P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Removal of ban on Patna Jathedar ‘angers’ Nandgarh
Skips meeting of Sikh high priests
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
The decision of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to lift six-month-old ban imposed on Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar of Patna Sahib, from attending the meetings of Sikh clergy has annoyed Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, who was conspicuous by his absence at a meeting of the Sikh high priests here today.

Three Jathedars, Giani Gurbachan Singh, Giani Tarlochan Singh and Giani Iqbal Singh and the Head Granthi of the Golden Temple, Giani Jaswinder Singh, kept on waiting for Jathedar Nandgarh for pretty long time. The meeting had to be postponed indefinitely. It is learnt that the Jathedar of Akal Takht contacted Jathedar Nandgarh on the phone, but the latter expressed his inability to attend the meeting.

Jathedar Nandgarh and Jathedar Iqbal Singh have been at loggerheads over the supremacy of Akal Takht. Jathedar Nandgarh was agitated over the statement of Giani Iqbal Singh for challenging the existence of Takht Damdama Sahib. It is on record that Giani Iqbal Singh had claimed many times that Takht Patna Sahib is the supreme temporal authority of the Sikhs.

Giani Iqbal Singh was invited to the meeting allegedly without consulting Jathedar Nandgarh.

Meanwhile, Jathedar Nandgarh said he could not attend the meeting because he was not clear about the agenda. He, however, hastened to add that he was not feeling well. On the other hand, Jathedar Akal Takht said the next meeting would be fixed in the second week of January.


No cabinet status to planning board chief: CM
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 18
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has backtracked on the issue of granting cabinet status to the newly appointed chairpersons of the planning boards in view of a stiff opposition from the BJP.

The Chief Minister, while presiding over the state level Christmas function organised in Jalandhar here this noon, made an announcement to this effect.

The government had been mulling over grating the largesse to 25 individuals in addition to the 15 already enjoying the cabinet status but the public stand taken by the BJP during a press conference in Patiala yesterday has paid put to the move.

State BJP chief Rajinder Bhandari had minced no words in castigating the move and had added that he would be taking the issue with his alliance partner during a meeting with the Chief Minister.

The move with regard to the bestowing of cabinet status on individuals holding public positions was being seen in political circles as something of an appeasement gesture with hardly any public interest.

The polity, babudom and the police, too, had been under fire in the recent past for not taking any steps in pruning the huge security cover to self-styled VIPs, politicians and other protectees.

As per estimates, the government ends up spending between Rs 50 and Rs 70 lakh per annum on security and pother utilities.

On a query that 1,000 personnel were guarding him round the clock, he said the Centre had given the security cover and that he was unaware of the manpower and logistics involved.

Commenting on the National Investigating Agency, the bill on which was passed yesterday, he said he was not opposed to the creation of the agency, but wanted that the Centre should also revamp the state police infrastructure. Modernisation of the local constabulary, too, should be a top priority of the Centre, he pointed out.

Badal’s stand on the agency has been to the contrary while his son, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, had also announced that their party would oppose it in Parliament.

Reacting to a question on the blackout of a channel allegedly at the behest of Sukhbir, he said he was unaware of the development.


Highway expansion takes toll on trees
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, December 18
Widening of the Talwandi Sabo-Bathinda highway is taking toll on a large number of full-grown trees.

Although the union ministry of environment has given clearance for axing 833 trees on a stretch of about 6 km alongside the road, private contractors were allegedly engaged in indiscriminate felling.

The road is being four-laned up to this town that has Takht Damdama Sahib.

The trees, grown amid sand dunes and nurtured by the Forest Department, were being axed for widening the Bathinda-Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda-Muktsar and the Bathinda-Faridkot roads.

Many trees have been felled on the Bathinda-Muktsar road in the recent past.

It is learnt that the state government had sought permission to divert 18 hectares of the forest area towards widening of the Bathinda-Talwandi Sabo road, but the environment ministry had allowed diversion of 3.30 hectares. The road is being widened to 17 metres from its existing width of 6.7 metres.

Full-grown trees are rare in this Malwa. Divisional forest officer, Bathinda, said compensatory plantation would be done in the area.



Cut fuel prices by 30%: SAD
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 18
President of the SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked the Central government to proportionately reduce the price of petroleum products in line with the reduction in crude oil prices. Sukhbir was talking to the media after laying the foundation stone of sewerage and water works projects in Bhucho Mandi here. He said the Central government should reduce the prices of petrol diesel by at least 30 per cent.

He said the government had been setting up four thermal power plants, which would make possible 24-hour power supply in the state.

To a question about new CCI guidelines and the harassment being faced by farmers, the SAD president said that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had taken up the matter with the Central government to withdraw the guidelines.

Regarding former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh accusing SAD of forcibly controlling the cable network in the state, Sukhbir said Amarinder was a frustrated man and he had no topic but to raise allegations against the Badal family.

Earlier, addressing a public rally here, Sukhbir revealed his future plans, including setting up of two universities in Bathinda and Amritsar. He also gave a grant of Rs 2.50 crore to the Bhucho Nagar Council for development.

Balwinder Singh Bhunder, former MLA, Sikander Singh Maluka, district president, SAD, and Jagdish Singh Nakai, chief parliamentary secretary, were also present.

MUKTSAR: Harsimrat Kaur, wife of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Thursday said that people were feeling insecure as the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had failed to control incidents of terrorism in the country. Harsimrat Kaur, who was addressing a series of public meetings in Muktsar district, said only the NDA government with the support of the SAD could solve problems of the people. She said the people should not get “misled” by what former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was propagating against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. She distributed cheques worth Rs 1.21 crore among representatives of 31 panchayats of the district.


Oppn played spoilsport: NRI Sabha head 
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 18
Claiming that the annual NRI convention held on last Friday here not a flop show, Punjab NRI Sabha president Kamaljit Singh Hayre said some persons belonging to the opposition group had tried to disturb the programme.

Hayre said this type of action was nothing new in a democratic set up and even such protests were also common in the sessions of assemblies and the Lok Sabha.

The sabha president said the Chief Minister, also chief patron of the NRI Sabha, could not attend the convention because of some other engagements.

Hayre claimed that the general body meeting and the convention had been quite successful with the participation of prominent political leaders not only from the state but also from different foreign countries. Besides more that 2,000 NRIs attended the convention from various countries.

Appealing to all NRIs to make more and more investments by opening large-scale units in the state, he requested the state government to initiate single window system for NRIs’ investment cases.

Hayre also demanded that all possible facilities and assistance should be provided to the NRIs in this regard .


CM: Need to develop embryo transfer tech
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today stressed the need to make use of the embryo transfer technology on a commercial scale to boost the growth of dairy and achieve the quantum jump in the milk production in the state.

Chairing the 5th meeting of the Punjab Dairy Development Board here, Badal desired that a committee consisting of the secretary, Animal Husbandry, vice-chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary Animal Sciences University, and two progressive dairy farmers and it should prepare an action plan within 15 days for the implementation of the Embryo Transfer Technology programme in the state.

To check adulteration in milk and milk products, the Chief Minister ordered that the work of quality control on milk should be given to the Dairy Development department and a district-level committee consisting of deputy director, dairy, deputy manager, Milkfed and a progressive dairy farm should supervise the work of quality control.


Centre slams state for unutilised grants
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Government of India has in a strongly worded letter to the Chief Minister reprimanded the state for not utilising the grants it gave to the state under a prestigious central scheme.

Union minister for the state for the labour and employment Oscar Fernandes, in a communication to the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, has said the state has lagged behind in the implementation of the centrally sponsored scheme of upgrading Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) into centres of excellence.

The government of India had floated a centrally sponsored scheme for improvement in vocational training in the country with the assistance of the World Bank. A total of 400 ITIs across the country were to be chosen for the scheme, out of which 100 ITI’s were picked up from the state alone in 2006. Out of these, Punjab has implemented the project in only 20 ITI’s.

Fernandes has written that the funds released by the centre during the last financial year 2007-2008 have been only recently released to the ITI’s. “As a result there is substantial delay in the proper implementation of the scheme,” he wrote.

“It has also been brought to my notice,” added Fernandes, “that the performance of your state under the scheme is also not satisfactory. Available funds have not been utilised for procurement of tools and equipment and there are large number of vacancies of principals and instructors.”

An officer in the Technical Education Department, however, said the implementation of the scheme was being done in a phased manner.

“The first set of the institutes have been given Rs 2.5 crore each and we have listed another 10 ITI’s for the next phase,” he said.

The officer, however, admitted that there was an acute shortage of instructors in the ITI’s, but the problem was being sorted out by hiring teachers on contract.

Cautioning the state Fernandes added, “Funds are required to be released within a month of release by the Central government as per the MoU signed between the state and the Centre.”

State chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said the scheme was a prestigious one and all efforts were being made to implement it. “We would be informing the centre about the implementation status of the scheme,” he said.


Lone bomb squad caters to VIPs
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The Punjab government seems to believe its bomb disposal squad has the power of a superman. For just one squad with the government is used to cater to the VIPs and commoners. Needless to say it is for the VIPs alone.

Only last night, the Ludhiana police waited for 4.5 hours for the bomb disposal squad to reach the Dholewal chowk where a briefcase was found under mysterious circumstances.

Since the squad was providing cover to SAD supremo Sukhbir Singh Badal during his visit at Mansa, it could reach the city only after midnight after panic calls from the district police started at 8 pm.

Four nearly five hours, the police was on tenterhooks. Fortunately, the briefcase did not have any explosives. Only thing it could do was to cordon off the area, put sand bags around it so as to minimise the impact if a blast took place.

Sources in the police said it was a matter of concern for them that the state had the only bomb squad at PAP, Phillaur. They said they had written to the state government a number of times to provide them with Hazmat vans to tackle such exigencies like other states.

Sources added anti sabotage team of the state too was ill-equipped to handle any such eventualities.

“The police had written to the government for another bomb disposal squad two months ago. Later Mumbai attacks took place. We wanted the matter expedited but it seems nobody is interested,” said a senior official, praying anonymity.


CBI wants death for Kandahar hijacker
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wants death sentence for Abdul Latif Adam Momin. Convicted for his role in the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 from Kathmandu to Delhi, he was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Patiala on February 5.

In an application filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court for enhancement of sentence, the premier investigating agency has equated the case with the attack on Parliament to say there was no other case of the same magnitude.

The CBI has also claimed the case falls in the category of “rarest of rare cases”. Challenging the judgment, the CBI asserted the trial court, instead of awarding “well-deserved death sentence under Section 302 and 120-B of the IPC to convict Abdul Latif, awarded inadequate sentence of life imprisonment”.

In all, three persons accused of helping the hijackers were sentenced to life by the special judge, designate court under the Anti-hijacking Act. Going into the background of the matter, the CBI asserted in December 1999, the flight carrying 179 passengers and 11 crew members was hijacked by five now-absconding hijackers.

The aircraft was taken to Lahore, then to Minhad airbase in Dubai before being taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan by five militants. The aircraft and the hostages were released in exchange of three militants on December 31, 1999.

The CBI asserted the objective was to hijack the aircraft in order to get their leader Maulana Masood Azar released from a jail in India. Abdul Latif, it was added, was born in Gujarat and taken by Pakistan-based militant outfit Harkat-ul-Majahiddin from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, where he was trained for subversive activities against India.

The CBI further claimed he was then deputed to assist accused-absconder Yusuf Azhar in Mumbai and other parts of the country. It was further alleged Azhar, in September 1998, gave his passport in name of Mohammad Salim to Abdul Latif for obtaining visa from Bangladesh embassy in Delhi. The prosecution had earlier claimed a phone call from Pakistan asking Latif to contact a TV reporter in London to give out the demands of the hijackers had led the police to the conspirators. The CBI had, in all, charged 10 persons. Out of the total seven, including the five hijackers, were still absconding. 


Development yatra from Dec 22

Chandigarh, December 18
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will undertake a development yatra from December 22, which will cover four parliamentary constituencies in the first phase of 10 days.

Disclosing this here today while talking to mediapersons, the Chief Minister said he would personally distribute cheques during the yatra which would unveil a Rs 550 crore development plan for the state.

Badal said while he would cover Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Khadoor Sahib during his yatra and that he would take up the remaining nine constituencies in the next phase.

The development, which will be showcased to the people, includes Rs 226 crore for towns and cities. He said Rs 324 crore had been earmarked for the rural areas. Each constituency is set to get an assured sum of Rs 3 crore.

The Chief Minister also offered that the state was ready to get 1,000 police personnel trained from the Centre to fight terrorism. He, however, said the state governments should be associated with the National Agency being formed to fight terrorism. — TNS 


Truckers put off strike
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 18
The All-India Motor Transport Congress today postponed its strike.

“Earlier, we were to go on strike on December 20, but it has been now postponed to January 5 following a request made by the union government in this regard”, said Charan Singh Lohara, president of the congress, which is the largest body of truckers in the country, here today.

“In view of the Mumbai terrorist attack, the union government had remained occupied dealing with that crisis and it had sought some more time to ponder over the demands of the Congress”, said Lohara.

He said recently, the union government had reduced the price of diesel by Rs 2 per litre but truckers wanted it to be slashed by Rs 10 per litre.

Lohara, who is based in Ludhiana, said while the price of crude oil had come down even below $40, the union government had not reduced the price of diesel in the same proportion. Other demands of the Congress included exemption to truckers from toll tax. Owners of trucks were biggest employer of the semi-literate youth and to give exemption to them from toll tax was in national interest. 


Boycott Apollo, MRF tyres

President of the All-India Motor Transport Congress Charan Singh Lohara has said truckers had decided not to buy the tyres manufactured by the Apollo and MRF because these companies. have not reduced prices despite fall in price of rubber by 40 per cent in the international market


Zee TV urges Badal to lift blackout 
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Zee television today claimed it had brought the issue of blackout of its Zee Punjabi channel on December 16, after it telecast allegations against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, to the notice of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and expected him to take prompt action in this regard.

Talking to TNS from Delhi, Pramod Kaul, televisions’ head, current affairs, said though the channel had been operating in Punjab since the past nine years, it was the first time it had faced such a situation. He said the channel felt that the government could address the issue because the channel had been blackedout after it telecast a press conference of Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira who had claimed that Sukhbir Badal had acquired control over the DIGI cable operator network in the state as well as PTC channel.

Kaul said there was a need for transparency in the system as all of a sudden Zee Punjabi was 106th on the band width in Punjab which effectively meant that it could not be accessed by anyone who had a cable connection. Speaking today evening, he said it had already been 48 hours since the channel was blackedout but the government had failed to react on the issue despite a promise by the Chief Minister that he would look into it.

Meanwhile, Romila Sharma, Zee Punjabi business head, said this was not the first time that the media had been gagged in this manner. She said earlier Roop Sharma, president, cable operators federation of India, had alleged that the Badal family was behind snipping off the popular channel “Punjab Today” in 2007. She said the case had been forwarded to the then I&B minister and it was alleged that Sukhbir Badal and Parkash Singh Badal had used unethical and unlawful means to threaten cable operators in Punjab region.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today alleged that the government had banned relay of Zee Punjabi in the state through the cable network as part of Sukhbir Badal’s effort to only allow relay of programmes that were in conformity with his political doctrine and views.

In a statement here, Capt Amarinder alleged Sukhbir had taken over the cable network by coercive methods of threat, by the use of the police, and the registration of false cases against cable operators. He said PTC was the only Punjabi channel on the appropriate UHF band in Punjab giving maximum coverage in the state.

Sukhbir Badal could not be contacted for his comments despite numerous attempts. 


Minorities Commission soon

Badal has said decks have been cleared for setting up of the Punjab Minorities Commission.

He said the modalities were being worked out and the multiple member board would be functional soon. It would would have representatives from the Muslims, Christians and Jain communities.

The matter has been pending for the past many years and was debated at length during the previous regime. It was felt that since the Sikhs are a majority in the state but they are a minority in the rest of the country. The main issue was that the provisions of the commission in the lone state where they were a majority would not cover them.

Conceding a long-pending demand of the community in the state, Badal said he had directed the administration to identify a suitable piece of land for the construction of a Masih Bhavan in Jalandhar. He also announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the building.


PSEB inks pact with Parbati Koldam
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 18
Y.S Ratra, chairman, PSEB, said the board had signed agreement with Parbati Koldam Transmission Company Limited, a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure Limited and the Power Grid Corporation of India to construct 457 Circuit km of 400 KV transmission line from Parbati Dam to Ludhiana at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore.

The agreement has been signed by H.S Brar, member (Distribution), PSEB, and Ramesh Bahri, director (Projects) of the company.

Brar disclosed that 16,00 MW power would flow from Parbati Dam through these lines and the PSEB would be getting about 200 MW after completion of these lines, which would ease power position in the state.


Bhagtawala mandi to go high-tech
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 18
In view of the globalisation of markets the government has decided to revamp the entire agriculture marketing stockyards by equipping it with high-tech systems besides mechanisations of the entire mandi operations.

Stating this, Bikram Singh Majithia, information and public relation minister said the government had embarked upon an ambitious up gradation of all mandis with a total outlay of more than Rs 350 crore with modern handling and cleaning equipment. He was here to inaugurate the development works worth Rs 15.50 crore in the region’s biggest grain market at Bhagtawala today.

Addressing the gathering of farmers and commission agents, he said the government would also develop 20 mandis exclusively for cotton crop in the Malwa region besides developing 12 new exclusive vegetable mandis in various parts of the state. He said to promote the marketing of Kenu, estate complexes were being developed at Abohar, Talwandi Jatta, Badal, Chotti Kalan and Bhugha Hariana.

Meanwhile, Majithia claimed that the Bhagtawala grain market would be transformed into the Asia’s best market. He said the initial infrastructure development in this market had been started with Rs 2.25 crore for constructing new auction platforms on 13.92 acres of land. He said remaining amount would be spent on construction and repair of roads, concrete pavements, installing lights and sewerage facilities.


Talent search exams for govt schools’ students
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 18
The Education Department has introduced district-level and state-level talent search examinations in science and mathematics for the students of Class-XIII and only mathematics for Class-V students to identify brilliant students and nurture their talent.

This scheme has been introduced on the pattern of a national talent-search examination being conducted by the National Council of Education and Research Training since 1963.

A senior official of the department, while disclosing this to The Tribune, said the new scheme of the state government would honour and help talented students by providing financial assistance in the form of prizes.

At the state-level, the government had decided to give prizes to the top three students of each class in both subjects. The first prize would have a cash prize of Rs 5,100, second prize Rs 4,100 and third prize Rs 3100, besides few consolation prizes and certificates of merit.

Similarly, at the district-level, a provision had been made to give cash prizes of Rs 2,100, 1,500 and 1,100 for those students who would stand first, second and third in the examinations, respectively.

The department had identified 850 intelligent students who would take the district-level examination in mathematics and science, said Major Singh Sandhu, district education officer.

He said the scheme had been mooted under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for the students of government schools only. At least 20,000 students are likely to take the talent search examinations on January 10 across the state.

The unique feature of this scheme is unlike the national talent-search examination, the students would have to pay nothing for this examination either for application form or as examination fee. “This is totally free so as to attract more and more students from all sections of society”, he added.


Protesting anganwadi workers get appointment letters
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
After a lapse of 12 years, the Punjab government finally bowed today and gave appointment letters to 48 anganwadi workers posted in various child development projects across the state.

The workers of Social Welfare and Woman and Child Development Department, have been appointed as supervisors and given a scale of Rs 5000-8100. They were on a fast-unto death outside the office of director, Social Security, Women and Child Development, Punjab in Sector 34, since November 3. The long struggle saw many ups and downs, with the protestors facing the police wrath during their agitations.

It is pertinent to mention here that the anganwadi workers had been struggling both legally and by staging protests to get appointed as supervisors since December 1996. However, they were deprived of the pension facility and were posted at places far from their homes.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had given a verdict on March 19 this year to appoint the anganwadi workers as supervisors. During the process of the distribution of appointment letters, members of other group moved the high court following which a stay was imposed. Then, only 27 workers were appointed, leaving the remaining affected members in distress. Santosh Kaur, one of the affected worker, launched a fast unto death on November 3. She was admitted to a hospital after 11 days of the protest, when her condition worsened. Kuldeep Singh Sidhu, president of the government teachers union, Mohali, broke the fast by offering juice to Jasbir Kaur, one of the protestors.

It is also mentioned in the letters that the appointments were temporary, however, they could be extended in future. 


Appointment of CEO challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Punjab’s action of appointing PPS officer Khushi Mohammed as the CEO of Punjab Wakf Board was today challenged. Describing the appointment as illegal and against the procedure prescribed in the Wakf rules, advocate Abdul Rashid questioned how the new appointee could do justice to the two jobs, especially when the distance between the two places of work was more than 100 km. The Board CEO is SP, Barnala, at present.

Taking up the matter, Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Rajan Gupta issued notice of motion for February 20 next year to Punjab home secretary, Punjab Wakf Board.


Septic tank case goes to Vigilance Bureau
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Punjab Vigilance Bureau is probing the matter pertaining to Rs 4 crore going down the drain due to installation of defective septic tanks in the villages. The information was given to the Punjab and Haryana High Court today by Punjab advocate-general Hardev Singh Mattewal during the hearing of a public interest litigation.

The division bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh was also assured that the needful was being done to take the matter to a logical conclusion.

In all, as many as 9,000 tanks were installed in 36 villages across the state at an estimated cost of Rs 7 crore. Out of the total, an estimated 67 per cent of the tanks reportedly developed cracks and other defects soon after installation. The Bench, on the previous date of hearing, had asked the state counsel to ask the secretary concerned to do the needful for referring the matter to the vigilance bureau.

Review sought

In a PIL before Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh, review of 431 appointments made between August 2002 and November 2007 in Punjabi University, Patiala, has been sought.

The bench issued notice of motion for January 14 next year to Punjabi University and its vice-chancellor to file the response to the issue brought to the fore in the PIL of Harsharan Kaur and six others, all unemployed youth.

The appointments, it was alleged, were made on the recommendations of senior politicians like Preneet Kaur, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Capt. Kamaljit Singh, Jeet Mohinder Singh and others. The non-teaching posts include senior technical assistants, technical assistant, proof readers, copy holders, steno typists, workshop assistant, field investigators, table instructor and yoga instructor.

Punjab on notice

Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Augustine George Masih today issued notice of motion on a petition against authorising an assistant project officer to file complaints under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of sex selection) Act.

The petition has been filed by Dr Preetinder Kaur and Dr Harmesh Lal of Bathnda. They said in 2003 the then DC Anurag Agarwal constituted a PNDT cell. They said in the name of the cell, money was forcibly collected from the doctors with USG machines by selling them blank form “F”. When the doctors resented, an order was issued asking the in charge to file cases against prominent ultrasound centres. 


Multi-crore evasion detected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Punjab and Haryana High Court was today told the evasion of verification and stamping duty by two Ludhiana-based companies since 2003 was over Rs 8 crore. As the matter of duty evasion came before Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh, Punjab advocate-general H.S. Mattewal said Rs 5 crore was to be recovered from one firm, and the remaining from the other.

He added the licences of the two had been placed under suspension. Mattewal also sought six weeks’ time to inform the court on further action taken in the matter. The issue involves huge losses to state exchequer by two tape-manufacturing companies. Advocate N.K. Jain had sought action against the alleged large-scale evasion in connivance with the officers of the controller of legal metrology department.


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