Saturday, May 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Embezzlement, irregularities
148 sarpanches suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
As many as 148 sarpanches and certain officials of the Rural Development and Panchayats Department, Punjab, have been suspended following their alleged involvement in cases relating to embezzlement, irregularities in development work, etc.

Among the officers suspended are a secretary of the Zila Parishad a block development officer and a panchayat secretary. Cases are to be got registered against the sarpanches concerned for recovering the amount through the Revenue Department authorities.

Confirming the action taken against the sarpanches and the officials, the Minister of State for Rural Development and Panchayats, Mr Sujan Singh, told TNS here today that the department had ordered inquiries against them at various levels before taking the action.

The most significant case pertained to Nadampur village, near Bawanigarh, in Sangrur district. The panchayat to this village had landed property from which it generated an income of Rs 12 lakh annually.

Mr Sujan Singh said certain members of the panchayat brought to his notice irregularities in the spending of the funds on village development works and an inquiry was ordered. Mr Baldev Singh Sidhu, Deputy Director of the department posted at Jalandhar, conducted the inquiry. He found embezzlement to the tune of Rs 22 lakh, Mr Sujan Singh said.

On the basis of the report, action was taken against the sarpanch of Nadampur. The minister said the process was on to recover the embezzled amount. He said the operation of the account of the panchayat was stopped on his orders. However, certain officials, in connivance with the sarpanch, withdrew about Rs 50,000 from the account. When the matter came to his notice, he ordered the suspension of the secretary of the Zila Parishad, a BDO and a panchayat secretary.

When asked what development work was being carried out in Nadampur village. Mr Sujan Singh said that it related to the pavement of streets and other work of a similar nature. The department authorities had been told to write to the Revenue Department for recovering the embezzled amount.

Senior officers had been told to conduct a random check of development works in villages and submit their reports to the state government. The Minister said the objective behind this move was to ensure that the funds meant for development in the rural areas were utilised properly. The officers had also been told to ensure quality in the work.


100 promotions in Police Dept
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
It was a day of rejoicing and celebrations in Punjab police as the state government ordered more than 100 promotions today.

Besides a new Inspector-General (Intelligence), the Police Department will have 101 new deputy superintendents. These promotions of inspectors are temporary, subject to ratification by the Punjab Public Service Commission.

Though the Departmental Promotion Committee had cleared five names for promotion as Inspector-General of Police, only three have been promoted so far. The last and the latest being Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu, at present, Deputy Inspector-General, Ludhiana Range. On elevation, he has been appointed Inspector-General of Police (Intelligence) against a vacant post.

Earlier Mr Rajan Gupta and Mr Paras Moni Das were promoted as inspector-general. Mr Sandhu is due to retire by the end of this month on superannuation. His successor in Ludhiana is yet to be appointed, at present working as Deputy Inspector-General (Intelligence). The fifth officer, Mr Hans Raj Chadha, is on deputation with the Union Government.

Next to him in the list is Mr Sukhdial Singh Bhullar.

The Punjab Government also ordered that Mr Surjit Singh, Assistant Inspector-General, Armament at Chandigarh, and Mr Shiv Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Detective at Moga, to swap places. The promotion of 101 inspectors today, which had been on cards for several months, is being viewed as a run-up for the ensuing assembly elections.

In fact, some of the previous promotions ordered by the government, including those of 60-odd inspectors early this year, are also to be ratified by the Punjab Public Service Commission. After putting a blanket ban on ORP (Own Rank and Pay), the state government was under pressure to end stagnation in the Police Department. On April 18, the test for promotion of constables to the rank of head constable was held after a last-minute cancellation in March this year.

Among the inspectors promoted today are a number of eminent sportsmen and women of the state. They are Mr Piare Lal, Mr Sat Pal, Mr Lakha Singh, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Mr Ramesh Kumar, Mr Sarwan Singh, Mr Brahm Pal, Mr Jagmohan Singh, Mr Ranjit Singh, Mr Ashwani Kumar, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr Hatinder Singh, Mr Ajmel Singh, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Bachan Singh, Mr Mehar Singh, Mr Rajinderpal, M Ranjit Singh, Mr Balwant Rai and Mr Hardev Singh.

Mr Bharpur Singh, Mr Ram Lubhaya, Mr Mukand Singh, Mr Naresh Kumar, Mr Varinder Singh, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Mr Pritpal Singh Thind, Mr Balraj Singh, Mr Gurjit Singh, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Rajinderpal, Mr Lal Singh, Mr Ravinder Kumar, Mr Hardev Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Manjit Inder Singh, Mr Ved Parkah, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Sardul Singh, Mr Joginder Singh, Mr Satbir Singh, Mr Harvinder Singh, Ms Amandeep Kaur, Mr Manjit Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Mr Daljit Singh and Mr Manohar Lal.

Mr Narinder Kumar, Mr Jatinder Singh, Mr Ranbir Singh, Mr Jasdeep Singh, Mr Navjot Singh, Mr Bhulla Singh, Mr Gurmit Singh, Mr Swarandeep Singh, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Gautam Singal, Mr Ram Parkash, Mr Lakhbir Singh, Mr Arun Saini, Mr Barjinder Singh Mr Ashish Kapoor, Mr Jaspal Singh, Mr Manjinder Singh, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Bhupinder Singh, Mr Raminder Singh, Mr Simratpal Singh, Mr Rajeshar Singh, Mr Parampal Singh, Mr Mohan Lal, Mr Manmohan Kumar, Mr Girdawar Ram Paul, Mr Jatinder Singh, Mr Jaswinder Singh, Mr Garib Dass, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Sullar Ram, Mr ReshamSingh, Mr Banarsi Dass, Mr Bachan Singh, Mr Zora Singh, Mr Gurmit Ram, Mr Naranjan Sing, Mr Gurmukh Singh and Mr Hardip Singh.

Mr Karnal Singh, Ms Baldev Kaur, Mr Ram Nath, Mr Sewa Singh, Mr Chand Ram, Mr Bahadur Singh, Mr Rajinder Singh, Mr Harbans Singh, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, Mr Ajaib Singh and Mr Pritam Singh.


Khalsa complex: first phase opens in Dec
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, May 18
The first phase of the prestigious Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib will be thrown open to the public on December 1.

It is learnt that part “A” of the complex comprising a library building, an exhibition hall and an auditorium will be completed by September. A substantial part of the remaining structures is also expected to be completed by September.

There will be a multimedia presentation in complex “A” to give visitors a glimpse of the exhibition in the museum, which will be completed later. The water feature in the complex will also be made functional for the inaugural show and the amphitheatre will be expanded to accommodate a larger audience for the function.

The complex is being executed by the Anandpur Sahib Foundation (ASF). The work, which started in February 2000, is expected to be completed in the next two years. The construction work on the complex, which has been entrusted to Larsen and Toubro, is being executed under the supervision of the complex’s principal architect, Moshe Safdie.

The exhibit design part of the complex has been entrusted to the National Institute of Design (NID), Hyderabad, which had made a preliminary presentation in March this year. It is learnt that the NID will give the final presentation on June 22 before ASF representatives.

The NID has proposed a layered communication strategy, primarily at three levels: the first overview level is experiential, appealing to the widest range of visitors; the second will permit the more enquiring mind to delve into contextual details; and the third will facilitate those that seek a greater explanatory depth and wider perspective.

Meanwhile, sources in the Punjab Government say that the executive committee of the ASF is making all-out efforts to mobilise donations for the complex. During the past about one month, the ASF has sent around 10,000 letters in this connection to organisations and individuals, both in the country and abroad. Confirming this, Mr R.K. Verma, executive officer of the ASF said: ‘‘Besides mobilising donations, the idea is to educate and inform people about the historical importance of the concept’’. These letters will be followed by visits of high-level delegations to various parts of the world under the fund raising campaign.

Sources in the ASF said that till date the foundation had received only about Rs 8 lakh as donation from Indians and NRIs. The ASF had reportedly requested the Central Government for Rs 50 crore for the project. The Centre had sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the purpose. According to the sources, out Rs 45 crore which was given to the ASF, Rs 30 crore had been spent on construction work and Rs 10 crore on the tercentenary celebrations in 1999.

It is also learnt that at a recent meeting of the executive committee of the ASF, the Punjab Finance Minister had promised Rs 30 crore for the complex. Fifty per cent of the amount was to be given in May and the rest by September-end.


Dosanjh’s village to send solace letter
Tribune News Service

Dosanjh Kalan, May 18
To boost the morale of their “son of the soil” Ujjal Dosanjh, who rose to the position of the premier of the British Columbia but now has been defeated in the elections to the legislature of the state, residents of his native village have decided to write him a letter.

Mr Ujjal Dosanjh had made people of his native village proud by acquiring the highest position in his state and what had elated him was that his success on an alien land had brought a lot of development to this village when he had come here along with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The humiliating defeat for Mr Dosanjh in the elections has stunned residents. “Actually, Ujjal was himself feeling that he had not worked to the satisfaction of his electorate and was non-committal about the outcome of the elections when villagers had asked him about it during his much publicised Punjab tour,” said Mr Gurdial Singh, the village sarpanch.

“But we don’t want him to feel down and out, so we have decided to write him a letter in which he would urge him to continue working for the people and do everything possible for them so that he is able to achieve victory in the next elections,” said Mr Gurdial Singh.

Similarly, Surinder Singh, another resident said writing a letter was the best thing to convey their feelings. “I think we must do it and share his grief at this moment, particularly when we had shared the glory achieved by him. He has written the name of our village in golden letters,” he said. Same were the feelings of Ujjal’s old school mate Daljit Singh, who is now president of the Dosanjh Kalan Cooperative Society and Harbhagwan Singh, a retired employee of the Bhakra Beas Management Board. They fondly remembered their good old days which they spent with Ujjal.

This sad development apart villagers are happy that the village had seen some development after the visit of Mr Dosanjh. The village has received grants of more than Rs 10 lakh and the amount has been utilised on the construction of drainage system, streets, on a sports club and repair of the pond and another amount of Rs 4 lakh which had been given by Phillaur MP Santosh Chaudhary for the construction of a community hall in the village. But villagers feel that now their village will no more be a VIP village after the defeat of Mr Dosanjh in the elections.

The entire school staff, where he had spent his childhood days including the vice Principal Harbhajan Singh Virk, were upset over the defeat of Mr Dosanjh and his National Democratic Party.” We thought, he will come again as a premier,” was the spontaneous reaction of most of villagers.


Power: Punjab to oppose HP demand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Punjab will oppose the demand of Himachal Pradesh for a higher share in hydro-power generated in the BBMB projects at the meeting of the Chief Secretaries of the three states, including Haryana, scheduled at Shimla on Sunday.

Sources told TNS that there was no justification in Himachal Pradesh’s claim to 7.19 per cent share against 2.5 per cent at present. It has been quoting the Punjab State Reorganisation Act, 1966, in support of its contention.

A river water and territorial disputes expert, Mr P. S. Kumedan, says that there is no provision in the said Act that Himachal is to get 7.19 per cent share. The relevant Section 78 (1) says that the successor states shall sort out the issue of sharing assets and liabilities in respect of Bhakra and Beas projects by consultation among themselves as also the Centre. This was done amicably in April, 1967, wherein, Himachal Pradesh agreed to a share of 2.5 per cent. For other issues, the same was to be done on a ‘’population ratio’’ basis.

Himachal Pradesh also demanded payment of arrears for being denied 7.19 per cent share of power and slapped a whopping bill of Rs 2,500 crore on Punjab. The amount has now further risen. Though the case is in the Supreme Court, Himachal Pradesh is willing for an ‘’out-of-court settlement’’, sources added.

The letter from the Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary mentions only two agenda items: pending issues regarding BBMB projects and initiation of new projects on the basis of regional cooperation.

Insofar as the second item is concerned, it is a foregone conclusion that though potential exists in Himachal for hydro-power projects, but financial constraints come in the way of any individual state taking up the projects. Therefore, need was to evolve a consensus to pool the resources and go in for joint venture projects that would also attract outside finance, like from the Power Finance Corporation.

Regarding the first item, Punjab will not accept the demand for either 7.19 per cent share or 12 per cent ‘’free’’ power from the hydro-projects by way of ‘’royalty’’. The BBMB projects are not ‘’central projects’’ but state-partnership projects, hence, the ‘’royalty’’ clause was inoperable in this case.

Himachal Pradesh has taken a strident stand on some other issues as well. For instance, it issued a notification in 1991, involving the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, declaring that hydro-power projects are a ‘’polluting industry’’. Consequently, it slapped a penalty on the user states, including the BBMB and the National Hydro-power Corporation ( NHPC). While the BBMB was required to pay a penalty cess of Rs 285 crore per annum, the Punjab State Electricity Board was asked to pay annually Rs 2.5 crore and the NHPC Rs 87 crore per year. 


Red alert in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The police has been put on red alert in the city following the recent spate in crime incidents of crime, especially involving free use of arms. Special nakas have been set up at different points in the city. Besides, extensive patrolling is being done to ward off any untoward incident.

While the SSP was unavailable for comments, a number of SHOs on duty at the different nakas said as per his orders red alert was being observed from today in the city, especially after two shootout incidents that took place in the city, yesterday. Other senior officers were also not available for comments as they were in the field and were not accessible on their mobile phones.

The police has been specifically told to be on maximum alert in the evening when most of the recent incidents of crime are reported to have taken place. Only last night, two armed men tried to rob a car driver and also snatch his car near Ghumar Mandi. Interestingly, the police was on its toes yesterday also. The Home Secretary, Mr Bikramjit Singh, and the DGP, Mr Sarbjit Singh, were in the city last evening to meet public representatives to take feedback about the law and order situation in the city.

Another incident had taken place in the morning when two unidentified armed persons shot at an old man at Tagore Nagar. The old man with a gunshot injury on his right thigh is recuperating at a city hospital while the police is trying to work out the motive.

On Wednesday five armed persons had attacked a city resident near his house in the sadar police station area and left him badly injured. The same day two armed persons robbed a shopkeeper of Rs 30,000 in Hargobind Nagar.


Jatha leaves for Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee, flagged off a Sikh jatha to Pakistan today. The jatha comprising 624 members of the SGPC and 350 from the Paramjit Singh Sarna group and Harpal Singh Bhullar group of Bhai Mardana Yaadgar Society left India for observance of the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev ji at Dera Sahib, Lahore.

The jatha is headed by Dr Jang Bhadur Singh Rai and the chief organiser, Mr Raghbir Singh Rajasansi.

Meanwhile, 22 applications of devotees were rejected on the eve of their departure, informed Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan. Significantly, the SGPC has refused to take Indian currency from devotees this time for exchange money in Pakistans rupees. The jatha members who had gone to Pakistan last month had complained of the SGPC not providing them with Pak currency even two days after reaching Pakistan when each person had paid Rs 9500 prior to boarding the Samjhauta Express to Pakistan.


Sukhbir ‘pleasing’ SCs
Tribune News Service

Lambi (Muktsar), May 18
Toeing the line of his father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has started making inroads into the backward and Scheduled Caste sections by holding small “sangat darshan” programmes in the localities inhabited by them in this assembly segment.

Meanwhile, Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, member, zila parishad, and senior Youth Akali Dal leader, has launched a campaign to uplift the Scheduled Caste and backward class people in the Rampuraphul Assembly segment by facilitating them to get education.

Mr Kangar, a close confident of Mr Sukhbir Badal, has been distributing notebooks in rural schools to students belonging to Scheduled Castes and backward classes. The covers of the notebooks carry the photo of Mr Sukhbir Badal.

Mr Sukhbir Badal while talking to TNS said while interacting with people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, especially the youths, he asked them about their problems and solve them on the spot. He added that to make them more confident and to develop their personalities, mini clubs had been set up in the villages falling in this segment.

He pointed out that sports kits were being given to such youths so that they could use their talent in that field also. He added that youths were also being educated against the use of drugs.

To promote the sportsmanship among youths, village level competitions were being held. Rural sports mela in which sarpanches and panchayat members used to participate were also being held at Badal village every year.

Mr Kangar said on the directives of Mr Badal, sewing machines were being given to widows of Scheduled Castes and those women who belonged to the poor section of the society. He added that youths had planned to hold a mini rural Olympics in Mehraj village in Bathinda district, which was one of the biggest villages in the country. 


RS seat: SAD PAC to meet on May 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has called a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party on May 22 to select the party’s candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat which fell vacant recently following the election of Mr Raj Mohinder Singh Majitha to the state Assembly.

The election is scheduled to be held on June 11. Though, as usual, Mr Badal will be authorised by the PAC to select the candidate, it will not be an easy task for him. As the seat has been vacated by a leader who belongs to the Majha region, there will be a lot of pressure on Mr Badal to select a candidate from that region. In fact, both the Majha and Doaba regions remain unrepresented in the Rajya Sabha.

When Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard vacated the Rajya Sabha seat a few months ago, Mr Badal selected his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, to fill that slot. At present, all six members of the Rajya Sabha from the state hail from the Malwa region. 


Kanwaljit misused funds: Parneet Kaur
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir (Patiala), May 18
The Punjab Government has been sidelining the Congress MPs while taking important decisions during the past four-and-a-half years, alleged Ms Parneet Kaur, MP from Patiala, here today.

Virtually launching the election campaign of the Congress for the ensuing Punjab Assembly poll at a meeting of party workers of the Banur constituency, she alleged that the SAD-BJP government had failed on every front and corruption had touched new heights.

She also alleged that Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning Minister, had in connivance with government officials misutilised the funds released under the MPLAD Scheme. ‘‘I will bring the matter to the notice of the Vidhan Sabha speaker’’, she added. Ms Parneet Kaur, wife of Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, while addressing another meeting at Bijanpur village, near Dera Bassi, said the Punjab Government was misleading the public by organising sangat darshan programme.

Hundreds of party workers from the constituency participated in the meeting and analysed the development works taken up during the past over four-and-a-half years.

Interestingly, the history of organising two separate meetings by two claimants of the party ticket was repeated once again. Two claimants — Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon and Mr Ravinder Singh Sohi — today organised meetings at Chhat Bir village and Bijanpur village, respectively.

When asked if there was any rift between the two claimants on the ticket issue, Ms Parneet Kaur said the issue would be decided by the party high command. 


Cong leader admits differences
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 18
Admitting that there are differences among the leaders of the Sangrur District Congress Committee, Mr Arvind Khanna, Treasurer of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), here today said there was a dire need to sort out these differences though it could not mar the prospects of the party in the ensuing Assembly elections.

Mr Khanna, who is also the chairman of the local Umeed Khanna Foundation, talking to mediapersons said he was ready to resign from the post of treasurer of the PPCC if the party high command felt that due to his social work through the Foundation the party has suffered in the district.

In case, the party did not give him ticket for Sangrur Assembly constituency, he would not contest as an independent candidate, he added.

He also said there were no chances of change in the leadership of the PPCC.


CPI meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
A meeting of the executive of the Punjab unit of the CPI will be held on May 21 to plan the party’s strategy to highlight the economic and political crises in the state, according to Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the state unit.


Jaundice cases on the rise
SMO, civil hospital staff also in grip
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Malout, May 18
Even as the local civil hospital authorities have been claiming that cases of jaundice have been on the wane patients suffering from the disease have been reporting in various hospitals dotting the city.

Official sources said so far up to May 18 , 21 patients suffering from jaundice had reported in the local civil hospital. One of these patients was found hepatitis-B positive.

Official figures revealed that in March 42 patients reported in the civil hospital to get treatment for jaundice. The number of such patients went up to 48 in April. Last month, one of the patients was found hepatitis-B positive also.

Sources said the number of jaundice patients who had taken treatment from the private hospitals in the city and nearby towns was even more. The figures were not available with the local civil hospital authorities.

Dr Balkar Singh when contacted said he was feeling so weak that he was finding it difficult to perform any surgery in the hospital for the past many weeks.

He pointed out that to contain the spread of jaundice in the town and surrounding areas about 10 medical education camps had been organised by the district health authorities. Apart from this, about 60,000 chlorine tablets had been distributed to the residents.

He pointed out that most of the patients of jaundice were coming from Ravi Dass Nagar, ward numbers 10, 15 and 18 which were situated far away from the water tank.

He said the public health authorities had been carrying out the exercise to plug any leakage in the water supply pipes to avoid mixing of sewage with it. The people had been advised to use only boiled water.

To stop the spread of jaundice, the local civil authorities also imposed a ban on the sale of ice candies last month. The ban was observed in breach by the residents despite the fact that 11 samples out of the total 14 water samples taken by the district health authorities failed to meet the required specification. 


Harike: dry spell hits water quality
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The quality of water in the Harike wetland has deteriorated to Class “D” mainly because of a continuous dry spell and exceptionally low flow in the Sutlej. This was stated at a meeting held here on Wednesday on conservation and management of the Harike wetland so as to improve the habitat and conserve this vital and fragile ecosystem. Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Science, Technology and Environment, Punjab, presided over the meeting.

The meeting was convened after a note by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan was received by the Punjab Chief Minister on the management of the wetland.

Various issues addressed by the Rajasthan Chief Minister were investigated and discussions held with the implementing agencies like the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Irrigation, Fisheries, the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.

The major issues discussed at the meeting related to pollution at Harike vis-a-vis fisheries and strategies for the improvement of the water quality and continuation of the conservation activities, particularly to control water hyacinth, on the pattern adopted by the Army.

It was stated that there was hardly any dilution of effluents being discharged into the Sutlej, especially in Ludhiana.

The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology undertook a survey by collecting samples of water last week which revealed that the water entering the Rajasthan feeder canal, the Ferozepore feeder canal, the Gang canal and the Bikaner canal fell in the ‘B’ category, which was fit for drinking after conventional treatment.

Ms Gurbinder Chahal, Principal Secretary, Forests, said that her department would take effective steps to keep Harike clean. She requested the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board to implement the project on cleaning the Sutlej on schedule.


MCs oppose octroi abolition
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
The presidents of Municipal Councils of towns and cities of Bathinda, Muktsar and Mansa districts said that the octroi should not be abolished. They were having a meeting with the Chairman and one member of Second Finance Commission, Punjab, here yesterday.

Mr B.V. Mahajan, Chairman and Mr S.P. Karkara, member of the commission were in the city to know the views of presidents of the MCs, block development officers, sarpanches etc. regarding the financial condition of the state and measures to improve it.

The presidents of the civic bodies were unanimous on the income earned from the octroi as one of the major sources of income. They said that if it was abolished the civic bodies would face shortage of funds and development work in towns and cities would come to a standstill.

They were of the opinion that privatisation of the octroi did not create any problem for them. They said that they were satisfied with the system. Most of them said that there could be a few persons that had faced problems with the private contractors but by and large people were satisfied with the system.

Some of the presidents said that if the government wanted that octroi collection should be done by the Municipal Council employees the number of posts in the civic body should be increased. They said that the government should change its policy of abolishing the posts that had fallen vacant after the retirement of employees or due to some other reason.


Encroachments spring up again
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 18
Encroachments which were removed in a joint action led by the Drainage Department and supported by the Municipal Corporation and the district administration four days back, are again taking shape on both sides of the ‘ganda nala’ in the Tafazalpura area making the entire exercise pointless.

A visit to the Tafazalpur area saw the encroachers again making small settlements which had been demolished earlier. Talking to the encroachers, who are mostly rag pickers, it was revealed that they had started work on making their settlements again following a wave of sympathy in their favour following the death of a woman resident of the area whom officials claim died of natural causes.

An encroacher, whose settlement consisting of a low rectangle of bricks and a tarpaulin which had been demolished on Tuesday last, said none of the people of the area had shifted elsewhere. ‘’ We have been camping on the site under open skies but have now decided to re-establish our settlements’’, he added.

The latest move of the residents is likely to put the district administration in a quandary. The administration is already in the midst of a jumble as it has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the entire demolition exercise even though action was taken in the case after repeated complaints of residents of Tafazalpura against the encroachments and demands that they should be removed.

The Municipal Corporation, which had provided help to the Drainage Department by providing manpower and labour , had also washed its hands over the entire issue with corporation Commissioner K.S. Kang saying the Corporation did not have any role to play in the exercise and had only provided needed help. Mr Kang has also said that there is no need of a magisterial inquiry in the case as the encroachments existed on the ground.

The Superintendent Engineer, Drainage, when contacted today said as the land belonged to the Drainage Department and there had been repeated complaints by resident of the area in the weekly sangat darshan programme held by the district administration that they should be removed, action had been taken in the matter jointly by the Drainage department, the Municipal Corporation and the district administration. SDO S.P. Jindal said the drive was conducted on May 15. He said the following day itself the department had wired off the area but the same night the residents removed the wires and wrested control over the area. He said the department was in the process of informing the administration about this new development.

The exercise led by the Drainage department had demolished nearly all the encroachments, including a concrete structure built in the area. A woman, identified as Rajju amma, had died allegedly due to a head injury which officials claimed had been sustained earlier. Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir has, however, ordered a magisterial inquiry into the case which will be conducted by Additional Deputy Commissioner Gagandeep Singh. 


BKU dharna in front of police station
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 18
A large number of activists of the BKU (Ekta) today held a dharna in front of the Ballianwali police station, in this district for pressing the authorities concerned to register a case against a commission agent of Maur Mandi, Mr Sham Lal, who has purchased allegedly a piece of land of farmer Maggar Singh of Jhundeke village by keeping him in the dark. The activities of the BKU (Ekta), who have been holding the dharna in front of the police station, were also demanding that a case registered against Maggar Singh and his kin by the police be withdrawn.

Police sources said that a case against Maggar Singh, his brother and father Bhajan Singh and Gurdev Singh, respectively, and five other unknown persons was registered at the Ballianwali police station yesterday when these people allegedly ploughed the field owned by Mr Sham Lal. The police registered a case under Sections 440, 427, 504, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

Police sources added that Maggar Singh sold off a piece of land measuring 11 kanals and 7 marlas to Mr Sham Lal in lieu of setting off his debt. After some time, Maggar Singh started raising objection that he had been cheated as fertile piece of land was got transferred in his (Mr Sham Lal) name instead of not so fertile piece of land which he was willing to sell off.

However, Mr Balwinder Singh Jethuke, general secretary, BKU (Ekta) Block Rampura Phul, in a press note issued here today threatened that if the case against Mr Sham Lal was not registered and the case registered against Maggar Singh and others not withdrawn, they would start gherao of the police station from tomorrow. He added that activists of the BKU (Ekta) would resist any move by Mr Sham Lal to grab the land of Maggar Singh. He added that activities of Mr Sham Lal had been creating tensions in the village.


Bishop demands author’s arrest
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 18
The Amritsar diocese has sought immediate arrest of Satnam Singh advocate (73), a retired district language officer, for using highly objectionable language against Jesus Christ, Sikh leaders and the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee in his book, “Satguru Nanak Dev ji”, a complete life history of the first Sikh Guru.

Bishop Pardip Kumar Samantroy, Bishop of Amritsar, Mr Daniel B. Das, coordinator, socio-economic development programme, Ms Vidhu Priya Chakravarti, Rev Ayub Daniel, Finance Secretary, while announcing a deadline of 15 days for the arrest of the author, said if the administration failed to take any action the Christians would be forced to resort to direct action, including protest dharnas.

The Bishop would also meet Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, on his return from abroad as the author had also used highly objectionable language against leaders of the SGPC. The Bishop said though objectionable material had been written by unscrupulous persons against Christianity since long, but the material used in the recent book could not be tolerated by the community.

Though the author of the book, Mr Satnam Singh Advocate, offered unconditional apology yet he said he could prove from the historical point of view whatever he had written. He said he had already deleted the objectionable material from the new edition which would be released in the next few days.


Power supply scheme ‘discriminatory’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
The 24-hour uninterrupted power supply scheme has failed to take off due to several flaws.

The major bottleneck in the scheme for villages is the political pressure. Ministers and influential persons “force” the PSEB to give priority to the villages of their choice even if the villages did not fulfil the minimum condition laid down by the board.

PSEB employees, under pressure do everything in a hurry which later creates problems in the supply of power to the villages. There are a number of instances where the officials have had to use a generator for producing power when any minister came to inaugurate the 24-hour uninterrupted power supply scheme. The state government had decided that a new three-phase supply line would be installed from the grid to the villages. If that had happened, not only houses, but also small-scale industries like flour, oil and saw mills would have benefited from the scheme. But the new scheme of the government is that no separate line should be installed. Instead, a single wire should be added to the already existing supply line. This would result in a single-phase supply of power.

The other change is that the amount to be deposited as security has also been increased. Earlier, the security was Rs 10,000 per village, but now the security would be worked out on the population of the village. For the villages which have a population below 1,000, the security would be Rs 10,000 and those which have a population between 1,000 and 3,000, it will be Rs 25,000 for those with a population of more than 3,000 it will be Rs 50,000.

The problem is even after the security had been deposited, they had to wait for several years for the power supply. Some villagers alleged that the constituency of a Cabinet ministers had “availed” the facility without depositing any money with the department. As many as 14 villages of the Goniana area of Bathinda district are waiting for power although they have deposited the required money and fulfilled the conditions. Among these, seven villages had deposited the security in 1997. The condition in other areas is not better, except the constituency of the said minister.

A senior official of the PSEB said the delay in the power supply could be due to the non-availability of the necessary electrical goods with the department. He claimed the supply was given as per the seniority list and without any political pressure. The installation of a new supply line needed a lot of time, therefore, the new scheme was formed under which only single-phase supply would be given, he said, adding that small industries would not benefit from the scheme.


Mystery shrouds death of two kids
Tribune News Service

Goraya (Jalandhar), May 18
When his two smiling grandchildren came to have juice and ice-cream at his juice shop last evening, aged Sony Ram would never have thought that he won’t see them hopping around again next morning. But unfortunately, this happened as both of them were in their no more by this morning.

Stunned residents of the city and the police authorities are wondering as to what might have led to the death of two minor children. Residents of the Guru Nanakpura locality here and the parents of the two are so shocked that they are hardly able to speak or narrate the sequence of events.

Trying to piece together the events, Sony Ram said after having cane juice and ice-cream, Sushil (12) and his sister Jyoti (10) at his shop in the evening, both of them had their food alongwith the family with their family and went to bed last night. In the morning, Rakesh Kumar, the father of the children rushed to him saying that he had observed some swelling near the penis of Sushil and expressed apprehension that it might be due to some insect bite and went to a local doctor, who referred him to another doctor. But the condition of the unconscious Sushil kept deteriorating. But this was not enough for a worried family as they saw Balbir Chand, the uncle of the children, running towards the clinic with Jyoti in his lap and informed that she was almost unconscious and was in a serious condition and subsequently both of children were referred to a Phagwara hospital, where they breathed their last.


BSF kills Pak national
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 18
The Border Security Force foiled an attempt by two Pakistan nationals to intrude into the Indian territory thereby killing one of them on the spot near Mavo ke checkpost along the Indo-Pak border.

According to an information available here, the BSF troops were on their routine night patrol when they spotted two persons trying to sneak into the Indian territory under the cover of darkness. The BSF jawans signalled them to stop and gave a warning which they totally ignored and opened fire. The BSF jawans retaliated and killed one of them on the spot whereas the other managed to escape into the Pakistan territory.

The slain intruder has been identified as Dil Mohammed (45), a resident of Damma Do village in Kasur district of Pakistan. 


Phone connection of minister’s son cut
Our Correspondent

Moga, May 18
The telephone connection of a son of Punjab Agriculture Minister Gurdev Singh Badal has been disconnected by the Telecommunication Department, according to a report received here today. It is learnt that telephone connection of Charna Singh, son of the minister who is residing at Jagraon 30 km from here, has been disconnected as he has failed to make the payment of his bill amounting to Rs 1,63,295.

A spokesman for the Telecommunication Department said here today the connection would be given when the outstanding payment would be made by the defaulter.


Villages cut off from DD
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 18
Residents of many border villages of this subdivision are forced to watch PTV programmes as weak transponder of the relay centre near Shimla Park here fail to beam Doordarshan and Jalandhar Doordarshan programmes.

Mr P.K. Tuli, Assistant Engineer, of the Doordarshan Relay Centre here admitted that the relay tower was not able to reach out to some villages.

These include villages of Dhar subdivision and its surrounding areas, including Dugsal, Dhohal, Rajmal, Bari, Bohan, Bhatoli, Ramgarh, Bhabhour, Dharampur Devi of Talwara township and other far-flung villages bordering Himachal Pradesh.

Residents feel cut off from the Punjab heartland. They have made numerous requests to the Jalandhar Doordarshan authorities in this connection, but to no avail.

According to sources, the ministry had recommended the construction of a relay tower at Hawa Mehal, a picnic spot near Talwara, to cover the hilly areas. Doordarshan was also keen to acquire the land but till today no proposals had been finalised. 


Tohra medically examined
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 18
The SHSAD president and former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, today underwent medical examination at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital here for suspected “carotid artery” problem.

“Preliminary examination for the suspected narrowing of carotid artery was carried out today,” the neurosurgeon, Dr Anil Tarapurkar, who examined the senior Akali leader, told The Tribune.

He said: “The test results will be available next week.”


Ranjit dam water outflow increases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
More water and power have been made available from the Ranjit Sagar Dam as the outflow of water has been increased to 6000 cusecs while 200 mega watt of power was being generated, the dam authorities said yesterday.

The level at the dam yesterday was 499 elevation metres above sea level. During this month alone 5.5 crore units power have been produced. Requirements of the Upper Bari Doab Canal as well as Ferozepore and Muktsar areas were being met from the reservoir.

Due to weak monsoon, almost no winter rain and very reduced snowfall in the catchment areas had forced the dam authorities conserve water in the reservoir.


Panel to devise ways to reduce tariff soon
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 18
The state BJP President, Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, has said here that a committee would soon be formed to devise ways and means to reduce power tariff for domestic, commercial and small scale industries consumers.

Talking to newspersons at his residence yesterday, he said though the BJP and the SAD had assured the abolition of octroi during the last Assembly elections yet it was impossible to implement the same because of the bad financial position of the local bodies. However, there would be no auction of octroi in any town, he assured. He said the BJP was also keen to rationalise the increase in water, sewerage charges and house tax. The state government, on the initiative by the BJP, had already given relief in sales tax on a number of items, he said.


Writers vow to oppose revival of militancy
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 18
Punjabi writers have pledged to launch a movement against moves of reviving militancy, from tomorrow to mark the 12th death anniversary of Dr Ravinder Ravi, noted Punjabi critic gunned down by terrorists on May 19, 1989.

Assassination of Dr Ravi was considered the most sensational one as militants did videography of the murder and fled in broad-day light.

Dr Harbhajan Singh Bhatia, a noted Punjabi critic and senior reader in Guru Nanak Dev University, who has edited the book, “Dr Ravi’s poetics of scholarship” said that he (Dr Ravi) was one of the few daring persons who had launched movement against terrorism in those days.


154 hospitals to be constructed in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 18
As many as 154 new hospitals will be constructed in the state at an expenditure of Rs 422 crore under the health system project.

About 100 of these hospitals are already ready, while the others will be built by March next year.

The hospitals will comprise latest medical gadgets and will have modern operation theaters.

This was stated by Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, today while laying the foundation stone of the operation theatre and toilet block in the gynaecological ward of the Civil Hospital, Nabha, built at a cost of Rs 78 lakh.

Dr Chawla said that the operation theatre would comprise of the latest ECG, X-ray machinery and other medical equipment bought at a cost of Rs 50 lakh.

He emphasised that the services of medical practitioners must be availed with all the required technical equipment so that they do not come across any problem while treating the patients.

Dr Chawla said that each district of Punjab would comprise at least two dispensaries so as to provide efficiency of work to the people living in slum areas.

He asserted that nine health projects are being built in Patiala district with an expenditure of Rs 13 crores.

The stress was laid on providing better facilities of treatment and availability of medicines at all times in government hospitals so that the patients do not suffer.

Dr Chawla said that special programmes like distribution of free medicines by various social organisations have been introduced for the complete evacuation of polio and TB.

He said that there are about three lakh TB patients in Punjab with an annual increment of about 40,000.

Speaking on the occasion, Raja Narinder Singh, Public Health and Urban Aviation Minister, Punjab, said that the various development activities taking place in the state will prove to be a boon for the people.

The Circular road has been laid at a cost of Rs 1.42 crore in Nabha and another amount of Rs 64 lakh will be spent for the laying of the sewerage system.


DM orders removal of ramp
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
Mr Jaspal Singh, District Magistrate, has ordered the removal of an encroachment from the sub-street number 1 of Powerhouse Road of the city. Mr Jaspal Singh passed order under Section 133 of the Cr PC on the complaint lodged by Mr Lakshmi Narayan Goel, advocate and resident of the same locality.

In his complaint, Mr Goel alleged Mr Ajay Singh Sandhu and his son Mantu had made an encroachment by constructing a ramp at the backside of his house across the road.

For the past six months, Mr Goel had been running from pillar to post to get the encroachment removed from the street which had deprived other people from using the street in a normal manner. Mr Goel had written to various authorities about this encroachment but without any success. A few months back he wrote an application to the Director, Local Bodies, Punjab Government, at Chandigarh, in which he alleged his neighbour and his son, who were transporters by profession and owned buses and trucks, had been using the street as a parking lot for their heavy vehicles.

They had even got constructed a pucca ramp in the street to prevent rainwater from entering their house and to take the vehicles straight into the house, Mr Goel further alleged. He said he had been residing in this house on Powerhouse Road for the past 40 years and two gates of his house opened in the backside street encroached by his neighbour. After the construction of the ramp by his neighbours these two gates could not be opened. The Sandhu family, which was residing here for the past seven years, had completely encroached the street by October 2000.

Mr Goel said in the application that when on his complaint the local police authorities tried to solve the problem a relative of Mr Sandhu, who was an official assured the police authorities the encroachment would be removed within one week but nothing had been done regarding that.

When Mr Sandhu was contacted by The Tribune correspondent he said he had constructed the ramp for the protection of his house as two years back rainwater had entered his house and damaged household goods worth Rs 6 lakh. One of the walls of the house also fell down because of rainy water which remained inside the house for seven days.

Mr Sandhu further said that Mr Goel was making an issue of it without any matter. Moreover no gate of his house opened in this sub-street.


1 killed, 2 hurt in car-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 18
One person was killed while two others were injured in a head-on collision between a car and truck near Hamira village on the GT road yesterday.

The dead person had been identified as Sohan Singh of Shokar village in Nawanshahr district. The injured person — Manjit Kaur, daughter of the deceased, and the car driver Surinder Singh — have been admitted to a hospital at Jalandhar where their condition is stated to be serious. According to the police, the deceased and his daughter were going to Amritsar airport to receive their relative when the mishap occurred. The truck driver escaped. A case has been registered against him and the truck impounded. The body of Sohan Singh has been handed over to his relatives after a post-mortem. 


Worker thrashed to death by employer
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 18
A migrant labour was allegedly beaten to death by his employer at the local Model House locality this evening.

Agitated over the death of their colleague, workers of the factory ‘gheraoed’ the industrial unit and held a dharna. They demanded the arrest of the employer. According to the police, the owner of the factory thrashed Gulab Singh for an error that caused damage to some machine parts this evening.

Gulab Singh was rushed to a private hospital where he succumbed to his injuries at 7 p.m.

On hearing the news of his death, the workers of the factory assembled in front of the factory and raised slogans against the owner. Police officials reached the site and assured the agitating workers that owner of the factory, would be arrested soon.


Child held hostage by in-laws
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
In laws of Dolly Bindra, alias Kajal Arora, first turned her out of her house after mistreating her and later held her nine-month-old child Riship hostage to press upon her not to file a case against them.

Dolly, daughter of Pradip Kumar Bindra, was married to Sunil Arora here on August 29, 1999. She was given Rs 10 lakh worth of dowry, Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader said in a press note. Her laws started abusing her for more dowry a few months after the marriage. Mr Dang said that Dolly alleged that her signature was taken on some blank papers after a complaint at the civil lines police station elicited no response.

Mr Dang made a representation to the SSP and an FIR was registered at the civil lines police station under Section 420, 402, 498-A 506 and 34, IPC. However, no arrests of the four accused were made nor was the child recovered by the police,” Mr Dang said.

Mr Dang says he tried to contact the SSP, but every time he was on VIP duty. Later when the SHO concerned was contacted by Mr Dang the SHO told him that the child was not being accepted by the mother or her parents. Raids on the possible hide-outs of the in-laws were also conducted. Three of the four accused in the case have been refused bail by the sessions court yet all these persons and the child remain untraceable.


Jeweller getting threat calls
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 18
A Nurmahal-based renowned jeweller family has been living under shadow of terror facing the demand of a huge ransom amounting to Rs 2.5 crore from a Delhi based “gang”. It has threatened that if the demand was not met their house will be blown up.

Interestingly, while the police authorities are a confused over the issue, the “gang” has been able to terrorise the family be exploding a bomb-like thing in front of their house after telling them in advance that they were going to show them the “trailer” of their “horror film” in case the family failed to provide the money.

According to Mr Subhash, a son of Chamal Lal, the jeweller, the family was getting threats since 2.30 p.m. on May 2 when somebody rang up and said,” You have to shell out Rs 2.5 crore.” The second phone came from Jalandhar when some one told Subhash that he was speaking from the family’s Jalandhar “kothi” and he should be ready to hand over the amount or to face the consequences. The family then offered to hand over their “kothi” in Jalandhar to the ransom seekers, who, according to the phones tapped by the Telecom Department, continued making calls from Rajasthan and Delhi.

Then the family received another call on May 15 which informed them that the amount has been reduced to half. Another phone call followed next day at the pre-disclosed time, and since the family had informed the Nurmahal police, the SHO, Nurmahal, cordoned off the area. After five minutes of the call, a deafening blast took place in front of the house, while the ransom seekers abused the policemen present in the family’s house over the phone. The tapping of the call showed it to have been made from a PCO in Nizamudin area of Delhi. Subhash said the police authorities have been informed but the ransom seekers are still at large, tormenting the family. The Nurmahal SHO said it could be the handiwork of some mischievous elements. 


Youth beaten up, commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 18
An alleged paramour of a married woman was brutally beaten up and reportedly forced to commit suicide in nearby Kikkarkhera village.

According to a report lodged by Ms Pammi, daughter of Mohinder a resident of Kikkarkhera village, 7 km from here, seven persons, including a woman, beat up her brother Veeru yesterday. When he tried to escape and took shelter in a room at his residence, the suspects chased him and again started beating him up brutally. When Veeru became little unconscious, he was locked inside a room. Later when the room was opened, the body of the youth was found hanging from the roof. The suspects alleged that the victim was trying to rape a female member of their family but the complainant said they suspected that Veeru was having illicit relations with that woman.

The body was handed over to the family after conducting a post-mortem examination at the local civil hospital today. The police has registered a case under Sections 306, 342, 452, 323, 148, IPC, against Nota Ram, Banwari Lal, Makhnia (all sons of Isher Ram), Mohindro daughter of Isher Ram, Kartar, son of Baghar, Raja and Guru sons of Kartar Raja has alleged that Veeru had forced his entry into his residence in his absence and tried to rape his wife.


PTU affiliation for 25 institutes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 18
Punjab Technical University has granted affiliation to 25 more private institutes for running of the master of computer application course in different cities of Punjab.

The admissions to the course in these colleges will start in August after the holding of an entrance test by the university authorities.

There are only two PTU-affiliated institutes in the state which are conducting the MCA course, in addition to MBA course, recognised by the university. But since there were large number of aspirants for the masters’ degree in computer education and those who could not secure admission to colleges in Punjab had to seek admission in other states, the university authorities have decided to grant affiliation to the private colleges in the state for running of the MCA course.

Earlier, the university has tested the waters by granting affiliation to various computer companies for running of short duration computer courses. “The objective behind the decision is to help such students and to create an ambience of information technology in the state, which is yet to keep pace with the other states as far as IT education is concerned”, said Dr H.S. Gurm, the Vice-Chancellor of the university. “Another factor behind this move is that we felt that computer education facilities were available in big cities and small townships were bereft of the same”, said Dr Gurm. Besides, imparting computer education, the affiliation will also help the PTU in garnering resources for its smooth functioning. The colleges to whom affiliation has been granted by the PTU are based in Jalandhar, Amloh, Chandigarh, Mohali, Moga, Mukatsar, Badal, Amritsar and Patiala.

Dr Gurm said inspection of these colleges had already been carried out by the AICTC, and it will be followed by inspection by the PTU authorities. “We will ensure that all facilities are provided to students before they start classes in August”, said Dr Gurm.


Denial of promotions: PUTA holds dharna
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 18
The Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) today organised a dharna in front of the office of the Vice-Chancellor to protest against alleged victimisation of two teachers who were not given promotions yesterday besides deciding to hold an indefinite dharna on the issue till justice was given to the ‘victimised’ teachers and other pressing demands of the teaching community were met.

Association president Dr Bhupinder Singh Khaira and Secretary Dr Balwinder Singh expressing ‘’disgust at the partisan functioning of the Vice Chancellor’’, stated that the only fault of the teachers interviewed and victimised yesterday was that they had not bowed to pressure from the VC and had not participated in dinners and lunches which teachers eligible for promotion were forced to organise.

The leaders said the VC was throwing all rules to the wind which was clear from the interviews held yesterday in which none of the experts was, even a basic degree holder in the subject for which a candidate was interviewed and not promoted. They said furthermore even the heads of the departments concerned had not been invited for the interview. They also alleged the VC had misappropriated the powers of the Chancellor as rules which needed prior sanction from the Chancellor were being implemented before these could be signed by him.

The PUTA leaders, addressing the dharna warned the VC that he should mend his ways and fulfil the demands of the teaching community and should stop victimising them. They said in future PUTA would resort to a mass agitation if any teacher was denied his due promotion. If interviews were not held strictly according to seniority, interviews of all teachers in one subject were not held strictly according to seniority, interviews of all teachers in one subject were not held simultaneously and if the pace of interviews was not quickened.

The leaders also claimed that the arbitrary and autocratic functioning of the VC could be seen from the fact that he did not even care about the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had stayed the operation of the orders of the University management notifying a group of teachers as office bearers of PUTA following an ‘’election”. They said inspite of court orders the University authorities had not yet formally withdrawn the notification and issued fresh orders. They demanded that the notification be withdrawn immediately and fresh orders issued.

Dr Khaira and Dr Balwinder Singh said earlier at an emergency meeting of the PUTA Executive Committee condemned the VC for victimising the two teachers who were not promoted from Lecturer to senior Lecturer’s scale. The Executive Committee also decided to hold an indefinite dharna on the issue if the University authorities did not give the teachers justice immediately.


PCCTU threatens agitation
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 18
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) has condemned the decision of the management of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepore, to place under suspension Mrs Harbans Kaur, president of the college unit of the PCCTU.

Terming this decision as illegal and wrong, Prof R.S. Brar, executive member and former general secretary of the PCCTU, demanded the college management should revoke the suspension of Mrs Harbans Kaur immediately otherwise the PCCTU would launch a stir in her favour. Professor Brar, while contesting the unwarranted decision of the management, said here on Sunday that the meeting of the management in which the decision to suspend Mrs Harbans Kaur was taken was wrong and illegal as no representative of the DPI (Colleges) and the university was present at this meeting.

Professor Brar alleged the management’s action of suspending Mrs Harbans Kaur was aimed at influencing the inquiry ordered by the Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, and the SSP, Ferozepore. 


New posts of farm teacher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The Punjab Education Department has decided to create new posts of agriculture teacher in government schools from the current academic session.

According to the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, agriculture teachers were already posted in some schools, where the subjects was optional. 


KV girls back from trekking expedition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Forty girls belonging to the Kendriya Vidyalayas of Zirakpur, Mullanpur Garibdas, Dappar (Punjab) and High Grounds (Chandigarh) were given a warm welcome when they returned here yesterday morning after a week-long trekking expedition to the hills of Pithoragarh region in Uttaranchal.

According to Mrs S.Prakash, co-ordinator of the project, such endeavours infused a feeling of confidence and courage in the girls to face the challenges of life.

According to Mrs Manju Lata Saxena, Assistant Commissioner of Chandigarh Region, many more such activities were being organised by the Sangathan.

For the girls, who belong to the 14-16 age group, the expedition, which exposed them to para-gliding and rock-climbing, was indeed thrilling.


Income from lotteries rises
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 18
The coffers of the State of Punjab were empty when Mr Parkash Singh Badal took over as Chief Minister. This was disclosed by Capt Kamaljit Singh, Punjab Finance Minister, while presiding over a state-level small savings function here today.

The state government instead of imposing heavy taxes adopted other ways and means to collect funds. He said the investment in small savings rose to Rs 3,500 crore from Rs 950 crore. The income of the state government from state lotteries rose to Rs 60 crore which was a mere Rs 6.5 crore in 1997.

The government also took stern steps to plug leakage of taxes and as a result of its efforts the income from excise and taxation rose to Rs 2,850 crore as against Rs 1,400 crore.

Continuing, he disclosed in 1997 there was a budget of Rs 1,800 crore for development and now the same was Rs 3,357 crore. He further said subsidy worth Rs 400 crore had been given to the farmers by the state government. He said sales tax on 30 items had been reduced and the commission of arhtiyas had been enhanced from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

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