Tuesday, June 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Constable arrested for blackmailing mechanics
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
In yet another exposure of police-criminal nexus, a Punjab police constable, who allegedly used to blackmail auto mechanics in the city, was arrested by the vigilance police this afternoon.

He allegedly operated with the help of certain police touts through whom he first sent stolen two-wheelers to the mechanics in different parts of the city for selling their parts or for repainting purpose, but later acting as a policeman caught them on the charges of abetting the theft and releasing them after taking money.

The constable, Jaspal Singh, presently posted at Basti Jodhewal police station, was allegedly in the process of pocketing Rs 7000 from one such mechanic in Focal Point area when the vigilance team swooped on him.

Further alarming is the disclosure by informed sources that the vigilance police has got certain clues about the involvement of certain police officials below the rank of Inspector in the crime. More heads in the Police Department are likely to roll after the completion of the investigation, a Vigilance Department official informed.

According to DSP (Vigilance), Harmanbir Singh Gill, the SP (Vigilance) Mr R.P.S.Bajwa, had received complaints about the activities of the constable. One such complainant, Ashwani Kumar of Jamalpur village, complained to the police recently. Cops kept an eye on the suspect’s activity, and finally caught him red-handed today.

The DSP said the constable was following the modus operandi for the past several months. He, with the help of certain police touts, entrapped the mechanics and then released them after pocketing hefty amounts. His past police record was also not good. The constable is suspected to have minted a huge amount from several mechanics. In certain cases the amount exceeded Rs 20,000

He said the constable has confessed to the vigilance police about his activities and has also named certain higher-rank officials involved in the crime. However, no other persons, including the alleged touts or any police official, has been arrested or questioned in this regard.


Admission scenario dismal at Home Science College
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The dismal scenario of admissions continues at the College of Home Science in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here. Out of the total 50 seats in the graduation programme conducted by this college, only half are expected to be filled this year.

The trend of decline is continuing in the department for the past three years after the department changed the eligibility criterion for admission to this programme from matric to Class XII. Changing education scenario, availability of more specialised fields in education and better job avenues associated with those fields are driving students away from such disciplines which do not have much value in the job market.

Earlier the department had reduced the number of seats in the graduation programme from 80 to 50. Even then it was facing a difficulty in filling all 50 seats. In 1998, only 34 seats were filled out of 50. The number further declined with only 28 students opting for the B.Sc course in 1999. The trend continued and last year also there were only 30 students in B.Sc.

This year also the college has received only 49 applications against 50 seats. Officials in the college say that out of 49 candidates, there cannot be more than 30 takers in the course as a rough estimate.

It is worth mentioning here that the College of Home Science at Kaonke Kalan which was established 22 years ago, was closed some two years ago and it was merged with the College of Home Science at PAU. The Kaonke college was also closed down as there were no takers for the courses offered by it. There were only 50 students at the time of closure and the budget of the college was more than Rs 80 lakh. The college was replaced by PAU Model School. As many as 17 faculty members of that college were absorbed by PAU at various places.

Even after the merger of college the situation has not improved. Half of the seats at PAU college remain vacant. The faculty members attribute the downslide to the guidelines of Indian Council of Agricultural Research which make it necessary for a student to have passed Class XII. It was in the 1998 that the eligibility criterion was changed and the department had to do with only 34 students unlike 1997 when there were 74 students.

Faculty members on the condition of anonymity said that another reason for seats lying vacant in the college was that not many students from rural areas were coming to the college because they did not fulfill the eligibility conditions of minimum qualifications. They said that there were not many senior secondary schools in villages and if there were schools then there was no science stream.

Moreover, the course which was available at PAU was of four years’ duration while other colleges at Amritsar, Patiala, Ambala, Ropar, Gurdaspur and Jalandhar were offering courses of three-year duration. Faculty members ask why students should spend one more year on a course which has the same market value.

Dr I.J.S. Jaswal, Head, Department of Human Development, College of Home Science, said that the ICAR should follow in the footsteps of the Longowal Institute of Technology by offering a two-year diploma after matriculation and if students were not found up to the mark, they should be awarded a diploma. Those who did well should be admitted to the degree course.


Employment office has little to offer
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 25
The District Employment Office at Sirhind, which is supposed to provide employment opportunities to youths of the district, has itself become idle due to the ever-shrinking job market — both in government and private sector. Its job has been reduced to mearly registering unemployed youths and distributing unemployment allowances. Though there are 12,423 unemployed youths registered in this office, only four to five have been able to get jobs during the past five years. The office has a monthly salary bill of around Rs 70,000 to 75,000.

According to reports gathered by this correspondent from the employment office, earlier all job offers from the government and private parties were filled through youths the employment exchange. The office used to send intimation to jobless youths regarding vacancies in government and private offices. However, for the past five years, the minister who appoints department committees allegedly holds interviews and jobs are given to favourite ones. Those on the register of employment office for a long time do not even have an inkling of what’s going on.

Sources say that earlier it was mandatory to fill all vacancies through employment offices under the Compulsory Notification of Vacancy Act. According to this Act, all vacancies must be notified to the local employment office and all employers — whether government or private — where more than 25 employees are employed were supposed to send quarterly statement. But now government offices consider this office as a “helping” office and not a “compulsory” one.

There is great discontentment among employees of the department also, who have nothing to do except registering a few unemployed youths daily. They sincerely wish that since they are not doing any service to society, it is better to abolish the department and adjust the employees elsewhere. There is a lot of stagnation in the department and all promotion avenues are virtually non-existent.

When contacted, the district official of the department said that at present, they were getting demand from private parties only who ask for skilled workers. However, skilled workers do not come to our office. The private parties give less salaries compared to government departments, so people do not prefer to go there. He said, no doubt, they had become idle, but they also guide youths for self-employment. He said as for as providing jobs is concerned it only depends on vacancies in government offices. These have, however, shrunk to a great extent at present. 


Master Tara Singh Chair planned
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has announced that a Master Tara Singh Chair will shortly be set up in one of the universities of Punjab so that thorough research could be conducted on the struggle and contribution made for the state and the country by the great warrior and veteran Akali leader. The government would also put up a life-sized statue of Master Tara Singh at Sherpur Chowk in the city so that the coming generations could draw inspiration from effective leadership provided by him to the Sikh community.

Paying tributes to Master Tara Singh at a state-level function on his 117th birth anniversary organised at Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran here last evening, the Chief Minister described him as a dynamic leader and a great source of inspiration for the people of Punjab. He had made great sacrifice while leading the struggle to achieve several genuine demands of Punjab and the Punjabis.

Mr Badal said: "Masterji was a farsighted nationalist leader who had played a big role in the alignment of Punjab with India at the time of partition. Had he not convinced the Sikh community in favour of this decision, which proved right, in the long run, the shape of the frontiers of the country would have been different and even unmanageable." Master Tara Singh had strived during all his life for the well being of the Sikh panth and the state of Punjab, having led many morchas before and after Independence to get various important issues settled.

He observed that it was because of a long and successful morcha led by Master Tara Singh that the present linguistic state of Punjab had come into being and on more than one occasion, the Shiromani Akali Dal was voted to power in the state. Referring to the achievements of the ruling SAD-BJP government in Punjab during the past four years, Mr Badal remarked that the state and central governments were having cordial relations and the NDA government, headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, was extending all kind of assistance to Punjab for implementing development programmes. The Chief Minister said that at the time of tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa panth, the Union Government had provided Rs 100 crore for the various projects in Anandpur Sahib.

Mr Badal said that the Sikh community could not produce any other leader of the stature of Master Tara Singh who was honest and dedicated to the core for the cause of Punjab and the Sikhs in particular. Recalling his experience of working under the leadership of Master Tara Singh, he said that Masterji was the only leader who had dedicated his whole life and energy to make the Sikh community stronger and responsive to the human cause. "He had also raised a strong voice against casteism and untouchability prevalent during his time and had always worked for the uplift of the downtrodden."

Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, SGPC, said that Master Tara Singh was a fearless and farsighted leader of the Sikh who had made tremendous contribution for the cause of the Sikh community. "Masterji advocated the task of welfare of the poor and strengthening bonds of mutual understanding among different communities." He called upon the people to strengthen communal amity and the process of peace and development in the state which would be the real tribute to the great leader.

Among others who paid tributes to Master Tara Singh were Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, Mr Kirpal Singh, President, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Bibi Jagir Kaur, former President, SGPC, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, Vice-President, SAD, Mr Pritpal Singh, President, Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran, and Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia, Councillor and Chairman, Master Tara Singh Memorial Committee.


BPEO ‘swindles relief money’
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, June 25
While most of the countrymen tried to contribute to the Kargil Relief Fund and the Orissa Cyclone Relief Fund, here is a person who tried to dupe contributors of Rs 37,500 in the name of these funds.

According to reliable sources, Block Primary Education Officer Inderpaul Kaur motivated the teachers and staff of her office to contribute to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund in the later half of 1999. A total of 375 employees contributed Rs 100 each, thus, collecting Rs 37,500 for the relief fund. Though supposed to be sent to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund directly or through the District Education Officer (Primary), Sangrur, this was not done by the BPEO.

When the teachers came to know about the alleged misutilisation of their money, they asked her to send the money to the relief fund. A teachers’ union is said to have discussed the matter and gave a notice to the BPEO. She got two drafts prepared from a State Bank of Patiala branch on May 19, 2000, one for Rs 18,400 in favour of Punjab War Hero Family Welfare Society, Chandigarh, and the other for Rs 19,100 in favour of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Orissa, payable at Bhuvneshwar. The numbers of the two drafts were shown to the union leaders who pacified the teachers. But this whole exercise was undertaken just to befool the teachers as she had already conspired with a bank man to get the drafts cancelled. She got the money back by cancelling both the drafts on May 24, 2000. The senior manager of the State Bank of Patiala, Mr V.K. Gupta, confirmed of the two drafts.

The DEO (Primary), Sangrur, was not available for comments. But the BEO (Primary), said the amount had been sent recently.


Preparations for Peoples’ Front rally in full swing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The preparations for the Peoples’ Front rally, which is being held at Jalandhar on July 7, are in full swing. The rally is being organised against the rampant corruption in the state, police atrocities and to demand solution of long pending problems in the state. The front is also opposing the globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation of the state departments that are being pursued under the alleged pressure of the World Trade Organisation.

At a meeting held here today, the Punjab state committee of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), which met under the presidentship of Mr Davinder Singh Diwana, has appealed to all its units to fully participate in the joint convention, which is being organised by the Punjab Peoples’ Front at Desh Bhagat Yaddgar Hal, Jalandhar, on July 7, 2001.

According to Kuldeep Singh, secretary of Punjab unit of the MCPI, the front consists of Akali Dal (Democratic) of Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, Samajwadi Party (Mulayam Singh Yadav), Samajwadi Janata Party (Chander Sekhar), Janta Dal (Secular), MCPI, Punjab Unit, Republic Party of India and Punjab Milkman Union. All these parties would launch joint struggle on the common agreed issues on democratic and secular lines. Other like-minded parties and groups who agree to these demands and programme would also be approached to widen the scope of the front.

Mr Diwana said the Central Government and other Central agencies were running away from the procurement of rice and wheat. The farmers are not being provided minimum support price for every crop in India. The front will launch struggle for the demands of down-trodden people, employees and other working people. Special emphasis would be laid on the facilities to the poor and middle class people of the urban as well as rural areas like cheap water, health, education, good sanitation and healthy environment.

The state committee of the MCPI has strongly condemned the sangat darshans being organised by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The party has described it as a part of election campaign drama. Mr Diwana said, “The favoritism and discrimination are done while sanctioning grants to village panchayats. The powers of gram panchayats are being usurped by the Chief Minister and other ministers in collusion with bureaucrats. The development work is being dictated by bureaucrats and not by the needs and requirements of panchayats and rural people.” The MCPI has demanded immediate announcement of increase in minimum support price for paddy and strengthening of public distribution system.


Crusade against drugs, alcohol
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
A deeply religious man, Sukhwinder gets a lot of pleasure when he makes small replicas of gurdwaras. He has had no formal training in either art or architecture, yet he can craft beautiful replicas of gurdwaras in a very professional manner. He uses plaster of paris to make images of gurdwaras.

A tailor by profession, Sukhwinder was fired by a desire to become a useful member of society. He started a crusade against drugs, smoking and alcohol. He holds meetings of the young people and educates them against of drug and alcohol addiction. He holds prayer meetings around the miniature gurdwaras of his creation to lend sanctity to the meetings.

He takes seven hours to create his work of art. He gets immense satisfaction gifting away the gurdwaras to people after ascertaining that they will give proper respect to them.


Ghalib: public disillusioned with Akali-BJP govt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
At a meeting organised by the Youth Congress Traders Cell here last evening, Mr Gurchran Singh Ghalib, MP, said that the people of Punjab were totally disillusioned with the Akali-BJP combine and wanted to overthrow the present government and were waiting for the Vidhan Sabha elections. He said that even if Mr Parkash Singh Badal held hundreds of sangat darshans, he could not win over the people. The people had become aware of their gameplan and were ready for a Congress government.

The Punjab Government had not fulfilled any promises and now they planned to get their demands fulfilled under Capt Amarinder Singh.

The meeting became charged when Mr K.K. Bawa, recently elected Chairman of the Labour and Employment Cell of Punjab, joined the meeting with party workers. He said that corruption, poverty and rising prices were the gifts of the present government and the government had done nothing to bring relief to the suffering people.


BSP not to attend all-party meeting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
The Bahujan Samaj Party chief, Mr Kanshi Ram, is not much optimistic about the outcome of forthcoming visit of the Pakistan President, Gen Parvez Musharraf, to India and the talks to be held between the visiting President and the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to sort out the Kashmir issue.

Talking to mediapersons here late last evening, Mr Kanshi Ram said under these circumstances, there was no point to take part in the all-party meeting to be convened by the Prime Minister to evolve a consensus on the agenda for talks with the Pakistan President and the BSP had decided to stay away from the meeting. He observed that the NDA combine was not in a position to solve the Kashmir problem.

Making it clear that his party would contest the coming assembly elections in Punjab, he said that reports to the effect that the BSP might enter into some kind of electoral adjustment with SAD were baseless and motivated. Mr Kanshi Ram claimed that the party was in the process of consolidating its organisational base in Punjab and asserted that the BSP would contest the elections in 10 states, including Uttar Pradesh, and emerge stronger.

The BSP supremo questioned the claim of the Union Minister for Communication, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, as being a leader of the Dalit community. "Mr Paswan has never worked for the welfare of the Dalits, but has always made compromises for gaining political benefits at the cost of the Bahujan samaj."


Dharna by FCI staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Hundreds of workers of Lal Jhanda FCI and Palledar Union of Punjab staged a dharna in front of the office of the District Manager, FCI, here today in protest against the proposed privatisation of the corporation.

The state president of the union, Mr Amar Singh Bhattian, the finance secretary, Mr Joga Singh Nasrali, the state general secretary, Mr Amarnath, said that the employees would not allow privatisation of the department. The employees threatened to launch a statewide agitation on this issue.


Travel agent held in fraud case
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 25
A case has been registered at the Payal Police Station on the complaint of Jarnail Singh, Harmeet Singh, Karnail Singh, and Deepa Singh, Machhiwara, under Section 420 of the IPC. They have alleged that on August 20, 2000, Jarnail Singh and Karnail Singh had given Rs 43,000 to Dilbara Singh, a resident of Rampur, as the latter had promised to send them to Malaysia. Similarly, Deepa Singh and Harmeet Singh had given Rs 45,000 to Dilbara Singh on August 25 for the same purpose. But he did not keep his words, taking the excuse of being ill. When the complainants started demanding the money back from him, he said, he was not in a position to return the money. Acting on the complaint, the police has arrested Dilbara Singh.

Six arrested: The Khanna police has arrested six persons in the last week under the Gambling Act. They have been identified as Raju, a resident of Model Town; Kala, a resident of Billan Bali Chappran, Khanna; Vijay Kumar, a resident of Ram Nagar, Khanna; Nand Lal alias Nandi, a resident of Gill Colony, Samrala; Varinder Kumar, a resident of Rajewal village; and Atma Singh, a resident of Bagli Kalan. The police have recovered Rs 2,985 from them. They have also recovered 12 bottles of liquor from Sarwan Singh, a resident of ward no. 17, Majri, Khanna. He, too, has been arrested.


One killed: The sarpanch of Duburjee village, Mr Kulwinder Pal Singh, died in a road mishap on Sunday night, while he was on his way form Sahnewal to Duburjee. According to sources, the sarpanch applied brakes of his scooter all of a sudden, as a result of which he lost balance, and died of head injury.

Liquor seized: The Sahnewal police has claimed to have seized five bottles of illicit liquor from Mangal Singh of Kalas Kalan village, while he was on his way to Gailewal village. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.


Injured: A conductor of Pritam Bus Service, identified as Jangveer Singh (26), was seriously injured when he fell from the roof of a bus at Kaddon Chowk, near Payal. He was admitted to a hospital for treatment.

Accident: All those travelling in a Maruti Esteem car (no. DL-4C-CG-9112), which wascoming from Pathankot and going to Delhi, on Sunday evening, were injured when its driver applied brakes all of a sudden to save a cow, and a truck hit it from behind. The accident took place near Doraha. The injured have been identified as Gurvinder Singh, Balwidner Singh, Harnam Singh, Sadhu Singh, Gian Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Havinder Singh. They were immediately hospitalised for treatment, and are now reported to be out of danger.


Man strangled: Certain unidentified persons strangled a city resident last night. The police is suspecting that the murderers were three in number and had taken drinks with the victim before killing him at a house in Bajra colony falling under Division No. 3 police station.


Passage dispute leads to murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 25
Mr Pritam Singh of Badal Pati Kaunke Kalan village was murdered by Mewa Singh of the same village as the deceased stopped Mewa Singh for passing over his cart on the passage leading to their field, arguing that that passage was exclusively for him.

A case has been registered under Section 302 of the IPC at the local police station at the instance of Mr Charan Singh, brother of the deceased. In his complaint, he alleged that his brother Pritam singh had purchased the turn of canal water by paying more money than Pritam Singh resulting in altercation.


Youth run over, killed
Our Correspondent

Khamano, June 25
Sarabjit Singh (22), a resident of Khamano Kalan, died in an accident near Nanowal village, near here. According to information available, he was going on a scooter (CH-01T-2959) when he rammed into a tractor-trailer laden with sand. The tractor-trailer ran over him, injuring him seriously. He was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, but he died on the way.

The Khamano police has registered a case against Ajaib Singh who was driving the tractor-trailer.

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