P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Work unitedly, panches told
Tribune Reporters

Barnala, July 11
Public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia today said that Rs 2500 crore had been earmarked by the state government to provide safe drinking water and sanitation facility to the villages and the World Bank had launched a special scheme for the purpose.

Earlier, the panchayat members of 158 villages falling in three blocks Barnala, Mehalkalan and Shaina took the oath of secrecy and transparency at a function orgainsed at local Grain market here today. Majithia administered the oath to all the panchayats.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that a sum of Rs 4 lakh would be granted to those panchayats who have been elected unanimously.

Ferozepur: The Punjab government has embarked on several measures for infrastructure development and basic amenities in rural areas, stated Manpreet Badal, finance and planning minister, who was here to preside over the district-level oath taking ceremony of panchayat members at new grain market on the outskirts of the city.

In the oath taking ceremony held today, 6,433 panchayat members belonging to 1,085 villages took oath of allegiance towards the constitution of the country.

On the occasion, he also called upon the panchayat members to maintain communal harmony and spirit of brotherhood in the villages, and abstain from superfluous conflicts, which normally mar the developmental prospects of the villages.

On the occasion, Manpreet reiterated the SAD-BJP government's commitment to provide all modern day amenities and facilities in the villages at par with the urban segments.

Later, while talking to the media persons, the FM said that due to electoral code of conduct, certain grants meant for old-age pension, shagun scheme and for other development works could not be released, however, now an amount of Rs 144 crore had been released to the social security department for pension and another Rs 20 crore for shagun scheme had also been released.

Mansa: Animal husbandry minister Guljar Singh Ranike while addressing the newly elected panches at New Grain Market here asked them to perform their duties with honesty. He said that development of Punjab would be done according to master plan. Before this, he administered oath to nearly 1800 panches of Mansa district. The minister assured the new panchayat members that they would be given full honour in the government offices. Sarabjeet Kaur who was elected panchayat member unanimously was honoured by the minister.

Transport minister Master Mohan Lal administering oath of office to newly elected panches in Moga on Friday.
Transport minister Master Mohan Lal administering oath of office to newly elected panches in Moga on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Moga: Transport minister Master Mohan Lal administered oath to as many as 2,346 newly elected panches of 326 villages of the district at a function organised by the district administration here today.

The participation of women appeared to be less, but their family members and other people came in large numbers occupying the seats meant for the panches. Due to this the minister was forced to announce that panches should stand up so that they could be distinguished separately from the public and oath could be administered to them.

The mismanagement was quite visible as after taking the oath, the panches were wandering here and there to hand over the 'sworn statements' to their respective block development officers.

As soon as the oath ceremony was over and the minister left the venue, the official machinery including the officials of panchayat department hurriedly went behind the minister leaving the ignorant elected representatives in lurch.

Hundreds of such elected representatives went to the BDO office of the Moga-I and II blocks soon after the oath ceremony to hand over their 'sworn statements' but no one was there to help them.

As a result of which, hundreds of panches were forced to go back to their homes without depositing their 'sworn statements' and marked their attendance before the concerned authorities.

No official of district administration could give the exact figures of the number of women and scheduled caste panches, who participated in the oath ceremony. When contacted, Joginder Kumar, district development and panchayat officer, expressed his inability to provide these figures saying he was busy in the function.

It was unfortunate to see that all officers irrespective of their departments rushed behind the minister and their other political bosses. Chief parliamentary secretary Sheetal Singh, senior SAD leaders Gurdev Singh Badal, Jathedar Tota Singh and local-level BJP leaders were present in the function.

Earlier, the minister exhorted the panches to plan out strategy for the development of their respective panchayats during their tenure of five years. The priorities should be fixed and strictly followed while undertaking development in the villages, he said.

Senior SAD leader appealed to the panches to rise above party affiliations and select the right person for the post of sarpanch so as to undertake sustained development of the villages.

Muktsar: "No officer of the district, irrespective of designation, will be tolerated, who would not give respect to the elected representatives of the rural units," said Ajit Singh Kohar, state revenue minister here today.

Kohar was here to administer the oath taking ceremony of the newly elected 1,990 Gram Panchayat members of 263 villages of the district.

Taking serious notice of the basic problems of the people the minister urged the panches to focus on the basic requirements of the people.

When he was asked about the power cuts in domestic units, he parried the query. Further when he was questioned about the grievances of people regarding the collective bills of electricity, he passed the buck over to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Gurdaspur: Medical education and research minister Tikshan Sud urged newly elected panchayat members of this district to ignore party affiliations and factionalism and work for the development of their respective areas.

Addressing a function after administering the oath of office to the panchayat members at Government College here, the minister said they should be aware of their rights and duties under the Panchayati Raj Act.

Sangrur: Education minister Upinderjit Kaur administered oath to 4,101 panches, including 898 women panches, of nine blocks of Sangrur district at a function at Sunam, 13 km from here. Sangrur MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa presided over the function.

The minister urged the panches to perform their duties with honesty and dedication for the development of their respective villages. She asked the women panches to actively participate in the functioning of panchayats.

She said the process for the recruitment of teachers had already been completed and appointment letters would be given to them soon.

Dhindsa said a bronze statue of Shaheed Udham Singh was ready to be installed at Sunam. The Chief Minister would unveil it, he added.

Tarn Taran: At a similar function here, minister for jail, tourism Heera Singh Gabria sworn in newly elected members of the pancahyats. The minister said four major thermal plants were being set up in the state and these would make the state a power-surplus state in coming months.

Harmit Singh Sandhu, Manjit Singh, Prof Virsa Singh Valtoha, all MLA, newly appointed deputy commissioner Khushi Ram were present.

Dimpa resents Kalia’s remarks

Amritsar: Local government and industry minister Manoranjan Kalia administered oath to 5,135 panchayat members of 11 blocks of the district. He said panches should nominate sarpanches from the ruling party for a proper development of villages. Criticising the Congress, Kalia said even after more than 60 years after Independence, the rural areas lacked development. Meanwhile, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, former MLA, resented the statement of the minister that the panches should elect sarpanches from the SAD-BJP alliance. He urged the Election Commission to take notice of it.


NRI widow cheated of her child
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A Canadian NRI woman, Dupinder Kaur Hundal, has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Punjab and Haryana Court to secure the release of her nine-month-old son, also a Canadian citizen, from the custody of her in-laws, an influential Lapoke-based family related to a former Rajasansi MLA.

The petition, slated to come up for hearing on Monday, has been filed by Dupinder through her mother, Manjit Kaur.

Dupinder’s story has all the ingredients of a Bollywood film, “Shakti”, a Karisma Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor and Nana Patekar-starrer. Her powerful in-laws are hellbent upon raising the toddler in his father’s motherland. Dupinder’s father-in-law Jagir Singh Aulakh’s brother, Veer Singh, is a former MLA, and his son, Rashpal Singh, is SHO of the Lapoke police station.

Dupinder got married to Jatinder Singh Aulakh in November 2006 and had a son, Aviraj, on September 2007, who was born in Quebec, Canada. On March 30 this year, Jatinder died in an accident and Dupinder came here to attend his last rites.

It is alleged that on June 22, a day before Dupinder was to fly back to Canada, along with her son, she found him missing from her room. Her father-in-law informed her that the grandmother, Davinder Kaur, had taken him to the gurdwara. But when they did not return, she was told that they wouldn’t let Aviraj go with her.

When she objected, they asked her to leave and allegedly threatened to get false cases registered against her if she tried to a make an issue of it. She reached Delhi and immediately lodged a complaint with the Canadian High Commission. She also faxed her complaint to SSP Majitha and SHO Lapoke, alleging that her son had been forcibly kept back by her in-laws.

Scared of a reprisal, she flew back to Canada and since then has been pursuing the case. According to family sources, she has been in regular touch with the High Commission and also her lawyers. They said she is very scared to come back, as she fears that her in-laws could go to any extent to prevent her from taking Aviraj away. For this reason, the habeas corpus petition has been filed through her mother, Manjit, they said.

While her in-laws were not available for comment, her fears of reprisal don’t seem to be unfounded. On July 4, the Lapoke police registered a case against her for deserting her child on the basis of a complaint by her in-laws. This is despite the fact that before leaving India on June 23, she had informed both the Canadian High Commission and the Majitha police about the circumstances under which she was forced to go back without her son.

When contacted, SSP Iqbal Singh confirmed that an FIR had been registered. He, however, maintained that Dupinder was the undisputed “natural guardian”.

According to the in-laws’ complaint, they had asked Dupinder to stay back in India and raise the child, but she refused and went off to Canada without him. However, Dupinder dubbed this claim as “absurd and baseless”. Talking to TNS from Montreal she said, “I was forced to run away without my child. If I had to desert him, why would have I filed a complaint on the same day with the police and the High Commission ?” she asked.

She said, “I want my child back and will do anything for it.” She maintained that if the court or the administration gave her protection and assurance that she would not be harassed by her in-laws, she would take the next available flight to come back to gain her son’s custody.

She claimed that when she was here, her in-laws had made her sign some blank papers on the pretext that they would be needed for certain legal formalities in her absence and had used them to “fraudulently” transfer movable and immovable property of her deceased husband in their name. 


Govt to oppose Ravi-Beas link-II
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
As the Ravi-Beas link-II, proposed by the Union government at the behest of the Haryana government, has repercussions across the border, the Punjab government will oppose its construction at a meeting to be held in Delhi on July 18.

As one of the embankments involving the linking of the two rivers falls in Pakistan and has international repercussions, the Punjab government will convey to the Union government that there is no possibility of taking up the work on this project.

Punjab says acting on the concept paper presented by the Haryana government, the Centre had directed it to take up the work on the project.

“We are going fully prepared to the meeting next week,” said a senior functionary of the state government. “Our stand is very clear that the work on the proposed project will not be taken up,” he said.

Haryana had told the Union government that about 3 MAF of river waters was going from Punjab to Pakistan. By constructing the Ravi-Beas link-II that water can be utilised by Punjab and Rajasthan through the canal system fed by the Ravi and the Beas. Haryana has argued in lieu of utilising that 3 MAF of water through the proposed Ravi-Beas link, Punjab should give to it its share of water, as adjudicated by the Eradi Commission, from the Sutlej.

With the objective of countering Haryana’s view, the Punjab government has prepared to tell the Union government that first of all any assessment at any official level has not been made to conclude that 3 MAF water is going to Pakistan. On what basis Haryana has arrived at the figure of 3 MAF is questionable.

As far as Eradi Commission’s award of 3.83 MAF of water to Haryana is concerned, Punjab says it was an interim decision and not a final one. And no notification was issued with regard to implement that decision.

Moreover, as Punjab has annulled all agreements with regard to the utilisation of river waters and the matter in this regard is sub-judice, in such circumstances the Union government has no right to give any direction to the state to make any change in the utilisation of river waters.

In its interim decision, the Eradi Commission had allotted 3.83 MAF of river waters and already Haryana had been utilising 1.62 MAF from that allocation. Haryana wanted now the remaining share of 1.21 MAF. The SYL canal was constructed for that purpose. However, Punjab had challenged the Eradi allocation saying no surplus water was available that could be given to Haryana.

Another argument being given by Punjab is that there was command area fed by the canal system fed by the Sutlej at Ropar. The Sirhind canal, that takes off from the Sutlej at Ropar headworks, caters to the irrigation needs of almost half of Punjab. What will happen to the command area fed by the Sutlej in case that water is given to Haryana ?


Tribune Impact
Rickshaw-puller’s son gets admission in pharmacy course
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, July 11
It was dream-come-true for Om Parkash, son of a migrant rickshaw-puller from Bihar, who got admission into the Bachelor of Pharmacy course at Pandit J.B. Government Polytechnic, Hoshiarpur.

Om Parkash expressed his gratitude to The Tribune, which has highlighted the plight of poor bright students. He got the 36th position in matric examination and secured merit position in class XII exam. He also bagged a good rank in the CET of the PTU held recently.

During the counselling held last week at Jalandhar, Om Parkash was allotted a seat in the B. Pharmacy course at Hoshiarpur, based on The Tribune story. A number of benevolent persons, including principal and staff of Spring Dale Senior School, offered to pay for his course fees. The payment of the first semester was paid to him yesterday for joining the course.

Similar is the story of Lovish Ahuja, whose father has abandoned his family. He learnt that The Tribune was carrying stories of human interest and helping to raise the voice of needy bright students. Following this, he had contacted the newspaper.

The team of the paper here collected Rs 15,000 as counselling fees for Ahuja, who had managed to get seat in the Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, in the stream of industrial production and engineering.

Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has also offered to contribute to finance the education of these two poor students.

Interestingly, both boys studied in DAV School in the walled city. Principal S.K. Luthra lauded the efforts of The Tribune for taking up the cause of these poor children.


Kabul Blast
Ajay’s sacrifice inspires youth to join forces
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Kanwan (Gurdaspur), July 11
Head constable of the ITBP Ajay Pathania, who laid down his life while protecting the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7, has become a hero for the residents of the area. His sacrifice has inspired the youth to join the defence forces.

“Ajay has done the village proud and brought laurels to the region. We want to tread the path shown by him by making our services available for the sake of the country,” said a cross section of the youth of this village yesterday.

They said Pathania was the tallest among the residents of the village. His sacrifice had made the status of the village taller in this region. Pathania, the son of an ex-serviceman, had undying passion for serving the security forces. He did not disclose his posting in Kabul early this year to any member of his family.

This sleepy village, located on the Gurdaspur-Pathankot road, 25 km from here, has been witnessing a lot of activity for the past few days as people in large number are coming to his house to mourn his death. Politicians, including state ministers and union ministers, visited the bereaved family.

Pathania is survived by four sisters, one brother, widowed mother, wife, son and daughter. He could not see the face of his daughter who was born about two months ago. Though he had applied for leave to visit his family on the occasion, the destiny had something else in store for him. His body came wrapped in Tricolour to his home.

“How can we forget Ajay, who was honour of the house and was a son which every mother would like to have,” said members of the family, for whom life has come to a standstill.

Meanwhile, chairman of the All-India Anti-terrorist Front Maninderjit Singh Bitta, who visited Pathania’s home to console the bereaved family, said it was unfortunate that neither any senior officer from ITBP nor any official of the home minister attended his funeral. Demanding that the Centre adopt the children and wife of the martyr, he said if the government failed to look after the family with due honour, the Front would take this responsibility.


2 jawans to be awarded posthumously
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 11
The two ITBP soldiers, who were martyred in the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul early this week, will be awarded for bravery posthumously.

Director-General, ITBP, Vikas Srivastava announced this while addressing 776 soldiers of the 26th and 29th Battalions, who completed a gruelling 44-week training at the ITBP camp here today.

Srivastava said martyrs Ajay Pathania of Hoshiarpur and Roop Singh of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh had sacrificed their lives, but did not allow the bomb-laden vehicle to enter the embassy building.

He said the valour and sacrifice of the ITBP soldiers was acknowledged by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister Shivraj Patil, who visited the two injured ITBP soldiers at AIIMS in New Delhi last evening.

The Prime Minister had announced Rs 5 lakh special compensation from the Prime Minister Fund to the deceased and Rs 2 lakh to the injured soldiers. Srivastava said the ITBP would raise seven more battalions.


Bathinda villages reap rich harvest with toxic water
Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 11
If canal water is not available and underground water unfit for irrigation, what can one do?. Use water released by factories to irrigate the fields. This is being done for 15 years in three villages of Bathinda district - Kotbhara, Jeewan Singhwala and Kotphatta.

For 15 years, Nashara drain has been the only source of irrigation in the three villages. Farmers there, seem to be unaware of the harm toxic water can cause. They don't have any complaint. They say their crop yield is not dwindling and there are reportedly 50 suction pumps along the drain in the three villages.

Babu Singh has three acres at Kotbhara village. "We haven't seen canal water since 1985. The ground water is useless for irrigation. But this sludge is good for crop."

Gursharan Singh, another farmer who has 16 acres on contract, said they had been using this “black water” for cotton, wheat and even vegetables. Gursharan, who has taken land at Rs 11,000 per acre, denies any damage to soil because of it.

The biggest project for pumping out toxic water from the drain irrigates around 118 acres. The pipes, laid for distribution, stretch to 3 km and the project was set up at a cost of Rs 3.5 lakh. "It has 20 members and they have divided irrigation time - one hour and 25 minutes per acre," said Gursharan.

Sukhdev Singh, whose fields are along the drain, also set up the project. Badal Singh, his son, said they had been using the water from the drain since 1987. "We have around 24 acres and cotton productivity is around eight quintals per acre. We earn around Rs 17,000 per acre.”

On whether he suffers from any health problem because of the toxic water, Badal said: “The sludge stinks and workers have skin irritation when they come in contact with it. But we wash our hands with soap or apply oil. I don’t go to the doctor."

Baldev Singh, owner of 20 acres, said he had 14 acres under canal water, two acres under ground water and four acres dependent on the Nashara drain. "The maximum productivity is from the canal water and the minimum from ground water.”

However, one of the members of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Welfare Club of Kotbhara village, said though the drain water might be a boon for farmers, it was also a source of awful smell.

D.K.Garg, assistant environmental engineer, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Bathinda, said the drain carried effluents from a paper mill and a ghee factory in Bathinda.

But the drain flows from Sangrur and it must be carrying waste of other factories too.

Dr Jatinder Brar, soil scientist, PAU's regional centre, Bathinda, said if the drain was not causing any damage to soil, then heavy metals might not be present in the industrial waste.

Shingara Singh Maan, district president, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), said the use of the drain water would have long-term adverse affect on the soil and the state government should take steps to treat the water before it was used for irrigation.



Fight against drugs goes online
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 11
To make the reach of his anti-drug campaign wider, DIG Jitendera Jain has launched a website against the menace that has gripped the youth of the Malwa belt of the state.

The home page of the website says, “Drugs have really caused devastating effect on our social fabric, economic growth and national milieu. The most deadly effect of drug abuse is seen in our youth, who at the formative years of their life sacrifice their dreams, energy, talent and ideology at the altar of the devil of drugs.”

Jain says the idea behind launching the website was to involve more youths in the campaign. The website contains e-signature against the drug abuse.

He says the problem of drugs has assumed national proportions. Two-thirds households have at least one addict each who takes tobacco or alcohol or other life threatening drugs like smack, ganja, heroine or synthetic drugs. The devastating effects of drugs are many and varied causing harm to all aspects of human life be it health, family life, social prestige or financial status. The most dangerous facet of drugs is that it has started engulfing teenagers. We have seen cases where not only boys but also girls of reputed professional colleges are taking drugs. The only option before us is “either prevent or get perished”.

He stresses a four-pronged strategy “IDEA” to make the drive more effective. IDEA stands for Initiative of all, de-addiction drive, enforcement and awareness drive. All government and NGOs have to join hands to fight against the drug abuse.

Thirtythree villages have been covered under the de-addiction drive and students of 82 institutions throughout the state have signed the pledge against drug abuse, Jain says.


Unions protest anti-employee policies
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Members of various employee unions and federations from across Punjab today staged a protest against the anti-employee policies being adopted by the state government.

The members of the Punjab Mulazam Sangarsh Committee (PMSC), threatened and served an ultimatum to the Punjab government for non-fulfillment of the promises made during the Vidhan Sabha polls last year.

The protesters demanded the implementation of the fifth pay commission from January 2006, to revise the terms and conditions of the pay commission, to regularise the employees, to implement working scheme from January 1996 based on promotional scale and to fill the vacant posts within the state.

The agitated protesters, led by conveners Ranbir Singh, Sucha Singh Ajnala and Kulwant Singh, criticised the state government for ignoring the genuine demands of the Punjab employees. Talking to The Tribune, Gurmail Singh, general secretary of the Joint Action committee, Chandigarh, demanded the revision of the anti-employee fifth pay commission. In case the government fails to redeem their long-pending demands, we will be forced to further intensify our stir, he added.

He further stated that the terms and conditions of the present pay commission were totally against the employees. PMSC has decided to meet the various federations of Punjab to decide their further plan of action.


Building bylaws: MC officials chargesheeted
Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 11
The state government and the local Municipal Corporation have started tightening the noose around the neck of corporation officials for ignoring bylaws for benefiting the owners of some multiplexes and hotels. Two municipal town planners, two assistant town planners, five building inspectors of Amritsar had been chargesheeted.

MC commissioner D.P. Kharbanda said notices were being issued to the owners of the hotels who had violated the house line and indulged in non-compoundable violations. He said some of the owners, especially on Albert Road, had constructed hotels though they had got the map passed for residences.

Giving details, Kharbanda said some senior officials stand chargesheeted following orders by local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia. The minister, who was here, said some buildings at Amritsar, Jalandhar and Phagwara were checked for alleged violations in construction and non-compoundable violations were detected.

He said the building at plot No. 417, Albert Road, Amritsar, was found having built in violation of building bylaws during checking. The commissioner of Amritsar has been directed to take action against the owners of these buildings.

Kalia said two municipal town planners, two assistant town planners, five building inspectors of Amritsar had been chargesheeted. Though the MC commissioner said action had been initiated against former municipal town planner Hemat Batra and assistant town planner Sharnjit in connection with the construction of S.K. Residency Hotel on Albert road. However, owner of the hotel Pardeep Sharma said the hotel was constructed as per the bylaws. 


California Sikhs oppose varsity appointment
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 11
California University has received flak from certain Sikh organisations for appointing controversial Sikh scholar Pishora Singh to Dr Jasbir Singh Saini Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Studies.

In a memorandum submitted to the Jathedar of the Akal Takht, spokesman for the Coalition of Gurdwaras of California Raminder Singh Sekhon alleged that the Sikh community of California suffered a blow on learning that Pishora Singh had been appointed to the coveted post.

He said the Sikhs for Preservation of Sikhism and Sikh Heritage and a number of Sikh bodies in California have joined hands to oppose the appointment. He alleged that Pishora Singh had been summoned by the Takht due to his controversial writings.


Work on 24 railway overbridges reviewed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
PWD (B&R) minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa held a meeting with the Railway authorities at the Civil Secretariat here yesterday to sort out problems being faced in the expeditious completion of 24 railway overbridges in Punjab.

The minister also reviewed the progress of work on every overbridge. He pointed out that with increasing traffic and expansion of road network, incomplete railway over bridges were becoming traffic bottlenecks. He said though work on 50 per cent of the total number of overbridges was behind the schedule, on the remaining overbridges the delay was quite long.

The Railway authorities were asked to sort out problems with the contractors concerned regarding over bridges at Beas, Morinda bypass, Jagraon, Tanda, Suche Pind and Jalandhar city (Maksoodan).

The Railway authorities were urged to ensure completion of two over bridges in Bathinda, besides one railway under bridge and introduce sufficient shuttle trains on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh route to lighten road traffic.


Fakir Syed Saifuddin calls on CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Fakir Syed Saifuddin, director, Fakir Khana Museum, Lahore, and descendent of famous Fakir brothers of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom today called on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at his residence and apprised him of the belongings of Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh in their museum.

The rare collection include miniature paintings, documents relating to holy relics of the past 187 years reflecting the history of the regime of the Maharaja.


Population Day
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 11
An NGO from the Sunam Koshish Welfare Club, along with other NGOs, celebrated the World Population Day in the court complex at Sunam today.


High Court
Former DGP Virk’s security to stay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Taking up Punjab’s former director-general of Police (DGP) S.S. Virk’s petition for restoration of security, Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that the current security arrangement would not be withdrawn till the next date of hearing.

As the matter came up for hearing, the State of Punjab told the court that seven security personnel had been deployed for maintaining security. The UT senior standing counsel corroborated the information.

Taking on record the contentions, the Bench fixed July 23 as the next date of hearing. In his petition, Virk, posted currently as DGP (Housing) in Maharashtra, had earlier stated that he and his family were entitled security cover under the rules regulating the security arrangements of former DGPs.

He stated he and his family had been receiving “serious threats” to their lives from terrorist outfits since the days of terrorism. The DGP submitted that he had been on the hit list of the militant outfits for having effectively led anti-terrorists operations and also “in view of the vindictive attitude of the present government towards” him.

Inquiry into alleged ailment of Ludhiana DC

The high court today directed Ludhiana Chief Judicial Magistrate to hold a “fact-finding” inquiry into the alleged ailment of the Ludhiana deputy commissioner. The officer had not appeared before the court on the grounds that he was unwell.

A Ludhiana resident had earlier filed a contempt petition against DC Sumer Singh Gurjar. Taking up the matter, Justice Surya Kant had directed the DC to remain present in the court today.

As the matter came up for hearing, counsel for the DC handed over a medical certificate “suggesting that the respondent is suffering from LBP Discogenic.”

Justice Kant directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate “to summon records of the DMC, Ludhiana, the log book of the official car of the respondent as well as other records pertaining to his day-to-day schedule, including leave record and submit a fact finding report regarding alleged ailment of the respondent.”

The Chief Judicial Magistrate would submit the report by July 25.

Cricket stadium comes under scanner

The state of Punjab’s alleged move to set up a cricket stadium on chunk of land belonging to Bathinda-based regional research station of Punjab Agricultural University has come under the judicial scanner.

Taking up a petition filed in the matter by Punjab Congress MLA from the Bholath constituency Sukhpal Singh Khaira and another, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover today issued a notice to the state. The case will now come up on July 21.

It was contended that for the purpose of setting up of the stadium the land was being transferred to the state’s sports and youth affairs department.

Seeking directions to restrain the state government from actualising the proposed stadium project in collaboration with the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), the MLA and the other petitioner added the move to provide agricultural land for cricket stadium at Bathinda was not in public interest, particularly when peculiarities of the Bathinda area were taken into consideration.

Giving details, he said the quality of underground water was poor, besides this there was high-salt concentration in the soil. It was sandy in nature and the yield of crops was poor. The rainfall was less than 400 mm annual. 


HC: Pb home secy, DGP fail to act against resiling witnesses
Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court believes that the Punjab home secretary and the DGP have failed “to put the House in order and advance the course of justice”, while dealing with the matter of resiling witnesses.

The observation was made by the Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia in Gurcharan Singh Pherurai’s case after the state constituted a committee to look into the resiling of witnesses, including cops, instead of initiating departmental action against them.

The former SSP was acquitted after witnesses in the case against him had gone back on their statements. Taking a serious view of the matter, the Bench, on April 25, had observed: “We are of the considered opinion that there is a total inaction on the part of the Punjab DGP and the home secretary to take corrective measures when responsible officers of their offices have resiled from their statements in the court. We are also of the view that there is a total breach of rule of law. If the official witnesses had falsely implicated the accused - one of them was the SSP - what was the hesitation on the part of the authorities to dispense with the services of such kind of officers, who had falsely implicated the accused. Otherwise, if the accused were rightly found to have committed the offence during investigation, then as to why the witnesses have resiled in the court of law, should be a matter of grave concern for the authorities of the State of Punjab.”

Referring to these observations during the resumed hearing of the case, the Bench ruled: “The import of the order is apparent. It has been stated in both the situations, witnesses either for false implication or for resiling from statements in the court, do not deserve to be retained in service and were to be made subject matter of departmental action. It was never expected that our findings on - there is a total breach of rule of law. If the official witnesses had falsely implicated the accused, one of them was SSP, what was the hesitation on the part of the authorities to dispense with the services of such kind of officers - will be construed as to re-investigate the entire occurrence to absolve the accused.”

Talking about the high-level committee constituted by the DGP to look into the matter, the Bench added: The committee had not acted in a bona fide manner.

The Judges added the committee’s report dated June 28 “proceeds on the assumption to find out the reasons for the resiling of the witnesses. Alleged endeavour to find out the truth and steps taken in the inquiry make not only the entire inquiry and the report farce, but a mockery of the system.

“The report, to say the least, cannot be relied on. Our observations reproduced from the order dated April 25 were not acted upon by the home secretary and the DGP to put the house in order.”


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