P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Shopkeeper accuses MLA of assault
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 27
Bickering in the border police has led to an increase in attempts of land grab even as a shopkeeper of the Sultanwind area has alleged that he was attacked by associates of a ruling party MLA to get his shop vacated.

The purchaser of the shop is Malout-based uncle of the Amritsar MLA. In an attempt to get the shop vacated, a group of persons allegedly attacked Arun Kumar Abrol, who is running M/s Shivam Ply & Glass House on the Sultanwind road.

However, the ruling party MLA said: “What is wrong if his uncle had purchased the shop?”

Manjit Singh, SHO of the B-Division police station, said the victim did not come forward to get him medically examined. However, a senior police officer said he won’t let anybody grab the shop.

The victim has got stay from the court. The court has also restrained the party from demolishing the suit property, using the common passage and furthermore they are restrained from getting disconnecting the electric connection. However, the PSEB authorities had disconnected the electricity connection of the shop despite the stay order.

The victim met the IGP (border range) R.P. Meena, who forwarded his complaint to the SSP for taking prompt action.

In his complaint to the Chief Minister, Abrol has alleged that the men of the ruling party MLA started beating him without any provocation. They wanted him to vacate the shop immediately so that new building could be constructed over there.

Meanwhile, several attempts of land grab have been made, thanks to a strong nexus of police-politicians and land grabbers in the city.

The morale of the police at the SHO level has been down due to the bickering between the two senior IPS officers of the district. Eight police officials, including SHOs, have been transferred to Ferozepur district by Meena following orders by the DGP. All police officials are said to be confidants of the SSP.

Meena said the transfers were made on the basis of a “secret inquiry” conducted on behalf of the DGP.


Food and Supplies staff await salaries
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 27
About 40 per cent employees of the Department of Food and Civil Supplies in this district have been awaiting their salaries for the month of October.

Talking to The Tribune here today, district president of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union Raj Kumar Arora said a total of 113 employees were working in the department in the district, of which 48 had not received their salaries so far. There was a great resentment among the employees against the state government as it had failed to sanction the salary fund so far, he added.

He said due to non-receipt of sanction for the salary, the district treasury office was not passing their salary bills.

Arora urged the government to send the sanction without any delay, or the union would be compelled to organise dharnas and rallies.

The union leader also criticised the government for not releasing the instalment of dearness allowance from July this year. He also asked the government to expedite the functioning of the Fifth Punjab Pay Commission to release its report soon.


Police frames man, detains minor son
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 27
Ferozepur police allegedly detained minor Amandeep Singh for two days after reportedly framing his father Gurcharan Singh of Puranewala village in Moga in a false case at the behest of a Delhi- based travel agent.

Gurcharan Singh said the police picked up his son Amandeep (17) from his house in Moga on Monday and was kept in illegal custody. Amandeep, a student of 10+1 at Guru Nanak School, Moga, was released only when acting president of the Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) Avtar Singh Mullanpuri rang up Khuhia Sarvar SHO.

Gurcharan said he came to know the police had alleged in the FIR registered against him under Section 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act at Khuhia Sarvar police station on August 13 that a bag containing his driving licence and 350 gm opium was seized from a private bus. The FIR was registered against him on the basis of recovery of driving licence from the bus.

Showing his original driving licence, he alleged the driving licence was fake one and prepared by the travel agent to implicate him. Further he was present in a Moga court in connection with a case related with property dispute on August 13, when the recovery of opium was shown by the police from the bus.

Gurcharan alleged the registration of the FIR against him was part of the conspiracy hatched by the travel agent Paramjit Singh in connivance with the police as the travel agent wanted to teach him a lesson as an FIR of cheating under Section 420 had been filed against him on his complaint at city police station in Moga in 2006.

He added Paramjit Singh and his wife Harjinder Kaur had sent him to Toronto on fake visa after getting Rs 16 lakh from him in 2003. He was kept in custody for eight months in Canada for travelling on fake visa.

When he returned, he lodged an FIR against the couple in 2006 , following which, Paramjit Singh gave him cheques of Rs 16 lakh but these bounced.

Denying the allegations of registering a false case at the behest of the travel agent, Khuhia Sarvar SHO Satpal Singh said the police took Amandeep along it so that his father could produce himself before the police.

Meanwhile criticising Punjab Police for implicating Gurcharan in a false case instead of providing him justice from travel agent, LBP president Balwant Singh Ramoowalia demanded cancellation of the FIR and dismissal of the SHO.


Crime on rise, fear among Ludhiana residents

Ludhiana, November 27
Rising cases of theft, robbery and nd burglary are causing fear and panic among people here . There has been spurt in thefts and robberies in a few weeks. Moreover, snatching of gold necklaces, women’s purses and mobile phones has become order of the day police claims of having busted the gangs of chain snatchers notwithstanding.

The city with population of 40 lakh has been witnessing rise in crime for few months and a number of cases of murder were also reported. Robbers and thieves have become so emboldened that they are no afraid to commit crime even during the day and single women in houses are their targets.

In elegant Aggar Nagar colony a woman was robbed of jewellery and cash at gunpoint by three men yesterday. A theft was committed in an area in the neighbourhood of postal colony in the Civil Lines when the husband and wife were away to work . An attempt to rob a bank last week was foiled by the guard on duty and the robbers took away his gun. Now the bank guard is on the verge of losing job as the bank management is said to have told him he was not required without the gun. The guard cannot buy a gun. Is it not the duty of the bank management to buy a gun for guarding the bank?

The city witnesses three to five incidents of snatching of chains or purses daily. All these incidents are committed by motorcycle -borne youths and these incidents take place in the elegant residential colonies like Sarabha Nagar, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar and Raj Guru Nagar. The motor- cycle borne youths keep track of women and as soon as they reach near their destinations, the youths just snatch the purse or chain and speed away . The police is finding itself helpless to cope with the situation as the town has witnessed unprecedented expansion. Besides population explosion, there is mushrooming of residential colonies which have come up around the city .Besides, the officially approved residential colonies which are inhabited by rich people of the city , there are more than 400 residential colonies on the periphery of the town without proper infrastructure. There are certain localities which provide abode to anti-social and undesirable elements and it is not possible to keep track of such elements.

Ludhiana city has about 2500 policemen to manage the population of 40 lakh and the city also gets army of “VIPs” and Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal in particular is a regular visitor to the city .. The day the Chief Minister is in Ludhiana, more than 300 policemen are put on duty to protect him. There are certain retired police officers living in the city and have not returned the security personnel. Some of the officers are also retaining the police vehicles and getting fuel on “Sarkari kharcha ”.

Ludhiana city needs at least 1,000 cops for law and order and keeping undesirables under check.

R K Jaiswal, senior superintendent of police, Ludhiana claims they are trying their best to keep the criminals under check and they have busted two gangs of chain snatchers and recovered goods of 20 cases. The gang members were from good families and drug addicts, he said. Jaiswal points out the jails were overcrowded and such elements were released by the courts. In fact, these people should be sent to the de -addiction centres after release from the jails. “I have written to the civil surgeon to set up de-addiction centre but so far nothing has been done. Policemen have to perform duties till 2 am in the night”, he grumbles.

Meanwhile, the residents in elegant colonies have started erecting huge steel gates as measure of security. Such steel gates were put up by the residents during the militancy days to ward off militants. But now these are being structured to avoid wrath of the thieves and robbers. Some colonies also have private watchmen. 



Cong will win all seats in Mizoram: Nabha MLA
Our Correspondent

Nabha, November 27
Kaka Randip Singh MLA Nabha claimed the Congress would win all seats in forthcoming election in Mizoram. Randip, who recently returned from Mizoram, was in charge of election rallies of Rahul Gandhi AICC general secretary there.

Talking to this correspondent at his residence here, he termed Rahul Gandhi’s rallies as the foundation stone of the Congress in Mizoram. He said Rahul held three rallies- at Serchipp, Siatelial and Aizwal. Rahul met mixed with people leaving SPG cover. He said 5000 persons, mostly youths, turned up in large numbers at Bamapa Hall Aizwal to hear him though the Mizoram People Front (MNF) opposed the rally. He said mayor Ved Parkash, in charge of the AICC (North East), Kolisa president, Assom Congress Committee and Albert, state president, NSUI, congratulated him on conducting the rallies.


Wooing Muslim Voters
Malerkotla-Ajmer Sharif bus launch today
Varinder Singh/Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 27
The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) is all set to get delivery of 25 of 50 air-conditioned buses by December end, the state-run transport set -up has finalised introduction of three new routes, including, the Malerkotla-Ajmer Sharif, apparently, under the SAD-BJP government’s bid to woo Muslim voters of Malerkotla.

Buses on the three new routes the Malerkotla-Ajmer Sharif, Barnala-Hanumangarh and the Chandigarh-Suratgarh would be flagged-off from Patiala tomorrow by Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal.

At the same time, the PRTC has also decided to regularise services to 44 of its daily wage workers and recruit as many as, 58 wards of its deceased employees on compassionate grounds as drivers and conductors.These workers and newly recruited wards of deceased employees would be handed over appointment letters by Punjab transport minister Master Mohan Lal at a function here tomorrow.

The first batch of four AC buses has already been flagged-off by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at Ludhiana on November 17. ‘We are going to get delivery of as many as, 25 AC buses from fabrication units by the last week of December while, rest of buses would be with us by the end of March,’ said PRTC MD Manvesh Singh Sidhu.

The PRTC has already inducted 75 of ordinary buses which, were plying on different routes thus, decreasing the passenger load on the organisation. ‘The AC buses are coming in small batches. For example, we will get eight buses by next week,’ said Sidhu.

The Malerkotla-Ajmer Sharif route, sources in the PRTC revealed, has been introduced following a lot of consideration and repeated demand by considerable population of Muslims of Malerkotla. ‘Though, an ordinary bus will ply on the route for the time being, it, could be converted into an AC coach at any point of time in near future, particularly, if people demand such a facility,’ said a PRTC official. Though, a large number of AC buses ply on the Delhi-Jaipur-Ajmer route, but, there was no AC bus service between Ajmer and Punjab so far.


Mahila Cong gears up for LS polls
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 27
Gearing itself up for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the All-India Mahila Congress, headed by Dr Prabha Thakur, has conceived an elaborate plan to resurrect the organisation and mobilise Congress workers and ordinary womenfolk at the grassroot level in Punjab.

Gurkanwal Kaur, who heads the Punjab Mahila Congress, has already reconstituted its district units and has formed “booth committees” to reach out to Congress workers and voters as well in every nook and cranny of the state.

“We are going to play a proactive role in the forthcoming polls. Our motive is not only to strengthen the organisation and the Congress, but also to provide an effective platform to womenfolk, particularly the downtrodden, who hitherto have been devoid of any voice.

We will raise issues relating with women like female infanticide and suppression of women at different levels,” said Gurkanwal Kaur, who is also All-India Mahila Congress general secretary.

Gurkanwal asserted that the Mahila Congress was going to launch an awareness campaign in the state to educate people about the “misdeeds” of the ruling SAD-BJP government.

“We will tell people as to how Punjab is going without any development and how other states are marching past us at a speedy pace. I have planned to cover all constituencies during the campaign,” said Gurkanwal while talking to The Tribune.

She has been deputed by the party high command to campaign for party candidates in Hanumangarh and Ganganagar districts of Rajasthan.

She said the Congress was going to win elections as people were fed up with rhetoric of the BJP and other parties.

“I have been campaigning in Delhi for party candidates and have observed that people were discarding the ‘opportunistic’ policies of the BJP and certain other parties.

Our work in Delhi speaks for us and we need not make any false promises,” said Gurkanwal. 


Industrialist, wife kill 2 children, commit suicide
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Global slowdown had its first tragic impact in the state when four members of a family of an industrialist here committed suicide after suffering losses in business in Shimlapuri here this morning.

The couple Karnail Singh (47) and his wife Sarabjot Kaur (35) poisoned their son Prabhjot Singh (12) and daughter Vipinjit Kaur (15) before hanging themselves from the ceiling fan. According to the police, the incident may have taken place in the wee hours. The incident came to light in the morning when milkman Bhupinder Singh, visited the house of the victim and found the door locked from inside.

After knocking the door for long time, when no one responded from inside he climbed the wall and broke open the door. He found the husband and wife hanging from the ceiling fan and children dead on the bed.

He informed the police and the relatives about the incident. The police said body of Karnail Singh was hanging in one room, while Sarabjit Kaur, after poisoning her children Prabhjot Singh and Vipinjit Kaur, hanged herself from the ceiling fan of the other room.

There was gloom in street no- 6 of the Shimlapuri area. Many gathered around the house since morning. The victim's brother Tirlok Singh, who also lives in Shimlapuri said his brother was suffering losses due to which he sold his house and started living on rent. Due to slump in the market his nut bolt business was also facing major losses.

SP- city G.S. Randawa said it is a case of suicide as the relative said the businessman was facing loss.

City businessmen were shocked . Charanjit Singh, president of the United Cycle Parts Association appealed to the industrialists to face the situation and not take such drastic steps. ''There is no need to panic as the crises are global and industrialists especially Punjabis, should bravely face these times. Suicide is no solution.'' he said.


Free power: PSEB gets Rs 320 cr

Patiala, November 27
Punjab government today released first instalment of Rs 320 crore to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to pay its monthly bills and salary to the board employees.

The state government had decided to release Rs 1608 crore for the subsidised power being given by the board to the agricultural sector by the cash-strapped PSEB.

The PSEB will get five- monthly instalments of Rs 320 crore each and first instalment was released today.

The government had moved to provide the much-needed money to the PSEB because of its precarious financial position as well as the realisation that any default on coal payments and resultant problems could severely embarrass the government in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. — UNI


Controlling Air, Water Pollution
PPCB seals 8 gravel screening plants
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) today sealed eight gravel screening cum washing plants it had been unable to close down despite repeated notices since five years.

According to sources here, a PPCB team today visited all eight plants on the Zirakpur- Panchkula road and sealed their generating sets as well as motors besides putting seals on all belts used to run the conveyers. The move was not met with any resistance unlike in the past in December 2005 when closure efforts were resisted.

The team found that seven out of the eight plants identified as Gagan screening plant, Sanuali, Lubana screening plant, Lyalpur screening plant, Dhakoli, GKG and Company, Gajipur, Stone Linker washing plant, Sanauli , GM Grewal screening plant and Samana screening plant, Baltana were operating against norms. The eighth plant - Sohi screening plant was found to be dismantled.

The PPCB regional officer, Mohali confirmed the move, saying the plants were causing dust and water pollution in the area. He said the plants were washing gravel without constructing any settling tank. Besides this he said the plants were discharging water into the nearby ‘choe’ or causing stagnation around them.

Board sources said the PPCB had been trying to take action against the plants since the last five years. They said though most of the stone crushers operating on the Zirakpur- Panchkula, road ,the screening plants had continued to function in the area. The plants had continued operations after switching to diesel generator sets after their power was discontinued.

The PPCB had been unsuccessful in closing the plants despite writing to the Mohali district administration in May 2006 requesting the plants be closed down .. Similarly the board had also written to the state chief electrical inspector to seal the diesel generator sets running in the premises of the plants but to no avail.

According to norms, no such project can come up in the Chandigarh capital periphery zone. Since they were running in a non-designated area they had not even applied for no-objection certificate from the PPCB or consent to establish structures.

The PPCB is under increasing pressure from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to take action against polluting industries and is slated to submit an action taken report to the court next month.


Mubarak Begum to give away Rafi awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society will hold its annual programme Rafi nite on December 20 at Tagore Theatre. Mubarak Begum, a noted playback and ghazal singer, will be the chief guest of the nite. She will give away the awards to the winner of the contest held in July this year.

She is popularly known by the songs like “Kabhi tanhainyon mein hamari yaad aeyegi”, “Mujhko apne gale laga lo ai mere hamrahi”, “Jab ishq kahin ho jata hai” and many more. She will also give performance in this function.

Nearly 40 male and female singers from different states will sing melodious songs in the nite.

Last year a popular playback singer Suman Kalyanpur was the chief guest.


Galliara Project
Shopkeepers allege bias in shop allotment
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 27
A large-scale bungling has been alleged in the allotment of shops to shopkeepers of the Chowk Ghanta Ghar market, near the Golden Temple, who are being uprooted to make space for the Galliara project.

Demanding a high-level probe, certain shopkeepers, in a missive to deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, have alleged that that officials of the improvement trust in order to oblige certain shopkeepers have allotted 46 shops whereas only 17 shops at the Chowk Ghanta Ghar market have been identified for demolition.

One of the shopkeepers told The Tribune that originally, the trust had decided that those shopkeepers, whose shops were on more than 1,500 sqft could be allotted two shops while those having lesser area would be given only one shop. He alleged that in the recent allotment even those shopkeepers, who own area about 300 sqft, were allotted two shops. Alleging favouritism, he said the shopkeepers having their shops at the far-end of the existing market were allotted shops at the front of the newly constructed market. No norms were followed by the authorities while allotting the shops, he alleged.

However, Pannu said the shops were allotted in a most transparent manner through a lottery system as per the collective decision of the shopkeepers. He said those shopkeepers, who got shops allotted in the middle or the back of the new market complex, were raising unnecessary hue and cry. He said a committee comprising an SDM, Tehsildar and XEN had taken all shopkeepers into confidence before initiating the allotment process. However, he added, if any shopkeeper had any objection, it would be looked into properly.

Another aggrieved shopkeeper Sarbdeep Singh said the trust should have allotted the shops in the front row of the new complex to those shopkeepers whose shops were situated in the front row of the existing market, and the remaining shops to those whose shops were either in the middle or the back of the market. He alleged the Galliara project authorities allotted the shops to their ‘favourite ones’.

Even the press secretary of the SAD Sukhpreet Singh Kittu urged the local bodies minister and the Vigilance Bureau for a probe into the allotment of shops. He alleged that in a survey done by the state government, only 90 shops were identified to be demolished, but the trust officials had released a list of 162 shopkeepers who were to be allotted shops under the scheme.


District police chief under high court scanner
Accused of extorting money from the ‘rich’
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
After the Moga sex rip-off, another scam of allegedly implicating the “rich” for extorting money at the “instance” of the then district police chief has come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner.

Taking a serious view, Justice Ranjit Singh has made it clear: “This is a case where the police officers are not only to be prosecuted, but should be made accountable for their illegal actions, so that it is an example for others”.

Giving vent to his anguish over the state of affairs, Justice Ranjit Singh asserted: “Where are the people to go when the head of the police in a district resorts to such methods?”

Notice of motion issued by the court has been accepted by state counsel Mehar Deep Singh at the court’s asking. Further proceedings against the petitioner in the FIR dated June 6, 2004, registered at police station city, Sangrur, have also been stayed.

Taking up the petition filed by rice-sheller owner Pankaj Gupta against former SSP Gurminder Singh Dhillon, an SHO, inspectors Jaswinder Singh and Sukhmander Singh, along with sub-inspector Raj Kumar, Justice Ranjit Singh observed: “The petitioner seeks the quashing of an FIR.

“A perusal of the petition will make a very detesting reading. This FIR apparently has been lodged against the petitioner due to the vengeance and spite by the police.

“The story, as projected in the petition, is that the SSP of a district, a PPS officer, issued illegal directions for arresting some rich people of the city and then releasing them after taking money. “The petitioner was one such victim, who was arrested and released after payment of Rs 1 lakh. He was again arrested on the ground that Rs 1 lakh has been taken by Darshan Singh, the SHO, at the relevant time.

“To challenge the illegal detention of the petitioner, a writ of habeas corpus was filed. The petitioner was recovered from the custody of the police. At this stage, no case had been registered against him.

“Subsequently, the petitioner was shown involved in an FIR, which was registered after a raid by the warrant officer. This was only to justify the illegal action of the detaining the petitioner in illegal custody”.

The Judge added: “This court directed an inquiry by an officer superior or senior in rank to the SSP involved. Ultimately, it was found that the petitioner was kept in illegal detention”. The Judge asserted a case has been registered against some of the SHO and some other police officials. “Still, the prosecution has not taken any action to cancel the FIR registered against the petitioner in an illegal and whimsical manner….” The case will now come up on December 8. 


Accused unrepresented in absence of legal aid
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
It has been six months since the inauguration of the district courts in Dera Bassi, Mohali and lower courts Moonak in Sangrur, but no lawyer has been empanelled under free legal aid in these courts.

With no legal aid coming to the rescue of an inmate, Sukhwinder Singh in Central Jail, Ludhiana, complained to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), that he had not been provided with any legal aid.

He mentioned in his complaint that he was an undertrial confined to central jail, Ludhiana, and expressed his grievance that he could not engage a defence counsel as he was financially not sound. He added that he had written several applications to the Punjab State Legal Services Authority but had not been provided any legal help by any advocate to take up the case for his defence. He asserted in the complaint that he was told no legal aid could be provided to him, as there was no panel of lawyers in Dera Bassi where the case was pending.

Taking cognizance of the complaint, the PSHRC observed, “The commission considers it appropriate to send a copy of this order as also of the complaint to the member secretary, State Legal Services Authority, Punjab, to look into the matter and dispose of the complaint in accordance with the law.”

The undertrial has several cases pending against him with allegations of heinous offences of murder and attempt to murder. Sources revealed that getting lawyers empanelled under free legal aid was a long and tedious process. After getting the recommendations from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the legal services send it to the government to issue a notification. However, most of the districts has lawyers empanelled under legal aid except the district where the courts have been recently inaugurated. 


Capt’s election

The high court today fixed January 12 next year for commencing the process of recording evidence in an election petition against Punjab’s former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

He has been accused of adopting corrupt practices while seeking his re-election from Patiala Vidhan Sabha constituency in February 2007.

The date was fixed by Justice Rajive Bhalla after the conclusion of day’s proceedings on the petition preferred by Sukhbeer Singh, a voter from the constituency.

Another Bench of the high court is also re-hearing the petition against Capt Amarinder Singh on his election to the state assembly from the same constituency in the general elections held in 2002. The petition was remanded back to the high court by the Supreme Court after hearing the appeal filed by petitioner Harkirat Singh. He was also a voter from the constituency


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