Monday, July 30, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Ticket for Punjab poll on merit: Cong panel
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Realising that any discord over the distribution of ticket could affect its chances in the Punjab Assembly poll, the Congress leadership is evolving guidelines that would help the party decide the “right” candidates for the poll.

AICC sources said the Manmohan Singh Committee on Punjab poll, which has been constituted by the Congress President Sonia Gandhi to streamline the party’s preparations for the Assembly poll, has emphasised that party tickets should be decided at least two months before the election to give sufficient time for campaigning to the candidates.

At its meeting here yesterday, the committee members said while “winnability” of a candidate should be an important criterion, his loyalty to the Congress ideology and a clean image should also be guiding factors while making a choice for allotting the tickets.

It was pointed out that leaders of various factions in the state should not be allotted tickets for distribution among their loyalists and each case for a ticket should be decided on merit irrespective of the person’s affiliation.

Party leaders have been urging the high command to learn appropriate lessons from Haryana where rivalry among its leaders became a major stumbling block in the Congress’ bid to power. They say if the mistake of accommodating group loyalities instead of making a meritorious selection was repeated in Punjab, the party will badly damage its chances in the poll.

Senior Punjab Congress leaders have also been urging the high command to remove causes for groupism in the party rather than resorting to short-cuts. They say that while the high command’s directive to various group leaders about attending all big rallies in the state had its significance in terms of giving a public message, the underlying causes for disunity had to be tackled.

There is a feeling in the party that by not projecting its choice for the Chief Minister, a certain ambiguity would remain in the party’s poll preparations. The leadership issue is far from settled in the party with the top leaders acutely aware of one another’s ambitions. Those opposed to PCC chief Capt Amarinder Singh have been raking up the issue of his having left the Congress earlier. They say that Congressmen who had stayed with the party in the hard days of Operation Bluestar and who had borne the struggle during the days of militancy should not be forgotten. Supporters of Capt Amarinder Singh point to his clean image, resourcefulness and erudition.


Bid to sell daughter for Rs 30,000
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 29
The district administration last night ordered the shifting of a 16-year-old girl, whose parents had allegedly tried to sell her for Rs 30,000 to an Amritsar based family on the pretext of marriage to the local “nari niketan”. Interestingly the police is yet to register a case against the parents of the girl.

Mumtaz Rani, alias Mamta, while narrating her tale of woe to The Tribune here today, alleged that her parents had tried to sell her for Rs 30,000 on the pretext of marriage with an Amritsar-based boy. “Though I want to pursue my studies to achieve a position in the society, my parents are forcing me to enter into nuptial knot, without attaining an “adult” status, which will bring them money to the tune of Rs 30,000,” rued Mamta.

She was taken to Udham Singh Nagar in Amritsar by her mother Veena Rani about two weeks ago, where Mamta heard her mother talking to four persons about the plan to sell her off to them for Rs 30,000, while they were ready to pay only Rs 10,000.

“I was shocked and surprised to listen that my mother was ready to sell me just for the sake of money. I tried my best to resist their moves on the plea that I was a minor and moreover, I wanted to complete my studies before entering into nuptial knot with someone,” Mamta added.

Finding that she was likely to be sold to a prospective customer, Mamta escaped from the house of her maternal grandfather and reached her Sant Nagar residence at Jalandhar, where she was slaying with her family in a rented accommodation and narrated her story to her landlady.

Later, her father Ashok Kumar, was persuaded by the landlady Mrs Neelam, not to marry off Mamta as she was a minor and was interested in pursuing her studies. But after two days, Ashok Kumar again asked her daughter to accompany him to Amritsar, where he had allegedly fixed her marriage. But Mamta refused to bow to the pressure of her father and had submitted a complaint to the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, on July 14.

But Mamta, a student of Class X at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Ladowali Road, was allegedly forced by her Principal Ripudaman Kaur and a municipal councillor Mr SC Marwah to sign a compromise on July 25, failing which her name would be struck off the rolls.

She made a fresh complaint regarding the SSP on Thursday.

Subsequently, the district police presented her before the Subdivisional Magistrate yesterday, who ordered that she be shifted to “nari niketan” till further orders.

When contacted her father Ashok Kumar denied the allegations and said the matter would soon be solved amicably. The Principal of the school Mrs Ripudaman Kaur was not available for comments.


Punjab to recruit 700 doctors
Nursing homes without required staff to be closed
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 29
Even as 150 doctors have been dismissed from service due to dereliction of duty, as many as 350 out of a total of 700 vacancies of MBBS doctors which have been lying vacant for a long period will be filled shortly. About 20 other MBBS doctors who are facing departmental inquiries may be sacked in the near future.

Talking to TNS here today, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Health Minister, said that 41 posts of ayurvedic doctor would be filled for giving better Medicare facilities at the grassroots level.

Dr Chawla said the state government had imposed a blanket ban on the opening of new multi-purpose health workers institutes. He said the government would also monitor the working of old institutes periodically. The multi-health purpose health institutes which had not engaged qualified staff would be closed down. Giving reasons for imposing ban on new institutes, Dr Chawla said the government did not want that the mushrooming of such institutes should increase employment. He further said the state government was contemplating to enact a regulatory Act for nursing homes which had been mushrooming at different parts of the state. He said nursing homes without the required staff would be closed. Many nursing homes fleeced poor patients by displaying big signboards for providing 24 hour emergency service though they did not have the required strength of doctors, he added.

The Health Minister said AIDS had assumed an alarming situation as 2834 HIV positive cases and 31 full-blown cases of AIDS had been reported from different parts of the state. He said the state had received Rs 3 crore from National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) for spreading AIDS awareness in the state.

On the rising trend of drugs, Dr Chawla said the existing strength of Drug Inspectors would be increased from eight to 16 so that this menace could be curbed effectively. He said spurious drugs were mostly supplied from New Delhi and adjoining areas of Haryana where a number of factories for production of such medicines had been set up. He said he had already taken up the matter at the all-India Health Ministers conference, recently held in Delhi.

The Health Minister said the state government had already booked about one lakh unregistered medical practitioners in the past.

Dr Chawla said the state government would open 154 new hospitals in the near future. He said he had already sent case for filling posts of doctor to the Finance Department. Hundreds of posts of ANM were also lying vacant in the state which would also be filled. The state had earmarked Rs 422 crore for opening new hospitals by the Health Corporation which would be completed by the next year. Apart from this 54 modern hospitals would be established. The state government had written to the World Bank for opening at least four ultra modern hospitals in Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. These hospitals would have the facilities of transplantation of kidneys, level etc, he added.

With a view to promoting ayurveda at the grassroots level, Dr Chawla said research centres, drug-testing laboratories were being opened in the state. A medicine plant board at the state-level would also be set up. Besides, ‘banaspati van scheme’ under which plants having medicinal value would be grown, was being finalised he said. An appeal would be made to non-resident Indians for coming forward for popularising the ‘banaspati van scheme’. He said if farmers would grew medicinal plants they could earn Rs 50,000 per acre annually.


Punjab gets 100 cr for link roads
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 29
Mr Sucha Singh Langah, Minister for PWD B and R while talking to mediapersons at Dhariwal today, said the Punjab Government had received the first instalment of Rs 100 crore to connect gurdwaras, temples, mosques, churches and other religious places with link routes. A centrally sponsored scheme worth Rs 1,800 had been sanctioned for Punjab in this regard. The work on the scheme was likely to begin within a week.

Mr Langah said a Rs 2,235 crore corpus fund had been raised to construct roads and bridges. The bridge over the Beas river at a cost of Rs 64 crore was likely to be completed within 14 months. Its construction was already in progress.

The minister said the road from Jalandhar to Pathankot would be four-laned in phases. Initially, a part of the road from Jalandhar to Bhogpur will be four-laned for which Rs 84 crore had been released and the work on the road was likely to be started soon.

He admitted that the roads in the border area, particularly in this district, were in bad shape. An amount of Rs 23 crore had been sanctioned for the repair work.

Mr Langah said 10 km of every link road would be constructed in all 117 Assembly constituencies of the state. Link roads had been constructed during the SAD-BJP rule in Punjab, he said.

Earlier, Mr Langah at a function held in the grain market Dhariwal distributed cheques for Rs 70 lakh among farmers, who had to sell paddy at a price lower than the minimum support price announced by the government. He also distributed Rs 4.6 lakh under the ‘shagun’ scheme.



AICTE notice puts students in dock
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
Punjabi University, Patiala, has given affiliation to four colleges/institutes to run Masters of Computer Application (MCA) course, despite the institutes been declared unrecognised by the only statutory body of the Government of India — All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), which approves technical courses.

In a public notice in leading newspaper today, the AICTE stated that the Punjab College of Information and Technology, College of Management and Technology (both in Patiala), DAV College, Regional College of Computer Sciences (both in Bathinda) and the MCA in Punjabi University, Patiala under the distance education programme, were not approved by the AICTE. The students were advised not to take admissions in these unapproved institutions since the degrees would not be recognised by the Government of India for any post, the AICTE said.

Interestingly, these institutes have been claiming many facilities for the students, including latest softwares, hardwares, trained faculty and modern infrastructure. Punjabi University had given affiliation to these colleges, institutes and allotted 60 seats to each of these colleges out of which 30 seats in each college are under the paid category.

Sources said these colleges had charged Rs 49,500 each for free seats and Rs 96,000 each for paid seat and had mentioned in their prospectuses that the fee once paid would neither be refunded under any circumstances, not it would be settled against fee for any other course.

This is not for the first time when the Punjabi University has played havoc with the lives of students. Earlier, the law graduates who had done their LLB from the university’s regional centre at Bathinda had a difficult time in getting their degree recognised by the Bar Council of India.

Those who have done their diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Talwandi Sabo campus of university have not been given licence till today due to the alleged negligence of the university authorities.

A student who took admission against the paid seat at the local DAV College by paying Rs 96,000 yesterday repented his decision. He said I thought that it was a great chance to do MCA from the Punjabi University and that too from my home district.

Many other students feared that their money would not be refunded by the colleges and they had also wasted one year of their academic career.

Mr S. Marriya, Principal, DAV College, Bathinda, when contacted said the notice of the AICTE was wrong. Those colleges which were already affiliated with the university need no approval to start new courses started by the university. “The college had applied to the AICTE for approval last year and had paid a fee of Rs 5,000. It was a simple procedure and the students have nothing to worry about the recognition of the courses”, Mr Marriya claimed.

Mr Kamaljit Singh, Director, Distance Education, Punjabi University, Patiala, when contacted said he was unaware of any such notice, issued by the council.

Mr Janak Raj Gupta, Dean, College Development Council of the University, when contacted on telephone at Patiala said the notice of the AICTE was misleading. The university was bound and guided by the University Grants Commission (UGC), therefore, there was nothing called as illegal affiliation. “The university had given affiliation to all these colleges and the specifically asked that they should get recognition from the AICTE also and the university had no role to play in these cases. Even if the AICTE does not recognise these colleges/institutes, Punjabi University will conduct examinations for MCA in these colleges,” he said. Mr Gupta said students were specifically told that they should check the respective colleges/institutes for approval of the AICTE at the time of counselling.

Mr Gupta kept mum over the question that what would be the fate of the students of these colleges were not approved by the AICTE and what about the money the students had paid to the colleges affiliated to the university.

Neither the Registrar of the university nor the Regional Officer of the AICTE (NW Region) could be contacted. 


Morcha slams govt policies
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 29
The Punjab Lok Morcha, formed in Punjab by seven political parties at its convention here today called upon all left, democratic and secular forces to fight against the “anti-people” policies of the SAD-BJP Government and to build a people’s movement to provide them an alternative of the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress as both have badly “failed” to live up to the expectations of the people.

The parties which formed the Punjab Lok Morcha are the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Shiromani Akali Dal (Democratic) the Janata Party (Secular), the Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP), and the Republican Party of India (RPI).

The convention was attended among others by Jathedar Kuldip Singh Wadala, President of SAD (Democratic); Mr Harish Khanna, President of the Punjab unit of the Janata Party (Secular); Mr Teja Singh Tiwana, President of the Punjab unit of the SP; Mr Darshan Singh Jinda, President of the Punjab unit of the SJP and Mr Kiranjit Singh Sekhon, a central committee member of the MCPI.

Addressing the convention, Jathedar Kuldip Singh Wadala said Captain Amarinder Singh, President of the PPCC, had approached him to accompany the Congress as the Congress had not a kisan leader. He said the Congress was taking dreams to come to power as Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s Government had “failed” on every front.

Jathedar Wadala asked the people to give a chance to the morcha in the ensuing assembly elections to bring a political as well as an economic change in the state. The morcha would make sincere efforts to provide a corruption-free and crime-free rule, he added.

Mr Harish Khanna said the people of Punjab wanted the change in the government and he predicted that the SAD-BJP alliance would suffer a major defeat in the elections. He said the people also did not like the Congress. This was the reason that the morcha was raising a people’s movement to provide them an opportunity to get rid of the SAD-BJP combine ad the Congress, he added.

Mr Khanna also asked SAD to come out to the BJP-led Union Government to prove that SAD was a protector of farmers. He said the implementation of the WTO policies by the Vajpayee Government would ruin the farmers of the state.

Mr Kiranjit Singh Sekhon said after the formation of the SAD-BJP Government the problems of the people had increased manifold. Law and order situation was deteriorating day by day.

Mr Teja Singh Tiwana called upon the people to adopt the agenda of the morcha to save Punjab from destruction.

Mr Darshan Singh Jinda asked the people to give strength to the Punjab Lok Morcha for a bright future of the state. He also urged them to dethrone the Badal Government in the elections.

Mr Kuldip Singh, Secretary of the MCPI, and Mr Shamsher Singh Maloa, a leader of SAD (Democratic), also addressed the gathering.


Smack addiction on rise in Malout
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Malout, July 29
Randeep Kumar (name changed) was just 20 when he entered the world of drugs. After remaining hooked to smack for more than two years, Randeep Kumar, a local resident, says he does not remember how he came across smack in this tiny town in the home-district of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Due to efforts by his parents and kin, Randeep Kumar has got himself de-addicted and is now making efforts to rehabilitate himself.

Hardeep (name changed), another youth, was tempted into taking smack as he entered college. He remained hooked for about six months. He too managed to get himself de-addicted.

More and more youths of this town and Ferozepore district have been falling a prey to smack addiction as its availability has become easier in these areas over a period of time.

A few years ago, Abohar was known for easy availability of smack and heroin. Now, as per these addicts, smack is easily available in various towns of the area.

Dr Mahboob Singh Sran, Project Director, Red Cross, De-addiction Centre, Bathinda, said there has been a jump in the number of addicts taking smack for a ‘kick’.

So far five smack addicts from this town had approached the centre for treatment. Most addicts had just crossed 20. Four addicts had come from Ferozepore district and six from Bathinda district and Muktsar town.

He said last year, farmers in Ferozepore district reeling under heavy debts had shifted from poppy husk to smack. Most of the addicts last year were found to be suffering from AIDS.

Sources revealed that though the police authorities and other related organisations had been trying to curb the menace of drug addiction in this area, the pedlars had spread their tentacles far.

They had been smuggling narcotics into this area from distant places by adopting different modus operandi to hoodwink police detectives.

In Bathinda district, in the recent past, the pedlars had started supplying poppy husk and opium at the doorsteps of addicts.

Various addicts told TNS that smack addiction could be eliminated only when all suppliers were put behind the bars.

Dr Sran said it had come to notice that most addicts started taking drugs when very young, mostly under the influence of friends who were already addicts.

Seminar on drug addiction
Lalit Mohan

A local social organisation, Azad Social Welfare Society organised a seminar in Tajpura village, near Morinda on drug addiction in the area.

The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Dr Rajinder Singh said that the growing frustration among the youth due to unemployment and materialism was driving them towards drug addiction. The easy availability of drugs had compounded the problem.

The social organisation and the families could play an important role in tackling this problem. They should help in channelising the energy of the youth in constructive activities, he said.


The parking of buses outside the local bus stand has become a nuisance for the commuters. Residents allege that illegal parking of the buses block traffic on the main road. The traffic police hardly makes any effort to check this practice.


Residents of Ucchi Gatti Colony in Morinda have alleged that they do not get adequate supply of drinking water. They allege that their colony is situated at a higher place due to which special arrangement is required to supply water to the area. However, neither the district nor the local council authorities has made any effort to provide relief to the resident.


Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Minister for Printing and Stationery, Punjab, supervised the flood control measures carried out on the banks of the Sutlej and seasonal rivers. After the reports regarding the weakening of the banks and bundhs, the Punjab Government had recently released a grant of Rs 15 lakh for repairs.


Decentralisation only way out: Sangma
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 29
The General Secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and member of the Constitution Review Committee, Mr P.A. Sangma, talking to mediapersons at the local railway station here today, said the committee which had tried to determine reasons which had led to the failure of the policies of the state and Central Governments to provide social, economic and political justice to the people for the past 54 years would be submitted by September.

It is observed that concentration of power led to failure of pro-poor policies. The Central Governments in the past managed to interfere into the functioning of the state governments just to suit their political interests, in violation of the very spirit of the Constitution,” Mr Sangma explained.

He said the committee would recommend to the Central Government to shift some subjects in Central list to the state list as decentralisation was the only way to providing basic facilities like health and education to the countrymen.

“It is surprising to have Agriculture Ministry and Rural Development Ministry at the Central level. These subjects should be added to the state list,” he said.

Moreover, the committee would recommend shifting 29 items in the Eleventh Schedule of the state list to panchayats in a bid to decentralise powers to the panchayat level.

“In fact, the recommendations are aimed at providing better health and education and to improving rural development and agriculture. This can be achieved by giving more powers at the grassroot level,” the former Speaker of the Lok Sabha said.

Criticising the invitation for talks to resolve bilateral issues to Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf without any specific agenda by the Prime Minister. Mr Sangma said India had failed to strongly present the case of cross-border terrorism with Pakistan whereas the Pakistan President had utilised the forum to attract international attention on the Kashmir issue through the media.

“This is the first summit of its kind where there was no set agenda for discussions between two Heads of State. The Indian side failed to prepare any ground work, leading to failure of the summit. I will raise the concern of countrymen in this regard in Parliament on Tuesday and a clarification will be sought from the Prime Minister,” he said.

He criticised the Central Government for extending the Naga ceasefire to other states, including Manipur, which led to widespread protests and loss to public property in Manipur. “This was just uncalled for,” he said.


Power sub-station inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 29
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Member, Rajya Sabha, inaugurated a 132-KV grid sub-station on the Deviwala road at Kotkapura today. He said it would feed 60 villages around Kotkapura town. Five 11-kv sub-stations, for Kotkapura city, and Dhillwan, Deviwala, Prem Nagar and Sandhwan villages had also been attached with new grid sub-station to improve power supply in their respective areas. The project had cost an amount of Rs 5 crore, Mr Sukhbir Badal said.

Later, Mr Sukhbir Singh inaugurated science classes at Shaheed Bhagat Singh College in the town. Talking to newsmen, Mr Sukhbir Singh said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had decided to allocate 25 per cent party tickets to youths in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab. This decision had been taken to strengthen the party in an effective manner, he said.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal also denied that there was any move to bring unity with other Akali factions in the state. He further said the Central Government had granted Rs 50 crore for the augmentation of rural water supply in five districts, including Moga, Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar in the state.

Under this plan, 90 per cent expenditure would be met by the Union Government and the remaining by the state government. The work would start soon. He said the state government had also impressed upon the Central Government to discuss with World Bank to allocate Rs 817 crore for the development of rural water supply scheme which had been lying pending for the past seven years.

A deputation of district lawyers led by Mr Kulwinder Singh Sekhon, president of the District Bar Association, besides Mr Manmohan Singh, Jathedar, chairman Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission and many other Akali leaders sought the cooperation of Mr Sukhbir Singh for restrengthening the district which was trifurcated during the Congress regime in 1995.


Bandit Queen’ poised for return
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
“ Bandit Queen” is striking back again with a vengeance. If the sentiments among film distributors is any indication, the Shekhar Kapur blockbuster is bound to make a grand return. In the north alone, the film will once again be released in 15 major cities simultaneously. Local film distributors, quoting sources in the film industry in Mumbai, revealed that there was a countrywide demand for the movie after the sensational killing of Phoolan Devi, on whose life the film is based.

According to Mr Dharampal Gupta, a leading film distributor who has got distribution rights for the movie for the East Punjab zone which includes Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir “Bandit Queen” will again be released on August 3 simultaneously in 15 cities in these states.

Mr Gupta admitted that he expected good business after the death of Phoolan Devi. He said that the film had done well in the first instance and hoped it would do well once again. He was expecting a good response from cinema owners for the film.

The cinema owners are expecting good business from the film since for the time-being there is no new good movie in the offing. Although “Gadar” and “Lagaan” are doing well in theatres, but they no longer carry the initial impact and their box office sales have already come down.

The distribution rights of the film had been purchased by Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL). However, the ABCL sold these rights to six distributing firms spread across the country. The final distributor who purchased the film holds the rights for years. But when a movie is released the second time, the distributors are supposed to deposit a reissue fee.


Over 10 m Indians suffer from AIDS’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara July 29
Dr I.S. Gilada, Secretary General, Public Health Organisation and an international authority on HIV management, today disclosed that as per conservative estimates, 10 to 12 million persons were suffering from AIDS in India even though official figures put the number at 3.86 millions.

A Bombay-based AIDS specialist treating 3500 AIDS patients at present, Dr Gilada was addressing a press conference and a state-level conference on continuing medical education (CME) at Lilly Resort by the local branch of the Indian Medical Association headed by Dr S.P.S. Sooch. One per cent of our population is suffering from AIDS, continued Dr Gilada.

“In population, we are second to one but in AIDS we are second to none”, quipped Dr Gilada while delivering his keynote address on HIV management. Thirty per cent of HIV positive cases come from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, he said. “Like monsoon, the north is getting AIDS from the south”, he quipped. Calling Mumbai the capital of AIDS, Dr Gilada said his patients included 4 per cent to 5 per cent belonging to Punjab.

Painting a very bleak picture on AIDS front, Dr Gilada mooted four - pronged strategy to combat it. Sex education should be made mandatory at college-level and then included in the school curriculum, he said.

Dr Gilada said 50 per cent married persons go for “outside sex” due to stress in inter-personal relations. He admitted that out of the total HIV positive cases, 75-80 per cent were youths. In case AIDS awareness was not activated, all states would soon be teemed with HIV positive cases.

The CME - 2001 was inaugurated by Dr A.B. Thomas, former Principal, CMC Ludhiana. He gave the message of universal brotherhood laced with continued update of medical knowledge. Dr Hardyal Singh, ex-Principal, Government Medical College, Amritsar, Dr O.P.S. Kande, President, IMA Punjab, Dr S.P.S. Sooch, organising chairman, Dr G.B. Singh, organising secretary, Dr Bobby John of CMC Ludhiana, Dr Mohan Nair from Delhi, Dr J.S. Virk, Dr A.K. Sharma, were among those who addressed the conference.


Advance not adjusted against phone bills
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 29
Resentment prevails among telephone subscribers as BSNL has not adjusted their rent amount, deposited in advance in the recently sent telephone bills. The subscribers had deposited the rent up to July in advance two months back.

BSNL had decided to charge the rent in advance but due to widespread resentment in the subscribers, BSNL decided to rectify the bills.

But most of the subscribers could not get their bills rectified despite the assurance of BSNL.

Now the authorities are assuring the subscribers to adjust the amount in next bill.

The subscribers have urged the Telecommunication Minister, Mr Ram Bilas Paswan, to intervene into the matter.

Moga: There was resentment among telephone subscribers and power consumers here over the inflated bills issued by these departments. A large number of consumers said here today that they received their bills in thousands of rupees while their previous bills were limited to few hundred rupees.

They urged the government to look into the matter and hold inquiries into it so that they should not suffer unnecessarily.

According to a spokesman, the state government had directed these departments to impose heavy penalties on the consumers and collect money as the govt was facing economic crisis. The spokesman said they were being forced to collect more money.


Local Govt head visits Bareta for probe
Our Correspondent

Bareta (Mansa), July 29
Mr J.B. Goyal, Director, Local Government Department, Punjab, visited this town on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that a report be submitted within four months regarding the sale of shops and plots by the local municipal council.

Five municipal councillors, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Gurdeep Singh, Mr Hem Raj, Ms Bimla Devi and Ms Amarjit Kaur, had filed a civil writ under Articles 226 and 227 alleging that the sale of shops and plots had been in contravention of law at very low rates, causing loss to the municipal council running into lakhs. They had prayed that these plots be sold in open auction as per the directions of the Minister for Local Bodies.

On directions of the court, Mr J.B. Goyal Director, Local Government Department, Punjab, the Deputy Director, Bathinda and Mr S.K. Sabarwal, SDM, Budhlada, paid a visit to the town to inquire into the allegations made by the five councillors. The councillors told the visiting officers that the vice-president, Mr Kulwant Singla had sold a plot in the name of his father for a song , causing loss of lakhs to the civic body.

They also alleged that the basis on which the plots were given on rent and then sold were found to be bogus and signed by some other person in place of the Superintendent of the office of the Director, Local Government. The shops and plots had been sold on the basis of a “bogus” letter.


Hot debate likely at corporation meeting
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, July 29
The issue of deteriorating condition of sewerage provisions in the wake of monsoon showers is likely to come up in the Municipal Corporation meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Besides, independent counsellors are expected to call for concrete and immediate steps to effect demolition or repair of dangerous buildings identified in the corporation’s survey recently.

Also, many recent promotions in different departments of the corporation are being viewed with suspicion. It is believed that undeserving candidates are being promoted on financial considerations at the cost of deserving candidates.

More than 20 such cases have been reportedly promoted from nearly all wings of the corporation. The issue is likely to turn into a hot debate as many counsellors’ “favourites” got the favours.

The house is likely to take up the issue of vulgar posters on the walls of the city especially on educational institutes and places of historical and religious importance.


Sex ratio declining in Ropar dist: survey
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 29
The S.S. Memorial Educational Society, Chamkaur Sahib, Ropar district conducted a survey in 13 villages of Chamkaur Sahib block during May and June this year. The survey revealed that during the past five years the sex ratio had decreased to the lowest as a result of large scale female foeticide. The survey also revealed that the girls were still married below the age of 18 years.

The Society for Services to Voluntary Agencies (Chandigarh) for and on behalf of the Punjab government had sanctioned the Reproductive and Child Health Project to the S.S. Memorial Education Society.

While giving details of the survey here Prof R.C. Dhand, chairman of the society, said that the society had selected unapproachable and difficult area situated on the south bank of river Sutlej. He said that the survey report of the area brought new facts about sex ratio among 0-5 and 6-14 years’ age group.

According to this latest survey, the sex ratio in the age group of 0-5 years had come down to 641/1000 and in some of the villages like Makkowal it had come down to 514/1000. The sex ratio among 6-14 years of age group was found to be 749/1000.

He said that one of the most important reason behind the decline of sex ratio to such an extent was the unlimited increase in the dowry demands which in turn had increased the number of dowry deaths and burning of brides. He has suggested that in order to bring the imbalance in the social setup back to normal, the government would have to take stringent measures and all NGOs and religious organisations should mobilise their resources against these social evils. He said that the educational society would create awareness among the target group about reproductive rights and maintenance of proper health.

He said the society had completed the baseline survey of the area in order to identify eligible couples and had started registering all marriages in the area.

He said that the greatest challenge before the society was to combat the decreasing sex ratio and female foeticide. He said that the organisation would also impress upon the government to take strict action against the sex-determining centres so that the female foeticide could be stopped.


Murdered woman’s kin stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Tension prevailed at Jassian village, 10 km from here, when a large number of people staged a dharna outside the house of the alleged murderer of a village woman, whose body was found near the Phillaur railway station this afternoon. Angry relatives and other villagers took her body after the post-mortem examination to the accused person’s house in the village in the evening and lifted the dharna only after the police assured them of action.

The woman was cremated late in the evening.

The body of Raj Kaur, 32, a married woman having four children was found under mysterious circumstances near the railway station today. She was missing from her house at Jassian village for the past three days. A complaint in this regard was lodged with the Haibowal police station here. It was suspected that she had illicit relation with another villager Sukha Singh and had run away with him. The police was also suspecting the role of a woman of the village in the elopement.


Blood donated in martyr’s memory
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
The United Welfare Society (UFS) in cooperation with the Shaheed Sandeep Singh Yadgari Committee organised a blood donation camp today at Court Road. The committee was set up in memory of Sandeep Dhillon, a city resident, who was killed in the Kargil war.

In a press note issued here today by Mr Vijay Bhatt, president of the society, said as many as 13 persons donated blood. Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Law Minister, was the chief guest and Mr Ajmer Singh Mann, Secretary, Red Cross Society, presided over the camp.

While addressing the gathering Mr Garg said youngsters should donate blood for soldiers who were doing their duty on border. He gave Rs 10,000 to the society for holding more camps in the region.


2 killed as train rams into auto
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 29
Two persons were killed on the spot and one girl seriously injured when a 3 LJ passenger train, which was going to Ludhiana rammed into the autorickshaw in which they were travelling at an unmanned railway crossing, near Kup Kalan village, 8 km from here, today.

The deceased have been identified as Gurdev Kaur (50) of Jandali Khurd village and Kulwant Singh of Kup Kalan village. The injured girl Joti (9) was rushed to the local Civil Hospital where her condition is said to be out of danger.

According to an eyewitness, the victims were coming to Malerkotla when their tempo rammed into the passenger train on an unmanned railway crossing.

The Station Superintendent, Dhuri, Mr K.L. Meena, reached the spot within an hour and started investigations and registered a case in this regard.

Meanwhile, residents of the village and surrounding areas have appealed to the railway authorities to set up a manned crossing at the accident site which had been posing a constant traffic hazard for a long time.


Ban sought on TV serial
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 29
The International Bhai Mardana Society in a notice sent to the Director, Doordarshan, has sought a ban on the serial “Ek Noor Turiya” being presented by Sardarjit Singh Bawa on DD-I. 

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president of the society, said if the telecast of the serial was not stopped an indefinite fast would be started in front of the Doordarshan kendra and a petition would be filed in the high court. Mr Bhullar alleged that the serial had violated Sikh traditions thereby hurting the sentiments of the Sikhs.


Executive Officer told to call MC meeting
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 29
The Principal Secretary Local Bodies, Mr Rajesh Chabbra, through a letter has issued instructions to the Executive Officer here to hold requisition meeting of municipal councillors on August 3.

According to information, 19 members of the local municipal council had met Mr Chabbra on July 27 and requested him to ask the state government to issue a directive to the municipal council for holding a meeting so that no-confident motion could be passed against the president, Mr Ajmat Ali.


3 more bodies recovered
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 29
The bodies of three victims of the Kiratpur Sahib truck mishap were recovered today from the Sutlej. The deceased have been identified as Pargat Singh (21), Bhoot Kaur (13) and Amandeep (12) of Dirba. 

With this the number of bodies recovered as yet has reached 44, including 43 victims from Dirba and an unidentified body. The total number of victims in the mishap has been estimated at 57.


16 panchayats get cheques

Nawanshahr, July 29
Mr Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Welfare Minister, distributed Rs 50,000 each among 16 village panchayats of the district for the renovation of Dalit dharamshalas.

Addressing a function organised at Bhagauran village, he said the Badal government had been spending Rs 472 crore under a special scheme for the welfare of the Dalits. The minister also gave a cheque of Rs 1 lakh for the construction of a Harijan dharamshala and Rs 25,000 each for a Balmiki dharamshala and a religious dera.


3 bus passengers die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 29
As many as 3 passengers died and 21 injured when a tourist bus (DL-IB-8043) from Jammu, carrying passengers from Nepal, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Punjab, rammed into a tree near Madhopur at 4.30 a.m. today. The injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Pathankot.

Twelve passengers were discharged after first-aid. As many as nine are still in the hospital. The driver and conductor of the bus escaped. The deceased have been identified as Padam Bahadur from Nepal Nazir and Bag Ali from Jammu and Kashmir.


Disabled given aid at Red Cross camp
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 29
As many as 88 disabled were today provided artificial limbs by the district Red Cross Society and the Bharat Vikas Parishad. The camp was inaugurated by the Punjab Tourism Minister, Chaudhary Swarna Ram.

Driving licences issued at camp
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
Desh Bhagat Dental College, Muktsar, in collaboration with the district police and the Awareness Club, Muktsar, organised a camp yesterday at DAV College, Muktsar. At the camp 850 persons were issued driving licences. Mr Harnirpal Singh ‘Kukku’, MLA, was the chief guest. Mr Ravinder Singh, District Transport Officer (DTO), presided over the function.


149 farmers get credit cards
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
The Faridkot-Bathinda Kshetriya Bank yesterday organised a kisan credit card distribution function at Kararwala village of the district.

According to a press note issued here today, kisan credit cards were distributed to 149 farmers by Mr Surinder Pal Singh Bains, Chairman of the bank. 


Rs 235 cr spent on village development
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
The Punjab Government has spent Rs 235 crore in the past two years on the overall development of villages in the state. The money has been spent on the construction of metalled roads and pucca streets, installation of sewerage system and many other development works. Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Science and Technology Minister, stated this at Chughe Khurd village in district today.

Mr Garg gave Rs 50,000 to each family whose crops were damaged due to duststorm in the recent past. He said farmers had to suffer a great loss due to storm and the government had promised to give financial help to the affected families.

The minister said the government was spending Rs 2 crore on development works in every Assembly constituency. About 4,680 km link road was constructed to facilitate transportation of crops to purchasing centres. He said Rs 41 lakh had been sanctioned for Dalit families under the ‘shagun’ scheme. The families, which had not availed benefits of the scheme, could apply even after marriage of their daughters held any time after 1997. He said so far 600 applications had been received and soon the families would get the amount of the ‘shagun’.

Mr Garg also inaugurated a vaccination camp for hepatitis-B at Guru Harkrishan Public School here.


Rs 3 lakh looted from traders
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 29
Four unidentified persons, two of them in police uniform, looted jewellery and cash worth about Rs 3 lakh from seven cloth merchants of the town today morning near Lalowali, village 6 km from here, on the Fazilka-Ferozepore road.

In the FIR lodged with the Sadar police here, Kashmiri Lal, Madan Lal, Surinderpal Singh, Ajay Bajaj, Surinder Kumar, Vijay Munjal and Ravinder Kumar, all cloth merchants, said they were going to Amritsar in a hired jeep for routine Sunday purchase of cloth. Near Lalowali, village a Maruti car overtook their jeep and it stopped at some distance where two persons in the police uniform were already standing. Thinking that the police had laid a naka, the driver stopped the jeep.

Suddenly two persons got out of the car and they along with their accomplices in the uniform surrounded the jeep. One of them in uniform carrying a 0.12 bore gun fired at the rear tyre of the jeep and burst it. Thereafter, all four dacoits directed the jeep driver to drag it off the road to a distance of about 25 yards. The dacoits snatched about Rs 2.25 lakh cash, wrist watches, gold rings and bracelets from the traders except the one. Who had concealed his cash in clothes. The dacoits fled after that.

Police sources said the dacoits left the car near Ladhuka village, 12 km from here, and fled on motor cycles already kept there. The traders said besides the 0.12 bore gun, the dacoits appeared to have been carrying a weapon similar to carbine and other sharp-edged weapons.

Mr Ajay Malooja, DSP, said the car belonged to Kashmiri Lal Julaha of Ladhuka and had been stolen from outside his residence after midnight today. A case under Sections 382 and 34, IPC, has been registered. On Sunday last a Maruti car belonging to a local practitioner, Dr Asha Gumber, was stolen and found abandoned near Jatwali village, 4 km from here. It is suspected that the car was stolen for looting the cloth merchants but since their programme to visit Amritsar was cancelled, the car was abandoned. Earlier also, a number of instances of dacoity have been reported on this portion of the Fazilka-Ferozepore road.


GND varsity to revive 4 Chairs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
Guru Nanak Dev University will revive four Chairs, including Bhagat Kabir Chair and Dr Ambedkar Chair, set up during the regime of the late Beant Singh, assassinated Chief Minister of Punjab.

Disclosing this today Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, said the Chairs were set up six years ago. Now efforts were begin made to revive them. The three chairs —Bhagat Ravi Das Chair, Baba Namdev Chair and Bhagat Kabir Chair — would be in the Department of Guru Nanak Studies and stress would be laid on the Indian Bhagri traditional research under these chairs.

Dr SP Singh said teachers would be provided special facilities for research projects in the shape of books and documents. Work load on teachers would also be adjusted accordingly. ‘Stress will be laid on research in basic sciences, social sciences and languages”, he added.

The Vice-Chancellor said the regional centre of the university at Jalandhar would soon have a new building as land had been acquired and the government had provided a grant of Rs 50 lakh. He would also approach the MP of Jalandhar and other philanthropists for raising funds for the project. The regional centre at Jalandhar would not have traditional courses. It would rather have course in IT, mass media, business studies and home management. To a question, Dr SP Singh said the Department of Planning and Development would initiate new courses and sign MoUs with industrial houses. They would cut down on the expenditure and stress would be laid on publications.

The government had granted Rs 2.5 lakh for foreign travel and the university would contribute matching grant to facilitate teachers to pursue higher studies and research work.

He revealed that 20 per cent posts of teachers in the university were lying vacant. But there was no official restriction on filling the posts.


PMT racket: IMA chief seeks CBI probe
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 29
The president of the Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association, Dr O.P.S. Kande, today demanded a CBI probe into backdoor entry of candidates into graduate and postgraduate medical courses through manipulation in the entrance tests conducted in the state and at the national level by the CBSE.

Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Kande alleged that question papers were leaked and he had information that a candidate was asked to pay Rs 10 lakh to know the question paper. However, I have no written complaint or confirmation about the deal but my IMA members have told me about such shady deals and rackets in PMT and CBSE-PMT, continued Dr Kande. Only a CBI inquiry can unravel truth and bring the racketeers to book, asserted Dr Kande. He also admitted impersonation in tests.

Assessment - mechanism of candidates should be evolved on the pattern of IAS examination for promoting merit among medocos, said Dr Kande. He called upon medical fraternity to speak out against the evil.

Earlier, addressing continuing medical education - 2001 organised by the Phagwara unit of the IMA, Dr Kande pleaded with doctors not to have any kind of liaison with quacks. He blamed the revival of Punjab Medical Council which had been lying defunct since long, for all ills in the medical profession. Its Chairman and members should be taken from the IMA for improving medical scenario, he said.


CM invites ETT teachers for talks
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, has invited leaders of the Unemployed ETT Teachers’ Union for talks at Ferozepore. The union has been holding rallies and dharnas in the home district of Mr Badal for the past many days in protest against non-fulfilment of their demands.

The agitating unemployed teachers ended their dharna on the railway track on the outskirts of Gidderbaha city today when the authorities assured them that a meeting would be fixed with the Chief Minister soon.

Mr Jasvir Singh, general secretary of the Ropar unit of the union, while talking to The Tribune on telephone from the Lambi Assembly Constituency of the Chief Minister, said they had been invited by Mr Badal for finding a solution to the problem.

He added that the unemployed ETT teachers who had come to the area from different districts of the state could be persuaded to stop the stir after assurances given by the authorities of finding solution to their problems.

Earlier, in the morning the civil authorities had been successful in persuading the agitating teachers to clear the track before the arrival of an express train. However, the union leaders alleged that they were dragged from the track. No concerned officials could be contacted despite efforts.


End stir, Badal asks ETT teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Sing Badal, today held a meeting with leaders of the agitating Unemployed Elementary Trained Teachers Union and appealed to them to end their agitation.

A spokesman for the state government said here that Mr Badal assured the leaders that employment would be provided to all eligible trained teachers against vacant posts in primary schools due to be filled soon.

The spokesman said among the leaders who held talks with Mr Badal were Mr Ravinder Singh Patti, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Chahal. Mr Badal has asked the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, to meet the agitating teachers here.

It may be mentioned here that on a call given by the union, teachers have been holding dharnas here in front of the head office of the DPI (Primary Education), Punjab. Some of them are on an indefinite fast to press for their demands. Mr Badal will meet the union leaders on July 31 again.

Teachers threaten mass leave
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 29
Hundreds of teachers from various non-government colleges will go on mass casual leave on August 3 here to protest against the non-implementation of the Pension and Gratuity Act passed in 1999.

The protest will also be against the non-coverage of new colleges and new posts created in old colleges under the grant-in-aid scheme as promised by the Shiromani Akali Dal during the last assembly elections, according to the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union secretary, Mr Aminderpal Singh .

He said that teachers from these colleges in Patiala, Ropar, Mansa, Chandigarh, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib would assemble at Fountain Chowk and march in procession towards the district court where the PCCTU leaders and sister organisations including the Punjabi University Teachers Association and the Government College Teachers Association would address the rally.

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