P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


BJP MLA attacked
Points finger at Cong
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 2
Local BJP MLA Anil Joshi’s motorcade was attacked by Dalit activists while he was returning after addressing an election rally in the Marji mohalla area on the Chamrang Road of the city here last evening.

Stating this to the media here today Joshi alleged frustrated over their losing support the two Congress candidates from ward no 20 and 26 of the Ekta Nagar area of the city had spread rumour among people that he had made derogatory remarks against Scheduled Castes of the area. He alleged infuriated over this 100 to 150 persons of the community, without verifying the facts, gheraoed his vehicle. However, his driver saved him by speeding up the vehicle from the site after people started throwing stones. They also stoned the escort vehicles causing damage to the windowpanes, he alleged.

Joshi said he had complained to the police in this regard.

He said when he contacted the party’s representatives in the area in this regard they informed him rumours were being spread by the Congress workers to inflame sentiments to create a communal divide for electoral benefits.

However, Jugal Kishore Sharma, former MLA, said the Congress never believed in dividing people on communal lines.

Balramji Das Tandon, senior leader of the party decried the move of the Congress, which had already demanded paramilitary forces in the city for the elections. He said it was a pre-planned move of the opposition to create law and order problem in the area as they were for the deployment of the paramilitary forces and fear rigging by the ruling party. He urged the district administration to take steps for the safety of the party candidates and for smooth corporation elections.


Purchase of Fertilisers
Restriction on coop societies goes
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 2
Putting to rest the speculations about the future of agricultural cooperative societies in the state, cooperatives minister Kanwaljit Singh said today that no restrictions had been imposed on the societies and these were free to buy agricultural inputs from anywhere they intended to.

Withdrawing the orders that were issued on July 2, in which the societies had been asked to buy fertilisers from Markfed only, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said Markfed had been asked to arrange fertilisers for the farmers as IFFCO, the major fertiliser producers, had expressed its inability to meet fertilisers’ demand in the state. He said IFFCO had stated that it would provide the required fertilisers only if the central government gave subsidy on fertilisers being manufactured by it.

Markfed had tied up with IPL Limited and it would be buying fertilisers for Rs 9,075 per quintal to be further provided to farmers at a price of Rs 9,350 per quintal. The minister said out of the Rs-275 margin in the retail of the fertilisers, Rs 75 would be kept by Markfed while Rs 50 would go to the cooperative societies. The rest of the amount (Rs 150) would be saved for the farmers.

It had also been decided that the societies would lift the fertilisers, being arranged by Markfed, from the railway stations only. This would help in saving the cost of storage and labour, he added.

Earlier, the societies had alleged that Markfed provided fertilisers at increased rates, depriving them of enough profits to sustain existence.


MBBS: Chaos at counselling
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 2
Counselling for the MBBS seats in government and private colleges of the state by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) began amid chaos here today as three medical institutes of the state boycotted counselling demanding increase in the fee structure.

The parents of the candidates, who were contemplating moving the Punjab and Haryana High Court for cancelling the counselling raised slogans against the Punjab government demanding the resignation of minister of medical education Tikshan Sud. They said the university should have postponed counselling in view of the boycott by the private medical colleges which were demanding higher fee structure.

They also raised slogans against the college management for not providing fans and water as the university had charged Rs 500 from the every candidate for counselling. Sukhwinder Singh Kahlon of Gurdaspur rued the contractor engaged by the college authorities was fleecing the parents and candidates for eatables and soft drinks. Most of the parents, who had come to the college for the counselling from far- flung areas said the management had made poor arrangement as few eatables were available.

Counselling began four hours late as the director, research and medical education and chairman PMT counselling Dr J.S. Dalal and officials concerned from the BFUHS were busy holding meeting in view of the boycott by the private colleges including Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, Adesh Medical College Bathinda and SGPC- run Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research.

Dr Dalal said they would continue with counselling and admit students to various courses available in the government colleges and some private colleges of state.

Dr Suresh Nauhoria, organizing secretary, Indian Medical Association, Ludhiana, who had come here for his daughter’s counselling said counselling held was illegal as private colleges were not participating in it.


Rural development comes to standstill
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Badal government is facing a tough time as works related to rural development have come to a standstill for the past 10 days because of an agitation by officials of the rural development department in protest against the “murderous” attack on a district development and panchayat officer of Gurdaspur district.

Sources said the secretary, rural development, today held a meeting with the Punjab police chief asking him to expedite the process to arrest the culprits. The police is yet to arrest the main culprits involved in the assault. Six persons were reported to be involved in the attack.

In fact, an inspection team of the union government was to visit Ferozepore district this week to check the development works initiated under central government-funded schemes in that area. However, the visit has been now postponed because of the agitation. The team is supposed to submit its report to the union government by August 31.

The agitating employees are disappointed as the government is dithering on fulfilling the promises made to them with regard to the conducting of the inquiry into the assault on the DDPO. They had urged the state government authorities to get the inquiry conducted by Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP, Amritsar. However, the inquiry has been handed over to some other officer, it is learnt.

The sources said the agitating employees had started contacting unions of employees in other departments to widen their stir. Leaders of various employees’ unions have been contacted by them for this purpose. “ We have invited leaders of various employees’ unions at Lobana Bhavan in Chandigarh tomorrow to seek their help”, said a senior leader of the agitating employees.

Another grievance of the agitating staff is said to be with regard to the registration of the FIR. Employees say the victim DDPO had made an elaborate statement to the police alleging the involvement of certain persons in the attack on him. The sources said the DDPO had named the son of a senior politician as the brain behind the attack. However, while registering the FIR, the victim’s statement was ignored. “Another official” of the department was asked to make the statement and that was made the basis of the FIR.

The sources said a big scandal in renting out panchayat land in villages had come to the notice of the authorities. The DDPO had also got information in this regard. A junior officer of the department posted in Gurdaspur district had auctioned land in certain villages but had not deposited the money thus collected in the government treasury, it is learnt.

The sources said at first an effort was made under one pretext or the other to prevent the DDPO from reaching the village concerned to auction about 200 acres. However, he came along with a police party as he was determined to perform his official duty. He successfully conducted the auction for Rs 19 lakh. However, he was attacked later. It is mandatory to auction panchayat land in the presence of the DDPO if the land measures more than 100 acres, it is learnt.


Up in Arms
They won against terror but lost to dept
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 2
Punjab Police personnel, who had dared to join the force when terrorism was at its peak 17 years ago, have to virtually beg for promotions, while officials much junior to them have since attained higher posts. All appeals made before the parent department and other constitutional bodies have proved futile so far.

Surjit Singh, SHO, Amloh, Sukhjit Singh Virk, SHO, Gobindgarh, Jagdev Singh, in charge of the EO wing, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sarabjit Singh, EO wing, Barnala, Bahadur Singh in charge, computer wing, (all sub inspectors) are among others who respecting decorum of the force declined to air their grievances outside the department, though they had been made to work under bosses much junior to them in service.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that hundreds of policemen, who had joined the force as ASIs in 1990 and had confronted the rant and rave of hardcore terrorists, were running from pillar to post to get promoted as inspectors. Whereas some of the policemen much junior to them had been promoted. At least 20 ASIs of this batch were killed during action against extremists.

Apparent discrimination with the batch started when the department instead of confirming them after three years of service delayed the process for years. Acting on the orders of the apex court in the case of SI Niranjan Singh versus the Punjab government, the authorities confirmed them with effect from 1992. But their seniority list was not amended accordingly. The alleged indifferent attitude of the officials concerned created circumstances that these policemen were forced to work under those who were much junior to them. Their agony was compounded when they were made to salute certain officials who had joined as havaldars under sports quota and were promoted to the level of circle officers and inspectors.

With an intention to maintain a clean record, some of the sub inspectors had made up their mind to ‘hibernate’ at posts that involved little or no public dealing. “As the field job as SHO is vulnerable to unwanted public criticism, you never know when some unfortunate incident transforms a mulazim to muzrim. To avoid such situation, we chose to work on otherwise less important posts,” said a sub inspector who had to suffer a lot due to his honesty.

The policemen urged the government that the process of removing backlog in promotion, ordered by the DGP recently, in response to a representation by Sarabjit Singh of Barnala should be expedited to avoid further frustration.


MC Poll
Youth Cong to guard polling booths
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
The Punjab youth Congress will deploy its workers at polling booths across the state to thwart efforts of the ruling SAD/BJP alliance to use force in municipal corporation elections.

State president of the Youth Congress Vijay Inder Singla told this to a press conference here today.

He also released a brochure highlighting the achievements of the Congress rule. The brochure states four-laning of roads, reconstruction of Baradari gardens, concrete cover over main drain of Patiala city involving Rs 50 crore, 30 new tube wells in Patiala, establishment of Rajiv Gandhi national law university as Congress achievements in Patiala.


BJP expels 5 rebels
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 2
Peeved about five workers ,who had filed nominations to fight against official BJP candidates in the Municipal Corporation elections the state party headquarters has expelled them.

Former minister Balramji Das Tandon and district BJP chief Bakshi Ram Arora here today said the party would not tolerate indiscipline and according to the directives of the high command they had decided to expel them from the primary membership of the party for six years.

Tandon said the expelled leaders were Ashok Bhatara , mandal president ward no 8, Bimal Arora, ward No 50, Mrs Sudesh Sareen vice- president Mahila Mandal from ward No 34, Avinash Jolly from ward 53 and former councillor Prakash Kaur from ward no 61. They had filed nomination papers against the official candidates of the party.


Officials to meet today
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 2
Officials of the department of rural development and panchayat will hold a meeting at Chandigarh tomorrow to declare the next course of their state-level agitation. They have been demanding the arrest of all persons who attacked the district development and panchayat officer in Gurdaspur. Only two arrests have been made in the case.

Officials of the department, who have been on a dharna at the local zila parishad complex for the past many days, alleged that the state government had not been showing any interest to arrest the rest of the attackers.

SANGRUR: Employees and officers of the department of rural development and panchayats staged a dharna at the office of the block development and panchayat officer here today. They were protesting against the non-arrest of several persons involved in the attack on Gurdaspur district development and panchayats officer and a deputy director.

They also took out a march and submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner. Besides arrest of the attackers, they have demanded that the investigation of the case be entrusted to the SSP (urban), Amritsar.

The SSP (rural), Amritsar, is carrying out the investigation at present.


Atta-Dal Scheme
Beneficiaries get blue cards
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, August 2
The state government is committed to fulfil its promise of providing atta at the rate of Rs 4 per kg and dal at Rs 20 per kg. The Atta-dal scheme will be implemented from August 15. All arrangements for the distribution of ration had been made, said Gurwinder Singh Bhatti, son of Didar Singh Bhatti, while addressing a function at Mahadian village organised by the food and civil supply department of Bassi Pathana to distribute the blue cards among the scheme beneficiaries. He said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had great concern for every section of society and from the day one, he had started working on all his promises. He called upon people to get the benefit of the public-oriented government schemes.

Addressing the gathering, Sajjan Singh assistant, food and civil supply officer, Bassi Pathana, said food and civil supply department had got the lists of all beneficiaries and the blue cards were being given to them so that they might get the ration from August 15 when the chief minister would inaugurate the scheme officially. He said if any poor family could not get the benefit this time, their names would be shortlisted during another survey and blue cards would be handed over to them.


Sarpanches protest poor power supply
Surinder Bhardwaj

Bassi Pathana, August 2
Hundreds of sarpanches and panches belonging to Behrampur, Dhundha, Lohari Kalan, Bhuchi, Jarkhela Kalan villages and other villages of the Bassi Pathana sub-division held a dharna in front of the office of the SDO (rural) of the Bassi Pathana PSEB.

They were protesting against the erratic and interrupted power supply to their respective villages from the Kairon feeder.

The sarpanches, led by Sahib Singh Cheema, sarpanch of Lohari Kalan village, handed over a memorandum to the SDO, demanding that the power supply to their villages be improved.

While talking to mediapersons, Cheema said these villages were getting power for just four hours, where as the government claimed that uninterrupted power was being supplied to rural areas.

Cheema said they have been facing this problem for a long time as the Kairon feeder was over-loaded and trips every half an hour. He added that a link line was approved last year and work had begun, but no wire has been installed.

The SDO told the delegation that they had a shortage of equipments and as soon as they get the material, the link line would be completed. He assured that the situation would be improved soon.


Lakhowal wants debt of farmers waived
Our Correspondent

Barnala, August 2
To highlight problems faced by farmers the Bharti Kisan Union(Lakhowal) will organise a rally on September 12 in Delhi. This was revealed here by Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman, Punjab Mandi Board cum state president, Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal).

At a press conference here today Lakhowal said his union would prevail upon the Union government land for the SEZ should be acquired only after the consent of the farmers. He said the farmers were not getting their dues. Inflation is beyond control. To provide relief to agriculture sector the government should link the MSP with price index.

Lakhowal said Punjab farmers were under a debt of Rs 24,000 crore. Eleven per cent of the farmers of the state were in bad finacial condition and the government should waive debt of the farmers to save them from ruination. Lakhowal advocated direct payment to farmers for their produce with minimising role of commission agents. He said he had studied the agricultural pattern of many countries where farmers are directly paid by governments. He said the board of directors of marketing board had already passed a resolution in this regard and farmer unions too favoured direct payment to producers.


‘Personal attack on Sumedh Saini sacrilege’
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Governments are known to defend their favourite officers at every platform available. But the manner in which the Punjab government’s pleader has eulogised the Director, Vigilance Bureau, Sumedh Singh Saini, is unparalleled.

In his reply, dated July 20, filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of Raninder Singh and another vs State of Punjab, the pleader has gone to the extent of saying that making personal attacks on an officer of such calibre was nothing but an act of “sacrilege”.

The reply further says the officer in question is a man of high integrity and honesty. ACRs given by former DGPs J.F. Rebiero and K.P.S Gill bear testimony to the fact that right from the initial years of his career he has been outstanding. Not stopping at this, the pleader even recommends that petitioner Raninder Singh should be “castigated” for making absolutely irresponsible averments against the VB director.


MLA Jain shifted to hospital
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, August 2
Joginder Pal Jain, Congress MLA from Moga Assembly constituency, arrested at a local prison for his alleged involvement in a hawala racket, was shifted to a private hospital in Chandigarh.

R.K Meena, deputy commissioner, here today while confirming the development, said complying with the court order the MLA was shifted to the hospital under tight security.

The court order followed a petition by his wife that her husband was suffering from various ailments. Meanwhile, his interim bail petition would be heard on August 6.

The Punjab Police had detained Jain from Punjab Bhavan in Sector 3, Chandigarh, on July 16 following directions from the Department of Revenue's central economic wing. He was detained for violation of the conservation of foreign exchange and prevention of smuggling activities Act, 1974.


Retain paramilitary forces: Mohindra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Congress leader and MLA from Samana Brahm Mohindra has shot off a letter to the Prime Minister saying the situation in Punjab is “very sensitive” and asked for retaining the paramilitary forces in the state and installing video cameras at all polling stations.

For the past three months people in Punjab, particularly Congressmen, have been feeling highly unsafe because of the terror let loose on them by the ruling SAD-BJP combine. The situation is worsening day by day, Mohindra claims.

To gain victory in the four major corporations ---Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala --- the police and district administrations have been given clear orders to use all methods to evolve such a mechanism which will lead to the defeat of the Congress in the poll.


Dwarf, but not in spirit
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
He wants to make it to the Guinness Book of World Records by getting elected as the shortest man to get elected to the Patiala MC.

The returning officer had to offer him a chair so he could stand while filing the nomination papers. Jagtar Singh, popularly known as Tari, is a 3-foot dwarf and has decided to fight the forthcoming elections as an Independent from Ward No. 18.

He runs a dairy farm and a PCO/STD booth. Tari said he was frustrated with the political scenario. Elders of the area motivated him to contest the elections, despite his physical shortcoming. His strength comes from disgruntled voters and the frustrated educated youth who are fed up with the false promises of politicians.

He says his basic objective is to give the voters an option other than the SAD and the Congress. He is approaching the voters through door-to-door campaign.

He says if the voters favour him, the name of Patiala and his ward shall be on the world map because his name will then be included in the book of records for being the shortest man to get elected as councillor.


He got burns, not wages
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 2
Neetu, a resident of Arya Nagar, who got burn injuries in a gas cylinder blast in a soap factory at Ramdev Nagri here on March 23 has been running from pillar to post to get compensation from his employer.

In a complaint submitted at the weekly lok darbar to SDM N.S. Brar here today, Neetu claimed that he had been employed when he was 12 in violation of the Child Labour Act for Rs 1,200 per month.

His parents had to sell ornaments to bear the expenses of his treatment. The employer neither paid the pending wages nor accepted the request for reimbursing bills of treatment. On July 29 the employer allegedly started threatening them. The SDM has initiated an inquiry.


Tributes paid to Udham Singh

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 2
Rich tributes were paid to Shaheed Udham Singh at a function organised to commemorate his 68th martyrdom day at Rauza Sharif here on Tuesday.

The function was organised by the district administration in which people from different walks of life participated.

Speaking on the occasion, Sirhind legislator Didar Singh Bhatti said Shaheed Udham Singh was a visionary who paved the way for the freedom struggle of the country. He said it was becoming increasingly necessary for people to follow the footsteps of great martyrs like Udham Singh.

Deputy commissioner Alaknanda Dayal said Shaheed Udham Singh worked to strengthen the national unity and integrity and a lot could be learnt from his life. — TNS


Online pension for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Tibri (Gurdaspur), August 2
To make things easy for ex-servicemen in getting pensions, the Ministry of Defence has decided to go online. Instead of lining up in queues and waiting for their turn, the beneficiaries would now get pensions and other benefits credited to their bank accounts.

All documents relating to pensions would be online next year under a project — Mission Exit MEIT —launched by the ministry in collaboration with the controller-general of defence accounts. Principal controller of the PCDA (P), Allahabad, T.P. Mandal said the facility would be available for ex-servicemen having accounts in banks offering core-banking facility.


1 killed, 20 injured as tempo overturns

Ropar, August 2
One person was killed and 20 injured as a Tata tempo overturned near Ajampur village on the Ropar-Nurpur Bedi road, this morning.

Around 50 to 60 persons, mainly migrant labourers working in Ludhiana industries, were aboard the tempo.

Three of the injured are said to be in serious condition and have been rushed to the PGI. The other injured have been admitted to Singhpur Hospital in Nurpur Bedi.

The deceased has not been identified yet. — TNS


Livestock census

Chandigarh, August 2
The Punjab government will conduct a livestock census in the state, said S.C. Agrawal, financial commissioner, animal husbandry, while presiding over a meeting held here today.

The census would be conducted from September 14 to October 15. — TNS


Police remand for 4 scam accused
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 2
Former managing director of Punjab Tubewell Corporation T. L. Bangay, former SDO of Kandi Watershed Drainage Division, Hoshiarpur, Chander Mohan Chawla, JEs of Kandi watershed division Randhir Singh and Tirath Singh, who were arrested by the Vigilance last evening in a scam of multi-lakhs rupees, were produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate here today and sent in police custody for one day. They would be produced again before the CJM tomorrow.

The scam was related to the works carried out by the Kandi Watershed division for the construction of Patiari Dam on the Hoshiarpur-Una road.


High Court
Raninder’s plea adjourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The hearing on the plea of Raninder Singh and Raminder Singh, son and kin of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, respectively, was adjourned to August 21.

The petitioners have sought directions to the Punjab police, Vigilance and other state government authorities to give them 10 days’ advance notice in case they were to be arrested or questioned in connection with any future case.


12 hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 2
Two groups clashed first at the police station and later at the civil hospital here yesterday over eve-teasing of a girl. More than 12 persons from both groups suffered injuries. They were admitted to hospitals in Phillaur and Jalandhar.

A clash took place near the police station here in the evening.

It turned ugly following the interference of constable Husan Lal, who allegedly used abusive language against certain persons. Instead of pacifying both groups, the police shut the gates of the police station, alleged former MLA Santokh Singh.

Later, a mob of unidentified persons entered the civil hospital and attacked the injured of the clash. They ransacked the hospital badly. Denial Masih and his sister Kamla Masih were referred to a Jalandhar hospital while Kulwant, Sandip, Kewal, Jasbir, Sumit and Harneik were admitted to a local hospital.

Meanwhile, doctors and paramedical staff of the civil hospital staged a dharna against the ransacking of the hospital.

Chaudhary Santokh Singh threatened to launch a stir if normalcy was not restored in the town soon. He alleged there was a jungle raj prevailing in the town.

Meanwhile, DSP Harpreet Singh Benepal said constable Husan Lal had been sent to the police lines and a case had been registered against several persons responsible for the violence.


GND varsity bans admissions under NRI quota
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 2
Guru Nanak Dev University today banned admissions under NRI quota, eight days after the issuance of a notification by the Punjab government. The state government had issued the notification, a day after the publication of a news item in The Tribune, “Varsity flouts norms to admit staff’s ward”.

Interestingly, the university received the notification on July 31. Registrar R.S. Bawa said, “In pursuance to the Punjab government notification, dated July 24, and as per the orders of the vice-chancellor, no admission to NRI-sponsor seats shall be made henceforth in any teaching department.” He said the order comes into effect immediately. However, the admissions already made under the NRI-sponsored quota before the notification would remain unaffected.

A large number of parents and candidates who gathered at the university and had completed all necessary formalities were left high and dry when they were refused admission to MCA or other disciplines.

With the notification, the state government itself may land in problem since the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while treating the petitions of affected candidates, had commented that the admissions made under NRI -sponsored quota could not be deemed eligible. The next date for hearing of this case had been fixed for August 13.


International award for professor
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 2
Professor J. S. Oberoi of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College has been selected for the 'International Educator of the Year Award' 2007 by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.

The prestigious award is conferred upon 300 individuals from across the globe that have made outstanding achievements in the field of teaching.

Professor Oberoi has been teaching for the last 12 years and has published over 30 papers. He has also been a resource person at various conferences, seminars and conventions at the international and national levels.

Congratulating Oberoi, principal of the college Dr T.P. Singh said it was a matter of pride that one of their teachers had bagged this award.



Kharar, August 2
Preeti and Mandeep Aulakh of SKR College of Physical Education, Bhagoo Majra, here, have done the college proud by securing the first and third position, respectively, in the MPEd I examination conducted by Punjabi University, Patiala. Meanwhile, Gurwinder Kaur of the university campus has stood second in the examination. — TNS


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