P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Centre to double grant for rural health: Minister
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 14
The Centre will set up a National Urban Health Mission on the lines of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) next year.

This was disclosed by the Punjab health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla after her meeting with the union health minister in New Delhi yesterday.

Talking to newsmen at a rest house here today, Chawla said the NRHM had provided a grant of Rs 261 crore and the state government would contribute Rs 28 crore for various health projects in rural areas of the state. The amount would be doubled next year, Chawla added.

She said the infant death rate in Punjab was 40 per 1,000, while the national-level ratio was 58 per 1,000. She said she had initiated a campaign to save motherhood and reduce the ratio of infant deaths to 30 per 1,000 within a year.

She disclosed that 15,000 women, including daughters and daughters-in-law, from various villages of the state would be provided proper training for this purpose.

Chawla said she, along with Punjab medical education minister Tikshan Sud, had urged the union health minister to include the under-construction Jalandhar Medical College and Hospital in the list of six major medical institutions which were to be provided facilities on par with AIIMS.

Replying to a question, Chawla said after a successful campaign against adulterated sweets, the Health Department would now launch a state-level campaign against the sale of synthetic milk.

She said she was committed to provide better health services in civil hospitals and all district health officers and food inspectors had been instructed to act accordingly.

She announced that an ayurvedic and a homeopathic dispensary would be set up in all civil hospitals of the state. When asked about the shortage of doctors in civil hospitals, Chawla said the state government was working on a solution. She also said 147 specialist doctors would soon be recruited.

Regarding quackery and sale of drugs, she said a state-level campaign would soon be launched and the government would initiate a drive to nab anti-social elements indulging in these practices. She said chemists would also be checked for selling medicines without the valid prescription of a qualified doctor.

When asked about the shortage of medicines in civil hospitals, Chawla said a state-level committee to purchase medicines had been set up, which would monitor the process. She, however, admitted that the government had no plans of purchasing modern machinery and equipment.

Meanwhile, Chawla ordered the immediate posting of a gynaecologist at the Phagwara Civil Hospital. Kapurthala deputy commissioner J.M. Balamurugan, Phagwara SDM Amarjeet Paul, civil surgeon Kapurthala Ashok Nayyar and SMO Kailash Kapoor were also present at the occasion.


Less arrivals in mandis jack up rates
Rising cotton prices bring cheer to farmers
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 14
With the price of cotton showing an upward trend, up by almost Rs 500 per quintal compared to that the produce fetched last year, cotton farmers in Malwa, whose crop was affected by mealy bug, seem to be a happy lot.

The price of cotton during the corresponding period last year was around Rs 1,900-2,000 per quintal. Now it is selling at Rs 2,520 per quintal.

Experts feel that the reason for cotton prices going up is that arrivals in Punjab mandis have dropped by 1.05 lakh bales (compared to inflows during October 31, 2006). Though the farmers suffered losses due to a weak produce, now they seem to be earning profits with the increase in cotton prices.

The reason for less arrivals at mandis is that the yield is low this time due to unfavourable weather conditions in some parts of the cotton belt, spurious Bt seeds and the attack of mealy bug. Even the National Commission of Farmers has said recently that almost 60 per cent of Bt cotton seeds sown in Punjab were spurious.

As per data received from Markfed, the nodal agency involved in the procurement of cotton in the state, till October 31, Punjab mandis have received 5.75 lakh bales (one bale is 170 kg of cotton lint) of cotton compared to 6.8 lakh bales received during the corresponding period last year. Last year, 26 lakh bales were received in Punjab mandis and this year, Markfed is expecting the arrivals to go down to 22 lakh bales.

The reason for this increase in prices is being attributed to the shortage of cotton worldwide while demand for it is increasing. According to OSD (cotton), Markfed, Bathinda, Mandeep Singh Brar, “Last year, India exported around 50 lakh bales of cotton to Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and some other countries. This year, we expect the export to increase by 10-20 lakh bales. That is why, there will be cotton shortage in the domestic market.”

The area under cultivation of all kinds of Bt varieties in Punjab this year increased to 5.57 lakh hectares from 3.84 lakh hectares last year. The area under cotton cultivation this year increased to 6.48 lakh hectares from 6.07 lakh hectares last year.

The present prices of cotton are between Rs 2,325 and Rs 2,450 per quintal.

Attack of mealy had bug and whitefly compounded the problems of cotton growers, forcing them to shell out additional sums of Rs 1,500 or Rs 2,000 per acre on pesticides, they said.


Action sought against Preneet for backing rebel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
A group within the Congress today demanded action against MP Preneet Kaur for allegedly “supporting” a Congressman of Sunam, who was suspended from the party in January this year.

A delegation of workers from Sunam led by Aman Arora, the defeated Congress candidate from that assembly constituency, met the Punjab Pradesh Congress chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today and demanded action against Preneet Kaur.

Arora alleged that the MP had been keeping a close contact with Rajinder Deepa, who contested as an Independent on being denied Congress ticket from Sunam. The MP visited Deepa’s residence a few days ago.

Arora claimed that this had sent wrong signals among Congress workers in that area as the MP was visiting rebels who had caused a loss to the party. It was due to Deepa, who had polled about 18,000 votes, that the Congress lost the seat to the SAD by 10,000 votes, claimed Arora.

Deepa is married to Arora’s sister Sonia. Aman Arora and his sister Sonia are the children of former Punjab minister and Congressman Bhagwaan Dass Arora. The family has been fighting who should be getting the Congress ticket. In the 2002 elections Deepa’s wife Sonia was the official candidate while Aman Arora had opted out of the contest. Sonia had lost.

Bhattal will be speaking to Preneet Kaur on the matter, sources within the Congress. However, the matter, has not been referred to the AICC, so far.


Cong to meet Guv against police Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
The Punjab Congress today opened two fronts against the ruling SAD-BJP combine. One-it demanded a “white paper” on the present state of economy of Punjab.

Second -- the party will submit a memorandum to the Punjab Governor asking him not sign the proposed Punjab Police Act in its present form, saying “it is a move to control the police”.

Talking to media persons, Punjab Congress chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and finance minister Manpreet Badal were issuing contradictory statements about the finances of Punjab. Bhattal claimed “Badal was lying” that the Congress had left the treasury empty. “The Congress had left about Rs 812 crore in the treasury and it can be proved,” claimed Bhattal.

The SAD, she claimed, had never carried out any development in Punjab and all power projects launched in the state in the past 60 years had been at the initiative of the Congress.

Even the Bathinda refinery project had been cleared as the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre brought in industrialist Lakshmi Mittal to pick up a stake in the refinery. The SAD first criticised the idea and now the projects are being cleared one-by-one.

Earlier in the morning, Bhattal had chaired a meeting of the grievances committee of the Punjab Congress where it was pointed out that the SAD allegedly wants to have total control over the police and wants to pursue the policy of vendetta against the political opponents.

They decided to seek the Governor’s intervention for stalling the “retrograde” Punjab Police Act.

The government had even jeopardised the neutrality of the state police board as envisaged by the Supreme Court. The leader of the opposition in the state assembly was supposed to be the member of board.

The chief secretary had affirmed that the board will be constituted as per model suggested by the Soli Sorabjee Committee which had kept a provision for having the leader of the opposition.

The board, in its present form, shall merely be a showpiece to hoodwink transparency in the selection process of DGP, who would be as dependent upon his political masters as he was earlier.


SAD membership date extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
SAD working president Sukhbir Singh Badal has extended the date for enrollment of new members of the party till November 30, said Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, secretary of the party.

Cheema has told the party leaders to deposit couterfiles of membership receipts in the party office till November 30.


Housefed to build 6,000 houses for poor
Tribune News Service

Banur, November 14
“Economically weaker sections of Punjab are heading for a housing crisis,” said Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh here today while announcing that Housefed had taken the responsibility of financing at least 6,000 houses for the poor.

The minister was addressing a gathering at the launch of 54th cooperation week being observed by cooperatives across the nation from today. He also formally launched a housing scheme for the poor on 15 acres of land at Banur where houses of 405 sq feet at a cost of Rs 3.5 to 4 lakh will be made available to people with a monthly income below Rs 3,000. Cooperative institutions would finance these houses.

Besides these, houses of 600 sq feet and 725 sq feet at a cost of Rs 6.5 lakh and Rs 7.5 lakh will be built for Class III and IV government employees, he added.

He further said this scheme would be adopted by all district headquarters in the state. “Apart from this scheme, Housefed is building 632 flats in Mohali, 168 in Amritsar, 99 in Ludhiana and 162 in Kapurthala for weaker sections of the society. The land belonging to the Cooperative Department, lying unused at various places in Punjab, wlll be used for the construction of houses for the needy,” he said.

He said the department had re-launched its one-time settlement scheme (OTS) for Housefed loan defaulters. Now Housefed would charge interest on the balance amount of defaulters up to March 31, 2005 and interest for the remaining three years i.e. from 31.3.2005 to 31.3.2008 would be waived. Defaulters would have the facility to pay a one-time settlement amount in 90 days or in instalments in 2 years, whereas earlier they were given only 30 days. Share capital had also been reduced to 3 per cent instead of 5 per cent, he added.

Jagdeep Singh Nakai, chief parliamentary secretary, urged the officials to make cooperative a mass movement and spread awareness among the people. He also stressed on the export of Milkfed and Markfed products to foreign countries. KK Bawa chairman Housefed honoured the cooperative minister with a memento.


‘Misbehaviour’ with NRI carrying adopted child
UK judge lodges protest with officials
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 14
Justice Amarjit Singh Johal, a Sikh judge of High Oakham Manor, the UK, held a series of meetings with senior officials of Rajasansi Airport, including its director Arun Talwar and officials from the CISF and FRRO, to lodge his protest against the alleged “misbehaviour” with a UK-based NRI Harjinder Paul Singh, who wanted to take a adopted female child to his country.

However, the Immigration Department, which has transferred inspector Vidul Sinha, who was involved in the controversy, has pleaded that the complainant was not carrying original adoption deed with him. He claimed that it was the duty of the immigration officer to check the original adoption deed in view of a number of cases of “human trafficking”. Refuting the charges of taking bribe, the senior immigration officer said it was not possible to bribe an officer during peak hours at the counters in the open area.

The officials said though a departmental inquiry had already been ordered, the officer had performed his duty “well” by asking for original documents. It is, however, intriguing as to why the passenger was allowed to catch the flight abroad if he was carrying the adopted female child (12 years) to his country without the original adoption deed?

Justice Johal said he would take the case at the highest level in India and England. He alleged that the senior officials were trying to “hush up” the case.

A senior officer of the Airport Authority of India posted at the Rajasansi Airport said they had been flooded with numerous complaints of harassment at the hands of ground staff.


Cops begin checking at religious places
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
Following information hinting at a new trend used by anti-national elements, the Punjab police has started checking the antecedents of people managing religious places of all religions and sects across the state and also verifying people staying there for more than a few days.

Though officials are mum on the matter, sources have confirmed that the people managing temples, gurdwaras, mosques, churches and deras operated by babas are being screened and records will be prepared of those found suspicious or with links with dubious persons.

“Setting up” a religious place is the easiest method to avoid detection, said a senior cop, adding that this exercise was last carried out during the peak of terrorism. No latest data exists on the type and nature of religious places and people managing them. Without this the security agencies feel handicapped in probing missing links in important cases.

With no law to regulate the setting up of religious places, many such places are mushrooming and some of them are right next to airbases, cantonments and the Indo-Pak border. It is not known if these places were being used for anti-national activities.

Suspicion was raised some six months back when it was detected that a person managing a religious place used to change his location every few months, leaving no trace and telling nothing about himself at the new location.

He was detained and questioned and a detailed plan was found on him to carry out “anti-national” activities. His nabbing was not made public as others involved with him were to be nabbed and now almost the entire group of people who were with him have been identified.


Flying resumes at Patiala club
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 14
A good news for flying enthusiasts of the northern region. Flying has finally resumed at the Patiala Aviation Club after a long gap of two years.

One of the prestigious clubs, the Patiala club was established in 1962. The flying at the club, however, had come to a halt about two months ago when a Pushpak aircraft got damaged after it skidded off the tarmac and dashed against the ground. The lone trainee pilot, who had 68 hours of flying experience, had escaped unhurt.

The flying operations at the club were suspended by the Department of Civil Aviation following allegations that the pilot had not followed the norms and that he had not adequate flying experience.

Confirming that the flying operations have been resumed at the club, chief flying instructor G.S. Mangat, however, said the trainee pilot had more than requisite experience. “Trainees with 15-20 hours of flying experience can fly and go on a solo flight. Not only this, in some cases, people with even 10 hours of flying experience are eligible to fly,” said Mangat.

The club has three Pushpak and Cessna aircraft. Prior to its suspension, it was the lone operational flying institute of Punjab. The other two clubs at Ludhiana and Jalandhar were already lying defunct.


Guv for upgrading quality of kids’ care
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
The Punjab Governor and Administrator, Chandigarh, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), while presiding over the state-level Children’s Day function at Punjab Raj Bhawan here today, emphasised the need of a mass movement and participative endeavour, to upgrade the quality of children's care and development through a strong institutional network.

General Rodrigues and his wife Jean paid floral tributes to Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary. They gave away the prizes to the children who won art, culture and painting competitions. He also presented the child bravery award to Ilam Jot Singh of Ludhiana. He also released the souvenir brought out by the Child Welfare Council on the occasion.

Child labour

Tikshan Sud, labour minister, today issued directions to the department to launch a campaign to eliminate child labour as it would be the best tribute to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru on his birthday.

He said the children so detected would be either put in government schools under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan or in the National Child Labour Projects (NCLP) schools. He said that in case of destitute or children without parents would be provided shelter in the children homes being run by the Social Security Department of the state government.


The paddy procurement in Punjab touched 124.76 lakh tonnes, exceeding 124.70 lakhs tonnes procured during last kharif season. Private millers had purchased 11,27,000 MT of paddy, including basmati and sharbati, before September 26 i.e before the commencement of procurement operations.


Admn mum as MC misuses funds
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 14
Instead of playing the role of a guardian of public money, the district administration has allowed the local municipal authorities to get away with misuse of funds meant for development of a park in the district.

The amount was sanctioned by the CM. Even after people from various localities got together and wrote thrice to the administration seeking action against the culprits, all that the administration did was to order an inquiry.

This was done despite the fact that the evidences collected by the residents under the RTI Act were sufficient to prove the guilt of the concerned officials of the local civic body.

As per information, previous Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had sanctioned Rs 5 lakh for the development of Bhagwan Parsu Ram Park near railway over bridge. The said amount was provided to the district administration which further gave it to the MC. A three-member committee was also constituted by the administration to oversee the execution of work.

However, till date, no park has ever been developed by the MC at the said site even as the sanctioned amount has been spent. The MC claimed that amount was spent on levelling of the ground and erection of the boundary wall. But a visit to the site of the park reveals that not even a single penny has ever been spent at the site.

Narinder Kumar Sayal, president of the All India Crime Prevention Society, an NGO working for public welfare, said when information was sought from the MC under the RTI Act about the expenditure, it failed to provide any satisfactory reply.

Municipal councillor Sher Singh, who had also sought information regarding the misuse of funds under the act, said anyone could well perceive whether an amount as colossal as of Rs 4.75 lakh was required to level a small piece of land.

When information was sought from the administration regarding the action taken in this regard, the deputy commissioner's office filed an affidavit stating that though a three-member committee was formed to oversee the development work, it was not asked to submit a report whether the work had been completed or not and that, no information was available with the office of the DC.

Sayal contended that when the money for execution of work was provided by the district administration, it was morally bound to check whether the money was spent correctly or not.

He stated that it appeared that the administration, instead of taking action against the guilty officials, was trying to shield them for reasons best known to them. Deputy commissioner Alaknanda Dayal was not available for comments on the issue.


Forced to go to school, boy kills self
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 14
On Children's Day today, a 12-year-old student reportedly committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance after he was forced to go to school by his father.

A student of Class V at a school in Mandi Gobindgarh, Vikas Kumar was made to attend school against his wishes. He took the poisonous substance and left for school.

On reaching school, he started to vomit and fell unconscious and was rushed to the civil hospital by the bewildered school staff. The doctors tried their best but could not save the boy.


Harassment of Dalit woman
SC body demands VC’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 14
The Punjab Scheduled Caste Welfare Association (PSCWA), in its meeting, demanded immediate legal action against Punjabi University vice-chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, registrar B.S. Sandhu and deputy registrar (establishment) Baljit Singh Sidhu for harassment of a Dalit woman, working in the university as a clerk.

In a press release issued here today, state president of the association Paramjit Singh Sodh said during the meeting, the PSCWA took serious notice of the news reports that had appeared in a section of the press about the sexual harassment of a Dalit employee working on ad-hoc basis in the establishment section of the university. He further demanded immediate arrest of Boparai and other officials for violation of SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1889.

He alleged that this was not the first time when a Dalit was targeted by the university authorities. Earlier, Boparai had reverted seven Dalit employees working as senior assistants by abolishing the long-existing reservation policy. He further alleged that Boparai had abolished a reserved post of public relation officer to throw out Harminder Singh Khokhar.

Sodh further said the meeting unanimously decided to call upon the Punjab Governor and chancellor Gen S.F. Rodrigues and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to look into the matter, otherwise the association would be compelled to launch an agitation against the anti-Dalit vice-chancellor.


Students protest discipline code
Go berserk, jam highway traffic, injure bus driver
Tribune News Service

Not all supported protest….
Interestingly, none of the girl students supported the protest today. "Its examination time and for the last three years, we have been facing the problem of strike during this time. The non-serious students not only disturb our studies but even our peace of mind," the girls remarked.
Traffic jam and chaos after students of Guru Gobind Singh Modern Technology and Polytechnic College, Kharar, pelted a bus with stones, injuring the driver in Kharar on Wednesday.
Traffic jam and chaos after students of Guru Gobind Singh Modern Technology and Polytechnic College, Kharar, pelted a bus with stones, injuring the driver in Kharar on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Kharar, November 14
Students of Guru Gobind Singh Modern Technology and Polytechnic College rebelled against the college's bid to bring discipline on the campus.

The protesting students went berserk and jammed highway traffic for around 25 minutes. They even pelted a bus stranded in traffic jam with stones, thereby injuring the driver.

Students of the degree college called for a strike this morning and locked the college gate at 9 am.

The protesting students said they were agitating against the recently issued “strict” guidelines by the college management. "The rules have been made so strict that it seems we are studying in a school. Gating system has been introduced wherein we cannot move out of the college campus in our free periods," said a protesting student Chandan.

Students also alleged that in the recent episode of massive food poisoning on college campus following a langar, the management had taken no action.

Jagdeep Singh, a protesting student, said after the food poisoning episode, many students wanted to leave the hostel, but were asked to first pay fees for the entire academic year and then leave the premises.

Students also blocked the highway for around 25 minutes. The Kharar police swung into action immediately and DSP Joginder Singh also reached the spot. The police eased out the traffic jam and tried to control the protesting students.

The students went berserk and started pelting stones at a bus (PB 02 AQ 9465). Bus driver Sukhchain Singh sustained minor injuries as a stone hit him on the forehead. He was taken to the Kharar civil hospital and administered first aid. A case was registered against unknown students on the complaint of driver Sukhchain.

Meanwhile, director-principal of the college Baljeet Kapoor said an enquiry had been marked to training and placement director Gurcharan Singh. "He will submit the inquiry report by tomorrow and accordingly, we will take action against the erring students," he said.

Kapoor added that he joined the institute just a month back and since then, he had been trying to streamline discipline.

Today Ambuja Cement Company officials were to visit the campus for placements and for this, Kapoor had imparted special instructions to the students yesterday. "I had asked the students to adhere to discipline. Around 16 students from diploma and degree courses were to be selected from our college," he added.

With regard to students' allegations about food poisoning incident, chairman Surinder Pal Sachdeva said nothing incriminating had been found as langar was arranged by students.

It is pertinent to mention here that the college had a poor result with 333 reappears in various subjects. Also, parents of 256 students had been summoned due to attendance shortage, which resulted in poor internal assessment leading to poorer results.


Rural students pledge to fight TB
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Gaggarpur, November 14
With a view to spread awareness about tuberculosis (TB) through school-going children in rural areas the District TB Control Society, Sangrur, today involved hundreds of rural students (boys and girls) of the local Government Senior Secondary School by making them take a pledge at a TB awareness through sources of entertainment programme organised in the school premises.

District TB officer Dr Surinder Singla administered the pledge at the ceremony. The students, while pledging to fight TB, said they would contribute from the core of their hearts to control the disease.

They would also propagate the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) among the masses and create awareness to curb the spread of AIDS and drug abuse as these were closely linked with TB.

Manager of the Sangrur branch of Malwa Gramin Bank Pali Ram Bansal and principal of the school Moti Singh also addressed the students.


Ram Bagh
ASI to allot work to private agency
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 14
Historical buildings located inside the Ram Bagh garden-summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, will soon regain their glory.

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to commission their restoration and conservation to a private agency.

Gurmeet Rai, project architect, said a decision had been taken at a recent meeting of ASI officials with representatives of the Punjab government. “The restoration project is likely to be completed in six months as the condition for selecting an agency for the job is that it should have experience in this field,” she said.

The director, Cultural Affairs, and the Museum Department, had in July, 1999, asked the deputy commissioner, Amritsar, to hand over the structures located inside the Ram Bagh gardens after its declaration as protected monument.

The whole of Ram Bagh had been declared protected as per the government of Punjab notification of October 8, 1997, which meant the garden was to be developed as per rules of the department.

Any kind of activity was also prohibited inside Ram Bagh, including marriage parties and political rallies. It was also decided that the three clubs functioning inside the garden be shifted out in view the heritage value of the site. A copy of the letter was sent to the Municipal Corporation for evicting clubs from the building.

Experts had noticed traditional roofing system of the summer palace of the Maharaja after the removal of the false ceiling, consisting of wooden joist, having the brick on edge making flooring pattern above. The upper storey of the summer palace has already been vacated by the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Earlier, in March 2003, the state government de-notified part of the Ram Bagh to facilitate the construction of Rs 5-crore panorama in memory of the Maharaja. In the notification, the 20-kanal “protected” area was declared unprotected. This was in contradiction to the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1964, Section IV, sub-section III, the entire Ram Bagh was declared a protected area in 1997.


Badal reviews development works
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 14
Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal reviewed the progress of development works in Sectors 76 to 80, Mohali.

He directed the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to complete the remaining development works in all the five sectors by June 
30, 2008.

He also directed the GMADA to hold draw of lots for the allotment of remaining 2,400 residential plots in these sectors and hand over the possession to the allottees at the earliest.

Secretary, housing and urban development department, Arun Goel, also apprised the Chief Minister of the progress of works. He said almost all the development works pertaining to roads, public health services and streetlights in Sector 79-80 had been completed.

However, in view of the go-ahead given by the courts, development works on the area under litigation (which is almost 30 per cent of the total area) had been undertaken after floating fresh tenders.

He added that in Sectors 77 and 78 approximately 25 per cent of the road network area was under litigation. Water supply, storm drainage and sewerage schemes, electrical and road works had been allocated recently on a time-bound basis with a target to complete these works by June 30, 2008.


Meetings put off as Badal indisposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
While all important meetings such as on the power sector review and irrigation sector review were postponed today, the winter session of the Punjab Assembly will be held from December 17 to 24.

Two important bills--one regarding the new police Act and other about the publication of Guru Granth Sahib --would be put up in the House during the session.

Meanwhile, sources said the meetings were postponed till Saturday because Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had a bad cold and sore throat and doctors had advised him complete rest for at least 24 hours.


Cong men remember Nehru
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
Senior Congress leaders led by Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today celebrated the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Recalling the contribution made by Nehru, Bhattal said he put this region on the path of development by launching various projects such as Bhakra Dam.

Among the others who paid tributes were Mohinder Singh Kay Payee and Raj Pal Singh.


Death of ex-CM’s wife mourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, president, and Mohinder Singh Kay Pee, working president of the Punjab Pradesh congress Committee, have expressed grief over the death of Gurcharan Kaur, widow of the late Chief Minister Darbara Singh.

Bhattal said Gurcharan Kaur was a pious woman who stood by her husband and she had suffered a jail term in 1978 during the agitation launched against the arrest of Indira Gandhi.

The other Congress leaders who have expressed grief are Jagmohan Singh Kang, Tarlochan Singh, Raj Pal Singh, Bir Devinder Singh, Col C.D. Singh Kamboj (retd) and Rajinder Kaur.


Case against Badal
Move plea for examining IO in lower courts: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
Disposing of a petition filed by the State of Punjab for examining the investigating officer before the remaining witnesses in the disproportionate assets case against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and others, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that the public prosecutor may file an appropriate application for the same in the courts below.

Pronouncing the directions in an open court during the resumed hearing of the case, Justice Surya Kant of the High Court ruled that he was of the considered view that in light of changed circumstances the public prosecutor may move another application if he deems it appropriate to seek the Special Judge’s permission to examine the investigating officer before the remaining witnesses.

The Judge further ruled that if such an application was moved, the Special Judge was directed to consider and dispose it of in accordance with law. Senior advocate, G.S. Grewal, appointed as amicus curiae in the case, was present in the court.

At the very onset, state counsel argued that about 21 more witnesses had been examined during the pendency of the petition and many of them had supported the case. As such, the solitary reason assigned by the Special Judge for rejecting the public prosecutor’s application no longer subsisted.

The state of Punjab had earlier sought the setting aside of Ropar Special Judge’s order, vide which he had rejected the public prosecutor’s plea for examining the investigating officer of the case before proceeding further in the matter.

Making Badal, his wife Surinder Badal, son Sukhbir Badal and seven others as party in the petition, the state had contended that the Special Judge’s order dated August 20 was against the provisions of law.


Next hearing on Dec 3 in Amarinder case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
Punjab’s attempts to seek adjournment on a petition filed by former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for blanket bail today generated sharp verbal reaction from the Punjab and Haryana High Court with Justice Ranjit Singh asking state counsel about rumours of compromise between the “parties”.

As soon as state counsel Rupinder Khosla sought short adjournment for a week or so to file reply to the proceedings in the case, Justice Ranjit Singh said there seemed to be compromise between the two parties. He added rumours were making rounds and that was perhaps the reason why the state was seeking time to file reply.

Khosla replied that the state was not making compromises to which the Judge said: “Rulers compromise and the compromises are made in Dubai. I believe your advocate
-general went to Dubai.” In reply, Khosla said he had no knowledge about it.

While recording the state’s request for short adjournment to file a reply to the proceedings, Justice Ranjit Singh added direct allegations were being levelled and there were talks outside courtrooms, but what was the state’s conduct? How many times had they sought adjournments? Before concluding, the Judge fixed December 3 as the next date of hearing in the matter.


Varsity grants aids to 21 disabled students
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 14
Guru Nanak Dev University has granted special facilities to 21 physically handicaped students pursuing various under-graduate and post-graduate courses at the university.

Stating this, Raghbir Singh, dean, Academic Affairs, said the selected students would not be charged a tuition fee and various other university charges.

He said they would be provided books/study material up to Rs 1,000 per student every year, besides an amount of Rs 250 per month for 12 months.

The selected students are Sandeep Singh,Manjinder Singh, Mrinalini Mahajan, Amritpal Kaur, Amit Monga, Gurpreet Kaur, Sumita Rani,Bahadur Singh, Gagandeep Kaur, Bharat Malhotra, Harsimarnjeet Singh, Rajani Bala, Harinder Singh, Kulbir Kaur Pannu, Sonam Arora, Rajiv, Gurpreet Singh, Nishant Kumar, Sumeet Pal Singh, Parteek Dogra and Nirmal Singh.


Manav Mangal eves lift title
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14
Manav Mangal High School, Sector-21lifted the junior girls team title beating Chandigarh Table Tennis Club (CTTC) 3-1 in the finals of 20th Chandigarh State Table Tennis Championship.

While in sub-junior boys’ final, CTTC-28 defeated Manav Mangal 3-1 as Mayank Sharma (CTTC) lost to Aditya (MM) 12-10, 7-11, 8-11, 8-11 while CTTC’s Mayank Kapoor defeated Tushar (11-4, 11-4, 11-6) and Aditya (11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5) in singles.

In doubles, Mayank Kapoor and Mayank Sharma of CTTC bt Aditya and Tushar 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8. In the junior girls team championship final, Kaveri of Manav Mangal began on a losing note as she was beaten by Naini Suri 7-11, 7-11, 15-17 in the first singles. But Kalyani (MM) and Sakshi helped the school team to bounce back with their two wins. Kalyani defeated Garima 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 whereas Sakshi outclassed Suhalika 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9.

In the fourth singles, Kalyani emerged winner beating Naina Suri 11-9, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9 in a well-contested match to clinch the title. Results: Sub-Junior boys (final): CTTC-28 bt Manav Mangal High School-21 3-1 (Mayank Sharma lost to Aditya 12-10, 7-11, 8-11, 8-11, Mayank Kapoor bt Tushar 11-4, 11-4, 11-6, Mayank Kapoor and Mayank Sharma bt Aditya and Tushar 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, Mayank Kapoor bt Aditya 11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5).

Junior boys (final): CTTC-23 bt Manav Mangal High School-21 3-0 (Rajan Mahindra bt Puneet 11-6, 12-10, 11-9, Dev Saini bt Aditya 11-7, 11-8, 11-7, Mayank Kapoor bt Tushar 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7). 

Sub-Junior girls team championship (final): CTT Club-23 bt Coaching Centre-23 3-2 (Garima Goyal bt Meghna 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, Naina Suri bt Barbie Bajaj 11-9, 6-11, 11-89, 12-10, Garima and Naina Suri lost to Meghna and Barbie 18-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 9-11, Naina Suri lost to Meghna 7-11, 11-13, 12-10, 6-11, Garima Goyal bt Barbie 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8).

Junior Girls (final): Manav Mangal High School-21 bt CTTC-23 3-1 (Kaveri lost to Naini Suri 7-11, 7-11, 15-17, Kalyani bt Garima 11-8, 11-5, 11-4, Sakshi bt Suhalika 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, Kalyani bt Naini Suri 11-9, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).


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