P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


SGPC again expands itself
Avtar Singh promotes 7 loyalists
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 26
The SGPC today promoted five employees as assistant secretaries and two as additional secretaries, making the “mini parliament” of the Sikhs top-heavy.

Avtar Singh today issued the promotion orders, which were his first order after becoming SGPC president for the third consecutive year. Interestingly, the SGPC had four full-fledged secretaries against one post during the tenure of Gurcharn Singh Tohra, who reigned the SGPC for 27 years. With the new promotions, the number of assistant secretaries and additional secretaries has risen to 15 and eight, respectively.

Though the SGPC chief has claimed that the promotions will not put any additional burden on the exchequer of the SGPC, insiders say the newly promoted employees will be entitled to use the additional facilities like telephone, official vehicle etc.

What is more, the SGPC chief told The Tribune that the committee would also recruit chief secretary and other senior functionaries by creating separate directorates like education and finance. He said the SGPC was desperately looking for a retired IAS officer, who could be appointed as chief secretary.

Those promoted are Bhai Mohinder Singh and Major Singh as additional secretaries and Angrej Singh, Harbhajan Singh Manwan, Balkar Singh, Balwinder Singh Jaura Singha and Onkar Singh as assistant secretaries.

On the other hand, the SGPC chief said the case of Daljit Singh Bedi, a suspended secretary, would be taken up in the forthcoming executive committee meeting, though he was already absolved of the charges by the five-member committee constituted for the purpose. He, however, hastened to add that the SGPC did not want to take any decision in a haste. He said objections would be sought from public to tender any proof against Bedi, if any .

Manjit Singh Calcutta, veteran SGPC member who had served as chief secretary of the SGPC, alleged that the recent promotions would entail great burden on “Guru Ki Golak”. He said during Tohra’s tenure there was only one secretary. The additional secretary was promoted by Tohra at the fag end of his tenure


Entry tax on sugar only: Manpreet 
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 26
Setting at rest traders’ apprehensions on the entry tax in the state, Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal has said the tax was being imposed on sugar only.

He was in the city to inaugurate the 11th All- India Guru Gobind Singh football tournamant being held at Guru Gobind Singh stadium here today.

He said the issue was being raised by certain vested interests to save on paying VAT. It has come to notice that a large section of traders was not paying any tax on steel, chemicals and other substances. To check this evasion, we had imposed this tax which would be adjusted against VAT, he pointed out.

Moreover, the entry tax on sugar was the need of the hour to revive the ailing sugarcane sector, he added.

Manpreet Badal said finances of the state need to be shored up by tapping additional sources and a meeting of the coordination committee had been convened on November 28 to discuss at length measures to be followed.

“We are focusing on certain sources to raise additional financial resources on this account, he added without elaborating.

He also said senior officers from his department and the board would meet soon to ascertain exact amount of dues to the latter and efforts be made to clear these in the coming days. On tax collection in the state, he said ever since they took over the VAT recovery collections had risen by 15 per cent and excise by 15 - 20 per cent , a record of sorts.

Hoshiarpur:Efforts are being made to convince big business houses to invest in the state to help boost its economy. Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said this while talking to mediapersons at Dasuya, 40 km from here, this afternoon.

Manpreet Badal said special attention was being given to boost the economy of the state. He supported the proposal of acting president of the SAD Sukhbir Badal for bringing metro rail to the big cities of the state.

Replying to a query on the Chief Minister’s largess allowing beacon lights on vehicles to SGPC members and providing them additional security, Manpreet said it was the prerogative of the Chief Minister to take such decisions.

Later, the minister inaugurated the Giani Kartar Singh memorial 6th International Kabaddi Gold Cup tournament at the Panchayat SamitiStadium here today.

He said the state government was making all possible efforts to promote sports in Punjab.

Manpreet announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the improvement of the Dasuya segment. He said he would provide extra funds in the next Budget for development schemes on the recommendations of the MLA of the area Amarjit Singh Sahai.


Suspected meteorite does not match with any known type: GSI
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
In its report, regarding a suspected meteorite that fell on the night of August 1 last in the field of a farmer at Hotipur village (near Khanauri) in Sangrur district, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has observed that the low specific gravity, absence of fusion crust or any ablation textures, highly porous nature, absence of any chondrules or metals do not support the specimen to be a meteorite of any known type.
A file photo of the suspected meteorite that fell in a field at Hotipur village
A file photo of the suspected meteorite that fell in a field at Hotipur village (near Khanauri) on August 1

The fall of this suspected meteorite at Hotipur village had then attracted the attention of the print media and TV channels in a big way throughout the state and in other parts of the country. It had also then attracted the attention of the GSI.

In the synthesis of the data of the suspected meteorite, the GSI has also observed that the micro texture as well as composition of the specimen also does not match with any known meteorite type. There may be different possibilities for the formation of this rock specimen.

In the light of the statement of Pargat Singh, the lone eyewitness, in whose field the suspected meteorite had fallen, the GSI, accepting it as correct and true, observes that the only possibility of this sample should be an impact ejecta. In this case the meteorite might have fallen at a more distant place. The celestial height of 30 m, as described by the witness, in all probability is deceptive.

Pargat Singh had also told this reporter on August 3 that on August 1 at about 8.45 pm he had seen a fireball coming from the sky at a fast speed towards his field. The fireball extinguished on its own before falling in his field.

The GSI has also mentioned that the ejecta in all practicality should be many in numbers, not a single piece only. Except for fractures in quartz grains and undulose extinction in some grains, any significant shock features, characteristic of impact ejecta, were not noticed under the microscope. The study of the impact of the ejecta has always been enigmatic and challenging. Sometimes, traces of confirmed evidences may lead to connect it to a significant fall. Further study will be attempted to search for any such evidences. Even if it is confirmed as impact ejecta, this sample is an old piece, lying unnoticed on the ground of the eyewitness for an unknown time.

The textural evidences such as presence of vesicles, amygdale filling (?) (by carbonates), glass shards (?) and euhedral quartz grain, along with the presence of a silicic glass and cristobalite, may indicate that the specimen is related to an ancient (felsic) volcanic event.


Virk not given DGP-level posting: Maharashtra 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Replying to the notice issued by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on the issue of the suspension of former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk, the Maharashtra government today stated that the police officer had not been given any posting at the DGP-level.

Virk has been kept on “compulsory waiting” and would get a posting when the vacancy arose at the DGP rank, the Maharastra government stated in a reply filed before CAT today.

While the Union of India and Punjab have sought for more time for giving their reply, the case has been adjourned to December 7.

In his application, Virk has also challenged a memorandum “whereby the articles of charges were served upon him”. He has also challenged the failure of the centre to decide statutory administrative appeals filed by him on April 18 and May 25. He has also sought directions for declaring that the order of suspension no longer 

He was placed under suspension during the period when the government of India was considering his case for the termination of his state-to-state deputation so as to save him from the Punjab government’s ‘wrath’.

Even though he was ordered to be prematurely repatriated to Maharashtra, his parent cadre, Punjab refused to even acknowledge the union government’s orders and charge sheet dated April 20 was sent to him.

His departmental appeals were at the final stages of decision by the ministry of home affairs and a case of abuse of process of law was made out. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was, in the meantime, advised by certain biased police officers to book him in a fresh case as his administrative appeal was meritorious.

As they would not be able to lay hands on Virk once the appeal was accepted, the Chief Minister was advised that Virk should be picked up whether he was in Delhi or Punjab since illegal arrest would not be possible in Maharashtra.


SAD-BJP govt ineffective, says AISAD
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 26
Due to ineffective governance by the SAD-BJP government and its inability to check price rise, corruption in government departments, minimise supremacy of bureaucracy and other problems of people in its nine-month regime, people of Punjab are feeling disappointed by the rulers.

The practice of transfer of power between the Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance after five years has become irrelevant now and people are wanting a change in this system.

President of the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) Jaswant Singh Mann stated this here last night.

Akali Dal factions engaged in mutual bickerings had failed to provide political alternative to change the system.


Jati Umra village prays for 
Nawaz Sharif 

Gurbax Puri

Jati Umra (Tarn Taran), November 26
The sleepy village of this border town today hailed the return of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his country after eight years of exile.

The landless joint family of Nawaz Sharif’s forefathers, including his father Mohammad Sharif and grandfather Ramzan Sharif, lived in this village before Partition . The family, however, shifted to West Punjab (now Pakistan) much before Partition, in search of greener pastures.

Residents of the village also prayed for his becoming Prime Minister again for so that he could work for the betterment of relations and forwarding the ongoing peace process between two neighbouring countries.

There is a gurdwara in the village which was constructed adjoining to the ancestral house of the Sharifs. The Sharif family donated land to the gurdwara later.

Palwinder Singh, president, Sandhu Sports Club, and Bachan Singh, former sarpanch of the village, said Nawaz Sharif had called villagers to Pakistan when he was the Prime Minister of the country and honoured them as state guests there. They said the villagers once again wanted to go to Pakistan with a message of peace and love in view of the changed scenario in this region of the world.

Friends of the father of Nawaz Sharif are still alive.Gurbax Singh (90), Massa Singh (86) and Gian Singh (85), in the evening of their lives, hoped he become the Prime Minister again.


Action sought against Karanbir
Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 26
Dr Pawan Kumar Jain, a former municipal commissioner of Kharar, has demanded action against the administrative secretary, school education, Karanbir Singh Sidhu, for not attending to the calls of forest minister Tikshan Sud.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Jain has sought action against Sidhu for not performing his duties. “When a minister has to call up several times, what will be the plight of a common man?” he said. He added that the issue be taken up at the meeting of the Privilege Committee and the committee be ordered to take action against Sidhu for not attending to the repeated calls of Sud.



12 drug inspectors appointed 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Twelve drug inspectors were appointed in the health department through the Punjab Public Service Commission, Patiala.

Addressing them, Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, health and family welfare minister Punjab, said it was essential to appoint drug inspectors in all districts to check the misuse and sale of intoxicants and habit-forming drugs under rules of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and 1945. Meanwhile, the minister handed over appointment letters to 15 candidates appointed on compassionate grounds in the health department, Punjab.

Flag Day

The armed forces Flag Day will be observed on December 7 to express gratitude and appreciation of the sacrifices made by the armed forces and to honour valiant soldiers, both serving and veterans.

A spokesman of the defence services welfare department, Punjab, said on this day token flags and car flags in red, deep blue and light blue colours, representing the three services, would be distributed to the public. All departments and the districts administration would give a lead in honouring the soldiers and in pinning flags on students and citizens.


4 Horse to commemorate 150 years of its raising
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Army’s 4 Horse, an armoured regiment based somewhere in the Western Sector, is celebrating its 150th Raising Day at its location this week. A series of events have been scheduled to mark the historic occasion.

A ceremonial guard mounting and wreath laying, special sainik sammelan, barakhana, motor-cycle display, pagal gymkhana and release of a first-day cover and regimental history are among the events being held. A reunion of serving and retired regimental officers and men is also being held.

Earlier this year, a 1,000-km bicycle rally to regions from where the regiment draws its troops was organised. The Colonel of 4 Horse, Major-Gen B.S. Grewal, and the Commandant, Col H.S. Dhodi, also took part in the rally’s last leg. Later, homage was paid to Major Bhupinder Singh, who was decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra in 1965, at his statue in Ludhiana.

The regiment was raised and embodied as a Corps of Irregular Horse in May 1857 and consisted of horsemen drawn primarily from Punjab. It is also known as the Hodson’s Horse after Major William S.R. Hodson who had raised it as part of the British Indian Army.

It was formed into two regiments in 1858, 9th Bengal Lancers and 10th Bengal Lancers. These two were amalgamated in 1921 and came to be known as the 4th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers and eventually was designated as 4 Horse in 1966.

Well before the commencement of the First World War, the regiment had distinguished itself in battles and won laurels for itself by earning numerous battle honours, both in India as well as overseas. During the Second World War also, the regiment operated overseas in Iraq and Palestine. In the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak conflicts the regiment saw action in some of the fiercest tank battles in the sub continent.

The regiment destroyed 110 enemy tanks and 50 guns in battle. It has to its credit 21 Theatre and Battle Honours, one Ashok Chakra, one Maha Vir Chakra, one Shaurya Chakra and 12 Sena Medal for gallantry.

The regiment today can also boast of a rare distinction in the sports field. It has produced sportsmen of international repute like Pardumman Singh and Karnail Singh who have represented India in the Olympics, Asian and Commonwealth Games, besides Iqbal Singh, Major Singh and Baldev Singh who have won medals for the country in International Veterans’ Meets.


Rs 53 lakh given to panchayats 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 26
The SAD-BJP government will continue development works in the state despite inheriting Rs 52,000-crore deficit from the Congress regime, said Bikram Singh Maithia, information and public relations and public health minister, Punjab. He distributed cheques worth Rs 53 lakh among villages of Tarsika block at a sangat darshan programme at Nath di Khui in his constituency.

He revealed cheques worth Rs 34 lakh were distributed among 27 villages of the constituency under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NAREGA). Besides, cheques worth Rs 3.62 lakh were distributed under the Indira Awas Yojna among 18 poor families, Rs 1.70 lakh under the VEDC scheme and Rs 13 lakh was disbursed to two villages from the MPLAD fund.

Majithia revealed under the NAREGA scheme Rs 16 crore would be spent for the cleaning of village ponds and strengthening of rural roads. He also said Rs 1,280 crore would be spent in Punjab for providing clean drinking water under the World Bank project. He said to avail the benefit of this project villages needed to contribute only 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the total cost and remaining amount would be paid by the government.

He said four new power grids would be set up to regulate power supply in Majitha and Adarsh Schools as well as sports stadiums also built. He also exhorted the villagers to try to solve their problems in village panchyats.


Rs 1 lakh donated for kidney patient 
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
After the news story “4-year-old kidney patient needs financial help”, appeared in The Tribune on November 11, more than 24 persons, institutions and firms have deposited more than Rs 1 lakh with the Union Bank of India in 15 days by drafts, cheques or in cash to help four-year-old kidney patient Aniket, a Dalit, from here.

Senior manager of the bank Darshan Singh said here today that more than Rs 50,000 had been deposited by more than 24 donors in the bank so far, while Rs 50,000 was deposited through someone with the Patiala branch of the bank by Lehmbar Singh, Uman city, USA. He hoped the branch here would get Rs 50,000 from Patiala branch in a day or two.

However, president of the Aniket Health Welfare Society Sukhdev Singh Jassal resented the Punjab government, saying it was silent on help to Aniket despite the deputy commissioner-cum-president, District Red Cross Society, Sangrur, had written on February 27, 2007, to the office of the Punjab Chief Minister to grant assistance, Rs 50,000 for the treatment of Aniket, but to no avail so far.


Red beacon notification runs into trouble
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s move to ensure a red beacon atop the vehicle of every SGPC member has hit a wall, at least for the time being, till an amendment is made. The error in notification came to light when some SGPC members went to Punjab Police headquarters for getting permits that allows the use of red beacon.

As per the official notification of the government, all members of the SGPC have been permitted to use a red beacon atop their official vehicles. But unlike the elected legislators, not all SGPC members are provided “official vehicles” and majority use their own vehicles. As a result the notification proved to be errant.

The matter was brought to the notice of higher-ups by the office of the Inspector General of Police (Traffic) and the Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP), security, who suggested that an amended notification was required before the elected members of the SGPC could start using the red beacons.

After a brain-storming session it was decided that the word “officials vehicle” be replaced with “vehicle they owned”, but it was then pointed out by some that many SGPC members use vehicles that are not even owned by them. It was then decided to amend the notification to read that elected SGPC members would be allowed to use a red beacon on vehicles “they use”.

A special form is being prepared for the SGPC members.

It has, however, been clarified to the SGPC members that the red beacon can be used on the vehicle when they are themselves travelling in the vehicle. The government has decided to caution women SGPC members not to allow the red beacon atop their vehicles when their husbands or family members use the vehicle.

Meanwhile, it has also been decided that all SGPC members (181 out of the strength of a house of 185, four having since expired) irrespective of party affiliation will be provided one gunman each from the Punjab Police.

There is a strong apprehension among some officials that the move of the chief minister to allow SGPC members with a red beacon may not go well with the Punjab and Haryana High Court that has been coming down heavily on the misuse of red beacon by “unauthorised persons” and has also expressed displeasure in the past at security provided to self-styled VIPs.


Agreement for Sale of Dharamshala
Sarpanch suspended over sale agreement
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
In a rare case of signing an agreement with a person allegedly to sell the Ramdasia dharamshala of Kanoi village, near here, director, Rural Development and Panchayat, Punjab, has suspended sarpanch of Kanoi village Karmeek Singh and prohibited him from taking part in any proceeding of the panchayat.

When contacted over the phone this evening, the District Development and Panchayat officer (DDPO) Gurmeet Singh confirmed the suspension of the sarpanch on the charge of signing an agreement with a resident of the village with regard to selling the dharamshala of the village.

Gulab Singh, a resident of Kanoi village, had told the DDPO that the sarpanch had made an agreement with him on May 30, 2006, to give him the dharamshala for Rs 70,500 through auction though he had no right to hold auction to sell it.

Gulab Singh had also produced a photo copy of the agreement registered at a local Notary Public regarding sale of the dharamshala to the director on November 5.


Healthcare policy for poor soon, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 26
The Punjab Government will formulate a healthcare policy to cater to the needs of the poor patients who cannot afford treatment for fatal diseases like cancer and AIDS. The new policy will have a mandatory feature of free treatment to at least 25 per cent economically disadvantaged patients in private and super-speciality hospitals.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal addresses a gathering at a research institute in Mohali
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal addresses a gathering at a research institute in Mohali on Monday. — A Tribune photograph  

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Ivy Hospital Cancer Research Institute here at Sector 71 today, Badal said the state government would subsidise these super-speciality hospitals by way of giving concessions on the cost of the land to promote the welfare of poor patients.

He said this super-speciality hospital, set up by its promoters with a philanthropic mission to provide best treatment at competitive rates by highly qualified specialist doctors and paramedical staff, would prove to be a boon for cancer patients.

The Chief Minister urged the management of Ivy Hospital to set up another such hospital in the Malwa belt either in Bathinda, Muktsar or Mansa districts since this region was afflicted with high incidence of cancer disease due to poor quality of drinking water.

The Chief Minister appreciated the fact that the management of Ivy hospital was committed to treat poor cancer patients with yellow cards free-of-cost. However, Badal said: “Initially, the managements of all such hospitals display their charitable spirit by providing treatment to the economically poor patients at subsidised rates but later, once the institution is established, they tend to forget these lofty ideals.”

Emphasising the need of early detection of cancer, Badal asked the hospital managements to regularly hold free medical check up camps in rural areas to spread awareness among the people about preventive care and treatment of the disease.

Earlier, chief executive officer of Ivy hospital Dr Gurtej Singh said this was a state-of-the-art 180 bed multi-speciality hospital with super-speciality in oncology. The hospital had tied up with leading American Company ‘21st Century Oncology’ to set up one of the most advanced cancer treatment departments here.


5 persons found abandoned
Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 26
Five people were found abandoned in different nearby areas. All five were admitted to the Universal Disabled Care Taker Social Welfare Society, Padiala village.

A mentally challenged woman was found abandoned with her three-day-old daughter near Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop in Fatehgarh Sahib. She is being taken care of at the ashram.

In another incident, Prem Lata was found sitting aimlessly by the road side near Mata Rani Chownk, Kurali. The local shopkeepers informed the organisation about her, following which she was immediately shifted to the society. After treatment, there was a little improvement in her condition and she informed the authorities that her her family included her husband Jagmohan Tandon, son Sunil, daughter-in-law Puja, grandson Shiv and granddaughter Srishti. She claimed to be a resident of Noor Mehal but the society members failed to locate her guardians.

In yet another incident, an eight-year-old boy was found roaming in Saheri village, district Chamkaur Sahib. The local residents made an announcement in the gurdwara but no one came to claim him even after two days. They then informed the Morinda police who referred him to SDM, Chamkaur Sahib. The boy was unable to tell anything about his name or address. Later, he was sent to the ashram by SDM of Chamkaur Sahib.

Also a woman, who says her name is Lata, was found near gurdwara in Sotal Baba village. She claims her husband's name is Suresh who is a resident of Kajheri and works as an electrician. She added that her mother's name was Bimla and father's name was Kuldip Singh who were residents of Dhanoli village near Dera Bassi.

An 18-year-old boy was also sent to the ashram here by the civil hospital authorities, Kurali, for admission on November 25. The boy’s name was Pappu and his father's name was said to be Rajwanshi.


7-year-old crushed under pillar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 26
Gloom descended on the family of seven-year-old Aman as he was today crushed to death under a pillar in the Anand Nagar-B locality this evening.

According to information, Aman along with his two friends had gone to play in an empty plot that had a boundary wall and pillars holding the main gates. Though the gates generally remained closed, these had recently been opened to host a function.

The children started swinging on the gates and one of the pillars gave way, collapsing on Aman. He died on the spot while his friend Keshav (9) sustained injuries.

Neighbours rushed to the spot and pulled out Aman from the debris. They took the boys to hospital where Aman was declared brought dead and Keshav was admitted to the emergency ward. Doctors said he was out of danger.


Badal case: 2 XENs turn hostile
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 26
Two vital witnesses in the corruption case registered by the previous Congress government against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family, changed their statement in the court of special judge here today.

Executive engineers in the PWD Amandeep Singh Brar and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who were prosecution witnesses in the case, today maintained in the court that the Punjab vigilance got reports regarding the inspection of Badal’s properties signed from them without making them aware of the contents.

Brar, who is now posted as executive engineer, Fatehgarh Sahib, said he was posted as SDO, construction division, Kharar, in July 2003. He, along with other PWD officials, visited Orbit Resort on July 13, 2003, and made measurements and assessments of the building. On July 17, 2003, the team also visited Badals’ Balasar farm in Haryana. There videography and photography were carried out and various measurements made. In the search of the abovesaid properties nothing incriminating was found.

However, Brar said he did not visit the said properties of the Badals in November as stated in the vigilance report. I had seen in reports that bore my signatures regarding our visit to the said properties. These reports were not prepared by the team of which I was a part. My signatures on the report were taken by the vigilance officials in their office in Sector 17, Chandigarh. I was not shown the report before our signatures were obtained on it. On being asked by the court on whether he objected to signing the reports, Brar said they were told that copies of the report would be supplied to them later.

Dhindsa, who is now posted at Ropar, also gave an identical statement. He also maintained that their signatures on the inspection report of Orbit Resort and Balasar farm house of the Badals were taken by the vigilance with showing them the contents.

The witnesses have made it clear before the court that the Punjab vigilance itself prepared the said inspection reports and got the signatures of officers concerned on them.

The third witness, Vijay Kishore Mathur, senior finance manager of Som Dutt Builders, New Delhi, stuck to his statement given in the case earlier. He admitted before the court that two flats in Narain Manjil, 23, Bara Khamba Road, New Delhi, were initially leased by their company to Munjal Leasing Pvt Ltd.

The said company transferred the flats in the name of Jagdeep Singh Nakai for Rs 6,41,250 and Rs 8,12,250, respectively. Nakai got the flats transferred further in the name of Sukhbir Badal.

Till date 28 witnesses of the prosecution in the case have turned hostile.


Beating up of Nabha jail inmates
Accused not to be part of probe: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Suggesting the holding of a judicial probe into the inmate beating case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that such an inquiry would be meaningful only if jail officials allegedly involved in the incident were not allowed to continue at the helm of affairs.

The matter allegedly involves separate thrashing up of three inmates after they “raised their voice against deep-rooted corruption” by officials of the Maximum Security Jail in Nabha. Punjab’s director-general (prisons) Mohammed Izhar Alam was present in the court during the hearing of the case along with the jail superintendent.

Taking up the matter, Mr Justice Ranjit Singh observed: “It has been put to the parties concerned as to why this matter of allegations and counter-allegations be not got investigated by a judicial inquiry. Such a judicial inquiry would be meaningful only in case the affected jail officials are not allowed to continue with the helm of affairs of the jail concerned so that the witnesses can come out with the true state of affairs and the facts fearlessly.”

Recording the request of the respondents for time to file reply to the allegations made in the petition, the judge also fixed December 3 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

The matter was initially brought to the court’s notice by wife of an inmate, Anokh Singh. She had alleged the beating up of her husband. Taking cognizance of the matter, Mr Justice Ranjit Singh had asked a judicial magistrate to look into the matter. The inquiry had revealed that Anokh Singh had indeed been beaten up by deputy superintendent Jangir Singh and was found to be admitted to a hospital. The jail staff had, on the other hand, claimed that Anokh Singh had made an attempt to inflict self-injuries with the help of a pixel.

In the meantime, another petition was filed before the high court by Shivdev Singh of Hulka village in Rajpura. The petitioner had claimed that his son Jasbir Singh and his son’s friend Bhupinder Singh were confined in the Maximum Security Jail and had “good relations” with co-prisoner Anokh Singh. They too were raising their voice against corruption in the jail. While the two, along with the petitioner, were outside the Rajpura court in connection with the hearing of a case on November 20, they were abused, pushed and punched.


Super-Speciality Hospital
Notice to Punjab for flouting norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Acting on a petition filed in public interest by Sector 71 Mohali resident challenging the setting up of a super-speciality hospital in the vicinity, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the State of Punjab, the Greater Mohali Development Authority (GMDA) and other respondents.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, also fixed December 12 as the next date of hearing in the case.

In their petition, Labh Singh and four others had sought directions for quashing the permission and sanction granted to Ivy Cancer Research Institute and Hospital for running the hospital in name of super-specialty. The petitioners claimed that the action of sanctioning the site plan by the GDMA/PUDA authorities, ignoring the master plan, changing the land use and allowing the establishment of a 100-bed hospital in small area of 1.4 acres, was against the rules. It also violated the building laws and the provisions of the national building code.

Describing the action as “totally malafide, arbitrary and an act of favour”, the petitioners claimed that the construction was also being carried out after ignoring the basic norms set up for establishing a super-specialty hospital. It was also being carried out against the set pollution norms, and would result in health hazards and pollution. 


RSS worker found dead
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 26
Avinash Mahajan, a resident of the local Model town area, was found dead at Iban Kalan village under mysterious circumstances here today. Avinash, reported to be an RSS worker, had been missing since yesterday.

The police authorities have ordered a probe into the incident and registered a case.

Subash Mahajan, father of the deceased, in a complaint to the police, alleged that Avinash left home saying he would be back within 15 minutes after he got a call on his mobile.

However, Avinash did not return till late in the evening. Subash said family members searched for him, but in vain. Later they informed the police.

Kewal Kishan, SP (city), confirmed the incident. He said the SHO concerned had been asked to conduct a probe into the incident. He said there was no injury mark on the body.


Infidelity Suspicion
Man kills wife, son
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 26
Sukhwinder Singh killed his wife Parminder Kaur and son Gurbaksh Singh (9) and injured daughter Paramjeet Kaur (10) with a sword at his residence at Guru Ram Dass Nagar, near Vikas Puri, in the wee hours today.

Sukhwinder committed the crime on the suspicion that his wife had illicit relations with a person living in the same locality.

He wrote on the walls of the room that he killed his wife and son as Parminder had illicit relations with Bunty.

Residents of the locality came to know about the murders around 7.30 am. Sukhwinder’s brother Hardev Singh living in the same locality said he had not heard any cries in the night.

Meanwhile, Paramjeet was admitted to a private hospital near Devi Talab Mandir Chowk in a critical condition.

According to her statement recorded by the police, her father suspected that her mother had illicit relations and he used to fight with her mother every now and then.

Her father woke up at 4 am and started quarrelling with her mother today.

He attacked her with a sword and killed her. Subsequently, he killed her brother Gurbaksh, she added in her statement.

He also attacked her and left her, thinking her to be dead, Paramjeet said.

Paramjeet further said after committing the crime, her father tried to commit suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan, but failed.

Following which, he started writing with sketch pens on the walls of the room as why he killed his wife and son, she added.

The SHO of the police station concerned, Balbir Singh, said the accused was absconding and an FIR under Sections 302 and 307 of the IPC had been registered against him on his daughter’s statement.

He said no case had been registered against Bunty. 


Mushroom Cultivation
He started it as experiment, and now is inspiring others

Dehriwal (Amritsar), November 26
Overcoming problems like shortage of land or rising costs related to traditional crops, many farmers in Punjab’s Dehriwal village, 35 km from Amritsar, have taken to mushroom cultivation.

Sewa Singh, a former subedar-turned-farmer, is one such individual who took to mushroom cultivation for the first time here. Having achieved success in this, he has become an inspiration for others.

Sewa Singh claims to have started mushroom cultivation as an experiment. He grew mushrooms over a thatched hut structure. It was an indigenously developed low-cost mushroom cultivation shed. Despite not making heavy investment, he started making good income without heavy investment and labour. And his success motivated fellow villagers to follow suit and cultivate mushrooms.

Today, nearly 90 per cent of the families at Dehriwal village with a population of 2,500 are engaged in cultivating white button mushroom between September and March, which is also the peak season for mushroom crop.

An alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University, Subedar Sewa Singh has established a spawn production lab in his house to provide technical assistance and mushroom seeds to other farmers.

“One can get a minimum 40 per cent profit out of mushroom cultivation that makes it a lucrative affair. Its marketing is totally cash-based unlike other crops where most of the dealings are credit-based,” he says.

The inputs for mushroom cultivation are mainly wheat straw, cattle dung, fertilisers and mushroom seeds, which are readily available at the village.

Farmers with small holdings, too, can produce mushrooms, as large tracts of land are not needed for mushroom cultivation, says Baljeet Singh, another farmer. “Many farmers here are successfully cultivating mushrooms. This village has many big and small farms. Landless villagers, too, can practice mushroom cultivation,” he says.

Inspired by the accomplishments of Dehriwal, neighbouring villages are also opting for mushroom cultivation.

Punjab government’s Department of Horticulture is also assisting the farmers.

“The profit is double of the investment in mushroom cultivation. Dehriwal is a leading producer of mushroom here,” said Pargat Singh, deputy director in the Department of Horticulture, Amritsar. “We provide mushroom farmers with technical assistance as and when needed. Women can opt for mushroom cultivation in a major way since it can be grown even in a kitchen garden, Singh added.

From sheds spread over 2 kannals, around 1,000 quintals of mushroom are produced. Dehriwal farmers sell their mushrooms mainly in Amritsar and Jalandhar. — ANI


Defunct boards may be scrapped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Waking up to realities of saving money, the Punjab government will not appoint chairmen for defunct and non-functional boards and corporations in the state and may even scrap them.

Sources confirmed that the ruling SAD-BJP combine was very keen on having chairmen only for those boards and corporations that are making useful contributions. The idea has actually come from politicians of both the parties who are now in the process of appointing chairmen of boards and corporations.

In case some boards and corporations are scrapped, special care will be taken to accommodate the employees in other departments.

The SAD and the BJP will be meeting on November 28 at an inter-party coordination meeting where the matter will be discussed. Chief of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Rajinder Bhandari, confirmed that his party wanted that the defunct boards should be scrapped.


Govt trying to bring investments: FM
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 26
Efforts are being made to convince big business houses to invest in the state to help boost its economy. Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said this while talking to mediapersons at Dasuya, 40 km from here, this afternoon.

Manpreet Badal said special attention was being given to boost the economy of the state. He supported the proposal of acting president of the SAD Sukhbir Badal for bringing metro rail to the big cities of the state.

Replying to a query on the Chief Minister’s largess allowing beacon lights on vehicles to SGPC members and providing them additional security, Manpreet said it was the prerogative of the Chief Minister to take such decisions.

Later, the minister inaugurated the Giani Kartar Singh memorial 6th International Kabaddi Gold Cup tournament at the Panchayat Samiti Stadium here today.

He said the state government was making all possible efforts to promote sports in Punjab. He advised the youth to refrain from drugs and take up sports activities for improving their health.

Manpreet announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the improvement of the Dasuya segment. He said he would provide extra funds in the next Budget for development schemes on the recommendations of the MLA of the area Amarjit Singh Sahai.


Badal to lay stone on December 8
Cricket stadium at Bathinda to cost Rs 25 crore
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 26
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will lay the foundation stone of Punjab’s second international cricket stadium at Bathinda on December 8. Earlier, the stone of the stadium was to be laid on October 14, but it was put off.

The stadium will come up on 29 acres of farm land, acquired from Punjab Agricultural University’s Regional Research Station at Jodhpur Romana village on the outskirts of the city. It will cost Rs 25 crore and be ready in two years. A cricket academy will also be set up at the stadium.

The project, brainchild of SAD working president and MP Sukhbir Badal, was being pursued with the BCCI.

Sources said, the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) and the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) had approved construction of the stadium. With capacity for 50,000 persons, the stadium is expected to be bigger than the Mohali stadium and will have floodlights.

Giving further details, Bathinda deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari said, “I have received the communiqué that the Chief Minister will lay the foundation stone of the stadium on December 8. The acquired land has been transferred in the name of the Punjab Sports Department and the department has already spent Rs 5.5 lakh on fencing. The secretary (sports), Punjab, is expected to take up the matter with the BCCI in a few days, for funding the project.”


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