Thursday, June 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Surjit is PPSC acting chief
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 19
The Punjab Government has appointed Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh (retd), who had earlier joined as Member of the Punjab Public Service Commission, as Acting Chairman of the commission. Sources said a letter to this effect had been received at the PPSC headquarters today. Earlier, Mrs Harjit Kaur Randhawa, the seniormost member of the commission, was functioning as Acting Chairman following an internal adjustment worked out by the members.

Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh was earlier also tipped for the post of Acting Chairman but could not join as such because his file had not been cleared by the Governor. Meanwhile, the questioning of candidates who had given various examinations held by the PPSC during the tenure of Mr Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu on the PPSC premises has been objected to by some members of the commission.

Sources said various candidates wanting to give information about the functioning of the PPSC had been invited to the headquarters here where their information was received by a Superintendent of Police. The Vigilance Department has reportedly been requested to record statements of the candidates at its own office.


Sidhu aide gets police remand
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 19
Mrs Harinder Sidhu, Duty Magistrate, today remanded Kuldeep Singh Bedi, an accomplice of Ravi Sidhu, former PPSC Chairman who was arrested by the SAS Nagar police, in police custody till June 22.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, public prosecutor, and Mr Rajinderpal Singh Sohal (inspector, Punjab police) who appeared in the court pleaded for police remand and informed by the court that the accused had been arrested after registering a case under Sections 420/467/468/471, IPC.

They said the accused along with other accomplices of Ravi Sidhu, namely Randhir Singh Dheera, P.S. Manchanda and Shamsher Singh made a conspiracy to get the recruitments done through Sidhu and to earn money.

The accused opened fake accounts in the banks and hired lockers. They alleged that the accused even opened two bank accounts in the name of Mrs Pritpal Kaur, mother of Ravi Sidhu in IndusInd Bank in Chandigarh and PNB, SAS Nagar, and hired lockers.

They alleged that he even sent Rs 1.36 crore through hawala to the USA.

They pleaded for police remand as more information was yet to be collected from him about other fake accounts opened by him and about the lockers.


Budget anti-employee, anti-people: SAD
Tribune News Service


Are ministers ready to make any sacrifice for the state? Quizzed in this connection, Mr Lal Singh, said there was no proposal to curtail allowances of ministers. When asked if steps could be taken to curtail certain financial benefits of government employees, why the same criterion could not be followed in the case of ministers, Mr Lal Singh evaded the answer and said that there was not much expenditure on the Council of Ministers.

According to a senior officer of the state government, by way of salary and allowances, a minister costs the state exchequer Rs 2.25 lakh per month.

Chandigarh, June 19
The Shiromani Akali Dal — main Opposition party in Punjab, commenting on the Budget of Capt Amarinder Singh’s government, today said that it was a harsh Budget and would affect all sections of society.

“The Budget was not only directionless and hopeless but it was anti-trader, anti-farmer, anti-employee and anti-industry,” said Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Punjab Finance Minister, immediately after the presentation of the Budget by Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, in the House.

He said the people of the state should be ready to face heavy dose of taxes which would be imposed on them by way of user charges, revision of power tariff, toll tax and other measures. The annual plan’s uncovered gap of Rs 843 crore would be bridged by mobilising resources for which the government had not given any details. The government wanted to recover the annual loss of the Punjab State Electricity Board to the tune of Rs 950 crore by revising power tariff.

He said that the government had presented an incomplete Budget by not explaining the details of various resource mobilisation measures except detailing the “axe wielded against employees” by freezing their DA and suspending their LTC etc.

He said Finance Minister, Lal Singh, stated that there would be plan holiday which meant that the state’s development would come to a halt.

Another senior Akali leader said government had wielded stick against people who were expecting major relief from it as they had given it a mandate with a hope. The government obviously had ditched them.

Though Mr Lal Singh announced to freeze the payment of DA to employees for the next 12 months starting from July 1 and also freezing the facility of LTC (period not announced), but he has not frozen allowances and financial privileges of his Council of Ministers.


Left dubs Budget as disappointing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The CPI, an ally of the Congress has dubbed the Punjab Budget as most disappointing and directionless. The two parties contested jointly the Assembly elections three months ago. The CPM has also reacted in the similar manner.

Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the state unit of the CPI, said the Budget had overlooked all promises made by the ruling party before elections. The philosophy behind the Budget was same as that of the BJP-led coalition at the Centre. The theme song of the Budget was total privatisation and liberalisation and abdication of all sort of social responsibility by the state government.

The process of privatisation of state-owned roadways and other PSUs would render thousands of persons jobless, and assets built over a half century by hardwork and toil would be sold at a throw away price, Dr Dayal said. The process would open flood gates of corruption, commission, benami transfer of properties thus creating big black money as had been happening at the national level due to economic policies followed in the past one decade or so.

In the name of economy measures, the state was trying to justify large-scale retrenchment, dismissals, while the state government failed to reduce the benefits of the most expensive bureaucratic set-up of civil and police administration. The government was concerned less to stop tax evasion of worth Rs 4000 crore, recovery of dues worth Rs 2000 crore from big industrialists and to curb power theft worth several hundred crores and more interested to “fleece the common man”.

Prof Balwant Singh, Secretary of the state unit of the CPM, said that it was WTO-dictated Budget copied from the policies adopted by the NDA government at the Centre. There was no talk to give any sort of relief to people and Budget was directed to hit the commoners hard. He said that there was no talk of employment generation but of creating chaos in the state by removing employees working in PSUs and even in government departments by declaring them as redundant.


High alert sounded along western border
BSF officer killed in Pak firing
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, June 19
A high alert has been sounded today along the entire western border, particularly in the Ferozepore defence sector bordering with Pakistan, following intense firing between Pakistani Rangers and BSF jawans in the Sriganganagar area since last night in which a BSF official was killed.

The body of the intruder had been lying on the Indian side when the reports last came, official sources said. A BSF constable was also injured in the firing.

A flag meeting between Army officers of both countries is scheduled for this evening to calm down the situation.

Official sources said the defence personnel had taken forward positions as intermittent firing from across the border had intensified during the day. The Pakistani border observation post of Al Badar had been destroyed in Indian firing, they said.

Sources said Pakistani Rangers started firing around 6.00 p.m. yesterday when BSF Assistant Commandant Sumer Singh and Company Commander Pradeep Tripathi stopped a Pakistani intruder.

Sumer Singh died on the spot while Pradeep Tripathi escaped unhurt. In the ensuing exchange of fire that continued till 10.00 p.m. last night, the intruder was also killed.

Heavy firing with mortars continued this morning and stopped around noon after it was decided that a Commandant-level flag meeting would be held.

Meanwhile, the Sriganganagar district administration has started evacuating the few villages that have been affected by the firing and moved the people to safer places. It also provided vehicles to ferry people to safer places.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Border Security Force, Rajasthan-Gujarat Frontier, Mr Amitabh Singh, rushed to the site of Indo-Pak border of Khamisa village in Sriganganagar area to review the current situation after heavy firing between Pakistani Rangers and the BSF.

He also called an urgent meeting of the civil administration to assess the preparations made for evacuation. It may be mentioned that Khamisa and Prithisar villages have already been evacuated.

The Deputy Collector of Sriganganagar district, Mr Rama Avtar, the ASP, Mr Dungar Chand Dagi, and the DSP, Mr Yogesh Goyal, also visited the affected areas and held public meetings to boost the morale of the people.

The BSF authorities have declared that firing from both sides has stopped and efforts are on to cool down the atmosphere.


Hawala case: Bank Manager held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The Punjab Police has arrested Mr K.S. Bedi, Manager, Punjab and Sind Bank, Sector 22 branch, allegedly for his involvement in ‘’hawala’’ transactions, roots of which are being traced to PPSC jobs for sale scam.

Informed sources say a case has been registered against him by a Mohali police station under Sections, 471, 467,468 (criminal breach of law), 120 (conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.

It is reliably learnt that one more person is yet to be arrested in this connection. The name of Mr Bedi reportedly figured during investigations by the Punjab police into the PPSC scam in which one former Manager, Mr G.S. Manchanda of Punjab and Sind Bank is already absconding while his wife, Ms Surinder Kaur Manchanda, has been arrested. He reportedly was instrumental in enabling Mr Ravi Sidhu suspected PPSC chief to conduct ‘’hawala’’ transactions to transfer his money abroad.

A pharmacist, Mr Shamsher Singh of the Punjab Department of Animal Husbandry, along with Mr Manchanda were declared proclaimed offenders in the case. Mr Shamsher Singh is allegedly to be one of the main conduits of Mr Sidhu.


Row over denial of NOC to PU courses
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 19
The denial by the Punjab government for granting no objection certificate (NOC) for technical courses like BCA, PGDCA and MSc (IT) to colleges affiliated with Panjab University seems to have led to a major controversy here.

The Punjab Government officials have stated that all technical courses in the state will be run by Punjab Technical University (PTU) and no other university will be allowed to take over such courses. However, the authorities at Panjab University and Guru Nanak Dev University have claimed that PTU should instead restrict itself only to four- year engineering and pharmacy courses.

This year, two colleges of the district, including the Mata Ganga College for Women at Kotan and Guru Nanak National College at Doraha, had applied for BCA courses, and the authorities of the A.S. College for Women at Khanna had demanded affiliation for PGDCA courses. Inspections had been held in colleges, however, later the colleges were informed that they could not run these courses as the government had denied to give them approval for the same.

A major issue confronting the authorities is whether the already affiliated colleges would be allowed to continue with the courses. A number of colleges in the district, who have been running technical courses with Panjab University, have said that they have invested lakhs of rupees on infrastructure, appointment of faculty and getting affiliation. They said admissions to fresh batches were stopped, their entire efforts would go waste. Five colleges of the district — Ramgarhia Girls’ College, Kamla Lohtia Sanatan Dharam College, Arya College, Guru Hargobind College at Gurusar Sadhar and Khalsa College for Women — had started MSc (IT) courses last year and over 15 colleges had been running PGDCA and BCA courses.

The Principals of these colleges have said the state government will not enforce the new regulation as they are not satisfied with the working of PTU. They alleged that PTU was granting affiliation to centres operating in small outlets with inadequate infrastructure and under-qualified staff. They said they were however, satisfied with the working of the Panjab University where well-defined norms were being observed for affiliation, admission and conducting examination.

Mr Tarsem Bahia, Principal of the AS College at Khanna and Senator Panjab University, said he was opposing the move of the government for denying affiliation to three or two year courses that fall under general education pattern. He said neither the Punjab Government nor the PTU authorities should intervene in the normal functioning of these courses being run by the Panjab University.

Mr N.S. Rattan, Principal Secretary, Higher Education, when contacted, said he was in favour of the decision as all technical courses could be better taken care of by the PTU. Regarding the decision about conducting admission for fresh batches, he said a meeting of the Education Minister, Education Secretaries and Vice-Chancellors of the universities would be held on June 28 to give the final verdict.


Flying club may take off again
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 19
The Flying Club of Patiala, which had been closed for flying last September for failing to keep cattle out of the runaway and due to other problems, is getting another chance to redeem itself with the office of the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) scheduled to inspect it on June 26.

A representative of the DGCA , Capt R L Biala, had suspended flying in the club last year when he saw cattle roaming freely along the airstrip of the flying club. This had earlier led to two accidents which had damaged the aircraft. In another visit in October last year, other shortcomings were also pointed out. These included the progress check of the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) of the club, problem of lack of any phone service with the CFI and other small problems. The Club management was asked to solve these problems.

The club has since gone in for fencing its boundary to ensure that cattle from nearby villages do not enter the fields adjoining the runaway for grazing, besides following other recommendations made by the DGCA office.

The club’s CFI, Capt G.S. Brar, disclosed that he had received training from the CFI of the Amritsar Flying Club as advised by the DGCA. He said the club had fulfilled all conditions imposed by the DGCA and it had requested it to inspect the club again and clear it for flying, adding that the inspection was expected on June 26.

Capt Brar disclosed that the club still had around 10 students enrolled with it and they were attending ground training classes.

Meanwhile, sources said the club was way past its heydays when it used to have as many as 50 to 60 students on its rolls on a regular basis from all over the country. ‘’ Now there are hardly any Punjabis on the rolls’’ , said a flyer, adding that they preferred to do their training abroad. He said it was cheaper to get training abroad as it cost Rs 7 lakh to do a six-month stint on the best aircraft there, while the same was covered over a period of two years here at a cost of Rs 10 lakh.

This, sources said, was because of the increase in fuel charges as well as no increase in the subsidy quotient at the state level and ending of the subsidy given earlier by the Centre. They said in 1988 it cost Rs 400 per hour of flying with Rs 250 being the state government subsidy. Now they said it cost Rs 3,800 per hour to fly the Cessna with the subsidy quotient being the same. ‘’This has made flying very expensive and out of reach for most of the people’’, said Jaswinder, an enthusiast.

The only way out seems to be the creation of a flying authority which can take all flying clubs in the state under its fold. The sources said it was proposed to give the authority an initial sum of Rs 1.10 crore, besides paying the employees their arrears in full. Besides, four Cessna 172 four-seater aircraft could be purchased to provide students with the best training facilities as even now, flying is going on mostly on the Cessna aircraft of the Patiala Flying Club with the other serviceable Pushpak aircraft lying idle. The same was the case in other clubs, the sources added.


BAMS doc challenges selection criteria
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 19
It appears that the crusade against corruption launched by the Congress Government is gaining momentum with every passing day as a section of the affected unemployed youth is trying to make their voice heard.

Various departments also filled their coffers by collecting huge sums of money from the unemployed youth in the name of fees. Interestingly some of the departments of the government collected fees for various recruitment examination but sadly these tests were either not conducted at all or the results had not been declared.

In a similar story, Dr Vineeta Singla, who remained a topper throughout her academic and extracurricular career, did her Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) with 80 per cent marks (gold medal) but could not get the job of an ayurvedic medical officer as when she appeared in the interview for the first time during September 1996, the jobs were allegedly sold for money. She dared to challenge the selections made by the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board alleging bunglings in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the court ordered fresh interviews.

Fresh interviews for the jobs were conducted during June 1998, but as the case went to the Supreme Court the results were withheld for some time. Later the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the high court and the result of the fresh interview was declared. But her problems did not end there and to her surprise her name did not figure in the fresh selection list either.

While talking to The Tribune here today, she alleged that faulty selection procedure was the root cause of all corruption. She pointed out that the PSSSB did not mention the selection criteria to the candidates during 1996 but when she had filed a writ petition in his connection in the Punjab and Haryana High Court the same was given to the candidates. She said while no marks were given for having done plus medical with flying colours, the board awarded two marks to those who had done MA or M.Sc, even as these higher qualifications had nothing to do with the skill of a person as a doctor.

Similarly no marks were given for experience as a private practitioner and a government experience was not possible as such. She said that those who had passed the class X exams with first division were given 20 marks and those who passed the class X in a second division were given 18 marks. Thus the difference in the marks given to those candidates who had 85 per cent and 45 per cent was just 2 which worked against those having higher merit.

Dr Singla alleged that the marks awarded to those having certificates of spots, extra curricular activities, NCC, NSS etc were also not fair. Most of these certificates were “managed”. She argued that if the authorities were to favour doctors with post-graduation degrees in the jobs, why the graduate doctors were called for the interviews at all?

She alleged hat the corrupt forces hijacked the interview process twice and then the board announced fresh vacancies of Ayurvedic Medical Officers on January 1, 1998, and a screening test was held. The screening test for these fresh jobs was conducted four years later on November 18, 2001 and the result has not been declared till date. Dr Singla said just after the board had conducted the screening test the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) staked its claim over these jobs. It was not clear yet that whether these jobs fell under the jurisdiction of the PPSC or the board, she pointed out.


PPSC scam: threatened staff form association
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 19
A joint meeting of agriculturists, veterinarians, teachers, engineers and doctors held at ESI Hospital here today decided to form a co-ordination Committee ‘Professional Service Association’ to take up the case of the employees of these departments whose job was in danger following the PPSC recruitment scandal.

It was also resolved at the meeting to stage a dharna at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh to press the government for the acceptance of their demands.

Dr Gurcharan Singh Chahal and Prof Jaipal Singh, speaking on behalf of the coordination committee in a press release today said that they would not allow mass victimisation of the employees.

‘‘The mass-scale victimisation of all professionals selected during Ravi Sidhu’s tenure shall be resisted tooth and nail’’ said the release.

The employees of different departments were represented by their respective leaders, including Dr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, Dr Rajinder Singh, Dr Satnam Singh, Dr Chaman Lal Vashisht, Er Gurbhakhshish Singh, Er S.P. Singh, Prof Jaipal Singh and others.


31 Akali activists released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 19
All 31 Akalis, including Mr Virsa Singh Valtoha, a former member of the Punjab State Subordinate Services Selection Board, who were arrested on June 10, have been released from the local Central Jail.

The Akali activists were arrested at Bhikhiwind on the eve of the state-level dharna organised in Chandigarh in protest against the killing of senior Alaki leader Gurdial Singh and five others.

Tempers ran high as supporters of the arrested Akali workers and a heavy police force assembled outside the jail. The supporters were apprehending that the Akali workers could be re-arrested in some other cases after their release.

The Shiromani Akali Dal alleged that the workers were deliberately kept in jail for nine days as the SDM delayed the bail process at the behest of the Congress government.


IMA plan to check female infanticide
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 19
In order to check female infanticide, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has come up with a novel suggestion, envisaging the initiation of a social security system involving a fixed deposit in the name of the girl child and facilities of free education and healthcare for her till she reaches adulthood.

Advocating an aggressive awareness drive to curb the malpractice of female infanticide, the IMA’s Punjab branch has suggested to the state government to ensure a fixed deposit in the name of the girl child at the time of her birth. The amount should increase to Rs 1 lakh at the time of its maturity when the girl child turns 18. The IMA has also suggested the introduction of free education for girls up to Class XII, reservation in professional courses and free medicare, at least till the girl reaches adulthood.

Dr R.C. Garg, president of IMA (Punjab), said the suggestions towards checking female infanticide had been submitted to the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab. He said the organisation had apprised the state government of its intention to fight female foeticide. However, the association was perturbed over the “misuse” of powers by the authorities concerned while inspecting diagnostic centres run by qualified people, he said. “The police states that offences have been committed under the PNDT Act, 1994, without mentioning the particular Section, causing harassment to centre owners,” said a memorandum submitted by the IMA to the state government.

Listing the difficulties being faced by doctors, the IMA has said that it is mandatory for registered centres undertaking legal and selective abortions to have anaesthetists, who are not readily available. The IMA has suggested that provisions should be relaxed for the formation of a panel of anaesthetists who could attend to cases as per need.

The IMA has also expressed its concern over the rising number of cases of assault against doctors and has urged the state government to check quackery.


120 lift pumps disconnected
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 19
The Irrigation Department has disconnected 120 lift pumps from Sirhind canal, which were sanctioned by the SAD government in the state.

Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, had brought to the notice of officials concerned that these pumps were being operated illegally to benefit certain SAD activists. This deprived farmers at the tail ends of the sub canals of water for irrigation.

It was found during an inquiry that 135 lift pumps were being operated on the Sirhind feeder. Most of the beneficiaries were SAD workers who belonged to villages falling in the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s home district particularly in the Muktsar, Malout and Lambi Assembly segments. A scrutiny of records maintained by the Irrigation Department revealed that such pumps were sanctioned to groups of farmers on yearly basis. The sanction was accorded by the Superintending Engineer.

It had repeatedly been alleged by senior political functionaries in Rajasthan in the past three years that the creation of Bibi sub canal and scores of lift pumps had deprived Rajasthan of its share in waters. The Chief Engineer, Irrigation, had even conducted a tour of the media to show how water was being stolen under the patronage of SAD leaders.

Of the 135 pumps in operation, only 15 had the necessary sanction. All 135 beneficiaries were told by the irrigation authorities that their sanction had expired by March 31, they must get it renewed. The warning was given in April but they did heed to it. Further it was noted that the farmers were drawing excessive supply of canal water causing substantial revenue loss to the department.

With the disconnection of these lift pumps the theft of water has been checked. It is estimated that beginning Harike Pattan such pumps were lifting nearly 800 cusecs of water against the 250 cusecs of sanctioned.

In a signed letter to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, yesterday farmers of the area stressed that all offenders should be brought to book and revenue loss be recovered from them.


Drive on reflectors
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 19
The district transport office today launched a special campaign to paste reflectors on the rear sides of tractor-trailors, rickshaws, bicycles and other vehicles to prevent accidents, particularly on the national highway in the district.

The campaign was inaugurated by Ms Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, by pasting reflectors on tractor-trailors and rickshaws near the headworks here. The Deputy Commissioner was accompanied by Mr Pritam Singh Johl, District Transport Officer, and other officials.

Ms Jain directed the transport authorities to hold seminars and rallies to educate the people about the traffic rules at truck stands, bus stands, tractor-trailor stands and rickshaw stands. She also told the transport officials to involve students in this campaign.

Mr Pritam Singh Johl said the reflectors on the vehicles would be pasted free of cost. He also appealed to vehicle owners to cooperate and pay a vital role in making this campaign a success.


PSEB ignoring CM’s orders: migrants
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 19
As many as 250 families who have migrated from border villages to relief camps at Narot Jaimal Singh due to shelling from across the border are a worried lot. The migrants include residents of border villages like Palah, Simble, Scole, Talotar, and Kotli Jawahar.

Sardaro Devi and Kanta of Talotar said the Chief Minister who visited their camp ordered the PSEB officials not to charge power bills from them till they returned to their villages. They said these orders of the Chief Minister were not being obeyed and the villagers were getting regular power bills from the board.

Moreover orders regarding the postponement of instalments of co-operative loans announced by the Chief Minister were also not being observed.

The residents at the relief camp said the rooms of the school where they are staying leaked during rain but no efforts were being made to check the leakage.

Meanwhile BJP workers led by Mr B.K. Mittal president district unit visited the camp and distributed atta, rice, vegetables and dal among the migrants.


Telecom engineers stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 19
Telecom Engineers of the Gurdaspur circle today staged a dharna in front of the office of the new Telephone Exchange building here to protest against the death of a colleague due to alleged harassment by the SDO, Tarn Taran, Mr Rajinder Singh and General Manager Circle Gurdaspur, Mr Rakesh Kumar.

A Junior Telecom Officer of Amritsar committed suicide on June 17. He left a note alleging that the two officers were responsible for his death.

Junior telecom engineers demanded the registration of criminal case under Section 306, IPC against the officers and their immediate transfer.

Mr Ravinder Kumar Bhogal, district unit secretary and Mr R.K. Sharma branch unit secretary said here that if their demand was not accepted they would plan further course of action.


PSEB engineers to observe boycott
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 19
The Council of Junior Engineers of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to boycott stores and ME labs on June 26 and 27 to protest against the “discriminatory and indifferent” attitude of the management towards the problems and demands of the junior engineers.

The president of the council, Mr Sukhdev Singh, alleged that the management had been ignoring the demands of the junior engineers and that the board’s recent decision to curtail generation incentive given to the junior engineers would affect the efficiency of thermal plants.

The general secretary, Mr Davinder Singh, said the reported moves of the board to withdraw certain allowances which were otherwise linked with duties and consumer service would adversely affect the motivation level of the junior engineers. He also condemned the reported downsizing of manpower by the management, saying that the move had created resentment among the junior engineers and other employees of the PSEB.

Council members said many of their demands were accepted by the management during various meetings held on October 11, 2001 and March 25, 2002, but these had not been implemented.

The members threatened to intensify their agitation if their demands were not implemented.


Banks to observe bandh on June 27
Our Correspondent

Samrala, June 19
The Land Mortgage Bank Employees Union of Punjab has decided to observe a pen-down strike on June 25 while all banks in Punjab will observe a bandh on June 27, according to Mr Romesh Chander, vice-president of the union, here today.

He said the Congress government was acting in a dictatorial” way by deducting salaries and retrenchment of employees of boards and corporations which was not acceptable.

He said the decisions of the government had caused resentment among employees and they would decide their course of action after consultations with the Central Cooperative Bank Employees Federation, Punjab on June 27.


Postal employee dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 19
S.P. Jain, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Chandigarh, was killed and five others injured when their van collided with a Punjab Roadways bus this afternoon near Bains village, on the Ropar-Nurpur Bedi road. Jain reportedly died on the spot.

In the accident, Mr J.K. Sharma, a postal employee from Chandigarh, his wife Vandana, his two sons Rahul and Askash, and driver Surinder Singh, all occupants of the van, were injured, Vandana was discharged after first aid by the local Civil Hospital while the remaining four were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. Mr J.K. Sharma belongs to Lukhno village of Nurpur Bedi.

Sources said the two officials were going to Nurpur Bedi to check the post office in the official van.

The Nurpur Bedi police has arrested the driver of the bus Avtar Singh and conductor Sarwan Ram, and impounded the bus.

In another road mishap, a motorcyclist, Harpreet Singh, of Bajherri village in Kharar tehsil was killed this afternoon at Ahmadpur village, near Ghanauli, while Vijay Kumar (14) of the same village was injured.

Both were returning on the motorcycle from the Mata Naina Devi temple.


Rain throws life out of gear
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 19
While the season’s first rainfall this morning brought cheer to the farmers and to those seeking respite from the sweltering heat, it threw life out of gear for the residents of a number of localities here.

Poor drainage systems resulted in the accumulation of water on major roads, including the national highway, with passes through the city. According to the residents, this is a perpetual problem and the local administration has done little to solve in this regard.

The showers began in the early hours and intermittent showers continued till about 11 a.m.

The Bathinda Gonia road, Sirki Bazar, Multaina road, Guru Nanak Pura Mohalla, Ganesha Basti, Power House Road and the Mall road were some of the worst-affected areas.


Downpour makes weather pleasant
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, June 19
Local residents were relieved when the city received moderate showers this morning which turned the prevailing intolerable hot and sizzling weather into a pleasant one.

Children, youngsters and elders took to the streets and roads early in the morning for a walk to enjoy the downpour.

Farmers say the showers though moderate are favourable to the paddy crop, otherwise they were dependent on the mercy of the PSEB.


FM station for Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 19
The planning and development unit of the Prasar Bharti Broadcasting Corporation of India has been planning to install an FM radio station here. The information was given by Mr S. K Srivastva, Assistant Director, Engineering Planning, in a letter to Mr Sandeep Kumar Sharma, a lecturer in computer science who had requested Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, install a radio station in the city.

The letter from Prasar Bharti stated that Amritsar falls within the primary grade coverage zone on medium wave by 200 KW and 300 MW transmitters at Jalandhar. However, a scheme for the installation of FM radio station at Amritsar is being considered in the draft 10th plan subject to the availability of resources.


Woman missing; murder suspected
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 19
Satwant Kaur, mother of Kulwinder Kaur, at a press conference here yesterday, alleged that her daughter might have been murdered by her in-laws. Kulwinder, who was earlier allegedly burnt by her in-laws and later abandoned, went missing on May 8. Satwant Kaur alleged that Kulwinder, a mother of two children was residing with her for the past one year. Satwant Kaur said she took her daughter to her in-laws on May 7. The in-laws refused to accept Kulwinder. Kulwinder went missing the next day. Satwant Kaur suspected that the in-laws of her daughter had allegedly murdered her.


FCI Assistant Manager, 5 others held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 19
The district police has arrested the officer in charge of the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) Bathinda Storage Depot along with five other employees for their alleged involvement in diverting rice, earmarked for export, to local markets, it is learnt. Meanwhile, employees of the FCI have reportedly called for a statewide stir against the police raid on their depot.

While police officials are tightlipped about developments in the matter, sources say the investigations are continuing. The police had rounded up about 15 FCI functionaries yesterday for questioning. The officer in charge, Hardev Singh, posted here as Assistant Manager, and five others were placed under formal arrest today.

Meanwhile, the FCI depot here wore a deserted look, with the premises locked up and no employees in sight.

The sources said 26,000 bags of rice, bought by a Delhi-based firm, Sharp Menthol Private Limited, on the pretext of exporting the same, were in the process of being moved when the police swooped in. The consignment was destined for Mumbai. A witness said one of the trucks, destined for Mumbai, had returned to the FCI depot the same day to pick up another consignment for the same firm.

Meanwhile, a section of the FCI employees is up in arms against the police action. The employees are claiming that the police raid on their depot has no jurisdiction as the FCI is a Central Government organisation and that the actual diversion and theft of rice was being done by export firms and rice shellers.


Car sale racket busted
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June19
The Patiala police yesterday claimed to have busted a gang which had been getting cars financed from different finance agencies and later selling them with forged papers.

Speaking to the mediapersons, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr P.S. Umranangal informed that special ‘nakas’ were erected to nab the accused. Three of them Devinder Singh, Nachattar Singh and Gurtej Singh, all residents of Patran, were arrested near here. However, four other suspects including the prime accused, Harpreet Singh, are still absconding. Three cars, three motor cycles and two scooters were recovered from them and more vehicles would be recovered shortly, the SSP said.

Elaborating on the modus-operandi of the accused, the SSP said the accused used to get the cars financed and then prepare forged papers with the help of a computer. After some time these cars were sold to unsuspecting buyers at considerably low rates. The SSP also said several cases relating to vehicle thefts have come to light including instances where cars are stolen from Delhi and later sold in the state . He said the district police has been able to make vital inroads in such cases and several stolen vehicles have been recovered recently.


Servant’s hand alleged in theft
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 19
Four persons reportedly committed a theft in house No. 107 in Sewa Colony last night. The owner of the house, Mr Surjit Singh Bhullar, was alone with the servant in the house. Alleging the servant’s hand in the theft, Mr Bhullar alleged that his servant had added some intoxicant in his dinner due to which he started feeling drowsy. He said after some time, around four persons, whom hecould not identify, tied his hands and legs with a duppata and as he was in an intoxicated state, he could offer little resistance. The servant has absconded.

The thieves ransacked the whole house, broke the lockers and took away cash and jewellery, the value of which is yet to be assessed. A complaint in this regard was lodged.


Withdrawal of strike conditional: NSUI
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 19
The National Students Union of India (NSUI) has said the two-month-old strike in Shree Lakshmi Narain College has been withdrawn on the intervention of senior officials of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences keeping in view the future of students.

Gautam Majithia, district president of the NSUI, in a press note said the strike was called off temporarily.

The NSUI warned that if the fact-finding report to be conducted within a month was not satisfactory, the students would be forced to resume strike.

Gautam, however, said the studies in the college would be adversely affected as most of the teachers had been sent on leave as per the agreement reached at the behest of the university.

The NSUI said after sending Principal, Vice-Principal and other staff members on leave, the management had posted Mr Baijnath Khanna, a retired bank employee, as Administrator of the college.


Application forms’ submission date extended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 19
Guru Nanak Dev University has extended the last date for receiving application forms for admission to one year postgraduate diploma course in printing technology and management up to June 30. Candidates having done graduation or any other equivalent examination with 45 per cent marks are eligible for the course, according to a press note issued here today.

Meanwhile, the results of MA music (instrumental)-I, MA (Sanskrit)-I, MA (Urdu)-I and part II, A (police administration)-I and MA (political science)-I examinations held in April will be declared on June 20 and will be available on the university web-site.

The results of B.Sc (home science)-II, B.Com (hons)-III and part III and part-time diploma in home management-II will be declared the same day.


Entrance test dates changed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 19
The entrance test for admission to B.P.Ed and M.P.Ed courses of Guru Nanak Dev University have been postponed to June 29 and 30, respectively. This was stated by Dr B.S. Ghuman, Dean Academic Affairs, in a press release issued here yesterday.


Rice millers demand more allowances
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June19
The Punjab Rice Millers Association have requested the Union Food Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, to release 2 per cent driage allowance of restore the machine stitching charges and enhance the milling charges for parboiled and raw rice.

The president of the association, Mr Tarsem Saini, said the Punjab Rice Millers Association has been requesting the Union Government since1997-98 to enhance the milling charges for parboiled and raw rice but even after two years, little has been done in this regard. He further said that the BICP, which had conducted the field report for the Union Government in this regard, had recommended a milling rate of Rs 26.87 per quintal for parboiled units and Rs 18.19 per quintal for raw rice.

Mr Saini further said a delegation of the association had met several senior functionaries of the Union Food Ministry and were told by the ministry officials that they do not require the parboiled rice of Punjab, consequently, the milling charges of parboiled rice have been slashed, he alleged. He also claimed that the machine stitching charges for rice bags, which used to be given earlier have been stopped completely since the last two seasons and transportation charges on levy rice too have been withheld.

The association has requested the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh, and the Minister of Food and Supplies, Mr Lal Singh, to take immediate steps and to negotiate with the Union Food Minister in this regard so as to ascertain that the state’s rice milling industry is not adversely affected.

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 |