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Batala Improvement Trust auction comes under scanner
Batala, May 14
A multi-crore land scam has surfaced in the industrial hub following the BJP-controlled Batala Improvement Trustís controversial decision to auction prime land of 5,700 square yards (allegedly worth Rs 15 crore) at just Rs 3.9 crore. The issue is snowballing into a major controversy in this town with senior politicians cutting across party lines severely criticising the trustís decision to sell off the land (located in front of the Punjab Roadways depot) at a throwaway price.

Kala Sanghia Drain
25 MLD of waste water going untreated
Jalandhar, May 14
Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti summoned a meeting of various departments to review the problem of pollution in the Kala Sanghia drain. Punjab Pollution Control Board officials, including a member of the board and a Kapurthala-based environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, had caught the industrial units and Jalandhar MC defiling the Kala Sandhia drain in a surprise visit.


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2 held with Rs 4.9 lakh fake currency
Jalandhar, May 14
Acting on tip-off, the police arrested two persons with fake Indian currency, printed and smuggled from Pakistan, worth Rs 4.9 lakh near Lambra village here on Friday. In a press conference here today, Pushkar Sandal SP (Detective), Jalandhar (Rural), said the arrested were identified as Lakhvir Lakha of Valtoha in Tarn Taran and Jarnail Singh of Zira in Ferozepur.

The SP shows fake notes
The SP shows fake notes

IAS gems

Apneet Riyait of Phagwara secured 79th position in civil services exam
Apneet Riyait of Phagwara secured 79th position in civil services exam
Viveksheel Soni of Hoshiarpur bagged 150th position
Viveksheel Soni of Hoshiarpur bagged 150th position

Youth booked for rape
Hoshiarpur, May 14
A teenaged girl of Panjora village was raped by a youth on the pretext of marriage. The police booked Arasdeep Singh, his father Jaswant Singh and mother Amarjit Kaur, all of Kanrour village (Nawanshahr) under Sections 363, 366, 376, 506 and 120B of the IPC in this connection. According to the police sources, the girl's aunt alleged that Arasdeep with the help of his parents lured her teenaged niece for marriage. On the false promise, he used to take the girl to some unknown place and rape her.

Cattle mandis on French pattern
Phagwara, May 14
The Punjab Government will set up four cattle mandis on French pattern, where facilities of veterinary hospitals, parking, sheds and accommodation to farmers would be provided, announced Animal Husbandry Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike addressing a gathering after inaugurating a new building of the Veterinary Hospital here on Saturday. He announced that the department will soon open polyclinics at 19 important tehsils in different districts of the state by spending Rs 106 crore.








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Batala Improvement Trust auction comes under scanner
Ravi Dhaliwal/TNS

Controversy

  • Land said to be worth Rs 15 cr given away at Rs 3.9 cr
  • US-based NRI says he was ready to pay Rs 10 crore but wasnít allowed to take part in the auction
  • NRI shoots off letters to PM, CBI Director and Punjab CM seeking intervention
  • Trust insiders say the entire auction was stage managed
  • Trust chairman Dev Raj Chachowalia says he was ready to re-auction the site provided the NRI was ready to pay Rs 10 cr
  • Minister for NRI Affairs demands a judicial inquiry

Batala, May 14
A multi-crore land scam has surfaced in the industrial hub following the BJP-controlled Batala Improvement Trustís controversial decision to auction prime land of 5,700 square yards (allegedly worth Rs 15 crore) at just Rs 3.9 crore.

The issue is snowballing into a major controversy in this town with senior politicians cutting across party lines severely criticising the trustís decision to sell off the land (located in front of the Punjab Roadways depot) at a throwaway price.

US-based NRI Baljinder Singh Boparai held a press conference on Friday in which he alleged that the land was auctioned at Rs 3.9 crore against the reserve price of Rs 3.4 crore.

Boparai claimed that had the auction been held in a transparent manner, the trust could have earned revenue of anything between Rs 10 crore and Rs 15 crore.

Boparai claimed that all his documents were in order and he also had cash worth Rs 34 lakh ready as down payment to take part in the auction. However, due to some inexplicable reason, he was never called in for the auction following which a massive hue and cry erupted during the proceedings held on Monday. Boparai claimed that he was willing to purchase the land at Rs 10 crore but the same was given at a low price of just Rs 3.9 crore.

A livid Boparai has shot off letters to the Prime Minister with copies addressed to the CBI Director and the Punjab Chief Minister seeking their intervention.

Insiders reveal that the entire auction was stage managed and all norms were thrown to the winds by the trust officials. A pre-requisite to such bidding is that advertisements are placed in widely circulated newspapers to ensure that people get to know about the date and time of the auction.

However, this time advertisements were published in some lowly circulated vernacular newspapers to ensure that not many people got to know of the proceedings.

Trust chairman Dev Raj Chachowalia claimed that everything had been done in a transparent manner and added that he was ready to re-auction the site provided Boparia was ready with Rs 10 crore.

Meanwhile, Capt Balbir Singh Bath, Minister for NRI Affairs, held a hurriedly convened press conference and demanded a judicial inquiry into the affair.

Interestingly, despite the fact that the BJP and SAD are alliance partners in Punjab, Bath was quick to fire a salvo against the BJP controlled trust.

Other prominent politicians who have demanded a probe include sitting MLAs Jagdeesh Sahni, LS Lodhinangal, former Congress Ministers Tript Bajwa, Sukhjinder Randhawa and Ashwani Sekhri.

Gurparveen Singh Matoo Riar, Batala BJP (rural) vice-president, claimed that he would call for a Batala bandh if the wrong doings in the auction were not investigated into by a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge.

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Kala Sanghia Drain
25 MLD of waste water going untreated
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti summoned a meeting of various departments to review the problem of pollution in the Kala Sanghia drain. Punjab Pollution Control Board officials, including a member of the board and a Kapurthala-based environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, had caught the industrial units and Jalandhar MC defiling the Kala Sandhia drain in a surprise visit.

A shocking fact that came to light in the meeting was that around 25 MLD (million litres a day) of waste water is being discharged into the drain and there was no immediate solution to it.

The DC said out of the total 50 MLD (including 25 MLD untreated) water being discharged in the drain. The administration has sent a proposal to the government for setting up another plant to treat 25 MLD of waste water, he added.

Vinay Bublani, Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, said out of 10 outlets, six have been connected with sewage treatment plant in Pholriwal locality.

He said for treating the remaining waste water, the corporation has submitted a proposal (worth Rs 235.86 crore) to the Union Government for setting up a treatment plant and which could be taken up under the National River Conservation Plan which was expected to be approved soon.

Punjab Effluent Treatment Society (PETS) secretary-cum-director Ajay Sharma said four MLD of waste water being produced by the leather complex was being treated in its treatment plant which had a capacity of 6.5 MLD.

Residents of scores of villages located along the Kala Sanghia drain, MLAs and people from certain parts of Rajasthan have also joined hand with Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal who has served an ultimatum to the administration that discharge of polluted water in the drain will be stopped on May 18.

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2 held with Rs 4.9 lakh fake currency
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 14
Acting on tip-off, the police arrested two persons with fake Indian currency, printed and smuggled from Pakistan, worth Rs 4.9 lakh near Lambra village here on Friday. In a press conference here today, Pushkar Sandal SP (Detective), Jalandhar (Rural), said the arrested were identified as Lakhvir Lakha of Valtoha in Tarn Taran and Jarnail Singh of Zira in Ferozepur. The currency was in denomination of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

The SP (Detective) said the duo was part of the fake currency racket, operated by smuggler Rajveer Singh of Valtoha. Sandal said it was Rajveer who arranged the smuggling of fake currency from Pakistan. The consignment was further sent to interior parts of Doaba. A case under Sections 489-A, 489-B, 489-C of the IPC has been registered against the duo, who were been sent to police remand for three days in joint interrogation centre, Amritsar.

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Youth booked for rape

Hoshiarpur, May 14
A teenaged girl of Panjora village was raped by a youth on the pretext of marriage. The police booked Arasdeep Singh, his father Jaswant Singh and mother Amarjit Kaur, all of Kanrour village (Nawanshahr) under Sections 363, 366, 376, 506 and 120B of the IPC in this connection.

According to the police sources, the girl's aunt alleged that Arasdeep with the help of his parents lured her teenaged niece for marriage. On the false promise, he used to take the girl to some unknown place and rape her. When she came to know about their relationship, she took the matter to the village panchayat where Arasdeep Singh backed out of his promise of marriage. After conducting an inquiry, the police registered the aforesaid case. No arrest has been made so far. ó OC

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