Saturday, August 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab hopeful of hike in paddy MSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
The Punjab government is hopeful of a substantial hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy for the coming season. Stating this here today, the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal told reporters that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had already taken up the issue with the Centre.

Mr Mittal hoped that the MSP for paddy would be raised to Rs 590 per quintal in the next season. He said the Agriculture Price Commission had recommended Rs 550 per quintal in the MSP for paddy which was Rs 10 more than the previous year.

Earlier the minister presided over a meeting of senior officers and the sections concerned for formulating the procurement policy for the next year. The meeting was attended by representatives of farmers, traders, arthiyas and transporters. The Minister for State, Mr Sohan Singh Thundal, and the Minister for Technical Education Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, also attended the meeting.

Mr Mittal said all arrangements for paddy procurement were being finalised and the state was well prepared to procure the produce that would come in the mandis. He said 125 lakh tonnes of paddy procurement was expected this year against 112 lakh tonnes last year. This was despite the fact that paddy had been grown in lesser area than last year, the different being about two lakh hectares. This, the minister said, was possible because of timely rains and availability of chemicals and fertilisers.

The minister said paddy would be procured in 1,640 mandis all over Punjab. However, if the need arose more procurement centres could also be set up, he added. Right now, according to Mr Mittal, 70 to 80 lakh tonnes of rice and 170 to 180 tonnes of wheat were stored in various godowns. He clarified that storage would not be any problem.

He said on an average five lakh tonnes of paddy was taken out of Punjab every month and it would be enhanced to an average of 10 lakh tonnes. He also said that 85 per cent of the paddy procured last year had already been sold.

Earlier, the Commissioner, Patiala division, Mr D.P. Reddy, directed the Subdivisional Magistrates to get an action plan for the procurement ready and submit it to the Deputy Commissioner, so that there was no problem related to storage, gunny bags or lifting.

Among those present on the occasion included Secretary Food and Supplies, Mr P. Ram, Director, Food and Supplies, Mr Brijalingam, and the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr S.K. Sandhu.


Meeting with PM courtesy call: CM
Our Correspondent

Amarkot, (Taran Tarn), August 3
The Union Government has approved Rs 135 crore for the revamping of the power supply system in Punjab and provide 24-hour power supply in the rural areas. This was stated by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while talking to newspersons today. He was presiding over a sangat darshan organised here.

Mr Badal termed his meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee two days ago as a courtesy call.


Punjab IAS officers’ body up in arms
Move to extend period of 8 deputationists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Punjab State IAS Officers Association has opposed the state government’s move to extend the deputation period of eight IAS officers who have come here from other states.

In a strongly worded resolution, the association has stated that “ any attempt to reverse the government’s decision not to allow any further extension in the deputation period would be very unfortunate”. About two years ago, the Punjab Cabinet had taken a decision not to extend the deputation period of IAS officers posted in the state.

The resolution further says that: “The services in the government are governed by certain well-established principles based on very sound considerations. If these are tempered with, the discipline, motivation and principles of bureaucratic neutrality are upset and once the damage is done, it is difficult to correct it”. The deputationists should be permitted only in cases of extreme and genuine difficulty. “By excessive deputation the principle of insider-outsider ratio of officers” in the cadre is also disturbed, the resolution reads.

Sources said already extension in the deputation period had been given on file to certain officers but the orders had not been issued as the Cabinet decision has yet to be reversed . The Cabinet, according to sources, is to take up the issue at its next meeting.

What has piqued members of the association is the trend to appoint deputationists on available posts. Sources said at present two deputationists are posted as Deputy Commissioners.

In addition, one is posted on an important post in Ludhiana and another is functioning as Secretary of a key department. “It means that the state government has a little faith in the competency of IAS officers of its own cadre”, said a senior IAS officer.

The Punjab cadre has already absorbed 18 IAS officers in its ranks from other states in the past some years. There are 26 IAS officers from Punjab on deputation with the Union Government against the approved strength of 43.

Absorbing of the IAS officers of other states into the Punjab cadre, to accept IAS officers on deputation from other states and not to send the approved number of IAS officers on deputation to the Centre from the state puts a lot of financial burden on the state exchequer.

Moreover, Punjab is a small state and the number of the IAS officers in the state is far in excess than the actual requirement. There are several IAS officers who virtually have no work to do.

A copy of the resolution was submitted to the Chief Secretary by three senior members of the association. The Chief Secretary is believed to have told the association members that he was seized of the matter and would convey the sentiments of the association to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The resolution passed by the association has certainly put the Chief Minister in a difficult situation. It will not be easy for Mr Badal to send all IAS officers on deputation back to their parent cadre as most have come to Punjab through political and official connections. Usually only those IAS officers come on deputation who are natives of Punjab.


Rein in varsities, council urges govt
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has urged the Union Human Resource Development Ministry to discipline certain Punjab-based universities which, according to the council were out to play havoc with technical education, especially information technology (IT) courses, in this part of the country.

Using tough language, Prof I.K. Bhatt, AICTE, Adviser, said today that the certain universities in Punjab were misleading students and spoiling their careers by presenting a “ totally distorted” picture about the genuineness of various courses relating to information technology.

Dr Bhatt, who talked to this correspondent over the phone from Delhi, said many of the IT courses being run by certain universities in Punjab either through distance education programme or by giving affiliation to so-called IT colleges were illegal and not recognised by the council. Students should first inquire that whether the course and the institution in which they were seeking admission was recognised by the council or not. Otherwise, students passing out of an unrecognised course from illegal institutions would face a great risk, he said.

When his attention was drawn to a Punjabi University’s advertisement through which it refuted the contention of the council and declared all its IT courses as legal and valid, he said the Punjabi University had quoted in the advertisement only those paragraphs from the council’s Act which suited it. The Act should be read in totality and it was clear in the chapter relating to the functions and objectives that the council had been set up to regulate technical education at all levels in the country. There was no confusion about this in the council Act.

He said the Punjabi University authorities should first tell whether it they accepted computer application course as technical or not. He said the universities had not been mandated to allow the setting up of any technical college or course. These powers were vested in the council. The recognition by the council was a must to run any course or set up any technical college, he asserted.

Prof Bhatt asked why the Punjabi University authorities got approval from the AICTE to continue the MCA course on its campus every year if the university was free to run any type of IT course. As far as regulating and standardisation of technical education was concerned, it was the council’s job.

Before giving approval to any IT or other professional course, the council, which acts on behalf of the Union Government as its all members are nominated by it, makes various inspections like building, other infrastructure like computers, laboratories and qualified faculty. “

Technical education could not sold like cakes and bread. It was serious business and should be done accordingly. The objective should be to educate people and not mint money”, he said turning philosophical.

He said he had taken up the issue with the Union Government authorities concerned including Secretary for Higher Education and Secretary for Technical Education. They have both given clear instructions to the council to take appropriate action to regulate the technical education in the country.

When asked what action had been proposed against Punjabi University, Prof Bhatt said certain steps must be taken but he could not say exactly what action would be taken. “The matter was being examined at appropriate level”, he asserted.

There is also controversy about the various IT course started by the Punjab Technical University through its distance education programme. while the PTU authorities say that its courses are legal, the council authorities say that the course were not recognised by it.

Dr S.P. Singh, Regional Officer of the AICTE here, stated that he had written to the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar of Punjabi University telling them not to take any such step which could play havoc with the careers of the students admitted in the institutions not approved by the council. Earlier, one university of Madhya Pradesh paid a heavy price for starting MBA (Marketing) course without the approval of the council.

The IT course could not be run in shops or dhabas. There was a requirement of proper academic atmosphere, including a campus, spread over minimum 2.5 acres in rural areas and 1.25 acres in urban areas, to run such courses. Besides, such institutions had to pay the security deposit and complete other formalities.

Mr S.P. Singh said the council would inform the people in this region by inserting advertisements in the print media about recognised technical courses and institutions in this part of the country soon.


CM’s word “final” on Kangar’s expulsion
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 3
Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, a senior Akali leader and Director, Faridkot-Bathinda Regional Rural Bank, seems to have emerged stronger after being expelled from the party for six years by the district president of the SAD, Mr Sikander Singh Malooka, as his expulsion has not been endorsed by the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, so far.

Mr Kangar, a close confidant of Mr Badal’s family, was expelled from the party for six years on July 2, after his primary membership was cancelled, by Mr Malooka for his alleged involvement in anti-party activities.

However, the party’s general secretary and MP, Mr Sukhbir Badal, who attended a series of functions in the Phul and Joga Assembly segments on July 31 and August 1, did not comment on the expulsion of Mr Kangar despite the fact that pressure was put on him to announce Mr Kangar’s expulsion by a section of the party’s rank and file.

Mr Sukhbir Badal just said the issue of expulsion would be taken up with the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, as he alone was competent to take a final decision in the matter.

Mr Sukhbir Badal has been advocating the cause of the youth workers of the party at the party fora and has said time and again that in the forthcoming Assembly elections, the youths having strong winning chances will be given party tickets.

Ever since, Mr Sukhbir Badal was made the party’s general secretary, the youths have been rallying round him. Even senior party leaders have also been trying to get his support for getting party tickets for the forth coming Assembly elections.

Mr Kangar had earlier won the heart of Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for his organisational skills. He earned the Chief Minister’s appreciation and of other senior functionaries of the party for the show he put up during the Sarbat Da Bhala-Chardi Kalan march taken out on the eve of the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa.

Mr Kangar, when contacted, said he was a true soldier of the party and had worked for its welfare under the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He added that people were with the SAD, but some vested interests were trying to create a wedge among the party leaders.


Two booked for cheating
Dreams to own land turn sour
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 3
Dharampal’s joy knew no bounds when he was offered a 1000 square yards residential plot by two persons only for Rs 60,000.

Dharampal was approached by Gurjeet Singh and Mohinderpal who told him that they were owners of land belonging to the Wakf Board and were also in possession of the same. He gave them Rs 30,000 as advance and secured a receipt for the same.

After three years, the plot still eludes him. He has also come to know that he has been cheated by Gurjeet Singh and Mohinderpal. Now he is trying to get the advance back.

In the past more than three years, the two accused against whom a criminal case was registered in the city police station yesterday, have cheated a number of innocent people by cashing in on their desire to own a house.

The modus operandi of the accused was that they used to approach unsuspecting people and would pose as owners of the land belonging to Wakf Board. After convincing the prospective buyers, they would take some amount from them as advance in lieu of residential plot.

The SSP Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, said the scandal came to light when the buyers, who could not get any plot after paying huge amount to these accused, approached them for the return of their advance money. The accused instead of returning the advance money to them, threatened them that they would be killed if they demanded their money back.

He pointed out that accused took Rs 7000 from Rajinder Singh as advance in lieu of a 200 square yard plot which was sold to him at the rate of Rs 70 per square yard. The accused also issued a receipt to the victim.

The accused sold off another plot of 300 square yards to Kalga Singh and Piara Singh for Rs 15000 and took Rs 13000 as advance from the buyers.

On August 12, 1998, the accused sold of five plots, measuring 1,000 square yard each, to five persons at the rate of Rs 60,000 each. The accused took Rs 30000 as advance from each buyer.

The SSP said a case had been registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 506 and 34 of the IPC by the city police station and further investigations were on.


Satta operators use Net, cell phones
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 3
As the police has started a campaign in the district against satta operators and gambling those who are in the trade have started using mobile phones, computers and other modern gadgets in order to play safe.

The mobile phone is the best invention that has proved a blessing for the satta operators as the equipment is easy to carry and difficult to be detected by the police. And those who have roaming facility for their mobile phones which works in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi can be more efficient. They can be in contact with their customers from any of these states with the same mobile number. Their customers can contact them any time.

The police which generally lags behind criminals as far as the adoption of modern gadgets is concerned finds it difficult to nab such culprits.

Not only the big fish in the trade but the small-time traders whose operations are limited to one city also use the same tactics to trap their “victims”. They do not disclose their identity or their address. The only mode of communication with them is the mobile phone.

The cyber cafes are the other place from where the satta operators can run their business safely. Although some of them can afford PCs and the Internet they prefer cyber cafes in order to keep their identity secret. Chatting through the Internet is the best way for running the business.

While using the Net the satta operators adopt code language which does not seem suspicious to the commonman. Sources said they do so in order to escape from the police.

One such case came to light when the district police arrested Chander Prakash, alias Raju, a resident of the city who operated the satta business with the help of a mobile phone. To conceal his identity he was running a tea stall in Guru Nanak Pura Mohalla in the city.

He used to do the business of illegal satta transactions in the afternoon in the vegetable market area of the city. He escaped detection by the police as he presented himself as a very poor person who had to run the tea stall for earning his livelihood.

Usually he operated his business through his mobile phone and most of his customers did not know him personally.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, when contacted, said the arrest of Chander Prakash could be made possible due to the alertness of the police. He said the police had been keeping a watch on his activities.

He said he was caught red-handed near the vegetable market area. A case has been registered against him under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act at the kotwali police station.


Ambulance becomes bone of contention
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 3
A mobile ambulance purchased out of the Local Area Development Fund of Phillaur MP Santosh Chaudhary for dealing with road accidents of the Bholath constituency has become a bone of contention between Ms Chaudhary and the Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vivek Aggrawal, with the former alleging that the latter was procrastinating over the flagging off the van under “political pressure”.

The van, purchased for Rs 10 lakh, was to be inaugurated on July 15 after which it was to be utilised at Bholath Primary Health Centre. The van has been lying unused at the PHC, Bholath, waiting to be flagged off by some dignitary. It has become a symbol of political and administrative indifference towards the common people.

Even as the Deputy Commissioner said he had nothing to do with the flagging off of the van an anguished Mrs Chaudhary alleged the Deputy Commissioner had “insulted” her by not putting up her name on the van and by postponing the flagging off under pressure from the Akalis. She further said she had decided to take up the issue in the next session of Parliament and had already apprised the Lok Sabha Speaker about the “attitude” of the DC. “I had given the money out of my MP Local Area Development Fund and now they are not ready to get my name painted on the van and the function of July 15 was postponed without giving any information to me. When I contacted the Deputy Commissioner he bluntly told me he would do whatever was desired by the Chief Minister. When I told him to look into the MP’s Local Area Development Fund guidelines after procuring these from the Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner, Mr Aggrawal said he did not know who the Jalandhar DC was,” alleged Mrs Chaudhary.

On the other hand, Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC chief and the Bholath MLA, said she was not behind the postponement of the van flagging off function and it was up to the district administration authorities to take a decision regarding this. “I am rather happy that a van has been given to this area from a central government fund and I feel that this should be stationed at the Subhanpur bus stand for tackling emergencies or accidents on the main road,” she said.

When contacted a number of officials at Bholath Primary Health Centre said they had not got any instructions from the higher authorities for making it functional. “We had brought it here from Kapurthala by spending money on petrol from our own pockets,” they said.

Mr Vivek Aggrawal, denying the charges levelled by the MP, said the van had been handed over to the Civil Surgeon and it was up to him to decide who should flag off the van. He also denied there were any directions from the Chief Minister regarding who should be invited for flagging off the van or not.


PM’s help sought on Malta boat victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Malta boat tragedy probe mission has requested Prime Minister to take personal interest in the retrieval of the remains and wreckage of the sunken ship F-174, which was allegedly sunk by international mafia along with 290 Asian victims.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the mission said the tragedy occurred on December 25, 1996, off the Sicily channel while these youngmen were being deported from a ship “Yeohan” flying the Honduras flag.

Mr Balwant Singh Khera, chairman, and Mr Mehar Singh Heera, general secretary of the organisation, appreciated the unique campaign launched by an Italian newspaper La Republica, when its special correspondent Giovanni Maria Bellu discovered and filmed the wreckage and remains of the victims’ bodies. This newspaper launched an appeal for the retrieval of the remains.

Mr Khera said a copy of the letter had been sent to Mr Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for External Affairs to take up the issue with the Sri Lanka and Pakistan governments for over seeing the interests of the victims’ families and pursuing the cases in the two countries against the travel agents and the criminal cases in Italy, Greece and Malta against the human traffickers.

Mr Khera also disclosed that the mission had approached Mr B.P. Singhal, and Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, MPs for raising the issue in Parliament.


3 die of cholera; SMO denies deaths
Our Correspondent

Budhlada (Mansa), August 3
Three persons reportedly suffering from cholera have died while nine others are struggling for their lives at Reond Kalan village on the Punjab and Haryana border in this subdivision. It is feared that the disease may become an epidemic as some other residents of the village are also afflicted with symptoms of the disease.

The health authorities, however, have not confirmed any such death. They say all preventive steps to check an outbreak of the disease have been taken. Residents of the village said use of contaminated water was responsible for the outbreak of the disease which was spreading rapidly. Harvinder Kaur (5) died of the disease a few days ago. Members of her family said she suffered from diarrhoea about 10 days before her death and was getting treatment from a private medical practitioner in the village. When she showed no improvement, she was admitted to a hospital at Rattia in Haryana, where she died after three days.

Sukhwinder Kaur (55) of the same village too died of cholera at Rattia. Sukhwinder Kaur, an 8-month-old child, also fell a victim to the disease and died.

Dr Kulwant Singh, SMO, Budhlada, has denied any death from the disease. He said none of the persons reportedly suffering from cholera came to the local primary health centre, adding that all preventive steps had been taken against gastroenteritis and cholera. He further said a camp was organised by the department at Reond Kalan village from July 25 to 29, where a team of nine doctors examined 106 persons who were also given chlorine tablets free of cost by the department. He said Dr Manish and Dr Asha gave detailed guidelines to the people on how to prevent cholera.


110 fresh TB cases detected in Ropar
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 3
In a survey conducted recently, the district health authorities have detected 110-fresh cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the district. With this the total number of TB cases has reached 601 in the district. The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Mr Rajinder Singh, stated this while talking to this correspondent here today.

The survey to detect fresh cases of TB in the district was done on the orders of the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr GS Grewal. The Civil Surgeon said during the survey, a special check-up was conducted in the habitations of the migrant labourers in the district, in which 26 fresh cases of TB were identified. The treatment of these patients had been started.

He said the survey had shown that about one third cases in the district were of pulmonary tuberculosis. The health authorities had been directed to take special care of these cases to prevent the spread of the disease in the area, the Civil Surgeon said.

Another interesting fact that came to light in the survey was that TB patients stop taking medicine just after preliminary results. As per norms a TB patient should take chemotherapy for at least one year. The survey has, however, indicated that many patients stop taking medicine just after one month. These patients are more likely to spread the disease among others.

Eight patients who stopped taking medicine just after one month have been identified in the district and the health authorities had been directed to persuade them to continue taking the medicine, he said.

The Union Ministry for Health has also approved a project for the treatment of TB patients in the district. Under this project, special medicines would be provided to the district health authorities, which would cut the treatment period for TB patients from one year to six months. Besides this NGOs in the district had been asked to adopt at least one TB patient each under the scheme, the NGOs would provide medicines to the adopted patients till they were fully cured, the Civil Surgeon added.

Sources, however said as per the estimates of the state health authorities, 1.8 per cent population in Punjab was suffering from TB.


Govt website for jobs abroad
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Looking for a job abroad through a state government website ! Sounds unbelievable. But it is true. The Punjab Overseas Employment Cell, which has, to an extent, been successful is being redesigned to make it more user-friendly. The website is all set for a new look .

After employment to 46 youths from the state in various countries, including Canada, the USA, Qatar, and the UK, the new-look cell website will match the best “jobs on line” websites from all over the world. Among the previous 46 beneficiaries have been computer professionals, graphic designers, tool and dye makers, automobile engineers , nurses and accountants.

“By August 10, our new website will be launched. The most redeeming feature of the new website will be ‘matchmaking’ where employment seekers and employers will instantly come to know of each other,” says Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment, Punjab.

“The idea to make the website interactive and user-friendly occurred to me during my recent visit to the Philippines. Phil-JobNet is an automated job and applicant matching system which aims to fast-track jobseekers search for jobs and employers search for manpower. The system impressed me most. On my return, I immediately called a meeting and wanted the department to introduce this new system. So by August 10, we will have the new system in place.

“The Punjab Overseas Employment Cell has now come to be accepted well by overseas employers as is evident from the number of job-seekers accepted through the net. In June alone 19 were picked for jobs in Canada, the USA, Qatar, and the UK. At present we charge Rs 250 for registering a job seeker and putting up his resume on the web. Once we introduce the matching service, the profile of our service will go up further,” says Dr Gupta.

The Punjab Labour and Employment Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, says Dr Gupta, has written to the External Affairs Minister and Indian Missions abroad for extending help to the cell for helping qualified Punjabi youth, get jobs abroad.

“We are also writing to embassies and high commissions of various countries in New Delhi for seeking their help,” Dr Gupta added.

After the redesigned website is launched, job-seekers, employers, labour unions, educational institutions foundations and NGOs will be able to look for appropriate persons for specific positions by simply assessing the overseas employment site via the Internet.

The new website will provide for submission of applications for jobs, search for job opportunities, get lists of vacancies and addresses of employers for direct correspondence, search for job applicants and get lists of applicants and their addresses for direct correspondence.


Encroachments bane of Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 3
Indiscipline and chaos stalk the holy city of Amritsar as handful of violators seem to have become stronger than the administration. In fact, there is total contempt for law.

Moreover, being on the world tourist map some dignitaries or the others have been visiting the town. The administrators have to look after the VIPs and at that time the functioning gets affected.

The municipal corporation appears to be non-functional. Every time a problem is brought to the notice of the authorities one gets a readymade answer.

Either they show ignorance or promise to look into the matter and they keep looking into the matter. The fact is that Amritsar has become a playground for encroachers.

The railway road is taken over by cycle sellers outside the railway station. One can see buses and 50-year-old vans without num-berplates along with private taxis parked in the no parking zones. This happens in the presence of police personnel who are seen either sipping tea or gossiping.

Further, there is the Link Road where every inch of footpath along the main road is encroached by garment sellers and scooter repair workshops. Some enterprising shopkeepers have even put shutters on the corridors and made it a part of their shops. One can see building material stacked on the main roads while marriage palaces have put up steel structures there.

Mr Brij Bedi, president of the Citizens Forum, a public awareness group, said municipal corporation officials had been misleading by saying there were only 120 encroachments in the city. The corporation was merely trying to befool the peoples. For instance, he said infinite number of encroachments could be seen in areas like Putlighar, Sri Darbar Sahib, the railway station and Link Road. The story goes on and on while the municipal corporation keep sleeping.


Promotion policy for docs to be reviewed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
The Punjab Government has decided to review the merit promotion policy of doctors posted in the medical and dental colleges of the state after receiving several complaints about the ongoing promotion scheme.

This was disclosed by Medical Education and Research Minister Manoranjan Kalia while speaking to newspersons here today. Mr Kalia had come here to inaugurate a new gynaecology ward at Government Rajindra Hospital as well as an information technology cell at the Medical College.

Mr Kalia said he had received a large number of complaints regarding the promotion policy being followed at present. He, however, declined to specify the problems in the policy, saying only that it would be reviewed soon. He said after finalisation of the new policy, the pending cases with various departmental promotion committees (DPCs) were likely to be cleared quickly.

When questioned on the issue of staff shortage, he said it was the result of constant shifting of doctors from medical colleges. He said there was no way of removing this, adding that the shortage was mostly in the category of senior lecturers. He said the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) was likely to recruit doctors soon.

He announced that diagnostic centres would be established in all three medical colleges at a cost of Rs 3 crore. He said the centres would have facilities of CT scan, coloured doppler, endoscopy and ultrasound besides others. He said Rs 66 lakh was likely to be spent on the centre in the first phase.

He said besides this a super speciality block was being built in Amritsar Medical College for which Rs 1 crore had already been released. He said information technology cells had already been established in all three medical colleges at a cost of Rs 66 lakh.

He said tenders had also been allotted for the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences at Jalandhar and that construction on the project was likely to start soon. He said a total of Rs 67 crore would be spent in the first phase of the project. He said besides this a B.Sc. (Nursing) was being started at Baba Farid University of Health Sciences at Faridkot.

The minister said he had also advocated to the Centre to finalise a national policy for recognising courses in the alternative system of medicine. He said this was done as the state did not have any mechanism to recognise them. He said besides this early faculty induction scheme was likely to be started soon if a proposal to this effect found favour with the Central Government.


Army man alleges son was murdered
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, August 3
Mr Darshan Singh of Dhaingarpur village in this district and a Risaldar in the Army posted at Patiala in a letter to the President, Prime Minister and the CBI Director, copies of which were released to the Press here yesterday, has demanded an inquiry into the cause of the death of his son Jasvir Singh.

His son had been residing in Greece since 1999 with some relatives. Mr Darshan Singh said the theory being put forth that his son had committed suicide by hanging himself was unbelievable as there was no reason for him to take such a drastic step. Moreover, he was happy as he had been granted Greece citizenship recently and had been planning to buy some property there with his earnings which he had given to his relatives for safekeeping for the past two years. He had deposited Rs 6.5 lakh with his uncles, Mr Darshan Singh said.

His apprehensive is that his son might have been murdered for money. He said one of his relatives who had brought the body of his son on July 21 was in a hurry for the cremation and did not let anyone see the body.


14 cases registered against quacks
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 3
The police authorities have been on tenterhooks to nab those who have been cheating the innocent people by adopting various methods in the district.

Sources said not only had the activities of cheats increased in the district but they had also started using newer methods to cheat the innocent people of their money, land and belongings.

The alleged culprits had been using rubber stamps of government officials and selling fake certificates. Fake demand drafts have also been cashed by them. In the first six months of the current year the police has registered about 14 cases under the Indian Medical Act alone against quacks, the sources said.

Of the total about 81 cases registered in the first six months (181 days) of the current year, the maximum number of cases were registered under the Indian Medical Act and also under Section 420 of the IPC for extorting money from innocent victims for sending them abroad, the sources said.

Police sources said the modus operandi of culprits was changing day by day and in some of the cases the culprits had used and employed schemes which made the arrest of the culprits nearly impossible. Nevertheless they were nabbed.

In one case the alleged culprits purchased household items from a shop at Gole Diggi Market of the city by submitting demand drafts for the purchase. The alleged culprits submitted these demand drafts just before the bank holidays and absconded with the goods purchased. The shopkeeper did not doubt the transaction through the demand draft. He was taken by surprise when the bank officials told him the demand draft was stolen sometime ago and could not be encashed. The alleged culprit was later nabbed from Malerkotla town of Sangrur district, the police sources said.

Not only this, the alleged culprits have cheated many unemployed youths by extorting money from them, promising jobs in government and private agencies. Sukdev Singh allegedly cheated money to the tune of Rs 5 lakh from the city residents by claiming he knew a “baba” who doubled the money given to him, the sources said.

The lure of the foreign land has also landed many into the police net. Rajinder Singh, a resident of Gurusar village, allegedly married his sister and then with the alleged connivance of Nihal Singh procured a marriage certificate. About seven alleged culprits had been arrested by the district police for cheating money from innocent people promising them visa and employment in foreign lands, the police sources said.


Rose Garden to get facelift
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

The Rose Garden near the bus stand used to be a favourite haunt of morning walkers before beautification of the Baradari made it more popular. This garden will, however, have something to cheer about if the Municipal Corporation puts into effect its plan to do major repairs to the fountain in the garden and also to go in for a musical fountain at the spot.

The Rose Garden has slipped considerably in popularity with part of the fountain not working, and the structure is showing signs of wear and tear. The lights installed in metal boxes along with sprinklers are falling apart. The boxes have got rusted with the passage of time. Most of these developed cracks and a few have given way completely.

The Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, K S Kang, says that the Corporation has decided to overhaul the fountain and restore it to proper working order. Work in this regard will be taken up soon and is likely to be completed by September.

It has also been decided to install a musical fountain in the Rose Garden which will be an added attraction. It was at one time proposed that the musical fountain be installed at the site of the present fountains. But now it is felt that it should be built in the part of the garden that adjoins Aurobindo School. The Commissioner says a committee has been formed to select the site. The Commissioner hopes the musical fountain will start functioning by the end of the year.

Navdeep Kaur, a regular visitor to the Rose Garden said the musical fountain would add to the attraction of the garden. She, however, feels that the Corporation should ensure proper maintenance of all the fountains in the city.


Octroi contractors harass transport carriers
Bharat Bhushan Dogra

TRANSPORT carriers of Sujanpur are a harassed lot at the hands of octroi collection contractors who have decided to charge transit pass fee and octroi duty far in excess of that fixed by the state government. Mr Desh Raj, sarpanch of Bhajura gram panchayat, and Ms Rita Puri, councillor of Sujanpur Municipal Council, in a letter written to the Chief minister and Local Bodies Minister have alleged that the octroi collection staff forced drivers of medium and heavy commercial vehicles to pay Rs 80 as transit pass fee as against Rs 50 fixed by the state government. They abused and manhandled them in case they resisted.

They said irregularities in the collection caused a serious setback to the octroi recovery. They alleged the contractor had not deposited Rs 8.50 lakh to the council as loss incurred during the collection.

The council, as per the agreement with the contractor, reserved the right to confiscate the bid amount in case the latter fails to deposit the loss incurred to the council every month. Neither had the civic council taken any action with regard to the seizure.

They demanded a thorough probe into the working of the octroi collection centre.

* * * *

The Government Teachers Union, Gurdaspur, has alleged that there is corruption in the office of District Education Officer (Primary) at Gurdaspur. A deputation of the union leaders of the district unit led by its president Mr Dalbir Singh, met the Joint Secretary (Education), Mr S.S. Johal, who is probing the allegations against the DEO (Primary).

Mr Subhash Sharma, joint secretary of the body, said the inquiry officer was apprised of the modus operandi of the guilty in the matter of issuing GF receipts. Two of the union leaders gave a list of the cases in which grave irregularities were committed by the office concerned. The union leaders alleged that amounts were collected through the BPEOs and junior teachers were being promoted.

They reminded Mr Johal that the same officer was demoted earlier also for involvement in corruption and committing irregularities. They demanded removal of the officer from his post immediately

* * * *

The promises made by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during the ‘‘sangat darshan’’ programme held in Pathankot remained unfulfilled, stated Mr Indu Bhushan Bhatia, joint secretary of Youth Congress, and Ms Kailash Verma, president of the district Mahila Congress.

They alleged that the Chief Minister was making a fool of the people by diverting public funds for distribution during the ‘‘sangat darshan’’ to please his own men under the garb of development works.

The leaders pointed out that the assurance of shifting the PWD office from Kali Mata Mandir Road to ease the traffic problem has proved empty.

Mr Badal promised the construction of a link road to Patel Chowk. But nothing has been done. The project of converting the veterinary hospital into a rehri market was also in the doldrums. People wanted to know about the promises made and about the orders given to the officers of various departments in this regard.

They said the corruption in the governments had reached saturation point and people could not believe that their work could be done without greasing the palms of officials concerned.

* * * *

The Government Girls Senior Secondary School has achieved a distinction in 10 plus 2 examinations conducted by the Punjab School Education Board last March. As many as 219 candidates were declared pass out the of 228 who had appeared for the examination, recording a pass percentage of 96 in the district.

The Parents-Teachers Association has decided to honour the principal of the school, Ms Reva Sharma, for producing such an outstanding performance.


Uniform cess on properties sold
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Punjab Government has decided to levy cess at a uniform rate of 4 per cent on all properties sold by improvement trusts in the state.

Presiding over a high-level meeting regarding utilisation of funds for the integrated development of towns, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Local Government Minister, said earlier the cess was collected at the rate of 2 per cent on all allotable properties and at the rate of 5 per cent on all properties sold through auction. Now the cess at the uniform rate would be deposited in the Urban Development Fund.

Mr Tandon further said the Cabinet had taken a decision to transfer ownership rights to tenants and sub-tenants. Mr Tandon also revealed at the meeting that the Council of Ministers had decided to regularise encroachments on municipal land where habitable units had come up.


Army recruitment rally from Aug 7
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 3
The Army will organise a recruitment rally from August 7 to 11 here. The president, District Sainik Welfare Board, gave this information in a press note issued here yesterday. The candidates from Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Sangrur and Patiala districts can appear for tests.

The Majabi, Ramdasia Sikhs and Dogras can appear against the posts of the general duty. The candidates have been asked to come to Nehru Stadium, Ropar, at 5.30 am on August 7.


Lawyers to intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 3
The Bar Association today decided to intensify its peaceful agitation against the arrest of one of its senior members, Mr Talwinder Singh, in an alleged case of fraud.

In a press statement issued here today, Mr Harkirat Singh Dhot and Mr Navjiwan Sharma, president and secretary of the association, respectively, claimed that Mr Talwinder Singh was implicated in the case as he had highlighted the problems of the Bar on the court premises on the visit of Mr Justice V.K. Bali, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 19. The Bar Association urged the state government to quash the FIR registered against the senior lawyer.


Millers seek more space for crop
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 3
The Punjab Rice Millers Association today expressed concern over the availability of limited space for the custom-milled rice crop and blamed the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for failing to provide adequate storage facility.

This was discussed during a meeting of the rice millers here held under the chairmanship of Mr Tarsem Saini, president of the association. He said the millers were yet to deliver 90,000 tonnes of rice stored with them for custom milling.

The millers alleged that the space for only 15,000 tonnes of rice was available and stressed the FCI for acceptance of 75,000 tonnes of rice which the millers consider to be a cumbersome process. The local millers have capacity of 120 tonnes and under the circumstances, they have passed a resolution to mill the entire balance paddy of the state procuring agencies.

They added that rice would be delivered by them as per the storage space made available to them by August 31, responsibility for which lies with the concerned agencies.


65,000 snatched from PSEB cashier
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
A sum of Rs 65,000 was allegedly snatched from a cashier of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) at Daresi here yesterday, while she was purchasing snacks after depositing some amount in a bank.

According to an FIR, Ms Usha Rani, the cashier, along with her colleague, Ms Veena Rani, had come to the Daresi branch of the Central Bank of India for depositing Rs 3.4 lakh.

While they were purchasing snacks from a vendor some unidentified persons snatched the bag containing Rs 65,000 from them. The police has registered a case.


Govt violates policy on schools’ upgradation
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 3
Rajya Sabha MP and SAD general secretary Sukhbir Singh Badal inaugurated the upgraded Government Girls Senior Secondary School at Balianwalli on Wednesday violating the policy on upgradation of schools announced by the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh.

Mr Tota Singh has said time and again that two schools in a village can not be upgraded to the senior secondary level as the state government is short of resources. According to the minister, upgradation of two schools in one village will mean appointment of additional staff and providing additional infrastructure, which is not possible keeping in view the budgetary allocations.

Sources say the coming Assembly elections, which are going to be an acid test for the SAD-BJP combine, have forced the ruling alliance to “violate” its own statements.

Mr Major Singh Sandhu, District Education Officer, when contacted, said the boys school of the village was upgraded a few year ago, while the girls school was upgraded by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday.

The alleged “violation” of the policy of the Education Minister is not the only problem the upgradation of the school will create for the administration. Sources in the DEO office said the last dates for admission to the senior secondary classes, even with late fee, had elapsed. It would be possible to start the admissions in the school from the next academic session only, the sources said.


PTU credibility still under cloud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Efforts on the part of the Punjab Technical University (PTU) to bring a shade of credibility to its distance education programme is proving far from satisfactory.

In spite of its numerous advertisements assuring the students of distance education authenticity and the Minister for Technical Education, Punjab, himself holding press conferences for the purpose, the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) stand on the universities imparting distance education through franchises remains the same: not approved.

The university asked for a clarification from the UGC if the courses offered in the distance education mode are approved by the UGC or not and got a reply. But nowhere did the UGC ‘s reply say that it is approving these courses.

In a letter dated July 31, addressed to Mrs Pankaj Mittal, UGC Joint Secretary, the PTU had asked if the courses offered through distance education were approved. Mr Chander Swaroop, a UGC Under-Secretary issued a letter to the PTU on the same day, stating that BSc in IT and MSc in IT were specified degrees of the UGC, but the letter did not say that these could be offered in the distance education mode. “Why should we say that? Approving courses for distance education is the job of the Distance Education Council and not the UGC,” says Mr Chander Swaroop, Under Secretary, UGC, who issued the letter to the PTU.

“Someone from the PTU did take a letter from us about BSc and MSc in IT but we did not issue them any communication which says that they can offer these courses in the distance education mode,” says Mrs Pankaj Mittal.

The PTU’s efforts of trying to get approval from the Distance Education Council (DEC) also seem to be heading nowhere. A senior official at the DEC, who requested not to be named, stated that the PTU had contacted them for approval of its distance education programme but when told that they were too late for such an approval since they had already started the admission process without the requisite approval, they tried to “influence the DEC authorities.”

“The Distance Education Council (DEC) has its own rules and regulations. It lays down certain regulations for institutes which impart distance education and these regulations are supposed to be followed. But at this stage for the PTU, it is too late,” said the DEC Director.


Protest rally by college teachers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 3
Teachers of non-government colleges held a protest rally on the call of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) in support of the long pending demands in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner here today.

Addressing the rally, general secretary, Mr Jaspal Singh Randhawa, said Mr Parkash Singh Badal steered the Pension Gratuity Scheme Bill in Punjab Assembly on March 30, 1999, which was unanimously passed by the House. He claimed that the state government was recently directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to implement the pension scheme for private college teachers.

The rallyists presented a memorandum for the implementation of their demands.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |