Rejection of compensation claims by Ludhiana admn
Ludhiana, April 9
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has already intervened in the matter, seeing political implications of the issue.
On his directions, chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh has called representatives of the Danga Peerat Welfare Association Punjab tomorrow to Chandigarh to solve the matter amicably.
The meeting would have a major problem at hand. Over 3,600 new claimants have been claiming their cases were never heard. But going by the trend of accepting their claims, more than 80 per cent would be rejected. Administrative sources said of the 90 cases analysed on the first day, 67 were found false.
The association leaders took up the cause of the old and new claimants today at a press conference. Surjit Singh, president of the association, said they demanded the transfer of deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar, compensation to all victims, besides the over 3600 victims whose cases were never heard before.
It has threatened to launch an agitation if the demands are not accepted.
The controversy is on for a week now. The Danga Peerat Welfare Association has locked horns with the Ludhiana Administration after the cases were rejected. Now, the association has grouped together representatives of all districts to take the matter to the chief secretary.
Administrative officials have claimed the cases were rejected, as they were either completely false or lacked documentary evidence.
Deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar said the rejection was made by a committee formed by the government.
"There was no bias or prejudice and everything was done in a transparent manner. How can the government compensate those who were not able to prove they were victims."
Riot victim association president Surjit Singh said the decision was not made by the committee. He claimed the committee had three members, including him, secretary, Zila Parishad and a SDM, but he was never called for discussing the issue.
While the struggle between the government and the association is on, riot victims narrated their endless woes for justice and compensation.
Sarbjit Singh, an employee with a private company, said the process of scrutiny of their papers was too long.
"I am standing in the queue for three days now. My employer would deduct Rs 100 daily for not attending office. The administration should have called persons serialwise in small numbers on the basis of case numbers instead of calling all victims daily."
Narinderpal Singh and Zora Singh, another alleged victim, claimed the administration had earlier said it would accept sworn statements of the Gurudwara management heads where the victims took refuge during the riots, but now they were not accepting it also.
Centre’s Loan Waiver
Chandigarh, April 9
The Cooperative Department has worked out 3,21,710 farmers, who have taken loan from the department on short and long term basis will be benefited by the loan waiver scheme. The amount, that was advanced by cooperative banks in the state, to be waived will be about Rs 1141.49 crore and of other commercial banks Rs 560 crore.
Capt Kanwaljit Singh, cooperation minister, said relief to farmers was inadequate. Keeping in view the contribution made by Punjab farmers in the national food pool, entire outstanding loan against farmers in the state should have been waived. He said to club Punjab farmers, who had been making such an exemplary contribution to the national food security, in the loan waiving scheme was irrational and unjustified.
The Cooperative Department has estimated 1,18,674 marginal farmers and 1,47,207 small farmers will get benefit of Rs 361.83 crore and Rs 638.46 crore, respectively, under the loan waiving scheme in Punjab. Besides, 5,58,29 other farmers will get a benefit of Rs 141.20 crore under the one- time settlement scheme( OTS) announced along with the loan waiver scheme by the Union government for farmers owning land more than two hectares. Under the OTS, farmers are to be given 25 per cent rebate on the outstanding loan against the payment of balance of 75 per cent.
Farmer unions wanted the land holding of a farmer should be taken as per the record in the loan case file and any variation in the land holding of the farmers after loaning needs should be ignored for the purpose of relief. Such a provision in the guidelines for loan waiving can benefit majority of farmers of Punjab and Haryana where otherwise most of the farmers had become ineligible for loan waiver because of non -division of family land in revenue records.
The landless farmers who had been disbursed loan against third party security need to be covered for waiver or under the one -time settlement scheme. The cut off date under the loan waiver scheme should cover the interest till the date of realisation even after December 31,2007 that is cut off date for waiving the overdue loans.
Rs 19 cr for facilities at Attari rly station
Amritsar, April 9
The union government was also considering starting fast trains from Amritsar to New Delhi and Jaipur and proposals in this regard were being looked into and a decision would be taken soon.
R. Velu, union minister of state for railways, told reporters here today that air-conditioned waiting rooms, immigration centre and other facilities would be provided at the Attari station. New administrative building with modern facilities would also be constructed, he added.
Velu said Rs 8 crore had also been earmarked for the construction of two platforms at Amritsar station, besides providing mechanised cleaning systems at two of the five existing railway lines for better sanitation. Steps would be taken to improve the station by developing green belts around it. He said Amritsar station had been chosen among the 22 metro and sub-metro railway stations in the country to be upgraded to world-class level.
On restoring the Amritsar-Ferozepur rail link, the minister said the ministry was seeking the report on the feasibility of the rail link and after the report came steps would be taken on remaining railway track between Khemkaran and Ferozepur.
Denying the sale of vacant spaces of the Indian Railways across the country, the minister said these spaces would either be used by the department or starting new joint projects in coordination with private parties.
He added that these spaces could also be given on lease to generate more income for the Railways.
Meanwhile, Velu inspected developmental projects at the Attari railway station, besides inspecting washrooms, waiting rooms, immigration counters and other facilities.
Mohali, April 9
Mehta appearing before special Judge S.K. Garg during the resumed hearing of the case this morning said majority of the witnesses had resiled in the case and the various charges against the accused could not be borne out in the statements given by the witnesses.
The prosecution had closed its evidence in the case while it was being heard at Ropar. The case was shifted to Mohali after a special judge S.K. Garg was appointed here. Justice Garg has to decide whether there is enough evidence on record to continue with the case under Section 313 of the CrPC.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his wife Surinder Badal and son Sukhbir Singh Badal along with seven other persons are facing charges of misuse of official machinery, accepting bribes and amassing property disproportionate to known sources of income.
Examining the evidence for the charge of disproportionate assets, the judge questioned the attorney on various counts, including details of the properties that the Badals had and their assessment reports.
The DA informed the court that the witnesses had stated that they had not prepared the assessment reports, only signed on them. Going into the details of the assessment reports, the judge observed that in one report, pipes, barbed wires etc of a property had been assessed while the cost of the land and the structure has been left out. He was told that the assessment had been calculated for the property that was made during a particular period.
The counsel for the accused Vikram Chaoudhry told the court that the cases against the Badals as a result of malice that the former Chief Minister Cap Amarinder Singh harboured against the Badals. He said two civil cases and two criminal cases had been filed against Amarinder after he wrote a defamatory letter to the Parkash Singh Badal. “This case was registered in defence of those cases,” he said in the court.
During the course of the hearing Congress MLA from Talwandi Sabo Jeet Mohinder Singh moved an application through his lawyer requesting adjournment of the case in the local court since a petition regarding the case was pending in the Supreme Court. The application said since the accused were the important persons in the state and fair trial here was not possible and a request to shift the case out of Punjab was pending in the apex court.
Both the DA and the defence counsel objected to the “walk in application” requesting the judge not to take it on record. The judge, however, remained firm that he would read it and only then decide. He later dismissed the application. The case has been adjourned for May 3.
Farmers ‘not to comply’ with ban on wheat sale
Mohali, April 9
“Till the Centre agrees to pay Punjab farmer Rs 400 as bonus over and above the MSP, we will not comply with the ban,” he said, adding that the matter would be taken up in the coming session of Parliament.
Lambasting the Union government for its “anti-Punjab” policies, Sukhbir said the Punjab farmer is being forced to sell his produce at the minimum support price of Rs 1000 per quintal, while farmers in other states are getting a higher price by selling to private companies. “Farmers here are suffering huge losses, as the international price of wheat is about RS 700 per quintal more than the MSP,” he said.
He alleged the Centre was responsible for the high cost of living. “Food prices have gone through the roof. The steel prices are spiralling up. If the Centre wants, it can control prices, but it is simply not concerned,” said Sukhbir.
Bhattal passes buck to high command
Chandigarh, April 9
Bhattal was reacting to utterances of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh yesterday. Amarinder while denying his patch-up with Bhattal as claimed by her, had also maintained his differences with her on important matters.
The PPCC chief maintained with parliamentary elections approaching, she was right now concentrating on fighting the Akali-BJP government. On whether the PPCC would send any report on this issue to the high command, she said there was no such proposal. “The high command has its own agencies and they can bring the issue to its notice, she added.
Chandigarh, April 9
Opponents in Panthic echelons have started taking potshots at the SAD leadership for its long-standing alliance with the BJP, whose prime ministerial candidate has admitted in his autobiography that following his “speech in Parliament, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was forced to use military to liberate the Golden Temple from anti-national elements in 1984”.
It would become very difficult politically for the SAD leadership, who has been condemning the Congress from rooftops for its military action in the Golden Temple, to defend its political alliance with the BJP, whose top leader has claimed that his party played an active role in “liberating the Golden Temple” by using force.
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary general, SAD, said he had brought the matter to the notice of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. “I have told Badal about the references in Advani’s book with regard to the military action.” He said Badal had not read the book.
Advani’s book has made things more difficult for the SAD leadership.
Such references can make the Congress leadership target SAD in the coming weeks. Following the revelations made by Advani, now Sikh leaders in the Congress can assert that Indira Gandhi was not in favour of military action, but it was the BJP that created a situation for her to order military action.
Through his book, Advani, who obviously wanted to project himself as a rock solid opponent of militancy, has provided the Congress leadership with an opportunity to defend itself on the issue of Operation Bluestar by putting the entire blame on Advani and other BJP leaders.
SAD(A) to contest panchayat elections
Sangrur, April 9 He said his party would expose those candidates who served intoxicants to voters to lure them during elections. They also wanted to make rural areas drug-free. Alloarkh said a detailed announcement in this regard would be made by the party at its political conference on April 14 at Talwandi Sabo. He said the people would be educated to extend support to the candidates of SAD (A) in the elections if they wanted development of the villages. He added that the party would approach the state Election Commission to allot “gadda” (cart) as its election symbol for the ensuing elections.
Sangrur, April 9
He said his party would expose those candidates who served intoxicants to voters to lure them during elections. They also wanted to make rural areas drug-free.
Alloarkh said a detailed announcement in this regard would be made by the party at its political conference on April 14 at Talwandi Sabo. He said the people would be educated to extend support to the candidates of SAD (A) in the elections if they wanted development of the villages.
He added that the party would approach the state Election Commission to allot “gadda” (cart) as its election symbol for the ensuing elections.
Ban sought for comments against Bhindranwale
Amritsar, April 9
Talking to The Tribune, SGPC chief Avtar Singh said it was most unfortunate that Advani in his book, “My Country, My life,” had used highly inflammatory and derogatory language against a person who had been declared “The greatest Sikh of the last millennium” by Akal Takht, SGPC and other Sikh organisations.
Spokesman of Damdami Taksal and convener of the Khalsa Action Committee Bhai Mohkam Singh and Dal Khalsa secretary-general Kanwarpal Singh in separate statements sought an immediate ban on Advani’s book for his comments against Sant Bhindranwale.
The Dal Khalsa and the Damdami Taksal asked SAD (Badal) president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to clarify their position on the statements of Advani about Operation Bluestar and Sant Bhinderanwale. If the Akali Dal felt that the BJP leader had insulted the entire Sikh community, it must snap political ties with it.
Swasthya Yojna launched in 5 dists
Mohali, April 9
Punjab is the fourth state in the country to launch the scheme after Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.
Punjab minister for health and family welfare Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla said the scheme provided health cover insurance for BPL families. Each family would be insured for Rs 30,000 per annum on a family-floater basis. The scheme would cover hospitalisation expenses and take care of most common illnesses, including all pre-existing diseases.
The beneficiaries of the scheme will be issued special cards during April and the first week of May.
Professor Chawla added that at present, the scheme had been launched in five districts on pilot basis and would be extended to the entire state by 2012.
Anil Swarup, director general, Labour Welfare, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, said the union government would contribute 75 per cent in the annual premium of Rs 561.80 per family.
Dr Roshan Sunkaria, secretary, health and managing director, Punjab Heath Systems Corporation (PHSC), said the Department of Labour had appointed PHSC as the nodal agency for implementation of the RSBY in the state.
A state-level workshop to roll out the scheme was also held here. The spokespersons included Sunita Chopra, World Bank consultant, who gave a presentation on smart cards and Ramesh Gupta, technical director, National Insurance Company.
Moga, April 9
Baba Santa Singh, an octogenarian, is admitted to the intensive care unit of Rajindra Medical Collage, Patiala, for some months and was not in 'senses' to give any statement or declare his 'will' for appointing his legal heir.
On September 21, last year, the row over 'guru gaddi' turned bloody. There was a clash between the two groups of the Nihangs at main dera in Patiala, in which four Nihangs were killed in firing.
A group of Nihangs headed by Balbir Singh, a former disciple of Baba Santa Singh took control of the main dera and educational institutes run by it. Baba Santa Singh was ex-communicated from the Panth by Akal Takht when he carried out 'kar seva' of Akal Takht after Operation Bluestar. At that time Balbir Singh was his close associate and considered his heir but he left Santa Singh following Akal Takht’s decision.
However, after Baba Santa Singh was brought back into the Panth, Balbir Singh again joined hands with him. At a function organised at Talwandi Sabo on October 1, last year, a section of Nihangs declared him heir of Santa Singh.
But, the other group took the dispute to the sessions' court of Patiala where the matter was pending for final orders. The court had appealed to the near and dear ones of the ailing Baba Santa Singh through advertisements in newspapers to appear before the court on or before April 17 so that a 'guardian' could be appointed.
Keeping in view the legal complications in the dispute, Baba Dyal Singh, Baba Malkit Singh, Baba Kulwant Singh (mukhtiar-e-aam), Baba Sukhbir Singh alias Baba Mithu Singh and Baba Harvant Singh ,members of the five-member working committee of the dal met here this afternoon under the guidance of Baba Joginder Singh, who was the acting chief of the dal and declared Surinder Singh Babbar legal heir of Baba Santa Singh.
A properly dressed Nihang looks smart and real son of the Guru. Today, when the entire Nihang community gets together at Anandpur Sahib or Hazur Sahib and nagaras (drums) are sounded loud it clearly signifies all those weak hearted person gets enough courage to stand up to tyranny.
Bir removed from mazaar
Amritsar, April 9 Giani Mohkam Singh, former Jathedar, Damdami Taksal, Giani Jagtar Singh Yachak, Bhai Mohkam Singh, convener, Khalsa Action Committee, Bhai Ram Singh, chief of breakaway Damdami Taksal, Kanwarpal Singh of the Dal Khalsa, along with members of the Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee, were among those who present during the removal of the holy book. Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, spokesman, Dal Khalsa, said the two deras, situated alongside the mazaar, did not resist the attempt of the Panthic organisations. The holy book was kept in a palki, while one Nishan Sahib, Gutkas, which were allegedly in a pitiable condition, and Rumalas were also removed from the site with Maryada. It is pertinent to mention that it was against Sikh rituals to keep Guru Granth Sahib at mazaars. Bittu said that Guru Granth Sahib would be installed in a gurdwara with all Maryada.
Amritsar, April 9
Giani Mohkam Singh, former Jathedar, Damdami Taksal, Giani Jagtar Singh Yachak, Bhai Mohkam Singh, convener, Khalsa Action Committee, Bhai Ram Singh, chief of breakaway Damdami Taksal, Kanwarpal Singh of the Dal Khalsa, along with members of the Guru Granth Sahib Satkar Committee, were among those who present during the removal of the holy book.
Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, spokesman, Dal Khalsa, said the two deras, situated alongside the mazaar, did not resist the attempt of the Panthic organisations.
The holy book was kept in a palki, while one Nishan Sahib, Gutkas, which were allegedly in a pitiable condition, and Rumalas were also removed from the site with Maryada. It is pertinent to mention that it was against Sikh rituals to keep Guru Granth Sahib at mazaars.
Bittu said that Guru Granth Sahib would be installed in a gurdwara with all Maryada.
Ex-spy’s family on verge of starvation
Mirzapur (Gurdaspur), April 9
The family of Kura Ram (55), a resident of Mirzapur village, located on the Jalandhar-Jammu highway on the border of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, is on the verge of starvation.
Residing in a small dingy room, the family of Kura Ram is struggling for survival.
Holding a certificate in electrical trade from an Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Kura Ram was arrested by Pakistan defence personnel from Kothe village of Narowal sector in November 1976 and was sent to Sialkot Jail.
Along with other Indian prisoners, Kura Ram was kept with a fictitious name in the Pakistan jail.
Though spying ruined him and his family, Kura Ram motivates his kids to join the Indian Army and serve the nation."I often motivate my son Shankar Diyal, a Class VI student, to be patriotic and serve the nation. I do not say that working for RAW was a wrong decision.The treatment given to detectives by the Indian government is not up to the mark," rues Kura Ram.
Kura Ram recalled that after joining RAW in 1971, he was trained for supplying secret information from across the border. On November 11, 1976, he left for his mission after surrendering his documents (issued by RAW) at the last post of the Border Security Force (BSF) at Basantar. He had hardly spent three days when he was held at Kothe village in Pakistan on November 14, 1976.
During interrogation, the Pakistan army and the police tortured him badly and finally he languished in Sialkot Jail after getting life imprisonment.
During his jail term, he also met Sukhdev Singh, Luxman Singh from Kukri village in Ferozepur, Rup Lal of Marara village in Gurdaspur and Parshotam Lal of Madhopur in Pathankot.
He also recalled meeting Kashmir Singh, a resident of Nangal Choran village in Hoshiarpur district, in Mainwali Jail in Pakistan. Kashmir Singh was recently released from a Pakistan jail after 35 years.
Recalling a scene of his last interrogation by an in charge of core headquarters in Rawalpindi, Kura Ram in a choked voice said a cop assaulted him with the handle of a spade, causing him grave chest injuries. The Pak officials failed to extract truth from him even though he got his ribs fractured, said Kura Ram.
It was a new life for Kura Ram, who along with 224 other Indian prisoners, including a woman, was released in July 1986.
The Indian government made promises for the welfare of the released prisoners, but repeated requests to the home ministry and the RAW authorities brought disappointment, laments Kura Ram.
Kura Ram also gave representation to the home ministry through Kedar Nath Sahani, BJP president, in New Delhi in June 2007, but that too brought disappointment.
Barely able to stand on his feet, Kura Ram lamented that the case was brought to the notice of the RAW authorities many times, but in the absence of any supporting documents, he has got no succour.
Tarlochan Singh honoured
in USA Chandigarh, April 9 In the house of representatives, the speaker Glenn Cummings praised Tarlochan Singh's role as parliamentarian. All 121 members of the house gave him a standing ovation. In the senate, president Beth Edmonds also extended a warm welcome to Tarlochan Singh, who was seated in the gallery. Senator Beth Edmonds honoured him with gifts and souvenirs. Earlier, Tarlochan Singh had discussion with about 20 senators over a wide range of issues. Tarlochan Singh is on a seven-day lecture tour to the USA. He has already given two lectures on Sikh Identity and Minorities and their problems in the Colby College in Colby. On Thursday, he is to address the faculty and the students on Indo-American relations. He will also preside over the Baisakhi celebrations at Hofsa University in New York.
Chandigarh, April 9
In the house of representatives, the speaker Glenn Cummings praised Tarlochan Singh's role as parliamentarian. All 121 members of the house gave him a standing ovation. In the senate, president Beth Edmonds also extended a warm welcome to Tarlochan Singh, who was seated in the gallery.
Senator Beth Edmonds honoured him with gifts and souvenirs. Earlier, Tarlochan Singh had discussion with about 20 senators over a wide range of issues. Tarlochan Singh is on a seven-day lecture tour to the USA. He has already given two lectures on Sikh Identity and Minorities and their problems in the Colby College in Colby. On Thursday, he is to address the faculty and the students on Indo-American relations. He will also preside over the Baisakhi celebrations at Hofsa University in New York.
Chandigarh, April 9
Taking up a petition challenging the order, a Division Bench of the high court comprising Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina has asked the counsel for the state of Punjab to seek instructions and inform the court as to how the order could be passed by the deputy commissioner under Section 144 of CrPC.
The Bench also issued a notice of motion on the petition, which was accepted by the state counsel. The matter will now come up for further hearing on April 23.
Seeking the quashing of the order dated March 20, the petitioners Kuldeep Singh and another of Amritsar district had earlier contended that the same was “totally wrong, illegal, without jurisdiction and violative of Articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution of India”.
Giving details of the ex-parte orders, the petitioners added the sowing of “paddy nursery” had been banned till May 10, while the transplantation of paddy crop was prohibited till June 10.
Going into the background of the matter, the petitioners had added the orders were passed as a study had revealed that the groundwater during the past five years had been depleting by about 48 centimetres annually. For curbing the problem, it was necessary to pass the orders.
The petitioners had further added a representation that was also forwarded by the Kisan Ekta Sabji Union in the last week of March, but without result. They asserted a ban of similar nature had not been imposed in any other district of the state. As a result, they and other farmers would face several problems, including that of labour.
Stay on Virk’s arrest extended
Acting on a blanket bail petition filed by Punjab’s former DGP S.S. Virk, Justice H.S. Bhalla today extended the directions against his arrest till April 23. Virk, in his petition had earlier sought pre-arrest bail or the issuance of 10 days’ advance notice in any case likely to be registered against him in the state by any wing of the Punjab Police. Virk had asserted he could not expect the Vigilance Bureau to act independently and in a professional manner. Elaborating, he said it was abundantly clear the state was determined to re-fashion the Vigilance Bureau as per its own vested agenda. It was for the first time in over 15 years that an important wing of the police was under the total control of IG rank officer.
Acting on a blanket bail petition filed by Punjab’s former DGP S.S. Virk, Justice H.S. Bhalla today extended the directions against his arrest till April 23. Virk, in his petition had earlier sought pre-arrest bail or the issuance of 10 days’ advance notice in any case likely to be registered against him in the state by any wing of the Punjab Police.
Virk had asserted he could not expect the Vigilance Bureau to act independently and in a professional manner. Elaborating, he said it was abundantly clear the state was determined to re-fashion the Vigilance Bureau as per its own vested agenda. It was for the first time in over 15 years that an important wing of the police was under the total control of IG rank officer.
Notice to Centre on Kashmir’s plea
Taking up an application for adequate compensation to Kashmir Singh, a Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain today issued a notice of motion to the Union of India for August 25. In its application, the World Human Rights Protection has also asked for directions to the respondents to formulate a policy for dealing with similar cases. The petitioner said there should be a comprehensive policy to take care of the families of Indian nationals caught in Pakistan. It added once they were back after spending decades behind the bars, the government neither accepted them, nor recognised their service.
Taking up an application for adequate compensation to Kashmir Singh, a Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain today issued a notice of motion to the Union of India for August 25. In its application, the World Human Rights Protection has also asked for directions to the respondents to formulate a policy for dealing with similar cases.
The petitioner said there should be a comprehensive policy to take care of the families of Indian nationals caught in Pakistan. It added once they were back after spending decades behind the bars, the government neither accepted them, nor recognised their service.
66 labs to test soil samples in state
Chandigarh, April 9
Agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah said the farmers were being offered this facility free of cost.
The minister said the capacity of these soil-testing laboratories was 5.95 lakh samples per year. Eight of the labs had the ability to test micro-nutrient elements.
Langh said farmers should use fertilisers only after knowing the deficiency of elements in their soil and taking expert advice on the issue. With this, the farmers would be able to use prescribed fertilisers instead of using various types of fertilisers, he added.
The minister said like soil, testing of water for irrigation was also necessary as underground water in all areas was not of high quality. He said polluted water left a negative effect after irrigation on the produce and the farmers could contact their respective agriculture development officers for advice on the issue.