|Monday, March 6, 2000,
Bibi announces grants
Budget session begins today
Landless leave villages
Passengers want bus to go on
Act or quit, Mann tells Jathedar
RTP workers smell rat in EPF fraud
Govts claim on investment
Akali ex-MLA dead
Sena chief, others released
Drive against rabies
Rs 192 cr spent on welfare of SCs,
Power, water supply disrupted
Delete Sarao's name from FIR: HR
2 held in murder case
Rape case:DSP surrenders
2 Pakistanis held, RDX seized
Minor girl rescued
Two cars stolen
Diploma in dental specialities
Lack of conservation wrecks
PATIALA, March 5 A rich treasure of miniature paintings, murals, frescoes and illustrated manuscripts, reflecting Rajasthani, Pahari, Punjabi and European art, found in 13 chambers of the historic Quila Mubarak and Kali Devi Temple, is passing into oblivion for want of conservation and care by the State Government.
Over two centuries old, these works of art are probably the only collection of such diverse schools of paintings at one place. Instead of becoming a major tourist attraction, these have become an eyesore on the fort and for the Department of Conservation.
These paintings have been the subject of numerous research papers. Books extolling these paintings have also been written. Every now and then, a researcher from a foreign country comes to see the paintings but goes home disappointed.
Hinting at the probable political reasons for the neglect, Dr R.P. Srivastawa, who has written a book on these paintings, says these may have been made during the reign of the forefathers of the Punjab Pradesh Congress President, Capt, Amarinder Singh. A huge revenue can be earned by exploiting their tourism potential but no one is nurturing it, he laments.
His son, Dr S.P. Srivastawa, had done a Ph.D on these paintings. His research, published in book form, says the richness of the paintings does not merely consist of the varied material but also of the diverse themes used. It says the artists have used gach work, zarri work, coloured stone in marble and thin glass polished with mercury, besides limestone, pulverised clay and burnt coconut crust.
Themes range from court paintings, royal portraits and funerals to stories from Hindu mythology, saints, poets and travels of Guru Nanak. There are also motifs like hunting scenes and women doing household chores.
According to Dr Saroj Rani, Head of the Department of Fine Arts, Punjabi University, the artists belonging to Rajasthan, Kangra, Patiala Gharana and England were not merely painters but were well-versed with the history and texts of the time. One finds illustrations from Mahabharata, Ramayana, Vishnu Puran, Geet Govind, Krishna Raslila, Sohni Mahiwaal and Sheeri Farihad.
She said the paintings were in good condition in 1975, when she first saw these. In her subsequent visits, she was pained to see the deterioration. The fort, though a protected monument, is not being preserved.
The walls are crumbling and the roofs are collapsing. Most of the paintings in the 12 chambers of the fort have been lost. Colours have faded and complete panels have disappeared at places. Water seeping from cracks in the walls has damaged many of these beyond recognition. Layers of dust have gathered on several panels.
A lone chamber at the Kali Devi has been completely lost. While the officials of the Conservation Department claimed shortage of funds as the main reason for decaying of the treasure, enquiries revealed that till four years ago, huge amounts of funds were given for their conservation. A vigilance enquiry into irregularity of funds as the main reason for decaying of the treasure, enquiries revealed that till four years ago, huge amounts of funds were given for their conservation. A vigilance enquiry into irregularity of funds against some officials stresses the corruption angle.Several projects to save these paintings were envisaged but none were followed in letter and spirit. In the late 1980s, the government planned a transplantation project but only one panel was removed. It is rotting in a store of the department in Sheesh Mahal.
Mr Sucha Singh Chauhan, State Archaeological Engineer, said no funds had been received to preserve the paintings for the last three years. He said a project was given to the National Research Laboratory of Conservation to save the paintings. They have worked on one of the chambers but the future contract with them is held up.
Mr V.M. Bhandari, Archaeologi-cal Chemist Incharge of the transplantation project, said it failed not because of irregularity of funds but because there was no place to transplant the paintings. He said the Government ought to have museums in good condition to display the paintings, which could not be preserved in the dilapidated structure of Quila Mubarak.
Art experts stress that
proper documents of the paintings is necessary and say
their replicas can be made. They point out that the State
Government is selling land to generate resources but a
little investment on these paintings can bring immediate
Bibi announces grants
AMRITSAR, March 5 Notwithstanding fresh directives issued by Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar, Akal Takht, that Bibi Jagir Kaur should not be allowed to attend any religious, social or political gathering, she has participated in over 12 such programmes. She was also presented with "siropas" from organisers.
Bibi Jagir Kaur also announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the construction of Guru Ravi Das dharmshala at Bhatura Lubana village where she had gone to attend a function. She also said a Mata Sahib Kaur girls college would be opened as there was no such institute in 25 villages of the area. This announcement was also made on behalf of the SGPC even though she had been restrained to function as the SGPC chief.
Earlier, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his ministerial colleagues, MLAs and SGPC members had allowed Bibi Jagir Kaur to share the dais with delegates at Teja Singh Samunderi Hall on March 3. She also attended a bhog ceremony of an SGPC member at Mahilpur village (Hoshiarpur).
Virtually ignoring the fresh directives of Akal Takht, Bibi Jagir Kaur also attended a number of social functions at Amritsar and Kapurthala districts. She listened to grievances of her supporters at Bholath, which is part of her Assembly constituency, and held discussions with some SGPC members there.
Sources said Bibi Jagir
Kaur had also attended social functions in her home
district, including the cremation of one of her
supporters at Rajpura village and bhog of akhand path at
Budget session begins today
CHANDIGARH, March 5 The Budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha commences tomorrow at 2.30 p.m. with an Address by the new Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R Jacob.
Both the Congress and the CPI are likely to boycott or stage walkout during the Governors Address, though for different reasons. The former is to raise the RSS issue and the latter the non-performance of the government which had failed to check corruption, nepotism, and where muscle and money power rule the roost.
The CPIs MLA, Mr Hardev Arshi, has issued a lengthy four-page statement giving out CPIs views on the way the SAD-BJP government has been run all these three years.
The session, besides the Budget being presented by the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, for the fourth successive turn, will also see several Bills on which ordinances were passed after the last session of the House adjourned sine die.
There is also to be election of the Deputy Speaker, since the previous incumbent, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, has been inducted into the Council of Ministers. Even the new SAD MLA Mr Jatinder Singh Kariha, is to be sworn in. This will be done either in the Speakers chamber tomorrow or on Tuesday. The House, of course, will adjourn for the day once the Governor finishes his Address tomorrow. The Business Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday. The discussion, it is learnt, on Governors Address will conclude on March 13.
There are likely to be heated exchanges and sparks are not ruled out given the dissidence within the ruling coalition partners and the issues to be raised by the Opposition, namely, "communalism, corruption, unfair means in the Nawanshahr Assembly byelection which Akalis won wresting the seat from the Congress, etc".
Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers met tonight to draw up a strategy for the House sittings besides finalising the states new excise policy.
The poor financial
health, law and order and police excesses are other
topics on which the Opposition will fire salvos at the
Treasury Benches. The House will also see the performance
of new ministers, a majority of whom are ministers of
state. The non-completion of the Thein Dam, corruption
charges against ministers will also find an echo in the
Landless leave villages
ASAR MAJRA (Patiala), March 5 The landless of this village are working in nearby town or other villages instead of their own. While landlords are relying on migrant labour or those from other villages.
A similar situation exists in nearby Inderpura village and some other villages in the area. There is tension between the landed and the landless with cross cases pending in police stations and the social fabric of the village having been disturbed.
The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that landless labourers of Asar Majra have filed a case in court alleging that they were being kept as bonded labourers by "zamindars". They allege that the initial amount they had taken as advance has spiralled to astronomical figures due to exorbitant rates of interest being charged on it which they are unable to pay. Besides this they say they were penalised Rs 100 per day for the days they did not work. They have pleaded to the court to give them reprieve.
Talking to TNS, Kesar Singh, a labourer said he had taken Rs 12,000 as advance from former village sarpanch, Gurdial Singh, and worked with him for two years. He said, however after the end of two years the landlord had debited an amount of Rs 35,000 to him which he had refused to pay and had filed a case. Other labourers of the village, Karam Singh, Deep Singh and Kamma, claim they had taken amounts ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 from Lakhwinder Singh of Inderpura village and worked under him for varying periods but still had more than double the money outstanding in their names according to the accounts of the landlord.
Presently all these labourers are working as daily wage labourers in adjacent villages or in Patiala town. This has led to bad blood as the landlords do not allow them to graze their cattle or cut grass and weeds from the edges of fields. They alleged due to heightened tension, they could not even defecate on the road side.
The landlords have their own tale of woe. Gurdial Singh, former sarpanch, said besides giving his former employee Kesar Rs 16,000 as advance, he had given him money to build a house and dig a water pipe. He said some organisation which worked for the landless had egged them on to file a case against him and other landlords, accusing them of treating them as bonded labourers. He said no landlord charged interest on the initial advance but if they took subsequent money and if the landlord took it on interest from arhatiya he passed on the interest to the labourer.
While Gurdial Singh has one case pending against him, Lakhwinder of Inderpura has three cases against him filed by three labourers he kept for varying periods after giving them advances. Lakhwinder said he had given advances of Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000. He said presently the three labourers owed him more than Rs 1 lakh. He justified charging interest on the money, saying that he had only passed on the 3 per cent interest he was paying to his arhatiya which had been agreed to by the labourers while taking the money.
Lakhwinder and his two brothers are presently working on their fields themselves. They have also not taken the routine 10 to 12 acres of additional land on lease for want of labour. Lakhwinder said he would rather work himself and rely on migrant labour or keep someone on a daily wage-basis.
Villagers said vested
interests were instigating the labourers. Also the manner
in which the shamlat land was distributed and
ploughed was the main reason for the disquiet. They said
due to no common land remaining in several villages, the
landless could not graze their cattle nor bathe them in
the absence of ponds.
Passengers want bus to go on
WAGAH, March 5 (UNI) Shock and anxiety was writ large on the faces of passengers and crew of the Lahore-bound Pakistan Tourism Corporation luxury coach which was attacked by Shiv Sena activists near Phagwara yesterday.
Heaving a sigh of relief on reaching this joint check post (JCP) under tight security of the Punjab Police last evening, a number of passengers told waiting mediapersons that they had never expected an attack on the bus.
"Though there were threats by organisations to stop the New Delhi-Lahore bus service, we never expected such an incident to happen", said Mr Parvez Menhaz of Lahore, who was returning with his wife after visiting relatives in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh.
Another passenger who preferred anonymity said that fundamentalist organisations on both sides of the border were not in favour of normal relations between India and Pakistan. "Such incidents like the one that happened today do not serve the interests of either country", he added.
Many of the 33 passengers were heard on uttering "Khuda ka shukar hai hum sahee salamat pahunch gaye" (thank god, we have reached here safely).
Mrs Naseer Begum from Karachi, who was returning after visiting her parents in Madhya Pradesh, said normally she used to come by the Samjhauta Express but this time "I thought of taking the bus back home as people said it takes less time than the train". Like a majority of the women passengers she was in shock.
Despite the attack on the bus, all the passengers were of the opinion that the road link between the two countries should not be snapped as it was convenient to for common people residing on both of the border. They felt that fanatic elements would make efforts to stop the bus again but the governments of both countries should deal with them with a firm hand.
According to senior Punjab Police officials at Amritsar, the bus will now be escorted by two vehicles with trained police personnel, in front and at the rear. Until now a single police pilot used to escort the bus.
CHANDIGARH, March 5 For the Punjab Budget, 2000-01, the SAD-BJP political executive is looking forward to the past to compare and contrast its performance in the three years with the five years of the Congress rule from 1992-97.
Given the states financial health and the likely adverse impact of the Union Budget on agriculture will the Budget reflect a "strategic" plan or toe the beaten "schematic" path?
There is concern over public spending, which in the past was never focused, never prioritised and no cost benefit analysis was ever done. As per the "folklore," for every Rs 100 spent by way of public expenditure, returns were worth a mere Rs 40, while, the remaining Rs 60 went into the "system". Will the next Budget promise positive "outcome"?
For every plan scheme, say worth Rs 100, state borrows Rs 175. Therefore, will the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, look beyond democracy ( vote politics ) and seek competence through good and honest governance for the right `outcome of the policies to be pronounced and proposed ? Mere political oratory will not do.
Punjab is a paradox, says the Principal Secretary, Finance, Mr K.R.Lakhanpal. Despite known facts about finances , the rate of growth of economy in Punjab was 6.28 per cent in 1998-99 compared to 2.68 in the previous year. Agriculture alone showed an upswing of 5.13 per cent in 1998-99 against (-) 9.90 per cent in 1997-98. This may just be a mere flash in the pan. But successive good monsoons over several years and bumper wheat harvest has made all the difference.
Mr Lakhanpal says `sustainability of growth is highly difficult in a mature agricultural economy than in an emerging economy. Punjab today needs a radical breakthrough.
From what one gathers, the Plan and non-Plan schemes seem to have made little or no impact on the economic development.
Could Punjab do with a "Zero Plan Year" -2000-01 ?
The past Annual Plans, beginning 1997-98 when the present government assumed office, have been short on performance. Against an Annual Plan outlay of Rs 2,100 crore in the first year, the performance was Rs 2,008 crore. In 1998-99, against Rs 2,500 crore, the actual Plan achievement was Rs 2,050 crore. In the current financial year, the Plan is expected to close at Rs 2,220 crore (estimated) against an outlay of Rs 2,680 crore.
The proposed Plan size ( 2000-01) is Rs 2,700 crore. Internally, the Plan has been approved. It is yet to be cleared by the Planning Commission.
Incidentally, the Budget is expected to be presented to the Vidhan Sabha, tentatively, on March 16 , while the Budget session commences from March 6.
Mr Lakhanpal says major push in the Budget will be on agriculture, biotechnology, information technology and infrastructure. Agriculture, he pointed out, had to acquire a corporate or contract look with a shift from simple food production to agri-business and processing for value addition to the produce and enhance returns to the farmers.
More investment on agriculture research and development is required. Simultaneously, existing revenue and other laws related to farm sector shall have to be changed or amended. Will the Finance Minister ensure the Budget caters to economic expectations and corrections, besides providing an `in-built system of monitoring the implementation of his proposals for the desired outcome?
Punjab will have to free itself from the yoke of "free" power to run tubewells and water for irrigation. Just one , single populist step has cost the state dear. The international financial institutions continue to totally deny any financial assistance for the much needed rural development projects.
The World Bank has backed out from financing a rural water supply project worth Rs 800 - 900 crore; a project for roads worth Rs 1500 crore; and a scheme for urban water supply and sewerage, involving a financial commitment of nearly Rs 800 crore.
It would be in the interest of the state if the Council of Ministers approves the recommendation of the Cabinet sub-committee on withdrawing the "free" power and water for irrigation purpose before the Budget is presented.
Delay and dithering in implementing current years budget proposals for example, resulted in poor performance. Much later the government quietly went ahead to recover what was proposed by way of sales tax, transport charges, hiked fee in educational institutions, enhanced revenue fees and disposing off property to earn revenue besides user-charges in hospitals.
The Budget has to have "social safety nets", particularly, for the weaker sections and farmers. The latter will be doubly unblessed: first due to hike in fertiliser price and second due to pruned public distribution system, which means slower or lesser lifting of foodgrains by the FCI causing storage problems in the state. The higher cost of cultivation will also have to be off-set.
Will the Prime Minister respond to the request of the Chief Minister, who met him in New Delhi on Friday seeking rollback in fertiliser prices ?
Punjab expects "concrete steps" to reduce deficit and visible signs of government expenditure being compressed rather than playing to the galleries and putting gloss over financial figures to highlight only the positive side of the SAD-BJP rule and decrying the previous Congress rule or blaming it all on decade of terrorism. Neither painting the Congress black nor eulogising SAD-BJP "achievements" alone will do. The Finance Minister will have to give up the beaten path and show a new direction despite the given constraints and political compulsions.
Neither apportioning the
blame to circumstances, past or present (which makes the
future uncertain) nor wallowing in self-pity or finding
alibis will do. Political executive and bureaucracy has
to act now. It has to perform or perish.
Act or quit, Mann tells
AMRITSAR, March 5 Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has said that Giani Puran Singh should either summon Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his ministerial colleagues and SGPC members for violating the controversial hukmnama or resign as Jathedar Akal Takht.
Talking to the press here today, Mr Mann alleged that Giani Puran Singh had failed to perform his duties as jathedar in accordance with Sikh maryada.
Mr Mann, who considers
Bhai Ranjit Singh as real jathedar has also lashed out at
him for his alleged secret meetings with the RSS Lok
Sabha members would ask me about such secret meetings by
Giani Puran Singh and Bhai Ranjit Singh". He alleged
that Bhai Ranjit Singh had not taken his party into
confidence before holding secret meetings with the RSS.
He further alleged that Giani Puran Singh was working
under pressure of the RSS. He said his party was in
favour of implementing the Nanakshahi calendar as every
community had the right to have a separate
jantri (calendar). However, under the alleged
pressure of the RSS, Giani Puran Singh had imposed ban on
the implementation of Nanakshahi calendar. Expressing his
reservations over the calling of sarbat
Khalsa on Baisakhi by Bhai Ranjit Singh, Mr Mann
said any decision in this regard would be taken at the
executive meeting of his party, proposed to be held at
Ludhiana on March 12.
RTP workers smell rat in EPF
ROPAR, March 5 Workers of the Ropar Thermal Plant feel that there is something wrong in the non-registration of a case with the police with regard to the embezzlement of the employees provident fund and fraud case because the plant authorities have failed, even after more than a fortnight of the receipt of first communiqué from the PSEB on February 17, to lodge an FIR in this regard. They say that the second communiqué in this regard was received by the RTP authorities from the PSEB on February 23 but no FIR had so far been lodged with the police by the local authorities on one pretext or the other.
On the one hand, the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Chandigarh, has got registered an FIR against a contractor after the detection of an embezzlement in the EPF accounts of the workers, on the other hand the local RTP authorities, according to a senior leader of the workers, have been dragging their feet on the registration of the FIR in this regard although they (RTP authorities) received a number of alleged fake challans as proof of depositing EPF amount of the workers in the bank.
Hundreds of workers under the banner of the Ropar Thermal Project Contractor Worker Union have, protesting for the past more than 15 days, been holding protests demanding legal action, including an FIR against the erring persons. They have organised gate rallies, protest march and have burnt effigies.
Talking to TNS, Mr Raj Kumar Tiwari, president, the Ropar Thermal Project Contractor Worker Union alleged that the RTP authorities feared that after the registration of the FIR, the involvement of certain senior officials of the plant might come to legal.
When TNS contacted Mr
Satish Mittal, Chief Engineer of RTP, last night, he said
the RTP authorities on behalf of the PSEB, had engaged an
EPF expert for advice before registering the case with
the police. He said the advice of the counsel was
Govts claim on investment
LUDHIANA, March 5 The Lok Bhalai Party has given a clarion call to the people of the state to save Punjab from further ruin at the hands of the SAD-BJP regime.
During a press conference here today, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president of the party announced the launch of a "save Punjab" crusade from Khatkarkalan the birthplace of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, on his death anniversary, March 23.
Giving details, he said that on March 23, he and his party workers would challenge the Chief Ministers claims of ushering in development as developmental projects cited by him like expansion of Raja Sansi Airport at Amritsar, and Guru Gobind Singh oil refinery at Bathinda were a farce.
He announced that the party workers would take out a rally from Khatkarkalan to Amritsar on March 23 and from there they would go barefoot to the Raja Sansi Airport on March 24 and observe a one-day hunger strike against the alleged shelving of the expansion and upgradation plan.
He said he had received information through reliable sources of shelving of this Rs 105 crore expansion project by the Government of India and the money earmarked for this project being diverted to two new projects in Gujarat and in South India.
Although it was decided to upgrade the airport in March 1997 the project was not put before the project investment board. The plan for international flights from Birmingham and Glasgow to Amritsar were in the nature of a face-saving exercise.
Alleging that the Chief Minister, had surrendered on the issue, Mr Ramoowalia served him an ultimatum to prove otherwise by releasing copies of the Rs 105 crore cheque before the media before March 19.
Citing the reply given by Mr Ram Naik, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas to Mr Sukhdev Singh Libran, Member of the Rajya Sabha on the status of the Bathinda Oil refinery project, Mr Ramoowalia claimed that this project, too, was stalled.
He said Mr Naik himself had admitted before the house that environmental approvals for crude oil terminal, pipeline and single point moorings were yet to be obtained and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited was still on the lookout for a joint venture partner.
He also decried the
alleged move to sell off 75 acres PAU land to raise funds
and alleged that the land would be allotted to close
relatives and associates of the Badal family, for
constructing farm houses there.
Akali ex-MLA dead
KOTKAPURA, March 5 Mr Mohinder Singh Brar, a senior Akali leader and former MLA, died here this evening due to a cardiac arrest. He was 66.
Mr Brar, who was an MLA from 1985 to 1990 in Punjab, is survived by a son and two daughters.
Mr Brar, a close confidant of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, also unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly elections against a rebel Akali candidate, Mr Mantar Singh Brar.
Family sources said Brar
felt uncomfortable when he returned from an evening walk
and immediately collapsed. A large number of people from
all walks of life reached his residence on hearing of his
Sena chief, others released
PHILLAUR, March 5 The Punjab Shiv Sena President, Mr Surinder Dogra, who was arrested along with two Sena activists, Rajesh Palta and Dhiraj Karwal, three security guards, Iqbal Singh, Manohar Lal and Ajit Singh, all of Amritsar, and a Gypsy driver, Sham Lal, by the Goraya police yesterday, were released on bail last night.
The Superintendent of Police (Detective), Mr Dilbagh Singh, while confirming this said today that five other Punjab Shiv Sena activists, including the Senas state general secretary Pawan Parbhakar, Sena leaders, Inderjit Karwal, Gopal Chopra, Vinod Gupta and Narinder Sharma, who surrendered before the Goraya police, were also released on bail today.
Meanwhile, the Senas President, Mr Dogra, denied the charges of stone-throwing by any Shiv Sainik. Talking to newsmen here today, he clarified that the Shiv Sainiks only organised peaceful protest against Pakistan in view of its continued assistance to terrorist activities in India.
About 100 Punjab Shiv Sena activists, led by their President, Mr Dogra, and Secretary, Pawan Parbhakar, had forcibly stopped the Lahore-bound Pakistan Tourism bus near village Chachrari in Phillaur subdivision yesterday, and burnt an effigy of General Musharraf and made bonfire of the Pakistani flag during a demonstration against support to terrorism in India by Pakistan.
JALANDHAR (TNS): Keeping in mind the threat to the Lahore bus, which was attacked by a group of Punjab Shiv Sena activists near Phillaur yesterday, security arrangements have been beefed up. It is learnt that most of the Shiv Sainiks responsible were from Phagwara and had planned the attack in a temple.
Five more persons, identified as Pawan Parbhakar, Inderjit Karwal, the general secretary of the Punjab unit and Phagwara block chief of the Hindu Shiv Sena respectively, Vinod Kumar, Narinder Sharma and Gopal Chopra, all residents of Phagwara were arrested today after they surrendered before the police authorities.
Later, they were released on personal bonds and sureties.
Drive against rabies
ROPAR, March 5 The district unit of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) today launched a special drive against rabies by organising six free anti-rabies vaccination camps at Ropar, Kharar, SAS Nagar, Lakhnaur village near SAS Sagar, Anandpur Sahib and Nurpur Bedi in this district .
At the anti-rabies camp here today inaugurated by Mr G.S. Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, more than 350 dogs were vaccinated against rabies and given deworming medicine.
Mr Sudhir Gulati, a spokesman of the Ropar district SPCA, said here this afternoon that as per reports about 1000 dogs were vaccinated till 1.30 p.m.
Rs 192 cr spent on welfare
of SCs, BCs
LUDHIANA, March 5 The state government has spent Rs 192 crore for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes during the past three years, out of which Rs 40 crore has been spent under the "Shagun" scheme for the marriages of 76,897 girls belonging to Scheduled Castes.
This was stated by Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, at Upal village, 30 km from here, while laying down the foundation stone of the one-and-a-half kilometres Kuhara-Machhiwara road today.
Power, water supply disrupted
NAWANSHAHR, March 5 Local residents yesterday had to face inconvenience as the power supply remained disrupted for more than 16 hours in several areas of the town. The supply also remained affected today.
The disruption in power
supply also affected the drinking water supply. Residents
complained that the telephone of the PSEB complaint
centre was not being attended. Mr Jagdeep Thakur, SDO
(city), when contacted, attributed the problem to cut in
cables and punctured discs at the Banga road.
Delete Sarao's name from FIR:
PATIALA, March 5 The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has directed the Vigilance Bureau to delete the name of a former Punjabi University Registrar, Dr Ranbir Singh Sarao, from the FIR registered against him for alleged misconduct in his official capacity.
The Human Rights Commission, in an order passed past month, had said none of the allegations of the Vigilance Bureau levelled against the complainant amounted to criminal offense. Dr Sarao had been charged under Sections 420 and 120 IPC and under Sections 13 (1) (d) and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. A case had been registered against him at the Patiala Vigilance Bureau police station.
The commission had directed the Patiala Vigilance Bureau to send its compliance report within 30 days. Dr Ranbir Singh Sarao today said the Vigilance Bureau had complied with the directions of the commission. The Superintendent of Vigilance of Patiala said his office had told the commission that it would take the necessary action in the matter.
The commission said none of the charges levelled against the complainant attracted the applicability of any Section stated in the FIR. Deposing on the issue of hiring of tents for holding the 83rd National Science Congress, it said Dr Sarao was not a member of any committee and had only signed an agreement on behalf of the university as its Administrative Officer. It said the Vigilance DSP, Mr R.S. Dhillon, also deposed that in his investigation, he was not able to collect any evidence against Dr Sarao.
Regarding the other allegations like that the former Registrar might have influenced the Vice-Chancellor and the Selection Committee for getting his son Ajay Vir Singh made a lecturer, it said the charge was wholly hypothetical and conjectural as there was no evidence to support this view. It said if the selection was viewed against the foregoing facts, a conclusion was drawn that the selection was done after following the due procedure.
Regarding another allegation related to the appointment of Mr Ran Singh Dhaliwal as lecturer in business management at the Guru Kashi Institute of Advance Studies, Damdama Sahib, even though he was second on the selection list, it said the facts and circumstances showed that Dr Sarao acted in public interest and the interest of the student community. It said non-appointment of a lecturer was causing a serious loss in studies of students and this was highlighted by the head of the institute.
Meanwhile, Dr Sarao
today said the commission's directions had established
that he had been implicated in the FIR due to extraneous
and malafide considerations. He also said matters of a
civil nature had been twisted and distorted to make out a
criminal case with a view to harassing him.
2 held in murder case
JALANDHAR, March 5 The Police has arrested two of the four accused in the Ramesh Kumar murder case.
Ramesh Kumar, a foreman and a resident of Bhargo camp was allegedly murdered with sharp-edged weapons by Rajinder Kumar, alias Dulla, Saudagar, alias Kala, Subhash Chander and Surinder Kumar, alias Shishu, on February 25 following a tiff between Ramesh and Dulla.
Rape case:DSP surrenders
LUDHIANA,March 5, DSP Ashok Puri, who had been accused of physical assault and rape by a minor last month, surrendered before the SSP, Jagraon, Mr Jaskaran Singh, today.
The girl, a resident of Jagraon, had alleged that she was raped by the DSP at his official residence on January 22 and 23 with the connivance of her mother and stepfather.
Girl commits suicide
2 Pakistanis held, RDX
TARN TARAN, March 5 The local police has arrested two Pakistani citizens along with a revolver, 900 gm of RDX, four detonators, two time devices and other explosives. A case has been registered against them at Valtoha police station.
Mr Jagdish Kumar, SSP, told newspersons here today that Alladitta (55) and Shabaz were working in the Patti area at Dasuwal village as farm labourers. They had changed their names to Gurnam Singh and Mohinder Singh.
Both were related to the ISI which had directed them to indulge in militant activities.
They entered India through the Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir. Their accomplice, Boota, however, escaped. They were produced in the court of a Judicial Magistrate who sent them in judicial lock-up.
Minor girl rescued
JALANDHAR, March 5 The district police was arrested a middle-aged person from Uttar Pradesh and rescued a 16-year-old city-based girl allegedly abducted by him.
Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav said Sodhi Ram, a resident of Bhargo camp and a father of six, had abducted the girl, who had come into his contact during her visits to the Bhargo camp market. The girl disappeared on February 28. The suspect was arrested from Barola village and the girl was rescued.
Mr Yadav said the girl
was medically examined. In her statement, she alleged
that she had been repeatedly raped by the suspect in one
of his friends house. A case has been registered
under Section 376 of the IPC.
Two cars stolen
LUDHIANA, March 5 A Maruti Zen and Maruti Esteem were stolen at gunpoint from two car bazars here today.
According to a report, two youth went to a car bazar near Preet Palace at about 1 p.m. today and asked for a test drive in a Maruti Zen (PB-10AF-0813). While on the way they beat the driver up and asked him to step out of the car after threatening him at gunpoint. They, then, fled away with the car.
Three hours later, two
youth again went to another car bazar in the Feroze
Gandhi Market and asked for a test drive in a Maruti
Esteem (PB-10 AE-5577). They allegedly asked the driver
to drive towards Mullanpur and upon reaching the spot
forcibly drove away the car.
Diploma in dental specialities
CHANDIGARH March 5 Various strategies to implement the national oral health care programme in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh were deliberated upon by senior dentists at a two-day regional workshop organised here recently. As many as 49 dentists attended the workshop. Dr Nasib Chand Mann, Additional Director, Dental Health Services, Punjab, presented a Punjab model of intensive dental health care programme.
Dr R.K.Bali, President of the Dental Council of India, disclosed that a diploma of national board of examination in dental specialities would be started soon so as to enable the dental graduates to acquire higher qualifications without attending the regular post graduate courses in the dental colleges. He said steps were being taken by the Dental Council of India to check the mushrooming of nee dental colleges and improve the quality of dental education in India.
The Health Minister, Punjab, Dr Baldev Singh, disclosed that during this year 79 mass dental camps had been organised in which 2.39 lakh patients were treated. He gave away prizes and commendation certificates to civil surgeons and Deputy District Health Officers of Ropar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Kapurthala.
Mr P.K.Verma, Principal
Secretary Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, said Rs 50
lakh had been earmarked in the annual plan under the
intensive dental health care programme so as to create
Guru Kashi centre neglected
BATHINDA: The local Guru Kashi Regional Centre of Punjabi University, Patiala, seems to have been neglected by the Punjabi University authorities if its present condition, including the academic atmosphere, is taken into account.
The centre came into limelight recently when students of law course boycotted their classes, at least for 10 days regularly, in protest against the failure of the authorities to provide them with the adequate teaching staff.
The students, who were surviving on the false promises made by the authorities regarding the posting of adequate regular teaching staff here, started boycotting the classes in the beginning of February. The university had posted only one regular teacher of law faculty to impart education to 145 students.
Instead of making arrangements for adequate teaching staff, the authorities charged the director of regional centre, Dr S.S. Bhatti, for instigating the students and conducted a probe into the matter. Mr B.S. Bhatia, Dean, Research, Punjabi University, Patiala, came here for inquiry.
Mr Bhatia also brought with him one more faculty teacher with him on deputation from the Law Department, Punjabi University, reportedly to pacify the agitating students. The local regional centre authorities have also engaged some lawyers as part-time lecturers for teaching purpose.
Apart from it, the Punjabi University authorities have failed to deploy the teaching staff in adequate number according to the sanctioned strength for postgraduate classes in Punjabi, English and economic subjects.
Official sources said at present the total strength of the teaching staff was not more than 25 per cent of the total sanctioned strength. The number of students had been falling every year as they preferred other institutions of higher learning to the local regional centre.
For the past many years, the local regional centre was functioning in a rented building belonging to a close kin of Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. In the building, there was no facility of extra curricular activities. Even the canteen was running in a small and dingy room.
There is no hostel facility for the students, and students belonging to other towns and villages have to pay hefty amounts for taking accommodations here on rent. Even the building lacks space for parking the vehicles belonging to the staff members and students.
The Forum of Educational Action and Reform (FEAR), on the other hand, pointed out that the authorities were planning to set up an open university at Talwandi Sabo in this district but the same authorities had failed so far to equip the local institute of higher learning with all the basic facilities.
The sources said that
efforts were made at various level to get adequate land
for developing the campus for the regional centre but
nothing concrete was done. The staff members and students
are of the opinion that if proper care is not taken by
the aurhorities concerned, the institute will cease to
function with few years.
Medical colleges to tackle AIDS
PATIALA, March 5 The Director, Research and Medical Education (DRME), Dr S.S. Sidhu, today said that facilities would be given to all medical colleges in the state to tackle AIDS.
Addressing delegates at a symposium on AIDS, pulmonary manifestations and anti-retroviral therapy at Government Medical College here, Dr Sidhu said departments of social and preventive medicine, microbiology, skin and blood transfusion would be upgraded in the medical colleges to take on AIDS patients.
The DRME said the aim of the government would be to provide comprehensive AIDS care in its institution. He appealed to doctors and scientists to indigenously develop cost-effective preventive, diagnostic and treatment modalities for HIV.
Meanwhile, an exhibition on AIDS was inaugurated by Dr Ravinder Singh, Principal, Government Medical College. Dr Ravinder Singh was of the opinion that AIDS had gained tremendous medical, social and economical importance. Since there was no preventive vaccine and permanent care for AIDS. Awareness and health education were the only tools available now.
Dr G.S. Chahal, Project Director of the Punjab State AIDS Control Society, deliberated on the AIDS scenario in India and Punjab and highlighted the strategy adopted by the government and NACO (national aids control organisation) in the Phase-II of AIDS control.
Dr Vijay Arora, Director
of the LRS Institute of Tuberculosis and Dr S.K. Jindal,
Head, Pulmonary Medicine, PGI, Chandigarh, spoke on
AIDS-related tubercular and non-tubercular pulmonary
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