P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Temporary tubewell connections by June 20
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 8
On the persistent demand of farmers, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to release temporary tubewell connections up to maximum of 7.5 BHP only during the paddy season of 2007.

Chairman PSEB Y.S.Ratra, in a press note issued here today, said that the applications for temporary tubewell connections would be accepted from June 8 to 15, including June 9 and 10. The applications would be processed from June 9 and 10.

The connections shall be made operational from June 11. All eligible applications shall be provided tubewell connections by June 20. However, all such temporary connections would be disconnected by October 15.

He further informed that necessary instructions had been issued to the field officers to ensure that there is no overloading of any distribution transformer due to the temporary tubewell connections. Such connections shall be released only from the rural feeders without resorting to any augmentation of lines and distribution transformer capacity.

Details can be obtained from the nearest distribution sub-division of the PSEB. Consumers can also download the instructions in this regard from the PSEB’s website www.psebindia.org <http://www.psebindia.org>. 


PRTC Clueless
Two AC buses gutted, probe ordered
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 8
Two goldline Kinglay buses of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) caught fire at 3 am today. The deluxe air-conditioned buses worth about Rs 1 crore were procured by the PRTC in March.

The buses that were parked side by side at the PRTC workshop on the Patiala-Chandigarh road were completely damaged in the fire. A major tragedy was also averted as the depot where the mishap took place had a diesel pump. Besides, about 150 buses were parked in the depot at that time.

Minister for transport Master Mohan Lal, along with principal secretary, transport, D.S. Jaspal, visited the workshop and ordered an inquiry.

Managing director, PRTC, Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon said the investigation into the case had been handed over to the police. Presently the police is working on three theories. The first is of short circuit. But there is a remote chance of this. The other theories are that of sabotage and accidental fire.

Sources said the buses were being repaired by the JBIC company with which PRTC had an annual maintenance contract.The police has picked up the JBIC and PRTC employees who were on duty last night for questioning.

The Patiala-Delhi-Chandigarh air conditioned bus service of the PRTC has been stalled following the incident. 


Chief secy’s assurance to PUDA staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Employees of PUDA were yesterday assured by chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh that they would not be dislocated from their present places of posting after the formation of the proposed urban development authorities in certain cities.

A deputation of the diploma engineers association of PUDA met the chief secretary here. At the meeting, the secretary, housing and urban development, was also present.

A.S. Randhawa, president of the association, claimed that the chief secretary had given an assurance that PUDA employees would be consulted before sending them on deputation to any urban development authority in any city. The chief secretary told the association that PUDA employees would be sent on deputation to the urban development authorities as part of a temporary arrangement and their lien would continue with their parent department (PUDA).


Ludhiana MC told to pay Rs 10,000
Failure to provide info under RTI Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The Punjab State Information Commission has awarded one of the highest-ever compensation of Rs 10,000 to be paid by the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, to complainant Naresh Kumar Ghai, advocate, for delay in supplying information regarding change in the use of residential properties to commercial in the zone-D of the corporation.

The order of the three-member Bench of the commission of May 30 stated that the commission was of the view that instead of penalising the two officers, Ashok Bajaj and S.S. Bains, Public Information Officers (PIOs), it would be in the fitness of things that the public authority i.e. the MC be ordered to compensate the complainant.

The compensation of Rs 10,000 should be paid to the complainant for the loss and detriment suffered by him on account of the failure by the PIOs in supplying the information demanded by him.

Importantly, the commission can award Rs 25,000 as the maximum compensation under the provisions of the Right to Information Act.

On the last date of hearing on April 11, some directions were issued by the commission for the resolution or removal of discrepancies or deficiencies as pointed out by the complainant in the information delivered to him by the respondent PIO.

The respondent, in his affidavit dated April 13, stated that pursuant to these directions, the complainant was called to the office of the respondent on April 12 and was given a detailed hearing with a view to resolving or removing discrepancies and deficiencies in the information supplied.

Various officers of the Municipal Corporation were also called and appropriate directions were issued to them to supply the required information. According to the respondent, the complainant was convinced about the genuineness of the efforts, which were being made by the respondent in removing the deficiencies pointed out by the complainant.

The judgement on the question of imposition of penalty and the award of compensation was reserved. Both Ashok Bajaj and S.S.Bains had filed affidavits before the commission praying that penalty be not imposed on them as there was no wilful default or deliberate attempt to withhold the information.

Bajaj also stated that the information desired by the complainant related to different branches of the MC and that the record was not readily available in the office of the PIO.

S.S.Bains, in his affidavit dated April 13, had stated that he was appointed as retuning officer on January 17 for the Ludhiana East constituency for the elections to the Punjab state Assembly. He was thus busy with the elections till March 2007 and could not attend to the duties of the Public Information Officer. 


Political Vendetta Cases 
DGP seeks information 
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
In what could open a Pandora’s box, the director-general of Punjab police has asked all SSPs to provide a list of cases that were apparently registered to settle political scores during the previous Congress regime.

DGP N.P.S. Aulakh shot off the letter a few days ago asking the SSPs to provide a list of cases in which allegations of political vendetta were levelled in the past five years. It will also cover any such case registered during the regime of the ruling SAD-BJP combine in the past three months. In the past Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had given an assurance that he would get all such cases probed in which the Congress had levelled allegations of vendetta.

Sources said the lists sent by the SSPs would be screened to determine which cases involved vendetta. During the Congress regime, Akali workers claimed they were wrongly booked and now it is the turn of Congressmen to cry foul.

President of the PPCC Shamsher Singh Dullo has already asked the presidents of district Congress committees to bring data on cases of political vendetta in their respective districts after the ruling SAD-BJP combine took over.

Amarinder Singh had highlighted how MLA from Bholath Sukhpal Khaira was booked for allegedly stealing a tarpaulin.

With the Vidhan Sabha session scheduled in the coming days, the DGP’s orders will mean the SAD will be armed with data on what are perceived as false cases registered during the Congress regime.


Cong coordination panel to meet today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
A meeting of the coordination committee of the Punjab Congress will be held here tomorrow. Janardhan Dwivedi, general secretary of the all- India Congress committee, who is in charge of party affairs in Punjab, will preside over the meeting.

The official agenda of the meeting is to prepare the party’s strategy for the municipal corporation elections in Bathinda, Jalandhar, Patiala, Amritsar and Ludhiana. However, other matters, including the political situation and alleged atrocities on Congress workers by the SAD-BJP government, will also come up at the meeting.

Among the members of the committee are Shamsher Singh Dullo, Amarinder Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Ambika Soni, Ashwani Kumar, Manish Tiwari, Iqbal Singh, Darbari Lal and Jagmeet Singh Brar. However, Amarinder Singh is expected to skip the meeting.

The committee was set up after Amarinder Singh’s supporters organised a rally at Rampura Phul to protest against the registration of criminal cases against Congress workers in that area. The purpose of setting up the committee was to have some sort of check on the activities of supporters of Amarinder Singh.

Meanwhile, president of the Punjab pradesh Congress committee Shamsher Singh Dullo here today held a meeting of presidents of the district units of the party. 


City Centre scam
Vigilance summons Chahal, Raninder 
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 8
The vigilance bureau today gave summons to Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, former media adviser to Capt Amarinder Singh, and Raninder Singh, Amarinder’s son, directing them to join investigation in the Ludhiana City Centre scam on June 10 at the vigilance office, Ludhiana.

Nobody was present at Chahal’s residence here when the vigilance officials came to hand over the summons to him. Only the trusted aide of Chahal, Bhola, a police official, was present there, who received the summons.

At the Moti Bagh palace the former Chief Minister and his family were also not present. The summons were handed over to some officials of the family.

In a press note issued here this evening officials at the former CM’s residence stated that certain reports had been circulating that Raninder did not want to join the investigation. It is for the first time that Raninder had been called by the vigilance.

Raninder would be present at the vigilance office on the stipulated date, it stated.

The vigilance has involved the name of Raninder after the revelations made by the Chetan Gupta, who was allegedly laundering the ill-gotten money of the family in foreign banks.

The former CM is also likely to be called for questioning by the bureau once again.


Pact on housing, slum development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
An agreement was signed here today between the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation, union government, and the department of local government, Punjab, on implementing and expediting central, state and local sector schemes pertaining to urban development, local self-government, housing and urban poverty alleviation.

D.S. Bains, principal secretary, local government, Punjab, and Dr P.K. Mohanty, joint secretary and mission director, JNNURM, signed the agreement.

Bains said the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation would formulate policies, programmes and schemes pertaining to housing and urban poverty. Bains said a development scheme would be launched from Ludhiana district. In the second phase, the whole state would be covered.


Banda Bahadur Anniversary
Vedanti to address congregation today
Prabhjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jammu, June 8
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and “Singh Sahibaans” of four other Takhts will address a congregation being held here tomorrow to commemorate the death anniversary of Banda Singh Bahadur, who hailed from Rajouri.

SGPC president Avtar Singh will also address on the occasion, which is being marked by “rain sabai kirtan darbar” at Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Nanak Nagar.

Banda Singh Bahadur and his warriors attained martyrdom in 1716 near Qutub Minar in New Delhi during the reign of Farrukh Siyyar, who had succeeded the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.

The anniversary is being organised by the Jammu-Kashmir State Gurdwara Management Board and the Jammu District (Ad hoc) Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Besides, the high priests and the SGPC chief are also scheduled to take part in the “Amrit Sanchar Samagam” (a congregation for baptising the Sikhs), which the SGPC’s Dharam Parchar Committee will organise along with Dera Nangali Sahib chief Mahant Manjit Singh, on June 10.

Local Sikh bodies were looking forward to submit their representations to the Akal Takht Jathedar and the SGPC chief on issues like row over the decorum at Dera Nangali Sahib and the mushrooming of other deras in the region.

The Akal Takht Jathedar and the SGPC chief had brushed aside the appeal of a Sikh delegation to organise the 'Amrit Sanchar Samagam' at a gurdwara instead of holding such a sacred event at any dera.


Child labourer’s arms cut in fodder-cutter

Bathinda, June 8
Tragedy struck when child labourer Santosh Kumar’s both arms were cut off after getting entangled in a fodder-cutter at Nathana village of the district today.

Santosh, who was working as a farm labourer, was cutting the fodder for the cattle owned by his employer. The lower portion of his arms got cut off. He has been operated upon. — TNS


‘Kallianwala Khuh’ martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service

Ajnala, June 8
The CPM Punjab here today remembered 282 unsung heroes who laid down their life during the First War of Independence in 1857.

A large number of activists of the CPM and labour organisations were carrying placards which read , " Long live martyrs of Kallianwala Khuh".

Mangat Ram Pasla , CPM leader, while speaking on the occasion, called upon the countrymen to follow the path shown by the patriots who brought freedom to the country.

The border town of Ajnala had played a stellar role in the liberation of the country from the British.

While the revolt, engineered by Mangal Pande, has become an integral part of the Indian history, the sacrifices made by army deserters of the Lahore camp have been forgotten. They are hardly remembered by anyone, what to talk of raising a suitable memorial for them.

“Kallianwala Khuh” and the old tehsil at Ajnala show that the heritage sites are in a state of utter neglect. The historical well, which was filled with the bodies of jawans who had revolted against the British army in 1857, has been lying neglected for the past 150 years.

No efforts were ever made to know the names of these “freedom fighters” by the state or any social organisation. Only a small structure has been made by some Nihangs.


Vedanti, SGPC chief meet 

Amritsar, June 8
Jathedar, Akal Takht, Joginder Singh Vedanti and SGPC chief Avtar Singh today held a closed door meeting here today to resolve their difference following the controversy over the bringing of Guru Gobind Singh’s Kalgi (sacred crest) from Canada. The meeting was arranged by senior functionaries of the SGPC at the information office of Darbar Sahib.

However, an official press note, issued by the SGPC denied that the SGPC chief and jathedar, Akal Takht, had crossed swords on any issue. — TNS


Dimpa declared PO
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, June 8
Former Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa, booked in connection with the murder of an Akali worker, Dilbag Singh, during the Assembly elections, has been declared a proclaimed offender even as he failed to appear in the court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate here.

The Congress candidate, along with his 15 supporters, had been also booked on charges of attempt to murder, rioting and trespassing at Doullen Nangal village, a day before the Assembly elections, held on March 11.

However, family sources said Dimpa might surrender if he failed to get any reprieve from the high court. The police had laid a siege around the court following rumours that Dimpa might appear in the court today to meet the deadline fixed by the judge.

Earlier, Dimpa through his counsel Kapil Btara and Rajinder Singh Tapyala had moved an application under Section 205, CrPC, for grant of exemption from personal appearance and for permanent exemption till disposal of the cases registered against him.


Plan to encourage commercial dairy farming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The Punjab government today finalised a plan for encouraging commercial dairy farming by extensively using cross-bred cows. The plan was finalised by state cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh in a meeting with office-bearers of the progressive dairy farmers association. It was decided to focus on cross-bred cows rather than buffalos for increasing the milk yield and controlling the menace of supplying adulterated milk in urban areas.

The minister said it was milkfed’s duty to ensure adequate supply fresh milk in urban areas as well as in neighboring states like Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.

On the issue of providing electricity on subsidised rates to dairy farms, Kanwaljit Singh said he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister.

Earlier, PDFA president Daljit Singh spoke on problems faced by the commercial dairy farmers.


Farmer training centres soon
Tribune News Service

Middhu Khera (Muktsar), June 8
To make farmers adopt modern techniques of agriculture and allied activities to increase their income, the Punjab government has decided to open Farmers Skill Improvement Training Centres in all districts of the state.

Stating this at a sangat darshan programme held in various villages of Muktsar district today, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said that apart from it, the state government had been seriously considering to implement the recommendations made by the Punjab Farm Commission so that agriculture could be made a profitable venture.

When asked about the formation of the Third Front by eight regional parties recently, Badal, who is president of the SAD (Badal), said that the SAD (B) was having alliance with the BJP. He said the SAD-BJP alliance was strong and everlasting, adding that his party always advocated the fact that regional parties should become strong.

He blamed the “anti-farmer policies” of the Central government for the suicides by farmers in Punjab. He said he himself had pressurised the Central ministers to link the prices of foodgrains with the price index on one hand and provide agriculture inputs to the farmers at subsidised rates on the other hand. He added that again it was the Central government which could waive off the loans taken by farmers.

Later, Badal announced grants for different development works in villages.


Farmers’ interests priority, says minister
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 8
The biggest challenge before the state government is to strengthen the economy of the farmers so that they are not forced into committing suicide, said Capt Kanwaljit Singh, minister for cooperation, while addressing a function of the Cooperative Agricultural Society at Jalbehra village in the district.

He said farmers in the state were facing the “wrath” of the union government and were under a huge debt. He alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, despite being a Punjabi, did nothing for the state farmers, whereas he waived loans to the tune of Rs 17,000 crore of Maharastra farmers.

He said now the only alternative was to strengthen the cooperative movement in the state to bring out the farming community from the debt trap.

He said the farming sector had become a “negative trade” as the cost of production had increased whereas the rates of their produce had not increased proportionately.

He said the cooperative societies would not only deal with selling fertilisers and milk, but would also undertake development projects in their respective areas and also market other produce. He announced that in future, cooperative banks would not charge 1 per cent service charge on loans taken from them.

The loan limit against one acre, at present Rs 1 lakh, would be increased to Rs 3 lakh.

Later, Capt Kanwaljit Singh visited the residence of Rajesh Pal Singh Lalli, a senior SAD leader, and heard the grievances of party workers.


Attack on house of baba’s complainant
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 8
The house of Rajinder Singh Sidhu, on whose complaint a criminal case was registered against Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head, Dera Sacha Sauda, was attacked by certain persons late last night.

Rajinder fired two shots in the air and challenged the attackers, who fled after Rajinder challenged them. Before fleeing, they, who were four in number and had come on two scooters, smashed the panes of his car and windows of his house.

Acting promptly on the complaint of Rajinder, the district police provided him with seven gunmen. While five would guard his house at Hazura Kapura Colony here, two had been given to him for his personal security.

A report was registered at the city police station under Section 427, IPC, in this regard. A delegation of various Sikh organisations met district police chief Nau Nihal Singh, urging him to nab the culprits at the earliest.

Recollecting the event, Rajinder said he came to his house around 11 pm. He said one of the attackers abused him and then started pelting his house with stones.

Meanwhile, a section of SGPC officials recorded their statements with the police in connection with the criminal case registered against the baba. 


Syndicate members disapprove VC’s action
Suspension of faculty members 
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 8
Some senior members of the Punjabi University syndicate have objected to the method adopted by vice-chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai to suspend two senior professors of the university.

Tarlochan Singh, MP, and former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities who is also a syndicate member, in a letter to the registrar, has proposed that the syndicate should discuss the power delegated to the VC for suspending senior faculty members. He has stated he was astonished to know that the syndicate had been asked to sign on a dotted line to give sanction to the action of the VC to suspend senior faculty members of the university.

I have never seen such arbitrary action to humiliate senior academicians. Even if there was some major cause, the issued should have been discussed at the meeting of the syndicate before taking action. Why the VC is shy of calling meeting of the syndicate? he asked.

Raj Kumar Khurana MLA Rajpura and member syndicate has written that it is a highly arbitrary action. He has also stressed the need to curtail the powers of the VC to take arbitrary action against senior faculty members of the institute.

Prem Singh Chandumajra, who has also being appointed as syndicate member by the university, has said that the letter seeking approval for the suspension of senior faculty members had not been sent to him. He has demanded that the syndicate meeting should be called urgently to discuss the matter.

The sources available here also said that the government members on the university syndicate, including secretary education, DPI colleges and director languages, have also disapproved of the VC’s action.

Harbir Singh, principal of Khalsa College Patiala, also a syndicate member, has written that he has not received the agenda items, said to be circulated by 
the VC.

The VC had recently circulated an agenda among the syndicate members comprising an item seeking the suspension of two professors Dr Manjit Singh, professor and head of department of social work, and Dr Kulbir Singh, reader in the department of history.

The agenda is being perceived as an effort on part of the VC to seek approval for suspending the said faculty members without raising much hue and cry. 


PCCTU executive dharna on June 15

Barnala, June 8
An extended protest dharna of the state executive of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) will be organised in front of the DPI (Colleges) Punjab office at Chandigarh on June 15.

The dharna will be organised to lodge a protest against the “indifferent” attitude of the SAD-BJP government towards the problems and grievances of thousands of college teachers serving in the non-government colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh.

Stating this here today, state PCCTU general secretary Kuldeep Singh informed that the decision was taken at a meeting of the newly elected state PCCTU office-bearers at Panjab University Guest House on June 6. — OC


Distillery waste to generate power
The invention will solve problem of disposal of effluents from distilleries 
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Kurali-based leading boiler manufacturer, Cheema Boilers, has come up with a unique invention for disposal of distillery waste by using it as raw material for power generation.

With this invention, the problem of effective disposal of effluents generated from the distilleries will be suitably solved. The system has already been installed successfully at one of the largest distilleries -India Glycols, at their Gorakhpur plant. This system will not just help in water pollution control, but also reduce the additional water requirement by 50 per cent.

Talking to TNS here today, H S Cheema, managing director of Cheema Boilers, said as per his invention effluents generated in the distillery are concentrated to 55 - 60 per cent solid and directly fired into a specially designed incineration boiler. “Steam is produced at high pressure of about 45 kg per square cm. This steam is then passed through the turbine and goes for concentration unit and distillation plant,” he said.

With the government allowing mixing of ethanol in petrol, there has been an increase in the number of distillery units across the country. But for every one lakh litre of ethanol produced, 10 lakh litres of effluent is produced - whose disposal is a big problem. As per the technology in use now, the disposal of waste water called slop is done by mixing it with press mud of sugar mill to form fertilizer. But this is a long and cumbersome process, done at an exorbitant cost and requires huge land reserve for converting the slop into fertilizer. Under the new technology, the 10 lakh litre of effluent can be used to produce 1.5 mega watt of power.

“With the country having over 400 distilleries, the effluent discharge from these is huge. With our technology, these distilleries can convert the slop into power and become self reliant in power,” said Cheema.

He said the company was also in an expansion mode. They will be expanding their facility on 25 acres of land at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore. After the expansion, which would take place in phases over the next two years, their total capacity would increase by four times. The new facility of the company will be used for creating these boilers for distillery waste disposal and normal boilers. 


Punjab to support mega housing projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The Punjab government today finally decided to extend full support to the owners of housing mega projects whose approvals with regard to the change of land use (CLUs) were cancelled by the Punjab Housing and Urban Development Department in March this year in haste.

“The process of investment and development will not be allowed to be jeopardised at any cost in the state”, said a senior officer talking in this connection. Huge investment has been made in housing projects.

A meeting of top officers of the housing and urban department, Punjab Pollution Control Board and others concerned was held this afternoon under the chairmanship of chief secretary, Ramesh Inder Singh.

Sources said major policy decision taken at the meeting was that in future there would be separate industrial and residential zones in all urban settlements.

Master plan of all cities and towns will be prepared making a provision for separate area for setting up green and red zone industries. Industrial areas will be at a considerable distance from the residential areas. This policy decision has been taken keeping in view High Court’s direction to the state government to prepare a policy to tackle the problem of pollution near the housing colonies. At certain places, mega housing projects had come up close to the polluting industries.

According to sources the next meeting of the officers concerned would be held on Monday to give final touches to the policy. After that the policy would be put up before the Chief Minister for approval. Notification of the policy will be issued after the Chief Minster’s nod. Later a copy of the policy would be placed on the record of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

No other state has prepared any policy for checking pollution as far as the housing projects are concerned. At certain places residential and industrial areas are in the same zone. Even at certain thermal plants, which are highly polluting units, housing colonies are located on the same premises. 


Announces weekly off for industry
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 8
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has imposed a compulsory weekly off for one day in a week on all general industries, including arc and induction furnace consumers, with effect from June 10.

Chief engineer (north) H.S.Thukral said here today that now Sunday would be the weekly off for industries in the Jalandhar circle, including Patiala and Khanna, while Saturday will be the weekly off day in the Kapurthala and Mohali circles, Friday for Ropar and Bhatinda, Thursday for Ludhiana and Taran Taran, Wednesday for Faridkot, Sangrur, Hoshiarpur, Tuesday for Ferozepore and Gurdaspur, and Monday for Amritsar and Nawanshahr.

He said that eight hours’ uninterupted power supply would be given to the agriculture sector from June 10.

Meanwhile, a "Bijli Darbar" would be organised at Phagwara on June 9. 


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