P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Police picks up Dimpa’s supporters
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 29
The Beas police today picked up at least 20 supporters of Jasbir Singh Dimpa, a former Congress MLA who figured in the video footage of poll-related violence on January 29 in which Akali worker Dilbagh Singh was killed.

Talking to The Tribune, SSP (Rural) Iqbal Singh said at least 46 supporters of Dimpa had been nominated as co-accused in the poll-related violence. He said all of them were seen accompanying Dimpa (now lodged at Central Jail, Amritsar) at the time of the violence.

The transcription, based on the video footage, mentioned the names of Sukhwant Singh Billu, a health worker at Baba Bakal Civil Hospital, who was seen with Dimpa “empty-handed”. Others who have been made co-accused include sarpanches Suba Singh and Lashkar Singh, both seen “empty-handed”. The Beas police booked those who were seen using mobile and pelting stones.

With this, many fear-stricken supporters of Dimpa have reportedly gone underground after the manhunt launched by the Beas police.

Some of the Congress MLAs also met the DGP, alleging “political vendetta” against Dimpa and his supporters.

Earlier, the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Chandigarh, in its examination report had pointed out, “The video recording examination for authentication cannot be performed on the video recordings on CDs. The said examination will be possible only if the original video recording is made available. The video recording on CD is post-production, edited version. However, there is no indication of alteration in the identified video shots on the basis of frame-by-frame examination. Hence, for total image integration and examination of authenticity, the evidence video is required to be produced on videocassette in original.”

After analysing the video recording, the laboratory stated that the video shots seemed to have been recorded by a hand-held camcorder. The video shows Harpinder Singh, Dimpa’s younger brother, holding an AK-47. However, the FIR registered at Beas police station states that he had a revolver in his hand while firing at Akali workers. Interestingly, the video showed Dimpa holding a mobile phone in his hand.

On April 6 too, Congress workers had staged a dharna outside the Beas police station to protest the ‘harassment’ of party workers, including women.


Budget Session Concludes
Bitter sniping over dera issue
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The Budget session of the Punjab Assembly today ended on a note of confrontation between the ruling SAD-BJP combine and the Congress on the dera issue.

The Congress MLAs not only rejected the personal invitation of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as well as of the Speaker to join the lunch after the conclusion of the session but also decided to take on the government more strongly in the days to come. “For us a discussion on the latest law and order situation, which we were not allowed, was more important in the House than the invitation for lunch”, said Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

While Badal today rejected the Opposition demand to hold an inquiry into the alleged police excesses on Congress activists and common citizens, Bhattal said the “Badal government should go as it has failed to protect the Constitutional rights of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in the state”.

Badal said: “ No major incident has taken place. The situation is under control. And hence there is no need to order any judicial or other inquiry”. He said cases had been registered against all those- they might be followers of the dera or those opposing them- who had been violating the law. “No one is above the law,” he affirmed when asked about the arrest of all those involved in creating trouble in the state for the past several weeks.

Badal said he had no word from his counterpart in Haryana with regard to joint maintenance of law and order because of the re-emergence of confrontation between followers of the dera and Sikh groups in certain parts of Punjab and Haryana.

On the other hand, Bhattal said Badal was playing divisive politics on the dera issue. “Why was the apology, which was prepared by involving senior functionaries of the SGPC and certain officers of the Punjab Government, not accepted,” she asked. The government could not be allowed to play political stunts on this very sensitive issue, she said.

“Badal was aware of the content of the apology,” she asserted. Not accepting the apology had put a question mark on the intentions of the government to maintain peace in the state, she said.

Followers of the dera were facing problems in holding marriages and other social functions, she said. They were being forced to accept “siropas”. She said efforts had been made to push “followers” out from the fold of Sikhism by preventing them from performing ceremonies as per Sikhism. “We are going to set up a 21-member committees of Congress activists in each village of Malwa region to protect the fundamental and constitutional rights of people and to maintain harmony and peace”, she said.

“We were expecting that Badal will make a suo motu statement today on the law and order situation in the Assembly today but he did not”, Bhattal said. “Badal wants to see Punjab burning,” she added. 


Bills passed amidst pandemonium
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
Two important Bills - one preventing partition of common lands in villages and the other for issuing permanent licences to kutcha arhtiyas (temporary commission agents) - were passed amidst pandemonium in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today.

A total of four Bills were passed within 14 minutes this morning even as Congress legislators trooped into the well of the House raising slogans. No discussion was carried out on any of the Bills.

Hardly anyone among the SAD-BJP legislators said an audible “yes” as the Speaker and the ministers introducing the Bills raced through the process.

The Congress legislators created a ruckus when one of the MLAs started to speak at the end of question hour. However, the Speaker asked parliamentary affairs minister Tikshan Sud to start the next business that was to move a motion to adjourn the Vidhan Sabha sine die at the rising of the assembly for the day.

Realising that once the Bills were passed the assembly would rise, the Congress raised slogans against the Speaker who had yesterday disallowed an adjournment motion moved by the party and today disallowed anyone of them to speak during zero hour.

An important Bill to be passed was the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Amendment Bill. A new clause 42-A has been inserted that curbs the partition of common lands in villages.

Keeping in mind the long standing demand of the commission agents, the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961, was amended and 'longer duration' licences to the arhtiyas would be allowed. At present licences are given for a three-year period. A one-time lump sum fee of Rs 2000 will be charged.

The Punjab value added tax (amendment) Bill seeks to exempt the bonus granted by the central government on wheat and paddy from the purview of VAT. It would result in a substantial loss to the tune of Rs 23.53 crore per annum to the state exchequer.

The House also passed the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets (Amendment) Bill, 2007, constituted by way of nomination by the previous government. All the members, including the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, of every such committee shall cease to hold office under the Bill.


Question Hour
Badal assures probe into HSB Fertilisers’ case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has assured that a high level inquiry will be conducted into the dealings of HSB Fertilisers, located in Garhshankar. MLAs cutting across party lines today demanded an investigation as to how the company had got subsidy worth Rs 6 crore as it had not provided fertilisers to the farmers. Even the location of the factory is not known, alleged some MLAs while asking the CM to get the matter inquired.

Water supply scheme

MLA or philanthropic NRI’s cannot give grants to villages, which are keen on joining the world bank-aided water supply scheme. Villages have to pay 10 per cent of the cost of the project. Since its a community project, the world bank does not allow any outside funding, the minister for water supply and sanitation Bikram Singh Majithia informed the Vidhan Sabha today.

Hansi-Buttana canal

Rights of Punjab will be protected in relation to the Hansi-Buttana canal being constructed by neighbouring Haryana. The matter s being heard in the Supreme Court, said CM Parkash Singh Badal.

Bathinda mills

Employees of the Punjab Spinning and Weaving Mills, Bathinda - who lost their jobs six years ago - have not been paid dues like provident fund, bonus and gratuity. The industries minister said the Punjab and Haryana High court has appointed a liquidator and the payments will be made once the decision is announced.

Army Bundh

The Punjab government will take up the matter with the ministry of defence seeking payment to farmers in border areas where a bundh has been constructed by the Army.

Posts of lecturers

About 35 per cent of the posts of lecturers in senior secondary schools are lying vacant. A total of 1,0590 posts exist and 3,535 are vacant, education minister Upinderjit Kaur told the House. A worse scenario prevails in regards to posts of principals in government senior secondary schools.

Chd-Jalandhar HW

SAD MLA Mohan Lal Behram, today demanded that Balachaur-Phagwara stretch of the Chandigarh-Jalandhar highway should be four-laned. 


PSEB asked to find site for N-power plant
Sarbjit Dhaliwal/TNS

Chandigarh, June 29
While Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has cleared the proposal to set up a coal-based thermal power plant of 1,200 MW near Abohar, the Punjab State Electricity Board has been asked to find a suitable location to set up a 500 MW nuclear power plant.

Sources said the state government would soon write to the Central Electricity Authority for approving the proposal to set up the thermal plant at Abohar.

Earlier, the government had cleared the proposal to set up thermal plants at Banavala village, about 15 km from Mansa, and also at Nabha. Another thermal plant is to be set up Goindwal. As far as the new power projects are concerned, the Badal government is moving fast on this front. It has aimed to add 5,000 MW of additional power to the state grid in the coming five years.

As far as setting up of the nuclear power plant is concerned, the issue was discussed at the meeting of the Punjab Cabinet on June 11. The Cabinet had cleared the proposal at that meeting. However, later confusing statements on this issue had appeared in the media quoting certain ministers. Sources said the nuclear plant project was cleared at the June 11 meeting and now the PSEB had been asked to find a suitable location for the project.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal is a strong supporter for the setting up of a nuclear power plant in the state. He has been arguing that coal-based power plants were more dangerous than a nuclear power plant.


Sukhbir’s father-in-law may remain panel chief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 29
The father-in-law of Sukhbir Singh Badal, Satyajit Singh Majithia, is likely to be re-elected the president of the Governing Council of Khalsa College Management for a term of five years. Satyajit Singh is the father of public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

Raj Mohinder Singh Chhina, who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections from Amritsar (West) constituency, may also retain his post as secretary of the council.

Though there are two groups, each headed by Satyajit Majithia and by Rajmohinder Singh Majithia (an Akali MP), yet the election of the former is likely to be held with a voice vote. There are 100 members of the Khalsa College Governing Council, including seven from the Chief Khalsa Diwan. Sukhbir Singh Badal was also made member of the Governing Council of Khalsa College recently.


Gory Fight
Man attacks wife, kills her uncle
Lalit Mohan and Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
Tajinder Singh, a Class IV employee at the Nabha Civil Hospital, killed his wife’s maternal uncle Teja Singh (70) and seriously injured his wife Jaspal Kaur with a sword last night.

Police sources said Tajinder allegedly came home in an inebriated state and attacked his wife. When her uncle, in whose house the family was living, tried to intervene, he killed him with a sword. Later, he attacked his wife and injured her seriously.

Tajinder’s children---Sukhdeep Kaur (13), Gangandeep Kaur (16) and Narinder Singh (10)---who were present in the house raised the alarm, after which neighbours gathered at the spot and Tajinder fled the scene.

Jaspal Kaur was shifted to Government Rajindra Hospital and operated upon this morning. Her condition is serious. In a statement before a magistrate in the evening, she said she had strained relations with her husband who was allegedly a drug addict. He would occasionally beat her up. Last night they had a fight and he attacked her with a sword. When her uncle tried to intervene, he killed him.

Gagandeep Kaur said they heard their parents shouting at each other while they were sleeping in the adjoining room. Later they heard screams of their mother and uncle. When they reached the room, they found their mother lying in a pool of blood.

The police is, however, not satisfied with the statement of Jaspal Kaur. It is of the view that Tajinder might be having a motive to kill Teja Singh first and then injuring his wife.

The SP (detective) said nothing could be said about the motive of the murder until the accused was arrested. From the circumstantial evidence it seemed that he had committed the crime in a fit of rage.

The police has registered a case under Sections 324, 302 and 323 of the IPC against the accused.


Home delivery of LPG to continue
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 29
LPG consumers of Punjab can heave a sigh of relief as LPG distributors of Punjab have deferred their decision to discontinue the home delivery of cylinders from July 1.

The decision to withdraw the rather harsh step of discontinuation of the existing system of home delivery of LPG cylinders has been taken by the Punjab unit of the All-India LPG Distributors Federation (North-Western Region) following assurances given to its office-bearers by the deputy general manager (DGM ) of the Indian Oil Corporation Rajesh Sharma.

“We met Rajesh Sharma, the DGM and the state-level coordinator of all oil companies and he has heard us very sympathetically. Ways and means to strengthen the weak link in the business were discussed and he has assured us that most of the issues will be resolved. So, it was then decided in the meeting of our executive body that home delivery of LPG will continue and the earlier call of stoppage of home delivery has been deferred,” said Harsimarjit Kaur, president of the federation.

The LPG distributors had threatened last week to discontinue the old system of home delivery of cylinders to consumers by them on the ground that though the delivery was“responsible for most of problems like under-weight cylinders and over-pricing,”the blame was shifted to them. They had also alleged that the actual price of a domestic cylinder was Rs 296.50, but delivery boys were taking Rs 300 from consumers.

The major grievance of the LPG distributors was that despite the raising of the issue with the oil companies by them, nothing concrete had been done to solve the problem.


Dera men, Sikhs come close to clashing thrice
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 29
Members of Sikh community and followers of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda came close to a showdown thrice in and around the Nihal Singhwala sub-division during the past 24 hours.

Dera follower Buta Singh of Himmatpura village was organising ‘namcharcha’ when the activists of the Ek Noor Khalsa Fauj reached there and tried to stop him. The police brought the situation under control.

Elsewhere, unidentified persons burnt a tempo belonging to Ruldu Singh, a dera follower and a resident of Gehlan village, last night.

The bhog of a dera follower at Dhalle Ke village turned into a hotspot when the deceased’s brother Mangal Singh insisted that it be held according to the Sikh rites while his friends wanted a ‘nam charcha’.


Khalsa panel to reconstitute itself
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 29
The meeting of the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), which was constituted to spearhead the agitation against the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, was held here today sans the Sant Samaj. Even as several member of KAC continued to elude the media, some leaders confided that it had been decided to reconstitute the Khalsa Action Committee following recent developments.

A split in the Khalsa Action Committee was quite evident after the meeting. Some of the members, who appeared to be demoralised after the meeting, maintained that though some important decisions had been taken in the meeting, the details could not be revealed to the media.

However, sources within the KAC disclosed that the committee had decided to meet the Chief Ministers of both Punjab and Haryana to take up the issue of dera chief's arrest. Besides, the KAC has also decided to hold a series of protest marches in the state, the sources stated.

The KAC also approved the rejection of Dera's apology by the Akal Takht, the sources said.


Air India Flight to Amritsar
20 hours late and yet to reach
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 29
High drama was witnessed at the Rajasansi International Airport here today with relatives of passengers of Air India flight 188, who had to wait for nearly 20 hours, raised slogans against the airline. The Toronto-to-Amritsar flight, via Birmingham, which was scheduled to arrive at 11.35 pm yesterday did not arrive till late this evening and the aircraft was flown straight to Delhi due to a technical snag.

Families and friends of passengers coming from Toronto, who were expecting the flight to reach here last night, alleged that they were not given the revised time of arrival, forcing them to spend the night and most of today in the waiting lounge of the airport. The parking area of the airport charged them Rs 120 for every hour.

When contacted, Ashwani Kumar Arora, airport manager of Air India, said the plane had developed a technical snag at Birmingham and it took off for India after a long delay. “It was decided to take it first to Delhi so that the functioning of the aircraft could be checked again and also to give it some rest. The flight to Amritsar has been scheduled for late in the evening,” he said.

“The safety of the passengers is more important, even if it is at the cost of some inconvenience. The airline itself does not want such re-scheduling as the passengers had to be served lunch and it lead to undue financial burden,” he said.

Gurjit Singh, a resident of Toronto, said his wife was stranded at Delhi for over seven hours. The aircraft reached there from Birmingham this morning.

“My children are waiting at home. I had to spend the entire night in the airport. Relatives of passengers like me had to pay Rs 30 for the entry ticket every time we had to re-enter the airport premises. Those of us who had hired taxis will now have to pay manifold fares and those with their own cars will have to shell out much more than expected as parking charges,” he said.

“The attitude of the airline officials is non-cooperative and they failed to provide us any facility or give us one fixed arrival time of the flight. Every four hours, they told us that the flight will take a bit longer,” he said.

Amandeep from Faridkot, who had come to receive his uncle, said even if the aircraft had developed a technical snag, an alternate domestic flight could have been arranged by the airline to bring the passengers to Amritsar from Delhi.

“We took up the matter with the airport staff and the airline but they asked us not to overreact as there was a genuine reason for the delay,” said a relative of 
a passenger.


Proposal to shift state lab to Kharar mooted
Move against merger pact: Legal experts
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
The state Health Department is mooting a proposal to shift the State Chemical Laboratory, which has been functioning here since its inception, to Kharar.

According to sources, the justification for shifting the laboratory is that it is being run in an inadequate and ramshackle building at Patiala. The department is paying a rent of Rs 30,000 per month for the building.

The department has a vacant building at Kharar. The building of the Family Welfare Department training centre at Kharar fell vacant after it was shifted to Mohali. The Health Department intends to shift the state chemical laboratory to that place.

The director, Health, said besides having adequate infrastructure at Kharar, the department could easily monitor the activities of the laboratory from its head office at Chandigarh.

However, some legal experts here are of the view that shifting of the laboratory from Patiala is against the agreement through which Pepsu states were merged with the rest of Punjab.

As per that agreement, the then government had agreed to keep the head office of various departments like the PSEB, PWD and State Chemical Laboratory at Patiala.

There are many government buildings lying vacant in Patiala that can be used for housing the laboratory, they claimed.

Presently, the laboratory here is being run from an accommodation rented from the District Red Cross. Due to inadequate infrastructure, most of the viscera sent from various parts of the state are lying in the open.

Laboratory officials also have to work in the open to conduct the tests. Drugs seized by the police or the Excise Department are also tested in the laboratory.


Dead doctor still on list of promoted
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 29
The state health department is yet to withdraw the notification through which it promoted a doctor, who had died a month ago.

Even as the matter was widely reported in the media, the health department still appears to be sleeping over the issue.

The state health department had not only promoted but also given a new posting to Dr Ravinder Kumar Sharma, who died a month ago.

Dr Sharma, medical officer, who was posted at the ESI Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh, was promoted as senior medical officer with a new posting at the civil hospital, Bassi Pathana.

However, Dr Sharma met with a fatal accident on May 16.

The name of Dr Sharma had appeared in the list of the 77 doctors who had been either promoted or given new postings by the state health department.

These order had been issued by Vijay Kain, principal secretary of the state health department, which are yet to be rectified.

Civil surgeon Dr S.M.S. Sidhu, when contacted, said he had formally informed the state health department about the discrepancy.

He, however, said so far he had not received any communication from the state health department in this regard.

Meanwhile, a senior functionary of the department, on the condition of anonymity, confided that the matter had been taken up and a fresh notification was being issued shortly.


Society to observe Bhagat Singh shatabdi

Patiala, June 29
The Sri Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Patiala, will observe Shaheed Bhagat Singh Shatabdi, according to Lal Chand Jindal, president of the sabha.

Jindal, a business magnate of Mandi Gobindgarh, was speaking at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial Session at the 22nd Annual Theatre Workshop of the National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) at SDSE Senior Secondary School here today.

He said the sabha would organise seminars, plays and conferences on Shaheed Bhagat Singh at Patiala and nearby areas to generate awareness among people, especially the youth, about their duty towards the nation and human values.

Professor of history at Modi College Pawan Kumar Singla dwelt upon the historical facts of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s life.

Sabha general secretary Anil Gupta and SDSE Senior Secondary School principal Bhushan Kumar Bansal the work of trainees of the workshop. — TNS


Leaders as deities
Samiti chief raps parties
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
National president of the All-India Hindu Suraksha Samiti Mahamandleshwer Mahant Sanjeev Das Hari yesterday said the portrayal of political leaders like Vasundhra Raje Scindia, Rajnath Singh, L.K. Advani and Vilasrao Deshmukh as Hindu deities through posters has hurt the feelings of the Hindu community.

Speaking at a meeting, he said the Hindu community must unite and fight against the sacrilege taking place in the name of politics.

Mahant Sanjeev Das Hari said heads of religious organisations and akharas were ready to give their support by putting in their signatures to condemned such acts, as also leaders.

Citing the latest portrayal of Sonia Gandhi as Goddess Durga a few days ago, Mahant Sanjeev Das said they had already given a 15-day ultimatum to Sonia Gandhi to apologise to the Hindu community.


Former panchayat officer flees with family
Fears threat to life
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
Fearing for his life, Rajinder Singh Bedi, former panchayat officer and resident of Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur, fled with his family more than a month ago. He has allegedly been implicated in a false case. Bedi and his wife are being forced to live at Patiala with their daughter and son-in-law, who is a fencing coach at the NIS.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Bedi said his woes began when the government changed in the state. Local politicians started victimising him and his family as they felt that he had helped a Congress candidate from the area.

Bedi owns a plot in Dera Baba Nanak that was used to store cement bags. However, an Akali worker started claiming that the property had been allotted to him from the rehabilitation department.

On May 6, Akali workers came and locked his premises and belongings. They then broke his car and took possession of his property. They have also threatened the entire family with dire consequences.

Bedi had lodged a complaint with the SSP, Batala, who registered a case against the accused, including the local SHO who was allegedly acting as an Akali worker. The SHO was also suspended. However, under political pressure, the SHO was reinstated and posted at the same place (Dera Baba Nanak) just after two days.

SSP Batala R.N. Dhoke, when contacted, denied the charges. He said the accused was initially booked, but was later found to be innocent.

Bedi alleged that he and his family members were receiving threat calls, with the accused and police officials forcing them to withdraw the case. Bedi has also moved the Punjab Human Rights Commission for justice.


Woman battles against land mafia
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 29
General secretary of the Land Grabbing Victims’ Association Dimple Miglani and her minor children had been living under the shadow of terror for past few days in their house in the Radhasoami Colony on the college road here.

Miglani had spearheaded an agitation against land mafia the kingpin of which is a Canada-based NRI who had returned a few months ago and had made yet another attempt to grab Miglani’s property.

During a press conference yesterday, Miglani said she had been rendered homeless when the said NRI had grabbed her house in October 2004 by forging an agreement for sale under the signatures of her father-in-law. Miglani was away to Dera Beas, along with her husband and children, at the time.

She said a case was registered against the NRI, a naib tehsildar, a document writer and others only when the then ADGP Law and Order intervened and issued orders to the SSP Ferozepore.

Since then, two DIGs, four SSPs and 20 SHOs had been transferred, but none of the culprits had been arrested, she added.

Later, the Canadian Mounted Police had sought information about the NRI from the CBI headquarters in New Delhi, she said, adding that whereas one of his bothers was a proclaimed offender, there were cheating and land grabbing cases against other members of the NRI’s family.

She presented details of each case and alleged that a senior vigilance officer had been shielding the NRI as the latter had played host during the official’s visit to Canada in connection with a probe into the assets of the Badal family. The officer was later transferred.

She urged the district police to beef up her security as directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and confiscate passports and arms licenses of the family of the NRI. She also demanded that complete a challan on the basis of the FIR registered on April 14, 2007, be presented in the trial court.


NFL unaware of SC body’s jurisdiction
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
It seems that the National Fertilizers Limited, a premier public sector undertaking enjoying ‘mini-ratna’ status, is completely oblivious of its own legal and constitutional obligations.

For what else can explain its stance before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes has no jurisdiction to interfere in its working or for that matter in the working of any public sector undertaking.

This bewildering submission, made in reply to a petition by the company’s former SC employee Suresh Chander, flies in the face of the fact the National Commission for Scheduled Castes is a constitutional body, constituted vide 89th Amendment, enjoying sweeping powers to safeguard the interests of SCs in any sphere whatsoever.

The commission has four wings as a part of its organisational set-up: Administrative and coordination wing, service safeguard wing, atrocities and protection of civil rights wing and economic and social development wing.

There is no ambiguity regarding the jurisdiction of the service safeguards wing of the commission which extends to the service matters of SC employees in Central or state government services as well as ‘Central and state public sector undertakings’.

In fact, the wing derives its strength from the constitutional provisions under Article 16 and Article 46 which make incumbent upon the state to promote with special care the economic, educational and other interests of the Scheduled Castes and also to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

The NFL’s submissions came in the wake of a petition filed by Suresh Chander, former senior assistant manager, NFL, wherein the petitioner had challenged the termination of his services in a hasty manner in alleged violation of VRS rules.

In 2004, the commission had passed an order in his favour whereby stern action was ordered against the NFL officers who intentionally did not serve the VRS acceptance notice to the petitioner and terminated his services. But the National Fertilizers Limited never implemented the said order.

The petitioner had also written to the President, UPA chairperson, Prime Minister and Ministry of Social Justice but nothing came out of it. Finally, after exhausting all avenues, the petitioner moved the high court where the case is still pending.


Punjab to formulate own forest policy
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, June 29
The Punjab government has decided to formulate its own forest policy in view of the peculiar state-specific requirements and to achieve the fixed targets. For that matter, a high-level committee under the chairmanship of additional principal chief conservator of forests has been constituted and its recommendations are expected soon, said forest minister Tikshan Sud while addressing a press conference here last night.

So far, the state has been following the national forest policy, said Sud while adding that the state has planned to plant 98 lakh saplings this year under various schemes to increase the forest cover. Of the above 98 lakh saplings, 60 lakh shall be planted on non-forest areas.

Efforts are also being made to revive and encourage wood-based industry in the state so that the farmers get remunerative price of their produce. Plantation on non-forest lands and additional target of supply of 20 lakh saplings free of cost to the educational institutions, Army and NGOs has been planned.

The state government has now declared its intention to constitute an area of 1896 acres falling in Gurdaspur district as a wildlife sanctuary.


Holding PSEB Men Hostage
Case registered against 3 villagers
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, June 29
The Ajnala police today filed an FIR against three persons for obstructing the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) officials from discharging its duty and holding them hostage for over six hours on June 21.

The case was registered under Section 341 for wrongfully restraining any person, Section 353 for assault or use of criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty and Section 379 for theft after an inquiry conducted by the SHO.

The accused include Dhanwant Singh of Khatrai Kalan village and Sucha Singh and Sarvan Singh of Teda Kalan.

It is pertinent to mention that two executive engineers and an SDO of the PSEB were kept in illegal detention for more than six hours by the residents of Tera Kalan when they had gone to disconnect unauthorised and illegal electricity connections by the residents of the village.

Border zone officials had received a number of complaints against the residents of the village who were using ‘kundi’ connections to draw power from the main line to run their motors and for their households. This had resulted in a huge loss of revenue to the board besides leading to a shortage of power.

The board had taken a serious view of the hostage episode and reported the matter to the district administration and police department who had send additional police force to rescue the officers.

The PSEB Engineers Association had given a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner K.S. Pannu demanding a registration of case against the accused. The association had decided not to go for checking unless the district administration provided them adequate security.

Meanwhile, the vacation judge here has issued restraining orders against the members of the Krishi Kisan Union for obstructing the working of PSEB officers and not to organise any dharna in the office premises within a radius of 300 meters till July 3.


Drugs worth Rs 4.5 lakh seized from chemist shop
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 29
In a major haul in Punjab, prescription tablets and capsules worth Rs 4.5 lakh were seized by the Punjab Health Department from an Adampur-based chemist shop and the residence of the chemist.

The seizure was made by a special team comprising assistant civil surgeon Dr G.S. Nagi, medical officer Dr Tarsem Singh and drug inspector Amit Duggal. The special team was constituted by Jalandhar civil surgeon Dr J.P. Singh following information about the chemist. Accompanied by Adampur SHO J.S. Randhawa, the team raided the shop owned by Tarun and Vijay.

“It is the biggest haul of prescription drugs in Punjab. Health authorities have laid their hands on 3.52 lakh tablets, 83,216 capsules, over 11,000 injections and 808 bottles of cough syrup of 35 brands,” said Rakesh Pal, the district mass media officer.

He said the truckload of medicines seized was shifted to the office of the civil surgeon. “Action was being taken against the chemist under the provisions of the Drug and Cosmetic Act,” he said.


Punjabi varsity student detained in US
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 29
An MBA student of Punjabi University has been detained in Pennsylvania state of the US.

She had gone there along with nine other students of the department under a student exchange program between Punjabi and Wilkis University.

The sources available here said the student had been detained by the Pennsylvanian police for allegedly using a stolen debit card.

The student allegedly made purchases worth around $ 15,000 using the card.

The owner of the card had registered a police complaint regarding the missing card, following which the police detained the student.

Spokesperson for the university B.S. Sandhu told mediapersons that the students who had returned told them that a girl student had been detained there. Her ticket had also been extended.

However, the university has not received any official compliant in this regard.


Bar on admissions at 4 architecture colleges
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 29
The Council of Architecture has barred four architecture colleges of the region from admitting students for the next academic session. The council has imposed the restriction as these colleges have failed to assure the council that no student would be admitted to the five-year architecture degree course without his having cleared the National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA).

The colleges are: Faculty of Physical Planning and Architecture at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; School of Architecture at Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Bathinda; Indo-Global College of Architecture at Abhipur (all in Punjab) and Deean Bandu Chhotu Ram University of Science and Technology (in Haryana).

The council had asked all architectural colleges in the country to furnish an undertaking before June 22 that only those students who have cleared NATA would be admitted to the five-year degree course. However, the said colleges did not submit the undertaking, following which council’s registrar Vinod Kumar initiated action against them.

At present, there are six colleges in Punjab, including the three, which are barred from admitting students. The other colleges are Chitkara School of Planning and Architecture, Jansala (Rajpura); Lovely Institute of Technology, Jalandhar; and RIMT College of Architecture, Mandi Gobindgarh. These colleges have 40 seats each, while the Faculty of Physical Planning and Architecture at Guru Nanak varsity has 20. 




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