Friday, July 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sikh issues unlikely to figure in summit
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 12
Despite best efforts, the Sikh agenda is unlikely to figure during the Delhi-Islamabad summit to be held on July 15 at Agra.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, National Commission for Minorities (NCM), talking to The Tribune said it was unfortunate that Pakistan did not want to discuss any issue other than Kashmir. He said though Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr Jaswant Singh, Foreign Minister, had responded positively to the communication of the minority commission and Akali Dal’s secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa regarding the preservation of Sikh heritage in Pakistan, Pakistan seemed in no mood to take up such matters during the summit.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, however, said the NCM never wanted to seek the disbanding of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) as it was an internal matter of Pakistan. He said the commission was concerned about the renovation of Sikh shrines as per Sikh traditions and easing of pilgrimage restrictions.

The Government of Pakistan did not even bother to respond to the invitation to General Musharraf to visit the Golden Temple during his three-day visit to India. So much so, no SGPC official was invited for the reception banquet to be hosted by the President of India. Though Pakistan boasted of offering facilities to Sikh pilgrims, but ignoring the “Sikh parliament of Sikhs” spoke volumes for the scant regard for their sentiments. The demand of the SGPC to remove Lt Gen Javed Nasir, a former ISI chief, as chairman of the PSGPC seemed to be the reason for not accepting the invitation.

Notwithstanding the tall claims of Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, President, Bhai Mardana Yadgari Society, that General Nasir and Sham Singh of the PSGPC would accompany General Musharraf, they were unlikely to visit India. Hence, the issue of the PSGPC or Sikh gurdwaras would not figure during the summit.

However, Mr Tarlochan Singh said he would try to take up the genuine demands of Sikhs with General Musharraf at the banquet.

Mr Parmjit Singh Saran, a former President of the Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, has said in the absence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President and Chief Minister, the Sikh had lost a golden opportunity to raise the Sikh agenda. He said Mr Badal should have postponed his eye operation in the USA. He alleged that the absence of Sant Fateh Singh, the then President of the SAD, during the re-organisation of Punjabi Suba had caused immense loss to the state. Had he postponed his visit to England, the left-out Punjabi-speaking areas would have been part of Punjab. Mr Badal had repeated the “blunder” of Sant Fateh Singh.

Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, SGPC secretary, evaded questions regarding the Sikh agenda. He refused to entertain any question as to why the SGPC was ignored for the crucial visit.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarna, in a memorandum to Mr Vajpayee urged him to take up the issues of Sikhs, including unhindered access to Sikh gurdwaras, with General Musharraf. He said the land route from Wagah to Lahore should be opened. He also sought the construction of a corridor between Wagah and Kartarpur gurdwara so that Sikh devotees could pay obeisance at the birth place of Guru Nanak.


Tohra writes to PM on shrines’ issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, today urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to take up with Gen Pervez Musharraf the issue of maintenance and upkeep of Sikh shrines in Pakistan during the forthcoming Agra summit.

In a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister, and released to the Press here today, Mr Tohra said that there were 25,000 Sikhs in Pakistan. It was they who were entitled to the custodianship of Sikh shrines in that country. The waqf board of Pakistan should have a minimal role to play. The Pakistani Sikhs should in turn associate with Sikh representatives from various countries, including India. The SGPC, of course, being the central authority of Sikhism, must find a prominent place in any scheme of management of the Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

The office-bearers of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) should be Sikhs only and the headquarters of this committee must be at Nankana Sahib. The gurdwaras, he said, were not only places of worship but historical entities as well. In this regard, it had to be remembered that special care must be taken to maintain and preserve the buildings of the gurdwaras. Many of the gurdwara buildings were in a state of neglect. If this state of affairs was allowed to continue, “traces of many of our shrines will vanish and no sign of their existence will be visible to our progeny”.

Gurdwara buildings required urgent repairs. The Pakistani Government should be asked to permit repairs and reconstruction through kar seva. Kar seva tradition sants should be allowed to stay in Pakistan for fixed periods to undertake and finish the task of repairs.

The Pakistan Government should permit the stationing of trained granthis, ragis and sevadars in the gurdwaras on a permanent basis for the observance of regular services in important shrines which were regularly frequented by pilgrims. The landed property attached to the gurdwaras should be handed over to the PSGPC and the present system of allotment of land for tilling should be scrapped. The contract for the tilling of land should be given by open bidding so that more money could be generated for the proper maintenance of the gurdwaras in Pakistan.


Pak has no locus standi on Kashmir: Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 12
Senior political leader Satya Pal Dang has said for Pakistan Kashmir may be the core issue during the Vajpayee Musharraf talks, but for India Kashmir remains integral part of its territory. Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Dang said Pakistan’s contention that Kashmir was a disputed territory based on a UN resolution of 1948, was not tenable now.

The veteran leader pointed out that in the context of the UN resolution, Pakistan was to completely withdraw all its regular troops, infiltrators and other raiders from Jammu and Kashmir for the implementation of the UN resolution both in letter and inspirit for a plebiscite. He added that Pakistan never implemented the main thrust of the resolution which had now become redundant.

Mr Dang said the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, in a recent statement said at present the UN resolution could not be enforced as it had lost its relevance and what was required was that India and Pakistan must open dialogue to settle this issue for the benefit of all concerned.

He added that Pakistan must understand and recognise India’s position on Kashmir. In a categorical assertion, Mr Dang said Pakistan had no locus standi on Kashmir as the Maharaja Hari Singh had acceded to India and welcomed the Indian Army to push back Pakistani raiders and army regulars in 1948.

Mr Dang felt the turning point in Kashmir came after the dismissal of the Dr Farooq Abdullah government and the installation of Mr G.M. Shah as Chief Minister which proved “disastrous” for the state. This single action turned the Kashmiris against the government and violence erupted in the valley, he said.

Mr Dang said even today a majority of Kashmiris welcome the peace initiative by the Prime Minister and want to live without any threat from the terrorists. He welcomed the talks and felt that earlier access to the people of both countries and increased trade would usher in prosperity and goodwill among the two nations.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Laxmi Kanta Chawla cautioned the government that Kashmiri Pandits, who have been forced to become refugees in our country, should be involved in the talks. She said the hardline Muslims and militant groups operating in Kashmir had forced large-scale exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the state at gun-point, changing the demographic pattern of the state.

Ms Chawla ridiculed certain sections of the media for giving undue coverage to stay peripheral issues, including details of hospitality, arrangements for General Musharraf’s and other minor details. She suggested that a true picture of Indo-Pak relations for the past five decades should be presented for the information of the public so that they can understand the complexities of our relations”.

Major-General Harinder Singh (retd) expressed his reservations about the outcome of the talks. Talking to this correspondent here he said Mr Vajpayee should not take General Musharraf’s remarks at their face value as he was responsible for the Kargil misadventure in which India lost more than 800 officers and men while thousands were injured.

He added that during Mr Vajpayee’s Lohore visit in February, 1999, General Musharraf along with other service chiefs was conspicuous by absence and it was an affront to the visiting Indian Prime Minister.

He also raised the issue of Pakistan funding and providing active support to the jehadi elements fighting in Kashmir.


Witnesses passing the buck
Khanna rail mishap probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The Khanna rail accident judicial inquiry commission going into the whole gamut of the November, 1998, tragedy claiming 215 lives, has been facing the problem of witnesses passing the buck to others.

The commission has recorded the statements of 200 witnesses.

“Nobody among the witnesses, including officials responsible for the maintenance and procurement of rails which were found to be broken, has owned responsibility,” commission sources told The Tribune here today.

The commission headed by Justice G.C. Garg has been confronting witnesses with official records to get at the truth, but irresponsible statements have been leading to the list of witnesses getting lengthy. As of now around 30 more witnesses were required to record their statements if the commission did not get additional persons to throw light on the accident, the sources said.

More officials responsible for maintenance, quality control, procurement and supplies were yet to record their statements to reach some conclusion, they said.

The rail supplier, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), has sought permission from the commission for one of its representatives, Deputy General Manager and Resident Manager Gulshan Kumar Kakkar, to participate in the commission’s proceedings through counsel.

The department inquiry earlier had found faulty rails to be the cause of the accident, but SAIL had clarified to the commission that rails were being made at their facility but in accordance with the specifications of the Railways and under the department’s strict monitoring, the sources said.

The responsibility for faults in the rails lay with the Railways, SAIL sources told The Tribune.

The commission has also got in touch with those persons who got various tests conducted on rails and hooks to understand the technical aspect of the report submitted earlier and were part of the departmental inquiry.

An expert who has now retired has been requested to present himself before the commission this month.

The sources, however, said the report was going to make wide-ranging suggestions, including those relating to the staff change of attitude, traffic beyond the capacity of rails, faults in signalling, irresponsible behaviour of officials and norms for supplies.

They said the commission, despite the earlier report ruling out the sabotage factor, had gone in detail into the factor thinking that the departmental inquiry might have been biased, but did not find any trace of sabotage.

Explaining the delay in submitting the report, the sources said the mandate and procedure of a judicial inquiry were entirely different from those of a departmental probe as a judicial inquiry went into each aspect of the accident.

They, however, could not specify when the report would be ready.


Yet another jail inmate dies
Chander Parkash and Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, July 12
Rajinder Singh, an inmate of the local Central Jail, died late last night under mysterious circumstances within a few minutes after being shifted to the local Civil Hospital in a serious condition.

Rajinder Singh’s death is the fourth in the local Central Jail in the past about more than a month. Earlier, Jagjit Singh, a prisoner, died in the first week of June while another inmate, Balbir Singh, died on June 23. The third inmate, namely Anwar, died on the night of June 24.

Official sources said Rajinder Singh, a BSF jawan who was convicted to six months’ imprisonment in the court martial conducted by the BSF authorities in connection with possession of two identity cards, was to be freed shortly as his sentence was to be over in a few days.

Late last night, the jail authorities were informed that Rajinder Singh, a resident of Dehra Dun, was feeling uneasy. When the doctor was called, the other inmate, a BSF official in his cell, informed the Rajinder Singh had vomited twice.

When the condition of Rajinder Singh was found serious, he was immediately shifted to the local Civil Hospital where he died after some time.

Mr Bhajan Singh, Superintendent, Central Jail, when contacted said as per the preliminary investigations it came to notice that the death of Rajinder Singh was due to suspected poisoning.

He added that a post-mortem examination was being conducted by a panel of doctors and the report was awaited. He added the exact cause of death could be known only after the chemical examination report of the viscera was received.

He said it was their bad luck that inmates of the local Central Jail had been dying under mysterious circumstances. He added that it was the fourth death in the past one and a half months.

Official sources said the inquest of the body was done by the magistrate before the post-mortem. The photography and videography during the post-mortem had been done after the District Magistrate, Mr S.R. Ladhar, was informed about the incident by the jail authorities.

The district administration had also given information about the death to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Information gathered by TNS revealed all was not well in the local Central Jail. Many an eyebrow were raised as to how poisonous substances were reaching the jail premises despite the fact that there were high security arrangements in and around it.

However, Mr Bhajan Singh pointed out the inmates had been using different methods to play havoc with their lives. He said one inmate ate a lizard while the other inmate consumed lomotil tablets in a large quantity. He added the inmate who had consumed lomotil tablets was saved by the jail authorities by getting his stomach washed out.

Meanwhile, at least 200 undertrials of the Central Jail have been on relay fast since yesterday to lodge their protest against the erection of a grill in the meeting hall.

Mr Bhajan Singh said he had been advising the undertrials to call off their strike as a grill had been erected as a result of the decision taken by the state government. He added the matter would be solved in a day or so.


CBI to get list of 10 ‘corrupt’ excise officials
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 12
The Punjab Beopar Mandal will submit a list of 10 senior “corrupt” officials of the Excise and Taxation Department to the state Governor and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before the month-end to seek a probe into their unaccounted wealth and property. A preliminary list which was presented by the traders at a state-level meeting of the mandal at Patiala on July 1 was under the mandal’s consideration to give it a final shape. This was stated by Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, state president of the body, while talking to this reporter here on Tuesday.

Mr Kapoor said the senior members of the mandal were also visiting each district headquarters to meet the business community to sort out their other problems besides collecting more names of corrupt officers. He said the traders were already burdened financially due to unhealthy policies of the state government.

He said if the government was sincere in resolving the problems of the traders, it should first intensify its campaign to abolish the “inspector raj” and check the menace of corruption in the state. He said due to the indifferent attitude of the state government towards businessmen, the mandal had decided to contest the forthcoming Assembly election from 25 Assembly constituencies in the state. The list of the candidates would be released soon.

Mr Kapoor praised the sleuths of the CBI for conducting raids at the offices and homes of five senior excise and taxation officers recently and unearthing unaccounted wealth worth over Rs 3.5 crore in different parts of the state.


17 to get Punjab Rattan awards
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 12
Seventeen persons will be honoured with Punjab Rattan and Patiala Rattan awards at a function being organised on September 23 by the Punjab Writers Forum. Three awards are being given posthumously to Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, Beant Singh and Lala Jagat Narain.

Disclosing this at a press conference held here yesterday, Forum President Ved Prakash Gupta said the screening committee of the Forum had decided to confer Punjab Rattan awards to seven persons belonging to Punjab who had achieved excellence in their respective fields. He said Patiala Rattan awards would be bestowed on eminent persons of the city.

The awards are being given to personalities from the field of literature, education, sports, journalism, politics, business and industry. While disclosing the names of those who were being given the awards posthumously, Mr Gupta said the other awardees would be announced in September.

Mr Gupta stressed that the Forum was a totally apolitical and was committed to the development of the state and the city. He said awards were being given to prominent citizens of the city who had achieved distinction in their respective fields so that the present generation could be made aware of the rich talent of the city. He gave the example of astronaut Rakesh Sharma who had lived in Patiala adding that the screening committee was considering his name for the nomination of the Patiala Rattan award.

Last year’s winners included Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta who was given the Punjab Rattan Award, prominent industrialist O. P. Munjal, Urdu poet Jigar Jalandhri.


Rs 2 cr cotton scam detected
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 12
Officials of the Punjab Mandi Board have detected illegal sale/purchase of agricultural products worth Rs 1.95 crore on which market fee and Rural development Fund payments were not made. This was allegedly done by a cotton processing firm under the jurisdiction of the local Market Committee.

The firm allegedly purchased cotton from different areas and did not submit Form M to the committee. It thereby evaded payment of 2 per cent market fee and 2 per cent RDF fee leviable on the total value of the purchase. To account for the purchase in its records, the firm allegedly indulged in bogus billing from firms falling under the jurisdiction of the Market Committee, Bathinda. It claimed exemption from here stating that the fee had already been paid at Bathinda. The firm did not mention the receipt number, date and the amount paid at Bathinda in the documents submitted here for the exemption claim.

It is alleged that bogus letters from Market Committee, Bathinda, confirming the payment of fee were received here. On inquiry into the matter, it was found that the market and RDF fee had not been deposited at Bathinda and the billing regarding sale/purchase was bogus. When contacted, the District Mandi Officer, Mr J.S. Sanghera, confirmed the non-payment of fee and said a demand notice amounting to Rs 12 lakh had been sent to the defaulting firm which included a penalty of Rs 3.90 lakh in addition to the market and RDF fee. Mr Sanghera refused to comment on whether any police action would be initiated against the firm regarding submission of bogus documents or not.


Computers clear backlog of Languages Dept
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 12
Punjabi books and magazines may now be available in time to the public with the state Languages Department taking the help of computers to shorten the entire publication procedure.

The department has gone in composing and making prints on butter paper at its headquarters here so that then only the printing part is left to be conducted through a private press. Sources said now books which took months and sometimes years to be published could be brought out in a matter of weeks.

The Languages Department has composed as many as 236 manuscripts ever since the introduction of computers in the department. These have been sent for publication. Department Director Madan Lal Hasija disclosed the department was at present composing 59 manuscripts which were expected to be published soon. He said with the help of computers the entire process of publication had been shortened. He said earlier manuscripts were sent to the Government Printing Press which took out tenders for printing to private parties. He said once a private party was allocated the printing work it composed the manuscript and sent the proofs for checking and correction. He said this procedure took a long time following which the manuscript was taken up for printing.

The department had been facing problems in bringing out its four monthly magazines due to the lengthy printing process. The magazines “Jan Sahit” and “Punjabi Duniya” (in Punjabi) and “Parvez i Adab” (in Urdu) and “Punjab Saurabh” (in Hindi) — could not be brought out regularly for quite some time due to these problems.

Sources said due to this a large number of issues of recent months could not be published and were costing the department dearly in terms of money as concessional postage could not be used to post magazines brought out after their publishing cut off dates. They said due to the use of computers the department had been able to clear the backlog now.

The department is also in the process of making a proposal of printing its own books.

Meanwhile, the Languages Department is also in the process of copying its old manuscripts on compact discs. Mr Hasija disclosed the department had around 600 old manuscripts out of which a part were decaying at a fast rate. He said once the manuscripts were copied on compact discs, information could be made available to researchers more easily.

The department had gone in for purchase of 13 computers at a cost of Rs 11 lakh recently.


Badal’s US visit ‘eyewash’
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 12
Ch. Jagjit Singh, of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha has alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal has gone abroad for reasons other then for the operation of his eyes. He said going to the USA for an eye operation was merely to befool the public. He was talking to the correspondent at the local PWD Rest House here yesterday.

He said he had reliable information that Mr Parkash Singh Badal had already made an understanding with Punjwar chief Paramjit Singh, who was likely to return to Punjab shortly.

Referring to the giving of plots free of cost to Dalits by the State government for the construction of houses, he said it was a proposal of the Congress which had been adopted by the SAD-BJP government. He alleged that plots were being given to only those Dalits who were pro-Akalis.

Ch. Jagjit Singh said elaborate arrangements had been made for the Scheduled Castes and backward Classes conference by the Congress to be held at the Roshan ground here on July 15. Ms Ambika Soni, General Secretary, Mr Shiv Lal Balmik, Secretary, AICC, Capt. Amarinder Singh, President, PPCC, Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, former MP, and many other state Congress leaders would address the conference. He hoped that more than 25,000 SC and BC would participate in the conference.

Earlier, Ch. Jagjit Singh and Ch. Ram Rattan president, DCC, here addressed the workers’ meeting. 


Dy chief of state SJP suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 12
Mr Sukhwinder Sukhi, vice-president of the Punjab unit of the Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP), has been placed under suspension for his alleged involvement in anti-party activities.

Mr Darshan Singh Jeeda, president, SJP, Punjab, in a press note issued here yesterday, said after placing Mr Sukhi under suspension, his case had been sent to Mr Satish Goyal, chairman of the disciplinary action committee of the party for further action.


OSDs to Punjab Cong chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) , Capt Amarinder Singh, has appointed Mr Anil Mehta, Maj H.S. Bhullar and Capt Bikramjeet Singh his Officers on Special Duty in addition to Mr Harcharan Singh Barset, who will continue to be his Political Secretary, a PPCC press release said today.


No clue to missing son
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 12
Mr Baldev Singh of Seman Kalan village of the district is running from pillar to post in search of his son who is reportedly missing since June 15.

Narrating his tale of woes to this correspondent here today, Mr Baldev Singh said his son Beant Singh had gone to Lucknow along with 16 other labourers of his village on a labour contract. The boys were taken to Lucknow by Mr Bhappa Singh, munshi of a labour contractor, about two-and-a-half months ago, Mr Bhappa Singh belonged to our village and so we trusted him, but he cheated us, he lamented.

On June 15 Mr Bhappa Singh came to my house and handed over a bag, an identity card, photographs, some cash and other belongings of my son to me and said my son had gone missing at the Rajpura railway station, the distraught father said. The other boys of my village had returned home, but my son was still missing. Repeated visits to Mr Bhappa Singh’s house had produced no result, he said.

Mr Baldev Singh said he had met the district police chief, Dr Jatinder Jain, in this connection and Dr Jain had marked the inquiry to the Superintendent of Police (Detective), Mr R.S. Bhullar. The inquiry was still in progress.

Even panchayat members of the village had been meeting the police authorities and the district police chief had ordered the SHO, Nathana, to register a case. The police had registered a case and arrested the alleged culprit, Mr Bhappa Singh.

But even after six days of the arrest of the alleged culprit, the police had not been able to find out the whereabouts of my son, he alleged.

Dr Jain, when contacted said the police was helping the troubled family in a sympathetic way. Even though the incident had taken place beyond the jurisdiction of the Bathinda police, “we are making efforts to arrest the culprit”, he said.


SC orders “not implemented”
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 12
Mr Sikander Singh, state president of the Punjab Medical Laboratory Technicians Association (PMLTA), said here yesterday that the PMLTA was struggling to get its demands accepted for the past 12 years.

He said the association had knocked at the doors of the Punjab and Haryana High Court when the Punjab Health Department failed to accept their demands.

Mr Sikander Singh said the Punjab Government did not obey even the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court. Mr Justice V.K. Balli of the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave his verdict on June 15, 1993, in favour of the PMLTA.

A Division Bench of the high court comprising Mr Justice R.S. Mongia and Mr Justice S.C. Dutta gave its verdict to remove the anomalies in the pay scales, he added. Again a full Bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice M.K. Libran and Mr Justice Sat Paul gave their verdict in favour of the PMLTA.

The Punjab Government then moved the Supreme Court against the decision of the high court and again the association won the case on September 22, 1997.

Mr Sikander Singh said the Punjab Government violated the orders of the Supreme Court by not implementing these within the stipulated period of three months.

He said once again the association moved the high court for implementation of the orders and Mr Justice T.S. Khair ordered the Punjab Government to implement the order of the Supreme Court by February 19, 2001, but these had still not been implemented.


Brother, not son-in-law, killer
Surrenders before the police

Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 12
Dwarka Ram, who killed his brother, sister-in-law, a nephew, a niece and two servants, at Dutaranwali village yesterday surrendered before the police in the presence of Mr Ramesh Bishnoi, general secretary, All-India Jeev Rakshra Samiti, official sources said.

Talking to mediapersons at sadar police station here this afternoon in the presence of DSP Gurmeet Singh Randhawa and SHO Nagaur Singh Sidhu, Dwarka Ram said he suspected that his sister-in-law Bimla Rani was having illicit relations with two affluent farmers (who were named in his statement) and was also allegedly forcing her daughter Suman (18) to follow the same. He claimed that he had asked his brother Ved Parkash (47) and his wife Bimla Rani to desist from such activities but to no avail.

Dwarka Ram said his brother Ved Parkash had migrated to Khairpur village to look after his father-in-law Hari Ram’s farm 25 years ago. There he arranged his daughter Bhagwanti’s marriage with Ramesh Kumar of the same village. Later Ved Parkash returned to Dutaranwali village and started living in huts at his 2.5 acre farm.

If the version given by Dwarka Ram is to be believed, he told his wife on July 10 that he was going to Suratgarh to meet a relative but he came to Abohar. Here he purchased two sharp-edged blades and got these fitted with a wooden handle. This was used as weapon in the crime. He reportedly purchased country-made liquor from a local vend and reached Rajanwali village in a three-wheeler, from there he started moving to Dutaranwali village covering the distance on foot in four hours. Barking dogs around the farm made him to rest at a watercourse for another hour.

According to Dwarka Ram he consumed the liquor and sneaked into the huts. He allegedly attacked Bimla Rani and Suman who were found sleeping on the same bed. In the meanwhile Modu Ram, a servant got up and attacked Dwarka Ram with a lathi lying there, Dwarka Ram cut down his neck and then targeted others including Ved Parkash, Shubhkaran and another servant Mani Ram. Dwarka Ram then marched to Amarpura village and caught a bus for Hanumangarh at 6.45 a.m. to reach Suratgarh.

Sources said DIG Hardeep Singh Dhillon and SSP Harchand Singh Sidhu, who had rushed to the spot from Ferozepore personally supervised the investigation. They visited Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here where Shubhkaran was admitted in the emergency ward. Shubhkaran had initially held his sister’s husband Ramesh Kumar responsible for the killings out of fear of another uncle Ganpat Ram who was present in the hospital.

Police parties were rushed to Peelibanga, Suratgarh etc to nab Ramesh Kumar and Dwarka Ram. Meanwhile it has been made clear that Ramesh Kumar had nothing to do with this case and Dwarka Ram surrendered before the police today to make the confession.


Magistrate summons ASI
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 11
The Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Pathankot, Mr Harish Anand, yesterday summoned ASI Baldev Singh in a case pertaining to the snatching of money and beating up of a complainant.

The complainant, Bishamber Dass of Bajri Company here, was allegedly relieved of Rs 6,515 and beaten up by Baldev Singh on July 28, 1999, when he had gone to the Sadar police station to file an FIR on behalf of a relative.


Action sought against mahant
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 12
A rape scandal action committee of the (Tapa region) has demanded action against Mahant Sewa Dass Muni, chief of Dera Baba Inder Dass Tapa 20 km from here, who allegedly raped a minor girl. It said he should be sent to jail from Government Rajindra Hospital Patiala and a CBI probe should be conducted into the incident.

In a press note here yesterday, Jagdev Singh, convener of the committee, said if the mahant was not sent to jail, an agitation would be launched.

He alleged that the mahant, in order to evade action, first sought admission to Dayanand Medical College Hospital Ludhiana on flimsy grounds. Following public pressure, he was arrested from the hospital and remained in judicial custody for a number of days.

After sometime, he was shifted to Government Rajindra Hospital, the doctor who was treating the mahant informed that he had written to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, saying the mahant was not suffering from any disease.

Visiting the prisoners’ ward in the hospital, the committee members found that he was being kept like a VIP. Eight to 10 of his followers were seen sitting around him.


BSP’s ultimatum to admn
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 12
The BSP yesterday served an ultimatum on the local administration that it would hold a demonstration against the administration on July 17 if a case was not registered against those whose negligence led to the death of four Dalit labourers on July 6.

They also sought a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the victim’s families by July 15.

Mr Ashok Sandhu, national delegate member of the party, alleged that the incident was being covered up and demanded a CBI probe.


Panchayat poll to be held on July 29
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 12
Election to fill the vacancies of two sarpanches and nine panches of villages falling in the Kharar Block would be held on July 29 and the State Election Commission has finalised the programme for this poll.

Mr Malvinder Singh, Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Kharar, said the vacancies of sarpanches existed in Gharuan and Rasanherri villages and those of panches existed in Rurki Pukhta, Bhagomajra Sahoran Swara, Nadiali, Patran and Mauli Baidwan villages.

He said the last date of filing of nomination would be July 19 and July 20 is the date for scrutiny of these nominations. He said “July 21 is the date for withdrawal and polling if necessary would be held on July 29.”


First phase of science city by year-end
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 12
Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Punjab Science and Technology Ministry, has said the first phase of the Rs 100-crore Pushpa Gujral Science City will be completed by the end of December.

Mr Garg, who was addressing a meeting in connection with the progress of the project at the project site on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road here yesterday, said the entire project would be completed by the end of 2003.

The minister said Rs 14 crore had already been spent on the ongoing construction of the first phase of the project, under which an astrovision theatre, a huge gate complex and a water body would be constructed.

He said orders for the purchase of equipment for the astrovision theatre and the simulator had been placed with a London-based firm and they would be here by November.

He said the objective of the science city was to create awareness and consciousness about science among children.


Subedar cremated with honours

Gurdaspur, July 12
Subedar Satnam Singh of the 7th Sikh regiment who laid down his life recently while fighting militants in the Rajouri area of the Kashmir valley was cremated today with full military honours at his native Mari Pannua village in this district.

The elderst son of the martyr lit the pyre as buglers sounded the last post and fired a volley of shots as a mark of respect to the martyr. The body of the deceased who is survived by wife and two sons was brought here by officers of the Regiment.

The local MLA Balbir Singh Batth, himself a ex-serviceman, attended the funeral while the district administration was represented by ADC G.K. Sabharwal.


Havaldar cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Ghudda (Bathinda), July 12
Havaldar Kala Singh who was killed in an encounter with terrorists at Hamirpur along the LoC on July 9 was cremated with full military honours at his native village here today.

Havaldar Kala Singh of 7 Sikh Regiment had served in Sri Lanka also for about six months. He was killed in the terrorist attack which claimed the life of his team commander Subedar Satnam Singh too.

His party had killed three terrorists three months ago and his name had been recommended for the Sena Medal for the act of bravery.

Col Kuldeep Singh of the same village said Havaldar Kala Singh had done his village and family proud. A brave soldier was the biggest asset for any nation, he said.

Senior officials of the district administration were present at his cremation. He is survived by his wife Karamjit Kaur, daughter Lovepreet Kaur (2), son Khushpreet Singh (8 months) and mother Gurdev Kaur (60).


34 cops honoured
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 12
Mr J.P. Virdi, Inspector-General of Police, Jalandhar zone, today honoured 34 police officials of the district, who had solved several robbery cases and helped solve the child abduction case at Phagwara.

At a function organised at the new police lines today, Mr Virdi gave away appreciation letters to three Sub-Inspectors, six ASIs, three head constables, 21 constables and a home guard.

Talking to mediapersons Mr Virdi said one more robber had been arrested. Earlier the Kapurthala police had arrested seven robbers within an hour of the robbery at a local gas agency’s godown following a brief encounter.


Dera chief dead
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 12
Baba Charan Singh (54), head of Dera Nawan Paraow, Sarhali Sahib, and patron of Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Sarhali, died in Mumbai yesterday night.

The body was brought to Sarhali Sahib from Mumbai.

A large number of devotees gathered today at Dera Nawan Paraow, Sarhali, to pay tributes to the departed soul. The Sarhali township observed a bandh in respect to the departed soul. The body would be cremated tomorrow at Sarhali. This was announced by Baba Hakam Singh, son of Baba Charan Singh.

The deceased, who had been running kar seva in a number of gurdwaras in and outside Punjab, is survived by his wife, two sons and six daughters.


5-hr power cut in Phagwara areas
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 12
Some parts of Phagwara, including Hoshiarpur roadfeeder and Palahi roads, had a five-hour power breakdown today.

The senior executive engineer of the PSEB attributed the power failure to damage of the outer cable box of a transformer.


Order cutting off funds stayed with costs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Directing the state of Punjab and other respondents to release funds within a month to the gram panchayat of Nazamudeenwala village in Ferozepur district for the construction of nine houses under the Indira Awas Yojana, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today imposed costs of Rs 5,000 on the state.

In their petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, the gram panchayat had earlier alleged that the allocation of funds for the construction of houses in the village was cancelled to please the Chief Minister and former minister Hari Singh Zira.

Going into the background, it had asserted that Rs 1.80 lakh was released after the construction of houses was approved by a committee constituted by the government for the purpose.

The former minister had, however, written letters to the Deputy Commissioner and the Additional Deputy Commissioner asking them to sanction the construction of houses in different villages, the petitioners had claimed.

Judgment reserved in MLA’s case

A Division Bench of the High Court reserved judgment on appeals filed by Haryana MLA Nafe Singh and others against the orders of Jhajjar’s Additional District and Sessions Judge convicting and sentencing them to life imprisonment in a murder case.

The orders were reserved by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice A.S. Garg, after going through the evidence before the trial court, and after hearing detailed arguments.

Nafe Singh and others were earlier booked by the Haryana Police under Sections 302, 307, 323, 325, 148 and 452 of the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act after Jairaj Singh had succumbed to his injuries in September 1993 following a quarrel between two parties over the removal of a ladder from a temple without permission.

The accused, when confronted with the incriminating evidence against them, had denied the allegations before the Additional Sessions Judge. Claiming to be innocent, they had asked for a trial.

Arguing before the Court, their counsel had stated that the accused were being implicated in the case. He had added that the prosecution witnesses were family members and belonged to the Congress party, while the accused were of the rival party.

The Additional Sessions Judge, while sentencing the accused to life imprisonment, had observed: “Almost all the accused are young. One of them is an MLA. None of them is a previous convict and have been facing trial since 1993. In these facts and circumstances, I am inclined to take a lenient view against the accused”.

Notice on Chohan bail plea

Mr Justice Nirmal Singh of the High Court today issued notice to state of Punjab for July 31 on the anticipatory bail application filed by once “self-styled President of Khalistan” Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan.

His two previous applications had earlier been dismissed by Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh of the High Court on technical grounds.

Dr Chohan, it may be recalled, had landed in India after Mr Justice V.K. Jhanji had directed the Union of India and other respondents to issue travel documents to him.

Truck union chief’s removal revoked

Issuing notice of motion for August 13, a Division Bench directed that the orders removing Malout truck union’s head, following his alleged refusal to provide vehicles for Punjab Chief Minister’s Sangat Darshan,” shall not be given effect to”.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Amar Bir Singh Gill and Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar, the chief, Mandar Singh, had earlier alleged that senior officers were feeling offended as he had refused to oblige them by providing trucks following which a notice removing him from the post, and fixing August 5 as the date for holding fresh election, was issued.

He had stated that 212 vehicles were sent to bring people for a political conference on the eve of Magh Mela in Muktsar district. Another 10 vehicles were sent to Ferozepur on the eve of Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary. Not a single paise was paid, he alleged.

Notice on PMET exam

Notices were issued to Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and the Coordinator of PMET-2001 for August 3 on a petition filed by a Ludhiana student.

In his petition taken up by Mr Justice Amar Bir Singh Gill and Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar, Mr Ashish Kapuria had earlier alleged that the result of PMET was declared at 10.30 pm on the day the entrance examination was conducted.


Attend ‘sangat darshan’ or face action: DC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 12
Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, today issued strict instructions to the district officials to remain present during the “sangat darshan” programme failing which strict action would be taken against them.

Speaking during the district-level “sangat darshan” programme held at the Red Cross Society here , Mr Bir said presence of district officials at the “sangat darshan” programmes improved efficiency as most of the problems could be solved on the spot besides bringing transparecny in the system. He also directed the district officers not to absent themselves from duty especially during the hours when they are most needed by the common people to solve their grievances.

Mr Bir also asked the complainants to come with genuine problems so that they could be solved immediately. He asked the people to write down their complaints on a paper without any fear and assured that this would help the administration to give them justice.

Ms Gurwinder Kaur, wife of martyr Subeg Singh of Kuke village in Patiala tehsil requested to recarpet the remaining half kilometre stretch of the periphery road. Deputy Commissioner asked the District Development Panchayat Officer (DDPO) to look into the matter and get the peripheral road recarpeted as soon as possible.

Mr Iqbal Singh, another villager said a form filled by him two years ago regarding the allotment of pension had not been approved as yet. Gurdev Kaur, a resident of Mund Khera village in the district alleged that Surjit Singh, Sarpanch of the village, had taken a bribe of Rs 1,000 against issue of a five marla plot out of “Shamlat” land, as directed by the state government to be given to the poor people. She added that no receipt was also issued in exchange of the money taken as bribe by the Sarpanch.

Harminder Singh, Gurdeep Singh and Pupi Fruit Company alleged that Varinder Kumar, a resident of Ragho Majra had illegally set up a car garage on the road just in front of Ram Lila playground, near New Grain Market. The complainants alleged that this illegal construction was creating traffic chaos and posed problems for pedestrians. The DC asked the Joint Commissioner present on the spot to look into the matter.

The panchayat of Dhablan village in its complaint stated that there was only one primary school where of 175 children were studying. They appealed to the Deputy Commissioner to send five more teachers to the school. Mr Bir asked the District Education Officer (Primary) to give required amenities as well as faculty to the school. Dalits of the same village said the government had given a grant of Rs 50,000 for the development of a Harijan dharamshala and added that nothing had been done in this regard. Teachers of Government Mohindra College in a joint statement informed that illegal encroachment had taken place just in front of the college land and requested its removal as soon as possible.


DC directs officials to remove encroachments
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 12
Block development and panchayat officer BDPOs, the executive officers of the municipal councils have been directed to accord top priority to clearing encroachments from the government lands in the district if necessary, seek the police help.

This direction was given by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vikas Partap, while presiding over a monthly meeting here today. He also directed the BDPOs to get the resolutions passed by the panchayats about the land available.

Reacting to the unnecessary delay in submitting of pending utilisation certificates by different departments, the deputy commissioner directed the officers concerned to submit the certificates at the earliest. In case a panchyat failed to utilise the grants it should be warned that no further grants would be released.

He also asked the BDPOs to ensure the optimum utilisation of community centres. He stressed upon the need to rent out the shops constructed at Focal Points.


Pensioners condemn move on DA
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 12
The Punjab Government Pensioners Association has condemned the government decision to stop DA for the next five years not to appoint any pay commission in future and the introduction of contributory pension scheme.

Mr Kishan Singh, general secretary, Punjab Government Pensioners Association, in a press note issued here on Tuesday, said that at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr H.L. Bansal, the association had decided to support the one-day nationwide strike on July 25 by 95,00,000 central and state government employees to lodge their protest against the anti-employee and anti-pensioner decision of the government.

He added that association had appealed all pensioners to join hands to raise a banner of revolt for the injustice being meted out to them.


Punjab Govt urged to increase HRA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 12
Former Punjab minister Prem Gupta has urged the state government to immediately accept the demand of government employees here regarding an increase in the house rent allowance from 7.5 to 15 per cent of their pay.

In a statement here yesterday , the Congress leader said city employees were eligible for 15 per cent house rent allowance on the pattern of employees in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar after the status of the city was raised to a municipal corporation nearly two years ago, but the employees had still not been granted the facility. He said it was surprising that the government had not given this facility to the employees despite the fact that Mr Parkash Singh Badal had announced two years ago that this facility would be granted to them.

He said resentment was brewing among the local employees over the step-motherly and indifferent attitude of the government. He said even though the Chief Minister had announced the implementation of the demand, the government was maintaining a silence on the issue.

Mr Gupta assured the employees that the Congress, which he said was sure to form the government in the state following elections to the state assembly, would immediately accept this demand if it was not accepted till then. 


Cops launch Dastak plan
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 12
Mrs Gurpreet Deo, SSP, today announced the launching of a ‘Dastak programme’ in the district as was being done in Jalandhar.

Talking to mediapersons, Mrs Deo said the programme was being launched with an aim to make the police accountable to the public.

Mrs Deo said a meeting of the SP, DSP and the SHOs would be organised on every Thursday at the District Police Office where any person having a grievance could file complaint. She said depending upon the nature of the complaint it would be ensured that the complaint was disposed of within two weeks.

The SSP said for filing complaint and seeking help in case of emergency two telephone numbers 100 and 33768 had started functioning at the police control room. A women helpline had also been started with DSP, Headquarters, as its in charge, she added.

A narcotics cell headed by an SP had also been constituted to intensify drive against drug trafficking, Mrs Deo said.


New office timings cause inconvenience
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 12
The decision of the government to have office hours from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. has been causing inconvenience to the public. Residents of border areas and other far-off villages in the district have to travel to the city early in the morning to reach the office before the office hours are over.

Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, has alleged that a majority of officials in the government sector reach their offices two hours later than the office timing. When a call is made at the office, a junior staff member informs that the officer concerned is in the field or busy in a meeting.

The non-accessibility of officers has been causing inconvenience to the general public. It has been further alleged that neither the officers are available on phone nor in the office.

Mr Dang has asked the Chief Minister to fix the timings for the public so as to make the officials concerned accountable.


Additional charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The Punjab Government has given the additional charge of Director, Agriculture, to Mr Ashok Kumar, Special Secretary, Agriculture.


New Ferozepore Addl DC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The Punjab Government has transferred Mr V.K. Meena, Additional Secretary, Finance, and posted him as Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, to relieve Mr H.L. Kumar of the additional charge.


4 members of killer gang arrested

Batala, July 12
The police today claimed it had arrested four persons, including a woman, involved in two murder cases, which occurred last year.

Giving this information here, SSP Sukhdev Singh Brar identified the arrested as Amrik Singh, a resident of Gaunspura, Kashmir Singh, a resident of Ghasitpura, Lakhbir Singh, a resident of Nijampura and Kanta, a resident of Talwandi Lal Singh villages.

A third murder that of Kanta by the other three was prevented through their arrests, he claimed.

The SSP said the gang was involved in the murder of Gurbhej Singh, driver of a ‘maruta’ (motorised cart) which they had hired from Jandiala in Majitha police district. This murder took place near Dhir village and a sharp-edged weapon(datar) was used in the crime.

Mr Brar said that Kanta who allegedly had illicit relations with Amrik then conspired and got her husband Balwinder Singh murdered by this gang. He further revealed that of late Kanta and Lakhbir developed certain differences and the latter along with the other two gang members decided to get rid of Kanta. This was prevented when the police on specific information nabbed them from a locality in the town.

Mr Brar said that during interrogation it was also revealed that Lakhbir had sold off two women. Efforts were on to trace them. UNI


Man stabbed to death by brother
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 12
In yet another incident of murder in broad daylight, a local businessman was stabbed to death today. According to information, at around 11.30 a.m., Ashwani Kumar (40) was murdered when he was opening the shutter of his shop in Dana Mandi locality. Ashwani Kumar was allegedly stabbed a number of times by a sharp-edged weapon before he collapsed.

The police has registered a case against Ashok Kumar (32), younger brother of the deceased and resident of Basti Bhatiyan Wali, on the basis of a complaint by Ram Prakash, brother-in-law, and Varinder, son of the deceased.

According to police sources, Ashok Kumar was at loggerheads with his brother and other members of the family and had been debarred by his parents several years ago. According to sources, an altercation over property could have been the reason for the murder.

When contacted, Mr Rachpal Singh, DSP, said police parties had been deployed to arrest the accused who had been absconding.


12 held for opening fire to get shop vacated
Our Correspondent

Moga, July 12
Several persons armed with firearms and sharp-edged weapons yesterday attacked the premises of Trikon Computer on the G.T. Road and fired indiscriminately in a bid to get the shop vacated. On hearing shots, shopkeepers of adjoining shops ran away and reported the matter to the police. In the meantime, the attackers entered the shop after breaking open the shutters and damaged most of the goods in it. The Traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road was disrupted due to the firing. However, nobody was injured.

A police party headed by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Dr Sharad Satya Chauhan, reached the scene and arrested about 12 persons in this connection. 


Proclaimed offender
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 12
Rajinder Singh, son of Mr Harchand Singh, of Finetone Cassette Industries, Ludhiana, has been declared a proclaimed offender by the court of Mr Raj Kumar Garg, Judicial Magistrate (Class I), Mansa, in a case filed by Mr Bhupinder Singh against Jasbir Singh and others under Sections 323, 382, 427, 452, 506 and 149, IPC. 


Stolen bus found
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 12
Mr Jagdish Kumar Mittal, SSP, in a press note issued here today said a police party had recovered a stolen mini-bus bearing a bogus number plate. A case had been registered against Harbans Singh, a resident of Vainpoin village. The number of the mini-bus was reportedly allotted to a moped by the DTO, Amritsar. 


Diploma in pharmacy to continue for a year
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, July 12
The All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has given permission for the continuation of the diploma courses in pharmacy for another year in the state. With it many private and government polytechnic institutes running the course have got a fresh lease of life.

Earlier on the recommendation of the Pharmaceutical Council of India the AICTE had decided to discontinue the diploma course in pharmacy. This was done to improve the standard of the pharmacists and to bring it on a par with the developed countries. Following the directives of the AICTE, the Punjab Government had decided to stop the diploma course in the government-run institutes. It was decided that the staff of the diploma courses would be shifted to three institutes, including Hoshiarpur, where the facilities were yet to be upgraded for a degree course in pharmacy as per the recommendations of the AICTE.

Many of the private, government and semi-government colleges, who were running the diploma courses in pharmacy and were fearing closure, had applied to the AICTE for upgradation. Following the inspection of the facilities available at these institutes the AICTE gave permission to nine colleges to start the degree course in pharmacy. The colleges which would be starting the B-Pharma course in the state this year included Shivalik College of Pharmacy, Nangal, Amar Shahid Baba Ajit Singh Jujhar Singh Memorial College of Pharmacy, Bela Ropar, Baba Ishar Singh Pharmacy College, Ferozepore, GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sadhar, Ludhiana, Government Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Engineering, Amritsar, Indo-Soviet Friendship College of Pharmacy, Moga, Pt Jagat Ram Government Polytechnic Institute, Hoshiarpur, SD College of Pharmacy, Barnala, and SBS Polytechnic and Pharmacy College, Patti, Amritsar.

Sources added that many of the institutes running the diploma course in pharmacy had also approached the court against the AICTE decision to discontinue the said course. However, the AICTE also directed the colleges to upgrade their facilities in order to run the degree course to survive the changes.

Mr Amar Singh, Additional Director, Technical Education, Punjab, when asked admitted that the colleges running the diploma course in pharmacy have been given one year lease. The admissions for the course would be conducted as per schedule, he added.


Cell to study impact of WTO
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 12
Punjabi University will establish a monitoring cell to study the impact of World Trade Organisation (WTO) policies on the economy of the state. This was stated by the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, while starting the new academic session during a function held at Arts Auditorium of the university here today.

Refering to the problems and aspirations of the faculty, Dr Ahluwalia said the stagnation in the faculty had been removed and a record number of 41 readers had been made professors in the past few years. He added that promotions of lecturers as senior lecturers and senior lecturers as readers and the remaining promotions would be finalised in a couple of weeks.

Dr Ahluwalia said the university had made a breakthrough in generating resources and it was leading other institutes of higher learning in the region in resource mobilisation. He added that out of the new resources, the university would also contribute substantial amount as seed money to the pension fund and would strive to ensure arrears were paid to teachers.

He gave a clarion call to build bridges of trust and an atmosphere of mutual faith to work together to realise the dreams for which Punjabi University was established. Dr Ahluwalia urged upon the teachers to dedicate themselves to the sacred profession of teaching.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Dr B.S.Bhatia, Registrar, Dr J.K.Gupta, Dean, College Development Council, and Dr D.S.Dhillon, Dean, Students Welfare. Dr K.S.Dhir, Dean, Academic Affairs, presented a vote of thanks.


Few takers for medical stream
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 12
Students taking up admission in various colleges of the city seem to have forsaken the medical stream and are going in for professional courses or taking up non-medical and the commerce streams.

The medical stream seems to have fallen out of favour of students entering college with most of them feeling that they would have less scope for pursuing other streams in case they failed to clear the test for admission to medical institutions. “The effort is just not worth it with it being possible to land up good jobs by putting in much less effort”, is the oft repeated refrain of many a student.

More city students are opting for professional courses, including computer and commerce courses, as these have better prospects. Students feel that by taking up the medical stream, the possibilities of proceeding ahead in life are minimised. They claim that taking up a different professional course would help them in exploring more job opportunities later in life.

Prof Surinder Lal, Principal of Multani Mal Modi College feels that the number of students in the non-medical stream is about three times more than the proposed number of seats. “There is disillusionment among students regarding the medical stream. Anyhow, the number of students in medical courses is definitely less as compared to the percentage and craze that prevailed during the past five years”, he said.

Arjun, who took admission in the non-medical stream said, “The students waste so much of their time, money and energy especially in medical course that even if they do clear their entrance test, their future prospects are reduced greatly”.

Prof Surinder Lal said the college had two sections of non-medical stream students and added that there is an equal rush for courses such as Bachelor in Computer Applications (BCA) and Business Management of Information Technology (BMIT).

Faculty members of Government Mohindra College feel that the number of students is more in arts stream. They feel that the stream was providing more subject choice and better job prospects. The Principal of Mohindra College also said that the non-medical stream was attracting more students as compared to the medical stream. He said some students were preferring the arts stream at the cost of pursuing studies in medical subjects.

However, several students of Arts stream want to opt for mathematics as a subject. “Many students are going in for the maths-economics combination as it is most beneficial for competitive examinations”, said Kamalpreet Kaur, a student.


Admission rush in colleges
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 12
Long queues of students seeking admissions can be seen in schools and colleges of the city. Good results shown by city students have created competitions and craze among students from nearby cities to seek admission to schools and colleges here.

A majority of the students are seeking admission to Government Rajindra College, which is the most reputed college of the region. Other preference are DAV College, SSD Girls College and Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa Girls College. Every college has made arrangements for on-the-spot admission. As per the instructions of the Education Department, all colleges have to complete the admission procedure up till the second week of this month and the regular classes should start from July 15. Most of the colleges had completed their first round of admissions and the second round started from July 9. For 240 seats of plus one (science), Rajindra College had received nearly 1,000 applications.

A cross-section of parents of the students seeking admissions said the general trend this year was that not many students were seeking admission to commerce stream. Increase in the number of MBA passouts, time period of the completion of the CA course and fewer seats of B.Ed being offered to students from the commerce stream were the reasons, they added. DAV College also received a large number of applications for plus one of all streams. The college authorities said the admission scenario would became clear within few days.

The SSD Girls College authorities said there was no fixed number of seats for plus one but generally the number add up to 350.

After talking to the authorities of various colleges of the city it was revealed that science stream was the favourite among students. The second preference was humanities. The rush for commerce was less as compared to other streams.


Denial of admission triggers suicide
Chander Parkash and Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, July 12
In a bizarre incident, Dheeraj Kumar, a student residing in the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant colony, committed suicide on the night of July 10 when he was reportedly denied admission to a college by its authorities.

Police sources said Dheeraj Kumar, who had passed his plus two examinations, was trying to get admission to BA (I) in local colleges. Due to low marks, he was finding it difficult to get admission.

Dheeraj Kumar consumed some poisonous substance. Before consuming the poison, he went to a temple located in the colony.

When his family members came to know about the incident, they took him to the Civil Hospital. Those who attended on him referred him to Ludhiana as his condition was unstable. He died on the way to hospital. The police said no post-mortem examination had been conducted yet.

Mr S. Marriya, Principal, DAV College, said the college authorities did not deny admission to anyone, as per his information. Dheeraj Kumar had secured about 46 per cent and the college had been admitting students who had secured equal or less marks than 46 per cent.

He said neither Dheeraj Kumar nor his parents made a complaint to the college authorities that he had been denied admission. He said the college had also been admitting even those students who had got compartment. He said it was very surprising to know that Dheeraj Kumar had committed suicide when there was no reason to.


Rally by students
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 12
A rally was taken out by students and teachers through the main streets of the town here yesterday. The participants were carrying placards and banners urging people to check the population growth. The rally, which started from the mini-secretariat, terminated at Baba Farid Sabhyacharak Kendra, 3 km from the town. Various district officers also joined the rally.

Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, flagged off the rally. 

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