P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Polling by and large peaceful
87 pc voting in Bathinda
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, May 26
Nearly 87 per cent polling was recorded in Gram Panchayat elections in Bathinda district. Maximum percentage of polling, 95, was recorded at Maur I block while Nathana I block recorded the lowest turnout with 75 per cent polling. Barring stray incidents of alleged irregularities, the elections passed off peacefully. Congress-supported candidates levelled allegations of rigging by SAD workers in Gill Patti and Phus Mandi villages. It is alleged that the names of several voters were deleted and fictitious persons had been included in the electoral rolls.

As many as 884 candidates were contesting the elections for 66 seats to the Gram Panchayat in Bathinda block. Reports of minor brawls between SAD candidates and Congress candidates were also received from Teona and Raipur villages. ADC (D)-cum-returning officer Vijay Jade claimed the polling was by and large peaceful, and no untoward incident had been received. It was also reported that some senior leaders of the SAD were camping in Bathinda.

BARNALA: 85 per cent polling was recorded in Barnala district. Polling was cancelled at a booth in Bhure Kube village as a polling party took away the ballot papers outside the polling booth. The repoll at this booth will be held on May 28. Six persons were booked in a group clash between Akali and Congress workers over bogus voting at village Alkarah in the district.

FEROZEPUR: Barring stray incidents of violence following clashes between Congress and Akali supporters, panchayat elections were held peacefully in this border district. DC Megh Raj said repoll had been recommended in four villages of Ramkot in Abohar, Meera Shah Noor in Ferozepur, Chander in Ghal Khurd and Mehar Singh Wala in Jalalabad, where polling will be held again on May 28. Repolling would also be held in seven villages of Ramewala and Ansal in Ferozepur, Gajniwala and Dona Matar in Mamdot, Muhar Jamshed in Fazilka, Hoz Khas in Jalalabad and Hazi Betu in Guruharsahai blocks where discrepancies were found in ballot papers. Of the total 1,144 villages in the district, Panchayats were elected unanimously in 284 villages. In 19 village panchayats that were constituted after April 11 this year, the polls have been postponed indefinitely.

MANSA: Eighty per cent polling was recorded in the panchayat elections in Mansa district. No incidents of violence were reported. There are total of 243 panchayats in Mansa out of which 49 were elected unanimously. At some places, candidates supported by the CPI and CPI (ML) were also in the fray.

MUKTSAR: Polling in panchayat elections was recorded at 86 per cent in Muktsar district. There were reports of a scuffle between activists of SAD (B) and Congress at village Samag in the Gidderbaha block of the district. Incident of firing in the air was reported from village Khudiyan Mahasinghwala while repolling was ordered at Katorewala village after incidents of booth capturing.


10 hurt in SAD-Cong clash at Majitha
5 booked for snatching ballot papers
Sanjay Bumbroo and Gurbaxpuri
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar/Tarn Taran, May 26
Violent incidents marred the Gram Panchayat elections in the border districts of Amritsar and Tarn Taran.

According to sources, the polling has been postponed at five gram panchayats in Tarn Taran district due to lapses on the part of the district administration. Overall 80 per cent polling was reported in Tarn Taran district whereas 70 to 75 percent polling was reported in Amritsar district.

District election officer (Amritsar) Tejveer Singh has recommended to the election commissioner for the repolling to Gram Panchayats of Chattiwind, Kila Jiwan Singh, Nangal Dayal Singh and Nandwala Nawa Pind in Jandiala Guru block, Chowk Mehta, Lohgarh, Buttarkalan and Dhardeo in Rayya Block, Thoba and Gujjarpura village in Ajnala block, Toor village in Chogawan block and Fatehpur Rajputan village in block Majitha.

The polling officer of booth number 52 A, Buttarkalan lodged complaints against Malkit Singh, Angrez Singh, Shamsher Singh, Chattar Singh, Ranjit Singh for taking away 540 ballot papers and other polling materials.

A case has been registerd under Section 452/380/135/135A/353/186/506/171A/148 and 149 of the IPC.

Similarly the presiding officer in Lohgarh lodged a complaint with the police against some identified persons who entered booth number 25 and took away ballot papers and other material. A case has been registered.

More than 15 persons were injured in violent incidents in Tarn Taran district. Violence erupted as workers of two main political parties made allegations of bogus voting and other allegations against each other.

At Shakri village, falling under Sarhali police station, which is infamous for international smugglers, four persons were injured in stone-pelting and firing in air during a group clash. The clash started when polling agents of the SAD and the Congress wanted to help an old-aged woman in casting her vote. The Sarhali police has registered a case under Section 323, 336, 356, 427, 148 and 149 against the workers. The camera of a TV channel cameraman, Jorawar Singh, was snatched by Dilbagh Singh.

Similarly, at Pandori Gola, 6 km from Tarn Taran, 11 persons were injured seriously. They belonged to two groups of the ruling SAD. At Rataul village, the workers of the Congress and the BJP staged a dharna against the alleged irregularities committed by the administration on the directions of SAD MLA Harmeet Singh Sandhu.

The polling for Gram Panchayat Johal Raju Singh, Pakhoke, Dalawalpur, Rahal Chahal, Vain Poin, and for two members of Gram Panchayat Rataul have been postponed.

In Amritsar district more than 35 persons were injured in poll-related violence.

Ten persons were injured in the Kaler village falling under the Majitha police station as the workers of the SAD and the Congress attacked each other with swords after heated exchanges amid allegations of bogus voting.

The injured were identified as Kripal Singh, former vice-president, DCC (rural), Amar Singh, Amrik Singh, Sucha Singh, Major Singh, Ranjit Singh (all Congress workers) Ravinder Singh, Bhagat Singh, Narinder Singh (Candidate of the SAD) and Jagdev Singh (all of the SAD). They were admitted to the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Amritsar.

Four persons were injured in Rangarh village in a clash as the workers of two parties accused each other of bogus voting and accused polling officers of favoring the other party. The victims have lodged a complaint in the Gharinda police station.

Allegation of bogus voting and other irregularities were also reported in Kaunke and Hardul Rattan villages under Attari police station.

The police had to resort to lathicharge at Baserke village as the supporter of two political parties tried to rig the elections and clashed with each other. Around 18 persons received minor injuries.

In Bhakna Kalan village, seven candidates boycotted the counting of votes after one of the candidates Dalwinder Singh declared himself elected. There were widespread protests and the protesting candidates complained to the SDM Manpreet Singh in this regard.

Two Akali workers Balwant Singh and Sukhpal Singh of Talwandi Goraya, under Dera Baba Nanak segment, were admitted to a hospital here.

District police chief (rural) Iqbal Singh said barring one or two incidents the polling remained peaceful in his area.


Re-poll tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The state EC today decided that re-poll to those gram panchayats would be held on Wednesday in the cases where it had been adjourned due to faulty, insufficient printing of ballot papers or due to other contingency.

Giving directions to the officers concerned, the commission has said, however, in case the re-poll can not be held on Wednesday for any reason whatsoever, then clarification/ confirmation may be obtained from the state EC.

“The polling hours will remain the same i.e. from 8 am to 4 pm. It is reiterated that the re-poll applies only in the cases of adjourned polls to the gram panchayats and not the countermanded ones, for which the fresh election programme will be intimated separately,” he added.


Only 25 votes cast at Maherna Khurd
Mahesh Sharma

Maherna Khurd, May 26
This village of Sangrur district, otherwise known for political factionalism, witnessed the lowest turnout of 2.39 per cent in the Panchayat elections today. The administration, apprehending violence, had deputed extra force here. Last-moment unanimity was said to be the reason behind the low turnout.

Out of 1,051 voters of this village, only 25, including 10 candidates, had cast their votes minutes before 4 pm.

Gurdev Singh and Darbara Singh, who received six votes each, were declared won shortly after the voting. Paramjit Singh (five votes), Jagtar Singh and Baljit Kaur (four each) were the others to be declared victorious. Gurdev Kaur (SC category) and Amarjit Kaur were declared elected unanimously earlier. As the post of sarpanch is reserved for an SC woman, Gurdev Kaur is the only panch to stake her claim to the office.

Congress and SAD leaders had reached a compromise on the constitution of the civic body late last evening. Though the decision was conveyed in writing to returning officer K.S. Brar, the authorities showed their inability to declare the panches elected unless some votes were cast in their favour.

Our Correspondent adds from Nabha: The elections for Zila Parishad and Panchyats were peaceful in Nabha block with about 90 per cent voters exercising their franchise.

SDM Balraj Sekhon said repolling was held for Zila Parishad blocks of Raipur Sahiwal, Dandrala, Matorara, Chhaju Bhatt and Boran Khurd where elections were cancelled on May 12.

He said polling remained peaceful at 173 booths for 139 Panchyats. Twentyeight Panchayats were elected unanimously while the election at one village was cancelled.


Slain NRI Jassi’s husband Mithu elected panch
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
Kaunke Khosa village near Jagraon today elected Sukhwinder Singh, alias Mithu, of the NRI Jassi murder case, panch after shunning him for over four years, when he was implicated in the rape case of a Dalit girl of the same village.

A month after, Mithu was acquitted of the charges in what was alleged to be a conspiracy to frame him for his fight for justice in the murder case of his NRI wife. Mithu won sympathy of a majority of the villagers.

Life took a turn for him in a month of his release from the Central Jail. In 2000, he was left almost dead by the killers of his wife only to be detained in jail for a case proved false by a Ludhiana court last month.

Mithu was declared winner by one vote only after 10 other votes, in his favour were cancelled late this evening.

“I have been in the village for less than a month. Residents forced me to contest as they felt I have been a sufferer. Apart from other sections, Dalits specially voted for me, which proves their sympathy for me.”


Man hurt in firing by cops
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 26
It was no better this time. After the Zila Parishad and Block Samiti elections, firing incidents, clashes and protests marred the Gram Panchayat elections in the district today.

A candidate for the Dera Basantpura Panchayat near Pathankot was allegedly hacked to death by his rivals in the wee hours today. Jeet Ram, block president of the SC unit of the BJP, was found murdered near his residence at about 4.30 am by his sons Ramesh Kumar and Suresh Kumar. The body bore head injuries.

Jeet Ram had informed BJP leaders of threats to his life besides seeking police protection. His sons suspected the hand of Manohar Lal, who was contesting the election against Jeet Ram, in the murder.

Meanwhile, a person was injured when the police resorted to firing in Talwandi Gauraya village in Dera Baba Nanak areas after supporters of the SAD, BJP and the Congress clashed. Surta Singh sustained bullet injuries. Over 24 persons have been booked.

Eight persons sustained injuries in clashes in Narawali and Dhangwan villages in the Kalanour area. A seriously injured Gurpal Singh of Bhidowal village was referred to a hospital in Amritsar.

There were reports of major and minor clashes from Bhugtana, Warabil, Matwan, Khuddi Cheema and a couple of other villages.

Meanwhile, residents of Gosainpur village in the Sujanpur Assembly constituency boycotted the elections and held a protest against the local MLA Dinesh Singh, aka Babbu. The protesters alleged rigging at the behest of the MLA.

The vote percentage in different parts of the district is as follows: Dhaar (75), Pathankot (78), Narot Jaimal Singh (70), Bamial (70), Dina Nagar (75), Darangla (80), Gurdaspur (75), Dhariwal (85), Kalanour (70) , Kahnuwan (70), Sujanpur (78), Fatehgarh Churian (85), Dera Baba Nanak (70), Batala (75), Sri Hargobindpur (83) and Qadian (77).


The Election Commission has countermanded elections for Dera Basantpura village where candidate of the BJP Jeet Ram was found murdered in the wee hours.

Taking a serious view of the incidents of violence, the EC has also countermanded elections for eight more villages, Bhugtana Tulian, Talwandi Gauraya, Dhabawala Khurd and Dhabawala Kalan, Aujala, Khuddi Cheema, Bhullar and Wadala Bangar. 


Ballots reach late
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 26
Due to an unprecedented delay in the arrival of ballot papers at Sangrur from Delhi for the Panchayat elections, these could not be made available to the presiding officers for starting polling at the scheduled time of 8 am at a large number of polling booths in various parts of the district, including Sunam, Dirba, Lehragaga and Malerkotla.

According to reports, the ballot papers were made available to the presiding officers even up to two hours late at several polling booths. This created tension and resentment in a big way not only among the polling staff and the candidates, but also the voters. According to information, more than 85 per cent polling was recorded in the district.

When contacted, the ADC (Development)-cum-additional district electoral officer Harnek Singh said despite the late arrival of ballot papers here, the administration had made the ballot papers available before 10 am at all polling booths in the district. The elections to panchayats of four villages, Sazidpur in Malerkotla block where a candidate had died, Rattangarh Sindran and Kothe Chhajli in Sunam block due to wrong printing of ballot papers, and Jharon also in Sunam block, had been countermanded.


Amritsar (South) Bypoll
MLAs write to Sonia against Amarinder
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
A large section of the Congress legislators has appealed to party president Sonia Gandhi to take action against former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for his anti-party activities, which they claim are harming the party in the state.

The Congress men, including legislators and leaders of the PPCC as well as youth wing leaders, have signed a letter detailing the activities of the former Chief Minister in the recent past.

The letter is seen as a move made on behalf of PPCC president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to marginalise Capt Amarinder Singh in the state Congress. It is not only aimed against the former Chief Minister but also the frontal organisations of the party, including the chiefs of the Youth Congress as well as the Mahila Congress.

The complaint accuses Capt Amarinder Singh of conniving with the SAD and its chief Sukhbir Singh Badal through his loyalist Harjinder Singh Thekedar.

The letter also accuses the former Chief Minister of holidaying in Manali along with his friend and Pakistan journalist Aroosa Alam even as he stayed away from the election campaign in Amritsar due to cervical pain. The letter claims Capt Amarinder Singh received Aroosa in Delhi and even drove her to Manali during this period. This act, the letter says, had an adverse effect on the morale of the party workers as well as the common man who expects high moral values from its political leaders.

In another allegation, the missive claims that “news analysts” were linking his recent road show in the Majha region and his absence from the election campaign as a conspiracy hatched in connivance with the BJP through his relative and former external affairs minister Natwar Singh, who is now with the saffron party.

Speaking about the frontal organisations of the party, the letter says the Mahila Congress, which is led by Gurkanwal Kaur, did not play any role in the elections. As far as the Youth Congress, which Vijayinder Singla leads is concerned, it says it marked its presence only in newspapers.

The letter claims that on the other hand Congress workers had stood up against Akalis in elections for the Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana municipal corporations, while in Amarinder’s hometown in Patiala the Akalis were given a cakewalk with the Congress boycotting the polls midway. It says Bhattal had fought the Amritsar (South) election single-handedly while Congress men were busy in elections to the Block Samitis and Zila Parishads. Bhattal did not leave Amritsar till the last minute even though local Congress leaders were blackmailed and succumbed to pressure from the government, the letter adds.


Cong leadership to be blamed for defeat
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The result of the Amritsar (South) bypoll is a warning to Congress men to get their house in order or be ready to face the consequences in the coming parliamentary elections.

Both PPCC president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh failed the party as well as its workers, who were looking to them for leadership. If the same trend continues, it would be difficult to convert any ground swell of opinion in their favour in the parliamentary polls.

The state Congress leadership under Bhattal could neither choose the right candidate nor conduct the entire selection process in a meritorious manner. This expectedly resulted in immediate cracks in the local leadership in Amritsar (South). The PPCC failed to take corrective action to bring the disgruntled leaders back into the party fold. In fact, the Congress leadership in Amritsar annoyed the party’s Amritsar leaders by giving importance to rebel candidates who had stood for elections against them.

This ensured that leaders who could have made a difference like O.P. Soni, Jugal Kishore and Sukh Sarkaria remained indifferent hurting the chances of the party candidate. The party tried to browbeat former candidate from the constituency Harjinder Thekedar. The action boomeranged on it with Thekedar levelling serious charges against the leadership.

Furthermore, the appointment of senior Congress leaders, including former ministers, as in charge of wards was a complete farce with none of the leaders staying back in the constituency for the entire period of campaigning. Many chose to stay partly in the constituency and partly in Dalhousie. Congress candidate Navdeep Singh Goldy on his part appointed his own men as in charge of wards, which further confused the local party workers. There was also no coordination between the PPCC and the candidate with only the candidate knowing his programme for the day.

And if all this was not enough, former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh chose to stay away from electioneering. Though he had an excuse that he was doing this on his doctor’s advice, the fact that he chose to move out of his residence in Patiala during this period and travel on private visits to Delhi and the hills of HP indicates there is more than what meets the eye. The former CM also declined to even issue any appeal to party workers to fight the elections unitedly despite being asked to do so.

The fact that Amarinder’s supporters worked on opposite lines indicates that there was an effort among the party to ensure Bhattal’s candidate Goldy was defeated by as large a margin as possible. This last wish was, however, denied as due to low polling percentage Goldy lost by 22,000 votes while Amarinder’s man Thekedar had lost the last election from the same constituency by around 24,000 votes.


Congress defeat no surprise
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The defeat of the Congress candidate in Amritsar (South) byelection with a big margin has surprised none, except the Congress leadership. The defeat was almost certain from the word go. It is another matter that the Congress leadership had to wait till Sunday forenoon to know the result. The Congress internal squabble had its bearing on the Amritsar by-election.

Though credit for Inderbeer Singh Bularia’s win has been claimed by the Shiromani Akali Dal( SAD), its major share must go to the Congress party that most of the time, during the campaign, played to the gallery using its energy on complaining to the Election Commission of India against the ruling party’s violation of the election code of conduct. Even after remaining in power for several years at the Centre and the state, the Congress leaders have not yet learnt that negative politics does not pay.

Some major factors for the defeat of the Congress candidate was that firstly except the party leadership, no other important leader of the Congress party backed Navdeep Singh Goldy, who lost the by-election. Though at the behest of the Congress leadership, many party leaders and MLAs joined the campaign, it was to mark presence for the sake of leadership.

All important leaders of the Congress from the Majha region wanted the party nomination for Harjinder Singh Thekedar. But the party denied him ticket and took drastic action against him. Even the SAD leadership had been accepting the fact that Thekedar would have proved a tough candidate for it.

However, a major factor that contributed to the Congress defeat was vertical division in its ranks . When the SAD leadership was campaigning hard in Amritsar, the Congress leaders were fighting with each other. War of statements among senior leaders of the party created confusion among the party MLAs and other senior leaders. For most of the MLAs and other senior leaders, it was tough question to decide with whom to side within the direct fight among top leaders. This caused huge damage to the party in the Amritsar by-election.


SGPC wins court case
Reclaims land worth Rs 2,000 crore
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 26
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has reclamed prime property worth over Rs 2,000 crore from alleged illegal possession of various institutions and individuals.

SGPC president Avtar Singh stated this here today. However, he said he had signed a memorandum with the director, Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports (NSNIS), for allowing sportspersons to use the passage till August 31 as per the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The NIS has lost more than 39,000 sq yds (more than 7 acres) to the SGPC in a legal battle.

The SGPC has already taken over the land right in the heart of the sports institute following the court order. The religious body won the case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on February 29.

Similarly, the SGPC has taken possession of 200 acres from a Nihang organisation in Kotkapura and Bathinda, while 18 acres had been taken back from the Mahants in Maqsudra (Ludhiana), 20 acres in Rasulra village (Khanna) and prime land in Patiala city etc.

The SGPC has already put a barbed wire on the land, situated along Gurdwara Moti Bagh Sahib.

The SGPC claimed the place was sacred as Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib had spent a few days there.

Notably, the royal family of Patiala had donated the land for a gurdwara, but the NIS had taken over it in 1968. The SGPC had challenged it in court and won the case which went on for four decades. The Punjab government had given this land to the NIS on April 5, 1992, through a registered deed, which the SGPC had challenged and got it quashed.

The SGPC had been fighting the case against the Sports Authority of India since 1971. A copy of the judgment, along with the possession warrant, was handed over to the SGPC on March 15 and four days later they took possession of the land.The SGPC will continue to allow NIS inmates, including sportspersons and staff members, to have access to the land, the main source of water supply to the girls' hostel till the end of August as per the MoU .

However, the SGPC chief said the committee would raise a hockey team on this land, apart from using it for religious purposes.


Jathedar facing bigamy charge refuses to quit
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 26
Jathedar Patna Sahib Giani Iqbal Singh, who has been facing charge of bigamy, today refused to resign from his post.

Talking to The Tribune from Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh, however, confessed that he had remarried without seeking divorce from his previous wife.

Video clips of the second wife of the Jathedar, Patna Sahib, levelling charges of “moral turpitude” have been put on the Internet by some Sikh organisations. Jathedar Iqbal Singh claimed that he had remarried on certain conditions, which were being exploited by her.

On if the management of Takht Patna Sahib would take a decision to sack him as Jathedar, he would accept it with grace. However, he said, he was innocent and some vested interests had been exploiting the issue.

Giving details, Jathedar Iqbal Singh said his second wife had taken enough financial benefits from him. He further alleged that his second wife had compelled him to make all arrangements for the marriage of her sister, which he did. He had also got deposited sufficient money in the name of his second wife with the help of his NRI friends to get her interest up to Rs 3,000 throughout her life.

However, Jathedar Iqbal Singh said despite all conditions accepted by him, his second wife refused to vacate his official residence of Takht Patna Sahib.

He also rebutted the allegations that he had been working for the RSS. He said the list put up by the RSS on its official site had no truth. He said it was true that he had once visited the programme, without knowing that it was arranged by the RSS. However, he claimed that he had criticised the RSS at the function.


Aroosa is in Patiala for 3rd time
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 26
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s Pakistani journalist friend Aroosa Alam remained in Moti Bagh Palace of the “maharaja” for the second day today after arrival in the palace from Manali, along with her royal friend.

While Patiala residents expected Aroosa to make a public appearance as usual during her third visit to the city this time, Aroosa chose to stay put in the palace as a guest with six of her Pakistani friends.

Aroosa, it is learnt, has been in the city for the third time in five months. Earlier, she had attracted a number of onlookers in Patiala during her shopping sprees in the AC market or other bazaars here.

Aroosa had landed in the city, along with Amarinder Singh, in a white Ford Endeavour car at 9.15 pm on Saturday, while other Pakistani guests arrived in a separate black Endeavour driven by Amarinder’s OSD Major Amardip Singh. Aroosa, Amarinder and his Pakistani guests, it is learnt, had stayed in Manali for over a week before returning to Patiala.


Canadian squad to study fake marriages in India
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 26
The Canada government has formed five squads to hold investigations into cheating in marriages. These squads will visit various countries to study how fake marriages are performed and innocent people duped in the name of marriage. Such a squad will also visit India.

Disclosing this here today, president, Lok Bhalai Party, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said while the India government had been adopting dilly-dallying tactics to save Indian girls who had been “cheated and exploited” in the name of marriage by persons living abroad, the Canada government had taken a good step in this direction.

Ramoowalia also said his party was fighting against “cheat bridegrooms” and “cheat travel agents” and both these issues had now been taken up at the international level by Canadian government and the International Red Cross Society.

He said the Red Cross had decided to supply medicines to persons languishing in jails of foreign countries after being cheated by travel agents. He said it would also take care of such persons in jails.

Ramoowalia said his party was also raising the unemployment issue in a big way as the root cause of exploitation and cheating of youths was unemployment.


Move to Privatise Amritsar Airport
Corporate houses vying for property
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 26
The Airports Authorities of India (AAI) has initiated a major plan and prepared a public-private partnership module to hand over the commercial aspect of the Amritsar International Airport to private bidders. The AAI has already shortlisted top five corporate houses with foreign collaborators to make a financial bid whereby the reins of the airport management will be given to the top bidder in the coming months.

According to reliable sources, the commercial operations maintenance of the terminus building and development of the city side will be given to a private company. The government will lease 27 acres of private land alongside the airport complex for a long lease of more than 30 years to develop this area commercially. Hotels, food courts, entertainment parks and commercial complexes will be planned there by private companies.

Corporate houses which have shown interest in the airport include Reliance Energy, Tata-Changi Consortium, FRANPORT, Lanko Infratech ltd and L&T IDPL unique consortium.


PSEB incurs Rs 5,254 cr Loss
Pvt distribution firms best option, says Chamber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
In wake of the cumulative losses of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) touching Rs 5,254 crore, bold reforms are the need of the hour.

Unless required funds are available, the state shall not be in a position to upgrade and modernise the distribution system and attract investment in the development of new projects.

These are suggestions offered by the PHD Chamber to the Punjab government for ushering reforms in the private sector.

The chamber has said private participation in distribution under the public-private participation mode is the best option because private managements shall usher in professional efficiency and bring required investments.

The second option suggested to the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, as in Maharashtra’s Nagpur and Bhiwandi, is a franchisee model for implementation in major industrial/ urban areas of the state.

The state has a power deficit of 2,716 MW and to meet the state requirement in the 11th plan, another 5,000 MW power is required. Therefore, power reforms in Punjab are a must.

The PHD Chamber has emphasised that the restructuring of the power distribution system through the joint sector approach, as in Delhi, is a bold example, which has lead to private distribution 
companies investing to the tune of Rs 4,294 crore in 2002-06 in system improvements out of their own resources, and a reduction of AT&C losses from over 50 per cent to less than 26 per cent in 2007-08.

These reforms, if implemented, would not only improve the availability of power but also the quality of the available power; help contain inflation, and help the government generate more tax revenue through development. Such reforms would not affect the farmer’s interest adversely.


917 MU of power by 2011-12
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 26
The quantum of energy produced in Punjab through new and renewable energy sources will be around 917 million units (MU) by 2011-12, a sizeable 10 per cent contribution to the total power generation in the state. The proposed enhancement of 916.59 MU will come at a tentative investment of Rs 5,156.32 crore.

Officials from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Generation say the quantum of energy produced in Punjab through new and renewable energy sources was more than 300 MU during 2005-07. Out of this, 77.73 MU was produced during 2005 and 109.35 MU and 128.83 MU generated during 2006 and 2007, respectively.


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