Saturday, June 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Rinwa top tactician
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The BJP has not only mastered the art of wooing the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, but also scored political points over him.

The latest success of the BJP is getting the Rajya Sabha seat for the party from Mr Badal. The BJP has not only got the seat, but by nominating Ms Gurcharan Kaur as the party’s candidate, also tried to send a strong message that the BJP does not represent Hindus only. It has also Sikhs and other communities in its fold and it cares for them. After getting the seat from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), nominating a Sikh woman to it appears to be a well-thought-out strategy of the BJP to score a political point over other parties and its coalition partner, the SAD.

The BJP is trying hard to establish its roots in the villages. It has claimed that it has set up units at the polling booth level in a large number of villages. The nomination of Ms Gurcharan Kaur will certainly provide a further opportunity to the BJP to spread its roots in the rural areas.

The BJP has seemingly adopted a two-pronged strategy vis-a-vis Mr Badal. First, it attacks Mr Badal through its leadership and then woos him to concede the demands of the BJP. Take the instance of Mr Brij Lal Rinwa. He has proved to be a shrewd politician and tactician. The BJP has secured the maximum gains from Mr Badal after Mr Rinwa’s taking over as the president of the state unit on May 30 last year.

Shortly after becoming the president, Mr Rinwa mounted a political attack on Mr Badal. He talked about the unsatisfactory performance of the Punjab Government, political and official corruption, lack of coordination between the SAD and the BJP at the grassroots level, withdrawing of the facility of free power to farmers, etc. Then he mounted the second direct attack by asserting that the BJP had been preparing to make a BJP leader the Chief Minister during the next term. He also talked about seeking a share of 50 seats from Mr Badal during the next Assembly elections. Mr Badal had to hold a meeting with him to sort out various issues. Mr Rinwa stopped making strong observations about the Badal government when the Chief Minister started conceding various demands raised by him.

Mr Rinwa was instrumental in making Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, a senior leader of the BJP, a Cabinet Minister. Earlier, he was the Deputy Speaker in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Mr Rinwa again played a major role in wooing Mr Badal to make Mr Satpal Gosain the Deputy Speaker. Then Mr Rinwa made another attempt and succeeded in making Mr Badal agree to take Mr Satpal Saini as a Minister of State. And his latest achievement is the Rajya Sabha seat. On the insistence of Mr Rinwa, a number of activists of the BJP have been appointed chairpersons of improvement trusts and given other offices.

Mr Rinwa’s next move will be to make Mr Badal provide relief to the residents of urban areas, offering sops to business, trade, industry and the domestic sector. Already, the BJP has passed a resolution in this connection. Mr Rinwa has also established full control over his own party and regularised the holding of meetings of its executive and other bodies.

As far as securing the Rajya Sabha seat for the party is concerned, the BJP has been pressing Mr Badal for the past several days to allocate the seat to it but the top brass of the SAD was certain that Mr Badal would not concede the demand of the BJP. However, the BJP executed its strategy in such a manner right from the word go that Mr Badal was left with no alternative except to give the seat to it.

Obviously, to pre-empt Mr Badal from taking any decision at meetings of the SAD Political Affairs Committee, the leadership of the BJP led by Mr Rinwa not only lobbied at the state level but also requested the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to urge Mr Badal to give the seat to the BJP. Mr Rinwa knew that Mr Badal would not say no to Mr Vajpayee in any case. There are reports that Mr Vajpayee spoke to Mr Badal last Sunday in this connection.


Gurcharan Kaur files papers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The vice-president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Ms Gurcharan Kaur, today filed her nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha seat with the Returning Officer, Mr N.S. Mavi, Secretary, Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Several senior SAD and BJP ministers, besides the BJP observer, Mr O.P. Kohli, and the state unit President, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, were present.

This is, perhaps, for the first time that the Faridkot parliamentary constituency will have two MPs in the Rajya Sabha. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will now have company in Ms Gurcharan Kaur. If Mr Sukhbir Singh comes from Badal village in Muktsar district, she is from Panj Garain village in Faridkot district.

Ms Gurcharan Kaur is the only candidate and is likely to be declared elected unopposed. She goes to fill the slot vacated by Mr Rajmohinder Singh, who quit to contest the Majitha byelection to the Vidhan Sabha.

The share of Punjab in the Rajya Sabha is seven seats of which five are with the SAD and one will be with the BJP. Technically, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra also belongs to the ruling SAD though he parted company to float his own party, the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal. Ms Gurcharan Kaur will be the first woman Rajya Sabha member of a non-Congress party. The earlier ones were Ms Ambika Soni and Ms Amarjeet Kaur.

Ms Gurcharan Kaur, born on February 2, 1936, is a former Hindi teacher and has been in politics, starting with the erstwhile Jana Sangh in 1952. Her brother, Mr Gurcharan Singh (Deepak) set up the first unit of the RSS in Jaitu Mandi in 1944 and her other brother, Mr Gurbachan Singh Patingha, was killed by terrorists in 1990. He was the BJP’s state secretary. The Rajya Sabha candidate is a grassroots worker and the party observer, Mr Kohli said by nominating her the party leadership had recognised the importance of ordinary workers as well as established the secular credentials of the BJP.

After filing her nomination, Ms Gurcharan Kaur was congratulated and offered sweets by the SAD and BJP leaders.


Rs 79 cr to upgrade Amritsar airport
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The Government of India has earmarked a sum of Rs 190 crore for upgradation of the Amritsar international airport and for establishing a new airport at Pathankot.

This was disclosed here today by Raja Narinder Singh, Punjab Minister for Civil Aviation, while addressing a press conference. He said of this Rs 79 crore would be spent on the upgradation of the airport facilities and strengthening of the runway at Amritsar during the current financial year, the remaining amount would be spent on creation of the new facility at Pathankot. The runway at Amritsar would be expanded from 9, 000 to 12,000 feet which would enable it to accept Jumbo jets. At present, the Amritsar airport was being used for smaller aircraft belonging to Uzbekistan and Turkmenia.

He was happy to note that the Amritsar international airport which initially had only one flight a week, now had up to a dozen flights and all of them were full.

The minister also visited the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends in Sector 17 which is organising a national-level interactive seminar on “Emerging Trends in Airlines Industry in Northern India — Vision 2005” here tomorrow. The seminar will be inaugurated by Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation. Besides Raja Narinder Singh, Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, will also speak.

The minister said that the aim of the seminar was to work out a concept for an integrated development of aviation in northern states. The agenda for discussion included provision of additional facilities at Chandigarh airport, airlinking Chandigarh with major metros in India, introducing chopper services from Chandigarh to places of tourist interest in the adjoining states, developing helipads in northern Indian states, starting chartered flights to Chandigarh, and introducing air packages. Other issues to be discussed relate to human resources requirement for airlines industry, and the participation of the private sector in airport infrastructure development.

He said a perspective plan for aviation development in northern Indian states was likely to be prepared on the basis of the deliberations in the seminar with ITFT, Chandigarh, as the nodal agency.

According to Dr Gulshan Sharma, Coordinator, National Seminar and Director, ITFT, a large number of delegates belonging to domestic and international airlines, travel and tourism, NRIs and governments of the region will attend the seminar.

Raja Narinder Singh also said that flying clubs in the state were in a bad shape. There were a total of 24 planes of which as many 15 were founded. Only nine were in a flying condition. He said that high cost of aviation fuel had severely restricted the activities of flying clubs in the state.


Minister accused of shielding officer
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 1
The Government Homoeopathic Medical Officers Association,Punjab, has accused the Minister of state for Health and Family Welfare, Mrs Mohinder Kaur Josh, of shielding an Assistant Director, whose premature retirement case recommended by the state Health authorities is pending at her office for more than a month for want of approval.

Mr A.S. Rai, president and Mr Darshan Singh Khurmi, general secretary of the association, while addressing a press conference here today, alleged that several departmental inquiries had indicted the Assistant Director, Mr Ramesh Rattan for “moral turpitude” and found him guilty of committing irregularities in the selection of midwives in 1986.

“Dr Rattan was suspended during his ad hoc posting at Kohara dispensary in Ludhiana district as homoeopathic physician in 1977, since he was arrested in a criminal case. He had concealed this fact from the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) while applying for a regular post of homoeopathic physician,” they alleged. An inquiry report submitted in 1991 by the then Additional Director of Health and Family Welfare Department, Mr H.S. Aneja, states: “The charges of moral turpitude and committing irregularities by distorting the official records pertaining to the selection of midwives in 1986 had been proved against Dr Ramesh Rattan.”

As per the Punjab Civil Services (premature retirement) Rule, 1975, an employee found inefficient or corrupt or guilty of doubtful integrity and having attained an age of 50 years or completed 25 years of service should be retired immediately.

The Supreme Court had observed in 1999 that Dr Rattan had tried to mislead the court by refusing to admit that Mrs Harbhajan Kaur had topped the merit list for selection of midwives in 1986.

“During a meeting with the Principal Secretary of the department, Mr P.K. Verma, on April 23, the latter conveyed that the premature retirement case of Dr Rattan had been prepared and recommended to the state Health Minister, Mrs Mohinder Kaur Josh, for approval and the Assistant Director would be retired immediately after getting a nod from the Health Minister, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla,” they said. But the association alleged that Mrs Josh did not forward the case to Dr Chawla.

The association threatened to approach the court if Mrs Josh did not forward the case to Dr Chawla within 10 days. The association urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal to issue necessary instructions to the minister in this regard.


Garcha backs PTU Director’s appointment
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 1
The Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, yesterday came out openly in support of the Punjab Technical University’s (PTU) controversial Director (Outreach) Mr A.S. Grewal, who had allegedly been appointed to the post by flouting UGC rules, and justified the latter’s appointment as a right step for the betterment of the university.

He said the rules and norms did not matter if it came to the betterment of the university and its students.

Mr Garcha was in the city to inaugurate the rubber testing centre at the local regional engineering college (REC). Later, talking to the mediapersons on the REC campus, he said the appointment of Mr Grewal as Director (Outreach) of the PTU had been made an issue, which had grown out of proportion.

“The qualification of a person is not the only criteria for appointment to a post, but it is the experience he has, which matters. Mr Grewal has wide experience and that’s why we have appointed such a person for handling the affairs of the university. Moreover, he is honest and hardworking,” the minister said.

Mr Grewal is on a contract. Moreover, I have no further information whether he possesses the required qualification or not. What I know is that he is an experienced person, which is the only criteria for his selection as Director”, Mr Garcha added.

Interestingly, equating his own appointment as a Minister of Technical Education, Mr Garcha said if a person like him could be appointed to the post of a Technical Education Minister, why the PTU authorities could not appoint Mr Grewal as Director?

Virtually agitated over the queries of the mediapersons on the issue, the minister rued, “You can ever question the validity of my appointment as Technical Education Minister since I myself is not a highly qualified man.”

Earlier, Lawyers Initiative, a high court-based lawyers’ study and discussion group, had filed a writ of quo warranto under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India in the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding Mr Grewal’s appointment.

According to a letter of the AICTE, dated March 15, 2000, a candidate who is a Ph.D (with a first class bachelor’s or master’s degree) with 15 years experience in teaching, industry or research, and should have served as a professor or above in the engineering or technology field for five years is eligible for the post of director.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued notice of motion to PTU Vice-Chancellor and the state of Punjab, asking them to submit details related to educational qualifications of Mr Grewal.

Elaborating the plans of his department to improve the state of technical education in Punjab, he stated that the department had decided to abolish all conventional technical courses from its institutions. “We will introduce e-commerce, software export and other modern technical courses in all institutions, by August, 2001, aimed at reducing unemployment in the state,” the minister said.

Those institutions, which are non-operational for want of funds and staff, would recommence their functioning by August, this year, as they have made all arrangements for the purpose.


Explain stand on renegades: Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 1
Former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today asked the Shiormani Akali Dal led-government to explain its stand on former militants.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mrs Bhattal accused the SAD led-government of adopting a soft attitude towards the former militants. She said the government should explain its role in the “arrest” of former militant Wassan Singh Zaffarwal as well as the proposed visit of Khalistan ideologue Jagjit Singh Chouhan to the state.

She said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should explain why in the past four years no ‘sangat darshan’ exercise was organised to listen to the victims of terrorist violence. She said the government, which was distributing crores among various sections of society, was yet to address the problems faced by such families.

She said the Akali government had got a case registered against her for distribution of Rs 20 lakh under the Chief Minister’s Relief fund. This smacked of hypocricy as the Chief Minister was himself distributing funds under various heads.

On the probe launched into allegations that members of her own party were behind the registration of the case against her, she said she had already made her views known to the party high command and that she would not like to disclose internal matters to the press.


Inquiry into death of undertrial on
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
An inquiry is being conducted by the Kapurthala district authorities into the death of Gurnam Singh, an undertrial, stating this, Mr Amarjit Singh, Deputy Inspector-General of Prisons, Punjab, said the situation in the Kapurthala jail was quite normal now.

Mr Amarjit Singh said parole and furlough were granted to prisoners on the recommendation of the district authorities. The jail authorities could not be held responsible for their activities outside the jail, he said.

He denied that Jassa, an undertrial, had escaped from District Jail, Nabha. He said Jassa escaped from police custody while he was being brought from Central Jail, Jalandhar to be produced in a Nabha court.

Mr Amarjit Singh said no conspiracy to break out of the Bathinda jail had been unearthed. He said undertrial Makhan Singh, who had earlier escaped from police custody, was being kept in jail under strict watch. Prisoners were searched daily, he said, adding that they were not allowed the use of cellular phones.

Mr Amarjit singh maintained that there was no laxity and maladministration in jails and only departmental officers with adequate experience could manage the jails.

He said hardcore militants were being segregated from other prisoners and undertrials, adding that the jails were not serving as contact points.


Union leader goes on indefinite fast
Tribune News Service

Budhlada, June 1
Mr Beant Singh Kainth, President, Budhlada Sugar Mill Workers Union, today again started indefinite fast in protest against the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned in implementing their demands.

Before starting the fast, Mr Kainth addressed a rally in front of the office of the SDM and alleged that in February 2001, the district administration managed to end their agitation by making false promises.

He added that the agitation which had been started by him would not be stopped till the authorities concerned made arrangements for the payment of 54 months’ dues of the workers of the mill, dues of farmers and adjustment of those workers who had been rendered jobless due to closing down of the mill.

He alleged that the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had promised on the eve of Assembly elections that the sugar mill in the town would be started again within 15 minutes after the SAD-BJP alliance came to power. After coming to power, Mr Badal failed to keep his promise.

The district administration on February 5 had, under the compromise, promised to the agitating mill workers that 18 workers would be adjusted in the Malout sugar mill and the rest would be paid at the earliest.


Govt hospitals sans staff
Our Correspondent

Moga, June 1
The absence of doctors and the nursing staff, along with an acute shortage of life saving drugs in various rural hospitals and dispensaries in the district has caused a great resentment among villagers, said Mr Kuldip Singh Sandhu, a former president of the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union today.

Mr Sandhu said in the hospital at Daulatpura village, the bed capacity was 50 but not a single bed was available for the patients, who often had to go to private medical practitioners. He lamented the frequent unavailability of doctors and life saving drugs in the hospital.

He said a complaint in this regard was made to the Chief Minister at the sangat darshan programme. He further alleged that the doctors were selling the medicines to chemists in the open market. Mr Sandhu demanded an inquiry into the conduct of errant doctors and the nursing staff of these hospitals and dispensaries.


DC’s directive to PRTC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 1
A handicapped resident of Dhanauri village today accused a PRTC bus conductor of forcing him to pay for a ticket while travelling from Patiala to Ludhiana despite the fact that he had a “handicap identification card” with him.

This case was discussed at the district- level sangat darshan programme held by Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, at Red Cross Hall here today. Mr Bir has asked the PRTC to look into the matter and submit a report to him within 10 days. Mr Bir has also asked the District Red Cross Society to provide the complainant with artificial arms and financial help of Rs 4500.

Mr Karam Chand Bansal, president, Committee Development Society, Tafajalpura, brought the case of sewerage water dumping into ganda nala to the notice of Municipal Commissioner, Mr K.S.Kang. Mr Bansal said that there was danger of water-borne diseases spreading in the area if the nala was not cleaned properly.

Mr Bir said that as per the recommendations of the Chief Secretary, Punjab, the sangat darshan programme would be held on the first of every month. He added that in case the day is declared to be holiday, the programme would be held the following day. Mr Bir added that the sangat darshan programme would be held on all Thursdays except the first Thursday of the month.


Rs 1 cr for hospital
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 1
A sum of Rs 1 crore has been given to the Government Hospital, Rajpura, to make it 100 bedded hospital. Another 30 bedded hospital at old Rajpura is under consideration.

This was stated by Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Local Bodies and Employment Minister, Punjab while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the blood donation camp and cultural function organised by the youth club and sports club at Gandha Kheri near Rajpura, here today.

Mr Tandon also distributed Rs 50,000 for village development fund, Rs 31,000 for the youth club.


Farmers to get AC vans for fruit crop
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 1
The state government has decided to provide the farmers of the state air-conditioned vans so that the fruits and vegetable crops that require cooling during transportation, especially grapes, could be transported to various parts of the country without any loss in quality.

Mr C.L.Bains, Finance Commissioner (Development), Punjab, said this while addressing a gathering of horticulture scientists and farmers of the state. Mr Bains said besides the AC vans, cold stores of 250 metric tonnes each would be established in every district of the state.

The AC vans would be operated on a no-profit-no-loss basis and 25 per cent subsidy would be provided on setting up cold stores, he said.

Mr Bains said the existing cold stores for potatoes could be converted for storing fruits by constructing separate chambers.

The scheme of 25 per cent subsidy was also applicable to the conversion of cold stores.Pre-cooling centres, on the pattern of those at Talwandi Sabo and Badal villages, would be established in other parts of the state also, he added.

The scheme of crop insurance had been approved by the Union Government, but some of its provisions were not in favour of the farmers of the state.

Therefore, it had not been implemented as yet. The farmers should adopt more cash crops and the area under cotton production was to be increased to about 6 lakh hectares this year, he added.

Mr Bains said the state government had exempted fruits and pulses, upto 20 quintals, from octroi and was in the process of increasing the limit.

Experts, including Mr Jagtar Singh Mann, Director, Horticulture, Punjab, Mr A.S. Dhatt, Director, Post-Harvesting, PAU, Ludhiana, and Mr Jaspal Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda also addressed the gathering.


Farmers, seed dealers reach compromise
Tribune News Service

Mansa, June 1
The tension which has been building up here since last evening due to a dispute among the farmers and the seed dealers over the demand for compensation by farmers who could not get cotton crop allegedly due to bad seeds was diffused this evening with both parties reaching a compromise.

After the compromise, members of the Bharatiya Kissan Union (Ekta), who had organised a blockade near the local railway crossing, lifted it much to the relief of the residents.

The district administration, which was keeping a close watch on the situation, had made all arrangements to prevent any clash among the farmers and members of the Punjab Seed, Pesticides and Fertilisers Association.

Members of the BKU (Ekta) and the traders dealing in pesticides, seeds and fertilisers, had earlier been gathering near the railway crossing. They were armed with ‘lathis’.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that there was dispute between a section of the farmers and seed dealers over the issue of compensation to be paid to the farmers due to failure of their cotton crop. The farmers were demanding that they should be given adequate compensation for selling of bad seeds by the dealers.

The seed dealers, however, were adamant in not making any payment to the farmers as compensation. The farmers and seed dealers were at dispute on the issue for the past five days.

To put pressure on the seed dealers and the district administration, the BKU (Ekta) started an agitation and put up a blockade last evening. Members of the Punjab Seed, Pesticides and Fertilisers Association also staged a dharna last evening. Things were settled when the representatives of the Punjab Seed, Pesticides and Fertilisers Association agreed to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to three farmers whose cotton crop had failed this season.

Mr Ruldu Singh, vice-president, BKU (Ekta), Punjab, addressing the farmers after the compromise was reached said the organisation had decided that no bank officials would be allowed to arrest farmers for default in paying their loan instalments.

The BKU (Ekta) leadership also announced that if any farmer was arrested by any police personnel, he would be gheraoed.


Israeli technique for quality grape produce
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 1
Malwa region is considered to be the leading grape producing region of the state. About 50 per cent of the total grape production of the state is from the district. The alleged indifferent attitude of the state government and the Horticulture Department has resulted in decrease in the interest of farmers in grape cultivation.

Now even the increased vigil and interest shown by the state government has not produced the desired motivation among the farmers. For the past few years, the Israeli technique adopted by the farmers has shown marked improvement in the quantity and quality of grapes. The technique has been adopted to the climatic conditions of the state. Adoption of the technique on a large-scale will help to boost the shattered economic condition of the farmers of the state.

Of the total area of the state, about 75,000 acre is under the cultivation of fruits. The total area under grape cultivation is however, only 5700 acres. Out of this, an area of 2900 acres is in the district. Senior officials of the Horticulture Department admitted that if the adoption of Israeli technique had not yielded good results, grape cultivation would have been completely wiped out from the district.

Mr Rur Singh, a senior official of the local Horticulture Department, said the Israeli technique ensured that grapes matured before the onset of monsoon and the fruit produced was not only larger in size but also sweeter. Once the monsoon sets in, the shelf life of the fruit was reduced significantly. About 500 acres of land was under the Israeli technique of grape production. In Bathinda, about 260 hectares of land makes use of the Israeli technique of production.

Bhola Singh, a farmer of Lehra Bega village, told this correspondent that he started grape cultivation with the ‘desi’ technique in 1988 but suffered losses. However, after adopting the Israeli technique, there had been an improvement in the quality of grapes and the contract for one acre of grapes (under the same technique) has increased up to Rs 50,000 per year.


‘Favouritism’ in canal water supply resented
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 1
The number of illegal lift pumps at Sirhind feeder has gone up from 40 to 165 during the past four years. This has deprived farmers of Abohar subdivision of their due share in canal water for irrigation. Some people are getting water from other canals also but they are using political influence to get electricity connections for their illegal lift pumps.

There allegations have been levelled by a member of the state executive of the BJP. Addressing demonstrators at the Canal colony here yesterday, Ms Vijay Lumxi Bhadoo said farmers had been ruined due to alleged discrimination in the supply of canal water to this rich cotton belt which had emerged as largest fruit growing area in the state. It was unfortunate that neither government officials nor elected representatives of the SAD and the BJP had bothered to wipe tears of the farmers who had been facing crisis and were unable to pay the debts.

She told farmers to ask vote seekers in the next Assembly election why they had never cared for providing water and food to the community known as the backbone of the country’s economy. She vowed to fight for the cause of farmers.

She condemned officers of the office of Executive Engineer, Irrigation, for not remaining in offices yesterday. If they could not hear grievances of the suffering farmers, they must quit their jobs, Ms Bhadoo said.

Farmers earlier took out a procession braving hot weather through main roads of the town. Women carried pitchers on their heads which they broke at the ZEN’s office at Canal colony.

The protest rally was addressed by Mr Gurdip Singh, Mr Mahabir and Mr Pirthi Raj, sarpanches of Shergarh, Jhorarkhera and Pattisadig villages, respectively. They regretted that inspite of repeated dharnas and demonstration, no effort was made to provide water at the tailend of sub-canals. It was lamented that Rs 70 lakh were released for the renovation of the Lambi sub-canal but the funds appeared to have been misutilised.

The rally demanded that the matter be got proved by the Vigilance Department. Farmers decided to continue relay dharna at the Canal colony till their demands were accepted.

They threatened to hold demonstration in Chandigarh next month if their problems were not solved on priority basis.


IT Chief Commissioner assumes charge
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 1
The Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Mr S.C. Grover, with jurisdiction over Amritsar, Jammu and Kashmir and Bathinda, assumed charge here yesterday. Talking to newsmen, Mr Grover said the new post of Chief Commissioner had been created for effective administrative control. Mr Grover said the Income Tax collection had increased from Rs 9,900 crore in 1990 to Rs 84,000 crore till March 31, 2001 and the number of assesses had also grown from 90 lakh to around 2 crore.


Suresh Arora transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Mr Suresh Arora, DIG, Jalandhar Range, has been transferred and posted as DIG, Ludhiana Range, Ludhiana, with immediate effect, according to a press release.


Murder case solved
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 1
The Bhikhi police has solved the case of murder of Karamjit Singh and his mother, Kako, residents of Ugrahan village in Sangrur.

The police had registered a case under Sections 302, 120-B, 201 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code against Mukhtiar Kaur and her husband, Gurmeet Singh, residents of Khillan village.

An investigation conducted under the supervision of Mr Balwinder Singh Romana, Deputy Superintendent of Police, revealed that Mukhtiar Kaur and her husband, Gurmeet Singh, had conspired with Harnek Singh and his wife, Bant Kaur, of Bhadra village to kill the two to grab their property.

One of the suspects, Mukhtiar Kaur, was a step-sister of Karamjit and daughter of Kako. The suspects had invited Karamjit and Kako to their village on the pretext of arranging Karamjit’s marriage. They intoxicated Karamjit and threw him into a canal.


3 held for assault, vandalism
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 1
The district police has arrested three persons in connection with an incident of assault and vandalism at the local Tagore Hospital on last Friday.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said here today the Administrator of the hospital had complained to the police that the attendants and relatives of Gurdip Kaur had indulged in vandalism and assault on members of the hospital staff after the death of the patient on last Friday.

The Administrator alleged that they broke glass panes and pelted stones damaging parts of the hospital building and manhandled staff members.

He further said that the patient was operated upon in the hospital for puss and a stone in the gall bladder, but despite the best efforts of the attending physicians, the patient died. There was no negligence on part of the hospital authorities, the complainant contended.

The police has registered a case under Sections 427, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC and arrested three persons who were identified as Balbir Kumar of Satnam Nagar, Inderjit Singh of Basti Bawa Khel and Bhupinder Singh of Guru Nanak Nagar in the district. Efforts are on to arrest the remaining accused. 


6 held for smuggling narcotics
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 1
The district police has arrested six persons for allegedly smuggling narcotics. The police has recovered 20 kg of poppy husk, 1000 tablets of various intoxicants and 100 capsules from suspects.

Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP, said a campaign launched by the district police to weed out the drugs menace had started yielding results. Of the six culprits arrested, three were in possession of poppy husk. Those arrested were identified as Sukhdev Singh of Ghuman Kalan village Karnail Singh of Kalian Wali village, Lila Singh of village Jafman Wali (Sirsa), Gurlabh Singh, Gurcharan Singh and Jaswinder Kaur, all residents of Lal Bai.

In another case, three persons were arrested by the district police and 20 litres of illicit liquor recovered from them. They were identified as Jaspal Singh, Jagdish Singh and Kala Singh of the district.


No sigh of relief for students
Entrance tests’ dates clash

Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 1
Even as the exams of various academic classes have concluded the students have not heaved a sigh of relief. Various entrance tests, coaching classes and more importantly the clash of dates of various entrance exams has been keeping the students on tenterhooks.

As per the guidelines of various universities any graduate with 50 per cent marks is eligible to appear in almost all important entrance tests. Of the general academic streams, including BA, B.Sc and B.Com, the graduates are eligible to appear in tests like B.Ed, M.Sc, MA, MBA, civil services and the combined defence services (CDS).

A brief survey conducted by this correspondent revealed this month is all set to keep the students on tenter-hooks as six entrance tests would clash in terms of dates.

The entrance test for B.Ed, to be conducted by Punjabi University, Patiala, and that of the JRF-NET, to be conducted by the University Grants Commission, fall on the same date, i.e. July 1. Many of the students who are to appear in the B.Ed entrance test of Punjabi University after their postgraduation would have to skip one of these tests if the dates are not changed.

The entrance test for admission to MCA, to be conducted by Punjabi University, and the B.Ed entrance test, to be conducted by Panjab University, Chandigarh, (for admission to UT colleges only) are to be held on June 26.

Not only this but the dates of the entrance exam of M.Sc (biotech) to be conducted by Roorkee University and that of the M.Sc (chemistry) to be conducted by Panjab University fall on June 10, leaving the students in a spot.

Ms Nishi Goyal, one of the students who is going to appear in the B.Ed entrance test of both universities, said the original date announced for B.Ed by Panjab University was June 24 but it was later changed to June 26. The date of the MCA entrance test was declared later by Punjabi University but the university authorities did not take into account the B.Ed entrance date of Panjab University.

“The entrance test for MCA would be held at Patiala by the university on June 26. Although the students have also opted for Bathinda as test centre it is up to the university to allot the centre. It would be very difficult for students to appear at the entrance test at Patiala on June 26 and at Amritsar on June 28,” she said.

Even if the university decides to change the date of any entrance test it should coordinate with other universities to avoid any clash of date even after changing the earlier declared date. “The idea of holding a common entrance test for a single course jointly by the universities seems to be the only answer to the ongoing problem of the students,” asserted a student.

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