Friday, February 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Wiremesh to separate counting staff, agents
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 21
The Election Commission of India has instructed the election authorities in Punjab to doubly barricade the counting centres.

The wiremesh barricading inside the counting hall will separate the counting staff and counting agents. It will also regulate the entry of officials on duty and counting agents. Another barricade would be set up outside the counting centres and a duty magistrate deputed to manage the supporters of contestants.

Meanwhile, it is said the electronic voting machines (EVMs) will fail to keep the secrecy of ballots as the polling station wise results will be available to anybody on payment of a fee. A senior official of the Election Commission said that earlier the ballot papers of many polling booths of a constituency were mixed at the place of counting and this ensured the secrecy of the fact that which contestant got how many votes from a particular polling station. This time, there would be no mixing of ballots due to use of EVMs.

He added that even if the unique identification number of an EVM was changed and a few fictitious identity number allotted, the machine would be identifiable from the total number of votes polled in that particular machine. And this number is known to all candidates.

While the ballot papers of many polling booths could be mixed together, there was no procedure to ‘mix’ the votes of various EVMs. In addition, the ballots used earlier needed to be counted individually; the EVMs already contain the ‘counted’ votes. This time, the counting of votes has been reduced to merely pressing the buttons of the EVMs.


New SAD MLAs meet on Feb 25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The SAD general secretary, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today said that the newly elected MLAs of the party would meet at the residence of the President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, here on February 25. The meeting would discuss the post-result political strategy.

Earlier in the day, he said, the Akali candidates assembled at Mr Badal's residence and discussed the poll campaign. The refrain was that opinion and exit polls were in ''bad taste'' lacking in scientific methodology.

At the meeting two factors surfaced repeatedly: one, there was overwhelming voting in favour of the Akali Dal in the rural areas establishing that the Akali votebank was intact; and two, there was unprecedented enthusiasm among party workers, who campaigned for the official candidates.


Shun gurdwara politics, Akalis told
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 21
Akalis should shun gurdwara politics and not mix politics with religion, said Mr Kuldip Nayar, noted journalist and member of Parliament, while inaugurating a two-day seminar on “Punjab politics: the Communal Cauldron” today at Guru Nanak Dev University.

The seminar is being organised by the Department of Political Science. Prof Prithpal Singh Kapur, distinguished historian and former Pro- Vice-Chancellor of the university, presented the keynote address while Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, presided over.

Mr Kuldip Nayar said that before Independence Hindus and Sikhs had strong feelings of togetherness and closeness, but immediately after, Sikhs started harbouring feelings of deprivation. They had some demands, like reservation for Sikh Dalits and status of Punjabi as the official language of the state. When the demand for the Punjabi suba was not met, the demand turned into a grievance. These were the genuine demands. But one thing where the Sikhs faltered was that they launched their movements from the gurdwaras. This sullied the secular nature of their demands. The mixing of religion with politics could not generate a feeling of Punjabiat which was the necessity of the time.

He condemned Operation Bluestar but said the Sikh youth should not confuse the government with the country. A government can be maligned, not the country.

Prof. Prithpal Singh Kapur traced the history of communal problem in Punjab. He said the role of the Indian National Congress and the Arya Samaj kept the communal cauldron boiling in Punjab. Sikhs were not trusted and given a due share in the governance of Punjab. The 1916 Lucknow Pact, 1928 Nehru Report, the statement of Mahatma Gandhi that he never knew that Sikhs are a separate community, did injustice to the Sikhs.

In the present situation, Akalis are politically placed in a disadvantageous position because both the BJP and Congress are playing assimilative politics.

Dr S.P. Singh highlighted the communal facts which have affected the spirit of Punjabiat. He announced that the university would establish a centre for studies of Punjab politics to make a scientific analysis of Punjab politics which would help extinguish communal fires.


Finance panel recommendations-II
Restructure property tax, impose profession levy
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
In Punjab, the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) comprise municipal corporations (four), councils (98) and nagar panchayats (32). The state’s urban population is 32.5 per cent, as per the 2001 census.

Of the ULBs’ total earnings, 64 per cent is tax revenue and 19 per cent non-tax revenue. Thus their “own” revenue is 83 per cent, indicating a high degree of self-reliance. Prior to its abolition on December 1 last, Octroi constituted 66.6 per cent of the total earnings. At number two was property tax — with a share of less than 10 per cent. Tax revenue for ULBs grew by 10 per cent (1996-97 to 2000-01) and the per capita tax revenue by 77.7 per cent, outplacing both the growth in the urban population as also urban incomes. “The bulk of the increase had occurred in octroi, mainly due to the privatisation of its collection, and in property tax, due to a change in the basis of assessment of owner-occupied buildings to capital cost-based annual value by amendment to the Municipal Act in 1994”, says the report of the Punjab Finance Commission.

The amended provisions regarding the basis of the assessment of property tax of self-occupied buildings has been set aside by the high court. The Punjab Municipal Bill, 1999, which will, inter alia, enable the assessment of property tax of all property, whether tenant or the self-occupied, on the annual value based on capital value of the properties, has been enacted and has been awaiting the President’s assent for over two years. These developments are likely to adversely affect the growth of tax revenue in the ULBs.

The commission has, therefore, recommended the restructuring of the property tax on the “area-based method for the determination of the annual value”. The commission has said that the exemption granted to all self-occupied residential property with effect from April 1, 1997, may be withdrawn (although a rebate of 50 per cent may be allowed in the case of such houses). The earlier provision for the grant of such exemption to houses built on land up to 250 sq yds within the jurisdiction of municipal councils, Classes II and III, and nagar panchayats, single-storeyed buildings in municipal corporations and Class I towns and on and up to 125 sq yd in the case of multi-storeyed buildings in corporation and Class I towns may be restored.

The commission has recommended the imposition of profession tax with exemption to persons engaged in low-paid occupations and scavenging tax on such establishments which generate a sizeable amount of solid and hazardous wastes. Several administrative reforms have also been suggested.

The commission has recommended the minimum target for the recovery of taxes and water and sewerage charges (current demand and recoverable arrears) of 70 per cent for 2002-03 and 80 per cent thereafter. The expenditure recovery on water supply and sewerage is just 47 per cent. This must be 100 per cent, says the report.

The recommendations, if followed, are expected to result in additional resource mobilisation of Rs 48.83 crore in 2002-03 and Rs 81.14 crore in 2005-06 benefiting the ULBs. The emphasis in the recommendations is on privatisation or the contract system to save on ULB finances, particularly when civic services are extended to “unserved areas”. The privatisation alone will result in savings of Rs 18.25 crore per annum in terms of extension of the sweeping of roads, streets, etc.

On octroi, the report says that its withdrawal has created a crater in resources to the tune of 66.6 per cent — a loss of Rs 372 crore at the level of octroi receipts in 2000-01. To make up for this, the recommendation is replacing octroi by surcharge on sales tax (to be replaced by surcharge on VAT) or accounts-based entry tax on dealers with such provision in regard to coverage and rates as would provide approximately the same amount of revenue as would have accrued to the ULBs from octroi with a provision for the deposit of the surcharge/entry tax by the assessees directly in the municipal fund.

Alternatively, the ULBs are to be compensated by grants equal to the net receipts from octroi of each ULB during 2000-01, excluding receipts from octroi on electricity, with a provision of 15 per cent per annum increase in the amount of grant each year.

There is a shortfall of Rs 553 crore in transfer share in taxes to the local bodies and the amount due to them as share of the auction money from country liquor vends and excise duty on Indian-made foreign liquor, as compared to the amount due in accordance with the recommendations of the First Commission, as accepted by the government. The state is unlikely to be in a position to pay this backlog. The ULBs need “fiscal autonomy” under government guidelines. Even the de-provincialisation of all posts except Class I is recommended.

(To be concluded)


Hepatitis cases detected in village
Tribune News Service

Sooch (Bathinda), February 21
Fear has gripped residents of Sooch and surrounding villages after several cases of patients suffering from hepatitis A and B have been detected in this tiny village having population of at least 3000 persons.

Though the civil hospital authorities have sent medical teams to take preventive steps to check its spread and provide treatment to the patients, most of them have been getting treatments at private clinics located in the nearby towns.

Hepatitis-B had claimed a number of lives in the area, including in the neighbouring Chauke village. Hepatitis-B acquired epidemic dimension in this region last year in Chauke village alone, the district health authorities found more than 25 patients of hepatitis-B.

Hepatitis-B keep on claiming human lives despite the fact that massive vaccination of the residents of this area undertaken by the district health authorities. However, the district health authorities claim that it had been spreading due to recycling of needles by the unregistered medical practitioners, who had been carrying out their practise without any check in this region.

Information gathered by the TNS revealed that the Civil Hospital authorities received information in connection with the spread of hepatitis in this village from a member of the para-medical staff. The pharmacist concerned reported to the authorities that about five patients suffering from hepatitis had been identified in the village.

Dr H.S. Dhillon, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, when contacted said a team led by Dr Harinder Pal Singh, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), had been sent to the village for identifying that how many patients had been suffering from Hepatitis A and B. Report in that connection would be received by tomorrow.

He added that further steps would be taken as per the report. So far at least five patients had been identified who had been suffering from hepatitis.

He said blood samples of all suspected patients would be taken to identify those suffering from hepatitis-B and specific measures would also be taken to check its spread. He added that adequate steps would also be taken to check the spread of hepatitis-A.


Lights were installed on Feb 12: inquiry
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 21
The inquiry conducted by the district administration into the installation of streetlights in the slumps of Ropar just one day before election has established that the act was committed but it has failed to identify the culprits.

The Deputy Commissioner Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal, told to this Correspondent that following the complaint to the Forward Bloc candidate from the Anandpur Sahib Assembly constituency, Mr V.P. Saini, regarding the said incident, Mrs S. Rair, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), was asked to conduct an inquiry. She submitted her report last evening.

During the inquiry, slum dwellers were questioned. They told the officer that the streetlights were installed in their area on February 12 and removed on February 18 when some people with a camera came to their colony. The slum residents, however, failed to identify any official or worker who installed the lights.

The inquiry officer also questioned the officials of the municipal council and the PSEB about the installation and removal of the lights. They feigned ignorance about the incident, the Deputy Commissioner told.

Mr V.P. Saini, at a separate press conference, alleged that though he was the main complainant in the case, the officer had not contacted him for comments.

He claimed that he had made a video of the streetlights and questioned the residents about the person who had installed them. He suspected that the district administration was playing down the incident due to the involvement of the ruling party candidate in the incident. His party would demand a repoll in the affected areas, Mr Saini added.

The Deputy Commissioner, said Mr Saini had not presented any such evidence before the district administration. If it was presented, a further inquiry could be conducted, he added.


‘Civilian candidate used Capt prefix’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 21
In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) a candidate from Amritsar (West) Assembly constituency has sought attention on the usage of prefix “Captain” before the name by a candidate from the same constituency in the recently concluded Assembly elections.

Col (retd.) J.S. Bal has stated in a communication to the CEC that Mr Rajinder Kumar, candidate of the National Congress Party from this constituency, has never served in the defence forces and was using the prefix of a defence rank with malafide intention to get votes from defence personnel and those who are sympathetic to defence services for the cause of the country.

He stated that using the rank without actually serving in the defence forces amounted to devaluation of the pride of the defence forces by someone who had done nothing to earn it.

Colonel Bal said when the matter was discussed with the Returning Officer of the constituency he stated that the name of Mr Rajinder Kumar on the ballot paper appeared as “Sh Capt. Rajinder Kumar” and not as “Captain Rajinder Kumar” or “Capt. Rajinder Kumar”.


Rinwa sets up panel to probe Mehra’s role
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, Punjab BJP president, has formed a two-member committee to probe the role of Mr Sunil Mehra, who has been expelled for six years. The committee members are Mr Narrotam Dev Ratti and Mr Vinod Sharma.


Patient awarded compensation
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, February 21
The District Consumer Forum, Ropar, has directed Rajput Hospital allegedly run by quacks to pay compensation to a complainant for deficiency in service.

Mr Karnail Singh Mehton, a local resident, in his complaint before the forum had alleged that he had approached Zail Singh Rajput, proprietor of Rajput Hospital, Kharar, who claimed to be a doctor, on reading his advertisement in a newspaper. In the advertisement Zail Singh had claimed that he had permanent cure for sexual disorders.

After examining him in his hospital the "doctor" told him that a medicine course costing Rs 5,000 would rectify his disorder and its effect would last for six to seven 'years. However, in case he wanted to be permanently cured, he would have to take two courses of medicine costing Rs 10,000. The "doctor" guaranteed him that the medicine would show effect within three days after he started the course and he would be fully cured within seven days. The "doctor" also advised the complainant to consult doctors at the head office of the hospital at Jalandhar after taking the medicine course.

The complainant said he paid Rs 7,000 to the "doctor" for the medicine hoping that his sexual disorder would be cured. He took the medicine for three days but did not feel any improvement in his condition. He then approached the head office and got himself examined by Dr Waryam Singh Rajput and Dr Surinder Singh Rajput. They advised him a change in medicine but only after getting additional payment of Rs 3,000. They also guaranteed permanent cure for the complainant's ailment.

However, even after that, when the complainant did not feel any improvement in his condition he approached the "doctor" at Kharar and asked for the refund of his fee. The latter, however, declined to do so.

The complainant alleged that he had undergone mental harassment at the hands of the accused and should be awarded compensation. The accused did not appear in the court, despite repeated summons to them, which were even sent to them through registered posts.

So, after examining the evidence presented before the forum by the complainant, the forum comprising the forum president, Mr JP Gupta, and members, Mr S.K. Bhatia and Ms MK Chawala, maintained that there was deficiency in service on the part of the accused. The allegations on the accused were further substantiated by their absence from the court, despite repeated reminders to them.

They awarded the compensation of Rs 20,000 and costs of litigation quantified at Rs 1,000 to the complainant. The compensation is to be paid within 30 days after which an interest of 18 per cent per annum would be changed on it.


No Hindu jatha for Pak: Billa
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 21
Hindu organisations have decided not to send any jatha to visit Pakistan. The jatha was scheduled to visit Katasraj Chakkwal district, on the occasion of Shivratri, which falls on March 12.

Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president of the All-India Hindu Shiv Sena (AIHSS) said that no Hindu jatha would be sent to Pakistan till the situation was defused in the region. He alleged Hindus in Pakistan were being tortured. A Pakistani Hindu, Mr Sudam Chand Chawla, a resident of Jacbabad, president of the Hindu Panchayat, was tortured to death recently as he used to fight for the cause of his community. Hindus were not being allowed to celebrate their festivals in Pakistan. The population of Hindus, which was 2.5 crore in Pakistan at the time of Partition had been reduced to 15 lakh.

Hindu girls were being abducted in Pakistan and forced to marry as per traditions of Islam.

Taking strong exception to the SGPC decision to raise a memorial to Operation Bluestar, Mr Billa said a common memorial should instead be raised in memory of 25,000 innocent Hindus and Sikhs who were killed during the decade-long militancy in the state.

Mr Billa said the BJP, the alliance partner of the Akali Dal, should clarify its stand on operation bluestar. If the SGPC, he said, insisted on raising a monument, the BJP must part ways with the Akali Dal.

Mr Billa also criticised the statement of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), in which he had stated that his party would stage a dharna at the Ram Janma bhoomi site at Ayodhya.


Thermal plant staff seek overtime benefits
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 21
Hundreds of employees of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant held a rally to show their resentment against decisions taken by the management of the PSEB.

The call for the rally was given by the PSEB Thermal Coordination Committee. They shouted slogans against the authorities concerned for ignoring the sentiments of employees.

They resented against the non-payment of benefits for working overtime and generation allowance. The new policy made in that regard was against the interests of the employees.

The employees said as the authorities did not take steps for filling the vacant posts they had to do duty beyond regular duty hours. Mr Gursewak Singh, president, GNDTP Employees Federation, said for a long time the management was making anti-employees policies. They pleaded to the employees to revert some of its decisions but to no avail.

Mr Gurnam Singh Khialiwala, general secretary, said they would continue their agitation till they were not given justice. He said although decision regarding the increase in dust allowance had been taken a long ago but it had not been implemented much to the dissatisfaction of those employees who work at a place.

He said their other demands included giving of promotion after nine years to LDC, to withdraw the condition of passing second language test for promotion of steno/typist.

Others who spoke on the occasion, included the secretary Mr Jagneet Singh, a senior vice-president, Mr Akatar Singh, and other office-bearers of the federation, including Mr Ajaib Singh, Mr Mahinder Singh Khokhar and Mr Major Singh.


A symbol of religious harmony
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, February 21
In times when religious hatred is prevailing in some parts of the country, Gurdwara Haji Rattan named after a Muslim saint situated nest to his tomb and a mosque, in the city could be an eye-opener for people having narrow thinking and religious intolerance.

People belonging to Sikh and Muslim communities throng these places on auspicious occasions and celebrate their festivals without any hindrance from others. They also mingle with each other on special occasions.

Although different views are given about the period when Haji Rattan had stayed and meditated here but one thing is sure that the gurdwara was named after him because he was close to some Sikh Gurus who visited the place during their lifetime.

As per the Gazetteer of India (1992), Gurdwara Haji Rattan is associated with the visits of Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Hargobind Singh and Guru Gobind Singh, the first, sixth and tenth Gurus of Sikhs, respectively. It is said that when Guru Nanak Dev during his first journey (Udasi) visited this place, Haji Rattan who was meditating here hurled a big stone at the Guru to frighten him away. However, Guru Nanak Dev picked the same stone and hurled it back at Haji Rattan who became unconscious. The Guru brought Haji to consciousness later.

Haji Rattan sought the Guru’s pardon and requested him to rid him of the drudgery of life. The Guru is said to have uttered, “I will see you twice more,” and believers say that the words of the Guru came true when Guru Hargobind Singh and Guru Gobind Singh visited the place.

Maulvi Saraj Din, who looks after the mosque and tomb of Haji Rattan, said the tomb was constructed about 416 years ago by Loddar Mall. He said the Urs was celebrated every year at the mosque. He confirmed that Haji Rattan was staying here when Guru Nanak Dev visited the place.

His ancestors and those who were maulvis here before him told such tales about Haji Rattan serving food and giving shelter to Guru Nanak Dev during his visit, he said.

Residents of the city who witnessed the religious hatred and bloodshed following the Partition of country in 1947 said even in those days no damage was done to buildings.

They said it was rare that places of worship of different religions stand together without members of either community objecting to it.

They said the true spirit of religion was exhibited by the presence of the gurdwara and the mosque in close proximity.


Foeticide: erring scanning centres to face action

Moga, February 21
The district level advisory committee of medical experts, set up by the Muktsar Deputy Commissioner, has directed the ultrasound scanning centres to maintain proper record of the tests conducted at their centres and also submit weekly reports of the tests conducted on women between the age group of 15 years and 45 years to check the increasing cases of abortion, particularly of female foeticide.

The meeting, which was presided over by Dr Meena Jagga yesterday, cautioned that a legal action would be initiated against owners of the ultrasound scanning centres who did not maintain proper record and submit weekly report to the senior medical officer’s office.

The advisory committee of experts discussed various aspects of female foeticide. The meeting also decided to set up a complaint centre in the office of the civil surgeon to monitor such cases. The complaints of the tests conducted by ultrasound centres solely meant for abortions could be lodged in the complaint centre in writing on telephone.

The three-member committee has also been set up to look into complaints and initiate inquiries by inspecting the records of the ultrasound scanning centre. The committee has also been empowered to make sudden inspection of ultrasound centres. UNI


Bid to grab govt land
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, February 21
The district administration yesterday foiled attempt of 12 persons to encroach on prime government land behind the Kanjali road. Mr Arvind Parkash, tehsildar was deputed to oversee the removal of the encroachment. The tehsildar along with municipal employees and heavy police force went to the spot and demolished walls being raised by encroachers. The tehsildar also ordered police officials to arrest the encroachers. The land is said to be valued at more than Rs one crore. One of the encroachers identified as Narinder Singh was arrested while others fled the spot.

The encroachers alleged that a senior revenue official demanded Rs 20,000 for each marla from them for keeping possession of the government land but on their refusal to oblige him he had the encroachments removed.


Defamation case: Sukhbir to file reply
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 21
A local court today directed Mr Sukhbir Badal to file a reply in the case filed by Capt Amarinder Singh for seeking quashing of the defamation complaint filed against him by the former.

Mr Sukhbir Badal has been directed to file the reply on March 11 in the Court of the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L. Mohal. The Magistrate has, however, accepted the exemption plea moved by him. Mr Sukhbir Badal has filed the criminal complaint against the PPCC chief for allegedly defaming him through the publication of ‘defamatory’ advertisements in newspapers last month.


Spurious drugs on sale
Our Correspondent

Mansa, February 21
The sale of the spurious and expired medicines is rampant in this district. The sale of intoxicating medicines has also gone up and certain chemists are reportedly selling medicines without prescriptions of doctors. The number of Drug Inspectors and other checking staff here is insufficient. Although a Central team had recommended the appointment of 61 Drug Inspectors in the state to enforce the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, there are only 15 posts of Drug Inspectors, out of which four are lying vacant.

According to the report of the team, a Drug Inspector checks, 1,110 drug shops and factories as against 200 as per rules. As they are unable to check drug manufacturing units, medicines are below specifications or spurious.


Two crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 21
Charan Kaur, a resident of Joga Singh Wala village, was crushed to death by a tanker at Khabbe Dogran village today when she was waiting for a bus. The police has registered a case against the driver of the tanker.

According to one more report, Lakhwinder Singh, a local resident, allegedly committed suicide by drowning himself in the “sarowar” of the local Sri Darbar Sahib. Lakhwinder was said to be mentally disturbed. The police registered a case and sent the body for the post-mortem examination to the local Civil Hospital today.

According to another report Sucha Singh, a Supervisor of the BHEL, Goindwal, was crushed to death by a vehicle yesterday when he was going on his scooter. The police has registered a case.

Meanwhile, the body of Raj Kumar, driver in the Army, was recovered today from the river Beas. He drowned in the river near Dhunda village on February 11.

The body was sent for the post-mortem examination to the local Civil Hospital today.


2 die as car, tanker collide

Sangrur, February 21
Two persons died on the spot when their car collided with an oil tanker near Sehjra village in Barnala subdivision in the district today.

The victims were identified as Bhagwant Singh, alias Bhaggi, and Gobind Ram, the police here said. Car driver Jagdev Singh was seriously injured in the mishap.

The Mehalkalan police has registered the case and search for the tanker driver who has absconded was on. UNI


Setting up of NRI welfare cell sought
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 21
Mr Daljit Singh Sahota, Chairman, Overseas Congress, the UK, yesterday demanded the creation of the NRI Welfare Cell to safeguard interests of non-resident Indians, particularly Punjabis. Talking to reporters here, Mr Sahota asked Captain Amarinder Singh, PPCC chief to have a cell setup if the Congress formed government in the state. Hailing decision on dual citizenship to NRIs, Mr Sahota asked the Union Government to implement it at the earliest.

Mr Sahota, who electioneered for the Congress and predicted 80-82 seats for the party.


Clerical union’s strike on Feb 25
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 21
Mr Jagdev Singh, general secretary of the state unit of the Punjab Health Department Subordinate Offices Clerical Association, today warned the state government that members of the association would observe a one-day pen-down strike on February 25 in case the Punjab Government did not cancel the transfer of Mr Sukhwinder Singh, president of the state unit of the association, who had been transferred from Ludhiana to Patiala.

He further claimed that this transfer had been done by the Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, on the basis of a “false” complaint submitted to him.


Doctor hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 21
A Faridkot-based doctor was injured seriously and her mother died on the spot in a road accident yesterday. Police sources said Dr Jeevanjot Kaur and her mother were returning in a car after participating in “Antim Ardas” of a relative at Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. The car was driven by the lady doctor herself. To avert collision with a heavy vehicle, she turned the car to right and it crashed against a tree and Mrs Gurbachan Kaur (70) died on the spot, her daughter Jeevanjot was injured seriously. The accident took place near Sadulshahar.


Entry of IB men
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 21
Mr S.R. Ladhar, District Election Officer of Ferozepore has banned the entry of officials of the Intelligence Bureau and the State Intelligence Department (CID) in the counting centres of eight assembly segments of the district.


Farmer shot over land dispute

Gurdaspur, February 21
A farmer, Gurmej Singh, was allegedly shot dead over a land dispute in Gunian village under the Sadar police yesterday.

According to police sources here, the victim was allegedly shot dead by Punjab police constable Dalbir Singh, brother-in-law of Sukhdev Singh, the brother of the victim. The victim and Sukhdev Singh were involved in a land dispute, the sources added.

The police has registered a case of murder against Sukhdev Singh and Dalbir Singh, both of whom are still at large. UNI


Parents resent forcible collection
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 21
The Class V examinations started in the district today, but the students were seen sitting on the ground without having any mats at most of the examination centres.

At the Nabipur centre the parents of the students alleged that the school teacher, who is also controller of the centre, has forcibly collected Rs 10 per student for the supervisory staff. One of the parents alleged that when he objected to the collection she not only misbehaved but also directed to get out of the centre. He said that even one of the officials of the board, who had come to supervise the centre, was also told about her high-handedness and he also enquired from her and she replied that it was a routine matter. A written complaint to the DEO (P) was also sent in this regard.


Student bodies’ strike on Feb 26
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 21
In face of the ongoing allegations of misconduct by the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, almost all student unions of Punjabi University have decided to observe strike on February 26 in case the Vice-Chancellor does not resign by then.

A meeting of the student union bodies was held on the campus on February 19 and a unanimous decision to stage a joint protest against the VC was taken.

The unions have formed a ‘Joint Action Committee’ in this regard and have requested the students to strengthen the strike call given by them. The unions which have decided to protest include Akhil Bhartiya Vidharathi Parishad (ABVP), All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF), Student Federation of India (SFI) and Sikh Student Federation among others.

The President of ABVP, Mr Gurnam Singh Virk, insisted that it was high time that the student community raised its voice against incidents which tarnish the image of institutions of higher learning and make the fair sex feel insecure on the campus.


GND varsity convocation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar February 21
The joint annual convocation of humanities’ students of Guru Nanak Dev University will be held on February 23 at 2 pm at the Guru Nanak Bhavan auditorium in the university here.

A spokesman for the university said Dr Amrik Singh, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, would deliver the convocation address while Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of this university would present the degrees to the graduates and postgraduates of these faculties. Dr Bikram Singh Ghuman, Dean, Faculty of Languages and Dr J.K. Dhillon, Dean, Faculty of Humanities, would present the candidates for the conferment of the degrees.



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