|Tuesday, February 8, 2000,
FC's transfer quashed
Show-cause notice to Jt Secy on
New policy for change in
Sikh bodies to observe
CM to proceed against Amarinder
Wadala flays Jagir Kaurs
Trial begins in boat tragedy case
Probe sought into DEO(S)
WB-aided project hangs fire
Sensitise cops on rights : Jacob
Issue of fishing rights in Harike
Plea to fill posts of DSP
Green park loses colour
Workshop on child rights organised
HP Governor visits Anandpur Sahib
Maha Sangh holds protest rally
Rs 1 crore PF fraud detected
Telecom official booked
Row over varsity promotions hots
Fellowship for PAU scientist
FC's transfer quashed
CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 The Central Administrative Tribunal has decried the propensity of state governments creating ex-cadre posts to post inconvenient IAS officers.
Delivering a judgement having nationwide ramifications Mr Jasbir S. Dhaliwal and Mr V.K. Majotra, Judicial and Administrative Members, respectively, of the tribunal, observed that governments go beyond the authorised strength of state deputation reserve and in the process violate the 1998 Regulations and Rule 8 (2) of the All-India Cadre rules.
In their 17-page order, they referred to a Supreme Court ruling in the Hawa Singh Dhankar case. In this case, it was held by the apex court that "creation of temporary ex-cadre posts and continuing them indefinitely for years by issuing fresh sanction every year by the state government without the approval of the Central Government is illegal."
This vital legal question cropped up when Mr Karl Reddy, Punjab Financial Commissioner, had contested his transfer from the post of Financial Commissioner (Appeals-I) to that of Principal Secretary (Programme Implementation). The state government had declared the post equivalent in status and responsibility to the cadre post of Principal Secretary/Financial Commissioner under Rule 9(1) of the IAS (Pay) Rules, 1954.
Quashing the transfer of Mr Karl Reddy, Mr Dhaliwal and Mr Majotra directed the government to allow full pay and allowances to the applicant during the period he remained without a posting and till such time that he was given a suitable post "as per the relevant rules and regulations."
In his application Mr Karl Reddy had alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, was biased against him and harboured ill-will against him. Ever since Mr Badal came to power he was transferred to an insignificant, non-existing post with a mala fide intention. Mr Badal was against him simply because he (Mr Reddy) had declined to accept his telephone call because he thought that the Chief Minister wanted to speak to him about a case involving his relative.
The government had, however, denied these allegations. In its reply the government maintained that the posting and transfer of officers was the sole prerogative of the state government.
The Bench held that the allegations of mala fides are indicative of "surmises and conjectures on the part of the applicant and these do not establish severally or collectively proof enough in support of bias or mala fide intentions of the Chief Minister which has led to applicant's transfer.
The post to which Mr Reddy was transferred did not have any Secretariat branch headed by a superintendent or a head of the department. "Actually, it has only one file which is activated once each year," the Bench noted.
"We are definitely
of the view that the said equivalence appears to be
hollow inasmuch as it is only fulfilment of a technical
or legal requirement but, in fact, the post does not have
adequate work and responsibility and status commensurate
with the post of Principal Secretary. Declaration of
equivalence (of posts) under Rule 9 (I) of the 1954 pay
rules requires serious application of mind, which should
not merely be in name but in spirit and substance as
well," the Bench observed.
Show-cause notice to Jt Secy
CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 On a contempt petition alleging presentation of deliberately wrong facts in the written statement in a writ petition and thereby misleading the High Court in connection with the selection of Executive Officers of Municipal Corporations and Improvement Trusts in Punjab, Mr Justice V.S. Aggarwal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued show cause notice to Mr S.S. Bajwa, Joint Secretary, on a petition by Mr Parminder Singh, who had earlier applied for the post of Executive Officer in the Municipal Corporation and posts in Improvement Trust.
He cleared the written test and was called for interview on November, 30, 1998. But other persons were also called and allegedly given appointment letters without declaring the result.
He filed a writ petition in the High Court and the respondents, according to him, placed wrong facts before the court in their written statement to mislead the court.
In view of the written statement, the High Court disposed of his petition with permission that he might make a detailed representation to the respondents. The respondents had stated in the written statement that the petitioner was interviewed but was not found meritorious. He alleged that as per the record, he had obtained 161 marks for the Executive Officer's post Municipal Corporation posts and 170.5 marks for the improvement trust post.
He alleged that another candidate, who got only 157 marks in the O.B.C. category, was selected.
Though he was more meritorious, he was ignored in the selection.
He further alleged that
the respondents had made false averments in the written
statement and had misled the court and tried to obstruct
it from reaching a correct decision and was, therefore,
liable to be suitably punished.
CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 The economic policy-2000, which Punjab has prepared, takes note of the action plan on diversification of agriculture. There is a growing realisation that wheat-paddy rotation had to be changed.
This would happen only if the farmers are ensured remunerative prices for wheat and paddy. There is an assured market for crops other than wheat and paddy.
States which bought wheat and rice from Punjab have improved their produce of these grams. Now there will be few takers of Punjab wheat and paddy in the raw form.
Besides breaking the stranglehold of the wheat paddy rotation no diversification is possible unless policies are also re-drafted. To give one example, can farmers be expected to reduce area under paddy or even wheat when power and water for irrigation are free?
Farmers have to be educated on how soil was losing micro nutrients and on how the sub-soil water was depleting.
All this points to the approach highlighted both in the economic policy-2000 and in the action plan on diversification, that is: change the rules of the game for farmers by introducing contract or customs farming.
Unless Punjab learns to balance plenty and scarcity of foodgrains and opts for vegetables and fruits, mushrooms and dairy development, beekeeping and honey production, its future options are limited, warn the two documents.
Besides much else, the policy and action plan repeatedly refer to promoting agro-industries or food processing industry by ensuring crop varieties or vegetable and fruits which are processable, not just produced for table purposes alone. Potential for exports has to be explored and necessary institutional back-up, financial help and infrastructural development (cool chains etc) provided for throughout the State. All this would require a major involvement of the private sector as well.
Without value addition in agriculture and economic development nothing will be achieved. The economic policy amply refers to this value addition, which will include:
Agriculture production of processable produce and of high-value exportable products;
Industry primary, secondary and tertiary processing and packaging and;
Services extension service with missionary zeal, contract farming, procurement services and post-harvest operations, storage, transportation and warehousing, trade and distribution, marketing and branding.
State intervention shall have to ensure: rationalisation of taxes on the purchase of wheat by industry (the extent of disadvantage faced by purchasers of wheat in Punjab vis-a-vis Delhi is as high as 8.5 per cent; permission to processors for purchasing wheat direct from producers; encouraging private sector for setting up grain storage silos; establishing commodity futures exchange for wheat; promotion of downstream industry; centralised facilities for marketing of high quality flour; and upgradation of flour mills.
The economic policy gives details on dairy, poultry horticulture etc.
The action plan on diversification essentially includes development of horticulture, promotion of beekeeping and honey production, mushroom and poultry parks, dairy development and promotion of food processing units: all these involve an expense of Rs 40,052.73 lakh.
The plan will encompass the following components for the identified areas: area expansion, rejuvenation of old orchards, demonstration plots, productivity enhancement measures, cool chain with vegetable service centres, training and extension, market, research and development, monitoring and evaluation, and fruits, vegetables processing units.
The yearwise project cost on these components has been worked out at Rs 7526.48 lakh.
The two documents and
the action initiated on these gives a ray of hope that
for once, Punjabs political executive and the
bureaucracy is taking up new challenges in the new
millennium, certain flaws, and distortions in the
populist policies notwithstanding. (concluded)
Sikh bodies to observe
CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 Akali leader and member of Parliament, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today said that several Sikh organisations would jointly observe the 53rd birthday of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale at a conference scheduled at Fatehgarh Sahib on February 12.
Addressing mediapersons, Mr Mann said invitations for the conference had been sent to all Akali leaders, the SGPC and MPs and MLAs since Bhindranwale had earlier been declared the greatest Sikh of the 20th century. Even Takht Jathedars had been invited.
Mr Mann said there was over indulgence on the part of the BJP and the RSS in Sikh affairs, including Nanakshahi calendar (he referred to the comments of the Punjab BJP Minister, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, who had spoken of possible division among Sikhs and Hindus over celebration of certain festivals). Such interference and influence in Sikh affairs by the organisations, the BJP and the RSS, was unwarranted. In the same vein he said the two would try and sabotage the proposed birthday celebration on February 12.
He refused to entertain any questions which he perceived were controversial in nature. He summed up all such questions with the remark: There is freedom of speech in our party and co-sponsors. Any one can express free and frank opinion, unlike in the Indian state where freedom of speech is muzzled.
Mr Mann referred to an article in a magazine (India Today), which had projected Bhindranwale in bad taste by giving the title prophet of hate. How would others react if we were to say the same about Mahatma Gandhi? he asked.
As member of Parliament, he would raise the issue of such Sikhs who were abroad and were keen to visit India and their homeland, Punjab but could not do so since they were blacklisted. He would raise the issue in the Lok Sabha. A question to that effect had already been submitted by him.
Several others present besides Mr Mann included Mr Gurtej Singh ex-IAS, Maj-Gen Narinder Singh (retd), Mr Jaspal Singh Dhillon, Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, who represented Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and Mr Karamjit Singh besides Justice A.S. Bains (retd).
CM to proceed against Amarinder
PHILLAUR, Feb 7 Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has stated that he is proceeding against Punjab Pradesh Congress President Amarinder Singh for levelling false and misleading allegations against him and members of his family.
In a written statement issued here today by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Secretary Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr Badal said allegations like having purchased the palace of erstwhile Faridkot Maharaja Harinder Singh in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, a hotel in Chandigarh and thousands of acres of land near Jodhpur in Rajasthan, called for exemplary criminal and civil proceedings for defamation. He said Capt Amarinder Singh had levelled these allegations against him to tarnish his image.
Mr Badal said Capt Amarinder Singhs allegation regarding alleged refund of Rs 300 crore from the Haryana Government headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala against his entrepreneurial plot in Gurgaon was stinking falsehood and a cock and bull story.
He said by making irresponsible statements Capt Amarinder Singh was betraying his lack of faith in the law of the land.
Mr Badal came down
heavily on the allegations levelled by the Congress
leader saying that Capt Amarinder Singh belonged to a
political party whose leaders were involved in a number
of scams. He advised the Congress leader to not to level
Wadala flays Jagir Kaurs tactics
JALANDHAR, Feb 7 (UNI) The Akali Dal (Democratic) chief, Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, today said taking a retreat by excommunicated SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur was reminiscent of a similar tactic employed Mr Parkash Singh Badal in 1994 to tide over a storm caused by the Akal Takht Jathedars directive to all Akali factions to dissolve their respective identities and merge it into one Shiromani Akali Dal.
SGPC member Sarup Singh Dhesi, belonging to the group loyal to the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, alleged that the seculsion move by Bibi Jagir Kaur was inspired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to bide time till the Nawanshahr assembly byelection was over on February 17.
Bibi Jagir Kaur, after her excommunication from the Sikh Panth by the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Puran Singh, on the eve of Republic Day, has neither presented herself before the supreme religio-temporal seat of Sikhism nor given any indication that she, like 10 SGPC executive members, was ready to do penance for having defied the authority of Akal Takht on the controversial Nanakshahi calendar which she tried to enforce without consensus in the Sikh community.
Mr Wadala, who as a close confidant of Mr Badal in 1994 had helped him evade the directive of the then Akal Takht Acting Jathedar Prof Manjit Singh, directing all Akali factions to merge into one Dal, said since the entire religio-political establishment of the ruling Akali party was caught in a vertex of events, seculsion by Bibi Jagir Kaur seemed to be the best option available as it would help cool temperature in the establishment.
The seclusion move, he added, could help reduce the fallout of events triggered by the excommunication hukamnama on the Nawanshahr assembly byelection in which Mr Badal had staked much in a bid to offset political damage he had suffered since losing the November 1998 Adampur assembly byelection and the recent Lok Sabha elections.
The defeat in the Adampur election had triggered dissidence in the ruling SAD resulting in the split with Mr Tohra setting up his own Akali faction called SHSAD in May, last year.
Mr Wadala said Mr Badal had got scared of Akal Takhts intervention in political affairs of the party in 1994 and was equally alarmed of the adverse fallout of defiance of the Akal Takht Jathedars edict by Bibi Jagir Kaur on his political authority and hence her seculsion could logically be construed as Mr Badals move to tide over the storm caused by the January 25 hukamnama issued by Giani Puran Singh from Guna in Madhya Pradesh.
Mr Dhesi, on the other
hand, claimed Giani Puran Singh would be removed from the
office of the Akal Takht Jathedar after the Nawanshahr
byelection because Mr Badal would not want any
Takht-triggered storm to once again convulse the ruling
SADs religio-political establishment.
Trial begins in boat tragedy case
HOSHIARPUR, Feb 7 Trial proceedings against 20 travel agents and sub agents involved in the Malta boat tragedy have regularly started in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi.
This was stated by Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman of the Malta boat tragedy probe mission in press release issued here today. He said cases of accused of this tragedy were being disposed of within a week. The hearing of the case could be completed within six months.
Mr Khera said the Home Department of the Centre had already submitted its view points in this case in the high court. The SSP of the CBI was on a visit to Malta, Turkey and Italy to collect evidences against the culprits. He said members of the probe mission would go to Sri Lanka in March, and Pakistan in April. They would also go to Malta and Italy in this connection.
Probe sought into DEO(S)
TARN TARAN, Feb 7 Mr Daljit Singh, president, and Mr Kuldeep Singh Muhawa, senior vice-president of the Government Teachers Union, Amritsar, in a statement here yesterday condemned the functioning style of Ms Sawinder Kaur Kahlon, DEO (S), Amritsar, and demanded a probe into it.
The teacher leaders alleged that being the wife of a Cabinet minister of the state, Mrs Kahlon often remained absent from her office and came to office after 5 p.m. when the teachers who come for their urgent works go back after waiting for hours. The leaders said as a result of her absence from office thousands of teachers cases were lying pending for years together. Even medical reimbursement bills were not being cleared.
They alleged that no norms were followed while dealing with functioning of the school works. They alleged that the DD powers of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Patti, were delegated to the headmaster of Government High School, Boparai, whose post was much junior to the lecturer of a senior secondary school where as the DD powers of Government High School Kairon were attached with the officiating principal of Government Girls Senior Secondary School Kairon. They said that a librarian was appointed against the post of economics lecturer in Patti.
WB-aided project hangs fire
AMRITSAR, Feb 7 The 150-bedded emergency-cum-super speciality block hospital project is hanging fire, construction of the 7.8 crore hospital is at a standstill.
The work has been suspended since April, 1999, due to the state governments alleged failure to supply funds which it has already received.
The civil hospital is to be built under a World Bank project and the funds have been paid by the World Bank in toto. It is alleged that the state government has used the money meant for the project elsewhere.
Out of the total, a sum of Rs 3.5 crore has been received so far from the state government. The hospital comes under the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, a state government body.
The construction work on the project has been undertaken by National Building and Construction Corporation (NBCC) of the Central Government, says Mr G.M. Krishnamurti, Deputy Project Manager, NBCC. About Rs 90 lakh has already been spent by the NBCC from its own quota. The overhead cast has mounted to Rs 33 lakh.
Material such as diesel generator transformer are lying unused. Besides, reinforcement steel, steel plates are rusting.
R.C.C. (sewerage) pipes, sanitary equipment and even cables, fans and light fittings are lying unutilised.
The project envisages a 150-bedded civil hospital-cum-super speciality wards, with two operation theatres and two floors of OPD.
Mr Krishnamurti claimed that it was erroneous to have started both phases of the project simultaneously.
The amount sanctioned could have been better utilised if the first phase had been completed and made operational before starting the next phase.
Sensitise cops on rights : Jacob
PHILLAUR, Feb 7 Lt-Gen JFR Jacob, Governor of Punjab, today conferred M.A, M.Phil and Ph.D degrees in police administration to police officers today at the second convocation of the Punjab Police Academy here.
He appreciated the efforts being put in by the academy to improve the academic standards of police personnel. He said the combination of academic excellence and practical police training would held in the professional growth of men and women in uniform.
The role of the police in the present social scenario had become complex as it had to face challenging terrorist and destructive activities of anti-social elements.
He lamented that the image of the police left much to be desired. There was a need for a highly professional, unbiased and human approach on the part of the police to win the confidence of the people, he added.
There was need to sensitise the men and women in uniform regarding human rights. The violation of human rights not only invited the wrath of the people of the affected areas in the country but also leads to criticism by the world community.
He urged the academy to pay due importance to areas like computers and tackling crimes.
The state Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, said the Punjab police had not been asked for its opinion on discontinuing the Attari-Lahore Samjhauta Express or the Delhi-Lahore bus in view of the recent instances of Pakistan misusing these to push arms and ammunition, drugs and fake currency into India.
While admitting to the misuse of the train and the bus for such purposes by Pakistan, the DGP said that the fake currency worth Rs 35 lakh seized this year had been pushed into the country through other sources.
On the recent spurt in the number of pro-Khalistan web sites, Mr Sarabjit Singh said that the police was continuously monitoring the web sites and taking down the relevant downloads.
Among those who spoke were Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Director of the academy, Mr Chander Shekhar, IGP of the academy, and Dr D.J. Singh, Deputy Director (SS) and Dean of the university cell of the academy.
Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain,
SSP, Bathinda, was the first police official in the
country to receive a Ph.D in police administration. Mr
Siddiqui and Mr Dinkar Gupta, DIG, Intelligence, also
Issue of fishing rights in
CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 The Punjab Forest and Wildlife Preservation Minister, Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, said today the controversy regarding auctioning of fishing rights to private contractors this year by the State Fisheries Department in the Harike wildlife sanctuary had been resolved.
The interim injection granted by the court in favour of the contractors had been vacated on intervention by the government. The department had clarified to the contractors concerned that the fishing rights in Harike wildlife sanctuary were not granted to them as per terms of the contract, says a press note.
Mr Jyani said that the Wildlife Department has swung into action and started clearing the fishing boats and hutments erected by the fishermen and the operation stood completed.
An action plan had now been drawn to deal with cases of poaching. Principal Chief Conservator Wildlife had instructed the field staff to deal strictly with all illegal cases of fishing and poaching and conduct raids.
The Harike wildlife sanctuary is one of the six Ramsar sites of India. It has been designated as a wetland of international importance, which supports a number of rare, vulnerable and endangered species of birds and animals. Some are even listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as red data list of threatened species.
A large number of
migratory birds visit this sanctuary during winter from
Siberia, China, Pakistan and other countries. The
government was determined that the sanctity of Harike
wildlife sanctuary would be maintained at any cost and
not allowed to be exploited by anybody, the Minister
Plea to fill posts of DSP
AMRITSAR, Feb 7 Ms Laxmi Kanta here yesterday urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to fill the post of SP city, on a priority basis. In a letter to the Chief Minister, she said many posts of DSP were lying vacant which was a cause for concern in view of the rising crime graph in the city.
Green park loses colour
PATIALA, Feb 7 With the hope of seeing a green patch in the concrete jungle called Tripuri Colony, a citizens welfare society collected money from residents and shopkeepers in 1994 and built a park around the overhead water reservoir near the main bazaar.
Today, six years thereafter, the park presents an ugly look because of its use as a strorehouse for building-construction material by the Municipal Corporation. Residents and shopkeepers have also contributed in its damage by throwing in garbage and litter, encroachers have also not remained behind and occupied part of it by dismantling the boundary wall for their private use.
Mr Ashok Chawla, General Secretary of the society, said, All our efforts have been wasted. We had pooled money to convert a ditch where once pigs thrived and garbage was dumped, into a park. Now, due to the negligence of the corporation, it may go the old way.
Mr Chawla said there was no place in Tripuri to spend the evening or to breathe fresh air. People used to spend evenings here. The shopkeepers liked to take a walk here during the lunch hours, he said. He said, now, no one goes there. He said First, the dirty look puts off a visitor and then, the presence of persons occupying a few remaining green patches to play cards and gamble makes children and women uncomfortable.
The society itself was given the charge of maintaining the park. Mr Chawla said the the society had no problem of funds. But, due to uncooperative attitude of the Municipal Corporation and the police, the maintenance was not possible. He said the society could neither remove the buildings built by the corporation, nor could it pick up fight with the encroachers.
Mr Chawla said even though several representations were given to the corporation seeking help in the parks maintenance, but, on action had been taken. Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation said the building-construction material at the park was indeed of the corporation, but had been kept there for carrying out development work in the colony.
German shepherd adjudged best
PATIALA, Feb 7 Dogs from New Delhi captured the attention of all at the 14th and 15th All-Breed Championship Dog Show-cum-Competition, held here yesterday by winning maximum number of prizes.
According to the results released to the press here today by the Patiala Kennel Club, it was Kerly V. Murtal, a German shepherd, owned by Mr Abdullah Noori of New Delhi, that was adjudged the best in the show in both 14th and 15th dog championship decided by two separate judges.
The second best in both competitions was also from New Delhi, a great Dane called Rommel, owned by Mr Vijay Mathur.
Even the third best a golden retriever called Karmella was also from New Delhi, owned by Mr Mukul Vaid.
In the 14th championship, the best in show Bred in India Award went to Dhawans Dazzler Boxer Red Saphire, owned by Mr Anoop Dhawan, again from New Deli. Even the best puppy in this show, a Lahasa apso kar-la-sha sherpa of whigham, owned by Mrs Mamta Khanna was also from New Delhi.
In the 15th show, however, it were the dogs from Kanpur that hogged the limelight. The Best in Show Bred in India prize and Best Puppy in Show Award went to Mungals luxury Dobermann, owned by Mr R.S. Mungal of Lucknow.
Workshop on child rights
FARIDKOT, Feb 7 The human Rights Commission of Punjab and Indo-British Council jointly organised a workshop here today to make the people aware about the child rights and child protection through different activities in the State.
More than 100 children between the age group of 11 and 16, including parents, teachers and social workers, participated. Mrs Anita Punj, S.P. (operation), Amritsar, said 72 such projects would be organised in rural and urban areas of 12 districts, Amritsar, Bhatinda, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mansa, Muktsar, Patiala Phagwara and Sangrur in the next four months.
A three member team comprising a senior police official, a social worker and an elected member of a voluntary organisation has been nominated in each district. She said both Human Rights Commission and British Council would shortly launch a campaign to identify crimes committed by the children through different agencies.
Mrs Punj said the government had already assured its support to materialise the plan.
HP Governor visits Anandpur
ROPAR, Feb 7 Mr Vishnukant Shastri, Governor, Himachal Pradesh, today paid obeisance at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, Giani Tarlochan Singh, head granthi of the takht, presented a siropa (robe of honour) to the Governor.
Mr Shastri also visited Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Museum and the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex.
The Governor was
accompanied by Mr Khushi Ram, Additional Deputy
Commissioner; Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP; Mr
Shivdular Singh Dhillon, SDM, Anandpur Sahib and Mr
Gurmit Singh, SP (Operational), Ropar.
Maha Sangh holds protest
CHANDIGARH, Feb 7 The Punjab State Cooperative, Boards, Corporations Workers Employees, Maha Sangh today held gate meetings outside the offices of Markfed, Spinfed, Tubewell Corporation, Seeds Corporation, P.S.I.E.C., Ex-Servicemen Corporation and the Land Mortgage Bank to protest against the decision of the government to close down 11 boards and corporations in the State.
Rs 1 crore PF fraud
ROPAR, Feb 7 A fraud involving nearly Rs 1 crore in the Employees Provident Fund of about 1000 workers engaged through contractors at the Ropar thermal plant (RTP) has reportedly detected by the Ropar Thermal Project Contractor Worker Union.
Giving details about this fraud, Mr R.K. Tiwari, president of the union, said the EPF contribution was required to be made by the labour contractors at the rate of 12 per cent as employers share, while another 12 per cent was being deducted by the contractors from the monthly wages of the workers. Thus the contractors should have deposited 24 per cent of the amount in the EPF account of each worker. But in this case, two labour contractors of the RTP had not deposited any amount in the EPF accounts of the workers since April 1997, he alleged.
Mr Tiwari said the modus operandi in this fraud was that these contractors had been producing fake bank challans since then to the RTP authorities as a proof of depositing the amount with the Regional Employees Provident Fund Commissioner (REPF) at Chandigarh. He claimed that both contractors had so far deprived about 1000 workers of their hard earned EPF amount due to the indifferent attitude and negligence of the RTP authorities towards the welfare of workers engaged through the contractors.
The union president demanded lodging of an FIR against the erring contractors. He also demanded a CBI inquiry in this case.
Mr Tiwari urged the RTP Chief Engineer, who is the principal employer, to get the EPF amount deposited in the workers accounts within 15 days. He also demanded abolition of the contract labour system in the RTP besides regularising the services of contract workers.
The union blocked the main gate of the Thermal plant for about two hours to protest against the fraud.
When contacted, Mr Satish Mittal, Chief Engineer of the RTP said the authorities were examining the issue. However, he said the amount involved in the EPF fraud might be Rs 1 crore. As per his information, the EPF of about 800 workers had not been deposited by the contractors since mid-1997.
He also stated that the contractors had presented fake bank challans to the RTP authorities regarding depositing the EPF with the REPF.
Mr Mittal said the RTP authorities were seeking legal advice for initiating legal proceedings, including lodging of an FIR against the contractors allegedly involved in the fraud.
Telecom official booked
JALANDHAR Feb 7 An accounts officer of the Department of Telecom and his tout have been booked by the local Vigilance Bureau for allegedly demanding Rs 5,000 as a bribe from a non-resident Indian to help restore his non-functional Public Call Office (PCO).
Earlier, in 1993, the same official was allegedly caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 and was booked by the Hoshiarpur police for the offence.
According to Ms Gurpreet
Deo, SP, Vigilance Bureau, Mr Gagandeep Singh, an NRI
hailing from Abadan village, had complained that the
official was demanding the amount for the restoration of
his PCO at Shahkot, which had been lying disconnected.
Row over varsity promotions hots
PATIALA, Feb 7 The row over merit and direct promotees has taken a new turn in Punjabi University which is not filling the posts of five department heads and has given charge of these departments to the deans concerned.
The headships of departments of mathematics, physics, law, economics and human biology are lying vacant at present. The headships of the departments of mathematics and physics have been lying vacant for more than one month. The positions of the heads of the other departments became vacant at the end of the past month only.
The university authorities have decided to take legal opinion on a status quo verdict delivered in a petition filed by merit promotees in the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently. Earlier, the courts had ruled in favour of open merit candidates on the issue of appointment of heads.
The university Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, said the university had sought legal opinion on the status quo orders passed by the court as these were not clear. He said a decision on appointing heads would be taken only after that.
There is no controversy over the appointments in the economics and law departments where open candidates are eligible for the post. However, in the case of the departments of mathematics, physics and human biology, both merit promotees and open candidates are claiming headship. In the Department of Economics, Prof Surinder Singh is eligible among the open candidates. Similar is the case of Dr Paramjit Singh of the Department of Law.
However, in the Department of Mathematics, Prof Ram Singh is an open-category candidate where Dr Prem Nath Chhichra is also in the contention as a merit promotee reader. In the Department of Physics, Prof S.P. Virdee, merit promotee, and Prof R.C. Verma, direct promotee, are in the contention. In the Department of Human Biology, Dr S.P. Singh is the merit promotee and Dr S.M.S. Chahal the direct recruit.
The issue has caused a division in the faculty. The matter has been further complicated as there are more merit promotees in the university against whom an earlier court order has been given. The number of merit promotees is likely to increase as no direct recruitment is taking place and is also not likely in the near future. The faculty members, while talking on the subject informally, do not want to be quoted. There is also a division on the meaning of the status quo with the open category teachers saying that it means that the university can go ahead with its earlier decision to appoint only direct recruits as heads. The position is not likely to clear in the future as the court will take up the issue again in the first week of July.
The Punjabi University Teachers Association is in favour of removing the distinction between merit and open promotees. Secretary of the association, Dr Hari Singh Boparai, said there should not be any difference between the merit and direct recruits and there should be a joint seniority. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Ahluwalia, said a syndicate subcommittee had already recommended amending the statutes and removing the distinction between the two categories. He said the amendment was pending with the Chancellor for approval.
Meanwhile, the forum for
education action and reform (fear) said heads should have
been allowed to continue in the interest of the
departments. Fear President, Dr A.S. Dhillon said by such
a move, the faculty was being kept on tenterhooks.
Fellowship for PAU scientist
LUDHIANA, Feb 7 Mr Paramjit Singh Randhawa, Assistant Soil Scientist, in the Department of Soils of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, has been awarded the Commercial Fellowship to persue PhD in soil sciences at Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand.
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