Tuesday, June 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



All Dalit, Jat leaders released
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 16
All the 10 members of the Jat and Dalit communities were today released from the local Central Jail following acceptance of an inquiry report by the higher police authorities, wherein, it was recommended withdrawal of non-bailable sections from the two separate FIRs registered against the two warring parties about five months back.

Meanwhile, the district administration has formally withdrawn notification pertaining to imposition of Section 145 and 146, Cr. P.C., to appoint the receiver for managing the daily affairs of Gurdwara Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh at Talhan village as per the terms of a “peace” formula evolved between leaders of the Dalit and Jat communities recently.

The curfew was, however, relaxed for four hours from 8 am to 12 pm at Talhan village, during which no untoward incident was reported. The state government-owned agencies distributed milk and food packets to the residents, who also thronged Gurdwara “Shaheedan” to offer prayers to upkeep peace and communal harmony in the village.

Earlier, a DSP, who conducted an inquiry into the two-FIRs registered against Dalits and Jats, as per the terms of the peace formula, recommended removal of non-bailable sections to facilitate release of senior leaders of both communities from the jail. The inquiry report was accepted and leaders were released this evening since the remaining sections in the FIRs were compoundable at police station level itself.

Bhai Mohkam Singh released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 16
Bhai Mohkam Singh, a spokesman of the Damdami Taksal arrested by the police here as a precautionary measure before he could proceed towards Talhan, was released here today. A large number of his supporters including Mr Harminder Singh Gill, president, All-India Sikh Students Federation, received Bhai Mohkam Singh when he was released.


SGPC chief: Centre okayed Nanakshahi calendar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 16
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Kirpal Singh Badungar today claimed that Nanakshahi calendar had been given due recognition by the Central Government and the people of the State and that the Punjab Government should shed its “stubborn” attitude and declare Sikh holidays according to the calendar.

Addressing a congregation on the occasion of martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev at the Rajpura Colony here, the SGPC chief said the central government had given recognition to Nanakshahi calendar by allowing a Sikh “jatha’’ to visit shrines in Pakistan on the occasion of the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev.

He said the State government should also see for itself the support given to Nanakshahi calendar by the Sikh masses who had observed the martyrdom day today by organisating thousands of “chhabeels” all over the State. He said the government should not try to interfere into the religious affairs of the Sikhs by insisting that it would not follow the Nanakshahi calendar.

Mr Badungar also urged the people to become devout Sikhs. He said it was unfortunate that youngsters of the community were drifting away from Sikhism. He said parents could play an important role to stem this.

Meanwhile, reports of the observance of the Martyrdom Day were received from all over Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts. Devotees thronged Dukhnivaran gurdwara in the city as well as the Fatehgarh Sahib gurdwara in Fatehgarh Sahib district in thousands since early morning to have a dip in holy tanks. Besides this, a large number of “chhabeels” were also organised on the occasion.

AMRITSAR: Customary chabeels and langars marked the Martyrdom Day. It is for the first time that the day has been observed according to the Nanakshahi calendar at Harmandar Sahib and other gurdwaras. The bhog of akhand paths was performed at the Golden Temple.

SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar said the martyrdom of the fifth Sikh Guru occupied a significant place in Sikh history.

Meanwhile, the Chief Khalsa Diwan commemorated the occasion at the gurdwara near Guru Harkrishan Public School. The bhog of the akhand path was performed by the president of diwan, Mr Harminder Singh. Kirtan was performed by students and inmates of the Central Khalsa Orphanage.

PHAGWARA: Bhog of akhand paths, katha-kirtan, kavishari, dhadis, langers and chhabeels marked the shaheedi divas of the fifth Guru of Sikhs in various gurdwaras here.

Even though Punjab Government had declared a holiday on June 5 for the martyrdom day as per old calendar, the Sikh sangat chose to observe the martyrdom day today, thus putting its stamp on the Nanakshahi calendar.


Cops to gauge people’s mood before Badal’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 16
The police of various districts falling in the Malwa region, a traditional stronghold of Akalis, has started consulting the CID to apprehend the situation which would develop in Punjab in general and in this area in particular in case the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was arrested.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that CID sleuths had been asked to keep a close watch on the activities of Akali rank and file and its grassroot workers and try to find out their reaction if Mr Badal was arrested.

Sources said though the Muktsar police had made elaborate security arrangements yesterday in connection with the summoning and subsequent recording of the statement of Mr Badal in the multi-crore drainage scam, the plan was dropped at last moment when the authorities came to know about the anger prevailing among the people over the arrest of Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, a nephew of Mr Badal, in a corruption case.

Ever since a corruption case followed by another criminal case pertaining to various heinous crimes has been registered against Mr Dhillon, a large number of residents of various villages of the Malwa region, along with a number of functionaries of the SAD, have been camping at his house to resist any illegal move of the police to plant counterfeit currency, narcotics, arms and explosives on him. These people raised slogans against the Congress Government and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, when a team of the Vigilance Bureau carried out a search at the house yesterday afternoon.

Information revealed that after this report reached the quarters concerned, the police authorities dropped the idea of summoning Mr Badal for recording his statement in the drainage scam and the police personnel, who were deployed in large number, were sent back to their respective areas. It was not known when Mr Badal would be summoned to record his statement.

On the other hand, the state government’s alleged move to arrest Mr Badal by “extracting” a statement from his kin or any other known person has proved to be a blessing in disguise as almost all factions within the SAD have started joining hands to launch a movement against the Congress Government in case Mr Badal or any of his family members was arrested.

However, the three-day tension in the Badal village after Dhillon’s arrest has also exposed certain leaders, who had claimed to be very close to Mr Badal’s family. Though a number of leaders from far-flung areas descended on Badal village and remained in Dhillon’s house for three days, a section of leaders of Bathinda district, who enjoyed unbridled power during the previous SAD-BJP alliance government, did not turn up.

Former Union Minister Sukhbir Badal said people of Punjab had come to know about the nefarious designs of the Congress Government, which had a one-point agenda of harassing the Akali workers by implicating them in false criminal cases. He added that party leaders had been getting reports about the functionaries, who had not been feeling concerned about the workers, who had been facing the wrath of the Congress Government.


PM not to defend Badal: Mann
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 16
Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee would not help Mr Badal in the corruption charges against him. The Prime Minister earlier did not help former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Karunanidhi in the corruption charges framed against him by the government. He also did not mediate when Mr Vaiko the leader of the MDMK an alliance partner of the NDA was arrested by the Tamil Nadu government. This proves that the Prime Minister would not support the former Chief Minister Mr Badal who has been facing corruption charges.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann president of the SAD (Amritsar) stated this to this correspondent on phone today.

Even the NDA was not serious on helping Mr Badal in view of the serious corruption charges against him. The SAD has been claiming for long that the NDA team would visit Punjab to investigate alleged atrocities against the workers of the party. However, till date no NDA team had visited Punjab. The NDA team was not visiting the state because it fears that people would flood them with the corruption charges against Mr Badal and his associates.

Mr Mann also flayed the statements of the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa that the SAD workers resort to traffic blockades if Mr Badal was arrested. How can Mr Dhindsa expect the workers of the Akali Dal to sacrifice for Mr Badal when he was continuing to enjoy power as union minister. If Mr Dhindsa expected sacrifice from the workers of the SAD he himself should first sacrifice his post of the Union Minister.

Asked about his reaction to the arrest of the kin of Badal Mr Mann said that if Mr Badal and his kin were clean they should present his former OSD Hardeep Singh before the investigating agencies.

Mr Hardeep Singh who was the main conduit for investing Mr Badal’s black money in foreign countries is on the run since investigating agencies starting investigating the corruption charges against Mr Badal. Mr Badal was trying to save Hardeep Singh from being arrested, as he feared he could open Pandora’s box for him and expose him.


Narottam’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 16
A local court today extended the police remand of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s NRI cousin Narottam Singh Dhillon till June 18. He was produced before the court here after the expiry of his previous 2-day police remand. He was arrested from Shimla on June 12 in connection with a case of corruption and disproportionate assets registered against Mr Badal’s OSD Hardeep Singh.

The Duty Magistrate, Mr Harinder Sidhu, also asked the prosecution to file a reply on the explanation already sought by Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate Baljinder Kaur Bhatia regarding the non-compliance of court orders directing to provide medical facilities and allow defence counsels to meet the accused an hour daily during police remand.

The court issued fresh directions to get Mr Dhillon medically examined before and after his every court production besides providing him specialised medical facility as and when required from Chandigarh.

The court also issued warrants to search a farmhouse of the Badal family at Balasar village in Sirsa district of Haryana on the request of the prosecution to recover some important and incriminating documents, which, it claimed, Mr Dhillon has kept there.

The public prosecutor submitted before the court that during the previous police remand, some documents and bank account statements of Mr Dhillon had been recovered, which needed further investigations and verifications.

Presenting the report of searches conducted at Mr Dhillon’s residences at Delhi, Shimla and Badal village as per the court orders, the prosecution argued that Mr Dhillon’s passport was also yet to be recovered and for all these purposes, further extension of seven days in police remand was sought.

It was also submitted that during custodial interrogation, Mr Dhillon had revealed that he had shifted the entire documentary records pertaining to the money transactions between him and the Badal family to the Balasar farmhouse from his residence in Badal village, the search of which had yielded nothing fruitful.

The prosecution contended that it was also found during custodial interrogation that Mr Dhillon was having several vehicles, including imported ones, but despite repeated demands, he had not yet furnished the registration certificate of a single vehicle.


Tohra denies rift with Chandumajra
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 16
Senior Akali leader and former Shiromani Committee President Gurcharan Singh Tohra said today there were no differences between him and former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra adding that any such difference reported in the Press was false.

In a signed statement here, Mr Tohra said Mr Chandumajra had during his long innings in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) made a special place for himself in Akali politics. He said this contribution could not be ignored and that Chandumajra was a loyal soldier of the party and commanded respect in the party as well as in his heart.

Mr Tohra said the news reports citing sidelining of Mr Chandumajra in Akali politics were work of persons who were not happy at Akali unity and wanted some conflict to arise in the SAD. He said however it was not possible to create any wedge in the SAD by such moves.

Meanwhile even though the veteran Akali leader categorically spoke that there were no differences between him and Chandumajra, he has steered clear from speaking on the issues which actually were raised about his relations with Mr Chandumajra vis a vis his son-in-law Harmail Singh Tohra. It was this which was highlighted in the news items which stressed that Mr Tohra had become closer to his son-in-law in the recent past as compared to Mr Chandumajra who earlier was looked upon as number two man in the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal as well as Mr Tohra’s heir apparent.

Mr Tohra has also preferred not to speak on why Mr Chandumajra was not called for the formal joining of hands with Mr Badal recently during the course of which they also signed a common declaration. Former Minister Manjit Singh Calcutta, who has been in the forefront of the unity moves from the Tohra camp, and former Ministers Maheshinder Singh Grewal and Surjit Singh Kohli were the leaders present on the occasion.


Derecognise SAD: Socialist Front
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 16
The Socialist Front Punjab, President Mr Kesar Singh and Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission Chairman Mr Balwant Singh Khera said today that they would write to the Election Commission urging it to derecognise the Shiromani Akali Dal (B).

They also urged from the Union Government to debar the SGPC from sponsoring religious jathas to different countries because it was not adhering to the guidelines and merit. It rather charged extra money and discriminating against genuine pilgrims for obliging its henchmen, they said. They cited two cases. First the pigeon episode of 2001 when fake persons were sent by SGPC as “Panj Piaras” to Canada to take part in Baisakhi by giving them even fake weapons of 10th Guru and also a hand written copy of Guru Granth Sahib, had tarnished the image of Sikhs, they continued. Even Federal Minister of Canada Mr Harbans Dhaliwal had to suffer as he was debarred from recommending visas for two years because he had recommended the visas of the “Panj Piaras” who later turned out to be pigeons, they said.

In the second case the External Affairs Ministry had to delete 40 names from a list of 200 persons recommend by the SGPC for a jatha to Pakistan in connection with the observance of martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev at Lahore, they claimed. These 40 persons were of doubtful credentials they said.

All religious and social organisations should be allowed to sponsor trips to religious places in Pakistan and other countries, they demanded.

They said the real face of SAD president and his associates would be exposed.

In the first phase of agitation, we will present a “benti patra” (a letter of plea) to Jathedar Trilochan Singh at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib on June 21 at Anandpur Sahib and later approach Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti at Akal Takht Sahib Amritsar for urging them for the ouster of all conspirators’ and their supporters in the pigeon episode by excommunicating them from the Sikh Panth, they declared. The second phase will be announced after it, they informed.

They ruled that Mr PS Badal,SAD President, Prof Kirpal Singh Bagungar, SGPC President Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht Sahib and even the Union Government were trying to hush up the scandal of human trafficking.

They criticised Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh for not referring the case to the CBI because he was also a former Akali and thus has a soft corner for them. They also named the racketeers in the international human trafficking scam and alleged that the pigeons in the garb of the five beloved ones were charged Rs 8 lakh each.

They regretted that while Canadian police was pursuing the case our government was sleeping over the matter.


New Akali Dal on July 19

Jalandhar, June 16
Former Speaker and Senior Akali Leader Ravi Inder Singh today said that formation of new Akali Dal would be announced on July 19 here.

Following a meeting of senior Akali leaders here today, Mr Ravi Inder said all Akali leaders have decided to announce the formation on “new Akali Dal” on the basis of principles on which Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was formed in 1920”.

Prior to July 19, three big conferences would be held at Bathinda, Amritsar and Ludhiana to motivate people to join the new Akali Dal, he said.

“As former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has totally failed to protect the rights of Akalis and is rather busy to earn money through corruption, the senior Akali leaders including former SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Kuldip Singh Wadala, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode and other leaders have decided to form new Akali Dal for the betterment of Panth,” he said.

Today’s announcement by Ravi Inder follows recent patchup between Akali stalwarts PS Badal and GS Tohra.

He said that so far as leadership of new Akali Dal was concerned, it would be decided after the announcement regarding formation of new Akali Dal on July 19, he added.

He termed Mr Badal’s appearance at the Akal Takht as mockery. PTI


Complainants throng EC’s office
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
A large number of people, mostly from nearby districts such as Patiala, Ropar, Ludhiana etc, today flocked to the office of the Punjab State Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains, here to lodge complaints about the deletion of their names from the revised voters lists for the June 29 panchayat poll.

Most complainants alleged that the authorities concerned supplied the voters’ lists in most of the villages only after the date for filing objections with regard to the lists had expired. Objections were to be filed up to June 12. In most villages the voters’ lists were distributed yesterday or day before. “When we came to know that our names did not figure in the lists yesterday, we rushed here to lodge the complaints”, said Mr Didar Singh, Sarpanch of Janjo village, near Rajpura.

Most of the affected persons said they would move the court to secure the right to vote. “In every election such mischief is played making a mockery of the democratic system. While earlier the SAD-BJP alliance resorted to such a practice, the Congress government has also followed the same path”, said Mr Gurnam Singh, a retired ex-serviceman from Ropar district.

A resident of Nandgarh Manik Dass village of Patiala district said the names of at least 20 members of his family had been removed from the list.

Mr Dalip Singh, who was elected as a panch in Raipur Gujran village in the last panchayat elections, is shocked to find his name missing in the fresh list. His name has been deleted with a mention in the relevant papers that he had left the village to live elsewhere.

The names of 40 voters belonging to an extended family have been found deleted in the voters list of Pilkhani village, near Rajpura. A senior member of the family was keen on contesting the election, it is learnt. Ms Paramjit Kaur of Islampur village, near Rajpura, was a member in the outgoing panchayat of the village. But her name is missing now. A family of Sherpur village, near Sangrur, has met the same fate.

The biggest deletion of names has been noticed in the voters list of Dera Jagardari village near Dera Bassi. Mr Kulwinder Singh, a resident of the village, claimed the names of said, about 200 voters were found missing from the fresh list.


Panchayat poll on June 29

Chandigarh, June 16
A formal notification for holding elections to gram panchayats in Punjab was issued today by the State Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains. According to the notification June 19 will be the last date for filing nominations. Scrutiny will be done on June 20 and the last date for withdrawal is June 21. Polling will take place on June 29. The entire election shall be completed on or before July 4. TNS


276 nominations filed for panchayat elections
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 16
On the first day of filling of nomination papers for the panchayat elections, 92 nomination papers were filed for the posts of Sarpanch while 184 nomination papers were filed for the posts of Panch in all 12 blocks of the Sangrur district, according to Mr Shivdev Singh Dandiwal, Additional District Electoral Officer-cum-ADC (Development), Sangrur, here this evening.

Mr Dandiwal said the maximum number of nomination papers were filed today in the Malerkotla-1 block where 55 nomination papers had been filed (16 for Sarpanch, 39 for Panch). In Sangrur and Barnala blocks 41 nomination papers each had been filed for the posts of Sarpanch and Panch. In Sherpur block, 37 nomination papers were filed for the posts of Sarpanch and Panch, he added.


11 file papers for panchayat poll
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 16
As many as 11 nomination papers were filed today from Pathankot and Sujanpur blocks, for the panchayat elections, scheduled for June 29.

Due to the shortage of forms these were sold at a premium said a large number of candidates.

Apprehending large-scale rigging and violence during the panchayat elections, the BJP local unit president, Mr Jatinder Dev Sharma, urged the State Election Commission for deputing additional force under the supervision of unbiased officers.

Talking to The Tribune, the BJP leader said, following an unfavourable report on the panchayat elections, the ruling Congress had deployed “Congress minded” cops here, so that all possible methods of rigging could be used to ensure the victory of Congress candidates.

He expressed the hope that the SAD-BJP combine would make a clean sweep during the panchayat poll and added that Congress had disappointed the public by withdrawing all benefits extended by the Badal government.


Panchayat poll: 5 file nominations
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 16
Five candidates, four for the posts of panch and one for the post of sarpanch, filed nomination papers in the district on the first day of the filing of nominations for the panchayat elections to be held on June 29.

A candidate has filed nomination paper for the post of sarpanch in the Talwandi Sabo block while two candidates each have filed their papers in Bathinda and Talwandi Sabo blocks for the posts of panch. No nomination paper has been received in the Phul, Rampura, Bhagta, Nathana, Sangat, and Maur blocks.

Most of the prospective candidates, including women, visited the offices of the Block Development and Panchayat Officers at different block headquarters for getting either nomination papers or no-objection certificates.

The candidates were accompanied by local leaders of different parties like the Akali Dal, the Congress, the CPI and the BSP. Though the candidates will not fight the election on party symbol, the parties have been openly supporting their respective candidates.


Cong district heads asked to meet workers
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 16
The PPCC has asked all district presidents of the party to sit in their respective offices at the headquarters for three days a week to meet the party workers and solve their problems. The direction has been given keeping in mind the next Lok Sabha elections. Party workers in some cities visited by PPCC president H.S. Hanspal had conveyed that they were feeling totally ignored. The impression was gathered at the workers’ meeting held on Sunday night here to greet the new DCC president, Mr Anoop Singh. Those present, including Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu “Babbal” parliamentary secretary and Mr Sunil Jakhar, whip to the Punjab Congress Legislative Party. Mr Anoop Singh said he would be available at the District Congress Bhavan on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mr Jakhar said the SAD-BJP government, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal had butchered the democratic values, administrative and moral ethics during the past five years. He added that they were now talking of value-based dealing with corrupt politicians and officers.

The people of Punjab had rejected the alliance of the SAD and the BJP in Vidhan Sabha, Zila Parishad, Panchayat Samitis and municipal elections and the same verdict would be repeated in the coming village panchayat elections, he claimed.

Reacting to criticism in some vernaculars over the election of a Dalit as president of the Municipal Council, despite allocation to general category, Mr Jakhar said, “We had respected seniority and had risen above the casteism in the interest of the party and the town. The man from the downtrodden community will not only restore basic amenities but also give respect to his fellow party workers”, he said.

Mr Sandhu assured the workers that the supply of canal water for irrigation and drinking purposes would be improved to give substantial relief to the residents of the subdivision. Financial crises, created by the previous government, had been a big hurdle in taking up the development projects, he added. He asked the party workers to work with dedication for ensuring grand victory in the panchayat elections.


Century-old clubs’ fate uncertain
Ashok Sethi and Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, June 16
Uncertainty prevails over the fate of the century–old three clubs located in the Ram Bagh gardens in view of the notices issued by the municipal corporation to them. The notice dated June 2 asks the club managements to “surrender the vacant possession of the land under their illegal possession to the municipal corporation within seven days from the receipt of this notice. Failure to comply would invite action at your risk and cost”.

The Additional Commissioner, municipal corporation, issued the notices under Section 246(a) of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court following a writ petition filed by the Amritsar Vikas Manch last year. However the club managements said the high court, in its order dated June 6, granted them “status quo” till July 3.

In the meanwhile, the managements of the three clubs, at a joint press conference, stated that the clubs were in existence since the beginning of the twentieth century and were built by the British as social clubs. They had become part of the Amritsar heritage over the years.

Spokesmen for the club managements said the Punjab Government, through their letter no 38(25)381-68/28351, dated July 29,1968, had extended the lease of Lumsdon Club for 85 years (till 2053). This extension was at “annual lease rent of Rs 688 for the building and Rs 20 annually for the site of tonga/ car stand.”

Similarly, the leases of the other two clubs namely Amritsar Club and Services Club were extended for 50 years, which means a lease up to 2018. The spokesmen added that the clubs had been regularly depositing the lease amount, along with the increase in the lease rate from time to time, till 1994.

However, they stated that the corporation which was managing the nazul land (government land) as per the government records had refused to accept the lease amount after 1994.

Interestingly, the SDM–I has already worked out the outstanding payment of rent /use and occupational charges for the clubs to the tune of Rs 4.87 lakh against Amritsar and Lumsdon Clubs and about Rs 1.90 lakh for Services Club as per the order dated February 10, 2003. The SDM made this calculation from March 31, 1992, to December 2002 with regular enhancement of 20 per cent of lease money every three years.

The managements claimed that the corporation refused to accept the respective amounts calculated by the SDM.

They also pointed out that the clubs were not disturbing the “protected area” and had offered to undertake the maintenance of the heritage buildings and Ram Bagh gardens, which was the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. They presented documentary proof claiming the extension of their lease issued by the Secretary, Punjab Local Government Department, to the Executive Officer municipal committee, in 1968.

The municipal corporation has a taken a stand that the lease had “expired” and as such the clubs needed to be evicted. The club managements, however, uphold the documentary evidence to claim that their legal right over the property continues for Lumbsdon Club for a period till 2053 and for the other two clubs till 2018.


BKU (E) detains bank staff
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Nathana (Bathinda), June 16
Tension has gripped this town following activists of the BKU (Ekta) gheraoed the local branch of primary Agriculture Development Bank (PADB) and detained its staff members and the police deployed heavy police force to prevent any untoward incident.

Senior civil and police officials reached the spot.

Hundreds of activists of the BKU (Ekta), who had been staging a dharna in front of the bank for the past three days to press the authorities concerned for the fulfilment of their demands today gheraoed and detained the staff members. Various leaders, who addressed the activists, alleged that the Congress government had been victimising them on various accounts despite the fact that farmers had been reeling under heavy debts. They also raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

Police functionaries and Mr Chand Singh, President of the PADB, held talks with the leaders of the BKU (Ekta) to find out a solution, but to no avail. Instead, the leaders urged the activists to get themselves prepared to face the lathi charge which the police could resort to any time to disperse them.

The activists have been holding demonstrations and rallies for the past many days at various towns in this district in protest against the registration of criminal cases against the farmers for gheraoing staff members of the PADB and to press the authorities concerned for the release of all farmers, who have been arrested for their failure to make payments of loan instalments.

Mr Amolak Singh, Manager, PADB, Nathana, said since Friday, the functioning of the bank had come to a complete halt due to the demonstrations. He added that a number of farmers, who used to deposit instalments of their loans, had declined considerably and it had also affected the recovery of loans of the bank.

In the recent past, farmers had gheraoed staff members of the PADB at various places in the district while they were making recoveries of loan instalments. At least two cases had been registered in this connection in the local police station in the past one week.

The activists alleged that they had gheraoed the bank to lodge their protest against the non-acceptance of their demands and the force being used on them by the authorities concerned to recover the loan. They also alleged that Section 67-A of the Cooperative Act was being applied on them forcibly.


No formal orders for officials’ promotion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
The Punjab Government is alleged to be dilly-dallying in implementing the recommendations of the departmental promotion committee set up to promote class-I officers from among the ministerial staff posted at the head office of the state education department here.

Mr Ashok Kumar, President of the employees’ union revealed to TNS that the departmental promotion committee at its meeting held on April 23, this year, under the chairmanship of Mr KK Bhatnagar, the then Principal Secretary of the Punjab Education Department had recommended to promote 14 officials from class-II to class-I (from among the ministerial staff) but so far formal orders of their promotion have not been issued.

The meeting of the departmental promotion committee was held after a gap of three years. Earlier, the meeting was held in the year, 2000. However, as per rules, the meeting of the departmental promotion committee should be convened every year. Besides, the Principal Secretary of the Education Department as chairman of the committee, the DPI (education) and a nominee of the Personal Department are the members of the committee that regularly reviews the promotions.

Interestingly, Mr Mukhtiar Singh, Assistant Registrar in the Education Department, whose name has been recommended by the departmental promotion committee for the post of registrar is retiring on June 30, this year. Presently, a superintendent (Grade-I) is officiating as registrar in the Education Department.

Besides this, two posts of establishment officers and 10 posts of superintendents (Grade-I) are lying vacant in the department. “The government is unnecessarily delaying implementing the recommendations of the committee to promote 14 officials without assigning any reasons”, alleged the union leader of the employees.

In reply to a question he said that at least 60 employees of the Education Department were being affected due to the delay in promotions of these 14 officials. “There are a total of 455 employees in the head office of the Education Department”, he further revealed.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunil Kumar, general secretary of the employees union, said that the state government had handed over the work of maintaining the gratuity/provident fund of all the government teachers at the field level to the drawing and disbursement officers. “This is the only exceptional case of the Education Department where the work of GP fund has been entrusted to the drawing and disbursement officers at the field level whereas in all other departments of the state government, the GP fund work is being done at the head office level”, he alleged.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Education Department revealed that the state government had already sanctioned a total of 67 posts for the head office to assign them the work of GP fund. The sanctioned posts include 52 senior assistants, 5 superintendents, 5 clerks and 5 peons. However, no efforts have been made to fill up these posts. It may be mentioned that there were at least 65 thousand government teachers in the state.

The state government’s callous attitude towards the employees has forced them to go on regular relay strike at Sector-17 here, thereby, affecting the day-to-day normal work of the education department. The union has warned that if their demands were not accepted soon they would further intensify the stir.


Peons attend cases, doctors rehearse for poll duty
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, June 16
The functioning of local subdivisional hospital came to a complete halt today as all doctors and members of paramedical staff had gone to attend the rehearsal for the panchayat elections to be held on June 29.

As the doctors and the paramedical staff remained busy in the rehearsal at grain market, the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the hospital remained closed. A section of patients were seen chasing their respective doctors at the venue of the rehearsal.

The information gathered by TNS revealed that in the absence of the doctors and the paramedical staff, only peons and a few other class IV employees looked after two patients, who were lying in the emergency ward and another two in the general ward of this 50-bedded hospital.

Sources said the doctors and the paramedical staff had been deployed on the poll duty despite the fact that district health authorities had made a written request to the district administration to deploy only a few staff members of the hospital so that its functioning was not affected.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, pointed out that a request to the district administration was made to exempt a few medical specialists form the poll duty so that emergency cases could be attended to. He added that there was confusion among the officials whether to approach Additional Deputy Commissioner or Sub-Divisional Magistrate concerned for getting exemption from the poll duty. He said he would do something in this connection immediately.


No funds for cadets to attend camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
As many as 260 NCC cadets from Punjab have lost the opportunity to attend a national integration camp being organised in their own state as treasury officials have reportedly refused to release funds despite the state government’s sanction. The camp begins at Kum Kalan near Ludhiana, tomorrow.

According to sources, NCC officers had met the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Minister for Higher Education, Mr H.L. Johar, a few days ago to resolve the issue of non-release of funds. Following the meeting, a sum of Rs 1.25 lakh was sanctioned by the minister to meet the expenses of cadets attending the camp.

Treasury officials, however, have declined to release the amount on the pretext that money can be released only on production of bills. NCC officers say that it is not possible to get any bills before hand. “Bills can be had only if we make purchases. If there are no funds, there cannot be any purchases and hence no bills,” an officer here remarked.

Ideally, funds are required about 15 days before the commencement of a camp so that necessary arrangements can be made and requisite supplies are obtained. In this case, NCC officers have been knocking on the state treasury’s doors till the last day, but without any success.

Holding back on funds by the Punjab Government has been a major issue with the NCC directorate for the past several years. Funds made available by the state government are sufficient to meet just 22 per cent of the training expenditure. Faced with such a situation NCC authorities resorted to an unprecedented step of de-enrolling cadets in the state, which could result in a 75 per cent cut in the strength of Punjab NCC cadets.


IFS officer gets judicial remand
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 16
A local court today remanded Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Parveen Kumar, posted as Divisional Forests Officer (DFO) at Ropar, in judicial custody till June 28 in connection with a corruption case registered against him and several other officers of the Punjab Forest Department by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

The Duty Magistrate, Ms Harinder Kaur Sidhu, directed the prosecution to produce the accused before a special court after the expiry of the remand on June 28. The DFO was produced before the court here this afternoon after the expiry of his three-day police remand. He had been arrested on June 12.

The Public Prosecutor submitted before the court that besides arresting the remaining accused in the case, the DFO was yet to be grilled on how many permits, apart from those mentioned in the case, were issued by him in contravention of rules and for that how much bribe had he accepted.

The prosecution submitted that of the total 66 felling permits issued, 26 were those under which permission to fell 74,738 trees was issued, which was 76.44 per cent of the total trees for which felling permits were issued. It was alleged that contractors felled more trees than the assessment made by them.

It was also submitted in the court that the DFO, in connivance with another IFS officer H.S. Grewal, posted as Conservator of Forests, PFS officer Dev Raj Sharma, posted as Sub-Divisional Forest Officer at Ropar, Range Officer Baldev Singh and several contractors and private owners of forests, ordered the marking of 97,772 trees in 17 villages in the Nurpur Bedi range of Ropar district from October, 2002 to February, 2003.

According to the prosecution, the marking of trees was done by the private contractors and owners of the forests in violation of the relevant Rules of the Felling Policy and the DFO, without verifying the facts, signed the marking report.


PUDA demolition drive ‘selective’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 16
Mr Gurmukh Singh of the Dhobiana locality here, whose house was demolished on June 14 in an anti-encroachment drive by PUDA, today claimed that he had not encroached upon government land.

In a written statement, he claimed that he was the owner of the land on which the house was constructed. He alleged that the authorities had demolished his house despite a case being pending in the civil court in this connection. He alleged that the demolition campaign was partial towards the poor.

PUDA had demolished some dwellings in the locality as these were constructed on government land. The authorities concerned have said the Supreme Court had given its verdict in favour of PUDA in a case pertaining to the dwellings.

Meanwhile, Mr Kiranjit Singh Gehri, state president of the Dalit Sena, said in a press note that an action committee had been formed to save the residents of the locality from being thrown out of their dwellings where they had been staying for more than two decades.

He said the authorities should provide land at some other place for the residents of the locality before demolishing their houses.


Hospital godsend for poor patients
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 16
For residents of transrailway colonies, the charitable Amar Hospital is a godsend as it provides the best treatment in the city and that, too, at a cost within the reach of poor people.

The 40-bedded hospital is serving the poor residents of Parasram Nagar, Partap Nagar, Janata Nagar, Jogi Basti, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Railway Colony, Hans Nagar, Aalam Nagar, Fateh Nagar and Gopal Nagar. Most of the residents of these colonies could not afford the expensive treatment at private hospitals and were dependent on the local civil hospital.

Dr Amarnath, a social worker and an Ayurvedic doctor, was instrumental behind the idea of providing medical facilities at nominal rates to poor patients. The hospital is run on a no profit, no loss basis.

Mr Suresh Kumar, managing director of the hospital, said the hospital had become fully operational. He said the best equipment for conducting various tests and providing treatment had been installed at the hospital while the charges were meagre.

Mr Kumar claimed that the fee for conducting different operations was six to seven times less than the fee charged at some private hospitals. He added that the consultation fee was the same as was charged at the civil hospital. Special camps were also organised where check-up and treatment were provided free of cost.


Creating awareness on bicycles
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 16
Mr Ranjit Singh and Mr Charanjit Singh of this town today left on a tour on their bicycles to spread the message of national integration and create awareness against drug addiction, AIDS and dowry in the society.

During their 45-day tour, they will pass through Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir covering about 2,000 km. Their final destination will be the Pardungla road in Keylong near Rohtang Pass, located at a height of 18,380 feet.

Earlier, praising the noble step taken up by the youths, Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, appealed to the younger generation to follow the same line. He also gave Rs 4,000 to the youths each. The Nehru Yuva Kendra has sponsored the tour.


Special drive to issue ration cards

Jalandhar, June 16
The Punjab Government had decided to launch a special campaign for the renewal and issuance of ration cards in the state.

Civil Supply Minister Avtar Henry today told reporters that the campaign was being started during which around 90 lakh ration cards would be renewed after scrutiny and a proper survey.

He said this task was being undertaken after a period of five years.

He said during the campaign new ration cards could also be issued.

Over the ongoing procurement of wheat, Mr Henry said the government agencies had so far been procured and lifted 90 lakh Metric Tonnes of wheat. With this addition, the stocks of wheat in the state had gone up to 150 lakh Metric tonnes.

He said besides this, state was having a stock of 70 lakh metric tonnes of rice.

The minister was reviewing the departmental affairs in the Jalandhar zone at a meeting of departmental officers here. UNI


Youths urged to eradicate social evils
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 16
Youths are precious assets of any country and society, so we should try hard to utilise their energy in a positive and constructive manner, said Mr Brij Lal Goyal, vice-president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, while addressing youth Congress workers here today. He had come here to flag off the rally being organised by the District Youth Congress to educate the people against the social evils prevailing in society and to highlight the achievements of the government.

Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forests, who had also come to participate in the rally said the government was making all efforts to involve youths in all planning and implementation of government policies. He said the Chief Minister has also announced to give due representation to the youths in all government-sponsored committees. He said the young generation could play an important role in eradicating social evils like drug addiction, superstition, female feticide, dowry etc. He said these social evils have made deep roots in our society and are causing great harm not only to society but were also affecting the future generations adversely. He said strong will power and dedication was required to curb these social evils and it was only the youths, who could accept any challenge and achieve the target.

Highlighting various public-oriented schemes initiated by the government, he said government is committed to fulfil all promises. He said the government has benefited every section of society. He said it was only Congress which respects all religions and every section of society. He said it was unfortunate that the Opposition parties have been making efforts to disturb the hard earned peace in the state for their petty political ends. He warned that the government would not spare all those who would try to create communal tension.

Mr Munish Verma, president, District Youth Congress, urged the youths to launch a campaign against the drug abuse as well as the social evils and to educate the people.

Vaid Hari Krishan, president, District Congress Committee, in his address urged the people to come forward with the information regarding the corrupt officials, so that the campaign against corruption initiated by the Chief Minister could be successfully implemented and the people could get relief form this menace. He said party has been fully geared up to highlight the achievements of the party as well as for the coming panchayat elections.


Order on panchayat poll reserved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Acting on a bunch of petitions seeking the quashing of a roster for panchayat elections prepared by Amritsar’s Deputy Commissioner, the Punjab and Haryana High Court reserved order. The case will now come up for pronouncement on Wednesday.

Describing the roster as arbitrary, the petitioners had earlier contended that the Deputy Commissioner had prepared the same without following the guidelines on reservation issued by the government. This, they had added, was done after rejecting the roster prepared by the Block Development and Panchayat Officers.

Giving details, counsel for the petitioners had submitted that as per the roster certain villages meant for the reserved category candidates in 1998 had not been de-reserved in 2003. The elections are scheduled to take place on June 29.

Today, arguing before the Bench, it was contended on behalf of the state of Punjab that the court could not intervene in the matter once the election process had commenced. It was added that the State Election Commission had already issued a notification regarding the filing of the nominations.


Counsel for the petitioners had, on the other hand, submitted that they were not aware regarding the issuance of the notification. Moreover, a copy of the same had not been placed before the court.

Taking up a petition filed by Phagwara residents challenging the move to acquire land by an Improvement Trust, the High Court on Monday stayed the dispossession of the petitioners.

Issuing the directions on the petition filed against the state of Punjab and other respondents by Mr Tarsem Lal and others, the High Court also issued notice of motion. The case will now come up for further hearing on August 11.

Challenging the orders, the petitioners had earlier contended that opportunity of filing objections had not been granted to them in violation of the mandatory rules. Arguing before the court, counsel for the petitioners had submitted that the necessary documents had not been made available to them for the purpose. It was further added that the area had already been developed and acquiring it would not be justified.


BRO to construct Chakki-Dalhousie road
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 16
The Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr Vinod Khanna, has said the road leading from Chakki to Dalhousie will be constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). The project to construct and widening of the road has been assigned to the BRO.

Mr Khanna was here along with his wife Kavita Khanna to receive Sri Ravishankar founder president of the Art of Living on Saturday at the local railway station.

Mr Khanna also inquired from the district authorities about the fate of various development projects being carried out in the district and the areas falling in the Gurdaspur Parliamentary constituency. He also reviewed the progress of the bridge connecting Gurdaspur and Mukerian being constructed at Naushehra Pattan and directed the authorities to complete the construction work of the bridge in time.

He also directed the district authorities to make all arrangements to deal with floods during the ensuing rainy season as floods had played havoc in the past years especially in the villages situated on the banks of the Ravi.


Larger role for women in defence
Anirudh Gupta

FEROZEPORE: The role of women in defence has been growing gradually since Independence. Earlier women were there in defence production units, defence research and development laboratories and in the medical corps. But with the induction of women in non-combatant arms of the armed forces like logistics and judicial, a larger role is envisaged for women in defence.

The women special entry scheme (WSES), which was introduced for them to join as officers in non-combatant arms, has also been extended to the widows of officers killed in action. Under this scheme, women are recruited as short service commission officers in various branches of the Army, the Navy and the IAF.

Women scientists and technical officers are playing vital roles in defence research and development. A number of senior women scientists are heading important research divisions in various defence establishments.

The Ministry of Defence has also established a separate forum for women in defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) under the aegis of the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE). In an endeavour to give better working conditions to working women, DPSUs have provided creches for their children, lunch and rest-rooms, besides opening grievance cells. Besides, a mechanism has been set up to check sexual harassment of working women in production units.

Senior army officers feel that only the creation of opportunities for women is not enough for their optimal participation in defence but appropriate working conditions should also be made available to them. The guidelines of the Supreme Court to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace are being implemented in the armed forces, inter-service organisations, DPSUs and other defence establishments. In pursuance of these directions, complaint committees have been constituted at the headquarters as well as at the unit level for the redressal of complaint received from women employees.


Residents break ‘matkas’ in protest
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 16
Residents of the cantonment area held a demonstration in front of the office of the local Cantonment Board in protest against an acute shortage of potable water in the cantonment for the past couple of months.

The residents, led by former vice president of the board Ajay Joshi, broke ‘matkas’ in front of the office.

Mr Parshottam Lal, Cantonment Executive Officer, admitted that there was a shortage of potable water in the area and assured that the problem would be solved at the earliest. Mr Satish Arora, Cantonment Engineer, said there were 11 water pumps installed in the area to provide potable water out of which two pumps were out of order. He said the repair of the pumps was underway and those would soon become functional.


Police team conquers peak
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, June 16
A seven-member team of the Punjab Police Adventure Sports Club conquered the Lampak peak, which is located at a height of 20,280 feet in the Joshimath sector in Uttranchal.

According to information received here today, the team, under the leadership of a senior IPS officer, Dr P.M. Dass, achieved the feat on June 7.

This is for the first time that an officer of the rank of an Inspector General of Police (IGP) has lead a major mountaineering expedition approved by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.

The other members who successfully scaled the peak were Assistant Sub-Inspector Inder Kumar, head constables Palwinder Singh, Mohan Lal, Kulwinder Kumar and constables Nari Dhami and Anand Singh. The squad was accompanied by a porter, Sangram Singh.

The other members who played a vital supporting role were team doctor Vinod Chopra, Dr Hari Pal Singh, head constable Sukhchain Singh and constable Gurbachan Singh.


111 poor girls married off

Patiala, June 16
The Patiala Aradhana Kala Manch in collaboration with the Punjab Police got 111 orphan and poor girls of nearby villages and towns married off at Raj Kamal Palace here yesterday.

Around 82 couples were from Sikh families, 15 from Hindu families, eight were Muslims and six Christians. The SP (City) Kuldeep Singh and SP (Operations) N.S. Sekhon were also present on the occasion. OC


Woman dies of burn injuries
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 16
Two persons, including a woman died here in separate incidents.

The woman, Gurmeet Kaur (24), died when she accidentally caught fire in the Guru Ke Nagri area of the city. The married woman received 100 per cent burn injuries. Her body was kept in the mortuary of the local Civil Hospital. Her parents have been informed about the incident.

Meanwhile, heatwave claimed another life in the city when a migrant labourer, Lal Chand, died due to a sun stroke near a chemical factory in the Deep Nagar area of the city. A post-mortem of the deceased was conducted in the Civil Hospital after which the body was handed over to the family members.


Shiromani awards for writers soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
The Punjab Government plans to rejuvenate the Languages Department and Shiromani awards will be awarded to writers at the earliest, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Higher Education and Languages Minister, said at a state-level meeting of officers of the department here today. He asked the District Language Officers to enhance the sale of printed books of the department. He advised them to organise book melas and exhibitions.


Over 600 Batala phones go ‘dead’
Our Correspondent

Batala, June 16
Resentment prevails among the telephone subscribers of the Railway Road, Batala, against the non-working of their phones today.

Mr I.S. Gill, Divisional Engineer Telecom (DET), Batala said he had got complaints of over 600 phones becoming ‘dead’.

He said department officials were working to get the fault rectified.


10-year jail for 4
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 16
Mr Dharam Singh, Special Judge, Mansa on Saturday convicted Charanjit Singh alias Gosha, Sarpanch of Aklia village of the district and three others including a woman Gajo, Beeru Singh and Gurmail Gir under Sections 15/61/85 of the NDPS Act and sentenced them to undergo rigorous imprisonment (RI) for 10 years each and to pay fine of Rs 1 lakh each and to further undergo RI for six months under Section 25 of the same Act.


A clarification
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 16
Happy, a youth who died in an accident on Saturday, is a nephew of Mr Vijay Verma, a reporter of Jagbani. It was inadvertently published in these columns that Happy is a son of Mr Vijay Verma in a news item, which appeared on Sunday.

Happy and Binny, two local youths, were killed in a head-on collision between a motor cycle and a car near the Radha Soami dera on the Bathinda-Goniana road.


Encroachers protest against MC drive
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 16
The local Municipal Corporation officials today razed to the ground as many as three under-construction shops and some “kutcha” houses in the Rama Mandi area, near here, during its anti-encroachment drive even as the affected parties termed the whole exercise to be selective.

The MC team, led by its MTP S.S. Bhatia, reached the Rama Mandi area and demolished some under-construction shops and houses, allegedly being built on government land. The aggrieved parties and some shopkeepers resisted the move of the MC staff and raised anti-government slogans. Sensing trouble, the MC officials returned without the complete removal of encroachments.

The shopkeepers alleged that the civic body had demolished their shops without serving proper notice. Mr Bhatia said “as per the directions of the High Court, we had identified encroachment points in various parts of the city, which were being removed in a phased manner.”


Girl, paramour held for murder
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 16
The district police today claimed to have solved two murder cases.

With the arrest of Preetam Kaur alias Preeti and her paramour Sukhjit Singh alias Sonu, both residents of Kot Mit Singh under Sultanwind police station, the police today solved the murder case of Harpreet Singh of same area killed on the night of June 14. Harpreet Singh, who was Amritdhari Sikh was allegedly stabbed to death by the duo for objectioning to their illicit relations.

The police also solved the double murder case in which two persons Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar and Damandeep Bhatia of Mandir Bhadarkali area were found killed in fields at Iban Kalan village under Sadar police station on June 8.

The police have arrested Raju, a friend of Kuldeep Singh in this regard.

The SSP said, it was found that the accused Raju and Kuldeep Singh lost a lot of money in lotteries.

Damandeep had a lottery stall in front of Guru Ram Dass hospital and Kuldeep Singh used to sell clothes. Raju used to run a stall of flowers near them, Mr Kultar Singh added.

He further said Raju and Kuldeep Singh planned to snatch lotteries tickets claiming Rs 15,000.

The accused on pretext of some thing, took Damandeep to Iban Kalan village and stabbed him to death.

The SSP added, to grab all money the accused Raju killed his friend also. The culprit has confessed his crime, the SSP said.


Flesh trade racket busted, 5 held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 16
Acting on a tip-off, the Islamabad police busted a flesh trade racket and arrested five persons, including three women, here late last evening.

Mr Kultar Singh, district police chief, while giving details at a press conference here today, said the police had got a tip-off that Billu, a resident of Inderpuri, along with Harpal Singh, alias Raju, of Harchowal village, Gurdaspur, was running a flesh trade racket in his house. He said the accused, Harpal Singh, involved his sisters and wife besides other girls of the area in running the racket.

Mr Kultar Singh said the police raided the house late last evening and arrested Harpal Singh, his sisters and wife along with a customer, Pappal Singh, a resident of the same locality.

However, the other accused, Billu, escaped. A case has been registered at Islamabad police station under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.


Fake currency notes seized
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, June 16
In a bid to destabilise the economy of India, the Pakistan’s ISI has chalked out a long-term plan to pump in large-scale fake currency with the help of international smugglers. This was revealed during the interrogation of two smugglers arrested by the Tarn Taran police with fake currency of Rs 99,000.

Mr Narinder Bhargav, district police chief, said the ISI wanted to test the capacity of the smugglers before sending another big consignment of counterfeit currency and narcotics.

He said on a tip-off, the SHO of Patti along with inspector CIA, Patti, and CIA Tarn Taran held a special naka at the bridge of minor canal Kullah in the area of the Patti.

Two smugglers — Akhtiar Singh, resident of Rajoke (police station, Khalra) and Nirmal Singh, resident of Thathi Jaimal Singh (police station, Valtoha) — were nabbed at the naka while coming on a scooter. A case under Sections 489-a, 489-b and 489-c of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.

The currency was in the denomination of Rs 500 and smuggled from Pakistan. Mr Bhargav said both the smugglers had a criminal track record. They are part of a large gang of smugglers. It was a joint operation of the district police and the Intelligence Bureau.


2 held under Gambling Act
Tribune News Service

Tapa, June 16
The police here arrested two bookies and seized some money and some documents from them today. In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr Sukhminder Singh Mann, DSP, said that two accused, who had been arrested and were identified as Rakesh Goyal, a resident of Budhlada town of Mansa district and Sushil Kumar, a local resident, had been running the business of betting in this region for the past many days and in this way had been making money by cheating innocent people.

Rs 40,400 in cash along with some registers had been recovered from these two accused who were arrested from a point near bus stand by a team led by SHO, local police station, Mr Gurdev Singh. During investigation, the police found that accused had collected Rs 10 lakh from the people by cheating them and holding out threats to them. Some documents pertaining to the record of betting were seized from Budhlada town after the police conducted a raid there.

A case in this connection had been registered in the police station under Sections 384, 420, 506 and 120-B of the IPC along with Section 13A of the Gambling Act.


Dentist strangled over dispute

Hoshiarpur, June 16
A dentist was allegedly strangled to death by a local shopkeeper in Hariana village, near here, following a minor altercation today.

According to police sources, Balbir Singh was sprinkling water outside his clinic when he reportedly had an altercation with his neighbour shopkeeper Rakesh. Rakesh turned aggressive and allegedly strangulated him to death. Balbir was also associated with a daily newspaper as part-time stringer.

An FIR has been lodged by the doctor’s wife against Rakesh at Hariana police station. UNI


Man held for fraud
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 16
The police today arrested Gurmej Singh of Shanker Nagar, Pathankot, for extorting money in return for interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum. The accused is running M.S. Gill Enterprises, depicting that his company has been granted permission by the Reserve Bank of India for public deposits.

Mr R.P.S. Brar, SSP, in a press note issued here today said Col Kewal Krishan (retd) complained to the police that in 1998, he deposited Rs 13 lakh with the company but when he approached the banks on due dates, he came to know that there was no amount in the account of the company. He realised that he had been cheated of his life’s earnings.


Arhtiya stabbed by two youths
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 16
An arhtiya was injured this afternoon when he was stabbed by two youths at his shop in the Grain Market at Bhucho Mandi town in the district.

It is learnt that two youths came to the shop of the arhtiya, Mr Kundan Lal, and asked for the keys of the cash box. When he refused to hand over the keys, the youths attacked him with a knife.

After injuring the arhtiya, the youths fled on a scooter. They could not be identified.

The arhtiya has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital where his condition is stated to be stable.


Varsity to get Syndicate’s nod for engg college
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 16
In spite of reservations by the Higher Education Ministry, Punjabi University has made the establishment of an engineering college on its premises a fait accompli by deciding to get the final stamp of approval for the institution from its Syndicate, which is meeting on June 21.

The university, which got the issue of establishment of the engineering college approved by its Academic Council on Saturday, is due to get the issue cleared by the Syndicate on June 21. Meanwhile, university sources claimed that it was attracting maximum number of students after Guru Nanak Dev University for admission to the college, which will offer courses in Mechanical Engineering besides B.Tech in Computer Engineering and Electronic Communication.

The university Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, is in no mood to buckle under pressure from the Higher Education Ministry, which has expressed serious reservations about the college and had on an earlier occasion asked the university to defer the decision to establish the college from the current academic session itself. In spite of being asked to defer the matter and questions being asked about the legality of the exercise by the Higher Education Secretary, Mr N.S. Rattan, the Vice-Chancellor has preferred to answer back to the Secretary claiming that the university calendar had not been violated by the university’s actions on the opening of the college.

In his letter to the Education Secretary, which was a reply to an earlier letter written by Mr Rattan, the Vice-Chancellor has claimed that no violation of the university calendar had occurred on the issue. He has stated that the University Act was amended in 1975 following which the Academic Council and the Syndicate were given the power to decide on the opening of new courses or departments.

He said the issue of opening of the engineering college at the university had been discussed at the last meeting of the Syndicate on March 29 and that the Syndicate had approved of the move in principle. The VC said the government had already been informed about it and that government representatives were present at the meeting.

Mr Boparai also claimed that all decisions had been taken after discussions at different levels in anticipation of approval from the Academic Council and the Syndicate. He said the issue of opening of an engineering college was discussed at length. He said all senior university functionaries, including the Dean Colleges, Registrar and Finance Officer, were involved in the process, following which a core committee was constituted to discuss the project. Mr Boparai said the committee met on two occasions — on February 20 and February 26 — following which its recommendations were submitted to the Dean Academics.

Mr Boparai said the recommendations were also taken up by the Planning Board of the university, which finally recommended the establishment of the college. He said it was decided to open self-financing courses and take loans from banks if needed. He said all courses would be run according to the norms established by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).


Can dental teacher become DRME?
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 16
The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association today claimed that no Principal of any dental college in the state could become the Director, Research and Medical Education (DRME) according to the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms.

Reacting to a demand by the Patiala unit of the Indian Dental Association to appoint the Principal of the local dental college as the next DRME of the state, the Punjab association said according to MCI rules, the post of the Director was to be filled by principals or professors of the state medical colleges having at least 10 years of experience at Professor, in charge, Medical College.

The Punjab association president, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, and general secretary, Dr Baljeet Singh Dhillon, in a statement here said they had also written in this regard to the Medical Education Minister. They said there was no joint seniority of medical and dental teachers and that the Principal of the Patiala Dental College could not claim seniority over other medical teachers.

Dr Kiranjit Kaur said hospitals attached to medical colleges had their own sets of problems and that dental teachers were not exposed to them because they had never served in these hospitals during their service. She said if a dental teacher was posted as DRME, the functioning of teaching hospitals would suffer.

The association president also disclosed that the total strength of dental teachers in the state was only around 50, compared to around 650 medical teachers.

Similarly, the number of subjects taught in medical colleges was around 400 compared to 20 in dental colleges. Besides, the syllabi of teaching in medical colleges was governed by the MCI, but that of dental colleges by the Dental Council of India (DCI).


Principals’ body resents fee hike
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 16
The Association of Principals of Non-Government Colleges affiliated to Punjabi University, Patiala, has expressed concern over the steep hike in fee for the undergraduate and postgraduate classes in both government and aided private colleges in the state.

The executive committee of the association, that met here today, claimed that the fee hike would adversely affect admissions in colleges of the state in the ensuing academic session. The executive also urged the State Higher Education Minister, Mr Harnam Das Johar, to review the fee hike and ensure that the weaker sections and poor students were not deprived of higher education.

Association president Gurmohan Singh Walia said the association had also urged the Vice-Chancellor to allow colleges affiliated to Punjabi University to introduce postgraduate professional and vocational diploma courses in the colleges. It also demanded the closure of university examination centres at various private academies in the cities where colleges affiliated to the university were already existing.


Rs 2 lakh granted for hall in Teachers’ Home
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 16
Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, MP, has announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the construction of hall on the first floor of the Teachers’ Home here.

After laying the foundation stone of the hall on Friday, Mr Bhora said after the completion of the hall the utility of the building for teaching community, would increase.

Prominent among others who spoke on the occasion, included, Mr Jagmohan Kaushal, chairman of the Teachers’ Home, Mr Anurag Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Dev), and Mr Vikaramjit Singh Sidhu, Chairman Zila Parishad, Bathinda.


ITI students get jobs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 16
Seven students of various industrial training institutes have got jobs with the help of placement cell of the Technical Education Department.

Mr Hardeep Kumar, Principal of the local ITI, said seven students had been placed with LG Electronics. Of these three had done their course from ITI Jaito, two from ITI Bathinda, and one each from ITI Barnala and Budhladha.

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