P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Power tariff hike on cards
Govt to be penalised for delay in subsidy payment
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
While the domestic power tariff is likely to go up by 8 paise per unit in the state, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) will direct the state government to pay penalty of Rs 35.50 crore in the form of interest for the delayed payment of subsidy to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in lieu of free power to farm sector and poor sections of society during the past fiscal year.

For the current fiscal year, the state government will have to pay Rs 2,601 crore as subsidy to the PSEB. It includes subsidy of Rs 2,264.92 crore for agriculture sector and Rs 214.84 crore for poor sections of the society, apart from penalty of Rs 35.50 crore for the delayed payment of subsidy, besides pending dues worth Rs 121 crore of subsidy of the last fiscal year.

The PSERC, which has sought comments on the subsidy and tariff from the state government, is expected to announce the new power tariff for the current fiscal year by this month-end.

Though the state government had made a provision of Rs 2,000 crore in its budget to pay subsidy to the PSEB for the current fiscal year, obviously it would have to cough up about Rs 600 crore more in this regard. Sources said the PSERC would allow the PSEB additional revenue of Rs 249 crore by ordering new power tariff rates for the current financial year.

The Power Department was of the opinion that the state government should commit subsidy to the PSEB only if it is in a position to pay the same in a regular manner. Otherwise, the delay in paying subsidy and using other measures, such as adjusting it against the loan advance to the PSEB earns a bad name for the state government. Last year, the state government had adjusted Rs 1,362 crore of subsidy amount against the loan advanced by it to the PSEB in the past. Such a step has financially rattled the PSEB.

The sources said the tariff for the agriculture sector would be up by 11 paise per unit for the current fiscal year. And it would put an additional burden on the state exchequer because the financial burden of increase in the tariff in any manner for the farm sector has to be borne by the state government that foots the subsidy bill to the PSEB.

The subsidy bill for poor sections, who are given 200 units of free of cost provided the loan is 1 KV or less, over-shot the initial estimate of Rs 130.95 crore for the past fiscal year. Final tabulation of the subsidy bill for poor sections has been Rs 206 crore for the last year and for the current fiscal year it will further go up to Rs 214.84 crore.

Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal has been proved right for his assessment that the subsidy bill will continue to jump upward every year.

Power theft cases

The Punjab government has notified special police stations in five cities- Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Bathinda and Ludhiana- for the registration of power theft cases. The Power Department wants that these police stations should function under the control of the PSEB that can take police personnel on deputation from the state government.

Sources said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had agreed to notify one court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge as special court for the trial of power theft cases in the fast-track mode in these five cities.


Cong boycott at Dera Baba Nanak
To launch Internet drive against Kahlon 
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak, June 20
The local unit of the Congress, led by former chief parliamentary secretary Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, today decided to boycott the municipal council elections in protest against the alleged atrocities on party workers by the ruling alliance and rejection of nomination papers of party candidates on flimsy grounds.

Earlier, the party unit at Gidderbaha, the hometown of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, had announced boycott of the elections amid fear of rigging and atrocities on the party workers.

The Congress leaders alleged that out of 11 nominations submitted by Congress candidates for 11 wards of the Dera Baba Nanak municipal council, returning officer V. K. Sehgal rejected nine nominations on flimsy grounds at the behest of the ruling alliance.

Randhawa, while alleging that Nirmal Singh Kahlon, MLA, Fathegarh Churian, and senior member of the SAD was involved in the rigging of poll process and atrocities on Congress men, said they had decided to put all misdeeds of Kahlon on the Internet.

“This information will be sent to various organisations and institutions where Kahlon is scheduled to attend meetings in the capacity of speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, including Commonwealth Speakers’ Conference,” said Randhawa.

He said nomination papers of four Congress candidates, who were main contestants of the party, had been rejected without any valid reasons.

President of the PPCC Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said the party had decided to involve National Human Rights Commission to stop SAD-BJP atrocities on Congress men.

Meanwhile, Kahlon, while refuting the allegations levelled by Randhawa and other Congress men, claimed that a number of Congress candidates had joined his party and certain others had taken pledge to support the SAD-BJP candidates.

He said the Congress was raising unnecessary hue and cry to cover up the fact that their mass base had been eroded in this area.

Sehgal said seven nomination papers of Congress candidates were filled wrongly while some candidates had concealed the material facts in filing their papers. Three nomination papers had been withdrawn by the Congress candidates.


Talwandi Bhai MC elected unanimously
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, June 20
Residents of the subtehsil, Talwandi Bhai, 30 km from district headquarters, today created a history of sorts with all 13 municipal councillors being elected unanimously.

There are 13 wards of the council for which 58 nomination papers had been received. After the withdrawal of nominations by 45 candidates, only one candidate was left in the fray in each of the wards. Nine elected candidates belong to the SAD, two to the BJP and the rest are from the Congress.

Addressing mediapersons at the MC office, irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, who represents this constituency and on whose persuasion the unanimous elections were possible, stated that the residents of Talwandi Bhai had set an example for the other places to end enmity and work for the development of their respective town. He said he would request the government to allocate a special grant of Rs 50 lakh for the town.

The elected councillors are Pooran Chand Pawar (BJP) from Ward No. 1, Sanjeev Kumar Dhingra (SAD) from Ward No. 2, Tripata (BJP) from Ward No. 3, Rajinder Pal Shinda (SAD) from Ward No. 4, Tarsem Singh Malla (SAD) from Ward No. 5, Jaswinder Kaur (Congress) from Ward No. 6, Asha Rani (Congress) from Ward No. 7, Kamala Devi (SAD) from Ward No. 8, Rupinder Singh (SAD) from Ward No. 9, Pritpal Singh (SAD) from Ward No. 10, Manjinder Kaur (SAD) from Ward No. 11, Baldev Singh Kalsi (SAD) from Ward No. 12 and Baba Chand Singh Nahar (SAD) from Ward No. 13.



Detained Cong worker dies
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Majitha, June 20
A Congress worker, who was allegedly detained by the Amritsar police and later freed in a remote area near Chogawan, 25 km from Amritsar, died due to heart failure late last night.

A large number of Congress workers, led by Mohinder Singh Kaypee, working president of the PPCC, today laid a siege to the police station in the town to protest the death of Rattan Lal.

Kaypee said the party would launch an agitation against the alleged autocratic rule of the SAD-BJP alliance and misuse of official machinery to rig the Panchayat Elections.

He said the party had requested the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to initiate steps for ensuring free and fair elections.

Meanwhile, president of the District Congress Committee (Rural) Sukhjinderraj Singh Majithia (Lalli) said the police did not provide drinking water to detained party workers in such humid conditions. They were released from the Serai Amanat Khan jail only after the intervention of PPCC president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

However, SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said baseless allegations were being levelled against the police. Only three workers were arrested by the police for creating disturbance near the SDM’s office. The other protesters were released immediately after their arrest. He said that the no police official had misbehaved with any of the protesters.

Lalli said Rattan was abandoned along with other party workers in a remote area near Chogawan late in the evening and he had to walk up to 10 km to reach his home. He said he suffered heart attack due to exertion late last night. He was the only breadwinner of the family as his four sons were unemployed.

The DCC president demanded cases should be registered against minister of information and broadcasting Bikram Singh Majitha, SDM Sandeep Rishi, SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, DSPs Lakhwinder Singh and Ranvir Singh.

He alleged that Majithia was responsible for cancellation of Rattan’s depot licence after the Assembly elections. He alleged the minister and his men were threatening the Congress candidates.


‘Cancel Majitha poll’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Congress today demanded for the countermanding of elections to the Majitha MC, claiming that its candidates had been threatened by minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia.

Party spokesman Bir Devinder Singh, in a complaint to the state election commissioner here, said in Majitha, party workers were pushed out of the office of the returning officer and later arrested when they demanded that the list of candidates be displayed. The Congress leader alleged Majithia had visited the house of Congress candidate from ward number 10 Saroj Bhalla and threatened her. He alleged the father-in-law of Congress candidate Gurdeep Singh from ward number 10 was threatened that he persuaded his son-in-law to withdraw his nomination or face consequences.


Speaker to issue notice to Bhattal
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Batala, June 20
In an unusual move, Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, has decided to issue a show-cause notice and subsequently to move to the Privilege Committee against leader of Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal for levelling baseless allegations against him in the capacity of Speaker.

“Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has breached the privilege of the House by accusing me in the capacity of Speaker in the recent past. Bhattal has alleged that Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon has been involved in the atrocities allegedly being committed on Congressmen in the Fathegarh Churian Assembly segment as reported in a section of the Press on June 19,”pointed out Kahlon while talking to TNS on phone this afternoon.

He said he was left with no other option than to issue her a notice to explain why she had levelled such serious allegations against him without verifying anything. He added that after issuing a notice, he would move his case to the Privilege Committee of the Vidhan Sabha.

He said Bhattal should not have used the word Speaker while levelling allegations against him. She should have used his name for levelling allegations as the Speaker enjoyed a special status in the Assembly and perform duties as a neutral entity to conduct the proceedings of the House.

On being contacted, Bhattal claimed that she never used the word Speaker while levelling allegations against Nirmal Singh Kahlon.

However, she added that if Kahlon wanted to enjoy the privilege of being Speaker of the House and wanted to move a breach of privilege motion against her, he must also move motions for those members of the House whose privilege had been breached in the past one-and-half year.


Bhattal skips rally; Badal joins campaign
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 20
The electoral scene became interesting on the last day of campaigning today with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal joining the SAD-BJP campaign and the PPCC chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal suddenly leaving the town in the morning without addressing scheduled rallies.

Addressing a rally, Badal sarcastically said the fate of the Congress could be gauged from the fact that the party’s top leader had “fled” from the battlefield without addressing scheduled rallies. The Congress was rudderless as former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was not sparing any time for the campaign and was heading for a “jaunt” to Dubai.

On the other hand, Congress activists claimed that Bhattal had gone to Majitha where a Congressman had died.

Badal said funds would not be a problem for the development of Bathinda, in case the coalition candidates won. The SAD-BJP government has initiated development of town infrastructure even though the people voted for Congress candidates in all five Assembly segments of the district.

Chief of the SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal accused the UPA government of the unprecedented inflation.

Meanwhile, the Congress camp was demoralised as only a handful of their senior leadership came here to campaign for them. However, a section of the Congress was pinning its hopes on Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Raheem, who they believed might send a word to his followers to support the Congress.

A Congress leader claimed that there was an undercurrent in the party’s favour and the people were not coming out openly against the ruling coalition.

Bhattal yesterday addressed only one of the five scheduled rallies. She spent most of the time in a hotel discussing poll scenario with her trusted lieutenants.

During an interaction with mediapersons, she accused the Badals of misusing official machinery.

Local Congress MLA Harminder Jassi could not be contacted on the last day of campaigning today, as his mobile phone was switched off. The other four Congress MLAs of the district did not come here to campaign even a single day.


Minister alleges code violation
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 20
In a complaint to the state election commissioner today, former minister Naresh Thakur alleged that BJP-SAD alliance candidates, under the patronage of the district administration, were violating the election code of conduct.

He alleged that hoardings of BJP-SAD candidates were hanging on electric poles. Some were even pasted on government property. On behalf of the District Congress Committee, a complaint had been lodged with the district electoral officer in this regard. Instead of removing those hoardings, the administration removed the hoardings and posters of the Congress candidates installed on private property. 


‘Sidhu 2nd-best MP’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Cricketer-turned-Parliamentarian Navjot Singh Sidhu has done exceedingly well as far as utilisation of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) Funds is concerned. He is, perhaps, the second-best MP in the country to spend the funds in his constituency. At the first place is West Bengal MP Mamta Banerjee.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released a data of all states with regard to the utilisation of MPLAD funds. Of the Rs 6 crore released for the past three years (ending March 31, 2007), Sidhu has utilised Rs 5.35 crore, whereas Mamta has spent Rs 5.39 crore during the past three fiscal years. However, Sidhu is on the top of the list as far as Punjab MPs are concerned.


CPI for independent observers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 20
The CPI has asked the state election commission to appoint independent observers for every municipal council. 

It said it felt that the elections would not be held in a free and fair manner as the SAD-BJP ruling combine was using government machinery to rig the elections in its favour.



Govt competent to hold inquiry against VC
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Punjab government said today that it was fully competent to order an inquiry against the vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU). “Inquiries have been ordered and conducted against some vice-chancellors even earlier”, said a spokesman of the state government.

He said the state government was duty bound to order and hold an inquiry in case any complaint was received by it with regard to any administrative lapse or misuse of official authority in any of the institutions. Obviously, the state government would take permission from the chancellor of the university in case any thing worth action taking was found against the vice-chancellor, he added.

The spokesman said the chancellor himself had forwarded some of the complaints against the vice-chancellor for comments. “Obviously, the state government will offer comments only after holding the inquiry and giving all concerned proper opportunity to explain their position. Without conducting an inquiry, no comment can be offered”, he said.x


14 posts of state cadre IPS officers remain unfilled
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The government has not been able to fill 14 posts of IPS cadre for state police officers due to the ongoing dispute of inter-cadre seniority between direct Punjab Public Service (PPS) officers and promotees.

Though a few IPS officers chose to opt for deputation after the SAD-BJP government took over, at present there are only nine IPS officers on deputation. This, despite the fact that 30 IPS officers can opt for deputation at any given time in the state. The Punjab Police too has10 posts of superintendent of police (SP) lyng vacant.

According to IG (Headquarters), Suresh Arora, this was a temporary phenomenon and would be corrected following elections to the municipal committees. The force has to resort to ad hoc appointments due to these constraints.

Sources say between 1999 and 2006, the state has seen only eight directly recruited IPS officers joining the force. Earlier, a few officers would join every year. There was a shortage of SP-level officers in the force at present. State-cadre officers with up to 18 years of service are still awaiting promotion. Arora said every year two to four IPS posts meant for state-cadre officers were available but the government was unable to fill these.

The present government has devised new ways to ensure PPS officers can still head districts as SSPs by redesignating Jagraon and Majitha police districts as Ludhiana (Rural) and Amritsar (Rural) districts. The newly created district of Mohali also till recently had R.S. Khatra, a PPS officer, heading it.

The entire issue of elevation to the IPS has come under a cloud with the state government promoting a number of junior officers to the state-cadre rank of DSP on various grounds. The Punjab and Haryana High Court, adjudicating on the matter in April, has directed the state government to finalise the seniority list within three months. It has directed the government to assign seniority between promotees and direct recruits in the ratio of 4:1. The government has constituted a committee headed by a special secretary for this purpose.


Corporation status for Moga sought
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 20
The Congress has demanded upgrade of the local Municipal Council (MC) to corporation keeping in view of the newly added areas to the civic body limits.

Talking to The Tribune here today, former MLA and state general secretary of the Congress Vijay Sathi said the actual population of the town after the inclusion of new areas in the municipal limits had crossed the two-lakh mark, which was sufficient enough to constitute a corporation.

The MC of Bathinda was also upgraded to a corporation a few years ago when the population of the town was little less than two lakh.

He said Moga had the world’s No. 1 food processing industry, Nestle. “The town is number one in the world in truck body building, thresher manufacturing and has Asia’s top grain market”, he said.

Over the years, the town has grown to get the status of the district headquarters.

He was of the view that with the revival of trade links with Pakistan through Hussainiwala border in Ferozepur district, this town would emerge as a central place for storage of imported items and the goods to be exported from the industries of Ludhiana.

“Ludhiana has become so congested that it hardly has any space for storage, making Moga the only viable solution for the purpose on this side of the border and Kasur on the Pakistan side,” he added.


Rickshaw service takes off
Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, June 20
It was a historic day when this border town came forward to show the way to the country in checking environment pollution and global warming by launching the Echo-Tel Rickshaw System. With this, a rickshaw shall be available to user on a telephone call.

Fazilka is set to be Asia’s first urban area to join Czech-based world car-free community. The Graduate Welfare Association, Fazilka (GWAF), and the local Rickshaw Union have devised this novel system.

GWAF, patron, IIT, Roorkee, Dr Bhupinder Singh, former principal, Govt Girls Sr Sec School, Pritam Kaur, GWAF president Umesh Chander Kukkar, project in charge Surinder Kumar Ahuja and Vikram Ahuja inaugurated the rickshaw centre at the bus stand here today evening. A telephone No. 510041 has been installed at the bus stand rickshaw point.

Dr Bhupinder Singh revealed that initially four such points had been set up in the town. The other three points were located at Sanjeev Cinema Road, Waan Bazaar and Multani Chungi. The telephone numbers of these locations were 510061, 510071 and 510051, respectively.

Dr Bhupinder Singh said the scheme would reduce carbon dioxide emissions to make the town a medium for suppression of global warming. Every rickshaw puller generated 0.25 horse power energy daily and nearly 400 rickshaw-pullers generated 100 hp daily. This prevented 2,600 tonnes of air pollution a year. If the rickshaw-puller did not involve his physical energy in generating so many hp, petro vehicles would pollute the environment to a considerable extent. He said for this reason the air pollution in Fazilka was remarkably low as compared to other towns of the country.

GWAF vice-president Manoj Tripathi and general secretary Navdeep Asija called upon citizens to make maximum use of the newly initiated scheme.


NGO exposes incomplete affidavits
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 20
Despite the order of the state election commission regarding the submission of information by the candidates through affidavits about their criminal antecedents, assets, liabilities and educational qualifications etc, a number of affidavits have reportedly been found either incomplete/deficient or lacking vital information.

Talking to this reporter here today, secretary of an NGO, “People for Transparency”, Kamal Anand said the fact had come to the notice of the NGO after they scrutinised the copies of the affidavits with a motive to help the voters in electing the right candidate.

Anand said a number of affidavits had not been filled in accordance with the order. Barring a column, certain candidates had only filled the word “yes” in the remaining parts of the affidavit, he added. A number of candidates had not furnished proper information related to their spouses or dependants.


VC row: Valtoha meets inquiry officer 
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 20
After meeting inquiry officer (IO) B.C. Gupta, senior IAS officer, Akali MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha alleged that the vice-chancellor (VC) had openly defied the state government by not appearing before the IO today. He said the GND University falls in Punjab and, hence, he could not defy the state.

Meanwhile, the inquiry officer has asked DPI Kanwaljit Singh, who is the presenting officer in the inquiry against the VC, to study the varsity’s statute/calendar and conditions laid down in the appointment letter. This decision has been taken in the wake of the missive of VC, sent to the IO.

Earlier, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had said the high-level inquiry by the home secretary would be conducted in a free and fair manner. He has said the inquiry was ordered on the basis of the assurance given by the education minister on the floor of the Assembly.

Meanwhile, an official press statement, issued by director, Public Relations, GND University, claimed that at least 25 members of the Senate in a missive to the CM apprised him about “absurdly false campaign of vilification” launched by certain elements to defame the name of the prestigious university.

The GNDU Non-teaching and Punjab Police Pensioners Welfare Associations have also condemned ordering of inquiry against the varsity. The Principals Association of Non-Govt-affiliated colleges of the university has also resented the inquiry against the VC by a bureaucrat. President, GNDUTA, Devinder Singh alleged that the VC had been “flouting the democratic norms” since his appointment.

However, Sukhprit Singh, secretary, GNDUTA, said the ordering of an inquiry by the state government on the basis of unfounded complaints amounted to direct political interference.


Punjab plans bamboo cultivation
To be planted along banks of rivers
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 20
Thousands of farmers owning big and small chunks of lands in almost non-productive, moisture-laden and marshy areas along the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi would soon see their fortunes shining with the Punjab government taking a lead and promoting bamboo cultivation in these areas in a big way.

Not only that. The relatively new concept of bamboo farming would improve the lot of a large number of poor farmers settled along rivers of Punjab, but it was also likely to contain the burgeoning monster of pollution and lead to a more cleaner environment.

Besides, bamboo cultivation, in case it is encouraged and planned by the state government in a proper manner, could also bring farmers out of the red to some extent as it would take them away from the almost ‘rotten’ and largely non-viable wheat-paddy cultivation cycle.

The plan to promote bamboo cultivation in the state was an outcome of the persistent efforts of the National Bamboo Mission, which had already provided the state government with a grant of Rs 4 crore.

The money would be utilised by the state government in providing subsidies for growing bamboo to farmers having marshy lands and lesser productive lands adjoining the Sutlej, Ravi and Beas.

“Farmers would get subsidies at the rate of Rs. 8000 per hectare in case they grow bamboo on their lands, particularly those where other crops could not be taken for excess moisture or other reasons,” said the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests B.C. Bala.

Bamboo trees, according to forest department officials, were beneficial particularly for their very fast growth. A bamboo tree matured in an estimated period of three years which was almost half of most of the other trees grown in Punjab for commercial purposes. Moreover, bamboo growth, particularly if planned properly and in advance, comes out very dense and it means one could get more yield.

The Forest Department officials revealed that huge chunks of unutilised or under-utilised lands falling not only along the rivers but also in the Kandi areas in the lower Shivalik range could be converted into fertile lands if farmers resorted to adoption of bamboo as their major crop.

Farmers of certain areas of Kandi, particularly the Kukanet valley, Dehrian, Chauhal, Talwara of Hoshiarpur district, were already into bamboo cultivation but not in a big way.

It was a different matter that they allegedly come face to face with inconvenience at times in acquiring permits from the Forest Department officials and were hardly aware about the bamboo crop promotion schemes initiated either by the National Bamboo Mission or by the state government.

Apart from encouraging farmers to adopt bamboo cultivation, the Punjab Forest Department was also planning to come to their rescue by providing them with bamboo marketing facilities.

Since bamboo was used in construction works in a big way the department officials visualised that there could be a huge potential of development of a big market for the bamboo produce in the state itself. “In most of cases, bamboo could even replace iron as a construction aid,” said an official.


PSEB says no to temporary connections to farmers
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 20
Even as Punjab farmers have been hard hit due to the acute shortage of farm workers for sowing paddy, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has added to their woes by refusing to provide temporary power connections for tube wells.

It has been a regular practice of the PSEB to grant temporary agricultural power (AP) connections for the past three years in succession. Last year, a little more than 27,000 applications for temporary AP connections were disposed of by June 20 against charges of Rs 1,500 per BHP.

However, the farmers waiting for temporary connections this year are in for a big disappointment as the PSEB has not announced any schedule for this purpose, and will not do so at all if PSEB chairman Y.S. Ratra is to be believed.

When asked about the temporary AP connections during the ongoing paddy season, he said there was no proposal for such connections this year as the board did not have enough power.

Ratra disagreed when told that the denial of temporary power connections to farmers might lead to "kundis" (theft of power). "We have set up special teams to check theft of power during paddy sowing and those found indulging in the practice will have to face the music."

B.S. Bath, engineer-in-chief, Central Zone, PSEB, declined to comment on the issue saying it was a policy matter. He, however, hastened to add that the board had met the demand of the farm sector for power through its own your transformer (OYT) scheme. In the Central zone alone, there were 3,200 odd valid applications for the OYT scheme, out of which more than 1,800 had already been granted connections.

The PSEB had received nearly 86,000 applications under the OYT scheme and nearly 40,000 demand notes had already been issued before the cut-off date of May 31, 2008. But for those who had already deposited the charges against the demand notes issued by the PSEB, the scheme had now been suspended.

Coming down heavily upon the PSEB authorities for denial of temporary connections, president, Bharti Kisan Union, Balbir Singh Rajewal said the farmers felt betrayed.

"In the wake of the dismal state of availability of power, it would be a miracle if the PSEB is able to make the committed 8-hour uninterrupted power supply to farmers. As for those, who were looking towards temporary connections to run their tube wells, there is no other alternative but to make use of diesel, which will further add to the input cost," he lamented.


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