P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD (A) activists lathi-charged; six hurt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 19
The Dirba police at 11 pm last night lathi-charged protesters who had blocked the national highway at Dirba, 25 km from here. Six persons were injured and a couple of vehicles were damaged partly.

The police used lathis to disperse protesters to get the national highway cleared for vehicles. Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and others had blocked the national highway alleging that a candidate from Ward No. 2, Mr Gurjit Singh, allegedly supported by an MLA, had been shown a winner though he had lost in the Dirba Nagar Panchayat elections to Mr Ajaib Singh, a candidate supported by the SAD (A).

The Dirba police today said that it had resorted to a mild lathi charge on the protesters to disperse them as they (protesters) had been blocking the national highway against the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The police claimed no one was injured. It also registered case against Mr Ajaib Singh, candidate from ward number 2; Mr Kala Khan, Mr A.S. Gandhi, and Mr Ajaib Singh, a supporter of the candidate, and others under Sections 186 (Obstructing public servant in the discharge of public functions), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 188 of the IPC. No arrest had been made so far in this case.

Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A), alleged that Mr Ajaib Singh, SAD (A)-supported candidate from Ward number 2 of Dirba, was defeated in the Nagar Panchayat elections by Mr Gurjit Singh, a candidate supported by an MLA, as most of the votes, procured by Mr Ajaib Singh, had been cancelled. He further alleged that this all had happened in connivance with the help of the administration.

Mr Alloarkh also alleged that during the lathi charge policemen also damaged a jeep, a motor cycle and a tractor. He said in the lathi charge, more than six persons, including Mr Ajaib Singh, candidate, had suffered injuries. He said they had reached a compromise with the Sunam SDM last night near the site of blockade of the highway. He claimed that the SDM had assured them that the counting of votes would be done in two-three days again to settle the dispute. But after the compromise and an announcement by him regarding lifting of the blockade, some one from the mob started objecting to the compromise. On this, the police resorted to a lathi-charge, which led to injuries to several persons, he added.

Mr Alloarkh said the SAD (A) would draw up action programme on September 21 at its meeting to be held at Nankiana Sahib gurdwara near here to protest against the injustice done to protesters and Mr Ajaib Singh, candidate, by the police and the administration.


Broken dams, roads tell tales about Kandi project
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Baloli, Samlah (Ropar), September 19
Over a year after its completion, the World Bank-aided Integrated Watershed Development Project (IWDP) for the progress of the Kandi area has come under a scanner with broken dams, roads and a few patches of fodder crop pointing to misutilisation of funds.

These structures were supposed to withstand the onslaught of elements for years, but due to the use of substandard material or faulty construction, they have given way in so short a time.

The Kandi area, comprising the Shivalik foothills in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and parts of Jammu and Kashmir, has been the focus of the World Bank since 1991 for bringing all-around development and for the uplift of the socio-economic status of the local population.

The work was executed in two phases — first, from 1991 to 1999 and second, from 1999 to 2004. It is the work under the second phase that has come under a cloud.

The project has benefited only a handful of influential villagers. This has led a number of people to send representations to the state government, Kandi project officials and the Vigilance Department, seeking a detailed inquiry into the works.

Smelling a major scandal, a high-profile team of the Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau visited the villages last week and video-filmed the problem sites.

Mr G.S. Dhillon, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, said the report was being prepared. On the face of it, there seemed to be some hanky-panky in the utilisation of funds, he added.

Besides choosing improper sites for constructing dams, the officials concerned gave a nod to the uneven and rocky surfaces as the base of the dams. Consequently, no water could be collected, thereby defeating the very purpose of the construction of the dam.

Money seems to have been siphoned off with the connivance of the members of the Village Development Committees (VDC).

The VDCs were constituted in every village under the project. The aim was to decide the kind of development project required in the area and the proper sites for its execution, with the help of experts.

The VDCs provided labour and were given 10 per cent of the earmarked funds to carry out repairs and for general maintenance. “Some VDC members graduated from two-wheelers to four-wheelers in no time,” alleged Ms Jaswant Kaur, Sarpanch of Baloli village.

“If the structures and the vegetation were supposed to stand till the project time, what use has been the investment of crores of rupees to the villages?” she asked.

In Baloli, a dam lies broken. The condition of the roads is not different, either. A sandstone-cement mixture was used to metal the roads, taking a cue from many areas in Himachal Pradesh, but it could not last even a few months.

Even the project officials admit that the Himachal design was faulty. Learning from the mistake, a different design was adopted in other villages. But no responsibilities have been fixed so far for the debacle.

While the kutcha bundhs, erected for storing rainwater still stand intact, the concrete dams have given way or started leaking in many villages like Samlah. Guinea grass, which was sown to provide fodder to cattle around the year, is seen only in patches in these villages.

Mr Balbir Chand Bala, Director, Kandi Development Project, Punjab, said the entire work executed under the project was completed before his posting. He said he had reports that everything was satisfactory.

Mr Paramjit Singh, Sub-Division Soil Conservation Officer, claimed that over 70 per cent of soil erosion had been checked in the area, thanks to the project. Referring to the broken roads and dams, he said it was up to the VDCs to maintain the infrastructure.

Mr Arjun Singh, vice-president of the VDC, Baloli, said they could not be blamed for the fiasco. He said the village elected a new sarpanch in 2002, who had some differences with the members of VDC.

To be continued


Class IV staff to say no to officers’ private works
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 19
The practice of government Class IV employees working at the houses of their bosses, doing their private work, has been in vogue for decades. They do more of the bosses’ work than the government’s, who is their paymaster. As the government’s instructions to its officers that these employees should not be asked to do such work have not yielded much results, so the Class IV employees have decided to start a campaign to end the practice.

According to Mr Darshan Singh Lubhana, president, Class Fourth Government Employees Union, Punjab, they would start a cycle rally from the Bhakra Mainline Circle office here on September 22 to register their protest. Approximately 50 per cent of these employees are doing officers’ private works. No recruitments of Class IV employees have been made for the past 10 years, increasing the workload of the current employees.

Officers of most government departments are guilty of the practice, says Mr Lubhana. The worst affected are the Departments of Irrigation, Animal Husbandry, Public Works and Development, Forest, Horticulture, Market Committees, Education, Local Bodies and Revenue. But the Irrigation Department wins hands down. The practice has percolated down to the level of the Junior Engineers. An officer may retire from the department but the practice continues. He could be settled in Chandigarh, Mohali or Panchkula, still at least two class IV employees are at hand for them. Political leaders are not far behind. Quite a few of these workers attend to their tasks as well, alleged the union leader.

There are 1271 Class IV workers at the Patiala irrigation offices and approximately 35 per cent are attending to officers’ private works while their attendance is being marked at various canals, water channels and drains. The issue was brought to the notice of the Chief Engineer and other officials but to no avail.

There are five to seven workers at the houses of Superintending Engineers, three to five workers at the residences of Executive Engineers, two or three workers at the houses of Sub-Divisional Engineers and two workers in attendance for the Junior Engineers. The situation is no better in other departments, he said.

After Chandigarh, Patiala has the highest number of Class IV employees on the rolls. The city has about 36 department head offices, divisional offices or district offices.


Pakistan identifies 42 more prisoners
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 19
Even as a high level team of the officials of the Pakistan’s Embassy and the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, arrived here for providing counsellor access to as many as 42 Pakistani prisoners , one Mukhtar Ahmad, who was caught on the charges of espionage, was once again denied this facility.

This has enhanced his chances of further languishing in the high security Central Jail.

The 42 prisoners, from different jails were brought here for identification purpose. Most of them may be repatriated to Pakistan shortly as the Pakistan officials had confirmed their identity.

However, Pakistan virtually disowned Mukhtar Ahmad as there was nobody to confirm his identity. He was caught by the BSF in 1989 from the Joginder Post of Mamdot Sector in Ferozepore district for espionage.

Mukhtar feared that he might die in Indian jail if his country continued to disown him.

According to highly placed sources, countries normally did not identify persons arrested on espionage charges.

The sources said that India did not want to keep Mukhtar Ahmad or such Pakistani prisoners in its jails anymore after the completion of their sentence. However, without proper identitification they could not be released.

Earlier too he was taken to Jaipur for identification by the Pakistani authorities.


Another sister’s plea for ‘another Sarbjeet’
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 19
It seems to be another Sarbjeet saga.

Jagir Kaur, sister of Kirpal Singh, who has been charged with four bomb explosions in Pakistan and awarded capital punishment, today threatened to end her life if the high court maintained his sentence.

In the city to attend the akhand path organised by Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar of the International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, Jagir Kaur said Lakhwinder Singh released recently from a Pakistan jail told her that he had met Kirpal Singh a fortnight ago.

He said Kirpal had been falsely implicated in a bomb blast case and his appeal on death sentence was pending before the high court.

He said Kirpal needed money as he wanted to seek the services of a good lawyer to prove his innocence.

“Kirpal always stated that he had been trapped in a false case and he had nothing to do with any bomb blast,” he averred.

Kirpal had also written a letter to his family seeking monetary aid to fight the legal battle for his release.

Kamlesh Rani, his sister-in-law, rued that his father Das Singh and mother Bavi Devi died awaiting the return of their son.

She said they used to visit the Wagah Border twice a month, hoping for their son’s return. His brothers Kashmir Singh and Jagir Singh had also passed away. His only surviving brother is Roop Lal.

Kirpal went missing from his native Mustafabad Saydan village in Gurdaspur in 1992.

He was found languishing in a Pakistan jail a couple of years later.

Jagir Kaur and Kamlesh Rani, both widows, said though they had no prime property or big money, they would sell whatever they had to raise the money for providing legal aid to Kirpal.

They said they were not playing politics on the issue nor were they affiliated to any political party.

They appealed to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, to commute Kirpal’s death sentence and set him free.


Biotech institute: Amarinder, Canadian
team to meet PM

Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
A team of biotechnology experts from Canada and the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will meet the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, during his visit to this city on September 24 to discuss the setting up of the National Institute of Biotechnology in Punjab. A team of Canadian experts will reach here on September 22.

An assurance was given by Dr Manmohan Singh to set up such an institute in Punjab about a year ago. However, not much progress has been made on this front. The state government had submitted a project report on the institute to the Union Human Resource Development Ministry a few months ago. However, the ministry said that it had no budgetary provision to fund such a project. The state government has again taken up the issue with the Union Government as the Prime Minister had promised to give funds for the institute, the estimated cost of which will be about Rs 300 crore.

Sources said the Punjab Government wanted to set up a working group of biotechnology experts of international repute to redraft the project report. Capt Amarinder Singh, who during his last visit to Canada had been impressed by the Plant Biotechnology Institute, Saskatoon, is keen on appointing Dr Kuttikartha chairman of the working group. Dr Kuttikartha, an NRI, is the Director-General of the Saskatoon institute and also Director-General of the National Research Council of Canada.

The sources said that Canada had the world’s best biotech institutes and parks. Dr Kuttikartha is a member of the team that will be here from September 22 to 24.

Apart from meeting the Prime Minister, the Canadian team, which includes some leading biotech industrialists and representatives of the National Research Council, and is led by Mr Arthur Carty, Adviser, Science, to the Prime Minister of Canada, will interact with their Indian counterparts to examine the possibilities of entering into a tie-up for starting various biotech projects at the Punjab Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator. The Punjab Biotechnology Park is being set up in Behra village, near Dera Bassi.

The Canadian team will also meet Mrs Romila Dubey, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology, Dr N.S. Tiwana, Executive Director, and Dr S.S. Marwaha, Chief Executive Officer of the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology. The team will identify areas for joint ventures, technology transfer and marketing opportunities. Some of them are also keen on setting up R and D and incubation facilities at the park. At least 12 Indian entrepreneurs will be meeting the Canadian team.


India to have futuristic air-to-air missile
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 19
Striving hard to meet technological challenges for developing multi-purpose warheads, India will soon come up with its first indigenous, state-of-the-art high range, air-to-air missile. Dr V.K. Saraswat, a distinguished scientist working with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Director, Research Centre Imarat (RCI), disclosed it here today.

Being designed by a team of experts from Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and RCI, the missile named "Astra" would be able to detect and attack aircrafts beyond the visual range, he said adding that the missile was being designed and computed in such a way that its trajectory could even be altered once it had been launched, especially in case the target aircraft changed its path.

Dr Saraswat said that "Astra" would be different from the existing missiles available with India as it would have onboard sensors that would help the missile navigate based on radar, imaging infrared (IIR) and electro-optical technologies. The missile would home onto the target aircraft by piercing through the armour by creating high temperature molten jet.

The DRDO scientist said that Aster had already undergone its first flight trial and a few more scheduled, guided trials are being planned for another four to five months in Balasore.

Dr Saraswat said Aster would be mounted on Light Combat Aircrafts (LCAs) which too are indigenous. A few developed countries like the USA and Russia had developed such missiles till date and if trials of such missiles turn out successful, India too would be in a position to boast of its futuristic war management systems.

Explaining the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme being chalked by the DRDO, he said that the emphasis was on devising small, more lethal, multi-role missiles that could hit the soft and hard targets at the same time. He said that efforts were also being made to develop miniature missiles that being small and light weight could be transported in large numbers easily and quickly.

The scientist said that since the wars were not just restricted to border areas and even populous cities could be targetted, missiles with sleeker technologies were being developed so that it just hit the target accurately without causing damage to the population there.

He said that India would give a quantum jump to such air-to-air missiles after having reached the threshold in developing short and medium-range surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles and anti-tank missiles.


Chandigarh issue: BJP bid to put Congress in a spot
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 19
The controversial issue of Chandigarh has again been brought to the fore by the visit of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee. The interesting part of the visit is that the chairperson of this committee, Mrs Sushma Swaraj, herself chose to advocate the cause of a separate Assembly for the Union Territory. This, infact, seems to be a clever move on the part of the BJP leader to create a serious situation for the Congress in Punjab and at the Centre. She has not cared to take into account the embarrassment the Akali Dal and its leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, are likely to face as a consequence of the statement.

Chandigarh has all along since 1966, remained an adjunct for the Punjab administration. Although the employees are drawn from Punjab and Haryana, Punjab regulations apply to them. For over two decades, the Governor of Punjab has remained the Administrator, of the Union Territory of Chandigarh giving an impression and added assurance to Punjab that (Punjab) shall get its capital ultimately. The Congress party at the Centre has given repeated assurance that Chandigarh will be given to Punjab... and dates were also fixed twice. Once when Sant Fateh Singh undertook a fast unto death for the inclusion of Chandigarh into Punjab and also threatened self-immolation along with four of his prominent associates. Secondly, late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi gave in writing under the Rajiv-Longowal accord that Chandigarh would be transferred to Punjab on January 26, 1986. These historic assurances cannot be brushed aside.

The BJP Government at the Centre did not touch the issue of Chandigarh till it remained in power for six years. Mr Parkash Singh Badal also did not press the issue at all during his tenure as Chief Minister despite rumblings within the party regarding the Punjab demands. Mr Badal has not come out sharply against Mrs Sushma Swaraj although second and third rung Akali leaders have condemned her statement. Perhaps Mr Badal wants to forget that Chandigarh was one of the major demands put forth by the Akali Dal during the grim struggle of Dharam Yudh Morcha which-led to militancy in the state for a decade. He wants to remain content that the statement of Mrs Sushma Swaraj shall destabilise the Punjab Congress ministry and will give him an opportunity to launch some morcha.

However, it has to be remembered that the Chandigarh issue poses a challenge to Mr Badal himself and brings forth the issue of credibility and honesty towards the demands of the Akali Dal. Mr Badal has to keep his eyes open towards the fact that the Congress and the BJP being national parties, have a different perspective towards Punjab demands. The Akali Dal can ill afford to budge an inch from the stand it has taken for the last four decades.

The main thrust of the argument put forth by Mrs Sushma Swaraj was that the present administration of Chandigarh was not responsive to the aspirations of the people and also does not give full democratic rights to them. This is a fallacy. Chandigarh is a city of employees and retired bureaucrats and retired defence personnel. The business community of Chandigarh also depends on the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and UT. Therefore, a political decision regarding Chandigarh has to be taken and it should be in accordance with the national perspective and in the interest of the state to which it belongs. A similar idea of declaring Mumbai as union territory was abandoned only because it could have created political confusion and turmoil in the region. The issue of Chandigarh has already troubled Punjab and Haryana much.


Baba Farid Mela begins
Tarun Tejpal to get award for honesty
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 19
The 20th Baba Sheikh Farid Agman Purab today began with a path of Sukhmani Sahib at Gurdwara Chilla Baba Farid here. Deputy Commissioner Alok Shekhar and gurdwara committee chief Inderjit Singh Khalsa were among those present.

Mr Khalsa announced that this year’s Baba Farid Award for Honesty would be conferred on Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal, while Mahant Tirath Singh would be awarded Bhagat Puran Singh Award at Gurdwara Godri Sahib on September 23.

Interacting with mediapersons, the DC said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would preside over the rural sport fair at Nehru Stadium on September 22. He said Sarbjeet Cheema and his party would present a programme on the occasion.

Later, the DC inaugurated a blood donation camp at Government Brijindra College. A team of doctors from Guru Gobind Singh Medical College headed by Dr RN Maharishi collected 60 units of blood at the camp, while the names of remaining blood donors were registered in emergency list. The college Principal, Dr Karnail Singh, Prof Gurprem Singh and Prof Gurmeet Singh Brar were also present.

In the art and culture arena, Mr Khalsa inaugurated a three-day state-level painting workshop at Red Cross Multipurpose School. Painters from Punjab and other states are participating in the workshop. Prominent among those are SS Kukkal from Noida, Vinod Jain from Ghaziabad, Vijay Kumar from Chandigarh, Mr Jaspinder Singh from Jalandhar and Gursewak Singh Johal from Mohali. These artists would base their works on the philosophy of Baba Farid.

Physically and mentally challenged children from Red Cross school also displayed great enthusiasm in the workshop.

In the sports field, football, volleyball, cricket and gun shooting tournaments got under way today. The All-India Gold Cup Hockey Tournament also got off to a start with the inaugural match between the PSEB team and Ropar Hawks.


Train rams into autorickshaw, one killed
Level crossing was unmanned
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Rajpura, September 19
Early morning fog claimed the life of an autorickshaw driver at an unmanned level crossing in Badoli village, 9 km from here today. The Ambala-Bathinda inter-city train rammed into the autorickshaw with such force that it threw the vehicle to a distance of about 40 feet.

The accident occurred at around 6:45 am when a resident of Ganda Kheri Colony, 60-year-old Hem Raj Singh was driving his autorickshaw across the unmanned level crossing near the Badoli village. He failed to notice the approaching train. The eyewitnesses said that the train rammed into the autorickshaw and Hem Raj fell at a distance of about 60 feet from the level crossing, said a milkman, an eyewitness.

The milkman rushed to the help of a badly injured Hem Raj. He called other people and they took Hem Raj to A.P. Jain Hospital in Rajpura where he later succumbed to injuries. Hem Raj was an ex-serviceman. He started plying auto-rickshaw after his retirement in 2000.

The train finally stopped at the Koli Railway Station. A case has been registered in this regard.

The area residents had already made numerous requests to the authorities concerned to install a gate at the level crossing. They rued that their repeated requests had fallen on deaf ears and the unmanned crossing continued to claim lives of the area residents.

Recalling another fatal accident at this level crossing they added that in April.

Pramila Kaur, a resident of Urban Estate in Patiala, was killed at the crossing. She was a school teacher.


Launch cleanliness drive in Mohali, says Johar
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 19
The Education Minister and Chairman of the District Grievances Committee, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, today directed senior police officials of the district to strictly implement traffic rules and regulation on the National Highway-21 passing through the district, keeping in view increase in the traffic.

While holding a grievances committee meeting, Mr Johar said that traffic police personnel deployed on this stretch should be properly trained and should ensure that no accident should take place on this stretch.

Mr Johar also suggested to the district administration to launch cleanliness drive in Mohali to make it clean.

The matter of poor conditions of the road from Anandpur Sahib to Nangal was also brought notice to the Mr Johar at the meeting. The official concerned of the PWD Department informed Mr Johar that funds had been allocated avout the maintenance and carpeting of this stretch and the work would soon start.

Taking note of the complaint or land encroachment in Bhagomajra village by land mafia, Mr Johar directed the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) to inquire into the matter. Mr H.I.S Garewal, Deputy Commissioner, assured Mr Johar that all decisions taken at the meeting would be strictly implemented.


IAF’s Suryakiran leaves children spellbound
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 19
Bidar-based Suryakiran Aerobatics team of Indian Air Force today enthralled spectators with dazzling air show at Bhisiana Air Force Station, near here.

Aerobatics team performed breathtaking display routines drawing applause from schoolchildren who had come from nearby schools. The first half of their routine included turns, wingovers, loops and barrel rolls, in various nine aircraft formations. The formation then split into two groups for a variety of manoeuvres like splits, level and rolling crosses, inverted runs, and heart loop etc. Wing Commander Saneep Bansal said aerobatics needed precision, dedication, hard work, and discipline. Wing Commander Sharad Pasricha said they had to remain alert all the time and follow and trust their commander’s instructions.

One among the only three such teams in the world, Suryakiran undertook its first sortie on May 17, 1996

with six aircraft. The other two being Red Arrows of Royal Air Force and Snow Birds of Canada. During the display the team operates between speeds of 200 and 600 km per hour and flies within a height band of 30 metres to 1500 metres. Kiran MK II aircrafts of the team were designed in 1960 by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to train future pilots.

Wg Cdr Sandeep Bansal, Sqn Ldr Kunal Shah, Sqn Ldr Akshay Phadke, Sqn Ldr Sharad Pasricha, Wg Cdr K Ramesh, Sqn Ldr Rahul Lilani, Sqn Ldr John Cruz, Wg Cdr Prajual Singh, and Sqn Ldr S Sadashivpeth, were the team members.


Anganwari workers block traffic
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 19
Traffic was blocked by anganwari workers near the bus stand in protest against the failure of the government to fulfil their demands.

The protesters also burnt the effigy of the Punjab Chief Minister.

Ms Bhinder Kaur and Ms Gurdeep Kaur, president and general secretary, respectively, of the workers union, said the Punjab Government had promised in 2003 that a special allowance of Rs 300 would be given to each anganwari worker but nothing had been done by the government in this regard.

The protesters demanded that education centres for classes I to V set up in villages should be handed over to them.


Entering Limca book with a dog on bike

Phagwara, September 19
Kulwinder Singh of the nearby Babeli Babbran Di village will get an entry in the Limca Book of Records in its next year’s edition for having an interesting stray dog Harry that sits on the pillion of his motor cycle without any seat belt, support or harness even when Kulwinder speeds the mobike up to over 90 km per hour.

The Editor of the book, Ms Vijaya Ghose, in a letter to Kulwinder, has informed him that his claim would feature in the 2006 edition. Kulwinder showed the copy of the letter to this correspondent here today.

The letter acknowledged that Kulwinder Singh took his three-year-old pet dog for a ride on the pillion. Harry, who loved these scooters and bikes rides balanced himself perfectly, whatever the speed, said the letter. In keeping with his freewheeling spirit, Harry, who was not tied with any harness, was trained by Kulwinder when the dog was a puppy, adds the letter.

Harry is a “desi” canine breed and has not been trained by any professional. Kulwinder had found the pup abandoned on the streets when it was hardly one month old. He had bottle-fed the pup after naming it Harry. It is the perfect bonding between the master and the pet that led to this novel hitch-hiking. — OC


Zirakpur residents’ problems discussed
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, September 19
Problems of the residents of the town and the possible solutions were discussed at a meeting of the area Congress Committee here today. At least 450 workers attended 
the meeting.

The meeting was presided over by Mr Akattar Singh, president of the city unit of the Congress. Eminent Congress workers of the city, including Mr Bhagwant Baltana, Mr Jaspal Singh, Ms Devinder Kaur, Mr Rajinder Singh Dhola and Dr Ashok Maria, attended the meeting.


Villagers to protest against SDM
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 19
A number of social organisation’s will protest against the alleged misbehaviour of the SDM of Rampura Phul with a watchman posted at the tehsil.

The Karadwala village panchayat, Dalit organisations, Class IV Employees Union, Beopar Mandal, Kisan Union and Majdoor Union, will protest outside the SDM’s office on Wednesday. Karadwala Sarpanch Baldev Singh alleged that the SDM thrashed watchman Kaur Singh.

In his complaint to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kaur Singh stated that when he sought a copy of his service book from the SDM, he allegedly made some caste-based remarks and thrashed him. Later, the SDM handed him over to the police. And the SDM’s gunman, Krishan Singh, complained to the police that he had torn his uniform. He was suspended on August 25 and shifted to Talwandi Sabo.


Hepatitis B check-up camp held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 19
As the allopathic treatment is becoming costly day by day we must shift to homoeopathy, which is effective as well as economical and has no side effects,” said Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Hepatitis B homoeopathic camp at Dr Castro Homoeopathic Hospital, Chuni, organised by the Lions Club at Sirhind today.

In this camp, hundreds of patients came for check-up. The DC appreciated the efforts of the Lions Club, Sirhind, as well as of Dr Castro for carrying out social activities.

Mr K.S. Khera, president of the club, highlighted various projects like blood donation camp, eye check- up and operation camp and medical camps organised by the club. He said besides this, the club had undertaken many educational, social projects for the needy. 


Couple found HIV positive

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 19
During a test, a young couple was found to be HIV positive at Mahesh Hospital, Sirhind today. Dr Mahesh, Director of the hospital has informed the Civil Surgeon in this regard.

Dr Mahesh said the man had got married four years ago and had no child. Before the treatment, he was given the Elisa test and he was found to be HIV positive.

The doctors urged him to bring his wife and the same test was conducted on her. She too was found to be HIV positive. OC


Six injured in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 19
About six persons were injured when a mini-bus bound for Dhindsa village overturned near Sangtiwala village in Sunam area today when the driver applied brakes after seeing some cattle on the road.

According to the police, two injured persons, Raghbir Chand from Bhai Ke Pishore village and the owner-cum-conductor of the bus, Shiv Kumar from Beer Kalan village, were admitted to the Kohrian Health Centre. Four to five students and other persons also suffered minor injuries in this mishap.


Contempt notice to college president
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, September 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued contempt notice to the President and Principal of Ramgarhia Council and Ramgarhia Educational Institution, Satnampura, Phagwara, for its failure to pay petitioners as per the High Court directions. A Division Bench headed by Justice Jasbir Singh issued show-cause notice for November 11 to Pritam Singh Bhogal, President, Ramgarhia Council and Ramgarhia Educational Institution and Ramgarhia College Principal Bhushan Lal.

Sham Lal Sharma and others had filed a petition in the court seeking to quash the college order issued on July 12, 2004, whereby the latter refused to pay interest on delayed payment of gratuity and leave encashment etc.

The Bench noted: “In our opinion, the respondents are clearly not inclined to implement the order of this court.” Finding the two prima facie liable under the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, it issued them show-cause notice.

Earlier, on February 17, the respondents wanted two months to pay up and the case was adjourned. The Bench had also directed the Principal or President to be present in court on November 11.


20 officers made observers for Bihar poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The Punjab Government has named 20 IAS officers to be central observers in Bihar during the coming Assembly elections in that state.

They have been ordered to report in Delhi tomorrow for the first briefing from the Election Commission of India.

The officers include Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Housing, Mr R.C. Nayyar, Secretary, Punjab Human Rights Commission, and Mrs Kalpana Mittal Baruah, Secretary, Expenditure.

Among the others are Mr K.S. Saroj, Managing Director, Punjab Agro Foods Corporation, Mr Satish Chandra, Commissioner, Enquiries, Mr R. Venkat Ratnam, Special Secretary, Education, Mr Jagjit Puri, Managing Director, Tourism, Mr S.S. Dhillon, Special Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs, and Mr Jaspal Singh, Special Secretary, Irrigation,

Also in the list are Mr C.S. Srivastava, Mr Dharamvir, Mr B. Sarkar, Mr G.S. Sidhu, Mr Harjit Singh, Mrs Usha.R. Sharma, Mr Raminder Singh, Mr V.K. Sharma, Mr D.S. Grewal , Mr V.K. Meena and Mr Sumer Singh.


Police clueless in bank robbery case

Tanda (Hoshiarpur), September 19
Even after 12 days of the alleged robbery at the State Bank of Patiala, Alampur branch, in which robbers shot dead the manager and decamped with about Rs 2.40 lakh in daylight on Tuesday, the district police has failed to make any headway.

The police is still clueless about the number of robbers and vehicles used by them. It has reportedly detained certain persons for questioning. — TNS


6 ITIs to be made schools of excellence
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 19
To upgrade the knowhow of semi-skilled labour, the Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Punjab, will convert six industrial training institutes (ITIs) in different parts of the state, into schools of excellence.

Mr J.B. Goyal, Secretary, Technical Education and Industrial Training, announced this during his visit to DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology, here, today. He said this was a part of the scheme proposed by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, under which 500 ITIs all over India were being upgraded.

Mr Goyal said each ITI would be allocated Rs 1.6 crore, of which 75 per cent would come from the Union Government and the rest from the state government. Of the total amount, Rs 40 lakh would go for civil work, Rs 75 lakh for equipment and the rest for faculty, organising guest lectures and visits to the industry.

The six ITIs to be developed are one each in Ludhiana, Bassi Pathana, Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Ropar and Mohali. Each school would impart a specific trade keeping in mind the demand from the local industry. The Ludhiana school would offer advanced courses in mechanical engineering while the one in Ropar would impart courses in to information technology, he added.


Students suffer due to shortage of teachers
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, September 19
An acute shortage of teaching staff in the government run dental college has put the future of postgraduate students in a quandary. The college has only 11 teachers out of the total posts of 44, which is affecting the studies of graduate and postgraduate students.

This has also led to decrease in the number of postgraduation seats for postgraduate courses in the college. According to norms, the admission of PG students is proportional to teaching staff available in the college. This resulted in the loss for aspiring PG students, who though are eligible as per their qualification, but could not be admitted due to shortage of staff.

The sources on condition of anonymity revealed that at present the college has two professors, five associate professors, one assistant professor, two medical officers and one assistant professor (anesthesia) while there is not a single senior lecturer in the college. They said that there had been no recruitment in the college for various posts for the past many years. The alarmingly low staff strength could also invite objections from the dental council of India in pursuance of its norms and regulations.

The students talking to The Tribune regretted that their studies were suffering. Private colleges were having much more staff than the government.


Foreign varsities woo Punjab students
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Tighter immigration controls in the Western world notwithstanding, many enterprising youngsters in North India in general and Punjab in particular have found a way to greener pastures abroad through education.

More than 10,000 students from Punjab got admission last year to courses like tourism and hospitality, information technology, business administration, mass communication, tourism and travel and allied areas not only in North America but also in Great Britain, Poland, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, China, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Most of them got admission in one to three-year diploma courses with permission to work part-time.

Each student is required to spend between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakh a year, depending upon the subject and standing of the university in which he or she is admitted. Eighty per cent of the Indian students happen to be boys.

China has been a late entrant in the market and has been offering seats both in medical colleges and medical universities specially designed for foreign students, both Indian and of the Indian diaspora. While most of the foreign universities are operating independently in the Indian market, at least four countries — Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand — have their Indian missions directly involved in holding education fairs in major Indian cities in which Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar figure prominently.

A record number of 47 Canadian institutions, including universities, university colleges and senior secondary schools , will be holding their annual education fairs in the city on September 25 as the Punjab and Chandigarh market continues to be the largest supplier of students to foreign universities.

Besides the Canadian fair, other nations, including Australia, New Zealand and England, have been sending their international education marketing experts to India in general and Punjab in particular for admitting students. Other target areas for foreign educational institutions have been Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.

While most of these education fairs were till recently organised by foreign universities independently, of late they have got official recognition with the involvement of the diplomatic missions and their respective education centres. For example, both the British and Canadian High Commissions have their Education Centres which assist their respective universities, university colleges and colleges in holding their admission fairs here.

This year, for example, the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, Ontario, and Manitoba International Education, Manitoba, Canada, have taken special interest in India as a destination.

The 47 Canadian institutions include the Universities of Toronto, Waterloo, Sasketchewan, Windsor, McMaster, Calgary, Manitoba and British Columbia and colleges like Algonquin, George Brown, Humber, Centennial and Seneca College of Applied Art. The courses being offered are degrees as well as diplomas in business studies, engineering and computer science, biotechnology, animation, multimedia, new media, hospitality & tourism, and media and communication.

The one-day education fair, says a spokesperson of the Canadian High Commission, is a once-a-year opportunity for students and their parents to meet representatives from many Canadian educational institutions.

The Canadian Education Centre-India was opened in June, 1997, by the Government of Canada to provide information and counselling services to Indian students interested in studying abroad.


Agitating students invited to debate
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 19
In the ongoing saga of protests by some student unions against the Punjabi University authorities, the university management has decided to invite them to a public debate in the presence of the media and other eminent personalities. Issuing the invitation for an open debate, the Dean, Students Welfare, Dr B.S. Sandhu, said if the student bodies were ready to debate the issues publicly, they should approach him.

Meanwhile, the students, under the banner of the Punjabi University Students Confederation, carried on with the protest and burnt the effigy of the university management in front of the Punjabi Department and Gol Market. Students of the Economics Department boycotted the internal assessment examination today. The union said the students were ready to cease the protest if the management agreed to their demands regarding the stopping of internal assessment and hostel facilities.

The students would hold a gate rally on September 21, besides a state-level protest on September 23. The unprecedented decision of the debate had been taken in view of the distortion of facts and “false” propaganda about the university policies and authorities and the students’ grievances, Dr Sandhu said in a press note today.

According to him, the students submitted a charter of four demands on September 5. On September 7, they disrupted classes of the Law Department and misbehaved with senior teachers. A committee was set up to inquire into the incident. Instead, student leaders, levelled allegations of caste-based comments against members of the committee.


‘No move to stop grants to schools’
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 19
“There is no move to stop grants to the aided schools in Punjab. The state government had not issued any order in this regard,” clarified the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, while talking to media persons here today.

Mr Johar said the aided schools in the state would continue to get grants as decided earlier. Besides, there was also no move to close aagnwadis, he said.

Commenting on the delay in recruitment of youths who had completed elementary teachers training (ETT), Mr Johar said it was for the Chief Minister to decide on the appointment of teachers.


NAAC team visits Bikram college
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 19
A team of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council visited the Government Bikram College of Commerce here on September 17 and 18. Prof Nanchariah, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Sahib Bhim Rao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, Prof D.K. Maheshwari, Dean, Faculty of Life Sciences, Gurukul Kangri University, Hardwar, and Dr S.N. Singh, retired Principal, G.S. College of Commerce and Economics, were part of the team.

Each member of the team planted a sapling on the college campus. They visited library, computer labs and the sports department the NCC, NSS and Red Cross cell. They also interacted with the faculty. 


Reader invited to deliver lectures in USA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 19
Dr Jagbir Singh, Reader, Department of Zoology, Punjabi University, has been sponsored by the Society of Vector Ecology (USA) to deliver a plenary lecture at the 4th International Congress at Nevada from October 2 to 7.

According to a university press note, around 300 vector ecologists from all over the world are expected to take part in the congress which is being held after a gap of four years.

The society has also asked Dr Jagbir Singh, who is the only Indian vector ecologist to have been invited with full sponsorship, to deliver a series of lectures slated to be held at Corona, California, from September 22 to 29.


TAFE to open campus in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
A delegation led by Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, has signed an agreement with TAFE (Technical and Further Education) of New South Wales, Australia.

Mrs Bhattal said the Punjab Government was in the process of upgrading the technical and vocational education system to meet the challenges of a globalised economy and emerging technology.

TAFE had agreed to open its campus in Mohali where high-level technical education corresponding to the job requirements of the economy would be imparted to Punjabi students.

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