Saturday, December 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vedanti: circular direct attack on Sikhs
Punjab cross-checking facts with Rajnath govt
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 21
Taking serious note of the controversial police circular issued by the SSP, Lucknow, directing the SHOs to keep an eye on Muslims, Sikhs and ex-servicemen, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, today decided to call a meeting of the Sikh clergy.

Talking to TNS here today, Jathedar Vedanti said the circular was a direct attack on Sikhs who had made supreme sacrifices for the country. Hence, such a circular could not be “tolerated”. The Jathedar asked the Central Government to take immediate action against the “erring” officials who had issued the circular. He, however, said the state government must first determine the authenticity of the circular. If the same had actually been issued, the Sikh high priests “will not hesitate taking an extreme step in this regard.”

Jathedar Vedanti sought an immediate ban on the book “Sikhs” published by the Department of Languages carrying derogatory remarks against the ninth Sikh master, Guru Teg Bahadur. He said the government must initiate action against its author, A.H. Bingley, who had “distorted Sikh history” and hurt the sentiments of the community.

The circular issued by Mr B.B. Bakshi, SSP, Lucknow, has caused a flutter in Sikh circles. The state government has decided to get the contents of this controversial document authenticated.

The media adviser to the Chief Minister said after the contents of the circular were cross-checked, the state government would take up the issue with the Uttar Pradesh Government. Various Sikh institutions have also taken serious view of the circular. Their representatives have sought an unconditional apology by the UP Government.

The controversial circular reads: “The Pakistan’s secret agency is leaving no stone unturned to disturb the communal, social, economic and religious situation in the state (UP). Muslims and Sikh youths are lured to involve them in subversive activities. The ISI is befriending Muslims and Sikhs and is sowing the seeds of hatred towards Hindus. Arms and ammunition depots are being established at different places and minorities are being prepared for a ‘jehad’ and bomb explosions.”

The circular directs every SHO to prepare a register of Muslim and Sikh families living in his area and details of outsiders visiting the area.

It directs the SHOs to keep a watch on new madrasas and mosques and persons attending religious functions. It wants transporters and PCO owners to be listed. It further states that circle officers and SHOs in their respective areas should identify PCOs with dubious records, calls made to Pakistan or Gulf states be monitored and minorities (Muslims and Sikhs) living in poor or plush localities strictly watched. The district magistrates have been asked to prepare a list of the land, plots and houses purchased or taken on lease by persons belonging to the minority communities.

The circular expresses the apprehension that there have been instances when retired and serving military men have been used as agents. Therefore, retired soldiers from the Army, Navy and Air Force should be listed. Since the central command of the Army is situated in Lucknow, this instruction is significant.

The SHOs are also directed to prepare a list of Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus providing “shelter to terrorists”. Those going abroad, particularly Muslim countries should be observed and the Lucknow-Sharjah flight especially checked.

The circular further reads that Sikhs visiting Nanakmata Gurdwara in Pakistan be watched and listed.


Badal must appear before Takht: Tohra
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 21
Putting all speculations at rest about Panthic unity, Mr G.S. Tohra, President, SHSAD, talking to The Tribune at Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, where he had come to lay the foundation stone of a hostel, he said there was neither any move for unity nor could it be said Mr Badal had sacrificed all principles of Sikhism for power. Mr Badal was sincere in defeating the Congress and to forge unity, he should either present himself before Akal Takht or retire from politics, he said.

He claimed that the present government could not be called a Panthic government as it was the most corrupt government the state had ever seen. All posts were being auctioned and the situation had come to such a pass that even for the recruitment of peons Rs 2 lakh were being charged, he alleged, adding that Mr Badal was responsible for making 135 SGPC members deserters of Akal Takht.

Later, addressing a gathering, Mr Tohra urged people not to sacrifice the principles of Sikhism for petty gains.

Dr Balkar Singh, a Sikh scholar, reminded students of their proud heritage and urged them to preserve them. He said Sikh history was full of sacrifices and we should become a true Sikh.

Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, member secretary of the trust, apprised about the activities of the trust. He said more than Rs 20 crore had been spent on various buildings on the college premises without taking any help from the SGPC in the past three years.

Dr Dilbagh Singh Heera, principal of the college, highlighted the achievements of the college in various fields.

MALERKOTLA: Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra has opposed abolition of octroi in Punjab by saying that it had not benefited the people of the state. He said his party would constitute a three-member committee, which would act as lok pal in the state. He was here to attend an Id Milan programme organised by the local Muslim leaders at the College road on Wednesday.


Akali leaders rap Congress
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Koom Kalan (Ludhiana), December 21
Senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership yesterday appeared to be in a reconciliatory mood towards the Panthic Morcha, while directing all its ire at the Congress. The leaders, including secretary-general and Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Sukhbir Badal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, Mr Kripal Singh Badungar, cautioned the people against voting Congress to power.

Addressing a party rally organised by the Assembly Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, here yesterday the leaders blamed the Congress for Operation Bluestar and the massacre of thousands of Sikhs across the country after the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi. While Mr Dhindsa and Mr Badungar made some references (not critical) to the Panthic Morcha, Mr Sukhbir Badal, interestingly did not make even a passing remark.

However, the factionalism within the SAD was too obvious not to be noted. Senior party leader and Minister for Technical Education Jagdish Garcha was conspicuous by his absence, while the rival group led by the party vice-president, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, besides Mr Jagjit Ghungrana could be seen seated close to Mr Atwal and Mr Badungar. The acting district president of the party, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, who owes allegiance to Mr Garcha was also not present.

Mr Dhindsa and Mr Badungar posed several questions to the Panthic Morcha leadership. Mr Dhindsa referred to the allegations of some Morcha leaders that Mr Badal had given up the Panthic agenda. He pointed out it was the Badal government, which had organised celebrations of the 300 years of the birth of the Khalsa, besides celebrating the 200 years of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s coronation.

The BJP general secretary and in charge of the party affairs for Punjab, Mr O.P. Kohli, exhorted upon people to ensure the return of the Akali-BJP government, for peace and prosperity. He blamed the Congress for trying to vitiate the peace and brotherhood among all religions in Punjab. He warned people against voting for the Panthic Morcha, as, he claimed, “the vote to the Morcha will indirectly help the Congress”. 


Stocking narcotics to woo voters
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, December 21
As supporters of various political parties are reportedly stocking narcotics to woo voters during the Assembly elections, members of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle (GGSSC), have launched a campaign to educate the electorate against the menace of drugs.

The massive campaign launched throughout the state will not only mobilise people against the use of narcotics, but would also urge the parties not to distribute the same among the electorate.

In order to take the help of government agencies, the GGSSC will liaison with the Chief Election Commissioner and national and international agencies engaged in the prevention of drug abuse.

The campaign launched from Ludhiana district recently attracted a positive response from people and most of them promised not to barter votes for narcotics.

A delegation of the GGSSC met Mr J.M. Lyngdoh, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), in Ludhiana on December 14 in this regard. Mr Lyngdoh has appointed Ms Usha R. Sharma, Additional CEC, as compliance officer for ensuring that liquor and other narcotics were not used to influence voters. He also instructed the state Election Commissioner to take immediate action in this regard.

Mr Sarabjeet Singh, Director, Social and Health Services, GGSSC, said the assurances given by the CEC would help in a big way but the menace could be curbed only with the help of the people. He said the initial response was good and the voters said they were fed up with the excessive use of narcotics during elections. To run the campaign smoothly, the state had been divided into 11 zones and each zone included one or more districts, he added.

Dr Avninder Pal Singh, secretary, of the Faridkot and Muktsar zones, said scooter stepney covers, stickers, posters, handbills etc, depicting the message of narcotics-free elections, were being distributed. Efforts were being made to reach every village to spread this message.

He said the campaign was launched in these districts of Malwa yesterday. Office-bearers of the GGSSC had held a meeting with Granthis and asked them to advise people from the rural areas to desist from taking narcotics.

He said the districts of Faridkot, Muktsar, Bathinda and Mansa needed special attention because of the excessive use of narcotics there.

Mr Sarabjeet Singh said their efforts would yield results only if the electorate punished those politicians who distributed drugs by not voting for them.


Reshuffle of senior cops on cards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
An administrative reshuffle at the senior level in the Police Department is on the cards as both Ludhiana and Patiala Ranges will get their new Deputy Inspectors-General. The changes have been necessitated following the promotion of five DIGs as Inspectors-General early this week.

The Ludhiana Range DIG, Mr Suresh Arora, and the Patiala Range DIG, Mr Sanjeev Gupta, have been promoted IG’s. They along with other promoted IGs, Mr S.M. Sharma and Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, are a waiting fresh posting orders.

The fifth DIG to be promoted is Mr Rajinder Singh ,whose promotion will become effective from February next year.

Speculations notwithstanding, there may not be any changes in the district police chiefs in view of the coming Assembly elections. All cases of four-year tenure and home district posting, which may attract action by the Chief Election Commissioner, have already been dealt with, the DGP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, told The Tribune today.

He said only a few DGPs have to be shifted out of their home districts. Their orders are likely to be issued soon.

He said the posting of new DIGs for Ludhiana and Patiala Ranges were in the pipeline. Similarly, all four newly promoted IGs would also be given their fresh orders as the file had already been cleared by the Home Department.

A couple of more promotions at the top are expected as some of the seniormost

Inspectors-General are due for promotion as Additional Directors-General of Police. A couple of vacancies have already arisen in the department. The latest was the retirement of the Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Commandant-General, Home Guards, Mr G.S. Bhullar, who superannuated on November 30.

His place has been taken by Mr S.V. Singh. Mr S.S. Nahar and Mr Rajdeep Singh Gill , both belonging to the 1973 batch, are the seniormost Inspectors-General.

And then certain seniormost SPs, including Mr R.C. Singh, Mr Pramod Kumar, Mr Gurdev Singh Sahota, Mr Iqbalpreet Singh Sahota and Mr Rohot Chaudhary, are also in line for promotion as DIGs. While Mr R.C. Singh and Mr Pramod Kumar are on deputaion with the Union Government, Mr Gurdev Singh Sahota is presently posted at Raja Sansi International Airport as Immigration Chief. Their DPC was to be held today.


Kalaals’ forced to close shop
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

“Invasion” by bone china, crystal, stainless steel and glassware has pushed about 100-odd bronze and copper utensil makers out of their centuries’ old business during the past decade.

Hoshiarpur is one of three Punjab townships, the others being Batala and Jandiala Guru, known for the skill and craftsmanship of bronze and copper utensil making households. So much so that the bronze and copper utensils made by artisans of Hoshiarpur’s famed Kalan Bazaar, were preferred by people of the adjoining states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Haryana and Rajasthan for centuries. But it is not so nowadays as almost 80 out of 100 artisan families, popularly called “kalaals” have left their vocation and have been forced to find alternative avenues of employment.

Though a few of the old guard are still trying their best to retain the profession, no member of their younger generation is ready to take up traditional profession, as the margin of profits is shrinking with each passing day. Old artisans still remember the good old days when “kalaan bazaar” was the centre of attraction for people from Punjab as well as the adjoining states.

“It was the golden period for us before the late seventies when stainless steel, bone china and glassware, found their way to middle class homes. We used to get a big rush from far and wide,” recalls Mr Satpal Malhotra, an artisan in his late sixties.

Old-timers recalled that till the late seventies there were about 100 families engaged in bronze and copperware making, but these days there were just about 20 families left. “Actually, steel and glass utensils are much cheaper. Hence people are not ready to pay even for best designed or crafted bronze and copperware. Moreover, people feel that bronze and copperware have gone out of fashion,” says Satpal Saini, another artisan.

“Still there are a few takers for copper and bronze utensils in the interior of Himachal Pradesh and people from rural areas of the hill state still come to us to buy utensils for functions such as marriage ceremonies,” another utensil maker points out.

Even as utensils of daily use are not in much demand, there are customers for “gaagars”, “baltohis”, “paraats” and “gharas”. Our biggest customers these days are milkmen, particularly Gujjars who transport milk in bronze utensils.


Tohra for elections under President’s rule
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 21
Apprehending large-scale misuse of power by the SAD-BJP government in the forthcoming elections, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SHSAD President, demanded that the President’s rule should be imposed in the state before holding the elections.

Talking to newspersons at Chamkaur Sahib today, Mr Tohra claimed that the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Lyngdoh, had himself admitted large-scale bunglings in voter lists in the Muktsar area. When such a high official talks of apprehended malpractices, how can one expect a fair election in the state, he asked.

Mr Tohra was here to attend the Jor mela. He said he had requested leaders of the Panthic Morcha to meet the President in this regard. He, however, said the Opposition parties were limiting their protests against the misuse of power by the government and transfers of officials to statements to the media. They were not taking proactive steps, he said.

Mr Tohra also ruled out unity between the Panthic Morcha and the SAD stating that Mr Badal had destroyed the institution of Akal Takht and there could not be any compromise on this issue.

About rumours that he had been approached by the BJP high command for forging unity with Mr Badal, he said the BJP had no locus standi to approach him. When Mr Badal ousted him and his men from the SAD, he approached the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the BJP President but they had expressed their helplessness over the issue. “How could they approach me for unity at this stage,” he asked.

Mr Tohra said the morcha would forge an alliance with the BSP. The seat adjustment with the BSP would be finalised when the party supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, returned from his campaign in Uttar Pradesh.

Asked if he would contest, Mr Tohra aid he had never contested the Assembly elections and this time too he would campaign for other candidates.

Meanwhile, there was lukewarm public response to political conferences at the mela. The conference of the ruling party which was organised on the campus of Gurdwara Katalgarh Sahib was attended, among others, by the SGPC president, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, and the Printing and Stationery Minister, Punjab, Bibi Satwant Kaur Sandhu.

The conference of the Morcha was organised at Baba Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh Khalsa School. It was addressed by Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli and other leaders.


PPCC complaint: poll officials visit Bholath
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, December 21
Electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used in the forthcoming elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

This was disclosed by Election Commission Secretary K.J. Rao here today at a meeting with local leaders of all political parties.

Mr Rao, along with another Election Commission Secretary, Mr S.P. Singh, visited here in connection with a inquiry into the allegations of bungling in the new voters’ lists of the Bholath Assembly constituency levelled by PPCC Secretary Sukhpal Singh Kheira.

They visited Bholath and met leaders and heard their grievances.

Mr Rao said photo identity cards were must for voters for exercising their franchise. He said those who did not possess these cards would have to show some other document to verify their identity before the presiding officer.

He said photo identity cards had been issued to 75 per cent voters in Punjab so far.

Asked when would the elections be announced, he said the decision would be taken by the Election Commission soon. PTI



Akhand path or Dhindsa’s show of strength?
Tribune News Service

Bhawanigarh (Sangrur), December 21
After the bhog ceremony of the akhand path of Guru Granth Sahib held for the fast recovery of Mr Parkash Singh Badal at Gurdwara Nauvi Patshahi here yesterday the function seemed to be a show of might by the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa faction. On the occasion all prominent leaders of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala’s faction in the district, including Bibi Surjit Kaur Barnala, wife of Mr Barnala, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla and Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, both Punjab minister, and Mr Baldev Singh Mann, administrative member of the PSEB, were conspicuous by their absence.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Fertilisers and Chemicals, was present at the bhogh ceremony of the akhand path, which was organised by the district unit of SAD.

When this correspondent made a phone call at Mr Barnala’s residence today at Barnala, the person attending the phone said Mrs Barnala had gone to Chandigarh.

On the occasion a large number of Akali leaders owing allegiance to Mr Dhindsa were present at the Gurdwara, which included Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Punjab minister, MR Parkash Chand Garg, Chairman of the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation; Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachi, Chairman of Punjab Cooperative Bank, Mr Gurbachan Singh Fatehgarh, district president of the SAD, Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, member of SAD’s working committee, Mr Joga Singh Faguwala, SGPC member, some members of the SGPC and Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLA from Bhadaur. However, Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, Punjab minister, and Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, MLA from Sunam, were not present on the occasion. It is learnt Mr Harwinder Singh Kakra, who proposed the vote of thanks reportedly belonged to the Barnala faction.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Dhindsa said, “We should support those candidates in the ensuing assembly elections to whom Mr Badal allots party ticket”. He appealed to the workers to work for the victory of the SAD-BJP candidates to help Mr Badal form the government for another five years.


Cong misleading people: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Punjab Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today ridiculed the Congress for “creating hurdles” in the developmental process of the state by making false propaganda and “misleading” the people about the “sangat darshan” programme, which had emerged as a unique and popular system for mitigating the problems of the people on the spot.

Addressing a Muktsar district SAD-BJP leaders and workers’ meeting, Mr Badal said the “insincerity” of the Congress towards Punjab could be judged from the fact that it had created problems in waiving the loan of Rs 8,400 crore pertaining to the period of militancy.

Claiming that his party was a “well-wisher” of Punjab, Mr Badal said that our leaders and workers had suffered for protecting the interests of Punjab. The SAD boldly fought the Emergency and restored the freedom of the people. He said that besides taking Punjab on the path of progress and prosperity, the SAD-BJP government had restored the honour and dignity of Punjabis.

The Chief Minister said that much more remained to be done in the state and ambitious plans for tackling the problems of unemployment and poverty were on the anvil. There was special stress on making agriculture a profitable venture through diversification, he said.

Muktsar, he said, was free from water-logging, a “creation” of successive Congress governments.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP, called upon the SAD-BJP workers to give a crushing defeat to the Congress in the coming elections.

He said the SAD-BJP government had fulfilled all promises made by the two parties before the elections.

Among the speakers were Mr Sujan Singh, Minister of State for Rural Development, and Mr Manpreet singh Badal, MLA.


Congress has no policy, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, yesterday called upon workers of the SAD-BJP from Moga and Faridkot to spread out to the urban and rural areas to inform the masses about the “achievements and performance” of the government.

Mr Badal reminded the workers, who gathered at his residence, that the Congress had “no policy and programme”, except “exploiting” the people through misleading propaganda with an eye on the coming Assembly poll. Among the speakers were Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Jathedar Tota Singh (both Ministers), MLAs and SGPC members.


SAD campaign to begin with conference
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 21
SAD will begin its election campaign for the coming Assembly elections with a political conference to be held here on the eve of annual Saheedi Jor Mela from December 25 to 28 in the memory of ‘sahidjadas’ of Guru Gobind Singh.

This was stated by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab and secretary-general, SAD, while addressing a meeting of party workers at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib today.

The meeting was arranged by the District Akali Jatha for the preparation of political conference. All factions of SAD attended the meeting. He urged the workers and leaders to sink all their differences and present a united face in the public if they wanted to teach a lesson to the Congress.

He said SAD was getting an overwhelming response from every section of society. He said the Congress was responsible for 1984 riots. He said it was the right time to teach a lesson to the Congress by pressing the button of voting machines. He said any vote caste against SAD would be in favour of the Congress.

He said the so-called Akalis were in the fray just to benefit the Congress and not to win election. He urged workers to mobilise public for the conference. He declared that no gambling dens, music and dance shows would be allowed in the mela.

Mr R.S. Cheema, a former minister, Mr Didar Singh Bhatti, Mr Rajeshpal Singh Lalli, senior Akali leaders, Jathedar Swarn Singh Chanarthal, district president, SAD, Mr Balwant Singh Sahpur, MLA, also addressed the gathering.



200 SAD workers join Congress
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 21
More than 200 Shiromani Akali Dal workers of the Banur assembly constituency today joined the Congress and expressed their solidarity with Ms Sheelam Sohi, wife of former chairman of the Patiala Zila Parishad late Ravinder Singh Sohi.

Under the leadership of Mr Desh Raj Lalka, president of the Bajigar community, Banur, and Mr Shadi Ram, president of the Bajigar community, Dera Bassi block, the workers expressed their solidarity with Ms Sohi and promised full support to the party, informed Mr Krishan Pal Sharma, general secretary of the District Congress Committee.


Indians cut short visit to Pak
Our Correspondent

Attari (Amritsar), December 21
Seven Indian families cut short their visit to Pakistan fearing war even as 272-strong Pakistan Hindu jatha arrived here yesterday to proceed towards the Radhaswami dera near the Beas. Fear writ large on the faces of arriving Indians after reports of military escalation through media revealed the unusual military build-up and readiness for war. Nasir Hussain of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, who went to attend a wedding, was forced to take the Samjhauta Express by his relatives even before he could attend the wedding.

Apprehensions of war gripped Razaq Ahmed from Indore who had gone to look for a match for his sister. Subsequently, he decided to shelve his plans. “Allah is my protector, whatever he is doing is for the best of my family. May be a suitable match for my sister is in India and not in Pakistan,” he said.

Sayyed Haider (62) who went to visit his daughter said: “I could hardly stay a few days with her after a long wait in getting a visa for Pakistan.”

Nearly five to six families yesterday returned to India along with about 276 persons of the jatha. Thursday’s jatha had many persons like Asiz Bhatt, a resident of Karachi, who said war would be the ultimate destruction of Pakistan not only by extreme devastation but economically too as Pakistan was weak. The earlier wars of ‘65 and ‘71 had pushed the country into an “economic abyss” from which it was unable to revive. Another war could make it as backward as Afghanistan. He said Pakistan should have learnt a lesson after supporting the Taliban which had become a symbol of terrorism the world over. “Yet it is amazing that our ministers are giving bold statements knowing well the fate of the country after a full-fledged war. It seems that Pakistan has a habit of “piggy-backing” the USA and here too it (Pakistan) expects the support from the USA if at all a war is declared,” he added. 


HC notice to Punjab on BDPOs selection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
A division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising of Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Swatantar Kumar on a petition by Indu Bhushan, challenging the selections by the Punjab government for appointment as Block Development and Panchayat officers against the posts meant for handicapped persons has issued a notice of motion to the state of Punjab and others for March 4, 2002.

The Punjab government without declaring of the results, had selected and appointed candidates to the posts of Block Development and Panchayat Officer, whereas the petitioner who had appeared for the interview along with other candidates had been waiting for the declaration of the result. The fact of selection and the appointment of the candidates became known only after, when, on a earlier petition of the petitioner, the high court had directed the Punjab government to decide the representation of the petitioner whereby the state was asked to disclose the criterion adopted for the selection, the educational qualifications of the selected candidates etc.

In the present petition the counsel for the petitioner argued that the earlier directions of court had not been complied with fully, criteria adopted for selection, now disclosed, was vague and the petitioner possessed preferential qualifications being an agriculture graduate as it was advertised that the candidate having graduation in agriculture shall be preferred and none of the selected candidates was a graduate in agriculture. After hearing the counsel for the petitioner, the Bench issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other selected candidates, for March 4, 2002.


PSEB recovers Rs 33 crore
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 21
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has recovered Rs 33.40 crore during the current financial year up to November through the Dispute Settlement Authority (DSA).

An official note said here today that 600 cases had been settled for a disputed amount of Rs 48.31 crore. It said 675 cases had been registered with the DSA so far.

The note said the creation of the Dispute Settlement Committees (DSC) at the zonal and circle level had been appreciated by the general public. It said all dispute cases pending in lower courts for the last more than one decade were rolled back to the DSA and the DSCs for adjudication.

It said the move had resulted in reducing litigation in civil courts and a lot of money had been saved which would have otherwise been spent in engaging lawyers by both parties.


PSEB employees stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 21
Members of the Technical Services Union (TSU) of the Punjab State Electricity Board today staged a dharna in front of the office of the XEN (Urban) here to press for their demands.

The agitating employees demanded that the terms of the agreement reached between the union and Punjab Power Minister and Superintendent Engineer, Bathinda, should be implemented.

The demands of the TSU included paying of compensation to families of employees who died during service and early passing of medical bills of employees. 


Bus driver dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 21
The driver of the Ambala-bound Syndicate bus (PB-12E-9304), Mr Kuldeep Singh of Malod Kheri village in Ludhiana was killed while 16 were injured when the bus collided with an Army truck (87D-74163X) coming from the opposite side, this morning.

The accident occurred at about 7.45 a.m. on the Ropar-Chandigarh road near Rangilpur village, about 6 km from here.

There were 45 passengers in the bus out of which, thirteen received injuries. The injured were admitted to the civil hospital here and their condition was stated to be out of danger.

The injured included Roshan Lal, driver of the Army truck, subedar P.N. Tiwari, Lance Naik Somnath Singh, Pal Chand of the local Matarani locality, Rupinder Kaur of the Nangal township, Kuldeep Kaur of the local Dashmesh Colony, Swaran Kaur of Kurali, Jit Singh of Dashmesh Colony here, Bhupinder Singh of Haveli Kalsa village near here, Karan Chand of Makori village Bhupinder Paul of the local Zail Singh Colony, Amarjit Kaur of Bhiaura village, Sachin Joshi of Phool Chakar locality, Gori Madan of Ucha Kher village in the district, Madan Lal of Bhanam village near Anandpur Sahib and Gurdam Singh of Nanak Pura village near here.


Mansa lawyers put off stir
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 21
Local lawyers have put off their strike following an assurance given by the district administration to drop the names of two lawyers against whom a case was registered along with some deed writers in connection with the assault on Mr Jatinder Singh Saggu, Tehsildar and Mr Jai Chand Parinda, Naib Tehsildar on December 13.

Mr Ajit Singh Bhangu, president of the District Bar Association said here today that the names of both lawyers had been dropped from the case.

Mr Vijay Kumar Singla and Mr Jaspal Goyal booked in the criminal case, were working today in the district court complex.

Local deed writers who were also strike since December 12 also resumed their work.


19 injured in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, December 21
Nineteen passengers of two Punjab Roadways buses were injured in an accident with a truck near Bhamba Wattu village on the Fazilka-Ferozepore road, 15 km from here today.

The injured include four women and two children. Nine injured persons have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital while 10 were shifted to the civil hospital, Jalalabad.

According to reports a leaf spring of Punjab Roadways bus (Pb. 12-9945) coming from Ferozepore was damaged as a result of which it collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction. Meanwhile, the driver of another roadways bus (Pb. 12-9828) which was following the truck lost control over the vehicle and rammed into the truck.

According to doctors of civil hospitals of Fazilka and Jalalabad, the condition of all injured persons was stable and they were out of danger.


Kansal is Bar Assn chief
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 21
Mr Satish Kansal was elected president of the Sangrur District Bar Association here last evening. He defeated Mr Gurtej Singh Grewal by a margin of 23 votes, securing 163 votes.

Mr Inderjit Singh Khangura and Mr Baljit Singh were elected vice-president and secretary, respectively, of the association. Mr Khangura defeated Mr N.K. Rai by a margin of 25 votes while Mr Baljit Singh defeated Mr Rajiv Garg by a margin of only three votes. 


286 constables promoted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 21
As many as 286 constables posted in the district and who have put in more than 16 years of service have been promoted to the rank of Hawaldar.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, in a press note issued here today said according to the guidelines of the state government, the constable of the police who had been in service for more than 16 years was to be promoted to the rank of Hawaldar.

Dr Jain said according to the guidelines, the district police authorities constituted a departmental promotion committee, comprising Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP (City), Mr Balwinder Singh Romana, DSP (Police Control Room), and Mr Harbaz Singh, SP (Headquarters).

He said the committee verified the records of these constables who had put in more than 16 years of service and recommended them for promotion.


Ropeway project cleared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Union Ministry of Tourism has cleared the ropeway project from Anandpur Sahib to Naina Devi. This will be the first such project in Punjab.

According to the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Mr Swarna Ram, the Rs 50 crore project will have a 7 km ropeway between the two religious places.

The Himachal Pradesh Government will be the lead agency for the execution of the joint venture on a 50-50 basis between the two states. The two states will provide land and infrastructure to a private investor, while IFLS, a Delhi-based finance company, will provide consultancy. Global tenders will be floated after the feasibility report is received, says a press release.


Trust chief’s term extended
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 21
The Punjab Government has extended the term of the office of Mr Nanak Chand Kalra as Chairman of the Sangrur Improvement Trust for a period of an two years. Mr Kalra’s term will now expire on April 27, 2004. It was to expire on April 27, 2002.

This has been done in the light of amendment in Section 5 of the Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1922.


Baba caught making ‘satta’ deal
Gayatri Rai

Bathinda, December 21
The 21-year-old self-styled Baba, called Maundhari Harsukhpuri Dass who claims to reveal “winning numbers” in “satta” with the help of his “divine powers”, might be cursing his fate as his “powers” landed him behind bars.

The police have caught the Baba while making a deal on mobile phone about ‘‘satta” transaction and confiscated Rs 350 and a mobile phone from his possession. A case under Section 13A of the Gambling Act has been registered against him at kotwali police station.

During interrogation he revealed that he was in this business from his childhood. For past 12 years he was running it at his native town of Sanghriya on the Haryana-Rajasthan border by claiming that he had some divine powers with the help of which he could reveal the exact winning numbers of lottery, gamble and “satta”, he added.

Last year he came to Goniana and was running the business on the Jaitu road. Last month he shifted to the city and started working from Ajit Road, Street Number 26. He used to make all deals with the people on his mobile phone or at his rented room here.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain said it was the fourth such “divine baba” arrested by police.


Youth found dead in dispensary
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 21
The body of a youth was found in the compound of a dispensary at Mehma Sawai village in this district yesterday. He is reported to have died due to excessive intake of narcotics. He has been identified as Lachhman Singh (25) of Mehma Sarja village.

The body has been handed over to his family after a post-mortem examination. A case under Section 174, Cr PC, has been registered. 


New correspondence courses from April: VC
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 21
Contrary to the common perception, the Guru Nanak Dev University Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, believes that Punjab is much ahead of all other states in respect of information technology education and awareness.

Talking to The Tribune here yesterday, he said Guru Nanak Dev University would usher in a new era in the field of distance education by initiating some quality distance education courses from the next academic session.

“These courses would be run by some schools and colleges. Those courses are not being taught by any of our affiliated colleges. Outside the area of jurisdiction of the university, these courses would be run by our recognised distance education centres, which will also be set up abroad,” said Dr S.P. Singh.

The institutes running the GND University distance education study centres would be given some relaxations in respect of eligibility. “We can compromise on conditions like the presence of a playground and overage of faculty members but broadly we will be working within the framework of the UGC. We will regulate the centres. Our aim is to serve the people and utilise the infrastructure available with different institutes and not minting money,” said Dr S.P. Singh.

The proposed distance education programme will include courses such as L.Lb. (academic), Bachelor of Library Science, Diploma in Library Science and MA (philosophy).

Referring to the Regional Centre of the university here, the Vice-Chancellor said the construction work would start by January 10. The first phase of the campus would be completed by July, when new courses like B.Tech (computers), B.Tech (electronics) five year integrated course (L.Lb. honours) would be started.

The GND University has already proposed to the UGC to start courses like five-year MCA, BCA, PG diploma in computer, Bachelors in IT at Basti Nau College, here, by April.

He did not comment on Punjab Technical Education Minister Jagdish Singh Garcha’s outburst against the UGC, which had criticised the working of Punjab Technical University.


AIFUCTO flays Garcha’s statement
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 21
The All-India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations (AIFUCTO) has flayed the statement of the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, who had dubbed the University Grants Commission Chairman as an agent of the private educational institutions.

Dr V.K. Tiwari, national secretary, AIFUCTO, in a press note issued here on Thursday said the UGC was created by the legislature in 1956 to maintain and promote the standard of higher education in the country.

He alleged that Punjab Technical University (PTU) had started sub-standard courses by introduction of franchise system in the name of distance education.


Ropar zone youth festival begins
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 21
The local zone youth festival of Punjabi University, Patiala, began at Government College here yesterday. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr G.S. Grewal, inaugurated the festival. Teams from 18 colleges of Ropar, Fatehgarh and Patiala districts are participating in the festival.

The three-day festival was earlier scheduled to be held here from December 8. However, the agitation by teachers of aided colleges led to its postponement. They had also threatened to boycott the festival.

However, the Dean, Human Resources Development, Punjabi University, Mr Daljit Singh, while talking to this correspondent said the agitating teachers had dropped the idea of boycotting the festival in the interest of the students.

The giddha, bhangra, orchestra, classical, vocal and instrumental competitions were organised, yesterday.

The Deputy Commissioner announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the local Government college.

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