Thursday, April 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Good turnout at Cong rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Congress leaders today declared war on the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre and the SAD-BJP government in the state and said the countdown for both had started. But for some unruly scenes prompted by the rivalry between local leaders, the protest rally organised by the Pradesh Congress Committee in the wake of the Tehelka expose here today proved to be a good show.

The PCC president, Capt Amarinder Singh, shared dais with his rival Jagmeet Singh Brar, with both harping on unity.

The rally was presided over by the All-India Congress Committee treasurer and in charge of Punjab affairs, Mr Moti Lal Vora. But it was Mr Brar who stole the show with his oratorial skills. Congress leaders showered praises on Capt Amarinder Singh and expressed his confidence in leadership since “he has been appointed by AICC president Sonia Gandhi”.

Addressing the well-attended rally, Mr Brar had a dig at those who claimed that the Congress was faction-ridden. Making a direct attack on the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he said, “Mr Badal, before commenting on the Congress should set his own house in order which is ridden by a war between his son and son-in-law.” He accused Mr Badal of grave corruption and said, his family was amassing huge wealth.

Charging Mr Badal with sidelining the officers who had contributed for the return of peace in the state, he alleged that “most of the officers posted as deputy commissioners and district police chiefs were like domestic servants of Mr Badal”. He said, “It is a shame to call these officers as IAS and IPS as they are simple servants of Mr Badal’s family and I am witness to this shameless drama in Ferozepore district.”

The PCC president declared war on the Akali-BJP government in the state. He said, while the world had seen the BJP president accepting money, members of the Badal government were also involved in corruption and they needed to be exposed.

He claimed that the massive turnout at the rally was a reflection of anger and resentment among people against the corrupt government. He alleged, “each job is saleable in Punjab.” No job can be secured without a price and the Public Service Commission and Services Selection Board were making all appointments after taking money for it and that is why none of the poor candidates could get jobs.

Mr Moti Lal Vora said the countdown for the NDA government had started. He pointed out that the people who claimed to be clean were exposed before the public. He said the NDA government had lost moral authority to govern and the sooner it left better it would be.

The AICC leader said, “not much is expected from the enquiry commission” constituted to probe the Tehelka expose.


High drama all the way
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
The Congress rally organised here today witnessed an action-packed drama involving several senior Congress leaders like former Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, the local MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, the local MLA, Mr Rakesh Pandey and the Ludhiana District Congress Committee (Urban) chief, Mr Surinder Dawer.

It all started at the Ludhiana railway station where some Congress workers, said to be supporters of Mr Pandey, raised slogans against Capt Amarinder Singh. All this happened in the presence of All-India Congress Committee treasurer Moti Lal Vora, who is also the in charge for Punjab, and Mr R. C. Meena, MP and observer for Punjab. As they alighted from the Shatabadi, they were greeted with slogans. The supporters of Capt Amarinder Singh exercised restraint and the situation cooled down and everyone headed towards the Circuit House, where Mr Vora was scheduled to address a press conference.

While Mr Vora was talking to reporters, Mr Pandey and Mr Harnam Dass Johar arrived to meet him. However, they were prevented by Mr Dawer from entering the room where Mr Vora was talking to the media. But Mr Johar somehow managed to enter Mr Pandey was involved in an altercation with Mr Dawer as he questioned the latters’ authority to stop him from entering the room. This led the exchange of blows between the two.

While tempers were running high, several leaders seemed to remain cool. All leaders were seated on the dais. However, Mr Ghalib was sitting in the audience. Capt Amarinder Singh came down and took him along to the dais. When Mr Ghalib asked Mr Johar to get aside, the latter refused. According to Mr Ghalib, Mr Johar pushed him aside and he fell down.

Meanwhile, some workers pulled Mr Johar by his leg and brought him down, while another threw a glass at him and he suffered bruises on his nose and forehead. Mr Johar claimed he was slapped by Mr Ghalib and Mr Dawer. Both of them denied the charge.

Mr Johar sat on dharna in front of the dais and demanded action against the persons responsible for his manhandling. He claimed Mr Ghalib was asked to leave the stage at his behest. Mr Ghalib while, denying the charges, said Mr Johar had done all this as he had pointed out that the scene at the railway station was created at the behest of some leaders, although he had not mentioned any names. The action lasted for about 30 minutes during which it was a free-for-all. The police had to resort to a mild lathi charge to bring the situation under control.


VC asks minister to explain
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 11
In a new twist to the confrontation going on between the Punjab Higher Education Minister, Master Mohan Lal, and the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, the latter today directed the minister to submit his explanation to allegations that the thesis work submitted by him to the university had been ghostwritten by April 24.

The Higher Education Minister had recently ordered the Secretary, Higher Education to inquire into allegations levelled against the Vice-Chancellor by its teachers association. The following day, the Vice-Chancellor had disclosed that he had received a complaint that the Minister had got a chapter of his thesis on “Trends in Punjabi Poetry in the twentieth century’’ as well as the synopsis being done under his supervision ghostwritten.

The Vice-Chancellor today told TNS that he had written to the Minister in his capacity as his guide to give a detailed explanation to the allegations by April 24, failing which it would be presumed that the allegations were true and appropriate action would be taken in the matter.

Dr Ahluwalia has also asked the Minister to disclose from which library or place he had procured the books which he had studied before submitting a chapter of the thesis so that his position could be vindicated.

Meanwhile, the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) today while taking a serious note of the controversy surrounding the registration of the Minister for a Ph.D degree, claimed that the Vice-Chancellor was not eligible to supervise the Ph.D of any candidate as he was not a member of the teaching faculty and was appointed on a term post. The PUTA President Dr B.S. Khaira, and the secretary Dr Balwinder Singh, said this was a case of misuse of authority to blackmail the Minister as the Vice-Chancellor had himself earlier stated that there had not been any violation of rules and regulations in the case.

The V.C. said any person who is a doctorate can become a guide provided he is found suitable by the Board of Studies. He said there was no rule barring him from acting as guide and that there was no such condition in the University calendar.

Speaking on the issue of inquiry ordered by the Higher Education Minister into the allegations levelled by PUTA against him, he said no such inquiry could be conducted as only the university Chancellor was competent to inquire into his actions.

Meanwhile, the PUTA today also took serious note a circular issued by the Dean, Academics, to all Heads of Departments directing them to ensure the presence of teachers at the seminar. PUTA said all the teachers were eager to listen to the ideas of the Chief Minister who was to preside over the seminar tomorrow.


Ex parte proceedings against Bibi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 11
The Sikh Judicial Commission has declared that proceedings against former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur should be ex parte in a case relating to the unauthorised payments of Rs 55 lakh.

The commission Chairman, Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, and members Amrik Singh Randhawa and Ajwant Singh Mann passed the strictures against Bibi Jagir Kaur in view of the “non-claiming” of the registered cover of a memo of appearance by Bibi Jagir Kaur. The ex parte order reads, “from the report of the postman that the respondent is aware of the pendency of the petition and deliberately did not claim the registered cover. Hence, respondent No. 1 (Bibi Jagir Kaur) is proceeded ex parte”.

The next date for the hearing of the case, filed by Mr Harbhajan Singh Brar petitioner versus Bibi Jagir Kaur, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, secretary, SGPC, and Mr Harjit Singh, assistant secretary, SGPC and former personal assistant to Bibi Jagir Kaur, will be April 28.

However, Mr M.S. Gill, on behalf of Bibi Jagir Kaur, filed a petition under Section 142 of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925. The application seeks the quashing of the order against Bibi Jagir Kaur. In the application dated April 10, she denied being served the memo of appearance and claimed she had not refused to accept its service. Hence, her absence was neither intentional nor wilful and requested that the proceedings of ex parte be set aside. However, the court’s decision to admit the application is awaited.

The case relates to the allegations of unauthorised payments of Rs 55.1 lakh by all three respondents in contravention of provisions of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act under which the respondents could incur a maximum of only Rs 10,000 as expenditure from SGPC funds without the prior sanction of the executive committee of the SGPC.


Bodies were immersed by kin: IGP
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 11
The Inspector-General of Police (Border range), Mr A.P. Pandey, along with senior police and civil officials visited various villages along the Indo-Pakistan border near which more than 53 human bodies have been found in the past few days.

Mr Pandey ruled out any case of foul play in the matter. He was convinced that the bodies had been immersed by some local people due to their religious beliefs or scarcity of funds and resources.

He said the presence of “matkas”, “beddings”, other items like bangles and clothes near the banks proved that these bodies had been immersed after performing rituals.


NFL privatisation on April 30
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 11
Despite several dharnas and rallies by employees of the National Fertilisers Limited (NFL), the process of selling 51 per cent shares and transferring the control of the organisation to private owners would be completed on April 30.

About 6,700 employees have resorted to dharnas, rallies and other modes of agitation since the government decided to privatise the profit-earning plant, but in vain.

There are five units of NFL in the country, out of which Punjab has two units at Bathinda and Nangal, Haryana has one at Panipat while two are at Vijaywara in Madhya Pradesh. The head office of the company is at Noida.

According to sources, four corporate houses are interested in purchasing the NFL. These are Chambal Fertilisers of the Birla Group of Companies, Tata Fertilisers of the Tatas, Indo-Gulf Fertilisers of which the Birlas are a partner and Oswal Agro Industries of the Oswal group. All these parties have visited various units of the NFL for the assessment of the plants and the expected cost.

Informed sources said the process of privatisation of the fertiliser plant was started last year. The government had appointed Robo Bank as its global adviser for assessing the price of the units for which it was paid Rs 2 crore. A high-level team of experts of the bank is in the process of studying the reports of different NFL plants at its head office in Noida.

Although it could not be ascertained what the global adviser would decide about the selling price of the unit, the employees of the unit were of the view that it would be much below the actual price.

Sources said Robo Bank was playing the role of a mediator between the administration of the NFL and the prospective buyers. Sources further said that the bank had organised meetings between officials of NFL and Chambal Fertilisers on March 31,2001, for the purpose. Similar meetings were held between officials of NFL and Tata Fertilisers on April 4, with Indo-Gulf on April 5 and with Oswal Fertilisers on April 6.

These meetings were held at the office of the NFL at Scope Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. The employees of the fertiliser plant staged a dharna near the office to force the authorities not to hold such meetings.

The government has asked the four companies to give quotations on April 30. If the date is not changed, the highest bidder amongst these will be given the control of the administration and 51 per cent share in the NFL on the same day.

Despite repeated efforts, no official of the local unit of the NFL could be contacted for his version.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of the NFL Employees Union, Mr N.S. Brar, said the government would sell the unit at a price much lower than the market price. He expressed fear that the employees of the unit would be sacked after its privatisation.

Giving the example of Modern Foods, Mr Brar said the unit had been declared sick one year after its privatisation and the employees had been shown the door. He said NFL employees were likely to suffer a similar fate after its privatisation.


Rs 10,000 cr earmarked for wheat procurement
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 11
The Central Government, keeping in view an expected arrival of 110 lakh MT of wheat at 1,625 mandis of the Punjab, has decided to earmark Rs 10,000 crore for the procurement of the crop.

This was stated by Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Punjab, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, while presiding over a meeting to oversee the arrangements of wheat procurement with the representatives of all state and Central Government procurement agencies, The District Food and Supplies Department, district administration, private traders, PSEB and transporters of Jalandhar and Amritsar districts here today.

The state government has issued strict instructions to all deputy commissioners to ensure payments in lieu of procured wheat to a farmer within 72 hours.

“The Food Corporation of India (FCI) will procure 33 per cent whereas the state government agencies like Punsup, Warehouse, Markfed, Food and Civil Supplies Department will procure 67 per cent of the total wheat arrival in the mandis. About 1,625 mandis has already been allotted to these agencies in the state,” Mr Mittal said.

He instructed all officials to ensure that gunny bags be distributed in all mandis before April 15, the expected date of arrival of the wheat. The minister instructed the PSEB authorities to sanction power connection within 24 hours of the submission of application by a private trader.

Later, while addressing mediapersons, he said the state government keeping in view the shortage of godowns for wheat storage, has already made arrangements with private parties, and godowns having a storage capacity of 60 lakh mt of foodgrain would be provided to the procurement agencies on rent.

The minister refuted the allegations of the opposition parties that the SAD-BJP government would be able to procure a bumper wheat crop this season since the cash-starved government did not have money to pay the farmers for their produce.” There is no dearth of money with the state government and all deputy commissioners have been instructed to ensure the payment to the farmers within 72 hours,” Mr Mittal said.

He said 84 and 141 purchase centres had been set up in Jalandhar and Amritsar, respectively, and they were expecting to procure 16.5 lakh mt wheat from these two districts.


Biotechnology park for Ludhiana
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, April 11
The Punjab Government has allotted 200 acres in Ladowal, Ludhiana for setting up a biotechnology park.

This forms part of the Central Government’s project under which two more such parks will be set up in Andhra Pradesh and Delhi. The projects will be implemented by the respective states. While the total cost has not been estimated, the Centre, reportedly, will be getting a loan of $ 100 million from the World Bank for the projects.

It is learnt that earlier the Punjab Government had decided to set up the park in the proposed Anandgarh township. According to highly placed sources, the decision to set up the biotechnology park in Ludhiana was taken at a meeting chaired by Mr Parkash Singh Badal two days ago. Punjab will get its share as grant from the Centre. The sources also said that the Union Ministry of Science and Technology had already been intimated about the allotment of land.

The project in Ludhiana is expected to start within six months, said Mr N.S. Tiwana, Executive Director, Punjab State Council of Science and Technology. He added: “We are expecting to get about Rs 150 crore from the Union Government, which will be given to the state as a grant and not a loan”.

Punjab was one of the three states identified by the All-India Bio-technology Association (AIBTA) where biotechnology parks were to be set up. It is also learnt that the government plans to appoint some internationally renowned expert in the field of biotechnology as director of the park.

The Punjab Government is expecting a “very good response” to the park from agro-based industries. Dr S.S. Marwaha, Director (Biotechnology), PSCST, and member of the AIBTA said: “Punjab is a major agricultural state and hence agro-based industries including those engaged in food processing will be invited to set up their units”. In addition, he said, stress would be laid on pharmaceutical industries. Dr Marwaha also said companies with environmental knowhow would also be invited to set up their units in the park.

Dr Marwaha said with the coming up of this park farmers would benefit. According to him, post-harvest units which would come up in the park would help improve the nutritional and quality aspects of crops.


Badal satisfies BJP
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Functional and other irritants notwithstanding, the leadership of the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has every reason to rejoice after a series of meetings it has had in the recent past with the state Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on the ensuing assembly elections.

The last of these meetings, held over dinner was with the BJP Legislature Party while an earlier one, also a dinner meeting, was attended, among others, by all office-bearers and chiefs of the front organisations of the state unit. At both meetings, the BJP delegation was led by its president, Prof B.L. Rinwa.

These meetings have assumed tremendous importance as various issues, including the reactivation of the district coordination committees of the SAD and the BJP, urban development, construction of new bridges in BJP- dominated areas and more funds for urban development were reportedly discussed to the considerable satisfaction of the BJP leadership.

One of the major grievances of the BJP leaders and workers has been that while the state government has been undertaking various development programmes, urban areas were being ignored.

According to sources, the BJP leadership wanted that the Chief Minister should visit various urban areas and disburse development grants there on the lines he has been doing in rural areas and in the constituencies of SAD leaders.

To get this decision implemented, the Chief Minister and the BJP president will visit Fazilka on April 15 and Abohar and Pathankot on April 16, besides other areas.

Another major irritant for the BJP leadership has been the hike in the power tariff both for urban domestic consumers and the small-scale industry. The BJP wants that this hike should be withdrawn. The Chief Minister is believed to have promised to consider this demand sympathetically.

The BJP leadership, the sources said, also wanted that urban development must be given a thrust. Initially, Rs 100 crore would be disbursed to meet immediate requirements for the development of the basic infrastructure in urban areas, including roads.

A special allocation of Rs 100 crore is expected to be made by the Centre for Punjab, which the BJP leadership wants to be expedited.

The Mahila Morcha of the BJP is believed to have conveyed to the Chief Minister its displeasure over the handling of cases relating women and children by the police. It wanted that some special cells should be created to look after such cases. This demand has already been conceded by the Punjab police. A special cell under a DIG has been set up at the state headquarters while in the districts the special cells will be headed by the SP (Operations) concerned.

The BJP leadership is also keen that in the matter of seat adjustment, it must be given preference in areas where it has more chances of winning. In the last elections, the BJP had put up 23 candidates and won 18 seats. This time the BJP leadership is eyeing more seats, especially those assembly segments from where either Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Independents or even rebel Akali Dal candidates were successful.

The BJP leadership hopes to get some more seats.

Meanwhile, Professor Rinwa, on the recommendation of the state Disciplinary Committee, has expelled Mr Om Parkash Sharma, a former state secretary, from the party for six years. The allegations against him were upheld by the committee.


People fed up with SAD-BJP: Joga
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 11
The people of the state are fed up with the ‘misrule of the SAD-BJP combine and were in search of a viable alternative government in the coming Assembly elections.

Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, district secretary, Communist Party of Indian (CPI), in a written statement issued here today said that the BJP-SAD combine had lost the faith of the people. The Chief Minister made tall claims of helping the Dalits and the down-trodden but the ground reality was that out of the total of Rs 28 crore sanctioned by the Union Government for the welfare of Dalits, only Rs 14 lakh was used for the purpose and the other half of Rs 27.86 crore was diverted for other purposes, he alleged.

Mr Joga alleged that the government was favouring the WTO at the cost of employees, farmers, labourers and even resorted to selling profit making public sector undertakings (PSUs), like the NFL.

The state government had resorted to communalisation of politics for petty gains and if the trend continued the integrity of Union and state could be put to question, he alleged. The state government and politicians were publicly denouncing the WTO but were implementing the same in association with the Union Government, he alleged.


Register case against Fernandes: MLA
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 11
Mr Avtar Singh Brar, Vice-President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) and local MLA, has demanded the registration of cases against Mr George Fernandes, former Union Defence Minister, Mr Bangaru Laxman, former President of the BJP, and several other senior officials working in the Prime Minister’s Office for their alleged involvement in the arms deal case exposed by He said the inquiry ordered by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee was just eyewash.

Addressing a party workers’ rally at Sadiq village, 16 km from here, on Monday, he said due to the “negligence” of the Union Government, hundreds of Army officials lost their lives in the Kargil war.

He appealed the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, to dismiss the BJP-led government which had failed to deliver. Mr Brar also flayed the Punjab Government for failing to sort out the problems of people. He alleged that during the past four years, corruption and nepotism had reached its peak. 


Effigies of PM, George burnt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 11
Effigies of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and former Defence Minister George Fernandes were burnt in front of the city police station here today by Congress workers led by Mr Surinder Pal Singh Sibia, secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. They were protesting against the NDA Government in connection with corruption at high places as exposed by the

The protesters also held a ‘siapa’ around the effigies and raised slogans against the Vajpayee government. They also demanded resignation from the government.

Earlier, activists gathered near Mata Kali Devi Temple here and held a protest march in the main bazaar of the town. 


Sonia’s effigy burnt
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 11
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and the BJP today disrupted traffic on the G.T. road for 20 minutes at Phagwara-Banga chowk, burnt an effigy of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, AICC President, and held a demonstration against her for using derogatory language against Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. Shouting slogans against the Congress, the protestors also marched through the bazars.


A gurdwara devoted to rural uplift
Parmod Bharti

Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj at Urapur (Nawanshahr) is a beacon for other religious places as it provides education and medical facilities to the area. The Parbandhak Committee of the Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj with the efforts of Mr Daljit Singh, sarpanch of the village, and Mr Karam Singh, president of the Parbandhak Committee since 1994, have been mobilising local and NRI donors to make contributions to serve the masses.

Mr Daljit Singh, who heads the managing committee, which runs the Guru Nanak Mission Girls College and Guru Nanak Mission Hospital in the village, says when he became sarpanch in 1993, he discussed his plan to provide educational facilities to rural girls, with panchayat members, prominent residents and the managing committee of Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj and mobilised them to start a girls’ college on the gurdwara premises. He contacted NRIs and village residents living elsewhere to setting up the girls college and a hospital in the village. Though he subscribes to the Communist ideology, yet he plans to set a new trend by motivating the religious places to channelise their resources for the villagers’ welfare. They got an encouraging response from the residents and NRIs and with their donations amounting to Rs 2 crore over the past seven years, the gurudwara has established a girls college and a hospital at the village. The college, which was started in 1994 with 46 girls on its rolls, now has 575 girls hailing from about 15 adjoining villages. The college has also purchased four buses to take the girls to and fro. The girls are provided educational facilities at a nominal fee and they are also given free mid-day meals and tea in the evening at a langar being served by the gurdwara.

Besides, traditional courses, the college also provides computer training to students. Internet training is also being imparted to youth after college hours. Poor students are provided with these facilities free.

After starting a girls college, a project to set up a hospital having ultra-modern medical facilities has been planned.

In 1997, Mr Dharam Singh, an NRI from UK, sent a draft of £ 20,000, while his sons, Sohan Singh, Ranjit Singh and Balbir Singh and Parminder Singh, have sent donations amounting to Rs 22 lakh.

Having got an encouraging response in shape of liberal donations, a hospital was set up on an one acre plot.

The foundation stone of the hospital was laid by Baba Labh Singh of Anandpur Sahib, and the OPD inaugurated on May 10, 1999. The hospital building is still being constructed as the managing committee plans to make it a 300-bedded hospital, says Mr Daljit Singh.


Bar association to intensify ‘no work’ stir
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 11
The local District Bar Association at its meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Balraj Singh Sohi, president of the association, here today decided to continue its “no work” campaign till April 16, against the non-construction of the chamber block for the lawyers in the newly-built District Judicial Complex. The campaign began on April 9.

Mr Sat Pal Sharma, secretary of the association, said the association would also intensify its agitation by observing a chain-fast from April 16 in the existing District Judicial Complex. A group of 15 bar members would observe fast daily, he added.

He also said the association had given a call to the Bar Associations of the district to observe “no work” on April 16 to express their solidarity with the District Bar Association.

Meanwhile, members of the Bar Association staged a dharna for the second consecutive day in the District Judicial Complex here to force the state government to release funds for the construction of the chamber block for the lawyers.

Addressing the dharna, several lawyers criticised the government for ignoring the lawyer’s interests. The chamber block will house litigants’ hall, canteen, a post office and a bank etc, besides the chambers for lawyers.


German coaches for Shatabdi
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 11
Rail passengers will have a more comfortable ride in the German-made Alstom air-conditioned coaches as a new Shatabdi Express train comprising these coaches is likely to run either on the Delhi-Lucknow, the Mumbai-Baroda or the Delhi-Amritsar section by April end.

This was stated by Rail Coach Factory (RCF) General Manager K.R. Govindarajan, while addressing a press conference in connection with the celebration of a Railway Week here today. He added that the final decision regarding the introduction of the new Shatabdi on one of these three sections was to be taken finally by the railway board.

The Railways have imported 24 air-conditioned coaches capable of running at the speed of 160 kmph from Germany during the past three months and 15 trials on the Delhi-Agra and the Delhi-Lucknow section were carried successfully recently. The new Shatabdi will be launched after clearance from the Commissioner, Railway Safety.

The RCF will commence the production of the new design coaches during this year and will manufacture 27 coaches in the year. The General Manager said all arrangements had been completed to start the production of these coaches.

The RCF is planning to manufacture metre-gauge coaches for export to Bangladesh and has received order for 10 coaches, besides about 20 coaches of broad-gauge during the year, and the factory is also exploring the possibilities of export to south-east countries through RITES.

The new coach is lighter in weight by 3 tonnes, has disc brakes and a vaccum system for the disposal of toilet waste. The cost of imported coach is about Rs 6 crore and its cost will come down to about Rs 3 crore when it will be manufactured at the RCF.


Laxman ‘should have been’ indicted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 11
“If a common man had been involved in the expose, he would have been indicted by the police under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act CPC Act,” the President of Peoples Law Forum (PLF), Mr Vasudev Aggrawal, said.

Talking to The Tribune, he said the failure to follow the correct procedure in the case amounted to the violation of the fundamental rights of citizens.

Mr Aggrawal said Section 8 of the PC Act explained that it was not necessary for a person, who had accepted bribe, to have been successful in his attempt to induce a government servant to do or not to do something. “To be declared a culprit, just accepting a bribe to exercise ones influence by corrupt and illegal means on a government servant was enough,” he said.

Mr Aggrawal said the tapes had clearly shown that Mr Bangaru Laxman had accepted bribe to exercise his influence on the government and government machinery. Mr Laxman should have been indicted under the Act.

As per Section 157, CrPC, if an SHO has reasons to believe that any cognizable offence had occurred in his area, even without a formal FIR, he should report the matter to a magistrate or personally, of otherwise, inquire into the matter by going to the spot,” he said, adding that the allegations against Mr Laxman were a cognizable offence.

Nowhere in the CrPC it says that in any cognizable offence, the police should abstain from following the law. Neither does it state that an inquiry commission should be established to prove the allegations, and if proved guilty a case would be registered. But in the case of Mr Laxman even the mandatory guidelines were not followed,” he said.


Move to demolish shop, MC staff forced to leave
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 11
Shopkeepers led by a Congress councillor protested against the move of municipal corporation employees to demolish a shop near Namdev Chowk and forced them to leave the place here today.

Mr P.K. Garg, Municipal Town Planner (MTP), ordered the demolition of some parts of the shop which were allegedly built in violation of building bylaws. As soon as the civic staff led by Assistant Town Planner Munish Behal started demolishing the shop, more than 30 shopkeepers assembled there and resisted their moves. They were virtually forced to leave the place.

Mr Rajinder Beri, a Congress councillor, said Mr Inderpal Singh, owner of the shop, had applied for approval of the building plan of his shop three months ago. Despite the fact that he had completed all formalities related to the building plan, Mr Garg had allegedly demanded Rs 20,000 for allowing him to construct the shop without getting the plan approved.

“The deal was settled and Rs 10,000 was paid to the MTP before the construction began. The rest had to be paid after the completion of the shop. However, the refusal to pay money in advance infuriated the MTP who ordered the demolition of the parts newly constructed”, Mr Inderpal Singh alleged.

Mr Beri said the Chief Secretary should hold an inquiry into the matter.

Mr Garg refuted the allegations and said they had issued several notices to the owner of the shop to stop the construction since the building plan had not been approved so far. “We have no option but to demolish the shop,” he said.


Preaching not up to mark: Talwandi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 11
Taking a dig at the working of the Dharam Parchar Committee of the SGPC, the SGPC President, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, said here yesterday the preaching of the committee was not up to the mark.

Giving reasons for this shortcoming, despite the SGPC having a special cell for the purpose, Mr Talwandi said a major portion of the SGPC funds were being spent on educational institutions being run by this Sikh body. More than half of the funds were being utilised for running the medical college at Amritsar, he remarked.

Mr Talwandi, who was addressing a training camp held at Chiwanda Kalan organised for training “granthis” and “pathis” said the SGPC earnings did not run into many crores as believed and said the earnings came mostly from the donations being made at shrines like the Golden Temple.

After spending most of these funds on educational institutions, nothing much was left for other wings like dharma parchar (religious preachings).

Mr Talwandi, however, made it clear that he was not against opening of new colleges and schools by the SGPC. In fact, the SGPC was planning to open more modern schools, he added.


Political conferences on Baisakhi
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 11
Devotees in large numbers have started arriving here to pay their obeisance at various historical gurdwaras on the occasion of Baisakhi mela.

To make most of the situation, most political parties have decided to hold their conferences on April 13.

As the authorities have been expecting more than five lakh people, including devotees from foreign countries, to participate in the mela, almost all parties have started pitching their tents to hold the conferences.

The national President of the BJP, Mr Krishna Murthy, senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister of Delhi, Mr Madal Lal Khurana, Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal have confirmed their participation in the SAD-BJP conference.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress leadership which will announce its programme for various sections of society has also been making efforts to use the presence of senior party leaders positively in the conference.

Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, general secretary, DCC(I) said this time the Congress conference would attract a huge crowd.

The other parties which will hold their conferences include the BSP, Lok Bhalai Party, CPI, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and Sarv Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (joint conference).

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) will also hold a conference on the occasion of Baisakhi.

Baisakhi will be more lively this time as Nihangs led by Baba Santa Singh will play their traditional role in the mela as Baba Santa Singh, who remained excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for over 17 years, has been readmitted into the fold.

To avoid any untoward incident, the police has made security arrangements. Police personnel in plain clothes have been deployed in the mela complex.

Mr Sukhminder Singh, SDM, said so far no party had taken permission to hold its conference despite the fact that Section 144 of Cr PC was in force.


‘Use alternative forms of energy’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 11
To control environmental pollution and reduce pressure on our natural resources, the use of alternative means of energy, including solar lighting systems, should be encouraged.

Mr S.S. Bedi, Director, Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources, stated this while addressing a programme on entrepreneurship development organised here yesterday jointly by the Union Government and the North India Technical Consultancy Organisation (NITCON). Mr Bedi said at present the total contribution of the non-conventional energy forms in the total production of the energy was about 2 per cent, which would be increased to about 10 per cent in the coming years.

The present gap in the supply and demand of power could be easily reduced by employing alternative means of energy which offered ample opportunities in our country, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gurinder Singh, AGM, NABARD, said eight districts had been chosen by the bank under the District Rural Industry Project and Bathinda was one of them. Under the project, industries would be set up in the rural sector with the help of local entreprenuers. NABARD would issue finances to the banks on a 100 per cent refinance basis, he added.

Mr Balbir Singh, Principal Consultant, NITCON, gave the details of the EDP programme in which 22 candidates had received training, exclusively on the use and development of non-conventional energy sources.

Mr Bant Singh, General Manager, District Industries Centre, and Mr M.R. Kapoor, Chief Manager, State Bank of Patiala, gave details of schemes launched for entreprenuers of the state.


MLA challaned
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 11
A team appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court challaned several persons, including VIPs and Punjab Roadways bus drivers, during a surprise checking here today.

The five-member team challaned more than 120 persons who were not wearing helmets or not carrying driving licences near BMC Chowk. Mr Kanwaljeet Singh Lalli, MLA from Adampur, was also challaned for having black films on the windowpanes of his vehicle.

Later, the team comprising Mr T.S. Sethi, advocate convener, Mr M.K. Mahajan, flying squad officer from Haryana, Mr Balbir Singh, SP (Traffic) at Chandigarh, Mr A. Sanghwan, joint secretary, UT, and Mr Manmohan Luthra, ADTO (Enforcement) at Chandigarh inspected the Punjab Roadways buses at the local bus stand.

During the inspection, they found that several drivers were in possession of fake driving licences. The first-aid boxes in most of the buses were without medicines and first-aid kits.


2 run over by trains
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 11
Two boys were run over by trains in two separate incidents here today. The one killed near railway yard could not be identified. The other was identified as Guddu Kumar of Chachoki, railway sources said. Both boys were in their teens, the sources added.


Power cuts hit paddy milling
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, April 11
The 24-hour weekly power cut on industry and unprecedented erratic power supply have crippled the custom milling process of paddy procured by the state and Central procurement agencies i.e. Markfed, Punsup, Food and Supply, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Punjab Agro and Food Corporation of India.

According to an estimate, paddy worth Rs 1,200 crore is still lying unmilled out of the total paddy purchased this year. This means that only 50 per cent paddy has been milled whereas the target was to get entire paddy milled upto February 28.

For the past couple of years, the government procurement agencies have failed to get their paddy milled in the same crop year. When stored for periods longer than six months, quality of paddy stored in the open deteriorates. Hence, either the agencies are selling the unmilled substandard paddy at low price or the stocks so let are lying with the millers.

Mr Rinku Midha, a local rice miller, alleged that the FCI had failed to provide sufficient space for the delivery of custom milling and now the erratic power supply had disturbed the milling process. He said that paucity of space and power supply had also increased their industrial overheads.

Mr Ashok Girdher, another rice miller, pointed out that at the time of paddy procurement this year, Punjab Government had given an undertaking to the Central Government regarding milling of the paddy in time.

If government again failed to get their promise fulfilled, it would not only lose its creditability but Center-state relations might be affected, he observed.


PSEB warning to farmers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 11
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities have advised farmers to report about the use of combines or tractor having high structures during harvesting of the ensuing wheat crop so that remedial measures could be taken to save their produce from any loss due to fire.

Mr K.S. Gill, Chief Engineer (North Zone), in a press note released here yesterday said the farmers should also inform about the deficiencies in the wiring system, including loose wires, sparking joints and other defects on electricity poles passing through their fields, which would help the PSEB to rectify the faults.


Provisions for self-help groups
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 11
The Punjab Government has decided to give loans worth Rs 342.25 crore to about 2.06 lakh beneficiaries in the district. This target was higher by Rs 78.39 crore than the last year’s outlay. The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal, gave this information while talking to this correspondent here yesterday.

Mr Grewal further said out of this, Rs 310.18 crore would be disbursed to the beneficiaries under the priority sector, which included Rs 195.04 crore for the agriculture and allied sector and Rs 131 crore for crop loans. For getting the loan under this scheme the farmers would have to apply to the office of the ADC (Development), Ropar. The applications would be collected through gram savaks and routed to the said ADC by the respective BDOs. The ADC office would then sponsor the suitable cases of loans to the banks. The banks would be reimbursed the subsidy by the Punjab Government.

The subsidy for the candidates belonging to the non-Schedule Caste category would be one-third of the total loan amount with a maximum limit of Rs 7,500. For the Schedule Caste candidates the subsidy would be 50 per cent of the loan amount with a maximum limit of Rs 10,000.

The government had also formed special provisions to help the self-help groups in the district. For these groups there was no ceiling for taking credit. They did not need any guarantee for loans up to Rs 3 lakh and were also offered a subsidy up to Rs 1.25 lakh, Mr Grewal said.

A bank officer of UCO Bank, Mr V.P. Gupta said besides these loans, Rs 46.84 crore to be given under the non-farm sector would be used for the development of small-scale industries, artisans, village and cottage industries. The applications for loans under this scheme would be collected by the General Manager, Industries, Punjab, through their block extension officers.

The other priority sectors which comprised activities like transport, retail trade, professional self-employed, education and hosing loans had been provided an allocation of Rs 68.29 crore as compared to the Rs 45.24 crore last year. In the other schemes, Rs 2.49 crore would be given to needy women, Rs 9.67 crore under various government schemes Rs 32.07 crore under other projects, he added.


Treatment plant to be set up at Hadiabad
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 11
Even after 50 years of Independence more than 10,000 citizens of Hadiabad a sub-town of Phagwara have been deprived of the basic civic amenity like sewerage. But residents were surprised today when workers of Punjab Sewerage and Water Supply Board started digging near a canal in Hadiabad area to install treatment plant at a cost of Rs 1 crore under the Sutlej action plan scheme.

This was stated by the Nagar Council Vice-President, Mr Ram Saroop Arora, and the BJP Councillor, Mr Balbhadar Sein Duggal, here today. He said that 4 acres of land worth Rs 32 lakh had been purchased for installation of the treatment plant.

The residents of Adarsh Nagar, Bhagatpura, Basant Bagh, Satnampura, Mansa Devi Nagar, Preet Nagar, Green Land, Manav Nagar, Santokhpura and several parts of Hadiabad could benefit from this facility.

They said the local Nagar Council would spent more than Rs 2 crore to provide sewerage facility to the residents of Hadiabad. 


Fatehgarh Sahib DC shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The Punjab Government today effected the following postings and transfers with immediate effect.

Among those shifted is the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Balbir Singh Sudan, who becomes State Transport Commissioner replacing Mr Kulbir Singh, who has been appointed Managing Director, Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, in place of Ms Surjit Kaur, since shifted as Secretary, Irrigation.

The other changes are: Mr Bhagat Singh, on return from deputation at the Centre, has been made Presiding Officer, Sales Tax Tribunal, in addition to being the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, a charge he will assume on the retirement of the present incumbent, Mr G. P. S. Sahi, on April 30.

Mr Rajesh Chhabra is the new Principal Secretary, Local Government, a post lying vacant since the elevation of Mr N. K. Arora as Chief Secretary. In place of Mr Chhabra comes Ms Surjit Kaur, as Secretary, Irrigation.

Mr Bidhi Chand is the new Special Secretary, Power, a vacant post. Mr Jeevan Kumar Garg, Estate Officer, PUDA, Patiala, has been posted as Subdivisional Magistrate, Sultanpur Lodhi, against a vacant post.

Mr Vijay Kain, Secretary, Defence Services Welfare, will also hold charge as Member, Finance and Accounts, Punjab State Electricity Board, relieving Mr Sudhir Mittal, Secretary, Planning, of the additional charge. He will also be Secretary, Power.

As per a government press note, no one has been posted as Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, or as Estate Officer, PUDA, Patiala.


Student sodomised by teacher
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 11
A private schoolteacher allegedly sodomised his Class V student on the school premises at Haripur village near Adampur this afternoon.

The police has booked the teacher, Kulwant Singh a resident of Pandori Nijjharan, for the offence which has come to light late due to the initial reluctance on the part of the student.

No arrest has been made so far.

According to the police, a Class V student of Punjab Public School, Haripur, was called by the teacher to his room where the crime was committed.

The incident came to light only when the traumatised boy refused to go to school and told the ordeal which he had to undergo at the hands of his teacher to his parents.

The teacher has reportedly absconded.


ITI Principal in Vigilance net
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 11
The Vigilance Bureau has registered a disproportionate assets case against Narinder Singh Bhatia, Principal, Industrial Training Institute (ITI) here. According to Mr Hardyal Singh Mann, SP, (Vigilance Bureau), after an inquiry it was found that he has amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. He said from January 31, 1998 to June 1, 1999, his income was found to be Rs 8,53,016 whereas the total expenditure was Rs 14,48,145. A case has been registered.

In another case the sleuths of the bureau caught Daljit Singh Ahlmad, of the Deputy Commissioner’s office, Muktsar, while accepting a bribe of Rs 200 from Joginder Singh, son of Buta Singh, a resident of Lakhewali village. Daljit accepted the bribe in lieu of providing a copy of the judgement of the Deputy Commissioner with regard to the land in possession of Joginder Singh.


Boy falls prey to superstition
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 11
A teenaged boy has lost his life due to superstition. According to a late report received here today, Tarlok Singh (13) of Nath village near Qadian usually remained sick inspite of regular treatment. His parents took him to Baba Gurbel Singh, a village tantrik, on April 8 for “treatment.”

The baba mercilessly beat Tarlok with iron rods to exorcise the “ghost” out of him. Due to the beating, Tarlok became unconscious and later died. After Tarlok expired, his parents and the baba threw his body into the Beas. The body was fished out by the Qadian police on Monday. The police arrested the parents of the deceased and the baba and booked the under Sections 302, 201, 148 and 149 of the IPC.


Thieves arrested, arms recovered
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 11
Mr Sanjeev Kalra, SSP said here yesterday that the district police had achieved success in nabbing member of two gangs of thieves on Monday night.

He said a police party overpowered Bodh Raj of Singowal village and Roop Lal of Dheeda under the Dina Nagar police station in Gurdaspur district while they were trying to escape near Ambala Jattan village on Monday night.

The police recovered a .32-bore Smith US made revolver along with two cartridges, a gold bangle and two gold rings from Bodh Raj and a .315-bore country-made pistol along with three cartridges and a foreign-made wrist watch from Roop Lal.

The Tanda police has registered cases against both of them under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. He said during interrogation, both confessed to their involvement in various thefts in Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur district.

Mr Sanjeev Kalra said the city police yesterday raided a dharamshala near Session Chowk and recovered 79 stolen logs of khair wood worth Rs 2 lakh from a truck.

The police arrested Ravinder Jeet Singh of the local Kotwali Bazar, Pardeep Kumar of the local Misra mohalla, Hazara Ram of Jamalpur Dehriwal, Bhagat Ram of Dehpur, Jaswant Singh of Sutheri Road, Paramjit Singh of Braham Jit and Tirlok of Kakon.

He said during interrogation, it was revealed that Ravinder Jeet Singh and Pardeep Kumar used to purchase stolen and smuggled wood. A case under Section 411 of the IPC has been registered against them.

Hazara Ram and Bhagat Ram used to bring khair wood after illegal felling from the Sarna forest. Jaswant Singh, Paramjit Singh and Tarlok were commission agents and used to load and unload stolen wood in trucks. The truck driver, Balwant Singh, of Khunda Kullian village is still at large.


Attempt to loot bank
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 11
Some unidentified persons managed to break into the Cantonment branch of the State Bank of Patiala, here late last night.

Police sources said that some persons managed to enter the bank. They were, however, unsuccessful in breaking open the security safe and had to return empty-handed.

A case under Sections 457, 380 and 511 IPC, had been registered. Bank officials could not be contacted.


Primary schools in state of neglect
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 11
Primary education is in a state of utter neglect in the district. As many as 32 schools in Dhar subdivision of the district out of a total of 44 primary schools do not have any teachers.

According to official sources, the vacancies have not been filled after the retirement of teachers. In other primary schools in the area, there is a shortage of teaching staff.

The buildings of many schools are far from satisfactory. Many schools neither have boundary walls nor adequate furniture. Several schools lack bathrooms.

There are complaints that in several primary schools near the Indo-Pak border in the district, proxy teachers employed by the regular teachers on meagre salaries are taking classes.

The 24 primary schools located beyond the Ravi are functioning in dilapidated buildings whose ceilings leak during the rainy season resulting in frequent closure of the schools.

It has been reported that in primary schools which have a strength of two teachers, often one teacher is found absent from duty due to an arrangement between the teachers to take classes on alternate days. Although the authorities are aware of this practice, no action has been initiated so far.

The Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, said he would look into the matter regarding the attendance of teachers in government primary schools. He, however, admitted that several posts of teacher were lying vacant in schools of the district.


Pbi University VC felicitated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 11
Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, alleged that Pakistan was behind the recent attacks on members of the Christian community and urged leaders of the minority communities to understand conspiracy behind the attacks.

Talking to newsmen, here yesterday evening, Mr Tarlochan Singh said recent arrests of some persons in Andhra Pradesh and Goa had revealed that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of Pakistan was behind the attacks. He said leaders of the minority community should not be provoked by such incidents and should exercise restraint in their statements.

The Punjabi Vikas Manch held a function at the Academy of Sikh Religion and Culture to felicitate Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, for his contribution to academics, research, administration and development of Punjabi language, literature and culture.

Dr Hardev Singh Rosha, Chairman, and Mr Avtar Singh Arora, President of the manch, praised Dr Ahluwalia for his life-long contribution to various fields of life. The manch honoured Dr Ahluwalia with Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha Award.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Tarlochan Singh said Dr Ahluwalia was a scholar of international repute who had broken new grounds in creative literature and modern criticism. He lauded the quality of free thinking of Dr Ahluwalia and his efforts to bring Punjabi literature at par with the literature of developed languages of the world.

Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman, Punjab School Education Board, said Dr Ahluwalia understood the rare combination of academics and administration. Dr Pritpal Singh Kapoor, Chief Editor, Encyclopedia of Sikhism, said Dr Ahluwalia had a rich experience of various fields and that his experience was proving to be a boon in his efforts to build the university on constructive and futuristic lines.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Mr Harpal Tiwana, Mr Chhaju Ram Sofat and Mr Sarup Singh Alagh.


Lecturers allege harassment
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 11
Part-time lecturers posted at the local Government Rajindra College have been experiencing mental stress and agony due to the alleged indifferent attitude of the college authorities.

As per tradition, the services of the lecturers who were appointed on a part time basis, got terminated at the end of the academic session and new appointments were made for the next session.

But this year, such lecturers approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court and got a stay which said that their services should not be terminated at the end of the current academic session.

While the lecturers were successful in getting the stay orders from the court, their problems did not end. They were not given any academic work in the college. They were not treated as the members of the college faculty. They were not appointed as supervisor or invigilators for the examinations of the undergraduate classes going on in the college, although there is no rule that part-time lecturers can not be appointed for such duties.

These lecturers alleged that they were being treated as if they had been relieved from their duty.

Mr Sukhdeep Singh, convener of the Government College Part Time Lecturers Council, Punjab, said that the attitude of the college authorities had created a bad impression in the mind of the students and the members of the faculty. He alleged that the authorities were doing so to create confusion amongst the students and that this attitude had put them under stress and depression.

Mr Sukhdeep Singh further said that they should be treated as part of the staff of the college and given duties on a par with the regular staff. He said that there was shortage of the staff for the examination duties, therefore the members of the clerical staff were assigned the duties of the supervisor and the invigilators which was not their job.

Mr Shaminder Pal Singh, secretary of the union, said that the Principal of the college was giving false statements that no part-time lecturer had been assigned examination duty in any college of Punjab. Some part time lecturers of Government Barjindra College, Faridkot, were on such duty at Government Rajindra College, Bathinda.

He further said that they had also served a legal notice to the Principal of the college, but it did not change the situation.

Mr Gopal Singh, Principal, denied the allegations levelled by the lecturers. He said that the assignment of the duties was the job of the authorities concerned at Punjabi University, Patiala. He further said that no discrimination was made against them and they were treated on a par with other lecturers. He said that he did not see any difference between a part-time or regular lecturer. He added that there were other lecturers also who were not appointed for the examination duties.


Edutech centre in Bathinda
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 11
The global slowdown in information technology companies and profit warnings by Indian IT companies will not hamper the growth of IT training companies said Mr S.K. Patnaik, General Manager, Edutech Informatics India (EIIL), who was here today to launch a computer centre.

The slowdown had affected many industries in the past also but in no case it meant death-knell for the industry. Although major IT companies have issued profit warnings, but the need of trained manpower and the knowledge of computers had assured that the IT training business will continue to grow.

The company has registered a 100 per cent growth last financial year and with the opening of more centres all over the country the company will show good profits, he said. Commenting on the IT scenario of Punjab, Mr Patnaik said the state offered ample opportunities of growth. The penetration of personal computers will ensure that more and more people would have to be computer literate.

Giving hints of the emerging trends in the e-commerce, he said more and more business would be Net-based and the courses would have to be designed keeping all this in view.

M.M. Goel, Director of the local training centre, said the EIIL had tied up with many international universities for the benefit of students. The centre will offer bachelors course in information technology in association with Orissa’s Utkal University.

The centre is inaugurated by Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Science and Technology Minister, Punjab.


English medium schools’ assurance to government
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
In response to the Punjab Government's instructions that all English medium schools in the state should teach Punjabi as a compulsory subject, the managements of such schools have started submitting affidavits assuring the compliance of the order to the state government authorities concerned.

The government authorities concerned had warned such schools that if Punjabi was not taught as a subject, the no objection certificate issued by the state government would be cancelled.

The state government authorities concerned had issued instructions to all English medium schools to enforce the conditions laid down in the no objection certificate ( NoC) issued to such schools by the state government.

For setting up a school, the management concerned has to seek an NoC from the state government. This certificate is only issued when the management concerned gives an undertaking assuring that it will abide by the instructions incorporated in the NoC. One of the instructions in the NoC says that the management the school concerned will have to promote the culture and language of the state.

There are about 2700 English medium public schools in the state. Out of these 247 schools are affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

Though these schools had given undertaking to teach Punjabi while availing the NoC, but most of these had not been teaching Punjabi and some had been teaching Punjabi just as formality maintaining no standard at all.

In fact, most of the schools affiliated to the CBSE were set up for the migratory population in the state. But in the past years , these schools have even come up in the rural areas.

The authorities concerned have also told these schools to maintain the Punjabi teaching standard on par with the Punjab School Education Board.

In other words, what is taught as Punjabi subject up to Matriculation in government schools affiliated to PSEB, should be taught in the English medium schools.

Mr Tota Singh said that such schools had not only been told to teach Punjabi as a compulsory subject but also give due importance to Hindi language as it was a national language.

He said that he was fully satisfied the way English medium schools had responded to the government's instructions with regard to the teaching of Punjabi.

He said that the number of Punjabi learning students would go up in the state. Already the government had introduced English as subject at primary level in government schools.

The state government had also urged the CBSE to correct the distortions about the Sikh history in its history books.

Mr Tota Singh said at last meeting of the education ministers of the state convened by the Union Ministry concerned, he had pointed out distortions about the Sikh gurus in the history books of the CBSE.


Punjabi test on April 16
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 11
The State Languages Department, has asked candidates to appear for the Punjabi excellence test to be held on April 16 who could not clear their Punjabi examination in class X, before appearing for the Departmental Selection Committee Test. Giving this information, Dr M.L. Hasija, Director of the department, said that the test fee was Rs 500 and the application forms could be submitted till 9.00 am on April 16.

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