Monday, April 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD bid to get MC poll postponed
To file writ petition in High Court
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, April 7
In a bid to get the ensuing municipal corporation poll in the state scheduled for May postponed, the SAD decided to file a writ petition in the high court against the state government for its decision not to hold fresh demarcation of wards on a rotation basis as mandatory in the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act.

Addressing a joint meeting of local leaders of the SAD-BJP here today, the SAD, chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal, revealed that it was necessary to postpone these elections for about six months till the popularity graph of the Congress government in the state came down.

He said it was very much sure that the state government would impose heavy taxes in the next budget to cut its deficit, which would cause resentment among the urban voters. “We have decided to file a writ petition in the high court against the irregularities committed by the Congress regime in preparation of voting lists for the ensuing MC elections and its recent decision not to go in for fresh demarcation of MC wards on rotation basis.

The process of the conduct of these elections will be automatically stopped in the state for quite some time if the stay is granted by the court,” Mr Badal revealed the strategy.

He instructed a former BJP minister Mr Manoranjan Kalia to work out the modalities with former Advocate General of Punjab, Mr H.S. Mattewal, tomorrow at Chandigarh for filing writ petition against the state government. Subsequently, Mr Badal talked to Mr Mattewal on the telephone and instructed him to prepare a sound case which could hamper the conduct of ensuing MC elections.

He said since the bureaucracy and the police had virtually turned a blind eye to their complaints during the Malout election, they had been left with no option but to file writ petitions on every big or small issue in the high court to get justice.

In another significant development during the meeting Mr Badal accepted the suggestion of BJP leaders to forge an alliance with the BSP for these elections to ensure the defeat of the Congress candidates. Mr Vinod Sharma, Secretary of the Punjab BJP, revealed that state BSP leaders were in touch with them and the alliance could be forged only if Mr Badal talked to the BSP leadership over this issue. Mr Badal offered to meet the state BSP President at Chandigarh tomorrow to discuss the seat-sharing arrangement. “We are not averse to the alliance with the BSP as it will ensure a dent in the Congress strongholds in urban areas,” Mr Badal quipped.

The former Chief Minister said the criteria for the allotment of party ticket in these elections will be winnability and the performance of the sitting councillors would be scrutinised before the allotment of ticket to them. “ A joint 10-member SAD-BJP committee will be formed in all the four districts to select alliance candidates. There will be no interference in the selection process by the high command,” he asserted.

Interestingly, later talking to reporters, Mr Badal denied that his party was in favour of delay in MC elections. He said they had decided to file a case in the court since no justice was expected from the state bureaucracy as witnessed during the recent elections to the Malout Assembly segment. He said Congressmen were indulging in anti-constitutional acts, which was highly deplorable.

Commenting upon the decision of the Central Government with regard to the imposition of ban on sending Sikh jathas to visit historical gurdwars on “Baisakhi” in Pakistan, Mr Badal said the Central Government was competent enough to review its foreign policy on such matters.


Oppn councillors fear foul play
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 7
Akali-BJP councillors are getting little cooperation from their respective electoral officers in charge of four Vidhan Sabha constituencies in the preparation of voters lists for the forthcoming municipal corporation elections on May 19. This has made them panicky.

Allegations of uncooperative attitude of supervisers deputed for 60 wards of the corporation, assisted by two workers for each both in the wards, also abound among these councillors who fear the deletion of votes in their voter strongholds with a change in the political power scenario. Coalition councillors who were pinning their hopes on the ‘demarcation of wards’, a process which could not have been completed before a six month period, to buy time to brush up their act, following the anti-incumbency wave in the state against them, have also had their hopes dashed after the new regime announced the elections to the MCs of Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar and Jalandhar. The demarcation was postponed to a later date.

Mr Raj Kumar Aggarwal and Dr Renu Goel, BJP councillors, have alleged that voters lists are being made using the “former” lists and voting agents are refusing to attend to complaints of residents whose votes were deleted even as the last date of submission of the voters list is April 8.

Meanwhile, the Congress will be holding its meeting to select candidates for the different wards on April 27 high-level sources said here today. Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP, will preside while five new MLAs will also be present to deliberate on the selection. These MLAs are Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, Prof Darbari Lal, Dr Raj Kumar, Mr Sardul Singh and Mr Harjinder Singh Thekedaar.

It is learnt that persons desirous of contesting as the official candidate of the Congress were required to submit a form in addition to depositing a draft amount of Rs 1,000 each to the MP.

The party had won 19 seats out of a total of 60 in the last elections to the corporation in 1997. As many as 132 women had contested on one-third seats reserved for women. As many as 22 seats were won by the BJP and six by the Akalis. Three Independents joined the ruling coalition to give them a majority in the House. A ruling was passed to give voting rights to MLAs, hence the ruling coalition had the support of five MLAs. The situation has, however, reversed with the Congress having five MLAs in the House as voting members.


Panchayat poll before June 30
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 7
In a significant step, the Punjab Government has decided to hold Panchayat, Block Samitis and Zila Parishad elections before June 30 this year. While stating this at Phuli village, 18 km from here, at an informal press conference, Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, said this step was being taken to reduce the expenditure on the elections and to avoid repeated disturbance to the officials, who were put on poll duty. He said where the population of Scheduled Castes was more, that Panchayats, Block Samitis and Zila Parishad seats would be reserved for the Scheduled Castes while in other pockets reservation would be by rotation. He pointed out that each voter would have to cast his or her vote four times in these elections — one for the member of Panchayat, one for Sarpanch, one for the member of Block Samiti and one for the member of Zila Parishad.

To a question, he said the present government had taken back no grant from any Panchayat given for development works by the previous government. Only grants from those clubs, which came into existence overnight with the purpose of taking grant only were being taken back to avoid misutilisation of same. He added that a high-level inquiry had been ordered where such grants had been misutilised.


Varsity unable to sign MoU with IMD
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 7
Owing to the indifferent attitude of the state government, which has not fulfilled its commitment to fund the earthquake centre, Guru Nanak Dev University here is unable to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

Keeping in view data quality and research publication of the centre, the Government of India through the Director-General of Meteorology, New Delhi, wrote to the university for signing an MoU with the IMD under which the centre was proposed to be integrated with the national network of seismological observatories.

It would have been the only seismic observatory in Punjab. The centre is equipped with highly sophisticated instruments for recording data pertaining to earthquakes and nuclear explosions.

As per the terms of the MoU, all equipment was to be supplied by the IMD to upgrade the seismic observatory to international standards and the university was to be arrange for infrastructure alone.

It may be mentioned here that the centre was created at Guru Nanak Dev University in 1995 with a funding of Rs 52 lakh. The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, provided a matching grant. The centre had installed equipment worth Rs 80 lakh and was considered one of the most sophisticated research centres in India.

Shockingly, the previous SAD-BJP Government had withdrawn certain equipment meant for the project.

Prof H.S. Virk, who joined Guru Nanak Dev University in July, 1979, as Founder Head of the Physics Department and visited Europe and the USA as a visiting scientist, has expressed his concern at the apathy of the authorities.

When contacted, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, said the university had decided not to sign the MoU due to paucity of funds. He said if the state government released the required funds to run the project, the MoU could be signed.

He, however, said on the recommendation of Prof Virk who would be retiring in June this year, the ongoing projects in the Department of Physics would be handed over to a senior lecturer (who happens to be student of Prof Virk). He said the university was committed to promoting science.


Genetically modified cotton seed soon’
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 7
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research ( ICAR) is coordinating a prestigious project in association with leading agricultural research institutes and universities to bring out indigenous genetically modified seeds of cotton.

These would be resistant not only to the American bollworm, but to attacks of other insects also. This was disclosed by Dr Panjab Singh, Director-General, ICAR, in an interview with The Tribune here today.

Allaying fears of critics, Dr Panjab Singh asserted that the recent sanction of BT (bacillus thueirengnsics) cotton seeds — genetically modified seeds which are resistant to American bollworm insects — was a major step towards boosting cotton production in the country. It would help farmers to save annual expenditure worth thousands of crores incurred on pesticides to check the attack of the American bollworm.

He admitted that BT cotton seeds, especially the first generation seeds, were resistant to the American bollworm alone. Even then, he said, it was a major breakthrough in agriculture. “The ICAR is also sponsoring a project to bring out multi-gene seeds which would be resistant to other insects as well. We are expecting success in this direction in the next two-three years. It would provide farmers an option to choose quality seeds in a competitive market. We have already applied for the patent of some varieties developed by Indian research institutes.’’

Regarding the priorities of the ICAR, Dr Panjab Singh said, “We are offering financial and technical support to various projects in the Indian agriculture universities, including the PAU, in association with the World Bank, to bring out specific varieties of genetically modified seeds of rice, rape seed, mustard and other crops. It would improve productivity and reduce the cost of production by way of minimum use of pesticides and water. Efforts are being made to raise the standard of agriculture education and research by organising various training programmes for the scientists to hone their skills. The focus of research is on precision farming and produce specific varieties of crops for export markets.”

He, however, lamented that despite the government’s announcement to raise investment in agriculture in the current Budget, there was a severe shortage of funds for agriculture research. He said: “In the Tenth Five-Year-Plan, the government has proposed to sanction only Rs 5,000 crore to the ICAR against our demand for Rs 15,000 crore. In the current Budget, it has proposed only Rs 775 crore against our demand of Rs 1,700 crore. However, we are trying to raise funds through private participation,” he said.

Expressing concern over the over-utilisation of natural resources and the falling water-table in Punjab, he said: “Large-scale adoption of the rice-wheat cropping system has resulted in increased pollution of water, soil and food articles, putting a question mark on the sustainability of higher growth rates and income in the farming sector.’’

He suggested that agricultural universities and institutes concerned with the development of post-harvest technologies, like the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) here, should now concentrate on developing ‘economically viable and technically feasible’ technologies to reverse this trend.


WB loan for potable water to rural areas
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 7
The Punjab Government has initiated steps to secure a World Bank loan, which was refused to it a few years ago when the then state government decided to supply free of cost electricity and water to the agriculture sector.

The talks have started with the Delhi-based officials of the World Bank. A meeting of World Bank officials, the minister concerned and the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, would be convened soon to expedite the matter.

Officials sources said the government had assured that nominal charges would be taken from rural consumers in lieu of potable water supplied to them.

Punjab Public Health Minister, Jasjit Singh Randhawa, who held the same portfolio in the previous Congress government, while talking to TNS at the house of a senior Congress leader, Mr Suresh Gupta, here today, confirmed that efforts to secure the loan had started and talking with the World Bank were ongoing.

He, however, clarified that earlier the World Bank was giving the loan at 1 per cent interest and now it would be charging 6 per cent. The amount would be paid back in 30 years in instalments.

With the money, rural areas would be provided safe drinking water and sanitation. The talks are also going on with Nabard and other agencies to arrange money to tide over the financial crises the department was facing to complete its going projects.

He added the Public Health Department was also examining the feasibility of handling over the maintenance of water works to private parties. He added that the government was also trying to work out the possibilities to regularise the services of about 4,000 class three and four employees of the department despite the severe financial crisis.

He said that to tide over the financial crises in the state, salaries and pensions could be delayed for a month.


Sehajdharis claim credit for Cong victory
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 7
Mr P.S. Ranu, President of the Sehajdhari Shiromani Akali Dal (SSAD) has said the victory of Mr Nathu Ram in the Malout elections was due to the stand of the Congress to give voting rights to sehajdharis in the SGPC elections.

In a press note here today, he said they had appealed to voters of the constituency to support the Congress-CPI candidate as the parties had favoured voting rights to the sehajdharis.

He said the defeat of the SAD candidate indicated that people were dissatisfied with the rule of the SAD.

Meanwhile, Mr Rajinder Deepa, senior Congress leader, in a press note today said the results had proved that the strength of the Congress in Punjab was growing and it was a mandate for the leadership of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

He said the allegations of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, that the CPI-Congress candidate had won by using unfair means were false.

Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, DCC General Secretary, said the fight started by Capt Amarinder Singh against corruption was favoured by the voters. He said with the victory in Malout, the Punjab Council of Ministers would work with more enthusiasm as it was a referendum in its favour.

Mr Tinku Grover, youth leader of the city, said people of Malout who were “terrorised” by the Akalis had shown that they would not succumb to pressure tactics and would vote according to the conscience.

He said the Akalis wanted that urban voters should not turn up for voting and the rural votes should be secured by portraying the Congress as a party of urban people.


CM indulging in vendetta, says MLA
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 7
Punjabis in general and SAD workers in particular will not tolerate injustice and excesses committed by the Punjab Government led by Capt Amarinder Singh because soon after assuming office Capt Amarinder had started humiliating elected representatives of people by registering false and politically motivated cases against them.

These views were expressed by Sant Balbir Singh Ghunas, MLA, Bhadaur, and SAD (Badal) leader while addressing a protest rally at local New Grain Market today. The rally was held by the SAD, the BKU (Lakhowal) and the BJP in protest against the implication of Malkiat Singh Keetu, MLA, Barnala, in a false case the Bhadaur police demanding the withdrawal of case and release of Keetu unconditionally.


PWD turns blind eye to violations
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, April 7
Blatant construction activity in gross violation of the Development Act is being carried out with the connivance of property dealers and agents while the PWD authorities and the police responsible for monitoring and taking action against the violators are allegedly turning a blind eye.

A number of commercial constructions, including shops numbering about 20 undertaken by many prominent persons from the administration, a makeshift petrol pump and a bus stop have reportedly mushroomed on Sri Hargobindpur Mehta Road within 30 meters on the PUDA roads violating Schedule 143 of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995.

The alleged violation is being carried out despite a notice board displayed at the site by the PWD (R&B) Department. It is learnt that although notices have been served on defaulters by the PWD with a copy to the Police Department, no action has been initiated by either the PWD or the police despite expiry of the notices. The notice board displays a fine of Rs 10,000 and imprisonment upto three years for violators.

It is learnt that gullible persons are being inveigled to sell the land and shops are being sold at approximately Rs 2 lakh each. One person has reportedly constructed a basement and is ready to make a multistoreyed shopping complex after being told that the area does not come under the municipal corporation and hence there is “no need” of a registration. Layout plans of the land are got made from architects at a platry sum of Rs 500 and passed on as authentic plans by the authorities concerned.

Although the police is empowered to take action under Rule 173 of the Development Act against defaulters for stopping and demolishing the construction on PUDA roads, it is being apprehended that connivance of various departments cannot be ruled out to carry out illegal encroachment on such a mass scale. Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president of the All-India Youth Association, has written to the Principal Secretary, Punjab, PWD, and the DC, SSP, Amritsar, bringing to their notice that if such constructions are allowed to proceed, demolition in future would be near impossible.

In addition to that, prominent persons from Valtoha, Uthaian and Nabipur villages have also approached the deputy commissioner to intervene in the matter as approach roads to these villages will be narrowed in view of the encroachments. However, the SSP, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, expressed ignorance about the matter, but assured that the issue will be pursued.


Cops check antecedents on sadhus, beggars
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 7
To nab criminals operating in the guise of sadhus and beggars the district police chief has asked officials of police and the Railways to keep a check on those living near the platform.

The SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh, had convened a meeting of the police and railway officials few days ago for a better coordination between the two departments for nabbing such persons having criminal background. The SSP today conducted a surprise raid at the local railway station and checked the antecedents of beggars and sadhus residing there.

Those who had attended the meeting included Mr L K Yadav, SP (H), Mr Kanwar Lal Meena, Station Superintendent, Mr Jaspal Singh, DSP (City) Mr Harbans Singh, Inspector (City Kotwali), Mr Rajinder Paul, SHO, railway police station. Mr Ishwar Singh said it had come to his notice that a number of sadhus and beggars who had made railway platform their home were criminal.

He, however, asked officials that anybody should not be harassed in the name of checking. He said special attention should be paid to the mentally challenged persons.


SSP seeks chemists’ help
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 7
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, yesterday said that stern action would be taken against chemists who sell cough syrups and other such medicines to youths who use these as mild drugs.

At a meeting with members of the Chemists Association held here this evening, the SSP said for eradicating the menace of narcotics, help of people from all walks of life was necessary. He said the chemists could play a vital role in this direction. The chemists, should be extra vigilant while selling those medicines or syrups that could be used as narcotics.

The SSP said he had learnt that the youths of this region had started taking medicinal drugs in place of traditional narcotic substances like opium, poppy husk etc.

Mr R.D. Gupta, president of the Chemists Association, while assuring that they would give support to the campaign, said if any of their members was booked for selling banned medicines, they would not support him.

The SSP said he would convene a meeting of doctors of the city where they would be asked to prescribe medicines only on their letterheads or of the hospital where they worked.


Special security at Jammu station: DRM
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 7
Mr J.S. Marwaha, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ferozepore Division, Northern Railways, today told newspersons since the Jammu track was the most vulnerable section in the division, special precautions and security steps had been initiated after the August 7, 2001, firing by terrorists at the Jammu platform and the Doraha blast.

Over 1,000 personnel of the RPF, BSF, GRPF and railway gangmen were undertaking intensive patrol of the track and fencing had been completed in March at the Jammu railway station.

A 20-foot overbridge had been constructed for easing the passenger rush and an enclave for Army personnel and their vehicles had also been made. A random regular security check-up of trains was also being undertaken, he said.

With a view to reducing the stops of Jammu Mail, a new diesel multiple unit would be started from July between the Pathankot and Jammu section, he said.

The Jalandhar-Pathankot-Jammu section would be made double line, depending on the availability of funds. Work on the doubling of the track at Jammu, Udhampur and Katra was targeted to be completed by 2003, he said. Electrification up to Jalandhar would be completed by June this year while up to Amritsar by next year, Mr Marwaha said.

Modernisation of Ludhiana, Amritsar, Pathankot, Ferozepore, Kathua, Beas and Jalandhar railway stations had been sanctioned for making them model stations.

The DRM said the probation on smoking at railway stations, waiting halls, platforms and in trains would be implemented strictly.


Seminar stresses on health education
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 7
The North Zone Chapter ASI (Surgery) Association, a unit of the local Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, organised a northern zone seminar on continuing medical education (CME) here today. The seminar laid stress on establishing a rational policy and uniformity to provide better health services in the country. Training programme for doctors and syllabus should also be brought at par with the national level in this regard.

In his inaugural address, Dr S.M. Bose, Head of the Surgery Department, PGI, Chandigarh, and president of the All-India Association of Surgeons, said lack of proper health education, treatment facilities and unawareness among the patients cause much delay in providing timely treatment to them. He expressed concern over the inadequate allotment of health funds which was 1.5 per cent of the total budget of the country.

Dr Bose said there were more than 10,000 expert surgeons who could provide health services but economic conditions created hurdles in the way. He said the association would shortly publish a book on practice of surgery and guidelines of the ASI which would spell out rules to the surgeons for solving the problems of patients.

Former Principal of Government Medical College, Patiala, Dr Ajmer Singh, demanded a check on the exorbitant rates being charged by the doctors from the patients. He impressed upon the practising doctors to adopt an ethical attitude towards the needy keeping in view the financial condition prevailing in the country. He appealed to the state governments to involve experts while making health policies in the interest of society.

Expressing concern over the lagging behind of public sector services, Dr S.P. Kaushik, Head of the Surgery Department, PGI, Lucknow, urged for a serious approach in developing the quality of education. He regretted that the reservation policy and functioning of different kinds of private medical educational institutions have marred the quality of the end product. He further stated that maintenance of equipment was another important need.

Dr D.P. Sanen, another champion of surgery and former Professor, Government Medical College, Amritsar, underlined the need for holding CME seminars and workshops on a regular basis for the effective sharing of knowledge of surgery due to advancement in technology. Dr Kapil Kumar, Senior Consultant Cancer Surgeon, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, said 35 per cent cancer disease was caused due to the frequent use of tobbaco , but it was curable at the early stage. He appealed the people to get themselves medically insured in their own interest.

Dr U.S. Dhaliwal, president, North Zone chapter Punjab, urged for establishing more and more libraries to give information about the latest techniques to the experts.

Regretting the shortage of infrastructure at government medical college here, Dr Ravinder Singh, Director, Research and Medical Education (DRME), Punjab, and Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, chief guest at the function, facilitated the association for conducting such a big activity. They said the deliberations would certainly go a long way in solving the problems of the needy. Other prominent speakers included Dr K.P. Singh, Professor (retd), DMC, Ludhiana, Dr Inderjit Singh Shergill and Dr Jaswinderpal Kaur Shergill, both from Government Medical College, Amritsar, Dr J.S. Dalal and Dr Mujhail Singh, Principal and Professor, respectively, of the local medical college and Dr Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal and Dr Harinderpal Singh Sandhu, Chairman and organising secretary, respectively, of the function. More than 300 delegates from different states attended the seminar.


Water supply schemes inaugurated

Hoshiarpur, April 7
Punjab Assembly Speaker Dr Kewal Krishan inaugurated a water supply scheme at Karari village in the sub-mountainous area of Mukerian subdivision of the district.

This scheme has been prepared at a cost of Rs 4.80 lakh by the Public Health Department which would provide water supply to Karari, Swar, Namoli and Bhatoli and benefit 4,064 inhabitants of these villages.

Addressing a gathering on this occasion yesterday, Dr Kewal Krishan said to improve water supply scheme of Karari and Datarpur villages, cases of Rs 94.75 lakh and Rs 120.46 lakh had been sent to Nabard, respectively.

After Nabard sanctions the amount, improvement in both water supply schemes would be done.

Earlier the Speaker also inaugurated a water supply scheme of Rs 58.20 lakh at Bagowal village. This scheme would benefit 3,662 inhabitants of Bagowal, Chang, Havail, Budewal, Chack Alabakash and Tikhowal villages of the Kandi area.

He said drinking water supply would be ensured to all the villages of the Kandi area. PTI


Chawla heads talk on female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 7
Religious and social stalwarts came together to deliberate on the growing trend of female foeticide. Spearheading the movement was Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP leader, and Shakti, an organisation which works for the uplift of women, which organised the discussion here today.

More than 55 ultrasound centres are operating in the urban areas of the district and over 27 are in the rural belt. Religious leaders Maharaj Swami Parmanandji Yugpurush, and Sant Makhan Singh of the Nirankari Mission, and others, besides college principals, advocates, civil surgeons, spoke on the issue.

It was felt that religious leaders should help in spreading awareness about the effects of female foeticide. The deliberations recognised dowry and “unclear” or non-implementation of law regarding the share of property as factors responsible for the growing trend in Punjab.

Dr K.K. Sharma, Civil Surgeon, said in the age group of 0 to 6 years, there were only 793 females to 1000 males in Punjab.


Men with no sperm ‘can have kids’
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 7
One of the greatest revolutions in the treatment of male infertility is the introduction of intracytoplasm sperm injection (ICSI) technique by virtue of which a man with absolutely no sperm in his semen could father his biological child.

This was revealed by Dr S.P.S. Virk, a renowned embryologist, during an inhouse seminar organised on World Health Day on “ICSI a ray of hope for infertile males” at Virk Hospital here today.

Mr Virk said the ICSI with 100 per cent success rate was a suitable replacement of intra vitro fertilisation (IVF) technique in which the success rate of pregnancy was only 15-20 per cent involving huge cycle costs for the patients. The infertile male patients earlier being referred to semen bank or volunteer sperm donors, for fertilisation of acquired sperms with the eggs of the wife using IVF technique, which involves huge cycle costs with only 15-20 per cent success rate.

Now, pregnancies can be achieved in such males who are lacking sperms in their ejaculate known as azzospermic using ICSI. Such patients commonly do produce sperms in their testes but suffer from blockage in the ducts due to which the sperms do not reach the ejaculate, Dr Virk added.

Elaborating further Dr Virk said by using surgical techniques like PESA and MESA, the sperms could be aspirated from the testes, which could be fertilised with the egg of the wife outside the body through micro manuplator machine using the ICSI technique. The, thus developed, embryo, is then transferred in the uterus of the wife at four or eight cell stage where it grow further for next nine months.

Dr Kulwinder Kaur, an international renowned IVF specialist, in her address said 40 out of 100 infertile couples were suffering from male infertility like azzospermia and oligospermia, particularly in the urban areas. “In most of such cases husbands prefer not to be examined for the fear of being embarrassed before their wives in case they found suffering from azzospermia leading to delay in treatment. There is a great need to create awareness among such male patients about availability of new techniques through which they can be proud father of their biological child,” she quipped.

Dr Gautam Allahabadia, a Mumbai-based IVF specialist, focussing on the reasons for male infertility, said during a research conducted to infertile couples in Mumbai last year it was found that the present mental stress in daily life and habit of chewing tobacco among male was the main reason for infertility. “This results in slowing down the speed of the sperm head to strike against the eggs of the wife causing infertility,” he added.

Dr Allahabadia further said that the government should set up Infertility Genetic Research Centre in the northern India to develop newer techniques for developing pregnancies among infertile couples.


Youth ‘tortured’ by police
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 7
A 25-year-old youth Swaran Singh of Changal village was allegedly “tortured” and “beaten up” at the local police station by an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI).

In a representation to the SSP, Sangrur, Mr Jaswant Singh, father of Swaran Singh, has alleged that his son’s motor cycle collided with a scooter near local Moti Theatre on April 5.

On this, a policeman brought his son and the scooterist to the police station, from where the ASI sent back the scooterist while his son was detained. He also alleged that next day when he went to meet his son at the police station, he was told by a policeman that his son was beaten up and tortured by the ASI, and his son was not at the police station.

He further alleged that on this, he went to the local Civil Hospital where his son was lying unconscious.

He urged the SSP to take action against the ASI who had “tortured” his son.

When this reporter contacted the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, today he said he had marked an inquiry to the DSP on the complaint of Mr Jaswant Singh.

However, the SSP said the police wanted to register a case against Swaran Singh as he had crashed his motor cycle in the scooter of Mr Jasbir Singh, the complainant. He said Mr Jasbir Singh had also received an injury.

The SSP said Swaran Singh was taken to the hospital by the police when he complained that he was not feeling well.


Dogs attack girl, bite off arm, leg
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 7
Stray dogs would have eaten up a class III student had her friends not escaped and informed parents of the victim.

Residents of Alamgarh village told newspersons at the Civil Hospital that four girls, below the age of 10 years had gone to the fields near a cremation ground responding to the call of nature today.

A group of stray dogs encircled them, three girls managed to escape but Sandeep Kaur was not so lucky. On being informed by the girls her father Charanjit Singh accompanied by other villagers rushed to the cremation ground and saved his daughter after much struggle. But by then the victim had lost half of her arm and leg to the dogs. Her condition at the emergency ward was stated to be serious.

Meanwhile, in two separate accidents on the national highway today one person was killed and three injured seriously.

The driver of a tractor Bhajan Lal was crushed to death by a truck coming from Fazilka. The victim was approaching the highway from the Bazidapura link road when the truck hit the tractor. He fell down and was crushed, the police said.

Sarabjit Singh, driver of the truck, was able to escape. A case was registered against him at Khuikhera police station.

In another incident a Maruti car collided with a truck while overtaking a tractor-trailer near Diwankhera village on the Sri Ganganagar road today. Deepak Goyal, Krishan Kumar and Suman were injured seriously. All of them were admitted to the Civil Hospital here. A case has been registered.


Andolan leader in Rajpura
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 7
Dalit Dastan Virodhi Andolan leader Jai Singh, who is leading a march to Delhi from Phillaur after the alleged attack on the rehabilitation centre set up by him for bonded labourers, arrived here last evening.

Mr Jai Singh, accompanied by volunteers of his organisation and a number of bonded labourers who had taken refuge in the centre, arrived here amidst tight security arrangements.

Mr Jai Singh has threatened self-immolation at Delhi on April 13 to highlight the callous attitude of the state towards the cause of bonded labourers.


Badal to take up jatha issue with PM
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, April 7
Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal today said he would take up with the Centre the issue of sending Sikh jathas to Pakistan on Baisakhi.

“If the Centre has decided not to allow Sikh jathas to travel to Pakistan on Baisakhi, the decision must have been taken keeping in mind national interests. However, in case the situation permits, then the jatha should be allowed to pay obeisance at Sikh shrines in that country.”

“If need be, I will take up this issue with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee,” Mr Badal, whose party is a partner in the NDA government at the Centre, said here. He said the Centre’s decision on not allowing any jatha should be viewed in a broad perspective.


Conference of panches, sarpanches
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 7
A conference of panches, sarpanches and gram sabhas is being organised in the administrative complex here on April 10 and 11, Mr Baldev Singh Sidhu, ADC (Development) said while addressing a meeting here recently.

He informed that on April 10 all the panches and sarpanches would participate in the conference and on April 11, the exhibitions of development by the various departments would be installed.

On April 11 conference and exhibitions would be inaugurated by Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, and the lectures would be delivered on the agriculture diversification, education system, dairying, horticulture, industrialisation, etc by experts of various departments.


Official suspended for absenteeism
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 7
To check absenteeism of government officers, Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma has adopted tough measures to end this menace. In a press note issued today, Mr Verma said Mr K.K. Trighatia, senior assistant posted as Reader to Naib Tehsildar, Bholath, had been suspended for absence from duty. He has written to the Punjab Government to take action, against Mr Balraj Singh, Block Development and Panchayat Officer here, block, for his unauthorised absence from office following the issuance of a charge sheet to him. Mr Verma told that when efforts were made by his office to contact the BDPO in connection with certain public complaints, it was informed that the BDPO was on tour in the field. However, it was later found that he was away to attend the cremation of his relative.


4 killed as Sumo falls into ditch
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 7
Four persons were killed and four others injured when Tata Sumo in which they were travelling skidded and fell into a ditch at Chamaru village on the Ambala-Rajpura road late this evening.

The deceased have been identified as Kamal Dutt, Ashwini Kumar and Gurbax Lal. Another person, who is yet to be identified, died at A.P. Jain Hospital, Rajpura. The injured have also been admitted to the same hospital. Sources said the vehicle was on route from Garhshankar to Delhi. Its left tyre burst causing accident.


Wheat arrivals pick up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 7
Wheat arrivals in Punjab mandis are steadily picking up. So far, 943 tonnes of wheat has reached different mandis.

A spokesman of the Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department said that out of 943 tonnes, 623 tonnes and 320 tonnes were procured by the government agencies and traders, respectively.

Wheat arrivals were reported from Patiala (711 tonnes), Ludhiana (200 tonnes), Moga (17 tonnes) and Sangrur (15 tonnes.)


Keetu booked in another fraud case
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 7
Malkiat Singh Keetu, MLA, was booked in another case by the police yesterday.

Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, told newspersons here today that a fresh case of misappropriation of funds of the Barnala Truck Operators Union had been registered against Mr Keetu who was also the President of the Truck Union, Barnala.

The SSP said following an initial inquiry by Mr Narjinder Singh Sekhon, SP (Detective), the police had registered a case Under Sections 406, 408 and 120-B, IPC, against Mr Keetu and two others, Darshan Kumar Garg and Avtar Singh Sanghera. Darshan Kumar Garg was the main accused in the case.

The SSP said similar misappropriation of funds had been detected at Tapa and Mahal Kalan.


Fraud case against FCI officer

Moga, April 7
The police has registered a case of fraud against a senior officer of the Moga depot of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) owner of a rice mill and others for allegedly replacing the fine quality custom-milled rice with sub-standard and broken rice in the FCI stock in ‘connivance’ with some employees of the corporation.

The police had arrested the Assistant Manager of the Moga depot a few days back. Stating this here today, district police chief Varinder Kumar said that Sanjeev Kumar, owner of the rice mill, was absconding, but the police had succeeded in nabbing another rice mill owner Hari Chand of Raikot, to whom the rice from the FCI store was sold.

The police had produced Hari Chand in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, who remanded him to the police custody till tomorrow, he said.

The employees of the FCI Moga depot, a few months back, had detected the alleged fraud and reported the matter to the District Manager of the FCI who constituted a four-member fact finding committee on whose recommendations a complaint was made to the police and the case registered. PTI


GND varsity centre convocation held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 7
Expressing concern about the trend among people for not adhering to their constitutional duties for the development of society, Mr Justice M.M.Kumar yesterday asserted that students and press community could play a significant role in giving a new shape to the country.

Mr Justice Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was speaking at the annual convocation of the Regional Centre of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU).

He said that though the people were more concerned about their constitutional rights, they did not always adhere to their constitutional duties, which are the backbone of society. Dr S.P.Singh, Vice-Chancellor, in his address said that the new building of the regional campus, being constructed at a cost of about Rs 6 crore at Ladhewali village near here, would be completed during the current financial year and some of the departments would be shifted in the newly constructed rooms soon. Four new courses, B.Tech (Computer), B.Tech (Electronics), LLB (honours) and MCA would be started on the campus.


JAC decries extension to arrested employee
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 7
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising teachers, students and non-teaching employees of Punjabi University, has alleged that the Vice-Chancellor has given an extension of six months to Jaspal Singh, an ad-hoc employee of the Fine Arts Department, who along with Ms Saroj Rani, in charge of the same department, was arrested by the local police here in a case pertaining to their alleged involvement in attempt to rape case lodged by Saru Rana against the Vice-Chancellor.

The JAC convenor, Prof U. C. Singh, yesterday said according to the university rules, Mr Jaspal Singh’s services should have been terminated as he had been in jail for quite some time.

It also alleged that the Vice-Chancellor had misused his powers by transferring a Reader in the Department of Correspondence Courses, Dr Sharanpal Singh, to the English Department. The JAC spokesperson said Dr Sharanpal was not eligible for the post of Lecturer as per the comments given by the establishment of the university on the UGC qualification.

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