P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Sukhbir’s Absence
Court asks govt to reply in 24 hours
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 24
The local court today directed the state government to reply within 24 hours in which capacity and how Sukhbir Singh Badal, acting president, Shiromani Akali Dal, left the country when he was facing charges of assaulting a photographer of a Punjabi daily.

Badal was supposed to appear in the court of CJM Dilbagh Singh Johal. However, his counsel said he could not attend the court as he was in Dubai.

It is the fourth time that Sukhbir has failed to appear before the court.

Ajay Verma, photographer of Desh Sewak, was present in the court to record his statement. The court asked him to appear on November 2.

Sukhbir’s counsel appealed that his personal appearance be exempted in view of his busy schedule. However, the court drew attention to written undertaking given by Sukhbir that he would not leave the country without informing it. Upon this,the counsel presented the permission extended by the Ropar court but the CJM said it pertained to a separate case.

Ajay Verma had registered a case against Sukhbir Badal for assaulting him when he was clicking a picture of a damaged vehicle on September 5, 1999 in Kotkapura during the elections.


Poor Bus Service
Protesting students lathi-charged
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 24
Protesting against the alleged poor bus service, students of Guru Gobind Singh Polytechnic College of Talwandi Sabo today closed the entry and exit points of the Bathinda bus stand. To disperse the protesters, the police resorted to a mild lathi charge.

The protesters locked the gates for about an hour. The ASP, Harsh Kumar Bansal, along with a police team and commandos, reached the spot to persuade the students to lift the agitation. Failing in its attempt, the police used mild lathi-charge to bring the situation under control.

The students said the authorities had not been paying attention to their demand for a proper bus service to Talwandi Sabo. They said due to this they had to miss classes, leading to attendance shortage.

Satnam Singh, a student of third semester in electric engineering at the college, said, “We all have passes, but government buses usually do not run on time and the private bus conductors do not entertain our passes.”

A senior official of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation said, “The students themselves miss the buses as they keep waiting for their friends. We will try to run our buses on time.”


‘My mother married me 4 times for money’
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 24
A strange case came up before the police here today.

A 20-year-old girl, Pinky, who has been married as many as four times, approached SSP Naunihal Singh, accusing her mother, brother, husband and brother-in-law for her miserable condition and alleged that they used to physically torture her.

Pinky, resident of Khemu Ana village in the district, was taken to Bathinda Civil Hospital by workers of an NGO, who found her in a bus with her head bleeding, on Monday.

Pinky told The Tribune, “I have been married four times to four different persons. My mother used me as a source of income and did this for money.”

“This time also (after the fourth marriage), my mother forced me to leave my husband and claim Rs 1 lakh as compensation at the time of divorce. I refused to do so. Furious at this, she then misled my in-laws. Swayed by her opinion, my husband asked me to leave home. My three-year-old daughter is also with him,” she added.

“I was 11 years old when I was married to Raju. Some time later, he left me. At 13, I was married to Bhagwan Singh of Peelgarh, who was already married. My mother brought me back as he did not want me to bear any child. Then at the age of 15, I was married to Jeeta Singh, who was arrested in a drug-related case. A year later, I was married to Kaka Singh of Kothe Guru Ke village.”

The girl threatened to commit suicide if she failed to get justice. The SSP has marked the inquiry to the DSP (D).

However, her mother accused her of being away from the house for about a fortnight. She said her daughter had been doing this frequently. “We will not take her back,” she said.

The DSP (D), Surinder Pal Singh, said, “We have recorded the statement of the father and the mother of the girl. Proper action will be take against the guilty.”


PSHRC seeks report on land-grab case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 24
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has asked the ADGP/IVC to submit a report before December 12 on the activities of alleged land grabbers led by a Canada-based NRI in this subdivision.

Justice R.L. Anand, acting chairperson, and R.C. Rajput, member of the commission, observed that on examining the allegations made in the complaint filed by Dr Krishan Kumar Miglani, a resident of Radhaswami Colony here, a prima facie case is made out for proceeding under Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1933 and ordered its registration as a case.

A copy of the orders passed by the bench was received here today. Copies of the order along with complaint have been sent to the principal secretary (home) also for compliance.

Dr Miglani had alleged that on August 25, 2007 some land grabbers along with armed persons headed by an NRI again broke the locks of the main gate of his farmhouse and tried to illegally enter and grab the land in respect of which a case had already been registered against him (on April 14, 2005).

Earlier, these persons had allegedly committed the same offence in September 2004. They were being helped by a former IGP who was now serving the BSF, Dr Miglani alleged.

Meanwhile, Dr Miglani’s daughter-in-law Dimple Miglani, general secretary, Land Grabbing Victims Association, reacting to the directive issued by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for not calling women to record statements, today regretted that the police here did not care for the directive.

Urging the CM to fix his next sangat darshan here at the earliest, the association offered to present a detailed account of how officials of the Revenue Department and police had allegedly been helping the land mafia in this region for past six-seven years.

While naming a Canada-based NRI, having agricultural farms at Kala Tibba village in this area, Miglani lamented that the police and civil administration had been a mute spectator to nefarious activities of the mafia. 


Group rivalry leads to firing, 5 hurt
Tribune News Service

Kothe Natha Singh Wala (Bathinda), October 24
The Nahian Wala police has booked 11 persons, including seven unidentified persons, for their involvement in a firing incident, which took place at Kothe Natha Singh Wala village in the district today. Five persons were injured in the incident which took place after an altercation.

Sources in the village cited an old feud as the reason for the firing. The accused reportedly fled the scene.

According to sources, last night a brawl took place between one of the injured and some persons belonging to another group over a rivalry between the two groups.

While three injured-- Deepak Kumar, his grandfather Hakam Singh and a resident of the village, Major Singh-- were rushed to Bathinda Civil Hospital, Pardeep Kumar and Sukhraj Singh were admitted to Goniana Civil Hospital.

Charanjit Singh, father of Deepak, who was injured in the incident, said, “The incident took place around 10 am. Earlier, a jeep with seven or eight persons came to our field where we were installing a motor pump. But finding themselves outnumbered, they went back.’’

He alleged Baltej Singh, Dilewar Singh and Gurmel Singh came in a white Zen car, with .12 bore rifle, swords and lathis, after some time. Three others, including Gurmel Singh, followed them in a red tractor.

“They first tried to run over Hakam Singh with the tractor. Then one of the accused fired at us in which four of my family members were injured. Deepak pushed aside his grandfather to protect him, but in vain. Then they fired one more bullet which hit Major Singh, an onlooker,” Charanjit added.

The of SHO Nahian Wala police station Boota Singh said, “A case has been registered against Gurmel Singh, his brother Dilewar Singh, Daljit Singh, Baltej Singh and seven unidentified persons under Sections 307, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act. No arrests have been made so far.”


Youths emerging as big dairy farmers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Harchand Singh is an ordinary looking youth. From his appearance no one can say that he will be the owner of one of the biggest dairy farms in the state. Besides, he also runs a piggery as well as a fish farm.

His story is quite interesting. Six years ago, he was, like several lakh other youths, groping in the dark to secure his future. He had the will to do but was not finding the way to do the same. Though his family owned a sizeable piece of land in Garanga village, near Morinda, 30 km from here, Harchand’s desire was to move ahead of agriculture.

After passing matric, he got training of conducting artificial insemination. For two years, he performed artificial insemination. Luck smiled on him when a farmer gave him some barren heifer cows. He did experiments on such cows and also took opinion of experts. He made most of the barren cows breed. That laid the foundation of his success story. Now he owns 160 cows of best breed. He has won prizes for breeding best cows.

Besides a dairy farm, he has now also started the piggery and fish farming. He prepares his own cattle feed and daily supplies 800 kg milk to Milkfed and also sells some quantity in the open market. He has taken a loan of Rs 27 lakh and has a bank limit worth Rs 10 lakh. “Without defaulting I am paying the loan installments and also saving some money. I am also making some savings from piggery. However, he has not generated income from the fish farm yet,” he says.

V.K. Singh, Managing Director of the Milkfed, says that is the only way to improve the economy of the state. “Punjabi youth have desire to succeed and they only need motivation to achieve it,” he adds. “I have a target to set up 250 dairy farms in next one year in the state,” he adds.

Harchand Singh is not alone to achieve such success. There is Harinder Singh in Shahpur village near Morinda. He has set up one of the most modern dairy farms and owns more than 150 cows of best breed. One of his cow gives 47 litres of milk. After doing graduation, he set up the dairy farm three years ago. He secured a Rs 46-lakh loan from the bank. He is not only returning the loan installment but also making enough money to further expand his farm.

Karnail Singh is another farmer of Marauli village near Morinda, who has achieved tremendous success in dairy farming. Though he is an old hand in this trade yet he is maintaining one of the best dairy farms in this part of the country. 


BJP releases executive members’ list

Chandigarh, October 24
Gurdaspur MP Vinod Khanna will be a special invitee to the Punjab BJP executive committee while MP Navjot Singh Sidhu along with Harjit Singh Grewal will be a permanent invitee, as per a list of the executive committee members of the BJP released today.

Others leaders included are Balramji Dass Tandon, Madan Mohan Mittal and Brij Lal Rinwa. MP from Hoshiarpur Avinash Rai Khanna and all five BJP ministers in the Punjab cabinet -- Manoranjan Kalia, Tikshan Sood, Master Mohan Lal, Laxmi Kanta Chawla and Swarna Ram - are also on the list and so is Daya Singh Sodhi, a former MP from Amritsar. Representing chief parliamentary secretaries will be Arunesh Shakar, with others in the 32-member list are Bhagat Chuni Lal, Sita Ram Kashyap, Gurcharan Kaur, Narrotam Dev Ratti, Shakti Sharma, Satpal Mahajan, Ashok Juneja, Trishna Minhas, Lachhman Dass Sewak, Satwant Singh Punia, Subhash Verma, Saroj Malhotra, Harender Singh Sidhu, Gurinderpal Kaur Mangat, Mohan Lal Sethi, D P Chandan, Tarsem Mittal, Hans Raj Sood, Sukhdev Singh Pharwai, Lekh Raj Parwana and Mulak Raj Lalka. — TNS


Not against free power to farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Rajinder Bhandari, today said the party was not opposing free power to agriculture sector but was very clear in its stance that it was seeking subsidy for urban users in view of the recently hiked power tariff.

Statements have been originating from various organisations that are trying to project as if the BJP was opposing free power to farmers. “We are categorically in favour of free power to farmers and the party had said the same in its manifesto. Our stance is that all users have to be treated equally and no hike in power tariff should be imposed on anybody,” said Bhandari while adding that the BJP had never even demanded that power subsidy to farm sector should be finished.

The party is just saying that all users should be treated equally and a subsidy should be also be given to urban users to tide over the recent hike.

It may be mentioned here that the BJP has raised the matter of giving Rs 291 crore of subsidy to ensure that the hike in power tariff is not passed on to urban users. 


Probe into cases against Cong men sought
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 24
Condemning the recent spurt in alleged false cases being registered against Congress workers in the Fatehgarh Churian constituency under Batala police district, Congress leaders today sought a judicial probe in the FIRs registered against Congress workers.

Senior Congress leaders Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Sawinder Singh Kathunagal in a statement to the press said that they would meet union home minister and ask him to intervene in the alleged police atrocities and also urge the Governor to take action against vindictive police officers.

Reacting to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s statement that “no woman be called to police station for interrogation”, they alleged that and the CM must visit the Fathegarh Churian constituency, where policemen were harassing women and pressurising them to surrender their relatives, who were booked in various false cases. 


Jagraon, Ludhiana cops in race to catch accused
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 24
An intense tug-of-war is on between the Ludhiana and Jagraon (Ludhiana-rural) police to catch Gurpreet Singh and his three accomplices, all charged with sedition, possessing and smuggling RDX and planning to trigger terror attacks.

Cops of both districts are chasing the accused and raiding their hideouts, trying to out do each other by being the first to nab them. Both consider the activities of the group were a prelude to the Shingaar cinema blast but no definite clue has been found so far.

Fierce competition between the two has started with officials trying to outsmart each other by booking the same accused under almost the same charges in different police stations falling in their respective districts.

Teams of both the districts are separately conducting raids to catch them. Some teams have even moved out of the state in their pursuit.

The accused wanted by cops of both the districts are Gurpreet Singh, son of Tirlok Singh of Jangpur road, Mullanpur, Sandeep Singh, alias Harry, son of Harinder Singh of Kutiwal (Bathinda) and now resident of Ghuman village in Ludhiana district, Varinder Singh, son of Dalwinder Singh of Phagwara, and Bhawan Deep Singh, son of Surinder Singh of Sidhwan village.

The Ludhiana police has pasted copies of pictures of the accused in the police station.

A perusal of the FIRs lodged at Sudhar police station by the Jagraon police two days ago and at Mullanpur Dakha police station under the Ludhiana city police on September 2 and amended two days ago shows that both talk about the same incident in which 3.5 kg of RDX was recovered from prime accused Gurpreet Singh.

Both talk about their planning in scripting and carrying out terror attacks. The only difference between is that the Jagraon police claims in the FIR that secret information has revealed the accused had met at Ghuman village before the RDX was recovered.

The Mullanpur police has based the FIR on the recovery of RDX from a car driven by Gurpreet on September 2. It further amends it on the basis of investigation that the other three were also involved.

Sources revealed that though the RDX was recovered on September 2 by the Ludhiana police, the Jagraon police jumped into the fray for catching the accused this week only after it was allegedly told by some senior officials to chip in for investigation into the Shingaar cinema blast case.

A high-level team of the Jagraon police had visited the blast spot also where it was told to work on leads it thought were strong enough to follow.

A senior official said the competition was not bitter but healthy and hoped it would prove fruitful for the state with the accused nabbed sooner than later.


30 posts of senior resident lying vacant
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 24
The authorities in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education are in a spot over the deployment of senior doctors in medical colleges of the state. Sources available here said 30 posts of senior resident in government medical colleges of the state were lying vacant. They were to be filled by doctors of PCMS cadre who had completed MD or MS. A PCMS doctor wanting to join medical colleges should first complete a three-year stint as senior resident before becoming eligible for further promotion in teaching.

The Department of Medical Education has sought senior residents from the PCMS cadre to fill the vacancies in government medical colleges. However, the Department of Health has expressed its inability to provide the same on the plea that they require senior doctors for health services in rural areas.

The DRME, Dr Dalal, said the Ministry of Health had the right to retain the doctors till some alternative arrangement was made. He, however, said the matter was being sorted out and department promotional committee meetings would be held next month in this rgard.

The problem got created due to the joint cadre of PCMS and government medical colleges. As per prevalent rules, 75 per cent posts in the medical colleges are filled from the PCMS cadre and 25 per cent through direct recruitment.

If the government fails to send doctors against the posts of senior resident, it will further delay their promotions and create vacant posts at senior levels in the coming months due to retirements. Already no recruitment of PCMS doctors or medical teachers has been carried through the Punjab Public Service Commission since 1996. The doctors are now being recruited on contract by zila parishads. They are not eligible for promotions as medical teachers.

Sources in the Department of Medical Education said the government would have to split up the joint cadre. Medical colleges would have to be allowed to recruit doctors to avoid disqualification by the Medical Council of India. 


Govt targeting sarpanches: Assn
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 24
The state unit of the Panchayat Association has accused the rural development and panchayat minister of harassing sarpanches, panchayat secretaries and junior engineers (gram panchayat) by registering false cases against them. It has said if these cases were not withdrawn soon and flying squads not abolished, they would launch a statewide protest.

At a meeting held at the Teachers Home here today, general secretary of the association Yadwinder Singh Sidhu said flying squads, headed by XENs of the Panchayati Raj, Water Works Department and the PWD, had been constituted to harass sarpanches. “These squads have been registering false cases against us ever since it was constituted a few months ago.’’

In the past two months, cases have been registered against 166 sarpanches, he said, adding: “A majority of them hail from the Sangrur, Patiala, Gurdaspur and Mansa area. The squads have also filed complaints against 500 more sarpanches. A majority of the sarpanches have Akali background,’’ Sidhu added.


NFL staff agitated over incentive

Bathinda, October 24
Workers of the local unit of National Fertilisers Limited today held a gate rally to press the authorities for their demand for “proper” distribution of incentive among the employees.

Convened under the banner of the National Fertilisers Employees Union, the rally was aimed at creating awareness among the workers about “arbitrary action of the company management”.

General secretary of the union Bhanu Pratap Singh said the management had decided to disburse incentive among the workers without holding talks with their recognised unions.

According to the union, the unit has earned a profit Rs 178 crore, but only Rs 48.50 lakh was being disbursed among 590 workers while Rs 93 lakh was being distributed among 285 executives.

He said the coordination committee of all recognised unions of the company would hold a meeting at the Panipat unit tomorrow to decide the future course of action.

The workers have threatened to intensify their agitation if the management failed to fulfil their demand. Senior vice-president of the union Ramesh Bhardwaj and other office-bearers were present at the rally. — TNS


Gurdwara Clash
MC chief calls new probe illegal
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 24
Hari Singh Bawa, president, municipal committee, Bhadaur, and former MP Rajdev Singh have termed the new inquiry into the Bhadaur gurdwara clash by DIG B.K. Uppal as illegal and meaningless. Under Section 173(8), CrPC , any new inquiry into an already completed one can be ordered only after the prior approval of the high court.

In the above case Ranjit Singh Dhillon, SP (crime branch), has already completed his probe and recommended the registration of a case against former SSP S.K. Asthana under Section 302. But the state government is trying to save the officer. Rajdev said this was a human rights violation case and the action committee would fight it tooth and nail to bring the real culprits to book.

Bawa said the action committee demanded from the state government presents before the court the probe report completed by SP Ranjeet Singh Dhillon. For the purpose they had already filed a petition in the high court.


Prices go up as ban on rice export lifted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 24
The Central government’s decision to lift the ban on the export of non- basmati was today welcomed by all stake holders in the rice trade.

The president of the Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association Rajeev Setia said by fixing the minimum export price of $ 425 per tonne, the proposal which was mooted by millers, was acceptable to the association and would help give major relief to the paddy growers and exporters of this region. He said the decision had come as major relief to the exporters, who would be resuming the shipments.

Setia said the farming community and the paddy growers had fully backed the exporters in their fight against the ban and must be a relieved lot now with the mandis opening after two days.

He said the prices which had dropped considerably had once again regained and PUSA 1121 and sharbati were quoted at Rs 2,100 and 1,500 per quintal. 


SGJC summons SGPC chief in land purchase case
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
In a significant development, the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) today directed SGPC chief Avtar Singh and 20 other senior functionaries to appear before the court on November 27 on a petition filed by Raghbir Singh, former secretary of the committee.

The petitioner alleged that the SGPC had caused a huge financial loss by committing acts of “omission and commission” against the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925. Five acres of land was purchased with a mala fide intention vide sale deed dated November 10, 2005 by opening the funds from the account of Darbar Sahib in Shahbad Markanda in Kurkshetra district of Haryana. The land was immediately leased out to the Meeri Peeri Institute of Medical Sciences and Research at a nominal rate of Rs 11,000 per annum for 99 years by allegedly “misusing” the funds, it alleged.

The petition further reads that no sanction was obtained from the Property Sub Committee of Darbar Sahib, whereas the SGPC was the only supervisory committee. “The property was purchased by misappropriating the funds of Darbar Sahib to the tune of Rs 1.75 crore to cause benefit to the Meeri Peeri Trust.”

The petitioner alleged that the lease was also done in an “illegal manner”.

The notice for appearing in the court to respondents, including SGPC president, his predecessor Bibi Jagir Kaur, secretaries etc, was issued by the SGJC comprising Kashmir Singh Patti (president), Ajwant Singh Mann and A.S. Randhawa (both members).


Mansa ITI in bad shape
Bhanu P. Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Mansa, October 24
Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI) at Mansa is in a state of neglect, thanks to the apathy of the government. The institute lacks basic facilities like equipment and staff and the building is in a bad shape.

As a result, the five private ITIs in the area are flourishing at the cost of poor people who are compelled to send their wards to these institutes and pay a hefty fee. While the annual fee in a government ITI is Rs 3,000 for both engineering and non-engineering trades, private institutes charge Rs 12,000 for engineering and Rs 8,000 per year for non-engineering trades. The institute started with six trades in 2000, but instead of expanding and introducing more trades to increase the intake of students, it has been forced to discontinue four trades.

The institute is imparting training only in two units of consumer electronics, while four trades -Punjabi stenography, computer operator, cutting and tailoring and embroidery and needlework-have been closed down. Out of the sanctioned posts of 14 instructor, only eight are in place and the remaining posts are lying vacant. The institute is without basic equipment like computers or embroidery machines, leaving the students with no option but to go to private institutes.

While the institute has 112 seats, only 36 students have been admitted and most of them are from the lower income group who cannot afford to pay hefty fees.

Headmaster, Industrial Training Institute, Mansa, Deepak Kumar said the matter had been reported to the government but no action taken in this regard.


690 schools for poor to be opened
Tribune News Service

Mansa, October 24
The Punjab government will open 690 alternative innovative education centres in all districts for poor chidren this year.

About 25,000 children will get education in these schools. Twenty centres have been planned for Mansa and 25 for Bathinda.

This information was given by Darshan Singh Dhillon, resource person of the Sarv Siksha Abhiyan.

According to the government circular which was released recently, there will be 60 centres in Amritsar, 25 in Faridkot, 23 in Ferozepur, 75 in Ludhiana, 60 in Moga, 25 in Muktsar, 80 in Patiala, 30 in Sangrur and Barnala, 50 in Tarn Taran, five in Ropar, four in Nawanshahr, nine in Mohali, 30 in Kapurthala, 100 in Jalandhar, 37 in Gurdaspur and 25 in Hoshiapur.


CM asks WB to allot new projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today impressed upon the World Bank (WB) to allot some major projects to revamp the canal irrigation network and impart quality education in the state.

Badal today discussed the details of various ongoing World Bank projects during a meeting with Prem Garg, director (quality assurance), World Bank, who called on Badal at the latter's residence here late last evening.

Prem Garg apprised the chief minister about the various WB projects in other states.

Projects approved

Manoranjan Kalia, minister for local government, industry and commerce, Punjab, said on Wednesday that the state government had given approval for implementation of 99 mega multiplex projects in the state. He said mega multiplex projects to be set up in the state involved an investment of more than Rs 16,000 crore.

Commission clarifies

The Punjab Public Service Commission on Wednesday clarified that with reference to the commission's advertisement No. 3 published in the The Tribune on August 16, candidates are advised to submit DMCs of all semesters of M.Com by November 8 so that it can be ascertained that they have cleared the subject of "auditing and accounts" as a special subject. They are also required to submit a detailed certificate of three years’ practical experience of auditing of commercial accounts.

Paddy procurement

The procurement of paddy in Punjab entered a crucial phase as total procurement by government agencies and private millers crossed 90 lakh tonnes mark last evening. The farmers of the state had already been paid Rs 4189.81 crore in lieu of paddy procured by the government agencies till October 22.

District-level panels

The Punjab Government has decided to constitute district-level committees to review and analyse the funds released for various schemes under sub-plans for the Scheduled Castes (SCSP) in the state. 


Badal’s assurance to school teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as well as the state Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh has assured government-aided recognised school teachers and other employees unions that their strike period of 21 days of last year would be condoned soon.

A deputation of the union led by its president G.S. Chahal today met the chief minister and chief secretary in this connection.

The chief secretary also asked the education department authorities to release grant of one quarter to aided-schools to pay salaries to employees at the earliest possible. Chahal said the authorities concerned had been directed to release the grant first and complete the other formalities later.


Police station raided
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, October 24
A warrant officer, appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, today raided the Rajpura Sadar police station late this evening following a complaint filed by the residents of Chak Kalan village that three elderly men had been illegally detained by the police.

According to Gurvinder Singh, a resident of the village, three men had approached the high court alleging that their fathers Mahinder Singh, Gurdev Singh and Amardeep Singh, had been illegally detained by the police and no case had been registered against them. Following this, the high court appointed a warrant officer to conduct a raid on the Sadar police station.

Gurvinder Singh said on Dussehra eve, some youngsters of the village got involved in a clash and the police had to be called in. He said instead of taking action against the accused, the police rounded up the three elderly men who were above 70 years of age.

However, DSP Bhupinder Singh, when contacted, said the police had not detained anybody illegally. He said the warrant officer himself checked all the detainees and found that it was a misunderstanding.

The warrant officer, without revealing his identity, confirmed that the police had not detained anybody illegally.


Mobile health vans for all districts
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 24
The state health department is soon going to launch mobile health vans project for all 20 districts of Punjab. Besides requisite infrastructure, these vans would be equipped with one doctor and paramedical staff members.

Health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla stated this during her surprise visit to the newly-shifted forensic lab at Kharar. She added that the SAD-BJP government has so far recruited 147 doctors, 137 nurses and 800 multipurpose health workers. “After getting a nod from the Supreme Court, we would be recruiting 400 more multipurpose health workers,” she said.

She added that when the SAD-BJP government came to power, there were just nine drug inspectors and now 36 more have been recruited across the state. Also, three new trauma centres were being set up at the civil hospitals at Pathankot, Jalandhar and Amritsar at the cost of Rs 1.5 crore.


Panel upholds forum order

Chandigarh, October 24
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has complied with the orders of the Bathinda district forum and imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on B.K. Motors as costs besides asking it to refund Rs 3,10,000, the cost of the vehicle sold to Ajwant Singh by it. Bajaj Tempo Ltd, Pune, a party in the case, contested the decision of the Bathinda forum.

Earlier, the Bathinda forum had told the company to refund Rs 3,10,000 as the cost of the tractor purchased by Ajwant or replace it with a new one. — TNS


Mealy bug eats into cotton crop
Farmers fear 20 pc shortfall in yield
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 24
Cotton growers of the Malwa belt are crying because of the steep decline in production due to widespread damage caused to the crop by the mealy bug that has infested the area. The yield is likely to witness a shortfall of about 20 per cent against the targets fixed at the time of sowing.

The bug has economically drained the cotton growers who have had to resort to spraying pesticides 14 to 22 times without any tangible results. Last year, they sprayed these chemicals only twice as was required for a healthy crop.

Amanjeet Singh, a cotton grower of Siwan village, said his calculations had been upset, as he had to resort to repeated spray of different pesticides this time. Each spray costs Rs 300 per acre. As a result, he was burdened with huge unforeseen expenditure.

Jagmeet Singh of Maita village, who had come to sell his yield here, said he made 12 sprays, but did not get the desired results. He said the loss was to the extent of about 30 per cent this time.

He said the bug infested the cotton fields soon after sprouting of seeds and efforts to get rid from it had failed.

Most of the farmers accused the state government of having failed to come forward to their rescue.

Ashok Kumar Dhunikay, a commission agent, anticipated at least a 20 per cent shortfall in cotton production this time. Although the area under cotton cultivation has increased, the per acre yield was slated to reduce, he added.

An official, who did not want to be quoted, said the target of producing 26 lakh bales of cotton in the Malwa belt was unlikely to be met. The shortfall might range between 15 and 20 per cent, he said. The target in Haryana and Rajasthan was 16 lakh bales and 8 lakh bales, respectively.

Agriculture officers have come across an interesting feature that the bug has infested mostly the crop where the farmers had used spurious seed that was supplied by a Gujarat-based company. Those who used the certified seed suffered lesser loss.

The farmers cried that the 5 per cent market fee being charged here was also hitting them economically. Haryana and Rajasthan were charging lesser market fee of 4 percent and 1.60 per cent, respectively.


Shopkeeper shot at
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, October 24
A shopkeeper, his wife and son were today booked for shooting at another shopkeeper of Druga Mandir Road market, here.

Mulak Singh, a local resident, who owns a medical shop, fired two shots at Narinder Singh following a quarrel over a trivial matter. The two had a difference over dumping of waste material by Mulak Singh outside Narinder’s shop. Later at night, the two shopkeepers got into a confrontation following which Mulak Singh’s wife asked him to shoot Narinder dead.

Narinder had a narrow escape as one of the bullets missed his head by a few inches. However, a bullet hit him in the thigh causing a grave injury.

The local police later registered a case against Mulak Singh, his wife Devinder Kaur and son Amanpreet Singh.


Seminar on mental health
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 24
A one-day seminar on the directions of Inderjit Singh Walia, district and sessions judge-cum-chairman of the Legal Service Authority, was held at the B.N Khalsa Senior Secondary School here, today, to mark the mental health week.

A large number of students, staff members and advocates attended the proceedings.

Speaking on the occasion, K.K Kareer, civil judge-cum-secretary of the district legal service authority explained in detail, various provisions of the Mental Health Act, 1987. He also enjoined upon the people present during the seminar, to develop a “kind and passionate outlook towards the mentally sick people who deserve a better treatment from society.”

Advocates H.P Shukla and Bimal Rai also addressed the gathering. 


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