P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Sirsa Incident
Takht blames Haryana govt
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 24
Akal Takht here has blamed the Haryana government for the incident in Sirsa district wherein Sikh youth protesting peacefully were fired at by “premis” of the Dera Sacha Sauda at Malewala village today.

Condemning the incident, jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, appealed to Sikh masses to practise restraint and maintain communal harmony in both states.

He said in all probability, intelligence agencies of the Haryana government must have got some inkling about the possibility of such a violent attack on members of the Sikh community. It would not be wrong to hold the agencies responsible for the unfortunate incident, he said.

He demanded that the state government should immediately arrest those guilty of the incident and make proper arrangements for the medical treatment of the injured. 


Action against Sidhu

Akal Takht is contemplating taking up the case of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who attended a rudra mahayagya, at the coming meeting of the Sikh Clergy. Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti has said he had received a written complaint from president of the Dal Khalsa Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib in this regard.


Calcutta says SGPC, SAD responsible
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 24
Member of the SGPC Manjit Singh Calcutta has held the Haryana government, SAPS and the SAD responsible for a clash at a village of Sirsa in which many Sikhs were injured.

Calcutta has urged Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to ensure peace and amity in his state. He has also urged Sikh High Priests to take a suitable action to arrest Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for his alleged blasphemous acts.

“Though Sikh women had come to meet the Jathedar of Akal Takht, no initiative was taken to ensure the safety of Sikhs in Haryana,” he added.


Peace panel members meet CM 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
A deputation of the Sirsa-based peace committee met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here today. Among the members were Vir Bhan and Jagdish Chander.
The deputation urged Badal to resolve the ongoing tussle between various Sikh organisations and Dera Sacha Sauda. It had met Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda yesterday .

It informed Badal that if the situation was allowed to deteriorate further, it would become difficult to control it. 


4 persons took money from govt officers to get jobs done
The magic line was ‘I am Sukhbir’s PA’ 
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 24
“I am Sukhbir Badal’s officer on special duty (OSD) calling”. These were the words uttered by certain persons on telephone that had many high-ranking officers in many government departments on their toes.

The sudden change in the scenario at the new bus stand at Rajpura attracted the attention of many. Earlier, hardly any bus used to park there. Suddenly over 100 buses started parking there. Punjab Roadways general managers at Amritsar-1 and 2, Pathankot, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Moga and deputy director, transport, specially directed the buses running under their jurisdiction to stop at the Rajpura bus stand.

However, the police has now discovered that Deepak, Ravi Gupta, Kulbir and Sartaj were behind the increase in activity at the Rajpura bus stand. They had opened a dhaba at the bus stand. To increase traffic there in order to improve their business they rang up the officers of the Transport Department posing as Sukhbir’s OSD or personal assistant (PA) to D.S. Guru, principal secretary to the Chief Minister, and asked them to make the buses halt at the bus stand.

Patiala SSP S.K. Asthana said after their success the accused got bolder and also rang up senior officials in other government departments. They took money from at least two teachers and got them transferred after ringing up the DPI as Sukhbir’s OSD. The police was trying to identify the teachers who got themselves transferred after making the payments to them.

The accused also allegedly took money from the tehsildar, Rajpura, and executive engineer, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).

Interestingly, the police finds itself in a spot. Legally the officers who paid the four are also liable to be booked. The general managers of the Transport Department who carried out the diktats of the accused and forced the long-route buses to stop at the Rajpura bus stand are also liable for action under dereliction of duty.

The SSP admitted that the said officers should have been cautious in carrying out the orders.


Master plan for canals in a month
Tribune Reporters

Faridkot, July 24
Janmeja Singh Sekhon, irrigation minister, said the blueprint for upgrading of canals in the state to provide 20 per cent more water for irrigation would be out after a month.

Addressing mediapersons at a hurriedly called press conference, the MLA from Ferozepur said to get the plan implemented it would need Rs 4,000 crore.

The minister was here to participate in a meeting with officials of the Irrigation Department. He said this was the only answer to address the continuing problem of less water in the canals. He stated that almost all canals would be brought under the plan.

V.K Mantrao, chief engineer, Irrigation Department, said 25 per cent of the project cost would be covered under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme of the Central government and the remaining through loans and state resources. He added that it would take nearly five years to complete it.

The minister added that with the investment of Rs 10 crore a treatment plant would soon be established at Buddha Nullah in Ludhiana.

Ferozepur: Punjab irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon said today that the state government had planned a project to clean and remodel channels so that water could reach up to tail ends of the channels. The project involved an expenditure of Rs 4237.79 crore.

Sekhon was talking to mediapersons after presiding over a high-level meeting of senior officials from the irrigation department at the Canal Rest House.

He said Rs 650 crore would be spent on the project by the year-end. The work on remodelling of the channels had already been completed at a cost of Rs 177.80 crore, benefiting farmers on 1.18 lakh hectares of Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts.

A project to convert the Banur canal system from non-perennial to perennial nature would be taken up at a cost of Rs 58.15 crore. Besides, 510 tubewells would be sunk in various blocks at an expenditure of 126.87 crore.


One held with arms used during terrorism
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 24
The district police has claimed to have recovered arms,including a rifle of the Police Department, used in the militancy period from a brother of a deceased terrorist here today.Davinder Singh Garcha, SSP, said Bhagwant Singh, alias Mahant, of Sangatpura village, was arrested during a naka with a .303 rifle. Subsequently, a police party raided his house and found a 12-bore countrymade and foreignmade rifles with 60 live rounds.The SSP said Bhagwant’s brother Mehar Singh was associated with the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) and eventually killed by terrorists.


BJP not No. 2 in govt
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 24
Asserting that the BJP is not No. 2 in Punjab as far as running the government in the state is concerned, state BJP chief Rajinder Bhandari has said the issue of allocation of post of Deputy Chief Minister to the BJP is still alive.

Professor Bhandari, talking to mediapersons here today, said the delay in the implementation of the atta-dal scheme in the state would not affect BJP’s prospects in the coming civic body poll. Though the BJP had cautioned its alliance partner SAD regarding the Dera Sacha Sauda issue at the outset, the BJP was satisfied with the way it was being handled by the government.

“The Deputy Chief Minister’s post is still an issue for us. But, it is not a prestige issue and the post is not above the mutual understanding between the SAD and the BJP.

“Our ministers are working with full freedom and playing an active role in the government. The BJP is quite visible in political scenario of Punjab. The SAD is in majority due to us,” said Bhandari, clarifying that the BJP was not No. 2 in the government.

He was accompanied by minister Manoranjan Kalia, BJP MLAs Krishan Dev Bhandari and Bhagat Chuni Lal, senior BJP leader Vijay Sampla and other senior leaders, including BJP district chief S.D. Chugh.

The state BJP chief tried to defend the SAD-BJP government by saying, “There is no delay in the implementation of the atta-dal scheme. It has already been implemented as surveys to identify beneficiaries of the scheme have been carried out. A budgetary allocation of Rs 350 crore is already there. We are in the process of identifying 30 per cent of the population in the state constituting the lowest ebb of society.”


Light scam comes into light
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 24
Recently elected president of the MC Brij Mohan Batra has found irregularities in the purchase of sodium-light sets for street lighting during the tenure of previous body.

Talking to this correspondent here this afternoon, Batra said a tender was floated to purchase 132 sets of sodium lights by the MC in April, 2007. The MC placed an order with local firm A. S. Enterprises for the purchase of 132 sets of Bajaj company at the rate of Rs 5,200 each, including installation charges.

After taking over the charge as president, he found those light sets were available in the open market at a price of Rs 2,200 each with Rs 600 as installation charges for each set. The local authorised dealer of the Bajaj company was ready to allow 40 per cent discount on those light sets, he added.

He said involvement of some councillors could not be ruled out. He had written to the director, local bodies department, to get the matter probed.

Deputy commissioner D. K. Tiwari said he had deputed additional deputy commissioner (general) to probe the matter and submit the report at the earliest.


Health institute for Mohali 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
The Punjab government today asserted that it is fully committed to start the State Public Health Institute (SPHI) at Mohali to provide need-based training and research programmes for improvement in the public health sector in the state.

Ramesh Inder Singh, chief secretary, held a meeting with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) here today. The foundation was represented by its president, Dr Srinath Reddy, and chief operating officer S. Ravichandran. The state government will provide adequate land near Mullanpur in Mohali district and professional services at the institute for the training and research purposes for students and employees related to the public health sector.

The chief secretary asked the foundation to evolve a special quota for Punjab domicile students for different courses to be conducted by the institute. He asked the foundation to set up the institute in a time-bound manner and put up the schedule of the implementation of the project to the state government at the earliest.

Dr Reddy said the PHFI was conceptualised as a response to the emerging health challenges and concern in the country. The foundation would establish schools of public health and enhance the capacity of the existing multiple institution agencies with convergent interests.

Reddy further said the SPHI would provide courses like master and diploma in public health, certificate courses and short-term training programmes. 


Undertrial, convict die in jail
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 24
An undertrial prisoner and a convict died reportedly of different diseases in the district jail here today. Sangrur deputy commissioner S.R. Ladhar asked local SDM Mohan Lal to look into the causes of the death of the two prisoners.

The SDM visited the local hospital and recorded the statements of son of prisoner Mohinder Singh (57) from Ballran village (Moonak) and elders of the village of undertrial prisoner Gian Singh (75) from Mehal Khurd village (Barnala). Superintendent of the jail D.K. Sidhu said Gian’s condition became serious and he was referred to the local Civil Hospital. But he died on the way.

Mohinder died at the local civil hospital.


Clear cases of anti-Sikh riot victims: CM
Tribune News Service

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today ordered the clearance of all cases pertaining to the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh violence by August 31. He said all pending cases be settled to the satisfaction of the affected persons .

Meanwhile more than 900 fresh applications have been received. At a meeting of a delegation of 'Danga Peerat' led by Surjit Singh, here Badal said eligible applicants would get red cards and Rs 2 lakh payment each as per the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission.

The Chief Minister said all decisions taken by the sub-committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary would be implemented in toto. He also directed the secretary housing to allot 327 booths at Dugri in Ludhiana to the eligible persons after verification. The Chief Minister also agreed, in principle, to pay Rs 2 lakh each to 1500 persons holding red cards, since these cards had been issued by the deputy commissioners only after verification and there was no justification for re-verification. However, proof of residence could be established after due verification by the competent authority.

To another demand of the delegation, Badal ordered the issuance of ration cards to all the affected persons. It was also decided at the meeting to increase reservation percentage from 10 per cent to 15 per cent for riot -affected families for the allotment of ration depots in the state.

He directed the Food & Supplies Department to issue the revised instructions in this behalf.

Sukhbir to Hooda on Sirsa incidents

Working president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal today called upon Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to ensure peace in his state.

In a statement here Badal described the Sirsa incident as "unfortunate and avoidable” but said those out to hurt the religious sentiments of others through provocative acts like copying the Gurus must be dealt with under the law" 


Langah case: Another witness turns hostile
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 24
Yet another prosecution witness turned hostile today in the case of disproportionate assets case against agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah in the court of special judge G. S. Saran here today.

Dineshwar Panthi, a peon with the PWD B & R Department, who has worked at residences of various PWD officials and ministers retracted from his earlier statements given to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau. Panthi was also posted at Langah's residence in the previous SAD regime when Langah was PWD minister. He deposed before the court that he didn't know anybody who visited Langah's house. He said the then DSP,Vigilance, had called him in his office, but Panthi did not give any statement.

The court had also summoned Tejinder Singh, Amarjeet Singh and Santokh Singh today, but none of them appeared before the court. It is pertinent to mention here that on July 22 Langah's then driver Lal Singh, alias Lali, also had turned hostile.

The case has been adjourned for August 21 and 22 for the remaining prosecution evidence wherein Amarjeet Singh, Ajit Singh, Jagir Singh and Santokh Singh will be summoned. 


HC orders Chahal’s examination by AIIMS experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
B.I.S Chahal today had to wait day-long as his production before the high court was held up due to lawyers’ stir. But when he was produced, he broke down before Justice Uma Nath Singh alleging torture and untold suffering.

In the backdrop of sloganeering advocates sitting outside the courtroom, Punjab Police officials brought Chahal before the judge after getting a rap on the knuckles for delaying his production

Moved by his plight, the judge ordered that Chahal be examined by a panel of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) experts so as to ascertain if he had been tortured by giving electric shocks or not. The experts were given two weeks’ time, from the date they received the court order, to give their report. A copy of the order was also directed to be sent to the AIIMS director. Also, the SSP, Patiala, was asked to contact the AIIMS director for compliance.

A sobbing Chahal, relentlessly pleaded for the transfer of cases against him to the CBI or any other agency except that of the Punjab government’s. He alleged that electric shocks were being given on his private body parts too and that the Punjab Police had a peculiar way of torturing. Importantly, Chahal and the SP, Ludhiana, filed their affidavits also.

Justice Uma Nath Singh observed that if the accused wanted the cases to be transferred to some other agency, including the CBI, or was facing any problems in Patiala, he was at liberty to file an application in this regard so that the court could consider it.

Significantly, Chahal sought to meet the judge separately saying he had tales of torture to narrate, which could not be done in the open court. The judge declined his request as not permissible, but asked him to write a letter to the court secretary if he wanted to say something intensely private. Justice Uma Nath Singh also asked the investigation officer that he could reply to the bail matter (in Ludhiana land-grab case). The officer replied in the negative and sought adjournment. The next date of hearing was then fixed for August 6.

The judge said if the officer failed to get any lawyer next time, he could engage any educated person, probably an IPS officer or even a journalist, to make submissions in the court on the next date of hearing. Subsequently, the judge asked the SSP concerned to get ready for arguments during the next hearing. The affidavit brought by the investigating officer was taken on court’s record.

Earlier in the day, the police officers’ excuse that lawyers were causing obstruction in Chahal’s production before the court found no favour with Justice Uma Nath Singh, who, in his inimitable style, said if they were unable to bring Chahal, he would direct the SP, CBI, to take him into his custody.

The judge, irked at the dillydallying and confused policemen, pronounced that the SP, CBI, be directed to resort to all possible legal means to bring Chahal to court and even use paramilitary for the purpose. He added that he would recall the order pronounced if Chahal was brought before the court within 15 minutes.

The affidavit by Gurpreet Singh, SP (D), Ludhiana city, stated that Chahal had not been tortured or given electric shocks. It was further stated that the accused was making wild allegations just to gain the sympathy of the court. There were no signs of torture and a medical board had examined him.


Migrants spoil the show for farmers
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 24
The ambitious Apni Kisan Mandi scheme aimed at helping farmers with small landholdings to directly sell their vegetables in markets has become less attractive to them, thanks to scant vigilance and lack of dynamic and progressive ideas at the higher level.

As per norms,Rs 5 is charged from every farmer for selling their vegetables in the local grain markets daily. The scheme was implemented in 1988 by the then Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala. However, since then hardly any new feature had been added to the scheme, which was aimed at raising the living standards of the marginal farmers.

Such a vegetable market is regularly held at the local grain market situated near the district administrative secretariat.

According to sources in the Market Committee, over 50 farmers carrying fresh vegetables on carts sell their produce from the break of the dawn to 9 am inside the grain market. Some farmers alleged that some migrants were also being allowed to sell vegetables against the payment of money.

The then Akali government with a view to providing support to the marginal farmers and providing them a platform to sell directly to customers had chalked out the plan. Even special staff was hired and attached to the Market Committee to handle the project.

However, the scheme fell short of its aim and remained limited to a few grain markets.

Amarjit Singh, secretary, Market Committee, denied the allegations of allowing migrants to sell vegetables against the payment of certain money.

He said hardly 20 to 25 farmers came daily for setting up a vegetable market and they paid Rs 5 per person. Earlier, it used to be given on contract. He said on an average the Market Committee earned Rs 850 monthly.


Coop societies face bleak future
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 24
A large number of agricultural co-operative societies in the state face a bleak future following a recent decision of the government making it mandatory for the societies to buy fertilisers from Markfed.

In an order passed on July 2, the Co-operative Department directed the societies to buy fertilisers and other agricultural inputs through Markfed, instead of nodal points set up in 1998. Earlier,the societies got fertiliser from production units through the nodal points. The societies earned a considerable margin by supplying fertiliser to the farmers at controlled price.

However, after the recent orders,the co-operative societies will be deprived of this profit imperiling their existence.

The societies get fertiliser from nodal points at prices far lower than those of Markfed. Though the farmers are not likely to be affected by this decision, as they will continue getting fertiliser at almost the same price, but the co-operative societies are likely to perish in the process.

Kesar Singh, senior vice-president of the Punjab State Agricultural Co-operative Employees Union, said the societies had been sustaining themselves on the profit earned by supplying the fertiliser to the farmers. He said it would be become difficult for these societies to even give salaries to its staff in case these were made to buy fertiliser from Markfed.

It was learnt that Markfed provides DAP fertiliser at Rs 457.50 per bag while the same can be bought from a nodal point at Rs 453.75 per bag. Urea that is available for Rs 232 a bag from a nodal point, is solid at Rs 234 a bag by Markfed. Similarly,Markfed provides zinc sulphate at Rs 2,220 per quintal, which can be bought from a nodal point for Rs 2,175 per quintal. At a nodal point the NPK 12-32-16 is available at Rs 406. 75 per bag, but if supplied through Markfed its rate increases to Rs 414.

The co-operative societies saved Rs 60,000 to 70,000 a year. Earlier, even the pesticides were supplied through the co-operative societies, which was stopped last year. With interest rate on loan amount already reduced from 3.5 per cent to 2 per cent, the co-operative societies are likely to stop functioning in the state. 


DCs told to redress NRIs’ grievances
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has asked all deputy commissioners to pay personal attention to the grievances and problems referred to them by NRIs direct , the NRI sabha or the department of NRI affairs.

The Chief Minister said it had been brought to his notice that some NRIs had been harassed by registering criminal cases against them at the behest of vested interests.

He directed the deputy commissioners to ensure that no case was registered against an NRI without conducting a preliminary inquiry by a gazetted officer. 


Board told to take anti-pollution steps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today ordered the formulation of a comprehensive policy to check pollution of river waters in the state.

Badal asked the Punjab Pollution Control Board to implement specific and result-oriented guidelines to ensure time-bound monitoring of the anti-pollution steps.He directed the local bodies and industries department to ensure that no waste water was discharged into drains and rivers without permission from the drainage or irrigation department.


Sandhu is special principal secy to CM

Chandigarh, July 24
The Punjab government today ordered fresh postings and transfers. Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, who has come on deputation from Uttaranchal, has been posted as special principal secretary to the Chief Minister. He will also be the MD of the PIDB and director-cum-secretary, Shahpur Kandi project.

A.S. Chhatwal is the new managing director, Punjab agro industries corporation. Sanjay Kumar has been posted as secretary, expenditure, and in addition director, disinvestment, and member-secretary, fiscal reforms.

Ashok Kumar Goel has been posted as secretary, coordination and implementation. V.K. Janjua goes as director-cum-secretary, industries and commerce, while Kulbir Singh is the new managing director, Punjab warehousing corporation. Surinder Jit Singh Sandhu becomes commissioner, Faridkot division, while Dipinder Singh goes as secretary, Punjab state agriculture marketing board. Manvesh Singh Sidhu has been posted as managing director, PRTC, and Jaspal Mittal will be the new ADC (general), SAS Nagar. 


Cop kills himself, colleague booked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
Head constable of the Punjab Police Joginder Singh, who was posted at the city police station, allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison due to harassment at the hands of another cop. A case was registered against head constable Buta Singh, who is a munshi at the same police station, after a suicide note was found near the body of Joginder. Joginder consumed poison at the city police station in the afternoon yesterday. He died late last night in the hospital.

Joginder wrote in the suicide note that Buta had been harassing him like anything and he was committing suicide for that reason only. His widow alleged that her husband took the extreme step as he was being harassed by Buta.

Buta was not arrested till the filing of the report.

In another case, Charnjit Kaur allegedly committed suicide in the Bathinda cantonment area by hanging herself from the ceiling fan in her house. A case has been registered.


Couple kills adopted son
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 23
Charanvir Singh (34) of Chathi Bhai village in Baghapurana sub-division was poisoned to death allegedly by his parents and wife near here today.

He was adopted by his maternal uncle Narinder Singh and his wife Nirmal Kaur in 1998.

According to police sources the Baghapurana Police station registered a case of murder against Narinder Singh, Nirmal Kaur and wife of the deceased Rupinder Kaur.


One held with arms used during terrorism
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 24
The district police has claimed to have recovered arms,including a rifle of the Police Department, used in the militancy period from a brother of a deceased terrorist here today.

Davinder Singh Garcha, SSP, said Bhagwant Singh, alias Mahant, of Sangatpura village, was arrested during a naka with a .303 rifle. Subsequently, a police party raided his house and found a 12-bore countrymade and foreignmade rifles with 60 live rounds.

The SSP said Bhagwant’s brother Mehar Singh was associated with the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) and eventually killed by terrorists.


Man gets 5-yr RI
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 24
District and session judge Rekha Mittal awarded five years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 2,000 fine to one Babu Ram, a resident of village Sohana, here today. 

Ram Piari, wife of Bhagwan Das, a resident of the same village, had lodged a complaint against the accused on April 24, 2006, alleging that, following a disagreement, Ram had attacked them with a sharp-edged weapon.

Session judge Rekha Mittal directed the accused to either pay the Rs 2,000 fine or serve two more months of imprisonment.


Sukhchain tops BEd entrance
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 24
Sukhchain Singh of Nabha stood first in the state-level B.Ed. entrance test-2007 conducted by Punjabi University, Patiala. He secured 189.25 marks out of 250.

Gurmeet Walia of Patiala stood second securing 186.25 marks. The third rank went to Navgeet Kaur of Gurdaspur who secured 184.5 marks.

The result was declared today. In all 39,449 candidates applied for the test, out of which 37,980 appeared. The qualifying marks for the general category were 75, and for reserved categories 62.5 out of 250.


Badal to meet Mittal today 
Mega projects get nod
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
While Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will fly to Delhi tomorrow to meet steel magnate Laxmi Mittal in connection with the Bathinda oil refinery project, the state government has cleared almost all housing and manufacturing mega projects, the approvals of which with regard to the change of land use (CLU) were withdrawn by the Punjab housing and urban development department.

Talking to The Tribune here today on the clearance of the mega projects, chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said the state government had already submitted a reply in the Punjab and Haryana high court in this regard. Investment of over Rs 1 lakh crore is involved in the projects.

On the directions given by the court to frame a policy to deal with the element of pollution in such projects, Ramesh Inder Singh said that after a prolonged discussion a new policy with regard to pollution control had been framed by the government. A copy of the policy had been submitted in the court, he added.

“We have given the go-ahead to the owners of all mega projects except in three or four cases where concessions were given overstepping the policy limit”, said Ramesh Inder Singh. It was being examined at the official level under what circumstances additional concessions were given beyond the purview of the policy.

All mega projects in the manufacturing sector had also been given the green light by the government. In fact, there were only a few mega housing projects which did not conform to the earlier guidelines with regard to pollution check.

The wholesale cancellation of the approvals of change of land use for various mega projects by the authorities in the Badal government had sent the wrong message to investors. In fact, the cancellation of the CLUs of 29 housing projects had adversely affected the atmosphere for fresh investment in the state.

Meanwhile, Badal and Mittal will discuss various matters related to the refinery project. Asked whether the project, the foundation stone of which was laid about eight years ago by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, would be relaunched, Ramesh Inder Singh said such matters would come up at tomorrow’s meeting.

The Punjab government is to play the role of facilitator in the project as it has no stake in it. Mittal had recently bought 49 per cent stake in it and had already paid Rs 500 crore. HPCL is the main promoter of the project. “Punjab’s intention is get this project completed at the earliest. And for this purpose, we are prepared to extend all support to the stakeholders in the project”, said Ramesh Inder Singh.


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