Saturday, November 3, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD-BJP combine may face 2 alliances
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
As the notification for the Assembly elections in Punjab is expected to be issued in the last week of next month, different political parties have become hyperactive to clinch alliances with like-minded parties.

The emerging scenario indicates there may be two major political alliances pitted against the ruling SAD-BJP combine in the elections. One will be the Congress and Left parties and the other the Panthic Morcha plus the BSP.

The CPI has almost finalised the nitty-gritty of a tie-up with the Congress. It has asked the Congress to allocate 28 constituencies to it. However, the matter is likely to be settled by allocating 15 to 17 constituencies.

The Congress is trying hard to rope in the CPM in the alliance. The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh, has reportedly held meetings with the general secretary of the CPM, Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, and the Secretary of the Punjab unit the CPM, Prof Balwant Singh.

Earlier there was talk of forming a CPM-led People’s Front by allying with like-minded parties, including the Samaj Bhalai Party headed by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia. But there seems to be a remote possibility of the emergence of such a front now.

Capt Amarinder Singh is believed to have told his party high command that the alliance with the CPM could be clinched by allotting five constituencies. The CPI has no objection to the Congress shaking hands with the CPM.

But the CPM is facing an internal crisis in Punjab. There are two groups — one led by Prof Balwant Singh, who is close to Mr Surjeet, and the other by Mr Mangat Ram Pasla. In fact, dissensions have hit the party from the top to the lowest level. The Pasla group is not eager for a tie-up with the Congress.

The Panthic Morcha is also on the verge of clinching an electoral agreement with the BSP headed by Mr Kanshi Ram. An announcement in this connection is expected soon. Several meetings have been held between Mr Kanshi Ram and senior leaders of the Morcha during the past few days.

Informed sources said that the sharing of seats between the two would be on a 50-50 basis. This alliance might contest all 117 Assembly seats. Mr Kanshi Ram has decided to allot the party ticket to even those belonging to the so-called upper castes, it is learnt.

The SAD headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal will continue its alliance with the BJP. It may also try to accommodate the Bahujan Samaj Morcha headed by Mr Satnam Singh Kainth. A powerful section of the SAD leaders is desperate for unity with a former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. However, there has been no progress on this front as Mr Tohra is at present not interested in any sort of reunion with Mr Badal.


Encroachments mar beauty of Ram Bagh
Ashok Sethi and Pawan Kumar

The Punjab government has undertaken an ambitious Rs 10 crore project to revive the historic glory of Ram Bagh, built by legendary Maharaja Ranjit Singh. But it is yet to decide about the three clubs that mar the beauty of the rich heritage.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh had a vision of creating Ram Bagh on the lines of the famous Shalimar Garden, Lahore. He would use the bagh as his summer palace. The bagh was named after the fourth Sikh master, Guru Ram Dass, founder of the holy city. Though the environmentalists and social activists have been up in arms to get the clubs removed, yet the authorities have turned a blind eye to this extremely genuine demand. Shockingly, it was the Britishers who first destroyed the garden by starting the clubs in the thirties for their own entertainment. Perhaps they did not know that Ram Bagh was built by the Maharaja in the name of his guru. However, the SAD-BJP government which is in the saddle now is fully aware about the historic significance of the garden, but it hesitates about taking correctives to stop the liquor which flows in the clubs during evenings.

An NGO had offered to take over Ram Bagh garden to preserve its old splendour and had urged the government to take immediate steps to remove the clubs which had encroached upon a large chunk of land in the complex. The land to these clubs was leased out by the Municipal Corporation for a nominal amount. The civic authorities have not taken any steps to check the growing encroachment by the clubs during the past five decades.

Some clubs have also been giving the premises for marriages, big functions and for organising public events much to the annoyance of the public as well as various social organisations who have been fighting to preserve the beauty of the garden that once housed the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Amritsar Vikas Manch and the Citizens’ Forum have taken up cudgels against the managements of the clubs as well as with the district administration to stop the vandalism of the most beautiful garden in the holy city. Although the authorities appear to have taken up the matter seriously, but once it comes to issuing notices to the clubs and to get the encroachments removed the administration turns a blind eye. After all, the city’s elite are members of these clubs!

Clubs are not the only sore spots. The Municipal Corporation has also leased out some area to a police post and to a milk booth. The civic body has also let out a portion of the garden to the Lions Club for a children’s park on the Madan Mohan Malviya Road side. The garden also has a lawn tennis complex.

The archaeological society and other societies connected with the preservation of heritage in the state have also decreed that the government is not serious in its approach to declare the monuments as historical sites.


Chernobyl “cannot happen” in India
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 2
On the 14th National Symposium on Radiation Physics six research papers were presented here at the Guru Nanak Dev University Physics Department. In today’s proceedings a special feature on the safety of nuclear reactors was presented by Prof I.V. Krishnan, former Director Safety Research and Health Physics group, DAE, Kalpakkam. He stated to meet demands of the energy, all sources of energy, including nuclear energy should be tapped.

Prof Krishnan pointed out that Japan, a victim of atomic bombs, had chosen to use nuclear energy in a big way. He said radiation physicists and academics should remove misconceptions on level of radiation in environment due to the operation of the reactors was less than 5 to 10 per cent of the natural radiation background. He explained safety features of Indian reactors and said that an accident like the one at Chernobyl could not happen in Indian reactors.

Other important presentations included the shielding design aspects of prototype fast breeder reactor coming up at Kalpakkam which will generate 500 mw of electricity.

“Too much of radiation is fatal while too little of radiation is dark death”, observed Prof Bikash Sinha, Director of the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata. He was speaking at a national symposium on radiation physics which started at Guru Nanak Dev University here yesterday.

The symposium is being held in collaboration with the Indian Society for Radiation Physics. Professor Sinha said the radiation from cosmic particles, with the possible cancer possibilities, is often overlooked. He exhorted the scientists to educate the common people about the benefits and hazards of radiations.

Prof S.K. Sikka, Director of the Atomic and Condensed Matter Physics Group, BARC, Mumbai, in his keynote address “Aspects of Pokhran nuclear explosion”, described the nuclear tests at Pokhran (Rajasthan) in 1998.

Dr A. R. Reddy, president of the Indian Society for Radiation Physics, said the emphasis was not on radiation but on radiation interaction and its physical aspects.

Prof Kulwant Singh Thind, local co-ordinator said more than 200 physicists from various universities, research institutes, and colleges were participating in the symposium.

Earlier Prof T.S. Lubana, Dean, Faculty of Sciences of the university, welcomed the scientists who had come from various states of India. Dr D.N. Sharma, secretary of the society, for radiation physics presented a vote of thanks.


Procession marks Gurpurb
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 2
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) in coordination with the sangat took out a massive nagar kirtan on the occasion of the Gurpurb of Guru Ram Dass. The procession was led by panj piaras while Guru Granth Sahib was carried in a golden palquis.


Rs 50 lakh unutilised as MLA bickers with MC chief
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 2
Bickering between Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) MLA Malkiat Singh Keetu , Mrs Rajinderpal Kaur Sanghera, president of the Barnala Municipal Council and Mrs Rajinder Kaur SAD activist and member Sangrur district Planning Board over the utilisation of grants has hit development projects of the Municipal Council.

Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu and Mrs Rajinder Kaur are aspirants for SAD ticket for Barnala Assembly constituency.

The bone of contention is Rs 50 lakh, Urban Infrastructure Development Grant for Barnala Municipal Council.

The Sangrur Deputy Commissioner formed the Urban Infrastructure Development Committee, Barnala to recommend proposals. The Deputy Commissioner sought lists of projects approved by the Urban Infrastructure Development Committee, Barnala.

Mr Keetu, Mrs Rajinder Kaur and the Municipal Council, Barnala sent separate development proposals to the Deputy Commissioner for the release of grant. To please Mr Keetu and Mrs Rajinder Kaur , authorities initiated steps on estimates for the proposals.

Mrs Rajinderpal Kaur Sanghera, president, Municipal Council alongwith eight Municipal Councillors of H.S. Mithu, Vice- President, Sat Pal, Raj Kumar Dhaula, Balram, Darshan Singh , Mrs Usha Rani, Mrs Laj Singla and Mrs Manjit Kaur wrote the Chief Minister, Punjab alleging that the Municipal Council was being discriminated against in respect of grants. They alleged that authorities wanted to oblige Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu and no meeting of the Urban Infrastructure Development Committee was convened for utilising the grant of Rs 50 lakh.

The councillors, in a separate letter, said that due share of Additional Excise Duty was not given to council at the instance of Mr Keetu. The share of Additional Excise Duty runs into crores of rupees, according to them.

Mr Keetu and Mrs Rajinderpal Kaur , Municipal Council Chief are political rivals, Mr Keetu is close to Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Chemicals Fertilisers Minister, Mrs Rajinderpal Kaur is supporter of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, a former Punjab Chief Minister using his influence over Municipal Councillors. Mr Keetu got Mrs Rajinderpal Kaur Sanghera removed as president Municipal Council chief through a no-confidence Motion in January ,2000. She challenged it in the High Court. In August , 2001, the High Court ordered her reinstatement quashing the No Confidence Motion.


CPI seeks 28 seats from Cong
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 2
The CPI has sought 28 seats from the Congress in the next Assembly elections in Punjab during two rounds of talks between stalwarts of the two parties.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Joginder Dayal, Secretary, Punjab unit of the CPI, said there was no deadlock between the Congress and the CPI over seat sharing. However, he admitted that the Congress was at the moment ready to allot only 10 seats to the CPI.

Mr Dayal said the CPI was crying to unite secular, democratic and Left forces to defeat the SAD-BJP alliance. He said the CPI also wanted the inclusion of the BSP and the Congress in this front.

Mr Dayal demanded the setting up of a commission headed by a sitting high court judge, to fix responsibility for the creation of terrorism and separatist movement in Punjab.

Regarding election programme in Punjab of the CPI, Mr Dayal said the CPI would raise people-oriented issues, including anti-people economic policies of the Punjab Government, growing corruption, federal structure and more powers to the states and dangers to the democratic and secular structure of the country.

He said the CPI, the CPM, the RSP and the Forward Bloc, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (S) and 40 NGOs would hold a demonstration in front of Parliament at Delhi on November 6 in protest against the ill effects of the WTO policies.


BSP to be dominant alliance partner: Kanshi
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 2
Giving a jolt to the Panthik Morcha over proposed electoral alliance in the forthcoming elections in the state, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) President, Mr Kanshi Ram, asserted that the morcha will have to accept the status of a junior partner if it wants to align with the BSP.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Kanshi Ram said that the BSP was prepared to contest all 117 assembly seats, but could give some seats to the Panthik Morcha as the principles and objectives of both the parties were similar.

“We are confident to win at least 60 seats in the next elections and form the government in Punjab,” he said.

Mr Kanshi Ram said that even if the proposed electoral alliance between the BSP and the Panthik Morcha did not materialise, he would support Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha as the next Chief Minister. He, however, ruled out any possibility of an alliance with the Congress or the SAD.

He also denied that he had ever made defamatory remarks against the Saini community during a party rally at Langroya village in Nawanshahr district and alleged that the propaganda was a part of the political conspiracy hatched by the Congress to tarnish his image in the community.

Meanwhile, the Saini Welfare Council today decided to summon an urgent meeting of prominent community leaders and members to finalise action to be taken against Mr Kanshi Ram.

The council general secretary, Mr Om Parkash Saini said that the BSP President was trying to create hatred among various sections of the society for “petty politics”


Kanshi Ram for Ravi Inder as CM
Our Correspondent

Ram Tirath (Amritsar), November 2
The biggest draw in the BSP rally besides the party chief Kanshi Ram and his deputy Mayawati was the helicopter which brought them at the venue. Virtually launching their election campaign the BSP supremo yesterday affirmed that the party in alliance with the Panthic Morcha would romp home in the ensuing Punjab Assembly elections. Talking to The Tribune after addressing a impressive rally Mr Kanshi Ram proclaimed Mr Ravi Inder Singh as the next Chief Minister of their coalition government.

The BSP party chief said negotiations with the Panthic Morcha leaders were in the process of completion.


SAD leaders serve notice on Prempuri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar and other leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal have served legal notice on Mr Kulbir Singh Prempuri, who levelled allegations against Mr Badal relating to property at a press conference here yesterday.

Mr Prempuri, who had claimed that he was the president of the New York unit of the SAD, has been asked by the Akali leaders through the notice to apologise for levelling false allegations and issue a clarification in this connection, or face legal action. The notice has been sent to the address of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

Meanwhile, Mr Badungar, in a separate statement, said that Mr Prempuri had nothing to do with the New York unit of the SAD. He said the party was trying to get details about Mr Prempuri to initiate suitable legal action against him. He said yesterday’s press conference was a drama enacted by Capt Amarinder Singh to mislead the people of Punjab.


Badal promises more jobs
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 2
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister Punjab at a meeting organised on occasion, of 12th Baba Bhoorewale Sports Mela Celebrations at Jaura Chhiattren, 10 km from here today said that if the SAD-BJP was voted to power again in Punjab farming would be made profitable and unemployment minimised.

Mr Badal said that Congress government also distributed grants but these were shared by Congress sarpanches and their masters — Congress MLAs. Sangat Darshan grants were for urban and rural development, he added.


Poets strike varied notes
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 2
Surjit Pattar, a Punjabi poet, and Sardar Panchhi, a Urdu poet, last night stole the show at a trilingual kavi darbar organised by thePunjabi Sahit Sabha, Palahi, the District Sakhrata Samiti and the local JCT Mill to promote literacy and clean culture.

Punjab Tourism Minister Chaudhary Swarna Ram presided over the function. Mr Som Nath, ADC, Kapurthala, was special guest. The local SDM, Mr Amarjit Paul, Mr Rajmohan Singh, Director Operations, JCT Ltd, Palahi, the general secretary of the sabha and Mr T.D. Chawla of the local Lekhak Sabha were organisers.

Sixteen poets of Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu regaled audience with their choicest poems. They included Surjit Pattar, Sardar Panchhi, Jigar Jalandhari, Kashmir Qadar, Surjit Judge, Tarlochan Lochi, Baldev Raj Komal, Ulfat Bajwa, Arif Gobindpuri, Jagir Singh Preet, Darshan Buttar, Som Nath Hoshiarpuri (ADC), Sukhwinder, Shakuntala Srivastava, Amarjit Kaur Naz and Gurcharan Kaur Kochar.

The exigencies of job-seeking at home and abroad forcing migrants to learn alien languages, the split loyalty, the dichotomy between relations, the yawning economic disparities, growing degradation in natural and human environment, grim scenario of the gullible youth getting duped by unscrupulous travel agents and dying in transit in search of greener pastures abroad, the converse native parental nostialgia for their children settled abroad, the dowry deaths, estrangements of marital relations, the behavioural sea change among the emerging assertive women, the stress and strain of westernised life style, the cultural invasion through satellite channels, the corruption, crisis of character, moral pollution, etc, were thematic concerns of poems, ghazals, songs and nazams recited at the kavi darbar.


Country needs POTO, says Shanta
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 2
Union Food Minister Shanta Kumar has justified the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) by saying that the country needed a legal weapon to combat terrorism in the changed global scenario.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Shanta Kumar said the present legal provisions were not enough to deal with terrorism especially in the aftermath of TADA which was repealed in 1995. “During the past 20 years, terrorism has claimed the lives of nearly 70,000 innocent people in the country. Hence, a provision like POTO could deal with such a situation. In the UK and the USA, the laws to deal with terrorism are more stringent,” he said.

Mr Shanta Kumar said the BJP-led government was in touch with the Opposition parties in this regard. He asserted that the ordinance was not against journalists as such but the government was of the view that none should be spared if they with- held vital information.

The minister claimed that the country had made good progress in the field of foodgrain production and had become the seventh biggest exporter of foodgrains in the world. “We have banned the import of wheat, rice and sugar and have increased duties on import of other foodgrains to boost the country’s agriculture sector. More export potential in the international market is being explored,” he said. He said the sugar sector would be decontrolled shortly. He said the country had exported 36 lakh tonnes of wheat and 7.5 lakh tonnes of rice during the current financial year.


The vanishing road signs
Shashi Pal Jain

“Dear, I will listen, let us reach home”, a board on the Kharar- Chandigarh stretch of National Highway 21 used to proclaim. It was one of the several boards installed during the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations. This board has disappeared and so have many others that were meant to remind motorists of the need for caution while driving.

The Punjab Government claims to spend a handsome amount on the improvement of roads so as to make travel safer but the absence of road signs on this highway belies the claim. Signs indicating speed limits, U turns, speed breakers and bus stops are all absent on this busy highway which also happens to be highly accident-prone. Sharp turns and bus stops are the most vulnerable points.

In 1999, during the Khalsa Tercentenary celebrations, road signs were put up on the SAS Nagar- Kharar stretch of the highway for the benefit of road users. There were as many as 30 such boards from Chandigarh to Kharar. These boards were fixed on frames with nuts and bolts which miscreants have found easy to pilfer. Some have been blown away by storms. Now pillars with no boards on them are seen on both sides of the road from Kharar to SAS Nagar. Some boards that have survived have become meaningless in the absence of patrolling by the traffic police. Violation of traffic rules continues unabated. Moreover, the message on the boards in obscured by posters and handbills that cover them. It is high time somebody, somewhere, paid heed to these road signs which can play a significant role in reducing road accidents.


Sainis threaten to gherao Kanshi Ram
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 2
Saini community in Banur Assembly constituency has threatened to gherao Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Kanshi Ram, and burn his effigy to protest against his statement where he reportedly called Saini society a betrayer.

In a press statement Mr Gurnam Singh, Vice-President of the All- India Saini Seva Samiti, said a call had been made to Sainis throughout the state to gherao the BSP supremo and burn his effigies.

Mr Kanshi Ram had allegedly termed the Saini society a "Unreliable, habitual betrayers and betrayers of their guru" at a Saini sammelan at Langroa village in Nawanshahar district recently.

A meeting was held at Dera Bassi which passed a resolution to take Mr Kansi Ram to court if he did not apologise in writing.

The meeting was attended by Mr Bhupinder Saini, President, the Youth Saini Naujawan Sabha, of Banur constituency, Mr Shiv Lal Dehar, President of the Saini Sabha, Banur, Mr Hardev Singh Saini and Mr Dilbag Saini, President and secretary, respectively, of the Saini Welfare Association, Dera Bassi, Mr Bakhsish Saini, a former Vice-President of the Municipal Council, Dera Bassi, besides other.


SAD (B) councillor refused bail
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 2
Mr Mohinder Singh, Chief Judicial Magistrate, here today rejected, the bail application of Mr Harpal Singh Pali, municipal councillor belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).

Application for anticipatory bail of Ms Santosh Joga has been fixed for hearing on November 9 in the court of Mr Sukhdev Singh, Additional District and Sessions Judge, here.



Patiala, November 2
Apropos of the news story “5 of 9 awardees attend Punjabi Week function” which appeared in these news columns yesterday, an erroneous impression was given that five of the nine authors who were given awards on the occasion did not attend the function. The error is regretted. All nine authors attended the function and were awarded.


Farmers say they won’t repay loans
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 2
Several hundred farmers, including a large number of SAD workers, today pledged that they would not repay loans to cooperative institutions. At a rally organised by the bhartiya Kisan Union at the local grain market today, the farmers rejected the state government’s offer to defer recovery of loans and recover the same in the three easy instalments.

The rally was held as part of the agitation launched in September to express resentment against the Agriculture Department over its failure in checking the sale of adulterated insecticides. The farmers blamed insecticide dealers and plant protection officials for damage to the cotton crop.

Senior farmer leaders from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan demanded that the affected cotton growers should be given compensation at the rate Rs 15000 per acre. They urged the state government to set up a mobile testing laboratory in this area so that samples of insecticides and other agriculture inputs could be examined instantly.

The leaders exhorted to resist the recovery of cooperative loans even if it was to be made in instalments.


‘No-tillage’ method has few takers
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 2
The ‘no tillage technology’ introduced by the Punjab Agriculture Department has found few takers in the district. Farmers in the district are still sticking to the traditional method of burning the remains of previous crops and tilling the fields, before sowing the next crop. This has failed the objectives of the agriculture department to check the pollution caused by burning of the remains of the previous crop and to help the farmers in early sowing, for better yield.

The ‘no-tillage technology’ has already been introduced successfully in UP and Haryana. In Punjab also the technology was introduced last year in Gurdaspur district. Under this two type of drills including one developed by Punjab Agriculture University, which can sow seeds after partial tilling and the zero till drill developed by Pant University, which sows seeds without tilling, were introduced.

Officials of the Agriculture Department claimed that if the said drills were used by farmers it could save Rs 2000 per acre input costs in the form of diesel and labour costs for them. They could also save the precious time wasted in tilling and preparing fields for fresh crops.

Experiments conducted by experts of Punjab Agriculture University showed that if wheat was sown between October 25 and November 15, high yield was produced.


Candidates await appointment letters
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 2
Hundreds of candidates selected by the Subordinate Services Selection Board, Punjab, for appointment as clerks have still not been issued appointment letters although the selection list was released by the board in newspapers on May 26 last.

The board had invited applications to fill posts of clerks in various departments of the state government in 1996 and 1997 through advertisement. The board conducted a screening test in September, 1998, followed by a type test of candidates who were selected in the screening test. Thereafter, the candidates were interviewed in the office of the board in May, 1999, in Chandigarh. When the board did not announce the list of selected candidates, some candidates filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Ultimately, the board published the list of about 1200, selected candidates on May 26, 2001.

Since the list was released, the board has issued recommendatory letters to about 800 candidates while the remaining 400 have been running from pillar to post but have failed to get satisfactory reply. Some selected candidates have already crossed the minimum age limit for joining government service.


1 dead, 3 hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 2
Pappu, a resident of Surmandi, was killed by Nand Kumar, Aman, Mannu, Pappu Bose, Paddu and Ashok Kumar, all residents of Gawal Mandi by crushing him under their jeep here on Wednesday night.

The accused were equipped with ‘kirpans’ and other sharp-edged weapons. Three more persons Sachin, Kalu and Rajesh, all of Surmandi who were accompanying Pappu were critically injured. The condition of the injured was said to be serious.

A case was registered under Sections 302, 324, 148, 149 of the IPC on the statement of Surinder Kumar of Surmandi. A minor dispute over the birth centenary celebrations of ‘Bhagvan Valmiki’ is said to be the cause of the incident.

In another incident Lakhwinder Singh injured his wife Satya Bai, Harjinder Kaur, Mehar Singh son of Harvant Singh with a knife. A case on the statement of Harvant Singh was registered under Section 324 of the IPC at Jandiala police station.

Meanwhile the police booked seven persons, Kewal Singh of Nimerwind, Jethu Singh of Bhorsi Rajputa, Pesora Singh of Ramna Chak, Harbans Singh of Chatiwind Lehal, Buta Singh of Saawangara, Barkat Singh of Dadrah and Babu of Jastarwal village and recovered 48,260 ml of illicit liquor on Mukeshjeet, a resident of Pandori Varaich was also arrested for running an illegal still. A case was registered under the Excise Act.


Man murdered; burglar shot
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 2
Man Singh, a resident of Akalian Kalan village, was murdered last night allegedly by Harbans Singh of Bishnandi in the district reportedly due to a land dispute. A case has been registered.

In another incident, a burglar, who tried to barge into the house of Mr Amarjeet Singh, former sarpanch of Lehra Saudha village, was killed last night. In order to save themselves one of the family members fired a shot which hit the burglar, resulting in his death.

A case under Sections 457, 380, and 511 of the IPC has been registered.


‘Zero-semester’ threat looms over students
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 2
Even as the strike of the first year students of engineering colleges all over the state has entered the fourth week, the authorities of the Punjab Technical University (PTU) are yet to respond positively to the demands of the students, who have been demanding the continuation of the credit system which was applicable to their seniors. The students now face a “zero-semester” threat.

Students of the local Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology (GZSCET) went on strike on October 9 and have been boycotting their classes since then. For the first few days of the strike the college authorities permitted the students to stay in the hostels, but when the students raised slogans against the college authorities and the PTU and disturbed other classes the college authorities got the hostels vacated from about 300 students, including girls.

Talking to this correspondent, a cross section of parents of students alleged that amendments should not have been made mid-session and the candidates should have been informed by the PTU regarding the change in examination and credit rules earlier.

Dr Narinder Singh, Principal, GZSCET, said the students had been boycotting the classes and if they failed to appear in the examinations the university authorities might be forced to declare this semester as a “zero semester”.

The college authorities, he said, did not have much role in the present situation and the students should attend the classes to save their semester.


MRSIIT students’ stir disrupts teaching work
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 2
The ongoing agitation by students of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Information and Technology (MRSIIT) today took a serious turn with students of the institute of along with representatives of other major student bodies on the campus forcing the closure of all teaching departments.

Teaching work was disturbed in the morning today in the entire campus, with students marching in a procession from one department to the other to force discontinuation of classes. The students also staged a dharna later in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. They gave a representation to the Pro Vice-Chancellor in the absence of the VC.

Students of MRSIIT started protests on the campus after the visit of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman to the campus, during which he made a statement saying the UGC would not allow franchisees or private parties to open up institutes in varsities.

The students have been demanding that the status of the Institute should be made clear to them, adding that the University must seek recognition from the UGC for the Institute. They have been boycotting the internal examinations going on in various courses in the Institute.

Today the protest rally organised on the campus was addressed by AISSF University unit President, Jaspal Singh, ABVP representative, Vishal Mahajan, Sikh Students Federation leader, Gurtej Singh, Punjabi University Students For Harmony leader, Tejpal Tiwana, Organisation of Punjabi University Students (OPUS) leader Akashdeep Singh Aulakh, SIF (Bittu) leader Sewak Singh and Association of Punjabi University Students (APUS) leader Rajinder Singh Sandhu. All of them said they would not allow any injustice to occur to the students and warned authorities to get the required clearances for the Institute or face a prolonged agitation.

Varsity Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, when contacted, said he had received the representation of the students, which he would forward to the VC. He said the UGC Chairman had only made a policy statement on the issue and had not said that Punjabi University was doing anything wrong. He said he had also held a meeting with officials of the Institute as well as the Guru Gobind Singh Institute situated in Talwandi Sabo.

The University has meanwhile also released an advertisement in the press stating that misleading news items had appeared in a section of the press in this regard. It said the setting up of the Institute did not require any sanction of the UGC or the AICTE, adding the Supreme Court judgement on September 21 this year had clearly stated that the Universities were free to introduce Computer Application Courses and other technical courses in their departments, constituent bodies (like the Institute) and adjuncts. It said there was no ground for any apprehension about the Institute which was an integral part of the University like any other department.


NZ youth festival at  Pbi varsity
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 2
Punjabi University in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities and the Ministry of Youth Affairs will organise a five-day North Zone Inter-University Youth Festival (Punz Fest-2001) at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hall of the university on November 6.

Giving this information university Youth Welfare Director Daljit Singh said Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa would inaugurate the festival and the Vice-Chancellor Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, would preside over the function.

Dr Daljit Singh said student artistes from North Zone universities would participate in various competition items of classical dance, one-act play, western solo music, group skit, group mime, classical instrument, percussion, light vocal music, debate, elocution and collage making. He said on-the-spot painting and clay modelling competitions would also be held.

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