|Thursday, July 6, 2000,
for more than mere fiscal autonomy
SAD leadership ignoring BJP
Badal silent on Rinwas comments
I do not want to be Punjab CM: Sukhbir
Rs 30,000 computer for Rs 4.5 lakh!
Delay in results upsets admission plan
No-trust move ends on happy note
Join or face action, doctors warned
Sangh Parivar initiative on Punjab
TB stages comeback in Punjab
Parking lot contractors care a fig
for govt rates
Power tariff hike violates
Commissioning of Thein dam soon
after 15 years of darkness
More staff for Social Security Dept
Liquor traders feel threatened
The villain from Patti
Amritsar bus stand to be shifted
Admn takes flood control measures
Tributes paid to Delhi Archbishop
Badal pays tributes to Rajesh Pilot
IPS officer reverted to West Bengal
Sandhu PSSSB chief
Car thieves held for murder
Discipline helped them do
Plea against high BE fees
Contract labourers get raw deal
HFCL to invest in Punjab
Badal for more than mere fiscal
CHANDIGARH, July 5 Making it clear that Punjab wanted more than mere financial autonomy, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today gave a further boost to this issue.
He said he would discuss the issue with like-minded political parties for creating a true federal structure in the country. We will not only give cooperation to like-minded parties but also seek their help on this issue. Almost all regional parties were in favour of more powers to the states. Earlier only the DMK and the Shiromani Akali Dal had taken the lead in this connection, he added.
Rejecting Dr Farooq Abdullahs model of autonomy, Mr Badal said he was against the duplication of ministries. For instance, Agriculture was a state subject but all powers for framing the agriculture policy and determining the prices of farm inputs and produce were with the Centre.
When asked whether his party would like the Centre to retain only four main departments with it, Mr Badal said these could be five or six. Without giving adequate powers to the states, neither the problem of unemployment could be solved nor could there be poverty alleviation.
Regarding the presentation of the state governments viewpoint before the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, Mr Badal said separate committees would be set up under the leadership of experts to prepare a draft of the states viewpoint.
Disagreeing with the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, that the terms of reference of the commission did not meet the aspirations of the SAD, Mr Badal said there was a full-fledged topic related to Centre-State relations with the commission for review. He said the party had welcomed the setting up of the commission.
He said besides the Punjab Government, the SAD would submit a separate memorandum to the commission. For discussing the issue, a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the party would be called soon. A party panel would be set up shortly to prepare the memorandum.
When asked whether he agreed with the observations of Capt Kanwaljit Singh with regard to the commission, Mr Badal said the former was present at the meeting held yesterday in Delhi where the issue was discussed in detail. It would not be proper to judge the performance of the commission at this stage. One should be optimistic, he added.
Mr Badal wanted the commission to extend its scope to include the issue of improving the lot of the backward classes and the Scheduled Castes. Some new constitutional provisions could be introduced in this regard.
Mr Badal said he would welcome suggestions from experts for submission to the commission. The interest of the state would be fully protected while preparing the states viewpoint.
SAD leadership ignoring BJP
HOSHIARPUR, July 5 Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, president of the Punjab BJP, alleged that SAD leadership, the Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, always ignored the BJP while taking any important decision relating to policy matters. He was talking to mediapersons here last evening.
Giving an instance, he said while making a decision on the hike in power tariff the SAD leadership did not take BJP ministers into confidence. When BJP leaders made their resentment known them they were called.
Similarly, they did not include any BJP minister in the Constitution Review Committee. When BJP leaders protested against this attitude of SAD leaders only then BJP ministers were taken in the committee. He said the alliance partner must be taken into confidence while making any decision.
Mr Rinwa said people, especially industrialists, had to act according to the spirit and terms of the GAT agreement. They should try to compete in the market by producing quality products on competitive rates.
Badal silent on Rinwas
CHANDIGARH, July 5 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today refused to offer his comments regarding certain statements made by Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, President of the Punjab unit of the BJP. Mr Rinwa has made a number of statements in the past days regarding the BJPs relations with its coalition partner SAD in the Punjab government.
Mr Rinwa said yesterday that there was a lack of coordination between the BJP and SAD on governmental matters. He had also opposed free power to farmers. Even Mr Rinwa had said his party would stake claim for the post of Chief Minister after the next Vidhan Sabha election.
Quizzed in this connection, Mr Badal said he had nothing to say in this connection. When asked that senior BJP Minister Balramji Dass Tandon has blamed Akali leaders for a defeat in the nagar panchayat elections held recently, Mr Badal indirectly said SAD leaders and activists even could not think of helping any Congress candidate to win any election.
I do not want to be Punjab CM:
GONIANA (Bathinda), July 5 Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, today said that concrete flooring of all grain markets of state would be completed before the next paddy season.
Mr Ghuman, who was here today to preside over a function organised in connection with the inauguration of new grain market, said that a plan was being prepared to construct new godowns at the grain markets so that foodgrain could be stored after procurement.
He added that the Punjab government was also actively considering enhancing the amount of compensation from Rs 15,000 to Rs 75,000 for those rendered handicapped during the agriculture-related activities. In case of death, the compensation was being given to the family members of the victim.
He declared that by next year income of Mandi Board would go up to Rs 600 crore from the present Rs 464 crore. He added that checking of evasion of market fee by the traders had given better results and had increased the income of the board.
Former Union Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, who inaugurated the new grain market said that it was only the SAD-BJP combine government which had heralded the era of development.
He pointed out that massive industrialisation was being carried out in the state to generate employment for youths and increase general income of state. He added that Ranjit Sagar hydro-electrical project would be commissioned within three months. After the commissioning of this project there would be no shortage of power in the state.
He said that people should elect only those persons to Assembly and Parliament who were sincere in carrying out development of the area and in redressing their grievances.
When asked about his
comments regarding the controversy in the Youth Akali Dal
in connection with its presidentship, Mr Sukhbir Badal
claimed that he was interested neither in becoming the
Chief Minister of Punjab nor President of the Youth Akali
Rs 30,000 computer for Rs 4.5
CHANDIGARH, July 5 While the state battles a severe financial crunch, the management of Punjab State Cooperative Bank indulged in fraudulent deals in the purchase of computers and allied equipment worth nearly Rs 5 crore.
Money was paid in cash to non-existent companies of Chandigarh and Panchkula for purchase of sub-standard computers, printers and peripherals, thereby causing an irrevocable loss to the bank and the trust of thousands of depositors.
The affair started in 1997 when a committee was formed to usher in computerisation. An audit report says members of the purchase committee Mr K.S. Pannu, AMD, (chairman), Mr B.S. Saini, GM, (member), Mr Tara Singh, GM, (member), Mr M. Ganeshan, technical expert, and Mr A.K. Batta, computer incharge decided on quotations instead of calling for tenders through the press.
Computers were bought from only three firms Spectra (reportedly acting on behalf of Tata-IBM), Wipro Infotech and Sybex Technology for amounts ranging from Rs 80,000 to Rs 4,50,000 although the same were available in the market for around Rs 30, 000. Similarly, inverters were bought for Rs 52, 000 each although they were available for around Rs 15,000 each, the audit reports reveals.
.Against an approved amount of Rs 80. 64 lakh for computers, orders were placed for Rs 1.20 crore, Rs 39.27 lakh more than the sanctioned amount. Although this was pointed out by the auditors no action was taken to affix responsibility or recover the amount from the erring officials.
According to sources, a case was registered at Ropar for purchases regarding the branch office in the city, but to date no one has either been arrested nor investigations conducted. Instead pressure is being mounted by certain politicians and senior bureaucrats to hush up the matter.
Surprisingly, the orders were cleared by Mr Kahan Singh Pannu, who was appointed Additional Managing Director (AMD) of the bank in July 1997 on the orders of the Punjab Governor and had himself subsequently issued orders, dated December 16, 1997, banning the purchase of computers by all the branch offices.
Mr Pannu wrote to the Managing Directors of banks that a MoU had been signed between the Department of Cooperation and Punwire for installation of computers and developing software and Punwire would assist banks in purchase of computers and all banks should send it their requirements.
While no tenders were invited by publishing them in various newspapers of the region, it was suddenly decided to allot the entire contract to Tata-IBM. After certain clarifications on supply of accessories, a letter was written to the firm which replied that certain things were not manufactured by Tata-IBM and they would be supplied through Chandigarh based M\s Spectra Technologies.
Delay in results upsets admission
CHANDIGARH, July 5 Delay in the declaration of examination results of Panjab University and the Punjab School Education Board (plus two arts) has upset the admission schedule for the coming session not only on the campus but also in the affiliated colleges.
Colleges have announced the last date for the receipt of forms (between July 7 and July 10 in the city colleges). The dates have put students of plus two of the Punjab board (arts stream) at a disadvantage.
Colleges have also announced the last date for the receipt of admission forms. GGDSD Colleges last date was today. Government College of Girls, Sector 11, GCG, Sector 42, GC, Sector 46 and GGSC (man) have July 7 as the last date. MCM DAV will accept forms till July 7 while DAV, Sector 10, GGSC (women) and Dev Samaj have July 10 as the last dates.
A senior officer of the university admitted that the fixing of dates would definitely put plus two students (arts stream) of the Punjab board at a disadvantage. If this pattern was followed, meritorious students seeking admission to specialised courses with limited seats would be at a loss.
Commerce tops the list of courses that students would prefer to join.
Prashant Gupta, a medical student, said commerce offered better future options.
Prof S.P. Dhawan, a principal, pointed it out to the university that science classes in several colleges were a mockery. In one reputed college, nearly 400 enrolled in routine. Around 200 left midway and only 100 appeared in the examinations at the end.
Commerce definitely is in the lead, while science has lost considerable ground.
A senior fellow on the PU campus said the commerce stream had made a great impact. Advertisements had appeared as early as May. I can confidently say that students were asked in several cases to pay Rs 2,500 to secure their seats in advance. I have brought the issue to the notice of the authorities, he added.
The BBA and BCA courses had been introduced with much fanfare after demands by affiliated colleges. A number of colleges have shut down or have written to the university announcing the closure of these courses for want of students.
Final-year examination results are expected shortly to ensure admission to postgraduate courses.
Sources said the B.Sc(III) results were expected by tomorrow. The BA(III) results might be declared by July 10.
The university has been able to declare the results of B.Com(I) and B.Com(II), besides compartment in English, for all years.
The ongoing process saw GGDSD College scheduling counselling for admission sessions before July 12. This came in for criticism as it was said to violate the university rules. The college, however, maintains that no admission had been carried out. Counselling was being done for the benefit of students. The central admission system had failed. During admissions, children often apply in more than one college which forces them to run around, an official said.
Dr Deepak Manmohan, Dean, College Development Council, said admissions, if carried out before the scheduled dates, were procedurally wrong.
Rajmeet Singh reports from SAS Nagar: The admission process for the graduate classes in various colleges affiliated to Punjabi University and Punjab Technical University is likely to be delayed with the Punjab School Education Board authorities yet to declare the examination results of the arts stream.
Although the board authorities are making efforts to declare the results by June 15, the authorities at the local Government College say they will give 10 days to the students of the arts stream to complete the admission formalities from the date the results are declared by the board.
The delay in the results will also affect the students of the board who are hoping to get admission to graduate courses in different colleges in Chandigarh and Punjab which are affiliated to Panjab University.
The board authorities are expected to write to the universities concerned to extend their dates of admission till July 20.
However, the results of the science and commerce streams of the Senior Secondary examination were declared last month and the candidates have been issued the detailed marks card.
In the case of 10 plus 1 classes at the local Government college the admission process will start from July 13 and the last date for submitting the application forms is July 6.
A college official said in the medical, non-medical and arts streams there were 40, 40 and 100 seats, respectively.
Ambika Kumar reports from Panchkula: At Government College, Sector 1 here, a large number of students are seeking admission to the commerce stream, while the response to the science stream is quite poor.
We have the maximum rush for commerce as students think it has many more openings and a wider scope. Anyway, our college has never had many students opting for science from the very beginning, asserts the Principal, Mr R.L. Madan.
Students prefer to take up commerce as they feel it is more interesting. I think B.Com is easier and has a lot of scope. One could go in for MBA, CA or even CS, says Rajesh Gupta, a student.
The college has started two new courses B.Sc (home science) and industrial chemistry which will have 15 seats each.
There are 350 seats in the humanities stream, 120 in commerce and 50 in science.
Students with over 65 per cent are eligible for the B.Com course. There is no cut-off percentage for other streams.
No-trust move ends on happy note
NAWANSHAHR, July 5 The month-long political drama on the issue of the no-confidence motion against municipal council president, Chamkaur Singh Kauri, today came to an end on a happy note both for the pro-Kauri and anti-Kauri municipal councillors.
During the meeting to
discuss the no-confidence motion today, the local MLA, Mr
Jatinder Singh Kariha, moved a resolution, saying that
for the sake of development of the town, Mr Kauri should
be given more time and Mr Jagdish Bali, an anti-Kauri
councillor, keeping in view the fact that there was not
enough support to get the no-trust motion passed,
endorsed the views of the MLA. Thus, the meeting ended
without voting on the motion. The anti-Kauri councillors,
in a face-saving bid, are saying that they have postponed
the move on the request of Mr Kariha.
Join or face action, doctors warned
CHANDIGARH, July 5 The Punjab Health Department today instructed doctors to join their new places of posting by July 13 and in case of failure action would be taken against them. Speaking to mediapersons here Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Punjab Health Minister, said the department had ordered transfers of about 700 doctors. Out of these 150 transfers had been cancelled after carefully examining each case on merit.
The minister said all other 550 doctors transferred last month would have to join at their new place of posting. If any one had grievance, he could submit a representation to the government after joining at a new place of posting and his representation would be duly considered. He said the transfers were ordered after a prolonged exercise and surplus doctors from urban areas were shifted to deficit areas. Efforts have been made to fill vacant posts in the Malwa belt where a number of doctors was woefully short than required. All those doctors who have passed post graduation from various medical colleges under the PCMS quota had been posted in rural areas.
Mr P.K.Verma, Secretary,
Health Department,Punjab, who was also present, said that
Civil Surgeon had been told to submit report that how
many doctors in their respective areas had joined at
their place of posting. All vacant posts at focal points
had been filled.
Sangh Parivar initiative on Punjab
CHANDIGARH, July 5 Some wings of the Sangh Parivar are quietly engaged in a dialogue with a cross-section of Sikh organisations to explore the possibility of finding a lasting solution to what they see as the residue of the Punjab problem.
They have already interacted with certain key personalities of Sikh religio-political and social organisations, namely the Damdami Taksal and the Sant Samaj, close confidants of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale and with a sant who commands influence with various Khalistani bodies, the Seva Panthi Samaj, the Akali Dal Panthic and a former Jathedar of Akal Takht.
These discussions were initiated through a former classmate of Sant Jarnail Singh and a former adviser to the late Laldenga.
The objectives of this delicate exercise are: to restore the traditional glory of the Sikh community; to create an environment for the honour and dignity of the Sikhs living in the USA, the UK, Canada and Germany; to speed up the rehabilitation plan for all persons who took to extremism and treat them with sympathy and honourably and bring about their complete social acceptability.
BJP and Akali leaders at the Centre and in Punjab are reportedly in the know of these developments. The Rashtriya Sikh Sangat and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, are said to have briefed the Union Home Minister, Mr L K Advani, on the progress made in this direction.
The latest move by the Sangh Parivar on Punjab is part of its new strategy to help prevent a militancy - like situation in the state.
Informed sources told TNS that the new agenda would help initiate concrete steps for a lasting peace and finding complete solutions to the remaining problems. The conclusion of the discussions among selected individuals so far is that on the surface normalcy should not be seen selectively. For, overlooking the ground realities could lead to disastrous consequences over a relatively short period of time.
According to informed sources, two emissaries of the Sangh Parivar have held discussions with at least nine key persons. The background paper on the strategy specifically mentions nine names.
Punjabs turmoil goes back to 1979. The Khalistan movement peaked from 1982 till mid-1995. The Sangh Parivar has concluded that lack of respect for sentiments and political gamesmanship alienated Sikhs from the mainstream. Some youth felt this was a reason to create a separate state for themselves. The country viewed this as anti-national. The Sikh youth wanted the creation and preservation of a distinct identity . In the process, Sikhs abroad in Canada, the USA, the UK, and Germany and Pakistans ISI fuelled and funded the Khalistan movement.
Although the ISI exploited certain elements, even some political parties at home tried to use those elements for their short-term political gains by creating discontent to negate the claims of peace made by the Centre and the state.
During the discussions, the Sangh representatives had a focused approach. Consequently, impending problems were shortlisted. Both New Delhi and Chandigarh are to act on these:1 immediate release of Sikhs convicted by courts and detained under TADA and their social rehabilitation; 2 deletion of all names of suspected Sikhs from the list of intelligence agencies; 3 rehabilitation of Army personnel who revolted in the wake of Operation Bluestar in 1984; 4 return of those Sikhs who sneaked abroad to promote Khalistan; 5 to give Sikhs their own specific identity and emotional security, the necessary constitutional amendments as required may be considered; 6 examination of the question why a Sikh cannot be the Chief of Army staff (this issue has led to a feeling of discrimination among Sikhs; 7 restoring the recruitment quota for Sikhs in the armed forces; 8 giving land ( on ownership basis) to Sikhs in UP; and 9 enabling Sikhs to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The first three issues need to be dealt with immediately by the Centre and the state, while issues 4 and 8 should be tackled at stage II after addressing issues 1 to 3. The problems listed at 5,6,7 and 9 can be dealt with gradually since these require a detailed study and a specific methodology.
One has thus to understand the meaning and the context in which the Union Home Minister made a statement (in May) that Punjab militants held under TADA could also be released as were Jammu and Kashmir militants. There was a mixed reaction to his statement by the political executive and the police.
The manner in which the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat functioned and has fanned out in rural Punjab has created ripples. The issue was compounded when the RSS held its national executive meeting in Chandigarh. That was also addressed by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief. Voices were heard against the perceived influence of the Sangat.
Now a pattern seems to
be emerging seen in the context of behind-the-scenes
efforts by the Sangh Parivar, with the knowledge of the
Akali leadership. The statement by the state BJP
president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, seeking a greater role for
and participation of the party in the next assembly poll
and his articulation of the aspirations to have a BJP man
as Chief Minister one day has also to be viewed as part
of the new strategy and the quiet initiative of the RSS
TB stages comeback in Punjab
CHANDIGARH, July 5 Tuberculosis (TB) has staged a comeback in Punjab. Every day at least 30 persons affected by this disease die in Punjab. And the state government admits this fact.
At present there are three lakh patients in the state. And of these 75,000 are having their sputum positive. What is shocking in this connection is that one person with a TB positive sputum can spread the disease to at least 12 healthy persons. Every year about 40,000 persons are added to the list of TB patients in the state. This is happening despite the fact that Punjabs coverage of TB patient is near 65 per cent against the national average of 37 per cent. It means that of 100 TB patients 65 out of them are duly provided medicines and other required treatment.
Concerned about the growing spread of the disease, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Punjab Health Minister, said today that committees under the chairmanship of the deputy commissioners in all districts had been set up. At the State-level a TB officer had been appointed. Help from voluntary organisations and the Red Cross had been sought.
For screening the migrant labour, being considered the main source for the spread of the disease in the state, contacts have been established with the leaders of their unions. In cities like Jalandhar, Sirhind, Ludhiana, etc, arrangements will be made to hold the preliminary medical test of persons suspected to be suffering from the disease. Union leaders have been told to educate the labour class to bring a medical certificate from the doctors concerned in their respective states that they are not suffering from the disease.
Dr Chawla said he had told employers of migrant labourers in the industrial and hotel sector to submit a certificate once in a three months that none of their employees was suffering from TB. Action would be taken against those violating these instructions, he added.
The use of drugs in Punjab has assumed a very dangerous dimension. A survey conducted by the authorities concerned have established that every second youth in hostels in colleges and universities was on drugs or narcotics. As many as 5,000 students living in hostels were interviewed during the survey. Dr Chawla said he had requested the parents of students to keep a watch on their wards staying in hostels. Soon a meeting of the principals of the colleges would be held in this connection.
Dr Chawla said he would propose some action against the heads of educational institutions where the use of drugs and narcotics was detected.
He further said during the survey it had also come to notice that about 53 per cent population in urban areas and 48 per cent in rural areas had become drug addicts. He blamed Pakistan for the growing use of drugs and narcotics in this part of the country.
The state government had planned to set up de-addiction centres at all district headquarters. The Red Cross Society was already running such centres at various places but more were required, he added.
Dr Chawla, while admitting adulteration in eatables said he had directed the authorities concerned to conduct raids to check the menace. Food inspectors and health officers had been given directions in this regard.
For checking absenteeism in hospitals, especially in rural areas, flying squads will be set up soon. Civil surgeons had been told to ensure full attendance of medical staff in rural areas, he added. If manufacturing and sale of spurious medicines was found in any district, the civil surgeon concerned would be held responsible for it and suitable action would be taken against him, Mr Chawla said.
He admitted that some
senior medical officers were taking money from junior
doctors to free them of duty in rural dispensaries and
hospitals. This practice had been checked by issuing
strict instructions to all concerned, Dr Chawla said.
Parking lot contractors care a
fig for govt rates
PATIALA, July 5 Notice boards dont mean a thing for contractors of vehicle stands in Patiala. They write what they want to charge on them and the public is made to pay in excess of the rates fixed for parking of vehicles in the stand.
This practice is going in both the vehicles stands in the bus stand as well as the Government Rajindra Hospital. It does not matter that both stands have been leased out by different government departments to the contractors. Contractors of both stands care two hoots about the directions of the lessees.
In the bus stand parking where only two-wheelers are parked, the contractor charges rates of Rs 5 for every scooter or motor cycle parked in the stand for every 12 hours. The approved rate is Rs 3. Furthermore the contractor also takes Re 1 per day for the helmet left at the stand whereas there is no provision for this charge in the rule book.
The stand has been leased out by the Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation ( PRTC ). According to rules the contractor can charge Rs 3 for 12 hours of parking and Rs 5 after 24 hours. It is not as if people do not know of the real rates. However they are forced to cough up the additional amount. The PRTC is oblivious to complaints on this score. People are also sore that they have to pay such a high parking fee when not a single shed has been constructed by the PRTC for the stand and all vehicles lie parked in the open.
The attendant at the bus stand parking stand said they were forced to charge in excess of the fixed rates as they had to pay a steep lease fee. The attendant said they paid the PRTC Rs 31,000 per month and could barely make a little profit.
The contractor at the Rajindra Hospital parking shed has a similar story. He says the yearly contract for the Stand had been fixed at Rs 7.75 lakh and that it was very difficult to make a profit on the deal. He said the main business was during the Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) hours only.
The contractor at the Rajindra Hospital parking charges Rs 2 for a cycle, Rs 4 for a two wheeler and Rs 10 for a car, whereas the official rates are Re 1, Rs 2 and Rs 3, respectively for all the vehicles. Citizens Welfare Society General Secretary Ashok Chawla said his society had complained about the excess charges being taken by the contractor to the hospital authorities many times but no action had been taken in the matter.
Mr Chawla said the rates prescribed by the government should be displayed prominently in the cycle stand.
He said people should also be given a receipt of the money charged from them. Other people said people coming to the hospital on an official visit should not be charged. They said there were instances of the attendants of the contractor harassing people who had come to the hospital on an official visit and there were instances of vehicles of such persons being towed to the stand from wherever they stood.
Residents feel that
parking prices in the parking space at the bus stand are
already high at Rs 3 for 12 hours and should be reduced
to Rs 2 to correspond with the official parking rates in
Rajindra Hospital. They feel the PRTC authorities should
reduce the contract of the lessee if need be.
Power tariff hike
CHANDIGARH, July 5 A delegation of the PSEB Engineers Association headed by its president, Mr M.S.Bajwa, met the Punjab Governor, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), yesterday and gave a representation containing charges of gross and deliberate violations of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, by the Punjab Government during the recent tariff revision.
The association said the state government had no liberty or jurisdiction to override the statute and sought the intervention of the Governor to defend the law and the Constitution.
In a signed statement, the association after meeting the Governor, said the tariff hike recently announced by the PSEB was in utter disregard to the procedure prescribed in Section 16 of the Act since the Electricity Consultative Council which advised the board on major policy decisions had been totally bypassed.While the board had been given full autonomy under Section 49 of the Act, the state government under pressure of the industrial lobby had scuttled the proposal of the board management for introducing a rational tariff structure.The statement said the power free of cost to 8 lakh tubewells was a clear violation of the Section 49 of the Act.
The association briefed the Governor on how the state government was interfering in tariff revision and perpetuated the losses of the board which would be operating at a minus 31.30 per cent rate of return (ROR) against the mandatory 3 per cent ROR. The cash loss of the board would be Rs 551 crore and commercial loss of Rs 1,088 crore per year.
The association said the one major factor contributing its poor financial health was that the board did not receive any compensation from the state government in lieu of free power to the agriculture sector. The cumulative loss of the PSEB on account of subsidised free power to the agriculture sector from 1992-93 to 1999-2000 was Rs 8,828.4 crore. But subsidy provided to the board during this period was nil. The association said the cost of providing free power to the agriculture sector was Rs 1,700 crore per year. Even if the government paid Rs 200 crore as grant in lieu of free power to the agriculture sector, there would be yet uncovered gap of Rs 1,500 crore. As the board is operating on a negative ROR, it cannot be directed by the government to provide free power to the agriculture sector.
The association said the board was selling power to various sections of the society below a cost price.
The Governor informed
the association that he would forward the representation
to the state government for consideration.The association
has urged for bringing the tariff slabs for industry on a
par with Haryana to generate an additional revenue of Rs
1,800 crore per annum.
Commissioning of Thein dam soon
PATIALA, July 5 The long-pending and most ambitious project of the Punjab Government, Thien dam, will be commissioned within the next 15 days. The project, which has been completed at a cost of Rs 850 crore with central government assistance, will a fillip to the state's economy, apart from providing employment opportunities.
This was stated by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning minister, after laying the foundation stone of the 66-kv grid station at Kulara village in Samana subdivision, near here on Monday.
Capt Kanwaljit Singh
said if free electricity was being provided to the farm
sector, the state government had ensured that other
strata of society was not left behind as the government
had decided to give 50 units of electricity free to
consumers living below the poverty line and those who
consumed less than 100 units would be provided
electricity at subsidised rates. He lashed out at the
previous Congress regimes, saying they had distorted the
Punjabi language and destroyed Punjabiat and the present
Akali government was trying to undo the damage caused by
the Congress. Among others who addressed the gathering
were Mr Ranjit Singh Baluan, Minister for Urban
Development, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, OSD to the CM,
and Mr Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu,Chairman of the Punjab
Subordinate Services Selection Board.
Light after 15 years of darkness
BATHINDA, July 5 Durga Ram, resident of Balluana village of this district, has partially regained his vision after 15 years. Durga Ram (61) who lost both his eyes due to some infection is now happy and gives credit to Dr Ashok Sharma and Dr J.S. Sran, in particular, who performed this operation at S.S.D. Mahabir Eye Hospital. It was Dr Sharmas 25th cornea transplant. Dr Sharma said it costs Rs. 4000 for cornea transplant, but Durga Ram was operated upon free of cost.
Durga Ram who is running a tea shop in the village said he would now motivate people to donate their eyes after death. He said it was his second birth and this life would be given to the cause of humanity.
More staff for Social Security
CHANDIGARH, July 5 The Punjab Council of Ministers at a meeting held here today approved the proposal to increase the staff strength of the Social Security and Women and Child Development Department in order to speed up the monthly disbursement of old-age pension/financial assistance to the beneficiaries.
This step will benefit 5,57,475 recipients of old-age pension/financial assistance.
To mitigate the hardships faced by dependent members of terrorist victims families and families of deceased government employees, the council allowed a further relaxation of six months to enable the eligible persons to submit their applications for employment on compassionate grounds. This is a one-time measure, says a press release.
The council also approved the setting up of a state-level autonomous body, the Punjab Livestock Development Board.
To avoid putting any financial burden on the state, suitable amendments will be made to the memorandum and articles of association of the Punjab Poultry Development Corporation for converting it into the Punjab Livestock Development Board.
The council allowed the Department of Local Bodies to dispose of shops/property belonging to it. This envisages outright sale/long term lease of shops/properties leased out and given on monthly rent where the returns are low as compared to the land value.The salient features of this decision are:
That municipal shops may be sold to the lawful tenants at 40 per cent of the market rates that may be determined by a committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner concerned. An appropriate mechanism will be evolved for determining fair market rates in a rational and transparent manner.
Where, however, the transference of ownership rights carry roof rights also 50 per cent of the market rates will be recovered.
That municipal shops which are in occupation of unauthorised persons may be disposed of in favour of such persons provided they are willing to pay the past 10 years rent and also the sale price that may be determined in accordance with the policy spelt out above.
That municipal land, on lease for setting up petrol stations, factories and other commercial units, may be sold to the existing lessees at 50 per cent of the market rate as per the policy proposed above. It was also decided that the sale would be on a lease basis for 99 years with the rider that the existing land use will not be altered at any stage without the prior approval of the state government through the municipality concerned.
For proper implementation of the scheme, it was decided that the market value of these properties will be determined within three months and the department will dispose them of within six months.
The council decided to increase the present level of discretionary grants available to cabinet ministers and ministers of state. Henceforth, a cabinet minister will be empowered to sanction discretionary grants of Rs 20 lakh, per annum, a minister of state Rs 17 lakh and the Chief Parliamentary Secretary Rs 15 lakh.
The council gave its approval to the proposal for granting one-time permission to withdraw 2 per cent posts meant for the physically handicapped from the purview of the Punjab Public Service Commission and the Subordinate Services Selection Board and to enable the department concerned to make selections for such posts at its own level.
The council gave permission for the triennial review of the cadre strength of the Punjab Civil Services (Executive Branch) for the period March 1, 1996 to February 28, 1999, whereby the cadre strength was fixed at 291 instead of 288. A cadre review of all departments in future will be undertaken within three months.
The council granted its
approval to the proposal for the revision of pay scales
at the Ambedkar Institute of Careers and Courses, SAS
Nagar, on the pattern of the pay scales in Punjab
Government colleges and of university teachers in the UGC
Liquor traders feel threatened
BATHINDA, July 5 The liquor contractors of state were feeling threatened by illicit distillation in the region.
A liquor contractor in a representation to the Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, DGP, Punjab Police, Chairman, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Financial Commissioner (Taxation), Punjab, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Patiala, alleged that illegal liquor was being distilled and sold with the connivance of the police and excise officials.
He pointed out that their repeated pleas to the authorities concerned had fallen on deaf ears.
The liquor contractor, who wished not to be quoted, said he had mentioned in the representation that in the past six months about 30 persons had died after consuming home-made liquor. But such a huge loss of human lives had failed to move the concerned authorities.
He also pointed out that whenever the police and excise officials had seized the illicitly distilled liquor, they were forced to return all the material to culprits by the ruling politicians.
A senior excise official of this region when contacted said on the condition of anonymity that they were helpless in checking the menace of illicit distillation as displeasure of ruling politicians earned by them would create problems for them.
He pointed out that apart from illicit distillation, the excise officials were also facing problem to check the flooding of market with that liquor that was coming out of distilleries without the payment of excise duty.
However, the police authorities claimed that a drive against the illicit distillation had been launched and nobody found indulging in illicit distillation was being spared.
Sources said that in the last six months, the Bathinda district police had registered about 355 cases relating to business of illegal liquor. More than 360 accused were arrested by the police in the same period.
The villain from
CHANDIGARH: Some know him as Inspector Sharma of Ghayal, others remember him as the truck driver of Maine Piar Kiya. For some he is Jaichand of Main Dilli Hoon and others admire him as Dashrath of Sanjay Khans Jai Hanuman. He is Deep Dhillon a villain on the reel, but a thorough gentleman in real life.
I know him since his school days in Patti (Amritsar district). When he shifted from a public school in Jalandhar to DAV School, Patti, to join Class VII, he impressed everyone with his fluent English and impeccable manners. He would often go to Amritsar to see the latest Hindi movie and then re-enact scenes from it before an amused class.
In a college where boys loved to flaunt revolvers and often fought over girls, Deep led a disciplined life and shunned girls. He played football and kabaddi, did farming and pursued his two passions: weight-lifting and theatre a none-too-respectable activity in that area.
A small gang led by Dr Des Raj staged plays in which a shoe-shine boy played a girls role as none was available. Deep Dhillon, then known as Sarba (short of Sarabdeep Singh), learnt his first lessons in acting here.
Then he moved to Jalandhar Doordarshan where his career began with a telefilm Toori Di Pand which was followed by Supne Te Parchhavein directed by Dr Harjit.
Actually, I wanted to be an advocate. I had never gone beyond Jalandhar. I saw Delhi first time when I went to Doordarshan office for an audition, recalls Deep, who was in Chandigarh on Wednesday to meet his friends and relatives.
One day telling a friend to look after his farming responsibilities, he left for Bombay with a trunk and Rs 3,000 in his pocket to attend a month-long workshop held by his NSD friends like Anupam Khera. He stayed on. His mother prayed for his success. His four sisters were already married and brother was in the Army. He had lost his father when he was nine.
Commenting on the film industry, Deep comes out with a quote: kuchh paise le ke aaaye barbad ho gaye, kuchh khali haath aaye abaad ho gaye. As General Secretary of the Cine Artistes Society, he works hard and honestly to ensure each artiste gets his dues.
Sounding a bit narcissistic, Deep says: I have always done things for myself only. I have set goals for myself. No one impresses me.
Except perhaps Mumbai hero Khairnar known for his demolitions. I would like to take two persons to my films first show: Khairnar and Dharmendra, he remarks. Like Dharmendra, he too has married a South Indian girl, but she is not into films. The couple has two sons, aged nine and seven.
Has Bombay changed his lifestyle? No way. I dont forget my past. I still go to Patti every year and meet the shoe-shine boy who acted as a girl in our plays. There is no bridge from Patti to Bombay. Its a long way. I did not compromise when I was struggling. I cant do it now. I can always go back to my tractor.
Some of Deep Dhillons films: Maine Piyar Kiya, Mr India, Ghayal, Joshile, Ye Raaste Hain Piar Ke (yet to be released with Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan and Priety Zinta).
Amritsar bus stand to be shifted
AMRITSAR, July 5 The existing bus stand adjoining G.T. Road is to be shifted shortly to New Amritsar under a scheme of the improvement trust.
The arrangement has been worked out between the state government and trust authorities. Two acres of land has been demarcated for the bus stand by the trust in the 340-acre area acquired by it to develop the ambitious urban estate project.
The bus stand was declared unsafe a decade ago. The surrounding area too had become unfit as it was low lying compared to the buildings and areas adjoining it and the connecting road.
Even a brief shower leaves the entire bus stand submerged in water. The situation becomes worse in monsoon. Commuters have to made through 3 feet to 4 feet of water to reach their destination. The water logging has led to formation of potholes in the bus stand. Ejection machines too failed to drain out the water from the bus stand.
The proposal for total renovation of the bus stand was taken up earlier but was held in abeyance owing to failure to locate a suitable alternative site.
Mr Bakshi Ram Arora, Chairman, Improvement Trust, told this correspondent that the bus stand is to be temporarily shifted on a short term lease of Rs 8 lakh per month under the New Amritsar scheme of the trust.
Meanwhile, confusion prevails about the name New Amritsar. The trust office reportedly has been inundated with callers seeking clarification whether the 340 acre trust site has been transferred to PUDA after such reports appeared in the Press.
Employees at the trust office had a hard time attending to about 30 calls a day for the past week. Mr Bakshi explained that 599 acres beyond the Jandiala canal on the right came under the New Amritsar scheme of PUDA whereas the 340 acres on the left came under the Improvement Trust.
However, the trust scheme, initiated many years ago, is ahead of the PUDA project.
A draw for about 800
flats and group housing units on an area of 69.61 acres
has already been taken out. More than 300 plots will be
shortly given to local displaced persons (LDPs) in lieu
of their original land that has been acquired by the
trust. Educational institutions are proposed to be set up
on 24.70 acres whereas 24.93 acres will be allotted to
commercial units. Twelve parks or open spaces will be
developed on 17.28 acres, while 45.62 acres has been
allotted for residential plots.
Admn takes flood control measures
PATIALA, July 5 Measures have been taken by the local administration to protect the city and its surrounding areas from the danger of floods in the ensuing rainy season. This information was given by Mr Manjeet Singh Narang, Subdivisional Magistrate, in a press note released after a meeting organised at a sub divisional level here yesterday.
Mr Narang said all the rivulets and drains which made their way through the urban and rural areas of the sub-division had been thoroughly cleaned to ensure easy flow of rain water. The work of raising bundhs at vulnerable places at Sarkapra, Shankargir and Marru villages alongside the Ghaggar was in progress.
The desilting work of nullahs in the city was also on. The encroachments near the Badi Nadi, Chhoti Nadi, Urban Estate and Model Town choes had been removed.
Besides setting up flood control rooms in the Deputy Commissioners Office, residence and police lines, the administration had also set up control rooms at the Badi Nadi, the SDMs Office, the level crossing R-2600, the Tangri Nadi, the Patiala-Devigarh road and Khasa village. A junior engineer and employees of the Irrigation Department would be assigned round-the clock duty on the Badi Nadi. Sand bags and labour would also be made available.
To streamline the flood control programme, the local sub-division was being divided into four sectors. Patiala, Dabhlan and Dablan had been included in the BDPO, Patiala; Sanaur and Kasba in the BDPO, Sanaur; and Dakala and Bhunerheri in the BDPO, Bhunerheri. The reports from the control rooms would be monitored on regular basis.
An arrangement of nine
boats and 25 life jackets had also been made by the
administration. As many as 15 units of doctors in rural
areas, 13 in urban areas and four mobile units had been
set up. Another 26 units of veterinary doctors in rural
and eight in urban areas and one mobile unit had also
been set up.
Tributes paid to Delhi Archbishop
JALANDHAR, July 5 Hundreds of Christians paid tributes to the Archbishop of Delhi, Alan De Lastic, who died last week, during a special prayer meeting at the St. Marys Cathedral Church in the cantonment here yesterday.
The prayer meeting was conducted by Bishop Simphorian Keeprath. While paying tributes, the Bishop said the late Archbishop had dedicated his life to the service of humanity.
Father Emanuel said the Archbishop would be remembered for his struggle in support of human rights. The others who paid tributes to the Archbishop included Secretary of the Jalandhar Diocese Pastoral Council Shamaun Yusuf Sandhu and priest Puran Chand.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Christian Movement has expressed concern over the activities of some fundamentalist Hindu organisations.
At a meeting of the organisation at Azad Church in Dhina village, near here, Mr Hamid Masih, state president of the movement, said certain organisations did not see eye to eye with Christians and were out to malign the whole community on one pretext or the other
Mr Feddy Joseph, adviser
to the organisation, said it was wrong on the part of
some people to project Christians as anti-national
elements, rather they loved India and were contributing
towards its development.
Badal pays tributes to Rajesh Pilot
NAWANSHAHR, July 5 Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab paid warm tributes to Mr Rajesh Pilot, a former Union Minister at a shraddhanjali samaroh organised by Sant Brahamanand Bhuriwale at Tapparian Khurd village 30 km from here on Wednesday. He said that Mr Pilot always stood with truth and was respected for his sterling qualities of head and heart. He announced that a stadium in the memory of Rajesh Pilot would be built at Tapparian Khurd village for which the required money would be arranged soon.
Mrs Rama Pilot, wife of
Mr Rajesh Pilot along with her son Sachin and daughter
Sarika was also present on the occasion. Mr Nand Lal, Mr
Mohan Lal, Mr Ramesh Dogra (all MLAs), Mr Mohinder Singh
Hussainpuri, SGPC member, Mr Jarnail Singh, member Dist
Planning Board were also present.
Take action after inquiry:
CHANDIGARH, July 5 The Temporary Engineers Association of the Irrigation Department, Punjab, has urged the Punjab Government that action against any official of the department should be taken after holding a proper inquiry. There was no justification for taking action against any engineer without holding proper inquiry. Supporting the governments crusade against corruption, the association said that corrupt officials must be punished but not without following a laid down procedure.
Pre-paid phone cards for Ropar
CHANDIGARH, July 5 Residents of Ropar will now be able to use pre-paid telephone cards to make STD and ISD calls from any phone. The cards will be available in denominations of Rs 210 and Rs 525. The cards can be used at Chandigarh, Shimla, Ambala, Delhi and a number of other cities.
The facility will soon be extended to exchanges falling within the Kharar, Short Distance Charging Area (SDCA), an official press note said.
Meanwhile a total of 2.50 lakh new telephone connections are to be released in Punjab in this financial year and 75 new exchanges proposed to be commissioned. This was disclosed at the meeting of the Punjab Telecom Advisory Committee (TAC) held here today.
At present the telephone density in the Punjab telecom circle is 5.2 phones per 100 population. This is much above the all-India average of 2.6 phones per 100 persons. Besides this 18 Internet nodes are coming up in all district headquarters in Punjab, the TAC was informed.
The TAC members were also given a detailed presentation
Forest officers unions plea
FEROZEPORE, July 5 Stressing upon the need to make the masses aware of environment, the Punjab non-gazetted Forest Officers Union Press Secretary, Mr Mohinder Singh, said the government must launch a widespread campaign, especially in the rural areas for the preservation of forests.
Mr Mohinder Singh regretted over the declining area under afforestation across Punjab. He added that out of the total area in Punjab, the area under afforestation was merely 5.76 per cent, whereas it should be 33 per cent.
Mr Mohinder Singh urged
the Punjab government to set up Environment Courts on the
pattern of the Haryana government. He also suggested that
in order to strictly check the illicit felling of trees,
an internal protection force within the Department of
Forests be set up.
New minor becomes functional
BATHINDA, July 5To irrigate more than 3000 acres of land of Chanduke and Gill Khurd villages of this district a new irrigation minor has started functioning.
In a press note issued
here today Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner,
Bathinda, said that Rs1.26 crore had been spent on the
new minor. Mr Jaspal Singh said that Rs. 3 lakh would be
given to concretise the remaining part of the minor.
Grants for community centre, roads
PATIALA, July 5
The Finance and Planning Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh,
has announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for a community centre
and another Rs 2 lakh for constructing a link road
between Kakrala and Guga Majri villages and streets, and
Rs 31,000 for a Muslim community centre. He was speaking
at a function held at Kakrala to honour Mr Kashmir Singh
Mavi, the recently nominated President, SAD (rural).
IPS officer reverted to West Bengal
CHANDIGARH, July 5 The Punjab Government today ordered the reversion of Mr R.J.S. Nalwa, a 1982 batch IPS officer of the West Bengal cadre, to his parent state. Mr Nalwa was DIG, Vigilance, here.
Mr Nalwa had been on deputation with the Punjab Government for the past more than two years. His deputation period ended on May 31. There was a move to extend his deputation period but the West Bengal Government informed the Punjab Government that there was a corruption case registered against the officer at Barracpore. As such the Punjab Government decided to revert him.
The state government may order the reversion of other deputationists, including a police officer from the BSF, Mr S.K. Singh, who has been recently convicted in a murder case and is currently serving a sentence.
Sandhu PSSSB chief
CHANDIGARH, July 5Mr Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu was today administered the oath of office as Chairman, Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, by the Chief Secretary, Mr R.S.Mann.
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, several ministers, chairpersons of various boards and corporations and members of the PSSSB were among those present.
PHAGWARA, July 5 Even after a lapse of over one and a half months the local police is in a fix about the female foetus which was exhumed from the Hoshiarpur road cremation ground on May 12 amidst speculation linking it to the mysterious death of Harpreet Kaur, daughter of the SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur.
The foetus, the exhumation of which was carried out following orders by the Kapurthala District Magistrate, is still lying at the local police station. After being exhumed, the foetus had been sent to the Government Medical College Amritsar, so that it could be sent further to Hyderabad for the DNA test. But it was allegedly sent back, for the DNA test would not be possible without blood samples of suspected parents. But the police or the special investigation team have so far failed to either trace the suspected parents or establish its link with Harpreet Kaurs death.
Ruling out its link with the death of Harpreet Kaur, the Kapurthala SSP, Mr Iqbal Singh, said, I think it has no connection with that and the exhumation was done in a separate case registered at Phagwara on March 29. We are trying to locate the suspected parents. He confirmed the foetus was still lying at the Phagwara police station, where it had been preserved under expert medical supervision.
Car thieves held for murder
ROPAR, July 5 The case of the murder of a taxi driver, Harmesh Lal, whose body was found on June 18 near Kalma mod in Anandpur Sahib, has been solved with the arrest of four car thieves who had allegedly stabbed him to death. The DSP Anandpur Sahib, Mr Sant Singh Dhaliwal, told newspersons that three of the accused had killed Harmesh Lal to steal his Tata Sumo which they had hired on June 17 for coming to Anandpur Sahib.
As per the statement of Varinder who was accompanying the taxi driver on his last trip, the accused Naresh Kumar of Rahon, Davinder Kumar of Dutt Banjran in Nawanshahr and Puneet Kumar of Nawanshahr hired the Tata Sumo from Garhshankar for going to Ananpur Sahib and the Naina Devi Temple. The driver took Varinder along with him.
On the way back from Anandpur Sahib to Garhshankar the accused consumed liquor and near Kalma mod, two of the accused, Naresh and Davinder, overpowered Harmesh Lal and Varinder, while the third, Puneet, stabbed the driver to death.
They then threw the body and drove to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh with Varinder. There they tried to sell the stolen vehicle but due to the non-availability of any buyer they left it one of their accomplices, Tajinder Singh. While returning, Varinder escaped from their custody and contacted the police.
2 hi-tech thieves held
JALANDHAR July 5 Two young hi-tech thieves were arrested by the local police today.
The accused, identified as Arshdip Singh, a resident of Adarsh Nagar and Ajay Khan, alias Ranjan, a resident of Santoshi Nagar, used to target electronic goods like cameras, VCRs, cordless phones, stereos and CD players. In addition to two .315 bore pistols and four cartridges, 1.12 kg of silver, seven tolas of gold, one Maruti car, one scooter, one mobile phone, one VCR, five cameras, two cordless phones, one radio, two walkie talkies, four stereos, six watches, 10 CDs and some cassettes were recovered from their possession. They were said to have been involved in 14 theft cases.
Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP,
said the gang would select houses in posh localities
which remained locked during daytime. They would park
their stolen vehicles outside these houses. They would
enter the house by removing grills or by breaking open
locks and lay their hands on electronic goods.
Poppy husk seized
FEROZEPORE, July 5 The district police claimed to have seized poppy husk from the house of a woman in Jalalabad subdivision of the district.
According to the SSP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, on a tip off a team from the Abohar CIA staff conducted a raid in the house of Chhander Kaur at Sukhera Bodla village.
The raiding party, during a search of the house, seized one quintal and 35 kg of poppy husk that was filled in three gunny bags. The Jalalabad sadar police has registered a case under the NDPS Act against the accused. Further investigations were on, the SSP said.
In another case, during
a naka in Kular village in Abohar subdivision, the police
seized eight quintals and 5 kg of poppy husk from a truck
PB 03-2825. The poppy husk was filled in 23 gunny bags.
The arrested have been identified as Gurdev Singh, a
resident of Malla village, and Bhola Singh, a resident of
Bhalwan village under Jaito and Dhuri police stations,
respectively. The police has registered a case under the
Discipline helped them do
PATIALA, July 5 Securing good marks in an exam alone does not make education complete, said sister Lissy, Principal of St Peters Academy. We aim to imbibe some values into our children, she added while highlighting the unique features of the school.
While talking to this correspondent, Sister Lissy emphasised that the school has kept the fee structure at a minimal level to encourage the poor section of society.
The school has recorded a cent per cent success in the CBSE board exams with 30 students getting distinction as many as 37 students out of a total of 78 students who had appeared in the board exams secured first division . Stressing that St Peters discourages tuition culture among students, Sister Lissy informed that the teachers employed by the school are forbidden to provide paid coaching to their students. However, in a cramped class room of 60 to 70 students, it was not possible to give special attention to the gifted children or the slow learners, she said.
Praising the schools disciplinary measures, Lt Col G.S Tiwana, parents of Kirneet Tiwana, who cleared her board exams from St Peters this year, said the school did a good job moulding Kirneets personality.
Mr Pramod Aggawal and Mrs Anita Aggarwal, the proud parents of this years topper Asish Aggarwal, attributed his success to the teaching staff, who really made him work hard.
Discipline is the bottom line as far as St Peters is concerned, said Dr R.C.Gupta and Dr Shakuntala Gupta whose daughter Deepika Gupta passed her CBSE exams with flying colours. The doctor duo praised the pain the teachers had taken to imbibe moral values into their daughters character. Mr Baldev Singh Cheema and Lakhbir Kaur, parents of Kawaldeep Cheema, said the St Peters is one of the best schools in Patiala. Fees are nominal which makes the school affordable by all srata of society, Mr Cheema said. Dr R.K. Goyal and Mrs Asha Goyal, parents of Neha Goyal, also echoed the same sentiment.
However, a few parents
feel that due to the excess number of children in each
class, the teachers cannot take personal interest in the
students. The school should arrange for extra coaching
for the needy students, said Dr K.G.Goyal and Mrs
Sangeeta Goyal,whose son Ankur Goyal has secured second
position in the school.
Plea against high BE fees
CHANDIGARH, July 5 In a petition before the High Court, Swami Parkash Nand Ji Sanyas Ashram Trust of Kapurthala district asked for directions against charging exhorbitant fees from the students admitted to the Bachelor of Engineerings first years.
The petitioners also
asked for quashing of the orders issued on March 15
revising the tuition fee and other charges. Taking up the
petition against the state of Punjab, Punjab Technical
University and other respondents, Mr Justice R.S. Mongia
and Mr Justice K.C. Gupta fixed August 1 as the next date
Contract labourers get raw deal
ROPAR, July 5 Contract labour problems in various industrial units of this district, have been increasing since the past few months. Contract labourers of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) have been sitting on a chain fast since the past eight days, in protest against the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), to post 396 employees from the Anandpur Sahib hydel project and the Mukerian hydel project against their posts.
The contract labourers of a cement plant at Ropar have also been sitting on a dharna against the exploitation by contractors. Similarly, the contract labourers of the National Fertilisers Ltd, (NFL) Naya Nangal, have been protesting against the transfer of their EPF accounts to the contractors and want the regularisation of their services.
Most of the contract labourers have been working in these units since 10-15 years. In the GGSSTP, the cement plant and the NFL these labourers have been employed for the loading and unloading of coal and oil, cleaning of wagons, production and machinery maintenance.
According to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, any work which continues for more than 100 days in a year has to be considered as permanent and no contract labour can be employed for these jobs. However, the managements of these institutions have not complying with the provisions of the Act.
The labourers working in these units are paid minimum wages whereas permanent workers doing the same jobs are paid much higher. In NFL (Naya Nangal), a contract labourer doing the loading job gets Rs 1,795 per month whereas a regular loader doing the same job gets Rs 5,500 per month.
Besides this, several cases have come to light where contractors have committed fraud in the EPF accounts of these labourers. A few months ago, lakhs of rupees were swindled from the EPF accounts of the contract labourers working at GGSSTP, by certain contractors.
Earlier, NFL, used to deposit the EPF of the labourers in their accounts. However, a few months ago, fearing that it might have to regularise the services of these labourers, it asked the contractors to maintain the EPF of the labourers.
The management of these
institutions take the plea of the latest government
policy of reduction in manpower for getting maximum work
done from the contractors. They say that the work done by
the contractors is cost effective and contributes to the
profitability of the companies.
HFCL to invest in Punjab
CHANDIGARH, July 5 Himachal Futuristic Telecommunications Limited (HFCL) will be investing Rs 1,210 crore in Punjab. The company will be laying 1,500 km of optical fibre cable as a communication backbone. All district headquarters and 49 major towns in the state will be connected onto the OFC grid to be set up by the company in two years.
This was disclosed by Mr R.K. Singh, General Manager (Chandigarh Operations), HFCL, while making a presentation on convergent telecommunication services : an engine for growth and profit at the Rotary Vocational Training Centre in Sector 18 here last evening.
The company has plans to set up five major exchanges or switching areas. The one in SAS Nagar has already started this and it will be followed by exchanges in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Bathinda and Amritsar.
The infrastructure will
help boost software and e-commerce solutions, Mr R.K.
Singh said, adding that the company would generate 1,200
direct and 5,000 indirect job opportunities. The idea is
to provide convergence of telephone, Internet and video,
besides cable TV through one cable. The new economy will
target the service sector the most as growth is going to
be the maximum in this sector.
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