P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Mohit enjoys luxuries in custody
He has been kept in an AC room and his food is brought from hotel
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, October 15
Alleged mastermind of the robbery of diamonds worth Rs 3.52 crore and son of SSP (Vigilance), Patiala, Mohit Sharma is being provided all comforts in police custody at the Phillaur police station.

He has been kept in an air-conditioned room that was recently set up as computer room in the police station. The room is guarded like a fortress to keep Mohit away from the eyes of mediapersons.

The VIP accused is being extended this preferential treatment while other criminals are kept in rooms where they have nothing more than a mat to sit on.

According to police sources, food for Mohit is brought from a famous hotel of the town. While his alleged accomplice and father’s bodyguard has been kept in an ordinary room, all efforts are made to make Mohit comfortable.

Mohit was produced before a Phillaur court this afternoon. The court extended his remand by two days. The police tried all means to keep the media away from Mohit. An SI in mufti even snatched the camera of a photographer of a vernacular daily as he tried to take a photograph of Mohit.

When the photographer demanded his camera back, he was threatened of dire consequences and pushed aside. Later, he was handed back the camera. Tribune photographer too was threatened by cops and warned not to take out his camera.

Going by the body language of Mohit, there seemed no sign of third-degree torture done on him. It had been alleged he was being tortured in the police custody. 


Badal hits back at Captain
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
Calling Capt Amarinder Singh a “deflated football”, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said he did not want to waste time by commenting on him.

The CM, who was in the city today to attend a sangat darshan, said this when mediapersons asked him why he had stopped speaking about former the Chief Minister.

Speaking on the “panthi front” to be formed by splinter Akali groups, Badal said, “Zero plus zero will always remain zero no matter how many zeros you add to it. The same is for the panthi front.”

“Leaders in the party have neither MPs nor MLAs. Besides, they are not even panchayat members nor have any association with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Their efforts may prove to be futile, as they will have no support. The SAD has been always one and remains united,” he added.
Terming the UPA government as anti-farmer, Badal said it was for the first time that the Centre had announced MSP less than recommended by the agriculture price commission. “The MSP recommended by the commission was Rs 1,000 whereas the government has approved Rs 800 as the amount,” said Badal, adding that he had appealed to the Centre to increase the MSP. When asked that the Centre was not giving funds to the state due to the subsidies being provided by the government, the CM preferred to be mum.

Badal also stated that the state government had chalked out a comprehensive plan to develop infrastructure in both urban and rural areas. He said he had already sanctioned an urban infrastructure development plan of Rs 5,500 crore, under which all basic amenities, including sewerage, water supply, roads, streetlights, etc. would be provided in all cities of Punjab.


MCI takes notice of doc-drug firms nexus
To formulate guidelines for physicians
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
Free jaunts and cash benefits to doctors from pharmaceutical companies across the country have come to the notice of the Medical Council of India (MCI). The major things under the MCI scanner, following a communication from the Central government, include cash and gifts from pharmaceutical companies, promotion of certain products, free air tickets and free sojourns.

Taking a serious note of the “corrupt practices by doctors across the country”, the MCI has written to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), state medical councils and all national-level medical associations to send feedback on to the situation within a month. The development follows formal communication from the Central government.

The matter was taken up recently by the ethics and executive committees of the MCI which felt concerned about the “growing corrupt practices adopted by doctors of different specialities in the country”.

Besides the IMA and state medical councils, the communication has been forwarded to presidents and secretaries of national associations, namely the ABI, ASI, FOSI, IAP, CSI and the Association of Chest Physician and Orthopedic Surgeons.

The doctors have been asked to respond to the issue of ünscrupulous practices of medical professionals. They have been asked to respond to certain suggestions for formulating guidelines for medical practices, including a doctor shall not receive cash or gift from any pharmaceutical company or any person acting on its behalf for promoting any drug or product; a doctor shall not promote, endorse, advertise or help advertise drugs; doctors shall not receive gifts offered by companies for prescribing drugs or products nor they shall promote endorse any drug”.

The guidelines also include that doctors shall not receive air tickets, vehicles and other commodities from drug firms to attend medical conferences, CMEs, association meetings or travel for self or family members. The doctors shall also not have accommodation in hotels, which are provided by drug companies during such trips. It has also been suggested that doctors shall not receive assistance for foreign trips from medicine companies or their agents.

Reacting to the development, Dr G.S. Grewal, a physician, said, “The circular had been issued only to doctors, but not reported by the media.I feel the matter should be displayed in every medical practitioner’s place of work”.

Dr L.S. Chawla, a medical expert, said, “Doctors are often

called for education or free drug trials. However, malpractices in question are serious and need a serious study. I am aware of the corrupt practice of free foreign jaunts”.


Acid Attack on Rape Victim
Special team to probe incident
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 15
Even as no arrests have been made for the recent acid attack on the alleged rape victim of nearby Ghal Kalan village, the police has constituted a special team to investigate the incident.

The Dalit woman was allegedly attacked with acid by one of the accused and two of his associates on Monday night.

Dr Navraj Singh, who conducted the medical examination of the victim, said she had suffered “corrosive” injuries that might be caused by acid. It could be confirmed by a chemical examination.

SHO of the police station (rural) Jasbir Singh told The Tribune that the Police Department had constituted a special team headed by SP (D) Lashkar Singh to investigate the whole incident. Earlier, ASI Jaswant Singh was asked to investigate the case.

The SHO said none of the three accused had so far been arrested. However, he said they had consented to join the investigation whenever it was required.

The police had registered an FIR under Sections 326 and 34, IPC, against Soni, who allegedly raped her, and two of his associates Nita and Jita. They are all residents of the native village of the woman. 


Hailstorm damages crop
Tribune Reporters

Shri Hargobind Pur (Gurdaspur), October 15
Heavy rains accompanied by hailstorms and squall, which hit this border district late last night, has left a trail of destruction as far as paddy crop is concerned. Baldev Singh Kahlon, chief agriculture officer (CAO), said paddy crop in about 8 per cent of total 1.97 lakh hectares of area of the district, was damaged due to the heavy rains.

Girdawri ordered
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 15
The Punjab government has ordered a special girdawri to assess the loss caused to the standing and ripened paddy crop after being hit by heavy rains accompanied by hailstorms in this district and its neighbouring areas late last night.

This was stated by Darbara Singh Guru, principal secretary, CM, here today.

Guru, who had toured Jalandhar and Gurdaspur districts to monitor the ongoing procurement of paddy, said so far about 44 lakhs MT of paddy had been procured in the state. Out of this, about 5 lakhs MT of paddy had been purchased by private traders. All farmers were being made payment of same within 48 hours.

Not only this, the paddy stock lying in the open and packed in gunny bags in various grain markets and purchase centres had also got wet and its moisture content had increased to the level where it had become unfit for procurement. He added that Shri Hargobind Pur was the worst affected area.

A tour to rural areas of the district revealed that standing paddy crop, particularly the basmati variety, was flattened. A number of trees were also uprooted. The power supply in certain pockets was disrupted due to damage caused to electric supply wires. Most of the farmers of this district had suffered losses for the third time in this season. First, they suffered losses due to damage to their paddy crop when their fields were flooded due to overflowing various rivulets and rainy drains of the area.

After that they suffered losses again when the rains accompanied by a squall flattened their standing crops on October 6. A team of senior Punjab officials comprising principal secretary D.S. Guru, administrative secretary D.P. Reddy and deputy commissioner Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, visited various grain markets and purchase centres to listen to the grievances of the farmers apart from supervising the procurement operations.

Munish Narula, district food and supply controller (DFSC), said rain water had stagnated in certain purchase centres and it was bound to cause a delay in the lifting of already procured paddy as the paddy stocks lying there had got wet.

Kahlon said heavy rains had also slowed down the harvesting operations, as the farmers would not be able to use harvesters in their wet fields. He added that so far about 60 to 65 per cent paddy crop had been harvested in the district.

He said he had asked the field officials to carry out a survey to assess the loss suffered by the affected farmers.

Machhiwara: Paddy crop in many villages of Machhiwara was damaged today due to hailstorm. Besides the paddy crop fodder, vegetables and other crops were also damaged in the hailstorm. Villagers demanding immediate girdwari of their damaged crops said the government must come to their aid and give suitable compensation. Farmers in Adiana, Bhattian, Irak, Ranwan, Rajgarh, Gurugarh, Hiatpur and other villages rued that they expected a good crop this year, but the hailstorm had turned everything overnight.

“The farmers have grown almost every variety of paddy and it got flattened due to speedy winds and hailstorm,” said Karamjit Singh of Adiana village. Mewa Singh from adjoining village rued that many farmers had lost more than 60 per cent yield of paddy due to these hailstorms. Various farmer union leaders said input cost of crop had increased by manifold. The government should come to their rescue and compensate for their losses. Many farmers said the heavy rain had grounded all their dreams of reaping a good crop this time.

They said it started raining at around 3 am, along with speedy winds. Hailstorm occurred for nearly 15 minutes and damaged a big portion of their crops in different villages.

Meanwhile, former MLA Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal visited affected villages and also brought the matter to the notice of the deputy commissioner. Atwal said the DC had assured him to conduct girdwari of all these villages. The local agriculture officials have also said reports of damage in all villages would be prepared soon and would be sent to senior agriculture officials.


Cop’s reversion to ASI’s post
Govt can correct bona fide mistake: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has virtually passed strictures against a former director-general of the Punjab police for his role in granting an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) out-of-turn promotion to the inspector’s post.

A Division Bench of the high court has refused to interfere in the state government’s subsequent order reverting him back to the ASI’s post, and has held that the government can always correct a bona fide mistake.

Inspector Kuldip Singh had joined the police force as a constable in August 1977. On February 25, 2002, he was promoted as inspector in own rank and pay; and was made an inspector on April 22, 2003.

However, on October 15, 2004, the impugned order was issued and the inspector was directed to be reverted back to the wireless wing, his parent department, in the substantive rank of ASI.

Taking up his petition for quashing the order, the Bench of Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Rajan Gupta ruled: “From the perusal of the record, it is clear that the petitioner was granted out-of-turn promotion, while on deputation.

“Rule 13.21 (on relaxation) was invoked to grant promotion to the petitioner. However, the order whereby the said rule was invoked does not give any reason for the exercise of the power under the said Rule.

“Needless to say the then DGP could not have invoked rule 13.21 to grant relaxation to the petitioner at his whim.

“The order must show valid reasons for promoting a police official to a higher rank, while exercising power under Rule 13.21. In the present case, however, no such reason is discernible from a perusal of the impugned order.

In a significant ruling expected to act as a guide, the Bench added: “We are of the considered view that an official, who has been erroneously granted a higher rank while on deputation, does not acquire a vested right to retain the same.

Dismissing the matter, Justice Rajan Gupta, speaking for the Bench, added: He cannot be heard to say the withdrawal of the rank erroneously granted in the department where he was on deputation would amount to arbitrariness on the part of the government and, thus, violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The Bench added the petitioner’s attempt to rely on the case of deputy superintendent of police Raka Ghirra’s case was misplaced. “We find that there is no similarity between the case of the petitioner and that of inspector Raka Ghirra. It cannot be said there has been any discrimination with the petitioner on the basis of Raka Ghirra’s absorption in the general (executive) line of the Punjab police.” 



Youth Akalis threaten to gherao Sonia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Youth Akali Dal (YAD) patron Bikram Singh Majithia today warned the Union government to immediately announce increase in MSP of paddy to Rs 1,000 per quintal retrospectively, announce Rs 300 bonus coupled with lifting of ban on non-basmati rice to mitigate the sufferings of paddy farmers or face gherao by the angry peasantry of the state.

Inviting state Congress leaders also to join the gherao, Majithia said it was the duty of every Punjabi to rise above the party line to get the state farmers their due, rather than do just lip service.

In a statement issued here today, Majithia said the UPA government was bent upon chopping the hand that fed the entire nation by not coming to the aid of Punjab farmers in distress.

He said Punjab did not require photo ops road shows of Rahul Gandhi, but wanted an expeditious decision by the UPA on this burning problem.

“Instead of being grateful to Punjabi farmers for contributing over 30 lakh metric tonne extra wheat to the Central pool as against the past year ensuring the nation’s food security at a time when the world was facing food shortages, the Union government seemed to prosecuting them for their performance,” Majithia said.

Majithia regretted that the Union government had not given state farmers commensurate returns. Despite the demand for MSP of Rs 1,400 in view of the rising input costs, the Union government even had not accepted the recommendation of its own body CCAP of Rs 1,000 MSP for paddy.


Sidhu hails Cong invite to PM
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 15
BJP MP from here Navjot Singh Sidhu today hailed District Congress Committee (Urban and Rural) resolution inviting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to contest Lok Sabha election from Amritsar.

Sidhu said it would provide him an opportunity to pose questions to the Prime Minister why he had failed to give an economic package, including Rs 1,100 crore Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for Amritsar, announced by him on September 1, 2004, on the 400th centenary of Guru Granth Sahib.


Gurdaspur-Delhi train flagged off
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Pathankot, October 15
Three towns of Gurdaspur district, Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala, have been linked to Delhi with the commissioning of a super-fast train here today.

Though the flagging-off ceremony was to be performed by union minister of state for railways Narain Bhai Rathwa and union minister of state for industries Ashwani Kumar, the imposition of the election code of conduct in Delhi made the railway authorities cancel the function at the 11th hour.

In the absence of VIPs, Karnail Singh, guard of the newly introduced train, did the honours. The train will cover the distance between Pathankot and Delhi in a little over 10 hours. The fare is reasonable.

Meanwhile, Ashwani Kumar, who was instrumental in the introduction of this train service, held a rally outside the railway station. He said the train would boost business activities in the district apart from attracting tourists to the area that was dotted with religious and historical places.

He said before Diwali, the Centre would start civil flights from the local airport. A food-processing park would be set up in the district.

At the rally, in which PPCC president Mohinder Singh Kaypee and a number of Congress MLAs and leaders participated, Ashwani alleged that BJP MP of Gurdaspur Vinod Khanna had done nothing for the development of the area. On the other hand, in the past few months, he (Ashwani) had arranged jobs for about 1,500 youth of the district.

He said efforts were afoot to make the district a fully developed region. He said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also been taking a keen interest in the development of this area.

The rally organised by the minister brought forth differences in the rank and file of the local Congress. A section of senior leaders were conspicuous by their absence.

Meanwhile, the railway authorities disclosed that the super-fast train would have 13 coaches, including one air-conditioned chair car and eight non air-conditioned chair cars. The train would run three days a week.

Member of the AICC M.M. Singh Cheema thanked Sonia Gandhi for the train service.


Higher moisture, unwilling rice millers hurdles, says FCI
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Slow procurement of paddy by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) seems to be adding to woes of the Punjab government which has stepped up pressure on its procurement agencies and senior bureaucrats to ensure procurement of all paddy arriving in the mandis.

The attitude of the FCI to paddy procurement in Punjab is frustrating for the government, which wants it to lift its allotted share of 10 per cent of the paddy arrival in mandis of the state. Till now the FCI has procured only 1.5 per cent -16,000 tonnes, of its allotted share.

Chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said the FCI’s share in procurement in the state had been decreasing over the years. He said earlier the FCI used to have an allotted share of 35 to 40 per cent, which had seen a gradual decrease and now was pegged at 10 per cent. Claiming the meagre procurement by the agency was adding to the state’s woes, he said the FCI had requisite storage capacity and staff to procure its allotted share.

FCI officials claim high moisture content of 19 to 20 per cent and unwillingness of the millers to lift paddy from the agency is responsible for low procurement. “We insist on moisture content of only 17 per cent as per regulations, but if state agencies are willing to procure paddy with more moisture, we cannot do anything about it,” they said.

FCI senior regional manager (SRM) Saravjit Singh said the FCI was not getting paddy because millers did not want to follow the FCI procurement procedure and were happy taking paddy from state government agencies. The SRM said according to FCI norms, paddy was procured and shifted to its godowns. He said following this the millers had to lift the paddy from the godowns at their own expense after submitting rice of an equal amount in advance.

According to FCI officials the agency was also facing problems in hiring trucks. 


Steps to make journey by Samjhauta comfortable
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 15
Steps will be taken to ensure a comfortable journey by rail to Pakistan and vice versa through Samjhauta Express, said Ferozepur divisional railway manager Satish Kumar here today.

Kumar said an Indian delegation discussed with their Pakistani counterparts various issues related to train traffic across the border.

Earlier, during a meeting of the two delegations on the Pakistani side of the Wagah border, several important issues to further improve rail links between the two countries were taken up. The Indian delegation was led by Kumar, while that of Pakistan was led by Lahore railways divisional superintendent Mubeenuddin.

According to sources, the railway officials have also decided to keep a thorough check on the passengers coming from across the border and maintain a proper record of their identities.

Meanwhile, CCTV cameras were being installed at Atari international station.


Child marriage prevented, 5 detained
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 15
The police here today rounded up a bridegroom (35), his first wife, mother, the 12-year-old bride-to-be and her mother and took in its possession articles of dowry.

According to information, truck driver Gurcharan Singh of Raman Mandi had come to marry the girl of Dhobiana Basti in the city. At that time, the girl’s mother Gurjeet Kaur, Gurcharan’s first wife Jasweer Kaur and mother Kulwant Kaur were present carrying dowry in a trunk.

The marriage was about to be performed at a simple ceremony with shagun at a dhaba on the Dabwali road in Bathinda. People present at the dhaba became suspicious and informed the police and all accused were nabbed.

The accused,who was locked up at the Vardhman police post, said, “I was about to marry a major girl, but she fled. So, her mother asked me to marry her younger daughter.”

Jasweer, first wife of the accused, said, “I have been married to him for 15 years, but we do not have any child. So I insisted he should marry again.”

The minor girl, who was about to be married off, said, “As my mother works as daily wage worker, she wanted me to get married as soon as possible in keeping with social norms.”

SSP Bathinda Ashish Chaudhary said, “All of them will be booked, but we are trying to find appropriate sections of the law for this as the marriage was not solemnised.” 


Bank team studies tourism development facilities
Chander Parkash/Tribune News service

Gurdaspur, October 15
A multiple disciplinary team of Asian Development Bank (ADB), headed by Michal Green, has started touring various places in Punjab to study the feasibility of various projects prepared by the state government to make it one of the world-class tourist destinations.

The projects to develop certain historical and religious places in Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Patiala, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Kapurthala districts were prepared by the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department, Punjab, and their reports were submitted to the bank for raising financial assistance.

Official sources said the government had submitted its proposals to the bank saying it could extend financial help for development of tourism in their respective areas if desired.

Gurmeet Rai, one of the members of the team, said presently the team was visiting Gurdaspur district to study the feasibility of the projects and had submitted accordingly to the bank for raising loans.

She pointed out that the bank had been convinced that Punjab, having an international airport at Amritsar, could be developed as a gateway to the entire northern region, including Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, for tourism by keeping Delhi out of the scene.

She pointed out that now the exercise had entered its second phase, as the first phase was over after the Punjab government accepted the bank’s offer to take its assistance to develop tourism facilities at its various places. 


Barnala celebrates Shory’s victory
Kamlesh Sharma

Barnala, October 15
Festive mood gripped the area and residents started celebrating as soon as the news of the victory of Devinder Shory in the parliamentary elections of Canada reached here today.
Devinder’s family member being offered sweets in Barnala on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph
Devinder’s family member being offered sweets in Barnala on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Shory has been elected MP from Calgary, Alberta. The phone at his house here kept ringing the whole day and many people visited the family to extend congratulations.

Devinder’s brother Rajinder Shorey said Devinder was the second youngest among eight brothers and sisters. His father Bindraban Shorey was a member of the Parjamandal Lehar, a movement for freedom struggle before Independence.

Devinder graduated in law from Punjabi University, Patiala, and started practice here. In 1989 he shifted to Canada and upgraded his degree in law. He started practice at Calgary and joined the Conservatives party.

Sanjeev Shory, cousin, Ram Niwas Sharma, district president of the Brahmin Sabha B.B. Menon, Mahant Piara Singh and many others extended congratulations to the family.


Hero in Bengal, unknown in hometown
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 15
The only living recipient of India’s highest civilian gallantry award, Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak (SJRP), from the President of India, Jaswant Singh Gill (69), who is cosidered a hero in Bengal for scripting a “saga of courage” by rescuing 65 coal miners trapped in a colliery to safety, has been living as an ordinary person in his hometown here.

After retiring from Coal India (govt of India undertaking) as executive director in 1998, he settled in Amritsar. Since its inception in 1961, all 23 SJRP awards were conferred posthumously. However, neither the Punjab government nor the local administration has cared to recognise this only living SJRP recipient.

Gill claims that books for higher secondary in Bengal have a chapter titled “Sahasi Log” (courageous people) which narrates the tale of the rescue operation with Gill depicted as a hero and role model.

On November 13, 1989, which was also the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, Gill was on his way to his office with a thought of paying obeisance at the gurdwara there when he got information of a major accident in Mahabir Colliery (WB) and several miners trapped in a flooded mine. He being trained in rescuing reached the site of the disaster.

He was informed that 220 miners had gone underground when an abandoned pit broke and water from the upper stream gushed into the 110-ft-deep pit. Nearly 149 miners were able to return to the surface in the lift leaving 71 of them trapped underground. The challenge was to locate these miners in the underground cave 110 ft below surrounded by water on one side and wall of unbreakable coal on the other. Next was to bring them out.

Gill volunteered to go down in the steel capsule and rescue the trapped miners since pumping the water out using the maximum number of pumps was proving futile with the water level steadily rising. This method was unique and never tried anywhere in the world before.

Initially this move was opposed by top officers, including the chairman of the CIL, as he was reluctant to risk the life of a senior officer. As the capsule landed in the muddy and watery patch, he opened the latch come out, picked up the first person he saw, put him in the capsule and gave the signal for the capsule to be hoisted.

This gave him 20 minutes to organise the remaining 64 trapped miners.


CM reviews position of DAP supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal urged the Union government to ensure timely supply of DAP as per the state’s demand in view of ensuing rabi 2008-09.
While reviewing the position with regard to the availability of DAP here late last evening, Badal directed the state chief secretary and financial commissioner development to regularly monitor the supply and also keep liaison with the Department of Fertilisers for uninterrupted and adequate supply of DAP.

He also asked the chief secretary to be in touch with ministry of railways to ensure the smooth supply of DAP through adequate and timely availability of rakes to the state. 
The Chief Minister told farmers that there was no shortage of DAP at present.


Two IAS, 6 PCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Punjab government today transferred two IAS and six PCS officers. Among the IAS officers Manashvi Kumar ADC (Dev), Gurdaspur has been posted ADC and ADC (Dev), Hoshiarpur and Basant Garg, SDM, Muktsar becomes SDM, Roopnagar.

Among the PCS officers, Upjit Singh Brar, ADC, Bathinda has been posted ADC and ADC (Dev), Nawanshahr; Ajmer Singh, SDM, Dhar Kalan becomes ADC, Mansa; Amarjit Singh Sahi DTO, Muktsar has been transferred as DTO, Muktsar and in addition SDM Muktsar; Dalwinderjit Singh, SDM, Bholath becomes SDM, Sardulgarh relieving Gurjit Singh of additional charge. Gurjit Singh, SDM, Mansa and in addition SDM, Sardulgarh and in addition DTO, Mansa has been transferred as SDM, Mansa and in addition assistant commissioner (general), Mansa while Madan Mohan Sabharwal, AC(general), Mansa becomes SDM, Budhlada vice Neeraj Kumar.

Two appointed trust chairmen

The Punjab government today appointed Ravinder Verma as chariman of Gurdaspur Improvement Trust and Inder Mohan Singh Bajaj as chairman of Patiala Improvement Trust, according to sources in the government. Both appointees belong to the SAD. 


Team collects samples of Swan water
Tribune News Service

Nangal, October 15
A day after the reports of the Swan rivulet being polluted by industrial units in Hiamchal Pradesh were highlighted, a team of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) collected samples from the rivulet.

SDO Ramji Dass, PPCB’s Patiala laboratory official Gurcharan Singh and other officials collected samples as well as took pictures of various spots on the rivulet course. The team travelled from Mehatpur to Haroli Khud, where the effluents of factories from Una are allegedly discharged into the rivulet. The team also visited the Taliwal industrial area in Una. The samples were taken at Surewal village where the rivulet enters Punjab and at Algran village where it falls into the Sutlej. The report is expected within a week. 


Mullanpur Garibdass Land Row
DC recommends review of mutations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The deputy commissioner of SAS Nagar has recommended a review of mutations of over 500 acre of land of village Mullanpur Garibdass. The land costs over Rs 1,000 crore and its shares are said to be owned by a Haryana politician along with some influential persons of Punjab.

The DC is learnt to have written to Romila Dubey, financial commissioner (revenue), that the mutations carried out by the naib tehsildar, Majri, be reviewed as these were done without the approval of the government.

It may be recalled that the naib tehsildar is facing an inquiry for allegedly having carried out these mutations under tremendous pressure from a certain lobby of the state government close to the Haryana politician. The mutations were found to have been carried out in the back date.

The matter was first reported in The Tribune following which principal secretary, rural bodies and panchayat, GS Sandhu also wrote to Dubey that these mutations should be cancelled.

Rural and panchayat minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura has also written to the Chief Minister asking him to intervene in the matter and cancel the mutations. He pointed out to the CM that the financial commissioner was empowered to set aside any mutations that were found to have been wrongfully executed.

This piece of land is under contention for the past 20 years. While the village panchayat claims ownership of the land stating it is shamlat (village common land), some villagers have been fighting with the panchayat, claiming that the land belongs to village residents who are shareholders in the land.

After decades of legal battle, a bench headed by former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijender Jain, ruled in favour of the individual proprietors on July 15 this year.

Following the High Court orders, the individual proprietors, who had been fighting the battle as members of the Choe Reclamation Society and Anjuman Choe Society, requested the revenue officials of the district to determine their share in the land.

As part of the present probe it has come to light that the naib tehslidar of the Majri block wrote a letter to the district revenue officer of SAS Nagar, asking him for directions to execute the mutations on September 12. However, the mutations of the land in the name of its proprietors had been executed by the naib tehslidar on September 5, many days before he sought for the instructions.


Work on Goindwal Sahib power plant begins
 on Oct 18
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
Work on the 540 MW Goindwal Sahib thermal power plant will begin on October 18 after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal performs the ground-breaking ceremony.

The Rs 2,700 crore thermal plant, to be built by construction giant GBK Group, will have two units, each unit capable of producing 270 MW of power. While the first unit of the project would start producing power from March 2012 onwards, the second unit would start functioning in September in the same year.

“Work on the project will start immediately after the ceremony on October 18. After completion, both the units would be producing 540 MW or 4020 million units of power per annum,” said a senior PSEB official.

The plant was being set up on the Goindwal-Taran-Taran-Kapurthala road and was just about 3 km from Goindwal Sahib township.The PSEB has already acquired 1014 acres of land for the proposed project. The coal requirement of the plant would be fulfilled from Tokisud block of mines in Jharkhand.

The plant has already witnessed a number of roadblocks but the PSEB authorities have seemingly cleared all of these. Since, the proposed plant was to be equipped with a very high (275 metres to be precise) chimney, the PSEB had to get permission from the Airports Authority of India much before the initiation of the project. 


Bhattal seeks funds for MLAs on Central pattern
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Congress Legislature Party leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, while condemning the arrest of party legislator Sukhpal Khaira on Sunday, has urged the government to follow the Central pattern on the issue of disbursing grants to Assembly constituencies.

In a statement here on Monday, Bhattal said no legislator could be stopped from raising issues, which concerned the rights of people. She said Khaira had only been protesting against the demolition of a foundation stone laid during the previous Congress regime by an Akali leader. She said even though the protest was carried out in a peaceful manner, the police arrested Khaira as well as the other protesters.

She also needed that legislators in Punjab be allocated funds as was done in the case of MPs so that they could work for the benefit of their constituencies. She said this would ensure an all-round development in the state.


Educational tribunals yet to function in Punjab
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
It’s a classic case of how the state machinery functions even in sensitive matters. The State of Punjab was issued notice in 2004 on the issue of constituting educational tribunals for the employees of private unaided technical educational institutes. Even after a lapse of almost four years, the tribunals are yet to become fully functional.

The matter came to the fore during the hearing of a bunch of 10 petitions taken up by Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Rajan Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In all the petitions, the prayer was primarily for either quashing their termination orders or for seeking the benefits. All the petitioners were working in self-financed private unaided educational institutes.

Taking up the petitions filed by Dr Ajit Singh Khurana of Ludhiana and other petitioners against the State of Punjab and other respondents, the high court on previous dates of hearing had observed that in the judgment of TMA Pai Foundation and others versus the State of Karnataka and others, the apex court had directed every state government to constitute an educational tribunal in each district so that the employees in such institutes were not forced to rush to the courts and the grievances could be redressed before the tribunal itself.

The high court had observed: “The notice was issued to State of Punjab as far back in 2004 and since then the state has been seeking time from the courts to constitute the educational tribunal in terms of the directions issued in the TMA Pai case. However, till date the said tribunals have not been constituted.”

During the course of hearing, the high court was, on May 13, informed that the state had issued a notification on the constitution of the educational tribunal in Punjab. However, the state was yet to appoint the members.

Taking up the issue, the Bench of Justice Mohunta and Justice Gupta, today fixed October 20 as the next date of hearing. The Bench made it clear that a principal secretary will have to eventually elaborate on the state’s stand. 


Govt asks IGP to exercise restraint
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Punjab government has taken notice of the ongoing tussle between its senior-most officers by asking IGP Sanjeev Gupta to exercise restraint while complaining about colleagues even as it has been decided that the DGP or ADGP will investigate a private complaint received against him recently.

Gupta had filed a complaint against state Vigilance Director and his 1982 batch mate Sumedh Singh Saini in September alleging that Saini had threatened him with dire consequences if he did not withdraw a letter written by him to the Punjab and Haryana High Court about the alleged conduct and misdeeds of Saini during service.

The complaint, which was addressed to the chief secretary, the DGP as well as the home secretary, was in continuation of earlier complaints filed by Gupta against the Vigilance chief. Gupta had alleged that he had gone to meet Saini at the latter’s request on September 3 and upon reaching the Vigilance office had been asked by Saini to withdraw the report filed by him in the High Court. Gupta alleged that when he objected as to how he could do this, Saini lost his cool and threatened him with dire consequences.

According to sources, the chief secretary, in a letter addressed to Gupta on October 10, had stated that it was observed that he had been writing letters listing irresponsible allegations since 2005. The letter also made note that “after few such avoidable” communications, Gupta had also requested that the matter regarding allegations made against Saini be closed saying that they arose from “a misunderstanding”.

The letter also mentioned that recently the government had received a complaint against Gupta but that the state Vigilance would not investigate the issue. Instead the complaint would be inquired by the DGP or ADGP.

Meanwhile according to the FIR registered by the State Vigilance into the case involving mutations of 432 canals of land at Nada village in Mohali district, the Vigilance has also named former Patiala divisional commissioner C.S. Srivastav, accusing him of violating rules while sanctioning mutations in the case. Besides this the names of a number of officials, including former Kharar SDM S.S. Gill as well as Rana Iqbal Singh Jolly, owner of Baikunth resorts, are also mentioned in it. Jolly, who is a family friend of IG Gupta, had bought the property.


Youth shot dead at Punjabi varsity festival
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 15
In a gang warfare, a youth was shot dead at the Punjabi University Youth Festival being held at the Prof Gursewak Singh Memorial Physical College of Education here today.

Gurpal Singh Pehalwan, a budding wrestler, was allegedly shot by a rival in the back, with the bullet piercing his chest.

DSP (city) Kesar Singh said that Gurpal was shot dead with a country-made pistol by the ringleader of the gang of Pushpinder Singh Tau, who had some enmity with Gurpal Pehalwan.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered. The police has arrested one of the accused, but refused to divulge his identity.


Woman, kids die in roof collapse
Nangal, October 15
A woman and her two children were killed when the roof of their house collapsed due to strong winds early this morning. Bhago Devi, a resident of Tappriyan Majra Manglur village, was sleeping in her kutcha house with her husband and five children. In the incident, Bhago, her five-year-old daughter Charanjit and two-year-old son Sat Kartar were killed. Her husband Subhash, who is a truck driver, and three daughters survived the tragedy.—TNS


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