Wednesday, September 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Rs 20 cr pipe purchase scam
Vigilance gives interim report
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau, inquiring into the purchase of pipes worth about Rs 20 crore for rural drinking water projects by the Public Health Department, in its interim report to the government has stated that the pipes bought were not only in excess of the requirements but also of poor quality.

Informed sources told TNS today that the vigilance report did not rule out the involvement of politicians and engineers in the UPVC (unplasticised polyvinyl chloride) pipe purchase scam.

It has also observed that at several places, say in Mansa, newly installed pipes had already burst being of substandard quality. Several batches of the purchased pipes failed laboratory tests confirming a complaint by the All-India PVC Pipe Manufacturers Association that the purchase did not conform to the prescribed BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) specifications in terms of the material used, thickness, diameter, withstanding water pressure per sq cm, etc.

Moreover, the purchases effected were in excess by at least 60 per cent of the actual requirements. Interestingly, other components of the rural drinking water projects, namely overhead reservoirs, tubewells and related equipment, were missing in the execution of the scheme for which a loan had been procured from Nabard. Not even 10 per cent of the actual work had been initiated on rural water supply and the stress was mainly on the purchase of pipes.

The sources said the association was peeved over the manner in which the purchases were made by the Public Health Chief Engineer (South) from a ‘’single’’ firm (based in Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh) outside Punjab, ignoring the existence of small-scale manufacturers in the state. Even the Minister concerned, the association alleged, showed indifference to the genuine cause of the units in Punjab.

The association had also sent its complaint to the Prime Minister as well levelling serious allegations of irregularities, financial and material, committed by Public Health Department officials besides many others.

The present inquiry by the Vigilance Bureau has been initiated at the behest of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Though the association wanted the probe to be entrusted to either the Central Vigilance Commission or the Central Bureau of Investigation, apprehending that the state agency may hush up the complaint, now it seems that the interim report has supported its complaint. The final report is expected to be made available to the government in the next fortnight or so, confirmed highly placed sources.

There are reports that when the association first raised this issue with the Minister concerned a couple of months ago, he promised an inquiry and later a ‘’clean chit’’ was given to those involved in the purchase from the Parwanoo firm. This was despite serious allegations, some substantiated with proof by way of laboratory test reports. But the vigilance inquiry has now apparently proved the Minister wrong. The interim report points a finger at the political executive as well.

In fact, the Vigilance Bureau is also looking into a similar scam in purchases in the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board. Enquiries by TNS and the association complaint that formed the basis of the present vigilance probe revealed that the use the substandard pipes could pose a major threat to the health of people.

The price paid for the Parwanoo pipes was much higher than what Punjab units were offering. The vigilance report quotes the price differences, including the higher excise duty the department chose to pay (16 per cent) against just 9.6 per cent that it would have paid to Punjab manufacturers.

All along the Punjab Controller of Stores was aware of the goings-on and reportedly his correspondence was ignored by the Public Health Department, the association had alleged. 


Harmful aerosols threaten Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
In 1999, a US satellite set the alarm bells ringing in the Meteorological Department of the Union Government by sending a report about a big aerosol hanging over Punjab.

Aerosol is smoke or fog which hangs thick in the air.

Experts, who studied the phenomenon, came out with a report that it was a huge mass of harmful gasses, especially carbon dioxide, emitted from paddy fields set on fire by farmers to quickly dispose of stumps to clear the area for wheat sowing. Luckily, that aerosol drifted away in a few days.

Punjab will witness many more such dangerous aerosols in the atmosphere if the practice of burning of wheat and paddy stumps is not stopped by the authorities. Such aerosols stop the process of radiation and actually adversely affect the yield of various crops.

In an exclusive interview, Dr J.S. Samra, Deputy Director-General, Natural Resources Management, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, told TNS today that the mechanised harvesting of paddy and wheat was producing a large amount of anchored as well as loose residues. Over 90 per cent of the paddy and 80 per cent of the wheat was harvested by combine harvesters in the state.

Assuming a residue yield of 6 tonnes per hectare of crop, Punjab is producing about 15 million tonnes of paddy and 20 million tonnes of wheat residue. Almost all of this was burnt. Very little dry fodder was prepared from wheat straw.

Emission from the burnt straw contained 70 per cent of carbon dioxide, 0.66 per cent of methane and 2.09 per cent of nitrous oxide. Such gasses had a very long atmospheric life. For instance, carbon dioxide took over 100 years to disappear from the atmosphere. Likewise, nitrous oxide takes nearly 170 years. They formed aerosols in the atmosphere by accumulating over a certain period.

Dr Samra said that such aerosols reduced radiation by about 13 per cent and biomass productivity by about 15 per cent because of aerosol-radiation-temperature-carbon dioxide interactions.

He urged the state government to take effective measures to stop the recurrence of such a phenomenon by stopping atmospheric pollution and improving the physical conditions of the soil through biological activities.

He said that world over scientists, especially those engaged in research on agriculture, were laying stress on the management of resources like soil and water conservation .

Drawing the Punjab Government’s attention towards the sowing of paddy in the state, Dr Samra said that by paying a little bit of attention, the state could save the depletion of sub-soil water resources to a large extent.


Lure of the West lands more in jail
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, September 25
Another two groups of about 10 Punjabi youths wanting to go to the west have landed in custody of the Turkey police and in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Central Jail, thanks to unscrupulous travel agents.

With this, the number of Punjabi youths languishing in Baluchistan Central Jail has swelled from 29 to 33. Twentynine Punjabis had been reportedly pushed into Pakistan by the Iranian authorities. They landed in the Baluchistan jail while trying to sneak into Italy through Turkey and Greece in February.

Ten Punjabi youths from Nawanshahr, Fatehgarh Sahib and Moga districts reached Lebanon on March 23, where they came into contact with another group of travel agents, who allegedly promised that they would be smuggled into Italy via Greece along with about 150 Pakistanis at a price of Rs 1.30 lakh each. The Lebanon-based agents then took them to Turkey and made them stay in two different hotels. But they were detained by the Turkish police during a midnight raid on the hotels.

The arrested Indians and Pakistanis, according to Gurvinder Singh of Gulpur village in Nawanshahr district who was a member of the group and has managed to come back to India, huddled into two buses by the Turkish authorities and pushed into the Iranian territory the next day. As they entered the Iran, they were arrested. The Iranian police allegedly detained a few Pakistanis and five Indians and pushed the rest into Pakistan.

Gurvinder saved himself by concealing his identity but Gurnam Singh, another youth from Raipur Garhi of this district, was not so lucky. He was jailed in Baluchistan along with three other Punjabis. “While in Teheran, our group stayed in a gurdwara and was helped by a trader, Karnail Singh. He got some travel documents for us from the Indian Embassy in Iran. I landed at the Mumbai airport on September 14,” said Gurvinder Singh.

Meanwhile, the parents of Gurnam Singh have got a letter from their son, requesting them to take up his case as that of fellow Punjabi youths with the Indian authorities.

“We have contacted the local MLA who has promised to take up the case with the Punjab Chief Minister and to get the recognition papers and other documents required to secure the release of our son from the Pakistani authorities,” said Gurbux Singh, father of Gurnam Singh.


15 agents, board secy suspended
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 25
The licences of 15 commission agents have been suspended while a secretary of Mandi Board has been placed under suspension in the district on the complaints made by paddy growers.

The district administration has also impounded five combine harvesters which were harvesting paddy after the restricted hours.

Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, said during a surprise check by the district mandi board, it was found that the commission agents in Abohar mandi were not properly cleaning the paddy which arrived in the grain markets. It was also found that the paddy was being sold less than the minimum support price (MSP). He said in connivance with the officials of various procurement agencies, commission agents and millers were forcing the growers to make distress sale of their produce.

The names of the commission agents whose licences have been cancelled include Kashmiri Lal, Raja Trading, Vijay Paul and Sons, Kundan Lal/Vijay Lal, Harnam Singh, Jagan Nath, Tarlok Chand - Subash Chander, Dhawan Brothers, Zimindara Traders, Darshan Lal, Chetan Kumar, Gheru Lal, Bal Chand, Bansal Traders, Bhyani Trading Company, Lajinder Singh -Santokh Singh (Abohar). Mr Ladhar said on his recommendation, Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, had suspended, Secretary, Mandi Board, Abohar, who was found absent during surprice checking of the grain market.

The district administration has imposed a ban under Section 144 for harvesting of paddy before 6 a.m. and after 6 p.m. by the carbines so that the grains do not get moisture during the process. However, the combines which were found violating the orders have been impounded, Mr Ladhar said. He further said many commission agents had been violating the rules prescribed for procurement.

It was noticed that many agents did not clean the produce with 2 horse power cleaners as prescribed in the rules. He said action would be taken against all those who would violate the rules.

The border district has already procured 3.86 metric tonnes of paddy. The district has procured only 45,518 mt during the corresponding period, last year. In all more than 101 lakh mt is expected to arrive by the end of the season.

In Amritsar much of the procurement was made by the millers where 75 per cent of the produce was that of “sharbati”. Dr Makhan Singh, District Food and Supplies Controller, said various procurement agencies had procured 39,086 tonnes of paddy while the millers purchased 43,684 tonnes. The total procurement recorded in the district was 82,770 tonnes. Since Amritsar was one of the districts where early arrival was recorded every year, so the farmers have already made distress sale of their produce before the official purchase.

However, the farmers, especially in the border townships are facing a lot of problems because of the commission agents and the procurement staff.

No action has been taken against anybody in the district despite the hue and cry raised by the farmers.


70 pc decline in foreign tourists
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
“Due to recent crisis, the proposed trip of 15 top American journalists stand cancelled. You are requested to deactivate all your arrangements including transportation and guide etc.”

This was the fax message sent by Sanjay Razdan of Razdan Holidays, New Delhi to Varinderjit of Times Travels, Amritsar. The eminent journalist from the USA were scheduled to arrive in the next week on a familiarisation trip.

Mr Varinderjit said more than 70 per cent decline in the foreign tourists’ visit was witnessed after the attacks in America. The decline was basically due to the district’s contiguity to Pakistan and Afghanistan which was going to be a war zone. He said foreigners normally carry maps and they found India very close to Afghanistan from geographical point of view.

Various travel agents, interviewed by TNS said the tourism industry which had suffered a lot due to decade-long terrorism in Punjab was heading for “doom’s days” due to heightened tension in the region. They said every day they receive message for the cancellation of trips by the foreigners and not even a single confirmation was reported in the last fortnight. In this way many families which were dependent on tourism industry would face extremely bad days once again.

Jalandhar and Amritsar are stated to be the worst-affected districts.

The prevailing situation has adversely affected the hotel and transport industry as this is considered as peak season as far as tourism is considered. On an average 300 foreigners from various parts of the world visit Amritsar every month. The hotels which would see advance bookings for foreigners, are empty these days. Though a majority of foreigners have crossed over to India due to tension in Pakistan yet hardly a few have opted for hotels as the SGPC has offered free board and lodging to them.

The travel agents said while the Government of America had announced to invest sufficient amount in the airlines industry after the attacks the Government of India has yet to wake from the slumber.

Apart from Golden Temple, the foreigners, especially from America and Great Britain visit Punjab to have the feel of the native places of Punjabis who had migrated to Europe and western countries in good strength.

Since Amritsar is a strategic, being a border district and, it is being visited every year by the defence analysts of various countries. Senior Army officers, above the rank of colonels from the National War College, Washington, also pay their visits to the city very often.

The insiders say it would take at least five years to revive the tourism industry in Punjab.


4 caught for printing fake currency
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 25
The police has busted a fake-currency racket and arrested four persons, including a computer operator, besides seizing fake currency worth Rs 86,000.

The District Police Chief, Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, said the mastermind behind the racket was a man called Baba Trikaal, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, who had been living in Gur Nanak Nagar here. The Baba has absconded.

The SSP said the Baba and his gang had been using a computer, a scanner and a printer to produce the fake currency. He said the gang first won the trust of potential victims by offering genuine currency under a “double your money” scheme. After this, the gang used to circulate fake currency among those who had participated in the “double your money” scheme.

Mr Grewal said, besides this, the gang also used to buy petrol and liquor using the fake currency. Some of the gang members often approached shopkeepers, asking them for Rs 100 or Rs 50 change, to dispose of the fake notes.

The District Police Chief said an anonymous person had complained that three persons — Iqbal Singh of Daulatpur, Sukhwinder Singh ‘Sukha’ of Rasulpur Joran and Baldev Singh of Anandpur Amarian — were dealing in fake currency. He said, following this, a case had been registered at the Sadar police station and a raid had been conducted in the city that had led to the arrest of two men — Iqbal and Sukhwinder — and seizing of fake currency worth Rs 15,300 and Rs 13,000 respectively, from them.

Mr Grewal said, when interrogated, these two men told the police that they had other accomplices as well. Following this, residences of Gursimran Singh, computer operator in a private firm, and a man called Baldev Singh were raided. The SSP said, besides Baba Trikaal, the police was also searching for a man called Munna Lal, who had absconded with Rs 60,000 in fake currency.


Baba remains elusive
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 25
Baba Piara Singh, wanted in the “bir” burning case, remained elusive for the third day today even as the police today used sniffer dogs to locate him in the forest.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, when asked about the progress in the case told that seven police teams along with sniffer dogs had been combing the forest area. Till the filing of this report they, however, could not locate the Baba.

Meanwhile, during a search carried out at the dera today a hand-written Guru Granth Sahib was found by the police officials at the dera of the Baba. The “bir” was found lying in a locked box. On finding the “bir” the district administration informed the Jathedar, Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, about it. The Jathedar along with the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, went to the dera of the Baba and brought back the “bir”.

While talking to the correspondent on telephone the Jathedar said he was informed that the “bir” was an old hand-written version. It was being kept in a wooden box, against the religious norms. He added that the local leaders of the area met him and expressed satisfaction at the police action.


DGP in Indian delegation to Interpol session
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Mr Sarabjit Singh, Director-General of Police, Punjab, has been nominated a member of the Indian delegation to the 70th general assembly session of the ICPO-Interpol at Budapest. He thus becomes the first Punjab police chief to be nominated to attend the Interpol general assembly session.

Mr Sarabjit Singh may present a paper on terrorism at the eight-day session which ends on September 29. He left for Budapest tonight.

The Indian delegation will be led by Mr P.C. Sharma, Director, Central Bureau of Investigation. The other members are Mr V.V. Bhaskar (DGP, Karnataka), Mr H.K. Deka (DGP, Assam), Mr O.P. Arya (Joint Secretary, Police, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Mr N. Balachandran (Joint Director, CBI).


Cong promises bonus to farmers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 25
While the state Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, managed to get an increase in the minimum support price of paddy and assured the farmers that every single grain of paddy would be procured, the state unit of the Congress went a step further to woo the farmers of the state by issuing advertisements in newspapers today that if the Congress came to the power a bonus of Rs 30 per quintal would be given.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) in an advertisement issued today said the farmers should get the “pucci parchi (J form)” while selling their paddy this season. The photocopy of the form is to be submitted to the block office of the party. The PPCC in the advertisement alleged that the minimum support price of paddy was not hiked as compared to the raising costs of inputs and overhead charges.

While the procurement agencies have been complaining that their godowns have been filled to the capacity with the stocks of paddy and there was a shortage of space this season the populist measures of the government have added to the woes of these agencies.

In addition to storage problems, the decreasing quality of rice, the fall in water table and the alleged harassment of farmers at the hands of the procurement officials last year has led to a decrease in paddy cultivation this year.


Withdraw false cases: Cong men
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 25
Congressmen of the Nangal Assembly constituency organised a rally last evening against the alleged political victimisation of their workers. Addressing the rally the PPCC Secretary, Mr Bhupesh Sharma, alleged that false police cases were being registered against the Congress workers at the behest of the ruling party. He said Gopal Chand, a septuagenarian worker of Changrian village had been booked for causing grave injury to some persons. The fact, however, was he was weak and suffering from severe ailments. He was not in a position to cause injury to anyone and the case against him was politically motivated.

Similarly a case has been registered against the sarpanch of Daroli village, under the Schedule Caste Atrocity Act. The fact was that he had tried to stop encroachment on the panchayat land by some workers of the ruling party.

Mr Bhupesh Sharma alleged that the government workers who were suspected of having alliance with the Congress are being harassed.


Panthic Morcha stages dharna
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 25
Activists of the Panthic Morcha, and other Sikh bodies members today staged a dharna in front of the local city police station to demand the arrest of those who had desecrated the Guru Granth Sahib at Pandori village recently.

Since protesters squatted on the road, traffic on the Phagwara-Banga road was disrupted and had to be diverted. The dharna continued for over an hour. Harbel Singh Pahwa of SHSAD and Ashok Sandhu of the BSP were among those who addressed the gathering.


Jayanti Dam land to be acquired
Villagers to be compensated
Nishikant Dwivedi

Seonk (Kharar), September 25
About 136 acres of land submerged under the reservoir of the Jayanti Dam here, built under the Kandi area development scheme, is being acquired from villagers who have not been paid a penny by way of compensation in the past three years.

The lands could not be acquired earlier as the scheme was aided by the World Bank, which pulled out in July 1998. The World Bank had pulled out as they did not renew their agreement allegedly under protest due to Punjab’s populist schemes.

Now, using emergency powers under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the Punjab Government would be issuing a fresh notice under Section 4 of the Act to acquire the land much to the relief of villagers.

An official in the KAD said payments to villagers having share in the 136.04 acre reservoir area were not made as the land acquisition notification had lapsed because of shortage of funds. Now the KAD projects are being carried on with the assistance from National Agriculture and Development Bank (NABARD) and funds have come in.

Chandigarh Tribune in edition dated August 20 had highlighted problems being faced by over 300 dam oustees in the ‘Resettlement Colony of Jyanti Dam Oustee’ in the village. The residents were living without electricity and roads. So far the colony has only one tap. One acre of the land in the colony had become disputed and the oustee having alloted plot in the land were left in lurch.

The government recently issued notice under Section 4 of the Act to acquire the one acre land and notice under section 6 is expected within a week time. The land acquisition notice of the one acre land was earlier struck down by a court. Once, the land is acquired again, the 12 left out allottees will also be able to get plots.

In an attempt to solve the water problem of the oustees the government has deposited Rs 5 lakh (out of the estimated Rs 8 lakh) with the Public Health Wing of the Punjab Public Works Department for providing water supply. The work on laying the water supply line is expected to start within a fortnight. An official in the KAD said now the colony residents can install individual connections in their houses after paying nominal security charges.

It is also learnt that the electrification of the colony has already been completed. The KAD will also be constructing a community center in the colony and for the purpose about Rs 3 lakh will be sanctioned. An estimate of Rs 9 lakh has also been worked out to provide the civic amenities like drainage and internal roads in the colony. A KAD official claims that the amount is likely to sanctioned in a week’s time.

It is also learned that laying of distribution pipes in the four villages — Seonk, Jayanti Majri, Ferozpur and Mullanpur-Garibdas — would commence in the next month. The estimated cost of laying the pipelines is Rs 60 lakh and about 500 hectares of land would be irrigated through it.


Residents cane-charged, traffic disrupted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 25
The traffic on the busy GT Road remained disrupted for about tow hours today following a mild cane charge on residents of the Maqsoodan locality holding a dharna near the Maqsoodan chowk, here in protest against the failure of the district police authorities in registering a case of abduction of a woman.

The situation went out of control for a while when the police resorted to mild cane charge to disperse the residents converged in front of the police station at Maqsoodan on the GT Road here. The residents mostly migrant labourers, in turn pelted the police with stones for about 10 minutes.

The situation was brought under control when senior police officials reached the spot and assured the residents that their demands would be accepted.

The residents were demanding that a case should be registered against Ajay Kumar, a resident of Sabzi Mandi, who had allegedly abducted a married woman Rubi (24) of the same area 25 days ago.

They alleged that the Maqsoodan police chowki in charge, Mr Surjeet Singh, had adopted an indifferent attitude towards their complaint and had failed to register an FIR, despite their several visits to the police station in the past 25 days. They demanded strict action against the police officials.

A case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC has been registered against Ajay Kumar on the complaint of Sodam, the husband of the abducted woman. “We have also sought an explanation from Maqsoodan police station in charge Surjeet Singh regarding his failure of register a case in the past 25 days”, Mr Rajiv Ahir, SP, said.

Meanwhile, the police has booked some residents, including Kalu, Arjun, Ganesh and Birju, under various Sections of the IPC for preventing the government servants in discharging their duties, besides causing minor injuries to police personnel.


Over 10,000 leave for Killianwali rally
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 25
A caravan of more than 150 buses and hundred of trucks carrying more than 10,000 persons led by Mr Didar Singh Bhatti and Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, president, Youth Akali Dal, was flagged off by Mr Rajeshpal Singh Lalli, a senior Akali leader, for the Kallianwali rally today.

Addressing people before their departure for the rally Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhatti and Mr Lalli said, “Mr Parkash Singh Badal is the undisputed leader of the Punjabis. He has always watched the interests of every section of society. That’s why he had been adjudged the top favourite leader of the state.”

Highlighting the achievements of the government and the party, they said Badal government had given concessions to traders, employees, industrialists or farmers. They said the Scheduled Castes and Backward Class persons had been given special incentives and the various schemes for their welfare like Shagun Scheme and allotment of five marla plots had been initiated. They said the interests of the state were safe in the hands of Mr Badal only. They said, “The Congress is number one enemy of the Punjabis and the so-called third front has been formed just to benefit the enemy.

Mr Ashok Sood, president, Municipal Council, Sirhind, Mr Rakesh Mitter, Mr Amarjeet Singh Kohli, social workers, and various Jathedars and municipal councillors of Sirhind and Bassi Pathana also addressed the gathering.

Interestingly, the president of the district unit of the SAD (B) and other leaders of the SAD (B) were conspicuous by their absence and members only of the Bhatti Lalli faction of the SAD (B), were present on the occasion.


2500 Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan

Moga, September 25
A contingent of 2,500 Sikh pilgrims will visit various Sikh shrines in Pakistan on the occasion of birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev in November.

The president of the Bhai Mardana Yadgar Society, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, said here today that he had a telephonic conversation with the president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC), Mr Sham Singh, in this regard.

“The Pakistan Government has allowed the society to send the contingent and the PSGPC has asked us to submit the list of pilgrims by October 18,” Mr Bhullar said.

He said Sikh pilgrims would be allowed to visit various shrines, including the birth place of Guru Nanak Dev-Nankana Sahib. PTI, UNI


Vegetable traders call off strike
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 25
Vegetable wholesalers and retailers here this evening withdrew their indefinite strike after an assurance by Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, that their grievances would be redressed soon. He also assured to make an enquiry into the snatching of some cash from a trader by some officials of the market committee.

The Deputy Commissioner promised that the president of the Vegetable Sellers Association would be taken into confidence whenever officials of the local market committee conducted raid on traders to check any type of evasion of market fees in future.

The matter was resolved when a deputation of traders met the Deputy Commissioner today.


Book of poems released
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 25
Dr J.S. Anand’s book of poems titled “Beyond Life! Beyond Death!!” was released by writer and critic Prof N.S. Tasneem at a function held at the local DAV College.

Prof Tasneem said Dr Anand had cut new ground in Indian English poetry not only with regards to the matter but also the style. Dr Anand’s treatment of death was also distinctive.

Earlier, Dr Prem Kumar, Professor of Management, Punjabi University, Guru Kashi Centre (Talwandi Sabo), inaugurated an exhibition of paintings by Kiran Preet Anand, based on Dr Anand’s book.


Farmers, arhtiyas protest
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 25
More than 100 farmers and arhtiyas have protested against the non-procurement of paddy in Phillaur mandi.

Protesters threatened to launch an agitation to press the authorities to purchase paddy in Phillaur. The procurement has been held up due to the absence from duty of Balbir Singh, Inspector, Punjab Agro Industries. It is learnt that the S.D.M. Phillaur, has sent a complaint against Inspector Balbir Singh to higher authorities.


Entry tax to make up for octroi loss
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar September 25
Even as the Punjab Government was under political compulsions to abolish octroi and its formal announcement is expected with in next few days, the octroi collection by the local municipal corporation had already dropped to Rs 6 lakh daily against the average collection of around Rs 10 to 13 lakh.

A senior functionary of the civic body preferring anonymity told The Tribune reporter today that after the assurance given by the senior minister of the state government that the octroi would be abolished by October 1, the collections had dropped considerably.

According to information collected from the Octroi Department the collections during last one week had come down to about Rs 5 to 6 lakh daily. He added that the total revenue from octroi as per the annual budget was expected around Rs 55 crore which was the mainstay for paying the salaries and for undertaking development projects in the city.

The Financial Commissioner, Local Government, Mr Rajesh Chhabra, while talking from Chandigarh said the corporations earn around Rs 500 cr annually from octroi. He said the government was planning to introduce entry fee tax which would meet at least 50 per cent of the revenue while the balance Rs 250 crore would be provided by the state government.

Mr Chhabra said the modalities and the rate of entry tax was being worked out. Commenting on the unauthorised marriage palaces, he said the municipal corporations have been directed to regularise these structures in accordance with the norms prescribed.


Teachers await appointment letters
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 25
Even as a committee established by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha had recommended the appointment of 1,288 teachers who were rejected during the recruitment of teachers in 1992 on flimsy grounds, these candidates have been awaiting appointment letters.

The Congress government had advertised 2,461 vacancies of schoolmaster, mistress, lecturer and vocational teacher in 1992 against which 7,737 teachers were selected by various selection panels.

After allegations from various quarters into large-scale irregularities, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha constituted a committee to inquire into the matter on March 11,1999. Mr Tota Singh, Education Minister, Punjab, headed the seven-member committee.

The committee recommended the removal of 1288 teachers who were appointed by the then Congress government but actually did not fall in the merit list. It also recommended the appointment of those who were “deliberately” placed below the 1288 selected teachers in the final merit list.

Sources said that the Education Department had initiated the process to remove the 1288 teachers, who were selected wrongly, which included 88 vocational teachers, 274 lecturers and 926 teachers of master cadre. The selection of the 6449 teachers was found to be as per merit. After the removal of the wrongly selected 1288 teachers, the candidates who were denied their appointments would be appointed, the sources said.

These candidates have formed a union to fight for their rights. They held a meeting at the Teachers Home, here late last evening. Ms Mukesh Lata, district president of the union, said while talking to this correspondent that even after nine years, justice eludes them. It has not been made clear whether the 1288 teachers who were selected wrongly had been served notices for their removal or not. Even the authorities were not cooperative in this regard, she alleged.


Jacob seeks report on Syndicate meeting
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Mr J.F.R. Jacob, Governor of Punjab and Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, has sought a detailed report on the last Syndicate meeting held at Chandigarh, presided over by the then Vice-Chancellor, Dr Harbhajan Sigh Soch. The report was sought on the basis of complaints made by the veteran CPI leader, Mr Satya Pal Dang, in which he had alleged that the Syndicate meeting had taken certain decisions in gross violation of rules.

Interestingly, the internal Syndics, Dr Jai Rup Singh, Professor, human genetics and Dr Shukdev Singh, Head of the Sanskrit Department, had also reportedly raised objections to the recording of proceedings of the Syndicate meeting. In his complaint to the Chancellor, Mr Dang had alleged that, “prima facie it can be said that at least some of the appointments violated not only principles of equity and justice but also rules and regulations of the university, not to speak of guidelines of UGC”. I don’t rule out possibility of the whole exercise having been undertaken to favour each other favourites”. Mr Dang had also sought the intervention of the Chancellor for reviewing the decisions taken by the Syndicate. He alleged that it was for the first time that the meeting of Syndicate was held at Chandigarh rather than Guru Nanak Dev University.

The internal Syndic, Dr Jai Rup Singh in his report to the Vice-Chancellor stated that the minutes of the last meeting of Dr Soch were inadvertently recorded. Quoting item number 30 of the agenda of Syndicate, he wrote that the appointment approved was for a total period of two years and not two years after the retirement. Similarly he quoted five other items which were “wrongly” recorded in the proceedings.

The meeting of the Syndicate was held on August 20 at Chandigarh while Dr Harbhajan Singh Soch retired on August 23 — two days after the meeting. The decisions of the Syndicate has already raised eye-brows in the academic circle.


16 chosen to be pace setting schools
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 25
As many as 16 schools, one from each of the 16 education blocks of Patiala district, have been selected to be developed as pace setting schools in the district by the Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council.

Disclosing this during the two-day orientation course in teaching technology here, the Chairman of the Punjab Elementary Education Committee, Dr T.R. Sharma, said Rs 50 lakh would be spent on constructing the boundary walls, classrooms and bathrooms and providing fans along with other needed infrastructure in the primary schools of Patiala Block III.

He added that the village panchayats were being involved in a big way in the project which had the potential of being extended to other regions of Punjab in the coming years. Speaking about the orientation course that concluded today, Dr Sharma said the course consisted of lectures on pedagogy, demonstrations, teaching skills and preparations of teaching aids.

The course was inaugurated by Mr Dalip Singh, Deputy DEO, Patiala. He lamented the poor performance by primary school students due to the non-availability of teachers in such schools. He thanked the Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council for having appointed 40 teachers in primary schools in order to cater to the 1,200 vacancies in Patiala district alone.

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