Tuesday, June 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sale deed scam detected
Stamp duty worth Rs 1 cr evaded
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 24
Sale deeds below the rates fixed by the Collector during the five-year tenure of SAD-BJP government have been detected by a report which has indicted many Tehsildars and revenue officials for causing a huge loss to the state exchequer. The scam is just a tip of the iceberg as the inquiry pertains only to a few villages.

The inquiry was conducted by Mr Gian Singh Bal, the outgoing Additional Deputy Commissioner on the direction of the Commissioner, Jalandhar division. The Tehsildars who were indicted include Rajesh Sharma, Rajinder Singh, Vinay Kumari, Lakhwinder Singh, Parmpreet Singh and P.P.S. Guraya.

After going through the official record, the inquiry officer found that the revenue officials registered the sale deeds below the rates fixed by the Collector, apart from evading stamp duty.

In a separate report, Rajesh Sharma has been indicted for committing irregularities while registering sale deeds of “zumla mushtarka malkan” (share-holders) land. As per the report, he registered 38 sale deeds in Pandori Waraich village. The land in question was sold and deeds were registered without the share-holders getting their individual shares determined by the competent authority. Though Rajesh sharma was transferred on the basis of several complaints, he succeeded in getting his transfer cancelled.

The inquiry was entrusted to the Additional Deputy Commissioner by the Commissioner, Jalandhar, on February 8. The inquiry officer studied the sale deed records between 1996 and December 2001.

As per the inquiry report, in 1996 alone, at least five sale deeds registered by Rajesh Sharma were Rs 1.96 lakh less than the rates fixed by the Collector. By doing so, a stamp duty to the tune of Rs 11,813 was evaded. Similarly, three Tehsildars, Rajinder Singh, Rajesh Sharma and Vinay Kumari, registered at least 16 sale deeds which were Rs 4.5 lakh less than the rates and hence evaded stamp duty to the tune of Rs 27,438. In 1998, the above revenue officials registered as many as 36 sale deeds (under value of over Rs 27 lakh) and evaded stamp duty of Rs 1.6 lakh.

Lakhwinder Singh, Rajesh Sharma and Vinay Kumari were responsible for the registration of 18 such deeds in 2000 which were undervalue (Rs 21 lakh) and evaded a stamp duty of Rs 1.2 lakh. In the coming year, the four Tehsildars, including Parmpreet Singh, registered 35 sale deeds which were found to be less than the rates (total Rs 38 lakh) and evaded stamp duty of about Rs 2.3 lakh in 2001.

The revenue officials indulged in the registration of deeds which were less than the rates to the tune of Rs 1 crore and stamp duty of Rs 5.59 lakh had been evaded.

The inquiry officer said the Tehsildars and clerks of the department should be held equally responsible for causing such a huge loss to the exchequer.


Excise staff to observe ‘black day’ today
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Shaken by the death of an Excise and Taxation Officer and two Inspectors in less than a week, allegedly because of working under stress, the Confederation of Employees of the Punjab and Excise and Taxation Department has given a call for a “black day” tomorrow .

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the confederation held in Jalandhar yesterday after the bhog ceremony of Mr Karnail Singh Sahota, ETO, who died in a late-night road accident while returning home from office last week. It was at the meeting of the confederation that news about the death of the two Inspectors was broken.

According to sources, the confederation has decided to ignore for the time being the Excise and Taxation Commissioner’s invitation to hold “negotiations”. The invitation was extended to the Confederation at the bhog ceremony of Mr Sahota .

The deaths of Mr Pardeep Malhotra and Mr Navdeep Tuli within 48 hours of each other has given credence to the allegation of the confederation of “horrifying psychosis created by a stressful work environment” in the department.

Mr Tuli, an engineer, was given employment on compassionate grounds and was in his early 30s. He was posted in Ludhiana-I. Mr Malhotra was posted at the ICC, Madhopur.

Mr Tuli, according to family sources, awake until late at night on Saturday, was upset and panicky with regard to the preparation of reports and documents for the June 25 meeting.

“This stress has been playing havoc with employees of the department. No one has peace of mind. And most of the work being assigned to each official is either repetitive or redundant,” alleges the confederation.

Even the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Suresh Kumar, against whom the agitation is being organised, admitted that there was a “lot of avoidable redundancy” in the department and he would try to check it.

He also admitted that there was increased work pressure and that was why 50 posts each of Excise and Taxation Officer and Inspector had been sanctioned for the department.

The Jalandhar meeting of the confederation was attended by more than 200 representatives of Excise and Taxation officers, inspectors, members of the ministerial staff and Class IV employees, including drivers.

The confederation also observed two minutes’ silence as a mark of respect to Mr Malhotra and Mr Tuli.

Demanding the “immediate ouster of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner and the Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner-I, the confederation expressed its solidarity with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in achieving the revenue targets, but appealed to the state government to act on its demand of shifting the two officers out of the department.

In a signed statement issued after the meeting, Mr S.S. Cheema, president, Excise and Taxation Officers Association, said that “if such a suffocating environment continues, more precious lives may be lost in the near future.

All members of the confederation will wear black badges tomorrow to “protest against the derogatory and insulting behaviour of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner and the Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner-I.”


Tota’s White House raided
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 24
A team of the Vigilance Bureau from Chandigarh today raided White House, the residence of former Education Minister Tota Singh, who is in judicial custody on charges of cheating, forgery, corruption and accumulation of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Sources in the bureau said no evidence regarding the accumulation of wealth in the form of cash or jewellery had been recovered from the residence. Certain documents pertaining to owning of immovable property were, however, recovered, the sources added.

The sources further denied that the bureau had arrested any councillor of the Moga Municipal Committee in this regard. However, few other persons, including the son Mr Barjinder Singh, alias Makhan Singh, and personal assistant of former minister Gurmail Singh are wanted in the case.

No raids have been carried out on his residence at Nihal Singhwala, the sources added.


Illegal buildings continue to mushroom
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 24
Despite directives from the state Local Bodies Department Secretary, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, to all four commissioners of municipal corporations to check the mushrooming of illegal buildings, the construction of such illegal buildings and commercial complexes in Jalandhar continues unabated.

Mr Kaushal had shot off a demi-official letter to the four commissioners last week saying that the monitoring of the sanctioned building plans was not being carried out in accordance with the provisions of the building bylaws, as a result of which illegal construction was continuing.

The Secretary, who had instructed that the menace of unauthorised construction should be checked within 10 days, had also directed that no building should be allowed to be occupied without obtaining the completion certificate as required under Section 272 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.

However, during a round of various parts of the city by The Tribune team today, it was found that huge commercial complexes are coming up in a number of posh areas of the city, including Mall Road in Model Town and the Gazi Gulla Road locality near the Model Town market. Interestingly the Model Town locality is a residential area and no commercial building can be constructed here without obtaining special permission with regard to “change in use of land” from the civic body or from the Local Bodies Department. Besides these under-construction buildings do not have any parking facilities in stark violation of the building bylaws which state, “50 per cent of the total area of a commercial building should be reserved for parking purposes.” Most of the owners of these commercial complexes had reportedly shown parking places in their building plans but instead had used the space for shops and showrooms.

It is alleged that MC officials are patronising defaulters and a lobby of builders.

“You see, officials of the building branch are charging Rs 3,800 as bribe for approving a plan of a residential building within 15 days of the submission of an application and in case one fails to pay the bribe, the officials put several objections. Besides, they charge huge money, running into lakhs, for allowing construction of huge buildings including hotels and commercial complexes, without mandatory approval of building plans,” reveals a local architect on condition of anonymity.

The corporation Commissioner, Mr Jagjit Singh, admitted that he had also observed that construction activity was going on in some places. He said he had already directed his subordinates to stop illegal construction, if any, in the city.


Union opposes disinvestment in Puncom
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 24
The Punjab Communication Employees Union here has opposed disinvestment in the case of Puncom as its turnover and net profit had been growing since its inception.

The union president, Mr Kultar Singh, and the general secretary, Mr N.S. Bisht, said here today that since the establishment of Puncom in 1981 by the Punjab Government, the company’s turnover had grown to Rs 157 crore and the net profit to Rs 7.75 crore in the financial year 2001-2002. Moreover, the company had repaid Rs 12.43 crore in the shape of dividend till date in addition to money earned by selling Puncom shares in the market.

The union urged the state Disinvestment Commission that before taking any decision which might affect the future of the company’s employees, discussions must be held with the union.

The union also said if at all disinvestment was to be done, the bidding strategic partner should be a company engaged in the design and manufacture of telecom equipment for five years and should have an average turnover as well as net worth double that of Puncom in the past three years.

The union representatives also sought the inclusion of certain conditions in the PIM, i.e. the tender documents. The strategic partner should not be allowed to divert Puncom capital to any other venture nor should it be allowed to disinvest its stake in Puncom for at least next five years, job security for all employees of Puncom up to the normal retirement age of 58 should be stipulated, all agreements/promotion policies/leaves and leave rules etc and other allowances/facilities in force in Puncom should be retained and followed and strategic partner should not be allowed to take course of coercive action to get rid of existing employees.

The union leaders also said the VRS scheme should be introduced before selling the company and it should be more than the one offered by the state to other PSUs/boards/corporations.


250 SAD, BJP workers ‘implicated’ 
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, June 24
Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, former state Forest Minister, addressing a press conference here today alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh’s government is indulging in politics of vendetta. He said 250 SAD-BJP workers in the Fazilka area had been implicated in police cases during a short span of three months.

He alleged that officers had merely become “puppets” of politicians.

He denied charges of corruption against him and said he or his family members did not have bank accounts anywhere. Declaring his assets and property, he said he was a co-sharer in 170 acres of ancestral agricultural land. He owned a plot allotted to him under the legislature quota, two plots at Fazilka purchased on instalments, besides a Lancer and Qualis purchased on loan.

He denied his involvement in the alleged wood scam and sought an impartial probe and action against erring personnel.

He said all Congress leaders should make their property and assets public as declared in their election manifesto.


Bir Devinder refutes allegation
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 24
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, has clarified that he has never used any objectionable language against the defence forces personnel as alleged by Capt Kanwaljit Singh. MLA. He said he had great regard for the defence forces. He further said Capt Kanwaljit Singh had raised the issue in the Press just to get cheap publicity and sympathy of the defence personnel by involving them in the controversy.

While talking to The Tribune here today, he said he had given a notice to raise the question of privilege against Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundar, under rule 252 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha for raising the question of privilege outside the House. He said he did not mean to cast any aspersions on the defence forces, nor it was intended to cause any disrespect to them. He added that he had simply made a statement of facts which was very much part of the record of the House.

The conduct of members of the House during deliberations in the House cannot be questioned outside the House in any manner. Mr Bir Devinder Singh said when these two members failed to convince the Speaker they deliberately preferred to raise the issue outside the House, thus violating the ruling of the Chair. The Speaker would give his ruling on June 25.


School board told to produce answersheet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Issuing notice of motion on a petition filed by a plus two student seeking the quashing of a regulation “in so far as it prohibited the rechecking of answer sheets despite failure of the examiner to check it properly”, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Punjab School Education Board and other respondents to produce before the Court a copy of petitioner’s answer sheet in physics paper.

In her petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, Ms Anandika of Moga had earlier contended that she was informed by the PSEB’s conduct branch that during the process of rechecking only retotaling was carried out.

Going into the background of the case, she had claimed that the Board’s Vice-Chairman, after getting her answersheets examined by a physics lecturer, had informed her regarding her grievance being genuine. The Vice-Chairman had even apologised on behalf of the Board claiming that a blunder had been committed as her physics paper had not been checked properly, counsel for the petitioner had contended.

After hearing the arguments in the case and going through the record, the Bench also asked the respondents “to produce record pertaining to the paper assigned to the petitioner”. The case will now come up for further hearing on June 28.

Coop Bank

Taking up a petition challenging the suspension of “duly elected” members of the Board of Directors of Amritsar Central Cooperative Bank Limited, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents.

In their petition before the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, Mr Gopal Singh and five others had earlier contended that the orders were passed by Jalandhar’s Registrar of Cooperative Societies on May 31.

As per the order, the petitioners were not only placed under suspension, a Deputy Registrar was also appointed as an administrator for the next three months. This, counsel for the petitioners had contended on their behalf, was being done as a minister was exerting pressure. The case will now come up for further hearing on July 3.


Improvement in living conditions in jail’
Sukant Deepak

Patiala, June 24
In a first effort of its kind here, several jail inmates today interacted with the mediapersons at an informal interactive session organised inside the Central Jail premises and stated that the recent measures taken by the jail administration had resulted in considerable improvement in their condition.

The new jail administration, in order to provide better facilities to the inmates, has recently constituted four different committees, comprising prisoners, which selects food items, organises recreation activities, checks drug abuse and ensures proper medical treatment for the inmates. Thanking the new administration for the reforms initiated under the guidance of Mr Ijahar Singh, ADGP, Prisons, the inmates said the recent steps had raised the living conditions of the inmates substantially and the initiative to train them in different vocations had assured not only self-dependence but also a life away from the crime when they are released.

One of the prisoners said over the years the condition of the jail premises had deteriorated considerably and the series of problems had resulted in much frustration among prisoners. He said the new measures had definitely resulted in a better state of affairs inside the complex.

The Jail Superintendent , Mr Jagjit Singh, said there was an urgent need to take a series of initiatives so as to ascertain that the prisons were not just “punishing grounds” but reform centres. When asked about the reports pertaining to complaints of harassment against jail officials, he said the prisoners had been told to put their complaints in the complaint boxes installed in the complex, stating the nature of harassment along with the name of the accused official. He stressed that severe action would be taken against any official found guilty of harassing prisoners.


Job for terrorist victims’ kin ordered
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 24
The Chief Secretary, Mr V.S. Ratra, has directed government departments to give jobs on a priority basis to families of terrorist victims, even though the departments have expressed their inability to fill posts in accordance with the instructions of the fiscal management cabinet sub-committee for new recruitments.

The notification, addressed to heads of various government departments, commissioners and deputy commissioners on June 18, says all pending cases of dependants of terrorist victims should be urgently settled. “Vacancies in group C/D should be filled immediately even if these are still to be cleared by the Finance Department”, it says. The Chief Secretary has also instructed the departments to send a review report about the compliance of the order and notify him about the progress made in this regard.

He has directed all heads of governments departments to make a list of vacanices in group C/D, required to be filled by direct recruitment, along with their eligibility criterion, and send it to the Rehabilitation Department within a week for allotting jobs to the families of the victims.

The notification has also been sent to the Finance Department to ensure the compliance of the order.

Significantly, Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, and Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP leader, had urged the government to allot jobs to those who had lost their relatives during the days of terrorism in the state.

The previous state government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal was requested to issue such instructions but it never responded, Mr Dang alleged.


Dharna by fruit, vegetable traders
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 24
Members of the Fruit and Vegetable Merchant organised a dharna against the decision to make “Q” form mandatory by the Punjab Mandi Board here today.

The president of the association, Mr Harbans Singh Kamboj, told mediapersons that the Punjab Government had arbitrarily amended the Punjab Agriculture Produce Marketing Act by issuing a notification dated March 20, 2002. This was made effective from May 30, 2002, by the Financial Commissioner, Development.

Mr Kamboj pointed out that the board, without making the notification public, had put up barriers last week and had started stopping the trucks carrying fresh fruits and vegetables, beside imposing penalties. He said the association would not deposit the fee till the government withdrew the notification.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association urged the government to cancel the notification as it was not applicable to the rice industry. A spokesman of the association claimed that since rice was a secondary agricultural product, exporters had been exempted from the market fee and there was no justification for “Q” form.


Health Dept writes to Home on IMA demand
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 24
The Punjab Health and Family Welfare Department has written to the Principal Secretary, Home, Punjab, drawing his attention towards an issue pertaining to not registering any case under Section 304 of the IPC against any private doctor for negligence prior to an objective probe. This has been done on a demand raised by Dr R.C.Garg, Punjab IMA president, in a letter to the Punjab Health and Family Welfare Department.

Talking to this reporter here yesterday, Dr Garg disclosed that as per a communication received from Dr Romesh Chander Dogra, Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister, about assault on doctors, the minister had written to the Punjab Home Department.

Dr Garg, in his letter dated May 20,  had demanded that any doctor of a private hospital should not be booked under Section 304 of the IPC on the charge of negligence in the wake of the death of a patient at some private nursing     home by the police before a proper probe.

Dr Garg had suggested that a district-level panel comprising the district police chief, the Civil Surgeon, an IMA member, a medical expert in that particular area and a social worker should conduct a thorough probe into any such case and following confirmation by this panel a doctor be booked under Section 304 of the IPC.

Dr Garg hailed Mr Dogra’s statement that there was no scam pertaining to recruitment of PCMSA doctors during PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu’s tenure.

Commenting on the Punjab Government’s proposal to bring the “clinical establishment Bill” on private nursing homes/hospitals in Punjab, Dr Garg said the Punjab IMA must be taken into confidence before such a Bill was passed.


Markfed suspends 3 in paddy scam
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, June 24
Markfed has suspended its branch manager at Guru Har Sahai, V.K. Sharma, along with two inspectors Joginder Singh and Narinder Singh charged with being involved in a fraud regarding bogus purchase of paddy in the last purchase season.

A departmental inquiry conducted by the senior officials of Asia’s biggest cooperative society revealed that these officials had duped it of more than Rs 1 crore at its Guru Har Sahai branch.

According to the details available, 20,661 bags of paddy was shown lifted in the registers of Markfed, from two commission agents of Tibbi Kalan and Tibbi Khurd grain markets during the last procurement season, but actually the paddy was never purchased. Interestingly, the Markfed officials also released an equal number of bags to the commission agents to get it transported to the rice millers.


Medicos threaten to quit en masse
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 24
Members of the Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association have resolved to resign en masse the day the NPA to medical and dental teachers was withdrawn. The association stated in a press note that all teachers would resign from the three medical and two dental hospitals in the state. At a meeting presided over by Dr Bhola Singh, Vice-Chairman of the association, here today, the members said the government was following retrograde and anti-people measures in the Budget.

They said medical colleges are already on the brink of de-recognition due to 42 per cent of posts lying vacant in various departments against the rules of the Medical Council of India. They also expressed concern over the non-implementation of the announcements of re-designation of posts in the medical colleges as declared by the Chief Minister in April during the convocation of Government Medical College, Patiala.


Parkash Utsav of Kabir celebrated
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 24
A large number of people from all walks of life participated in a state-level the function organised by the state government here today to celebrate the “Parkash Utsav” of Kabir.

Speaking at the function, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Bodies said the Bhagat Kabir Chair in Guru Nanak Dev University would be restarted and the state government would give liberal funds for research. He said the previous government had not paid a single penny for the chairs named after Bhagat Kabir, Guru Ravi Dass, Maharshi Valmiki and Dr Ambedkar in different universities. He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the Bhagat Kabir Utsav Committee and the naming of Wadala Chowk as Bhagat Kabirji Wadala Chowk.


Expectant mothers given cheques
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 24
Many pregnant women from the rural areas were given monetary aid and refreshments during a seminar organised by the Health Department at Kala Bakra village, near here, today.

Cheques for Rs 500 were disbursed by Dr Jajir Singh, Senior Medical Officer, as part of a state government scheme for the welfare of expectant mothers. They were also told how to maintain health during pregnancy and precautions for the safety of the mother and the child.


PRTC employees hold rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 24
Employees of the PRTC blocked traffic near the local bus stand here today.

Traffic on the Bathinda-Mansa road remained disrupted for about an hour. The employees were protesting against the proposal to privatise the PRTC and Punjab Roadways.

Employees of the local PRTC depot’s different departments participated in the rally.

The rally was conducted under the banner of the INTUC.


Welfare benefits for sweepers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 24
Mr Ganga Ram Teja of the National Sweepers Employees Commission today informed that the corporation would spend Rs 400 crore on the welfare benefits and uplift of sweepers and their families.

Following a meeting with senior officials and Railways Sweepers Employees Association here today, Mr Teja said the government was planning to modernise this occupation.


Door-to-door collection of phone bills
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 24
The Department of Post and Telegraphs will shortly introduce door-to-door collection of telephone bills in Patiala from June 26.

The Senior Superintendent of Post Offices said the postman of the area will collect telephone bill in cheque or cash (upto Rs 1,000) and issue a provisional receipt to the customer. The postman will hand over the original receipt issued by the post office to the customer the next day. A service charge of Rs 10 will be charged by the Department of Posts.

Apart from this, a drop box has also been installed at Patiala head office for telephone suscribers to depost their bills.


Gang of blackmailers busted, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 24
The police here yesterday busted a gang of blackmailers and arrested their leader Yogesh Mahajan, a local resident. He has been remanded in police custody till June 27.

According to the police, Mahajan, who claims himself to be the district president of the Flying Squad Anti-Corruption Organisation, used to blackmail government employees, doctors, revenue officials and others.

The gang used to send bogus complaints to the authorities regarding disproportionate assets of their victims and used to reach a compromise after getting paid a huge amount.

The police raided the office of Mahajan and seized a computer and other objectionable material used in blackmailing of the victims.

A case under various sections of the IPC has been registered.


1 held for printing fake currency
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 24
The police here today arrested Deepak on charges of publishing fake currency notes on computers.

The police had raided the premises of Deepak Audio House on a tip-off that the culprit was responsible for supplying pirated and porno pictures. However, it was a chance recovery that the police seized two computers which were being used for printing fake currency. The police recovered more pirated and porno film CDs in the raids today.

While giving the details, Mr Kanwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP (city), said the police recovered fake notes of Rs 50, 10 and 5.

The police also seized pirated CDs from a house in the same area. The accused, Saba, was a tenant in the house. Satya Devi, owner of the house, has been rounded up for investigation as Saba has absconded. As many as three computers were seized in the raid.


Attempt to rape 4-yr-old girl
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 24
In a bizarre incident, a four-and-a-half year girl was allegedly kidnapped and an attempt to rape her was also made.

Sources said some morning walkers found the child lying near the railway godown here early this morning. She was bleeding and her shirt was lying on the rail track. The child could only indicate the direction of her residence and was not in a position to give any more details.

A former municipal councillor and leader of the migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Master Ram Avtar, was called in to help and the child was taken to the Civil Hospital and given first aid. The doctor on duty informed the railway police.

However, it is learnt that the police wanted the affected family to take the victim to Fazilka town for examination by the gynaecologist at the Civil Hospital there. But the family is too poor to afford treatment. The child’s mother and maternal uncle were weeping and cursing their fate.

They suspect a neighbour who has allegedly harassed them many times in the past but always escaped legal action as the family could not pursue the case.

In the evening, the poor uncle of the victim had to pay Rs 50 for the MLR as the Railway Police was not inclined to issue any request memo.


Three thieves arrested
Our Correspondent

Moga, June 24
The police claims to have arrested three persons wanted in several cases of theft and recovered huge quantities of stolen valuables from them. The thieves had been active in the area for the past about three years and had stolen cars from various places, including Delhi.

In a press note here today, the police said Sandeep Singh, alias Billu, Nirmal Singh, alias Nimma and Om Parkash, alias Nikka, all residents of Moga district, had been arrested for stealing vehicles and burglary. A dismantled car had been seized.

The accused had also broken into a jewellery shop and confessed to have stolen a car from Tilak Nagar in Delhi.


PSEB employee booked on fraud charge
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 24
The Kurali police has registered a case under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC against Om Parkash, an employee of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for allegedly committing a fraud of Rs 19,58,940 with the Kurali branch of Ropar Central Cooperative Bank.

According to information received from the police today, the signature of a senior official of the PSEB was forged and loans were sanctioned in the name of 64 fake employees of the PSEB. The accused forged the signature of the senior official and loans were disbursed in 1999. The scandal came to light when no repayment of these loans was made and the bank officials wrote a letter to the PSEB about the non-payment of loans. At this, the PSEB informed the bank that the persons who had taken the loans were not employees of the board. The matter was referred to the SSP Ropar and after investigation the case was registered.


Teachers meet Bhattal over pension issue
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 24
A two-member delegation comprising Prof P.K. Sharma, President of the PCCTU, Sangrur, and Prof J.P. Garg, district secretary, PCCTU, called upon Agriculture, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister here yesterday, regarding the pension-gratuity scheme for teachers of government-aided colleges.

They told her that in 1996, Mrs Bhattal, the then Chief Minister, had introduced a pension-gratuity scheme for the teachers but the scheme could not be implemented.

They also expressed resentment over the cut of about 10 to 12 per cent in the 95 per cent grant-in-aid to the private colleges.

A deputation of the Barnala Rice Shellers Association also met Mrs Bhattal.

Meanwhile, talking to newspersons, Mrs Bhattal admitted harsh measures in the recent Punjab Budget presented by Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister. She blamed the previous SAD-BJP government for the state of economy. They said it was a just a “temporary phase”.


Jobless teachers to gherao Assembly today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 24
The Unemployed B. Ed Teachers Front has decided to gherao the state Assembly tomorrow to show anger against the adamant attitude of the government towards the demands of unemployed B.Ed teachers.

Mr Sukhdarshan Singh, president of the district unit of the front, in a press note issued here yesterday said the front had decided to intensify its struggle to attract the attention of the state government that had so far remained unconcerned towards their problems.

He alleged that instead of looking into the welfare of unemployed teachers, the state government had abolished 30,000 posts of teachers which were lying vacant.

He added that the present state government was making tall claims that it would eliminate unemployment by producing more options and jobs. But contrary to this, the government was eliminating posts.


Annual day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 24
A colourful cultural programme alongwith prize distribution was the highlight of the annual day celebrations of GCS Computer Pvt. Ltd. a regional service provider for Punjab Technical University, held here last evening.

The prize distribution function was presided over by the chief guest, Mr Tejbir Singh, Deputy Commissioner, while the guest of honour was Mr Amarjit Singh Grewal, Director (outreach), PTU. Mr Grewal distributed prizes among the toppers, including Bhupinder Singh, who was awarded for M.Sc. IT (lateral entry), Harjot Kaur and Amardeep Singh for M.Sc. IT (first Semester), Rupinder Kaur for PGDCA, Ritu Katoch for B.Sc.IT (first Semester), Indrjeet Kaur for B.CAM, Shilpi Bhatt for PGDST and Narender Pal for PGDCT courses from Chandigarh and Ropar District zone.

The cultural programme commenced with devotional “bhakti” of goddess Saraswati in the form of ‘Saraswati Vandana’, which was followed by patriotic song ‘Vande Matram’. The energetic ‘bhangra’ was performed in perfect harmony. In modelling Mr G.P. Singh was adjudged Mr GCS Patiala, while Ms Hunny was chosen Ms GCS Patiala.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, the Managing Director of the institute congratulated the meritorious students.


MBA counselling postponed to July 6
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 24
Guru Nanak Dev University has postponed the counselling for admission to the two-year MBA course, scheduled for June 25. The decision has been taken due to non-declaration of results by some universities. The counselling will now be held on July 6, said a university spokesman.


M.Com (I) results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 24
The results of M.Com. (I) paper held in April will be declared on June 25 by Guru Nanak Dev University. The results will also be available on the university website the same day after 5 p.m., a university spokesman informed in a press note here today.


Slimming centre inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 24
The overwhelming response to a slimming-cum-fat loss centre, inaugurated in the city yesterday by a Delhi-based private company, proves that city residents, once considered to be careless about their health, have become health conscious.

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