P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Chamkaur Sahib nagar panchayat in 3 months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said in Punjab Vidhan Sabha Nagar Panchayat in Chamkaur Sahib would be set up with in three months. Charanjit Singh Channi, MLA from Chamakaur Sahib, had asked a question in this regard. To another question by Channi, Badal said 50 -bed hospital at Chamkaur Sahib would be constructed by the end of next year.

To a question asked by Bishambar Dass, education miniser Dr Upinderjit Kaur said soon posts in the Government College Narot Jaimal Singh would be filledn as case was being processed to recruit 265 lecturers for government colleges. There were only two lecturers in that college at present. Dr Kaur said funds to construct the college building would be released soon.

To a question on link roads, agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah said the government would ask police stations to register cases against those encroaching on berms of rural roads. He said representatives of people should discourage people from encroaching on roadsides.

Asked about selecting one city to run all motorised vehicles on CNG, Bikram Singh Majithia, conventional energy minister, said this proposal was worth examining and he would discuss the matter with all concerned. Ajit Singh Shant, MLA from Nihalsingh wala, had asked the question in this regard. Intervening in the issue, the speaker asked the minister to start efforts in this direction.

Earlier, Parkash Singh Badal, Manoranjan Kalia, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Charanjit Singh Channi paid tributes to departed souls including Ragunath Sahai Puri, a former minister, who passed away last week and Mukand Lal Bhandari, a freedom fighter, who died recently. The House was adjourned for half any hour after the obituary references to departed souls today.


MLA seeks CBI probe into teachers’ recruitment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Seeking a CBI probe into the recent selection of teachers by zila parishads at certain places, Congress MLA Makhan Singh said today that there was nepotism, favouritism and irregularities in the selections. He said even some candidates holding fake degrees of ETT from Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar had been selected whereas qualified and meritorious candidates, who did ETT from Punjab, failed to make to the selection list.

Speaking on a calling attention notice moved by him in the Assembly here today, Makhan said it would be better if the selections made during the previous Congress regime were also brought under scanner.

Replying to the notice, rural development minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura said he was prepared to order the inquiry if specific instances of irregularities and fake degrees were brought to his notice by the MLA.

Replying to a calling attention notice moved by Congress MLA Brahm Mohindra, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the electricity supply to villages depended on its availability. When the demand of power exceeded the availability, power cuts were imposed on all types of feeds, but efforts were made to the keep the power cuts minimal. The state was facing a shortage of 600 MW per day.

Earlier, replying to a calling attention notice of Capt Balbir Singh Bath, PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa said there was no threat to the bridge on the Beas near Sri Hargobind Pur.

He said an inspection in this connection had been conducted.


Acquisitions for SYL Canal
HC enhances compensation for ‘barani’ land
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
In a significant judgement expected to have a bearing on acquired land compensation cases, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while enhancing compensation for ‘barani’ land in a case, has ruled that in the absence of credible evidence the only option left with the court is to determine the price by resorting to some guess work, which in any case is involved the land acquisition matters.

Enhancing the compensation for “barani” land acquired in the revenue estate of Thali village in Ropar district for the construction of the SYL canal, the Bench comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover has ruled: “It is a settled principle of law that the instances of sale pertaining to small pieces of land are never an indicator of the prevailing price of the land, and are often a result of manipulations near the time of acquisition.

The Bench has added: “At the same time, the court is also to see the material before it while assessing a reasonable compensation of the acquired land; and if there is no credible evidence, then the only option left with it is to determine the price by resorting to some guess work which, in any case, is involved in every assessment of compensation in the land acquisition cases.

The ruling comes on three appeals against different orders of a single Judge. The land was acquired by notifications issued in 1982 by the Punjab government under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for the construction of the canal.

After following the procedure laid down under the Act, Patiala’s Land Acquisition Collector (SYL) determined the market value of the acquired land. The per acre rate for ‘chahi’ land was determined as Rs 2,05,000, for ‘barani’ Rs 1,16,000 and for ‘gair mumkin’ Rs 30,000.

Dissatisfied with the award, the appellants and other landowners sought references under Section 18 of the Act. Ropar’s District Judge, vide common judgement dated February 3, 1986, held that they were not entitled to any enhancement in the awarded compensation, resulting in the filing of regular first appeals by the appellants.

The single Judge, while deciding the appeal filed by Hari Singh and another, maintained the compensation for ‘chahi’ land, but enhanced the compensation regarding ‘barani’ land to Rs 1,53,750 per acre. The appellants, still feeling aggrieved, again moved the court.

After hearing the arguments, the Judges ruled: “In these cases, the land was acquired for the construction of the SYL canal in year 1982. As has been noticed the acquired ‘barani’ land had the potentiality and, therefore, we feel that while determining the market value of such land 1/4th cut in the price of the ‘chahi’ land is excessive, and instead 1/5th cut seems more reasonable and realistic.”

The Judges concluded: “Accordingly, we assess the market value of the acquired barani land by applying 1/5th cut to the price of the chahi land, which, when calculated, comes to Rs 1,64,000 per acre…. The appellants shall also be entitled to receive all the statutory benefits as per the amended provisions of the Act on the enhanced amount of compensation. 


CM greets people on Christmas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and local government and industries minister Manoranjan Kalia, besides many other ministers, have in separate statements extended their warm greetings to the people of Punjab on the eve of Christmas.

Badal said: “Christmas is an extremely joyous occasion not only for Christians, but the people of all faiths”.

Draft of human trafficking Act prepared

To safeguard interests of illiterate, innocent and gullible persons, who fall in the trap of unscrupulous persons who allure them with false promises of settlement abroad, the Punjab government will enact a legislation.

Presiding over a meeting of the Cabinet Sub-committee here, the local government and industries minister said the draft of the Punjab Prevention of Human Trafficking Act-2007 had been prepared.


Class IV employee attacks 2 doctors
Medicos go on strike
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
Doctors of Guru Nanak Dev hospital and government medical college today went on strike in protest against alleged assault on two junior doctors of the hospital by a class IV employee along with three others last night.

Demanding security for doctors and the paramedical staff they went on strike and raised slogans against the college administration, the police and the district administration for failing to provide for the security of the hospital staff. They also demanded deployment of more security staff in the college during late night hours as they feared threat to lives.

Though principal of the college, Dr Jagdish Gargi, and some other senior doctors tried to persuade the doctors to resume duties so that patients did not suffer, the student leaders did not relent and registration of a case against the accused.

They alleged earlier too one of the PG students was assaulted on the college premises by wards of class IV employees and the college authorities and the police had not taken action against them.

The doctors alleged Rakesh Kumar, a class IV employee assaulted two junior doctors while they were on duty. They said the accused along with three other persons had come to the hospital for treatment of Rakesh’s five-year-old son. After observing the condition of the patient they gave him necessary medicines and asked them to go home to come again on Monday for treatment.

They further alleged the accused who were in under the influence of liquor abused and assaulted the doctors.

The doctors said they informed their seniors who informed the police. They said the police team took the accused into custody who were later let off without taking action against them. They also demanded action against the two policemen.

The Civil Lines police station today registered a case against Ashok Kumar and two other persons under Sections 186, 160, 353 and 34 of the IPC, however, no arrest was made till the filing of the report.

Meanwhile the accused accompanied with their leader Surinder Tona, general secretary, Amritsar Municipal Corporation Employees, BJP councillor Sukhminder Mintu and former councillor Baldev Raj Bagga met the principal. They complained t the doctors on duty instead of properly treating the child were busy playing games on laptops. They said the duo were ready to apologise. However, Dr R.P.S. Boparai head of the Orthopaedics Department refuted the allegations stating the two doctors were doing their thesis work on laptops

Some of the leaders, who accompanied the accused also threatened to stop work of removing the garbage in the city. However, the principal said he was helpless in this case as head of the institution he had to forward the complaint of the students to the police.


Manpreet for consensus on state fiscal health
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal today made an emotional appeal in the Vidhan Sabha asking all legislators to bring the issue of fiscal health of the state on the centre stage of the politics. This is the biggest issue being faced by the state and its survival depends upon its financial health, he said.

Expressing disappointment over the political rhetoric of the Congress, accusing the SAD-BJP government of the sorry state of fiscal health of Punjab, the finance minister sought the help of the Opposition to build a political consensus on the state’s economy and for its future direction.

He was replying to a debate on The Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget management (Amendment), Bill 2007 on the concluding day of winter session.

Reacting strongly to the accusations levelled by Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Manpreet said the opening lines of the Punjab Budget indicated an opening balance of - (minus) Rs 659 crore. Citing a report quoting the Planning Commission, he said Punjab was the slowest growing state in the country due to the lopsided economic policies being followed by the previous government.

“During the past SAD-BJP government, Rs 3,000 crore was going towards debt servicing, which has risen to Rs 4,000 crore after the Congress term in office”.

The Congress had imposed a burden of Rs 2,411 crore during just one month of November, 2006, by providing electricity free of cost, abolishing octroi, etc. He was reacting to the debate initiated by Bhattal, who in turn was reacting to the SAD-BJP allegation that the Congress had left a financial burden of Rs 53,000 crore.

Meanwhile, the Vidhan Sabha passed nine Bills before being adjourned sine die till Budget session. These include The Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill, The Indian Stamp (Punjab Amendment) Bill, The Jagat Jot Sri Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Bill, The Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill, The Punjab Infrastructure (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, The Punjab Education Development (Amendment) Bill, The Punjab Affiliated Colleges (Securities of Service) Amendment Bill, The Punjab Police Bill and The Punjab Motor Vehicle Taxation (Amendment) Bill.


House nod to new Police Bill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Punjab Police Bill, 2007, dominated the proceedings of the Vidhan Sabha on its concluding day today with the opposition benches being supported by some members of the Treasury Benches expressing apprehensions over what they called “sweeping powers to the Punjab Police”. The Bill, which was introduced by the leader of the House, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was debated vigorously till Badal got up to dispel apprehensions expressed by various legislators.

Soon after Badal introduced the Bill, necessitated by the Supreme Court judgement in a writ Parkash Singh Versus Union of India to enact a new state police law for governing the police, Congress legislator Randeep Singh Nabha got up to debate various provisions of the Bill. He said it would give sweeping powers to the police, besides violating the direction of the Supreme Court. He pointed out Section 21 (1), 15 (1), 6 (1) and 32 (1) to be against the spirit of the apex court’s judgement.

Chief parliamentary secretary, Jagdish Sawhney of the BJP, too, supported the Congress, saying that the entire state had suffered at the hand of the police and the Bill should be reviewed. At this point Chief Minister Badal got up saying, “either you have not read the Bill or did not understand what you read”. The Bill has been brought about after a serious debate and after the Cabinet approved it. In the Bill, he said, the state had defined the role, duties and responsibilities of the police to make it efficient, professional, effective, responsive, accountable and people-friendly.

Since policing is a state subject, we have kept the interest of the state paramount and ignored the recommendations of the Supreme Court that would make it difficult to run the government. The bill aims at meeting the expectations of the people from the police in a civil society, said Badal.

Under The Punjab Police Bill, 2007, community police resource centres would be set up to encourage police-public interactions, a police research wing will be established, training of policemen will be enhanced, it will be forced to be courteous to the public, etc, and it will curb the arbitrary powers of the police.


Cinema blast main suspect held?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 24
The Ludhiana police is learnt to have cracked the Shingaar cinema blast case and the Mullanpur RDX seizure with the arrest of main suspect Gurpreet Singh, a terrorist who had been on the run since September 2 when over 3 kg of RDX was recovered from his car.

Though senior police officials were tight-lipped about the major development, reliable sources said a police team travelled all over the country on his trail and to unearth his contacts.

Gurpreet, son of a former terrorist, is said to be the main person behind RDX smuggling into the state, efforts to regroup terrorists, storage of the explosives and plans of strikes targeting VIPs and key installations.

He is also the main suspect in the cinema blast on October 14 that killed six persons.


A town plagued by lease problem
Residents in possession of property for over 50 years fear eviction
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Nangal, December 24
The town has been is reeling from problems of lease. The residents are engaged in nearly 1200 cases in courts with the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) relating to market places and other lease property occupied by them for over more than 50 years. Fear of eviction from their sources of livelihood and homes haunts the residents.

The story starts with the start of construction of Bhakra dam the highest dam of the country in 1955. The area where Nangal town is located was almost a forest with little population in surrounding villages. Authorities of the then Bhakra Management Board (BMB) developed a temporary colony here for workers. Since thousands of workers were hired to construct the dam, traders were asked to come in a temporary market developed here to cater to needs of workers.

The traders were invited and given shops on lease for 10 years by the authorities. With time the town developed and temporary market evolved into a main market of the area. Besides the traders many oustees of Bhakra dam were allotted plots for residential purposes on nominal charges.

However, the problems of shopkeepers who settled here in 1955 have not been redressed. It is almost third generation of original lease holders now who are doing business in the market. However, many of them are involved in litigation with the BBMB that is seeking their eviction on various legal grounds.

Former president of the Traders Association of Nangal Rakesh Nayar talking to The Tribune alleged most of original lease holders have died. The shops now are run by their children or the persons to whom they gave power of attorney. However, in most of cases the BBMB has not recognised the change of ownerships of shops. The organisation has instead started legal proceeding to evict the people occupying the land on lease in the town.

Local leaders also alleged for 50 years families of original lease holders have changed. This necessitated additions and alterations in buildings allotted 50 years ago. However, the BBMB has recognised the alterations and fresh cases have been started.

Member (irrigation) BBMB N.K. Arora said the present management of organisation was very flexible on the issue. We are ready to resolve the issue if a proposal comes from the lease holders or those occupying land. The BBMB cannot resolve the issue on its own. The local traders and other organisations should come forward with the proposal and names of persons in whose name they want the land or shop to be transferred.

When asked if titles could also be transferred in the name of occupants, Arora said even that could be considered if acceptable proposal came. We were very keen to resolve the issue and the ball was now in the court of locals to come with a proposal, he said.

The issue of lease is linked with existence of Nangal town as more than 75 per cent property here is owned by the BBMB.


Rafi’s village forgets him Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Kotla Sultan Singh (Amritsar), December 24
Memories of legendary singer Mohammad Rafi, seems to be fading away in his village, as nothing that belonged to him had been preserved. His ancestral house has also not been preserved.

Kotla Sultan Singh village is 25 km from Amritsar and falls in Majitha police district. Nothing on the way shows that Mohammad Rafi was from here. Only on the outskirts of the village there is a signboard saying “Mohammad Rafi Marg”. This signboard, too, was put up with great effort.

The mud house of Rafi was demolished by a farmer to build his dwelling unit. The one-room memorial raised by a society of the village has virtually been converted into a shed for cattle. The village receives regular traffic of Rafi fans, especially from across the border. Some pay respects at the spot where Rafi’s house was located. Others consecrate that spot by taking some soil from there with them. However, they are shocked on learning the old house did not exist.

A visit to the village revealed some villagers had been using the site, earmarked for Rafi’s memorial for keeping cattle. No function was held, to remember Rafi to mark his birth anniversary, here.

Panchayat member Arjan Singh said then Congress MLA Raj Kumar had announced Rs 25 lakh for the memorial in the name of Rafi but only Rs 5 lakh were released . The gram panchayt had earmarked one acre for the memorial, keeping in view the Rs 25 lakh grant . “ This was a joke with the village” , he said . The two rooms, constructed with Rs 5 lakh stand mute testimony to the indifference the legendary playback singer.. Heaps of cow dung cakes could also be seen at the site of incomplete memorial . However,village sarpanch Kuldip Singh said they were committed to complete the memorial in the coming year . There was proposal to construct community hall and a theatre to promote young artistes, he said.


Industry opposes PSEB proposal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 24
The small and medium industry in the state have not taken kindly to the demand of the Punjab State Electricity Board to deposit two months consumption bill as security to overcome its financial crisis.

The Textile Manufacturers Association in a representation to the Punjab State Electricity and Regulatory Commission has sought its intervention to direct the board to withdraw its proposal for advance payment of bills.


ITDC to tidy up Jallianwala Bagh for tourism
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
The Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has decided to spruce up the historic Jallianwala Bagh memorial for tourism promotion. The ITDC will spend Rs 5 crore and has prepared a design to give a new look to the place and a presentation has been scheduled for January 15 to highlight the design details.

After attending a meeting with ITDC officials and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of India, deputy commissioner K.S.Pannu told The Tribune here on Saturday the demand of a Son-et-Lumiere (light-and-sound programme) at the Jallianwala Bagh would be met soon. Installation of the system would begin shortly.

Municipal commissioner D.P.S.Kharbanda was also directed to take action against residents in the vicinity of Jallianwala Bagh, who had opened doors and windows overlooking the memorial in violation of building by-laws.

S.K.Mukherji, secretary of the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (JBNM), said certain encroachments had come up around the memorial and a couple of restaurants also had chimneys very close to the memorial.

Following concerns by Ministry of Culture officials present at the meeting, it was also decided to preserve the bullet marks dating back to the 1919 massacre .

“These buildings have been identified for maintaining the original character of the memorial. One building with bullet marks is in the southern corner and the second on the right side of the main entrance is in dilapidated condition. But the acquisition of these properties can create litigation thus hindering development of the project,” said Pannu.

He added the ITDC design included a visitors’ facility centre with computerised system to give vital facts on the massacre. The gallery of paintings of martyrs would also be revamped as part of the project. The large oil painting of the massacre scene at Jallianwala Bagh was handed over to the National Research Laboratory for conservation of cultural property on November 24 for conservation and restoration.

Five private structures sharing walls with the entrance of the memorial were recently demolished by the administration to make space for the visitors’ facility centre.

“We wanted the design for the revitalisation of the Jallianwala Bagh should be presented to the people of Amritsar,” he said.

Like the historic jail in the Andamans, the Jallianwala Bagh makes a perfect case for holding a light-and-sound show so that more visitors are attracted to the place and learn more about the incident in which hundreds of Indians laid down their lives at the Jalliawana Bagh on the Baisakhi day in 1919, said a spokesman of the JBNM Managing Committee.

Former Prime Minister late Narasimha Rao had sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore in 1998 for the memorial . But the project did not materialise.

It was also decided to take certain “critical” buildings of historic value, essential for maintaining the original character of the memorial, for acquisition as part of the development project. The secretary of the JBNM will identify such buildings and the district administration provide the tentative cost of acquisition.

The meeting was attended by R.L.Bhatia, Governor of Kerala and chairman of the Managing Committee, D.K.Shah, ITDC official, Love Verma, joint secretary, Ministry of Culture, S.K.Mukherji, secretary, JBNM, and K.S.Pannu, DC .

Politicians bunk meeting

Even though the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial had invited Amritsar MP Navjot Sidhu, mayor Shawet Malik and MLA O.P. Soni for the meeting, they failed to show up. It turned out to be an endless wait for Bhatia and the Government of India officials who had come to Amritsar specially for the meeting.


Of 385 POs, police clueless about 26
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 24
The state police has declared 385 terrorists as proclaimed offenders (POs) and of these it has no clue about 26 POs. This is according to the information provided by the office of the deputy inspector-general of police, crime-cum-APIO, Punjab.

The details mention that of the 385 POs, 283 are still in India while 76 have fled to other countries. The record has no information about their existence. Sources in the Police Department and some investigative agencies say many of these POs have died, but the police records show them as alive and absconding. At least nine terrorists from Bathinda district have been declared POs, but they are stated to be still on the run.

The records mention that Canada has provided shelter to 16 POs , 15 have fled to the USA, 12 to Germany, five each to Belgium and Italy, two to England, one each in Portugal and Malaysia.

The list shows that Paramjit Singh Panjwar, against whom 11 criminal cases are registered, is in Pakistan and had been first declared a PO in 1990. About Harkinderjit Singh, the police record states that six cases had been registered against him and in 1988 he was declared a PO and was now in the USA. Sukhwinder Singh, who had been shown as having fled to the USA, was facing eight cases and since 1991 had been declared a PO several times.

Tarsem Singh and Wadhawa Singh, who have been booked in five and four criminal cases, respectively, have also been declared POs several times. The report mentions both as residing in India. Sarabjit Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Avtar Singh and Ranjit Singh have been shown as residing abroad, but the state police is not aware of this.

During his visit to Bathinda, Director-General of Police N.P.S. Aulakh was asked about the criminals who had escaped to other countries. He said the Punjab police had decided to flash a red corner notice to the Interpol for the arrest of about 700 wanted criminals who had escaped abroad. The CBI would also be approached in this regard, he added. 


Dimpa walks out of jail
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
Former Congress MLA from Beas Jasbir Singh Gill, alias Dimpa, was released from the central jail here today. He had been granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on December 19

Soon after his release from the jail, Dimpa said the ruling SAD-BJP alliance would not be allowed to register even a single false case against Congress workers.

A sea of Congress supporters converged outside the jail to celebrate the release of their leader. Some of them had been waiting since early morning. Dimpa was released around 2 pm.

Asked if he would launch a campaign against his political opponent and MLA from Beas Manjinder Singh Kang, Dimpa said it was a “political battle and would be fought on ethics.”

“The development works launched by the Congress in Beas have been abruptly stopped and people have realised that it is only our party which can keep their area on the path to development,” he added.

Dimpa had been granted bail in the culpable homicide amounting to murder case against him.

The police investigation in the case had taken a new turn after the revelation of a CD, which allegedly showed Dimpa guiding the attack on Akali workers and his younger brother, Rajan, a transporter, loading and firing from the prohibited AK-47 assault rifle in front of the election office of the Congress candidate at Beas. 


Over 70 govt houses unsafe, residents told to vacate in 15 days
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 24
Over 70 residents of the Rajpura colony, near the bus stand here, have been told to vacate their government houses by the Punjab Public Works Department saying these houses were unsafe for habitation.

The estate office has issued letters to a large number of residents of the government houses in this locality saying these houses had been declared unsafe by the PWD . The residents have been told to vacate the houses within 15 days and in case of any mishap the responsibility would lie with the occupants of the house. The notices also state in case the houses were not vacated within the stipulated time, proceedings under the Public Premises Act would be initiated to have the houses vacated.

The notices have created a flutter among the residents of the locality who see this as a ploy to have the houses vacated with the plan of building some commercial complex here.
The Rajpura Colony Welfare Society has sent a memorandum to the deputy commissioner seeking his intervention in the matter. The society has said that over 540 houses in this colony were occupied by government employees of different government departments and they had been foregoing house rent allowance besides paying token house rent to the government.

Satnam Singh Kamboj, president of the society, said only a few months back the state PWD had undertaken repair of a large number of houses in this colony. He said most of the houses had been given a fresh paint and repairs undertaken in many houses.

He said it was strange even as repair work in a large number of houses had been completed, these had been suddenly declared unsafe.

Kamboj said during the last Assembly elections leaders of different political parties had promised steps to allot these houses to the occupants on hire-purchase basis. It had been assured the occupants would be required to pay token money and given ownership rights in respect of these houses.

However, now the political leaders had suddenly changed stance. Notices were being issued to the residents of these houses obviously with to have the houses vacated. He apprehended the plan was to have the houses vacated and then hand over the land to Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority for use of this land for commercial purposes.

Kamboj warned this would not be tolerated by the residents as this would mean dislocation of a large number of families. This would also create serious problems for the residents told to vacate the houses at such a short notice.

Executive engineer of the PWD in charge of the Rajpura road colony was reported to be away for a couple of days.


Road rage: Youths beat up driver of Punjab IAS officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
In an incident of road rage, a driver of the official vehicle of the principal secretary, vigilance, Punjab, was thrashed by two youngsters travelling in another car.
Swaran Singh makes a call to his family.
Swaran Singh makes a call to his family. 

The victim, Swaran Singh of Sector 39, said it was the timely intervention of The Tribune cameraman Vinay Malik, that saved his life.

The youths threatened to shoot him.

Swaran Singh was returning home in a white Ambassador car (PB-65-7070), bearing a red beacon atop, around 10.50 pm yesterday.

Two youths driving ahead of him in a Maruti car (HR-38-C-0032) did not give him way.

He repeatedly honked horn, but they did not listen.

When he tried to overtake their vehicle, the youths did not allow him to do so and even blocked his way.

They made gestures at him and mocked at him.

Swaran Singh alleged that he got agitated and began chasing them.

The youths took a turn from the Sector 38 and 40 rotary to Sector 39 and later drove toward Sector 40.

They stopped their car, came out of it and pulled him out of his car.

They started beating him up. He cried for help but to no avail.

He said, “One of the assailants asked the other to take out his pistol from their car and threatened to kill me. At that time, a photographer arrived there and began taking pictures. He came out of his car. On seeing him coming the youths fled in their car. The photographer called the police”.

Swaran Singh also alleged that he lost his mobile phone and Rs 4,500.

Swaran, who broke down, informed his superiors and his family about the incident.

Following which his wife and son reached there. Swaran Singh was rushed to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital.

He was complaining of chest pain and was examined.

Quoting the medical report, the police said Swaran “smelt of alcohol” and suffered minor bruises.

The police traced both offenders. They are Sahil of Sector 40 and Hari Om of Dadu Majra Colony.

However, later in the evening both parties reached a compromise.

Clockwise from top left: Swaran Singh is thrashed by a youth in Sector 40 on Sunday night; one of the suspects before he escaped from the spot; the suspect escapes in his car; and Swaran Singh makes a call to his family

Tribune photos: Vinay Malik 


Two die as tractor-trailer overturns
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
Two children died and three were injured when a tractor-trailer carrying them overturned on the Kathunangal-Chogawan road, 25 km from here, today.

Those who died on the spot were Kulwinder Singh (15) and Jugraj Singh (13). Jagtar Singh (10), Dharminder Singh (8) and Balwant Singh (15) were among those who were seriously injured. The injured were taken to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital for treatment.

Malkit Singh, brother of one of the injured, said they were going to attend a marriage at Waigal Palace near Chawinda Devi. He said the trailer overturned as the pin connecting it with the tractor came out.

He said they had been invited by their neighbour to attend the marriage of their daughter. He said at the time of the incident 10 to 12 children were in 
the trailer.


PIL against Abohar road elevation
HC issues notice to state
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 24
The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has issued notices to the state of Punjab on a public interest litigation (PIL) plea wherein residents of Muktsar had objected to the elevation of the Abohar road in the town. Chief Justice Vijender Jain on Saturday issued notices of motion for March 6 to the secretary, PWD (B&R), Punjab, and the department's chief engineer at Patiala and the executive engineer of Muktsar district after hearing the plea which stated nearly 1,100 families and some 200 shops along the Abohar road would face hazards like rain water draining into houses and shops following the proposed elevation of the said road up to three feet.

"While constructing the road, the PWD authorities are ignoring the fact that during the rainy season water will sweep down in the residences and shops of the locality, and this may lead to a flood like situation hampering transportation and mobility on the street roads as well as endanger lives and property of the locality leading to mental and financial loss," the petitioners had stated in the plea.

Seeking the court's direction to the PWD (B&R) to stay the construction of the road, being elevated, during the pendency of the petition, the petitioners also requested the court to direct the PWD to lay the road at the level of the connecting street roads and the adjoining roads like the by-pass.

"The height of the 700-metre stretch of the Abohar road, in the heart of the city, is proposed to be raised to three feet, ignoring the fact that it may lead to some dangerous consequences to residences and shops of the locality and may put human lives and property in danger," the plea added.

The affected residents and shopkeepers had earlier protested against the elevation of the said road, which has already been elevated up to two feet by earth filling.

Another "noticeale fact" mentioned in the plea was the present road was being elevated by putting raw material on the old road without the respondents (PWD authorities) digging the base to strengthen the new road. Thus, the new road on which a heavy amount was being spent would soon depreciate with time, leading to expenditure on repairs. 


Gang of international smugglers busted
Tribune Reporters

Tarn Taran, December 24
The Patti police has busted a gang of international smugglers involved in fake currency, drugs and arms smuggling from Bahmaniwala village. P.K. Rai, SSP, said here on Monday that five .30-bore special mousers, 35 cartridges and a mobile have been recovered from them. Those arrested have been identified as Kuldeep Singh, Satnam Singh (brothers), Manoj Kumar, all residents of Patti, and Shamsher Singh of Thatha. A case has been registered.

Amritsar: The SGPC had arranged for the visa of Kuldeep Singh, who is brother of Dilbagh Singh, an employee with the committee, for visiting Pakistan during Baisakhi festival this year. He had met Pakistan-based smugglers during his visit and shown the place and the goods train in which the contraband was smuggled.

The use of goods train by smugglers to smuggle contraband has put a question mark on the functioning of the customs authorities.

Tarn Taran SSP P.K. Rai said after his return, Kuldeep remained in touch with their Pakistani counterparts and started smuggling fake currency and heroin which he delivered to their Delhi-based partners.


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