Sunday, January 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Jagmeet Brar goes underground
To expose Cong, SAD on SYL issue
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 19
The Congress high command has launched a desperate search for Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, Senior Vice-President of the PPCC, who has gone “underground” to compile a “white paper” with a view to exposing the betrayals of the Congress and the SAD leadership on the controversial SYL canal.

Mr V. George, personal secretary to Ms Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, and Mr Ahmed Patel, member of the Congress Working Committee, today contacted Mr Brar on his mobile phone and asked him to take an active part in the campaign of the party at the earliest. The party high command had also said he could share a helicopter with Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC chief, for electioneering. However, Mr Brar urged the party high command to give him four more days so he could compile the white paper.

When contacted on his cell phone, Mr Brar confirmed that he was compiling the speeches he had made on the floor of Parliament. He said he wanted to call a spade a spade so far as the SYL issue was concerned. He said he was ready to face any action or quit any post if it could be proved that he had participated in the function in which Indira Gandhi had laid the foundation stone of the SYL canal in April 1982. He alleged that a section of the Congress leadership and the Akali Dal had launched a propaganda against him that he was there when the foundation stone was laid. He said the fact was that he was the only Congress member in Parliament who spoke against it.

He said though the then Prime Minister, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, had initiated disciplinary action against him even then he continued to demand fair adjudication of the river waters.

Mr Brar claimed that the head office of the Congress had compiled a report on Punjab elections and at least 90 senior leaders of the party had asked the party high command to bring him (Mr Brar) in the state to give a boost to the campaign. He said the report was with Mr Oskar Fernandes, senior leader of the party.

Mr Brar said he was “betrayed” by the PPCC President while allocating ticket. He alleged that the wrong distribution of ticket had given the impression that the Congress had given the seats to the Akalis on a platter. “Under what condition weak candidates were put would be exposed later,” he said, alleging that Mr Maheshinder Singh, cousin of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who was denied ticket, could have defeated the Chief Minister in his home turf. Similarly, he (Mr Brar) was not taken into confidence while distributing ticket in his parliamentary constituency. He said the Panjgrain ticket was denied to his confidant.

The compilation of his speeches could embarrass both Akalis and Congress as Mr Brar was the only MP from Punjab who spoke intensively in the Lok Sabha. He said during his 45-minute speech in Parliament on Articles 70 and 80 of the Constitution, he opposed any move of the Central Government to dilute the Reorganisation Act which provided exclusive rights of inter-state waters to the states.

Coming heavily on Mr Badal, Mr Brar alleged that it was known that he had accepted Rs 2 crore from his Haryana counterpart for the completion of the canal. Mr Surjit Singh Barnala was responsible for the Rajiv-Longowal Accord which promised completion of the controversial canal, he said. While no other points of the accord were implemented, why the agreement on SYL canal was being implemented, he asked. The PPCC chief did not oppose the agreement though he was a minister in the Barnala government, he said adding that Capt Amarinder Singh did not support his state during his five-year tenure as MP.

Mr Brar had also taken a firm stand when the Central Government had tried to amend the Inter-State Water Dispute Amendment Bill, 2001, which was also aimed at diluting the 1956 Act.

Mr Brar said he was the only MP from Punjab who took a clear stand on Udham Singh Nagar while the ruling SAD “ditched” residents who had pinned their hope on Mr Badal.


Sober Punjab stand on SYL likely after poll
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Even as Punjab is maintaining a strident stand that it would not part with “even a drop of water”, despite the Supreme Court’s recent order asking Punjab to complete the SYL canal in a year’s time, a Haryana minister today said that the belligerence of the Punjab politicians would have to be seen in the context of the impending Assembly elections in the state.

Mr Sampat Singh, Finance Minister of Haryana and a veteran INLD leader, said that political parties of Punjab were trying to outdo each other in opposing the court order to cater to the sentiments of their voters. Once the elections in Punjab were over, the mood would become sober and there would be an atmosphere for implementation of the judiciary’s decision, he said.

“The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. There is no region or state in the country which can ignore the SC”, the Finance Minister said.

While the SC’s order has triggered off a flurry of heady statements from the Punjab politicians, in Haryana the verdict has been followed by scramble among the politicians trying to capitalise on the judiciary’s decision in favour of the state.

While Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala, a former chief of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), claimed that “no one in Haryana can be happier than me” in the wake of the order, Mr Bhajan Lal, former Congress Chief Minister, issued a statement on Thursday where he pointed out that the suit by Haryana, on which the SC gave its landmark order on January 15, was filed in 1995 during his tenure as the Chief Minister.

Talking to the TNS, Mr Sampat Singh accepted what Mr Bhajan Lal’s assertion, but added that it was only after the INLD government came to power, the case was expedited. Moreover, the issue was first taken to the court in 1979 when Devi Lal was Chief Minister of Haryana, pointed out the Finance Minister.

Mr Bhajan Lal has also been criticised by the INLD for withdrawing the suit filed in 1979.The suit was withdrawn by the Haryana Government under Mr Bhajan Lal on February 12, 1982, in view of a tripartite agreement among Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan in the presence of the Prime Minister on December 31, 1981.

According to Mr Sampat Singh, whenever there had been political agreements on the issue, Haryana’s interest had suffered. “The only way there could be a solution of the issue was to approach the court and the INLD realised this much before others”, he explained to justify why the ruling party of Haryana was trying to bask in the glory of the SC’s order.

Many in official circles in Haryana are, however, still believe that the water shortage problem faced by Haryana can only be solved through a mutual agreement with Punjab.


SYL issue: SAD may take political path
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 19
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) may take the political path in response to the Supreme Court order asking it to complete its portion of the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.

Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa has not been able to meet the Prime Minister and is not likely to do so for another few days. While talking to newsmen here after presenting the Giani Lal Singh Memorial Award to noted writer Kartar Singh Duggal, Mr Dhindsa said the party might take the political path on the issue.

The Union Minister, however, did not rule out approaching the Prime Minister to mediate with the Haryana Government to go slow on its victory claims keeping in view the forthcoming elections in Punjab. Mr Dhindsa said he would be going to Delhi after two to three days and would meet the Prime Minister and inform him about the sentiments of the people on the matter.

Mr Dhindsa said the state government would file a review petition in the Supreme Court in the case within a week. He also claimed that false allegations were being levelled against the government charging it with not arguing the case properly in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile the SGPC president, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, in a separate press conference today said the SAD and the people of Punjab would launch a ‘’morcha’’ to prevent any water going to Haryana from the SYL. He said Punjabis would give their blood but would not allow any water to flow into Haryana from the canal.

Earlier speaking at the function organised at the State Language Department, both Mr Dhindsa and Mr Badungar lauded the contributions made by Giani Lal Singh, erstwhile Director of the Language Department, for the cause of Punjabi language. The Giani Lal Singh Memorial Society associate, Dr Daljit Singh, who is also Dean, Human Resource Development in Punjabi University, urged the SGPC to put up a portrait of Giani Lal Singh in the Sikh Museum at Amritsar in view of his contribution to the cause of Punjabi.

Speaking on the occasion after receiving a cash prize and a silver memento Rajya Sabha member and writer Kartar Singh Duggal said there was an urgent need to create more readers in Punjabi. He said only if this was done could more writers be encouraged to write in the language.


SYL case: Oppn to pin down Badal
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and certain other Opposition parties have been chalking out strategies to pin down the Shiromani Akali Dal chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on the SYL canal issue.

A meeting of senior Akali leaders opposed to Mr Badal has been called here tomorrow by the former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, to plan a statewide publicity campaign against Mr Badal for losing the canal case in the Supreme Court. On January 15, the Supreme Court ordered the completion of the canal within one year on the writ petition filed by the Haryana state. Certain leaders, who left the SAD recently, might also attend the meeting.

It has been reported that Prof Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, President of the Lok Bhalai Party, has also been invited for the meeting. However, Mr Ramoowalia told The Tribune on the phone that he had got no invitation for the meeting. But he held both the Akali and the Congress leadership responsible for muddying the Punjab’s river waters case.

Already, lot of embarrassment has been caused by the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, to his counterpart and family friend, Mr Badal, by making some hard hitting statements on the SYL issue. Celebrating the victory over the canal issue, Mr Chautala has already declared his next move. “My next attempt would be to have a separate High Court”, he has been quoted saying at Sirsa. He also reportedly talked about having a separate capital for his state and approaching the apex court for the transfer of Hindi-speaking areas from Punjab to Haryana.

For the past several months, Mr Badal has been taking the support of Mr Chautala for lobbying at the national level regarding the procurement of foodgrains, increase in the minimum support price, etc. Even Mr Chautala has been addressing public meetings in Punjab in the company of Mr Badal. The latest of these was at Maghi mela at Muktsar last week.

However, the SYL canal issue has turned everything upside down and Mr Chautala has all the smiles as he has been trying to take all the credit for winning the canal case in the Supreme court. Of course, it has left Mr Badal and other Akali leaders close to Mr Chuatala with long faces. It will be difficult for Mr Badal to muster goodwill to invite Mr Chautala for campaigning in Punjab

When asked that what could be the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting, a spokesman for the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal said that the programme would be chalked out to highlight the “blunders” committed by the state government on the canal issue”. A call could also be given for Punjab Bandh, he added.

Prof Ramuwalia said that he would raise the river waters issue in the Rajya Sabha. Akali leaders even did not dare to oppose the amendments in the River Waters Commission Act, he added.

Meanwhile, the SAD and the Congress are blaming one another on the river waters issue. It is true that the Congress Chief Minister, Mr Darbara Singh, had withdrawn the SYL Canal case from the supreme court under pressure from Indira Gandhi in 1982 and also signed the pact with partner states about the sharing of river waters. He was Chief Minister when the foundation stone of the canal was laid.

On this issue Akalis surpassed Darbara Singh. It was the Surjit Singh Barnala and late Balwant Singh, chief architects of the Rajiv-Longowal accord, who agreed to the digging up of the canal which meant accepting Haryana’s share in Punjab waters. The completion of the canal by August 15, 1986 was the fourth point of the accord.

And most part of the SYL canal was dug and lined when Mr Barnala was Chief Minister. Most of the Akali leaders, who are part of the Mr Badal’s Government, have contested and won the Assembly elections in 1985 under the Akali manifesto in which the accord was fully appreciated. Earlier, the Akali-Janata Government in 1979 had accepted Rs 1.5 crore from the Haryana Government for the canal work.

Prof Balwant Singh, Secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPM said today that the dispute between Punjab and Haryana could be resolved by following the “water users” principle as laid down in the Rajiv-Longowal accord.

He said that Punjab should continue to use the water that was available to it as on July 31, 1985. and the remaining water should be distributed among Punjab and Haryana in a judicious way.

Prof Balwant Singh said that he had cancelled the meeting which was to be held tomorrow to discuss the river waters issue at the local Cheema Bhavan. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra had been invited to the meeting. He said the meeting has been cancelled as Mr Tohra had taken an irrational stand on this issue by proposing to give a call for Punjab bandh.


State’s economy takes backseat in agendas
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
As the process of filing of nominations picks up, political assimilations and eliminations become clearer, prevailing confusion and chaos fades away and poll campaigns kick-off, Punjab will get into the election mode.

As all this happens, a quick look at the state of Punjab economy as much as at the economy of Punjab shows beginning 1986, economic growth rate in the state has fallen below the national average. It has considerably slipped from the position of eminence. This is a cause of concern. Are the key contestants aware of the economic situation? Are people asking them questions related to this aspect?

Away from the humdrum of electioneering, the Punjab Finance Department is quietly working on a “white paper” on the state’s economy and finances for the next government, whichever it is. The presentation will give a “balanced and wide perspective” of prevailing ground realities. These realities would encompass reasons for fiscal decline, an insight into the state of revenue income and expenditure, debt burden and servicing, tax realisation or lack of it, quantum of outgo on salaries, wages, pensions, interest repayment and grants-in-aid to educational institutions.

The “white paper” would also list the extravagant expenses, cost of maintaining an army of ministers and MLAs, diversion of funds, total collapse of public sector undertakings, state of panchayats and municipalities, proliferation of manpower, absence of accountability at all levels, declining standards of education (primary schools to universities), poor health delivery system, “sick” industry and unprofitable agriculture (suicides — from debt-trap to death-trap), how police has become a law on to itself and why outside world does not believe “peace” has returned etc.

Punjab is mined. One wrong political step or wrong voting-in by the people can have a debilitating effect on the economy and future of the state. Punjab can ill-afford any political adventurism.

One wonders if economy is on the political agenda of the contesting parties. Sadly, one sees all parties engaged in only trading charges and counter-charges and making allegations and counter-allegations. If the parties were honest they must define what road map would they be following to set the economy in order.

The Punjab voter is not interested in the blame-game of the politicians. Neither it is in the interest of Punjab that politicians play such games. In fact, irrespective of any political executive assuming power, the first thing it would have to tackle would be Punjab’s poor financial health, economic slowdown and administrative apathy. Vote-politics can wait. Solving the immediate problems that beset the state cannot.

The voters have lost faith in political claims and bureaucratic promises. There is a crisis of confidence as much between the politicians and the people as ‘wazir’ and worker. Will election-2002 bridge the gap and set new trends? Will there be reactive vote going by only “anti-incumbency and corruption” factors, as the Congress is propagating or will people vote on the basis of “performamce” of the SAD-BJP?

Thus Punjabis shall have to vote with conviction and bring political stability though voter’s choice is limited. But despite the limitations, the choice has to be judicious and logical; not emotional and partisan. Therefore, if political stakes of contenders for power are high, higher still is the future of Punjab. It is not the voter turnout or poll percentage that should matter. Only a decisive vote should matter because that would alter the political courses.

Punjab’s voter turnout has always been higher than the national average, may it be Parliament or Assembly elections. Here is a sampling of how Punjab had voted in Assembly elections since 1967. The voter turn out that year (after reorganisation in 1966) was 71.18. In 1969—72.27 per cent; in 1972— 68.63 per cent; in 1977—65.3 per cent; in 1980—64.33 per cent; in 1985—67.4 per cent; in 1992—23.82 per cent. (That election was boycotted by the Akalis and was held under the terrorists’ threat); and in 1997—68.73 per cent.

And frequent change of political guard does not lead the state anywhere.


Who was ‘Dawood’ of selection process?
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
While the dust raised after the announcement of candidates for various assembly segments by the Congress is yet to settle down, the party workers in general and the ticket aspirants in particular wonder as to who acted Dawood during the selection process. Dawood was the code name, obviously drawn from the underworld, for the “invisible” authority who would decide on the final fate of candidates. And some upset candidates, who failed to secure party nomination are still camping in Delhi in the hope that they may at last find ‘him’ out.

As hectic activities were on for about 10 days at various places, coded language was evolved to ensure secrecy. The parleys were held mainly at Maurya Sheraton, Oberoi, Taj Man Singh, Le Meridian and Park Royal. Since those entrusted with the job of choosing the candidates wanted to remain aloof and maintain secrecy, they coined their own code words for various hotels.

Maurya Sheraton was code named as ‘bus stand’, while Hotel Oberoi was named ‘railway station’. Taj Man Singh hotel and Le Meridian were code named as ‘Sabzi Mandi’ and Hospital respectively. Some ticket aspirants said initially were confused when a senior leader would tell another that he would meet him in hospital or sabzi mandi. But later on everybody got familiarised with the coded language. While the PCC president, Capt Amarinder Singh would camp at Maurya Sheraton, Rana Gurjeet Singh stayed at Oberoi and Mr Lal Singh and Rana Sodhi stayed at Taj Man Singh and Le Meridian respectively.

However, the mystery about ‘Dawood’ is still unresolved. The ticket aspirants said, Dawood had become a familiar name even with some senior leaders who would tell each other that ‘Dawood’ would take the final decision. ‘Dawood’, the aspirants presume, was the code name for the ‘abstract party high command’. Because, nobody is sure what is meant by or who constitutes the ‘party high command’.

Interestingly enough, the aspirants disclosed, a number of brokers could be seen making rounds and “offering ticket” to aspiring candidates at a handsome price. In the beginning the price quoted per ticket was said to be around Rs 25 lakh. Later it rose to Rs 50 lakh and finally settled at Rs 1 crore. These were the prices quoted by the brokers, said a ticket aspirant. Even people from the clerical staff of the All-India Congress Committee headquarters would come out and offer to “arrange and fix” meetings with senior party leaders. They had fixed a rate of Rs 25,000 for a single meeting, irrespective of the outcome. The aspirants were asked to carry Rs 25,000 in cash and a blank cheque with their bio data in case they agreed to such a meeting.

It was for the first time that meetings of the selection committee were held in five star hotels in Delhi. During the previous elections, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who was the Chief Minister at that time, would stay in Kapurthala House, while the then Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa, would sit at Punjab Bhawan. Even in 1992 the then PCC president, Mr Beant Singh, would operate from Punjab Bhawan only and ticket allotment on both occasions was finalised at these places only. This time it was decided in the hotel rooms only. In fact the central election committee held its first meeting at hotel Royal Park.


Poll champs promised berths
Chander Parkash and Jaswinder Paul Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 19
The Punjab Chief Minister and President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today while comparing the February 13 elections with a one-day cricket match and laying down the procedure for the next cabinet, said the victory margin of SAD-BJP candidates in the coming Assembly elections would be a key factor in deciding their portfolios in the next government.

Mr Badal, who was here today in connection with the inauguration of the election office of the sitting MLA of Bathinda and Punjab Science and Technology Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, while addressing the workers, said that more the victory margin of any candidate of SAD-BJP alliance, the more important portfolio would be given to him in the next cabinet.

Comparing the victory margin with a one-day cricket match, Mr Badal said that any candidate who won with the margin of more than 20,000 votes would be taken as a player who had scored a “sixer” and given a high and important portfolio and the contestant who won by 15,000 to 20,000 votes, would be considered as a player who had scored a “four” and would be given the second highest portfolio in the cabinet.

Mr Badal said categorically that any candidate whose victory margin is around 5000, would not be inducted into the Cabinet. Though Mr Badal did not clarify about the position of any senior contestant in the next cabinet if his or her margin remained less, he added that it was now up to the electors of all Assembly segments to arrange an emphatic win for SAD-BJP alliance candidates so that their representatives could get plum places in the Cabinet and deliver the goods.

He claimed that in a number of playgrounds, the SAD-BJP candidates had been facing those players who did not know how to bowl or bat and would fail to score even a single run. He added that the Congress had “imported” some players to win the “series”.

Lashing out at the previous Congress governments of Punjab and the Centre, Mr Badal alleged that anti-Punjab and anti-farmer attitude of these governments had brought the state on the brink of economic disaster. These governments had also bartered away the interests of the state for their narrow political ends.

He added that the problem related to the SYL canal was created by the late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, and the late Chief Minister of Punjab, Darbara Singh. He claimed that Darbara Singh was made Chief Minister by Indira Gandhi to withdraw the petition filed by the Akali government led by him (Mr Badal) in the Supreme Court against the digging of the canal.

He pointed out that the completion of the SYL canal would amount to economic disaster for Punjab and added that the SAD would make every effort to stop the same.

He further alleged that the Congress leadership had sold some of its ticket for crores of rupees and this was the main indication about the type of government they would provide to the people of Punjab. He added that the main contest in Punjab was between the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress and all the other parties posed no threat.

He urged the electors that they would have to make a judicious choice on February 13 between development and devastation. If they wanted to continue the pace of development, which the state had been witnessing for the past five years, they should vote for SAD-BJP alliance candidates and if they wanted devastation, which was done by all previous Congress governments at the state and Centre, they should vote for Congress candidates.

Mr Badal, who stayed in this city last night, at a meeting of party workers urged them to put in their best for scoring victory for the SAD-BJP alliance candidates in the coming Assembly elections.


Maharaja yet to make appearance
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 19
Even though it has been more than one week since the Congress released its list of candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections and the nominees have opened their election offices and started campaigning, the Pradesh Congress President, Capt Amarinder Singh, who is referred to as Maharaja in the city because his family ruled the Patiala riyasat in the princely days, is still to make a public appearance in the town.

The fact that the Maharaja has not made a single public appearance in the city since the release of the official Congress list on January 11 has befuddled the public and is making his campaign managers jittery.

In comparison, all other candidates in the neighbouring constituencies have opened their election offices and Ghanaur party nominee Jasjit Singh Randhawa today even filed his nomination papers after leading a massive cavalcade of vehicles from Ghanaur to Patiala.

It is not as if the PPCC chief has not got the time to come to Patiala town in the past one week. He has been in and out of the city during this period a couple of times but has failed to make a public appearance.

Sources said the reason for this was that the DCC was expecting the Captain to make a ceremonial entry into Patiala like the other party aspirants who had been awarded the party ticket. When this did not happen, the DCC created a media opportunity by distributing sweets to express their “happiness” over grant of the Patiala Assembly seat to the PPCC chief.

Party sources said there may be still some time before the Captain started active campaigning in the city. This, they said, was partly because the PPCC chief would rely on his wife Preneet Kaur to manage his political campaign. They said she was much more popular than him in the city due to her social and open nature.

In fact, Mrs Preneet Kaur started the process of gearing up for the election of the PPCC chief by attending a small public function in the city organised by party Youth Wing leader Sanjeev Sharma. She ceremonially unsheathed the customary kirpan to declare war on the Akalis. Mrs Preneet Kaur is likely to manage the party campaign also as she had won from the Patiala Assembly segment during the last Lok Sabha elections with a handsome margin.

Though the SAD is fielding a junior leader and former municipal commissioner Sarup Singh Sehgal and former minister and Tohra loyalist Surjit Singh Kohli, who is the present legislator from the Assembly, is fighting shy from joining the fray as the Panthic Morcha candidate, the PPCC chief may be given some jolts by former legislator Ramesh Singla who has announced his candidature from Patiala. Mr Singla, who was denied the party nomination from Nabha and has joined the National Congress Party (NCP) of Mr Sharad Pawar, has announced his candidature from Nabha and Patiala.


This small belt has given three CMs
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The districts of Muktsar and Faridkot located on the south-western of tip of Punjab may be small in size. But they have been making a hefty contribution to the economy as well as the politics of the state.

The two districts lie in the cotton belt of the state which keeps textile mills running not only in Punjab but also in the far-off Gujarat and Maharashtra. The two districts have also contributed as many as three Chief Ministers to the state, an honour no other district in Punjab can claim.

The first politician from the region to become the Chief Minister was Giani Zail Singh who later rose to be the Union Home Minister and then the President of India. He represented the Faridkot constituency in the state Assembly.

It was then the turn of Mr Parkash Singh Badal to become the Chief Minister of the state. He represented first Gidderbaha, then Lambi constituency. The Gidderbaha seat is now represented by Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, a nephew of the Chief Minister. He made his political debut when the then sitting Congress MLA, was unseated in a poll petition. In the subsequent by-election, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, backed by some spectacular campaigning by his uncle, managed to wrest the seat from the Congress despite vigorous electioneering by the then Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh and his entire Cabinet.

Mr Badal now represents the neighbouring Lambi constituency. Incidentally, Badal, the native village of the Chief Minister falls in the Lambi constituency. Mr Badal has held the post of the Chief Minister of Punjab for three terms and could become one for the fourth term if he secures the approval of the Punjab voters in the election scheduled for February 13.

In the last election to the Punjab Assembly held in February 1997, a jittery Mr Badal contested from two constituencies, namely Lambi in Muktsar district and Qila Raipur in Ludhiana district.

He won from both, but later quit the Qila Raipur seat. This time, he is much more confident and is contesting only from Lambi.

The third Chief Minister which the region has contributed to Punjab is Mr Harcharan Singh Brar. He took over after the assassination of the then Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, in August, 1995. Mr Brar has traditionally been fighting from the Muktsar constituency. Now he is once again in the field as the Congress nominee from the constituency.

The two districts have a total of seven Assembly constituencies: three in Faridkot and four in Muktsar district. They are Panjgrain (reserve), Kot Kapura and Faridkot in Faridkot district and Muktsar, Gidderbaha, Malout (reserve) and Lambi in Muktsar. The loyalty of the voters of the region has been changing in keeping with the winds of change which have swept the districts from time to time. As a result, they have been changing hands between the two major contenders for power in Punjab: the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal.

In 1992, when the SAD boycotted the elections to the state Assembly, the Congress won six out of seven seats in the two districts. The seventh seat went to an Independent, Mr Baldev Singh Ballamgarh, who too later crossed over to the Congress. In 1997, the Akali Dal won five seats and the Congress one in the person of Mr Avtar Singh Brar, former general secretary of the Punjab Congress and secretary of the Congress Legislature Party.

The seventh seat went to Mr Mantar Singh, a rebel Akali candidate. He later joined the Akali Dal and has not been fielded by the SAD as its official candidate for the seat in the forthcoming electoral battle.

Besides the Chief Minister, the area is also represented in the Badal Cabinet by Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister who represents Panjgrain (reserve) constituency.


Mohindra accepts challenge
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 19
Senior Congress leader and former minister Brahm Mohindra today inaugurated his election office at Samana, near here, claiming that the Congress high command had thrust the responsibility of fighting from Samana on him and he had accepted the challenge as a loyal Congressman.

Speaking at a public function, Mr Mohindra said though he had applied for the Patiala Assembly seat, the Congress had directed him to contest the polls from Samana. He said he was fully aware of the problems being faced by the people of the constituency and would do his utmost to usher in an era of development if voted to power.

Meanwhile, former Minister Lal Singh also organised a series of functions in the Dakala constituency today. Speaking at a function in Behal village, where a few Akalis also switched over to his side, Mr Lal Singh said the SAD-BJP government had not done anything for the development of the villages of the constituency in the first four-and-a-half years of their rule and had tried to befool the people in the last six months through a series of Sangat Darshan programmes. He said on the other hand a series of development works had been conducted in the constituency during his last term as minister in the Beant Singh cabinet.


Setback to Cong as Nagpal enters fray
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, January 19
All office-bearers of the city Congress committee and president of the Youth Congress block-1 today submitted their resignations to the party high command and endorsed the decision of the outgoing block Congress president, Mr Sudhir Nagpal, to contest the Assembly elections as an Independent candidate from the Abohar constituency.

The party had allotted ticket to Mr Sunil Jakhar, member of the AICC and youngest son of former Union Agriculture Minister Bal Ram Jakhar.

Mr Vijay Chhabra, president of the block Youth Congress-1, and some of his colleagues in the working committee also declared that they had sent their resignations to the state Youth Congress president, copies of which were dispatched to the district president also.

Mr Nagpal and others criticised the party high command for ignoring him while selecting the candidate. He claimed that his name deserved to be approved in case former minister and DCC president Sajjan Kumar Jakhar was denied ticket.

Mr Nagpal was known as the right arm of senior party leader Bal Ram Jakhar, but today he lashed out at Mr Jakhar, charging him with adopting a selfish and unfair attitude.

Meanwhile, the resignations of office-bearers of the city and youth Congress committees sent joy waves in the BJP circles. Supporters of sitting MLA Ram Kumar Goyal at Sayyedwala village started dancing and raised slogans in favour of the BJP when they got this news.


Sibia bows to Cong wish
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 19
Bowing to pressure of the Congress high command, Mr Surinderpal Singh Sibia, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee secretary who is the Congress nominee from Barnala, today very reluctantly decided to contest from Barnala. He launched his poll campaign with a large number of his well wishers from Sangrur supporting him.

Mr Sibia wanted to contest from the Sangrur constituency, but had got the Congress ticket from Barnala.

On January 14, Mr Sibia had asked the high command to swap his Barnala Assembly seat with that of Arvind Khanna from Sangrur, threatening to otherwise file his nomination papers from Sangrur as an Independent.


Badungar asks people not to vote for ‘outsider’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 19
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) led by Shiromani Committee President Kirpal Singh Badungar urged the people not to vote for an “outsider” in the forthcoming elections while inaugurating the office of Samana party candidate Surjit Singh Rakhra in Samana town.

Addressing a public gathering on the occasion, Mr Badungar said the Congress party, which had been constantly working against the interests of the state since the last 40 years, had now put up a rank outsider in former Minister Brahm Mohindra as its candidate from Samana who had never visited any village of the constituency ever.

Mr Badungar said on the other hand, Mr Rakhra had played a key role in the development of the area since the last seven months and had even been able to persuade Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to distribute grants amounting to Rs 8 crore during the various Sangat Darshan programmes for the constituency.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rakhra said he had opted for joining politics after being persuaded by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and that he had chosen to stand from Samana so that he could do something to develop the area. He said during the last one year or so massive development works had been carried out in the constituency which were there for all to see. He said the constituency had also been brought under the 24 hour power supply scheme of the State Electricity Board on the urban pattern.

Lok Sabha member, Mrs Preneet Kaur today inaugurated the election office of former Minister Lal Singh who is standing for election as the Congress nominee from Dakala constituency. Mrs Preneet Kaur, who was accompanied by senior leader Vishnu Sharma, said Mr Lal Singh had brought in all-round development in the area during his previous stint as Minister in the Beant Singh cabinet.

Senior Akali leader and former MP Charanjit Singh Walia inaugurated a number of offices in the constituency today. Talking to newsmen on the occasion, he said he would seek votes on three issues of peace, stability and development.

He said besides this the Akali-BJP government had released Rs 2,100 crore for the welfare of employees during its tenure. He said the decision to sanction 15 per cent house rent to employees of Patiala had also been taken and a notification to this effect could not be issued due to the impending elections.


SAD supporters oppose Kharar nominee
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, January 19
Supporters and party workers of the SAD and the BJP gathered here today in protest against the decision of the allotment of the SAD ticket to Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang from the Kharar assembly constituency.

Speakers at a meeting held near the Bassi cinema in Phase II criticised the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for 'ignoring' leaders who had worked and made sacrifices for the party while allotting the ticket for Kharar.

Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, senior vice-president of the Ropar district unit of the SAD and municipal councillor from Phase II here, declared he would contest as an independent candidate. The decision was supported by Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, President of the Chandigarh unit of the SAD.

Mr Riar said he had nothing against Mr Badal and his policies, but the decision in the case of Mr Kang was unwelcome. He said the party ticket had been given to a person who had made no contribution to the party. Mr Kang, he said, had never taken part in any party morcha or gone to jail for the party. In fact, he had joined the party only about two-and-a-half year ago.

Mr Riar further said people were not in favour of the official SAD candidate because he had allegedly been interested only in amassing property and defaming the Badal family. He said Ms Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, former Ropar MP, had been given the party ticket for the Khanna Assembly seat. He wondered why she or Mr Pritam Singh Sallomajra, president of the Ropar district unit of the SAD, could not have been given the party ticket from Kharar.

A section of the gathering raised slogans in support of Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, indicating their support for him as the party candidate from Kharar.

Certain municipal councillors, including Mr Manjit Singh Sethi and Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, also offered their support to Mr Mohali if he contested the elections.

Mr Harjit Singh Bhullar, member of the Punjab state executive of the BJP, said Mr Badal should not impose Mr Kang's candidature on the BJP, Mr Kang's name, he said, had been linked to the Siau murder case and he had often been seen moving about with supporters of the SHSAD.


SAD candidate denies charges
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 19
Mr Didar Singh Bhatti SAD candidate from the Sirhind Assembly constituency, while addressing a press conference here yesterday, denied the allegation that he had purchased the party ticket.

He said this allegation was being levelled by those who had failed to get the party ticket due to “changing loyalties”. He urged rumourmongers not to disturb the peace of the area. Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, president, Youth Akali Dal, Mr Rajeshpal Singh Lalli, senior Akali leader, and Mr Rakesh Mitter, an industrialist-cum-social worker also addressed the conference.


Pahara RRD nominee for Gurdaspur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Mr Kartar Singh Pahra, a Shiromani Akali Dal MLA from Gurdaspur joined the Rashtriya Raksha Dal here today. Mr Pahra was denied party ticket for the coming Assembly elections. Col Harsharan Singh Sandhu (retd), President, Rahtriya Raksha Dal (RRD), said that Mr Kartar Singh Pahra would be the RRD candidate from Gurdaspur replacing the earlier announced candidate, Hav Narinder Singh (retd).

Colonel Sandhu also released the list of remaining candidates for the February 13 elections. The candidates are : Amritsar West — Col J.S. Bal; Amritsar South — Capt Ajit Singh; Raja Sansi — Lieut-Col Sarabjit Singh (retd); Faridkot — Capt N.S. Randhawa; Sujanpur — Ch Rashpal Singh.


Papers filed

Prominent among the 57 candidates who filed their papers today were Mr Balbir S. Miani, Mr Bikramjit S. Khalsa, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, Mr Romesh Dutt, Mr Manpreet S. Badal, Mr Chiranjee Lal Garg, Mr Ram Kishan Kataria, Mr Sujan Singh and Mr Janmeja S. Sekhon.


HC censures Sessions Judge
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has come down heavily upon a District and Sessions Judge for granting anticipatory bail to an accused in an assault case after “showing gross judicial indiscipline and impropriety”.

Delivering the verdict on a petition seeking the cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to accused Gopal Chand of Ropar district, Mr Justice M.L. Singhal of the high court ruled: “The Ropar Sessions Judge has not done well while granting anticipatory bail to the accused vide his orders dated July 13 last year particularly when he had himself refused anticipatory bail to him twice earlier. This court, too, had refused the grant of anticipatory bail. Even the Supreme Court had refused to interfere with the orders refusing anticipatory bail to him”.

The Judge had further ruled: “The Sessions Judge has shown gross judicial indiscipline and impropriety while granting anticipatory bail in disregard of the orders of the high court and those of the Supreme Court, besides his own orders”.

In his detailed eight-page order, Mr Justice Singhal added the grant of bail to the accused by the Ropar Sessions Judge “was not only an act of grave indiscretion but also an act which seriously impinges upon judicial discipline and propriety, besides the conduct of people manning the judiciary”.

Going into the background of the case, the Judge observed that Ropar’s Sessions Judge, vide his order dated April 24, 2000, declined the grant of anticipatory bail to the accused who again moved an application for the same in the Court of Ropar’s Sessions Judge which too was dismissed by him on January 22 last year. The anticipatory bail was refused to the accused by this court vide orders dated July 6, 1999 and the Supreme Court refused to entertain his prayer for the grant of anticipatory bail vide its orders dated August 9, 1999. Thereafter, the accused did not surrender and was declared a proclaimed offender.

Cancelling the anticipatory bail, the Judge also directed Ropar’s Chief Judicial Magistrate to issue non-bailable warrants of arrest against the accused. The Ropar SSP was also directed to “secure the execution of warrants of arrest through an officer not below the rank of a Superintendent of Police”.

Seeking the cancellation of bail, counsel for complainant Dharampal had earlier contended that the Sessions Judge could not have granted bail to the accused as anticipatory bail had been declined by the high court and his special leave petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court. He had added that the action amounted to “height of indiscipline and impropriety”.

Counsel had also contended that the Judge “had completely gone off the track marked by canons of judicial ethics and discipline”. He should not have taken into account the fact that the Punjab State Human Rights Commission had ordered the SSP not to file the challan against him as he had complained of human rights violations.


Build-up: villagers start returning
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 19
Residents of border villages who had migrated to safer places in the wake of the buildup there, have started returning to their native places.

Information gathered by TNS revealed although fear had gripped the villagers due to the laying of mines by the Army in the border areas, they had started coming back with their belongings. Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, when contacted said about 25 per cent of those who had migrated to safer places in the last week of December has come back.

He added that some of the village where the residents had started returning included Bhadurke, Chak Tahliwala, Mamdot and Balian Jodhe and Ghuvaya. He said the trend had been continuing for the past many days.

More than one lakh residents of border villages had shifted from Ferozepore district alone.

According to information, the district administration had informed the Election Commission that these residents might not be able to exercise their franchise during the February 13 poll.

The district administration had also written to the State Education Department authorities to take a decision in connection with the annual board examination of those students who had shifted from the border areas.

Mrs Usha R. Sharma, Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, when contacted, said the district administrations of Ferozepore, Gurdaspur and Amritsar had not approached the Election Commission for putting off the poll in view of the migration. She added that the commission had not been planning to put off the poll on its own and elections would be held on schedule.

Meanwhile, Mr Ladhar said he had been visiting the camps of migrants and the areas near the border to redress their grievances on the spot.


Threats: SGPC team to visit J&K
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, January 19
The SGPC has decided to send a three-member fact-finding committee to Jammu and Kashmir to look into the matter pertaining to the threats being held out to members of the Sikh community living in the trouble-torn state.

The SGPC has taken this decision after it received information that threats are being held out to members of the Sikh community through posters, which have been pasted outside various gurdwaras. In the posters, a threat to uproot the Sikhs from Jammu and Kashmir had been given.

The SGPC president, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, who was here in connection with the installation ceremony of Prof Manjit Singh as Acting Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib last evening, said the team would comprise Prof Manjit Singh, Dr Harcharan Singh Gill and Mr Jaswinder Singh (both members of the SGPC). The SGPC would take further action after receiving a report from the committee.

About the “karah parshad” scam, Mr Badungar said one of the accused had been removed from the job while a committee was making further investigations. He asserted none would be spared.

Dr Harcharan Singh Gill, a member of the fact-finding team, said the team would reach Srinagar on January 21 and would meet the heads of religious places, people and officials to find out the reasons behind the threats.


Two-year RI for ASI

Moga, January 19
An ASI of the Punjab police has been sentenced to undergo two years of rigorous imprisonment, eight years after he allegedly illegally confined a woman and her driver in prison for a day.

Additional District and Sessions Judge J.S. Chawla yesterday convicted and sentenced ASI Gurcharan Singh and imposed a fine of Rs 6,000 on him.

According to the prosecution, Gurcharan intercepted a car and nabbed its occupants — a woman and her driver — on the basis of suspicion. During the checking of the vehicle, Rs 20,000 were found from the woman and an amount of Rs 2.70 lakh was found on search of the car. Gurcharan took both the woman and her driver to the police station and released them after keeping them in confinement for a day, the prosecution said.

The woman then lodged a complaint with the senior police officers and a high-level inquiry was ordered, which was conducted by the Superintendent of Police (Detective), Faridkot. Subsequently, a case was registered against Gurcharan in Mehna police station on May 22, 1993.

He was charged on several counts, including criminal breach of trust and wrongful confinement. PTI


Nagar kirtan taken out
Tribune Reporters

Samana, January 19
Religious and educational institutions took out a nagar kirtan on the eve of Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary today. Thousands of villagers from various villages participated.

A procession led by the Panj Piaras started from Gurdwara Ramgarh and passed through the main bazars of the town. Sweets and fruits were also served at some places.

ABOHAR: An impressive nagar kirtan was taken out on Saturday by devotees from Singh Sabha Gurdwara Istri Satsang Sabha, Bir Khalsa Dal, Kanhaya Sewa Jatha, and students among others participated. Gatka party was the star attraction. A colourful procession was led by Panj Piaras and followed by tastefully decorated carrying the Guru Granth Sahib.

Amritsar: A nagar kirtan was taken out today on the eve of Gurpurb of Guru Gobind Singh here.

Starting from Akal Takht it concluded at Manji Sahib Dewan Hall in the Golden Temple Complex. The nagar kirtan passed through the main bazaars of the city, including Mahna Singh Road, Chowk Ghantaghar, Bazaar Mai Sewan, Darshani Deori and Guru Bazaar.


Swiss national on cycle tour

Amritsar, January 19
A Swiss national has adopted a novel method to raise money to create awareness for leprosy patients in Asia — cycling a distance of 9,000 km. Christoph Von Toggenburg, popularly called Barli, is on a 9,000 km long journey from New Delhi to Switzerland.

On a stopover in this holy city before crossing the Wagha border, Barli said he had selected India to commence his noble cause because the country could do a lot to alleviate the grievances of the suffering humanity.

He said there are about 5 million lepers in India and the problem was not of curing them but fighting against the stigma attached with it. He said he would collect about $ 45,000 and contribute it two social organisations, Gerhard Fischer foundation in India and CIOMAL (order of Malta) in Cambodia.

As a part of his cycling mission Barli would cover his journey in five-month time and during this period he will visit Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Italy before reaching Switzerland. PTI


Three convicted for rape

Ferozepore, January 19
Additional District and Sessions Judge G.K. Dhir has convicted three persons, including two schoolboys for dual jail terms of 10 years to two and five years to one along with a fine of 9000.

They will undergo six months’ additional jail term in case of default in payment of fine.

The woman of Ahmad Dhandi village had alleged on September 16, 2000, in a statement to the police that when she was sleeping alone in her house on September 14, 2000, the three culprits, Sukha Singh of Rupana village, Jaj Singh of Ahmad Dhandi village and Mukhtiar Singh, entered her house with sharp-edged weapons. Jaj Singh raped her whereas the other two accused muffled her mouth with cloth after tying her hands and assisted Jaj Singh.

The victim was medically examined on court orders and a case of rape was registered at Mamdot police station and the culprits were arrested.

Defence counsel advanced the plea that accused Mukhtiar Singh was a Class X student and Jaj Singh a Class XII student. The defence prayed for leniency for the third accused being below 20 years. UNI


Parties’ hoardings removed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 19
The district election authorities have launched a campaign to save the public property from being defaced by the political parties. The authorities have removed hoardings and flags of various political parties from telephone and electricity poles and walls of institutes in past two days.

Employees of the local Municipal Council on the instructions of the District Election Officer, Mr R. Venkatratnam, have pulled down the hoardings, flags and cleaned slogans written on the walls of the government and government-aided schools and other buildings which were aimed to attract voters.

Sources said the leaders of various political parties were verbally directed against defacing the government’s property for luring the electorates. The sources said the candidates of various constituencies of the district were made aware of the directives issued by the Election Commission in this regard.

The sources said the candidates were told that if they continued to violate directives the authorities would themselves remove the hoardings and the expenditure for doing the same would be included in the poll expenses of the candidate whose name appeared in such hoardings.

Members of the ruling party have objected to the removal of hoardings of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the Punjab Science and Technology Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg from Parasram Nagar locality.

The employees of the Municipal Council had to return without removing the same yesterday. The District Education Officer had to intervene for getting the work done.


More poll observers appointed
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 19
The Election Commission has posted five observers — Mr Munish Johri, Mr R.P. Samadhar, Mr C.R. Biswal and Mr M.R. Mohan, all IAS officers, and — Mr J.C. Pegu, IRS officer at present posted as Additional Income Tax Commissioner to conduct free and fair elections in all 11 constituencies of this district for which elections are being held on February 13.

The observers will tour the constituencies will be open to meet the public.

Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer said the basic verification of EVMs would be conducted in the tehsil office complex here on January 20 and 21.

The candidates or their representatives are allowed to watch this exercise in their presence.

Bathinda: For Bathinda district, three observers — Ms A.K. Patende, Mr A.P. Srivastva and Mr Sanjeev Kumar — have been appointed. An official press note issued here on Saturday said regarding anything related to elections, the public could contact to the observers.

Faridkot: Two of the three central observers, including Mr S. Naseemudin (General) and Mr S.S. Rathore (Expenditure) reached here today to ensure smooth elections on February 13 in three assembly constituencies, including Faridkot, Kotkapura and Panjgrain in this district.

Both Mr Rathore and Mr Nasemmudin are staying at the local circuit house, according to Mr Hussan Lal, Additional District Returning Officer cum ADC, Faridkot. The third observer, Mr K.S. Wahi (electronic voting machines) reached here earlier.


EC order followed in case of one IGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Only one of the four Inspectors-General of Police is being shifted in Punjab in accordance with the guidelines of the Election Commission, a spokesman for the Punjab Police clarified today. He said that Mr Rajdeep Singh Gill, IG (Zonal), has been at Patiala for more than four years. He will now swap positions with Mr S.M. Sharma, Inspector-General, India Reserve Battalions, Bahadurgarh. Mr Anil Kaushik has been posted as IG, Commandos of India Reserve Battalions, SAS Nagar.

Mr Jyoti Trehan has just returned after a year’s study leave and he is being posted as IG, PAP, Jalandhar.

Mr Jaswinder Singh, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, border range, Amritsar has been posted at the Commando training Centre, Bahadurgarh. Mr CSR Reddy, DIG, Jalandhar range, has been given the additional charge of the border range.

Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal and Mr N.S. Sidhu, Senior Superintendents of Police, Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib, respectively, will also swap places, the spokesman added.


Shiv Sena district chief booked
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 19
The Bhikhi police has registered a case against Raj Kumar of Bareta town and Vijay Kumar Singla, district president of the Shiv Sena, under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, on the complaint of Mr Gurnam Singh, District Manager, Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation.

According to information, Raj Kumar and Vijay Singla took a rice mill on lease for 1999-2000 and allegedly misappropriated paddy stocks.

Punjab Agro gave 31,987 bags of paddy for milling to the mill. As many as 34 wagons of rice were to be manufactured, however, only 13 wagons were delivered. The remaining, valued at about Rs 65 lakh, was reportedly misappropriated.

Raj Kumar has been arrested while Vijay Singla is allegedly absconding.


Rs 15.91 lakh looted from PNB branch
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 19
In a daring daylight robbery, four armed persons with muffled faces today looted Rs 15.91 lakh from Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) Miani branch.

Confirming the incident police officials said here that the robbers came on two Hero Honda motor cycles. At gunpoint they forced all employees and customers present into a room and locked them, the officials said.

The robbers then looted Rs 15.91 lakh which they stuffed into bags and fled on their motor cycles towards Maini village.

A massive combing operation had been launched. All entry points in this district had been sealed. UNI


Forensic science symposium
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 19
Punjabi University’s Department of Forensic Science will hold a symposium on the latest trends in forensic research from February 14 to 17, 2001.

Several research scholars and scientists from around the world, including Prof Stephan Cordner, Director, Victorian Institute of Forensic Science, Australia, President of the Indo-Pacific Law Medicine and Science, Australia, and those from Japan, Malaysia and England will participate.

The symposium is to coincide with the retirement of the founder-Head of the Forensic Science Department, Dr P.K. Chattopadhyay, a distinguished scholar who, has also been a visiting Professor to the Institute of Rechts Medicine (Forensic Medicine), University of Kiel, Germany, and a visiting senior scientist to research institutions in England and Belgium.

Speaking to this correspondent, Dr Chattopadhyay said such informal interaction of scholars and scientists from different countries could be beneficial to students in respect to clearing their doubts and confusions regarding the subject and would be instrumental in giving them a fresh perspective on the latest developments in the field of Forensic science.

Stressing on the need to hold more such symposiums and conferences so as to introduce the students and the faculty on the latest trends and techniques adopted abroad, Dr Chattopadhyay informed that the approximate cost of the symposium would be between Rs 2-3 lakh and a contribution of Rs 2000 would be expected from visiting delegates.


Forum demands action against VC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 19
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR), at its meeting here today, demanded an immediate action by the Chief Election Commissioner of Punjab against Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, for his "violation of the model code of conduct".

The head of the forum, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, said the VC had been making appointments to various posts in the university even after the promulgation of the model code of conduct for the Assembly elections. He also said Dr Ahluwalia should be sent on "forced leave" for the rest of his term.

The forum said Dr Ahluwalia's statement that the university could not take cognizance of the model code of conduct until it received instructions in this regard could not be taken seriously.

It said the VC had himself ordered the insertion of a special clause in the appointment letters that these would be subject to clarification by the Election Commissioner.

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