Tuesday, July 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



‘Passers’ milking Excise Dept profits
17 trucks detained in excise raid
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 9
“Passers” doing business by printing bill books of financially weak firms after acquiring power of attorney from them and using them to consign goods all over the country may be in for trouble with the Excise and Taxation Department detained 17 truckloads of goods during a surprise checking yesterday.

Under the system the traders engage individuals who take the responsibility of escorting goods clandestinely out of the state at their own risk for which a hefty amount is charged from the actual owner. These individuals known as “passers” in the Excise parlance, obtain power of attorney in their names of the existing firms who are otherwise too weak to conduct their own business.

These ‘passers’ get the bill books printed in the name of such firms and use them for consigning goods all over the country. Once these goods cross the Punjab border, the documents are destroyed and no record of such transactions is maintained. The ‘passers’ then drop these firms with no record.

Disclosing details of the raids, Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner Anurag Verma said 12 of the trucks detained after a check near Zirakpur by Deputy Director, Enforcement Capt P.S. Shergill were being escorted by such passers. He said goods were owned by M/s Ishwar Trading Corporation, M/s Aggarwal Iron Industries, M/s Ishu Steel Traders and M/s Moonlight Industries. He said all these firms were owned by fictitious passers.

Mr Verma said 17 truck loads of goods worth Rs 50 lakh were detained in which evasion was being attempted. He said five of the detained vehicles belonged to J.D. Transport, Patiala Carriers, Patiala Transport Company and Malwa Transport Company.

The official said these companies were already under scrutiny by the department and that heavy penalties had been imposed on them earlier too. He said the other detained vehicles were carrying iron and steel goods from Mandi Gobindgarh to Delhi and UP.

Speaking about the action which could be taken against the firms whose power of attorney was used by “passers”, Mr Verma said information regarding suspect firms would be recorded at the various information collecting centres (ICC ) adding it was difficult to force them to pay up huge penalties due to their weak financial status.

The Excise official also disclosed that another anomaly discovered during the recent raids was that transporters were either using an escape route which did not have an ICC or passing through the ICC by presenting fictitious documents.

He said seven of the vehicles detained yesterday by Capt Shergill had come through the ICCs and the remaining were detected on the escape routes. He said a penalty of Rs 15 to 20 lakh was likely to be imposed on them.


Oppn demands minister’s resignation
Congress councillor’s death in jail
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 9
An increase in the number of inmates dying in jails has put a question mark on the working of jails and has instilled a sense of fear among the inmates lodged in different jails of the state.

Meanwhile, the death of local Congress councillor Vijay Kumar Paplu in the local Central Jail here on Saturday under mysterious circumstances has led the opposition parties to join hands and demand the resignation of the Punjab Jail Minister, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar. Mr Kohar has, however, claimed improvement in the condition of jails during the past three years.

Information gathered by The Tribune reveals about 200 jail inmates have died since the SAD-BJP combine government came into power in 1997. What is more intriguing is that most such deaths have been shrouded in mystery. What usually led to failure of the higher authorities to bring the guilty to book has been an inordinate delay in issuance of post-mortem reports, particularly of those inmates who died after eating some poisonous substance. In such cases viscera of the deceased is sent to the forensic laboratory in Patiala. What has put a question mark on the working of the local jail authorities is the death of four inmates during the past about one year, including the recent death of Paplu, which has sent shock waves among all those who are lodged in different jails of the state. The district administration has booked a Deputy Superintendent, Jails, on charges of hatching a conspiracy against Paplu. Paplu’s sister Rajni had alleged that her brother was “poisoned” by two inmates inside the jail with the connivance of the Deputy Superintendent. Paplu’s death had sparked off widespread protests in the city and the Punjab Congress Committee, led by its senior vice-president, Mr Avtar Henry, too had alleged that Paplu had been “murdered” inside the jail and had demanded a CBI probe into recent incidents of deaths of inmates in different jails of the state.

Gurnam Singh, who was serving his term in the Kapurthala jail, had also died under suspicious circumstances on May 25, with the investigating officers maintaining that he was not provided with timely medical aid, which could have saved his life. Another mysterious death which had attracted criticism about the way jails were being managed was the death of Joginder Ram in the Bathinda jail last year. There has also been a rise in the number of “suicides” in jails.

It is learnt that Vijay Kumar, a Kapurthala jail inmate, committed “suicide” on January 13, 1997, followed by Ranjit Singh who committed “suicide” in the Sangrur jail on February 14. Similarly, Kashmir Singh committed “suicide” in the Ferozepore jail, while Hukam Chand and Rajinder Kumar put an end to their lives in the Patiala jail. Malkit Singh another inmate there also committed “suicide” on May 18, 1999.

When contacted, the Punjab Jail Minister claimed that the condition of jails had seen much improvement during the past three years. He said the state government had also introduced a new arrangement under which the deputy commissioners and judicial officers would visit jails on a regular basis. He said the investigation into the death of the Congress councillor had been entrusted to the Inspector-General of the Jalandhar range and added that the guilty would not be spared.


Punjab to set up 130 mini power plants
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 9
The Punjab Government has decided to set up 130 mini hydro electric power generation plants to fill the gap between demand and supply.

This was stated by Minister for Science and Technology, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg here today. Talking to mediapersons he said power plants would be set up by private parties only as the government had no plans to enter the business as yet. Mr Garg who has returned from his state visit to the European Union said developed countries had set up mini hydro electric power plants with minimum investments and maximum success, some of the plants were set up about 80 years ago and were running successfully even today. Power plants with a capacity ranging between 1 MW to 20 MW had been set up successfully. The requirement of manpower and the cost of the maintenance of the plants was also very low, he said.

The minister said power produced from such plants would be bought by the PSEB at Rs 3.01 per unit and the same cost would be maintained by private operators for five years. The cost of installation of a 1 MW power plant comes out to be about Rs 1 crore but decreases as the capacity goes up. The plants would generate profit for about 30 years as per estimates, the minister added.

Some of such power generation plants had been set up at Nepal and the private companies offering technological knowhow had asked Indian representatives to visit the same. The cost of buying technology was negligible as compared to the benefits in terms of power generation and other benefits, he added. Mr Garg said that the government was in the process of identifying the sites and tenders for setting up the power plants would be placed shortly. The minister said the foundation stone of the railway overbridge at the railway crossing number 245-A, would be laid by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on August 15.

Another overbridge at the Patiala Phatak, near Model Town would be constructed in the next financial year and the cost and other estimates were being prepared.


Varsity fails to implement decision
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 9
Poor and meritorious students from rural areas have been left in the lurch by Punjabi University which has failed to implement the decision of its Syndicate creating 10 per cent additional seats for them, even as the admission process on the campus draws to a close.

The university Syndicate had in a decision taken on January 25 decided to create 10 per cent additional seats of sanctioned seats in all teaching departments for poor and meritorious students from rural students. At least five seats were to be created for them in each department and they were to be exempted from paying any fee.

Even though the Syndicate decision in this regard was taken in January no guidelines were issued to the various heads of departments instructing them, as to how these were to be implemented.

In a knee-jerk reaction, the university authorities recently informed all heads of departments of the Syndicate decision. A letter written by the Deputy Registrar-cum-Officer on Special Duty to the Vice-Chancellor directs all heads of departments to implement the Syndicate decision while making admissions in their departments.

Departmental heads are, however, baffled at the directions. A department head, who claimed he had received the directions only today, said he had written to the authorities to give guidelines under which the decision was to be implemented. He said though students from rural areas could be identified, who would identify “poor and meritorious” students. Department heads said in the absence of any mechanism to do so, they would be unable to implement the scheme.

Though the Vice-Chancellor was not available for comment, a letter written by him to the Chief Minister on June 27 refers to a meeting on the issue in which the Principal Secretary, Education, and other Vice-Chancellors also participated. It says that at the meeting a view had emerged that recommendations for the earmarked seats would be made by the Deputy Commissioners and sent to the universities via the Chief Minister’s secretariat.

The Vice-Chancellor in the letter has requested the Chief Minister to get the priority-wise lists of the poor and meritorious students expedited. He has said that any information required by the Deputy Commissioners would be made readily available to them.

Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir, when contacted, said he could not take any action in the matter as no guidelines had been received in this regard from the state government. He said as a common scheme was envisaged for allotting extra seats to poor and meritorious students in all universities of the state, a common policy was likely to be announced by the Education Department. He said the students could be identified only if the perimeters for selection were laid out.

Meanwhile, students expecting to benefit from the scheme may be in for a long wait. “Nothing has been done in the matter even as the university is in the process of winding up its admission process”, said Narinder Singh of Dakala.

He said with the university having taken a decision in this regard in January, the issue of how the candidates were to be selected should have been finalised earlier. He said if the matter was delayed further students might not be able to gain admission in the university under this new category, rendering the Syndicate decision in this regard farcical.


Autopsy report raises queries
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, July 9
The post-mortem report of Jaspal Singh of Saheri village, near Morinda, who died in police custody about five months ago, has raised many an eyebrow due to its unexpected results. Reliable sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said as per the report of the chemical examination of the viscera, which was recently received by the district administration, Jaspal died as a result of poisoning caused due to the consumption of the infamous anti-pest drug, organo phosphorus.

Jaspal Singh, a Dalit youth, was picked up by the Morinda police on February 7 this year on the complaint of Surjit Singh of the same village. He died in police custody the same day under mysterious circumstances. The residents of the village led by Bibi Harbhajan Kaur of Gurudwara Rath Sahib and Congress leaders blocked traffic on the Ludhiana-Morinda Road, demanding the registration of a case against the policemen suspected to have caused the death.

Though the case was registered against the five accused, including Head Constable Shingara Singh and Constable Manoj Kumar, the protesting leaders demanded the arrest of the then SHO, Morinda, Mr Tarlochan Singh. After persistent protest by villagers, the SHO was suspended the next day and a case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered against him.

The SHO was later absolved of the charges after an inquiry by then SP (Detective), Ropar, who was the investigating officer in the case. The Deputy Commissioner had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the case, the report of which was still awaited.

In the initial post-mortem conducted at the Ropar Civil Hospital, the doctors admitted there were external injuries on body of Jaspal Singh but none of them was stated to be fatal. To ascertain the exact cause of the death of the deceased youth his viscera was send for chemical examination.

However, the much delayed chemical examination report of the viscera has changed the total perspective of the case. The inference that is being drawn from the report is that the deceased youth had consumed the deadly poison before he was arrested, which later led to his death in custody.

Some legal experts who spoke on condition of anonymity said the latest post-mortem report might absolve the accused of the murder charge. The police would now maintain that the youth died due to consumption of poison rather than as a result of the thrashing received at the hands of cops.

However, others maintain that there were still a lot of lacunae in the theory of suicide that has been brought up by the latest post-mortem report. Organo phosphorus starts eroding the stomach and intestines within 15 minutes of consumption. Had the deceased youth consumed it before being arrested the reaction would have started before he was shifted to the police lock-up. The intake of organo phosphorus leads to severe pain and if the youth was suffering from it, he should have been taken to the hospital directly.

However, in the present case the youth was taken to the lock-up and brought dead to the hospital. Moreover, if the organo phosphorus is not washed out of the stomach of the victim, his life expectancy is just a few hours during which he undergoes unbearable pain. Had the deceased undergone such pain then the question occurs why he was not shifted to the hospital immediately.


Rules manipulated — a clarification
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 9
Refuting the allegations of manipulation in rules in order to accommodate his daughter-in-law as Medical Officer in the Health Department, Mr Janmeja Sekhon, Irrigation Minister, has termed the story “Rules manipulated for job to VIP kin’ as baseless and fabricated.

He clarified that his daughter-in-law, whose name is Mrs Ratnawali, is an arts graduate from Panjab University. How could she apply for the post of doctor in the Health Department and that too under the handicapped category.

He asserted that till date he had not even recommended the name of any person to the Health Department. Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Health Minister, when contacted said no such case had ever come to his notice calling the story a bunch of lies. Mr Sekhon said the Secretary (Health) was away to Bangalore in connection with official work so there was no question of his conducting an interview in Chandigarh.

Ms Rattanawali Sekhon, said in a written statement in Chandigarh today that she had nothing to do with either the medical profession or the Punjab Health Corporation. Reacting to the news item, she claimed to be the only daughter-in-law of Mr Sekhon and said she took the B.A. (final year) examination of Panjab University as a private candidate this year.

She also furnished her identity card of Panjab University. The inadvertent error is regretted.


DTH no threat to cable TV
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 9
The Director, Marketing, NG Technologies, Mr Pardeep Nanda, who was here today in connection with the ‘Technological awareness meet’ for the cable service providers said the cable industry faced no threat from the direct to home (DTH) TV technology.

Mr Nanda said the DTH would offer only one channel per platform whereas the cable TV offered as many as 100 channels using a single cable.

Also the DTH could not compete with the cable TV in terms of economy and access to rural and suburban areas.

He said it was not possible as yet to offer transmission via optical fibres. Even advanced countries were using the co-axial cable in the Radio Frequency mode for transmission, he said. It was not possible for a poor country like India, he said, to opt for digital TV technology when cost effective analogue TV technology was available. In a culturally diverse country, cable TV was the only viable medium, he claimed.

Mr Nanda said the cable TV industry had grown in to one of the most viable industries in the past nine years and had generated about one million jobs.

The revenue generated by the industry was about Rs 8,000 crore and broadcasters also generated about Rs 8,000 crore.

The 50,000 cable operators had connected more than four crore people in just nine years, he said.

He refuted charges of bullying cable service providers by the pay channels saying that they had their say.

In certain cities like Kolkata and Ranchi, cable operators had bycotted the pay channels for full month over the issue, he said.

As many as 300 cable service providers attended the seminar which was also addressed by Dr A.S. Rastogi, president of the National Cable Operators Union, Mr Gulshan Sehgal, Director, Technology of NG Technologies, Mr Roop Sharma, president of the Cable Operators Federation of India, Mr Raj Kamal Popa, secretary of the district cable operators union, addressed the seminar.


Mann’s poser to CM on Sikh youths in jails
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, in a statement has asked Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, why Sikh youths languishing in jails cannot be released when former hardcore terrorists have been allowed entry into the country.

In a press note issued here today, the party secretary, Mr Raghbir Singh Sandhu, said the Akali-BJP government had pushed the farmers of Punjab to the well by their casual attitude towards lifting their produce from the mandis. The SAD (A) accused the Chief Minister of making an drama of the so-called “sangat darshan” progremmes for which money, he said, was coming from loans taken from different places.

Mr Mann called upon the Chief Minister to give any instance when an erring police officer was dismissed. He said Mr Badal was merely concentrating on giving plum posts to his near and dear ones.


400 villagers hit by gastroenteritis
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Abohar, July 9
Gastroenteritis seems to have acquired epidemic dimensions in Malukpur area of this subdivision of Ferozepore as at least 400 people have been hit by it in the past two days.

For Malwa region comprising Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Moga, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Patiala, Sangrur and Ludhiana, it has been a summer of diseases. Jaundice, gastroenteritis and hepatitis-B have struck various pockets in the region and claimed several lives.

In the past many months, hepatitis-B and gastroenteritis has claimed five lives in Bathinda district alone.

Information gathered from official circles revealed that gastroenteritis struck in the area in a big way due to consumption of contaminated water by residents. The other villages where the residents had been affected were Dhaban Kotrian and Jodhpur.

Sources said cases of gastroenteritis were first reported on Friday. Within two days, the disease had hit 400 people, including children.

On Saturday, medical teams from different parts of Ferozepore district started arriving here and patients administered treatment in the government school at Malukpur, nearby private clinics and the government hospital here.

Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, who visited the affected areas today and met patients, announced that Rs 2 lakh would be given for chlorinating water sources.

Official sources said a team of doctors which visited the village took a number of samples of the water for examination.

Mr Ladhar said all waterworks would be supplied with adequate quantity of bleaching powder for which money had been released. A meeting of Public Health officials had been convened on July 10 in the connection.

He said necessary directions had been given to the authorities to raise the level of government taps installed in rural areas.

He said to improve drinking water supply in the whole district, a project worth Rs 133 crore had been sent to the government.

He said all patients would get treatment from government doctors as per their convenience and the district administration would also make arrangements for medicines.


Boycott Baba’s functions: clergy
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 9
Taking exception to the blasphemous acts of Baba Pyara Singh Bhanyara, who has been excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for his ‘anti-Panthic’ activities, the Sikh clergy today directed the Sikh ‘sangat’ not to attend any function of the baba.

The five Sikh high priests, who held a meeting at the Akal Takht secretariat here today, said the “Bhawsagar Granth” which carried highly inflammable and derogatory wordings against the Sikh Gurus and Sikhism could not be tolerated.

The Sikh clergy said any Sikh who would attend the “so-called gurmat functions” being organised by Baba Bhanyara would face action by Akal Takht as per the Sikh ‘maryada’.

The Sikh high priests who met were Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Damdama Sahib, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, and Giani Gurbachan Singh, Granthi, Golden Temple.

Meanwhile, Mr Karnail Singh Pirmohammad, president, All-India Sikh Students Federation, today sought an immediate ban on the ‘granth’ published to glorify Baba Bhanyara. He said if the state government failed to impose a ban on the granth, the AISSF would launch an agitation.

He said the actions of Baba Bhanyara could result in a 1978-like situation. Mr Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, spokesman, Dal Khalsa International, said there was a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the alleged ‘anti-Panthic’ activities of Baba Bhanyara.

Earlier, a 21-member committee formed by residents of Gurdaspur briefed the Sikh clergy on the activities of Baba Bhanyara.

Jathedar Vedanti said during the forthcoming summit between Delhi and Islamabad, the Government of India should take up the case of renovation of Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

He said Sikh ‘maryada’ should be restored in all gurdwaras of Pakistan and kar sewa be performed as per Sikh tradition.


Probe ordered against police negligence
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 9
The Ferozepore SSP, Mr Harchand Singh Sidhu, has ordered inquiry against the Talwandi Bhai and Zira police against the alleged negligence in informing the parents of Gurvinder Singh, an M.Tech. student of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, and resident of Dogar Basti, Faridkot, whose dead body was found from a farm at Haraaj village near Talwandi Bhai on July 5.

Mr Joginder Kumar DSP, Ferozepore, subdivision, has been deputed to hold the inquiry.

Talking to The Tribune the inquiry officer who arrived here today to record the statement of the father of the deceased, Mr Balwinder Singh, said he had already recorded the statement of Mr Malkiat Singh baildar of Dheema Shaheed village under Zira police station who found the body on June 25 and later informed it to the Zira police. However, the police took it lightly and paid no attention charged the baildar. The inquiry officer also recorded the statement of Mr Harpal Singh, SHO, Ghal Khurd,under whose police station the Talwandi Bhai area falls. Mr Kumar said he would submit his report to his seniors by the evening.

Mr Harpal Singh, SHO, who accompanied the inquiry officer denied that he knew that the body was lying in the farm at Haraaj village. He said he came to know about this from the parents of the deceased who had arrived at Talwandi Bhai.

Mr Balwinder Singh, father of the deceased, had demanded action against the Talwandi Bhai and Zira police for their failure in handling the case properly.

Gurvinder Singh disappeared from his hostel in PAU on June 22. He was married to an NRI and was to leave for the USA in about a months time.


Irregular eating habits result in dyspepsia’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 9
Irregular eating habits, long fasting followed by heavy meals, excessive use of tea, coffee, spicy food and alcohol are some of the common factors leading to various digestion problems or what is called in medical terminology as dyspepsia.

This was stated by Dr Rajesh Kochar, Additional Professor of Gastroenterology, PGI, Chandigarh while speaking on ‘Clinical approach to dyspepsia’ during the 19th Medical Education Programme organised by the Patiala branch of the Indian Medical Association at Government Medical College, Patiala.

Dr Kochar said 15 to 40 per cent population in India shows signs of bad digestion at least once a year. He added that 20 to 55 per cent of these cases become chronic showing recurrence of the symptoms. The common symptoms of dyspepsia are pain in upper part of abdomen with discomfort, heart-burns, fullness in abdomen and regurgitation of food or acid in a person suffering from this problem.

Observing rare attendance during the CME, Dr D.S.Bhullar, spokesman, IMA, Punjab, and chairman, in-service cell of the IMA, appealed the younger generation doctors to enroll themselves as members of the IMA in order to keep themselves in touch with the latest developments in the field of medicines.


A water-logged town
Parmod Bharti

Residents here, especially of Kothi Road, Geeta Bhawan Road, Arya Samaj Road, Committee Bazar, still brave the waterlogging problem.

The town, in fact, is a ‘Neevan Shahr’ ( a low-lying area) as compared to the adjoining villages. The problem was born with its settlement about 600 years ago. Earlier rainwater would discharge into four ponds constructed on the each side of the town. Rainwater from adjoining villages used to flood it.

The Municipal Committee has raised the level of various roads which floods low-level areas. Waist-deep water gets accumulated in localities like Kothi Road, Arya Samaj Road, Geeta Bhawan Road and the main bazars.

Rainwater enters into the shops and houses of these localities. Rainwater recedes more than two hours after rain stops. The nullah which runs from Kothi Road and Arya Samaj Road has not been desilted. Moreover, dung generated in dairies at Arya Samaj Road chokes the nullah.


Rs 1 cr approved for each constituency
Our Correspondent

Moga, July 9
The Punjab Government has approved a sum of Rs 1 crore for each of its Assembly constituencies for developmental works. This was stated by the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, while addressing a rural meeting, organised by the Sports Club at Manuke village under Baghapurana police station in the district yesterday.

During the current year the government agencies have procured wheat worth Rs 6,700 crore. The farmers have earned a profit of Rs 8, crore, he said. The Education Minister said the government had also disbursed a sum of Rs 67 lakh among the farmers of the district who were forced to sell paddy at lower rates. He sanctioned Rs 3 lakh for the development of Manuka village and Rs 75 lakh for the expansion of the three clubs of the village.


Rickshaw-puller dies in house collapse
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 9
One rickshaw-puller was killed last night in a house collapse while his daughter received injuries in the Gujjarpur area of the city.

Last week, three persons were buried alive in the debris when a 100-year-old building collapsed in the Katra Ahluwalia area of the walled city, killing two minor children and their mother.

The BJP MLA, Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, in whose constituency the Gujjapura locality falls, told newspersons this morning that Kartar Chand was living in a one-room set in the old building and during yesterday’s rain the roof collapsed and he was buried alive under the debris. She has requested the Deputy Commissioner to provide suitable compensation to the family which has no means of livelihood.

Mrs Chawla said the Gujjarpura area had almost become a slum due to the apathetic attitude of the civic authorities where sewage and rainwater accumulate on the roads and in the lanes, thus making these old houses vulnerable to dilapidation. A large number of old residential areas with old buildings need to be declared unsafe for occupation, she added.

She urged the civic administration and the municipal corporation to conduct a survey for declaring the old and dilapidated houses unsafe for living so that such tragedies could be averted.


Probe into damage of foodgrains sought
Our Correspondent

Moga, July 9
The state government has suffered a huge loss as food grains worth over Rs 250 crore lying in its godowns and also in the open in Moga district for the past several years had been rendered unfit for human consumption last year.

Even godowns built a few years ago in several villages in the district had not been used to save the food grains. No action has been taken against the responsible officials.

Former president of Punjab unit of the BKU, Mr Kuldip Singh Sandhu, said here today that huge stocks of food grains lying in the godowns in several villages in the district were rotting and had been rendered unfit for human consumption.

He has demanded an inquiry into it and action against erring officers of the department concerned.

According to reports, stocks worth several lakhs of rupees lying in the godowns at Langeana village on the Baghapurana-Mudki road has been rendered unfit for human consumption.


MP takes up cause of women labourers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 9
Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, MP, today said the government had not been taking steps for the uplift of women farm labourers. Presiding over a meeting convened by him in connection with the forthcoming conference on farm women labour here, he said women farm labourers were the most neglected section of society. He said even though they constituted half of the population of farm labourers they were still subject to social victimisation.

Those who attended the meeting included Mr Hardev Arshi, MLA, Mr Jagjit Joga, General Secretary, CPI, Bathinda district, and Mr Gulzar Goriya, General Secretary, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha. Mr Bhora said all political parties and NGOs should come forward and make efforts to improve the lot of women labourers. They should be given better wages and there should be holidays and allowances for pregnant women.

Mr Goriya said a campaign would be launched from September 29.


Top IAS posts lying vacant
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, July 9
The working in several government offices here has been badly affected due to apathy on part of the state government as almost all important administrative posts of the Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Assistant Commissioner (General), Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), Executive Magistrate are lying vacant for a considerable period of time in the district. No person has been posted as ADC(G) vice Mr R.G. Sahota who retired in February. Mr Som Nath Hoshiarpuri who was looking after the job of the ADC (Development) was transferred to Fazilka as the ADC against a newly created post. Since then Mr H.L. Kumar posted as the Deputy Director (local government) has also been given an additional charge of both offices. Mr Kumar is looking after the post of ADC (G) since March 2 and that of the ADC (Development) since May 5th.

Similarly, no officer has yet been posted as the Assistant Commissioner (General) in lieu of Mr Rajdeep Singh Brar who was transferred overnight after his alleged involvement in the Kartar Singh’s suicide case. No officer has been deputed against the post of the AC (Grievances) since long time. In the absence of the AC (General), the work of sangat darshan, relief and resettlement branches has been suffering thereby inviting adverse criticism from all corners.

Although, Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, has given an additional charge of AC (General) to the DTO, Mr Jaskiran Singh, he is hardly able to devote much time to the Transport Department. When asked, Mr Hira Lal Kumar, who was looking after the posts of the DDLG, ADC and the ADC (D) said he spends an hour in the morning in the DDLG’s office disposing urgent matters, from there he goes to the ADC (Development) office where he spends couple of hours and for the rest of the day he sits in the ADC’s (General) office.

The post of the Executive Magistrate has been lying vacant for past several years due to which the work of the copying and record branches was suffering.

When contacted, Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, said he was aware of the problem and had already spoken to the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora. Mr Arora had assured him that soon officers would be placed against these posts.


6 booked for hooliganism
Tribune News Service

Rampuraphul, July 9
The local police has registered a criminal case against six local residents for alleged hooliganism at a function here on Saturday night. The function was attended by a Minister of the Punjab Government.

The Station House Officer (SHO), local police station, when contacted, said an FIR had been registered against the six on a complaint by staff members of the local subdivisional Magistrate’s office.

He said a case had been registered under Sections 457, 353 and 186 of the IPC against Rakesh, Manohar Lal, Pali, Kala, Sanjay and Kala.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that a police party raided the premises of the suspects in the wee hours today and took into custody a few of their relatives. However, when the atmosphere started getting tense over these detentions they were freed.


Minor raped
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 9
The Kotwali police has arrested Anwar, alias Chirri, of Alludipur village on the charge of raping a minor girl of the same village.

According to a report, the father of the girl alleged that on July 5 Anwar had enticed away his daughter from the home in his absence and on his failure to trace his daughter he lodged a complaint with the police. The police recovered the girl from the custody of Anwar at Malsian village in Jalandhar.

In a statement recorded before the magistrate, the girl alleged that Anwar took her from the village on the pretext of marrying and then raped her.

A case under Section 376 of the IPC has been registered against Anwar.


4 get jail term in assault case
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 9
Mr Karnail Singh, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), on July 5 sentenced four persons to one and half years and directed them to pay a fine of Rs 1,500 each in an assault case.

According to the complainant, Tara Singh of Jangal village, his relatives had been asking him to hand over his land to them, claiming that they were joint owners.

Later, the accused attached him and caused injuries. A case was registered against the accused under Sections 326, 324, 323 and 34, IPC.


Jobs elude selected candidates
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 9
The job of a lecturer in various subjects in the government schools of the state has been eluding several applicants for the past nine years despite the fact that they are eligible for these posts.

These applicants were interviewed during the previous Congress regime by an interview committee for the post of lecturer for which advertisements were inserted in various newspapers in 1992.

After the interviews were over, the applicants who figured in the merit list, were issued appointment letters by post.

However, appointment letters did not reach 33 of the 124 selected candidates allegedly due to negligence on the part of the authorities concerned. After the SAD-BJP combine came to power in Punjab, a committee was constituted by the Vidhan Sabha to conduct a probe into the matter.

From every candidate who did not get the interview letter on his or her permanent address and a declaration that he or she has not got any appointment letter, was taken by the Punjab Government through District Education Officers (DEOs).

However, even after these candidates submitted all details and completed all other formalities, they were not issued appointment letters.

Mr Rishi Raj, one of the candidates, said for the past nine years, he had been waiting for the appointment letter as he had submitted all details which were required by the Punjab Government.

Another candidate Mukesh Lata had also requested the authorities concerned to examine her case as she had submitted her declaration and other details.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that the seven-member Vidhan Sabha committee which conducted a probe into the matter had recommended stern action against those who were in charge of the selection process and appointment of lecturers at that time.

The committee in its report said during inquiry it was established that appointment letters to 124 candidates were issued after the interviews by the selection committee, but 33 candidates did not get these letters.

However, the candidates pointed out that the number of candidates who had been “victimised” in the matter of issuance of appointment letters after their selection was very large and demanded that the Punjab Government should issue appointment letters to all of them.


Villagers lock school, stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chak Ramsinghwala (Bathinda), July 9
Residents of the village along with panchayat members today locked the local government school and started an indefinite dharna for not upgrading the school.

The residents faced stiff resistance from the police while locking the gate. They announced that the school would remain closed and dharna would continue until the justice was done.

They alleged that the high school was to be upgraded to the plus two level from the current academic session and primary school of neighbouring Chak Fathesinghwala village to middle level. But the authorities had upgraded the primary school at Chak Fathesinghwala to senior secondary school.

Although the result of the matric examination has been declared yet admission for plus one classes has not begun at the local school.

The education authorities said the primary school had been upgraded due to some mistake. Although the Director, Education Department (Secondary) had been requested to make an amendment in the list of the schools that had been upgraded to the plus two level, nothing concrete had been done so far, the residents alleged.

They alleged that the authorities had changed the address of the local school to make it appear that the school was situated at Chak Fathesinghwala. A teacher had also been posted at the school in the neighbouring village.


Make varsity Chairs functional’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
A meeting of the Punjab unit of the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes Morcha of the BJP was held here under the chairmanship of Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, president of the state unit of party.

After the meeting, Mr Vijay Sampla, president of the morcha, said that representatives of the morcha would meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the VC of GND University, Amritsar to urge them to make functional the Dr Ambedkar, Sand Kabir and Guru Ravi Dass Chairs in that university.

He also urged the government to clear the backlog of vacant posts reserved for the SCs and the BCs in government departments. Seeking reservation in the promotion of teachers to the post of headmaster, Mr Sampla said the government should do justice to poor sections. He said stipends meant for students of the SC and BC categories should be paid at the earliest.

The morcha decided to hold workers’ meetings at district headquarters till September 30.


Board’s functioning to be computerised
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 9
Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, while talking to mediapersons here today, said the functioning of the education board would be computerised within next two years. The chairman, who was here to inaugurate the newly constructed building of Shivalik Public School denied that the result of more than 50,000 students of class X would be declared later. The result of only about 5,000 students had been withheld which would be declared in due course, he said.

He rejected the view that the class X result was poor due to large-scale deployment of teachers for census at the time of examination. He said the reason for unsatisfactory result was that the board had succeeded in checking copying effectively.

The chairman said the board would evolve a new strategy to check copying. A proposal to change the examination centres was being considered. Later on, Dr Kehar Singh appealed to teachers to encourage vocational training in plus one and plus two classes. He said all teachers who had performed duties at stations other than their posting place would be paid additional travelling allowance.


Amend eligibility clause, urge applicants
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 9
Resentment prevails among a large number of trained science graduates who have qualified their non-medical examination because of confusion created by the Departmental Selection Committee (Teaching) of the state Education Department while advertising the eligibility conditions for the posts of non-medical teachers.

Several candidates who did B.Sc with physics, mathematics and computer science said here yesterday that they had been rendered ineligible for the post of science (non-medical) teachers because of the eligibility condition they should have passed their B.Sc. examination with physics, chemistry and mathematics.

The candidates said when they sought admission to the B.Sc. course, the combination of physics, mathematics and computer science was valid.

They have urged the government and the Chairman, Departmental Selection Committee, to amend the eligibility clause by including any two subjects from physics, chemistry and mathematics as had been done in the case of science (medical) teachers.

In their case, as per an advertisement dated June 28, the eligibility condition was B.Sc. with chemistry, botany and zoology.

However, according to reports, on July 4, an amendment was made, whereby in some advertisements it was mentioned that B.Sc. with any of the two subjects out of the three mentioned in the initial advertisement were required. 


VC attends parallel PUTA’s function
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 9
Despite protests from the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA), the Vice-Chancellor today attended a function held by the parallel PUTA to honour teachers promoted under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS). PUTA had yesterday charged the Vice-Chancellor of giving legitimacy to the parallel PUTA by attending a function organised by it.

In the function today, the VC promised the faculty payment of arrears by October, 2001. He also promised promotions under CAS from July 28, 1998, as introduced by the Punjab Government.

He exhorted the parallel PUTA to arrange a similar social get-together to felicitate the promoted teacher and join in their happiness.

Earlier, the parallel PUTA secretary, Dr D.P. Goyal, introduced the faculty and welcomed the VC and teachers to the new academic session. The parallel PUTA president, Dr Manjit Singh, appreciated the move of the VC for promoting a large number of teachers. He said the promotions made in the university had been considered a historic decision that would influence the academic atmosphere of the university.

The VC congratulated the promoted teachers and appreciated the faculty for bringing the name of the university at the global level. He hoped that the faculty would exploit their talent and potential for academic excellence.


Punjabi varsity results
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 9
Punjabi University today declared the results of MA Education II, MA Anthropological Linguistics II, BCA final year and BBA sixth semester. Giving this information, Mr R.K. Sharma, Joint Controller of Examinations, Punjabi University said the university would declare the results of MA Defence Studies II, B.Sc. I and B.Com. I on Tuesday. Mr Sharma added that the result cards were being dispatched to the respective departments and colleges whereas the copies of the result gazette had been made available at the enquiry counter.


Admission policy
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 9
The university has declared the policy of admission to the Post-Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications in the colleges affiliated to the university.

Dr J.R. Gupta, Dean, College Development Council of the University said the admissions would be finalised by the respective colleges on the basis of performance of the candidates in the centralised entrance test conducted by the university.


Yashoda Devi scholarship
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 9
Dr Mohan Lal Garg, sponsor for the Mata Yashoda Devi Memorial Scholarship, said in a press note issued here today that a gold medal and Rs 10,000 would be awarded to a bona fide resident of the city who stood first in the district in Punjab PMT.

Dr Garg said the candidates were required to have passed plus two exam from any institute of the city and the claims for the awards could be put in through the heads of the institutes.

A sum of Rs 10,000 and the gold medal would be awarded to the student on August 15, 2001 at Independence Day celebration function here, he said.

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