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Akali backlash fear
22 pro-Congress families plan to shift
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 5
Twentytwo families aligned to the Congress and belonging to Madh village near Rayya have decided to shift to safer places fearing suppression from Akali workers.

The fear-stricken families, including women folk and children, who have come here in search of a suitable shelter in the city, told newsmen today that they had set up a small temple in their house and used to organise “jagrata” twice a year during the navratras.

They alleged that the tranquil atmosphere in the area saw a sudden change with the SAD candidate coming to power in the Beas segment, which had remained in the headlines due to a firing incident a few days before the poll in which an Akali worker was killed.

Bhagat Naresh Kumar, whose is heading these families, said last week while they were performing puja at the temple, Jugraj Singh, a confidant of SAD MLA Manjinder Singh Kang, along with his supporters, started throwing stones at his house and warned that that such activities would not be tolerated in the future as they had “a free run for the past five years”.

A similar threat came at a “jagrata” during the navratras.

The families got together and submitted an application to Majitha police district SSP Lok Nath Angra and expressed their apprehension over the threat issued by Jugraj and his henchmen.

The families alleged that although the SSP had marked the application to the Beas SHO for taking action against the accused, yet the police failed to act due to “political pressure”.

Meanwhile, Surinder Kumar Billa, president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, who gave a patient hearing to the families, said in case the Akali supremo failed to provide them suitable security within eight days, they would be forced to stage a dharna at Hall Gate.

Narrating the harrowing tale of bus driver Ramesh Kumar, working for Piyar Bus Service owned by former Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Gill Dimpa, Billa said he was mercilessly thrashed by Akali workers, and had not been able to come home fearing threat to his life. 

 

Punjab asks UT to drop cases against teachers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Punjab government has urged the Chandigarh administration to drop the cases against 133 teachers who were arrested by the UT police for violating prohibitory orders imposed under section 144, CrPC. Teachers of government-aided schools from Punjab had come here to hold a demonstration in support of their demands in December last year. Many of them from Moga district were arrested for violating the prohibitory orders. They were later released on bail.

A deputation of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and other Employees Union here today met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to urge him to get the cases against the teachers withdrawn and accept other demands.

Badal told the union leaders that the issue of the cases had been taken up with the UT administration.

With regard the resumption of the pension of the employees who retired after May 31, 2003, from aided schools, Badal asked his principal secretary D.S.Guru to get the case prepared in this regard at the earliest. Employees who retired before May 31, 2003, are paid pension by the state government. Before the assembly elections, the SAD-BJP combine had made a commitment to the teachers of the aided schools on resuming the pension of the retired employees on the old pattern.

Among those who met the Chief Minister today were Gurcharan Singh Chahal, Manohar Lal Chopra, K.K. Joshi, Gurmeet Singh and Ashwani Kumar. Former education minister Tota Singh, who was also present, told the Chief Minister that the order to resume the pension should be issued at the earliest because the previous Amarinder Singh government had treated these teachers “shabbily”.

The other demands of the union include the condoning of the strike period from December 5 to December 25, 2006; grant of 5 per cent interim relief to employees and pensioners of aided schools; increase in the medical allowance to Rs 350; regular release of 95 per cent grant in aid; grant of the promotional scale on the completion of four, nine and 14 years of service; release of the senior scale for clerical staff; and removal of the ban on recruitment against approved vacant posts.

 

TREE FELLING
Govt overlooks law; to issue permits
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 5
Permitting felling of trees in forest area and amending the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), the Punjab government is likely to violate the management plan of the forest department besides disregarding the Supreme Court (SC) directions.

The SC directions on a writ petition say, "private forest is forest". The apex court also has passed directions that forest workings should be carried out strictly in accordance with the prescription approved by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF).

Contrary to a MOEF approved felling policy of the Punjab forest department, the government has decided to issue permits to farmers for felling the trees.

The Punjab forest minister Tikshan Sud had claimed that plans are being chalked out for allowing felling to the villagers. He had also advocated amendments in the Punjab Land Preservation Act.

As per the plan of the state government, the department has been accepting applications seeking felling of trees till August 31 every year. The divisional forest officer (DFO) of the concerned area grants permission by December 31. In exceptional cases, the DFO can issue permits up to February 28 / 29 provided seekers forward their applications till January 31.

Permitting felling of trees after February 28 / 29 would amount to violation of the management plan of the department as well as the SC directions.

Foresters, however, maintained that the PLPA was the main restriction imposed on the landholders besides a channel for conserving the green cover in the state.

According to the latest report of the Forest Survey of India, in spite of huge expenditures by the forest department, the state has lost one third of its cover in last few years.

Expressing concern over the unprecedented decline in the forest cover, Honorary Wildlife Warden, Hoshiarpur, Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa said, "If we are gradually losing forest then I think amendments in the PLPA will make felling more easy for common man. Letting the villages cut trees will prove disastrous in future". 

 
 

PPCC chief ‘likely’ to be Hindu
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 5
A Hindu is likely to be made the chief of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC). The Congress high command is giving it a thought, said Ashwani Kumar, union minister of state for industrial policy and promotion, here today.

Ashwani Kumar, while addressing mediapersons, expressed resentment over the registration of FIRs against senior Congress leaders by the SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

He said former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh would be arriving in the country on April 9.

 
 


Home Guard jawan ‘tortured’ at police station
Tribune News Service

Nabha, April 5
A Home Guard jawan posted here has alleged torture at the hands of SHO Sadar, Bindu Bala, ASI Ajaib Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Lakha Singh late last night at the sadar police station.

The jawan, Chand Singh, also reportedly attempted suicide and was admitted to the Civil Hospital Nabha. Family members of Chand Singh, who is under treatment in the emergency ward of the hospital, demanded stern action against Bindu Bala and other policemen.

A brother of the victim, Ram Singh, said that he got a call from Chand Singh at about 11 in the night that he was ending his life following the severe beating he had from the accused. He said he immediately rushed to the sadar police station but nobody opened the door. In the morning at about 7 when he again went to the police station, Kashmira Singh, securityman posted at the gate, told him that his brother was lying unconscious in his room.

He said after much persuasion, he was allowed to shift him to the Civil Hospital. He said that last night his brother had told him that the SHO wanted to kill him. He presented a suicide slip, claiming to have been recovered from the pocket of Chand Singh, on which it was written that Bindu Bala will either put him in jail or end his life. A doctor attending on the victim, however, stated that liquor smell was from coming from his mouth and clothes when he was brought to the hospital. As per the version of relatives of Chand Singh, he was treated like a patient of suspected poisoning. The doctor said that further tests could reveal whether the patient had consumed some poison or became unconscious because of high dose of liquor.

Meanwhile, police sources, pleading anonymity, said that Chand Singh was involved in anti-social activities and was awaiting action from the authorities. He consumed excessive liquor in his room in the police station and concocted story with the help of his family members, they said.

SHO Bindu Bala said that she herself was present at the police station till 5 a.m., as she along with her colleagues, was preparing for today' crime meeting.

She said she was not aware of any such “self- poisoning” instance happened in the police station. "It is all a bundle of lies," SHO said. The Kotwali police has stared verifying the alleged allegations.

 

OF CRIME AND FEAR
SE in judicial custody
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Bathinda, April 5
In a development, which could expose the malfunctioning of local municipal corporation, its superintendent engineer (SE), V. K. Setia was caught red-handed yesterday while accepting a bribe from Kewal Krishan, chairman, local Modern ITI, for sanctioning the site plan of a building to be constructed by the complainant.

The accused was remanded into judicial custody for 14 days when he was produced in the court of the chief judicial magistrate here today.

Setia was caught by the team of vigilance bureau led by DSP, Vinod Kumar. The bribe money of Rs 10,000 has been recovered from the office table.

Rajinder Singh, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ferozepore range, while talking to TNS, pointed out that Kewal Krishan had submitted a site plan of a building. He added that though Kewal Singh had submitted the site plan along with required fee, the accused had been dilly dallying.

He pointed out that the accused had been demanding Rs 15000 as bribe money from the complainant for sanctioning his site plan. A deal was struck AND the accused agreed to accept Rs 10,000 as bribe money for doing the work.

A cross section of people, who gathered in the office complex of local municipal corporation when the vigilance bureau team conducted a raid, alleged that another low-ranking official, who was also connected with the work pertaining to the sanctioning of site plans of building, had been minting money with the blessing of his superiors. They demanded that a probe should be instituted to unveil his misdeeds.

A case under section 7 and 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against the accused after he was formally arrested.

 

IPS officer gets interim bail
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 5
Senior IPS officer T.P.S. Sandhu was granted interim bail by Additional Sessions Judge Archana Puri till April 12.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had publicly issued a threat to AIG (CID ) by name while addressing a rally at Beas, a few days after the formation of the SAD-BJP government for allegedly torturing Manjinder Singh Kang, a former chairman of the Forest Corporation, during his (Sandhu's) stint as SP (Vigilance).

Sandhu, who is considered close to the Congress leadership, had also interrogated many other Akali leaders following Vigilance trap.

In his petition, Sandhu pleaded that he feared arrest for interrogating many former Akali ministers during his stint as SP (Vigilance Bureau) due to political vendetta.

The AIG (CID) alleged that the Vigilance Bureau sleuths conducted raids to arrest him at the behest of Akali leaders. He said his leave had been cancelled and the VB could arrest him before April 12. He, however, said that he was ready to join investigation.

However, the VB, in its reply, told the court of Archna Puri that no raid had been conducted on the house of the AIG. The VB also clarified that there was no inquiry pending against the petitioner.

The petitioner Sandhu feared that he might be arrested for non-bailable offences. He said that he had applied for the bail on the grounds that Parkash Singh Badal, while addressing a public rally at Beas on March 8, had openly threatened to take action against him (Sandhu), who had 'tortured' Manjinder Singh Kang, a former chairman of the Forest Corporation, during his stint as SP (Vigilance).

He sought directions under Section 438 Cr of the IPC to admit the petition for bail in the event of arrest.

 

Minister’s visit stumps health staff
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 5
Minister for health Luxmi Kanta Chawla today visited the Mata Kaushalya Government Hospital and the Ayurvedic Hospital and Pharmacy. Staff of both health institutions were taken aback by the surprise visit of the minister.

The minister said the previous government ignored alternative forms of medicine. Even the grants offered by the union government for ayurvedic dispensaries were either not spent by the government or were put to other uses.

Most of the ayurvedic dispensaries in the state were without doctors, she added.

She said the SAD-BJP government would give due attention to the departments of Ayurveda and homoeopathy. She held a meeting with the staff of the Ayurvedic hospital and pharmacy.

 

Scholars discuss aspects of Buddhism
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 5
The centre for Buddhist studies, Punjabi University, here organised a two-day national seminar on “Socially engaged Buddhism”.

Five Buddhist monks from Thailand chanted “suttas” (verses from the Pali Tipitaka) before the seminar started. Professor H.S. Pannu, head of department, welcomed the guests and delegates from India and abroad.

Professor Sanghasen Singh, visiting professor at the department of religious studies, introduced the theme. Vice-chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai highlighted the social aspects of religions. He was of the view that no religion could survive if it neglected those who were at the lowest rung of society. He stressed the need for the uplift of underprivileged people in the countryside.

Dr K.T.S. Sarao, professor and head of the department of Buddhist studies, University of Delhi, delivered the key-note address. He carried out an analysis of the forces that were working in Buddhist countries and were instrumental in the emergence of a new phenomenon called socially engaged Buddhism.

Professor Sarao suggested measures to make the Indian society a truly humane one.

The other scholars who addressed the seminar were Dr Anita Sharma, Dr K. K. Pandey, Dr S. M. Haldhar, Dr Arvind Kumar Singh, Dr Rana Purushottam Singh and Surjeet Kumar. Professor Jodh Singh presented the vote of thanks.

 

Ex-chief of MC attacked
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 5
A former president of the local municipal council Ashok Kumar Rajja was admitted to the local civil hospital this evening with broken left wrist and abrasions on various parts of his body.

Rajja claimed in the hospital that three persons attacked him with lathis and a sharp-edged weapon outside Sunami gate when he asked a person about the illegal sale of liquor by him.

 

UT-Ldh rail link by 2010
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link will be completed within two and a half years, said Ramesh Inder Singh, chief secretary, Punjab, while presiding over a meeting of railway officials.

He said the rail link between Chandigarh and Morinda would be electrified in eight months.

The chief secretary also said the state government would work out the modalities regarding land acquisition in Ropar under the Land Acquisition Act. The government had decided to hand over the land to the Railways, he added.

 

Row over Nanakshahi calendar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Institute of Sikh Studies has urged president of the SGPC Avtar Singh not to tamper with the Nanakshahi calendar in any manner.

Bhai Ashok Singh, president of the institute, today said that if the SGPC did not respect and honour the decision of Akal Takht it would set a bad precedent. The calendar was adopted by the SGPC a few years ago on the recommendation of a committee of experts set up by Akal Takht.

 

Govt to probe ad allotment
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 5
The Punjab government will probe the allotment of advertisements to particular media channels during the stint of the previous government. Certain media channels were given government advertisements worth crores in violation of norms.

Minister for public relations, public health, science and environment Bikram Singh Majitha gave this information while talking to newspersons here today. He was here to inaugurate a showroom of Tata Motors on the Patiala-Rajpura road.

He said many state cooperatives were forced to dole out money of the members for advertisements to news channel.

The advertisements released by former Chief Minister’s media adviser B.I.S. Chahel through the department of public relations to “favour local newspapers or channels” would also be probed.

He said the department of public health had got a loan of Rs 1,280 crore from World Bank for providing drinking water in rural areas of the state.

The department had issued tenders worth crores near the elections. Besides, some officials were given special out-of-turn promotions by the previous government.

He said the present government had ordered an inquiry into the allotment of tenders and out-of-turn promotions. A decision to cancel the tenders or reverse the illegal promotions would be taken after the inquiry report was received.

He said some micro hydel projects cleared by the previous government had still not been completed. An inquiry would be ordered into the delay of projects and the loss caused to the state, Majitha said.

 

Quack booked for aborting female foetus
Our correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 5
Senior medical officer of primary health unit, Paldi, the Mahilpur police registered an FIR under Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the medical termination of pregnancy Act sections 34, 197 and 314 of the IPC against Paramjit Kaur wife of Gurwinder Singh of Badhna, on Tuesday evening.

Arun Tiwari son of Poojan Tiwari of Bachhohi village complained to the deputy commissioner, Hoshiarpur that his wife Nirmla Devi, who was pregnant, went to Paramjit Kaur for check up on March 13. Paramjit Kaur allegedly told his wife she had female foetus in her womb and instigated her to get it aborted as she already had three daughters. On the advice of Paramjit Kaur, his wife got herself aborted from her. After the abortion, her condition deteriorated and she was shifted to civil hospital, Hoshiarpur from where she was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, where she expired on March 15.

 

8 booked for attack on CPM leader
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 5
The police has booked eight persons on the charge of attacking CPM leader Inderjit Singh Bhagrana.

According to the police, those booked included Shamsher Singh Lala, Rajinder Singh Raju, Jasbir Singh and Bittu. However, no arrests have been made.

Bhagrana was attacked by a group of persons, allegedly led by Lala, with sharp-edged weapons near Balsuha village yesterday. He was admitted to the local civil hospital, where doctors referred him to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. Old enmity is stated to be reason behind the attack. Police sources said eight teams had been dispatched to Punjab and other states to nab the culprits. 

 

Missing girl’s body found in pond
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 5
Mystery shrouds the death of a 17-year-old Dalit girl of nearby Khadoli village. Her body was found floating in the village pond 
yesterday.

Mahinder, father of the girl, in a complaint with the police, has alleged that his daughter had gone missing on April 2.

The body was sent for a post-mortem examination at the AP Jain Civil Hospital here.

The police said the role of a woman of the village is suspected behind the crime. In fact, Mahinder had also expressed suspicion about the role of the woman in the death of the girl.

 

Rs 1 lakh grant for non-existent school!

Amritsar, April 5
A grant of Rs 1 lakh has been allegedly sanctioned to a non-existent school in the year 2005. These allegations have been made in an anonymous complaint to the Chief Minister, Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, sent last month.

The complaint points out that the grant of Rs 1 lakh has been sanctioned to Sarvpreet Kaur, principal of Bhartiya Vidya Niketan, Shivala Road, Hussainpura, Amritsar, even though she is heading a different school and has nothing to do with the said school.

The grant has been sanctioned for purchase of computers by the office of Parliamentary Secretary, Local Government and Freedom Fighters on August 25, 2005.

Dr O.P.Sareen, principal of the Bhartiya Vidya Niketan Senior Secondary School, New Tehsilpura, said he had been the principal of the school since 1968 and the school had not received any such grant. "Ours is a registered school, recognised by the Punjab School Education Board and we do not have any branches," he said.

On the other hand, speaking on behalf of his wife, Sarvpreet Kaur, Gagandeep Bhatia clarified that the school headed by her did function in the name of Bhartiya Vidya Niketan for some time in the year 2005. The grant in question was received and computers were also purchased.

"The school did function as Bhartiya Vidya Niketan Middle School in Hussainpura before it was shifted to Batala Road as Vidya Bhawan. Since the grant was issued in the name of the principal with the name of the school also mentioned with it, there was no scope of its misuse. — TNS

 

CM for Khush as VC of PAU 
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
As a replacement for vice- chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University K.S. Aulakh, the Punjab government has made up its mind to approach international rice breeder Gurdev Singh Khush, who is now settled in the US.

A crucial meeting of the board of directors of PAU will be held tomorrow at Mohali under the chairmanship of chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh. The only item on the agenda of the meeting is the resignation of the vice-chancellor.

Sources today said that financial commissioner (development) G.S.Sandhu had been asked by the state government to talk to Khush to accept the vice-chancellorship. Born in Rurkee village, near Jalandhar, Khush has served for about 34 years at the International Rice Research Institute in Manila. The age factor is expected to come in the way of acceptance of the vice-chancellorship by Khush. Khush is already more than 71 years old.

The sources said that Khush was well aware of the functioning of universities, which are highly politicised institutions, in the state. Vice-chancellors are often appointed with great fanfare by one government and made to quit unceremoniously by another government. Politicians drag even universities into political and other controversies."In fact, that is the reason a state like Punjab, which remained number one in the country for about 50 years, does not have a single university known for its academic excellence at the national level", said a senior academician.

Though many other eminent agricultural scientists are also in the race for the post, the sources said that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal wanted Khush as the vice-chancellor. Director of research of PAU B.S. Dhillon, deputy director-general of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research J.S.Samra and Dr B.S. Dhaliwal are said to be among the aspirants for the post. 

 

A silent protest
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 5
Students of three affiliated colleges of Guru Nanak Dev University here today held a silent protest outside vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh’s office against the decision to prepone the exams of bachelor in physiotherapy course.

The protesting students said till now the practice was to hold the exams in July but this time the exams were scheduled from April 20 and they did not have enough time to prepare for the exams.

The students, who were from APJ College, Jalandhar, Lovely Institute, Jalandhar, and Layallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, said last year their exams got over in mid-September and they were not able to prepare well for the exams.

A delegation of the protesting students met the VC and it was assured that a meeting of the principals of the colleges concerned would be called to take a final decision on the matter.

 

Students earn for institution
Charu Chhibber

Patiala, April 5
Students of the department of physiotherapy of Punjabi University here have been running an OPD wing in the university health centre, without any support from the university or any other organisation.
Dr Narinder Kaur Multani, head, department of physiotherapy, Punjabi University, examines a patient at an OPD in the university in Patiala
Dr Narinder Kaur Multani, head, department of physiotherapy, Punjabi University, examines a patient at an OPD in the university in Patiala on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Rajesh Sachar

“The OPD was established in October, 2005, and has been running successfully since then. Credit goes to our students and faculty who have been working very hard, and that too for no personal gains. They work in the OPD besides attending their regular classes and the money earned through it is used for the maintenance of the OPD”, said Dr Narinder Kaur Multani, head of the department.

As per the rules of every university, the department of physiotherapy has to have an OPD in the university health centre, for which the university sanctions a grant.

However, the physiotherapy department of Punjabi University did not get any such grant or special funds for running the OPD. “We have all modern equipment, which were earlier used only for teaching purposes. But, since it was sufficient for running an OPD as well, the OPD wing was established.

“It has been beneficial not only for the patients but also for the students, who learn while being on the job. It would not have been possible without the co-operation of the staff and students.”

When asked about the resources to run the OPD, she said, “we are not getting any financial or other help from any source for the OPD. Last year, the university had sanctioned a grant of Rs 11 lakh to the department to purchase the latest equipment, but not for the OPD.”

“The average number of patients visiting the OPD daily is 60 and our income is around Rs 70,000 per month. In fact, we manage to earn more than the requirements of the OPD.” “The only problem that we have been facing is space constraint”, Dr Multani added.

A proposal for a full-fledged physiotherapy centre has been sent and its approval is awaited, she said, adding that the OPD is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday being a closed day.

 

MoU on student exchange
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 5
The Punjab School of Management Studies (PSMS), Punjabi University, Patiala, signed a MoU with Kutztown University, Pennsylvania, under the students and faculty exchange programme, here today.

Dr Arifeen, professor, department of economics, Kutztown University, gave a lecture on “Role of India in Globalisation.” He said in order to reap the fruits of globalisation, India needed to focus on liberalisation and privatisation.

In highlighting the sharp contrast between the Chinese and the Indian economies, Dr Arifeen said, though the rate of growth in India was less than that in China, the biggest strength in India lay in its democracy. Dr S.K. Bansal, head, PSMS, expressed optimism that Dr Arifeen’s talk would enlighten the students.

 

Students to boycott classes

Patiala, April 5
Students of the history department of Punjabi University here will boycott classes from tomorrow in protest against the expulsion of two research scholars. — TNS

 

Project delay to cost PSEB 250 cr
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 5
The delay in the implementation of the Lehra Mohabbat stage-II project is going to cost the PSEB dear. The organisation will have to pay a penalty of about Rs 250 crore for the delay.

Central financial agencies had extended a soft loan to the PSEB for the project at an interest of 3 per cent per annum. However, the low rate of interest had come with a condition: Unit three of the project was to be put into operation by December 31 while unit number four was to be put into operation by March 31.

Till date, about Rs 2,000 crore have been spent on the project, but its completion is still not in sight.

Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd (BHEL), that has been given the task of commissioning the project, has not been able to put into operation even the first unit (unit number three) for which the deadline was December 31.

Highly placed sources told The Tribune that due to delay in the implementation of the project, the PSEB would now have to pay an interest of 6 per cent to the central funding agencies, about Rs 250 crore additional financial liability on the board that is already reeling under a financial crisis.

The PSEB authorities, meanwhile, are trying to make one unit functional “artificially” to show something on record and plead against the increase in the interest rate.

The sources said till date many vital components to make unit three functional were nowhere in place.

To make the unit functional artificially, the PSEB authorities have coined a new term “gun trail test”. As per the test, unit number three will be fuelled from the already running unit to make it functional and join it with the grid just once to make a bookish data.

The authorities tried to run the unit with this methodology yesterday but failed. Efforts to make it operational by taking feed from the other unit are still on. The sources, however, termed the PSEB exercise a farce. According to them, the unit cannot be made functional by taking feed form another running unit for long. Moreover, it is unethical and dangerous for men and equipment.

A member (generation) of the PSEB admitted that the unit had not been commissioned in time. The PSEB was seeking low interest under a scheme sponsored by the union government. The scheme was valid only up to March 31. If the government did not extend it, the PSEB would lose financially by a higher rate of interest.

On the new gun trial test, he said it was being conducted for just testing the boiler. It had nothing to do with making the unit functional. 

 

Petrol stations to suspend operations on April 13
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar April 5
All 32000 petrol stations across the country, including about 2700 in Punjab, will remain closed on April 13.

Petrol station owners across the country will stop operation of outlets due to a nationwide strike call given by the Federation of All-India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT) to protest against non-acceptance of its demands by the Ministry of Petroleum.

J.P. Khanna, president of the Punjab Petroleum Dealers' Association, said here today the FAIPT and the association were forced to go for agitational approach as long-pending issues and problems of petro-dealers had not been redressed by the government.

He said dealers' margin or commission, evaporation of petro products, handling losses, and failure of the ministry or oil companies to provide marker kits to dealers were some burning issues which remained unsolved despite the federation's reminders to the ministry.

Khanna said the dealers' margin should be fixed at 5 per cent of the invoice value. He said pending submission of the report of the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehra Dun, no action be taken against dealers for negative stock loss beyond permissible limits. "The industry is directed to provide the marker testing equipment to the dealers in line with the decision taken when the marker system was introduced. The FAIPT is not against the marker system, but, is averse to the immunity granted to oil-marketing companies from being subjected to the test.

Khanna said petrol stations would suspend operation from midnight of April 12 till the midnight of April 13.

 


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