P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Bumper crop, courtesy prolonged winter
Wheat procurement crosses 84 lakh tonnes
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
It is a fashion to talk of global warming and blame one or other country for environmental disasters and so on. But recent prolonged winter saw the country out of the woods on food security front. The cold wave till late March this year is the main factor for a bumper wheat crop in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country. The winter saved the country from importing wheat.

“Yes, it is true cold wave contributed in enhancing the per acre wheat yield in Punjab, Haryana and other parts of the country,” says Balwinder Singh Sidhu, director, agriculture, Punjab.

Though other factors have also contributed, main is the cold wave in January, February and in the first fortnight of March, he adds. In, Punjab, average per acre yield jumped by one quintal this year breaking the five-year-old stagnation as wheat output is concerned.

In wheat-producing states, mostly dwarf Mexican varieties are grown. Wintry conditions are most conducive for these varieties. Rise in temperature during February is unsuitable for these varieties. However, for all wheat crop sown in time, temperature remained most conducive this winter leading to high yield and making things easy for the Union government that had planned wheat import to maintain buffer stock in view of low production that was the case during the past few years.

Punjab has already surpassed procurement target of 80 lakh tonnes for the central pool. Official sources say till this afternoon, about 85 lakh tonnes of wheat arrived in various grain markets. The arrival of wheat will continue for another week.

Keeping in view the existing trend of wheat arrival in Punjab, it is likely the state may surpass the figure of 90 lakh tonnes of procurement of wheat for the national pool and Haryana may touch figure of 50 lakh tonnes. Contribution from both states to the national pool will be 140 lakh tonnes against the government’s expectation of 125 lakh tonnes.

“We have now revised our production target to 150 lakh tonnes, instead of earlier projection of 146 lakh tonnes, keeping in view the high yield of wheat, says Sidhu. The other factor that contributed is the replacing of wheat seed. “We provided about 5.5 lakh quintal of fresh seed to farmers replacing about 17 per cent of the old seed,” says Sidhu.

Next year, about 35 per cent fresh seed of varieties like 502 and 550, the seed of which has been multiplied in a big way during this year, would be provided to farmers for the replacement of old seed. Coverage of 10 districts of Punjab under the food security mission launched by the Union government has also helped improve the yield. No farmer is retaining wheat this year for sale in the future.


SGPC chief too flays Vedanti
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
After Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, flaying Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, for advocating creation of “Khalistan”, SGPC president Avtar Singh, who is in New York, said Vedanti should “think before he speaks”.

He said the SGPC always endorsed policies of the SAD which was against the demand of a separate Sikh homeland. He said the SGPC would seek report from Vedanti as he had already backed out from his statement.

Avtar Singh said he always held Vedanti in high esteem keeping in view the great post he held, but he should give statements which were in the larger interest of the Sikh community.

However, Dr Amarjit Singh of the Khalistan Affairs Centre (KAC), Washington DC, who had invited Vedanti to attend the “Sikh Parade” on Baisakhi, said it was unfortunate the jathedar was trying to back out from his statement on Sikh homeland.

From the US, Dr Amarjit Singh told The Tribune he had recorded the entire speech of Vedanti which would be made public. He said initially, representatives of various gurdwaras in the US were against inviting Vedanti due to his tendency of changing stand.

He said the jathedar had “boldly endorsed the right of self-determination of Sikhs for a water/food-rich democratic buffer state of Khalistan in South Asia”.

He added the call of Vedanti was endorsed by over 30,000 Sikhs gathered at Madison Avenue Park, New York.

Joining the issue, the Dal Khalsa described the formation of Sikh state as inalienable right of the community. The party slammed Badal for ridiculing the concept.


Attack on school staff; 6 hurt
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 1
Tension gripped the area today when an armed group of about 20 persons attacked Rajjoana Public School near here and damaged property, besides injuring six persons.

The assailants opened fire to scare residents of surrounding villages who tried to come to the rescue of those present in the school.

The same group allegedly shot Jaswant Kaur of Buraz Naklian and humiliated women of families of the staff of the school also.

The Sudhar police and the Raikot police have registered two separate cases against Avtar Singh, Tara Singh and their accomplices. The accused were booked under Sections 452, 324, 506,427 and 336 of the IPC at the Sudhar police station.

Investigations revealed that Avtar Singh and his accomplices allegedly attacked Rajjoana Public School during working hours today. The assailants were armed with pistols, swords and axes. While male members of the non-teaching staff were injured in the attack, students and female staff saved their lives by running from the scene.

They allegedly forced their entry into the house of Iqbal Singh of Buraz Naklina and humiliated female members of his family. They reportedly went to the extent of stripping the old mother of Iqbal Singh.

The assailants escaped shielding themselves with quilts taken from the house attacked by them. When Iqbal Singh’s wife Jaswant Kaur ran after them, one of the assailants shot at her.

Investigations further revealed that Gulshan Jain, organiser of the school, had tried to stop Avtar Singh from harvesting wheat crop near the school during school hours yesterday. No arrest had been made till evening.


State youth hostels non-functional
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Patiala/Sangrur/Ropar, May 1
Give Punjab a good thing and see how it makes a hash of it. Three of the four youth hostels that the Union government got constructed in the state in the 1990s are virtually non-functional.

In Sangrur, the last time a traveller stayed in the hostel was four years ago. A total of 68 persons have stayed in the hostel ever since it was built in 1991. In Patiala, for most part of its existence, the hostel has been home to Captain Amarinder Singh’s security staff, which left it with a whopping unpaid electricity bill. Only 128 persons have stayed in the hostel so far.

The Amritsar youth hostel is the state government’s international bus-stand, where the Indo- Pakistan bus is stationed. The only youth hostel, which is somewhat functional, is the one at Ropar, but that too leaves much to be desired.

The hostel buildings here have never been repaired, the mess and the kitchen of these hostels have never been functional. These hostels were also thrown open to use by general travellers, but still remain stories of sheer neglect.

As part of an ambitious scheme, the Union ministry of sports and youth service got these hostel constructed on the Punjab government land to facilitate student travellers who need economical lodging and boarding facilities while on their journey. The hostel at Patiala was constructed in 1999 and from 2002 to 2007 remained home to the former Chief Minister’s security persons. The new building was turned into a ruin during this period. Electricity switches were broken windows were shattered; beds, fans and furniture went missing.

After Captain Amarinder Singh went out of power last year, his security staff was also shunted out. But troubles for the hostel did not end with this. The Punjab State Electricity Board, for reasons one can imagine, overlooked things like electricity bills for five years, and suddenly woke up in April last year. “It slapped a bill of over Rs 2 lakh on the hostel. There were no funds to pay the bill and the electricity supply was cut off. The hostel was without power till August when we borrowed the money from the Sangrur hostel and paid the electricity bill,” said Rajinder Singh, the newly appointed warden of the hostel.

Ironically, Sangrur where there has been no “youth” staying ever, is the richest in funds. The Assistant director, youth services, Gurcharan Singh Samagh has managed to “recover” the rent from all those security agencies that have been using the hostel rooms every election. With over Rs 15 lakh in their kitty, the hostel authorities also seem to have no desire to attract travellers. The hostel, located near the army area behind the city’s largest cinema hall, is considered out of the way by visitors, explains the assistant director.

The Patiala hostel, however, is waiting for the show to begin. The new warden has painted large colourful messages, advertising the availability of rooms. The daily lodging rates vary from Rs 160 to 180 and the warden has also rustled up some furniture.

The hostel at Ropar located on the busy main road has been attracting travellers despite its bare bed facilities. Yesterday, three bank officers from Maharashtra were using the hostel. “The stay is economical and the place is clean. But there should be a functional mess also,” said one of the officers. Each of the hostels have a large kitchen and a mess hall but these has never been used.

“We are trying to make this a profitable venture,” said S.S.Saini, Nehru Youth Kendra Coordinator, Ropar, who is also looking after the hostel. “It will take time, but we are trying our best,” he added.

All three hostels are in urgent need of repairs. The outer walls of the buildings bear cracks and the inner rooms’ and dormitories’ wall paint has chipped off. Water has seeped into many rooms at Sangrur and at Patiala the electricity wiring is in tatters.

(To be continued) 


Virtual tuition catches on in region
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
This may be the beginning of the end of private coaching classes in tuition hubs of Chandigarh, Bathinda and Jalandhar, as more and more academies and private coaching institutes in the region take recourse to virtual tuitions.

Imparting education surely has come a long way today, from gurukuls to virtual classrooms, where the teacher sits on his PC and teaches students across the globe while tutor and trainee are linked with a common site. Students preparing for competitions, medical or engineering tests in districts of Gurdaspur, Mansa, Abohar, Jind, Kaithal or the far off districts in Himachal, are now availing services of the best of teachers in these virtual classrooms.

D.C. Panday, who runs coaching institute in Chandigarh, says virtual teaching has helped him expand reach. An author of IIT entrance examination preparation books, Panday says he was flooded with e-mails from all over the country, requesting him to enrol students in his institute. “Since there is a limit on the number of students I can accept, the concept of virtual teaching has helped me. I now tell outstation students to opt for a virtual teaching session,” he adds.

Harmanpreet Singh, founder and CEO of authorGen Technologies, which has developed a software called WiZiQ to help take virtual classes, says, “The concept has found acceptance in the region. In three months alone, we have witnessed 100 per cent growth in the users. All you need is a PC and a broadband connection, and you can start your teaching session”.

The virtual classrooms have transcended the geographical boundaries as these newage gurus accept students from across the country as well as students from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and many other South-East Asian countries. Ask Gaurav Tekriwal, who conducts high-speed Vedic mathematics courses through WiZiQ platform for students in Hong Kong, the US, the UK, besides all metros within the country. “The reach of virtual classrooms is phenomenal. I can now sit anywhere in the world and conduct classes. We do not have a physical institute, teaching-learning is only through the computer,” he says.

Its not just regular coaching that has found acceptance in e-learning. People like Kalyan Sarkar conduct motivational classes for clients across the world through a virtual class session. “People around the world are interested in upgrading their knowledge. And virtual classrooms serves a perfect platform,” he says.

In fact, the concept has caught up well with the coaching institutes and many of them have launched a separate e-tutoring division. As the economies of scale improve, these e-tutors make a neat profit. For those, who are taking students in the US and the UK for reading, mathematics and science, they can easily make anything between $20-$90 an hour, with a one-on-one teaching session fetching more moolah.

Adds Harmanpreet, “As this is gaining acceptance, we have decided to launch a premium service with a payment module for the sessions and advanced features wherein we will be featuring specialised teachers in each field”.


Difficult to follow Amarinder: Lal Singh
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
A former minister and senior Congress leader Lal Singh said today he was senior to Amarinder in politics and could not follow blindly someone who always was “changing roads”.

Lal Singh, who is the seniormost party legislator in the Vidhan Sabha having been elected five times, said Amarinder should realise he was senior to him in politics.

The Congress leader said he was first elected to the Assembly in 1977 whereas Amarinder made his debut in 1980. “By the time he decided to return to the Congress in 1997 after resigning from the party in 1984 when it was in a crisis, I had already served three terms as legislator besides a stint as minister”.

Lal Singh said his past proved his existence in the Congress was not because of Amarinder Singh. “As far as being a minister is concerned, it is the Congress high command which decides on the issue of ministership,” he said, adding Amarinder Singh had not done him any favour by including him as minister in his Cabinet. The Patiala-based leader said as far as his loyalty was concerned, Amarinder Singh could not expect him to be loyal to him because of favours.

“I am loyal to the party and cannot be branded either as Amarinder’s or Bhattal’s (Rajinder Kaur) man,” he said, adding he would always stand by the person nominated the PPCC head by the party high command.

Speaking about Amarinder Singh’s recent utterances, Lal Singh said he could not side with a person who chose to defy party discipline. “I cannot revolt against the party. I have always been loyal to the party and never changed tracks’.


Seat Sharing
  BJP alleges bias
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The BJP, which did not like the interest shown by its alliance partner, the SAD, in the elections to the municipal bodies, is now in the same position vis a vis the panchayat elections and is being given a short shrift on the issue of seat sharing.

Though the BJP leadership had succeeded in getting a joint committee instituted to coordinate the election campaign as well as look into the issue of seat sharing between the alliance partners, the move has not had the desired results. The committee comprises Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Daljit Singh Cheema from the SAD and Kamal Sharma from the BJP.

When questioned about the alleged partisan manner in which the SAD leadership was announcing party ticket for the panchayat elections, BJP state president Rajinder Bhandari said: “It is not a good thing”. He, however, said the BJP was committed to the philosophy of coalition dharma and was working with the SAD to ensure a united fight against the Congress in the panchayat elections.

Spokesman for the BJP Kamal Sharma said the problem was the partisan manner in which Akali legislators were announcing the names of their party men for both the Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad seats. He said the legislators were announcing the names of the candidates without taking the local BJP leadership into confidence.

The BJP is aiming to contest around 90 of the Zila Parishad seats and around 600 out of the total 3,000 odd Panchayat Samiti seats.

Meanwhile, the committee met this evening and is expected to hold another meeting tomorrow.


Sangrur unit adamant
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 1
The district unit of the BJP said today that it would contest four Zila Parishad and 15 Block Panchayat Samiti seats at any cost as per its earlier programme.

To a question whether the district BJP has got any response from the SAD with regard to the allotment of seats, district president of the BJP Jatinder Kalra said there was no response from the SAD in this connection so far.

He said the SAD was not even ready to allot less than 10 per cent seats to the BJP in the Zila Parishad and the samiti elections in the district.

He said the candidates already fielded would not be withdraw as the BJP had fixed a target to reach the grass-roots level in the rural areas.


Harassment of Medical Students
Probe complete, tabs on Punia
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The much-talked about Government Medical College girls’ “harassment” case has drawn closer to decision stage with the completion of the preliminary inquiry into the conduct of Anaesthesia Department head T.S. Punia by the Punjab department of Medical Education and Research. The college authorities have been directed to keep a tab on the movement of Dr Punia during his duty hours.

Six MD students, including five women, of the department had accused Dr Punia of subjecting them to prolonged harassment. Punia had been shifted to Chandigarh on the directions of the Punjab medical education and research minister Tikshan Sud and the department principal secretary Jagjit Puri. A probe into the incident had been entrusted to the Punjab Medical Education and Research Department’s additional secretary N.S. Bath. The students and Dr Punia had appeared before Bath and recorded their statements.

The alleged victims had also met SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The issue was highlighted by The Tribune on March 28. Subsequently, a separate probe was ordered by the Punjab Women’s Commission into the charges.

One of the alleged victims, Dr Manjit Singh, had accused Dr Punia of “coercing” him during the hearing conducted by Bath at the local Circuit House. Dr Manjit Singh and three women students had submitted their affidavits during the hearing while two women students, department sources revealed, had given their verbal statements. Bath, however, it was learnt, had told them that verbal statements could not be made part of the proceedings.

On the other hand, Dr Punia had submitted affidavits of some of his colleagues, with the claim that Punia bears a strong moral character.

The probe was completed by Bath on April 24. He is expected to submit his report to Puri next week. Puri, in turn, would hand it over to Sud.

“We have asked the college authorities to observe the movements of Dr Punia in the college. His entry has, however, not been banned. On the directions of the minister, he has been barred from writing his subordinates’ annual confidential reports (ACRs),” said Bath while talking to The Tribune.


River Pollution
Board begins quality analysis
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
Waking up to river and water bodies’ pollution in the state, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has started the process of water quality analysis and the determination of pollution level of Sutlej, Beas, Harike wetland, Budha Nullah, Sirhind canal and the Rajasthan feeder.

Acting on the directions of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the board has set up eight technical committees, comprising water experts from the board and the Drainage Department, to identify sources of water pollution in the state.

The experts will come out with observations in seven days and also give suggestions on possible remedial measures.

Nearly 75 per cent of water pollution can be attributed to untreated sewage in the state. As most of the big cities, townships and respective civic bodies are without proper water treatment facilities for long, quality of ground water and of rivers and other water bodies is going down.

PPCB sources reveal except for Naya Nangal civic body, none of the municipal bodies of nearly 130 major cities and towns of Punjab are equipped with sewage treatment plants and these cities and towns are discharging 650 MLD of sewage daily.

Nothing concrete has been done to tackle the menace. The Rs 230-crore Sutlej action plan, aimed at cleaning certain selected water bodies and which had to be completed by the end of 2001, seemed to have gone awry in the absence of any tangible results.

“The expert committees have collected samples of water from various places that are being analysed. On the basis of report of the experts, an action plan will be formed and forwarded to the Punjab government for action,” says PPCB member secretary, Varinderjit Singh. He says the government is determined to eliminate water body pollutants and measures will be taken to achieve this.

During the weeklong exercise, the experts will also identify sources of water pollution such as certain industries and civic bodies. “We are going to take tough measures and this includes, closure of erring industries and plugging of polluted water channels falling in rivers,” adds Varinderjit Singh.


Bypoll blessing in disguise for farmers
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
The byelection to the Amritsar South constituency has come as blessing in disguise for farmers of this region as the district administration officials are visiting grain markets to oversee wheat procurement and hear grievances of farmers.

Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, accompanied with Dr Anjuman Bhaskar, district food and supplies controller and officers of the marketing board, today visited various grain markets, including Bhaktanwala, Majitha, and Gehri.

He also held meetings with commission agents, farmers, labour/transport contractors and the procurement staff.

Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and other senior leaders are in the city to address rallies in the favour of party candidate Inderbeer Singh Bularia.

Addressing farmers and arthiyas on the occasion, Pannu said arthiyas lifting wheat crop from the fields would help speedy procurement and farmers and the government. He said transportation costs borne by the arthiyas would be compensated by the government. He also inspected quality of bags and wheat.

He hoped there would be record arrival of 5.5 lakh metric tonnes of wheat this year compared to 4.49 lakh metric tonnes last year.


I am reborn, says Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 1
BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu today returned to a rousing welcome after two months of recuperation at his ancestral house in Patiala.

Senior BJP leaders, including health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla, information and pubic relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia, mayor Shawet Malik, MLA Anil Joshi, besides other leaders and workers gathered to receive him at Amritsar Railway station. The BJP workers were seen jostling with each other to get their presence noticed.

He paid obeisance at Harmandar Sahib and Durgiana temple here. Sidhu said it was his second birth adding it was only due to the blessings of “Guru ki Nagari” and its residents he could recover.

He said he had come to serve people of the city for whole of his life. 


No threat to Punjabi language: Expert
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The views and thoughts expressed during the academic session of the All-India Punjabi Conference, being hosted by Punjabi University here, witnessed a near reversal of what had happened in the inaugural session of the conference in the morning.

While speakers in the inaugural session showed emotive concerns about decline of Punjabi, almost all speakers simply shrugged off the idea of any probable threat to the Punjabi language and literature.

Presiding over the academic session, G.S.Sidhu Damdami, Editor of Punjabi Tribune, said excessive emotional attachment would rather harm the expansion of vistas and contours of Punjabi. He emphasised the need for objective and realistic analysis of “hypothetical dangers” and developing a positive outlook to offset these threats instead of harping on them.

He asked Punjabi writers and scholars to make efforts to generate Punjabi readers who could further help in the development of Punjabi.The scholars who presented their research papers and participated in discussion included Dr Sutinder Singh Noor, Dr Jodh Singh, Prof Avinash Singh, Prof Gulzar Sandhu, Dr Joga Singh, Sardar Anjum and Dr Jagbir Singh.


J.J. Singh salutes Punjabi spirit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
Paying rich tributes to Punjabis, Gen J.J. Singh, former chief of the Army, said Punjabis are a highly spirited, dynamic and vibrant community. “Nobody can stop them from excelling in whatever field they are given or they choose,” he said.

Gen J.J. Singh, who is at present Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, was speaking at the valedictory session of the two-day All-India Punjabi Conference, being held at Punjabi University, here today.

He dispelled all doubts of Punjabi language and culture vanishing into oblivion. Describing his experiences in the Army, he said Punjabis have helped their colleagues during the most difficult periods.

Lauding the idea of Punjabi University inviting Punjabis settled across India, Gen Singh pleaded Punjabi teachers and scholars to take a cue from this and develop the habit of “each one, teach one”.

Vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh said Punjabi University would prepare a series of textbooks for school-going children from class I to II in a year. The university, he said, would coordinate and help everyone in his effort to learn or teach Punjabi and give them university publications at concessional rate. He urged delegates from outside Punjab to avail the facility of university weblink, “Aao Punjabi Sikhiye” for online learning of Punjabi.

Noted columnist Mahip Singh urged for linking Punjabi with economics and taking it out of the confines of religious orthodoxy.

Earlier, 27 delegates from 22 states shared their views about their efforts and status of Punjabi in their states and gave valuable suggestions for the development of Punjabi.

H.S. Hanspal, Rangil Singh and Tanwant Singh Kir, former ministers of J & K and MP, respectively, Jaspal Sidhu, bureau chief of UNI, New Delhi, Jodh Singh, Jaswinder Singh, B.S. Cheema and 
Joga Singh also spoke on the occasion.


Mohali Airport
Land acquired, state tells Centre
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab government on Tuesday informed the Union government about having acquired the land required for converting the airport here into a modern international airport.

Chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said state’s civil aviation secretary Viswajit Khanna had met the chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to inform him about the acquisition of land.

A joint venture company is to be set up by the Union government for constructing the airport that the Punjab government wants named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh. The AAI will have a share of 51 per cent. Besides it, as per the MoU signed a few months ago, the Punjab and Haryana governments will be equal partners in the remaining equity.

Source said the Haryana government had sought certain clarifications on the project from the Union government regarding administrative status of the project, besides employment opportunities for youth from that state.


Rs 2.50 crore to restore Todar Mal Haveli
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 1
The SGPC will spend Rs 2.5 crore to restore Jahaz Haveli of Diwan Todar Mal. Pictures of the haveli, clicked by a British national in 1886, will be brought from London.

The haveli was in dilapidated condition for many years and it was recently donated to the SGPC by the Punjab Virasat Charitable Trust. It is situated near gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib. SGPC volunteers today carried out measurements of the site. They said people used to store various agricultural produce in the haveli. The entire haveli was in poor shape.

Trust member Navjotpal Singh Randhawa confirmed RS 2.50 crore would be spent on the haveli. He said efforts were being made to get pictures of inner and outer portion of the haveli from various museums of London. A committee of four persons, including him, had been formed to preserve the haveli. 


High Court
Move to paralyse supply of oil not acceptable: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear, any move to paralyse the supply of oil and diesel would not be acceptable.

A high court Division Bench of Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina ruled, the oil tanker unions shall not resort to any method of paralysing the loading and unloading of oil tankers, unless they sought express permission from the court.

The Bench also asked the official respondents, including the State of Punjab and others, to ensure the supply was not disrupted at the instance of the unions.

“If private oil tankers, willing to carry out the supply of oil to various parts, are stopped by the unions, adequate protection shall be provided by the state,” the judges added.

The Bench also issued notice of motion for May 8 to the Petrol Oil Tankers Union, the Petrol Oil Tankers Contractors, the Punjab Petroleum Tanker Worker Union and the Maur Service Station in Mansa.

The directions were issued on a petition filed by the Indian Oil Corporation, after its counsel, expressed apprehension on the supply of oil to parts of Punjab and Chandigarh.

Counsel contended they would neither supply, nor were likely to permit any other tanker owner to provide service for loading and unloading of oil. This, he added, may pose serious crisis and pose extreme inconvenience as it was harvesting time.

It was also added earlier in another petition, some of the unions were restrained from resorting to illegal method of going on strike as the corporation was initiating proceedings against members for misconduct and illegal acts.

Punjab cable TV body seeks CBI probe

The Punjab Cable TV Association Action Committee today sought CBI probe into alleged attempts to grab their business by a close associate of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Taking up the petition filed through Moga-based president Sanjeet Singh, alias Sunny Gill, Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh issued notices for May 13 to the Union Home Ministry, Punjab, chief secretary, the police chief, CBI and others.

Counsel for the petitioner Sant Pal Singh Sidhu has also sought directions against implicating association members in false cases and to give at least seven days advance notice if they were required in connection with any investigation.

List of chargesheeted officers not submitted

Punjab today managed to gain time for its elite cadre by not submitting a detailed list of IAS and IPS officers chargesheeted by the court, having cases pending against them, or who have been chargesheeted in the departmental proceedings.

The list was to be submitted in the Bhadaur Gurdwara controversy in compliance with the directions issued by Justice H.S. Bhalla of the high court. As the matter came up for hearing this morning, state counsel Reeta Kohli informed the court that the list would take around 10 days for finalisation.

Giving the state counsel ample time to complete the task so as to prevent the possibility of any further adjournment, Justice Bhalla fixed May 15 as the next date of hearing.

Consumer redressal body likely to get relief

Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, reeling under work pressure, is likely to get some relief with the Finance Department clearing the proposal for appointment of another part-time member for it.

Appearing before Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh in a petition filed by advocate H.C. Arora, state counsel Amol Rattan Singh said a month’s time would be required for the proposal to be formally cleared by the Cabinet.

Notices issued

Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh today issued notices for May 22 to the State of Punjab and others on a petition filed by Satnam Singh Behru of Patiala district. He was seeking directions to quash the notification of April 16, vide which the government had announced payments to farmers by the procuring agencies through payees account cheques effective from July 1, instead of now.


Issuing of red cards to ’84 riot victims
Mohali DC ordered to probe authenticity
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Mohali deputy commissioner to hold an inquiry into the issuance of red cards to the 1984-riot victims.

Issuing the directions in an open court, a Division bench of the high court comprising Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina also asked him to submit a detailed report in the matter within 10 days.

The directions were issued after the state counsel expressed doubts about the authenticity of red cards issued to the victims. Appearing before the Bench, the counsel said apparently the file had not been put up before the deputy commissioner, the authority competent to issue such cards. She also urged the court to order an inquiry into the issuance of the cards to the petitioners and others. In their petition, Talwinder Singh and Rajinder Singh had earlier sought directions to the Union of India, the state of Punjab, Mohali deputy commissioner and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to them.

Describing themselves as 1984-riot victims, the petitioners had claimed they were putting up in Delhi before the trouble erupted and were forced to move out of their homes, resulting in heavy losses. Giving details of the matter, the petitioners, now putting up in Mohali, said way back in 2001 they were issued identity cards by the authorities concerned.

Subsequently, the SDM concerned on April 24, 2006, issued a cheque in their favour. But on presentation in the bank for encashing, the cheque was dishonoured. It was returned by the bank as payment had been stopped till further orders.

The petitioners added since then they had forwarded several representations in the matter to the authorities concerned in the state government, but to no effect. The payment was not released, compelling them to move the high court for relief.

As such, directions should also be issued to the respondents to issue fresh cheques for Rs 2 lakh each in lieu of the one earlier issued, and ensure the payment was made to them.

After listening to both the sides at length, the Bench fixed May 12 as the next date of hearing in the matter.


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