P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Bhandari re-elected BJP president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Rajinder Bhandari was today formally elected unopposed as president of the Punjab unit of the BJP for a three-year term. Earlier, he had been appointed as the party chief in April.

Thirteen members to the BJP's national executive were also elected unopposed against 13 seats from the state after the 14th nominee transport minister Mohan Lal withdrew his candidature, central election observer Pyare Lal Khandelwal told reporters here this afternoon.

Those elected as national council members from the Punjab area included Balramji Dass Tandon, Madan Mohan Mittal, Brij Lal Rinwa, Swarna Ram, Bhagat Chunni Lal, Sita Ram Kashyap, Tikshan Sud, Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Bibi Gurcharan Kaur, Satpal Mahajan, Satya Pal Saini, Baldev Raj Chawla and Balbir Chand Kapila.

Khandelwal said Bhandari, Manoranjan Kalia, the local bodies minister and Navjot Singh Sidhu will represent Punjab at the national executive meeting of the BJP at Bhopal from September 21.

Bhandari said the Punjab unit of the BJP had a two-point agenda to strengthen and broaden the base of the party, especially in the rural areas and amongst the minorities.

Replying to a question on differences with the SAD over grant of free power to the agriculture sector, Bhandari said, “an honest difference of opinion on some issues is natural and this should be seen in a positive sense."

The BJP would like the government to ensure implementation of the election manifesto, corruption-free administration and all-round development of the state, said Bhandari.

On the case against former DGP SS Virk, Bhandari said “let the court decide the issue on disproportionate assets case. However, Bhandari justified "the use of "cats" by the police during terrorism days, saying it was an internal policy of the government. Today, the situation is normal and we cannot say whether the policy was bad. But in the broader interests of the state the use of "cats" was not wrong," he replied when questioned about the controversy involving Virk.

BJP's national secretary Kiran Ghai told reporters that the party was not opposed to the Setusundaram project, but the BJP was against dismantling of the Ram Setu, which was historical. "The Setu project can be executed through some other route," she said.


Relief for colonisers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 19
In what has brought relief to small and medium colonisers the Punjab government today notified the reduction of external development charges, licence fee and minimum area requirements for setting up of residential colonies.

The state has now been divided into potential zones - high I and II, medium I and II and low I, II and III. High I includes Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana MC limits and area within 5 km outside MC limits. High II includes the area outside MC limits within a radius of 5-15 km of these cities. Medium I includes Patiala, Rajpura, Sirhind, Gobindgarh, Khanna and Phagwara towns and area up to 5 km outside MC limits. Medium II includes area up to 5 km on both sides of the GT Road.

Low I includes Bathinda, Moga, Batala, Pathankot, Barnala, Malerkotla and Hoshiarpur towns up to 5 km outside MC limits and 15 km outside MC of Bathinda. Low II includes Sangrur, Sunam, Nabha, Faridkot, Kotkapura, Ferozepur, Malout, Abohar, Muktsar, Kapurthala, Nawanshahr, Ropar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Samana, Jagraon, Mansa (MC limits and areas within a radius of 3 km). Low III includes all other towns and areas.

For residential colonies a coloniser would now need 75 acres of minimum land in high I and II, 50 acres in medium I and II, 25 acres in low I and II and 10 acres in low III. For group housing a coloniser would need 10 acres in high I and II, medium I and II and 5 acres in low I, II and III.

Clubbing of land and extension of already approved colonies has been permitted. For commercial activity the minimum width of approach road shall be 80 feet and for group housing minimum 60 feet.

The conversion charges notified earlier have been retained but the EDC and licence fee have been reduced. For high I areas the EDC for a residential colony is now Rs 26.78 lakh per acre and Rs 3 lakh is the licence fee. For group housing the EDC is Rs 60.25 per acre and Rs 4 lakh licence fee. For commercial colonies the EDC is Rs 93.95 lakh per acre and licence fee Rs 1crore.

For high II areas the licence fee remains the same as high I. The EDC for residential colony is Rs 22.76 lakh per acre, for group housing EDC is Rs 51.21 per acre and for commercial colony EDC is Rs 79.85 lakh.

In medium I areas the EDC for colony is Rs 20.48 lakh per acre and licence fee is Rs 2 lakh. For group housing EDC is Rs 40 lakh and licence fee Rs 3 lakh. For commercial colonies EDC is Rs 71.86 lakh per acre and licence fee Rs 25 lakh. In medium II areas the EDC for colony promoter is Rs 17.41 lakh, for group housing its Rs 40 lakh and commercial colonies its is Rs 61.08 lakh per acre. The licence fee is the same as medium I.

In low I areas the EDC for a colony is Rs 10.46 lakh and licence fee is Rs 50,000. For group housing EDC is Rs 20.92 lakh and licence fee is Rs 60,000. For commercial colonies the EDC is Rs 31.38 lakh and licence fee Rs 5 lakh. In low II areas the EDC for a colony is Rs 7.85 lakh and licence fee is Rs 38,000. For group housing EDC is Rs 15.70 lakh and licence fee Rs 45,000. For commercial colonies EDC is Rs 23.55 lakh and licence fee is Rs 4 lakh.

In low III areas the EDC for a colony is Rs 5.89 lakh and licence fee is Rs 25,000. For group housing the EDC is Rs 11.78 lakh and licence fee Rs 30,000. For commercial colonies the EDC is Rs 17.67 lakh and license fee Rs 3 lakh.

(To be concluded)


SGPC to remove distortions from Sikh history
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The SGPC is on a course of removing what it describes as " distortion of facts" from the Sikh history authored at the behest of rulers of the time beginning from the 15th century.

Revealing this, the president of the SGPC, Avtar Singh Makkar, here today said that a board of scholars had been set up to rewrite the Sikh history by removing distortions. He said resource material available with Sikh institutions would be made the basis of history to be re-written.

Dr Kharak Singh had been made head of the board. Its other members were Dr Kirpal Singh, an eminent historian, Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon, Dr Jasbir Singh Sambar and Dr Balwinder Singh Jaura.

The SGPC chief was here to release two religious books "Gurjot Arjun" and "Mahanatak Marad Angmara" authored by Charan Singh Sindra, a popular playwright.

He said from now on the SGPC would vet the books regarding Sikh history and gurmat. No one would be allowed to distort the Sikh history and Sikhism.

He said an inquiry had been ordered with regard to a controversial book. " We are on the final stage of completing the inquiry", he added.

Talking about the publication of Guru Granth Sahib, he said the Punjab Government had been urged to pass a law to make the permission from the SGPC mandatory for publishing Guru Granth Sahib. " I would not allow the sale of Guru Granth Sahib at the commercial level", he added.

The SGPC chief said he had written to the Prime Minister with regard to the problems being faced by Sikhs in Afghanistan for the cremation of bodies.


Master Mohan Lal in spot
Ex-councillor kept in illegal custody
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 19
A former municipal councillor was kept in illegal detention for the whole night at Sadar police station here allegedly at the behest of Punjab transport minister Master Mohan Lal Sharma. He was reportedly detained in by the police in violation of the directives of the District and Sessions Court, Gurdaspur.

Former municipal councillor Jang Bahadur Bedi was arrested from Gagret in Himachal in a 'filmi style' by a police party of almost 25 cops last night and detained illegally. Led by SHO Dev Dutt Sharma the police party picked up Bedi from an industrial unit in Gagret where he reportedly had been for personal work.

Suspect in a case of preparing 'fake' certificates for pensioners, Bedi had secured bail from the court. The court had directed the police to give him three-day notice prior to his arrest.

In haste under political pressure, the police detained him illegally that sparked protest among Congress leaders and his supporters. Scores of Congress supporters under the leadership of former Congress MLA Ashok Sharma virtually gheraoed the division no-II police station and raised slogans against transport minister Master Mohan Lal and the police.

The protesters alleged that the police detained Bedi illegally under the influence of Master Mohan Lal. "Bedi's arrest was the result of political vendetta as being a Cabinet minister Master Mohan Lal Sharma lost a seat of the Pathankot Municipal Council from ward No. 26 to Congress candidate Usha Bedi, sister of Jang Bahadur Bedi", alleged former MLA Ashok Kumar Sharma.

The Congress has given a call of an agitation against the high-handedness of BJP MLA and Master Mohan Lal Sharma.

SP Harpreet Singh, however, denied having arrested Bedi. He said the police had started investigations into a case against Bedi, accused in a forgery case. Local resident Paramjit Singh had lodged a case against Bedi.

Master Mohan Lal Sharma could not be contacted.


Badals’ assets case
Newspaper alleges misuse of power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Managing editor of a Jalandhar-based daily newspaper ‘Aj Di Awaaz’ has filed an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to bring some facts to the Court’s notice as an ‘intervener’ in the petition tilted ‘State of Punjab vs Parkash Singh Badal’.

The editor alleged in the application that the respondents, Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and others, were abusing power to ensure an early end to their trial in the disproportionate assets case registered on June 24,2003. The trial of the said case is going on in Ropar.

It has been further alleged that the special public persecutor appointed by the government, A.P.S. Deol, was “obstructed and physically stopped” by the CM’s supporters.

Also, a notification was issued by the Akali-BJP government cancelling the appointment of a special public persecutor in the case. This amounted to exercise of influence by the respondents, the editor stated in the application.

He further highlighted the point that the petition had been filed through the office of the advocate-general who headed the prosecution in the state. The AG incidentally, had appeared for Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Surinder Kaur Badal, the respondents/ accused, in the trial court in the said case before the Akali-BJP combine came to power.

The application mentions that the prosecution had submitted an application on August 17, 2007, to examine Surinder Pal Singh, investigating officer, as 20 witnesses had been examined who had not supported the prosecution’s case. The application was disposed of by the trial Court on August 20 and the same had been challenged in the High Court in the aforesaid petition.

The editor averred that he had reasons to believe and it was apparent from the conduct of the prosecution and the investigating officer also that the state was not serious in pursuing the case and efforts were being made to “scuttle the trial”.

He further alleged that the prosecution wanted to examine the investigating officer who would also turn hostile following which an application for giving up the need to examine the remaining witnesses could be made.

“The misuse of official and judicial machinery for settling personal scores or achieving personal ends is the practice of which this case is a glaring example. It is not possible to successfully prosecute a sitting Chief Minister in his own state,” the application reads.

Finally, a prayer has been made by the editor to dismiss the aforesaid petition filed by the state of Punjab and directions be issued to the state to examine all witnesses in the assets case and to examine the investigating officer in the last. Also, the case should be transferred to CBI or any other independent agency.

The affidavit was taken on record by Justice Surya Kant and the matter was adjourned to October 17.


Grant to College
VB quizzes Ch Jagjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The Vigilance Bureau today questioned former local bodies minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh on the Rs 57.70 lakh grant given to a Kartarpur-based Master Gurbanta Singh Memorial Janta College for various projects by the last government.

The former minister had joined the investigations with the VB in connection with the City Centre scam here today. He was grilled for three hours by SSP K.S. Sandhu and SP Surjit Singh Grewal. He was asked to bring the grant utilisation certificate of the college during his next appearance.

Sources in the VB said the former minister was not able to produce all required documents that he was told to bring today.

They added that he had been told to provide the details of his and his college accounts from 2002 onwards. But he always brought the statements since the start of City Centre project.

Sources said Chaudhary Jagjit Singh was the president of the management committee of the college named after his father Master Gurbanta Singh.

He had got Rs 10 lakh sanctioned from Amarinder Singh for the construction of additional rooms on July 19, 2005. He also got a new road laid on the college premises after getting a grant of Rs 2 lakh from another minister in 2005. Former finance minister Surinder Singla had also released Rs 6.5 lakh for purchasing a mini bus for the college. Again the college got Rs 3 lakh for computers and Rs 20,000 for students in 2006.

Another Rs 5 lakh was released for the purchase of gym equipment in March 2006. Interestingly, while the equipment grant was sanctioned in March, former deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal also released Rs 10 lakh for gym building later in December that year.

Sources said of the Rs 57.70 lakh only Rs 36.70 lakh were used and the rest was lying unutilised in contravention of rules.

He has been asked to appear before the VB on October 3 with all papers.


Police Transfers
Mansa SSP shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The Punjab Government yesterday shifted the SSP, Mansa, Ram Singh. The SSP, Bathinda, Naunihal Singh, has been given the additional charge of SSP, Mansa, till a new appointment is made. Ram Singh goes as commandant, 27th Battalion, Punjab Armed Police (PAP), Jalandhar.

It may be mentioned that Ram Singh was in the middle of a controversy in July when the DSP of Budhlada, Mukand Singh Malhi, had written a letter to the DGP, levelling allegations against Ram Singh. Officially, the Punjab Government order said Ram Singh had been transferred on “administrative grounds”. Officials claimed Ram Singh had sought the transfer citing personal reasons.

Apart from this, the Punjab Government also transferred one IPS and 12 Punjab Police Service (PPS) officers.

Amit Prasad, assistant inspector general (AIG), Computer and Telephone, becomes AIG, Computers. Sukhbinder Singh is the new assistant commandant, 6th Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB).

Sukhdev Singh has been posted as SP, Telephones. Mandhir Singh has been posted as SP, Intellegence Wing. Mohinder Pal Singh is the new SP at Barnala while Sukhdev Singh Bhatti is the new assistant commandant, 2nd IRB , Sangrur. Gumail Singh goes as assistant commandant, 2nd commando battalion, Bahadurgarh. Sajjan Singh Cheema is the new SP, City-III, Ludhiana. Darshan Singh Mann is the new SP, HQ, Bathinda. Ajmer Singh Ramama goes as SP, HQ, Khanna, while Mohinder Singh is the new commandant, 5th IRB, Amritsar.

Sudeh Kumar Agnihotri goes as assistant commandant, 5th IRB, Amritsar, while Rajinder Kumar Sharma becomes SP, Operations, Jalandhar.


Shaheed Bhagat Singh centenary celebrations
Bonding through pigeons
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Narli (Tarn Taran), September 19
Pigeons will be used as messengers of peace and love between India and Pakistan to mark the centenary celebrations of the birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh from his native village here next week.

The pigeons with their feathers grubby with Urdu stamps and couplets used to bring cheer to Indian villages like Narli in Tarn Taran on the zero line and Dauke in Amritsar, surrounded on three sides by Pakistan. Rings with specific designs were used as identity tags.

The primitive and traditional exchange of feelings through pigeons is fascinating.

Pigeon flying, once common in Amritsar and Lahore, is still a craze in border villages on both sides of the Radcliff Line. They often get messages through pigeons when all other methods failed.

The Pakistani villages across the border fencing, including Sarja Mirja, Pathanke and Burkey, have been famous centres for pigeon flying even before Partition. Baba Harbans Singh ( 95), the oldest pigeon fancier of the joint Punjab, shows many Pakistani pigeons, having “love tags” or stamps that frequently cross over to this village.

Even as the state and Central governments have forgotten to include Narli village for organising any function to mark the centenary birth anniversary celebrations of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, its residents have decided to use pigeons to exchange love and affection.

Principal of Springdale School, Manveen Sandhu, and her husband S.S. Sandhu, who belong to this village, say efforts will be made to celebrate the occasion in the most befitting manner even without the support of the government. They have decided to open a centre for sustainable development at a cost of Rs 5 crore in the name of Shaheed Bhagat Singh by Punarjot, an NGO working for strengthening people to people contact between India and Pakistan. The duo has already opened a computer centre at Government High School at Narli village.

Talking to The Tribune, Baba Harbans Singh rued that it was a matter of concern that the government had not recognised the significance of Narli village, the ancestral village of Saheed Bhagat Singh. He said the ancestors of the martyr had shifted from Narli village to Khatkal Kalan in Nawan Shahar and as such the former village had more significance. He had decided to use his pigeons as messengers of peace to mark the centenary celebrations.


Ram Setu
Mobilising support through SMS
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 19
The Sangh Parivar has found a techno-savvy way of mobilising support on the Ram Setu issue by sending out SMSs and e-mails.

The job has been entrusted to activists of the Dharam Jagran Samanvay Vibhag, who claim to have sent out more than 10,000 SMSs in Amritsar in the past 24 hours. The drive is being carried out in each district of Punjab.

Talking to the Tribune, Ram Gopal, state president of the vibhag, said the SMS text says that it would a forbidden thing to support destruction of the Ram Setu. It comes with the promise that anyone who sends the message to seven persons would be blessed. It adds that just the way people of the country voted online for Taj Mahal to make it one of the Seven Wonders of the World, there is need for such mass support to save Ram Setu.

“We are also going to a neighbourhood temple. After the kirtan a holy thread, called “raksha sutra”, is tied on the hands of those who endorse the view that the Ram Setu should be saved. But before this, those present are informed about the various scientific surveys which have confirmed that Ram Setu is a man-made structure,” he added.

Dinesh Sharma, vibhag’s district organiser for Amritsar, added that each activist had sent out SMSs to every name in the phone list of his cellphone. The drive would continue for a week and an attempt would be made to reach out to as many people as possible, he added.


Mill workers block road before Sukhbir’s visit
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 19
Members of the Seasonal Permanent Workers Union (SPWU) and Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Faridkot Sugar Mill blocked the Faridkot-Kotkapura road in protest against the visit of Sukhbir Singh Badal, acting president,SAD, here today.

They were protesting against the Punjab government's expected move to lease out the mill to private hands. Badal was scheduled to visit the house of former Akali MLA Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, located near the mill.

Initially, the police resorted to minor lathicharge to lift the blockade. However, sensing that the situation could go out of hand, senior police officials visited the spot, apologised and managed to convince workers to lift their road blockade.

Satwant Singh, president, JAC, and Gurinder Singh Rupana, president,SPWU, said the Akali party before the elections had ruled out the leasing out of the mill to private concerns. However, they alleged, that the party had shifted its stance.

The blockade lasted two hours starting 9 in the morning.

Sukhbir reached the house of Dhillon at 4:30 in the evening against the scheduled arrival in the noon. Later, he also went to nearby Sadiq village and distributed Rs 23.46 lakh to 54 panchayats and 12.71 lakh to 41 clubs affiliated to the Nehru Yuva Kendra and Youth Welfare Department.


Stones for 3 power units laid
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 19
Sukhbir Singh Badal, acting president, Shiromani Akali Dal, laid foundation stones for three more power grid stations in Rode, Gholian Khurd and Sukhanand villages of the district today.

He informed that for the first time ever the Punjab government would enter an agreement for power banking system with southern states for uninterrupted electricity supply for paddy.

The MP from the Faridkot Lok Sabha constituency, which also includes Moga, is on the foundation-laying spree. Apart from the aforementioned villages, he has laid foundation stones for either the upgradation or establishing of power grid sub-stations at Thiraj,Ajitwal and Baghapurana.

He said for the convenience of public in general and farmers in particular, land and revenue records were being computerised.


Panel exempts captive power plants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
With a view to encouraging industrialists to install their own captive power plants or cogeneration power plants to reduce power demand burden on the PSEB, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has exempted such plants from payment of parallel operation charges. Such charges were payable on monthly basis at the rate of Rs 200 per KV to the PSEB.

The open access charges have been substantially reduced to encourage bulk consumers to avail power supply on their own from the open market. For them transmission and wheeling charges have been reduced from 25 per cent to 20 per cent on the aggregate of transmission and wheeling charges. In their case transmission and distribution losses have also been reduced from 50 to 30 per cent.

The commission in respect of large supply consumers has made a provision to levy no load surcharge for exceeding their connected load provided they do not exceed the contract demand.


Pension to be routed through banks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Saddled with a large number of complaints regarding misuse of authority by sarpanches in the distribution of pension to beneficiaries, the Punjab government has decided to pay the same through banks.

Official sources said there were about 14 lakh beneficiaries who had been getting pension. Among them were old and retired persons, widows, dependent children and the handicapped. Pension was paid to them on quarterly basis from a dedicated fund created by the state government for this purpose. A few years ago, the power to distribute the pension was given to sarpanches.

"However, as we received a number of complaints regarding the distribution of pension, so a decision has been taken to route the pension through banks", said a senior officer of the state government. There were complaints that certain sarpanches were making a "cut" from the pension amount to be paid to beneficiaries, officer added.

"From the next quarter we are discontinuing the practice of paying pension through sarpanches and arrangements were being made to pay the same through banks", he added.


BSNL officers shifted after theft probe
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
Two senior officers, S.K. Nigam, general manager, and S C Badal, deputy general manager, of BSNL at Ludhiana have been transferred following an enquiry into the theft cases of telephone cables.

A number of cases pertaining to theft of cables in Ludhiana were reported a few months back thus affecting the functioning of the BSNL. The authorities had received a large number of complaints and enquiry was ordered by Satpaul, chief vigilance officer of the BSNL.

Satpaul deputed a team of Vigilance officials, along with experts, to look into the complaints of theft. It was revealed during the enquiry that cable stolen from Ludhiana had reached Hoshiarpur.

The Vigilance and the BSNL authorities took a serious view of the situation prevailing in Ludhiana and ordered the transfer of the two senior officers of the BSNL.


Supdt blames it on dept politics

Amritsar, September 19
Terming sexual harassment charges levelled by a woman clerk as baseless, Satnam Singh, superintendent, TB sanatorium, who had been indicted by the inquiry committee, today claimed that he was a victim of department politics.

He alleged that it was all pre-planned as he had refused to oblige Indu Bala, a clerk, in allotting a residential quarter to her as it was against the norms. However, he alleged, she somehow managed in getting a quarter allotted in her name. He had informed the senior authorities and requested them to cancel it. He added that she used to remain absent from office and was habitual in arriving late to the office.

He urged the senior police authorities to provide security to him and his family as he was being threatened by relatives of Indu.

Indu had alleged that on July 4 that Satnam came to the office in a drunken state and started teasing her. — OC


Sanitation committees formed
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, September 19
To keep the city clean and pollution-free the Municipal Council here has formed Mohalla Sudhar Committees in every ward of the town. Giving details Sunita Malhotra, president of the council, who initiated the cleanliness campaign, said these committees have been formed to keep a strict vigil on the working of safai karamcharis.

She said that these committees have been empowered to appoint or remove safai karamcharis in their respective areas, while the council would provide their salary.

The office-bearers of these committees would monitor the working of the safai karamcharis and report to the council.

She said she had donated Rs.1 lakh to the council to get equipment for safai karamcharis. She said this campaign has yielded good results and people have now become involved in this campaign and more and more social organisations are coming forward to help the council. She said the formation of these committees is also part of that campaign. She said the council has urged local MLA Didar Singh Bhatti and senior SAD (B) leader Rajeshpal Singh Lalli to get the funds allotted to it for development works.


Administrative complex for Mohali soon
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 19
Mohali district will soon get an administrative complex of its own. Kharar SAD (youth) wing in charge Jasjit Singh Bunny, addressing a gathering at Sangat Darshan here today, said in the absence of an administrative complex, various offices were scattered all over the city. This posed problems for the people.

"We are looking for a suitable site in areas of Balongi, Ballomajara, Barhmajara or Daun villages.The site will be finalised within five days and tenders invited in a month,"Jasjit said.

At the Sangat Darshan, grievances of 10 villages, including Dharak Khurd, Chambal Majra, Mammu Pur, Gharuan and Patto, were redressed on the spot. Most were regarding funds and grants for laying streets and peripheral roads.

DC H.S.Grewal was also present at the function.


No move to dismiss Virk: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said there was no move to dismiss arrested DGP SS Virk. However, he said it was yet to be seen if diaries supposedly recovered from Virk’s briefcase were admissible in court as evidence.

Talking to media persons Badal admitted that centrally funded scheme hinged on part-funding by the state and also the imposition of some user charges. However, a proper system had to be evolved in this case. Urban development projects were being followed up and consultants were making project reports.


Dhawan for action against Virk

Chandigarh, September 19
Former union civil aviation minister Harmohan Dhawan and now a leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, today said he would write to BSP chief Mayawati to demand action against arrested DGP SS Virk for the alleged political observations made by him.

He said he would get Virk dismissed from service as his actions showed that he was involved in political activity that was against service rules. — TNS


CITU protest against N-deal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 19
Protesting against the Indian nuclear deal with the USA, a large number of activists of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), led by state secretary Dev Raj Verma, today took out a march through the main bazaar here. The protesters urged the Central government not to implement the deal.


Saini case: HC raps police for lethargy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The ghosts of Sumedh Saini blast case have come to haunt the Chandigarh Police with the High Court showing no mercy in rapping it for “not doing anything worthwhile” to ensure the presence of proclaimed offenders.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice A.N. Jindal, today declined the request of the UT counsel seeking time to file a reply and termed the request as a tactic to derail the process of the court.

The lethargy of the police was clearly suggested even by the status report filed by the CBI. The additional SP, Interpol, N.S. Kharayat, was present in the court.

The Bench exempted Kharayat from further appearance until specifically called for. The, SP, special crime branch, CBI, Chandigarh, was directed to be present on the next date of hearing on October 5.

The Bench took on record an affidavit by D.S. Multani, father of one of the alleged POs Balwant Singh Multani, wherein Multani contested the UT police’s version that his son had escaped from police custody.

Multani alleged that his son was so brutally tortured in custody that he could not have escaped. He alleged that he might have been killed by the police. He sought a CBI enquiry into the matter.

The action-taken-report by the National Central Bureau, New Delhi, disclosed that the assistant director (Interpol), NCB had requested the Interpol Secretariat General (IPSG) to publish a red-corner notice against Manmohan Singh, alias Minta, an accused in the case. Since the notice had five years’ validity, the IPSG sought to know if it was to be extended or not. But no reply was given by the IGP, the status report said.

Another message from Interpol-Washington, dated April 12,2006, was received requesting intimation whether India intended to seek the extradition of Manmohan Singh through diplomatic channels.

The Interpol-Washington was also requested to provisionally arrest Manmohan Singh but the request was declined on the grounds that no arrest could be made without a formal request .


Farmers not getting their due: Minister
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 19
Punjab agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah asserted that in spite of the fact that the Punjabi farmers worked hard they were not getting proper worth of their produce in the market due to low prices of wheat and paddy fixed by the Centre. Langah was speaking at the inauguration of the Kisan Mela organised by the Young Farmers Association at Rakhra village, near here, today.

He added that other states gave good MSP for paddy and wheat and that union government should take various parameters into consideration in the context of Punjab to ensure that the farmers get a good MSP for paddy and wheat.

He urged farmers to not purchase tractors and farm implements on their own as later the famers found themselves under the burden of various loans. Langah urged farmers not to irrigate their fields during the month of May since the water table in Punjab had fallen to dangerous levels and this measure could sustain the water level to a significant level.

Prominent among others who were present on the occasion were SAD secretary general S.S. Dhindsa who said that organisations like the Young Farmers Association were proving to be a boon for farmers in the state and added that more such organisations should be formed to look after the interests of the farming community. Also present on the occasion were former MLA S.S Rakhra, president of the Young Farmers Association Jagdeep Singh Cheema and chief agricultural officer Balwinder Singh Sohal.


Police bust gang of horse thieves

Rajpura, September 19
The Rajpura police here claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of horse thieves and recovered 14 horses worth Rs 20 lakh.

According to DSP Bhupinder Singh one Binanni Amin of Amloh sub-division had filed a complaint with the local police that seven horses belonging to him had been stolen from Madanpur village in the Rajpura segment.

The police soon traced one Mohammad Ali, a resident of Muradabad, and recovered one of the horses from his possession. Ali told the police that they had a gang of five members who stole horses from Punjab, Haryana and adjoining areas and used to sell them in Uttar Pradesh. The police also arrested Pappu, Rajesh Kumar, Gopal and Beerbal with 14 horses. A case under the relevant sections of the law was registered against the five persons. — TNS


Dance fest begins at Thapar varsity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 19
The Commissioner of Patiala Division, S.K. Ahluwalia, inaugurated a dance and arts festival jointly organised by ‘Friends of Life Citizen Council for Common Cause’ and the State Bank of Patiala at the Thapar College Auditorium, here today. The event is being held in the memory of late Prof Gursewak Singh, an eminent educationist.

Ahluwalia said Punjab, which is struggling to eliminate female foeticide, could benefit from the active participation of the state’s youngsters. He said Punjabi youth, particularly those studying in universities and colleges were grappling to fight drug menace and if no immediate steps were taken to curb this malady, the state would have to face dire consequences.

DIG Paramjit Singh Gill said it was of utmost importance that such seminars and functions were organised on a regular basis such that social evils could be eradicated. He also paid tributes to former vice- chancellor of Punjabi University and former secretary of the Indian Hockey Federation, Prof Gursewak Singh. He added that the youth should come forward to check the vices afflicting the state.

He added that the Punjab Police was one such force in the country that had been aggressively campaigning against these two problems.

Varsity’s director Abhijit Mukherjee praised the efforts of the organizers.


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