Wednesday, February 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong leaders make beeline for Delhi
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 19
Anticipating victory in the Assembly elections, senior Punjab Congress leaders have started converging on the Capital to strengthen their cases for the post of Chief Minister.

While PCC chief Capt Amarinder Singh arrived here yesterday, former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal is expected to be in Capital in the next few days. Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, MP, has already met some senior party leaders over the past few days to convey his viewpoint.

With the high-command not naming any leader as the future Chief Minister, all contenders are likely to throw their hats in the ring. Though AICC Treasurer Motilal Vora, who is in charge of Punjab, said the choice of leader would be made by the newly-elected MLAs, observers here say that Mr Amarinder Singh’s was a frontrunner not only beacuse he was the PCC chief but also because he has been closely involved in the entire poll exercise of the party.

Sources said that a lot would depend on the outcome of the poll. “If the Congress gets a two-thirds majority, as some exit polls have suggested, then Mr Amarinder Singh is not likely to face much opposition for the choice of Chief Minister. But if the majority is slender, other claimants would put forth their claims strongly,” a Punjab Congress leader said. 


To act or not to act is police dilemma
Caught between SAD, Cong

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 19
The district police has virtually got caught between the Congress and the BJP. It doesn’t know whether it should act against state Medical Education Minister Manoranjan Kalia, who had allegedly slapped the daughter-in-law of Congress candidate Raj Kumar Gupta outside a booth on polling day. The DCC and the state Congress leadership has adopted a wait-and-watch policy until the declaration of election results of February 24.

What has put the police in a dilemma is whether it should take action against the minister against whom only DDR has been registered, can annoy the SAD-BJP combine, or not to take action, which would mean annoying the Congress which has been dubbed the winning party by exit polls.

Besides registering a DDR, the police has instituted an inquiry to find the truth behind the allegations levelled by Mr Gupta. Sources said the police was playing safe and was not keen to dispose of the matter until February 24.

While Mr Kalia, who has been denying his involvement in the incident, is said to have been sidelined by the party over the issue as no senior BJP leader has come to his defence, the Congress has repeatedly been criticising the police for playing a “partisan” role and for “intentionally” saving the minister. The party has been demanding action against the minister, who according to the Congress had not only humiliated the daughter-in-law of Mr Gupta, but also prevented her from exercising her franchise. The police is in a tight spot, according to the sources, as Mr Kalia is also exerting pressure on it for registering a case against Mr Gupta for “having made a false complaint against him”.

Making it clear that the Congress was determined to have minister booked, Mr Tejinder Bittu, DCC chief, said his party would wait and watch until the declaration of the results. “We do not want to waste time requesting the authorities for the registration of a case. The party high command has advised us to exercise restraint till February 24,” he said.

The Congress earlier given a three-day deadline to the police which expired today.


Charges against my son false: Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, today took objection to the Rajpura police registering a case against his son Sanjay on Saturday for an incident that took place on February 13 in which his son had already lodged a complaint against the complainant, Mr Surinder Dutt.

Mr Tandon, commenting on news of the registration of an FIR against his son, said that on the polling day his son, who was in charge of elections in the urban areas, was constantly shadowed by Congress workers and around noon was chased to his house with the intention of harming him. His car was also stoned. ‘’I was in the villages and when informed contacted senior police officers seeking protection for my son and other workers. By the time I reached the house, the police was there and in the evening a complaint was lodged and a case registered on February 16’’, he added.

The manner in which the police has now registered a case against Mr Sanjay Tandon has made his father angry. He has spoken to the Chief Minister also and described the allegations against his son as ‘’baseless and false’’. The police of its own should have rejected the complaint rather than registering a case against someone who himself had been threatened earlier. He was surprised that the police did not even consider it prudent to at least inform him of the complaint against his son and the registration of the case.

Mr Tandon said: ‘’The sole purpose of the Congress workers on February 13 was to obstruct Sanjay from performing his duties as my election agent and mobilising electors in favour of the BJP’’.


ISI shifts ultras’ training camps from PoK
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 19
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has shifted its militant training camps from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to other places following pressure from the international community and possibility of spying by US satellites. The Pakistan Government has slightly altered its strategy to put a check on the movements of militants in PoK. Surprisingly, the Pakistan Government is planning to invite international agencies in PoK to give an impression that it has banned armed movements within its territory.

Intelligence sources said here today that new training camps had been transferred to north-west of Lahore, Farukhabad, Sajjowal, Bahadurgarh, south of Kasur, north-east of Multan and Dera Ismail Khan. Guest houses have been provided to militant leaders at Okara and Gujranwala.

The Pakistan Government has restricted the movement of militants and their leaders in public. The guest house at Okara and Gujranwala and heavily guarded by the Pakistan army. Access to ISD and even STD lines has also been cut off to militant leaders. They are also not allowed to keep arms in guest houses or other places where they have been camped.

Strict vigilance is being maintained in the training camps. The ISI officials get the arms deposited every evening in the strongrooms from the trainers after routine training. The training period has also been cut short to two months instead of four to six months.

The intelligence sources further said that there were at least 2,000 youngsters, including 340 girls, being trained in the use of weapons, particularly explosives. The Pakistan Government is also providing training to the people living along the border in western Punjab to strengthen its line of attack with the support of residents. Night patrolling across the border by the Pakistan army is being assisted by the local people. Hundreds of youths from border areas have also been recruited in the regular army of Pakistan and are presently undergoing training.

It was also revealed by the intelligence sources that the Pakistan army had constructed two new airbases in Kasur district to improve its air power. While there is no concrete evidence of the deployment of nuclear weapons at specified Indian targets by the Pakistan army, tanks and anti-aircraft missiles have been deployed at a distance of 5 to 10 km inside its territory.

The sources said the Pakistan army was also planning to deploy trained terrorists along with the regular army in case of war to go in for offensive measures to cross the border. This will reduce casualties suffered by the regular forces and pave the way for a second line of defence. The second line of defence of Pakistan is assisted by tanks and surface-to-surface short-range missiles fixed on jeeps.

In order to win over the local people living on the border in the Pakistan territory, the local administration has started welfare schemes with the assistance of the army. Farmers have been provided loans on easy terms and conditions by Habib Bank. Technical education (short duration) schemes have been launched for the women and unemployed educated youths have been inducted into the regular amry.

The Pakistan army has also made proper arrangements to check the flow of water from the Ravi (Gurdaspur district) and Sutlej (Ferozepore district). Pakistan has constructed several deflecting and diversion points to push the flow of rivers towards India. This step has been taken by Pakistan as a preventive measure in case India opens the Hussainiwala barrage. 


Governor meets troops on border
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, February 19
The Punjab Governor Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) today visited some forward areas along the Indo-Pakistan border in the Abohar and Fazilka sector and met the troops deployed there. The Governor was delighted to notice the high morale of troops.

The Governor interacted with the troops and distributed fruits and sweets to them. This is the fifth visit of the Governor to the frontier areas of Punjab since the deployment of troops in the aftermath of the December 13 attack on Parliament House.

Along with senior Army and Civil officials, he toured various villages along the border and listened to the grievances of farmers.

Residents of the Jandwala, Meerta and Sangala villages of Abohar and Nawan Shivana of Fazilka tehsil apprised him of their problems. The Governor promised to redress them. The villagers said due to deployment of mines in their fields by the Army, their crops had been spoiled.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladhar, told the Governor that special “gurdawaris” had been ordered to assess the damage done to the crops and subsequent loss to farmers. He told that 176 villages had been affected due to the installation of mines by the Army. The government had already been requested to provide compensation to the tune of Rs 11,000 per acre to the farmers and at the rate of Rs 80 per day to the landless tillers. He said that the compensation should be provided to those people who have sown crop and were ploughing the fields and not the owner of the land.

The villagers also demanded the construction of a bridge over the ditch.


Pak intruder arrested
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, February 19
The Border Security Force has arrested a Pakistani citizen near Hussainiwala last evening. He was trying to intrude into the Indian territory from the fencing near BOP, Samme.

Preliminary inquiries reveal that he had been hired by the Pakistani Army for spying. He has been identified as Sher Mohammad S/o Lalluddin.

The intruder was handed over to the Sadar police station, Ferozepore. He was produced before a local court today which remanded him for two weeks.

Police sources said Sher Mohammad was later shifted to the Joint Interrogation Centre, Amritsar.


Defence panel visits border areas
Tribune News Service

Gharinda (Amritsar), February 19
To mitigate the sufferings of the residents of border areas due to the Army build-up, a high-powered defence committee of the Central Government led by senior BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana today held marathon meetings with Army officers and the district administration of Gurdaspur and Amritsar.

The committee comprising five Members of Parliament from different states and Mr R.L. Bhatia, a former state minister, listened to the grievances of residents who were demanding adequate compensation on account of the loss due to laying of mines in their fields.

Though the tension on border appears to be defused and the people who had migrated to safer places have started returning to their villages, yet the deployment of Army continues to trouble them. Residents of Attari, Ajnala, Bhikhiwind (Amritsar) and Batala subdivision narrated their grievances to the committee. The Army officers also gave details of the steps it had taken to compensate the victims of mine blasts.

The fact-finding committee would submit its detailed report to the Prime Minister and Defence Minister George Fernades shortly. The committee members said they would recommend adequate compensation to the Government of India.

A deputation of the Border Sangharash Committee, Punjab, led by Mr Rattan Singh Randhawa met the committee and sought adequate compensation for the residents of border villages. The border committee demanded at least Rs 5 lakh as compensation for each to the victims of mine blasts. Mr Randhawa also demanded jobs for victims’ families. He said the Central Government must give Rs 1,000 as compensation for buying fodder for each cattle head. The farmers should also be given at least Rs 15,000 per acre as compensation which was under the direct control of Army these days, he added.


Mann plans stir at Ayodhya
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann) led by its President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, will organise a demonstration at Ayodhya on March 10 to oppose the construction of the Ram temple at the site of Babri Masjid.

Talking to newsmen here this afternoon, Mr Mann said that his party would physically oppose the construction of the temple at the site and was ready to face the consequences.

“The temple must be constructed but not at the site where Babri Masjid was demolished. The demolition was a conspiracy between the Congress and the BJP,” he said maintaining that it was “deplorable that the Prime Minister had failed to carry on negotiations to resolve this dispute”.

The Prime Minister should face the situation and show statesmanship rather than wash his hands of this major controversy. Mr Mann said that he would invite all splinter Akali Dal factions and the Congress to support the demonstration at Ayodhya so as to “protect the interests of the minorities”.

Mr Mann said his party activists would assemble at Gurdwara Raqabganj in New Delhi on March 9 and proceed to Ayodhya on March 10 for the demonstration.

Talking about the extradition of fugitives, he said that neither Pakistan nor India could demand the extradition of “wanted persons” in the absence of any extradition treaty between the two neighbouring nations. Holding that the killing of innocent persons was a heinous crime, he said he condemned such actions.

He opposed the deployment of forces along the Indo-Pak border and urged both India and Pakistan to withdraw their defence forces and send them back to the barracks.

The deployment of these forces was ruining the economy of the border areas and poor people were suffering. The laying of mines was against international conventions. Little was being done to compensate farmers, shopkeepers and people of the border areas who had been uprooted. He demanded compensation of Rs 30,000 per acre for the farmers whose crops had been damaged, Rs 16,000 for wheat and suitable compensation for farm workers, shopkeepers, traders and others.

He opposed the SGPC decision of not sending Sikh jathas to Pakistan because of tension on the border. “Unless the SGPC reviews its decision, we will be forced to send Sikh jathas to historic shrines in Pakistan,” he declared.

Mr Mann admitted that the Panthic Morcha was not totally united and he had diluted his stand on a number of issues before the assembly elections to ensure that the morcha stayed together.

Jatha must go to Pak: Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 19
Member of Parliament and senior leader of the Panthic Morcha, Simranjit Singh Mann has taken umbrage to statement of SGPC Chief Kirpal Singh Badungar about the suspension of the pilgrimage of Sikhs to Pakistan on Baisakhi owing to tension on the border and termination of rail and road services to Pakistan.

The Sikh jatha must go to Pakistan on Baisakhi to pay obeisance to Sikh shrines there and the SGPC should seek permission for a special train to Pakistan for carrying pilgrims, demanded Mr Mann here last evening.


Kidney sold for a song?
Donor alleges transplant racket
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 19
The disclosure by a father of four that he had sold his kidney for money could just be the tip of the iceberg of the gory business of kidney transplantation said to be flourishing in Jalandhar and surrounding areas for past about 10 years.

Jarnail Singh, an unemployed resident of Chak Jinda village, near here, has approached the economic wing of the Jalandhar police with a complaint that his kidney was removed at a local hospital with his permission on the donee and his wife’s promise that he would be compensated with Rs 1.25 lakh in cash and a loan of Rs 2 lakh for enabling him to set up his own dairy.

But this did not happen. All he got was an amount of Rs 5,000 and ration worth Rs 1,700, before he was allegedly thrown out by the donee — Balbir Sehajpal and his wife, both residents of Lajpat Nagar.

The complainant says he went to a local hospital in April, 2000, where his kidney was transplanted on Mr Sehajpal on completion of formalities, including video-filming of his consent.

“Actually, the donee and his family threw a bait that they would pay me a sum of Rs 1.25 lakh and provide a loan of Rs 2 lakh as I had no source of livelihood. They completed all mandatory formalities and paper work, including seeking my videographed consent. But I was stunned as I was shown the door after the transplantation,” said Jarnail Singh, who claimed he had to part away with his kidney for he had no money for treatment of his wife, a TB patient.

Jarnail Singh, who appeared before Mr L.K. Yadav, SP, with his complaint last evening admitted that though he had “donated” his kidney for money he had been deceived by the husband-wife duo. Mr Yadav said a case had been registered against Mr Balbir Sehajpal under Section 420 of the IPC and under the Transplantation of Human Organs ACt, 1994. A notice has been issued to the hospital concerned under Sections 160 and 91 of the Cr PC.

“We are investigating the matter, though during preliminary investigation we have found some hand-written additions in the documents of the accused, which appear to have been forged”, said Mr Yadav.

Contrary to this, the hospital authorities maintained that they had received no police notice so far and asserted that there was no scope of any unfair practice in the existing legal system adopted for donation of kidney.

“It is an effort at tarnishing the image of the noble profession and our doctor fraternity will not take this lightly,” said a hospital spokesman. “We will fight this unfair practice to the hilt,” he declared.


Schools resort to fake enrolments
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 19
Many unrecognised high schools here have been playing with the future of students who are shown as students of recognised schools so that they can appear for board examinations as regular students by proxy.

These irregularities came to light when the Punjab School Education Board cancelled the admission of some class VII students. Sources in the board stated that the list of “defaulters” (whose roll numbers had been cancelled) was just a tip of the ice-berg. A large number of students appeared in middle and matriculation examinations by proxy every year, the sources said, adding that the managements of unrecognised schools gave hefty amounts to recognised schools for “fake enrolments”.

Julias and Harpreet who got admission to high schools at East Mohan Nagar were left high and dry when they found their roll numbers had been cancelled. The school management had sent their admission forms, one by a recognised school and another privately Computer of the board found that students with the same registration number had applied.

The Principal of the school when contacted admitted that her school was unrecognised but refused to divulge the name of school through which the registration was done. She said there were many unrecognised schools which had been indulging in such practice.

Mr S.S. Bhullar, District Manager of the board, said he had no authority to check unrecognised institutions.

The sources said several influential persons got their wards “admitted” by proxy to schools in rural areas, so that they could indulge in mass copying.


Lakhs of voters deleted: Arshi
Our Correspondent

Budhlada (Mansa), February 19
The Badal government with the connivance of certain officers struck off names of lakhs of voters, Mr Hardev Arshi, senior CPI leader who contested from the Budhlada Assembly constituency, alleged here today. In the Budhlada constituency, he said in the voters’ list of 2001, names of 10,482 had been struck off while in the 2002 list, 1,412 had been struck off. He said even if it was presumed that 50 per cent of the voters had died or shifted their residence, names of 50 per cent voters had been wrongly deleted.

He said during the scrutiny of voters’ lists, the district election tehsildar vide a letter dated December 3, 2001, informed the Chief Election Commissioner, Punjab, that he had received 9,179 applications (in form 6) for enumeration of new voters and 249 applications regarding deletion of names.

Mr Arshi said he was surprised to learn that the number of applications in Form 6 was “reduced” to 5,151 and the applications for deletion increased to 1,412. Most of the names deleted were in the urban areas, he said, adding that a time-bound inquiry should be conducted into the whole affair. He said he would also approach the human rights panel and the high court in this regard.

Kharar RO seeks details from publishers
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 19
Taking a note of the coloured posters and banners which some candidates got printed during their campaign for the February 13 elections for the Kharar Assembly seat, the Returning Officer (RO) for the Kharar seat, Mr Jaipal Singh, has sought details from the respective publishers.

According to the information, the printers have been asked to give details of the expenditure incurred by the candidates in getting the posters and other election material published.

Meanwhile, a Panthic Morcha candidate, Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala, has in a letter to the Chief Electoral Officer of Punjab, sought the transfer of the Returning Officer. Mr Padiala said he had strong apprehension that the SAD candidate, Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, could interfere in the process of counting of votes which could influence the results.


Candidates appeasing gods!
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 19
After strenuous electioneering, several candidates are having sleepless nights, awaiting poll results on February 24. They are frequenting deras of “pirs” and sadhus to keep gods in humour.

A candidate is learnt to have spent the whole day in the company of a saint who prayed for his victory he has started wearing a talisman. Some dera heads have made “ensuring” the victory of their “bhagats” a prestige issue. 


Acting chief can’t expel us: Cong men
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 19
The 13 Congressmen, including general secretaries of District Congress Committees and municipal councillors, who were yesterday expelled from the party for six years, today said that Mr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, acting president of the DCC, had no right to expel them.

The Congressmen expelled yesterday alleged that before deciding about their expulsion, proper procedure was not followed. They said that they would protest against the acting president till justice was done to them.


From light unto darkness
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 19
About 500 residents of the slums on the Gaushala road in Gandhi Nagar of Ropar were amazed when their kutcha houses were lit up by streetlights on February 12. The local Municipal Council installed streetlights in their area to allegedly woo them in favour of the ruling party candidate. The euphoria of the slum dwellers, however, lasted just six days.

Yesterday night, their houses once again plunged into darkness when some persons took away the recently-installed streetlights. The slum dwellers told this correspondent that local leaders of the ruling party had fooled them by installing lights just before the elections. Reliable sources said the local municipal authorities yesterday removed the illegal electricity connections given by them in the slums after the Forward Bloc candidate from the Anandpur Sahib constituency, Mr V.P. Saini, complained to the Election Commission against the installation of streetlights just a day before the elections.

Mr Saini, who also made a video movie of the illegal streetlights, alleged that the local Municipal Council had tried to woo the voters residing in the area, thus violating the code of conduct. He has demanded action against the ruling party candidate from the area and the MC.

The PSEB authorities said the streetlights were installed by drawing power illegally from the electricity wires over the slums. The electricity wires were meant for providing power in the areas adjoining the slums.

The Superintending Engineer, Ropar circle, Mr Surinder Pal, said he had deputed an executive engineer to enquire into the matter. The officer had visited the area today and would submit his report soon, he said.

The MC authorities also denied their role in the installation of streetlights in the area. Meanwhile, illegal connections still continue to exist in the slums constructed by immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on the banks of the Sutlej.

Mr Surinder Pal, asked to comment on the illegal connections in the slums, said he had no knowledge about these. Residents of slums indulged in power theft and regular raids were carried out by the PSEB to check the malpractice, he said.


Lack of security for EVMs worries candidates
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, February 19
Though as per the orders of the Election Commission the BSF and Punjab police are guarding the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other election material used in the February 13 at government school, Lamini here, even then some candidates are a worried lot regarding the safety measures adopted by the administration.

On February 13 after the elections as per schedule, the officials concerned deposited the material and EVMs at the government school, Lamini, which was stored and sealed in two strong rooms under the supervision of election observer and returning officer.

But on February 14 it was reported that the material and EVMs used in the elections were stored in an unscientific manner. When this fact came to the knowledge of some candidates they rushed to the strong rooms and found that windows of one of the strong room were not properly fixed and the grills were missing from the windows.

The matter was reported to Ms Bhawna Garg, SDM-cum-returning officer, who immediately ordered the closure of the windows with bricks.

On the condition of anonymity a candidate told this reporter that the security arrangements were inadequate and the EVMs stored against the directions and guidelines issued by the Election Commission from time to time.

When contacted, Mr Bachan Singh Randhawa, the local SP, was not available for comments.


Another scam in Social Security Dept
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 19
Close on the heels of the Rs 23-crore bungling in the old age pension scheme, another scam in the Department of Social Security has come to light. A senior PCS officer has already been entrusted the inquiry into the scam.

Veteran CPI leader Satya Pal Dang has alleged that some officials of the department had pocketed a huge amount which was meant for destitute widows under the National Family Benefit Scheme under which Rs 10,000 is given to each beneficiary.

Mr Dang alleged that at least 37 cheques for Rs 10,000 each were issued to widows as relief from the national scheme after October last year by the Amritsar office and Rs 2000 to Rs 5000 was charged as ‘bribe’ as many beneficiaries were not eligible for the relief.

It is a Government of India scheme under which a woman who gets widowed with no son of 18 years or above is eligible to get financial benefit of Rs 10,000 each.


Rlys, residents lock horns over wall
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 19
A controversy has erupted over the raising of a wall by the Railway authorities in a thickly populated area of Guru-Ki-Nagri and Gopal Nagar by partially demolishing human dwellings. While victims allege that they have been suffering due to highhandedness of the railway authorities, the Railways claim to be protecting its land from encroachments.

The district administration had to rush officers to the spot last evening when the Railway authorities continued to raise the wall despite the fact that Deputy Commissioner, Mr R. Venkat Ratnam, had Ordered that its construction be stopped following an agitation by affected residents.

When The Tribune team visited the site today, the affected residents claimed that as they had the valid registration certificates in connection with the ownership of their dwellings and alleged that authorities were harassing them on flimsy grounds.

They pointed out that most of the occupants of houses, which the Railway authorities claimed that had been constructed on its land, had been issued valid house numbers by the Municipal Council. The council had laid sewer pipes and constructed roads in the area and the Punjab State Electricity Board had installed electricity poles and given them power connections. Department of Telecommunications too had laid cables and had given connections to the residents of the area.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that about 30 dwellings had been demolished partially by the railway authorities ever since it started raising the wall. A section of the affected persons were in possession of a stay order against any demolition or construction of wall from the court. More than 300 families would be affected if the Railway authorities constructed the full wall.

A senior official of the engineering wing of the Railways claimed that it was the duty of the Railway authorities to protect its own land. He added that certificate in connection with the ownership of any piece of land did not mean that holder of that certificate was the real owner of that land.

The Deputy Commissioner said he had stopped the construction of the wall and deputed revenue officials to examine the case. 


Book on homoeopathy released
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 19
“The Central Government should set up special research centres in the country to encourage homoeopathy techniques to treat diseases like cancer and paralysis as it is the most economical substitute to allopathy.” These views were expressed by most of the speakers during a seminar on the release of a book titled “Homoeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory” here today.

The US-based writer of the book, Dr Lashkar Singh, who is practicing homoeopathy for the past 50 years, said the emission of polluted gases and chemicals in the environment due to large-scale industrialisation had affected the health of the people. Homoeopathy could be used as a better economical substitute for treatment of diseases.

The most important aspect of homoeopathy is that it uproots the cause of the disease from the body rather giving temporary relief to the patient, he added. “There is need to set up special homoeopathic research centres in the country to provide better healthcare to the people,” he said.

Dr Lashkar Singh said that the book was published in the Punjabi language since he wanted to share his experiences and knowledge about use of simpler techniques available for treatment with the people of Punjab, which, according to him, was a first step to create awareness among masses. This is the first book in Punjabi language which has detailed information about repertory besides homoeopathic materia medica.


2 killed in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 19
Bhajan Singh and Mohinder Singh were killed here in separate accidents on the G.T. Road during the past 24 hours. Mohinder Singh, an employee of a local mill, was killed after his cycle was knocked down by a car.

Bhajan Singh, another cyclist, was killed in an accident involving private bus, a four-wheeler and a bullock cart. The bullock was killed and the cart driver critically injured in the mishap. A pedestrian, Dhira Ram, was also injured.


Pbi varsity VC booked in harassment case
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 19
The turmoil in Punjabi University regarding the alleged harassment of a fine arts student took a new turn today with the registration of a criminal complaint against the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the university, Mr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia. She alleged that she had been receiving anonymous calls threatening to eliminate her.

An FIR was today registered against four persons under Sections 341, 294, 354, 506, 34 and 120-B, IPC, following the complaint. They have been identified as Ms Saroj Rani in charge, Fine Arts Department, Aman, a research scholar, and Jaspal, an employee of the department.

In a complaint to the SSP, she said she had written to Vice-Chancellor regarding the exploitation and harassment of girls of the Fine Arts Department. She also complained to the Chancellor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), apprising him of the facts and appealing for help.

She alleged that she had been under pressure from the Vice-Chancellor to withdraw her complaint.

The SSP while confirming the registration of a case stated that investigations had been initiated and action would be taken as per law.

The Punjab Students Union, All-India Sikh Students Federation and Students Federation of India have decided to support her.



Agriculture Dept fails to pay rent
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 19
The financial health of the state government departments seems to be “desperate” as even the rent conditions are not being met satisfactorily for the past many years. A case of the state Agriculture Department, which has failed to pay rent to a private landlord for the past more than two years, highlights this. The rent amount which is merely just above Rs 4,000 monthly has not been paid to Mr Kulwinder Singh Dhillon for using his private premises.

A notification dated January 18 has now ordered the said department to shift from its present premises to the newly built agriculture block in the Ranjit Avenue area. Meanwhile, the rent dues remain unpaid.

Although the total amount payable is merely a little above a lakh, but the landlord alleged that despite his reminders to the local Assistant Cane Development Officer, as well as to Director, Agriculture, Punjab, his rent has not been released by the state department.

He said the new notification for the department to shift had brought hope for getting the rent but this too failed as the due date for shifting was by the end of this month.

Mr Kanwaljit Singh Chauhan, Assistant Cane Development Officer, when contacted admitted the lapse on the part of the department in paying its monthly rent and cited fund crunch as the reason for the delay. 


Communication skills course opens
Our Correspondent

Nilokheri, February 19
Despite hard work, honesty and sincere implementation of all rural development schemes, the presence of “communication skills”, is essential.

These views were expressed by Mr Amit Jha, Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, Haryana, while delivering the keynote address today, the inaugural day of the 5-day course on “Communication Skills for Rural Development” for the officers of PR Department, Education DRDA and Health Department, at HIRD, Nilokheri. The course is being organised in collaboration with Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar (EEI Nilokheri).

Mr Jha said that government was keen to reach to the poorest of the poor. To achieve this goal, communication skills could play an important role, especially in far-flung rural areas. He called upon the participants to update their knowledge with latest techniques of communication.

He also showed an interest in the institute’s activities and assured help for the betterment of the HIRD.

Dr Surat Singh, Director of the institute, said to strengthen its network, more schemes were on the anvil.

Dr Rajbir Singh, Deputy Director, Electronic Media (Public Relation Department, Haryana) maintained that such type of skill-updating programmes would help in better coordination, implementation and smooth functioning of rural development departments and the rural structure as a whole.

The state government has nominated nine officers to the Panchayati Raj Department to update the communication skills.

The public relation officials expressed satisfaction over the government’s efforts to equip the publicity staff with modern communication skills. The participants also were of the view that in the changed scenario and devaluation of social system, such programmes created awareness which would help in “rural development” as a whole.


CPI seeks probe into college fee structure
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 19
Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, secretary of the district council of the CPI, has alleged that a college in Patiala is charging exorbitant fees for certain five-year course.

In a letter to the state Chief Secretary he sought government attention on the fee structure of the college which was demanding the advance fee for four years, besides Rs 1.3 lakh as admission charges, security and hostel fee.

If a candidate fails to give the fee in advance than a bank guarantee is sought.

He alleged that the college was charging hostel fee irrespective of the fact that a student may or may not need hostel facilities.

He demanded a probe by the state government in this regard.


College principal receives threat calls
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 19
Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal of the local Mata Gujri College, in a complaint to the SSP has alleged that he had been receiving threat calls on the telephone and the caller and threatened to eliminate him.

According to him, yesterday at 9-40 pm, a caller, who was well-versed in English, had threatened to eliminate him. The principal had brought the matter to the notice of the district administration and the SGPC President and demanded adequate security for himself and action against the caller. He alleged that the anonymous caller had been regularly threatening him.


Arya girls college convocation held
Our Correspondent

Barnala, February 19
The convocation of Lal Bahadur Shastri Arya Mahila College was held here today. Ms Nisha Sarad, Director, Public Instruction (Colleges), Punjab, was the chief guest of the function. The convocation was organised after about 13 years.

Addressing the gathering, Ms Sarad said many important issues pertaining to the significance of higher education were under the active consideration of the Union and state governments. Following the declaration of 2002 as the year of quality education in India, the Union Government planned to increase the percentage of those pursuing higher education in the country from the present percentage of six to 10 in the Tenth Five-Year Plan, she said.

Ms Kiran Arora, Principal of the college, conferred degrees upon graduates and postgraduates of the college.

Earlier, Ms Arora welcomed Ms Sarad and other guests. She highlighted achievements of the institution in academics, sports and other activities.

Prof D.D. Singal, Principal, Nehru Memorial Government College, Mansa, too graced the occasion as guest of honour.


Theatre dept students enthrall
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 19
Punjabi University’s Theatre and Television Department presented two plays “Yahan — karna mana hai” and “Kal aaj aur kal”, on Monday. The play have been written and directed by the students of the department under the guidance of Ms Vibha Chibbhar, an NSD pass out who is conducting a 15-day theatre workshop.

‘Yahan — karna mana hai’ is a metaphor for contemporary times. The story revolves around a spot where a cobbler sits, who is ultimately forced to vacate it for building a temple by a corrupt few. A subtle message comes out against the vices of casteism, unemployment, exploitation by politicians of religion. Crisp dialogues and brilliant acting especially by Keshav Kumar, who played the cobbler, did justice to the thought.

“Kal aaj aur kal”, the second play, focusses on the dependence of youth on narcotics. The whole idea is portrayed through a group of friends who manage a theatre group and owing to some financial problems are forced to work with outsiders, who ultimately introduce them to a pseudo lifestyle, a life of drugs, liquor and escapism. Jaswinder Singh, who played the character of Fauji Chaha did particularly well. The end, however, is melodramatic with one of the group members dying of drug overdose which ‘awakens’ everybody.

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