P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Khalsa Action Committee
SGPC refuses to recognise it
The SGPC chief said some Sikh leaders were trying to further their political interests by floating such committees. 
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 2
Differences between the SGPC and the Khalsa Action Committee today came to the fore as SGPC chief Avtar Singh stated that they would not recognise the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC).

Stating that it was the prerogative of the SGPC to safeguard the religious interests of the Sikh community, The SGPC chief said some Sikh leaders were trying to further their political interests by floating such committees. He said though the committee was maintaining that it was following the directives issued by Akal Takht, the manner in which it was coming up with a different programme contradicted their claims.

He was here to preside over a meeting of the SGPC’s executive committee. He further said they would be meeting the union home minister on July 9 and submit a memorandum regarding the pending issues that fall under the purview of the Central government. He said the issue of the dera chief’s arrest would also be discussed with him.

The SGPC chief said a delegation of the SGPC would soon visit Dera Baba Nanak in Lahore to prepare a report on the renovation of the historical Sikh shrine. He said the delegation would also work on the modalities with regard to the completion of a 400-room guest house there.

Cobra Gang 
Chawla assures action
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Fatehabad (Tarn Taran), July 2
Families of this small township have been under the shadow of Cobra gang, which is involved in extortions.

Most families in the area, who had migrated during the militancy days and had come back in 1992, are again contemplating moving to safer place in case the local administration failed to launch a crackdown on the gang. They had sent numerous representations to the state government, which proved futile.

These families saw a ray of hope when health minister Luxmi Kanta Chawla visited them today to hear their grievances. Sources said the purpose of her visit was to pre-empt the possibility of the police registering a counter-case against the local shopkeepers for firing in self-defence when a group of 40-50 members of the gang had attacked them with pistols and swords on May 8.

Chawla said, “There seems to be no law and order in the area. I have spoken to the Chief Minister and he has assured that the police would take action against the accused. I have also conveyed this to the DGP.”

Ajit Singh, a shopkeeper, said the gang members bang their doors at night. Venturing out during night was considered risky, he added.

Even though the leader of the gang, Iqbal Singh, has been arrested following the incident, the locals demanded that the other accused should also be arrested.

The minister appreciated the way a bunch of shopkeepers fired at the gang members. She even asked others to apply for licences of weapons for their self-defence. “The police should increase the present strength of six policemen deputed in the market and all of them should be armed. Since the locals claim that the accused take this road everyday, the police should identify and arrest them,” she added.


Vacation ended, so did their life
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 2
The village wore a deserted look but people visited the houses of the victims’ families, trying to console them.

Shingara Singh (40), one of the victims, was the only breadwinner of a Dalit family. He had stopped at the chhabeel to drink sweetened water.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

The family of Gurdeep Singh (20), another Dalit youth, was still unable to accept the truth. He had passed plus II last year and wanted to do a part-time job, besides pursuing studies privately.

For Manpreet, Balwinder, Gopi and Kuldeep Singh the last day of the summer vacation proved the last one. "The children had insisted that the chhabeel should be organised before the opening of their school,” said one of the villagers.

The tragedy was unforgettable for the grandmother of Balwinder Singh as he had gone to the chhabeel for bringing sweetened water. “I cannot forgive myself as I had allowed him to go and bring sweetened water for other members of the family,” she wailed.

Meanwhile, Rajinder Singh, the accused who was handed over to the Dehlon police by residents of the area last evening, was remanded in judicial custody till July 16 by a court in Ludhiana.

Though the accused maintained that the mishap took place as the road had been blocked by some volunteers, his medical examination suggested that he was under the effect of liquor.

Jagdish Singh Garcha, former MLA, stated that the bhog ceremony of the deceased would be held at Gurdwara Bagh Sahib at Sayan Kalan on July 9.


250 affected, 48 in hospital
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 2
Following the outbreak of gastroenteritis/diarrhoea some days ago at Badrukhan village, 2 km from here, the diseases have affected nearly 250 villagers. As many as 74 persons were admitted to the Civil Hospital here, of whom 26 patients were discharged after treatment till today. Thus, 48 patients are still under treatment at the hospital, but all of them are out of danger.

Earlier, there were reports that four persons had died at Badrukhan village due to diarrhoea, but Sangrur civil surgeon Dr S.K. Bansal today claimed that these persons had died due to other diseases.

Local SDM Mohan Lal along with civil surgeon Dr S.K. Bansal and Longowal SMO Dr O.P. Khangwal today visited Badrukhan villages to take stock of the situation.

Sangrur DC S.R. Ladhar today held a special meeting with the officers to discuss the outbreak of gastroenteritis/diarrhoea.

He said gastroenteritis had also affected some persons as they had reportedly drunk sweetened water from a ‘chhabeel’ a few days ago.


Barsat targets Dullo
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 2
Targeting the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Shamsher Singh Dullo, Harchand Singh Barsat, a former political secretary to Capt Amarinder Singh said, the PPCC chief was hand-in-glove with the Badals and was working against the Congress party in the state.

In a statement, Barsat alleged that Dullo had been giving pro-Badal statements for the past one year and the statements being issued by Dullo were clearly against Congress leaders. He alleged that Dullo had secretly compromised with the Badals and was now trying to run down the Congress leadership in the state.

Accusing Dullo of being responsible for the defeat of the party in the last Assembly elections, Barsat said Dullo gave statements that affected the party's political prospects, which subsequently led to his own defeat in the Assembly elections.

He said Dullo was now working in favour of the SAD and to defeat the Congress in the forthcoming municipal elections in the state. He said both Badal and Dullo had no political programme for the people of Punjab. 


No action despite sangat darshan
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 2
Hundreds of devotees are passing through a road filled with mud and water for the past few months as the authorities had been non-responsive to the complaints put up during the weekly sangat darshan programme held at the sub-divisional complex here.

Madan Lal Bhalothia, chief of the Guru Kripa Centre of Shri Ramsharnam Mission, here said sangat darshan was just for namesake as it had so far failed to redress the grievances of people.

Bhalothia said several hundred citizens, including women, visit the ashram to participate in the weekly satsang besides other welfare activities as the ashram runs a charitable dispensary also. The ashram is located on the road that links the Government Seed Farm with the national highway No. 10, better known as the Abohar-Malout road.

The Central Works Division of the PWD had raised the highway’s level to save it from accumulation of water disposed of through open drains by residents of Dharam Nagri and Panjpeer colonies. The encroachers had not made any arrangement for the proper disposal of waste water while developing these colonies. The department, while raising the highway, had provided poorly designed substandard rain water drain that caused damage earlier too. The level of the seed farm road had gone down and water started accumulating on it creating mud besides damaging the road-bed.

Now more than 3, 000 residents of seed farm colonies and devotees had to pass through badly damaged road filled with water and mud. Repeated requests to solve this problem remained unattended so far.

The ashram had started satsang thrice a week and requested the sub-divisional and district authorities to remove temporary encroachments on both sides of the highway. But no action had so far been initiated, the devotees regretted. The authorities are perhaps waiting for a big accident before they act, the devotees rued.


SGPC removes chief technical adviser 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 2
The executive committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at a meeting at Fatehgarh Sahib today removed chief technical adviser K.S. Gill . Before joining the SGPC, Gill had served the Punjab State Electricity Board for many years.

The SGPC has also decided to give two-month notice to Harbeant Singh, who was earlier removed as secretary on the charge of getting job on the basis of fake matriculation certificate and other two assistant secretaries Ajaib Singh and Jaswant Singh for their superannuation, who were on extension. Earlier, Harbeant Singh was re-instated after the death of Gurcharan Singh Tohra despite serious charges. The SGPC has also decided to appoint a chief secretary. It is learnt a former diplomat or a retired IAS/ IPS officer may be appointed to the post. The SGPC executive committee also decided to strengthen its Task Force by creating new a post of director security for the first time. For the first time the SGPC has also decided to create the post of director hospitality and director technical .

The committee meeting was also marked by allegations of irregularities in the construction of some buildings of SGPC- run medical college / hospital in the past.


Punsup sleeps over appeals of staff
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Talk about speed, efficiency and transparency notwithstanding, there are some departments which refuse to shed their lethargy and the Department of Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (Punsup) appears to be one of them.

In a reply given under the Right to Information Act to H.C. Arora, a Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer, the assistant manager (PRI), Punsup, discloses that as many as four appeals, filed way back in 2000 by the corporation employees, are still pending.

It is further revealed that 25 appeals of 2001, 27 of 2002, 12 of 2003, six of 2004 and five of 2005 are still pending. Also, three appeals of 2006 are awaiting decision.

This list of long-pending appeals flies in the face of a circular issued by the Deparment of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Punjab, on March 3, 1997.

The circular recommended to government appellate authorities that “all pending appeals, review petitions etc preferred by the government employees must be disposed of within three months from the date of issue of these instructions and it may be further ensured that in future, appeals or review petitions preferred by the government employees are disposed of within a period of three months from the receipt of such appeals, review petitions etc”.

However, despite the instructions, it seems the Punsup authorities carried on their appellate tasks at a snail’s pace given the backlog of appeals with them. Interestingly, while the appeals filed in 2000 are pending, some of the appeals dated much later have alreday been decided. The out-of-turn disposal of appeals depends on the descretion of the competent authority who in this case is the chairman, Punsup.

According to the reply given to H.C. Arora, while 113 appeals were taken up for decision during the period September 1, 2005 to August 31, 2006 as many as 32 of these were taken up out of turn following the orders of the chairman on the request of appellants.

Another six appeals were taken up for hearing out of turn following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and two more were taken according to the orders of the civil court, Bathinda.

Arora revealed that appeals filed by Punsup employees even against dismissal orders took years for decision and that the chairman had directed out-of-turn listing of such appeals, on a specific request by appellants.

Importantly, the apex court’s Constitution Bench, in the S.S. Rathore case, had observed: “The redress of grievance in the hands of the departmental authorities takes an unduly long time. That is so on the account of the fact that no attention is ordinarily bestowed upon these matters and they are not considered governmental business of substance. This approach has to be depricated. Ordinarily, a period of three to six months should be the outer limit (for the disposal of such matters).”


Suicide by lady officer: Parents shattered
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, July 2
A pall of gloom descended upon the Ambedkar Nagar locality this morning soon after it received the news of the suicide by their daughter.

With eyes moist and voice choked relatives, family members and neighbours started pouring in the house of Arun Kumar, father of Capt Megha Razdan of 113 Engineers Regiment who allegedly was forced to take the extreme step after harassment at the hands of her senior officers in the unit.

Married a few months ago to an Army Captain of 113 Engineers Regiment, Megha was the blue- eyed child of the locality. A soft-spoken and hardworking girl chose to serve her motherland and joined the defence forces. Chaitanya Razdan is posted at Kalu Chak near Jammu .

Daughter of Arun Kumar, a sub-divisional engineer with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at Pathankot, Megha used to narrate her daily routine and the indifferent attitude of her seniors to her mother Shailja often. The shattered father was not in a state to comment on any issue. Her mother, however, alleged that her superiors in the unit forced her to take the step.

The body was brought to the city by her parents after a post-mortem examination at a Jammu hospital this afternoon. A contingent of her unit also accompanied the body to her house.

The body was consigned to the flames with a tearful adieu.


Pak releases one more prisoner
Tribune News Service

Wagah, July 2
About 50 fishermen who had been languishing in the Landhi jail in Karachi returned to India after the Pakistani authorities handed them over to the BSF at the Wagah joint checkpost here today.

Two brothers Sanjay and Mahesh of Balsar dist in Gujarat while talking to the media said there were more than 400 prisoners in the Landhi jail who had been languishing there for more than five years. The prisoners there were suffering from diseases like TB, asthma and other serious ailments, they added.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani authorities released another Indian prisoner Khaira Narain, who had been caught by the Pakistani securities agencies one and a half months ago in the Arabian Sea. He said the Pakistani agencies had seized their cargo and arrested seven persons on board. He said the other six were still languishing in Pakistani jails


Ajnala shootout case may be reopened
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, July 2
The Amritsar (rural) police may reopen the three-year-old Ajnala shootout case with a view to booking more Congress leaders and their relatives.

Family sources of Jasbir Singh Dimpa, former Congress MLA who is currently behind bars, have alleged that his (Dimpa’s) brother Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP (Traffic), Chandigarh, may be implicated in either the Ajnala shootout case or some other case, though he was not present at the time of incident.

Counsel of Dimpa Rajinder Singh Tapyala alleged that Gursharnjit Singh Laddi, who was among the 20 arrested by the Beas police in connection with the killing of an Akali worker on January 29, was tortured in police remand. He was “forced” to sign some blank papers with a view to implicating Harmanbir Singh Gill, he added. Earlier, Gill was given a clean chit in the shootout case at Beas.

However, Iqbal Singh, district police chief, Amritsar (rural), said nobody would be harassed or implicated in any case without evidence. Another senior police officer claimed that the police had clear instructions from the Chief Minister not to harass or challan any innocent person.

Tapyala claimed that the sub-divisional judicial magistrate, Baba Bakala, had issued instructions to prepare a medico-legal report of Laddi. The court remanded Laddi in police custody while the rest of the 19 were sent in judicial custody.

Meanwhile, the mother of Dimpa, along with three Congress MLAs, earlier met the DGP to lodge a complaint that the police might register more cases against the supporters and family of the former Congress MLA.


171-cr project to increase water for villages
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 2
Punjab irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon today said the state government had prepared a project of Rs 171 crore for brick-lining the Bathinda branch canal so that water could be made available to those villages, which were located at tail-ends of its distributaries.

While responding to the requests made by the panchayats of about 12 villages of this district to Sekhon at the house of a former minister Chiranji Lal Garg here, he said that apart from it, all distributaries of Bathinda branch would be cleaned and that would help in increasing the water flow into the same by about 30 to 35 per cent.

He disclosed that another project worth Rs 23 crore had been prepared for repairing and cleaning the Bhadaur distributary for making water available to tail-end villages falling in Faridkot and Sangrur districts.

The minister disclosed that for the first time, the state government had earmarked Rs 650 crore in the annual budget of the current financial year so that irrigation water facilities could be augmented in the state.

He said the Punjab government in another step had also decided to brick-line the small water course. 


Mega thermal plant to be set up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Punjab government has decided to set up a thermal plant of 2,000 MW in Vanawali village near Talwandi Sabo.

Earlier, there was a proposal to set up a plant of 1,200 MW. Sources said now about 2,000 acres would be acquired for the thermal plant instead of 1,200 acres.

The authorities concerned had been told to start the process acquiring the land. “ Now, we have decided to set up a mega thermal plant whereas earlier the proposal was to have a super thermal plant”, said a senior state government officer.


Widening Ghaggar will be waste of funds
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Widening of the Ghaggar and the construction of embankments on both sides of the river at an estimated cost of Rs 85 crore from Khanuri to Karail village in Sangrur district will not only be a waste of money but also adversely affect a large number of farmers whose land will be acquired for this purpose.

The project, prepared by the Punjab irrigation department, was discussed at length at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here yesterday. The project was prepared in January,2005, during the tenure of the Amarinder Singh government.

The irrigation department wanted to enhance the water-carrying capacity of the Ghggar to 25,000 cusecs from Khanuri to Karail, a 40 km stretch.

For the widening of the river and constructing a spill drain, etc, about 1,360 acres will have to be acquired. Farmers, whose land is to be acquired, have urged the state government to provide land in lieu of the area to be acquired for the purpose. Among the proposals discussed at the meeting was that the farmers to be affected should be compensated by giving them panchayat land.

The department has calculated the cost of land to be Rs 44 crore. However, the prevailing market rate of land in the Khanuri area is about Rs 5 lakh per acre. Besides, the government will have to give displacement allowance to the farmers concerned. The minimum cost of acquiring the land will be in the range of Rs 80 crore. It is difficult to understand how the project will be constructed at a cost of Rs 85 crore.

Moreover, the Khanuri-Karail stretch lies downstream. Without managing water in the upstream course ( about 120 km), starting from Mubarakpur, near Dera Bassi, in Patiala district to Khanuri, no purpose will be served by widening the Ghaggar river in the downstream stretch.

In the upstream stretch, the Ghaggar overflows at several places in Patiala district. It becomes devastating at Budhmaur village, near Devigarh, where two other rivers --- the Markanda and the Tangri--- also flow into it. The Ghaggar starts its devastation right near the Chhat Bir zoo and continues behaving in ferocious manner during the monsoon up to Jakhal, the place where it enters Haryana. The widening of the Ghaggar without managing the flow of water in the upstream stretch will certainly b a useless exercise.


Traffic cops to get gloves
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 2
On the recommendation of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society, the IG, Traffic Punjab, has instructed all SSPs in the state to provide hand gloves to all traffic police personnel as a preventive measure to avoid HIV/AIDS.

According to official sources here yesterday, Dr Daler Singh Multani, joint director of the society, in his letter to the DGP said awareness camps regarding HIV/AIDS were being organised at the district police headquarters in the state and Mohali, Amritsar, Kartarpur, Jalandhar and Barnala had been covered. Rest of the districts would be covered as and when requested by the respective district police administrations.


Doctors Day
Shun greed to help root out foeticide, medicos told 
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 2
The Patiala branch of the Indian Medical Association organised a seminar on the eve of Doctors Day under the leadership of its president, Dr D. S. Bhullar.

“To root out social evils like female foeticide and drug addiction, medial professionals should come forward and identify their role as responsible citizens,” said Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, adviser to the Chief Minister, Punjab, during a continued medical education programme and a special seminar.

Presiding over the seminar as chief guest, Dr Cheema stated that medical profession is a noble profession but some people in greed of money were defaming it. He said health issues were on the priority list of the state government and he would try his best to improve the health services.

Dr Ajmer Singh, former DRME of Punjab, admitted that the relations between the doctors and their patients were deteriorating day by day. Due to increasing consumerism, medical services had been commercialised and the expectation of patients from their doctors had risen, leading to litigations and protests.

Surjit Singh Rakhra, while addressing the gathering, said the relationship between the doctor and his patient should be cordially maintained at every cost. He assured the doctors on behalf of the state government that their interests would be looked after.

Dr Ravinder Singh, vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Dr Usha Dhingra, civil surgeon, Patiala, Dr Janak Sachdeva, Dr Manmohan Singh, president of the Punjab Medical Council, Dr Baldev Singh Aulakh, renowned kidney transplant surgeon and member, Medical Council of India and Dr Devinder Singh Sandhu, leading oncologist of Punjab, also spoke on the occasion.

Dr O.P.S. Kande, chief adviser of the IMA, Patiala and former president of IMA, Punjab, while moving a resolution demanded that like in the USA, Doctors Day should be celebrated at the state level, keeping in view the contribution of Bharat Ratan Dr B C Roy in the medical, social and political field.

In his welcome address, Dr D. S. Bhullar, president of the IMA, Patiala, thanked the Chief Minister for honouring Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and appointing him adviser with Cabinet rank.

More than 200 doctors and members of the IMA attended the seminar and CME programme.

Prominent personalities, including Dr Anmol Rattan Singh Sidhu, president, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Dr Harjinder Pal Singh Walia, head, Department of Journalism, Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr Jagbir Singh, former president of the IMA, Patiala, Karamjit Singh Jattana, district forest officer Patiala, were present on this occasion.

A vote of thanks was presented by Dr J. K. Kansal, honorary secretary of the branch, and Dr Vishal Chopra, honorary secretary of IMA, Patiala, conducted the programme.


Patiala doctor pens book on Kashmiri Pandits
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 2
A visit to her home state Kashmir after about 20 years stirred her mind. The destruction of culture, social fabric and customs of the Kashmir valley motivated Dr Phool Chandra, a retired professor in gynaecology from Government Medical College, Patiala, to pen a comparison of her past memories and present experience.

A Kashmiri Pandit, who migrated from the valley about 20 years ago with her father who is a Hindi teacher, she has written a book, ‘My Kashmir Past and Future’.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Phool Chandra said, “During my recent visits I have collected old photographs of valley buildings, utensils and other articles that were used by the Kashmiri Pandit. Their temples and huge wooden palatial houses have now become ruins. Articles that were used commonly in old houses are now rarely available.”

In her book, she has given an elaborative description of customs that prevailed among the Kashmiri Pandits while they resided in the valley. The families of Kashmiri Pandits were generally small. However, due to the high mortality rate among women, polygamy was practised. The urge for a son was widely prevalent as it was believed that the person can gain ‘moksha’ only if his pyre was lit by his son.

Due to lesser wheat production rice was the staple diet of Kashmiris. But still ‘roti’, a special type of snack made from wheat popularly known as ‘nanwai’, was served with the evening tea. The tea is a special drink commonly know as ‘kahwa’. Besides the common tea and milk, kahwa contains almond powder and cinnamon. Many types of tea, like ‘sheer’ and ‘nanu’, that contain salt were also commonly prepared in old houses.

The society of Kashmiri Pandits is divided mainly into two categories -- ‘Banmasi’ who had initially migrated from the valley during the rule of Muslim kings and later returned and the ‘Malmasi’ who stayed back in valley despite all odds. Both categories had different customs and traditions. Later, the Pandits who started doing business were categorised as ‘Buhirs’. The difference between categories has faded due to mass migration from valley these days.

The houses in the valley were multistoreyed and made from wood. The rooms were wide and had windows. Now, the old wooden houses have paved way for the cement constructions.

Khir Bhavani ‘Tulmul’, Jayeshda Devi, Chakreshwar, Shankracharya and Amarnath are the most famous religious places of the Kashmiri Pandits. While some like the Amarnath cave have become famous, the others are in a state of neglect.

She has given an elaborative description of art forms, foods, farming practices and architecture relating to Kashmiri Pandits that have now faded into history due to mass migration of the community from the valley.


NTAS workshop concludes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 2
The National Theatre Art Society (NTAS) staged two Punjabi musical plays, “Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh” and I.C. Nanda’s “Suhaag”, produced by Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal during their one-month production-oriented 22nd Annual Theatre Workshop 2007, which concluded at the Baradari Gardens, here today.

The programme was a tribute to freedom fighter Bhagat Munshi Ram on his 25th death anniversary. Inspired by the late Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Bhagat founded the NTAS at Jalandhar in 1953.

Rotarian Dr Ashok Gupta, former head of the department of pathology, Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, was the chief guest.

S.P. Singh, manager of the village branch of the State Bank of Patiala was the guest of honour.

A.P. Dubey, B.S. Saini and K.C. Khanna honoured the dignitaries with the Bhagat Munshi Ram Theatre Award. Noted theatre personality Gian Gakhar was also given the award.

Besides the Sabharwals, the teachers who had imparted training during the workshop were also honoured with cash awards. The trainees were also given certificates and prizes. 


NRI accuses cops of registering false case

Chandigarh, July 2
A Canada-based NRI yesterday alleged that he had been falsely booked by the Punjab police, while the police denied the allegation saying inquiries had been conducted and the NRI, Bal Karan Singh Bhullar, along with 13 others had been found to have committed fraud in the purchase of property.

The police said a challan had been presented in court against eight of them while a separate challan was also being prepared. Bhullar held a press conference here saying he had purchased a 3.25 acre plot from Krishan Kumar in Abohar. The seller allegedly had strained relations with his own son. The daughter-in-law of the seller, Dimple Rani, lodged a complaint with the police, claiming that her father-in-law had been enticed into selling the plot. She was given possession of a house located on the same piece of land. Rani’s name does not figure in the revenue records and the land was in the name of Krishan Kumar, claimed Bhullar, questioning how Rani’s complaint was entertained by the police.

Bhullar said he had been falsely booked under sections 420, 467, 468 and 342 of the IPC. The police said revenue officials were booked for tampering with the official records. They carried out the registration of the sale and the mutation on the same day. — TNS


‘Wrong policies making PSEB poor’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 2
Hitting out at state government, the PSEB Engineers’ Association said the present financial distress of the board was due to the postponing of power reforms because of the advocacy of privatisation of the board by the state government, the spokesperson of the association said, here today.

President of the association H.S. Bedi said the present poor financial position of the PSEB was due to the wrong and misplaced policies of the board management and the state governments.

Bedi further disclosed that the board had earned a profit of Rs 118 crore in 2003-04, but had later slipped into losses of more than Rs 1,900 crore, mainly due to the non-revision of tariff and excessive power purchase at very high rates in view of the February 2007 Punjab Assembly elections.

PSEB made purchases of more than Rs 4,400 crore during 2006-07 although the Punjab Regulatory Commission had permitted power purchase of only Rs 2,800 crore. Now, the PSEB is again not being allowed to file petition for the revision of tariff for 2007-08 due to the impending local body elections, Bedi said.

General secretary of the association R.S. Sarao further said it was ironical that no written orders, either from the state government or from the board management, exist on record regarding the non-filing of tariff petition, which was required to be filed before the Regulatory Commission in November 2006.

While talking to The Tribune, Bedi informed that the so-called ‘experts’, advocating reforms in the power sector, had missed out on the fact that as far as tariff determination and balancing of revenue are concerned, the reforms of the PSERC were already in place

The problem lies not in the reforms but in the non-compliance of Section 61(b) and 65 of the Electricity Act 2003, Bedi said.

He further added that the experts who were advocating unbundling and privatisation of the PSEB to improve commercial health and reduce losses should first study the data which was circulated in the chief secretaries’ meeting held last month at New Delhi. It was found out that unbundled and privatised boards like that of Uttar Pradesh have reported commercial losses of Rs 3,951 crore. Similarly, Rajasthan reported losses of Rs 1,651 crore and Haryana losses of Rs 1,688 crore during 2005-06. The line loss of a private company in Orison has increased from 40.47 per cent in 2001-02 to 45.48 per cent during 2005-06. In one of the private companies owned by Reliance in Delhi, the losses even after five years of privatisation are 48.58 per cent.

In Haryana, the line losses in state-owned companies, after eight years of unbundling, are above 40 per cent; in Rajasthan, after seven years of unbundling, it is above 47 per cent and in Punjab the line losses are less than 24 per cent. Therefore, it is not the structure, but the manner in which a utility is managed, that ensures efficiency and accountability, said Bedi.


PSEB Darbar
50 complaints disposed of

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 2
Around 50 complaints were disposed of during a “bijli darbar” that was organised at the PSEB operation subdivision, Chaurwala, for the redress of grievances of consumers. 

Chief engineer B.S. Bath presided. As per the PSEB authorities, 55 complaints were received, out of which 50 complaints were disposed of on the spot.— TNS 


High Court
Punjab gets notice over Chahal’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice for July 9 to Punjab over the plea of Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, media adviser to former chief minister Amarinder Singh, seeking regular bail in an attempt-to-murder (also known as land-grab case) registered by the Ludhiana police against him on June 10.

The petitioner, currently in judicial remand in Patiala, submitted that since three of the seven accused in the case had already been given bail, he should be extended the same relief. He also averred that the whole case was based on mala fide and frivolous allegations.

The petitioner’s counsel said the Punjab police’s act of arresting Chahal while he was coming out of the Vigilance Bureau premises smacked of a preconceived plan to implicate him in a false case. The veracity of the FIR in the land-grab case was also questioned and it was highlighted that there had been an inordinate delay of seven months in its filing.

Incidentally, according to the FIR, the alleged incident of land-grabbing in Daad village of Ludhiana district, whereby attempt to murder and criminal intimidation was also alleged, occurred way back in October last year.

Even as the proceedings were on, Mr Justice Uma Nath Singh, quipped as to how Chahal was getting involved in so many matters and he had such vast assets as alleged by media reports.

The proceedings also saw references to “skeletons in Chahal’s cupboard”. Also, queries were raised on the official designation of Chahal in the Public Relations Department of the government.

Chahal also filed an additional affidavit today, to be taken up with his petition on July 4, wherein he has pleaded for extension of interim reliefs granted to him by the high court against the Vigilance Bureau as well as the Punjab police. In the said affidavit, he has also sought that investigation into Mercedes car case against him be transferred to the CBI.

Notice on Raninder’s plea

The high court today issued notice to Punjab for July 5 over the plea of Capt Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder plea that he be given 10 days’ notice in advance in case of his arrest by the Punjab police or Vigilance Bureau or any other investigation agency of the state government.

The petitioner averred that he feared that he would be falsely implicated in cases by the government which was acting mala fide and pursuing politics of vendetta against his family. Raminder, Amarinder’s kin, was a co-petitioner in the case.

Jagjit’s plea  disposed of

The high court today disposed of the plea of former local bodies minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh’s plea, seeking protection against arrest in any case registered or to be registered by the Punjab police or any other agency during the vacation period of the court, as infructuous.

Counsel for Punjab informed the court that the police had no case against Jagjit Singh.

Also, since the vacation period was over, the plea had lost another of its grounds.

The former minister has already been granted interim relief against arrest in the Ludhiana City Centre case.


Police to check music piracy
Ravinder Sud

Hoshiarpur, July 2
J. N. Saksena, former director-general of police of J&K and MP, presently deputy chief coordinator of the Anti-Piracy Wing of the Indian Music Industry, New Delhi, has, through letters, informed DGPs of all states and commissioners of police of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai to check the emerging threat to the Indian music industry as with the advancement in modern technology, the pirates have, of late, taken to online piracy and selling pirated music on mobile chips.

Official sources here today said in his letter he stated that some of the mobile phone dealers offer recorded chips free of cost to prospective buyers of mobile phones. Some sundry Internet centres/retailers in cities are selling mobile chips containing MP3 format of songs. While the government suffers revenue losses as the pirates do not pay taxes, the copyright owners and artistes suffer equally.

The expensive mobile phones have a large capacity of storing 100 to 1,000 songs. As defined under Section 2(m) (iii) of the Copyright Act, infringing copies means in relation to the sound recording, any other recording embodying the sound recording made by any means. Any means here also includes mobile chips. As defined under clause (xx) of the same section, sound recording means recording of sounds from which such sounds may be produced regardless of the medium on which recording is made or the method by which the sounds are produced. The mobile chip piracy is, thus, a cognizable offence like physical piracy under Sections 51/63 and 65 of the Copyright Act. In case recorded MP3 CDs are seized, Section 52-A/68-A shall also apply.

Like the Copyright Act, an officer, not below the rank of SP, can take action and seize the computers with accessories, CD writers, recorded chips/MP3 CDs, blank chips/CDs, card readers, connecting wires, purchased document of these equipments, customer register. The seizure memo should mention song titles, volume/frequency of downloading capacity of chips etc. He urged them to instruct the police heads of the districts in their respective states to launch a campaign in this connection to save the music industry.


13 booked for developing unauthorised colony
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 2
The Sadar police has registered cases against 13 persons for carving out an unauthorised colony at Landeke village on the Amritsar road during the past 24 hours. In a case seven persons, including five brothers were booked.

They are Gurcharan Singh, Joginder Singh, Lachman Singh, Binder Singh and Ram Pratap Singh, all brothers, Jaswinder Singh and Harman Preet Singh.

In another case, Ravi Bansal of New Town, Charanjit Singh and Hardip Singh of Droli Bhai village were booked. Ramesh Chander, a property dealer, Amritpal, a cloth merchant, and his wife Sita Devi were named in another FIR.


Two dera followers beaten up

Bathinda, July 2
Chanan Singh and his son Baldev Singh, Dera Sacha Sauda followers, were beaten up by 10 persons in Lal Singh Basti here today evening.

Police sources said they received multiple injuries. They were beaten up when coming to the town from nearby Naruana village.

Sources added two of 10 attackers had been identified and a case registered in this connection. — TNS


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