P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


New DCs for Moga, Gurdaspur
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Punjab Government today posted two new deputy commissioners and ordered fresh postings for six SDMs.

Gurkirat Kirpal Singh has been posted as deputy commissioner, Gurdaspur and Satwant Singh is the new deputy commissioner of Moga.

Arvinder Singh is the new special secretary, science, technology and environment and non-conventional energy and in addition special secretary, welfare of SC and BC, Vivek Pratap Singh has been appointed chief administrator, GMADA.

S.S. Dhillon will be the secretary, parliamentary affairs and in addition secretary, agriculture, Hussan Lal goes as executive director, scheduled caste land development and finance corporation and in addition director, welfare of SCs and BCs. Krishan Kumar becomes special secretary-cum-director-general, school education.

Manashvi Kumar will be SDM, Pathankot, Sibin C. goes as SDM, Dhar Kalan, Prem Chand is the new SDM, Jaito and in addition assistant commissioner (grievances), Faridkot, Nirbhai Singh becomes SDM, Nihal Singhwala and in addition SDM, Baghapurana.

Indu Misra has been posted as additional secretary, education. D.P.S. Kharbanda goes as commissioner, municipal corporation, Amritsar. Rajiv Prashar has been posted as SDM, Fazilka and in addition SDM, Jalalabad, Daljit Singh is the new joint director, administration, Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board and Lakhmir Singh will be the new SDM, Moga.


Vendetta Cases Against Cops
PIL to be filed in SC: Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Former DGP of Punjab KPS Gill today said like-minded people would be filing a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court to question cases of “political vendetta” registered against senior police officials. The registration of a case against SS Virk by the Punjab vigilance bureau would be foremost in that appeal.

A few other cases of “vendetta” in other states will also be highlighted in the PIL, said Gill while interacting with the media on a brief visit to Chandigarh here this morning. He refused to divulge the names of the organisation or individuals who will be filing the case. The browbeating of the IAS and the IPS officers has become a countrywide phenomenon and this was being done to weaken the spirit of the services that are meant to uphold the Constitution. The boys in the IAS and IPS are taught to point out when something is wrong, the politicians must understand it.

On Virk he said if Sections 216 and 218 of the IPC were added to the challan it would be a traversity of justice. The sections were in the FIR and related to harbouring of wanted persons. In this case the sections have been added on allegations that Virk had harboured “cats”-militants-turned-police informers. The police should go as per the evidence in investigation and not act on the directions of anybody. Speaking about the Punjab Governmentt he said “what I read in newspapers indicates that this is not good governance”.

On being asked as to why did the Union Ministry of Home Affairs not intervene, Gill said “it could be the impact of the coalition politics or it could be the weakening of the office of the home minister and the home secretary”.

On terrorism in Punjab he said there was no chance of revival despite Pakistan having a 25-year plan to keep militancy on a slow boil. He came down harshly on human rights activists and their leaders saying most of them have made good money. He alleged that Pakistan’s secret agency, the ISI and NRIs based in the USA, the UK and Germany were funding these human rights bodies. None of them talks about human rights of the innocents killed by the militants. More than 15,000 civilians and policemen were killed, what about them and their families.

Gill went on to claim that a study by an India-born researcher at King”s College, London has found that most of the cases of allegations of human rights violations in Punjab were wrong. A paper has been presented in the US, claimed Gill, but added that he could not re-collect the name researcher.

When pointed out that the Supreme Court had awarded compensation to the list of dead provided by the Khalra Mission Committee, Gill brushed it aside saying the compensation was for cremating bodies without informing the families of the dead.

However, Gill did admit that some mistakes were committed by the Punjab Police in tackling terrorism but they were negligible.


Strike period of teachers condoned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
The Punjab government today decided to condone the strike period of teachers and employees of government-aided schools in the state. The government is also to release grant for the next six months without pre-audit to expedite the disbursal of salaries to the staff of aided schools.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the education department, Punjab, said grants to 392 schools for paying salaries had been released up to 31st March, 2007. For releasing further grants managing committees of these schools are not sending the claims because this included the strike period of 21 days. Therefore, the government today decided to condone the strike period to release grants to them.

He further said the delay in release of grants was solely because of non-submission of claims by the managements of the schools despite repeated reminders to them.

The department would immediately release salary bills of these employees once these school managements submitted their claims, said the spokesman


Emergency in Pakistan
‘Economic sanctions may prove disastrous’
Tribune News Service

Attari, November 5
People of Pakistan are worried over the likely economic sanctions in view of the emergency imposed by President Pervez Musharraf a few days ago. These views were expressed by some members of a delegation comprising 84 members, which arrived in India through the joint checkpost on a 25-day pilgrimage here today.

Mohinder Kumar of Jheknabad in Sindh province said the country was already facing financial crises and if the West imposed economic sanctions it would be disastrous.

Most of the members who seemed to be from the business community were equivocal in saying that if funds would not come to the country it would be difficult to implement developmental plans and check inflation.

Mahesh of Larkana said the minority community in Pakistan were feeling safe under President Musharraf. He added that the minority communities were enjoying equal rights in Pakistan.

However, all members of the delegation failed to answer the query whether the conditions would be the same after the elections were held and President Musharraf removed from the august office.


Govt wants Punchhi panel to be wound up
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Punjab will urge the Union Government for winding up the commission on centre-state relations headed by Justice M.M. Punchhi as its terms of reference clearly violate the federal spirit of the Constitution. Instead, a conclave of political parties should be called from across the country and a federal structure be re-established on the basis of consensus evolved at the conclave.

Speaking to The Tribune in this regard, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Cooperation Minister, who will represent Punjab at the fourth International Conference on sharing federalism practices at theVigyan Bhavan in Delhi tomorrow, said today earlier so many commissions were set up to define centre-state relations but they failed to satisfy the parties like the Shiromani Akali Dal

(SAD) which had been fighting for the past several years on giving more powers to states.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the Centre did not lose any opportunity to usurp powers of states under the Constitution. Several subjects which were earlier on the state list had now shifted to the concurrent list and Union List. He said terms of reference of the Punchhi Commission was another clandestine attempt by the Union Government to establish its further administrative control over the states to weaken them.

He said states had become debt- ridden because plans were funded by the Centre advancing 70 per cent money as plan funds on interest and remaining as grant. Though money was collected from states but the same was advanced to them on interest, said Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

The Union Government had devised a formula with regard to the devolution of funds in such a manner that progressive states like Punjab were punished by denying adequate allocation of funds.

He said it was difficult to understand in what manner the 12th finance commission set up by the Union Government had allocated funds from the central pool. While smaller states like Himachal Pradesh will get Rs 10,000 crore from the central pool in the next five years, Punjab would get only Rs 3,000 crore. Such issues would be raised tomorrow at the conference, said Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Such arbitrary functioning of the Union Government vis-à-vis states often ruled by the parties opposed to the Congress requires to be set right by clearly defining the federal practices in the Constitution and further empowering the states. But the states had not yet realised that the Union Government was moving fast to establish its further grip on the states by starting direct funding of the panchayati raj institutions without taking the states concerned into confidence. 


Badal for restructuring of Constitution
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh November 5
Once again raising his oft-repeated line of “giving more powers to states and on river waters issue,” Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called for a comprehensive restructuring of the Constitution to bring it in line with the federal character of the country.

He demanded that the word ‘federal’ be inserted in the preamble of the Constitution and distribution of subjects on the Union and the States lists, respectively, in the statute be recast. This will allow states to exploit their full potential for development and prosperity.

“It absolutely makes no sense for a country of federal diversity to have a unitary Constitution. Strong states mean a strong India,” said Badal in a statement issued from Chandigarh after taking part in the fourth international conference on federalism in Delhi.

Calling for a complete decentralisation of the planning process, Badal demanded allocation of 35 per cent share for states in the central taxes and distribution of Rajya Sabha seats on the principle of equality between states, as was the case with the US federal senate.

In a significant reference to the critical river waters issue, the chief minister said Article 262 of the Constitution should be made more specific to ensure that the Centre could not violate the internationally accepted riparian principle.

He also repeated his party’s stance that the application of Article 356 regarding the imposition of the President’s rule be confined merely to conditions of external aggression or provable internal insurgency.

Badal attributed the progressive erosion of federal values to “a prolonged spell of single party rule both at the Centre and in states.”

The chief minister said the emphasis on making the Centre all powerful had created hurdles in the way of economic development of different regions. Needs vary from state to state.

Badal said while major share of responsibility for development lay with the states, they had very little say in crucial decision making. “Even in small matters like micro-planning for rural and urban areas, the states have to turn to the Centre for clearance, and this seriously hampers and delays the process of development,” Badal said.

On issues which are state subjects - like agriculture - the states had practically no say in policy making or decision taking.


Chinks in SAD (A)
Bittu supporters to form separate party
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
A five-member committee set up to resolve the issues related to Akali Dal(Amritsar) here today said removal of Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu from the party was undemocratic and against the constitution of the party.

The committee members, who held a press conference here today, said they had made efforts for restoring the unity in the party but all efforts made in this regard have failed. “Simranjit Singh Mann is not ready to talk on any issue related to Daljit Singh,” said committee members.

They said the committee members would meet on November 10 to make its strategy to rebuild the party and make announcement in this regard at the party meeting on November 30 at Ludhiana. “We are now keen to form a separate party led by Daljit Singh,” they added. Amrik Singh Issry, Daya Singh Kakar, Sukhdev Singh Dod, Gurpritam Singh and Gurdip Singh Najowal said they would leave the party and join hands with Daljit Singh on November 30.


Flying Squads
Panchayat bodies to intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Members of five organisations associated with the Rural Development and Panchayat Department under the aegis of Joint Action Committee (JAC) today threatened to intensify their stir if the state government failed to meet their demands.

They have been protesting for the past eight days.

While demanding scraping of the flying squads terming these as a tool to settle political scores, representatives of the JAC said they would stall all rural development works carried out by the panchayat department and would burn effigy of state minister for panchayat Ranjit Singh Brahmpura on November 7.

Addressing mediapersons at the Chandigarh Press Club here, president of the Panchayat Association, Punjab, Sukhdev Singh Bare Ke, said the state government had not properly implemented amendment to Section 73 of the Constitution carried out in 1992.

Insisting on immediate implementation of the amendment, he also demanded that the sarpanches should be dealt under the Panchayat Act, 1994, instead of foisting false cases against them by the flying squads.

The disgruntled members of the panchayat associations have been sitting on a fast and have been staging a protest outside the office of the director, Rural Development and Panchayat Department, in Sector 17 for the past eight days keeping aside their political affliations.

Today, protestors from Moga staged a dharna outside the director’s office.

General secretary of the Panchayati Raj Junior Engineers Association, Kulwant Singh, said the state government was defying the Panchayat Act by harassing the sarpanches at the hands of flying squads.

He stated that there was no point of booking sarpanches, who had been given utilisation certificates for the works done years ago, as it is responsibility of the BDPO and the junior engineers to inspect the quality of the work done.

He demanded that the government should appoint technical personas for inspection of works.

The representatives also rued that the government had not fixed the rates of material and labour as per prevailing market rates, which is also hampering the development works.

They alleged that the previous Congress government defied the Panchayat Act, 1994, by registering police cases against 700 sarpanches across the state through vigilance bureau. Now, the SAD-BJP regime was towing the similar line and has suspended 350 sarpanches and issued notices to 500 others.


Enhanced power bills despite CM’s assurances
Attar Singh/TNS

Patiala, November 5
Electricity consumers in the state have already received bills according to enhanced power tariff as recommended by the Punjab State Electrcity Regulatory Commission despite Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s assurances the revised tariff’s burden would not be passed on to the consumers, at least for the time being.

Last date for paying bills at enhanced rates without fine expired today. Samana MLA Brahm Mohindra lamented that either the PSEB or the Chief Minister was “ cheating” the public.

Sunita Rani, a consumer, said increased tariff had upset her “ household budget ” Other consumers also echoed Sunita Rani’s views.


After giving maximum CMs,
Malwa now leads in MPs’ attendance in LS
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 5
Malwa has always been on the forefront of Punjab politics and boasts of giving the maximum number of chief ministers to the state. Now it also seems to be leading the list of average attendance (sittings) of Punjab MPs in the 14th Lok Sabha as well.

A perusal of records on the Lok Sabha website shows that seven of its MPs from Ludhiana, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Sangrur, Patiala and Ropar have an average attendance of 159 sittings as compared to 140 from Majha (Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran) in the 11 sessions of the Lok Sabha from June 2, 2004, to September 9, 2007.

Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP from Ropar, has the maximum number of 233 sittings of the total 259 sittings in the 14th Lok Sabha. Sukhbir Badal, working president, SAD, has the least i.e. 65. He is believed to have missed some of the sessions due to his political engagements in the state as the eighth and ninth sessions of the Lok Sabha coincided with the Punjab Assembly elections.

The young representatives from the state in the Lok Sabha have the least number of sittings as compared to the old timers. Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has 80 sittings to his credit while Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Ludhiana MP, has 104.

The list of other MPs is as follows: Hoshiarpur MP Avinash Rai Khanna (210 sittings), Gurdaspur MP Vinod Khanna (131 sittings), Ferozepur MP Zora Singh Mann (155 sittings), Tarn Taran MP Rattan Singh Ajnala (208 sittings), Bathinda MP Paramjit Kaur Gulshan (187 sittings), Patiala MP Preneet Kaur (198 sittings), Jalandhar MP Rana Gurjit Singh (170 sittings) and Sangrur MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (168 sittings).

Attendance of Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, Charanjit Singh Atwal could not be collected as the deputy presiding officer of the House, while in the chair, does not sign the attendance register.


Cops to escort Pak cricket fans
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 5
The police has planned a comprehensive security for Pakistan cricket fans who will be entering India tomorrow to witness the second one dayer between India and Pakistan. It is scheduled to be held in Mohali on November 8.

According to sources, the Indian Mission in Islamabad has issued visas to 250 Pakistanis. District police chief Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh today told The Tribune that in view of the heightened security alert on the border following emergency in Pakistan, the police was taking extra precautions. He said the fans would be taken to Mohali in special buses under foolproof police security.

They were entering India on a four-day restricted visa, allowing them to remain in Mohali only. 


Admn fails to check synthetic khoya supply
Minister warns sweet shop owners
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 5
Residents of this district are forced to consume sweet poison on every festival for the past many decades, courtesy the administration and the health authorities who have failed in taking a concrete step to check the supply of synthetic dairy products in the area.

Sweet shop owners have been preparing eatables, especially dairy products, by purchasing synthetic khoya and other items from outsides the state. Over 90 to 100 quintals of synthetic dairy products are sold on Diwali in the district, including towns like Pathankot, Sujanpur, Dina Nagar, Gurdaspur, Batala, Qadian and Dera Baba Nanak, and some villages every year. Over 20 quintals of synthetic khoya and other dairy products are consumed on every Diwali in Pathankot alone.

Transport minister Master Mohan Lal Sharma revealed that the shopkeepers had been getting the supply of synthetic khoya from neighbouring states, especially Uttar Pradesh.

Expressing concern over the supply of synthetic milk and other dairy products in his hometown Pathankot, the minister has warned sweet shop owners in this regard. He said the district health authorities had already been directed to conduct raids on suspected shops. The district health officer, Gurdaspur, had already recovered a huge amount of synthetic khoya from certain shopkeepers in the district, he 

Bishambhar Dass, MLA from Narot Mehra, and Dinesh Kumar, MLA from Sujanpur, also warned the sweet shop owners against using products of synthetic milk in sweets. 


Govt to appoint 17,000 teachers
Our Correspondent

Zira (Ferozepur), November 5
With a view to improving the quality of education, 17,000 teachers will be appointed soon and Adarsh Schools will be opened in all Assembly constituencies of the state at a cost of Rs 75 crore. This was stated by education minister Upinderjit Kaur who was here to preside over the centenary celebrations of Jeewan Mal Government Senior Secondary School.

Justice M.M. Aggarwal, MP Zora Singh Mann, former minister Hari Singh Zira were among others who addressed the gathering. Managing director of the Punjab Agriculture Co-operative Bank Sukhdarshan Singh Mrar, president of the District Youth Shiromani Akali Dal Avtar Singh were also present.

The minister stated that efforts were being made to improve the standard of education in Punjab. New teachers were being appointed in all schools on a priority basis. Education is provided to the students up to the age of 14 years free of cost. “Scholarships are being given to poor students belonging to schedule castes.” The learning of English was imperative for our children so that they could compete at the international level, she added.

Justice Aggarwal released a souvenir. Students presented a cultural show.


Illegal colonies mushrooming in Muktsar
Prabhjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 5
The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) has no business in Muktsar, which is the hub of illegal colonies being carved out of the agricultural land surrounding the city.

And if the Punjab finance minister seems to be concerned over the fiscal reforms, he has a peg to begin with, checking out how the state government loses revenue worth crores amidst the murky deals of the land mafia in his own home district.

The rates of plots shoot up overnight following open auctions in which buyers purchase a one-kanal plot at the rate as high as Rs 35,000 per marla and sell off it the next day at the rate of Rs 45,000 per marla.

With PUDA nowhere at the scene, and in the absence of an Improvement Trust or any other administrative authority in such deals, the registration of these illegal plots has become a routine 
affair here.

One such piece of land was carved out illegally into plots which were sold in the past three days under the name of “Guru Nanak Dev Nagri” on the Jalalabad Road bypass. The over four-acre land, which used to be under agriculture, was bought by two local politicians, who also own rice mills.

Simultaneously, the business was on at “Mai Bhago Enclave”, the biggest illegal colony spread on an area of 90 acres in the vicinity of the deputy commissioner’s office on the Malout road.

Over 50 such illegal colonies, with no approval from PUDA, have already come up in this district headquarters.

With the Chief Minister’s own Lambi Assembly constituency being 45 km away, and the finance minister’s Gidderbaha segment 30 km away, murky land deals are flourishing here.

Acknowledging that illegal colonies are mushrooming in Muktsar, deputy commissioner Vikas Garg told The Tribune “the DC office has no authority to stop all this. It is up to PUDA only to look into the matter.”

On the other hand, PUDA additional chief administrator Hardeep Singh said PUDA had lodged written complaints with the police against owners of 30 such illegal colonies which had come up in Muktsar district alone.

With no PUDA office and not even a single official of the authority deputed in the entire districts of Muktsar, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Mansa and Bathinda, the ACA at PUDA’s Bathinda office manages the entire affair in those districts.

“We have XENs and SDOs here (in Bathinda office) who keep a vigil to check the upcoming of illegal colonies,” he said.

Surprisingly, the Muktsar municipal authorities have an official account of only four illegal colonies in the city and on its outskirts. Two of these are at the Abohar road and one each at the Bathinda road, opposite Canal Colony, and the 
Maur road.

“The only PUDA-approved colony”, says a board at the gate of Vohra Enclave, near Muktsar railway station, conveying succinctly that no other colony here has been approved by the authority.


Annual Plan
Coalition hitch hinders resource mobilisation
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Though Punjab has failed to mobilise additional financial resources, as far as implementation of its annual plan is concerned, it is doing reasonably well so far. The Annual Development Plan is worth Rs 5,111 crore and has been approved by the national Planning Commission.

There was a resource gap worth Rs 1,000 crore to achieve 100 per cent implementation of the Plan by the end of this fiscal year. However, Punjab has failed to mobilise adequate additional resources. In fact, there are serious differences between the two coalition partners, the SAD and the BJP, over the levying of taxes to mobilise additional revenue. Both parties do not want to put any further burden of taxes on their respective vote banks and that attitude has impeded the levying of new taxes.

It has achieved nothing on even the sand and gravel mines sector, from which it had planned to earn a revenue of Rs 200 crore in the state budget.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had set up a Cabinet sub-committee under the leadership of industries minister Manoranjan Kalia. Other members of the committee are Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Manpreet Singh Badal, Adesh Partap Singh and Janmeja Singh Sekhon.

The committee has done nothing concrete so far except holding one or two formal meetings. In fact, first of all it did not meet for long even after its constitution came into being. And when it met, it just did not go beyond official formalities. It is widely believed in government circles as well as in sand-trade circles that Punjab can earn Rs 1,000 crore from sand and gravel mines. As Punjab is located in the Shivalik foothills, sand and gravel wealth flows in the state from Himachal Pradesh in plenty.

As sand and gravel mines have remained unattended, sand mafia has made a big fortune by exploiting the mines. As far as mobilisation of resources in other sectors is concerned, entry tax has been imposed on sugar, yarn and steel etc. However, income from these areas will be minimal.

Entry tax on sugar has been imposed following the persistent demand of the Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal), which had told Badal that Uttar Pradesh Sugar mill barons were dumping sugar in bulks in Punjab to hit hard the state’s sugar industry.

Even during the previous Amarinder regime, entry tax on sugar was proposed by then finance minister Surinder Singla. But his proposal was deflated because of lobbying by certain influential politicians and businessmen having interest in sugar mills of UP.

As far as implementation of the Plan is concerned, of the Rs 5,111 crore the Planning Department is to approve proposals for spending Rs 2,987 crore. The remaining money will go to social security sector and the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board. The money will come through revenue generated from various levies, including cess, etc. The money generated from certain levies is directly transferred to certain dedicated accounts like the one of social security from which old-age pension is paid.

The Planning Department has so far approved schemes worth Rs 1,513 crore. Of these, after examining, the Finance Department has cleared the schemes worth Rs 1,119 for the release of funds. The Finance Department, in fact, has released Rs 743 crore for the schemes approved by the Planning Department. Approval to the Plan got delayed because of transfer of power in the state. Though all is well on the plan implementation front, resource crunch can hit from the beginning of the next month. 


In peace with wild animals: A farmer shows the way
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Nurpur Bedi (Ropar), November 5
Much hue and cry is being raised by farmers living near forest areas regarding the damage to their crops by wild animals, especially blue bulls and wild boars.

A farmer living near Nurpur Bedi has, however, displayed how they can live in a symbiotic relation with the wild animals. Two years ago Mehar Singh saved a female blue bull (neel gai) from a group of poachers. Following this, the animal got friendly with him. The blue bull, along with her calf, now roams freely in his fields. She comes every week or fortnightly to his farms and feeds in the fields. She is not scared of Mehar or his family. Mehar said whenever wild dogs or poachers try to chase the blue bull, it comes to his farm for protection as they chase away the stray dogs.

When asked if the blue bull destroyed his crop, Mehar said, “I had never felt like that. On the other hand it has brought fortune for me. The yield of my crops has increased and my financial condition has also improved”. But their action had become a source of annoyance for their neighbours.

The blue bull is an Asian antelope and now found in the forests of India and Pakistan. As per liberal estimates of the Wildlife Department, just 8,000 blue bulls have been left in the wild.

The previous Congress government in a controversial decision had authorised the SDMs to issue hunting permits for killing blue bulls. A coterie of poachers reportedly close to former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was responsible for the controversial decision. The justification for the decision was that the animals were destroying the crops of animals.

The antagonists to the decision, however, were of the view that natural calamities caused more damage to crops than wild animals. If the government could spent a fortune on compensating the farmers who lost their crop to natural calamities, why compensation could not be given for small damages caused by wild animals, they said.

Moreover, the decision of the previous government was also against the provisions of the wildlife Act. Interestingly, the Wildlife Department was kept out of the procedure of issuing hunting permits for blue bulls. An animal once killed had to be deposited with the department as consuming meat of dead wild animal was against the provisions of the Act.

Farmers like Mehar Singh can show the way to the department and law makers on how they can live with the wild animals.


500 kg synthetic khoya confiscated
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 5
The health department today confiscated about 500 kg synthethic khoya from the Ropar railway station. Sources in the department said they had information that the synthetic khoya was coming for sale in the markets of Ropar and adjoining areas of Himachal.

They followed the miscreants in train from Kurali to Ropar. At the Ropar railway station, the miscreants fled while the synthetic sweet was confiscated and handed over to the railway police authorities. Sources said the fake khoya was being brought from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

However, it was strange that while the health department officials had prior information about the synthetic khoya, they did not book or arrest any of the miscreants.

Their inability to arrest the accused clearly reflects that though they were implementing the directions of the health minister regarding confiscation of synthetic sweets, they were also making sure that they do not peeve the local sweet sellers who were going to sell the poison to people.

If the department had information regarding the synthetic khoya, it is clear that they also knew who had ordered the same for sale in the district.

While synthetic sweets have been confiscated a number of times, none of the persons who ordered them, have been arrested in the district so far.


6 get life term for double murder
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 5
Additional sessions judge D.S. Malwai today awarded life imprisonment to all six accused, Jaspal Singh of Sangrur, Darshan Singh, Harish Kumar, Rameshwar, Vijay Kumar and Jaggu, all residents of Narwana town, Haryana, in a double murder case during a daylight robbery here.

On April 17, 2002, Madan Lal (52), a small moneylender, and his wife Sneh Lata were murdered by the convicts with sharp-edged weapons in the Partap Nagar locality. The convicts came to his residence in a car and demanded gold, money and keys of the bank locker from the moneylender. But, he refused to fulfil their demands. The convicts locked two daughters of Madan in a room before murdering him and his wife.


Tota Singh Case
Warrants issued against witness
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 5
The special judge here today issued bailable warrants against a witness in corruption case against former education minister Tota Singh. Om Prakash, an assistant in the Education Department, was to depose before the court in the said case against Tota Singh and other officials of the department.

He, however, did not come. The judge then issued bailable warrants against the said witness. The second witness, Harpal Singh, had, however, sought exemption for today from the court through his lawyer.

All accused in the case, including Tota Singh, his then secretary Pavitar Pal Kaur and Tirath Singh were present in the court today. The next date of hearing in the case has been fixed for December 5.


HC asks Jalandhar SP to assist court
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
Just over two years after a Jalandhar district resident was arrested despite the confirmation of her anticipatory bail, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today held that the manner in which the investigations have been carried out in the case is “nothing but willful disobedience” of the court orders.

Taking up the petition filed by Sukhwinder Kaur of Malsian village, Justice Hemant Gupta directed Jalandhar SP “to assist the court with relevant records and his comments on the conduct of the investigating officer and the maintenance of the records in the matter, “before taking further action”.

Fixing November 6 as the next date of hearing in the matter, Justice Gupta also ordered assistant sub-inspector-cum-previous investigation office Tara Chand to be impleaded as a respondent in the petition on the oral request of the petitioner’s counsel.

In his detailed order, the judge also asked senior deputy advocate-general G.S. Cheema to secure his presence in the court on the date of hearing.

In her petition, Sukhwinder Kaur had earlier contended that a case of cheating was registered against her in December, 2004. On February 4, 2005, she was granted ad-interim anticipatory bail. The same was confirmed on July 12, 2005. Despite the orders, she was arrested on September 13, 2005, and was admitted to bail by the trial court only on September 23, 2005.

During the course of hearing, respondent ASI Balwinder Singh said copies of the ad-interim anticipatory bail or its confirmation were not available on record, leading to the petitioner’s arrest. Counsel for another respondent sub-inspector Sarabjit Rai stated court orders had not been violated.

After hearing both the sides, Justice Gupta ruled: The contention raised by the respondent is wholly untenable. The anticipatory bail granted on February 4, 2005, was confirmed in the presence of ASI Tara Chand, the then IO.

“It is impossible to imagine that the orders of grant of bail were not available on the record of the case. If such is the position, it is most deplorable way to conduct the investigatio,” the judge ruled. 

Dimpa’s bail plea

Former Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Dimpa today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking regular bail. He was arrested in connection with the death of an Akali worker during a clash prior to the Assembly elections in Punjab.

A case was registered against Dimpa and others on January 29 after the worker died in a clash in the Beas area.


‘Eco Baba’ sendsSOS to HC
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 5
“Eco Baba” Balbir Singh Seechewal, whose feat of cleaning the polluted and weed-ridden 160-km Kali Bein river through community participation was highly-acclaimed by a cross section of society, today sent an SOS to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to protect Punjab’s rivers from large-scale pollution by vested interests.

Talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of a seminar on “endangered environment and humanity” organised by the Punjab Eco-friendly Association (PEFA) here, the baba said his Ek Onkar Charitable Trust had written to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court drawing his attention to the large-scale pollution in Satluj, Kali Bein and Chitti Bein.

“The judiciary must step in as other organs of the government seem to have let us down,” he quipped.

Coming down heavily on the legislature and executive for its criminal neglect in protecting state’s rivers from pollution, he alleged that industries, municipal councils and influential farmers were discharging polluted water into the rivers playing havoc with the lives of people living along the rivers. Even as the legislature and executive had failed to perform their duties, the judiciary was duty-bound to direct the authorities concerned to take remedial measures for the protection of the rivers, he added.

Stressing on a comprehensive policy to manage the state’s rivers, Seechewal said the trust had taken upon itself the upgradation of the sewerage system of 22 small towns and villages so their their polluted water did not flow into Kali Bein. In fact, Kali Bein, which was declared a “noble mission” by former President APJ Abdul Kalam, would be developed as a model which would ultimately pave the way for other such projects, he said.

Batting for organic farming, Seechewal said fertilizers were playing havoc with soil and water resources. “Our efforts to use the recycled water for the agricultural purposes have born fruits in certain areas along the Kali Bein in the Sultanpur Lodhi area,” he informed.

Advocating a tough stand against against the polluters, he said such measures would go a long way in dissuading the potential violators also.


Rs 45 lakh for Sangrur, Sunam colleges

Sangrur, November 5
In an effort to improve infrastructure and maintain the buildings of Shaheed Udham Singh Government College, Sunam, and Government Ranbir College, Sangrur, Rs 45 lakh has been released by PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa.

Talking to this reporter over the phone this evening, Dhindsa said Rs 20 lakh for the Sunam college and Rs 25 lakh for the Sangrur college had been released from the Public Works Department (B&R) fund for infrastructure development and maintenance of the buildings of both colleges.

Dhindsa said an amount of Rs 30 lakh each would be given to the government senior secondary schools of Jakhepal, Ubhawal and Cheema villages in the Sunam Assembly constituency for infrastructure improvement. He said the funds for the schools would be provided by NABARD and would be spent through the Punjab Education Department. — TNS


From Colleges
1,300 students participate in recruitment drive

Banur, November 5
About 40 officers from the staff training institute, PNB, Panchkula, along with managers from five different zones, headed by S.M. Mahajan, chief manager, Bali and Ashok Sharma, visited Dr IT Business School, Banur, today. Prof P.P. Arya recalled the achievements of Lala Lajpat Rai. Bali enlightened the students on the key to success and said, “Ability, speed, patience, impartiality and clean hands are the five mantras for success.”

CAMPUS RECRUITMENT: A placement drive and campus interview for recruitment of assistant software engineers and process executives with Infosys Technologies Limited and Infosys BPO received a good response at the Rayat and Bahra Group of Institute’s Sahauran campus as over 1,300 students participated in it. With openings only meant for 2008 batch pass outs, BSc (computer science/electronics/mathematics/physics/statistics) and BCA degree holders queued up for the selection process. — TNS


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