|Friday, March 3, 2000,
unit to defy Bhai Puran Singh
Singh to defy ban on seminar
requisitions meeting to discuss arrears issue
PUDA budget approved
gm of fake gold coins seized
re-election as SAD chief today
of grid by Sukhbir draws flak
desilting under way
power dues, PSEB style
to privatise power sector opposed
cafe rage in Ludhiana
IT teams visit
rally by bank employees
on legal services planned
threat by farmers panel
release in graft case challenged
over amount of currency seized
booked in rape case
arrested for defrauding students
loot cash, gold
underweight LPG cylinders seized, 5 arrested
college crises may deepen
action on promise to medical teachers
WSC unit to defy Bhai Puran
JALANDHAR, March 2 In an open revolt against Giani Puran Singh, the Akal Takht Jathedar who has also assumed charge of the World Sikh Council (WSC), its Amritsar zone refused to accept him as President of the organisation and decided to go ahead with its decision to hold a seminar here on March 4.
Giani Puran Singh, the patron of the WSC, had assumed charge as president of the organisation in a meeting at Amritsar yesterday and had dissolved the zonal councils, including the ones in US, Delhi, East Asia, East India, Western India, Amritsar and Chandigarh.
He also barred the Amritsar zone from holding a seminar at Jalandhar on March 4 under the patronage of former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh. Earlier on February 23, the Akal Takht Jathedar had constituted a 12-member committee to bring about unity in the WSC.
Mr Kulbir Singh Kaura, the Chairman of the WSC for Doaba, Majha and Jammu and Kashmir, said according to the constitution of WSC, a registered body, nobody had the right to dissolve the organisation. Actually, Ginai Puran Singh, fearing he might be dethroned by some people including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, is indulging in such acts out of sheer frustration. His ignorance, can be judged from the fact that the seminar is not to discuss Nanakshahi calendar alone, but to focus on the maryada of the Akal Takht and the present state of affairs.
Interestingly, Mr Kulbir Singh also attacked Bibi Jagir kaur, dubbing her a puppet of Mr Badal. He said Bibi Jagir Kaur and Giani Puran Singh had not been invited to participate in the seminar.
Ranjit Singh to defy ban on
AMRITSAR, March 2 I shall start using the letterhead and the official stamp of Akal Takht if Giani Puran Singh continues to issue illegal directives, threatened Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht while talking to mediapersons at his residence, here today.
Bhai Ranjit Singh announced that he would defy the ban on the holding of a seminar by the World Sikh Council (WSC) on March 4 at Jalandhar under his patronage by Giani Puran Singh. He claimed he was the real Jathedar of Akal Takht. Hence, he could use the letterhead and the stamp of the Takht. He indicated he would resume charge of Akal Takht by taking the Sikh sangat into confidence.
I will stage a protest dharna in front of the residence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal at Chandigarh for restoring the Sikh maryada, he said. Bhai Ranjit Singh said Giani Puran Singh had no right to dissolve the WSC.
He said the proposed seminar would be on Akal Takht and Sikh maryada. Another item on the agenda was the controversial Nanakshahi calendar. He claimed that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President SAD (Amritsar), Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi President, Sant Samaj, Mr Harinder Singh Mehboob, an eminent Sikh scholar Mr Gurtej Singh, a former IAS officer, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillion and Dr Gurbhagat Singh would participate.
The former Jathedar said Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, who had appointed Giani Puran Singh as Jathedar in violation of the Sikh maryada, were now not heeding to his directives. There was no reason for others to obey him.
To a question, Bhai Ranjit Singh said some leaders of the RSS had met him in the past to convince him that they had launched a movement for the spread of Sikhism to mark the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa. However, he said he had rejected their proposed programme as the RSS was making efforts to erode the base of Sikhism in connivance with Mr Badal.
Faculty requisitions meeting to
discuss arrears issue
PATIALA, March 2 In a virtual motion of no-confidence against the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) leadership, as many as 202 teachers of the university have accused it of not taking appropriate steps to realise the arrears of new pay scales and have demanded a meeting of the general body to discuss the issue.
The teachers have made a requisition in this regard to the PUTA Secretary, which has been signed by all of them. The letter calling a special meeting of the general body claims that the issue of arrears had been hanging fire for a long time and that the PUTA leadership, while doing nothing to realise the arrears, was not even informing the faculty of the calls given by Punjab Federation of University Teachers Association (PFUTA) and All India University Teachers Association (AIFUTA).
The letter says university teachers were not informed of the calls given by PFUTA for dharnas and rallies on January 25 and February 17. It says this important issue must be taken up by the general body immediately. According to the constitution of the body, the general body is usually called within a week of being requisitioned.
Former PUTA Secretary N.S. Atri, when contacted, said the present PUTA leadership was keeping the faculty in the dark about the steps it had taken to get the arrears of the teachers released from the government. He said even three executive members of Teachers United Front (TUF) belonging to his group had not been apprised of the activities of PUTA. TUF convener S.S. Joshi said the faculty had taken this step as a last resort, saying the PUTA leadership could have issued a circular detailing steps being taken by it on the issue of arrears if it could not call a general body meeting.
PUTA Secretary Hari Singh Boparai, when contacted, said the requisition was a result of factional politics as there was no need for 202 teachers to sign it, as signatures of 10 teachers were sufficient for requisitioning a general body meeting. He, however, said he was with the teachers and would tell them the steps taken by PUTA to get arrears of teachers released.
Dr Boparai said he would call a meeting of the PUTA executive tomorrow or day after and place the requisition before it. He said he would also place the steps taken by PUTA in this regard before the executive and also propose that a decision be taken to plead the case of the teachers directly with the Punjab Chief Minister. He said he and his group the United Teachers Front was also in favour of calling a meeting of the general body at the earliest.
Speaking about the strongly worded letter of the faculty, Dr Boparai said it seemed to be the result of some misunderstanding. He said contrary to what had been claimed in the letter the PUTA leadership had been continuously agitating for getting the arrears released. Regarding not conforming to the agitation chalked out by PFUTA, he said he could not inform the faculty of this as he himself had not been informed about the PFUTA calls.
He said now PUTA would
be observing the call for dharnas and demonstrations
given by PFUTA on March 14 as well as mass casual leave
programme on March 28. Additional agitational programme
could be chalked out by the PUTA general body, if needed.
590-cr PUDA budget approved
CHANDIGARH, March 2 The general body of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), which met here today, approved a Rs 590.50 cr budget for the authority for the financial year 2000-2001. This marks an increase of 93 per cent over the current year's revised Budget of Rs 304.95 crore.
Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Punjab Urban Development Minister, in an official statement said that the development expenditure in the next financial year had been proposed at Rs 542.67crore against the current year's figure of Rs 256.35 crore. While pending dues would be recovered, PUDA would offer new residential plots and commercial sites for sale. The expenditure would be slashed to Rs 47.63 crore in the next financial year from the current year's figure of Rs 51.80 crore.
Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Chief Administrator of PUDA, said that the bulk of the capital funds would be spent to acquire land for urban estates in Jalandhar and SAS Nagar. A sum of Rs 84.34 crore had been earmarked for development works in various urban estates, especially new ones at Kapurthala and Jalandhar. PUDA would invest Rs 24.80 crore in social housing.
The authority would
dedicate 2 per cent of sale proceed on all sales of land,
plots, sites and houses for human resource development by
initiating projects like schools and dispensaries. In
order to raise additional resources for this purpose, the
reserve price of all sites that are to be disposed
here-after through allotment would be raised to the tune
of 2 per cent. Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, State Minister for
Urban Development, and Mr A.K. Dubey, Principal
Secretary, Urban Development, also attended the meeting.
750 gm of fake gold coins
KAPURTHALA, March 2 The Phagwara police has arrested Gian Singh, a resident of Majri village of Ropar district, on the charge of possessing fake gold coins, according to Mr Iqbal Singh, district police chief.
He said that 750 gm of fake gold coins had been seized from his possession after he was arrested during a nakabandi near an octroi post at Banga.
Earlier, Gian Singh sold 1 kg of fake gold coins to Manjit Singh of Hoshiapur district for Rs 2,15,000 and now again he was going to sell the coins to a man in Phagwara.
In another case, the city police arrested four persons on the charge of selling kerosene in the black market and seized 8200 litre of kerosene from their possession.
The SSP identified the arrested persons as Pawan Kumar of Kapurthala, Jagdev Singh of Jalandhar, Kuldeep Singh and Satpaul Singh of Kapurthala.
The police has registered a case under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act.
FEROZEPORE: A team of Customs and army officials is learnt to have seized fake gold from a person whose identity is not being disclosed. The gold was recovered during a raid in the Talwandi Bhai area, near here, on Tuesday.
The person had earlier tried to sell gold to an army jawan. Since the authorities suspected him to be involved in espionage, Customs and army officials raided his house and reportedly recovered a briefcase containing gold pendants.
CMs re-election as SAD chief
AMRITSAR, March 2 In all probability, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, would be re-elected president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the fourth consecutive term at the delegate session of the party scheduled to be held at Teja Singh Samundri Hall here tomorrow. In all 446 delegates, including a number of MLAs, ministers and SGPC members would participate in the session.
Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, who is also an MLA and delegate of the party, may also participate in the session tomorrow. Though the SGPC chief has neither denied nor confirmed whether she would attend the delegate session, her secretary Gurbachan Singh Bachan has said that she would participate in the election of the SAD chief. Her absence or presence in the proposed delegate session would start another debate in the Panthic circles.
If she participates in the elections of the SAD chief in presence of Mr Badal, ministers, MLAs and SGPC members, the controversial hukamnama wherein she was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth, would automatically stand defied unitedly by the entire Dal.
However, if she prefers to stay away from the election from the session it would lend legitimacy to the controversial hukamnama. The presence or absence of Bibi Jagir Kaur would also make the intentions of Mr Badal clear with regard to the hukamnama.
Earlier, Mr Badal had taken an excuse that Bibi Jagir Kaur had not taken him into confidence while putting show of strength to end her 23-day-long ekantwas.
Mr Badal was elected the chief of SAD on June 8, 1997, when Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was with him. After the split in the party, this is the first election of the party chief.
Apart from Punjab and Chandigarh, delegates from Delhi (12), Haryana (30), J&K (three), Himachal Pradesh (two), Uttar Pradesh (12), Rajasthan (12), West Bengal (three) and Maharashtra (three) would participate in the meeting.
According to Mr Kirpal
Singh Badungar, Secretary, SAD, all 446 delegates were
elected on the basis of the enrolment of party
membership. He said Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Senior
Vice-President, SAD, was the chief electoral officer. The
enrolment drive was launched on May 14 last year which
was completed on October 30.
Opening of grid by Sukhbir draws
MOGA, March 2 The Inauguration of a 66 KV grid station at Daulatpura village, near here, by a former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, on February 28 has evoked sharp criticism from several quarters.
There is a growing perception that since Mr Sukhbir Badal is not holding any office, he should not have been invited for the ceremony. Instead, a technocrat in the Punjab State Electricity Board or a minister should have been persuaded to inaugurate the grid.
However, PSEB officials justify the move saying that the foundation stone of the grid too was laid down by Mr Sukhbir Badal during his tenure as minister and Lok Sabha member from Faridkot. The PSEB Superintendent Engineer, Faridkot, Mr V.K. Bhatia, said the logic behind inviting the former minister was that he had laid the foundation stone of the grid.
A section of employees, however, view it as an attempt to please the ruling Akali Dal that is keen to project the former minister as an undisputed leader in the area.
Terming it as
sycophancy on the part of the PSEB, the
Faridkot Congress Committee President, Mr S.K. Gupta,
said even a humiliating defeat of the former minister
from Faridkot had not deterred the Akali Dal from
resorting to cheap stunts.
Sarovars desilting under way
TARN TARAN: The Sikh sangat is converging with great fervour on the holy sarovar of Sri Darbar Sahib to perform the kar seva of desilting it.
The kar seva has been entrusted to Baba Jagtar Singh, head of the local Dera Baba Jiwan Singh, by the SGPC.
The work started on February 13 and during the first five days more than four lakh devotees took part in the work.
Baba Jagtar, while talking to this correspondent, stated that the first half portion of the sarovar had been desilted and work on the second half would start soon after draining out the water.
The whole work will be completed within a month, the Baba said adding that though a large number of workers brought their own pots (baltas) and shovels (Kahis) with them, yet the organisation had purchased 10,000 baltas and 1500 kahis. While entrusting the kar seva to Baba Jagtar Singh, the SGPC had also advised it to construct three more minarets at the sarovar corners on the same pattern as those built by Kanwar Naunihal Singh, the successor of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Recovering power dues, PSEB style
FARIDKOT, March 2 The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities, facing severe financial crises, have started disconnecting power supply of rural water works to recover the defaulted amount.
Official sources said so far in Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar, Mansa, Ferozepore and Moga districts power supply to 65 water works had been disconnected. The action against a few selective water works was stopped due to intervention by some ruling politicians.
On the other hand, the PSEB authorities in districts had spent lakhs of rupees for filling the recovery suits of defaulting amount against the consumers. About 1782 cases of recovery had been filed in various civil courts of these districts.
The sources said the residents of those villages, where the power connection of the water works had been cut, had been facing acute shortage of potable water. They had been forced to drink underground water which had been declared unfit for human consumption.
In these six districts, the PSEB authorities were yet to recover 2.68 crore from the private consumers, and Rs 7.68 crore from various wings of the state and central governments.
Among the government related consumers who had defaulted more than Rs 7 crore as per the arrear report of the PSEB of December 1999, the Public Health Department topped the list with the defaulting amount worth Rs 3.52 crore.
The government hospitals falling in six districts were yet to pay Rs 99 lakh, the Irrigation Department Rs 1.23 crore, the Railways 1.08 crore, the Police Department Rs 19.56 lakh, the BSF Rs 2.11 lakh and the Commissioner Office, Ferozepore, Rs 32,000.
The PSEB authorities had even filed recovery suits where the defaulting amount against the private consumers was only a few thousands.
In certain pockets of these six districts consumers were using kundli connection to meet their daily requirement of electricity.
A senior official of the PSEB pleading anonymity said the process of recovery of defaulting amount from the private consumers was slow due to the fact that the PSEB authorities had failed to make arrangement for the personal safety of those employees who had been given the task to make recoveries. On the other hand, sometimes, the PSEB authorities are unable to disconnect the power connection of the government departments which were maintaining essential services.
The sources added that in the recent past, the PSEB authorities had restored the power connection of about 30 rural water works under political pressure without recovering the defaulting amount from the department concerned.
Officials pointed out that if the concerned authorities were serious about recovering the defaulting amount in the shortest period then the defaulting amount should be recovered like land revenue.
Move to privatise power
PATIALA, March 2 The PSEB employees federation at its executive body meeting held yesterday jointly with the PSEB Accounts Audit and Administrative Services Association decided to oppose the Union Governments intention to privatise the power sector tooth and nail.
In a statement here union leaders said the move would be a clear-cut betrayal of the electorate. The statement by Mr Maghar Singh, secretary-general of the federation, and Mr Amar Singh, Senior vice-president of the federation, alleged that throughout the country there was no record of electrical system despite the fact that instruction for the same existed in the PWD code.
Both the federation and
the association demand that instead of going for
privatisation. The Punjab Government should discharge its
duty faithfully and before making any advances towards
privatisation it should let the people of Punjab to know
the real value of assets by summing of the total value of
expenditure incurred on purchases as well as market value
of other immovable assets.
India must evolve own
socio-economic model: economist
PATIALA, March 2 Eminent economist and Professor Emeritus, Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh, today advocated that India should evolve its own model of socio-economic development based on its time-honoured culture and value system to unite its people.
Delivering a special lecture on Paradigm shift in Indias development strategy : An Assessment as part of the multi-faculty millennium series of seminars and lectures at the Senate Hall in the Punjabi University here, Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh said the size of the countrys population and the magnitude of unemployment and poverty were so large that an exclusive concern with growth could be socially disruptive.
The economist , who is also a former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, while calling for a freedom movement in the realm of ideas, said the country had a historic opportunity to work out an arrangement which reflected its culture. He said while the Nehruvian model of mixed economy enabled the country to make critical social adjustments, the system reached an impasse in less than half a century. He said presently the process of stop-go economic reforms, which were taking place, were denying the economy the benefits of both a planned and a liberal system.
He said distribution of income land limits on property in land needed to be upgraded. Public policies must aim at building an ethos of restraint rather than putting up with rank consumerism, which is eroding values as well as resources. He said strategies of development must strike a balance between development of material and non material resources and emphasis in research must shift to empirical work.
Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh, while giving the example of commitment to Socialist modernisation by China recently, said leaders of great nations could not be puppets. He said development economists were increasingly veering around the idea that the roles of governments and markets were complementary and interventionist governments were not necessarily less efficient than those committed to free trade. He said even the World Bank in its latest development report observed that the experience of Japan, East Asia and China made it clear that it was possible for a country to have an interventionist government and still enjoy extremely rapid growth over a period of decades.
Punjabi University Vice Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia in his inaugural address said there were inherent contradictions in the Nehruvian economic policy. He said while Nehru wanted Socialistic pattern of society, he favoured capitalist mode of production. Dr Ahluwalia added that while the preamble of the Constitution declared India as a democratic, Socialist republic, the government was pursuing the economic policies of capitalism, globalisation and privatisation, which was bound to subordinate the country to western powers. He decried that while farmers were being subsidised in Europe and the USA under the pretext of protecting wildlife and environment, these countries were putting pressure on India to eliminate subsidies and remove quantitative restrictions on farm produce which would adversely effect farmers of the country.
The Tribune Editor, Mr Hari Jaisingh, who was the chief guest on the occasion, while delivering his presidential remarks said India must address its problems at home before it could compete globally. He said a development model should be evolved which could make the countrys 40 to 50 per cent poor progress at a faster rate. He said models could not be adopted from outside without understanding the problems facing the country.
Mr Hari Jaisingh said socio-economic problems could not be studied and solved in isolation and that a comprehensive strategy was needed to uplift the poor masses, empower women and give a definite direction to the youth.
He said in India there were too many politics in what we said and what we did. He said it was unfortunate that the people had allowed politicians to get away with promises.
He also expressed
concern that Punjab was no longer in the forefront of
Indian states and had been decisively replaced by Andhra
Pradesh, adding the development approach adopted by the
state was responsible for this.
Relief for thresher victims
PATIALA, March 2 The Punjab Mandi Board has decided to seek the help of foreign countries in improving services to farmers in the grain markets of the state.
Under this scheme a delegation of the board will visit the USA, Holland, Arab countries and Africa for studying the marketing system of agriculture produce in those countries.
Revealing this to reporters here today after disbursing financial aid to thresher victims, Mr Mal Singh Ghumman, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, said another delegation was going to Nepal in the second week of this month to study the benefits of units installed in markets with the help of the Austrian Government. These units, he said, had in-built dryer system which helped in drying and cleaning water-soaked wheat or rice.
Mr Ghumman also disclosed that the government was planning to buy special plastic storage bins from Israel. These bins immunised with chemicals check insects which damage the agriculture produce.
Mr Ghumman said the government had also decided to probe into the causes behind the failures of green coloured mechanical units lying abandoned in several grain markets of the state. An inquiry into the purchase of these units had also been ordered, he said.
Earlier he handed over cheques to 155 persons rendered disabled by accidents while working on threshers. Cheques worth rupees 35.48 lakh rupees were distributed. Mr Ghumman addressing victims, family members, farmers and members of several market committees said the state was the first in the country to provide such relief for these unfortunate people. He said the government will provide relief of Rs 50 lakh to such victims in the next financial year.
Mr Ghumman said the drive of the board to stop the evasion of market fees had reaped rich dividends. The board had earned Rs 225.79 crore from April 99 to January 31, 2000, while in the last year the collection would be reinvested in the markets to provide more services to the farmers.
Dont sow paddy till
PATIALA, March 2 The Punjab Agricultural University Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh today cautioned farmers not to sow paddy nursery till May 10 and transplant only after June 10 to save the underground water which he said was depleting at an alarming rate.
He was addressing a large gathering of farmers at a kisan mela of the university held at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Rauni, near here. Dr Aulakh also advised farmers to sow only the recommended varieties. He cited the example of the PUSA-44 variety of rice which was sown by farmers against the PAU recommendations and was greatly damaged by bacterial leaf blight (BLB), causing huge economic loss to farmers.
He said the practice of early sowing also caused many other problems like the deterioration of the quality of produce which caused problems in its disposal and marketing.
Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, Director of Extension Education, advised farmers to improve the quality of their produce, otherwise, there would be many problems in marketing it due to competition in the international market, which was opening up after 2001 as a result of the implementation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) plan. He also advised them to adopt other enterprises like dairy farming, poultry farming, bee-keeping and fisheries in order to supplement their income and improve their nutrition.
Dr Kolar also said the university would hold main kisan mela on the PAU campus in Ludhiana on March 15 and 16. It would also hold regional kisan melas at Ballowal Sankhri on March 7, Bathinda on March 24 and Gurdaspur on March 29. He advised farmers to participate in these melas in order to get the latest technical knowhow.
Dr M.S. Bajwa, Director of Research, called for precision farming by using various inputs, like fertilisers, insecticides and weedicides at correct time and in proper dose. He also advised them to use fertilisers on the basis of soil testing, otherwise, there was a likelihood of using more than the required amount, thereby increasing the cost of production and adversely affecting the soil structure.
Dr S.S. Malhi, Associate Director (training) of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) in Patiala, explained various training programmes and other extension activities organised by the KVK and urged farmers to make maximum use of these facilities. He also advised them to establish new enterprises only after getting a proper training.
There was an
enthusiastic response from the farmers who attended the
mela in a large number. The highlights of the mela were
an agro-based industrial exhibition, field demonstrations
in agriculture and home science, sale of university
publications, seeds and fruit plants. There was a great
demand for the new paddy varieties PR-115 and PR-116.
According to Dr Sukhminder Singh Gill, Director (seeds),
about 3,000 small kits of these varieties were sold to
farmers. The university experts gave them technical tips
for successful farming.
Cyber cafe rage in Ludhiana
LUDHIANA: Is your child getting career counselling from a faculty member of London Business School? Or are you buying gold at a much cheaper rate from Dubai? Sounds amazing? But it is all possible through the computer in any of the cyber cafes that are the current rage and have now come up in most places in the city.
From the plush localities of Ghumar Mandi, Pakhowal Road, Sarabha Nagar and Ferozepore Road to the Chaura Bazar or the Old Courts Road, cyber cafes have come up in almost all parts of the city.
People from all age-groups visit these cyber cafes for a variety of purposes. According to Mr Teginder Singh Ravi, proprietor, Futura Internet Services: People throng cyber cafes not just to check out the latest website or for educational purpose, but mostly for net-chatting.
Mr Ved Prakash, a former public prosecutor and a regular visitor to the cyber cafes says, I am addicted to Internet in order to get information on maintaining good food and health habits and to know various yoga asans.
Dr Ritesh Chabra, an intern in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, says through the use of Internet facilities, his work has become much easier. One can get different journals on the website and if you give a password, it also provides various abstracts and references which are helpful for students like me who are engaged in extensive research work.
However, most proprietors of these cyber cafes, fee the city residents are not availing the services being provided by them extensively. Mr Tejpreet Dhooria of Maxicom, Network complained that most city residents were still apprehensive about using the latest in technology and instead waste time and money in getting information, which through their cyber cafes, is just a mouse-click away.
Giving an example he said: I recently came across an industrialist who was going all the way to Delhi to know the latest on a factory project he was setting up. I recommended he use the internet through the cyber cafe. He is now doing the same job by spending almost 10 times less than he was doing earlier.
Whereas the rates for availing services in the various cyber cafes differ from Rs 40 to Rs 120 an hour depending on the facilities provided, proprietors claim that rates were being charged on the basis of speed, consistency, security and safety and most importantly on getting connectivity from Jalandhar and Chandigarh being provided at the cyber cafes.
Mr Parminder Singh of Cyber City Cafe, Ghumar Mandi, says: Emphasis should be laid on consistency of connections to make this entire project successful. There should be an all out effort on the part of both Satyam and VSNL the only two companies to provide Internet connections, to take corrective actions in this regard.
However, as claimed by the owners of these joints, these are now being hailed by the city residents as God-sent as the cost of computer and having an internet connection make their ownership. Out of bounds for most people. It is now through the cyber cafes alone that even a middle-class person has accessibility to this most important communication medium, says Mr Tejpreet Dhooria.
Budget proposals criticised
CHANDIGARH, March 2 Various organisations, including the Punjab State Council of the CPI, the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union and the Punjab Civil Secretariat Staff Association, have criticised the Union Budget for various reasons.
Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the state unit of the CPI, said the increase in the prices of agriculture inputs would harm the agrarian sector, especially small farmers already under debt. He said that the CPI would hold a rally on March 16 against the anti-farmer and anti-employee proposals in the budget.
The Punjab Civil Secretariat Staff Association said that 1 per cent interest rate had been decreased on the general provident fund which would affect the employees. No relief had been given to employees on income tax deducted from their salaries at source. Almost similar views have been expressed by the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union.
The General Secretary of
the SHSAD, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, said that the Union
Government had presented anti-farmer Budget in
Parliament. There was no plan in the Budget to improve
the lot of the farming community in the country, he
added. Taxing of agriculture exports would further
demoralise the farming community, he added.
High-powered IT teams
FATEHGARH SAHIB, March 2 A team comprising Principal Secretary, Information Technology Department Punjab, Commissioner, Patiala Division, Secretary, Department of IT, Director IT and Senior Officers of the central government today visited the District to oversee computerisation of various Departments.
Briefing the team Mr V.K. Janjua, Deputy Commissioner, explained softwares development. He said that software for the registration of documents has been developed by NIC Fatehgarh Sahib and it would be replicated to all districts in Punjab free of cost. Other projects such as grievances monitoring system, Arms licences, rural development programme for block level and many other MISs that already had been developed at Fatehgarh Sahib would also be replicated. On a single CDROM. The team expressed satisfaction over the work done by the NIC and District Administration in the field of computerisation.
Mr Navneet Kukreja,
Director, NIC said that the software for block level
computerisation was ready and the computers would be
installed at block headquarters very shortly. With this
the people at block level and in rural areas will have
e-mail and internet facilities.
Protest rally by bank employees
CHANDIGARH, March 2 Under the banner of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation, employees of various banks here today held a rally to protest against the decision of the Union Government to privatise the public sector banks.
Among those who addressed the rallyists were Mr Amrit Lal, General Secretary of the Bank of Boroda Employees Union, Mr T.K. Datta, President, and Mr Dharam Singh Rajput, Secretary of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation.
Vets seek letters of
CHANDIGARH, March 2 Unemployed veterinary doctors have urged the Punjab Government to issue appointment letters to those doctors who were duly selected by the Punjab Public Services Commission on August 23 last year. A spokesman of the unemployed doctors said here today that as many as 69 candidates were selected by the PPSC and their names were recommended to the Punjab Government.
But the Government was
delaying the issuance of appointment letters to them for
one reason or other even though the Punjab Cabinet had
approved to fill the vacancies by appointing selected
Seminar on legal services
BATHINDA, March 2 Mr H.S. Bhalla, District and Sessions Judge and chairman, District Legal Services Authority, today said that a legal services seminar would be held in the local court complex on March 25.
In a press note issued here today, he pointed out that Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Executive Chairman, Punjab Legal Services Authority would participate in the seminar.
Stir threat by farmers
Chandigarh, March 2 - Mr Jagdeep Singh Cheema, president of Young Farmers Association, Punjab and Haryana, has said that the proposed hike in fertiliser prices is a cruel joke on the farmers.
Cancelled trains restored
PHILLAUR, March 2
Northern Railway has restored the Amritsar -Muzaffarpur
Flying Mail and the Amritsar-Kalka Kalka Mail from March
1. Railway sources said this evening that these trains
were cancelled due to some technical reasons, and now
these were restored on peoples demand.
SDOs release in graft case
CHANDIGARH, March 2 The All India Anti-Corruption Association today preferred a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court assailing the decision of the Punjab Government to let off Mr Amardeep Singh, S.D.O. in the Public Works Department (B and R) in a bribery case registered against him by the Vigilance Department.
Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi, before whom the petition came up for hearing, issued notice to the government for April 6.
The petition alleged that Mr Amardeep Singh was related to Mr Raj Mohinder Singh, a member of the Rajya Sabha. He is also related to Mr Parkash Singh Majitha, a Cabinet colleague of Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal. Therefore, he wielded considerable influence on the government.
The F.I.R. against Mr Amardeep Singh was registered on the basis of a statement made by Mr Harbhajan Singh. He told the Vigilance DSP, Mr Malvinder Singh Sodhi that the accused demanded a sum of Rs 2500 from him for passing his security bill.
The DSP (Vigilance) constituted a raiding party. Mr Harbhajan Singh took Rs 2500 with him and paid this amount to the SDO. He was nabbed by the raiding party.
The raiding party put
the currency notes in a colourless sodium solution in a
clean glass and they turned light pink. Mr Amardeep Singh
was arrested on the spot on September 14, 1999 and
produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Kharar. He made
a statement before the Judicial Magistrate that he had
taken a sum of Rs 2500 from Mr Harbhajan Singh by way of
Row over amount of currency
FEROZEPORE, March 2 The recent seizure of counterfeit currency worth Rs 2.3 lakh in Mallanwala, near here, has raised a controversy after sources in the police department revealed that the actual amount of the seizure was more than what had been claimed to have been recovered.
It is being apprehended that the fake currency is still in the possession of some cops.
While the police officers are tightlipped about the actual amount recovered so far, sources say that the seizure was bigger and the money is still in the possession of the cops.
To substantiate their charge, a section of police officials say that a few fake currency notes were given to media persons as part of a demonstration. Since a case property (in this case counterfeit notes) cannot be tampered with, it is obvious that the notes circulated are from a lot other than the one claimed to have been recovered, one official said.
Interestingly, a senior police officer even admitted that some notes have been circulated among the cops to enable them to differentiate between real and fake currency.
He, however, sought to clarify that the amount apart from the recovery of Rs 2.3 lakh was not high, as was being made out.
Seeking to allay the fear that it could be misused, the Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), Mr N.P.S. Sidhu said. Only the gazetted officers have been allowed to keep them the counterfeit notes) for guidance with some sense of responsibility.
however, suggest that the fake currency should be burnt
to prevent it from coming into circulation. Even
keeping the fake notes amounts to an offence, a
Customs official pointed out. Another senior police
officer feared that the fake notes in possession of the
cops can not come into circulation, but can be used to
implicate somebody in a case.
Four booked in rape case
ROPAR, March 2 The police here has registered a case against Rakesh Kumar, Raj Kumar, Bittu (all residents of Ropar) and Johny, a resident of Chandigarh under Sections 376, 342, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mrs Shehnaz wife of Kunwrudeen a local resident last night.
According to the police here today, the victim was allegedly taken to the house of Rakesh Kumar from her house in a car on the night of February 27 by the four accused where she was allegedly raped by Rakesh Kumar and Raj Kumar in the absence of Bittu and Johny who had already left the house.
The police said the victim had been kept in the house of Rakesh Kumar for two days. Later she returned to her house and told about it to her husband when he came from Uttar Pradesh. He had gone to Uttar Pradesh in connection with the death of his relative.
The victim was examined at the local Civil Hospital this afternoon.
Two arrested for defrauding
JALANDHAR, March 2 The local police has arrested two persons for defrauding 38 students under the garb of admission to the local branch of the Institute of Human Health and Welfare.
Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said a complaint had been filed by the students of the institute located near DAV College that Jatinder Kumar, his wife Suman Lata and Tarsem Masih had collected thousands of rupees from them by promising fake degrees and certificates of ANM and lab technician courses. Upon verification from the All-India Council of Technical Education, New Delhi, it was found that Kottayam-based National College of Medical Institute was authorised to award certificates and degrees to successful candidates.
But in this case, Tarsem Masih had just obtained an authority letter from the principal of the institute on the basis of which he had been collecting huge amounts from students. Jatinder Kumar and Suman Lata had been arrested.
A case under Sections 420, 465, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered in this regard.
Robbers loot cash, gold
ROPAR, March 2 About eight robbers looted thousands of rupees and some gold from a house located in the premises of a medicine factory on the Kurali-Siswan road, about 18 km from here, last night.
Mr Jasdev Singh, SHO, Kurali, today said as per the complaint of the factory owner, Mr Sushil Gupta, seven to eight robbers entered the factory last night by breaking the door. Later, they also broke the door of the house and looted about Rs 15000 and some gold.
306 underweight LPG
cylinders seized, 5 arrested
JALANDHAR, March 2 The police has arrested five persons and seized 306 underweight LPG cylinders from them at a naka near Chogitti here today.
According to Mr R.S. Cheema, DSP (Detective), on a tip-off that underweight cylinders were being sold by some drivers supplying LPG cylinders to a Ludhiana-based gas agency, a naka was laid at Chogitti. During investigation it was found that Sher Singh and Jaswinder Singh, the driver and cleaner of the truck, had been transferring gas from filled cylinders to empty ones and were selling these off to dhaba owners after charging a premium. As many as 306, including 15 empty cylinders and a device used in the process were found in the truck. Among those who were arrested were three labourers who had been working with the two.
Bail application rejected
LUDHIANA, March 2 The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Lakhbir Singh, today rejected the bail application of Anil Jain, alias Mickey, in a case registered against him under Sections 18,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.
Anil Jain is an accused in the case of death of his brother, Sunil Jain, whose body was found under mysterious circumstances in his car in the Focal Point area on December 23.
It is being alleged that
the accused, who is lodged in the Ludhiana Central Jail,
is enjoying a lot of facilities, including a mobile
phone, has two attendants and is also being served liquor
in jail in connivance with jail officials.
Medical college crises may deepen
FARIDKOT, March 2 The crises in five state medical and dental colleges due to the strike by the teaching staff is likely to deepen as the teachers who are yet to complete 20 years of services have decided to go back to their parent department Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS). This has paved the way for the Medical Council of India (MCI) to derecognise all these colleges for want of adequate staff.
The members of the Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot unit, who have not yet completed 20 years of service, took the decision to go back to their parent department at a meeting held here yesterday.
A spokesman for the association said senior teachers who had completed 20 years of service would not be affected by premature retirement as they would get monthly income from the Provident Fund and gratuity added with the pension equal to their pay.
On the other hand, the junior teachers, who were yet to complete 20 years of service, could not avail of pension benefits and other allowances which were generally given to an employee after his or her retirement. So the junior doctors were left with no option other than holding out the threat of going back to their parent department to pressurise, the Punjab Government.
He added that if the strength of teachers came down than the required strength, the MCI would recognise the medical and dental college.
The members of the Punjab State Medical and Department Teachers Association of five state colleges, including three medial colleges at Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot and two dental colleges at Patiala and Amritsar, have been observing a strike for the last 21 days to press the Punjab Government to give them the arrears due to them on account of revision of pay scales.
Official sources said that due to continuous strike by the teachers, the students of medical and dental colleges were suffering. These students would not be able to complete the number of lectures stipulated by the MCI.
No action on promise to
CHANDIGARH, March 2 The Punjab state medical and dental teachers, on strike since February 10, returned to their respective colleges albeit disappointed after a meeting with the Minister of Medical Education and Research, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, here today.
A deputation of the teachers association, accompanied by the BJP MLA from Amritsar, Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, had a meeting with the Minister and bureaucrats concerned where all the associations got in return were sweet assurances, nothing more.
This is not the first time that the teachers, working in medical and dental colleges in Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala, are agitating or are being held out only assurances. Yet as a reasonable gesture, the association assured the minister that the agitation, which had resulted in the suspension of all teaching work in these institutions, would not be intensified. There was also no question of suspending the same.
The major demands of these doctors, whose decision to suspend teaching will adversely affect the first professional MBBS and BDS students taken in the year since teaching hour norms as per the Medical-Dental Councils of India would not be met, include payment of arrears of new pay scales to the remaining medical teachers; payment of pension and other retirement benefits as per new scales; allowances permissible to all doctors; conveyance and transport facilities for faculty members for meetings at Chandigarh and Baba Farid University of Health sciences at Faridkot; consultants from house to hospital and back and students for field work, training and educational tours; decentralisation of financial powers to all institutional heads and enhancement of powers of the principals; resting administrative control of engineering and electrical wings with the principals, improved communication and facilities corresponding to user charges; filling of vacant posts; rationalisation of postings and transfers; establishment of instrument repair workshop at medical and dental colleges; and delegation of financial powers to professors and head of departments for routine functioning.According to association General Secretary, Dr Baljeet Singh Dhillon, the main hurdles seems to be in the Finance Department. Chiding the governments decision-making system he gave the chronology of the associations meetings at different levels all ending without decision and mere assurances.
It was on November 11, 1998, that a final decision regarding pay and allowances was taken with the Chief Minister in the chair in Chandigarh; on April 7, 1999 a notification was issued on the advice of the Finance Department; on September 23 supplementary budget was sanctioned or payment of arrears as per the notification of April 7; and on December 12, 1999, a meeting was held with the Chief Secretary yet nothing tangible materialised on the pending demands.
The state has a student strength of nearly 2,000 in the medical and dental colleges and a faculty of around 400.
Vegetable prices plummet
MOGA, March 2
Prices of potato here came crashing down to such a level
that a farmer sold them at Rs 30 a bag weighing 80 kg.
Cauliflower and carrots too went vary cheap. These crops
fetched so poor a price that most farmers sold their
products at a throw-away price.
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