Sunday, April 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Decision on octroi tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The controversy over the issue of abolishing octroi in the state of Punjab will finally come to an end with Mr Justice Jawahal Lal Gupta and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court pronouncing orders on a petition filed against it on Monday.

Adding a twist to the controversy, former Municipal Councillor-cum- petitioner in the case Mathura Dass had, on the last date of hearing, sought directions for initiating contempt of court proceedings against the state of Punjab and other respondents for “making a false statement, besides filing a false affidavit in the court”. He had also sought directions for staying the operation of a notification regarding the abolition of octroi in the state.

In an application, Mathura Dass had claimed that the state authorities, by not releasing the funds to the municipalities for March, 2002, despite a clear direction from the Court, had committed contempt and were liable to be punished for it.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner had stated that the respondents in their statement as well as in the application filed initially for vacation of stay had taken the stand that the state government would provide an alternate source of revenue to the municipalities before the abolition of octroi. Even an undertaking, given by Punjab’s then Advocate General, was recorded in an order dated November 19 last year.

He had added that after the abolition of octroi, the respondents claimed that the state government would continue paying for the loss suffered by the municipalities following the abolition of octroi. A statement to this effect was made by the then Principal Secretary, Mr P.K. Verma. After hearing the arguments in the case, the High Court had reserved orders but had directed the state government to continue paying for the losses. The government, however, released Rs 35 crore each to all the municipalities for the months of December last year, and January and February this year, but the amount for the month of March was not released by the state government, he had asserted.

Counsel for the petitioner had added that the decision to abolish octroi in the state was challenged on the ground that it was the “major source of revenue with the municipalities and as such was necessary for survival”. It may be recalled that the Bench had earlier reserved orders on a bunch of petitions filed against Punjab government’s decision to abolish octroi in the state.

In his plea, Mathura Dass had contended that the state should not be permitted to implement the decision to abolish octroi till alternate sources of income were provided to the municipalities. Claiming that the orders had been passed after violating the High Court directions, his counsel had added that as per the orders the respondents were required to place on record a copy of the decision and were expected to implement the same after obtaining court permission. The respondents had, nevertheless, ordered the abolition of octroi from December 1, last year.


Bail plea of 2 Sidhu ‘agents’ rejected
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 27
The District Sessions Judge, Mr Maghar Khan, here today rejected the anticipatory bail applications of two alleged agents of Mr Ravinder Pal Sidhu, Randhir Singh Gill and Prem Sagar, who had moved applications for anticipatory bail before the said judge.

Two residents of Ludhiana Amritpal Singh and Ishar Singh have accused Gill of demanding Rs 35 lakh from them for Gurjeet Singh’s selection as DSP. They had paid him Rs 1 lakh in advance. However, when the deal did not materialise they asked for the return of advance, which was never done. They alleged that Gill used to ask for Rs 60 lakh from a general category candidate and Rs 40 lakh from a Scheduled Caste candidate for being selected as DSP.

Prem Sagar has been accused of asking for Rs 35 lakh from Bakhshish Singh for recruiting Vikram Singh as DSP. In this case the deal did not materialise and Bakhshish Singh complained to the vigilance authorities against Sagar.

The defence counsel of both agents, however, pleaded that they had not been mentioned in the FIR of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu.

In another case the Special Judge, Ropar, today issued notice to the vigilance authorities to file a reply with regard to assertions of the Income Tax Department. The income tax authorities had yesterday moved an application before the said judge seeking all cash and documents of financial transactions recovered from the PPSC Chairman. The next hearing in the case has been fixed for May 6.


Ousted PPSC Secy transferred yet again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Ousted Secretary of the Punjab Public Service Commission Pritpal Singh, who has been questioned by the Vigilance Bureau in connection with the Ravi Sidhu case, has been transferred and posted as Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), Hoshiarpur, and in addition made Land Acquisition Officer, Dholbaha Dam Construction Circle.

He was made Subdivisional Magistrate, Muktsar, after his removal from the PPSC early this month. His place at Muktsar will be taken by Mr Amarjit Paul.

The Punjab Government ordered transfers of 14 other PCS officers today. Mr V.K. Ohri becomes ADC, Fatehgarh Sahib; Mr Mohinder Singh goes as ADC, Mansa; and Mr Gurtej Singh has been posted SDM, Ferozepore. The new SDM of Anandpur Sahib will be Mr Baldev Singh. Mr Gurdip Singh will be SDM, Khamanon. Mr Trilok Nath Passey is SDM, Khadoor Sahib.

Mrs Gurpreet Kaur Sapra becomes SDM, Baba Bakala, while Mr Satish Kumar Singla will be SDM, Moonak. The SDM at Mukerian will be Mr Bhupinder Singh while at Sardulgarh, Mr Birbal Singh will be SDM.

Mr Zora Singh becomes SDM, Phagwara. Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda has been appointed ACA, PUDA, Bathinda. Mr M.P. Arora comes to Chandigarh as Joint Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs.


Appointment letters issued in back date?
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 27
Fingers are being raised at the selection process for many other state government posts by a section of applicants.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that a large number of unemployed youth had now started collecting evidence of corruption during the recruitment of clerks done recently.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Baljinder Singh, a local resident, alleged large-scale corruption in the recruitment of clerks in the Punjab School Education Board. He said 100 posts of clerk were advertised in 1996, the written test for which was conducted in 1998 and typing test was held on January 1, 2001. However, the list of selected candidates was never published in any newspaper.

The complainant, who has sent copies to the Lok Pal and Education Minister, further alleged that during the recent state Assembly elections the appointment letters were issued to applicants in back date.

He further pointed out that in the selection of clerks merit was ignored by the authorities concerned and only those were given an interview call who offered some consideration.

He demanded that a thorough probe should be ordered into the selection.


Sikh Council backs govt’s anti-graft drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The General Secretary of the World Sikh Council, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, today said that the drive started by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to cleanse public life was worth appreciating as corruption had become a big menace.

Mr Mann, who was president of the All-India Sikh Students Federation from 1967 to 1970, said such a campaign should have been started by the previous SAD-BJP government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

He said because of rampant corruption, Punjab had lagged behind states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in development. Its economy had been shattered. Most of the time, the ruling classes had been busy minting money without caring for the people of the state.

He said the government’s first priority should be to stabilise the state economy which was in a shambles. All loss-making public sector undertakings should be closed and organisations like the Punjab Seeds Corporation, the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and the Punjab Mandi Board merged to bring down expenditure. Likewise, there were several organisations under the Cooperation Department — Markfed, Spinfed, Weavco, Sugarfed. All these should be merged.

There was a need for taking care of five lakh NRI families. They headed to be assured that their interests would be looked after well back in their native state and motivated to invest in Punjab to contribute towards its development.

There was a need for Punjab’s development on cultural and heritage fronts. No one had cared for the heritage buildings. There was a danger to original Punjabi culture because of the onslaught of European culture through the electronic media. 


Cong trying to defame SAD: Dhindsa
Our Correspondent

Vallah (Amritsar), April 27
Alleging a vilification campaign against SAD by the Congress government, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Cabinet Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, said on the pretext of rooting out corruption the Congress was trying to defame SAD.

Denying any shelter to Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu, he categorically stated that no Akali had any role or link in the misdoings of the controversial chairman. He clarified that since the post of chairman was a constitutional one the Akali government could not remove him despite complaints and reports that prime jobs were being offered on sale by the PPSC. “Three of our appointees had gone to the court against the PPSC Chairman. If our intentions were malafide we could have asked them to withdraw their cases,” he retorted.

Mr Dhindsa was addressing mediapersons after presiding over the first prize distribution and annual function of Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research here today. He said if the Congress government was sincere in its endeavour it could have used the Lok Pal to examine those, including ministers and formers ministers, against whom complaints had been filed, but a retired high court judge, Mr A.S. Garg, was appointed to head a one-man commission of inquiry to probe the irregularities of the previous government in the state instead of a sitting judge.

He alleged that Mr Garg was appointed as he was a relative of the Advocate-General and another relative was appointed as his deputy. Persons who had been indicted by the Lok Pal were taken into the Congress government. “Where is the sincerity of the Congress, it is only a politically motivated campaign against a rival party,” he asserted.

Unfolding the action plan of SAD, he stated that the party would soon start a series of meetings with Akali workers in this connection. A high level meeting is being planned in Chandigarh where representatives from the BJP and SAD will chalk out a programme to thwart the designs of the Congress against them.

Meanwhile, the Union Minister announced Rs 5 lakh grant for the institute.


Badal’s comment act of desperation: MLA
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 27
Mr Parkash Singh, local MLA, and Mr Manoranjan Kalia (Tibla), General Secretary, Punjab Youth Congress, while talking to the correspondent here today ridiculed the reported statement of the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, that the Amarinder Government was just busy in ‘witch hunting’ so that Opposition leaders could be harassed and had halted all development and welfare activities in the state.

They said the statement was nothing but an indication of desperation of Mr Badal as the Congress government during the past two months had made an impact on the public by fulfilling its main pre-election promise of providing corruption-free and transparent administration.

They added that the state government had reaffirmed the faith of the youth in the political system.


Shiv Sena men ‘usurp’ hospital land
Varinder Singh & Ashok Kaura
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, April 27
In a first case of its kind in Punjab, a part of the Government Veterinary Hospital here has allegedly been usurped by a NGO — being run by two influential brothers and owing allegiance to a faction of the Shiv Sena — in the name of setting up a temporary “gaushala” and a shelter for abandoned animals.

The NGO — Shiv Rudra Jan Kalyan Sansthan — has been illegally occupying about one acre of prime land belonging to the hospital worth more than Rs 1 crore — since the first half of November, 2001, when workers of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thakerey) had seized a truck, allegedly carrying about 15 cows to a slaughter house and had requested the hospital authorities for providing a temporary shelter to the animals. But what has benumbed the hospital authorities was that instead of shifting the animals to an alternative location, the workers of this organisation brought more animals and even erected signboards depicting that the place was a “gaushala” and not a veterinary hospital.

The hospital authorities, who were remorseful over their decision to bow to the wishes of the local SDM who had asked them to provide a temporary shelter for these animals, got more suspicious about the motives of some unscrupulous persons coming to the makeshift “gaushala” when the organisation did not bother to vacate the place and dithered from its own promises despite assurances of the SDM.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr V.P. Singh, said the place had been given to the NGO for setting up a temporary shelter following orders of the SDM. On November 12, 2001, Shiv Sena workers led by Mr Vipin Sharma brought about 15 abandoned cows to the place.

But thereafter the number of cows kept swelling and so were promises of the office-bearers of the organisation. So much so, the workers even allegedly tried to erect some pucca structures inside the hospital premises in the name of “fodder-pits” for the animals. But this move was aborted by the alert hospital authorities. Interestingly, official sources said a group of workers enjoyed political patronage as even the then Punjab Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, had participated in the “govardhan pooja” organised by NGO on Diwali eve.

Dr V.P. Singh said the number of cows had been increasing with each passing day and it had become difficult for him and his family to put up in a residence provided by the department on the same premises.

When contacted, Dr H.S. Sandha, Deputy Director, Punjab Veterinary Department, said the matter had been taken up with the local SDM as it was he who had permitted the Sena workers to keep the animals for “three days” at the place. “Now they have promised that the place will be vacated by April 30. Let us see what happens,” Dr Sandha said.


Boat tragedy: families still in dilemma
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 27
Though the Ministry of External Affairs has reportedly denied that any Indian has drowned in a boat tragedy in Greece, the local administration, on the basis of media reports, conducted an inquiry into the matter and contacted the families of some of the victims of the tragedy, here today.

Mr Pritam Singh, SDM, while talking to this correspondent said according to the information available from the families of the victims, out of six youth belonging to the different villages of the district, who were travelling in the ill-fated boat on April 16, as many as four youth namely Jatinder Kumar (21), son of Om Parkash and a resident of Khotram village, Mukhtiar Singh (24), Bhajan Singh, resident of Musapur village, Rachhpal Singh (21), son of Bhag Singh, resident of Bakapur and Surinder Kumar (35), son of Kabul Singh, resident of Kaulgarh village were still missing and their parents waiting for any concrete information about the fate of their sons. Two youth namely Jasvir Singh, son of Shinder Singh and Onkar Singh, son of Karnail Singh, residents of nearby Amargarh village were lucky enough to escape the tragedy. They are now in the custody of the Greece police. Mr Karnail Singh, father of Onkar Singh and Mr Ranjit Singh, brother of Jasvir Singh, residents of Amargarh village told this correspondent that they had received telephone calls from Onkar Singh and Jasvir Singh about their well being. But, the parents and relatives of other four persons are still in a dilemma. Ms Kamaljit Kaur, mother of Jatinder Kumar, resident of Mithapur said her nephew, Patwinder Singh Gora, was also on the same boat with her son and as per the telephone call received from Patwinder Singh still no clue was in sight about the fate of Jatinder Kumar. Mohinder Kaur, mother of Mukhtiar Singh, resident of Musapur village said she had received a telephone call of her son before the reported boat tragedy. But now she had not received any telephone or information from any source about the welfare of her son. Some parents of the victims have no knowledge about the travel agents through which their sons had gone to Turkey or Greece. Some parents are naming the travel agents as Gurmit Singh of Bakapur village and Satnam Singh, who operates from a hotel in New Delhi, Mr Pritam Singh said adding that all affected families had been narrating the same story about the reported tragedy.


No action against SMO despite complaints
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Why has the Punjab Government not taken action against a certain Senior Medical Officer ( SMO) posted in Patiala district, despite complaints? This question has become a major issue of concern among the medical fraternity in the state.

According to informed sources, not only the Civil Surgeon, Patiala, but also several medical officers working in the district have found fault with the functioning of the SMO. Sources said the Civil Surgeon in a letter to the Punjab Government in February had stated that the SMO was regularly committing various irregularities in his office and “thus, bringing a bad name to his own office and the office of the Civil Surgeon, Patiala”.

The Civil Surgeon had stated that the SMO had been duly warned many a time verbally to improve upon his working, but in vain. There have been several complaints against the doctor. An inquiry was conducted against him by a senior officer of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation and a warning issued. The PCMS Association had also submitted complaints against him.

In the last week of February, according to sources, the Civil Surgeon, had requested the government to post the SMO out of the district as a punishment for his “unbecoming attitude”. However, no action has been initiated by the Government so far against the SMO, it is learnt.

The case of the SMO has been kept lingering for reasons best known to the state government. Action should have been taken on the basis of the report and the letter written by the Civil Surgeon to the government.

There are several medical officers working in a particular area of Patiala district who have complained against the SMO. They have levelled serious allegations.

Medical Officers ( MOs) have complained that they were put on duty during the first round of the pulse polio campaign in December at various places and told that each would get Rs 750. However, they were made to sign on bills, but not given the payment.

Explaining their plight, medical officers have stated that the SMO called them in groups before the second round of the pulse polio on January 20 this year and asked them to sign on certain bills. Those who refused were made to comply on the threat that their annual confidential report would be spoiled”.

Doctors and others concerned have urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to look into the matter and hold a fresh inquiry into the irregularities committed by the SMO by transferring him out of the Patiala district.


Son’s migration lands Registrar in soup
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 27
In a new turn to the ongoing migration controversy in Punjabi University, the role of the university Registrar Dr B S Bhatia, and other functionaries has come under a cloud with police investigations revealing that Dr Bhatia had not paid migration and other fees due for migrating his son from an information technology course at a Talwandi Sabo institute to the local campus by virtue of being a member of various committees which had taken the decision to raise the migration fee to Rs 1 lakh per student.

According to sources, the Sadar police, which has already registered a case against ousted Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia on charges of illegal migrations, admissions, appointments and affiliations to information technology institutes, is now investigating the case of Bhatia’s son and that of other employees of the university and a senior police officer.

The sources said Bhatia’s son Gajinder Singh migrated from Talwandi Sabo to the campus without paying anything for the migration. They said a decision had been taken to take migration fee of Rs 1 lakh from students wanting to go in for the facility at the syndicate meeting of June 29, 2000. They said the Bhatia case was initiated on June 14 and the VC allowed the migration on June 24 and he got a letter permitting the migration on July 3.

The sources further said though on paper the migration of Dr Bhatia’s son was affected on June 24 the manner in which it was done pointed to the extra interest taken by the Registrar in the case. They said the Registrar was a member of various committee involved in hiking the migration fee and knew of the imminent decision. They said in such a case either the Registrar should not have been involved in any decision-making project due to the request of his son, which had come in when the decision to raise the migration fee was being considered.

Dr Bhatia could not be contacted for his comments.

The sources said the police was also investigating the case of a university dispensary employee whose son had been admitted to the B.Tech course in November, last year, even though the VC had himself issued a circular saying that no admission would be entertained after September 15 even by the academic council. They said the admission was given to the ward in despite the fact that the test for selecting students for the course had been taken in June.

The case of ward of a senior police officer has also been brought under investigation following a complaint made by the joint action committee, which had headed the campaign for the ouster of Dr Ahluwalia. According to the complaint, the migration of the police officer’s son had been manipulated by creating an additional seat in the sports quota by the sports committee even though there was no provision for the same.

The action committee has charged the police official with playing an important role in the last PUTA elections in which the group aligned with the then VC had emerged victorious.

The sources added that the university had lost nearly Rs 7 lakh each in these cases. They said the migrations were conducted to B.Tech and MCA courses even though there was no vacancy. They said the persons opting for the migration would normally had to take admission in the NRI quota for which they would have to pay Rs 8 lakh as admission fee. These students were, however, absorbed in the courses in Punjabi University after taking only Rs 1 lakh and creating fresh seats for them against all norms.


Perspectives differ on women’s education
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Higher education of women has come a long way since the first college for women started in the region a century ago. Despite enormous changes in the way educated women are looking towards the future, women educationists heading some of the oldest women colleges in Punjab feel that the modern woman needs to realise her role as a builder of national character and as a vital link between traditions and the demands of the future.

‘‘Doubtlessly, there is a seriousness which is missing in girls who are coming to colleges now as compared to those in our times. There is a large group which wants to have a good time in college and then get married. When we were studying, education was fought for with parents. Jobs may or may not be the ultimate aim but education in itself was valued. We used to spend every minute of college time in studies and wanting to learn more and more. Now one watches girls while away precious time.’’says Dr Reeta Bawa, Principal, Kanya Maha Vidyalaya, Jalandhar.

‘‘Ambitiousness has to be kept in check with proper and timely counselling of girls. Ambition is there, but for more degrees, highly paid jobs but not so much for the desire to do something in life. For this situation it is not just the girls who are to be blamed. Our teachers were our role models and we had colleges run by philanthropists. Now we have businessmen running colleges ’’, says Mrs Bawa.

Mrs S. Verma, who has been the Principal of SDP College for Women, Ludhiana, for the past 23 years, however, believes that education has enlightened women and helped them stand on their own feet. ‘‘There has always been a group of students who come to college to have a good time while their parents look for matches. But then in colleges in the city at least they are getting the best of education. The exposure in itself changes the mindset and later lives. Those who are making good use of their education are benefiting the maximum, and at least in Ludhiana, there are many girls who are helping their fathers in their businesses. Some of them are running a complete unit independently.’’ she says.

‘‘What is missing is the teaching of folk wisdom. Since more and more people are living in nuclear families and children do not learn these things from the older generations, the role has to be played by college teachers now. It is a challenge which the teachers of today should meet’’, says Mrs Verma.

Ms Madhu Prashar, Principal, Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepore, states that since her college has had a glorious history she considers her role as a perpetuator of the traditional values the college stood for. At the same time, the educated woman needs to be modern in outlook and imbibe in her all that is good in both the Western and Indian cultures.’’ She believes that every student has immense potential and it is for the teacher to utilise the energies of the youth positively and channel them into constructive tasks.

Mrs J. Kakaria, Principal, BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, states that women colleges have to be grounds where women have to be enlightened and empowered. ‘‘Enlightening a woman means enlightening her whole family. And as far as parents are concerned, they have accepted the winds of change. More and more parents are now proud to see their daughter’s achievements. But there is still a section of parents, especially from rich business classes, which feels that daughters should be married off as soon as college ends ’’, she says.


I got no payment as AG, claims Mattewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The proposal to challenge Sections 78 and 80 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act in the Supreme Court to secure immediate relief in the SYL case was mooted by the previous Advocate-General, Mr Hardev Singh Mattewal, who, keeping in view the seriousness of the case, wanted the SAD-BJP government to act fast.

Mr Mattewal had felt that insisting on a solution strictly within the parameters of Section 78 of the Reorganisation Act may not be in the best interests of the state as in that event the Central Government would have become the ultimate arbiter in apportioning the shares between Punjab and Haryana in the absence of any agreement between them.

In a report to the previous Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the former Advocate-General, before quitting office, had submitted a detailed report about the achievements of his office during the SAD-BJP government.

Refuting various allegations made against him and the AG office by the new government, Mr Mattewal said today that “what to talk of hefty fee, I have not been paid even a paise by the Punjab Government for my tenure as Advocate-General. My total bill is just Rs 6 lakh,” he said.

Mr Mattewal said as counsel of the Punjab State Electricity Board, for whom he appeared in hundreds of cases every year, his total bill in five years came to be around Rs 40 lakh. “My appointment as counsel for the PSEB came before I was made AG, Punjab,” he explained.

The report submitted by him to the Chief Minister has been appreciated by none less than the Solicitor-General, Mr Soli Sorabjee, and also Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, an ardent critic of the SAD-BJP alliance.

Mr Mattewal said one of his major achievements had been to get the SGPC institutions in Punjab the status of minority institutions. “This will go a long way in helping the youth of the state to achieve excellence in the field of technical education”.

His other contributions were his proposals submitted to the National Commission to review the working of the Constitution in which he had stated that every inch of India belonged to the Sikhs and the Sikhs belonged to India by mentioning that though they were just 2 per cent of the country’s population, out of 2175 martyrs, 1,557 were Sikhs; of 2,646 freedom fighters sent to the Andamans for life, 2147 were Sikhs; of 127 freedom fighters sent to the gallows by the British, 92 were Sikhs. Besides, 60 per cent soldiers in the Indian National Army were Sikhs and after independence Sikhs had won five Param Vir Chakras, 40 MVCs and 209 Vir Chakras in the defence of the country.

In the same document, Mr Mattewal had suggested, among various other things, strengthening of the judiciary as it had come to play an important role in areas traditionally not in its domain.

Mr Mattewal had impressed upon the state government that responsibility be fixed on the basis of findings of the Human Rights Commission and recovery effected from officers concerned.

Mr Mattewal claimed that he saved the Punjab Government and the Punjab State Electricity Board Rs 800 crore through three writ petitions challenging the levy under the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977.

The dismissal of writ a petition against ‘sangat darshan’ of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, abolition of octroi after a stiff legal battle, reconstitution of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, continuation of teachers in service, implementation of the Punjab Advocate Welfare Fund and dismissal of several writ petitions filed by political rivals of the Shiromani Akali Dal were his other successes during his tenure as AG, he claimed.


Ahluwalia seeks quashing of ouster
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
In a petition filed before the high court, Punjabi University’s former Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia today sought directions for quashing an order passed on April 21 removing him from the post. The case is likely to come up for hearing before a Division Bench on Monday.

Mr Ahluwalia, in his petition, also sought directions to the university Chancellor and other respondents to permit him to discharge his duties as the Vice-Chancellor till the expiry of his tenure on May 14. He added that the intention behind passing the order was to harass and humiliate him, besides having the satisfaction of throwing him out.

Proceedings against employees quashed

In a significant judgement, the court today ruled that there is no justification in going ahead with criminal proceedings against employees exonerated in a departmental inquiry and by the investigating agency.

Delivering the verdict on a petition filed by a staff nurse and another petitioner for quashing a first information report alleging cheating and forgery, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel ruled, “No doubt the court can in an appropriate case take cognisance of an offence, but in the present case, the court has wrongly assumed that the petitioners were found guilty in the departmental inquiry which is factually incorrect”. Allowing the petition, the Judge also quashed the proceedings against the two.

Order on plea of Inspector

Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel on Saturday quashed proceedings against an inspector working with Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation at Kapurthala.

The first information report in the case was registered by the Divisional Manager of Punsup. According to the prosecution, there was “deficiency in the weight of goods under the petitioner’s charge”.

Pronouncing the orders on Inspector Sukhdev Singh’s petition, Mr Justice Goel ruled, “After hearing counsel for the parties and having regard to the judgement of a civil court holding that the petitioner was not responsible for the alleged shortage in any manner, I am of the view that the proceedings against him are not justified and are liable to be quashed”.

Brahmpura case hearing on April 30

Mr Justice Nirmal Singh today fixed April 30 as the next date of hearing on a petition filed by MLA Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, seeking the grant of anticipatory bail or else 15 days’ notice in case a first information report was registered against him.

The MLA was apprehending implication in an alleged corruption case registered against the director and the managing director of a cooperative bank. In his petition, the MLA stated that he has either been or would be implicated in the case. He added that the government had adopted a revengeful attitude towards the opponents and members of the Akali Dal in order to arrest them in false cases.

Cheema remanded in police custody
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 27
Former student leader Bhupinder Singh Cheema, who is co-accused along with ousted Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia in the case involving an attack on a university teacher on March 5, was today remanded in police custody by a local court till April 28. He was arrested yesterday. 



Fresh problems over bus stand
Ravinder Sud

Construction of a new Roadways bus stand at its existing site in Hoshiarpur has created a lot of problems to residents of Model Town, Bishamber Nagar and Kamalpur areas as well as inconvenience to incoming and outgoing passengers.

Construction work, started about 10 months ago and was to be completed within a year, has come to a standstill for want of funds. The Roadways workshop and its general manager’s office are located next to the bus stand. Before starting construction work, the Roadways authorities did not shift the existing bus stand to a spacious place outside the city but carried on bus services at the old site, situated in the heart of the city.

This bus stand was set up at the present place in early sixties when the area was vacant. With the passage of time the entire area around the bus stand became thickly populated along with the construction of two cinema halls opposite it. Almost all offices of private passengers transport companies are also located opposite its entry gate and private operators park their buses haphazardly on the roads in this locality. More than 400 buses to various stations in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, U.P., Delhi and Chandigarh ply from this bus stand where construction is under progress. Thousands of passengers come here to catch buses. The rush of passengers, three-wheelers, rehriwalas, etc causes traffic jams in the locality as a result of which it is very difficult for even pedestrians to move freely. Frequent accidents have become a commonplace.

There is no toilet and drinking water facility for passengers.

Despite suggestions by Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, the then Deputy Commissioner, the Punjab Roadways authorities did not care to shift the site of bus stand till the construction of new one is completed.

This correspondent visited the GM’s office (Punjab Roadways) many times to get information regarding the construction of the new bus stand but the latter was never available. Every time he was told that the GM had either gone for checks or was attending meetings.

Eventually, this correspondent succeeded in meeting Mr Arvind Sharma, Assistant Mechanical Engineer, Punjab Roadways, who stated that the construction of bus stand was scheduled to be completed within a year. The estimated cost of this project was Rs 5 crore and work is being done through the Punjab State Industrial Export Corporation. Funds were raised through a loan from the World Bank. Just 20 per cent of the work had been completed for which payment of Rs 85 lakh to the contractor had been made.

Mr Sharma said 15 suggestions had been proposed for streamlining the plying of buses. But the then Deputy Commissioner had made 22 suggestions to regularise bus service.

On account of lack of funds, construction could not be completed now. Keeping in view the prevailing conditions the shifting of existing bus stand is urgently needed.


J&K panel’s report released
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 27
Releasing an integrated report of the party’s 11-member spot study panel that visited the border areas of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and Rajasthan, along the Indo-Pak border, in wake of the military build-up by both countries, the SAD (A), today appealed to the international community to impress upon India and Pakistan to call back their armed forces to peace time locations so that the next generation might not be forced to pay for the follies of the political bosses.

The war between these two countries might become the last war of the world and catastrophe for the mankind, said the party President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, while talking to this correspondent. The party had written letters to the US, British, Canadian and Russian embassies and other western countries to build a world opinion against war between India and Pakistan.

The report claimed that the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir so that a permanent solution to the problem could be found. The team visited about 50 villages in Jammu and Kashmir. The report had been prepared by Mr Dhian Singh Mand, Vice-President, Mr Jaskaran Singh Sidhu and Mr Gurjatinder Singh Bhikhiwind, General Secretaries of the party. The team members also saw the plight of the people rendered homeless by the Army build up.

The people complained about the war hysteria created by the RSS, the Shiv Sena and the Bajrang Dal and other communal organisations. The minority community does not feel safe due to the repressive law like POTA. The team visited Jammu, Naushera, Punch, Sambha and Nawanshahr tehsil in Jammu and Kashmir.

The team also visited villages located on Rajasthan border like Hindumalkot, Karanpur, Rawla, Ghurhsana, Khajuwala, Soorma and Sakhi Posts. People residing in these areas said nobody had come so far for their help. They had not received any compensation from the government.

A person named, Raj Singh of Ghurhsana, alleged that the Army took away his tractor on the pretext of hiring it. The damaged tractor was returned and no compensation or hiring charges were paid to him. He spent Rs 7,500 to get the tractor repaired.

The Punjabis also demanded removal of the restriction for purchasing land in Rajasthan.


Just one fire station in Ropar district
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 27
Information technology giants are welcome to SAS Nagar — the message is clear from various projects and programmes of the Punjab Government. But the government apparently forgot to provide basic infrastructure in the town.

The fact is there for all to see. There is just one fire station situated in SAS Nagar to cater to entire Ropar district — having a population of around 12 lakh. The town alone has a population of around 3 lakh.

Increasing incidents of fire this summers have once again focused attention on the ill-equipped fire station. Officials at the fire station say as there is no fire station in neighbouring towns, tenders had to go as far as Nawanshahr district.

If the norms of the Standing Fire Advisory Committee are to be followed, there has to be one fire station for a population of 50,000. In case of Chandigarh, there are nine fire stations and 21 fire-tenders. On the other hand, the local fire station, catering to a population of around 12 lakh, was equipped with just four fire tenders and 20 firemen.

During the financial year 2000-2001, the fire station answered 147 calls, and this season 30 fire calls have been recorded so far. The ADFO, Mr BS Sidhu, said the forest fires in the forest area of Lower Shivaliks add to their workload as these fires become a routine affair during summers.

He said a site for another fire station had been earmarked by PUDA in Sector 68. A proposal to set up fire station at the sub-divisional level and the district headquarters was pending with the state government after being approved by the central government, said sources in the Local Government.



Many heads likely to roll
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, April 27
Many more heads are likely to roll with the arrest of Sandeep Singh, a resident of Fattanwala village in Muktsar district, who allegedly made a well-planned move to grab 1,100 acres of the Punjab Government by using fraudulent means. Sandeep Singh was arrested by the city police from Muktsar district on Friday and was remanded to judicial custody till May 10 by a local court today.

Sandeep Singh is said to a close relation of a former Akali minister, according to police sources.

On May 26, 1998, Sandeep Singh and late Bharpur Singh had allegedly filed a false petition for the allotment of land in the court of Mr S.S Kharar, Additional Director, Consolidation of Holdings, and Managing Officer (Headquarter), Rehabilitation, Punjab. The petition was supported by affidavits.

It was asserted in the petition that late Mahant Manohar Dass had abandoned about 1,100 acres in Ramparshad village in Montgomery district, now in Pakistan, at the time of Partition and migrated to India before settling down in Fattanwala village. The two also attached a copy of the revenue records obtained from the office of the Director, Land Records, Jalandhar, where the revenue records brought from Pakistan were kept for reference purposes and to verify claims for the allotment of land. However, one of the petitioners, Bharpur Singh, died in December, 2000. This was told by second petitioner, Sandeep Singh, to the court while recording his statement.

During the hearing of the case, Mr Khara became suspicious of the authenticity of the claim and started a scrutiny of all documents at his own level, said sources. Following the checking of records, it came out that the Mahant had never migrated to India and had become a Muslim and got married to a Muslim woman.

The Mahant died in 1952 in Pakistan. Even the Pakistani authorities, responding to a letter sent to them by the Punjab Government way back in 1954, had reported that the Mahant was no more alive, and as the land belonged to the "gaddi" (religious seat), the Deputy Commissioner concerned had appointed a custodian for the land.

However, Bharpur Singh and Sandeep Singh in their petition claimed that the Mahant stayed with them for the past 12 before his death on March 20, 1998. Before his death, he executed a registered will on November 10, 1997, in favour of petitioners giving equal share to both. It was also claimed that the Mahant was a bachelor. The certificate of Mahant's death was also attached with the petition.

The court dismissed the petition. The presiding officer also made comments about the Mahant's death certificate obtained from Muktsar. He recommended criminal proceedings against those involved in the scandal.

The Punjab Government in August last year had requested the Chandigarh Police authorities to register a criminal case. The city police had registered a case under various Sections of the IPC on October 5, 2001. A police team, led by Sub Inspector Jaipraksh Singh, arrested Sandeep Singh from Muktsar District yesterday. The investigations of the case was done by the Economic Offence Wing of the city police under Inspector Mani Ram.



Aggarwal Kapurthala MC vice-president
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 27
Mr Sudesh Kumar Aggarwal, a Congress councillor, was unanimously elected vice-president of the municipal council here. The Congress, SAD and BJP councillors at a joint meeting held today elected Mr Aggarwal.

The meeting was convened following the resignation of Mr Paramjit Singh, vice-president. In the absence of any president of the council because of a court order Mr Paramjit Singh was acting as president of the council.

Four Akali councillors switched their layalities with the Congress and in order to remove Mr Paramjit Singh a no-confidence motion was introduced. But since a compromise was reached between the Congress, SAD and BJP councillors Mr Paramjit Singh tendered his resignation.

Resentment prevails among SAD and BJP workers over the conduct of their councillors, who sided with the Congress. No SAD and BJP worker was present at the time of the election in the office of municipal council.


Fire destroys plantation
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 27
Timber and plantation worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed in a major fire that broke out in Bir Dandrala forest, located on the Dera Bassi-Mukandpur link road, near here, this morning.

Residents of the area said they noticed flames at about 10 am and subsequently fire-tenders from the local fire station were called. A message was also given to the forest authorities at the local Forest Range Office.

A team of firemen under the leadership of Mr Avtar Singh, Fire Officer, reached the spot with a fire-tender to fight the flames. Fire-tenders from SAS Nagar and Ambala were also pressed in to service to extinguish the blaze.

Mr Ramesh Kumar Gujral, Forest Range Officer, said plantation spread over 10 acres of forest land was completely destroyed, while trees of kikar, khair, musket, sheesham and eucalyptus were partially damaged.

He said that five fire incidents were reported in the same forest last year while this was the third incident this year.


Gujral releases literary work

Amritsar, April 27
Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, former Prime Minister, released a set of ten volumes of Punjabi literary works of Punjabi scholar Harbhajan Singh published by the Guru Nanak Dev University at a special function held at Punjabi Bhavan of the Punjabi Sahit Sabha, New Delhi.

Mr Gujral also presented him a cheque of Rs 51,000 as advance royalty on the occasion. Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, MP, presided over the function while Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, welcomed Mr Gujral and other invitees. OC


Traffic over boat bridge closed
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 27
Traffic over the boat bridge, Nussehra Ferry, 17 km from here on the Beas in this district, has been closed to traffic due to the washing away of 70 feet of the bridge yesterday.

The portion was swept away due to sudden concentration of water in a particular area because the contractor had to divert water for undertaking civil works as part of the ongoing construction of a pucca bridge near here.

There is resentment among people particularly those who come from the Mukerian side to Gurdaspur against the suspension of traffic.


Police starts juvenile home
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 27
The local police has started a home for reforming juvenile offender. The home was formally started here yesterday by the DGP, Mr Mehal Singh Bhuller.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Narinder Bhargav, SSP, Tarn Taran, said all police stations in the state would have a juvenile welfare officer of the rank of Sub-Inspector. The officer would deal with juvenile crimes, their prevention and reformation of juvenile offenders. These officers would be given special training to protect the rights of children.

He said a special programme had been started with the cooperation of the Director, PPA, Phillaur, psychologists and legal experts for these officers. These officers would be governed by the provisions of the Juvenile Justice, Care and Protection of Children Act, 2000, he said.


Expert to hold eye camp
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 27
Eminent ophthalmologist Dr Sukhdip Singh Boparai and his team of doctors will conduct a free eye check-up camp at Anand Marg Ashram, Jagdish Colony, here tomorrow at 8 a.m.

Patients requiring phaco-surgery and intraocular lenses will be provided free treatment at the Patiala Eye Hospital and Laser Centre, Leela Bhawan, which has installed the state-of-the-art technology.


Central team to visit mandis
Role of arhtiyas to be studied
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
A team of the Union Ministry of Food and Supplies will be visiting Punjab mandis next week to study the role of arhtiyas (commission agents) in the procurement of wheat and paddy. The team was scheduled to reach today but the visit was postponed because of the Lok Sabha session, according to official sources.

The FCI Chairman, Mr Bhure Lal, had stated a few days ago that the arhtiyas should not be paid commission as they were not rendering useful services.

The team, according to the sources, will study the services being provided by the agents. Officials of the Central Government fell that the services of the arhtiyas should be dispensed with and there should be a direct contact between the seller and the buyer. They also contend that payments are made to the arhtiyas either by the farmers or by the official agencies.

The arhtiyas get the agricultural produce cleaned as the stocks arrive in mandis. After cleaning them they are put to auction and the jobs of filling and weighing the produce in gunny bags are undertaken. The farmers have to pay for the unloading and cleaning of the stocks even though it is the arhtiyas job. The payment for the stitching, weighing and lifting of the stocks is made by the agencies buying the produce. Again, the job is got done by the arhtiyas who get 2.5 per cent commission.

The Punjab Government is in favour of continuing this system. Mr Lal Singh, Minister for Food and Supplies, said the arhtiyas coordinated the entire operations and were an important part of the system. The arhtiyas provide finance to the farmers, arrange for labour for different operations and help the government in the smooth procurement of the produce. We want the system to continue”, he said.

Mr Ranbir Sood, an arhtiya of Khanna mandi, said they were an important component of the system and neither the government nor the farmers could do without their services. “We are providing cheaper services. We also provide finance to the farmers to meet their needs in emergency”, he said.

However, those opposed to this system say the arhtiyas charge a heavy rate of interest from the farmers against advance payments and are responsible for the debt trap in which the farmers find themselves.

The Central Government wants a direct contact between the official agencies and the farmers. 


Irrigation hit as drains collapse
Tribune News Service

A drain (top) when it was constructed about two years ago.
Bottom: Today's view of the drain. 
— Tribune photos

Bathinda, April 27
A section of farmers of Mehma Bhagwana village of this district have been facing irrigation problems as drains constructed by the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation (PSTC) about two years ago, have started collapsing.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that before the authorities concerned could act on the complaint of a resident in connection with the fragile walls of the drains and use of substandard material, a major section of the drains had collapsed.

Mr Tirath Singh Brar, in a complaint to the district officer for the removal of grievances, alleged that sand was not placed along the walls to support them. The amount to be spent on sand had been embezzled by officials in connivance with contractors, he alleged.

He also said due to the use of substandard material, cracks had appeared in the walls of the drains. He demanded action against those guilty. Apart from it, the damaged drains should be reconstructed, he said.

However, before the authorities could do something about it, the walls were found damaged at several places. Big trenches had replaced the drains, causing loss to the farmers as they can not irrigate their fields.

Mr Brar said a major portion of their lands had been rendered unfit for cultivation and had been causing them huge financial loss every year.

No official of the PSTC could be contacted despite repeated efforts. 


ANMs offered loans to purchase mopeds
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 27
Under the Reproductive Child Health (RCH) Sub Project of the Central Government, the district health authorities have launched a programme this week in the district to provide interest-free loans to the auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) for purchasing mopeds (two-wheelers).

Talking to The Tribune here, Dr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, said there were 269 sub-centres in the district where almost equal number of ANMs were performing their duties. He further said a loan of Rs 18,000 per ANM would be provided for purchasing a moped.

Dr Tiwari said the ANMs would have to submit applications to their respective SMOs and MOs to get the loan. However, the draft of the loan amount would be issued in the name of authorised dealer of the moped agency, he added.

Dr Tiwari also urged the ANMs to avail this facility as it would help in increasing their efficiency in the field and added that this was the only district in the state where the project was running.


Kotkapura MC fails to pay salaries
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 27
Following the abolition of octroi in Punjab, the Kotkapura Municipal Council has failed to pay the salary to its 325 employees of different categories during the month of March.

Most of the employees have adopted an agitational approach for getting their monthly salary besides restoration of octroi for the proper functioning of the council.

According to reports available, the council spends nearly Rs 37 lakh every month on salary and other expenses against the total collection of Rs 1.30 crore.

All development works have come to a standstill for the past six months. A source said the Farikot and Jaitu councils had not paid their dues amounting to Rs 11.50 lakh and 12.50 lakh, respectively, to the Kotkapura council.


Mentally challenged raped
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 27
In a bizarre incident of its kind a mentally challenged of Mujahadpur village was allegedly raped by a person of the same village on Thursday.

According to a press note issued today, Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, said Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Mujahadpur village, told the police that while he was returning to his house after working in the fields on Thursday heard the shrieks of the woman from inside the house of Baba Balwinder Singh. This also attracted other persons of the village at the spot. The room from where the shrieks were coming was bolted from inside. Balwinder Singh, alias Sodhi, son of Faqir Chand of the same village was raping the woman. Kulwinder Singh alleged that on seeing the villagers Balwinder Singh jumped through a window of the room.

Mr Dhoke said the woman was mentally unsound for the past more than 10 years and her eye sight was also very weak.

The Kotwali police has arrested Balwinder Singh.


Former MLA, husband booked in graft case
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 27
The city police yesterday registered a case of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Mrs Roop Rani, former MLA from Dinanagar, her husband Munishwar Kumar, and her son Rahul Kumar. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued an order in this regard in August last year. The accused have been on the run since then.

Mr B.K. Uppal, SSP, said here today that according to the case an agreement was reached between the accused and Kulwant Singh, former Sarpanch, Kotli Khehra village, in the district to get three persons employed against a payment of Rs 1 lakh each. Hardyal Singh of Maddewal paid Rs 80,000 for his recruitment as a driver in the Health Department, Lakhwinder Singh of Hayat Nagar paid Rs 70,000 for his recruitment as a clerk in market committee and Rashpal Singh of Kotli Khehra village paid Rs 50,000 for his recruitment as municipal clerk, Dinanagar. All payments were made through Kulwant Singh, but the balance was to be paid after the appointments.

The accused could not manage to get them the promised departments and Kulwant Singh demanded the money back but the accused kept on dilly-dallying on the issue.

Mr Uppal said last year Kulwant Singh filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the accused.

The then SSP deputed Gurdev Singh, SP, Headquarters, to conduct an enquiry into the matter. Subsequently an enquiry was held by Mr Puran Singh Purewal, SP, Headquarters. Both officers found the accused guilty but a case could not be registered against the accused due to political pressure.

When the new SSP took over he deputed Mr Sardool Singh, DSP, control room, to look into the matter and finally a case was registered.


Man strangles, burns sister

Sangrur, April 27
In a rare devilish act, a man strangulated his widow sister and burnt her body on the pyre earlier this week, while the murder came to light today with the police solving the entire case at Kumberwal village in the district.

According to the police, accused Jarnail Singh had throttled his sister to death on April 17 and secretly burnt the body after he came to know that the deceased had allegedly been “involved in sexual affairs for money”.

The brother had killed the young widow, a mother of a 10-year-old child, with the help of his friend Balbir Singh. Both culprits have been arrested and the case registered at Sherpur police station. UNI


Two cops hurt in firing
Tribune News Service

Kot-ise-Khan (Moga), April 27
Two Head Constables of the Punjab police were injured when some scooter-borne persons opened fire at them on being signalled to stop for checking near Dauelwala village yesterday. Three persons have been arrested in this regard.


Seminar on human values
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 27
“Teachers and parents should teach human values to schoolchildren and this education should continue upto college and professional institutes,” said the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission of Punjab, Dr S.S. Johl.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Integration of Human Values in Technical Education’ organised by the College Section of the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) in Baba Banda Singh Bhadhur Engineering College of Fatehgarh Sahib yesterday.

He said degrading human values caused him much concern and corruption was the product of degrading human values only. He also said society could produce good engineers, doctors and administrators, but not good citizens due to a lack of discipline and proper management.

The Executive Director of the ISTE, Dr H.P. Sinha, said the ISTE was for the career guidance of students and teachers and believed that human values should be taught along with technical courses, so that, engineering graduates could become good citizens.

A lecturer of the Government College of Malerkotla, Dr M. Rafi organised a painting exhibition at the seminar to show the rich culture of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Chandigarh. He said teachers should produce administrators with human values for a better administration.

The college Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, said technocrats were responsible for making society better, so, they should be more concerned about delivering the best. He said benefits of all technological developments should reach rural folk.

Prof Gurpal Singh and Prof Divya of the college, in their joint address, said technology should not remain confined to the technologist, but go back to society that developed him or her. They stressed the need for creating society where everyone had technology in brain and human values in heart. Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, member secretary of the trust, welcomed all delegates.

Principals of various engineering colleges of the region and the other delegates who had come from all over north India also delivered lectures on human values. Dr Hira, in his concluding address, said social evils revealed flaws in our education system.


Kendriya Vidyalaya celebrates annual day
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 27
Kendriya Vidyalayas all over India have been keeping up their glorious tradition of grooming persons of stature not only in defence forces of India but also in other walks of life.

These views were expressed by Wing Cdr Satvir Rana, Station Commander, Air Force Station Barnala, as well as the Chairman of the local Kendriya Vidyalaya Managing Committee, today while addressing the faculty members, parents and students on the occasion of Annual Day celebration of the school.

Wing Cdr Rana who was the chief guest gave away prizes to students who had excelled in academic and extra-curricular activities during the last academic session (2001-2002). Earlier, welcoming the chief guest and the guests Mr H.P. Tarar, Principal, readout the annual report of the school.


Camp concludes
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 27
Fifty girls from Kapurthala, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar districts attended a five-day camp which concluded at Palahi Polytechnic here yesterday. The camp imparted training in the repair, operation and maintenance of electrical goods. 


Raids on schools continue
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 27
In a move initiated by the state government to ensure zero absenteeism in government offices, officials of the Vigilance Bureau yesterday raided as many as 45 government schools, including 18 primary schools, four middle schools, 14 high schools and nine senior secondary schools, here.

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