Saturday, July 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CIMUSET to focus on S-E Asia
India to have science museums
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

P K Bhaumik

Kapurthala, July 13
The Paris-based international Committee of Science and Technology Museums (CIMUSET) is all set to shift its focus towards South-East Asia to involve children of developing countries in science related activities and provide expertise and other assistance to respective governments for setting up science and technology museums in South-East Asian countries.

CIMUSET is known for helping a number of developed countries set up their science and technology museums and for lending them professional expertise, guidance and manpower for this purpose.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Mr P.K. Bhaumik, the Director-General of the upcoming Science City near Jalandhar, who has brought laurels to the country by becoming the first Indian to be elected vice-president of CIMUSET during its annual conference at Barcelona on July 7 said after offering expertise and enabling various Western countries to set up world class science and technology museums CIMUSET had decided to target South-East Asia.

Mr Bhaumik, who has been science and technology consultant to UNESCO, Nepal and Bangladesh before coming to Jalandhar in his capacity as Science City Director-General, said CIMUSET was all set to offer its expertise and other assistance to different South-East Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan as far as setting up of science and technology museums was concerned.

“Actually, at CIMUSET, we feel that more science activities should be there in the South-East Asian countries and children should learn science in a natural way, which is possible only through the science and technology museums, the number and quality of which in this part of the globe is not so encouraging,” said Mr Bhaumik.

Expressing his observation about India, Mr Bhaumik said, “We are doing pretty well in this field and I think India can show the way to others like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan who are lacking in this field for they don’t possess good science and technology museums.”

Mr Bhaumik said, we are going to persuade the Ministry of Culture, NGOs and other organisations like UNESCO to fund science and technology museum projects in such countries.” He said Bangladesh was already in the process of developing a world-class museum at Dhaka. The Nepal and Sri Lankan Governments had shown a keen interest in such projects, which are very helpful.

“Actually, Dhaka is impressed by our mobile exhibition programme and is keen to adopt the same for imparting scientific behaviour among its people, particularly children,” said Mr Bhaumik. China was rich when it came to the presence of science and technology museums. Partly, the credit goes to India for a large number of Chinese scientists and science and technology professionals were imparted training in India.


Custodial deaths: a blot on Punjab Police’s face
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, July 13
The Punjab Police’s human rights record remains as bad as ever with the 120th custodial death since 1997, 15th of the year and the second of the month, being reported on Thursday at Ferozepore despite tall claims of the militancy days’ hardened uniformed men having turned ‘’people-friendly with specialised rights training.’’

In most of such cases police personnel scot-free claiming that the person in custody consumed poison, but that raises a question as to what forced them to take this step?

Recently on July 7, a municipal councillor from Jalandhar Cantonment died under mysterious circumstances in a jail. Later the police had claimed that the victim had died due to a heart attack. Similarly on July 12, an inmate of the Central Jail, Ferozepore, Rajinder Singh, died under mysterious circumstances. The police claimed that the victim had consumed some poisonous substance in the jail after which he was rushed to the hospital where he was declared brought dead.

A number of human rights bodies working in Punjab have alleged that the police and the administration have failed to take necessary action against the guilty policemen. They alleged that in the past four years only a very few accused were held guilty for custodial deaths.

In the custodial death case of Kashmir Singh, a youth of Hoshiarpur who was abducted and later killed in a fake encounter in 1997, the Sessions Court, Hoshiarpur, held it to be a fake encounter and had sentenced the accused policemen to life imprisonment. Similarly in another case, three policemen were held responsible for the death of Devinder Singh of Ropar district in 1998. In this case also the police personnel were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Sessions Judge, Ropar. There are only five or six cases in the past four years where police personnel were held guilty of custodial death. Otherwise, in most of these cases the accused generally go scot-free.

The general secretary of the Lawyers for Social Reforms, Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, said the fundamental right to life and liberty of the citizens were being grossly violated in jail. In most of the custodial death cases, the police authorities have the same plea to prove their innocence that the accused had committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance.

Another human rights activists, Mr T.S Sudan, said in many custodial death cases the public had openly protested against the inability of the police department and the administration to take action against the culprits. He added that despite an increase in the number of custodial deaths the authorities had not taken any effective step in this regard.


One more undertrial dies
Chander Parkash & Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, July 13
Vipan, an undertrial under the NDPS Act, who was admitted to the Central Jail here on July 9, died at the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Hospital Faridkot, on July 11. The reason of his death has been given out that he could not get the required dose of smack.

Vipan had been arrested under the NDPS Act for possessing narcotics. He is a resident of the cantonment area here.

When Vipan failed to procure a smack dose he started feeling uneasy. He was immediately shifted to the local Civil Hospital then referred to the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College Hospital Faridkot, where he died on July 11.

Mr Bhajan Singh, Superintendent, Jail, said that the moment Vipan was shifted to the medical college hospital at Faridkot, he became an inmate of the Faridkot jail. He added that Vipan was not an inmate of the local Central Jail when he died. He pointed out that Vipan, who was addicted to smack died because he could not withstand the withdrawal pressure.

This is the fifth death of an inmate of the Central Jail in the past 45 days. Earlier, four inmates namely Jagjit Singh, Balbir Singh, Anwar and Rajinder Singh had died under mysterious circumstances.

Meanwhile, Mr S.R. Ladhar, District Magistrate, Mr Harchand Singh Sidhu, SSP and other officials made a visit to the local Central Jail to know the problems of inmates, a section of whom have been on fast for the past three days.

Mr Ladhar said that inmates had been advised to end the fast. He added that four water coolers, spacious meeting room, ceiling fans and better health facilities had been promised to them.

Inmates had been complaining about inadequate and poor health facilities, petty thefts and maltreatment by a senior jail official.

A move was afoot to transfer certain medical staff and get additional staff, it was learnt.

Inmates belonging to Faridkot, Muktsar and Moga jails had been shifted to the Central Jail. Overcrowding in the jail had affected facilities for the inmates, it was further learnt.


“False” tubectomy cases to meet target
Sushil Goyal and Vikrant Jindal

Malerkotla, July 13
To achieve the targets of family planning programmes or earn money in an easy way, a fraud was allegedly committed with the government as well as public by the health authorities at the local Civil Hospital in the past years, especially in 1999.

Sources revealed to these reporters here that as per the records, two doctors of the hospital performed hysterectomy and tubectomy operations on at least three women either on the same day or over two days in September, 1999. They allege that performance of hysterectomy and tubectomy operations on a woman on the same day or on different days leads to suspicion that tubectomy cases were “false” and entered in the records to increase the number of tubectomy operations and receive Rs 200 per case from the government.

Interestingly, in these three cases, one doctor on the proforma, filled by the woman giving her consent for tubectomy, claimed that he had operated upon the women for tubectomy while the same women had been shown in the hospital records as operated upon for hysterectomy by another doctor. The women who were reportedly operated upon for hysterectomy and tubectomy on the same day or different days by two different surgeons are Krina Rani (30) from Takhar Kalan village, Rukhsana (27) and Razia (35), both from Malerkotla.

Sources claim that these three cases will prove an eye-opener for the Punjab Health Department and the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, in case a high-level inquiry is conducted by an independent agency on behalf of the Union Government into these three cases and thousands of other cases of tubectomy and hysterectomy performed during the past five years at the local Civil Hospital and other health centres in the Malerkotla subdivision and other parts of the district.

The sources also claim that entry of “false” tubectomy in cases the records serves two purposes for the health authorities: first it helps them in ‘achieving’ the targets and secondly they make money without doing anything.

In the tubectomy cases an amount of Rs 200 per tubectomy operation had been paid by the government in the past years. The sources said out of Rs 200, Rs 80 had been provided for drugs and dressing, Rs 45 for the transportation of the patient, Rs 25 for the motivator, Rs 10 for the operating surgeon and Rs 30 for miscellaneous purposes.

The rate of hysterectomy cases is very high in Malerkotla and the surrounding areas. In September, 1999, more than 20 women were operated upon for hysterectomy at the local Civil Hospital. Hysterectomy operations are still being performed at this hospital.


Farmers plough back cotton crop
Tribune News Service

Mansa, July 13
Farmers of Mansa, Faridkot and Moga districts have started ploughing their pest-affected cotton crop back in soil. Cotton plants had started decaying in fields which have become waterlogged due to the constant showers lashing the region for the past one month.

So far, cotton crop in about 20,000 hectare area out of total six lakh hectare area of the state had been ploughed back by the farmers after they lost hope to get the yield.

While the state Agriculture Department authorities claimed that there was no attack of the American bollworm on the cotton plants, the farmers claim otherwise.

Mr Gurdial Singh Khera, Joint Director, Agriculture, Punjab, said so far there was no report regarding the attack of the American bollworm on cotton crop.

He added that there was a mild attack of semi-luper disease, which used to eat up the plant leaves.

He said the farmers were mistaking it as the attack of the American bollworm and ploughing up their crop.

He pointed out that as the attack of semi-luper was not alarming, the Agriculture Department had not advised the farmers to use insecticides or pesticides so far.

Mr Khera claimed that most of the farmers had ploughed back their cotton crop as their fields had come under deep water and the plant had started decaying.

He said district-level surveillance teams had been sent to the fields to keep a close watch on the crop so that steps could be taken to prevent any attack of pest or bollworm.

In most of the areas where the cotton crop had been ploughed back, the farmers had done late sowing of paddy, keeping in view the climatic conditions indicating adequate rains this season. Some of the farmers, who had sown the cotton crop for experiment sake this season, had left their fields vacant.

The farmers said they had suffered huge losses on account of ploughing back of standing cotton crop as first they purchased hybrid seeds and then used insecticides to protect the plants from the attack.

Mr Gurbachan Singh of Gharangna village and Mr Ram Singh of Bhaini village of the district said they were left with no other alternative except to plough their cotton crop back.

Official sources said a team of agriculture experts from Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, had started touring the cotton belt of the state to get the first-hand information regarding the attack of pests on cotton plants.

Meanwhile, the farmers alleged that integrated pest management (IPM) programme launched by the state Agriculture Department had failed to yield desirable results.

Mr Khera claimed that area in which farmers had ploughed the cotton crop was negligible and the Punjab Government was hopeful that the target of producing 17.5 lakh bales in this year in the state would be met.


Amarinder vows to scrap ‘corrupt’ PPSC
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
If the Congress is voted to power in Punjab in the coming assembly elections, it will scrap the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board (SSSB).

Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), alleged today that the PPSC had institutionalised corruption in the selection of candidates for top government jobs and there was no use retaining this body. “I am of the firm view that this institution should be immediately scrapped and selections to the higher posts in the state should be made purely on the basis of merit, taking the overall performance of the candidate into consideration”.

He said it was a matter of shame that posts of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) were being “sold for Rs 50 lakh each.” The PPSC had become a centre where almost every post was “auctioned,” he alleged. The premium for the post of PCS officer was over Rs 50 lakh. Even those belonging to the middle and lower middle classes could not think of entering the premier services of the state as they did not have capacity to “buy” such posts.

He assured the youth of the state that if the Congress came to power it would provide a transparent system for making recruitments from top to bottom in government departments. There would be no “auction” of posts and no one would be allowed to take money to recruit youth.

“It is the biggest problem people are facing in the state without raising their voice. The Congress will address this problem in a very fair and honest manner,” Capt Amarinder Singh told The Tribune.

When told that the PPSC was a statutory body, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was aware of this fact and would do everything lawfully. He said the people of the state had no faith in the PSSSB.

Regarding party affairs, Capt Amarinder Singh said he and other members of the Coordination Committee favoured giving the green light to sitting party MLAs, except those facing serious charges, to start preparations for contesting the assembly elections. The matter would be put before Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the AICC , for approval soon.

He said he had requested Mrs Gandhi to expand the Coordination Committee by including the remaining four MPs from Punjab in it. Earlier four MPs were taken on this committee. He said there was scope to further expand the executive of the PPCC. “I have made it clear to Mrs Gandhi that it will be in the interest of the party if some more important leaders are included in the executive,” he said.

Besides, there was a chance to accommodate some close associates of certain MPs in the list of office-bearers of the PPCC. This process would take some more time, he added.

He said it was wrong to say that the Coordination Committee had assumed the responsibilities of the PPCC. The committee had been set up with the objective of devising strategies and executing these vis-a-vis the assembly elections. Such committees were also set up in Kerala, West Bengal and other states before the assembly elections a few months ago, he added. Besides, there was another five-member committee headed by Mr Manmohan Singh. This committee provided issue-based inputs to the state unit for election purposes.

Capt Amarinder Singh said if his party came to power, it would provide legal and other help to policemen facing charges pertaining to the period of terrorism. Many policemen were put behind bars though they bravely fought against anti-national forces and played a vital role in eliminating terrorism in the state. The free bus travel facility would also be restored in the case of police personnel, he added.


Chohan a liar, says Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee( PPCC), Capt Amarinder Singh, said today that Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a protagonist of “Khalistan”, was a big liar. Refuting the statement made by Dr Chohan that Capt Amarinder Singh had met him in London, the PPCC president said: “I consider it below my dignity to even talk to him and there is no question of meeting him anywhere”.

Dr Chohan was playing the game of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. As the move to bring terrorists and “Khalistanis” back to the state had backfired on Mr Badal, he had exhorted people like Dr Chohan to malign Congress leaders by making baseless statements against them. It was a calculated move on the part of Mr Badal to provoke the leaders of the Congress through Dr Chohan and other such persons whose activities had been condemned.

He said Mr Badal and the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, should tell the people what deal they had struck with Dr Chohan. Circumstances were being deliberately created by the SAD leadership to disturb the peace in the state, Capt Amarinder Singh said. Why was Dr Chohan not arrested? he said, posing a question to Mr Badal. He said Mr Badal should clarify whether efforts were being made to bring Paramjit Singh Panjwar and certain members of the Panthic Committee to India.

The PPCC president said the authorities concerned should take note of the statement made by Dr Chohan justifying the murder of Indira Gandhi, Beant Singh and Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. He said all-right thinking people should condemn such statements.

Meanwhile, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, chairman of the labour cell of the PPCC, said the dark clouds of terrorism were again hovering over Punjab with the arrival of Dr Chohan and Wassan Singh Zaffarwal. In a joint statement with Mr Nahan Singh Gill, member of the disciplinary committee, Mr Bawa said the Akalis had provided all kinds of support to anti-national forces in the state over the past two decades. The Congress government brought peace to the state, he added.


Malta boat tragedy: wreckage found
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 13
The Indian Embassy in Rome has informed the headquarters of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission about the discovery of the wreckage of the Maltese boat involved in the Malta tragedy on the ocean floor off the cost of Sicily. According to the latest communication, the Italian authorities began the official search at the accident site on June 25, 2001.

It said the remains of the accident victims were likely to be in the form of skeletons given the long period of nearly five years they had been in the ocean since the accident. Identifying the nationality, ethnicity or religion of the victims may not be possible, it added. The Italian authorities would, at that stage, want to know from the mission and other countries concerned, how the remains should be handled.

For example, could there be a common funeral, at which office-bearers of the Mission and/or some relatives of the victims like to be present? If any bodies were identifiable, would the mission or the relatives be able to pay for bringing the remains to India for the last rites?

Meanwhile, Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman of the mission, said here today that Mr Ravinder Kumar Puri of Garhdiwala district of Hoshiarpur had filed a claim suit in the court of Siracusa for his deceased son, Rajan Puri.


Controversies dog Languages Dept
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
The controversy over a missing attendance register in the translation wing of the State Languages Department here has turned murkier with the department deciding to register a police case in this regard.

The attendance register has been missing for some time, has now come in the eye of a storm with critics of the department director alleging that it had been done away with to hide a ‘’scandal’’. It has been alleged that some employees had not marked employees present at the department headquarters as present.

It had even been alleged that one employee had been marked present while he was in Mumbai. The case was being sent to the establishment section for the registration of a police case in the matter.

The department Director, Dr Madan Lal Hasija, however, said there was no truth in allegations that there had been large-scale illegalities in the marking of attendance of employees. He said he had ordered an inquiry into the case which was conducted by Joint Director Mohan Ram Banga. He said an employee Balbir Singh who was alleged to have been absent on May 30 and June 1, was present on both days. He said the work register had notings made by the employee and counter signatures of senior officers on both days.

Meanwhile, another controversy has erupted in the Language Department with the director suspending Research Assistant Bhagwant Singh on charges that he had made wrong entries in the work register regarding the number of translations done by him. The suspension has been politicised with a section inimical to the director supporting the suspended employee. Immediately after the employee was suspended by the Director, the Additional Director, Mr R.S. Gill, made a statement in the press that the research assistant was a hard-working employee four years back he had been rewarded for being the best workman.

Dr Hasija said Research Assistant Bhagwant Singh, had been suspended a few days back, on a complaint filed by the Assistant Director, Translation Gurpreet Kaur. He said Bhagwant Singh worked in the translation wing.

The director said in a written complaint Mrs Gurpreet Kaur had reported that Bhagwant Singh was in the habit of filling wrong figures on the translation work done by him . She complained that even though this had been pointed out in the work register, but Bhagwant Singh continued with the practice. The assistant director had submitted translations done by the research assistant, the original matter and a copy of the work register.

The suspended employee has meanwhile in a written communication to the director termed his suspension as a ‘’baseless and mischievious’’. He has claimed that he had completed his work till June 9 and that the same had been countersigned by the assistant director, translation.

The research assistant has in a communication sought the original translations and related documents for he fears that the work register could be tampered with to support the false accusations being made against him. He has also claimed that no show-cause notice had been served on him also had not been given a chance to explain his position.


Fate of overbridge project now depends on Railways 
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
The fate of the proposed overbridge planned to come up at the railway crossing number 22 to tackle the problem of traffic jams due to busy markets on both sides of the crossing, now hinges on the Centre as the proposal is pending with the Railway Ministry.

The project, which has been on the anvil since several years, was taken up more than two years back by the district administration after experts advocated that the administration should go in for an overbridge and not an underbridge which had been finalised by it earlier.

Following the report of the experts, the administration started the process of building consensus on the issue of the overbridge as shopkeepers on both sides of the railway crossing protested against the move saying the coming up of the overbridge would severely affect their business. The administration was not helped by the fact that local Akali leaders also sided with the traders due to which the project remained in limbo for long.

Official sources disclosed that the project would now be taken up after the Railway Ministry cleared around Rs 4.30 crore needed for the project. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, when contacted, said the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had already met the member of the railway board concerned to ensure early clearance of the project and that the Railways was likely to include the project in its supplementary budget. Mr Bir said once the project was cleared by the Railways, the state government, which had already cleared the project and would put in around Rs 4.50 crore towards it, could start its execution.

While the traders, who run businesses on both sides of the railway crossing, are happy at the delay and feel the issue would be relegated further to the background if no progress is made in the next three or four months due to impending elections to the state Assembly scheduled for February. The people of the city feel construction of the overbridge would remove a major traffic bottleneck and that heavy traffic could then be regulated out of the city through the overbridge.

The traders also feel that the administration has not made necessary efforts to make the area congestion free in the evenings. They feel besides restricting entry of heavy vehicles in the morning and evening hours, a parking lot also be created for people visiting the railway crossing area for shopping purposes. If both steps are taken there would not be much need to spend crores on the overbridge. The shopkeepers said even now their business was at a low ebb because people parking their vehicles in front of their shops in the evening were unduly harassed by traffic policemen posted at the spot adding if a parking lot was created nearby most of the traffic congestion problems would go.

People of the city are, however, not very convinced by the arguments. “Only an overbridge can solve the traffic problems”, said Mr Narinder Singh of Hira Nagar. He said with the vehicle population increasingly steadily the need for an overbridge would become more urgent with the passage of time. The people feel the issue should be looked at from a broader view and that ways could be found to ensure the business of traders settled around the railway crossing was not affected.

The district administration is also of the same view saying once an overbridge was made at the spot, ample parking could take place beneath it and that side lanes could be constructed on both sides of the overbridge to ensure people had complete access to the shops. The administration has apparently been successful in generating consensus among political leaders on the issue with the Improvement Trust Chairman and a close confidant of the Chief Minister, who was earlier opposed to the project, recently expressed support for it.


Authorisation fee: Punjab IMA wants review
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has expressed concern over the high authorisation fees imposed on hospitals and nursing homes in the State by the Punjab Pollution Control Board by invoking Sub rule 3 of rule 8 of Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998.

Dr Sanjiv Sharma, Secretary, Public Relations of the unit of the IMA in a written statement issued late this evening, said that the “high authorisation fees, which range from Rs 75,000 to Rs 4 lakh for three years for hospitals and nursing homes of Punjab, with a capacity of 0-50 beds and for above 50 beds respectively, was many times more as compared to the fee in neighbouring States of Delhi, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, where it was nominal.”

“We brought it to the notice of the Member secretary of the Punjab Board and the Principal Secretary, Science, Technology and Environment by a letter by our President, Dr OPS Kande, supported by copies of notifications of the Government of Haryana. But this letter of April 2 was of no consequence,” Dr Sharma said.

He maintained that the Haryana government had fixed the authorisation fees at Rs 500 (for less than 50 beds) and maximum of Rs 1,000 (for above 50 beds) for a period of one year.

The Delhi Pollution Control Board, he said, had fixed Rs 1,000 per annum for clinics, pathological laboratories and blood banks, veterinary institutions, dispensaries and animal houses, and Rs 1000 per annum for hospitals, nursing homes and health care establishments up to a maximum of four beds and Rs 100 per additional bed per annum.

The authorisation fee fixed by Chandigarh Administration was based on the capital investment. For example, clinics, nursing homes or hospitals with an investment of up to Rs 10 lakh are to pay Rs 2,000 ; capital not exceeding Rs 25 lakh (Rs 5,000), not exceeding Rs 50 lakh (Rs 10,000) , between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore (Rs 20,000) and above Rs 1 crore (Rs 50,000).

Dr OPS Kande has urged the Principal Secretary, Science, Environment and Technology and the State Health Minister to reconsider the decision on heavy authorisation fee.


Spurious cold drinks flood market
Chander Parkash and Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, July 13
Next time you buy a bottle of cold drink of your liking please ensure its genuineness. Your casual approach in this matter may deprive you of the “taste of thunder” as spurious cold drinks have flooded the markets of this region.

Though the spurious cold drink manufacturers have been minting money by cashing in on the ever rising demand of the same due to the summer season the authorities concerned have so far failed to check this menace.

In this district and its surrounding areas spurious cold drinks are openly available in the market. In the small towns and rural areas anybody can get black-coloured Limca or orange-coloured Coca Cola.

Not only this, one can find a cap of Pepsi on a Limca bottle or a Coca Cola cap on any orange drink. These spurious drinks are mostly available in those bottles which have been withdrawn from circulation by the companies.

These spurious cold drinks are being manufactured locally. One such bottle costs the manufacturers Rs 2 only and the same is sold in wholesale at Rs 5. The retailers charge Rs 8 to Rs 10 for the same bottle from the unsuspecting customers, depending on their paying capacity.

The manufacturers of these cold drinks make available their products at the doorstep of retailers to increase their business. Generally, the customers of such drinks are those who are not aware about the genuineness of the drinks.

The spurious cold drink manufacturers are not only cheating the people but also playing havoc with the lives of the consumers. Though the consumption of such drinks can prove an invitation to diseases like diarrhoea, jaundice, gastroenteritis and other ailments the health authorities have turned a blind eye towards the problem.

A senior official of the Health Department said a committee had been formed to look into the matter .


‘Excise officials own benami properties’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 13
Mr Ashok Garg, president, Punjab Pradesh Yuva Beopar Mandal, alleged in a press note issued here yesterday that Excise and Taxation officials of the state were “looting” the traders and did not consider the traders as honest.

He said raids conducted by the CBI on these officials had produced enough evidence that they had assets disproportionate to their known sources of income.

Mr Garg alleged that these officials had purchased benami properties in various parts of the state and were now trying to hush up these cases. They, he said, were now busy destroying the evidence which could lead to their arrests.

The corrupt officials should be punished sternly to restore the faith of the traders in the system, he added.


Councillor’s death: Cong to take up issue
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 13
The Punjab Congress has set up an eight-member action committee to take up with the state government the case pertaining to the alleged murder of cantonment councillor Vijay Paplu under mysterious conditions in the local Central Jail last week. Congressmen were accusing the district police of shielding Deputy Superintendent of the jail Surinder Singh, the main accused, by not arresting him.

The committee, headed by Member of Parliament Balbir Singh, includes Mr Tej Parkash Singh, MLA, Mr Rajinder Joshi, vice-president of the Cantonment Board, and Mr Davinder Sharma, Mr Rakesh Kumar Bitta, Mr Som Dutt Nahar, and Mr Harvinder Pappu, all councillors.

“Mr Bikramjit Singh, Home Secretary, has assured me that he has ordered the district police to arrest the Deputy Superintendent of the jail without any delay and make greater efforts to unveil the conspiracy behind the mysterious death of councillor Vijay Paplu,” Mr Balbir Singh told this correspondent here yesterday.


Open Hussainiwala border: SAD (A)
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal (A), headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today demanded that the opening of the Hussainiwala border be included in the agenda of the Agra summit. “If the Centre is sincere towards the development of Punjab, particularly the Ferozpore border area, then the Hussainiwala border should be opened,” said Mr Dhyan Singh Mand, a former MP and senior vice-president of the party.

He further demanded that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf should enter India via the Hussainiwala border. 


Badal has gone for eye surgery: Badungar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Reacting strongly to the statement made by the Leader of Opposition, Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in the garb of a patient had gone abroad to meet the terrorists, the Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, said the Congress leader should not behave like a frustrated politician.

Mr Badungar said it was a well-known fact that Mr Badal had gone to the USA for an eye surgery. By making such statement Mr Singh had made mockery of himself. 


Destitute girl battles for life
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 13
An unidentified teenaged girl, who was found in a very bad shape on a road by some villagers near Sangat today, has been battling for her life in the local Civil Hospital .The girl, who is unable to speak, has been bleeding profusely and doctors who attended on her in the Civil Hospital have yet to confirm whether she has been raped or she has suffered an abortion. The girl, who was brought to the emergency wing, has been shifted to the maternity ward in the local Civil Hospital. Various tests to diagnose her problem would be conducted tomorrow, Civil Hospital sources said.

Mr Vijay Goyal, president, Sahara Jan Seva, said volunteers of the organisation had started taking care of the treatment of the teenaged girl. He added that efforts were being made to know her identity.

Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that the teenaged girl was pregnant and she had been deserted by the person who had made her pregnant.


Old power meters to go within week
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
The PSEB has decided to change all old meters within a week besides reducing charges for consumers wishing to transfer their connections from Rs 700 per kw to Rs 500 per kw.

An official release here said these decisions had been taken following a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal which was attended by board Chairman Gurcharan Singh Sohal and other senior officials.

It said among the other decisions taken at the meeting, it was also decided that extra facilities would be provided to export-oriented units besides consumers falling under the green category. It said it had been decided that large-scale consumers could draw 25 per cent more of the total load till 250 kw, medium-scale units could draw 25 per cent more of the total load till 100 kv and small-scale units could draw 25 per cent more of the total load till 20 kv.

The board release said it had also been decided that from now onwards consumers would have to install diesel generator sets of a capacity of at least one and a half times of the sanctioned load so that a proper backup was created.

Meanwhile a release from the Power Controllor disclosed that the peakload restrictions had been revised for consumers falling under north, south, west and border operation zones which would be in force from 7.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.

Restrictions for consumers in the central zone will be in force from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. It said additional load-shedding would be resorted to in case of outage of any thermal plant.


Block-level stadium planned
Bhog ceremony of Sohi
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, July 13
The Punjab Government will construct a block-level stadium, a road linking the Chandigarh-Ambala highway with Bartana village and a gate on the Zirakpur-Bartana road in memory of Ravinder Singh Sohi, who died following a massive heart attack on July 3.

This statement was made by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance and Planning Minister, Punjab, while addressing a convention here on the bhog ceremony here today.

The minister said work on laying of the link road would start on August 14 after chalking out the direct approach and the suitable site. He also expressed sympathies with the aggrieved family on behalf of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab.

The bhog ceremony was attended by senior leaders of all parties, including SAD, SHSAD, Congress, CPI and CPM.

Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister of Haryana, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr G.S. Tohra, President of SHSAD, Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, assured all help to members of the deceased’s family. Mr Jaspal Singh, chairman of the Sher-e-Punjab Sports Club, Zirakpur, said Sohi was a great lover of sports and members of the club had decided to change the name of the club as the Ravinder Singh Sohi Memorial Sports Club in memory of Sohi.

Leaders of various political parties attended the bhog ceremony.


Nominations invited for awards
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 13
The Gurdwara Godri Sahib Baba Farid Society will give three awards this year namely Baba Farid Award for Honesty (Judicial), Baba Farid Award for Honesty (General) and the Bhagat Puran Singh Award for Service to Humanity.

Mr Inderjit Singh, president of the society, said in press note here yesterday that the awardees would be given a siropa, dushala, a memento and Rs 51,000 in cash.

He said the nominees had to be from Punjab and for honesty awards, they had to be retired personnel and should give details of their postings, especially the last posting.

The nominees for the Bhagat Puran Singh Award should be a person/organisation which had not been awarded by the government. All nominations should reach the society office at Faridkot on or before August 10.


Sarhali Baba cremated
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 13
Kar Seva wale Baba Charan Singh of Sarhali and head of Dera Nawan Padao who died on Wednesday night in Mumbai was cremated today at Gurdwara Gurpuri Sahib, Sarhali, with great religious fervour. A large number of devotees, including representatives of different political, social, religious and other organisations and a large number of panches and sarpanches of gram panchayats of the area, attended the cremation.

The pyre was lit by Baba Sukhwinder Singh, elder son of Baba Charan Singh. Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, read the “hukamnama” when Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, Amritsar, performed the “ardas”.

Mr Shamsher Singh Sandhu, vice-president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Baba Sewa Singh of Khadoor Sahib, Baba Nand Singh Munda Pind, Baba Kashmira Singh Garrha Sahib (Jalandhar), Baba Mangal Singh Guru Sar Satlani, Baba Avtar Singh Sur Singh and heads of different deras, besides Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, former MP, Congress leader and former Punjab minister, Mr Jagir Singh, and others also paid tributes to the departed soul. Baba Hakam Singh, son of Baba Charan Singh, said the bhog would be performed on July 20 at Sarhali.

There was, however, no representative of the SGPC at the ceremony.


World Sikh Council’s clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, secretary-general, World Sikh Council, clarified today that the decision to set up the World Sikh University at Chamkaur Sahib was in the wake of the resolution adopted at the World Sikh Conference held in 1995.

He was reacting to newspaper reports that the London-based World Sikh University had denied its association with the proposed World Sikh University at Chamkaur Sahib.

“The World Sikh University is conceived on a different footing than the university in London. Admittedly, there is no nexus between the two institutions and there should be no confusion in the public mind,” he added.


Vikas leaves for India Gate
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 13
Even as peacenik Vikas Singh today bid adieu to the holy city to resume his mission. His greatest regret is his inability to meet Gen Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan scheduled to reach India tomorrow.

In a message to General Musharraf, Vikas says, “Kashmir should not be a ‘focal point of the proposed talks as pain and bitterness were linked to the issue. Instead both countries should pick up the threads of friendship from mutually agreeable points.

As The Tribune team caught up with him on the highway, Vikas said Indians in Pakistan were viewed with suspicion. He corroborated the statement by saying that “despite clear information about me to the Pakistan authorities since 1998 and afterwards in the five months while applying visa to that country from Afghanistan before entry into Pakistan on April 13 this year; the Pakistan authorities tried to frame false charges against me,” he added.

He was sent to prison without a trial. During interrogation they tried to make him admit that his mission was actually “spying” for India, he said. Vikas suggested that any move to ease travel restrictions on the pattern of Europen should be preceded by proper set ups to guard against problems arising out of such conditions.

Vikas resumed his journey after two days of rest and treatment for sun stroke and high fever from the Manvalla dispensary here. He was feeling fit after rest. Dr Hardeep Singh Ghai, in charge of the dispensary, said Vikas was admitted to the dispensary on July 10 after becoming unconscious near Daburji, 4 km from here.

Yesterday. His (Vika’s) sister Dr Anju Verma and his brother-in-law Dr Rakesh Verma had come to meet him here. His sister met him after 14 years. Vikas propose to reach India Gate in Delhi on August 15.


Tandon distributes grants
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 13
A grant of Rs 2 lakh was given for the construction of a bridge at Salimpur Nangal village. Another grant of Rs 1 lakh was given for school building and Rs 1 lakh for development works.

This was stated by Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Local Government, Labour and Employment Minister, while addressing a sangat darshan programmes held at Salimpur Nangal village, Ram Nagar, Gharama Khurd and Mohi Kalan, villages in Rajpura subdivision today.

Mr Tandon said Rs 1 lakh had been given for a school at Ram Nagar village, Rs 50,000 for dharamshala and Rs 50,000 for the construction of cremation ground.

He added that Rs 2 lakh each had been given for Gharama Khurd and Mohi Kalan village.


Pilgrim dies at Hemkunt Sahib
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Sukhdev Singh Ghuman, 49, Divisional Manager of New India Assurance Company, died at Hemkunt Sahib on Wednesday after slipping on a road.

Ghuman was the son of Dr Harbans Singh Ghuman, former Principal of Khalsa College, Amritsar, and the secretary of Guru Nanak Engineering College Management.


Bhattal kin’s plea on transfer allowed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed a petition filed by former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s sister, Balwinder Kaur Bhattal, challenging her transfer from Mansa to Ropar. The petitioner is working as District Public Relations Officer.

Alleging victimisation due to the forthcoming assembly elections, Ms Bhattal had earlier alleged that she had been transferred to a distant place as she was a former CM’s sister. She added that her transfer was due to the forthcoming assembly elections.

Terming the transfer orders as “illegal”, counsel for the petitioner had added that Ms Bhattal could not have be sent out as, according to the rules, an employees could not be transferred if the retirement was due within two years.

After going through the record and hearing the arguments in the case, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar, allowed the petition.

Order to close MLA’s history sheet

Allowing a petition filed by former MLA from Gidderbaha in Muktsar district, Mr Raghbir Singh, Mr Justice V.M. Jain of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the closure of his history sheet.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Jain also ordered the removal of the petitioner’s name from the surveillance register (No 10) being maintained at Gidderbaha police station.

The Judge observed: “The names of only those persons can be entered in the register, at the discretion of the Superintendent, who have been convicted twice or more under offences mentioned in rule number 27 and 29 of the Punjab Police Rules.... So far as the petitioner is concerned, he has been convicted only once and as such his name can- not be entered in the register in view of the provisions”.

In his detailed order, Mr Justice Jain added: “In the present case, there is nothing on record to show that the Superintendent of Police had ever formed an opinion that the petitioner was habitual offender or the receiver of stolen property”.

Seeking directions for quashing the history sheet, the petitioner had earlier alleged that he had been implicated in false criminal cases by the Gidderbaha police at the instance of a Chief Minister’s loyalist. Going into the background, counsel for the petitioner had added that Raghbir Singh was elected MLA in 1992 on the Congress ticket.

Notice to Punjab on appointment

On a petition challenging the appointment of IAS officer R.S. Mann as chairman of the Punjab Electricity Tariff Regulatory Commission, a Division Bench of the High Court issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents.

Seeking directions for declaring Mr Mann as unfit to hold any public office, two advocates practising in the High Court — Mr Karam Chand and Mr Anil Pal Singh Shergill — had earlier stated that the respondent could not be appointed chairman in view of the judgement pronounced by the High Court in former Punjab Chief Secretary V.K. Khanna’s case against the Union of India.

In its judgement, the court had held that the respondent had acted with mala fide intentions in ordering an inquiry against Mr Khanna. The court’s order had been upheld by the Supreme Court, the petitioner had added.

Quoting another Supreme Court judgement, the petitioners had stated that a person was unfit to hold public office if the allegations of mala fide conduct were proved against him by a competent court.

Counsel for the petitioners had also contended on their behalf that Mr Mann had superseded as many as 10 senior IAS officers to become Chief Secretary. After hearing the arguments, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, issued notice of motion for August 9.


CBI books 39 rice millers
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 13
The CBI has registered a preliminary FIR against 52 persons, including 39 rice millers of 13 rice mills and 13 top officials of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) of Bareta town in the district and has started investigation in the supplies of rice to the FCI, which was beyond rejection limit (BRL).

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has handed over the inquiry regarding the supply of BRL rice to the FCI on Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a farmer, Mr Sukhdev Singh. The CBI has registered a preliminary FIR under Section 420/120-B of the IPC and Sections 13-B, 13(1) (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act after investigating the matter. Before lodging the FIR, the CBI took samples of rice from various mills and FCI godowns of Bareta town. Mr Kulwant Singla vice-president of Municipal Council, Bareta, and Mr Pawan Kumar Municipal Councillor, have been booked in the preliminary FIR.

A similar case had come to light earlier too, due to which the rice mills of Bareta and Mansa towns were blacklisted by officials of the Food and Civil Supplies Department and the FCI.

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta), the All-India Anti Corruption Board and various trade unions have demanded a similar action against the erring FCI officials and rice millers of the Budhlada, Sardulgarh, Bhikhi and Mansa areas of the district.


Search foreign markets for wheat export’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 13
Punjab Federation of Arhtiya Association Emiritus president Bal Krishan Singla has said that slashing the sale price of wheat by 30 per cent will not result in more consumption and the only solution lay in searching new foreign markets.

In a statement here yesterday, Mr Singla said the decision seemed to have been taken on layman reasoning that if wheat prices went down, people would start consuming more wheat. He said the only solution to clear the surplus foodgrains was to search foreign markets. If the stocks did not move out, they would result in an additional burden on the state exchequer, he added.

He said the government was already spending money on fumigating the stocks at regular intervals which made these unfit for human consumption after some time. The stocks already lying in the open were deteriorating. He said though creation of new facilities was needed, it was only a short-term measure and not the ultimate solution.

Mr Singla said per hectare production was increasing day by day and new seeds and fertilisers were resulting in increased production. More and more land was coming under cultivation and states which were having a deficit of foodgrains earlier were now in surplus today. Therefore, if the government did not procure on the maximum support price, farmers of the country would be doomed.


11 promoted to  rank of Executive Engineer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The Punjab Government today ordered the promotion of 11 Subdivisional Engineers (SDEs) as Executive Engineers of the Punjab PWD (B and R).The order was issued by Mr Mohinder Singh, Secretary, PWD (B and R).

Those who have been promoted are Mr Virjeet Singh Bhalla, Mr Krishan Kumar Aggarwal, Mr Pirthi Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh Tuli, Mr Mangal Sen Bansal, Mr Santosh Singh, Mr Ajwinder Singh, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, Mr Harinder Pal Singh Bagga and Mr Joginder Singh.

Besides, the Departmental Promotion Committee has cleared the names of more than 30 SDEs for promotion in due course. The promotion orders in their case will be issued on the availability of vacancies.


Corruption case against SDO, JE
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 13
A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against Hardidar Singh, an SDO and Labh Singh, a JE, of the PSEB, cantonment subdivision, today by the vigilance bureau.

Mr Hem Raj Maheswary, a resident of the city, had filed a case against the two alleging that they had demanded a bribe of Rs 1,000 from him and some other shopkeepers of the area.

Mr Maheswary alleged that the culprits in connivance with the owners of a private hotel of the city laid power supply cables for the hotel from a longer route though the main transformer was installed just at the main entrance of the hotel.

He said the accused had laid a power supply cable of 11,000 volts by digging a 3-feet-deep trench in Krishna Market putting the life of shopkeepers to danger shock. “The accused had laid the power supply cable in the market deliberately and had demanded a bribe of Rs 1000 per shopkeeper if they did not want that the power supply cable run through the market,” he said.

The PSEB employees had caused a loss to the board and the state exchequer in connivance with the owners of the hotel. When the shopkeepers approached senior officials of the PSEB the accused managed to get a false case under Sections 379 and 353 of the IPC registered against them, he added.


Dismissed cop in police net
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 13
Balkaur Singh, who was dismissed from the Punjab Police in 1994 was arrested today for allegedly smuggling liquor into the district.

Balkaur Singh who became drug addict after his dismissal from service used to buy drugs by selling liquor. Police sources said he managed to get liquor at cheap rates and sold it at a premium.

Last year also the district police had registered cases against three police officials for allegedly smuggling poppy husk into the district. Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said Balkaur Singh was arrested today under Sections 61/1/14 of the Excise Act, a scooter and 24 bottles of liquor were recovered from him.


7 arrested in different cases
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 13
The district police has arrested seven persons for various crimes during the past 36 hours. The persons, Gurtej Singh and Tarsem Singh, were arrested for possessing poppy husk. Cases under the NDPS Act have been registered in this connection. Kuldip Singh was arrested for allegedly possessing 100 gm of opium and booked under the NDPS Act.

Four other persons Buta Singh, Rakha Ram, Surinder Kumar and Rakesh Kumar, were arrested under the Prevention of Gambling Act.


Decision to increase seats “retrograde”
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, July 13
The decision of the Punjab University Syndicate to grant 10 per cent additional seats in the teaching departments has snowballed into a major controversy. The syndicate decided on January 25 that 10 per cent additional seats (minimum five seats), of the sanctioned seats, in all teaching departments would be created for poor and meritorious rural students.

It was also decided that no fee would be charged from such and meritorious students. Besides this, the syndicate decided that 5 per cent additional paid seats (minimum 2 seats in each course would also be created. Letters to this effect had been received by the deputy commissioners of various districts where colleges and institutes affiliated to Punjabi University are located.

The decision was taken allegedly to oblige the affiliates of the ruling alliance in the wake of the coming Assembly elections in the state. Interestingly, the criteria for judging the poor and meritorious students had not been fixed by the university authorities. Many students who were not able to get admission to the local Government Rajinder College were reportedly asked by the college officials to get their applications marked by the Deputy Commissioner which, the officials said would enable them to get admission in the college.

A senior Professor of the college said on condition of anonymity that the seats in the various colleges and streams had been distributed keeping in view the facilities available in these institutes. Creation of additional seats (15 per cent) in the teaching departments would affect the quality of teaching as the teacher-student ratio would increase.

Most of the students of urban areas condemned the policy of ‘nomination seats’. A group of students who had appeared in the Master of Computer Applications (MCA) entrance test conducted by Punjabi University alleged that the decision was taken to gain political mileage among the students. “Ten per cent additional free seats could be justified, but where was the need of creating 5 per cent additional paid seats? It has been done to make good the loss incurred by the university. Poor and meritorious students can be found in the urban areas also but the university thinks otherwise,” they alleged.

Mr Darshan Singh Jeeda, state president, Samajwadi Janta Party, alleged the decision was a retrograde step. The youth factions of the ruling alliance did not enjoy public support, so the leaders had to resort to such cheap tactics. No other university of the state had taken such an ill-fated decision, further strengthening the belief that the Punjabi University VC was close to the ruling alliance, he said.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R. Venkatratnam, recommended a list of 62 students for admission to Government Rajinder College and said he was under no political pressure as the whole process was transparent.

“The college authorities send us the percentage of marks of the student who was admitted for the last seat and then a list of students who are to be recommended is prepared in descending order of merit starting from the percentage of the last student admitted in open seat. The list is sent to the Chief Minister’s office and after clearance from there comes to the college office and the students are admitted. Even the percentage of marks is written on the lists,” he said.

Mr Venkatratnam said a list of deserving students from the urban area would also be sent to the college authorities for action as per rules. He admitted that the department had not asked for any documents or affidavits from the students while attesting their claims, some “mistakes” may have crept in inadvertently.

Mr Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, was here a few days ago in connection with a BJP state-level executive meeting, had said the decision would be looked into again. 


Nursing institute’s MD booked
K.K. Goyal

Mansa, July 13
The police has registered a case under Section 406/420 of the IPC against Mr Naginder Singh Harika, managing director of Khalsa Rural Hospital and Nursing Training Institute of Nangal Kalan village in the district.

The FIR number 54 of July 2, 2001 has been registered on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court while disposing the writ petitions of Ms Narinder Paul Kaur of Jalwana village in Sangrur district and Ms Ravinderjit Kaur of Kular village in Ludhiana district on December 12, 2000.

The petitioners had alleged that the institute had admitted the petitioners in B.Sc nursing and B.Sc physiotherapy courses, respectively, but later, it was found that both the courses were not recognised.

Mr Harika, who is also the managing director of Khalsa Dental Hospital and Dental College, Nangal Kalan village in the district, is already in judicial custody since May 1, 2001 in a case under FIR number 100 on November 4, 1999, registered under Section 420/465/467 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Suresh Kumar Charma, an IAS officer from Jammu, and at present lodged in Central Jail, Bathinda. His bail application is pending for August 1, 2001 in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Khalsa Dental Hospital and Dental College, which came into existence in 1995 and has admitted 60 students in BDS for first professional year, is running without the approval of the Dental Council of India. The college, after being approved by the Punjab Government, was affiliated to Punjabi University, Patiala.

The Punjab Government admitted students to this college through the PMET conducted in 1998-99. It may be mentioned that the prospectus of the college lured the students by advertising that the college was recognised by the Dental Council in India.


VC’s term over, still in office
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 13
Even as uncertainty prevailed regarding the much-hyped extension to the Punjab Technical University Vice-Chancellor, Dr H.S. Gurm, he continued supervising counselling MBA students even a day after the expiry of his term on July 11.

What is more interesting is that though the one-year term of Dr Gurm expired on Wednesday yet there was no official communication regarding his extension or appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor.

So much so, that the Vice-Chancellor himself and the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, were in the dark about the matter.

Mr Garcha and the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, it is learnt, had recommended to the Chancellor of the university and the Punjab Governor Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) for grant of another term to Dr Gurm, who embroiled himself in a number of controversies during his one-year tenure as Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Garcha said he was not aware of any development regarding his extension or appointment of a new VC of the university.

“Since I could not go to Chandigarh I don’t know anything,” said Mr Garcha. Similarly, Dr Gurm, said the university had not received any official communication regarding this till late yesterday.

Asked whether he was optimistic about getting another term Dr Gurm said, “If wishes were horses ..... It depends upon them whether they want me here or not.”

During his term Dr Gurm was involved in a number of controversies, the Punjab Youth Congress president Mr Davinder Singh Babbu had served an ultimatum on the Punjab Chief Minister that Youth Congress workers would gherao the university if the VC was not removed by July 17.

Mr Babbu had also submitted a memorandum to the Chancellor seeking the removal of the VC on various grounds.


ETT interviews from July 16
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 13
Mr Santokh Singh Ranu, District Education Officer (S) and Chairman, District Selection Committee, Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts, in a press note issued here today said the interview of ETT candidates of the district would commence from July 16 at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Model Town, Jalandhar.

Mr Ranu said the candidates, who had submitted the requisite copies of certificates up to June 22, had been called for the interview. The remaining candidates submit the same at the local DEO (P) office. They would be issued interview letters after July 16, he added.

Any candidate, who was not issued interview letter could contact Mr Ranu at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Model Town, Jalandhar, on July 24.


Scholarships for students 
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 13
The Punjab Elementary Education Project Committee has selected 20 students for scholarships on the basis of a written test that was conducted on July 1.

The committee that works under the aegis of the Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council of New Delhi, has selected 10 boys and 10 girls of sixth standard from 350 candidates who took the test. Each of these students will get Rs 150 per month as scholarship for the next three years.

Dr T.R. Sharma, Chairman of the committee, said only those students had been invited to take the test who had studied in government primary schools of the Patiala district, besides having more than 70 per cent marks in the state-level Class V examinations.

Dr Sharma said that the first instalment of scholarship money, amounting to Rs 36,000 for the year 2001-2002, would be disbursed in the first week of August at a function where Dr Nagra, President of the Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council of New Delhi was likely to be present.


Small savings agents’ training camp
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 13
The National Savings Organisation along with the Directorate of Small Savings, Punjab, organised a one-day orientation camp for Standardised Agency System agents of small savings of the district at the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Mr M.K. Malhotra, Regional Director, National Savings, (Government of India) Punjab and UT, Chandigarh, presided over the camp. He expressed happiness over the achievements of the last year which stood at Rs 252 crore against a net collection target of Rs 246 crore fixed by the government. He appreciated the efforts put in by the small savings agents. He advised the agents to put in more efforts in the rural areas.

Prof Sant Surinder Singh of the Economics Department of Government College, delivered a lecture on motivation, marketing and sales promotion.


Industrialists submit memo to PSEB
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 13
The Small Scale Industries Association (SSIA), Patiala, today urged the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to open a complaint centre in Focal Point to facilitate industrialists.

In a memorandum submitted to the PSEB Chairman following a general body meeting of the association, the SSAI president, Dr Harkirat Singh, said if the centre was opened, industrialists would not have to come to the far away factory area and industrial estate on the Sirhind road to register their complaints.

Listing the other problems faced by the industrialists, its secretary, Mr Devinder Singh, said the PSEB should provide information of power cuts in advance. He also said unscheduled power cuts and shut downs should be done away as these resulted in loss to the industrialists as well as the state’s economy.

The association alleged that generally power is shut off for maintenance purposes and urged the PSEB authorities to regularise these cuts on weekly off days so that the industrialists suffer minimum loss of business. The association members added that complaints should be attended to immediately which are normally attended to after a couple of hours.

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