Sunday, June 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Probe into prescription of books
Education board’s working under scanner
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab Minister for Higher Education, Mr Khushal Bahl, has marked an inquiry into the manner of prescribing textbooks at the secondary level in government recognised schools by the education board.

The inquiry marked to the Principal Secretary, Education, Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, will examine the procedures adopted for this purpose, as also the board’s “submission of books and approval regulations calendar, Vol. II”.

Mr Bahl told The Tribune today that he had received a large number of complaints from publishers, and also read about it in newspapers that there were irregularities in the procedure of prescribing textbooks. For lack of ‘’transparency and system of internal royalty’’ operating in the board, he had asked the Secretary to examine the matter and submit a report within a fortnight. Most of the complaints relate to the past three years.

Not all what the publishers say is true. Mr Bahl was aware of the racket in the short-listing of the publishers, who knew where and how to pull the right strings to procure orders for the supply of textbooks. The board list is sans top textbook publishing houses and mentions “cheap” ones.

The affairs of the board are already under a scanner following complaints of an alleged Rs 30-crore paper purchase scam. Besides prescribing textbooks of its own, the board also purchases paper to give to the publishers for the textbooks, and printing of answersheets. This case is already under investigation by the Vigilance Bureau which has arrested the former Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, who is also facing charges pertaining to the recruitment of clerks and ETT teachers.

The Vigilance Bureau, it is learnt, had sent samples of the seized paper for laboratory tests. At least two samples have reportedly failed. Even if the paper size is reduced by half a cm, it means a huge saving, running into lakhs, to suppliers. Most of the paper was purchased from a “favoured” trader who had a monopoly, sources say.

The minister had earlier requested the Vigilance to hold an inquiry into the purchase of glassware and chemicals worth Rs 3.50 crore.


Datti is Amritsar Mayor
Women councillors agitated, walkout by Oppn
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 15
Amid a walkout by the Opposition, Mr Sunil Datti was elected Mayor of the holy city while Mr Surinder Singh Chhinda and Mr Om Parkash Gabbar (all from Congress) were elected Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor here today.

All of them were elected unopposed. The name of Mr Datti was proposed by Mr Rajinder Bhalla and seconded by Mr Yoginder Pal Dhingra.

No representation was given to women in the three seniormost positions. Thirteen women councillors belonging to the Congress had won the corporation elections.

Agitated women councillors, speaking to The Tribune, expressed displeasure over the decision to sideline them for senior posts. Ms Meena Bhatti alleged a partisan attitude of the party in favour of male councillors. Ms Prem Arjun said 33 per cent reservation for women meant that one out of the three senior posts should have gone to a woman councillor.

Ms Sunita and Ms Manju Pappal, both councillors, said they felt alienated as no woman councillor was considered. Ms Shama Malhotra, President of the Congress Mahila Morcha, protested the decision.

Many councillors claimed that the proposal of a woman as Deputy Mayor had been opposed by Mr Om Parkash Soni, MLA and former Mayor, who has recently joined the Congress. Mr Soni denied the allegations and said the decision to this effect had been taken by the high command.

The Congress General Secretary, Mr Surinder Arjun, disclosed that the proposal of a woman SC councillor as Deputy Mayor had been changed at the last minute as all women councillors were first-timers. The attempt at making Ms Surjit Kaur preside over the proceedings was met with a walkout by nine councillors of the SAD-BJP combine. Mr Shwait Mallik, BJP councillor, said a new entrant had been asked to preside, ignoring senior councillors. He termed the House proceeding as undemocratic as the Opposition was not allowed to propose or record objections.

Earlier, councillors were left standing in the House where supporters of various parties occupied the seats in large numbers. The Commissioner had to announce vacating of seats for the councillors. The meeting was presided over by the Divisional Commissioner, Mr R.S. Sandhu, along with the Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir. Fiftysix councillors, six MLAs and three ministers were present.


Mahey elected Jalandhar Mayor
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 15
As per expectations, Mr Surinder Mahey, confidant of Punjab Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, was elected the Mayor of the local Municipal Corporation, while Ms Anita Rani and Dr Tarsem Bahrdwaj secured the posts of Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor, respectively, defeating their SAD-BJP opponents here today.

Presiding over the proceedings of the House in the presence of the Commissioner (Jalandhar division) Mr R.S.Sandhu , Mr Darshan Singh, Congress councillor, called upon members of the House to propose the name for the post of the Mayor. Subsequently, the Punjab Finance Minister and Congress observer Mr Lal Singh unveiled the much-awaited sealed letter of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, having names of the Congress councillors for all three posts in the House and accordingly the name of senior Congress councillor Mr Mahey was proposed for the mayorship.

The BJP, too, had fielded its councillor, Mr Krishan Dev Bhandari, for the post. The voting was done by raising hands by the councillors and the five MLAs — being ex-officio members of the House. While Mr Mahey cornered 47 votes, the BJP candidate managed to get 10 votes in his favour with three members abstaining from the voting in a House of 60 members.

During voting for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor, Congress candidate Ms Anita Rani got 45 votes while Mr Kanwaljit Singh of the Shiromani Akali Dal was polled 10 votes. Similarly, Dr Tarsem Bhardwaj, first timer councillor of the Congress was declared elected Deputy Mayor, who defeated his rival BJP candidate Ms Madhu by 48-10 votes.

Among those who were present on the occasion included Ministers Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Avtar Henry, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Mr Ramesh Dogra, Mr Raj Kumar Gupta and Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, MLAs, DCC president Tajinder Singh Bittu. Later, Congress workers took out a procession.

Even as Mr Mahey was elected Mayor of the civic body, some Congress workers shouted anti-government slogans and stood in front of the car of the Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh accusing him of ignoring the committed party workers in the selection of plum positions. Ms Joginder Kaur, Congress councillor, and others alleged that while Dr Tarsem Bhardwaj, close realtive of Punjab Health Minister Mr Ramesh Dogra was nominated for the post of Deputy Mayor, she had been ignored for the post despite serving the party for the past 28 years.

Meanwhile, for the first time mediapersons were not allowed entry in the House. The local Journalists Association has condemned the role of the Commissioner Jagjit Singh for ordering the police officials not to allow the entry of the mediapersons into the town hall for press coverage. The association had also criticised Public Relations Department officials for their failure to coordinate with the civic body officials.

Mr Mahey, later talking to reporters, thanked the people and the CM for reposing faith in him. “I will organise mass contact programme for on the spot redressal of grievances of the residents,” he said.


Slashing of allowances on cards
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Budget comes at a time when the Congress government is euphoric, largely due to the PPSC job-on-cash roadshow. It also come at a time when impression was gaining currency that little else was happening in the state except the government riding high on the crest of vigilance inquiries and political vindictiveness.

The Planning Commission projections are that Punjab is one of the slowest growing states during the 10th Plan period. Its tax- GDP ratio at 5.9 per cent is the lowest in the country and its economic annual growth had decelerated to 4.6 per cent during the first three years of the ninth plan. Even its annual agricultural growth rate has been low at 2.3 per cent and the annual industrial growth at just 6 per cent in the 90s.

The Budget, therefore, is being eagerly awaited seen in the backdrop of the White Paper on the state’s finances. In the meantime, the Chief Minister, Cat Amarinder Singh, has had a series meetings with economists, NRIs, representatives of industrial and business houses and financial institutions to explore sources to generate funds for development. He has also set up a series of committees on fiscal reforms, agriculture, industry and reconstituted the state Planning Board.

Though the Chief Minister’s aides who constitute the “core group’, chose to accept little from these committees, much to the chagrin of come members, the mandarins in the state Finance Department have prepared the Budget on the basis of their experience. Their reference point is ‘ground realities’ in terms of financial and economic situation, based on the past trends of revenue receipts and revenue expenditure. The Budget will also be influenced by the interim report of the Disinvestment Commission, which has created a flutter among 1.20 lakh employees of public sector undertaking.

The reason why all eyes are focussed on the Budget is because the “praja” wants to know how close is the “Maharaja” to the ground realities and how successfully he would be in achieving growth and stability. For over a decade, Punjab’s economy has been buffeted by shock. Somehow it had been able to weather the storm but not any longer. Punjab’s financial turbulence is disturbing and shall remain so unless it is politically guided.

The Budget is expected to tighten belt, slash allowances of the burgeoning “babus” and bureaucracy and introduce radical reforms to make the administration look slim, over a period of time. It will also introduce a new pension scheme, prue the public sector undertakings accounting for Rs 2,000 crore accumulative losses and whose accounting practices are not transparent. This is true even in respect of the ones that claim profits.

The Budget will also reduce the government dependence on debt for current consumption whiles hoping for a relief from the Centre under the “debt swap” scheme accepted by the Union Finance Minister. Punjab prefers to substitute high cost debt with low cost debt, sources say.

The Budget will introduce checks and balances to ‘smarten” tax realisation, restructure tax collection mechanism and plug leakages in revenue collection from sales tax, stamp duty, motor vehicle and the transport sector. There is a strong feeling that the returns from sales tax can go up to Rs 5,000 crore per annum, stamp duty to Rs 1,000 crore and motor vehicles Rs 700 crore. If Kerala can realise Rs 5,000 crore by way of sales tax, why should Punjab continue to hinge its tax revenue at a mere Rs 2,700 crore when the economy of the two states is of the same size?

(To be concluded)


Economic Offences Wings underrated
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Is the police equipped to handle the increasing incidence of white collar crime? The answer may perhaps be a no. The reason : absence of specialised training, limited infrastructure and lack of expertise in economical and financial matters.

The speed at which white collar crime is spreading to every sphere of life, the police will perhaps be left with no alternative but to go for partial privatisation. The latest area of white collar crime is e-commerce or the use of Internet. At present recruitment rules do not permit the police departments to recruit IT professionals or those who specialise in information highway, Internet or e-commerce.

The same may be true while tackling big scams in banking and financial institutions. Police organisations do not have any expertise in finance and accounts, economics or even routine monetary matters.

An important aspect of the economic offences or white collar crime has been the well-drenched hawala industry which is now extending its tentacles to blue collar crime by way of financing “supari” killings. Changes in the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act has not helped much.

It is an accepted saying that all those involved in scams manage to put their monies in foreign banks, especially Swiss Banks. All this has been going unchecked.

Have the authorities ever wondered how much taken out of the country by illegal means has been lying dormant or in non-productive circulation abroad. A senior economist said a Five-Year Plan could be funded by the interest on the money stashed in foreign banks by Indian politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats alone.

The idea of involving financial experts like chartered accountants, cost accountants, MBAs, and IT experts as part-time consultants to the Economic Offences Wings needs to be supported and supplemented by the state governments as the financial drain on account of scams is alarming. They may be able to guide law-enforcing agencies in checking the “flight of capital by illegal means”. It is intriguing that in spite of the alarming increase in the incidence of white collar crime, the police organisations have done little to tackle this trend.

Sociologists say the situation becomes serious when white collar and blue collar crime blend.

The failure of the present set-up to give significance to the Economic Offences Wings may be the underlying reason for the low rate of conviction. Those in these wings consider it to be a punishment posting and most of them only push files or help the suspects with access to documents on the file for defence.

In the absence of any regular monitoring of such crimes, the cases mostly go untraced. There is hardly any instance in which a victim may have benefited from police investigation in any white collar crime case. The reasons are simple. The suspects manage to put away the money well in time before the law agencies can lay their hands upon it. The laws, too, are lax and do not provide for immediate attachment of movable and immovable properties of the suspects until the pendency of their cases.



Badal trying to delay SGPC poll: Tohra
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 15
Mr G.S. Tohra, President of the SHSAD, has alleged that sensing defeat in the coming SGPC poll, like Assembly, civic and panchayat elections, Mr Parkash Singh Badal is adopting all means to delay the SGPC poll, which are to be held later this year. While talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Tohra said the meeting between Mr Badal and Mr L.K. Advani over the issue of granting voting rights to Sehajdharis is also part of that game plan. He said when the SGPC poll process started last year, he immediately raised this issue and Mr Badal did not support the cause as he was in power and he apprehended that with the support of Sehajdhari Sikhs’ votes, he would be able to capture the SGPC, but now Mr Badal was out of power and he had started taking up one or the other cause to delay the election process.

Mr Tohra said now voter lists were ready and the then officials of the Gurdwara Election Commission had said that within two month’s notice, the commission would be able to conduct the SGPC poll. He said Mr Badal managed to reconstitute the commission. Now the latter had started raising the issues of Sehajdharis and voting rights to 18-year-old youths so that work may again start on the new voter lists. He said that if the Union Government met his demand, the elections would be postponed for another year. He questioned why Mr Advani did not accept his objections at that time and why Mr Badal did not raise his voice when he was in power? Rather he and his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, had been advocating the cause of the Sehajdharis. He said he was closely watching the situation and would react at an appropriate time. He demanded that SGPC poll should be held at the earliest.

Mr Tohra urged the former Akali ministers that if they had not indulged in any sort of corruption, they should face the Vigilance charges instead of running for bail and taking shelter in the neighbouring states. He said Mr Badal ruined the basic principles of the Akali Dal and used the party, SGPC and even the government as private companies for personal gains. He said the Badal government was termed as the most corrupt government in the history of the country. Appreciating the anti-corruption campaign launched by the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, he said the Chief Minister should also order probes against corrupt Congress ministers and leaders. He urged the “real” Akali leaders and workers to desert the corrupt Akali Dal of Mr Badal and form an Akali dal based on Gurus’ principles and ideologies.


Dang takes up sacked PCS officers’ cause
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 15
Ever since the detection of the multi-crore ‘job-for-money’ scam, leading to termination of services of 28 direct PCS officers, Mr Satyapal Dang, veteran CPI leader, is the only person who has openly come to their rescue.

In an open letter to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Dang has urged him to undo the injustice to some genuine officers, especially Dr Rishi Paul Singh, who has unearthed an old-age pension scam amounting to Rs 23 crore during his tensure as Assistant Commissioner (Removal of Grievances). The CPI had a poll alliance with the Congress before the Assembly elections.

“If a bribe giver is forced to give money to get what he is entitled to, he is not guilty, but a victim,” reads the letter. It says, “a proposition has been put forward that the bribe giver is as guilty as the bribe taker. I think that this proposition, if acted upon, can lead to gross injustice in some cases.”

Mr Dang continues, “A bribe giver is an guilty as bribe taker when in exchange for the bribe given, he gets something for which he is not eligible or entitled to. He must not be spared”. The letter further reads, “Unfortunately, for the likes of Sidhu, the high court has limited only 10 per cent of total marks for interviews. There can be candidates (may be very few) who have so brilliant records that they are bound to be at the top if they are given zero marks for interviews on account of their refusal to give bribe. For fear of such cases being taken to the high court, they can get jobs in such cases without money. Throwing out such candidates will be gross injustice.”

It adds, “There may be candidates who are fairly certain of being selected on merit, but they do not want to take any risk. They get money from their parents, who may even have to borrow for this purpose, and pay. The biggest category will perhaps be of those who cannot have a ghost of a chance to get job on merit, but have paid and jot a job. They obviously deserve to be thrown out and even punished.”

Giving the example of Dr Rishi Paul Singh, Mr Dang says it is unfortunate that the person who has unearthed a multi-crore pension scam in his brief stint as Assistant Commissioner (removal of Grievances) has been thrown out. Mr Dang says Dr Rishi Paul Singh has completed his fact-finding report and has mentioned startling facts about the scam. Mr Dang says even after his report, Dr Rishi Paul Singh has been shunted out and transferred to Ferozepore.


Warrant officer assaulted
HC summons SP (Vigilance)
Tribune News Service

This is not the first time the officials of the Vigilance Bureau officials have found themselves in trouble with the high court. The officials had failed to produce former PPSC Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu before the high court on March 26 despite directions by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi. Taking a serious view of the matter, Mr Justice J.S. Khehar had directed that the matter, with the approval of the High Court Chief Justice, should be placed before Mr Justice Singhvi as his orders had not been complied with. The authorities concerned, including Punjab’s Director-General of Police, were, nevertheless, granted liberty to file further affidavits within three weeks.

Chandigarh, June 15
A warrant officer, appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for securing the release of Sher Singh, alias Shera, an accused in the Langah corruption case, was reportedly assaulted by officials of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau today after being allegedly detained for over two hours.

Taking a serious view of the matter, Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta directed the bureau’s SP Surinder Pal Singh, DSP Gurmukh Singh and Head Constable Baldev Singh to be present in the court on June 20 for “explaining their conduct”. The Judge added that no action would be taken against the warrant officer on the basis of a complaint registered against him by bureau officers until the next date of hearing.

It all started at around 10.15 a.m. when warrant officer Subhash Chander Nasa, armed with orders issued by Mr Justice Mohunta on a habeas corpus petition filed by Shera’s father Ajit Singh, reached the SP’s office. Even after disclosing his identity, he was reportedly denied entry into the office by Head Constable Baldev Singh.

Locking the collapsible gate, the Head Constable reportedly told the officer that the same would be opened with the SP’s permission. After a lapse of about 15 minutes, the constable, however, told the officer and others present that no one would be permitted to enter the office as it was a holiday.

Meanwhile, Ajit Singh, on hearing the shrieks of his son, informed the officer about it. Concerned over the detainee’s safety, Mr Nasa reportedly ordered the breaking of the locks before entering the premises. There, the officer was allegedly abused and manhandled by DSP Gurmukh Singh. Mr Nasa was reportedly pushed to a corner in the SP’s office. The photographs, taken by a lensman hired by the petitioner were also exposed on the directions of SP Surinder Pal Singh and DSP Gurmukh Singh.

Soon after the incident, the warrant officer went to the residence of Mr Justice Mohunta and told that the detainee was not released despite the high court orders. He also told the Judge that a false complaint had been submitted by DSP Gurmukh Singh against him in Sector 17 police station.

After listening to the warrant officer, Mr Justice Mohunta directed the warrant officer to visit the bureau office once again and “make efforts to secure the release of the detainee”. The Judge also asked the Station House Officer of Sector 17 police station to provide security to the officer. Complying with the directions, Mr Nasa reached the office once again in the afternoon but the detainee could not be found.

Meanwhile, the bureau officials have claimed that about eight supporters of Langah forcibly entered their office near the Sector 17 bridge and manhandled security personnel and abused department officials. One of the “miscreants” was even carrying an iron rod, they alleged.

Earlier during the day, Ajit Singh, along with his counsel filed an habeas corpus petition which was presented before Mr Justice Mohunta in the morning. Acting on the petition, Mr Justice Mohunta appointed the warrant officer to search SCO 45-46 in Sector 17 for securing the release of Shera who had “allegedly appeared before the Vigilance Bureau officials yesterday for joining investigations”.


CPM to hold rallies: Pasla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, secretary of the break away group of the CPM in Punjab, said yesterday that his faction was totally against the implementation of the report of the disinvestment commission in the state.

He said rallies would be organised next week at all district headquarters to mobilise public opinion against the commision’s report and alleged that the move to disband 29 public sector undertakings (PSUs) was against the interest of working class in the state and the government should drop this proposal.

He said it was unfortunate that the state was running away from discharging any responsibility in public interest and handing over all important functions to private companies. While top administration was resorting to a lot of wasteful expenditure but it was always prepared to tighten the noose around the neck of middle and lower rung employees.

Mr Pasla said state-level workers rally would be organised in Jalandhar in July. He said government employees were getting frustrated as they had not been given bonus etc by the present government. 


Three spurious seed firms unearthed
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 15
The local police has unearthed three spurious seed packaging companies operating in the region for the past several years.

According to Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, the local police received a tip-off that some companies were selling seeds of sorgum, jowar and maize under the names of well-known companies of Andhra Pradesh by packing these in the names of these companies.

The police along with experts from the Agriculture Department raided these companies — Ramji Das & Tirath Ram, Ramji Das Tirath Ram & Company and Nanak Chand and Manjit Rai — and sealed their godowns.

Preliminary investigations revealed that these local companies got plastic bags printed in the names of companies situated in Andhra Pradesh. They procured sorgum, jowar and maize seeds from open markets of Andhra Pradesh at much lower rates, brought these here and stored these in the godowns located here. The packaging of these seed products was done locally in plastic bags carrying names of companies situated in Andhra Pradesh.

The police seized a huge quantity of sorgum, maize and jowar in the godowns of these firms along with a packing machine and empty printed plastic bags. At the time of the raid, packing was going on in the firms.

Experts of the Agriculture Department found that the specifications written on the plastic bags were not true. No certificate from any seed testing authority was procured before packing the seeds. Further, the Agriculture Department had issued no licence for selling seeds.

The SSP said, “These companies were duping innocent farmers by selling inferior quality and ungraded seeds at much higher rates. The Agriculture Department said these companies enjoyed political patronage from the previous government. The Agriculture Department was not allowed to check these firms. Whosoever tried to do this, got transferred.”


Mines — bane of border villagers
Kulwinder Sandhu

Tribune News Service

Chak Bhangewala (Ferozepore), June 15
Despite signs of normalcy India and Pakistan on the diplomatic front, the woes of the people living in the border villages continue to increase .

The villagers complain that the Army is acquiring more land for laying of mines and raising embankments along the fencing. In December, last year, the Army had acquired 27,127 hectares along the 210-km long international border in the distinct to lay mines or construct fortifications According to an estimate, the figures were likely to cross 40,000 hectares by the end of this month.

When the correspondent visited Chak Bhangewala village, 2 km inside the Indian territory, on Thursday, the farmers rallied around to tell their problems. Jarnail Singh said he was forced to sell his Ford tractor to one of his relatives to make both ends meet as 55 acres of his cultivable land has been used for laying of the mines. So far he has not received even the first instalment of interim relief that the government has promised at the rate of Rs 11,000 per acre. He is left with only 8 acres to feed his family.

Another resident of the village Ajit Singh. has eight tubewells out of which six have come in mined area the rest two are of no use as the electric transformer lying in the mines feeding these two motors has been out of order for the past two weeks. A total of 22 tubewells have been affected due to the problem in the village.

The people of the village along with the sarpanch met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr D.K. Tiwari at Ghore Chak village during his visit last week but nothing has been done by the district administration so far to solve the problem. The Army is not cooperating to get the transformer repaired. “It is quite obvious that no employee of the electricity board would take the risk of his life of entering the mine fields and repair the transformer . The district administration has not taken any initiative to make alternate arrangements ensuring regular power supply to the tubewells.

As far as the interim relief is concerned, the administration has failed to complete the process of disbursing the first instalment of Rs 5000 per acre to the affected families despite the amount lying in the treasury for the past three months. Further, no assessment has been made of the areas under the mines or affected otherwise due to the Army movement in the current financial year.

When contacted, a spokesman of the district administration admitted that the process of disbursement of interim relief is yet to complete. So far only 60 per cent of the affected families have received the compensation.

The district administration had been asked to compensate the landless labourers of the affected border villages at the rate of Rs 80 per day and Rs 12 per animal per day for fodder till March 2002 but nothing has been done in this regard also. 


Rare IAF medal for Abohar boy
Raj Sadosh

ABOHAR: Even before celebrating his 21st birthday, due in August this year, cadet Neeraj Jhamb has got the rare distinction of being decorated with the Maj-Gen Rajarao G.R. Rajwade Medal as the Battalion Cadet Adjutant of the National Defence Academy, Pune.

The medal was awarded on May 31 at the passing out parade of the academy by Air Marshal Anil Kumar Trikha, Commandant of the NDA. Perhaps Cadet Jhamb is the first boy in this region to get the prestigious medal.

Son of a taxation adviser Mr Subhash Jhamb, Neeraj remembers his school education at the Army School in Military Station, Fazilka. He can’t forget the inspiration given by his teachers, including Ms Manorama Sharma, Ms Supreet Chopra and Ms Vimla Sohi, besides his parents. He did his plus-two from DAV College, Jalandhar, cleared the CET and PEC examinations but did not deviate from the target of joining the Army. He preferred to forego the chance of playing in the Ranji Trophy also.

Neeraj considers the Air Force the most superior force. He was among 1.60 lakh aspirants who appeared in the NDA examination in 1999. Of these 4300 qualified and 225 were selected after the interview. There were 64 seats only for the IAF. In his batch only four boys could get through, he was the only one from Punjab being the topper.

During the three-year training at the NDA tall and handsome Neeraj was awarded Half Blue in Cricket, certificate of proficiency in foreign language (Arabic), 6 Star Gold Torch after getting A+ grade in physics, chemistry, maths and computer science. Then the Wings as he topped in every field of training. He commanded a battalion. All this helped in becoming Battalion Cadet Adjutant. Neeraj cleared Pilot Aptitude Battery test in the first attempt when he was a student at Jalandhar. This spoke volumes of his intelligence and unlimited love for the IAF. His performance in polo, sky diving, riding had always been termed excellent. Not only his parents but the entire region is proud of his extra ordinary achievements at this age.


Chautala sheltering tainted leaders: Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 15
Akali Dal (A) President and Lok Sabha member Simranjit Singh Mann has charged Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala with harbouring ‘tainted’ leaders, including former ministers like Sucha Singh Langah, wanted in corruption cases.

Even Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, had transferred his huge wealth to Mr Chautala to escape from the Vigilance net alleged Mr Mann this evening.

He asked Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, when he would start a probe into Mr Badal’s wealth worth Rs 3500 crore that the Chief Minister himself had been stating repeatedly was amassed through corrupt means.

Mr Mann opposed the demand of the SGPC and the SAD (B) for amending 1925 Sikh Gurdwara Act to ensure “one man one post” so that SGPC members could not simultaneously hold posts of MLA or MP.

There was no such precondition in a democracy as the elected person could hold more than one post, argued Mr Mann, who is both MP and SGPC member. The Badal dal had hijacked their demand for debarring the Sehajdharis from voting in SGPC poll, said Mr Mann.

He flayed the government for rejecting the offer of the USA and the UK for joint monitoring along the LoC to check infiltration from across the border.


Probe sought into illegal construction
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 15
Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, general secretary, DCC (I), today demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter pertaining to the construction of the multi-storey shopping complex around the historic fort located in the heart of this city recently.

Claiming that the Government of Punjab would not allow anyone to accept or give bribe to get undue benefits, Mr Aggarwal said Congress workers would meet Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in connection with the inquiry relating to the alleged multi-crore drainage scam which took place during the previous SAD-BJP government.

He pointed out that documents pertaining to the drainage scam had been handed over to Capt Amarinder Singh at a party rally held in Rampura Phul about two years ago.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that a section of contractors of civil works, in connivance with Irrigation and Drainage Department officials and with the active patronage of then ruling politicians, had allegedly siphoned off hundreds of crores of rupees meant for drainage works and eradication of waterlogging.


Breach exposes corruption 
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 15
A campaign of the Punjab Government against corruption seems to have failed if working of the Canal Department in the district is any indication. The Kasur, branching off from the Upper Bari Doaba Canal near Sangarawan in the district, was breached by about 150 feet yesterday.

According to official source, the World Bank had sponsored a Rs 180-crore scheme to strengthen water channels in the district. The department, through contractors, had completed 90 per cent of the earth work of the canal.

Water had been released into the Kasur a week back. The earth work done by the department could not prevent the breach. Farmers of the area complained that the earth work was substandard. They demanded a vigilance inquiry into the work done.

Meanwhile, more than 1500 acres, having standing crops of paddy and sugarcane, were submerged in water, resulting in losses worth lakhs to farmers. The villages affected by the breach included Mirpur, Sangrawan, Kotla, Karnama and Sukha Chara.


Notices served on truck unions
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 15
Issuing notices to all truck unions in Patiala, Ludhiana, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur districts, the Secretary of Regional Transport Authorities, Patiala, has asked them to get licences from authorities concerned which was mandatory to operate.

The notice states that truck unions were operating from different parts of the state without following the mandatory parameters and charging exorbitantly from the customers. The truckers should follow the guidelines framed by the government under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, and the Punjab Motor Vehicle Regulation Act 1989.

The unions have also been asked to follow the directions with immediate effect otherwise action would be taken against them as per the Acts, the notice lists.

It may be recalled that a delegation of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries had met with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and had brought the issue to his notice last month. The industrialists had also complained about the high handedness of the truck unions which used to charge exorbitantly and even harass them on one pretext or the other.

While addressing mediapersons, Mr Kewal Garg, president of Dera Bassi Industries Association, said the local truck unions had been charging exorbitantly from the industrialist and even restrain them from hiring trucks from outside. Moreover, ignoring the benefits and losses of the industrialists, they also were plying the vehicles according their will.

The association today also submitted memorandums to the SDM and DSP, seeking help if they avail services of outside truckers for transporting their goods.

Mr Rakesh Rattan Aggarwal, general secretary of the Association, termed it as the first major step for reviving the Industry in the state by the Congress Government under the chief ministership of Capt Amarinder Singh.


Notice to govt on Jagman’s bail plea
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 15
The Ropar Special Judge, Mr A.S. Kathuria, today issued notice to the state government for June 18 on the interim bail application of Jagman Singh, a right hand man of suspended Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu and an alleged accused in the PPSC recruitment scam.

Jagman Singh filed interim bail application through his counsel on June 13 which came up for hearing today before the Special Judge. Counsel of Jagman Singh stated that he had sought interim bail for some days for Jagman as his wife was in the advanced stage of pregnancy and delivery was due within 15 days. At this stage, Jagman’s wife needed him to look after her, he added. Counsel said he had also requested the court that Jagman should be granted interim bail on humanitarian ground. After the delivery of the child, Jagman would surrender, he added.

He also sought permission from the court to allow Jagman’s wife to meet her husband in jail at this stage of advanced pregnancy.

Earlier, the bail application of Jagman Singh was rejected by Mr Maghar Khan, Sessions Judge, Ropar, on May 29 after hearing the arguments of counsel for Jagman and public prosecutor.

Jagman’s wife today visited the district court complex and talked to his counsel.


Stay on Zora Mann’s arrest extended
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, June 15
The local Sessions Court has extended the stay on the arrest of Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, his brother and two sons to July 26.

The Jalabad police had booked them under Sections 188, 379, 323, 324, 148, 149 and 506 of IPC on charges of assault and theft. He and members of his family were said to have been supporting a particular party involved in a case of ‘disputed’ 31.18 kanals registered in the name of Harnek Singh and Darshan Singh of his village, Chak Suhee Wala.

The police today filed a detailed reply along with a chalan about the case in the court of the Sessions Judge, Mr M.M.S. Bedi, seeking their police remand. The court not only ruled out the remand but also stayed the arrest of Mr Mann, his brother, Jagnandan Singh, and two sons Vardev Singh and Nardev Singh. The next hearing has also been fixed on the same date.

However, the police has made certain changes in framing of charges against them in the challan by adding Section 326 of the IPC. The counsel for the plaintiffs objected to the addition of this Section.


Warrants against Langah extended
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 15
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today extended the non-bailable warrants till June 26 against Mr Succha Singh Langah, a former PWD minister, and four others accused in a case registered by the Vigilance Department at SAS Nagar.

Mr J.S. Punn, public prosecutor, pleaded before court that the court had earlier issued the non-bailable warrants till June 15 but the accused could not be arrested in spite of best efforts by the Vigilance Department.

The court extended the warrants for Langah, Nimarjit Singh and Gagandeep Singh (both SDOs), Sudarshan Lal and Gurinder Pal Singh.

The department had already issued a seven-day notice as per the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court but Langah failed to appear before the Vigilance Department.


‘Infrastructure to get priority’
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 15
Keeping in view the historical and religious importance of Fatehgarh Sahib, the Punjab Government would develop basic infrastructure of the district on priority basis, said Dr Harbans Lal, Forest and Food Supply Minister, Punjab, while addressing a gathering to honour the newly elected Zila Parishad and block samiti members at Khera village, 15 km from here today. The minister said different development schemes would be launched in rural and urban areas of the district after the Budget Session.

He said shady plants would be planted on both sides of all the roads in the district under a special plan to provide pollution free environment by the Forest Department. About a dozen link roads would be widened soon, he added.

All members elected to the Zila Parishad and block samiti of block Khera, Bassi Pathana and Sirhind participated in the function and Dr Harbans Lal honoured all the new members with siropas. 


Easy loans for visually challenged
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 15
The Punjab Government has decided to provide the visually challenged with easy loans and other benefits to facilitate them to start their own ventures.

Speaking at a function organised by the Blind Struggle Association at Amar Ashram here, the Minister for Social Welfare, Mr Santok Singh, assured that his ministry will soon formulate a plan to provide funds of Rs 50,000 to those visually challenged persons who wish to start their own work. Urging the people to help visually challenged people, the minister said efforts would be made to clear the backlog of one per cent reservations provided to the blind in government jobs.

Praising the work done by the association for their uplift, the minister assured the association by a grant of Rs 50,000 from his fund and directed the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, to allot a piece of land to the association for an office and a milk bar.

Twelve visually challenged persons were provided with Braille writing boards and tape-recorders on the occasion. Mr Praveen Kumar Jain and Mr Lal Chand were honoured by the association. The minister added that he would ensure that the old-age pension scheme was properly implemented and only those who qualified for the scheme got the pension.


4 of cremation party die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 15
Eight persons were killed in accidents in the subdivision and adjoining areas of Sriganganagar during the past 24 hours.

An ambulance carrying the body of Atma Singh, granthi of Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Sri Karanpur, collided head on with a truck near Shergarh village on the Hanumangarh road yesterday. Four of the 11 occupants died on the spot while six others were injured.

According to information, Atma Singh had been hospitalised for a cardiac problem in New Delhi, where he had gone to participate in a religious ceremony. He died there day before yesterday. As the body was being brought to his native place for cremation in an ambulance, it met with an accident.

Those killed included his daughter Gurjit Kaur (22), her husband Ranjit Singh (25), their daughter Simaranjit Kaur (4) and Wazir Kaur (70). The driver of the ambulance, Wasim Akram, the granthi’s wife Balbir Kaur (52), sons Ajit Singh (25) and Satnam Singh (29), daughter-in-law Poonam (21) and Hargun Singh (50) were among those injured. They were rushed to the district hospital at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here.

Sohan Singh, a mechanic, was killed when the motor cycle he was riding collided with another motor cycle on the link road outside Sriganganagar. Darshan Singh and Gurpreet Singh received injuries.

Five persons, including two women, were injured when a tempo collided with a jeep on the same link road. Thirteen-year-old Mangu was crushed to death under a truck in Gharsana area while he was crossing the road. In another incident, Sita Ram (28), died when his motor cycle was reportedly hit by a truck on the Suratgarh road.

Munish Kumar (20), of Dangarkhera village near here was killed when a tempo overturned following collision with a truck. Krishan Lal of Maujgarh village was injured and admitted to the subdivisional hospital here.

Another report said Bhagirath (22) was killed as a landmine exploded at the border village of Chak-9F in Hindumalkot sector. He had gone there to harvest crop in the field of Jagraj Singh. 


Sidhu’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 15
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, Ropar, today extended the judicial remand of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu till June 22 in the PPSC recruitment scam. Sidhu was produced in the court of Special Judge after the expiry of his earlier judicial remand today.

It is learnt that the challan against Sidhu is to be presented by the Vigilance authorities in the case till June 24 because Sidhu will complete 90 days in detention on that day after his arrest. Under the law, if the challan is not presented in 90 days, Sidhu may get bail from the court.

The Special Judge also extended the judicial remand of Surinder Kaur Manchanda, wife of retired bank official G.S. Manchanda, an alleged operator, till June 22. 


Need to purge SAD: Sikh council
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, founder Secretary-General of the World Sikh Council, said today that the SAD needed to the purged of the “corrupt, tainted and undesirable” elements so that the party could be reorganised on the noble traditions envisaged by its founders in 1920.

He said it was matter of concern that the organisation of martyrs and self-sacrificing persons, who laid down their lives for the freedom of the country, had sunk deep into corruption.

Various scams of the SAD-BJP government had shamed the Panth and tarnished the image of Punjab. The SAD had played a great role in cleansing public life during the gurdwara reform movement but actions of some leaders in the recent past had brought a bad name to the party.

“It would be in the fitness of things that inquiries should be held into the disproportionate assets of bureaucrats and officials, he said.

He said a Panthic convention would be called in mid-July to hold a discussion regarding the reorganisation of Panthic parties by bringing forward Akali leaders with a clean image. Leaders of all Akali factions would be invited, he added.


Eviction drive ‘biased’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 15
Even as campaign launched to get LIG flats here evicted from illegal occupants by officials of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) continued today, some of those whose belongings were thrown out in the open alleged that the campaign was biased.

The LIG flats constructed by PUDA for riot victims remained in controversy as many of these were occupied by persons illegally. They were allegedly patronised by some politicians.

The officials had asked the illegal occupants to vacate the flats by June 12. Some of them had shifted to other places. There are about 40 such illegally occupied flats.

When this correspondent visited the flats he found that belongings of some of the residents were thrown out in the open and the flats were sealed. They alleged that while some of them who came to know about the campaign in advance left their houses, they were caught unaware.

Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, Additional Administrator, when contacted said none of the illegal occupants would be spared. He said the allegations of bias action were baseless. Mr Kharbanda said efforts were being made to reduce the rates of flats.


3 dead, two hurt as car hits tree
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 15
Sat Paul (49), president of gaushalla and the local Mandir Committee, his son-in-law Mohinder Paul (22) and partner Meshi (22), alias Kala, all local residents, died on the spot today when the car in which they were travelling dashed against a roadside tree. Amit, son of Sat Paul, and another boy Gopal (16) were seriously injured in the accident.

Sat Paul along with his kin was going to Bathinda to purchase clothes for the marriage of his son Amit. When the vehicle reached near Bhaini Bhaga village of the district, on the Mansa-Bathinda road, a message was reportedly received on the mobile by the driver diverting his attention resulting in the accident. The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.


Boy dies in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 15
Daljit Singh (12) a student of class VII, was killed on the spot and Vishal Kumar (8) injured when a tipper, loaded with sand, allegedly hit their bicycle near Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bagh here this afternoon. The police has taken the driver of the tipper and the vehicle in custody.

Daljit and Vishal were returning home on the bicycle after paying obeisance at Gurdwara Tibbi Sahib.

Vishal was taken to the local Civil Hospital where his condition is stated to be out of danger.

Daljit was the son of a taxi operator. 


Pensioners threaten dharna
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 15
The Punjab Pensioners Welfare Association has threatened to sit on a dharna if their demands are not accepted by the state government.

During a meeting held at Central Library hall here today, the vice-president of the association, Mr Sat Pal Rahi, said the Congress government must fulfil its commitments to the pensioners. He said during the Assembly elections the Congress had assured the pensioners that they would be given the pension according to the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission. Mr Rahi said this had not happened despite repeated reminders to the government.

The demands of the pensioners include increase in medical allowance and 50 per cent concession in government bus fair. The association has threatened to gherao Moti Bagh and sit on the dharna if their demands are not met before July 20.


VIP “guest” at police station
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 15
Entry of the common man to the Phase 8 Police Station is restricted, thanks to a VIP guest of the Punjab Vigilance Department. Former Education Minister Tota Singh, who was arrested yesterday has been lodged at the police station by the vigilance sleuths.

After being produced at the district courts, Kharar, the “VIP” was again brought to the police station. Earlier, when the former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) was lodged at the police station, the main gate to the police station was closed, especially during the night hours.


Cash awards for Ropar Thermal Plant
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 15
Mr V.K. Mohindru, General Manager of the Ropar Thermal Plant (RTP), received three cash awards, worth Rs 24.30 lakh, besides a silver shield, on behalf of the RTP from the Union Power Minister a few days back at a function in New Delhi for the excellent performance of the 1260-MW plant.

He received a silver shield and cash award of Rs 11.72 lakh for meritorious productivity for the financial year 1999-2000. He also received cash incentive awards of Rs 6.57 lakh and Rs 6.01 lakh for reducing fuel oil consumption during the calendar years 1999 and 2000, respectively.


Insect catcher developed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 15
Two local residents, Gurdeep Singh and Mandeep Singh, have developed in indigenous ‘insect catcher’, which they claim, if manufactured on a large scale, will solve the problem of American bollworm which destroys the cotton crop every year.

The ‘insect catcher’ has a ultra-violet tubelight which attracts the bollworm. The tubelight is surrounded by a wire mesh with an electric current of about 5000 volts. The insects get killed when they hit the wire mesh.

During a demonstration of the ‘insect catcher’ here today, Mr Gurdeep Singh claimed that it had been designed keeping in mind the American bollworm. He added that the machine would consume electricity worth Rs 2 per night, which was very low as compared to the expenses of insecticides.


Cops transferred en masse
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 15
En masse transfers have been reported in the local police district.

The SHO of city, sadar, Valtoha and Khemkaran have been transferred. More than 48 Sub-Inspectors and Assistant Sub-Inspectors have been included in the transfer list. Mr Narinder Bhargav, the local SSP, confirmed the transfers today. He said that to tone up the functioning of the department, the transfers had been effected.


ASI booked for aiding cheat
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 15
The police has arrested 12 persons for allegedly trying to possess a residential plot in this city illegally by threatening its owner on the night of June 13.

In another case, Makhan Singh, a proclaimed offender (PO) of Barnala police, who had been cheating people on the pretext of sending them abroad, was arrested yesterday.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Ishwar Singh, district police chief, said that Jagsir Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) an accomplice of Makhan Singh, was also booked in a case of buying a Tata Sumo through a Ludhiana-based finance company and with the intention of selling it. The Tata Sumo, with changed number plates, was seized from the house of Jagsir Singh.

A case under Section 420 of IPC has been registered against Makhan Singh and Jagsir Singh in the city police station.

The 12 accused, who had been arrested in connection with the illegal possession of a residential plot include Tara Singh, alias Tara, Gurmeet Singh, Harjeet Singh, Sandeep Kumar, Pankaj Kumar, Vijay Singh, Gurmail Singh, Kuljit Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Lok Nath, Gurmeet Singh and Sushil Kumar. All the accused were residents of Bathinda.

They allegedly broke into a residential plot measuring 400 square yards located in Deep Colony on the Sant Pura road after breaking the lock of gate, and tried to demolish the four rooms built on it.


Five get 7-yr jail in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 15
In a case related to a dowry death, the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr G.K Dhir, today sentenced five persons, including the husband and mother-in-law of the deceased, Anju Rani, a resident of Patran, to seven years’ imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each on the guilty.

On a complaint filed by the mother of Anju, in which she had said that the in-laws of her daughter had been persistently asking for dowry from her daughter and had later killed her in March 2000, a case under Section 304 was registered against the husband of the deceased, Jolly Singla, mother-in-law of the deceased, Reshma, and three other persons, Rajesh, Vinod and Usha Kiran.

The Judge declared all the five persons guilty yesterday and pronounced the judgement today.


2 held in spurious tar supply scam
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 15
The police has unearthed a multi-crore scam involving supply of adulterated tar to government departments and arrested two persons, including a chemical engineer.

Mr B.K. Uppal, SSP, Gurdaspur, told mediapersons here today that the police raided a godown at Sujanpur and seized two trucks laden with barrels containing tar. It also found 1090 barrels of tar with Rs 20 lakh in the godown. Mr Uppal said 26 empty barrels, besides some covers with fake government seals were also seized from Rakesh Joshi, care taker of the godown. The police also arrested Narinder Kumar of Dhangu Peer with a machine which was used to seal the drums. The godown had been sealed, he added.

Mr Uppal said Rakesh Joshi, chemical engineer employed by Amrit Singhla of Sector 27-D, Chandigarh had been arrested under Sections 420, 409, 120-B of the IPC. Mr Singhla was contractor of the Indian Oil Corporation, he added. He said the modus operandi of the culprits was: they would unload the trucks laden with the barrels at the godown and break their seals. They would take out 10 to 12 kg of tar from each barrel and add water to it before resealing these using the cover fitting machine.


20-yr-old girl molested
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 15
A 20-year-old girl, a resident of Gulabgarh Colony, was stripped and molested allegedly by the paramour of her former sister-in-law and an accomplice. According to sources, the victim was alone at home when her sister-in-law came there along with two men. The two men first muffled the girl, tied her hands and legs, and molested her, while her sister-in-law trimmed her hair. The three locked the house before fleeing the scene, sources in police said.

The father of the victim, an ex-serviceman presently employed with a Ludhiana-based construction company, said his son and daughter-in-law had got a divorce in May 2002. He alleged that his former daughter-in-law had developed extra-marital relations with M.S. Randhawa, a Zirakpur-based chemist, where she used to work some time ago. She had left the house about two years ago and had taken her belongings along. A case under Sections 302, 342, 354, 380, 452, 295-A, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered.


Man posing as IT inspector held
Our Correspondent

Samana, June 15
Biram Rai, who was posing as an income tax inspector, was arrested by the police today. He had been making phone calls to Mr Pawan Kumar Patwari of Shutrana for the past 10 days saying that some persons of Patran had complained to the Income Tax authorities against the latter and to hush up the matter he should meet him at the Bhakra bridge here.

The police arrested the culprit when he reached the bridge at stipulated time. He could not produce any identity card to the police.

A case under Sections 419/420/468/471/109 of the IPC had been registered and the car of the culprit impounded


Three cops shot at; two held
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 15
Three policemen were injured seriously when a motor cycle-borne persons opened fire at a police party at Azizpur, 20 km from here, yesterday.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr B.K. Uppal, SSP, Gurdaspur, said on receiving information about an incident of chain snatching, the police laid a naka at Azizpur on Friday. Two persons on a motor cycle, instead of stopping, opened fire and injured three constables. Local residents arrived and caught the duo.

Mr Uppal said during interrogation, they revealed their names as Amarbir Singh of Gurdaspur and Rajesh Kumar of Dhariwal. He added that both had been released on bail. The police registered a case and recovered gold jewellery from their possession.


Two labourers buried alive

Sangrur, June 15
Two labourers were buried alive while desilting a well at Mauran village in Sunam subdivision today.

The police, while confirming the incident, said the victims, Major Khan and Karnail Singh, were buried alive when a mound of earth fell upon them. The villagers started the rescue operation, but one of the labourers died before the debris could be cleared while the other succumbed to his injuries on way to hospital. UNI


PCCTU to observe ‘black day’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 15
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) has decided to observe ‘black day’ on June 24 at Punjabi University here and Panjab University, Chandigarh, to protest against the new pension policy formulated by the state government for government-aided colleges.

The secretary of the Punjabi University area, Mr Aminderpal Singh, said according to the new policy of the government, a corpus fund would be created by the college managements and the fund would not be a part of the state budget. He claimed that the move would adversely affect the pension scheme. He accused the state government of “betraying” the teachers as the executive order pertaining to the pension scheme was originally passed by the Congress government on December 18, 1996.

The president and secretary of the PCCTU said if such orders were passed, the teachers would be forced to intensify their struggle against the move. A dharna would be organised by the joint action committee of non-government colleges at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh, on June 27.


Tailoring course admission
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 15
Admission to one-year dress designing, cutting and tailoring course under the Adult, Continuing Education and Extension Department of Guru Nanak Dev University will be held on June 17. Unemployed matric pass girls can submit their applications up to June 15 to the office of the Assistant Director, Adult, Continuing Education and Extension Department of Desmash Auditorium.

This was stated in a university press note issued here. Counselling for MCA/MBA (five-year integrated course) of the university which was scheduled to be held on June 15 has been postponed, according to the press note, the same will be held on July 4. 


Private-aided colleges get grants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Punjab Government today released over Rs 39 crore for private-aided colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh. This includes the fourth quarter payment of Rs 18 crore, which was not released by the SAD-BJP government in February, and Rs 21.34 crore UGC pay revision arrears received from the Central Government in 2000 but not passed on to the colleges.

Sources said that the amount had been received by the DPI (Colleges), Punjab. This amount would be forwarded to the respective colleges in about a week’s time.

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