Friday, January 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal’s 330 cr package for urban areas
by Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, is moving fast. Yesterday, he had announced the elections to the Zila Parishads and Block Samitis and programmes to gear up the party in a run-up to the Vidhan Sabha poll. Now he has shifted his focus to urban areas.

Today, he cleared a package of Rs 330 crore for various municipal committees in the state for laying the sewer system and to provide drinking water. A meeting was held in his office in this connection. Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Local Bodies Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, and Mr R.S.Mann, Chief Secretary, were among those present.

The package comes after Mr Tandon’s recent statement that the state Finance Department was not releasing funds for the municipal committees. It seems that the package has been cleared to neutralise possible effects of Mr Tandon’s statement in the urban areas. The statement had created a sort of mini storm in political circles and forced the Chief Minister to openly defend Capt Kanwaljit Singh, hailing his handling of the financial affairs of the state.

Through the package for the municipal committees, Mr Badal has also tried to send a clear signal to the BJP leadership as well as the urban voters that the government headed by him is genuinely concerned about development in the urban areas. An impression has gone round in the past few months, that Mr Badal is only bothered about the rural areas, especially the farming community.

Informed official sources told The Tribune that the government had released Rs 20 crore from the state treasury with immediate effect as part of the package. Besides, it had arranged a loan of Rs 270 crore from HUDCO under the package. The state government would stand guarantee for this loan. These funds are meant for water supply and sewer schemes in places like Rampura phul, Bathinda, Nawanshahr, Ludhiana, Bhawanigarh, Sunam, Sangrur, Patiala, Zirakpur, and Raikot.

Besides, the government also released the first instalment of Rs 3 crore of its share for development work in Amritsar city. In the first instalment Rs 2 crore will be contributed by the Amritsar Municipal Corporation and Rs 7 crore by HUDCO. There will be three such instalments.

Sources said that more funds were in the pipeline for developmental work in the urban areas.

Not only Mr Tandon, but also Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a dissident Akali MLA, had criticised the Badal government for not releasing funds for the committees. He supported the statement made by Mr Tandon. Mr Calcutta was elected to the Punjab Assembly from Amritsar. Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, another MLA ( BJP) from Amritsar has also criticised the state government for not taking up development projects in Amritsar city seriously.


Sobha Singh’s paintings stolen
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

SRIHARGOBINDPUR (Gurdaspur): Invaluable paintings have “disappeared” from Sardar Sobha Singh Art Gallery, which was opened here amid fanfare by the Punjab Government nearly 15 years ago. Srihargobindpur is the hometown of the legendary artist.

The gallery was inaugurated by Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, the then Chief Minister, on October 26, 1986. Mr Natha Singh Dalam, Public Relations Minister, who was holding the same portfolio at that time, was with Mr Barnala at the time of the laying of the foundation stone. However, owing to the indifferent attitude of the state government, unauthorised structures have mushroomed outside the art gallery. The approach road to the building is full of potholes. One of the rooms is being used an “unidentified” person. The entire building is in state of neglect. Stray cattle can often be seen by on the premises. Doors and windows of the building are broken.

While most of the paintings made by Sobha Singh have been stolen, some are decaying in an adjoining house.

Interestingly, the building was in the possession of Central Reserve Police Force personnel in the early nineties.

The district administration has shown apathy in the maintenance of this memorial despite reminders by art lovers. The Sobha Singh Art Gallery Memorial Foundation wrote a letter to the then Deputy Commissioner on May 20, 1994, for the proper maintenance of the gallery. On this, the Deputy Commissioner deputed the Block Development Officer to prepare estimates for the undertaking of repair work (order number 2829 REA) on May 23, 1994.

The estimate for restoring old paintings was a meagre Rs 60,000 and for repair of the building, Rs 1 lakh. The total cost of all repairs was less than Rs 3 lakh, which has not yet been released.

Mr Tejinder Singh Pannu, president of the foundation, said he had met successive Deputy Commissioners in this connection but to no avail.

Talking to Tribune News Service, Mr Pannu said that no Deputy Commissioner had cared to ensure repairs to the art gallery during the past years. He said foundation members could save about 30 paintings to some extent by keeping these in a private house. However, the paintings were decaying in the absence of a proper place to keep these.

The foundation president said leaders, including ministers, belonging to various political parties had made promises about the maintenance of the art gallery, but these were never fulfilled. The foundation had written to the state government urging it to hand over the gallery to NGOs of the area if it could not bear the expenses on repairs. Mr Pannu claimed that the administration had been getting Re 1 as “adda” fee from each bus for the art gallery. The amount collected so far had remained unspent, he said.


Tight security for Maghi Mela
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

MUKTSAR, Jan 11 — As hundreds of devotees from Punjab and other parts of the country have started descending on this historic town to take a holy dip in the sarovar of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib during the Maghi Mela, the police has made elaborate and fool-proof security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident.

The district police authorities have deployed about 3000 policemen in and around the venue of the Maghi Mela, which is held every year to mark the supreme sacrifices made by the 40 ‘muktas’ (liberated ones) led by Bhai Mahan Singh at Khidrana Ki Dhab (now Muktsar) when they engaged the Mughal army chasing Guru Gobind Singh.

As the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has announced the Zila Parishad and block samiti poll in April or May, a number of political parties have decided to hold their conferences on the occasion.

Official sources said that so far the Congress, the SHSAD, SAD (A), SAD (P), BSP, CPI, CPM, BKU and SAD (Badal) had taken permission from the authorities concerned to hold their conferences. Expecting a big rush at the mela, some of the political parties had started pitching up their tents at the site of their respective conferences.

Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, said that Union Ministers, including Mr Arun Jaitley, Ms Uma Bharti and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, BJP national president, Mr Bangaru Laxman, and senior BJP leader, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, would join the SAD-BJP conference on January 13. Apart from it, the four chief ministers — Mr Farooq Abdullah of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Om Prakash Chautala of Haryana and Mr Badal — would also attend the conference.

The Congress conference would be addressed by national leaders, including Mrs Ambika Soni and Mr Moti Lal Vora. Besides, Mr Amarinder Singh and Mr Jagmeet Brar, president and senior vice-president of the PPCC would address the party rally.

The Maghi Mela, which also marks the end of repeated battles between Guru Gobind Singh and the Mughal army, has attained more significance this time as all political parties would try to outdo each other, keeping in view the coming Zila Parishad and block samiti elections.

The SSP said that city had been divided into seven sectors and each sector would be manned by a DSP. An SP rank officer would be overall in charge of two sectors. Policemen in plainclothes had also been deployed around historical buildings.

He added that apart from it, police parties had been searching various areas and every vehicle was being checked. Nothing was being left to chance.

Mr K.J.S. Cheema, Deputy Commissioner, said that to maintain law and order, 18 duty magistrates had been deputed. For the convenience of devotees, the city had been cleaned and equipped with one main control room and eight sub-control rooms. A light and sound programme, “Sirhind Di Dastan”, would be held from January 12 to 14.

Braving chilly winds and dense fog, the devotees from every nook and corner of country have been paying their obeisance at historical gurdwaras here since last evening.


Publish report on Kaonke’s death’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — A deputation of human rights activists today met the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to demand the publication of the B.P. Tewari inquiry report into the death of Mr Gurdev Singh Kaonke, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht.

The deputation, comprising Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Mr Inderjit Singh Jaijee and a representative of the Rode family, also demanded that action should be taken against the police officers indicted in the report.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting, Mr Jaijee said that the Chief Minister told the delegation that he was yet to go through the Tewari report. The Chief Minister asked the Principal Secretary, Home, Mr Bikramjit Singh, to go through the findings and submit a report by this afternoon.

The delegation also expressed its concern over the rising incidence of suicides among farmers in rural Punjab. Mr Jaijee said that the Chief Minister talked about suicides in general, referring to recent cases of suicide allegedly committed by Mr Bhagwan Dass Arora, MLA, and a brother of the former Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, maintaining that this trend had nothing to do with “the poverty or suffering of farmers alone”.

On the other hand, the delegation told him that there had been several independent studies into this disturbing trend suggesting that the deteriorating socio-economic life of poor and marginal farmers was responsible for the high incidence of suicides in rural areas.



After dithering, govt promotes 29 as ETO
by Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — After dithering over its “merit-cum-seniority-cum-selection” policy for more than three months, the Punjab Government has finally ordered the promotion of 19 Taxation Inspectors and 10 Excise Inspectors as Excise and Taxation Officers.

Though the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) had recommended these promotions on September 26 last year, the formal orders were withheld for one reason or the other. One of the foremost reasons for taking so long in implementing the recommendations of the DPC has been pressure on the government to go by seniority-cum-merit and not by merit-cum-seniority as has been envisaged in the circular issued on October 1, 1999.

The file shuttled among the offices of the Excise and Taxation Minister, the Minister of State for Excise and Taxation, the Financial Commissioner (Taxation)-cum-Secretary to the government and the Excise and Taxation Commissioner after the meeting of the DPC in September last year.

Five of the 19 Taxation Inspectors promoted now belong to the scheduled Castes while in the case of Excise Inspectors, of the 10 Inspectors promoted, one each belongs to backward classes and the Scheduled Castes. Four cases have been kept pending for one reason or the other.

Though the DPC had also recommended the names of Mr Chamkaur Singh and Mr Joginder Kumar Singla (both Taxation Inspectors) and Mr R.P. Batta (Excise Inspector), their cases have been kept in sealed covers on instructions from the state government and will be decided on the basis of the finalisation of disciplinary cases pending against them.

In the case of Mr Sukhwinder Singh, Taxation Inspector, whose promotion was also recommended by the DPC, the final decision on his promotion will depend on the advice of the Department of Social Welfare.

Of the 29 promotions ordered, 24 are purely ad hoc while the remaining five are on a regular basis. Because of ongoing litigation, the government, after ordering these promotions, has deferred fixing the inter-se seniority of the newly promoted ETOs. Even the orders do not specify who has been promoted against a regular post or who on a purely ad hoc basis.

The posting orders of these new 29 ETOs are also yet to be issued.

These promotions are subject to the outcome of various cases pending in various courts.

The following Taxation Inspectors have been promoted : Mr Darshan Singh (SC), Mr Parkash Chand (SC), Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Harmesh Lal (SC), Mr Harvinder Singh, Mr Sohan Singh (SC), Mr Kewal Singh Walia, Mr Nirmal Singh (SC), Mr Sharanjit Singh, Mr Jasmail Singh, Mr Resham Singh, Mr Inder Mohan Singh, Mr Major Singh Dhillon,Mr Ominder Singh, Mr Kirpal Singh Sandhu, Mr Naresh Chander Sharma, Mr Balwant Rai and Mr Madan Lal Jindal.

The Excise Inspectors promoted are Mr Rakesh Prasher, Mr Gurdip Singh, Mr Ajit Singh, Mr Ujagar Singh Garcha (BC), Mr Mohan Lal Singla, Mr Bhag Singh, Mr Rajinder Singh, Mr Hardev Singh, Mr Sikander Singh (SC) and Mr Daljit Singh.

The order said that the promotion of these Inspectors was subject to their original seniority in their respective cadres besides being subject to approval by the Punjab Public Service Commission.


ASP, 4 cops hurt in stone pelting
From Harjeet Singh and Jaswinder Paul Singh

BATHINDA, Jan 11 — Five policemen, including Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr P.K. Rai, were injured when activists of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee, who had organised a gherao of the Superintendent Engineer (SE), Mr N.S. Deol, in front of his office at the Bhagu Road here allegedly started pelting stones.

After the incident, the policemen allegedly resorted to lathi charge on the activists and dispersed the agitators. The number of activists injured in the lathi charge could not be known.

After that policemen came to the bus stand and started a lathi charge after pulling down people from buses and trucks.

Police sources said that some of the agitators, who were trying to block traffic at the bus stand after they were dispersed from the SE’s office, had been rounded up.

The sources added that the five policemen who suffered injuries had been admitted to the Civil Hospital. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jaspal Singh and the SSP, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, visited the hospital to inquire about their condition.

Civil Hospital sources said that Inspector Bhupinder Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), city police station and Assistant Sub-Inspector, Mr Manjeet Singh had suffered head injuries while Mr Sukhminder Singh and Mr Darshan Singh had suffered injuries on the other parts of body.

All injured had been shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and X-ray examination of two who had suffered head injuries had been done. They were being kept under close observation.

The police sources said the trouble started when the activists of struggle committee who had gheraoed the SE’s office started pelting stones without any provocation from any side. The policemen, who were few in number and were on security duty, tried to stop them but they also were attacked with the stones.

After that the police resorted to a mild lathi charge to disperse the mob. The agitators, however, marched towards the bus stand to block traffic.

After the incident, the policemen were deployed in large numbers in and around the bus stand. The streetlights on the bus stand area were also switched off.

No senior official of the police could be contacted for comment. 


Punjab YC to hold district rallies
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Jan 11 — The Punjab unit of the Youth Congress will organise district-level rallies to expose the alleged failures of the SAD-BJP government to voice the problems faced by people in the state. The first rally will be held at Patti in Amritsar district on January 16, said Mr Devinder Babbu, president of the state unit at a press conference held here yesterday.

He alleged that the law and order situation was deteriorating in the state. Extortions, kidnapping of children and killing of innocent persons had become the order of the day, Mr Babbu alleged.

Mr Babbu expressed apprehensions that if the present situation continued, it might revive militancy. He is on a state tour to mobilise the youths of the state. He charged state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal with selling government property in the state. He accused the Chief Minister of using the government funds for political purpose.

Mr Babbu criticised Mr Badal for his alleged failure to resolve the problems of the farmers in the state. He condemned the Chief Minister for blaming the Congress for not making any development. He further alleged that the corruption and nepotism had reached their peak under the present regime.


SHSAD backs Tandon on charges
From Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — In a significant and tactful move, obviously aimed at giving posers with long-term implications to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) today came out in support of the Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, in his war of attrition against the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Former Minister and senior SHSAD leader Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, while supporting the charges levelled by Mr Tandon against the Finance Ministry for neglecting local bodies, told TNS, his remarks should not be taken lightly. He claimed, there was merit in his (Mr Tandon’s) charges as the government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal had failed the urban people.

He claimed urban areas had never been of any concern to Mr Badal, who felt he was safe and comfortable with the rural constituency. For him (Mr Badal) only the rural areas had remained the focus for development, he alleged.

The former minister claimed, even the different rural areas of the state are not treated on a par. Only a few select districts had been chosen for development, while other constituencies were being ignored just because they were represented by legislators belonging to the Opposition.

Justifying his charge against Mr Badal, Mr Grewal pointed out first he went back on the election promise of abolishing octroi and now he is not providing funds for development in the urban areas. He revealed that of the sum of Rs 292 crore the government owed to the local bodies only Rs 60 crore had been paid during the past four years.

The SHSAD regretted that the Chief Minister instead of probing the charges made by Mr Tandon shielded Capt Kanwaljit Singh without going into the merits of the case. “This should not be viewed in context of the BJP’s relationship with SAD, but the mindset of the Chief Minister in no way appears to be in favour of urban people,” he remarked.

The apathetic rather hostile attitude of the state government towards the local bodies can be noted from the fact that most of these had to seek justice from the courts against the government’s policy.

Listing several cases of indifference towards urban development on part of the Badal government, he pointed out the ambitious Sutlej Action Plan should have been completed by 2002. But work was yet to start since the state government failed to provide its share.

Supporting the cause taken up by Mr Tandon, Mr Grewal said, under Section 90 of the Municipal Corporation Act the local bodies had the right on the share from six different taxes. But not a single paisa had been paid to them during the past four years.


BJP resents bias against traders
From Gurpreet Singh
Tribune News Service

MOGA, Jan 11 — Fearing erosion in the urban votebank, the delegates from the state unit of the BJP vented out their frustrations over discrimination against traders and small industrialists in the state at a party meeting during a three-day training camp held recently. Giving an indication of the party’s electoral concerns, the in charge, Punjab unit of BJP affairs, Mr O.P. Kohli, also called upon the activists to dedicate the whole year to hectic preparations for the next Assembly elections.

The party sources said that the delegates widely resented the octroi policy and the recent hike in power tariff, which has hit hard the urban voters in Punjab. Most of the delegates opposed the mode of octroi collection through private contractors, who allegedly abused the traders. They demanded that the practice be stopped

Likewise, the power tariff hike had hit hard the interests of urban residents and small industrialists alike. This prompted the Local Bodies minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, to assure that the government would not award fresh contracts for octroi collections in the cities.

Later, through a resolution adopted at the party executive meeting, the BJP leaders demanded that the practice be stopped. The party also adopted a resolution seeking alternative arrangements to tide over the financial crunch of the state electricity board, instead of hiking the tariff.

Apart from these two contentious issues, a section of the delegates also charged the Akali Dal ministers of discriminating against the BJP activists in their respective constituencies.

They lamented that despite the alliance between the two parties, the Akali ministers were not coordinating with them in their Assembly segments.

During the media briefing at the end of the camp, the Punjab BJP President, Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, also admitted that these difficulties were raised by the delegates. He, However, assured that the Akali Dal ministers would coordinate with their coalition partners and the two parties would jointly fight the coming zila parishad elections.

Referring to the octroi issue, he admitted that an election promise for octroi abolition was made by his party, but this was not feasible as per the observations made by a committee that studied the matter in depth.

Other resolutions adopted at the meeting focused on the rural areas. While one resolution praised the Central Government for announcing Rs 350-crore package to compensate the farmers, who had to sell out their paddy stock at throwaway prices, another resolution urged the government to allay apprehensions over the wheat procurement.

Through another resolution, the BJP also welcomed the Central Government’s decision to compensate frontier farmers, whose lands have been acquired for security fencing along the Indo-Pak border. The party also adopted a resolution seeking early enforcement of a women reservation Bill.


SAD to strengthen rural base: Sukhbir
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Jan 11 — The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has launched a special campaign to mobilise youths in the rural areas to strengthen the party at the grassroots level in the state.

This was stated by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary, SAD, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday. Mr Badal who arrived here to address a party workers’ meeting in connection with the party conference on the eve of Maghi fair at Muktsar on January 13 said no decision had so far been taken to hold assembly elections in April or May in the state.

He clarified that he would contest the poll from the Faridkot Assembly segment only if the party high command directed him. He stated that there was no chance for the formation of the third front in the state. He claimed that the SAD-BJP alliance was strong enough to defeat the Opposition in the assembly poll in the state.

He cautioned people to be aware of the false propaganda made by the Opposition against the SAD-BJP alliance government.

Counting the development works done by the present government, he disclosed that 20-km new roads in each assembly constituency would be constructed before the end of the current financial year. Work has already been started in this regard.

Answering a question he said the construction of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences Complex would start soon. Funds for this connection had already been released. However he assured to hold an inquiry into the recruitment of some persons in the university violating the norms.


Stop anti-SAD tirade: AISSF
From Our Correspondent

JALANDHAR, Jan 11 — The All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF), Bhoma faction, has criticised the state BJP leadership and its ministers for allegedly issuing irresponsible statements against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ministers for ignoring people living in the urban areas.

Mr Bhoma, addressing a press conference at local Circuit House here yesterday termed the statements and activities of state BJP chief Brij Lal Rinwa and Local Bodies Minister Balramji Dass Tandon as unwarranted and irresponsible.

Though Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, after assuming charge as the state BJP chief, had regularly been criticising the state government for ignoring the urban population of the state, the state Local Bodies Minister Balramji Dass Tandon had recently entered into a controversy with Punjab Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh, by accusing the latter for not releasing development grants for various municipal committees of the state.

Mr Bhoma further alleged that both leaders, in a deep rooted conspiracy, had been instrumental in destabilising the SAD(B)-BJP alliance government in the state.

“Infact, the BJP had never won more than four seats on its own and if they are enjoying power in the state, it is all due to their alliance with the SAD, Mr Bhoma added.

Mr Bhoma, going a step further, threatened to expose the misdeeds of the BJP ministers, if the two leaders failed to stop their anti-government propaganda in the Press.

He hailed the stand taken by Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti and SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi against the alleged moves of RSS to penetrate into the Sikh religious affairs.

Later Mr Bhoma announced the appointments of district presidents of the federation. Mr Ravinderjit Singh Jolly (Chandigarh), Mr Daljit Singh Pakharpura (Amritsar), Mr Gurjinder Singh Sekhon (Patti rural), Mr Ravinder Singh Ravi (Patti urban), Mr Kanwaljit Singh Pawar (Gurdaspur), Mr Harbhajan Singh Saidpur (Batala rural), Mr Virsa Singh (Batala urban), Mr Kamaljit Singh Grewal (Ludhiana rural), Mr Ravinder Singh Rinku (Ludhiana urban), Mr Amarjit Singh Sandhu (Ferozepore), Mr Gurpreet Singh (Jalandhar), Mr Param Singh Khalsa (Nawanshahr), Mr Jaswant Singh (Ropar), Mr Saravjit Singh (Moga), Mr Gurmail Singh (Patiala), Mr Rajinder Singh (Patiala urban), Mr Rajinder Singh Kaka (Faridkot), Mr Harvinder Singh Babbal (Fatehgarh Sahib), Mr Sohan Singh Cheema (Sangrur) have been appointed presidents of the district units of the federation.


Brar storms Amarinder’s turf
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

SAMANA, Jan 11 — Punjab Congress MP Jagmeet Brar today took this constituency situated in the home district of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Capt Amarinder Singh, by storm. He addressed a huge ‘’kisan-garib mahapanchayat’’ riding on the shoulders of a suspended Congress leader in which he urged the people to recognise the “criminal nexus” of various politicians of different parties in the state.

He also announced that he did not toe the line of Capt Amarinder Singh with regard to the World Trade Organisation ( WTO ) agreement. He said the interests of farmers in the state needed to be safeguarded immediately.

The Congress leader, who came here to be felicitated at being appointed the whip of the party in the Lok Sabha on the invitation of former president of the rural unit of Patiala district Harinderpal Singh Mann, was virtually accorded the welcome of a conquering general. From being welcomed in Patiala in front of the statue of freedom fighter Sewa Singh Thikriwala who opposed the forefathers of Capt Amarinder Singh, to being taken for the rally in a cavalcade of a few hundred vehicles, he was all along presented as the only answer to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the state. There was no mention of the PPCC chief at the rally with banners only mentioning the names of party president Sonia Gandhi and Mr Brar.

Though Mr Brar was careful about not attacking the PPCC president directly at the rally and even said their purpose was the same, he urged the people to recognise the nexus of various politicians of different parties in the state and expressed his resolve to break it. However, he did not spell out clearly whether Capt Amarinder Singh was part of the nexus. When questioned in this regard he just said; “I cannot say that”.

He also made digs at feudal lords at the rally, while explaining to the people the “sangharsh” he had to do to attend the rally. He said he had been constantly asked why the rally had been named “garib mahapanchayat” adding that he told the central leadership it could not be named a capitalist and feudal panchayat.

The Congress leader also made it clear that he had come to the function after taking permission from the party president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi. He said the party high command had understood his sentiments behind attending the rally, adding that only the Akalis could object to such a rally.

Later, while talking to newspersons, Mr Brar said the rally organiser, Mr Harinderpal Singh Mann, should not have been suspended from the party for organising a Congress show . He said senior Congress leaders Oscar Fernandes and Moti Lal Vora had already conveyed their sentiments on this score to the PPCC chief. He said it appeared the PPCC chief had been misguided on the issue, adding that he had all along planned to invite Capt Amarinder Singh to the function.

Mr Brar while explaining his views on the WTO, agreement said its clauses were not in favour of the farmers of Punjab as they could neither diversify immediately nor was there any atmosphere here for marketing of diverse agro products . He said the interests of the farmers of the state needed to be safeguarded immediately in this context and one could not wait for time to provide the healing touch as envisaged by the PPCC chief .

Mr Mann said the mahapanchayat was the only answer left to the people of 107 villages of Samana constituency to make their heard. He demanded fixing responsibility for the paddy procurement mess, accounting of the Rs 350 crore which had been given as a Central package to the Punjab farmers and immediate announcement of the minimum support price of wheat.

The function was attended by Brar loyalists, including 10 Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee members and district Congress presidents of Muktsar and Faridkot — Mr Raghbir Singh and Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh.


BSP wants Jat to be Punjab CM

JALANDHAR, Jan 11 (UNI) —The Bahujan Samaj Party supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, today said he was scouting for a Jat or a leader from the general category to project him as the next chief minister of Punjab because the Dalits in the state lacked a leader of stature for the top job.

Addressing a cadre camp of backward classes here, he said while the BSP had progressed by leaps and bounds elsewhere in the country, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, since 1984, it failed to make much headway in Punjab because it lacked a Dalit leader who had the grit and determination to become the chief minister of the state. Therefore, in the circumstances, he has no option but to project a Jat or general category leader for the high office.

The BSP supremo’s open advocacy for a Jat chief minister is significant in the backdrop of his series of meetings with dissident senior Akali leader Ravi Inder Singh, with whom he held a five-hour-long closed-door meeting here on December 24 last. Mr Ravi Inder Singh, who made three unsuccessful attempts to pull down the government of Mr Parkash Singh Badal last year, had admitted that he discussed politics with Mr Kanshi Ram during the meeting, which was arranged by the Editor of a local Punjabi daily, considered close to the Dalit leader.


AI to submit plane model in court
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 11 — The Indian Airlines today submitted that it would prepare a 10-foot long model of the illfated airbus which was hijacked from Kathmandu to Kandahar and place it at a convenient place till the pendency of the hijacking case being heard here.

In a submission in the court of District and Sessions Judge S N Aggarwal, Indian Airlines Company Secretary H S Grover said the airlines was in the process of preparing the model of the aircraft and that it would be completed by January 25.

Additional Sessions Judge J S Chawla, who was appointed by the court to inspect the ill-fated aircraft in Mumbai, submitted his report yesterday. Mr Chawla said the Indian Airlines had made arrangements for photographing and making a video film of the aircraft. He had submitted that a model of the aircraft was still to be made.

The Additional Sessions Judge had been sent to Mumbai to inspect the plane after the Punjab and Haryana High Court overruled the District and Sessions Court not allowing the sale of the aircraft and directed that the aircraft be released to the Indian Airlines by January 15 to facilitate its sale.

The High Court had, however, ordered that the organisation should comply with certain conditions, including getting the plane inspected by an official appointed by the court, getting it photographed and making a model of the aircraft.

The Additional Sessions Judge had left for Mumbai on January 6 accompanied by the counsel of the CBI as well as that of the defence. The next date of hearing in the case has been fixed for January 31.


HC summons DSP in harassment case
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — Mr Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today summoned DSP Gurjit Singh, Inspector Paramjit Singh and the Additional SHO of Division No. 6, Ludhiana Police Station, to appear in his court on January 30 with the complete record to show whether they have registered any case against a former sarpanch of Ganna village, Mr Tarsem Lal, whose house they had been frequenting to harass him and his family members.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted before the court that no case had been registered against Mr Tarsem Lal yet the police officials frequented his house and harassed him. Besides, they could give no information on whether any case had been registered against him. The petitioner’s arrest had already been stayed by the High Court on November 22 last year.

Mr Justice Nijjar observed: “The petitioner made a mistake by filing a case against police officials for misuse of their powers. Consequently, the officials who have been mentioned in the petition have been trying to implicate him in one case or another”. The petitioner had approached the High Court in 1998 also.


Self-help groups for women
From Our Correspondent

HOSHIARPUR, Jan 11 — In order to provide social, economic and legal rights and status to women in society, the Punjab Government has recently introduced self-help group programme in the state. This was disclosed by Mr R.L. Kalsia, Director, Social Security, Woman and Child Development Department, Punjab.

While talking to mediapersons at Ram Colony Camp, 5 km from here, today. He said as many as 3537 self-help groups of women with more than 45,000 members had been formed in the state. Out of this 136 groups had started inter-loaning to their members to meet their domestic as well as personal needs. As many as 663 groups had already started various cottage industries and trades to make their members self-sufficient. He said all 3537 groups had collected Rs 2 crore through savings of their members.

In order to make the groups financially strong, a special scheme with the financial help of NABARD had been started. NABARD would provide four times more loans to all these groups from their collected amount on 12 per cent annual interest without any surety to start cottage industries and trades. Training for setting up various cottage industries would be imparted to the members of these groups.

Mr Kalsia said to promote the health of children by providing them nutritious diet Prime Minister’s Gramodya Yojna had recently been introduced in the state for which the state government had provided Rs 3.3 crore. As many as 94,083 beneficiaries had been covered under this scheme.


Action ordered against former executive officer
From Our Correspondent

MANSA, Jan 11 — The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sukhdev Singh, has ordered the initiation of proceedings under Section 250, Cr P.C, against the then Executive Officer, Mansa, Vijay Kumar Gupta and court clerk Rajinder Kumar, both employees of the Municipal Council, Mansa, for filing a false complaint under Sections 195 and 195A of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, against Mr Mohinderpal and others.

The court also ordered to initiate proceedings under Section 344 Cr P.C. against the witnesses, Mr Rajinder Kumar, a court clerk, Mr Gian Chand a clerk, Mr Amarjit Singh, a JE, and Mr Amarjit Singh a peon, all employees of the Municipal Council.

The court gave its findings while deciding a complaint filed by the municipal council, under Sections 195 and 195 A of the Punjab Municipal Act, against Mr Mohinderpal and others. The court held that the complaint had been filed at the behest of Mr Pawan Kumar, president of the municipal council with a view to harassing the accused. The court acquitted the accused of the charges framed against them.

It was alleged that the accused had started the constructions of house without taking permission of the municipal committee. Notices were issued against accused. They were asked to stop the construction immediately on the receipt of notices, but they did not comply with the notice.

On the other hand the accused alleged that Mr Pawan Kumar, was from their Matti village and had some dispute with his father Mr Parkash Chand. He got a false complaint filed against them. They further alleged that earlier, too he had filed a false complaint against them and their mother Mrs Purna Devi. They alleged that they had not constructed any house and the house was constructed by their father five years ago. 


Solar energy-operated tubewells
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 11 — Farmers in Punjab will benefit from the state Government’s scheme to provide solar energy operated tubewells at concessional rates.

Giving this information, the chief executive of PEDA, Mr P.S. Aujla, said to start with as many as 39 blocks had already been adopted by PEDA to provide 2 HP solar water pumping system for irrigation purposes to more than 10,000 and beneficiaries. Mr Aujla said that as against the actual cost of Rs 4.56 lakh per pump, a beneficiary had to give a subsidised cost of just Rs 35,000 and the rest would be shared by the state and Central Government. This pump was sufficient to irrigate between four and five acres of land with a total discharge of 1.40 lakh litres of water per day.

Mr Aujla further stated that booking for these pumps had already been made and the project would be completed by the end of February 2001. He said the scheme had been launched for the first time in India.

Mr Narinderjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, said Amritsar would be getting its due share in the first phase of the project and two blocks — Majitha and Ajnala, had been adopted by PEDA under the scheme.

The Deputy Commissioner said 25 solar powered water pumping sets had already been commissioned in these blocks and the project would be extended into more blocks of the district, especially in the border belt, to encourage the farmers to go for solar pump sets for irrigation.

He said these solar-powered pumping sets were noise free and pollution-free and did not require any fuel. They used the available sunlight and were very simple to install.

Mr Narinderjit Singh said instructions had been issued to all development agencies like Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Chief Agriculture Officer, Block Development and Panchayat Officers and other officials to educate the farmers for the adoption of this new scheme of the Punjab Government.


15 hurt as two buses hit two trucks
From Our Correspondent

MALERKOTLA, Jan 11 — Fifteen persons were injured, some of them seriously, in an accident involving two trucks and two buses due to fog at Bhasor village, about 5 km from here, today.

According to an information, the two buses (PB-13G 9825 and PB-13-G-8825) were on their way from Sangrur to Malerkotla when they reached Bhasor village they collided with two trucks which had already collided with each other.

All injured were rushed to the local Civil Hospital, where some of them were discharged after first-aid. The police has registered a case against the truck drivers.


DC distributes blankets
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 11 — The Patiala Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, today appealed to various organisations to start a campaign to ensure women were able to get their rights in society.

He said this while speaking at a function organised by the Hospital Welfare Association. He distributed sweaters and shoes among 150 students and blankets among 30 persons. He said the Red Cross had spent Rs 15 lakh on various projects in the district last year. He said the amount was spent on heart surgeries of poor children, provided 234 tricycles to children, 107 callipers and more than 10 sewing machines.

The Hospital Welfare Association Chairperson, Ms Ravinder Kaur Bir, while speaking on the occasion, said the thrust of the Association had been on providing medicines and food to the needy in the Government Rajindra Hospital. She said besides this the association was providing various facilities to the children of the orphanage in the city, besides contributing to the upkeep of S.D. Kumar Sabha Bal Niketan. 



Mayor may be rapped for remark
From Rashmi Talwar

AMRITSAR, Jan 11 — The Amritsar Mayor, Mr Brij Mohan Kapoor, is likely to be rapped for his announcement regarding the “municipal corporation’s complete commitment to demolish any encroachments in parks’ despite an earlier declaration by the Chief Minister on January 3 in Chandigarh about “regularising encroachments”.

The mayor had made this announcement on Tuesday at the corporation’s general house meeting. According to the town planning wing, the Chief Minister’s order encompasses all types of encroachments in parks, streets, roads or on any land that comes under the municipal corporation and improvement trust areas.

The corporation has surveyed 53 encroachments in parks that are demarcated by the Department of Town Planning.

The Chief Minister’s order gives respite to most encroachers. The encroachments in parks include six by mandirs and gurdwaras. These remain untouched being a sensitive issue.

A majority of 24 encroachments are in houses in different parts of the city. Eight areas have been listed as commercial ones including a market selling imported goods in the railway link road area, which not only encroaches into a park but also the space surrounding it.

Truck operators get another chance to 
pay tax arrears
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today announced that another opportunity would be given to truck and bus operators under the amnesty scheme to pay the arrears of taxes without any penalty.

He made this announcement at a meeting with truck operators who had come to get their grievances redressed. He said an advisory committee would be set up to resolve various issues pertaining to truckers in the state.

He also directed the Local Bodies Department to fix a uniform rate Rs 50 for the state transit pass for trucks. The transit pass would be valid in the entire state. Truckers have been allowed to pay road tax and special road tax by filling a form (32A) instead of using two separate forms for this purpose.

The truck operators were represented by Mr Malkiat Singh Kittu, MLA from Barnala, who is also the president of the Truck Union there, and Mr Sadhu Singh Ghudani and Mr Harpal Singh Ghagga, president of Punjab Truck Operators Union.


Citrus fruits show: Ferozepore best
From Our Correspondent

HOSHIARPUR, Jan 11 — A state-level show of citrus fruits was organised by the Horticulture Department, Punjab, at Swarn Farms here today. Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, state Minister for Agriculture and Horticulture, presided.

Mr Ranike said 13,900 hectares were under citrus fruit trees in the state. The annual production of citrus fruits was about 177 lakh tonnes. He said kinnow was the main citrus fruit and 9,930 hectares were under it mainly in Hoshiarpur, Ferozepore, Muktsar and Bathinda districts. The yield of kinnow from an acre was 15 tonnes as compared to seven tonnes per acre for other citrus fruits. Punjab was leading in kinnow production in the country.

He said to promote the quality of fruits the Horticulture Department had organised 68 district and state-level fruit competitions for kinnow, litchi and grapes during last year.

Mr C.L. Raina, Financial Commissioner, Punjab, said to create infrastructure for the marketing of fruit the state government would get cold stores constructed for fruit and vegetable preservation in all districts in the state through the Agriculture Export Corporation. Facilities for grading and waxing of fruits and their packing would be made available at these cold stores. He said two cold stores at Tahliwala Jattan in Ferozepore district and at Chhowni Kalan of Hoshiarpur district would be set up shortly.


3 of family die in mishap
From Our Correspondent

DHURI, Jan 11 — Three members of family were killed and two others injured seriously when the jeep in which they were travelling was hit by a tractor-trailer coming from the opposite direction on the Dhuri-Sherpur road, near Ghanour-kalan village, 8 km from here, yesterday.

The dead have been identified as Jaswinder Singh, his father Bahadur Singh and grandfather Sarup Singh, all residents of Rasoolpur Channa village in Sangrur. The injured are Ajaib Singh and Avtar Singh of Bhuller Heri village. The driver of the tractor-trailer fled after the accident.

The bodies of the deceased were handed over to their families today after post-mortem examination at the local Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case against the driver of the tractor- trailer.


Six-month leave for life convicts
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, Minister for Jails and Defence Welfare, said today that the state government had implemented the decision to grant a six-month leave to the life convicts after they had spent five years in jail. He said the Inspector-General of Jails had been authorised to use powers in this connection while the state government was competent authority to grant such leave. He said this at a workshop of jail officers organised to streamline jail administration according to a press note.

He admitted that jails were overcrowded. Against the capacity to lodge 9669 inmates, jails in the state at present had 11,500 inmates. A plan had been prepared to construct new barracks in the old jails, apart from constructing modern jails. He said 300 prisoners had been discharged from jails due to special clemency granted to them in the state to mark the tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa Panth.


Cleanliness drive launched
From Our Correspondent

FEROZEPORE, Jan 11 — The local Cantonment Board today launched a cleanliness fortnight to improve the general cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation conditions in the cantonment area. Mr N. Srinivasa Reddy, cantonment executive officer, said in addition to this campaign, a plantation drive would be launched soon in which more than 1 lakh saplings would be planted.

Addressing a gathering at a function organised to mark the launch of the cleanliness drive, Mr Reddy urged the residents to extend full cooperation to the authorities.


Notify local bodies poll: EC
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — The state Election Commission has asked the Punjab Government to issue a statutory notification to enable it to finalise the poll process for the general election of zila parishads and block samitis. 

The Punjab Chief Minister had expressed the desire yesterday to hold the elections of these bodies at the earliest. It was in the jurisdiction of the state government to recommend the poll schedule.


Nishan’s medical report given
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 11 — The Patiala Central Jail Superintendent today submitted the medical report of Nishan Singh, former personal security officer of former SGPC president Jagir Kaur in the court of the special CBI court here.  The report was presented today before Special CBI Magistrate Jaspinder Singh Heyer following an application filed in this regard by Mr Satnam Singh Cler, counsel for the accused, on January 8.

It is reportedly learnt that the medical report states that Nishan Singh is suffering from diabetes. The swelling on his legs has been attributed to this disease. The report also states that there is no indication of any harm having been done to the accused.

PUDA auctions plots
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 11 — Residential and commercial plots came under the hammer today by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA). Fifteen residential and 16 commercial plots were auctioned under Mr H.S. Nanda, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr T.S. Bhatti, Estate Officer, Mr Somnath, Divisional Engineer, PUDA, Jalandhar, and Mr Gurmej Singh, Divisional Engineer.

The maximum price fetched from the auction of a commercial booth was Rs 30,100 per sq yard, while for residential plot it was Rs 13,000 per sq yard. Reserve price was Rs 5,100 and Rs 8,000 per yard for residential and commercial plots, respectively. PUDA is planning to develop special urban estates in Amritsar on the Mohali pattern.


Traffic disrupted as coach derails
From Our Correspondent

JALANDHAR, Jan 11 — A coach of a mail train was derailed at Suchi Pind near here which resulted in the disruption of railway traffic on the Jalandhar-Jammu sector today. The coach of 4805-Up Jodhpur-Jammu Tawi mail got derailed at around 4 pm at Suchi Pind on the Jalandhar-Jammu section resulting in the diversion of railway traffic to Jammu via Amritsar.

Efforts to remove the derailed coach were on till 7.30 pm. Railway officials said it might take another ten hours to clear the track and restore the traffic.


Vaishnav disinvestment panel Chairman
From B.K. Chum

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — The Punjab Government has appointed Mr P.H. Vaishnav, former Chief Secretary, and Dr S.S. Johal, former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), as Chairman and member, respectively, of the state PSU Disinvestment Commission.

Disclosing this to IPA, the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said the Disinvestment Commission would finalise the policy framework for disinvestment in Punjab’s 75 PSUs and apex cooperative bodies as early as possible.

The commission was not able to start its work so far because of the delay in appointing its Chairman. The government had proposed the name of Mr T.K.A. Nair, a Punjab cadre IAS officer who is at present Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board, to head its Disinvestment Commission. But it did not get a nod from the Centre.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh disclosed that a number of steps were now in the pipeline to reduce the burgeoning financial burden and introduce economy in government expenditure. These included downsizing of the state administration.

Accordingly, the government proposes to introduce a voluntary retirement scheme for its employees as also for the employees of its boards and corporations. The committee set up by the government to formulate the VRS was expected to submit its report this month. Although a long-term measure, the scheme which would offer attractive terms to the employees would enable the government to reduce its establishment bill, which is about 70 per cent of its annual revenue. The total strength of the employees is around four lakh.

He also disclosed that the Public Expenditure Commission, set up by the government to cut down government spending, was also expected to submit its report shortly. It had already held a number of meetings. — IPA


Panel to resolve standoff
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 11 — The Punjab Government has set up a three-member officers’ committee to help resolve the present standoff between the Finance Department and the Local Bodies Department over the allocation of funds.

The committee is headed by the Chief Secretary and consists of the Finance Secretary and the Secretary for Local Bodies. The panel was set up after a high-level meeting presided over here today by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Informed sources said that the committee had been asked to submit its report within a week so that adequate funds could be allocated to the Department for Local Bodies to resume the stalled development work in the towns and cities of Punjab.


Husband, beloved strangle woman
From Our Correspondent

DHURI, Jan 11 — A woman was allegedly strangled by her husband in connivance with his beloved and friend at Dhura village 2 km from here, on Monday, according to a delayed report.

Mr Brij Pal, the father of the deceased, in an FIR has alleged that his daughter Neelam Devi, was married to Mohinder Pal of Dhura village, about eight years ago. The couple had strained relations for the last one year as Mohinder Pal and his friend Darshan Singh had illicit relations with Meena Rani of the same village. Since his daughter used to stop her husband Mohinder Pal from indulging in such activities, Mohinder Pal, his friend Darshan Singh and Meena Rani were nursing a grudge against Neelam Devi.

He said Mohinder Pal along with Darshan Singh and Meena Rani killed Neelam Devi on Monday night by strangling her with rope.

A case has been registered under various Sections of the IPC against Mohinder Pal, Darshan Singh and Meena Rani.


FIR ordered against ‘immigration agent’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, here has ordered the registration of an FIR against Maninder Gill of Raja Entertainers on the complaint of Mr Harjit Singh of Ludhiana.

According to police sources, Mr Harjit Singh in a written complaint to the SSP had accused Gill of committing a fraud of Rs 4.5 lakh. He alleged that Gill had taken Rs 4.5 lakh from him for sending him abroad.

It is alleged that he neither sent him abroad nor returned the money. When Harjit Singh demanded the money, Gill allegedly threatened and bullied him.

Gill, based in Canada, has been accused of organising musical programmes there. It is through these musical programmes that gullible youths are lured with a promise of immigration. Usually there are about 20 persons in a troupe, who visit Canada for various performances.

The immigration agents include a few aspiring immigrants, whom they call “kabootars” in their parlance in the troupe by charging hefty amounts. While some manage to immigrate, a number of them do not succeed.

Harjit Singh, who belongs to a farming family, said he had sold his land to pay money to Gill. He alleged that he had paid half the sum to Gill.


Punjab changes school hours
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Jan 11 — The Punjab Government has issued orders for making Punjabi a compulsory subject in all schools, including those affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE).

It has also decided to change schools’ timings because of the chilly winds and dense fog that has gripped the region.

Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh, who was here today to preside over an official meeting, said from January 15 to 31, the schools would function from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

He said it had been decided that schools which did not follow the orders of the government on making Punjabi a compulsory subject would be de-recognised. He said Punjabi had been made a compulsory subject from Class I to Class X while Hindi had been made compulsory from Class III to Class X.

The minister said computer education would be introduced in six schools per Assembly segment in the state from the next financial year. Also 1404 schools would be upgraded. At least Rs 73 crore would be spent on the same. He said 7,200 vacancies of masters would be advertised after the money was arranged for in the Budget.

He pointed out that Deputy Commissioners had been given instructions not to put any teacher of compulsory subject on census duty.

He pointed out that a number of schemes formulated by the Punjab Government to make the education system more effective could not be implemented due to a number of writ petitions filed by people in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

He said the Punjab Government had no proposal to ban private tuition. Only an appeal had been made to teachers to give extra time to schools. The proposal had been accepted by some teachers in a few schools in Ropar.


Ahluwalia wants all Punjab
Jurisdiction of universities
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 11 — Even as an exercise is on for a re-look into the jurisdiction of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, has demanded that the jurisdiction of Punjabi University should be extended to the entire state.

In a letter to Mr G.P.S. Sahi, Principal Secretary, Higher Education, he has said the jurisdiction of Punjabi University should be extended throughout Punjab to ensure pre-eminence of Punjabi, both as a medium of instruction and cultural expression.

The letter says Punjabi University was established for the promotion of Punjabi language, literature and culture and for making Punjabi a medium of instruction as well as of cultural expression. This needs to be taken into account during the exercise for reorganisation of the territories of universities.

Dr Ahluwalia has said that when Guru Nanak Dev University was established in 1969, at that time it was suggested that the latter should be a residential-cum-research university and not an affiliated one as this would cut the jurisdiction of Punjabi University and the role, position and pre-eminence of Punjabi University would be diluted.

The letter rues the fact that only 25 per cent of the colleges are affiliated with Punjabi University now. Meanwhile, the state government is likely to issue an ordinance on the revised jurisdiction of the three universities.

It may be mentioned here that a meeting of Dean, Colleges, of the three universities held here on January 6 had reached a consensus over the transfer of some districts on the basis of contiguity. For example, Ropar and Nawanshahr districts are likely to be shifted from Punjabi University to Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Similarly, colleges in Ferozepore affiliated to Punjab University may now be transferred to Guru Nanak Dev University. The colleges in Muktsar, the home-district of the Chief Minister, may be shifted from Panjab University to Punjabi University.

The meeting was attended by Dr S.P. Singh, Dean, Colleges, Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr Gulzar Singh, DPI (Colleges), Dr S.P. Dhawan, Deputy DPI (Colleges), Dr Deepak Manmohan, Dean, College Development Council, Panjab University, and Dr Janak Raj Gupta, Dean, Punjabi University.

The meeting unanimously decided that while reorganising the jurisdiction of the universities, the status of the Punjabi language would be kept in mind. There would be ‘no harm’ to the language.

The letter of Dr Ahluwalia was also placed at the meeting. However, participants did not agree with the views of Dr Ahluwalia.


Probe into PTU functioning
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 11 — The Punjab Government has constituted a three-member committee headed by the Additional Director in the Department of Technical Education to look into the reported irregularities in the functioning of the Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar.

Well-placed sources said the inquiry was ordered by the Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, yesterday. Other members on the committee are Mrs Daljit Kaur, Deputy Director, Technical Education and Mr A P Singh, Registrar PTU.

The enquiry has been ordered following reports in various newspapers regarding the functioning of the PTU, particularly with regard to a contract awarded to a private company without following prescribed norms. Besides, there are allegations that norms were flouted by the university administration in various appointments. The committee will also probe the reports of paper leakage.

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