P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Badal does not approve of ‘cats’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Attacking operating of “cats”, militants-turned-police informers, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said he did not approve of whatever violated the law and the Constitution. However, he remained silent when asked whether he would order a probe against police officers, other than the former Punjab DGP SS Virk, who tackled militancy by operating “cats.”

Talking to the media, Badal said the main case against Virk was that of disproportionate assets and not of harbouring militants. Besides a disproportionate assets case, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau has also booked Virk for harbouring militants that has now become a big issue in official circles.

When reminded that keeping “cats” has been described as part of a national policy and strategy to tackle terrorism, Badal, posing a counter question, asked where was that policy? Which law had approved that policy? There could not be any unwritten policy, he said.

However, he again remained silent when his attention was drawn towards the statement made yesterday by the incumbent DGP that informers were used by police to tackle criminals.

Asked about the Virk case, Badal said he would not comment on it because it was under investigation. Any comment on the case at this stage by him could influence the investigation, he said. Asked about the recovery of a diary from Virk’s briefcase, Badal said he had read about it in the newspapers.

Asked about Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s statement against giving free power to farm sector as it was proving a drain on sub-soil water resources, Badal said it was Prime Minister’s own opinion. He said in his view free power to the farm sector was justified because of various factors. He said Punjab farmers should be given royalty on foodgrains produced by them for national food security. Royalty was paid on coal, he said.


Finally, a witness who assessed Badal’s property 
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 12
After more than 20 witnesses turned hostile in the past three months, a retired SDO from the Public Works Department (PWD) became the first witness to maintain his statement and accept that he assessed the Badal’s property in Pallanpur village, near Kharar.

Deposing before the court of special judge G.S. Saran here today, retired SDO Surjeet Lal said he had assessed a hatchery in Pallanpur that belongs to Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal. He had conducted the assessment of the boundary and pillars erected on the premises that seemed to have been constructed more than 15 years ago. However, the Vigilance Bureau had directed him to conduct the assessment as per the rates of building material and wire in 2003.

Mandeep Singh, an employee of the Bank of Punjab, too appeared before court as witness in the case pertaining to Badal’s alleged property -- Metro Plaza -- in Chandigarh. However, half an hour of the court’s time was wasted in finding documents of partnership, deed and balance sheet of the establishment. The witness could not be recorded, as the requisite documents were not found.

It was found that the statement of Kirpal Singh, an employee from the Soil Conservation Division, Mohali, did not carry his signatures. Instead, the signature of investigating officer Surinderpal Singh Virk was on Kirpal’s statement.

Witnesses -- patwari Gurbhidner Singh and senior finance manager of Som Dutt Builders, New Delhi Vijay Kishore -- could not attend the court proceedings today.


Govt defies orders on BOT bridges 
Asks PIDB to carry out feasibility study
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 11
Contrary to its claims of not constructing any bridge in the state on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, the Punjab government has now asked the Punjab Industrial Development Board (PIDB) to initiate a feasibility study of building a Sarai Ke Pattan bridge on these lines.

Sarai Ke Pattan bridge

The temporary bridge, “Dholanwala pull”, over the river remains closed during monsoon. Villagers consider it hazardous to cross the river on a boat. Those going by road have to shell out extra money for the four months it remains closed. A large number of people from these villages have to commute to Anandpur Sahib for legal matters and a large number of employees of a cement factory and the thermal plant are from these pockets.

The bridge, that connects around 70 villages of the area with Anandpur Sahib and other areas, has been hanging fire for the past 26 years.

The budget of a permanent bridge has swollen from Rs 1.5 crore in 1981 to Rs 44 crore in 2007. In spite of persistent demand of villagers, none of the political parties have redressed the issue.

The 675-metre-long temporary bridge remains closed from July to October every year due to monsoon. It is reopened in November.

In the absence of the bridge, villagers cross the river either on boats provided by the PWD department or by road. Those using the road have to make a detour of 25 km to reach Anandpur Sahib and other areas.

In October, 2006, the then CM Capt Amarinder Singh had laid the foundation stone of the bridge to be built at the cost of Rs 44 crore.

Financial bids for the project were invited and work was allotted to Singla constructions. The work was to be started in 15 days and completed within 18 months. However, the work failed to take off due to imposition of election code of conduct in the state.

Later, the SAD-BJP government came to power and Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal issued a statement claiming that no bridge in the state would be constructed on BOT basis.

Contrary to this, the PIDB recently issued a letter ordering feasibility study of building a bridge on BOT basis.

“A similar study was conducted five years ago and none of contractors was ready to take over the construction of the bridge. They (contractors) said the bridge did not support enough traffic from where they could recover money through toll. When something was not feasible five years ago, how can it be feasible now? The government should reconsider its priorities and construct the bridge out of the state exchequer,” says Dr R.D. Sharma, former MLA and president of district Congress committee.


Govt move on Ram Setu
Rail, road traffic blocked
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, September 12
Rail and road traffic remained disrupted for three hours in the morning in different parts of the district on a call given by the VHP and the BJP. The call was given in protest against the Sethusamudram project of the Central government.

The protesters stopped three trains, including Amritsar bound Howrah-Amritsar Express, Jalandhar bound Ferozepur-Jalandhar DMU and Jansewa Express coming from Amritsar at Tanda Adda railway crossing.

The agitators also blocked vehicular traffic at the PAP, Nakodar, and Workshop chowks. A large number of rail and bus passengers were seen strandard at the bus stand, Jalandhar city, and cantonment railway stations.

HOSHIARPUR: Life was hit in the district on Wednesday as workers of various Hindu organisations, including the Rameswaram Sreeramsetu Surakshaya Manch, disrupted road and rail traffic to protest against the proposed demolition of the Ram Setu off Rameshwaram coast.

Workers put up pickets at vantage points to block the traffic causing inconvenience to commuters, particularly students and office-goers. They also stopped the DMU (diesel multipurpose unit) passenger train at the railway station.

Reports of blocking traffic at Garhdiwala, Dasuya, Mukerian, Talwara and Hajipur towns of the district were also received.

BATHINDA: Activists of the BJP and its sister organisations blocked traffic for two hours on the bridge of Sirhind canal on the Bathinda-Goniana road to protest against the move to dismantle the Ram Setu. The agitation was led by Narinder Mittal, president, BJP, district urban unit, and Sarup Singla, assembly segment in charge, SAD, Bathinda.

BARNALA: Former MP Raj Dev Singh Khlasa has criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi over the Ram Setu. Local residents under the aegis of Rameshwar Manch blocked traffic at court chowk and staged a dharna in front of the court here on Wednesday. They also took out a protest march through the main bazars.

PATHANKOT: Activists of the VHP held a dharna and blocked traffic for more than two hours at new Chakki bridge on the Jalandhar-Pathankot-Jammu highway here on Wednesday.

SANGRUR: Activists of various Hindu organisations and the BJP blocked traffic for more than an hour at the traffic lights chowk near the main bus stand here on Wednesday. Among others who took part in the protest included Thakur Jagdish Rai (Dharam Sansad), Bimal Mittal (VHP), Jatinder Kalra, Mohinder Baba and Narinder Gupta (BJP), and Pukhraj Purohit (Bajrang Dal).

NABHA: Various Hindu organisations and the BJP blocked the Nabha-Patiala road to press for their demand to save Ram Setu. 


Handwritten note of Virk shows murky world of politics
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
If a handwritten two-page note, allegedly seized by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau from arrested DGP SS Virk’s briefcase, is to be read carefully, it reveals the murky underbelly of Indian politics and how the police is used for inputs by political masters.

A secret note supposed to have been written by Virk reveals a maze of inputs that political parties often seek from senior cops like the former Punjab DGP.

It cannot be ascertained which of these suggestions were finally followed by the Congress party. A portion of the note seems to have been possibly written before the assembly elections in February and some portions were penned a few weeks after the victory of the SAD-BJP combine.

The note says “meet Simaranjit Singh Mann and activate.” It also suggests “meet dera chief and assure help”. Though the note does not name the dera, the possible reference could be to the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda. A one-line crisp suggestion says “involve or continue ‘B’ involvement in litigation. It would not take a rocket scientist to find out that “B” stands for Parkash Singh Badal. All three suggestions could have come either before or after the polls.

There are suggestions on handling the rival Akali groups. It says to help the rival Akali groups in the SGPC elections “try to take advantage of the discontent due to Majithia ( Bikram Singh Majithia), in another one. The note says “13 are very unhappy”. It says “Kang, Bonny , Babehali, Mohan Lal, Bolaria, Makkar, Avinash, Lodhinangal, Josh and Baath” are among those whose “feasibility can be examined or try after six months or one year”.

On the Congress, the note says “try and win over younger MLAs like Pabby, Sukhpal, Jassi and Khangura, who are very active and have money”. Pabby is the nickname for Amarinder loyalist Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu. The other three are Sukhpal Khaira, Harminder Jassi and hotelier-turned-MLA, Jasbir Khangura. The fact that these four are mentioned as MLAs, it is clear that this part of the note is also likely to have been written after the polls. One thing adds to the mystery as to why the note talks about “winning over Pabby” who is considered closest to Amarinder Singh and his son Raninder Singh?

It suggests that all rival Congress camps like those led by Capt Amarinder Singh, the Beant Singh group, Rana’s group and the Jagmeet Brar group must unite. “bring back the dissidents’, says another crisp suggestion and “keep friendly relations with the CPI and the CPM at all levels”. 


Pvt service sector to be regulated 
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh yesterday said he would ask the authorities in the Punjab infrastructure development board and the PWD ( buildings and roads) to constitute the Punjab infrastructure regulatory authority ( PIRA) to hear the complaints and grievances of people with regard to toll.

When his attention was drawn to the levying of toll on certain roads without setting up PIRA, Ramesh Inder Singh said it should have been set up before the levying of the tax if there was a provision in the law in this regard. When told that PIRA was to set up within three months of the passing of the Punjab infrastructure development act in 2002, he said he would check with the authorities concerned.

In fact, PIRA should have been in place before floating tenders for any projects to be constructed on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis. As the cost of BOT-based projects was recovered from people direct by the building companies concerned, they (people) would have got an opportunity to file objections, if any, with regard to the cost.

“ By forming a nexus with officers, building companies can inflate the cost of BOT projects several times. It will be people, from whom the cost is to be recovered but have no role in determining the cost, who will suffer financially because of the inflated cost”, said Jagjit Singh, a resident of Hoshiarpur district, where the collection of toll had triggered public protests.

Tejbir Singh Bajwa, advocate from Dasuya, said that toll on the Hoshiarpur -Dasuya road stretch had been revised upward from Rs 43 to Rs 51 for the up and down journey. He said the toll was levied in March this year and had been revised within five months. He said no MLA or MP from the area had raised this issue of public concern at the appropriate level. Besides, the bus fare on the Hoshiarpur-Dasuya road had also been increased from Rs 20 to Rs 23, he added. For road users, who have to pay toll on certain roads, no independent platform is available at present in the state.


VHP activists, cops clash

Rajpura: Members of various Hindu outfits held a protest here today by blocking the rail and road traffic for an hour to voice their concern against the move to destroy Ram Setu that connects Rameshwaram to Sri Lanka's Talaimannar, to complete the Sethu. The protesters blocked the railway traffic near the local railway station and raised slogans in support of their claims. Later, they blocked the traffic on the National Highway no1.

Sanjay Angrish, a senior leader of the Sri Rameshwaram Ram Setu Raksha Manch, said before taking any decision, the government should not ignore the sensitivities and faith of the Hindus. He said the project to make a sea-route by destroying the Ram Setu, which was believed to have been built by Lord Rama, would hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus and the government should give up the project immediately.

He said it was not only the Hindus but the issue concerned all. He said the Ram Setu belonged to all humanity and was an important heritage site.


Mayorship row
Badal’s bid to placate Rakhra
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 12
Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today held a meeting with Akali leader Surjit Singh Rakhra here.

While details of the meeting were still sketchy, sources close to Rakhra said Badal had met with him to placate him following the nomination of Ajit Pal Singh Kohli as mayor of the town.

Rakhra has been backing the candidature of some other Akali Dal councillors for the post, including Jaspal Singh and Sohan Lal Jalota.

Jalota had deserted the Congress before the assembly elections to join the SAD.

According to sources, Badal met Rakhra at his residence on the Nabha road and met with the members of the family.

Official sources said Badal appealed to Rakhra to mobilise investments by NRIs in the state to help generate employment avenues besides promoting industrialisation.

He assured that the government would extend help to the NRIs investing in the state.

Badal also enquired on the health of Jaswant Kaur, mother of Surjit Singh Rakhra, who is president of the NRI wing of the SAD.

Ajit Pal Singh Kohli, first-time SAD councillor from ward No. 22, was unanimously elected mayor in the general house of the municipal corporation here yesterday.

He is the son of former minister Surjit Singh Kohli, who contested the last assembly elections on the SAD-BJP alliance ticket against former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh from the Patiala town.


Mann seeks clarification from Khalsa panel

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 12
President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann has sought a clarification from the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC) regarding its stand on the arrest of former DGP S.S. Virk. In a statement here today, Mann stated that since Paramjit Singh Sarna, who is associated with the KAC, had come out openly in support of Virk, the other leaders of the KAC should also make their stand clear.

The SAD (A) chief said a large number of youths had been killed during the days of terrorism and the stand taken by Sarna was contrary to conscience and morality of the Sikhs. He said it was a setback to the morale of thousands of Sikhs, who had suffered during the black days. — TNS



PWD (B&R) to introduce online monitoring
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Parminder Singh Dhindsa, PWD (B&R) Minister, today issued instructions for introducing centralised online monitoring of works of all contractors executing building and roads projects of the department.

Presiding over a meeting of a quality control cell of the PWD, Dhindsa observed that there was no centralised record of quality of work executed by each contractor. He said such a cell should be created in the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board to collect and process the data of works being executed by the contractors throughout the state. He said the cell would strictly monitor the quality of works being executed by the contractors at various stages and submit the report to the cell through Chief Engineers concerned.

Training camps

With a view to educating farming community regarding rabi crops, the Agriculture Department, Punjab, will organise 19 training camps in all district of the state.

Mehmi promoted

The Punjab Government has promoted Harbans Lal Mehmi and Vikas Sharma as senior special secretary to ministers, in the rank of joint secretary to the government of Punjab.


Good Timing
Rain ‘rescues’ ASI from cellphone trouble
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
There are excuses and then there are extraordinary excuses. And no one can beat the Punjab police in the art of cooking up the latter. While an ill-timed buzzing of cellphone in court had landed an assistant sub-inspector in the contempt loop, a truly ingenious reply today helped him wriggle out of ringing mess.

His gem of an excuse was: “The cellphone had been left in my pocket due to sheer carelessness. It was a rainy day, thus, water entered the phone disrupting its circuit system. When I had entered the court room, the cell was on the silent mode but the seepage of rain water into it made it ring despite that.”

Now who can match this? Also, the cop asserted in the affidavit that the cellphone was still in silent mode when taken into the court’s possession. It is another matter though that if water enters the mobile, according to technical experts, it is most likely to go silent forever than ringing at a wrong time.

The cop from Tarn Taran, Kamaljeet Singh, who had come to the court of Justice Ranjit Singh on August 24 in connection with a bail, found himself on the wrong side of the law as his mobile rang loud and clear, ruffling the majesty of the court.

And Justice Ranjit Singh is known to be a martinet who brooks no nonsense. The judge lost no time in taking the blankly staring cop to task and observed that despite repeated orders, conveyed verbally as well as displayed outside the court, police officials were not desisting from bringing cellphones into the courtroom.

Even as the hapless cop could understand what had befallen him, the judge aksed him to explain as to why the contempt proceedings be not initiated against him. Also, Kamaljeet was directed to be present before the court on the next date of hearing on September 12.

Today, the matter was taken by a Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, who after perusing the affidavit by the cop disposed of the matter.


Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s birthplace in Pak crumbling
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 12
The contribution of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in the freedom struggle seems to have been left within India only, with Pakistan not preserving buildings and articles connected with his birth and childhood.

A local group, during a recent visit to Pakistan, was pained to notice the pathetic condition of the room where Bhagat Singh was born, his classroom and other structures connected with his childhood.

They have urged the union government to to get certain structures at Chakk Number 105, known as Banga village in Jaran Wala tehsil of Layalpur district (now Faisalabad), preserved as memorials of the martyr.

In a communiqué addressed to Dr Manmohan Singh, PM, Pratibha Patil, President, and Parkash Singh Badal, CM, Punjab, the youths, led by Davinder Singh Purba, Sukhdev Singh Dharamkot and Sarabjit Singh, have pointed out the dilapidated condition of the structures.

In fact, residents of Banga village, birthplace of the martyr, were not even aware about the significance of the place. “A majority of Banga residents were amazed to see us there. Jaffar Cheema, director, Dyal Singh Research and Cultural Forum, Lahore, host of the seminar on the occasion of birth centenary of the martyr, was the only person who could tell us a little about various structures connected with the life of Bhagat Singh,” said Purba and Sarabjit Singh.

They added that the condition of a majority of the structures was critical.

All rooms, except the one where Bhagan Wala (later known as Bhagat Singh) was born, have been changed by the parents of Iqbal Virk, cultivator of the land belonging to Bhagat Singh’s clan. The room that should have been preserved as a monument by the Pakistan Government is in a dilapidated condition.

Consistent piling of sand outside the room has resulted in the burying of the structure halfway. The main door is virtually closed and children use a side window to enter the room laced with moisture and foul smell.

“As we were allowed to visit the village during night, we could see very little inside the room. However, we could notice that iron girders had rusted and bricks of walls eroded with time,” said Davinder Purba.

The building of the village primary school where Bhagat Singh studied was also in a critical condition. All efforts of Iqbal Virk to get it repaired had gone in vain.

The playground where he used to play had turned into a pond. The place where Bhagat Singh had served langar to members of the 13th jatha of Jaiton Morcha is conspicuous by its non-existence. The British Government had issued warrants against Bhagat Singh for helping the jatha.

Admirers of Bhagat Singh have urged the government to impress upon the Pakistan Government to help preserve the structures. His writings and clothes, which are lying at a library in Lahore, should be brought to Punjab before his 100th birth anniversary that falls on September 28, they demanded. 


Saragarhi martyrs’ kin honoured

Ferozepur, September 12
The saga of bravery of 21 Sikh soldiers who died fighting against heavy odds while defending the Saragarhi Post against an attack of nearly 10,000 Afridis and Pathans is one of the most daring, stated commissioner of Ferozepur division B.S. Sudan.

He was addressing the ex-servicemen’s rally organised to pay homage to the soldiers of 36 Sikh Regiment who attained martyrdom while defending the Saragarhi Post of Fort Lockhart in Afghanistan on September 12,1897. These 21 men were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM) for their valour.

Relatives of Saragarhi martyrs, including Charanjit Singh, grandson of martyr Naiklal Singh, and Sarabjot Singh, brother of martyr Gurmukh Singh, were honoured.

The commissioner distributed financial aid, blankets and other household articles to war widows and families of martyrs. — OC


Pandey to quit if VB proves charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The DGP, PSEB, AP Pandey, today added a new twist to the events following the alleged recovery of documents from arrested DGP SS Virk by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau. Pandey challenged that he would resign from service if even a shred of evidence was produced that he had met the person who was being labelled as the benami owner of the supposed 125-acre farm near Khirzabad.

Pandey said he was surprised at media reports quoting the diary of Virk. The man being quoted was Jasmel Singh of Nawapind village in Jalandhar district as the benami owner of the farm-land near Khirzabad. Pandey, who served as chief of the bureau during former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s tenure, said he had never met Jasmel Singh. There is no question of any land deal, he claimed.

Pandey was the chief of the bureau when the present Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal were booked .


She lost everything to aids
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 12
The Sri Ram Charit Manas Prachar Mandal has come forward to provide social, emotional as well as financial assistance to an innocent eight-year-old girl who has developed carbuncles and furuncles on her head and all over the body.

Though teachers at her school are sympathetic towards her, she has temporarily stopped going to school as other children tease her. The girl, who is an HIV carrier, is presently residing with her maternal grandmother.

The young girl has lost her parents and two sisters during the past five years. The maternal grandmother of the girl is in agony due to the loss of her daughter, son-in-law and two grand daughters. She says all of them probably became victims of AIDS. Her son-in-law was a driver and after acquiring HIV, he might have infected his wife and subsequently the couple’s children also became HIV positive.

The old woman is unable to arrange medicines etc. for her granddaughter due to financial constraints.

When Sukhwinder Dhillon, a woman health visitor with the Health Department came to know about the plight of this girl, she visited the family along with dermatologist of the Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur, Dr Sham Sunder Sharma, Dr Ajay Bagga and Sunil Priya.

On the request of Dr Bagga, the mandal has decided to take care of the child. Dr Bagga said all medicines prescribed by the dermatologist had been provided by the mandal.


Light, sound to jazz up Jallianwala Bagh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 12
Finally, the central government has agreed to install son-et lumiere (light and sound) on the pattern of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, before April 13 to mark the 90th anniversary of the tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh.

The son-et lumiere was proposed by Maninderjit Singh Bitta, the then Indian National Youth Congress president to Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister. Rao had sent a jatha of 300 Youth Congress leaders to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for a survey of the impressive light and sound programme installed there. A report was submitted by Bitta to Rao, who was also chairman of the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Trust.

Meanwhile, following the demolition of three shops adjoining the Jallianwala Bagh that led to apprehension among city residents that it might lead to a change in the original character of the historic place, the district administration has said the old passage from which General O’Dyer had entered with his men and resorted to unprovoked firing on innocent Indians would be preserved.

Kahan Singh Pannu, DC, said a beautiful tourist centre would be constructed at the site of the demolished shops. He clarified that the site would not be used for parking.


Transmitters to improve DD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
With a view to countering “impact” of Pakistan TV and radio in border areas, the Union Government will install high-powered transmitters ( HPTs) near the border at Amritsar to improve coverage of Doordarshan and All India Radio in that area and also some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Due to weak DD signal, people in most parts of the border belt fail to watch DD programmes. With the installation of HPTs, DD progammes would be seen in a vast area of Pakistan. Indian films and soap operas are very popular over there.

Member of Rajya Sabha from Punjab M.S. Gill told The Tribune today that he had received a letter from the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Priya Ranjan Dass Munshi, that land to set up transmitters had already been acquired and that work would soon begin on this project.

He also assured to set up a high-powered FM radio station near Amritsar. “I told him to set up a full-fledged Punjabi newsroom at Jalandhar.”


GAIL ready to link state with grid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) yesterday agreed to link Punjab with the national gas grid by extending the gas carrying pipeline from Dadri to Sangrur and further to Naya Nangal and other places.

A team of senior officers of GAIL held a meeting with chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh and chairman of the PSEB Y.S. Ratra here. Accepting the demand made by GAIL, the Punjab government gave an undertaking that it would consume adequate quantity of gas to be supplied to the state.

Ramesh Inder Singh said the PSEB would be a bulk consumer of gas as it had planned to set up gas-based thermal plants in the state. Besides, HPCL would also consume gas at the Bathinda oil refinery.

The National Fertilisers plant at Naya Nangal was also prepared to buy gas in bulk.

“We have given the required undertaking to GAIL in this regard”, he said. From Dadri, the gas pipeline would be laid up to Sangrur from where it would branch off to Ludhiana and Naya Nangal.


Patrol cops get training in lifesaving
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 12
The local Red Cross Society under the guidance of senior superintendent of police S.K. Asthana organised a one-day training programme for policemen and NGOs in saving lives during highway patrol at the Police Lines, here today.

Inaugurating the camp, DSP (HQ) Ashish Kapoor said it was the duty of the police to help and rescue the victims of accidents. The injured should be rescued, given first aid and shifted to the hospital, he emphasised.

Red Cross DTS K.R. Verma imparted training in handling accident victims and providing first aid for head injuries, bleeding, fracture of spine, limbs, failure of respiration system and cardiac arrest.

Social worker Bishen Dass said it was imperative for policemen to be imparted training in lifesaving techniques.

Highway patrol in charge Paramjit Singh ensured help to accident victims. He urged people to obey traffic rules.

Over 36 officials of the police department attended the programme.


HC seeks files of consumer forum appointments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
A division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover today sought the production of files relating to the Punjab government’s rejection of recommendations made by the selection committee regarding appointments to the posts of president and members of various district consumer disputes redressal forums.

The Bench sought the record so as to be able to ascertain the reasons that compelled the state government to reject the committee’s suggestion. Importantly, it has restrained the state government from re-advertising the posts till further orders. The next hearing is scheduled for October 3.

The Bench’s order came in the wake of the resumed hearing on a PIL by advocate H.C. Arora who had sought directions for filling the vacancy of the president of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission as also the presidents and members of various districts forums.

Punjab’s additional advocate-general Reeta Kohli submitted that the state government had rejected the recommendations made by the selection committee for the appointment of presidents of district forums at Nawanshahar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore and also those of members of district forums at Moga, Mansa, Gurdaspur and Sangrur.

Instructions had been issued to give additional charge to other members of the aforesaid commissions till the selection was made and that the process for re-advertising the posts had been initiated, she further added.

However, Kohli was unable to cite reasons for the rejection of the committee’s recommendations and under what law the additional charge had been given to other members. The petitioner opposed the action of the government arguing that the selection committee itself had two government representatives on it, including the principal secretary, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, and the legal remembrancer (LR).

Notice to teacher education council

A divsion Bench comprising Justice A.K. Goel and Justice Ajay Lamba today issued notice to the National Council for Teacher Education over a petition by the Nancy College of Education.

The college, managed by Mata Rameshwari Devi Memorial Trust, had sought during previous hearings that the council be impleaded as a party. Punjabi University, Patiala, was already a party to the case and it had opposed the college’s request for impleading the council as a party.

The petitioner-college, providing education to youths in the Samana area, had sought the quashing of the decision of respondents in not including the name of petitioner-college in the first counselling schedule for admission to BEd course. 


35 farmers get land auction notice
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, September 12
Despite assurances given by Punjab co-operatives minister that no state agency would be allowed to auction the land of farmers under debt, the co-operative department has issued auction notice to about 35 villagers in Rajpura.

The office of assistant registrar of the co-operative societies has dispatched auction notices to a number of villagers, who had sought loan from the society but had failed to repay the debts. The date for auction has been fixed September 19. These villagers had sought loans from the agricultural service society that comes under the Shambu Kalan branch of the Central Co-operative Bank.

As per the notices issued to the farmers, the action has been initiated under Section 72 (11) of the Cooperative Societies Act of 1963.

The notices have been served just days after the co-operatives minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh assured the farmers under debt that their land would not be auctioned. Most of the farmers owe Rs 50,000 to Rs 96,000 to the agricultural societies.

Jagir Singh of Nanherda village, who was also served notice along with others, rued that he had only sought a loan of Rs 7,000 from the society, but he was surprised to know that as of today he owes more than Rs 84,000 to the society.

It was learnt that societies that had served notices to the farmers have already passed resolutions to auction their land.

However, when the matter was brought to the notice of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, he said some farmers had become habitual defaulters and were not repaying their debts making it difficult for the cooperative societies to sustain. He said notices had been issued only to those farmers who had not repaid their debts over a long period of time.

The interest on loan amount kept on accumulating due to non-payment and now the farmers were finding it hard to accept the fact their debts have increased manifold.


List of cases against Sukhi released 
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 12
Vigilance Bureau (VB) has released a list of the past and present criminal cases filed against him in an attempt to justify its and state government’s action.

In an unsigned press note issued on this evening, VB SSP Dilbagh Singh Gill said three criminal cases, including those of murder, attempt to murder and recovery of arms and ammunitions, registered against him in 1992 before rehabilitating him under the guise of Harjit Singh Kahlon.

These cases included an FIR under Sections 302,307,148 and 149, IPC, registered on February 16, 1992, at Nakodar police station here on the charge of killing nine BSP workers and two different FIRs under the Arms Act regarding the recovery of three AK-47, three stick bombs and other arms and ammunitions.

Talking to The Tribune, Gill said, “All these three cases are untraced as he had been rehabilitated after showing Sukhi dead in police records”.

Besides, he also stated several other instances where he had allegedly grabbed over Rs 1 crore from different persons after issuing threats and using his links with police officers.

Sukhi, alias Kahlon, alias Amritpal Singh, alias Khalsa, had forcibly taken Rs 1.10 crore on different occasions from Jalowal village (Kapurthala) sarpanch Tejpal Singh after registering a fake case against him.

Gill also alleged that VB recovered several blank certificates of Panjab University, Punjabi University and Punjab School Education Board during the raid at his house on Sunday and that he used to prepare fake certificates.

VB SSP further alleged that Sukhi had applied for a passport on the basis of fake certificates of matric and graduation. Following which, an FIR under Sections 420 and 12 of the Passport Act was filed against him on the basis of passport officer’s complaint on May 16. Gill also alleged that he had grabbed the land of a woman Mohinder Kaur, whose husband sacrificed his life for the country.

Gill told The Triune that he stood by even a single word written in the press note. 


10 booked for parading woman naked

Amritsar, September 12
Close on the heels of a widow being stripped naked and tied to a tree in Ramdiwali Hinduan village, another case of stripping and parading a woman of Chak Dogra village has come to light.

The Ajnala police has registered a case under Sections 354 and 509, IPC, against the accused identified as Heera Singh, Sardool Singh, Nirmal Singh, Pritam Kaur, Jasbir Singh, Bhajan Singh, Dalip Singh, Sucha Singh, Dharam Singh, all residents of Bhindi Saida village and Master Surta Singh of Chak Dogra in this regard.

Though the incident happened about three months ago, the case was registered today after a probe conducted by SP City and taking the advice of DA legal.

The victim in her complaint lodged with the police had alleged that her son Satnam Singh was married to Paramjit Kaur, daughter of Pritam Kaur. However, enraged over a dispute that arose between the two over a minor issue, they caught her from her hairs, tore off her clothes and stripped her naked and paraded her in the village.


Youths snatch mobile, cash

Kharar, September 12
Two youths snatched a mobile phone and cash from a man near Gulmohar Complex here today.

The incident took place around 5 pm when Varidner Chauhan, a resident of Badhmajra, was walking near the complex. The two accused, Surat of Roda village and Raman Kumar of Nawanshahr village, walked up to him and took away his mobile phone and Rs 500 in cash. The Balongi police has registered a case. — TNS


Sangrur to have varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Punjab Government today approved in principle a proposal to set up a university for management courses at Gurney Kalan in Sangrur district.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal held a meeting in this regard with a delegation of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) led by N. Rajshekar, a member of the Board of Governors.

Rajshekar informed the Chief Minister that the project would cost Rs 100 crore and the management had already acquired 30 acres at Gurney Kalan village for the construction of a campus. He said the ICFAI in Punjab would focus on fields of management, financial services and information technology.

He said admissions to all courses of the ICFAI were strictly based on merit. There was no management or NRI quota, no capitation fee and no donations. Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said he was confident that the proposed university would improve the quality of education in the state.


Atta-Dal Scheme
Teachers say no to survey duty

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 12
The government teachers who were to conduct surveys to identify beneficiaries of the Atta-Dal scheme, yesterday refused to co-operate with the officials. They said the state government had excluded them from doing non-educational tasks.

Baffled by the teachers’ stance, the local officials said this could invite strict action. The teachers said the chief secretary had recently issued a letter to all the district administrations in which it had been clearly stated that the teachers would not be asked to undertake non-educational tasks. They said even as they took up the matter with the local administration, they refused to pay heed to their concerns.

The local administration had constituted teams of government employees to conduct surveys in the villages that fall under the jurisdiction of the sub-division. However, this morning, when the teams were scheduled to visit the villages, the teachers sat on a dharna.

The local officials said they had not received any letter from the chief secretary’s office. — TNS


Quiz contest at Mata Gujri College
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 12
The postgraduate department of commerce won the inter-departmental quiz contest organised by the commerce association at Mata Gujri College (MGC) here. Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, principal of the college, inaugurated the function.

Team comprising Inderpreet Kaur, Rupinder Kaur of MCom (fourth semester) and Parmod Meena of B.Com final year won the contest.

The team of NCC cadets of BCom I students consisting of Chetan Chhabra, Sumeet Dhawan and Avdeep Singh secured the second spot, while the team comprising Danish Rashid, Harpreet Kaur and Neetu Sood, all students of MBA first year course, bagged the third position.

Team of computer sciences got the consolation prize. Prizes were also awarded to 10 members of the audience.


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