P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Relief for Traders
C-form last date extended
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
In a major relief to thousands of traders of the state, the Punjab government has decided to extend the last date for the submission of C-forms up to March 31, 2009.

The last date for the submission of the C-forms is November 20 after which these forms are received only after payment of interest on the tax amount.

Sources in the Department of Excise and Taxation said the decision was taken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal following a demand resolution to this effect passed by the Punjab Traders Board.

Board chairman Narottam Dev Ratti and industries minister Maoranjan Kalia met the Chief Minister last evening over the issue.

“We assured the Chief Minister that an extension of date would not lead to any revenue loss,” said Ratti.

The sources, however, added that the extension in the date was for the time being only for the financial year beginning April 1, 2007, and ending March 31, 2008.

Traders submitting these forms after due date would not be charged any interest.

The C-form is a document which certifies that the goods sold outside Punjab have been properly accounted for by the purchaser.

The form has to be submitted first by the purchaser to the seller who then submits it to the department.

In case of a C-form is submitted the trader is charged only 2 per cent central sales tax (CST) on the goods he has sold outside the state.

In case the C-form is not submitted, the transaction is considered to have taken place within the state and trader is charged the regular applicable VAT.

“It is in the interest of the trader to submit the C forms within the prescribed time limits,” said Ratti, adding that the Punjab traders were not being able to collect the C-forms from the purchasers in time, hence the demand to extend the date.

Sources added that the purchaser was also at times not able to submit those forms on time due to a shortage of the forms within their state.

C-forms for the quarter ending June 30, 2007, were to be submitted by September 30, 2007, and for the quarter ending September 30, these had to be submitted by December 31, 2007.

For the next quarter by March 31, 2008, and for the last quarter these had to be submitted by June 30, 2008.

Punjab traders have a blanket relaxation till November 20 of each year to submit these forms in case the returns are made by cheque, and November 30 in case of cash payments. Now, the relaxation has been extended up to March 31, 2009.


Civil Aviation Grounded — II
Internal politics made pilots quit
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
If one talks of Punjab Civil Aviation, including training for Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), one has to be in Patiala.

For a couple of years, all training aircraft, Pushpak and Cessnas, operational or grounded, belonging to the Civil Aviation Department are stationed at Patiala.

While the Army won the case against the Punjab government regarding the control of land earlier used by the Jalandhar Flying Club, flying clubs at Amritsar and Ludhiana, too have been out of operation because of unavailability of aircraft there.

Former Punjab chief parliamentary secretary and aviation enthusiast Malkit Singh Birmi too runs a flying academy and has control of one of the four hangars available at the Patiala Flying Club.

Birmi has one aircraft operational while the second has been grounded for want of repairs. Birmi, sources reveal, too has a plethora of grievances against the Punjab Civil Aviation Department.

Besides the flying clubs and Birmi’s academy, there is also another organisation that has been operational.

Working under the name of Tristar Aviation, it provides mandatory ground control training. Though some other schools, including one located in Delhi, also provide ground training, it is invariably mandatory for an aspiring pilot to get “clearance” from the Tristar Aviation.

Inquiry into affairs of the Punjab Civil Department ordered by the Punjab Chief Minister may establish who have licence and are running this ground training school.

As of now, the Patiala Aviation Club owns two aircraft, a Cessna 152 and a Pushpak. Besides, it also has one Cessna152 and a Pushpak belonging to the Ludhiana Flying Club stationed at Patiala.

The sole Pushpak aircraft of the Jalandhar Flying Club too is now in Patiala.

Inquiries reveal that all senior pilots or flying instructors were working earlier at Ludhiana and Jalandhar. Amritsar and Patiala always nursed a desire to fly the state’s executive aircraft.

At least two of these pilots, Capt Rashpal Singh, who was at one time considered the most experienced pilot in Punjab government service, and Capt Sukhjit Singh Hara, were left high and dry.

Two of Punjab pilots, G.S. Brar and N.K. Sharma, investigations reveal, left in disgust finding internal politics too much for them.

Punjab has many experienced pilots retired from the Indian Air Force available. But the government has hardly considered this option to put a retired IAF pilot to head its aviation wing. Concluded


Horticulture Dept under scanner
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The Punjab Agriculture Department today ordered an inquiry into the working of the Horticulture Department Directorate here after a surprise check yesterday revealed that renovation work had been conducted in the directorate office even before opening of quotations received for the work contract.

A surprise check by agriculture minister Suchha Singh Langah in the directorate office here revealed that the work was going in to construct four aluminium cabins even though the quotations received for the work were lying unopened.

He ordered an inquiry into the irregularity and appointed secretary (agriculture) S.S. Dhillon and joint secretary (agriculture) Gurwarayam Singh inquiry officers.

He also ordered the immediate suspension of two employees of the directorate, horticulture development officer Karnail Singh and junior assistant Bhudev.

In a related development, the minister directed both the secretary and the joint secretary to hold a simultaneous inquiry into the use of funds received by the Horticulture Mission of the Centre from July, 2008, to November, 2008.

Horticulture department director Baldev Singh, however, said his department and its employees were being made a victim because Dhillon was ‘prejudiced’ against him after the latter had been divested of the Horticulture Department one month ago.

The director claimed that the quotations had not been opened because on the same day he had received an offer from the government approved Super Bazar firm, which had promised to do the work at reasonable rates.

“Since we had got work done from the firm earlier also, a committee gave the approval for the same”.

Dhillon said he did not even know about the case as he was not in charge of the Horticulture Department and that he had only accompanied the agriculture minister to the department directorate on the latter’s directions.


Speaker serves notice on Khaira
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon today served a breach of privilege notice to Congress legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira for disclosing the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Assembly to the media.

The Speaker, when contacted, confirmed that the notice had been served to Khaira and that the legislator had been asked to give a written reply till November 27.

Khaira, when contacted, said he had raised a matter of public importance. He also said he would give an appropriate reply to the notice at an appropriate time.

State chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh had appeared before the PAC yesterday to explain the inordinate delay in replying to the serious flaws pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in disbursement of funds by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal under the sangat darshan programme during previous tenure.



Sacked CPM state gen secy cries foul
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Former Punjab CPM general secretary Balwant Singh, who was recently removed from all party offices following allegations of moral turpitude, yesterday cried foul at not being given a copy of the complaint filed against him while participating in the inquiry held into the case by a two-member party committee.

The committee, including Politburo member M.K Pamdhe and Central committee member Shyamali Gupta, had called Balwant to the party head office here on Tuesday to explain the allegations levelled against him by the wife of a former party worker from Sangrur.

The committee was constituted when Professor Balwant had approached the Politburo and protested that he had neither been informed about the complaint nor was any explanation sought from him before removing him from all posts and suspending him from the primary membership of the party.

According to sources, the committee members called Professor Balwant to the party office and briefed him about the allegations made against him and asked him to give his viewpoint, if any.

They said the CPM leader, however, demanded that he should first be provided with a copy of the complaint before he could file reply. The members, however, refused to do so.

Professor Balwant said no inquiry commission could deny him the right to a copy of the complaint filed against him.

The CPM leader also claimed that the woman who had complained against him was being propped up by “interested” persons in the party as part of a larger conspiracy after the death of his political ‘guru’ Harkishan Singh Surjeet.

He also alleged that the party had made a payment of Rs 25,000 to her and that an amount of Rs 15,000 out of this had been made through cheque.

Professor Balwant also said he would fight against the “injustice” being meted out to him and would appeal to the “control commission” of the party to get justice.

Professor Balwant said he had explained the entire sequence of events to the committee, including the fact that the complaint had been filed against him on September 7 and that he was available till September 21.

“After that I went abroad for 10 days or so,” he said, adding that the party chose to take action against him when he was abroad instead of waiting for his return.


Coop Dept dedicates ’09 to women
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 19
In an effort to empower women in Punjab, the state Cooperative Department will celebrate the coming year as Cooperative Women Empowerment Year.

During the year over one lakh women will be roped in under the Mai Bhago Scheme, claimed Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Punjab Cooperative minister.

The minister was addressing a huge gathering on the sixth day of the Cooperative Week celebrations here today.

The minister disclosed that societies of self-help groups of women associated with the department would be provided loans on 2.75 per cent less interest as compared to other people under the scheme.

He said out of 2.50 crore population of the state, 1.25 crore were women. Out of them, more than 35 lakh women would be brought under the Mai Bhago Scheme.

To make the cooperative move popular among common people, the department had decided to employ salaried motivators at the village level.

He assured that marketing problems, being faced by self-help groups and societies associated with the Cooperative Department under the scheme for their products, would be taken care of.

To exhibit products at the national and international-level exhibition, the Punjab Cooperative Department would provide stalls to these societies on its expenses.

The produces of these societies would be sold under a brand name “Pride” in English and “Gaurav” in Hindi and Punjabi.

The minister said till date, 9,500 women had been made members of 865 women societies under the Mai Bhago Scheme. Out of these members, 2,732 had been given a loan to the tune of Rs 805.32 lakh.

Accompanied by officers of the department, Capt Kanwaljit earlier took a round of the exhibition and appreciated societies and self-help groups for their products.

Besides, releasing a book on Punjab Cooperative Act, the minister honoured certain groups and societies for their outstanding contribution in the cooperative sector.


Closure of 21 tanneries ordered
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 19
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) today ordered the closure of 21 tanneries operating from residential areas here.

The board has also directed the Punjab State Electricity Board to disconnect power to the units.

The units were reportedly operating from Basti Danish Manda, Basati Nau and Basti Shekh and discharging untreated effluent from dyeing and fat lacquering of leather into sewers.

Dr Babu Ram, member-secretary of the board, said the tanneries were operating without mandatory permission and not supplying any record of the units, production and the water treatment equipment.

The boad had issued notices under Sections 33-A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, to these units, but to no avail.

Opportunities were given to these units for installing effluent treatment plants and to defaulters to complete all formalities in various public hearings, claimed Ram.

He, however, made it clear that the units be would be restored if these installed the treatment plants and other equipment.

Executive engineer Harbir Singh of the board at Jalandhar said untreated effluents were discharged into sewers and were being carried by Kala Singha drain and Garha drain into the Sutlej.


Tinu made SC finance corpn chief
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 19
Dalit leader Pawan Tinu, who had been promised the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat after the merger of his Bahujan Kranti Party (BKP) with the SAD in May this year, has been made chairman of the Punjab Scheduled Castes Financial and Land Development Corporation, which allows loan to SCs for ventures.

Tinu had reportedly been sulking since singer Hans Raj Hans was announced SAD candidate for the Jalandhar LS seat on November 9.

Thanking CM Parkash Singh Badal and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal for the appointment, Tinu said he was satisfied with the decision of Sukhbir when Hans was SAD candidate from Jalandhar.

Inspired by BSP founder Kanshi Ram, Tinu started his political career in 1989 by joining the BSP after completing studies from DAV College, Jalandhar. Tinu was elected sarpanch in 1993 of Khurla Kingra, then biggest village of Jalandhar district.

Later, he contested the Assembly elections from Jalandhar South as BSP candidate in 1997 and securing 26,000 votes.

He could not win in a triangular contest, but due to a dent in Congress votes, for the first time, non-Congress candidate Bhagat Chunni Lal, SAD-BJP contestant, won from Jalandhar South seat. He floated the BKP and merged it with the SAD on May 7 this year.


Nine govt colleges to be set up soon: Upinderjit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 19
Punjab Education and Civil Aviation minister Upinderjit Kaur today said the state government had decided to set up nine government colleges in educationally backward districts of the state.

One such college for girls would be opened in Amritsar. The minister said this in a formal interaction with mediapersons on the sidelines of the concluding function of Punjabi Week by the Punjab Languages Department.

Dr Upinderjit said the government had decided to set up Indian School of Business in private collaboration at Mohali.The school would have an institute of health sciences, manufacturing etc.

The minister said with a view to filling up vacant posts in rural government schools, a massive rationalisation exercise had been undertaken under which 4,000 surplus teachers from urban schools had been shifted to rural schools.

She said the government had decided to fill up on priority basis the vacant posts of school teachers in mathematics, science, English and computers.

The process of promotion of teachers which had been held up for a long time had already been initiated, she added.

Punjab School Education Board chairman Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, on the occasion, appealed to parents to encourage their children to converse in Punjabi at home.


Nursing students hold silent protest march
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 19
Around 230 students of the three-year BSc nursing course, being conducted by Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, here today held demonstration in front of the office of the medical superintendent and principal of Government Medical College.

They then proceeded to hold a silent march to intensify their on-going agitation to protest against alleged apathy of the Punjab government to urge their demands.

The silent march by the nursing students passed through Sheranwala Gate, Bukhniwaran Gurdwara and other areas of the town and submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner.

Harvinder Kaur, student leader of the nursing association, said the nursing students had also decided their next line of action in view of failure of the Director Research and Medical Education (DRME) to implement their demands.

The students demanded better working conditions and revival of stipend during their four years of training.

They also alleged that due to shortage of regular nursing staff in Rajindra Hospital, students, who were under training, were made to work for long hours without break.

A student leader said medical education minister Tikshan Sood on November 18 had given assurance and said the process of stipend and notification of the college was in progress and would be decided soon.


Cong must apologise to Sikhs: Takht
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 19
Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh said sincerity of the statement of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on incidents of 1984 would be judged from the action taken reports of the UPA government if the accused of Delhi-riots geot punished, though after 24 years of the anti-Sikh riots.

The Jathedar, however, said here today that it was “good” the Congress , especially scion of the Gandhi family, had admitted that the anti-Sikh riots were against humanity in general and the Sikh community in particular.

He, however, said the Congress high command must apologise to the Sikhs for engineering riots after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

The Jathedar said he was happy that the Congress party had admitted that Army action of June 1984 was a great tragedy.

He said the Congress should also apologise for the killing of innocent devotees in the Golden Temple in June 1984 in Operation Bluestar.

He also asked Rahul to ensure returning of all manuscripts of Sikh Reference Library of the Golden Temple to the SGPC which were taken to unknown place by the Army.

He said if the UPA government failed to salvage the damage, caused to the Sikh psyche, it would be useless to express regret in words. The words must be followed by action, the Jathedar said.

However, Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, has appreciated Rahul for expressing solidarity with the Sikhs and condemning Operation Bluestar and Delhi riots.

On the other hand, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Panch-Pardhani), headed by Daljit Singh Bittu, said it was not enough to express regret over the great tragedies of Delhi riots and Operation Bluestar when the Lok Sabha elections were round the corner.

He said the Sikhs would judge the sincerity of Rahul’s statement if he was instrumental in getting all genuine demands of the Sikhs accepted.

Meanwhile, SGPC president Avtar Singh has said Rahul should have apologised for Delhi riots and Operation Bluestar instead.


Sikhs cannot pardon Cong: Bibi Jagir
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, November 19
The Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular cannot pardon the Congress for Operation Bluestar and the anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Reacting to AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s statement in Amritsar on Tuesday, former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur said Sikhs could not pardon the Congress by terming both incidents as great tragedies till all those responsible for were punished as per law.

Rahul described Operation Bluestar and anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of Indira Gandhi as great tragedies and demanded those responsible for them be punished.


Safai sewaks hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 19
Under the banner of Block Safai Mazdoor Union, a number of safai sewaks today staged a dharna and held a rally at the main gate of the office of local Municipal Council (MC) in support of their demands.

Their main demands included disbanding of mohalla sudhar committees, regularisation of services of temporary employees, technical grade for sewerage safai sewaks, release of the Fifth Pay Commission’s report, waving of loans of government banks and corporations, jobs on compassionate ground to the wards of temporary, contractual and regular deceased employees.

The rally was addressed among others by chairman of the union Bal Krishan Chauhan, president Natha Ram Athwal and control chairman Raj Kumar Lotia.


6th pay panel to affect state’s financial position
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
In spite of the buoyancy in tax collections, the Punjab government will continue to face a credit squeeze because of the burden arising out of implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

The cash-starved Punjab government has an additional expenditure of Rs 6,000 crore for this year, if the Pay Commission recommendations are to be implemented.

Though the annual burden on the state exchequer for the revised pay scales of government employees will be to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore, the state will have to pay arrears for the past two years (from January 2006, the time from which these recommendations are to be implemented).

Sources in the Finance Department admit that this additional financial burden on
the state will put the state’s economy in a tailspin - from which it will be difficult
to come out.

“As it is, more than 60 per cent of the revenue receipts of the government goes as committed expenditure. Though we have managed to bring down the committed expenditure in the past two years by over 20 per cent, the additional burden arising out of the revised pay scales cannot be met at all,” said a senior official.

In fact, the state government is in a fix on how to deal with the new financial burden. Manpreet Singh Badal, state finance minister, says for the past one and half years he has worked hard to increase the resources at hand, so that more money can be spent on infrastructure building and development.

“We have increased the state’s plan size by almost Rs 2,000 crore in the past two years (this year it is Rs 6,200 crore), and our utilisation is 100 per cent. The fiscal deficit has been brought down to 3 per cent and the revenue deficit has been reduced from Rs 1,800 crore to Rs 1,200 crore. We have also ensured that VAT collections are up by 38 per cent this year and stamp duty and registration collections up by 23 per cent,” he said.

Manpreet , however, agreed that the state was not in a position to implement the revised pay scales.

“In fact, no state is in a position to implement these recommendations. The Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers has now decided to take up this matter with the Centre and ask the government of India to pay 50 per cent of the expenditure thus arising. A meeting of the committee will be held on December 15, following which the states will take up the matter with the Centre. We have already given a memorandum to the Finance Commission, urging them that the Centre must devolve its funds to states without any pre-conditions, as states have additional social and other responsibilities to fulfill with its limited resources,” he said.


Slash fuel prices: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked the Central government to proportionately reduce the prices of petroleum products in line with the reduction in crude oil prices in the world.

In a statement here, Badal said the prices of petroleum products, including diesel, were increased in the country in direct proportion to rise in prices of crude oil prices.

It would be very unfair for the Punjab farmers, who had to face the spectre of increased prices of petroleum products, in view of the increase in international prices of crude oil.

The unpopular move, coming against the backdrop of inflation, was not only cruel on the people but also against larger national interest.

He said Punjab was among the leading per capita consumer of diesel and other
petroleum products.

The state government, which is already levying among the lowest VAT rates on petroleum products in the country, further reduced the VAT rate by 50 per cent on the quantum of increase, thereby passing on a net benefit of Rs 70 crore to consumers, he added. 


DGP plans model police stations
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 19
Punjab Police chief N.P.S. Aulakh has decided to have one model police station in every police district to make the force sensitive to people.

Model police stations are being set up on the pattern given by the Altus Global, an NGO based in the Netherlands.

Ishwar Singh, DIG, Ludhiana Range, said today that the Netherlands NGO had been selecting one best police station every year in India and this year Shiprapur police station in Jaipur, Rajasthan, had been selected.

Rawalpindi police station in Kapurthala district of Punjab was selected the best police station in the country last year.

Before that Samrala police station in Ludhiana district was declared the best in the country by the NGO.

According to Ishwar Singh, the NGO surveys different countries to select the
best police stations.

The criteria is to see if the police is people-friendly, attitude towards gender and physically challenged people, recording of complaints and community policing and follow-up of complaints.

The DIG said the proposed model police stations would have cleanliness, trained cops, computerisation of complaints and verification process made easy.

There would be more public-police interface in the area of the station. Stress will also be on the improvement of traffic in the area of the station.

Ishwar said Sarabha Nagar police station in Ludhiana City, Dehlon police station in Ludhiana Rural, Samrala in Khanna police district and Anandpur Sahib in Ropar district had been selected for making model police stations in Ludhiana Range.

Dakha police station in Ludhiana district was made the model police station in Punjab for the first time in 1969 when Justice Gurnam Singh was Chief Minister of Punjab.


‘Students can vote in respective areas’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 19
Students staying at hostels or at rented accommodation at the place of their educational institution can vote in the elections of the respective Assembly and parliamentary constituencies.

The revelation was made by activists of the Universal Human Rights Organisation, led by B.P. Singh, during an awareness campaign launched in the area today.

However, the courses pursued by them should be recognised by the government or universities or deemed universities or boards under the relevant Act and should be of not less than one-year duration.


Passport Scam
Remand of accused extended
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 19
The police has been looking into the legal possibilities of adding charges under the National Security Act-1980 in the fake passport scam case as the investigating team has got certain clues of a few militants and dreaded criminals having got fake passports from the accused to escape from the country.

Police sources said there were reports that many terrorists and other dreaded criminals of the region had used monetary influence to make fake passports through head constable Jaswinder Singh and constable Ranjit Singh here.

“We are deeply looking into each and every passport file processed through the local passport branch from 1995-1996 onwards”, said a police official.

Meanwhile, three alleged accused, Jaswinder Pal Singh, Ranjit Singh and postman Om Prakash, were produced before a local court this afternoon.

The court sent the postman to judicial custody for 14 days while the police remand of the two policemen was extended by two days.

Jaswinder Singh had properties across the state and had transferred huge money to the US through hawala.

Talking to mediapersons in the court complex, Jaswinder said he did not know anything about the allegations made against him by the police. “I am not involved in the making of fake passports”, he said.

Two FIRs had been registered by the police under Sections 420, 465, 468 and 471, IPC, Section 2/8, Passport Act, and Sections 13 (2) and 88, Prevention of Corruption Act in the scam and many more could be registered as the investigations were still in progress.


Disease-afflicted cops await sanctioned funds
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Funds released for the treatment of police personnel suffering from deadly HIV and hepatitis virus have not reached all patients — at least this is the impression a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court gives.

In their petition placed before the Division Bench of Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Rajan Gupta, four police personnel claimed that the State of Punjab and other respondents sanctioned the funds for treatment.

But, the petitioners suffering from the chronic diseases were yet to get the amount. Rather, they were being compelled to go through “procedural formalities”.

The petitioners, constables and head constables, asserted that directions, as such, should be issued to the State of Punjab and other respondents to provide minimum financial support for enabling them to undergo the treatment. Any delay in the matter could pose threat to their health.

Appearing before the Bench, the counsel for the petitioners contended that
they were government servants. As such, they were entitled to be treated at
government expenses.

Going into details, the counsel added the state had already provided the funds to the director-general of police. He, in turn, handed over the amount to the district heads for treating the patients.

After the matter came up for hearing before the Bench today, the respondents took upon themselves the task of expeditiously providing the financial assistance.

The respondents told the court that the cases of three respondents would be taken up on priority basis and necessary sanction would be accorded within two weeks.

In a similar petition, two police officers had earlier claimed in a routine medical check-up carried out recently by the government agencies, it was found that the virus had inflicted as many as 178 police personnel. Out of the total, 72 have been identified as “critical”.

The petitioners had asserted the treatment was expensive. Quoting an example, they have contended that Rs 3.30 lakh is required for treating Hepatitis C.

Elaborating, they have asserted each injection is costing approximately Rs 14,000. In all, as many as 24 injections have to be administered.


NRI mother gets custody of minor children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
The high court today restored the custody of two minor children to their NRI mother. The children had been allegedly detained by the paternal grandparents.

Their mother, Paramjeet Kaur Toor of Mintford Garden, Shepherds Bush, London, had moved the high court for directions to get back the custody of six-year-old Arman Preet Singh and four-year-old Sazel Preet Kaur.

The petitioner had claimed both were British citizens by birth. Acting on court directions, the children were produced before Justice Mohinder Pal by the paternal grandparents. The petitioner was also present in the court during the hearing.

As the matter came up, counsel for the petitioner Anil Malhotra stressed on the need to respect the orders of the London High Court in this regard.

He quoted the example of a recent case in which Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma of the high court had restored custody of the children to their Canada-based NRI mother.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court after hour-long arguments, Justice Mohinder Pal made it clear anyone interfering with the implementation of the orders would invite registration of a case.

The court room witnessed a touching scene when the children were finally handed over to the petitioner as daughter Sazel was somewhat hesitant in joining the mother, while their son Arman remained in the lap of the mother unmindful of what was going on.

Release of Pak boys

As two young Pakistani boys Nasir Sultan and Sunil continue being behind bars, the high court Division Bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Tahkur and Justice Jasbir Singh today issued notice of motion for December 10 to the Union of India, the State of Punjab and other respondents on a public interest litigation (PIL).

The two are currently in a juvenile jail at Faridkot. The union government has so far issued direction to Punjab to withdraw a case against Sultan. He had entered the country without valid documents

Sunil is a resident of Rang Raike village in Bahawalpur district in Pakistan. He was arrested in May this year from Ferozepur railway station. The application has been moved in his main petition seeking Nasir’s release.

In the PIL, World Human Rights Protection Council, headed by city-based advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal, has sought the release of these boys and directions for framing a proper policy in such matters.

The petitioner has asserted whenever minors inadvertently strayed into the Indian territory, the authorities should send them back after checking their antecedents instead of registering cases.

Responding to a query on Nasir’s continuation in jail even after the Union government directed for withdrawal of the case against him, Lakhanpal said, “he has only been discharged from the case, but not released from the jail”.


Two rescued from kidnappers
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 19
The police today arrested four members of a UP-based gang of kidnappers and four persons from Haryana rescuing two persons.

The arrested have been identified as Salim (38), Imran (23), Khurshid (28) and Riyasat (25), residents Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

They were arrested by the cops in mufti who contacted the kidnappers of a taxi driver to give ransom to get the victims freed.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said the gang was busted following a complaint by Bikramjit Singh of Sultanwind Road, Amritsar.

The complainant informed that two persons approached him to hire a taxi on November 11 at a taxi stand near Guru Ram Das Hospital.

One of them introduced himself as Sandeep and said they wanted to hire a taxi for Hardwar. The taxi was hired for Rs 4,500.

Driver Lakhbir Singh, along with Sarabjit Singh of Munde Pind, Tarn Taran district, as a helper, took the two unknown persons to Hardwar. However, near Saharanpur they kidnapped the driver and the helper.

The kidnappers then contacted Bikramjit Singh, owner of the taxi, on telephone and told him that both Lakhbir and Sarabjit had been kidnapped and could be released only after getting a ransom of Rs 10 lakh.

The police party, not disclosing identity, contacted the kidnappers on telephone. The kidnappers directed them to come near the Toll Tax Barrier on the Haryana-UP border, but they did not turn up.

Later, the party was directed by the kidnappers to reach Chinkana road near a level crossing, 5 km from the barrier, towards Saharanpur side.

The police party in civil clothes reached near the level crossing and cordoned the area and overpowered four accused and rescued the kidnapped persons.

Mubarak and Imran Tunda who had hired the taxi escaped. Two made-in-China plastic pistols, mobile phones of Lakhbir and Sarabjit and an Indica car had been recovered from the arrested persons.


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