P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

126-mm deluge chokes Amritsar 
4 die in rain-related mishaps; Army put on alert
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 13
A student, Sumeen Shelly, was electrocuted at her house in East Mohan Nagar while three more deaths were reported due to incessant rain here today. Shelly, a widow, leaves behind a five-year-old child.

The Army has been put on alert by the district administration after three persons lost their lives in separate incidents of roof collapse and drowning as the city was lashed with a record downpour early morning. The rain threw life out of gear, paralysing essential services like power and water.

Rajkumari of Bharat Nagar on the Batala road and Vikas (6) were killed as roofs of their houses collapsed. However, the other members of their families were rescued by the administration staff and the police. A youth drowned in the Loharka drain, near here. According to SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, more than 200 distress calls were received from across the city during rain.

Almost all localities in the city were under 2 or 3 ft of water as the city recorded about 205 mm rainfall. The rain started around 2.30 am and continued till 9.30 am.

Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu supervised the flooded areas in the walled city as well as the Civil Lines area. He urged the people in the flooded areas to move to the nearest schools for shelter. Mayor Shwet Malik and BJP MLA Anil Joshi, along with DPS Kharbanda and a team of corporation officials, also visited flooded areas.

The Municipal Corporation headquarters area was almost turned into a lake. Circuit House, Mall road, Nikka Singh Colony, Sewa Nagar, Khalsa Avenue, Lawrence Road were among the worst-affected areas where the rain water entered the majority of houses. Even the Guru Nanak Dev University complex was under knee-deep water. The 220-KV sub-station on the Lawrence Road was also inundated.

Paddy and rice godowns of private shellers situated on the Tarn Taran road suffered extensive damage. Water entered into shops at the IDH market, near Hall Gate, causing loss to the businessmen worth lakhs.

A large number of schools and colleges remained closed. Even people could not cremate their dead at local crematoriums.


Flood alert in Swan areas 
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, August 13
Villages of Nurpur Bedi, Anandpur Sahib and Nangal have been put on flood alert following reports of increased flow in the Swan rivulet.

The water level in the rivulet was reported to be 88,000 cusecs this evening compared to normal 50,000 cusecs. Officials said the level might be over 1 lakh cusecs by 9 pm today.

Similarly, high inflow was registered at BBMB dams at Nangal. The inflow in the dam was 49,452 cusecs in the morning, which went up to 1,21,000 cusecs till 4:40 pm. The level of water in the dam was 1660.27 feet against its capacity of 1,680 feet.

By evening, Kalma Mor village had come under three-foot water. There were flood reports in Harsa Bela village in Nangal.

ADC (general) Arshdeep Singh Thind said all SDMs, tehsildars, naib tehsilars and police administration have been put on alert. Each official had been handed a cluster of eight or 10 vulnerable villages. “We are ready for any kind of emergency,” he asserted.

Heavy rain in Himachal Pradesh as well as Punjab has contributed to the rising water level in rivulets and dams. On August 5, villages of Lodhipur, Mataur, Nikkuwal, Chandpur, Gajpur, Mehndi Kalan, Shahpur Bela and other areas of Nurpur Bedi had been flooded. 


Bhakra, Pong dams brimming
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Heavy rainfall in catchment areas of dams in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab may force their managements to release water to avoid a repeat of 1988 when release from the Bhakra Dam flooded Ferozepur and its neighbouring areas.

According to reports, both Bhakra and Pong dams have much more water at present compared to the level during the same period last year. The water level in the Bhakra Dam is at 1,659 feet against 1,629 feet last year. At the Pong Dam it is 1,370 feet against 1,350 feet last year. The water level at the Ranjit Sagar dam in Gurdaspur is at 518 metres against 512 metres during the same period last year.

Though it is still 10 feet to go before both dams reach their full capacity, Punjab secretary (power) Suresh Kumar feels water will have to be released from the dams.

With heavy rainfall warning in isolated areas being issued by the meteorological department today, the district administrations of Patiala, Sangrur and Ferozepur have started monitoring the situation to take care of any eventuality.

In Ferozepur, deputy commissioner Megh Raj disclosed that there were low floods upstream of Harike and that the administration had taken up flood protection measures with the help of villagers of the area at Ruklewala.

In Patiala, deputy commissioner D.S. Grewal disclosed that the Ghaggar was yet to turn into a torrent. The water level in the river at Bhankarpur, where it entered the district, was much below the danger mark.

Meanwhile, according to the meteorological department, the maximum rainfall of 205 mm had been recorded at Amritsar followed by 138 mm in Dasuya, 107 mm in Dera Bassi, 60 mm in Hoshiarpur, 52 mm in Ludhiana and 40 mm in Patiala.


Sutlej swells
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 13
Panic gripped villages alongside the Sutlej following river level rose from 12,000 cusecs to 18,509 cusecs in the evening. Sources in the Ropar headworks told The Tribune that more water would be released from Nangal reservoir late in the evening. 

The released water would reach Ludhiana after 10 hours, further raising the river level. Villages of Dhulewal, Issapur, Ghumana, Kasabad, the Mattewara seed farm, Khaira Bet and Hujra have been declared vulnerable to floods.


Special girdawri ordered; 10.71-cr aid released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13 
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today told all DCs and SSPs to be prepared to meet any eventuality due to heavy rain. Badal also ordered a special girdawri to assess the damage to crops. 

The revenue department has released Rs 10.71 crore from the Calamity Relief Fund to all deputy commissioners.


Bandh complete in Gurdaspur, Sunam
KMO leaders held outside Golden Temple
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 13
The police arrested members of the Khalra Mission Organisation (KMO) outside the Golden Temple here today as they proceeded towards Bhandari Bridge for protesting against the economic blockade of Jammu and Kashmir after ardas in the shrine.

Paramjit Kaur Khalra, Harmandeep Singh Sarhali, Virsa Singh Behla, vice-president, KMO, Chaman Lal, Satwinder Singh and deputy chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation Kripal Singh Randhawa were among those arrested.

Spokesman of the KMO Satwinder Singh Palasor said on the one hand the Badal government was supporting the BJP and other Hindu parties, including the Shiv Sena and the Bajrang Dal over the chakka jam organised by the BJP over the Amarnath land row, on the other hand it was not allowing their party to hold a peaceful protest against the economic blockade of the neighbouring state.

Palasor said KMO patron Dalbir Singh was arrested by the CIA staff when he was boarding a bus to participate in the peaceful march. Similarly, Bhai Gopala Singh Khalra, member, Central Committee, was arrested from his house at 5 am. He alleged that the Tarn Taran police also raided houses of Bahila and other leaders, besides his house.

The KMO spokesman said the fundamental rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir were being violated as communal Hindu parties were indulging in economic blockade of the state by stopping trucks carrying essential commodities.

He said no action was being taken against these parties responsible for the demolition of Akal Takht, Babri Masjid, killing of Sikhs in Delhi riots of 1984, besides killing of 1,500 Muslims in Gujarat.

He demanded that human rights team of the United Nations Organisation should visit the Kashmir valley to expose the Hindu forces responsible for economic blockade causing harassment to people in the valley.


No untoward incident reported
Tribune Reporters

Gurdaspur, August 13
Various Hindu organisations observed a two-hour bandh in the town and its neighbouring areas, including Batala, Dinanagar and Dhariwal, here today against the denial of land to the Amar Nath Shrine Board in Jammu and Kashmir.

All business establishments remained closed and traffic movement on main roads came to a complete halt. No untoward incident was reported.

Pathankot: The town witnessed a successful bandh with all business establishments keeping their shutters down. Protesters forced closure of educational institutions and government offices. They burnt an effigy of the Central government at the labour-shed chowk.

Sangrur: Activists of various Hindu organisations blocked roads and kept their shops closed in parts of this district. Workers of the BJP, Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad blocked roads for two hours at the traffic lights chowk in the town. District president of the BJP Jatinder Kalra and Pukhraj Purohit of the Bajrang Dal were among the protesters.

In Sunam, activists of the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti blocked roads for two hours. Sumer Garg, a spokesman for the samiti, said a memorandum was also submitted to the Sunam tehsildar. In Bhawanigarh, Dirba and Lehragagga, shopkeepers kept their shops closed for two hours.



Sarpanch polls fair: ADC
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 13
Additional deputy commissioner-cum-addition district election officer, Gurdaspur, M.P. Singh said today that elections of sarpanches in the district were held in a free and fair manner. 

The officer claimed that he was misquoted in a section of the Press regarding the elections. He said he received 13 complaints pertaining to the elections. When he investigated those, he found that there was no foul play in the poll process.


Build farm-industry synergy for growth: UNIDO team
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Punjab will have to promote synergy between agriculture and industry for growth in textiles and agro-processing. The state needs to rejuvenate the small-scale sector in auto components, garments and leather, besides attracting investment in large-scale sector (automotives, textile and food processing), if it wants to see industrial growth.

The state will also have to create state-sponsored Special Economic Zones (SEZs), to attract new investment in industrial sector. Creation of industrial clusters and exploiting the Central schemes like food technology parks, textile technology parks et al will also boost industrial growth in the state. The rich agriculture base of the state should be exploited to promote agro-processing, dairy and food processing sector, besides reforming the tax regime to make it more industry-friendly.

This is the broad framework provided by the three-member team led by consultant Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia. The SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat) analysis sponsored by UNIDO, was presented to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today. The report has called for promoting knowledge-based industry, health tourism and new engines of growth like logistics and pharmaceuticals. It has also recommended a petrochemical hub at Bathinda and an industrial zone along the dedicated rail freight corridor.

The committee has suggested that the government make a comprehensive policy for long-term utilisation and development of land, clearly earmarking parcels for urban expansion, infrastructure and industrial use. Pulled down by the stagnation in the industrial sector, the state government has been asked to attract large-scale industry like in automotive manufacture, which will act as an anchor unit for small scale industry. In terms of infrastructure development, the state has been asked to unbundle power generation, transmission and distribution, promote open access to power and start privatisation of distribution. It is also recommended to promote one more new international airport in the state, other than the Chandigarh Airport and small daylight take off airports for better connectivity.

The report has asked the government to have a re-look at the tax-subsidy regime, which is biased against industry as it cross-subsidises the burden of free power to agriculture. “VAT refunds are subject to inordinate delays, while a weak financial position of the state government does not leave any room for subsidies for industrial development,” it says.

Core group formed

Badal today constituted a core group headed by chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh to study the report on “Punjab Industrial Review” submitted by the three-member team led by UNIDO consultant Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia to evolve a consensus on what should be the industrial policy of the state that was likely to be come into force from January 1, 2009.

Participating in the deliberations at a presentation by the UNIDO team leader, Badal asked the core group to submit its report by October 15.

The core group’s document will be discussed by members of the infrastructure council, large industrial board, medium industrial board and small industrial board and it will be referred to the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by industries and commerce minister Manoranjan Kalia.


Eye Camp ‘Botch-up’
Trust blacklisted, doctors face criminal case
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 13
District magistrate Satwant Singh Johal has asked the police to register a criminal case against office-bearers of the Guru Ram Dass Charitable Trust and the doctors concerned who conducted surgeries at a free eye camp here on July 16. Johal’s orders came in the wake of the submission of the magisterial probe into post-surgery problems to nine patients operated on at the camp.

The district administration has blacklisted the trust and requested to the Medical Council of India (MCI) to take action against the erring doctor, besides requesting Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and health department to look into the functioning of all such trusts.

Talking to The Tribune, the DM said a legal opinion was sought from the district attorney on the findings of the magisterial probe conducted by the district administration. The administration recommended a criminal case under Sections 420, 338 and 120B of the IPC and Section 15 of the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 against the erring doctors and office-bearers of the trust.

He said all trust operations had been shut down in the district. “I have asked the chief medical officer to cancel permission to the trust for running the eye hospital,” Johal added.

“It is a matter of grave concern for the state and the government needs to take stern action against such trusts and erring doctors in the interest of the public,” he commented.

Meanwhile, assistant commissioner (grievances) M.S. Jaggi, who conducted the magisterial probe, said the doctor who reportedly conducted the surgeries was not a qualified doctor. He possessed an MBBS degree that did not permit him to conduct the eye surgeries as per the MCI rules.

He added Dr Khursheed Ahmed and Dr Mohammad Amzad Khan had conducted 16 surgeries at the eye hospital between June 11 and 15 without prior permission from the health department. The permission to conduct surgeries was granted by the department only on June 16, he said.

There was no doctor left in the hospital for the post-operative care of the patients. The slips/medical cards issued to the patients had no signature of the doctors and no OPD numbers in some cases.

The probe has also found negligence on the part of the CMO office in granting permission to the trust hospital without looking into the qualifications of the doctors and staff requirement to run an operation theatre. 


Sunam to have rly under-bridge
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 13
Punjab PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa yesterday said three courses, hotel management, mass communication and journalism and MA (history), would be started from the next session at Shaheed Udham Singh Government College at Sunam, for which talks had been held with Punjabi University authorities.

Dhindsa was speaking at a function on the college campus at Sunam. He also inaugurated an office of the Old Students’ Association of the college. The minister said a railway under-bridge would be built at Sunam. The Railway authorities had approved it. Work on it would start soon, he added.

The government would spend Rs 100 crore to develop Sunam town, of which Rs 13 crore would be for water supply and sewerage. He said the government had approved Rs 35 crore to up-grade roads of the Sunam area.


PSEB accused of negligence
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 13
Harsimran Kaur of Uppli village, near here, has accused the local PSEB authorities of not forwarding priority tubewell connection cases under chairman’s priority quota to the higher authorities for allocation of material in time.

In a letter, she has appealed to the chairman of the PSEB to order the allocation of material for her tubewell connection on priority. She has also sought action against officers of Badrukhan subdivision and local officers for not forwarding priority cases to the higher authorities in time.

Meanwhile, refuting allegations of Harsimran Kaur, senior executive engineer (XEN) of PSEB’s Sangrur division said today that his office sent list of pending test reports to the higher officers at the end of every month.


PIL to fill PHRC posts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Following a news report that appeared in The Tribune regarding the stoppage in functioning of the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) due to lack of a quorum, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A writ petition, filed by advocate H.C. Arora, has sought for issuance of directions to the principal secretary to the Chief Minister, Punjab, to fill up the three vacant posts of members of the commission.

The petitioner submitted in the PIL that although the commission had sanctioned strength of five members, including its chairperson, it is functioning with only two members, Chief Justice (retd.) R.S. Mongia and K.K. Bhatnagar, IAS (Non-Judicial Member), since May 4, 2008, when two members, namely Justice R.L. Anand (retd.) and B.C. Rajput had completed their tenure.


Manch moots apologies for Partition carnage
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar today proposed to the two leaders of west Punjab (Pakistan) and east Punjab (India) to move a resolution in the respective Assemblies for expressing regret for the Partition massacre and apologies for the carnage on the eve of Independence declaration.

Nayar said the proposed resolution would send positive vibes and help assuage the hurt feelings among the people of the two neighbouring countries.

Talking to mediapersons and later addressing an Indo-Pak friendship seminar, he said he had spoken to former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal about the proposal. Both of them had assured him that they would move such a resolution if it helped to bring peace and harmony in the region. The seminar was attended by senior members of the national assembly of Pakistan.

Nayar also proposed a “no-war pact” between India and Pakistan. He said he had a vision of establishing a common economic union of all SAARC nations to explore benefits of free trade movement.

Meanwhile, Nayar said a delegation comprising 2,000 members, including top political leaders from the present ruling alliance, would be holding a candlelight vigil on the Pakistan side to reciprocate a similar gesture from India, which had been started 14 years ago by the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch.


Health Dept’s I-Day gift  to people
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 13
Fifteen air-conditioned “mobile hospital” vehicles will be flagged off on August 15 by Punjab health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla from Fatehgarh Sahib. The vehicles will be sent to 15 districts of the state. Every vehicle will have two doctors, staff nurses, ECG and X-ray machines etc.

Chawla said this would be a gift to people of Punjab from the Health Department on Independence Day. She said 20 mobile vehicles were being provided to the districts. However, Mansa being a backward district would get two mobile vehicles, while no vehicle would be given to Amritsar district.

Chawla was here today for a medical camp, organised by the Health Department in Sunder Basti slum near the Police Lines. 


DSGMC offers Vedanti mission post
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 13
A four-member delegation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), led by its president Parmjit Singh Sarna, today held a meeting with former Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti at his residence here.

The meeting assumes significance because Vedanti has not yet accepted the offer of the SGPC for a place in the proposed centre of Guru Granth Sahib Studies. The SGPC and the ruling SAD are already in the spot for Vedanti is not eager to respond to the invite of the SGPC to honour him at the Takht.

“We will like Jathedar Vedanti to patronise the Dharm Parchar Kendra, which will be set in Amritsar,” said Sarna. He said the DSGMC had purchased 2,850 yd of prime land near Lawrence Road where a serai and the proposed centre would be opened shortly.

Veteran SGPC member Manjit Singh Calcutta, who accompanied Sarna during his visit to the residence of Vedanti, will be the chairman of the International Sikh Mission being set up in the city. It will have branches across the state.

The DSGMC president said the committee might convene a world Sikh conference in Delhi in October to discuss the “unceremonious removal” of Jathedars of Akal Takht since 2000.

“We had not presented dastar (turban) to Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh with a view to registering DSGMC’s protest against Vedanti’s removal”, said Sarna. He, however, said the DSGMC would abide by any directive issued from the Takht.

Sarna said he was ready to appear before the Takht, if summoned, for honouring president of the Congress Sonia Gandhi. When asked whether the DSGMC would support the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections in Punjab, he replied in assertive.

“We will support any party which fight against the SAD-BJP alliance,” Sarna added. He, however, said no Sikh could forget Operation Bluestar and Delhi riots and all demands of the Sikh community should be accepted by the UPA.


Sham Singh likely to head PSGPC
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 13
The Pakistan government is likely to nominate Sham Singh new president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (PSGPC) next month. Sources say the delay in the election of Sham Singh, founder of the PSGPC, to head the Pakistan Gurdwara Committee again was due to pressure of Sindhi Sikhs who want the post this time.

Sham Singh became the founder president of the PSGMC when it came into being on April 15, 1999. The SGPC did not recognise Sham and the PSGMC for a long time. Then president, SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur had even stopped sending jathas to Pakistan in protest against the formation of the PSGPC saying it was the right of the Shiromani Committee to manage Sikh shrines in Pakistan as per the agreement signed between India and Pakistan. However, her successor Jagdev Singh Talwandi ended the boycott and started sending jathas. Later, the present incumbent of SGPC president Avtar Singh had recognised the PSGPC after becoming the president.

Meanwhile, Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, DSGMC, met new chairman of the Pakistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board, Major-Gen Mohammad Javed who also controls the PSGPC. Sarna told The Tribune that General Javed had committed to carry on kar sewa of more Sikh shrines as per Sikh architectural designs. 


Anger marks bhog ceremony of Naina Devi stampede victims
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 13
Disgust and anger marked the bhog ceremony of the nine victims of the Naina Devi shrine stampede tragedy at Mullanpur Dakha here today following the failure of the state government to compensate the victims' families.

While many politicians, who attended a joint condolence meeting at Gurdwara Vishwakarma Sahib, left with assurances of a grant soon reaching them, local residents paid Rs 13,000 each to families of eight persons who perished and Rs 5,000 each to two injured of the town.

Nine persons from here who had died in the tragedy included Balwinder Singh (43), Balwant Singh (50), Ram Karan Sharma (47), Jamna Devi (45), Sajni Devi (22), Kaushalya Devi (50), Preeti (6) and Priyanka Kumari (7) on August 3.

"Some families had lost their bread-winners. They were not even able to have two square meals after the tragedy. People have risen to help them, but the government's grants are still awaited," said an angry resident.

MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik announced that Rs 1 lakh promised by CM Parkash Singh Badal would soon reach the families of the deceased.

Sitting MLA, Jagraon, Gurdeep Singh Bhaini, ZP chairman Manpreet Ayali, Nagar Panchayat chief Telu Ram Bansal, ex-MLA Malkait Singh Dakha and Housefed chairman K.K. Bawa were also present on the occasion. Naib tehsildar-cum-executive magistrate, Dakha, Karamjit Singh represented the administration.


Legal battle for control over Punjab Wakf Board ends
HC holds meetings called by Mohd Izhar Alam in absence of Razia Sultana were illegal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The legal battle for managing the affairs of Punjab Wakf Board, with its chairperson-cum-MLA Razia Sultana on one side and CEO-cum-IPS officer Mohammad Izhar Alam on the other, has come to an end.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled the meetings held by Alam and some other members from February 11, 2005, to May 25, 2005, were illegal. The MLA had stayed away from these meetings.

The High Court has also ordered that the fresh board constituted on November 9, 2005, following the differences, would cease to exist and some of the members, nominated on November 11, 2004, shall continue to be board members.

After the constitution of the board on November 11, 2004, the first meeting was scheduled for November 18, same year. The agendas included the election of the chairperson and consideration of recommendations for appointing Alam as the Board’s CEO.

In addition, another agenda was brought directly to the meeting, whereby most of the powers of the board were to be delegated to Alam. Razia Sultana gave her dissent to the proposal. But, it was still passed. As such, from the inception, differences emerged between Razia Sultana and other members.

Subsequently, the board was superceded on July 13, 2005, and State of Punjab reconstituted the Board vide notification dated November 9, 2005. All members, except chairperson Razia Sultana, were changed. She had to be nominated by the virtue of being the only Muslim.

Taking up two sets of petitions filed in the matter by Razia Sultana and members, including Mufti Fuzail-ul-Rehman, Justice Ajay Tewari of the High Court ruled: “I hold that the supersession of the board by order dated July 13, 2005, is illegal. The impugned order is quashed…”

Elaborating, Justice Tewari ruled: “In my opinion the petition deserves to succeed. The impugned order itself recognises, albeit grudgingly, that the Board has been able to enhance its revenue over the previous years.

As far as mutual animosity in the board is concerned, that by itself cannot be a ground to supercede the Board”.

The Judge added: “Every multi-member body, right from gram panchayat to the supreme Parliament, is riven with grave dissensions. Allegations and counter allegations are routinely leveled against the members of the warring camps”.

Pronouncing the verdict on Razia Sultana’s petition, the Judge added: “In my opinion the petition succeeds. It is not enough for the respondents to urge that because they had more than four members, they could call for the meeting as and when they desired”.

Before parting with the orders, the Judge observed: “It is not to suggest that the petitioner was entirely blameless. Surely, as the chairperson of a religious body, it was incumbent upon the petitioner to carry along those members who had unanimously voted her the chairperson”. 


PSEB’s two-category retirement scheme quashed
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
In a judgment beneficial to employees retiring from the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) between July 31, 2003, and October 30, 2006, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed a circular vide which they were made to suffer “heavy financial loss”.

The petitioners, Om Parkash Bansal, Gian Chand and others, had joined the PSEB on different dates and had superannuated between July 31, 2003 and October 30, 2006.

They had sought the quashing of a circular dated July 29, 2003, vide which commutation value for calculating pension was replaced from 10.46 per cent to 6.21 per cent.

The petitioners had contended that the state issued the circular vide which a new table was prescribed for the calculation of commutation of pension.

The state, subsequently, issued another circular dated July 31, 2006, vide which the table existing before the issuance of July 29, 2003, circular was again prescribed.

After going through the arguments, the Division Bench, comprising Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, ruled: “The respondents have not stated any reason for putting the petitioner in the category of retirees, who had superannuated between July 31, 2003 and October 30, 2006… We are of the considered opinion that this petition deserves to be allowed”.

“In view of this, we allow the writ petition and quash the impugned circular dated July 29, 2003, and restore the pension of the petitioners in accordance with the revised table”.


Mill issued notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
High Court Division Bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Surya Kant today issued a notice of motion to Nakodar Cooperative Sugar Mills Limited. The mill has allegedly not released the payment for sugarcane to the farmers of the area.

In a public interest litigation, sarpanch of Saleman village in Jalandhar district, Jarnail Singh, had earlier sought directions to the mills to make the payment for sugarcane purchased between December 2007 and January 2008.

After hearing the contentions, the Bench issued notice for November 19 to the sugar mill to file 


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