Chandigarh, February 23:Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has mourned the passing away of former Chairman Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, father of Talwandi Sabo’s Ex-MLA Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu.

            In the condolence message, the Chief Minister recalled the outstanding services of ex-IAS officer Bhupinder Singh as an able administrator, as well as an upright official.

            Sharing his heartfelt sympathies with the bereaved family, Captain Amarinder Singh prayed to the Almighty to give them strength to to bear this irreparable loss and grant eternal peace to the departed soul.




 Chandigarh, February 23- Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal and Welfare Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot on Friday lashed out at the opposition, led by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for obstructing and walking out of a crucial meeting of the High Powered State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee, which was convened by the government to take a series of vital decisions, including stringent steps to implement the Prevention of Atrocities Act in the state.

            With the opposition staging a walkout, it was left to the government to discuss and finalise various initiatives in the interest of the SCs and STs in the state, an official spokesperson said after the meeting, which was the first in more than three years.

            Manpreet Badal said after the meeting that the opposition chose to walk out, citing the absence of the Chief Minister, instead of participating constructively in the deliberations. This, said Badal, was shameful since Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had been indisposed and could not attend the meeting, which the government then decided not to cancel in the interest of the larger welfare of the SC/ST community.

            The Chief Minister also later came out with a categorical statement that he did not want to delay the long overdue meeting any further and had thus directed his cabinet colleagues to preside over the proceedings. Making it clear that he would definitely be present in the next meeting of the committee, Captain Amarinder said the decisions taken by the committee would have the same sanctity as would have been the case in his presence.  Manpreet had, in fact, given an assurance to this effect during the meeting itself when a Congress member of the committee raised the issue, said the spokesperson.

            The meeting took several important decisions, including holding of a meeting of the committee every six months – in January and July, from now on, said the spokesperson, adding that the government reiterated its firm commitment to implement the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act) across the state in letter and spirit. A decision was also taken to soon issue a notification incorporating the amendments made in the Act in 2015.

            Giving details of previous meetings of the committee, Dharamsot said that the as per the provisions of Act, meetings should have been held every six months but the previous government did not hold the meeting as per schedule, and the last meeting was convened in 2015 and prior to that in 2006. Even in the meeting held in 2015, issues relating to the Prevention of Atrocities Act were never discussed and only the Shagun Scheme was deliberated upon as per the minutes recorded at that time. He said that Captain Amarinder led Punjab Government had now made it mandatory to hold such meetings as per the schedule in the Act.

            Interacting with media persons after the meeting, the Finance Minister criticized the opponents for staging a walkout from the meeting, thereby depriving themselves of an important opportunity to raise issues related to the welfare of the SC community.

            To a query regarding the resentment shown by members of opposition parties due to Chief Minister's inability to chair the meeting, Manpreet clarified that Captain Amarinder Singh could not attend the meeting as he was indisposed.  He said that all opposition members, as responsible legislators, should refrain from politicizing such issues as these meetings always serve as a useful platform to resolve the concerns of the people after thorough deliberations.

            Manpreet said that it was the collective responsibility of all the legislators to participate in such meetings in the larger public interest and asserted that any decision taken at this forum would have equal importance and relevance as taken by the Chief Minister.

            Manpreet further said that in order to ensure strict implementation of the Act, it had been decided that the government would not tolerate any laxity by any official in this regard. The Punjab Government would soon notify the amended Prevention of Atrocities Act-2015 to facilitate increase in the conviction rate in such cases.

            Chairing the meeting, Dharamsot earlier said the Committee has also decided to hold quarterly meetings of Deputy Commissioners, District and Sessions Judges and Commissioners of Police/Senior Superintendents of Police with the district authorities so as to implement the Prevention of Atrocities Act in right earnest for restoring the confidence of the members of SC community at the grassroots level.

            Several issues related to the Act, ranging from review of the status of its implementation, rehabilitation and relief facilities to the victims, prosecution of the cases, role of officers/agencies responsible for implementing the Act and monetary assistance to the victims, were meticulously deliberated upon in the meeting.

            Dharamsot informed the meeting that Special Courts had been made operational in 15 districts to provide speedy justice to the victims of atrocities. A s many as 404 cases had been registered during 2015-18, of which 147 in 2015, 132 in 2016, 121 in 2017 and four till January 31, 2018 for murder, grievous hurt, rape, arson besides under various sections of IPC and other acts such as SCs and STs (POA) Act, 1989, said the minister. He further disclosed that monetary assistance of Rs. 2.23 crore had been disbursed so far to the 639 affected persons through Deputy Commissioners in the state.

            Expressing concern over the pendency of atrocities cases with the police department,  Dharamsot directed the Additional Chief Secretary, Home and Justice to look into the issue and resolve such cases on priority without any further delay. He said that an action taken report in this regard should be submitted positively within a month. 

            Others who attended the meeting included MLAs Dr. Raj Kumar, Tarsem Singh DC, Nathu Ram, Pritam Singh Kotbhai, Sushil Kumar Rinku, Chaudhary Surinder Singh, Balwinder Singh, Satkar Kaur, Additional Chief Secretary N.S. Kalsi, DGP (Administration) M.K. Tiwari, Principal Secretary Welfare of SCs/BCs and Minorities R. Venkat Ratnam, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, IGP/EoW Vibhu Raj, Director National Commission for Scheduled Castes Raj Kumar, Research Officer R.K. Sharma and Director SC Sub Plan Raj Bahadur Singh.



 Chandigarh, February 23:Punjab Police is seeking the deportation, from Hong Kong, of dreaded criminal Ramanjit Singh @ Romi, a mastermind of the sensational Nabha Jail Break and a key conspirator in the targeted killings in the state.

A formal request is being sent through diplomatic channels for the deportation of Romi, who is also a known facilitator for several of Punjab's notorious gangsters, including slain Vicky Gounder, and ISI-backed Pak terrorists, according to a police spokesperson.

Romi, against whom a Red Corner Notice had been issued, was nabbed recently in Hong Kong, where he had taken refuge after fleeing from India, in connection with a robbery in Choi HungEstate, Kowloon. The Punjab Police was informed about his arrest by the Interpol, said the spokesperson, who disclosed that Romi's involvement had figured in the cases of targeted sectarian killings in Punjab, and he was also involved in drugs and weapons smuggling.

The spokesperson said that Romi was acting as "communication hub" and a link between Punjab gangsters and ISI backed Pak-based terrorists, and was coordinating their activities through WhatsApp, VoIP platforms and Social Media.

Romi had masterminded the Nabha Jail break while he was lodged there in June 2016 and, after his release on bail a month later, had fled to Hong Kong, from where he had facilitated the daring escape with the hZAelp of gangster, Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, who was still lodged at Nabha. Besides providing money, Romi had assured the escapees safe houses and had given his Hong Kong contact number for providing logistical support.

The spokesperson said that Romi's name had figured prominently in the recently busted terror module that was responsible for seven hate killings in the state. Romi had told Jaggi that Dharmender Singh @ Gugni, a gangster lodged in Nabha Jail, had arranged weapons for Ramandeep Rathore, one of the two motorcycle borne hitmen in the target killing case.

Romi was also in touch with UK national Jagtar Singh Johal @ Jaggi, one of the key conspirators in the targeted killings of Hindu and Shiv Sena leaders, including that of Brig Jagdish Gagneja, Vice President of Punjab RSS Unit, in 2016. The two were in touch, through Harmeet Singh @ PHD, a known KLF terrorist based in Pakistan, and had spoken to each other at least thrice between May and July 2017, investigations had revealed.

The spokesperson further revealed that Romi was also acting as mediator to strike a deal between Gugni and Gounder, who were at loggerheads because of inter-gang rivalries.

Besides the Nabha Jail break and the targeted killigs, Romi was also wanted for illegal

transference of funds for criminal and terror activities, abetting and facilitating terrorists, kidnapping and smuggling of weapons. He is also suspected to be a major conduit for drugs smuggling through his Pak-based contacts.

            The spokesperson said that after fleeing to Hong Kong, Romi managed to build an empire for himself and was continuing his nefarious terror activities and drug smuggling from there.

 The details of the major cases registered and pending against him are as follows:-

Case No.1:  Case    crime    No.    142, dated    27-11-2016,    under    section 307,392,223,224, 120B,148,149,201, 419, 170, 171,353, 186, 212 and 216 of Indian Penal Code and under sections 11,13, 16, 17, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 was registered at PS Kotwali Nabha, district Patiala, Punjab on 27-11-2016, wherein unknown persons armed with weapons forcefully released  two  confined  terrorists  and  four  confined gangsters  from 'Maximum   Security   Jail'   Nabha,   Punjab,  and   escaped  by firing   gun   shots indiscriminately. During investigation, arrested perpetrator Palwinder Singh confessed  that  the conspiracy  of  the jail  break  was  hatched  between Ramanjit Singh  (subject),  Palwinder  Singh, Gurpreet  Singh  Sekhon,  Harminder  Singh and others in the jail itself. Romi was released on bail by the court in Case No. 60 dated 03-06-2016, undersections 379, 382, 471, 473, 474, 475, 476 and 120B of Indian Penal Code and under section 25 of Arms Act,1959 was registered  at  P.S.  Kotwali  Nabha,  district Patiala.  Romi escaped  from India when he was out on bail. He played a critical role in the jailbreak by providing logistics support  in  the  form of  money,  weapons  used  in  the  jail break, fake IDs used to gain access in jail, besides arranging money for escapees and also making arrangements to facilitate their attempt to leave the country. Ramanjit @ Romi is a proclaimed offender in this case.

 Case No.2:   Case Crime No. 60 dated 03-06-2016,under sections 379,  382, 471, 473, 474, 475, 476 and 120B of Indian Penal Code and under section 25 of Arms Act, 1959 was registered at P.S. Kotwali Nabha, district Patiala, Punjab. On 04-04-2016, Romi, along with his friends, was caught with a stolen vehicle, one country-made revolver, one .32 bore revolver along with 09 live cartridges and 23 credit cards bearing different names, along with a credit swipe machine. The swipe machine was used for fraudulently skimming the credit card information and then make fake credit card using the information stored in the machine.  Ramanjit @  Romi  is  a proclaimed  offender in this case.


Inspector, Constable nabs red handed for taking bribe

 Chandigarh, February 23: State Vigilance Bureau today nabbed Inspector, constable of Police station Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda red handed for accepting bribe of Rs. 17500/-.

            Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of Vigilance Bureau Punjab said Mohinderjit Singh, SHO and Gurmeet Singh, constable both posted at police station Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district were caught red handed on the complaint of Mr. Basant Singh of village Ballo tehsil Maur in Bathinda in district.

            Giving details he said the complainant approached the VB and alleged that the above said accused were demanding Rs.35,000 to help him & take action against a complaint lodged by him. The complainant said he had already paid them Rs. 12500/- as a first installment.

After verifying his complaint the VB team laid a trap and both the accused were caught red handed with Rs. 17500 and tainted money was recovered from them in the presence of two official witnesses.

 He informed that a case under Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the accused at VB police Bathinda and further investigation was under progress.


Punjab declares paid holiday for voters of cities where elections to be held on Feb 24

Chandigarh, February 23-To enable the workmen who are the voters of Municipal Corporation Ludhiana and Bye-Election of Municipal Councils (MC) and Nagar Panchayats (NP) in the cities and towns of 15 districts of Punjab, working in the factories, shops and commercial establishments situated therein to exercise their franchise in the elections to be held on February 24 (Saturday), Punjab Government has declared February 24 as paid holiday for the voters of the Municipal Corporation Ludhiana and the said wards.

            Divulging further, an official spokesman of Punjab Government said that election for Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana and bye-election in some wards of Sangat (MC) and Nathana (NP) of Bathinda district, Sirhind (Fatehgarh Sahib, MC), Zira (MC) and Ferozepur (MC), Fazilka (MC), Dina Nagar (MC), Fatehgarh Churian (MC) and Gurdaspur (MC), Kapurthala (MC), Sultanpur Lothi (MC), Jagraon (MC) and Badhni Kalan (MC) of Ludhiana district, Badhni Kalan (NP) and Moga (MC), Budhlada (MC) of Mansa district, Patran (MC) and Rajpura (MC) of Patiala district, Sujanpur (MC) of Pathankot district, Ahmedgarh (MC) and Dhuri (MC) of Sangrur district, Banur (MC) and Kharar (MC) of SAS Nagar district, Malout (MC) of Sri Muktsar Sahib district and Bhikhiwind (NP) of Tarn Taran district to be held on February 24.




The Irrigation Department, Punjab has announced the Rotational Programme for irrigation for the Rabi Season through canal water from February 26 to March 05, 2018. The channels of Sirhind Canal System would run on the priority basis from Bathinda Branch, Bist Doab Canal, Sidhwan Branch, Abohar Branch and Patiala Feeder respectively.

 Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the irrigation department said that direct distributaries of Bhakra Main Line (BML) in group 'A' being in the channels of first preference will run to their indent. Balance water supplies available will be utilized in Ghaggar Branch and Patiala Minor in Group 'B' respectively.

The spokesman further said that as per irrigation program for Punjab channels and branches off-taking from Harike and Ferozepur head works, all the direct distributaries of Sirhind Feeder in group ‘A’ being in the first preference will run to their indent and the balance water supplies available will be utilized in Abohar Branch lower off- taking from Sirhind Feeder and its distributaries/Minors in Group ‘B’.

            The spokesman also said that the channels off taking from Upper Bari Doab Canal i.e. Sabhron Branch with its distributaries being in the first preference will run to their indent and balance water supplies available will be utilized in Kasur Branch lower, Main Branch Lower, Lahore Branch and with their distributaries respectively. 


 RERA issues circular to clarify the category of projects for payment of registration fee

Chandigarh, February 23:The Real Estate Regulatory Authority, Punjab has issued a circular to clarify the promoters about the category in which projects for construction of villas or independent floors on individual plots fall, for the purpose of payment of registration fee.

            Citing the definition of apartment as defined under the section 2 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, the RERA in its circular clarified   “Apartments whether called block, chamber, dwelling unit, flat, office, showroom, shop, godown, premises, suit, tenement, unit or by any other name, means a separate and self-contained part of any immovable property, including, one or more floors or any part thereof, in a building or on a plot of land, used or intended to be used for any residential or commercial use such as residence, office, shop, showroom or godown or for carrying on any business, occupation, profession or trade or for any other type of use ancillary to the purpose specified.”

            It has been further clarified that in the light of above cited definition, villas or independent floors constructed on individual plots clearly fall under the definition of an ‘Apartment’ as these are self contained residential units built on plots of land. Hence, such projects are liable to pay registration fees applicable for the category of ‘Group Housing’ as defined in schedule 1 of the rule.

            It can be mentioned here that RERA has noticed that promoters were not clear about the category in which projects for construction of villas or independent floors on individual plots fall, for the purpose of payment of registration fee, as this type of development does not fall in the list of categories notified in Schedule 1 of the Punjab State Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Rules 2017. The relevant entries in Schedule 1 mentions only ‘Group Housing’ and ‘Residential Plotted’.