P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


VAT on furnace oil now 4 pc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Punjab government has decided to grant ex-post facto approval to reduce VAT on furnace oil from 12.5 to 4 per cent. The decision was approved in the Cabinet here today.

In another significant decision that will help clear over one lakh pending cases in the state, the Cabinet also approved an amendment to the Punjab Value Added Tax Act, 2005, regarding deemed assessment to enable registered dealers to deposit a sum by way of composition money at the rate of Rs 300 per lakh of the gross turnover with a minimum of Rs 1,000. This will be subject to fulfilment of eligibility criteria as laid down in Rule 33 (B) of the repealed Punjab General Sales Tax Rules, 1949, as per the procedure laid down in the repealed Act and rules.

The Cabinet also approved the exemption from levy of VAT on raw materials and consumables produced by or sold to Sri Durgiana Committee, Amritsar. It also approved the amendment to sub-section V of Section 19 of the Punjab Value Added Tax, relating to input tax credit on schedule H goods.

Further it also allowed the state government to sign an MoU with the Government of India and Nabard and to effect possible amendments in the provisions of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961, to become eligible for relief package. This move was aimed to revive the short-term credit structure.

It also gave a green signal to revise the rate of tax on weekly lotteries from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000 per draw in order to raise additional resources for development of the state. Likewise, it was also decided to raise tax on two-digit weekly lottery from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 per draw. It may be recalled that the existing rate of tax of Rs 25,000 per draw was very low as compared to other states like Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra. The revision of rates would fetch an additional revenue of Rs 86.80 crore.

The Cabinet also decided to grant ex-post facto approval for allowing subsidy to all categories of consumers for neutralising the impact due to increase in electricity tariff for 2007-08.

The Cabinet also approved to amend Section 10 and other relevant Sections of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, to provide for indirect election to the office of sarpanches of gram panchayats. It also gave a go ahead to transfer of the State Institute of Nursing & Paramedical Sciences at Badal village in Muktsar district to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot. The annual administrative report for the Departments of Health and Family Welfare for 2003-04, Local Audit for 2004-05 and Town and Country Planning for 2005-06 was also approved.


151 posts of college lecturer to be abolished
Teachers agitated; to meet on Feb 3

Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The government has decided to abolish 151 posts of government college lecturer in Punjab. In addition to this, 111 posts have been declared surplus.

A circular sent by the DPI (Colleges), Punjab, to the principals of all government colleges in the state on December 27, 2007, says these teachers will not be able to draw salaries from April 1, 2008.

Terming the decision "irrational" and "anti-education,” college teachers have asked the government either to review the decision or face stir.

These 262 posts have been declared surplus at places like Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, Dhudike, Dera Bassi, Kotakpura, Karamsar, Patti and Nangal etc. Despite the workload, lists sent by the principals of colleges, acting against the norms set by the UGC and the universities, the government is firm on abolishing posts of subjects, including chemistry, physics, botany, micro-biology, zoology, music and dance, in different government colleges of the state.

Prof Jaipal Singh, president, Government College Teachers Association (GCTA), alleged that the Badal government was religiously implementing all "anti-student" and "anti-teacher" decisions taken by the Congress government. He added that almost all colleges in Punjab were being affected by this decision.

"At some of the colleges, there is just one post of a particular subject, but these are also being abolished. Where will the students go? At GCW, Patiala, many students have taken music (instrumental). They have been demanding at least five teachers, but the government has decided to keep just three teachers of the subject. The same situation prevails at many other colleges in the state," complained Professor Jaipal adding that they would hold a meeting on February 3 at Ludhiana.

"If they fail to review the decision, we will be forced to protest, agitate and even boycott the examinations", said Professor Jaipal.

DPI, Colleges, Punjab, Dr Kanwarjit Singh said it was the government's decision and he had sent the circular as per the government order. Upinderjit Kaur, education minister, Punjab, could not be contacted for comments despite attempts.


Technical institutes: Developers eye real estate?
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 30
Are certain “land sharks” or persons with “little’ or even no background in technical education trying to get into technical education in Punjab, where nearly 55 private technical education institutes are likely to be opened next year?

The Punjab Technical Education Department is likely to accord permission for the opening of 25 new private diploma-level technical institutes and 30 private degree-level technical colleges after the clearance of a proposal in this regard by the Punjab Chief Minister at a meeting scheduled on February 5.

With the setting up of 55 new technical education institutes, the number of such institutes will touch the mark of 200, whereas the number of seats in such institutes will get increased to 32,460 from 23,935. At present, 170 of the institutes impart degree-level technical courses to students in Punjab.

With the opening of new colleges, more students of Punjab will be able to get admission into professional courses in management, engineering, pharmacy, computer applications and hotel management as there will not be shortage of seats for these.

More institutes will mean more employment and educational avenues for students of Punjab, but overwhelming interest allegedly being shown by influential developers and people equipped with no or little technical experience and background was generating apprehensions whether opening of such number of institutes would serve its purpose.

The department, it is learnt, has received about 45 applications for setting up 30 degree colleges. A large number of applicants, sources in the department revealed, had hardly any experience or background of technical education.

“A number of them are either developers or with interest in real estate,” confided a senior official. The objective of such people could be to develop an area in the garb of opening an institute, particularly as it was easy to get hold of the Change of Land Use (CLU) clearance and other facilities in respect of land belonging to an educational institute. Moreover, an institute could increase value of adjoining land.

Though the department was planning to open 25 more private polytechnic institutes in Punjab, nearly 20 per cent seats in 87 such existing diploma institutes were vacant or could not be filled, sources in the department said.

Technical education and industrial training director Ramesh Kumar Ganta said he was out of his office and suggested to this correspondent to talk to his PA. “My PA is authorised to give the information,” he said. The PA could not be contacted.

With the addition of 25 polytecnics, their number in Punjab would rise to 112, which would be having 31,365 seats for diploma technical courses. The objective behind the move of the Punjab Technical Education Department was said to be to facilitate students of Punjab to get technical education in the state itself. The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has already relaxed norms for setting up polytechnic institutes by reducing mandatory land from 10 to 5 acres.


Discrimination Against Farmers
Govt lodges protest with Centre
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Punjab has lodged a strong protest against what it describes as discriminatory attitude of the union government towards farmers of the state on various issues.

Cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who attended the meeting on the cooperative credit structure convened by the union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar today, said he had conveyed to the Union Agriculture as well as finance ministers that because of their indifferent attitude farmers in Punjab had been facing crisis.

“ I have told the union finance minister to slash the interest on long-term cooperative loans to 5 per cent from the existing 9 per cent by Nabard. Farmers get that loan on 12 per cent,” he added. The burden of various loans on Punjab farmers was to the tune of Rs 45,000 crore, he said. The union government had been playing clever with them. Though it claimed that it was providing loan to Punjab farmers on minimal interest, actually it was charging interest on market rate from them.

While farmers of other states such as Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh had been given relief package, nothing had been done in the case of Punjab farmers. For years the union government denied remunerative price to Punjab farmers for wheat and paddy. “The MSP of wheat and paddy was kept deliberately low to deny viable price to Punjab farmers,” he said. Farmers in the state were unable to come out of the wheat-paddy rotation because of the union government that had been creating hurdles in the promotion of industry in the state. For food deficiency in the country, the union government was squarely responsible, he added.

The Cooperative Department was trying hard to enhance the income of small and marginal farmers by encouraging them to increase milk production. For survival they needed to shift to dairy business.“Collection of milk by Milkfed has increased by 30 per cent because of our efforts, but I am not satisfied yet,” said Capt Kanwaljit Singh. Help of the National Dairy Development Board was being taken to strengthen the dairy sector in the state. “I have visited Anand in Gujarat, headquarters of dairy movement in the country, for two days to interact with the managing director of the Board there,” he said. A workshop would be held in mid of February at Mohali where officials of the Board would also take part.

A memorandum had been signed with Mother Dairy in Delhi with regard to the marketing of value crops such as vegetables, fruits etc. “We have decided to promote the marketing wing in cooperative departments to help farmers,”he added.

Ex-servicemen cooperative societies would be set up soon in each village. Cooperative banks would give loan to these societies to start dairy in each village with 20 milch cattle. PAU Dairy Department would give training to ex-servicemen in this regard, he added.


2 die as chilly winds sweep region
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
As chilly winds continued to sweep through north-west India further intensifying the severe cold wave in the region, two persons died because of the cold in Sangrur district in the past 48 hours. While Wasim (20) was found dead near a marriage palace at Malerkotla, an old man was found dead in the verandah at Lehal Khurad village, near Moonak, in Sangrur district. The police said both died apparently because of severe cold.

Adampur in Jalandhar district continues to be the coldest place in the plains with mercury remaining at a - 1.2° C there. In fact, Adampur is registering temperature even lower than that of many places in the hilly region of Himachal Pradesh and other neighbouring hill states. Despite bright sunshine during the day, there was no respite from the cold wave in the region.

The minimum temperature at Ludhiana, Amritsar and Patiala remained a little more than 1° C. Temperature in most of the hilly areas as well as in plains remained below 5 to 6 degrees below normal.

Vegetable crops, especially the potato crop, has been hit severely because of the frost. However, the prevailing intense cold conditions are considered good for the wheat crop which flourishes in such a climate at this stage. Many areas remained enveloped in dense fog that reduced the visibility to 250 m in many areas this morning. Officials of the Met Department say that the cold wave will persist for the next 48 hours. Groundfrost will continue to hit vegetable crops. There is prediction for light to moderate rain or snow at some places in the hilly region.


SAD president election today
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Though it has been left to the Akali supremo Parkash Singh Badal to decide who should lead the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), it appears that the dice is loaded in favour of Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The SAD is to elect its president tomorrow at Amritsar. Party delegate, the number of which is 448, will met at Teja Singh Samundari Hall to elect the president. At present the Chief Minister is president of the party and his son is the acting president. Most of the delegates and senior Akali leaders have left for Amritsar to take part in the election process. Whatever may be the decision, it will be taken unanimously, it is learnt.

A meeting of the core committee of the SAD was held last evening at the residence of Parkash Singh Badal. At the meeting, sources said, there were certain senior Akali leaders who argued that Sukhbir should now be made full-time president of the SAD. No one opposed the proposal, it is learnt.

Otherwise also, Sukhbir dominates in the party as well as in the SAD-BJP government. Before taking important decisions with regard to development projects, his consent is taken by the authorities concerned. He has been playing a vital role in deciding which officers to be posted where in the field as well at the state level. Sukhbir had created his strong support base in the party by involving young wards of many senior Akali leaders in the party’s youth wing well before the Assembly elections in February last year.


SGPC meeting on Patna Sahib Jathedar today
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 30
The emergency meeting of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee,here tomorrow will endeavour to endorse recommendation of Sikh intellectuals who had suggested to Akal Takht to summon Giani Iqbal Singh Jathedar Patna Sahib for rejecting the Sikh Maryada , Nanakshashi Calendar and challenging Akal Takht.

The Sikh Intellectuals had also suggested “Maha-dosh” (impeachment ) of Jathedar Takht Patna Sahib at the meeting of Sikh clergy at Akal Takht on February 5.

SGPC chief Avtar Singh hinted tomorrow’s executive committee meeting might endorse recommendations of Sikh intellectuals. He said the Sikhs could not tolerate any challenge to Akal Takht authority.

Moreover, Giani Iqbal Singh had already threatened to summon Jathedar Vedanti , Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal and the SGPC chief at Takht Patna Sahib , if any action was initiated against him.

Saner elements in the Sikh Panth feel a drastic decision against the Jathedar Patna Sahib would deepen tussle between Sikh clergy of Punjab and Takht Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib. They are of the view some amicable solution should be found.

Opposition SGPC executive committee member Karnail Singh Panjoli said all Jathedars, including Giani Vedanti were responsible for “denigrating” Sikh Institutions. Dal Khalsa leader, Kanwarpal Singh alleged Jathedar Vedanti had failed to get many edicts issued from Akal Takht , implemented.



‘Land grab’ by Omaxe Novelty
Vigilance team verifies MC record
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 30
A three-member internal vigilance team of the Local Bodies Department Punjab inspected Omaxe Novelty Mall and office of the municipal town planner to verify records relating to illegal construction by the company.

The team accompanied by officials of the Municipal Corporation and town planner visited the Novelty complex at the conjunction of Mall Road and Lawrence Road.

Shakti Bhatia, municipal town planner said the team had arrived here today to verify records of Omaxe Novelty Mall after a complaint against the mall owners for grabbing the 20 feet road on the backside of the complex. He said all records of the shopping mall had been provided to team.

The MC had transferred the land to the owners of the mall during the Congress regime through a resolution no MTP 3A- 21 on January 11, 2006. However work of the mall was stopped by the commissioner Municipal Corporation on the orders of the Local Bodies Department a few days back after change of guard in the corporation.

S. S. Sharma, who had complained to the Chief Minister and the Local Bodies Minister said the owners of the mall had submitted the map for constructing the complex on 3500 square yards and paid only Rs 80 lakh as change of land use fee whereas actual amount comes to Rs 1 crore. He said later the owners in connivance with the corporation officials had got approved the map of 4500 square yard and not any paid any additional amount for the land to the corporation.

However, project manager of Omaxe Novelty Mall, Rajbir said the complex was being constructed per the approved mall and some mischievous elements to harass them were complaining to the higher authorities to delay work ,causing huge financial loss. He said the owners had already taken up the matter with higher authorities as they had paid all the charges including the charges for land use.

He said the area was residential area as per MTP plan of 1977 which was approved in 1988 and in the plan 20’ was marked in the residential area. Sharma alleged as per original plan a road - 150- yard long and 20 feet wide - in the original plan 11B of the MTP. He said the owners had allegedly grabbed the land to construct the mall on the road which was 333 square yards thus causing loss to the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 5 crore, he alleged. He said the government should order a probe into the case.


5 medical service providers found absent from duty
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 30
Notices have been issued by the BDPO-cum-EO, Panchayat Samiti, Sunam, to five medical service providers, who were found absent from duty when a Panchayat Officer conducted surprise checking in five rural health dispensaries of Sunam block some days ago.

The doctors have been given three-day time to submit their reply about their absence from duty. In the notices it has reportedly been mentioned why action should not be taken against them as they were found absent from duty in their respective dispensaries, and by doing so they had violated the rules and instructions, besides negligence in duty.

Talking to The Tribune here today, ADC (Development) Harnek Singh said the panchayat officer of the Sunam Panchayat Samiti Rajpal Singh checked the attendance of medical service providers on January 25 from 9.15 am to 11 am in the dispensaries at Khadial, Khanal Khurd, Chatha Nanherra, Kamalpur and Sangtiwala villages, falling under Sunam block. At the time of checking, no service provider was found available at the dispensary, he added.

The ADC also said he had written to the Zila Parishad authorities to seek comments from the Sunam BDPO regarding service providers, who had been found absent from duty during checking. He said after receiving reply from the service providers concerned and comments from the BDPO, disciplinary action might be taken against the absentees.

Sources said there were already verbal complaints with the Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishad that some service providers preferred not to visit their respective dispensaries in time and during their absence villagers faced many difficulties.


No unbundling of PSEB: CM
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 30
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today ruled out the unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). To a query from newsmen, the Chief Minister said the decision to seek more time for unbundling the board would be taken from the Cabinet in the near future.

Badal was here today to inaugurate a new building of Manovikas Kendra, a school for mentally challenged children at Salora village near Morinda, and expansion of the captive power plant at Gujarat Ambuja unit.

On the Shahpur Kandi dam project, Badal said the project was under consideration. However, the response of the CM to the project made it obvious that the hydro project already delayed by over a decade would remain in cold store.

The CM also blamed centralised policies in the country for financial crises in states. He said maximum revenue generated from the states as Income Tax and Central excise was taken away by the union government. The states are given a meagre share of it. To make the states more self-reliant the Centre should grant them more autonomy so that they can retain the taxes collected here and use these for development per regional needs.

On the claim for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat by the Punjab BJP, Badal had a word of advice for alliance partners. He said the leaders of both alliance partners should desist from making statements to the media. The decision on Lok Sabha seats would be taken after elections were announced, he said. He announced Rs 10 lakh grant for Manovikas Kendra of the unit.

Suresh Neotia chairman of Gujarat Ambuja unit announced the opening of a girls’ school at Salora.


SAD (A) memo to CM on Anand Marriage Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Shiromani Akali Dal, Amritsar (Panch Pardhani) here yesterday submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal urging him to enact new Anand Marriage Act.

Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, political adviser to the Chief Minister, received the memorandum submitted by Harinder Singh Norway, former IFS officer, Gurtej Singh, former IAS officer, Harpal Singh Cheema, Amrik Singh Issru, Surinder Singh Kishanpura, Ravinder Singh Khalsa and Bibi Surinder Kaur.

Akali leaders reminded Badal that the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by him had launched an agitation to urge the Union government to enact the Sikh Personal Law. Even Section 25 of the Constitution was burnt during the agitation.

Now the SAD is in power in the state and the enactment of the personal law is on the concurrent list, efforts should be made in this regard by the Punjab government. Akali leaders have stated in the memorandum that the Supreme Court had made the registration of marriage mandatory for all in the country. However, there is no provision of the registration of marriage in the Anand Marriage Act, 1909. Because of this Sikhs had to get their marriages registered under the Hindu Marriage Act or the Special Marriage Act which was against the religious sentiments of the community.

Recently, Pakistan enacted the Anand Marriage Act though the population of Sikhs there was just 12,000. Keeping in view this factor, the Anand Marriage Act should be enacted in Punjab also.


State treads on e-governance path, signs pact
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Punjab government today signed an agreement with HCL Infosystems to establish Punjab State Wide Area Network (PAWAN).

The project to be implemented at a cost of Rs 41.45 crore will connect 200 sites i.e. 20 districts, 179 sub-divisions and blocks in the state and would be implemented in 26 weeks.

Director, Information Technology Department, Rakesh Verma signed the agreement with S.K. Sharma, associate vice-president, HCL Infosystems, in the presence of information technology minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Ajai Chaudhry, chairman, HCL Infosystem, and Narinderjeet Singh, secretary, Information Technology.

The Departments of Treasury and Accounts, Excise and Taxation, Land Records, Transport, Police, municipal corporations and DC offices shall use this network, which will provide end-to-end connectivity to all government offices. Boards and corporations will also use the connectivity and it will also allow horizontal connectivity to various offices across the state from each POP of PAWAN.

Speaking on the occasion, Kairon said, “The Punjab State Wide Area Network shall act as an information super highway It will be set up on build, own, operate and transfer basis for five years. PAWAN will follow a 3-tier structure through point of presence across various levels.”

The Punjab State Wide Area Network has been identified as one of the mission mode projects under the National e-Governance Plan.


MoU for revival of short-term cooperatives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Punjab has signed an MoU with Nabard to implement the revival package for short-term cooperatives in the state based on the recommendations of the Vaidyanathan Committee. The MoU was signed in the presence of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, minister for cooperation, by Kusumjit Sidhu, financial commissioner, Cooperation.

Umesh Chandra Sarangi, chairman, signed the MoU on behalf of Nabard and Amitabh Verma, joint secretary, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India. The MoU was signed in New Delhi on Tuesday. Conveying this, V. Ramakrishna Rao, chief general manager, Nabard, Punjab and Haryana Regional Office, indicated that the revival package aimed at reviving short-term rural cooperative credit structure in Punjab.

Under the package, the Government of India will provide financial assistance for cleansing of balance sheets of all tiers of the short-term cooperative credit structure and strengthening their capital base. The package also seeks to introduce legal and institutional reforms necessary for making the cooperative credit institutions democratic, self-reliant and functionally autonomous.

Other components of the Package include computerisation, capacity building of staff and strengthening management information systems in these institutions. Nabard will work in coordination with the state government for implementation of the package.


Roadways, STA fail to resolve issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The meeting between the Punjab Roadways Action Committee (PRAC) and the director, State Transport Authority (STA), remained inconclusive today with both sides deciding to hold yet another meeting on February 6 in the presence of a private bus company that had supplied deluxe buses to the government. The PRAC had given an ultimatum to the government to replace the deluxe buses in Punjab failing which the employees would boycott driving them.

Director, STA, Mandeep Singh persuaded the delegation led by Santokh Singh of the PRAC to put forward their grievances before the supplier of the fleet of buses, following which a decision can be taken about keeping the deluxe buses on or off the roads till the defects are rectified.

The PRAC grievance has been that the buses supplied by a private company to the Punjab government are defective and they frequently break down en route.


SSP Asthana to probe Virk case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Punjab government today issued fresh orders appointing S.K. Asthana, SSP, Patiala, as investigating officer to inquire into the case registered against former director-general of police S.S. Virk by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

In an earlier order the government had appointed Praveen Kumar Sinha, SSP, Ropar, to inquire into the allegations and charges against Virk on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The change had been made on administrative grounds as per a statement issued by the state government here today.

The Punjab and Haryana High court had expressed its displeasure over the investigation into the alleged charges against Virk and had directed the state government to appoint and inquiry officer not below the rank of SSP to probe the charges afresh.

The state government has also appointed Justice S.K. Jain to conduct a departmental inquiry against Virk.


HC gives insight into common intention
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has significantly held that same intention of people, independent of each other, is different from common intention. For determining common intention, the “nature of injuries, background of the incident and nature of weapons, besides other factors, are required to be properly considered and appreciated”.

The ruling by a High Court Division Bench, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice S.D. Anand, comes on a criminal appeal filed by Gurmukh Singh and others against the State of Punjab in a murder case. The accused were sentenced to life imprisonment for the death of Chamkaur Singh.

The Bench has also held that prior meeting of minds is required to be established in case of common intention, though it may arise and be formed suddenly.

In their detailed order, the judges have held: “We have heard counsel for the parties and perused the record. Counsel for the appellants submitted that even according to the case of the prosecution the occurrence was not preplanned. Fatal injury has been attributed to an accused, who was declared juvenile and whose case has been separated to be tried by the Juvenile Board.

“In these circumstances, sharing of common intention by the appellants with the co-accused, who caused the fatal injury, cannot be held to have been established. The motive is said to be objection of the deceased to teasing of girls by the appellants. The medical evidence shows that the injuries attributed to the appellants were superficial. The said injuries do not show use of any weapon by them….”

The Judges added: “We find merit in the contention raised on behalf of the appellants…. In the present case, occurrence took place all of a sudden and the medical evidence shows that all appellants only caused superficial injuries.

“There is nothing on record from which their sharing of common intention with the co-accused, who caused injury with knife, which proved to be fatal, can be held to be established. In these circumstances, the appellants will be liable only for their individual acts and will not be vicariously liable for the act of the co-accused.”

“Accordingly, we allow this appeal and alter the conviction of the appellants to Section 323 of the IPC and sentence them to the period of custody already undergone as it has been stated by the counsel for the appellants that they have already been in custody for about six years,” the judges concluded.


High Court
Chahal’s travel restrictions modified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
A full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has modified its earlier orders vide which a condition against leaving the court’s jurisdiction, without prior permission, was imposed on B.I.S. Chahal, media advisor to Punjab’s former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Rajive Bhalla, allowed Chahal to travel up to Delhi National Capital Region. The matter will now come up on March 12. Chahal’s application, seeking unconditional apology from the High Court, is likely to be taken up on the same date.

Chahal is facing contempt of court proceedings for his alleged role in the missing file pertaining to the selection of DSPs, under the sports persons category, made by the previous government. The file was ordered to be produced before the Bench hearing the matter. While setting aside the selections, the court had issued contempt notice to Chahal.

Seeking the modification of order dated May 30, 2007; Chahal had contended that he had to travel repeatedly to Delhi and other places for consulting his lawyers. He added that the order should be modified to the extent that he should be permitted to leave the court’s jurisdiction without prior permission, “in the interest of justice”. Chahal contended that his passport had already been deposited with the court.

The high court had earlier directed Chahal to appear in person, but the former media advisor claimed that due to ill health and personal difficulties he could not do so.

He added that the court, on May 9, 2007, had issued bailable warrants for May 30 of the same year. On that day, he had appeared in person and submitted the bail bonds. The court also directed him not to leave the court’s jurisdiction without prior permission.

Provide security to Gumtala

Taking up a petition by SAD (Urban) general secretary of Amritsar district Jatha Manmohan Singh Gumtala claiming threats to his life, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the senior superintendent of police concerned to ensure the provision of security cover to him.

With these directions, a High Court Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, disposed of the petition, also seeking a probe by the CBI or any other independent investigating agency into the “large, scale forcible enrolment of primary members” to the SAD in Amritsar district.

In his petition, Gumtala had also sought directions to the Election Commission of India to stay the proposed elections of SAD president in Amritsar till the investigations by an independent investigating agency were completed.

Going into the background of the matter, the petitioner said on January 23 he raised the issue regarding “forced enrolment” of primary members. The petitioner said it was done at the behest of Majitha MLA, Bikramjit Singh Majithia. Following this, the SAD workers assaulted him.

Expressing apprehensions about his safety and liberty, the petitioner claimed he had been hiding since then as SAD workers, with the support of the Punjab police were after him.

The petition had impleaded as parties the state of Punjab, the director general of police and SSP Amritsar, along with Punjab Chief Minister-cum-SAD president Parkash Singh Badal.

The others arrayed as parties included SAD’s working president Sukhbir Singh Badal, Birkamjit Singh Majithia, Tota Singh, Bawa Singh Gumanpura and the Election Commission of India.

PCS promotions under judicial scanner

Punjab Government’s proposal to fill 100 odd vacancies in the State Civil Service, executive branch, by promoting eligible candidates from among the tehsildars and block development and panchayat Officers has come under a judicial scanner.

In a public interest petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, practicing lawyer Vikram Partap Singh has sought directions to restrain the state from going ahead with the effecting promotions to PCS from other services. Directions have been sought to the Punjab government to send requisition to Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) for filling the posts.

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, after preliminary hearing, issued notice of motion to Punjab Government and PPSC for May 9.

The Rajpura-based advocate maintained that these vacancies were meant to be filled through direct recruitment and not by promotions. The tehsildars and the BDPOs had no right to the post meant for direct recruitment.

Touching upon the reluctance on part of the present Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)-Bharatiya Janata Party regime to send the requisition to PPSC, the petitioner has also contended that graduates and post-graduates in Punjab have been waiting for the competitive examination of PCS and allied service.

Counsel for the petitioner Gurnam Singh added that the same had not been held for eight years now. Any action to fill the vacancies in PCS through promotion from tehsildars and BDPOs was not only illegal, but also bad in law and against the provisions of Punjab Civil Service (Executive Branch) Class-I Rules of 1976, particularly when there were no allegations against the present PPSC chairman and members.


Forum tells shopkeeper, firm to pay Rs 30,000
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 30
In a case of stomach infection after consuming a cold drink and a dead fly in another bottle of a cold drink of the same brand, the local District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Anil Kumar, a Dhuri shopkeeper; M/s Shivam Agencies, a Dhuri firm and Aradhna Drinks and Beverages Pvt Ltd, Qadian village (Phillaur), to pay a compensation of Rs 30,000 to the complainant, Vinit Kumar Jindal, a resident of Dhuri.

President of the forum M.D. Sharma has mentioned in the order that the order of the forum be complied with within 60 days.

Vinit had purchased two bottles of Slice cold drink from Anil on January 2, 2007. The complainant said after drinking the cold drink he started vomiting. The complainant checked the second sealed bottle of the cold drink and found that it contained a dead fly.


School education board amends migration rules
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 30
The Punjab School Education Board has changed migration rules for students. For classes IX and X the school-to-school migration would be allowed till the last date of receipt of examination form by the board every year. However, the chairman would allow migration in exceptional cases up to 45 days before the commencement of annual examination with the requisite fee.

In case of class IX migration will be allowed up to December 31 and in exceptional cases the chairman of the board can allow migration up to 28/29 February with the requisite fee prescribed from time to time. In case of class XI the board may allow migration by December 31 and in exceptional cases the chairman can allow this up to February 28.

This was decided at a meeting of the directors of the board here today. Board chairman Dalbir Singh Dhillon added that in class XII migration would be allowed till the last date of the receipt of examination forms each year. He stated that during this meeting the board of directors unanimously decided to form a committee to consider applications for the correction in the date of birth or father/mother’s name, etc. The term of the office of the committee will begin on the January 1 every year.

Dhillon further said table marking of class XII answersheets for science and commerce from this year was also approved. The board had introduced spot evaluations of answersheets of class XII from this year. Zone-wise centres would be formed at the district headquarters for spot evaluation under the direct supervision of a senior official of the board and the Education Department jointly. Honorarium for evaluation will be raised from Rs 2 to Rs 4 per answersheet but teachers will have to evaluate them at a place provided by the board.

During this meeting it has been also decided that a merit certificate will also be awarded to every student whose name appears in the merit list of middle, matric and senior secondary annual examination every year with effect from 2008.

The directors delegated the power to the chairman to decide the cases of appeals filed by the employees of the boards.


Rs 3.26 cr for elementary schools
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, January 30
The district administration here has received Rs 3.26 crore to be used during the current financial year for providing basic amenities in the elementary schools under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.

This was stated by Ajoy Sharma, deputy commissioner, here today at a meeting of the officials concerned. He further said the Union government had sanctioned Rs 6.16 crore for the district for the current financial year. The amount is to be used for renovating buildings of elementary schools, besides constructing toilets, providing drinking water and a room for resource persons.

The deputy commissioner further said the district administration in a special survey had identified 1,295 such children who were either mentally retarded or physically challenged. He said the certificates were being issued to these children and special facilities would be given to them.


4 booked for attacking ex-sarpanch’s house
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 30
The local police has registered a case under Sections 307 and 435, IPC, against four persons for allegedly making an attack on the house of Karnail Singh, a former sarpanch of Kammomajra village, near here, last night.

DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said this evening that earlier the police had registered a case against Kamal, son of the former sarpanch, and six others for firing at the local Government Ranbir College the previous day, in which two youths had sustained bullet injuries.

After the firing incident in the college, supporters of the injured youths opened fire at the house of Karnail Singh and also tried to set the house on fire.

No arrest had been made so far in connection with the previous day’s firing incident, the DSP added.


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