Sunday, May 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



All set for MC poll today
Voter lists still not exhaustive: State EC
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
When four municipal corporation towns — Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala — in Punjab go to poll tomorrow, many genuine voters will still not be able to exercise their franchise.

Some of the parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, have expressed apprehensions about large-scale bogus voting tomorrow.

For these “unfortunate voters”, it will be the second “successive denial of their fundamental right” as they were not able to exercise their franchise even during the Assembly elections in February this year.

While the preparation of electoral rolls for the municipal and panchayat elections is the sole responsibility of the State Election Commission, it is the Election Commission of India which has to supervise the preparation and revision of electoral rolls for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Since a substantially large number of people were denied voting rights during the last February Assembly elections, the state government had set up an inquiry commission under Mr R.P.S. Pawar, Principal Secretary, to fix responsibility as to who were the officials responsible for the deletion of names of eligible voters from electoral rolls in various Assembly constituencies.

The commission is yet to submit its report. The President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, in a letter addressed to the State Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains, has alleged that a large number of bogus voters have been enrolled mischievously on the eve of the municipal corporation elections in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala.

“Taking note of the misdeeds viz bogus voting and rigging by the ruling party in the Malout election, people apprehend repetition of the same tomorrow. I am, therefore, to request you to please ensure free and fearless polling tomorrow by keeping an eye on bogus voters so as to prevent them from spoiling the atmosphere by adversely affecting the choice of the people through unfair means,” he said in his letter.

In the meanwhile, an equally large number of complaints have started pouring in the office of the State Election Commission as the four municipal towns are going to poll tomorrow.

The holding of elections to panchayat samitis and zila parishads has also been notified for June 30.

Mr C.L.Bains confirmed that certain reports had come from some of the districts in the state that for various reasons genuine eligible voters had not been enrolled and in certain cases wrongful deletions had been made as a result of which the genuine voters were going to suffer and would lose their right to vote.

“It has been decided to extend the period of enrollment of genuinely left out voters from May 17 to 25. All Deputy Commissioners in the entire state have been intimated to this effect. If the additional genuine voters are enrolled, supplements containing their names will be published at the end of this period.

“It is also for the information of the public that it can file claims and objections before the authorities concerned during this period. The directions have been issued under Sections 31 and 32 of the State Election Commission Act, 1994, which empowers the commission to issue such directions,” Mr Bains added.


Voter registration date extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The Chief Election Commissioner, Mr C. L. Bains, has extended the date for inviting claims and objections, if any, in respect of registration of voters for the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections till May 25. He has sent directions in this regard to all deputy commissioners to afford an opportunity to all such “genuine” voters and only then publish the voter’s list the next day.

This directive, Mr Bains said was the outcome of an on-the-spot verification by the Commission Secretary, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, who was specially deputed for the purpose, following a complaint lodged with the commission by the Akali MLA from Gidderbaha, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal. “We have found substance in the complaint. Since there were similar complaints from several other parts of the state as well, Mr Sidhu has been asked to proceed to Amritsar and Gurdaspur villages as well. The complaints were from Baba Bakala, Harsha Chinna, Chugawan and other places”, he added.

Mr Bains said once he got a comprehensive report from Mr Sidhu, he would proceed to pin-point those officials who were responsible for such glaring lapses.

Meanwhile, Mr Manpreet Singh told TNS that there had been violations in the registration of voters in his Assembly segment, Gidderbaha, following which he made a written complaint to the commission. The commission, he appreciated, took immediate steps and the inquiry officer was asked to look into three aspects: non-inclusion of names of Akali supporters and voters in the voter’s list; deletion of names of known Akalis from the existing rolls; and registration of bogus voters in the new electoral rolls.

Mr Sidhu had visited the Gidderbaha constituency on May 16 and 17.

Mr Manpreet Singh has termed the action ordered by Mr Bains as vindication of his claim that there was a large-scale systematic conspiracy to subvert the election process and deprive the people of their right to exercise their franchise as enshrined in the Constitution of India. The Akali Dal has appealed to all its voters and supporters to take advantage of the one-week extension granted by the commission to get themselves registered.


Voters seek facilities, not liquor, from candidates
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 18
Instead of being wooed over by liquor and other intoxicants, the people of the city have put candidates trying their luck in the Municipal Corporation election in a fix by asking for community facilities on the spot rather than waiting for them to be elected to fulfil their promises.

“It is the sign of the times”, says Sarita Devi of Achar Bazar. “Faith in politicians is at a low ebb and the people want them to fulfil their demands before they cast voters in their favour. Right now we have power over them which everyone feels would not be there after the elections”, she added.

Candidates have been swamped with requests from the electorate to provide them with common facilities this time around. These include requests to provide drinking water taps and tubelights, besides other electrical fittings. While some of the candidates have got around this question by saying they will provide the facilities but have not been true to their word, others have got the facilities already working. These include Independent candidate Seema Sharma from ward number 19 who has donated tubelights worth thousands of rupees in her ward.

Sources said a lot of awareness had been created in the city on the importance of the corporation vote and people were generally not inclined to vote for anyone just because he would distribute liquor in the last few days of electioneering. In fact people have started developing an aversion to candidates who want to buy their votes, said Deepak Kumar, another resident.

It is probably for the first time that candidates have come forward with solid proposals of the development work they want to do in their wards once they are elected. This, residents said, was missing earlier, when votes were also demanded on party or personal lines.

The Congress has purposely also come out with a detailed programme on the eve of the polls to drive home this point. District Congress Committee president Ved Prakash Gupta said the party would provide proper sewerage system drinking water supply, widening and repair of roads, improvement in street lights and senitation conditions by remodelling the manner in which the entire development was taking place.

Mr Gupta said the corporation if headed by the Congress would use its good offices to persuade the state government to take special care of institutions like Rajindra Hospital, Mata Kaushalya Hospital and T.B. Hospital. He said the state government would also be urged to upgrade the working of Punjabi University, Punjab Public Service Commission, Languages Department, Punjab State Electricity Board and Archives Department. He said the issue of providing a bigger aerodrome in the city as well as construction of other facilities like a ring road would also be taken up with the government.

In direct contrast the Akali-BJP alliance has failed to come out with any common programme for the development of the city. No manifesto of the likely programme to be followed in case of victory of the combine has been released so far. Ex-CM Parkash Singh Badal also preferred to speak about the injustices meted out to the state instead of outlaying any concrete plan for development of the city during a number of rallies recently.


It’s IAS vs Vigilance Bureau now
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The issue of ‘’streamlining’’ of the Vigilance machinery is threatening to snowball into a major controversy between the IAS and the IPS. A lot of heat has been generated over the March, 2000, ‘’guidelines’’ that stipulate that the Vigilance should proceed on the complaints received by it only when cleared by the two committees set up for the purpose, one for gazetted and the other for non-gazetted officers. This had virtually gagged the Vigilance since then. It perceives these to be ‘’illegal’’ and violative of the provisions of the Cr PC and the IPC.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at his press conference on May 15 was asked if there were two laws operating in the state, one for IAS officers and the other for ordinary gazetted officers. The context was why an IAS officer, Mr R. Venkatratnam, whose name figured in the FIR, had not been arrested while a Chief Engineer, Mr Baldev Singh, and the DDPO, Mr Kuldip Singh, both gazetted officers in the Department of Rural Development and Panchyats, had been arrested when the case against the three was the same.

Faced with a volley of questions, Capt Amarinder Singh said he had asked the Chief Secretary, Mr Y S Ratra, to look into the ‘’guidelines’’ and put up the same for review by the Council of Ministers.

Despite what the Chief Minister said the Punjab State IAS Officers Association president, Mr B.R. Bajaj, has shot off a note to the Chief Secretary, opposing any move to scrap those ‘’guidelines’’. His 15-point, six-page note takes exception to the manner in which the Vigilance Bureau has rubbished the ‘’guidelines’’, dubbing them ‘’illegal’’. The note supports the continuation of the committees to screen complaints.

This unsavoury controversy in the context of Mr Venkatratnam has come at a point of time when the Chief Minister has just tried to cap the raging war of words between the Vigilance and Intelligence wings, over the PPSC recruitment scam.

Despite the March 2000, ‘’guidelines’’, the fact is that all inquiries, regular or preliminary, against IAS officers have remained inconclusive till date. The names of at least 30 IAS officers figure in the list of Vigilance Bureau inquiries that remain incomplete. These IAS officers face charges of acquisition of assets disproportionate to their known sources of income or allegations relating to offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act read with the Indian Penal Code and any other Act. Till date, no IAS officer has been convicted. And these ‘’guidelines’’ act as yet another ‘’safety valve’’.

In fact, even prior to the ‘’guidelines’’, the system was to refer the inquiries to the government. But the files never returned. If these did, there was a long delay.

Informed sources say that the Vigilance Bureau virtually came to a standstill after the ‘’guidelines’’. For instance, out of 5,300 complaints received (between January 1, 2000, and May 14, 2002), 4,400 were sent to the Vigilance Department (government), which further sent 1,850 to the administrative departments concerned. Now 950 are pending with the government and 1,350 were filed. On “source report,” of 420 complaints sent to the authorities concerned, 262 are still pending. Likewise, a total of 160 complaints for Vigilance inquiry were sent to the government, which allowed only 11 and the remaining are pending. For prosecution, 520 cases were registered and 90 were sent for sanction to the government. Of those 39 are still pending and six were received back with some observations. Another 18 were rejected.

The association’s note has suggested that the Vigilance Bureau should be made a ‘’multi-service organisation’’ reflecting its technical and administrative capabilities and should be considered a “repository” of all wisdom.

While applauding the tirade against corruption, the association president’s note says it needed full cooperation of the public, the media, the judiciary and the majority of honest and sincere government servants. Therefore, ‘’screening by the committees was necessary to ensure that honest government servants were not held to ransom. Officers of the Vigilance Department do not come from another planet—they are as likely to yield to temptation as others’’.

The note also refers to the association’s stand on Mr Venkatratnam. ‘’I may like to clarify that it is not the case of this association that the conduct of IAS officers is not to be looked into, but certainly there should be a system of checks and balances....”

Mr Bajaj has given justification why the administrative departments concerned should be associated with inquires. Registering FIRs on flimsy grounds or the so-called ‘’source reports’’ is opposed to by the association. Inter alia, the note says: ‘’Corruption has existed despite the existence of the Vigilance Bureau. It is not that the bureau has been newly set up, and it has just started functioning to root out corruption. This bureau has existed with the same number of senior and junior officers, and other staff, and what has been the contribution can be gauged by the rampant corruption. Two very important aspects are: attention to streamlining of procedures and monitoring systems and elimination of discretion and opaqueness...If every SHO is allowed the freedom to register an FIR against and arrest any employee, including a senior officer, people will leave the government...’’

Under the given circumstances, it remains to be seen how the Chief Minister now resolves this new controversy involving the IAS and the IPS.


Sidhu’s plea on jail dismissed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 18
A local court today dismissed an application moved by the controversial Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman, Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, to detain him at the local Model Burail Jail instead of the Central Jail, Patiala, where he is presently lodged. Sidhu was produced in cases under the Excise and Arms Acts registered against him.

The accused was produced in the court of UT Judicial Magistrate( First Class), Mr Sanjay Sandhir, at about 2.05 p.m but the magistrate directed the Punjab police, who brought him from Patiala, to produce him again in the court at 3 p.m.

When Sidhu was produced in the court again, he turned down the request of the UT police to let it take his finger prints and foot marks in two different cases under the Excise and Arms Act registered against him. Thereafter the counsel for the accused pleaded before the court that Sidhu had spent most of his life in Chandigarh and, therefore, he should be detained in the Model Burail Jail so that his family members and relatives could easily met him there. He added that because of the fear of the Vigilance Department, Sidhu’s relatives had not been able to meet him in the Patiala Jail.

Claiming that Sidhu’s life was in danger at the Patiala jail, the counsel further argued that two co-accused in the case, Pammi and Dheera, lodged in the Central Jail, Patiala, were hostile to him and consequently his life could be in danger. The other reasons stated by Sidhu to detain him in the Model Burail Jail were that his counsel could not afford to meet him at the Patiala Jail frequently, which deprived him of legal services. He also stated in his plea that once his lawyer, who had visited him at the Central Jail, Patiala, had to wait outside the jail for more than an hour.

Taking a plea that his only daughter was alone at home and had nobody to look after her, Sidhu also pleaded before the magistrate that he be lodged in the Burail jail, so that his daughter could meet him.

After hearing the arguments, the magistrate dismissed Sidhu’s plea and further remanded him in judicial custody till May 29 under the Excise and Arms Acts.


Notification on Sidhu on anvil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The Union Law Ministry has vetted the notification for the “removal” of the Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman, Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, it is reliably learnt. The Punjab Government had sent a letter to the President of India seeking the removal of Mr Sidhu as the PPSC Chairman following unearthing of the recruitment scam. The President, in return, had referred the same to the Prime Minister’s Office and further to the Law Ministry, which will refer it back to the President.


Govt wants Badal’s NSG cover withdrawn
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 18
The Punjab Government has written to the Union Home Ministry to withdraw NSG security cover of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister.

At the same time, the Punjab Government has retained the Z plus security cover of Mr Badal, Mr KPS Gill, a former Punjab police chief, now security adviser to the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, President, All-India Anti-terrorist Front.

Refuting Mr Badal’s, charge that the state Government was curtailing his security Mr Rajinder Singh, IG (Security), Punjab told The Tribune today that the former Chief Minister was still enjoying the security cover.

He disclosed that there were six vehicles with Mr Badal including one bullet-proof car, one Contessa car has been provided to him as Leader of the Opposition, one Gypsy car has been given to him by the state Transport Commissioner as an MLA and two escort gypsies. One SP rank officer has been looking after his security and he has plus 40 police men as security cover. Besides, there are 26 NSG personnel in his security outfit. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of the former Chief Minister also enjoys Z plus security.

Against this, Mr Rajinder Singh said that the security of present Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is low by 40 per cent.

The security outfit of the Chief Minister is headed by an officer of the rank of a DIG and a Battalion police personnel placed at his disposal for use as security cover to the Chief Minister and his family members.

After reviewing the security cover of the VVIPS and other categories of people in the state, the Punjab Police authorities are now reviewing the security cover of police officers allegedly having strong contingent of police men to look after them.

Security provided to different sects like Namdharis, Nirankaris and Radha Soamis has also been retained. According to Mr Rajinder Singh surprise cheeks were being made to ensure that the security cover was not misused by persons having the same.

He said that they had also started educating the security personnel and he was also having interaction with the district police chiefs in this regard.

Mr Rajinder Singh revealed that the Punjab Police was also filing petitions in the high court and the Supreme Court seeking review of the security cover provided to the persons under directions from the high court and the Supreme Court. There were about 114 such persons who had been provided security cover under directions from the courts. As many as 40 review petitions had been filed so far. Meanwhile the state Transport Department has also curtailed the expenditure and the number of vehicles provided to the ministers and the legislators.

According to Mr S.S. Gill, State Transport Commissioner, the MLAs have been provided with Sumo Tata jeeps and gypsies with diesel of 300 litres and petrol of 250 litres every month. The State Government has also withdrawn one gypsy car as escort against two which were given earlier to the ministers.


Attack on Badal: Punjab police in dock
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 18
The alleged attack on former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is under high Z plus security cover, by a police constable at a public function on Wednesday night has put a question mark on the efficiency of the police besides confusing as on one hand Mr Badal has asserted that he was attacked, and on the other, the Jalandhar police has asserted that the inebriated constable had not leapt forward to attack the former Chief Minister but had been “celebrating” his promotion due in the near future.

The mystery attack on Mr Badal has further deepened with the conflicting views of Mr Badal, who had reportedly maintained at Patiala on Friday that since his security was being curtailed he was attacked in Jalandhar on Wednesday night, and the categorical assertion of the Jalandhar police, denying that the constable leapt towards Mr Badal during a rally at Preet Nagar locality with an intention to harm or to attack him.

More mysterious is the theory of the Jalandhar police that the constable, later identified as Mandip Singh of the PAP, was having a small knife, used for cutting vegetables, and that too was recovered from him by the NSG commandoes after the incident, and was handed over to the police authorities by the NSG commandoes to the SHO police division no-4 later.

The police authorities, quoting statements of the NSG commandoes, also asserted that initial reports that Mandip had broken a bottle with an intention to use it as a weapon. The police authorities, which on one side had said that Mandip was booked for his unruly behaviour, tried to give the impression that Mandip and his family was loyal to the SAD and particularly, former Punjab minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan. How a VIP with plus security was attacked in such a manner and how a person, armed with a knife managed to reach close to Mr Badal, with so many Punjab Police officials on duty at the spot and how were they unable to detect that he was drunk as maintained by the district police. It was not the Punjab Police, but the NSG commandoes, which had overpowered the constable, barely five feet away when he had allegedly brandished his knife. Another aspect of the episode that norms, according to sources in police, specified that some senior police officer should be present at the venue a VIP, with a Z plus security cover was to visit. But it was not so and the venue was said to be supervised by just a DSP. SSP Paramjit Singh Gill was not available for comment despite repeated efforts.


Private tuitions: teachers in a fix
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, May 18
Private tuitions have closed down in the city but teachers are under pressure to either restart these or pay back the thousands of rupees they have taken from each student as advance sum for the six-month to one-year capsule courses in various subjects.

Sources said students were pursuing mathematics and science teachers of the two main colleges in the city for the resumption tuitions as they had made advance payments to the teachers. Some teachers were also under pressure to teach individual students from whom they had taken money.

A student on condition of anonymity confessed that he had paid Rs 10,000 for a one-year course in mathematics from a famous lecturer. He said normally students paid anything between Rs 500 and 1000 every month and half of the total sum had to be paid in advance.

Reacting strongly to private tuitions menace, Mr S.R. Sahni, former principal of Modi College said such tuitions had led to the decline in the “classroom culture”. Have a look at the classrooms of teachers who hold private tuitions and you will see pathetically low attendance.

The reason being that private tuitions begin in April whereas the session begins late in July and most of the syllabus is covered privately before classes begin. As a result, the students have become non-serious as far as attending their classes goes, he says.

Mr Sahni says we can learn to curb this menace from Haryana which uses constant monitoring and deterrent action as a means to containing private tuitions. He says, “as schools in villages have been placed under the supervision of the panchayats, similarly a body of responsible citizens in every district should be formed by the authorities to monitor tuitions and report to the officials concerned . Parents are to be blamed equally for the situation and only collective will and action can help eradicate this menace.”

Neither the residents nor the academicians believe that holding private tuitions will end on its own especially in wake of the arrests of at least 40 college teachers from all over the state for running private tuition centres.

Though private tuitions imparted by college teachers had been banned by the state government some time ago, lecturers mainly in Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, Botany, Maths and Commerce could be seen flouting the ban with impunity and the scores of vehicles parked around their houses revealed that the number of students taking private tuitions far exceeded the number of students who attended classes.

Academicians seem to be divided on the issue. Some lecturers argue that if government doctors could indulge in private practice why are private tuitions being targeted by the government. They also hold that private tuitions are beneficial to students who need extra time and effort apart from what the time table provides. The majority feels that private tuitions are a menace and should be banned.

Another lecturer at Punjabi University opines that the case of few weak students taking tuitions could be justified but how to justify the whole class going for tuitions. Teachers are also perturbed at the clause that says that if teachers of government-aided colleges are caught for indulging in private tuitions, the aid to the college will be stopped.

The teaching community feels that stringent action like suspension and holding an enquiry against those arrested on such charges could contain private tuitions to some extent.


Tohra urges ‘clean’ Akalis to unite
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), has given a call to all “clean” Akalis to come together on a single platform to fight against the “tainted” Akali leadership.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Tohra said certain “tainted” Akali leaders had blemished the image of the Sikh Panth. The need of the hour was to salvage the image of the Panth, he said.

Coming down heavily on Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Tohra said the SHSAD had raised the issue of corruption in the Punjab Public Service Commission during the regime of Mr Badal but to no avail. He said after the arrest of the PPSC Chairman by the Vigilance Bureau, his stand stood vindicated.

Mr Tohra said the releasing of two letters written by Mr Badal to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for recommending the name of Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu for the Union Public Service Commission had exposed the “unholy alliance” between Mr Badal and the PPSC chief.

Mr Tohra urged the Sikh masses to observe the anniversary of Operation Bluestar on June 6 by organising “paths”.


No-trust against MC chief fails
Our Correspondent

Budhlada (Mansa), May 18
No-confidence motion against Ms Savita Yadav, Municipal Council chief, Budhlada was defeated when none of the opposition members who moved the motion turn up to attend the meeting. The opposition members had moved no-confidence motion on April 26 and a meeting to discuss the motion was held it was attended by six members of the Congress party supporters of the Municipal Council chief Ms Savita Yadav a senior Congress leader of the district.

None of the opposition SAD-BJP members including Mr Harbant Singh Datewas, MLA Budhlada came to attend the meeting. The opposition needed 10 votes to pass the vote of no-confidence.


Badal should quit: Bajwa
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
Mr Partap Singh Bajwa PWD Minister, has asked the former Chief Minister (Mr Badal) to “quit politics in public interest” before he faces humiliation and public wrath.

Mr Bajwa said Mr Badal’s statements sound hollow in the face of the letters written by him to the Prime Minister, seeking the elevation of tainted PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu to the UPSC.


Extra charges for corner flats illegal: forum
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 18
In a judgement that could provide relief to real-estate buyers across the state, the District Consumer Forum has held as illegal the charging of an extra amount from allottees of corner flats.

In his application before the forum, Mr Suraj Prakash, a local resident, alleged that he applied for the allotment of A-II category flat in Giani Zail Singh Nagar of the Ropar Improvement Trust under the self-financing scheme. The price of the flat was fixed at Rs 4,10,000. He paid an earnest money of Rs 41,000 as 10 per cent of the selling price to the trust. Another instalment of Rs 65,000 as 15 per cent of the cost was paid later.

After making full payment, he was allotted flat No. 77 on the ground floor in the locality. However, while allotting the flat, an extra amount of Rs 41,000 was demanded by the trust authorities. The extra amount was demanded on the plea that the complainant had been allotted the corner flat and he should pay 10 per cent of the selling price extra for the special privilege, he said.

The complainant, alleging that the extra amount demanded by the trust was illegal, demanded that the trust authorities should be directed not to charge the amount.

The trust authorities, in their reply before the forum, maintained that their demand of extra cost for the corner flat was legal. They asserted that the complaint was not maintainable and the forum had no jurisdiction to try the case.

After mulling over the facts presented in the case, the forum comprising its president, Mr J.P. Gupta and members, Mr S.K. Bhatia and Ms M.K. Chawla, held that in the advertisement given by the Improvement Trust for the sale of flats, it was not mentioned that the allottees getting corner flats would have to pay 10 per cent extra amount. The corner flat had no extra facility which could justify the extra cost, it said.

The Department of Local Bodies of the Punjab Government, in a communication to the Improvement Trust, had also pointed out that it could not charge 10 per cent extra for the corner flat. A memorandum of the Punjab Department of Local Government, issued on August 30, 1996, also states that 10 per cent extra charges for the corner flats are not in consonance with the provisions under Rule 6 of the Punjab Town Improvement (utilisation of land and allotment of plots) Rules, 1983.

The trust authorities were charging the extra cost on the basis of a memorandum of the Punjab Government, issued on November 5, 2001, which states that on reconsideration it has been decided that additional cost of 10 per cent be recovered from the allottees of corner flats as per the terms of the advertisement. The memorandum was not sufficient to charge extra costs from allottees on the plea that it had been issued in abstensia of the complainants and the advertisement did not mention the clauses in dispute, the forum maintained.

On the basis of the facts, the forum directed the Improvement Trust authorities to revoke the extra demand of 10 per cent from corner flat allottees. It also awarded the complainant Rs 1,000 as case costs The judgement is to be complied within 30 days.


Police told to observe Cr PC provisions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Issuing notice of motion for May 21 on a petition accusing the Ludhiana police of torturing “poor labourers” in connection with the “brutal murder” of an eight-year-old boy —Sanjog Mr Justice K.S. Garewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the police to observe the provisions of the CrPC while making arrest in connection with the incident.

In his petition against the state of Punjab, besides Ludhiana’s Deputy Superintendent of Police and three other police officials, Mr A.N. Mishra of Moti Nagar had earlier alleged that the cops, instead of taking any action or conducting investigation in the matter, had registered two FIRs against the labourers for creating terror, besides covering inefficiency of the police in handling the law and order situation.

Elaborating upon his contention, the petitioner had claimed that the police, instead of catching the “real culprits”, was taking into custody the “relatives of the family whose minor son had been murdered”.

He had added that most of the labourers, as a result of the police atrocities, were not going to their work. Some had even gone into hiding after locking their jhuggis.

His counsel had added that over 26 persons had been sent to jail. Some others had been illegally detained in different police stations without intimation to their relatives.

Referring to a news item, she had submitted that the police had “fixed a target of arresting about 150 persons”. The officials had, however, failed to disclose the names and whereabouts of the persons they wanted to take in custody, she had asserted.

Going into the background of the case, she had claimed that Sanjog had been kidnapped at about 7.40 am soon after he left his residence near Vardhman Colony. The student never returned, she had concluded.


Bail pleas of Chief Engineer, DDPO rejected
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 18
The bail applications of Mr Baldev Singh, Chief Engineer, Panchayati Raj, Punjab, and Mr Kuldip Singh, DDPO, allegedly involved in a recruitment scam regarding the appointments of junior engineers in the Punjab Rural Development and Panchayats Department, were today rejected by Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, here.

The bail applications were filed on May 3 by the accused who are at present in judicial custody.

According to sources, the Special Judge in his order mentioned that prima facie in his opinion the accused if released on bail were likely to interfere in the evidence being collected by the investigation, or they might create obstruction in the functioning of the investigating agency. And there was also possibility of their absconding.

The Judge observed in the order that it was prima-facie evident that the departmental selection committee, constituted for recruitment of the junior engineers had not performed its functions properly and committed irregularities in the selection of candidates, prepared forged record, and accepted the applications of the candidates after the expiry of last date for the receipt of applications.


63 cases settled
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
A Lok Adalat was held here today during which 10 courts were held and 63 cases were settled. Mr B.C. Rajput, District and Sessions Judge-cum Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority, presided over the adalat.

The adalat settled accident claim cases family disputes, civil suits, rent dispute cases, criminal cases.

Mr Rajput said the people should go to the Lok Adalats for easy and early settlement of their cases. He said besides the special Lok adalats held from time-to-time a Lok adalat was held every Saturday at the local courts.

Mr Karnail Singh and Mr S.K. Garg, Additional Sessions Judges, Mr Gurbir Singh, Civil Judge (SR), Mr Surinder Mohan, CJM, Mr Harjinder Paul Singh, Additional Civil Judge, Ms Manjot Kaur, Ms Poonam Ratti, Ms Preeti Sukhija and Mr Daljeet Singh Rahlan, Civil Judges (JD), Mr Raj Bhupinder Singh, president, Bar Association, besides the managers of different banks were present.


SAD leader refused bail

Moga, May 18
Nadharak Singh Brar, senior Youth Akali Dal leader and member of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), working committee, who was arrested by the police on May 13, was refused bail by the a local court today.

The court of Mr K.K. Bansal, Judicial Magistrate (First Class) observed that since the punishment of the offence is 14 years and beyond the purview of the court hence the bail was refused.

Mr Brar was arrested in Moga district on the night of May 13 as the court declared him a proclaimed offender in a case registered against him on the complaint of a principal of a government college for alleged theft of university examination paper and answersheets from the office of the principal in 1984. PTI


Accused battles for life
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 18
Sikinder Singh, resident of Multania village of this district, 10 km from here, is battling for his life in a private hospital after he was released from the local central jail after he was granted bail in a case registered against him under the Excise Act.

His family is finding it difficult to arrange money to shift him to a hospital in Ludhiana.

Bhagat Singh, brother-in-law of Sikinder Singh, talking to TNS, said Sikinder Singh was still unconscious.

Sources said Sikinder Singh was arrested about a week ago and was sent to jail. Yesterday, he was granted bail and the jail authorities released him even though his condition was serious and glucose had been injected into him within the jail premises.

When he reached home, his family took him to hospital.

However, due to lack of money he cannot be shifted to Ludhiana.

Mr Swaran Singh, Jail Superintendent, said Sikinder Singh was a drug addict and was feeling weak as he could not get drugs in the jail. He said Sikinder Singh was given due medicare in the jail, adding that the jail authorities could not keep any undertrial in the jail after bail had been granted.


PR man’s murder: 4 get life term
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 18
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Additional Sessions Judge, Ropar, has sentenced four persons, namely — Sadhu Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Jaspal Singh and Dalwinder Singh, all residents of Parol village in Kharar tehsil of this district, to life under Section 302/34 of the IPC for murdering an employee of the Punjab Public Relations Department Santokh Singh of the same village.

The Judge has also ordered them to pay a fine of Rs 5000/- each and in default of payment of fine. They would further undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years each.

The court also awarded rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years to all above accused and ordered them to pay a fine of Rs 3000 each under Section 460/34 of the IPC.

The court also awarded rigorous imprisonment to all accused under Section 324/34 of the IPC for a period of one year each and fine of Rs 1000 each. All sentences, shall run concurrently.

Santokh Singh, the deceased, was attacked in his house at Parol village on July 29, 1999 at 9.15 p.m. by Sadhu Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Jaspal Singh and Dalwinder Singh with sharp-edged weapons. At that time his son, Gurmeet Singh, was also sitting with him while Gurmeet’s brother, Gurmukh Singh, was also present in the house.

At the time of attack on Santokh Singh, his son Gurmeet Singh, tried to rescue his father and got an injury on his right hand.

In the meanwhile, other family members of the deceased came out after hearing the noise, on this the accused ran away from the spot along with their weapons. Due to the injuries Santokh Singh fell down and later on he was taken to the PGI at Chandigarh where he died next morning.


Water shortage hits Pathankot
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 18
Resentment prevails among local residents over the water supply in the area. People living on the first or second floors are the worst hit. The water pressure is low and the pumps supply has receded by 50 per cent.

The failure of the Public Health Department to complete the augmentation of water supply schemes has added to the woes.

Local residents blame politicians for their sufferings.

The shortage is attributed to the low level, which is unprecedented, says Executive Officer of the local municipal council.

But according to the reporter, 17 villages in the two subdivisions have been hit by the water scarcity and if there is no rain in the coming few days the situation may aggravate further.

Mr Ashok Sharma, local MLA, when contacted, accused the president of the MC of mismanaging the funds of the council.


Patialvis may have to pay more to watch soccer World Cup
Sukant Deepak

RESIDENTS of Patiala and adjoining areas may well miss seeing the Soccer World Cup live scheduled to start on May 31 in South Korea as the major cable operators in the city are yet to decide on whether to take transmission right of the event from the Ten Sport channel, which is beaming the soccer bonanza exclusively.

The cable operators are still to hold meetings with their subsidiaries on the issue. They said the consumers will have to pay extra to see the World Cup as none of the cable operators have the requisite permission to air Ten Sport, a pay channel which has the exclusive transmission rights for the same.

The cable operators in the area informed that if the subscribers wish to access the Ten Sport channel they should be ready to shell out Rs 15 extra to the already prevailing cable rate which fluctuates between Rs 100 and Rs 200 depending on the competition in different areas.

Onwer of the largest cable network in the city, Mr Naresh Mittal, whose City Cable Opera (CCO) has an approximate 80% reach here, complains that television networks which have exclusive rights for such mega sports events insist on exorbitant high rates from the cable operators, not considering the customer base which cribs even if there is a small increase in the subscription fee owning to the routine increase in expenditure or the latest trends of channels becoming pay channels whenever they get such exclusive rights.

“ESPN was the first sports channel that started with this pay channel concept. Now almost every channel is on the road to become one, which means that the subscriber will ultimately be forced to shell out more” he said. He further said that unlike before, when the cable networks had to pay Rs 25 per month to the entertainment channels, the latest rate is approximately Rs 90 per subscriber. He claimed that the customers are not being charged as per the increase in rates and the latest guidelines by the Indian Cable & Broadcasting Federation (ICBF) which has asked the cable operators to charge a minimum of Rs 360 per month.

Commenting on what he called the “unfair” means adopted by different channels, Mr Mittal, citing the failed ‘blackout’ drive against Star Television Network in its face of the increased rates by the latter recently, said that big television networks do not let any cable operators association strive. He alleged that at that time the Star Television Network allowed some cable operators in the region to transmit its channels free of cost and consequently all the other cable networks had to follow suit due to intense customer pressure to retransmit.


Stray dog menace in villages
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 18
Stray dogs roaming near grounds where bodies & dead animals are disposed of have become a nuisance after killing of more than 250 stray dogs, following incidents of eating up of a minor girl and aged person at Alamgarh village by dogs in April, the Health Department on the request of villagers on Thursday again killed more than 100 stray dogs at Tajapatti and Roohrianwali villagers.

Dr K.L. Midha of Seetogunno said he had received several complaints from different villages relating to stray dogs. Mr Krishan Lal, Sarpanch of Tajapatti village said the dogs had become a big nuisance particularly for the farmers who had to irrigate fields late night or before sunrise. The dogs target cattle also. Some of animals had started suffering from rabies, villagers said. At Khuyiansarwer village an aged woman survived an attack by stray digs when she was coming back from fields after delivering meals to family members, Mr Surjit Singh, a resident said.

Some residents of Alamgarh village maintained that stray dogs roaming near Sayyedwala and Dhani Chirag bordering Killianwali would have to be eliminated to tackle the menace. The problem, Mr Sampuran Singh (85), said was that the area had completely lost vultures due to excessive spray pesticides on cotton and other crops, then who would clean “Haddaroris” stinking for the past few years.


International Museum Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 18
The International Museum Day was celebrated in collaboration with the International Council of Museums at the Archaeological Museum, here today.

On this occasion, the museum also organised essay, good handwriting, general awareness and painting competitions. Mr J.M. Thapar, Assistant Superintendent of the museum, and Mr Mahinder Jain, a social worker, gave the prizes to the winners.

Manpreet Kaur from Shivalik Public School got the first prize in the essay competition while Ashish Raina, also from the same school, secured the first position in the general awareness competition.

The painting and good handwriting competitions were won by Parwinder Kaur Walia from Shivalik Public School and Balwinder Kaur from Government Girls Senior Secondary School, respectively.


Samples taken from sealed factory
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 18
A drug inspector, accompanied with senior Vigilance Bureau officials today took the samples of bandages and gauzes from a local factory which was sealed following a raid by a team of bureau from Amritsar, about 10 days back. The owner of the factory is absconding since then.

Official sources said the raid was conducted on the factory located on the Amrik Singh road following complaints that the owner had been supplying substandard bandages and gauzes to government medical colleges, thus jeopardising lives of patients.

Since the Vigilance Bureau team could not apprehend the owner when it raided the factory, a contingent of police had been deployed around it after sealing it.

The vigilance officials along with the drug inspector took the samples today as the accused has not been arrested so far.


Vigilance probe into 55 acre land grab concludes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 18
The local office of the Vigilance Bureau, has completed probe in the 55 acre land scam unearthed by it at Goindwal Sahib Industrial Complex.

The scam pertained to grabbing of prime land belonging to the complex by some influential people.

The bureau, in a press note issued here today, said that investigation had also revealed that encroachment was made not by the Bawa Shoe Company unit, but by one of its employees identified as Ranit Singh. The bureau has also decided to scrutinise a number of bills after getting direction from the office of the Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab.


Embezzlement of MC funds alleged
Our Correspondent

Batala, May 18
Employees of the municipal council said here yesterday on condition of anonymity that Rs 1 lakh had been embezzled between October 2001 and December 2001. Sources said Gurcharan Lal, an octroi clerk who died in April 2002, probably knew of this episode but could not disclose it due to political pressure.

Mr Shambu Sharma, president of the Punjab unit of the All- India Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Safety Council has urged the Chief Minister to request the Central Government for a CBI probe into the accounts of the council.


Rs 35,000 loss in house fire
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
A fire broke out in the house of a police official on the Power House road, this afternoon. The fire started due to a short-circuit connection, said the police authorities.

The fire engines managed to control the fire within a few hours. No casualty was reported, however, household goods, worth about Rs 35,000, were damaged.


Punjab for retaining foodgrain licensing
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, May 18
The Punjab Government is understood to have taken up with the Union Government the issue of abolition of the foodgrain licensing system and has sought that it be retained to make the procurement of paddy, rice and wheat.

The Government of India excluded the foodgrain licence for wheat, paddy, pulses and edible oils in March, following which restrictions on the transportation of foodgrains from one state to another were removed. But to regulate trade in these foodgrains, a licence is mandatory under the Essential Commodities Act. The state government did not face much difficulty in procuring and storing wheat as it had the custody of this foodgrain. But for the procurement of paddy and rice, the state government will have to seek the foodgrain licence as their custody is with rice millers. To have control and check on the rice millers, the state government will have to frame its control order.

According to official information, the state government has written to the Central Government that it could not afford to scrap the foodgrain licence under the Essential Commodities Act and it be allowed to retain the system to have control over the rice millers and arhtiyas.

Sources said for emergency purposes, the state government had some powers under the Mandi Board Act, which makes it mandatory for arhtiyas to have a licence. But this only regulates the auction of foodgrains.

The state Food Supplies Department and other state procuring agencies will be handicapped in the absence of such a facility with regard to the procurement of paddy and rice in the next kharif season.

Meanwhile it is learnt that last year wheat from states like Uttar Pradesh was sold in the mandis of Punjab as prices in the former were lower. This year, the sale of wheat was not allowed in the mandis of Punjab and officials of the state government impounded trucks carrying wheat from Uttar Pradesh at Punjab and Haryana borders. This is one of the reasons for the low procurement of wheat this year.


Farmers kill arhtiya
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 18
Suresh Kumar (40), a commission agent (arhtiya) of Bareta town in the district, was allegedly killed by five farmers of Ranghrial village, today.

According to information, the farmers went to the shop of the arhtiya for settlement of accounts. Suresh Kumar, along with the farmers, left for his factory where the account books were kept.

On the way, the farmers allegedly placed a sharp-edged weapon on his neck and demanded a clearance certificate from him. The arhtiya gave the certificate to the accused after which they allegedly gave Celphos tablets to the him and fled.

Suresh Kumar was rushed to the Rural Dispensary, Bareta and later referred to the Civil Hospital Mansa. He, however, died on the way to the hospital. Budhlada DSP Sukhpal Singh Brar and Bareta SHO Jagnandan Singh rushed to the spot for investigation. The police has registered a case against the accused.

Immediately after the incident, the main bazaars at Bareta and Budhlada were closed as shopkeepers went on a strike to protest against the incident, demanding action against the accused.

The body has been sent to Primary Health Centre, Budhlada, for a post-mortem examination.


Entrance test fees too high?
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, May 18
The charging of exorbitant amounts as entrance test fee for admission to various courses by Panjab University, Chandigarh, and the universities of Punjab is being objected to not only by students and parents but also by academicians. In fact, so bad is the situation that a Class III employee was seen asking a bank manager whether loan could be advanced for paying fees for the entrance tests. The poor man has four children, three of them about to start higher education.

The matter was raised before the PU Vice-Chancellor while he was addressing a seminar on innovative teaching here. It is learnt that several teachers discussed the issue of exorbitant entrance test fees and described it as “loot and plunder” by the university. It was pointed out that while the CBSE had charged Rs 350 for the CET examination, Vanasthli University fixed Rs 250 for MCA and M.Sc (IT), PU was charging more than Rs 1,000 for the same. CAT has fixed Rs 500 for MBA entrance test and students selected in the test were to be allocated to the PU as per merit, but PU fixed it at Rs 1000 on the pretext of group discussions and interview.

Similarly, PTU was charging Rs 1300 for most of tests even as the prestigious IET, Roorkee, had fixed Rs 500 for tests like MCA, MBA.

Mr Ashok Kumar Sachdeva, member of the PU Senate, had taken strong exception to the way the PU was indulging in unfair economic means in selection of the prospective engineers. In a letter addressed to the PU Vice-Chancellor on April 18, he reportedly said that the university had sold more than 11,000 application forms at the rate of Rs 1,100 each for its new engineering course to be started this year, fetching the university around Rs 1.21 crore. This amount was much more than required for the conduct of examinations.

No doubt, the university was facing a financial crunch. But education being a social responsibility of the state, the VC along with other eminent personalities could press upon the state and union governments for more funds. Students and parents needed relief, not added burden, he said.


Students’ career at stake, but varsity unconcerned
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 18
Many students from Punjab who have passed from Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) have been denied admission for higher studies abroad due to non-inclusion of the university in the World Health Organisation World Directory of Medical Schools.

The university was established in 1998. It conducted the first batch of PMT in 1998. The graduates from all medical colleges of the state (affiliated to three universities of Punjab) were put under the banner of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences in India. The university was recognised by the MCI in 2000, but it was not conveyed to the World Health Organisation.

The career of students is at stake but the university and the state government did not give an ear to the problem. Dr Dharambir Kapur, chairman All-India Medico Society, in a representation to the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, Vice-Chancellor of BFUHS, Secretary, Medical Council of India and Chief Minister, Punjab, urged to take immediate and effective steps for the inclusion of BFUHS in the WHO World Directory of Medical Schools.


Institute to train unemployed youth
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 18
The Rayat Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, near here, is planning to offer technical training to unemployed youth from adjoining villages at a nominal fee.

While addressing a press conference here yesterday, Vice-Chairman Gurvinder Singh said the institute had state-of-the-art laboratories, which are used by the students mostly during daytime. The management, to make the best use of these in the evening hours, decided to train unemployed youth, he said

Besides helping artisans in honoring their skills, this would also help semi-literate youth get jobs in industries. They would also be given information about the various loan schemes offered by the government to generate self-employment.

The institute is planning to open a middle school in the campus by next year.


SBI honours 3 bright students
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
To motivate meritorious students, the State Bank of Patiala today honoured three students of the local SSD Public High School Nisha Garg, Tarun Kumar and Sukhchain for securing top three positions in Punjab in the class VII examination of the Punjab School Education Board. General Manager of the bank J.R. Devgan gave away the silver medals and citations to the students.

The today’s function was second of its kind. Earlier the students of class X who had secured top positions were honoured by the bank at Jalandhar recently. The GM said that in future also they would hold such functions.

Mr Devgan addressing the gathering said that under the policy of spreading education in the state and for giving some incentives to the students with good academic record, the scheme to honour such students was launched. He said that some incentives would also be given to such students.

Students of the school had secured first three positions in class VII examination of state education board. The students brought laurels to the city.

Special functions are being organised everyday also for honouring these students by different organisations for the past many days when the result for the class VII was declared. The Deputy Commissioner had also organised a special function for giving citation to the students.

Mr Manohar Lal, district president of the SSD Sabha which is running the school, said that the association would give monitory help to these students for further study. He said that the teachers of the school whose performance was better than others would also be honoured.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |