P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Akali friction comes to fore
Varinder Walia & Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
Cold war within the SAD came to the fore today even as senior Akali MLA from Beas Manjinder Singh Kang asked Chief Minister to take action against Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, Akali MP, and his son Amarpal Singh Bonny, Akali MLA from Ajnala, for allegedly instigating their armed men to rough up and manhandle his supporters during the nominations for the Central Cooperative Bank here.

An agitated Kang, who has been at the logger-heads with the senior Akali leaders of border region, including Bikram Singh Majithia, minister of public relations, while terming today’s incident as “black day” in the history of Amritsar, said he had convened an emergency meeting of his supporters on November 14 to decide the next course of action in case the Chief Minister failed to take action against the erring party leaders.

He alleged that some senior police officials of Majitha police in mufti and armed persons were camping at the bank.

However, Majithia told The Tribune that he was away to New Delhi in connection with the function of Indian School of Business and he did not know about the incident.

Kang alleged that the SAD district president, Dr Ajnala, his son Bonny and Majithia wanted to ensure nomination of Parampal Singh Katty (son of Ajnala) as chairman of the bank and Harjinder Singh Bhinda as its managing director by throwing all democratic norms to the wind.

Even as the district police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh feigned ignorance about any clash, deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu said he had sought information about the incident. However, SSP (Rural) Iqbal Singh claimed that he had not received any complaint regarding the presence of the Majitha police at the time of nominations.

Returning officer Darshan Singh said no such incident had come to his notice. He said they had received only nine nomination papers within the stipulated time.

The unsavoury situation occurred when a faction of the SAD prevented the supporters of the SAD MLA from Beas from filing their nominations, allegedly at gunpoint. He alleged that from zone no. 6 for Tarsikka Block Harjinder Singh Jaspal, circle president of the SAD from Khalchian and Paramjit Kaur, from zone no. 7 of Rayya Block, Baldev Singh Jodhe of Baba Bakala and Kashmir Singh, Sarpanch of Pheruman, were among those who were not allowed to file their nominations.

The entry to the office of returning officer was blocked by the gunmen and supporters of Parampal Singh. Sensing the presence of mediapersons, they withdrew from the site.

Objections were raised to the presence of Amritsar (rural) police personnel from Ajnala, headed by DSP and SHO in plain clothes, near the office.

Showing torn nomination papers, Jaspal and Baldev Singh alleged that the younger son of the MP, Parminder Singh, alias Katty, snatched and tore those, threatening them with a gun.

Refuting the charges Parampal said those were all baseless allegations.


Will come out clean: Barjinder
Kulwinder Sandhu/Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga/Patiala, November 12
Senior Akali leader Jathedar Tota Singh’s son Barjinder Brar, popularly known as Makhan Brar, who is president of the local municipal council, has said he is in no way involved in the Moga sex scandal.

Talking to The Tribune on his arrival at home here today after having released from the Central jail of Patiala on a regular bail, the youth Akali leader said the CBI officials who questioned him had found nothing against him and he would soon come out clean in this case.

Claiming that he was unnecessarily dragged into the case by his political rivals, he said the CBI counsel yesterday admitted before the High Court that they had found nothing concrete against him.

The sex scandal involving police officials, local politicians, councillors and influential persons had come to light in April, 2007, following reports of the police officials extorting money in connivance with call girls. Makhan had not been named in the FIR, but was dragged into the case during investigation by the CBI.

Revealing that the CBI officials had asked him many questions pertaining to the extortion of money by police officers, Makhan said: “I plainly told them that I know nothing about it because it was purely their personal business”.

Sources in the CBI revealed that the charges of sexual exploitation and extortion of money could not be made against Makhan in the absence of any concrete evidence even during the interrogation of police officials. It was learnt that the CBI was likely to drop these charges against him.

Meanwhile, Makhan was given a warm welcome by hundreds of his supporters from both the SAD and BJP. District president of the BJP Tarlochan Singh was present with all 29 councillors and hundreds of local leaders. In a convoy of hundreds of vehicles, Makhan first went to a local gurdwara and a temple to offer prayers and then straightaway went to his home to meet his family.

Earlier, Barjinder was released from the Patiala Central Jail in the afternoon.

“The Congress is in power at the Centre. So they can do anything and go to any extent to harm the Akali Dal and its leaders and workers,” said Barjinder.

Barjinder was welcomed by a number of Akali leaders, including Harmel Singh Tohra, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Jogesh Goyal, who were waiting outside the jail. He hugged each of the waiting SAD leaders, while the SAD workers raised slogans “Shiromani Akali Dal Zindabad !”.


State increases sugarcane prices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Punjab agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah today announced State Assured Price (SAP) of sugarcane for the crushing season of 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 during a meeting of the Sugarcane Control Board presided over by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Giving details, Langah said the price of the advanced, medium and late variety of sugarcane had been fixed at Rs 165, Rs 160 and Rs 155 per quintal for the crushing season of 2008-2009. Likewise the prices of these varieties had been fixed at Rs 180, Rs 175 and Rs 170 per quintal for the crushing season 2009-2010.

He hoped that with an increase of SAP, the sugar industry both in private as well as cooperative sector would be benefited along with cane growers. He urged the farmers to bring more area under quality sugarcane cultivation so that mills could produce high-quality sugarcane.


Devotees still hope for Dera Baba
Nanak-Kartarpur corridor

Guru Nanak descendants write to President, PM of Pakistan
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), November 12
The long-cherished dream of people on this side of the Radcliffe Line to have unrestricted access to Kartarpur Sahib, the place where Guru Nanak Dev left for heavenly abode, may come true if ruling politicians of Pakistan pay heed to the petitions moved to them by descendents of the first Sikh master, Guru Nanak Dev.

In the petitions sent to the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan, Sukhdev Singh Bedi, one of the 16th generation descendents of Guru Nanak Dev, has urged them to allow Indian devotees to pay obeisance at Kartarpur Sahib by reaching there through a corridor.

Bedi has urged them that the Pakistan government should make arrangements to construct a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak, the place where the ashes of the cloth of Guru Nanak Dev were put and later a gurdwara was constructed over there, to Kartarpur Sahib. These are about 3 km from each other.

He said it was unfortunate for followers of Guru Nanak Dev when Kartarpur went to Pakistan and Dera Baba Nanak remained in India when the country was partitioned in 1947. As per the Jawahar Lal Nehru-Liyakat Khan agreement, Sikhs were permitted to visit Nankana Sahib, birth place of Guru Nanak Dev, but not Kartarpur Sahib. Presently, a few Sikhs were allowed to visit Kartarpur Sahib with the special permission from the Pakistan authorities.

"Most of the devotees who are unable to reach Kartarpur Sahib by getting visa from Pakistan are left with no other option to bow their head in reverence towards that place by standing on the 'dussi' bandh passing from this town," he said.

"Thousands of devotees come to this place every year to pay obeisance at Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib on the birth and death anniversaries of Guru Nanak Dev," he added.

He said if the Pakistan government allowed unrestricted and visa-free movement between Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib, devotees could reach that place on foot and come back in a single day.

Talking to TNS he said the government of India should also make efforts for the early construction of such a corridor by taking up the issue with the Pakistan government. He asked that when a huge amount could be spent on Haj by India, why were the sentiments of the devotees of Guru Nanak Dev not being taken care of.

He said he had also urged the Punjab government to name the road from Sultanpur Lodhi, where Guru Nanak spent many years and did a job, to Dera Baba Nanak as Guru Nanak Marg.

A few months ago, union minister for external affairs Pranab Mukharjee visited this place and publically announced that the Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib corridor would be a reality soon. He said he would send a team to survey the project.


Sikh jatha leaves for Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
A 1,500-member Sikh jatha, led by Gurbachan Singh Karmowal, today left for Pakistan in three special trains to celebrate the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, at Nankana Sahib on November 13.

Besides Nankana Sahib, the jatha will also visit Dera Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda, Hasan Abdal and other historical gurdwaras in Pakistan and return on November 20. Deputy leader Hardalbir Shah, Sukhdev Singh Baath, Major S.M. Khosla and Ajaib Kaur are among other prominent persons who were also accompanying the jatha.



Punjab ministers continue to play truant
BJP’s Tikshan Sud attends office
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Punjab ministers continued to miss work at the civil secretariat here on the second day of the compulsory working ordained by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

It seems the Chief Minister’s directive is still to filter through to both the SAD as well as BJP ministers. There was an increase of only one minister in the SAD vote count since yesterday while the BJP opened its innings with Medical Education and Research Minister Tikshan Sud dropping into his office for a short period today.

Among those who attended to their offices today included SAD ministers Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who were in their offices yesterday also, besides Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Ajit Singh Kohar and Parminder Singh Dhindsa.

Yesterday on the first day when the order came into play only four SAD ministers, including three relatives of the Chief Minister — Manpreet Singh Badal, Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Bikram Singh Majithia — besides Capt Kanwaljit Singh attended to their offices here.

The BJP, which did not have even a single member in office yesterday, has five members in the council of ministers, including Manoranjan Kalia (Local Government), Laxmi Kanta Chawla (Health and Family Welfare), Master Mohal Lal (Transport), Choudhary Swarna Ram (Technical Education and Social Security) and Tikshan Sood (Medical Education and Research, Forests and Parliamentary Affairs).

As tomorrow is a holiday on account of ‘Gurpurb’, most ministers in Punjab may not be able to meet the public this week. This is because the “direction” given by the Chief Minister had asked the ministers to remain available in their offices here on every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting yesterday.

Sources said this had been done to facilitate the ministers themselves and also inform the public as to when they could come to the secretariat to meet them. According to present trends most ministers leave for their constituencies on Friday and come back on Monday so the Chief Minister had directed them to keep the three middle days in the week for attending to the people at the secretariat here.


Indian School of Business to come up at Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Punjab government today signed an agreement to set up an Indian School of Business (ISB) at Knowledge City in Mohali.

The agreement was signed by Anjali Bhawra, secretary, Higher Education, on behalf of the Punjab Government and Rajat Gupta on behalf of ISB along with four founder supporters, Analjit Singh of Max India Ltd, Rakesh Bharti Mittal of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil K Munjal of Hero Corporate Services Ltd and Atul Punj of Punj Lloyd Ltd, to establish this premier management institute of excellence at Mohali.

Giving details, a spokesperson of the Punjab government stated that the prestigious institute would be established under a unique model of public-private partnership (PPP) whereby the State Government would be leasing out 70 acres of land in Knowledge City in Sector 81, Mohali, for a period of 99 years at a rate of Re 1 per acre annually to ISB to establish the second campus of ISB with the support of the four founder supporters.

Besides the Management Institute, the Mohali campus of ISB will also have four specialised institutes termed as Centres of Excellence, for promoting research and offering the following additional specialisations in the post-graduate programme - Max India Institute of Healthcare Management; Bharti Institute of Public Policy; Hero Institute of Manufacturing Sciences; and Punj Lloyd Institute of Physical Infrastructure Management.

These institutes would focus on doing research, developing teaching material and engaging in policy dialogue in their respective areas.

The first academic session at the ISB campus in Mohali is expected to commence in 2012.

The campus proposes to have 280 seats in its post-graduate management programme and 750 seats in its executive education programme.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal termed the signing of the agreement as a "red-letter day" for Punjab.


Employees accuse Badal govt of bias
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 12
Accusing the Badal government of not fulfilling promises made to lakhs of government employees by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in its manifesto during the last Assembly elections, employees of various government departments under the banner of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union have been criticising the SAD-BJP government saying it has been adopting “step-motherly” attitude towards them. They are also lashing out at the SAD-BJP government for not implementing their already accepted demands.

Leaders of the employees said the Badal government by not giving DA instalment, bonus and salary to the employees on Diwali had proved that it was “anti-employee”.

Though the report of the Fifth Punjab Pay Commission is yet to come, employees are seeking promotional scale after four, nine and 14 years of service and enhancement in house rent and medical allowances. Other demands of the employees include recruitment of employees for newly created districts, jobs on compassionate ground and exemption from type test to the newly appointed clerks.

Employees under the leadership of a senior leader of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union Raj Kumar Arora today held a meeting and rally at the district administrative complex here. The rally and the meeting were addressed by Raj Kumar Arora, Nathu Lal Dhingra, Rakesh Jain and Surinder Kumar Walia, leaders of employees.


Farmers block road over slow paddy lifting
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khanna, November 12
Farmers yesterday blocked G.T. Road here for more than half hour in protest against delay in lifting of paddy. They alleged that they had been waiting for their produce to be procured for the past more than a week. They alleged mismanagement at the grain market was delaying procurement. Labourers also joined in the protest. They demanded more facilities at the grain market and higher labour charges.

“Officials start procurement process as late as 12 noon some times and they take more than half an hour to lift one heap of paddy”, said Sukhwant Singh from Talwandi Mallian, about 100 km from here. He added that by 3 pm all officials left for lunch and later in the evening the lifting process got even slower.

Kartar Singh lamented there was no other grain market near his village. “We have to rush all the way from our village up to Khanna, Rajpura or Machhiwara, spending on extra fuel,” added Karam Singh.

Grain market secretary Sukhminder Singh Mangat denied the allegations of farmers.


Truckers threaten nationwide strike
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 12
The Indian National Motor Transport Congress has convened an emergency meeting on November 17 in Delhi to decide on holding a nationwide strike if the Centre fails to reduce diesel price. Lakhs of truckers across the country are members of the body.

Following a strike by the truckers in July this year, the union surface transport ministry had called its office-bearers for a meeting the very next day. However, none of the demands conceded by the ministry have allegedly been implemented so far.

President of the Congress Charan Singh Lohara told The Tribune today that this time the Congress was prepared to take even stronger steps. The Centre had cut fuel price for the aviation industry as also the furnace oil. But, it was not ready to cut diesel price for truckers. He said the UPA government had no concerns for the common man. It was at the service of rich and famous only, he alleged.

While the price of rubber has gone down by 40 per cent in the market, tyre manufacturing companies have not cut the tyre prices, which have gone up by 70 per cent in the past a few months. “We have heard the companies, which have formed a cartel like cement manufacturers, are thinking to raise the tyre prices further by 4 per cent”, said Lohara.

“The Centre had assured truckers that each toll barrier would not be set up at less than a distance of 100 km. But, now toll barriers have come up every where and toll is very high.”


Ex-servicemen block rail traffic
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
Seeking better pension and perks, a large number of ex-servicemen from various organisations today blocked the rail traffic on the main Delhi-Jalandhar railway line at Tangra railway station for two hours.

The chairman of the Majha Ex-servicemen Human Rights Front, Col G.S. Sandhu (retd), said pay, perks and status of Lt Col and Lt Gen must be restored and ex-servicemen would not tolerate the lowering to their status vis-ŕ-vis civilian counterparts. He said the other ranks that retired at a young age should be re-employed in paramilitary forces and should serve till the age of 60.

The front lashed out the government for its failure to resolve the pay anomalies.


Rail roko from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Seven kisan unions of Punjab have decided to launch an indefinite rail roko agitation from November 14 to protest against the low paddy and cotton prices fixed by the Centre.

Union leaders said here today that first trains would be stopped on the main railway routes, that is, Chawn (near Khanna) on the Amritsar-Delhi main railway marg and at Mansa on the Ferozepur-Delhi main railway marg.

Farmer leaders said the prices of the inputs should be taken into consideration. They said this year the Centre had started a new trend by giving lower prices than those recommended by the Agricultural Commission. They said farmers were exploited by not declaring 1121 as Basmati in time. During this period, farmers were helpless and sold their paddy that was 4 lakhs tonnes between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000 only.


Youth tortured
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 12
A youth was brutally tortured by some miscreants in the presence of some policemen at village Daudhar near Badhni Kalan in Nihalsinghwala subdivision of this district, yesterday.

Talking to The Tribune, 27-year-old Parminder Singh, who had suffered multiple injuries, revealed that the miscreants were of the misunderstanding that he was an informer of the police and had informed about their wrong doings to the police.

While denying the accusation, he alleged that the miscreants had a previous history of crime and some of them were involved in many criminal cases. He said a few days back, these miscreants were called by the police but set free immediately probably under political pressure. Parminder revealed that he had already brought the incident into the notice of the local police but at the time of writing the news report no police person had come over to the district hospital to record his statement.


High Court
Creamy layer ‘has no place’ in quota system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the creamy layer has no place in the quota system; and in-job candidates cannot refer to their parents’ income for determination of creamy layer status. Moreover, the principle of “once backward, always backward”, is not acceptable.

The ruling by the Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Nawab Singh came on a petition filed by Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) doctors.

After doing their MBBS course, Dr Kamal Krishan and another were seeking directions to the State of Punjab and Baba Farid University of Health Sciences for admission to the post-graduate course on the basis of merit of the first counselling against seats reserved for the backward class.

Dismissing the petition, the Bench ruled: It will be a farce for the petitioners to rely upon the income of their parents to determine the creamy layer status of the petitioners when they themselves are doctors employed and drawing salary of more than Rs 2.5 lakh.

“Once backward, always backward, is not acceptable and that the creamy layer has no place in the reservation system. The income of the parents could be relevant till such time the candidate is dependant.

“Once a candidate is himself earning and an officer of the state, reference to the income of the parents is wholly unjustified… We are unable to give the benefit of such interpretation to the petitioners in the present petition.”

Nasir Sultan’s case

Ansar Burney, Pakistan’s former minister-cum-human rights activist, is expected to visit the city on November 19, for the hearing of 16-year-old Nasir Sultan’s case. Sultan had strayed into Indian territory and was currently lodged in the juvenile jail at Faridkot. Burney is pursuing Sultan's case on humanitarian grounds.

The information was given to the high court by Ranjan Lakhanpal, advocate-cum-president of World Human Rights Protection Council. He has moved the court for the boy’s release for enabling him to go back to his country.

Order to pay interest

The Bench headed by Justice M.M.Kumar has directed Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to pay 10 per cent interest to Mohali-based theatre group Sarghi Kala Kender on the amount deposited by it as the first installment for allotment of site meant for cultural organisations.

The petitioner had deposited Rs 50,000 as earnest money, while applying for allotment in June 2001. A letter of intent was issued by PUDA in February 2002.

In September 2003 PUDA decided to cancel the letter of intent and refunded the amount in November 2003, but without interest.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |