P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Cong, SAD-BJP ‘cordiality’
Bhattal differs with Amarinder’s observations
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Countering former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s observations on Punjab Congress leadership playing a friendly political match on various issues with the ruling SAD-BJP coalition headed by Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today said it was victory of the Congress that made the coalition put off panchayat elections.

She said the Congress MLAs wanted panchayat elections postponed as such a step would be in the interest of the party. Party fielded Braham Mohindra in the Punjab Assembly to speak against the holding of panchayat elections on April 7 and urge the ruling coalition to postpone these . Even certain Congress leaders had moved the high court to plead against the holding of panchayat elections, she said.

She said Amarinder Singh was not aware of what Congress MLAs wanted because he had not been attending meetings of the Congress Legislature Party( CLP). Had he attended CLP meetings, he would have known opinion of party MLAs on panchayat elections. Instead of levelling allegations against party leadership, Amarinder Singh should have expressed concerns at the party forum. It was not proper to speak to media on party’s issues, she said.

She added there were reports Amarinder Singh had a friendly meeting with SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal in Dubai . She denied she being hand-in -glove with the ruling coalition on various political issues.

From today’s development, it appears a new front has opened in the Congress in the state. Political relations had been strained between Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in the past. They had only functional relationship during the previous government.

“ In the Congress, opinion of individuals does not matter. Leader of the party has to go by the opinion of majority and I did so on panchayat elections because most of the MLAs wanted elections put of ”she asserted.

The Congress supported the resolution with on the postponement of panchayat elections in the House because Congress MLAs wanted it, she asserted.

On cricket match between the Congress and SAD MLAs, Bhattal said it was played for a noble cause of funds for physically challenged persons. “ For doing good for needy people, the Congress had always remained on the forefront”, she said.


Andropause and declining libido
‘Ego, stigma keep many away from expert advice’
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Male ego is the single biggest factor behind sexual problems remaining swept under the carpet for years before a medical expert’s advice is sought. A majority of the affected has wasted thousands by going to quacks before approaching an andrologist. In simple language, andropause is male menopause.

These observations, which form a part of the presentation of Dr Arvind Goyal of Dayanand Medical College, have been highlighted on various fora at the national level and sessions as part of his duty.

The independent findings and research inputs from the related field are part of the public awareness lectures and public consultancy sessions. “In our conservative society, a male largely never visits a specialist because of a sense of shame attached to questions of his potency. He first visits a roadside quack or other lesser qualified physicians. In certain cases he may be seeing his regular MBBS doctor who can refer him to an expert,” Dr Goyal said.

It has been observed over decades that medical experts have seen a dramatic drop in the sperm count of men. Reasons include heat, excessive alcohol intake, physical and mental overexertion, smoking and very frequent ejaculation.

It has been observed that “if a male has low sperm count, a better way to improve fertility lay in improving woman’s fertility potential by superovulation (helping her produce more eggs). “It might appear unfair to treat a woman for what essentially is a man’s problem. However, the fact is that the therapy for increasing sperm count may not be effective in all patients," Dr Goyal added.

It is felt that hospitals need to organise talk shows even on FM radio channels. “Involving self-help groups, the radio can organise direct public interaction with medical experts on air for the knowledge of the public which too can participate,” a doctor said.

One presentation shows that 40 per cent of the infertile population are men. Research also shows andropause or male menopause, a rarely mentioned condition, could be responsible for a number of inexplicable symptoms in men over 40.


Army’s UAV crashes
Tribune News Service

Bhucho Kalan (Bathinda), March 20
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of the Army got entangled in high-voltage wires and crashed in the fields near Adesh Medical College here last evening. There was no loss of life or property.

Eyewitnesses said the UAV was seen hovering over the village for the past couple of days. Last night, it came very low over the fields located on the Bathinda-Chandigarh highway. It was creating unusual noise, apparently because of extra force in engine needed to gain height. But, it can’t regain height and got trapped in the wires before crashing in the field.

Army cantonment sources said software (MASK), fitted in the UAV, developed technical snag, due to which the vehicle lost its balance and hit the wires.

The UAV was being used by instructors from Israel in the training of the 122 SATA regiment.

Bhagwant Singh, one of the owners of the fields where the UAV crashed, said: “After some hours of the mishap, Army personal reached the spot and sealed the area. When we asked them about the reason of the mishap, they said it was a satellite controlled vehicle and the person, who was operating it, was not properly trained.”

Senior officers, who visited the site, remained tight-lipped about the incident. The wreckage of the UAV was carried away in three trucks.

Officials from the Electricity Department stated that but for a cut in the electricity supply at the time of the mishap, damage could have been much more.


Prisoner flees, 3 suspended
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 20
Three warders were suspended after a prisoner escaped from the Central Jail here today. A joint search operation by the jail authorities and the police has been launched to nab the prisoner.

The prisoner, Paramjit Singh, is a resident of Pandori near Sultanwind village. Talking to The Tribune, jail superintendent S.P. Singh said the Paramjit was working in the fields on the jail premises along with seven undertrials when he gave the slip to the warders. His escape from the jail came to notice of the jail authorities when they were being handed over to duty officials.

Those who have been placed under suspension for dereliction of duty are Sukhwant Singh, Pargat Singh and Narinder Singh. The jail superintendent ruled out the connivance of the jail staff in the escape of the prisoner.

Meanwhile, a large number of jail and police staff cordoned off Gumtala village, adjacent to the jail. The Jail authorities have also sent a team to prisoner’s native village.

The jail is considered a high-security jail with 53 out of 1,586 prisoners lodged in it being foreign nationals hailing from Pakistani and Bangladesh.


Punjab Police Act-2007
20 cops facing trial posted as SHOs
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Punjab government does not seem think twice before entrusting the responsibility of safeguarding life and property of people to cops facing criminal cases. The government has posted more than 20 such cops as SHOs in 288 police stations of the state.

The Punjab Police Act, 2007 forbids posting as SHO of cops facing criminal case or vigilance inquiry Rather the Act, projected as panacea for ills of the Punjab police, says there has to be three- year “clean record” for getting posting as an SHO.

Information gathered under the Right to Information Act reveals Punjab Police itself has been flouting the Act. Many SHOs are facing cases of corruption, drug trafficking, attempt to murder, cases of illegal detention, cheating and even forgery. Some of them are enjoying “plum postings” in police circles.

Police sources said postings of SHOs were done on the basis of recommendations of the area MLA when the SAD-BJP combine was voted to power a year ago. The Act was passed in December 2007. Since then no one has reviewed if any SHO was facing a criminal case. This correspondent applied for information under the RTI and the Punjab Police headquarters in its reply of March 11 has given a list of the SHOs facing cases.

As an example the SHOs at Kartarpur and Phillaur in NRI-rich Jalandhar are facing cases of corruption registered by the Vigilance Bureau at its Mohali police station in 2005. Also the SHO posted at Talwandi Chaudrian in Kapurthala has been facing a case of cheating under Section 420 of the IPC while the SHO Hariana in Hoshiarpur a case of attempt to murder case under Section 307 of the IPC.

Besides NRI- populated police stations two of the most important police stations in Ludhiana, commercial capital of Punjab, have SHOs facing cases. The SHO of Focal Point is facing case, however, a cancellation report has been sent and it is yet to be accepted. The SHO , model town, Ludhiana is facing a corruption case while he also faces a separate case in which an “untraced” report has been sent to court.

In case of the SHO Hathur in Ludhian (rural), it has not stopped the Punjab government from posting him though he is facing case of illegally detaining a resident in Malerkotla. Similarly, the SHO of Fazilka is facing CBI investigation for illegally detaining a resident and the case was registered on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court

The government has not even thought once that a SHO of Samalsar in Moga is facing a case of drug trafficking and so is his colleague ,the SHO of Kot Ise Khan also in Moga.

The SHO of Talwandi Sabo faces a case of tampering with evidence and also a corruption case. The list goes on even as the sources in the government said a review needed to be carried out and an example set by removing such SHOs.


Novelist Kanwal given DLit
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 20
More than 650 degrees and medals in various disciplines were awarded at the 34th convocation of Guru Nanak Dev University here today. Punjab Governor and university chancellor S.F. Rodrigues presided over the ceremony.

Rodrigues advocated restructuring and reorientation of higher education by introducing programmes to strengthen capabilities and capacities of students to enable them to face emerging challenges and meet needs of new resurgent India.

Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) degrees were conferred on educationist Dr Amrik Singh, a former vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, and Punjabi novelist Jaswant Singh Kanwal in the faculty of languages.

Amrik Singh was awarded D.Lit in recognition of his contribution to education and literature and Jaswant Singh Kanwal for contribution to language and literature.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh said the university had made remarkable progress in research and teaching.The university has diversified, starting from religious studies to nano-technology to provide Punjab infrastructure for development.

Dr Jai Rup Singh said new courses in biomedical engineering, cardiothoracic physiotherapy, electronics communication system, medical jurisprudence and others self-financing courses were being started in new session. This year the university spent Rs 2 crore on providing fibre optic connectivity and Wi-Fi networking on the campus. The facility of video conferencing has also been made functional. For environmental protection, the university soon will become the first zero waste-water discharge university of the state.


Amarinder ends political banwas
Naveen S Garewal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to end his self-imposed political exile. After staying away from active politics for over a year, he now wants to take on his political detractors with a vengeance. “The bonhomie between the SAD and Congress leadership has led to the neglect of Congress workers and the real issues facing Punjab. I have decided to tour the state and revive the party at the grassroots level,” he said.

An upset Amarinder said the party worker was feeling neglected and rudderless. “The friendly political match between the Akalis and the Congress may bail out some leaders, but it will finish the party,” he lambasted. He stated that he had spoken to Congress general secretary Margaret Alva in this regard.

Bhattal, however, described Amarinder’s outburst as unfortunate and unfounded and said that she would preferred not to say anything against a senior leader of her party but would take up the matter with the party high command.


Rising prices: MES contractors a harried lot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The sharp rise in cement, steel and bitumen prices has caused a serious security concern for the nation as the MES Builders Association of India, an all-India body that undertakes defence contracts for the Military Engineering Service (MES) feels that many defence contracts and projects may not be completed in time.

The association has issued a statement suggesting that the MES formula for escalation, linked to the price index of “all commodities”, could indirectly become a national security threat.

Association president Varinder Kumar Garg has pointed out that several contracts like the “fast track projects” vital for national security do not even provide for any escalation in project cost, while in many other projects the escalation is less than 5 per cent of the actual increase in the prices of cement, steel and bitumen.

“Faced with a difficult situation, a contractor recently committed suicide,” Garg has pointed out.

The association says that the MES has sent repeated representations to the Ministry of Defence for revising the escalation formula as well as suitably compensating the builders in their recently completed works, but despite continuing rise in prices, the ministry has failed to respond.

Office-bearers have pointed out that there are many grey areas, like the one-side contract conditions framed during the British regime. “If work is delayed, the contractors are heavily penalised, but if the delay occurs due to the department’s faults, there is no compensation”.

To bring their plight to the notice of the central government, the association recently held a “dharna” at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, but they are yet to receive any positive response from the government.


Acquisition for Mohali Airport
Farmers to get Rs 1.5 cr per acre plus sops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Mohali International Airport today moved a step closer to realisation as the Punjab government announced major across-the-board compensation to the farmers whose land would be acquired for the project.

The farmers would not only be paid a lump sum of Rs 1.5 crore per acre, inclusive of 30 per cent solatium plus 10 per cent no-litigation benefit, but would also get a waiver of registration fee and stamp duty on the land they buy in the state with the compensation money within two years. Besides, they would be entitled for the facility of a power connection for the tubewell on a priority anywhere in Punjab.

Disclosing this here today, media adviser to CM Harcharan Bains said the total land to be acquired was 306 acres and 18 marlas and the financial liability involved in the entire acquisition process stood to be approximately Rs 460 crore.

The full amount of the compensation would be paid to all eligible owners whose land was being acquired by March 31, 2008.


Can prove Sarabjit’s innocence: Daughter
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Terming one-month reprieve to his father by the Pakistani authorities as a “ray of hope”, Swapandeep, daughter of Sarabjit Singh, today claimed that the family had enough evidence to prove his father’s innocence.

“Allow us to travel to Pakistan on an emergency visa and we will produce the necessary evidence to prove our father’s innocence,” she told The Tribune here today.

She reiterated that our father was not given a fair trial. Swapandeep claimed his father was already in the custody of the Pakistani authorities at the time of the bomb blasts. She claimed that he was mistaken to be Manjit Singh, who allegedly engineered the blasts. She said it was for the government to decide whether it wanted to release any terrorists in return for Sarbjit’s freedom. Meanwhile, minister of state for home Sriprakash Jaiswal in New Delhi said the government would not release any terrorists to secure the secure the release of Sarabjit languishing in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan for over 17 years.

Meanwhile, the Global Human Rights Council has decided to take up the case of Sarabjit with the UN and the Amnesty International. Its representatives will meet the UN observers at Dharamsala tomorrow.

Peace march

AMRITSAR: The All-India Human Rights Association, along with Sukhpreet Kaur, wife of Sarabjit Singh, took out a peace march here on Thursday. The association wrote a letter to the UN and Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf urging them to give clemency to Sarabjit. — OC


CM urges FM to slash import duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged union finance minister P. Chidambaram to take effective steps for scrapping duty on import of scrap and imposition of 20 per cent duty on export of semi-finished steel.

In a communiqué addressed to union finance minister Badal impressed upon him to declare iron ore as national heritage since this product and its stocks were limited. He also underscored the need to set up a regulatory commission to resolve all emerging issues relating to steel prices.

Badal pointed out that the representatives of the industries had brought to his notice that the main producers of steel like Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd. (TISCO) and Rashtraya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) raised the prices of steel arbitrarily and at frequent intervals, thereby adversely affecting the growth of industries in general and crippling the small scale units of the state in general.

Badal further stated that the state being far from the steel plants the units had to pay higher freight charges as compared to other states located near these plants. He emphasised the need to examine afresh the issue of price structure of steel items to check the hike by way of frequent price fluctuations.


Rural poll deferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Accepting the plea made by the Punjab Assembly yesterday by passing a resolution, state election commissioner A.K. Dubey today postponed the panchayat, block samiti and zila parishad elections till May 15. He said as the elections had been postponed the code of conduct would no longer be in force in the state and it would be imposed only after fresh announcement of dates for the poll.

Panchayat elections were to be held on April 7. Dubey said though the April 7 poll had been postponed but the election process with regard to the panchayat elections would be completed on or before May 15. For holding elections by May 15 a separate notification would be issued.


PSEB gets back old power house
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 20
Following the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a property in the Old Power House complex here was completely restored to the PSEB authorities today. The property is said to be worth crores of rupees given its location near the main bus stand and district administrative complex.

The PSEB authorities today took the possession of remaining property, including a complaint centre room and building of the office of the SDO (metering equipment). The main gate of the complex was also opened.

Yesterday, the PSEB authorities had taken the possession of four residential rooms, one open store, three rooms, one old generator set room and a garage.

In the case, the PSEB was the petitioner while Pushvinder Kaur, daughter of Pavittar Kaur, was the respondent.


No penalty on dues cleared by March 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Punjab Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia today announced in the Vidhan Sabha that no penal interest or any other penalty would be charged in case the dues related to sewer and water charges and property tax were cleared by the person concerned in urban areas by March 31. He said the penal interest and any other penalty would be waived at the time of the depositing of the dues.


Rights panel seeks report from secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Taking cognisance of the news item on mid-day meals leading to death of two students that appeared in The Tribune columns, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has asked the principal secretary, school education, to submit a report on the matter.


CM’s Holi greetings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today extended greetings to the people on the eve of Holi.

In a message, Badal said Holi had a special significance in our centuries-old cultural heritage that propagated the unity of mankind, tolerance and compassion. He appealed the people to celebrate this joyous occasion in unison with religious fervour and gaiety.

Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has also greeted the people of Punjab on the eve of Holi and Hola Mohalla.


2 dead in mishap at flyover
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 20
Two youths were killed when the motor cycle they were riding met with an accident on a flyover over here this evening. The youths, in their mid-20s, lost control over the two-wheeler and fell off the flyover. According to the eyewitness, the youths died on the spot. Their identity was yet to be established.


Govt uses extinct rules in reply to petition
Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Sakari babus often do not apply their mind while preparing replies to court cases may be a well-established fact. They also rely on extinct rules to support their contentions came to the fore during the hearing of a petition filed by inspector-general of Punjab Police Rajinder Singh.

As his promotion matter came up for arguments before a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, Delhi High Court’s senior advocate Aman Lekhi on Rajinder Singh’s behalf said the state had referred to Section 28 of the Central Administrative Tribune (CAT) Act in its written statement.

Giving details, Lekhi said the state, by referring to the Section, wanted to say that the original jurisdiction to hear the matter was with the CAT. And the appeal against the tribunal’s order could be entertained by the Supreme Court of India. The Section, he added, had been declared ultra vires of the Constitution of India. In an attempt to substantiate his contentions, Lekhi also referred to an Apex Court judgement.

Reacting to the development, the state counsel present before the Bench sought an adjournment on the ground that he required time to go through the judgement. The counsel added he would be in a position to address the court on the issue only after he had read the complete judgement. Rajinder Singh had initially moved the court seeking directions to the state to consider him for promotion along with his batch-mates. His services have, currently, been placed under suspension.

After hearing the counsels in the matter this morning, the Bench observed verbally in the open court that it would hear the arguments on merit only after satisfying itself on the jurisdiction issue.

Earlier, during the proceedings, Lekhi said the high court had the jurisdiction to hear the matter. He said the high court could not be excluded because judicial review was part of the basic structure. He added under ordinary circumstances the case could be referred to the CAT. But the current case was not ordinary as certain fundamental questions were involved. And in extraordinary circumstances, the high court could exercise its jurisdiction, notwithstanding a supplementary remedy available before the tribunal.


Moga Sex Scam
Barjinder’s bail plea turned down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Turning down the anticipatory bail plea of Barjinder Singh, son of senior Akali former minister Tota Singh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled his custodial interrogation was "extremely necessary to unravel the fathoms of the conspiracy" in the Moga sex scam.

The orders by Justice Mahesh Grover come nearly four months after the High Court took suo-motu cognisance of the matter before observing the sex scam apparently was "nothing less than the Jammu sex scandal".

Pronouncing the operative part of the 11-page order in an open court, Justice Grover observed, “What appeared to be a case simpliciter wherein an aggrieved woman made allegations of rape against two locally influential persons has suddenly turned out to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg with its jagged edges pointing towards the complicity of very a many high-ups of the social strata, including members of the officialdom.”

The narration of allegations almost read like pulp-fiction, where devious minds have played havoc with the lives of innocent persons by resorting to extortion by abusing either their official position or their status in the society to foist false cases upon the innocents.

The judge also observed: In the instant case, a perusal of the statements, which have been produced in a sealed cover, prima facie, reveal the complicity of the petitioner; and in this view of the matter, where more skeletons are likely to tumble out of the cupboard of the persons, who were involved in the racket, in my opinion, it would not be appropriate to grant him the concession of pre-arrest bail.

Rather, I am of the considered view that the custodial interrogation is extremely necessary to unravel the fathoms of the conspiracy.

The judge further observed, “That apart, prima facie, the investigation, which has been carried so far does reveal the names of some influential persons in society and if they are granted the protection of pre-arrest bail, it is obvious that they will strain every muscle and pull every string to scuttle the truth, and, thus, obstruct the process of investigations.”

In the detailed order, the judge added, “The contention of the counsel for the petitioner that the allegations against him are borne out of political vendetta, probably becomes the easiest plea to raise, but merely because a person belongs to a particular faction of a political party does not imply that every finger that is pointed towards such a person necessarily has to belong to the hand of an opponent.”

Before parting with the order, the judge added, “Considering the matter in entirety, I do not find it a fit case in which the petitioner should be granted the concession of pre-arrest bail. Accordingly, the petition is dismissed.”


Ex-OSD Bhullar denied bail
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Additional sessions judge Ferozpur Jagjit Singh Chohan has denied anticipatory bail to Major Harminder Singh Bhullar, a former officer on special duty to Punjab’s former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and five others in a house deal case.

Pronouncing the orders the judge ruled: “Relief under Section 438 of the Cr.PC is an extraordinary relief and its protective umbrella should be given to the persons, who act responsibly and fearing law.

“The entire set of facts do give a reflection that all accused appeared to be connected with each other in the matter of committing wrong. Therefore, this extraordinary relief of grant of bail should not be extended to them. The prayer for bail in both applications stands declined.”

A case of cheating, forgery and other offences was registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC at Sadar police station in Ferozpur on January 30.

It was alleged accused Sukhdev Singh cheated the complainant by executing a forged agreement of sale of the house in connivance with the other accused.

Additional public prosecutor had earlier contended Sukhdev Singh deliberately entered into an agreement of sale by concealing the fact he had the power of attorney of his son Harminder Singh.

He had also concealed the alleged house had been bequeathed to Harminder Singh and his nephews by his father. Major Harminder Singh also knew this fact.

It was added the tehsildar’s report was patently mala fide, and the inquiry by the police was conducted under pressure. It was further argued a false complaint under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989, was filed against the complainant for pressurising her. The complainant and her family had been summoned and were being pressured for a compromise.

Arguing on behalf of the accused, Sukhdev Singh, Major Harminder Singh, Gurdas Rai and Rajesh Kumar defence counsel argued case of criminal liability was not made out from the facts of the case. It was purely a case of civil nature and the complainant already had a suit.

After hearing the arguments, the Judge held: “Accused-applicant Sukhdev Singh entered into an agreement of sale in his own capacity as the owner of the property. He was fully aware of the fact a will had also been executed by his father in favour of his son and his nephews. All these facts were also in the knowledge of accused-applicant Major Harminder Singh Bhullar.”


Custodial Death
Govt to pay 2 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Taking view of the circumstances leading to the custodial death of Jaswant Singh, an undertrial, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has asked the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh. It also gave the state government the option to recover the compensation money from the delinquent official in accordance with law.

The deceased was lodged in this jail on January 9, 2007, under Section 379 of the IPC. On January 13, 2007, he was sent as an emergency case to the Civil Hospital, Jalandhar, for treatment, where he expired.

The jail doctor had not sent any report regarding the treatment given to the deceased.

Executive Magistrate, Jalandhar, recorded the statements of the doctors who had conducted the post-mortem examination in this case. As per the report submitted by the inquiry officer, poison was detected by the chemical examiner in the viscera of the deceased.

Two ward boys at the hospital Om Parkash and Nishan Singh in their statements had stated that on January 13, 2007, the condition of the deceased worsened and was referred by the medical officer of the Central Jail, Jalandhar, to the civil hospital, Jalandhar. He died on January 15, 2007.

Mother of the deceased Amarjit Kaur has stated that she was informed by the police on January 13, 2007, that the condition of her son Jaswant Singh had deteriorated. She did not express any apprehension of foul play in the death of her son. The reports of the chemical examiner and that of the histopathologist were not received in this case from the authorities concerned.

However, in the death report the doctors concerned constituting the medical board had stated that the cause of death in this case was poisoning due to aluminium phosphide insecticide.


IG says his suspension contempt of court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Just over a fortnight after Punjab’s inspector-general of police Rajinder Singh was placed under suspension by the Punjab government, he today claimed the action against him amounted to contempt of court.

In a replication to short written statement filed by the state of Punjab, Rajinder Singh’s counsel said the apprehensions of the petitioner had come true as vide order dated March 5, he had been placed under suspension, which was absolutely illegal... Such action amounted to contempt of court in view of the order dated February 1 passed by the court.

A Division Bench of the high court, comprising Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, had on that date directed the state and the DGP to maintain status-quo in the promotion matter.

The counsel today added genuine apprehensions of implication in false cases, replacement of security men of confidence with agents of surveillance around the residence of the petitioner; and repeated visits of senior police officers often at odd times on the pretext of checking had suffocated the petitioner and his family by infringing upon their privacy, dignity and right to life and liberty.

He further added: “It may not be out of place to mention that the state of Punjab has recent history of suicides by police officers due to such degradation, humiliation and apathy of the government.”

The case would now come up for hearing before the Bench on April 7.


Insurance firm told to pay Rs 1 lakh
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 20
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here has directed New India Assurance Company to pay Rs 1 lakh as insurance claim, along with interest 9 per cent interest from June 22, 2007, till realisation to Nazma, whose husband Abdul Shakoor died in May 2006 in an accident. Nazma is now residing with her father at Malerkotla.

President of the forum M.D. Sharma has also directed the company to pay Rs 3,000 as compensation for harassment and Rs 1,000 as litigation expenses to Nazma.

Abdul, had got his scooter insured from the company on March 31, 2006, which was valid up to March 30, 2007. Under the terms of the policy, Rs 1 lakh was payable in case of death of the insured.


Farmers prefer migrants to local labour: PAU study
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 20
A study of the Department of Economics and Sociology, Punjab Agricultural University, finds mixed type of relationship between migrant labour and local labour in rural Punjab. At some places,local labourers were supportive of the migrants while at others places, relationship between them had conflicts and sometimes even hostilities.

The study is by Dr Shalini Sharma and Dr Simran Kang Sidhu on socio-economic status of the migrant labourers and factors associated with migration.

Patiala, Sangrur and Hoshiarpur districts formed part of the study. It has revealed majority of the local labourers from Patiala (85 per cent), Sangrur (95 per cent) and Hoshiarpur (75 per cent) consider since migrants fulfilled the high demand for labour in peak season and at lower wages than demanded by the local labour, farmers prefer migrants. A majority of the local labourers expressed anguish strong personal ties, which earlier existed between them and farmers, had weakened after the influx of migrants. Previously the farmers were dependant on them and due to “patron-client” relationship, farmers used to help them in times of distress. With the arrival of migrants, these ties had broken. The local labourers also reported crime like theft, kidnapping bad habits like smoking and chewing of tobacco had increased after the arrival of migrants in the state.

The study has pointed out a majority of the farmers of the three districts prefer migrants because they are available in groups. Half of the employers from Patiala, 55 per cent from Sangrur and 35 per cent from Hoshiarpur districts find migrants more hardworking. More than 85 per cent of employers in the sample districts prefer migrants because they are less demanding compared to local labourers who carry away fodder and grains from fields for their use.

The farmers also find migrants more submissive as they can be paid after the completion of the work and no advance payment is demanded as in the case of local labourers.

The employers agreed the labour problem had been solved with the influx of migrants to a great extent. Employers in Hoshiarpur district also mentioned migrants were more honest and loyal than local workforce.

The study, found 41.1 per cent of permanent labourers in Patiala and 19.4 per cent in Sangrur even had voter identity cards.

The study has recommended it is not advisable to stop migration. But the socio-economic status of migrant labour should be improved by the governments of Bihar and UP in particular to curtail large-scale migration.


6 police officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The government today transferred six police officers with immediate effect. Naunihal Singh, SSP, Bathinda has been given additional charge of SSP, Barnala, while Paramjit Singh Grewal, SSP, Barnala, has been attached with the IGP/Zonal-1, Patiala.

Surjit Singh, SP, Amritsar (city), has been attached with the SSP, Gurdaspur, to work as the SP, headquarters. Manmohan Singh, SP (headquarters), Gurdaspur, has been attached with the SSP, Amritsar (city) to work as the SP, Amritsar (city).

Gurpreet Singh Toor, SP (detective) Ludhiana (city) has been attached with the SSP, Ropar; and Paramdeep Singh Teja, SP (headquarters) Batala, has been attached with the SSP, Tarn Taran, to work as the SP (detective).


Murder case solved, one held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 20
The police claims to have cracked a murder case within three days of a body being spotted in a paddy field in the Kot Khalsa area on Sunday.

A piece of paper, carrying a mobile number, found on the body helped identify the victim, Jagga (45), a resident of Makhu district, Ferozepur. The police has arrested Kuldeep Singh (20) of Sodian village in Makhu for his murder.

Senior superintendent of police Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said the case was solved with the help of the Ferozepure police. Kuldeep, along with Sonu of the Makhu area, had brought Jagga to Amritsar on the pretext of a religious tour. They took him to a farm in the Kot Khalsa area and killed him with an axe. Sonu has absconded.

According to police sources, the reason behind the murder was Jagga’s illicit relations with the mother of the accused.


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