Friday, July 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dheera prefers jail fearing rearrest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 11
Suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu’s alleged tout Randhir Singh Dheera continues to remain in the Central Jail here as he preferred not to furnish bail bonds in a case registered against him, fearing rearrest by the Vigilance Department.

Sources said even though Dheera’s counsel went to Ropar to furnish bail bonds they were not furnished because a Vigilance team from Ludhiana had reached there. Another Vigilance team from Ludhiana under the charge of a DSP was at the Central Jail here.

The sources said Dheera was apprehending arrest and had decided to follow a wait-and-watch policy. They said there was also a technical problem in his release from jail with a contradiction in the arrest and release warrant with a Section not having been written correctly. Jail officials said this would have to be rectified from Ropar by filing an application.

The sources said two SPs of the Vigilance Department also spoke to Dheera for a long time today. They said attempts were being made to persuade Dheera to turn approver in the case.

Meanwhile, jail sources said two other accused in the case, Prem Sagar and Paramjit Singh Pammi, were released at around 7 p.m. yesterday. They were detained for around three hours by Vigilance officials yesterday. Both of them were incommunicado presently as they too were fearing rearrest by the Vigilance Department.


Notice to Badal in Sidhu case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
Nearly three months after the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam rocked the nation four city residents today filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to show cause why the then PPSC chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu’s name was recommended for appointment as Union Public Service Commission member.

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice Kiran Anand Lall, today issued notice of motion for July 29 to Mr Badal, the state of Punjab, PPSC and other respondents.

Claiming Mr Badal to be equally responsible “for creating havoc and turmoil in the process of selections”, Mr Harjinder Singh and three others had earlier alleged that no one could commit an illegality under the “nose of the king in his kingdom” without his consent or contribution.

The four had also sought directions to the respondents to quash the rules and regulations governing the process of selecting PPS and PCS officials. Directions to the state of Punjab for constituting a committee to streamline the process of selection by evolving new rules and regulations was also sought, along with directions to the respondents to initiate a probe against those guilty of delaying the process of investigation.

Notice to PAU on guidelines

Acting on a petition seeking directions to the Vice Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University, besides other respondents, to implement the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court for preventing sexual harassment, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion for October 28.

The Judges observed: “It is submitted that in spite of the judgement by the Supreme Court, no rules and regulations have been framed by the university with regard to prevent sexual harassment of women employees, or students. Issue notice of motion”.

Claiming to be deeply concerned over the menace of sexual harassment in the university, Dr Balwant Singh of Ludhiana, in his petition, had contended that the tri-semester system of education was mainly responsible for the exploitation of the students.

Giving details, he had contended that the system involved internal assessment and evaluation of post graduation students and as such was leading to exploitation. Citing an example, he had claimed that an M.Sc student was molested and misbehaved with. She was also pressurised by about eight or nine teachers to withdraw her complaint. Subsequently, the students’ association had gone on strike, counsel had added.

Plea rejected with costs

Coming down heavily on a Kapurthala-based businessman for not coming to the court with clean hands, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court today dismissed his petition after imposing costs of Rs 25,000.

In his petition, the businessman had sought directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to quash a demand notice issued on June 24. He had alleged that a vehicle along with the goods were illegally taken into custody following his refusal to pay extra money to an inspector. The respondents, on the other hand, had contended that the petitioner was a habitual evader of octroi.

After hearing the arguments in the case, the Judges observed: “The petitioner has clearly not only tried to evade tax payment, but has also tried to mislead this court. The petition is dismissed with costs. The costs are assessed at Rs 25,000”.

Notice in Wakf Board case

Taking up a petition seeking directions to the Union of India and other respondents to restrain the Administrator of Punjab Wakf Board M. K. Haq, from carrying out the administrative, executive and policy works, a Division Bench issued notice of motion for September 5.

In his petition, Mr Israr Ahmed of Chandigarh had contended that the respondent was no more competent to carry on as the administrator in view of the High Court judgement. Going into the background of the case, the petitioner had submitted that as per the orders the Wakf Board was to be constituted by the Union of India within two months from April 10. The period expired on June 10, but the board had still not been reconstituted, the petitioner had added.

Describing Mr Haq as an “influential person”, the petitioner had added that he had close proximity with Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Satya Narayan Jatiya. As a result, the ministry had till date not reconstituted the board.


Sidhu’s kin furnish fresh bail bonds
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 11
Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, who yesterday withdrew bail bonds of Rs 5 lakh furnished by him for the release of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, suspended Chairman of the PPSC today again filed an application in the court of the Special Judge here for furnishing fresh bail bonds for the release of Sidhu.

On today’s application of Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, the Special Judge, Mr A. S. Kathuria, fixed July 15 as next date of hearing on the surety application and ordered to produce the bail order, related to Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu of June 26 last in the court, vide which Sidhu was ordered to be released on bail after furnishing the bail bonds of Rs 5 lakh and a surety of the like amount.

In his fresh application filed today, Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu stated that he had submitted surety bond earlier in this case which had been accepted by the court. But the above-said surety bond, furnished in the sum of Rs 5 lakh, had been withdrawn by him on July 10 and the same had been allowed by the court, he added.


PPSC recruits crestfallen, cry foul
Proposed ordinance will leave them jobless
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
A stroke of pen after promulgation of an ordinance in the next few days may take away jobs from hundreds of professionals recruited on the recommendations of the Punjab Public Service Commission headed by Ravi Sidhu.

“While the suspended PPSC chairman Ravi Sidhu is yet to be prosecuted, our wards, professionally competent and selected on merit, will face prosecution in the next few days in the shape of termination of their services for no fault of theirs,” remarked septuagenarian father of a doctor claiming that his entire lifetime saving as a private schoolteacher had been invested in making his son a doctor.

“We welcomed the government’s crusade against corruption. But least expected that it would also take in its spate honest, meritorious and deserving professionals who have been serving the State in rural and remote areas for periods varying between one to three years. They never paid any bribe nor had any ‘sifarish’. The only reason for their exparte prosecution is that they were recruited by the PPSC headed by Ravi Sidhu,” he lamented, maintaining that all representations sent by him and many others like him had evoked no response from the authorities concerned.

It is not only doctors alone. There are veterinary doctors, 350 of them recruited during the past four years, who too, face “sack” any time. Then there are agro-technocrats, more than 100 of them. The list is long and endless.

Though all have been individually and collectively doing everything, the developments during the past few days have made them “panicky”.

“No one knows what will be the outcome of the prosecution of the recruitment scam, but many of our colleagues have already been given extreme punishment, sack before hearing. We do not support those who either gave bribes or had ‘sifarish’. But at the same time, we do not want that any clean and meritorious person is made to suffer,” said Dr G. S. Chahal, convener of the Coordination Committee of Professional Services Association.

“It is unprecedented to punish someone without even proving him guilty. Any blanket order would be opposed tooth and nail by us,” he declared maintaining that all 3,600-odd professionals along with their family members would hold a rally here on July 25 to protest against the “arbitrariness with which the government was proceeding in handling ‘clean’ persons,” said Dr Chahal.

Joined by leaders of other associations and organisations of professional bodies, Dr Chahal argued that most professionals had passed through a rigorous system. So much so that out of 128 agro-technocrats recruited by the PPSC, 21 did not join. Had they been tainted, they would have accepted the jobs.”

“We do not agree with the government view that it was difficult to distinguish between meritorious and tainted candidates. But the Vigilance has adopted a biased attitude and it is sourcing its input from rejected candidates, who definitely owe a grouse against the PPSC for not selecting them. This improper approach has complicated matters further.”

“Even if in a batch of 30 or 50 professionals, one is tainted, how you can punish the rest, “ he asked maintaining that the government was bent on issuing an ordinance on the basis of a partial, unjust and biased report of the Vigilance Bureau”.

Others who interacted with media on behalf of the coordination committee were Dr Rajinder Singh, Dr Satnam Singh, Dr C. L. Vashisth, Prof Jai pal Singh, Prof Paramvir Singh, Engineer Gurbakshish Singh, Prof Jaipal Singh, Dr Hazara Singh Cheema and Dr Balwinder Singh Butari.


Farmers’ agonising wait for rains
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Mansa, July 11
With their crops having started to wither, farmers are in a desperate situation and are trying to save their crops by spending a lot on diesel to operate tubewells as power supply is available to them only for limited hours.

The wait for monsoon has frustrated the farmers. Animals are the worst-affected as the fodder has started to turn yellow.

Weather pandits had predicted that monsoon would hit the region around June 30 but the predictions have gone haywire. Except for scanty rain at a few places on July 4, the entire northern region has experienced dry weather. It is perhaps for the first time that the monsoon has been delayed for so long. Last year, the rains had set in on June 22.

Punjab has never really faced drought. But this time there are drought-like conditions in the countryside. What has saved the farmers so far is the state’s good network of canals. Besides, there are over nine lakh tubewells that cater to the 70 per cent area under cultivation in the state.

The farmers are depending on tubewells with water is not reaching the tail end of canals. Because of the withdrawal of the sub-soil water through tubewells, the water level has gone down in certain areas from 5 feet to 10 feet, necessitating the lowering of water-boosting systems. At a number of places, the tubewells have become non-functional owing to the fall in the sub-soil water.

Mandeep Singh, a farmer , said: “Our patience has reached a breaking point. If the monsoon is delayed for long, most of the farmers will remove the paddy crop. It will not only be possible for them to continue watering the crops through tubewells”. He said operating the tubewells with a diesel engine was costly and most of the farmers could not afford it.

The local Met office said: “Monsoon has not hit the region yet. There was a rain on July 4 at certain places. However, conditions have started developing that give hope of rain in the region in two days. The first cycle of monsoon was very weak and that is why it did not hit the entire region.”


Removal of Brar, 2 others ‘violative’ of Gurdwara Act
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 11
Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, senior advocate Punjab and Haryana High Court and chairman of the Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) legal cell has questioned the removal of Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Mr Ajwant Singh Maan and Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa president and members respectively of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission on July 5 by the Punjab government at Amritsar. He said under Section 70 of the Gurdwara Act 1925 the state government was not empowered either to remove the members of the commission or to restore the status of old members. 

Shedding more light on the constitution of the commission here today, Mr Romana said that after every election the SGPC sends a panel of seven members to the state government out of which the government was bound to choose two members and the third one is nominated by the government. He must either be a retired judicial officer or an advocate with experience of more than 10 years. 

So following the Act, the SGPC after its election in 1996, the then president of the SGPC Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra sent a panel of seven members — Mr Dara Singh, Mr Kashmir Singh, Mr Ajwant Singh Maan, Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa and three other advocates from Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Fatehgarh Sahib districts to the Punjab government. The government selected Mr Randhawa and Mr Maan as members of the commission. On January 11, 1999 Mr Manmohan Brar was nominated president of the commission by the state government. Under the circumstances Mr Kashmir Singh and Mr Dara Singh who earlier were president and member of the commission moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the constitution of new commission by the government arguing that the government had no powers either to select or nominate any member following the division of Punjab into four states including Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and UT of Chandigarh.

A two-member Bench of the high court which heard this appeal later requested the Chief Justice to constitute Full Bench for its hearing it being a constitutional matter. Later a five-member Bench comprising Mr Justice A. B. Sahariya, Mr Justice G. S. Singhvi, Mr Justice V. K. Balli, Mr Justice Nirmal Singh and Mr Justice Amar Dutt was formed which invited the representatives of all four states besides a member from the Union Government to review the matter.

After hearing the views of all parties including the petitioners in the beginning of last year the Bench reserved its judgement which was yet to be announced, said Mr Romana.

He added that under the prevailing conditions, Mr Kashmir Singh or his other associates had no right to retake the chair of the commission. Mr Romana said that the two-member Bench consisting of Chief Justice A. B. Sahariya and Mr Justice J.S. Kehar who after hearing preliminary two different writ petitions yesterday which were filed by Mr Manmohan Singh Brar and his other two partners on July 8 against their expulsion from the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission by the government had also referred the same to the old Bench of five members and adjourned the case till July 15. Mr Kashmir Singh and his other two associates had been renominated the members of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission by the state government Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Mr Ajwant Singh Maan and Mr Amrik Singh Randhawa on July 5.


Ranjit Singh, Sarna fail to bury hatchet
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 11
Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Akal Takht Jathedar, has said he will not support the SAD during the formation of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) house, but at the same time he will not allow Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna to head the DSGMC.

Talking to TNS on the telephone, Bhai Ranjit Singh said he could accept any candidate other than Mr Sarna for the post of the President of the DSGMC. He alleged that during the allocation of party ticket during the gurdwara elections, Mr Sarna had given ticket to one of the confidants of Mr Sajjan Kumar, a former Congress minister, who was allegedly responsible for the Delhi riots.

Bhai Ranjit Singh alleged that Mr Sarna had campaigned against his supporters during the gurdwara elections which was in the knowledge of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal. Bhai Ranjit Singh alleged that Mr Sarna had been running the office of the Delhi Akali Dal from his house like Mr Badal and he had promoted his own family members at the cost of senior Akali leaders.

Meanwhile, senior leaders of the SHSAD said it was difficult to elect any person other than Mr Sarna as President of the DSGMC.


Tohra exhorts Akalis to unite
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 11
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, has exhorted all Akali factions to come under one banner to form a Panthic government in Punjab and replace the present government in the next elections.

Mr Tohra was addressing a gathering at the local Khalsa Senior Secondary School organised to mark the birth anniversary of Baldev Singh Dumna, the first Defence Minister of India. Paying tributes to Baldev Singh Dumna, Mr Tohra lauded his contribution to the state.

He said his only desire was to see an Akali Chief Minister in the state. He said it could only be possible if all honest and dedicated Akalis, barring Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his close associates, joined hands and formed a new Akali Dal.


Maluka’s bail plea rejected

Bathinda, July 11
Additional District and Sessions Judge Jaspal Singh here rejected today the blanket bail plea of former Akali Minister Sikander Singh Maluka.

Mr Maluka, Irrigation and Power Minister in the erstwhile Parkash Singh Badal-led Akali Dal BJP coalition government had moved the court apprehending his arrest by the present Congress government of Captain Amarinder Singh in some false case. UNI


Petrol dearer in Punjab

Chandigarh, July 11
The Punjab Government today issued a notification of a Re 1 infrastructure cess per litre of petrol, as per the state’s annual Budget for the ongoing fiscal year. All petrol stations in Punjab would now sell petrol at a price higher by Re 1 per litre with immediate effect following the issuance of this notification, an official note said here today. UNI


Sonia urged to let CM continue as PPCC chief
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 11
The Patiala District Congress Committee (DCC) today issued a statement saying that Capt Amarinder Singh should continue as PPCC president to keep the party “effective, united and result oriented”.

In a communique to AICC President Sonia Gandhi and other leaders, DCC (urban) president Ved Prakash Gupta, while forwarding the “sentiments” of Congress workers, said the rank and file of the party wanted Capt Amarinder Singh to continue as the PPCC president and that any change could prove harmful for the party. Mr Gupta said because of the state’s proximity to the border Punjab should be treated as a special case and the Chief Minister be allowed to continue as the PPCC president as well.

He said that former Chief Minister Beant Singh was able to achieve targets only because the high command had allowed him to hold the dual charges of the Chief Minister and the PPCC chief.


BJP to play role of model Oppn: Jaiswal
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 11
The BJP will support any agitation launched by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) against the wrong, vindictive, and anti-people policies adopted by the Congress government in Punjab.

This was stated by the Punjab BJP Organisational General Secretary, Mr Avinash Jaiswal while talking to this correspondent here today. He said though the BJP had decided to play a role of model opposition, but it would not tolerate any excesses on SAD-BJP workers. He alleged that law and order situation was deteriorating in the state due to the wrong policies of the Congress.

Mr Jaiswal said the BJP was being strengthened at the village and town level in the state and its base would be expanded from 5000 villages to all 12,500 villages in the state.

He said district-level meetings of the BJP had been held in 20 districts of the state, and block level meeting of the party would be held in 140 blocks in August. A state-level meeting of the Punjab unit of the BJP and its morchas would be held at Tarn Taran on July 14, which would be addressed by Punjab BJP affairs in charge Mr Sangh Priya Gautam.


Mukerian unit of BJP dissolved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The President of the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, has dissolved the Mukerian unit of the party after accepting the resignation of its president Jeewan Mahajan. Mr Rinwa has said that even other office-bearers are not working in accordance with the requirements of the party. An ad hoc committee will be set up till regular appointments are made.


Man dies in custody, kin allege torture
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 11
A property dealer today died while he was being taken to police station by policemen led by ASI Shamsher Singh from his office in Jalalabad. According to the information, Malkit Singh son of Kartar Singh around 35 years of age and resident of Jalalabad was wanted by the police in connection with a case of theft of vehicles.

The police arrested Major Singh son of Gurbachan Singh in this connection last week and recovered two stolen vehicles from his possession. Police sources said that Malkit Singh was his accomplice and was allegedly party to the crime and had information about some more stolen vehicles. The police today raided his office, Dhawan Property Dealer in Jalalabad and picked up Malkit Singh and his younger brother Hakum Singh for interrogation.

While the police was bringing him to the CIA Staff police station for interrogation, he died in transit near Golluke chowk.

According to Mr Praveen Kumar Sinha SSP Ferozepore the police party accompanying him took him to a private hospital in Gurharsahai for medical treatment but as his condition did not improve, he was brought to Ferozepore Civil Hospital where he was declared dead, Mr Sinha said that Malkit Singh died of a heart attack and denied torture by the police being alleged by the relatives of the deceased.

He said that the police party tried its best to save his life and provided all medical assistance but in vain.

Pushpa Rani, wife of the deceased alleged that her husband died due to excessive thrashing by the police. Mr Amarjit Singh elder brother of the deceased denied involvement of his brother in theft of vehicles. A postmortem examination was on in the Civil Hospital till the filing of the report.


Scrutiny of yatris intensified
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 11
Following renewed threats from militant outfits, scrutiny of pilgrims during Shri Amarnath yatra has intensified. The Jammu and Kashmir government reportedly has asked the Langar Seva Samiti enlisted for running free kitchen on the route of the yatra, to collect permission-cum-identity cards for the volunteers from Srinagar. For this purpose every samiti will have to send at least five volunteers immediately for verification of character. The demand for allowing 100 volunteers at every service camp, being organised by the samitis, is unlikely to be accepted. Fresh proposal is that only batch of 25 volunteers would be permitted to stay and prepare eatables etc. for a week, to be replaced next week.

Earlier the Department of Tourism Jammu and Kashmir had been sending photo identity cards for the volunteers by courier service. This time lists of volunteers sent by the samitis were to be examined in consultation with the respective governments in the concerned state. But experience with the Security Branch of Punjab Police had, reportedly, been very bad. Personal verifications in respect of passports and recruitment etc. had been allegedly delayed for some consideration. There had been reports of wrong verifications which later created problems. Now sleuths of Jammu and Kashmir will interview volunteers at random in Srinagar itself. This will increase problems of the samitis besides expenses and may delay preparations for starting free meal camps. Most of the samitis had planned to reach the base camp in Pehalgam by June 16 as more than four days were required to transport tents and other material to the terrain.

According to information from sources unlike last year sadhus will not be allowed to go for yatra unless they possess yatra card. Militants posing as sadhus had masterminded bomb blast near Sheshnag. There had been reports last year that certain sadhus carried narcotics and distributed these on the way during the yatra. Screening of pilgrims at entry points on all three routes is likely to be made more tough. Scanners generally used at airports besides metal detectors may be used at all entry centres. The langar samiti have been told not to make arrangement for night stay of pilgrims in tents. This may make the yatra more expensive but the authorities are determined not to take a chance though it may allegedly give undue benefit to locals who are allowed to put up tents and stalls without paying any fee to the government of Jammu and Kashmir. Majority of them were selected from the areas close to the LoC to give them incentive for facing militancy.

Some volunteers who had got yatra cards issued by submitting forms at different branches of Jammu and Kashmir bank, were held up near Sonmarg yesterday as they were not supposed to start the ‘yatra’ right now.


Kids spread message of population control
Tribune Reporters

Nawanshahr, July 11
The district Education and Health Departments jointly organised a “chetna rally” to mark World Population Day in the town here today in which at least 500 students belonging to different schools took part.

The rally, which started from the local JSFH Khalsa High School, was flagged off by the ADC, Mr Gurpal Singh Bhatti, and it culminated at Doaba Arya Senior Secondary School.

Mr Bhatti stressed the need for making the population education programme a mass movement. Mr K.C. Kapoor, District Education Officer, said the Education Department would organise seminars and rallies at village level to create awareness.

ROPAR: More than 500 schoolchildren and NSS volunteers participated in a rally organised in the town on Thursday to mark World Population Day.

Ropar Additional Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg flagged off the rally at the local Government Girls Senior Secondary School.

The rally passed through Bela Chowk, Lehri Shah Mandir, Pull Bazar, Giani Zail Singh Nagar and the Government College road.

GURDASPUR: World Population Day was celebrated here with great enthusiasm. More than 2000 schoolchildren held a rally in the gymnasium hall here and later took out a march. Some male students were seen passing obscene remarks against girls as teachers were not accompanying the procession.

HOSHIARPUR: A rally of schoolchildren was organised by the District Education Department at the local Zila Parishad Ground in connection with World Population Day celebrations. Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Deputy Commissioner flagged off the march.

JALANDHAR: World Population Day was observed by organising a seminar at Primary Health Centre at Kala Bakra village near here.

Students of the government school of the village participated in a rally which was taken out to create awareness among people.


World Population Day
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib
Seminars, painting competitions and awareness rallies were organised in various towns of the district on the occasion of World Population Day.

Addressing a district-level function, Mr Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner, gave detailed information about the growing population in the country. He said the population of the country was 24 crore in the beginning of the 20th century, but now it was more than one billion.

He said all major problems being faced by the country were due to overpopulation. He said, “China has managed to control population growth, but we in India have failed to achieve the same.” He said distorting sex ratio might further create chaos in the society. He urged people to cooperate in controlling population growth.

Mr O. P. Chabra, Civil Surgeon, Ms Jasbir Kaur Lit, subject expert, Population Cell, Ms Iqbal Kaur, DEO (Schools), and Dr Bansal, Commissioner, Health Systems Corporation, also addressed the gathering. Later the Deputy Commissioner flagged off an awareness rally, which passed through various bazaars of the town.


Rally marks Population Day
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, July 11
A seminar and rally was organised here today for creating awareness among people on World Population Day. Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Additional Deputy Commissioner, presided over the function.

He said about 40 per cent of population in India was below the poverty line. He said that for dealing with the problems like unemployment, poverty, epidemics and pollution the people should keep their families small.

Mr Satpal Singh Komal and block Chairman of the district unit of India the NGOs Association presented a memorandum to the ADC. They said a ban should be imposed on those political leaders who had more than two children from contesting elections.


Police appoints receiver for ‘felled’ trees

Sriganganagar, July 11
The Punjab police today appointed a receiver for the trees allegedly felled illegally along the Gang Canal by an influential person, official sources said here today.

The police appointed the receiver under Section 145 of the CrPC on a complaint lodged by the Rajasthan police, Additional District Collector (Administration) Rajendra Mena said here.

The Rajasthan Administration had complained to the Punjab police that an influential person from Gumjal village was illegally felling tree along the LNP distributary of the Gang Canal claiming his ownership on them.

On receiving information the Rajasthan Administration inquired into the matter and found that the trees belonged to state’s Irrigation Department. But since the feeder canal fell in Punjab’s territory the complaint was lodged with the Punjab police. The fallen trees are estimated to be worth Rs 25 lakh.

The Rajasthan Government recently prepared a massive repair plan of the Gang Canal, constructed about 100 years ago by erstwhile ruler of Bikaner Ganga Singh. PTI


Shopkeepers, residents hold protest rally
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 11
Residents of Sadar Bazaar today held a protest march while shopkeepers observed a bandh in protest against the “callous” attitude of the local fire brigade during the blaze that gutted three shops on Tuesday night.

The residents marched to the municipal council office and raised slogans against the president, and the Executive Officer of the MC and the Chief Fire Officer. They said the fire brigade had two fire engines but none was operational. The protesters said that as per MC records more than 100 water hydrants had been installed in different markets but hardly two to three existed.

A deputation of the shopkeepers also met MC president Babu Ram Arya. Mr Arya urged the Deputy Commissioner to conduct an inquiry in the incident. He recommended compensation for the affected shopkeepers after assessment.


Rs 104-cr welfare plan for Punjab cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The Punjab police would spend Rs 104 crore on modernisation as well as providing housing facilities to its staff. Against Rs 52 crore offered by the Centre, the state will add a matching grant of Rs 52 crore.

This was stated by Mr M.S. Bhullar, DGP, here yesterday. He was addressing the ADGPs and IGPs of the state.

According to a press note, a coordination committee has been constituted under Mr K.K. Attri, ADGP (Crime), for recommending necessary modernisation. It would be assisted by the ADGPs and IGPs of different wings.

Another committee has been formed under Mr G. S. Aujla, ADGP, Director, Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, to conduct research and development activities and to effect improvements in police uniform making it more impressive and “duty effective”. In order to check crime in narrow lanes of urban areas, specially designed cycles would be made available for purposes of “cycle patrolling” on the pattern of police cycles used abroad.


Magistrate’s transfer sought
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 11
The District Bar Association has urged the Chief Minister to transfer Ms Ranjit Kaur, Executive Magistrate. At a meeting of the association presided over by its president, Mr Ashok Gandhi, here yesterday, members objected to her behaviour. They decided to boycott the office of the Magistrate indefinitely.

Ms Ranjit Kaur was not available for comments.


Three die in wall collapse
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 11
A mason and two labourers were killed when the wall of a rice mill, which was under construction, collapsed on them at Mulla Singh Wala village in the district yesterday.

While one of the labourer, Gurtej Singh (19) died on the spot, the mason, Sukhdev Singh (22), and the other labourer, Nek Singh, succumbed to their injuries at the local Civil Hospital.


Punjab Assembly prorogued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The second session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which was adjourned sine die at the conclusion of its sitting on June 26, was prorogued by the Governor today, according to Mr Nachhattar Singh Mavi, Secretary.


Badungar denies links with Bhaniara
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 11
“If my links with Baba Bhaniara is proved I am ready to undergo any punishment,” asserted Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC at a press conference here today.

Asked if he was ready to quit his post if connection was established with Baba Bhaniara, he said resigning as SGPC chief was, but a small punishment. He was ready to undergo even more trying consequences.


DC: sangat darshan funds misused

Kapurthala, July 11
Deputy Commissioner Rakesh K. Verma today disclosed that funds to the tune of Rs 25 lakh under the sangat darshan programme had been found to be allegedly misused in the district.

Mr Verma stated that in pursuance of the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, senior officers of the district, including ADC, and Tehsildars inspected various works under the programme.

The Deputy Commissioner told reporters that the inspections had revealed amount of Rs 11.80 lakh had been allegedly misused in Dhilwan block by 13 panchayats, while an amount of Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh had been misused in Nadala and Sultanpur block, respectively, Similarly eight Panchayats in Kapurthala block had misused a sum of Rs 5.35 lakh.

Mr Verma further stated that three clubs in Bhullath were given a sum of Rs 1.25 lakh for promotion of sports but the presidents of these clubs did not show any record despite repeated attempts by the ADC.

Similarly, Rs 50,000 had been given to a fictitious club in the name of Lions Club (Smile) at Phagwara and no account for the same has been submitted despite repeated efforts by the officers.

He said legal action, including registration of cases wherever required, would soon be taken against all defaulters.

He has directed the ADC (D) to initiate action in this regard. PTI


Punjab postings, transfers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
The following postings/transfers in Punjab were ordered today with immediate effect: Dr Manmohan Singh is Secretary, Department of Public Grievances and Pensions and also Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs. Dr Roshan Sunkaria is Director, Technical Education and Industrial Training vice Mr Surjit Singh, who goes as Deputy Director Colonisation.

Mr Surinderjit Singh Sandhu is Special Secretary Irrigation. Mr H. I. S. Grewal is Special Secretary, Planning and, in addition, Special Secretary, Medical Education and Research.

Mr Harjeet Singh is Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar. Mr Kirpal Singh is Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, Bathinda.

Mr Surinder Mohan Sharma is Joint Director (Admn), Civil Aviation. Mr O. P. Popli is SDM, Shahkot. Mr Prem Chand is Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) and Assistant Commissioner (General), Ferozepore.

Mr Mohan Lal is D.T.O., Mansa. Dr Jaswant Singh is D.T.O., Ferozepore. Mr Manpreet Singh is S.D.M., Amritsar-II, against a vacant post.

Mr D. P. S. Kharbanda is ADC (Development), Bathinda. Mrs Babita is SDM, Kapurthala, and Assistant Commissioner (General), Kapurthala; Mr H. K. Nagpal is Administrative Officer, Irrigation Works.


Flood-control measures adequate: DC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 11
The Patiala Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, has directed the Drainage Department to ensure the proper functioning of the water exit system in the district, besides announcing that sandbags will be transported to flood-prone areas to tackle any eventuality.

Presiding over a meeting pertaining to flood-control measures initiated by different departments in the district at the District Red Cross Building here yesterday, the DC said the district was prepared to face any situation arising out of increased water levels in Patiala.

It was also informed that the district administration had procured life jackets and boats besides directing trained boat drivers to be on stand by during monsoons. He instructed all SDMs and government officials not to take leave without his permission during monsoons and directed the officials concerned to ensure immediate removal of encroachments near Chooti Nadi.

Elaborating on the measures taken by the district administration, Mr Tejveer Singh said control rooms had been set up at his office and at other-division and tehsil offices to give information pertaining to water level in the district. He also said wireless sets would be installed near areas prone to floods and also in the cars of all SDMs.


Ban on polythene bags in Ropar
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 11
Ropar District Magistrate Seema Jain, in an order issued under Section 144 of the CrPC, has banned the manufacturing and use of polythene bags, made of virgin or recycled plastic having a thickness of less than 20 microns, in the district.

The order would remain in force till September 7.


Six held for showing porn
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 11
The Amritsar police on Wednesday arrested six owners of cyber cafes, including a relative of an MLA, for allowing school and college students to view pornographic sites.

Young couples who were detained while viewing such sites were, however, handed over to their parents after issuing warnings.

The raids were conducted by Dr S. K. Kalia and Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, both SPs, as part of the drive against immoral trafficking. Earlier, the police had arrested a number of couples who indulged in flesh trade.

The SPs, who personally monitored the raids, said they had received a number of complaints that owners of many cyber cafes had constructed cabins to facilitate young couples to view pornographic sites for hours together by charging exorbitant rates.


Robbers loot 26,000, injure six

Hoshiarpur, July 11
In three separate incidents, as many different gangs of armed looters injured six persons at different places in the district and looted Rs 26,000 last night.

A police report here today said a five-member gang of looters entered the house of Purshotam Singh Purewal in Santnagar village under the Mukerian police station and decamped with Rs 26,000 and expensive clothes. The occupants of the house were sleeping when the robbery took place.

In the second incident, another gang entered Duggal Poultry farm in Dasuya and beat up Jagtar Singh and another inmate with rods and sticks. They, however, failed to take away any cash from the farm.

Police sources said yet another gang injured four migrant labourers near the Dasuya bus stand. The gang members escaped after some people raised the alarm. UNI


Man murdered by neighbour
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 11
Kamal Kishore (45) of Gali Gandawali here, allegedly murdered by his neighbour late last night following a minor dispute over a cable connection.

According to information, Parkash Chand and his three sons, Deepak, Hari Om and Raghav, allegedly stabbed Kamal with an ice-pick due to which is died on the spot.

The police has arrested Parkash Chand and one of his sons. The other two were absconding, said SSP Narinder Pal Singh.


PTU counselling put off yet again
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 11
Hundreds of candidates and their parents faced inconvenience owing to the decision of Punjab Technical University (PTU) to postpone counselling for the selection of students to various engineering colleges of the state scheduled to be held on the PTU campus here today.

Interestingly, the counselling was postponed for the third time in the past 15 days and every time the decision was taken at the last minute, much to the dismay of the students and their parents who had come from all parts of the state.

The decision to postpone the counselling, according to university sources, was taken to include about 10 new private engineering colleges which were yet to be awarded affiliation by the PTU.

As soon as the students reached the campus early in the morning, they came to know that the PTU had once again postponed the counselling for engineering seats in about 20 engineering colleges and no valid reason was given for the decision. The authorities concerned also failed to announce the fresh dates for the purpose, causing resentment among the candidates who had come from as far as Jammu, Shillong, and West Bengal.

The students raised slogans against the Vice-Chancellor and alleged that it was a conspiracy against those who had been selected during the CET conducted in June. “It is my third visit to the city for counselling in the past 15 days. The PTU authorities have no right to play with the future of the students, who are virtually taken for a ride without any valid reason. If some new private engineering colleges are to be included in the selection process, the authorities can conduct a separate counselling for the remaining students,” Gurmeet Ram of Sirsa said.

Sensing trouble, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr H. S. Gurm, came out of his office and tried to pacify the students who snatched the mike from Dr Gurm. He reportedly left the place in a huff and asked the students to appear on the next date of the counselling which would be announced later.

A deputation of affiliated private engineering colleges had also met the Vice-Chancellor to persuade him not to postpone the selection process for want of inclusion of new colleges.

Dr Gurm said the inclusion of the new colleges would benefit the students since the seats for different branches of engineering would increase.


Now bachelor’s degree in multimedia
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar July 11
Educated but unemployed youngsters from Punjab would now be able to venture into unconventional fields like sound recording, film production and television, thanks to the introduction of Punjab’s first four-year Bachelor’s degree course in multimedia by the local Apeejay College of Fine Arts.

The course, according to the management of the college, would not only enable computer students from the northern region to be part of the glamorous film and television industry, but would also enable them to set up their own studios for making company profiles, thus, saving them from the repercussions of the overall slump being witnessed by the information technology (IT) sector since the past one year. “Since the IT sector had become less popular due to last year’s slump, the course has been designed in such a way that it opens a number of avenues for them like film-making, animation, graphics, sound recording, editing, publishing, advertisement and corporate communications,” said Dr Sucharita, Principal of the college, adding that it was for the first time that such a course had been started in this part of the region, particularly Punjab. “Actually, earlier a number of multimedia courses of one or two years’ duration were started by many institutes, but they did not cover all aspects of multimedia exhaustively,” said Dr Sucharita, adding that the course had been recognised by the Guru Nanak Dev University.

Dr Sucharita said the college already had well-equipped music and fashion design departments.

A number of sound and photo laboratories have been set-up in the college for imparting practical training to about 40 students, who would be enrolled in the first batch beginning in the first week of August.


Jacob lays stress on computer education
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, July 11
Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), Governor of Punjab, today inaugurated the Sant Kartar Singh Information Technology Centre at Desh Bhagat College, Bardwal, two km from here.

General Jacob laid the foundation stone of this complex during his first visit to this town on December 18, 2000, and gave a grant of Rs 6 lakh to this institution. Addressing a gathering, General Jacob stressed upon the need to impart computer education in rural areas.

The General also released the magazine of the college for the current year. Mr Sarbjeet Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, presented a siropa to the Governor.

Mr A. S. Rao, SSP, Sangrur, Mr Parmjit Singh Gill, ADC to Governor and vice-president of the college, Mr Balwant Singh Meemsa, general secretary of the college, Mr Bhim Sain Jindal, president, Municipal Council, Dhuri, were among others who attended the inauguration ceremony.

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