P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal, not development, dominates Cong rally
Tribune News Service

Latala (Ludhiana), February 27
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has claimed that he was feeling “perfectly good” about his prospects and performance in the forthcoming elections.

Addressing a well-attended rally here to mark the completion of two years in power of the party today, Congress leaders seemed content at having sent SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and his son to jail. Be it Congress general secretary, Ms Ambika Soni, Capt Amarinder Singh or the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, they all primarily spoke on the Badal episode. Issues like development only found a passing reference.

None of them mentioned the name of Congress President, Sonia Gandhi. Her name was mentioned only once when Mr Hanspal said the name of the candidate from the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency would be finalised after taking her into confidence.

The presence of people in the stadium was good and no slogans were raised. There was hardly any applause but everyone remained seated till the end.

Ms Ambika Soni tried to set the tone for the rally by criticising the NDA government but even that did not move the crowd. She ridiculed the “India Shining” campaign of the NDA, maintaining that “only the faces of the Prime Minister and other ministers are shining in those advertisements which are being brought out at the cost of the state exchequer, while the common man, particularly the educated youth, was depressed.”

Earlier she said the BJP government had spent Rs 450 crore on advertisements during the past two weeks to promote the BJP. She said the BJP government proposed to spend an additional Rs 750 crore in the next few weeks. “The Rs 1200 crore wasted by the government at the Centre could have been used to give employment to 30 lakh unemployed youth in Punjab,” she said.

She said BJP was trying to bring in new faces into the party by inducting film stars and glamorous people but their old allies like Mr Om Prakash Chautala in Haryana and Dr Farooq Abdullah in J&K were leaving it. Speaking in chaste Punjabi, she said the happenings in Gujarat during the BJP regime were a blotch on the face of India that had lowered the image of the country the world over.

She lauded the efforts of Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, in charge of the Congress for the Kila Raipur Assembly segment, for introducing development projects in the area.

The Chief Minister, on the other hand, was candid in admitting that he had not done any wonders during the past two years. “But we have taken the right initiatives by providing a clean and transparent government”, he said, adding that development was on the top of the agenda now. By June all villages would have round the clock power supply and new roads were being laid while the old ones were being repaired, he said.


Pandey reinducted to hasten Badal case, says CM
Tribune News Service

Latala, February 27
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, addressing a press conference soon after a state-level rally to mark the completion of two years of the Congress government here today defended his decision to reinduct Mr A.P. Pandey as the head of the Vigilance Bureau. He said since Mr Pandey was involved in the legal process initiated against the Badals from the beginning, it was necessary to bring him back to ensure that the process was not delayed. He said it should not reflect upon the abilities of Mr Izhar Alam, whom he described as one of the most competent police officers.

About the charges levelled by Mr Gurnihal Singh Pirzada that he faced threat to his life, Capt Amarinder Singh said if he felt threatened, he should go back to his parent cadre (Tamil Nadu). He said everybody was safe in Punjab and Mr Pirzada might be speaking out of frustration as he was facing corruption charges.

The Chief Minister also defended the appointment of Mr B.I.S. Chahal’s son as the DSP in the Punjab police. He said just because he was the son of Mr Chahal, it did not mean he was not qualified for the job.

Barring the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and a local minister, Mr Rakesh Pandey, most of the ministers, legislators and office-bearers of the party were present at the rally.

Congress general secretary Ambika Soni, meanwhile, said the Congress was trying to form a secular front to meet the BJP head-on in the forthcoming elections. The Congress was not projecting Mrs Sonia Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate and the secular front would not be led by any individual, she said.

In reply to a question why she did not name Mrs Gandhi even once in her speech, Mrs Soni said: “Mrs Gandhi is the undisputed leader of the Congress. There is no question about anyone having any doubts about her leadership.

“We are trying to forge a secular front with the help of various regional parties. The front will be led by any individual and it is the people who will decide on the prime ministerial candidate. The basis of the front will be secular political ideological commitment and we are having consultations with parties like the DMK”, she said.

She said the Congress was still working on an alliance with the BSP. “On the basis of a statement made by political leaders, no inferences should be drawn as alignments depend on various factors”, she said.

Mrs Soni, who is likely to be the party’s choice for the Hoshiarpur parliamentary segment, said the Congress would make its list of nominees known only after it was cleared by the party high command. “All 470 seats would be announced together”, she said.


Include Jats in backward class category,
says Jat mahasabha
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 27
Mr Dara Singh, MP, and national president, All-India Jat Mahasabha today urged the state and Central governments to include Jats in the backward class reservation category. He was addressing the gathering at the inaugural session of two-day national seminar of the sabha here today.

While talking to mediapersons he said the Jats were provided reservation in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and said state and Central governments were delaying reservation of jobs for Jats in other states and in Central Government.

Answering queries, Mr Dara Singh denied that he would take part in active politics. He, however, clarified that he might campaign for the BJP in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. He endorsed that the BJP-led NDA government wanted to make India a developed nation by 2020 as envisaged by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Earlier, he inaugurated a seminar by lighting the ceremonial lamp. He said the Jat farmers should desist from committing suicides. He alleged that the rights of Jats were always ignored by the consecutive governments due to their vested political interests.

Mr Harpal Singh Haripura, state president of the sabha called upon the Jats to fight against the social evils prevailing in the society such as female foeticide, drugs menace besides stressing on providing education to girl child and to old age people. Speaking on the occasion Dr Gurdial Singh Khehra, former joint director, Agriculture Department, Punjab, and state general secretary of the sabha said the government should provide new techniques to farmer free of cost.


SAD candidate starts intensive campaigning
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 27
Even as the Congress and the CPI, the two major parties of state, are yet to announce its candidate from this reserved parliamentary constituency, Paramjit Kaur, SAD candidate, has started intensive campaigning. She is the wife of Mr Justice Nirmal Singh, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Another candidate, Sarbjit Singh, son of Late Beant Singh, one of the assassins of Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has been nominated by the SAD (A) headed by Simranjit Singh Mann.

He has been trying to make his presence felt in the electoral arena by visiting rural as well as urban areas of Bathinda and Mansa districts.

Sucha Singh Maloa, grandfather of Sarbjit Singh, was elected as MP from this seat. On the other hand, late Dhana Singh Gulshan, former Union Minister and father of Paramjit Kaur, was twice elected MP from this seat.

Former Akali minister Chiranji Lal Garg and Gurpreet Singh Kangar, MLA, who wields considerable influence in their respective Assembly segments have been organising meetings and small rallies in the area.

Mr Kangar defeated former Irrigation Minister Sikander Singh Malooka from the Rampura Assembly segment in the last Assembly elections.

“The delay in announcing the name of candidate is likely to give an edge to the SAD candidate as far as the campaigning is concerned,” said a number of Congressmen while talking to The Tribune.

Political observers said it would be for the third time that Operation Bluestar at Golden Temple in 1984 and the killing of Indira Gandhi by her security guards would become the main issue in the Lok Sabha elections.

Indira Gandhi’s killing was the central point in the campaigning when Mr Maloa and Late Bimal Kaur Khalsa, mother of Sarbjit Singh, contested the Lok Sabha from Bathinda seat and Assembly elections from Pakka Kalan seat, respectively. The Operation Bluestar again became the key issue when in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, former diplomat Harinder Singh Khalsa successfully contested as the SAD candidate against Mr Sarbjot Singh, son of Buta Singh, who was then Union Home Minister.

Meanwhile, the Congress high command is under pressure to field a senior official in the Ministry of Railway as the party’s candidate from this seat.


SAD to focus on DSPs’ selection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to highlight the recruitment of wards of certain VIPs as DSPs in Punjab.

Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, Secretary of the SAD, said youth wing activists would burn effigies of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in protest against the recruitment of sons of his confidants, ignoring several outstanding sportspersons.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary of the SAD, said the party would go all out to get the appointment of wards of certain VIPs cancelled. Mr Sanjit Sinha, Principal Secretary, Home, was directly responsible for these appointments, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged.

The appointment of the son of Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal would be raised at all political and other forums. There was no significant contribution of Mr Chahal’s son in sports. Those officers, who were doing wrong things by violating rules and regulations, would face the music when the Akalis gained power in the state.


Sonia inexperienced, says Badal

Barnala, February 27
The electorate must give a massive mandate to the NDA in order to hand over the reins of the country to Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee for another five years. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, said this at an SAD “zabar virodhi” election rally here today.

He said even to be a driver, one had to get a learner’s license first. He said Mrs Sonia Gandhi did not even possess that as she had never been a minister. He said Mr Vajpayee’s farsightedness in normalising relations with Pakistan would augur well for Punjab.

He said it would pave the way for peace and the resumption of trade with Pakistan.

Flaying the Congress government in Punjab for its “anti-public” policies, Mr Badal claimed that all sections of society, including Congress members, were unhappy with Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, alleged that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann was trying to disturb peace in the state. — OC


1984 riot victims to go on fast
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 27
A section of 1984 riot victims have threatened to go on an indefinite fast at Patiala from March 15.

Five members of the Danga Pidat Welfare Society, had earlier initiated a protest march from Amritsar to Chandigarh in June 2003, with a resolve to immolate themselves in front of the Punjab Chief Minister at Chandigarh but, the march was stalled midway near Nawanshahr by the police and the programme was postponed following an assurance by the authorities concerned that their demands would be met within 15 days. But, the promises “made” on behalf of the Punjab Government have not been fulfilled despite a series of meeting of the committee members, ministers and the Chief Minister, alleged the members.

Talking to The Tribune at Gurdwara Central town here, Mr Surjit Singh Salooja, general secretary of the society, said the members would go on fast this time as they had fed up with the repeated government promises, which, have “never” been fulfilled.

Mr Harcharan Singh Channi, vice-president of the society, alleged that the seriousness of the state government could be gauged from the fact that a three member committee had not even submitted its report. “We are going to bring all riots victims of the state on one platform,” he added.

Harbans Kaur, Kashmir Kaur and a group of women riot victims alleged that the facilities, including proposed allotment of 3,400 plots to riot victims in Punjab and allotment of houses and booths at Patiala, Ludhiana and Mohali, which were announced by the previous SAD-BJP government, had been “taken back” by the Congress-led state government. “This has forced us to take such a step,” they asserted adding that according to their plans, a group of five members would sit on the hunger strike at Patiala from March 15.


Zila Parishads not involved
Recruitment of 2,010 teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Though the Punjab Government has empowered Zila Parishads to recruit teachers to provide elementary education in schools, the task has not yet been handed over to these bodies.

The process to recruit 2, 010 teachers under the “Sarb Shiksha Abhiyan” is being undertaken by the Schools Department at the state headquarters level. The lists of candidates declared eligible by the School Education Department have been displayed outside the office of the Director, Elementary School, Education, here in Sector 17. These lists will be sent to District Education Officers, who are to allocate schools to these teachers. Zila Parishads will figure nowhere in the entire selection or even posting process.

No official is ready to comment on this issue. The DPI (Elementary School Education) refused comment on the matter. The Director-General, School Education, could not be reached as he was away on tour.

The School Education Department is working overtime to rush through the appointment process because the Lok Sabha elections can be announced anytime. As the model code of conduct comes into force after the poll announcement, the government will not be able to issue appointment letters.

Sources said the state government was offering a lumpsum salary of Rs 5,000 per month against Rs 7,000 announced earlier. About 1850 ETT teachers were available against 2,010 posts, meaning thereby that all would be selected if they fulfilled other conditions. However, their services would continue only till this scheme centrally sponsored scheme was in force.

Academic session

The Education Department has decided to start the new academic session from the first to sixth standard in elementary schools from March 15, instead of April 1. Schools have been told to complete the admission process by March 15. However, the summer vacations would be in May, as scheduled.


Pakistan may import seeds of Indian flowers
Tribune News Service

Rakhra (Patiala), February 27
Agricultural scientists from Pakistan said today they would take flower seeds developed in Punjab for testing to Faislabad Agricultural University. They called for removal of trade restrictions at the Wagah border so that Indian agricultural implements could be available to Pakistan farmers.

Talking to TNS on the farm premises of Plantsman’s Seeds here, Prof Hafiz Abdul Qayyum and Dr Saeed Ahmad said the Pak farmers imported seeds from Holland which cost them dear. Flower seeds can be imported from India at cheaper rates for the benefit of peoples of both country”, Prof Qayyum said.

He said the delegation would test flower seeds at the Faislabad university. He said soil testing could also be done with the help of PAU scientists who would visit Pakistan next month.

The delegation members also disclosed that there was a tremendous scope for export of agricultural implements to Pakistan. “At present we get agricultural implements from Dubai or Australia”. They said the cost of the implements could be halved if the Wagah border was opened for trade.

They said India could benefit from the expertise of the Pakistan scientists in “basmati”, cotton and citrus fruits. These products could also be exported to India, they said. The scientists also called for more farmer to farmer interaction, saying that this would result in more exchange of ideas as well as create a broader diversification policy which could benefit people.


CPM has ruined Bengal: Verma
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 27
Mr Sahib Singh Verma, Union Labour Minister, has criticised Left parties for trying to create West Bengal-type of conditions in the country.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he alleged that the CPM had ruined West Bengal as almost all big industrial units had been forced to close due to the policies of the CPM government.

Referring to the generation of employment by the NDA government, he said according to a London business report, India was the fourth country to have generated employment. The report revealed that India had provided jobs to 1.70 crore persons between 2001 and 2003.

Later, he presided over the inaugural session of the centenary celebrations of the Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute at Sadhu Ashram.

Dr Uniyal, Director of the institute, said the institute had been established by the late Swami Vishveshvaranand and Swami Nityanand at Shanti Kuti in Shimla in 1903. The institute was then shifted to Lahore and much later at Sadhu Ashram, Hoshiarpur.


Naresh Gujral for special observer
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, February 27
Mr Naresh Gujral, Akali candidate from the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, has demanded the posting of a special observer in the Kapurthala Assembly seat as the local administration is allegedly under the influence of Congress MLA Rana Gurjit Singh.

Talking to newspersons, he said Mr Raghbir Singh, former Transport Minister, and he would approach the Punjab Election Commission for the transfer of local higher officers.


Kidney scam case: Dang for fair probe
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 27
Alleging that the government had failed to prosecute politicians, police officers and other officials, Mr Satyapal Dang senior CPI leader yesterday urged the government to entrust the case to Kanwar Vijay Partap, who had busted the multi-crore kidney scam which involved several doctors.

Mr Dang in a press statement here said that Mr Vijay Partap, now posted SP Mohali, be given a team of police officials of his choice at Amritsar so that actual culprits could be brought to book. He said that there was resentment among the residents. He said there was feeling among the people that those booked and being prosecuted would go scot-free and this feeling was strengthened with the transfer of Mr Vijay Partap who was pursuing the case with determination.

The CPI leader said that it was shocking to read the statements made by some police officials after the death of Bagicha Singh, a key witness in the kidney scam, who died after he was hit by a vehicle. The police officials had stated that he (Bagicha) was died in an accident.

However, Mr Dang said the circumstances did not warrant such a statement. He said now senior police officials had said that an inquiry would be initiated in this regard.

He said an inquiry be entrusted to Mr Vijay Partap Singh for a fair probe.


‘Dance Like a Man’ to be staged in Jalandhar, Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Lillete Dubey’s hugely successful theatrical production, ‘Dance Like a Man’, comes this time to Jalandhar and Amritsar, courtesy the Chandigarh-based Durga Das Foundation. Sponsored by Spice Telecom and the Tribune Group of Publications it is scheduled to be staged in Jalandhar and Amritsar on February 28 and 29, respectively.

Written by well known playwright and dramatist Mahesh Dattani and directed by Lillete Dubey, it stars television actor Joy Sengupta, MTV Veejay and model Suchitra Pilai, Godrej CEO Vijay Crishna and Lillete herself. The play has notched up a string of awards in the international drama circuit, including the Broadway of New York.

A play which promises to keep you glued to your seats not just because of the perfect timing and portrayal of the actors but because of a taut script and a novel storyline, it traces the lives of two generations, using dance as the common binding link in the narrative.

Through the hour-and-a-half-long production, you are skillfully exposed to an intricate tale of emotions, insecurities and feelings as you traverse the life span of the protagonists. What follows is a tragic-comic account of a powerful human drama.

Lillete Dubey’s multifarious talents come to the fore as you discover that she is more than a talented television and film actress but also an equally competent theatre director.


Skit on menace of female foeticide in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 27
A section of people failed to keep their tears in control after seeing the emotional outburst of a female foetus pleading to save her life. The function was held to highlight the menace of female foeticide in Punjab.

The Kalpana Chawla Art Group, Faridkot in association with the Bathinda Dost Welfare Society, presented the skit at a function organised at Narayan Bal Vidhya Mandir here late last evening. The skit depicted that the mother (to be) is forced to undergo a sex-determination test and after finding that the child (to be born) is a female, she is forced to undergo an abortion. The tears of the mother and the appeals of the unborn girl child, depicted symbolically, had an effect on the father and ultimately the abortion is averted.

Mr Sadhu Ram Kusla, project officer, Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (prevention of misuse) Cell, Bathinda, said the skit would be played at mohalla levels to educate people about the ill-effects of the declining sex ratio. He added that the number of girls in the region had declined to 750 against 1,000 boys.

The club also presented “ghori” (a traditional marriage song) in memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh besides a skit opposing drugs. Mr S.K. Kalra, AGM, Punjab National Bank, was the chief guest.


Pak Punjab Education Minister coming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Mr Imran Masood, Education Minister of West Punjab ( Pakistan), will visit East Punjab (India) in the second week of March.

Mr Deepak Manmohan Singh, a former Dean of Panjab University, Chandigarh, said today that Mr Masood, accompanied by the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Lahore, was expected to arrive in Amritsar on March 12.

He is coming on an invitation by Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, Punjab, who was in Lahore to attend the Punjabi conference early this month.


26 units of blood donated
Tribune News Service

Mansa, February 27
Twentysix persons donated blood at a camp organised by the District Red Cross Society in cooperation with voluntary organisations and NGOs at Bal Bhavan here today.

About 100 persons offered blood for donation but the blood bank collected only 26 units from donors as per its requirement.

A function was also organised which was presided over by Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner. He flagged off an ambulance van of the Red Cross. The ambulance has been purchased with a grant of Rs 6.5 lakh that had been given by the late Bhan Singh Bhaura from the MP’s local area development fund.

The Deputy Commissioner said the Red Cross Society would construct a “birdh ashram” at a cost of Rs 30 lakh in the district, for which land had already been purchased.

The Red Cross would also organise a special camp on March 4 for providing hearing aids.


1 hurt as gun goes off accidentally
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 27
Jagtar Singh, a resident of Bhogpur township, was injured as the double barrel gun of another villager, accidentally went off at a tea shop in the District Administrative Complex, where the latter had come for seeking the renewal of his arms licence.

According to the police, incident took place in the afternoon as Bhajan Singh, a resident of Kang Saboo village, who had come for renewal of his licence along with his double barrel gun, was having a cup of tea at a shop inside the complex. The trigger of the gun was unconsciously pressed by Bhajan Singh, which led to the firing of a shot, it was alleged.

Jagtar  Singh, who was standing nearby was injured in the incident, which created a flutter among visitors and officials. Jagtar Singh was admitted to a local hospital where his condition was stated to be stable.


Sikh judicial body Chairman bereaved
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, February 27
Mrs Dalip Kaur, mother of Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Chairman of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, died here today after a prolong illness. She was 80.

Bibi Gurcharan Kaur, Rajya Sabha Member BJP, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, vice-president, PPCC, Mr Surinderiqbal Singh Brar, president, DCC, Mr Joginder Singh Brar, president, district unit of Janata Dal, Mr Bikramjit Singh Brar, president of the District Bar Association, Mr Mantar Singh Brar, MLA, Kotkapura, Bibi Jagdish Kaur, ex-MLA, Faridkot, Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, President, Management Committee, Takhat Patna Sahib, Mr Jagjit Singh Brar and Bibi Gurdev Kaur both members, SGPC, and Mr Inderjit Singh Sekhon, president, Tilla Baba Sheikh Farid and Gurdwara Godri Sahib Management Committee attended her cremation today.


Book on Sikh organisations released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 27
“The Indians Abroad and Punjab Impact”, authored by noted Sikh scholar and journalist, Narpal Singh Shergill, which depicts the contemporary history of the Sikhs was released by Sardara Singh Johal, Vice-Chairman, Punjab State Planning Commission, and S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, at the conference hall of the university, here today.

The book has the complete list of Sikh organisations from Afghanistan to Zambia and from Australia to the USA. The 232-page book is first of its kind which carries complete information about all Sikh shrines (more than 2,000) in the world.


Pak offer gone unnoticed: Wadala
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 27
Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, the SAD (Democratic) chief and “mukh sewadar” of the Samooh Gurdwara Kartarpur Darshan Abhilashi Sanstha, yesterday said that the offer of the Pakistan Government to provide access to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib (Ravi) through a 2-km “free corridor” had not been welcomed by any representative of the Indian Government.

Addressing a press conference, he said he had come to know about the offer of the Pakistan government through media reports but he had observed that no one from the Indian side had taken note of the offer.


Nagar kirtan
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 27
A nagar kirtan was held here today for the installation of Guru Granth Sahib at Bhai Ghanayia Ji Sewa Simran Kendar at Chahal Nagar.

The centre is headed by Sant Anoop Singh Ji Unna Sahibwale. Decked up elephants and horses were included in the procession. Guru Granth Sahib was carried in a specially decorated vehicle over the 2 km route.


Freedom fighter cremated
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 27
Freedom fighter and veteran Congress leader Amar Nath Gautam was cremated here yesterday. His eldest son, Dr Subhash Gautam, lit the pyre.

Punjab Social Welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann was among those who placed wreaths on the body. A large number of people attended the cremation.


Village faces water shortage
Our Correspondent

Moga, February 27
Kot-Ise-Khan village in this district has been facing an acute shortage of drinking water for the past one month. The village has only one tubewell.

Some residents told mediapersons here today that the tubewell had not been functional for the past one month due to the apathy of officials of the department concerned.

A delegation of villagers, headed by Surjit Singh, said if the immediate arrangements were not made for the supply of drinking water, the entire population would take to street.


Minister opens health centre
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 27
Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, yesterday inaugurated a 30-bedded community health centre at Bhol Kalota village near Talwara in the kandi area, 88 km from here.

Mr Dogra said to provide modern and basic health facilities to the people, renovation and construction of hospitals had been undertaken in the state. He said hospitals had been equipped with modern and latest equipments.


Punjab, UT staff hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 27
On a call given by the Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee and the Subordinate Service Federation, thousands of employees today participated in a rally to protest against the anti-employee policies of the state government.

The employees blocked The Mall due to which traffic had to diverted to the alternative routes. Speaking on the occasion, the general secretary of the committee, Mr Dharshan Singh Lubana, condemned the state government move to privatise various government departments. He added that the privatisation would add to the economic burden of the general public.

While addressing the rally the chairman of the Joint Action Committee, Mr Sajjan Singh, demanded an increase in the allowance given for the maintenance of uniform and medical allowance. Those who addressed the rally included Mr Dharshan Singh, Mr Gurmail Singh, Mr Balvir Singh and Mr Baldev Singh.


Irate villagers block highway

Banur, February 27
Protesting against the alleged high-handedness of the police, agitating residents of Karala village blocked the Patiala-Chandigarh highway for over half-an-hour this evening.

The problem aggravated after a group of villagers associated with Mr Kirpal Singh, a former sarpanch of the village, Mr Amrik Singh and Mr Mehar Singh objected to the police operation of demolishing a boundary wall of Mr Amrik Singh’s house.

The simmering tension over a dispute on the street and boundary wall increased after the Station House Officer (SHO), Banur, ordered certain people to demolish the wall. OC


4 pilgrims killed in mishap

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 27
Four pilgrims were crushed to death on the spot and four others were injured in an accident that took place at about 7.45 am at Madhopur Chowk on the GT Road, Sirhind, today. The bereaved family started its journey from Delhi to pay obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi temple.

The dead have been identified as Rajbir Singh, constable of the Delhi police, Rajinder, Kuldeep and Monisha. OC


Man, son die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 27
Two persons riding a two-wheeler were killed when they were hit by a truck on main road near the ITBP campus, under Sultanwind police station, today.

Surinder and his minor son, Munna, died when their moped collided with the truck at 11 am. While Munna died on the spot, Surinder died on his way to hospital.

The truck driver fled the spot, leaving the truck.


One killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 27
One person was killed and another injured when a scooter and a Canter collided near Balongi last night.

According to the police, Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Daon village, who was driving the scooter, died on the spot. Piara Singh of the same village, who was riding pillion, got injured. He was taken to the PGI.


400 phones go out of order
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 27
About 400 telephones in the town have gone out of order as the BSNL authorities have disconnected a cable which was linked to the old telephone exchange.

It would take about a day’s time to make the telephones functional.


High Court
DSPs impleaded in recruitment case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Taking up an application for staying the process of finalising the list of candidates selected for the posts of Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP), a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the impleading of recruited officers as party in the matter.

Issuing the directions, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Amar Dutt, also asked Punjab’s Director General of Police to ensure the filing of replies. The case will now come up for hearing on March 8.

The petitioner, Jaskaran Singh Brar, had earlier submitted that the entire process of selection, right from the issuance of advertisement to the dispatch of appointment letters, was completed in extraordinary haste. Describing the process as “tainted”, the petitioner had added that mala fide conduct of the state was conspicuous from the circumstances.

The petitioner had asserted that the state and other respondents were likely to recruit the “wards of influential people”. He had added that seven ex-cadre posts had been advertised “for outstanding sports persons as one time measure” even though posts in sports category were already in excess of the quota. Quoting newspaper reports, the petitioner had added that officials already promoted out of turn in the sports quota were facing reversions.


Farmers to continue stir as talks fail
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 27
BKU (Ekta) activists decided to continue their agitation as their meeting with Irrigation Minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar yesterday had failed to resolve the issues.

The meeting was attended by Chairman of the Mandi Board Sant Ram Singla, Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh , ADC Shiv Dhullar Singh Dhillon, SSP (City) A.S Rai, SDM T.P.S Phoolka and President of the BKU (Ekta) Joginder Singh, Convener of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee Kamaljeet Singh Pannu and farmer leaders Baldev Singh and Santram Pannu.

Addressing the meeting Mr Bhullar appealed the farmers to lift the dharna as it was causing inconvenience to the public. During the last two paddy season the government had provided nearly 8-10 hours uninterrupted power supply to the farmers. In addition to this, the state government had also given nearly 30,000 new tubewells connections .

Mr Bhullar further said the state government was committed to provide round the clock power supply to the villages of the state before June 30 this year. Along with this, for providing better transport facility to the people, the repair work of the all link roads would be completed within six months, he said.

He added that due to the pressure of the World Bank, the state government could not provide free power and water supply to the farmers.

Meanwhile the BKU activists organised a rally in front of the headquarters of the PSEB to protest against the “anti-kisan” policies of the state government. They raised anti-government slogans and condemned the state government move to privatise the board.

The farmer demanded that the government should give subsidy on electricity bills to the farmers. 


PSHRC seeks more powers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission Chairman, Justice N.C. Jain, said today that the pendency of complaints for initial hearing was zero at present against 2,423 when he had took over charge one year ago.

Talking to mediapersons Justice Jain sought more powers for the commission. Also, the commission needed its own building. It was currently functioning from a building hired at a monthly rent of Rs 2.5 lakh.

With a view to protecting the rights of children, the commission in partnership with the British Council planned to set up a child protection centre at Mohali.


Extension for Assembly Secretary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Mr Nachhattar Singh Mavi, Secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, has been given a six-month extension in service.

Mr Mavi, promoted as Secretary of the Vidhan Sabha in 2000, was to attain the age of superannuation on February 29, official sources said.


7 injured in group clashes
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 27
As many as seven persons were injured in clashes between two groups here yesterday. While one of the persons had sustained a sharp injury, the rest suffered blunt injuries. Five of them were admitted to Civil Hospital here. A car was also damaged by agitated persons.

Though two clashes had taken place in the afternoon and the evening, the last clash took place in Civil Hospital itself. It is learnt that the hospital authorities brought the matter to the notice of the Ropar Civil Surgeon and the police. However, no case has been registered by the police in this regard so far.

One clash between the two groups took place in the afternoon near the bus stand. It is learnt that Mr Sukhwinder Singh, who was beaten up, then went to the house of Mr Devinder Singh on the Randhawa road. It is alleged that again late in the evening a group of persons entered Mr Devinder Singh’s house and attacked both Mr Sukhwinder Singh and Mr Devinder Singh. After the attack the assailants fled from there, leaving a scooter behind. Mr Sukhwinder Singh was then admitted to the hospital. A group of persons later attacked Mr Sukhwinder Singh and Mr Rajesh Kumar in the hospital at night after which they ran away from there. It is alleged that they had weapons and batons with them.

Mr Devinder Singh lodged a complaint with the police about the incident. The police will be taking the statement of the doctor, on duty at the time of the incident, tomorrow.


One held for poaching
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, February 27
The police has arrested a person and booked his companion for poaching a blue bull calf in the Bir forest area, near here, last evening.

Following an information from the residents of Bir Dandrala village, a team of forest officials along with the police raided the house of Bhajan Singh of the same village and recovered the rear part of the 2-year-old blue-bull calf.

The team comprised Mr Sukhminder Singh, Forest Range Officer, Dera Bassi, Mr Kuldeep Singh, ASI with Dera Bassi police station. The rest of the carcass, including the head of the calf, was recovered from a field.

Mr G.P. Singh, Station House Officer, Dera Bassi, claimed that Bhajan Singh had told the police that Devi Dyal, another resident of the same village, was also involved in the crime.

Bhajan Singh claimed that he had spotted some dogs hovering around the calf. He thought it to be a sambhar chased to death by them. After seeing animal dead, he cut its parts and took those to home for cooking.

The police has registered a case under Sections 9, 39, 49 and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act , 1972, against Bhajan Singh and his accomplice Devi Dyal.

Meanwhile, Bhajan Singh was produced before a Rajpura Court and was remanded in police custody for one day. Devi Dyal has absconded.


Ordinance to scrap posts of Pro-VC signed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 27
Punjabi University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr R.N. Pal’s term has been cut short with the Punjab Governor and university Chancellor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), signing the ordinance for abolition of the post yesterday. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Satinder Singh, also leaves the job with the abolition of the post of Pro-VC in all universities of Punjab.

Raj Bhavan sources said the ordinance had been signed by the Governor yesterday. It had been forwarded to the state government. University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai said the post did not serve any meaningful purpose.

Dr Pal’s tenure ended in Punjabi University following the differences with the university Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor alienated Dr Pal from all decision making in the university and finally urged the government to do away with his services citing various “omissions and commissions”. The state Cabinet had recently passed a proposal for doing away with the posts of Pro-Vice-Chancellors.

The university administration had accused the Pro-VC of leaking sensitive information to the press.

A few months after taking over, the Vice-Chancellor took umbrage to a few decision taken by the Pro-VC when he was on leave. Following this Mr Boparai formed a committee of senior functionaries who were given the duty of taking policy decisions in his absence.


15,000 colleges to be brought under UGC scheme
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 27
The Vice-Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Prof V.N. Rajeshckharan Pillai, has said that the Ministry of Human Resources has formulated an action plan to bring all 15,000 colleges in the country under the UGC eligibility criterion for Central assistance.

Mr Pillai was addressing students and faculty of DAV College here on its 48th annual prize distribution function here today.

He said at present over 5000 colleges were recognised under the UGC scheme while under the Central scheme, more colleges would now be eligible for additional funds to come on a par with other colleges.

He said the UGC would provide funds ranging from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh to each college for covering the expenditure to get NAAC accreditation. He said the UGC would bear the expenses of accreditation, along with travel expenses. This will cover more than 6,000 colleges during the next year, he added.

Earlier, Mr Pillai announced a grant of Rs 20 lakh in recognition of achievements during the golden jubilee celebrations. He also honoured more than 400 students. The Principal, Mr M.L. Aeri, read out the annual report of the college.


Unavailability of syllabus books irks students
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 27
Resentment prevails among students of M.Sc (information technology) of third semester of Punjab Technical University (PTU) against the university authorities for not providing them with syllabus books even after charging them for the books.

Jatinderjit Singh, Yashdev Suman and Rajbir Singh, students of the third semester, said here yesterday that they had deposited Rs 9,500 each as half-year fee and the cost of books with the university in December, 2003. However, the books had not been provided yet. Their examinations were scheduled to be held in March but they were ignorant of their course.

They also said the entrance test for bank probation officers of Allahabad Bank was scheduled for March 14, the date fixed for the semester examination, and hence they would not be able to appear for it.

The students demanded the supply of syllabus books and postponement of their examination by a month.


College teachers protest over dues
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, February 27
The teachers’ union and the managing committee of the local SMDRSD College are at loggerheads over the functioning of the college.

Union leaders B.S. Manhas and J.S. Dadwal who participated in a teachers’ dharna today, accused the president of the managing committee, who draws a salary being a Hindi lecturer, of not having taken classes since his appointment more than 10 years ago.

The teachers also alleged that their salary for July 2003 had been withhold as also the senior selection scale due to 15 teachers for the past several years.

Provident fund of teachers who had been confirmed was also not being deducted.

On their part, the managing committee and the principal, Dr Samrinder Sharma alleged that the strike and dharna by the teachers was without any notice. The union did not understand the problems the management faced on account of the cut in the aid from the government from 95 per cent to 56, they added.

The management has invited the teachers union to negotiate for a solution.


Pvt colleges resent cut in grant
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 27
A meeting of delegates of the Federation of Association of Principals of Non-Government Affiliated Colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh was held at Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, today. Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia Principal, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, was unanimously elected president of the federation. In today’s meeting the federation expressed serious concern over the delay in the release of the grant (95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme) of IVth and Vth instalment of the salary of the private colleges teaching and non-teaching staff. In a resolution the federation urged the Chief Minister and the Education Minister of Punjab to immediately release the salary grant. The federation in an another resolution expressed anguish and concern over the continuous reduction in the grant-in-aid scheme which has resulted in serious financial crises in a number of colleges.

Some of the colleges have been unable to pay salary to its staff for the last six to eight months. In an another resolution the federation urged the state government to grant pensionary benefits to all teaching and non-teaching employees of private colleges to provide social security.

It is worth mentioning that Mr Walia has been serving as Principal of the college for the past 10 years and he has also served as president of the Punjab Government College Teachers Association from 1987 to 1993. At present he is also the President of Principals’ Association of the Non-Government Colleges affiliated to Punjabi University, Patiala.

He has served on various university bodies and committees such as the Syndicate, Senate, Academic Council, Sports Committee, Examination Reforms Committee, College Development Council and other important bodies of the university. He has been taken on National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) an autonomous body of University Grants Commission and has already evaluated a number of institutions on behalf of the NAAC.


Amritsar polytechnic wins trophy in boys’ youth festival
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 27
The two-day sixth youth festival for boys, in which 24 teams of different polytechnics of the state took part, concluded on a colourful note at Government Women Polytechnic, Ladowali, here today.

The youth festival for girls, which was organised at the same venue where a large number of students of different polytechnics of the state had converged to witness the events, had concluded on Thursday.

Addressing the students and the staff, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Punjab Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, said more and more students should come forward to participate in the extra-curricular activities. He said to encourage sports activities in polytechnics of the state, gradation of polytechnic sports certificates by the sports department would be ensured from the next academic session. Though the sports activities have been a part and parcel of the polytechnics, but, it would be for the first time that the gradation of students’ sports certificates would be undertaken by the sports department.

Mr Naresh Nagpal, Additional Director, Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training, said sports were a must for all around development of a student.

Mr Baljit Singh, Principal of the local Government Polytechnic for Women, presented a youth festival report and other activities undertaken by the institute to the minister.

The results of different events were as following — Boys (folk song) (first position) Parvinder Singh, Malwa Polytechnic Faridkot, Group skit (first position) Mehar Chand Polytechnic Jalandhar, choreography (first position) Government Polytechnic, Amritsar, Mono acting (first position) Pritpal Singh, PITT Amritsar, fancy dress (first position) Government Polytechnic Bathinda, bhangra (first position) R and D centre, Ludhiana.

Girls — solo dance (first position) Madhuri, Government Women Polytechnic, Jalandhar; skit (first position) Government Polytechnic Patiala, choreography (first position) Government Polytechnic, Ludhiana, folk song (first) Government Polytechnic for Women, Ludhiana, mono acting (first) Bhumika, Government Polytechnic for Women, Jalandhar, fancy dress (first position) Hitashi Sharma, Government Polytechnic for Women, Ropar, and gidha (first position) Government Polytechnic for Women, Jalandhar.

The overall trophy (girls) was lifted by Government Polytechnic for Women, Jalandhar, while, the overall trophy (boys) was bagged by Government Polytechnic, Amritsar.


Prize distribution function at SD College
Tribune News Service

Mansa, February 27
Mr Birdevinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, today presided over the prize distribution function of S.D. Kanya Maha Vidiyala here and gave away degrees and medals to more than 400 students.

He emphasised on the need to impart professional education in view of the changing educational atmosphere at the global level and added that the Punjab Government had signed an agreement with a foreign company which would invest in Punjab and create about one lakh jobs.

On the occasion, Ms Darshana Sharma, Principal of the college, presented an annual report, enlisting the achievements of the college. The panchayat of Jawaharke village announced that it would give 3 acres for constructing a college building. Deputy Speaker also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the building.


Hoshiarpur school wins competition
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 27
Cadet Nursing Team of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Railway Mandi, Hoshiarpur, which represented Punjab in the 13th All-India Ambulance competition organised by St. John Ambulance Brigade, a training wing of the Indian Red Cross at Salt Lake Stadium Kolkata, bagged the first position consecutively for the third time.

Mr Amarjeet Hamrol, secretary, District Red Cross Society, Hoshiarpur, said in addition to the team’s position Zeena and Navdeep of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Railway Mandi, Hoshiarpur, respectively bagged the first position in the best category performance.


ABVP observes black day
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 27
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidarthi Parishd (ABVP) observed “kala divas” today in protest against the education policy of the Punjab Government. A rally was organised in front of the local Government College. Commissioner.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |