P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Now, land mafia targets rivulets, choes
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,August 16
Land mafia, allegedly in connivance with politicians, bureaucrats and police officials, is on a land-grabbing spree on Chandigarh periphery.

The powerful land mafia has now focusing on gobbling up major portions of the rivulets and choes in the periphery, where the land prices have skyrocketed recently, mocking at the law enforcement agencies and changing the natural courses of the rivulets and choes.

A random survey by The Tribune over the past week revealed that in several villages of SAS Nagar and Ropar districts, concrete structures had emerged right on the river beds and influential people had allegedly grabbed the “jumla mustarka malkan” (village common land).

With substantial portions of river beds encroached upon by the unscrupulous persons,a majority of the choes in the area changed their natural courses during the current monsoons, Ajmer Singh, a resident of Nadha village, alleged.

A visit to the some of the villages, including Kansal, Nadha, Mullanpur, Parol, Teera, Phoronzian, Seonk, Khizrabad, Dhakoran Kalan, Phantwan, Naglian and Takkipura revealed that concrete structures have starting coming up at several places.

Even the forest land had not been spared as mini farm houses dotting Seonk and Phoronzian villages on the village common land make a mockery of the land. In fact, provisions in the law are twisted to suit the “owners “ of the land, who buy land from common share holders of the villages, sources said.

At Nadha and Kansal villages in Chandigarh’s vicinity, prime stretches of land have fallen prey to land sharks, who have barricaded the land with barbed wires. At several places the width of the choes had been reduced to a few metres as the land on both banks had been grabbed by the anti-social elements.

Meanwhile, the Global Human Rights Council, an NGO, has decided to file a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The council had done a preliminary survey in which “ a horrified” picture of land grabbing came to light. A final report on the land grabbing will be released in 15 days, a press note issued here said.


N-deal will bring economic stability
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 16
The Indo-US nuclear deal will provide long-term economic stability to the country. It has catapulted India into the league of the foremost nations of the world, claimed the union minister of states for industries and business promotion Ashwani Kumar, while addressing a gathering at a function organised by Nehru Yuva Kendra, here, today.

The 123 agreement would help make the country energy rich. Since we need 35,000 to 40,000 MW electricity by 2020, we have no option but to go in for nuclear power

— Ashwani Kumar, 
union minister 

The function was dedicated to fight against the drug abuse and female foeticide in the border districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur.

The minister is in the district to make the public aware about the benefits of the 123 Agreement on the directions of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Talking to The Tribune, Kumar said the agreement would help in making the country energy enrich. Since the country needs 35,000 to 40,000 megawatt or more electricity by 2020, we have no other option but to go in for nuclear power. The UPA government is committed to use the nuclear power (environment friendly) for constructive purpose.

He also advocated the setting up of a nuclear power generation plant in the state, claiming that the UPA government was in touch with the state government for a suitable site for the plant.

Kumar also revealed that the Punjab Congress would be reconstituted shortly.

He assured setting up of a food processing zone in Pathankot.

To provide job avenues to the youth a 'job fair' would be organised at Government Degree College, Gurdaspur, shortly, were over a dozen multi-nation companies would select youth for jobs, he claimed.

To impart technical training to the youth of this backward district of the state, Tata Consultancy Service has been  asked to set up a computer training and  maintenance


Govt likely to hike petrol, diesel prices
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Punjab Cabinet today gave its nod to transfer approximately 37.53 acres surplus land of the Institute of Mental Hospital, Amrtisar, to the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) for its commercial exploitation. The board is to repay a loan taken from the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC).

The corporation was set up by taking a loan of Rs 400 crore from the World Bank. Most of the money meant for providing health services to people through the PHSC, in fact, was spent on constructing buildings for various hospitals.

The Cabinet also gave its approval to amend Section 2 of the Punjab Value Added Tax 2005 - adjustment of reduction in the price of petrol and diesel announced by the union government. Though the government has not made it clear that what will be the implication of this amendment, it appears the prices of petrol and diesel are expected to go up by Paise 91 and Paise 58 per litre, respectively, in the state following the amendment in Section 2 comes into effect.

The Cabinet approved relaxation in experience as per provision contained in rule 6 (1) (i) (a) of Punjab Police Rules, 1959, under rule 14 bid as well as provisions of Rule 19 of the Punjab Civil Services (general and common conditions of service) Rules, 1994 from six years to 5-1/2 years for the promotion of Inspectors of Police to the rank of DSPs.

Sources said the government was under political pressure to give relaxation to such rules to pave way for the promotions of Inspector-rank officers related to influential politicians.

The Cabinet gave approval to the transfer of 210 acres of land, that is in the possession of the state government in Sector 81, Mohali, to the Union Government for setting up a “Knowledge City”. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal presided over the meeting held late in the evening.

A spokesman for the government said three national-level institutes, namely the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, National Institute of Nanotechnology and the National Institute of Agri-Food Biotechnology would be set up there by the union government. The Cabinet also approved transfer of vacant land of central jails at Amrtisar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepur to PIDB that would prepare the projects to commercially exploit these properties.

The sources said the money earned from the commercially exploitation of these properties would be utilised to meet the plan and other expenditure. The surplus land around 294 acres of the Kapurthala open jail would be transferred to the PSIEC for developing an industrial focal point.

A modern prison in the jurisdiction of Kapurthala district and another in Faridkot, with a capacity to accommodate around 2,500 prisoners each would be built. These would have necessary modern infrastructure, including a multi-speciality hospital at Faridkot to cater to prisoners of Punjab with serious illness. Approval was also given to transfer 70 acres belonging to the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, to the Department of Home Affairs and Justice (Jail Department) for the construction of a modern jail.


Bhakra Mainline Distributary
Haryana’s no puts govt in bind
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 16
After Punjab having opposed the construction of Hansi-Bhuttana distributary from the Bhakra canal by the Haryana government, now, it is the turn of the latter to hit back. The Punjab government needs to construct a distributary from the canal for the proposed Talwandi Sabo super power thermal plant.

However, sources in the irrigation department said at a preliminary meeting, Haryana officials said a flat “no” to the construction of the proposed canal.

The Haryana officials have maintained that they have allowed Punjab to construct four distributaries from the canal and Punjab’s objection to the construction of a distributary from the canal on their own territory is unjustified.

Following objections from Haryana, irrigation officials of Punjab have come out with two proposals for the construction of the canal. The first proposal suggests construction of an 8-km distributary from the Bhakra main line at a cost of Rs 5 crore. If that is not allowed by the Haryana government, the state would have to construct a distributary from the Kotla branch canal, which is a kutcha canal having a length of about 128 km. The level of this kutcha canal would have to be raised and it needed to be re-laid up to at least 28 km at an additional cost. Thus the construction of a distributary from the kutcha canal would involve an expenditure of about Rs 45 crore.

The construction of the proposed canal to provide water for the thermal plant is a vital component of the project.

If Punjab goes for an alternative distributary from the Kotla branch canal, then an additional expenditure of Rs 40 crore would be incurred. Besides, it would take much more time, thus delaying the thermal plant project.

The sources said the government was yet to take decision on the construction of the canal.


60-ft breach in Ghaggar near Khanauri
Crops on 1,200 acres submerged
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 16
Following 60-foot breach in Ghaggar at Chandu village, 7 km from Khanauri today water entered standing crops on 1200 acres of three villages — Chandu, Andana and Therri. However, water has not entered in populated area of the three villages.

According to information, people of the area today protested against the government for not getting any flood protection work done on the banks and bundhs of Ghaggar before the current flood season. Some of them also raised slogans against the government.

After getting information of the breach the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner S.R. Ladhar, SSP Arunpal Singh, executive engineer, drainage, the District revenue officer and other officers reached the site to plug the breach.

The Ghaggar water has not touched the danger mark as it was touching gauge at 750-foot mark at RD-460 near Khanauri against danger mark of 752-foot.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone this afternoon deputy commissioner Ladhar said work on the plugging of breach was on and more than 500 persons had been deployed to plug the breach. He said more than 1000 bags filled with sand, had been placed at the breach site and 15-foot breach had been plugged.

He claimed they would plug the breach by evening.

Ladhar said he had also called Army officers to the breach site and alerted them in case the administration needed their help to plug the breach.

Ladhar also said the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today rang him up twice to inquire about the flood situation in the Moonak-Khanauri areas. 


Badal Case
4 more witnesses turn hostile
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Rupnagar, August 16
Four more prosecution witnesses turned hostile in the case against Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal for allegedly having assets disproportionate to known source of income.

The witnesses deposed before the court of special judge GS Saran, saying that they have never given a statement to the Vigilance Bureau Punjab and, instead, were forced to put their signatures on blank papers and pre-drafted reports.

The witnesses included JE Irrigation Department Faridkot canal division Bohar Singh, executive engineer PWD B&R Bathinda, SDO irrigation Surjit Singh Kalia and JE irrigation SYL Chandigarh Ram Saran Dass.

Bohar Singh said he was summoned to the Vigilance office in Chandigarh wherein the then DIG BK Uppal and investigating officer Surinderpal Singh asked if he had got the water pipes laid in Balasar. "I told them that I have never been to Balasar and did not give any kind of statement in this matter," he said.

Satish Kumar Gupta, who was then posted at Bathinda, is said to have got a call from the Vigilance office Faridkot, asking him to report at Chandigarh. "Uppal and Singh inquired if I knew anything about Balasar, I denied. I was called in again and forced to sign two papers," he said. Similarly, Surjit Singh Kalia (now retired) too denied having ever visited Balasar farms.

JE Ram Saran Das said that he was in the team that conducted the measurements of Badal's Orbit Resorts in Gurgaon. He said the measurements were submitted at the Vigilance office, where later private evaluators assessed the property and he was forced to sign on that pre-drafted report. "I was threatened to sign those papers or else face action," he told court.

He also assessed Badal’s Sector 9 building in Chandigarh that has been leased out to a bank. He told the court that the building seemed to have been constructed five to six years ago and much of the infrastructure, including false ceilings et al, belonged to the bank. Hwoever, the VB asked him to assess property as per the current rates and not as per the rates of the year it was built in. He had also assessed the property of SAD minister Harbans Lal in Killianwali, Doomwali, Dabwali and Rampra Phul, where buildings were 10 to 15 years old.

"The old buildings were assessed as per new rates. I was forced to sign the report without even seeing it. It was promised that I'll get copy of report in the evening, but I am yet to see it," he told the court. He denied having made any complaint to anybody regarding this harassment as no one was there to listen to the complaint, he told the court.

The statements were not recorded after lunch due to the death of an advocate.

Meanwhile, talking to mediapersons, MP Sukhbir Badal said that the anomalies in the lists of the atta-dal scheme would soon be rectified. He also added that flood-hit areas of Anandpur Sahib would soon be compensated for their loss. 


Hold your tongue, SAD, BJP tell their leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
After a series of acerbic statements against each other, the SAD and the BJP, in separate developments, today said their Punjab leaders had been asked to restrain themselves from speaking out of turn or on maters that could have an adverse impact on the ruling coalition.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal told mediapersons that he had asked his “men” to keep quiet and refrain from making statements on the recently concluded civic elections and issues connected with the BJP.

The central in charge of BJP affairs in Punjab, Kiran Ghai, speaking at a separate press conference, said “tongues have to be controlled,” adding that leaders had been advised to be circumspect. Ghai, who was on her first visit to Punjab as party boss, defended the Punjab BJP’s statement issued two days ago that had criticised “ election excesses” committed by the SAD. Ghai said: “We are a national party and have to speak on any violation of democracy”. Incidentally, Ghai and the Punjab unit of the BJP have virtually echoed what the Congress and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had been saying.

In the past three months, the MC poll was the second occasion when tempers between the two alliance partners ran high. Punjab BJP chief Rajinder Bhandari had spoken about how the SAD was wooing BJP rebels. Earlier on the clash between the Dera Sacha Sauda and the Sikh organisations, Bhandari had come down heavily on the SAD.

Badal downplayed the differences between the SAD and the BJP, saying these were minor issues and “we will resolve these”. Ghai refused to comment on the role of the SAD and its workers during the municipal poll, saying the leadership of the parties was mature enough to sort out matters. On the issue of mayors for the four cities --- Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar --- Badal said:“ We can consider the old formula.” Ghai, however, said: “We will go by the old formula”. The formula is that the BJP has its mayors in Amritsar and Jalandhar while the SAD exercises its choice in Ludhiana and Patiala.

The issue of having a BJP leader as the Deputy Chief Minister was alive, said Ghai, and would be raised at the appropriate forum. She claimed the party had improved its position as compared to the performance during the municipal poll in 1997. Side-stepping the uncomfortable question that the BJP had lost ground since the assembly elections, Ghai said: “Issues in the assembly and civic elections vary”.

When pointed out that the BJP could not win even half of the seats it contested, Ghai said “satisfaction has no limits”.

Meanwhile, Badal at his meeting with mediapersons said allowing a separate SGPC in Haryana would be a violation of the pact between Jawaharlal Nehru and Master Tara Singh. Under the pact, the SGPC was to decide issues like this by two-thirds majority. He said he had met the Prime Minister on this issue. Also, he reiterated the stand of the Punjab government that the state should get royalty on the use of underground water to grow crops for the entire nation just as states which had coalmines got royalty. 


CPI threatens stir against SSP 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 16
The Communist Party of India (CPI) will launch an agitation against the district police chief for forcibly removing small vendors near Guru Nanak Dev University.

Stating this to the media here today, Amarjit Asal, district secretary CPI, while demanding the transfer of SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, said if the state government failed to transfer him, they would hold protest rallies in the city.

He alleged that Kunwar, under the influence of political leaders of the area, had ordered the removal of these vendors. He said these vendors were earning their livelihood by running small shops in the area for the past 30 years.

Asal said their party would soon meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in this regard and if he failed to take any action against the SSP, they would launch a statewide agitation. He alleged that Kunwar, instead of giving a patient hearing to remove the grievances of these hapless rehriwalas, was rudely behaving with them.


Mayor’s post: BJP gives advice to Akalis 
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 16
Akali leaders here should refrain from making statements against senior leaders of the BJP for the sake of cordial relations between the ruling alliance partners in the state.

Somdev Sharma, media in charge of the BJP here today was commenting on the statement of Mandeep Manna Akali worker who had criticised the BJP leadership in respect of mayor’s post of local Municipal Corporation

Somdev said Manna was a novice in politics and issuing the statements against the BJP leadership at the behest of local Akali MLAs who were trying to grab the mayor’s post. He said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had already announced mayors of the Jalandhar and Amritsar Municipal Corporations would be of the BJP. He said high commands of the two alliance partners only could take any decision in this regard and wanted local leadership not to comment on this issue. He said if they had any objection they should contact Badal instead of going to the press.

The BJP media head said these leaders only wanted to promote their interests and warned if they continued to do so they would have no option but to urge the SAD chief for taking action against them for making frivolous statements. 


Child Rape Cases
NHRC for speedy disposal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 16
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has instructed all state governments to speedily disposal of child rape cases.

According to police sources here today, Aruna Sharma, joint secretary of the NHRC, through her recent DO letter has issued guidelines to the directors-general of police of all the states for speedy disposal of child rape cases so that no victim of such a heinous crime is left without adequate relief.

She has stated that the complaint relating to child rape cases shall be recorded promptly as well as accurately. The complaint can be filed by the victim or an eyewitness or anyone who has received information of the offence.

The case should be taken as follows : Officer not below the rank of sub-inspector (SI) and preferably lady police officer, recording should be verbatim, person recording to be in civil dress, recording should not be insisted in police station, it can be at residence of victim.

If the complainant is a child victim, then it is of vital importance that the reporting officer must ensure that the child victim is made comfortable before proceeding to record the complaint. If feasible assistance of psychiatrist should be taken.

The investigating officer shall ensure that medical examination of victim of sexual assault and the accused is done preferably within 24 hours in accordance with CrPC Section 164 A. The gynaecologist, while examining the victim should ensure recording the history of incident.

Immediately after the registration of the case, the investigation team shall visit the scene of crime to secure whatever incriminating evidence is available there.

The investigation officer shall secure the clothes of the victim as well as the clothes of the accused, if arrested, and send them within 10 days for forensic analysis.

The forensic lab should analyse on a priority basis and send report within a couple of months. The investigation shall invariably be completed within 90 days of registration of the case.

Identity of the victim and the family shall be kept secret and they must be ensured of protection.

The hearing of these cases should be done by the fast track court, preferably presided over by a lady judge and trial to be held in-camera. 


Sorry, only for trains
A bridge of inconvenience
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, August 16
The 750-metre-long historic rail-cum-road bridge on the Lohian Khas-Makhu section continues to be the only road link between Jalandhar-Nakodar-Kapurthala and Makhu-Ferozepur areas. The bridge over the Satluj is reminiscent of the old British raj as it was constructed over 100 years ago.

Owing to heavy of railway traffic, the gate remains closed most of the times causing delays in movement of vehicles which sometimes remain stranded for hours.

Since only one way traffic is allowed at a time, long queues are common sight. A lot of accidents have already taken place in the past.

One can imagine the plight of those who are in need of urgent medical help.

Till 1965, this bridge was used only for the defence purposes, but later civilian traffic was allowed for two hours in the mornings and evenings. Later, the bridge was opened from 6 am up to 11 pm.

Keeping in view the problems faced by the locals and commuters, the PMO then instructed the government and the Railway authorities to keep this bridge open for 24 hours.

However, the effort of the Railways seems to have gone in vain as the bridge still remains closed during night hours. The commuters still face inconvenience.

Local MP Zora Singh Mann said he would again take up the matter with the PMO. Mann added that he had also written to the government to construct new bridge so as to segregate rail and road traffic. Mann said an estimate had been prepared according to which Rs 41.20 crore would be incurred on the construction of new bridge.


Rs 2,000-cr plan to revamp power supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The power infrastructure for urban and agricultural sectors in Punjab will be revamped as the government today announced a Rs 2000-crore plan to streamline power supply and distribution.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here this morning. Under this plan, 301 new substations of different capacities would be set up. These include 13 substations of 220 KV, three of 132 KV, 188 of 66 KV and seven of 33/66 KV, capacity. In addition, 47 existing sub stations would be upgraded.

More than 12,000 circuit km distribution lines across the state would also be modernised and strengthened to evacuate the enhanced power load.

As per the new plan, Rs 203 crore would be devoted for the power infrastructure in border areas.


Desperate to know who he is
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 16
A polythene bag in his hand he is desperate to know his origin and identity. Brought up in a juvenile home in the Ram Colony camp in Hoshiarpur, Sant Ram, alias Harjinder Singh, became curious to know his identity after he was removed by Nirmal Singh, a resident of Ali Nangal village near Gurdaspur, after eight years of service.

Sant Ram was renamed Harjinder Singh by Punjab police personnel Gurwinder Singh. A class v pass from Government Mahila Ashram high school, Ram Colony, Hoshiarpur, he allegedly was smuggled out of the juvenile home by Gurwinder Singh to his house work as a domestic help.

Narrating his woes to The Tribune, Sant Ram revealed his employers started ill-treating him after he grew and started demanding money for his services. Even family members used to ill-treat and chain him at night.

“My employers, Gurwinder Singh and his brother Nirmal Singh, assaulted me when I started demanding monthly salary. They threw me out of their home. This came as a shock to me and I decided to search for my family,” said Sant Ram.

Taking shelter in a village gurdwara, Sant Ram earned some money. Sant Ram came back to the Hoshiarpur-based juvenile home. His repeated visits and requests, for providing details of his parents and the place they belonged to, to the juvenile home authorities gave him some hope. But he was in a dilemma when he came to know that he was shifted to Hoshiarpur from the State Protective Home at Jilan Basti, Jalandhar.

He reached Jalandhar, but was further harassed as a few employees of the protective home demanded money for disclosing his identity. Sant Ram married Darshan Kaur, a resident of Navipur Colony in Gurdaspur, with the help of Dr Praveen Kumari working in the gurdwara dispensary.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) helped Sant Ram in knowing about his mother’s identity. His mother Sahi Shanti, a resident of Sangrur, was a lunatic and abandoned by a few men in Amritsar. She reportedly was rehabilitated in the After Care Home at Amritsar and later shifted to the State Protective Home, Jalandhar.

As per the juvenile home records, Sant Ram was shifted to Hoshiarpur on August 2, 1976. At present, the Jalandhar police is investigating the case.

Jalandhar DSP Dharam Singh Uppal said it was found Sahi Shanti was sold by a few Sangrur-based men for Rs 1,200, 35 years ago. The woman was resold and purchased a couple of times following which she turned lunatic. At about the same time she gave birth to a child, Sant Singh, the DSP claimed.

Since she was also undergoing treatment in Amritsar while staying at the State Protective Home, Jalandhar, Sant Singh, was shifted to the juvenile home. 


NRI helps set up mortuary
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 16
NRIs of Punjab origin have invested their hard-earned money to elevate the standard of living of their brethren and sports across the state, but the setting up of a preservation centre for bodies is a unique instance altogether. Located on the Moga-Kotkapura road at Singhawala village, the signboard catches the attention of passers-by.

The centre was commissioned a few years ago. It was set up with a keen desire to provide the last glimpse of the dead to their near and dear ones residing in far-flung areas.

Canada-based NRI Nachattar Singh Sangha had to undergo tremendous mental agony following the death of his father in the village here. In the absence of any such facility, family members of Sangha had to carry the body all the way to Jalandhar while he was in Canada. Sangha convinced his friends and the village panchayat to set up a centre here to serve the people of the area. They pooled together about Rs 18 lakh and the village panchayat offered 6 kanal land, where once a veterinary hospital existed.

For the smooth functioning of the centre, a committee, Mritak Deh Sambhal Nishkam Society, was instituted. Its president Ranjit Singh claimed the centre had a refrigerator worth Rs 4 lakh that could store nearly eight bodies at a time. The society charges merely Rs 500 for keeping a body for 24 hours. It helps in meeting the expenditure of two employees, a telephone and power bills.


Panel for apology from Outlook
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 16
In a strongly worded ultimatum, the Khalsa Action Committee, while taking exception to the portrayal of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale as a villain in the recent issue of the Outlook magazine, has sought unqualified apology and clarification from the magazine in its next issue by August 20.

Convener of the committee Bhai Mohkam Singh, along with former Jathedar of Akal Takht Jasbir Singh Rode, said here today that by depicting him (Sant Bhinderanwale) as villain the magazine had outraged the religious sentiments of the community. Describing the sant as the great Sikh of the last century, he said he had made a supreme sacrifice to protect the Golden Temple.

He said, asking the management of the magazine to insert an unconditional apology in the next issue by Monday next or be ready to face dire consequences.

Meanwhile, chief of the Damdami Taksal Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa has also made similar demand.


HC dismisses plea on Mukerian project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, today paved the way for the continuation of the now-stalled Mukerian hydel project by dismissing the plea questioning the bidding process for the project.

The Bench dismissed the petition of one of the bidders, Gurmeet Singh and company, that sought directions for quashing of an order of June 15, 2007, in which the Punjab State Electricity Board had invited for negotiations all three bidders, including the petitioners, who had submitted tenders for completion of work in phase two of the project.


Amarinder’s IT case

The High Court today adjourned the hearing on an income tax matter relating to Captain Amarinder Singh.

The matter relates to an appeal filed by the Commissioner, Income Tax, Patiala, against the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal’s order which went in favour of Captain Amarinder Singh.

The appellate tribunal had held, vide ITA no 251/Chandigarh/1990 that no part of the income accruing from the estate of late Maharaja Yadvinder Singh was assessable in the hands of the assessee (Amarinder) as an individual.

As regard the inclusion of agricultural income, the tribunal had relied on its order in the assesse’s case for the assessment year 1982-83 in which it was held that three-fourth of the agricultural income accruing from the estate of the late Maharaja Yadavindra Singh was assessable in the hands of the HUF(Hindu United Family) and one-fourth in the hands of legal heir. As such nothing was assessable in the hands of the assessee as an individual.

The Commissioner, Income Tax, went into an appeal against this view of the appellate tribunal seeking the High Court’s opinion as to whether the tribunal was right in law in coming to the aforesaid conclusions.


Markfed officials’ remand extended
Tribune News Service

Banur, August 16
The chief judicial magistrate, Patiala, today extended by two days the police remand of the three Markfed employees arrested by the Vigilance Bureau on charges of pilfering wheat meant for the atta-dal scheme from the agency’s godown here.

Vigilance DSP, Patiala, Anil Kumar Sharma said the district manager H.S. Bains had virtually admitted to the pilferage when he made junior assistant at the godown Naseeb Singh, also a co-accused in the case, pay over Rs 37,000 for 75 missing wheat bags.

The bureau team had made a list of properties owned by Bains. “Most of these were bought after Bains joined Markfed,” said Sharma, adding that the bank accounts of the three would be checked.

Sharma pointed out that Jaswinder, who was the senior assistant at the godown, was involved in the pilferage as he, along with Naseeb Singh, was responsible for the receipt and storage of the stock.

Accused Vijay Khanna, manager, was responsible for the irregularity, as he did not bother to physically verify the quantity of stock received.


No decision on free power 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The issue of withdrawing the facility of free power to the farming sector was discussed informally at the meeting of the Punjab Cabinet today. However, no final decision was taken in this regard.

Sources said the levying of housing tax, property tax and local area development tax was discussed at the meeting to compensate the municipal councils in various cities and towns in lieu of octroi that was abolished by the previous Capt Amarinder Singh regime.

The sources said BJP ministers argued that tax concessions and tax burden should be in uniformity on rural and urban areas. The BJP had won maximum number of seats in urban areas.


One held for naam charcha
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 16
Even as one person was arrested for holding Naam Charcha in Goniana town of this district, intervention of police averted a clash between the followers of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda and members of various Sikh organisations in Geheri Bhagi village of this district late last night.

Police sources said Manjit Singh was holding Naam Charcha in a street where his house was located in Goniana town. When a section of members of the Sikh organisation reported the matter to the police, a case was registered against him under Section 188 of IPC and he was arrested.

The case was also registered against a few women, who were also involved in the organisation of Naam Charcha.

On the other hand, the members of the Sikh organisation allegedly started pelting stones on the house of Jagjit Singh, who was a member of one of the committees set up by Dera Sacha Sauda. Jagjit Singh and other members of his family living in Geheri Bhagi village came out of their house and explained to the agitated members of the Sikh origination that no Naam Charcha was being held. The SHO, police station, Sangat, said when the police came to know about this incident, a police party was rushed to the spot which managed to make both parties reach a compromise.


2 NRIs cheat singer
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 16
Popular Punjabi singer Amar Arshi and his singer wife Narinderjot have been allegedly cheated by two USA-based NRIs -- Lehmber Singh Pawla of the nearby Langddoia village if Nawanshahr and Harbhajan Singh of Chandigarh.

They wanted to send 10 villagers to the USA under the cover of musical night show.

Talking to newsmen here last evening, DSP of Phagwara H.P.S. Khakh said the accused NRIs made an agreement of Rs 4.5 lakh with the singers to hold a show in America on June 29 and gave them Rs 1.5 lakh as advance money to Arshi who handed over three passports of his family, including his wife Narinderjot and six-year-old son Lovepreet.

Khakh said when they appeared before the US Embassy for visa, the accused NRIs came with 10 villagers and asked Arshi to confirm before the embassy that the 10 belonged to his musical group. But Arshi refused to do so.

It is learnt that the accused NRIs got irritated with Arshi and did not return the passports of his family.


BSF jawan held with heroin

Amritsar, August 16
The BSF today arrested lance naik Sarvan Singh for possessing 95 gm of heroin near Kakkar village under Lopoke police station here.

He was handed over to the police whch registered a case under Sections 22, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act .

The BSF authorities after a tip-off searched Sarvan Singh and found 95 gm of heroin from him.

Meanwhile, the police arrested Sarabjit Singh of Muddal village during at a naka and seized 50 gm smack from him. The accused was also wanted in many Excise cases for selling illicit liquor. Another accused Satpal, a resident of Lopoke was nabbed for possessing intoxicants and banned drugs. The police has registered cases under relevant Sections of of the IPC against them. — OC


3 booked for quarrel
Tribune News Service

Kharar, August 16
Didar Singh, a driver with Punjab Roadways and resident of Bhukhri village, got injured last night in a quarrel. In his complaint to the Kharar police, Didar Singh alleged that he was driving the bus on Chandigarh-Ludhiana route when he stopped at the Kharar bus stand at 9 pm for the passengers to get down.

Meanwhile, three youths, in a car, halted near his bus and started abusing him. He alighted from bus to talk to the youths but instead of talking, they started hitting him. He sustained injuries in the quarrel and was rushed to the Kharar civil hospital. The youths have been identified as Simranjeet Singh from Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar, Ramandeep Singh from Gharuan and Parminder Singh from ward no 2, Mundi Kharar. No arrest has been made so far.


Rs 16 lakh for village school

Chandigarh, August 16
The Baba Attar Dass Educational Society formed by NRIs and residents of Nathewal of village, near Baghapurana( Moga), has collected Rs 16 lakh to give a new look to the village school, improve the quality of education and help the poor students there.

Baltej Singh Brar, treasurer of the society, said two teachers had been engaged to meet the staff shortage at the school, free uniforms provided to all students. — TNS


Germany for better ties with India

Amritsar, August 16
Germany wants to nurture and intensify bilateral relations with India, said Norbert Lammert, president of German Bundestag, who was here to participate in Independence Day celebrations here yesterday. The delegation was interacting with Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, here.

Lammert said the visit was in reciprocity to last year’s visit of the Indian Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to Germany.

Kahlon said the visit of the German delegation at a time when both India and Germany were coming closer with regard to economic and technical fields would prove very significant. To increase the earning of farmers there was an immediate need of agro-based food processing units. It was wherein Germany could be of great help, he said. Already a German Agro Component Manufacturing Group, CLASS, has set up a manufacturing plant at Morinda to manufacture combine harvesters and agro-related machinery components. — OC 


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