P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


SEZ Act soon: CM
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Morinda, October 27
The Central government has approved 13 special economic zones for Punjab. Following this the state government is in the mode of enacting a Punjab SEZ Act to facilitate the implementation of these projects effectively.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said this while inaugurating a new combine harvester manufactured by the Claas Group of Company here today. He emphasised that the state government was all set to make Punjab a natural investment destination by offering world-class road infrastructure and air-connectivity.

He said, “We are always ready to give red-carpet treatment to foreign investors willing to invest in Punjab and requisite concessions would be provided for the same, provided it generates employment for the locals.”

He claimed that in order to provide hassle-free governance a fast track method for the simplification of procedures had been introduced. This was aimed at encouraging the local industry as well as give impetus to manufacturing sectors, especially those offering employment to local population.

With a view to accelerating the pace of industrial development, a new industrial policy was being finalised in consultation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

To speed up the pace of industrial growth in the state, a freight corridor being developed by the Union government from Kolkata to Delhi had been extended up to Ludhiana. The state government would soon take up the issue with the ministry of railways to also extend the Mumbai-Delhi industrial corridor to Punjab.

He launched Crop Tiger 60 harvester combine of Rs 100 crore CLAAS India Ltd Managing director of CLAAS India M.P.


Badal-Punj meeting fails to take place
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
An expected meeting between BJP leader Balbir Punj and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to resolve power tariff issue did not materialise today. The BJP has been urging the state government to bear the burden of revised power tariff and not to put the same on the people.

Punj said the meeting would be held after November 1. A contact was established between the two leaders on the phone. However, Punj said Badal told him that the meeting would be held after November 1. By that time, acting president of the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) Sukhbir Singh Badal is also expected to return from Dubai.

Punj was here to inaugurate a two-day training camp of party MLAs, ministers and other office-bearers, including mayors. Office-bearers were told about the party stand on various national and state issues.

Punj said the BJP was firm on its demand regarding not putting the burden of revised tariff on domestic and industrial consumers. He said as Badal had stated that Punjab’s fiscal health was sound, there should be no problem for the state government to pay additional Rs 272 crore to the PSEB as subsidy to bail out domestic and other power consumers from the revised tariff.

He said coalition governments faced certain difficulties but these were resolved at various levels.

Taking on the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh, Punj said the UPA government had failed on issues of foreign policy as well as internal security. While several people had been killed in terrorist attacks in various part of the country, the UPA government had failed to get any terrorist case resolved. Infiltrations on the part of Chinese in certain parts of the country had become common, he added.


Mahatma divided country on caste lines: Maya
Sarbjit Dhaliwal/TNS

Chandigarh, October 27
Outrightly rejecting Gandhism, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today said she was following political philosophy of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. While Mahatma Gandhi created a division in the country on caste lines, Ambedkar made a provision of reservation for poor sections of society to raise their level and standing in society and for their ultimate merger in the mainstream, she added.

It is true that the Mahatma did struggle for freedom, but he made no struggle for the assimilation of poor sections of society, especially Dalits in the mainstream to bring about a social cohesion in society. “In fact Gandhi divided the country on caste lines by coining a new term of Harijan for Dalits to keep their separate identity,” said Mayawati, replying to a question that earlier she was deadly against ‘manuwad’ but now it appeared that she was following the political philosophy of Gandhi.

“I am against the system that perpetuated casteism but not against any individual who conceptualised theories like manuwad,” she added. “I am not following Gandhism,” she asserted. “I am a firm believer in what Ambedkar did for the country, especially for weaker sections of society,” she added. “Harijan, a term coined by Gandhi, was never included in the Constitution which only recognised the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for whom Ambedkar had sought special concessions in 1928 from the then British rulers,” she said.

“I am working hard to free the country from all sorts of social divisions”she asserted, adding that the concept of social engineering was being used to achieve this.


For them, regime change brings no respite
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 27
They continue to suffer in silence. Neither the subsidised atta-dal scheme nor improving returns from the cotton crop in this belt have improved the lot of the farm workers in general and women in particular.

“Our wages have remained unchanged for the past several years,” rues Kamlesh of Bhucho Mandi, saying that she and her fellow workers continue to get Rs 2 a kilo for picking cotton from fields. “Though the prices of essential commodities, including atta, dal, rice, salt and oils, have doubled, our wages have remained unchanged. After working eight or 10 hours in the fields, most of us end the day with an earning of Rs 50 or 80, which is just enough for two square meals a day.”

“Though our wages go up during both sowing and harvesting seasons, we are left with nothing to sustain ourselves in case of natural calamities,” she adds.

“All political parties need from us is our vote. Once they come to power, they forget us. Only their henchmen get the benefits or milk the system. All our efforts to get BPL (Below Poverty Line) cards have gone futile. No one listens to us. While we work in the fields in scorching heat, those who stay indoors and work at homes or offices of big leaders get their BPL cards and other benefits delivered at doorstep,” alleges Kamlesh.

Rano, an old woman, who, too, picks cotton to raise her three daughters and a minor son, corroborates her views.

Besides Rao and Kamlesh, other women working in the fields at Bhucho Khurd, near here, complained that their daily wages never totalled up more than Rs 60 a day. And still they have been denied the BPL cards.

“If we are not deserving cases for getting benefits of the atta-dal scheme, then who else is,” asks Rano.

Interestingly, while the farm workers were talking to us and airing their grievances, two young daughters of the farmer in whose field these women work, hid themselves behind the crops, as they wanted to avoid camera.

“Why you want our picture?” quipped Rano, saying it would not benefit them at all. “You come and take our pictures and go away and do nothing for ameliorating our plight.”

Though the cotton crop is now being harvested, farmers had a tough time in keeping pests and insects away. The quality of pesticides and insecticides supplied this year, they complained, were of far inferior quality than previous years.


Medical Facilities
State prepares Rs 2,500-cr plan
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
Pointing at the dismal health facilities in the state, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today revealed that about 70 per cent population did not have an access to medical services due to high charges.

Giving a glaring example of lack of education and facilities in various hospitals of the state, Badal said it was shocking that there were only three patients in a 50-bedded hospital in his native village (Badal). He called upon the medical fraternity to come forward to provided health services to poor people in far-flung areas.

While addressing the convocation of the National Academy of Medical Sciences at Guru Nanak Bhawan Auditorium of Guru Nanak Dev University here today, the Chief Minister advocated the uniform life insurance policy so that a poor person could also avail medical services. He said a plan of nearly Rs 2,500 crore had been made by the Punjab government to provide these amenities in far-flung rural areas.

The state government had also decided to establish drug dependence treatment centres of 10-20 beds each at all district hospitals in Punjab.

He said the state government had constituted a Health Review Committee headed by Prof J.S. Bajaj, vice-chairman, Punjab State Planning Board.

The Chief Minister also conferred scrolls upon fellows and members of the academy in recognition of their scientific contributions.

A renowned ophthalmologist, Dr Man Singh Nirankari, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here today at the 47th annual conference of the National Academy of Medical Sciences.


Dr Nirankari honoured
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
A renowned ophthalmologist, Dr Man Singh Nirankari, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here today at the 47th annual conference of the National Academy of Medical Sciences.

Born on November 13, 1913, Dr Nirankari was elected a fellow of the academy in 1962. He had a distinguished undergraduate and post-graduate career, having qualified for the FRCS and DO. He also worked with the Institute of Ophthalmology, London, specialising in ocular pathology.

Dr Nirankari joined as an assistant professor of Ophthalmology at Medical College, Amritsar, in 1947. On his return to India in 1956, he was appointed as professor and head of the department. He later took over as principal of the Government Medical College in 1971.


Ultrasound centres to suspend tests on pregnant women
Tribune Reporters

Kharar/Fatehgarh Sahib, October 27
All 1,270 ultrasound centres of the state will suspend their services of extending scan facility to pregnant women in protest against the orders of the authorities concerned making it mandatory to maintain photo ID of each patient.

The president of the state unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Amrit Sethi, said these services would be suspended till the government agreed upon their demands. The IMA had a round of talk with secretary, health, T.R. Sarangal on the issue.

“We proposed the secretary that women in first and third trimester of their pregnancy should be exempted from this order, as patients coming in this term of their pregnancy are in emergency. It’s basically in the second trimester that gender of baby can be determined and hence women undergoing ultrasound scan can be taken under the rule to maintain spirit and rules of the PNDT Act,” said Dr Sethi. He added that Sarangal did not agree to this alteration in the orders.

The DHS, Dr Sohal, and nodal officer, PNDT Act, Punjab, V.K. Goyal were also present at the meeting.

The matter was also taken up at a meeting held at Mandi Gobindgarh wherein representatives of various associations from Sirhind, Gobindgarh, Khanna, Sangrur, Morinda, Bassi Pathana, Bathinda and Patiala participated. It was decided to suspend scans of pregnant women throughout Punjab from November 1. The meeting also decided to send a legal notice to the government to implement the directions of the Supreme Court regarding hospital deaths to be followed by a PIL, if necessary. The resolution has got approval of most of branches via tele-conferencing.

The decision of the IMA is destined to hit medical services in Punjab, especially in remote pockets where there are no such machines at government institutes and private clinics are the only available option.

BATHINDA: The local chapter of the IMA has alleged that innocent doctors are being targeted and false cases are being registered against them under the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act.

The president of the chapter, Dr H.S. Narang, said: “The PNDT Act, 1994, also provides a platform to prosecute pregnant women, their companions and those who disclose the sex of the foetus.”

“However, it is only innocent doctors who are being targeted and unauthorised persons without a valid permission from the appropriate authority have registered false cases against several doctors in Bathinda.”


Amritsar Shooting
MLA for action against kin
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
Raminder Singh Bolaria, Akali MLA, while condemning the incident of widespread arson, said today that he would take up the matter of police inaction in controlling the mob that went on rampage after the killing of a youth in a road rage case here yesterday by one of his close relatives.

Talking to media persons here today, he said he would also appeal to the Chief Minister to provide a government job to the wife of the victim, Shankar Dass. He said it was total failure on the part of the police to control the mob, which, he alleged, was instigated by some Congress leaders. He said law should take its course against the accused, Harjinder Singh Gill, alias Bonny Gill. “The accused would not be spared even if he was his relative”.

It is pertinent to mention here that Shankar Dass was killed in a road scuffle in the intervening night of October 25-26 near Hathi Gate. Bonny gill opened fire at him when his vehicle collided with his car. Shankar died on the spot while Bonny fled.

Meanwhile, Santosh Choudhry, chairperson, National Safai Commission, today visited the house of the victim and expressed her sympathy. She condemned the incident and held meetings with deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu and SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh. She assured her all support to the wife of Shankar. She said she would talk to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for all possible help to her.

Meanwhile, the deputy commissioner said the children of the deceased would be provided free education, besides compensation.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the family of Shankar Dass who was shot dead by one Harinder Singh Gill, alias Bonney Gill, a close relative of Akali MLA Raminder Singh Bularia in a road rage scuffle.

While directing the district police chief to arrest the accused soon, the CM also promised a job and a house to the family which met to him at the Circuit House here late in the evening.


23 SAD (A) leaders quit party posts

Amritsar, October 27
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) here today suffered a jolt with 23 of its functionaries quitting their posts in protest against the role of certain party leaders in “weakening” the party. To formulate future strategy, they would hold a meeting in Jalandhar on October 30.

General secretary of the party Gurjatinder Pal Singh Bhikhiwind said they were perturbed over the recent developments that had occurred within the SAD (A) threatening the future prospects of the party.

“Those who have resigned from their posts believe that the unfortunate developments were not spontaneous but engineered by certain senior functionaries who allowed the situation to reach the flashpoint. It is ironic that all developments took place when party president Simranjit Singh Mann, along with 20 colleagues, was detained in Ludhiana for over three months,” he said. — TNS


Stay away from politics, Bhattal tells babus
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 27
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today warned the state bureaucracy not to indulge in the politics of vendetta to appease their political bosses.

Speaking to media persons after participating in a function organised to celebrate Valmiki Jayanti, Bhattal said the civil and police administrators were getting themselves involved in politics. She said she would write for the last time letters to the home secretary and the chief secretary asking them to instruct the bureaucracy to stay away from politics.

She said the bureaucrats should understand that it was for the politicians to indulge in politics and they should restrict themselves to the service of the masses.

She said the 13-member committee constituted to review the cases registered against Congress rank and file in the state would visit all district headquarters. 


Notification for compulsory off for cops soon: DGP
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 27
The state government will soon issue the notification for a compulsory weekly off for junior and senior subordinate staff in the Punjab Police.

The state DGP, N.P.S. Aulakh, gave this information while talking to The Tribune here today. He said the Chief Minister was interested in granting at least one weekly off to the subordinate staff in the police department. The modalities for implementing the wish of the Chief Minister were being worked out and the necessary notification would be issued soon.

He, however, refused to elaborate as to how the per day 14 per cent loss in police force due to a weekly off and an extra month’s salary given to the staff in lieu of the additional duty would be justified.

He also disclosed that due to increasing incidents of petrol pump robberies the police had directed to ensure that underground cash chambers were constructed in all gas stations in the state.

In foreign countries cash is kept by the gas station owners in specially built underground chambers.

The cash of petrol pumps should not be kept in unsafe boxes. This was likely to reduce incidents of robbery at gas stations, he said.

The banks were also being directed to install close circuit cameras and security guards at their installations. The DGP was here to attend a religious ceremony of the Jain community.


Infantry heroes remembered
Tribune Reporters

Gurdaspur, October 27
Impressive functions marked the commemoration of the Infantry Day at Tibri and Mamun Cantomment in Pathankot today. A special ceremony was held at the War Memorial here to honour the heroes who had made the supreme sacrifice.

A special guard of honour was presented and wreaths were laid at the memorial by Station Commander, Tibri, Brig Avinash Chander, apart from Commander, 96 Infantry Brigade, Brig Bharat Bushan and Lt-Gen K.J. Singh (retd) on the occasion. Serving and retired officers of the Army and civilians also attended the function in large numbers.

Rich tributes were paid to the martyrs at a function organised to commemorate the day at the Gurj Division complex in Mamun Cantonment. The GOC, 29 Infantry Division, Major-Gen R.H. Vardhan, laid the wreath. The gathering also observed a two-minute silence as a remembrance after the bugles sounded at the Last Post resounding. All brigade commanders and commanding officers of the Gurj Division were present on the occasion.

AMRITSAR: Rich tributes were paid to brave soldiers, who had laid down their lives for the honour and integrity of the nation, by senior officers besides General Officer Commanding Major-Gen Parthasarathi Paul of Panther Division on the occasion of the Infantry Day by laying a wreath at the Dograi War Memorial here on Saturday.

Addressing a sainik sammelan, the GOC said the infantry had always been in the forefront to protect the territorial integrity of the nation.

He said October 27 is a historically significant day for the Indian Army because on this day in 1947 the first Infantrymen of 1 Sikh Regiment were sent to the Kashmir valley to repulse the Pakistani raiders. The regiment fought gallantly under the leadership of Lt-Col Ranjit Rai and thwarted the enemy attempts to advance towards Srinagar.Lt Colonel Rai made the supreme sacrifice during this action.


Clash over burial averted
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, October 27
A clash was today averted in this sub-divisional headquarters of the district when members of a family entered into a confrontation with a Muslim family over the burying of a girl, who had died due to burn injuries.

Tension cropped up when residents of Sant Colony objected to burying of a 14-year-old Muslim girl in the graveyard adjoining their residences.

The girl, Mandeep, had sustained serve burn injuries while she was cooking food in her house in Jaggi Colony two days back. She was rushed to the local civil hospital from where she was referred to Rajindra Hospital in Patiala. She succumbed to her injuries today.

The family members of the girl, after getting her postmortem conducted, brought her to the graveyard adjoining Sant Colony. The land for the graveyard had been allotted by the panchayat of Jaudauli village a few years back. At that time, there were no residential colonies in its vicinity, but with the expansion of the town, several residential colonies came up around the graveyard.

Today, when the girl’s family arrived there to bury their child, some of the families, residing in the area, refused to let them carry out the last rites that lead to tension. 
Soon a number of people gathered to claim their right of burying their dead in the graveyard. A police party soon arrived on the scene and prevented a clash between the two groups.

Sources in the police stated that the family members of the girl produced valid documents to stake claim on the graveyard. As per the law, the residents had no right to prevent the family from burying their dead in the graveyard, sources added. 
The police directed the protesting residents to take up the matter with the district administration, if they had any objection with the graveyard so that a new place could be allocated for the same.


Staff upset over non-release of DA

Chandigarh, October 27
Government employees across the state are upset as the Punjab government has not released instalment of DA on the Union government pattern. The Centre had released the instalment of 6 per cent DA in July this year.

Employees were eagerly waiting for announcement from CM Parkash Singh Badal with regard to the release of DA instalment.

Gurmail Singh Sidhu, general secretary of the joint action committee of Punjab and UT Employees, said governments had adopted a practice of going back on promises made to employees. — TNS


Police remand for NRI groom, parents
Tribune News Service

Patiala October 27
NRI groom Gurpreet Singh and his parents were remanded in police custody for one day by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Patiala, here today. The accused were produced before the judge this morning. The prosecution alleged that the accused demanded a dowry of Rs 50 lakh from family of Amitoz with whom he was to marry yesterday.

The accused pleaded that they had been implicated in the case. They pleaded that they had not demanded any dowry. Gurpreet Singh and his family are settled in the USA since late seventies. It was their third visit to India.

The judge, however, remanded the accused in one day police custody.


3 of family killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 27
Three members of a family were killed in road accident at Nawanshahr today.

The deceased, Gurmail Singh Goganpuri (57), his son Jarnail Singh (28), and a relative Balwant Singh, along with their family, were going towards Nawanshahr in the morning when the tyre of their Maruti esteem car burst near Langroya village. The driver lost control over the vehicle which led to the accident.

Those injured include Gurmail’s wife Manjeet, Jarnail’s wife Manpreet Kaur, Manjeet’s sister Simarjeet Kaur and Simarjeet’s son Amritpal Singh.

Jarnail had got married eight months back and his wife Manpreet Kaur is pregnant.

Gurmail and Jarnail belonged to Kharar. Gurmail had retired from the post of superintendent from UT secretariat while Jarnail was working as a programmer with Haryana higher education department.


Teacher beats up students; principal marks inquiry
Tribune News Service

Amandeep shows bruises on his arm
Amandeep shows bruises on his arm

Kharar, October 27
A teacher of physical education at Government Model Senior Secondary School here, allegedly beat up a few students of Class VII on October 25.

Amandeep Singh’s father Darshan Singh Sodhi sent a complaint to education minister Upinderjit Kaur, principal secretary, education, and principal of the school Narinder Singh.

Sodhi has alleged that on October 25, physical education teacher Surjit Singh beat up the students with a baton and even asked them to clear the compound.

Similarly, another student Shubham sustained injuries and had swelling on his arms.

He alleged that when the aforesaid teacher came to know that a complaint has been made against him today, he threatened the students of dire consequences.

Principal Narinder Singh said an inquiry has been marked into the case. “One of the senior teachers has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the incident. I got the representation today itself and have acted accordingly. But the parents should have approached me first,” he said.


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