Saturday, September 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Arms dumped by ultras untraceable
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Punjab police is still groping in the dark about the large number of firearms believed to have been dumped in the interior parts of the state by terrorists during the last leg of terrorism.

Police sources inform that a large number of firearms — mainly AK- 47s, .30 mm pistols, .455 bore pistols, grenade propelled machine guns, carbines/sten guns, SLRs, revolvers as well as country made pistols — are lying hidden across the state. Blast material — RDX, PeT etc. — is also suspected to have been hidden away, along with wires and remotes.

These were reportedly smuggled into the country from across the border during the early years of the past decade when terrorism was declining. It is learnt that caches of these arms and ammunition have been dumped in and around Jagraon, Moga, Nawanshahr, Patti, Noor Mahal and Kapurthala. The sources also inform that a major chunk of this ammunition is lying hidden along the border, where the consignment was dropped for the couriers to be handed over to the receivers. Right from the Jammu sector to the border areas in Punjab, including Narota Jaimal Singh, Dera Baba Nanak, area of Ramdas, Lopoke, Ajnala, Tarn Taran, Zira, Makhu, border areas of Ferozepore and — areas along the LOC in Rajasthan, were made dumping grounds.

The fear of being slain at the hands of the police forced a large number of terrorists to hide the caches of weapons that they received from across the border for their clandestine operations. On a number of occasions, the weapons were not even picked up by the couriers here for fear of being caught. However, the Punjab police has not launched any operation for recovering these weapons. Senior police officials say that a few former terrorists and “sleepers” (members of militant outfits, who remain inactive for years together as common people) have information about the exact location of these arms . While the police managed to seize a large number of these caches of arms and ammunition, hundreds of these weapons are reportedly in possession of arms dealers . Police sources inform that a number of these caches of weapons were later discovered by certain miscreants. These people in connivance with certain local arms dealers, found a convenient way of disposing of these weapons by selling these at cheap prices to anyone willing to pay for their safety in the terrorism-ravaged state.


Ancient well found in Golden Temple complex
Harwinder Dhillon

Ancient well adjoining the Golden Temple.
Ancient well adjoining the Golden Temple. — Photo Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, September 7
An ancient well was found during the digging of the corridor (galliara) of the Golden Temple under its beautification project.

Mr Narinderpal Singh, information officer in the Golden Temple, verified the historical background of this well.

According to him, the well was sunk by Baba Aala Singh, founder of Patiala Riasat. The well area was called Malwai Bunga.

Mr Karam Singh, a historian, has mentioned in his book, ‘‘Amritsar the Tawareek’’, that Malwai Bunga was a four-storeyed building constructed at a cost of Rs 50,000. Construction was on for an underground jorha ghar (shoe house) and car parking at the site.

Shops on the left side of Mochi Bazaar were established by Baba Aala Singh himself. Since then, not a single penny has been taken as rent by these shopkeepers.

Baba Aala Singh founded ‘‘kacha fort’’ in ‘‘samat’’ 1810. According to an encyclopaedia by Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, Baba Aala Singh was baptised by Singh Dal’s Jathedar of Thikriwala.

A grinding slab with Baba Aala Singh’s name has also been found.

Mr Narinderpal Singh said some years ago, the Golden Temple was surrounded by innumerable ‘‘bungas’’. These ‘‘bungas’’ had all basic facilities and wells.

It is assumed that this ancient well was 200 years old. It had been built with Nanakshahi bricks.


2 cops reverted on HC orders
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 7
Two officers of the district police — DSP, Amloh, and SHO, Mandi Gobindgarh — have been reverted to their original ranks as per the directions of the government and both of them have proceeded on leave. The PPS officers working in the district have appreciated and welcome the implementation of the court orders by the government. On the other hand the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court to revert the ORP gainers to their original posts have left them humiliated, demoralised and annoyed.

While talking to The Tribune Mr I. S. Randhawa, SP (H); Charanjit Singh DSP, Fatehgarh Sahib; and Mr Sudesh Agnihotri DSP, Khamano, said the step taken by the government to revert the “blue eyed boys” had boosted the morale of the force, as rightful police personnel would get their long-awaited promotions and postings. Further, the step would encourage discipline in the force and the race for back door entries would come to an end. They said law should be equal for all and the rights of others should not be snatched by adopting unfair means. They said the set of rules for promotions should not be flouted to entertain back door entries.

They said the seniors, who used to work under the ORP officers, were feeling demoralised and humiliated. They said the ORPs should not feel ashamed and should accept the reality as they had earned a lot and enjoyed the power and position for a long time.

They questioned how even after 1993, when there was no terrorism in the state, the process of back door entries of ORPs continued.

When contacted, Mr H.S. Saran, SSP, said Gurchain Singh, DSP, Amloh, had been reverted and the charge had been given to DSP (D).


Military benefits to SSP may go
Application dismissed in default
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 7
Mr V.B. Handa, District and Sessions Judge, has dismissed in default the application moved by Mr Sukhdev Singh Brar, SSP, Batala, in which he had sought temporary injunction restraining the Government of Punjab from reverting him as DSP.

The judge in his order said: “The case has been called several times before lunch but neither the appellant nor his counsel appeared. Even after lunch, the case was called many times but no one appeared on behalf of the appellant. However, Mr Subhash Gupta, a government pleader, is present. Accordingly, appeal stands dismissed in default.”

Earlier, the Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division) in his order dated August 17, 2000, had dismissed the application of Mr Brar, leaving respondents to withdraw the benefits granted to the applicant of second emergency period by way of issuing any order by the competent authorities.

Mr Brar had filed an application for the issuance of temporary injunction, restraining the defendant from giving effect to the impugned order dated September 15, 1999, and further reverting the plaintiff applicant from the post of SP to that of the DSP during the pendency of the decision of the suit.

According to the applicant, after serving the nation during Emergency, he joined ASP against the reserved post meant for ex-defence personnel. The applicant filed various representations that he had served the nation during second national emergency from Deember 3, 1971, to February 27, 1976, and therefore he be granted benefit of military service towards pay and seniority etc. under the Punjab Government instructions issued from time to time and the Punjab National Emergency (Concessions) Rules, 1965.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Brar was given deemed promotion as Sub-Inspector from December 20, 1980, instead of February 4, 1985, and also confirmed him on December 19, 1986. Further, the government ordered the deemed date of promotion of the applicant as DSP from March 13, 1991, the date from which his junior, DSP Darshan Kumar, was promoted vide order dated December 16, 1997. This order was also made subject to the approval of the Punjab Service Commission, Patiala, and subject to decision in the special leave petition No. 7697 of 1993 in Narinder Nath Sharma’s case.

The applicant had pleaded that the Supreme Court had dismissed the appeal of Punjab against the judgement in Narinder Nath Sharma’s case vide judgement dated December 3, 1997. In view of this judgement, the grant of benefits of military service towards pay and seniority to the applicant and his further promotion to the post of DSP and SP became final and binding.

However, the state government had withdrawn the benefits of military service granted to the applicant on December 20,1997. Mr Brar pleaded that his work and conduct during his period of service was meritorious and hence there was no reason to implement the impunged order.

With the dismissing of the application of Mr Brar in default, the state government might withdraw the benefits of military service given to him.


Panthic Morcha to contest all seats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Panthic Morcha is willing to enter into an electoral alliance with any political party, except the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine, in the state. This was stated here today by Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, convener of the morcha, while inaugurating the party office in the MLA hostel.

Baba Bedi told mediapersons that the morcha would contest all 117 Punjab Assembly seats. Candidates would be asked to declare their assets before the filing of their nomination papers. Negotiations were on to clinch an electoral tie-up with the Bahujan Samaj Party. Likewise, efforts were being made to rope in the CPI and CPM to defeat the Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance, he said.

Asked about unity with the SAD, Baba Bedi said that first Mr Parkash Singh Badal should appear at Akal Takht and seek pardon for denigrating the supreme Sikh institution.

He was accompanied by Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta.

Opposing the saffronisation of education, Mr Calcutta said that it was unfortunate that Mr Badal did not send his any representative at the meeting called by the West Bengal Chief Minister in Delhi to oppose the BJP’s agenda on the saffronisation.

Morcha leaders said that they were opposed to the enlisting of sehajdharis as voters to elect the SGPC House.

The morcha has decided to stage dharnas at district headquarters to protest against the Punjab Government’s failure to tackle unemployment and the economic decline of the state. On September 10, the dharna will be held at Moga, on September 11 at Bathinda, on September 12 at Sangrur and on September 14 at Patiala.


Set up commission: Baba Bedi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The convener of the Panthic Morcha, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, has demanded setting up of a judicial commission to look into allegations and counter allegations made by both the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, against each other on the issue of their immovable properties. 

Talking to newsmen here this morning, Baba Bedi said the people of Punjab wanted to know the truth about the immovable properties of both Mr Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh. “Let a judicial commission hold a thorough probe and come out with the truth,” he added.


7 doctors chargesheeted for absenteeism
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 7
Even as the Principal Secretary, Health has charge-sheeted six Medical Officers and a Senior Medical Officer on the charge of absenteeism, Dr Bhushan Aggarwal, Medical Officer, Isapur subsidiary centre (near Ajnala), has been found indulging in private practice.

The Senior Medical Officer, Dr Harjap Singh Mahal, has been charge-sheeted for encouraging absenteeism. The charge sheets have been received by the office of the Civil Surgeon.

Dr Aggarwal was found practising at the local Kakkar Hospital by a team led by Dr A.S. Sandhu, Civil Surgeon, Dr Rishipal Singh, a PCS officer (Public Grievances Officer), Dr Kanwaljit Singh, Assistant Civil Surgeon, and Dr G.K. Uppal, District Family Welfare Officer.

When contacted, Dr Sandhu, Civil Surgeon, said he had recommended to the government to suspend the services of Dr Aggarwal. However, sources said after the raid, Dr Aggarwal had submitted his resignation as PCMS officer. The raiding team took away the hospital register showing regular entries by Dr Aggarwal.

The sources said Dr Aggarwal used to assist the hospital in kidney transplantation operations.

The Civil Surgeon is also probing into the involvement of staff who would mark proxy attendance. 


Row over identity of cremated woman
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Sarmastpur (Jalandhar), September 7
In an unusual incident, the mysterious cremation of a 24-year-old woman in this village on July 9 has confounded the villagers with two families of different villages claiming their right on the deceased.

What has put the people of area in a quandary is that Narinder Singh of Bajaja village in Kapurthala district and his family lays claim on the deceased saying that it was their daughter, Kulwinder Kaur Kinder who, according to them, had been tortured to death by her in-laws, including her husband Amrik Singh of this village. However, the family of Amrik Singh, which has deserted the village since the registration of a case against them, maintains that it was not Kinder but their ailing unmarried daughter who was cremated in the village cremation ground on July 9 after her untimely death.

Narinder Singh and his family members refused to believe the in-laws of Kinder, and asserted that after killing and cremating Kinder, her in-laws have sent their daughter to some other place to avoid police action.

Interestingly, the parents of Kinder, admit that she had defied them by going to live with her husband even after a mutual divorce was effected between the two with the intervention of the village panchayat last year. The other side, however, maintained that the parents of Kinder, who was married to Amrik on April 6, 1997, were trying to implicate them falsely by getting a case of dowry death registered against them after “sending” her to some undisclosed place.

Narinder Singh and his wife alleged that after divorce, Kinder had got admission in a Jalandhar-based nursing school but somehow Amrik contacted her and re-established relationship with her. He enticed her to live with him without taking them into confidence. Her return to her divorced husband had angered them and they had severed their ties with their daughter and had no knowledge about her till they got a letter from her on June 27, in which she had repented her decision to return to her husband and had clearly indicated that she was going to be “eliminated” by her in-laws.

Showing copies of the letter to this correspondent, Narinder Singh, said Amrik had promised Kinder to get her studies completed and to take care of her child, but instead, he along with his family had tortured her to death to avenge her for her “folly” of divorcing him earlier. The deceased, according to Narinder Singh, had also urged him to hand over her letter to a “thanedar” of Kishangarh police chowki so that he could take action against the four persons responsible for her plight. “I was shocked when her in-laws informed us next day that Kinder had left the house on June 27 and it was their daughter who was cremated on July 8. When we approached the reluctant police officials, they just detained Amrik Singh, thus giving a chance to others to flee the village,” Narinder Singh alleged.

When the TNS reached the village, it was found that the house of Amrik Singh had been locked for the past two months. Neighbours denied any knowledge about the fate of Kinder, but maintained that Amrik’s sister was suffering from diabetes for long and was cremated the same day. But in the same breath they admitted that Kinder used to get thrashing at the hands of her in-laws. But Narinder and his family questioned the version of neighbours saying if it was Amrik’s sister who had died on July 8, what was the need for family to leave their house without informing anybody in the neighbourhood?


Congress candidates will have to ‘declare’ assets
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 7
Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, Congress MP said the Congress candidates for the coming assembly elections would have to declare their movable and immovable assets before contesting the elections.

Mr Brar while talking to mediapersons here today said he would declare all his assets on November1. This would bring transparency in the working of the party, he said.

He said the SAD-BJP combine had declared during the last assembly elections that all MLAs of their alliance would declare their assets within 90 days of their election but even the Chief Minister had failed to do so. Replying to a question he said the list of the properties of Mr Badal issued by the PPCC president must have been issued on specific information.

Commenting on the Lok Pal and the corruption issue Mr Brar said the Chief Minister and even the Prime Minister should be brought under the purview of the Lok Pal to prevent corruption at public places.

He alleged that Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla and Mr Virsa Singh, who had been facing various charges, had been given lucrative postings in the Punjab Public Service Commission and the Subordinate Services Selection Board by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Commenting on the import of cotton from the USA and Australia he said he would talk to the Union Agriculture Minister in this connection and urge him to protect the interests of the farmers.


BJP leader’s clarification

APROPOS a news report ‘‘BJP leaders seek removal of Nakra’’ published in The Tribune dated September 1, the Secretary of the BJP’s Hoshiarpur district unit, Mr Om Parkash Kapoor, has contradicted the news and termed it as ‘‘false and frivolous’’.

He clarified that there was no lack of coordination between the district party president, Mr Hans Raj Nakra, and the local minister, Mr Tikshan Sood. He denied collection of money by any party worker. The error is regretted.


BKU conference at Khadoor Sahib mela
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 7
On the second day of the three-day mela at Khadoor Sahib,, the Bharati Kisan Union organised a conference today to press its demand. Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, President of the union while addressing a gathering declared that the union would extend support in the Assembly election to that political party which assure the waiver of loans of the farming sector.

Mr Lakhowal said as the Panthic Morcha had no scope of forming the next government in the state, the union would have alliance with SAD or the Congress.


At 85, she’s no proud mother of five sons
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 7
Eighty five-year-old Mohinder Kaur of Doraha, near here, is no proud mother of her five sons. Rather, she is helpless and desperate, lonely and ignored for having been turned out at this age by her youngest son, with whom she was living after transferring the share of her property in his name.

Mohinder Kaur has nine children. Five sons and four daughters. After the death of her husband, she decided to stay with her youngest son Surjeet Singh, whom she loved the most. Her husband had distributed his property in six equal parts, five for his five sons and the sixth for his wife.

The four older sons decided to pool Rs 40,000 each and deposit the amount in a bank. The interest on this amount was to be given to the mother for her daily expenses, while the principal would have remained theirs only. Since Mohinder Kaur was to stay with her youngest son, he did not pool his share. The elder brothers also did not mind it as long as Surjeet took care of their mother.

For more than 20 years, things went right for Mohinder Kaur. But one fine day Surjeet wanted that she transfer her share of land (of few acres) to his name, as she was living with him. The unsuspecting mother, readily agreed and the land was transferred to Surjeet’s name.

“And that was the end of it. All the love and respect I got from my son seemed to have vanished as he started turning hostile”, Mohinder Kaur revealed. However, she has no grievance against her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren who treated her nicely. “I feel upset over the treatment my son meted to me, while my daughter-in-law and the children (grand) were quite nice to me”, she said, with tears in her eyes that are hardly able to seen anything through a pair of thick lenses.

Mohinder Kaur was made to feel like an alien in her own home as her son did not allow his wife and children to talk to her. “I loved him the most since he was the youngest of all”, she recalls, while regretting her fate. “I could never imagine that I would become so helpless”, she said. She did not tell about her situation, even her two other sons. Two of her sons have passed away.

Ultimately one of her daughters, Pritam Kaur, who is a teacher, took her to her house. For the past two years, Mohinder Kaur is living with her daughter at Sunet, near here. None of her sons has cared to see her during these two years. She admits, “The others (her other sons and their families) genuinely say why should they bother about me now, when I had myself made the choice to stay with Surjeet”.

Her daughter takes good care of her sensitivities and ensures that she feels comfortable. Yet she is depressed and hurt.

Mohinder Kaur today presented herself before the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S. R. Kaler, seeking the return of the property she had transferred to Surjeet. “I do not want any property, what should I do with it at this age, but I just want to make her realise that you have not been fair to your own mother”, she says in a broken tone. 


Paswan summons meeting on coal mines
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 7
Union Coal Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has summoned a meeting of Coal India Ltd and coal mine officials on September 10 in New Delhi to streamline the working of the department. This was stated by Mr Paswan while talking to the mediapersons at DAV College, Phillaur, today and said he would make efforts to modernise the department and safeguard the interests of nearly six lakh labourers working in coal mines throughout the country. He added that he would visit all coal mines after the meeting.

Replying to a question he expressed satisfaction over his changed portfolio and said he had accepted the challenge.

When asked about his programme to strengthen his party, the Jan Lok Shakti, and its participation in the state assembly election, Mr Paswan said his party would try to enter the poll fray with the consent of its NDA partners in Punjab.

He was in DAV college to inaugurate an information technology centre.

He inaugurated Lila Wanti Sardar Singh Narang complex today.

Punjab Social Welfare Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, NRI Narotam Singh Narang, DAV College Managing Committee vice-president R.S. Sharma, besides college Principal A.K. Vaid, Principal M.L. Asray, college managing committee chairman S.K. Malhotra, SDM Sandeep Hans and DSP Satinder Singh were also present on the occasion.

Principal A.K. Vaid gave a detailed report of the college while Principal R.S. Sharma told about the DAV movement.


PNB move to shift RO alarms rice millers
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 7
The move to shift the regional office (RO) of the Punjab National Bank here which conducts an annual business of Rs 750 crore has evoked unrest among rice millers of the district as most mills are financed by the bank.

Interestingly, the profit of the RO, Ferozepore, is Rs 15 crore annually as compared with the RO, Bathinda, whose profit is Rs 5 crore. Sources on condition of anonymity averred that the move was politically motivated.

Residents of the town say the shifting of the RO from Ferozepore to Bathinda will sound the deathknell of the already crippled economy of the town. When contacted, Mr C.M. Mahna, Regional Manager, admitted that a move was afoot to merge the RO here with the RO at Bathinda, which was far lagging behind in terms of business and profitability.

He said that two directors of the bank, Mr K.D. Khera and Mr P.R. Mehta, were conducting a high-level meeting at Delhi to discuss views and reactions of different segments of society regarding the move.

It is learnt that the Board of the Directors of the bank are expected to take a final decision on the matter at the next meeting after deliberating on the pros and cons of any such move. 


Contractor blames PSEB for stoppage of work
Our Correspondent

Sunam, September 7
The alleged indifferent attitude and non-cooperation of the local PSEB authorities has led to the stoppage of widening of a 500 ft long stretch on the Sunam-Patiala road, near 66 KVA grid substation here, despite the fact that the road contractor had already deposited the requisite amount with the PSEB for shifting of electricity poles installed on the berms along the road.

Mr Tirath Rai Sharma, the contractor, alleged that he had deposited Rs 77,000 with the PSEB more than two months ago for shifting of the poles but to no avail. He said he did not know why the PSEB authorities were harassing him as he had been losing about Rs 10,000 daily in terms of non-use of permanent labour and road construction material and machinery, due to their non-cooperation.

The contractor further alleged that non-shifting of poles had also made this stretch accident-prone. Many minor accidents had occurred due to non-widening of road on the one side of the divider. 


Bathinda police launches website
Pushpesh Kumar

Bathinda, September 7
The police added one more feather to its cap by launching the first of its kind website in the state, today. The official website, was launched today by the district police chief, Dr Jatinder Jain.

Dr Jain said the website would help the police to become more people-friendly and responsible. Now even the FIRs could be registered on the website and the fate of the complaints lodged with the police could also be tracked on the net. The website would be updated daily for the FIRs and complaints and on a weekly basis for the crime graph etc.

Dr Jain said the complaint branch of the district police had been fully computerised and during the next six months paper work required to register the complaint would be phased out. All pending FIRs have been put on the net so that the complainants may keep track of the progress.

The website also gives the telephone numbers, names of officers, ranks, postings, transfers and vacancies etc. “More the transparency more the efficiency” Dr Jain said. Giving a demonstration of the website, Dr Jain said that all suggestions, complaints, FIRs, data and statistics of the crime (past 10 years) would be available on the net. The Internet facility being provided at 29 focal points of the district would be very helpful for the rural people who need not travel to the city to meet the SSP or to lodge a complaint with the higher police officials.

All activities of police, including welfare, de-addiction and traffic management have been given on the website. Dr Jain said the “prevent crime” section had been designed to help people and take safety precautions. The list of proclaimed offenders of the district has also been made public under “Bathinda’s most wanted” section. He also announced his e-mail address for the public, [email protected], which would also be accessed daily.

The district police also got a radar-based instrument to detect the speed of the vehicles. The instrument imported at a cost of about Rs 3 lakh calculates the speed of the vehicle and gives a print-out of the same to be used as an evidence to punish the culprit. A few months ago the district police had procured alcometers which are used to detect drunkard driving.


Mother-in-law held in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, September 7
Raj Rani (23), wife of Manjit Singh of Kalanpor in the district, who was admitted to the Civil Hospital here with 80 per cent burns yesterday succumbed to her burns today.

The deceased in her dying declaration before the Judicial Magistrate had said that Bachan Kaur, her mother-in-law, Gopal Singh, father-in-law, Sonu, brother-in-law, and Seema, sister-in-law allegedly sprinkled kerosene on her and set her on fire at 9 a.m. in the morning yesterday.

Her in-laws had estranged from her because she could not fulfil their repeated demands for more dowry. When she insisted to visit her parents at Gurdaspur the accused set her on fire, she added.

The Kalanaur police has registered a case under Section 302, 498 and 34, IPC. Bachan Kaur has been sent to police custody. Remaining accused have absconded. 


Son held for chaining widow
Our Correspondent

Attari (Amritsar), September 7
In a bizarre incident, Paramjit Kaur, a widow was allegedly chained and mercilessly beaten up by her son Harjit, and her brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Roran Wali Kalan village in their bid to force her to give up her claim on two acres of land which was bequeathed to her by her late husband. Gharinda police station was informed of the pathetic state of Paramjit Kaur (42) by her neighbour, Subedar Makhan Singh, the last month. The police immediately raided the house and rescued her.

Paramjit Kaur told the police that her son, aged 20, had been forcing her to give up her two acres of land to him allegedly at the behest of her brother-in-law and his wife. She added that fearing threats from her son she had been living in the city but when she visited the village on August 30 she was mercilessly beaten up and were chained.

She said she was confined in a room and chained by her son and brother-in-law who did not provide her any food or water during the captivity.

The police has arrested Harjit Singh and Jassa Singh, her brother-in-law under Sections 342, 347, 385, 323 and 34 while her sister-in-law and other members of the family had absconded.


B. Pharmacy seats lying vacant
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, September 7
Efforts of the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to replace the diploma course in pharmacy with the degree course, may not receive the expected result in Punjab, if the admissions in the upgraded colleges this year are any indication.

The Punjab Government had given the permission to nine colleges in the state to start the B-Pharmacy course with 430 seats. But even after two counselling sessions conducted on August 18 and August 24-25, by the Punjab State Council for Technical Education, about 30 per cent of the seats are still lying vacant.

The Shivalik College of Pharmacy and Bela College in this district have managed to fill just about 50 seats out of the total 80 allotted to them. The situation in these colleges was much better than other colleges situated in far-flung areas of the state according to sources.

Sources in effected colleges, on the condition of anonymity, blamed the hefty fees and the quota system adopted for admissions in the course, for the sluggish admissions in B-Pharma. The fee for the paid seat of B-Pharma is Rs 66,000 and that of merit or open seat Rs 30,000. In contrast, colleges in the South offer paid seats for Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000.

In addition, the Council for Technical education adopted a quota system for the admissions to the course according to which the seats have been divided equally among medical, non-medical and the pharmacy students. Non-medical and diploma in pharmacy students did not show much interest in the course during the first counselling session. Then the council decided to form a joint merit of the students in second session. However, even this move failed to attract the students for the course.

The sources told that now the council may allow the colleges to fill the seats on their own. However, even this move alone may not attract the students. A reduction in fees could do the trick. Also until the diploma course in pharmacy was banned, few students would opt for the degree course.


Youth Cong for  ban on tuitions
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 7
The Youth Congress (Urban) today demanded action against professors and lecturers of government and government-aided colleges who give private tuitions.

The President of the Youth Congress (Urban), Mr Sanjeev Sharma, along with his delegation met the authorities of Punjabi University, Patiala, and presented a memorandum to the Dean, Colleges, Mr Janak Gupta, regarding the illegal tuitions network operated by the lecturers and professors of government and government-aided colleges.

He said students suffered at the hands of such irresponsible teachers whose main ambition was minting money. 

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