P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Cops crack writer’s disappearance case
Cousin, his son murdered Jawanda
Our Correspondent

Nabha, December 15
The police has claimed to have unravelled the mystery shrouding the disappearance of Punjabi writer and social activist Avtar Kaur Jawanda with the arrest of her sister Paramjit Kaur, Jitender Singh (Paramjit’s son), her cousin Bahadur Singh and his son Gurdip Singh.

Unmarried Avtar and her estranged sister Paramjit and her wards were living in their ancestral house in the Nai Basti here. Avtar, who was once very close to former Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar, was last seen in May, 2004. Apprehending a foul play, her Patiala-based sister Appanjit had lodged a complaint with the police on February 8, 2005, and raised suspicion against her sister Paramjit Kaur and cousin Bahadur Singh. It had been alleged that due to a dispute over the ancestral property between Avtar and Paramjit, the latter had eliminated Avtar with the help of Bahadur Singh.

Avtar had to her credit many books on the lives of historical personalities and patriots like Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sewa Singh Thikriwala, Maharani Jind Kaur and Sassi-Punnu.

Several police teams that conducted investigations earlier had failed to crack the case as no evidence pointed involvement of Gurdip, son of Bahadur Singh, in the case.

Unable to get justice, Appanjit had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court that directed the DIG Punjab Paramjit Singh Gill to investigate the case.

A team interrogated suspects individually. Gurdip broke down and told the police that on the evening of May 5, 2004, he hit his aunt on her head with a bat as she was going upstairs in her house. As she became unconscious, an inebriated Bahadur strangulated her by putting his foot at her neck. They bundled the dead body into a car and threw it in the Bhakhra Canal near Pasiana village of Patiala district.

According to the police, the reason of the murder was the 10 acres of prime land owned by Avtar. A case filed by Paramjit challenging the legality of the decree of the land in the name of Avtar was pending in the High Court. Possession of the land, however, was with Paramjit. She was living separately from her husband at her parental house and was last year even removed from the post of lab attendant at the Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, on the charges of submitting fake certificates to get job.

Talking to mediapersons, while being taken to court, the accused claimed they did not have any intention to eliminate Avtar and it all happened in a fit of anger. “She used her political influence to get my father tortured and harassed at the hands of the police. Her conduct and the perpetual visit of men to her had lowered our reputation,” said Gurdip.


Govt mulls steps to save Rajasansi airport
Parliamentary panel to visit city
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, December 15
The government is contemplating bringing in slew of measures to revive the fortunes of the Rajasansi airport in Amritsar.

According to aviation sources, the government is likely to bring about parity in the landing charges besides revamping the entire customs cargo and warehouse facilities to boost the cargo and passengers operations at the airport.

The customs have also initiated the process to install electronic data interface to quicken the pace of clearing of duty drawback claims in view of the wide spread criticism by exporters and traders.

The truncated operations have also hit the fresh vegetable exports to UK and other countries across the world.

The ministry of civil aviation has set up a high-powered parliamentary panel headed by Dr M.S. Gill, minister of state for sports and youth welfare, who is arriving here tonight for an on-the-spot review of the problems at the airport.

The other members of the delegation include Navjot Singh Sidhu, Tarlochan Singh, Rajya Sabha, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (all MPs), VP Aggarwal, chairman designate of the Airports Authority of India and M.S. Kohli, executive director Air-India

It has been felt that the belated action and the formation of the parliamentary sub-committee may fail to boost the sagging aviation segment of this border region, which is reeling under the global economic meltdown. According to sources, more than 30 per cent inbound traffic have cancelled bookings and more than double have not taken up the flight to go abroad in view of the cancellation of Jet Airways flight.

The Singapore Airlines, which had been operating about 3 flights a week for the last four years, has decided to curtail their operations from February next year. Various factors had contributed to the loss of operations by Jet and Singapore airlines which include disparity in landing charges, customs glitches for the air-cargo terminal, lack of first class passengers and bonded warehouse facilities.

Tarlochan Singh, MP and former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, rued the committee constituted by civil aviation minister Praful Patel had failed to hold a single meeting since then, which had led to this sorry state.

According to statistics, the passenger traffic had started falling in August this year to .09 per cent while the national figure was much higher. But, September was even worse with the traffic dropping to 14 per cent.

This had set the alarm bells ringing in the sluggish aviation sector, which forced many airlines to drop or cancel their operations. Earlier, more than 65 flights per week were being operated by different airlines but in August and September it turned out to be bleak period.


Arora set to become tech varsity VC
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
After months of uncertainty, Punjab’s only technical university — Punjab Technical University(PTU), Jalandhar — is set to have a regular vice-chancellor (VC) with the Punjab government recommending the name of Rajnish Arora to Punjab Governor-cum-chancellor S.F. Rodrigues.

Arora, an RSS activist, will take over from Tejinder Kaur, principal secretary, technical education, who has been officiating as VC following the resignation of Dr S.K. Salwan. The orders for the appointment of Arora would be issued in a day or two, sources said here today.

Arora, who is currently principal of Amritsar College of Engineering and Technology, Amritsar, is credited with the start of the placement department in Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar. He also remained as the dean alumni of GNDU.

A renowned scientist, who was a part of the core team of scientists credited with developing state-of-the-art integrated guided missiles under the leadership of former President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Dr Salwan reportedly resigned following an uneasy relationship with the agitation-minded staff of the university. Since then the working of the university, which manages technical education in the state having scores of technical colleges, had been adversely affected as the officiating VC was reportedly “over-worked”.

In fact, Arora would have a tough task on hand in managing teaching and non-teaching staff, who had been on a warpath with the university management for the implementation of various demands, including more pay and perks, regularisation of the ad-hoc and contractual employees and more promotional avenues.

This coupled with his leanings towards the RSS could make his task in managing the university difficult. Already, his appointment is being opposed on the grounds that this would lead to "saffronisation" of the technical education in the state though Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had rubbished these allegations.


Mann against RSS man as PTU VC
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 15
Reacting to the statement of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that he had no problem if an RSS-backed man was appointed vice-chancellor (VC) of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, president of the SAD (A) Simranjit Singh Mann opposed Badal’s stand and asked today that how an RSS man could be appointed VC of the university as the man on this post had to be a secular person.


IT database of undertrials, convicts
Punjab, Haryana fail to log in
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The states of Punjab and Haryana have apparently learnt little lessons from Mohinder Singh’s case.

Taking serious view of the fact that the murder convict’s appeal was listed for hearing four years after his death, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had called upon the two states to develop information technology-enabled data base of the under-trials and the convicts.

The two states were to inform the Judges on the progress today, but ended up disappointing the Court. In fact, the Division Bench, comprising Justice K.S. Garewal and Justice Jatindra Chauhan, took note of this and observed in the open court that it was disappointed to note the attitude of the two states was non-serious.

The Bench, on the previous date of hearing, had observed IT-based data would “enable anyone to access it through the Internet to see important milestones in the journey of a person passing through the criminal justice system”.

The Judges had suggested vital information like the dates of arrest, release on bail, conviction and sentence, along with the first information report number and the appeal details, could form a part of the data base.

The court had observed: “It is extremely disheartening to note that Mohinder Singh’s appeal was listed for hearing for the first time in October.

“There is obviously a complete disconnect between fate of a convict and the hearing of his appeal. In the present case, the convict had completed his sentence, but released and unfortunately died by the time his appeal was set down for hearing”.

Laying stress on the need to have an IT-based system to avoid similar “miscarriage of justice” in the future, the Bench had added the data base should be prepared using modern technology

Arrested in 1993 in a murder case after being booked for the offence less than fortnight ago, Sangrur resident Mohinder Singh was convicted in 1998 for murder under Section 302 of the IPC. During the course of his appeal’s hearing, the court was informed about Mohinder Singh’s death in September 2004.

Allegations against Mohinder Singh were that he had murdered Major Singh over a property dispute. Mohinder Singh had allegedly hit Major Singh with a sharp-edged weapon on his head, following which the victim was rushed to Rajindra Hospital in Patiala.


Custodial Death
HC: Case handled in lackadaisical manner
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Just over nine years after a youngster died in the custody of Amritsar police, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has expressed its opinion that the case was apparently being handled in a “lackadaisical manner”.

The police has not only termed Gurtej Singh’s alleged custodial death as suicide, but has also forwarded an untraced report against the police officials allegedly involved in the case.

For “appropriate appreciation of the controversy”, the high court has now called for relevant documents regarding the cancellation of FIR registered against the cops.

In his petition against the state, the director-general of police, Amritsar’s senior superintendent of police and other respondents placed before Justice S.D. Anand, victim Gurtej Singh’s father Krishan Singh had earlier sought directions for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the “unnatural and brutal murder of his son”.

The petitioner had alleged his son had died on December 11, 1999, while in custody in connection with FIR number 193 registered under Section 382 and 511 of the IPC at police station “A” division, Ram Bagh, Amritsar. Subsequently, FIR number 194 of 1999 was registered against the police officials concerned.

Denying the allegations of custodial death, the respondent police officers had described the case as that of suicide. In support of the averment, two inquiry reports, exonerating the police officers of the custodial death charge, were also placed on record.

During the course of hearing, Amritsar’s ASP City-1, on behalf of the respondents, had stated the police had sought the cancellation of the case as untraced on June 12, 2000. The plea was allowed by the court on March 3, 2001.

The counsel for the petitioner, on the other hand, argued the notice regarding the cancellation of FIR number 194 against the cops was not served on him, even though he, being the victim’s father, was the aggrieved party.

After hearing the rival contentions, Justice Anand observed: “It is apparent from the material on the file that the case pertaining to the alleged custodial death is being handed by the respondents in a lackadaisical manner”.

The further course of action would now depend on the documents pertaining to the state’s move to cancel the case against its police officials.


Sarv Sikhya Abhiyaan to conduct Class V exam
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Class V annual examination for government schools in the state will be conducted by the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyaan (SSA), Punjab. The examination was earlier being conducted by the Punjab School Education Board.

A decision to this effect is said to have been taken by the minister of education Upinderjit Kaur. This is the first time that the SSA authorities would be conducting an examination in government schools in the state.

This decision benefits almost 5 lakh students of the state who will appear for the Class V annual examinations in March as the fee of the examination has been reduced to Rs 10 per student. The board was charging Rs 50 or Rs 55 per student for the conduct of this examination.

Project director of the SSA and director-general (school education), Punjab, Krishan Kumar said the charges had been kept nominal so as to not put any financial burden on the parents of the students.

Till some years ago, the Class V annual examination were conducted by the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT). However, for the past two years, it had been conducted by the board. But, the board seems to have no problem with the powers of conducting this examination going to the SSA.

“The SSA is a cash-rich organisation and if the nominal fee charged by it can save some money of the parents we have no objection to it conducting the examination. The SSA can afford to conduct the examination for free or a nominal fee and that is in the interest of the students,” said board chairman Dalbir Singh Dhillon.

Krishan Kumar added that all preparations were on to ensure that the examination went off smoothly. The SSA would put in place an entire examination set-up, which would include paper setters, invigilators and flying squads.

“We would be starting a campaign shortly to make the parents aware about the ills of cheating. The parents need to be told is that cheating in examination does not benefit the students but harms them,” he said.

He further said the parents, the students and the teachers should take the Class V examination seriously since it is the last year of the primary school.



BJP leaders stay away from alliance rally
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sunam, December 15
A “Maha Vikas Rally” was organised under the banner of the SAD and the BJP at the new Grain Market here yesterday. It was addressed among others by BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, but the district BJP leaders did not attend it, perhaps in protest as they were not “invited” to the rally.

On the absence of the BJP leaders at the rally, president of the district unit of the BJP Jatinder Kalra said despite the programme of BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, the organisers of the rally had not invited district unit of the BJP to the rally, due to which no BJP leader reached there. He said the district BJP unit had yesterday written to the state high command of the party that the BJP MP had not taken the district unit into confidence in connection with the rally at Sunam. The district unit had also asked the high command to direct the BJP senior leaders not to repeat such a thing in future, he added.

MP from Sangrur and chairman of SAD’s manifesto committee Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, said he would convene a meeting of the manifesto committee soon. On differences in the district unit of the SAD, he said the party would set the things right soon.

Sidhu said in the regime of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the common man was being crushed under the rising prices. He said due to its wrong policies the Congress had made the farmer a beggar. He also asked the people to vote for Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

Punjab PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, former ministers Gobind Singh Longowal, Gurcharan Singh Dirba, and SGPC member Baba Tek Singh Dhanaula were among the speakers. Cheques worth Rs 3.50 crore for development works and water tanks were distributed among panchayats of 60 villages of the Sunam constituency.


When minister kept Akali leader waiting
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
It is so typical of a politician and yet it does not fail to elicit surprise. Every five years politicians come begging for votes and once they are in power the first thing they seem to forget is that they have to do the same thing another five years down the line.

And if it is a woman politician, which in this case it is, as part of her election campaign she will make sure she picks up the shabbiest child in a village and shower him with unwanted attention, all for the media’s benefit.

You vote her to power and this is what she does: For four hours today Youth Akali Dal joint secretary Major Singh Rahimke waited outside the door of education minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur, to call him in. The meeting time (3pm to 4pm) also began and finished but madam was too busy to listen to this man’s problems.

“When these politicians have to get people bashed up or other dirty work done then they remember the youth Akali Dal leaders. I am not an ordinary person who has come from a village wanting to meet the minister. I have served the youth Akali Dal and this is the treatment being meted out to me? How much would the normal ordinary man be suffering?” he asked.

Major Singh came all the way to Ferozepur to meet the minister for a certain problem. “First I was told by her PA that there was no need to disturb the minister, as this work had to be done by someone else in the department. But I wanted to meet the minister as I was told that the minister had stalled my work. So who will I go and talk to other than her?” added an agitated Major Singh.

The peons refused to send in the chit with his name again to remind the minister that someone had been waiting since noon. “The name has been sent to her once and will not be sent again. She has the slips with the names,” said the peon.

Needless to say the minister could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, including a visit to her office.


Sant Samaj stakes claim to proposed college land
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 15
Sant Samaj today claimed that a portion of land where proposed girls college was to be set up at Gurusar Satlani, near Attari, belonged to the Baba Mangal Singh Kar Sewa sect. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the college on December 17.

The samaj alleged that the foundation stone was being laid on its land at the behest of a minister of the Majha region.

Seeking immediate intervention, Baba Wassan Singh, Manianwala, along with other religious leaders, today urged Chief Minister and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal to act before it was too late.

Baba Major Singh, another member of the sect, said the land where the stone was being laid belonged to the sect as per a exchange decree through civil court. He said about 321 kanals of land was exchanged with the local Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee of Gurdwara Gurusar Satlani in 1998. He alleged that they had met the minister two or three times in this regard, but to no avail.

They said the samaj had played a major role in bringing the Akali-BJP government to power as they had supported for them in Majha region.


Subsidies for rural youth to start own ventures
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 15
The Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board (PKVIB) will provide self-employment through sustainable industrial units to the rural youth of the state under the Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP). Sharing the details of the central employment generation programme to be implemented through the board in the state, Vijay Sampla, chairman, PKVIB, announced that the board would disburse Rs 4.82 crore subsidies under the scheme to the rural youth for setting up self-employment units.

He said subsidies would benefit approximately 400 units, which in turn would generate employment for over 4,019 rural persons in the state. A capital investment of Rs 1 lakh on an average under this scheme was expected to provide a job to atleast one person, he informed.

The chairman said the upper limit of disbursement would be Rs 25 lakh to any potentially viable enterprise. All subsidies to be given under the scheme excluded any land costs for the projects, but included the cost of shed, building, machinery and equipment along with one working cycle capital installment, he added.

The best part of the programme is that no educational qualification or pre-condition is required for availing subsidy for projects involving investment of upto Rs 10 lakh in case of a manufacturing unit and Rs 5 lakh for a business or service unit.

For any venture seeking higher project cost, 8th class pass persons were qualified to apply and seek subsidy under the PMEGP, he informed.

Sampla clarified that 15 per cent SC applicants would be given priority in the disbursement exercise while 27 percent OBC, 5 percent minorities, 3 percent physically handicapped persons, 1 per cent ex-servicemen and 30 per cent women would be given preference, and the remaining would be given to general category entrepreneurs.

It may be recalled here that the board was set up in 1957 and has till date generated employment for 1,50,000 persons by financing approximately 55,000 units.

Kuldeep Singh Brar, member secretary of the board, who was also present on this occasion said the financial institutions that had been chosen for disbursement, included 27 nationalised banks, all regional rural banks and cooperative and private banks to be approved by state-level task force.

The entrepreneur will apply by submitting an application at district offices of the board that will forward the case after scrutiny to the district-level task force committee. After appraisal the application will be sent to concerned banks, which will examine at their own end before sanctioning the loan. The borrower has to undergo Entrepreneur Development Training programme for three weeks to be organised by an approved agency of the KVIC, he added.


Dairy farmers learn vet skills
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chatamli (Ropar), December 15
The proverbial “teeka” used to inseminate cows has always stood as an ultimate symbol in the dairy world of Punjab. This power is now coming in the hands of villagers and dairy farmers, instead of only being restricted to veterinarians, with hundreds of youth enrolling themselves in the Dairy Entrepreneur Training Course here as well as four other centres in Punjab to learn the art of artificial insemination and milk management.

The timely and efficient administration of artificial insemination is a requisite for a modern dairy and till 2006 vets were performing this service. However, unavailability of vets at the right time with cows being ready for insemination only once in 21 days and that too during the 16th to 18th hour when in heat, was affecting many farmers.

The process, which is now taught to all trainees who attend the 45-day entrepreneur-training course, has resulted in a few thousand youth learning this skill.

Though an unpopular decision among vets initially, State Farmers Commission Consultant (Dairy) Anil Kaura said providing this skill to farmers themselves had given a boost to dairy development in the State. He said many dairy farmers had even opted to buy their own liquid nitrogen cylinders in which frozen semen was stored in straws. He said farmers were entitled to subsidy on the containers.

“Trainees are charged Rs 3,000 for the 45-day course and we always have more students than we can handle”, says Dr Dewinder Mohan, a retired officer who is supervising the course here. The centre here has already given training to 428 youth.

Interacting with students at the centre, he revealed that keeping pedigree cows was a costly affair and the Holystein Fresian was definitely the Mercedes among cows. While an initial 15-day course imparts basic theory to youngsters, the 45-day hand on practical oriented course helps them to build as well as upgrade existing dairies.

The trainees come from not only nearby areas of the state but also from Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. Jai Bhagwan Singh from Shanti Nagar in Kurukshetra says he opted for the course on the advice of relatives who had benefited from it. H.R. Thakur from Solan in Himachal said cows made better business sense and he wanted to take training and then take a loan for upgrading his dairy.

Besides providing basic training, the centre is also a place where youth learn of incentives they can avail off. For instance, this year is the ‘year of the modern shed’ and youth are not only instructed how to modernise their sheds, but also told about how could they avail Rs 1.50 lakh subsidy on this. User of modern technology, including insertion of chips to identify animals, also helps, with banks ready to charge them two per cent less interest on loans as well as reduce insurance premium from 4.9 per cent to 1.9 per cent if they take this step.


Export of high-end products
Milkfed to increase production
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation (Milkfed) is looking at increasing the production capacity of its plants for high margin items like “ghee”, “gulab jamun”, “lassi” and processed cheese, for the export market.

The cooperative is planning to triple the capacity of its plant at Chandigarh and Mohali, at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore. A new butter-wrapping and carton packing machine, imported from Germany and worth Rs 5 crore, is also being installed at Ludhiana. The plant expansion at Chandigarh and Mohali will be completed by next year, thus helping the Milkfed produce more high value items for exports.

Officials in Milkfed informed the TNS that after having been declared as the second largest milk product exporter from India by APEDA, the cooperative was now eyeing a bigger share in the export pie. As against an export turnover of Rs 13 crore last year, Milkfed is now eyeing a 18 per cent increase this year to reach Rs 16 crore.

It is also targeting new markets for exports this year. “We are planning to start export of “gulab jamuns” to UAE and “lassi” and processed cheese to Germany by the end of this fiscal. We are also in talks with the Japan government to export processed cheese there,” said a senior official. It is learnt that, so far, Milkfed has been exporting their products to several countries in West Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Philippines.

The milk cooperative is also considering exports to the US and Canada. However, failure to patent its brand ‘Verka’ has cut short Milkfed’s plans to explore these markets. A namesake brand has been patented in the US by an NRI, which sells “paneer”, “ghee” and “dahi”.

“We are now considering an alternative strategy under which we will sign revenue-sharing agreements with firms or individuals in the US and Canada,” said the official.

He said in order to propel its exports, they were also working on increasing their milk production. “We have launched the commercial dairy farm concept in the state, which has helped us increase the milk production by 27 per cent in the past two years. We are also coming up with mega dairy farms at Mohali and Ludhiana, which will have a daily milk production of 10 lakh litres,” he added.


Complaint against Gabria
SSP summons ASI
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 15
The SSP, R.K. Jaiswal, today summoned the ASI who had complained against the jails and tourism minister, Hira Singh Garbria, for allegedly detaining him and abusing him.

Sources said following the complaint, the SSP verified the facts from ASI Hardev Singh and even DSP (rural) Paramjit SIngh Pannu to find out the truth behind the complaint.

Though Gabria today maintained that the ASI was close to his political rivals and was levelling allegations on their behest, the ASI stuck to his stand, saying that he was humiliated at the treatment meted out to him.

Jaiswal said he was looking into the complaint and it was too early to comment on it as the police had to look into the entire case pertaining to land grab.

The ASI had yesterday levelled allegations that Gabria had called him to his office through DSP Pannu and when he went there, he detained him illegally for half an hour in front of the accused in a case.

A DDR was recorded following his complaint against the minister, but no FIR was registered.

The ASI claimed that the DSP told him to go to Gabria’s office and discuss a case registered under Sections 447, 511, 506 and 311, IPC, by the Sadar police. The case had allegedly rattled Gabria as it was against his supporters. When the ASI reached there, Gabria was present in the office with the accused in the case.


DA of employees released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Punjab’s hand-to-mouth existence came to the fore once again today when the state treasury officials sent a verbal order to the secretariat cash branch that no payment be done to any employee on any account till further orders.

“This is routinely done these days to ensure that there is enough money to pay for next month’s salaries of the government,” said a source.

Ironically, the state government today also issued the letter announcing the payment of dearness allowance to its employees. The letter stated that the DA due to the employees from July 2008 till the end of this year would be added to their GPF account. From January 1, 2009, this amount will be given directly to the employees.


State to repay development loan by Jan 14
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The outstanding balance of 12.47 per cent Punjab State Development Loan issued in terms of the State government would be repaid on January 14, 2009 with interest due upto including January 13, 2009.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesman of the state government said in the event of a holiday being declared on the aforesaid date by state government under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, the loan would be repaid by the paying offices on the previous working day. No interest would accrue on the loan from and after January 14, 2009, he added.

He also said that to facilitate repayment on the due date, holders of 12.47 per cent Punjab State Development Loan, 2009, should tender their securities at the Public Debt Office 20 days in advance.


Punjab, HP police to discuss Bhakra security
Tribune News Service

Nangal, December 15
Police officials from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh will conduct a meeting to discuss the security concerns of the Bhakra dam on Tuesday in the wake of the Mumbai carnage.

BBMB chairperson U.C. Misra said the meeting was a regular exercise held as a part of reviewing the safety concerns of vital installations.

Inspector-general Sanjiv Kalra, DIG Ishwar Singh, SSP from Una and Bilaspur and other officials from the Punjab police will also be present at the meeting.

“The Bhakra dam’s security is joint concern of both Himachal Pradesh (HP) and Punjab. Both the police need to coordinate to moot a joint venture,” added an official. Major portion of the dam, especially the reservoir, falls under the Himachal Pradesh.

Officials at Barmala police post (on the way from Nangal to Bhakra) has been laced with more manpower and more arms, besides ensuring round-the-clock checking.

Also, villagers are being sensitised over movement of any suspicious looking person in the vicinity.


Police station gheraoed over inaction in murder case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 15
The protesters, who were demanding immediate arrest of the killers of milkman Balwinder Singh (45) of Mangwal village, today gheraoed the local police station for an hour and raised slogans against the police for its failure in nabbing the killers even after 11 days of his murder.

Balwinder’s body was found hanging from a tree near Nankiana Sahib Chowk here on December 4 and the police had registered a case under Sections 302, 382 and 34 of the IPC.

Under the leadership of the local Milkman and Dairy Union, men and women gathered near the local Maha Kali Devi Mandir before starting a protest march towards the police station.

Among others who addressed the protesters were general secretary of the SAD (A) Jeet Singh Alloarkh, president of the Panthic Vichar Manch Parshotam Singh Phaguwala, district president of the Bahujan Samaj Party Jagtar Singh Changal, BKU (Rajewal) leader Sarbjit Singh, vice-president of the Milkman Union Vinod Kumar and president of the Rehri Union Hari Singh.

After gheraoing the police station, the protesters marched towards the office of the deputy commissioner. They blocked road at the traffic lights chowk near main bus stand for about 15 minutes. They also staged a dharna in front of the office of the deputy commissioner and submitted a memorandum to assistant commissioner (general) Amandeep Bansal to be forward to the deputy commissioner.


Cops to pay more for medical tests
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 15
Those police personnel who undergo medical examination annually at government hospitals should be ready to dole out extra money from thier pockets, as the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) has decided to enhance fee (from Rs 100 to Rs 200) for medical examination out of the package of tests from January 1.

According to official sources here today, in a recent letter to all civil surgeons, deputy medical commissioners and senior medical officers in the state, the director of PHSC stated that those police personnel who were not patients and sought medical examination for knowing their fitness should be charged Rs 200 each from January 1.

Earlier, since July 14, 2006, a fee of Rs 100 had been fixed for a package of tests of medical examination. Hoever, the test was being done free of cost in majority of the government hospitals.

The medical authorities of various government hospitals have brought to the notice of the corporation that various branches of the police department have been prescribing their employees additional tests for annual medical examination for knowing their fitness. As a result, the government hospitals had been incurring huge expenses on these investigations, causing direct loss to the corporation.


Power staff protest govt interference
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 15
The PSEB Engineers Association has called a meeting on December 17 to work out a strategy to stop government interference in day to day working of the PSEB.

Stating this here yesterday, general secretary of the association Bhupinder Singh said the association, in a letter to the Chief Minister, had expressed its concern on the manner in which the power sector was being managed by the board and the state government.

Criticising the practice of the board to seek prior permission of the Chief Minister’s office before issuing transfer, posting or promotion orders to engineers, Bhupinder referred to a meeting held with the Chief Minister on November 6 wherein it had been assured that the matter would be sorted out to ensure timely promotion of engineers.

However, despite repeated assurances from the management, promotion orders of assistant executive engineers and senior executive engineers have not been effected for the past six months.

Taking over the functioning of the board management indicates the state government “doubts” the capabilities of the present management. In such a scenario, it would be prudent to bring more effective management rather than taking over its functions.

The association said cases of new domestic connections in many circles of the board had been pending for more than 16 months due to unavailability of material.


Cheema is vice-chief of kendra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Senior Punjab youth leader Amardeep Singh Cheema has been appointed vice-chairman of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan. The sangathan is an autonomous organisation having more than 2.40 lakh youth clubs in the country and has wide network in all districts of the country headed by the union sports minister as chairman in ex-officio capacity. Cheema is a qualified computer engineer.


High Court
PSEB chairman summoned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh directed Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) chairman and chief engineer to be present in the court on Tuesday in a case of un-recovered power bills Rs 176 crore.

The directions follow a petition filed by Bassi Pathana resident Kehar Singh. He was seeking directions to the state, the board and other respondents to take effective steps for recovery of amount, unpaid by government departments. The petition has been based on a news-report in the Punjabi Tribune.

The petitioner had, while expressing concern at the situation prevailing in the board, sought directions for taking effective steps for the recovery of arrears running into Rs.176 crore against the state government departments.

Salary hike

Punjab today told the high court that increase in salaries of non-judicial members of district consumer forum, and state commission for redressal of consumer grievances, was under consideration.

Advocate H.C.Arora had raised the issue by asserting the consumer forum members in Chandigarh were paid monthly salary of Rs 9,000, plus a conveyance allowance, whereas their counterparts in Punjab were paid a paltry salary of Rs 6,000 per month without any conveyance allowance. Likewise, the members of Punjab state commission for consumers were paid Rs 7,500 per month, while those in UT were paid Rs.10,000 per months, plus conveyance allowance. 


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