P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Mobike rally marks martyr’s birth centenary
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, September 24
The youth should come forward to make society free of the drug menace and other evils so as to fulfil the dreams of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Nirmal Singh Kahlon, speaker, Punjab Assembly, stated this while flagging off the motor cycle rally led by Bikram Singh Majithia, information and public relations minister, from Jallianwala Bagh this morning to mark the birth centenary of Bhagat Singh.

Enthusiastic youth shouted patriotic slogans like “Inqilab Zindabad” soon after the torch was ignited from Amar Jyoti at the memorial. The torch was later handed over to the veteran sportsman Inderjit Singh Bajwa by Kahlon, Majithia and BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Kahlon said Bhagat Singh had sacrificed his life for the freedom for the country which would shine in the golden pages of the history of the nation. He urged the youth to follow the ideals and philosophy of the martyr.

Meanwhile, a 25-member cycle rally led by H.K. Maini and organised by Markfed, Chandigarh, reached Jallianwala Bagh today. The rally, which was flagged off on September 20, reached here after passing through Ropar, Nawanshahr, Phagwara, Jalandhar and Beas.

Ferozepur: The supreme sacrifice made by the hero of the Indian freedom struggle, Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, would continue to inspire the generations to come and motivate them to tread on the path of nationalism and brotherhood. This was stated by minister for public relations, science and technology, water supply and sanitation Bikramjit Singh Majithia while addressing hundreds of youths who had gathered at the National Martyrs Memorial, Hussainiwala, to pay homage to martyrs here today.

Majithia was accompanied by MP Navjot Sidhu, irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Sukhpal Singh, Sher Singh, both chief parliamentary secretaries, Hari Singh Zira, Raminder Singh Bularia besides hundreds of youths riding their bikes.

Earlier, Majithia and Sidhu, led around 400 youths riding motorbikes as part of a Naujawan Chetna March from Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to Hussaniwala. The youths were dressed in Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s attire.

The march was received at Harike by the district administration. The youths took oath to work towards maintaining communal harmony and solidarity among all citizens of the country.

Sidhu expressed hope that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would come to Amritsar on September 28 to participate in the birth centenary celebrations. Sekhon said the government had released Rs 40 lakh for the beautification and development of the martyr’s memorial at Hussainiwala.


Virk’s judicial custody extended
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 24
The sub-divisional judicial magistrate of SAS Nagar today extended the judicial custody of former DGP Punjab S.S. Virk till October 8.

Springing a surprise on Virk’s defence, the Vigilance moved an application today asking for a 45-day judicial remand for Virk. However, SDJM Lalit Singla who went to the PGI to dispose of the Vigilance application, ordered that Virk remain in judicial custody for another 14 days.

Virk’s judicial remand had ended today and was to be presented in the Sessions Court at Ropar where the Vigilance had moved the application earlier in the day. However, since a board of doctors at the PGI had declared Virk unfit to travel, sessions judge Rekha Mittal directed the SDJM SAS Nagar to visit Virk at the PGI and dispose of the application.

Virk’s counsel Charanjit Bakhshi was surprised when the Vigilance asked that Virk be sent to jail for 45 days, something which is unheard of in legal battles. “Why is the Vigilance being so kind?” he asked the judge who directed the question to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor had no reply and the judge decided the matter.

The judge was in the PGI for about 20 minutes during which mediapersons were not allowed to witness the proceedings.

Doctors attending to Virk said he was undergoing various tests at the hospital. Though Virk’s blood pressure is under control, he was experiencing giddiness due to the strong medicines that he was being given. Doctors are also concerned about the condition of his heart. “Thallium stress test was conducted on Virk a couple a days back, but Virk could not exert himself enough. The same test would be repeated,” said a doctor.

Virk has been in the PGI since September 10 when he was shifted from the Civil Hospital Mohali due to deteriorating health. Virk was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau Punjab on September 9 in a disproportionate assets case. Doctors had declared Virk unfit for questioning when he was in police custody for two days after his arrest. 

Case marked to Mohali magistrate

Ropar, September 24
The case of judicial remand for former Punjab DGP Sarabdeep Singh Virk has been marked to the Mohali police for disposal.

A battery of Virk’s lawyers appealed before the court of district and sessions judge Rekha Mittal that Virk cannot appear before court due to poor health. The court then marked the case to senior divisional judicial magistrate of Mohali Lalit Kumar Singla for further disposal.

Meanwhile, the court gave 14 days’ judicial remand to Congress leader Vijaypal Singh Dimpy. — TNS


Bhattal prepares for sustained political battle
Sarbjit Dhaliwal/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who has been appointed for the second time president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, today said she would fight a sustained political battle against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Earlier, she was president of the PPCC in late ’90s.

“Many Congress leaders have been booked in various cases by the Badal government. Badal is playing politics of political vendetta since 1978 when he first time started targeting the Congress leaders,” she said. “I am against such politics and would fight against it to protect Congress activists from the onslaught of the Badal government,” she added.

Bhattal, who is also a leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, said, "My first task is to activate the party at all levels with the cooperation of all senior leaders." Soon, I would call on former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. " He is elder to me and a respectable leader," she said.

Party workers in the rural and urban areas would be mobilised against the SAD-BJP government that had been targeting them, she said. In six-month's time this government had become unpopular.

Sources close to her said she would continue as leader of the opposition in the state assembly.

Meanwhile, outgoing president of the PPCC, Shamsher Singh Dullo, has welcomed the appointment of Bhattal in his place. "She is a seasoned Congress leader who understands the Congress culture and policies well," said Dullo.


EMAAR MGF project under a cloud
Cancellation of plot allotments sought
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Legal clouds are hovering over EMAAR MGF’s much-touted Mohali Hills Project with a Delhi-based lawyer Samarth Raj Mehta moving the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking the quashing of all allotments made by the company with regard to Sectors 105, 108 and 109 of the project.

The petitioner has further sought a probe by an independent agency into the alleged illegal acts and omissions by Punjab (through its chief secretary) and PUDA in granting exemption to the company under Section 44 (2) of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA)-1995.

Mehta asserted that foreign private companies in particular and private companies in general were not entitled for the aforesaid exemption and the same granted to EMAAR MGF was ultra vires, invalid and unconstitutional.

The petitioner had also averred that allotments made to him and others in Sectors 108 and 109 amounted to “pre-launch” as the company, on September 9, 2006, was neither having a licence nor exemption and thus violated Sections 5 and 6 of the PAPRA.

Since, this amounted to criminal breach of trust, the promoters of the company were liable to be punished under Sections 36 and 37 of the PAPRA, Mehta averred. The petitioner further said though he and the co-petitioner, Ajay Bakshi, a Chandigarh resident, had booked plots in Sector 105, the company alloted them plots in Sector 109.

The petitioner also highlighted that PUDA had invited evidence from investors for the alleged illegality committed by the company for enhancing plot rate from Rs 10,000 to Rs 11,500 per sq yard.

Importantly, the company had issued notice intending to cancel allotment to the petitioners (Mehta and Bakshi) if some dues were not paid, Mehta told The Tribune. However, the operation of the said notice was stayed today by the high court meaning there would be no cancellation of allotment of plots to the petitioners till the next date of hearing on January 17.

Meanwhile, the company in its detailed reply to the petitioner’s submissions, refuted the averments by Mehta. The company’s counsel, Pavit Mattewal, submitted in the reply that the petition was misconceived and not maintainable as it had been filed under Article 226, which was a public law remedy and could be invoked against the state only.

Importantly, the company’s counsel stated in the reply that a bare perusal of the Section 44 of the PAPRA showed that the state government was authorised to exempt a person or area from all or any of the provisions of the Act, subject to terms and conditions, it might impose. So, there was no illegality in granting exemption to IMAAR MGF.

The exemptions granted to the company, vide notifications dated August 11, 2006, and December 22, 2006, were perfectly valid and the challenge thereof by the petitioners (Mehta and Bakshi) was mala fide and for collateral purposes.

Moreover, the allegations in the petition, even if taken on face value, brought out a case of an alleged violation of contract for agreement, the remedy for which was a civil suit, submitted Mattewal in the reply.

Mattewal also submitted that the petitioners were even given the option to apply for a change in the location of plots if they were not satisfied with the allotment, however, they refused to do the same.


Website on Encyclopaedia of Sikhism launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism will now be available on Punjabi University’s website. It will also be available in a compact disc format.

The Punjab Governor and chancellor of Punjabi University, S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today launched Punjabi University"s website (www.advancedcentrepunjabi.org/eos) on the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism and also its CD at Punjab Raj Bhavan, here today.

Containing reliable information and knowledge of Sikh religion and culture, philosophy and history, this encyclopaedia can also be accessed on the website: www.punjabiuniversity.ac.in <http://www.punjabiuniversity.ac.in>.

Addressing the gathering of educationists, academics and intellectuals on the occasion, General Rodrigues called upon them to restructure and reorient education system, so as to encourage the youth to achieve academic brilliance.

It is the collective responsibility to provide the students the opportunities to develop qualities of debate and to demonstrate their ability and determination for the evolution of new ideas, and achieving the realisation of their dreams.

Emphasising the need for serious introspection and to know where we have gone wrong, General Rodrigues said, "We are a 5000- year-old civilisation with universities like Taxila and Nalanda and we must make serious and sustained efforts to revive those glorious traditions of education."

He referred to Lord Maculay’s speech in February, 1835 in British Parliament indicating the need to change the system of our education, suiting the needs of British Raj.

He said he had already asked the vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, to carry out a study to make our children more complete, with the qualities of head and heart.

S.S. Boparai, vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, said this Encyclopaedia of Sikhism was the highest manifestation of society’s thought and intellectuals' research work.

He said keeping in view the growing demand of authentic literature on Sikh religion and history in English, Punjabi University resolved to prepare the Encyclopaedia of Sikh religion and the job was entrusted to Prof Harbans Singh, known for his authority on the subject. 


Job Scheme Fund Fraud
Sarpanch comes under cloud
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 24
Misappropriation of funds of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) at Shahpur village in Hoshiarpur district has come to light, with the sarpanch coming under a cloud.

According to information, the office of the additional deputy commissioner (ADC) had received the amount under the NREGA scheme of the Rural Development Ministry. The amount was sent to the panchayat of Shahpur in Dasuya block to carry out development activities in the village by providing 100 days’ guaranteed employment to all unemployed villagers.

Former sarpanch of the village Kuldip Singh, who is the circle president of SAD (B) along with many other villages today appeared before the deputy commissioner here and alleged that their sarpanch had kept the job cards provided under scheme with him.

The sarpanch allegedly had shown excess number of working days of the wage earners in the muster rolls whereas the actual working days had been shown less in the job cards.

For example, the job card no. 18 of Lakhwinder Singh shows that he worked for 27 days in the muster roll whereas he worked for only five days, according to his job card. Similarly, job card no. 5 of Mangat Ram, no. 23 of Bakshi Ram and no. 26 of Amandeep, respectively, show an excess of 24, 24 and 27 days, respectively, in the muster roll.

There were many more cases of this type, they alleged before the deputy commissioner.

A job card (No. 220 of a dead person, Munshi Ram, too has allegedly been prepared and his name is also figured in the muster roll.

They further alleged that the renovation of a village pond had been shown in the papers, but nothing had been done on the spot.

The inhabitants had brought the alleged misappropriation of funds to the notice of block development and panchayat officer of Dasuya along with their affidavits in this regard. But the officer did not take any action against the sarpanch, they said.

They produced carbon copies of the job card of deceased Munshi Ram along with the muster roll. The inspecting authority had also given similar remarks as alleged by the villagers in the verification process report for works taken up by the panchayat.

Deputy commissioner D. K. Tiwari has deputed the district development and panchayat officer to probe into the matter.


Cong selections hailed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 24
Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, secretary, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC), while hailing the appointmnet of Rajinder Kaur Bhattal as president of the PPCC, said that she would infuse a new life in the party’s rank and file.

Talking to media persons here, he said Bhattal had been maintaining contact with workers at the grassroot level.

He said the appointment would benefit the party in the Lok Sabha elections.

Nabha, September 24
Kaka Randip Singh, MLA of Nabha, today said the appointment of Rahul Gandhi as general secretary of the All-India Congress Committee and in charge of the Youth Congress and NSUI and key portfolios going to youth leaders like Jatin Prasad, Sachin Pilot and Scindia was a welcome step and this would imbibe a new lease of life in the party.

He also welcomed the appointment of Rajinder Kaur Bhattal as PPCC president.—OC


Cong pleases all segments
Ajay Banerjee /Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Congress party has played a deft stroke in Punjab. It has tried to please all possible segments in appointing its new team in the state and could have possibly ended the bitterness that had been the bane of the Shamsher Singh Dullo-Janardhan Dwivedi era in the past two years.

While Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a Jat Sikh from the Malwa region, has been made the chief of the Punjab Congress, Mohinder Singh Kaypee, a Scheduled Caste from the Doaba region, is the new working president. Margaret Alva, a Christian and a known loyalist of Sonia Gandhi, replaces Janardhan Dwivedi as party’s central in charge.

With this combination emerging it remains to be seen who is made the leader of the Congress legislature party? Could it be an MLA who is an urban-based Hindu or will Bhattal continue to be CLP leader along with her new assignment. Sources said Brahm Mohindra was a front-runner to be the CLP leader while another young Hindu leader could make the working president, hence having two persons on the same post.

Notably, Bhattal beat two other contenders to the post - Jagmeet Brar and Pratap Singh Bajwa. Having been a former Chief Minister, a woman and a Jat Sikh, titled the scales in her favour, said sources within the Congress. Since the time the names of Bajwa and Brar were finalised, there had been considerable string-pulling by the rivals of these two to cut them down. Bhattal emerged as the winner as the party once again chose to ignore Amarinder Singh.

If Shamsher Singh Dullo, an SC was removed today, the soft-spoken Kaypeee, will make up for representing the community. Kaypee has been a minister and is considered a “serious-kind-off” leader who does not speak out of turn. In the past two years or so Dullo and Dwivedi have collectively been at daggers drawn with Amarinder Singh. At times the statements of the three displayed a lack of cohesion and even harmed the party more.

Amarinder had even complained about Dwivedi while Dullo in the past few months even went public saying the good showing of the Congress was due to the “dera”. He had not named the dera but the hint was clear that he was referring to the Dera Sacha Sauda.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Rajpal Singh has welcomed the appointments. Monty Sehgal, general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress, has welcomed the appointment of Rahul Gandhi as national chief of the Youth Congress and also Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s appointment. 


Amarinder congratulates Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 24
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has congratulated Rajinder Kaur Bhattal for her appointment as president of the PPCC.

Talking to The Tribune, the former Chief Minister, who was himself a hot contender for the post, said he would extend all support to Bhattal, taking the party forward in the state.

When asked if he was also interested in the post he said he was the PPCC president for four years and had no intention of getting back at the post.

He also welcomed the appointment of Margaret Alva as the in charge of Punjab affairs. Her appointment would infuse a new energy in the party, he said. His loyalists were expecting him to be rehabilitated in the central leadership.


Manmohan may miss function
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, September 24
Although the Punjab government and district administration are maintaining a stoic silence over the visit of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to kickstart the year-long Shaheed Bhagat Singh birth centenary celebrations commencing from the holy city on September 28, reliable sources say that the advanced SPG team has not yet given any signal of the impending visit of the Prime Minister.

The official grapevine indicates that the either vice-president Hamid Ansari or minister for human resource development Arjun Singh are likely to preside over the function and address the public rally.


Manns draw crowds at Baba Farid Mela
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 24
The five-day 22nd Baba Sheikh Farid Aagman Purb Mela, organised by the district administration and Gurdwara Godri Sahib Farid Society in this town, concluded here late last night.

The spectacular fireworks and fine performances by Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann and comedian Bhagwant Mann marked the concluding ceremony of the mela.

The mela attracted a sea of humanity to the local stadium where both Manns performed for hours.

The mela is organised every year in this town in memory of the visit of Sufi saint Hazrat Baba Sheikh Farid to this town in the 13th century while he was on his way to Pakpattan (Pakistan) from Delhi. Baba Farid penanced for 40 days near the local fort before leaving for Pakpattan. That place is known as Chilla Baba Farid.

The police faced a tough time controlling the crowds in and around the stadium. People living in the surrounding localities of the stadium remained on their rooftops till Gurdas Mann was singing on the stage.

Songs like ‘Tere Ishq Da Gidra Penda”, “Challa”, “Babe Bhagra Paunde Ne” and “Ghagre Ve Gaye Phulkaria Ve Gayiea” made the spectators dance though the police deployed used mild force to make them sit on their seats.

Mann also sang songs conveying the message against female foeticide and drug addiction.

V. K. Meena, deputy commissioner, said it was for the first time that the concluding ceremony of this historical mela was held at night. He said the mela went off peacefully.

He added that during the five days of the mela, rural sports held at Nehru Stadium attracted big crowds. People, who came far away places, enjoyed the hockey, basketball, volleyball and other sports championships.

Sukhbir Badal, acting president of SAD (B) and MP, who presided over the concluding function, honoured Gurdas and Bhagwant with a plaque and 
a shawl.

Kiran Bedi, renowned woman police officer of the country, was given the Baba Farid Award for Honesty by the Gurdwara Godri Sahib Farid Society headed by Inder Jit Singh Khalsa.


Villagers hold protest against cops
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 24
Hundreds of villagers, including women, led by former Congress MLA Parkash Singh Bhatti, held a demonstration outside the police post at Arniwala village last evening to express resentment over harassment by cops allegedly at the behest of some SAD workers who wanted to settle old scores.

Bhatti said the Punjab police should be renamed “Puppet Police” as it was following the dictates of the SAD regime.

The Chief Minister had promised that women would be given due respect if the SAD-BJP alliance came to power in Punjab, but media reports indicated there was a spurt in attempts to outrage modesty of women all over the state. Atrocities in the Balluana Assembly segments were crossing all limits.

Quoting a specific incident, Dalit woman Raj Kaur of Mulianwali village said she was humiliated and beaten up by some SAD activists in public view on Thursday. The activists were unhappy as her family had refused to part with the Congress camp during the Assembly elections.

She lodged a complaint with the police at Arniwala post, but the cops, allegedly under political pressure, rounded up her husband Balwant Singh and thrashed him in the presence of some villagers. And on Saturday, Balwant Singh was booked along with four other friends under different sections of the IPC, she rued.

The protesters demanded the cancellation of the FIR against Balwant Singh and others, besides action against the persons who had humiliated Raj Kaur. They warned of strong protest if such acts were repeated.

The police, however, said Dalit families were trying to give the dispute a political colour.

Meanwhile, a married woman from Himmatpura village alleged that her neighbour tried to molest her on Saturday when she was alone in the house. The accused was exerting pressure on her to withdraw her complaint from the Sadar police station in which she had alleged that he had made a bid to outrage her modesty.

As the police had not rounded him up, he dared to molest her again, the woman alleged. The person named in the complaint had fled as some other neighbours responded to her call for help.


Drug addiction drive shows results
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 24
The drive against drugs launched at Behman Diwana village in this district to make it a drug addiction-free area by DIG, Faridkot Range, Jatinder Jain has started showing desirable results as in the past two months about 110 residents have benefited from it.

In a press note here today, Baljit Singh, public relations officer (PRO) of the drug abuse committee, said its seven residents had shunned drugs completely. Those residents who were hard-core addicts and had now shunned the consumption of intoxicants were identified as Harnek Singh, Jagtar Singh, Darshan Singh, Gurjant Singh, Dev Lal and Sukhdev Singh.

He added that two addicts out of the seven were spending Rs 9,000 and Rs 18,000, respectively, per month for arranging different kinds of intoxicants for taking a kick. He said one of the drug addicts, Gurjant Singh, had even got himself baptised after leaving the world of addiction.

He disclosed that youth clubs, doctors and other social activities had been involved in this campaign. The youth clubs had been provided with sports kits so that youths, who had been hooked to drugs, could by initiated into the field of sports after de-addicting them.

He said a mega sports event for drug addicts would be organised in the village shortly.


Chaotic illegal autos rule Pathankot roads
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 24
Throwing norms to the wind, scores of unauthorised autorickshaws are ruling the roads of the hometown of Punjab transport minister Master Mohan Lal Sharma, courtesy the Transport Department, the local administration and the civic body that have turned a blind eye to the traffic violations.

Not only the internal roads of the city but also the Jalandhar-Jammu, Pathankot-Amritsar and Pathankot-Nurpur highways are being ruled by the unruly owners of autorickshaws, mini buses and other vehicles. The unbridled vehicles have virtually left roads full of chaos.

A survey by The Tribune revealed that against 80 registered autorickshaws with the local civic body, over 4,500 autorickshaws are plying in the city. A majority of them do not have any registration number.

Moreover, the autorickshaws are being operated by underaged boys without driving licences and documents of the vehicles. Certain vehicles have completed their lifespan but are still on the road, endangering lives.

Worst is that these vehicles are causing air pollution and the number of accidents has witnessed an alarming increase in the past.

In the absence of any permanent route and separate stoppages, the autos have been adding to the road congestion. Their drivers are seen arguing with each other for passengers. Tiffs among auto-riders and other motorists are common.

Private and mini-buses are plying on internal roads despite restrictions imposed by the Pathankot SDM.

The mismanagement of traffic has virtually thrown normal life out of gear in the city, said Ashok Kumar Sharma, former Congress MLA of Pathankot.

He said the municipal council and police should regulate the traffic.

The SP Harpreet Singh said he would shortly call a meeting of the local authorities to sort the problem. District transport officer (DTO) PS Padda, however, said the local police had been authorised to challan the violators. 


Victory bowls over Ludhiana
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
An India-Pakistan cricket match is a rare spectacle. And the title clash between the two archrivals of the sub-continent is the rarest of the rare occasions. When India defeated Pakistan at the summit encounter, the celebrations were expectedly beyond any comparison. No wonder more crackers were burst today than on any Diwali.

And till the filing of this report the crackers kept on bursting, setting the sky literally on fire here.

There was no end to the beating of drums (the dhols). The marriage ceremonies got delayed for a while as the drummers were away playing the drum for revelers celebrating the historic win of the country over Pakistan.

The roads and markets, which remained deserted till 9 pm, when the match finished were instantly full of hustle and bustle, full of gaiety and fervour.

The match was not without surprises. Right till the end, there was too much of uncertainty and nobody was sure who would win at the end of the day.

Celebrations continued till late in the night with crackers bursting and sweet sellers having a hey day, nay the night, selling sweets to the fans and revelers.

After all-India had won the world cup defeating the archrivals Pakistan in a sensational finish. All is well that ends well.


Informers of selective foeticide to get Rs 5,000
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 24
Laxmi Kanta Chawla Punjab health and family welfare minister, presiding over a meeting of the State Supervisory Board today, announced informers of sex-determination and sex-selective foeticide in Punjab would be awarded Rs 5,000 in cash by the Health Department.

She said Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) cells at the state headquarters would be strengthened for monitoring and enforcement of the PNDT Act in the state. The ultrasonologists indulging in sex-determination tests secretly would not be spared and influences would not be succumbed to.

She added region wise representation had been accorded in the reconstituted State Supervisory Board for uniform implementation of the Act in the state.

Members of the board pointed out since a number of cases were pending in courts, a mechanism should be evolved to set up fast- track courts in the state. They suggested more inter-district and state-level inspections to avoid local influences.

Vijay Kain principal secretary health and family welfare, Punjab apprised the board members 97 FIRs had been registered in the state for violation of the Act and suspension/ cancellation of 257 centres undertaken till date.

Dr V.K. Goyal state nodal officer PC and PNDT Act talked about sex ratio in the state and apprised the members low middle class families, had the lowest child sex ratio, not only in Punjab but across the country. He disclosed per SRS data, child sex ratio had started improving in Punjab had increased to 818 in 2005. 


High Court
Arrest stayed in Katara case

Chandigarh, September 24
The high court today stayed the arrest of petitioner, Joginder Singh, who is an accused in a case of cheating and illegal immigration involving former BJP MP Babu Bhai Khaima Katara, and issued notice to the respondents.

Joginder Singh, a resident of Sikri village in Kapurthala district, averred that he was falsely implicated in the case at the behest of one Charanjeet Kaur whose daughter-in-law was arrested along with Katara from Indira Gandhi International Airport before leaving for Toronto in April early this year.

A case was registered against the petitioner for cheating and other sections of IPC April 19 at Bholath police station.


High Court
Amarinder’s plea hearing adjourned

Chandigarh, September 24
The high court today adjourned the hearing on the blanket bail petition of former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to September 27.

The former CM had filed the petition seeking pre-arrest bail or a 10-day prior notice if he was to be arrested, in any case registered or to be registered against him by the Punjab Police, Vigilance Bureau or any other agency of the Punjab Government.

Meanwhile, Singh today moved another application in connection with his earlier plea of seeking permission to visit Dubai and UK.

He had mentioned that following the advice of doctor in the UK, he planned to go abroad between September 26 to October 12. 


Paddy procurement from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Union Government has decided to allow procurement of paddy in Punjab and Haryana from September 26. Official sources said the file in this connection had been cleared by the Union Government.

Official intimation from the Union Government in this regard is likely to reach here tomorrow. The Punjab Food and Supplies Department, which has made all arrangments with regard to the procurement of paddy, is awaiting the order from the Centre, it is learnt.

Otherwise, the official procurement of paddy is to begin on October 1. Earlier, the Badal government had urged the Union Government to advance the procurement date by a few days because paddy had already started arriving in Amritsar, Ferozepore, Tarn Taran and certain other arreas.


Farmers start chain fast
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 24
Ten members of the Punjab Kisan Sabha (Sambar) today started a four-day chain fast outside the district administrative complex here in support of demands of the farmers. The demands include MSP of paddy at Rs 850 per quintal, wheat Rs 1,200 per quintal, and waiver of all loans of farmers and agriculture workers.

State general secretary of the sabha Bhupinder Sambar accused the central government of not implementing the recommendations of the Agriculture Price and Cost Commission on the MSPs of various crops.

The commission had recommended to the government to give the MSPs equal to one and half times more of the cost of crops.

Sambar also demanded a high-level judicial probe into the import of foodgrain, like wheat, alleging that there was a big scandal behind the import 
of foodgrain.


Kin, who attended funeral, turn out to be killers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 24
In an interesting case, three family members who attended the funeral of Manjit Kaur, who was allegedly murdered last night along with Jagtar Singh in Chak Bakhtu village of this district, turned out to be the alleged murderers of the two.

The family members identified as Gurmel Singh Geli, Lakhwinder Singh and Nachhattar Singh helped the police in trace the crime wept copiously over the death of Manjit Kaur in front of the policemen to conceal their crime by hoodwinking the special investigation team (SIT), head by Sukhdev Singh Chahal, SP (D).

Gurmel Singh Geli is the son of Manjit Kaur. He reached the site of the crime after a police party reached there. But before that, he concealed all weapons allegedly used in the crime.

However, the investigations carried out with scientific methods enabled the SIT to trace the crime within 24 hours of its happening.

All three accused have been arrested and they have confessed their crime.

Nau Nihal Singh Aulakh, SSP, while talking to mediapersons here today, said after getting information in connection with the murders of Jagtar Singh and Manjit Kaur in Chak Bakhtu village of this district, he along with other senior police officials rushed to the spot yesterday.

He said preliminary investigations revealed that Jagtar Singh and Manjit Kaur had not been murdered with the motive of looting them as the valuable their belongings were intact.

He said the SIT constituted by him managed to find a clue and developing on that clue, the three accused were arrested. A case, was registered in this connection in Nathana police station.

He said Gurmel Singh Geli confessed that he along with other accused had killed Jagtar Singh and Manjit Kaur as both were having illicit relations. Gurmel Singh also pointed out that Manjit Kaur was also having illicit relations with a milk vendor and they had planned to eliminate him also.

The wife of Jagtar Singh had died about 12 years ago while husband of Manjit Kaur had died 14 years ago. Jagtar Singh had one son and one daughter while Manjit Kaur had two married and one unmarried sons and one married daughter.

Aulakh said that Gurmel Singh had confessed that he along with Lakhwinder Singh, son of his mother’s sister, and his uncle Nachhattar Singh, used a gandasa, sword, musla and ghop for committing the crime.


Students denied chance

Bathinda, September 24
Resentment prevails among a section of students of various diploma courses for they were not being allowed to take special examinations as reappear candidates by the Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training.

In a press note, the students said though the board had accepted their examination forms for taking special examinations as reappear candidates in three subjects of third-sixth semester, it had now refused to allow them to appear for these papers. — TNS


Body seeks merger of insurance cos.
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 24
The All-India Insurance Employees’ Association (AIIEA), which includes the members of four insurance companies, here today launched a campaign, seeking merger of four public sector general insurance companies into a single corporation.

Secretary of the association J. Gurumurthy, while addressing a special general body meeting of the members from public sector insurance companies, condemned the apathy of the central government towards the genuine demands of the employees for merger of the four companies into a single entity. He said after the advent of the private companies in the non-life business in 2000, the public sector companies had performed well in the competitive environment.

Lashing out at the government for framing the rules heavily in favour of the private sector, Gurumurthy said private sector’s indulgences in unethical practices, refusal to underwrite socially necessary but unprofitable businesses were simply ignored. While in the process, the public sector was burdened with all loss-making businesses as a part of its social obligation.

He warned that if the government failed to meet the demands of these four public sector companies, they would be forced to launch an agitation against the government.

They would decide the next course of action during the national conference of the body at Kanpur in UP from December 8 to 12.


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