P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Moga Sex Scandal
SC defers decision on state’s plea
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 5
The Supreme Court today adjourned decision for one month on Punjab government’s plea to set aside CBI probe in the Moga sex scandal.

The state had filed a special leave petition on February 4, 2008, challenging the December 11, 2007, order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which ordered for a CBI investigation into this scandal.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone, Ajay Pal, counsel for the state, said the court had adjourned the decision on the pretext that a similar case with larger ramifications filed by West Bengal and others was awaiting final orders before a constitutional bench of the apex court later this month. The powers of the apex court and the high courts to order CBI probe without the consent of the concerned state governments have been questioned in the case.

Justice RV Raveendran, who is heading a double bench of the apex court, and his colleague Justice JM Panchal, in this case of Punjab government are also members of the constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan. Justice DK Jain and Justice P Sathasivam are other members in the case of West Bengal and others.

Justice Raveedran, while adjourning the decision on Punjab’s plea for one month, said the constitutional bench would pronounce its decision within three weeks time in West Bengal and others case and thereafter he would pass the final verdict in this case accordingly.

The Punjab government is of the view that high courts could not do so in the face of statutory limitations.

Ajay Pal was of the view: “Since, high court’s jurisdiction is restricted to the state concerned, the courts could give no direction to an authority outside the state’s jurisdiction”.

On February 7, 2008, the apex court had granted a stay on the ‘filing of the status report by the CBI in the impugned order’, which would continue till the final decision now pending for next month. It means that the CBI could continue investigation in the sex scandal but would have to wait for the orders of the apex court to submit a challan before the competent court.

The CBI had almost completed its probe and recently asked for a permission from the state government to prosecute senior police officers allegedly involved in this scam.

Manpreet Kaur, on whose complaint the main FIR in the sex scandal was registered, had also filed an affidavit before the apex court that she was satisfied with the ongoing probe being conducted by the state agencies.


No headway in talks with truckers
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Trucks stationed on the premises of the Truck Operators’ Union office in Bathinda on Monday in support of the nationwide strike call demanding decrease in fuel price.
Trucks stationed on the premises of the Truck Operators’ Union office in Bathinda on Monday in support of the nationwide strike call demanding decrease in fuel price. Tribune photo: Kulbir Beera

Jalandhar, January 5
The third round of talks between the government and the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) failed last evening.

“It will be a fight to the finish this time and the government should not test our patience,” says AIMTC chairman Charan Singh Lohara.

Talking to The Tribune from Delhi, he said after the third round of talks with Transport Secretary Brahm Dutt, there has been no official word from the government so far. It seems that they are not willing to accede to our demands. On our part we, too, want that all issues be settled once and for all and are prepared for a protracted tussle, he said.

The impact of the strike would be felt in the next two days since the supply chain in the country has been broken from last midnight. No booking of goods has been done across the country and the trucks seen on the roads today were the ones that were already en route their destinations before the strike began, he added.

Truck operators across the country have asked us to go all out to get our long-pending demands redressed at all costs, he said.

Lohara said the prices of diesel, lubricants and other components had gone up and they had been further burdened with unreasonable taxes and toll charges.

It was beyond their comprehension that why were they being targeted when the government was providing bailouts to other sectors, he added.

As the trucks remained off the roads today, drivers at the local Transport Nagar could be seen sleeping or playing cards near their vehicles. The booking offices wore a deserted look.


Unutilised Funds
MPs blame it on admn
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Punjab MPs, whose utilisation of MPLAD (MP Local Area Development) funds has been rated “very poor” by the Punjab Planning Department, have claimed that the administration not them was responsible for this state of affairs.

The department is scheduled to hold a meeting on January 9 to identify bottlenecks and ensure a speedy utilisation of unspent balances. Each MP gets Rs 2 crore every year under the scheme and there are less than three months left for them to utilise Rs 10 crore under this scheme.

Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and industrialist Rana Gurjeet Singh, whose fund utilisation has been rated “very poor”, have blamed the administration for a slow disbursal of funds. Atwal said he faced problems in getting utilisation certificates for various works in his erstwhile Phillaur constituency during the Congress rule in the state.

Atwal says the panchayat elections also slowed down the process of distribution of funds. “I have made recommendations of Rs 10.35 crore worth of funds,” he says, adding that he is hopeful that Rs 3 crore out of his Rs 10 crore allocation will be released by March.

Congress MP Rana Gurjeet Singh, whose constituency is now a reserved seat, claims his “performance” dipped only during the SAD-BJP regime. “If you see my performance one year back, you will be able to gauge the difference,” he said. Calling the department report a “negative one”, he says if Rs 2.54 crore earmarked by him has still not been spent, there is no fault of his. “In the last one year, I have given grants to nagar councils and process of getting a utilisation certificate from them is very long.”

Meanwhile, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has attracted the “poor” remark on the balance sheet giving status of fund release and expenditure, claims he is the only MP who has spent Rs 9.56 crore out of the Rs 10 crore grant in four and a half years. He had even managed to get an amount of Rs 3 crore, which had not been utilised by former MP RL Bhatia. Two instalments of Rs 1 crore each had been sanctioned by the Centre in November and distribution of this money was already on, he says.


Punjab sets example for other states
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
For Punjab, where government school education had remained ignored for years, rolling out a success story for the rest of the country to replicate is no mean achievement.

A first of its kind project in India, the state government ran a 45-day coaching course at 95 centres across the state last year through Edusat. Every Class XII student studying in a government school and appearing for various pre-engineering and pre-medical tests could take this coaching free of cost. The lectures were delivered by teachers at the Edusat hub studio in Mohali and those were simultaneously aired at these centres.

More than 350 students, who took these “virtual” coaching classes, were selected to engineering and medical colleges. Other than government school students, a host of private school students also benefited from the course. Sahil Bhagat, a student of a private school in Pathankot, got through IIT, Ropar. “I did not take any other pre-entrance course except for this one. Other than IIT, Ropar, I got a good position in AIEEE also,” said Sahil.

And this year, the stage is all set for better performance. “The Punjab Edusat Society would begin the entrance test coaching classes from April 1 and continue these till May 31. The coaching is free for Class XII students of government schools across the state. For other students it would cost Rs 1,000 for the entire course,” said Krishan Kumar, Director-General, School Education.

He added that the number of centres had increased from 95 last year to 180 this year and even in far-flung rural areas coaching would be available.

The hub studio in Mohali is connected to these centres through the education satellite and while the lecture is being delivered students gathered at these centres “see and listen” to the teacher. It is also possible for the teacher to interact with the students. While the lecture is being delivered the queries being put by students are received and flashed on the computer in front of the teacher. He responds to it during the lecture session.

Rajeev Sharma, assistant director, Edusat, said students would be given the lecture content before the classes begin. The society had issued instructions to all heads of institutions having Edusat network to enrol students who are willing to attend this programme, added Sharma.


Hoshiarpur village to be rural tourism site
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5
Khurali village in Hoshiarpur district, associated with the great saint of medieval India, Guru Ravidass, is all set to become a rural tourism destination village.

The project is likely to be commissioned by April 2009, Tourism Ministry officials said on Monday, adding that Tourism Minister Ambika Soni would lay the foundation stone of a display hall-cum-tourist facilitation center at Khurali on Wednesday.

Guru Ravidass visited and stayed there for four years, two months and 11 days between 1515 and 1519.

Officials said establishing Khurali as a tourist destination had been envisaged keeping in view the focus of the National Tourism Policy, 2002, on developing rural tourism for providing sustainable livelihoods and integrated rural development.

Since there is a large following of Guru Ravidass in north and central India, it was proposed that if this place of immense historical importance is developed, it will not only increase tourist inflow to Hoshiarpur district, but be also beneficial to local people.

“Primary beneficiaries will be residents of Khurali and nearby villages, who are disadvantaged in the sense that their landholdings are small, quality of soil is poor and groundwater is available only at a depth of around 1,100 feet,” the officials add.

The Tourism Ministry sanctioned Rs 159.57 lakh in October, 2008, the grant of Central Financial Assistance (CFA). Eighty per cent of the sanctioned amount has already been released for the project.

The project will be commissioned within a maximum period of six months from the date of issue of sanction October 15, 2008.



LS polls: Thapar submits report on Himachal
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 5
The Congress has geared up for the coming Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh after having lost power in the state at the hands of the BJP in the assembly elections in 2007.

Dr Malti Thapar, former Health Minister of Punjab, who has been appointed party observer for the Lok Sabha elections for the hill state, while talking to The Tribune revealed that she had submitted her report to the party high command on the prospects of her party in Himachal Pradesh.

Out of the four Lok Sabha seats in the state, the Congress has three sitting MPs, Col Dhani Ram Shandil from Shimla (reserve), Pratibha Singh, wife of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, from Mandi and Prof Chander Kumar from Kangra. In the Hamirpur constituency, Anurag Thakur, son of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, was elected to the Lok Sabha in a byelection last year.

Dr Thapar said the Congress had a strong base in Shimla, Mandi and Kangra constituencies and could easily regain these seats. In Hamirpur also, the Congress has got a strong base. “In all past elections, whether the Congress or the BJP won this seat, the margin of votes had been a few thousands only except for the last byelection when Anurag won this seat by a margin of 1.75 lakh votes,” she added.

Reacting to the rumours in the political circles that Pratibha was reluctant to re-contest the elections from the Mandi constituency, she said Pratibha had so far not conveyed her reluctance in written to the party.


‘Look after old party workers’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala today created a stir in political circles in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections when he reached the house of a dissident Akali leader and lamented that old workers were like old war horses, who should not be ignored. Barnala went to the house of former MP Amrik Singh Aliwal at a largely attended function by Akalis. and in his address he said a political party was like a fortress supported by old workers.


Pak raises border wall height
Sanjay Bumbroo and PK Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Dauke (Indo-Pak border), January 5
Pakistan has strengthened and upgraded positions along the Indo-Pakistan border near this village by raising the wall along the international border.

A visit to the village, surrounded by Pakistani territory on three sides, showed that the wall’s height was almost doubled recently compared to the one built after the Kargil war and stand-off in 2001 after attack on Parliament. Pakistan’s security forces have extended the wall up to Bhaini Jatta village on their side and work was on to complete the wall in rest of the area.

Villagers, showing the earlier wall, said JCB machines and trucks had been deployed by Pakistanis to raise the height of the wall across the barbed fence. They said with the raising of the wall they would come under direct attack of the Pakistani army in case of eventuality from across the border.

Gulzar Singh, another villager, said he failed to understand that whenever India re-constructed damaged bunkers or undertook other construction Pakistan raised objections, while there was no response from Indian forces on the new development which alarmed Indian villagers. He said the defence wall was being constructed over the past few months and to hide activities along the Radcliffe Line.

Balkar Singh, another villager, said after tension between the two countries after the Mumbai strikes, the raising of the wall would be advantageous to Pakistani forces. They would become sitting ducks and be in their line of fire in case of an eventuality, they feared.

With Pakistani territory on three sides, Dauke has only the nullah bridge which connects it with the rest of India. The bridge is in poor condition and if it is damaged, villagers would get cut off from the country. Meanwhile, security agencies on the Indian side were monitoring the situation.


Tension on Indo-Pak border hits bilateral trade
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, January 5
Public opinion here has been veering to total economic blockade of Pakistan following terror attacks in many years. It will hit the Indo-Pak trade.

The border trade between the two countries has seen many ups and down. There was an upswing in trade before the Mumbai strikes, with the opening of the trade route and free movement of trucks across the Radcliff Line. Present situation has made traders here jittery.

Trade between two countries had crossed the 2-billion dollar mark and was expected to grow with India being provided a most-favoured nation status. Present uncertainty may bring the trade to a virtual halt. The traders here, exporting fresh potatoes and tomatoes on credit, are extremely worried, fearing that an upheaval in economic ties may hit them financially.

Although the balance of trade was in favour of India, in view of the five duty-free items being exported to Pakistan and India importing cement. India has already prepared a blueprint to develop modern six-lane cargo complex at the Attari-Wagah joint check post for hassle-free trade with Pakistan and acquisition of 120 acres has been initiated for it.

Hawks in Pakistan have been demanding severance of economic ties and end to business links with India. This has sent shock waves among Indian businessmen. An exporter said they were on tenterhooks and any move would jeopardise their payments. The governments of both countries must lower rhetoric and solve the terror problem through tough action against the groups based in Pakistan.

A security expert said the world, including India, should have a joint front to tackle terror which had virtually enveloped the world.


Op Parakaram martyrs remembered
PK Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Mahawa (Indo-Pak border), January 5
Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla joined Armymen in paying tributes to Operation Parakram, 2001, martyrs. Sixteen soldiers of 113 Engineer and Dogra regiments and three civilians died while offloading mines in this border village a few hundred metres from the Radcliff Line.

Earlier, the bhog of the akhand path was held by villagers on the occasion in the gurdwara built near the memorial in memory of the martyrs.

The gurdwara is managed by the villagers, while the Army also contributes to its upkeep. The memorial situated near the gurdwara has names of jawans and three civilians Pargat Singh, Saheb Singh and Gurjit Singh who died on January 5, 2002, when the truck unloading mines rolled back resulting in a blast.

Chawla led the civilians to pay homage to the martyrs of Operation Parakram and donated Rs 2 lakh for renovating the memorial. Residents of the area demanded a fountain, decorative chains around the memorial, besides floor tiles.

The panchayat of the village vented its ire on a senior Akali leader who had promised to give Rs 50,000 for the memorial, but the cheque issued by him was not honoured. They wanted the government to develop the memorial and the village.


Demand royalty from non-riparian states,
Dal Khalsa to govt

Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 5
Accusing the successive union governments of robbing the state of its river waters since 1966, the Dal Khalsa has written to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, urging him to demand royalty from non-riparian state Rajasthan for using 40 crore million acre feet (MAF) of Ravi-Beas waters since 1966.

The Sikh body described the reported statement of expert Pritam Singh Kumedan that Rajasthan owes Punjab billions of rupees for the water it has been receiving through Rajasthan canal for more than 40 years as a wake up call not only for the Punjab government but also for the people of the state.

Dal Khalsa political secretary and its spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh has stated in the letter it is astonishing and disgusting to learn that no government in Punjab have so far dared to ask for royalty in lieu of the non-riparian states, including Rajasthan, using state’s river waters for so long.

The spokesperson of the Sikh group has squarely accused the Congress as well Akalis of failing to protect the interests of the state. Urging the Punjab government to ask the Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi governments to pay royalty for using the waters of the Punjab rivers, he says Punjab is the owner of the waters of the Sutlej, Ravi and Beas and no force or legislation could deprive the state from its right of ownership.


Hopefully, solution for a rotten problem today
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
As huge stock of wheat lying at various places in the state has become a headache for the state government, a high-level meeting will be held in Chandigarh tomorrow to deal with it.

Official sources said that the meeting had been convened by Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh. Senior officers of the Food Corporation of India’s regional office at Chandigarh, the Punjab Food and Supplies Department and various government procurement agencies have been asked to attend the meeting. The Financial Commissioner, Development, and other senior officers have also been told to take part in the meeting.

The Punjab government wanted to move out about 50-lakh tonne of wheat stock to other states to make space for the stacking of fresh wheat that would start arriving in various markets in about 12 weeks from now.

As there is no scope of moving out the huge stock in such a short time of 12 weeks to other states, the Punjab government will have to create new space for the stacking of fresh wheat. “Not more than 10-lakh tonne of wheat can be moved out from Punjab in the next 12 weeks”, said a senior officer of the state government.

Due to this reason, there is no alternative except to create new storage space for the stacking of fresh wheat. The Agriculture Department has estimated the production of 150-lakh tonne of wheat from 35 lakh hectare of land under cultivation. About 100 -lakh tonne will be available for procurement for the central pool.

The state government had urged the union government to expedite the process of moving the wheat to other states from Punjab. However, the union government has not cared much in this regard. In fact, the union government had already huge buffer stock of 220-lakh tonne of wheat with it. It has felt no urgency to send wheat from Punjab to other states because enough stock of wheat is available in those states.


It may be just the tip of the iceberg
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
It could just be the tip of the iceberg. Several metric tonnes of paddy and wheat procured by the various state agencies and stored in the open is rotting.

The Tribune team discovered stacks of wheat and paddy lying uncovered at Ucha Kalan Khamanon village and at the Ranwan Focal point near Khamanon.

Stored on plinths, these stacks did not have tarpaulin covers on them. The paddy and wheat bags were torn at many places and in some stacks, fungus had also come up due to moisture. Some part of the stored stock was found to be giving out a stench. Other stacks also showed signs of having been infested with insects and damaged due to cross contamination.

The Punjab Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had called for a special meeting of officers tomorrow over the issue.

“Grain storage had become a major issue this year because the movement of grain from Punjab to other states has slowed down substantially. This is mainly due to the fact that the states which were being sent grain from Punjab have become producers of grain themselves. Also there has been a bumper crop in the state this year,” explained Cabinet Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon.


Mela Nabhe Da ends on high note
Our Correspondent

Nabha, January 5
One of the oldest and biggest cultural extravaganzas of Malwa, Mela Nabhe Da, concluded here last evening. The event was organised by the Nabha Social Welfare and Cultural Club of the town.

A galaxy of Punjabi folk stars like Harjit Harman, Jassi Sohianwala, Gagan Mehtab, Chamkaur Khatra, Gurkirpal Surapuri, Satwinder Bitti, Sunita Bhatti, Bhupinder Gill, Neelam and comedian Bhajna Amli-Santi enthralled the audience on the second day of the 17th Nirmal Nehla Yadgari Mela Nabhe Da. Entertainment of the audience was continuous from dawn to dusk by the Punjabi artistes of international repute.

The first day of the mela was dedicated to the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh and purely religious presentations were made, apart from organising a blood donation camp.

The mela reached its climax with the arrival of Satinder Bitti on the stage who presented foot-tapping melodies. “Jat firda ladai mul lain nu...”, “Rama Rama hare hare...”, “Boliyan...” and “Love ho gaya...” were widely appreciated. As dusk fell and folks were going out of control, organisers and the police were on their toes.

The organisers honoured prominent personalities. Dr Ashu Deep Rupa was awarded with Dr Bachitar Singh Award, Tejwant Singh Mann with the Bhai Kahan Singh Award, Raj Kakara the Shiv Kumar Batalvi Award, while Satwinder Bitti bagged the Nirmal Singh Nehla Award. Eminent writer Gurdarshan Singh Bal was also honoured for his significant contribution in Punjabi literature.


Fog: Trains cancelled till Jan 31
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 5
The Northern Railway cancelled several trains due to foggy weather. Some cancelled trains stop at different stations in Punjab.

Railway sources said the Katihar-Amritsar-Katihar Express (train numbers 5707, 5708), the Amritsar-Pathankot, the Amritsar DMU (1ABP, 11ABP) and the Ludhiana-Ferozepur-Ludhiana passenger (3LF, 8LF) and the Ambala- Nangal Dam-Ambala passenger (3/4 USN) would remain cancelled from January 4 to 31.

The Amritsar Howrah Express (3049, 3050) will remain cancelled between Mughal Sarai and Amritsar railway stations, the Jaynagar Amritsar Express (4673, 4674) cancelled between Ambala and Amritsar and Shaheed/Saryuyamuna Express (4649, 4650) will remain cancelled between Ambala and Amritsar from January 4 to 31.

Apart from this, several trains having stoppage at different railway stations of Punjab were cancelled for Monday only. These trains included the New Delhi-Amritsar New Delhi Shan-e-Punjab Express, the New Delhi Bathinda-New Delhi Intercity Express.


Dhindsa to get Vikas Purash award
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 5
MP from Sangrur Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa will be honoured as Vikas Purash of the Sangrur Parliamentary constituency at a vikas rally to be organised at Bhawanigarh on January 11. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will present the award along with a shawl and a Sri Sahib to Dhindsa on behalf of people of the Sangrur Assembly constituency at the rally.

Area in charge of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the Sangrur Assembly constituency Parkash Chand Garg said today that the Chief Minister would distribute grants of Rs 5.70 crore for the villages of Bhawanigarh area and town. He said development grants of Rs 2.70 crore would be distributed from the rural development fund (RDF) and Rs 2 crore from Narega funds, while Rs 1 crore would be given to the Bhawanigarh Municipal Council for development works.


Non-fulfillment of Promises
Computer teachers polish shoes
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 5
Computer Teacher Union activists today lodged a protest against the alleged non-fulfillment of promises made by the state government, by polishing shoes and sweeping the roads.

Holding copies of the SAD election manifesto, protesters from all over the Malwa region, accused the government and the ruling party for not keeping the promise made to them at the time of the recent assembly polls.

They said that SAD chief Sukhbir Badal and his father Parkash Singh Badal had assured that their services would be regularised after they come to power.

Speaking further, they said that despite having procured MCA, MSc, M.T, B.Tech degrees, they were drawing a meagre sum as salary, which was an injustice for the qualified teachers.

The activists started their protest from the Teachers’ Home and then marched through the market areas polishing shoes at various points. Meanwhile, they kept sweeping the roads with brooms. They raised anti-Badal and anti-government slogans and also alleged that whenever they raised their voice, they were transferred.

President of the Bathinda unit Ravinder Sidhu said the teachers from Muktsar, Bathionda, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Barnala, Sangrur and Mansa had participated in the protest.

He added that earlier, the Chief Minister had fixed a meeting with them for January 1 but on December 30, someone from the CM’s office informed them that the meeting would now be held on January 15 at Chandigarh.

Expressing dissatisfaction, he said, “Now, we have no trust in the officials, they can breach their promise. We have been staging the protest just to make them aware about our firm stand.”

They also threatened the SAD (B) of serious outcome in the forthcoming parliamentary elections if their demands were not met.


Cotton farmers continue stir
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul (Bathinda), January 5
Staging protest against the order of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) suspending further purchase of cotton till January 9, activists of the Bharti Kisan Union Ekta (Ugrahan) blocked the railway track again for two and a half hours (1.30pm-4pm) at Rampura railway crossing today. Though the CCI has announced the suspension till January 9, farmers say the suspension would in effect extend till January 13 on account of Lohri and maghi holidays. A number of farmer unions have now given a call to gherao the Markfed office in Bathinda on Tuesday.

According to farmers, the suspension order has been announced in a planned manner so as to avoid the purchase and harass them. They said that January 10 and 11 being Saturday and Sunday the CCI will not make any purchase. On January 12, there will be Lohri celebrations and Maghi celebrations on January 13 would give them relaxation from purchasing cotton from the markets for another two days.

Protesters alleged that despite the assurance, the CCI inspectors try to give them price less than the MSP (Rs 2,800 per quintal). They criticised the state government for being indifferent towards the problems of farmers (backbone of the state) as till date, no state agency had been introduced in the cotton market.

President of the union Shingara Singh Mann, who led the dharna today, said, “It is really a matter of shame as the CCI, even after committing itself to fair purchase, is again trying to harass farmers. The purchase suspension period is so long that in this climate, crops will get moist. Then, the purchase inspectors will say the level of moisture does not meet the specifications.”

“Officials want that due to suspension, farmers should sell the crop to private buyers at any cost so that they could avoid any controversy related to price settlement. But we will not let them succeed in such tactics,” said Gurmukh Singh, district president of the BKU (Krantikari).

To pacify the protesters, SDM Umashankar and SP (D) Ajay Maluja said that the administration had been asking the state government to introduce Markfed for ensuring uninterrupted purchase.

V.P. Nagpal, regional manager of the CCI, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts on his mobile phone.


Nambardars plan rallies
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 5
Resentment prevails among nambardars over the non-fulfilment of their demands by the Badal government.

They have decided to hold protests against the government. In the first phase of protest, rallies will be held in Sangrur district and after that the agitation will be extended to other parts of the state.

General secretary of the Punjab Nambardara Union Mohinder Singh Jahangir said here today that the Badal government had not even fulfilled those demands, which had already been agreed to by it. One of their demands, enhancement in their monthly honorarium, had even been mentioned in the SAD.

Jahangir said there were more than 30,000 nambardars in the state who were feeling ignored and wanted that the government should implement their demands without any further delay.

Jahangir said their main demands included priority to the son of a nambardar at the time of appointment of a nambardar of the village, enhancement in the monthly honorarium to Rs 1,000 per month from Rs 500, and inclusion of representatives of the Nambardara Union in the district-level and subdivision-level grievances committees.


Heroin worth Rs 70 cr seized
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, January 5
A vigilant BSF patrol party recovered 14 kg of heroin worth Rs 70 crore buried near the barbed wire fencing at the Border Observation Post (BOP) SS Wala in nearby Jalalabad sector here early morning today.

While talking to The Tribune, DIG, BSF, VK Sharma said jawans recovered a polythene packet. Following this, they dug the surrounding areas and seized 14 packets of heroin bearing the mark “444 Surjara Afghanistan”.

Four packets containing four watches, two Citizen and two Seiko, and a gold bangle were also recovered.


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