P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


HP units pollute Swan
45 head of cattle have died due to high level
of pollutants in the rivulet
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Nangal, October 14
Effluents discharged by factories of the Mehatpur industrial area in Una district, Himachal Pradesh, have blackened the Swan rivulet that flows into the Sutlej near Agampur village.

Besides posing a danger to the International Ropar Wetland, which is already under threat due to high industrial activity in the area, the dirty water is also destroying the flora and fauna of the rivulet.

People living around areas of the rivulet told The Tribune that intense black
and dirty water had been flowing into the rivulet for the past six days at the
Tahliwal bridge.

Mehatpur is one of the oldest industrial areas of Una and has many distilleries. Similarly, upstream the Tahliwal industrial area has tanneries that reportedly release effluents into the rivulet.

Mehatpur has a distillery belonging to the alleged mafia-turned-politician of a
national party.

Earlier, during Congress regime in Himachal Pradesh, this unit had remained locked.

It had resumed functioning after the Dhumal government came to power, the
villagers said.

Satish Kumar Garg, pradhan of Bathri village, under the Haroli police station,
Una district, said the industrial units had been releasing water into the rivulet
for a long time.

“It has become a major problem for us. Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” he said. The water of rivulet is utilised for irrigation purposes as well.

Garg added three months ago, around 45 buffaloes had died in nearby Rajewal village. These belonged to Alamgir, a resident of Kosi village in Garshshankar.

He is member of a nomad community who move around Bathri and other villages with their cattle.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Yogesh Goel said since the effluents were being discharged from the units in Himachal Pradesh, it was an inter-state matter.

“I will send a team to collect samples from the place where water enters Punjab. We will take up the matter with the Himachal Pradesh government through the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB),” he said.

Deputy commissioner, Una, Padam Singh Chauhan said no such problem existed in
the area.

The member secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Dr Nagin Nanda, could not be contacted.


Govt drags feet on bus fare hike
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The coming Lok Sabha elections seem to be reason enough to defer a proposed bus fare hike in the state with the government unwilling to listen to pleas of the Punjab Roadways as well as the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) in this regard.

Both state-owned utilities have requested Transport Department to effect a hike in bus fares, saying they will not be able to cope with the present circumstances.

According to sources, the utilities have demanded that the bus fare, be increased to 60 paise per km from the present 49 paise per km.

This, they feel, is necessary to meet the increase in diesel prices, salary bill as well as spare parts and other consumables.

According to the utilities, inability to raise bus fares would push them into a debt trap. An alternative request to increase the bus fare by at least 5 paise per km has also been made.

Transport minister Master Mohan Lal is, however, reluctant to act on the recommendations in view of the coming parliamentary elections.

The proposal, which is nearly one month old, has elicited the response “let us discuss” on the file.

The minister, when questioned said the decision could not be taken in a hurry and that he needed time to discuss it with the Chief Minister also.

The minister has, however, agreed to put an additional charge on bus tickets so that accident victims can be compensated appropriately.

He said commuters would be charged an additional fare of Rs 1 for travel beyond 100 km and Rs 2 for travel beyond 200 km.

He said respective area general managers would keep the fee so collected in a pool so that it could be distributed quickly among accident victims.

Meanwhile, Master Mohan Lal disclosed that both Punjab Roadways and Pepsu
Road Transport Corporation would start running 50 air-conditioned buses each
from November 1.

The minister said it was expected the buses would be able to compete with private buses as those would charge only 10 per cent more than ordinary bus service fares.

He said the priority would be to run these buses on long routes as well as on religious circuits both in the state and in neighbouring states.


Protected persons need to give undertaking
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The involvement of cops provided as gunmen to Patiala Vigilance SSP Shiv Kumar in diamond theft case involving his son has made Punjab Police seek an undertaking from all protected persons in the state about the whereabouts of their gunmen.

Police chief N.P.S. Aulakh has directed ADGP (Security) Anil Kaushik to take an undertaking in writing from all protectees stating that the security personnel assigned to them were stationed with them only.

The exercise, to be completed by November 1, comes in the wake of two
cases in which gunmen were found involved in events which had nothing to do
with their assignments.

While one gunman (Harbans Lal) of the Patiala Vigilance SSP has been arrested with Mohit Sharma, son of the SSP, and is accused of attacking and robbing a Mumbai-based diamond trader, the other gunman identified as Amandeep Bittu has also been accused in the case. He is absconding.

Earlier, the Mumbai police arrested a gunman of Bathinda MLA Harminder Singh Jassi, who is related to Sachcha Sauda Dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, after he fired at persons protesting against the dera head. One person was killed in the firing.

Meanwhile, sources said there was pressure on the Punjab Police investigating the diamond theft case.

The case against Mohit was registered only after clearance from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Investigation into the case has revealed that diamond trader Vivesh Shah had come to sell diamonds in the city.

Mohit, who was in the trade liked one diamond necklace and requested for a photocopy of the design.

Mohit’s staff took 35 to 40 minutes to do the photocopy, which normally takes a few minutes, following which Mohit said he would get a taxi for the trader.

Police sources said after coming on the road, a taxi appeared and the driver offered to take the diamond trader to Amritsar for a bargained fare.

They said once the diamond trader hired the taxi, its driver chose to drive through the congested bazaar rather than take the overbridge giving enough time to Mohit to drive the assailants to Bhakhapur village near Phillaur.

Once the taxi driver reached the pre-determined spot, he stopped the car on the pretext of easing himself giving the opportunity to the assailants to attack and rob Vivesh Shah.


IAS officer’s name figures in land case
Tribune News Service

Mohali/Solan, October 14
In a case involving mutations of 467 kanals at Nada village, Mohali district, in violation of rules, the Punjab Vigilance has arrested a Kasauli-based hotelier.

According to unconfirmed reports, the name of a senior IAS officer of Punjab, who was posted as commissioner, Patiala division, when the mutations were carried out, also figures in the investigation.

Vigilance officials said original residents of the village had objected to the transfer of ownership of the village land in the name of members of the land mafia even as the Revenue Department was yet to transfer the shares in their name.

The commissioner, Patiala division, is learnt to have given orders for the division of land in violation of the rules.

The members of the land mafia had got the land share transferred in their name even before the mutations were sanctioned.

The role of naib tehsildar, Majri, Gurmel Singh and former patwari, Kuldeep Singh, is also under scanner of the Vigilance.

Vigilance sleuths today arrested Rana Jolly, owner of resort in Chabal, from Kasauli.

Other named in the FIR are S.S. Gill, former SDM of Kharar, a former tehsildar of Kharar and revenue officials then posted in Majri block.

Sources in the Vigilance said initially the division of land had been turned down at every level before being sanctioned in 1993 violating the rules.

A large area of the village land, locked under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, could not be use for any purpose other than forestry.



Amritsar Cong united over PM’s candidature
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 14
All senior Congress leaders from Amritsar, including MLAs, former ministers and legislators, today expressed unanimity for fielding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from the Amritsar Lok Sabha.

Though some senior leaders from Amritsar had been lobbying for seeking ticket for the Lok Sabha, yet they gave consent in favour of Dr Manmohan Singh.

The resolution, passed by District Congress Committee (Urban and Rural), handed over the resolution in favour of the candidature of the PM to Charn Singh Sapra, the visiting MLC from Mumbai who has been appointed observer to assess the mood of party leaders and voters by AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

The AICC observer held separate meetings with senior leaders of the party in the DCC (U and R). Later, he also held meeting with R.L. Bhatia, Governor, Bihar, who had won as MP from Amritsar for five times in the past.

The party leaders in one voice suggested to the AICC observer that due to the delimitation of the Parliament constituency, Amritsar had become a Sikh-dominated Lok Sabha seat and Dr Manmohan Singh would win from here with a huge margin.

They said Dr Manmohan Singh had the added advantage that Amritsar is his home town and a large number of his relatives and friends live here.

In case the AICC clears the candidature of Dr Manmohan Singh, he will contest
the election against Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has won the Lok Sabha seat from
Amritsar twice.

Later, Sapra went to Gurdaspur to assess the mood of Congress leaders for finalising the Lok Sabha candidate from there.


Splinter Akali groups to form common platform to oppose SAD-BJP
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 14
Splinter Akali groups of Punjab are once again in the process of uniting themselves for the formation of a joint ‘panthi front’ in their bid to oppose the SAD-BJP alliance in the forthcoming parliamentary election.

Leaders of different Aakali Dals, including, the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD), Shiromani Akali Dal (1920), Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) will hold a conclave at Jalandhar in the last week October to hammer out a solution, aimed at bringing them on one platform once again.

Ironically, various factions of Akalis and their leaders have been striving hard to join hands in the past too, particularly for polls but such efforts have yielded meagre results so far.

It is to be seen whether their effort becomes a successful venture this time. A similar effort was also made in 2007 but, it went into a limbo for more than one reason and for inability of the Akali leaders to come on one platform.

“We will meet and discuss the modalities and possibilities of the formation of a new Akali Dal, based on participation of like-minded Akali and panthic organisations. Our main objective is to oppose the ruling SAD-BJP alliance in the coming election.

“A number of Akali leaders, including, Manjit Singh Calcutta, Shamsher Singh Maloya, Paramjit Singh Sarna, Manjit Singh Tarantarni, Sucha Singh Chottepur, Jasbir Singh Rode, Inderjit Singh Zeera, Dr Joginder Singh Shan, Jasbir Singh Rode, Bharpur Singh Balbir, Hardip Singh Bajwa, Gurinder Pal Singh Dhanaula and leaders of SAD (1920), led by Ravi Inder Singh have already been approached.

“All of them are likely to attend our brain-storming session to be held at Jalandhar in October,” AISAD chief Jaswant Singh Maan said.

Maan said in case, a joint platform was formed successfully efforts would made to strike an alliance with like-minded parties to achieve the “common goal”.


Capt lashes out at govt
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 14
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today accused the government of having failed in timely lifting of paddy from mandis, causing inconvenience to farmers.

Striking a comparison of the present paddy procurement with that during the previous Congress regime, Amarinder said while the SAD-BJP government was unable to lift just one crop of paddy in time, all five crops of wheat and paddy were procured smoothly during five-year tenure of the Congress in the state.

“In our times, farmers’ produce was lifted the same day and money was also paid immediately. Now, it is exactly opposite. Despite tall claims of pro-farmer policies of the Badal government, paddy has been lying in markets for over 14 days together, forcing farmers to camp in mandis. Apart from inconvenience to them, delay has also led to blackening of the crop,” said Amarinder in a statement issued here by his aide Major Amardip Singh.

Badal, according to Amarinder, owes an explanation to the farmers of the state, why this is happening and how he and his government would compensate them.

“I understand large-scale bungling and money inducements have led to such a situation,” said Amarinder.


22 SGPC officials found guilty of theft, drug addiction
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 14
The fact-finding and review committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) today recommended the dismissal of at least 22 officials who have been indicted by various inquiry committees.

Talking to The Tribune, SGPC president Avtar Singh said the employees who were likely to be sacked were allegedly involved in theft/ pilferage of wheat from the stock of Guru Ram Dass Langar Hall, drug addiction and moral turpitude.

“We are determined to weed out corruption and all sorts of evils from the
committee,” said Avtar.

The recommendation of the committee would be taken up in the forthcoming meeting of the SGPC Executive at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib on October 17.

The sub-committee, which recommended the immediate dismissal of the employees, comprised Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary, Gurbachan Singh Karmuwala, Bibi Bhajan Kaur Dograwala, both executive members, Baba Tek Singh, Makhan Singh Nangli, Kulowant Singh Mannan and Harbans Singh Kandhola.

Earlier, the accused employees were placed under suspension, but they had applied for mercy appeal.

However, after scrutiny of the record, at least 22 employees were found to be guilty of various charges, while certain officials were let off for want of proof.

Talking to The Tribune, the SGPC president said the committee would also take
strict action against those found guilty of pilferage of huge quantity of cement
from the stock.

It may be recalled that the SGPC had dismissed its two employees while two officials were suspended for bogus purchase of more than 10,000 cement bags by the SGPC by tampering with records.

After reading the news item about the cement scam in the columns of The Tribune, the SGPC president had ordered the registration of an FIR against erring officials.


Youth set afire by beloved’s kin dies
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 14
The minor beloved of Karan Sharma of the local Jandali Road area proved a death messenger for him.

He was reportedly set afire by her father and uncle after they found him sneaking into her house on Saturday night.

The youth succumbed to burns and head injuries he suffered in the attack by the father and the uncle of the girl at a hospital of Ludhiana this morning.

Karan and the minor girl, who had an affair since their school days, had been warned against seeing each other.

On Saturday night, he remained at the house of the girl for hours together, but was caught in the wee hours by her father Kuldip Singh.

Kuldip called his relatives from Ludhiana and hit the youth with a sharp-edged
weapon. When the youth resisted the attack, they sprinkled petrol on him and
set him on fire.

The police has booked three persons, including the father of the girl. In his statement recorded with the police, Karan stated he and Ramandeep Kaur fell in love when they studied at a private school about four year ago.

Karan used to go to her house occasionally. Despite the parents of the girl being against their relations, Karan continued to see her.

Kuldip Singh, girl’s father, Jagdev Singh, her uncle, and Karamjit, a cousin, had locked him in a room and set him afire after injuring him with sharp-edged weapons.

His cries were heard by a police party passing by and they took him to the Civil Hospital here where doctors referred him to a Ludhiana hospital.

The scene was heartrending when the police brought his body here after conducting a postmortem examination at the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana.

Renu, mother of the youth, and other relatives were inconsolable. The relatives protested the alleged inaction of the police, who had not arrested the suspects yet.


DAP shortage hits potato cultivation
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Morinda/Samrala/Khanna, October 14
Potato cultivation has been hit hard in this belt as well as in other parts of Punjab due to an acute shortage of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), which may also affect the forthcoming wheat sowing.

Small farmers, who had been waiting to sell off their paddy produce and buy DAP, are most affected with many of them even being unable to get the fertiliser to sow green fodder.

With DAP being available only with cooperative societies those who are not members are unable to get it from even private traders.

Those trying are being forced to purchase either organic fertiliser or weedicides, along with the fertiliser.

This means a farmer who goes to a private dealer for one bag of DAP worth Rs 468 will end up spending more than Rs 1,250 because the organic fertiliser offloaded on him costs around Rs 800 per bag.

Take the case of Shisha Singh of Galwandi village who could not find DAP for sowing green fodder in the Khanna market. He said he tried the IFFCO centre also, but did not got any fertiliser from there.

Punjab has an average of 75,000 hectares under potato cultivation every year. Use of 85 kg per acre is recommended and the need is projected at 15,000 tonnes.

But the state farmers are using much more than the recommended fertiliser and this coupled with the shortage has made things worse.

Sources said the non-declaration of the fertiliser subsidy is responsible for the
state of affairs.

The placement of orders by Indian Potash Ltd were delayed due to this and the Dussehra holidays further delayed unloading at the Kandla and Mundra ports.

Cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh said his department had placed orders for 3.10 lakh tonnes of DAP through Markfed.

He said this was a major part of the 5.50 lakh-tonne estimated requirement. He said deliveries had started arriving in Punjab.

He said keeping in view the difficulty faced by potato growers, 800 tonnes of
the fertiliser had been allocated to them, even though they were not members
of cooperative societies.

State agriculture director Balwinder Singh Sidhu said 12,500 tonnes of DAP had started arriving in the state on a daily basis now and 11 rakes were in transit.

He said the situation could improve after Diwali and the state was trying to meet requirements during wheat sowing, which was expected to start from November 1.


Procurement: CM takes officers to task
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Taking a serious view of the bottlenecks in the procurement of paddy, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today came down heavily on the officials involved in the procurement process and directed them to leave Chandigarh and function from the field till all paddy is lifted.

Reacting sharply to what he termed as “irresponsible and misleading” statements of some officials, Badal said those officers should oversee the procurement process rather than finding excuses.

Keeping in view various difficulties being faced by the farmers at the hands of the procurement agencies and arhtiyas, the government has reduced its procurement target from 165 lakh tonnes against earlier reported target of 145 lakh tonnes.

Punjab is expecting a bumper harvest of a minimum of 125 lakh metric tonnes of paddy. Sources in the government have revealed that Badal was particularly upset at the attitude of the officials leading to hardship being caused to the farmers.

The Tribune has reported that the farmers were indulging in distress sale of paddy, much lower than the minimum support price. This trend has particularly been noticed in the western region of the state in border districts.

Reports reaching the state capital have indicated that payments were being made to the arhtiyas within the stipulated 48 hours of lifting, but the same was not being done in case of farmers at many places.

In a meeting with senior officers this morning, Badal who was reportedly in upset over the adverse reports on procurement, directed senior officers, including chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, to leave Chandigarh immediately and supervise procurement operation over the next three weeks till the process is over.

“Even if a single grain is left in the mandi, you will be personally accountable”, he reportedly told them.

Chief Minister’s media adviser Harcharn Bains said the officers had categorically been told to treat their respective zones as their operational headquarters, and “not even think of showing me your face in Chandigarh till the last grain of paddy is lifted”.

Badal reportedly told a senior officer “no war could have been won if the Generals stayed back home".

He specifically asked top officers to oversee procurement operations. They had also been asked to constitute supervisory teams involving officers from the districts concerned in consultation with the local deputy commissioners.

Even today, procurement below minimum support price was reported from some mandis. The total procurement has touched 40-lakh metric tonne.

The private millers have procured about 10 per cent of the total paddy sold in the market so far.


Govt agrees to stack PAU 201 separately
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The state government has moved in to solve the impasse following reluctance on the part of government agencies as well as private millers to procure PAU 201 paddy variety by directing that this paddy be stocked separately so that it can be dealt with accordingly.

A decision to this effect was taken following a meeting of representatives of the Punjab Arhtiya Association led by its president Ravinder Singh Cheema with food and civil supplies minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon.

Problems are occurring in the procurement of PAU 201 because it has a red layer, which needs to be ground to reveal the white colour of the grain underneath it.

Millers have been claiming that they should be compensated for the extra effort taken to polish this variety.

The association also protested against officers who had allegedly detained some arhtiyas in Gurdaspur district after reopening some bags.

Cheema disclosed that problems due to non-lifting of paddy because of contractual labour had also been resolved with the government agreeing that in case paddy was not lifted within 72 hours, the arhtiyas concerned would deploy his own labour to load trucks and charge government agencies according to the prevailing labour rate.


Paddy Bonus
Sukhbir writes to Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal today called upon the Central government to immediately announce a bonus of Rs 300 per quintal to mitigate the sufferings of paddy farmers in the state.

In a letter to Union agriculture and food minister Sharad Pawar, who hails from a farming background, Sukhbir stated that Punjab’s farmers had risen to the nation’s clarion call and put in their blood and sweat to produce record harvests this year.

In response to the government of India’s appeal, the state farmers had contributed over 30 lakhs metric tonne extra wheat to the Central pool as against the past year.

Sukhbir lamented that it was a matter of great regret that the state farmers had not been given commensurate returns by the Central government.

“We have demanded an MSP of Rs 1,400 per quintal to ensure adequate returns to the farmers in view of the rising input costs. I request you to kindly come to the aid of our beleaguered farmers by immediately announcing a bonus of Rs 300 per quintal” he stated.

Sukhbir also urged the Union food ministry to send a team to Punjab to examine the problem of high moisture content due to late rains in the region.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal attempted to meet Sharad Pawar on Monday in Delhi to raise these demands, but the latter was out of station at the time.


BKU threatens rail roko
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) (BKU) today threatened to stop trains on October 20 in the state in case the Union government did not intervene and announce bonus on paddy, give recognition to Pusa 1121 as a paddy variety and relax norms regarding moisture and discoloration on paddy being procured in Punjab.

President of the union Balbir Singh Rajewal alleged that the Union government was spending thousands of crores to sustain the share market, but was unwilling to spend a fraction of this amount to bail out farmers, particularly state farmers.

Rajewal said despite repeated dharnas and protests, the government had not revised the maximum support price of paddy nor declared any bonus on the product.

He appealed to Congress leaders to pressurise the Prime Minister to announce bonus on paddy immediately.

The kisan leader said moisture content should be increased from the present 17 pc to 20 pc and discoloration standard from the present 4 pc to 8 pc.


Export of diesel engines made in Punjab set to go up
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 14
Export of Punjab-made diesel engines to more than 24 developing countries is all set to shoot up as the diesel engines made by micro and other industries in Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP, and Madhya Pradesh, have been added to the Focus Product category for exports to more than two dozen developing countries by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

The export of diesel engines from Punjab alone was around 1,500 units a month and these engines were mainly used for irrigation purposes in countries like South Africa, Iran, Iraq, Dubai, Chillie, and Latin America.

Most of these diesel units in Punjab were made by micro mini industrial units
based at Patiala, Phagwara, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Bathinda and other parts of
the Malwa region.

The annual diesel engine exports to developing countries was pegged to the tune of Rs 500 crore, while the contribution of Punjab, through nearly 12 export houses, was estimated to be around Rs 150 crore, industry sources revealed.

Led by the Punjab Chamber of Small Exporters, the diesel engine exporters and manufacturers had been struggling to get their product enlisted in the Focus Product category list of the ministry of commerce and industry for a long time.

“With this step, the Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme (DEPB) incentive would increase from existing 4 per cent to 5.25 per cent. It means that diesel engine manufacturers and exporters would be entitled to import more raw material for their products, which, in turn would lead to improvement of product quality and subsequently enhancement of exports. If exports are increased, the diesel engine sector would be able to employ more people,” said Ashwani Kohli, vice-president of the Punjab Chamber of Small Exporters.


’84 Riots
Ray of hope for kin of killed Sikh soldiers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 14
Families of the Sikh soldiers, who were killed during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, have got a ray of hope as the SGPC has asked them to file application for compensation with the SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar.

The SGPC adopted a resolution on May 22 at its meeting held at Fathegarh Sahib to give Rs 1 lakh each to kin of Sikh soldiers who were killed during anti-Sikh riots.

Newly appointed president of the ex-servicemen wing of the SAD, Col Partap Inder Singh Phulka (retd), said during his meeting with the SGPC chief at Ludhaina on Monday, he apprised the former that no action was taken in respect of the compensation to the affected families.

Phulka said Makkar assured him and asked him to inform all families of Sikh soldiers killed during anti-Sikh riots to send the applications directly addressed to him.

Earlier, the SGPC has been giving financial assistance to “Dahrmi Faujis” who had got killed, sent to jails, injured or sacked from services during Operation Bluestar.

Phulka said though the exact number of such soldiers was not known till date, all Sikh Army men killed in riots would be declared as martyrs whose leave had expired and were expected to join their duties and benefits would be given to their families.


Mullanpur Garibdass Land Row
Brahampura writes to CM to cancel land mutation
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 14
Punjab’s revenue department, the rural development and panchayats department have locked horns over cancelling the mutation of 500 acres of common village land of Mullanpur Garibdass village here.

Sensing the seriousness of the issue, the rural development and panchayat minister Ranjit Singh Brahampura has written to the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to cancel the mutation.

The prime land worth several crores of rupees has been under contention for the last many years as the village panchayat claims ownership of the land, stating it is shamlat (village common land).

On the other hand, some other villagers belonging to the Choe Reclamation Society in the village have been claiming that the land is private and belongs to them. A division bench of the High Court ordered in favour of the societies.

While the financial commissioner (revenue) has been probing the manner in which the mutation were done in a backdate by the niab tehsilar, Majri, the rural development and panchayats department has stated that the former was competent to cancel the mutations as the shareholders in the common village land could not be divided as per the Section 42-A of the East Punjab Holdings Act 1948.

The minister pointed out that as per the instruction of the revenue department, issued on August 9, 2007, any piece of land notified under section 16 (ii) of the East Punjab Act (consolidation and ban on division of land holdings) Rules, 1949, such nature of land can not transferred jointly or individually in the name of persons even if there were orders of any court or revenue officer.

He has further pointed out that the financial commissioner, rural development and
panchayats, has stated that the niab tehsildar entered the mutations despite clear
instructions under the act. Under the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887, the financial
commissioner, revenue, was empowered to set aside any orders that were not
legally right.

The minister has requested the chief minister to direct the financial commissioner, revenue, to cancel mutation and impose a ban on the sale and purchase of the land.

Bigwigs have been buying the land, located along the upcoming Chandigarh-Baddi road that has been earmarked as PLPA area in the Mullanpur master plan.


Rename Nanded as Sri Hazur Sahib station: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to prevail upon his railway minister to get Nanded railway station renamed as Sri Hazur Sahib station.

Badal made this request to the Prime Minister at a function of the National Integration Council (NIC) in Delhi yesterday.

Harcharan Bains, media adviser to the Chief Minister, said the CM told the NIC, “The council’s initiatives are based on the same doctrines enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib. So there can be no better time than now when the whole world is engaged in the 300th anniversary celebrations of Gurta Gaddi Diwas to take this initiative”.

Badal wrote to the Union home minister Shivraj Patil, who is the nodal officer for the Gurta Gaddi Diwas celebrations, to take up the issue with the Union railway minister.

Badal further has asked Patil to ask the Union civil aviation minister to ensure regularity and frequency of Amritsar-Delhi-Mumbai flights, Bains added.


Atlanta Sikhs honour J.J. Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14
Sikhs living in Atlanta, led by the Sewa Inc, recently honoured Arunachal Pradesh Governor Gen J.J. Singh (retd).

They urged him to work to increase the enrolment of Sikhs in the Indian Army.

Harminderjit Singh of the Sikh Study Circle said with the appointment of Gen J.J. Singh, Chief of Staff of the Army earlier and now Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikhs felt they were a part of the mainstream again in India.

Rajinder Singh Dhada of the Sikh community network spoke about drug abuse.

He said this was being widely seen as a reason for the decline in the number of Punjabi youth joining the Army.


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