Thursday, July 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Speculation over Tandon’s visit
Early elections in Punjab?
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Amidst speculation of an early poll in Punjab, the visit of Mr B.B. Tandon, new member of the Election Commission of India, to the city tomorrow where he will hold meetings with senior officials of the state government, has assumed tremendous significance.

Though the officials maintain that this is his first visit to Chandigarh after assuming charge of his new assignment, they admit that among various issues to be discussed with him was the preparedness of the state for the coming Assembly elections.

“There is no indication as yet of the poll being advanced,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity, maintaining that the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections were likely to be clubbed.

One of the important issues to be discussed with the Punjab election officials will be the position with regard to voters’ identity cards. Compared to neighbouring states, including Haryana, Punjab’s performance has not been that good.

So far, the state has achieved a little more than 70 per cent success in issuing voters’ identity cards in the state. At present, no such cards are being issued.

“Hopefully, the process of making voters’ identity cards will resume in the second half of next month,” sources said. One of the state undertakings — ESPL — may continue to undertake the work. This time the number of vendors for the work may be increased.

Since the latest direction of the commission has been to use only electronic voting machines (EVMs), the state authorities foresee no organisational problems in case the Assembly elections are advanced.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, has opposed the use of EVMs in the elections, maintaining that these “can be manipulated and tampered with”.

“But EVMs were used in all five states where Assembly elections were held recently,” the sources said.

Mr Tandon is also expected to hold meetings with the Chief Electoral Officers of Haryana and Chandigarh. But, unlike Punjab, these meetings are routine review meetings.

In fact, after Mr Rakesh Singh returned to his parent state of Punjab at the end of his deputation period last month, his successor as the Chief Electoral Officer is yet to be formally named. Mr Karan Avtar Singh has already joined as Finance Secretary, Chandigarh Administration.


Two policemen suspended on extortion charge
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 11
The suspension of the entire naka party comprising an ASI and five other officials at the Madhopur barrier on the charge of alleged harassment of people travelling to and from Jammu and Pathankot has not deterred their successors from checking mala fide practices.

Mr Gurdev Singh, SP (Headquarters) got a complaint that the naka party extorted Rs 50 per vehicle coming back from the Vaishno Devi shrine yesterday on the pretext of opening pilgrims luggage for a check.

Head Constable Bhajan Lal and Constable Gurmit Singh of the naka party have now been suspended.

Four Sumos which had pilgrims to Vaishno Devi as passengers were yesterday stopped by a langar party at Madhopur for partaking of langar.

The langar was inaugurated by Mr Sat Pal Saini, Minister of State for Technical Education. When the pilgrims went to have langar they were introduced to Mr Saini who was still present on the occasion.

The pilgrims were vocal with the minister and said money was extorted from them as soon as they came to the Madhopur barrier.

The minister left the scene after promising them he would ask the SSP to punish the guilty.

Mr Bal Krishan Mittal, president of the district unit of the BJP, was also present on the occasion.

The SP (Headquarters) placed them under suspension and shifted them to Police Lines here.

More than 1,000 buses and cars carrying pilgrims to Vaishno Devi and Amarnath pass through Madhopur daily.

Sources said the vehicles bringing back pilgrims were forced to pay Rs 50 per vehicle. When the pilgrims question them, about their extortion the policemen unhesitatingly reply that they have to pay Rs 30,000 per month to their superiors.

The policemen on naka duty have to wear their nameplates on their uniforms. The accused had put their nameplates in their pockets.


PSGPC ‘eyes’ gurdwara assets
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 11
Even as the agenda for the proposed summit between Delhi and Islamabad is yet to be finalised, the SGPC has categorically stated that non-Sikhs cannot be allowed to run the affairs of gurdwaras in any part of the world.

As per the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, the SGPC has the sole right to run the affairs of Sikh shrines.

Expressing concern over the statements of Mr Sham Singh, Co-chairman, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC), that the SGPC had failed to renovate Pakistan gurdwaras, the SGPC said he should desist from making misleading statements.

The SGPC alleged that the PSGPC wanted to grab properties worth crores in the name of gurdwaras in Pakistan on one pretext or the other.

The SGPC had taken a serious objection over the formation of the PSGPC on Baisakhi in 1999 to mark the tercentenary of the birth of Khalsa Panth. The then SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had stopped sending jathas to Pakistan in protest against the formation of the PSGPC, headed by Lt-Gen Javed Nasir, a former ISI chief. Bibi Jagir Kaur was of the view that anti-India propaganda was being done during the visit of Sikh devotees in Pakistan. However, the jathas were restored after Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi took over as SGPC chief.

It is for the first time that the SGPC has alleged that the PSGPC wanted to grab the properties of Sikh shrines.

Thousands of acres is in the name of Sikh shrines in Pakistan. In Nankana Sahib alone there is 70,000 hectares in the name of the gurdwara. Similarly, Panja Sahib gurdwara and other gurdwaras have prime land in their names.

The SGPC has also alleged that several Sikh shrines are still closed and are in a dilapidated condition. Earlier, the PSGPC had published a booklet showing the condition of Sikh shrines before and after its formation. It had alleged that the condition of Sikh gurdwaras was in a pitiable condition when the SGPC used to take “golak” (collection of offerings).

Several Sikh organisations have already pointed out that the Government of India should demand disbanding of the PSGPC during the summit.


Cops fail to check cough syrup addiction
Our Correspondent

Bathinda July 11
Despite a drive launched by the district police, “Drug Free Bathinda-2000”, more and more youngsters are getting addicted to cough syrups which are readily available at most of the drug stores in the region.

The proof of this can be found at any of the public toilets of the city. The AC Market, railway station, rooftops of the bus-stand, toilets of cinema houses, canteens of colleges and vacant plots also bear testimony to this.

Many drug stores have been raided in the past as the drugs have been banned so their sale cannot be checked by the police. The cough syrup addiction is common in almost all age groups, but mostly young boys and girls are succumbing to it.

Vijay Kumar (name changed), who got himself de-addicted from the local Red Cross De-addiction Centre, said he got hooked to the cough syrups while he was in college.

“During examination days many of my friends used to take regular dose of cough syrups to increase concentration and sitting capacity. Slowly I developed the habit of smoking also and was a regular buyer of the cough syrups.

The addiction to cough syrups was not easy for my parents to detect as these were easy to procure, consume and the ‘kick’ of these was different from that of alcohol. These do not smell bad either, he added.

Last year, the district police had unearthed a racket of supplying cough syrups to parties at a hotel located in the heart of the city. The addiction has been rising amongst schoolchildren also and it is alleged that in most the colleges the addicts get a regular supply of cough syrups at the hostels. Some of the chemists have been earning their ‘bread and butter’ from the lucrative trade cough syrups with the alleged connivance of police personnel.

Although the cough syrups have been classified under Schedule - H of the Drug Act thereby prohibiting their sale without the prescription of a qualified doctor.

These drugs can not be sold without a bill. But these are generally sold without a bill a prescription right under the nose of district health authorities.

Police sources said the addicts often indulged in petty crimes like petrol lifting, selling house hold and personal belongings, stealing stepneys and often taking loans from friends.

Dr Mehboob Singh Sran, Project Director, Red Cross De-addiction Centre, said girls and boys of professional colleges were among the most addicted.

The phenomenon is so prevalent that in some of the colleges the Mess contractors have written warning signs reading “Drinking of corex and fancy (phensydyl) is strictly prohibited.”

Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP, said the district police had achieved success in its drive against the drugs. Collective efforts of parents, NGOs and students were needed to combat the menace of drug-addiction, he added.


SSP orders action against 2 SHOs
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 11
The district police chief, Ferozepur, Mr Harcharan Singh Sidhu, has ordered departmental action against Mr Harpal Singh, SHO, Ghal Khurd, for his failure to follow the norms while handing over the decomposed body of Gurvinder Singh, an M.Tech student of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, and resident of Dogar Basti, Faridkot, to his parents at Haraaj village near Talwandi Bhai, on July 5.

The SSP has also recommended action against Mr Surinder Mohan, SHO Zira police station for his negligence in recovering the body of the deceased on June 25, from a canal despite the information given by a baildar of Dheema Shaheed village.

Talking to this reporter on telephone today, the SSP said he had taken action after the receipt of the report submitted by the inquiry officer, Mr Joginder Kumar, DSP, Ferozepure division, who was deputed to inquire into the matter in detail. However, the SSP made it clear that both the police officials of Ghal Khurd and Zira police station had not committed any offence yet they failed to perform their duties according to police norms.

The inquiry officer had recorded the statement of Mr Balwinder Singh, father of the deceased, the baildar of Dheema Shaheed village and the other two police officials.

Mr Balwinder Singh had demanded action against the Zira and Ghal Khurd police. It is mentioned here that Gurvinder Singh, the deceased, disappeared from a hostel in PAU on June 22.

He was married to an NRI and was to leave for the USA in about a month’s time. His parents filed an FIR with the Ludhiana police on June 24 about his disappearance under mysterious circumstances.


Rallies, functions mark World Population Day
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Rattled by reports of human trafficking to the USA, Canada, Australia and other countries from Punjab, the state government has proposed to various embassies and high commissions in Delhi to employ youth in their respective countries only through official channels.

Offering all sorts of help to recruit suitable candidates for employment abroad, the Punjab Government has furnished details to the foreign missions in Delhi of its foreign employment cell, which registers aspirants interested in working abroad in various capacities.

Between 10,000 and 20,000 youth move to various countries through illegal channels. They pay between Rs 2 and Rs 10 lakh to travel agents to make it to countries like the USA, Canada and Australia and even Lebanon and Dubai through illegal circuitous routes. The issue perhaps would never have come to light if the Malta boat tragedy, in which nearly 170 youths from the Jalandhar area perished, had not occurred.

That tragedy not only uncovered the racket but also exposed a worldwide network. However, as the state government has not taken any worthwhile step to check the menace of human smuggling, travel agents are continuing their business as usual in spite of reports more tragedies that followed the Malta boat mishap.

Upset over human smuggling, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Labour Minister, Punjab, said he had requested the embassies to provide a list of well-off NRIs and the head offices of multinational and other big companies in their respective countries. Mr Tandon told The Tribune that he would write to NRIs as well the managements of multinational companies (MNCs) to approach the state’s foreign employment cell if they wished employ to people from Punjab.

Mr Tandon said that well-placed NRIs and MNCs were the most potential employers of Punjabi youth. He said the foreign missions would be given the relevant details of those seeking jobs and also requested to access the website of the foreign employment cell in this connection.

Mr Tandon said he would take up the issue of human smuggling with the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on his return from the USA.

Supporting the idea of placing some sort of official checks on travel agents operating in this region, Mr Tandon said he would propose measures required to be taken in this connection.

The state Labour Department authorities have reorganised the foreign employment cell by inducting modern technology. “Our employment exchanges have lost all relevance. We have shifted the focus to the cell”, Mr Tandon said.

The cell maintains the complete record, including biodata, of aspirants for jobs such as computer professionals, doctors, drivers, dental surgeons, nurses, medical technicians, engineers, economists, psychologists and financial managers. There are around 20 job streams for which registration is made by the cell.

It has secured jobs for about 50 persons. Mr Tandon said on the basis of the biodata provided by the cell eight youths had got jobs in New Zealand and almost an equal number in Canada and the USA without spending a single penny. The visa and other documents were arranged by the employers at their own cost.

Mr Tandon, who represented India as a deputy leader of the Union Government delegation at a labour conference in Geneva, said there was a great demand for nurses in certain European countries. “I have told the cell to collect the biodata of nurses in Punjab and place the information on the cell’s website”, he said. “I will also be in touch with NRIs who are keen on providing employment to nurses through the cell”, Mr Tandon added.


DCC chief’s removal resented
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 11
Hindus of the district are dissatisfied over the removal of Mr Ram Paul Dhaipi as the president of the Mansa District Congress Committee (DCC). Mr Banwari Lal Narang, general secretary, DCC, said the Hindus of Punjab had always supported the Congress in the elections since Independence. The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Capt Amarinder Singh, had appointed two Hindu district presidents in the state, but later on both of them were removed as part of a conspiracy hatched against the Hindus, Mr Narang added.

Mr Kesho Ram Singla, district president of the local Aggarwal Sabha, alleged that the Congress had stabbed the Hindus in the back by removing Mr Dhaipi. He said Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Science and Technology Minister, Punjab, formed the sabha with its branches throughout the state and himself became the state president of the sabha to woo the Hindu votes for the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).

Mr Singla further said the Hindus felt neglected and might be forced to either side with the SAD (B) in the next Punjab Vidhan Sabha election or field their own candidates under the banner of the Hindu Maha Sabha. The Hindus had not been given due representation in the state bodies of any political party, he said.

Mr Ramesh Kumar Mirpuria, president of the local Block Congress Committee (DCC), said the Congress had only 17 Hindu members in the PPCC against its total strength of 216 and the other office-bearers will much less than the population of Hindus in Punjab which was about 47 per cent. He said earlier the Congress had lost Harijan votes also as they were also neglected by the leaders of the party.

These votes had gone to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and other political parties of the state. The Congress was losing its vote banks due to the wrong policies of the state leaders, he added.

Mr Pawan Kumar Garg, office secretary of the local Aggarwal Sabha, has demanded due representation of Hindus in the state and district bodies of the Congress.

He said Hindu leaders had threatened to boycott the Congress rallies and public meetings and to meet the president of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC), Ms Sonia Gandhi, to highlight the grievances of the Hindu community.


Include Jats in OBC list: BKU
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 11
The Punjab unit of the BKU (Lakhowal) in a resolution adopted at a ‘kisan panchayat’ today asked the Punjab Government to include Jats of Punjab in the OBC list for reservation purposes.

The panchayat was organised in the SDM office complex. Mr Jaswant Singh Kattu, district president of the union, presided over the panchayat. Besides this resolution, four other resolutions were adopted which were read by Prof Manjit Singh Kadian, secretary-general of the State unit of the BKU.

In another resolution, the panchayat demanded that the state government writes off all loans of the farmers in the state. It urged the state government to lift the ban on the holding of cattle fairs about six months ago.

In another resolution, the panchayat demanded that the minimum support price (MSP) for the crops should be fixed according to the wholesale price index of 1966-67 as base year. It also demanded that the length for electricity feeders should not be more than 8 km to provide full voltage to tubewells.

Prof Kadian while welcoming the inclusion of the Ramgarhia community into the OBC category in Punjab, demanded that “Jats” of Punjab should immediately by included in the OBC category. He said all “Jats” including “Jat Sikhs” had already been included in the OBC category in UP, Delhi and Rajasthan.

He demanded that all loans due towards the farmers should be waived immediately in Punjab. He said the Punjab farmers were under heavy debt of Rs 10,000 crore, including loans worth Rs 7000 crore drawn from cooperative and commercial banks. He urged the government to provide loans to the farmers at 4 per cent rate of interest.

Mr Bhupider Singh Maheshari, press secretary of the union, and Mr Kapur Singh Chhahar, vice president of the union, stressed upon the need of limiting length for electricity feeders up to 8 km in place of present more than 20 kilometre to provide full voltage to the tubewells.

They also demanded digging of new minors for irrigating fields.


PSEB slaps heavy fines on educational institutes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 11
The Enforcement Wing of the PSEB has slapped heavy fines on a number of local educational institutes for using more than the sanctional power load.

It is after a long time that the board authorities have launched drive to detect irregularities in educational institutes.

During the raid, the Enforcement Wing team, comprising senior officials, including the Executive Engineer, Mr Rameshwar Sharma, Mr Chander Kumar, Mr Manjit Singh and Mr H.S. Parmar, detected that the institutes like Lyallpur Khalsa College for Men and for Women and Seth Hukam Chand Public School were using excessive power load more than actually sanctioned, while everything was normal in DAV and HMV colleges.

Mr Kuljit Singh, Director (Enforcement), said the management of Lyallpur Khalsa College for Men, where excessive load was found to the tune of 118 kw, would have to pay a fine of Rs 4.67 lakh, followed by Seth Hukam Chand School, where 115 kw of load was being used as against the sanctioned load of 82 kw.

It would have to pay a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh. Earlier, too, the college had paid a fine of Rs 2.27 lakh for the same reason, PSEB sources said. The Khalsa College for Women had been fined Rs 20,000, they added.


Baradari Gardens receive a face-lift
Anita Tayal

Patiala, July 11
The Baradari Gardens, which have already become a centre for morning walkers and children with the establishment of a fountain and various swings for children, are in for further improvement with the district administration giving it an ethnic look through construction of novel gates and shades besides a canteen.

Finishing touches are being given to the gate from the Archives building side besides the construction of a shade in form of a mushroom and addition of more swings. An ethnic canteen is also being constructed in the gardens, besides toilets which are being constructed with a view to ensure they do not disturb the environment of the gardens. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, said the constructions were coming up under the second phase of the development of the historic gardens.

The new gates which are coming up in the form of artistic and ethnic arches made out of cement. Colours have been added in such a way that it gives the impression of trees trunks standing on cement base.The work is under process and is likely to be completed soon. Citizens feel that the ethnic and artistic look would add to the beauty of the gardens. Appreciating the work undertaken by the administration, common people are also encouraging the task by being careful while passing through the way under construction in order to prevent it from any damage.

Apart from this, a concrete pavement with tiles is also being made around the recently constructed fountain in the centre of the garden. Proper light system has also been used so that the walkers are comfortable, especially during the night hours. Various new swings for children have been added near the original placed swings to add to their entertainment with brick ballast being put on the ground to ensure water does not accumulate at the site during the monsoon.

Another characteristic feature being constructed in the gardens is the canteen which will serve refreshment to walkers. The purpose is to make the citizens feel at home and at the same time encourage the citizens to come out of their homes and enjoy an evening out into the greenery.

That’s not all. The gardens have been made beautiful with the creation of ethnic huts for the comfort of people during the monsoon or scorching summer days. One hut has been made with cement and coloured in such a way as to give it the look of a mushroom. Another has been constructed out of bamboo and dry grass to give ethnic look in modern times.

Mr Bir said the work was expected to be completed soon. He said following this further improvements would be undertaken after taking feedback from the public.


MRI, CT scan for military hospitals
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 11
All Army Command hospitals will have CT scan and MRI facilities within a period of two years under a massive modernisation programme aimed at making modern medical equipment available at the Command and Zonal hospitals.

This was disclosed by Director General Medical Services (Army), Lt-Gen Harcharan Singh in an interview to The Tribune here yesterday evening. Lt-Gen Harcharan Singh was in the city yesterday during the course of which he visited the Military Hospital besides interacting with defence medical staff of the region in the evening.

The Army officer said a perspective plan for systematic modernisation of all Command and Zonal hospitals had been made under which CT scan facility would also be made available in Zone hospitals. He said the CT scan facility was already available in Jabalpur and Chandigarh Zonal hospitals and more Army hospitals would get the facility shortly.

Lt General Singh said gradually superspecialities would also be introduced in Zonal hospitals besides modernising the medical units in the field to ensure that these were able to provide better medical care in the forward areas. He said a system of local purchase was also being started so that the Commanding Officer of a particular Military Hospital had sufficient funds to take care of all eventualities.

The General said the issue of providing complete medical facilities to ex-servicemen was also being taken up with the government. He said it was hoped that the Army would be able to provide efficient medical service to all its ex-servicemen in a phased manner. He said the issue of shortage of doctors was being addressed with a large number of doctors being recruited into the medical service. He said the shortage had presently whittled down to only around 50 or so.

The Army officer, who is product of the local Government Medical College, having passed out in 1963, also reminisced about his alma mater then and its present condition while talking to The Tribune. Then we had the most dedicated teachers and facilities were good even if those times were taken into consideration. He said he was pained to know that presently the Medical College and the Government Rajindra Hospital attached to it were lacking funds for efficient functioning. He said he hoped the college was able to retain former glory adding former students could play an important role in this regard.

Lt-Gen Singh disclosed that besides him five other family members of his family had been students of the Government Medical College here. He said these, included his wife, his younger brother, younger brother’s daughter, wife’s brother and sister. He said due to this he felt concerned for the glory of the college and hospital. Speaking at a small function organised on the occasion, he urged doctors of the local Military hospital to maintain liaison with college authorities and work in a spirit of cooperation. Military Hospital Commanding Officer Col A.K. Srivastava presented a memento to the General on the occasion.


Relax laws for NRIs: former cricketer
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 11
Mr Swarnjit Singh, a former Test cricketer, in a letter to Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP, who was recently nominated as a member of the NRI Committee constituted by the Government of India, has suggested that some problems faced by the NRIs need to be addressed urgently.

He said the laws make it obligatory for an NRI to report to police stations and that he or she must obtain an income tax clearance certificate and report to the Foreigners Registration Officer after six months of stay abroad. This has caused much harassment to the community.

The developed countries provide 10-year residential cards to its non-residents to make their movement within the country smooth.


Jail Superintendent summoned in hijack case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 11
The District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.N. Aggarwal, today summoned the Superintendent, Central Jail to the court tomorrow in connection with an application filed by the accused in the Indian Airlines hijacking case complaining they were not getting proper facilities in the jail.

The counsel for the accused, Mr Brijinder Singh Sodhi, had earlier filed an application in the court claiming that the accused were not getting sufficient water for drinking and bathing purposes. The application said sufficient water should be made available to the accused for both purposes.

The defence counsel also moved an application today urging that he be allowed to inspect the Indian Airline plane which had been hijacked from Kathmandu to Kandahar in Afghanistan as well as photograph it. The counsel said he was making this demand as charges had been framed against the accused and witnesses were going to depose in the case. He said an opportunity should also be given to the accused in the case and that foolproof security arrangements should also be made for this. The application was objected to by the CBI. Arguments on the application have been fixed for July 18.

Meanwhile, two of the accused, Dalip Bhujbal and Yusuf Nepali, also filed an application that they were very poor and could not afford to pay their legal fee. They urged that Mr Brijinder Singh Sodhi be asked to represent them and that the fee due from them be paid by the state. The application was permitted by the court.


36 hurt in bus mishap
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 11
Thirtysix passengers were injured, 10 of them seriously, when a speeding bus overturned after hitting a big truck (car-carrier) near the bend of traffic island on the G.T. Road — Banga Road crossing this morning. The seriously injured: Om Parkash, Kulwant Kaur, Sukhwinder Kaur, Paramjit Singh, Prem Singh, Santokh Singh were hospitalised. The conductor of the bus was also injured. He was taken to a private hospital.

The bus (PB 02 Y 9962) was coming from Anandpur Sahib and was bound for Amritsar. The car-carrier was coming from the Jalandhar side.

After the collision, the bus hit a light-signal post and uprooted it, two shops, damaging the front of the halvai shop, and then turned turtle. The bus, said to be in speed near the crossing, turned towards Ludhiana instead of Jalandhar.


Hospital phone disconnected
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 11
The Telephone Department has disconnected the telephone of the emergency ward of the local Civil Hospital due to non-payment of dues as the hospital had failed to pay the arrears amounting to Rs 60,496.

Sources revealed that some employees of the hospital had been using the telephone for personal purposes.


6.3 cr to be spent on works in Ropar dist
Our Correspondent

Ropar July 11
A sum of Rs 6.30 crore would be spent on various development works in rural and urban areas of Ropar district under a special programme. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, while presiding over a meeting of district officers held to review the progress of development works in the district yesterday said funds for this purpose had been released by the Punjab Government.

Mr Grewal said out of this amount Rs 5.20 crore would be spent in rural areas while the remaining amount of Rs 1.10 crore would be spent in urban areas. The money would be utilised within three months, he added.

He directed the block development and panchayat officers and executive officers of municipal councils to personally supervise these development works to be carried out in their respective areas to ensure proper utilisation of funds and the quality of work and they would be held responsible for any negligence in this regard.

The Deputy Commissioner further said the Punjab Government had released Rs 26.78 lakh as compensation for distress sale of paddy last year for distribution among farmers in the district and this process of distribution would be completed within a week.

He also reviewed the paddy procurement arrangements for the current year in the district and directed the Food and Supplies Department for completing all arrangements within the stipulated period.

While reviewing the implementation of the old age pension scheme Mr Grewal directed all SDMs to ensure sanction of old age pensions within 21 days after the receipt of applications for this purpose and said the SDMs would also hold regular meetings with the bank officers so that pension beneficiaries did not have to face any difficulty in getting their pension from the banks.

The Deputy Commissioner also reviewed the flood control arrangements and progress of the Chandigarh-Morinda rail link project, link road repairs, and the Junior Leaders Academy being set up at Anandpur Sahib.


Village statistics on website
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Punjab Government has placed district wise village directories on its website (

A spokesman of the Economic and Statistical Organisation of the state said village-level statistics were in great demand from government departments and various organisations for the purpose of decentralised and grassroots planning.

At present the directories of seven districts — Moga, Faridkot, Amritsar, Mansa, Ludhiana, Ropar and Bathinda — for 1998-99 could be viewed on and those of the remaining districts would be placed shortly, he added.


600 kg of poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 11
Two inspectors of the Excise Department along with the police have seized 600 kg of poppy husk from Mehal Singh’s farm situated on Biggerwal road near Sunam. In another case, 1,950 pouches of liquor have been found from a car driven by Prem Kumar near Chathe Nakte village on the Sunam-Sangrur road.

The police said today that the accused in both cases escaped. A case under Sections 611 and 14 of the Excise Act had been registered against Prem Kumar. Another case had been registered against Mehal Singh of Sunam under Section 15 of the NDPS Act.

The police said on a secret information, it raided the tubewell’s motor room at the farm and seized the poppy husk.

In the second case, a naka was laid near Chathe Nakte village on Monday night.

An ambassador car halted some yards away from the naka and the driver, Prem Kumar fled. Pouches of liquor and Rs 15,055 were found during the search of the car, the police added.


Ex-SHO booked in graft case
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 11
A former SHO of the local sadar police station has been booked under the Anti-Corruption Act. A case was registered against him yesterday. The SP (D), Mr Tulsi Das, had been asked by the SSP, Mrs Gurpreet Deo, to probe the matter, it was learnt today.

The case was registered following a complaint by Harjinder Singh Mann of Khera road that his son Baldip Singh was lifted from his Urban Estate factory on June 26 and the then SHO threatened to frame Baldip under Section 109 in case Rs 60,000 were not given to him.

The deal was settled at Rs 20,000. The DSP (HQ) conducted a preliminary probe following which a formal case was registered yesterday. Whether the former SHO is nabbed or not will be known only after the completion of the inquiry by the SP (D), it is learnt.


“Applications invited after admission process over”
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 11
In a strange case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing, the Punjabi University has changed admission criterion for candidates wanting to pursue a postgraduate degree in Indian Dance and invited fresh applications after the Head of Department claimed that all seats for the course were filled by following the old criterion.

The university changed eligibility criteria for admission to first year of M.A Indian Dance “on the persistent demand of colleges” affiliated to the varsity yesterday. While earlier only those candidates could apply for the course who had taken up dance as a subject at the graduation level, the varsity has now allowed all graduates to apply for a degree in the course.

The authorities have claimed that the colleges have demanded that the minimum eligibility requirement for admission to M.A Indian Dance (I) should be similar to the requirement for admission to M.A part one in Theatre and Television Department which is part of the Faculty of Art and Culture. Faculty Dean Dr Navinindra Behl disclosed that accordingly a proposal was mooted by Mrs Daisy Walia, in charge of the Dance Department.

Dr Behl said this proposal a part from ensuring uniformity in minimum eligibility requirement for the two allied subjects of the faculty, would also ensure that no seat in M.A Dance (part one) remained vacant as had happened at present. She said accordingly the proposal of Mrs Walia was recommended by the Head of the Department cum Faculty of Art and Culture to the Vice-Chancellor who accepted the same.

She said now all those eligible as per the revised eligibility conditions could submit their applications on the prescribed form to the Head of the Department by July 18 to be followed by a personal interview on July 19.

However even as Dr Behl has made these disclosures today in her capacity as Dean, Faculty of Art and Culture, Dance Department, in charge Mrs Walia when questioned on the changed eligibility conditions yesterday, said they were not likely to have any impact on the department this year as the admission process had been completed. She said while the department had to fill 10 seats for the first year, it had received 12 applications.

She said the department had recommended a change in the policy as it was felt that there were some deserving candidates capable for joining the post graduate dance course but had not taken up dance as a subject in the first year. She said these candidates included some who had taken up training in dance in some other semi formal institutions. She said the policy aimed at encouraging such students. Mrs Walia could not be contacted today for comment.

However, the change in policy is being questioned with experts criticising logic of university authorities. They said comparison to admission in the Department of Theatre and Television and that to the Dance Department could not be made and the criteria being followed for admission in the state, this was not true of Theatre and Television. “So how can both the departments be compared”, said a teacher on condition of anonymity. The manner in which the rules were changed at the last moment are also being questioned with allegation that it is being down to favour some for admissions as they could not have been done otherwise with candidates with dance at the graduate level being available for admission.


Varsity entrance test a farce?
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, July 11
Even as entrance tests have become a good source of minting money for universities, Punjabi University went a step further when it conducted the entrance test for admission to one-year postgraduate diploma in computer applications (PGDCA) this year and later decided that those candidates would also be eligible for admission to PGDCA who had not appeared in the test.

The university had conducted the test on June 28 and the result was declared on July 7. The handbook of information (HoI) for the course said admissions to the course would be strictly on the basis of merit. The HoI costed Rs 200 and an additional demand draft of Rs 500 each was asked from the candidates as fee for the examination in which thousands appeared.

Sources in the university revealed that for 1,100 seats about 350 candidates had qualified the test when the qualifying marks were put at 25 per cent of the total marks. The university authorities then decided to bring down the merit to 15 per cent but even then only about 500 candidates managed to qualify. But keeping in view the number of likely vacant seats it had been decided that any graduate would be eligible for admission to PGDCA even if he had not appeared in the test.

The HoI had stated that there would be central admission for the course at Patiala and some of the colleges had also stated in their respective prospectuses that their representatives would be at Patiala on the day of the admissions.

But the university issued a notice on June 6, stating that there would be no centralised admissions. Private colleges made the best of the opportunity and some of them completed admissions by July 9, with full fee deposited by the candidates, without any possibility of refund.

The difference in the fee structure of private colleges and the institutes affiliated to university campuses and regional centres is several thousands of rupees. As the university is yet to start the admission procedure for the campus and regional centres, the students had no choice but to seek admissions in other colleges. The sources said if the students had known that hundreds of seats would go vacant, they would have waited for a few days.

This is not the first instance when the university bungled in the tests. About three years ago, the university had conducted a test for admission to bachelor of commerce course in which the number of candidates was less than the number of seats.

Mr Janak Raj Gupta, Dean, College Development Council of the university, said observers would be sent to the affiliated colleges on July 17 for completion of the admission process. As many as 50 per cent of the seats in all colleges had been classified as free seats and those who had appeared in the test would be given preference for admission against the free seats, he said.

Commenting on the completion of the admission procedure, Mr Gupta said if any student had any grievance that he might have got admission to the university campus or regional centre in case there was centralised admission, he would be given a full free refund and would be admitted to the college he wanted on the basis of merit.

Senior officials of the university admitted that holding an entrance test for such a large number of seats was a mistake that should have been avoided. “There are apprehensions that even after these ‘efforts’, seats in the PGDCA could remain vacant”, they said.

Dr Chandan Singh, coordinator of the PGDCA test, could not be contacted.


Villagers on fast for upgradation of school
Tribune News Service

Chak Ramasinghwala (Bathinda), July 11
As many as 19 residents of this village, including women and children, started an indefinite fast today to press the authorities concerned to make an amendment in the list of those schools which had been upgraded to the plus two level and upgrade the local high school as well to the plus two level. Residents of the village locked the school and started an idefinite dharna on July 9 in protest against its non-upgradation to the plus two level.

The villagers alleged that as per the official decision, the school was to be upgraded to the plus two level from the current academic session, but the State Education Department had upgraded the middle school of neighbouring Chak Fatehsinghwala village instead. Chak Fatehsinghwala is the native place of in-laws of Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Mr R. Venkat Ratnam, Deputy Commissioner, said the matter had been taken up with the Punjab Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh. The district education authorities when contacted pointed out that the high school of the village was to be upgraded to the plus two level and a representation in this connection was sent to the stage Education Department authorities in August, 2000.

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