P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Price hike fuels hoarding
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Even as steep hike in petro- products was announced today, diesel remained unavailable to the consumers across most parts Punjab.

While oil companies accused the dealers of hoarding, the latter said the oil companies had closed their terminals and stopped honouring their indents since morning so that they could sell it at enhanced price tomorrow.

Reports from various parts of the state also revealed in many rural areas, the petrol dealers started charging the enhanced price for petrol and diesel, even though the new rates will be effective from midnight.

In Goniana Mandi near Bathinda, it was only after the intervention of the local administration the dealer stopped charging the enhanced rates.

At several places, the petrol dealers were found to be hoarding the fuel to make easy money by putting up boards saying the dispensers were out of order.

Though the diesel has remained in short supply for couple of days, most petrol stations in Hoshiarpur, Moga, Nawanshahr, Patiala, Ludhiana and Bathinda said they had not received any diesel supply since yesterday.

Petroleum dealers alleged that the oil marketing companies had closed their terminals at Jalandhar, Bathinda and Sangrur, after the petrol hike was announced around noon today.

They alleged even the indents received by the terminals after eight in the morning were not honoured.

A petrol station owner in Nawanshahr informed he had sent his indent for 12 kilolitres of diesel to the oil marketing company’s terminal at Jalandhar yesterday.

“They said the supply will be sent today, but the indent was not honoured today also, even though the officials at the terminal had collected the papers for filling the tanker. Later in the evening, they returned the documents and we were not sent any supplies,” he alleged.

Other than Indian Oil retail outlets, a majority of outlets of Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum were running dry today.

Having met a similar experience, a petrol station owner in Hoshiarpur said he had not received any supply of diesel for two days, when they had received just 4000 litres of diesel was supplied to him.

In Ludhiana, a manager of a BPCL pump in Dugri area said there was a severe rationing of diesel for couple of days.

“‘Though we receive the supply from the Jalandhar terminal, the company had sent us diesel from the Bathinda terminal two days back. Today, we have not received any supply of diesel or petrol as the terminals of the company were closed after the hike was announced,” he added.


UPA has failed common man: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The hike in prices of fuel has been widely condemned . Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the hike in petrol, diesel and LPG rates would make it extremely difficult for the common man.

He lashed out at the UPA government for failing to check inflation, saying the government had failed on all fronts to protect the interests of the public, especially the farming community.

Bikram Singh Majithia, Youth Akali Dal patron and public relations minister, demanded resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and union finance minister P. Chidambaram for “failure to rein in inflation”.

Majithia demanded the resignation of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi from the Lok Sabha as the government had failed to check price rise.

He said it was unfortunate that this hike price was aimed at benefiting a handful of multinationals. He questioned the silence of Sonia Gandhi on the issue.

Reacting to the hike, Manoranjan Kalia, industry and commerce minister, Punjab, said this hike would put a burden on the household budget of the common man. He demanded a roll back in prices.

Meanwhile, medical education minister Tikshan Sud alleged the government had fulfilled the agenda of multinational companies.

He said it was saddest day in the history of the country because the Prime Minister, an economist, had failed to protect the interests of the common man and the UPA was following the road map set by the World Bank and multinational companies.

Punjab cooperation minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh said the price hike only showed the UPA government had no concern for the well-being of the common man.

He said, “If the government wanted to put the burden of inflation on the common man then what good was this government doing for the public.”


SAD, BJP to contest MC polls jointly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
A joint meeting of senior leaders of the SAD and the BJP was held in Chandigarh today. It unanimously resolved that both parties would jointly contest the coming local bodies elections.

District bodies of both parties have been authorised to finalise the job of seat-sharing, according to SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh.

The district bodies will also select the candidates for the polls. The chances of victory of a candidate will be the main criterion for the selection process.

The district-level units have been advised to see to that the process of seat-sharing and selection is complete by June 8.

Cheema said it was also decided at the meeting that both parties would appoint a senior leader each as observer in 20 districts.

Besides, a leader will be recommended by each party who will act as coordinator at the state level. The list of the observers will be released tomorrow.

The observers will supervise the election process and will ensure that all decisions taken by the alliance leadership are implemented in letter and in spirit.

The meeting was chaired by Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal and attended by Balbir Punj, Rajinder Bhandari, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Manojanjan Kalia, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Balwinder Singh Bhundar, Capt Kanawaljit Singh, Balramji Das Tandon, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema.

The senior leaders directed all leaders and workers of their respective parties not to issue any controversial statements. Any violation in this regard will be dealt with seriously, they added.


Hardliners to fight it out unitedly
Sikh, Kashmiri, Christian groups to launch struggle against Centre; Geelani addresses Sikh conclave through cellphone
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

SGPC honours
Prof Geelani
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 4
The SGPC today honoured Prof S.A.R Geelani, who has been acquitted in the Parliament attack case, at its information office.

He was honoured by Jaswinder Singh Advocate, a senior SGPC member, and Giani Kewal Singh, former Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib.

Amritsar, June 4
Protesting against the alleged repression of minorities, radical Kashmiri and Sikh organisations and a section of Christians today resolved to launch a joint struggle against the central government.

The leaders were attending a conclave to mark the 24th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, organised by the Dal Khalsa here today.+

The development has alerted the intelligence agencies, which apprehend the conclave might pave the way for the alliance of these organisations.

Chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who has been under house arrest in Srinagar to prevent him from attending the conclave, addressed the conference through his telephone.

Prof S.A.R Geelani, who has been acquitted in the Parliament attack case, contacted the Hurriyat Conference chief on his mobile phone and connected the phone to a public address system. Geelani came down heavily on the Central government for putting him under house arrest.

Prof S.A.R Geelani relays speech of chairman of the breakaway faction of the Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani through his cellphone at a conclave organised by the Dal Khalsa in Amritsar on Wednesday.
Prof S.A.R Geelani relays speech of chairman of the breakaway faction of the Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani through his cellphone at a conclave organised by the Dal Khalsa in Amritsar on Wednesday. — Photo by Vishal Kumar

He said it was his desire to visit Amritsar for the first time to express solidarity with the members of the Sikh community on the anniversary of the Army action at the Golden Temple/Akal Takht. He, however, announced that his outfit would continue to fight for the rights of the Kashmiris.

Addressing the conclave, Professor Geelani said it was a matter of concern the Army attacked the holiest shrine of the Sikhs in 1984.

It took more than 20 years for the central government to tender an apology for November 1984 riots on the floor of Parliament when a Sikh, Dr Manmohan Singh, became the Prime Minister.

Veteran SGPC member Manjit Singh Calcutta described the operation as “national shame”. He said the members of the Sikh community could never forget attack on Akal Takht, the temporal seat of the Sikhs and anti-Sikh riots of Delhi.

Lashing out at the Akali leadership, Calcutta said it was on record that the SGPC and the SAD had passed resolutions that Sikhs have distinct identity.

The British, too, accepted Sikhs as separate nation but the Akali leadership had deviated from its stand for vested interests, he claimed.

A status paper, released by the Dal Khalsa, said the Sikh Gurus had clearly prepared the Sikhs to fight any anti-people system “first by thought and then by the arms to defend one’s rights, as and when the need arises”.

The resolution passed at the conclave said: “Even those wedded to democracy and peaceful resolution to conflicts, resort to all means of resistance when the need is felt”.

Secretary of the legal defence cell of the Hurriyat Conference Altaf Ahmad, Dr Babu Joseph, spokesperson for Catholic Bishop Conference of India, Bhai Mohkam Singh of the Damdami Taksal, former Jathedar Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, Kulbir Singh Bara Pind of the SAD (Panch Pardhani) and SGPC executive member Karnail Singh Panjoli attended the conclave.


Govt buses to carry courier mail
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 4
The managing director of Punbus has signed an agreement with owner of Delhi- based Crown Courier Service to carry parcels/ mail on its buses.

The contact is for three years commencing on from August 22 this year. As per the agreement, Punbus agreed to carry parcels/ mail and home appliances (without passengers) by its buses running on national, state and district roads under the minimum time with the participation of drivers/ conductors of the contractor (Crown Courier Service).

To carry the parcel/luggage , space for 500 kg on the half roof of the bus will be reserved for contractor by Punbus. However, parcels of the size of 36’x 20’x20’ will be loaded on the roof which can be loaded conveniently.

Punbus shall provide open space ( minimum being 8’x8’ free of cost to the contractor at all bus stands owned by it or under its control. The contractor shall construct its own tin/fibre shed for the storage of parcels/luggage at its own cost.

If no employee of the contractor (Courier Service) is available at the bus stand for taking the delivery of the parcels , it shall be the duty of the conductor/driver to hand over the materials along with the copy of the challan to the in charge of the bus stand.

Owner of Crown Service, C.L. Breja admitted the agreement has been signed. The contractor shall deposit Rs 3. 91 lakh per month for the first year, Rs 3,95,167 for the second year and 3,99,333 for the third year of the agreement.


Air Marshal visits Mullanpur base
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal P.K. Barbora, visited the Mullanpur Air Force Station near here today.

He was accompanied by Arundhati Barbora, president Air Force Wives’ Welfare Association (regional).

On their arrival, Air Commodore S.R.K. Nair, Air Officer Commanding 12 Wing and the Commanding Officer of the Mullanpur base received Air Marshal Barbora and his wife.

The Air Marshal, who was given a detailed briefing about the station, took stock of the operational and maintenance activities being carried out at there.

He also addressed all personnel of the station and updated them about the modernisation plans of the IAF in the near future.

He complimented the air warriors and MES staff for the keeping the station in good shape. He was also pleased with the high standard of morale of air warriors.

Meanwhile, Arundhati Barbora reviewed the activities of the local AFWWA chapter. She complimented the ladies for their hard work and was the chief guest at a cultural programme presented by the wives of air warriors.


AG’s documentary to benefit pensioners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Thousands of pensioners and general provident subscribers (GPF) in Punjab and Chandigarh can breath easy with the accountant general, Punjab and Chandigarh, further streamlining the grievance redressal system.

Close on the heels of the setting up of grievance redressal cell, the AG office has now come with a documentary detailing the functioning of the cell with a view to create awareness among all stakeholders.

“For the benefit of the stakeholders, the documentary contains the working of the cell, procedures and processing of the pension cases and views on the beneficiaries, the AG, Punjab and Chandigarh, said here today.

Harnessing the information technology for the benefits of the pensioners, the department has put the documentary on its website www.agpunjab.org, he added.

Underlining steps to mitigate the problems of pensioners, he said continuous
efforts were being made to achieve the goal of making administration “responsive and pro-active”.

A human element had been added in the entire grievance redressal system to make the system cater to the needs of the beneficiaries, he added.

All complaints are routed through the cell and the direct dealing with the departments concerned is discouraged to avoid malpractices, sources added.


High Court
Pleas pour in to challenge civic polls
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
If the petitions filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court are an indicator, Punjab seems to have exercised its franchise in favour of electoral mismanagement.

In just two days, at least three petitions have been filed before the high court challenging different aspects of civic body polls scheduled to be held across the state on June 30.

Taking up the petitions, the vacation bench of the high court too is giving “short dates” for early adjudication of the disputes.

In two such petitions placed before the bench of Justice Pritam Pal and Justice K.C. Puri, Rajpura and Samana residents have challenged “illegal” alteration of wards.

In both the petitions, the bench has issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and others.

Notice regarding stay has also been issued. Both the matters will now come up on June 10 for further hearing.

In their petition against MLA Raj Khurana and others, Jagdish Kumar and two more petitioners of Rajpura had earlier sought the quashing of notification dated May 27, vide which the reservation of municipal council wards were “illegally altered without any reason”.

Elaborating, the petitioner contended that the state, in violation of the provisions of the relevant Act and rules, altered the reservation ordered vide an earlier notification dated May 23 by issuing the impugned notification on May 27.

Enclosing a copy of the notification with the petition, counsel for the petitioners S.C. Pathela asserted vide it the number of wards reserved for women in Rajpura Municipal Council were reduced from eight to seven.

Moreover, ward Nos. 21 and 12, which were general wards as per the earlier notification, were declared reserved for women.

In the other petition also filed through Pathela, Satish Kumar Singla of Samana also sought the quashing of the notification dated May 27 issued by the state.

The petitioner contended the state altered the earlier notification dated May 23 and issued a fresh notification dated May 27, vide which the reservation of ward for women has been altered; and ward No.12 has been declared reserved for women.

He asserted the elections to about 95 municipalities and nagar panchayats in the state were held on March 9, 2003.

The five-years tenur expired in March 2008. As such, the election process to constitute the new municipalities should have been completed before March.

It may be recalled, acting president of Moga municipal council Swaran Jain and five others had on Tuesday questioned the state’s action of not holding the elections to the civic body along with other municipal committees.

In a petition; Jain and other petitioners claimed the action not only violated the provisions of law, but also amounted to the death of democracy.

The petitioners contended Section 13 of the Municipal Act, 1911, specifically said the term of a civic body was five years.

As the first meeting of the Moga municipal council was held on March 21, 2003, the term expired on the same date this year.


Cancellation of Admission
HC issues notice to Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the Union health ministry’s Department of AYUSH, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences on a petition filed by Ludhiana-based Sri Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic College.

In its petition placed before the Bench, comprising Justice Pritam Pal and Justice K.C. Puri, the college challenged the orders issued by the ministry and the Central council to the varsity to cancel counselling for admission to 27 seats of MD (Homoeopathy) meant for external candidates.

The petitioner asserted as a result the selection committee had to suddenly stop the counselling process midway on May 30.

In its petition, the college contended as per 2001 Amendment Regulations notification, the universities could allow external candidates to appear in post graduate examination for eight year.

This was from the commencement of “Homoeopathy (post graduate degree course) MD (Homoeopathy) Amendment Regulations, 2001”.

However, by an executive order the universities were asked not to conduct any counselling after 2007-2008 session admissions.

The Baba Farid University wrote back to the department of AYUSH on May 23, stating that the varsities could give admissions for MD (Homoeopathy) course for external candidates up to 2009.

But the department, and the Central Council of Homoeopathy directed the university not to conduct any counselling for admission to external candidates for MD (Homoeopathy) course.


Patran Dacoity
UT cop got Rs 5 lakh from accused, booked
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 4
Union Territory police inspector Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal has landed himself in soup for allegedly extracting Rs 5 lakh from the Patran dacoity accused with promises to protect them from the Punjab Police.

Meanwhile, the Patiala police has been lauded by the Punjab DGP for cracking the May 28 Patran dacoity case and arresting three of the accused.

The Punjab DGP has sent appreciation letters to Patiala SSP S.K. Asthana, SP (D) Gurmeet Chauhan and Patran DSP Sukhdev Singh Virk and commendation certificates to more than 24 police officials who worked on the case.

Rupees 14 lakh of total of Rs 1.07 crore which, was carried in three bags by a group of farmers was looted as the farmers were returning to their Haryana village after selling a piece of land in the area.

The farmers were ambushed near Patran by robbers led by Yadvinder Singh, a resident of Paharpur village in Patiala district.

Apart from nabbing three accused, the Patiala police has also recovered more than Rs 9 lakh of the looted amount by Yadvinder and his accomplices.

“Main accused Yadvinder Singh, a resident of Paharpur village, Gurmit Singh alias Bawa, a resident of Balbera and Tarsem Kumar of Kalwanu village near Ghagga have been arrested. They had planned the dacoity and executed it with other members of the gang. One Maruti car, one .32 bore foreign made pistol, five live cartridges and Rs 2.7 lakh which were part of the looted cash have been recovered from Yadvinder, while one knife and Rs.1.5 lakh have been recovered from Gurmit Singh alias Bawa. One Ford car and Rs 50,000 have been recovered from Tarsem Kumar. Besides, Rs. 2.5 lakh has been recovered from earlier arrested accused Bikramjit Singh and Rs 1 lakh have been recovered from Gurpreet Singh Bagga,” said SSP S.K. Asthana.

Harvinder Singh, an uncle of Yadvinder Singh revealed his nephew had committed dacoity along with his accomplices.

Harvinder Singh also stated in an affidavit that his nephew had paid Rs 5 lakh to a Chandigarh Police inspector Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal, who, assured to save them from the police.

A case under various Sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 420 of the IPC has been registered against inspector Dhaliwal.


One held on girl’s complaint to CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 4
The police yesterday arrested one of the three youths who had allegedly teased a girl of Jirakh village.

The girl had approached Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for action against the alleged eve-teasers.

The arrested youth was identified as Jatinder Singh. The SSP said raids were on to arrest the rest of the youths.

He said the police could not take any action earlier as the girl had not made a complaint to us.

“Even the FIR lodged now has been based on suo motu notice of the action of the girl in approaching the Chief Minister to air her grievance.”


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |