P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


City Centre Scam
Rs 40 lakh recovered from Improvement Trust official
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, April 23
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) investigating the City Centre scam today claimed on the basis of fresh investigation that a trustee of the Improvement Trust apart from ex-minister Ch. Jagjit Singh and ex-chairman P S Sibia was present in Room No, 517, called Latala House, of Park Plaza hotel where bribe money allegedly exchanged hands.

In first-ever recovery of cash, SSP Vigilance Bureau, Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu said a whooping Rs 40 lakhs has been recovered from the Ludhiana Improvement Trust's executive officer D C Garg, which he had allegedly received as illegal gratification in the scam.

The ambit of investigation around the former local bodies minister has spread up to Kharar. The officials claimed arrested accused Manmohan Singh had set up a NRI Enclave near Kharar where the minister had 20 per cent share.

Garg's counsel, however, accused before a Duty Magistrate that the Vigilance Bureau was adopting third-degree methods in the interrogation. He claimed Garg was given electric shocks.

Sandhu said the amount was recovered from Pawan Kumar, a former EO and a close aid of D C Garg. He said Garg had disclosed during questioning he had kept money with his friend. He had revealed that he had kept Rs 15 lakhs with his brother, which could not be recovered.

He was regularly getting Rs 1 lakh per month from the Today Homes Company officials after the start of construction. Apart from him, another accused, Chief Engineer-Manmohan Singh, was also getting Rs 1 lakh per month from after the start of construction at City Centre Project. The amount was paid to these officials by the company to ensure that they may not create any obstruction in the project, added SSP Vigilance Bureau.

Meanwhile, the Duty Magistrate K K Jain today extended the police remand of both the accused for another two days. The Special Public Prosecutors Ashwani Bedi, M L Solanki and Sukhchain Singh strongly pleaded for extension of police remand with the plea that much progress was made in the two days.

As per the disclosure statement made by the accused, more money is to be recovered from the accused. Garg had received one gold chain and given the same to his wife Rekha.

Special Public Prosecutors stressed that accused Manmohan Singh had also made startling revelations that he used to collect money from various officials and used to pay the same to the then Local Bodies Minister Chowdhry Jagjit Singh.

He has also revealed that he was given a silver statue by Today Homes officials, lying at his home. On these grounds extension of police remand was sought. Whereas the defence counsel strongly opposed the contentions of public prosecutors. The counsel for accused Garg alleged that his client was given " electric shock" during the police remand.

The counsel for Manmohan Singh moved an application before the Vigilance Judge Kuldeep Singh that the custody of accused persons had become illegal as the police failed to produce them before the court well in time. Accused were produced before the Duty Magistrate at his residence after 5 pm.

The Judge also directed the Vigilance Bureau officials to get Manmohan Singh examined from a heart specialist. The orders were pronounced on the written request that the accused was suffering from the heart problems and under medication from the DMC Hospital. 


Dullo: Amarinder must stand by Cong men
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo said today former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh must return to Punjab to stand by his supporters. Dullo said Amarinder had ruled the state for five years with the support of the party workers, now he should stand by them when they were being victimised by the Akali-BJP government.

At the same time, he made it clear that whoever had minted money out of the Ludhiana City Centre scam should face it himself on his own and party would have nothing to do with him.

In an informal conversation with mediapersons here, Dullo even sought to defend All-India Anti-Terrorist Front chairman Maninderjit Singh Bitta in his tirade against Amarinder. Bitta levelled various allegations against the former Chief Minister. Dullo remarked in his defence, "He (Bitta) must be having enough proofs against Amarinder to speak". When asked, should action be taken against him, he remarked, "Why, he is a taksali (hardcore) Congressman".

He observed this was high time that Amarinder should return to Punjab. He pointed out that Congress workers were victimised as false cases were being slapped on them just because they voted and supported the party.

Dullo even made it a point to bring on record that the party had nothing to do with the reception accorded to Amarinder on his arrival in New Delhi. MLAs, leaders and workers had gone in their individual capacity as it was not a party function.

Referring to the allegations levelled against him by Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khera, Dullo said he had asked for the video recording of the allegations made against him. He said action would depend upon the contents of the recording.

About the coming local bodies elections, Dullo said he had started the process of finalising the candidates. He said today he had a meeting at Jalandhar, this would be followed with meetings at Amritsar and Ludhiana.


Dera Sacha Sauda secular pillar damaged
4 cops suspended, case registered
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, April 23
Tension gripped the region after the secular pillar erected by the followers of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda at Mansa crossing was damaged by some anti-social elements late last night.

Though the district police authorities registered a case and placed four policemen, including a sub-inspector, under suspension for dereliction of duty, unsatisfied over this action, hundreds of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda jammed the vehicular traffic on the Bathinda-Mansa road, the Mansa-Ludhiana road and the Mansa-Patiala road after 6 P.M.

The followers said that they would not lift the blockade till the authorities took concrete action against the suspects.

Political observers have been attaching much significance to this development as they pointed out that ever since SAD-BJP alliance came to power, followers of Dera Sacha Sauda were being watched by the state government agencies. Today’s development had shown that animosity was being harboured against them by a section of those, who were opposing the Derabad.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that district police authorities registered a case against Madho Sidhu and others under sections 295-A, 148, 149 and 427 of the IPC in the local police station on the complaint lodged to it by a section of Dera followers.

SSP, Ram Singh, who went to spot to get first hand information, placed sub-inspector Yogeshwar Parshad, In charge, Highway Patrolling, and three head constables - Sukhchain Singh, Nazar Singh and Tajinder Singh - under suspension. A departmental inquiry had also been initiated against them.

The Dera followers alleged that secular pillar carrying the symbols of almost all the main religions of the country and erected in the memory of late dera head Shah Satnamji was damaged by the anti-social elements to hurt their feelings.

The complainant, in this case, alleged that about 10 persons, who were carrying firearms, were damaging the secular pillar late last night. When they tried to stop them, the accused charged towards them. As they took shelter behind a vehicle, the accused fled.

They found the mobile set of one of the accused from the spot which belonged to the accused Madho Sidhu of Gamiwala village of the district.

Mohan Kumar, convener, Joint Action Committee, Dera Sacha Sauda, alleged that secular pillar had been damaged under a deep-rooted conspiracy. He added that if the authorities failed to arrest the accused, the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda would be forced to launch action in whole of the state.

The SSP said raids were being conducted in Mansa and other districts to arrest the accused. He added that situation was under control and no one would be allowed to hurt the religious sentiments of any section of society.


Cong to serve ultimatum on SAD-BJP govt
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Cautioning the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) coalition government against pursuing its politics of vendetta, the Congress has decided to adopt the path of confrontation.

“The growing lawlessness, especially the targeting of Congressmen and their families, cannot be tolerated any more. Let the government control the situation and bring to an end its policy of pursuing the politics of vendetta against our party leaders and workers, failing which we will be out in the streets,” cautions leader of the opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Revealing that she had to cut short her campaigning in the ongoing assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh because of the growing incidents of violence against Congress workers in Punjab, she said she would be travelling in the state to be with her party workers.

“See, what is happening in the state. In Dayalbagh village in the Dhanaula constituency, one person was killed and another was in a precarious condition after a group of Congress workers was fired upon yesterday. The assailants were led by a former Akali panch.

“In Mansa also there has been a deliberate attack on Congress workers. And in Bukanwala in Moga district, a dalit Congress worker died in jail under mysterious circumstances,” she said, alleging that the SAD-BJP government was using official machinery to browbeat its opponents.

She held that such incidents were indicative of serious trouble, including civil war. “This is a dangerous trend and needs to be checked and controlled. I am amazed that the Akalis are still behaving as if they were an opposition party and the Congress the ruling.

“We are going to serve an ultimatum on the government to immediately control the situation and stop the victimisation of Congress workers. Congressmen were also at the receiving end of serious and lethal attacks throughout the state,” she added.

Saying that she would return to Chandigarh immediately, Bhattal indicated the convening of a meeting of the Congress legislature party to review the current situation in the state.

“If need be, we will demand a CBI inquiry into all incidents of violence and the registration of false cases against Congressmen and their families. We may also meet the Governor and submit a memorandum to him against the unabated state-sponsored violence against Congressmen,” she added, holding that the Congress was united and strongly supported its workers in fighting the repression let loose by the SAD-BJP regime.

“Let the new government focus on the development of the state and solve problems facing the people in general and farmers in particular. While farmers are suffering due to hailstorms and heavy rain (‘badal’--- clouds), they are also at the mercy of the other Badal (Chief Minister Parkash Singh) for the lifting of their rain-soaked grain.”


‘Manpreet’s views on free power personal’
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Badal, April 23
Taking serious note of rising number of incidents of smuggling of narcotics and reports of police atrocities, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said he would meet senior police officials on April 28 to ensure that law and order prevail in Punjab.

He said apart from directing the senior police officials to arrest the smugglers, they would be told that any police official indulged in atrocities would not be spared.

Badal, who was here to lay the foundation of a school, said his government had not been indulging in any sort of political vendetta.

Regarding the power shortage in the state, he blamed the successive governments in the Centre for this mess. He said the state government would buy electricity from other sources to bring down the demand-supply gap. He said new thermal power plants and biomass plants would be set up in Punjab to make it electricity-surplus state.

When asked about his comment over the statement of finance minister Manpreet Badal that the facility of free power for the agriculture sector was not good for the financial health of Punjab, he said Manpreet Badal had expressed his personal view. He added that the party was committed to fulfil the promises that it had made during the elections. Moreover, free power was being given to the agriculture sector to subsidise its operations.


Palace on Wheels to run in Punjab from next year
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala April 23
The Palace on Wheels will run on railway tracks in Punjab from next year. The Rs 31-crore project of the Punjab government has been cleared by the Ministry of Railways. The state government will invest Rs 13 crore in the project and Rs 7 crore will be put in by the union government for the promotion of tourism.The rest will be contributed by the Railways for developing coaches with five-star facilities.

Secretary,Tourism and Public Relations,Jagjit Puri gave this information while talking to The Tribune here last evening.

He said the scheme for running the new Palace on Wheels train was formulated by the Department of Tourism of Punjab. Since running the luxury train was not viable for Punjab alone,tourist spots from four other states, including Himachal, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, were also included in the itinerary.

The tourists would be offered six nights and seven days journey in the luxury train. During this time period, they would be taken to Agra in UP, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Kurukshetra in Haryana, Dharamsala in Himachal and Patiala, Nangal, Anandpur Sahib, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar in Punjab.The trip would cost $ 300 (US) per day.

The Railways would construct special platforms at the said stations for the Palace on Wheels that would be meant exclusively for tourists. The entire work for taking the tourists around the destinations would be outsourced by the government to private players. The Department of Tourism planned to target non-resident Indian (NRI) tourists who visited India, Puri said.

The proposal,he said,had also been formulated for the common people.For this, the department had proposed to run a Punjab Darshan train. The fare for the train would be reasonable.The proposal had been finalised by the state and was under the active consideration of the Ministry of Railways.

When asked about the proposal of the department to exploit the tourist potential of the Ranjit Sagar Dam, the secretary,Tourism, said the proposal had been dropped. The land around the dam lake belonged to the Department of Forests. It was very difficult to get the land used changed. Besides,the security concerns were also expressed due to the promotion of tourism near the strategically vital dam on the border of Jammu and Kashmir.

About the privatisation of the Nangal-based tourism complex hotel,Puri said the complex would be given on lease to some private party.


Punjab municipal elections in June

Jalandhar, April 23
Elections to the five municipal corporations in Punjab will be held in the first week of June. “It has been decided to hold the elections for five municipal corporations of Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar and Bhatinda in the first week of June and notification as well as the exact date of the poll will be announced soon,” Punjab Local Bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia told reporters here today.

He said election would be held on the basis of the de-limitation process which would be completed by April 30. The minister said for the overall development of urban areas in the state, Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Fund would be created.

Asked about his reaction to Chief Minister’s statement that improvement trusts of several districts would be merged with the PUDA, Kalia said these trusts would function as they are and the Chief Minister had issued a clarification in this regard. — PTI 


Bibi Jagir Kaur’s move on Banjara Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 23
Bibi Jagir Kaur ,a former SGPC chief,has sought a proposal from Banjara Sikhs living near Nagpur for the introduction of Gurmat Mission in gurdwaras there to make them conversant with Sikh tenets. She said the move would help them bring back into the community’s fold.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone today,the Bibi said most of the seven crore Banjara Sikhs spread across the country did not know much about the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev even though they had belief in the Sikh religion.

TheBibi,who has just returned after inaugurating a gurdwara in Pachaur village, 150 km from Nagpur, said she had asked the locals there to send a proposal to the Dharam Prachar Committee of the SGPC for imparting religious education to the Banjara Sikhs through the Gurmat Mission.

“These Sikhs don’t even know Punjabi, what to talk about the teachings of the ‘Baani’ of the Gurus. There is a need to bring them back to the ‘mul dhara’ and give them religious education is one solution,’ she said.

“These people had no gurdwara to pay obeisance even though they had been keeping apart small percentage of their earning. It was used at the wedding ceremonies of their daughters. I believe if efforts are made, the community can learn the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev,” she said.

TheBibi was honoured with the title of ‘Banjara Maa’ during her last visit to Nagpur. “A chunk of nine acres has been donated for gurdwara budget of Rs 35 lakh also cleared.

A granthi has now been appointed and the gurdwara formally inaugurated.

As many as 20 gurdrawas have been set up in recent years in the area,” she said.


Pak team bowled over by democracy in India
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 23
Members of a delegation from the Hazrat Maulvi Gulam Rasool Academy (HMGRA), Faislabad (Pakistan), were impressed with the functioning of democracy in India.

The delegation, led by Sahibzada Masud Ahmad, and consisting of Principal Hamid Ullah Shah Hashim, Mohammad Yusaf Yar, Shahid Manzoor, Mohammad Zuvair Akhtar, Shahjad Ahmad and Asif Mahmood arrived at Dasuya town of this district.They were invited by the Sahit Sabha of Dasuya and Garhdiwala for seven days to attend a seminar on Sufi poetry of Maulvi Gulam Rasool and to discuss his contribution to Urdu literature.They visited several towns and villages of Punjab on the way from the Wagah border to Dasuya.

Sahibzada Masud Ahmad was talking to reporters here this afternoon.

Ahmad, a maternal grandson of Maulvi Gulam Rasool, said though he was visiting India for the first time for a glimpse of his maternal grandparents’ village, Alampur, and grandfather's village, Phambra, both in Hoshiarpur district,people of both villages were very hospitable towards all members of the HMGRA making them feel that they were not meeting strangers, but their family.

He was choked with emotion and tears rolled down his cheeks. "India is a great country and if its government allows, I can settle here permanently", he said.

He appreciated the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan for strengthening ties between people of both countries.He emphasised that liberalisation of visa rules should be done so that people could easily meet their brothers frequently on either side of the border.

They demanded a memorial of Maulvi Gulam Rasool in Alampur, 8 km from Dasuya town, where he was born on January 29, 1849, and died on March 7, 1892. Maulvi Rasool wrote his first book at the age of 14 which was published in 1863-64. The afsana of "Yusaf Jalekha” written by him was appreciated by people. Out of the 6,666 prose-poems written by him, a majority of these formed part of the syllabus from Class X to Ph.D in Pakistan, they claimed.

The mazaar of Maulvi Rasool is located in the fields of Alampur village where there is no approach road to it. They demanded an approach road to it.

Later, members of the delegation visited the VVRI (Sadhu Ashram) to see Vedic research work in Sanskrit going there.


Hike in DA for pensioners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The Punjab government today announced 6 per cent increase in dearness allowance for state government and family pensioners.

The DA has been raised from 29 per cent to 35 per cent from January 1, 2007, on the union government pattern.

Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said the step would put an additional liability of Rs 49.36 crore per annum on the state exchequer.


Hari Singh Tarak cremated

Sangrur, April 23
A staunch supporter of the democratic rights and state president of the Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR), Punjab, Hari Singh Tarak (69), who died last evening after sustaining serious injuries in a road accident in the Sunam area, was today cremated at Lehragaga. Two sons of Tarak, Jugraj Singh and Baghi Shamsher Singh, lit the pyre.

Hundreds of activists and leaders, belonging to different democratic and mass organisations, observed one-minute silence to pay respect to the departed soul. — TNS


Bhagrana cremated
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 23
The last remains of Inderjit Singh Bhagrana, a member of the Punjab state committee of the CPM, who succumbed to his injuries at GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, were consigned to flames at his native village Bhagrana, near here today.

His cremation was largely attended.

Bhagrana was attacked by miscreants allegedly led by Shamsher Singh Lala on April 4 at Jansuha village, near here, for pursuing the case of the rape of a Dalit girl.


Patiala parks losing to encroachers
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 23
Government land worth crores of rupees has been encroached upon in the city while the municipal corporation has decided to keep mum over the matter.

A large number of gardens of this princely city are fast being turned into residential areas by encroachers. The city, which was once proud of its 186 public parks, is now left with just a handful of them.

Municipal commissioner S. K. Ahluwalia said: “The corporation is aware of the encroachments on the government land but we have our own limitations. The land, which has been marked for public parks, has been encroached on by certain well-to-do citizens of Patiala. They have raised residential units on the land. There are at least 25 such public parks, which have been occupied illegally.”

“In order to check the illegal occupation of government land, we need to have a building inspector along with adequate staff. However, the corporation does not have either. Besides, we need to have adequate funds, which again, we are lacking in.

“In case we demolish the illegal structures built on the land meant for public parks, the occupants will go to move the court. This will result in legal suits, further eating into our already meagre funds. Moreover, I alone cannot do anything substantial in the matter. It is the responsibility of the house to take a decision on it.”

Manoj Kumar, a retired Army officer says, “If the practice of raising houses on public land continues, soon a day will come when gardens will be found only in history books."


Top honours for Ashu, Riya
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 23
The Rotary Club (Mid-Town), Patiala, with the help of the Rajindra Gymkhana and Mahendra Club jointly organised an on-the-spot painting competition for school children in memory of Late Rtn B.S.S. Bedi in the lawns of the club, here, yesterday.

The function was presided over by the president of the club Rakesh K. Singla. Around 250 students from local schools participated in the contest.

Deputy commissioner of Patiala, D.S. Grewal, was the chief guest. He lauded the role of rotarians for their selfless service to society, especially in the field of adult education, eradication of polio and helping the weaker sections of society. He also gave away the prizes to the winners.

Winners in the age group of 13 to 16 years were: Ashu Garg (Playwin High School) 1, Prapti Bajaj (Kaintal School) 2 and Chetan (Playwin School) 3. In the age group of 8 to 12 years, the winners were: Riya Garg (Playwin High School) 1, Simran (DAV School) 2 and Sheweta (Playwin High School) 3.



Relief for weather-hit farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The Punjab government has ordered the conversion of short-term cooperative loans into long-term ones in the case of farmers who had suffered crop damage recently because of hailstorms.

Cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh today said the step had been taken following representations submitted to him in this regard by affected farmers.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said he had also directed cooperative banks to provide various facilities to NRIs. 


Youth employment board on cards
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The Punjab government is all set to constitute a youth employment board. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had made promises to deal with the huge unemployment problem in the state, has consulted experts on this issue.

Already, the new employment generation department has been notified and its business rules have been framed. Badal has obtained the services of A.S. Oberai, former director of the international labour organisation (ILO), to tackle the problem of unemployment. Oberai, who served in the ILO for 25 years in Geneva, is now a member of the Punjab pay commission.

Asked about his assessment of the extent of unemployment in the state, Oberai, who was trained as an economist at the London School of Economics, said the problem was acute and an integrated approach was required to deal with it.“ Piecemeal measures will lead nowhere as far as countering the problem is concerned”, he said. “ We have no exact data on unemployed youth, but it has been estimated that the number of such persons is between two million and three million in the state”, he said.

Unemployment had begun hitting the youth.They were being alienated from society and consequently becoming drug addicts, said Oberai. Their ambition to get white collar jobs required to be changed through a motivational process. There were various areas of employment. The first was the starting of a self-employment venture. The second was employment in the wage sector. The next was white collar jobs in the government sector. And then came employment abroad.

There was a need to set up a single- window agency to ensure an integrated approach to tackle the unemployment problem. The providing of training, credit and marketing to unemployed youth should be put under that agency. Training programmes should be shaped keeping in view the demand in the job market. There was a lot of scope for employment in Europe. “ At this stage we should start training our youth with an eye on the job market in Europe where millions of skilled workers will be required in the next 10 or 15 years”, he said.

He said there was a lot of scope for employment in allied sectors of agriculture such as dairy and poultry. “ All sectors will have to be tapped for employment generation”, he said. The setting up of agro-processing and other industries was a must to provide employment to rural youth. The industrial policy should be framed in such a manner that it should promote industry in the rural sector.

China had been successful on this front. China had made a rule that the money generated by industry from the rural areas would be reinvested there. “ The wealth generated by industry based in the rural areas cannot be invested elsewhere”, he said.

He said training only enhanced the chances of employability and did not create jobs.

He said by adopting an optimistic approach the problem of unemployment could certainly be dealt with.


Ad hoc staff rally behind V-C
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 23
Ad hoc employees of the university, who had been appointed during the stint of present V-C Swaran Singh Boparai, today came out openly in his support.

They carried out a march in the university, raising slogans in favour of the V-C. They claimed that the university had progressed in the stint of the present V-C. Members of joint action committee, who had the support of certain aspirants for the post of V-C, were organising protests under a conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the members of the joint action committee continued their dharna in front of the office of the VC.

They alleged that the VC was trying to divide the employees of the university. He had raised apprehensions among the ad hoc employees that they would be ousted from the university in case he was removed from the post.

The V-C was instigating the ad hoc employees of the university to disrupt the peaceful agitation of the joint action committee, they alleged.

Due to ad hoc policies of the university, the number of ad hoc employees had increased more than permanent employees.

With the ad hoc employees and joint action committee ready for a stand off, it could be lead to clash between both groups.


154-year-old revenue record found tampered
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 23
The 154-year-old revenue record, which remains under lock and key in the Deputy Commissioner’s office, has been found tampered.

This has been established in an inquiry report compiled by the District Revenue Officer Subash Chander. The inquiry was ordered by the then Deputy Commissioner Kirandip Singh Bhullar. The new Deputy Commissioner K.S.Pannu has ordered a fresh inquiry.

Tehsildar Rajesh Sharma described the tampering of the revenue record as most serious development which could lead to numerous land disputes.

The allegations of tampering of the revenue record also got credence when Patwari, Circle Rakh Jhita (on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road), lodged an FIR alleging that his entire record had been burnt by some un-identified persons.

However, the inquiry by the DSP established beyond doubt that there were four keys of the record room, including a private person who was working as assistant with the Patwari. However, the Tehsildar said the recruitment of private persons to handle the revenue record was illegal which was a serious matter.

He confessed that the revenue record of Rakh Jhita could not be copied from the S.K. Branch (DC Office), which has also been found tampered. He did not rule out the connivance of the revenue officials in this regard.

The senior officials say that many heads may roll if a thorough inquiry was conducted into the land scam.

The sources pointed out that the land of Rakh Jhita village is considered prime where some Delhi based builders had invested huge amount, resulting in rising of land prices. The land mafia had entered into real estate business in this village and started preparing of bogus power of attorney and death certificates to grab the prime land.

The DRO said he had already submitted his report to his seniors and now it is for the district police chief to take further action. He said no departmental action could be taken in this case since a criminal case had already been registered in two police stations.

The DRO said he had also indicted two residents of Rakh Jhita, who, in connivance with the revenue officials, got the record tampered.

A glaring example is that revenue record of more than 200 years old temple was also tampered.


PSEB steps for setting up thermal plants
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 23
The PSEB has formed special purpose vehicles (SPVs) for setting up thermal plants of 1,200 MW each at Talwandi Sabo and Nabha.

The SPVs would be headed by member finance and accounts (PSEB) Anurag Aggarwal, who would act as chairman-cum-managing director. The power finance corporation has been appointed as consultant to SPVs that will function as a company.

PSEB chairman Y.S. Ratra has appointed Jatinder Goyal as chief accounts officer of the board, while Mahesh Mittal, SE (hydel), and K.D. Kansal as directors of the company.

The SPVs have been formed on a pattern adopted by the central power utilities to attract private investment in the power sector.

The company would negotiate power purchase agreement with private investors in the thermal plants.

However, the appointment of company directors has come under criticism from various quarters in the board.


Withdraw cases, demand Nihangs
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 23
The war of succession between two groups owing allegiance to Baba Santa Singh, head, Budha Dal, took a new turn today when the group headed by Surjeet Singh submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner.

Hundreds of Nihangs of the Surjeet Singh group, who staged a demonstration in front of the district administrative complex to lodge the protest against the registration of false criminal cases against Surjeet Singh and others, urged deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari to withdraw the cases.

They said that if the authorities failed to give them justice, they would intensify the agitation and jam traffic in Bathinda district on April 27.

The war of succession among various groups of Nihangs belonging to the Budha Dal sect came to the fore after Balbir Singh, who once parted company with Baba Santa Singh, again came close to him.

On the concluding day of the Baisakhi mela, Balbir Singh alleged that Surjeet Singh, who claimed himself to be legal heir of Baba Santa Singh, attacked him with firearms with the help of his associates when he was coming out of the gurdwara located at Talwandi Sabo.

Subsequently, a case was registered against Surjeet Singh and others at the Talwandi Sabo police station.


Local govt dept told to generate resources
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Keeping in view the financial position of the state, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has asked the local government department to make efforts to raise its own resources.

Badal said the land available with all municipal committees, corporations and improvement trusts should be tapped to generate resources to meet the requirements of the state share under central government schemes.

Badal wanted that a list of the property, including shops, of all municipal committees, corporations and improvement trusts should be prepared within a week. A detailed plan should be drawn up for exploiting the land by setting up commercial establishments, including malls.


Govt urged to enact law to check piracy in films

Amritsar, April 23
Iqbal Dhillon, director, producer of Punjabi films urged the Punjab government to make laws to check piracy of films and enforce these to save the film industry in the state.

At a seminar on “Punjabi films - Kal Aaj aur Kal” organised by the Sur Saanjh here today as part of the ongoing first ever Punjabi film festival, Dhillon said besides making laws the government should provide subsidy to the film industry as was being done by Maharashtra and other state governments. He said this would also help promote mother tongue and heritage of Punjab.

Surinder Malli, noted Punjabi film critic said after the demise of Varinder, no producer had been able to produce a quality film of appeal to masses.

He said in the past two decades Punjabi films lacked strong script, good presentation and appealing music resulting in loss of interest of people in these films.



Servant commits murder, arrested
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 23
With the arrest of Jugraj Singh two murder cases have been solved. Claiming this here today, Parmjeet Singh Garewal, SSP, Barnala told that Jugraj Singh, alias Bhola, killed two persons in last two year. He was arrested within 24 hours after he committed another murder at Kattu village.

The SSP said that Jugraj Singh was working as a servant with deceased Balihar Singh in his fields. On the intervening night of April 20-21, Balihar was sleeping with his wife in his home. Balihar’s brother-in-law Gurcharn Singh was also present in the house.

After taking the meal, the couple slept in varandah at their residence at Kattu village. At about 2:30 am, Gurcharn Singh listened to the screams of her sister.

Balihar Singh received several injuries at his head. When he tried to catch him, he was hit with an axe. Both Gurcharn Singh and his sister Harvinder Kaur admitted Balihar to civil hospital. Sensing the serious condition, he was referred to PGI Chandigarh where Balihar breathed his last.

A case was registered on the complaint of Gurcharn Singh. As police inquiry found Jugraj prima facie guilty of the murder, he was arrested. During interrogation, he confessed that he also murdered Harjiwan Singh in 2005 with an axe when he was sleeping. The reason for the murder was that both Jugraj and Harjiwan extracted desi liquor. When Harjiwan stole his liquor, in order to teach him a lesson Jugraj killed Harjiwan.


3 held for kidnapping, raping minor

Bathinda, April 23
The district police has arrested three youths identified as Satpal Singh, Resham Singh and Lakhvir Singh, who were allegedly involved in kidnapping and raping a minor girl belonging to Phallad village of this district.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the minor girl was studying in plus one class in a school located at Chak Ruldu Singhwala village. When the victim did not return to her maternal grand parent’s house, a report was lodged with Sangat police station.

After investigation, police came to know that four youths had kidnapped the girl. The police arrested two accused. However, the girl could not be recovered.

The police afterwards came to know that girl had been taken to a religious place at Amritsar by one of the kidnappers. A police party reached Amritsar and arrested one of the kidnappers along with the victim.

A case under section 363, 366 and 376 of IPC was registered against the accused. The fourth accused was yet to be arrested. — TNS


Biotech course at Badal college
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
The first-ever full-fledged course in biotechnology will start at Dashmesh Girls College in Badal village.

An inspection team of Panjab University has formally cleared it. The college has been asked to appoint teachers.

Principal of the college S.S.Sangha said on the phone today that there would be 40 seats in the course, which was expected to begin from the coming academic session. 


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