P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Rice shellers face decrease in rice bran, husk prices
Jangveer Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Rice shelling is one of the most flourishing industries in Punjab, but it too is facing a slowdown if the decrease in the rates of rice bran and rice husk, its two main by-products, is taken into consideration.

The rice sheller belt of Patiala and Sangrur, which alone accounts for as many as 2,000 of the total 4,000 rice shellers in the state, is facing a problem due to the decrease in vegetable oil prices in the international market. This has resulted in a sharp drop in rice bran, which is used in extracting oil.

Similarly rice husk, which is used as a fuel to make steam in boilers in most big industries, has also seen a drop in prices. This is because a large number of steel mills have stopped operations due to a general recession, which has gripped the industrial sector. Many industries are also operating in single shifts, resulting in a lesser demand for rice husk, which is used as a slowburner.

Punjab Rice Millers Association president Tarsem Saini, when questioned on this issue, said rice bran, which was earlier selling at around Rs 850 per quintal, was presently going for only Rs 500 to Rs 550 per quintal. He said similarly rice husk, which was till recently selling for Rs 300 to Rs 350 per quintal, was now being sold at Rs 225 to Rs 250 per quintal.

“In fact, there is a lot of under-cutting going on between rice shellers themselves,” says Patiala miller Sanjeev Goyal. He said the increase in the mill numbers had also created problems of their own. He said the industry was seeing around 100 to 200 new shellers being added every year even though there was no similar increase in shelling.

“Earlier most mills were running three shifts but now most are running one shift only”, Goyal said adding rural labour, which could work for more hours earlier, was now being employed for a lesser duration. Around four to five lakh labourers work in rice shellers.

Ferozepur miller Parminder Singh says millers were also facing an acute liquidity crunch because the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was not taking levy rice from them till now. He said because of this they were not able to pay commission agents who in turn had delayed payments 
to farmers.

The miller said in direct contrast the FCI had taken 25 per cent levy rice from millers till the same period last year. 


Area under sugarcane shrinks
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Farmers inspect sugarcane crop.

Ludhiana, November 25
Sugar production in Punjab has been severely hit this year because of a reduction of at least 35 per cent area under the sugarcane cultivation. Sugar mills have started functioning more than a month after the normal schedule of mid-October and raw material stocks are definitely not going to last till the expected time of closure in March-end.

The Punjab State Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills (Sugarfed) authorities confirmed that the area under the sugarcane cultivation had decreased from 1.40 lakh hectares to 94,000 hectares in the state. At least six of the Sugarfed sugar mills, including Budhlada, Faridkot, Jagraon, Rakhra, Tarn Taran and Zira, have closed down. The Markfed mill at Malout is also not working.

Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the Punjab Mandi Board, said: “Farmers were not sure about the prices they would get from the State Advisory Committee for sugarcane at the time they were planting. This led to a poor crop. The crop takes more than a year for harvesting which involves a lot of planning. Farmers prefer paddy and wheat crops for their shorter cultivation period and better support prices”.

In a bid to attract more farmers plant sugarcane next year, the state government has announced a price of Rs 180 per quintal against the current price of Rs 165 for sugarcane.

Master Samsher Singh, vice-president of the state BKU, said: “The government has not paid the due payments to several farmers for the past year’s sugarcane crop. The problem is that farmers will not be given any interest on this amount. A number of them have borrowed money on market interest to keep their kitchen running”.

“The biggest reason for poor farmer interest in the sugarcane cultivation is that they are not paid back in time. Government agencies themselves agree to the fact of poor payments to farmers. It has been pointed out that a payment worth Rs 37 crore was pending to the farmers and the original amount was Rs 64 crore approximately,” he added.

The Sugarfed this year will be working at Fazilka, Morinda, Ajnala, Nakodar, Nawanshahr, Gudaspur, Buddewal and Batala.

Mangal Singh Sandhu, Cane Commissioner, said: “One big problem is non-clarity of the prices with farmers when they plant the crop. The enhanced price of Rs 180 per quintal for the next year against existing Rs 165 should get more farmers go in for the sugarcane cultivation.”

“The tested plantation, which can increase cultivation yield up to more than 100 quintal per hectare, is the trench and ridge method. The experiment has already shown excellent results for the farmers to join hands”.

V.K. Bhalla, director of the Sugarfed, said: “The non-functional mills had closed over the past few years and the government has already worked out a plan for their revival. The government has appointed a private consultant on the project of sick units”. The units are expected to undertake electricity generation besides production of jaggery and other products to enhance their market value.


Jan Aushadi launched
Central drug policy soon

Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, November 25
In view of the high drug prices, the Central government will frame a new drug pricing policy, and a committee of ministers will soon announce a broad-based policy shortly.

Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, Ashok Kumar said the government was very serious about the new drug policy and a group of ministers were studying pharma pricing and it would be made public very soon.

Kumar was in the city to launch the first-ever generic drug store in the country, Jan Aushadi, in the Government Civil Hospital today.

He said the government had tied up with the state Health Department to open five similar stores in the state to provide cheaper drugs to people. He added that the government planned to have these shops in every district of the country by 2010 and if the experiment succeeded, more shops would be opened in the country.

Commenting on the availability of branded medicines, he said the government had yet to come out with clear guidelines and would hold high-level meetings with private drug manufacturers to reduce prices for supply to these cheap drug stores.

Kumar, reading out the message of Union minister of chemicals, fertilisers and steel Ram Vilas Paswan said the generic drug campaign started by the Union government in association with five pharma Central public undertakings in collaboration with the Punjab government for the opening of the outlets. He said a drug helpline had also been started with a toll-free number to give information on generic drugs helpful to people.

Earlier, state health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla, inaugurating the Jan Aushadi store here, said this singular effort of the Central government would provide generic medicines at cheaper rates. She said this would help provide quality health services to the poor. She said drugs would be available at most economical tariff and the government had offered free space in civil hospitals in the state and earmarked funds to buy these drugs.

Vijay Kain, principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Mandeep Singh., secretary, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, and officials of the Central and state governments were also present.

Royal family scion seeks possession of palace
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 25
Scion of Kapurthala royal family Maharaj Kumar Suryajit Singh has sent a legal notice to the union government seeking the vacant possession of Jagatjit Palace be handed over to him after cancelling sale deed executed on May 17 in 1961.

Kumar Suryajit Singh stated in the five-page legal notice Jagatjit Palace and its adjoining land measuring 1961 kanals 18 marlas in khasra number 4911 was ancestral-co-parcenary property in the hands of his grandfather Maharaja Brigadier (retired) Sukhjit Singh, who inherited it from his father Maharaja Paramjit Singh who inherited it from Maharaja Jagatjit Singh.

His advocate Karam Singh Ahluwalia stated on the third page of the notice issued under Section 80 (1) of the Cr P.C. his client Kumar Suryajit Singh visited Kapurthala from Delhi in the first week of May 2008 to take part in the birth anniversary of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia at local state gurdwara and also visited Jagatjit Palace and came to know Jagatjit Palace and adjoining land was sold by his grand-father to Punjab government.

On enquiry, it was revealed his grandfather had sold Jagatjit Palace and adjoining land for Rs 16.10 lakh. The sale was kept secret as it mutation number 7088 was sanctioned in favour of Punjab government after 19 years on May 28, 1980, the notice added.

After the sale of palace in favour of Punjab government, The Defence Ministry set up in its building a Sainik School, which is being run by Sainik School’s Society through the deputy secretary, the Ministry of Defence.

Kumar Suryajit Singh also knew Punjab Government was intending to sell the Palace to a company to set up five star hotel which was against basic structure of the building and the dreams of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh, stated in the notice.

The notice claims the sale deed of Jagatjit Palace and adjoining land was illegal, wrong, void and was not for the legal necessity of joint Hindu family and was also not for the good management of the estate, Jagatjit Palace and adjoining land.

The notice adds Kumar Suryajit Singh has been requesting Punjab and central governments to admit his title regarding Jagatjit Palace and adjoining land and cancel the sale deed and mutation and hand over its possession to him but to no avail.

So he was forced to serve the notice, copies of which are also sent to the Defence secretary, the Sainik School’s Society, Punjab CM, Punjab chief secretary, defence minister, Kapurthala collector, Punjab Governor and Sainik School principal.

The notice states after the expiry of the notice of the duration of two months, he will be compelled to institute appropriate action in the civil court in this regard.


Central varsity to come up in Bathinda
Anjali Singh Deswal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 25
The government has cleared the way for the Central varsity at Khudha village. Earlier this year, Sukhbir Badal had announced that the state government had sent a proposal to the human resource ministry for setting up a Central university in the state.

The universities at Amritsar and Bathinda were shortlisted for the purpose. Regarding this, a team from the higher education and human resource department had come to the city around two months ago to conduct a survey and decide a site for the university campus. The team has finally given its decision for the sprawling campus at Khudha village on Badal road. The university will be built on 550 acres.

Before deciding on Khudha village, five sites were checked by the visiting team. These were Sardargarh, Gehri Devigarh, Khudha, Kotshmir and Tungwali. The reason for Khudha being finalised might be due to the Badal family having personal interest in the university coming up near their village. Khudha is close to Badal village.

Deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari said: “The government has decided to make the university at Khudha village. I can not say when the session will begin. We have got no information about when the construction of this university would begin. The Revenue Department has sent the maps and related documents of the selected site to the government.”

Sources said the land that was being acquired by the government for the university was not fertile. The people of the village had told the Badal government that they would have no problem in giving land for the university. The team had decided for the site after the villagers gave a go-ahead. The sources also added that a temporary campus was also in pipeline before the actual campus comes up.

People of this area felt that due to the university coming up in this area, the students of surrounding villages will have better educational exposure that would enhance their values. Residents of Khudha village also feel that already the property prices are high on the Bathinda-Badal road and this university will make these prices sky-rocketing. 


Rajindra Hospital faces staff shortage
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 25
The working of the local Government Rajindra Hospital, considered to be one of the biggest hospitals of the Malwa region, has hit a roadblock with the hospital facing an acute shortage of Class IV staff.

According to sources, out of the 611 posts available for Class IV employees, just 421 posts have been filled while the remaining posts have been lying vacant for the past many months. The authorities have employed 118 persons on contract, but despite this some posts are still lying vacant.

Sources point out that since 1990, more than a dozen departments have been established in the hospital, yet there has been no recruitment for the posts of Class IV employees.

The sources disclose that the new wards which have come up are the Intensive Coronary Care Unit (ICCU), paediatrics, cardiology, urology, prisoner’s ward, dengue ward and wards meant for treating people addicted to narcotics.

Moreover, earlier there were three units each of surgery and orthopaedics which now have been increased to six units each. A Class IV union leader Ram Krishan, branch president of the Government Rajindra Hospital Class IV Employees Union, disclosed that the contract of the 118 persons, who were doing the jobs meant for Class IV employees, would expire on December 31 this year. Ram Krishan added that all 118 contracted employees were demanding regularisation of their services.

There was a need for at least eight to 10 Class IV employees in each ward, while at present there were just four employees each in these wards. This had led to discontent among employees who had to work more for the same pay. The union leaders demanded from the management that all pending vacancies should be filled up as soon as possible.

Surinder Singh, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, claimed that the vacancies which would ensue after December 31 when the contract of 118 employees ended, all posts would be filled up. He added that a tender for this purpose had already been floated. However, he claimed that the total number of Class IV employees posts were less than what was being claimed by some union leaders.


‘Rebuked’ by cop, woman dies
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Batala, November 25
Leela Devi died within a few seconds after she was allegedly reprimanded by a police official here. After the November 23 incident came to the notice of SSP Naresh Kumar, he transferred the police official to the Police Lines and deputed the DSP(D) to probe the incident.

The SSP said today evening that a case would be registered if the police official, identified as Harjit Singh, assistant sub inspector (ASI), was found guilty of misconduct. He added that a probe was also being held by the executive magistrate, Batala.

According to reports, Ajay Kumar, son of deceased Leela Devi, was allegedly marrying a minor girl of the Urban Estate area on November 23. A police party reached the spot after the matter was reported to the Urban Estate police post by Ajit Singh of the locality.

Harjit Singh, who, along with other policemen, reached the spot, took Ajay, his mother Leela, the minor girl and Mohinder Rani, mother of the minor, to the police post where he allegedly rebuked Leela. Leela, a heart patient, fell down. When taken to hospital by a relative, she was declared brought dead. The relative of the deceased also protested in the police post against the inhuman treatment given to the deceased by Harjit Singh.

The ASI said neither had he taken Leela to the police post nor had he threatened her. When he took Ajay and others to the police post, Leela Devi came on her own to the police post, he added.

He said before he took Ajay and Mohinder to the police post from the venue of marriage, which was a temple, he got a case registered against them in the police station. The case was registered under the Child Marriage Act by sending constable Balraj Singh to the police station.



Bir Devinder eyes Anandpur Sahib
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 25
Senior Punjab Congress leader and former deputy speaker Bir Devinder Singh is pinning his hope on the AICC chairperson, Sonia Gandhi to get the party ticket from the Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency.

The leader has already attracted the ire of party leaders for staking claim on the seat as a section of leaders in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) are projecting Ambika Soni as the suitable candidate for the seat. Bir Devinder Singh, while addressing a press conference, said, “I have replied to the show cause notice issued by the PPCC regarding my statements on the ticket issue.”

While avoiding direct comments on the prospective choice of the PPCC, he said that his name was never in the list of the candidates for the Vidhan Sabha elections.

Taking the opportunity to launch his “public-response” campaign, he told mediapersons that he would gauge the public response before he again puts his claim for the seat at the time of selection.

Beginning from December 1, the Congress leader said he would tour the entire constituency in the coming days to see the response of the voters. “I have worked in the area and personally know a number of persons. I am certainly a better candidate,” he added.

He said even if the party opted for some other candidate, he would abide the decision of the high command. Claiming that he had initiated a number of development projects during his stint as an MLA, he said the political leadership was not monitoring the development in the constituency. “I will be a vocal member of Parliament,” he said.


State libraries in shambles
Anjali Singh Deswal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 25
Though a huge amount has been invested on books and infrastructure of the state libraries, in the absence of librarians it has become a sheer wastage of money and government resources. As many as 50 posts of college cadre librarians are lying vacant in the state. There is a total number of 98 vacant posts in the state. Seven officiating librarians are going to retire next year and in the next six years, about 25 more librarians will retire.

College cadre librarian is a gazetted class I post and the Punjab Public Service Commission is the recruiting authority.

It is ironical that though the minimum qualification for this post is a masters degree in library science and clearing the Nation Entrance Test (NET) conducted by the UGC, due to prevailing circumstances, class IV employees are managing many government libraries. As a result, the condition of many libraries is degrading with every passing day. The number of members is decreasing and many libraries have no visitors at all. The college cadre decides to purchase books and related material as per the requirement of the readers. But unfortunately no books are being added to many libraries for want of librarians. Class IV employees are authorised to only issue books and maintain records.

In addition to the government libraries, there are 14 other government district libraries in the state that are controlled by the Department of Higher Education. Out of these 14 libraries, as many as 10 libraries are running in the absence of librarians.

According to the latest orders of the state government, any post lies vacant for more than six months will be abolished. A library cannot survive without a qualified librarian. This is the main reason for most of the state libraries to be in a neglected state.

The Punjab Government College Librarians’ Association has sent many memorandums to the government regarding the insufficiency of librarians in the state, but to no avail. The government has not recruited librarians since 1998 and there is no provision of filing up the vacant posts on ad hoc or contract basis.

M.S. Dhillon, president, Punjab College Librarians’ Association, and librarian at Government Rajindra College, Bathinda, said: “The association has been urging the government to pass the Public Library Act since the Beant Singh government was in power. But every time the authorities discuss it and the papers get buried under a heap of files. Haryana had passed this Act in 1989.”


Policemen ‘beat up’ milkman, wife
Villagers’ plea sent to deputy commissioner
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur , November 25
Residents of Mangwal village near here today met the SDM and made a representation to him, alleging two policemen ‘beat up’ a milkman and his wife at in their house in the village and later fled from the scene last evening.

The villagers also alleged earlier the cops had banged their car into the motor cycle of the milkman near Mangwal , due to which he fell off. They also ‘beat him up’. The milkman ran away. The cops followed him to his house and again ‘beat him up’. When villagers gathered, the cops called their men, who helped both to run away. They also alleged the cops had consumed liquor.

They urged the SDM to initiate action against the ‘erring’ cops. The SDM reportedly sent their representation to the deputy commissioner for action.

l DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said this evening ASI Jasbir Singh posted at Police Training School, Phillaur and head constable of local Sadar police station Pirthipal Singh (on leave for three days) had been coming in a private car near Mangwal.Last evening while the milkman was on his motor cycle due to parking of a tractor-trailer on the road, both asked each other to back their vehicles to clear the path. On this point, an altercation took place between the milkman and the policemen. People gathered there while the cops came to the police station to inform villagers of Mangwal had misbehaved with them, he added.

The DSP added the milkman got himself admitted to the local hospital. On the statement of the milkman that the policemen were drunk , the police got both policemen medically examined, but in medical examination nothing proved in this regard. He said he had called both sides tomorrow morning to hear their versions before initiating action on the representation.


Excise and Taxation Inspectors
Candidates claim politicking in selections
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Politics has allegedly made a victim out of them. Interviewed for the posts of excise and taxation inspectors during the Akali-BJP regime in 2001, they were allegedly left out of the process by the Congress government, only to be ignored again by the ruling combine.

The alleged plight of the candidates, almost nine years after the process began, has now been brought to the notice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court by a candidate. In his petition placed before the Bench of Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Rajan Gupta, petitioner Balwant Singh of Nawanshahr has sought directions to the State of Punjab to consider the qualified candidates.

He asserted the candidates, who had appeared for the interviews after clearing the written tests for 53 posts advertised in 1999, should be considered before filling up 160 posts in pursuance of the advertisement dated Aug 13.

Going into the background of the matter, the petitioner has asserted the candidates applied for the posts in 1999. He qualified the written test and was called for the interview on December 7, 2001. In April 2003, he represented to the secretary, Punjab Subordinate Service Selection Board. But the result was not declared. In February 2007, he was told that the Congress government would not declare the result in view of the fact the posts were advertised by the Akali government.

Arguing on the petitioner’s behalf, counsel Gurnam Singh and V.P. Singh Saidkheri contended the Akalis, after coming back to power in the state, issued fresh advertisement on August 13 for 160 vacancies, ignoring their right to the posts. He added the government was not justified in advertising the posts without adjusting the qualified candidates.

Taking up the petition, the Bench issued notice of motion to the State of Punjab and other respondents. The petition is now scheduled to come up for further hearing before the Bench on March 17 next year.


Power supply to 21 Jalandhar tanneries snapped
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 25
The PSEB authorities disconnected power supply to 21 tanneries with the assistance of police force in three localities here today.

Armed with heavy police force, teams of the PSEB visited the Basti Danish Manda, Basati Nau and Basti Shekh areas where these units were operating. There was hardy any resistance from the owner of the tanneries this time.

Earlier, board officials had faced resistance from tannery owners on November 20. The teams had to return without carrying out the job.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board had issued closure orders to 21 units, operating in residential areas. The board has also directed the PSEB authorities to disconnect power supply to these units.

The units discharged untreated effluents into sever lines. The board had issued notices under Sections 33-A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 to them repeatedly, but they hardly paid any heed to the notices.

Talking to The Tribune, K.P.S. Sekhon, additional superintending engineer (execution), Jalandhar, said power supply to 21 defaulter tanneries was disconnected. He claimed that the entire operation, completed with the help of the police, went on without any resistance from the unit owners.

Meanwhile, tannery owners flayed the PPCB authorities and termed the decision unjustified. They claimed the PPCB had been asking them to install effluent treatment plants individually, which was not feasible.

Moreover, a majority of the units had been running for decades and had even applied for regularisation. Leaving the regularisation midway, the authorities had issued directions for their closure in haste, the owners lamented.


Farmers hold protest against Punjab govt, Sugarfed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Members of Bhartiya Kisan Union, Punjab (BKUP) staged an indefinite protest near Parade ground here today, demanding release of arrears of Rs 37 crore from Sugarfed.

Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of the BKUP, stated that 50 persons would sit on protest everyday, which would continue till their demands are met. He said the sugar mills in the states were not giving payments on time to farmers and Rs 37 crore was pending against them since the past one year. As per the rules, the mills should make payment to the farmers within 14 days of their delivering the crop at the mill. He said the government should fix time for payments. He also added that he did meet the Punjab Chief Minister and spoke on the issue, but the latter did not make any assurance.

Besides this, the protesting farmers were insisting for immediate release of tube well connections to the general-category farmers. They alleged that the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was fleecing the farmers on one pretext or the other. They rued that the Akali-BJP alliance in the state had not redeemed its poll promises and left the farmer community in lurch.

The members of the union also said they were being harassed by sand mafia in the villages situated on the banks of rivers. Those who had taken the contracts, did not allow farmers to quarry sand from their own fields and charged Rs 3,100 from them.


Anveshan-2009 for aspiring researchers
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 25
To identify young talents who want to take up research as a career, a three-day convention Anveshan-2009 will be organised by Guru Nanak Dev (GND) University from January 6 next.

This convention, which is being held for the second time in north zone, will be organised by the Department of Food Science and Technology in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU).

Dr Narpinder Singh, zonal coordinator for the convention, said the AIU had taken up a pioneering initiative to organise conventions for aspiring researchers throughout the country.

He said the selected candidates would be promoted by commercialising their research projects with industrial collaboration. This endeavour would accelerate scientific research and innovation and their application towards community development percolating to the grassroot level, he added.

The zonal coordinator said the main objective was to nurture talent through specialised training and education in some of the nationally and internationally reputed premier institutions of higher learning in the country. Financial and physical resources in collaboration with sponsors for supporting education and training young researchers would be sought to provide incentives to enhance the skill of potential students and initiate an intensive research culture in a selected group of institutions, he added.

He said the entries of the research projects would be purely institutional and only bonafied full-time students from undergraduate to doctoral degree level were eligible to take part in the convention.


Polytechnic institute to function after 12 years
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, November 25
The government polytechnic institute built at Agampur will start working 12 years after its inception.

As many as 300 students will be admitted in five different engineering courses that will be started next academic year in March. Chairman, Guru Teg Bahadur Education Trust, Jatinder Singh Atwal, said this while talking to mediapersons at a function here yesterday.

The Trust has taken polytechnic institute on lease from the government. The five engineering courses to be started include information technology, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, electronics and communication and hotel management. As many as 60 seats will be available for each course.

The institute will be co-educational and also provide hostel facilities to its students. Besides this, poor girl students from nearby villages will be imparted training in vocation courses to make them financially self-supportive. These students will be taught stitching and embroidery work. About 80 seats have been reserved for these students and their session will start from December.

The area residents said it was a matter of pride for them as it was a backward area and such an institute would be a great help for the students of the region.

It is pertinent to mention here that senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal had inaugurated the college in 1996. The construction work of the building was completed by Guru Teg Bahadur Education Trust. Even as the Congress government came back to power in 2002, the construction work was not completed.


LS Polls
Congress councillors to back high command nominee
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 25
Ranjan Agarwal, leader of the opposition in the Amritsar Municipal Corporation, yesterday said all Congress councillors would support the candidate nominated by the party high command for the Lok Sabha (LS) elections from Amritsar.

Infighting in the district party unit came to the fore at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of PPCC acting president Mohinder Singh Kaypee to decide candidate for the LS elections from Amritsar.

The trouble started when former deputy mayor Surinder Singh Chhinda asked Kaypee whether Dr Raj Kumar, former MLA, had sought his permission to make a statement to the media against Capt Amarinder Singh for issuing the list of probable candidates to certain newspersons.

Agitated over this, supporters of Dr Kumar started shouting slogans against Chhinda and Amarinder, besides manhandling supporters of sitting Congress MLA Om Parkash Soni. Chaos prevailed for more than one and a half hours. Order was restored only after Kaypee made an appeal for peace.

Ranjan said he, along with supporters, would support the person given party ticket from here.


Govt staff hold protest
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 25
Employees of various government offices under the banner of Punjab Mulazam Sangharsh Committee today held a rally and raised slogans against the alleged indifferent attitude of the state government towards their demands in the district administrative complex (DC office complex) here. They also submitted a memorandum to the local SDM regarding their demands.

The demands include the release of dearness allowance installment, issuance of report of Fifth Punjab Pay Commission and implementation of the same at the earliest, regularisation of services of daily wagers, contractual and part-time employees, lifting of ban imposed on recruitment in government departments.

Addressing the protesters, employee leaders criticised the state government for not accepting their long-standing demands. They also asked the government to discontinue contributory pension scheme for the employees and stop privatisation of government institutions.

Among others who addressed the employees included district president of the Democratic Employees Front Swaranjit Singh, district president of Democratic Teachers’ Front Tarsem Lal, a leader of Government Teachers Union Sarbjit Singh, state president of Technical and Mechanical Employees Union Baljit Singh Badrukhan.


Docs seek new drug purchase policy
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 25
Appreciating the decision of the government to provide medicines manufactured by five public sector companies at a rebate from 40 per cent to 50 per cent through fair price shops at all 25 Civil Hospitals of Punjab, the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) has demanded that the formulation of a new drug purchase policy under which medical officers be allowed to purchase medicines as per the need of the patients.

In a press note issued here this evening, president and press secretary of the association Dr Hardeep Singh and Dr Ajay Bagga, respectively, stated that the decision of the Health and Family Welfare Department, Punjab, to provide space for these shops to the union ministry of chemicals and fertilisers was laudable as the patients would be able to get quality medicines at subsidised rates.

They demanded the government should constitute a committee comprising representatives of public sector companies, PCMSA and experts under the presidentship of the director, Health and Family Welfare, to formulate a new drug purchase policy.


Pbi varsity’s one-time chance to students
Tribune news Service

Patiala, November 25
To mark the tercentenary celebrations of the Gurta Gaddi Diwas, Punjabi University has decided to give one-time special chance to candidates who due to some reason could not appear in or clear examinations of final year of any course for the 2009 examinations. According to VC Jaspal Singh, the university will also give a special chance to students to improve the division in that course where there was a scheduled provision for improvement.


117 dentures given to needy persons
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 25
During a three-week long teeth check-up campaign, run by the district health authorities this month, about 25,600 persons, including school-going children and women, were examined for various dental diseases in different hospitals of the district.

Sangrur civil surgeon Dalip Kumar today gave dentures to 25 (out of total 117) needy persons, including women, at a programme at the Civil Hospital here. Deputy director (Dental) Dr Jasleen Kaur said during the campaign children were educated about the prevention of dental diseases and the right way to brush teeth.


Missing Wire
CJM’s functioning under HC scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
The functioning of Faridkot chief judicial magistrate’s (CJM) court has come under the high court scanner.

In an application placed before Justice Ranjit Singh, a journalist, Naresh Kumar Sehgal, has alleged that a telegram sent to the CJM and received by him was missing from the case file.

Sehgal is involved in litigation against SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and others. In fact, he had earlier expressed apprehensions of an unfair trial in an attempt to murder case registered on his complaint against Sukhbir Singh Badal and others. Taking up the plea, the high court had sought the trial court's comments on the issue.

In the present application, Sehgal alleged the accused party was tampering with the record. On September 1, he had sent a telegram to the CJM alleging that the police, on the instructions of the accused, was destroying the official record and planning to eliminate him.

He had also alleged that the police was preparing bogus record on his security cover. As such, necessary action should be initiated. Enclosing the “true copy” of the telegram, the petitioner alleged it was received by the CJM the same day and was a part of the record.

The petitioner claimed he applied for a certified copy, but to his surprise there was no telegram on the file. Sehgal further claimed the high court had stayed the trial court proceedings, but permission was granted to the accused to go abroad.

The application, seeking the summoning of the trial court record, has now been placed along with the main petition filed by Sehgal. The matter will come up for hearing on January 23 next year.

Sehgal was allegedly assaulted at Sukhbir Singh Badal’s behest when he was covering the Lok Sabha elections in 1999. After the high court’s intervention, a case of assault and other offences was registered under Sections 307, 392, 327, 323, 201 and 120-B of the IPC at a police station in Kotkapura on June 30, 2006.


High Court
State to file reply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 25
Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh directed Punjab counsel to apprise it by December 1 on the state’s response to a PIL for directions against the toll tax barrier awarded to a Pune-based firm on built-and-operate basis on Balachaur-Garhshankar-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya state highway for Rs 103 crore .

The petition, filed by high court advocate Gurmeet Singh, pointed out the adverse observations on the same by the comptroller and auditor general (CAG).


NRI, cop held for property grab bid
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 25
The police thwarted an attempt by an NRI, supported by a Kapurthala-based head constable, to grab a prime property belonging to another US-based NRI on the Tarn Taran road late last night.

Four persons, including the head constable, have been arrested and a case has been registered at the D-division police station.

A spokesman for the police said NRI Harbans Singh and his accomplices, including Jaspal Singh of Gobind Nagar and head constable Jaswinder Singh, a security guard with a senior police officer, broke the locks of the house belonging to Mumbai resident Surjit Singh. Neighbours informed the matter to Surjit, who called up the district police chief.

D-division police station SHO Manjit Singh nabbed the culprits.

Meanwhile, the higher-ups in the Police Department were informed about the involvement of the head constable in the case.


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