Monday, July 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal blasts Tohra’s role
Operations in Golden Temple complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today challenged Mr G.S. Tohra to give his version as to why he made the Golden Temple and Akal Takht the headquarters of intelligence operations and Congress machinations against the Akali Dal and innocent Punjabis.

“This has become necessary in the light of overwhelming new evidence of Mr Tohra’s complicity with the intelligence agencies and Congress rulers to destroy Sikh religious institutions, the SAD was keep Punjab destabilised for political motives,” said Mr Badal, maintaining that it was his “blunder” to have trusted Mr Tohra.

“What Mr Tohra did is a sin for which he should never be forgiven by the community. He is destined to go down in Sikh history as a traitor who sold the interests of the community for petty personal gains,” Mr Badal said.

“The issue no longer remains merely political. It is an issue of the highest religious significance for the Sikh community and peace and stability in the sensitive border state. The question of Mr Tohra singing praises of Capt Amarinder Singh becomes a very minor issue compared with the heinous and diabolical role played by him at the highest seat of Sikh religion”, the SAD chief said.

Mr Badal was referring to the extracts of a book on “Operation Black Thunder” serialised by The Tribune and to the allegations made by Bhai Ranjit Singh about Tohra supporters giving the ticket to the guilty of Sikh massacre during the just-concluded DSGMC elections. “That Mr Tohra was always capable of going to any lengths to further his ambition has never been in doubt. But helping intelligence agencies and anti-Sikh organisations for making the Golden Temple the theatre for operations against the community is something that shocks even his critics,” the SAD leader said.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal is the first Akali leader to react to the disclosures made by Mr Sarabjit Singh, a former IAS officer of the state, in his latest book on “Operation Black Thunder”.

The Akali Dal President said the sensational disclosures coming from respected and reliable individuals have confirmed “our worst suspicions. “I had often been told to be wary of Tohra as he was a tool used by the intelligence agencies to wreck our strong regional party and weaken the Punjabi and Sikh cause. Even I found some of his extremist postures hard to explain in the light of the fact that the SAD had always believed in a peaceful democratic approach.”

Mr Badal admitted that he had no clue beyond the allegations made in certain quarters about the Congress keenness to keep Mr Tohra in the SGPC saddle. “The evidence provided in Mr Sarabjit Singh’s book of Tohra being in league with Buta Singh in the 1986 SGPC elections and the latter releasing militants at the former’s behest has shocked Sikh circles, most of whom had chosen to give Tohra the benefit of the doubt in the past”, Mr Badal said. That all moderate Sikh high priests were later dismissed by Mr Tohra and replaced by pro-militant priests at the behest of Mr Buta Singh in a conspiracy to defame the entire Sikh community is a disgrace that Mr Tohra would have to live with for the rest of his life.

Mr Badal recalled that Mr Simranjit Singh Mann had openly accused Mr Tohra of being the brain behind the murder of a leader belonging to Mr Mann’s party. “But when I came out of jail, Mr Tohra swore on oath that he had nothing to do with this murder. At that time, I chose to believe him. But certainly, in the light of the strong new evidence on Tohra-intelligence agencies-Buta Singh-militants nexus, the whole issue has to be looked at afresh,” he added.

“Why he stabbed a community and a party that gave him so much honour will always remain shrouded in mystery. My personal experience with him had often been one of being at the receiving end of his treacherous manipulations. And I often would think that his words and actions served only to strengthen the enemies of the Panth, the party and Punjab. But Tohra would always come with renewed oaths of loyalty and the party and I chose to believe him. But obviously, we are guilty of being too gullible against this Machiavellian conspirator,” said Mr Badal.

The Akali Dal chief said that the designs of the Congress to weaken a strong regional party like the SAD were never in doubt and it was always suspected that they could plant a Trojan horse in our midst for the fulfillment of these designs. The game is still on. The Punjab government is going out of its way to oblige Tohra on the issue of judicial commission is just one instance of this. It does not surprise us any more to find Capt Amarinder Singh and Tohra speaking an identical language. “But if a man can betray his own religion and its highest shrines, what could the party and its workers expect,” Mr Badal remarked.

Mr Badal said Mr Tohra was determined to carry his pro-Congressism to his grave. “Why this touching loyalty to a party that is an enemy of the Panth and Punjab? ” asked Mr Badal but added perhaps such questions never bother Mr Tohra’s conscience.

The Tohra-Amarinder Singh tie-up was nothing new. They had joined hands to destroy the SAD in 1994 also when they passed blatantly separatist resolutions at Akal Takht. But their designs were thwarted by the Sikh masses as they recorded a resounding verdict against this nexus in the Ajnala byelection, the SAD leader said.


Govt seeks details of docs selected by Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 14
Under its move to sack all doctors who were selected during the tenure of former PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu, the Punjab Government has written to all civil surgeons and heads of medical colleges and hospitals to furnish their names along with their complete biodata.

According to reports a list of 22 such doctors, working in rural dispensaries in the district or at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital here, was forwarded to the government two days ago. These doctors include Dr Sarabjeet Singh, Dr Amrit Raj Behal, Dr Harbhupinder Singh, Dr Vaneet Kaur, Dr Maninder, Dr Rakesh, Dr Gurmej, Dr Varinder Pal Singh, Dr Harjinder Singh, Dr Poonam, Dr Manjot, Dr Simmi Kakkar, Dr K.D. Thind, Dr Raminder and Dr Sangeeta Aggarwal.

Dr P.D. Sharma, Civil Surgeon, Faridkot, said he had sent a list of 14 doctors to the government in this connection.

The Principal of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, however, could not be contacted.

Meanwhile, resentment prevails among doctors against the “adamant and vindictive” attitude of the government towards them.

They say 872 doctors were selected in the medical and BDS categories in two batches in 1998 and claimed that most of them had a brilliant career record. Giving details, a doctor said one of the doctors of this batch had got the 26th rank in the Indian Administrative Service last year. Similarly, a BDS doctor of the same batch had a commendable record during his three-year service in the Army before taking up a job here.

He was given a commendation certificate for his performance by the Army. In 1998, he was also chosen by the Haryana Public Service Commission. Dr Sarabjeet Singh, Registrar, Surgery Department, G.G.S. Medical College, and one of the selected candidates of the same batch, while talking to this reporter today, detailed his academic achievements.

He said he had won a number of state and national awards in studies. Moreover, he had done a Master’s in Surgery from Punjabi University, Patiala, and had obtained 70 per cent marks.

Dr Sarabjeet Singh said any action by the government, without any proper verification, would cause a great loss to society. Dr Vaneet Kaur, another candidate of the same batch, underlined the need for a thorough checking of the record of the doctors before terminating their services. However, she said if the government found any irregularity in the case of any doctor, he or she should not be spared.


Paper on financial reform plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
To put Punjab’s financial reform plan into action, the government has decided to first educate the ministers and MLAs. The message in the 10-page backgrounder circulated by the Department of Finance clear. It primarily deals with the revenue expenditure targets since 95 per cent of the total revenue is consumed by “non-interest and non-plan” expenditure.

The primary purpose of the paper to put the record straight, assuage the growing restiveness among the employees, and thwart attempts by the opposition to politicise the staff unrest.

The process of “economic governance” has begun with the Council of Ministers approving additional resource mobilisation by effecting certain amendments to the Punjab General Sales Tax Act to implement the Budget proposals on sales tax and excise. The main concern of the Department of Finance, however, is whether the government will take firm measures to compress expenditure, particularly, in respect of user charges (water — drinking and irrigation — power, tertiary and secondary health services and higher education), curb allowances of employees etc.

It is in this context that the Department of Finance has decided to explain the implications of not implementing what has been approved by the Vidhan Sabha.

The thrust of the paper is on explaining the import of steps that affect the employees. Besides the suggested restructuring of the departments and identifying “redundant staff” (making a surplus staff pool) and other proposals, the “harsh” steps that have created commotion are: freeze of LTC (except for retiring employees in the current block), alignment of pay and allowances of the employees of the PSUs with those of the government employees, DA freeze (due from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003), review (with a view to reducing) of leave encashment, non-practising allowance, commutation of pension and automatic career progression scheme (popularly known as the 4,9,14 scheme) and replacement of medical reimbursement by medical insurance.

Taking examples of other states, the paper makes a comparative study to justify what it is proposed and rubbishes the charge that the measures are “anti-employee”. Even among the employees’ unions there is a difference of opinion In the “higher echelons” there is a sense of appreciation. “More than these strong financial measures what really irks the employees and unions is the manner in which vigilance has been let loose on us”, remarked a union leader. The total annual savings from the measures that directly affect the employees are expected to be close to Rs 497 crore.

On the other hand, the modified tax proposals would fetch about Rs 477 crore in an year. Principal Secretary, (Finance), K.R. Lakhanpal told TNS that for the mere sustainability and sustenance of Punjab’s fiscal health, it was imperative to manage the things “here and now” rather than allow “delay and drift” that would have eventually led to total collapse.


MNCs want Indians to give up ‘ayurveda’
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, July 14
Manufacturers of ayurvedic medicines are in a dilemma these days due to the government order asking them to modernise their units under the GMP Act as the exercise would cost much more compared to the returns.

Mr Sanjeev Devgan, President of the Ayurvedic Medicine’s Manufacturers Association, said at a meeting here today that the implementation of the GMP Act would be a blow to their industry. He alleged that under pressure from the Multi-National Companies (MNCs) the government had asked them to comply with the provision of the Act and not given them enough time.

Mr Devgan alleged that due to the influence of the MNCs the ayurvedic system of medicine would suffer in India. He alleged that the MNCs were invading even Indian homes through several ways. He said that the Ayurveda was a system of treatment that was practised in Indian homes for centuries, but the MNCs wanted that Indians should abandon the system and become dependent on them.

He said that there was no need of tampering with the present set-up as far as ayurvedic medicines industry was concerned. He said that it was working as per Indian conditions. He said that if government wanted to implement the GMP Act they should enough time and loans for getting the set-ups changed according its instructions. He added that if such arrangements were not made it would not be possible for them to follow the directions of the GMP Act.


Supari killers ‘hired’ to eliminate husbands
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 14
With the arrest of Kirandeep Kaur (30) yesterday in Sri Ganganagar bordering Abohar subdivision, the police has completed investigation into the “supari” killing of her husband Malkiat Singh (22) due to her “illicit” relations with younger brother of the victim.

Police sources said Malkiat Singh’s body was found near the main road outside the village 41-NP on June 28. An old motorcycle and empty packet of Celphos tablets was also found lying near the body. His younger brother Amarjit Singh reported to the police at Rai Singh Nagar that Malkiat Singh had committed suicide and requested the police to expedite proceedings under Section 174 of the IPC. As certain residents expressed doubts, the police asked the civil hospital authorities there to conduct a post-mortem examination on the body of Malkiat Singh. The doctors reportedly said that the victim was strangled also.

The police registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC and started investigation. Intensive interrogation of Amarjit Singh reportedly revealed that he in alleged connivance with victim’s wife Kirandeep Kaur, had masterminded the killing. A “supari” of Rs 20,000 had allegedly been given to Pawan Kumar, a Kashmiri Rajput, resident of Nanuwala village. Rupees 5000 was reportedly given in advance, an old motorcycle costing Rupees 11000 was also provided. Pawan reportedly involved Jagtar Singh and Gurdit Singh residents of village 37-NP and Praveen Pachrewal of Rai Singh Nagar in the conspiracy. They allegedly took Malkiat Singh out under some pretext and allegedly gave him Celphos tablets mixed water outside the village. As the solution did not prove effective, they reportedly strangled him and fled using their two wheelers.

Sources said that Kirandeep Kaur was a divorcee. She married Malkiat Singh in 1995 and her daughter (7) also lived with her. It is alleged that her brother-in-law (husband’s younger brother) Amarjit Singh developed “illicit” relations with her. They wanted to eliminate Malkiat Singh for a comfortable living.

The police said all six allegedly responsible for the killing had been arrested. The court remanded them in judicial custody yesterday.

Another such case was solved with the post-mortem examination of Asa Ram Meghwal’s body which had been buried on June 20. The post-mortem examination was conducted by doctors under the supervision of an SMO and an Executive Magistrate at Peelbanga in Sri Ganganagar district yesterday. It had been reported at the time of death that Asa Ram had committed suicide by consuming some insecticide. Later victim’s brother Bhanwer Lal alleged that Bhago Devi wife of the victim had allegedly conspired with Om Parkash a cousin of the victim to eliminate her husband as he was considered a hurdle in their illicit relations. Bhago Devi originally belonged to Bazidpur village of Abohar subdivision. Police sources said that Bhago Devi and Om Parkash reportedly appeared before the gram panchayat at village 34 STG and requested that they be allowed to live together. Bhago was not having any child, Om Parkash had two children. The police was awaiting report of the chemical examination of viscera to proceed sources indicated.


Police remand for three  ex-members of PSSSB
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 14
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar today remanded in police custody till July 19 three former members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board (PSSSB) Ashok Loomba, Jarnail Singh and Manuwar Masih who were arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau yesterday. The court gave permission to their defence counsel to meet the accused for one hour daily during the period of the remand.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, Public Prosecutor, asked for a police remand of 14 days. He said that they were members of the PSSSB till April 2002 and they, along with other members, had filled about 3000 vacancies. These posts were ADTO, Excise Inspectors, staff nurses, clerks, multi-purpose health workers etc. He alleged that these members made committees for the recruitments in such a manner that their men were accommodated and got selected. He alleged that they got selected candidates not according to merit and collected crores of rupees as bribe from them. These members made moveable and non-moveable properties by this money. He said that a case had been registered against the chairman, former secretary and all members of the board on July 12 under Sections 420/467/471/468/120 B and Anti-Corruption Act.

He alleged that the accused kept more marks for the interview round in order to accommodate such candidates. He said another accused Kulbir Singh Randhawa had already been arrested, who had accepted that the Chairman and all members were responsible for all these recruitments.

The defence counsel refuted the charges and said that the case had been registered because of political rivalry.


Hearing on bail plea of PSEB chief on July 20
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 14
Mr J.S. Khushdil, Sessions Judge in charge, Ropar, yesterday fixed July 20 as the next date of hearing on the anticipatory bail application of Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), SAS Nagar, against whom the Vigilance Bureau registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, on June 14 at SAS Nagar.

The court has fixed the next date of hearing on account of non-production of police record in the case. The arrest of Dr Kehar Singh has also been further stayed till then.

Earlier, on June 28 an interim bail was granted to Dr Kehar Singh on his anticipatory bail application till today by the Sessions Judge.


Anti-graft drive selective: Pasla
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 14
If the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is sincere in eradicating corruption from the state, he should also take action against Congress ministers who allegedly took bribe for getting some persons transferred to prized posts besides taking the probe against Akalis to a logical end.

This was stated here at a press conference by Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, secretary of the breakaway group of the Punjab CPM. He said Capt Amarinder Singh’s anti-corruption campaign would die a premature death for lack of a political will. He added that the action taken by the government agencies was selective.

Mr Pasla said action should be taken against those Congress MLAs who had reportedly paid huge sums of money for securing the party ticket for Assembly elections.

While alleging that the national General Secretary of the CPM, Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, had abandoned the communist ideology and virtually sold the party for personal gains, he said a move had been started to make people aware about his misdeeds.

Mr Pasla said Mr Surjeet helped the Gurcharan Singh Tohra-led Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) to win the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) election on behest of Capt Amarinder Singh.

While claiming that the Punjab Budget was anti-people, he said the party would hold a rally at Jalandhar on July 25 to start a mass movement in the state against the Congress government.


2 former SAD MLAs join SHSAD
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) received a shot in the arm yesterday when two former SAD MLAs, Mr Ajai Pal Singh Mirankot and Mr Ujjagar Singh Rangretta, joined the party in the presence of its President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Earlier, an Independent MLA, Mr Gobind Singh Kajla, had joined the SHSAD.

Later, talking to the mediapersons, Mr Tohra said his party had no intention to bring a no-confidence motion against Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). “Instead, we would wait till November to oust Mr Badungar during the forthcoming election of the SGPC chief.”

However, Mr Tohra asked Mr Badungar to resign on his own in the wake of serious allegation levelled by an excommunicated Sikh, Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala that he (Mr Badungar) had visited his dera many a time in his capacity as Officer on Special Duty to Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He said Akal Takht should review its decision of bailing out Mr Badungar from the charges of visiting the dera of an excommunicated Sikh. He said either Mr Badungar should clear his position or resign as the SGPC chief.


Punjab govt has lost popularity: MP
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 14
Ms Gurcharan Kaur, MP and senior BJP leader yesterday said the Congress Government in the state has lost popularity as it has failed to provide basic facilities to people and has taken anti-people and anti-employee decisions.

Addressing a meeting of party workers here yesterday, she said unemployment had increased in the state. She added that unrest was prevailing among youths due to wrong policies of the government to generate employment.

She alleged the government was not paying any attention to the lack of basic facilities.

Ms Gurcharan Kaur said resentment prevailed among employees due to cerain decisions taken by the government recently.

She said the gap between the government and the people was increasing due to such policies. She alleged that no development work had been undertaken in the state for the past some time.


Sonia urged to name PPCC chief with CM’s consent
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 14
Mr S.K. Gupta, a former president of the district Congress committee, Faridkot, has appealed to AICC President Sonia Gandhi to nominate the next President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) with the consent of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Gupta said in a press note issued here today that under the prevailing conditions when the Chief Minister had launched a drive against corruption in the state coordination between the PPCC President and the Chief Minister was most essential.


BJP improving base: Gautam
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 14
Mr Sangh Priya Gautam, Rajya Sabha member and in charge of the state BJP has said indiscipline in the party and negligible attitude of ministers in the previous government were the reasons behind the poor performance of the party in the Vidhan Sabha elections.

Mr Gautam expressed these views here today while addressing mediapersons at a state-level conference of the party in which state executive, office-bearers of the Yuva, Morcha Mahila Morcha, the Kisan Morcha and the Anusuchit Jati Morcha and all three MLA’s from Punjab and other office-bearers participated.

He said the party was improving its base and was in a position to win the coming Lok Sabha elections.


SSF to fight anti-Panth bodies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
The Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) has decided to fight the alleged anti-Panthic organisations and the indifferent attitude of the state government towards such organisations.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal, president of the federation, at a press conference here today alleged that the government had failed to stop the anti-Panthic activities of the ex-communicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

Critising the Congress, for not taking action against such elements, he said the federation would hold a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office and present a memorandum to him on July 19.


Police image: facts belie claims
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, July 14
No marked improvement has been witnessed in the image of the police in the district since the formation of the new government in the state. Although a few landmark decisions have been taken by the state government to improve the efficiency and root out corruption in the police department but people feel that the attitude of police officials towards common people remains as it used to be.

No visible change had been witnessed in the police’s attitude as people are still being refused registration of FIRs at police stations. Policemen’s rude behaviour persists and they do not show courtesy to complainants. So people continue to be scared of going to the police station.

Similarly, the investigation teams of the police also continue picking up a number of suspects in blind FIRs, striking deals with them or their families and taking illegal gratification for their release, sources said.

Mr Malkit Singh, a property dealer of Jalalabad, died in police custody yesterday. He was wanted in a case regarding theft of vehicles. He was allegedly beaten up on the way to Ferozepore, which took his life. He was allegedly not offered water in the scorching heat. His wife Pushpa Rani and elder brother Amarjit Singh denied his involvement in the theft case and alleged that he was brutally thrashed by police officials on the way to Ferozepore before he died.

Early this week, former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, along with hundreds of his supporters, protested in front of the SSP office against the negative attitude of police officials towards a fraudulent marriage case. The DSP of Zira allegedly misbehaved with Jagdish Kaur daughter of Inder Singh of Hari Nau village near Kotkapura, who was married to an NRI of Santuwala village near Zira. But she was sent back to her parents’ home after her husband left India.

It was alleged that when the helpless young woman, along with her father, went to lodge a complaint at a police station in Zira, the police did not register a criminal case against the culprits. Instead, the local DSP allegedly dragged her out from his office. So far, no action has been taken against the DSP allegedly involved in misbehaving with the woman.

In another case, a young boy Pradip Kumar was allegedly beaten up and thrown in front of the civil hospital in a critical condition by the Abohar police on June 30. His mother Raj Rani wife of Tilak Raj of Nai Abadi tried her level best to get him admitted in the civil hospital but the doctors posted there allegedly did not listen to her. To date, the boy is lying unattended in his house. Although she has written to the DGP, SSP and other higher officials, but no inquiry has begun in the case.

“There should be an independent agency at the civil hospitals to deal with all police cases that come to the hospitals. The entry of police officials in the civil hospitals should be banned during investigation of cases otherwise the police-doctors nexus to manipulate the facts would continue unabated,” said Advocate Daljit Singh Rajput, chairman of the Human Rights Protection Council.

Last week, Gurnam Singh a bonded labourer of Mallanwala was to the civil hospital Ferozepore in serious condition but the doctors did not attend to him. He was admitted in the hospital after pressure from the local journalists and few NGOs. It was alleged that the doctors posted at Mallanwala refused to admit him under pressure from the local police. Gurnam Singh was brutally beaten up by his landlord and thrown away. He was taken to Mallanwala hospital where the local police allegedly pressurised the doctors not to attend to him. Finally, Deputy Commissioner D.K. Tiwari initiated an inquiry in this case on the instructions of the National Human Rights Commission but still action is awaited against the police officials and doctors concerned.

According to an estimate, at least 800 applications are received at the SSP office here in a month, demanding of justice and inquiries but not even 100 are taken seriously.

It is a common tendency among the police officials that even in cases of rape and molestation, an attempt is made to bring in a compromise between the two parties just to keep the figures of such crimes low.


Posters deface Amritsar despite ban
Pawan Kumar

AMRITSAR: Even as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides the Union Territory of Chandigarh, not to display or paint advertisements on the walls of public toilets, guide maps, kiosks and dumping sheds and despite a ban imposed by the District Magistrate under Section 144, Cr PC, one can see vulgar and other posters pasted all over the holy city.

The high court had taken suo motu notice of the menace after news was published in The Tribune columns in this connection.

Issuing the directions high court ruled that “the two states, besides the Union Territory, may construct public toilets and other structures but shall not paint or display advertisements in any manner on its walls.” In his detailed one-page order, the judge also directed that the authorities concerned should also not display advertisements on the main roads or on the roads leading to the bus stand and the railway station.

It is a nuisance seeing vulgar and other advertising posters pasted on historical structures, government buildings and even girls school buildings. “What culture are we giving to our next generation by defacing walls of our holy city with obscene posters”, said Mr Brij Bedi, convener of the Citizens Forum, in anguish.

“It is not once but a number of times that the media has reported this ‘vulgar terrorism’ in the state. We hope that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh must take notice of this”, Mr Bedi said.

Mr S.S. Puri, Deputy Commissioner (DC), said it was the Municipal Corporation’s (MC) duty to remove the posters. Not only such posters but also hoardings should also be removed. Mr D.P. Gupta, Assistant Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said since the pasting of posters had been banned by the Deputy Commissioner under Section 144, CrPC, it was, therefore, the duty of the police to take the necessary action against the accused. He said an FIR had been registered against some cinema hall owners in September last year but the police issued challans only last month. Mr Narinder Pal Singh, district police chief, said their priority was to check crime against people and then crime against properties.


Khanna plans ‘spiritual tourism’
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 14
The government wants to promote “spiritual tourism” to attract foreigners and is planning to increase the tourism budget by 200 per cent. This was stated by the Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Mr Vinod Khanna, while talking to this correspondent in an exclusive interview yesterday.

He said a comprehensive plan would soon be chalked out to attract foreigners to visit Osho mission, Shri Radha Swami mission, Sri Sathya Sai Baba mission, Mahesh Jogi mission and Art Of Living centres.

He said adventure sports and water sports would also be promoted to attract tourists, adding that historical and religious places were being given a facelift.

To a question, Mr Khanna said the Centre was keen on helping the North-East and the Prime Minister had instructed all Cabinet Ministers to allocate 10 per cent of the budget of their departments for it.

On films, Mr Khanna said he had played key roles in more than 150 films and would continue to work in selected films. He said he would contest the next elections from Gurdaspur and rumours about his shifting of constituency were the brainchild of some political rivals.


Roads go from bad to worse
Vikrant Jindal

MALERKOTLA: Though the general condition of the roads belonging to the old princely state are not user-friendly but the segment from Malerkotla to Dera Baba Atma Ram is one of the worst examples. The road from Malerkotla to Kanganwal that connects historical places of worship such as Idgah and the famous dera of Baba Atma Ram to the city has been a nuisance to pilgrims as well as visitors from nearby area.

The residents along the roadside are the worst sufferers as the road is badly damaged with potholes here and there. Overflowing sewage makes it a hell for the travellers. Hundreds of people pay obeisance at these holy places. Even pedestrian cannot cross it.

The segment from Dera Baba Atma Ram to 786 Chowk has virtually become a huge drain that has made the area marshy emitting a foul smell.

Accidents on this segment have become a routine. Keeping in view the coming monsoon season, residents of the locality are very much worried as a drizzle pushes dirty water into their houses. People have complained so many times to the authorities, but in vain.

Ever since the sewer line was laid, it has never been desilted. The road is damaged to such an extent that it is impossible to walk on it, leave alone drive a vehicle, says Mr Krishan Kumar, a retired teacher.

During the rains the road turns into a lake and if the rain is scanty it gets converted into marshy land. All vehicles going on this road have to cross this stretch to reach the town, alleges Jeet Kumar, another resident.

Choked sewers on the road have made life hell for 5000 people living around this road. The residents rue that their complaints have fallen on deaf ears. The problem of sewer blockage has been persisting for many years.

The situation has now taken a turn for the worse. The road is flooded with sewage which has entered a few houses and shops. Residents allege that they have been living with this problem for several years. The civic body has never bothered to take action.

The entire area stinks and dirty water could set off epidemics like cholera, gastroenteritis, etc. This is a breeding ground for dengue and malaria, alleges Mrs Ram Murti, a social worker.

The Malerkotla Welfare Association and prominent citizens of the town have demanded a new road so that residents could move more freely.


Bikaner fire : affected truckers defer stir
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 14
The transporters of the city and nearby areas who had threatened to gherao Parliament and commit suicide there on July 15 to express resentment against non-payment of compensation to them for the trucks, hired by Army authorities and which ‘trucks’ were destroyed in a fire near Bikaner on January 11, 2002 while the vehicles carrying ammunition.

The truckers said that they were postponing the programme for the time being as an assurance was given them by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa Union Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister that a meeting would be arranged between the transporters and the Union Defence Minister Mr George Fernandes discuss the compensation issue.

The decision to postpone the stir was taken at a meeting held here today. The truck operators, however, threatened that if nothing came out from the meeting they would launch an agitation in the Malwa region and block roads.

The truck operators have listed a delegation to meet the Union Defence Minister and apprise him of the problem. They alleged that many of them had been rendered without work as their only source of livelihood had been destroyed in the fire.

The Army had hired the trucks through district administration to carry ammunition to the border area in January this year. The trucks were destroyed at Udasar near Bikaner in Rajasthan while on Army duty.

The truckers had been since then, making efforts to get compensation for the damaged trucks. They had approached various central and state leaders but to no avail. They threatened to gherao Parliament and commit suicide.


Hike in hospital charges opposed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
The maintenance charges for patients of Government Mental Hospital here have, seen a three-fold increase from April this year. Earlier, Rs 210 was charged per patient for diet and Rs 350 was charged for a “better diet”.

These charges have now gone up to Rs 750 per month for each patient. Although experts have found the practice of “better diets” being discriminatory in nature, the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, in its notification, has fixed Rs 1,000 per month “for those patients whose wards opt for better diet” applicable from April this year. The orders were issued in accordance with the decision taken by the Board of Directors of the corporation for the hospital.

The new user charges are Rs 20 per ECT treatment wherein “patients admitted on the basis of reception orders or by the head of the hospital for 89 days will be exempted.” Admission fee is Rs 25 “which will not apply to forensic patients”, while charges for OPD is Rs 5.

All-India Youth Association’s President Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind has, criticised the government for increasing user charges especially for the maintenance or diet.

Though the charges were increased in the hospital, the major source of income for the hospital is from the visiting psychology students from various private colleges.

At present there is a waiting list of 36 students from a nursing college, said Dr B.L. Goel, Director of the hospital.


Injured Major killed four militants before dying
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 14
Local boy Maj Yogesh Gupta, who was cremated here on Friday after being killed in the Kashmir valley, had showed exemplary valour by gunning down four militants, two of them after he was shot in the stomach.

Army sources said 32-year-old Major Gupta, who was a product of Sainik School, Kapurthala, and belonged to the 90th batch of the NDA in which he was in the Juliet Squadron. He was acting as Company Commander when he received information on July 11 that some militants had taken shelter along the heights of Ranjati village in the Suran Kot sector.

Sources said militants fired at an escort of Major Gupta early next morning and killed him following which the Major engaged the militants killing two of them. The sources added following this the militants concentrated their fire on the Major wounding him in the stomach. Despite this, Army sources said the Major moved ahead and killed two more militants before succumbing to his injuries.

Meanwhile, poignant scenes were witnessed at the cremation of Maj Yogesh Gupta with onlookers crying even as the family members of the martyred officer maintained a stoic dignity. The soldier’s mother, in fact, called out ‘Yogesh amar rahe’ even as his wife Saroj, father and younger brother stood by his pyre. Major Gupta was married in April, 2000 to Saroj who is the daughter of Col Vijay Singh.

Earlier during the day the same dignity was maintained at the residence of the martyr in Katcha Patiala locality. Family sources said the body of Major Gupta arrived here early on Friday at his residence in Katcha Patiala locality.

While the body was received by Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh and senior Army officials in the morning, later on it was carried to the Rajpura Colony cremation ground where it was cremated with full military honours.

Wreaths, on behalf of the Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R Jacob (retd), were placed by Mr Tejvir Singh and the Chief Minister was represented by the ADC, Mr Shiv Dullar Singh. Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Adviser (press) to the Punjab Government, was represented by the DPRO, Mr Ujagar Singh. Wreaths on behalf of the Chief of the Army Staff were placed by Col Harjinder Singh and Col S.K. Mehta. Mr Ved Parkash Gupta placed wreaths on behalf of the local MP, Mrs Preneet Kaur. Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President of the SGPC, Brig C.S. Harika (retd), Lieut Col Bharpur Singh, Col Rakesh Mohan, Col B.S. Mann, Maj H.G. Singh, Col Devinder Singh, Col Vinod Kumar and Col P.S. Rathore.


Martyrs’ families await relief
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 14
Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon, Director, Sainik Welfare Board, Punjab, while addressing Ex-servicemen rally at Dinanagar today, assured the widows of the martyrs that the Punjab Government would leave no stone unturned to help them.

He said 265 families were yet to get benefits on a par with families of the Kargil martyrs. Negotiations with the Punjab Government were continuing in this regard.

He said 17 families were still to be given an ex-gratia grant of Rs 2 lakh each by the Punjab Government.

Brig Kahlon gave away a cheque for Rs 1 lakh each to the parents of Manjinder Singh of Marhi Tanda and Rs 3 lakh for the construction of their house.

He also met the mother of Manjit Singh of 196 Field Regiment, who along with his wife and two daughters were killed at Kaluchak in Jammu and Kashmir. A cheque for Rs 2 lakh was handed over to his mother.


12 Army men hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 14
Twelve Army jawans were injured seriously today near Aladinpur village when the vehicle in which they were going to Sadiq hit a tree on the roadside.

Eight jawans identified as Jagdish Parshad, Birbal Singh, Rajpal, Bhanwar Singh, Subash Chand, Unikrishanan, Romosh Kumar, Virender Singh were admitted in the local civil hospital where their condition is said to be out of danger.

Four others’ in serious condition, were moved to the Amritsar hospital. The sources said they were in Amritsar for picnic and was going back to Sadiq when the vehicle met with an accident. Sleeplessness of the driver was said to be the cause of the accident, the source said.


Cheated youth returns
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 14
“I was taken to Singapore then to Indonesia and was left there in a small room without any legal documents to stay in that country and it was only the Punjabi community which helped me escape the torturing and humiliating conditions,” said Jaspal Singh in a tearful tone.

Narrating his tale of woes Jaspal Singh, a resident of this city who has recently returned from Malaysia said he had to go without food for many days. “As I was not having documents, I could not reveal my identity to anyone, fearing prosecution. It would be difficult to forget these nightmarish days,” he said breaking into tears.

Jaspal Singh, who had to resign from his job in the Indian Army a few years ago, was lured by one of his relatives to go to Italy. Satpal Singh, his relative, who claimed himself to be a travel agent took Rs 3 lakh from him to arrange for a visa to Italy.

He said he paid Rs 3 lakh to Satpal Singh to arrange his visa in February 1999 in front of his uncles, Mr Jaswinder Singh and Buddha Singh. Instead he arranged a visa for Indonesia and took Jaspal Singh first to Singapore and then to Indonesia. He then left Jaspal Singh at a rented room in Indonesia and returned.

Jaspal Singh alleged that the agent had duped many innocent people. He said that now Satpal Singh had returned to India, the police should take action.


Transporters allege harassment
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
Small transporters of the district have alleged harassment by a ruling party MLA and a staunch Akali supporter, who is also a close associate of the Kairon family.

The two enemy-turned friends are big transporters of the area and are allegedly harassing small transporters to hoodwink the government of crores of rupees in revenue.

Mr Hardeep Singh, Chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Crime Bureau along with Mr Kashmir Singh, president of the Maxi-cab Operators Union, Amritsar, in joint letter to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, have sought his attention to the problem. They alleged that the two politicians in connivance with officials of the District Transport Office and the Regional Transport Authority were running buses on various routes illegally and creating problems for other transporters in the area. Mr Hardeep Singh and Mr Kashmir Singh also demanded a probe by the Vigilance Bureau into the matter.


Foundation to broaden base
Our Correspondent

Sangrur, July 14
The Umeed Khanna Foundation, a voluntary organisation here, has hired the services of Peter Luff, a UK based consultant, said to be a moving spirit behind the International Red Cross Society, to broaden base of Umeed for serving the down-trodden with devotion.

Arvind Khanna, Chairman of Umeed and local Congress MLA, stated this while addressing a gathering here today after launching mosquito eradication programme in collaboration with the Japanese government. Japan had provided two tractors with trailers fitted with engines and two fogging machines.

Khanna said that the mosquito eradication project would benefit Sangrur city and adjoining villages. He urged the NGOs to help keep surroundings clean to get rid of the mosquito-borne diseases.

Khanna said medical assistance in slum colonies of Mansa, Patiala and Ropar districts would be started.

He disclosed that Peter Luff would visit these districts in a couple of days to work out modalities for better healthcare to the poor. He divulged that after the visit of Luff, Umeed would take over Narinderpura Trust, a defunct unit run by an America-based NRI in Mansa.

Khanna said his opponents did not miss any occasion during electioneering that the Umeed was launched in Sangrur for political mileage.

Deputy Commissioner Sarvjit Singh and SSP, A.S. Rai also spoke on the occasion and lauded the services of Umeed in slum areas. Artificial limbs were also provided to the victims of the mishaps of farm machinery on the occasion.


BSNL pays Rs 22,000 to subscriber
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 14
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has paid Rs 22,000 compensation to a telephone subscriber here on account of deficiency in service.

A press note issued by the Consumers Movement here yesterday said a revision petition filed by subscriber Har Kishan Lal Kamboj in this regard was decided in favour of the consumer by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Mr Justice D.P. Wadhwa, President, and Mr Justice J.K. Mehra, Mrs Rajyaluxmi and Mr B.K. Timani, members of the commission, observed there was no dispute that the telephone (No. 22343) remained dead for 37 days. It was not made operational in spite of 10 complaints lodged by the petitioner.

The DoT maintained that the telephone remained out of order due to a breakdown of the jumper in the line as the old telephone exchange had to be upgraded. Accepting the stand of the respondent, the complaint of the petitioner was dismissed by the state commission.

It was submitted by the department that the petitioner was verbally informed about the situation. But the commission observed that it was the duty of the department to inform the subscribers at least by issuing a circular that their telephones would remain out of order due to the conversion of the exchange.


General category staff oppose caste-based quota
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 14
Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, district president of the General Category Welfare Federation in a press note said today that caste-based reservation was against the interests of the society.

He said that to express resentment against the reservation policy a rally would be held at Chandigarh on July 17. He said that the policy had divided the society in several sections on the basis of castes.

He said that they would oppose the implementation of the 85th Amendment to the Constitution in Punjab. He wanted all appointments should be on the basis of merit and not on the basis of caste.

Mr Sidhu claimed that people from several walks of life like students, employees, traders and office-bearers of various youth clubs had consented to attend the rally at Chandigarh. He said that a massive agitation would be launched to force the government to abandon the caste-based reservation policy.


Punjab MC staff to honour Mathura Dass
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 14
The Punjab Municipal Workers Union would honour Mr Mathura Dass a former Municipal Councillor of the city who was instrumental in the restoration of octroi in the state, on July 24.

This was stated here today in a press note by the general secretary of the union, Mr Swaran Malsian. He said that Mr Mathura Dass had done a great job for getting the octroi restored. He said that a special function would be organised for the purpose of honouring him.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the restroration of octroi in the state after Mr Mathura Dass filed a petition in the court that abolition of octroi was against the interests of the state.

Mr Malsian said that the financial position of the Municipal Councils had worsened in the state in the absence of octroi. He said that Mr Dass would be honoured for his contribution in making the Municipal Councils financially viable.


Children’s camp held
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 14
A medical camp to check HB in the blood of children in various age groups was inaugurated by Mahant Pritam Singh here today.

The camp, which is being organised by the Dedicated Brothers Group, was organised for children of Bhai Ram Krishan School in the first phase. The group is already running laboratories near the Government Dispensary at Bhai Ram Krishan School here and at Samana.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were the President of the group, Dr Rakesh Vermi, Mr R.P.S. Waraich and Mr D.S. Deepak.


Project for preserving litchi
Bharat Bhushan Dogra

PATHANKOT: A refrigeration-cum-sulphuration plant to preserve litchi fruit will be set up at Pathankot. Disclosing this Mr RK Mahajan, President of the Pathankot Fruit and Vegetable Cooperative Society, said the state government had cleared the project for the installation of the plant which would include facilities of pre-cooling, storage, processing (packing), sulphuration and waxing chambers besides fruit-reaping and fumigation units.

He said the project would come up in collaboration with the Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation. Mr Mahajan said with the completion of this project horticulturists, exporters of the fruit and litchi growers would be able to develop an international market for their produce effectively.

He claimed that the area around Pathankot was very fertile for litchi cultivation as the irrigation facilities due to the mineral-filled waters of the Beas and the Ravi passing through the city outskirts were a boon for litchi growers. He said the credit for introducing litchi cultivation went to the late Justice Mehar Chand Mahajan, former Chief Justice of India, who in 1936 introduced cultivation of litchi for the first time in Pathankot.

Mr Mahajan said with the setting up of the refrigeration plant, litchi growers would be able improve the quality of the crop. This would help them boost exports furthering their prospects both economically and socially.

He said the fruit of the tree of seytalia was in great demand in the United Kingdom, France and other European countries. The crop was priced at Rs 600 to Rs 700 per kg in the international market as compared to Rs 15 to Rs 20 per kg in India.

He demanded the setting up of a litchi research centre at Pathankot so that litchi-growers got acquainted with the latest techniques of crop cultivation, irrigation, sprinkling and reaping. Mr Mahajan said the litchi crop was being cultivated in an area of about 1000 acres. More area would be brought under litchi cultivation in the near future. He said the main thrust was on improving the quality and yield of the crop to compete in the international market. He said the project of refrigeration and sulphuration would not only help farmers in this direction but boost their export prospects to the tune of over Rs 50 crore annually.

He urged the state government to ensure uninterrupted 24-hour power supply to horticulturists during the irrigation period.

He demanded compensation for the loss of the crop due to hailstorms and land slides. He thanked the state government for making arrangements for the export of the crop to Dubai through the Punjab Agro-industries Corporation and said the initiative taken by the government for the export of the crop had boosted the morale of the farmers.


Milking machines a success
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
An experiment by Punjab Milkfed to use automatic milking machines for indigenous buffaloes has proved to be a success.

Stating this here today, Dr B.M.Mahajan, Managing-Director of Punjab Milkfed, said the milking machines, introduced as a part of Milkfed’s campaign to give exposure to dairy farmers on the use of modern milking and scientific technologies, had resulted in increasing their milk production at lower cost.

Earlier, milking machines had been used only for foreign breeds imported and cross-bred cows, but now with the initiative of Milkfed, the use of milking machines for indigenous buffaloes had made a successful beginning in Punjab.

Dr Mahajan said in a talk with TNS that almost 95 per cent of village-level Milk Producers Cooperative Societies in the state were running at a profit. Out of the society’s profit, milk producers were getting bonus proportionate to the quality of milk supplied by them in addition to the price paid to them annually.

Milkfed’s Milk Plant at Ludhiana will celebrate its bonus distribution function on July 17 for distribution of about Rs 1.50 crore to member societies. The bonus will be distributed by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab.

Dr Mahajan claimed that Milkfed had emerged as one of the top performers, among the milk federations all over the country. Milkfed and its affiliated milk unions could reach at this stage with support from milk producers of Punjab, who had a strong faith in the system.

He said Milkfed had taken effective steps to ensure better technical input services like animal healthcare, artificial insemination services, supply of balanced cattle feed, mineral mixture, urea molasses, lick bricks and quality high-yielding varieties of fodder seed and allied resources at the doorstep of milk producers under the productivity enhancement programme, which had won the confidence of the milk producers, resulting in their procuring more and more milk at their village-level Milk Producers’ Cooperative Societies.

Dr Mahajan said Milkfed was committed to providing a platform for the development of dairy farmers and saving them from exploitation by unscrupulous traders. With this end in view, Milkfed had increased the rates of cow milk procured from dairy farmers by 60 paise per litre.

Dairy farmers were being educated and encouraged for producing good quality milk with low bacterial counts by giving them premium price over and above the procurement price to the tune of Rs 5 to Rs 8 per kg of fat, thereby increasing the income of dairy farmers.


Employees threaten to revive agitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The Confederation of Employees of the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department has threatened to revive its agitation by sporting “black badges” from tomorrow as the department has failed to shift the Joint Excise and Taxation Commissioner-I during the stipulated 10-day period.

According to Mr S.S. Cheema, President of the Excise and Taxation Officers Association, who presided over a meeting of the confederation held at Jalandhar yesterday, the employees had been observing work to rule since June 21 in protest against the “suffocating work environment in the department”.

Mr Cheema said a meeting between the Commissioner and representatives of the confederation at Patiala on July 3 to shift the Joint Excise and Taxation Commissioner-I.


JE among 15 held for theft
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 14
The district police has arrested 15 persons, including a Junior Engineer of the Panchayati Raj Department, on the charge of stealing a car.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, SSP, addressing a press conference here today said Navdeep, a Junior Engineer of the Panchayati Raj Department, had allegedly stolen a car from New Jawahar Nagar locality. Navdeep tried to transfer its registration in his name by forging the original documents. The case came to light when the record of the car got matched with computer records of stolen cars available with the police, following a request of the Shahkot transport authorities to supply a police verification report necessary to transfer the title of the car.

The car was recovered from Navdeep’s house and he was arrested. During preliminary interrogation, the Navdeep revealed that he had also applied for a loan to the tune of Rs 2.5 lakh from the HSBC bank by hypothecating the newly acquired car.

In another case, the Goraya police has arrested one Lakhbir Singh of Lallian village for allegedly supplying smack and had recovered 100 grams of smack from his possession. Lakhbir Singh, during interrogation, revealed that he was earlier booked under the NDPS Act by the Ludhiana police and was in jail. He got admitted in a hospital for some treatment and managed to slip away in the police presence for which a case had been registered against the erring police officials. The accused, according to the SSP, was active in the areas of Jagraon, Mukandpur, Rahon, Phillaur, Garhshankar and Banga.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested one Manga of Paai Manga Di village in Goraya for smuggling smack and recovered 12 grams of smack from his possession. Karunesh of Haibowal village in Ludhiana was arrested for possessing fake registration certificates, ration cards, licences, character certificates and seals during a special naqa laid by the Goraya police today morning.

Sarabjit Singh, son of a police official, and Sukhwinder Singh, son of a retired defence personnel, were arrested by the police chain snatching. The police has recovered stolen jewellery and Rs 4,000 in cash from their possession.

The police yesterday busted a gang of thieves with the arrest of its three members and recovered stolen goods worth Rs 1 lakh from their possession. Those arrested had been identified as Vijay Kumar, Anil and Rakesh Kumar.

Ramesh Khanna of Urban Estate Phase-I locality, was arrested for registering a false complaint that his motor cycle was snatched by some criminals on Saturday. Mr Gill said the complainant was arrested with the motor cycle and during search 17 bundles of fake currency notes were seized from him.


2 held for selling fake degrees
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 14
The police has busted a gang engaged in the sale of fake university degrees and certificates of Guru Nanak Dev University, and Jammu University, Punjab School Education Board, Mohali and the Industrial Training Institutes of Batala and Ludhiana.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, who assumed charge today said Tilak Raj, a resident of Pathankot, and Joginderpal, a resident of Sujanpur, had been arrested in this regard.

Mr Varinder Kumar said Dalbir Singh, a resident of Kanpur under Pathankot police station had complained that the accused were supplying fake degrees and certificates. The police on July 11 raided their premises and recovered fake degrees and certificates.

The district police chief said the accused was also extorting on the promise that they would get them suitable jobs. The accused during their interrogation confessed having extorted Rs 25,000 from Pardeep Singh, a resident of Bhanwal, Rs 20,000 from Sandeep Singh, a resident of Kanpur and Rs 27,000 from Arun Singh, a resident of Bhanwa in Pathankot subdivision.

The district police chief said the accused revealed their contact with a dealing clerk of the school board in Mohali, Jagjivan Pal Singh, who supplied blank, certificates of the board to them against Rs 1,500 per certificate.


Judicial remand for SI, Head Constable
Our correspondent

Bathinda, July 14
Joga Singh, a Sub-Inspector, and Azad Pal, a Head Constable, who were booked yesterday for accepting bribe were today remanded in judicial custody till July 28.

Joga Singh and Azad Pal were booked under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act as they were caught red-handed by the police while accepting bribe.

As per information Gurbakash Singh a resident of the district had some feud with an other person and the matter was reported to Joga Singh. Meanwhile, Gurbakash Singh reached a compromise and informed Joga Singh that there was no need of further action into the complaint. He also produced the statement signed by both parties in this connection.

But Joga Singh asked Gurbakash Singh to give Rs 1,500 if he wanted the concerned file to close. The head constable also made a similar demand.

Gurbakash Singh informed the SSP Mr Ishwar Singh, who in turn asked the SP (City), Mr Naval Kishore, to enquire into the matter.

Mr Kishore laid a trap and gave a bundle of notes signed by him to Gurbakash Singh who gave them to the SI and Head Constable leading to their arrest.


Car taken away
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 14
Two unidentified youths allegedly took away at gunpoint a car (PB-04H-0016) from Dr K.S. Kajol, Assistant Professor, Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College on the Talwandi-Moga road yesterday.

Dr Kajol who was going to Moga to get his vehicle serviced was stopped by the youths on the Dagru level-crossing. They snatched the car and fled away. A case has been registered.


A sea change in rural primary school
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Phulewal (Kapurthala): Enthusiastic teachers, progressive villagers and NRIs of the area have joined hands to transform a government primary school in this tiny village into a model school, boasting of facilities which can even put even most convent schools in Punjab to shame. This shows that strong will power mingled with an urge to do something good can do wonders in the absence of government aid.

This school was a picture of neglect and lacked basic facilities like desks, till 1987 when two newly posted teachers, a number of villagers, farmers and NRIs, resolved to change the face of the school and to make it the best in the area. They decided to pool resources and subsequently accomplished the task within five years.

Today the school has well-equipped classrooms, lush green gardens, drinking water facility and a dashing uniform that matched with the ones prescribed by most convent schools — donated by LIC officials every year.

What is more alluring for any first time visitor are the well maintained lawns and a number of ornamental and fruit trees, which makes the place an oasis, thanks to efforts of two school teachers, Mr Satnam Singh Sekhon and Mr Jaimal Singh. Students, coming from poor Scheduled Caste families, are taught by children-friendly methods.

“Actually, when I joined in 1997, the school building was lying in a dilapidated state and there was no facility to mention for children, which tormented me from deep inside. From that day, I along with a fellow teacher, Jaimal Singh, resolved that we would transform the school into a model school which could inspire others. The first thing done by us was to set up a rural education development committee and the parent-teacher association and arranging white washing of the building with the help of the panchayat. They result, you can see,” said Mr Satnam Singh Sekhon, a national awardee teacher who has been the force behind the transformation of the by school within four to five years.

He said the Forest Department and the Environment Society, Kapurthala, had helped in the plantation of fruit and ornamental trees, while a submersible water pump was installed with the help of then Additional Deputy Commissioner G.S. Aulakh. In addition, the then Deputy Commissioner, Mr V.K. Singh, took personal interest in the development of the school.

Apart from bagging state and national awards, Mr Sekhon has participated in a number of international educational conferences held in Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand from where he learnt new teaching methods which he applied to the school.

During a visit to the school, the Tribune team, observed that the bathrooms were spick and span and classrooms had the latest furniture, including white-boards instead of black-boards. Enquires revealed that apart from teachers and villagers, Mr Baldev Singh and Mr Gurdish Kaur Bajwa, two NRIs, donated a motor for pumping water for irrigation and uniforms for students, while Mr Prem Pal and Mr Mukesh Anand(both LIC officials), Tirth Lal (a farmer), Balkar Singh (an educationist) and Mr V.K. Malhotra, Mr Harbhajan Singh Basra also contributed to opening a branch for adult education, apart from donating furniture and computers, computer tables for the school.

Sadly enough, in spite of its numerous achievements, the school, which is officially still a branch of the nearby Denwind School, has not been included in a world class project, under which 10 schools of the district have been included. Teachers blame it on politics.


Declare result, say engineering students
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 14
Students of the eighth semester of chemical engineering studying at various colleges affiliated with Punjab Technical University have requested the authorities concerned that the result of the examination conducted about a month ago should be declared immediately so that they could get admission in postgraduate classes.

A large number of students of different engineering colleges at Ferozepore, Gurdaspur and Nawanshahr are waiting for their result of the final semester. They have applied for M.Tech and other courses at various universities hit until the result of previous class is not declared, they would not be eligible for appearing in the entrance test or interview for admission to such courses.


CPI against closure of college
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 14
Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, a CPI leader, today condemned the government’s decision to close down the only Government College for Boys in the district.

He said due to exorbitant fee structure of private colleges, poor or middle class families could not afford to admit their children in these institutions.

He said instead of constructing the college building which had been running from a rented building, the government’s decision had ‘cut-short’ the chances of the poor students to get higher education at reasonable free structure.

Meanwhile, the ABVP today presented a memorandum to the Congress MLA, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, and urged to reopen the Government College for Boys.

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