Sunday, April 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong, CPI euphoric over Malout win
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
After the Malout triumph, the euphoria in the Congress and CPI camps is understandable as the “secular front” put up by them against the SAD-BJP alliance in the assembly elections has earned a much-needed morale-booster for the coming municipal elections in Punjab.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh; and the Secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, Dr Joginder Dyal, have every reason to feel elated at their success for they have defeated the “tallest Punjab politician”, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on his home turf, to refute the misconception that he was “invincible in the Malwa belt in general and the rural areas in particular.”

While the Chief Minister described the Malout win as the first step towards wiping out of “feudal ramnants” of the previous SAD government in the state, Dr Dyal said it was the “beginning of the end of Badal’s dynasty”. The Malout election, he said, was conducted in a “most transparent, fair and free manner”, ridiculing all allegations made by the SAD and its alliance partner, the BJP.

The CPI candidate led his SAD opponent in 133 of the 141 polling booths. He polled 3300 votes more than his opponent in the rural areas, setting aside the strongly held notion that the SAD still enjoyed a strong clout in the rural areas.

Referring to Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s charge that the Malout election was “murder of democracy”, the Chief Minister said that the SAD chief was now shedding “crocodile tears as he is scared of his future but the law will overtake him.”

While the Congress and the CPI are yet to talk about contesting the coming municipal elections jointly, the Malout triumph has made the Congress rank and file in the state jubilant. The CPI has not much at stake in the municipal elections but it may be asked to mobilise its cadre in favour of the Congress candidates.

There is an overwhelming enthusiasm for the party ticket for the May 19 elections in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala. The PPCC has asked the District Congress Committees of these four districts to invite applications from prospective candidates by April 17 before these are sent to the PPCC headquarters on April 18. 


Malout win defeat of communal forces: CPI
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 6
Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the Punjab CPI, while terming the victory of CPI-Congress candidate Nathu Ram as the defeat of communal forces, said today that if the Congress had participated actively in the campaigning of CPI candidates during the February Assembly elections they (CPI) then could have won more seats.

Dr Joginder Dayal said he stood by his statements given after the Assembly elections that the Congress did not participate whole-heartdly for the campaigning of CPI candidates. Mr Dayal refuted the charges of Mr Parkash Sing Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD chief, that the ruling party was using unfair means for winning the Assembly election at Malout. He said the Akalis were in the habit of rigging the poll process. He claimed that purchasing votes in lieu of money, poppy husk, liquor, opium was Akali culture.


DC not to be shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Within a few hours of the declaration of the Malout result, the Punjab Government rescinded its orders of April 2, ordering the transfer of the Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar, Mr Babu Lal. In a fresh order issued today, the government said Mr Babu Lal would continue as Deputy Commissioner of Muktsar while the fresh posting orders of Mr D.K. Tewari, who was to replace him, would be issued separately.


PPSC selections: another vet alleges corruption
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 6
After the allegations of corruption in the PPSC by Dr Poonam Batra, a gold medalist who was not selected for the post of Veterinary Officer, another M.V.Sc, Dr Gurparshad Duggal, has today revealed that interview for the said posts was shown to be conducted on December 26, 2001, although it was conducted on January 9 and 10 this year.

In a written statement, Dr Duggal alleged that the only criterion for selection through the PPSC was how much money a candidate could pay. He said besides a good interview the other things that carry weightage in the PPSC selection criteria, if one goes by rules, included overall grade point average, masters degree, NCC certificate, articles or papers published in media, university or college colours and merit certificates, achievements in extra-curricular activities and experience in the field. But, he alleged, none of these were considered while selecting candidates for the posts of Veterinary Officer.

He said first it was not possible that a person’s ability could be judged in a five-minute interview and secondly even that interview become a mere formality as many irrelevant questions were asked during the interview.

He said questions like number of cinema halls in a particular city and the movies they were showing were not even remotely related with veterinary science and duties to be performed by a veterinary doctor.

Dr Duggal further alleged that the behaviour of the members of the interview panel indicated as if the names of candidates to be selected had already been cleared and the interview was being conducted for merely completing necessary formalities.

Giving examples of other candidates who were not found fit for the job, Dr Duggal said there were many who were holding masters degrees and one candidate was a Ph.D in the subject but none of them was selected.

Dr Duggal has urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to stop the appointment of selected candidates and hold an inquiry into the selection procedure.


Saroj Rani gets regular bail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 6
District and Sessions Judge S. N. Aggarwal today granted regular bail to the Punjabi University Fine Arts Department Head, Dr Saroj Rani, and department technical assistant Jaspal Singh, who had been arrested in a case regarding attempt to rape of a department student in which they are co accused along with Vice Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia.

Dr Saroj Rani and Jaspal Singh, who had been arrested in the case on March 27, had been sent to police remand on March 29 and had been in judicial custody till now.

The counsel for the accused claimed that no specific motive could be attributed to them. It was claimed that both accused had been in police remand already and that they had even cooperated with the police by joining the investigations before being arrested. It was also argued that both Dr Rani and Jaspal Singh were being implicated in the case by invoking Section 120 (b) (conspiracy).

Earlier Dr Rani in her bail application had claimed that the girl student, Saru Rana, had not made any complaint against her either in her original complaint submitted to the police or the one made to the police on the basis of which an FIR was registered against her. She had also claimed that she had been falsely implicated in the case due to professional jealousies, adding that she had twice visited the local police station to answer questions by police officials and had also made records in the Fine Arts Department available to the police for checking.

Opposing the bail application, Mr Sahib Singh Dhindsa and others claimed that further investigation was needed in the case as serious charges of attempt to rape had been included in the original FIR. Mr Dhindsa also argued that bail should be denied to the accused as Saru Rana had been deputed to meet the Vice-Chancellor on the fateful day. He further contended that the Vice- Chancellor had told Saru to sit down for some time in his retiring room and then had come back again and tried to use force to rape her.

Meanwhile, Dr Ahluwalia today presented himself before Inspector- General of Police Anil Kaushik to answer questions relating to the attempt to rape case registered against him.

The VC when questioned today by TNS regarding the alleged extension given to technical assistant Jaspal Singh who is also a co- accused in the attempt to rape case registered against him, feigned ignorance about the move. He said he had also read in the newspapers that extension in service had been given to Jaspal Singh who is an ad hoc employee of the university. He said he had accordingly asked the Registrar to give him a report on the issue on Monday. He said sometimes extensions were given in the due course also. 


Election of Barnala’s son challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
In less than two months after polling was held in the state of Punjab, the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal candidate from Dhuri constituency, Mr Iqbal Singh, today filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the election of Mr Gagganjit Singh Barnala.

Alleging the adoption of corrupt practices, Mr Iqbal Singh of Jhundan village, claimed in his petition, that the election was liable to be set aside as Mr Barnala had distributed money in slums to attract the voters. He even levelled false personal allegations against the petitioner in the rallies as well as in an interview given to a Punjabi newspaper, Mr Iqbal Singh added.

Seeking directions for declaring him elected as he had secured the maximum number of votes, the petitioner contended that at one booth, the total number of voters was only 620 while the votes polled were shown to be 642. His counsel added that the observer, under Mr Barnala’s pressure, managed to win the election by manipulation and fabrication.

Giving details of the petitioner’s credentials, counsel submitted that Mr Iqbal Singh was a law graduate, besides being sarpanch of Jhundan village. The petitioner was also director of an agricultural bank and also a member of Malerkotla’s block samiti. He was also General Secretary of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, district unit.

Octogenarian gets costs in land case

Coming down heavily on the functionaries of Punjab state for showing “utter lack of concern”, the High Court has ruled that an 82-year-old Ferozepore resident was entitled to Rs 25,000 as costs.

Delivering the verdict on a petition filed by Dr Bachan Singh, Mr Justice H.S. Bedi of the High Court ruled: “The petition is allowed and a direction is issued to the state of Punjab to make allotment of land to the petitioner in an urban area as per the option exercised by him in 1999, after associating him, within three months from the date of receiving a copy of the order. The petitioner shall have his costs quantified at Rs 25,000”.

In his detailed order, the Judge added: “The present state of affairs betrays utter lack of concern on the part of the respondents. Despite an order dated May 25, 1984, the petitioner was not able to get land allotted in his favour. Even an order dated May 18, 1998, passed by the Financial Commissioner remained uncompleted with”.


Bt cotton hybrids not for northern farmers 
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Shocking news for farmers of northern states — Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan — the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has not approved any variety of Bt cotton hybrids for sowing at the mass level. The farmers of these states were feeling delighted at the clearance to the sowing of Bt cotton in the country along with certain conditions a few days ago. They had seen a ray of hope in such varieties which, as it has been touted, have the capacity to resist the attack of American bollworm which has destablised the agricultural economy of the Malwa belt by repeatedly destroying the cotton crop.

Informed sources said the authorities concerned had asked the ICAR in June last year to conduct the field evaluation trials of the Bt cotton hybrids for which the seed was provided by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited (Mahyco). The ICAR got the direction from the Union Government on June 21 when the sowing of the cotton crop was already over.

The Mahyco provided the seeds of only three varieties — Mech 162, Mech 184 and Mech 12 — for trial Mr Mangala Rai, Deputy Director-General of ICAR told The Tribune on the phone that following directions from the authorities concerned, ICAR scientists conducted trials at the field level in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. As sowing in northern states was already over, tests could not be held in these states.

“It would too risky to sow any Bt hybrid variety without evaluating its suitability to a particular area like Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan”, he said. In the case of any adverse results after the sowing of such cotton, there could be unmanageable reaction among the farming community. Moreover, it would be for the Union Ministry for Environment to allow or not the sowing of Bt cotton in northern states without holding the final evaluation trials. The Ministry for Environment is working as a nodal agency for the purpose of giving clearance to the sowing of such cotton varieties in the country.

Dr Rai said Mahyco had also approached the ICAR to clear the Mech-915 variety of Bt cotton hybrids but it refused to do so as no evaluation trials of this variety were conducted. There was no question of approving another Bt cotton hybrid variety, Mech-195, as its seed was not provided to the ICAR by the company for holding the trials.

Interestingly, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said here today that the trial cultivation of the Mech 195 variety of Bt cotton was expected to be undertaken in the state this year. However, it will not be possible until the green signal was given to the Punjab Government for the trial cultivation of this variety in Punjab. It appears that first the ICAR will conduct trial evaluation in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan of different Bt cotton Hybrids this year.

Only after satisfying itself will the ICAR approve varieties of such cotton for sowing at the mass level in the cotton belt. Farmers in this part of the country would have to wait for one more year for the legal sowing of Bt cotton hybrids which are also called transgenic hybrids. 


Govt withdraws letter on OSDs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Punjab Government has withdrawn the letter it had sent to all administrative Secretaries, heads of departments and others asking them to reconfirm from either the Chief Secretary or the Principal Secretary about any message conveyed to them on behalf of the Chief Minister by any of his political aide.

The letter written last month had created an uproar as all Officers on Special Duty to the Chief Minister as well as his close political aides were upset over its contents maintaining that they were only answerable to their "political boss" and not the "bureaucrats".

Meanwhile, decks have been cleared for Mr Gurmeet Singh Sodhi (Rana) to take over as Political Secretary to the Chief Minister as an ordinance declaring the post a “non-profit one” is being promulgated in a day or two.

Mr Sodhi is an MLA from Guru Harsahai. Under the rules, no legislator can accept any office of "profit" unless the position given to him or held by him is declared by an ordinance to be of "no profit". The Council of Ministers at its last meeting had approved the issuance of such an ordinance.

Another beneficiary of this ordinance may be Mr Surinder Singla, MLA from Bathinda, who has been cleared for heading the Finance Restructuring Committee.


Bid to frame AGM lands employee in soup
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 6
The local Vigilance Bureau has booked an employee who wanted to trap an Assistant General Manager of the State Bank of Patiala in the vigilance net by forcibly trying to bribe him in front of other employees in a branch of the bank in the city.

Local Vigilance Bureau Superintendent of Police Paramjit Singh Grewal disclosed that a Chief Teller of the State Bank of Patiala — Shankar Das Jindal had tried to forcibly hand over Rs 2,000 to the bank AGM, Mr V.K. Ghai, who is posted at the Leela Bhawan branch of the bank here in front of other employees of the branch when he visited the branch alongwith vigilance personnel.

Mr Grewal disclosed that a case under Section 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against Mr Jindal when it was revealed that he had a motive in trying to implicate Mr Ghai in a bribery case. The police officer revealed that the complainant Jindal had made out a case to the Vigilance Bureau that the AGM was demanding a bribe of Rs 2,000 to correct his Annual Confidential Report (ACR) as well as stop a move to relieve him from the inquiry department post.

The police officer claimed when the vigilance team reached the bank the situation turned out to be completely different. He said it was revealed during investigation that Mr Jindal had submitted false travelling allowance bills following which an inquiry was conducted into the issue by the AGM. It was revealed that the AGM had recommended that the complainant be denied two increments and that his transfer to the inquiry department be stopped immediately which proved to be the catalyst for the “plan” to frame the AGM.

Meanwhile, it was disclosed that another officer — Executive Engineer B.N. Goel of the BSNL was caught while accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from a Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of the same department to correct the latter's Annual Confidential Report (ACR).

In two other cases Jai Prakash Gupta, a Senior Assistant in the Sub Divisional Magistrate's office at Malerkotla and Karnail Singh, who is working in the Nabha Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank, too were caught red handed while accepting bribes.


Mid-day meal scheme fails to take off
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Punjab has failed to implement the mid-day meal scheme, launched, nationwide, in August 1995. Initially, the scheme envisaged giving of 3 kg wheat\rice, a student, per month to cover primary schoolchildren.

The scheme developed problems even before the target group was covered. Irked by this, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court which on November 28 last year ordered that all state governments providing ration must start giving cooked meals within three months in all primary schools run by them or aided by them. Moreover, the cooked meals should be provided for a minimum of at least 200 days in a year. A meeting was held at the Chief Secretary-level to implement the scheme in Punjab in January last. The Directorate of Primary Education, nodal agency to implement the scheme, expressed its inability to implement the scheme. There have been numerous complaints from teachers of harassment by staff of the Food Corporation of India that supplied foodgrains.

There are reports from several districts that teachers who paid large sums out of their pocket to transport foodgrains, have not got their reimbursement. Schools also lack storage space. Reports of theft and pilferage made teachers shy of taking the responsibility. The DPI (Primary Education), it is learnt, has suggested the involvement of panchayats and social organisations to take up the task of providing cooked meals. The moot question with the directorate was the lack of infrastructure in terms of kitchen space, storage, utensils and fuel etc.

At the January meeting, one of the proposals reportedly was to ask Punjab Milkfed to undertake the job.

Till now neither pre-cooked nor cooked meals are available to the primary schoolchildren. Except Tamil Nadu, most of the states are in a soup over the Supreme Court order. Will Punjab show the way?


Fraud detected in time: Markfed MD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Reacting to the news item ‘Fraud leaves Markfed poorer by crores’ , Mr S.S. Channy, MD, Markfed, has said the bogus purchase at Tibbi Khurd and Fattewala Hithar was detected at the right time.

“During procurement 2001-02, two commission agents — Joban Commission Agents and Marok Trading Co. — in connivance with the transport contractors had despatched the stocks to other mandis instead of sending the same to the rice mills as per Markfed instructions”, he said, adding, “on their failure to produce receipt-cum-inspection note which is a pre-requisite for release of payment by Markfed, no payments were made and costs on account of market fee and bardana were recovered from the concerned arhtias as well as from the truck union”.

Mr Channy further said the Manager, Markfed, Ferozepore had written to the DC , Ferozepore, for initiating criminal action against the defaulter arhtias besides cancellation of their licences. He said the Vigilance Department, Punjab, is already investigating the case.

In respect to the loss of more than Rs 20 crore suffered by Markfed in Guruharsahai branch, he clarified that criminal cases and arbitration cases have already been lodged against the millers concerned for their failure to deliver rice as per the agreement for the crop 1999-2000. In addition, Mr H.S. Walia, the then District Manager, Markfed, Ferozepore, and Mr Lakhbir Singh posted at Guruharsahai branch have already been placed under suspension, said Mr Channy. He said the manager, Markfed , Ferozepore, Mr L.S. Sekhon, during his tenure as District Manager, Markfed, Ferozepore had also been charge-sheeted along with other field officers concerned on account of these lapses. The DGP (Crime), Punjab, has already deputed SP (City) Ludhiana, Mr Naunihal Singh, to conduct investigations.


Failed tubectomy: 1.20 lakh damages decreed
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 6
Mr Gurbir Singh, Civil Judge (Senior Division), has awarded Rs 1.20 lakh compensation to Mr Dev Sharan and Mrs Nirmala Devi, in a civil suit filed by them against the Punjab Government, Bathinda Civil Surgeon, and Medical Officer, PP unit, Civil Hospital, Bathinda. Mrs Nirmala Devi delivered twins even after having undergone sterilisation through Dr Ramesh Rani Thukral in the local civil hospital.

In a judgement delivered on March 27, 2002, a copy of which was procured by The Tribune, today, Mr Gurbir Singh held that the birth of two children to plaintiff Mrs Nirmala Devi after a sterilisation operation by Dr Ramesh Rani Thukral, Medical Officer, was due to negligence on the part of defendants.

He held that Dr Ramesh Rani Thukral and the Punjab Government should be held responsible for the damages as the sterilisation operation performed turned to be a failure and was responsible for another birth in the family creating an additional economic burden on the persons, who had chosen to go for sterilisation.

The Judge also held that the plaintiff was also entitled to recover interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum on the amount decreed from the date of decree till the realisation of the amount.

Mrs Nirmala Devi, who was having two daughters and one son, underwent sterilisation on October 23, 1997, in the local Civil Hospital under the family planning programme when the doctor concerned assured her that she would not conceive after the operation. However, she delivered twin daughters on November 1, 1999,

The doctor concerned Dr Ramesh Rani Thukral, while defending her case, pleaded that she had been performing nearly 30 operations daily instead of five to seven operations done in a routine in a day and she felt tired. She disclosed that nearly 10 to 20 operations conducted by her had failed.

She added that Mrs Nirmala Devi should have reported the matter to the doctor after she became pregnant and her abortion should have been done free of cost. Plaintiff willfully prolonged pregnancy, which resulted in the birth of babies. Thus, the plaintiff themselves were negligent. She added that the plaintiff also had not produced any discharge slip issued at the time of the operation, which carried instructions after operations.

After listening to the arguments by both sides, Mr Gurbir Singh held that the plaintiff was already having three children and Mrs Nirmala Devi underwent sterilisation operation with an idea that she would not bear any more child. Since the birth of two daughters to Mrs Nirmala Devi was due to negligent act on the part of employees of the state of Punjab, she was entitled for damages to the extent of Rs 1.20 lakh and they were entitled to recover the same from defendants.


PSEB union to strike work on April 16
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 6
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Employees Struggle Committee has decided to observe strike on April 16 in response to a call given by the Central Trade Union in protest against the move of the Central Government pertaining to the disinvestment of public sector units (PSU).

Presiding over a meeting of the committee here on Thursday, its convener, Mr Amarjit Singh Sodhi, alleged that the strike would be observed in protest against the policies of the Centre to allow disinvestment in PSUs, which was an anti-employees step. “Instead of restructuring the sick units throughout the country, the Central Government is planning to order the closure of these units, which is highly deplorable,” he added.

He criticised the decision of the state electricity board to abolish about 15,000 posts in the department. The committee unanimously decided to launch a statewide agitation against the anti-employees policies of the board.


Students’ adieu to winged friends
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 6
A function organised at the Ropar wetland to give a farewell to migratory birds enthralled ornithologists yesterday when after a span of about five years they sighted a rare bird, the bar-headed goose there.

Mr Jaspreet Singh, president of the Ropar Eco Club, told The Tribune that the bird, which breeds in the Indo-Tibet belt of the Himalayas had been sighted in the wetland after a long time. He said the rare bird was generally found in Chilka Lake in Orissa in this season.

Mr Jaspreet said despite decreasing bird population in the wetland due to pollution, some rare birds were sighted there this year. These include the brahmany kite.

Earlier, at the function organised under the presidentship of the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, students of Government Senior Secondary School for Boys gave a formal farewell to the migratory birds by waving hands.


Trust Chairmen to contest termination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Chairmen of all 21 dissolved Improvement Trusts in Punjab has decided to challenge the termination orders issued by the state government yesterday.

The government had issued an order dissolving the 21 Improve-ment Trusts constituted by the previous Akali-BJP Govern-ment.

A spokesman for the Chairmen said today that certain sections of the Improvement Trust Act had been misused for the purpose of dissolving these bodies by the Congress Government in the state.


Divisional Engineer held for graft
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 6
Divisional Engineer Telecom (DET), Dhuri, B.N. Goyal was caught yesterday by Vigilance Bureau Officials when he was allegedly accepting Rs 2,000 “bribe” from Mr P.N. Singla, SDO (Indoor) in the Telecom Department at Dhuri.

Sources in the Telecom Department alleged that Mr Singla was annoyed with Mr Goyal as he (Mr Goyal) had made an “average” entry in his annual confidential report. Mr Singla missed a chance of promotion some months ago.


Move to grant amnesty to cops opposed
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 6
The Khalra Mission Committee has opposed the move of the Punjab Government to grant blanket amnesty to the policemen accused of human rights violation while tackling militancy in the state.

Mr Balwinder Singh Chabal, Mr Jasbir Singh Padhari, Mr Satwinder Pal Singh Palasour and other leaders of the committee at a press conference held here recently said the people of Punjab still remembered the killings of innocent Sikh youths by the security forces.


Illegal’ pension cases to be probed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Punjab Government has decided to hold an inquiry into the illegal pension cases approved for old-age pension during the SAD-BJP regime. Mr Santokh Singh Choudhary, Social Security and Social Welfare Minister, said responsibility would be fixed for flouting the prescribed norms.


Gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 6
The district police claims to have arrested a gang of thieves during a naka and recovered stolen goods and cash looted from migrant labourers at Amloh town.

Mr B. Chandrasekhar, SSP, in a press release here today stated that Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, DSP, and Mr Balwinder Singh, SHO, Amloh, had put up a special naka last night on a canal bridge, near Anian village. At about 2 a.m. the police arrested four persons moving in suspicious circumstances and during interrogation they confessed having committed various thefts and lootings in the area.

He said the police recovered stolen goods and cash worth Rs 5,000.

Those arrested have been identified as Sohan Singh, a resident of Mandhor, Karam Chand of Salani, Baldev Singh of Gursar Sidhar and Rajee of Bullandshahr. The police has registered a case under Sections 457, 379 and 380, IPC, against them.


BJP leader killed over trifle
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 6
Migrant Hare Ram, member of the Gobindpura panchayat and president of the local Parvasi Cell of the BJP, was killed over a minor issue last midnight by his neighbours. The police has arrested Arun Singh and Ranjit Singh under Section 302 of the IPC in this connection, it was learnt today.

The murder followed a tiff over reducing the volume of the television. After inflicting fatal knife injuries on Hare Ram, the two assailants Arun and Ranjit injured themselves with the same knife and got themselves hospitalised pretending that they were attacked first.


Medicos unhappy with exam schedule
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 6
In a baffling move, the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences has decided to hold examination for 30 students who are in their final year of postgraduate studies in the three Government Medical Colleges of Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot, even as it is turning a deaf ear to the demands of 250-odd doctors of the same batch who had demanded that their view should have also been taken into consideration before deciding the examination schedule.

The university has decided to hold post-graduate examination in May and June this year for around 30 students of Christian Medical College (CMC) and Dayanand Medical College (DMC), Ludhiana, and decided to hold examinations for the rest of their batch comprising nearly 250 students in November and December this year.

The students who will have to give their examinations later this year feel they have been given a raw deal. The students claim they have already lost out on six months of study as they were allowed to join various medical colleges in the state in September 1999 even though they had reported for joining in March 1999.

They said as per the rules of the Medical Council of India (MCI), the period of training for post-graduate courses should be three years, including the period of examination. They said this meant the batch should complete its post-graduate course by August this year and could write the examinations immediately.

Punjab Civil and Medical Supplies (PCMC) doctors would not get their pay after August, and the students would also have to vacate the hostel. The students said they would suffer professionally as they would not be able to appear for the super-speciality examinations for DM and MCH which were held in November and December.

They said they would also not be able to take up a job without completing their post-graduate examinations and would have to sit idle for four months after the completion of the course. They said they would have to come back from far-flung places just to take the examination.

The doctors, who have formed a Joint Action Committee, have urged the authorities to adopt a flexible approach and hold examinations for all post graduate students in June or July. They said representations to the college Principal and the university had not yielded any result.

Sources said MCI regulations could come in the way of holding the examinations in June with the course not likely to be completed by then. They said the examinations could, however, be held in July for which the first batch would have to suffer as two separate examinations cannot be held in such a short period. They said according to the MCI regulations there should be a gap of six months before the holding of two examinations of the same course.


Free books for poor children
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 6
The Punjab Government will distribute 13,74,000 sets of books among poor and Dalit students of 16,000 schools of the state, said Punjab Social Welfare Minister Chaudhary Santokh Singh while talking to reporters here today. He said that the government has spent Rs 9 crore for this purpose and books to primary school students would be distributed by April 15 and to Senior Secondary Students by April 30.

He said that state government would spend Rs 220 crore on old-aged, widow, and handicapped pension to more than 10 lakh persons.

He said that the state government was reviewing education policy to make education on a par with international standards and job-oriented with computer and Information Technology. Mr Santokh Singh described the victory of CPI Congress candidate in Malout byelections as victory of public faith in the Congress government led by Captain Amarinder Singh working hard to give clean, honest and able administration to the people of Punjab. Earlier Mr Santokh Singh presided over a function in government Senior Secondary School in Bhar-Singh Pura village today.

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