P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


IG denied leave to visit USA
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 3
The IG railway police GS Grewal, who levelled charges of corruption against the president of SAD Sukhbir Badal, has been denied leave for visiting the USA.

The sources available here told that GS Grewal had applied for two-month leave for visiting the USA. He has a 10-year visa for visiting the USA. However, his application for leave was not forwarded by former ADGP railways, Chander Shekar, to the government.

When contacted, Chander Shekar said “The IG had asked for leave on the grounds of a marriage of his kin in the USA. I got the facts verified. It was found there was no marriage on the basis on which leave was sought. Moreover, the leave was sought just after the election results,” he said.

During the stint of the previous Congress government, the IG who was then in the rank of a DIG had alleged that Sukhbir Badal had taken Rs 5 lakh from him for a favoured posting.

His statements regarding the said allegations against Badal were recorded both before the police and magistrate. The allegations were used by the previous government in the corruption case registered against Parkash Singh Badal and his family. The IG is one of witnesses in the corruption case against Badals.

The IG, who is at present posted at Patiala, when contacted admitted that he had applied for two-month leave for visiting the USA. “I am not a criminal that my leave application has not been forwarded. I have been denied leave illegally. The officer concerned has not forwarded my application just to please the present rulers,” he alleged.

When asked he, however, added that there is no pressure on him to withdraw his statement against Badals. “I have even not been shifted from my present posting. Still I would stand by the allegations I levelled against Sukhbir Badal whenever the court summons me. However, the developments in the case would depend upon how the prosecuting agencies handle the case after the change in government. The prosecution in the case would decide if I have to be called for witness or not.”


Cadre management: No rules observed in Punjab: CAG
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
The Punjab police did not observe the IPS (cadre) rules while creating ex-cadre posts at the levels of director-general, additional director-general, inspector-general, deputy inspector-general and superintendent.

The comptroller and auditor-general in the latest report presented in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha last week has indicted the Punjab police for not only giving the go-by to the rules but also not getting the approval of the union government for additional ex-cadre posts.

The CAG conducted a test check of the records. In November, 2003, the cadre strength of Punjab was fixed at 144 Indian Police Service officers, including 79 senior posts of IPS officer, 31 for central deputation reserve, 19 for state deputation reserve, 13 for leave reserve and junior post reserve and two for training reserve.

The failure of the department to follow the rules also resulted in an irregular expenditure of Rs 4.85 crore incurred as salary against excess operated posts.

The IPS (cadre) rules do not restrict the state governments on the creation of ex-cadre posts at the levels of ADGP, IGP, DIG and SP as long as the number of such posts is kept within the prescribed number of state deputation reserve. At the DGP level, the state can create ex-cadre posts equivalent to the number of sanctioned cadre posts.

Since Punjab has only one cadre or sanctioned post of DGP, it had created and operated seven extra posts of DGP during 2005-06.

The position was the worst at other levels. Between 2001-02 and 2004-05, the state had 34 to 43 officers holding ex-cadre positions of SP, DIG, IG and ADGP in excess of the permitted sanction.

Responding to the CAG inquiries, the Punjab government maintained that since the Government of India had not taken the required number of IPS officers on deputation, they were posted in the state against the state deputation reserve.

The Punjab government also maintained that prior to December, 2004, Punjab Police Service officers were posted against junior-level cadre posts and IPS officers at the senior level against ex-cadre posts.

Even now, cadre management continues to be a big problem as the number of officers holding ex-cadre posts at the levels of SP, DIG, IG, ADGP and DGP is still very high.



58 police officers reshuffled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
Faridkot, Barnala, Sangrur and Nawanshahr will have new district police chiefs as the Punjab government ordered fresh posting of 58 officers of the rank of superintendent of police and above.

Satpal Singh Sidhu is the new zonal AIG, CID, Patiala. Gurdeep Singh has been posted as zonal AIG, CID, Ludhiana. Inderjit Singh Randhawa becomes AIG, intelligence. S.K. Singh goes as AIG, police control room, Chandigarh. Makhan Singh will be the new AIG, counter- intelligence, Amritsar.

M.F.Farooqi goes as comdt, 3rd IRB, Ludhiana. Paramraj Singh becomes comdt, 2nd IRB, Ladda Kothi. A.K.Mittal has been posted as comdt, 4th commando bn. A.K. Pandey is the new AIG, counter-intelligence, Chandigarh. Surinderpal Singh goes as comdt, 3rd commando bn. Gurpreet Singh Bhullar has been posted as SP, crime II, Chandigarh. Sukhdev Singh Bhatti goes as SP, detective, Barnala. Sandeep Kumar Sharma is the new assistant comdt, 5th commando bn. Surinderjit Singh Mand becomes SP, vigilance bureau, Chandigarh. Sukhdev Singh is the new SP, detective, Bathinda. Sukhpal Singh goes as SP, detective, Mansa.

Sukhjinder Singh has been posted as assistant comdt, 27th bn, PAP. Surinder Singh is the new SP, headquarters, Batala. Harpreet Singh goes as SP, headquarters, Gurdaspur. Harbhajan Singh becomes SP, detective, Kapurthala. Harish Kumar will be the new SP, city II, Ludhiana. Pritpal Singh Virk goes as SP, detective, SAS Nagar. Harbaj Singh is the new assistant comdt, armed bn. Sukhwant Singh Gill will be the new SP, security & traffic, SAS Nagar.

Paramdeep Singh Sandhu is the new SP, headquarters, Moga. Lashkar Singh goes as SP, detective, Moga. Surinder Kumar Kalia becomes SP, City I, Jalandhar. Satinder Singh goes as SP, headquarters, Jalandhar. Parambir Singh Parmar will be the new SP, detective, Jalandhar. Amar Singh Chahal goes as SP, city II, Jalandhar. Sarabjit Singh is the new SP, traffic & security, Jalandhar. Jagdish Singh Kahlon becomes SP, detective, Ferozepore. Rupinder Pal Singh Bajwa will be the new deputy director (admn), MRS PPA, Phillaur. Narinder Bhargawa goes as deputy director (genl), MRS PPA, Phillaur. Jaskirat Singh is the new assistant comdt, 1st India reserve battalion, Patiala.

Pritam Singh has been posted as assistant comdt, 3rd India reserve battalion, Ludhiana. Kuldeep Singh goes as assistant comdt, 7th India reserve battalion, Kapurthala. Mukhwinder Singh Chinna becomes AIG, litigation, Chandigarh. Gurdip Singh is the new assistant comdt, 2nd India reserve battalion, Ladda Kothi, Sangrur. Bachan Singh Randhawa goes as SP, crime against women, Chandigarh.

Satpal Joshi is the new SP, Punjab state human rights commission, Chandigarh. Snehdeep Sharma goes as SP, headquarters, Ludhiana. S.P.S. Basra becomes AIG, security. Shammi Kumar has been posted as assistant comdt, 7th bn, PAP. Gurdev Singh goes as SP, ISTC, Kapurthala. Gurpreet Singh Gill will be the new SP, excise & taxation, Patiala. Sarabjit Singh is the new SP, CM security. Surjit Singh goes as SP, detective, Gurdaspur.

Harjit Singh Pannu is the new assistant comdt, 82nd bn, PAP. Amarjit Singh becomes SP, vigilance and security, PSEB, Patiala. Sharad Satya Chauhan is the new DIG-cum-joint director, MRS PPA, Phillaur, and will also hold additional charge of DIG, vigilance bureau, Jalandhar. Paramjit Singh Grewal goes as SSP, Barnala. L.K. Yadav goes as SSP, Faridkot.

Arunpal Singh goes as SSP, Sangrur. B. Chandra Shekhar goes as SSP, Nawanshahr. Kapil Dev will be the new AIG, community policing & NRI affairs, Chandigarh.

Amrit Brar has been posted as AIG, traffic, Chandigarh. Jatinder Singh Aulakh becomes comdt, 13th bn, PAP, and will also hold additional charge of the post of AIG,welfare & litigation, CPO.


Political interference in varsity working assailed
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, April 3
The resignation of Dr. K. S. Aulakh, vice-chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, has sent shock waves in the academic circles. The academic circles strongly feel that opening of the university gate on Kitchlu Nagar side was a non-issue.

Punjab Agricultural University was lucky to have two first very strong administrators as its vice-chancellors, namely P N Thapar and Dr. M S Randhawa. Both were from the ICS Services of the British Raj. But they laid strong foundations of the university.

So they knew the ground realities and gave directions to the agricultural research according to the need of the hour. P N Thapar in particular had the free hand in running the administration of the university. He was picked up by late CM Partap Singh Kairon.

Absenteeism was rampant on the campus and soon he started taking measures which were not to the liking of certain elements on the campus. But they did not have the guts to agitate against him. The campus started witnessing regular attendance in the offices and the research and teaching activities got impetus.

Dr. Aulakh took steps to regulate the entry of the morning walkers and started issuing ID cards to them.

The entry to the university campus is not restricted to one gate only and there are half a dozen gates from where the people visit the university. The Kitchlu Nagar gate was closed on the demand of the Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA) following incidents of chain snatching, purse snatching and hit and run in which one person was killed.

Subsequently, Dr. Aulakh has become the first causality of the political pressure. It is irony that credit for appointing Dr. Aulakh as the Vice-Chancellor went to Parkash Singh Badal and the discredit for his unceremonious exist also goes to him.

Similarly punishment was given to 133 persons on various accounts in the shape of stoppage of increments and lowering of stages, 28 persons were placed under suspension and pension of 12 persons was reduced and 69 persons were censured and warned. FIRs were lodged against six persons. Some of these persons who were punished by Dr. Aulakh had been making false complaints against him and enquiries into the same were conducted by the state government, including some by the Vigilance Bureau which exonerated him. Even complaints were filed before the Lok Pal and the same were found false.

Dr. D. R. Bhumbla, former vice-chancellor, Haryana Agricultural University, commenting on the resignation of Dr Aulakh congratulated him for his bold stand and said political masters think that autonomy of the university is a myth and they can interfere at liberty.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, former pro-vice-chancellor, GND University, and president and Prof. Gurcharan Singh, General Secretary, Peoples Awareness Forum, welcomed the step taken by Dr. Aulakh. They said that Dr. Aulakh had upheld the cause of the university autonomy.

Dr. G. S. Kalkat, former Vice-Chancellor, PAU and Chairman, Punjab Farmers Commission, described the resignation of Dr. Aulakh as unfortunate and said that there should be no political interference in the universities.

Dr. Darshan Singh former Dean, Postgraduate Studies, PAU, also criticised the political interference in the working of the university and said that Dr. Aulakh had brought discipline on the campus with sheer hard work. Lt. Col. Chanan Singh Dhillon (retired), president, Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, also assailed the political interference in the university functioning and maintained that the seats of learning should be free from such acts of the politicians.


Acid attack accused held
One of the victims blind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Doctors of the CMC Hospital said today that one of the victims of the acid attack was rendered totally blind, while another, Sandeep Kaur, had suffered damage in the left eye. A “spurned lover” threw acid on four girls on Sunday.

The accused, Balkar Singh, a 24-year-old factory worker, was arrested last night. He was produced before the media this evening. He too got burn injuries.

His mad rage had left not only Sandeep Kaur in jeopardy but has destroyed the life and marriage prospects of at least two of her friends, Rajwant Kaur (left eye completely blind) and Ranjit Kaur (40 per 
cent burns).

The fourth one, Sonika, suffered 20 per cent burns mainly on the arms.

Accused Balkar Singh said: “I and Sandeep Kaur were friends. However, she got engaged to a youth in Amritsar. She kept denying to me that she was engaged. I was angry when I came to know about her engagement from employees of Shivam Yarn factory.”

He claimed he had no intention to hurt other girls.

“I had thrown a mug full of sulphuric acid on Ranjit Kaur but it also fell on others,” he said.

SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh a team led by DSP Harmohan Singh and SHO Balbir Singh arrested the accused last night. The accused had first fled to Patiala.

Balkar Singh was booked under Section 307 of the IPC. The case has been lodged on the complaint of Ranjit Kaur.

The incident took place when all the victims alighted from bus.


‘Natural farming’ sweeps state
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Faridkot/ Fazilka, April 3
A silent revolution “Natural farming”, which has the potential to rid farmers of the debt cycle and also bring down input costs is sweeping Punjab.

Several farmers across the state have shifted to what is termed as “natural farming” which does not involve the use of any fertilisers, urea, pesticides or weedicides, resulting in huge savings in terms of input costs.

A natural concoction is used in place of chemicals to nurture the crop. The concoction comprises cow urine, cow dung, gur, besan, a handful of loose earth and 200 liters of water. This is mixed and left in a drum for a week. It then ferments into a potent fertiliser. Leaves of neem, raw tobacco, green chillies and even garlic are used as sprays on the crops.

The quality of wheat has been such that the “natural farmers” have not even bothered about the MSP. Their wheat produce is being picked up by private players for Rs 2,000 per quintal which is about two-and-a-half times more than the prevailing MSP and a bonus of Rs 850 per quintal.

“We do even have enough wheat to sell to buyers”, says Charanjit Singh Punni, whose phone keeps on ringing throughout they day with farmers wanting to learn the technique.

Manufacturers of premium biscuits and bakery products are buying it, says Harjant Singh of Rai-ke-Kalan village, near Gidderbaha. He is one of those who started the concept. In his village, elders seek his advice on how to start their projects. He even gets his crop graded at the district headquarters at Muktsar before selling it.

Across these districts that have seen deaths from cancer on account of overuse of pesticides, it is a welcome change. Prithpal Singh Brar of Chaina village in Faridkot narrates how he had to argue with his family to start a pilot project on two acres. The Jaitu-based Kheti Virasaat Mission that has motivated farmers to shift to “natural farmers” has been holding workshops. Executive director of the mission Umendra Dutt believes “this is the future that can stop the use of pesticides that are adding to input costs and killing people”. Basing his analysis on inputs by farmers, he says a “natural farmer’ needs between Rs 800 and Rs 1,000 per acre to prepare the concoction. On the other hand, chemical-based farming involves a cost of Rs 5,000 per acre annually. The celling price goes up as the produce is natural. Fazilka-based Vinod Jyani who has a “big farm” says in the third year it will be zero-cost as the farmer can grow his own sugarcane to produce gur and also his own chana to make besan. Jyani, who studied at Welham, Mussorie, does not stop praising the concept as he points out the quality of kinnow and mustard in his farm.

The next step is to grow paddy with a little water and grow it without any chemical, says Dutt as he prepares for the forthcoming plantation season.


34 per cent staff shortage in college: MCI report
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has found 34 per cent shortage of teachers, including a professor, 12 associate professors, 42 assistant professors and four tutors, in the medical college.

A recent MCI inspection, conducted by Dr Kamlesh Kohli, Dr Anju Huria and Dr Ramesh Bharti, has also detected a number of discrepancies in the medical college, including modern research and laboratory infrastructure.

The then Principal of the medical college had given an undertaking that the "college will admit students only after getting permission for continuance of recognition of the MBBS degree, granted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, in respect of students being trained at Government Medical College, Amritsar, from the MCI/ Government of India".

So, it is clear from the undertaking that the college won't be able to go for admission till it removes discrepancies as mentioned in its inspection report.

The inspection also found some medical teachers 'ineligible'.Some of the senior teachers have also resigned after the inspection,thus aggravating the situation.

The worst affected are bio-chemistry, community medicine and paediatrics departments where 66 per cent staff shortage has been found. The principal and vice-principal of Government Dental College have also resigned.


CM holds first sangat darshan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
In a bid to bridge the gap between the people and the government, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal started his sangat darshan programme by holding the first one at the Punjab Bhavan here today. A good number of people came in with complaints and grievances.

On the first day of interaction with people, Badal attempted to redress their grievances and had called in officials of various departments. Badal had a one-to-one interaction and gave a patient hearing to every complainant.

Most of the complaints were of a personal nature and disposed of on the spot.A few others were referred to the follow-up section in the Chief Minister’s office to seek a compliance report from the respective department within a week.


Govt ready to set up N-plant: Manpreet
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, April 3
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal today categorically stated that the government was ready to set up a nuclear power plant in the state, if permission for it was granted by the Centre.

The minister who has been undertaking a tour of various parts of the district, said the generation of nuclear power was the only tool to overcome the shortage, which the state had been witnessing as it had been generating only 6000 MW against the demand for 9000 MW.

Though Manpreet strongly advocated the setting up of a nuclear power plant in Punjab, a similar proposal floated during the SAD-BJP regime from 1997 and 2002 led to an agitation from various farmer unions and other outfits as at that time, the state government was making efforts to set up a nuclear power plant near Daroli village in Patran subdivision of Patiala district.The government finally dropped the idea.

The finance minister, while talking to mediapersons, said apart from an acute power shortage, Punjab needed about 3000 MW more in addition to its demand for 9000 MW to energise all tubewell connections for which applications had been received by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

He claimed that on one hand the generation of nuclear power caused less pollution as compared to generation of thermal-based power and on the other hand, the cost of its generation was cheaper as compared to generation of power by adopting other means. He said that about 75 per cent share of total power generation was being contributed by the nuclear power stations.

He said to meet the ever-increasing demand for power in the state, the government had decided to set up a thermal power plant at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district. Apart from it, work connected to the setting up of a thermal power plant at Lehra Mohabbat in Bathinda district and Goindwal Sahib was going on.

To a question, he said the economy of Punjab was in bad shape. Industry in Punjab could not grow as the Centre had given special concessions to the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

To another question, he said the exercise to identify the beneficiaries of the 'atta-daal' scheme was going on a war-footing and it would be implemented from May 15.


Sarpanches allege harassment by SAD leaders
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 3
Duly elected, panchayats have been feeling the pinch after the change of guard. They have started opposing vindictive approach of government functionaries.

As first step sarpanches of 30 villages falling in Barnala block have come together to oppose the vendetta politics of SAD leaders.

After a meeting of the sarpanches here today at the local block development office panchayat union general secretary Gurdarshan Singh Brar said panchayats would not tolerate this attitude and oppose it. If need be they will not hesitate from knocking doors of courts for justice.

Brar said followers of former Akali MLA were there to harass the panchayats having head belonging to the Congress. They were asked to forfeit grants procured during the Amarinder regime. Brar said out of total 38 panchayats 34 sarpanches were feeling the heat because they have stood by the Congress candidate in the last elections.

Brar, sarpanch of Barnala dehati(rural) said at meeting of many panchayats was held on Tuesday also attended by panchayats of nearby Bhadaur and Dhanola constituency where everyone assailed the approach. Now a meeting of the panchayats in Barnala district has been called on Saturday and if Akalis did not stop victimising they would start a struggle and if needed they would not hesitate to move court.

Former Akali MLA Malkit Singh Keetu on the other hand denied the charges saying neither he nor his supporter had ever tried to harass the duly elected sarpanches.


‘Cop violated human rights of complainant’s daughter’
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 3
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has held prima facie ASI Kewal Singh posted at the city police station here committed the violation of human rights to life, liberty and dignity of Namrata daughter of Chiman Lal Grover a resident of new Dharam Nagri here on July 23, 2006. But before recommending any action against him the PSHRC afforded him an opportunity under Section 16 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 for appearing before the full bench on May 15, 2007.

Orders issued by the PSHRC member B C Rajput and received here today said Chiman Lal Grover in his complaint had alleged ASI Kewal Singh searched his house when his daughter Namrata was alone in the house. There was neither any woman police official nor woman witness present. The complainant had the apprehension the police might get him killed.

The commission called for a report from the ADGP (IVC) on October 23, 2006, and subsequently rejected the police inquiry report on December 6. During the inquiry statements of the SSP and city police inspector were recorded. Four persons including the daughter of the complainant filed their affidavits. The commission found prima facie a case was made out to hold ASI Kewal Singh undertook illegal search of Chiman Lal’s house when his daughter was alone without calling any woman from the neighbour. The ASI tried to conceal his visit. He had not recorded any entry in the DDR register on that day. However in the DDR entry No 53 of August 6 he admitted he had gone to the complainant’s house.


BSNL to launch mobile phone service along Indo-Pak border
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 3
The public telecom behemoth BSNL will soon launch its mobile service along the Indo-Pak border, falling in Punjab. The company plans to set up towers within a 500 metres distance from the border, thus providing mobile connectivity to hundreds of subscribers residing in villages along the border.

Top officials in BSNL Punjab circle informed TNS here today that a letter to this effect had been issued by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT). After seeking permission from the Union Ministry of Defence, DoT has granted permission to the BSNL Punjab circle to launch this service along the border areas.

Officials in BSNL said that the move would not just benefit thousands of persons living along the border in the villages of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore, but also give the telecom company new subscribers. “We will soon initiate the process of setting up towers for providing mobile connectivity, and mobile services will be launched within three months,” said the officer.

It may be noted that after slipping drastically in its mobile subscriber base in Punjab during the past two years, BSNL Punjab Circle has managed to reverse its downward trend by increasing its mobile subscriber base from about 3.71 lakh in March, 2006, to 11.30 lakh in March, 2007. It was only since August last year that BSNL Punjab circle had managed to show an increase in its subscriber base.

Till last year, Punjab was the only circle (in B category) where BSNL was unable to hold on to its subscriber base. Though the telecom major continued to do well in other B circles like Haryana, and Rajasthan, it had the lowest number of subscribers in Punjab. This inspite of the fact that Punjab has the highest tele-density in India. “By launching aggressive marketing strategies and removing glitches in the distribution network by building its infrastructure, we have managed to reverse the trend,” said the official.

Meanwhile, officials informed TNS that 15, 877 mobile connections had been disconnected across Punjab, after the subscribers failed to provide their proof of residence. This was done following the guidelines of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which had asked all telecom operators to verify the antecedents of their subscribers. Officials said these phones had been temporarily disconnected and would be reactivated after the subscribers provided their proof of residence to BSNL authorities.


Atta-daal scheme: Survey from today
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 3
Survey for the atta-daal scheme (wheat flour at the rate of Rs 4 per kg and pulses at Rs 20 per kg) of the Badal Government for the poor families, having annual income from all sources less than Rs 30,000, will begin in Sangrur town from tomorrow.

As per the survey conducted in 1997-98 there were only 1980 beneficiaries under below poverty line (BPL) scheme in the town. With the increase of income from Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 for fixing criterion of poor families, it is expected that the number of beneficiaries to get the benefit of the atta-dal scheme will be around 6,000 in Sangrur only.

Sources told The Tribune today that the MC had deputed 22 employees of the council to conduct the survey for the atta-daal scheme in 21 wards of the town who would fill the forms of the eligible families and would complete the survey work up to April 15.


Reconsider decision on NPA: Doctors
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 3
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) has appealed to the state government to reconsider its decision not to treat dearness pay as part of the basic pay while calculating the non-practising allowance (NPA) in case of PCMS doctors.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Dr Hardeep Singh, president and Dr Ajay Bagga, press secretary of the state unit of the PCMSA, stated that while giving a clarification on points raised by the Director, Health and Family Welfare, the Punjab government in its letter, 27/182/06-5HBII/ 2815, stated that NPA was to be computed on basic pay only.

They regretted that the clarification was wrong and unjustified as while granting allowances to other government employees, dearness pay was considered part of the basic pay.

The clarification given by the state government was a clear-cut case of discrimination with government doctors who were already working under great stress.

They criticised the state government for not granting interim relief on NPA and urged the Punjab Chief Minister and the health minister to immediately stay the implementation of the decision and constitute a high-level committee to consider the issue of NPA of deputy directors also.


Bajaj vice-chief of Planning Board

Chandigarh, April 3
The Punjab Government has appointed Prof J.S. Bajaj as vice-chairman of the state Planning Board in the rank of a Cabinet minister with immediate effect, a spokesperson of the Punjab Government said. Professor Bajaj is a Padmashree and Padma Bhushan awardee.

He was president of the International Diabetes Federation, chairman of the South-East Asia Regional Association for Medical Education, and chairman, Credential Committee, National Academy of Medical Sciences. — TNS


Kundi connections at Moti Bagh residence
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 3
Tents of the security personnel at the Moti Bagh palace residence of the former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh were being lit by kundi connections. The inquiry ordered by the deputy commissioner Patiala DS Grewal has established the fact.

The deputy commissioner had ordered inquiry into the allegations that power was being supplied into residence of former chief minister through kundi connections. Some SAD workers had levelled these allegations in front of the president of SAD Sukhbir Badal who had further directed the deputy commissioner to inquire into the matter.

The deputy commissioner had directed the concerned executive engineer of the PSEB to inquire into the matter.

When contacted, the deputy commissioner told that in the inquiry report the executive engineer has alleged that the kundi connections were being used to lit the place of security personnel of the former chief minister. A fine has been imposed for illegal withdrawal of power from PSEB lines in the security personal the executive engineer has maintained.

The deputy commissioner, however, did not divulge the amount of fine imposed for kundi connections.

The SAD workers, who complained against the kundi connections, alleged that the administration was trying to play down the matter. Electricity worth crores was stolen at the residence of former chief minister during his stint in power.


Theatre show dedicated to Dilgir
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 3
The 67th monthly garden theatre programme of the local National Theatre Arts Society was held today. It was dedicated to Punjabi dramatist Harcharan Singh on his first death anniversary and to H.S. Dilgir, a prominent person in the field of mass media and drama.

The programme saw shabad singing by Surinder Kumar, a disciple of raagi Jaspal Singh, folk songs by Kamaldeep Gill Timmy and baby Manmeet Kaur.

A comedy play, “Goongi Vohti”, a Punjabi adaptation of English play “The dumb wife of cheap side”, was staged. It was directed by Rajesh Sharma.

Inaugurating the programme, former technical member of the PSEB S.K. Anand lauded the efforts of society in introducing fresh talent in the field of arts. The chief guests of the programme were Dr Simarjit Singh Saini, a heart specialist, and his father B.S. Saini, president of the Jan Hit Society, Patiala.


Sant Samaj criticises Punjabi daily
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj today strongly assailed a Punjabi daily published from Mohali for carrying out derogatory and defamatory writings against Akal Takht and other Panthic personalities on the issue of Dasam Granth and called upon the Sikhs to take a serious note of these writings. The Sant Samaj further urged them to take strong steps against such elements otherwise the Sikhs and the Panth would face bigger attacks and problems.

The leaders expressed surprise over the silence being observed by Sikh institutions, religious organisations and jathedars of Takhts.


Kanwaljit felicitated

Rajpura, April 3
Cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh today reiterated the commitment of the SAD-BJP government to the overall development of Punjab in the general and the Banur-Rajpura belt in particular.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh was speaking at a felicitation ceremony organised in his honour at Manakpur village, near here. The government was committed to the implementation of the SAD-BJP alliance in letter and in spirit, he said.

The construction of the Dashmesh Canal was high on government agenda. — TNS


high court
PIL ‘filed’ on remission to Punjab prisoners
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 3
The decision of the Punjab government to grant special remission to prisoners as announced by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during the recent Assembly session was today challenged by way of a PIL.

The petitioner, Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer H.C. Arora, has sought directions to restrain the government from implementing its decision.

Appearing before the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain and Justice Rajive Bhalla, the petitioner argued that the order of granting remissions was expected to be issued on April 13 to coincide with the bi-centenary anniversary of coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He said the government planned to remit prison terms ranging from six months to one year.

He stated that the proposed remissions would be in violation of Section 432 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Article 161 of the Constitution and such remissions can’t be granted by way of largesse. The contention was that such remissions can be granted on examination of the case of each prisoner separately and grant of general remissions to all prisoners accused of any type of crime, simple and petty ones or most heinous crimes is not permissible under the law.

Stating that in view of the overcrowded condition of prisons, the government could order remission of sentence of petty offenders, the petitioner stated that such an act should not make a mockery of the judicial system.

Today, the petition was allowed to be withdrawn after the petitioner stated that some factual mistakes had crept in the writ petition. He, however, stated that he would file an amended petition tomorrow.


Cop roughed up, uniform torn
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
Two youths were arrested on charge of tearing the uniform of GRP Head Constable (Railway Police) and misbehaving with lady staff of Indian Railways at the local station, here today.

The accused started dropping the names of 'big guns', including an Akali minister when GRP overpowered the youths. who were allegedly under influence of liquor. Mandhir Singh and Major Singh hail from Dashmesh Nagar and Wadala Siwian.

The youths who claimed themselves to be close confidents of an Akali minister of Amritsar started misbehaving with two staff members of railway when they asked them to show the 'platform ticket'.

When Head Constable Karmjit Singh intervened , both the culprits assaulted him, leading to tearing of his uniform in the scuffle.

The SHO, GRP, Manjit Singh said that the culprits had been arrested.


Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 3
Harjit Singh, an auto-rickshaw driver of Amar Dass Colony, allegedly hanged himself to death last night.

According to sources, Harjit committed suicide when he was alone at his house. Depression seems to be the reason behind his step, the police said.

Married to a resident of Kala Singha Jodhpur in Jalandhar district over two years ago, Harjit was reportedly living separately from his wife and son for the past few months. Efforts to effect a compromise among them had failed, the police added.


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