Friday, April 6, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




PSEB to launch pre-paid power card
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 5
Holding the domestic consumer largely responsible for power thefts in the state and having a soft corner towards the agriculture sector, the PSEB has decided to introduce a pre-paid power purchase card system in three cities on a trial basis.

The board authorities have also persuaded the Central Government to shelve its proposed move to disband the PSEB.

Apparently justifying power thefts in the agriculture sector during an interactive session with mediapersons here today, the PSEB Chairman, Mr G.S. Sohal, said the biggest problem resulting in huge revenue losses was power theft by domestic consumers. “We know that power is being stolen by farmers and they are misusing it, which is wrong. But what they are doing is for a noble cause i.e. producing food- grains for us,” Mr Sohal said, adding “I know that instead of foodgrain production a section of farmers are misusing power for their farmhouses, where they have installed air conditioners. Moreover, I have observed that 20-25 per cent of brick-kiln owners are using agriculture power connections for running their kilns. But we still have to take care of people who constitute 70 per cent of the total population of the state.”

He asserted that power theft in domestic sector was a major headache for the PSEB authorities, but he could not specify as to why the board was reluctant to take action against those stealing power in the agriculture sector even as they were aware of the situation and why the board was out with “reforms” in the election year only. “We had initiated some reforms last year also,” he said. “You see, there are only eight lakh tubewell connections of the total 52 lakh power connections in the state. So many applications are pending in this segment, while in the domestic sector anyone with a normal single-phase connection goes to market, buys an AC and installs it without informing us.” But he could not say anything when reminded that there was a difference in paying money for the units consumed, though it may be unsanctioned load, and open power misuse.

He further said another major problem being faced by the board were old power meters, which the board was contemplating to replace with electronic meters. “To deal with the theft and shortage of power and funds, we are going to introduce the pre-paid power purchase card system in three cities — Mohali, Patiala and Ludhiana — on a trial basis within a period of three months,” Mr Sohal said and added that cards would not be introduced in the agriculture sector in the first phase.

The cards, each having a code number, will have to be purchased by the consumer in advance from the outlets to be set up by the PSEB at its substations in the cities. The cards, which would warn the consumer about their expiry in advance like that of a cellphone, would enable them to use power supply after inserting these into special meters, which could be set according to the requirements of the family.

He said the new card system was in vogue in some under-developed countries like South Africa. When asked as to why such a system was in practice in a country like Switzerland, which has the highest power consumption in the world, Mr Sohal said our people were not as disciplined as that of Switzerland. “They are more like South Africans when it comes to the payment of power bills,” he added.

Talking about the ongoing power crisis and power cuts, Mr Sohal said the board was trying to get power from eastern sector, which has got extra power with it. “We are waiting for the completion of the process of installation of a link between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and it is likely to happen in May. In May we are likely to get 300 mw power from the eastern sector, which would be enough to meet the maximum power shortage of 25 per cent,” Mr Sohal said.

When asked about the reported sore relations between him and the Power Minister, Mr Sikandar Singh Malooka, who had recently alleged that all big power thefts were taking place particularly in the industrial sector, due to connivance between the PSEB employees and industrialists, Mr Sohal said it was an internal matter and was between him and the minister. “We will sort it out,” he said.

He said free power to the agriculture sector would continue. When asked whether he was assuring this on behalf of the government, he said, “I have to function according to the government.” He further said the board was not being disbanded as “ I have assured the Central and the state governments on behalf of the 70,000 employees that we will improve our functioning and they have agreed not to disband it. Moreover, I feel breaking the board is no answer to the problems faced by the state in the power sector,” he added.


Reducing farmers’ burden
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The debt trap is causing immense economic hardship to Punjab farmers for whom agriculture has become non-viable. For some, particularly, those owning or cultivating below five acres, the trap is so tight that even selling their land will not enable them to repay the loans.

Faced with a situation where the liquidation of their holdings could result in their transforming into farm labourers along with social humiliation, several farmers have committed suicide in the recent past. This fact was conceded even by the state Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, in his March 19 Budget speech.

For the rehabilitation of such families, where a farmer commits suicide due to economic deprivation (‘’debt burden’’), the government has earmarked Rs 2 crore in 2001-02. That family will now be paid a compensation of Rs 2.50 lakh. This provision is being disputed and debated.

A study by Dr H. S. Shergill, “Rural indebtedness in Punjab’’, in 1999 showed that of the total debt burden of farmers of Rs 5,700 crore, they owed more than 60 per cent to commission agents. Therefore, to free the farmers from the debt trap, giving them freedom of choice of credit and reducing their burden, the Department of Cooperation has launched a revolving cash credit limit (RCCL) scheme financed, at present, by Punjab cooperative banks from their own resources.

A sum of Rs 639 crore has been sanctioned to farmers under the RCCL scheme. So far, 68,000 farmers have benefited since 1998, reducing their dependence on the non-institutional money-lenders, commission agents (arhrtiyas).

Thus far, the scheme is not covered under the "refinance"’ clause of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development), as in respect of other agricultural loan schemes. The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, encouraged by the ‘’success’’ of the scheme, has written to the NABARD chairman-cum-managing director, Mr Y.C. Nanda, urging that the RCCL scheme be covered under the refinance clause. NABARD, on its own, is also likely to assess the scheme, it is learnt.

The department of Economics and Sociology at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, has critically evaluated the scheme and found it to be a ‘’positive’’ step providing succour to farmers facing economic hardship and social embarrassment, at times leading to tensions and suicides.

PAU researchers R.S. Sidhu, Joginder Singh and A.S. Joshi have concluded” that the RCCL scheme has proved to be beneficial to the farming economy and has improved the adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit. It has promoted the use of quality production inputs and farm investments. However, the RCCL scheme should not be considered as a substitute to short-term cooperative loans, but its role as a supplementary source of institutional credit should be recognised”.

The RCCL scheme enabled a farmer to avail himself of loan as and when needed helping reduce the debt burden. Repayment was good and diversion of the money to social obligations and domestic use was not very high, only 15 per cent to 16 per cent. The freedom of choice farmers got to obtain loans was a positive aspect of the RCCL scheme with inbuilt ‘’flexibility’’ and ‘’cheap’’ loan facility. The percentage of ‘’sticky’’ loans was 3 to 5.

A perusal of the PAU study, conducted in the Majha, Doaba and Malwa zones with random sampling of 282 farmers, shows the following salient socio-economic features of the scheme: the average size of the holdings was 16 acres and medium and large farmers benefited more than small farmers, who were ‘’ignored’’; the general productivity level of wheat, paddy and cotton of the beneficiaries was high and so was the marketable surplus ,including of milk; the level of utilisation of the credit for production was high, 88 per cent in the case of kharif and 79 per cent in rabi; the major investment was in fertilisers, chemicals, fuel, oil, labour, machinery and livestock.

The RCCL scheme helped promote modern production technology and investments and reduce the dependence of farmers on private sources of credit. The study makes a strong case for reducing the interest rate by cooperative banks on loans. If NABARD agrees to ‘’refinance’’, the interest rate will anyway get lowered.

How the RCCL scheme fares in the long run remains to be seen. 


Excise Dept seeks CM’s help
Huge losses due to non-auction of vends
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Following the non-auction of liquor vends worth about Rs 200 crore in Ludhiana district, the Punjab Excise Department has sought the intervention of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to pull it out of the crisis. In the absence of auction, the state and the department is suffering a huge loss of revenue.

Only two circles, Samrala chowk and Ferozepore road- out of 27 circles, have been auctioned this year in Ludhiana district which has been the top contributor ( about 15 per cent) to the state’s revenue from the excise for the past several years. Last year, the total proceeds from the auction of liquor vends in this district was about Rs 217 crore. The department was expecting almost this much return, if not more, this year.

The department authorities had made a special strategy for the auction of vends in Ludhiana. It brought a liquor magnate from outside for this purpose. However, the authorities failed to execute its strategy in face of a tough stand taken by the Garcha group which has a strong political backing.

Sources said the strategy with regard to the Ludhiana liquor auction was planned at the top level in the department.

Top official sources told TNS that the authorities concerned had put all details about the auction before the Chief Minister. The issue were expected to be taken up at the next meeting of the Cabinet to find a way out as the state government could not afford to bear such a huge loss of revenue. Even a special meeting of the Cabinet to discuss this issue had not been ruled out by the authorities concerned.

Though at certain places officials have ventured to set up government liquor shops in Ludhiana city, they are facing several problems as they do not have the experience.

The sources said a meeting was arranged earlier between the Chief Minister and representatives of the Garcha group to break the deadlock. However, the terms offered at the meeting were not acceptable to the Garcha group. The group wanted that the entire Ludhiana district should be given to it.

This group, according to the sources, had agreed to pay Rs 200 crore for a monopoly in the district. However, the authorities insisted that it should pay at least Rs 217 crore, which the auction proceeds last year. While offering Rs 200 crore, the group had said last year liquor contractors, who had offered high bids at the behest of the authorities to push the Garcha’s out of the liquor trade, suffered a loss of Rs 40 crore. The second condition of the group was to remove the liquor magnate brought from outside.

The authorities and the contractors in Ludhiana had a difficult time because of the stand-off between the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, and Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, Punjab. Mr Garcha’s brothers have been in the liquor trade in Ludhiana for the past several years.

Mr Garcha and one of his brothers are reportedly close to Mr Badal and his son. Both brothers stood by Mr Badal when he was facing a threat to his life from militants.


3 PUTA executive members quit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 5
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President, Capt Amarinder Singh, today demanded the sacking of the Punjabi University Vice- Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, alleging that he was incapable of providing academic leadership to the university.

In a separate statement, a former Syndic, Mr Birdevinder Singh, has asked the university Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen J. F. R Jacob, to intervene in the matter of abolition of some faculties and merger of others, including the Religious Studies Faculty with another faculty, besides calling upon Dr Ahluwalia to review his decisions.

Meanwhile, in a related development, three Executive members of the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) resigned from the association and in a letter to the university Chancellor dissociated themselves from the memorandum submitted to him by PUTA.

Capt Amarinder Singh today came down heavily upon the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor while addressing a press conference here, claiming he should be replaced immediately as he did not have any academic background. He alleged that the Vice-Chancellor had been appointed to his post purely due to his closeness to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The PPCC Chief alleged that nothing was being done to upgrade the level of college education in Punjabi University and it was unfortunate that some colleges did not even have a science faculty.

Meanwhile, Mr Birdevinder Singh alleged that the basic structure of the university was being changed under the stewardship of Dr Ahluwalia. Punjabi University was founded to propagate the language and culture of the state. However, he alleged that the recent acts of the Vice-Chancellor were aimed at hitting the basic fabric of the university. He said though he was in favour of cultural activities the university should not be converted into an ‘extension’ of the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC).

Three Executive members of PUTA, who belong to the United Teachers Front, today resigned from the association in the wake of allegations being levelled against the Vice-Chancellor by it. In their resignation letters, the members — Dr Jamshed Ali Khan, Dr Ajit Singh Bhatia and Dr R.N. Mishra, have said that their resignation letters should be placed before the General House of the association. They have also demanded that a meeting of the General House should be held within 15 days, failing which they would be constrained to call such a meeting to explain their stand to the teachers.

In a separate communication to the university Chancellor, the Executive Committee members have alleged that a group of teachers having affiliation with the Gurcharan Singh Tohra group and persons loyal to a former Vice- Chancellor, Dr J.S. Puar, were bent upon disturbing the peaceful atmosphere on the campus of the university. They said they had dissociated themselves from the group, as they were “committed to the cause of teaching’’. 


Paper leakage: PTU sacks 4 officials
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 5
Taking note of the recommendations of a high-level four-member committee constituted by the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, to look into the paper leakage and selling scam in Punjab Technical University (PTU), the Vice-Chancellor fired four employees this evening.

After allegations of the selling of papers, rampant corruption and exposure of the paper-selling scam in the university by The Tribune, the minister had constituted a high-level committee comprising Mr B.S. Kapoor and Ms Daljit Kaur, Additional Director and Deputy Director of the Technical Education Department, respectively, Mrs Sharanjit Kaur, Training-cum-Placement officer of the same department, and the Registrar of PTU.

Interestingly, as many as 10 women staff members had alleged that the university Vice-Chancellor, Dr H.S. Gurm, had misbehaved with a few them and had publicly dubbed them nothing but “showpieces”. But the committee has given a clean chit to Dr Gurm, saying that the allegation was false and was a result of fear among the ad hoc employees that they would be sacked since the university authorities had already inserted advertisements in newspapers for appointment of regular staff.

The committee, according to Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha who was talking to The Tribune here today, also found that the female employees had tried to blackmail university authorities by levelling allegations against the VC to retain their jobs.

Mr Garcha said the committee had recommended strict action against eight employees, of which four were women. Since two employees — Vicky and Vandana —had already left their jobs, the Vice-Chancellor ordered removal of four employees from the service, while the remaining two, who are confirmed employees, would be served show-cause notices. In his order, the Vice-Chancellor said that in view of the recommendations of the committee formed by the state government, Mrs Harjinder Saini, Mr Manoj Kumar, Ms Paramjit Kaur and Ms Meena may be removed from service immediately after payment of salary to them. The committee had also found that the allegations against the VC were the result of a “mischief” on the part of some senior officials of the university.


PPCC chief seeks Langah’s clarification
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 5
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President Captain Amarinder Singh today demanded that the Punjab government should come clean on the role of Minister Sucha Singh Langah in the alleged presence of former Panthic Committee member and Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) Chief Wassan Singh Zaffarwal in the state.

Talking to newsmen here, the PPCC Chief said following reports that the militant had come to the State at the behest of Mr langah the entire issue should be probed and the Minister sacked in case this was true.

He said the statement made by the Chief Minister saying he was not aware of the presence of the militant in the State was unbelievable. He alleged that either the Chief Minister was lying or he was really not aware of what was happening in the State.

The Congress leader said the Union Home Ministry should take note of the developments and fix responsibility for the same. He said it must be made known to the public as to how the militant gained entry into the country and who was responsible for this. He said according to some reports Zaffarwal has been in the country since the past one month. He said if this was true the failure of the Punjab Police and the government intelligence agencies to nab the militant should also be probed.


Zaffarwal need not surrender, says Tohra
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
The former SGPC Chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra said here today that he could not say how the Badal government would benefit from the surrender of KCF chief Wasan Singh Zaffarwal.

Talking to newsmen, Mr Tohra supported the assertion of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and said there was no need for Zaffarwal to surrender.

He said Zaffarwal should not have issued the appeal in favour of the Akali Dal (Badal) nominee in Majitha byelection.

In reply to a question, he said the government should clarify about the whereabout of Zaffarwal as he had been spotted at Chandigarh.

Asked what delayed the surrender of Zaffarwal, Mr Tohra said the state government might not have been able to have tie up with the Central Government. It was also possible that Zaffarwal had changed his mind, he said. 


SAD working panel hails Budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Working Committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal, which met here today under the presidentship of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, hailed the proposals in the state Budget to put the economy back on the rails after years of economic mismanagement.

It is perhaps for the first time that the state Budget has been applauded by the Working Committee of the Dal unanimously, giving a pat on the back of the state Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

By another resolution, the committee appreciated the efforts of Mr Badal in getting farmers of Punjab an increase of Rs 30 per quintal in the procurement price of wheat in spite of recommendations to the contrary by the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission.

In yet another resolution, the committee deplored attempts being made by the Congress to disturb communal harmony and peace in Punjab and cautioned the people of the state against such moves of that party. After being rejected by the people of the country, the Congress had reverted to its old policy of divide and rule. The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Punjab Government would not allow the Congress to succeed in its gameplan, the resolution said.

In the first resolution, the committee held that after 20 years, the economy of Punjab was back on a sound footing. The rate of economic growth had surpassed the national average. The proposal of the state government for upgrading the infrastructure at a cost of Rs 2,235 crore would open many avenues for overall development. Work on the first phase of these projects had already started at a cost of Rs 650 crore. These projects included the widening of roads, construction of bridges, improvement in the irrigation facilities and research on agriculture.

The committee also lauded the proposals relating to the giving of a new look to agriculture in state marketing and export of produce, setting up of an agricultural research and development fund, the payment of Rs 50 crore to farmers who had to resort to the distress sale of paddy, facilities for farmers in border areas and reduction in the prices of urea and DAP fertilisers.

The committee also appreciated the steps being taken to augment the power supply, including commissioning of the Thein Dam.

It also condemned the Congress and certain other forces which were resorting to dangerous politicking. It held the Congress responsible for the poor plight of farmers in the country in general and Punjab in particular. 


Tohra questions Badal on Tur’s win
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) yesterday asked Mr Parkash Singh Badal to clarify that how his party’s candidate Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur had secured seven votes in the election to the board of the Hazur Sahib Gurdwara when three of his party members could not cast their vote in Mr Tur’s favour.

In a rejoinder to Mr Badal, Mr Tohra said that every Sikh member of the Parliament and the Rajya Sabha had a right to exercise two votes. But three Akali Dal MPs led by Mr Badal had ‘wasted’ their votes.

He said votes of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Minister for Fertilisers and Chemicals and Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur (himself nominee of the Badal faction) were found invalid while the third MP, Mr Zora Singh Mann, lost his ballot paper and he could not cast his vote. Mr Mann went to the Deputy Commissioner, Nanded to get a fresh ballot paper which he was refused. Subsequently the Akali Dal (Badal) candidate was left with only two votes of Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder but he got seven votes. Mr Tohra questioned that from where did Mr Tur secure five votes. He claimed that these were Congress votes. He asked Mr Badal to clarify his position.

Mr Tohra also claimed that Mr Balwant Singh Rammoowalia, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Mr Kartar Singh Duggal and Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura (CPI MP) had voted for him and Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra. Besides, Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, Mr S.S. Ahluwalia was also in the fray who also lost.

Mr Tohra further alleged that Mr Badal had got four persons nominated on the board of Hazur Sahib having a Congress background. They were Mr Resham Singh of Mumbai, Mr Sartaj Singh of Madhya Pradesh, a BJP MP and Mr Bhupinder Singh Anand of Delhi while the fourth nominee Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President SGPC.

Mr Tohra said that in 1972 when he was elected SGPC president for the first time, the budget of Hazur Sahib gurdwara was Rs 16 lakh and when he left the SGPC it was Rs 6 crore. Now there was an overdraft of Rs 68 lakh thanks to the actions of Mr Sher Singh Fauji, a Badal protege, who has been heading the Hazur Sahib board. He alleged that Mr Sher Singh Fauji had given 15 acres of prime land of the gurdwara to the Maharashtra Government for the construction of a bus stand. He also charged Mr Badal with being vindictive towards him and the rebel Akali legislators and revealed that Mr Badal got all files of the five rebel ministers examined and also the accounts of the gurdwaras to haul them up in corruption cases but could not find a single charge against them.

Mr Tohra castigated Mr Badal for his decision to set up a new township Anandgarh and alleged that this was done to make people forget Anandpur Sahib, the historic city of the Sikhs. The Chief Minister wanted to sell the land of his relations and the bureaucrats at exorbitant rates at Anandgarh and they were grateful to the High Court for striking down the decision of the Badal government.


Cong men burn effigies of NDA leaders
Our Correspondent

Nangal (Ropar), April 5
Congress men of the district burned effigies of the NDA leaders and held rally here today to protest against corruption allegedly exposed in the tehelka. com. Congress men of the block Nangal Congress led by the office-bearers of the district, started protest procession from Barhampur village near Nangal. They burnt effigies of the ex-president of the BJP, Mr Bangaru Laxman and the ex-Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, at Barhampur and raised slogans against the NDA government. Then the Congress workers came in procession to Nangal and held a rally in front of the BBMB Staff club.

Speaking at the rally the district president of Congress, Mr Harminder Singh Saini, accused the NDA government of selling nation’s interests to the arms manufacturing grids. He demanded that the NDA government should resign on moral grounds after the expose in the electronic media.

Mr Ram Prakash Bali, the ex-MLA from Nangal termed decision of the NDA government to hold an inquiry into Tehelka episode as a ploy to sidetrack the issue of corruption in the government. When everything was shown in the visuals on the electronic media there was no scope for any kind of inquiry and criminal cases should be registered against those allegedly exposed in the Tehelka episode.

Mr Bnupesh Sharma, the ex-president of the Youth Congress accused the SAD/BJP government in the state of the plight of the PNFC workers at Nangal. The workers here have not been paid salary since past two years and have been driven to poverty due to the apathy of the state government.

Mr K.R. Budhiraja, the ex-president of the District Congress accused the state government of tampering with the electronic voting machines to win all byelections. The people of the state especially after the expose have lost faith in the BJP and allies, he said. The workers once again burned effigies of Bangaru Laxman and George Fernandes at Nangal and raised slogans against the NDA government. Mr Ravinder Dewan, Mr KPS Rana, Mr Suresh Malik, Mr Ashok Saini and Mr Harminder Minhas were among other Congress leaders present on the occasion.

More than 500 Congress activists led by former Punjab Cabinet Minister Joginder Singh Maan, senior Congress leader Harjit Singh Parmar, and block Congress president Madan Mohan Bajaj, held demonstration and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and BJP’s Ex national president Bangaru Laxman at Phagwara today.

Demonstrators held protest rally before local SDM’s office, in which Congress leaders accused the BJP of creating atmosphere of corruption in the country. They demanded resignation of the Union government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Congress leaders alleged that Tehelka episode has exposed the mask of honesty of the BJP.


Effigies of PM, Advani burnt
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 5
Congress activists today burnt the effigies of the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister outside the local courts complex. Joined by senior Congress leaders, youth workers and mahila wing leaders, congressmen took out a protest march in bazaars and held rally outside the office of the SDM demanding dismissal of the NDA government.

Addressing the rally, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, AICC member Mr Harjit Singh Parmar, PPCC member, Mr Madan Mohan Bajaj, Mr Shangara Ram, Mr Ashok Wadhwa, (Phagwara block, urban & rural) and the local youth Congress President, respectively, said the Prime Minister and the Home Minister should step down.


Cong holds rally
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, April 5
After about a decade the Congress in Fazilka displayed unity and organised a rally today against the “anti-people” policies of the government and called for stringent action against all politicians involved in the Tehelka expose.

Thousands of party workers from the town and rural areas attended the rally held at local Partap Bagh. The rally was organised by Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, a former MLA, Fazilka, and addressed by former Punjab Minister Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, President, District Congress Committee, Ferozepore and Mr Hans Raj Josan and Mr Babu Ram Chawla, both former ministers, Punjab.

Mr Jakhar said the involvement of politicians of the ruling NDA government in corrupt practices had earned a bad name for the country.

Dr Rinwa alleged that by ordering a probe into the Tehelka expose, the government was trying to hush up the entire issue. He sought the resignations of Mr Brajesh Mishra and Mr N. K. Singh from the Prime Minister Office for their alleged involvement in corruption.

Lashing out at the Akali-BJP alliance in Punjab, Dr Rinwa said farmers in rural areas were not getting water for irrigation and drinking purposes. He alleged that the present regime in Punjab was trying to settle political scores by implicating party workers in false police cases under Section 307 of the IPC to keep them behind the bars. He accused the government of total failure on all fronts and called upon people to defeat it in the assembly poll.


Bahujan Morcha to unite Dalits
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 5
The Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM) will hold a state-level conference at Jalandhar on April 14 to decide the course of action to bring Dalits and the poor at one platform to safeguard their interests in Punjab.

This was stated by Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, state president, (BASMO) and former MP, while talking to madiapersons here yesterday.

He alleged that due to “unsounded” policies of the state and central governments the dalits and weaker sections had suffered a lot. Moreover no political party had taken steps to rehabilitate them.

He disclosed that the morcha had already launched district and block-level rallies from February 18 to enlighten the poor about their rights.

Under this scheme 28 rallies will be organised out of which 23 had already been held.

The remaining will be completed by April 10. To a question he said that his party had taken no decision on an alliance with any other political party in the forth coming Assembly elections in Punjab.

He ruled out possibilities of third front in the state.


People fed up with SAD-BJP govt: MP
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 5
Congress MP Preneet Kaur today said the Bharatiya Janata Party had been exposed and people of the state were ready to teach the Akali-BJP government a lesson in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Addressing a large public rally held here in connection with the Tehelka expose by District Congress Committee (Rural) Chief Harinder Singh Kamboj, Mrs Preneet Kaur said the BJP led central government should resign on moral grounds as they had been exposed as a party of fixers who could even compromise with the security of the country.

She said even in Punjab the people were ready to forsake the Akali-BJP alliance as the common man had been burdened by the government, which had failed on all fronts, and betrayed all sections of society. She said the people of the state were ready to take the government to task for failing to deliver on promises. 


BJP, RSS leaders hold meeting
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 5
The Punjab BJP president, Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, and general secretary (organisation), Mr Avinash Jaiswal, held a close-door meeting at the residence of a senior RSS leader, Lala Balwant Rai Gupta, here today. Another RSS stalwart, Mr Davinder Gupta also participated in the meeting.

It is reliably learnt that the situation arose after the Tehelka episode.


Probe genesis of terrorism: CPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Punjab unit of the CPI today urged the Union Government to set up a judicial commission to go into the genesis of the terrorism in Punjab.

Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the state unit, said that the ruling SAD-BJP alliance had assured people to set up such a commission but had now backed out. As there are charges against several senior leaders of aiding and abetting terrorism in the state, the commission would find out the truth.


Power cuts far ahead of summer
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 5
Residents of the state have started facing power cuts, though summer is yet to reach its peak when power cuts are imposed with stock excuse of “low-generation”, ‘peak loads’ etc.

Bathinda described as power house of the state and enjoys “hospitality” of not one but two thermal plants, The Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), Bathinda and the Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP), Lehra Mohabbat.

Various “reasons” given in the support for power cuts are as diverse as the authorities concerned, the Punjab State Electricity Board the classic case where the left hand does not knows what the right hand was doing. None of the department of the PSEB admitted or explained the spate of power cuts in recent days. The ball was in “that” department’s court, is the answer of various departments of the PSEB.

It is interesting thermal plants of the district have been achieving the production targets and making history. Mr U.S. Lucky, General Manager, GNDTP, said that the plant generated 27937 lakh units of power at a Plant Load Factor (PLF) of 72.48 per cent, during the year 2000-2001, and beat all records since its inception.

Mr Lucky added that fuel oil consumption during the past financial year was only 1.473 milliliters per unit, which had won the plant an award from the government of India. The De-mineralised water made up during the last year touched an all time low of 2.9 per cent, against a design value of 5 per cent, due to preventive maintenance. The auxillary power consumption record, was also the lowest at 9.6 per cent, in the history of the plant, added Mr Lucky.

Mr Lucky added that the plant had qualified for productivity award equivalent to Rs 11 lakh from the Union Government, for the second year in a row.

Mr Subhash Bansal, general manager, GHTP, Lehra Mohabbat, said that total production of electricity during the last financial year was 3227 million units against a target of 3000 million units, as fixed by he Central Electricity Authority (CEA). The plant achieved an annual PLF of 87.71 per cent. The GHTP, qualified for an award of Rs 15 lakh, the highest for any thermal power station, claimed Mr Bansal.

Whatever may be the production by the power plants of the district, city residents have to face numerous power cuts, every year.


Power cut
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 5
The power supply will remain cut off in some colonies of the city tomorrow from 10 am to 5 pm due to the shifting of the 11 kv Gole Market supply line.

Mr K.S. Brar, Additional Superintending Engineer, City division of the PSEB, said in a press note issued here today that the colonies affected would be Gole Diggi, Dhobi Bazar, Post Office Bazar, Sirki Bazar, Qila Road, Cloth Market, Mata Rani Gali, Afim Wali Gali and Court Road. 


Pak refusal irks Hindu bodies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 5
Hindu organisations are agitated over the refusal by Pakistan Government to allow Hindu religious jathas to shrines in Pakistan.

The statement by Hindu associations comes close on the heels of preparation by a Sikh jatha to visit gurdwaras in Pakistan. The SGPC-sponsored jatha will reach Pakistan on April 9 to visit Nankana Sahib, Dera Sahib, Panja Sahib and Gurdwara Sacha Sauda.

Meanwhile, in a statement calling for a halt to all religious jathas to Pakistan, Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, President, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, said if the government could not make arrangements for Hindu jathas to visit Pakistan despite a signed agreement between the two countries in 1989, there is no reason that jathas of other communities be allowed to visit Pakistan. Reciprocal visits by Pakistani Muslim jathas too should be disallowed if Pakistan government continued to refuse the Hindu community to visit their temples in Pakistan.

According to an agreement between the two countries during the third Indo-Pak joint commission meeting on July 18 and 19,1989, both sides had agreed to increase the number of pilgrims and religious places to visit.

While the Indian side agreed to allow nearly double the number of pilgrims to shrine of Hazrat Moinuddin Chisti, Ajmer Sharif, from 300 to 500, shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, Delhi, from 180 to 250 pilgrims, while for the shrine of Hazrat Amir Khusro, Delhi, shrine of Hazrat Mujadid Alaf Sani at Sirhand Sharif and shrine of Hazrat Khan Alauddin Ahmed Sabir at Kalyer Sharif an inflow of 200 Muslim pilgrims were allowed as against an earlier quota of 120 pilgrims each.

In return Pakistan had agreed to permit two visits annually to Katasraj of 200 pilgrims after 1989. Subsequently the number of yatris was enhanced to twice a year in two batches.

Mr Billa disclosed that after 1999 the Pakistan Government did not grant permission to any Hindu religious jathas.

Alleging a stepmotherly treatment to Hindu jathas, in a letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on this issue, Mr Billa demanded to put a stop to all jathas to India unless the Pakistan Government responded to reciprocal Hindu jathas to its country with full security.

He urged Mr Vajpayee to take up the matter with Pakistan as promised by Ministry of External Affairs in a circular notification dated December 12, last year.


Hospital cries for attention
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot is one of the important towns of Punjab, with a population exceeding two lakhs. Strong resentment prevails among residents of the town and adjoining villages due to poor services provided by the Civil Hospital.

The Civil Hospital, situated at the outskirts of the town adjoining Khaddi bridge, was constructed in 1986. It caters to about one lakh patients annually.

The hospital is in bad shape due to the apathetic attitude of the state government.

About 200 patients visit the hospital daily. It gets patients from Pathankot and adjoining areas like Mamoon, Lamini, Khanpur, Kuther, Suinti, Manwal villages and some parts of Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir. The number of beds has been increased from 50 to 100.

The strength of doctors at present is 20 with about 110 other members of the staff. Mr A.S. Jamwal is SMO of the hospital.

It has an emergency ward but its sanitation is deplorable: it stinks and it is impossible for patients and their relatives to stay for long periods, if needed.

In case serious patients, are admitted, they are immediately referred to Chandigarh or Ludhiana for further treatment on the pretext that it lacks facilities hike CT Scan.

A majority of the patients complain that medicines are in short supply and they are asked to arrange their own medicines, including life-saving drugs. Oxygen and glucose too are not easily available and there is a pick-and-choose policy adopted by the authorities for providing medicines to patients.

There is also shortage of bedsheets, blankets and pillows. In case the blankets are provided to the patients they are not clean.

Unhygienic conditions prevail on the premises. Some social organisations undertook the cleaning operations. On Sunday, members of the social organisations are seen cleaning the emergency ward and providing food to needy patients.

Bathrooms and latrines stink and patients say most of the latrines are not cleaned for days together. Heaps of garbage and biomedical waste can be seen lying on vacant land adjoining doctors’ residences.

There is also acute shortage of drinking water. The local Rotary Club and other social organisations have made seating arrangements for relatives of patients on the hospital premises.

However, one disinfection room had been built by the authorities but when this reporter visited it, the room was lying vacant without any instrument, nor an attendant.

There is provision for emergency lights in the hospital but the same is not automatic and on many occasions doctors have to cancel their operation in the absence of emergency lights.

The hospital is also short of paramedical staff and needs more pharmacists and sweepers.


BKU against import of foreign goods
Our Correspondent

Moga, April 5
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) today decided to wage a war against the Union Government if it did not withdraw the terms and conditions it had signed with certain countries to import foreign goods. An agitation will be launched all over the state from April 15. This decision was taken at a convention of the union members held on the premises of Gurudwara Atat Kahan Kaur today. The meeting was chaired by the general secretary of the Punjab unit of the union, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian.

Mr Manjit Singh Kadian member of the Coordination Committee of Indian Farmers Movement, said under the agreement the farmers and industry would suffer a huge loss if the foreign goods under WTO were imported. The WTO pact was a threat to agriculture and industry and if implemented it would shatter the country’s economy. He also described the statement of the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Kanwaljit Singh as misleading. 


Plea to promote SC doctors
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 5
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Welfare Association has deplored the decision of the Punjab Government to promote doctors from general category to the posts of Deputy Director in the Health and Family Welfare Department.

In a press note issued here today, Dr M. L. Puri, president of the association, said the Principal Secretary, Health, had directed the Director, Health Services to furnish a list of 30 more doctors to be considered for promotion as Deputy Director, but surprisingly, not a single doctor from the Scheduled Caste category had been included in the list. The association has demanded to appoint Director ESI from the Scheduled Caste category.

They press note said due to the alleged non-implementation of reservation policy in letter and spirit, resentment was prevailing in PCMS cadres belonging to Scheduled Castes. They urged the Chief Minister to direct the Health Department to follow the reservation policy as per 81st constitutional amendment while making promotions.


Charge of Kamal Chaudhary refuted
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, April 5
Dr D. R. Bhatia, Principal of D.A.V. School, Hoshiarpur, has refuted the allegation of Mr Kamal Chaudhary, a former MP, contained in a news report “CM’s wife shielding suspended Principal”, in The Tribune dated March 4. The allegation, he says, is based on a false statement and is contrary to facts.

In a rebuttal, he said: “Though my case of suspension is in DPI(S), Punjab, office for hearing, but I have never approached any minister or officer for undue favour. Neither I have issued any vague statement nor I have discussed such matter with Mr Chaudhary. I have never talked with anybody regarding any type of bribe or persuasion. Hence it is totally baseless to say ‘CM’s wife is shielding suspended Principal’. I have submitted full account of fees deposited in the bank. At the moment I contradict the news.”

Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Vice-President and General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, respectively, and Mr Ajaib Singh Makhmailpur, Punjab’s Minister of State, have also termed as “totally false, baseless and motivated and without an iota of truth” the allegation levelled by Mr Chaudhary.

Refuting the allegation, they have stated they have known Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his family for decades as does the entire Punjab. Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal “is a devout lady and is a source of inspiration for party workers” and the allegation levelled against her is “simply unbelievable”. “It is a sad commentary on the falling standards of public life when political opponents falsely start targeting the family members of their opponents. The brazenness of the present allegation has shocked the party rank and file and has compelled us to react.”


PSEB step to check ‘match-fixing’
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, April 5
The Punjab State Electricity Board has changed its rules to check ‘match-fixing’ by its sportspersons who participate in events that offer big cash awards.

Under its new sports policy, the management has made it mandatory for the sportspersons to deposit with the board’s Sports Council 20 per cent of the cash award won by them and the rest will be distributed equally among the players. Under the old policy, the players were required to deposit the entire amount. This prompted the sportspersons to ‘fix’ matches. In a tournament which offered Rs 1 lakh to the winners, the PSEB players would ‘join hands’ with their opponents in the final and collect half the prize money by ‘throwing away’ the final to their rivals. The rivals would thus win the title and take home half the prize money.


Forest mafia active again
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 5
The forest mafia engaged in the felling of sheesham and khair trees in forests under the Dhar subdivision has become active. According to official sources, the mafia has political patronage.

The villages targeted by the mafia for illegal felling include Niarhi Lanjaru, Naloh and Pilangi. Government and undemarcated reserve forests in the area are being felled in violation of law.

The sources said unscrupulous contractors in connivance with department officials had fell selected trees.

The Janglat Workers Union has demanded an independent probe by the Chief Conservator to bring out the truth and punish the guilty.


Chemists asked not to sell drugs
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 5
Under the ongoing statewide drive against the sale of drugs, Mr A.R. Salwan, state Drug Controller, today held a meeting with the local chemists and asked them not to sell drugs. He said in case of violation penal action would be taken. About 70 chemists, who attend the meeting, assured the Controller of cooperation.

Mr Amarjit Bedi, district Drug Inspector, Mr V.P. Singh Arora, president, Local Chemists Association, Mr Tarlochan Singh Pahwa, a pharmacologist, also addressed the meeting. 


4 labourers die in wall collapse
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 5
Four Bihari labourers were killed and three injured when a wall of a godown of Warehouse Corporation under construction collapsed on the Kharrial road, a few kilometres away from Sunam yesterday, according to information available here this evening.

The Sunam police said the killed labourers had been identified as Kesar Rishi, Arjun Rishi, Guja Rishi and Mohammad Suleman, while the three injured included Sanjiv Kumar.


Interview with Manmohan Waris
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 5
The local Akashwani centre will telecast an interview with the popular Punjabi folk singer, Manmohan Waris, on Friday at 7.40 p.m. The programme can be heard at FM band 100.2 MHz.


10,000 quintals of seed to be distributed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Punjab Department of Agriculture will distribute 10,000 quintals of quality paddy seed, approved by Punjab Agricultural University, in the next kharif season.

A press note, quoting the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, said yesterday that Punseed had already made arrangements for providing the PR-116, PR-114, PR-106, PR-108 and PR-115 varieties at the rate of Rs 1,250 per quintal.

In the same way approved cotton seed would be available to farmers through Punseed. Already 42 quintals of the LHH-144 variety was available at Rs 660 per quintal, whereas other varieties would be available at a subsidised rate of Rs 2,500 per quintal, including Rs 1,000 subsidy in respect of the F-1378, F-846, LH-356 and N-D 327 varieties of cotton.

Cotton sowing, experts said, must be completed by May 15 for better yields and price.


Ban orders in Bathinda dist
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 5
Mr Jaspal Singh, District Magistrate, has imposed various restrictions in the district under Section 144 Cr PC.

A ban has been imposed on the assembly of five or more than five persons at public places. Meetings can not be held at public places without prior permission of the DM. The order would remain in force till June 3, 2001.

In another order the DM has introduced the shopkeepers not to open shops on Sundays and also after fixed working hours of such shops. The general shops could be opened from 8.30 a.m. till 8.30 p.m. while the closing time for hotels and dhabas in urban areas is 11 p.m. and the same for rural areas is 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, the same order said that the time for closing the liquor vends in rural and urban areas would be 11 p.m.

Mr Jaspal Singh, in yet another order, said that the labourers who came from the other states should register their names and addresses at the police stations of their localities.

The DM has imposed a ban on carrying the arms and the explosives in the municipal limits of the Talwandi Sabo town in view of the Baisakhi. This ban remain in force from April 10 to April 15.


Two opium smugglers held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 5
Giving in to the demands a consumerist culture smugglers have started providing opium to customers at their doorstep.

This trend came to light when the district police, which has launched a fullscale war against the narcotics smugglers and as well as the consumers, arrested two inter-state opium smugglers today. These inter-state smugglers had been supplying opium to their customers at the doorstep according to their requirements.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said that arrested smugglers used to bring opium in large quantity from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and used to sell of the same in retail to their customers. Of the two smugglers arrested today, one had been smuggling for the past 10 years while the other had been in this ‘business’ for the past two years.

Due to strict check by the district police on the sale of intoxicants by the chemists and smugglers, a major section of drug addicts of this area had started going to nearby towns of neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan for procuring their ‘daily dose’.

Dr Jain said that one of the accused identified as Hukam Chand, hailing from Bhanpur area of Madesar district, was arrested from the Naruana road. Two and a half kg of opium was seized from his possession. The arrested used to sell opium in Bathinda and its surrounding areas.

Hukam Chand had earlier been booked on a charge of narcotics smuggling in Madhya Pradesh when 5 kg of opium was seized from him.

The other arrested person Kanaiya of Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, was arrested from Burj Thoed village and 1 kg of opium was seized from his possession. Kanaiya, along with his wife, was living at a abandoned place at Manuke village in Moga district.

Both husband and wife used to supply opium to their customers residing in Moga, Bathinda and Bagapurana areas. The wife was earlier booked on a charge of narcotics smuggling in police station, Rampura Phul of this district and more than 700 gm of opium was seized from her.

In another case, more than 25 kg of poppy husk had been seized from Nachhatar Singh of Zaid village of this district.

Two persons had been booked for possessing illicit distilled liquor and two had been arrested under the Gambling Act today, he added.


Housefed clerk held for fraud
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 5
The police today arrested Manjit Singh of Thikriwal village in the district for committing a fraud at Housefed, here to the tune of Rs 70,000. The accused is presently posted as a clerk in Housefed, Chandigarh.

The SSP said the District Manager, Housefed, had complained that Manjit Singh was given a loan of Rs 70,000 in connection with the Guru Nanak Coops Sabha.

The SSP said Manjit Singh after receiving the loan did not deposit any instalment within time. After inquiry by the said sabha it came to light that there was no person residing in Thikriwal village by the name of Manjit Singh.

Mr Kuldip Singh, Inspecting Officer, said he had recommended the case for the sanctioning of the loan after a clerk by the same name. Manjit Singh, identified the accused. The address given was that of Jarnail Singh who said he had never received any loan from the said sabha.

The connivance of other officials of the sabha is not ruled out. A case under Section 419/420, IPC, has been registered.

The accused had earlier also managed to get a cheque of Rs 55,000 in the name of Jaswinder Kaur in 1995 from the Qadian Co-operative House Construction Sabha.


Eight-member gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 5
The district police claims to have busted an eight-member gang of thieves with their arrest and recovered a Matador laden with stolen aluminium cable worth Rs 1 lakh.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, stated here today that after receiving a tip-off, a police party laid a naka at Padhi Khalsa village and intercepted a Matador (PB 08 U 8814) laden with stolen wire.

All eight occupants were arrested. They were identified as Dharam Pal, a resident of Rahon village in Nawanshehr, Jagdish, Ram Hazoori and Ram Loh, all residents of Welsor village in Uttar Pradesh, Harwinder Singh, a resident of Bara Pind in Goraya, Gurwinder Singh, a resident of Guru Nanakpura in Hoshiarpur, Rajan Valhra, a resident of West Kanderpur in Orissa and Raj Kumar, a resident of Alando village in Orissa.


Case registered after 18 years!
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 5
A case was finally imparted to Mohinder Singh, a Dalit of Kishansinghwala village, falling under Kotwali police, who was deprived of 5 acres two decades ago, with the registration of a case under Sections 467, 420, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against four persons, including Amar Nath, a sheller owner, and commission agent, who is since dead, on the charge of forging a general power of attorney in the name of Mohinder Singh.

The other three have been identified as Malkiat Singh, a deed writer, Lambardar Budh Singh of Sangojla village and Ram Lal of Dhilwan village.

In a complaint lodged with the police, Mohinder Singh alleged that Amar Nath in connivance with Malkiat Singh and certain witnesses had forged a general power if attorney in 1982 on his behalf and sold 5 acres belonging to him at Desal village in 1984. Since then Mohinder Singh has been running from pillar to post to bring the culprits to book and when he failed to get justice he approached Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who ordered an enquiry into the case.


2 dead, 22 hurt in collision
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 5
Two girls died on the spot and 22 pilgrims were injured when a truck bearing registration No. RG 13 G-3893, coming from opposite direction hit their tempo near Motia Oil Mills at Chalang near Tanda, 35 km from here, today. The condition of four persons was stated to be serious.

The pilgrims were coming from Vaishno Devi. They belonged to Charkhi Dadri.

The truck driver has fled while a case has been registered, under Sections 279, 337, 338, 304-A, IPC.


Wife killed, husband injured in mishap
Our Correspondent

Balachaur, April 5
Jasvir Kaur of SAS Nagar was killed on the spot while her husband Satwant Singh was seriously injured when their car rammed into a tree near Lohat village on the Balachaur-Ropar road, 5 km from here. Mr Satwant Singh has been referred to PGI Chandigarh.


Move to close B.Ed colleges draws flak
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 5
The proposal of the Punjab Government to close B.Ed colleges for three years today drew flak from the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union. Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, PCCTU President, said the move was ill-conceived, unwise and impractical and should be abandoned at the earliest.

The statements of the Punjab Education Ministers, Jathedar Tota Singh and Master Mohan Lal, had reportedly caused consternation among 500 teachers of 24 colleges of education in Punjab, alleged Professor Sodhi. The ministers had said these colleges were planned to be closed for three years for reducing unemployment among trained graduates. Rather than closing these B.Ed colleges, they should be rather converted into multi-faculty institutions for making optimum use of the trained faculty and infrastructure worth crores of rupees, suggested Professor Sodhi. To check unemployment, adult education centres should be opened and more schools in rural and backward areas set up, he added.


Bathinda boys’ robot bags national prize
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 5
Students of the local Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology (GZSCET) have won the second prize at a national competition held at the Delhi College of Engineering, New Delhi, from March 26 to 28.

The competition, Mach 2001, attracted students from all over the country. The robot named Unitech by the college team, bagged the second place at the ‘Envisage’ event, at which products designed by student engineers were displayed.

The team of students, all of whom are in the final semester of Mechanical Engineering at the GZSCET, expressed jubilation while talking to The Tribune. Sumeet Aggarwal, Naresh Garg, Sanjiv Goyal and Deepak Bansal, designed the robot guided by Prof S.P. Singh (guide) and Prof Kuldeep Singh (co-guide).

Naresh Garg said that the robot weighed only about 6.5 kg and was easily movable due to its light weight and the rollers at its base. The robot could be employed in hazaradous industrial applications such as welding, riveting packing of milk pouches, etc, and all other activities where human error in mechanical jobs needed to be minimised.

Sumeet Aggarwal said the robot operated on 220 volts and consisted of two synchronous reversible motors of very low rotations per minutes (RPMs). “The robot is controlled by logic-controlled circuits. Of the two motors one is used to tighten the nut onto the bolt, the other is used to give linear motion to the arms of the robot. Limit sensors have been used to limit the force employed by the robot to complete the task,” he said.

Sanjiv Goyal, another team-mate, said that with the rapid industrialisation the need of cost-effective and error-free labour would increase so the answer of the problem lay in the use of robots for tasks such as spot welding, assembling of two-wheelers and punching jobs, etc.

Deepak Bansal added that the maintenance of the robot was easy and training manpower for this would take only a few days. The design and construction of the robot had been kept simple and robust and almost all parts could be assembled individually. The cost of the prototype was about Rs 6000 and if it was to be made on a larger scale the cost could come down further, he claimed. The safety factor too had been taken care of and if the robot stopped functioning a buzzer went off, he added.

Dr Narinder Singh, principal, GZSCET, lauded the work of the students and the professors.


Question not from syllabus
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 5
Students who are already under pressure during the examinations are being taken by surprise when they find that question papers are not from syllabus.

In the latest incident of this kind, the students of B.Com I of Punjabi University were taken by surprise when they found that question number 1 (part b), Punjabi (compulsory), was not from the prescribed syllabus. The question relating to “Das Maluka Yun Kahe” was not from the syllabus and three texts “Man di Mauj”, “Bharat which kala” and “Das Maluka Yun Kahe” — were deleted from the syllabus by the university.

Thousands of students took this examination yesterday evening in Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Ropar, Sangrur and Patiala districts. It was hard to believe for them to find a question which was not from syllabus. A student said they should be compensated with 15 marks.

Mr S. Marriya, Principal, DAV College, admitted that the question was not from the syllabus. “We have written to the Registrar of the university to give grace marks to the students,” he added.

Although incidents of the question paper being not from syllabus are common, yet Punjabi University, Patiala, under whose jurisdiction the district falls, is notorious for such incidents. A senior professor of Government Rajindra College said such incidents occurred because there was no “proper” coordination amongst the various departments of the university.

“Such incidents happen because the paper setters are very senior professors and sometimes they are simply unaware of the changes made in the syllabus in the past few years. It may also happen because the university fails to send clear and latest guidelines to them,” he added.

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