Saturday, June 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Indicted PAU don reinstated
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
In a surprise move, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has reinstated a Professor who was facing a charge of molesting a student and was indicted by an inquiry committee constituted by the university.

The move is contrary to the position taken by the university since November, when the incident took place. Last month, it issued a show-cause notice to the suspended teacher, Dr Harmit Singh Thind, Professor of Soils, on why his services should not be terminated. But the university has reinstated him and posted him at its Bathinda extension centre.

Highly-placed sources in the university said the Vice Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh had also cancelled his two increments and barred him from guiding any student for the next two years. While Dr Aulakh and the acting Registrar, Dr V.K. Sharma, were not available for comment in their respective offices, the Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Satish Kumar Goswami, confirming the development said Dr Thind had been transferred to Regional Research Centre, Bathinda. Mr Goswami said the Professor’s period of suspension would be regarded as a non- duty period as he would not be given any arrears and post-retiral benefits during this period.

Dr Thind was issued a show-cause notice on May 13, asking him why he should not be dismissed from the university by the Vice-Chancellor as he was held guilty by the inquiry committee. In his reply, Dr Thind had requested that he should be given time for hearing. The request had been granted by Dr Aulakh.

An inquiry committee headed by the Dean, College of Home Science, Dr S.K. Mann had found him guilty of molesting a student. Justifying the latest development, Mr Goswami said the Vice-Chancellor had listened to Dr Thind thoroughly and the punishment was commensurate with his fault.

It is worth mentioning here that the molestation case had taken PAU by storm after the victim had given a written complaint to her Head of Department in November. Dr Thind was suspended only after the students of all PAU-affiliated colleges had jointly started an agitation. While the victim was all for justice, many teachers, including a senior functionary of PAUTA, had tried to put pressure on her.

It is also pertinent to mention here that the International Human Rights Organisation, an NGO active in the city, had also taken up the matter and found the Professor guilty. An FIR was lodged at the Sarabha Nagar police station against him.


Wheat stolen from godown seized
Officials of Markfed, Panchayati Dept ‘involved’
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 28
A scam involving Panchayati Department and Markfed officials has come to light, with the local police early today seizing two truckloads of wheat allegedly stolen from Markfed godown in Chamkaur Sahib and arresting five persons.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, in a press conference held here, said on a tip-off, a police party intercepted two trucks carrying 440 bags of wheat worth about Rs 2.5 lakh. The bags were allegedly being shifted from the Chamkaur Sahib godown of Markfed to Anandpur Sahib.

The wheat was stolen by Jasbir Singh, a field officer of Markfed, in connivance with Jasmir Singh, a traffic constable, Harbhajan Singh, a watchman of Markfed’s plinths in Chamkaur Sahib and the two truck drivers, Harnek Singh and Jaswant Singh.

The arrested Markfed official revealed that the stolen wheat was being taken to Anandpur Sahib to meet the shortfall in stocks under the Antyodaya programme. Officials of the Panchayati Department posted at the BDO office, Anandpur Sahib, had allegedly sold the wheat meant for the Antyodaya programme or the food-for-work programme in their area in the open market. The newly elected Zila Parishad ordered an stock verification of wheat lying under the programme.

Fearing that the theft of wheat might be exposed, Panchayati Department officials contacted Jasbir Singh, field officer of Markfed, to help them deal with the situation. Jasbir Singh allegedly stole the wheat from the plinth under his charge and was in the process of shifting the stock to Anandpur Sahib when the police apprehended him.

The SSP further said that as per rules, foodgrains from Markfed godowns could only be moved in the presence of two responsible officials. However, in this case, Jasbir Singh, in connivance with the watchman, illegally moved the wheat bags out of the plinths. The police has confiscated the entire record and sealed the plinth from which the wheat was stolen.

The police has arrested and booked Jasbir Singh, along with his accomplices, under Sections 406, 379 and 120 B of the IPC. Two junior engineers of the Panchayati Department, Maheshwar and Naresh Kumar, have also being booked. The SSP said both were absconding.

It is worth mentioning here that The Tribune reported a fake muster roll racket in the Panchayati Department recently. Investigations by The Tribune had unearthed an illegal practice being followed by some Panchayati Department officials. As per the guidelines of the Centre, development works in rural areas had to be carried out involving local labour. Under the employment assurance scheme, local labourers had to be paid half of their labour in cash and the other half in the form of foodgrains.

However, Panchayati Department officials got the works done on contract in connivance with some sarpanches. The foodgrains meant for distribution among the local labour were sold in the open market and the profit pocketed by officials.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, has also directed the Secretary, Zila Parishad, to verify the wheat stocks under the assured employment scheme.


New PPSC chief swears by merit
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 28
Gen Surjit Singh (retd) had been leading a happy retired life, doing household chores like operating the washing machine, playing golf with friends in the city of his choice — Jalandhar — till he was called to head the scam-ridden PPSC by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Gen Surjit Singh, on his first visit to Jalandhar after his appointment, said, “I was leading a contented life in Jalandhar where I had settled after my retirement from the Army. I was doing household jobs, including washing clothes. I was not even aware about any decision to nominate me till my name was formally announced.”

The general asserted that since he had been selected for undertaking “operation clean-up”, he would like a true Army man ensure total transparency and elimination of corruption from the PPSC.

His resolve was evident as he quipped,” I assure the people of the state, who have bestowed so much of love and faith upon me that all selections would be done only on the basis of merit and corruption would be eliminated from the PPSC as weed was removed by the Army from the Harike wetland.”

“It is a challenge for me. The situation is just like Gujarat where the Army was called to restore the faith of people. Now an Army man has been selected to weed out the corruption,” said Gen Surjit Singh, who turned emotional while interacting with ex-servicemen assembled at the local Sainik Welfare Office, where he was felicitated Col Manmohan Singh, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Department, Jalandhar.

The General was, however, all praise for Punjab and said that bureaucracy and good governance was helping it move ahead of other states of the country.

Gen Surjit Singh attributed his success to his colleagues. “My appointment is a tribute to the entire ex-servicemen fraternity. The Chief Minister has faith in ex-servicemen and their ability to deliver,” said Gen Surjit Singh, adding that he was moving ahead with a two-point programme — merit must prevail and transparency in selections.

Earlier, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. Siva Prasad, also welcomed Gen Surjit Singh. 


Anticipatory bail for Kahlon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Granting anticipatory bail to Punjab’s former minister Nirmal Singh Kahlon in a cheating and corruption case, Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice to Punjab’s Advocate-General for July 9.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Mohunta further directed that a written notice would be handed over to counsel or the former minister in case he was required for investigation. In his detailed order, the Judge observed: “In the event of his arrest, the petitioner shall be released on bail to the satisfaction of the arresting officer”.

Kahlon was apprehending arrest in a first information report registered on June 14 under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. According to the prosecution, Kahlon, during his tenure as Rural Development and Panchayat minister, had made recruitment to the posts of tax collectors, patwaris, peons and clerks “by taking heavy amount of money as bribe”.

The prosecution had also claimed that the minister’s favourites were recruited even though they were not fulfilling the requisite criterion as far as the age and educational qualifications were concerned. It was further contended that “Kahlon had also accepted heavy amount as bribe for transfers, appointments and promotions” and had “accumulated movable and immovable assets in excess to his known sources”.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, counsel for the petitioner had contended that no offence was made out against the petitioner as the allegations were vague. He had added that the FIR had failed to specify date, time and location where the incident had taken place. Even the source of information had not been specified. “It has not been mentioned how the respondents reached the conclusion regarding accumulation of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income”, counsel had submitted. Even the petitioner’s house was reached on June 16 but nothing was found, counsel had asserted.

Terming “political vendetta” as a reason behind the registration of the case, counsel had stated that the present government had adopted a revengeful attitude towards its opponents particularly towards Akali Dal members. The Chief Minister had repeatedly declared that the Akalis would be taught a lesson and as such false cases were being registered against the workers, counsel had concluded.

Student’s petition allowed

Coming down heavily on Punjab School Education Board for making a plus two student suffer gravely, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday allowed her petition and imposed costs of Rs 5,000.

The petitioner, Ms Anandika of Moga, had moved the Court after she was given just one mark, plus grace marks, in the physics paper. On Friday, it was revealed that the petitioner had now been awarded 25 marks after re-evaluation, besides the grace marks.

Delivering the verdict, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh, observed that despite the fact that a mistake, even though genuine, was detected well before the petitioner approached the Court, no remedial action was suo-motu taken. The Judges added that in fact the petitioner had to approach the Court for an appropriate relief. The respondent was, however, fair before the court and got the answer sheet of the physics paper revaluated. Nevertheless, “children in their teens can not be subjected to such psychological pressures which may eventually be a cause of irreparable impairment in the academic careers,” Mr Justice Khehar, speaking for the Bench, concluded.

The student had earlier sought the quashing of a regulation “insofar as it prohibited the rechecking of answer sheets despite failure of the examiner to check it properly”. The petitioner had further 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 answer sheets 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.


PSEB chief gets interim bail
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 28
The District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, Mr Maghar Khan, has granted interim bail to the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) Chairman, Mr Kehar Singh, till July 13.

Earlier, Mr Kehar Singh, fearing arrest in the Tota Singh case had moved an application for anticipatory bail in the court. It would come up for hearing before the Special Judge, Ropar, Mr A.S. Kathuria, in the next hearing.


FIR registered in missing files case
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 28
The case of missing of 2,025 files pertaining to notices issued to violators of building bylaws took a new turn as the local police has registered an FIR at the instance of the Secretary, Department of Local Bodies.

At the same time, the police authorities have formed a special investigating team comprising three senior officers to look into the conspiracy angle missing of such a huge number of files and notices issued to violators of building bylaws. The team comprising Mr Pawan Kumar Rai, SP, Mr Rakesh Kumar, ASP, and Mr Rajpal Sandhu, DSP, talked to corporation officials, who were allegedly hand in glove with land mafia and the violators.

Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Secretary, Department of Local Bodies, Punjab, it was learnt, had written a letter to the SSP, regarding missing of so many important files from the civic body office, which, subsequently, led to the registration of an FIR at the Division No.4 police station.

Earlier, Mr Kaushal, had also written a letter to the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, stating that the preliminary investigations by the internal Vigilance team had found gross violation and conspiracy in the case, so it should be handed over to the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, for further investigation.

Meanwhile, the police authorities have decided to monitor the working of the investigation on a daily basis. The team members would inform the higher authorities daily about the progress in investigation.

At the same time, the registration of an FIR has reportedly upset the officials of the building branch of the civic body since they feel that an intensive probe can result in the disclosure of their alleged nexus with the powerful land mafia, ruling Jalandhar and other important towns of Punjab. Meanwhile, officials revealed that after the news of the registration of the FIR a number of files were “found” from the office itself.


CM calls meeting of PSEB employees’ bodies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The issue of restoring parity in the pay scales and allowances of employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) with the staff of the Punjab Government took a crucial turn today when the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, directed authorities concerned to call a meeting of the representatives of the employees, unions and associations of the board on Monday.

Sources said the meeting would be held at the official residence of the Chief Minister here at 5.30 p.m. As many as 20 representatives of the employees’ organisations, including the PSEB Engineers’ Association and the Technical Workers’ Union have been invited for the meeting.

It may be mentioned that various employees’ organisations of the PSEB had given a call for strike in the second week of July in protest against the government’s decision to curtail their salaries and against privatisation move for certain wings of the board.

Already, the state government has invoked the East Punjab Essential Services (Maintenance) Act to deal with the situation arising from the employees’ threat.

To implement the decision of the Punjab Council of Ministers, the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, had written a letter last month to all the Administrative Secretaries to bring parity in the pay scales of employees of all boards and corporations with that of state government employees with immediate effect. He had instructed that if the decision was not implemented, the Administrative Secretary concerned would be held responsible for the violation of the order. Though a number of organisations implemented the decision, the management of the PSEB have been dilly-dallying on the issue till date.

The sources said that the management of the PSEB headed by Mr Sudhir Mittal, who is a Chairman of the board as well as Secretary, Power Department of the state government, had decided to justify the higher pay scales to the PSEB employees than that of their counterparts in the state government.

According to the sources the PSEB had gathered a data with regard to pay scales from all other power boards in the country. It found that in almost all other states employees of the respective boards get higher pay scales than employees of their respective state governments. This data would be presented before the Chief Minister at the meeting, it is learnt.


Punjab offers jobs to Kargil heroes, kin
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
In pursuance to its general policy intent to expedite the implementation of the schemes relating to the welfare of ex-servicemen and their families, the Punjab Government today took a major decision to offer employment to 20 disabled soldiers of the Kargil Operations and their dependents under its scheme of “Honour and Gratitude”. Formal recommendations in this regard were made at a meeting of the Empowered Committee, held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, yesterday.

Giving details, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Defence Services Welfare, told Tribune News Service that former Lt Bikramjit Singh had been recommended for appointment to the PCS (Executive Branch). He had suffered 60 per cent disability in the operations in J & K on March 1, 2001. The committee resolved to offer the post of PCS (Executive Branch) to Mrs Anjali Dada, wife of the late Major Raman Dada. Major Dada had been conferred the Kirti Chakra posthumously for his act of gallantry in the Kargil Operations.

The committee also recommended the appointment of Mrs Rajneesh Kaur as District Food and Supplies Officer. Her husband, Naik Jasbir Singh, had suffered 100 per cent disability, being blinded in Operation Vijay. Ex-Lance Naik Kashmir Singh, ex- Naik Daljit Singh and ex-Sep Mukhtiar Singh (all with 60 per cent disability) were offered the post of Inspector in the Department of Food and Supplies, while the brother of the late Sep Mustakh Khan was offered a similar post in the Excise and Taxation Department.

Mr Sidhu, who is also the convener of the Empowered Committee, stated that his own department had taken a major initiative in offering posts of senior assistant to two widows of ex-servicemen who had attained martyrdom in Operation Vijay, apart from two disabled ex-servicemen, and in one case, a dependent brother.

The other departments in which the eligible persons had been accommodated included the offices of Deputy Commissioners and Chief Medical Officers in various districts, as well as the Punjab State Electricity Board and the Municipal Council, Nangal.

The committee also issued directives to the administrative departments concerned to post the selected persons at stations of their choice for a period of at least five years. Instructions were also issued to a few departments where previous recommendations of the committee had been held up on account of some difficulties. Mr Sidhu stated that the government had already relaxed the educational qualifications in the case of all Group C posts to matriculation and for Groups A and B to graduation, in such cases. The requirement, if any, of previous experience under the service rules had also been waived and the same held good for acquiring knowledge of the Punjabi language.

The others who attended the meeting included Mr Bhagat Singh, Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Mr P. K. Verma, Financial Commissioner (Development), Mr Ramesh Nayyar, Secretary, Finance (Expenditure), and Mrs Kalpana Mittal Baruah, Secretary, Personnel.


Cong flays move on NDA team
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
A former General Secretary of the PPCC, Ms Ratna, today condemned the SAD-BJP combine for requesting the Central Government for sending an NDA team to Punjab for looking into cases of alleged harassment of their leaders. Senior Congress leader felt that in case the NDA government accedes to their request it would tantamount to interference in the working of the duly elected state government.

Lauding the efforts of the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, in rooting out corruption in the state involving the former Akali ministers, she said Mr Parkash Singh Badal was crying foul as it was he who had allowed corruption to flourish and encouraged ministers and his family to amass a huge amount of wealth.

She said the entire party was behind the Chief Minister.


Drug addiction among village youth ‘alarming’
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 28
A study regarding drug addiction among the youth of border villages, conducted by the Youngmen Association of India, has brought forth certain alarming facts.

Mr Amit Swami, president of the association, while talking to this correspondent said here today that the association had conducted an on-the-spot study with the help of an 11-member team and collected data regarding drug addiction among those below 30 years of age.

Mr Swami said the team visited some border area villages, including Chabal, Bhikhiwind, Khalra, Valtoha, Khemkaran, Ratoke, Rajastal and Attari, and observed that 60 per cent of the youth were habitual abusers of one or the other intoxicant, including country-made liquor, opium, smack and pain killer tablets, capsules and cough syrups.

Mr Swami said the study revealed that chemist shops in villages sold medicines without a doctor’s prescription. A border area village, which earlier had no chemist shop, now had five such shops, he said.

He said the trend of consuming smack by youth of affluent families had made the situation even more alarming. The youth besides consuming smack also inhale dried tails of lizards in cigarettes, he said.

Mr Swami said though the police in the border areas was doing its best to check the menace but the mafia had found ways to find ways to spread its tentacles. When contacted, SSP Narinder Bhargav said the area was infested with drug peddlers for which the police had launched a special anti-drug campaign.

The SSP said that from April 1 to June 28, 31 cases under the NDPS Act had been registered and 15.355 kg of opium, 1860 kg of poppy husk, 665 gms of smack besides other drug, including pain killer tablets, capsules and injections seized. He said 84 accused including two women, had been arrested in this connection.


CM announces setting up of SEZs in Patiala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 28
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today disclosed that special economic zones (SEZs), would soon be set up in Patiala to generate employment.

Speaking after the inauguration of a bridge over Choti Nadi, Capt Amarinder Singh assured that the government would soon complete the necessary formalities pertaining to setting up of SEZ so as to encourage bio technology and Information Technology projects in the city. The Chief Minister said the Congress government was making a special effort to introduce information technology courses in rural schools to provide rural students with educational facilities at par with those enjoyed by other students of the urban areas. He informed that the required funds for this purpose would be released shortly.

Laying stress to improve the infrastructure in Patiala, the Chief Minister said a major project for efficient management of sewerage in the city was on the cards and the required sewerage treatment plant had already been bought. He also informed that Rs 110 crore had been released by the Central Government for the development of Patiala as National Capital Region (NCR)

Earlier, the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Jagjit Singh, announced Rs 2 crore for infrastructural development in the state and said immediate steps would be taken to ascertain that the city did not face any drinking water problem and that the roads were improved immediately.

The Chief Minister also announced the setting up of India Habitat Centre at Patiala.

Ms Perneet Kaur, MP asked all municipal councillers to ascertain that development of basic infrastructure in the city was given prime importance and assured financial support for all development projects.


Works in illegal colonies halted
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, June 28
Following complaints about illegal colonies in the town, the Kapurthala district administration has directed that all works in these colonies be stopped forthwith. The directions have been issued to DIPS Colony, Menage Enclave and Karol Bagh Enclave being developed in the city.

Deputy Commissioner Rakesh K. Verma has written to PUDA, Jalandhar, to take action against the defaulters under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995. In fact, one of the colonies — Karol Bagh Residential Colony — is coming up on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road just in front of the PUDA urban estate at Kapurthala. The Deputy Commissioner has hinted at the connivance of PUDA officials in his communication to PUDA.

Interestingly, a big board has been displayed there proclaiming that the licence has been applied for. However, there is no such provision under the law to start developing a colony on the pretext that the licence has been applied for.

The Deputy Commissioner has said that Menage Enclave, located on the Peer-Chaudhary road, belongs to Lt-Col S. Baldev Singh who has already constructed a boundary wall. Roads have also been laid.

Similarly, in DIPS Colony, which is on the Kapurthala-Sultanpur road and is being promoted by S. Amarjit Singh and others, roads have been laid and electricity poles erected. Some buildings have also been constructed.

Mr Verma has also directed the Executive Officer of the municipal committee not to sanction any building plans in these colonies unless the same are duly approved by PUDA. He has directed the District Town Planner to keep vigil on any illegal colonies being developed in the district and report to his office. 


SGPC seeks explanation from exorcist
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 28
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today declared Mr Narinder Pal Singh, Assistant Information Officer (AIO) “absent from duty”. His three-day leave has been cancelled as he was found performing exorcising in a religious dera in violation of Sikh faith. Mr Waryam Singh, Assistant Secretary, Dharm Parchar Committee (DPC), who headed the flying squad which caught the AIO red-handed while doing “magic spells” said he had submitted the report to the SGPC chief through his personal assistant.

Mr Raghbir Singh, Personal Assistant to the SGPC chief, said that Mr Narinder Pal Singh had been asked to present himself immediately on duty and explain his position. He said as per the bylaws of the SGPC, Mr Narinder Pal Singh would be given one day to explain his position. As per the “Sikh rehat maryada,” published by the SGPC, no Sikh could indulge in “magic spells”. Mr Waryam Singh and Mr Raghbir Singh said that strict action was likely in this connection.


Police clueless about murders
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
The local police is still clueless about four murders committed in the city over the past eight months.

More than eight months after the murder of his son, 90-year-old Gurbax Singh Ahluwalia, a retired police Inspector, is a shattered man. He has been running from pillar to post to seek justice from a department which he served all his life, but in vain.

His son, Devinder Singh Walia, a Junior Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board, was allegedly murdered by his colleague, Satpal Singh, alias Satta, due to personal enmity in October last year. Despite being named in the FIR, the police remains clueless about the murder. The family members of the deceased, including his widow and father, have been living under constant fear as they have been receiving anonymous calls threatening to eliminate them if the case is pursued.

Mr Gurbax Singh alleged that Satta was being sheltered by some influential persons. Satta also allegedly made an attempt to kill the eyewitness, his sister-in-law Gurjit Kaur. In another case of murder, Shivraj Kaur (64) was strangled and later electrocuted by her assailant in the same month. Even though her daughter-in-law could recognise the assailant, the police failed to nab the culprit despite various inquiry officers being appointed to investigate the case.

The police theory of the involvement of a third party has led to the hushing up of the murder case of Sukhbir Singh Sukh, who was killed on New Year’s Eve. Even though the deceased’s brother, Harjinder Singh had alleged that Sukhbir’s murder was the handiwork of Harbhajan Singh Brar, his son, Meharban Singh, his wife, Sukhjit Kaur, and others, the police claimed to have stumbled upon the involvement of a third party that took advantage of the enmity and committed the act. However, neither the police found any clue nor were the persons named in the FIR interrogated.

In the case of Ravinder Kumar Gora, a resident of Gali Chahwali Bazaar at Katra Dulo who was gunned down by two scooter-borne youths in front of his house on March 21 this year, police officials claim to have identified the murderers but have failed to arrest anyone till now.


Plan to repair plant hangs fire
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 28
Even two years after the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant completed its stipulated life span, its renovation and upgradation continues to hang fire as the requisite funds have still not been made available. Two of the boiler plants, which generate high-pressure steam to run the turbines, are stated to be in a critical state, requiring urgent repair.

Although an exhaustive report for the renovation of the plant was submitted by the PSEB to the previous state government, it has been deferred time and again. A study carried out by the Central Power Research Institute had revealed that it was not safe to run the plant in its present condition. Sources, however, indicate that the modernisation work was unlikely to begin before the first quarter of the next year.

The 440 MW thermal plant has four units each with a generating capacity of 110 MW. The first two units were commissioned in 1974 and 1975, while the other two started functioning from March, 1978, and January, 1979, respectively. Their life span was stipulated to be of 25 years.

A major problem is that pipes used for carrying steam, which are made of a special alloy and are capable of withstanding temperatures upto 550 °C under very high pressure, are developing leaks, the sources added.

The plant’s Chief Engineer, Mr S.C. Mahajan, said a letter of intent for carrying out renovation works had already been placed with Nasal, a joint venture between the National Thermal Power Corporation and Alstom Power Services Limited, a multi-national company. The renovation process of the first two units, he added, is estimated to cost Rs 103 crore, for which funds from the Power Finance Corporation is still being awaited. “Work would start as soon as funds are released,” Mr Mahajan added.

“The renovation process would involve complete change of the boiler, introducing state-of-the-art technology in control and instrumentation, and some retrofitting of the turbines. The plant for demineralising the water used for generating steam would also be upgraded,” he added.

A residual life assessment (RLA) study of the units carried out by the PSEB showed that the renovation and modernisation process could increase the plants life by up to 15 years. The renovation process would be carried out in phases. In the first phase, the first two units would be dealt with one after the other. The process would require a unit to be shut down for about six to eight months.

Although the installed capacity of each unit is 110 mg, they are presently generating 98-100 MW due to recurring snags and technical problems. “Mist of the safety valves, fuel gas duets, economiser coils and mill gear boxes need to be changed,” the source added.

But despite problems in day-to-day running, the plant bagged an award of Rs 12.88 crore from the Government of India for meritorious performance. The money will be disbursed among the plant employees soon, he added. 


Mayor disbands 170 ‘sudhar’committees
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
As many as 170 “mohalla sudhar committees” established by the BJP Government to oversee the sanitation and cleanliness drive in respective colonies of the city have been disbanded as a part of a campassion undertaken by Mr Sunil Datti Mayor here today.

Atleast 245 such improvement societies were functions on the pretext of cleaning their areas. However, misappropriation and misuse of funds was going on in the name of these committees, Mr Datti alleged.

These committees were merely drawing monthly amount of Rs 1,200 per person from the corporation. About-four to five person comprised of a single committee.

In many wards under the BJP-SAD councillors more than eight persons were included in such committees and all were drawing salaries. The committees were formed by the then ruling party about three years ago.


Bhagat Singh’s village gets facelift
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, June 28
Though it had become an annual convention for the Chief Ministers to make huge promises for the development of Khatkar Kalan, native village of Bhagat Singh, on the occasion of his martyrdom day, which falls on March 23, while paying tributes to the martyr, but it is, perhaps, for the first time that the residents of the village have been experiencing a pleasant surprise as the state government as well as the district administration have been showing a keen interest in translating the promises made by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on March 23, into reality.

The approach roads to the village are being widened and relaid at a cost of Rs 34 lakh. A solar project of 100 kw at a cost of Rs 4.30 lakh is being set up by the Punjab Energy Development Agency. A project at a cost of Rs 40 lakh has been planned to provide drinking water facility. A project to drain out sullage water has also been planned. Besides, grants amounting to Rs 2.50 lakh have been given for the repair of veterinary dispensary, panchayat ghar and Balmiki Dharamshala of the village.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, along with officials of the various departments visited the village to take stock of the progress of ongoing development works. While talking to mediapersons, the Deputy Commissioner said the government had chalked out a plan to set up a “tourist complex” at the village. 


Shastri postpones visit to city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The BJP General Secretary, Mr Sunil Shastri, has postponed his June 30 visit to the city.

This was announced here today in a press note issued by the party.

The newly elected Zila Parishad member, Mr Prem Singh and the Kajheri village panch Sohan Singh, were today sworn-in by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurmail Singh.

Contesting as independent the two had been supported by the BJP and a faction of the Congress.

The BJP ad-hoc committee president, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, was present during the ceremony along with other party members.


NCC cadets manage traffic
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 28
The district police has joined hands with the cadets of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) who have been given training in traffic rules and the management of traffic practically on the busy roads of the city.

The district police chief, Mr Ishwar Singh, here said today that to cope with the shortage of manpower and to give the cadets a sense of responsibility, they have been given training in traffic management. He pointed out that the one-week training was given with the consent of the cadets, school authorities and the parents.

The trained cadets would manage traffic near their educational institutes at the time of the opening and closing of the institutes. They would also keep a check on the alleged corruption by traffic police officials while challaning the traffic rule violators.

Mr Ishwar Singh said social duties should be given to students and volunteers as community projects. He added that if the residents wanted to help the police control the increasing traffic of the city, they would be given training in traffic management.

Mr Harmeet Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector (Traffic), who trained the cadets said that the students were an enthusiastic lot.


Rashtrapati award for 2 Barnala Scouts
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 28
Harjot Kumar Sharma and Mandeep Singh, Class XII students and Scout Masters, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Air Force Station, Barnala, have been selected for Rashtrapati award certificate in Scouts field.

Mr R.S. Bharaj, new Principal, Kendriya Vidyalaya, said here today that he was feeling very proud. He also lauded the tireless efforts of Mr R.S. Verma, in charge, Scouts, Mrs A.P. Jindal, Mr Sukhbir Singh, Mr Tarlok Singh and Mr Dashrath Kumar, teachers of the school who had prepared these two Scout Masters for achieving this distinction by imparting training and offering their valuable guidance in this direction.


BSF chief Jagat retires tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
One of the most decorated cops, Mr Gurbachan Jagat, a Punjab cadre IPS officer, will retire as Director-General, Border Security Force( BSF), on June 30. He is the perhaps the second police officer from the Punjab cadre to head the BSF, one of the strongest para-military forces of the country having around 3 lakh officials in its ranks.

He is a distinguished officer, who has an unblemished and non-controversial career. He is an introvert. Before his BSF, assignment, he served as the Director-General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir for three years and a half. That was the most challenging assignment for him. A professional to the core, Mr Jagat modernised and motivated the J and K Police.

Born on June 1, 1942, Mr Jagat joined the IPS in 1966 after doing his MA in English Literature. He served as the district police chief of Kapurthala, Bathinda, Patiala, Amritsar and also as DIG in the CBI, Punjab Intelligence. He also held the position of Additional DGP (Administration) before his selection for the prestigious posting in trouble-torn J and K by the Union Government.

He was honoured with the title of Padmashri in 1987. Besides, he has the President’s Police Medal to his credit. He was also honoured as best police officer of the year 2001 by the J and K Government on Independence Day, 2001.


FCI allows road movement of rice
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 28
Even as various state and central-level agencies probing the scam involving diversion of export category rice to domestic markets, allegedly by an export firm in connivance with the rice mill owners, are yet to submit their findings to the authorities concerned, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has allowed its movement to various ports from Punjab by road.

The FCI authorities, which swung into action after “The Tribune” exposed the rice diversion scam worth crores, constituted a two-member panel to probe the role of FCI officials allegedly involved in the scam besides suspending the movement of rice by road from Punjab to various ports.

After suspending the transport of rice by road, the state office of the FCI sought the approval of senior officials of the corporation. However, after a week of suspension the FCI authorities have now allowed the movement.

Sources said that FCI authorities had taken this decision to clear the stock which was chocking the storage space and to make space for rice which will be delivered by millers sometime in October or November.

The district police, who exposed the rice diversion scam, seized about 36 trucks loaded with rice bags for six rice mills located in the district. The rice seized by the police was meant for export through the export firm, Sharp Menthol India Limited. The Delhi-based export firm was blacklisted by the FCI authorities after the scam was unearthed.

When contacted Mr V.K. Singh, Senior Regional Manager (SRM), FCI, said that facility of movement of rice by road had been given only to those exporters who have already given a bank guarantee against their transactions and made payment in lieu of rice being taken by them. The movement had been allowed in the cases in which release orders had been issued to export firms.


Punjab to introduce yoga in hospitals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Department of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, has decided to introduce yoga for the medical staff as well as the general public in some hospitals in Punjab.

Explaining the holistic approach to health care here today, Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, said the programme would have an accent on preventive health maintenance through India’s time-tested traditional yoga therapy. Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, would inaugurate a unique 10 days training camp “Yoga to Arogya” on July 2 in the tennis stadium of the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association here.

The participants in the camp would include doctors of the Health Department as well as the PGI and private hospitals, Civil Servants, sports enthusiasts and executives from the corporate sector. Swami Adhyatamananda of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, who is a luminary in yoga and natural sciences, would conduct the yoga training camp in the centre courts of the stadium.

An important component of the programme would be specialised training for yoga trainers. As many as 50 young potential trainers selected by the Department of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy would be imparted specialised skills. Swami Adhyatamananda would give regular lessons in theory and practice of yoga and natural sciences, including pranayama and meditation, besides theoretical aspects with instructions on preventive and cure of common diseases. At the conclusion of the camp, the trainers would be assigned responsibility of running regular yoga centres in selected hospitals in the state.

A linkage between ancient techniques of health and well-being with modern western medicine is part of the programme of the Health Department to provide to the public facilities in all systems of medicine under one roof.

In its motto for the current year, 2002, “Move for Health”, the World Health Organisation expects doctors to promote such systems. The programme would be an experiment for Punjab.


Civil Lines Road in bad shape
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 28
Though the Civil Lines Road is one of the most important roads in the city, its state remains deplorable The road, lined with the city’s major public offices and residences of the administration’s top officers, is little more than dirt and stones.

The buildings lining the 1-km-long road are the mini-secretariat, the district courts, the SDM’s office, offices of the Town Planning Department, the Red Cross, the Telephone Department, the income tax office, a police station, Ambedkar Bhavan, the residences of the Deputy Commissioner, SSP and the Sessions Judge, and the PWD rest house.

Residents say that the road has been in a state of disrepair for the past three years. Although repairs have been carried out at times, repeated accumulation of water has negated the effort.

Presently, the road is just stones and rocks strewn over a mud surface. This makes driving, particularly on two-wheelers, dangerous. Cyclists have to stick to the sides or the footpath to avoid pointed stones.

Some time ago, the local advocates’ union had threatened to go on strike if the road was not repaired.


Bhandara’ for Amarnath pilgrims
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 28
The Shree Shiv Shankar Welfare Trust, an NGO, would organise a ‘ bhandara’ for pilgrims of Amarnath yatra.

Mr Parmod Kalia, in a press note issued here today, said the organisation would make arrangements for food, medicines and tents for pilgrims free of cost.

Members of the trust would start from the city on July 16 for the yatra which will begin from July 22.

Mr Kalia said that the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Government should ease the rules for the yata and the ban imposed on providing free tents to yatris should also lifted up. He added the government should also reduce the passenger tax on buses for the Amarnath yatra.


Amritsar-Mumbai train
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 28
The Northern Railway has cancelled 2903UP/2904DN Frontier Mail and 2925UP/2926DN Deluxe Express for today and tomorrow, between Amritsar and Mumbai as some rail tracks in Mumbai have damaged due to heavy rains, according to railway sources.


Satyawadi assumes charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Mr Y.C. Satyawadi has taken over as Principal Accountant General (Accounts and Expenditure) Punjab.

Mr Satyawadi was holding the same position before this posting in UP and Uttaranchal.


Two dowry cases registered
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 28
Ms Gurpreet Deo, SSP, Hoshiarpur, told mediapersons here today that the police had registered two dowry cases against 12 persons and started investigation in this regard Orders had been issued to the station house officers concerned to arrest the accused, she said.

Ms Deo said that Sunita Rani of Tanda Urmur was married to Deepak Kumar alias Vicky of Jalandhar on December 2, 2001. Sunit Rani filed a complaint that her husband and other members of his family used to torture her for bringing inadequate dowry.

The SSP said that a case had been registered against Deepak, Jyoti, Seema, Vijay Kumar, Vinny, Pawanjit Pamma, Sunita and Sukhbir under Section 498A, 406, 120B of the IPC.

In another case, on a complaint by Jaswant Singh of Rajowal the police registered a case against Gurwinder Singh, his father Harmesh Singh, mother Ram Piari and Charanjit Singh of Harkhowal.

She said that Jaswant Singh’s daughter Gurdeep Kaur was married to Gurwinder Singh. Soon after the marriage, Gurwinder Singh and his family members started harassing Gurdeep Kaur to bring Rs 50,000 from her parents.


2 brothers held with 350 kg poppy
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 28
The Phillaur police, led by DSP Kanmaljit Singh Dhillon, has arrested two brothers Karnail Singh and Balbir Chand of Noormahal and seized 350 kg of poppy husk from their house today.

The police also arrested Karnail Ram of Rurrka Kalan village and Kala of Pasla and seized 35 kg of poppy husk from them.


SI arrested for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 28
Vigilance Bureau sleuths, led by DSP Baljit Singh, have arrested Baldev Singh, Sub-Inspector in Punjab police, for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 1500 from Surjit Singh of Housing Board Colony.

According to Ms Amita Punj, SP, Vigilance Bureau, the accused accepted bribe in lieu of acting on the complaint submitted by Surjit Singh. A case has been registered against the Sub-Inspector.


PMT system ‘foolproof’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
Baba Farid University of Health Sciences today claimed that its system of conducting examinations for the pre medical entrance test was foolproof, and there were enough safeguards to prevent any impersonation at any stage.

Even as the university clarified its position , a parent pointed out yet another confusion created by the prospectus. Page 4 of the prospectus says one mark will be deducted from the aggregate in case of each wrong answer. On the other hand , pages 8 and 21 has specifically mentioned ‘‘ there will be no negative marking ’’. The agitated parent said he had called up the university authorities to ask what was correct but could not get a “clear answer.’’

Meanwhile, the registrar of the University, Dr P.S. Sandhu, while reacting to a Tribune news item on how admit cards will have not photographs, assured students and parents that the attendance slip and admit card for PMET-2002 and PPMET-2002 would be sent to the candidate on the basis of information/particulars ( candidate’s name, father’s name and address, category) scanned from the OMR application for the entrance test.

While admitting that the university had erred in not mentioning the last date for receipt of applications forms, Dr Sandhu said forms would be received by the University till July 1,2002. The Tribune had highlighted that how the prospectus of the university does not have any mention of the candidate’s photograph, last date and several other important aspects.

The roll number and centre allotted by this university will also be printed on this attendance slip and admit card. There will be space for pasting a passport size photograph on both the attendance slip and the admit card. There are columns for candidate’s signature (to be signed in the exam hall) and the signature of the invigilator on both the attendance slip and the admit card.

Only those candidates can enter the examination hall, who have pasted the passport size photographs on the attendance slip and the admit card.

During the examination, the invigilator will affix the centre seal ( of the university) in such way that it will be both on the Photograph and the attendance slip. The same centre seal will also be affixed both on the photograph and admit card.

Also the candidate will put his signature on the attendance slip and admit card in the presence of the invigilator during the examination. The invigilator will also put his signature. The attendance slip will be retained by the centre superintendent and the admit card will be retained by the candidate after/during the examination.

At the time of counselling, it is necessary to produce the admit card (retained by the candidate during the examination). It will be ensured during the counselling that the photograph on the admit card and the photograph on the attendance slip (already retained by the university at the time of examination) and the attested photograph affixed by the candidate on the application form for admission (counselling) to PMET-2002 and PPMET-2002 match with the candidate at the time for counselling.


PCCTU executive meets tomorrow 
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 28
Disappointed by the indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government, led by Capt Amarinder Singh, towards the long-standing grievances of over 5,000 college teachers serving in privately managed government-aided colleges of Punjab, the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) executive committee has decided to meet on June 30 at Ramgarhia College, Phagwara, to decide next course of struggle to press the government to redress the grievances of the teachers at the earliest.

Disclosing  this to this correspondent, Dr V.K. Tiwari, general secretary, PCCTU, informed the meeting had been convened because the government was not at all paying any heed to the difficulties and problems of private college teachers of Punjab.

Dr Tiwari, who is also national secretary of the All-India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (AIFUCTO), informed that the meeting to be chaired by Prof S.S. Hundal, president of the PCCTU,  would discuss the proposals to be put forth at the important ensuing meeting of the Joint Action Committee of the Private College Managements Federation, Private College Principals Federation, PCCTU and the Private Colleges Non-Teaching Employees Union (PCNTEU).

Dr Tiwari regretted that the Punjab Government was turning a blind eye to the difficulties of private college teachers serving in 160 private colleges of Punjab. He said the government instead of keeping up its promises made by Capt  Amarinder Singh and Congress leaders to the private college teachers of Punjab during the party campaign in the February Assembly poll decided a cut of 10 to 12 per cent in the 95 per cent grant-in-aid proposed by the SAD-BJP combine government and floated a new pension-gratuity scheme for the private college teachers of Punjab.

Dr Tiwari made it clear that the PCCTU outrightly rejected the new pension-gratuity scheme a couple of days back.

Dr Tiwari said the PCCTU executive committee would also discuss issue of victimisation of teachers and appointment of various PCCTU conveners.

Dr Tiwari revealed that teachers of private colleges affiliated with Panjab University and Punjabi University would wear black badges and observe dharnas on the college campuses on July 1, when new academic session would begin.


Future of govt college students uncertain
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
Future of as many as 245 students of the only government-run boys college in the holy city hangs in balance as the state government has been planning to close it down. Much to the disappointment of the students the college authorities have also been reportedly told not to admit new students.

The students mainly belong to the poor strata of the society which could not afford exorbitant fee structures of private colleges.

While a student of the government college could graduate with meagre annual amount of Rs 1,500, the private college charge about Rs 25,000 from the students.

While replying to a question on the floor of the Assembly, Mr Khushal Behal, Education Minister, had announced that the government decided to close down the college as more than Rs 5 crore were required to construct its buildings. Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla said there were several buildings in the city as town hall school where the strength of the students had decreased.

Mr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, president of the local Vikas Manch, said the government would do great injustice if it decides to close down the college.


Rs 43 cr aid for medical colleges
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 28
In an effort to improve the condition of medical colleges in Punjab, more than 43 crore will be provided for their infrastructure and equipment modernisation. This was disclosed by the Minister for Health and Medical Education, Mr R.C. Dogra, at a function organised by the Punjab State AIDS Control Society at Government Medical College here.

Addressing the gathering, the minister stressed that in order to curtail the rapid spread of AIDS, medical professionals and non -government organisations (NGOs) must come forward to educate people. Commenting on the increasing number of drug users, he said de-addiction centres around the state should be improved immediately.

Inaugurating the Voluntary AIDS Test Centre, Mr Dogra stated that 18 NGOs working in the state are being provided a financial assistance to the tune of Rs 10 lakh. He further said efforts would be made to provide people with homoeopathic, allopathic and ayurvedic methods of treatment under one roof. He also exhorted the doctors and NGOs to devise means to ensure that even the rural population of the state was provided with authentic information about AIDS and the ill effects of drugs.

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