Sunday, January 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Congress mends fences with Sikhs, set to bounce back
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Time is a great healer. The Indian National Congress (INC), which stood alienated from Punjabis, in general, and the Sikhs, in particular, after the tragic events of 1984, appears to be all set for opening a new chapter in the history of this border state.

It has mended fences with minorities, including Sikhs, to a great extent as it is set to bounce back for a bigger political role in Punjab in the new millennium. Though it may not be able to upset the new political trend of coalitions set in motion by the 1966 reorganisation, yet its role may change substantially from that of being a minority Opposition to an effective political outfit in the coming elections.

If one looks back on the electoral history of Punjab, it is the Congress which has witnessed several upheavals, from absolute power to near-total rejection. From 1947 to 1966, though its political supremacy in Punjab remained unchallenged, it had its own share of organisational problems, including factional and group fights, challenge to state leadership, and the impact of vertical splits in the party at the national level.

Of the six full-term Congress governments in the state, only two leaders — Mr Partap Singh Kairon and Giani Zail Singh — lasted the full term. The last Congress government in Punjab had two Chief Ministers in the last 18 months of its term after the assassination of Beant Singh.

While the Congress manages its internal bickerings and other problems well without allowing its governments to come down, their political opponents, including Akalis, mostly failed to stay back in power as and when such organisational problems went out of control.

Though Congress governments in Punjab, from the very beginning have been witnessing mid-term changes in its legislature leadership, but organisational problems have never thrown this party out of power. On the other hand, Akalis and their coalition partners had been paying heavy prices, including losing governance, to similar organisational problems when intensified.

It was the Congress which emerged as the single largest party after Independence. Dr Gopi Chand Bhargava became the first Chief Minister of the state. But there was intense infighting in the party as it was divided between Dr Bhargava and Sachar groups. So much so that when Akalis, though divided, tabled a no-confidence motion against Dr Bhargava, he resigned. Mr Bhim Sen Sachar took his place. Six months later when the party high command asked him to seek a vote of confidence, he resigned. Dr Bhargava became the Chief Minister again. When he resigned on June 16, 1951, President’s rule was imposed for the first time.

In the 1952 elections, the Congress was again voted to power and Mr Bhim Sen Sachar became the Chief Minister. It was in 1956 that the iron man of Punjab politics, Mr Partap Singh Kairon, emerged on the political horizon and dominated the scenario. Giani Gurmukh Singh Mussafir and Mr Ram Krishan followed him for brief spells in the early 60s, but the rot had started after Mr Kairon left the scene following his assassination.

After the reorganisation in 1966, the political climate changed significantly for the Congress. Though it came back to power in 1972, 1980 and 1992, the supremacy it once enjoyed in undivided Punjab was gone. The five-year rule of Giani Zail Singh was marred by the imposition of Emergency in the country. The Akalis started a morcha against the Emergency.

This was the period when the people of Punjab for the first time reaffirmed their faith in non-Congress parties. In the 1977 elections, the Congress got only 17 seats, the lowest ever till then. This record was erased in the 1997 elections, when after five years of Congress rule, it got only 14 seats in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha — the lowest ever.

In the 1992 elections, when only 23.82 per cent of the voters cast their votes, the Congress triumphed, getting an unprecedented mandate winning 87 seats.

While factionalism continues unabated in the party, wish for a change and anti-incumbency factor may help the Congress assume a greater political role in the state after the February 13 poll.


Soldier-turned-politician with blue blood

The President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh, is a versatile personality. Born in a royal family and educated in elite schools like Lawrence School (Sanawar) and Doon School (Dehra Dun), he is an alumni of both the prestigious defence institutions — National Defence Academy (Kharagvasla) and Indian Military Academy (Dehra Dun).

He is a voracious reader and a writer also. He recently came out with a well-researched book on Kargil Operations. Besides, he is an ardent environmentalist, wildlife lover and at present Chairman of the World Wide Fund for Nature - India for Punjab, Himachal and Chandigarh.

Born on March 11, 1942, this soldier-turned-politician has been at the helm of affairs of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee since July 4, 1998.

“Maharaj”, as he is normally addressed, joined politics in 1980 when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Patiala. On June 10, 1984, he not only resigned from the Lok Sabha but also from the primary membership of the Congress in protest against Operation Bluestar.

After becoming convener of the Sikh Forum in February, 1985, he formally joined the Shiromani Akali Dal on August 23, 1985. A month later, he was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and became Cabinet Minister for Agriculture, Forests, Rural Development and Panchayats in the Surjit Singh Barnala-led Akali Dal government.

On May 2, 1986, he resigned from the Punjab Cabinet in protest against entry of policemen into the Golden Temple complex. In May,1991, he formed the Akali Dal (Panthic). Later, the Akali Dal (Panthic) and Akali Dal (Longowal) merged he was elected Chairman of the Parliamentary Board of the Shiromani Akali Dal. In February, 1992, he was one of three SAD members elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha after it recorded its lowest ever polling of 23.82 per cent.

In February, 1997, he resigned from SAD and revived the Akali Dal (Panthic) which he later merged with the Indian National Congress in September that year. On July 4, 1998, he was appointed President, PPCC, a position which he has held since then.


SAD candidates face tough fight from rebels
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 12
The edge taken by the candidates of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) over their opponents in the campaigning for the coming Assembly elections seems to have failed to cheer up them as most of them have started facing problems from their party colleagues who have also jumped into the election arena as independent candidates.

In the Rampuraphul Assembly constituency in this district, Mr Sikander Singh Malooka, who has been renominated by the SAD leadership, has been facing tough opposition from senior youth Akali Dal leader and a close confidant of the Badal family, Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, who has jumped into the election arena as an independent candidate.

In Muktsar constituency, which is the home district town of Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Mrar, Senior Vice-President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), district unit, has jumped into the elections fray as an independent candidate against the official candidate and sitting MLA, Mr Harnirpal Singh Kuku.

Mr Mrar, who has also launched his campaign, while talking to TNS said that he had decided to contest the elections as the voters of the area wanted him to return to the Vidhan Sabha. He added that voters and loyal party workers were also agitated over the fact that Mr Badal did not take them into confidence before allotting the party ticket to Mr Kuku.

In Pakka Kalan Assembly segment, a number of senior party workers, including members of the SGPC and President of two circle units, had opposed the renomination of Mr Makhan Singh, MLA from that segment. Though no party worker has so far decided to contest as an independent candidate against Mr Makhan Singh, a section of disappointed party workers, have decided to keep themselves indoors instead of contributing in the campaign of Mr Makhan Singh.

From Bagapurana in Moga district, the sitting MLA, Mr Sadhu Singh Rajeana, who has been renominated has been facing the displeasure of a section of party workers, who have been trying to field Mr Tarsem Singh Ratia, a senior SAD leader and Chairman, Punjab Tourism Corporation, as an independent candidate against Mr Rajeana.

In Mansa district, which has four assembly constituencies senior SAD leaders, including former Ministers, have started planning to oppose the official candidates announced by Mr Badal recently. A major section of party workers, at a meeting held yesterday, passed a resolution that if the SAD leadership failed to rectify the wrong distribution of party ticket, they would put up rebel candidates against the official candidates for the February 13 poll.

However, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, who has been emerging as star campaigner of the party, today managed to bring Mr Baldev Singh Makha, who was a strong aspirant for the party ticket for the Joga assembly segment and was disappointed, into Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai’s camp, who has been fielded by the SAD from same Assembly seat.

On the other hand, the sitting MLA and Congress candidate from Talwandi Sabo Assembly seat, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, has also started facing tough opposition from senior party leader and once his close confidant, Mr Niranjan Singh Kutiwal, who has jumped into the election arena as an independent candidate. However, Mr Jassi is likely to take advantage of the opposition, which will be meted by the SAD candidate, Mr Mohan Singh Bangi, from his own partymen as witnessed in the previous Assembly elections when the then SAD candidate, Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu faced opposition from rebel Akali candidate, Mr Jaspal Singh Dhansukhkhana.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had initiated efforts to pacify the dissidents who were trying to harm the interests of official candidates.


Kanjhla to contest as Independent
Tribune news Service

Kanjhla (Sangrur), January 12
Within 24 hours of the resignation of Mr Ranjit Singh Balian from the post of minister of State and the Primary membership of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) against the non-allotment of the ticket from Sangrur to him, another Punjab Minister from this district, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, on the similar grounds, today announced his resignation from the post of Cabinet Minister and the primary membership of the SAD.

Mr Kanjhla also announced that he would contest the Assembly election from Sherpur (reserved) as an Independent candidate. In place of Mr Kanjhla, the SAD has fielded Mr Piara Singh Panj Grianan as its nominee from the Sherpur Assembly constituency.

These announcements were made by Mr Kanjhla here today, while addressing nearly 4000 supporters, including panches, sarpanches, members of market committees, youth clubs and Akali leaders of the area who gathered there to protest against the non-allotment of the SAD ticket of Mr Kanjhla and urge him to resign from the membership and the party, besides making an announcement to contest the election as an Independent candidate. This programme was organised under the presidentship of Mr Harwant Singh Katron, president of the Sherpur circle of the SAD.

Mr Kanjhla also gave a call to his well-wishers and supporters to make victorious Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, SAD candidate from Dhuri, and Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, now an Independent candidate from Sangrur. He also said he would contest the Assembly election from Sherpur as an Akali worker.

Mr Kanjhla also called upon the gathering, without naming Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, General Secretary of the SAD, to “teach him a lesson” as he had played a key role in the denial of party ticket to him and Mr Ranjit Singh Balian. He wanted to establish his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa as a senior leader in the district, he alleged.

Mr Kanjhla said Mr Badal had given ticket to a person who was not even a member of the SAD. He also alleged that Mr Piara Singh Panj Garianan had even opposed Mr Surjit Singh Barnala in the Parliamentary election.

He also said with the “wrong” and “anti-Akali” policies of Mr Dhindsa, all candidates of the SAD might taste defeat in the district. He also exhorted Mr Badal to beware of Mr Dhindsa. He said Mr Dhindsa’s men had started activities to defeat Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala and Mr Baldev Singh Mann, both candidates of the SAD.

Mr Kanjhla claimed that 70 sarpanches of the total 81 of the constituency were with him and he had produced all of them before Mr Badal some days ago. But Mr Badal did not cared for people’s wish.

Mr Katron said Mr Dhindsa had forced Mr Badal not to allot party ticket to Mr Kanjhla so that his son might get a berth in the cabinet, if the SAD was voted to power. He also asked Mr Kanjhla to announce his resignation from the ministry.

Almost all speakers accused Mr Dhindsa for the denial of ticket to Mr Kanjhla. They also extended their support to Mr Kanjhla in the election.


Cong upbeat, SAD jittery
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 12
Patiala, the entrance to the Malwa heartland of Punjab, is a district with a rural accent with Patiala city and Rajpura being the only two important towns of the erstwhile princely state. The district is going to the polls with the Congress party in an upbeat mood as the Pradesh Congress president, Capt Amarinder Singh, likely to lead the charge from this Assembly seat.

However, a lot will depend on the ticket selection done by the Congress. There are still many loose ends like what will happen to former minister Brahm Mohindra who it is said may be shifted to the Samana constituency from where the party already has senior leader Sant Ram Singla as its likely choice. A wrong ticket selection could lead to dissidence in the party which could cost it dearly, specially if unity is forged between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD).

Besides this, former SGPC president and SHSAD president Gurcharan Singh Tohra is likely to play an important role in most of the Assembly segments in the district in case the Panthic Morcha fights the elections on its own.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the CPI will also have an impact in a few constituencies, including Banur, Ghanaur and Rajpura.

Besides these three constituencies the other Assembly seats in the district are Patiala city, Dakala, Shutrana (reserved), Nabha and Samana.

The fight for power is likely to be between the SAD and Congress candidates except in Shutrana where the CPI will field Ram Chand as its candidate under the seat adjustment formula worked out with the Congress.

Among the stalwarts in the fray from the district are Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh, Local Bodies Minister Balramji Das Tandon (whose seat is still to be announced). The Congress likely to field Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Lal Singh (from Dakala) and Mr Vinod Sharma (from Rajpura).

There is also a feeling that top Panthic Morcha leaders, including Mr Tohra and former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, could contest from Ghanaur and Rajpura if Akali unity is not achieved.

Except for Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Tandon, both of whom have development works to show to their credit in their respective constituencies, other Akali ministers, including Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur (Ghanaur) and Raja Narinder Singh (Nabha), will be looking forward to dissension in the Congress to see them through.

In Nabha, former legislator Ramesh Singla has already “bowed to the wishes of his supporters” to contest as an Independent candidate.

In Rajpura former minister Raj Khurana could stand as an Independent candidate as former Union Minister Vinod Sharma has bagged the Congress ticket. Former minister Hamir Singh Ghagga, who appears to be very strong in Shutrana, is also peeved at the gifting away of the ticket to the CPI. As of now, the Congress appears comfortable in only Patiala, Dakala and Ghanaur Assembly seats.

The Akalis are jittery everywhere, including Banur, where Capt Kanwaljit Singh could face a severe challenge from Mrs Sheelam Sohi, wife of former leader Ravinder Sohi, who is emerging as the firm favourite there.


Looming war clouds worry voters
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 12
This border district of the Majha belt sprung a major surprise in 1997 by sending all 11 candidates of the SAD-BJP alliance to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

This, perhaps, happened for the first time in the history of this district which is otherwise known as a stronghold of the Congress. This district returned the film star BJP candidate, Vinod Khanna, to Parliament two times in a row, ending the monopoly of former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, over the local Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat.

Recently, a lot of people have migrated from the border areas in this district to safer places because of apprehension of war between India and Pakistan. There has been a demand to postpone the elections in the constituencies sharing their boundary with the border.

In the past two decades, the district has witnessed a turbulent period. Most of the top-notch terrorists, who operated in most part of the Majha belt in the 1980s and early 90s were from this district. But that appears to have become history and now the area has no such problem. The only worry of people at the moment is the looming war clouds.

The SAD has announced its candidates for all six seats contested by it the last time. It has changed its candidate for the local Assembly seat. In place of Mr Kartar Singh Pahra, the SAD has this time preferred a Christian candidate, Mr Munawar Masih, obviously to woo the good number of Christians in the rural and urban areas of the district. The BJP had contested six Assembly seats in this district the last time. It is expected that the BJP would bring one or two new faces replacing the sitting MLAs to contest the coming Assembly elections.

The scenario will become clear when the all political parties contender for power will declare their candidates. As a number of Akali heavyweights and Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s loyalists were elected from most of the Akali seats the last time, he had taken four of them — Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, Mr Natha Singh Dalam and Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon — as Cabinet ministers. Even out of the five BJP candidates elected from this district, two — Master Mohan Lal and Mr Satya Pal Saini — were taken as ministers.

Interestingly, in 1992, nine Congress MLAs were elected from this district. And they all remained ministers in the governments headed by Mr Beant Singh, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar and Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. In other words, politicians here know the art of securing ministerial berths in their respective party governments.

The last time, from Batala, Mr Jagdish Sawhney, a BJP nominee, had been elected defeating Ashwani of the Congress by about 14,000 votes and from Qadian, Mr Tirpat Rajinder Singh of the Congress was defeated by the SAD candidate, Mr Natha Singh Dalam, by over 5000 votes.

In Sri Hargobindpur, Mr Balbir Singh Bath (SAD) had defeated Mr Gurnam Singh Dhirowal, a CPI candidate who contested as an ally of the Congress, with a huge margin of about 25,000 votes and in Kahnuwan, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan (SAD) had defeated a Congress heavy weight Mr Partap Singh Bajwa with a margin of about 6500 votes.

In Dhariwal, Mr Sucha Singh Langah (SAD) was elected defeating the Akali Dal (Mann) candidate, Mr Such Singh Chhotepur, by a margin of about 4,000 votes. In Gurdaspur, Mr Kartar Singh Pahra of the SAD had won defeating the Congress candidate, Mr Khushhal Bahl, and in Dina Nagar, the BJP candidate, Mrs Roop Rani had won defeating Mr Krishan Kumar of the Congress with a huge margin of 27,000 votes.

In Narot Mehra, the BJP’s Mr Ram Lal had won defeating Mr Kishan Chand of the Congress with a margin of 21,000 votes and in Pathankot, Master Mohan Lal (BJP) had won defeating Mr Raman of the Congress by over 14,000 votes. From Sujanpur, the BJP’s Mr Satpal Saini has been elected defeating the Congress candidate, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri.


Punjab bureaucrats out to improve image
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
A select-band of Punjab bureaucrats, serving and retired, are actively involved in enabling the Akalis and the Congress to draw up their election strategies. Since quite a number of bureaucrats have links with politicians in both camps, they often use their connections to lend a helping hand to them either by directly seeking favours on their behalf or making them talk directly to bureaucrats.

The other facet of the Punjab bureaucrats is that they are currently engaged in self-introspection to improve their image that has been tarnished in the eyes of the public, the press and the judiciary. A finger is pointed towards the bureaucracy for not only permitting large-scale corruption but also indulging in it. This realisation is not new. The Administrative Secretaries were warned of such an image at a meeting on October 26, 1998. At that time too discussions were held on corruption, transfer policy and efficiency, effectiveness and ethics.

The IAS Officers’ Association has again become conscious of the need to put its house in order. This is sought to be done through a series of steps initiated at a recent meeting of the Executive Committee of the association. Sources told TNS that the ‘’action plan for effective and responsive administration’’, approved at the Chief Ministers’ conference on May 24, 1997, has been circulated to members of the Professional Efficiency Committee.

The association has formed five committees. And professional excellence is one. The others, like one on establishment is to serve the interests of the cadre and refurbish its image. The task before this is to prepare a comprehensive paper on the present state of transfers, its disadvantages and need for merit-based posting policy for efficiency in public administration, task related maturity, objective neutrality and continuity in public service.

The association has always been upset over the induction of deputationists who also got ‘’better’’ postings. If it is keen on revision in enlistment of cadre and ex-cadre posts, it also looks down upon at the promoted officers. The executive has concluded that IAS alone should hold ‘’important posts’’ of responsibility. It also noted that ‘’insignificant and useless’’ assignments were given to the IAS, while important posts like member (Finance and Accounts), Punjab State Electricity Board, DPIs, Director, Agriculture, and certain posts in the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority etc. were being handled by non-IAS. Therefore, the Establishment Committee was expected to identify important posts for IAS alone.

All eyes, however, are on the committee on professional excellence. This is headed by Mr Subodh Agarwal. At an informal meeting, it discussed corruption and honesty and also role played by some IAS officers like Mr S.P. Singh and Mr S.S. Sandhu or the ones who have ruled the roost in one or the other board or corporation for years. It felt that it was time upcoming and honest officers interacted with others at Punjab State Institute of Public Administration and their services recognised. How many will emulate them? Punjab bureaucracy is highly politicised.

When TNS spoke to some of the IAS officers, direct recruits and promotes, several issues were raised. Are the bureaucrats, who frame policies and also work at the cutting edge, really ‘’serving’’ the state and its people? Or do they feather only their own nests, worrying about ‘’I, me and myself? Will they drop their stiff upper lip? When the ‘’iron grid’’, as civil service is referred to at times, begins to crib and sulk and refuses to give up its ostrich like stance, it means all is not well, some of them were candid to admit.

The Association’s decision to copt young officers like Ms Seema Jain and Mr Rakesh Verma to the executive has been appreciated.


I did not apologise, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 12
Reports saying that he had apologised to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Mr J.M. Lyngdoh, for his large convoy of vehicles, have angered the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who reacted sharply, saying that he had never apologised before anybody.

Mr Badal, who was here to inaugurate the SAD’s central election office said: “I lodge a strong protest if somebody has said I had apologised to the CEC. Even the reply was not sent by me but by the Chief Secretary.”

Mr Badal said the convoy belonged to his party workers and securitymen. He had been travelling in his personal vehicle. He said he was covered under the “Z plus” security, hence the vehicles belonged to the securitymen.

Mr Lyngdoh had reportedly said Mr Badal had tendered an apology following the EC’s directive and had also curtailed his cavalcade.

Referring to the controversy shrouding the proposed transfer of 22 PCS officers and the allegations of the Punjab Congress that the transfers were an open violation of the poll code, Mr Badal said the case of those who had not completed four years at a place would be reviewed and they would not be transferred. “Most of them are those who had been shifted as they had completed four years of service at a place and the list was made by the Personnel Department. If there is somebody who has not completed four years and his name figured on the list, we will review it,” he said.

Talking about the situation in border villages, Mr Badal said about one lakh people had migrated from the villages falling in the Ferozepore district alone. Asked whether he thought the elections should be postponed, he said it was up to the EC to decide.

Mr Badal said the manifesto would be announced within two to three days. Refusing to say anything on why some party MLAs were not being given tickets, Mr Badal said the party had not engaged anybody to carry out a survey about its prospects. “I do the survey myself and decide accordingly,” he said.

Later addressing a rally, senior BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana said the BJP had not been a “saffronising” history as was being projected by some quarters. Others who were present included SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi.


German judge cautions Punjab youth
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib
Punjabi youth should not fall into the trap of travel agents who make promises of sending them to Germany illegally and charge huge amounts for their services. Ultimately, the victims are left in neighbouring countries.

Stating this while talking to this correspondent here, Mr Sewa Singh, who has been appointed Judge in the Office of the Federal Republic of Germany for Asylum Cases, said that every day many cases relating to political asylum were filed in his court and a majority of the young applicants were Indians and Pakistanis. Most of those from India were Punjabis.

Mr Sewa Singh, who belongs to the Fatehgarh Sahib area and is an old student of the local Mata Gujri College, said that such asylum seekers usually stated that they had paid between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 6 lakh to the agent concerned who left them in a neighbouring country from where they had entered Germany. He said most of them were nabbed by the police on the border and presented in the court.

He said as a judge he did not favour anyone, but being a Punjabi, he tried to ensure that such persons got proper food and other facilities in jail. He said that 98 per cent of the asylum cases were rejected in the courts as Punjabi youths mostly took the plea that they were being tortured by the government and presented letters from different Akali and AISSF leaders in their support.

He said that being a Punjabi, he was well aware of the situation in the state. Moreover, the court concerned had information on every country relating to matters such as the economic situation, violence, crime and terrorist outfits. A questionnaire was given which most of the applicants usually failed to answer to the satisfaction of the court. He said the youths were then deported to the third countries from which they had entered Germany. If these countries refused to accept them, they were sent to jail.

Political asylum was granted only if the applicant from India convinced the court that the police and other government departments were harassing him for political reasons or there was a threat to his life in every corner of India.

He said that the courts could not take any action against offending travel agents as India and Germany had no treaty in this regard. After the rejection of a case, an applicant could file an appeal with the Administrative Court which verified whether he should be given a chance to appeal to the Upper Administrative Court. It was very rare that rejected cases got success there.

He urged the youth that if they wanted to go to Germany, they should do so for study purposes or as IT professionals. He said Germany had planned to grant green cards to 50,000 IT professionals.

Mr Sewa Singh also addressed a function held in his honour at BBSB Engineering College here. Mr G.S. Tohra, a former SGPC chief, and various social organisations honoured him.

Mr Sewa Singh had come to his native village, Bahadurgarh, near here, to solemnise his marriage. He got married to a Punjabi girl who is a postgraduate in biochemistry.


BJP rath yatra concludes
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 12
National leaders of the BJP failed to attend the 12-day long, Sadhbhavana the vikas rath yatra of the party that ended at Nangal yesterday. The rath yatra that was organised to highlight the achievement of the SAD-BJP government arrived at Nangal on Thursday but due to the absence of the national leaders got relatively cool welcome in Nangal.

Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, president of the state unit of the BJP, said they failed to reach the venue because of their preoccupation. Mr Madan Lal Khurana was earlier scheduled to attend the concluding function of the rally but had to change his programme due to the inauguration of the SAD election office at Jalandhar today.

BJP sources that spoke on the condition of anonymity, however, attributed the dismal welcome to the rath yatra to poor planning. The local party workers were told about the rally only on its arrival. The rally was earlier scheduled to arrive at Nangal yesterday.

The prominent BJP leaders of the state, who attended the yatra included Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, Minister, Punjab, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal and the Tourism Minister, Mr Swarna Ram.

Mr Rinwa, while talking to newsmen at Sutlej Sadan Rest House of the BBMB, said the yatra succeeded in achievements of the SAD/BJP government.

When asked about the announcement of party candidates for the forthcoming elections he said the meeting of the state election committee of the party would be held on January 13. The committee would finalise the list and forward it to the national election committee. The meeting scheduled to be held on January 15 and 16, would finalise the list.

Responding to another query he said that some candidates who had won the elections last time might also be changed. He, however, ruled out any change in candidature of the senior leaders of the party, including Mr Madan Mohan Mittal and Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, as was being reported in a section of press.

About the recent statement of Mr Badal, that the SAD won’t yield any extra seat to the BJP, Mr Rinwa said the negotiations for some extra seats from the SAD were still going on.


Lok Jan Shakti list on Jan 15
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 12
The Lok Jan Shakti has decided to declare its first list of candidates on January 15.

The Union Minister for Coal and the President of the party, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, addressing a press conference here today, said the party’s state units in Punjab, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and Manipur had already submitted the list of proposed candidates and the final decision would be taken during the meeting of the central parliamentary board in Delhi on January 15.

He criticised the ruling SAD-BJP government for its failure to implement the Mandal Commission report. “We have decided not to align with the ruling combine since it had failed to implement welfare schemes for Dalits and the poor during its five-year rule. We will contest 90 Assembly seats during the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab,” he added.

Mr Paswan disclosed that efforts had been intensified by the Ministry for Coal to pressure the state electricity boards (SEBs), which owe Rs 6,000 crore as arrears, to release 50 per cent payment during the current financial year. The Ministry had also decided to sell coal to the SEBs on cash payment to cut down its fiscal deficit, he added.


Prof Manjit Singh given addl charge
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 12
Even as Prof Manjit Singh Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, has been asked to hold the additional charge of Takht Damdama Sahib, the SGPC chief, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, has referred the resignation of Giani Kewal Singh to the executive committee. Talking to TNS, Prof Badungar said it was the prerogative of the executive to take a decision on the issue.

However, sources said Giani Kewal Singh, who had been refusing to step down as Jathedar despite being embroiled in a number of controversies, was asked to quit immediately by the ruling party in wake of the elections. Giani Kewal Singh had to resign after the Additional Sessions Judge, Bathinda, dismissed the revision petition filed by his son Barjinder Singh and close relative Joginder Kaur against the non-bailable warrants issued against them.

The non-bailable warrants were issued in connection with the death of Sharnjit Kaur, daughter-in-law of Giani Kewal Singh, under mysterious circumstances in 1997. Mr Amarjit Singh, brother of the deceased, had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court when the Bathinda police had not registered an FIR against Giani Kewal Singh, his son Barjinder Singh and Joginder Kaur under the dowry Act.

Giani Kewal Singh is the first Jathedar who had to resign under such circumstances. It was for the first time that non-bailable warrants were issued against any Jathedar, that too under the dowry Act. Interestingly, Bhai Ranjit Singh, the then Jathedar, Akal Takht, had banned the entry of Giani Kewal and Prof Manjit Singh at the meetings of Akal Takht until they clarified their position on certain Panthic issues. Giani Puran Singh, in his capacity as Jathedar, had excommunicated Giani Kewal Singh and other two Sikh high priests from the Sikh Panth through a controversial edict which was rescinded by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti after he was installed as Jathedar, Akal Takht.


Akali rebel gives nominee setback
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 12
Mr Malkit Singh Keetu, MLA of Barnala and SAD nominee for the Barnala Assembly seat, suffered a setback when Mrs Rajinder Kaur, aspiring for SAD (Badal) ticket from Barnala raised a banner of revolt against Mr Keetu’s nomination.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur announced her decision to contest elections from Barnala as an Independent.

In doing this, she paid Mr Keetu back in the same coin as in the 1997 Punjab Assembly poll, Mr Keetu had contested as a rebel SAD nominee from Barnala against her when she was the official nominee of SAD and won by over 20,000 votes.

Talking to newsmen, Mrs Rajinder Kaur claimed that she had the support and backing of about 27 village panchayats out of the 41 panchayats falling in Barnala Assembly segment.

Along with hundreds of supporters, she launched her poll campaign by visiting Sanghera, Wazidke, Hamidi and Chauhanle Khurd villages yesterday.


SAD bid to sink differences at rally
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, January 12
As Mr Sher Singh Ghubaya, a sitting MLA of the SAD, has been re-nominated as party candidate in the very first list, electioneering in this town has started gaining momentum.

But the conspicuous absence of Mr Zora Singh Mann, M.P. and local Municipal Council president Mr Prem Kumar Valecha from the campaign have raised many eyebrows, which had adversely affected the prospects.

To resolve differences, a rally was organised by supporters of Mr Zora Singh Mann, and Mr Prem Kumar Valecha at the local community hall today. The rally was attended by Mr Gurdas Singh Badal, brother of Punjab CM, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, as the emissary of the party president.

Almost all speakers, including the local Akali stalwart Mr Gurjant Singh Chimnewala and Master Balwinder Singh Guraya, charged Mr Sher Singh with keeping an indifferent attitude towards the workers during five years of his power.

On the other hand, Mr Prem Kumar Valecha kept a low profile in his speech.

However, Mr Mann conveyed to the gathering that the time was not ripe to raise personal issue which might benefit the Congress. He appealed to the workers to do their best for the victory of the Akali Dal.

Mr Sher Singh Ghubaya apologised from workers for his past mistakes.


Rift in Punjab CPI, 7 quit party
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 12
Seven members of state council of the CPI yesterday resigned from the party against the seat adjustment carried out by the state leadership with the Congress recently.

Official sources said they had sent their resignation to National Secretary, CPI, Mr A.B. Vardhan and state Secretary, Dr Joginder Dyal today. The sources added that seven members, Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, Ms Gurdev Kaur, Mr Kartar Singh Mandi Kalan, Mr Darshan Maur, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, Mr Amrik Singh Phool, Mr Pritam Peter and Mr Gama Ram Dhade resigned in protest against the leaving of the Rampura Phul seat, which was earlier given to Mr Amrik Singh Phool, under the alliance with Congress, again to Congress candidate.

The district unit of CPI was unhappy over the fact that state leadership did not take it into confidence. The district unit had not claimed Pakka Kalan seat for the CPI candidate, which had been given to the party under the recent seat adjustment.

Meanwhile, Mr Phool has decided to contest as an Independent.


SAD holds rally at Zirakpur
Our Correspondent

Banur, January 12
“The Shromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party will form a collation government with majority and rule for a term of five years in the forthcoming Assembly elections”. This statement was made by the General Secretary of SAD, Capt Kanwaljit Singh while addressing a rally at Zirakpur here today. This was the fourth rally being addressed by the Minister during his election campaign after the announcement of election date.

He said the Congress government at the Centre has always been toppling the state SAD-BJP coalition government. But with the assistance of Vajpayee-led coalition government, SAD was able to complete its term and work for the betterment of people.

The Minister claimed that Banur has come up as a model constituency in the state as majority of development works have been done here. He listed various development works completed in the past five years and appealed the public to vote for SAD candidates in the forthcoming elections.

District General Secretary of the Congress, Mr Avtar Singh, along with number of his supporters also joined SAD on this occasion. He was accorded a warm welcome and was honoured by Capt Kanwaljit by presenting him with a shawl.

Those who addressed the rally include Mr Gurkirat Singh Thuhi, political secretary of Finance Minister; Mr Sukhdev Singh Changera, district general secretary of Akali Dal; Mr Parminder Singh Pal, circle president Zirakpur; Mr Nau Nihal Singh Sodhi, president of the Youth Akali Dal; Zirakpur, Ms Surinder Kaur, Chairperson Mahila Commission, Punjab; Mr Jaswinder Singh Jassi, state general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal; and Santosh Kashyap, president of the Bhabhat Mahila Mandal.


Resentment over denial of Cong ticket
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 12
Resentment prevails among Congress leaders over the decisions of the Congress high command to allot Kharar Assembly seat to Mr Bir Devinder Singh who is considered as an “outsider” by many.

Mr Harneik Singh Gharuan, former Punjab Minister who earlier represented Kharar and was a strong contender from Kharar said if any injustice was done towards him he would contest the Kharar seat as an independent candidate. He said he had contested and won this seat under the shadow of bullets and his 11 associates were killed. Mr Kuljit Singh Bedi, president Block Congress Committee, SAS Nagar, said the decision had demoralised the workers.


Shiv Sena office-bearers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 12
The Shiv Sena (Bala Sahib Thackeray) has nominated the following unit office-bearers of its organisation of the district: Mr Raman, Mr Swaran Singh and Mr Chander Shekhar Bawa have been nominated local district office-bearers and Mr Jatinder Sharma, Mr Sunil Arora, Mr Vipan Sharma and Mr Goverdhan Kohli of urban units.

Tarn Taran unit — Mr Ashwani Kumar, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Amandeep Singh Bedi and Mr Ravi Kant.

Bhikhiwind unit — Mr Ravinder Singh Soni, Mr Palwinder Singh Laddi, Mr Varinder Kumar Neeta and Mr Gopal Krishan;

Raya unit — Mr Rakesh Sethi, Mr Sarbjit Dhir, Mr Rahul Kapahi and Mr Sukhdev Sakhi;

Jandiala unit — Mr Rajinder Kumar Nitu;

Majitha unit — Mr Dharampal;

Patti unit — Mr Harinderpal;

Manochahal unit — Mr Sukhdev Singh Chahal and Mr Prem Singh, according to Mr Parmod Babla Vice-President of the Sena said here yesterday.


Sukhbir rules out pact with SHSAD
Tribune News Service

Joga (Mansa), January 12
The SAD general secretary, Sukhbir Badal today ruled out the possibility of an understanding with the SHSAD and said it was a closed chapter as far as his party was concerned. The candidates for the remaining seats would be announced in the coming days.

He was addressing a rally to mark the launch of the election campaign of the SAD candidate, Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai. He claimed that the party would win by a two-third majority.

Mr Badal said the party manifesto would be released in a day or two.


Non-SAD workers ‘harassed’
Tribune News Service

Mansa, January 12
Three Assembly candidates from Mansa have joined forces to counter attempts by SAD leaders to browbeat and harass their party workers and sympathisers. This decision has been taken by Mr Ajit Inder Singh Mofar (Congress), Mr Baldev Singh Khiala and Mr Hardev Arshi (CPI). They alleged that their workers were being picked up by the police and forced to switch allegiance in favour of the official SAD candidates.


Ranike embarrassed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 12
Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike, state Minister for Agriculture, had to face the wrath of a voter when he (Mr Ranike) passed derogatory remarks against the leadership of the Panthic Morcha at Bhakna village, 25 km from here, last evening. Interestingly, Ms Rajpinder Kaur Ranike, sister-in-law of the minister, is a candidate of the Panthic Morcha from this constituency. The incident occurred when Mr Ranike was addressing an election rally after inaugurating the poll office of the SAD. However, the protester was persuaded to leave the place by the villagers.


Don’t flout EC rules, DC tells parties
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 12
Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the representatives of all political parties and officers of the district here yesterday urged them to strictly follow the guidelines of the Election Commission. He also asked them to cooperate with the administration as per the Moral Code of Conduct and directions issued by the Election Commission.

Apprising the meeting about the Code of Conduct for elections, Mr Partap asked the political parties not to indulge in any activity which may aggravate the situation, create differences or cause tension among different castes, communities, religions or linguistics. Also, there shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing vote. The places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.

He further asked the parties to refrain from the criticism of all aspects of private life not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of the parties. The party candidates shall avoid activities and the offences under election law like bribing of voters, canvassing within 100 metres of polling stations, holding public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour for the close of the poll and to providing transport to the voters to and from polling stations.

He said the party or candidates shall inform the local authorities of the timing of proposed meetings and use of loudspeakers well in time, to enable them to make arrangements to control traffic and maintain peace, law and order. The candidates, organising processions shall give advance intimation to the local police of the programme along with the specified route of procession for security and traffic arrangements.

The Deputy Commissioner said that except voters, no one without a valid pass from the Election Commission shall enter the polling booths on the polling day.

Mr Vikas Partap asked the parties to cooperate with the officers on election duty to ensure peace and orderly polling and to ensure complete freedom to the voters to exercise their franchise. He asked them to supply to the workers suitable badges or identity cards. He further asked them to refrain from serving or distribution of liquor on polling day.

The DC informed that the Election Commission had appointed Mr Sanjay Joshi, IAS, as observer in the district. Any party or the agent having specific complaint or the problem regarding the conduct of election may bring to the notice of the observer.


Aiming for drug-free elections
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 12
With drugs and alcohol likely to flow freely in the impending Punjab Assembly elections, a number of social organisations, educationists and anti-drug associations have begun a signature campaign against the use of drugs in the elections. They have also given a call to all political parties to announce in the election manifestoes that they would take steps to make Punjab free from drugs if voted to power.

The Social and Health Services Directorate, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle based in Ludhiana, which has taken the initiative of such a campaign has written letters to all major political parties of Punjab demanding a clear-cut stand about their concern on the growing menace of drug abuse in Punjab.

Prof. Sarabjeet Singh, Director, Social & Health Services Directorate and a spokesperson of the organisations, has appealed to the presidents and other office-bearers of political parties to issue strict guidelines to their cadres and contesting candidates not to distribute alcohol or other drugs to lure the voters.

More than 40 office bearers of various political parties, including sitting MLAs and Ministers, have till date filled the declarations forms stating that they will not distribute alcohol and other drugs and will not promote the person indulged in such activity.


Passport seekers return disappointed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 12
A number of people who had come from far off places today to attend a special lok adalat at the local Circuit House to get their pending passports were disappointed as the adalat was cancelled at the eleventh hour and they were not aware of it.

Although the authorities concerned and the district administration maintained that they had informed public through media yet the people gathered here said they were not aware of it.

The people were disappointed over the cancellation of the adalat. Moreover, there was no information whether the lok adalat would be held in the near future or not. Mr Harnek Singh Brar, a former chief adviser of the Teachers Dal, Punjab, while talking to this correspondent said he reached here early this morning to attend the adalat but was disappointed to find that it was cancelled. The personnel deployed at the Circuit House told the visitors that they would be informed about the day and venue of the next lok adalat by authorities concerned.

Mr Sushil Goyal from Faridkot, who had come here for the passport of his daughter, said he had hoped that the pending cases would be disposed of or at least they would come to know about the exact status of their cases and the formalities required to be fulfilled.

Mr Veena Sood from Mansa said she had taken a one-day leave to attend the adalat but to no avail.

Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, however, said he had informed the people through the media about the cancellation. He said about 1,000 people, who were to attend the lok adalat, should now contact the Regional Passport Office Chandigarh.


Martyr cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 12
Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at Chuni Kalan village, near here, this morning when the body of martyr Surinder Singh of 4 Sikh Light Infantry reached the village.

Surinder Singh sacrificed his life during Operation Rakshak at Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir. The mortal remains of Surinder Singh were consigned to flames today. The cremation was largely attended. Contingents of the Punjab Police and the Army reversed their arms as a mark of respect to the martyr.

Surinder Singh belonged to a poor Ramdasia family of the village. He was the younger son of the old parents and brother of four sisters and three brothers. He left behind young wife and two small children.

Mr M.P. Arora, ADC (G), laid a wreath on behalf of the district administration, Mr Narjinder Singh SP (D) on behalf of SSP, Capt, Kesar Singh, Deputy Director, Sanik Bhalai, Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, Vaid Hari Krishan, member PPCC, Bibi Surinder Kaur, BSP leader, Didar Singh Bhatti and Kiranbir Singh Kang, senior Akali leader also attended the funeral.

Mr M.P. Arora, ADC (G), announced that all benefits being given to a martyr would be given in time and the family would be well looked after by the administration. The bhog ceremony of the martyr would be performed on January 19 in Chuni Kalan village.


Jacob visits forward areas
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 12
The Governor of Punjab, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), accompanied by Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh, GOC in C, Western Command, and other senior civil and Army officers of the Golden Arrow Division, visited the frontier areas along zero line of the Indo Pakistan border here today.

The Governor, instead of having lunch with senior officials, chose to have his meal with jawans at “barakhana”. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladhar, briefed the Governor about the situation in villages along zero line.

Mediapersons accompanying the Governor to forward locations were moved by the sense of dedication and morale of the Army troops.


Distress sale of paddy by those displaced
Varinder Walia and Gurbax Puri
Tribune News Service

Indo-Pak border (Amritsar), January 12
Many displaced persons in the border belt have started setting their livestock and agricultural produce even as some families, who had taken refuge in the rehabilitation camps at Patti and elsewhere, returned to their respective villages.

Meanwhile, 4.5-km long communication cable of the Army was stolen near Khalra. Mr Gurdeep Singh, district police chief, Tarn Taran, said a case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered at the Khalra police station. He, however, said the theft was committed in the prohibited area which was under the Army control. No arrest has been made in this connection so far.

Mr Amarbir Singh Sidhu, SDM, Patti, said at least 20 persons who had been living in the relief camp had returned to Khemkaran. Raj Kumar, who hails from Khemkaran, told TNS that he along with his family were going back as they did not want to put burden on anybody.

Mr Bashir Singh of Kals village near the Zero Line, said he lost his buffalo on the way to Patti. He said there was a shortage of fodder.

A visit to the border belt revealed that many of those who are taken shelter in refugee camps are worried about their future as they do not have enough resources to get themselves rehabilitated even after normalcy returned in the region. Mr Jeet Singh told the TNS team that he sold two bags of wheat and paddy each to hire a transport for moving to safer places.

He said since he had been living in a relief camp it was difficult for the family to hire transport to take back the luggage to his native village after normalcy returns. Mr Balkar Singh, a tailor at Khemkaran, said the government must come to the rescue of the residents of the border belt. Mr Harbans Singh and Mr Jassa Singh said the government should give top priority to making permanent arrangements for the border residents who frequently face displacement.


20 PCS officers transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Obeying the guidelines given by the Election Commission with regard to the posting of officers during the Assembly elections, the Punjab Government today ordered the transfer of 20 PCS officers.

Mr Harkesh Singh Sidhu has been transferred to the Local Bodies Department as Additional Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana and Mr Dipinder Singh has been sent to Ferozepore for posting in the Commissioner’s office there.

Mr Har Bhupinder Singh has been posted as Secretary of the Punjab Public Service Commission and Mr Karamjit Singh Sra has been shifted to Patiala as Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA. Mr R.S. Randhawa has been posted as Additional Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs and Mr Surjit Singh has been transferred to the Food and Supplies Department as its Joint Secretary.

Mr Bhupinder Singh has been shifted to the office of the Commissioner (Patiala division) and Mr Sucha Singh Mast has been sent to Faridkot as SDM. Mr Manvesh Singh Sidhu has been posted as Additional Chief Administrator at SAS Nagar.

Mr Mohan Lal has been posted as SDM at Shahkot and Mr Pritpal Singh has been appointed District Transport Officer at Kapurthala. Mr Ashwani Kumar has been posted Additional Commissioner (General) at Fatehgarh Sahib. Mr Vinay Bublani has been posted as SDM, Tarn Taran, and Mr Mohinder Pal has been shifted to Jalandhar as SDM. Mrs S.K. Riar has been posted as Additional Commissioner( General) at Ropar and Mr Gurwaryam Singh has been sent to Gurdaspur as SDM.

Mr A.S. Parbhakar has been posted as DTO at Amritsar and Mrs Sarojini Gautam Sharda has been appointed as Land Acquisition Officer of Improvement Trusts at Patiala, Faridkot and Ferozepore. Mr Gurmeet Singh has been posted as Executive Magistrate at Taran Taran and Mr M.R. Aggarwal has been transferred to Bholath as SDM.


Nine held in fake currency racket
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 12
The police on a tipoff yesterday arrested nine persons and seized fake currency notes of more than Rs 2 lakh along with computers and printers being used for this purpose.

The modus operandi of the culprits was that they used to exchange fake currency notes for the genuine one and paid two times the value of the genuine currency notes. They also used to make retail transactions of the fake notes in various districts of Rajasthan and Haryana, besides Punjab.

Even the software being used by them was pirated. A mobile phone seized from them had reportedly given the police vital clues about those connected with the gang.

The culprits used to give fake notes to those involved in ‘satta’ trade and at petrol stations, hotels and to roadside vendors. To avoid detection they had prepared nine different number series of currency notes of Rs 50, 100 and 500 denominations. They had taken an accommodation on rent in the South City area in Ludhiana.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, district police chief, in a press conference here today, said the kingpin of the gang, Bhagat Singh, had employed a computer expert, Sanjiv Kumar, and they were using latest software and hardware to execute the job.

One of the arrested person Amarjit Singh was found to be carrying four passports. A case under Sections 420, IPC, and 3, 13, 20, 15, 12 and 67 of the Passport Act had been registered against him. Amarjit Singh was running a travel agency and used to send people abroad. The British Embassy had reportedly confiscated one of his passports, Dr Jain said. Dr Jain said fake currency notes of more than Rs 2 lakh in denominations of Rs 50,100 and 500 were seized.

Those arrested are Bhagat Singh, Amarjit Singh, Gian Singh, Buta Singh, Sanjiv Kumar, Deepak Kumar, Rimpal Singh, Pithipal Singh Balian and Amarjit Singh. A case under Sections 420 and 489 (A,B,C,D), IPC had been registered.


PUTA executive suspends Secy
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 12
The ongoing war of words between rival factions of the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) today spilled over with the dominant group led by the Association President, Dr D.S. Dhillon, suspending rival faction Secretary, Dr N.S. Atri, for his “anti-PUTA, and anti-university” activities.

At a meeting of the PUTA executive, Dr Atri was given a week’s time to make a representation to the PUTA executive against his suspension which would be considered for revocation of the resolution.

However, two members of the executive — Dr K.S. Sidhu and Dr R.S. Ghuman — affiliated to the Teachers United Front (TUF) which was reduced to a minority in PUTA during the last elections, called the meeting unconstitutional. Both executive members said an emergency meeting could be called by the President by giving a 24-hour notice but this had not been done. He said both of them had gone to the meeting to tell the President that it was illegal. They said they were surprised that the President had gone ahead with the meeting when the PUTA Secretary was out of the town, adding that there was no emergency which warranted such an action.

At the meeting, which was not attended by these two members, it was recalled that on an earlier occasion in last November, Dr Atri had been prohibited from making any unauthorised statement to the press directly or indirectly. It said it was then decided that only the President would issue press statements when required. It claimed that Dr Atri by going to the press had not only violated discipline and propriety of the earlier resolution but had also indulged in misinformation campaign which could thwart the ongoing process of selection of teachers under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS).

The executive also alleged that by raking up the issue of “victimisation” of Prof U.C. Singh and Dr R S Ghuman, the PUTA Secretary had misused his position and had tried to divert attention from the issue of apparant misappropriation of funds raised by previous PUTA members for filing a writ petition.

It said Rs 42,000 had been raised by the previous PUTA which had failed to account for the funds and had not submitted utilisation statement of the funds. It was decided that in case a report on the accounts was not rendered by January 16 by the previous PUTA members, the executive would consider initiating legal action against them.

As regards the claims of victimisation, the meeting held that Prof U.C. Singh had been wrongly confirmed as Professor as he had not fulfilled the prescribed UGC condition of completing his PhD during his one year of probation. In case of Dr R.S. Ghuman, the executive felt that a break in service had occurred when he left Khalsa College, Amritsar, and joined Mohindra College, Patiala. It said instead of barring both of them from availing of promotion under the CAS, an inquiry had been ordered in their cases.


Governor visits boys hostel
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 12
The Governor, Lieut-Gen, J.F.R. Jacob, (retd), and Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, today paid a visit to General Kalwant Singh Boys Hostel. The hostel has been established in Jalandhar cantonment for the boys of war widows of Dogra Regiment. The Governor and General Surjit Singh were taken around the hostel by the Chairman of the hostel, Lieut-Col, Arvind Datta, who briefed them about the facilities given to boys.

Later General Jacob and General Surjit Singh also visited the District Sainik Welfare Board office where they interacted with the ex-servicemen.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |