Monday, August 6, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



JBT teachers’ selection comes to halt
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 5
Most members of the district-level selection committees constituted by the state government for selection of JBT teachers against 7,230 vacant posts following a Punjab and Haryana High Court directive are a confused lot about their rights in capacity of their being committee members. This has resulted in a lot of discord among them. Senior university teachers whose inclusion in such committees has been made mandatory by the high court are largely sore over the style of functioning of their co-members belonging to the state Education Department.

The major bone of contention between the university teachers and the state Education Department representatives at a number of places is that the Education Department officials maintain that they will follow the directions of their seniors in connection with the procedure of selection while the university experts feel the high court had empowered the selection committees to make final selection at their end.

Members of the Education Department, it was learnt, were adamant they would send the merit lists to their seniors like the state Education Secretary for a final decision. This was being opposed by the university experts, who cite the high court directive. The directive specifies,, “The selection to the posts of 7,230 JBT teachers in furtherance to the advertisement dated April 2, 2000, shall be made by the district-level selection committees.

The committees shall comprise the Chairman, three members and two experts.” The two experts in each such committee, according to the court, would be nominated by the Vice-Chancellors of the universities, which in case of Jalandhar and Nawanshahr districts would be the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University at Amritsar.

The ongoing strife among members of the committees has virtually brought the selection procedure to a standstill at a number of places, especially in case of Jalandhar and Nawanshahr districts. The two university experts of the joint selection committee for these two districts had even refused to sign the merit lists after the Education Department officials, including the joint committee Chairman and District Education Officer (Secondary) Santokh Singh Ranu allegedly asked them to sign the lists during the committee meeting here on August 2.

The merit lists, the DEO insisted, would be sent to the Secretary, Education, who would make selection of the candidates. But this was resisted by Dr Daljit Singh and Dr Baljit Kaur, two GNDU experts, who asserted the final selection would be made by the committee in accordance with the high court guidelines. While at most places in the state, it was learnt, no detailed merit lists were being displayed by the committees, the two experts maintained they would not sign the lists until detailed merit lists were not displayed outside the place of interview strictly as per the high court directive to save candidates from falling into the hands of unscrupulous elements, hovering around the place and alluring candidates with jobs against hefty amounts of money.

At this Mr Ranu retorted, I will talk to my secretary and will convey your feelings to him. One of the members of a district selection committee said, “Actually, what they are doing is that they have started displaying lists without completed details of the candidate and his performance in the interview, and that too after a lot of insistence. Not displaying detailed merit lists at the interview place as has been ordered by the court might lead to political and bureaucratic interference at higher levels and could make the candidates fall prey to agents.”

Meanwhile, inquiries by The Tribune revealed that at most places the experts or other committee members were not being supplied the detailed copies of the court guidelines and hence were not aware of their rights. Thus, they had no choice but to do whatever they were asked to do.

On the other hand, in a number of cases there was a difference between what was being displayed near the interview places in the shape of abridged version of the merit lists and the actual detailed merit lists. Inquiries revealed a large number of candidates were appearing before the committees with fake job experience certificates, duly signed by competent authorities. Such certificates, it was learnt, could be procured from the market at a hefty price ranging between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000 and there were many takers for these.

“We have come to know that about 25 per cent of experience certificates were fake. Usually, they procure a certificate from the place they had served in capacity of a teacher under the PTA fund scheme, which otherwise has no value, as far as the guidelines in connection with experience are concerned,” confided another selection committee member.


Interview for JBT teachers on Aug 8
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 5
Mr Devinder Pal Singh Dhillon, District Education Officer (Primary) and Ms Savinder Kaur Kahlon, District Education Officer (Secondary), chairpersons of the District Departmental Selection Committees today invited the remaining candidates for the interview of JBT on August 8, 2001. This was stated in a press note issued here today.


Break silence on courses, parents ask Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Worried parents have urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to break his silence with regard to the ongoing controversy about the “legality” or “ illegality” of certain information technology courses run by institutions in the state.

The parents said that their wards should not suffer because of wrongs committed by the educational institutions concerned. They urged Mr Badal to direct the universities concerned to publish a list of technical institutions and courses duly recognised by them and also by the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to remove confusion among people. The universities should also make it clear to the students that if they took admission to any institution not recognised by the council, they would be doing so at their own risk.

They said it would be worthless getting degrees from institutions which had not been recognised by the council. Many major companies in the country specifically mentioned in their advertisements that they would recruit executives who had passed out from institutions recognised by the council. If there were no employment opportunities available to their wards after passing out from unrecognised institutions, there was no use spending money and wasting precious years, the parents said.

They said that as the AICTE, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Distance Education Council( DEC) had raised questions about the legality of certain courses started by Punjabi University and Punjab Technical University, it was the duty of the Punjab Government to tell the “truth” with regard to such courses.

The parents said that while the authorities of both universities were making claims that the courses were legal, the AICTE and the DEC had stated that the courses were illegal as these had not been recognised by them. The state government should appoint a commission to investigate the whole matter within seven days and inform the students concerned accordingly. It was no use telling the students after two or three years that the course attended by them was not recognised by the AICTE and the DEC.

Parents paid through their nose for getting their wards admitted to such courses against paid seats. In certain courses, the charges were up to Rs 1 lakh per annum. The parents said that their wards had already suffered because of the ongoing controversy. They were eligible to apply for certain other courses but they did not do so as they thought the technical courses started through distance education programmes by these universities were recognised by the AICTE. However, as the AICTE had made it clear that these courses were not approved by it, students were in a fix.

The parents said it would be the responsibility of the state government to get the money paid by their wards to seek admission refunded from the institutions which had not been approved by the AICTE, the UGC or the DEC.

Earlier a number of students, who had taken admission to certain private dental college, were facing trouble as their courses had also not been approved by the Union Government authorities.


Her versatility puts men to shame
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Rurka Kalan (Jalandhar)
She can be described as a one-woman army — principal, driver, social worker and a progressive farmer — all in one, and a source of inspiration for womenfolk of the Doaba region.

Navroop Kaur, also known as Kavita, is a household name in the Goraya area. If she is principal of a school with about 400 students, she is equally at ease while picking up students from their homes in her Tata minibus and can be seen ploughing her fields or transporting farm produce to the market. At the same time Navroop takes care of her aged father, Joginder Jogi, a writer and ex-serviceman.

Navroop, who is in her late forties, has no regrets that she did not marry and preferred to remain single. “It is my life. Moreover, I wonder why people say that a women is incomplete without a man and vice versa. I want to prove it is nothing but a misconception”.

Navroop tells everybody visiting her school in this village and would disarm him or her by saying. “I know that the first query will be about my marital status. So let me clarify”.

Her day starts at 5 am when she offers bed tea to her father. From then it is a hectic schedule as she has to pick up students from their homes in her bus, take them to school, teach them as she is principal and then take them back to their homes. Her main vocation is farming as she has to look after crops standing on her 30-acre farm and have minute details about the requirements of different crops. Whatever little time she gets she spares for the people of her village. Its residents known that if anyone falls sick and needs medical treatment at Phagwara and Jalandhar during night, only navroop would come to their rescue. “Actually, I want to do everything with my hands and that is why I myself go to pick up students and in return get satisfaction. Sometimes I have to rectify a snag in the vehicle and prefer doing it myself than at a workshop or garage.”

Navroop takes life in her own stride. “I have had no problem doing jobs supposedly done by men. But I feel disturbed when people see me with their eyes wide open driving a truck or tractor-trailer carrying farm produce. What is there to be amazed. I am also a human being and can do anything which can be done by menfolk,” she quipped.

Navroop has tried also her luck in the panchayat polls twice but had lost by a thin margin and felt that the poll result was “tampered with” by government officials on political pressure. “I am fighting it out in court and am confident that I will win,” she asserted.

Her message for women is. “They have been facing suppression for ages. Now that time is over and they have to fight the injustice by entering in all fields of life and by achieving success in their respective fields.”


BJP rally to strengthen rural base
Tribune News Service

Khanauri (Sangrur), August 5
Terming Congress President Sonia Gandhi as an “imported leader” and the Congress an “enemy” of the farmers, Mr Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav, Union Minister of State for Shipping and a national BJP leader, today called upon the Punjabis, especially the farmers, to return the SAD-BJP alliance to power in the ensuing Assembly elections in the state.

Mr Yadav was addressing a rally organised by the district unit of the BJP here to strengthen the party base in the rural areas and create awareness among the party workers in view of the ensuing Assembly elections.

Mr Yadav said on the one hand the SAD-BJP alliance had Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had secured relief packages for the farmers from the Union Government while on the other hand during the Congress regime its Chief Ministers had done nothing for the welfare of the farmers. Mr Yadav also claimed that the SAD-BJP alliance would get a two thirds majority by contesting elections jointly.

The Union Minister said the Central Government had decided to issue kisan cards to all farmers in the country within five years.

Mr Yadav said the Union Government had also declared a crop insurance policy for the farmers. Under this policy, the farmers whose standing crop got damaged, would get compensation.

Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, BJP president of the Punjab unit, also urged the gathering to vote for the SAD-BJP alliance in the ensuing Assembly elections claiming that the SAD-BJP government had done a lot for the Punjabis.

Thakur Jagdish Rai, BJP president of the Sangrur district unit, while welcoming the Union Minister said the base of the party was enlarging day-by-day in urban as well as rural areas.

Mr Sanjay Singla, president of the local party unit, demanded ticket from the Lehragaga Assembly constituency for Mr Bal Krishan Hero, a working committee member of the Punjab unit of the BJP.

Among others who spoke on the occasion included Giani Niranjan Singh Bhutal, SAD leader, Mr Sukhwant Singh Dhanaula, a BJP leader, Mr Balbir Chand Kapila, vice-president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, and Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, national vice-president of the BJP Kisan Morcha.


BSNL starts pre-paid cards facility
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, August 5
Mr T.S. Gambhir, District General Manager, Telecom, said here today that the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) had started the facility of India Telephone Card (ITC) from here. The facility could be used in as many as 100 districts of the country, he said. Mr Gambhir, while talking to this correspondent, said ITC were pre-paid cards which enabled the use of ISD/STD even from the telephones where these facilities were not available. Giving details, he said like in the case of mobile phones air time recharging, the user would be given a ten-digit secret code, dialing of which would activate the users account and enable him to dial ISD/STD calls. The cards issued from metro cities could also be used in the city, he said.

The facility would be useful for the people who were on the move as they would also be able to make ISD/STD calls from public phones installed over the country. The account exhausts after a specific period of time which would vary from three to six months, he added.

Mr Gambhir said the department would also provide mobile telephone facility in the area and target about 4000 users in Bathinda and Mansa districts in the current financial year itself. Not only the mobile phone but even the land line numbers of the BSNL were being provided additional facilities like call in waiting, call transfer, hotline and caller line identification, Mr Gambhir added.

Commenting on the waiting period of new connections of telephones and the non-functioning of rural telephone units, Mr Gambhir said due to poor power supply, the facilities were being affected. “Three-phase, 24-hours, power supply was not available in the district and in most of the cases the three-phase power supply lasted only for about four hours and it was not possible to run these exchanges on batteries or generator sets for long hours, resulting in these troubles”, Mr Gambhir said.

A list of malfunctioning telephones was being monitored by the department and if any telephone remained out of order for more than seven days, the subscriber could claim rebate in the rentals. The Bathinda Telecom system had 110 telephone exchanges with more than 90,000 subscribers, he said.

Mr Gambhir said a few months ago, the BSNL had charged advance rentals, along with service charges, and the rental had been adjusted against the bills but the subscribers had not been refunded the service charges, which would be done in the current billing cycle.

Mr Gambhir admitted that some government departments, police stations had outstanding bills but due to the policy of the Government of India they were allowed to enjoy the incoming call facility and their phones were not disconnected. He declined to disclose the amount due towards these departments which as per rough estimates was in lakhs.

Mr Gambhir gave details of the development programmes of the department, including printing of a new telephone directory, collection of bills on Saturdays and Sundays, All-India Telephone Directory Inquiry on the website, All-India Roaming Internet Facility, facilities on the website. Caller line identification would be extended to more areas in the due course, he asserted.

FEROZEPORE: Announcing the launch of the India Telecom Card on Sunday, the General Manager Telecom, Mr G.S. Julka, said BSNL was taking several customers friendly steps which will make the telephone usage lot more easier and convenient. He said the VCC would be in denominations of Rs 100, Rs 200 and Rs 500 would soon be distributed through field officers.

He claimed that more than 15000 telephone connections had been provided during the current financial year and the Nigam would open more RSUs for providing new connections in all the towns under the Ferozepore SSA. Mr Julka in a reply to a question said to bring all the exchanges on reliable ground OFC had been laid and this year about 800 km of more OFC would be added. Similarly, five new exchanges had been opened in the SSA and three more will be installed soon. The DGM, Mr Amit Singhal said the 6KE-10 B DTAX exchanges have been replaced by 11 KEWSD Siemen Switch exchange at Kot Kapura. He said 100 new PCM’s in different directions have been added after the commissioning of this exchange. Under the liberalised policy, the BSNL, was opening cyber cafes which can be given to anybody without any constraint.

Mr Julka said for cyber cafes out of turn connections shall be given which will include 1500 hours of free permissible time but only Internet access will be allowed on it. For the further modernisation of services interactive voice response system for all major public interactions like fault booking, directory enquiry, bill enquiry, will be installed, DOTSOFT project is also being initiated shortly to computerise the total system after which online solutions of all public complaints will be possible at each sub-divisional headquarters.


New DCC chief sees Cong’s return
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 5
Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, MLA and President, District Congress Committee (DCC), yesterday said the time had come when the commoners were fed up with the “anti-people policies” of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and had made up their minds to bring the Congress back to power in the state.

Mr Jassi, who took over the presidentship of the district unit of the party at an impressive function, said while addressing a gathering at the party office here that all Congress workers had become ready to oust the anti-people SAD-BJP government in the state.

He alleged that during the past four-and-a-half years, corruption had touched new heights, the law and order situation had become worse, government jobs had become saleable commodities and ruling politicians had become involved in crimes.

He said Mr Badal, who had claimed that his government would provide Maharaja Ranjit Singh type governance, had started doing the opposite of that and constituencies represented by MLAs belonging to opposition parties were being discriminated against in allocation of funds.

The DCC President said now it was the duty of every worker to serve the people in a better way and to ensure justice to the downtrodden.

Mr Jassi said the SAD-BJP rank and file which had got frustrated with the non-performance of its government and its repeated humiliation was now trying to join the Congress.

At the function, all leaders belonging to Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s faction and Mr Jagmeet Brar’s loyalists were present.

In a resolution passed on the occasion, the workers appreciated the role of Dr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, the outgoing president, in the party affairs. In another resolution, the workers took a pledge that they would make every effort to oust the SAD-BJP government in the state.

Later talking to The Tribune, Mr Jassi said the block level units of the party and office-bearers of the district unit would be announced within a week.


Sangat darshan turns into poll meeting
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 5
The sangat darshan programme of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, held at Goraya today turned into an election meeting of the Akali Dal when Mr Badal after distributing cheque grants of more than Rs 2 crore to Goraya town and 42 villages of the area, appealed to the people to support the Akali Dal-BJP alliance in next Assembly elections to be held next year.

Mr Badal said his government had got big projects for Punjab for the all-round development of the state and Atal Behari Vajpayee-led Union Government always helped.

He urged the people to strengthen the SAD-BJP alliance in the election to defeat the Congress.

Congress MLA Amarjit Singh Bambra, Nagar Panchayat Goraya president Kuldip Singh Bittu, besides other Congress men of the area were not invited in the sangat darshan programme of the Chief Minister which gave the impressions of its being an Akalis’ poll meeting.

Mr Badal alleged that even Congress MLA of the area never came to me for people’s work. Criticising Punjab Congress President, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Badal alleged that he had joined the Congress when the Akali Dal denied him Akali ticket as he had never fought the people’s causes, or joined any morcha.

Mr Gurmit Singh Daduwal, Punjab Vidhan Sabha former Speaker Surjit Singh Minhas, and Mr Ram Lal Jassi, also addressed the programme.

Mr Badal preferred to focus more on poll politics than the real programme.


Review economic policies: morcha
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 5
The Punjab Lok Morcha comprising various political parties today passed a resolution urging the President to form a committee of experts which would assess the wrong economic policies of the Central Government. The resolution was passed at a convention held at the local Teachers’ Home.

The resolution said economic policies which had been adopted during the rule of the Congress had proved ineffective.

The resolution criticised the attitude of the present NDA government and the previous Congress government as they had not done anything for the welfare of the minorities in the country. It urged that a special ministerial department should be established at Centre to look into the welfare of the minorities.

The resolution also demanded that the atrocities against the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes should be curbed and the central and state government should pay special attention in this regard.

It demanded a judicial inquiry into the lathi charge on the residents of Maiserkhana on July 24. It alleged that the police had beaten up activists of the BKU (E) who were sitting on a peaceful dharna near the village.

The convention was attended among others by Mr Darshan Singh Jeeda, State President, Samajwadi Janta Party, Mr Kuldeep Singh Wadala, President, Akali Dal (Democratic), Mr Jagjit Singh Layalpuri General Secretary, MCPI, Mr Teja Singh Tiwana, President, Samajwadi Party Punjab, Mr Mukhtiar Singh Arshi from the Republican Party, Punjab, Mr Harish Khanna, state president, Janta Dal (Secular), Mr Swaran Singh, state President Nationalist Congress Party, Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, state General Secretary, NCP and Mr Anil Gupta, city unit president of the NCP.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Wadala said although they belonged to different political parties but the Punjab Lok Morcha was formed to oppose the economic policies of the state and the Central Government.


Kangar upstages Malooka
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bhagta Bhai Ka (Bathinda), August 5
The move to stop the local Kala Sangeet Sangam from organising its first cultural function on the grain market premises by the authorities concerned allegedly under pressure from senior members of the Punjab Government seems to have become a blessing in disguise for Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, a senior Akali Dal leader and arch-rival of the state Power Minister, Mr Sikander Singh Malooka, who was to preside over the function.

Information gathered by TNS revealed the Kala Sangeet Sangam was to hold its cultural mela on the grain market premises and the organisers had taken verbal permission for this from the local administration.

The organisers were not allowed to pitch their tents in the grain market here today and the gates of the grain market were also closed. The organisers were told that they were not being allowed to hold the function at the grain market as they had invited Mr Kangar, who is Director, Faridkot-Bathinda Regional Rural Bank, as chief guest.

Even the local businessmen were asked not to give anything for the function as Mr Kangar was the chief guest. A police party was also present at the grain market where the function was to be held.

The organisers after coming to know that a move had been initiated by vested interests to sabotage their function to settle scores with Mr Kangar shifted their venue to a local school. However, attempts to sabotage the function were failed when a major section of the population descended on the new venue and gave a rousing welcome to Mr Kangar who arrived there with a cavalcade of about 100 vehicles.

Mr Kangar while addressing the gathering said atrocities were being committed on him by a senior member of the party. He added he would follow party discipline.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Kangar was expelled from the party in the recent past for six years by Mr Malooka for his alleged involvement in anti-party activities.

However, the party’s general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, claimed Mr Kangar could be expelled from the party only when the decision was endorsed by the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Mr Kangar said today’s gathering was an indication that people were with Mr Badal.


CPI choice for Bathinda seat
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 5
The names of Mr Jagdish Singh Ghai, Mr Mohinder Singh Sra, Mr Jarnail Singh and Mr Gulzar Singh have been decided for recommendation for the forthcoming Assembly elections for Bathinda seat. This decision was taken unanimously at a joint meeting of the city and block committee of the CPI held here today.


Prayers for truck mishap victims
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 5
Thousands of persons, including leaders of various political parties today participated in the ‘Antim Ardas’ and bhog ceremony of ‘Akhand Path’ of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, performed at Dirba village Gurdwara Sahib for the peace of 56 departed souls. These 56 persons were drowned on July 23 when the truck they were travelling in fell into the Anandpur Sahib canal at Kiratpur Sahib.

On the occasion, warm tributes were paid to the departed souls by a large number of leaders and others, including Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor, Uttaranchal Pradesh, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (A); Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Social Security Minister, Punjab; Mr Baldev Singh Mann, Administrative Member of the PSEB: Mr Gurcharan Singh Dirba, Congress MLA from Dirba; Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, MLA from Sunam; Comrade Chand Singh Chopra, ex-MLA; Mr Hardev Arshi, CPI MLA; and Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, a senior leader of the SHSAD.

Among others who were present on this occasion, included Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab; Mrs Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala; Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, MLA; Mr Sunmukh Singh Mokha and Mr Joga Singh Phaguwala, both SGPC members; and Mr Nirmal Singh Nimma, a former BSP MLA.

On this occasion, the villagers demanded a memorial in the memory of 56 departed souls. They also demanded upgradation of mini PHC of the village.

Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa on behalf of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa Rs 5 lakh, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann Rs 5 lakh while the SHSAD leaders also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh on behalf of Jathedar G.S. Tohra, MP, for the construction of a suitable memorial in the village.


150 singers take part in DD show
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 5
A three-hour variety show was organised on the Jalandhar Doordarshan premises on Saturday. At least 150 Punjabi singers, instrumentalists and dancers participated in the show which was organised to celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of DD Punjabi, DD’s round-the-clock Punjabi Channel.

The show was live telecast for viewers all over the world. The President’s Award winner duo — Puran Chand and Pyre Lal, Wadali Brothers — presented qawwalis. Besides, there was a half-an-hour presentation of an orchestra, comprising almost all Punjabi folk musical instruments, which have either lost their entity or are about to go into oblivion. These included dhaddh, sarangi, jugalbandi of tumbi, tallian, ghada, flute, dholak and algozas. The orchestra was directed by Punjabi folk dancer-singer Paramjit Sidhu, alias Pammi Bai.

Among others, there were Punjabi singers like Ashok Masti, Nirmal Sidhu, Debi Makhsoospuri and classical singers Barkat Sidhu and Ranjana. The show was directed by Mr Ashok Jelkhani, Director of DD, Jalandhar, and produced by Mr Daljit Singh Sandhu and Mr A. Gurdip.


Book on Bhagat Puran Singh released
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 5
The president of the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, Dr Inderjit Kaur, today distributed saplings of different trees as “parsad” to the gathering to mark the 9th death anniversary of Bhagat Puran Singh here today. Earlier the bhog of Sri Akhand Path Sahib was performed in the Pingalwara premises.

On the occasion, Mr Sunder Lal Bahuguna, a renowned environmentalist, said the pingalwara was a place of pilgrimage and Bhagat Puran Singh built it for the mentally challenged, aged, sick and destitutes.

A book “Ek Aalokik Shakshiyat” on the life of Bhagat Puran Singh and a cassette were released on the occasion.


Seva Dal prepares for August 20 rally
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 4
A rally will be held at the 24 Akbar Road headquarters of the Congress Seva Dal in Delhi on August 20 on the eve of Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

Stating this Mr Rajinder Rasrania, organising secretary of the organisation, said here yesterday that Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other senior party leaders would address the gathering. The programme was finalised at a meeting attended by Mr Janardan Diwedi, incharge of the Dal, and national president Prahlad Yadav among others. The Dal office-bearers have left for their respective states to mobilise workers for participation in the rally

Mr Rasrania said 50 lakh more volunteers would be enrolled in the next two months.


Fifty saplings planted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
The Helping Hands Society, a voluntary organisation of engineers of the city, today carried out a sapling plantation drive on the Jagdish Ashram road, behind Rajindra Hospital, as well as in front of the Beant Singh Shopping complex in the Choti Baradari area of the city.

The drive saw volunteers of the society planting more than 50 saplings at both spots along with tree guards. The association president, Mr Vijay Gupta, disclosed that among the organisations which had sponsored tree guards were The Tribune Group of Newspapers, Bank of Punjab, Oriental Bank of Commerce, City X-Ray and Ultrasound and Modern Laboratories.

The society was started by two young engineers — Mr Vijay Gupta and Mr Jatinder Narula, four years back. Now the society has 150 members and is working for the upliftment of orphans, besides adopting deaf and dump schools in the city. The society is also providing free education to the poor and needy students, specially girls. Starting from eight students the society now adopted 50 such students.

The society president disclosed that the society would take full care of the saplings planted by it till they bloomed to full trees. He said the campaign would be intensified in the city in the coming months.


KMC to organise protest marches
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 5
The Khalra Mission Commission has planned to organise protest marches in different parts of Amritsar to demand the release of the detained Sikh youths and justice for the families of those whose members were eliminated during the period of militancy in Punjab.

Stating this in a press note here yesterday, the KMC Chairman, Mr Surinder Singh Ghariala, said the first march would be organised at Patti on August 24. Such marches would also be organised at Tarn Taran and other parts of the state, he added.


Taxi operators lift dharna
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, August 5
On the third consecutive day of its agitation, the local Dasmesh Taxi Operators Union along with activists of other local unions, sat in dharna today morning for two hours in front of the police station here.

They are protesting against harassment by the police in challaning parked vehicles on “lame” excuses on Thursday evening at local railway station taxi stand. The dharna was organised for the cancellation of challans.

Earlier the protesters assembled at the local railway station taxi stand and marched to police station in procession raising slogans against the Punjab government and the Punjab Police.

The dharna was lifted on the intervention of Mr Joginder Singh, SHO Sadar Dhuri, who assured them to cancel all challans as claimed by Mr Hardial Singh, president of the Dasmesh Taxi Operators Union and by Mr Sukhdev Sharma, general secretary of the Sangrur unit of the All-India Trade Union Council, who led the dharna.


120 examined at eye camp
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 5
The Divine Eye Research Foundation (DERF), a city NGO organised a free eye examination camp yesterday at Kothe Amarpura village government school of the district

In a press note issued here today by Mr Rakesh Narula, president of the DERF said that 120 students were examined during the camp. Dr Kuldeep Gandhi, an eye specialist attended to the students. He guided the students on the eye care. Five students who required continuous treatment, were adopted by the DERF for treatment.


Drop joint custody scheme, says inspectors’ union
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
The Food and Supplies Inspector Grade Union today demanded that the system of joint custody of paddy by millers and procuring staff should be done away with adding that it was not possible to have joint custody of stock kept on the premises of the millers.

In a statement here Mr Hardev Singh Rosha, state president of the union, said entire responsibility of quality and quantity should be that of the miller.

Mr Rosha said huge stocks of wheat, weighing nearly 192 lakh metric tonne, was lying in the open in the state. He said on an average 100 special trains were being provided to move wheat to various other states every month with around two lakh metric tonnes being moved out every month. He said if the present trend continued it would take at least seven years to move the present wheat stock out of the state.

The association leader said as wheat had a life of only nine months in the open, storage of the produce in open ‘katcha’ plinths was causing heavy quality loss. He said recently wheat with 100 per cent lustre loss was purchased during the rainy season although the Central Government had directed the FCI to accept wheat with only 50 per cent lustre loss. Mr Rosha said this move would further add to the difficulties of the state agencies in handing over the stock to the FCI.

He said in case of the Food and Supplies Department even celphos was not provided in time for the pre-monsoon treatment. He said it was provided in July instead of May causing infestation in lustreless wheat and consequent flour formation in some of the bags at various storage centres.

Meanwhile the association president announced that the annual elections to the Food and Supplies Inspectors Grade I Union, Patiala, were held at Chhoti Baradari in which Mr Subhash Mehta and Mr Charanjit Singh Gill were authorised to constitute the executive body under the chairmanship of Mr Rosha.


Gang of thieves busted, 4 held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 5
A gang of thieves operating from Ahmedabad, which had recently stolen jewellery, from M/s Hari Chand Jain Jewellers here, was busted today by the district police.

The gang members had allegedly entered the shop posing as customers and after managing to divert the attention of the shopkeeper, had decamped with the jewellery worth Rs 1.5 lakh, police sources said.

The gangsters usually avoided committing crimes in the same district again. The police was often clueless about them as they used to return to Ahmedabad after the crime, police sources added.

They were reportedly running a retail shop and a business of lending autorickshaws on rent to avoid detection by the police. Four of the gang members Ganpat, Meena, Guman and Sunita have been arrested while their other accomplice Ravinder was still at large.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said gold worth Rs 1.5 lakh had been recovered from their possession. They had reportedly confessed during interrogation that they had also committed similar crimes in Surat and other districts of Gujarat.


Man arrested
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 5
Harjit Singh, a resident of the Guru Nanak Pura area of the city was arrested, illegaly selling medicines and posing as a qualified doctor.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today, said the accused had been running a shop from his house and selling drugs to youngsters at exhorbitant rates. He was found in possession of 50 bottles of Cosedyl (a cough syrup).

A case under Sections 420 of the IPC and 15 Indian Medical Act 1956 has been registered against him, the SSP said.


B.Ed teachers threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 5
The state government might have heaved a sigh of relief when the agitation of unemployed ETT teachers had ended a fed days ago but its joy was shortlived as now the unemployed B.Ed. teachers have threatened they will start a stir if they are not called for the interview for the posts of ETT teacher.

The government had assured the unemployed ETT teachers that all of them would be employed on the posts meant for them. The ETT teachers had ended their about eight-month-long agitation after the assurance of the government.

Although the government was able to pacify the unemployed ETT teachers but little did it know that the B.Ed. teachers would revolt. In the advertisement asking for applications for ETT teachers it was mentioned that B.Ed. teachers were also eligible for the post.

At least 45,000 B.Ed. candidates throughout the state had applied for the posts of the ETT teacher the interview of which is going on in various districts of the state. Some B.Ed. candidates have appeared for the interview for the post of ETT teacher.

The resentment among B.Ed. candidates is with regard to why all of them have not been called for the interview. They said if the government was not able to invite all of them for the interview it should have mentioned this in the advertisement.

The appointing authority for the ETT teachers as per the verdict of the High Court has invited five times the number of candidates than the number of posts.

A meeting of the unemployed B.Ed. teachers was held in the city today in which their problems were discussed. The activists of the union participated in large numbers.


AFDR plea to rein in Pbi varsity VC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 5
The Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR) Punjab, has taken a serious view of the events taking place on the Punjabi University Campus, particularly the recent threats to the lives of Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) activists and their families, that too at the hands of Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia.

In a statement issued here today, Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, AFDR said, the VC was supposed to protect the interests of the campus community and provide fearless and congenial atmosphere for the promotion and growth of academic activities. The AFDR was stunned at the “concocted” story of the Vice-Chancellor regarding his assassination.

The AFDR observed that Dr Ahluwalia, a retired IAS Officer, had turned the campus into his fiefdom trying to stifle dissent. The removal of Dr K.C. Singhal as head and the lodging a “false” FIR against him, issuing show-cause notices to Dr Sucha Singh Gill, a renowned economist of the region, and Prof U.C. Singh, another democratic rights activist for expressing views in the Press, were other harsh measures taken by the Vice-Chancellor, claimed Prof Jagmohan Singh.

The AFDR, appealed to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, to restrain Dr Ahluwalia. It also appealed to various other democratic sections of society to rein in Dr Ahluwalia by launching a movement on the campus and outside for the protection of democratic rights of the campus community.


Hostel warden resigns over forcible opening of common room
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
On the heels of allegations made by the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) that some anti-social elements were allowed to stay in hostel No 6 on the varsity campus, it came to light today that the warden of the hostel had resigned following a fracas over forcible opening of the common room of the hostel by a student on August 2.

PUTA had claimed yesterday that the varsity authorities were allowing some anti-social elements to stay in hostel No 6 who indulged in brandishing arms and threatening university teachers and students.

According to sources, a student of the hostel, Sukhpreet Malhotra, who is staying there even after the completion of the second year of his LL.M degree, broke open the lock of the common room of the hostel on August 2. The incident occurred shortly after Malhotra was involved in a fight with another student leader, Bhupinder Singh Cheema, in the Urban Estate area.

The sources said following this hostel warden Dr Manjit Singh locked the special room being occupied by the student. However, the room was opened the next day by the university authorities without taking the warden into confidence following which Dr Manjit Singh tendered his resignation.

Though the university Provost, Dr S.S. Khehra, claimed that he had no knowledge of the resignation, the Dean, Student Welfare, Dr D.S. Dhillon, admitted that Dr Manjit Singh had resigned. He, however, said the resignation of the warden had not been accepted.

Giving details of the incident, Dr Dhillon said Sukhpreet had suspected that the Cheema group had kept some sticks and other stuff in the hostel common room and had tried to meet the warden so that it could be inspected. He said when the warden could not be contacted, Sukhpreet asked the security guard of the hostel to open the lock of the room. He said when the security guard could not find the key of the lock, Sukhpreet offered to break open the lock. Dr Dhillon said the student had also explained the entire incident to the warden.

The Dean, Student Welfare, however, claimed that Sukhpreet’s room had not been locked due to the issue involving breaking of the lock of the common room, but that it had been locked after a “routine” inspection. He was informed that he could take up an ordinary room in another hostel. Speaking about the issue of reopening of the room, he said it had been done so that the student could take out some documents and clothes needed by him.

The Dean maintained that Sukhpreet was not staying unauthorisedly in the hostel and that he would continue to remain a student till he submitted his desertation. He, however, said sometimes students staggered submission of their desertation for too long and were ordered to vacate their special rooms. He said the common room incident and subsequent locking of the room had nothing to do with the resignation of the hostel warden who had cited personal reasons for his resignation.

Meanwhile the university authorities while reacting to PUTA statement on anti-social elements staying in the hostel, said “There was not an iota of truth in the statement”. An official release by the Provost and the Dean, Students Welfare, said only regular students were allotted rooms in the hostels and that the warden and the Provost regularly monitored the hostels. They said the university administration was well awake regarding discipline on the campus and that no anti-social element was present in hostel No 6 or any other hostel on the campus. 


Series of fasts planned
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 5
The General Category Welfare Federation will organise a series of fasts from August 7 to 10 in front of the office of the DPI (School), Punjab, in Chandigarh. On August 10, a rally will be held.

According to a press note, the federation is pressuring the Punjab Government to concede their demands, including an end to caste-based reservation during selection in professional courses and appointment in various services and to prepare the seniority lists of various cadres accordingly.

Mr Amrik Singh, President of the Federation, said the federation had demanded for the establishment of a special department for the welfare of general category citizens.

Mr Jasbir Singh, general secretary, said the fast in Patiala Zone (comprising Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda and Mansa) would be held on August 9. Five buses would leave Patiala for Chandigarh to join the rally on August 10.


Need to ‘improve’ women’s education
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 5
Dr Amarjeet Singh Marwah, a former member of the Dental Council of Los Angeles, has underlined the need for promoting women’s education to build a stronger nation. He was speaking at a function at the local New Model K.K. Marwah Girls College today.

Dr Marwah said more educational institutions should be opened in urban and rural areas to enhance the standard of education among women. Steps should also be taken for setting up coaching centres for providing guidance to them to appear in civil services examination. Releasing a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the college Dr Marwah appealed to NRIs to adopt their home districts and help provide better education facilities to women.

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