Sunday, July 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



20 ‘got jobs’ on fake degrees
Lalit Mohan

Ropar July 20
The inquiry into the fake degree racket, has started yielding results with about 20 cases in which candidates used fake degrees to get recruitment against the ETT posts, being confirmed by various universities. Sources told The Tribune that these cases included five candidates who got degrees from fake universities, 15 who got fake degrees from universities outside the state, and five who did not fulfil the qualification prescribed in the advertisement for said posts.

The fake universities from which the candidates allegedly acquired degrees include Bhartiya Shiksha Parishad and Gandhi Hindi Vidya Peeth in Uttar Pradesh. The maximum fake degrees have been detected from the Maghad University located in Madhya Pradesh.

The sources said certain officials of Maghad University were also involved in the fake degrees racket. They also used to send fake verifications of the degrees issued with their connivance. The police last month arrested Controller, Joint Controller and PA to Vice-Chancellor of the university in the fake degree racket. After their arrest the Education Department has started receiving correct verifications from the university.

The candidates who did not possess prescribed qualifications but were still given jobs generally had diploma in physical education. As per the advertisement issued by the government only candidates possessing ETT or B.Ed. degree could apply for the ETT posts. However, certain candidates having just diploma in physical education were recruited.

In some districts the Department of Education has also initiated action against candidates who used fake degrees to get recruitment. Three such candidates posted in Sangrur, three in Moga, two in Mansa and one in Amritsar have been removed from jobs by the respective District Education Officers. Directives have also been issued to District Education Officer in other districts to initiate similar action, the sources told.

The Tribune brought the fake degree racket in the recent ETT recruitments to light. Taking a suo motu notice of the report published in The Tribune, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Education Department to submit a status report on the issue within eight weeks.

Following the court directive the government constituted four committees to verify the degrees of the candidates who were recruited against 7230 ETT posts. The sources said the committees finalised the university-based lists of recruited candidates and wrote to respective universities for verification of the degrees of selected candidates. About 1000 candidates who were recruited were found possessing professional degrees from universities outside the state. Taking no chance the committees have now decided to even verify the degrees issued by universities in the state.

The department has to submit the status report in the court on August 2. The sources, however, said the committees, due to the delay in verification from universities may not be able to complete their investigation in time. The department may submit an interim report in the court and seek further time to give the final report.


Punjab appoints another Adviser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The Punjab Government has appointed Mr Bhagat Singh Sandhu, a former Chief Engineer, Irrigation, as Adviser to the government in the Irrigation Department. He will be attached to the Chief Minister.

The appointment of Mr Sandhu is for a period of three years. After retiring from the Punjab Irrigation Department, Mr Sandhu had a stint of five years as Senior Irrigation Engineer in the World Bank, supervising projects in the irrigation sector of six major states of the country. He also carried out detailed study tours of the irrigation systems in South-East Asia.

He has been associated with the Sardar Sarovar project. In 1995, as a guest of Gulburn Major Irrigation Project in Victoria, Australia, he had an insight of the latest improvements and advances in the fields of water management, distribution and delivery systems, besides conducting a study of remote-controlled electronic installations in their regulatory infrastructures along the canal networks.

Between 1996 and 2001 he was Irrigation Adviser and Consultant to NABARD for the States of Punjab and Haryana and appraised as well as facilitated project sanction for irrigation and drainage works more than Rs 1000 crore in the two states.

From 2001 onwards, he technically reviewed, processed and amended the planning, designing and implementation of micro-distribution networks of Andhra Pradesh World Bank project AP-III.

Mr Sandhu will be responsible for overviewing, superintending and monitoring the progress and quality aspect of ongoing works and schemes with the active involvement of the Department of Vigilance cell as well as field supervisory officers.

He will suggest measures for the restoration, rehabilitation and upgradation of the present deteriorated status of Irrigation and drainage infrastructure in the state.

He would suggest suitable amendments to the Canal and Drainage Act to effectively arrest the theft and pilferage of canal waters and damage to infrastructure with punitive measures.


Revival of industry priority: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, yesterday said his government had decided to accord top priority to revamping of the existing ailing education system, ensuring computerisation of land records within two years and generating more funds, primarily by reviving the sick industry and by ensuring speedy diversification of agriculture in the state.

The Chief Minister, who was here to inaugurate a pilot project for ensuring total computerisation of land records of nearby Pholriwal and 28 villages surrounding the city, and to launch a website developed by the District Congress Committee (urban unit), Jalandhar, said imparting of quality education to every student was one of the main objectives of his government. The ambitious project envisaging total computerisation of land records was the brainchild of the Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. Siva Prasad, himself a computer engineer.

“We have resolved to create an atmosphere where every child gets quality education and deserving students get jobs, irrespective of their economic status, unlike in the past,” said Capt Amarinder Singh. He said the Education Department was being revamped by identifying new educational technologies.

He said NRIs could contribute towards setting up of new educational institutes in rural areas.

Stating that the Jalandhar-based sports, goods manufacturing industry and the Ludhiana-based textile industry were in bad shape, he added that the revival of the industry was another priority shortlisted by his government. “The WTO is to be operational soon and hence we have to gear up for meeting new challenges in the agricultural and industrial sectors by improving the quality of production. To revive the industry and to enhance revenue generation, we are going to announce our industrial policy within 15 days, said Capt Amarinder Singh, adding that the new policy also envisaged more employment avenues for the youth.

The Chief Minister said to explore the possibility of getting more rural development-oriented projects he would go on a foreign visit soon, during which he would hold meetings with the top officials of World Bank and the UN.

“We are left with no funds as Punjab still has to repay a whopping Rs 52,000 crore in the shape of Central loan. Besides, the state has to cope with an early budgetary deficit of about Rs 3,800 crore,” said Capt Amarinder Singh, in response to a demand for more funds made by the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey.

Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, minister, and the District Congress Committee chief, Mr Tejinder Bittu, presented a huge gold plated key to the Chief Minister as a mememto during a separate civic reception organised by local residents and the civic body.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Punjab ministers — Mr Avtar Henry, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, and Mr Balbir Singh, MP, and the DCC urban and rural unit chiefs, Mr Tejinder Bittu and Mr Manjinder Singh Chaudhary, respectively.

Earlier, the Chief Minister laid the stone of an NRI bhavan on the premises of the office of the Commissioner, Jalandhar Division.


SAD seeks CM’s explanation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The SAD has asked the Punjab Chief Minister to explain why his bureaucracy and police are being allowed to humiliate elected representatives of the people, including even those belonging to the ruling party.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, SAD Publicity Secretary, said “We have always maintained that there is no such thing as democracy in Punjab today and that the state was being run by a caucus around the Chief Minister. Legislators and ministers are snubbed in public by members of this caucus and they are feeling utterly helpless in solving the problems of their constituencies or their departments. Now we have the evidence coming from a member of Capt Amarinder Singh’s own Council of ministers saying that ministers and MLAs are being treated as worse than peons by the bureaucracy at the behest of the caucus”.

Mr Badal said “Punjab today resembles a monarchy of the medieval times Its only equivalent in modern times is Gen Musharraf’s Pakistan.”

Mr Badal referred to the allegations made by a Punjab minister, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, describing Punjab bureaucrats as a bunch of arrogant people who sit in airconditioned rooms with all power and no responsibility. The minister had alleged that officers kept the ministers concerned in the dark even about the Chief Minister’s programmes concerning their departments. Mr Sekhri had complained to the Chief Minister about the conduct of a senior bureaucrat but apparently no action had been taken so far. The Akali spokesman further said that things were bound to be like this when the Chief Ministers was totally cut off from the people and had no time even for his own legislators.

Mr Badal also referred to an incident involving independent MLA, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, whose driver was booked by the Sangrur police simply because he showed “the audacity” to tell him to overtake the vehicle of the local SSP when he was going to vote in the Presidential election on July 15. No action has so far been taken against the SSP even after the matter was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister.


Punjab bureaucrats more corrupt: Dayal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Announcing the decisions taken at a meeting of the executive committee of the party, the Secretary of the Punjab CPI, Dr Joginder Dayal, said yesterday that the party would organise a rally at Jalandhar on July 31 to oppose the anti-poor, anti-farmer and anti-employee policies of the Amarinder government.

He said there was no need for cutting various allowances of employees and imposing fresh taxes. By improving the tax collection system and removing corruption in the Taxation Department, the government could increase the revenue to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore. There was extensive evasion of various taxes in Punjab.

The government should take harsh steps against the industrialists concerned to recover Rs 2,000 crore they owed to various organisations such as the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation and the Punjab Financial Corporation.

Opposing disinvestment, Dr Dayal said bureaucrats who vouched for disinvestment in certain units and also for total sale of certain other sick public sector undertakings were themselves responsible for the failure of such organisations. A CBI inquiry should be ordered to fix the responsibility for bringing various units in the red.

There was need for reducing the number of bureaucrats to cut down the expenditure on administration in the state. They should be sent on deputation to the Centre. Bureaucrats were more corrupt than politicians in Punjab, he alleged. Unfortunately, no popular government had the will to touch them. A major section of the bureaucracy looted Punjab mercilessly from 1984 to 1995, he added, urging the Chief Minister to take action against bureaucrats owning huge properties.

The main reason for making huge payments to the suspended PPSC Chairman to buy posts of PCS, DSP, ETO, DFSC etc was that there were “big returns” via corruption from these posts. First those belonging to rich families “buy” these posts by paying huge sums of money and then they “loot “ people not just to recover these amounts but to become “super rich”, Mr Dayal said.

Welcoming the decision of the Circle Level Revenue Officers Association to reveal the details of properties held by police officers, Dr Dayal said the Association would be doing great service to Punjab and its people. The association should publish a catalogue in this connection, as had been done by the All-India Bank Employees Association, which had published a huge book carrying all details of industrialists who had defaulted in paying Rs 150,00,00 crore to various banks.

About the “Operation Bluestar” controversy, Dr Dayal said the best way to settle the issue was to set up a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court Judge to find out who were responsible for spreading terrorism in the state.


BBMB seeks Centre’s nod for new ventures
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, July 20
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has approached the Government of India (GOI) to allow it to install new power projects on canals under its control. The BBMB was forced to take this decision after the Punjab Government, one of the major partners in BBMB, opposed the idea of organisation, to venture into new generation projects on the canals.

If the proposal gets through, the BBMB whose role since the establishment of the Bhakra dam has been limited to being the managing body on behalf of the partner states, may venture into new projects on its own.

The Chairman of the BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, told this correspondent that the board had planned to set up three powerhouses of about 18 MW generation capacity on the Bhakra mainline canal. Feasibility studies were conducted to select three spots upstream and downstream of the Nirwana branch of the Bhakra mainline canal to install the projects.

The proposals were accepted by the Board of the BBMB, which is constituted by members from various partner states. However, later the Punjab Government objected to the idea on the plea that the state owns exclusive riparian rights over the water flowing in the BBMB canals.

If the BBMB sets up the power projects, its other partner states Haryana and Rajasthan, would also get a share of the electricity generated at the new projects.

The Chairman said the other partner states objected to Punjab exclusively setting up generation projects on the Bhakra mainline. The Punjab Government had earlier proposed to set up the said project through private developers. However, the BBMB board had rejected the proposal.

The BBMB is also facing problems in installing the 40-MW power project on the Baggi tunnel in Himachal Pradesh. The Himachal Government is asking for a 12 per cent share in generation for allowing the BBMB to set up the project. The BBMB, however, according to the Punjab Reorganisation Act cannot give that much share to Himachal.

To tide over the problem being faced by BBMB in installing new projects due to its multiple state ownership, it has now approached the GOI. While the Rajasthan Government and the Haryana State Electricity Board have already giving their assent to BBMB venturing into new power projects, the Union Government would take up the matter with the Punjab Government, the Chairman added.

The Chairman further told that the BBMB was also venturing into the business of improving the transmission lines. It recently bagged a contract to improve the 220-kv ring around Delhi. It has also bid for the operation and maintenance of power supply in Chandigarh. The bid of the BBMB for the Chandigarh project was so low that the Power Grid agreed to maintain the power supply in Chandigarh free of cost for another one year. The BBMB would also soon bid for maintenance of transmission in cities where it has its own distribution system.

About the recent transfers of Punjab Government doctors from the BBMB, the Chairman said they had asked for substitute doctors before those presently posted here were relieved.


Warrants issued against 9 cops
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 20
The CBI special court here today issued non-bailable warrants against nine Punjab police personnel alleged to be involved in a fake encounter, killing three special police officers (SPOs) in Amritsar in 1993.

Non-bailable warrants have been issued against Inspector Suba Singh, SI Gyan Chand, ASI Devinder Singh, Gulbarg Singh, Jagir Singh, Raghbir Singh, Head Constables Mahinder Singh and Arur Singh and retired Inspector Gurdev Singh for their alleged involvement in the fake encounter resulting in the death of Shinder Singh, Desa Singh and Balkar Singh, the three SPOs of Mr Joginder Singh of Amritsar.

The court has directed the CBI to arrest and produce the accused in the court on September 3.

Investigating the case registered on the complaint of Ms Narinder Kaur, wife of Shinder Singh, the CBI in its investigation report had alleged that three SPOs were abducted on June 27, 1993, and subsequently killed by the police in a fake encounter.

According to the CBI , a case was registered against the three SPOs in connection with charges of theft and vandalism levelled by Karnail Singh of Sangatpura village in Amritsar district, besides cases pertaining to absconding from duty with government weapons.

The investigation report of the CBI says that the police had claimed that the three SPOs were gunned down at a naka near Garawa village and later their bodies were declared unidentified and cremated . The police had also claimed that government weapons were found on the three SPOs.

Accusing police officials of a fake encounter, the CBI in its fact-finding report, has claimed that the encounter was fake and weapons and cartridges found on the spot did not mate.


Chohan’s party to contest SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
A Khalistan ideologue, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, said yesterday that his Khalsa Raj Party would contest the SGPC elections. Addressing a press conference, he said that it was necessary to do so to overhaul the SGPC and various other Panthic institutions reeking with corruption.

He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr G.S. Tohra were responsible for the decline of Sikh institutions. He claimed that his party was gaining popularity and two Independent MLAs had won with its help in the last assembly elections.

He praised the anti-corruption drive launched by the Amarinder Singh Government.


New PPCC chief soon: Chaudhary
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 20
Congress MP and Co-Chairperson of the AICC Relief Committee Santosh Chaudhary said here today that the decision to appoint new PPCC President would be taken soon. Former Punjab Minister and local MLA, Joginder Singh Mann, and MLA from Sham Chaurasi, Ram Lubhaya, were present on the occasion.

About the much-awaited Rs 16 crore road-over-bridge (ROB) at the local Satnampura level crossing, they claimed that it would come up by May, 2003. “The soil testing work has started and Rs 90 and 61 lakh, respectively, had been deposited with the PSEB and the VSNL for removing 95 electricity and telephone poles”, said Mr D.S. Arora, Project Manager, state Bridge Corporation of Uttar Pradesh, who was also present on the occasion. A sum of Rs 34,000 had been deposited with the Forest Department for removing 60 trees, he added.


SAD to hold anti-Cong rallies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 20
After lying low for over four months, the SAD leadership has decided to hold statewide rallies to highlight the failures of Congress government ahead of the civic elections.

Sources said a section of the SAD was in touch with representatives of various employees unions, farmers and traders in this regard.

The sources said the SAD had also decided to target the Congress for its “selective campaign against corruption.

Former Union Minister and General Secretary, SAD, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, claimed yesterday that people were disappointed with the functioning of the Congress government.


A ray of hope for disabled
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
When Dr Harinder Pal Singh, Homoeopathic Medical Officer at Sidhwan Bet, sought his transfer close to Ludhiana, little did he expect that he would be posted still away to Saidpur in Kapurthala. He had sought-transfer, as a disabled person unable to board a bus.

Finding no response, his father, Mr Gurcharan Singh, approached the Commissioner, Disabilities, Mr D.S. Guru, for help. Consequently, a detailed letter to the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, did the trick. His doctor son now is posted to Phillaur.

Key provision of the persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995; were widely circulated among different departments to create awareness. One was that steps be taken to ensure that persons suffering from disabilities had proper ‘’access’’ to all public dealing offices and places, both government and private; and the second was the issue of disability certificates.

The PWD is now making appropriate provisions in the building designs or even making amendments in the existing buildings to enable disabled persons reach every public-dealing office. The state Health Department has constituted special medical boards in all major hospitals in the districts to issue disability certificates every Thursday. Instructions have been issued that in cases of severe disability, the board should visit the homes of such persons.

Even Dr Uma Tuli, the Chief Commissioner, Disabilities, had sent detailed guidelines for evaluation and assessment of various disabilities to the states. These have been forwarded to the Director, Health, for compliance.

In fact, a statewide survey in 1999-2000 and a recent repeat sample survey in three districts — Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala — has confirmed the findings of the comprehensive survey.

The Health Department survey reveals that in Punjab the percentage of disabled is 1, compared to 4-5 at the all-India level. Classificationwise figures of the disabled, as per the 1999-2000 survey, are: mentally disabled — 23,543; visually disabled —55,110; Hearing and speech impairment — 24,581; locomotive disorders — 145,076. The total is 248,540.

It is said that poliomyelitis is a major cause of disability. The wide network of health delivery system is responsible for the low percentage of disabled persons in the state. The Director, Health Services, Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, had a meeting with Mr Guru recently, where it was stressed that a thorough survey of schoolchildren must be done every semester to monitor cases of disability. It was pointed out by Dr Sandhu that the latest survey (1999-2000) had revealed that 30,308 school-children suffered from one or other kind of disability.

Having educated various departments about the key provisions of the Act, the next being contemplated by Mr Guru is to ensure the backlog in services in respect of disabled persons is cleared. Since the Commissioner, Disabilities, also acts as a judicial authority, notices are now to be served on defaulter departments for not complying with the instructions issued in respect of various issues pertaining to disabled persons and their welfare.


Now, liquor langar to please rain god
Chander Parkash & Jaswinder Paul Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 20
Even as prayers of desperate farmers have not been answered, they have now started organising langars (community kitchen) of liquor to please the rain god. Farmers have been performing yajnas and the ritual of “guddi phookna”.

Some farmers organised a langar of liquor at the bus stand at Nathana village, 35 km from here, today. People of Nathana and the surrounding areas, who made a beeline after the word about the langar spread, took pegs of countrymade liquor and then paid obeisance by offering money before a tub in which the liquor was stored.

A section of villagers while condemning the holding of such langars said there was a danger of this practice spreading to other villages and giving rise to criminal activities. Mr Ishwar Singh, district police chief, said if reports about liquor langars were found to be true action would be taken against those who organised it.

Meanwhile, Mr G.K. Singh, officiating Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, while admitting that a drought-like condition was prevailing in the area, said contingency plans were being prepared to deal with it. He said paddy crop in about 100 acres had been ploughed up by farmers as it had dried up due to a scarcity of water.

He said Agriculture Department officials had been directed to guide the farmers to sow pulses, guara and late sowing variety of maize in fields where the paddy crop had been ploughed up and in areas where the farmers were going to plough the paddy crop up in coming days. The Agriculture Department would make arrangements to ensure the supply of seeds of these crops at adequate prices to the farmers, he added.

Last year in July, this district received 56.2 mm of rainfall while the rain received so far in July this year was 7.6 mm. If the rains did not hit this region within four days, cotton and paddy crops would be damaged, Mr G.K. Singh pointed out.


Record of suspended employee sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Taking up a petition filed by a Chief Engineer against a former Civil Aviation Minister and other respondents, challenging the orders placing him under suspension, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed that the record pertaining to the case, including the report submitted by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, be produced in the court on August 16.

In his petition taken up by the Bench comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, Manmohan Singh, working with Government Aero Engine Overhauling Workshop at Patiala, had contended that the Vigilance Department, after conducting an inquiry, had failed to find anything incriminating against him and as such he had been exonerated.

Going into the background of the case, he had submitted that initially in December 1999 an inquiry was ordered against him on the charge that he was using aviation fuel for running his car. The inquiry report had, however, termed the allegation as baseless.

A second inquiry against him had yielded the same result. A third inquiry was then initiated against the petitioner on the basis of a note recorded by the minister, alleging that he had favoured a Mumbai-based organisation.

Even without holding a preliminary inquiry, a charge sheet was served on the petitioner, his counsel had contended. On October 10 last year, he was placed under suspension without even specifying whether the inquiry against him had been completed.

Orders on PIL

For examining the desirability of the court to take up the issue of introducing “alternative source of fuel” for running motor vehicles in the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides the Union Territory of Chandigarh, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked counsel appointed by it to look into the matter.

The orders were issued by a Bench comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall on a public interest litigation seeking the adoption of road safety measures.

In their petition, the Punjab Civil and Consumer Welfare Front, besides another respondent, had sought directions for registering a case against “erring” Punjab Roadways officials responsible for causing death of over 40 passengers in Ropar, besides restraining the respondents from plying unfit buses.

Further seeking directions to the Ropar Senior Superintendent of Police for registering a case under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code against the officials, the petitioner had asked for Rs 5 lakh as exgratia payment to the kin of the Ropar bus accident victims.

The organisation had further asked for directions to the states of Punjab and Haryana, besides the UT Administration and eight other respondents, against running buses “over seven years old and not conforming to road safety rules”.

Claiming the buses to be “unfit due to old age and defects”, the petitioner had added that earlier too over 50 passengers had been stranded for more than five hours after a Chandigarh Transport Undertaking bus broke down on April 30 last year near Karnal.

Notice to Punjab

Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the State of Punjab and other respondents on a petition filed by a Jalandhar resident, seeking directions for referring the investigation of an alleged land-grab case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

In his petition, Baldev Singh had alleged that the accused had grabbed land belonging to a trust by forging documents and through impersonation. Seeking the transfer of the investigation to the premier investigating agency, counsel for the petitioner had claimed that even after the registration of an FIR, the police authorities were not taking necessary action as the accused had close links with local politicians. The case will come up for further hearing on August 2.


Fund shortage delays new bus stand
Bharat Bhushan Dogra

The Rs 4.85-crore model bus stand project here has abruptly come to a halt for want of funds. The project, started by the previous SAD-BJP Government, has been in dire need of about Rs 1 crore for completion.

More than Rs 3.50 crore, as claimed by the transport department, has been spent on different blocks so far. But the access roads to the bus stand — passing the petrol station workshop and the main road — are yet to be taken up even for earthen work, due to which the passengers and other people visiting the bus stand are forced to pass through muddy pathways. Muddy waters have made the premises and yard of the bus stand full of filth and mosquitoes. Passengers are in constant fear of accidents as buses and other vehicles approaching or going out of the bus stand pass over potholes and broken roads.

The soil on the bus stand premises had started sinking which makes passage more troublesome in the rainy season, which is about to start. The bus stand compound can turn into a lake if pits are not filled and repair of the broken roads is not taken up immediately.

The dirt and filth has created unhygenic conditions in and around the bus stand. Shopkeepers are the most worried lot. The dust in air caused by the entry of the buses had created respiratory problems for them. Their business had also reduced to one-fourth affecting their earnings.

The income of the local Roadways depot, too, had been affected. Figures available indicate a sharp decline in the counter sale of Rs 12.76 lakh last August as compared to Rs 8.55 lakh in April.

The Punjab Government, on the one hand has made tall promises to provide better governance to the people but on the other hand, it has not been providing basic facilities to the passengers at bus stands. The Pathankot bus stand is near-completion and any deprivation of funds can affect the situation.


Efforts on to ‘distort’ Sikh history
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
The founder-Secretary General of the World Sikh Council, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, said today that continuous efforts were being made to “pervert and distort” sikh history for the past some years.

He said such efforts had been propelled by “purposive writings by inspired authors”.

“This twisting exercise of inventing and planting of circuitous stories are advanced in order to black out stark realities of Operation Bluestar from the memory of Sikhs.”

Various accounts authored by writers, including Maj-Gen K.S. Brar and the latest by Mr Sarabjit Singh, former Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, had the common objective to tarnish Sikh leadership’s image, he added.

He said various government agencies had also planned strategies to spread canards about Sikh shrines during the pre-and post-Bluestar period.

“The Sikh leadership admittedly erred in evaluating the sincerity of the Central Government’s representatives who engaged in a dialogue preceeding Bluestar. While it engaged Akali leaders in talks on the one hand, it was preparing for the Operation on the other. Then, the Centre made lot of a propaganda through various channels to give Sikhs a bloody nose and to prove them anti-national,” he argued.

He said many writings about recent Sikh history were “appendages” to the vilification campaign against the Sikh leadership based on heresay and conjectures. Such writings and write-ups were aimed at lowering the Sikhs in the estimation of the world community by apportioning the entire blame on them for the past events.

It was a matter of concern that a divided Sikh leadership fell a prey to the machinations of the state power.


Residents reel under water scarcity
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 20
Residents of the district headquarters, Sirhind, are facing drinking water scarcity these days. The people could be seen lined up in queues at the hand pumps to get just one bucket of water. Though the council has three tubewells the people alleged that due to properly repeated power failures the tubewells do not work which had led to the drinking water scarcity in the town.

On the other hand residents of the town said when the tubewell No.1 was installed, a generator set was also installed at the same time to run the tubewell in case of power failure, but it was unfortunate that since then the generator set had been used very rarely. They alleged that the repair and the diesel charges bills were being cleared regularly.

A majority of the residents depend upon the council for water supply but the council has failed miserably to provide adequate water. The poor are the worst affected as there are not enough handpumps for them. Residents said on one hand the repeated undeclared power cuts had made their life miserable and on the other hand the council officials had failed in their duty to provide clean drinking water. They demanded inquiry into the expenses incurred on the running and maintenance of the tubewell since it had been installed.

The tubewell operator at tubewell No. 1 also admitted that they had never used the generator for running the tubewell as it mostly remains out of order.

The municipal officials said they have only one generator for tubewell No.1, and it is in running condition and they use it regularly. He said three tubewells could not cater to the need of the entire town and two more tubewells were required. He said water scarcity was due to power cuts and the water level had also gone down.


Betting accused plead innocence
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 20
Two persons who were arrested for cricket betting last Saturday night from different localities in this town have addressed press conferences here separately to plead innocence.

One of them reportedly confessed that he had been carrying on the business of cricket betting till October, 2001. Related to a senior BJP leader, the alleged cricket bookie, said that they had regularly been “paying handsome amounts to police officers during past five years” to carry on the activity. He levelled allegations against some journalists also.

The second press conference was addressed by a teacher posted in a government high school here. He too had been booked for the same offence. Pleading not guilty, he said he happened to be there when the police raided the residence of an alleged “bookie” and was caught. He relied on recording of conversation done by the wrist watch recorder to strengthen his claim. He too cast “aspersions” on a section of journalists, who resulted in heated exchanges.

The ASP, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, refuted allegations levelled against the police by the accused all five persons were caught redhanded and there was sufficient evidence against them, he said.


2 PSSSB ex-members get police remand
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 20
Mrs Preeti Sahni, Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, here today remanded Virsa Singh Baltoha, former member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, in police custody till July 23. He was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Department in connection with an FIR registered at SAS Nagar on July 12.

Kulbir Singh Randhawa, another member of the PSSSB has also been remanded in judicial custody till July 23.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn and Mr M.P. Shahi, both Public Prosecutors, pleaded for their 14-day police remand. They said Baltoha as chairman of some committees selected certain candidates with lower qualifications and ignored merit. They said the information regarding the candidates who bribed him was yet to be received.

The defence counsel refuted the allegations and opposed the police remand.

Meanwhile, one of the public prosecutors moved an application in the court to get arrest warrants issued against Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu (former Chairman, PSSSB), Parkash Singh Gardhiwal (former member, PSSSB), Jora Singh (PSC) and former Secretary (PSSSB).The court fixed July 23 for hearing on the application.


Hearing on Dheera, Sagar’s plea adjourned
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 20
The District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.N. Aggarwal, today adjourned the hearing for July 22 on an application submitted by Randhir Singh Dheera and Prem Sagar, alleged touts of suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, to record their statements as approvers.

Earlier, in an application submitted in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Paramjit Singh on July 18, Dheera and Prem Sagar said they wanted to turn approvers in the case registered against them at the Patiala Vigilance Bureau police station. However, the CJM directed the accused to appear before the sessions court, stating that the recording of their statements did not fall under his jurisdiction since the challan had been presented in the sessions court.


Hearing on Kehar Singh’s bail plea adjourned
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 20
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, Ropar, today fixed August 3 as the next date of hearing on the anticipatory bail application of Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, SAS Nagar, in a criminal and corruption case registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau.

The hearing on the bail application of Dr Kehar Singh was adjourned to August 3 due to the non-production of relevant police records today by the Vigilance.

Meanwhile, the court has also extended the interim bail of Dr Kehar Singh till the next date of hearing.


JCM controversy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
A controversy has erupted in the government employees circles regarding the existence of the Joint Consultative Machinery( JCM), the important meeting of the which has been called by the Punjab Government on July 26, to sort out various issues with employees’ organisations regarding their demands.

Employees are resorting to agitations at various places against the government which wants to avoid confrontation with them.

Mr Ranbir Singh Dhillon, General Secretary, Punjab Subordinate Services Federation, said yesterday that the tenure of the JCM, which was constituted on November 5, 1998, by the Badal government for three years, ended on November 5 last year.

The present government had intimated to various government employees’ union through its letter dated June 10 that it wanted to constitute new JCM. The new JCM had not been formed till date.

Mr Dhillon said that the government had played a fraud on employees by calling the meeting of the JCM which had completed its term last year.


Selection of gram sevaks: role of money alleged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 20
Mr Narinder Kumar Gupta of Rampura Phul has urged the Punjab Vigilance Bureau for an inquiry into the selection of Gram sevaks by the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board (SSSB) in 1998 alleging that the said selection was not fair.

In a letter written to the Chief Director of the Vigilance Bureau Punjab Mr Gupta alleged that merit was ignored and selections were made for a consideration. He alleged that huge sums were paid for appointments.

He also alleged that certain candidates did even not sit for the written test but selected on the basis of interview.

Advertisement for the said posts was given on December 31, 1994 and written test for it held on August 18, 1996. List of selected candidates was released on August 20, 1998 on the basis of the test and interview held on November 11, 1997.


Staff absence baffles Congress man
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 20
Mr Mohan Lal Jhumba, member, Panchayat Samiti, and general secretary of the District Congress Committee, today alleged that the presence of officials and employees in different offices of the district was negligible.

In a press note issued here today he said although the Vigilance Bureau had launched a campaign to check absence of teachers, doctors employees and officials and office in schools, hospitals, respectively, a few weeks ago but it failed to achieve desired results at some offices.

He said he visited the District Social Security Office during office hours on July 18 but there was only one employee present. He alleged that many persons who had come to inquire about their pensions were found waiting but was no one to attend them.


Mass marriages in Abohar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 20
Nine more brides from economically backward families were married to bridegrooms of their parents’ choice at a mass marriage function organised at a temple in Bodiwala Peetha village here yesterday. With this the number of marriages arranged in different villages by a committee headed by Bhagat Kuldip Kumar Sahu has gone up to 151 in a year.

For Ms Gomati Devi and Ms Bharanwa Bai, it was difficult to control their tears. They had travelled all the way from a village in Rajasthan and Jalalabad area of this district for the occasion. All members were served meals by volunteers from villages like Kabulshah Khubban, Katehra, Panjkosi and Dangarkhera.


Watershed project for Ropar
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 20
The Union Ministry for Rural Development has sanctioned a Budhki Rao watershed project for the social and economic development of 28 villages in the Majri block of Ropar district.

This was stated by Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries, Punjab, while presiding over a meeting held here yesterday to implement the Rs 3 crore project in a smooth manner.

Mr Kang asked the officers to involve residents of the 28 villages in the project. The Deputy Commissioner said under the project about 5,000 hectares would be developed.


Delhi-Bathinda Shatabdi from August 16
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 20
The proposed Shatabdi between New Delhi and Bathinda will be flagged off on August 16 by the Union Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, from New Delhi.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, and Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, yesterday met the Union Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, who assured them that the train would be started as per schedule.


Jewel thief held in Mansa
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 20
A police team headed by Mr Harcharan Singh Grewal, SHO, has a busted a four-member gang engaged in defrauding people, with the arrest of Balwinder Singh, a resident of Raman Mandi in Bathinda.

Mr Sudhanshu Shekhar Srivastva, SSP Mansa, told mediapersons here today that they used to visit various villages and announced on the public address system installed in gurdwaras that a team of doctors were in the village to treat childless women. Later they prepared a list of such women and went to the houses of such women to treat them by giving intoxicating injections.

After the treatment was over they covered the face of the lady and adviced the family members not to disturb her for an hour. As soon as the patient became unconscious they used to decamp with gold jewellery worn by the women. They had defrauded the people in the districts of Mansa and Bathinda in Punjab and Sirsa district of Haryana.

The SSP further said the police had already arrested Surinder Singh of Sirsa and two woman in this connection. The SSP further disclosed that Balwinder Singh had allegedly raped a resident of Mankhera village of the district. The police has registered a case under Sections 420 and 380 of the IPC and seized a pair of gold ear- rings which the accused had removed from the ears of Ram Dulari, a resident of Rampur Mander village.


One killed in road accident

Jalandhar, July 20
One person was killed and eight others were injured in a road accident at Tallan village under Sadar police station today. According to police sources, the accident occurred when a tractor-trolley carrying 13 labourers turned turtle. All labourers, who were buried under the trolley, were rescued by the passers-by and admitted to hospital.

One of them, who was identified as Udya Paswan, a resident of Kathiar, was killed on the spot. His body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. The Sadar police has registered a case in this regard. UNI


DRDA courses in Kapurthala
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 20
The scheme for providing quality computer education in villages and small towns in Punjab under the aegis of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) in association with the Punjab Technical University (PTU) seems all set to catch on with the launch of the scheme in Kapurthala district from this academic session. The DRDA, Bathinda, was the first to start the scheme last year.

According to official information here, the DRDA, Kapurthala, has launched the scheme at Maqsudpur Institute of Technical Education from this academic session. The courses which have been started include Postgraduate Diploma in IT (PGDIT), DGM&D, DMLT and DCA apart from the BSc (CS) course.

Says Mr A.S. Grewal, Director, Outreach, PTU: “The DRDA scheme for starting computer study centres in rural areas is laudable. These centres will go a long way in helping the spread of quality computer education to students living in remote rural areas and small towns at subsidised fee structure who, otherwise, get fleeced by private computer centers who charge exorbitant fees”.

Mr Ranbir Singh, Principle, Maqsudpur Institute of Technical Education, Kapurthala, says the performance and response of the public towards the centres of the DRDA, Bathinda, motivated and inspired them to take the initiative to start the same project in Kapurthala.

“We are receiving a very encouraging response from students. Interestingly, the students are given 15 per cent concession in fee for all courses run by the DRDA Study Centres.

Last year the scheme was launched by the Bathinda DRDA. There are 10 DRDA Study Centres running in the district now. Apart from the Bathinda Study Centres, the others are being run in rural areas. The courses being run include the BSc (IT), MSc-IT (LT), PGDCA and the PGDCT.

The ADC, Bathinda, Mr Vivek Aggarwal, who is also Project Officer, says: “There is a dearth of trained manpower in the field of Information Technology because of limited number of institutions and seats in the IT courses”.

He says the Bathinda Study Centre has been established to impart computer training to rural and urban youths at affordable fees.


AICTE nod must for GND varsity courses?
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, July 20
The recent B.Tech courses started by Guru Nanak Dev University in computer engineering and electronics on its regional campus at Jalandhar reportedly do not have the mandatory approval of the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

The Council has published a directory of technical institutions that are approved by it. The list is also available at the council’s website

However, 80 students have already taken admission to the technical courses, said a number of students from the institute who approached Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP leader, here today.

The institute does not even have an electricity connection, they alleged.

The college building is incomplete, with building material strewn all over the campus. There is no hostel facility, no facility for drinking water, canteen, mess or boundary wall, no laboratory or computers.

And only one teacher has been deputed for the B.Tech course, it is alleged. The students feel cheated by the institute which has charged Rs 40,000 from each of them as admission fee, with more payment to be made later.

However, the university has refuted the charges. A university spokesperson states that as per the directions of the apex court and state government, courses run by university teaching departments do not require approval from AICTE. The university states that according to Supreme Court observations, “a technical institution does not include a university”. Therefore, the regional campuses of the university are excluded from the purview of ‘technical institution’ which needs approval from AICTE.

The spokesman added that the university was making allout efforts to provide electricity, water, computers and other facilities before the commencement of the courses.


SGPC move on syllabi decried
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 20
Even as representatives of various missionary colleges have agreed in principle to bring uniformity in the syllabi framed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has said a board should be constituted to ensure that no “anti-Panthic” chapter was propagated by them. All controversial contents should be deleted, Jathedar Vedanti said.

Representatives of the Dharma Prachar Committee will scrutinise the syllabi before it is finalised.

Meanwhile, representatives of various Singh Sabhas have expressed concern over the attempt of the SGPC to bring uniformity in the syllabi.


Principal refutes lecturer’s charges
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
Dr M.S. Dhillon, Principal, Khalsa College, here today refuted allegations and insinuation of Prof Baljinder Singh, a lecturer of the same college. In a press note issued here today the principal pointed out that Prof Baljinder Singh from the Department of Commerce in a bid pre-empt his suspension for various acts of commission and omission levelled charges of alleged assault by certain persons at the behest of the principal.

Dr Dhillon added that a lecturer was facing charges of running a coaching academy which he was forced to close down. The principal added that he was also involved in case of award and internal assessment for the students of MCBA Part II and due to this his increment for the past two years was stopped. He also had misbehaved with the Superintendent of the college by using abusive language and threatening him.

Dr Dhillon said that his story of alleged beating up was concocted and baseless. However, at the instance of the teachers, the college was closed on July 18, 2002 in protest against the alleged assault on Prof Baljinder Singh.


Teachers oppose decision on medium
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 20
Teachers working in government schools in the state, will oppose recent decisions of the Punjab Government on enhanced educational qualifications for various posts of teacher and English medium for science and mathematics subjects from class VI.

Mr Sucha Singh Khatra, general secretary of the Government Teachers Union, Punjab stated this here. He added such decisions of the government were not only “unacademic” but also “anti-academic”. He said by these decisions, thousands of trained teachers, seeking jobs, had been declared as “unqualified” by the government.

On the introduction of English medium for science and mathematics subjects from class VI Mr Khatra said it was against the government’s policy of “sarb shiksha abhiyan”. Mr Khatra added that a meeting of the presidium of the Government Teachers Union, Punjab, had been convened on July 21 at Ludhiana to discuss these decisions.


LLB entrance test result awaited
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 20
Candidates who appeared in entrance test for admission to LLB course I yesterday alleged that the result of the test had not been declared although it was scheduled to be declared on July 14.

A large number of such candidates said that the authorities of the local Regional Centre of Punjabi University had not displayed the result of entrance test putting the candidate in a state of fix.

Mr Jagrup Singh Barring, in charge of the Regional Centre said that the result for the entrance test had been declared by the Punjabi University and the same had been displayed on the university campus at the Patiala. He added that due to a problem with computers at the university, a copy of the result was not made available to the Regional Centre. He added that the students of the city and nearby areas could know the result from the university.

Mr Barring said that an employee of the Centre had been sent to the university and the result would be displayed as soon as a copy of it was received.


A Clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Apropos news item ‘Minister orders probe into land grab allegation’. In a press note issued today the management of Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Tangori, claimed that their institution was approved by the AICTE and the Punjab Government in 1996 as per the norms at that time. The AICTE norms were revised later and the minimum land required for setting up such an institute was fixed at five acres in metropolitan cities, 10 acres in district headquarters and 25 acres in rural areas. The college had purchased the land as per the norms applicable in 1996. The building of the college too was regularised vide Punjab Government order 1998, according to the press note.


GND varsity bans ragging
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 20
Guru Nanak Dev University has banned ragging on the campus and warned students against indulging in it.

Dr R.K. Bedi, Dean Students’ Welfare said any student found indulging in ragging could lose admission or be suspended.

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