Friday, March 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder vows to get Chandigarh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Rajasansi (Amritsar), February 28
Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, who had come to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and the Durgiana Temple, said his government would fight tooth and nail to ensure the transfer of Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab.

On the controversial SYL canal issue, the Chief Minister said his government would file a fresh review petition in the Supreme Court. He alleged that the apex court had given judgement against the Punjab Government as the Badal government had failed to engage eminent lawyers to prepare the case on solid grounds due to “ulterior motives”. He said the stand of the Congress government on all such disputes was clear and it would endeavour to fulfil all promises made in the manifesto.

Replying to a question, Capt Amarinder Singh said it was unconstitutional that many Sikh youths were languishing in various jails without trial. “It is for the courts to decide whether to release them after the trial or not”. He, however, reiterated that the state government would fight the legal cases of those police officials who fought against terrorism and secure their release. He claimed that these police officials had brought normalcy in the troubled state by making supreme sacrifices.

He said though he had resigned as MP after the infamous Operation Bluestar, it was time to forget the past and think about the future.

Asked about the decision of the SGPC executive to raise a memorial to those who lost their lives during Operation Bluestar, he said it was the Akalis who tried to exploit the sentiments of people.


Major administrative changes on anvil
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
In its endeavour to tone up the administration and make it “efficient, clean and transparent”, the Punjab Government has decided to appoint young and energetic officers in the field besides contemplating major changes in the entire administrative set-up, including that of the police.

S.S. Bhullar

S.S. Naher

Gurdial Singh

R.K. Wadhawan

B.I.S. Chahal

Besides appointing a new Chief Secretary, a new Director-General of Police, a new Advocate-General and a new Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, the state government has also decided to downsize the administrative set-up, including that of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

The government has also decided to recall Mr A.A. Siddique, Director-General of Police, Manipur, in a bid to overhaul the Police Department.

Sources in the state government maintain that besides a Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, there will be only one Deputy Secretary to the Chief Minister. The practice of appointing a Special Principal or Additional Principal Secretary and several Officers on Special Duty to the Chief Minister has been discontinued. The government is reverting to the system it had during the Giani Zail Singh government in the state.

The Deputy Secretary, still to be named, will be a PCS officer. While all files coming from IAS officers will be handled by the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, those coming from PCS officers or relating to them will be handled by the Deputy Secretary.

Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, Joint Director, Public Relations, who took premature retirement today, has been appointed Adviser to the Chief Minister. This is the first fresh appointment made by the new government. Mr Chahal, known for his long association with Capt Amarinder Singh, has been in the media for almost three decades.

The sources reveal that the Chief Minister’s security set-up is also being reviewed. For the time being the existing set-up will continue. The Chief Minister is reportedly opposed to such a large paraphernalia in his security set-up or that of other senior functionaries of the state administration.

After the appointment of the new Chief Secretary, the new DGP and the new Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and an Adviser to the Chief Minister, the government undertook its second major administrative exercise by ordering the transfers and postings of all senior civil servants, including Principal Secretaries in the scale of the Chief Secretary, other Principal Secretaries and Financial Commissioners and administrative secretaries.

The Police Department is already in for an overhaul. Besides the DGP, a new Additional Director-General of Intelligence has already been appointed.

Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, for whom return to Intelligence is like homecoming, may take up his new assignment in a day or two as he wants to “have a word with the CM” before replacing Mr M.P.S. Aulakh. A couple of functions of the Punjab Human Rights Commission, where he is at present posted, are already lined up for the next couple of days.

In fact, the Intelligence wing will also require the appointment of a new Inspector-General as the present incumbent, Mr Sukhdyal Singh Bhullar, retired today on attaining superannuation.

In fact, two other officers, Mr Gurdial Singh (Additional Director-General of Police) and Mr Sadhu Singh Nahar (Inspector-General of Police) also retired today on attaining superannuation. A total reshuffle in the Police Department is expected in the next couple of days.

The third phase of the administrative reshuffle will witness changes in the departments besides the middle-rung bureaucracy, including heads of departments.

A number of heads of departments, including the Director of Health Services, Dr G.S. Preet, and the Chief Town Planner, Mr R.K.Wadhawan, also retired today on attaining superannuation.

The fourth and the last phase of the administrative reshuffle will be at the district and subdivision levels. Going by the thinking in the new administration that young officers will be preferred in the field, many of the Deputy Commissioners, too, will be changed. The choice will fall on those young IAS officers who have not “done districts” before. A couple of them are being pulled back from their present assignments for “challenging assignments in the field”.

By the end of next week , the entire process will be completed.


Bhullar takes over as DGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Mr Mahil Singh Bhullar, an IPS officer of the 1965 batch, today took over as the new Director-General of Police, Punjab, relieving Mr Sarabjit Singh, who has proceeded on long leave.

Talking to newsmen after assuming charge of his new assignment, Mr Bhullar said that the “maintenance of law and order and checking growing violent urban crime” would be his immediate priorities. The necessary steps had been taken to prevent any fallout of the communal violence of Gujarat in the state, he added.

Mr Bhullar becomes the 29th police chief and the 15th DGP of the state. Before becoming DGP, Mr Bhullar was the Director-General of Police, Punjab Armed Police, Jalandhar.

After taking part in the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict, Mr Bhullar joined the Indian Police Service in 1971 and was allocated the 1965 batch. After working as the district police chief of Ropar and Hoshiarpur, he had stints as DIG of Ferozepore and Patiala Ranges and two tenures as IG, Border Range.

He also held the post of Director, Vigilance Bureau, before moving to the PAP, Jalandhar, as Additional Director-General of Police.

His major contribution has been to the field of sports as the PAP, Jalandhar, has one of the most modern sports infrastructure.

He was also the brain behind the recruitment of outstanding sportsmen and women in the Police Department.

He was accorded a guard of honour at Police Headquarters before he took over charge. A guard of honour was also presented to the outgoing DGP after the brief handing-and-taking-over ceremony. Mr Sarabjit Singh remained the DGP for a little more than three years.


4 new faces in Punjab Assembly
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 28
Four new faces from this district have entered the Punjab Assembly by winning the recently concluded elections from Sangrur, Malerkotla, Dhuri and Dirba. Among them, two belong to the Congress and one belongs to the Shiromani Akali Dal while the fourth is an Independent.

They share two common aspects, first all are young and the second all want to work for the overall development of their respective constituencies. The newly elected MLAs are — Ms Razia Sultana of the Congress from Malerkotla, Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala of the SAD from Dhuri, Mr Arvind Khanna of the Congress from Sangrur and Mr Surjit Singh Dhiman, an Independent from Dirba.

Ms Sultana, wife of Mr Mohammad Mustafa, an IPS officer posted as DIG at Jalandhar, defeated her nearest rival Mr Ajit Singh Chanduraian, an Independent, by a margin of only 179 votes. Mr Nusrat Ali Khan of the SAD, a Cabinet minister in the Badal government, lost his security deposit.

Talking to TNS, Ms Sultana said her first priority was removing gap between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Mr Arvind Khanna, Chairman of the local Uneed Khanna Foundation, an NGO, emerged victorious from Sangrur by defeating SAD rebel Ranjit Singh Balian, who was a minister of state in the Badal government, by a margin of 19,132 votes while the official SAD candidate, Mr Sanmukh Singh Mokha, lost his security deposit. He said the redressal of the problems of the youth would be on the top of his agenda.

Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, son of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor, Uttaranchal, won the Dhuri seat by a margin of just, 1,559 votes. He defeated his nearest rival of the Panthic Morcha, Mr Iqbal Singh Jhunda.

Mr Surjit Singh Dhiman, an Independent, trounced Mr Baldev Singh Mann (SAD), former administrative member of the PSEB, by a margin of just 996 votes in the Dirba Assembly constituency. Mr Dhiman started his political career as a worker of the CPM in the early 1990s and worked as branch secretary of the CPM at Dirba for some years. However, he resigned from the CPM a couple of years ago.

Mr Dhiman wants to bring big industry to the constituency for providing jobs to atleast, 5,000 youths of the area.


32 Secretary-level officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
In a major administrative shake-up in Punjab today, 32 secretary-level transfers were effected and at least 10 Deputy Commissioners shifted.

The following are the secretary-level changes:

Mr N.S. Rattan is Principal Secretary, Higher Education and Languages, Dr Brajendra Singh is Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment, Mr P.K. Verma is Financial Commissioner (Development), Mr K K Bhatnagar is Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Mr A.K. Dubey is Principal Secretary, PWD (B and R) and Mr B.R. Bajaj is Principal Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies.

Mr K.R. Lakhanpal is Principal Secretary, Finance, Mr J.S. Kesar is Principal Secretary, Coordination, Mr P. Ram is Financial Commissioner, Rural Development and Panchayats, Dr B.C. Gupta is Secretary, Cooperation, Mr Mukul Joshi is Secretary, Industries and Commerce and Mr R.P.S Pawar is Secretary, Information Systems and Administrative Reforms.

Mr S.S. Brar is Member-Secretary, Punjab State Women’s Commission, Mr D.S. Bains is Commissioner, NRIs and Industrial Liaison, Mrs Geetika Kalha is Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Archives and Archealogy, Mr Rakesh Singh is Director Industries and Commerce in addition Managing Director PSIDC, Mr G.S. Sandhu is Secretary, Agriculture.

Mr C.S. Srivastava is Commissioner, Patiala Division, Mr D.S. Guru is Commissioner for persons with disabilities, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal is Secretary, Local Government, Mr S.S. Channi is Managing Director, Markfed, Mr K B S Sidhu is Secretary, Defence Services Welfare, Mr Dharm Vir is Commissioner Ferozepore and Faridkot Divisions, Mr Arun Goel is Secretary, Sports and Youth Services, Mr D.P. Reddy is Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr T.R. Sarangal is Secretary, Jails and Judicial, Mr Vishwajit Khanna is Managing Director Warehousing Corporation, Mr S.S. Gill is State Transport Commissioner, Mr B.S. Sudan is Director State Transport, Mr Alok Sekhar is Secretary, PSEB, Patiala, Mr Krishan Kumar is Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Patiala, and Mr Rakesh Ahir is Deputy Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

The following are the new Deputy Commissioners:

Ludhiana—Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Roopnagar—Mrs Seema Jain, Gurdaspur—Mr K A P Sinha, Hoshiarpur—Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Nawanshehr—Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Bathinda—Mr Anurag Verma, Kapurthala—Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, Moga—Mr Ramesh Kumar Ganta, Muktsar—Mr D K Tewari, Patiala—Mr Tejveer Singh.

Several officers who have been shifted are still to get their new posting orders. These would be issued in due course of time, say the government orders, signed by the Chief Secretary, Mr Y S Ratra.


Harbhagwan Singh is Punjab A-G
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Mr Harbhagwan Singh will be the new Advocate-General of Punjab. He comes in place of Mr H.S. Mattewal who resigned after the previous SAD-BJP government was voted out of power.

Mr Harbhagwan Singh, who was Advocate-General of Punjab, for a brief tenure in 1996-97, had been the Advocate-General of Haryana (1981-85) also.

Mr Harbhagwan Singh was the President of the Organising Committee of the first SAARC Law Conference in Chandigarh last year.

Seventyfour-year-old Mr Harbhagwan Singh moved to Chandigarh after the merger of Pepsu, Punjab and Haryana High Courts after initial years of practice at Patiala. He had been the President of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association in 1973-74.

A widely travelled man, Mr Harbhagwan Singh had been a member of the Law Faulty at Panjab University.

A legal luminary, it was he who suggested drastic changes in the Election Law after the Apex Court judgment in case of the Prime Minister in 1972. After the 1975 Allahabad High Court judgment, he prepared a draft of comprehensive changes in the Election Law.

He also remained a member of the Pepsu Land Commission and decided nearly 3000 cases during his six-year tenure in the commission.

Talking to The Tribune after the proposal about his appointment as Advocate-General was cleared formally, Mr Harbhagwan Singh said that his ambition was to set up an exclusive Law University in Punjab which should be outside the existing boundaries of the cities of the State. Such a Law University, he said, would be the sixth in the country.


Punjab bandh today
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, February 28
The state organising secretary of the VHP, Mr Mohan Upadhyaya, said at a protest rally here that a bandh would be observed to express solidarity with kar sevaks who lost their lives in yesterday’s gruesome incident. He said a befitting reply would be given to anti-national elements behind the incident.

He said the VHP was reiterating its commitment to construct a Ram temple at Ayodhya and the sacrifice of those slain aboard the train would not go in vain.

Meanwhile, an alert has been sounded in the city with heavy security deployment to avoid any untoward incident during the bandh, which also falls on Friday, when thousands of Muslims go to offer namaz at the local mosques.

Several organisations, including bazaar committees, trade associations and social and religious bodies, have extended support to the proposed bandh. Earlier in the day, the VHP and supporting bodies held a meeting at Arya School here and later marched in a procession announcing the bandh.

The district administration has summoned an emergency meeting of officers to take necessary precautions. Police force has been deployed at sensitive places.

Additional Deputy Commissioner S.R Kler said duty magistrates had been deployed all over the city to ensure maintenance of peace.

BATHINDA: The district unit of the Bajrang Dal held an emergency meeting here on Thursday and condemned the attack on Ram sevaks returning from Ayodhya, at Ahmedabad. The partymen demanded an inquiry into the attack.

All members of the Private Colleges Non-Teaching Employees Union condemned the attack on Ram sevaks. Anti-social elements were trying to malign the image of India, said Mr S. Sharma, district president of the union, at a meeting held here on Thursday.

The District Bar Association condemned the killing of passengers on board Sabarmati Express and also observed two-minute silence for the departed souls.

SHIMLA: The state unit of the VHP condemned the killing of kar sevaks on Thursday.

Mr Surinder Ranta, general secretary of the VHP, said setting ablaze innocent women and children was an inhuman act. It urged the government to take steps to prevent recurrence of such incident. The local unit of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad also condemned the killings.

KAPURTHALA: Members of the District Bar Association abstained from work in courts on Thursday to protest against the killing of train passengers at Godhra in Gujarat, said a press note issued by Mr Raghbir Paul Singh Bajwa, president of the association.


33 lakh voters registered for SGPC elections
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 28
As many as 33 lakh voters have been registered in Punjab for the election to the general House of the SGPC sofar while 3.5 lakh voters have enrolled themselves in Haryana. At least 20,000 voters have also been registered in Himachal Pradesh , according to official information available here yesterday.

These voters include both Amritdhari and Sehajdhari Sikhs.

The response of political parties and the Sikh organisations have been lukewarm because of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections. The election to the general House of the SGPC were otherwise scheduled to be held in October, 2001, but could not be organised because of non-preparations for the same. The Gurdwara Election Commission which started the process for the registration of votes for the SGPC elections in September has already extended the date for enrolment of voters twice and the third extension has been given up to March 27. No extension is likely to be given further for the registration.

Now as the elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha are over, the political parties and the Sikh organisations have started taking keen interest in the SGPC election. The enrolment of votes for the SGPC has to be done afresh whenever the elections to the same are held. The gurdwara Election Commission had printed 60 lakh forms for registrations of both Amritdhari and Sehajdharis Sikh voters while the SGPC got 40 lakh forms printed.

As many as 50 lakh voters participated in the last SGPC elections held in October, 1996.

The SGPC President Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has appealed to the members of the SGPC and the district Akali jathas to register maximum number of Amritdharis as voters.

According to Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, General Secretary of the SGPC, she along-with Mr Badungar have organised district-wise meetings with SGPC members and district Akali Jathas to expedite the work of registration of the voters.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, however, expressed concern that Muslims and Christians were being registered as Sehajdhari voters by the Congress. Such reports had been received from different parts of the Punjab and Haryana, she added. She said this was a very dangerous trend and was happening in rural areas in particular. Definition of Sehajdhari was being misused.

The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, has also organised a meeting of his party at Ludhiana and directed the district units to enrol maximum number of voters and oppose the registration of Sehajdharis.

The Convener of the Panthic Morcha, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, has also appealed to the constituents of the Morcha to take active interest in the registration of voters.

The elections to the general House of the SGPC are not likely to be held before September-October as things stand today, say Gurdwara Election Commission sources.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, General Secretary of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), has filed writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking ban on registration of the Sehajdharis as voters. Dr Paramjit Singh Ranu, President, Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, has however, challenged the petition. Both petitions are pending in the High Court for final verdict.


Punjab BJP to review its downfall today
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The Punjab BJP, which will hold its brain-storming session here tomorrow to enlist the reasons for the party’s poor performance in the recently concluded Assembly elections, will also submit the report to the RSS chief, Mr Sudarshan, who will be in Punjab for three days, starting tomorrow.

Informed sources said Mr Sudarshan will reach Bathinda by evening tomorrow and will hold parleys with the RSS “parcharaks” working in Punjab with regard to the functioning of the organisation in the state. He will stay at Bathinda for three days.

Sources said after holding the BJP meeting here, its top leadership led by Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, will rush to Bathinda to meet Mr Sudarshan. Top on the agenda of Mr Rinwa will be to brief Mr Sudarshan about the main reasons which led to the rejection of the party’s candidates in cities like Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, known as strong areas of the BJP.

Mr Rinwa and Mr Avinash Jaiswal, General Secretary of the BJP, have already submitted a report about the Assembly elections to the state organiser of the RSS, Mr Mahavir. Mr Mavavir has also reached Bathinda to be with Mr Sudarshan. The issue of construction of Ram Temple and the growing tension in the various parts of the country is also expected to figure at the meeting of the BJP leaders with Mr Sudarshan.

Meanwhile, according to sources Mr O.P. Kohli, a senior leader of the BJP high command, has reached here to preside over a meeting of the Punjab BJP to be held tomorrow. All the 23 candidates, who contested the Assembly elections in the state, besides, election in-charges of these constituencies, presidents of mandal units of the party and other senior leaders have been invited for tomorrow’s meeting.

There are reports that certain top leaders of the BJP had advised the party high command to deny party tickets to certain ministers and MLAs because of their “image” problem. However, such ministers managed to get the party tickets.

Till date the party has blamed the media, by and large, for its defeat in the urban centres. However, real reasons for the party’s defeat lie elsewhere.


Has NRI Sabha changed colours?
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 28
Has the NRI Sabha, Punjab, by welcoming the appointment of the PPCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, as the leader of the CLP, changed its colours in view of the change of guard at the state headquarters? It seems so, particularly if one goes through a resolution passed by the sabha on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Ms Geetika Kalha, welcoming the appointment of the PPCC chief as the CLP leader and the mandate given by the people in favour of the Congress.

Interestingly, the Congress had repeatedly asserted and even mentioned in its election manifesto that the NRI Sabha would be wound up as it “failed” to protect the interests of NRIs. Mr Balbir Singh, local MP and chairman of the NRI cell of the Congress, had alleged that the sabha had become a place of recreation for retired government officials and it had done nothing for the NRIs, except for the issuance of statements. The Congress minced no words in saying that it would ensure the winding up of the sabha as soon as it assumed power in the state.

However, yesterday’s resolution of the sabha has come as a surprise.

The resolution reads: “The Constitution of Punjab envisages that the Chief Minister becomes the patron of the sabha and holds its fundamental constitutional powers. The sabha heartily congratulates the PPCC and its leader, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the resounding victory.” It remains to be seen now whether the Congress fulfils its manifesto promise with regard to the winding up of the sabha.


Migrants return to border areas
Praful Chander Nagpal

With elections to the state assembly having been concluded, normalcy seems to be returning to the border villages in the Fazilka sector with confidence-building measures take by the Army. As a result, the majority of the 34,000 residents of 54 border villages who had migrated due to threat of war have started returning.

Even as the Army presence continues, jawans with the help of the civil administration and villagers are engrossed in solving the problems of villagers relating to irrigation of their fields, looking after their health and conducting special girdawri for assessment of loss following laying of landmines.

Kanshi Ram, sarpanch of New Sivana village while highlighting the problems and rehabilitation of villagers, said Brig SKS Rana made special efforts for replacement of electric power transformers and repair of the road stretch between Old and New Sivana villages. He said during the migration most of villagers experienced shortage of wheat straw (turi) and green fodder for their livestock but now the situation was limping towards normalcy.

After the visit of Mr Madal Lal Khurana, chairman of parliamentary defence committee, last week a special girdawri to assess the loss to the standing and sown crops due to laying of landmines was made by Army officers and revenue staff.

According to reliable sources, the government has made a concrete proposal of paying compensation of Rs 11,000 per acre.

Sher Singh, a labourer of Muradwala village along the border, pointed out that in his village there were only 10 families who owned agricultural land while the others, all labourers, had lost their job. He pleaded for compensation of Rs 80 per day to save the families of labourers from starvation.

Mr Indraj Singh, a former chairman of Land Mortgage Bank, Fazilka, who lives in Roopnagar village, demanded compensation for crops damaged due to drought following diversion of the Azamwala distributary. The farmers of Roopnagar, Bareka, Muradwala, Khanpur, Old Sivana and other adjacent villages were facing shortage of water and had to resort alternative means of irrigation to save their standing crop.

Brig Rana stated that compensation would be disbursed to all farmers without any discrimination after the girdawri was completed. With Army efforts the eastern canal passing through this area, which had been dry for a long period, had again started flowing with water. This has helped farmers dependent on canal water for irrigating their fields. He stated that payment to labourers and farmers, who had used in their agricultural equipment and tractors for the job assigned by the Army, shall be made on a priority basis. He appealed to all those who had moved out to return to their homes as the Army would help them in every possible manner.

Brig Rana disclosed that the Army had organised four free medical camps in border villages as a confidence-building measure and create awareness amongst the villagers towards their health. A team of Army doctors examined about 5500 patients at these camps and distributed free medicine. Mr Satish Kumar Dhingra, Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, said due to tension on the border the economy of the farmers, labourers and border residents as well as business had been hit hard. Business had been facing the worst-ever slump in their trade during past two months. He pleaded that payment of income tax, sales tax returns be extended by six months to keep them from this stress.


Lawyers to boycott court
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 28
In an unprecedented move, which could have far reaching consequences, members of district Bar Association, today started an indefinite boycott of the court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Karnail Singh, against his attitude towards members of the Bar.

In a unanimous resolution passed by members of the Bar in an emergency meeting held in the afternoon, the attitude of Mr Karnail Singh was disapproved. The Bar decided to boycott the court of Mr Karnail Singh indefinitely till he (Mr Karnail Singh) expressed his regret and amended his attitude towards the lawyers. It was also decided that any member of the Bar who was found appearing in the court of Mr Karnail Singh would be punished with a fine of Rs 500 for each appearance. Mr Mithu Ram Gupta, President district Bar Association, Bathinda, said copies of the resolution had been sent to the District and Sessions Judge and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


Sirhind town facing drinking water problem
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 28
Resentment prevails among residents of Sirhind against the working of the Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib as it has failed miserably to provided even a basic necessity like drinking water. The district headquarter town Sirhind is facing a water scarcity since the past 10 days as the water tubewell no1 is out of order since then and the council has not got it repaired. The water supply is provided only for an hour throughout the day from the tubewell no 2 causing hardship to residents.

The residents alleged that the council was charging Rs 50 per tap from them, which was the highest in the area, as the other councils were charging Rs 20 per tap. They alleged even after charging so much it had failed to provide proper drinking water. The residents had been running from pillar to post to get the water supply reinstated but none of the officials of council was ready to solve their problem, they alleged.

The water tubewell near Punjab Theatre cinema house in Sirhind town is out of order for the past ten days, the person employed there told this reporter today that the motor had been given to a mechanic for repairing. He further said that earlier also the motor was given for repair to some local mechanic, but he had refused to repair it as the council had not cleared his labour charges of previous bills a it. He said this time the motor had been sent for repairing to Badali Ala Singh, a nearby village. The motor had been repaired but this mechanic was also demanding repair charges to release the motor, he added.

But the residents alleged that the motor was shown out of order most of the time. They further alleged it was done to pocket the repair charges on bogus bills. Similarly a generator set installed at the water works was also having the same problem. The set was never used even during the long power cuts and the residents had to live without water, but the bills for repair and diesel for the unused set were always cleared, they further alleged. The residents demanded a probe into these allegations.

The Executive Officer of the council could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, but Mr Satish Kumar Jindal, accountant of the council, denied the allegation that the motor was not being repaired due to non-clearance of previous bills.


Now ISI-trained monkeys
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 28
The BSF and the Army posted along the Indo-Pakistan border here have been put on alert as dozens of monkeys said to be trained by the ISI have entered the Indian side of the border. A few of them were also seen on the outskirts of the city.

Local people say they have not seen monkeys here since Independence. The monkeys have not only caused havoc in the irrigated fields but are also a threat to the security system.

Army officials have not commented on the entry of monkeys yet. They are still on the hunt for the monkeys. The BSF authorities, who are keeping a 24-hour vigil on the border, have denied the report.


Pensioners duped by agents
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 28
Cases of involvement of agents in misleading people to get their pensions has come to light with the detection of another pension case in which an agent took money to deposit a pension form and told an old couple that the department was corrupt and had not released their pension.

As many as 13 agents are involved in the Rs 23 crore pension scam and action is being taken against them following an inquiry by Dr Rishipal Singh, Assistant Commissioner, Grievances, Amritsar, recently. However, detection of another agent, who slipped the earlier inquiry, may be a tip of the iceberg.

It is learnt that the agent belongs to Dhopai village. He had even urged the couple to approach the media to highlight their plight, thinking that they were too old to take such a step.

The fragile couple, Lal Singh (85) and his wife Piar Kaur (80), had alleged that the department concerned had failed to provide them with pension despite having filled the forms eight times.

On inquiry, the allegations were found to be incorrect. The inquiry report found that the couple had given money to the agent to deposit the forms but he had misled them.


MC staff not paid salaries
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 28
As many as 25 of the local municipal corporation’s employees have not been paid their salaries for the past five months. The employees had been transferred to the corporation by the Department of Punjab Small-Scale Industries and Export Corporation on July 1 last year. From October onwards, they had not been paid by the corporation.

Six of them are employed as sewer men, four as chowkidaars, five as electricians, three as gardeners, while one each as a surveyor, supervisor and beldar with the municipal corporation.

Mr B.R. Banga, Commissioner, MC, said the parent department had not specified their certification.


Rinwa decries Godhra incident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
While condemning the Sabarmati Express incident at Godra Railway station in Gujarat, the President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, and its General Secretary, Mr Avinash Jaiswal, has appealed the people to maintain peace and harmony. Mr Rinwa said the society should condemn the incident in strongest possible words as it was most heinous crime committed by miscreants.


Bishops’ conference begins today

Jalandhar, February 28
An eight-day biennial Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) will begin here tomorrow in which more than 150 heads of various Catholic arch-dioceses and dioceses will deliberate on religious issues.

Rev Cyril Mar Baselios, President of the CBCI, said here today that the conference would begin with the general body meeting of the CBCI. The theme of the general body meeting was “The Church in Dialogue”. UNI


Three killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 28
Three persons were killed in an accident between a car and a truck on the Patiala-Rajpura road, opposite the Milkfood plant, this afternoon.

Two persons, Varun Sachdeva and Viney, who were in the car, died on the spot and Vikas died on the way to Rajindra Hospital.


Petrol thieves active in region
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 28
Petrol station owners in the area need to be on their guard as a gang of petrol thieves has been active in the region for the past many days.

The gang has struck various petrol pumps located on the outskirts of cities and towns or those located on link roads and are without any security. The police has been on tenterhooks since these strikes.

Sources said the gang had a unique modus-operandi. They come to petrol pump and disconnect telephone wires and electricity wires.

After that, they would break open the lock of dip pipe of storage tank, put a pipe into it and suck out the petrol through a potable motor.

The sources said two thefts had taken place in Nathana and Phul areas of the district. Similar incidents had also taken place in some pockets of the neighbouring districts.

About 1800 litres of petrol had been stolen from the petrol station near Nathana.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the gang took the advantage of busy schedule of the police authorities during the elections.

The police is yet to identify the gang.

Apart from it, car stereos and stepneys of scooters are also being stolen.

Police sources said a case in connection with the theft from petrol station near Nathana had been registered.


2 bodies with injury marks found
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 28
The local district police has found two bodies. The body of a 24-year-old Sikh youth bearing sharp-edged weapon injuries was found from the Verowal police station area.

The Sarhali police found the body from a canal at Rahaal Chahal village. The body bore injuries mask on certain parts.

The Verowal police seized 70 gram of smack from Ms Gurjit Kaur, wife of Davinder Singh, a resident of Nagoke village.


Uncle shoots nephew
Our Correspondent

Budhlada (Mansa), February 28
Sensation was caused in the subdivisional revenue courts at Budhlada when Subag Singh, alias Geja Singh, of Malikpur Bhimra village in the district, shot dead his nephew Binder Singh in broad daylight on the court premises.

According to information, the two parties had come to appear before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Budhlada, in connection with a land dispute. The accused who is said to be former sarpanch of his village, made good his escape after committing the crime.


Protect interests of students: experts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 28
“A legal framework wherein different universities from abroad and India can enter into joint collaboration for internationalisation of higher education, collaborative steps by Indian and foreign governments to popularise their courses, and to have a framework to protect interests of international students in India as well as abroad should be taken.”

These were the suggestions made by national and international scholars participating in a conference on the internationalisation of higher education. The round-table conference which concluded here yesterday was hosted by Guru Nanak Dev University and sponsored by the association of Indian Universities, New Delhi.

After extensive deliberations on various aspects of government policy, institutional links, mobility of students and marketing of higher education and after taking note of actions taken by various agencies on the recommendations of the ‘Mysore Declaration’ of 2001, the participants recommended that most governments in the developed countries had adopted or were in the process of developing well defined policies regarding the internationalisation of higher education. It was resolved to urge the Indian Government to take necessary steps to clearly define country’s policy regarding the internationalisation of higher education.

The scholars also recommended that the association of Indian universities should set up a working group for identifying measures and delineating the line of action that need to be taken for promoting of Indian education abroad and for facilitating and regulating the activities of international providers for higher education in India. It also recommended that the report of the working group should be forwarded to the government for consideration.

The scholars were of the view that today the need of the hour was that the educational institutions provide nationally consistent standards of education. The roundtable also urged the government to pass a similar Act (Education Services for Overseas Students Act-2000) as enacted by the Australian Government to regulate the operation of foreign providers in India and of Indian institutions proposing to set up campuses/education facilities abroad.

Dr Nalin K. Shastree from B.R. Ambedar University, Lucknow, presented his paper “Virtual Education: International Marketing — an Overview”.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, honoured the Indian and foreign delegates and presented them with Mementoes.


Refresher course in history concludes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 28
Discipline of history is under stress and pressures come from every direction particularly when the question of re-writing history arises. This was stated here by an eminent historian, Dr Dilbagh Singh of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, while presiding over the valedictory function of three-week refresher course in history held at Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

Dr Dilbagh Singh emphasised that the syllabi at the school level should be revised only through consultation with historian and not solely by politician.

He warned that history should not be written to satisfy any section of society.


Ghuman takes over as varsity Dean
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 28
Dr B.S. Ghuman, Professor, School of Punjabi Studies, today took over as Dean, Academic Affairs, Guru Nanak Dev University, in addition to his responsibility as Dean, Students’ Welfare.

Dr Ghuman (59) has authored 39 books and edited 10 books, including text books. More than 100 of his research papers have been published.

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