punjab
P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



New industrial policy to focus on employment: Kalia
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20|
The new Punjab industrial policy to be unveiled in December will mainly focus on generation of employment opportunities.

This was stated by minister of Industries, Commerce and Local Government, Manoranjan Kalia, at the zonal conference of the Indian Entrepreneurship Movement here today.

He said the small-scale industry and small industrial units would be the special focus of the policy so that employment opportunities could be provided to the unemployed youth.

The 15,000-crore Bathinda refinery would go a long way in addressing the unemployment problem in the state and the government would come up with the new textile policy soon, he added.

Chairman and managing trustee of the Life Development Foundation, Bhuvnesh Chaturvedi, pleaded for setting up of more industrial units. He said Indians provided top leadership in MNCs in India and abroad but the general industrial environment continued to be poor.

Only more industrial production could tackle the problem of unemployment and save the country from several socio-economic problems, he added.

President of the Helpline 21 Century, Sudarshan Sareen, urged the Punjab government to promote new entrepreneurs.

He said small sectors held the key for economic development of the country.

Minister of Labour, Medical Education and Forests, Tikshan Sood, minister of Transport Master Mohan Lal, and chief Parliamentary secretary Jagdish Sawhney, pledged the government's whole-hearted support in creating employment opportunities.

Since the formation of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab, the state had taken various “pro-industry” initiative to help revive the industry and the setting up of the new industry.

 

Established by Guru Amar Das, ‘manji’ still intact
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Narli (Tarn Taran), September 20
More than four-and-half-century old “manji”(one of the 22 dioceses) established by Guru Amar Das is still intact at Gurdwara Manji Sahib.

The gurdwara was raised in memory of Bhai Mai Manak Das in the border village near zero line. The Narli village of Majha region came to be one of the major centres of Sikhism following establishment of the “manji” .

Guru Amar Das copied the old system of administration when he set up his 22 “manjis”. Bhai Mai Das held one of these.

Bhai Mai Das, a strict Vaishnav came in contact with Guru Amar Das and became his disciple. When he came to see the Guru he was informed that unless he would first have to eat from the Guru’s kitchen and then see him. Being a strict Vaishnav he did not do that, so he left the place to complete his pilgrimage.

According to Sikh history, one day he heard a voice,”You have not eaten food from the Guru’s kitchen and you did not see him, so you will not obtain perfection. If you desire to do so then first behold Guru Amar Das.” Upon this Bhai Mai Das returned to Goindwal and partook langar and then was allowed to see the Guru. The Guru welcomed him, “Come, Mai Das, thou art a special saint of God.” The Guru initiated him as his Sikh, gave him “naam” and bestowed on him the spiritual power of conferring salvation on others.

The old structure where the “manji” was set up has been demolished. The marble has replaced old “Nanakshahi” bricks.

The history of Narli, written by Heera Singh of the village stated that the “manji “ was shifted from Chathianwala to Narli by Bhai Manak Das due to old age of Bhai Mai Das. Hence, the “manji” came to be known in the joint name of both Bhai Mai Das and Bhai Manak Das. However, the “samadhas” of Bhai Manak Das at Chathianwala had been destroyed with the passage of time. 

 

‘Cops took 80 lakh to drop case’
Cheques were given in presence of Virk
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20
Tejpal Singh, sarpanch of Jalowal village in Kapurthala, has alleged that a former militant-turned police cat, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, alias Harjit Singh Kahlon, and cat-turned police inspector Gurmeet Singh Pink had threatened to eliminate him in a fake encounter in September 2005.

They threatened him on the CIA staff premises in Sirhind to extort money after falsely implicating him in a case of recovery of arms from his possession and his alleged links with Babbar Khalsa chief Wadhwa Singh, he alleged.

Providing a copy to The Tribune of the complaint he submitted to the Kapurthala SSP, Tejpal Singh alleged that the CIA staff took him on a production warrant to Sirhind from Kapurthala, where already a false case of land dispute with his cousin Mehar Singh had been registered against him at the behest of Sukhi due to his close links with former state DGP S.S. Virk.

Tejpal Singh further alleged that he was kept on the CIA staff premises in Sirhind for six days from September 8 and 13 in 2007 and was tortured. “I was forced to speak on camera that I had links with Wadhwa Singh. I was also forced to sign several blank papers,” he alleged.

They talked on phone with his brothers and father in New Zealand, who agreed to pay Rs 80 lakh on the assurance that Tejpal would be discharged from the Arms Act case, he alleged.

His two brothers gave three cheques for Rs 80 lakh in favour of one Sarup Singh of Bisnampur village near Kartarpur in the presence of DGP S.S. Virk on the CIA staff premises in Sirhind on September 13, 2005, he alleged.

Later the police stated in the court that it had no objection if Tejpal Singh was discharged from the Arms Act. Subsequently, he was discharged in the case, he added.

After his release in the case, he gave a new cheque for Rs 80 lakh drawn in favour of Mehar Singh and the three cheques given earlier were torn.

Tejpal Singh alleged that both these cases had been registered against him by Sukhi using his links with the then DGP to extort money. 
Earlier, the vigilance bureau had also levelled similar accusations in a press note issued on September 12. However, denying the allegations, Sukhi told The Tribune on phone a few days back that the case about land dispute was registered against Tejpal on the direction of then SSP Arunpal Singh after an inquiry by then DSP Chaman Lal.

 

Permission for land use change in ‘30 days’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 20
The department of housing and urban development, Punjab, would be the competent authority for granting all permissions regarding establishment of residential colonies in the state. Besides, with the implementation of the new policy, it would be possible to finalise cases pertaining to change in land use in 30 days.

Secretary, housing and urban development Arun Goel said this would avoid duplicity. “External development charges (EDC) collected would be utilised by the local planning and development authorities to set up infrastructure. Conversion charges would be deposited with the government treasury and licence fee would be retained by the urban development authority concerned to be used for planning and development of the areas under its jurisdiction,” he said.

The area that falls under the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has been divided into three categories.

For the local planning area SAS Nagar (Mohali), EDC for a residential plotted colony is now Rs 36.95 lakh per acre. For group housing, it is Rs 105.50 lakh per acre and for commercial colonies Rs 130.47 lakh per acre.

For local planning areas of Kharar, Banur, Derabassi, Zirakpur and Mullanpur, EDC for a residential plotted colony is Rs 31.40 lakh per acre. For group housing, the charges are is Rs 89.67 lakh per acre and for commercial colonies Rs 110.90 lakh per acre.

For areas other than the local planning areas on the Chandigarh’s periphery and the area under the GMADA but outside the periphery, EDC for a residential plotted colony is Rs 26.70 lakh per acre. For group housing, it is Rs 76.22 lakh per acre while for commercial colonies the charges are Rs 94.26 lakh per acre.

Also issuing an amendment of PUDA rules-1996, the government has notified parking norms for commercial, institutional and group housing complexes. Parking equivalent to 2 ECS (equivalent car space) for 100-metre covered area of all floors subject to the maximum of 3 ECS per dwelling unit has been provided for group housing colonies. Multi-level parking on the ground would be allowed free of floor area ratio. But, it should be counted towards permissible ground coverage.

Goel said the notified charges would be applicable to all areas falling under statutory or non-statutory master plan limits and to the areas falling beyond these limits in Punjab. “The new policy provides for grant of change of land use (CLU) on verification of ownership from the SDM. Earlier, such cases used to take around six months to come to a conclusion. Now, these would be finalised within 30 days. Approval from other departments would be required to be taken only before the work is started at ground,” said Goel. (concluded)

 

Plan to save Sidhwan Canal going Budha Nallah way
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 20
At last Punjab government has woken up to save Sidhwan canal passing through Ludhiana city from becoming another Budha Nallah .

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has already directed the district administration to ensure no solid waste is dumped into the canal. Dr S. S. Sandhu, managing director, PIDB (Punjab Infrastructure Development Board) took the iniative to develop the canal. He has served as commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana for three years during the SAD-BJP regime in1997-2002.

The Sidhwan Canal project is proposed to be taken up through the public private partnership and the agencies executing the project will be The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA), the PIDB and the Irrigation Department.

According to Dr Sandhu the proposal envisages road on both sides of the canal from Neelon Bridge to Sidhwan Canal passing through Ludhiana city. There is only one way as one side of the canal has metalled road and this is congested which passes through the city. This road is also used for heavy vehicles, which move towards the Ludhiana-Ferozepur and the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road.

According to A. S. Dulat, superintending engineer, canals, the lining of the canal would be done on both sides to check seepage. The Irrigation Department has prepared estimate of Rs 45 crore for the construction of roads on both sides and lining of the canal.

Commissioner of Municipal Corporation Vikas Pratap who is also administrator of GLADA said the length of the canal, which passes through Ludhiana was 25 km. The Municipal Corporation is constructing solid waste treatment plants in the town to save the canal and Budha Nallah from pollution.

Sirhind canal which originates from Ropar is divided into three branches at Manpur Head in Ludhiana district-Abohar branch, Bathinda branch and Patiala branch respectively. Fourth part is known as Sidhwan Canal, which passes through Ludhiana and carries sullage of the industrial town.

Sidhwan Canal was constructed for irrigation purposes and beautification of the town. It turned into an eye sore as the Municipal Corporation failed to stop discharge of sullage into this canal. The Tribune raised the issue of pollution of the canal in 1980 and Giani Arjan Singh Lit then Akali MLA took up the matter in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The canal water was used for drinking purposes in some villages and the pollution.

Darbara Singh then Chief Minister ordered to stop discharge of the sullage into the canal. But the Municipal Corporation had no alternative arrangement and for many months, the sullage was dumped in the open ground behind DAV School and finally Budha Nulla became the victim.

Sidhwan Canal has become polluted and the jhuggi dwellers along the canal throw garbage into it . Although the Punjab and Haryana High Court has banned the dumping of solid waste in the canal and the deputy commissioner issued orders in this regard, yet the canal continues to receive garbage.

As long as the canal has water, it looks all right, when it becomes dry, it stinks.

On the steps to clean the canal, Dr Sandhu said this was for the Municipal Corporation to decide.

Earlier it was mooted to develop a lake near Sarabha Nagar opposite Sacred Heart Convent School. But the proposal was dropped in view of the location of the school. Then the canal was not polluted. The Municipal Corporation has raised the Leisure Valley at that point which is used by people for morning and evening walks and provides breathing space to the residents.

 

Bhattal opposes hike in power tariff

Chandigarh, September 20
Opposing hike in power tariff, leader of the opposition in the Assembly, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today said people of the state would have to bear the brunt of fiscal mismanagement of the state government.

She said to meet revenue deficit of the PSEB, the government should have taken other steps like strengthening revenue collection and also checking transmission losses.

The leader of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, in a separate statement, today urged the state government to withdraw the hike in power tariff. -TNS

 
 


Valtoha block sans amenities
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
The Valtoha block of Tarn Taran district, near the Indo-Pakistan international border, lacks basic facilities of health, drinking water and education. The literacy rate is low (41 per cent)and there is no infrastructure for communication, irrigation, banking and transportation. Also it has 865 females per 1,000 males and in some villages of the block it is as low as 660.

It is revealed in the planning development report of the Valtoha block. The report is based on a survey of Dr Balwinder Singh, reader at Guru Ramdas School of Planning, Guru Nanak Dev university. The project for the survey was assigned by the Punjab government to develop a model for the block-wise micro planning of the state.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh and Dr Balwinder Singh presented the interim report on the development plan of the block at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal in Chandigarh on Tuesday.

It was suggested more data be included in the survey on the economic productivity component and additional human development index in the work assigned.

The planning report was examined by J.S. Bajaj, vice-chairman of the Punjab State Planning Board, and the suggestions given by him would be included in the survey.

 

Panel formed for unbundling PSEB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
A high-powered committee has been set up to deal with the issues related to the unbundling of the PSEB. The committee would be, sources said, headed by the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Its other members are finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon and industries minister Manoranjan Kalia.

A few weeks ago, a lengthy discussion took place on the unbundling of the PSEB at a meeting of the core committee of the SAD-BJP government. At that meeting unbundling was approved, it is learnt. A committee of senior officers of the state government had recently visited Gujarat to study the model of power sector reforms in that state.

The Union Government has given a six-month extension to the state government to unbundle the PSEB. In fact, it is the fifth extension. Earlier, the Amarinder Singh government had sought extension four times from the Union Government which had passed an act in 2003 urging state governments to initiate power reforms by unbundling their power boards.

However, because of opposition from PSEB employees, the previous government had not started the process of unbundling.

The current extension will come to an end on December 7. The government has only three months to unbundle the PSEB. However, it would face a strong resistance from the employees.

 

AC bus travel cheaper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Punjab Cabinet yesterday gave its clearance to the Adarsh School Scheme and also to the new transport 
policy to make travel by AC buses cheaper and allow city bus services. However, the Cabinet deferred the formation of an independent society to run affairs of the public relations department.

The Adarsh Schools Scheme will be launched in the state on September 28, the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. This envisages to provide quality 
education to the " intelligent " among the poor of the rural areas.

There is a special provision for reservation for girls students in the schools in which the state and the private sector players would bear the total expenses on fees, uniform, books and other requirements of the students.

The city bus service will be implemented in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana.

A spokesperson of the government said that the Cabinet approved the rationalisation of the taxes and reforms in the transport department to make public transport 
sector viable.

The Cabinet was informed that the production of paddy was likely to touch 144 lakh metric tonnes. Out of this about 135 lakh tonnes will be available in the market. Elaborate arrangements have been made for the procurement of 110 lakh metric tonnes. The balance quantity is expected to be procured by the rice millers or traders.

Six procuring agencies — Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, the PSWC, the PAFC and the FCI –will participate.

The sub-tehsil Lehra has been upgraded as a subdivision of the district of Sangrur consisting of two Kaunago circles — Lehra and Gagga, 18 additional posts of additional district & sessions judge have been created.

The Cabinet also approved the grant of relief to the tune of Rs 2.50 crore for the disbursement to the farmers affected by the water logging in Muktsar and Faridkot districts in order to give them relief for 'no crop sown'.

An extension has been granted in the time period for the grant of special package of incentives to IT and IT-enabled services, electronics industry, knowledge parks and bio-technology units under industrial policy-2003. 

 

7 power employees sacked

Patiala, September 20
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today dismissed seven technical staff members from service for beating up two senior officials of the board last week.

The dismissal orders were issued to the staff members, today afternoon. Tension prevailed in the board today after the management took this decision. To avoid any untoward incident the PSEB management took help from the police.

Those dismissed are Junior Engineer Vijay Dev, Lineman Rameshwar, Banarasi Das, Tirath Bahadur and Rajinder Singh, ALM Amardev and workman Ram Singh.

Chief engineer south Amrik Singh issued dismissal orders. Dismissed staffers belonged to the Technical Services Union (Bhangal group). On September 13 they beat up additional SE (east division) Gurpal Singh and manhandled senior XEN (suburban division) Bhupinder Sharma.

For past few month the Technical Services Union has been protesting against the PSEB decision to start spot billing especially for domestic consumers.

Though the board ordered no staff cut but the union demanded recruitment of technical staff to which the board was opposed. As board officials said the technical staff was resorting to violent methods to air grievances and used to gherao top management officials.

On Tuesday, earlier this week, they gheraoed PSEB member distribution J.S. Sekhon at a function at Dabwali for two hours.— PTI

 

Round-up
Tubewell corpn to be renamed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Government would restructure the Punjab state tubewell corporation (PSTC) and will now be known as the Punjab water resources and management development corporation (PWRMDC) to make its objectives more broad- based.

At present the PSTC deals with the installation and management of tubewells and execution of sprinkler and drip irrigation schemes. With restructuring, its scope would increase by including promotion of schemes for construction and management of canals, remodelling or renovation of existing canal system.

Cycle rally

Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh today flagged off a five-day cycle rally from Chandigarh to Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, dedicated to the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. A total of 25 employees of Markfed have been participating in the rally which would pass through Mohali, Ropar, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Repair work

The Patiala feeder-1 taking off from the Sirhind canal will remain closed from October 5 to November 4 (both days inclusive) to carry out remodelling and rehabilitation work.

Nominated

The Governor of Punjab, who is the chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, has nominated Prof Virsa Singh Valtoha, who is also the MLA from Valtoha, Prof Ravi Shankar of the Commerce Department in AB College, Pathankot and Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal, MLA, Qadian, as members of the university Syndicate for one year.

Noise pollution

The Punjab Government has constituted district noise pollution control cells (NPCC) in every district to check violation of the noise control act in urban and rural areas.

 

Tariff Hike
Consumer forum rebukes PSEB
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 20
The Consumer Protection and Grievances Redressal Forum has rebuked the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for hiking power tariff.

President of the forum N.S. Gill said here today that a large number of power consumers were daily wagers who earned their livelihood from small jobs and an increase in power tariff would hit them hard.

He said the government was wrongly claiming that it was looking after the interests of the common man. He said the price of petroleum products were also being hiked and even the prices of basic necessities were going beyond the reach of the common man.

He said the forum had pleaded with the PSEB authorities at a public hearing last month that the move of the board authorities to raise the power tariff was not justified.

He said the PSEB was not putting its own house in order, adding, some influential persons were not paying power bills but no action had been taken against them. He said payments were also outstanding in case of certain government departments also. He observed that the board was not taking the desired steps to reduce its transmission and distribution losses. 

 

Increase ‘not good’ for industry
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 20
Reacting to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission's decision to raise the power tariff by 19 to 30 paise per unit president, Mohali Industries Association (MIA), T.L. Easwar, said this tariff increase would hit the industry hard.

He said already the industries in Punjab were suffering on account of special treatment given to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, which had resulted in large scale shifting of industry out of Punjab.

General secretary of the association Anurag Aggarwal added that implementing the increase in power tariff retrospectively with effect from April 2007 would cause unrecoverable loss to the industry. The industry in the course of deciding its costing takes into account the cost of power prevailing at that time and has already billed the customer as per the power tariffs in April 2007. It will not be possible to recover the cost of power from the customer now and hence the increase is not 4.9 per cent as being claimed by PSERC but in actual effect it is 8.4 per cent.

He felt that it would not be possible for the industry to absorb such a stiff increase. He appealed to PSERC that if at all the power tariff has to be increased it should be made effective from September 1, and not from April retrospectively. Chairman, Power and Energy Matters Committee, MIA, Ashok Gupta said the Punjab Government has projected the city of Mohali as no power cut zone. This has attracted many mega projects and multiplexes to Mohali. This hike in power tariff will retard the growth of business in the Industrial Area.

 

SGPC employee attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
Dharm Singh (32),a class IV employee of the SGPC , today attempted suicide by consuming some poisonous substance following humiliation by a senior functionary of Darbar Sahib , here today.

He was taken to the SGPC-run Guru Ram Das hospital where his condition is said to be serious.

Son of a blind person, Dharm Singh was posted s “ sewadar” in Guru Ram Dass langar hall . However, he was reportedly transferred to some other gurdwara at th behest of the senior SGPC functionary . 

 

March against drug abuse
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
The Khalsa Action Committee took out an anti-drugs and tobacco march from Gurdwara Shaheedan to the Hall Gate to spread awareness about the menace. Pamphlets suggesting ways to tackle drugs abuse, especially in schools and colleges, were distributed.

A memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was later submitted to deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu.

The youths were a victim of fake medicines and drug abuse. Smack from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka was smuggled to Punjab with the complicity of the police, administration officials and politicians. Some companies in Delhi and Gurgaon were manufacturing fake drugs that were being sold in bulk in the state without any prescription in clear violation of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, said the memorandum. 

 

Govt declares holiday today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Punjab Government has declared holiday on September 21 on the birth anniversary of Baba Sri Chand, elder son of Guru Nanak Dev.

According to a spokesman of the government, all government offices, educational institutions, boards and corporations would remain closed. 

 

Panchayat Secys’ Appointment
HC stays Lok Pal proceedings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
In a significant order, a Division Bench, comprising Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice M.M.S Bedi, today stayed the proceedings initiated by Punjab Lok Pal into the alleged irregularities in the selection and appointment of 909 panchayat secretaries. Also, notice of motion for October 11 was issued to chief secretary, Punjab.

Jiwan Parkash Singla and 10 other petitioners had moved the court, seeking the quashing of notices and inquiry commenced by the Lok Pal under Section 13 of the Lok Pal Act,1996, in respect of the matter regarding which petitions were pending in the high court and an SLP was also under the consideration of the apex court.

The petitioners averred that the subject-matter of the Lok Pal inquiry was also covered by FIRs registered by the Vigilance Bureau, Mohali, in 2002, and by the CBI in New Delhi in 2003.

“The matter is sub judice before the apex court, the high court and the Vigilance Bureau and the, CBI, too, are looking into it. Still, on the complaints of 18 non-selected candidates, the Punjab Lok Pal has commenced an inquiry. The Lok Pal has no jurisdiction to proceed against the petitioners, as they are public servants and they have performed their duties as members/chairmen of the statutory selection committees,” the petitioners averred. Also, the inquiry was hit by the principle of double jeopardy, they submitted.

The facts of the case, according to the petition, are that director (rural development and panchayats) had advertised the posts of panchayat secretary on October 14, 1996. Following the advertisement, applications were received and candidates shortlisted thereof after an examination.

On September 5, 2001, secretary (rural development and panchayats) issued a notification and constituted departmental selection committees for the purposes of conducting interview under rule 9(4) of the Rules of 1979. The petitioners were appointed chairman/members of these selection committees.

On September 12, 2001, the result of the selection was published and 909 candidates were selected on the recommendation of the select committees and issued appointment letters. On April 3,2002, a non-selected candidate challenged the selections before the high court, but the plea was dismissed. The high court, nevertheless, ordered thorough probe by a secretary-level officer.

The Vigilance Bureau, Mohali, registered an FIR on June 14,2002, in respect of the alleged irregularities in the said selections.The matter was still pending before a special Ropar court.

On October 30, the then financial commissioner (rural development), P.Ram, submitted his report to the chief secretary and on December 12, 2002, the said selections were set aside by the chief secretary.

Some of the affected candidates moved the high court, which ordered a probe by the CBI, following which the agency was handed over the investigation into the matter on May 2, 2003. The CBI registered FIR on June 26,2003.

Interestingly, despite all the FIRs and probes which were still pending, the council of ministers decided to reappoint all 909 candidates on contract basis. The petitioners moved the high court, seeking quashing of FIRs and the notification but both requests were declined by the court.

Later, an SLP was filed before the apex court which was still pending and the next hearing on the matter is on November 27. Incidentally, the CBI informed the apex court that its probe was complete and that it should also be impleaded as a party.

Importantly, all petitioners have been charge-sheeted under the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules 1970, due to the allegations of irregularities in selections and appointments. 

 

Udham Singh memorials: Notice to Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib DCs 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
A PIL filed by Advocate H.C. Arora has highlighted the fact that the memorials of martyr Udham Singh at his birthplace Sunam in district Sangrur and at Fatehgarh Sahib are locked for most part of the year. These memorials are opened on the birth anniversary and martyrdom day of Udham Singh and on Republic Day and Independence Day.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, today took up the plea for preliminary hearing and issued notice to the Punjab government and DCs of Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur.

The petitioner averred that a memorial kept locked throughout the year amounted to an insult to the memory of the martyr and showed the callousness of the administration towards the martyr.

Arora also submitted that the administration was duty bound to ensure that memorials of Udham Singh were kept open so as to generate awareness about the supreme sacrifice made by the martyr. This would be in compliance with the ideals that led to incorporation of a chapter in the Constitution under the head ‘Fundamental Duties’ under Article 51-A thereof.

Petitioner seeks relief against false implication

A PIL seeking a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the construction at Mall Road in Ferozepore Cantonment, where sub-standard material was allegedly used, has landed petitioner Sanjeev Kumar Aggarwal in soup.

The persons behind the alleged scam are now threatening him with implication in false case ever since the notice for October 9 was issued by the high court.

This was averred by Sanjeev Kumar Aggarwal, whose plea came up for preliminary consideration today before the division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover.

Aggarwal has now approached the court for directing the district police chief, Ferozepore, to give seven days’ advance notice in case of registration of a criminal case against him so as to enable him to arrange legal assistance.

Further, the petitioner sought directions to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) or CBI to investigate the sub-standard material used in road construction as some of the respondents were threatening him to implicate in some false case for taking the matter to the high court.

The Bench has issued notices for November 6 to the union government and the defence ministry, cantonment board, Ferozepore Cantonment, through its chief executive officer and others.

Plea for custodial death compensation

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, today issued notice to the Punjab government and the officials concerned on a prayer of a widow from Tarn Taran district seeking compensation for the alleged custodial death of her son 17 years back.

The notice came in the wake of a communication received in March this year by the Chief Justice, who treated it is a PIL. As the application by Sampuran Kaur of Kacha-Pucka village in Patti Tehsil of Tarn Taran was listed as a PIL before the division bench.

According to the application, Sampuran Kaur’s two sons, Baldev Singh and Sukhdev Singh, had left home on December 7, 1990, to irrigate the fields. The same day Baldev Singh came rushing and told her that some policemen had stopped Sukhdev Singh and taken him to the police post.

Next day, Sampuran Kaur, alongwith some villagers, went to the police post to inquire about Sukhdev Singh but they were told that information about him could be taken from Bhikhiwind police station. But even at the said police station no one disclosed the whereabouts of her Sukhdev Singh . The application alleged that it was widely believed that Sukhdev Singh had died in police custody due to torture, hence the prayer for intervention and directions to authorities for award of appropriate compensation.

 

Govt preparing blueprint on agriculture package
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Killianwali (Muktsar), September 20
The Punjab government has started preparing a blueprint for a special agriculture package to be sought from the central government.

Different departments of the state government have been put on the job to work out their requirements for a comprehensive agriculture package to be sought from the Centre, said acting president of the SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal here today.

The package will include adequate funds for revamping the canal system, waiver of farmers’ loans, funds for new techniques to enhance production of foodgrains, funds for bringing 10 lakh acres under cultivation and adequate funds for stopping desertification of Punjab.

Badal, who laid the foundation stone of a series of power grid stations in Muktsar and Moga districts today, told reporters a high- level team of the Union Agriculture Ministry would be visiting Punjab in two weeks to assess to help farmers to overcome the crisis they faced.

He said the central team would also discuss prices of various foodgrains being contributed to the national pool by the state. He added Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had urged the union agriculture minister to fix Rs 1,300 as the minimum support price (MSP) for per quintal for wheat.

“How can we see the farmers of Punjab suffer discrimination from the central government. The central government has been importing wheat at Rs 1,600 per quintal and denying the same price to the farmers of Punjab. We will oppose this kind of discrimination ,” he said.

“We will fight for the cause,” he added.

Sukhbir Badal said the government had identified about 70 works for simplifying the procedure for their execution.

He said for example after every six months every landholder would get a copy of the official record in connection with the status of land owned by him.

Similarly, the vehicle registration task would be handed over to those who had been dealing in it.

To a question, he said the first unit of the stage-II of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant would be commissioned in October and the second unit in March 2008.

He added work on all three mega power projects, which were being set up in the private sector to add about 6,000 MW units of power, would start by March 31, 2008. 

 

Kisan mela gets under way
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Dr M. S. Kang inaugurated a kisan mela at Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Rauni today.

He said the Patiala district had set up an example in cultivation of horticultural crops and fruit processing. He pointed out that the nursery of disease-free chilli from the region was very popular in the state. Similarly, ‘ber’ of Horticultural Research Centre, Bahadurgarh and guava had gotten international recognition.

Delving upon the role of PAU in developing high-yielding varieties and latest production and protection technologies, the V-C emphasised the need to reorient agriculture with a special accent on conservation of natural resources. He said despite having a geographical area of only 1.53 per cent in the country, Punjab had been contributing 60 per cent of wheat and 40 per cent paddy to the central pool.

 

Handcuffing of undertrials
Inspector, SI suspended
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 20
Taking serious note of handcuffing of 74 undertrails by the police while taking them to Moonak today for producing them under Section 188 of the IPC in the court, the district police authorities today ordered the suspension of reserve inspector Nahar Singh and sub-inspector Surjit Singh, besides ordering disciplinary action against 30 policemen, who had handcuffed the activists of the Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan (DDVA) today.

Barring 10 women, the remaining 74 activists were handcuffed and taken to the district jail in three vehicles.

Gurdeep Singh Pannu, SP (Headquarters), told The Tribune that the two policemen had been suspended on the charge of handcuffing the undertrials despite the directions of the Supreme Court in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Moonak court today granted bail to all 84 activists on personal surety bonds of Rs 10,000 each. They were released in the evening.

Activists of the DDVA were arrested from Ghorrenav village (near Lehragaga) on September 9 while taking out a march.

 

2 killed as car collides with truck
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 20
Two residents of Kapurthala were killed and three others sustained injuries as their Indica car collided

with a truck on the mega highway late last evening. Sources said Daljit Singh of Randheerpura, Kapurthala, Dalip Singh, Baldev Singh and Mohan Singh had gone to Makrana to purchase marble. On their way back the mishap occurred, leading to the death of driver Rana and Mohan Singh on the spot. Some passer-by shifted all injured to a hospital.

A case under Sections 279 and 304, IPC, has been registered against the driver of the truck, a police official said today. 

 

Two sisters raped by 7
Tribune News Service

Gidderbaha, September 20
Two sisters were allegedly raped by seven persons in a house here during the night of September 18.

Police sources said the victims, dancers with a local cultural troupe, were rescued by people last morning when one of the suspects was trying to shift them to a new place.

The sources added that one of the suspects, Kashmiri Lal, had been arrested while four others had been identified as Gurpreet Singh, Rachpal Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Harjeet Singh. Identity of two suspects could not be established.

A case has been registered.

 

15 pc hike in enrolment at engineering colleges
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, September 20
The Punjab Technical University (PTU) has reported a 15 per cent increase in the number of students who have joined engineering colleges in the state.

The counselling for admission to various colleges affiliated to the PTU ended last month and the figures were released during the 29th meeting of the academic council held at the Shri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology here today.

This year the number of students who took admission in B.Tech 1st year in various branches is 8,229, while the number of such admissions last year was 7,184. Out of the total of about 10,000 seats in B.Tech offered by the university through counselling this year, less that 2,000 have gone vacant.

Admission to 33 per cent management seats in PTU colleges is still on and the final figures are likely to be released after October 31, which has been fixed as the last date of admissions.

Academic council members also approved the laying down of a common eligibility criteria for technical courses being offered through the regular mode and distance education mode. It was felt that a common eligibility criteria for lateral entry admission should also be followed in both the modes. Colleges have been asked to monitor the performance of newly recruited faculty for first six months and categorized accordingly thereafter. The teacher: student ratio of 1:15 must be maintained and the current status of the action taken by the colleges should be intimated to the university.

Members also approved a proposal regarding the increase in the number of seats in various courses being offered by the PTU Caparo School of Manufacturing and Material Technology that started functioning from this session. As many as 90 students have been admitted in the three programmes offered here in the first session.

The school has proposed to increase the intake from the present 30 to 60 in each discipline from the session 2008 -09. The university is likely to shift to its new campus on the Jalandhar - Kapurthala road in the first week of January 2008. About Rs 40 crore has been budgeted for utilization in the first phase of construction. 

 

GND varsity offices closed today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
All administrative branches and non-teaching departments of Guru Nanak Dev University will remain closed tomorrow in connection with the birthday of Baba Sri Chand. This has been stated in a notification issued here today by the registrar.

Meanwhile, the university will organise a seminar on “The Life and Times of Shaheed Bhagat Singh” on September 25 on the university premises here. The seminar is sponsored by the Punjab Government and will be organised by the Department of History. Former member of the Rajya Sabha Kuldip Nayyar will inaugurate it.

 

Property auction stayed
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 20
The local bodies department today stayed the auction of immovable property by the local municipal council. The auction was scheduled for today and the department pasted a notice to this effect in the municipal council complex.

Sources said BJP workers led by a former MLA, Dr Ram Kumar Goyal, had during a meeting with SAD working president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday had reportedly complained that the Congress-led council was facing an inquiry by the vigilance department for alleged misappropriations committed during the past four years. There had been no clarification on the use of Rs 65 lakh received for providing electricity connections to the citizens living below poverty line.

The council officials were silent over the special grant of Rs 36 lakh released by the former government for developing a stadium in the Azeemgarh locality under the slum area clearance scheme. The council faced the discontinuation of electricity supply for not paying Rs 70 lakh on account of monthly bills. The sale of pending immovable property would be injurious to public interests, the deputation had said.

The BJP workers said the council had earmarked only 5 per cent of the annual income for development projects, this meant that the funds collected by the auction of property were to be used only to pay salary to the staff.

Meanwhile, liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda had also challenged the auction of 25-acre municipal land in the disposal works area. The council owned 100 acres for the disposal of sewage water but had sold 75 acres in a phased manner to meet expenses during the last two decades. Doda in a petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court claimed that during the last auction he had offered to buy 25 acres for Rs 10 crore and deposited Rs 10 lakh as earnest money.

As the top bidder failed to deposit earnest money against his Rs 11 crore offer, Doda said he was entitled to get the land deed registered in his name but the council refused to follow the norms. 

 

Bank employees protest merger move
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
On a call given by the State Sector Bank Employees’ Association, employees of various banks staged a day-long dharna to protest the State Bank of India’s decision to merge these banks, today.

The association represents employees of State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Indore, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.

It has also been decided that employees of all associate banks and officers under the banner of AIBOA would observe a day-long strike on September 27 against the decision.

In a press release, N.K. Gaur, general secretary of the State Sector Bank Employees’ Association, said the proposed merger would lead to a loss of regional identity of these banks. He added that these banks had been serving particular regions and were aiding their economic development.

Gaur also opined that the merger would lead to monopoly and affect the competition, which could reflect on the customer services. 

 


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