Thursday, April 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal ‘acting as SAD chief, not CM’
Cong set to launch poll campaign
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
“The ‘Sangat Darshan’ programme of Mr Parkash Singh Badal is nothing but total politicisation of public money,” alleges the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, maintaining that Mr Badal has now been behaving only as the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal and not as the Chief Minister.

“The disbursement of grants at such programmes is totally against the spirit of the Constitution. In the process he has also dismantled the official hierarchy of the administration by centralising everything,” the PPCC chief says.

In a chat with The Tribune at Punjab Congress Bhavan here this afternoon, Capt Amarinder Singh said that his party was all set to launch its election campaign in the state within the next 10 to 15 days after the wheat harvesting operations.

“We are holding a massive rally of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and backward classes at Jalandhar on June 3. To mobilise support for this rally, we will organise meetings with leaders of the SCs, STs and BCs to ascertain their views and understand their problems and demands. We have set up a 21-member committee under the chairmanship of the Congress Legislature Party chief, Ch Jagjit Singh. The blueprint prepared by this committee will be ultimately incorporated in our election manifesto,” he said.

At present, he said, there were 30 lakh landless persons in villages and another 13.5 lakh were below the poverty line in the state. The Congress was considering various proposals for their welfare. One of the proposals was to ensure the free supply of power to the weaker sections. This would not cost much as the annual expenditure on this count would be Rs 80 crore, the PPCC chief said.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the PPCC would also organise a meeting of those linked to the agricultural sector." We are setting up a high-powered committee for the economic reconstruction of Punjab by involving high-ranking persons, including economists and senior retired civil servants. This committee will prepare a blueprint for restructuring the economy.”

The PPCC chief said the Punjab Chief Minister was trying to “deceive” his opponents by talking about Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections in June or July or by repeatedly saying that the Assembly elections would be held on schedule “to catch us on the wrong foot and force us into elections unprepared. We are convinced that the Assembly elections are around the corner. The Chief Minister will see the results of the elections in five states and probably recommend the dissolution of the Assembly in the middle of May to recommend elections in June or July.

“He wants the elections before the next crop of paddy hits the market. Unlike wheat, paddy procurement is cumbersome and may put the SAD-BJP government in hot water,” he said.

“If he does not want elections in the near future, can he maintain the pace of campaigning he has set for himself? He covered 14 wards in Ludhiana district in one day a few days ago. But we are convinced that it is not money or the disbursement of grants which will decide the outcome of the elections. The issues at the next elections will be different. There is corruption, growing unemployment, total collapse of the state economy, growing indebtedness and lack of vision for tomorrow. The education system is a shambles. It has to be reorganised and restructured. Believe me, in the present age of IT and technology, there is not even a single college imparting science education in Mansa district,” the PPCC chief said.

He also criticised the government for “selling” government property and “ignoring” development activity. Capt Amarinder Singh cautioned that at the present pace , Punjab cities would become urban slums and land holdings in the rural areas would be fragmented further to become unremunerative for farm purposes.

The government, he said, had failed on all fronts and only the Congress could put Punjab back on the rails by restructuring its economy.


Will Assembly elections be on schedule?
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
When are the Punjab Assembly elections likely to be held? The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, is “fed up” reiterating that the elections will be on schedule, even offering to give an “affidavit” to this effect. Yet the question persists and the guessing game goes on.

This is the time when every decision and action of the government is perceived as suspect and nearly election-oriented. There is a “tax-free” Budget (2001-02). There is an advertisement blitzkrieg highlighting the “achievemnts” of the SAD-BJP. The discernible change one notices in the ad campaign is the issuing of a special full page on what all has been done or is intended to be done for the uplift of the “urban” areas. Evidently, it is to placate the BJP and dispel the notion of a “rural bias” of the government from the minds of city voters. A sum of Rs 100 crore is to be spent on improving the civic amenities in the “urban slums” Punjab cities and towns represent.

There is talk of the holding of Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad elections (inordinately delayed due to political exigencies) and the SGPC poll on schedule. But is the Chief Commissioner Gurdwara Elections, ready? Have the necessary amendments to the Sikh Gurdwara Act, in respect of “definition” of a Sikh and “lowering” of the voting age from 21 to 18, been carried out? Have the poll rolls been updated and revised?

There is repeated mention of grave agricultural crises. The shadow of the WTO is one aspect. The spanner thrown by the Union Budget regarding continuation of the minimum support price and the states handling the procurement of foodgrains and public distribution have given rise to apprehension in the minds of the farmers, worried as they are over the fate of lifting of their wheat now and paddy later.

There are confirmed reports of ministers assuring farmers on wheat procurement but not making any commitment on paddy. The Chief Minister has held meetings and issued instructions to the Deputy Commissioners to personally ensure that farmers faced no problems on wheat procurement. Though storage space is being created, the transportation of stored foodgrains remains slack.

Therefore, one probability that a section of the political executive and the bureaucracy talks about is the holding of the Assembly elections before paddy procurement. But equally strong is the view of the other section that is full of hope and confidence that irrespective of the agricultural “problems” the timing will see the Akalis showing promise. There is also talk that the SAD has prepared a blue print identifying a certain number of rural constituencies in Majha, Doaba and Malwa on which greater attention is focused — enough to form the next government on its own steam.

In fact, the “Sangat Darshan” programme of Mr Badal enabling him to keep his ear to the ground and remain in touch with the Akalis’ vote bank right from 1997 onwards is expected to pay electoral dividends. Even the Political Affairs Committee has endorsed that. Now he has started a similar exercise in the urban areas visiting the constituencies of the MLAs of the ruling combine. This strategy of Mr Badal has already created ripples in the Opposition camp, primarily the Congress.

One would recall that during the last Budget session on the issue of “Sangat Darshan” and “discrimination” against the constituencies of the Opposition MLAs, the House was paralysed eventually resulting in the suspension of the entire Opposition for the entire duration of the session. The moot point raised by the Opposition was that the government was partisan to the ruling MLAs’ constituencies when it came to allocating funds for development works .

Mr Badal has told the MLAs to return to their roots nursing their constituencies and redressing grievances of the constituents if they wanted to return to the Vidhan Sabha. Therefore, it may be difficult to say when the Assembly elections will be held but certainly the Congress seems to be realising the futility of its infighting while the Akalis keep tab on what goes on in the Congress camp.

The Congress brand of politics, according to insiders, has always been one of “bargains, hypocrisy and sycophancy” settling for whatever is eventually offered. At present the entire fight among leaders is on ensuring the party ticket to their proteges, irrespective of the fact who gives it, Capt Amarinder Singh or the party high command.

Both the Akali Dal and the Congress, have seen low and high political tides during the Parliamentary elections in 1999 and various byelections to the Assembly since 1997. Political factionalism is the in-thing and the Akalis have even split and united.

The law and order situation is far from satisfactory. The bureaucracy remains indifferent. Corruption is rampant. There is a discernible streak of despondency. The ban on recruitment has been lifted, opening the floodgates for political maneuvering. The financial situation may have made a slight turnaround the economy showing signs of improving. But austerity remains an illusion going by the expenditure incurred on maintaining an army of ministers.

Most of the boards and corporations remain in the red. Their cumulative losses run into hundreds of crores of rupees without any accountability. On top of it, the bureaucrats heading these boards and corporations have been abroad at state expense without making any contribution to improving their functioning or benefiting the state. Some of them have been on foreign jaunts even four times in one year.

The people are aware of these issues. So are the political parties. Given Mr Badal’s penchant for elections, as a master strategist he will time these with a period when the SAD (BJP?) can benefit the most.

At present for the Akalis and the BJP, he is the only bet. But the presence of the likes of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal on the scene has definitely sent shivers down the spine of urban voters. The Scheduled Castes are already shy of the Akalis.

The Congress always “imports” leaders from Delhi. Seen in this backdrop, a definite answer when the Assembly elections will be held rests with only one man — Mr Badal. 


Badal-Talwandi rift may widen
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi may be, like any father, feeling more than happy and relaxed over the acquittal of his son Ranjit Singh of murder charges by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The maverick Akali known for asserting himself more often than not, was believed to be lying low so far, obviously for his compulsions as his son had been convicted for murder by a local court. And the Badal government had ensured comfortable stay for Ranjit in Ludhiana’s Central jail providing him with all facilities and arranging for him frequent and regular paroles.

At the time of Mr Talwandi’s nomination as the SGPC chief, Mr Badal had taken a calculated risk, given his tendency to do unexpected things, to the extent of even challenging his (Mr Badal’s) authority. However, it was presumed at the time of his election that given his compulsions he may not afford to antagonise Mr Badal. Now that his only compulsion is over, Mr Talwandi may feel free to act according to his own will without any restraint or restrictions.

Of late Mr Talwandi reportedly has not been enjoying a warm relationship with the Chief Minister which was indicated several times recently. The pattern and sequence of some recent events create enough scope for speculations about the relationship between Mr Badal and Mr Talwandi. The distance between the two leaders is believed to be steadily growing.

Only recently, on April 21 while the entire nation was watching the special programme organised in Delhi to commemorate the 200 years of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the SGPC chief was conspicuous by his absence. Interestingly, while the Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Dr Farooq Abdullah and Haryana Mr Om Prakash Chautala were present along with the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Home Minister L.K. Advani and Mr Badal, Mr Talwandi’s absence was intriguing. Particularly when Maharaja Ranjit Singh is identified with the emergence of Sikh power, the absence of the head of the supreme body of the Sikhs like the SGPC was surprising and left much scope for speculations.

However, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has sought to play it down saying that the function was organised by the Union Government and Mr Talwandi might have been busy somewhere else. Recently while talking to reporters here, Mr Badal said, the SGPC had other engagements and moreover he (Mr Badal) did not invite people to the function.

More surprising was Mr Talwandi's absence from the day-long “sangat darshan” programme of Mr Badal on April 22. It was an important event for the Akali-BJP alliance since it marked the beginning of the election campaign and Mr Talwandi preferred to stay away. In fact, he reportedly kept himself busy at Chandigarh, much to the chagrin of the Chief Minister, who would have wanted to convey signals of unity and understanding between him and the SGPC chief on that occasion.

While most of the Akali leaders are known for maverick and unpredictable behaviour, Mr Talwandi is feared worst for such traits and to tame him certainly is not an easy task and more so for Mr Badal who has other compulsions as well. Mr Talwandi was said to had mellowed due to conviction of his son in a murder-related case and always needed Mr Badal’s good will for his comfortable stay in jail and regular paroles.

It may be recalled that jail rules and norms were relaxed to favour his son. Now that Mr Talwandi has no such compulsions and no favours to seek from Mr Badal, will he continue to play second fiddle to him (Mr Badal) is anybody’s guess. And for Mr Badal, who has already launched his election campaign, it could not have come at a worse time than this. 


Badal pampers common man
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Nabha (Patiala), April 25
The Sangat Darshan programme held here today seemed more like a pre-poll jamboree where a few crores were doled out and the common man was pampered with all his grievances getting top priority.

People of the town and the village had only to list a grievance and the Chief Minister immediately got busy on the mobile to contact the officer concerned with clear cut directions — “do the work immediately”. Local officers were called upon to solve problems at the constituency level. There was no talk of politics but politics seemed in the air with local leaders feeling that the exercise would hold the party in good stead in any coming election.

However, the Chief Minister wants everyone to believe that there is no political overtone behind the sangat darshan programmes which are scheduled for all over the state. He said the Akali-BJP government had inherited empty coffers due to which development works could not be taken up in full swing immediately. He said now the government had funds to take up such works and was working in earnest to remove all grievances of the people.

“Everything is being done in a transparent manner’’, said the Chief Minister adding that during the Congress regime, ministers and legislators took their own “cuts” from grants for development works. “Now, however, through this system of sangat darshan we have brought the government closer to the people and made it more accountable’’, he added. When his attention was brought to allegations that lists for distribution of grants had been made earlier and that the exercise was a gimmick, he said “show me the list. I am writing the problems of the people myself and everything is being done in an above board manner”.

However, for the people of the area, the Chief Minister touched their hearts by his open approach and largesse in solving their problems. At least 137 panchayats and representatives of the town met him in small groups. Whenever any panchayat came to him the Chief Minister would first ask if any Dalit was present and would ask him to state what needed to be done for their welfare in their village. Following this, the Chief Minister would either direct Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir to get shamlat land distributed to Dalits or buy land for distribution wherever shamlat land was not available.

Following this youth clubs and mahila mandals came in for largesse. Youth clubs were given money for the constructions of grounds besides purchase of sports kits. Mahila mandals were given money for purchase of utensils for common kitchen of villages. The panchayat was asked to list its problems which were solved immediately with nearly Rs 1 crore being given for link roads and 12 schools being upgraded.

According to official sources, a total of Rs 3.5 crore was distributed on the spot out of which Rs 1 crore is for construction of roads, Rs 20 lakh for schools falling under the Nabha subdivision, Rs 22 lakh for the Shagun Scheme and the Indira Awas Yojna and Rs 27 lakh for sports clubs besides other grants, including those for a rural water supply scheme. Public Health Minister and legislator from Nabha Raja Narinder Singh was also present. 


Problems persist in wheat procurement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Though the bad weather is over in this part of the country, the problem pertaining to the procurement of wheat damaged by rain and hailstorms persists. Owing to moderate rainfall in various parts of Punjab, the grain has lost its usual luster. The procurement agencies are facing problems in procuring such wheat.

“Though we are being forced by the authorities to procure discoloured wheat and are not even allowed to use the equipment to measure moisture, the state government will have to face serious consequences if the FCI refuses to accept such wheat for the Central pool”, said one of the conveners of the Field Employees Coordination Committee of the Punjab State Foodgrain Agencies.

He said a representation had been submitted urging the Punjab Chief Minister to get the wheat procurement specifications relaxed from the authorities in the Union Government. The representation was given by the Coordination Committee of officials of the Punjab Food and Supplies Department, Markfed, Punsup, Punjab Agro, etc.

Office-bearers of the committee say that the moisture in the wheat brought to the market by farmers even three days after the rain is beyond the permissible limit of 12 per cent. Grains have lost their sheen because of wet weather conditions in the third week of April. Though the temperature has started rising the wheat is showing a high moisture level.

They say they will have to face the music when the quality of wheat, procured under pressure of politicians, farmers and the government authorities, starts deteriorating in the godowns after a few months. They say the FCI is not procuring such wheat and this the entire burden has fallen on the state procurement agencies to accept such stocks.

Moreover, they say that as per the decision of the state Council of Ministers, at the time of the dispatch of wheat to the Central pool, they are supposed to allow an increase of 0.7 per cent to 1 per cent in the weight of wheat over its actual weight at the time of procurement. But as the wheat procured at present has a very high level of moisture and also grains have been adversely affected, it will not be possible for the officials concerned to ensure the increase. The “lustreless” wheat will be more prone to the attack of various insects in the godowns, they assert.

The committee members have urged the Chief Minister to expedite the movement of wheat to other states from Punjab. They say about 90 lakh tonnes of old wheat stocks are lying in the state and the quality has also started deteriorating. They claim that the shelf life of the wheat is only nine months. For the deterioration in quality after storage for such a long period, often the officials concerned are blamed and punished by the authorities.


PSEB told to compile data on crop burning
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
While reports of ripe wheat crop getting burnt in fields at various places in Punjab because of sparking from high-tension electricity wires and transformers continue to pour in here regularly, the Punjab Power Minister, Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, has directed the PSEB authorities concerned to compile data of all such cases.

Quizzed on the issue, Mr Maluka said the PSEB authorities had been told to visit the affected fields to verify the reports pertaining to burning of wheat crop because of sparking from high tension conductors. He said he would ensure adequate compensation to farmers whose crops had been burnt due to short-circuiting.

Asked about the amount to be paid to farmers, Mr Maluka said last year the PSEB had fixed norms about payment of compensation in such cases. He also told farmers to submit applications through the subdivisional magistrate and other proper channel to seek compensation. He made it clear that compensation would be given in such cases where it was proved that the crop got burnt due to sparking from electric wires.

He, however, had no details of the actual number of cases and quantum of loss this year so far.

Mr Maluka said he would also direct the Members of the Board to visit rural areas especially during the wheat harvesting days and also during the ensuing paddy transplantation in the state to hear the grievances of people pertaining to the burning of their crops and also power supply.

According to reports reaching here, about eight acres of wheat crop of Jarnail Singh was destroyed in Balian village because of sparking from electric wires. Likewise, over 20 acres of wheat crop was reduced to ashes in Sohal village of Gurdaspur district. A report from Doad village said 15 acres of wheat crop was destroyed there.

Similar report have been received from various parts of Punjab and Haryana. The farmers have demanded suitable compensation for losses suffered by them on account of these fires.

As fire tenders are not immediately available in the rural areas, farmers have to depend on the local measures to put off the fire.

Senior officials of the PSEB say because of the increase in the demand for power in the summer season, the transmission system becomes vulnerable at various places due to over-loading.

Thousands of transformers burn due to over-loading especially in the rural areas where people resort to “illegal” measures to run the power driven motors on tubewells even with a single phase supply of power.

In villages, people often engage local untrained electricians for getting the transformers repaired or putting the fuse in place. Such arrangements often result in damaging the transmission system.


Syndicate panel to monitor teachers
CM concerned over varsity developments
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 25
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today expressed his concern over the recent developments in Punjabi University, even as the university Syndicate at a meeting today formed a five member committee to take cognisance of the defamatory activities of the ‘’denotified” Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) and other teachers and employees and authorising it to take disciplinary action against them.

The elected PUTA body had been recently derecognised by the university authorities in favour of another group of teachers consisting of three members of the original Executive who are aligned with the United Teachers Front which lost the elections to the PUTA body. This group had held a meeting of the general body of teachers following which a new body was announced which was granted recognition the same day.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister, when queried about the controversy following the registration of Higher Education Minister Master Mohan Lal for a Ph.D under the Vice-Chancellor Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, and subsequent war of words between them with the Vice-Chancellor claiming the minister did not have the right to order an inquiry against him, said the government was ‘’highly concerned by all the recent developments’’.

The Chief Minister said the matter would be decided by varsity Chancellor Lieut-Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob. He said he had also held a discussion on the issue with the Chancellor. He said the state government was monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, the university Syndicate today constituted a five-member disciplinary committee comprising Syndicate members M. S. Romana, Harcharan Singh, Dr Pawan Kumar Singla, Surjit Singh Rakhra and Senator Justice (retd) Iqbal Singh to take notice of the defamatory activities of a section of the denotified PUTA as well as some university teachers and employees. It decided that the committee be authorised to take disciplinary action under the conduct rules and that the decision of the committee, be deemed as a decision taken by the Syndicate. It also decided that the Disciplinary Committee can associate any retired Vice-Chancellor if required.

A university press note said the Syndicate also condemned the alleged vilification campaign, against the Vice-Chancellor and the university management by a section of the denotified PUTA. It said the campaign was designed to defame the Vice-Chancellor and the image of the university.

The Syndicate had cautioned all employees that they were bound by the service rules which strictly prohibited them from going to the press and maligning the varsity functioning in the name of airing their demands. The Syndicate decided that the service rules must be enforced. The note said the Syndicate decided that for the redressal of their problems, employees should follow prescribed channels, including the submission of memorandum to the Syndicate.

Meanwhile in a separate press note, the Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) today appreciated the decision of Education Secretary, G.P.S. Sahi, Sepecial Secretary, Education, Amarjit Singh Ahluwalia and incoming Education Secretary Bhagat Singh not to attend the meeting of the Syndicate in which the university management had decided to honour Mr Sahi who is retiring this month.


PM urged to check female foeticide

Moga, April 25
Expressing concern over the alarming trend of female foeticide in the country, Central Social Welfare Board Chairperson Mridula Sinha has urged the Centre and state governments to take all possible steps to check pre-natal tests and female foeticide.

Inaugurating a seminar on “Women education-2001” here yesterday, Mrs Sinha said there was a greater need to mobilise a massive public opinion against female foeticide this year, which the country was observing as “Women Empowerment Year”. She called upon social organisations and NGOs to take up issue.

Emphasising the need to impart education to girls all over the country by opening more primary and secondary schools, the board chairperson appealed to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to initiate suitable immediate actions in this regard.

She also expressed concern over the increasing trend of incidents of divorce. The board had chalked out various schemes like the opening of pre-marital counselling centres, integration of old age homes with creche, vocational programme in traditional arts and a special package for widows of men killed in terrorist activities, she added.

Punjab Education Minister, Tota Singh who presided over the seminar said the state government was committed to strengthen the economy of the women by undertaking various welfare programmes. The state government had also brought changes in the educational system, where special stress was laid towards female education, he said.

The minister, while expressing concern over the female foeticide welcomed the direction given by the Sikh clergies notifying the community that acts of female foeticide were volatile of Sikh principles and that offenders would be excommunicated.

He called upon the social organisations and NGOs in the country to follow the directions of Sikh clergies for the welfare of society and also pleaded that anybody found guilty of female foeticide, should be discarded by society. The latest census disclosed that in Punjab state sex ratio was 863 females against 1000 males, he added. UNI


Police ‘humiliates’ SJP leader
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Upset over the alleged hurting of the religious sentiments of his party’s activist, Mr Paramjit Singh, by a police party of Sangrur district, the former Prime Minister, Mr Chandra Shekhar, has urged the leadership of the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal to take up the issue at the appropriate level with the state government.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the SHSAD, said here today that the former Prime Minister spoke to him on the phone from Delhi for getting justice for Mr Paramjit Singh, who is the President of the Sangrur unit of the Samajwadi Janata Party.

Mr Chandumajra said Mr Paramjit Singh was picked by a police party from his village in Sangrur district yesterday and presented before a Deputy Superintendent of Police.

The DSP allegedly pressurised Mr Paramjit Singh to withdraw a complaint against an Akali Minister of Sangrur district. As he refused to accept the dictates of the DSP, a part of his beard was allegedly cut by certain police officials.

Accompanied by Mr Gurinder Singh Dhanula and Mr Tek Singh, senior leaders of the SHSAD of Sangrur district, Mr Paramjit Singh reached the residence here of Mr Chandumajra, who held a press conference to tell the whole story.

Mr Chandumajra said “Mr Paramjit Singh intended to commit immolation in front of the official residence of the Chief Minister here but he was persuaded by all concerned not to take such an extreme step”. He said Mr Paramjit Singh was very upset emotionally as his religious sentiments had been hurt.

A deputation of the SHSAD would meet the Punjab Governor tomorrow to bring to his notice. Mr Paramjit Singh would also go to Amritsar to meet the Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Mr Chandumajra has also taken up the case of Mr Paramjit Singh with the Punjab police chief, Mr Sarabjit Singh, the DIG of Patiala range and the SSP, Sangrur district.

Meanwhile, according to information reaching here, the SSP of Sangrur has directed a senior police officer to conduct an inquiry into the incident.


Beard trimming story false: SSP
Tribune news Service

Sangrur, April 25
Addressing a press conference here tonight, Mr Jatinder Singh Aulakh, SSP, Sangrur, described the charge, levelled by Paramjit Singh of Mangwal village with regards to “trimming” of his beard by the police as “false” and “fabricated”.

Mr Aulakh said Paramjit was of ‘notorious character’ as per the police record.

He said the four criminal cases were registered against him under different Sections since September 9, 1999, on the basis of complaints lodged against him.

This press conference was held as Paramjit, who is also the district president of the Samajwadi Janata Party (Chandra Shekhar), at a press conference in Chandigarh today briefed about the trimming of his beard in police custody.

The SSP said he had been released in the presence of two municipal councillors the previous day from the local police station after he paid Rs 1,800 to Ms Gurmail Kaur of Mangwal village who had lodged a complaint against him alleging that Paramjit had sold a kikar for Rs 2,000 from her land which had been given by her to Paramjit on contract.


Another strike by NFL workers
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 25
As many as 1,800 workers of National Fertilisers Ltd (NFL) plant at Nangal struck work today against the proposed disinvestment of the company. The strike which was called by the coordination committee of the recognised unions of the NFL started at 6 a.m. The workers gathered at the main gate of the factory and raised slogans against the NDA government.

The workers have been protesting against the disinvestment plan for the past two months. Mr G.L. Khera, president of the union here, said they would strike work for two days. Even contract labourers of the company had joined the strike, he claimed.

Due to the decreasing profits of the NFL, the government had last year issued a global tender proposing to sell its 51 per cent equity in the company. The profits of the NFL had decreased from Rs 236.17 crore in 1997-98 to just Rs 11 crore last year. Sources said since the NFL was the second largest producer of fertilisers in the country, several national and international companies had shown interest in buying the stake.

The CMD of the NFL, Mr P.S. Grewal, on his recent visit to Nangal, had, however, attributed the losses to government policies. The government had not declared the seventh pricing period for fertilisers since 1997. The prices of petroleum products that were used as inputs for producing fertilisers had increased. However, the retention price fixed by the government had not increased in that proportion. Most of the subsidies reimbursed by the government to fertiliser producers passed on to the oil companies, resulting in decreasing profits, he said.

Union leaders have also been alleging that the NFL was being undervalued. Government experts have valued all four NFL units at Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 crore. It was proposed that the 51 per cent equity of the company could be sold for Rs 500 crore. However, the cost of the Nangal unit was more than Rs 2,000 crore.

A prilling tower has been set up at the Nangal unit at a cost of Rs 161 crore. Besides, this the inventory was worth Rs 300 crore and the cost of the heavy water plant was nearly Rs 100 crore. The unit was established on 2,285 acres after the land was acquired from locals. Union leaders allege that the government had evaluated the land at Rs 600 per kanal whereas the market price of the land even at the lowest estimate was Rs 4 lakh per kanal.

The Acting General Manager of the unit, Mr Khurana, declined to comment on how loading and unloading operations had been affected following the participation of contract labourers in the strike.


Fast-food culture catching up
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 25
Although fast food is not entirely alien to the city but with the increasing number of fast food outlets, eating points and even ‘rehris’ selling patties, hot dogs, chowmein and the age old “channa-kultcha” city residents are fast forgetting the lunch time tiffins.

Fast food has caught up not only with schoolchildren and the younger generation but even families moving out can be seen enjoying the delicacies in the nook and the corner of the city. The increasing trend can be attributed to the adoption of “metro culture”, consumerism and increasing number of working couples.

Earlier the fast food culture was restricted to occasional outings having ice creams after dinner at night walks, a fast lunch of noodles or having heavy pizzas to substitute for dinner. But now even schoolchildren can be seen skipping lunch to enjoy patties, pizzas, pastries or noodles. Gone are the days when kids used to carry home-made lunch of paranthas and omelette and employees used hot cases in their offices to warm up their lunch at the offices.

Mr Ashutosh, a college student, said it was time saving and convenient to have patties with a cup of coffee instead of lunch. “Just for Rs 10-15 one can have a full lunch. It saves time of people like me who are in a hurry,” he said.

Schoolchildren, who carry tiffin boxes with them, carry enough pocket money with them so as to enjoy pastries and burger after the usual lunch. Most of the kids said fast food was more delicious than home-made food.

Families eating out too prefer to have Chinese food whenever they go out. A majority of the couples said eating out break their monotonous routine. Some of them admitted that fast food was not “that good” but still prefer the same.

Health specialists however, have a different opinion. A senior cardiologist of the civil hospital here said that the calorie content of fast food was very high and its regular intake may lead to accumulation of fat in the body. It may lead to obesity and deficiency of vital minerals and vitamins.

Whatever may be the opinion of the health specialists it is for sure that fast food culture has gripped the city and the trend is unlikely to see a decline in the near future as more than 20 fast food outlets cater to the ever increasing demand of the city residents.


Shifting of offices irks residents
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 25
The shifting of offices of the district administration to an old hospital building has been causing inconvenience to people.

The offices are being shifted as the building is to be demolished for the construction of a multipurpose district administration complex. Residents of the city had reportedly protested against the construction of the complex.

As per the plan, the offices of different departments of the district administration will function from the building of the old hospital until the complex is completed. According to sources, the project will take at least a year for completion. But the general opinion is that it will probably take more time.

Residents of nearby villages said the move of the government would create problems for them. They said the process of shifting would take many days and during this period there was possibility that the public would have to face harassment at the hands of employees.

Some employees of the district administration said the shifting had also created problems for them. They said they had to be very careful while the process was going on as they had to be careful that no file or document was misplaced.

Meanwhile, various departments had been competing with each other to be accommodated in the building.


Passport sans photo issued
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
In a classic case of negligence, the Regional Passport Authority, Chandigarh, has recently issued a passport without a photograph. The passport, issued in the name of Angna Dewan, daughter of Dr Yashbir Dewan, a neurosurgeon in the CMC, was received recently by post.

The passport bearing the registration number B 5270435, issued on April 4, 2001 in the name of Angna Dewan and signed by Ms Veena Khanna, does not carry any photograph even though it is complete in all other respects.

In the passport of Dr Dewan’s other daughter, the name mentioned is incorrect. Instead of Akshma Dewan, the name given is Akshita Dewan. The passport was also issued on April 4, 2001 and signed by Ms Urmila Rani, Superintendent, RPO, Chandigarh.

Dr Dewan said that after reading an advertisement in the newspapers that applicants should come directly to the passport office instead of approaching agents, he had submitted all documents for the passports of his two daughters and wife in early 2000. It had taken more than a year for the passports to be issued and both were defective, he lamented. 


Balian refutes charge
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 25
Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, here today refuted the charge that he was working against the sarpanches and panches especially those belonging to the Scheduled Castes’ community and the Opposition.

Mr Balian said at least 12 sarpanches and panches, who had earlier signed a representation sent to the Punjab Chief Minister regarding discrimination against them with regard to development works, had clarified that they had no ill-will against him (Mr Balian). And they had signed the representation without studying it, he added.

Mr Balian also said the sarpanch of Fatehgarh Chhana village had not been suspended on his behest as he had been suspended by the Director, Panchayats, Punjab, after an inquiry.

Mr Balian said he had not encroached upon the land of Irrigation Department near the Bhakra main line near Patiala.

He said he had got the same land on lease at the rate of Rs 20,000 per year.


1 person, 150 sheep die in accident
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 25
One person and 150 sheep were killed and another 55 injured when the truck carrying them overturned near Kalu Kheme ke, 5km from here on Tuesday.

According to the information, the truck was coming from the Fazilka side overturned while saving a jeep from a head-on-collision. One of the persons sitting in the truck also died on the spot while another was injured. The driver of the truck, Jeor Khan of Jodhpur, has absconded. A case under Sections 304, 279, 337 and 427 has been registered.


Man killed as car dashes against tree
Amardeep Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Morinda, April 25
One person was killed and another seriously injured when the Ford car in which they were travelling dashed against a tree on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh highway, near here, shortly after 12 noon today. The deceased was identified as Jagjit Singh. According to eye witnesses, the car was moving at high speed when the mishap occurred.

Following the accident, traffic on the busy highway was temporarily disrupted as a huge crowd gathered at the spot to render help to the accident victims. Although the driver’s body could not be extricated from the mangled remains of the car, his companion who had been bleeding profusely, was pulled out of the vehicle with great difficulty. He suffered multiple injuries on face and other parts of the body. As he lay by the roadside writhing in pain, a bystander rushed to give him some water. Some policemen were also seen assisting in the rescue operations.

The red-coloured Ford car bearing a Punjab registration number (PB-0-3S-2900) was extensively damaged. Such was the impact of the accident that the front portion of the vehicle was detached from the main body and thrown several feet away in a ditch. Groups of villagers working in nearby fields also rushed to the spot to assist in the rescue operations.


Polio victim crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 25
Balwinder (35), a resident of Talwandi Madho under Shahkot subdivision, was crushed to death by a Punjab Roadways bus on the Nakodar road near Nari Niketan here today.

According to the police, the deceased, a polio victim, who was sitting on back seat of a scooter fell on the road when the driver of the scooter was trying to save a cyclist on the busy road. A Punjab Roadways bus coming from Ferozepore crushed the head of the victim killing him on the spot, the police said.


Seminar on Namdhari movement on May 8
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
Sri Satguru Ram Singh Chair established at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, is holding the first-ever seminar on “Namdhari Movement-History, culture and contributions” at Sri Bhaini Sahib, on May 8 and 9.

The seminar will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who will also preside over the function. Dr Harbhajan Singh Soch, Vice-Chancellor of the varsity, will also address the seminar wherein several delegates from within the country and abroad will participate.

In this connection a meeting was held here yesterday in which Mr Harvinder Singh Hanspal, president of Namdhari Darbar and former MP, Dr Satinder Singh, head of Satguru Ram Singh Chair, and Sant Surinder Singh Namdhari (trustee) were present.


Gen Choudhry is Vajra Corps GOC
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 25
Lieut-Gen Shantonu Choudhry took over as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Vajra Corps here today.

Born in Allahabad, General Choudhry is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy. He got commissioned in the artillery regiment in 1963.

He has been the Brigade Major and GSO 1 (Ops) of infantry divisions in Punjab and Rajasthan and Colonel (general staff) of a division of Ladakh.

General Choudhry has also served in the military operations Directorate and has been an instructor in Defence Services Staff College.

In his previous assignment, he was the Additional Director-General (military intelligence) at Army headquarters.

General Choudhry is a recipient of the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal.


Homage to Mahatma Hans Raj
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 25
The birth anniversary of Mahatma Hans Raj, a well-known educationist and leader of the Arya Samaj, was celebrated today at his native village Bajwara, 5 km from here, with great fervour. A function was organised by the DAV Colleges Managing Committee and Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, in which distinguished persons from all over the country participated.

Besides paying tributes to Mahatma Hans Raj the organisers stated that DAV Colleges Managing Committee, Delhi, was running more than 700 schools, degree colleges, medical and engineering colleges in the country and abroad. The Managing Committee was now planning to introduce vocational and job-oriented education in its institutions.

The committee plans to convert the ancestral house of Mahatma Hans Raj at Bajwara into a memorial.


Crop in 100 acres gutted
Tribune News Service

Mansa, April 25
The district administration has launched a campaign to motivate the farmers not to burn the remnants of crop after harvesting to clear their fields for the sowing of next crop.

Official sources said in the past three days, standing wheat crop in more than 100 acres, had been destroyed when it caught fire allegedly due to spark in the overhead electrical wires and other reasons.

To check such happenings, the district administration had started using the public address system installed in the religious places for motivating the farmers not to burn the remnants of harvested crop.

Sources said in the past three days, standing wheat crop in Bhai Desa, Kotli, Lalloana, Ghuman Kalan and one other village was destroyed. The farmers had suffered losses to the tune of lakhs of rupees.

Mrs Raji. P. Srivastva, Deputy Commissioner said she had asked the Executive Engineer, PSEB, Maur Mandi, to probe whether the fire incident in Bhai Desa village was due to spark in the overhead electrical wires or not. She added that as per the preliminary investigations, the standing wheat crop in the village caught fire when some of the farmers set on fire the remnants of their harvested crop in the nearby fields.

She pointed out that before the harvesting season started, a meeting of PSEB officials was held and instructions were issued to set right the connections of all overhead electrical wires. The SDMs were also asked to see the arrangements.

Meanwhile, disappointment has gripped those families of farmers whose entire wheat crop has been destroyed due to fire. These farmers are hoping that the Punjab Government would make arrangements for the payment of compensation.

Those who have suffered losses included Surjeet Singh, whose 13 acres of standing wheat crop have been damaged. Standing wheat crop in eight acres belonging to Shaminder Singh and three acres of Amardeep Singh and eight acres of Rabinder Singh of this district were also destroyed.

Babu Singh and Sadhu Singh, two farmers, had taken 13 acres on lease and had spent thousands of rupees on the cultivation of wheat crop. They had cut their crop and it was still lying in the fields and it caught fire,” Informations gathered by TNS revealed.

Though the fire tenders from Bathinda and Mansa district were pressed into service to check the spread of fire, it failed to save the crop.


Farmers sore over procurement
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
The recent untimely rain in Punjab has brought untold misery to farmers by causing damage to their wheat crop.

The quality of the golden grain of wheat has deteriorated due to the rain in various parts of the state during March, as a result of which the official procuring agencies are reluctant to buy wheat arriving in various mandis.

The farmers have lodged complaints in different mandis to protest against the “apathy” of the procuring agencies. Reports of road blockades and strikes by arhtiyas in some towns in support of the farmers have also been received by the government.

According to information, the damage to the wheat crop is of different types. First, the wheat has become lusterless. The official procuring agencies did not purchase such wheat for two days but now the purchase of the same has reportedly been started by these following directions from the state government.

Reports say that the tip of the wheat grain has become black due to the rain. The government has fixed 3 per cent as the damage limit, but the limit is reported by between 5 and 6 per cent.

The farmers organisations are pressing upon the government to buy all stocks of wheat arriving in the mandis.

Mr Madam Mohan Mittal, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Punjab, when contacted, said government agencies were purchasing wheat stocks coming to the mandis. He assured that no harassment would be caused to the farmers.


DC takes stock of procurement
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 25
Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, today visited various mandis of the district and took stock of the procurement of wheat in the district.

He visited the mandis of Mehraj and Bhuchu villages, accompanied by Mr Joginder Singh Kahlon, District Food and Supplies Officer (DFSO), and other officials of the district administration.

Mr Jaspal Singh was not satisfied with the lighting arrangements at Mehraj and directed the officials concerned to provide necessary lighting so that the farmers did not face any problems. He directed the officials to procure the wheat damaged and discoloured by rain at Bhuchu.

The Deputy Commissioner said a meeting of the officials concerned was being held every evening and procurement situation was reviewed daily. He directed the officials of various agencies to lift the wheat procured immediate.


Govt’s apathy resented
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 25
Mr Kulwinder Singh, a farmer of the district, has demanded immediate supply of quality seed, insecticides and adequate canal water supply for the sowing of cotton and narma crop. He alleged that although the sowing of the crop was in full swing the government had not taken any step to make available certified seed proved by the agriculture university. 


PSEB to buy coal from MP
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 25
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities have decided to purchase coal from Madhya Pardesh instead of Bihar, to save money spent on freight charges.

Official sources said the PSEB authorities had been paying Rs 1280 as freight charges per tonne to Bihar while the actual cost of coal per tonne was Rs 680 only. The freight charges per tonne would come down to Rs 1,000 in case purchase was made from Madhya Pradesh.

In this way, the PSEB authorities which had been continuously in loss would be able to save crores of rupees every year, the sources said. The PSEB authorities had also decided to check power theft by installing electronic meters. It would enable the PSEB authorities to check 90 per cent of power thefts.

The sources said the PSEB authorities had also decided to buy power from various sources to meet the demand in the coming paddy season. At present, the PSEB had been purchasing 300 MW of power from various states.

In paddy season, power requirement would be around 5500 MW and if all natural factors remained favourable, the state would be able to produce 5000 MW of power. The PSEB had got all sanctions for setting two more units at Lehra Mohabbat at the cost of Rs 3,800 crore, the sources added. 


Akali leader’s security cover withdrawn
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 25
The security guards provided to Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar veteran Akali leader, have been withdrawn by the local police authorities.

Mr Thekedar who is also the acting president of the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, today said first, one security guard was withdrawn nearly 15 days ago and now the remaining two gunmen had also been withdrawn.

He said he had been having the security guards for the past 15 years. The rebel Akali leader held Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal responsible for the withdrawal of his security cover and warned that if any harm was caused to him Mr Badal would be responsible for the same.

The SSP, Ludhiana, was not available for comments. 


17.59 kg heroin seized, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 25
Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) today seized 17.59kg of heroin from a Tata Sierra (No. DL-2CD-6148) and arrested two persons in this connection.

According to official sources, DRI officials intercepted the vehicle near Sonia Dhaba, Madhopur Road, and arrtested Bodh Raj of Changis in Bisnah (Jammu and Kashmir) and Harjinder Singh, alias Amrit Pal Singh, of Ludhiana. The heroin was concealed in the vehicle.

Official sources said the heroin was valued at about Rs 18 crore in the international market.

A case under Section 42 of the NDPS Act has been registered against the arrested persons. They were produced today before the Duty Magistrate, Mr Karnail Singh, and remanded in judicial custody.


Vehicle thieves held
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 25
The police has busted a gang of vehicle thieves with the arrest of Bhupinder Singh alias Bhinda of Nanowall village and Raju of Khurajm in U.P. with a stolen truck.

According to a press note, Bhinda was an employee of Punjab Home Guard till 1991, and had earlier been arrested with his uncle in Mukerian for alleged involvement in terrorist activities. He added that Bhinda was presently working for a transport company. The police has registered a case against the accused under Sections 379 and 411 of the Indian Penal Code. 


Labourer decamps with cash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
A Nepalese labourer today drugged seven of his colleagues to unconsciousness and allegedly decamped with about Rs 25,000. He is also alleged to have taken some goods from the factory where he was working.

According to a complaint lodged at focal point police station by Mr Satnam Singh of Streamline Enterprises, he had employed Nepalese labourers in his factory recently. Besides working in the factory he would prepare food for the workers in the evening. He was subsequently allowed to stay in the factory itself.

Yesterday night, he allegedly mixed some sedatives in the food. After the workers fell unconscious he took away their money and some precious belongings. He also decamped with some goods from the factory. Mr Satnam Singh estimated that he might have taken away at least Rs 25,000 which belonged to workers and also some goods worth a few thousand rupees.


Jains to set up IT college
Praful Chander Nagpal

The Bhagwan Mahavir Trust, Fazilka, an organisation of Jains, has ventured to set up an information technology (IT) college at Fazilka even as the government seldom took interest in setting up a professional degree college in this border subdivision.

The necessity of establishing the college had been felt for a long time and demands fell on deaf ears over the past two decades.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, would lay the foundation stone of the proposed college on April 15. How this college, being set up under the aegis of Atam Vallabh Jain Information and Technology College, came into being makes an interesting reading.

Even as some veterans of the town had been toying with the idea of opening the college, the Jains took the lead. Jaya Nand Vijay and Divya Nand Vijay Maharaj, the Shwetamber Jain sect guru duo, visited Fazilka for performing the “bhumi puja” of Vijay Vallabh Hall at the local Jain High School on October 1 last year. It was on this occasion that prominent persons of the Jain sect and Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, the Forest Minister who represents this area, urged the gurus to take the initiative for opening the college. Mr Jyani assured them that he would arrange land for this purpose.

In a short span the idea took practical shape. The trust was constituted and registered on November 23 with Mr S.P. Jain as president, Mr Padam Chand Golchha as manager and Mr Anil Kumar Jain as secretary-cum-treasurer. Donations from philanthropists and followers poured in. On the minister’s intervention the panchayat of nearby Chaurianwali village on the Fazilka-Malout road, 5 km from the town, offered to donate 25 acres of land for setting up the college. Ironically, the entire land was kallar. Now it shall be utilised for a noble cause.

Mr Anil Jain, while providing details of the ambitious college project, said the college would start degree courses in computer software, hardware, micro-processor, graphics, design in commerce, electronics circuit, switching and digital circuit, control system, microwave devices, and communication systems.

The college has been approved by All India Council for Technical Education and admission to students would be granted according to norms and procedures laid by the council. A sum of about Rs 5 crore would be spent in the first phase for raising the modern design building which would have spacious classrooms, air conditioned laboratories, a hostel, a mess, a swimming pool and facilities for indoor games. The college trust proposes to commence admissions to 180 students of the first year by next April. By the end of final year the total students strength would rise to 540. Mr Jain revealed that Mr Mukesh Sehgal, Director of the Atma Nand Jain Institute of Management and Technology, Ambala, is providing honorary technical knowhow and consultation for setting up the college. Mr M.L. Jain, an architect of Delhi, has contributed towards designing the building of the proposed college. This college shall be the only of its kind in Ferozepore district.

Besides, raising this college the charitable trust in its second phase proposes to set up an ideal senior secondary level public school on 7.5 acres of land on the college campus. The school shall be established on the pattern of schools in Dehra Dun, Ajmer and Sanawar, he adds. The college shall prove to be a milestone in higher technical education and would go a long way in propagating education not only for the people of Fazilka and surrounding areas but also for other adjoining districts.


Probe demanded into copying case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 25
A deputation of the district Democratic Teachers Front met Ms Raji P. Shrivastava, Deputy Commissioner, yesterday and demanded a high-level inquiry into the unfair means case (UMC) registered against Mr Hardarshan Singh, driver of the District Education Officer (Secondary), Ms Bhupinder Kaur.

It may be recalled that on March 21, Mr Mohinder Pal, Deputy Superintendent of the examination centre — 9, apprehended the son of Mr Hardarshan Singh taking the examination in place of his father and registered a UMC case against Mr Hardarshan Singh. The deputation alleged that Mr Hardarshan Singh was now threatening Mr Mohinder Pal.

Mr Jagdish Rai and Mr Balraj Josh, district president and secretary of the front, respectively, in a press note issued here demanded the registration of a criminal case against Mr Hardarshan Singh and his son. The front leaders urged the Punjab government to order a high-level inquiry to find out how a false certificate was issued to Mr Hardarshan Singh by doctors and if the officials of the Education Department were involved in the case.

The leaders also met the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.S. Sharma, and the Deputy Medical Commissioner, Dr Hardev Singh, and requested them to order an inquiry to find out why a false certificate was issued to Mr Hardarshan Singh by the medical officers of the local Civil Hospital. They threatened to launch an agitation, if no action was taken by the government against the guilty persons.


1404 schools upgraded
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 25
Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Science and Technology, Minister, Punjab addressing a function organised on the occasion of upgradation of schools in Jhootike, Talab Nahar, Bir Bahiman and Chugh Khurd villages, said 1,404 schools had been upgraded by the state government in the last academic session. In every Assembly constituency Rs 20 lakh would be spent on the construction of new schools and repair old ones.

Mr Garg said in every Assembly segment 12 schools were upgraded last year. He said the teachers who showed good results in the board examinations would be honoured. He also appealed to the teachers to take teaching sincerely as the future of the country depended on the students being taught by them.

Mr Gurdev Singh, District Education Officer (DEO), said to check copying in examinations special attention would be paid. He advised the students to work hard for achieving their goal. Parents should ensure good education for their wards, he added.

Mr Garg announced grants of Rs 2.5 lakh for all schools that were upgraded. He also announced to give Rs 50,000 for the construction of a community centre at Bir Behman village.


Autonomy for colleges stressed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 25
The present system of affiliation should be discarded in favour of autonomy to colleges. Mr K. K. Bajaj, former Dean, College Development Council, HP University, Shimla, said this delivering the keynote address at a seminar on “Dynamics of College Teaching — Perspectives and Challenges” here yesterday.

Earlier, Principal J. Kackria welcomed the guests and the scholars and spoke on the role of teachers. Mr Justice D. V. Sehgal, vice-president, DAV College Managing Committee, New Delhi, and Master Mohan Lal, Minister of Higher Education, Punjab, were the chief guests. 

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