P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

To set up Amritsar Development Authority
Govt approves Rs 3,150 cr for developing holy city
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 5
In a move aimed at turning 434-year-old city into a business hub and a world-class tourist destination of North India, the Punjab government today approved Rs 3,150 crore master plan for developing this holy city.

While announcing this, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal declared that a separate Amritsar Development Authority would be set up to put development of infrastructure in and around the city on the fast track.

The Chief Minister felt that the city’s infrastructure had not kept pace with its glory. But, now the government was committed to provide best possible facilities to match its importance. He described the holy city as the spiritual, religious, economic and political capital of the state and felt that the government would make all round efforts to make it as the best city in the world.

The Amritsar Development Authority would plan, execute and oversee all developmental activities in the city while preserving its historic character. Speaking at a session on ‘Vision Punjab-2012: Towards Building Amritsar’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Badal also came out with an action plan for industry and invited participation from entrepreneurs and industrialists to put the state as the front runner on industrial map of the country.

Badal also announced to complete the much- talked- about elevated road to the Golden Temple by December 2008. Unfolding development bonanza for the holy city, he said the ambitious projects envisage an investment of Rs 2, 567 crore for the urban transportation and road network, including the elevated road project. Besides, Rs 312 crore had also been earmarked for strengthening the water supply system, solid waste management and setting up of a sewerage treatment plan. Keeping in view ample scope for tourism in the city, Rs 105 crore had been set aside for its promotion.

The Chief Minister declared that the pristine glory of the local medical college would be restored and upgraded besides constructing the district administrative complex at a cost of Rs 40 crore within one- and- a-half year. The government also plans to set up three thermal plants in the state, out of which the first one would be set up in the city, he added.

He declared that a multi-product Special Economic Zone (SEZ) would be set up in the city with the consent of farmers besides a product-specific SEZ at Goindwal Sahib industrial complex. Moreover, the ‘no power cut period’ for the complex had been extended from 2010 to 2015.

Cases to be reviewed against sarpanches
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Facing immense political pressure from hundreds of sarpanches and Akali workers from villages across Punjab, who were booked by the Vigilance Bureau (VB) during the previous regime of Amarinder Singh, the ruling SAD-BJP combine in the state has decided in principle to review each case on its merit.

In those cases, where it is blatant that a sarpanch was booked due to his political affiliations or on frivolous grounds, the cases are to be closed. Borderline cases are to be referred for a departmental enquiry to be conducted by the officials of department of rural development and panchayats, well-placed sources confirmed here today.

Living in fear of being prosecuted by the vigilance, sarpanches have been approaching MLAs and district leaders of the ruling combine seeking respite. In turn, MLAs have been asking the government to find a way out and “help” those who have been victims of “vendetta” during of the previous regime.

The vigilance bureau, during the previous regime, had booked about 550 sarpanches and base-level Akali workers for alleged misuse of money or for over spending from the allocations for rural development.

The elected nominees have claimed that most of them were booked on grounds which do even merit registration of a case. They had also alleged that political affiliations, rather that any genuine investigation, had played a major role in these cases.

Sources, meanwhile, said there is absolutely no chance of a blanket immunity in all cases. There can be no such policy, said an official. The cases, which were registered on genuine grounds and are backed with proper evidence of any misappropriation of funds, will be impossible to be closed.

Also, the cases in which challan has been presented in court cannot be withdrawn. In other cases, the vigilance has every right to say that it merits only a departmental enquiry. Again, it has to be on a case-to-case basis rather than allowing the closure of all cases.

After the SAD-BJP combine was voted to power, the vigilance has given an application in court in Jallandhar saying it wants to re-investigate the case against Ajit Singh Kohar, who is a minister now. In an earlier tenure of Parkash Singh Badal ( 1997-2002), Kohar was a minister and the previous Congress regime had registered a case against him for alleged irregularities. 


Atta-dal scheme
CPI chides govt for ‘delaying tactics’
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 5
The Communist Party of India (CPI) today accused the Badal government of putting its much-publicised atta-dal scheme in the cold storage by ordering a survey of the families with income up to Rs 30,000 per annum.

Talking to The Tribune today, a member of the CPI’s national executive, Dr Joginder Dayal, said a survey of the poor in the name of covering them under the atta-dal scheme was a delaying tactic of the Badal government. He alleged that the survey was not being done properly, due to which the government might order a resurvey to further delay the implementation of the scheme.

Dr Dayal advocated the involvement of the people’s representatives at the village and city levels to identify the genuine beneficiaries and help the benefits percolate down to the poor.

He also emphasised on strengthening the public distribution system in order to provide essential commodities at cheap rates to the masses.

In order to make the municipal corporations “development-oriented bodies”, Dr Dayal said CPI would field its candidates in the upcoming polls in Amritsar, Bathinda, Patiala, Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

He said whether the party would contest municipal corporation elections on its party symbol or not would be decided during the state executive meeting on May 14 and 15 at Chandigarh. He said the CPI would form a front with secular forces and men of integrity and honesty.

Dr Dayal also sought the appointment of an academician as the Vice-Chancellor (V-C) of Punjabi University, Patiala, by removing the present V-C, S.S. Boparai. He said bureaucrats should not be appointed V-Cs as they run the “institutions of learning” like a government department.

Dr Dayal also accused the Akalis of fooling the people in the name of exposing Capt Amarinder Singh’s alleged corrupt practices. He said the SAD-BJP government should work for development of the state and remove the agrarian and industrial crisis. He also called for a mass movement to fight corruption. 


GND Varsity V-C issue
Chancellor asked to step in
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 5
In a statement made today, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the state government had urged the Governor and the Chancellor to look into the complaints received against Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University Dr Jai Rup Singh.

Badal said this was done as the government did not want to encroach upon the autonomy of the universities. The CM, however, hinted that the state government would intervene after receiving a reply from the Chancellor.

However, Dr Jai Rup Singh said he had held the charge of the department to promote research in the field of genetics. Dr Singh is facing the heat for also holding the charge of Coordinator of Centre for Genetic Disorder.

Earlier, convener of State Universities’ Salvation Front, D.S. Arora had complained to the Chief Minister, the Governor and the Education Minister in the regard and sought a high-level probe in the matter.

Defending Dr Singh, former dean Academic Affairs Dr Gurnam Singh said it was creditable that he had continued to be associated with academics and research at the varsity even after becoming the V-C.


Book Amarinder for abetting suicide: Bunder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Senior leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Balwinder Singh Bunder and Bikram Singh Majithia, a minister in the Punjab government, in separate statements criticised former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here today. They were reacting to Amarinder Singh’s claims in Chandigarh yesterday.

Bhunder, a former minister, asked the government to book him for abetting suicide of Vikas Singhal, MD of Raglan Constructions, Dera Bassi, who committed suicide due to revocation of change of land use (CLU) permission to his project.

In a statement issued here today, Bhunder asked the government to book Amarinder Singh under Section 306 of IPC (abetment to suicide) because his CLU was intentionally withdrawn by the previous government, knowing full well that the project was at the last stage of completion.

Amarinder had yesterday admitted that NoCs, if they were cancelled by the Punjab Pollution Control Board during his regime, it was wrong. He said he was not aware of the details between the period when election had taken place February 13 and February 27, the day of counting.

In fact, the CLUs were cancelled by urban development department of the ruling SAD-BJP regime last month as a sequel to the cancellation of the NoCs by the previous Government.

Bhunder said that confusion was the result of shortsighted and lopsided polices framed by the previous government to project imaginary development in the shape of mega projects. Every rule of the government was violated and short-circuited to suit the whims and fancies of the former Chief Minister and his coterie.

Bhunder went on to say that Amarinder is responsible for ruining the dreams of thousands of middle class families who had invested their hard-earned money and bank loans in these projects and were eagerly waiting for the possession of houses in these projects.

Meanwhile, Punjab public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia said Amarinder Singh’s chants of “vendetta” were nothing more than “desperation to grab cheap publicity”.

He advised Amarinder to focus on writing his memoirs. Majithia also ridiculed Captain Singh’s “boast” of defending Congress workers against so-called vendetta, and said, “One does not sit in Scotland or Delhi for months in order to protect party workers in Punjab.”


Cases against scribes
Call to boycott govt functions 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Chandigarh and Punjab Union of Journalists here today said that electronic media of Punjab and Chandigarh would boycott Punjab government functions if the police officials guilty of registering false cases against six Jalandhar-based journalists were not punished.

The union said it had informed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal with regard to the incident at Jalandhar. It said that Badal had ordered the withdrawal of cases registered against journalists.

Welcoming the withdrawal of cases against the journalists, the union president Vinod Kohli has reiterated that call for the boycott of the state government functions would not be withdrawn till action is not initiated against guilty police officials. Kohli said the Jalandhar incident has exposed the government's claim that it was all for the freedom of Press.

The Electronic Media Association ( EMA), Chandigarh, has strongly condemned what it described as arbitrary and repressive act on the part of Jalandhar police in booking six journalists from various electronic and print media establishments allegedly in a false case of criminal trespassing and allied offences.

Condemning the police action, EMA, in a statement released here today, termed the registration of cases against journalists as an act of intimidation and gagging of the free press.

Ritesh Lakhi, president of EMA, has sought a high-level inquiry into the circumstances leading to illegal detention of mediamen by the hospital authorities for hours together on the intervening night of May 4 and 5


Bag with RDX found in Jammu-bound bus

Pathankot, May 5
The police today found an unclaimed bag containing RDX and other destructive materials from an unclaimed bag in a Jammu-bound Punjab Roadways bus here.

According to police sources, during the routine checking of vehicles at the Lakhanpur check-post, personnel found an unclaimed bag from a Pathankot-Jammu bus from which they recovered 2 kg RDX, one detonator, one battery, Rs 900 in Indian currency, laminated maps, a telephone directory, Indian Airlines tickets and some clothes, including Pathani suits.

The police has seized the material and registered a case. None has been arrested in the case so far. The Kathua SSP has been informed of the matter, the sources said. — UNI


Rift within BJP surfaces during FTI function
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 5
Factionalism which had dogged the BJP in the city today came to the fore with different factions exchanging hot words immediately after the conclusion of the special function organised by the Federation of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the BJP Beopar Cell.

A few senior BJP workers were annoyed at the way ‘ordinary’ persons were asked to share the stage with prominent leaders of the SAD-BJP combine, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, industries minister Manoranjan Kalia and BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu while leading industrialists and members of the Punjab Beopar Mandal were made to sit in the crowd.

As soon as Sidhu along with Badal and other dignitaries arrived on the stage members of the BJP Yuva Morcha started raising slogans in his favour. Despite repeated requests by organisers to stop shouting slogans they continued to add to chaos at which Sidhu seemed to be getting irritated.

Even Badal, during his speech, had to intervene to urge them not to raise the slogans. He said, “We are here to discuss the problems being faced by residents and businessmen of the city and we should not waste the precious time”.

Meanwhile, the CII function was also marred by the heavy security at a five star hotel where a number of invitees were not allowed to join Badal and Sidhu for lunch as the security staff had shut the gates of the restaurant. 


SAD leader held for stealing records
Our correspondent

Barnala, May 5
In this Akali bastion, the Akalis themselves are trying to outdo each other to establish their supreme status. In a show of one-upmanship, a former MLA has succeeded in getting a senior Akali leader booked for stealing the records of the truck union of Bhadaur.

The group, headed by former MLA Malkeet Singh Keetu, is at loggerheads with SAD’s general council member Bhola Singh Virk.

Soon after the elections, Keetu, in association with MLA Balbeer Singh Gunus, reportedly managed to take control of the truck unions at Barnala, Tapa and Bhadaur by dethroning Virk.

Now, he has succeeded in getting Virk booked on charges of stealing the union records.

On the other hand, Virk too claims that a case against Keetu was registered for beating a truck operator. However, senior police officials deny this. As per a complaint filed by the Keetu group, some records pertaining to Bhadaur truck union had gone missing and Virk was booked for this.

Virk, on the other hand, has dismissed the theft charges. He said after leaving the presidentship of Bhadaur truck union about two months back, he had never been to the union office.

On the other hand, Zabr Virodhi Action Committee held a dharna at the hospital premises where Bhola Singh, the truck operator, is recuperating. The committee demanded an immediate end to the vendetta politics.

Meanwhile, Keetu along, with SGPC executive member Tek Singh, reportedly took control of the prestigious Baba Gandha Singh Public School. Baba Tek Singh allegedly prevailed upon the trustees to nominate him as the chairman of the school by dethroning Mahant Piara Singh from the coveted post.


Dead man booked for causing death due to negligence
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Maur Mandi (Bathinda), May 5
The local police registered a criminal case on the charge of causing death due to negligence on a person who was killed in the same road accident. The accident, which occurred on the night of May 2, resulted in the death of Jagjit Singh who was booked under Sector 304-A 15 minutes after he passed away.

The information gathered by The Tribune revealed that Jagjit Singh, who was on a motorcycle with one of his friends Kala Singh, was involved in an accident with another motorcycle driven by Gurmel Singh. ASI Punjab Police, Bhag Singh, posted at the local police station, had registered the case.

SSP Naresh Arora said he had launched a probe into the incident today and action would be taken as per the report. He added that a challan in this case would not be presented in the court as the person against whom the case had been registered had died. He added that in case it was found that a police official had made a mistake in the case, it would be rectified.

Even though in the statement given to ASI Bhag Singh, Harbhajan Singh, a relative of Gurmail Singh who claimed to have witnessed the accident, said Jagjit Singh had died on the spot, a case on charges of causing death due to negligence was registered against the deceased.

Furthermore, SMO Sadhu Singh Sidhu and a pharmacist at the local civil hospital, Rakesh Gupta, said Jagjit Singh was brought dead to the hospital at 9.15 pm on May 2.

The information available revealed that though the doctors who had attended on him at the local civil hospital declared Jagjit Singh brought dead at 9.15 pm, Bhag Singh went ahead and registered the case at 9.30 pm.

In fact, the case was not registered on the complaint of Gurmail Singh but on the statement of Harbhajan Singh, a relative of Gurmail Singh.

On why he did not record the statement of Gurmail Singh and Kala Singh, those involved in the accident, ASI Bhag Singh said they were injured and hence not fit to make a statement. When asked why he did not wait to record the statement before the registering the FIR, he refused to comment on the matter and said the SHO of Maur Mandi police station was the right man to offer any comments on the issue.

SHO Ranbir Singh said both the parties had reached a compromise and hence the matter was not so important now. However, when asked whether he had a proof to show that a compromise had been reached, he said ASI Bhag Singh had a written copy of the same. However, Bhag Singh refused to comment on the matter.


Construction of flyovers becomes bane for people
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 5
The construction of flyovers over two railway level crossings in the city seems to have become a bane for people as the authorities concerned have failed to provide them safe passage by not constructing the diversion roads.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the diversion roads had not been constructed so far despite the fact that a major part of Rs 43 crore, which was the total cost of both flyovers being constructed over the Patiala and Mansa railway level crossings on the Dabwali road, had been earmarked for the same and a considerable amount from it had already been released to the construction company concerned.

Not only this, the authorities concerned, which have been looking after the fact whether the flyovers are being constructed by the private company as per the terms of the agreement reached between it and the state government, have also virtually allowed the company to play havoc with the health of people, who pass from the site daily and face duststorm.The metal sheets, which the construction company is supposed to erect alongside the site of the construction for saving the people from dust, have been missing from a major part of the construction area.

Instead of pressing the private company, that is executing the project, to construct the diversion roads without any delay, the officials of Central Works Division of the PWD have allowed them to encroach upon the vacant metalled parts of the road over which the flyovers are being constructed.As a result, construction material, sand and other waste material is dumped on the road hampering the smooth flow of traffic.

Interestingly, one of the roads on which the flyover is being constructed and which has been rendered unmotorable due to the negligent attitude of authorities concerned, leads to the native village of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

For the pedestrians using the road too it is a walk through ‘duststorm’ as the labourers have been throwing sand and other waste material on the side of the metalled roads.Not only this, the vehicles passing from the uneven road too are getting damaged.

A. K. Goyal, XEN, Central Works Division, said he had written a letter to representative of SP Singla Construction Private Limited, the company which is executing the project, to construct the diversion roads without any delay.

He said diversion roads had not been constructed so far even though tenders for the flyovers and diversion roads had been floated at same time and work for both these projects had started simultaneously.

Sandeep Garg, project manager of the company, said the company had been facing a number of problems in the execution of the project due to the completion of certain formalities, which the state government agencies were supposed to do. He added that project was to be completed within 15 months.


Dhooma accused of violating Sikh tenets
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 5
A senior leader of the Damdami Taksal, Lakha Singh, made a blistering attack on Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhooma, accusing him of violating the Sikh tenets.

Addressing a press conference today, Lakha Singh accused Dhooma of having entered into a ‘pact’ with the then government in 1992 and said he had traveled to America and enjoyed star hospitality when a large number of Sikhs were being denied passports.

“During the peak of terrorism in 1990-92, when Sikhs, especially members of the Damdami Taksal, were being denied passports by the Government of India, Dhooma went abroad. This needs to be explained,” he said.

He questioned if the 40-day yagna organised by Dhooma at the Mehta Gurdwara last year was as per the Sikh tenets.


NGO to support 50 kin of landmine victims
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 5
The Society for All Round Development (SARD), a New Delhi-based NGO, with the help of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, has opened its field office in a border Roopnagar village here.The NGO has started a two-year programme for supporting 50 families of landmine victims residing here and in Fazilka subdivisions.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Indian Red Cross society have agreed to provide technical support through the District Red Cross Society and the Mahavir Viklang Jan Kalyan Sansthan, Jaipur. The NGO will help in replacing victims’ prosthesis, impart mine risk education in schools located near the international border and provide gainful employment skills to family members of the victims, besides arranging interest-free loans for setting up small-scale business.

The field office was inaugurated by SDM N.S. Brar. Regional mine action advisor for Asia Pacific (ICRC) Boris Cerina and Indian Red Cross Society’s member Jaya Lakshami were the special guests. 


Budha Dal celebrates founder’s dal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 5
Budha Dal Public School celebrated its founder’s day here today.

On the occasion, president of the school Uday Singh flagged off a cross-country race which was well-participated by schoolchildren. A shabad gayan competition for junior and senior wings was also held.

A colourful Rajasthani dance and the much-awaited bhangra were performed by the senior wing of the school.

Dr Amrit Ahuja, principal, highlighted the achievements and said after completing 23 years in the field of education, the school boasted of a strength of 4,500 children. It excelled not only in academics front but also in sports.

The president along with the principal gave away prizes to the winners. 


Balanced diet and yoga to stay fit: Ramdev
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 5
Yoga guru Swami Ramdev visited Shushila Devi Public School on the Patiala-Rajpura road, 11 km from here, and spent two hours with tiny tots and others present in the school.

Lauding the efforts of Madan Lal Aggarwal, chief trustee, for providing education to children of the rural area, Ramdev urged the government and philanthropists to help rural students to enable them to compete with their urban counterparts. Ramdev stressed on balanced diet and giving yoga training to the children from early age to keep them fit throughout their life.

Aggarwal along with the school management honoured Ramdev and Mahant Atma Ram, who accompanied him to the school. Atma Ram expressed gratitude to the yoga guru for his visit to Patiala.

A cultural programme and yoga exercises were also presented by students of the school under the guidance of Parminder Pal Kaur.

Proposing the vote of thanks, Pran Sabharwal urged the health and education departments of the central and state governments to arrange the guru’s visit in schools all over the country. 


Scindia to sanction funds for Bikaner Canal
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, May 5
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje Scindia had agreed to sanction funds for repairing the Bikaner (Gang) canal in this district from 0 RD to 45 RD to ensure a better flow of water from the Harike, sources close to her said today.

Kisan Sangharsh Samiti spokesman Subhash Sehgal had submitted more than 12 memorandums to the Punjab and Rajasthan chief ministers in the past, emphasising on repairing the opening stretch of the canal which served as a life-line for the farmers in the Punjabi-dominated Sriganganagar area.

The Rajasthan government had sanctioned Rs 427 crore project to remodel the canal and only a part of the lining work was pending.


Govt urged to implement welfare fund Act
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 5
The Punjab unit of the All India Lawyers Union has demanded that a “trustee committee” be established and the Punjab Advocates Welfare Fund Act 2000 be implemented.

Joint secretary of the union Gurmail Singh said at a press conference here yesterday that the Act was passed by the state legislative Assembly and it had also received the assent of the Punjab Governor on January 15, 2002. It was published in the Punjab Gazette.

The Act provided for the creation of a welfare fund and enrolment of its members, which would facilitate borrowings and investments, accounts and audits, framing of welfare schemes for advocates and their legal heirs and the constitution and registration of bar associations.

He said in the absence of the trustee committee, which was to be set up by the state government, the very purpose of the Act got defeated. 



Vet Pharmacists’ Case
HC refuses to vacate interim order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has refused to vacate its ad-interim order, dated January 29, 2007, regarding veterinary pharmacists and clarified that no classification can be made between the 10+2 and matriculate candidates.

The Division Bench, comprising Justice J.S. Kehar and Justice L.N. Mittal, yesterday admitted the petitions filed by the candidates who possessed two-year diploma of veterinary pharmacists from the Department of Animal Husbandry and Fishery, Punjab.

These candidates had prayed for the vacation of the ad-interim order and submitted that the qualifications possessed by matriculate candidates, with a majority of them getting diploma from Rajasthan, should not be treated as recognised qualifications.

The ad-interim order was passed by the high court on the petition by those matriculate candidates who felt discriminated by the Punjab government’s stand that diploma candidates should must possess 10+2 qualification in physics and chemistry in second division.

The high court had, in its January interim order, said that services of such candidates who were matriculates with a diploma should not be affected by the government’s order dated January 17,2007, till further orders.

Yesterday also, the court reiterated its previous stand and said the services of such candidates could not be terminated on the grounds that they were not possessing the prescribed qualification.


Weedicide ‘clears out’ 6,000 acres for 1 yr
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, May 5
In a significant development that could throw light on a major agricultural crisis hitting Punjab, a comprehensive inquiry has been initiated to find out why the standing wheat crop was burnt after farmers of Mansa, Moga and Patiala districts used a particular weedicide.

A high-level team comprising scientists of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Krishi Vigyan Kender (KVK), Kauni (Muktsar) and officials of the local Agriculture Department would conduct the inquiry. The state Agriculture Department decided to launch a high-level probe into the incident after the first inquiry conducted by local officials could not convince them with its results.

Talking on condition of anonymity, a senior official of the department said around 6,000 acres of agriculture land was rendered barren for about a year after a section of farmers in Patiala, Mansa and Moga districts used a particular weedicide in their farms.

The team has collected five samples of land from Bapiana, Heronkala and Bachhoana villages of Mansa district for the laboratory examination. These samples would be sent to the Pesticides Residual Testing Lab in Chennai to ascertain the exact cause.

He added that four dealers, who had sold the weedicide to the unsuspecting farmers, had been identified and the process of registration of criminal cases was underway.

The state agriculture department first took notice of this crisis when it was found that on usage of a particular weedicide in around 225 acres of land in Mansa and Patiala districts, the first wheat crop got burnt. After that, when the new crop including fodder, bajra and makki was sown, it could only germinate 40 per cent of the yield. When the fields were irrigated, the entire crop, which had germinated only partially, got burnt.

Joint director, Plant Protection, Punjab Agriculture Department, Gurdev Singh Gill confirmed the fact that a comprehensive inquiry had been initiated into this. He said they were apprehending that the use of a particular weedicide had brought phytotoxicity into the land and rendered it barren for about 225 days.

He said unconfirmed reports had also revealed that some of the farmers, who had suffered on account of damage to their wheat crop, might have bought weedicide from Haryana.

The joint director said some of the farmers whose crop had got burnt were not giving the true facts to the agriculture department officials as the companies, which had supplied that weedicide, had ‘suitably’ compensated them.

He added that the high-level team had collected five samples, which would be sent to a Chennai-based lab. The state agriculture department would be able to take any action only after it got a report from that lab, he said. 


RAPID scheme launched

Sangat (Bathinda), May 5
In an attempt to make the police more responsive and available for redressing public grievances without any delay, Jatinder Jain, DIG, Punjab Police, Faridkot range, launched RAPID (responsive administration for people in distress) scheme here yesterday.

On the first day of the scheme, Jain, along with several police officials, including the SSP, DSP, SHO and constables, cleared nine passport verifications, 18 arms licence verifications, 78 complaints and three proceedings under Section 174,CrPC, on the spot.

Giving details of the scheme, Jain said the main objective of the exercise was to reach people at their doorstep to assist them in securing justice, curtail procedural delays, eradicate corruption and to bring about responsiveness, transparency and openness in the system.

He added that under the scheme, all branches of the office of the DIG, SSP and SHO would gather at one place with the relevant record and dispose of the pending matters expeditiously in full public view. — TNS


Life term for killing wife

Moga, May 5
A local court has sentenced a man to life imprisonment for killing his wife.

Additional Sessions Judge B.S. Sandhu also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on Joginder Singh last evening.

In case of default in paying the fine, Singh will further undergo one year of rigorous imprison-ment.

The prosecution said Singh, suspecting that his wife was having an affair, killed her early on June 28, 2005. — PTI


Lecturer, nephew held on charges of extortion
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 5
A first of its kind, "evaluation scam",was unearthed with the arrest of Dr Chamal Lal , a senior lecturer of R.S.Pathania Memorial College , Pathankot, and his nephew Rajbir Singh , a student of local Hindu College, from here today .

The Sadar Police seized money from the alleged culprits which was being received from a student of Jalandhar for ensuring him extra marks during the evaluation being done at Guru Nanak Dev University.

What is shocking is that the duo secured a photo copy of the answer-sheet of the student from the Evaluation Centre so that it could be shown to the student in front of the local Khalsa College for getting money.How the answer-sheet could be smuggled out of the Evaluation Centre is still shrouded in mystery.The police is also investigating whether any employee of the university was involved in the case .

It is learnt that the vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University ,Dr Jai Rup Singh, had received a complaint from one Sumit Kumar,brother of the student that some teachers had threatened to slap " UMC" case against the student if Rs 50,000 was not given to him (the teacher).The sources said the VC approached district police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh who immediately arranged a "trap" in front of the Khalsa College where the student was asked to meet them .

The sources said the student had written some hints in the paper along with his roll number etc. Taking a clue from the paper, Dr Chaman Lal approached the student though his nephew .


PSMS students make big in corporate world
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 5
The Punjab School of Management Studies of Punjabi University is scaling new heights of success. The department has been successful in achieving a large number of placements for its 2005-07 batch.

The placements have been in reputed corporate houses like Abhishek Industries Ltd (Trident group), Asian Paints, State Bank of Patiala, IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Birla Sunlife, HDFC Standard Life Insurance, Reliance Industries, Kotak Life Insurance, Indiabulls, Osram International and Jupiter International.

Keeping in view the global standards of education, the department has signed MoUs with three foreign universities for faculty and student exchange programme. Regarding this, 10 students visited Wilkes University, USA, 12 students visited Kutztown University, Pennsylvania, and 25 will be visiting Grand Valley University, Pennsylvania, soon.

Meanwhile, two faculty members from Kutztown Univeristy, Dr A.M. Daneshyar and Dr Okan Akacy visited the university and interacted with students on a variety of topics.

To strengthen the infrastructure, the department has set up classrooms equipped with LCD projectors, digital boards, digital pads, video conferencing and other technological gadgetry. The computer lab has been upgraded with 60 new P-IV machines and laptops.

Dr S.K. Bansal, Head, PSMS, is giving due emphasis in inviting top executives from industrial houses. Some recently visited executives include Shiv Dullar Singh Dhillon, managing director of PRTC, Gopal K. Kapur, founder president of the Centre for Project Management, California, and Kanwardeep Singh, manager, Media Marketing.

Vice-chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai has accorded approval to a separate building supporting the inbuilt modern technological facilities to role out smart and efficient managers which is the need of the global industry.


Assurance on border trade items
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Union Commerce Secretary, G.K. Pillai, today assured the Punjab Government that its demand for increasing the number of approved trade items through the Wagah border will be taken up in the forthcoming bilateral meeting on trade with Pakistan.

A statement issued by the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation said today that Pillai gave the assurance in response to a demand made by Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh.

The chief secretary had demanded that the list of items being imported by Pakistan Government needs to be increased. Moreover, the items being exported through Wagah border which have tremendous potential from Punjab like engineering goods and agro commodities need to substantially enhanced.

He further emphasised that the government of India should focus attention on strengthening the infrastructure at Wagah border for facilitating trade between India and Pakistan.

The chief secretary sought establishment of branches of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and EXIM Bank in Punjab. This was a long-pending demand of the exporters of Punjab and G.K. Pillai gave a positive response to the same.

Once opened, the branch of EXIM Bank in Punjab will be able to offer insights to the exporters about its innovative schemes of forfeiting, factoring and lines of credit. The branch of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade will help in meeting the growing training needs of the entrepreneurs in Punjab in the realm of international marketing.

Pillai was on two-day visit to Punjab.


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