P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Bid to eliminate Dera Sacha Sauda head foiled, 3 held

Phagwara, December 13
The Punjab Police has foiled an attempt by the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorists to assassinate Sirsa-based Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh and heads of two other sects.

Kapurthala SSP Rakesh Aggarwal told mediapersons today that three members of the BKI module identified as Gurinder Singh of the local Friends Colony, Zorawar Singh of Mandi Gobindgarh and Parmider Singh of Amloh had been arrested and two IEDs assembled by using 9.75 kg of high-quality RDX seized from them.

Aggarwal said besides the explosive devices 300 gm of RDX, two detonators, two timers, 40 cartridges of different bores, four boxes of other explosive material, 2 kg of copper wire and 2 mobile phones along with several other articles were also seized from them.

He said 12 other BKI gang members, including its kingpin Gurpreet Singh of Mullapur Dakha in Ludhiana district, were still at large. Gurpreet had been absconding since September when 3 kg RDX was seized from a car owned by him near Mullapur village.

The SSP said the arrested BKI members had confessed that Gurpreet was running a terrorist training camp at Garrhi Mansowal village near Garhshankar. The three were imparted training in assembling explosive devices at this camp.

Aggarwal said the module was assigned the task to eliminate Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh besides Baba Ashutosh, head of the Noormahal-based Divya Jyoti Sansthan, and Baba Bhaniarawala. Several politicians, including Anti-Terrorists Front chairperson Maninderjit Singh Bitta, was also on their hit list, he added.

He said the arrested terrorists might be involved in the Shingaar cinema blast in Ludhiana. “We are investigating whether Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family were their targets or not,” he said in reply to another query.

Another Babbar Khalsa module comprising Sandip Singh of Rurrka Khurad, Harminder Singh of Ludhiana, Bhabdip Singh and Bhapinder Singh of Hoshiarpur district, Sarabjit Singh of Ludhiana and Dilbag Singh of Amritsar is still at large.

The SSP claimed the explosives were smuggled from Pakistan and the police was collecting more information on this aspect. He did not rule out ISI hand in helping them in smuggling the RDX. Regarding the targets, the SSP said maps of Baba Ashutosh’s sect headquarters in Noormahal were found from those arrested. Besides, a map of the Ambala court was also found, where Sacha Sauda head was facing trial in a murder case.

He said Gurinder Singh was nabbed near Ekta Resorts on the Phagwara-Nakodar road while they were coming back from Noormahal on a motorcycle. The SSP said Gurinder had confessed that they had made three attempts to eliminate Baba Ashutosh.

The other two, Zorawar and Parminder, were arrested on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road last night. The two confessed that they had made an attempt to carry out a bomb explosion near the judicial court complex in Ambala to eliminate Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim and now again they had hatched a plan to eliminate him.

Aggarwal said members of the second module had also been assigned the task of eliminating Bitta. — UNI 


Infighting at Congress dharna
Tribune Reporters

Ferozepur, December 13
Congress leaders of the district who had gathered here to stage a dharna ended up fighting each other. The district-level dharna organised here on Thursday took an ugly shape as it brought the internal strife in the Congress to the fore. Instead of blaming the Akalis, the Congress leaders started bashing each other for working against party interest.

Gurnaib Brar, president, DCC, said Ravinder Singh Sandhu, former MLA, and his men hijacked the party show and created indiscipline at the venue. Brar said certain people close to Sandhu took over the stage and started hurling abuses against him. Efforts of senior Congress leaders to bring peace between the two warring groups went in vain.

Brar and Parminder Singh Pinki, general secretary, PPCC, left the venue and submitted a memorandum to ADC Jaskiran Singh against the SAD-BJP regime.

Later, Brar issued a press note wherein he claimed to have expelled Sandhu from the Congress for six years for disrupting the party show.

Sangrur: Hundreds of Congressmen, led by Congress MLA from Samana Braham Mohindra, today staged a dharna and held a rally outside district administrative complex here in protest against the alleged “anti-people” policies of the Badal government and it’s repression.

Addressing the dharna, Mohindra said Badal government would re-impose octroi in the state soon. He declared the Congress party would oppose in the Punjab Assembly the proposed imposition of octroi and other such taxes in the state. He also flayed the government on some other grounds.

The rally was addressed by Razia Sultana, Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, Harchand Kaur and Surjit Singh Dhiman, all MLAs; advocate Jasbir Singh, a former Punjab minister and Aman Arora, a senior Youth Congress leader among others. Led by Mohindra, party members submitted a memorandum to the ADC Indu Malhotra.

Amritsar: The District Congress Committee (DCC) led by Sukhjinder Raj Singh (Lalli) Majithia, president, DCC (rural), today presented a memorandum to DC in protest against the SAD-BJP government. Majithia alleged that the SAD-BJP combine had made the state bankrupt in just 10 months of coming to power and were blaming the previous Congress government for all the mess created by them.

He was accompanied by former MLAs Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria. 


Sikh bodies declare war on drugs
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Three major Sikh organisations- the World Sikh Confederation, the Institute of Sikh Studies and the Singh Sabha- with support from saints and heads of deras in Punjab have decided to declare war on drugs, degradation of environment and discrimination against Dalits in the state.

“We will organise aconvention at the Sector 28 Singh Sabha Bhavan on Sunday to work out modalities,” says Baljit Kaur of the World Sikh Confederation, revealing majority of sants had confirmed participation in the convention.

Growing popularity of saints and deras and appeal they have on masses convinced the three Sikh organisations to seek their cooperation in ridding the state of social evils crippling society. They do not want to bring in any religious or political agenda.

Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal has done exemplary work in preserving ecology and controlling pollution of air and water. Some other sants have already taken the lead in the fight against drugs in their areas.

An appeal by sants or dera heads has more impact on followers than an awareness campaign or programme by government or NGO channels, admits Baljit Kaur.

Other issues to be discussed at the convention, she says, include growing incidence of suicide among farmers.

Drug addiction has assumed serious proportions in Punjab. According to recent surveys by NGOs, 40 to 60 per cent of the youth were addicted to drugs.

Besides environmental degradation and increasing pollution in Punjab, the incidence of cancer has been becoming alarmingly high in past few years. Creating awareness at grass- root level and checking discharge of chemical waste in water channels besides regulating use of chemicals, as farm inputs are critical aspects to check the growing incidence of cancer virtually in entire Punjab.

Three organisations also want to make use services the sants and dera heads to ensure assimilation of Dalits in rural areas in the mainstream. At many places, Dalits are denied entry into gurdwaras and also denied access to Guru Granth Sahib for religious ceremonies, including marriage and antim ardas. This problem has been creating rift among rural Sikh masses and need to be stopped as the Sikh Gurus were for a casteless and classless society.

“We are hopeful our proposed interactive session would yield desired results,” adds Baljit Kaur hoping this first ever attempt by bringing all ants, deras and three major organisations would become a regular event for re-dressal of other social issues crippling society. 


Bhattal dares SAD to arrest her
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 13
Challenging the SAD-BJP government to arrest her along with Congress workers from Chandigarh-based Congress Bhawan or Civil Secretariat, PPCC chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today hoped that Congress leaders, including Amarinder Singh, would come out clean of the City Centre case.

On the other hand, Amarinder and some of his close aides remained absent at the PPCC organised dharna against the alleged oppression let loose by the SAD-BJP government against Congress workers. His wife Preneet Kaur, however, not only sat on dharna along with Bhattal but also chided the state government. “Our workers have been slapped with false cases,” she said.

Violating Section 144 of the IPC imposed by the district administration, senior Congress leaders, including former Mayor Vishnu Sharma, Congress MLAs Nirmal Singh and Kaka Randip, former minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa and veteran Congress leader Prem Krishan Puri reached the dharna venue in front of the courts. Youth Congress workers descended on the venue on the directions of the Punjab Youth Congress chief Vijay Inder Singla, who was away on election duty in Arki in HP.

“I challenge them that I along with our party workers will go to the Congress Bhawan or the Civil Secretariat and they can come and arrest us,” said Bhattal.

She alleged that the projects initiated by the previous Congress regime had been revived with minor changes by the present government. “Were our projects bad? Their revival shows that these were not and probably something else has happened,” she said.

Asked about charge-sheeting of Amarinder and his absence, Bhattal quipped, “I feel Amarinder will come out clean of this case. As far as the party is concerned, we will stand by anyone whosoever is subjected to high-handedness even if that person was a non-Congressman. Amarinder was to come here but I think he has to leave for Delhi to consult his lawyers. It is he who organised today’s show. ”

Those present included former improvement trust chairman K.K. Sharma, former MP Charanjit Singh Walia, former MP Amarjit Kaur, former NSUI leader Harpal Singh, former Punjab minister Sajjan Kumar Jakhar.

Interestingly, Congress banners at the dharna venue virtually changed the nomenclature of the Indian National Congress, as they read “International Congress Zindabad”.  


Chawla-Langha Row
Health minister queues up at CM’s sangat darshan
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13.
There is palpable tension among some BJP leaders in Punjab over the manner they are being treated by the bureaucracy and fellow SAD legislators in a government claiming its partnership being based on a strong alliance. 

Complaints of BJP leaders against “untamed” bureaucrats have not been uncommon in the nine months of SAD-BJP alliance, but what has shocked most is the way state’s health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla queued up at Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s sangat darshan to give a written complaint against fellow SAD minister.

Unhappy over inaction on her letter to Badal on Monday wherein she criticised agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langha for “conniving” with Gurdaspur senior superintendent of police for booking her acquaintance a “fake” case, the BJP minister arrived at Badal’s “Sangat Darshan” at his residence on Tuesday and stood in a line with other visitors to ensure her complaint reached the Chief Minister.

Badal is believed to have assured Chawla to take up the matter with Langha and also ask inspector general of police (border range) to look into her complaint. But on the other hand Langha has reportedly protested with BJP Punjab in charge Balbir Punj against Chawla’s behaviour “unbecoming of a minister”. He has claimed he will also soon be writing to BJP national president Raj nath Singh in this regard.

Though, so far BJP leadership has been expressing anguish in private, this episode has brought out the difference between some leaders of the two parties in the open. Also, Chawla is not the first BJP leader seeking action against Gurdaspur SSP, other BJP leaders have in the past pointed out being rebuked by state’s bureaucrats saying the bureaucrats are doing so at the behest and under patronage from the SAD leadership.

In November state forest minister Tikshan Sud had complained to Badal against administrative secretary K.B.S. Sidhu saying the latter blatantly refused to answer his calls. BJP’s industry minister Manoranjan too had many complaints against his secretary Sanjay Kumar, who was replaced under pressure from the BJP. Transport minister Master Mohan Lal was unhappy with D.S Jaspal and now deputy speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha has shot a letter to Chief Minister asking him to take action against some doctors, who he says are being protected by officials in the Department of Medical Education.

A meeting of the coordination committee of the two parties is scheduled to take place tomorrow where the state chief secretary, finance secretary, secretary excise and taxation, etc will give a joint presentation on state’s fiscal health, following up with a decision on some major issues like octroi, withdrawal of free power, house tax, etc will be debated.  


Vendetta Politics 
Capt Kanwaljit ready for debate with Cong leaders
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 13
Punjab co-operation minister and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal Capt Kanwaljit Singh here today challenged former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for an open debate on the claims being made by him on false cases registered against Congress men following `politics of vendetta’ by the SAD.

Capt Kanwaljit was here for Shaheedi Jor mela arrangements beginning on December 24, said Congress leadership was levelling charges of vendetta politics on the government.

He said Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Capt Amarinder Singh could debate on the issue with him. During Congress rule numerous false cases were registered against the Akalis, but they fought these, he added.

Capt Kanwaljit said protests by the Congress across the state was false propaganda against the SAD-BJP combine. He said chairmen for boards and corporations would be appointed soon.

Later, the minister held a meeting with officials of the district administration and the police to review arrangements for the mela.  


Muktsar, Hoshiarpur to have 50 MW wind mills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Punjab government will enhance power generation by using wind energy. Initially two wind power projects of 50 Mega Watts (MW) each wiill be set up in Hoshiarpur and Muktsar districts. 

If successful the experiment will be repeated in other parts of the state. The Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) today signed a MOU with a private company to facilitate the process.

Bikram Singh Majithia, science and technology minister said the government proposes to harness 1500 MW power through renewable sources by exploiting natural resources. The target is to become energy surplus from current energy deficit status in four years.

World’s fourth largest wind energy harnessing company Suzlon Gujarat Wind Park will set up the two plants for Rs 500 crore. The MoUs were signed between chief executive, PEDA T.P.S. Sidhu and Atul Shah, director of Suzlon Gujarat Wind Parks here today.

The government has been conducting feasibility trials at height of 30 metres to 40 metres whereas Suzlon with latest international technology will generate power by changing the height of wind mills to 70 metres to 80 metres, Majitha disclosed. Since the wind power projects have a very low gestation period of six to nine months compared to three to four years of hydro / thermal power projects, the energy will be available for use soon, the minister said adding the process would be further speeded up since they do not require environmental clearances.

The power produced by wind energy will be made available to the consumers through the existing power grids at Rs 3.49 per unit (base year 2006-07) with five annual escalations of 5 per cent up to 2011-12. PEDA will provide complete facilitation to other companies wanting to set up similar power projects in Punjab. 


Bhindranwale Portrait 
Shiv Sena leader, 14 SAD(A) workers held
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 13
Keeping in view the “Punjab bandh” call given by the Shiv Sena (Hindustan), the district police have arrested more than a dozen workers from both sides, Sena and SAD(A), for maintain peace in the area. The call was given to oppose the installation of the portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale.

SSP P.K. Rai said here today that the arrested persons include Ashwani Kumar, district president of the Shiv Sena and 14 workers of the SAD(A) led by Simranjit Singh Mann, who opposed the bandh call given by the Sena. President of the SSF (Bhinderanwale), Balwant Singh Gopala, managed to escape. 


Rural dispensaries sans medicines
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 13
Shortage of medicines and medical equipment have hit rural dispensaries as supply of medicines across the state has virtually been stopped. The alternative delivery system started by the government to provide health care to the rural areas through Zila Parishads has been greatly affected by the shortage of medicines.

Sources in the Health Department, revealed there had been no supply of paediatric and gynaecological or other medicines over couple of months, a large number of patients coming to the rural dispensaries were women and children. The rural health officers (RMOs) had raised the issue with the government, which had assured supply of medicines soon, but even months after the assurance no supply had been made to any of the rural dispensaries in the state.

Dr Aslam Parvez, president of the Rural Medical Services Association of Punjab, said condition of rural dispensaries was pathetic. Besides shortage of medicines, the RMOs faced other problems too. Some riural dispensaries were on the verge of collapse. The government had allocated Rs 50,000 for their upkeep, but the amount was insufficient to maintain the buildings, 
he said.

Meetings with the Rural Development and the Health Department, had decided there would be no more delay in the delivery of medicines, but the decision had not been implemented.  


Man attempts immolation at in-law’s house 
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 13
Khoob Singh a resident of Hoshiarpur, set himself on fire after sprinkling petrol on his body at the residence of his in-laws here today afternoon. He received 40 per cent burn. Civil hospital Ropar authorities referred Khoob Singh to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Sources here said Khoob Singh along with his cousin Varinder Singh and nephew Anil Kumar came to his in-laws’ today afternoon to take his wife Seema back to Hoshiarpur.

Seema had left her husband and children 15 days ago allegedly after an altercation. She now was staying with her parents here at their residence near government college.

Today Khoob Singh tried to persuade his wife to go with him. However, she allegedly declined to oblige him. Khoob Singh got agitated after a verbal dual with his wife and mother- in -law. He went and fetched a bottle of petrol, sprinkled it on his body and set himself on fire.

His cousin Varinder Singh saved life of Khoob Singh. He tore down the blazing clothes of Khoob Singh and doused the fire. In the process Varinder Singh also got burns on hands. Khoob Singh was shifted to civil hospital here which referred him to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Seema at the residence of her parents was inconsolable. She told they had three children and Khoob Singh was an alcoholic. He spent most of his earning on liquor and it was difficult for them to make ends meet. My parents helped him start spare parts business, but he pressed me for getting financial help from my parents.

My father is a class IV employee in the Department of Public Health. He could not meet demands of financial help made by Khoob Singh. Today also he came,he asked me to go with him. I insisted on him to wait for my father. However, he took the drastic step, she said. The mother of Seema also corroborated with the statement of her daughter.

However, the nephew of Khoob Singh said he was perturbed when Seema refused to accompany him. He took the drastic step in desperation, he said.

The police has also started investigation into the case and today recorded statements of Seema and her mother. Police officials said the case would be registered after the statement of Khoob Singh was recorded at the PGI.


ETT students hold protest
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 13
ETT students led by state president of the DIET Students Welfare Association Punjab Jagtar Singh Jhabar today took out a protest march from the local District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) to the district administrative complex against the non-acceptance of their demands by the state government.

When the protesters after passing through bazars and other localities of the town reached the district administrative complex, the police stopped them from entering it. They then blocked the road outside the complex for more than an hour and staged a dharna there. They lifted it when the tehsildar came to the dharna site for receiving the memorandum from them.

The protesters were addressed among others by Jhabar and district president of the ETT Teachers Union Sukhvir Singh. 


Ropar wildlife on new year cards
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 13
The Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal today released the new year card prepared by Roopnagar culture and tourism society, headed by the deputy commissioner A.K. Sinha.

Badal was at Anandpur Sahib today on his way for election campaigning in Nalagarh area of Himachal. He praised the endeavor of district administration in promoting the wildlife of the area.

The new year card is a special endeavor on the part of district administration to promote awareness regarding the wildlife in Ropar and Nangal wetlands. The cards have pictures of migratory and indigenous birds coming to wetlands in winters.

The photos have been clicked by Nangal based amateur ornithologist Prabhat Bhatti. 


High Court
HC extends protection to Amarinder till Dec 18
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Extending the protection granted to Punjab’s former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in an alleged corruption case till December 18, Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed his release on bail if he was required to be taken in custody till that date.

Taking up a fresh application filed by the former Chief Minister a day after the presentation of a challan against him and others in the City Centre matter, Justice Ranjit Singh also asked Punjab’s additional advocate-general Reeta Kohli to seek instructions and inform the court on the next date of hearing “Whether the petitioner was summoned for joining the investigations after the passing of order granting him pre-arrest bail”.

The application was filed this morning and on request it was fixed for today itself. The plea was, subsequently, taken up in the afternoon. Pronouncing the orders in an open court, the Judge observed that the petitioner had filed an application for the grant of pre-arrest bail in FIR dated March 23, 2007, under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC, along with the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“While issuing notice to the petitioner, his arrest was stayed as an interim measure. The interim order was challenged before the Supreme Court. The SLP filed by the state was, however, dismissed. The petition, thereafter, was heard at length and finally disposed of on July 30, 2007, and an interim order passed in the case was made absolute.

“While making the order absolute, liberty was given to the petitioner to seek regular bail on the presentation of challan and order passed in the petition was to inure till then. An application has now been moved for extending the protection granted in the case as the petitioner apprehends that on the presentation of challan he is without any protection and may be arrested. Prayer is for granting protection as is available to other accused granted pre-arrest bail in the same case”.

After hearing the arguments at length in the matter, the Judge directed the issuance of notice to Punjab advocate-general. Following the acceptance of the same by Reeta Kohli, the Judge also directed her to inform the court “Whether the interim orders or final orders passed on the anticipatory bail applications of the co-accused contained any such restrictions”. The case will now come up for further hearing on December 18. 


High Court
Inquiry permited in zimini case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Adding another dimension to the Bhadaur clash controversy, two Barnala district residents have sought permission of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for placing on record the zimini or the diary report on inquiry conducted by SP (Crime), Patiala.

The development is significant as the diary report, annexed along with the petition, says a case (of murder and other offences) is made out under Sections 302, 201, 342, 323, 325 and 34 of the IPC against IPS officer S.K. Asthana. The application is expected to be taken up by the high court on December 14, along with the main case.

In their application, Hari Singh Bawa and another have stated that the zimini report was “very much necessary for just and proper adjudication of the cases. Giving details, the petitioners have asserted that they have a copy of the report on inquiry conducted by SP (Crime), in which he has indicted some senior officers responsible for the death of Robin Masih…”

The applicants-petitioners in the main case have added that senior officers were trying to save the police officers held responsible and were conducting another inquiry without associating people present at the place of occurrence. In the process, they were trying to save the police officials.

The two added that they were also having the statements of the police officials recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC. These have been kept in a sealed cover and would be produced in the court on the next date of hearing. The intention was to prevent senior officers from using their influence on people whose statements on occurrence have been recorded in the court.

They also alleged that additional director-general of Police (Crime) was hand in glove with other police officers, indicted by SP (Crime) and was distorting the report. A DSP, has already blamed the senior Punjab Police functionaries of making an attempt to shield favourite officers “found to be involved” in a clash that took place.

In his petition filed before the high court against ADGP G.D. Pandey, DIG B.K. Uppal, AIG V.Neerja, SP Sukhdev Singh Brar and others, DSP (Detective) Baljit Singh has claimed that he was even being pressurised to change his statements made before Patiala’s SP (Crime) and an additional chief judicial magistrate.

The clash took place on October 11, 2006 over the demarcation of land between two village gurudwaras. In the police-public clash that lasted for a week, one person was killed and several persons sustained serious injuries. 


Contempt case against truck union member
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today took serious note of derogatory remarks by Banur truck union member Amrik Singh and directed the initiation of contempt proceedings against him before sending him to the custody.

The case will come up for further hearing tomorrow. As the matter came up for hearing, the court was apprised of Amrik Singh’s conduct by a counsel. He apprised the court about the recorded conversation on a mobile phone, reportedly between Amrik Singh and a media person.

The matter pertains to the filing of a petition by Chandigarh Distillers and Bottlers of Banur. They had sought directions for protection of the firm and its employees while plying truck and tankers owned or hired by it at Banur.

After the court took cognisance of the matter, a section of vernacular dailies carried news-items on statements reportedly made by Amrik Singh and others about not allowing other trucks to ply. After they denied having made these statements to the section of media, the court issued a notice to the news-papers.

During the resumed hearing, the counsel produced copies of news clipping related to the matter, which, however, were denied by the contender. Later, a counsel brought to the notice of court recorded conversations of Amrik Singh, which carried derogatory remarks. The counsel also mentioned that an attempt was made to mislead the court.  


Pension Delay
HC notifies Punjab on retired employees’ petition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Acting on a petition alleging non-release of pension and terminal benefits to retired employees, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Punjab principal secretary, local bodies, to take immediate steps in this regard.

Taking up the matter, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice A K Goel and Justice K S Ahluwalia, also asked the principal secretary to ensure release of pension to the petitioner and other similarly situated persons. The Bench also directed that an affidavit be filed in this regard on the next date of hearing.

The Bench observed the petition disclosed an alarming state of affairs. It showed that even after rendering long service, the employees were not getting terminal benefits. As such, the matter should be seriously taken up to ensure against delays taking place while calculating and paying pension to the employees.

In his petition against the state of Punjab and other respondents, retired Octroi clerk Parkash Chand had sought release of terminal benefits. The petitioner had submitted that he served in the Abohar Municipal Council for about 36 years, but terminal benefits were not given to him.

He further said on July 31 a cheque of Rs 60,000 was given to him, but it bounced.  


Cotton Yield
In Talwandi Sabo it’s 22 maunds to state’s 18
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 13
With cotton production across the state showing a downward trend of an estimated four lakh bales, farmers of 48 villages in Talwandi Sabo block of the district, which have been adopted by Markfed for cotton production, have emerged winners.
Average yield per acre of raw cotton in Talwandi Sabo block is expected to be 22 maunds (1 maund = 37.324 kg) this year, compared to an expected 18 maunds in the state. 

Although average yield per acre of raw cotton in Punjab was 23 maunds last year, the Talwandi Sabo block had 19.21 maunds to its kitty.

Besides total area under cotton in Punjab has increased from 5.9 lakh hectares to 6.48 lakh hectares this year, production across the state has shown a downward trend. On December 7 this year, total arrival of cotton in Punjab mandis was 9.75 lakh bales, compared to 11.5 lakh bales in corresponding time last year.

In the mandis across the state, raw cotton is selling at around Rs 2,400-Rs 2,500 per quintal as against Rs 2,025-2,200 per quintal last year.

According to G. S. Grewal, managing director, Markfed, “Punjab Chief Minister held a meeting regarding cotton on March 19 this year, in which he wanted Markfed to adopt these 48 villages in Talwandi Sabo block. The average increase of yield per acre of raw cotton in these villages has gone up by 2.79 maunds, which will benefit the farmers.”

Bal Mukand Sharma, chief manager (inputs), Markfed, said, “Even the National Commission of Farmers said recently almost 60 per cent of Bt cotton seeds sown in Punjab were spurious.

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. Area under Bt cotton in Talwandi Sabo block also increased from 13,471 acres in 2006-07 to 24,016 acres this year.”

Mandeep Singh Brar, OSD (cotton), Markfed, Bathinda, said, “After Markfed adopted these villages in Talwandi Sabo block, the area under cotton went up from 86,916 acres in 2006-07 to 88,023 acres this year.”


Sugar mill head shot dead by cane manager
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 13
President of A. B. Sugar Mill, Randhawa (Dasuya) Abhijeet Singh Jaspal(35) resident of Urban Estate, Jalanadhar, was allegedly shot dead in the mill premises by cane manager of the mill Guriqbal Singh Kahlon in the forenoon today.

SSP, Hoshiarpur, Anita Punj who reached the spot after the incident, told this correspondent on phone preliminary investigation revealed a meeting was going on in the mill premises at the time of incident.

In the meeting at about 8:30 am a dispute between the deceased Abhijeet Singh and accused Guriqbal Singh Kahlon over the quality of sugarcane arose which infuriated the latter. Enraged Guriqbal Singh Kahlon fired from his .32 revolver at Abjijeet Singh from point-blank range and fled.

The body had been sent to civil hospital, Dasuya for a post-mortem examination. 


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