Thursday, February 15, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




English teaching in schools
Govt fails to provide fresh primers
From Gurpreet Singh
Tribune News Service

MOGA, Feb 14 — The introduction of English in rural primary schools by the state government has failed to achieve the desired results in this Assembly constituency represented by Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh.

Even three years after the subject was introduced in the primary schools, most students are unable to write their names in English. A random survey of at least five rural schools in Moga, the constituency of Mr Tota Singh, revealed that most students could at best write the alphabet but were unable to identify any alphabet.

The students identified the pictures associated with the alphabets in Punjabi. At the Godewala Government Primary School, a student said the alphabet “p” stood for “tota”. (Punjabi name for a parrot). The situation is almost the same in the primary schools of Bughipura, Mehna, Nathuwala and Jhandewala.

It is learnt that no fresh primer has been provided to those who have passed the third standard. Although the primer meant for Class II carry several poems, there is hardly any student who can read these.

At some places, teachers and students complained they had not received the primers at all. No special instructors have been appointed at these schools for teaching English. The staff already burdened with the teaching of other subjects put in half-hearted efforts to teach English.

The teachers say most students in these schools come from poor illiterate families. Their parents are reluctant to shell out extra money for purchasing four-lined notebooks for exercises in English writing.

The former state president of the Government Teachers Union, Mr Randhir Singh Gill, lamented that the present set-up was not even good enough for teaching Punjabi to students, leave aside the English language. He pointed out that children of affluent families in rural Punjab still preferred going to convent schools. “Even three years after the introduction of the language in government primary schools, these students are unable to compete with those studying in convent schools”, he pointed out.

The district president of the Government School Teachers’ Union, Mr Balbir Singh Ramowala, demanded that more skilled staff be engaged to exclusively teach English to the students.

He also suggested that volunteers be engaged to involve the parents in the teaching of English in the schools.

It is observed that these schools also lay behind in the necessary infrastructure — furniture, rooms and computers. While teachers at Mehna school complained of lack of furniture, sources at Bughipura school said two rooms had been constructed with the help of donations from the non-resident Indians. Computer education remained a distant dream.

While Mr Tota Singh was away to Majitha and could not be contacted for comment, the District Education Officer, Mr Darshan Singh, said the situation was likely to improve in the next session. He claimed that more professional staff was being engaged. He attributed the present state of affairs to the matriculation background of most rural teachers. He said he would look into the shortage of primers.


RS poll: whip ‘can’t be issued’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — A Whip cannot be issued in the case of an election to a Rajya Sabha seat.

This was claimed here by Mr Manjit Singh Khaira, who is one of the candidates for the seat and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, chief campaigner against the Punjab Chief Minister. Both addressed a press conference this afternoon. Mr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, a former Advocate-General, Punjab, was also present.

They said that the election to the Rajya Sabha seat was held under the Representation of the Peoples Act under the supervision of the Election Commission of India. A whip was only issued in the case of voting on a specific issue within the house. They said that if the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal issued a whip directing the party MLAs to vote for Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, it would be challenged in court as it would be a “corrupt practice’’.

Mr Khaira appealed through the media to the Congress MLAs to vote for him. He said that he was contesting the election as an Independent candidate. The Congress MLAs should vote as per their conscience, he added. Mr Khaira questioned the contribution of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal as a Member of the Lok Sabha. “ I invite Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal to a public debate on the issues pertaining to Punjab and the country at any place”, Mr Khaira said.

Mr Khaira urged the CPI to review its decision with regard to abstaining from the Vidhan Sabha on the day of the polling. He said that he would meet CPI leaders to remove their misunderstandings, if any.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh said the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD was a defunct body. Its only job was to okay without comment and criticise all proposals brought before it by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He said an attempt was made to get Mr Khaira’s nomination papers rejected yesterday. 


Villagers allege police terror 
by Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

BAKSHIWALA (PATIALA), Feb 14 — The case of over one quintal of gold buried by the last Prime Minister of the princely Patiala state in a haveli in this village has become murkier with residents claiming that the Patiala police had let loose a reign of terror, resulting in 25 to 30 youths fleeing the village and that the entire story was a hoax, even as the police stands by its case.

The police following a complaint by the grandson of the former Prime Minister Gurdial Singh Harika registered a case against Joginder Singh, who is a member of the Harika extended family, and accused him of committing a dacoity by digging out the gold from the haveli after demolishing it. Joginder Singh is under police remand in the case.

A visit to the village revealed that all residents support Joginder Singh and feel the district police has cooked up the story to help a third person involved in a land dispute with Joginder Singh. Majid Khan, one of the oldest residents of the village in his seventies, who also owns a haveli close to the one from which the gold was allegedly recovered, claimed that the haveli from which the gold was said to have been dug up had ceased to exist decades ago and that it was not demolished in 1996 as claimed by the complainants.

Other village residents, including Sukhwinder, Singh and Iqbal Mohammad, claimed that the police was harassing anyone even appearing to be sympathetic towards Joginder Singh. They said at least 25 to 30 youths of the village had gone underground since the surfacing of the gold case, fearing they would be implicated by the rival party.

They alleged the local police was acting in an impartial manner and had descended on the village in the night to conduct a raid on the premises of Gursharan Singh, maternal uncle of Joginder. They alleged that the police party, without taking the villagers along, broke open the lock on the premises of Gursharan Singh and carted away window and door frames which were unjustly shown to have been extracted from the haveli owned by the family of the late Prime Minister.

The villagers expressed doubt over the veracity of the theory of recovery of gold from the haveli. They said Kesar Singh, a ‘sewadar’ of the late Prime Minister on his last legs was being propped by the grandson of the Prime Minister. They said it was strange that he had not told anyone of the gold hoard in the haveli and that he had resisted all temptation, despite living in penury in the village.

District police chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu, when contacted, said the police could not ignore the case when the complainants were able to produce the person who had buried the gold as well as the man who had recovered it.

He said the police was functioning in a fair manner and the inquiry could be given to any other agency. He said though Abninder Singh Grewal was involved in a land dispute with Joginder Singh, the present case against Joginder had been registered following a complaint by the grandson of the late Prime Minister.


Shekhawat’s canal visit “eyewash”
From Our Correspondent

FAZILKA, Feb 14 — Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, a former MLA and former secretary of the PPCC has described the visit of Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, a former Chief Minister of Rajasthan, to Gang Canal in Fazilka subdivision as an eyewash. He said when Mr Shekhawat was Chief Minister of Rajasthan he never bothered about the Gang Canal.

It may be mentioned that the Rajasthan Government pays Rs 1.25 crore for the repair of the Rajasthan feeder in the Punjab area and Rs 25 lakh for the maintenance of Gang Canal annually to the Punjab Government. Dr Rinwa reminded that during the tenure of Mr Shekhawat the Rajasthan Government had paid the repair and maintenance amount only once. He alleged that Mr Shekhawat had come to attend a marriage in the adjoining area of Rajasthan and he (Rinwa) questioned the validity of the inspection of the canal by Mr Shekhawat.

He expressed surprise over the plea of Mr Surjit Kumar Jayani, Forest Minister, Punjab, before Mr Shekhawat to draw water from Gang Canal for providing canal-based water to Fazilka town because the tank for the purpose had not been completed despite the time-frame marked for its construction having lapsed since long.

Moreover, Mr Shekhawat was not empowered to grant sanction for drawing water from Gang Canal added Dr Rinwa.

Dr Rinwa who is in charge of the election campaign for zone No 12 comprising six villages in the Majitha byelection apprehended large-scale rigging in the poll as policemen in plain clothes had been camping in large numbers. Money bags had been opened and alcohol was being distributed in abundance, he alleged. He said Mr Badal was trying to create a communal divide by talking of Operation Bluestar despite the fact that Beant Singh had brought peace in Punjab after sustained efforts.

He expressed confidence that the people of Majitha would give a mandate against the repressive policies of the Badal regime and the Congress nominee would win the election by a convincing margin.


Beopar Mandal to contest 25 seats 
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Feb 14 — The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has decided to contest 25 Assembly seats in the forthcoming elections in the state. The segments have been identified and the lists of candidates will be announced shortly.

This was stated by Mr Madan Lal Kapoor and Mr Bimal Gupta, president and patron of the mandal, respectively, here today. They alleged that the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine both had failed to resolve the problems of traders in the state.

The leaders said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who had announced several sops for the welfare of the business community during the last Assembly elections had failed to fulfil even one. Rather, he had created more “complications” for businessmen.

The collection of octroi by private parties had caused them much hardships. Also the hike in the power supply rates had inconvenienced the middle class.

The leaders of the mandal said a 25-member committee had been constituted to identify “corrupt” officials in Punjab. The committee members had already launched a special campaign in this regard and collected information on many officers. The same would be submitted to the CBI shortly.


Councillor’s resignation a drama: BJP
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — Mr Mithu Ram Gupta, general secretary of the district unit of the BJP, said yesterday that the resignation of Mr Sewak Ram Bhola from the post of municipal councillor on the pretext that discrimination was being done against Congress councillors by the municipal council was a “drama”.

Talking to TNS here, Mr Gupta said Mr Bhola had resigned because he had failed to deliver the goods and was now making excuses to cover up his failure.

He claimed that though the municipal body was being ruled by SAD-BJP municipal councillors, no discrimination was being done with regard to the development in those wards which were represented by councillors belonging to other parties.

Mr Bhola recently resigned from his post, alleging that various development works which he had got started in his ward had been stopped by the municipal council.


NGOs adopt TB patients
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — As many as 13 non-government organisations (NGOs) have adopted 316 tuberculosis (TB) patients in this district on being motivated by the Civil Hospital authorities and district administration.

Apart from making arrangements for medicine, the NGOs ensure that the patients undergo regular clinical examination.

Dr B.D. Bajaj, District TB Officer, when contacted, said cases of TB in the district were on the decline.

He pointed out that in 1995, 2379 cases of TB were detected in the district. The number came down to 2295 in 1998 and further declined to 1797 in 2000.

He said from April, 2001, Bathinda would be covered under the “observation treatment scheme” launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Under the scheme, the patients would have to take medicine for six months under the observation of a physician.

He said at present the patients had to take medicine for eight months and a year for treatment of two types of TB. The WHO scheme would reduce the tendency among the patients to give up medicine midway.

He pointed out that people suffering from TB were not coming forward due to fear of social stigma. Now camps were being organised in industries, slum areas and other pockets of the district with the help of government wings and voluntary organisations to detect more patients.

Dr Bawa Ram Gupta, Civil Surgeon, when contacted, said teams of medical specialists had been deployed at bus stands and railway stations so that they could screen suspected patients.

He said all hotel and restaurant owners had been advised to get their workers medically examined for TB and get certificates in this connection from the authorities concerned.

Sources said a survey had confirmed 142 cases in the Goniana block 28 in Maur Mandi and 18 in Sangat. Out of a total of 2294 suspected patients, 223 were found suffering from TB.

Those NGOs that had adopted the patients were the Sahara Club, the Jain Welfare Society. The Goodwill society the United Welfare Club the PMRA, the Lok Sewa Dal, the Lok Bhalai Dal, the Nirankari Mission, the Rotary Club, the Sewa Bharati, the Lions Club and the PCMSRU.


Road accidents on the rise
Jaswinder Paul Singh

BATHINDA: Road accidents are on the rise in Bathinda district.

Such accidents, which often claim precious lives, usually occur due to negligence or ignorance of the traffic rules. The other reasons include defective vehicles and bad roads.

Whenever a death occurs in an accident the attitude of people in general is that it was the “destiny” of the victim and rarely does anybody think that such mishaps can often be prevented or at least their number minimised. If the number of casualties is high, the administration starts an inquiry, the findings of which are usually consigned to the record room.

The number of fatal accidents rose more than two times in 2000 as compared to 1999 in the district. The police registered 85 cases of such accidents under Section 304-A of the IPC while the figure for 1999 was 37. In the case of non-fatal mishaps (cases under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC) the figures for 2000 and 1999 were 65 and 23, respectively. Many accidents go unreported, particularly the minor ones.

The point is not whether a case is registered after the accident but what could be done to prevent it.

One of the reasons for fatal accidents is that drivers often do not follow the traffic rules. They overspeed and drive recklessly, forgetting that there are others, too, on the road.

Poor maintenance of vehicles also lead to mishaps. Besides, very old vehicles, which should have been rejected years ago, are frequently plied, endangering others.

A traffic safety week was observed in the district recently during which, among other things, seminars were organised to make people aware of the traffic rules. Such campaigns, however, may not serve any purpose in the long run until people themselves make safe driving a habit.


Wooing with French perfume 
by Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Feb 14 — Girl gangs, comprising college students kept criss-crossing the city streets on their two and four-wheelers, greeting the footloose guys with such comments as “hi handsome” as the latter hurled flowers and “flying kisses” in return.

The Tribune team witnessed a crowd of youngsters outside almost all girls colleges and schools and the local posh Model Town Market, Hoshiarpur Kotwali Bazar and markets of Phagwara.

Pammi, a plus two student, said she had been planning celebrations with her “best friend for life” for the past two weeks. “Finally, we did nothing except go on a long drive in his old car towards Chintpurni”.

Anurag, an MA (History) student from Hoshiarpur, said he had been trying to buy his valentine’s favourite French perfume, but it was not available in Hoshiarpur. So he had to go all the way to Jalandhar. He ultimately succeeded in his mission and she was only too pleased with the gift.

“Hope, her parents will agree to our marriage”, he sighed.

Daljit Sandhu, a not-so-young lover, was all ready for a dance party at an amusement park. “Actually, I am not fond of dancing, but she loves it. So I will have to fulfill her wish at any cost,” he said while blushing.

A number of not-so-bold-lovers just sent their feelings across the internet. “Amit, I think loves me but has not expressed it as yet. So I have sent a bouquet red roses to him on his e-mail address”, said Ruhi, a business representative of a local firm.

For businessmen, it was as occasion to make money. “I received a heavy rush in my shop in the past two days. All my customers were youngsters looking for roses”, said Pritam, a florist.

Perfumes and musical cards were also in demand.


Cops turn a deaf ear to Romeos’ pleas 
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — All plans by youngsters to present flowers to their valentines were foiled by the district police today.

The police had stepped up vigil on the “gheri routes” of the city. Even rose vendors in the city were kept under watch.

The youngsters had to take shelter in religious places to express love. At same places they were seen pleading with the police to be allowed to give cards and gifts to their valentines. But the cops refused to oblige.

Police vehicles were seen chasing the youngsters in the streets. The youngsters alleged that the police had man-handled them. “We were stopped on the pretext of checking our vehicle documents, but were slapped and abused by the police.” 


Out on streets against govt
Tribune News Service

MAJITHA, Feb 14 — Hundreds of teachers, government employees, workers, farmers and students today held a massive rally and protest march on a call given by the Punjab Mulazam Sangharsh Committee in the grain market here today in protest against the alleged anti-people-policies of the state government.

Addressing the rally, Mr Ranbir Singh Dhillon, convener of the committee, said the time had come to teach the Badal government a lesson. He alleged the pending cases of teachers which were piled up in the offices of District Education Office (Secondary) and the DEO (Primary) of the Majitha constituency were cleared in the wake of the byelection while such cases of other parts of the state were still pending.

The protesters also marched in various parts of the constituency and raised anti-government slogans.


DRDA staff oppose winding up of schemes
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — Resentment prevails among employees of the District Rural Development Agencies DRDAs against the proposal of Central Government to wind up 200 centrally sponsored schemes all over the country.

In a letter written to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mr Sadhu Ram Kusla, Chairman, All-India DRDA Staff Welfare Association, said this decision of the government would put DRDA employees in trouble.

He said the state governments would not be able to bear the expenditure of DRDA administration as at present 75 per cent of the total expenditure was being borne by the Union Government.

He pointed out that when in 1989, the Union Government decided to wind up DRDAs its employees staged a series of dharnas in New Delhi and Mr Vajpayee had addressed the agitating employees and supported their demands.

He added that time and again, instructions had been issued by the Union Government to all state governments to merge the employees of DRDAs in the state cadre but most of the states had failed to follow these instructions. He added that without merging the DRDA employees into state cadre, the winding up of centrally sponsored scheme would prove a “fatal blow” for them.

He pointed out that few months ago, DRDA employees also threatened to commit self-immolation when the Union Rural Development Minister, Mr Sunder Lal Patwa, came to Kaljharani village of the district but they did not do so on the assurance of Mr Patwa and the Punjab Chief Minister that all demands of the employees would be looked into.

He added that meetings were convened by Chief Minister, Mr Badal, and a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Punjab had been constituted to give recommendations to absorb the DRDA staff in the departments of state government.


Liquor contractor detained 
by Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — The ongoing liquor war between different groups here took a new turn with one of the leading contractors being allegedly detained by officials of the Excise Department for not depositing the licence fee during the past two months. The officials of the department reportedly picked up Mr Roop Lal from the Circuit House, where he had come to attend a meeting with the excise officials.

While no excise official was available for comments, Mr Roop Lal’s son, Rakesh Kumar, alleged that the excise officials in connivance with members of another group, who happened to be their partners, also “grabbed” all the 23 liquor shops in the Chet Singh Nagar area which had been allotted to the entire group of about five contractors. He alleged that the liquor shops were grabbed by hired goons of the rival group.

Rakesh Kumar said the excise officials were acting in a partisan manner. While admitting that there was some delay in depositing the licence fee, he pointed out that the Excise Department should have taken action against all contractors in the group. But they were shielding one particular group and victimising another.

It is learnt that an amount of Rs 37 lakh was pending against Mr Roop Lal which he was supposed to deposit as licence fee. But his son has been maintaining that the amount was outstanding against the entire group and not against one particular contractor as the shops were allotted to the entire group. The liquor contractors have been saying that due to the fall in the prices resulting from fierce competition, they are facing huge losses and are unable to deposit the licence fee. But they said they were ready to pay it over due course of time.

The excise officials had called a meeting of all liquor contractors to seek a compromise so that the pending licence fee was deposited. While one group had reportedly submitted the property bonds as surety for the licence fee to be paid by them, Mr Roop Lal could not produce any surety bond and was hence detained.

Rakesh Kumar alleged that the excise officials were selectively targeting his father. He disclosed that he would seek justice from the court of law as the excise officials were not prepared to listen to their problems. He claimed that his father was sent to Central Jail and they were not being allowed to meet him.

The ADC, excise department, Mr L.A. Khan, who also attended today’s meeting, after which Mr Roop Lal was detained, was not available at his home.


Menace of cordless phone on the rise 
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — A police official was on duty and scanning various messages on his wireless system. Suddenly his wireless flashed a message, “Sell all stocks of mine immediately. I need hard cash right now...” and the official was shocked. After a while he realised that the message was in fact a ‘disturbance’ in his system, which had caught signal from a cordless telephone.

This has become very common these days. The telephone directory for 1996, which is the latest available with the subscribers, says that a testing fee of Rs 100 and licence fee for a cordless phone would be charged. The technical specifications for the instrument as per the instructions in the telephone directory maintain that the maximum range of the telephone set could be 100 metres and the frequency of operation should be in the ‘citizen band’.

But with the introduction of high and very high range cordless telephones in the market, which are generally beyond the citizen band (36-46 MHz frequency) instances of cordless telephones interfering with the wireless systems of the police have become common. The maximum permissible wattage of the transmitting unit of the cordless set as per telecom rules is 1 watt but telephones beyond this power range are not hard to get.

Police sources revealed that they were not aware if police messages were also being ‘tapped’ by people. The problem is more common with the new wireless system of the police and the Chinese cordless telephones, which are cheaper and offer high range facility.

Official sources in the Telecom Department revealed that the Telegraph Act was non-operational now. “Earlier, we had clear instructions but now the situation has changed, we cannot cut off the telephone line of a subscriber if he installs a cordless set without taking permission from the Telecom Department”.


Sarpanch’s arrest stayed

CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 —Issuing notice to the state of Punjab for March 22, Mr. Justice V.M. Jain of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the arrest of Roshan Lal, former sarpanch of Thalu village in Anandpur Sahib tehsil, in a criminal intimidation case.

Seeking the grant of bail, counsel for the petitioner had earlier stated that the former sarpanch was being implicated in the case. He had added that Roshan Lal was merely carrying a walking stick and there were no allegations of his injuring the complainant.


SGPC meeting on February 27
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Feb 14 — Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, SGPC, has convened a meeting of the executive committee on February 27 here in which the decision to send jathas to Pakistan may be taken.

Jathas were not able to visit Pakistan after April, 1999, as the then SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur had lodged a strong protest with Pakistan regarding the formation of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, headed by Javed Nasir, a former ISI chief.

Mr Talwandi would also brief the executive about the issues which he had taken up with the Prime Minister, last week.


17 baratis injured in bus mishap
From Our Correspondent

ABOHAR, Feb 14 — At least 17 members of a marriage party were injured when their bus collided with a truck on Abohar-Hanumangarh road today.

Sources said as the driver overlooked a speeding truck while taking the bus from a link road of Kular village to the main road, the bus was hit by the truck.

Residents of nearby villages rushed for help. After providing first-aid at the Community Health Centre at Seeto Gunno, the injured were brought to the Civil Hospital here.

Those admitted were identified as bus driver Kala Singh, conductor Khet Pal, Sheesh Pal, Rakesh Kumar, Prem Kumar, Ram Kumar, Bhola Ram, Rugha Ram, Sahib Ram, Kailash Chander, Dana Ram, Hardyal Singh and Chander Pal.


TA recruitment on March 5 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 14 — The recruitment rally of the Territorial Army will be conducted at 103 Infantry Battalion, Sikh LI, GT Road, Miller Ganj, here on March 5, according to an official press note.

The interested candidates should report for enrolment along with matriculaltion certificate, proof of domicile, character certificate and five copies of passport-size photographs.

Only the candidates who are residents of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu are eligible.


CPI dharna on Feb 21
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — The Communist Party of India (CPI), Bathinda unit, will organise a dharna on February 21 in protest against the district administration and the state government.

In a statement issued here on Monday, Mr J.S. Ghai, city secretary, CPI, said the dharna would be organised to highlight problems like the excessive flyash being emitted by all four units of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant which had become a health hazard.

Another problem was frequent power cuts even during winter. He pointed out that the claims of the authorities concerned to provide electricity for 24 hours where electricity was being generated by two thermal plants, had failed.


Power shutdown
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — The power supply will remain cut off in some localities of the city on February 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A press note issued by the Punjab State Electricity Board said the areas which would be affected are Bhagu Road, Model Town, Dhobiana Road, Hazi Ratan, Shant Nagar, Old Bus Stand, Ajit Road and Power House Road.


Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Feb 14 — In a significant development, the Punjab Government has decided to release tubewell connections to all villages falling within 16 km of the international border.

This step was taken on the initiative taken by Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Minister, Excise and Taxation.


Wheat procurement
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — The district administration has made all arrangements for the procurement of wheat that will start arriving in the markets in April.

Mr K.J.S. Cheema, Deputy Commissioner, said the government agencies would purchase more than 6.5 lakh mt of wheat while private traders would purchase more than 15,000 mt from the markets in the coming season


101 centres to get wheat
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — As many as 101 centres to procure about 6.60 lakh tonnes of wheat in the coming season would be established in the district.

Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, who chaired the meeting of various procurement agencies here today, said the agencies had made adequate arrangements of jute bags and other items.

The details of the agencies, who would be operating in different areas, would be announced by the state government, he said.

To store the wheat procured properly, godwons and other arrangements have been initiated and drinking water, sanitation and lighting would be provided to the farmers, he said.

Mr Gurdial Singh Khera, Chief Agriculture Officer Bathinda said the area under wheat cultivation was about 2.40 lakh hectares. 


Power supply to ITI cut off
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Feb 14 — The electric supply to the local Industrial Training Institute (ITI) has been cut by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities when its management failed to deposit the amount of penalty imposed on as it has been using more load than sanctioned.

Official sources said the PSEB authorities which carried out a random checking of the ITI to check the electricity load being used by it found it had been using more load than sanctioned.

On finding that ITI management had been using more load than sanctioned the PSEB authorities imposed a penalty of more than Rs 2.50 lakh on it.

When the ITI authorities approached the PSEB authorities and asked it to withdraw the penalty the ITI management was asked to approach the dispute settlement committee of the PSEB after depositing one thirds of the penalty amount.

Then the ITI management approached the minister concerned and was asked to deposit one tenth of the amount of penalty so that their case could be processed in the dispute settlement committee.

The PSEB authorities cut the power connection of the ITI on February 12 when its authorities failed to deposit Rs 27,700 towards the one tenth penalty amount.


Obscene posters
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR, Feb 14 — Mr Anirudh Tiwari, District Magistrate, has banned the pasting of obscene posters on government and private buildings, outside cinema houses, on the walls of colleges and schools and in the streets and markets in the district till April 7.

The District Magistrate has also banned the carrying of any type of weapon in the district.


Three held, stolen goods recovered
From Our Correspondent

TARN TARAN, Feb 14 — The police has arrested three persons and recovered stolen articles worth Rs 60,000 from their possession.

Mr Jagdish Kumar Mittal, SSP, told mediapersons here yesterday that the arrested persons had been identified as Pawan Kumar, Surjit Singh and Bhupinder Kumar, all residents of the local town, and stolen VCRs, decks, stereos, telephone, instruments had been recovered from their possession.

A case of theft of these articles was registered with the police on February 11.


Decision on marks irks pupils 
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Feb 14 — Resentment prevails among a large section of open category students against the decision of the Punjab Government to make it mandatory for students to get at least 40 per cent marks in the entrance test for admission to postgraduate classes in state colleges.

Reservation of seats for the PCMS and other categories has also irked a large number of students. According to reports, there are 161 seats in the state colleges out of which only 50 have been allocated to the general category. The Medical Council of India (MCI) had last year asked all universities in the country to ensure that students who had at least 50 per cent marks were allowed to sit for the entrance test.

When contacted, Dr J S Gujral, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University, said the institution was bound to abide by the orders of the state government.


Youth Festival concludes
From Our Correspondent

PATIALA, Feb 14 — The three-day Punjabi University Inter-Zonal Youth Festival organised by the Department of Youth Welfare concluded here today. The last day of the festival, which happened to be Valentine’s Day, attracted a record number of students from various departments and also from the colleges affiliated to the university.

While addressing the students, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, said that like academic excellence it had been decided to give Chancellor award to the outstanding students in the field of cultural activities.

Dr Ahluwalia announced that six seats would be reserved for the outstanding performance of student artists in the affiliated colleges from the next session.

Dr Ahluwalia added that Punjab Kala Bhavan being constructed on the Punjabi University campus would be a source of inspiration for the budding artists. He gave away the prizes to the winning students in various presentations.


MBA entrance 
From Our Correspondent

PATIALA, Feb 14 — Punjabi University will hold a joint entrance test for admission to the courses of Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Finance and Control (MFC) and Master of Business Economics (MBE) for the coming session of March 11.

Giving this information, Dr Prem Kumar, Coordinator of the joint entrance test, said that a number of test centres would be set up at Chandigarh, Patiala, Jalandhar and Bathinda. Dr Kumar, released a handbook of information containing details of the courses, fee-structure, eligibility conditions and application forms for the entrance tests. The handbook of information is available with the Publication Bureau of the university and leading book-sellers in other cities. 


Hike commission, arhtiyas urge CM
From Our Correspondent

MANSA, Feb 14 — Mr Narinder Paul Danewalia, president, Punjab State Arhtiya Association, has urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to enhance the commission of arhtiyas on cotton, narma, mustard and other agricultural product of the state.

Mr Danewalia said Mr Badal had promised the arhtiyas of the state that the Punjab Government would increase the commission of arhtiyas.

He requested the Chief Minister to provide compensation to farmers who sold their paddy to various procurement agencies before October 14, 2000. He urged the state government to abolish of food grain licences due to the totally-changed situation.

Mr Pawan Kumar Goyal, general secretary of the association, said the Chief Minister should intervene in the issue of weight-shortage of food grains. 

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