Monday, July 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal raises Sikh issues with PM
130-cr released for irrigation, drainage works
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to the Sikh issues in future talks with Pakistan.

Mr Badal made a courtesy call on the Prime Minister at his residence, praised him for his endeavour to promote peace and harmony through confidence-building measures between the neighbours divided by Radcliff Line.

The Punjab Chief Minister urged Mr Vajpayee to take up the issue of the dissolution of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and handing over the management and control of the Sikh shrines therein to the SGPC, which he said was the only elected body for managing gurdwaras.

Mr Badal also requested the Prime Minister to press for the setting up of a high-powered committee comprising representatives of the SGPC, Sikh community of Pakistan and senior officials of the two countries to sort out various issues.

The issue of free access to gurdwaras in Pakistan to Sikh sangat on historic occasion, to allow Sikh religious leaders to undertake kar seva of gurdwaras and frequent bus service between Amritsar and Lahore to facilitate meeting of the relative on both sides of the border, were pressed by Mr Badal during his meeting with the Prime Minister.

He said the opening of dialogue between the two nuclear neighbours benefited Punjab and expressed the hope that it would help check cross-border terrorism.

Mr Badal said forging healthy relationship between India and Pakistan was the dire need of the hour and would benefit the state immensely. He said whenever there was any disturbance, the people of Punjab had always been the worst affected, psychologically and physically, ever since they suffered the brunt of Partition.

He said the confidence-building measures would go a long way in reducing tension at the border, meaningful discussion for opening of land routes, promotion of trade and commerce and a renewed hope to the peoples of both countries to re-kindle friendliness.

The Punjab Chief Minister also met the Union Minister for Water Resources, Mr A.C. Sethi, and secured the release of Rs 130 crore for irrigation and drainage works in the state.

The release of Rs 20 crore was decided as an initial advance for the immediate commencement of construction on Shahpurkandi project revised investment clearance from the Technical Advisory Committee.

A sum of Rs 40 crore was released for UBDC remodelling project and Rs 10 crore for providing additional irrigation facilities.

For the new scheme of lining of water channels and canals Rs 40 crore has been released and Rs 10 crore for ‘river protection works’ along the India-Pakistan border in the state.


Punjab ‘on brink of disaster, courtesy Badal’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had brought the state to the brink of disaster affecting the livelihood of every citizen.

Reacting to yesterday’s statement of Mr Badal, the PPCC chief said that “ his disastrous management of the state economy, affecting both rural and urban Punjab, the deteriorating law and order situation and his current policy on bringing terrorists back to the state are just a few of his achievements during his current administration.”

Capt Amarinder Singh said interestingly the decision of the Congress that once in power it would ask the Chief Justice to set up a commission to go into corruption charges against Mr Badal and his family had got him worried. “If he was innocent, this statement should have been taken by him in his stride”, he said.

The PPCC chief further said that as to Mr Badal going to jail a number of times, this was true, but if any one analysed this, a stark pattern would emerge. First, he starts an agitation. Second, when it gets out of hand he gets himself arrested so that he does not have to face the situation squarely and take decisions. Third, he leaves his supporters to face the music while he sits quietly in jail. And, fourth, he then emerges from jail as a hero while thousands of his supporters in the meantime have been mercilessly beaten and arrested by the police on various charges. “This, according to the Badalian philosophy, is ideal leadership!”

Capt Amarinder Singh said the performance of the Badal government is pathetic in all fields, and it is well known, he (Badal) has a confused mind. A combination of these two, as we all know, is a recipe for disaster; hence his continued refusal to a debate. If I am too junior for him, that is all the more reason that he should agree to defeat me in such a debate because of the vast experience he possesses! Will not this benefit his party on the eve of the elections ?” he asked.

Capt Amarinder Singh admitted that he had been an Akali MLA of Mr Badal’s party. But what Mr Badal would like the world to forget is that he was a Congress MLA once. “The sad part is that he wasn’t a Congress MLA long enough otherwise he would have learnt how to govern wisely,” the PPCC chief concluded.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has taken exception to the language used by the Punjab Chief Minister against Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Sant Ram Singla, spokesman, PPCC, said in a written statement that the announcement of the PPCC chief for setting up a probe commission against the Chief Minister and his family had perturbed Mr Badal so much that he had forgotten the use of dignified language. Capt Amarinder Singh headed the state unit of a national party which had more than 100 years of history behind it while the party headed by Mr Badal was a splinter group of dozens of Akali Dals.

Mr Singla said Mr Badal started his career as a Congress MLA and in a display of opportunism joined hands with the BJP to become the Chief Minister. It was Mr Badal who tore up a copy of Article 25 of the Constitution and submitted a memorandum to the United Nations for “Khalistan”. Under the same Constitution, he was now heading the SAD-BJP government.

Mr Singla said Capt Amarinder Singh saw action in the conflicts with both China and Pakistan while Mr Badal went into hiding rather than face the electorate of Punjab in 1992 because of the fear of terrorists.

Mr Singla also accused Mr Badal of going back on his promises. His promise of setting up a commission to determine the genesis of terrorism was still only on paper. The way the cases of Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan and Wassan Singh Zaffarwal were being handled by the state government was known to everyone.


GND varsity to have new VC
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, is all set to get a new Vice-Chancellor soon as any further extension to the present incumbent, Dr Harbhajan Singh Soch, who is due to retire tomorrow at the end of his extended term, has been ruled out.

A formal announcement about the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor is expected tomorrow as the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has reportedly made up his mind on naming a successor to Dr Soch.

Sources reveal that Dr Soch was in Delhi yesterday where he called on the Chief Minister. A brief meeting with him, the sources said, was a disappointment for Dr Soch as the Chief Minister hinted at a change.

The Chief Minister, the sources said, has reportedly made a commitment to someone else. Speculation was rife that either Dr S.P. Singh or Mr Jaswant Singh Phull will fill the slot. Also in the running is Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board.

Until a few days ago, the feeling was that Dr Soch would get an extension for a year or so. But the candidates, who have been in the race for this coveted post reportedly built up immense pressure on the Chief Minister asking him to change the Vice-Chancellor as Dr Soch already had two extensions of one year each after his initial term of three years.

Sources reveal that while one of the candidates is backed by a prominent journalist, other candidates, too, have been lobbying intensely. Efforts to get in touch with Dr Soch at his Amritsar residence this evening were not successful.

Master Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education, was also not available for comments.

Sources in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in New Delhi revealed Mr Badal had not yet given his mind to anyone about appointing a successor to Dr Soch until late this evening. They, however, confirmed that Dr Soch had a one-to-one meeting with the Chief Minister yesterday after the latter arrived from the USA after his eye treatment.

“But the meeting was short and crisp. What transpired at the meeting was not known,” the sources said.

The recommendation of the Chief Minister would go to the Governor of Punjab, who happens to be the Chancellor of all universities within the state. A formal notification about the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor is likely by tomorrow afternoon.

The Chief Minister, who is scheduled to have a couple of meetings with some Central Ministers, including the Finance Minister, tomorrow morning is expected to return here in the afternoon.


Ghaggar may go on wreaking havoc
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
The Ghaggar is likely to continue to wreak havoc on the people of Patiala and Sangrur districts, with the Punjab Government expressing its helplessness to find a permanent solution to the problem of flash floods occurring due to excess water flowing in the river during the monsoon.

The only solution to the problem lies in the construction of a dam in Haryana territory in the region close to Pinjore or Chandi Mandir, according to Irrigation Department officials. Once the dam is constructed, the river can be tamed easily, ending the misery of thousands of people living along it in both districts.

It was thought that as the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was close to his Haryana counterpart, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, he would be able to persuade him to establish a dam in his territory to solve the problem once and for all through a joint project. However, a spanner has been thrown in the works with Mr Chautala expressing his reservations about the idea.

Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, when quizzed on the issue, said a permanent solution could be found only if the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan agreed to it. He said even though a Standing Committee of the three states on the Ghaggar was in force since 1995, not much ground had been made in finding a solution to stop the mayhem caused by the river during the monsoon.

Mr Sekhon said the three states had also participated in a meeting organised by the Union Power Minister on the issue of river waters. He said he was hopeful that there would be a breakthrough on the issue of taming of the river. However, sources said the prospects seemed to be bleak presently, as the Haryana Government constantly put forward the demand of construction of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal project at such meetings . They said as this demand was constantly stonewalled by Punjab, other issues, including that of the Ghaggar, could not be addressed.

Meanwhile, the minister also shot down a proposal calling for the channelisation of the river. He said it was not possible as the river constantly changed its course and could not be channelised into a definite stream. He said the government would however take other measures to ensure that the people of Patiala and Sangrur districts did not face the problem of flooding of their fields and villages.

He said a decision had been taken to remove the controversial bundh at Hotipur village in Sangrur district after the current season. The bundh, which has emerged as a source of friction between the villages of Sangrur and Patiala districts, was constructed by villagers of Sangrur to save their crops from flood waters.

However villagers of Patiala feel that if the bundh is demolished, the water overflowing from the Ghaggar would spread in a uniform manner ahead in Sangrur instead of accumulating in villages of Patiala. Mr Sekhon said the issue would be solved between both districts without any politics coming into its settlement.

Meanwhile, instructions have been given to the Deputy Commissioners of Patiala and Sangrur to execute flood protection works at their own level during the monsoon without following the procedure of calling for tenders and other specifications to ensure that these are done quickly on an emergency basis.

For the people of the area, however, the only hope of coming out of their miserable existence after settling down close to the Ghaggar following migration from Pakistan, is a permanent solution. Till then like every year, they are waiting for the water to ebb without any power since the past 48 hours so that they can start their normal activities again.


15 lakh released for bundh repair
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 22
The Punjab Government has released Rs 15 lakh for emergency flood control measures in the district. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr G.S. Grewal, in a press note issued here today said with these funds, the authorities would be able to repair damaged bundhs and embankments on Siswan, Budki, Debetwali and Sutlej rivers.

The kucha bandh on the Siswan near Chanuta village near Ropar had weakened so much that even light floods could have washed it away.

There were reports of the weakening of the bundh on the Budki near Sohali and Ropali villages.

The district administration has sent messages to the higher authorities to apprise it of the situation.

The Deputy Commissioner said the funds would be utilised at sensitive points. The government had already spent Rs 80 lakh on flood control measures at certain sites. However, unexpected rain in the catchment areas of various seasonal rivers damaged the bundhs at various places.

With the availability of fresh grants, the repairs of those spots would be carried out at the earliest, he said.

He said the DRO, Ropar, had been appointed nodal officer for the purpose. Officials had also been directed to carry out 24-hour monitoring of sensitive areas.


SP’s gunman hurt, BKU blamed
Farmers allege lathi charge
Tribune News Service

Maur Mandi (Bathinda), July 22
Kishan Singh, gunman of the SP (Headquarters), Mr Harbaz Singh, was injured when BKU (Ekta) activists, who were approaching Maisarkhana, allegedly pelted their police Gypsy with stones.

Mr Harbaz Singh, in a press note issued here today, said a case had been registered in this connection under Sections 307, 353, 186, 188, 427 148 and 149 of the IPC. He said BKU (Ekta) activists also caused damage of the Gypsy.

However, BKU (Ekta) activists alleged that the police resorted to lathi charge when they were taking food for their companions who had been agitating at Maisarkhana and had blocked traffic in protest against the allegedly apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned towards their demands.

They alleged that a number of activists, including women, suffered injuries due to the lathi charge and many of them were hospitalised.

They said activists from Sandoha, Burj Mansa, Mandi, Kube, Yatri and Maur Charat Singh villages were approaching the dharna site when they were lathi-charged.

However, Mr Harbaz Singh said that when he was going to the area to review the security arrangements in his Gypsy, BKU activists, who were on a tractor-trailer, started pelting it with stones. When his gunman was injured, he sent a message on a wireless set for sending in more police personnel. When the additional force arrived, BKU (Ekta) activists fled from the spot.

He said that though the District Magistrate had imposed Section 144 of the Cr PC in the district, BKU activists had been blocking traffic on the Bathinda-Mansa road near Maisarkhana.

He said civil and police officials tried their best to solve the issue of BKU activists but its leaders backtracked after reaching an agreement.

Mrs Pushplata, president, Lok Morcha (Punjab), Bathinda unit, condemned the lathi charge on BKU activists by the police.


Act to be amended to boost eye donation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 22
The Union Ministry for Health is bringing out an amendment in the Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994, to encourage eye donations.

This was stated by Dr J.S. Saini, President of the Eye Bank Association of India (EBAI), while addressing a gathering of north Indian ophthalmologists to mark the eye donation fortnight beginning on August 25.

Dr Saini said the changes in the Act would be made by allowing eye banks to collect corneas from medico-legal cases besides reducing the definition of “unclaimed bodies” from the present 48 hours to two hours to facilitate the retrieval of corneas.

He said, “Of the four amendments sought in the Act, the government has agreed in principal to bring two changes. A notification in this regard is likely to be issued soon.” He lamented that the eye donation movement was rather slow in India, but added that the activity had picked up during the past five years.

Giving the statistics, he said that the eye donations in the country had increased from 11,000 to over 18,000, showing around 8 per cent annual rise in the past five years. At least three million corneal blind live in hope of transplantation. The collection of 18,556 was far short of the required number, he said. He disclosed that though there were 202 eye banks in the country, only a few were active contributors.

He added that the absence of progressive laws favouring eye donation was a stumbling block. The two laws, which aid organ donations are the Presumed Consent Law and the Required Request Law. In the first case it is presumed as per law that the deceased has given consent to donate eyes and there is no requirement for a consent from the family to retrieve tissues. Under the second law, hospital administrators, nurses and doctors are required to request every family in the event of death to donate eyes, he added.

Giving an example of slow progress in eye donations in north Indian states, Dr Saini said that the Association has written as many as six letters to the Punjab Chief Secretary urging him to help them in encouraging eye donations by opening eye banks, but nothing fruitful has been achieved as yet.

On the other hand, Dr A.S. Sekhon, Medical Superintendent, Government Rajindra College and Hospital, Patiala, offered to set up an eye bank.

Dr D.S. Bhullar, Joint Secretary of the Indian Association for Forensic Medicine also advocated the need to declare eye as a national property after death.

Dr R.S. Gill, State President of the EBAI, observed that the association would set up a stall at the state-level meeting to be organised in Faridkot.


Cong not to project CM beforehand
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 22
The Congress will not project any leader as the future Punjab Chief Minister in the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.

This was stated by Mr Moti Lal Vora, treasurer of the All-India Congress Committee and senior Congress leader, who was here to attend the bhog ceremony of Congress councillor Vijay Kumar Papplu, who died in the local Central Jail on July 6.

The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was accompanying Mr Vora, also said projecting somebody as Chief Minister and then jumping into the poll arena was not a democratic way to fight the elections though the practice was widely prevalent.

Mr Vora said the party’s performance was best during the Kerala Assembly elections even as no leader had been projected by the party as the future head of the state.

Mr Vora, who is also in charge of party affairs in Punjab, said some reshuffle was on the cards in the PPCC and some new faces could be introduced.

Mr Vora demanded a high-level probe into the rising number of deaths in jails in Punjab and said the return of militant leaders like Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Jagjit Singh Chohan could be dangerous for the hard-earned peace in the state.

Capt Amarinder Singh said more names would be included in the PPCC in the light of the demand raised by some party leaders and similar changes would be made in other state units. He said octroi would be waived and more facilities would be provided to the farmers in case his party came to power. He said his party was ready to face the elections.

The others who spoke on the occasion included Ms Ambika Soni, secretary, AICC, Mr Jagmeet Brar and MLAs Amarjit Samra, Tej Parkash Singh and Avtar Henry.


Khaira making inroads into Bibi’s turf
K. S. Ahluwalia

Kapurthala, July 22
Farmers of the Bholath assembly constituency today organised a junction to honour Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Secretary, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, and president of the Punjab State Progressive Farmers Association, at Nadala village, 15 km from here.

Mr Khaira had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking compensation for the farmers of the state for the distress sale of paddy. This had compelled the state government to release Rs 100 crore as relief for farmers.

The function virtually became an impressive political rally, which could give a boost to the political fortunes of Mr Khaira as prospective Congress candidate from Bholath assembly constituency. More than 10,000 persons of the area attended the rally.

Mrs Jagir Kaur former President of the SGPC, represents the Bholath assembly constituency.

The “sanman samaroh” is being considered a counter rally to the one organised by Mrs Jagir Kaur, an Akali MLA at Begowal village on June 2 in connection with the birthday of Sant Prem Singh Muralewale, a religious head of Lubana community. Mr Parkash Singh Badal had participated in the celebration and announced a grant of Rs 1 crore for various development projects in Bholath assembly constituency.

The interesting feature of the “sanman samaroh” was the participation of Mr Sukhjinder Singh, veteran Akali leader and former Education Minister and arch rival of Mr Badal.

By organising the rally Mr Khaira was trying to win over the sympathy of Jat voters of the area who had sided with Mrs Jagir Kaur in the last assembly election. Various speakers, who addressed the rally, urged the Jat voters to support Mr Khaira. Mrs Jagir Kaur belongs to the Lubana community.

Addressing the rally, Mr Khaira expressed concern over the dismal economic situation of the agriculture sector in Punjab due to which a large number of farmers were resorting to the extreme step of committing suicides. He urged the Central Government to waive the loans of the farmers of the state in order to bring them on a par with the farmers of rest of India.

Mr Khaira stated that farmers were under a debt of Rs 7,000 crore in Punjab, 50 per cent of which they owed to the commission agents and the remaining around Rs 4,000 crore to cooperative institutions and land mortgage banks.

He lamented that despite contribution by the farmers of the state to the central food bowl they were facing worst economic problems.

Mr Khaira demanded reduction in the interest being charged from farmers from 15 per cent to 5 per cent.

He said keeping in view the poor economic conditions of farmers of the state 10 per cent jobs in government departments be reserved for the children of farmers.

Mr Khaira further said the Chief Minister had announced a relief of Rs 350 crore to the farmers last season but only Rs 100 crore were being given.

He criticised Mrs Jagir Kaur for lack of development work in the Bholath assembly constituency. He demanded his resignation.

Prominent among those who addressed the rally were Prof Tarlok Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh, former chairman, Market Committee, Nadal, and sarpanch of Nadala village, Mr Malwinder Singh Chahal, Vice-President, state Youth Congress, Mr Gian Singh Nurpur, advocate, Mr Guran Ditta and Mr Tara Chand, both municipal councillors. 


Ultras not Cong agents: Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 22
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has asked the state unit of the BJP to clear its view on the arrival of militants in Punjab from abroad in the recent past.

Mr Brij Lal Goyal, Vice-President of the PPCC, said the people of Punjab wanted that the BJP should clarify its stand on the issue.

The BJP was now hand in glove with the SAD on the issue of militants. This was the reason that it had not come out openly against the SAD’s soft attitude towards the militants who wanted to return to Punjab, he added.

Mr Goyal also criticised Mr Badal’s remark that militants were the agents of the Congress. He said if it was true then why he was not taking action against the militants?

The SAD-BJP government had “failed” on all fronts. Due to this, people were in a mood to teach a lesson to them in the ensuing Assembly elections, he added.

He claimed that the next government in the state would be of the Congress as the people had made up their mind in this direction and added that the Congress would form the government in Punjab on its own.


Beopar mandal to contest poll
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, July 22
In a significant move, the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal declared here today that it would be contesting the state Assembly elections from at least 25 seats.

Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, President of the mandal, said while talking to this correspondent here this evening that the mandal would field candidates for the coming elections without the support of any political party as the traders had been cheated by almost all parties.

The SAD-BJP alliance had promised that it would abolish octroi but all it did was privatise octroi.

It was mentioned in the manifesto of the SAD-BJP that it would take steps to boost trade in the state but its policies did the opposite. Electricity, house tax, sales and excise taxes had risen more than five times.

Mr R.D. Gupta, Vice-President, of the mandal, alleged that the allocation of octroi was not transparent. The octroi contracts of Rajpura which expired a few days ago were renewed without issuing any public notice. Mr Gupta alleged that the state government was overlooking the interests of people living in the urban areas to gain political mileage in the rural areas.


Badal betrayed masses: Lok Morcha
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 22
The Lok Morcha, Punjab, held a political convention here today to organise the masses into a movement against the “misdeeds, profligacy and bad governance” of the SAD-BJP combine.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Wadala, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Democratic), while addressing the gathering said Mr Badal had betrayed the masses.

He said the Punjab Lok Morcha had been formed to galvanise the people of Punjab into a movement for solving peoples’ problems which had been ignored by the successive Congress and Akali governments.

Mr Kiran Jeet Singh Sekhon, senior leader of the MCPI, appealed to the parties, which are opposed to the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress, to join the morcha.


JD leader joins BJP
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 22
Mr Jagpal Singh Chahal, Vice-President of the Punjab unit of the Janta Dal, who unsuccessfully contested elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from the Mansa constituency, along with more than 100 workers of the Janata Dal joined the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) at a simple function held at Chetan Singh Sarvhitkari Senior Secondary Vidya Mandir here today.

The function was addressed by Mr Madan Lal Goyal, district president, Mr Narain Dass, district vice-president, Mr Sukhwant Singh Dhanaula, Vice-President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Radha Lal, former district president, and Mr Amarjit Singh Katodia, local president of the BJP.


Shergill flays govt for not holding poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Legal Cell chairman, Mr Shamsher Singh Shergill accused the SAD-BJP government of destroying the democratic institution in the state.

A press note issued by Mr Shergill said election to Zila Parishad and Block Samitis had been due for a long time. But unfortunately these elections had not been held by the government on one pretext or the other. In doing so, the state government had violated the statutory provision of the Constitution (Article 243E). Thus it was proved that the state government was not discharging its legal and moral duty and had no business to remain in power.

A press note issued by Mr Shergill said even elections to gram panchayat had been reduced to “fraud”. Nominations of candidates for sarpanches and panches, opposed to the ruling party were got cancelled by the Returning Officer and Akali candidates were declared elected unopposed.


Concern over female foeticide
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib
Though most of the social and religious organisations of the state and even the Supreme Court of India have expressed concern over the menace of female foeticide, yet a public awareness campaign and mass movement in the state has to be launched if we want to control this inhuman act, said Mr R.L. Kalsia, Director, Child and Women Development, while addressing a state-level seminar here on “Female foeticide and its implications”, organised by the district administration.

He said according to a survey conducted by the Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the sex ratio between one to six-year-old children in the state at present had fallen to 793 girls for 1,000 boys, whereas the national ratio is 933. He said in 1991 the sex ratio in state was 875 and at the nation level 927. The figures showed how the state was heading fast towards social disorder whereas at the national level it had improved.

He said if this trend continued, it would cause irreparable damage to the fabric and edifice of society in the near future and would have adverse consequences like more crime against women, domestic violence, upsetting the laid down ethics and moral values of the families. He said the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had also given a clarion call to stop this trend and join hands to curb this trend of adverse sex ratio. He said it was shameful and pathetic that the parents themselves were becoming killers.

He said the department was perturbed over the trend of the decline of sex ratio in the state. He said Mr Gobind Singh Kanjala, Minister for Social Security, had eulogised the edict issued by the Jathedar of Akal Takht. The department had welcomed this great call. He urged heads of the other religious to act in similar manner. He said the department had seriously planned to implement the pre-natal-diagnostic technique (Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1954, through the health department.

Mr Vikas Paratap, Deputy Commissioner, said the situation in the district was very alarming at Fatehgarh Sahib was the worst affected district having the lowest sex ratio in the state. He said in the district the sex ratio had declined to 751 girls for 1,000 boys, whereas at the state level it was 793. He said all 5 ultrasound machine labs in the district had been registered and directed not to undertake sex determination tests as it was a crime and the district administration would keep strict vigil on these centres.

He said that signboards had been displayed at all clinics in the district in this regard. He said a detailed at all clinics in the district in this regard. He said a detailed programme had been chalked out in the district to curb this cruelty and all the social organisations, mahila mandals, self-help groups, woman panches and sarpanches and youth clubs would be involved.

Dr G.L. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, gave detailed information about the instructions issued by the Government of India, in this regard. He said all directions would be strictly implemented and the violators would not be spared at any cost.

Dr N.S. Bawa, District President of the Indian Medical Association, assured that the doctors would also educate the public about this crime.

Mr Manmohan Sharma, Chairman, Voluntary Health Association, Punjab, said his organisation had been working for this cause since 1997. He said due to the efforts of his organisation, the Jathedar of Akal Takht had issued an edict in this regard.


Parents also to blame for foeticide: Chawla
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 22
A kavi darbar was held on the occasion of World Population Day and female foeticide was discussed. Several poets and writers in Hindi Punjabi and Urdu participated.

Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, expressed concern over female foeticide. He said doctors and parents were equally responsible for this trend. 


Row over booth construction near library
Varinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 22
Countless readers and residents of the city are sore and surprised over the district administration’s “nod” to some taxi operators to construct five booths for setting up stands on prime government land in front of the District Library here.

Claiming that the Deputy Commissioner has given permission to them for constructing pucca booths, taxi operators have already started construction on a piece of government land worth crores.

Even as no effort has been made by the local Municipal Corporation authorities or the Commissioner to stop the construction, Mr Suresh Sehgal, Mayor, said he was going to order an investigation into what he termed as “encroachment”. The Mayor alleged that some highly placed officials and political people were involved in it.

What has annoyed hundreds readers and regular visitors to the library is that the Municipal Corporation and district administration authorities are mute spectators to the “encroachment”. They also grudge that the taxi stands will be a nuisance, particularly for girl students.

Inquiries revealed that the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. Shiva Prasad, had issued an order on July 16 that a taxi stand operating near the Sehgal filling station and four more taxi stands were being shifted to the place adjoining the boundary wall of the library. But instead of shifting their kiosks, the taxi operators started constructing booths.

Though Mr Prasad said he had not given permission for construction of booths yet no effort was made to stop the construction.

On the other hand, Mr Jaspal Singh, president of the Golden Taxi Stand, and other taxi operators said the district administration had given written permission to them.

Interestingly, when this correspondent reached the spot, a number of taxi operators started assuring the District Transport Officer, Mr Rupinder Singh, who had come to visit the library that they would construct the booths about 50 meters away from the main library gate. But the construction activity was still on.

Mr Gurdial Singh Kahlon, District Librarian, said he had apprised the Deputy Commissioner of the construction and about the problems which were likely to be faced by visitors to the library in the wake of setting up taxi stands along the library boundary wall. Mr Satpal Khanna, a senior citizen, said the booths would create nuisance for the regular visitors to the library and spoil the tranquillity of the area.

“The move would disturb research scholars and other book lovers,” said a visitor, Amritpal Kaur. The Commissioner, Dr R.L. Sunkaria, was not available while the Mayor gave an assurance that the “encroachments” would be removed.


Work on airport from July 27

Jalandhar, July 22
Work for upgrading the Amritsar airport to international standard would be launched on July 27, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, has said.

“The Rs 150 crore project for the Raja Sansi airport in Amritsar will be completed in two phases”, Mr Gupta said at Udhampur yesterday.

In the first phase, extra terminal, runway extension and aeroplane sheds would be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 80 crore while the rest of the works would be completed within an year, he said.

“The proposal regarding use of defence airbases for civilian traffic is under consideration and if it is considered, Pathankot and Adampur airbase at Jalandhar may be utilised for the civil aircraft also”, the minister said.

On the outcome of the recent India-Pakistan summit at Agra, Mr Gupta held Pakistan responsible for not signing the joint declaration and said they tried to sabotage the talks at the initial stage by inviting Hurriyat Conference leaders to the tea party despite Indian Government’s reservation. PTI


7 woman cops hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 22
Six women constables of the Punjab Police and ASI Palwinder Kaur sustained injuries when their Phillaur-bound autorickshaw rammed into a truck whose driver was forced to suddenly apply brakes to save itself from another vehicle coming in the opposite direction near Phillaur last evening, police sources said.

The personnel were coming from Batala to the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, to participate in a training course.

The injured, including ASI Palwinder Kaur, and constables Surjit Kaur, Veer Kaur, Leela Rani, Gursharan Kaur, Balwinder Kaur and Kulwinder Kaur were admitted in the Civil Hospital, Phillaur. UNI


Accidents claim two lives
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 22
Two persons were killed and two others seriously injured in different accidents around Moga during the past 24 hours.

An unidentified man lost his life when a speeding vehicle hit him near Chandpurana village on the Moga-Kotkapura road while another was killed when his scooter on the Moga-Ludhiana road collided with another vehicle while negotiating a turn. His scooter was totally damaged.


Ex-MLA held, bailed out
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 22
Mr Baldev Singh Ballamgarh, former MLA, Malout, was arrested and bailed out in a criminal case registered against him and others in a city police station yesterday on charges of trespassing.

Police sources said Mr Ballamgarh was arrested from the spot when a police party reached there where be along with others had trespassed a vacant plot measuring 510 sq yards located on the Power House road.

A complaint of trespassing was lodged with the police by Mr Bharpur Singh of Bhagwanpura. 


Lakha draws crowds at jagran
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 22
Thousands of devotees were spellbound by the performance of Lakhbir Lakha here last night at a jagran organised by the Shri Durga Jagran Mandal.

The jagran was organised at Government Girls Senior Secondary School. The city was decorated with lights, banners, posters and welcome gates. The jagran was organised by the mandli with money collected from the charity and funds donated by residents of the city.

Lakha was the main attraction of the four-hour show. Devotees swayed to the tunes of devotional songs sung by him. Not only residents of the city but also those from nearby towns and districts of Faridkot, Mansa, Barnala, Dabwali (Sirsa) and Muktsar. They numbered more than 25,000.

The mandal had organised a shobha yatra in connection with the jagran on Friday. It passed through various lanes and bylanes of the city.

The police authorities had made elaborate arrangements for security and traffic control.

Mr Sewak Ram Bhola, chief patron of the mandal, said that the jagran is organised annually.

The mandal had recently solemnised the marriage of 51 poor girls.


Phone facility at Gobind Dham
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
A satellite telephone facility has been provided at Gobind Dham, en route to Hemkunt Sahib, a popular pilgrimage shrine. The calls will be charged at the rate of a normal STD PCO telephone.

Director, Operation, of the BSNL, Mr Prithipal Singh, also said that another six to seven STD PCO telephones would be installed within a week at Gobind Ghat which is located en route to Badrinath.


Detained migrants released

Jalandhar, July 22
Two of the three Kashmiri migrants who were detained since Friday by the local CIA staff to verify their alleged links with a Kashmiri militant, were today released by the police.

Police officials identified the released Kashmiris as Ghulam Nabi Rath and Bashir Ahmed. The third identified as Mansoor Ahmed was still under detention with the CIA staff, the officials said.

A police party from Jammu and Kashmir had picked up six Kashmiri migrants from Imam Nasir mosque on Friday morning on the suspicion that they had given shelter to Mohammad Shafi Dar, a militant. The Jammu and Kashmir police took one of the migrants, identified as Hamid Dar with them while the rest were handed over to the CIA staff here.

On the intervention of local Muslims, two of the five Kashmiris were released on Friday, while the rest were kept in custody for further interrogation. The CIA staff, after questioning the three, released Ghulam Nabi and Bashir Ahmed today.

Police officals said that as Mansoor Ahmed belonged to the same district as Hamid Dar, further investigation to determine his alleged links with militants was being carried out. UNI


Minister opens dharamshala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 22
More than 2700 km of link roads have been laid in villages during the past four years to facilitate transit and help in the development of villages while only 700 km of road was laid during the reign of Congress.

This was stated by Mr Ajab Singh Mukhmalpur, Public Works Minister while addressing a large gathering after inaugurating Rajput Dharamshala constructed at a cost of Rs 1 lakh in Theri village, near Khanaur area, today.

Mr Mukhmalpur also distributed approval letters and bank pass books among 70 aged, 6 handicapped and 10 widows. Giving this information, he said that in 1997 only 2,24,990 pensioners were given the old-age pensions, while presently more than seven lakh were being given pensions.

He gave cheques worth Rs 10,000 each to two widows. He assured the villagers that the village would be connected with the sewerage system soon.


Dharna held against police excesses
Our Correspondent

Nathana (Bathinda), July 22
Workers of the CPI and the Congress yesterday held a dharna in front of the local police station to protest against the alleged atrocities of the police against the Sarpanch of Gidder village.

Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, district unit secretary of the CPI while addressing the gathering said the law of jungle prevailed in the state. He alleged that police officials worked as the agents of the ruling party.

Mr Joga said the police had registered many false cases against Mr Gurdev Singh, Sarpanch of Gidder village because he was a CPI activist.


Israeli way to preserve fodder
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 22
Feed and fodder development experts of the Animal Husbandry Department are popularising an Israeli technique for the preservation of green fodder by making silage. Dr Hazara Singh Cheema and Dr Anup Kumar, are experimenting on the technique at the farm of Gurmeet Singh, Thatta, Paramjit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Rana and Iqbal Singh Gill all from the Bikhiwind area.

By using the technique the farmers can preserve surplus green fodder by making silage. The fodder used for making this is cut at an optimum level.

Dr Cheema said the stage at which the fodder is reaped is very crucial. Consequently for the crops of maize, jawar and bajra, flowering to milking stage is most ideal. The crop is chaffed at two to two-and-a-half inches length, which is then spread out into a “silopit”, a pit especially meant for the purpose of storing chaffed fodder, which is then pressed either manually or with the help of an animal or a tractor. Creating an anaerobic condition for proper fermentation to create a good quality silage.

After putting fodder the “silopit” is covered with polythene sheet and mud. It takes just 45 days for the silage to be ready for feeding the animals.

The silage can be used in the months of September and October when the fodder prices shoot up to Rs 70 to 80 per quintal and hence due to a decrease in the feed to the animal the milk production also decreases.

This technique would be useful in stabilising the production of milk throughout the year.


22 PCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab Government today ordered the transfers and postings of 22 PCS officers. Those transferred are :

Mr Som Nath is the new Additional Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala; Mr Ajmer Singh has been appointed Estate Officer, PUDA, at SAS Nagar; Mr Rajinder Pal Singh has been appointed Subdivisional Magistrate, Kapurthala; Mr Sukhmander Singh goes as Subdivisional Magistrate, Bathinda; Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill will be the new Subdivisional Magistrate, Samana; Mr Malwinder Singh Jaggi has been appointed Subdivisional Magistrate, Ludhiana; Mr Harpreet Singh becomes the new District Transport Officer of Amritsar; Mr Manjit Singh Brar has been appointed Deputy Director, Urban Bodies, Jalandhar, in addition to Additional Deputy Commissioner (II), Jalandhar; Mr Baldev Singh goes to Hoshiarpur as Subdivisional Magistrate; Mr M.K. Wadhawan has been appointed Additional Director-cum-Joint Secretary, Information and Public Relations, NIC and Publicity; and Mr Jaskiran Singh is the new Subdivisional Magistrate, Payal.

Mr Surinder Singh Sidhu becomes the new District Transport Officer of Fatehgarh Sahib; Mr Jaspal Singh has been appointed Subdivisional Magistrate, Moga; Mr Mukand Singh Sandhu goes as Subdivisional Magistrate, Zira; Mr Jagdish Chander Sabharwal becomes Assistant Commissioner, Grievances, at Hoshiarpur; Mr Sandeep Hans becomes Subdivisional Magistrate, Phillaur; Mr H.S. Kandola has been appointed Deputy Secretary, Political; Mr Harbans Lal Bansal goes as District Transport Officer, Ferozepore; Mr Bikramjit Singh Shergill will be the new Assistant Commissioner (General) at Muktsar; Mr Amit Talwar will be the Executive Magistrate, Ludhiana; Mr Sukhwinder Singh Brar will be the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Samrala; and Mr Rishi Pal Singh will be the new Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) at Gurdaspur.

Mr A.S. Miglani, Joint Secretary, Health, will also look after the work of Director, Ayurveda, and Director, Homoeopathy.

Fresh posting orders of Mr Sukhjit Singh Bains, Mr Narinder Singh Batth, Mr Gurtej Singh, Mr Arvind Pal Singh Sandhu, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Sukhwinder Pal Singh, Mr Bakhtawar Singh, Mr Harcharan Singh, Mr Prem Chand and Mrs Raghbir Kaur — all PCS officers — will be issued separately.


Defacing of walls may attract action
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 22
A strict action would be taken against those advertisers who put up posters on the walls of government buildings and spoil the beauty of the city.

This was stated by Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, during a meeting held to discuss matters regarding the Independence Day celebrations to be held at Yadavindra Stadium here. Mr Bir said cases should be registered against such advertisers so that legal action could be taken against them.

Mr Bir said that a day before the Independence Day, all government buildings would be decorated with lights. He added that preparations were on for the function.

A march past would be taken out by the Punjab Police, ITBP, IRB, Home Guard, NCC and group of scouts. Mr Bir added the school and college-going students and some cultural centres would be actively participating in various events to mark the function.


Cough syrups being smuggled
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 22
In an unusual trend cough syrups have started flowing to this part of Punjab from Haryana.

The cough syrups are being supplied to the drug addicts of the city at their doorstep after fetching the same from the chemist shops located in various towns of Haryana.

The drug addicts of the city and its surrounding areas, who have been finding it difficult to get a cough syrup or any other inorganic intoxicant in this area, have also started visiting various towns of Haryana in this connection.

The district police authorities have arrested two members of a gang which was supplying the syrups to the addicts.

Police sources said the two accused, Sanjeev Kumar and Neeraj Kumar, had been bringing the cough syrup, Cosdyl, from Dabwali town of Haryana and selling it here.

The sources said the accused had also been using cell phone to get the orders from the “customers”. About 49 bottles of Cosdyl were recovered from them. The motor cycle, which the accused had been using, was also impounded.

The sources added that the main area of operation of the accused were the colonies of National Fertilizer Plant (NFL) and Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP). The caught syrup was being sold in the local lottery market also.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, when contacted, said a case had been registered under Section 420 of the IPC and Section 15 of the Indian Medical Act, 1956.


Bid to loot farmhouse
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 22
About six armed robbers entered the farmhouse of Ratinderjit Singh and made an unsuccessful attempt of robbery at Kherra village near here today.

The police, while confirming the incident, told the correspondent that the robbers after tying up the servant to a tree entered the farmhouse. But Ratinderjit woke up and raised an alarm. The police said Ratinderjit’s son Atwinder Singh and daughter-in-law Daljit Kaur, who were sleeping in verandah of the farmhouse sustained injuries in the clash.

The miscreants also fired in the air to create panic.

The police added that the robbers managed to escape when Ratinderjit switched off the lights of the room and opened fire from his licenced weapon. They managed to snatch a gold chain from the servant.

A case has been registered under various sections of the Arms Act.


Six injured in group clash
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 22
Six persons were injured in a group clash at Bhulana village under sadar police station last night. Sharp weapons, rifle and lathies were used in the clash.

The injured have been admitted to the local civil hospital where the condition of four of them is stated to be serious.

The injured have been identified as Harbhej Singh, Surjit Singh, Ranjit Singh, Kulwinder Singh, Grudeep Singh and Hari Singh.

Both rival groups accused each other of the attack. One group alleged that fight between children was the cause of clash while the other group alleged that possession of land was the cause of the fight.

The police has registered a case.


7.5 kg of opium seized, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 22
Ajaib Singh Kaleka, SSP, said here today that an opium dealer hailing from Khuddian of Rajasthan was apprehended and 7.5 kg of opium worth Rs 1.5 lakh was seized from his possession.

The Dhanaula police seized a gun from Sewak Singh and a country made pistol from Najam Singh, the SSP added.


Minister’s remark draws flak
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22
The statement of Higher Education Minister Master Mohan Lal that the Punjabi University Pro Vice-Chancellor post was likely to go to a BJP man has stirred a hornet’s nest amongst academicians in the city who are unanimous in their view in condemning the move.

The minister in a press conference here on Friday, claimed that one of the two vacant posts of Pro Vice-Chancellor in Punjabi and Guru Nanak Dev Universities was likely to go to the BJP. He said the party had made such a demand and that it was likely to be accepted by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Since Dr S.P. Singh is a front runner for the post of Pro-VC of GND University it is felt that the local Pro-VC post is likely to go to the BJP as indicated by the minister.

Talking to TNS, a former Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Gursewak Singh said no educationist could approve of the move. He said the appointment should be done purely on the basis of merit and that making political appointments to high seats of university functioning would only result in making them political battlefields. He said this would result in polarisation between students and teachers leading to the destruction of the academic atmosphere.

Dr Gursewak Singh said earlier also political appointments may have been made but they were not proclaimed as such. He said the latest move could result in further deterioration of the academic atmosphere in the university. He said this negative trend should be condemned by all right thinking individuals and steps should be taken to maintain the academic freedom of the varsity.

Eminent Punjabi scholar Prof Pritam Singh claimed that any move to instil a BJP man as Pro-VC of Punjabi University would not only be a political appointment but also a communal one. He said such a trend should not be encouraged by the policy makers of the government adding it could had serious ramifications for the universities as well as the state also.

The scholar said appointment of a BJP man as Pro-VC at Punjabi University could also result in problems of coordination between the Vice-Chancellor and the new entrant. He said this was because the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, and the Higher Education Minister had already been involved in a public spat and any BJP appointee could face rough weather in the varisity. Prof Pritam Singh said only an eminent educationist should be appointed as Pro-VC here adding the appointment could not be treated as something which could be doled out as a political reward.

Other academicians and city residents have also been universal in their condemnation of the new move. City resident Vijayindra Singla said the minister should have refrained from making such a statement. He said the minister in his statements had claimed that universities were pious places and the Vice-Chancellor was akin to a ‘’rishi’’. Mr Singla said by the same logic the Pro-VC also held a similar status in the eyes of the minister and he could not appoint candidates who only followed his party’s line of thinking instead of those who would work towards improving the academic atmosphere in the university by acting in a non-partisan manner.

Social worker and teacher Manmeetpal Singh said nobody, least of all the city residents, could tolerate the statement of the minister regarding the appointment of the Pro-VC as they felt the secular credentials of the university should be maintained at all costs. He said the governments should give a serious rethinking on the system of such appointments for which a high-level committee could also be formed to ensure candidates were chosen on merit alone and no t on the basis of their political affiliations.


ETT teachers’ interview
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 22
Mr Santosh Singh Ranu, District Education Officer-cum-Chairman of the District Selection Committee (ETT teachers), in a press note here today said candidates, who had not got letters for the ongoing interview for the selection of ETT teachers at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Model Town, Jalandhar, since July 16, could appear for the interview on July 27 at the same venue.

The candidates should bring with them the original certificates and the attested photo copies. A copy of the bank draft and receipt of post office were required to be shown as proofs that they had applied for the post, he said, adding that no claim would be entertained after July 27.


ETT candidates gherao minister’s houses
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 22
ETT candidates today gheraoed the residence of the state Minister for Education, Mr Tara Singh Ladal, in protest against the ongoing recruitment of B.Ed. candidates against their posts.

As many as 80 ETT candidates descended upon the house of the minister in his native village Ladal at about 8 a.m. Though the minister was not present, they gheraoed his residence and raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

It was only after the personal staff of the minister informed the police about the gherao that it was sent to control the situation.

The candidates relented only after they were threatened that their leaders would be arrested. They will, however, hold a rally in Ropar.

While the candidates were returning, they spotted the minister’s motorcade. The minister was taken unawares. The police rushed to the spot and escorted the minister to his residence.

The candidates later sat on a dharna on the road. It was only after the minister called the leaders of the agitating candidates for talks at his residence that the dharna was lifted.

They said the minister had assured them that he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister who had returned from the USA.

The ETT candidates have been agitating against the recent move of the government to recruit B.Ed candidates against their posts. The government was holding a recruitment drive against 7,220 posts of ETT teacher. It had been decided that a joint merit of the ETT and B.Ed candidates would be formed.

However, the ETT candidates are saying that they have special training and should be given preference. They say they stand little chance of selection vis-a-vis the higher qualified BEd candidates.


Garg’s house gheraoed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 22
After burning yesterday the effigy of Mr Tota Singh, Minister for Education, Punjab, members of the unemployed Elementary Teachers Union here today gheraoed the residence of Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Minister for Science and Technology, Punjab, as part of their intensified stir to get their demands fulfilled. The union had decided yesterday that if their demands were not fulfilled, they would gherao Punjab ministers at their residence.

The agitating teachers staged a dharna in front of the minister’s residence in Model Town for about four hours. Although Mr Garg was not in the city, the teachers did not allow his family members to move out of the house. The teachers alleged that Mr Garg had promised a few days ago that he would talk to the Education Minister regarding their problems but he had not done anything. Rather, the minister had left for a foreign tour, they said.

Mr Gagandeep Grover, union leader, addressing the agitators, said none of the Punjab ministers had paid heed to the problems of the unemployed elementary teachers. He said the Education Minister was insisting on filling vacancies of elementary teachers with B.Ed teachers.


Teachers showing poor results to lose increments
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 22
Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh said the grade increments of the teachers of government schools showing less than 25 per cent results would be stopped. Mr Tota Singh who was here in connection with the meeting of the District Grievances Committee said while talking to mediapersons that the state government, to improve education and quality of services of the government teachers, had decided that the teachers showing more than 70 per cent results would be felicitated. The District Education Officers (DEOs) had been directed to forward lists of the teachers giving details of the results produced by them. The heads of the institutes would be held personally responsible for the results of their institutes and the awards and penalty if any would be on them also, he said.

Giving details of the plans of the government, Mr Tota Singh said the teachers showing results more than 70 per cent would be given appreciation certificates, those showing less than 40 per cent results would be given show-cause notices and the increments of the teachers showing less than 25 per cent results would be stopped. No school or post would be shifted from a village school to an urban school and the extra teachers posted in the urban schools would be accommodated in the recently upgraded schools in urban areas, the minister claimed.

Commenting on the poor results the minister said it was due to very hard question papers, reduced copying and the five series of question papers put in the matriculation examination. He refuted the charge that the poor results were due to lack of teachers or other facilities and held the teachers and the heads of the institutes equally responsible for the same. “There was shortage of primary teachers but the staff of the master cadre was available in adequate numbers and the vacancies if any, would be filled shortly”, the minister said. Mr Tota Singh said the process of interviews of the ETT cadre had already begun and those of the B.Ed. cadre would be started shortly. The advertisements for ETT teachers were challenged in the court of law and this had resulted in delay. He declined to give in the details of the proceedings by saying the matter was sub-juduce.

Commenting on the unemployment of the B.Ed. teachers the minister said he had written to the Punjab Chief Minister at least two times that the course should be banned for at least three years but the state government was helpless as the candidates would manage to get degrees from other states. The courses would have to be banned in all states for favourable results, to yield good results, the minister said.


Where individual bed is a luxury
Anita Tayal

Patiala, July 22
It may sound bizarre but it is true. Eight girls are sharing one room in Government College for Girls. That is not all. It helps to be in the science stream as in that case four to five girls get one room. Those in the arts stream have to wait to gain seniority with the passage of years. New entrants are doomed to a miserable existence in cramped quarters.

The GCG authorities apparently also do not believe in giving their wards individual beds. In many cases girls have to make do by two sleeping on one bed. This is both a nuisance for newcomers to the hostel as well as a humiliating experience against all norms of hygiene and cleanliness.

Sources say the reason for girls having to do with cramped quarters is the huge demand for admission to the college, with a large number of girls coming from rural areas of Patiala and Sangrur districts. They say due to this the authorities have evolved their own system to allot seats in the hostel. Girls from the science stream have a relative better deal, with four to five girls sharing one room.

They say in the case of girls opting for the arts stream, most have to do with dormitory-style accommodation, with 35 to 40 girls being adjusted in one room. Seven to eight girls are forced to sleep in rooms with only four beds. The sources say there is some relief for the girls but that only comes with seniority. For second-year students the number of girls sharing the room comes to nearly eight. For final-year students it may be five or six, depending upon the percentage of girls staying in the hostel.

A second-year student says, “We should be considered as equal in the eyes of college authorities. Why is there discrimination while allotting rooms?”

There are three halls and 46 rooms in the college hostel. One hall has been turned into a gurdwara. While about 200 girls have taken admission in the hostel, the second and third year results are still awaited, which is expected to attract even more number of girls.

Girls claim that there are not even additional beds or amenities being provided by the college authorities. They add that they have to somehow adjust in the cramped quarters in the college hostel. They also claim that they do not get sufficient space to stock their clothes, with some girls are forced to share their cupboard with others. Girls also complain that there is no facility to make or receive telephone calls and that they are not allowed to go out of the college even during working hours .

Girls even complain that the food provided to them in the hostel is not satisfactory. Despite the shortcomings, parents prefer to admit their wards in the college hostel instead of allowing them to live in private quarters or private hostels due to security reasons and reasons of discipline.

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