Friday, April 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PSEB cautions farmers against poor power supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) cautioning farmers not to expect adequate power supply for paddy sowing before June 10 and a warning to urban and rural domestic consumers to get ready for long hours of power cut is only half the story. The full story is get ready for “darkness”.

The Chairman, Mr Sudhir Mittal, told TNS today that the “precarious” financial position of the board might force it to stop the purchase of power or generate power. “Punjab may go either the Bihar or Uttar Pradesh way if the state electricity regulatory commission does not issue an interim order to revise upwards the electricity tariff as suggested by the board”.

The non-payment of bills for fuel (coal) and rail freight charges had affected the supply and would hit power generation. There was a 15 per cent gap (700 MW) between supply and demand, which had already forced the board to effect cuts by rotation. In the months ahead, Mr Mittal said, the curtailment of power would further increase, making it difficult to ensure uninterrupted eight-hour power for paddy transplantation. Even industry would suffer and eventually the state’s economy.

The Chairman said paddy could be sown earlier than June 10 in water-logged districts, Muktsar, Ferozepore and Faridkot, and paddy nurseries must not be sown earlier than the first week of May in the state. Farmers should also not use three-phase motors on single phase by using shunt capacitors for that might invite penalty and punishment, he emphasised.

The power supply position, on the whole, had been better this year as compared to last year in terms of “own” generation and purchase from outside. The thermal plants at Bathinda, Lehra Mohabat and Ropar generated 383.52 lakh units till April 17 against 330.45 lakh units in the corresponding period last year. The total generation was 628.53 lakh units against 412.72 lakh units last year, while the maximum demand touched 3,373 MW against 2,774 MW last year. The consumption this year was up by over 10 per cent.

In view of internal and external factors at play, Mr Mittal said Punjab should get prepared for heavy power cuts followed by “darkness” if the situation did not improve. This would affect even 7,000-odd villages which had 24-hour supply. Since urban and rural domestic consumers were paying far less than what it cost the board to generate and supply power, they might face difficulties in the coming months.

In this backdrop, the resource position of the PSEB assumes significance. This is because it is the turn of Punjab to hold discussions on ‘’resources’’ with the Planning Commission tomorrow on the Annual Plan (2002-03) as well as the 10th Plan. As per PSEB calculations, it will face a cash shortfall of Rs 1,200 crore in 2002-03. It has asked the state to spell out how this is to be met.

The Principal Secretary, Finance, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, who heads for New Delhi for the Planning Commission meeting, told TNS that Punjab would try and get the maximum from the Centre for both Plans. Punjab has pegged its 10th Plan at Rs 17,281 crore and its Annual Plan at Rs 2,400 crore.


Regularise power, villagers tell PSEB
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 18
A meeting of the representatives of different villages today served an ultimatum to the Punjab State Electricity Board to either ensure regular power supply to the rural areas or face agitations and a court case.

The representatives alleged that 45 out of 90 villages in Phagwara subdivision had been arbitrarily delinked from the urban feeder, subjecting them to 14-hour power cuts.

These villages had spent about Rs 1.5 crore for phased urbanisation of the power supply, it was claimed at the meeting. The representatives said they would knock at the doors of the judiciary to protest against the ‘fraud’ played by the board on the villagers.

Those who attended the meeting included Mr Joginder Singh Salh, Mr Malkiat Singh Madhopur, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Charanjit Singh and Mr Satkartar Singh, sarpanches of Palahi, Madhopur, Khangura, Pandwa, Barna and Khalyan villages, respectively.

Mr Jatinderpal Singh Palahi, an Akali leader was also present. No senior official of the board was available for a comment on the issue.


PTU decision upsets VCs
CET candidates left confused
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 18
The Vice-Chancellors of various universities in the state are on a confrontation path following the unilateral decision of Punjab Technical University (PTU) to conduct the combined entrance test (CET) on behalf of all universities.

Guru Nanak Dev University here has opposed the move and decided to go ahead with its own exam schedule. This has left candidates who want to appear in the CET bewildered due to the different dates announced by different universities.

It is learnt that Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, has taken serious note of the unilateral announcement of dates for conducting the CET. A hard-hitting letter reads that he (Dr S.P. Singh) “is surprised to see the advertisement of PTU regarding the CET for admission to different courses in various institutions of Punjab for the session 2002-2003.”

In his communication to Dr H.S. Gurm, Vice-Chancellor, PTU, Dr S.P. Singh has said that as per his information, no decision to hold such an entrance test had been taken at the government level. In a communication, he has reportedly told Dr Gurm that GNDU would hold the CET on its own.

Interestingly, the then Secretary, Higher Education, Ms Geetika Kalha, in a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of PTU had stated that: “The Punjab Government has not given permission to your university for holding such a combined entrance test”. She had clarified that “each and every university has the right to hold such an entrance test in areas falling under their jurisdiction. An act like this without the approval of the government tantamounted to encroachment over the rights of other universities.

“I would request you to kindly issue a corrigendum within seven days in this regard in newspapers so as the rights of other universities to hold such examinations are protected”.

Earlier, with the consent of the state government, the universities would conduct the CET in rotation. Later, the universities decided to conduct independent tests due to a variety of reasons.

Guru Nanak Dev University authorities feel that if the CET is conducted as per the dates announced by PTU, its academic session will get delayed. It is of the view that as per the dates announced by PTU, Guru Nanak Dev University will not be able to commence its session from July 1. The university has already completed formalities to conduct the test.

Moreover this is a question of autonomy of universities. If PTU is allowed to conduct the CET as per its unilateral announcement of dates, the autonomy of other universities will stand eroded.


Assured jobs to kin of ‘war heroes’
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Under a new policy decision, the Punjab Government will provide assured Class I, II, III and IV jobs to disabled “war heroes”, or their widows or dependent family members in cases where martyrdom has been achieved.

This was stated here today by Mr K. B. S. Sidhu, Secretary, Defence Services Welfare, Punjab. He said in pursuance to the general policy directions of the new government headed by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to maximise the welfare of ex-servicemen, the department had invited fresh applications for assured jobs from eligible “faujis” and their dependants.

The applications could be submitted to the District Sainik Welfare Officers of every district, or the Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, Chandigarh, on a plain paper, accompanied with the prescribed affidavits. Giving details, Mr Sidhu said the appointments would be finalised, in order to ensure expeditious disposal, by an Empowered Committee headed by the Chief Secretary.

Mr Sidhu said that a “war hero” had been defined as a defence services personnel or a paramilitary forces personnel who was a bona fide resident of the state of Punjab and had been, on or after 1.1.1999, killed or discharged from service on account of disability suffered by him, while fighting in a war declared so by the Government of India, in operations in Kargil or any other sector in J & K in the ongoing conflict with Pakistan or in any other operations which might be notified by the state government to have been undertaken to preserve the unity and integrity of the country.

However, in the case of the posthumous awardees of the Param Vir Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra and the Vir Chakra, the benefit would extend to the first generation dependent members or next of kin, irrespective of the date of the award. Thus, the heirs of war heroes of the 1965 and 1971 wars could also take benefit under this scheme, Mr Sidhu clarified.

The Secretary said the factors to be considered by the Empowered Committee would include qualifications, potential and suitability; preference of the applicant; actual availability of jobs in different cadres and the actual cadre position at the relevant point of time; the total number of jobs to be offered; and the rank of the war hero, and the award won.

Mr Sidhu said these posts were deemed to have been automatically taken out of the purview of the PPSC/ SSS Board, or the Departmental Selection Committees. Similarly, the minimum educational qualifications for Class I and II (non-technical) posts had been relaxed to simple graduation, and the stipulation of experience, if any, in all such posts, including technical posts, had been waived. The qualification for Class III posts was matriculation, while no minimum educational qualification was prescribed for Class IV posts. The appointees had also been altogether exempted from acquiring the requisite knowledge of the Punjabi language under the rules. Similarly, there was no maximum age limit for appointment under this policy.

Mr Sidhu stated that although the department under this policy had received some applications, the intention of the government was to give wide publicity and invite further applications so that no person eligible to get benefit under this scheme was left out.


Assembly golden jubilee function on May 3
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
An event of historical significance and marked by nostalgia will take place on the floor of the Punjab Assembly soon. On May 3 all former and present lawmakers of post-Independence Punjab will get together in the Assembly. The august gathering will be celebrating the golden jubilee of the Assembly with great fanfare. The necessary arrangements in this connection are being made by the authorities with the government having already released Rs 15 lakh for the purpose.

All former and present members of the Punjab Assembly (since 1952) have been invited to participate in the one-day event which will be held in the main chamber of the Assembly. It will be a sort of unofficial session of law makers.

Mr Nachhattar Singh Mavi, Secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, told TNS the number was expected to touch 400.

On that day, the Assembly will complete 50 years. The Punjab Assembly, which was called the East Punjab Legislative Assembly, before India became a Republic, had its first official sitting on May 3, 1952, at Simla, after the first general election in the country. Mr Bhim Sen Sachar took over as the Chief Minister on April 17, 1952, and the Assembly met for the first time on May 3. On May 5, Dr Satya Pal was elected its Speaker and he continued till April 18, 1954. Dr Kuldeep Chand Bedi was its Secretary then. The Assembly shifted to the present complex in 1961.

Mr Mavi said that all former Chief Ministers, including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, besides the present Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would be honoured on the floor of the House. Likewise, all former Speakers including Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal and Mr Harnam Dass Johar, and the present Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, would also be honoured.

Mr Mavi said that a colourful brochure carrying details of the Assembly’s history would be released on the occasion. The Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), would preside over the function and Capt Amarinder Singh would inaugurate it. Dr Kewal Krishan would welcome the guests and Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, would present a vote of thanks. He said that efforts were being made to invite the Vice-President or Mrs Najma Heptullah as the chief guest.

There would be speeches on parliamentary democracy in the country with special reference to Punjab and important events in the Assembly’s history. However, the names of the speakers had not been finalised yet.

Meanwhile, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who represents the largest group of Opposition MLAs, has not got the status of Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly yet. Informed sources said that though Mr Badal had been elected leader by his party MLAs, official intimation had not been given to the Speaker.

When information at the official level reaches the Vidhan Sabha’s Secretariat, it will be presented to the Speaker who, after his remarks, will send it to the Department of Parliamentary Affairs of the state government. Then a notification giving the status of Leader of the Opposition will be issued by the authorities concerned.


Sidhu case: remand for hawala suspect
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 18
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate here today remanded Mrs Surinder Kaur, who was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Department on the charge of sending money of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, Chairman PPSC, through hawala transaction abroad, in police custody till April 20 and ordered that she should be produced in the court at 11 am on April 20.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, public prosecutor, Mr Jora Singh Brar and Mr Surjit Singh Khosa (DSPs, Punjab, Vigilance and Ms Tripat Kashyap (lady Inspector) appeared in the court and informed that the accused along with her husband Gurdeep Singh Manchanda had send about Rs 1 crore through hawala in the accounts of Ravi Sidhu and his brother, Reetinderpal Sidhu in the USA.

They informed the court that the accused was arrested yesterday on the charge of sending money abroad illegally under Section 120-B. They pleaded for five day’s police remand as they have yet to recover many documents from her and information was to be collected from her about her husband who was absconding.

They said the police had recorded a statement of Mr Kuldeep Singh Bedi who used to work with her husband and he had admitted that they had send Rs 1 crore abroad. They produced a copy of the statement of Mr Bedi in the court.

They moved an application for issuing search warrant of a Chandigarh house of the accused. The court allowed the application with some conditions.

The defence counsel refuted the charges of the prosecution. The court meanwhile allowed the daughter of the accused to meet her mother.

The court ordered that two women police employees not below the rank of ASI should remain with the accused and medical facilities should be provided to her.

Meanwhile in an other order the, court ordered that accounts of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, his brother Reetinderpal Singh, sister-in-law Ajinder Kaur and mother Pritpal Kaur, alias Gurbachan Kaur, which were in IndusInd Bank in Chandigarh should be sealed and ordered that lockers in this bank should be opened.


Punjab looks towards Bollywood for funds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The cash-starved Punjab Government has started looking towards Bollywood to generate funds for promoting cultural activities in the state. A government statement said today that heroes like Sunny Deol and his father, Dharmendra, would be approached for the promotion of "culture activities and financing" of the Punjab Arts Council, besides seeking assistance from business and industrial houses.

The Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister of Punjab, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, today organised a meeting with renowned artists, writers and others concerned to improve the functioning of the council.

A noted dramatist, Mr Harsharan Singh drew the attention of the minister towards the poor condition of Shiv Auditorium at Batala. Among those who spoke at the meeting were, Dr Nahar Singh, Dr Rajpal Singh, Mr Charan Singh Sindra, Mr Parvel Singh, Mr Kewal Dhaliwal and Dr Atamjit Singh.


No plan to remove Rinwa: Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Punjab unit of the BJP said today that there was no truth in the reports that head of the state unit of the party, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, would be replaced with a new face. Mr Raj Bhatia, office secretary of the party, said certain vested interest with an aim to damage the party were floating such reports in the media.

Talking about the Akalis, the party spokesman said the BJP had no differences with the SAD headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Both parties would jointly contest the municipal corporations and panchayats elections.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, Mr Rinwa, who was accompanied by farmer leaders of the party, said the party would adopt the path of agitation to protest against the state government’s proposal to withdraw the facility of free power to the agriculture sector. He said such a decision of the state government would be put extra financial burden on the farmers who were already facing problems. The party had urged the state government to implement its decision of giving Rs 30 per quintal as bonus on paddy to the farmers.


Disqualify Mann as MP, demands SSF
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 18
In a communication to the President of India, the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF) has sought disqualification of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann as member Parliament, and urged the Chief Election Commission to derecognise SAD (A) for openly supporting the formation of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).

Dr Paramjit Singh Ranu, national president of the SSF, alleged that Mr Mann had violated Section 29 (A) 5 of the representation of People Act, 1951, by deliberately entering Pakistan, defying the orders of the Union Government by “misusing” the diplomatic passport and SAARC visa.

Dr Ranu alleged that Mr Mann had supported the formation of the PSGPC, headed by a non-Sikh on the pretext that Pakistan was sovereign country.


Speed up inquiry into gold theft case: farmers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 18
The Young Farmers Club has represented to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to ensure swift completion of inquiry into the case pertaining to alleged robbery of 100 kg of gold from the ancestral haveli of a former Prime Minister of Patiala state in Bakshiwala village in the district.

The club, in a representation submitted to the Chief Minister yesterday, claimed that the local police was not arresting the other accused in the case and urged him to mark the case to a senior police officer so that it could be completed in a time-bound manner.

Club president Abninder Singh Grewal said the late Prime Minister of Patiala, Lt-Gen Gurdial Singh Harika, had hidden around 100 kg of gold which had been kept in his safe deposit by Muslims fleeing the country during Partition in his ancestral haveli. The General had first donated the gold to the Fatehgarh Sahib gurdwara of which he was a trustee but when it was taken over by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), he took the gold back from the gurdwara and hid it in his haveli.

According to Mr Grewal upon the death of the General the gold remained in the haveli because only one other person - his personal ‘’sewadar’’ — was privy to the information. He said some years ago, a relative of the General had dug up the haveli and unearthed the gaggars (copper utensils) in which the gold was kept. He said he hoped some progress would be made in the case with the return of the Investigation Officer, who was probing the case, to the district. He said the accused were however claiming that they were close to the Chief Minister and that to falsify this claim, the police must be given directions to bring the case to its logical conclusion speedily.


Habitat Centre, aerodrome for city royale
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 18
Patiala is all set to have a Habitat Centre of its own on the lines of the International Habitat Centre at Delhi with the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) already in the process of identifying a suitable site for the project in the city.

Patiala is likely to benefit immensely through this facility which has come its way because of the interest being shown in it by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, as well as a proposal of the Urban Development and Housing Ministry to develop a Habitat Centre outside Delhi.

Sources disclosed that PUDA had recently taken a decision to house the Habitat Centre outside Chandigarh. It was decided to amalgamate the Habitat Centre along with, other development work proposed for the city under the ‘Counter Magnet Town’ status envisaged for Patiala by the new government.

Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh, when contacted said, PUDA had been shown some sites in the city, particularly along the Jail Road, where the new District Complex was coming up. He said as the scheme envisaged provision of land for the project by the State government, PUDA was looking for a suitable site in the city and had already conducted a survey for the same. He said under the project, the entire cost of building the Complex would be borne by the Union government.

Mr Tejvir Singh said the Habitat Centre would consist of various clubs, auditoriums and corporate space, including conference halls and exhibition halls. He said the spirit behind the scheme was to turn Patiala into an economic as well as administrative hub in the region.

Meanwhile, progress is also being made on the scheme envisaging development of Patiala as a Counter Magnet Town. The government has finalised Richard Ellis as the firm which would provide detailed consultancy as well as commission plans for development under the new scheme.

The chief minister, said the scheme would involve massive infrastructure development which would include sewage facilities for the entire city, besides augmenting drinking water supply and going in for slum clearance. He said besides these projects, schemes were in the offing for encouraging both religious as well as heritage tourism in the city.

Under this plan, it is proposed to develop heritage sites and exploit their tourism potential so that their maintenance becomes self sustainable. Capt Amarinder disclosed that a few groups had also been contacted in this context. He said it was unfortunate that the scheme, which had been first proposed in 1985 could not take off till now. He said under the scheme, it had been proposed to develop Bareilly, Gwalior, Kota, Hisar and Patiala as Counter Magnet Towns to lessen the pressure on Delhi. However, only Gwalior had been able to benefit from the project due to the efforts of the late Madhav Rao Scindia.

Meanwhile, there is another move to bring Patiala on the air map. The chief minister disclosed that talks were being held with army authorities and it was proposed to give the land occupied by the Patiala Flying Club to the army at market prices in lieu of which, land could be bought further away from the city. The Flying Club occupies prime land, which the army could use for its own helicopter and other flight training programmes. The State government can develop another airfield a little further away from the city as more land is needed for landing jets and other commercial aircraft. The plan is under consideration with the army authorities.


No headway in bank robbery case
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 18
Even as the last week’s sensational broad daylight bank robbery has left residents shell-shocked and insecure, the district police is still groping in the dark as it has failed to make any headway into the crime. The crime involved two unidentified robbers who had walked away after looting Rs 16.53 lakh and locking the entire staff of UCO Bank’s Model House branch.

Police sources said during the preliminary interrogation of the detained persons, it was found that though they were involved in small crimes they were not involved in the robbery. This forced the police to initiate fresh investigations and explore other angles.

As the crime has instilled a sense of insecurity among the residents, particularly, those living in small localities and in colonies on the outskirts of the city especially after the killing of an NRI about two weeks ago, the police officials are reportedly trying to zero in on some hardcore criminals, who had either been bailed out or acquitted recently.

Another senior police official admitted on condition of anonymity that they had failed to find a clue in this case so far and were virtually groping in the dark. Despite this broad daylight incident of bank robbery, no efforts were made to ensure proper security arrangements in the various banks of the city by the district police and the managements of the banks. SSP Paramjit Singh Gill assured that the police was making efforts to arrest the culprits at the earliest. Some of the banks, particularly in the rural areas, have only one security guard, who is not fully trained to handle such eventualities.


DC for early disposal of public complaints
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 18
Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, today directed district heads of all departments to redress public complaints within the stipulated period. He also warned them that any type of failure on the part of an officer in this connection would lead to an action.

Disposing of public complaints at a meeting of the Public Grievances Redressal Forum held here, the Deputy Commissioner directed the Barnala SDM to look into the complaint of Mr Harnek Singh of Dhanaula village regarding the disposal of sullage water in front of his house intentionally on the alleged directions of the President of the Municipal Council.

He also asked the SDM to visit the spot personally.

Taking a serious note with regard to failure of a Tehsildar in providing demarcation of a piece of land to a farmer of Bhunder Bhaini village, near Moonak, in spite of his directions, Mr Sarvjit Singh directed the former to execute his orders in a week and report the same to him.

With regard to a complaint filed by Mr Tarsem Chand and Harbans Singh of Dirba village regarding the “illegal” disposal of a dera land at Dirba allegedly by the mahant in connivance with some persons by carving out residential plots, the Deputy Commissioner marked the complaint to the local SDM to make an inquiry into the case and submit the report within 15 days.


Bungling in MC voters’ list alleged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar April 18
The final voters list is yet to be made available to a majority of political parties in the fray despite the fact that today was the last date for filing of objection in the voters list for civil poll.

Allegations of mass manipulation were levelled by Mr Satya Pal Dang, CPI leader, following the dilly-dallying attitude of the Returning Officer and staff to provide him with the voters list after an intensive revision of it by the Congress government headed by the Chief Minister Mr Amarinder Singh.

It was also alleged that as many as 1,600 and 982 votes recorded from Ward No 26 and 28, respectively, were transferred to the records of Ward No 27 which was reportedly being contested by a candidate from the group of the sitting MLA, Mr Om Parkash Soni.

Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, Secretary district CPI council stated that the matter was brought to the notice of the district election officer in writing on April 9. Despite verbal admission about the mistakes by the Tehsildar, wrong lists were being printed, he alleged.

Besides, a candidate from Mr Soni’s group filed a large number of claims or voters for Ward No 35 to be included in the list yesterday. Mr Dang says that these voters are non-residents of the wards. He has demanded a thorough probe into the alleged mass mismanagement in preparing these new lists by the Punjab Election Commissioner, Mr C. L. Bains.


Two killed in rail mishap
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 18
Two youths were killed when they accidentally fell before train in separate incidents, near the city. The deceased could not be identified.

The first incident occurred last night when a 30-year-old youth fell before a train on the Bathinda-Delhi rail track, 6 km from here.

In another accident on the same rail track, one more youth died in the same manner this morning.

The bodies were taken to the Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination by the railway police and handed over to an NGO after completing necessary formalities.


Groups clash, 13 injured
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, April 18
Nearly 400 workers of the All-India Food and Allied Workers Union (HP group) allegedly attacked fellow workers of the loyal to the Jena group, while they were working inside the Market Committee yard here on Wednesday evening. Nearly 13 workers of the HP group were injured in the scuffle. The injured were admitted in the local Civil Hospital. DSP Sarabjit Singh with police force reached the spot, but by the time the group had moved from the Market Committee yard to nearby the Markfed godown. Where the police held it inside the godown premises. Later in the evening the police dispersed the group.

Sources said that the two groups were at loggerheads since last crop over the division of work. In fact in 1995 the two unions merged and formed a united front for which 515 members were enrolled. Till last year every thing went on smooth but a split at the all India level had effect here also dividing members on party lines. Since then the two groups could not agree to the division of work. To resolve the difference a meeting was scheduled to be held between the two groups with local SDM in chair on Wednesday at 4 pm. But the incident took place just before the time of the meeting.

The clash hit procurement of wheat in this centre. However the Ferozepore Deputy Commissioner has directed the Food and Civil Supplies Controller, Ferozepore and the local SDM to work out a solution to the problem taking all concerned into confidence so that the procurement of wheat did not suffer.


Ropar, Patti hospitals win top positions
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 18
Ropar Hospital and Patti Hospital have won top positions in the district and subdivisional level, respectively, securing 131 points each in a report based on grading of hospitals and core quality indicators by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC).

Apart from Ropar Hospital, Ludhiana and MKH Patiala succeeded in securing “A” grade.

According to the report a copy of which was made available to this reporter here today by Dr S.P. Gupta, Chief Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Barnala, eleven districts hospitals, including Bathinda, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ferozepore, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Muktsar, Mansa and Nawanshahr fell in “B” grade category while Sangrur and Moga districts got “C” grade.

Subdivisional level hospitals of Patti, Barnala, Anandpur Sahib, Mohali, Samana, Nabha, Malout, Jagraon, Khanna, Samrala, and Tarn Taran got “A” grade. Thirteen hospitals were accorded “B” grade. Seven hospitals were given “C” grade. Bassi Pathana and Khamano fell in “D” grade category.


Anti-sabotage team checks four trains

Phagwara, April 18
An anti-sabotage team from Ludhiana today did surprise checking of four different trains at Phagwara railway station.

The trains included Malwa Express, both up and down, Flying Mail and Shane Punjab.

Official sources said each train was stopped for 10 minutes, combed and searched.

The special team was accompanied by a dog squad, metal detectors, deep searchers, mirror searchers and experts in defusing explosives. The random checking was done as part of the beefed-up security and precautionary steps.

Meanwhile, the night patrolling of tracks has been entrusted to commandos keeping in view the security sensitivity. PTI


Release DA, demand pensioners
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 18
The local Government Pensioners Welfare Association today urged the Punjab Government to immediately release the DA instalment due from January 1, 2002, at the rate of 4 per cent to its more than 1.25 lakh pensioners in the state.

Demanding this here, Mr Vinay Kumar, president of the association, said the state government had released the DA instalment to its employees the previous day only while it had forgotten its pensioners which was a matter of concern.


INTACH: boost heritage tourism
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 18
The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has written to UNESCO to enlist the Golden Temple as a world heritage monument.

Dr Sukhdev Singh, Punjab convener, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has urged the public to preserve and protect “our rich cultural heritage”. He appealed to the Punjab Government to create regulations to encourage private owners to preserve their buildings. The government could also encourage NRI and business houses to adopt such buildings.


Refinery worker dies in harness
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 18
A road roller operator with an oil refinery at Raman in the district died today.

The deceased has been identified as Sada Shiv (36) hailing from Orissa. An official with the refinery said that it seemed that Sada Shiv died of cardiac arrest.

The body of the deceased was sent to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination.


Wheat procurement to end by May 5
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 18
The Punjab Government will complete the process of wheat procurement by May 5 throughout the state. This was stated by the Punjab Social Welfare Minister, Mr Santokh Singh, while talking with mediapersons after inspecting different mandis of Phillaur subdivision, today.

He visited Phillaur, Lasarra, Muthadda Khurad and Mansurpur mandis and observed the arrangements made for procurement.

He also held a high-level meeting with the officials working in the government purchase agencies, here, and reviewed the arrangements.

Mr Santokh Singh asked the officials concerned to cooperate with farmers and adopt a positive attitude to save them from harassment.

He said that nearly 18,000 tonnes of wheat had arrived in different mandis of Phillaur subdivision, till date.


Fire destroys 65 acres of wheat crop
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, April 18
In a fresh fire incident which took place in the nearby Sherian village, fire destroyed a total of 65 acres of wheat crop.

The fire brigade could reach the spot.

No high official of the civil administration other than the Naib Tehsildar, Machhiwara, Mr J. S. Khera rushed to the site.

Farmers have appealed to the state to allow them harvesting of their crop round the clock so that the entire process may be completed at the earliest.


Farmers resent relief criteria
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, April 18
Resentment prevails among farmers of this border belt whose crops have been affected due to the deployment of the Army on account of compensation criteria adopted by the Army and civil authorities.

The authorities have identified 7617 acre of land crops on which have been affected due to the deployment of Army and laying of mines.

According to affected farmers, the authorities have only considered that particular piece of land, which could not be harvested due to the laying of mines or installation of equipment.


Six IAS officers among 23 shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Punjab Government today ordered the transfers and postings of 6 IAS, 12 PCS and five police officers. Mr Vishwajit Khanna has been posted as Managing Director of the PSIDC, while Mr Ashok Kumar Goel as Managing Director of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation. Mr Jagjit Puri has been shifted to the Department of Science and Technology as Chief Executive of the Punjab Energy Development Authority. Mr V.K. Meena has been posted as ADC (Development) at Ferozepore while Mr Surinderjit Singh Sandhu has been posted as Special Secretary in the Department of Medical Education and Research.

Mr Som Nath has been posted as ADC (General) at Kapurthala and Mr Bhagwant Singh has been shifted to Kapurthala as Director, Pushpa Gujral Science City Society. Mr Balwinder Singh goes to the Department of Excise and Taxation as DETC while Mr Dharam Dutt Ternach is now Additional Managing Director, Sugarfed. Mr Baljit Singh has been posted as ADC at Amritsar and Mr Desh Deepak as Personal Staff Officer of the Commissioner at Ferozepore. Mr Paramjit Singh has been posted as ADC at Hoshiarpur and Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti as ADC and ADC (Development) at Muktsar.

Mr Arun Sekhri has been posted as Joint Director of the PSIEC while Mr Gagandeep Singh’s services have been placed at the disposal of the Department of Excise and Taxation. Mr Inderpreet Singh Kahlon has been sent to Hoshiarpur as Executive Magistrate. Mr Narinder Singh has been posted as Assistant Commissioner (General) at Ropar and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Brar has been shifted to Jalandhar as Executive Magistrate. Mr Rupinder Pal Singh has been posted as Assistant Commissioner (General) at Gurdaspur.

Mr R.K. Sharma, IGP, has been posted against the vacant post of ADGP (internal vigilance cell). Mr Bhupinder Singh has been posted as SP (Traffic) at Patiala and Mr Tejinder Singh has been posted as SP (Operations) at Batala. Mr Hartej Singh Sekhon has been posted as SP Intelligence at Ferozepore and Mr Harbaj Singh has been posted as SP (Operations) at Faridkot.


Law officers’ list released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
In less than two months after the Congress government took over in Punjab, the list of advocates appointed as law officers was released by the Department of Home Affairs and Justice late in the evening today.

According to the list, Mr Shamsher Singh Shergill has been appointed as Senior Additional Advocate General. The Additional Advocates General include: Mr Sarup Singh, Mr Salil Sagar, Mr Ashok Aggarwal, Mr K.K. Garg, Mr Ajit Singh Virk, Mr Paramdev Singh Chhina, Mr Lakhinder Bir Singh, Mr Naresh Inder Singh Boparai and Mr Dharma Vir Sharma.

Members of the Bar appointed as Senior Deputy Advocates General are: Mr Bharat Bir Singh Sobti, Ms Baljit Kaur Mann, Ms Charu Tuli, Mr Anup Inder Singh Grewal, Mr S.K. Sharma, Dr (Ms) S.K. Bhatia, Mr Gurinder Singh Gill and Mr M.C. Berry.

The Deputy Advocates General are: Mr Pankaj Bharadwaj, Mr Ajay Bansal (for Delhi office), Mr Harmit Singh Grewal, Ms Ravinder Kaur Nihalsinghwala, Mr Tarun Vir Vashisht, Mr Mansoor Ali, Mr Balbir Singh Sewak, Mr Rajiv Malhotra, Mr Gurinder Singh Bhandari (I), Mr Manpreet Singh Doabia, Mr Atul Nanda (for Delhi office), Mr Satish Bhanot, Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, Mr Harbhajan Singh Sran, Mr Augustine George Masih, Mr Uttam Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Inderpal Singh Sidhu, Mr Sarbjit Singh Randhawa and Mr Jagbir Singh Brar.

The advocates appointed as Assistant Advocates General are: Mr Sanjay Kaushal, Mr G.S. Batra, Mr Inderjit Singh, Ms Radhika Suri, Ms Mala Chaudhary, Ms Vibha Pandey, Mr Ajaib Singh, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, Mr Ajit Pal Rajput, Mr Amarjit Singh Ladhar, Mr Sunder Pal, Mr J.P. Bhatt, Mr Ashok Kumar Bhardwaj, Mr Nirbhow Singh Gill, Mr Davinder Kumar, Mr Paramjit Singh Thiara, Ms Manisha Berry, Mr Gurpartap Singh Gill, Mr Satnam Singh Gill, Mr Rajiv Sharma, Mr Gurinderjit Singh, Mr Gurnam Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Harjinder Pal Singh Raja, Mr Prem Kumar, Mr Inderjit Singh Ghuman, Mr Jagdish Singh Bedi, Mr Rajiv Kumar Sharda and Ms Urvashi Dhugga.


Punjab Govt makes 65 appointments to AG office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
The Punjab Government today ordered the appointment of a Senior Additional Advocate-General, nine Additional Advocates-General, eight Senior Deputy Advocates-General, 19 Deputy Advocates-General and 28 Assistant Advocates-General to complete the process of reorganising the office of the Advocate-General.

Though the sanctioned strength of the office of the Advocate-General is less than 40, the government has made 65 appointments in the first go.

Those appointed today are : Senior Additional Advocate-General — Mr Shamsher Singh Shergill; Additional Advocates-General — Mr Sarup Singh, Mr Salil Sagar, Mr Ashok Aggarwal, Mr K.K. Garg, Mr Ajit Singh Virk, Mr Paramdev Singh Chhina, Mr Lakhinder Bir Singh, Mr Naresh Inder Singh Boparai and Mr Dharam Vir Sharma.

Senior Deputy Advocates-General — Mr Bharat Bir Singh Sobti, Mrs Baljit Kaur Mann, Mrs Charu Tuli, Mr Anup Inder Singh Grewal, Mr S.K. Sharma, Dr S.K. Bhatia, Mr Gurinder Singh Gill and Mr M.C. Bery.

Deputy Advocates-General — Mr Pankaj Bhardwaj, Mr Ajay Bansal, Mr Harmit Singh Grewal, Mrs Ravinder Kaur Nihalsingh-wala, Mr Tarun Vir Vashisht, Mr Mansoor Ali, Mr Rajiv Malhotra, Mr Gurinder Singh Bhandari, Mr Manpreet Singh Doabia, Mr Atul Nanda, Mr Satish Bhanot, Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, Mr Harbhajan Singh Sran, Mr Augustine George Masih, Mr Uttam Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Inderpal Singh Sidhu, Mr Sarbjit Singh Randhawa and Mr Jagbir Singh Brar.

Assistant Advocates-General — Mr Sanjay Kaushal, Mr G.S. Batra, Mr Inderjit Singh, Ms Radhika Suri, Ms Mala Chaudhary, Ms Vibha Pandey, Mr Ajaib Singh, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, Mr Ajit Pal Singh Rajput, Mr Amarjit Singh Ladhar, Mr Sunderpal, Mr J.P. Bhatt, Mr Nirbhow Singh Gill, Mr Devinder Kumar, Mr Paramjit Singh Thiara, Ms Manisha Berry, Mr Gurpartap Singh Gill, Mr Satnam Singh Gill, Mr Rajiv Shama, Mr Gurinderjit Singh, Mr Gurnam Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Harjinder Pal Singh Raja, Mr Prem Kumar, Mr Inderjit Singh Ghuman, Mr Jagdish Singh Bedi, Mr Rajiv Kumar Sharda and Ms Urvashi Dhugga.

These appointments had been made until March 31, 2003, the orders said. 


Ensure presence of staff in offices: DC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 18
Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, directed all the district officers to be punctual and present and also ensure the presence of their staff in the offices. Time-to-time checking for the presence would be done. Mr Vikas Partap, addressing a meeting held to review the working of different departments, informed that 13,820 applications were received under various pensions schemes, of which 9,284 had been sanctioned and 7,953 paid and the balance 1,331 accounts for the pension would be cleared soon.

He directed the Executive Engineer, PWD, to check the dressing of the berms on the roads properly on the widening of the Sirhind-Chunni road. He directed him to prepare lists of roads for repair. He also directed the Executive Engineer, PSEB, to check the high tension wires, which had come down along the roads and in the fields and asked him to tighten them.

Reviewing the meeting of the DRDA, Mr Vikas Partap, asked the officers to emphasise on new group formation and to provide subsidy to groups. He further directed the BDPOs to choose beneficiaries under the Indra Avas Yojna properly as being chairman of the selection committee, they would be held responsible for that. He directed the BDPOs to complete the rural sanitation scheme on priority basis.

Mr Vikas Partap informed that financial assistance would be given to the NGOs doing outstanding work in the fields. He informed that rural youths were being initiated for commercial, dairy farming and fish farming. Mr Vikas Partap directed the officers to implement the schemes of the government properly.

Mr S. K. Batish, Deputy Registrar, Cooperative Societies, informed the house that cooperative bank sector had made the profit of Rs 2 crore against Rs 1.42 crore last year. He said that 86 per cent of the recoveries of loans from the society had been made. Mr G. S. Cheema, Assistant Director, Horticulture, informed that there were 37 mushroom growers as in the district and the plantation of kinnow, mango and guava had been made on 80 acres in the district and special training programmes were being carried out in the field of horticulture.


Panel to probe derailment
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 18
The Northern Railway authorities have ordered an inquiry into the derailment of 10 wagons of a good train near Barhampur village 50 km from Ropar, yesterday. The Additional Divisional Manager, Railways, Mr Sonewani, talking to The Tribune on phone said that a committee of senior Railway officials had been formed to go into the causes of the accident. The committee report is expected in 10 days.

Ten wagons of a goods train derailed yesterday at 1.30 pm near the said village. The train was bound for National Fertilisers plant at Nangal from where it was to carry bags of fertiliser. The derailed wagons came to a halt near the track averting damage to the engine or the track.

Due to the derailment of the wagons the rail traffic had to be suspended. The train from Una to Delhi had to be suspended. It could leave only today morning after track was cleared.

Workers of the Railways were repairing the damaged track even today morning. Eyewitnesses said that they heard a loud noise when the train passed from a sharp curve near the village. Soon they saw wagons of the train going off a track one after the other and getting dragged on land near the track. The wagons did not overturn and the collision with the cabin of the train guard was averted at the village crossing.

The relief train of the Railways arrived with engineers and workers in three hours. They put the wagons back on the track at night. The authorities here on condition of anonymity said derailment of wagons could have been caused due to a mistake by the driver, poor condition of track, or some fault in the engine.

The derailment has put a question mark on the condition of the Railway track from Nangal to Sirhind. In one year nearly three incidents of derailment have taken place on this section. Sources here said that the track was laid 50 years ago when Bhakra dam was being constructed. Since then minor repairs have been done to the track. Though authorities maintain that the track was good for trains running at a speed of 60 km, general speed of trains on this section but still several parts of the track need immediate repairs. Many bridges across monsoon rivers and canals have become old and needed repairs, they told.

On the condition of the track, Mr Sonewani, maintained that it was in good condition. He added that rail traffic on the damaged track was restored today at 9 a.m.


Panel to probe votes’ deletion

Amritsar, April 18
A district-level inquiry committee has been constituted, to probe into the allegations of deletions in the list of genuine voters in all Assembly constituencies in the district and to affix responsibility of defaulting officials, on the directions of Mr R.P.S. Pawar, chairman of the high-level committee for electoral rolls.

The committee has extended the date for filing of complaints regarding the deletions to April 19.

Mr S.S. Puri, Deputy Commissioner, said here today that committee will invite written complaints from public, sarpanches, panches, and councillors through a inquiry committee headed by the SDM, of Amritsar-1, Amritsar-II, Baba Bakala, Ajnala, Tarn Taran, Patti and Khadoor Sahib, respectively, up to April 19.


Singla takes over as panel chairman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Mr Surinder Singla, MLA from Bathinda, today assumed charge as the Chairman, State Committee for Finance, in the presence of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister.

The high-powered committee had been constituted for restructuring the state's economy.

He has been given the status of Cabinet Minister and an office in the Punjab Civil Secretariat.


Looters' gang strikes at will, cops clueless

Hoshiarpur, April 18
For the second consecutive day, a gang of looters armed with 'lathis' and rods struck at two places injuring six persons and looting Rs 43,000 last night in the district.

Police sources here today said the gang of 20-odd members attacked a group of migrant labourers sleeping in huts on the Mukerian-Talwara road near Dagan village under the Hajipur police station. They injured three persons and decamped with Rs 26,000, the police said.

The labourers had been employed by a private company for laying telephone lines. The injured were identified as Abdul Ghani, Abdul Karim and Kazi Hussian.

The gang later attacked another group of labourers on the same road and injured Rampal and two women. They looted Rs 17,000 in this strike carried out hundred yards away from the scene of earlier strike.

According to the police, the incidents occurred after midnight, after the police had finished patrolling.

In the three incidents on Tuesday night in and around the town which left 11 persons injured the gang had struck at 9 p.m.

The gang has been active in the district since the past 20 days and was so far responsible for killing one person and injuring about 20 others. The only clues available with the police are that the gang members interact with each other in Hindi and a majority of them are of dark complexion and wear black clothes. UNI


3 booked for Toofan’s murder
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 18
Three persons have been booked in connection with the alleged murder of Teja Singh Toofan, a renowned dhadi, who was stabbed to death last evening. They were booked in the complaint of his wife Ms Darshan Kaur Toofan an SGPC member. However, none of them have been arrested so far.

Meanwhile, Teja Singh was cremated today. A large number of politicians, SGPC members, office-bearers of social service organisations and prominent persons of the city attended the cremation. They demanded that stern action should be taken against the suspects.

Ms Toofan in her complaint had stated that Saudagar Singh and his two sons, Nahar Singh and Roshan Singh, had attacked her husband last evening near the Amarapura locality, when they were going towards their home. She had alleged that the three accused had allegedly murdered her husband due to enmity as Saudagar Singh was removed from the post of sewadar at Baba Jiwan Singh Gurdwara. She said he was removed from his post for indulging in unlawful activities.

Ms Toofan said about a year ago, Nahar Singh fired at her husband and a case in this connection was registered against him. Nahar Singh was released on bail, she said, adding that Saudagar Singh had once attacked her son Gurdip Singh with a sword.

Earlier in the morning, a post-mortem examination on the body of Teja Singh was conducted at the Civil Hospital. The cremation procession of Teja Singh was attended by a large number of residents of the city besides prominent persons.

Mr Charanji Lal Garg, former Punjab Minister, Mr Makhan Singh, former MLA, Mr Kehar Singh Rathore, SGPC member, and Mr Ishatpal Singh Khialiwala, district president, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, and some other former ministers and SGPC members were among those present on the occasion.

The three accused have been booked under Section 302 and 34 of the IPC.


Cop caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 18
Additional SHO Amrik Singh posted at Police Division 76 in Garha was today caught red-handed by a Vigilance team while accepting a bribe of Rs 3000 from one Kishan Lal. The official was already facing corruption charges and a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against him at the Bhogpur police station. What has raised many an eyebrow is the question as to how he was posted at a sensitive post by the police administration, even after knowing full well that the official was facing a charge of a serious nature.

Kishan Lal was booked by the police, but the Additional SHO allegedly told him that the case against him would be closed if he parted with an amount of Rs 5000. Kishan Lal approached the Vigilance Bureau. He settled the matter with the official for Rs 3000 and was caught. Kishan Lal had alleged that he was falsely implicated by police officials since they wanted to coerce him into giving them money.

Vigilance Bureau sources said Amrik Singh was already facing charges of corruption and a case under Section stood registered against him on November 17, 2000. What is startling is that even then he managed the key post of Additional SHO.


5 ‘supari’ killers arrested

Moga, April 18
The Punjab police today claimed to have busted a gang of criminals responsible for ‘supari’ killings and a number of land-grab cases in the state with the arrest of five of them in the district, yesterday.

The criminals, arrested from their hideout at a polytechnic institute near here, were identified as Jagsir Singh of Mandira Nawan, Baljit Singh of Bhai Roopa, Kuldeep Singh of Dharam Singh Wala, Buta Singh and Chamkaur Singh, SSP Varinder Kumar told reporters at a press conference, here.

However, their accomplice managed to escape, the SSP said adding that the fugitive had been identified as Mohan Singh. UNI


Paddy delivery: 7 booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 18
The district police authorities have booked seven persons, one of them namely Ashok Kumar has been arrested for alleged irregularities in the delivery of rice to Markfed in lieu of paddy given to the rice mills being run by them.

The other accused are Amrit Galhotra, Akash Galhotra, Rupinder Kumar, Harish Galhotra, Anju Galhotra and Ashok Kumar.

Sources said though the complaint lodged with the police by Markfed was very old, the accused had managed to stall action in the case. 


Schools ‘demanding’ donation for certificates
Our Correspondent

Amritsar April 18
It has come to light that several private schools are harassing students by refusing to give them as the school-leaving and other relevant certificates. Children whose parents are in service are facing the brunt of school authorities are allegedly asking for donations to release the relevant documents. The Headmaster Association of the district headed by Mr Joginder Singh has brought the issue to the notice of the district Education Department and the Education Ministry.

Most parents dole out the money demanded by such schools. A case in instance is of a class VI student, son of Kashmir Singh. Kashmir Singh has alleged in an affidavit that the school authorities of a high school located at Gumtala village have refused to provide him with relevant certificates as the student is joining a government school in Karampura.

The school authorities have demanded a sum of Rs 1000 from him. However, it is learnt that parents of students who have not paid their school dues are making these charges. Certificates of their children are withheld by the school authorities to force them to clear their pending amounts.


Eyebrows raised over promotions
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 18
The promotion of two senior lecturers of Guru Nanak Dev University as professors has raised eyebrows in the university circles. There have been allegations that rules have been flouted for these promotions.

However, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S. P. Singh, has claimed that the decision to promote Dr P. S. Mahura and Dr S. S. Behal, both lecturers in the Department of Architecture, was taken after seeking permission from the UGC and legal opinion. He said after the promotions, the case had been sent to the UGC for clearance.

Some teachers, who pleaded anonymity, said the lecturers were promoted as professor though they did not possess the requisite qualification and experience. They alleged that the teachers were promoted under the career advancement scheme which was against the prevailing UGC guidelines.


UGC rules flouted, say varsity teachers
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 18
The decision of promoting two lecturers of the Architecture Department of Guru Nanak Dev University may open pandora’s box as many other candidates would approach the university authorities to promote them on the basis of old rules which were discontinued after the new rules.

Pleading anonymity many teachers alleged that the two promotions were against the rules. Interestingly, the lecturers promoted by the university have been asked to complete their Ph. D within five years. Though the teachers have alleged that the prevailing rules of UGC were violated, the Vice-Chancellor had claimed that the lecturers were promoted after seeking legal opinion from the authorities concerned. 


Exam cancelled sans intimation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 18
Students appearing for medical entrance tests were left high and dry after Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences reportedly cancelled the tests yesterday, without any intimation to candidates.

Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, said the decision has played havoc with the future of the students.

It is being alleged that the step was taken after a representation was made to the Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, to give benefit of admission to the wards of police personnel.

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