P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Sukhbir promises more water to farmers
Govt to revive old irrigation system
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 10
The Punjab government is all set to resuscitate the age-old irrigation system of Punjab in such a way that farmers will get about 40 per cent more water. Adequate water will reach tail ends of canals and fields of farmers in distant areas of the state.

Meanwhile, Anil Dutta, chairman of Central Cooperative Bank at Jalandhar, today joined the SAD. Dutta had been a Congress worker for past 35 years. He had been close to Capt Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. He was welcomed into the SAD fold by Sukhbir Badal.

“We will bring about a revolution in the existing irrigation system and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has already directed the irrigation department to implement the plan. The SAD and the government are planning to take canal water to distant lands of Punjab so that farmers get sufficient water for farming. The Chief Minister has already got sanctioned 600 MW to 1,200 MW capacity thermal plants at Patiala, Talwandi Sabo, and one in Amritsar district. Besides, Punjab is setting one of its thermal plants in Gujarat so that we become a power surplus state.

Our farmers, industrialists, and common people will get 24 hour power supply within a short span of three years. We have a development road map in our mind for Punjab whereas, the Congress government of ‘Raja’ has been sleeping during its five year tenure,” said Sukhbir who, also addressed a public gathering at Central Cooperative Bank.

Sukhbir, who, was accompanied by senior leaders of his party including, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Avinash Chander, chief parliamentary secretary Gurdip Bhullar, Raminder Bularia, Jagbir Singh Brar, Sarbjit Singh Makkar, and Bhagat Chuni lal, all MLAs, said the biggest task before the Punjab government was to get Punjab rid of drug and corruption menace. “We have unleashed a fight against drugs and have pulled up all SSPs.

We have got a good response. Another big agenda before us is to contain corruption at official and grassroots levels. If any officer demands bribe from you, please contact me or any of our MLAs and then see the outcome,” said Sukhbir.

Defending the government on the ‘atta-dal’ scheme front, Sukhbir said the scrutiny of papers was on and deserving people would start getting ‘atta-dal’ at reserved price from August 15. “Actually, 70 per cent of the population had filled the forms, which made things difficult. So, much so that in the Malwa area certain Congress MLAs had also applied for the benefit,” said Sukhbir.

Meanwhile, supporting Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal on wheat price, Sukhbir and Balwinder Singh Bhunder alleged that the Centre was harming the Punjab farmers by purchasing wheat from the USA and Australia at the rate of Rs 1,200 per quintal.


Govt firm on online PMT test
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 10
The state government has taken a principle stand to introduce online Punjab medical entrance (PMT) test, which has been mired in controversies during the past few years, from this session.

Announcing the revamp of the government medical college studies and its functioning, minister for medical education and forest Tikshan Sood, while talking to newsmen here at the Government Medical College, said the government had gone through the recent controversies regarding the conduct of the PMT tests in the state by different universities and had taken a firm stand to conduct the test online to obviate any outside interference.

He said the government was planning to work in a transparent manner to restore the faith of the students and the parents. He said the government would invite top medical experts and teachers to provide the backup answers with different options and put that on the internet.

Sood after interacting with the medical fraternity of the medical college told newsmen that under the direction of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and at the behest of local MP Navjot Singh Sidhu the government was contemplating a comprehensive revamp of the road map to revive the old glory of this institute.

He said the department was working on different options and was consulting urban development agencies like PUDA and the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board for making optimum use of land assets available with this college.

He said the state government had a plan to invest Rs 150 crore during the next five years to improve infrastructure, quality of education, besides providing top of the shelf medical facilities.

Commenting on adverse remarks by the Medical Council of India against the functioning of the government-run medical colleges in the state, Sood said the department was fully aware of the problems.

It had made suitable amendments by raising the retirement age of teachers, besides recruiting ad hoc teachers and designating senior doctors as lecturers to tide over the shortage of teaching staff.

Sood said the government hospital attached to the medical college, which has been scattered in different complexes at some distance, would also be regrouped and the government would try to regenerate the old buildings so that quality and medical health could be provided to the people of the city.


Punjab’s chemical lab to have chromatography test machine
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
The ambiguity in the results of poisoning cases coming from all over the state at the chemical laboratory will soon be a thing of the past. The laboratory is in the process of installing a high- performance liquid chromatography test that will indicate the amount of poison in viscera.

The experts inferred that men were more prone to committing suicide by consuming poison than women. In 1,000 cases taken as sample for the study, 76.4 per cent were men and they had died after consuming poison while the percentage of women was limited to  23.6 per cent

Sources said over the past few years the reports of the laboratory about the presence of poison in the viscera were challenged in courts. Counsel challenged reports of the viscera, especially in cases where bodies were recovered from canal or rivers and it was suspected by investigating agencies that the victims might have been poisoned before being killed.

In such cases, counsel challenged the reports on the plea that the pesticides present in the bodies had come from the canal or river water. The plea was supported by the reports of the pollution control board or other non-government organisations that indicated the presence of pesticides in the canal and river water.

Due to it the state chemical laboratory authorities had ordered for the high-performance liquid chromatography test machine. The authorities in the laboratory said with this new machine they would be able to give the exact amount of poison in the viscera. The results of the machine are also confirmatory.

In a study conducted by Dr D.C. Sharma, former chief chemical examiner of the state laboratory, and Dr D.S. Bhullar, registrar in the department of forensic medicine and toxicology at Government Medical College, Faridkot, it was found that in about 88 per cent of deaths due to poisoning pesticides were used by the victims.

However,with the new machine the chemical examiners at the laboratory would be able to infer the source of pesticides present in the viscera as water or vegetables.

The experts inferred that men were more prone to committing suicide by consuming poison than women. In 1,000 cases taken as sample for the study, 76.4 per cent were men and they had died after consuming poison while the percentage of women was limited to 23.6 per cent.

Those more prone to poisoning have been found to be in the age group 21- 30. About 35 per cent of the samples of the dead were found to be belonging to this age group.

The cloro-compounds were the most commonly detected poisons that were used by the victims. Poisoning with psychotropic drugs was detected only in males.

The researchers concluded that law related to the storage, sale, purchase and utilisation of various poisons should be strictly implemented to reduce deaths due to poisoning.


Cut stamp duty on properties: BJP leader
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 10
Even as the Punjab government has remitted the stamp duty chargeable on transactions pertaining to transfer of urban property falling within limits of municipal committee or municipal corporation by its owner to heirs, a section of the state BJP leadership demanded that the state government should also reduce stamp duty chargeable on all kinds of transactions of properties from the existing 9 per cent to 3 per cent.

Mohan Lal Garg, member, state executive, BJP, Punjab unit, in a letter written to state party president Avinash Rai Khanna and leader of the party in the Vidhan Sabha Manoranjan Kalia demanded that it should be brought down to 3 per cent. He added that an additional 3 per cent should be charged on property transactions in the shape of social security fund.

Garg further said the state government had already remitted stamp duty on all rural agriculture and residential properties which fell outside the ‘lal dora’. He said the same principle should be applied to urban properties.

He also asked the state government to make arrangements to waive sewerage and water supply charges on those houses, which were being build up on areas measuring up to 10 marlas.


Congress govt played havoc on real estate, says Sukhbir
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Lalru, May 10
Working president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Sukhbir Badal has blamed the Capt Amrinder Singh government for the cancellation of CLU of mega housing projects which had played havoc on real estate prices in the state.

The SAD-BJP government do not believe in vendetta politics and the law of the land would take its course.

Talking to reporters during his visit to the Agro-Dutch Industries Limited at Tofapur, near here, Sukhbir claimed that it was during the Congress regime that a case pertaining to pollution by housing projects was filed with the Punjab and Haryana Court. In fact, the SAD-BJP government was committed to bringing mega projects to the state for the prosperity of its people, he added.

Reiterating the commitment of the government to agricultural development, Sukhbir said efforts were being made to promote agro-industries so that the unemployment situation could be tackled. Besides agro industries, new emerging fields such as IT sector were being promoted by the government as they could take the state forward and help eradicate unemployment, he asserted.

On action against former Chief Minister Amrinder Singh, the SAD leader said the SAD-BJP government did not believe in vendetta politics and the law of the land would take its course. This was despite the fact that the Congress government pursued vendetta during its tenure, he said.

There was no question of separate Shiromani committee for Haryana and attempts by vested interests to divide Sikhs would not succeed, he said, adding that the Agro-Dutch was doing a yeoman’s service for the uplift of the farmers in the state.

Proprietor of the factory Malwinder Singh Kang claimed that the firm was providing direct and indirect employment to over 5,000 persons.


Capt’s letter yet to reach police HQ
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The written protest of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh against the downgrading of his security set-up is yet to reach the Punjab police headquarters here. A special review team of the police along with officials of the intelligence bureau decides on the security cover of VIPs.

Meanwhile, officials in the police said the number of security personnel with the former CM was adequate and only the CRPF had been replaced. A unit of the CRPF had been sent on deputation to Punjab for protecting the Chief Minister and it was now attached with Parkash Singh Badal. Earlier, when Amarinder Singh was the CM, the unit was attached with him, said a senior official.To get another unit of the CRPF would require the permission of the union ministry of home affairs.


Backward classes
Ex-MLA writes to Sonia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Basant Singh, former Congress MLA from Punjab, has written to party president Sonia Gandhi to give due representation to leaders of the backward classes in the 12-member coordination committee set up yesterday to streamline the party functioning in Punjab.

Basant Singh, former president of the Punjab youth Congress and general secretary of the state unit of the party, said 52 per cent of the population in the state comprised members of the backward classes. However, these sections had not been given adequate representation in the coordination panel.

He said at least three prominent leaders of the Congress from the backward classes should be taken on the committee.


Manpreet to seek Bhattal views
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal today said he would write to leader of the opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to discuss with her various budget proposals and other economic matters related to the state.

He said he was for consensus among various political forces on economic issues and would like to seek cooperation from the MLAs concerned in this regard.


Penalise PSEB, urges retd SE
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
Retired SE of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Gurnek Singh Brar has filed a supplementary petition before the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) seeking imposition of penalty on the government or the PSEB for delay in filing the Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) and revision of the tariff petition.

In the petition, a copy of which was provided to The Tribune, the petitioner had pleaded that penalty of Rs 6,000 per day could be imposed on the board or the government under Section 142 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

He had also pleaded that the Punjab Government should pay an adhoc cash subsidy of Rs 100 crore before the third of each month to the PSEB for free or subsidised power being supplied under various government schemes. He had also demanded an adhoc tariff increase of 10 per cent to save the PSEB from the financial crisis.

Earlier in the copy of the petition, filed in the recent past, he had alleged that the government was to provide cash subsidy of Rs 1,560 crore to the board in lieu of supplying free power for tubewells during a period from 1996 to 2001.

He had also sought direction to the PSEB for filing the tariff revision petition on time.

As per the Electricity Act, each generating company and licensee has to file the tariff revision petition before November 30 of each year, including ARR for the previous year.

He had alleged that the said policies of the government have led to increase in revenue gap for 2006-07 to Rs 2,756 crore. It is projected to grow to Rs 5,114.7 crore by the next financial year.

“If the things continue in similar manner the operations of the board like procurement of coal may collapse, especially in the coming months, when the revenue receipts are at the lowest, while expenditure is at its peak,” Brar said.


Woman gives birth to triplets
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
The birth of triplets came as a special surprise for the parents of the newly born baby girls who were overjoyed on hearing the news.

Amandeep Kaur, 21-year-old resident of Hawara Kalan village in Fatehgarh Sahib district, was admitted to Madhu Nursing Home here following labour pains. The delivery was normal and she gave birth to three baby girls.

Dr Geetanjali of the nursing home said while two of the children weighed 1.6 kg each, the third new born was merely 1.4 kg and needed to be kept under observation for about 10 days.

She said the father of the children Sukhdev Singh was a farmer and the parents were overjoyed over the birth of the children and took extra care of the third child who was admitted to Dr Dang Hospital to be kept under 
observation in view of her weight.


15 of marriage party hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 10
At least 15 members of a marriage party today sustained injuries when a private bus, in which they were travelling, reportedly overturned when the bus driver tried to save a cyclist near Khillrian village on the Bangawali road, 7 km from here. The bus was on its way to Malerkotla from Sunam.

All injured persons were admitted to the local civil hospital. After treating them, hospital authorities discharged them.


Tarak’s death
 Inquiry ordered
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 10
Sangrur civil surgeon S.K. Bansal has ordered an inquiry to probe the alleged negligence on the part of doctors of Sunam Civil Hospital in the treatment of state president of the Association For Democratic Rights (AFDR) Hari Singh Tarak on April 22.

Talking to The Tribune today Bansal said he had ordered the inquiry into the matter after reading a news item “Docs responsible for Tarak’s death” published in The Tribune on May 7. He further said he had asked assistant civil surgeon S.L Dua to conduct the inquiry and submit the report in three weeks.

Bansal said Dua would check the records of the hospital, including the treatment given to Tarak by doctors before referring him for further treatment.


Bandh by arhtiyas

Goniana (Bathinda), May 10
Commission agents of local grain market observed bandh and staged dharna to protest against the government move to set up a yard and laboratory under the Technology Mission for Cotton (TMC) scheme in the grain market.

Due to bandh by about 150 commission agents the procurement of wheat in the market could not take place today and the farmers, who had unloaded their produce, had to wait till tomorrow for the procurement of their produce.

The labourers working in the market also joined commission agents to support their cause. Commission agents raised slogans against the e government. — TNS


Traders nab cheat
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 10
Traders here caught a impersonator last evening. President of the Arhtiya Association Pramil Kalani, social activist Sugan Chand Singla, paraded a person before newsmen who had allegedly been collecting donation from local business for the past three days for the construction of Sri Ashatsidhi khere Bala Ji Dham temple in Chhavsari village of Jhunjhanu district in Rajasthan.

A commission agent suspected something fishy on seeing huge donations shown on a receipt on behalf of an insecticide dealer and some commission agents claiming that they had donated Rs 11,000 to Rs 21,000 for the project. When contacted on phone some of them denied having made any contribution, others said they had donated Rs 1,100 to Rs 2,100 only. The person had fraudulently added zero to the carbon copy of the receipts to impress other businessmen.


SC relief to JEs 
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Supreme Court has directed the Punjab government to fill the posts of sub-divisional officers in the irrigation department lying vacant since 2000 within three months through promotions of eligible junior engineers of the department.

The apex court has also upheld, through its order of May 4, the new service rules-2004 governing the promotion of engineers. The court further struck down the claim of AMIE degree-holder engineers to the vacant posts and said the only criteria for filling of the vacancies should be the new service rules-2004.

"The matter was pending in the court for the past one-and-a-half years. Importantly, the irrigation department had promoted some junior engineers as sub-divisional officers on the basis of manipulated ACRs. The promotions were cancelled in 2005 following a vigilance probe and the junior engineers were reverted to their parent cadre," said Manjit Singh Kutaal, president of the Diploma Engineers Association, Punjab irrigation department.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had later upheld the promotions and ordered the government to promote the aggrieved junior engineers forthwith.

The High Court order was challenged by the Diploma Engineers Association and the government in the Apex Court which struck it down and held that the new service rules should govern the promotion of junior engineers. The Supreme Court observed: "In our view, the High Court completely ignored the settled law enunciated by this court on the subject."


HC takes serious note of Ludhiana’s woes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today took a grim view of the laxity shown by the Municipal Commissioner, Ludhiana, in filing the status report on rampant encroachments, pollution and commercial activities going on in residential areas of the city.

The court observed, while hearing three inter-related petitions together, that Ludhiana was in a sorry state of affairs and to make matters worse, the attitude of the municipal commissioner was pathetic.

The court said if the commissioner did not act promptly, it would make his presence mandatory on every hearing. Importantly, no representative from the Ludhiana MC was present in court.

The three petitions broadly submitted that Ludhiana, a city sans a master plan despite having a population of four million, was home to rampant encroachments, pollution due to vehicular traffic and commercial activities in residential premises, especially in posh areas like Civil Lines, Model Town etc.

Importantly, the issue of Budha Nullah was also raised in one of the petitions.

The court had directed the Punjab chief secretary and the Ludhiana DC and MC chief to file reports on the matter. The chief secretary and the DC had filed their reports on April 30 stating how the administration was coping with the issue and the steps it was taking to address the problem.

Trust’s appeal  dismissed

The court on Thursday dismissed the appeal filed in the case of Ch Devi Lal Trust and Society vs CBI. It was observed by the court that the trust and society were separate entities and not one as claimed by the petitioner, represented by its general secretary Ram Kumar Sharma.

The CBI has been conducting an enquiry into the assets of the Chautalas. The petitioner had pleaded that only Om Parkash Chautala's property should be enquired into and that the sealed accounts of the trust and society should be opened.

Abhay Chautala is president of the trust and society.

The petitioners had already made a similar plea before the CBI special court which was dismissed by it. 


Justice Kohli takes oath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Justice Pramod Kohli took oath as judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today. With his arrival, the strength of judges in the court now stands at 35.

He was administered oath by Chief Justice Vijender Jain at an impressive ceremony which was well-attended by fellow judges of the court and the members of the Bar.

Justice Kohli was born on March 1, 1951. He was enrolled as an advocate on October 12, 1972, and started practising in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

He earned reputation in civil, constitutional, company and service law matters and also specialised in arbitration.

He remained advocate-general of Jammu and Kashmir from 1990 to 1992. On January 7, 2003, he was appointed additional judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and became a permanent judge of the same court on January 3, 2005.

Later, he moved to the Jharkhand High Court from where he has been transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


Pulse Polio
Admn plans massive campaign
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
To review the arrangements for Pulse Polio round to be held from May 20 to 22, a meeting was held in the office of civil surgeon here today. The meeting was presided over by Dr Usha Dhingra, civil surgeon, which was attended by all MOs, SMOs, nodal officers of Patiala district.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Goldie (WHO) and Dr Archana Gupta, DIO, revealed that poliomyelitis had been a major cause of disability among children in India. Until 1995, it crippled thousands of children for life, but as a result of massive efforts in the form of national immunisation days, introduced in 1995, the cases of polio dropped to an all time low in 2005, as per the reports collected by the department.

But in 2006, the number of cases increased alarmingly. As many as 674 cases of polio had been reported till December. Out of this, 546 cases had been reported from UP only and 61 from Bihar.

In 2007, 44 cases of Polio had been reported till date, disclosed Dr Gupta.

Since a large number of migratory population from UP and Bihar keep on travelling to Punjab, there was a danger of importation of wild polio virus in Punjab, said Dr Goldie.

In Punjab, eight cases had been reported so far whereas 19 cases had been reported in Haryana. Because of this alarming situation, two national immunisation day rounds had been held on January 7 and February 18.

Dr Usha Dhingra, civil surgeon, reviewed all arrangements made for the Pulse Polio round. She disclosed that a total of 902 booths had been planned in the district covering all urban and rural areas. She directed all officers and staff of the Health Department to work with dedication in order to make this programme a success.

Dr Gupta said 1804 teams had been constituted which would visit from house to house on second and third days of the activity to vaccinate all children up to five years of age which were not brought to the booths on the first day. In addition, 27 transit teams had been constituted to vaccinate the target children who would be travelling during those days, she added. These teams would be posted at railway station, bus stands, main highways and prominent road crossings in the cities.

Further, 40 mobile teams would be vaccinating children in remote and sparsely populated areas like brick kilns, labourers at construction sites, melas and marriage palaces etc. The teams would be deployed on all three days of the round from May 20 to May 22.

Dr Goldie emphasised that special attention would be paid to urban slum areas, so that no child be left without being immunised in these areas. Dr Dhingra stressed on the IEC display of banners and posters and other IEC activities so that maximum children reach the booths.

She urged the people of the district to bring their children upto five years of age to the nearest booth on May 20 and protect their children from polio. 


Addl SHO arrested

Malerkotla, May10
A Vigilance Bureau team of Sangrur today caught “red-handed” additional station house office, Amargarh, Abdul Rashid while he was allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000/- outside the SDM’s office from Kesar Singh son of Kaka Singh Langrian village.

DSP Roop Singh Maur said here the alleged accused had demanded a bribe of Rs 15000 from Kesar Singh to ensure bail for his son. A case has been registered. — OC


MBA students boycott examination
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 10
The controversy over the shortage of lectures took a new turn at Guru Nanak Dev University here today with students of Master of Business Administration (MBA) course boycotting their first examinations here today.

The entire class of 49 students for the fourth semester did not appear for the exam to express solidarity with the six students who had not been issued roll numbers for not fulfilling the minimum condition of 75 per cent lectures.

Meanwhile, the university authorities ruled out a re-test as the same paper was conducted at Jalandhar University College. The protesting students said even though last year students with up to 35 per cent lectures were allowed to sit for exams, this time the university was unnecessarily harassing students by sticking to the lecture condition.

“Today was the first test and we plan to boycott all papers if the authorities do not condone the lecture shortage of all students. We held a protest outside the department and the authorities threatened us that they would inform our parents and hostellers would be forced to leave,” said a student.

Amarjeet Singh Sidhu, head of the Department of Commerce and Business Management, said the entire supervisory staff was present at the examination centre. There is no question of holding a re-test as the exam had been held in Jalandhar. The decision of the students to boycott the exam will have serious implications for them. Of the total, 21 students did not fulfil the minimum condition of lectures, permissible relaxation was given to genuine cases, he said.

The students, however, alleged that while they were not being allowed to appear for the exams, wards of certain influential persons had been issued the roll numbers.

Rubbishing allegations that certain students having influence were being favoured, R.S. Bawa, Registrar of the university, said such rumours were being spread by vested interests. He said there was no question of giving any official favour in this regard to any student.

“No one has been unduly favoured. The students are advised not to succumb to the pressure of unruly elements and mischievous rumours being spread in this regard and to sit in their respective examinations in the interest of their academic career,” he said.


Demand increase in salary
Computer teachers barge into DGSE’s office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Disgruntled members of the Computer Teachers’ Union, Punjab, today held a protest in the office of the director general of school education (DGSE), Sector 34, here, in support of their demands. They were demanding an increase in their salaries as per a notification issued by the Punjab Government in 2006.

Thirty persons, including presidents of all districts of the union, participated in the protest. They barged into the office of the DGSE, who was not present. The protesters alleged that despite repeated requests, the authorities have failed to redress their grievances.

Talking to the Tribune News Service, general secretary of the Union Mohit Kansal asserted that the state government was not implementing a notification issued by the Punjab Government, in which the salaries of all those having BSc (IT), BCom, BCA, MSc (IT), BTech and MCA degrees, had been increased from Rs 4,500 to Rs 7,000. But the department had, without any solid reason, not enhanced of salaries of BSc (IT), BCom and BTech degree holders, who are considered as equivalent to BCA.

Kansal threatened that in case the state government failed to meet their demands in the coming week, they would be forced to stage a permanent protest outside the office of the DGSE, in which more than 5,000 affected teachers would participate.

On the other hand, representatives of the Substitute (daily wages) Computer Teachers’ Union, Punjab, today stated that acting president of SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal today reassured them jobs at the earliest. A delegation of protesting members of the union met him at his residence, here, this morning.

Meanwhile, the ongoing protest of the union has entered its 136th day today.


700 posts of JE lying vacant
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
The Council of Junior Engineers, PSEB, held a meeting here today and expressed concern over the delay in filling of a number of posts of junior engineers lying vacant for the past many years.

Speaking on the occasion, Swarn Lal, president of the council, informed that more than 700 posts of junior engineers, out of 2,500 sanctioned strength in distribution organisation, were lying vacant. Consequently, the board had been making time gap arrangement by giving charge of JEs to the senior linemen (AJEs) in order to maintain power supply system and to cope with the huge volume of development and improvement works, he said. Lal said there were instances where only one regular JE was working in a subdivision.

General secretary of the council Davinder Singh pointed out that with acute shortage of supervisory staff like JEs, who were basically frontline engineers in the power sector, important functions such as curbing theft of energy could not be carried out effectively.


Govt ultimatum to BHEL
Complete Lehra Mohabat plant by August
Tribune News Service

Lehra Mohabat (Bathinda), May 10
The Punjab government today gave an ultimatum to the officials of BHEL, which is executing the stage two of the local thermal plant, to commission its first unit of 250 MW by August 2007.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that this ultimatum was given to the officials of BHEL at a meeting held here today. Secretary, power, Suresh Kumar, and chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Y.S. Ratra presided over the meeting.

It was further revealed that the BHEL officials had been asked to commission the first unit in August 2007 by all means so that additional power could be made available to farmers during the peak paddy season.

The first unit of the stage two of the Lehra Mohabat plant was scheduled to be commissioned in March 2007. The delay in its commissioning had not only caused generation losses to the tune of crores of rupees but also shattered the plans of the state government to meet the ever increasing demand of electricity.

Ratra, while denying the fact that any ultimatum had been given to the BHEL officials, said it was an internal meeting of the board. He added that he would be able to tell about it only when the first unit was commissioned.

Information revealed that Ratra had also asked the engineers of distribution wings of the PSEB to get themselves prepared to ensure the uninterrupted fixed hour supply to the farmers during the paddy season, which was expected to start from June 10. 


Govt depts owe 12.34 cr to PSEB
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 10
Various government departments in the Amritsar border zone owe Rs 12.34 crore for 2006-07 to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Stating this to the Tribune here yesterday, H.S. Thukral, chief engineer, PSEB, Amritsar border zone, said the Irrigation Department was on the top of the list of defaulters at Rs 6 crore, while the Punjab Police was at No. 2 as it owed Rs 1.88 crore on account of electricity bills. He said the farmers in the border zone, who had been demanding waiving of electricity bills, owed Rs 60 crore to the PSEB.

Meanwhile, the chief engineer announced that the board had prepared itself for providing uninterrupted power supply to the tubewells during the paddy season. He said the board would soon install one additional transformer in each village of the border zone within the next three months under the model village scheme. 


Maruti SX4 unveiled
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 10
Maruti Udyog Limited has launched its new sedan SX4, powered by the global M-series engine, here yesterday.

With this model, MUL will reinforce its presence in the A3 segment and enhance its leadership position. Fitted with an advanced M-series engine, the car represents the future of Suzuki’s engine technology. It is designed to be compliant to Euro-IV and Euro-V norms.

A state-of-the-art anti-theft device has also been installed in the sedan. The price of the SX4 Vxi is Rs 6,21,576, SX4 Zxi Rs 6,92,262 and SX4 Zxi leather-Rs 7,27,107 (ex-showroom, Patiala).


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