to 1970. He is survived by his son, former Akali minister, Mr Surjit Singh Kohli, and 
a daughter.


Punjab offices in UT closed tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Punjab Government has declared a holiday on December 20 in its offices and also in all offices of its corporations and boards within the jurisdiction of Chandigarh.

The holiday has been declared on account of the elections to the Municipal Corporation and the Panchayat Samiti of the Union Territory. 


4 nominated to medical council
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The state government today nominated four members to the Punjab Medical Council.

Mr J.R. Kundal, Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, said the nominated members were Dr Randhir Kumar and Dr P.S. Bakhshi from Jalandhar, Dr Vinod Sood from Khanna, Dr S.P.S Grovar.

The tenure of the members would be three years, he said.


high court
Notice issued to two cops
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 18
Mr Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice for March 8, 2007, to two officials of the Punjab Police, asking them to show cause as to why proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act should not be initiated against them for refusing to recognise the bail granted by the Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) and the High Court.

The two officers who have been issued notice are Inspector Milkha Singh, SHO, and Sub-Inspector Kashmira Singh, both posted in Police Station, Serai Amanat Khan, Amritsar.

Taking up a petition filed by Gurmeet Singh and others of village Lahiyan in Amritsar, where in they have alleged that the police picked them up from their residence, detained them in the police station illegally in connection with an FIR about an ongoing dispute. The cops even allegedly refused to recognise the anticipatory bail that had been granted to them by the court.

The petitioners have stated that this was a serious matter and the action of the cops amounted to undermining the authority of the judiciary.

Notice issued to PSEB

A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Saron has issued notice for March 15, 2007, to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and others on a petition filed by retired General Manager/Engineer-in-Chief S.K. Bansal of Lehra Mohabbat Thermal Plant.

The petitioner has sought directions for payment of 300 days leave encashment instead of 180 days in the light of instructions contained in the circular of May 13, 1998, of the government adopted in toto by the PSEB.

Through this circular, the leave encashment had been raised from 240 days to 300 days.

A clarification issued by the PSEB on July 29, 1999, saying that those who had earlier opted for 180 days leave encashment would not be entitled to 300 days leave encashment, was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on August 1, 2001.

The petitioner has stated that the High Court had held that those who had retired after January 1, 1996, would be entitled to encashment for 300 days. The LPA and SLP filed by the PSEB against the High Court orders were also dismissed.

Sports policy

The High Court has issued notice of motion for January 10 on a petition seeking directions to include roller skating as a medal discipline in the National Games due to be held at Guwahati from February 9 to 18, 2007.

Notices have been issued to the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) etc, by a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice Vijender Kumar Jain on a petition filed by Wonderland Skate Club and others.


Bar seeks funds for chambers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 18
A delegation of the District Bar Association today met Mr Justice AK Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and raised with him the matter of the state government not providing any funds for construction of advocates' chambers in the new court complex whose foundation stone would be laid on December 30.

Mr Justice Mittal was here to visit the construction site and review the arrangements of the foundation ceremony in which the Chief Justice of the high court would be in the city. The president of the District Bar Association, Mr Jasbeer Singh, told Mr Justice Mittal that the state government had merely provided space for building chambers for advocates.


Cotton worth Rs 2 lakh gutted
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 18
Cotton worth about Rs 2 lakh was gutted in the grain market when it caught fire due to an electric spark here today.

According to sources, three heaps of cotton belonging to Darshan Kumar of Beer Behman village and Hardam Singh of Mehta village caught fire at about 12.30 pm following some spark from mercury lights installed in the shed where their stocks were lying. The farmers and daily wagers present at the spot started dousing the fire with water. Meanwhile, a fire engine tender also reached the market and brought the fire under control.

Sources said both the farmers had brought their cotton produce to arhtiya Dayala Mal Anand Ram and their bidding had already taken place. They were waiting for weighing process to start when the incident occurred.


One booked for human trafficking
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 18
On a letter written by Mr Jagadananda Panda, Protector-General of Emigrants, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, New Delhi, to Mr S. S. Virk, DGP, Punjab, the city police registered a case here under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC against Baldev Singh Tagore of Balshan International and resident of Belapur, New Mumbai, last evening.

He said as per Section 10 the Emigration Act, 1983, no recruiting agent could do the business of recruitment except in accordance with a certificate issued by the Protector-General of Emgirants.

Mr Panda requested the DGP to initiate action against the unregistered recruiting agent at the earliest.

The aforesaid complaint of Mr Panda was enquired by the DSP (H), Hoshiarpur, who found Baldev Singh Tagore guilty.


133 students awarded degrees
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 18
The Punjabi University Chancellor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), conferred Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees on 133 students on the 31st convocation of the university here today. Earlier, General Rodrigues declared the convocation open after which he conferred degrees on students of nine different faculties of the university.

The Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, conferred 78 degrees and medals to postgraduate students while two M.Phil degrees were also awarded. He also awarded 51 medals to undergraduate students of various departments.

The Chancellor’s Medal of Excellence for 2005 was awarded to an MSc student, Ms Shallu Bansal, of the Department of Physics.

General Rodrigues urged the students to avail themselves of the opportunity as “this was a time of knowledge revolution.” Calling the present generation as a “catalyst of the future”, he asked the students to develop a positive outlook and to accept challenges to achieve “Dream India”.

General Rodrigues laid the foundation stone of a new hostel building for the students of the Departments of Correspondence Courses and Sports.


Retirement age for medical teachers to be raised
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 18
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today announced that the notification for raising the retirement age of the faculty members of the state medical colleges from 58 to 62 years would be issued shortly.

The Chief Minister disclosed this while presiding over a function organised in connection with fund-raising campaign for the trauma care centre to be set up at the local Government Medical College, jointly organised by Gomco Alumni Meet and CME here today.

He called upon the voluntary and non-government organisations to come forward and motivate people to donate liberally for the cause.

He said the state government had already made an initial contribution of Rs 1 crore and an acre of land within the compounds of the local Rajindra Hospital to start the project at an expected cost of Rs 50 crore.

He said the project would go a long way in providing timely treatment to the accident victims of the region and assured of full cooperation and support of the state government to finish the project within the stipulated time.

He also announced a personal contribution of Rs 5 lakh on the occasion. He also mentioned the popularity of Sanjivani Health Scheme launched for the farmers of the state by the Cooperation Department and added that now the scheme was being extended to the people living below the poverty line.

He said there were 4.60 lakh such families which would be benefited from the health insurance scheme. He underlined the need to lay special emphasis on bringing reforms in the sectors of health and education to ensure better standard of living and prosperity to the masses.

He said the society would reap far more dividends in terms of better human resources if investments were made rational in these two sectors.

On the occasion, Dr Ravinder Singh, Chairman, Patiala Gomco Alumni, and Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, said the project was first of its kind in Northern India and it would be equipped with latest infrastructure to provide world-class treatment to the trauma patients.

“Time elapsed between the occurrence of the accident and treatment is crucial to reducing morality and morbidity of the trauma victim,” said Dr Ravinder Singh.

Dr Kiranjit Kaur, Director, Research and Medical Education, and Principal, Government Medical College, Patiala, while outlining the features of the advanced trauma care center, said out of the total expected cost of Rs 50 crore, the alumni NRIs were making efforts to raise funds through mobilising people to donate funds for the noble cause.

Dr Manmohan Singh, president of the Punjab Medical Council, said the trauma was the single largest killer in the world as well as in India so it was the need of the hour to manage it in a scientific way on war footing.

He said Dr N. S. Grewal, NRI alumni, had assured that he would soon raise funds to the tune of Rs 5 crore from the USA for the centre.

Prominent among others who were present on the occasion were Dr Amrik Singh Chatha, president, Alumni of North America, Col (retd) Karminder Singh and US-based Dr Damanjit Kaur, who had already contributed $ 2,000 and assured to contribute $ 10,000 soon.

Later on Capt Amarinder Singh inaugurated the reconstructed Central Vista and Rock Garden at Baradari Gardens, conceived and developed by the Patiala Development Authority (PDA), Patiala.


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