P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Amarinder visits Chahal in jail
Pledges support to him
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 18
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today stood by his beleaguered close aide and former media adviser B.I.S. Chahal. He became the first person among the prominent Congress leaders from the state to go and meet Chahal at the Patiala Central Jail today. Chahal has been behind bars in one case or another for more than a month now.

Most of the Congress leaders of the state have been keeping away from Chahal since the Vigilance and the police started registering cases against him. Senior Congress leaders, including Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Shamsher Singh Dullo, have also stated openly that Chahal was not a Congressman and that their party had nothing to do with him.

Even the local Congressmen also did not visit Chahal despite the fact that Capt Amarinder Singh personally called them up on a few occasions to support his trusted aide.

Capt Amarinder Singh was, however, candid about his relations with Chahal. He said, “I do not care about what other Congress leaders say about him.”

When asked about the likely political impact in the Congress of his today’s visit, Capt Amarinder Singh said, “He was my media adviser and enjoyed the minister for state rank in my government. I will stand by him.”

The former Chief Minister went to the jail at 11.15 am. He had brought gifts that included soft drinks and eatables for Chahal. However, the jail authorities did not allow him to carry these inside the jail. Capt Amarinder Singh met Chahal in the office of the jail superintendent where Chahal was already waiting. They meeting lasted for about 20 minutes.

After coming out of the jail, Capt Amarinder Singh told newspersons that Chahal had told him that he had been subjected to every conceivable torture. He said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal were responsible for the torture of Chahal.

He added that they had also registered cases against Akalis for possessing disproportionate assets. But Akali leaders, including Sukhbir Badal, were not kept in police remand and tortured. By torturing Congress workers and leaders, the Akalis have added a new chapter to their governance. It will not be to anyone’s benefit.

Capt Amarinder Singh said he would also visit the other Congress leaders, including Jasbir Singh Dimpa, former Congress MLA from Beas, who has been put behind the bars by the Akalis, and Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa and Jaspal Singh Khaira against whom cases had been registered.

Denying reports that he would go abroad after casting his vote in the presidential poll, Capt Amarinder Singh said he would play an active role in the forthcoming municipal corporation and parliamentary elections. I am medically fit and have sent the report regarding the treatment taken while in England to the PGI, Chandigarh. The report would be presented before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. I am ready to assume any charge that Congress president Sonia Gandhi deems fit for me, he said.


HC reserves order on  Amarinder’s bail plea
Mattewal goes full steam against bail to former CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The wait is not over yet. Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved order on the bail plea of former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh after three days of marathon hearings marked by an extensive debate on the contours of anticipatory bail.

Opening up the arguments, Punjab advocate-general H.S. Mattewal buttressed the point that “Adri Dharan Das judgment must be followed by the high court in accordance with the apex court order given while dismissing the Punjab SLP. The petitioner’s contention that no principles of law have been laid down in the Adri case is illogical.”

At this, Justice Ranjit Singh reiterated the query he had put yesterday as to whether the Adri judgment by the apex court has laid down any proposition of law which was at variance with the apex court’s Constitution Bench’s order (Gurbax Singh Sibia case). To this query, Mattewal replied there was no conflict between the two judgments.

Giving an orientation to a spate of arguments,the judge said the moot point was the possibility of restriction on the duration of the bail as, going by the submissions of both parties, there seemed to be no fetters (in context of the apex court order) on the powers of the high court to grant anticipatory bail to the petitioner.

The judge observed: “The submissions by both parties suggest power to grant anticipatory bail is available to the court in this case. The dispute is thus narrowed down to the counsel for the petitioner R.S.Ghai’s contention that there is no hard and fast rule on the duration of the bail. The limit can be imposed or can’t (Gurbax Singh Sibia case). On the other hand, according to the advocate-general, Adri judgment imposes a limitation on the duration of the bail.”

Importantly, Mattewal submitted that apart from Chetan Gupta’s statement and his pen drive, there were more statements which could be brought to the notice of the court later. As a result of this burgeoning evidence against the petitioner, this was “not a fit case for bail”, he averred.

Equally significant was Mattewal’s assertion that the merits of the allegations against the petitioner could not be looked into by the court at this stage. The judge concurred, saying: “I will only see whether allegations hold any ground prima facie or not.”

Another probing query by Justice Ranjit Singh that if any disproportionate assets case would be made against the petitioner at this stage evoked an evasive response from Mattewal. The advocate-general replied that it was not possible to say whether it would or would not be made, as the investigations were going on.

Interestingly, R.S.Ghai highlighted the fact that the advocate-general has submitted before a division bench of the high court that “investigation is complete in FIR no 5 (Ludhiana City Centre case) as far as Chahal’s role is concerned”.

Political animus and vendetta politics too were hammered on by Ghai, while Mattewal denied any such ulterior motive on the part of the state.


Bureau to quiz ex-CM again

Chandigarh, July 18
The Punjab vigilance bureau will again question former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who is facing a case of corruption. It is likely that the questioning will be carried out tomorrow in Chandigarh.

Sources said that Amarinder Singh would be questioned in connection with the Ludhiana city centre scam. He was questioned by the VB once, but some loose ends needed to be tied up, added the sources. — TNS


High Court
Contempt case against Chahal: Next hearing on Oct 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain, Justice Rajive Bhalla and Justice Surya Kant, today adjourned the hearing on contempt case against B.I.S. Chahal, media advisor to former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, to October 31.

Importantly, the bench allowed the Punjab Deputy Advocate-General A.G. Masih’s application wherein he had sought original records relating to the selection of DSPs under sports quota from the court. Incidentally, the Vigilance Bureau director had, vide letter dated April 9, 2007, sought all records, relating to the selection of DSPs under sports quota, from the Punjab Sports Department.

The said selections had been quashed by the court.

The contempt hearing was adjourned following Chahal’s counsel Ashok Aggarwal’s submission that Chahal was in judicial custody.

Bail plea adjourned

Justice Uma Nath Singh today directed the counsel for Today Homes officials to furnish documents required by the Vigilance Bureau SSP, Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, at the earliest to facilitate investigation while adjourning the hearing on their anticipatory bail plea to August 6. Importantly, B.I.S. Chahal’s plea for anticipatory bail, too, was tagged along with the Today Homes officials’ plea.

The Punjab Additional-Advocate General, Rita Kohli, averred that the documents required by the state had not been handed over, as a result of which the pace of investigation was being hampered. At this, the petitioner’s counsel, Shanti Bhushan, said the Vigilance officer should give them a list of documents required and the same would be supplied to them within 10 days. Kohli asserted that the list had already been supplied.

The judge then asked the counsel to hand over whatever documents they were carrying with them and supply the rest later. Importantly, Justice Uma Nath Singh observed that state should desist from torture and resort to scientific methods of interrogation. He asked Rita Kohli as to whether the Punjab Police had any lie-detection equipment with it. To this, Kohli replied that she was not aware about this.

There was discussion on Adri Dharan Das judgment by the apex court and Kohli said that bail could not be of unlimited duration. Shanti Bhushan asserted that there was no need for custodial interrogation, as there were techniques like narco-analysis, brain mapping and lie-detection which could reveal the truth.


MLA Jain gets 2-day parole

Moga, July 18
The Department of Revenue’s central economic wing, under the Ministry of Finance, has granted two-day parole to Congress MLA from the Moga Assembly constituency Joginder Pal Jain for casting his vote in the Presidential elections starting tomorrow.

Deputy commissioner, Faridkot, V.K. Meena told The Tribune over the phone that his office received the letter late last night. He said the department exercised power under Section 12 of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act, 1974.

The Superintendent of Jail, Faridkot, released Jain, a first-time MLA, at 6:50 am. He will have to return to the prison by the morning of July 20.

Jain was detained by a team of the Punjab police from Punjab Bhavan in Sector 3, Chandigarh, on July 16. The case dates back to 1988 and relates to hawala transactions. — TNS


Jain refuses to talk about arrest
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Congress MLA from Moga Joginder Pal Jain, who has been released from the judicial lock-up for two days to enable him to cast his vote in the presidential election tomorrow, was so scared of the Punjab police that he refused to speak to mediapersons.

“ I am in their ( police) custody and I will not speak till I remain with them”, said Jain when asked how the Punjab police had treated him at the time of arresting him in Chandigarh on July 16. “ They (police) took away my documents, my briefcase containing Rs 2.50 lakh and much more,” and then he suddenly stopped saying anything further at Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s residence, where he was brought to collect his documents related to the voting. However, he said there was no case against him. “ I was acquitted in the main case on October 29, 2006, by a Delhi court”, he said.

Heavily guarded by Punjab police officials, Jain has been taken to Delhi, where he will cast his vote.Two police vehicles loaded with policemen accompanied Jain to Delhi. Besides, policemen were sitting along with him in his private vehicle. From the scene, it appeared as if a wanted person was in police custody.

Jain had sought permission to cast his vote in Delhi well before his arrest by the Punjab police at the behest of the enforcement directorate (ED). “ I had taken permission to vote in Delhi because I was supposed to be there for some urgent work on July 19”, he said.


Corporate houses to set up 300 schools
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Big corporate houses are ready to set up about 300 schools in Punjab. A meeting in this connection will be held on July 30 in Delhi, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said today.

He said the state government would provide infrastructure, including land, for setting up the schools.

Among the industrial houses keen to set up schools are the Bharti group, Hero-Honda and Ambuja cement. Some of the corporate houses are keen to even adopt adarash schools. A few weeks ago at a CII meet, Sunil Mittal of the Bharti group had assured the Prime Minister that corporate houses would set up 15,000 schools across the country.

The Prime Minister has urged the corporate houses to play some role in building society. It has been felt that corporate houses are not making any contribution to human resource development. They are using “talented human capital” to earn huge profits.

Asked about the hearing on the presidential reference on September 18 in the Supreme Court, Badal said his government had engaged top legal brains for this purpose. “ We will go by the advice of the experts in this case”, he said.

Replying to a question regarding Dera Sacha Sauda, he said his government was committed to maintaining law and order on this issue. Asked whether his government would ban the holding of “ nam charcha” in the open, Badal said his duty was to maintain law and order. “ I will not say anything in this regard”, he added.

Regarding the response from the United National Progressive Alliance for voting in favour of NDA-backed candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Badal said every party had its own angle with regard to the presidential election. From his talk it was clear that no party associated with the UNPA has given any response to Badal for voting in favour of Shekhawat. The UNPA has already announced to abstain from voting in the election.

When asked whether Om Parkash Chautala’s party would vote for Shekhawat, Badal said he was not aware of it. “ Chautala is a close friend of Shekhawat”, he said.

Talking about the attack of the mealy bug on the cotton crop, he said the government would assess the damage caused by the attack.


Congress MLAs lash out at Shekhawat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Punjab Congress MLAs have strongly protested against soliciting of their vote by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who is NDA-backed candidate in the presidential election.

Gathered at the residence of Rajinder Kaur Bhattal here today, Congress MLAs said Shekhawat contacted them personally on the mobile phone today and yesterday to seek their vote. MLAs said they told Shekhawat that it was unfair on his part to contact the Congress MLAs who are supporting their own party candidate.

“Shekhawat is misusing his official telephone facilities available to him because of his being Vice-President”, said Bhattal. 


Ram Bagh Bardari razed
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 18
Heritage lovers of the holy city were shocked to see the only existing Baradari (canopy) in the historical Rambagh, constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, demolished by the Archaeological Survey of India without taking the local administration and NGOs into confidence.

The other three Baradaris in Ram Bagh are already damaged with the passage of time. Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu immediately sent Manpreet Singh Chhatwal, SDM, to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the demolition of the structure. In his preliminary inquiry, the SDM reported that the department concerned had played havoc with the heritage building by demolishing the Baradari. The SDM also spoke to Ram Lal, general manager, ASI, who claimed that the Baradari was demolished brick by brick and the department would restore it back to its “original shape” through remodelling (recasting).

Conservationist Balvinder Singh, however, said the attempt to re-construct the heritage structure was against the spirit of conservation. Quoting world -renowned conservationists, he said the department concerned should have preserved the structure in its original shape instead of demolishing it. He said conservationists’ duty was to prolong the life of old, dilapidated buildings by saving them from further damage and decay adding demolition was no solution to the problem. Coming down heavily on the department, principal of Springdale School Manveen Sandhu said, “It’s extremely shocking to discover that the only existing Baradari (canopy) in Ram Bagh has been demolished”. She called upon the heritage lovers to come on a single platform to save the historical garden, which served as the Summer Palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, from further vandalisation. State president of INTACH Sukhdev Singh said local conservationists should have been involved before demolishing the Baradari. He said it would be difficult to bring the structure to its original shape during remodelling.

Brij Bedi, president, Citizen Forum, while criticising the demolition of Baradari recommended public participation to restore the historical Ram Bagh. He said a committee comprising local conservationists and heritage lovers be formed to preserve other buildings in Ram Bagh, which are on the verge of collapse.

Earlier, conservation architects had claimed that they had found original layers of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s time in the Summer Palace of the Maharaja at the time of digging . They had also found an earthen sanitation system, prevalent in those days, during the intensive digging operation.

The plants and trees in Ram Bagh, which was constructed on the pattern of Lahore’s famous Gulmargh Bagh, are also a facing threat to their existence.


Sale of Tourist Complexes
Cong deal cost state Rs 450 cr: Gabria
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 18
The alleged shady sale of 10 tourist complexes by the previous Congress regime has come under a scanner with allegations that the state exchequer lost more than Rs 450 crore on this account.

Interestingly, some of these prime properties were allegedly resold by buyers at prices five-six times higher than their actual purchase price.

These complexes, which stand on big chunks of prime land, were allegedly sold by the previous Congress government to its “favoured persons” for just Rs 86.62 crore. It was a different matter that the actual price commanded by these prime state-owned properties was more than Rs 550 crore.

Though a formal probe was yet to be initiated into this alleged scam, the Department of Tourism was probing the matter on their own. An assessment was being made by the department about the actual market price of these prime properties.

“It is a big scandal. We are in the process of unearthing it. For this, I had ordered an assessment of the actual price of these tourist complexes. The initial assessment, made twice by our officials, suggests that these properties were sold for a small amount of Rs 86.62 crore, whereas the market price at that time was more than Rs 550 crore. After our probe, we could hand over this scam to the Vigilance Bureau,” said Hira Singh Gabria, minister for Tourism, Jails and Culture.

The previous Congress regime had sold as many as 10 tourist complexes on the plea that these had been incurring losses for long. “There was no problem If they wanted to sell these properties. But why they handed over these properties to their favourites at much low prices than the ones prevailing in the market?” questioned Gabria.

“If you just calculate the land prices, these were much more than the price on which these complexes were sold,” he said Gabria.

The tourist complexes, which were sold to private parties included tourist complexes at Pathankot (3.75 acres sold for Rs 5. 25 crore), Sanghol (3 acres sold for Rs 1.8 crore), Kapurthala ( 6 kanals, 4 marlas sold for Rs 1.50 crore), Moga (3.88 acres sold for Rs 4.25 crore), Madhopur (13 kanals, 6 marlas sold for Rs 7,01,01,101), Shambhu (3.714 acres sold for Rs 2.91 crore), Jalandhar (7 kanals, 5 marlas sold for Rs 7,35,51,101), Hoshiarpur (1.397 acres sold for Rs 3.01 crore), Amritsar (23 kanals, 1 marla sold for Rs 51 crore) and Queens Flower Resort, Neelon (7.137 acres).

The Tourism Department was still in possession of a few of tourist complexes at Ropar, Nidampur, Ludhiana, Sirhind, Kartarpur, Malout, Ludhiana, Phagwara and Nangal. The Silver Oak Tourist Complex at Malout, tourist complex at Faridkot and Kadamba Tourist Complex at Nangal were lying closed while Oasis Tourist Complex in Ludhiana, complex at Phagwara and Water Lilly fast food counter, Ropar, were being run by private contractors. “We have big plans for resurrection of these complexes. Special efforts were being made for improving Mangolia Tourist Complex of Kartarpur,” he added.


Atta-dal scheme to cover 30 pc population
Tribune News Service

Dhuri (Sangrur), July 18
The atta-dal scheme, to be launched by the SAD-BJP government from August 15, will cover about 30 per cent population of the state. The scheme will provide financial benefits, to the tune of about Rs 700 crore per annum, to the poor people of the state.

Replying to a question here today, local government, industry, and commerce minister, Punjab, Manoranjan Kalia further said that though under the scheme the SAD-BJP government would provide atta-dal at subsidised rates to the poor people, so identified, of the state, it was also considering a proposal to give cash incentives to those poor persons who would not seek atta-dal under the scheme.

Earlier, Kalia inaugurated the Kundan Lal Saron National College for Girls, set up by Kundan Lal Saron Wale Charitable Trust, here today. He also announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the college from his discretionary fund. The college will impart education from Plus One to MA from this academic session. It has been set up on two acres on the Dhuri-Sangrur road. 


Sidhu plays Samaritan to blind couple
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Waan Tara Singh (Valtoha), July 18
For Yakub and Harbans Kaur, a destitute, old and blind couple of this border belt, it was a new lease of life when they received a cheque of Rs 2 lakh and a cow for their sustenance today from BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The old couple had been living in the village on the support of villagers as the state government had failed to provide them old-age benefits.

The amount of Rs 2 lakh will be invested in the monthly income scheme of the post office in the name of the couple from which they will get Rs 2,100 per month.

BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, who gave the money from his own personal account and not from the MP land fund, talking to mediapersons said he was moved by the plight of the blind couple when he had visited the area during the last Assembly elections.


Religious act draws flak

Amritsar, July 18
The participation of BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu in a“rudra yagya”, organised by a religious organisation in view of the start of the “sawan” on Monday, has received flak from various Sikh organisations.

Former Jathedar of Akal Takht Bhai Ranjit Singh said here today that Sidhu had violated the Sikh maryada by wearing a sacred thread and dhoti during the yagya. — TNS


Schoolboy thrashed: PSHRC takes note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission(PSHRC) today took notice of a Tribune report titled ‘Boy thrashed by teacher for skipping school’ and sought a report from the education department.

The commission said prima facie instructions of the education department banning corporal punishment in government and government-recognised schools had been flouted.

A copy of the order has been sent to the principal secretary, education, and director, public instruction (schools), for submitting a report by August 28.

Rajpura: The school authorities of Khalsa Senior Secondary School, where 14-year-old Paramjit was brutally beaten by his maths teacher on Monday, forced the parents of the boy to reach a “compromise” on Wednesday.

Mukhtiar Singh, father of boy, told the tribune that principal Harchand Singh Gill, along with prominent persons of the town, including political leaders, visited them and “forced” them to forgive the teacher, who tendered an unconditional apology.

Mukhtiar Singh lamented that the police had failed to take any action in this case.

He said instead of calling the school head and the maths teacher to the police station, the police had summoned them to the police station.

Meanwhile, Paramjit continues to be in hospital, complaining of hearing problems. It is learnt the teacher slapped him repeatedly.


Ghadar movement records digitised
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 18
Numerous records related to the Ghadar movement have been preserved digitally. Newspapers, documents, personal accounts and dairies of ‘Ghadari babas’ like Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna have been put on CDs and DVDs.

The exhaustive exercise to save these records from falling prey to time-driven decay had been undertaken by Jalandhar-based Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall Committee.

More than 30,000 pages of documents of high archival value, including copies of Ghadar movement-related newspapers - Ghadar Goonjan, Kirti, Akali Te Pardesi, Akali, Mazdoor-Kisan - have not only been preserved on digital media but the access to these documents has also been made easy for people. Any visitor to the hall can have easy access to these digitised records.

“Almost the entire record of the Ghadar movement from 1900 to 1926 has been scanned and saved on CDs and DVDs. The project, which has taken years, has been funded by Canada-based NRI Kuldip Singh Hansra and his friends,” said Gurmit Singh, secretary of the committee.

“We have also put more than 200 rare photos of ‘Ghadari babas’ and part of their correspondence on our website ghadarmemorial.net so that people can have a peep into that era,” he added.

The committee has made an effort to preserve the documents in their original form.


Prayer held for Bansal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 18
A naam charcha (special prayer) was held according to the norms of Dera Sacha Sauda by its followers at the bhog ceremony of a follower, Sham Sunder Bansal, at his house in Paras Ram Nagar here today.

Bansal died in Delhi on July 9 after he committed self-immolation on July 8 in the town to protest against the “harassment” of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda by a section of leaders, who mattered most in the present ruling set-up.

The district police authorities had made elaborate security arrangements. Policemen were deployed in large numbers in the Paras Ram Nagar and Partap Nagar areas to seal them. A large number of shopkeepers of these areas did not open their shops fearing clashes between the followers of the dera and policemen.

Besides, the police authorities also put up check-points at various places in the district to prevent the dera followers from entering the town to join the naam charcha ceremony. Jatinder Jain, DIG, Faridkot range, and Nau Nihal Singh, SSP, Bathinda, monitored the security arrangements. The policemen did not face a tough time today as followers of the dera did not come to attend the naam charcha ceremony fearing their arrest by the local police in different criminal cases registered against them in the city police station on May 14 and May 15.

However, a senior woman functionary of the dera, who was wanted by the police in criminal cases and who attended the Naam Charcha today, gave a slip to police officials who had been keeping a watch at the house of Bansal to arrest her.


Sweeper union submits list of demands to CM
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 18
The Municipal Corporation Sweepers Union has urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that services of all part-time and daily-wage sweepers in the local Municipal Corporation be regularised.

In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, president of the union Bir Bhan said it was unfortunate that no one in the state government had been taking up the genuine demands of the sweepers seriously.

Bir Bhan said the union had urged the state government to recruit 1,000 regular sweepers for better sanitation of Bathinda town as its municipal limits had increased considerably in the past few years. Not only this, the union had also demanded that as the sweepers had been handling machines for sanitation, their post should be declared as a technical post.


‘Animal traffickers active’

Hoshiarpur, July 18
Animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has alleged that police personnel of certain provinces are getting bribe as high as Rs 2 crore from animal traffickers every month.

Maneka has stated she had received complaints from various organisations in Punjab and Delhi that animals, especially cows, were being sent daily from Punjab to other states for slaughter.

As many as 50 animals are stuffed in a truck. A majority of them die on the way, she adds. — OC


Two bikers die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, July 18
Two motorcyclists died on the spot this evening near Badali Ala Singh town in Bassi subdivision as their motorcycle got out of control at a curve and hit the tree.

Sadhu Ram, SHO, said Baljeet Singh, sarpanch of Sampli village, along with Gurpreet Singh, resident of the village, were going to Chandigarh on Bullet motorcycle.

He said on a curve, the sarpanch, who was driving, could not control the motorcycle and the speeding motorcycle hit a tree and both died on the spot. He said their bodies had been taken to the Civil Hospital, Bassi Pathana, and would be handed over to the relatives tomorrow after post mortem.


Workshop for rural industrialisation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 18
With an objective to create significant number of employment in the rural areas through enhanced credit flow to non-farm sector projects, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has started a programme of rural industrialisation in Patiala.

For the successful implementation of this programme, Nabard has been organising programmes for bankers, government and other development agencies.

To acquaint with the financing of small enterprises, a workshop was organised here today, which was attended by about 50 participants from various banks, government agencies and NGOs.

J P S Bindra, assistant general manager, Nabard, Patiala, said during the first three years of this programme, the banks had disbursed a loan of Rs 1,346 crore for non-farm activities identified under the District Rural Industries Programme.

He further said the programme not only aimed to provide sustainable employment through credit intensification but also take care of training and other promotional interventions, like training and marketing.

During the first three years of the programme, Nabard has conducted 23 skill and rural entrepreneurs development programmes and trained 714 youths in plumbing, carpentry, computer hardware software system, farm sector, handloom phulkari, etc.

Bindra said out of these 23 programmes, eight were conducted exclusively for women.

Harjit Singh, AGM, Nabard, said Patiala was the fourth district in Punjab, besides Muktsar, Bathinda and Kapurthala, to be covered under the District Rural Industries Programme. P K Diwan, district manager, KVIC, Kesar Singh from the fisheries department were also present in this workshop. 


PSEB condemns attack on official
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 18
The Council of Junior Engineers, PSEB, condemned the attack on Madan Singh, AAE, by a farmer of Patto village under Banur operation subdivision, during anti-theft drive by the PSEB department.

Swarn Lal, president of the council, said here today that the field officers of the PSEB were putting undue pressure on JEs and AAEs. He further said about 700 posts had been lying vacant in operation wing for the past many years.

Council leaders also questioned the Constitution of Task Forces by some members of the field authorities by retaining the JEs and AAEs and field staff from operation subdivisions.

Whereas, consumer services were suffering due to the shortage of staff in the subdivisions.

The council president and other leaders pointed out that if any senior official was more keen to curb power theft, he should utilise his own staff in division and circle offices, instead of calling them. However, the board should strengthen its enforcement wing which had provided police protection to curb power theft.

Swarn Lal demanded that the adequate police protection should be given to the field staff otherwise JEs and AAEs would be compelled to boycott the checking against the power theft.


Bassi Pathana to get a facelift
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, July 18
The Punjab government has assured to give a new look to Bassi Pathana and a master plan is being prepared in this regard.

Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, has directed the departments to release the funds as soon as the master plan is approved, said Didar Singh Bhatti, MLA, while addressing a meeting of SAD workers here today. He had called the meeting to review the development projects to be initiated in the town.

Bhatti said the previous Congress government had done nothing for the development of the town rather the Congress MLA had been befooling the people on the name of development. He said as per the promise

made during the election, he would develop the town.

Earlier, Kulbhushan Malhotra, Rajesh Singla and Sunil Khullar highlighted the various problems being faced by residents of the town. They said perhaps Bassi Pathana was the only town in the state, where the population had decreased as the people fled from the town due to lack of basic amenities. They urged the MLA to get the funds released as early as possible.


130 paintings on display at art institute
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 18
The third crafts exhibition was organised at the Arts and Crafts Teachers Training Institute here today in which 130 paintings were put on display.

The exhibition was inaugurated by former Samana MLA Surjit Singh Rakhra. The exhibition had 30 paintings drawn by Ajaib Singh Chitrakar which depicted his perception of things during his old age days. Paintings of teachers and students were also put on display and these came in for some wholesome praise by the audience.

Rakhra distributed the prizes and the first prize was bagged by Rajesh, second by Amaninder, while the third prize went to Amandeep Kaur. Secretary of the Punjab Artists Society J.S Bhatia gave a special award to Khushjinder Kaur and praised the works of other artists.


SC stays order in murder case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 18
The Supreme Court has granted interim stay on a special leave petition filed by president of the block Congress committee, Khuyiansarwar, Balbir Singh Danewalia challenging orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed on April 28, 2007, in CRLM No. 33291/20. A copy of the orders was presented before SPH Rajinder Singh Gill here this afternoon by a relation of Danewalia during investigation.

Gill had called the Danewalia faction after recording statements of the Tinna faction in the case.

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the state of Punjab.

The city police had registered a case against Danewalia and 25 others in June in connection with the murder of Gurjit Singh Tinna, alias Churla, former president of the truck operators union here.

On a petition of Congress councillor and sister-in-law of Churla Manjit Kaur Tinna, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued directions to the SSP, Ferozepur, on April 28 for registering a case in the murder. She had alleged that Gurjit Singh Tinna was killed in the civil hospital here in the presence of public, paramedical staff and doctors on February 7.


Notice to Punjab on religious processions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, today issued notice of motion to Punjab over a PIL seeking prohibition and ban on the misuse of freedom of religion in a way which causes inconvenience to the public.

The petitioner, Swami Hari Har Das Tyagi, president of Jagadguru Sri Ramanandacharya Sarva Jan Hitkari Charitable Trust, Jalandhar City, sought directions to respondents that any social or religious organisations should not be granted permission to take out any processions or shobha yatras in the heart of Jalandhary City, like Circular Road, which resulted in traffic chaos and blockade of roads.

The other respondents were Jalandhar DC, Jalandhar SSP and Jalandhar municipal corporation commissioner.


Dera followers attacked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Tension gripped the city today when a group of about 50 Sikh youths attacked the house of a Dera Sacha Sauda follower at Lohara village. The group prevented the dera followers from holding ‘naam charcha’. They beat up the “premis”, including women, and ransacked the house of a premi, Mukhtiar Singh, where the followers had met.

The administration deployed police at the site to prevent escalation of tension. A case under Sections 323, 452 and 506 of the IPC for trespassing, beating and criminal intimidation has been registered.

The police refrained from imposing Section 295 against the attackers. The section would have charged them with hurting religious sentiments of the complainant.

Mukhtiar Singh and two others were injured in the attack. He said all followers of the dera host congregations once a year. Today was his turn.

SSP R. K. Jaiswal said two assailants had been identified. "Raids were on to arrest them”, he said. He asserted that all citizens , irrespective of their religion, were safe and the police was protecting them.


Project to improve cotton fabric quality
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 18
The local Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology has launched a project to find out the causes of shrinkage and other defects in cotton fabric and subsequently solution to these. The project has been titled “Prediction of shrinkage and spirality of cotton knitted fabric and its control with special emphasis for small-scale manufacturers”. It has been sanctioned to the department of textile engineering of the college by the central department of science and technology (DST). The project is to be completed within three years at a cost of Rs 32.66 lakh.

Head, department of textile engineering, Gursharan Singh has been appointed principal investigator of the project.

Small-scale and medium cotton fabric manufacturers of the state have been facing various problems in selling their goods to foreign countries. The quality of their goods has been affected due to shrinkage in the fabric.

Apart from it, they have been facing onslaught of China-based manufacturers, who produce quality fabric and the prices of their product are competitive.


93 get certificates from British Council
Tribune News Service

Students of SVIET, Banur, during an award ceremony on Wednesday.
Students of SVIET, Banur, during an award ceremony on Wednesday. — Photo by J.S. Virdi

Banur, July 18
The British council today awarded Business English Certificates (BEC-Preliminary) to 93 students of Swami Vivekanand College of Engineering and Technology.

The British Council’s BEC course was started in SVIET in 2006 and since then two BEC-Preliminary Examinations have been conducted with enthusiastic participation of SVIET students.

Deep Adhikari, head, Examination Services (North India), British Council, awarded the certificates. During the ceremony, Cambridge ESOL Supplier School Certificate was awarded to Manmohan K. Garg, chief executive, SVGOI.


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