Friday, August 3, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Wordy duel between AICTE, Punjabi University
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
A war of words seems to have started between Punjabi University, Patiala, and the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). Punjabi University issued a notice about the Master of Computer Applications course against which the AICTE had issued a notice in leading newspapers on July 29 stating that some of the colleges/institutes affiliated with Punjabi University were not approved by the council for MCA courses, thus putting a question mark on the credibility of the institutes and the university.

The AICTE notice said the council was the only authority for approving technical education courses and no institute/university could conduct study programmes in computers, engineering, technology and management as authorised by the Government of India. The AICTE gave the names of four colleges/institutes and also put in the dock all study centres of the university offering MCA under the distance education programme.

The university retaliated by issuing a notice. This virtually challenged the authority of the AICTE. The notice said the AICTE Act keeps universities out of the definition of technical institutions (Section 2-H). Thus, the universities were free to introduce undergraduate/postgraduate IT courses, including those on campus, distance education and through affiliated colleges.

The Registrar of the university said in the public notice that it was not necessary to seek the AICTE approval before starting technical courses as the definition of “new technical institutes” did not mean universities in the AICTE Act. Also, the AICTE Act (passed in 1988) did not include computer application courses and new subjects could be included for technical education only by the central government through notifications and no such central government notification under Section 2(G) had been received by the university from the AICTE, the Registrar claimed.

Interestingly, the AICTE said the degree awarded by these unapproved institutes would not be recognised by the Government of India for any post or higher education but the Registrar of university maintained the validity of university degrees was determined by the University Act itself and was not dependent on any provision of any outside agency.

The university had given affiliation to these institutes by following the norms and the prescribed procedure and there was no “illegal affiliation” as mentioned by the AICTE in its notice. “Still we advised the affiliated colleges/institutes to seek the approval of the AICTE, if so required”, the Registrar said.

Sources revealed admission to colleges/institutes was still going on. There were negligible admissions in the past few days.


VC opens institute amid protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia today inaugurated the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Information Technology established in collaboration with a private party on the varsity campus in a low-key function amid protest from the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) alleging that the institute had been set up against the University Act and statutes.

The institute was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor today, according to a press note issued by the university as the press was not invited. Professional IT courses were being started in the institute in collaboration with G CAD.

It said the courses included post-graduate diploma and certificate courses with a modern syllabus content related to industry and business. The institute had a governing body headed by the Vice-Chancellor who under the agreement would have power and competence to issue directions to the institute.

It said for 2001-2002, more than 110 students had been enrolled for B.Sc honours, courses in IT and communication technology and around 100 students had enrolled for post graduated courses in M.Sc (IT) and M.Sc (software engineering).

The Vice-Chancellor said the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had kept universities out of the definition of technical institutes and that the universities were free to introduce undergraduate and post-graduate IT course. He said there was no provision in the AICTE Act prescribing its mandatory approval of universities for the MCA course.

Meanwhile, PUTA today claimed that the collaboration with the private party to establish a management institute was not contained in the University Act. It said permission could be given to a trust in the interest of the university and that permission could not be given to a commercial organisation.

PUTA leaders Bhupinder Singh Khaira and Balwinder Singh said the terms and conditions of the memorandum of understanding with the company had not been disclosed .


Pilot identifies hijackers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 2
The hijackers of Airbus C-814 which was hijacked from Kathmandu to Kandahar in December, 1999, were identified through their photographs by then Airbus pilot Capt Devi Sharma in the special designated court under the anti-hijacking law here today.

Capt Sharma identified the photographs of the five hijackers by the names they used after they took over the Airbus a little after it took off from Kathmandu, that is, Chief, Burger, Shankar, Bhola and Doctor.

Recounting the events, Capt Sharma said 45 minutes after the plane took off from Kathmandu, one person who was later identified as Chief by the others, entered the cockpit with a pistol and hand grenades and threatened to blow up the plane in case it was not taken to Lahore.

The pilot said the plane was then landed in Amritsar for refuelling but it was denied fuel and it had to take off again to Lahore where it was refuelled. Though the terrorists had planned to take the plane to Kabul they could not do so as proper landing facilities did not exist there. The plane was then taken to the United Arab Emirates.

At UAE where refuelling took place again, the terrorists under pressure from the authorities released around 30 to 35 women, aged and children. The plane was taken to Kandahar where negotiations started two days afterwards following a final settlement on December 30.

The pilot will be cross-examined on August 14.


Abducted turn out to be blackmailers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 2
The district police has solved the mystery behind the alleged abduction of a son and daughter-in-law of a Superintendent of Police from the local bus stand on July 30 with the arrest of five persons.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said here today Veena Verma in her complaint to the police, alleged certain persons came in a white-coloured Tata Sierra (PB 10-8213) at the local bus stand and asked her husband Rakesh Verma to accompany them for a compromise and took them away forcibly.

She further alleged she was raped in a local hotel by these persons a few days back and the abduction was done to keep the matter quiet through a compromise. The couple was allegedly beaten up and threatened of dire consequences if the matter was disclosed to the police. They were let off near the Pathankot bypass after depriving them of Rs 12,000 and a pair of gold earrings.

Mr Yadav further said a special police party headed by Mr Daljinder Singh Dhillon, SHO, conducted raids at different places in the city to apprehend one Mukesh Kumar, who had figured as the prime suspect. Subsequently, Mukesh was rounded up on July 30. He revealed that Rakesh Verma had falsely stated his father was an SP and his real name was Jiwan Kumar and he was from Ludhiana.

He further disclosed that Jiwan, who was working with a juice seller at the local bus stand, had married Seema of Delhi about five years back. The couple was staying at a local hotel, where he came into their contact. Jiwan Kumar incited him to have sex with his wife and he was also seduced by Seema.

After that Seema approached him, saying that some persons had clicked their photographs and were demanding Rs 1 lakh in lieu of return of these photographs. This amount was later brought down to Rs 60,000. He further said they also used the services of two hotel waiters for recording the conversation with Mukesh in which he had admitted having sex with Seema. The recording was also used to blackmail him. He denied the abduction story as concocted by the couple and complained of blackmail by Jiwan Kumar.

The matter was investigated further and it was found that the Tata Sierra vehicle, which was stated to be allegedly used for abduction, had been parked at the Delhi airport since July 27 and the owner of the vehicle was out of the city till July 30.

The police again questioned the couple who admitted that they were not related to any police official and they had concocted the abduction story to put pressure on Mukesh so that they could extort money from him.

Subsequently, Jiwan Kumar of Shimlapuri in Ludhiana, Seema Verma of Shastri Nagar in New Delhi, Rajinder Singh of the local Khambra Colony, Sandip Kumar of the local New Ashok Nagar and Mukesh Kumar of Fauji Mohalla in Ludhiana were arrested.

The arrested persons were being produced in the court of the magistrate.


Release parakeets, Maneka asks Badal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 2
Animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has written to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal questioning his government’s reported decision to release 1000 parakeets and pigeons on the occasion of the forthcoming National Games.

According to wildlife experts, all wild birds, except crows, are protected species. Parakeets and wild pigeons are also listed under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act.

Relying on information received from its Ludhiana unit of the People for Animals, an animal welfare NGO, PFA founder Chairperson, Maneka Gandhi has shot off missives to the Punjab Chief Minister as well as the state’s Sports Secretary and former Chief Secretary R.S. Mann.

In her letter to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs Gandhi has warned Mr Badal that the reported move of the state government to release pigeons and parakeets as a symbol of greenery of Punjab constitutes a violation of the Wildlife Protection Act and will bring shame to the government. She has suggested planting of 1000 saplings instead.

Mrs Gandhi has warned Mr Bindra that the aforesaid violation of the Act can attract legal action by various private parties, organisations and government ministries. While drawing Mr Bindra’s attention to penalty under the law, Mrs Gandhi has suggested that he drop the “ill-conceived idea and plant 1000 saplings instead.”

Secretary, Sports, Punjab, I.S. Bindra, however denied any such move on part of the government. “These are things of the past. We have no intention of being cruel to animals. We would never do anything which is against public sentiments.”

Reacting to the reported move of the state government to release pigeons and parakeets, Executive Director of the Wildlife Trust of India Vivek Menon said, “It is a clear offence of the Wildlife Protection Act. It is a crime to catch parakeets. How will they release parakeets unless they catch them?”


Plan to build DAC hanging fire
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 2
The plan to build the district administrative complex on the premises of the office of the District Animal Husbandry Department appears to have been shelved for the time being. So much so that half of the building having the office of the Animal Husbandry Department was got vacated and hoardings regarding the site for the complex were put up on the premises of the department.

Funds were to be generated for construction of the complex here from the sale proceeds of 14.5 acres of land of the district courts and 104 acres of land of the research wing of the Punjab Irrigation Department at Malikpur.

The office of the Deputy Registrar, Cooperatives, which was a part of the district courts, was divided into commercial and residential plots by PUDA. These were auctioned about two months ago. PUDA as per an understanding was to build complex within three years. In the meantime the office of the Deputy Registrar, Cooperatives, has been rented in a private building. The rent of the building was to be paid by PUDA for three years. PUDA, however, has deposited Rs 26 lakh as fixed deposit in the bank to meet the expenses of the office of the Deputy Registrar, Cooperatives, housed in private building.

It may be mentioned here the office of the Deputy Registrar, Cooperatives, formed part of the district courts. Land of the district courts housing various government offices had not been put on sale so far.

According to official sources, the sale of the district courts was likely to be postponed till after the Punjab Legislative Assembly elections. Moreover, the sale proceeds from the auction of the office of the Deputy Registrar, Cooperatives, which was divided into 24 residential and 10 commercial plots are not being paid by the persons who purchased these in the auction. Only part of the payment has been made so far.

Sources said 104 acres of the Irrigation Department at Malikpur was divided into 600 plots for which applications were invited and a reserve price of Rs 62,500 per marla for draw of lots was fixed. Only 50 applications were received in this regard and the scheme thus had to be abandoned.

Mr B.Vikram, Deputy Commissioner, recommended the government should lower the reserve price of these plots to half of the earlier reserve price fixed by the government. The proposal is hanging fire in the government files at Chandigarh for approval.

The official sources said PUDA which was given the task of constructing the complex failed to honour the commitment made by it with the district administration as well as the Department of Animal Husbandry. PUDA was to pay the Department of Animal Husbandry Rs 50 lakh in cash and four acres of land out of the land of TB Hospital, Jiwanwal Babri. The land of the TB Hospital was in the possession of a private individual in accordance with a stay granted to him by the court. PUDA consequently could not hand over four acres of land as per promise of the TB Hospital to the Department of Animal Husbandry till the stay by the court if vacated and land transferred in the name of PUDA. PUDA has to honour the commitment paying Rs 50 lakh to the department in addition.

The official sources said PUDA made a commitment with the district administration to make a payment of Rs 25 lakh to the district administration for completing the circuit house here. PUDA has failed to keep the promise in this regard and it is not certain as to when it will be able to fulfil its commitment and proceed with the construction of the district administrative complex at the site fixed for it.

In addition, there is a section of people who are pressing the authorities to renovate the present buildings or at least preserve the office of the District and Sessions Judge which has excellent architecture.


MLA to move HC against bias
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 2
Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, MLA from Talwandi Sabo, today said he would approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the discrimination being meted out to the area represented by him in the Vidhan Sabha by the Punjab Government in the allocation of funds under various heads for development purposes.

Mr Jassi while talking to mediapersons here said in Punjab the authorities concerned had been indulging in malpractices and had started allocating funds for development projects on political considerations instead of taking needs as the main basis.

He said he had written letters to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, in connection with the stepmotherly treatment being meted out to the Talwandi Sabo assembly segment in matters of allocation of funds for development.

He alleged that as per the figures of the amount given to various assembly segments by the state government under various heads and by Mr Badal in the sangat darshan programme it had become very clear that those assembly segments which were being represented by the MLAs belonging to the Congress and other opposition parties had been getting little funds while those represented by SAD and BJP had been getting huge amounts.

He pointed out that in the past year Rs 239 lakh was given to Bathinda district for distribution in its five and a half assembly segments. The amount was distributed only in Nathana, Phul, Bathinda and Pakka Kalan assembly segments. Not a single paisa was given to Talwandi Sabo and half part of Joga assembly segments as both these segments were being represented by MLAs of opposition parties.

He added that in the current year again discrimination in the allocation of funds had been done with Talwandi Sabo. All assembly segments of Bathinda district which were being represented by the ruling party MLAs had been given crores each while Talwandi Sabo as given only Rs 30 lakh.

He alleged that MLAs belonging to opposition parties were never consulted in connection with the fixing of priorities for carrying out the development works. He said the district administration had become a puppet in the hands of the ruling party’s rank and file. He alleged senior officials in their bid to enjoy prize postings had been making these bunglings.

He said he had also been discussing this issue with other MLAs who had been experiencing the same situation and shortly the Punjab Government would be taken to task for these illegal activities.

He claimed that these activities of the Punjab Government officials indicated Mr Badal had become frustrated due to decline in his popularity and rising factionalism in the party’s rank and file. He added that now Mr Badal was trying to woo the people by announcing grants for a few people under the garb of development.


Dewater houses, orders DC
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 2
Ms Raji P. Shrivastava Deputy Commissioner, yesterday directed the District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) for dewatering of the houses located in Nangal Kalan village of the district, so that people could return to their houses.

This was stated by him while presiding over the monthly meeting of the local district officers. Due to the rains, the water-level of all the rivers has gone up.

At present 15,000 cubic feet of water is flowing in the Ghaggar near the district. All officers in the district have been alerted by the Deputy Commissioner.

She has directed the officials to work in coordination to fight the flood like situation. She had directed the Health Department to distribute medicines among the people to prevent the outbreak of cholera and malaria.

She asked the officer not to allow the water in the low lying area of the towns of the district to accumulate and arrange pumps and generators for dewatering.

The officials of the Sewerage Department had been directed to ensure the proper working of the sewerage systems.

The Deputy Commissioner had requested the General Manager, Food Corporation of India (FCI), to provide tarpaulins on Temporary basis so that the same may be provided to the residents. She said the district administration had demanded Rs 50 lakh from the government to control the floods. She also directed the Punjab Mandi Board officers to repair the link roads of Kotdharmu and Bajewala villages and to complete link roads up to Chandpura barrage. On the occasion Dr Hardev Singh, Deputy Medical Officer, said, chlorine tablets had been given to the villagers of the district.

Mr Hardev Singh, Executive Officer, said, arrangement had been made for dewatering in Bhatta Basti, Vir Nagar, Luhar Basti and other areas of the town.


Hearing in arms licences case on Aug 6
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 2
Mr Justice V.M. Jain of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has fixed August 6, 2001, for hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) petition into the fake arms licence scam of Ferozepore district filed by Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, former MLA, Fazilka and Hans Raj Josan, a former minister, Punjab, on August 1, 2001. The petitioners had demanded a CBI probe into fake arms licence scam alleging that about 15,000 out of 30,000 arms licences issued by office of the District Magistrate, Ferozepore, from 1997 to 2001 were fake.

The detection of the racket has caused ripples in the civil and police administration. On the directive of the Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, Mr S.K. Singla, SDM, Fazilka has constituted seven teams of civil and police officials to verify the antecedents of the persons holding such licences. Two teams for the verification of arms licences in Fazilka town headed by S.K. Bansal, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Fazilka and S.S. Randhawa, Excise and Taxation Officer, Fazilka, have been constituted. Three teams for the rural areas of Fazilka subdivision, led by R.S. Batra, Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Ajaib Singh, Tehsildar and Bhagwant Singh SDO (Drainage), Fazilka, have been constituted. Two teams each led by Baljinder Singh, Naib Tehsildar and Kewal Singh, Kanungo, Fazilka, have been constituted to verify the genuineness of arms licences falling under Khui Khera police station. Each team shall be assisted by an ASI, a head constable and a constable.

Meanwhile, Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, Forest Minister, Punjab, reacting to his alleged involvement in the fake licences racket, in a statement today denied all charges against him.


IMA hails move on medical waste fee
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 2
Dr O.P.S. Kande, President, Punjab unit of Indian Medical Association, and Dr Raman Aggarwal, Chairman, Medical Action Committee-cum-Legal Cell, IMA, Punjab, yesterday hailed the government’s decision to reduce the authorisation fee payable to the Punjab Pollution Control Board for treating bio-medical-waste. The government should now also provide services, facilities commensurate with the fee to be charged from different categories of hospitals, nursing homes. The hospital staff should be trained for the segregation of the bio-medical waste, the association demanded.

Both Dr Kande and Dr Aggarwal were commenting upon a report published in The Tribune yesterday that authorisation fee had been reduced to Rs 500 per year for less than 50 bedded hospital, nursing homes and Rs 10,000 for more than 500 bedded hospital. Earlier, the yearly fee was whopping Rs 25,000 for upto 50 beds and Rs 4 lakh for over 500 bedded hospitals/nursing homes.


Patiala can draw tourists
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

This city has suffered a loss of position twice in the post-independence era. It lost its grandeur with the end of the princely order. Then it was made the capital of PEPSU, a position which it lost when PEPSU was merged with Punjab. From the capital city of a state it was reduced to the status of a divisional headquarters.

The avenues along which once marched princely processions with regal splendour, are not even swept regularly. The crumbling walls of Quilla Mubarak stand testimony to the vanished glory of Patiala. Dust laden chandeliers hang from the cracking ceiling of Darbar Hall as grin reminders of the glory that was.

From the seat of royalty, it has slipped to the position of a city of Babus working in government offices some of which were retained here after the merger of PEPSU. Away from the main railway line, it has failed to attract any industry worth its name.

But somehow, the old world charm has remained alive. In the inner city, old havelis still survive. Quilla Mabarak and Sheesh Mahal stand as evidence of the elegance of the by-gone era and the cultural heritage of the city.

Quilla Mubarak is a massive fort-like structure in the heart of the city surrounded by bazars where hand-made products such as “parandis”, “nalas”, “juttis” and “phulkari” are on sale. Quilla Androon, the inner part of the complex, has several chambers decorated with paintings done in gold. The museum in the complex contains scores of gleaming chandeliers which Maharaja Rajinder Singh purchased in a huff, besides pieces of armour and the sword of Nadir Shah.

Sheesh Mahal has its own set of chandeliers, Chinese pottery, ivory carvings, miniature paintings, and a collection of medals from different parts of the world.

All this can be turned into tourist attractions, if given the right kind of publicity. Tourists who visit Chandigarh can be persuaded also to visit Patiala to have a glimpse of this repository of history and culture. A triangular tour including Chandigarh, Patiala and Sirhind can show the tourists the modernity of Chandigarh as well as the ancient heritage symbolised by Patiala and Sirhind. The traditional havelis of Patiala can be done up for the stay of tourists. Once the city comes on the tourism maps, artisans producing handicrafts such as “phulkari”, “parandis” and “juttis” will also get encouragement.

* * * *

The Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Information Technology has become a centre of controversy even before it has been set up. Teachers of Punjabi University have resisted the move to allow a private organisation to run the institute in the university, saying that it goes against the University Act and statutes. As many as 22 teachers had raised their voice against the move at a meeting of the Academic council of the university. The university authorities, however, maintain that the institute will have world class facilities and that it will remain under the control of the university.

* * * *

The recent rain has exposed the hollowness of the claim of the Municipal Corporation about improving the drainage system of the city. It appeared as if the city had been struck by a flash flood. The outer colonies remained covered with slush for days and ankle deep water stood in the streets.

The residents complain that there has been no effort on the part of the corporation to drain out the stagnant water. Besides creating unhygienic conditions, it has also resulted in friction among the residents of different colonies. The lack of an efficient drainage system has also caused damage to certain roads and streets. It is anybody’s guess how long it will take to repair the damage.


Farmers seek abolition of octroi
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 2
Leaders of the Punjab unit of the BJP Kisan Morcha have demanded the abolition of octroi in the state as there is resentment among the urban voters over the non-abolition of octroi.

In a press note issued here yesterday Mr Dinesh Kumar, press secretary of the morcha, said the leaders felt that if the octroi was not abolished, the vote bank of the BJP might erode to a great extent in the ensuing Assembly elections.

He further said the morcha leaders had also demanded that no charges should be claimed by the government for providing water supply and sewerage facilities to the people in the state.

Mr Dinesh Kumar said the government should also abolish house tax in the case of poor shopkeepers.

The leaders had also demanded that the government should recruit sanitation workers in the municipal councils to give jobs to the downtrodden, he added.


Inquiry against Imam ordered
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 2
The district police has ordered an inquiry into allegations levelled against the Imam of Nasir Dargah, Mr Abdul Rashid Peerzada, that he has been harbouring Kashmiri militants.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, said here today that representatives of certain organisations had alleged that Mr Peerzada was supporting Kashmiri terrorists. However, Mr Peerzada in a written submission before the police authorities had denied any ties with terrorists.

The matter came to light when a Jammu and Kashmir police party raided the religious place in Immamnasar locality two weeks back to arrest Kashmiri terrorists who had managed to escape. Subsequently, the district police arrested Manzoor Ahmed Dar for sheltering a Kashmiri militant.


SGPC panel to look into promotions
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 2
The SGPC chief, Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, today constituted a three-member committee to lock into the grievances of its employees who had expressed resentment over “demotions, reversions and promotions” during the past over year.

During her tenure as President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had given out-of-turn promotions to her loyalists and demoted 42 employees said to be close to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Interestingly, the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission had stayed the appointment of 489 employees recruited by Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Jathedar Talwandi had demoted five secretaries and 49 supervisors promoted by her during the last meeting of the SGPC executive on June 21. However, the decision has to be ratified at the next SGPC meeting scheduled for August 7 at Gurdwara Alamgir, Ludhiana.


Pingalwara Society holds rally
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 2
On the ninth death anniversary of Bhagat Puran Singh, the founder of the All-India Pingalwara Society, an environment awareness rally was held in the main bazar of the city.

Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of the society, led the rally on a bicycle.

A symposium was held at Khalsa College Public School on environment issues and different aspects of the life of Bhagat Puran Singh.


Two killed in house collapse

Amritsar, August 2
A middle-aged woman identified as Bhagwan Devi and her relative Sangeeta (11) were killed and two others injured when a house collapsed in the Putligarh locality of the city today evening.

A police report said that Bhagwan Devi had come to visit her relative Ram Piyari at her house which collapsed when she was inside. The other victim Sangeeta was the daughter of Ram Piyari.

The injured were identified as Asha Devi and Ram Piyari, the house owner, both of whom have been admitted to the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital. UNI


Mandeep Kaur wins Miss Punjaban title
Gayatri Rai

Bathinda, August 2
Mandeep Kaur, a local resident, was elected as Miss Punjaban for her excellent performance in the traditional dress competition held as a part of the 12-day Teej celebrations which concluded here on Tuesday.

A gidha competition was also held. The celebrations were organised by the Devta Yadgari Malwa Kalakar Manch, Bathinda, in cooperation with the city unit of All-India Women’s Organisation (AIWO).

The function was organised on the premises of a local school. Competitions were held for children and women. Swings were arranged for audience.

Children participated enthusiastically in the competitions without bothering about titles and results.

This function was a welcome break for these students from the books.

The programme began with a folk song presented by Ms Dalip Kaur, a member of the manch.

The dress competition presented by students and members of the manch and the AIWO was the most appreciated and interesting part of the function as the participants wore traditional Punjabi dresses along with ornaments.

The songs sung by Ms Dalip Kaur got applause from the audience. She also won the folk song competition.

Ms Paramjeet Kaur, while speaking on the occasion, explained the importance of Teej.


Hindu preachers’ killing flayed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
The district unit of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has condemned the abduction and killing of four Hindu preachers at Tripura.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr Vipan Setia, press secretary of the district unit of the VHP, said a meeting of the district unit was held here under the presidentship of Mr Kultar Singh, district president of the VHP. In the meeting Mr Kultar Singh said these preachers had been abducted on August 6, 1999, at Tripura and were recently found murdered.

Mr Kultar Singh said in these two years the Central and state governments could not save them. He alleged that the preachers could not be saved due to the careless attitude of the Central and state governments.


Sangat darshan programme
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 2
The district administration, Ropar, organised a sangat darshan programme in Tewar village of Kharar tehsil yesterday. The panchayat members of 17 villages and a large number of villagers of the surrounding areas participated in the programme in which Mr Khushi Ram, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, heard the people’s grievances. Mr Devinder Singh, SDM, Kharar, was also present on the occasion.

The majority of the complaints which were presented to the ADC were about the bad condition of roads in the Kharar area. The villagers also complained about the poor condition of drains and lanes in villages and dilapidated state of village dharamshalas. Some complained that dirty water which has been accumulated in a colony in Boothgarh village and no step was being taken for its disposal. The administration assured early solutions to all the problems.


Hi-speed connectivity becomes reality
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
Hi-speed inter-connectivity today became a reality for thousands of net surfers in the city with the inauguration of the NASA Cyberconnect cafe in Chhoti Baradari.

The cyber cafe has many pluses for regular surfers who are presently frustrated with constant breakdowns in Internet connections. The Cyberconnect cafe has a leased line which will ensure there is no breakdown. Besides this, its other advantages include consistent speed which will be maintained through the leased line.

Giving details of the cafe, managing director Reetinder Sidhu- Ganni said the other unique feature of the cafe, which has 12 secured connections, was that the staff were trained on net surfing and would be able to help the people to reach their destinations on the web.


Residents await new phone directory
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
Residents of the city and adjoining areas could now hope of getting an updated telephone directory for which they had been waiting since 1997, as a local Consumer Welfare Council (CWC) has moved the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum for the issuance of the same.

The Telecommunication Department had issued main telephone directory in 1996 which was corrected upto August 31, 1996, and a supplementary directory was issued in 1997 corrected up to May 31, 1997. Since then the subscribers have been waiting for a new directory. The residents have urged the Telecom Department to update the directory. Since past four years thousands of subscribers have received connection but their names did not figure in the directory.

Although the department had invited tenders for the publication of the telephone directory in 2000 and 2001 but the consumers did not get the same.


302 farmers given credit cards
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
The Faridkot Bathinda Kshatriya Gramin Bank today held a kisan credit card distribution camp at Gidderbaha in Muktsar district in which 302 farmers were given the cards.

Mr Harjeet Singh Duggal, General Manager of the bank, was the chief guest. Mr Surinder Pal Singh Bains, Chairman of the bank, who presided over the function, said the bank had various credit schemes for farmers like loan for the construction of house and purchase of a two-wheeler.

He said the cards were issued so that farmers could easily get credit without much paper work. More farmers of the district would be given credit cards later, he added.


Compensation for paddy losses
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 2
A sum of Rs 700 per acre would be given as compensation for those fields where the paddy has been destroyed, but can be grown again. An amount of Rs 1,000 per acre would be given for those fields where paddy cannot be grown again.

This was stated by Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over the district-level sangat darshan programme at the Red Cross Society here today. He said that a special girdawari would be carried out to look into the present paddy condition in about 25 villages of Patiala subdivision and 19 villages of Samana subdivision.

The girdawari would also stress on hearing the grievances of residents, especially those effected by floods in the Ghaggar, Markanda and Tangri rivers. Mr Bir asked the SDM to submit the report within a week on the loss of paddy suffered by farmers so that the compensation amount could be given to them.

Mrs Gurdev Kaur, head teacher of Government Primary School Multipurpose, Patiala, requested the authorities that the garbage collected in front of the school campus should be removed immediately. Residents of Gurbax Colony, No 4 also filed a similar complaint. Mr Bir asked the Municipal Corporation and the Health Department to look into the matter.

Mr Dharam Singh, a resident of Ajnor village, Rajpura subdivision, alleged that Mr Balwant Singh posted as ASI in Fatehgarh Sahib had filed a wrong case against his family while taking advantage of his post. Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, SSP, asked the ASP, Patiala, to submit a report on the issue within seven days.

Mr Gurbachan Singh, a resident of Jalalpur village, filed a complaint against the village panchayat alleging that he deposited Rs 30,000 to get panchayat land on lease and added that neither the land was handed over to him nor was the money refunded. The DC asked the District Development and Panchayat Officer to look into the matter.


CPI condemns lathi charge
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, MP, condemned the lathi charge on farmers of Maisarkhana village by the police on July 24. Mr Bhaura was addressing a gathering in the village today.

Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, district secretary of the CPI, and Mr Jagdeep Gill, secretary of the CPI (Talwandi Sabo block) were also present on the occasion. Mr Bhaura said he would raise this issue in Parliament and would also refer it to the commission for human rights for inquiry.


CM: free power, water to farmers to cost 400 cr
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
The state Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has said the state will have to bear an expenditure of Rs 400 crore to give free electricity and water to farmers of the state.

Mr Badal said this while addressing a gathering at Tibba village, Muktsar, where he inaugurated a 66-kv power grid for supplying electricity round-the-clock to the nearby villages. Mr Badal claimed that with the efforts of the ruling alliance, of Ranjit Sagar Dam had become operational.


Shortage of NSCs to end soon
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 2
The National Savings Certificates (NSCs) and Kisan Vikas Patras (KVPs), which are in short supply in Punjab, will be made available in post offices in about 10 days.

Giving this information here yesterday, Mr Sher Singh Sidhu, Director, Small Savings, Punjab, said to bring the NSCs and KVPs from Nasik, a truck was being sent in a week by the Small Savings Department in coordination with the postal authorities. He said police security would be provided by the Punjab Government to bring the NSCs and KVPs from Nasik, safely.

Mr Sidhu said the Small Savings Department had launched the 20th lucky coupon scheme from Wednesday for the investors. He said under the lucky coupon scheme 20,005 prizes would be distributed among the investors of small savings schemes.

Mr Mohan Sharma, District Savings Officer, Sangrur, said Mr Sidhu also met the small savings agents of the district and assured them that their genuine problems would be sorted out.

The Director asked people to invest maximum amount in the small savings schemes to contribute in the economic prosperity of the state.


Ravneet Kaur, Kain swap posts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Punjab Government today ordered the following transfers and postings. Ms Ravneet Kaur, Chairperson, Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training, swaps positions with Mr Vijay Kain, Principal Secretary, Department of Defence Services Welfare.

Mrs Asha Attri, Principal Secretary, Printing and Stationery, will hold the additional charge of nodal Officer of Women Employees in the state, relieving Ms Ravneet Kaur of this additional charge.

Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, Special Secretary, Department of Home Affairs and Justice, swaps positions with Mr R.L. Mehta, Additional Secretary, Department of Irrigation.


Compulsory retirement for FCI officer
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 2
Having found 10 per cent shortage in the stocks of paddy procured during the tenure of Mr Gurcharan Singh, Assistant Grade-II of the Food Corporation of India at Budhlada in the district, Mr H.L. Parshad, Senior Regional Manager, FCI has ordered his compulsory retirement.

Before the orders were casual an audit and physical verification team sent to check FCI stocks at Mansa, detect shortage of more than 5,000 bags of paddy, valued at Rs 15 lakh, procured during the tenure of Mr Gurcharan Singh.

A record entry was made by the team, but the matter was not reported to the police apparently under pressure of the regional office at Chandigarh.

The regional office at Chandigarh deputed Mr Davinder Singh, Assistant Manager, Vigilance, Bathinda to personally visit Mansa and direct Mr H.S. Walia, AM (Depot), to serve the orders of compulsory retirement of Mr Gurcharan Singh, but Mr Walia refused to do so, as no official was ready to take over the charge from him.

The regional office faxed a copy of orders to Mr Davinder Singh, AM (V), at Mansa, asking him to serve the same upon Mr Gurcharan Singh.

When contacted Mr Walia said, he was not in a position to say anything. The audit and physical verification team refused to comment.


13 arrested under NDPS Act
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
Under the campaign launched against the menace of narcotics the police has arrested 13 persons allegedly involved in smuggling and has seized 1 kg of opium and 30 kg of poppy husk from different places in the district.

This information was given in a press note issued here today by Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP. He said during patrolling near Katarsingwala village the police party arrested Ajaib Singh, alias Sira, resident of Kotshamir village, for allegedly possessing 1 kg of opium. A case has been registered against him under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act at the sadar police station.

Dr Jain said during investigations it was found the alleged culprit had purchased the opium from Jandawala village in Haryana. The alleged culprit had earlier been also arrested for smuggling 10 kg of poppy husk last year. He was out on bail in that case.

The police stopped a scooterist near Shekhu village for a check-up. During a search it was found 20 kg of poppy husk was being smuggled by the scooter driver and his accomplice. The two have been identified as Jasvir Singh of Jajjal village and Gurmeet Singh, alias Jajj, of Pakka Kalan. A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against them at the Raman police station. The scooter has also been taken into possession. The alleged culprits told during investigation they had been in the trade for the past five years. They purchased poppy husk from Phulo and Mehriawali in Haryana.

He said Gurcharan Singh, a resident of the city, was arrested near Badal village while he was trying to carry 6 kg of poppy husk in his car (PJR-7675). He told the police party he had purchased the poppy husk from Phul Mohrewali in Haryana at Rs 250 per kg and would sell the same in the villages of the district to the addicts. He said he had sold the same on many occasions earlier also. A case against him had been registered at the Kotwali police station.

Janinder Kumar, alias Joni, resident of Budhlada in Mansa district, was arrested for possessing 4 kg of poppy husk. A case has been registered against him at the Kotwali police station.

Under the Excuse Act the police has arrested eight persons. It has also seized 32 litres of illicit liquor, six litres of countrymade foreign liquor and 110 kg of lahan while it has seized three illegal distilleries.

The alleged culprits have been identified as Parkash Singh of Teona, Gur Singh of Jida, Palwinder Singh, Bhagwan Singh and Kulwant Singh, all of Bir Talab, Varinder Obroi of the city, Gurmeet Singh of Chauke and Daula Singh of Phul town.


Militant arrested from Maharashtra
Our Correspondent

Majitha, August 2
The Majitha police today arrested Kanwarjit Singh, a terrorist, from district Vardha in Maharashtra who along with his gang was allegedly planning to commit crime and destroy public property on the directions of the ISI.

The Majitha police chief, Mr Lok Nath Angra, today told newspersons that the terrorist was a close associate of Paramjit Singh Panjwar, chief of the Khalistan Commando Force, and Sukhdev Singh alias Fauji.

The SSP said a police party which was sent to Kharka village under Arvi police station of Vardha district seized 30 bore Mauser, 4.2 gm of RDX, pencil bombs, detonators, and cartridges.

A special operation team was formed under the command of Mr Balbir Singh Khaira, SP Detective, who with the help of the Maharashtra police set up a naka near the village on July 22. The police arrested Kanwarjit Singh, alias Laddi, who belongs to Sheron Langah village under Beas police station.

Kanwarjit during interrogation said Sukhdev also committed dacoity in Nagpur city. He said they used to get regular instructions from the KCF chief through Jaswant Singh Pahra settled in Belgium on phone. They used to receive arms consignment through the Jammu and Kashmir border.


Bungling in PTU counselling alleged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 2
Many students who attended the second counselling for admission to the first year of engineering degree courses being conducted by Punjab Technical University (PTU) at Jalandhar on Tuesday, have alleged large-scale bungling by the university authorities.

A group of aggrieved students who approached The Tribune here yesterday said during the first counselling at PTU, the university authorities had given details of the vacant seats in various colleges and the trades available. They, however, alleged that during the second counselling, which began on July 30, the university authorities did not give details of the seats available.

A student who attended PTU counselling said the authorities gave details of the vacant seats in Regional Engineering Colleges (REC) but did not disclose the department or trade in which the seats were vacant. Instead they asked the students to take admission in these colleges and then asked the respective colleges for the departments they had been admitted into, he alleged.

The RECs were to be given status equal to that of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the students tried their best to get admission in the RECs but as the authorities declined to give details of the seats and the departments, the students took admissions in the colleges where they were aware of the department in which they were given admissions by PTU, he alleged.

A student who got admission in the Computer Engineering Department at GZS College, Bathinda, alleged that if the authorities had given details of the departments and the vacant seats in the REC Bhopal, he might have taken admission in the Computer Engineering Department there.

Most of the students alleged that the authorities were not giving details so that the students with higher ranks may seek admission in the colleges and some of the ‘influential’ students may be given admission in the RECs.


Management college earns wrath of students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
A local college has earned the wrath of students after taking affiliation from two universities, with students boycotting classes and demanding that it should be affiliated to Punjabi University only.

Students of Sri Guru Harkrishan College of Management and Technology today held a demonstration demanding that the college remained affiliated to Punjabi University only and did not take affiliation of Punjab Technical University also.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the students as well as their parents said they had taken admission to the college only because it was affiliated to Punjabi University. They said they were given to understand during the centralised counselling that the AICTE had given approval for the college with affiliation with Punjabi University and had only later come to know that the AICTE had approved it for the PTU.

“We wanted to join a college which had the AICTE approval and was also affiliated with Punjabi University, but now this seems unlikely,” they said. The students said they should now be taken by Punjabi University on its campus itself and did not want to be shuttled to other colleges affiliated with the PTU in case it loses the Punjabi University affiliation.

The Sri Guru Harkrishan College of Management and Technology had applied for affiliation with Punjab Technical University in November, 2000, but did not hear from the university and no letter of viability was issued. Following this it applied for affiliation with Punjabi University which conducted an inspection of the college and granted if affiliation for 90 seats.

The college authorities claim this information was duly sent to the AICTE, adding on the basis of this affiliation Punjabi University had conducted admissions for the MCA course on July 10 and the seats were filled through centralised counselling the same day.

The college authorities say after the admission process was over a notification was issued by the Punjab Government directing the PTU, Jalandhar, to arrange admissions in the college and to extend affiliation to it. They said this was done as the PTU found it obligatory to affiliate the college after it was approved by the PTU.

The authorities said the chairman of the managing committee had written to the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor to take up the issue of affiliation of the college with the government to protect its affiliation with Punjabi University because, while sending the case to the AICTE, the no-objection certificate was given by the university. They said, moreover, the college affiliated within the territorial jurisdiction of Punjabi University and students of the college were also desirous that the college should remain affiliated to Punjabi University.


PUTA chief’s son refused admission
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 2
The Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) today claimed that the Vice-Chancellor had denied admission to PUTA President B.S. Khaira’s son in Master of Computer Application (MCA) and threatened Dr Khaira with physical liquidation.

Addressing a press conference, PUTA leaders said they would launch an agitation on the issue. Dr Khaira’s son Jai Teg Singh, had applied for admission to MCA and MBA under the NRI sponsored category. They said a high-power committee appointed by the Vice-Chancellor himself, including the Dean, Academic Affairs as Chairman, Dean, Students Welfare, and the Head of Department had scrutinised all necessary documents required for admission under the category.

The leaders said when the proceedings were sent the Vice-Chancellor for MBA he wrote back that it appeared that the term of the passport of the sponsorer had expired in 2000 and the original passport of the NRI was required for verification.

They said in the case of MCA admission, when the high-powered committee sent the recommendations of Dr Khaira’s son to the Vice-Chancellor, his name was struck of the list, which was displayed on the notice board. They said this happened even though Dr Khaira had submitted all necessary documents, including verification of the passport of the NRI from the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh.


Private colleges’ staff to get pension soon
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 2
The Higher Education Minister, Punjab Master Mohan Lal, yesterday declared that the government would complete all formalities for the pension and gratuity scheme for non-government college employees within a month even though the Punjab and Haryana High Court had given it three month’s time. This was stated by the minister at Mohan Lal Uppal DAV College here before inaugurating its academic session.

The minister gave Rs 50,000 grant to the college and promised to increase it to Rs 1 lakh.

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