|Thursday, January 20, 2000,
What has gone wrong with Badal's
Colleges anxious to know their
Punjab to have 35 new subjects at
Crisis in Punjab BJP deepens
University to be functional by
Four-cornered contest likely
BSM not to contest byelection:
BJP asked not to politicise
MLA dares Tandon to face probe
Show of strength at death
Anandgarh project decried
A decision the university may rue
Plan to improve water supply
Fund shortage hits rural water
Tributes paid to martyr
Govt jobs for orphans, others
Punjab to launch elementary
Solidarity rallies by powermen
Studying amidst garbage, animals
Two KCF men arrested
ED of Growgreen Forests held
Former clerk arrested for
gone wrong with Badal's rule?
CHANDIGARH, Jan 19 In the number game Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should have no worries. Despite the best efforts of his arch rivals, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, he has the majority with him.
Mr Badal led the party to an unprecedented victory three years back by winning 74 Assembly seats and helping the BJP win another 18. Two independents now supporting the ruling alliance were also Akalis. It left a mere 23 MLAs on the opposition benches. Mr Badal had also helped win all the 13 Lok Sabha seats.
And, if one counts the supporters of former SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra and former Speaker, Ravi Inder Singh the total may not cross 17 or 18. All their efforts so far have not reached the magic figure where a formal split can be claimed. Also, after the recent expansion, where Mr Badal took the Ministry total to 41, the number of unhappy MLAs should not be very large. He has adjusted some as chairmen of the boards and corporations and more would find plum positions.
But then why is there panic in the ruling circles. Four MLAs were finally shown the door and two more have been served with show cause notices. The number of dissidents is just 17 and there could be some more fence sitters. But Mr Badal, who heads the Akali Dal, is only demonstrating knee-jerk reactions.
Does it not look strange for a leader of Mr Badal's status to lose his grip so soon? Whatever illusion he had, was removed when SAD and the BJP lost heavily during the 1999 Lok Sabha polls. And ever since then it has been a downhill journey.
Mr Badal's major failure is writ large on the face of Punjab. He has not been able to come to grips with the situation. Fiscal crisis stares in the eyes. There is no money for development. Whatever is there, perhaps it is not even sufficient for the salaries and pensions. The government has been borrowing from all the corporations and organisations like Markfed (Rs 50 crore), PSDIC and Mandi Board (Rs 60 crore) and also from the Rural Development Board. It has been a typical case of beg, borrow or steal and just pay the hefty salary bill.
Dithering is perhaps one word that could describe the regime of Mr Badal. Take the case of ending free power to the farmers. A Cabinet sub-committee under his own leadership has unanimously okayed the proposal to end this subsidy. The government counts this as just Rs 300 crore, but Power Board sources put it at Rs 1, 200 crore a year. What is more the farmers are crying for quality power and an end to rampant corruption in the board. But Mr Badal says he can not decide and if anyone speaks about the decision, he is immediately pulled up.
Well, this is a major decision and Mr Badal must calculate the political cost. But then why does the government order steep hike in the bus fares, domestic and commercial power rates and then hike in the sales tax on diesel. In Delhi Mr Badal says the Centre should not have increased the price of diesel and in Chandigarh, he orders an increase in sales tax. Strange indeed. And how about a very small decision, there had been two holidays to celebrate the Gurpurab of Guru Gobind Singh. One day costs Rs 10 crore. Why could not the government visualise the crisis due to the new calendar. But for Mr Badal mum is the word.
Take the fight against
corruption. A major newspaper, very friendly to Mr Badal,
splashed a story saying ministers run private buses
without numbers and without paying any tax. Mr Badal had
to act. For sometime there was good result and applause
too. But then where is that thrust now. Open darbars,
where people were encouraged to come and complain, are no
more there. The Bathinda irrigation scandal which was
unearthed and leading to the suspension of some officers,
later took a u turn. The Deputy Commissioner and the
police chief were sidelined. The junior minister, who did
not like all this, was given Cabinet rank. What is the
anxious to know their fate
CHANDIGARH, Jan 19 A report submitted by a committee of officers to the Punjab Government recently regarding cutting down on subsidies to the education sector has created ripples in the privately managed institutions, it is learnt.
The government is already seized of the "indiscriminate" grants-in-aid to the private educational institutions and to universities. There has been a steady rise in the outgo of money to these institutions without a resource mobilisation effort by the latter. The beneficiaries include schools, colleges and universities. While management of these institutions vests with private organisations, it is the government which bears the financial burden.
One of the major recommendations of the committee of officers, it is learnt, is to phase out the system of 95 per cent grant-in-aid to the private colleges, eventually bringing it to a "zero level". At the same time, the privately managed aided colleges are being asked to raise the fee.
In fact before framing the current year Budget, the Finance department had written a detailed letter to all the universities, drawing their attention to the money being given to them and informing that in future there would be no hike in financial support. The universities were left to financially fend for themselves.
The available figures show that for 1998-99 the state shelled out Rs 59.18 crore to the universities and Rs 55.79 crore to private colleges in terms of grants-in-aid. This expenditure has risen from Rs 13 crore in 1984-85 in case of the universities and Rs 8.79 crore in case of the private colleges.
The Minister for Higher Education, Mr Mohan Lal, who heard a deputation of teachers today, seeking immediate release of grant is reported to have asked the Chief Secretary to look into the matter and sort out the problems at the earliest.
On the other hand, private colleges are anxious to know their fate. The issue was also discussed in the Panjab University Senate on December 26 last when the Vice-Chancellor, Mr M.M. Puri, agreed to intervene and a six-member committee was constituted to call on the Punjab Chief Minister. The committee comprises Mr S.P. Jain, ex-MP, Mr G.P. Chopra, President, DAV management; Mr Charnjit Chawla, a Syndic and a former secretary of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union; Mr S.S. Hundal and Dr Anirudh Joshi. The committee has not been able to meet the Chief Minister till date is a different matter.
Information available with TNS is that against a sanctioned grant of Rs 93,17,41,000 for the current financial year, the colleges have received only Rs 26 crore, so far. There are 139 private colleges in receipt of the grant-in-aid under the 95 per cent scheme. Another 23 colleges, which came into existence after November, 1981, are still "excluded" from the ambit of the scheme, which is one of the major sore points. These 23 colleges have a staff strength of nearly 800 and a non-teaching staff of nearly 700.
So precarious is the financial situation in these colleges that some have a three-grade system of payment: ad hoc college teachers get around Rs 3,000 a month as salary, confirmed teachers around Rs 5,000 and the ones on "contract" are paid at the rate of Rs 75 per period or lecture. The staff strength of 139 colleges was 3,903 (prior to November, 1981) and an additional staff was recruited, raising the strength by 309. This 95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme is the child of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had introduced the same during his first term as Chief Minister in 1977-78.
The present SAD-BJP Government in its February, 1997 election manifesto had promised to bring the posts created in 23 private colleges opened after November, 1981, under the 95 per cent grants purview due to an increase in the number of students and subjects. With this assurance all 23 colleges would have been covered, this was not to be.
The government colleges number 40-odd with a student strength of a mere 20 per cent of the total college going population while the private colleges have on rolls over 1.50 lakh students. With March approaching fast, when annual examinations commence (practicals start with effect from March 15 and theory papers from April 1) there is already talk of "boycott" of exams in case the demands are not met or 95 per cent grant was withdrawn.
Already four organisations have formed a united front: private managements, principals, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union and the non-teaching staff union. This front held a dharna in Chandigarh on January 12.
According to Mr Charnjit Chawla, the biggest setback will be to the colleges in rural, kandi and semi-urban areas of the state, where a majority of colleges are located. At present the average fee paid by an arts students is around Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per annum and by a science undergraduate around Rs 5,000 per year. If the grant is stopped and colleges are forced to enhance fee, the financial burden on poor, middle class parents and students will be close to Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per annum.
It may be recalled that in 1999 the strike by teachers, lasting 26 days, had upset the exam schedule and Punjab students could not avail of the opportunities of appearing in competitive and entrance tests outside Punjab as examinations started late here by over a month. Will Punjab repeat this?
The officers' committee report is under wraps. It will merit discussion and decision-taking at the level of the political executive in near future. The government and the beneficiaries are aware of the existing "erratic" release of funds and problems of the private colleges whose staff is uncovered by the grant scheme.
At the same time the
state itself is facing a financial crisis with neither
the universities nor the private educational institutions
making any efforts to improve their finances. How long
will the government continue to meet the salary,
provident fund, pension and other allowances of the aided
educational institutions and by how much?
have 35 new subjects at degree level
CHANDIGARH, Jan 19 While as many as 35 new subjects with main thrust on vocationalisation of education will be introduced in Punjab's degree colleges, there will be uniformity in the syllabi of all non-technical and medical universities in the state.
The Vice-Chancellors of the universities concerned have been told to launch a detailed exercise in this connection. A meeting of Vice-Chancellors will be held immediately after January 26 for taking steps to introduce new subjects. A meeting has been called in this connection by the Punjab Minister for Higher Education Mr Mohan Lal.
Already Mr Mohan Lal has started a discussion in this regard with the representatives of the associations of college teachers and other concerned. He told TNS that a large number of subjects taught at the degree level had no relevance in the existing circumstances due to rapid growth of knowledge and information technology.
Besides academic qualification, students need to acquire skill in a job of their choice to be self-employed as government jobs were shrinking, and the private sector preferred best qualified technical hands and administrative staff to run their establishments.
Keeping in view the
markets needs, there was need to change the course of
college education and hence the decision to introduce new
35 subjects at the degree level. Already computer
education is being introduced as a subject in all
government colleges in the state and this project would
be handled by private computer companies of repute.
Punjab BJP deepens
CHANDIGARH, Jan 19 The crisis in Punjab unit of the BJP, which is facing rebellion in its ranks for the past three weeks, has deepened.
According to informed sources, a senior leader of the BJP met the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to urge him for getting the ongoing crisis in the BJP resolved. Sources said earlier too Mr Badal had taken up the issue with the Prime Minister, Mr A.B. Vajpayee, to get the things settled in the BJP, which is an ally of the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Badal.
The sources said Mr Badal, who himself is facing trouble in his own party and had to expel four MLAs a few days ago from the party, is equally worried about the ongoing crisis in the BJP. All this can spark a setback for him in the Nawanshahr byelection which Mr Badal has made a prestige issue by repeatedly visiting the constituency to make it a high-profile poll.
Mr Narender Modi, general secretary of the national body of the BJP, will visit Pathankot tomorrow where a meeting of the party's office-bearers and presidents of the district units would be held. Though the agenda for the meeting is enrolment of new members, but the ongoing crisis is bound to dominate at the meeting despite the stand taken by Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, that he would not allow any other issue to be raised at the meeting.
Sources said both groups would meet Mr modi to apprise him of their side of the story. Mr Jagdish Sahni and Mr Satpal Gosain, who were not taken in the ministry when the expansion took place on January 31 by Mr Badal, feel slighted as their names were not recommended by the party for a berth in the ministry. They immediately raised the banner of revolt after expansion against the party president, Mr Sodhi and the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, and levelled serious charges against them and certain other ministers.
Already, sources said, the anti-Daya Singh Sodhi-Tandon group had submitted a representation to the Prime Minister, levelling charges against a senior minister of the BJP and his family. The name of an IAS officer also figures in the representation.
be functional by year-end
BATHINDA, Jan 19 Dr J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, Faridkot, said here today that the university would be fully functional by the end of this year.
Dr Gujral, who was here to attend the opening ceremony of a dental clinic, while talking to TNS said the Punjab Government had assured him that adequate funds would be provided to enable the university to become fully functional by the year end.
He pointed out that Rs 3 crore had been distributed among the people whose land had been acquired for constructing various buildings of the university. A sum of Rs 3 crore more was in the process of distribution.
The Vice-Chancellor added that more staff members would be recruited as per the work load. Presently about 40 persons were employed in the university and all its operations were computerised.
Dr Gujral, who joined as Vice-Chancellor of the controversial university first of its kind in the state said his main aim was to bring complete transparency in the functioning of the institution. He claimed that the admissions in various medical colleges and all competitive exams would be made transparent.
He pointed out that no college either in dental or medical faculty would be allowed to recruit students without a valid permission from the Punjab Government, respective dental and medical councils of India and Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences.
We have received some complaints regarding some institutions running dental colleges without any valid authorisation from the authorities concerned. We are going to take some steps in this regard, the Vice-Chancellor added.
He said he planned to visit all dental and medical colleges, in the state to gather first hand information regarding their working.
When asked that whether
the medical colleges of the state should be made
autonomous, he said all methods should be used to raise
the academic standard of the medical colleges but without
the state government having a role in their functioning,
the medical colleges would not be able to deliver goods.
JALANDHAR, Jan 19 With the Akali factions having failed to arrive at a consensus over selecting a common candidate for the Nawanshahr assembly byelection, it is likely to be a multi-cornered contest with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) having already announced their respective candidates.
The Congress is likely to follow suit in the next few days, while the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) headed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra will take the decision on fielding its candidate on January 21 when Mr Tohra is scheduled to open the party election office at Nawanshahr.
One of the three-member of the committee set up by Mr Tohra to select the party candidate, said today, we will apprise Mr Tohra of our decision when he comes to Nawanshahr on Friday to inaugurate the party election office. He may announce the candidate then.
Mr Wadala, whose efforts for a consensus candidate failed, said We will lend moral support to Mr Jatinder Singh Kariha (SAD) but will not give him active political support. However, he added his party would not field its own candidate because we are not in favour of dividing the Akali votes. Significantly, Mr Kariha is a close relative of Mr Wadala whose son married Mr Karihas daughter early this month. Another son of Mr Wadala had married another daughter of Mr Kariha a few years ago.
Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, president of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha, a breakaway faction of the BSP, said his party would not field its candidate. But he said whether the morcha would support Mr Kariha or not would be decided in the next few days. Mr Kariha had appealed to Mr Kainth, former MP from Phillaur of which Nawanshahr is an assembly segment, to lend him support in spite of Mr Kainth having had parted company with the ruling SAD-BJP combine recently.
The BSP has again fielded Mr Darshan Lal Jethumajara, organising secretary of the party. He was placed third during the 1997 assembly elections when he secured 25643 votes. Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, Independent, had won the elections by defeating his nearest rival, Mr Kariha (SAD) by a margin of 2991 votes. The official Congress candidate, Mrs Amar Kaur, had lost her deposit in that elections.
But Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, whose election to the 13th Lok Sabha from the Hoshiarpur constituency led to the byelection at Nawanshahr, has since joined the Congress and if his nominee, his cousin Parkash Singh, is selected the Congress candidate, then the Congress would give a stiff challenge to the ruling SAD because Nawanshahr is considered to be a stronghold of late Dilbagh Singh and Mr Charanjit Singh Channi is perceived to have inherited the legacy of his father as proved by his victory in 1997 when his mother, Mrs Amar Kaur, was in the field as the Congress candidate.
While the BSP candidate could prove detrimental to the Congress if Mr Jethumajara is able to repeat his previous performance, the SHSAD candidate would cut into the SAD votes to the benefit of the Congress.
BSM not to contest byelection:
PHILLAUR, Jan 19 In spite of dissociation from the SAD-BJP alliance, the Bahujan Samaj Morcha will not contest Nawanshahr byelection, the national president of the Morcha, Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, said while talking to The Tribune here today.
When asked whom the morcha will support in Nawanshahr Assembly election, Mr Kainth said, a decision in this regard would be taken after Sunday. Mr Kainth said the morcha would strengthen its independent identity by enrolling one lakh new members by April 14 and he would tour all tehsils, blocks and districts in the state.
not to politicise calendar
FEROZEPORE, Jan 19 Asking the BJP not politicise the controversial Nanakshahi calendar issue, the Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar, Prof Manjit Singh, today sought to clarify that the calendar will not affect Hindu-Sikh ties, as is being perceived in several quarters.
Adding that the calendar only tries to fix scientifically the dates of important occasions in Sikh religion, Prof Manjit Singh asked the BJP to restrain from giving it a political colour. Speaking to TNS over the phone, Prof Manjit Singh also asked a section of the Akali Dal leadership to restrain itself and not to link the calendar with Sikh identity. Terming any attempt to politicise the matter as short sightedness, he said, the calendar only aims to mark important occasions on fixed dates in the new millennium and not to bring a communal divide.
Referring to confusion
that forced the Punjab Government two holidays on the
birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, Prof Manjit Singh
said, This is bound to prevail, until the Shiromani
Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee communicates to the
government the exact date of the occasion.
Tandon to face probe
LUDHIANA, Jan 19 Mr Rakesh Pande, a local Congress MLA, yesterday challenged the Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, to face an impartial inquiry into the charges of corruption and misuse of office levelled against him by MLAs of his party.
In a talk with newsmen here, Mr Pande alleged that the Minister was balking at the prospect of facing an inquiry presumably because of a guilty conscience. He also charged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who never tired of boasting that he regarded Maharaja Ranjit Singh as his role model in providing a clean administration, with developing cold feet in the face of the mounting demand for an inquiry against his ministerial colleague.
Mr Pande alleged that not only was the minister responsible for various acts of omission and commission in his own department but had also appointed his son as a chartered accountant and director of several corporations in Punjab and elsewhere.
It is interesting to note that Mr Tandon fled Punjab along with his family when terrorism was at its height in the state. Now that the situation is normal, all that he can think of is his own kin for appointment to these positions. Is there no one else in the BJP qualified to hold these posts? On the other hand, my own father, Mr Joginderpal Pande, fought the menace of terrorism valiantly and fell to the bullets of forces of violence, he claimed.
Meanwhile, Mr Gurdeep Singh, a local BJP leader, yesterday urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to institute a high-level enquiry into the charges of corruption and misuse of official position to amass wealth against Tandon, who is number two in the Badal Cabinet.
Mr Gurdeep Singh also released to the Press a four-page letter listing specific allegations against the ministers, the names of the officers of the Punjab Government and the state BJP functionaries allegedly involved in murky deals. The letter alleged that the Minister had set up an elaborate network to collect money for making appointments, promotions and postings in the Department of Local Bodies. The network consisted of an IAS officer, a son of the Minister and a few others, including the mayors of two municipal corporations, one MLA, who later became a Cabinet Minister, and certain members of the personal staff of the Minister.
Giving a specific instance, Mr Gurdeep Singh alleged that money in lakhs changed hands during the recruitment of executive officer, assistant municipal engineers, junior engineers, accounts grade I and II, sanitary inspectors, inspectors/assistant draftsmen for municipal councils, improvement trusts and municipal corporations. Applications were invited through regular advertisements in the newspapers and candidates to asked to appear in written tests. But after the tests, no merit list was either prepared or displayed nor was it published in any newspaper. Letters for interview were issued to the candidates by pick and choose or to those whose cases were settled by the agents appointed by the Minister.
The number of posts
advertised totalled about 300, but selections were made
for more than 400 posts. He alleged that three-fourths of
the appointments were made after demanding between Rs 2
lakh and Rs 10 lakh, depending on the nature of the job.
The remaining one-fourth selections were made on the
basis of political recommendations.
strength at death anniversary
LUDHIANA, Jan 19 The death anniversary of the former Punjab Congress minister, Mr Joginder Pal Pandey, who fell to the terrorists bullets here 13 years ago, turned into a virtual tug of war today between his legislator son, Mr Rakesh Pandey and another Congress leader, Mr Surinder Dawar, both of whom claim to be president of the Ludhiana District Congress Committee (Urban).
The two organised parallel functions to mark the death anniversary of Joginder Pal Pandey one in the DCC office and the other in the Lions Club hall. The Punjab PCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh and the leader of the Congress group in the Punjab assembly, Ch Jagjit Singh did not put in an appearance at either of the functions. Interestingly, Mr Dawar has been appointed as the DCC chief by Capt Amarinder Singh. But Mr Rakesh Pandeys claims that he continues to be the DCC chief because only the AICC can appoint or remove a DCC president.
In todays show of strength by the two Congress rivals, the gathering at Mr Rakesh Pandeys show was more impressive. Leaders from all parties vied with one another to pay homage to the late Congress leader. These included the SAD leader, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, who has recently become a minister in the Badal Cabinet, Mr Mahesh Singh Grewal, AISAD leader and former Punjab minister, Mr Jagdish Loomba, acting Mayor of Ludhiana, who belongs to the BJP, Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab CPI, Mr Hardev Arshi, CPI, MLA and Mr Heera Singh Gabria, AISAD MLA.
The Congress leaders who attended Mr Rakesh Pandeys function included the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former PCC chief, Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa, former ministers, Dr Kewal Krishan, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, son of the late Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, MP, Mr Brij Lal Goel and Mr Birdevinder Singh and Mr Mohinder Singh Kalyan, former MP.
It was also announced from the stage that the function was being attended by 11 block Congress chiefs and 70 ward Congress presidents.
Mr Surinder Dawars function, on the other hand, attracted only a handful of district level leaders, including Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, Mr Mohinder Singh Kalyan, Mr K.K. Bawa, Mr Pawan Dewan and a few others. Mr Dawar claimed that his function had been attended by about 2,000 persons.
Speakers paid glowing
tributes to martyr Joginder Pal Pandey. Mrs Bhattal, Dr
Joginder Dayal and Mr Hardev Arshi warned that efforts
were on by communal forces to divide the country along
communal lines. They accused the Badal government of
following divisive policies such as implementation of the
Nanakshahi calendar which would have the effect of
separating the common festivals of Hindus and Sikhs like
Divali, Dushehra, Holi and Baisakhi. They pointed out
that for hundreds of years, these festivals had been
celebrated without any problem. They could not understand
why such a divisive measure was being rammed down the
throat of the people.
Anandgarh project decried
BATHINDA, Jan 19 Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, Member Parliament, today condemned the decision of Punjab Government to set up Anandgarh city near Chandigarh.
Addressing a press conference here, he said that decision of the State Government to set up a new city at the cost of thousands of crores was illogical at the moment when it had no money to pay salaries to its employees.
He added that it was surprising that all the welfare schemes launched by the Punjab Government, including house for poor houseless, shagun scheme and pension for the old were on the verge of extinction.
Regarding the irrigation scam, Mr Bhora said the SAD-BJP Government had been exposed on its anti-corruption drive as it had transferred the Deputy Commissioner, who unearthed the scam involving crores of rupees.
He said the strike by engineers of the UP State Electricity Board was justified as the privatisation of electricity generation and distribution would go against the interest of the common man.
He suggested the BJP-led Central Government should call a special Parliament session to discuss the situation which had arisen in the country after the strike by the UP engineers. He added the country had come under great threat from the terrorists organisations after the BJP-led coalition Government came to power. The release of three terrorists on the demand of hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane was a strong indication that the government had compromised on national security.
Mr Bhora pointed out that decision of the Central Government to handover the management of all the international airports of the country to private parties was also a threat to national security.
He claimed that according to his sources Amritsar airport was not being upgraded to international standards. He demanded that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, should issue a clarification about the airport.
decision the university may rue
PATIALA, Jan19 The Pandora s box has been opened in the Punjabi University with the authorities allowing migration of business management students from the little-known Talwandi Sabo Regional Centre to the prestigious School of Management in the university campus, which had been banned by it earlier.
Migration of management students from the Talwandi Sabo Centre to the university has been a contentious issue as the practice has always raised questions about the merit of the cases. The university had however done away with the practice after Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia took over as Vice-Chancellor in April last year. While announcing its desire to discontinue the practice it had also cited a Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling which it said, had found the practice improper.
However, in what seems to be a change in the university policy, the university authorities have allowed transfer of three management students from Talwandi Sabo to the university campus management school. The students Harshampreet Singh, Prachi Gupta and Cheenu Kalra were admitted to the campus school on January 4 following an order to the business management head to follow the verbal directions of the Vice-Chancellor in this regard by the VCs Officer on Special Duty.
The case of admission of the three students has become interesting as the admissions were made despite opposition to the same by the head of the Department of School of Management. The head had received a letter from the Assistant Registrar that treating the transfer of the three students as special cases, the Vice-Chancellor had given permission for their transfer. The business management head, instead of following the directions wrote a note to the Vice-Chancellor, saying the transfers flouted the ban imposed by the university itself. Business management head Dr K.C. Singhal also wrote that the transfers were not possible as the courses were different at Talwandi Sabo and the university campus, and the merit of students was also on different scales.
Following the note, the Officer on Special Duty wrote to the management department head to implement the Vice-Chancellor s verbal orders and send compliance report immediately. Even though the compliance report was sent on the same day the management department head sent a detailed note saying the policy was basically wrong. He also wrote that more students should not be transferred to the university campus as the physical infrastructure was limited .
Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, when questioned in this regard, said the transfers had been done under compelling circumstances. He said transfer was not the right of the students, and each case was to be taken on merit Dr Ahluwalia said new parameters had been formed under which transfers would be allowed only in case of medical grounds or those which related to transfer from some other state university. He said present transfers by the university were under compelling circumstances with one student having a medical history.
Dr Ahluwalia said there was no question of allowing students to get themselves transferred from Talwandi Sabo to the campus unless there were valid reasons. It had also been decided that any student who had taken admission at Talwandi Sabo after failing to clear the test for the university management school would not be allowed transfer under any circumstances. He said transfers could also not be done after a stipulated time period as the student would fall short of lectures as courses were different at the campus management school. He said few students had already been refused transfer on this ground.
Even though the university has cited compelling reasons for the transfer of three students, the issue is likely to generate heat as had happened during the tenure of the previous Vice-Chancellor when it had been alleged that political compulsions were behind the transfers. There is also the question of merit as sources said candidates with practically no marks were also admitted to management courses due to the abundant seats available.
There is also the
question as to where the ball will stop . While the
university campus School of Management was not asked for
approval when three students were transferred to it , now
an application of another student who wants to migrate
from Talwandi Sabo has been sent to the campus department
takes 24 days to travel 3 km
BATHINDA, Jan 19 A local resident has received a registered letter 24 days after it was booked in the main post office here. Interestingly, the sender of the registered letter was none else than the Superintendent, Post Office, who is the highest postal authority in the district.
Sources said that Mr Kishan Singh, General Secretary, Pension and Pensioners Welfare Association, Bathinda district, received a registered letter on January 15, 2000, though it was booked on December 23, 1999, in the local main post office.
The residence of Mr Kishan Singh is only 3 km from the main post office.
In the letter, the Superintendent, Post Office, had replied to a complaint made by Mr Kishan Singh relating to a dispute with the Postal Department.
Mr Kishan Singh alleged that the letter was deliberately delivered to him after 24 days by the postal authorities and demanded a high-level probe should be held into the working of the local head post office.
Mr T.C. Goyal, Assistant Head, Post Office, expressing surprise over the inordinate delay in the delivery of a registered letter, said that matter should be probed. He, however, said that the postal authorities had not received any complaint in this regard so far.
He pointed out that
there might be a delay in the delivery of ordinary post,
but delay in sending a registered letter was a serious
matter. He claimed that some times the person to whom the
registered letter was to be delivered was unavailable for
improve water supply
MANSA: The erstwhile sub-division of Bathinda district, which was made a fullfledged district by late Chief Minister Beant Singh is known of its many problems, including roads, sewerage and drinking water in urban as well as in rural areas, vacancies of teachers in government schools and waterlogging.
Without any special financial support from the Punjab Government, the district is developing on its own and has added a mini secretariat. Funds in crores were also made available to eradicate waterlogging which has hit hard the farmers economically.
Recently, the district administration has launched a scheme to improve the drinking water supply in the rural areas to provide the people safe drinking water. Most of the existing water supply schemes in the district have become ineffective due to waterlogging.
On the recommendations of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sanjay Kumar, the Punjab Government has sent Rs 30 lakh as special grant to improve the water supply schemes. The district administration has also arranged Rs 14.48 lakh from united funds and Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) for the massive task.
With these funds, the district administration will carry out necessary repairs at the waterworks which are facing some problems due to waterlogging. In the first phase 40 waterworks would be repaired out of a total of 75 in the district. The filter media of many waterworks will also be changed to make them functional.
In the absence of safe drinking water, the residents of this district have to depend upon the underground water which is not fit for human consumption due to various unwanted elements. Moreover, the underground water causes serious diseases.
Mr Sanjay Kumar, when contacted said that overall water supply in the district would be increased by 15 per cent and 20 per cent in those areas where the waterworks would be repaired. He added that all the repairs would be done by the end of this month.
He pointed out that some of the rural water schemes would become operational by spending a small amount. However, some needed heavy repairs.
shortage hits rural water supply
JALANDHAR Jan 19 Residents of over 200 villages in the state have been crying for drinking water as nearly 150 rural water schemes covering these villages have been lying inoperative for months together on account of various reasons, including want of repairs and shortage of funds.
The severe resource crunch which has affected the entire development process in the state has also cast its shadow on the drinking water supply to hundreds of villages in the state where water supply schemes have either come to a grinding halt or are on the verge of collapse for want of funds.
Nothing is being done to ensure proper maintenance of the existing network by the Rural Water Supply wing of the state Public Health Department, responsible for the upkeep of the wing.
According to sources in the Rural Water Supply Wing, at present nearly 200 villages have been affected as there has been a total breakdown of the machinery installed at the schemes for a couple of months, machinery in more than 50 such schemes is likely to be affected if immediate maintenance and repairs were not undertaken at these installations.
How can we take up the repairs as we have not received any funds for operation and maintenance after May, asked a senior officer of the department, who said a number of schemes had been grounded on account of the non-payment of power bills by the department to the Punjab State Electricity Board. The PSEB has even disconnected power connections to a number of such schemes .
The RWS wing incurs an amount of about Rs 50 crore per annum out of the non-plan head on the repair and maintenance of machinery of different water supply schemes. But this year, according to sources, no money was spent on either maintenance or repair, resulting in severe damage to machinery at a number of places, most of which fall in Bathinda, Ferozepore, Sangrur, Moga, Faridkot and Kapurthala districts of the state.
Mr S.K. Gupta, Chief Engineer, Public Health, who is also the coordinator (Finance) of the RWS wing of the department, was not available for comments. A letter written by the Chief Engineer to all eight Superintendent Engineers of all Rural Water Supply Circles in the state admitted that 146 RWS in different parts of the state were lying unoperative. In his letter, he has also advised the SEs that as the government has desired that efforts should be made to keep these schemes running in the face of financial crunch. He has further advised that on one hand the pumping sets should be got repaired by spending bare minimum funds and for schemes in which the non-availability of staff has hampered work, inter-adjustment should be done with other schemes under charge of SEs and by taking services of surplus staff in other divisions and circles.
25-30 new schemes launched by the department in different
villages after March 31 this year too have not been
functioning as there is no staff to man these schemes .
The situation was an outcome of a ban on fresh
recruitment by the Punjab Government, the official
paid to martyr
FARIDKOT, Jan 19 Nearly 2,000 persons participated in the antim ardas of Lance Havaldar Parminder Singh at his native village, Tehna, today. He laid down his life while fighting with enemy in the Jammu and Kashmir sector on January 5.
Paying rich tributes to
the martyr, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Dhaliwal, state
president, UCPI, appealed to all political leaders to
rise above the political affairs and formed a policy
against the enemy. Among others who spoke on the occasion
included, Col J.S. Cheema, Commanding Officer, 10 Sikh
Regiment, Mr A. Venuparsad, Deputy Commissioner and Mr
Manmohan Singh, Chairman, Sikh Gurdwara Judicial
for orphans, others
CHANDIGARH, Jan 19 The Punjab Education Department today gave Sumandeep Kaur, a government job at a government school in Jalandhar as a clerk. She had lost her father, a teacher 19 years ago.
Rupinder Kaur had lost her parents nine years ago. Both were employed in the Punjab Education Department. Rupinder was also offered a regular job in the department.
Addressing a press conference in this connection, Mr Tota Singh, Punjab Education Minister, said as many as 250 persons, who had lost their mother or father or both in harness, had been given jobs by the government. A special camp was organised in this connection where all senior officers of the Education Department, including the Secretary and the DPI (School) were called. Appointment letters were given on the spot after verifying the claims and documents.
Mr Tota Singh said 1,000
persons had turned up but the others could not be
adjusted as they had not brought complete papers to
fulfil the formalities. Another such camp would be
organised by the end of next month where the remaining
persons would be given appointment letters. The
appointments had been given as per educational
launch elementary education directorate
CHANDIGARH, Jan 19 The Punjab Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, said today that an elementary education directorate would be set up soon in Punjab. All primary and middle schools would be merged and put under this directorate.
He said the "Sikhia karmi" scheme would be continued and reports that the scheme had been terminated were baseless. Under this scheme "Sikhia karmis" would be recruited from coming July and the Central Government would finance the scheme.
Priority would be given to trained ETT and B.Ed teachers while making recruitment. The Punjab Government would give Rs 2000 each "Sikhia karmi" on the pattern followed by the Best Bengal Government. There were 1100 schools in border, bet and Kandi areas where "Sikhia karmi" would be appointed.
The minister said there were nearly 5,000 posts vacant in primary schools and these would be filled in the coming months. There were no vacant posts in secondary schools.
rallies by powermen
PATIALA, Jan 19 A number of the PSEB employees unions today organised rallies in support of the ongoing agitation by the UPSEB employees.
The Council of Junior Engineers, Patiala zone, and the Technical Services Union (TSU) held a joint rally in front of the PSEB head office.
Mr S.K. Dhawan, president south zone junior engineers' council, condemned the trifurcating of the UPSEB.
Mr Vijay Dev, secretary, TSU, criticised the repressive attitude adopted by the UP Government against the striking employees and called for immediate release of all arrested employees.
ROPAR: In response to the directive by the Northern India Power Engineers Federation, the work-to-rule by the engineers working at the Ropar Thermal Plant (RTP), entered second day, on Wednesday.
Mr Charanjit Singh, secretary of the RTP unit of the PSEB Engineers Association, said a mobilisation rally was held at the plant. He said the association urged the engineers not to attend any emergency duty beyond duty hours.
PHAGWARA: Powermen took out a procession here on Wednesday expressing solidarity with the striking power employees of Uttar Pradesh.
The protesters raised anti-government slogans.
BATHINDA: The PSEB Engineers Association, Bathinda zone, while condemning the action of the UP Government for trifurcating the state electricity board, expressed its solidarity with the engineers of that state.
amidst garbage, animals
PATIALA, Jan 19 When one talks about a government primary school functioning amidst unclean surroundings, without proper building and infrastructure, the general impression is that it must be in some rural area. But when one finds such a school in a city, one is not only surprised but disturbed as well. A government primary school, located on the Baba Jiwan Singh Basti Passey Road here, is functioning in such circumstances.
The school has 72 students in six classes. It has only three teachers. There are only two rooms, which leak during the rains. The plinth level of the constructed portion is lower than the surrounding area, due to which water enters the building.
As the rooms cannot accommodate the students, classes are held either in the veranda or in the open ground of the school. Due to the irresponsible attitude of residents of the area and the failure of the municipal authorities to check their activities, the students sit amidst garbage, dirty water and stray animals. Students have to keep an eye on the movement of pigs, dogs and cattle, lest any of these tramples over them or takes a liking to bags or tiffin boxes. Many residents also throw the water used in washing near the open classrooms.
In the absence of a boundary wall, residents and visitors park their vehicles in the school premises. The school had a boundary wall but people demolished it by taking away bricks away at regular intervals. The staff members of the school recently got soil deposited in the veranda to raise its level. But they found the soil missing after a few days. They say the Municipal Corporation has been requested to solve the garbage problem many times but nothing has been done. The Government has also been requested to provide funds for construction of more rooms but no money has been allocated.
Sources in the District Education Office reveal that the school exists in a colony inhabited mostly by the lower strata of society. It was for their upliftment through education that the school was opened but due to lack of facilities and uncleanliness, the strength of students was less. The State Government had provided special grants to several ailing primary schools in rural areas but the school in question was repeatedly ignored.
Ms Baldev Kaur, Block
Primary Education Officer, said the school was facing
problems as it could not generate funds on its own. She
said as most of the students belonged to reserved
classes, no building fund and some other fees were
charged from them. She suggested that the Government
could earmark special funds for the construction of a
building or for providing the school with facilities. She
could provide only Rs 500 for such a purpose, she added.
Two KCF men arrested
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Jan 19 The district police has claimed to have arrested two terrorists of the Khalistan Commando Force and recovered arms, ammunition and a stolen Maruti car from them.
Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, SSP, while addressing a press conference here today said that to strengthen the security measures in the district, police nakes were erected on all major points. Last night on a Dadheri-Phadla T junction naka near Mandi Gobindgarh town, the SHO of Mandi Gobindgarh along with CIA Inspector signalled a Maruti car to stop. Though the driver of the car ran away the second occupant was arrested. After some chase the driver was also nabbed. On interrogation the two were identified as Jagtar Singh, resident of Sorian (Amritsar district and Sukhwinder Singh, resident of Kotla (Ropar district). The police also recovered one revolver of .38 bore and one rifle of 7.62 bore along with cartridges.
Mr Kamaljit Singh Sandhu, SP (D), giving details said both these hardcore terrorists belonged to the KCF (Panjwar) group and were close to Dilbagh Singh Bagha and Bakshish Singh alias Baba who had been recently arrested by the Delhi Police.
The SSP further said they were also involved in looting SLRs from Kiratpur Sahib police chowki in Ropar district during the tercentenary celebrations at Anandpur Sahib. One of them Jagtar Singh is a dismissed police constable and the police personnel posted there were his friends. He said the SLRs were yet to be recovered.
Khalsa associates held
GURDASPUR, Jan 19 The police has arrested two persons having links with the Babbar Khalsa from a culvert of the nullah near Mangal Sein village.
SSP Virender Kumar identified the accused as Baldev Singh of Ding Nangal village and Baljit Singh of Jutini village. He said the two were arrested on January 17 along with arms and ammunition.
Baldev Singh was an associate of Jagtar Singh Jagga and Baljit Singh an associate of Jassa and Harpal.
Growgreen Forests held
JALANDHAR, Jan 19 The economic offences wing of the district police has arrested Pawan Kumar Verma, an Executive Director, Growgreen Forests India Limited, a company alleged to have defrauded investors to the tune of Rs 30 crore.
Earlier, Ranjit Verma, Managing Director of the company, was arrested. He was remanded in police custody by a local court till January 25. Pawan Kumar Verma, one of the three Executive Directors, was in charge of companys operations in Himachal Pradesh.
According to Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, he was arrested at Nanola village under the Ambala sadar police station. He was produced in a local court which remanded him in police custody till January 25.
investigations, it was found that he was handling the
field operatives and was handing over the money to the
Managing Director from the time to time. While post-dated
cheques were issued in investors by the Managing Director
and the three Executive Directors were looking after
companys investment in commercial property and
clerk arrested for embezzlement
LUDHIANA, Jan 19 With the arrest of a former clerk of Tagore Public School for embezzlement and the issuing of arrest warrants against a director of the school executive committee, who is also a member of the Ludhiana Aggarwala Cooperative House Building Society, the noose is beginning to tighten around those allegedly in involved in embezzlement of the school funds and stealing of account books nearly 13 years ago.
According to an FIR
registered against Pardeep Sood, former clerk-cum-art
teacher at the school, and Amrit Lal Aggarwal, director
of the society, it has been alleged that the two accused
had embezzled funds amounting to several thousands of
rupees and tampered with school records. A case under
Sections 406, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC has
been registered. Pardeep Sood has been arrested and Amrit
Lal Aggarwal has absconded.
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