Sunday, March 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Short circuit led to train blast?
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The Commissioner (Safety), Indian Railways, today began a separate inquiry into the Dhanbad Express blast even as the latest investigation by the Government Railway Police, Punjab, is pointing out that the blast might have occurred due to some short circuit in electricity wires in the coach.

Mr G.P. Garg spent over six hours at the Doraha railway station and recorded statements of the electricity and maintenance departments employees. Mr Garg left for New Delhi and would furnish his report shortly.

The Railway Police, Punjab, is meanwhile, working on the theory that the blast might have been caused by a short circuit. The basis for such a belief was that if it had been a bomb, the coach would have suffered severe damages. Also the police did not recover any timer or wires from blast site. Forensic experts are on the job and the final word on the nature and cause of the blast can be said only after that.

The Railway police has stepped up security in the trains, at stations and on the tracks. It is in the process of installing metal detectors at the stations, has ordered frisking of trains using sniffer dogs and surveillance of stations and trains by policemen in mufti.

The police has demanded a power driven trolley to conduct regular patrolling of the railway tracks, to run a goods train before a passenger train and run a pilot engine before a passenger train.

The suspicion of the police that Bhushan Paswan, the first person to die in the blast was carrying the bomb, if there was any, is weakening as nothing concrete could come out of the questioning of the two relatives of the victim. The persons identified as Ashok Kumar Paswan and Lal Bahadur were detained but then let off.


Fresh rumblings on ‘Sehajdhari’ issue
Blame game will not help
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
Though elections to the general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) have already been delayed by a year and are a couple of months away, the controversy over the right of “Sehajdhari” Sikhs to vote has re-emerged and the Akalis factions are gearing up for the same.

Even as the Congress is yet to settle down to rule the roost, the just-ousted ruling Akali Dal’s Political Affairs Committee has blamed the government for interfering in the Sikh religious affairs and tempering with the voters’ list. One also hears rumblings from in SGPC headquarters in Amritsar.

The Congress has become suspect in the eyes of SGPC President Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, who is seeking an appointment with the Prime Minister to protest over “bogus’’ voters. The Secretary, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan’s apprehensions are that “bogus’’ voters will outnumber “genuine’’ ones.

Where does the fault lie? Will blaming the Congress or the Panthic Morcha help the Akalis or solve the question of “Sehajdhari’’ Sikhs’ right to vote? Who is responsible for the “dilemma’’ that the Sikh leadership is now talking about?

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has rubbished the Akali charges of interference, saying the SGPC is a religious organisation and the government will not interfere in it.

The process of enrolment of SGPC voters was initiated by the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, in September, 2001. This was to continue till November. But due to poor voter response, the commission, aware that the government was inclined to delay and dither, kept extending the date for enrolment, first till December 12, then to January 31 and now till March 27.

The issue of “defining’’ a Sikh is neither new nor recent. This controversy has persisted for a long time. The only solution was in getting the relevant clauses amended in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. The Act describes a “Sehajdhari’’ as follows: a person who performs ceremonies according to Sikh rites; who does not use tobacco or kutha (halal meat) in any form; who is not a ‘patit’ and who can recite ‘mul manta’.

‘Patit’ is defined as a person, who being a ‘Keshadhari’ Sikh, trims or shaves his beard or kesha or who, after taking amrit, commits any one or more of the four “kurehats’’—having sex with a person other than one’s spouse, eating kutha meat as per Muslim rites, trimming or shaving the beard or kesha or using tobacco in any form.

While controversies continue to rage, the SGPC itself is to blame for not reaching at any consensus on what exactly it wants in this regard and also the All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act.

It was SGPC Secretary, Manjit Singh Calcutta, who took up the issue of defining a “Sikh’’ in 1995. Later, the SGPC kept debating and came up with certain definitions and amendments. These were later passed by its general house on November 30, 2000. Not contended, those were again amended on March 30, 2001, and yet again on March 7 last.

There was a proposal to adopt the definition of “Sikh’’ as also “voter’’ as contained in the Delhi Gurdwara Act, 1971. Even that did not materialise. Here was an Akali government and the SGPC that celebrated the tercentenary of the founding of the Khalsa Panth but failed to muster courage to either get the much-sought-after All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act enacted or make amendment in the existing Act.

One view is that the issues, particularly defranchising “Sehajdhari’’ Sikhs, were deliberately allowed to remain dormant for fear of displeasing the BJP. The other reason is failure of the two to send the final draft on the All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

They raised a finger at the Gurdwara Election Commission for forwarding the same on its own. But the two forgot to appreciate that it was doing its official duty, yet clearly stating that SGPC approval was mandatory.

Sikhs have failed to take the initiative to enrol themselves as voters, whereas, “Sehajdhari’’ or non-Sikhs, presumably, have done so. There are two declaration forms, one for the “Sehajdhari’’ Sikhs and other for “Keshahari’’ Sikhs. The voters’ list is prepared as per the declaration forms received. Blaming will not help.


George rules out troop withdrawal
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
“India would not de-escalate its troops stationed along the international border and the Line of Control with Pakistan till the Musharaff regime hands over the 20 terrorists wanted by India”. This was disclosed by the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, during his one-day visit here today. Mr Fernandes said Pakistan had to prove its credentials and show restraint in its blatant cross-border manoeuvres before expecting easing of the situation along the international border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC).

Making these observations shortly before awarding degrees to doctors and nurses at the convocation of the Christian Medical College and Hospital here, Mr Fernandes said there was no change in the attitude of Pakistan towards India and hence there was no reason to make any changes in the troop deployment. Moreover, he added, Pakistan was yet to take any substantial steps that could indicate seriousness in stopping the cross-border terrorism.

Reacting to the situation in Ayodhya and its aftermath, he denied any schism in the National Democratic Alliance of which he is the convener, Mr Fernandes said some misunderstandings that had cropped up on the Ayodhya issue between the alliance members had been cleared.

On the issue of mines being laid out along the IB and LoC, that had cost many civilian lives and even cattle heads, the Defence Minister said, the Army authorities were taking utmost caution to ensure that no harm was caused to human life or otherwise. However, he said, there was no other option and pointed out, mines had been laid out even on the other side of the border as well.

Replying to a question on the issue of relief and rehabilitation of migrants from border areas, he said some amount had been released for the same.

He added that the governments of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan were conducting a survey on the amount required for providing relief to the border migrants. Once the survey was completed, more funds would be released. When questioned about Air Marshal Manjit Singh Sekhon’s alleged attempt to use political influence for getting choice posting, he said, “The matter has not come to the notice of the Defence Ministry as yet...and whenever it comes, it would be handled accordingly”.

Regarding the statement made by the Attorney-General of India, Mr Soli Sorabjee, in the Supreme Court, he said there are no differences among the alliance partners, there were some misunderstandings only, which have already been clarified”, he said, while pointing out that the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had already clarified that Mr Sorabjee had made the statement on his own. The Defence Minister, without naming any particular party, accused the Opposition of trying to raise such issues from time to time.

“They (the Opposition) have been trying to dig out such issues of differences for past four years and have not succeeded so far ... and they will not succeed in future”, he asserted, while claiming that the NDA government was as strong and stable as ever. He also defended all the partners including the BJP, and said everyone was sticking to the agenda with all respect for the coalition principles.


PSEB advised to revise tariff
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 16
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) may not be left with funds to pay salaries on time to its employees and deal with the reduction in coal supplies as well as the purchase of power if it does not revise its tariff structure and reimpose the concessional agricultural tariff.

An internal report prepared by the office of the Chief Controller, Finance, of the board says outstanding liabilities of the board, including supplier bills, coal bills, railway freight and purchase of power have mounted to Rs 650 crore and need immediate liquidation.

The report said if this was not done, coal companies as well as the Railways could reduce the supply and hauling of coal, respectively, to the state which would lead to a reduction in thermal generation. It said the non-payment of power purchased from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and other Central Government undertakings could lead to the reduction of the supply of power to the state.

The report also demanded the reimposition of the concessional agricultural tariff to bail the board out of the financial crisis. It said the cost of power being supplied to tubewells at an average delivered cost of Rs 3.37 per unit worked out to around Rs 2,000 crore during 2001-02. It said the supply to tubewells was made free with effect from February 14, 1997, without any compensation from the government except during 2001-02, when the board got a compensation of Rs 250 crore.

A grim future has been predicted for the board if it continues to operate in the same fashion. The report said due to default in debt servicing of loans from financial institutions, no further loans would be available to the board. It said the board had defaulted on debt financing of Rs 70 crore. The fate of ongoing schemes, particularly the 24-hour power supply scheme under which rural areas were being given power on an urban pattern by the Akali-BJP government, is no better. More than 5,000 villages still remain to be covered and funds are not available for the continuation of the schemes.

The report said the financial crisis in the board started after the Akali-BJP government came into power. The free supply of 50 units per month with effect from August, 2001, to the Scheduled Castes resulted in an annual revenue loss of Rs 100 crore, according to the report.

It said no budgetary support had been made for the PSEB’s own works, excluding the Ranjit Sagar dam project. Also, the board spent Rs 129 crore for providing 24-hour power supply on an urban pattern to rural areas of the state. About 85 per cent of the expenditure amounting to Rs 110 crore was to be reimbursed by the government but only Rs 15 crore had been released as a grant. Loans to financial institutions, to the tune of Rs 1,216 crore in March, 1997, had risen to Rs 4,450 crore at the end of January, 2002, the report said.

The report has advised the new government to go in for an ad hoc revision of tariff followed by a regular revision of tariff for all categories of consumers, reimposition of concessional agricultural tariff, release of subsidy for capital works in pursuance of MoUs signed with the Central Government and raising of additional loans for the next two years to meet the cash deficit.


Bhutan envoy calls on Chief Minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
Mr Lyonpa Dago Tshering, Ambasssdor of Bhutan, today called on the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. He evinced keen interest on exchange of technical knowhow in the field of agro-forestry, agro-processing and hydro power between Bhutan and Punjab.

Capt Amarinder Singh assured the Ambassdor that Punjab had an excellent industrial infrastructure and efficient manpower.

He asked Mr Teshering to encourage entrepreneurs from Bhutan to set up joint ventures in food processing, bio-technology and tissue culture in Punjab.


Traders resist IT raid, warn officials
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 16
A strong resistance of traders and businessmen of Bathinda and Raman Mandi town of the district, led by Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, general secretary of the District Congress Committee, thwarted an attempt made by officials of the Income Tax Department to raid some business and residential premises last evening.

The officials faced embarrassing situation when the traders asked about their assets and sources of income.

Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, secretary of the Committee, alleged that certain officials of the Income Tax Department had started harassing the traders in the name of checking tax returns. He said these officials were raiding business establishments under some considerations.

He said no official would be allowed to harass any section of the society. The government would take strong action against the erring officials. He added that if the income tax officials continued to harass the traders and other residents, the Congress workers would retaliate.

He said traders, alongwith with Congress workers, would raid the houses of these officials to unearth the disproportionate assets owned by them. No senior official of the Income Tax Department could be contacted.


Shaheed Udham Singh’s pistol
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 16
The pistol used by Shaheed Udham Singh to kill General O’Dyer and printing press used for the publication of secret “Ghadar” newspaper by the foreign-based freedom fighters, and those linked with the Ghadar movement would be on display very soon.

Efforts for this are on by the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall Committee, which is planning a museum of rare objects having connections with freedom movement and used by freedom fighters against the British rule. The committee, headed by Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga, already has a photo gallery based on hundreds of rare pictures on freedom struggle and it has already taken up the matter to procure the pistol and printing press for the proposed museum with the US-based Ghadar Heritage Foundation and the Hindustani Ghadar Party Memorial. The representatives of both organisations had visited the hall as part of delegation to the famed “Ghadri” fair held in November last year.

The pistol used by Shaheed Udham Singh to kill General O’Dyer in London on March 13, 1940 has been lying in a poor state in the museum of the Scotland Yard in London since the incident, while the printing press used for publication of the “Ghadar” newspaper was lying with a San Francisco-based Punjabi NRI. Apart from others, Lala Hardyal remained editor of the multi-lingual paper.

According to Mr Gurmeet, Secretary of the Cultural unit of the hall, said the pistol had got rust all over and its cartridges were of a different bore, which had forced Shaheed Udham Singh to shoot from point blank range. He said a number of NRIs had come forward to bear the shipping cost of the printing press in case it was brought here for the proposed museum. Apart from this, the committee was working towards the restoration of rare pictures in its custody. “We are storing these pictures on CDs and same is the case with other rare material like documents related with the movement,” said Mr Gurmeet. The pictures depict entire freedom struggle up to 1947 and even provide glimpses of the war waged against the British by Sikh General Sirdar Sham Singh Attariwala in 1848, are also contemplating a web-site to enable people see their past with their own eyes, said Mr Gurmeet.


SGPC chief raps Ranjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The SGPC President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar today criticised the former Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, for his reported statement that Capt Amarinder Singh was a better Chief Minister than Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Badungar claimed that the reported statement of Bhai Ranjit Singh had vindicated the stand of the SAD (B) that the Panthic Morcha was playing into the hands of the Congress and working for its victory. He pointed out, “notwithstanding the claims of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, the morcha stands exposed after the statement of Bhai Ranjit Singh”.

Mr Badungar was here to inquire about the condition of the senior Akali leader and Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, Mr Mal Singh Ghuman who had been shot at by his son and is admitted to the Christian Medical College and Hospital.

He alleged that the Congress government was now enrolling thousands of non-Sikhs in the name of Sehajdharis in the voter list for elections to the SGPC. This, he alleged, was being done to facilitate the victory of the Panthic Morcha in these elections as the Congress was now trying to compensate morcha for its support during the Assembly elections.

On the issue of sending Sikh jathas to Pakistan, the SGPC president said, he had already written to the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani. He hoped that the issue would be settled soon keeping in view the faith and religious sentiments of the Sikh community.


SGPC to buy TV channel
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 16
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has resolved to buy its own television channel to propagate Sikhism. A three-member committee has been formed to make the project report of the plan. The committee includes Mr Arwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, senior vice-president of the SGPC, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, general secretary, and Dr Darshan Singh, member of the Dharam Prachar Committee. Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, President of the SGPC, announced in a statement here today.

The proposal will be presented before the Dharam Prachar Committee before being tabled in the executive meeting for approval. Meanwhile, the SGPC President called the Director of Guru Ram Dass Hospital and gave him instructions to improve administration in the SGPC-run hospital.


Workshop on water supply schemes
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 16
A workshop on drinking water supply schemes in rural areas under the National Drinking Water Mission was held here on Thursday by the Human Resources Development (HRD) Cell.

Mr N.S. Kalsi, Executive Director of the cell, while addressing the workshop said three districts of Punjab — Bathinda, Moga, Muktsar — were adopted under the mission. He said in these districts 60 water supply schemes were being undertaken and work on three would be completed soon.

He added that residents of the villages concerned would be involved in schemes and 63 districts had been adopted as pilot districts.

Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, Additional Deputy Commissioner (D), said in the first phase there were 22 schemes in the district and for that Rs 2.52 cr in first instalment had been received by the district. These schemes would supply drinking water to 32 villages. He said the remaining amount would be received soon.


Two schoolgirls crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 16
Two schoolgirls Ranbir Kaur and Paramjit Kaur were crushed to death today on the GT Road at Chaheru, 8 km from Phagwara, when a truck hit them while they were waiting for a bus for going to nearby village Khajurla school for taking their ongoing annual matriculation examination this morning.

The truck driver reportedly lost control after its tyre, burst. Ranbir died on the spot, Paramjit succumbed to her injuries at Jalandhar Cantonment military hospital.


Ahmedgarh MC chief assailed
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, March 16
Mr Kishori Lal Vardhan, president of the Ahmedgarh Municipal Council, was injured seriously when he was allegedly attacked by Ashutosh Vinayak, a former president of the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha and four other unidentified persons last night.
The victim was rushed to the local civil hospital by some residents.


MLA denies press reports
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 16
Malkit Singh Keetu, MLA, here described the reports as false to his removal as President of the Truck Operator’s Union Bhadaur town 25 km from here as published in some newspapers on Tuesday. He claimed that he was still the President of the Union.


SYL: BKU group plans dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 16
The Lakhowal faction of the Bharti Kisan Union will sit on dharna from March 20 to 22 in Delhi over the SYL canal issue as it felt that Haryana had no right over the canal water according to the Riparian Law.

This was stated in a press note issued here today by Mr Ram Karan Singh, district president of the union. He said district-level meetings were being held to motivate the farmers to participate in the dharna.

He further said that the prices for various crops should be announced keeping in view the price index made on the basis of prices of crops in 1966-67. Accordingly, the prices for wheat would be around Rs 988 per quintal, for cotton Rs 2860 and for sugarcane Rs 143 per quintal.


Work stopped on Chief Secy’s orders
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, March 16
Following the directions of the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, faxed to Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.S. Puri, development work has come to a standstill in this holy city. Ongoing works like the pavement of pre-mix on roads leading to Darbar Sahib etc have been stopped immediately after the fax message.

The fax message of the Chief Secretary reads: “As you are aware, the state government is passing through a very difficult financial position. In the past, a large amount has been released to the deputy commissioners under various schemes such as small saving grants, discretionary grants, united funds, planning board funds and funds released in the ‘sangat darshan’ during the incumbency of the previous government. I have been given to understand that a significant part of these releases is yet to be spent. As the new government has taken over and the Council of Ministers is very soon to review the financial position of the state, you are directed not to spend any amount out of the unspent balances under the above said heads till further orders. A report about the unspent balances lying with you and the head in which they are lying may be sent to Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Principal Secretary, Finance”.

Mr Jatinder Sood, president, Municipal Committee, said the councillors and residents of this holy city were sore over the directions which adversely affected the development work. He threatened to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the ‘arbitrary’ directions sent by the Chief Secretary. Mr Sood said he had learnt that in the light of the orders of the Chief Secretary, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) had directed the banks concerned not to release any payment against fresh developmental works. Mr Sood alleged that such orders would lead into a major controversy, apart from eroding the credibility of the government.

Giving the details of the works adversely affected following the orders of the Chief Secretary, Mr Sood said that a total amount of Rs 1.50 crore had been held up. He said similar orders had been passed for the Patti corporation.


MC budget passed amid protests
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, March 16
The annual budget of the municipal council, Fazilka, for Rs 670.50 lakh was passed here today amidst a dharna by municipal employees.

All municipal employees had been on strike for the past four days to protest against non-payment of their salaries for February. They had locked up all rooms of the municipal office and work had remained paralysed. Mr Mohinder Partap Dhingra, president of the council, after informing the local police, got the locks broken and conducted the meeting.

Mr Surinder Kumar Kalra of the Congress objected to the proposed collection of Rs 220 lakh through octroi. He and Mr Parmjit Singh Pammi, also of the Congress, objected to the increase in excise duty, house tax, water supply bills and sewerage bills. The budget was passed as the BJP had 16 members in the 21-member House.

Congress councillors rejected the budget proposals and alleged that all development works would come to a standstill due to the unplanned budget. They also objected to passing of the budget today and said it should have been passed by February 28. They sought action against the officials responsible for delayed presentation of budget.

As the budget was being discussed, the striking employees locked the main entrance gate of the office. As a result of the president, all councillors and some mediapersons remained bound in the municipal council office complex.

Mr Rattan Singh, in charge, city police, Fazilka, intervened and got the main gate opened. Mr Dhingra, assured the agitating employees that their salaries would be released. Mr Satish Verma, spokesperson of the striking employees, said they would continue the agitation till payment of their salaries.


IG’s order on DDR
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 16
The Punjab Police IG (Zonal), Mr S.K. Sharma, has directed officials of all police stations in Ropar district to enter all complaints in the Daily Diary Register (DDR). The instructions were issued after senior police officials stressed the need for improving the image of the department among the public.


Booked for killing wife, son
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 16
Manjit Kaur (22) of Walipur village was poisoned to death allegedly by husband and in-laws. Her two-month-old son too was allegedly killed by her in-laws.

A case under Sections 304 (B) and 34 of the IPC, has been registered. The viscera of the baby has been sent to the Forensic Department, Patiala, for investigation.

Police sources said here yesterday that Manjit Kaur married Pawandeep Singh last year. She was poisoned to death by her husband, brothers-in-law, Gurnam Singh and Harbhajan Singh, and sister-in-law Passo. Two days after the death of Manjit Kaur, her son was also allegedly killed by her in-laws. Parents of Manjit Kaur had made a complaint to the police.

Dowry is said to be the reason for the murder.


Moga ASI suspended for taking bribe

Moga, March 16
Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Zora Singh has been suspended and a corruption case has been registered against him for allegedly accepting illegal gratification of Rs 2,000.

District police chief Varinder Kumar said the suspended police official was posted at Fatehgarh Panjtoor police station and had accepted a bribe from complainant Joginder Singh for reaching a compromise in a domestic dispute.

He said before taking action against him, the facts were proved by a senior police officer. UNI


Rs 55.50-cr budget of GND varsity cleared
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 16
Ten per cent cut imposed by the state government resulted in the presentation of deficit budget of Guru Nanak Dev University today.

The Senate of the university, however, unanimously approved the Budget estimate of Rs 55.50 crore for the year 2002-2003, showing a net deficit of Rs 8.78 crore of the university here today. The Finance Committee and Syndicate of the university had already accorded approval to the budget estimate. The Senate also approved the annual report for the period ending December 2001, showing the achievement of various teachings and non-teaching departments.

Dr S.P. Singh Vice-Chancellor presided over the meeting while Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, presented the agenda.

Placing the budget on the table of the House, the Vice-Chancellor Dr Singh said that the committee expenditure for this year would be Rs 61.16 crore including the opening balance of Rs 5.49 crore. He said the maintenance grant from the Punjab government would be Rs 16.52 crore, 10 per cent less in comparison to last year, the revenue received would be Rs 30.18 crore, he added.

Citing reasons for the deficit, he said Rs 16.52 crore would be available. He informed the members that it was due to the fact that the state government had imposed a cut of 10 per cent on the existing maintenance grant, which earlier was Rs 17.86 crore and it would now be Rs 16.07 crore. Enhancement of DA and other increase sanctioned during the year are other reasons for this deficit. He said a budget provision of Rs five crore had been included in the budget for expenditure on the capital works to be undertaken during the year since the Punjab government did not provide any grant for this. He said that out of the total expenditure of Rs 61 crore, the university would spend 44.87 per cent on trekking, research and allied teaching, 24.87 per cent on administration, 4.77 per cent on the conduct of examination and 25.49 per cent on miscellaneous departments and health including the construction of new buildings.

Talking about the generation of financial resources, he said the maintenance grant from the Punjab Government had been shrinking year after year, whereas the university had been consistently generating additional resources. Whereas during 1992 and 1993, the maintenance grant provided by the state government was 82.41 per cent of the total budget of the university, it had decreased to 29.78 per cent by 2002-2003 year. On the other hand in 1992-93, the ration of the university’s own resources was only 14.75 per cent of the total budget while in 2002-03 it would be 54.38 per cent.

In addition the state government has been requested to provide grant for the Namdhari Guru, Ram Singh Chair, Guru Gobind Singh Chair and for job-oriented course, for an amount of Rs 45.10 lakh, claim for which has already been sent to the state government.

It is estimated that the revenue received for the university would be around Rs 30.18 crore. In case the response of admission under the NRI category was good then revenue received would be higher than estimated. However, the maintenance grant from the state government will be reduced from the existing Rs 17.86 crore to Rs 16.07 crore due to ten per cent cut imposed by the state government.

After taking adequate and stringent economic measures and increasing university’s own resources from estimated Rs 25.59 crore earlier to Rs 34.48 crore there would be plus closing balance of Rs 5.49 crore at the end of the financial year. The increase in the actual revenue received on the higher side is due to the fact that there was good response for admission of students under NRI category, which brought to the university Rs 7.03 crore.

The Vice-Chancellor informed the members that no increase had been given by the state government under the revised estimate (2001-2002) to meet additional recurring liabilities such as DA and other increase including for the staff employed at Guru Nanak Dev University Regional Campus, Gurdaspur and Shaheed Ram Singh Pathania Memorial College, Niari which was taken over by the university. Hence the expenditure for running the courses at Guru Nanak Dev University, Regional Campus, Gurdaspur and Shaheed Ram Singh Pathania Memorial College, Niari was being done out of the resources, generated by the university.


Need felt to change education system
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 16
Emphasising the need of evolving an educational system free from friction, tension and conflict, Hari Jaisingh, Editor of ‘The Tribune’ felt that the time to took at things afresh has come.

Delivering the third Mahatma Hans Memorial lecture organised by DAV College, Amritsar, he said, “We must explore new frontiers of science and knowledge so that we build an India of our dreams.”

He lamented that rulers since Independence had shamelessly used the colonial instrument of governance to create blocks and kill initiatives for taking things forward in the fascinating world of knowledge and information.

Lambasting politicking in our institutions of learning, he lamented that it had vitiated the academic atmosphere, leaving society ill-formed despite tremendous information explosion. He felt that our half-hearted efforts for excellence had multiplied our problems.

He said well-managed globalisation offered an opportunity for knowledge sharing, economic development and mutual understanding for good governance.

He termed the present system of education “sick” and cautioned that we must not ignore the basic requirements of our nation.

One area of criminal neglect was primary education, he added. How could we build a strong foundation for higher learning in this situation, he questioned.

Mr Hari Jaisingh asserted that we feel suffocated because of red-tapism, lack of work culture and the deteriorating moral mooring.

Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP, presided over the lecture. The Principal of the College, Mr M.L. Aeri, while welcoming the chief guest gave an outline of the life of Mahatma Hans Raj who was instrumental in establishing the DAV educational movement in the early 20th century.


Dr Kanwaljit Singh’s resignation accepted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 16
The syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University today accepted the resignation of Director, Sports, Dr Kanwaljit Singh, and appointed the senior-most Professor, Dr Gurpreet Dhillon, as in charge of the department.

The former Director, Dr Kanwaljit Singh, while addressing a press conference today blamed the university administration for not coming to his rescue from the “false” charges of sexual harassment by a lecturer in the Department of Physical Education. He added that he had quit to facilitate the probe instituted by the Vice-Chancellor.

He urged for the inquiry to be completed as soon as possible so that his innocence was vindicated.

He said the allegation against him was baseless and part of a conspiracy to remove him from his post.

In his resignation letter, he alleged that the lecturer concerned had pressurised him to sign the summary of her thesis without letting him verify the authenticity of the data.

Dr Kanwaljit Singh also alleged that she was delaying the proceedings and buying time to influence the decision and urged the investigating committee to “come out with the truth” as soon as possible.


Withdraw cut in varsity grant: Senate
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 16
Following the 10 per cent reduction in the maintenance grant by the state government, the Guru Nanak Dev University Senate today unanimously resolved to appeal to the government to withdraw it. The reduction would hamper research, teaching and development projects of the university, the Senate said.

A shortfall of Rs 178.65 lakh has already been declared in the budget due to the reduction in the grant.


Centre controller may face music
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 16
The Punjab School Education Board has initiated an inquiry into the wrong distribution of general-music question-papers among physically challenged students at an examination centre in Ludhiana on March 9. The question-paper was to be distributed on March 16.

A penalty of about Rs 50,000 is likely to be imposed on the superintendent and the controller of the examination centre at Everest Public School of Ludhiana. For March 16, a fresh question-paper had to be prepared for distribution at 255 examination centres. Over 8,500 students are taking the test.

Ms Harcharan Kaur Brar, Controller of Examination, said the board had to spend over Rs 50,000 on getting new question-papers printed and distributed. The amount would be recovered from the then controller and superintendent at the examination centre.

There has also been complaints of opening of the English question-papers on March 6. “The error was noticed before the examination papers were distributed,” said the Controller.

Meanwhile, the board has decided to be liberal with candidates who missed the drawing and painting examination due to a confusion over their options. These students may be given another chance to take the test. Ms Brar said a number of students had not filled in the column for optional subject in examination forms, due to a confusion over the introduction of these subjects. In some cases, students had written drawing instead of painting.

After extending the last date for getting the options changed from January 30 to February 18, the board decided to charge each student Rs 1,000 for making the change before the examination.

From this year, the detailed-marks-card-cum-pass-certificates for matriculation examination of the board will have pictures of candidates on these.


Bhan for overhaul of education system
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 16
Mr Justice Ashok Bhan of the Supreme Court of India has stressed on the need to overhaul the present education system and to make the students self-sufficient.

Mr Bhan was delivering the convocation address at Sri Guru Angad Dev College, Khadoor Sahib, here today. Baba Sewa Singh, president of the college management committee, presided over the function.

Addressing the students he took serious note of the lack of the social awareness in the present education system and emphasised on the need to work for making society drug-free and education, job-oriented.

Mr Bhan appreciated the services of Baba Sewa Singh, head of the kar seva sect Khadoor Sahib for his work of spreading education in the rural areas. As many as 80 students were conferred degrees on the occasion.

Dr Balwinder Singh, the college Principal read the annual report. The Chief Guest Mr Bhan gave away the prizes to the outstanding students. Mr M.R. Batra, District and Sessions Judge, Amritsar, Mr Narinder Bhargawa, the local SSP Mr Manjit Singh, MLA and other prominent personalities of the area were also awarded. Later cultural programme was present.


ETT aspirants seek fresh entrance test
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 16
Students not selected for admission to the ETT course, have urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to cancel the recently declared entrance test results and hold the test again, alleging that large-scale bungling has taken place in the test.

In a memorandum submitted to Capt Amarinder Singh at Malout, where he addressed an election rally today, the ETT Anti-Corruption Action Committee urged him to protect the interests of intelligent students and order an inquiry into the declaration of results.

The memorandum, signed by students belonging to different districts, mentioned that on the day of the test, the students has sent letters to the then Punjab Chief Minister and Education Minister to look into the bungling, but no action had been taken.

The students alleged that some candidates had left their answersheets blank, on which answers had been written after the end of the test. They alleged that such students had paid huge sums of money to some politicians and officials in the Education Department for their selection. They also alleged that the results were declared in a hurry before the declaration of Assembly election results to cover up the bungling.


Govt college convocation held
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 16
Mr Khushal Bhal, Minister of Education, presided over the convocation of Government College here today. In his convocation address, Mr Bahl appealed to the students to work hard to rid the society of rampant corruption and violence which are eating into the vitals of the society.

Mr Bhal said even after 55 years of Independence, drop-out rate of students has not declined. He added that 92 per cent of the primary schools are in rural areas where 72 per cent of our population lives.

There is wide disparity in education among the rural and urban areas. The void between the two has to be filled to bring about integrated development of the society.


College students conferred degrees
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 16
At least 600 students of different faculties were conferred degrees in the annual convocation of BBK DAV college here today.

Mr M.L. Khanna, General Secretary of the DAV College Managing Committee, presided over the function. A cultural programme was also presented on the occasion.

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