Saturday, August 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



I’ll excommunicate CM: Ranjit Singh
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 10
Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, has announced Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Managing Editor of the daily Ajit and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib, would be excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for violating the directives of Akal Takht, immediately after his taking charge as Jathedar.

He, however, said he won’t take charge as Jathedar of Akal Takht forcibly. He said he would not take any step in violation of “maryada” (Sikh code of conduct) while resuming charge as Jathedar. To a question, Bhai Ranjit Singh clarified he would visit Akal Takht on August 16 as a devotee to mark the announcement of an 11-member committee to run the affairs of the newly floated Panthic Morcha.

Bhai Ranjit Singh claimed the hukamnama (edict) issued by him in capacity of Akal Takht Jathedar on December 31, 1998, was still pending wherein representatives of all Akali factions were directed to maintain truce till April 15, 1999. However, the directive was allegedly violated by Mr Badal and his colleagues. He said the directive of Akal Takht was not issued to forge Panthic unity but it was meant for maintaining the status quo so that the tercentenary of the birth of the Khalsa Panth could be celebrated by the entire Sikh Panth in the most befitting manner.

It may be mentioned here that despite the directive Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was removed as SGPC chief and even Bhai Ranjit Singh was unceremoniously removed as Jathedar of Akal Takht. The former Jathedar alleged the 10 pro-Badal SGPC executive members who had removed him as Jathedar on February 10 could also be declared “tankhaiya” (guilty of religious misconduct).

Bhai Ranjit Singh said he would resume charge where he had left in February, 1999. He alleged Mr Hamdard and Prof Manjit Singh, who were summoned to Akal Takht on February 11, had failed to honour the directive. The Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib was directed to clarify his position for allegedly partaking of langar abroad with excommunicated Sikhs. He was also directed to clarify whether the Gurmat Sagar Trust, Anandpur Sahib, was his personal property or belonged to the Sikh Panth. Mr Hamdard was summoned for clarification with regard to the publication of excerpts from the controversial book, “Vanity Incarnation”, authored by Harinder Singh, which was banned by the Government of Punjab as it carried highly objectionable material against the Sikh Gurus and their families.

Answering a question, Bhai Ranjit Singh said the Panthic Morcha was floated with the sole aim of maintaining the traditions of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Sikh Panth. He alleged that while the ruling SAD was guilty of violating the age — old traditions the Panthic Morcha would endeavour to revive them. He said the traditional Akali Dal born in 1921 would be revived.

Bhai Ranjit Singh claimed there was no provision in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, for appointment and removal of Jathedars of Takhts. The Jathedars used to be installed on the basis of age-old traditions. He described Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Akal Takht, Jathedar and Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, Golden Temple, as ‘sarkari Jathedars’. He alleged the SGPC had violated the Sikh traditions by unceremoniously removing him as Mr Badal knew that he (Bhai Ranjit Singh) could not move the court against the decision being Jathedar. As per Sikh maryada no Jathedar could approach the courts as he was considered above the law.

Elaborating the election manifesto of the Panthic Morcha, Bhai Ranjit Singh said if voted to power the Sikh youths languishing in various jails of the country would be released. He said the morcha would support the national party which would promise to accept the demand of releasing the Sikh youths.

Bhai Ranjit Singh said the morcha would promise to get all genuine demands of Punjab, including fair adjudication of the inter-state river waters dispute, transfer of Chandigarh and other left out Punjabi speaking areas into Punjab if voted to power. He alleged despite the election manifesto on the basis of which ruling SAD got the mandate during the previous assembly elections Mr Badal miserably failed to fulfill the promises so far.


Badal fooling people: Tohra
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 10
“The Panthic Morcha is getting overwhelming response from the people as they want to keep away from the Congress, number one enemy of the Sikhs and oust the most corrupt and anti-Panthic SAD (B) from the power”.

Jathedar G.S. Tohra, MP, and senior leader of the Panthic Morcha expressed these views, while addressing a dharna organised in protest against the increasing incidents of looting and murders in the district. The dharna was held in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office here today.

He said leaders had sacrificed their interests and formed the morcha on the repeated requests of the people, so now it was their turn to back the morcha so that the real Panthic government could be formed, which would work for the upliftment of every section of society. He said to achieve this target the Panthic Morcha would make alliances with the CPI, the BSP, the CPM and the Lok Bhalai Party and was ready for sacrifice as far as the sharing of seats was concerned.

Lashing out at the Badal government he alleged that the government had lost its control over the bureaucracy and the police and had become directionless and the incidents of lootings, dacoity, murders had increased many folds. He said Mr Badal was misleading the public by announcing that the Centre had sanctioned projects worth crore of rupees for the State, whereas in reality most of the projects sanctioned during the tenure of Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral, had not been completed or withdrawn. He said Mr Badal was befooling the people by saying that the oil refinery was being set up in the state at the cost of Rs 26000 crore and similar number of people would get jobs. He said he was informed in the Rajya Sabha that the refinery would be set up at the cost of Rs 900 crore and only 900 persons would get jobs and most of them would be mechanical engineers and it would take nine years to complete it.

He said the work on the Amritsar airport had been stalled. He said Mr Badal also befooled the community by declaring that the Centre had given Rs 100 crore for tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa. He said when he asked for the accounts Mr Badal said that he had received only Rs 17 crore. He demanded that Mr Badal should explain why he told a lie or where the rest of the amount has gone.

Mr Jaswant Singh Tan, District unit president SHSAD, Mr Narinder Singh Tiwana, Amardeep Singh Dharni, Mr Jaswinder Singh Grewal, Mr Ajaib Singh Jakhwali also addressed the dharna.

Mr Tohra has submitted a memorandum to the Governor demanding a judicial probe into the alleged looting of wine shop and kidnapping of certain people by MLA, Amloh.

He said that it was unfortunate that the MLA and the police were trading charges against each other for the looting and taking commission from satta agents in the area.

He said it was shameful that the SSP of the district in an interview to Alpha Punjabi TV Channel had alleged that the MLA used to get commission from the satta agents, who used to operate satta in connivance with the SHO Amloh.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a fresh case against the PA to the MLA. The police said that PA was already facing 10 criminal cases.


Malerkotla MC chief ousted
Shiromani Akali Dal suffers setback
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, August 10
The Shiromani Akali Dal got a major setback here today when its municipal council president, Mr Ajmat Ali Khan, who had been tactically saving his chair for a year, was ultimately ousted.

Only four municipal councillors out of 27 voted for Mr Ajmat Ali. While 22 councillors raised their hands against the president, one councillor was absent.

It is the first instance in the history of Malerkotla Municipal Council that the president has been ousted by such a majority.

People here at Malerkotla feel that ultimately democracy wins and the nexus between the ruling group and bureaucracy has been defeated.

It is a major setback to Mr Nusrat Ali Khan Bagga, Cabinet Minister, at whose instance Mr Ajmat Ali Khan despite being in a clear minority had been able to retain power for three years.

Now in future political support to SAD from the 22 municipal councillors is doubtful. These elections were held under the supervision of the local tehsildar.

Mr Kewal Krishan Jindal, vice-president and the leader of the opposition party, has been appointed acting president of the municipal council.

However, the district administration had made elaborate security arrangements for the meeting. Extra police force was summoned from the district headquarters, which cordoned the office of the council early in the morning.

Only municipal councillors and government employees were allowed to enter the council office. Mediapersons were kept away from the municipal council hall whereas some police touts were allowed to go inside.

People here have welcomed this change and it is hoped that development work would be completed with speed now.

The spokesman of the group of 22 members, Mr Arshad Dali, alleged their wards were being ignored by the president for selfish reasons and development works of the town were at a standstill.


SHSAD to stake claim to 65 pc seats
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, has stated that the third front would project its candidate for Chief Ministership after the MLAs meeting to be held just before the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections. The SHSAD leader was commenting on the claim of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) that the third front would project Mr Simranjit Singh Mann as the chief ministerial candidate.

Mr Tohra talking to mediapersons, said his party would stake a claim to 65 per cent of the 117 Vidhan Sabha seats to be contested by the third front. On a query whether peace in Punjab would be disrupted by an alliance between “unlike-minded” parties Mr Tohra said the actual threat was from the party of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He said Mr Badal had sheltered hard-core terrorists like Wassan Singh Zaffarwal.

The SHSAD President ruled out any possibility of having truck with the ruling SAD or a patch-up with Mr Badal. Mr Tohra said the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress had deceived the public for a long time and now it was up to the public to turn the tables on these parties.

He said all issues on which elections were fought by Mr Badal, like river waters and the transfer of Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas, had all been put on the back-burner. He said these issues would be taken up by the third front. 


ILO plan on unemployment
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 10
In a significant decision, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has decided to prepare a master plan for the Punjab government to overcome problems of unemployment in the state.

Mr Amarjit Singh Oberoi, Director South Asia, multi-disciplinary Advisory team, ILO, said this while addressing a district-level function.

Mr Oberoi said vocational and job-oriented education was the need of hour to tackle unemployment. He said that increasing population was the main cause for unemployment which had acquired alarming dimensions.

Unemployed youth, industrialists representative of social and voluntary organisations educationists and prominent participated. Mr K.J.S. Cheema, Deputy Commissioner and other senior officials of Punjab Government were also present.

Mr Oberoi pointed out that unemployment was now a global problem and at least 500 million were unemployed in the world. In Punjab there were at least 16 lakh unemployed people. Out of these 60 per cent were literates while others were illiterates.

The Director, ILO, pointed out that self-employment was the best tool.

The ILO has adopted Muktsar district for making it free from the problem of unemployment. The ILO would prepare a project on it in four months. The ILO team led by Mr Oberoi visited various villages of the district yesterday and interacted with the unemployed youths.

Mr Cheema, Deputy Commissioner, said after the failure of cotton crop, district residents had been facing economic hardships. He added that ILO was necessary to create employment opportunities.

Those who addressed the function included, Mr Har Nirpal Singh Kuloi, MLA, Muktsar, Mr S.S. Channi, Labour Commissioner, Punjab and Mr B. Vikram, Director, Technical Education, Punjab were present on the function.

Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Oberoi, said a recommendation had been made to the state government to set up district level committees to tackle unemployment. By producing quality goods, India should have enough share in international market. For this task, lot of improvement in the technical education was required. 

ILO team visits Muktsar gurdwara

Moga, August 10
An International Labour Organisation (ILO) team, headed by Mr Amarjeet Singh Oberoi, Director, South Asia Multi-disciplinary Advisory body, today visited Darbar Sahib, Muktsar, where the team members, including two from Nepal, paid obeisance.

The Punjab Labour and Employment Secretary, Mr B.C. Gupta, the Commissioner, Mr S.S. Channi, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kamaljit Singh Cheema, accompanied the team. The manager of Darbar Sahib presented “siropas” to the visiting team members. The team members were later taken around the gurdwara.

The ILO team is currently on a two-day tour of Muktsar district as the district was selected as a pilot project by the ILO to solve the problem of unemployment. UNI


Out-of-turn promotions irk PPS officers
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
Notwithstanding the orders of the state government to ban out-of turn promotions in the police department under the ORP rank system and the stay orders imposed on such promotions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the state police department is still allegedly continuing with the controversial exercise.

As a result, frustration prevails among PPS officers and officers of other ranks whose promotion has been due for the past several years but due to out-of-turn promotions theirs cases are being delayed.

It has been reliably learnt that the ban and the stay orders have been violated to such an extent that several officers of different ranks have been promoted under the Own-Rank-Pay system. While Mr Amarjit Singh, former general secretary of the Punjab Police Service Officers Association, has already resigned from the association post in protest against its failure to project the case, several other office-bearers of the association along with representatives of the Punjab Police Service Officer Housing Association have also threatened to resign if the government does not immediately revert promoted officers.

The Tribune has procured a list of at least 25 officers who have been given out-of-turn promotions in recent years. Many of these have been promoted after January this year in violation of the court orders and the ban orders announced by the state government.

Interestingly, some of the promotions were made so hastily that the police department in a peculiar case, promoted an officer to the rank of DSP three days before he was promoted as Inspector. Sources said many promotions were done in back date.

While the violation of orders in itself is frustrating the police force, the officers who are waiting for promotion under the regular system are vexed at the continuing violation of the dress code of ORP rank officers. Under this code, the officers cannot wear the proper stars of the rank. However, they continue to do so. A mentionable example is of an official of the traffic police, Ludhiana, whose actual rank is of Head Constable but who has been given two special ranks.


Towards e-governance in Punjab
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Punjab bureaucrats, both at the policy-making end and at the cuttingedge, today “committed” themselves to translating into action the government endeavour to introduce electronic governance, e-governance for short.

Participating in a one-day seminar on “E-governance in the 21st century — challenges before civil servants”, organised by the Punjab IAS Officers Association in collaboration with IBM and Cisco Systems, the executive itself talked of citizens’ (customers) growing awareness about their rights and the right to know how, as taxpayers, their money was being spent calling for the governance set-up to maximise its “efficiency, transparency, accountability, objectivity, affordability, friendliness, convenience and accessibility”, as the association president, Mr B.R. Bajaj, said in his welcome address.

Responding to the presentations, including one by the President, Cisco Systems, India and SAARC region, Mr Manoj Chugh, both the Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, assured all help.

If General Jacob wanted that IT should be used for overall “economic development as well as to achieve an educated society”, Mr Badal laid stress on the participation of the “private sector in the creation and management of IT-related infrastructure and services on a self-sustaining revenue model basis”.

The Governor credited innovation in “printing” technology as much as he praised the Internet for the transformation these had brought. He maintained the industrial revolution was born out of the printed word, enabling the world to come out of the dark ages.

Therefore, stress must be laid on IT infrastructure (especially the high-speed IT backbone), human resource development, e-governance and the development of the IT industry taking Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula as a single unit. A special IT component compatible with rural requirements must be evolved, Mr Badal said. He announced Rs 5 lakh for the association.

Mr Chugh talked of connectivity and communication. He gave advantage to India over China in IT breakthroughs in the future. Quoting figures, he said India’s exports in IT goods and services to the USA alone were around US $ 10 billion against imports of less than US $ 3 billion. If it took radio 38 years to reach 15 million people, IT had taken just four years to reach that number. Worldwide, one billion people out of a population of six billion used IT facilities, including e-commerce. Since economic development and commerce were directly related to political stability that Punjab today had, Mr Chugh gave suggestions on e-governance, emphasising that the Internet must go hand in hand with education.

The Country Manager, Sales, IBM, Mr Swarup Choudhary, in his comments at the inaugural session said against land, labour, capital and machinery, the new economic order used leadership qualities and people-friendly policies to create wealth. Citizens must be treated as customers and efforts made to use “e-transformation” to bring about economic independence, development and growth because the benchmark in respect of these got elevated with rising expectations of the people, who were acquiring knowledge, demanding better services and were keen on transforming governance itself making administrators accountable.

An “overview” of the e-governance policy frame designed for Punjab and the performance, so far, of different departments, was presented by the Secretary, Information Systems and Administrative Reforms, Mr N.S. Kalsi.

The participants also listened to other success stories in Punjab, besides sharing the experience of representatives of other states. Among those present was the Director-General of the National Informatics Centre, Ministry of IT, Government of India, Dr N. Vijya Ditya. He shared the dais in the morning with others, including the Adviser, Chandigarh Administration, Ms Neeru Nanda.

Among various issues discussed at the seminar were cyber laws, security and privacy, e-governance — infrastructure and architecture by Mr Vijay Shankar of Cisco Systems and Internet service provider services in Punjab.

The panel discussion and valedictory function was presided over by the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora.


Bright students’ admission blues
“Correct procedure” not followed
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 10
Poor and meritorious students coming to the Punjabi University here from various districts in the state for admission to different courses under a special category earmarked for them, are facing difficulty with varsity authorities saying they cannot admit them as they (students) are not following correct procedure to take benefit of the scheme.

The University Syndicate had decided on January 25 to create 10 per cent additional seats in all teaching departments for “poor meritorious” students from rural areas. Under the decision at least five seats were to be created each department and the students were to be exempted from the payment of fee.

Presently students visiting the various departments for admission under the scheme are in a state of confusion. Department heads themselves are not clear on the scheme’s is implementation with some of them writing tot he varsity authorities for guidance on admission to students under the scheme.

Some students, who had their applications recommended by their respective Deputy Commissioners are a disappointed lot. Some the students had their applications for joining various courses recommended by their respective Deputy Commissioners. Vice-Chancellor Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia when contacted said the applications had not been accepted as norms had not been followed while recommending the candidates.

Dr Ahluwalia said the Deputy Commissioners had been asked to write formal letters to University authorities and make recommendations by following norms for both “poor” and “deserving” adding the Social Welfare Department had identified norms for the poor while deserving was anyone who had secured more than 50 per cent marks.

However, Patiala, Deputy Commissioner, Jasbir Singh Bir, when contacted said the matter was still under the consideration of the government. He said except for a letter from the Vice-Chancellor there was no other guideline on the subject from the government. He said action could be taken on the issue only when uniform criterion was fixed by the government as it had been done for the reservation of seats for other categories.

The students who want to take benefit of the scheme, however, said if nothing was done in the matter quickly they would not be able to secure admission in the varsity this year. They said the admission procedure was already completed and teaching work had commenced on the campus. Though the VC said the students still could take admission in the varsity under the scheme by submitting late fee, the students say they were not being charged admission fee but would have to pay late-fee.

However, sources said the students might not have to pay late fee also as their cases might not be processed at all. “what is the chance of the cases being processed now within a set timeframe when the process has not even been started,” they added. They said the university authorities themselves had not initiated steps to ensure quick implementation of the scheme once it had been passed by the Syndicate in January adding it had however, directed the varsity departments to make admissions towards June end under the scheme.

Meanwhile, not much progress has been made in the case even though the VC also wrote a letter to the Chief Minister on June 27 requesting him to get the priority wise lists of the poor and meritorious students expedited.


The ‘Faridkot connection’
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Akali government does not seem to leave anything to chance for the next Assembly elections in the state. This, perhaps, is the reason that at least nine of the 23 Senior Superintendents of Police posted in the various districts of the state have the ‘‘Faridkot connection’’.

According to information available, it is learnt that nine district police chiefs are either from Faridkot, or are married there , or have served long stints in Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s home district — Faridkot or Muktsar.

The state has 17 revenue districts, of which Amritsar and Ludhiana have been divided into three police districts each and Gurdaspur into two. While the revenue district of Amritsar has been divided into Amritsar, Majitha and Tarn Taran police districts, Ludhiana has Ludhiana, Khanna and Jagraon. Gurdaspur has been divided into police districts of Gurdaspur and Batala.

Sources inform that at present the police heads of seven police districts — Batala, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ferozepore, Jagraon and Sangrur — all are from different sub-divisions of either Faridkot or Muktsar.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mansa, has served a long stint in the home district as a Deputy Superintendent of Police , while the district police chief, Ropar, reportedly has been married in a village near Lambi.

All these officers, say sources, have been carefully hand-picked by the Chief Minister himself. It is learnt that the police heads of a few of these districts were appointed to win over the electorate’s faith in the government’s ability to maintain law and order — after party leadership received reports that law and order problem here could be the determining factor in the Assembly elections.

It is learnt that in several districts even junior police officials from Faridkot, have been given important postings. Political observers say these postings have been made to ensure that the elctorate’s anger with the government’s inability to maintain law and order is turned around favourably.

Meanwhile, sources also inform that the Akali leadership had earlier earmarked 80 Assembly constituencies in the state, mainly in the rural belt, for carrying on development works. The bureaucrats of the concerned districts were reportedly summoned and asked to ensure that all the promises made by the ruling combine during the 1997 Assembly elections, especially with regard to issues of immediate concern, like construction of schools, roads, water supply, etc. were fulfilled well in advance before the elections to be held earlier next year. 


Pandemonium at Cong meeting
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 10
A meeting of traders, representing various trade organisations convened by Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, former minister Punjab and president of the Mansa District Congress Committee (DCC), ended in a fiasco due to the utterances of some pro-Dhaipi supporters. Mr Gagowal, who had recently assumed the office of the District Congress Committee chief, after the ouster of Mr Ram Paul Dhaipi, former president of the DCC, had called the meeting of traders apparently to extend his hold over the urban voters.

At the outset, Mr Romesh Kumar Mirpuria, former president, Block Congress Committee, Mansa, said the Congress did not bother to listen to difficulties being faced by the traders during the past four and a half years and it had suddenly woken up. He also opposed the holding of the meeting at a religious place. In a fit of anger, Mr Mirpuria also made some derogatory remarks against Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, former Excise and Taxation Minister, Punjab, in the erstwhile Congress government led by Mr Beant Singh. He was supported by Mr Radhy Sham Musa and Mr Kulbir Singh Bira, general Secretary and vice-president of the DCC, respectively.

Sensing the situation and anticipating trouble, certain traders left the meeting. Mr Ashok Garg, general secretary, DCC, and Mr Gursimranjeet Singh, president of the District Youth Congress, opposed the utterances of Mr Mirpuria which led to pandemonium at the meeting. Congress workers even exchanged fisticuffs and the matter had to be reported to the Mansa city police station.


YC to hold rally in Delhi on Aug 13
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 10
The All-India Youth Congress has decided to hold a rally in Delhi on August 13 to press for its demand of resignation of the Prime Minister over the UTI scam.

More than 10,000 Youth Congress workers from Punjab were expected to take part in the rally to be addressed by the Congress chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

Disclosing this at a function organised at Congress Bhavan here yesterday to commemorate the onset of Quit India Movement, the Punjab Youth Congress president, Mr Davinder Singh Babbu, said the rally was aimed at seeking the resignation of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and a CBI probe, in the role of his foster son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya and the PMO in the scam. Besides, this, issues like fixation of minimum support price for paddy crop at Rs 700 per quintal would also be taken up during the rally for which there was great enthusiasm among Youth Congress workers belonging to Punjab.

Talking about the ongoing enrolment process of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Babbu said about four lakh workers were likely to be enrolled till the end of the enrolment drive in the last week of October.

Mr Manoj Arora, vice-president of the Punjab Youth Congress, who is in-charge of enrolment of new workers in Nawanshahr district, said a minimum of 5000 workers would be enrolled from Nawanshahr district alone.

Among those who attended the function included Mr Jagjit Singh Chaudhary, Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. 


Coalition MLAs to meet on August 13
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has called a meeting of MLAs of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its coalition partner, the BJP, on August 13.

The meeting will be held in the Punjabi Regional Committee Hall of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, secretary of the SAD, said the meeting would discuss the latest political situation in the state and the country.

The coalition partners may also drew up their strategy for the coming session of the Vidhan Sabha. The session is scheduled to be held in the third week of this month. The three-day session is expected to witness heated discussions as the Opposition parties will certainly try to raise important issues to highlight the shortcomings of the government on various fronts.


Water samples from dhabas fail test
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, August 10
Most of the roadside dhaba owners are supplying contaminated water to their customers. The inference has been drawn from the latest results of the testing of water samples collected from these dhabas by the district Health Department authorities.

The said authorities had collected about 150 water samples from water sources of the municipal councils, ice factories and dhabhas to check the quality of water being supplied to the residents of the district. The samples were sent to a Chandigarh-based laboratory for examination.

The Civil Surgeon, Ropar, Mr Rajinder Singh, who recently received the results of these tests, told this correspondent that 31 water samples, most of which were drawn from water sources of the dhabas were found to have biological contamination.

All dhaba owners whose water samples have failed the tests have been given seven-day notice to improve the quality of water. After that, the samples would again be collected from them and if found contaminated again, suitable action would be taken against them, he said.

The Civil Surgeon further informed that fortunately the water samples collected from the municipal councils and other major institutions were found satisfactory.

Earlier, in the tests conducted in October 2000, all water samples collected from the district had failed. This had prompted the district administration to take strict action against erring authorities. The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal, had threatened to register cases against the Municipal Council authorities found responsible for the contamination in water. The Civil Surgeon said the strict action taken by the district authorities had helped to improve the quality of water.

However, contamination in the water sources of the dhabhas still poses a threat to the health of the customers. Over the years a lot of dhabas have mushroomed on the Nangal-Chandigarh road. They cater to the passengers of the long-route buses. The passengers who take food or water at these places are exposed to diarrhoea, cholera, hepatitis and typhoid due to contamination of water.


Cancel out-of-turn promotions: JEs
Our Correspondents

Jalandhar, August 10
Junior engineers of the Irrigation Department sat on dharna at the Executive Engineer’s office here yesterday to register their protest against the failure of the state government to frame service rules pertaining to promotions of diploma engineers for the past two years.

Mr Jarnail Singh Dhindsa, president of the district unit of the Diploma Engineers Association, Punjab, addressing the gathering, alleged that thought the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had assured that the department would be asked to frame a clear-cut promotion policy within three months on June 27, 1999, nothing concrete had been done in this regard so far.

He alleged that the department had ignored the seniority of those junior engineers, who had more than 30 years of service to their credit by promoting 19 junior engineers who had put in nine or 10 years of service.

The association demanded that these out-of-turn promotions should be cancelled immediately.

ROPAR: Junior engineers (JEs) of the Irrigation Department, Punjab, have opposed the out-of-turn promotions granted by the Punjab Government in their cadre. At a rally held at the SYL complex here on Thursday, the president of the Ropar zone of the Diploma Engineers Association, Punjab, alleged that even those JE’s against whom vigilance inquiries were pending in corruption case had been promoted. A JE against whom a vigilance inquiry was pending in the Rs 2 crore drainage scam had also been awarded promotion, he alleged.

Other leaders of the JEs speaking on the occasion, opposed the latest move of the government in which it was being made mandatory for them to clear test before getting proficiency increments.

Later, the JEs presented a memorandum of their demands to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal.


AISSF workers hold march
Our Correspondent

Patti (Tarn Taran), August 10
Hundreds of All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) workers today organised a march against drugs in this border town and served an ultimatum on the authorities to check the trade of drugs and look those selling smack, failing which they would launch an agitation.

Mr Harminder Singh Gill, president of the AISSF (Gill), led the march which passed through markets in the town. Women and youth also took part in the march.

The workers also staged a dharna in front of the court of the SDM, Patti, which was addressed by Mr Gill, Bhai Manjit Singh, Senior Vice-President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), Mr Bahal Singh Singhpura, president of the SHSAD, Patti district unit, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sidhu, Mr Kulwinder Singh, Mr Avtar Singh Deol, besides others.

Addressing the workers, the speakers alleged that the Kairon family was sheltering those indulging in the trade of drugs. The speakers blamed the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for the "corruption" in the administration. They alleged that the policies of the government were faulty because of which the youth were not getting jobs and were forced to take to anti-social activities or commit suicide.

The workers presented a memorandum to the SDM, to be forwarded to the Chief Minister, serving a notice of 15 days to check the anti-social trade.

AISSF rally against drugs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 10
To make Punjab’s youth shun drugs, all religious political organisations should make sincere efforts and youth should come forward. This was stated by Mr Harminder Singh Gill, president of the All India Sikh Students Federation, here today. He informed that the federation would hold a rally against drug addiction. The rally would start from the Bibi Rajni gurdwara Kutcherian where a memorandum to the SDM will he handed over. Rally would enlighten people about drugs, including seeking to ban on the sale of drugs. He said that only Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti had raised his vote that drug business was flourishing under the Punjab government. Later Mr Vedanti refused to comment on the issue.


Sale of drugs on despite drive
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 10
Despite a government campaign against drug abuse’, intoxicants are easily available at several villages and towns of the state and thousands of youths are addicted to these. These intoxicants are reportedly causing ‘impotency’ among them. Doaba region, especially its rural areas and some posh areas, have become centres of the supply of drugs.

Surjit Kumar (not real name), who was admitted to Bandhi Hospital, Phagwara, for deaddiction, told this correspondent that he was a graduate and a taxi driver having his own Tata Sumo. He became a drug addict in the company of one of his friends.

Surjit disclosed that in several villages of the area, including Rurrki, Sunrra, Wadhala, Dhesian, Zendiala, Bhardwajian, Nawan Pind, Nihal Garh, Jagntpur Jattan, Bhanoki and Mauli, smack was easily available and widely taken. He said at least 67 youths of Rurrki were taking smack and 34 of them were also supplying it.

He said smack was available in wholesale market at Meerut for Rs 100 per gram, whereas it was easily available at several dhabhas at Shahbad for Rs 240 per gram. He said some drug suppliers were selling smack in the state for Rs 800 per gram or Rs 100 per packet.

Dr S.P.S. Sooch and Dr M.I.S.S. Parmar, who had treated Surjit, said he had been cured completely. He was treated regularly for 10 days and was being discharged today.

Dr Sooch said excess and regular intake of smack could cause “impotency” in addicts. Surjit also demonstrated the use of smack to him.

Dr Sooch, who is the president of the Indian Medical Association, Phagwara, said he would soon organise deaddiction camps at different villages.


Sewer laying fouls up road
Raj Sadosh

Delay in laying sewers on the old Fazilka road, better known as Johri Mandir Road, has caused cracks in commercial and residential buildings. The tenants and owners of the buildings had approached the administration for taking suitable action against the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board. They also demanded compensation.

Sources said work on laying the sewers had been going at a snail’s pace for the past one year and 400 ft of sewers was yet to be laid. The contractor had reportedly left gaps. Rain water had accumulated in these gaps and affected the buildings by seepage on both sides of the road. Officials said the work was to be completed by end of August but there seems to be no hope as work on the last phase had not started.

There had been hardly any business markets on this road owing to the sewer work. The shops had to be kept closed due to heaps of sand. Cracks in the side walls had added to the woes of the shopkeepers. Five of them had locked their establishments, others had to curse the sewerage board. The petrol and diesel filling stations on this road had lost business as it was practically impossible for the vehicle owners to enter this road.

Some tractor-trailer drivers who tried to pass this road had met with accidents. Vehicular traffic had been diverted to adjoining streets. The tractor-trailers were driven at speed and few drivers observed rules and regulations.

According to official record, the width of the road was 55 to 75 ft but due to encroachments the width had narrowed down to 48 ft at certain points. The Municipal Council in 1995 had passed a resolution to take action against encroachers. The Deputy Director of Local Bodies was to initiate summary trial against the offenders but files relating to this had been gathering dust for six years. This had aggravated the traffic nuisance on this prime road which was otherwise used as the way to the eye hospital, cinema house and other important buildings.

Sewerage board sources said a grant amounting to Rs 9.98 lakh was released by the 10th Finance Commission for this project so that sewerage problem could be solved partially. Contractors had not cared for repeated notices issued on account of delay in completing the work within the specified period.


Small irritants mar hostel life
Anita Tayal

Punjab University has three hostels for boys and four for girls. Each hostel has two floors. When girls started seeking admission to different courses in large numbers, one of the boys’ hostel was converted into a girls’ hostel last year.

However, the residents of the hostels, both boys and girls, have a number of grievances as far as conditions in the hostels are concerned. And they do not ask for the moon. They look forward to ordinary facilities such as more water coolers, telephone booths and better food in the kitchens.

Each hostel has one water cooler in the mess and there is no other available. Those who live on the upper floors complain that they have to go a long way to get their water bottles filled.

Even then, the water pressure is so low that they have to wait in long queues for hours together. One water cooler on each floor is not an impossible demand.

The residents cannot receive incoming telephone calls. Apart from the small number of telephone booths, there is no way for them to receive calls. Even messages from their homes are not conveyed to them. And to make a call, they have to wait in long queues. Moreover, the STD facility closes after 9.30 p.m.

The hostel gates close after 7.30 p.m. and the students feel that with the approach of winter, the closing time will be advanced to 6 p.m. This will make it impossible for them to visit the city. The only way is to miss classes. If the closing time is extended to 8 p.m., they will get enough time to make a trip to the city.

There are other problems but these too can be easily solved. The students complain that the sweepers neglect their duties and the toilets and corridors remain dirty.

Wild growth all around gives the hostels a shabby look. By noon, most of the newspapers disappear from the common room. The residents feel that though the wardens are cooperative, the authorities should take steps to remove these irritants.


Living conditions in asylum deplored
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 10
Helping Hands Society today condemned the inhuman treatment meted out to inmates of a private mental asylum established on the Sanaur road near here.

In a statement here, the association general secretary, Mr Jatinder Narula, said it was surprising that men were being kept in chains and women were kept locked in small rooms.

He said this was a shame on humanity, adding that it was the moral responsibility of all of us to take care of the disabled and the mentally retarded.

He added that it had earlier come to notice that the living conditions of the inmates in the pingalwaras and orphans housed in and around the city were pitiable, which remained unchecked due to sympathy towards these ashrams.

He said the association president, Mr Vijay Gupta, had also urged the Deputy Commissioner to constitute a committee consisting of members of different social organisations and senior administrators to visit these ashrams from time to time and propose remedial measure.

He said there was need for the management of these houses to coordinate with the committee to improve the system, living conditions and medical treatment for the inmates.


Amritsar second million-plus city in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
With a population of over 10 lakh, Amritsar has become the second million-plus city in the state, next only to Ludhiana having a population of nearly 14 lakh. This has been revealed in a report on the rural-urban break down of the population released today by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The report has been prepared by the Directorate of Census Operations, Punjab, on the basis of the census held early this year. Mr Inderjit Singh, Director, Census, Punjab said that the state figured among those with the highest growth in the urban population in the country.

Compared to the census held in 1991, when the urban population in the state was 29.55 per cent, in the latest census report the urban population was now 33.95 per cent. The rural population has registered a clear decline. In 1991, it was 70.45 per cent whereas in the recent census it has gone down to 66.05 per cent.

The urban population in the state is distributed over 157 towns. There are now 14 towns in the state, each having a population of over 1 lakh, whereas the figure in the 1991 census was only 10. Interestingly, Ludhiana and Amritsar are the two biggest cities which accommodate three out of every 10 urbanites in the state. Populationwise, Ludhiana and Amritsar have been ranked as 19th and 33th, respectively, in the country. During the 1991-2001 period, the urban population has increased by 37.58 per cent which is almost twice the overall growth rate of 19.76 per cent in the state. Even the urban growth rate in the state is significantly higher than that of India which has recorded an urban growth rate of 31.13 per cent.

The rural population of 16,043,730 is distributed over 12,729 villages. During the past 10 years, the rural growth rate of population has been recorded at 12.28 per cent which is nearly one-third of its urban counterpart.

The the male-female ratio is more imbalanced in the urban areas than in the rural. In the urban areas the sex ratio is 848 females after every 1,000 males and in rural areas, is 887 females for every, 1,000 males. The state’s sex ratio is 874 females for every 1,000 males whereas in 1991 it was 882 females for every 1,000 males.

The number of villages in Punjab has declined to 12,729 in the latest census from 12,795 in the 1991 census. However, the number of panchayats has gone up from 10,953 in 1991 to 12,369 in the last census.

The most disturbing feature is that 13.79 per cent of the population in the urban areas lives in slums. Nawanshahr district is the least urbanised district in the state. Obviously, Ludhiana district is the most urbanised area.


Lok Morcha seeks action against Dulo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
A delegation of the Punjab Lok Morcha today presented a memorandum to the Governor of Punjab, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), to demand action against a former Excise and Taxation Minister of the state who was indicted by the Lok Pal in October, 1998.

The delegation, comprising Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, Mr Harish Khanna, Mr Rattan Singh Baghi, Mr Dildhiraj Singh Mann, Mr Rajender Dutta, Mr Prem Singh Bhangu and Mr Subash Beri, apprised the Governor of the order of the then Lok Pal of Punjab, Justice Harbans Singh Rai, and urged him to take action against the guilty.

The delegation held that after a hard struggle it was able to procure a copy of the order of the Lok Pal only on July 17 this year.The Lok Pal had held that Mr Shamsher Singh Dulo, former Excise and Taxation Minister and at present a Member of the Lok Sabha, had allegedly misconducted himself in the discharge of his functions as Minister and abused his position and caused harm to a liquor contractor, Mr Subash Beri, the complainant in the case.

The Lok Pal held that Mr Dulo had concealed his assets and properties while fling his written comments before him.


Soldier cremated with full honours
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, August10
The mortal remains of Darshan Singh (30), a lance naik serving in 68 Sikh Regiment, who laid down his life in the Kupwara sector (Srinagar) on August 8 following an encounter with Kashmiri militants, were consigned to the flames at his native village of Gopalpur in this subdivision.

Senior army officials paid homage to the deceased soldier by laying wreaths on his body. Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Local Bodies Minister, paid homage to the martyr and said India was proud of its martyrs.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, SDM Rajpura, Mr R.K. Singla, D.S.P Rajpura; soldiers from 68 Sikh Regiment and villagers paid homage to the deceased.

Lance Naik Darshan Singh who joined the Army in 1989, is survived by his wife, a daughter and two sons.


Martyr cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 10
The mortal remains of Head Constable Romesh Lal of 31 Battalion of the BSF, who was killed in the indiscriminate firing at the Jammu railway station on August 7, were consigned to flames with full Army honours at his native village, Bitan, about 40 km from here, in Una district yesterday.


Municipal workers threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Sunam, August 10
The Punjab Government should call the representatives of the Class III and Class IV employees organisations of the municipal councils to chalk out the policy of their absorption in other departments before abolishing the octroi”.

This was stated by Mr Upkar Singh Josh, President of the State Municipal Workers Union, after a meeting of the office-bearers of the union here last evening.

The President warned the state government of a state-wide agitation in case the government failed to talk to them before the abolition of octroi.

The President said the government was planning to abolish octroi just to get the votes of the business community and the votes of residents of urban area in the ensuing Assembly election. He urged the state government not to play with the future of the employees of the municipal councils by abolishing the octroi for political gains.

Mr Josh said it would be more better if the state government abolished the Department of Local Bodies than abolish octroi, so that the expenses incurred on the employment of directorate, officers and staff of all 140 corporations could be saved. 


Glaring errors in driving licence
Harwinder Dhillon

A driving licence in which the date of issuance is September 30, 2001.
A driving licence in which the date of issuance is September 30, 2001. — photo by Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, August 10
In a glaring discrepancy, the date of issuance on the driving licence of Ms Parbal Jyoti is September 30, 2001, a date yet to arrive, whereas the licence was issued 15 days ago. Not only this, Ms Jyoti has alleged that her name, Parbal, has been misspelt in the licence as Prabhal. Even her father’s name is printed on the licence as Manmohan Singh, though the actual name is Manmohan Saihjpal.

All these discrepancies aside, Ms Jyoti said the licence did not carry her signature. the driving licence was issued by the District Transport Officer, Amritsar.

Mr Manmohan Saihjpal, commenting on the discrepancies in the licence, said the fact that a single licence card had four errors showed the working of the department concerned in a bad light.

When asked whether any complaint had been made to the department concerned, he said he wanted to highlight the carelessness of officials of the government department through the media so that action could be initiated. He also demanded that the errors in his daughter’s driving licence should be rectified by the Transport Department on its own expenses. 


3-year jail term for canal patwari
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 10
Mr Harbans Lal, Special Judge, Mansa convicted Sher Singh canal patwari, posted at Khiala Kalan village in the district under Section 467/468/471 of the IPC and sentenced him to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) for three years and to pay fine of Rs 1000 and in default of payment of fine to undergo further RI for three months under Section 467 of the IPC and RI for two years and to pay fine of Rs 500 and in default of payment of fine to undergo further RI for two months under Section 468 of the IPC and to undergo RI for three years and to pay fine of Rs 1000 and in default of payment of fine to undergo further RI for three months under Section 471 of the IPC, in a case FIR number 30 of May 12, 1998 police station vigilance bureau, Ferozepore. All three sentences will run concurrently. The Judge acquited the accused of the charge under Section 13 (1) (c) (d), read with Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Judge acquited all co-accused Mohinder Singh, Sohna Singh and Nachhater Singh, all residents of Khiala village in the district.

The facts of the case are that Mr Jugraj Singh etc of the village moved an application before the Divisional Canal Officer (DCO), Irrigation Branch, Jawaharke for inclusion of 76 kanal 12 marlas land for irrigation in outlet number 39475 of Samaon branch. Their application was declined by the DCO and the appeal was also dismissed by the superintendenting engineer. Again Nachhatar Singh accused filed another application before the Ziledar, who submitted his report to the DCO Mansa. The DCO Mansa issued notices for March 13, 1996 and again for April 03, 1996, calling the affected parties to appear before the DCO. Sher Singh canal patwari without getting the service affected upon said persons namely Mr Ganga Ram and Mr Uggar Singh of Malikpur Khiala, made a report by forging their signatures that they have been duly served, to cause loss to them.


Views of writers sought on censor board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Punjab Government today invited suggestions from writers, playwrights, poets, musicians and singers by August 31 for the setting up of a censor board to curb obscene and vulgar songs and promote the Punjabi culture.

According to Mr Swarna Ram, Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister, it was the endeavour of the state government to protect the cultural heritage of Punjab and check cultural pollution. He said various intellectuals, academicians and littérateurs had already sent their suggestions in this regard.


Youth run over by train
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, August 10
A newly married youth was run over by a train and killed at the local railway station yesterday.

The deceased has been identified as Prem Kumar (23) of Samana in Patiala district. He was married a few months ago.

The deceased was reportedly coming from Samana to Dhuri by the Dadar-Amritsar Express to meet his pregnant wife. He was killed as he slipped and fell on the rail track while trying to alight from the moving train.

A post-mortem was conducted at the local Civil Hospital and the body was handed over to the relatives of the deceased last evening.


Camps to issue SC certificates
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 10
Scheduled Caste certificates to Dalit families would be issued at camps at villages so that they could avail the benefit of the welfare scheme of the government to provide 100 units of electricity at homes of Dalit families. Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Science and Technology Minister said this today at Jhumba village, while addressing a gathering here. Mr Garg inaugurated the camps at Teorna, Baho Sevian, Baho Yatri villages organised for the same purpose.


Paddy storage plan resented
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 10
The Punjab Rice Millers Association today took exception to the state government’s move to store paddy procured by the state and its agencies in the mandi yards and on the premises of focal points in their own custody apprehending that the rice millers may create problems in the storage of paddy on their premises.

In a statement here, association president Tarsem Saini said millers of the state had always co-operated with the government in the past and this year too they had not shown any reluctacne to allow the storage of paddy. He said the government should admit their long-pending demands which included fixation of dry allowance of 2 per cent for raw and parboiled rice, enhancement of milling charges, withdrawal of arbitration cases pertaining to the sale of paddy crop of the year 1994-95 and abolition of the monthly minimum charges by the state electricity board. Mr Saini said the decision to store paddy by government and its agencies in the mandi yards and at focal points was not viable due to lack of infrastructure.

He, however, welcomed the decision of the government to hold meetings at the division level to ensure the smooth conduct of the procurement of paddy.



Rs 2.1 crore for urban development
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 10
The Punjab Government has allotted Rs 2.10 crore for the development of urban areas in the district. The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal, gave this information after presiding over a meeting held yesterday to review various development projects in the district.

He said the government had provided the grant for the speedy completion of the long-pending works in various municipal councils of the district. Committees comprising officials of municipal councils had been formed under the respective SDMs to identify works which needed immediate attention. The grant would be distributed to the councils on the basis of the recommendations of the committees, he said.


Vikas bhavan at SAS Nagar
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 10
The department of Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, has planned to construct a “vikas bhavan” at SAS Nagar in a year to make arrangements for the stay of elected representatives of the rural bodies like panchayats, panchayat samitis and zila parishads.

Mr Mandip Singh, Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, presiding over a state-level meeting of ADCs (Development), DDPOs, officers of zila parishads and other rural bodies at the local Panchayat Bhavan today, urged the panchayat and zila parishad authories to provide financial assistance for the completion of “vikas bhavan as early as possible.

The director also said the department had got allotted a piece of over three acres at SAS Nagar from PUDA for the construction of the bhavan.

Mr Mandip Singh also directed the officers to complete development works in the stipulated period in their respective areas. He also directed them to send the utilisation certificates in three months of those funds which had been issued under different “heads” at the “sangat darshan” programmes.


Shops to be closed on Sunday
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 10
The District Magistrate, Mr R. Venkatratnam, said in an order passed under Section 144 of the CrPC that keeping public interest in view the shops shall remain closed on Sunday. On working days the working hours would be from 8.30 a.m. till 8.30 p.m. The wine shops would remain open from morning hours till 11 p.m. in both rural as well as urban areas.



ASI booked on graft charge
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 10
Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Nirmal Singh, in charge of the Khijrabad police station, has been booked on corruption charges.

The SSP here Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, told this correspondent that a case was registered following a complaint from Tralok Singh of Khijrabad village.

The complainant in an affidavit to the SSP had alleged that a case was registered against Gurmail Singh and others under the Dowry Act on August 1 on his complaint. The ASI who was the investigating officer in the case, however, adopted a biased attitude and demanded Rs 15,000 for arresting the accused.

The SSP asked the DSP (Headquarters) to inquire into the allegations. The DSP on the basis of the prima facie evidence, found the allegations against the ASI to be true.

A case under Sections 7 and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the ASI. Further investigation into the case has been handed over to the DSP (Vigilance), Mr Malvinder Singh.

Meanwhile the arrest of the ASI has been stayed by the local civil court and his application for anticipatory bail will come up for hearing on August 2.


One held for petrol adulteration
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 10
The district police arrested one person for adulterating petrol by mixing a chemical solvent in it at the Bharat Petroleum Corporation petrol pump at Pasiana near here yesterday.

Police sources said a partner in the petrol pump, Kuldeep Singh, had been arrested while in the process of mixing 10,000 litres of chemical solvent in the petrol stock in his petrol station.

Police sources said the chemical which was being mixed with petrol was worth half of the price of petrol. They said it also damaged the machinery. They said the chemical had been supplied by a Delhi firm and that it was worth around Rs 1.5 lakh.

According to police sources, Kuldip Singh was arrested on the spot and a case was registered under the Essential Commodities Act against him.


2 women murdered
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 10
Two women were murdered by some unidentified robbers at the local Green Park locality this evening.

According to the police, three robbers entered the house of Bimla Chopra (67) and murdered her and her servant Bholi (50) after looting gold jewellery. The incident came into light when Bimla’s six-year-old granddaughter came to her house.


Fresh admissions for 16 MSc maths seats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University today declared open the 16 seats lying vacant at Government College, Hoshiarpur, in MSc mathematics (pass course), part I, for fresh admissions. The students who had not appeared in the entrance test of this course can also now apply for admission to this course at the college.

The Vice-Chancellor has also decided that any vacancy arising due to shift/movement of students already admitted in BBA, BCom and BCA (first year) in all affiliated colleges should be filled by the Principal of the college concerned at his/her own level, according to the merit list and after having given due notice to the next in line candidates. The candidates will have to pay a late fee of Rs 688 for admission.


Confusion marks ETT interviews
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 10
Candidates who appeared in the interviews of the elementary teachers training (ETT), today at Government Girls Senior Secondary School of the city alleged harassment at the hands of the authorities.

There was a lot of confusion in the interview process. While the authorities maintained that for 119 vacancies 595 candidates were called for the interviews and call letters were issued to the candidates. Some of the candidates claimed that though they had qualified the minimum cut-off merit but they were not issued call letters.

The list of candidates displayed outside the interview hall did not mentioned the marks of the candidates, on the basis which the candidates were given the call letters. Today, the authorities displayed a notice that those candidates who had less than 43.14 marks in their “basic merit” according to rules did not need appear in the interview. One of the officials of the DEO Office said the basic merit was calculated by adding 35 per cent marks of the percentage of plus two and 35 per cent marks of the marks in qualification of teaching, ETT or B.Ed (whichever applied to the candidates).

Giving details he said out of a total of 100 marks only 15 were reserved for the interview and 85 marks were reserved for the basic qualifications and extracurricular activities.

Mr Sanjiv Kumar (name changed) who was one of the candidates said though he qualified in terms of basic merit but he did not received the interview call letter. “The officials started searching for my application but were unable to locate the same,” he said. Later they changed stance and asked me to bring a proof that I had applied for the vacancies, he alleged.

Many of the candidates pointed out that they were issued interview letters for the categories they did not belonged to Mr Ramesh (name changed) alleged that he had appeared in the interview on August 7 but the department send him a letter stating that his “file was uncomplete” and today he was made to appear in the interview again after the officials failed to point out any discrepancy.

Mr Jaswant Dani, District Education Officer (P) and Chairman of the district selection committee, when contacted said that there were no bunglings in the interview process. “The list of meritorious candidates had been supplied to us by the head office and the candidates were given an open call that all candidates with a basic merit of more than 43.14 could attend the interview. We had even given chance to the absentee candidates.


15 p.c. HRA sought
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 10
The Punjab and Chandigarh Non-teaching Employees Federation demanded immediate release of house rent allowance at a rate of 15% of the basic pay to employees residing in the city.

This was demanded by the employees at a rally on the Punjabi University campus here. The employees condemned the recent orders of the state government asking the Punjabi University authorities to stop payment of certain allowances to the ‘C’-class employees, clerks and stenotypists. The rally criticised the privatization of educational institutions.

The federation leaders met Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala and thanked him for disbursing an allowance of Rs 40 each to all C-class employees, clerks and stenotypists and Rs 120 each to desk helpers.

The federation decided to hold a dharna at Chandigarh on August 17 if their demands were not met by then.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (INTUC) has demanded that apart from the payment of 15 per cent HRA all ad hoc employees must be regularised.

This was stated by federation general secretary Pawan Wadera while organising a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today the federation demanded a medical allowance of Rs 500 and a monthly pension of Rs 500 for all aged employees above 60 years.


Computer courses at DRDA centres
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 10
The admission procedure for the course in computer education affiliated with Punjab Technical University (PTU) at the centres of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) in the district has been started.

The admission forms can be submitted at the office of the DRDA, Bathinda, up to August 17.

In a press note issued here today, Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, gave this information.

He said the aspirants can get the prospectus for the same from the branches of the cooperative bank. Counselling for the purpose would be held on August 21, at the DRDA office and the regular classes would be started from September 3.

The Deputy Commissioner further said for the welfare of the poor and students of backward areas, these centres would be given 15 per cent concession in fee from PTU, so that more and more students could join these courses.

Arrangements were also made to pay the fee in instalment by the students belonging to very poor families.

He further said students of rural areas should take advantage of this opportunity as the coming era would be the era of computer education.

He said centres of computer coaching of the DRDA had been established at Kaljhrani, Kothaguru, Mandi Kalan, Chak Fateh Singh Wala, Harraipur, Lehra Mohabbat, Pakkan Kalan and Talwandi Sabo villages in this district.


PG courses: fresh chance sought for students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Parents of certain general category students have urged the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, to provide a chance to all those students who had not earlier submitted their applications to appear in the counselling for admission to the postgraduation (PG) medical courses.

They have sought a chance in the light of the recent decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court with regard to admission to the courses. The parents said the court had decided that there would be no reservation of seats for any reserve category in the PG courses and those who had secured more than 50 per cent marks in the entrance test would be eligible for admission.

Before the court decision, the number of seats in the PG courses for general category students was limited and hence even those students who had secured nearly 70 per cent in the entrance test did not submit applications for appearing in the counselling as they had no chance to be selected.

However, as now all seats fall in the general category, they should be provided a fresh chance to submit their applications, they said.


Students on relay fast
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 10
The Punjab Radical Students Union at a meeting held here today decided to participate in the dharna and relay fast, started by the Youth Action Front at the Sewa Singh Thikriwala Chowk.

Mr Harbans Singh, treasurer of the PRSU said that government had failed to provide educational facilities in the district.

No arrangements had been made to provide science education to the students in the district and they had to go to far-off places to get science education. There was only one government college in the district, building of which has been declared unfit for use by the Public Works Department (PWD). The classes were being held under the trees. The college was understaffed and the lectures in English were held only twice in a week in each section.

Mr Krishan Chand Chowdry, Additional Deputy Commissioner, assured the student leaders that their demands would be brought to the notice of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, on August 16.

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