P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



IT team audits Baba Farid varsity accounts
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, April 12
A team of income tax officials from Bathinda and this district today scrutinised accounts of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) here to find out whether the authorities had been meeting tax liabilities according to the rule.

The four-member team headed by Mohinder Arora, Income Tax Officer (ITO), Bathinda, which varified the accounts, found no discrepancy in the initial verification. The final report of verification will be ready in a day or so.

Official sources said the team, which also included Rajinder Singh, ITO, checked the salary accounts of 60 employees of the BFUHS. The team also verified accounts contract of staff of the university.

Apart from it, all those accounts were checked which related to payments made to the persons, which were engaged by the university for checking of examination conducted by it or to those persons, who were engaged for setting question papers for different classes.

Mohinder Arora, ITO, said the team headed by him had not raided the premises of the BFUHS. They had done routine physical verification by coming to the campus of the BFUHS.

He added earlier, they used to do it from the documents submitted by the university to establish that they had met their income tax liabilities.

He said physical verification of the accounts of university was not being done on the basis of any complaint lodged against the BFUHS.

He added what the team of income tax officials had verified so far was the fact that whether university authorities had deducted tax at source (TDS) from the payments made to regular and contract employees and to other service providers in a proper manner or not.

If the university authorities had done TDS exercise in proper manner then whether the same amount had been deposited in the account of central government within stipulated period or not. He said it was also checked that whether the university authorities had carried out TDS of those contractual employees, who were getting more than one lakh as payment in one financial year. He said so far no discrepancy had been found in any account of the university.

Dr Ravinder Singh, vice-chancellor, BFUHS, said it was a routine matter and nothing should be read between the lines as income tax officials were privilege to visit any premises where payments were made in lieu of services. he added university authorities had been fulfilling their responsibilities connected with the state as well as the central government without delay.


Farmers block rail traffic
Want wheat MSP raised to Rs 1,275
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 12
As part of “Rail roko” stir of the farmers’ organisations, farmers today blocked rail traffic for two hours at Sunam, 13 km from here.

State president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan said they today blocked the rail traffic at three places in Punjab to pressurise the Union Government into filling government godowns by procuring wheat in a big way from grain markets and procurement centres.

Ugrahan added they also wanted the government agencies be authorised to procure wheat from the grain markets above the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat, otherwise private traders would purchase most of the wheat at higher prices. Thus in food crisis in the country, the government would not be able to supply foodgrains to poor people at cheap rates, he added.

Hardeep Singh Tallewal, Inder Singh Bhaini Bagha and Bukan Singh Saddowal, all leaders of the BKU (Ugrahan), addressed the farmers.

Rampura Phul: Activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) jammed traffic on the Bathinda-Ambala rail section by staging a two-hour dharna on the rail line near a level crossing on the Bathinda-Barnala road, here today afternoon.

The railway authorities stopped rail traffic by not allowing one passenger and one goods train to proceed towards its destinations for a few hours. Heavy security arrangements were made by the police to prevent any untoward incident.

Jhanda Singh Jethuke, vice-president of the union, addressing the rally demanded Rs 1275 as minimum support price (MSP) of wheat for current season from the Centre. He said the centre should also ban on private companies from purchasing of wheat from markets.

He said when the centre was aware of the fact that farmers of country were being given less price of wheat procured by the government agencies on one hand and on the other it had been importing wheat from foreign countries at higher prices then why it was not increasing the MSP of the crop to Rs 1275.

He alleged private companies had been purchasing wheat under a conspiracy as these company would deny the centre to gather enough stock of the foodgrains hence it would be forced to import it from exorbitant price.

By in on the same situation, the private companies would also offload stocks in the open market when the price of wheat would be high.

He also alleged a section of farmer leaders, who had been urging the farmers to boycott the grain markets by not selling their wheat were trying to implement the policies of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).


Bathinda farmer cotton man of Punjab
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 12
Mohinder Singh, a farmer of Kalyansada village of this district, has created a record by producing highest per acre yield of cotton in his farms this season.

Mohinder Singh, who has succeeded in producing 14.8 quintals of cotton from one acre of land, would be given CII Award for his achievement by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at a function on April 14.

Mohinder has managed to get a higher yield despite various bottlenecks, including bollworm attack due to which the average per acre yield has come down to few dozen kilograms in the cotton belt of Punjab. About nine years ago, the total production of cotton crop, which was more than 26 lakh bales in 1989, touched the lowest ebb to only 5 lakh bales. The drastic fall in the production level of the crop also triggered off a series of suicides by the farmers after they found themselves trapped in the vicious cycle of debt.

The CII stepped into the scene in 2000 and started sending experts, who with the help of scientists from Punjab Agriculture University guided the farmers to increase per acre yield of the crop.

The efforts started showing remarkable results and the per acre yield of cotton started increasing every year after the farmers adopted new techniques of cultivation.

Mohinder, who has produced 14.8 quintal of cotton on one acre, has surpassed the previous record by Jagdev Singh of Chaina village of Faridkot district who produced 14.4 quintal of cotton on one acre last year.

Apart from Mohinder Singh, the other farmers, who would be given the awards included Surinder Singh of Chahal village, Karnail Singh of Allena village of Ferozepore district and Jasbir Singh of Mehta village of Bathinda district.

A CII spokesman said the sole purpose of giving such awards was to encourage cotton growers to carry on good work to produce highest yield so that they could inspire others by becoming the role model. 


Medical teachers to retire at 60
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Punjab cabinet today approved a proposal to enhance the retirement age of teachers in medical, dental and ayurvedic colleges to 60 years from 58 .

The proposal was brought in the cabinet by the medical education and research department.

The step has been taken to prevent the medical council of India (MCI) from slashing the number of seats in the MBBS, MD and MS courses in the government medical colleges because of the shortage of staff. In the government medical colleges 110 posts of teacher are vacant. The MCI had made up its mind to slash 125 seats in the MBBS course in the government medical colleges because of the inadequate number of teachers in these institutions.

After the cabinet meeting, Tikshan Sud, medical education and research minister, told The Tribune that 28 to 30 teachers, who were to retire from the government medical colleges in the next few months, would now be retained till they attained 60 years of age. He said even those teachers who had retired from the medical colleges in recent months on attaining the age of superannuation (58) would be re-employed. Besides, recruitment would be made on an ad hoc basis to fill the vacant posts. Already, the Punjab public service commission has been asked to recruit 110 teachers.

An executive order would also be issued to re-designate the medical officers, who were posted in the hospitals attached to the medical colleges, as lecturers. 


Duleep Singh’s bust: SGPC’s move to buy it draws flak
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 12
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee’s move to participate in the proposed auction of the bust of Maharaja Duleep Singh, to be held in the UK on April 19 has drawn flak from a section of the Sikhs all over the world.

They allege the SGPC’s attempt would amount to ‘idol worship’ which is not acceptable in Sikhism.

In a complaint to Akal Takht, Tarsem Singh, general secretary, British Sikh Council (BSC) said it would oppose any move of the SGPC to participate in the auction, slated for April 19 at 101 New Bond Street, United Kingdom. He alleged the bust of the Indian Prince and Sikh hero, Maharaja Duleep Singh, fashioned by British sculptor John Gibson almost 150 years ago was just a copy of the one installed in the Palace of Queen Victoria. The bust is estimated to sell for £25,000 to £35,000.

The SGPC has constituted a four-member committee to visit the UK to participate in the auction.

Scholar in Sikhism, Dr Prithipal Singh Kapur, a former PVC, Guru Nanak Dev university strongly criticising the move said Maharaja Duleep Singh was not a role model of the Sikh community. Dr Kapur said he was shocked at the ‘ill-conceived’ decision of the SGPC. He said Maharaja Duleep Singh an ‘apostate’ hence it would be a ‘useless exercise’ on the part of the SGPC.

The sculpture was produced in Rome in 1859-60. The story of Duleep Singh (1838-1893) is a tragic one of loss and of political manoeuvring by the British government and the British East India Company.

Some senior SGPC members also have reportedly conveyed their dismay at the decision of participating in the proposed auction. After Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur reportedly has conveyed her displeasure at the decision of the SGPC. She is of the view the SGPC was formed after launching a movement against idol worship and it would be wrong to put the bust of Maharaja Duleep Singh in the Sikh museum of the Golden Temple.

However, despite a number of calls from the Sikhs all over the world, the Sikh Clergy have maintained studied silence over the decision.


Toll tax row: Call to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 12
The District Sangarsh Committee has given a call of a day-long traffic blockade, sealing all entry and exit points of the district, on April 28 in protest against the toll plazas on the Balachaur-Dasuya and Hoshiarpur-Tanda roads.

Vikram Kumar and Harish Khosla, chairman and president of the association, respectively, said during the protest train traffic on Jalandhar-Pathankot, Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar and Jaijon Doaba-Nawanshahar railway sections would also be blocked.

They said these toll plazas had been economically impinging on all users of these roads. They warned the state government of intensifying the stir if it failed to withdraw the toll tax.

The two also alleged that the district administration had registered two false cases against Ranjit Rana, district president of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thakre), during the last bandh call on April 6. They demanded withdrawal of the cases against Rana.


35 complaints redressed at sangat darshan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 12
As many as 35 complaints were settled at the sangat darshan organised at Circuit house here today. Mr. K.S. Pannu, Deputy Commis-sioner, Amritsar, presided over and heard the grievances of people.

The remaining complaints were referred to officers concerned and asked them to submit their reports within a fortnight.

Addressing the district officers before the commencement of the programme, Pannu stressed upon their presence in their respected offices and directed them to not to leave headquarters without his prior permission. He asked the officers to complete the inquiry and submit the report on priority basis so that the aggrieved persons should get justice at the earliest. He asked the officers to desist from the usual practice of deputing their juniors to conduct the inquiry and prepare reports on the basis of their findings, without cross checking and proper verification.

The complaints put forth dealt mainly with encroachment, disputes about the ownership of land, fabrication of revenue records, pollution caused by industrial units in residential areas and non-availability of J. form in the local grain markets and different pensions under the Social Security Scheme. 


PRTC takes passengers for a ride
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 12
The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) buses have lately become a source of harassment for the passengers.

Whenever I inquired about the route of the bus at the ISBT, Chandigarh, I was told that it would take the Rajpura bypass route. Not even once did I see any PRTC bus taking the bypass route. 

The buses, running on the Chandigarh-Patiala and Chandigarh-Bathinda routes, are supposed to take the Rajpura bypass route. This is what the passengers are told at the time of boarding the buses at the ISBT, Chandigarh.

However, most of these buses never take the bypass route. Instead, they are taken via town. Since the town route comprises a railway crossing and narrow lanes, the journey is, more often than not, delayed by 30 or 45 minutes.

Worst hit are the daily commuters.

Shilpa Sharma, a bank employee who commutes by the Chandigarh-Patiala bus daily, said: “I always get late for duty because of heavy traffic on the roads of the town and very often the railway crossing is closed. The bus remains stranded in the traffic rush for at least 20-30 minutes.”

Another daily commuter, Alok Bajaj, a college student says: “The actual route of these buses is via the Rajpura bypass. However, for some unknown reason, none of the bus drivers follow this route and take the Rajpura town route instead.

Maybe, this is done to oblige those passengers who want to get down at Rajpura town. But, it causes unnecessary delay”.

Adds Damini, a social worker, who often visits Patiala on official tours, “Whenever I inquired about the route of the bus at the ISBT, Chandigarh, I was told that it would take the Rajpura bypass route. I had travelled to Patiala at least eight times in the past one month. Not even once did I see any PRTC bus taking the bypass route. At times, one feels so cheated.

“The minimum staff can do is, at least not lie to the passengers about the route.”

Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, MD, PRTC, said: “It is true that many buses take the Rajpura town route. But, this is being done on public demand. Most of the passengers to Rajpura want to get down at the town. In order to accommodate these passengers, the buses take the town route.

“Moreover, it does not cause any delay.”

When asked why were things not made clear at the enquiry of the ISBT, Chandigarh, Dhillon expressed ignorance. He said he would look into that no PRTC employee lied at the enquiry. 


Multi-therapy hospital planned
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 12
An NGO, the International Society of Health Care and Research, will set up a multi-therapy hospital on 4.5 acres at Hardsapur village on the Sirhind road here. The land for the Rs 200-crore project has already been bought.

Dr Harvinder Singh Bajaj, an NRI from the USA and a homoeopath, will be heading the project. Dr Bajaj says, “This hospital will be one of its kind in the nation, where all kinds of therapies will be available. Our main focus will be on providing quality treatment and medicines to the rural poor absolutely free of cost.”

“The project will be a unique blend of four important procedures of healing. It will give patients as well as the doctors an opportunity to choose the most suitable form of treatment, under one roof”, adds Dr Bajaj.

Initially, patients will be treated with allopathic, homoeopathic, ayurvedic and natural therapies, with additions taking place gradually. Yoga will also be an important element and factor of healing in naturopathy, for which assistance has been sought from Baba Ram Dev and Bapu Asa Ram.

The hospital will have an OPD with a capacity of around 400 patients and the indoor section will house four wings with a capacity of 400 beds. Each therapy unit will have 100 beds.

“We also have plans for expansion in future and to have medical colleges for each therapy”, remarks Dr Bajaj.

He further adds, "We will try our best to make the hospital operational within the next two years.”


Sarbjit’s sister to protest near PM’s house

Bhikhiwind, April 12
Having failed to seek a concrete proposal from the Centre for saving her brother Sarbjit Singh from the gallows in Pakistan after seven days of fast, his sister Dalbir Kaur decided to shift her base to the residence of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at New Delhi.

She threatened to commit suicide in front of official residence of the PM if she failed to get any positive response from him. — TNS


Guru Granth Sahib shifted to gurdwara
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 12
After getting the building of the Christian Parchar Kendra (Church) at Lehragaga, 40 km from here, vacated from the activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, the police is now protecting the kendra. Activists of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal took control of the kendra yesterday after burning the printed material of the Christian religion. They had also started ‘Akhand path’ of Sri Guru Granth Sahib there.

The police and the administration initiated action against activists of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal last night and took about 20 activists in custody when they opposed the police action to get the kendra freed from them. However they were let off after an hour. Later, Sri Guru Granth Sahib was taken to a gurdwara by the Sikhs with great respect.

A Sikh leader said starting of “Akhand path” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the Kendra was a notorious act on the part of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal to create a rift between the Sikhs and the Christians.

A meeting of the civil and police officials with religious and social organisations was in progress even at 7.50 pm tonight to resolve the issue and maintain peace in the Lehragaga town. 


Taksal warns Mohali Punjabi daily
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 12
The Damdami Taksal here today warned publishers of a Mohali based Punjabi daily allegedly for publishing material derogatory to the Sikh community.

At a meeting called by the Sant Samaj at the headquarter of the Damdami Taksal in Gurdarshan Parkash chowk Mehta, Sant Harnam Singh Khalsa, head of the Damdami Taksal, Jatha Bhindran Mehta, said the publishers of the newspaper had violated the codes of Sikh religion and the publication of such material needed be condemning.

Sarabjot Singh Bedi, chairman of the Sant Samaj, added even though the Sikh community advocates of the freedom of the press, the kind of words used by the newspaper against Sikh figures was unfortunate. He said it was our duty to respect ‘Gurbani’ and remarks derogatory to it would not be tolerated.


One gets life term

Moga, April 12
A court here today sentenced to life a person for killing the son of a rikshawpuller here two years ago along with two other accused who were minors.

The order was passed by additional district and sessions Judge B.S. Sandhu.

According to the prosecution, convict Swaran Singh, the two minors and the victim Sonu used to visit a dancing girl in Dhaleke village.

The convict, it said, wanted to marry her and asked her not to mix with the other three. But the victim did not stop visiting her and the convict and the two minors allegedly conspired to eliminate Sonu, it said.

Sonu was killed in February 2005 with sharp-edged weapons, it said adding that the two minors were being tried by a juvenile court in Faridkot. — PTI 


Virk to join duty, MHA tells M’rashtra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has issued instructions to the Maharashtra Police informing that former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk will be coming to join duty in his parent cadre in Mumbai. Virk, however, did not join today.

Well-placed sources in New Delhi confirmed that such an order had been sent to the Maharashtra Police. The same development was confirmed by a senior functionary of the Maharashtra Police tonight while speaking over the phone. He said the MHA had sent instructions informing that Virk would join duty there. However, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said today he would protest against the move of the MHA to revert Virk to his parent cadre.

Meanwhile, sources in the MHA maintained that no written request had been received from the Punjab government to protest the reversion of Virk though MHA officials had seen Badal’s statement on television today.

Badal said today that the government would not relieve Virk. The decision of the MHA had been taken after applying due thought to it, said a senior functionary.

The MHA had yesterday prematurely ended the deputation period of Virk even though the Punjab government had suspended him a few days ago.

It was a small matter and would be resolved, said an official, adding that a decision would be taken after going through Punjab’s request.

It may be mentioned that Virk had written several letters stating that he feared political victimisation at the hands of the SAD regime in Punjab.


Deputation: Centre final authority
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Is the stance of the Punjab government in not allowing the reversion of former DGP S.S. Virk to his parent cadre in contravention of the Indian Police Service (cadre) rules, 1954? These rules govern the IPS officers across the country.

Section 6 of these rules deals with the subject of deputation of IPS officers. It says “….Provided, in case of any disagreement (over deputation), the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the state government concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government”.

Seasoned police officers have questioned the decision of the Punjab government in stopping Virk in view of the clarity of the rule in dealing with the deputation of IPS officers. The ministry of home affairs is the cadre controlling authority for IPS officers across the country. However, with Virk having being placed under suspension the MHA would take a view on it in the same light.

Also, the Punjab government has taken a plea that sending Virk back to his parent cadre could hamper the ongoing inquiry against him. 


Market committees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Punjab government today decided to issue an ordinance to supersede all nominated market committees in the state.

There are about 145 market committees. The previous Amarinder Singh government had nominated members and chairpersons of the market committees.

However, no decision has been taken yet to dissolve the improvement trusts


Gang of looters busted, four held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 12
The district police managed to arrest four members of an inter-state gang of looters, snatchers and vehicle lifters operating in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Jatinder Jain, DIG, Faridkot range, Punjab police, while addressing a press conference here yesterday, said the police had seized firearms, cartridges, iron rod, knife, three mobile phones and Rs 5,000 in cash from the accused identified as Mohni Yadav, Arjun Pandit, Vicky and Gori.

The seizure was made from a room in the Guru Ki Nagri area of this town where Mohni Yadav, one of the accused, used to hide after committing the crime.

Naresh Arora, SSP, Bathinda, was present at the press conference.

He said the accused were also involved in looting of Rs 70,000 and two mobile sets from a salesman, Gurmeet Singh, of a local gas agency on April 6. One of the accused, identified as Ashwani Kumar, alias Lachman, who was injured when Gurmeet Singh fired a shot from his licensed weapon in self defence, has also been arrested. Ashwani Kumar had been getting treatment in a local hospital.

Jatinder Jain said that they were involved in looting of petrol pumps, at Muktsar, Malout, Abohar, Bathinda and Fazilka at gunpoint. A case has already been registered against them. 


SLIET is ‘deemed-to-be-university’
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Longowal (Sangrur), April 12
Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), Longowal, has been granted ‘deemed-to-be-university’ status by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Higher Education), New Delhi. The long-standing demand of the SLIET, was fulfilled today when it got a copy of the notification through fax from the ministry. The notification was issued on April 10, 2007.

According to the notification “in exercising the powers conferred by Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, the central government, on the advice of the University Grants Commission (UGC), hereby declare the ‘Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET)’, Longowal, in Sangrur, District Punjab as a ‘deemed-to-be-university’ for the purpose of the aforesaid Act, provisionally for five years from the date the SLIET disaffiliates itself from the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, Punjab, after which the institute will be reviewed by the UGC with the help of an expert committee”.

The director of the SLIET S.K. Pandey said today the SLIET now would function as an autonomous body to award degrees to the students of Ph.D., Master of Engineering (ME), and Bachelor of Engineering (BE) from the following session. She said, however, the students, already enrolled with the SLIET prior to the date of notification, would continue to be enrolled with the PTU, Jalandhar, which would examine and award degrees to them.


Varsity directs colleges to recruit regular staff
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 12
The directive of the Punjabi university here on the teaching staff has put many colleges functioning under it in a tizzy. The university authorities in an order circulated to all colleges under it has directed at least two third of all teaching staff in the colleges should be permanent.

Besides, each college should have permanent librarian and sports instructor. The authorities have also directed if an aided post in the college falls vacant it should be filled by appointing a permanent lecturer irrespective of the fact that whether the government provides any grant for it or not.

If the government does not provide grant for the vacant aided post the colleges should fill the post with a regular appointee from own resources.

Each college should have at least one permanent lecturer for each subject being taught in the institution. The non-teaching staff should also be recruited on regular basis in the college as per the direction issued in the matter.

The decisions to this affect were taken by a committee of the university including dean academic affairs, dean research, director planning and inspections and dean college development councils.

The authorities of aided colleges told The Tribune on the condition of anonymity alleged the university authorities were adopting double standards. The government was also not allowing the aided colleges to recruit permanent staff against the posts falling vacant. Even if the colleges decide to hold the interviews for permanent lecturer the DPI colleges would not recognise it and financial burden of permanent lecturers would be not on college managements. The government itself has not recruited any permanent lecturer since 1996.

The government also regulates fee in the aided colleges. With the fee being charged from students in aided colleges it is not possible for the managements to recruit permanent lecturers and give them all facilities, they alleged.

Meanwhile the university authorities have also directed all colleges to develop play grounds.


Paper out of ‘syllabus’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 12
Students and teachers of bachelor of sciences, bio-informatics (first year) at Multani Mal Modi College here have alleged that the final paper of the course was out of syllabus. They have claimed that four questions pertained to protein structure production and protein structure models, which are not part of the syllabus.

Nidhi Mathur, lecturer of bio-informatics of the college, says: “Four questions were out of syllabus. We have written to the principal of the college in this connection.”

Dr Baldev Singh, controller of examinations, Punjabi University, said: “We will send the question paper to the chairperson of the moderation committee and also to the person who set the paper”.


Rs 4 a kg atta
Markfed, Punsup to procure 5 MT wheat
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 12
The government has directed Markfed and Punsup to procure 5 lakh metric tonnes foodgrains for its atta-dal scheme.

Sources told The Tribune Markfed and Punsup would start procuring wheat from mandis across the state for the state pool in next few days after completing banking formalities for the purpose. The orders in this regard were conveyed to both organisations today. Both Markfed and Punsup have been told to procure 2.5 lakh metric tonnes of wheat each during the season.

Funds for procuring the foodgrains will be raised by both organisations from banks against the state’s guarantee. The organisation would raise credit limit (loan) of Rs 250 crore each for procuring foodgrains against state guarantee.

Managing director of Markfed GS Grewal admitted orders for procuring wheat in state’s pool had been received. He said organization would start procurement for the purpose from tomorrow onwards. Markfed would procure 2.5 lakh metric tonnes wheat for the state pool, he said.

Though the said agencies have been given directions to procure wheat for the government scheme, these are not clear regarding the process. The government has promised Rs 4 kg atta to the poor of the state.

Meanwhile a survey to identify the families which have income less than Rs 30000 per annum has been started. However, the paradox of the situation is the minimum wage fixed by the government even for unskilled labour is Rs 2800 per month. The person who would avail the benefit of the Rs 4 kg atta and Rs 20 kg dal would be presumed not getting even the minimum wage fixed by the government.


Nod to almost same excise policy
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Badal government today approved almost the same excise policy for the current financial year as was adopted by the previous Amarinder Singh government during the last financial year ( 2006-07).

However, some minor changes such as in the licence fee and quota have been made by the government.

After approving the policy at a cabinet meeting held here, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is also the excise and taxation minister, said the government was expecting an increase of Rs 125 crore in the revenue during the current fiscal year from the sale of liquor in the state. In the last financial year, the collection of revenue from excise was Rs 1,524 crore and it had now been pegged at Rs 1,649 crore. Of this, Rs 76 crore had been earmarked for social security schemes and the amount would be deposited in a separate dedicated fund created for this purpose. However, there was a decline of Rs 46.70 crore ( 3 per cent) in the revenue during 2006-07 as compared to the previous fiscal year.

The government would allot the liquor vends through draw of lots. The allottees would have to deposit a fixed licence fee. “The entire process of draw of lots will be supervised by the respective deputy commissioners and the process will be video recorded. There will be no increase in the minimum retail price.

“It will be retained at last year’s level”, said Badal. To ensure quality liquor and choice to consumers, the licensees would be given the option to lift 30 per cent of Punjab medium liquor (PML), which is also known as country liquor, from any distillery of choice. Such a provision would promote healthy competition among distilleries to manufacture better quality liquor, claimed Shivinder Singh Brar, financial commissioner, taxation. Liquor rates are expected to remain the same as in the previous financial year.

The combined quota for licensees for PML and Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) would be increased by 7 per cent for the current fiscal year. The quota of IMFL and PML for the current fiscal year (of 11 months starting from May 1) will be 296 lakh proof litres and 550 lakh proof litres, respectively. The licence fee per proof litre (incidence) has been reduced from Rs 142 per proof litre to Rs 135 per litre. “These steps are expected to increase the profits of retail traders”, said Brar.

The licensees having L-2 vends attached to their units would be given the option to convert 15 per cent of their quota of PML into IMFL at the rate of duty payable on IMFL.

In the border belt, where the chances of smuggling of liquor are high, the maximum number of vends in a licensing unit will be increased from three to five. Specially designed hologram stickers would be affixed to all liquor bottles to be sold in the state.


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