P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Rs 5,500-crore plan for sewerage, roads, water
BJP boycotts inaugural function

Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Dhuri (Sangrur), October 4
The Punjab government has planned to provide four basic facilities — sewerage, drinking water, roads and streetlight — in all cities of the state during its term. A sum of Rs 5,500 crore is required for it.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal stated this today after inaugurating a 1.9-km-long overbridge (including approach roads), constructed in two years on two level crossings (A-52 and A-63) here. Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala and union minister of state for railways Naranbhai J. Rathwa were also present.

Badal gave credit of the overbridge to Barnala and his son Gaganjit Singh, in charge of the SAD for the Dhuri Assembly constituency.

Badal arrived two hours late at the function. Governor Barnala and the union minister, besides others, waited Badal for more than an hour.

Barnala said he had approached union railway minister Lalu Parsad Yadav for the overbridge.

Rathwa said 31 ROBs on level crossings had been sanctioned for Punjab, of which work was in progress on 12. There was a proposal of an overbridge at Beas on the Amritsar-Jalandhar section .

Cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, PWD B&R minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Dhuri MLA Iqbal Singh Jhundan and former SAD MLA from Dhuri Gaganjit Singh Barnala were among the speakers.

A section of the Dhuri press reporters boycotted the inaugural function as they reportedly were not allowed by the police to enter the venue. BJP leaders, led by district president Jatinder Kalra, also boycotted the function as a DSP stopped them from entering the venue through the VIP gate. PSEB employees also demonstrated near the function site to get their seven colleagues of Patiala circle reinstated.


Finally, panel rejects unrelated kidney donation case
DC to take action against donor

Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 4
Finally, the Authorisation Committee, headed by DC Kahan Singh Pannu, today rejected the case pertaining to donation of kidney to the Tarn Taran additional deputy commissioner (ADC) by an unrelated person following a U-turn made by the donor that he had decided to part with his vital organ due to money consideration.

The DC has threatened to initiate action against Sunny (23), an unemployed and unmarried youth, for misleading the committee by submitting false affidavit that the organ was being donated due to “sheer love and affection”. In volte face, the youth, who had remained missing from the house and was reportedly with the family of ADC Kirpal Singh, had alleged that he was offered a job apart from bearing expenses of his marriage for donating the organ. This had put the members of the panel in a fix.

The DC said all members of the committee, including the SSP, civil surgeon, representatives of the Indian Medical Association and Medical College, had unanimously decided to reject the case. Hence, no meeting of the committee would be held on this issue.

However, Pannu parried a direct question whether any action would be initiated against the ADC, who had also given wrong and misleading undertaking that Sunny wanted to donate his kidney “out of love and affection”.

Earlier, SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had written a letter to the civil surgeon on September 27 that the police had not verified the antecedents of the donor, the recipient (ADC) and operating surgeons of the hospital as claimed by the chairman of the committee.

So much so, the SSP in his missive has also accused doctor of Silver Oak Hospital, Mohali, where the ADC was admitted following renal failure, who was facing trial in the local court as some recent transplants done by it were found to be against rules and guidelines issued by the competent authorities.

On this the committee had stayed the kidney transplantation. Later, the parents of Sunny had moved the local court to stop the kidney transplantation.


Guruta Gaddi Diwas Celebrations
Demand to rename Nanded railway stn after Hazur Sahib
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Among proposals initiated to mark the tercentenary of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Guruta Gaddi Diwas and Sachkhand Gaman Patshahi Dasvin Diwas, the Railways has proposed to the Union Home Ministry to rename Nanded railway station as Hazur Sahib Nanded railway station.

Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has, in a letter to union home minister Shivraj Patil , requested him to approve the proposal for the celebrations to be held from October 30.

In the letter, Lalu Prasad said he had been requested by Tarlochan Singh, MP, and Tara Singh, MLA from Maharashtra, urging the Railways to rename Nanded railway station as Hazur Sahib Nanded to commemorate the tercentenary celebrations.

Since the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal agency for renaming of a railway station, Lalu Prasad has sought the intervention of the union home minister. After approval from the Home Ministry, the state government will issue formal gazette notification.

Lakhs are expected to be in Nanded from October 25 to November 10 for the celebrations .The Railway Ministry has announced special trains from different parts of the country for the benefit of pilgrims.

Work on a new airport has also been cleared.

Meanwhile, Tarlochan Singh also wants the Union government to declare a national holiday on tercentenary of the coronation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib on October 30.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Tarlochan says Guru Granth Sahib is the only interfaith holy scriptures in the world. “Since the Indian government is committed to spread the message of unity, communal harmony and peace, October 30 should be declared a national holiday. Parliament should also observe a holiday on October 30,” he said.

He also wants November 3, the day Guru Gobind Singh left for heavenly abode, be observed in the same way. Sacrifices made by Guru Gobind Singh would always unprecedented as he sacrificed his father, mother and all four sons for “dharma” and minorities. “It becomes the duty of the nation to observe November 3 as homage day,” he added.


Manpreet’s Stance on Subsidies
Badal’s reaction surprises Akali leaders
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 4
Senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders are trying to find out what made party patron and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to issue a “harsh” statement to counter his nephew and finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal’s stand on the issue of power and subsidies.

Since its issuance on October 1, the statement has created a controversy in the media. Manpreet had said nothing new on the subsidy issue. His views are known on the issue as he had earlier also spoken on similar lines on it.

Parkash Singh is known as being mild-mannered. However, what he said in reaction to Manpreet’s stand is on record. In fact, the Chief Minister had been quoted at length in the statement released to the media officially .

Was the statement dictated by the Chief Minister and cleared before its release to media? Senior Akali leaders are trying to find it.

Akali leaders, working with Parkash Singh for several years, say they never saw him (Parkash) dictating statement for release to the media. Statements mostly are issued on his behalf by those he tells to do so. “Such a statement, issued in reaction to Manpreet’s stand, could not be dictated by Parkash Singh. It appears to be the work of some intriguers keen on creating a rift in the Badal family,” said an Akali leader.



Vinod Khanna cheating electorate: Cong
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, October 4
A section of the Congress leaders of the area today accused Gurdaspur MP Vinod Khanna of cheating the electorate by supporting Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for his act of discriminating with Majha and Doaba regions in the matter of allocation of development projects.

While former Congress minister Raman Bhalla said Khanna could support Badal on any issue, but not at the cost of the Gurdaspur electorate who had returned him to the Lok Sabha thrice. Joginder Singh Chinna, secretary, PPCC, said Khanna should tell people which development projects had been given to Gurdaspur district by Badal in the past one and a half years before supporting him.

Khanna had made a statement yesterday that Badal was not discriminating against Gurdaspur district while reacting to the open letter written by senior Congress leader Partap Singh in which the latter alleged that Badal had done great injustice to Majha and Doaba regions by depriving these areas of any development project.

Bhalla said when Khanna knew very well that all development projects, including two thermal plants, an international-level cricket stadium, a Central university, sewerage water supply project and an institute of hotel management, had been given to Bathinda district and its surrounding areas, why was he defending Badal for his “misdeeds”.

Bhalla claimed that discrimination against Majha and Doaba regions by Badal to extend benefits to Bathinda from where his son Sukhbir Badal was willing to contest the next Lok Sabha elections, would make an impact on Gurdaspur and Amritsar Lok Sabha seats.


Army to hand over Gobindgarh Fort to Civil Admn on Oct 6
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 4
The restoration work of the historic Gobindgarh Fort has been completed and the Army will formally hand it over to the Civil Administration for opening it to the general public after half a century on October 6.

It may be recalled that on December 20, 2006, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had handed over the key of the fort to the then Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh at a public function held here. However, the process got delayed due to shifting of the belongings of the Army.

Earlier, the Army had fixed October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti) for handing over the fort. However, a meeting held between deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu and senior Army officers decided to postpone it to October 6.

Talking to The Tribune, the DC said the Army wanted a suitable function to be organised in the fort premises to mark the handing-over ceremony. The DC had been able to sort out the nitty-gritties with senior Army officers stationed in the fort garrison.

The Army establishments in the fort will be properly segregated to give safety to their unit and also provide a suitable camouflage by raising a wall at a cost of Rs 2.50 crore. A special road has also been constructed to provide a separate entry to the Army establishments.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism had already earmarked a restoration fund of Rs 2.50 crore that had been lying with the administration and would be used for proper facelifting and conservation of this historic monument, which once housed the residence of the tyrannical British army General O’Dyre, who was responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

The Central government had agreed in principle to hand over the historic monument as a place of tourist attraction to the Punjab government and also to release sufficient funds for its proper restoration and revamping.

The fort also houses the infamous “phansi ghar” where General O’Dyre used to see the hangings of Indian freedom fighters who were arrested for raising voice for the country’s freedom. Built in 1760, it was called Bhangian da Kila (Bhangis was one of the 12 Sikh misles).

According to historians, in 1808 the fort was known as the fort of Gujjar Singh Bhangi. Later, Maharaja Ranjit Singh rebuilt it with the help of Jodh Singh. The legendary Maharaja fortified the fort to keep his treasures and treaties safely.

The majestic entrance has been named Nalwa Gate, after the great Sikh warrior. The other end of the gate is known as Keelar Gate and it is rumoured that in its proximity existed an escape tunnel, connecting it to a tunnel in Lahore. However, the Army authorities said they had not been able to locate any such tunnel so far. The British army had added Darbar Hall, Hawa Mahal and “phansi ghar” to the fort after the annexation of Punjab.


State Human Rights Panel
Cases pending due to less number of members
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The number of cases pending with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has increased to over 3,000 in the absence of adequate number of members. The five-member commission in Punjab is headed by Justice R.S. Mongia and currently has only one more member. The three other members of the commission have retired following the end of their tenure.

The commission receives, on an average, almost 80 fresh complaints every day. A Division Bench comprising two members first takes up each complaint, which is registered with the commission. Once it is heard by the Division Bench, the case is then shifted to an individual member’s court.

Since May this year, the commission has only Justice Mongia and K.K. Bhatnagar to handle all fresh cases. In case, one of them goes on leave, no fresh cases are taken up by the commission for the duration of the leave.

Moreover, in the absence of three members, the commission is now overburdened and the two members daily take up cases in addition to their own, at least 15 of those cases that were being heard by the members who have retired.

Each member of the commission takes up 40 more cases a day. In the absence of adequate number of members, the number of fresh cases, which are being taken up now is fewer as compared to the number of cases taken up earlier.

Sources said the result was that the number of cases had increased sharply in the past few months.

Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said the government would soon be appointing one more member for the commission. “Parliament has recently amended the Human Rights Act and given states an option to either have three or five members in the commission. The government is yet to take a final decision on the matter,” Singh said.

The PSHRC is considered to be one of the most active commissions in the country. The daily inflow and outflow of complaints and orders to and from the commission exceeds 200 in number.

A public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue of inadequate number of members in the commission is under the consideration of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Punjab’s neighbouring state Haryana does not have a human rights commission. A PIL on this issue is also pending in the high court.


Teachers stage march
Decry callous attitude of govts to their demands
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 4
Thousands of teachers from all across the state converged at Sultanpur Lodhi, hometown of education minister Upinderjit Kaur, in support of their long-pending demands.

Marching through various parts of the town under the banner of the Punjab State-Aided Schools Teachers and Other Employees Union, the agitators decried the callous attitude of successive governments towards their demands. There are 484 such schools in the state.

Addressing the gathering, Gurcharan Singh Chahal, president of the outfit, said salaries had not been paid to over 8,000 teachers and other employees across the state since March. With the festival season round the corner, one could imagine their plight. If salaries were not released in the coming days, it would be a black Diwali for them, he said.

In addition to this, their pensions had not been released since June 2003. “An employee who retires has a lot of responsibilities and in the absence of a steady income he has to face a lot of difficulties. A sum of Rs 70 crore in the pension funds is with the government, but they are not releasing it for reasons best known to them,” he alleged. Thirtyfive teachers have died waiting for their dues, he added.

Another sore point is the delay in recruiting teachers. More than 2,000 posts have not been filled since 2003. In many schools teachers have retired and there are several instances where only a single teacher is teaching. Even the posts of principal and other allied staff have not been filled adding to their woes, he added.

As many as 1,800 teachers have retired and are running from pillar to post to get pension. This is the situation despite the fact that all their demands figure in the election manifesto of the ruling alliance, he said.

M.L. Chopra, advisor of the union, said the government was misleading people by claiming that the grants had been released in top 158 schools, which was not true.

The protesters warned that in case their demands were not met, they would boycott all official functions, especially those attended by the education minister. Other demands include the release of medical allowance, interim relief and rent allowance for teachers in Bathinda.


12 companies evince interest in Gidderbaha power project
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 4
In order to meet power requirements of the state, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has launched the process for procurement of 2,640 MW of power through competitive bidding on the tariff-based guidelines issued by the ministry of power. The site of Gidderbaha thermal power project is located at NH-15 on the Bathinda-Abohar road, near Gidderbaha in Muktsar district.

According to a PSEB official, 2,432 acres of land has been identified and the site has been cleared by authorities concerned. The site study contract has been finalised and the Irrigation Department has started the process for water allocation. The official further added that application for long- term coal linkage has been made and Railways have already given clearance for transportation of coal to the site.

Yesterday, representatives of various prospective bidders and senior officials of the state government participated in a conference chaired by PSEB chairman Y.S. Ratra. The delegates were welcomed by G.S. Sra, CMD, Gidderbaha Power Limited. Power Finance Corporation Consulting Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Power Finance Corporation, is the consultant for the project, whose representatives were also present.

Representatives from 12 companies namely Nagarjuna Construction Company, Noida, Adhunik Metaliks Ltd., Kolkata, GMR Energy Ltd., Bangalore, Reliance Communications, Lanco Infratech Ltd., Adani Enterprises Ltd., Indiabulls Power Services Ltd., Mokul Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. and Tata Power Company, participated in the conference. Two companies from Malaysia and one from Spain also took part in the conference and evinced interest in the project.

Talking to mediapersons, Y.S. Ratra said the bidders would be selected through tariff-based International Competitive Bidding (ICB). The bidding process consists of two stages. The first stage involves the qualification (Request for Qualification) and the second stage will consist of request for proposal. Ratra further disclosed that the total cost of the project would be Rs 13,000 crore.


Beant Case
Still, no roadworthy bulletproof car for judge
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Beant Singh case judge still does not have a roadworthy bulletproof car. Over a week has lapsed since the Punjab and Haryana High Court drove hard the importance of providing the judge with a bulletproof car.

In fact, the court had, on the previous date of hearing, issued a contempt notice to the authority concerned at the Centre, besides virtually passing strictures against the Punjab government.

Yet, the vehicle provided to the judicial officer is in a “dilapidated” condition, and that too has been taken back by the Punjab government for repairs.

The judge had awarded death sentence to militants in Punjab's former Chief Minister Beant Singh's assassination case. So far, it has not been disputed that the officer needs “Z” category security for handling the sensitive matter.

The issue again cropped up before Justice Ranjit Singh of the High Court this morning after amicus curiae Preetinder Singh Ahluwalia pointed out that the vehicle provided to the judge was at least seven years old.

As such, directions should be issued to the State of Punjab to provide a “better bullet proof car to the judge in compliance with order dated September 25”.

Ahluwalia added till the time he was provided with a roadworthy bulletproof car, he should be permitted to use the “normal” car provided to him by the UT Administration.

Taking up the matter, Justice Ranjit Singh issued notice to the states of Punjab and Haryana, the Union of India, and Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Justice Ranjit Singh added: On the oral request of the counsel, the judicial officer is permitted to retain the car provided by the UT Administration, as the bulletproof car statedly has been taken by the Punjab government for repairs. The case has now been adjourned for October 17.

In the matter of providing the judge with the car, Punjab has practically received a rap on the knuckles. In fact, the High Court had already held the state’s conduct in the matter has not been fair and proper.

Justice Ranjit Singh, on the previous date of hearing, had observed there were bulletproof cars with the state. It was not the court's concern to whom these vehicles were provided. But the court would not accept any plea, whereby the security of the judicial officer would be compromised with.

Asking the state to provide the car within 24 hours, Justice Ranjit Singh had added it was for the Punjab government to see as to how the arrangements were to be made. The court had made it clear that a vehicle could be withdrawn from any official, if need be.


DC orders probe
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, October 4
Allegations against Dinesh Kumar Babbu, BJP MLA, Sujanpur, and Sabar Singh, husband of Kamlesh Kumari, chairperson, Block Samiti, Pathankot, by Ram Lubhaya, block development and panchayat officer (BDPO), and against the latter by the former two have created a controversy. Ram Lubhaya alleged on September 29 that Sabar Singh had misbehaved with him and made derogatory remarks against him. He added that on September 30 Babbu too abused him on the telephone. The next day Sabar and Kamlesh, leading 25 to 30 persons, staged a dharna in front of his office and also ransacked it.

Representatives of the union of employees of the Rural Development and Panchayat Department (RDPD), who have come in support of Lubhaya, have threatened a statewide agitation if action is not taken in this issue by the authorities.

On the other hand, Babbu and Kamlesh have initiated efforts to get Lubhaya suspended for his alleged misbehaviour with them. Official sources said on the complaint made by the employees of the RDPD against Babbu and Sabar, deputy commissioner Gurkirat Kirpal Singh had ordered a probe by Manasvi Kumar, additional deputy commissioner (development).

The Block Samiti, Pathankot, has passed a resolution demanding the suspension of the BDPO. Babbu, while denying all allegations of the BDPO, said first Lubhaya had misbehaved with Sabar. When the matter came to his knowledge and he talked to Lubhaya on the telephone, he misbehaved with him too.

He said he had taken up the matter with minister of rural development Ranjit Singh Bhrampura, local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia and DC Gurkirat Kirpal Singh and complained against the behaviour of Lubhaya.


Royal couple ‘re-marries’ as per Sikh traditions
Rajnish Sharma

Nabha, October 4
Thousands, including residents, today attended the marriage ceremony of the royal couple here. Uday Harsh Khemka, grandson of the last ruler of the Nabha estate Maharaja Ripudaman Singh and vice-chairman of Sun Group, married Nitya as per the Sikh traditions today.

Maharaja Ripudaman Singh holds a unique place in the history of the Indian freedom struggle. The Maharaja struggled hard to get legal recognition for the Anand Karaj Act and was deposed in 1923 for indulging in anti-British campaigns.

According to the wishes of the family, Uday had married Nitya in November 2007, as per the Hindu rites. Since Uday has inclination towards Sikhism, the family organised the anand karaj ceremony in Gurdwara Ghoriyan Wala. Uday’s mother Charanjeet Kaur said Uday’s marriage as per the Sikh rituals was a tribute to Maharaja Ripudaman Singh and their ancestors.

Besides locals, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, former chief secretary Jai Singh Gill, PWD minister Parminder Dhindsa, MLA Kaka Randeep Singh, Raja Narinder Singh, Bibi Kulddep Kaur and Surjit Singh Rakhra also came to bless the couple.


Development on cards: Badal
Our Correspondent

Nabha, October 4
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today claimed that the SAD-BJP government was not biased in allocating funds for development to various constituencies in the state. He said the all-round development of Punjab was on the cards and an amount of Rs 5,700 crore had been earmarked for it.

Talking to mediapersons at Punjab Public School here, he said proper care of the town would be taken despite the fact that it belonged to a Congress MLA. He said sewage, water supply and roads were on the priority list of the government.

Badal, who was in the town to attend a marriage ceremony of vice-chairman of Sun Group Uday Khemka, said all constituencies of the state were equally dear to him. He refused to comment on the apex court order staying the byelection in Patiala, terming the matter subjudice.

Answering a question regarding the legality of the remarriage of Uday as per Sikh traditions, Badal said it showed the love and respect of the Khemka family for Sikh traditions. “These are minor things. They are nice people and I will attend the ceremony even if Uday marries for the third time,” he said.

Earlier, he addressed a gathering of party workers at the residence of former Cabinet minister Raja Narinder Singh and congratulated them for winning block samiti, panchayat and municipal council elections in the area.


Cargo flights to Kabul revived
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, October 4
Reviving the traditional trade ties between the holy city and trouble-torn Afghanistan, the national Afghan carrier today took off from Rajasansi International Airport with 20 tonne of cargo after a gap of eight months here today.

Enthused by the opening of air route, the local traders said it would provide another channel to boost trade between the two countries, which had seen many ups and down in the past many decades.

Prithivi Raj, manager of Ariana Afghan Airlines, said it was a historic day for the airlines to take20 tonne of cargo and added that it would operate weekly Boeing 727 flights till October, but expected that the Civil Aviation director-general would provide approval for more regular flights from next month onward.

President of the Indo-Foreign Chamber of Commerce Balbir Bajaj, while welcoming the restoration of cargo flights to Kabul, said the freight carrier must be cost effective to encourage bilateral trade between two trading partners. He said the airline must come out with a good package so that a large number of merchandise could be exported to Afghanistan.

Raman Sharma, deputy manager, AFL Dachser Pvt Ltd, cargo-handling agents here, said today the airline lifted a cargo of filter tobacco of 20 tonne valuing Rs 56 lakh.


One dies in gas leakage at PACL
Megha Mann /Tribune News Service

Nangal, October 4
An incidence of gas leakage left one labourer dead and six others hospitalised at Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Limited (PACL), Naya Nangal, last evening. The deceased has been identified as Sweety Chaudhary, a native of Bihar.

Sweety, an employee, was working on loading and unloading of salt, the key component of the unit. DGM, Human Resources Department, M.S. Saini said instead of leaving the premises, he started taking bath in the restricted production department. While Sweety was taking bath, a pipe running overhead had a minor leakage of chlorine gas. He suddenly started fighting for breath and was rushed to the medical aid unit located within the premises. Sweety was relieved after being administered first aid and referred to BBMB Hospital. “But within a few minutes, he again started fighting for breath. By the time he was brought back, doctors declared him dead,” Saini said. Other workers, who too had breathed the gas and been hospitalised at BBMB Hospital.


‘White paper on Cong ex-ministers soon’
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 4
All-India Shiromani Akali Dal president Jaswant Singh Mann has said his party will bring out a white paper very shortly on the extravagant expenditure on the fruitless litigation of the state government on the cases against the former ministers of the past Congress government of the state.

Jaswant said a recent demand by the state Assembly for Rs 50 lakh was a link of the same chain. The money of tax-paying people could not be permitted by unscrupulous law officers and government officers.

The present SAD-BJP government was being ill-advised by its unworthy aides to get into personal and vindictive wrangling. Jaswant said the conduct of the SAD-BJP government in pursuing public policies did not reflect of a government vision.

The white paper would illustrate the misdeeds, inept handling of ill-conceived policies not executed in the welfare of the common man, added Jaswant.


‘156 doctors to be recruited soon’

Tarn Taran, October 4
The state government has planned to strengthen the health services and will soon recruit 156 doctors and specialist doctors. Besides, some more doctors are likely to be recruited through interviews by the Punjab Public Services Commission (PPSC). While inaugurating an eye check-up camp of schoolchildren, health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla said here yesterday that the government would provide jobs to 121 ayurvedic doctors. She said 112 homeopathic doctors would also be taken into service. — OC


High Court
Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences
Notice to Punjab, others on Fortis plea
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
State of Punjab’s move to Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences at Jalandhar through public-private partnership has come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner.

Fortis Healthcare Limited has accused the state, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board and others of denying it a “level playing field” for developing the institute.

In a petition filed before the High Court, Fortis has alleged “despite being fully eligible for prequalification, the respondents have wrongly been depriving the petitioner of its right to participate in the bidding process”.

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Jitendra Chauhan today issued notice of motion to the state and other respondents for October 16

Elaborating, Fortis stated it duly submitted expression of interest (EOI) in response to two advertisements as it was fully eligible. But its EOI was rejected without any notice or order. Even the reason behind the step was not communicated to the petitioner.

The organisation asserted the decision-making process in the matter of prequalification of the prospective bidders has been polluted by the vice of bias and malafides.

Rather, it stood vitiated at the threshold as standing committee chairman, Dr J.S. Bajaj, “has ensured that his favoured prospective bidder gets pre-qualified”. The committee effectively took all decisions in the matter of prequalification, it was added.

The company alleged the consortium headed by “Aishi Ram Batra Public Charitable Trust” is among three pre-qualified prospective bidders. It is also the founder of “Batra Hospital” with whom Dr Bajaj has a deep and strong professional relationship.

The sub-committee, constituted by the standing committee, has also ensured that its favoured prospective bidder, the consortium headed by the “NRI Academy of Sciences, Andhra Pradesh”, pre-qualifies, it was further alleged.

The company has, under these circumstances, sought directions from the high court to restrain the respondents from finalising the bids “for public private partnership” for developing Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences on the basis of the advertisement.

In alternative, directions have been sought to Punjab Infrastructure Development Board to provisionally issue the request for proposal documents to the petitioner before allowing it participate in the bidding process.


High Court
Public at liberty to check encroachments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today virtually gave the general public the power to check encroachments on municipal or government land across Punjab.

The court made it clear that public-spirited persons would be at liberty to institute contempt of court proceedings, if they noticed non-removal of encroachments, or their coming up, in connivance with MC employees or councillors.

The court also emphasised on the need for public involvement in the process. It ruled municipal corporations shall encourage public participation in their anti-encroachment drives by constituting vigilance committee.

Ruling that no one would be allowed to grab public property in future, the court also asked the State of Punjab and five municipal corporations to remove encroachments and illegal construction from government and municipal land.

The directions by Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Surya Kant were issued in a “court on its own motion case”. The high court had taken suo motu cognizance of rising number of encroachments on public property in Punjab.

The Bench, in its nine-page order, directed the state and the commissioners of five civic bodies to take conscious decision with regard to the removal and regularisation of encroachments made on municipal or government land by government educational institutes, hospitals, dispensaries, police stations etc. The judges also directed the constitution of enforcement and monitoring committee for one or more area.

Setting deadline for deciding court case on encroachments in lower courts across the state, the high court ruled “civil courts before whom cases related to encroachments made within the area of municipal corporations are pending are directed to expedite proceedings and dispose of these case within two years of institution."


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