Friday, July 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Why does Vigilance target selective cases?
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has apparently opened a Pandora’s box with the registration of an FIR against some officials of the Co-operative Department. An Additional Registrar, Mr Parmeshwar Singh Sidhu, has been arrested. This case, sources told TNS, was likely to ruffle many political and bureaucratic feathers. A “powerful functionary” in the government is alleged to be behind the vigilance action.

As per the FIR, there are seven cases in which loans were advanced under the “non-farm sector”, when Mr Sidhu was the Managing Director of Punjab State Cooperative Bank in 1998-99. The allegation is that these “bad loans” caused the bank a loss of Rs 53 crore because these advances were made for “extraneous reasons” without proper verification of “appropriate securities” against each of them. (The actual loss to the bank is Rs 37.50 crore. The figure of Rs 53 crore is a cumulative amount, including interest, say sources).

The names of ruling party MLAs, Mr Randeep Singh (Nabha) and Rana Gurjit Singh (Kapurthala) and that of Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a former Speaker, figure in these cases.

The FIR has named four other officials, who allegedly “connived” with Mr Sidhu. They are: K.S. Pannu, Mr Sohan Singh, Mr Inderjit Singh Arora and Mr Darshan Singh Punia.

The Punjab Co-operative Gazetted Officers Association is upset over the developments since July 23 when Mr Sidhu was nabbed by Vigilance Bureau.

What has irked the association is why the Vigilance Bureau has never proceeded against any bureaucrat who may have served as Managing Director of either the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) or the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC), where hundreds of crores of rupees are due from  defaulting firms, causing heavy losses to these institutions.

“Why single out only Mr Sidhu? Is the crime of other bureaucrats or their involvement in the Punwire (where a CBI probe is underway) scam any less heinous? Moreover, while influential defaulters (may they be of co-operative banks, PSIDC, PFC etc) roam free, why an FIR in this instance? It only shows a selective approach of the Vigilance Bureau, acting at the instance of “powerful persons,” association sources allege.

The FIR states that a loan of Rs 28.28 crore to Punwire was sanctioned on January 24, 1998. However, several government departments, boards, banks, corporations and even Punjab Agricultural University gave money to Punwire following a circular from the Finance Department.

Whenever a bank or a financial institution advances loans, “risk cost” is taken into consideration at the time of fixation of the rate of interest. As to the charge in the FIR that “appropriate securities” were not obtained by the bank at the time of giving the loan, the sources say that it is a “matter of perception”.

In respect of the cases involving senior politicians, the following facts have come to light, besides what is mentioned in the FIR:

1. M/s Gurdarshan Leather Ltd, Mubarikpur, Dera Bassi, is owned by Mr Randeep Singh, Congress MLA. The firm is in the name of his father, late Gurdarshan Singh, who was a minister in the Congress regime. The bank sanctioned Rs 78.12 lakh against a security of 20 acres of land in a village near Barnala (Sangrur). This unit is reported to have also taken a term-loan of Rs 469.64 lakh from the PSIDC and the PFC.

The bank filed a case for recovery against the firm before the Registrar, Co-operative Societies, who passed an order in favour of the bank. An agreement on repayment was reached. The firm was to repay the loan in 12 equal monthly instalments with 20 per cent interest. The firm reportedly gave 12 post-dated cheques to the bank. When time came for the cheques to be presented, the political scene had changed. When the cheques were presented, these were returned as unpaid.

The bank has already initiated proceedings against the firm under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The FIR in this case states that the loan was advanced against a security of 156 kanal of land in Alamsinghwala village in Sangrur. Its market value was said to be Rs 40 lakh. On this very land, PSIDC and the PFC had advanced loans totalling Rs 469.64 lakh. The firm owes to the bank Rs 124.19 lakh as on March 31, 2002.

2. M/s Rana Mohindra Paper Ltd. is owned by Congress MLA Rana Gurjit Singh. It took a loan of Rs 1 crore for setting up a waste treatment plant in the paper mill on July 24, 1998. Despite many promises, the company neither repaid the loan nor did it regularise its accounts with the bank. Sources told TNS that it was untrue that the loan was advanced without security, as alleged in the FIR. As on March 31, 2002, the firm owed the bank Rs 1.57 crore.

3. M/s Brahma Steyr Ltd. belongs to Mr Ravinder Singh. The foundation of the factory, which obtained a loan of Rs 1 crore to set up a tractor unit, in Phase VIII, Industrial Area, S A S Nagar on a plot of 20 acres, was laid by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The loan was sanctioned on March 12, 1999. A farm, measuring 22 kanal and 19 marla in Chandigarh (UT) was mortgaged. The firm, says the FIR, owes to the bank Rs 148.20 lakh as on March 31, 2002. It has raised loans from other sources also. For the project, it had a tie-up with Allahabad Bank.

Sources say the project never materialised. Even the Punjab Small Industries Export Corporation, it is reported, has initiated proceedings to resume land allotted to the firm. Despite several agreements and dates agreed upon to repay the loan, the bank has drawn a blank.

Will the government take action against all known political bigwigs and bureaucrats, responsible for “bad loans” or huge “non-performing assets” accumulated by the state financial institutions and banks due to “poor management” or will it continue to let influential defaulters off the hook through “one-time settlement” and “soft options”? 


PPSC scam: Dheera, Sagar pardoned
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.N. Aggarwal, today granted pardon to Randhir Singh Dheera and Prem Sagar, main accused in the PPSC scam, after examining statements made by them yesterday under Section 306 to become approvers in the case.

Both, Dheera and Sagar, had made statements in the court of Ranjit Kumar Jain yesterday claiming that the suspended PPSC Chairman had approached them to solicit bribes on his behalf. Dheera had claimed that he had done the bidding due to his old association with Sidhu. They had also given the name of some of the candidates who had been selected, through them, after due bribes were given to Sidhu.

Today the statements of both Dheera and Sagar, were presented to the Sessions Judge by the Public Prosecutor, Mr Vijay K. Markan. Immediately afterwards the Sidhu’s counsel Mr Sahib Singh Dhindsa, requested the court to hear him before any judgement was pronounced on the basis of the statements. However, the Public Prosecutor said Sidhu’s counsel did not have any locus standi in the matter as it was a matter between the approvers and the court.

Upholding the view, the Sessions Judge passed an order granting pardon to both the accused who will now become prosecution witnesses in the case.

In another development, Sidhu’s counsel also moved an application in the Sessions court that he be supplied copies of statements made before the magistrate by both approvers.

ROPAR: Mr A.S. Kathuria, special judge, Ropar, today extended the judicial remand of Jagman Singh, a right-hand man of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, suspended Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), till August 8. Jagman Singh’s remand was extended after the expiry of his earlier judicial remand today.


Wahid’s lockers opened
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
A Vigilance team tonight opened two lockers of Jarnail Singh Wahid, a former member of the PSSSB, in the local Kapurthala Central Cooperative Bank and recovered gold and silver jewellery worth over Rs 1 lakh, a licensed revolver, 14 cartridges, two passports and shares of Rs 500.

Earlier, the team landed here along with Mr Wahid for opening the two lockers that Mr Wahid holds jointly with his wife Rupinder Kaur at the local Central Cooperative Bank.

However, the team faced a piquant situation on learning that employees of the bank had gone to Patiala for staging a demonstration in protest against the freezing of DA by the Punjab Government.

DSP (Vigilance) Jaspal Singh was quiet harsh with the Manager of the bank and even threatened to book him under Section 120-B, IPC, in case the lockers were not opened. The DSP told the Manager that he had judicial orders for opening the lockers.

The frightened Manager pleaded with the DSP that the keys of the lockers were with two other staff members who had gone to Patiala with their colleagues.

The DSP directed the Manager to establish contacts with the employees concerned. He also told the Manager to leave messages at their houses that they should immediately report to the Manager on their return from Patiala.


Give same relief in identical cases
Instructions to Punjab Govt departments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
In the cases of identical facts and points of law, the Punjab Government Departments concerned will have to implement a court Judgement across the board. In other words, if an issue is settled by a court in the case of an employee or the party, the other employees or the party need not approach the court again on the same points of law and facts.

It will be the duty of the Government to give the benefit to all other employees whose claims were based upon identical facts and points of law.

Official sources told The Tribune today that the state government had instructed all concerned to implement the directions made by the high court in the Satbir Singh versus state of Haryana case. In that case, the high court had issued instructions to Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory, Chandigarh.

Earlier, the Government authorities concerned normally used to implement the court judgement only in the case of the petitioner(s) only. Others, though entitled for the benefit accruing from the judgement, usually used to be denied the same and asked to approach the court to obtain the benefit. It not only used to add to the burden of courts but also lead to wastage of a lot of time and energy of all concerned.

But now it will not be possible for the authorities concerned to force the employees concerned to approach the court on the same issue . The court order says that if an employee is compelled to approach the court of law, whereupon the court awards interest and or costs while allowing such a petition then the expenditure incurred by the state, including the costs or interest paid, in furtherance to the orders of the court should be recovered from the erring officer(s).

Instructions in this connection have been issued by the state government’s Personnel Department to all Financial Commissioners, Principal Secretaries, Administrative Secretaries and others.

In each department, a committee consisting of the Chief Secretary, Legal Remembrancer and Administrative Secretary concerned have been constituted for examining in detail all those judgements which have attained finality and to implement the same in the case of employees whose claims are based upon identical facts and points of laws. The departments concerned also have been asked to examine all such cases and to place them before the committee.

The sources said there are about 80,000 cases pertaining to Punjab in the high court. A majority of these cases are of employees.


Can Gujarat poll be held early?
Delimitation Commission yet to file report
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Can elections to the Gujarat assembly be held before the Delimitation Commission submits its report ?

The issue has been raised by former Punjab Minister and MP Umrao Singh. In a letter addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner, a copy of which was made available to The Tribune, Mr Umrao Singh wants the commission to take cognizance of the fact that the Delimitation Commission now stands constituted with Justice Kuldip Singh as its Chairman and one of the members of the Election Commission, Mr B.B. Tandon, as its Secretary.

Mr Umrao Singh says besides weighing other considerations, including law and order, revision of electoral rolls, the Election Commission has to take a decision whether to order the Gujarat Assembly elections before or after the delimitation of assembly constituencies in the state.

“If the elections are ordered before the delimitation of the assembly constituencies, it would be both against the spirit of the parliamentary legislation as well as for the purpose for which the Delimitation Commission has been set up. In such a case, the decision would amount to setting a wrong precedent, bad in law, discriminatory and against natural justice,” maintains Mr Umrao Singh.

Admitting that though the number of assembly constituencies would remain the same even after delimitation, “there is every possibility of change in the constituencies reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, backward classes and others on the basis of a rotational formula. Since the last delimitation was held in 1976, there is every likelihood of changes in the complexion of the assembly constituencies. Some new areas may be added and existing areas removed to make them contiguous.”

“In such a situation,” says Mr Umrao Singh, “it would be unfair for an MLA to represent a constituency a section of which had not participated in his or her election. This would create an anomalous situation for the elected representatives having no obligation for the voters who elected them. Such a situation has never been contemplated in our Constitution which envisages the doctrines of holding elections on the basis of new and freshly delimited constituencies.”

Opposing the application of Article 174 of the Constitution, Mr Umrao Singh said that this could not be done in the case of a dissolved assembly. “This is only applicable when the existing legislature is continuing in accordance with its term.”

Talking about the law and order situation, Mr Umrao Singh recalled that in 1992, the Punjab assembly elections were cancelled a day before the actual polling. At that time Mr K.P.S. Gill was the DGP of Punjab.

A conducive law and order situation is mandatory for holding free and fair elections,” Mr Umrao Singh added.


Dang questions efficacy of anti-graft drive
‘Embezzlement continues in Social Security Department’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 25
The unearthing of the Rs 23-crore old-age pension scam notwithstanding, many more skeletons still exist in the cupboard of the Social Security Department.

Genuine persons are being denied old-age pension even as the state government has failed to take corrective measures to streamline the functioning of the department. Mr Satya Pal Dang, a veteran CPI leader whose party had a pre-poll alliance with the ruling Congress, has put a question mark on the seriousness of the anti-corruption drive of the Congress government.

In an open letter to Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr Dang pointed out the rampant corruption prevailing in the Social Security Department. He mentioned the case of a widow, a chronic patient, who died due to want of medicines but could not get old-age pension despite her best efforts.

Mr Dang rued that after a great deal of agitation, an inquiry was ordered at Amritsar. The inquiry officer, despite pressure, unearthed a scandal of Rs 23 crore as a result of hard labour and the cooperation he received from some social workers. What he discovered was just a tip of the ice-berg. Mr Dang said it was a matter of concern that after the unearthing of the biggest old-age pension scam at Amritsar, no inquiries were ordered in other districts. The officer was rewarded by being “shunted out” to Ferozepore. At present he was without a job.

Though 11 officials of the department were placed under suspension after the unearthing of the Rs 23-crore scam, they were likely to be reinstated. Besides, a Joint Director of the department, posted at Chandigarh, was identified as a culprit. Mr Dang said he was obviously a kingpin in the scam, adding that despite a number of representations, he was not suspended during the Badal government regime. “No action was initiated against him though I brought the matter to the notice of the present Congress government”, he said.

Briefing on the modus operandi of the agents who succeeded in getting the pension of ineligible persons sanctioned, Mr Dang said huge money was siphoned off with the connivance of officials of the department. He said the CPI had given a detailed list of the agents to the department.

The letter reads, “One of the methods to embezzle money was to sanction ineligible cases brought by agents, who were paid commission out of the money paid by each person who was sanctioned pension. The department challenged me to give the names of such agents. I gave the name of one chief agent and his 10 or so sub-agents from one area alone. The department did nothing more than sending their names to the SSP. It was through our efforts that a case was registered against the chief agent by the then SSP. Later on the Vigilance Bureau registered another case against him. He could not be arrested in either of the cases because in each the high court first stayed arrest and granted bail. The department had no time to get the bails cancelled. In the meanwhile, the money keeps on getting embezzled.”

The veteran CPI leader said he had not yet found whether justice had been done to the poor senior citizens who were deprived of their pensions for long. He said one ADC, who was given the charge of the Social Security Department, was told that grants for poor widows, as per a scheme of the Government of India, were not being disbursed in full but only after unofficially deducting an amount up to 50 per cent of Rs 10,000 due in each case.

His findings were carried prominently in a leading daily (The Tribune). The name of the culprit a DSSO — also figured in the report. No action had been taken against anyone. The inquiry by the ADC took place under Capt Amarinder Singh’s rule. The ADC had been transferred from Amritsar.


Cong govt about to fall: Badal
Tribune News Service

Wajidpur (Ferozepore), July 25
Lashing out at the Congress today, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supremo and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said the days of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh were numbered because of dissatisfaction within the ruling party. Addressing a hung gathering of SAD workers at the historic gurdwara here, Mr Badal asserted that frustrated Congressmen were looking into the possibilities of bringing about a change of leadership.

He called upon the party workers to reunite and come out in the public against the police atrocities perpetrated on them. The former Chief Minister cautioned the people of Punjab, particularly the SAD workers, not to go by what rival Akali factions were saying. He said former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra was playing in the hands of the Congress to grab power in the forthcoming SGPC poll. The DSGMC elections, held recently, were not actually contested by the SAD; money power of the Congress played a role in the change of guard.

Mr Badal criticised Mr Tohra saying that he along with the Congress government at the Centre was responsible for the days of terrorism in the state. Mr Tohra was in no way the guardian of the Panth. He had put the people of Punjab behind in all fields rather than helping in development activities, the former Chief Minister said.

He said the Congress government would not survive for long due to the functioning style of the Chief Minister. Traders, farmers, government employees and other sections of society were harassed by either the police or the Vigilance Bureau to settle personal scores at the behest of a few ruling party leaders.

Earlier, former Agriculture Minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, while addressing the gathering said a majority of the Congress MLAs had approached Mr Badal to help them form a government by toppling Capt Amarinder Singh but keeping in mind the party ethics and interests of the Panth they were refused any kind of help.


Order to cut illegal water connections
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
The Principal Secretary, Public Health Department, Mrs Gurvinder Kaur Chahal, today ordered district officials to legalise illegal water connections in various villages or take action against defaulters within 15 days.

At a meeting with district officials and members of rural committees involved with the sector reforms schemes (SRS) here today, she said in case of resistance or non-cooperation by defaulters, the assistance of the police should be taken. The SRS is envisaged to supply potable water to villages.

She also urged sarpanches to deposit the share of the rural committees, which is 10 per cent of the total financial outlay, with the authorities, so that the instalments of the remaining 90 per cent amount could be released by the Central Government to ensure the implementation of the scheme.

She also called for creating greater awareness among the rural population about the importance of the reform projects and obtaining legal water connections as ground water in this region was unsuitable for consumption. The security deposit for people below poverty line and holders of the yellow card, she added, would be 50 per cent of the regular charges.

Ms Chahal directed officials that the accounts and expenses of the rural committees should be audited by a chartered accountant to ensure transparency and accountability.

The Chief Engineer, Public Health, Mr Manmohan Singh, who was also present on the occasion, said 24 such reform schemes were under progress in Bathinda district and 11 awareness camps had been conducted by officials of the district administration in various villages. The chairmen, presidents and representatives of the rural committees were also present at the meeting.


Bhaura for probe against MLA, kin
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 25
Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, Member of Parliament has demanded an inquiry into the allegations that the Akali Dal MLA from Mansa district and one of his kin had amassed wealth by illegal means.

Mr Bhaura has written to the Punjab Chief Minister and demanded steps to start investigation into the alleged irregularities by the MLA. He said that an inquiry was pending against the said MLA to probe how was he appointed a senior functionary of the Milkfed.

The MP alleged that a kin of the MLA was arrested some time back for keeping poppy husk but was released by the court. He alleged that the kin was released due to political pressure. He said that the prosecution did not object to his release and the court released him on bail.

Mr Bhaura said that the allegations against the said MLA and kin could be proved if an independent inquiry was conducted. He said that the inquiry could also reveal his connections with other Akali Dal leaders who helped him in his acts of commission.


CPM workers block traffic
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 25
Workers of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) today blocked traffic on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana road near Paragpur village for one hour following the arrest of Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu, secretary, district unit of the CPM from a “dhaba” this evening.

Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu along with senior state CPM leaders including Mr Mangat Ram Pasla and Mr Tarsem Jodhan was having meals at a “dhaba” near Paragpur village at 5.30 pm, when policemen in plain clothes whisked him away from the spot.

Agitated workers sat on a dharna on the GT road and blocked traffic for one hour disrupting traffic. The workers raised anti-government and anti-police slogans. Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, later met DIG (Jalandhar Range) Rohit Chaudhary and apprised him that Mr Sandhu had already been granted bail by the court and the police had acted in haste to pressurise them. Mr Chaudhary reportedly directed the police officials concerned to release Mr Sandhu immediately after verifying the court orders.

Later talking to reporters, Mr Pasla alleged that Mr Kulshinder Singh, SP, a relative of Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, was behind the “illegal” arrest of Mr Sandhu. “Though we showed the anticipatory bail orders of the court to the police party, yet the latter was least concerned to obey court orders. The police is just trying to harass our workers and leaders under one pretext or the other to appease Mr Surjeet,” he alleged.

The dharna was lifted following the release of Mr Sandhu by the police.


Pasla faction holds rally
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 25
The Mangat Ram Pasla faction of the CPM exhorted all Communist factions to unite for the formation of a third front in Punjab, during its “Jantak Ross” rally held here today.

The rally was held to protest against the “anti-people” policies of the state government.

Mr Pasla said the rally was the “foundation stone laying ceremony” of a secular third front in Punjab, where people were reeling under the financial burden imposed upon them by the state government through its first Budget.

He said the state government had “tried” to break the bone of the working class by withdrawing their service benefits and retrenching employees in various boards and corporations.

He further said that farming class was also being subjected to exploitation due to wrong policies of the state government, which had failed on all fronts.


3 Punjab BJP units dissolved
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 25
Punjab BJP President Brij Lal Rinwa has dissolved the BJP units of Amritsar (Urban), Amritsar (Rural) and Batala with immediate effect, and setup ad hoc committees.

Stating this, Punjab BJP office secretary Raj Bhatia told this correspondent this evening that Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Anil Joshi and Mr Surinder Chhinda had been appointed district presidents, of the ad hoc committees of Amritsar (Urban), Amritsar (Rural) and Batala respectively.


Engineer held captive, shopkeepers booked

Moga, July 25
The Punjab police today booked local shopkeepers for allegedly keeping a Moga Nagar Council engineer in wrongful confinement.

The shopkeepers have been booked for creating hurdles in the official duty of the Municipal Committee encroachment removal squad last evening in the presence of a police party, the police said here.

The council engineer was rescued by safai karamcharis and other employees of the council who arrived on the scene.

The case was registered when it was forwarded by the Deputy Commissioner to the police for immediate action against the accused.

The trouble arose when the demolishing squad with the assistance of a police party rushed to the old grain market after 3.30 pm yesterday and swung into action. The shopkeepers resisted and objected that the council engineer ordered the removal of encroachment without any proper order from the authorities.

The shopkeepers allegedly not only interfered but also held captive the municipal engineer for about two hours. PTI


Head priests not ‘performing’ ardas
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 25
Giani Mohinder Singh, octogenarian former SGPC secretary, today said jathedars had stopped performing ‘ardas’ and reciting ‘rehras’ at Akal Takht which had been a practice about two decades ago.

Talking to mediapersons here, the former secretary of the SGPC, who had served the committee for more than four decades, said the jathedars had embroiled themselves in unsavoury controversies. Mr Mohinder Singh further said earlier Sikh head priests deposited the donation collected by them during their foreign tours. However, this practice, too, had stopped which was a matter of concern.

Replying to a question, he said Jathedar, Akal Takht, alone could issue an edict on the seal and letterhead of Akal Takht.


Teenaged boy rescued from sadhus
Our Correspondent

Nangal (Ropar), July 25
The local police yesterday rescued a teenaged boy who was allegedly kidnapped by sadhus from Jalandhar about 10 days ago. Raju, an eight-year-old boy, was rescued from the camp of the sadhus near the railway station.

Yesterday, on seeing some policemen near the temporary residence of the sadhus here, Raju approached them and told them that he was kidnapped from Jalandhar and was being kept in illegal confinement. The policemen took one sadhu into the custody and brought the boy to the police station.

Talking to this correspondent at the police station today, Raju said he used to work at a tea stall near the Jalandhar railway station and lived near Dana Mandi. About 10 days ago, when he was returning from work in the evening, a sadhu met him near the railway station and tried to persuade him to accompany him by offering money.

However, when he declined, the sadhu forcibly lifted him and boarded a train.

Raju was allegedly brought here and forced into extracting money from people using religion. The sadhus introduced Raju as their diciple to people coming to them.

The local SHO, Mr Manvir Singh, told this correspondent that on the basis of information provided by Raju, two policemen were being sent with him to Jalandhar to locate his parents.

Meanwhile, a message has also been sent to the Jalandhar police station to ascertain if a “missing” complaint was registered about the boy. A case will be registered against the sadhu after completing the investigation, he said.


Two railway cops held on charge of chain-snatching, released
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 25
The police had nabbed and later released two persons on charge of chain snatching, identified as Jhamu Ram and Chinder Pal Singh, constables of the Railway police (GRP), from the Sirhind Railway Station. These two had reportedly snatched a chain from a woman,Ms Madhu. But their release by the police had created doubts in the mind of the local residents. The police claimed that they were released as the woman had failed to recognise them and further it had verified their identity from the SHO GRP, but the people were not ready to believe the police version . The detained constables had said during interrogation that they were on duty to check the smuggling of poppy husk in the Madrasi colony.

At about 10 pm Ms Madhu was coming from evening walk along with her husband and a daughter. As they were just approaching their residence near Harlal Pura Mohalla two scooter-born clean-shaven youths gave snatched her gold chain (35 gm). DSP Sukhwant Singh Gill, when informed, by the victim, immediately directed the SHO Sirhind and other police officials to erect nakas.

The police soon located them. The youths said they were constables with the GRP police Station Sirhind and were in Madrasi colony to check the smuggling of poppy husk. The SHO said that he confirmed their identity from the SHO Railway police Station Sirhind who confirmed that they were on duty. Ms Madhu, too, did not recognised them, so he let them off.


1052 matrimonial cases to be taken up at Lok Adalat
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
As many as 1,052 matrimonial cases will be taken up by 28 benches of the state level Lok Adalat which is scheduled to be held at the District Court Complex here.

This was disclosed by the District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.N. Aggarwal, following a meeting with civil and police officers as well as members of the Bar Association held in his retiring room in the court complex.

The Sessions Judge said the Lok Adalat was being held by the District Legal Services Authority in cooperation with the district administration and Bar members of Patiala, Rajpura, Samana and Nabha. He said matrimonial cases under the Hindu Marriage Act, under Section 125 CrPC and relating to offences punishable under Sections 406, 498, IPC, would be taken up for settlement.

Mr Aggarwal said the benches constituted for the purpose would be presided over by judicial officers and senior advocates and social workers would be associated with them. He said it had also been decided that the law students of Punjabi University and of the Army Institute of Law too would be associated with the benches.

He said Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Justice H.S. Bedi, who was also the chairman of the State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, and the Inspecting Judge of Patiala Sessions Division would attend the Lok Adalat to supervise the settlement of cases and to provide necessary guidance.


Murder accused surrenders
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The prime accused in the Mukhija murder case, Gurbaksh Singh Kukoo, today surrendered in the court of Special CBI Magistrate Jaspinder Singh Heyer.

The magistrate remanded the accused, who had surrendered through his lawyer Kundan Singh Nagra, to judicial custody till July 26.

The CBI had registered a case against Kukoo, who is a resident of Khamalak in Dharamkot in Moga district, in connection with the murder of Congress leader-Harmesh Kumar Mukhija on November 13, 2000. Earlier a case had been registered under Sections 302, 307, 148, 149 of the IPC by the Punjab Police but the matter was referred to the CBI after relatives of Mukija made this request claiming they were not getting justice.

Sources said the CBI had also started the process of making few persons government approvers in the case and that the statement of one such person had already been registered under Section 164 in the special court.


Roadways leaders threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 25
Mr Dilbagh Singh and Mr Surinder Singh, state president and general secretary, respectively, of the Punjab Roadways Conductors Union, addressing a press meeting here yesterday, said all unions of Punjab roadways under the banner of the Punjab Roadways Joint Sangharsh Committee would observe a one-day strike on August 2 against the “callous” attitude of the government towards their demands.

The state wanted to privatise Punjab Roadways by presenting “wrong and manipulated data” for the losses being faced by the roadways.

Elaborating on the “real causes” for the losses, the union leaders said though the previous Badal regime had agreed not to decrease the existing fleet strength of 2,407 buses, yet the strength of buses had been decreased to 1,710. Moreover, as many as 1,113 buses had become obsolete due to which roadways had to incur expenses amounting to Rs 25.68 per km while the revenue earned was Rs 10.80 per km. If the government provided new buses, the roadways could earn profit.

Another cause for the losses was illegal operation of buses by private operators with political clout, the leaders alleged.


Punjab bank staff block road
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 25
A traffic jam was caused on the Mall here today by thousands of agitating employees from all over the state belonging to Joint Action Committee Cooperative Bank and the Land Mortgage Bank of Punjab as they held a protest rally, leading to the Chief Minister’s residence.

Members of employees’ unions of both banks were protesting against the decision of the state government to attach both these banks to the Public Sector Department of the state government, thereby bringing down their salary and other allowances on a par with the other employees of the state government.

The union leaders warned of a step-up in their agitation if the state government did not revoke its decision immediately. Stating that the banks could not be attached to the public sector in the state, the employees demanded that the decision for a decrease in their pay packets be revoked, vacant posts be filled through promotions, decision to freeze DA allowance be revoked, pension scheme be applied to employees of both the banks and period of leave encashment availed at the retirement time not be limited.


Ahluwalia case committed to Sessions Court
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The Saru Rana case in which the Punjabi University student of fine arts has alleged that the ousted Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, attempted to rape her has been committed to the Sessions Court.

Earlier, the case was being heard by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Sanjeev Berri. The case has been committed to the Sessions Court following directions earlier by the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the Sessions Judge only record the statement of Saru Rana in the case.

The case will come up for hearing on August 19. All four accused including Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Fine Arts Department head Dr Saroj Rani, research scholar Ms Aman and former technical assistant Jaspal Singh were present in the court.


Special court for NRIs’ cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
A Punjab Government spokesman said today that the state government would shortly request the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set up a special court to deal with property-related disputes of NRIs in a time-bound manner.

Jalandhar should be headquarters of such a court as the largest number of immigrants are from the Doaba region.

The state government had taken various steps to deal with the problems of NRIs, the spokesman said.


Harpreet’s ultrasound test done
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
An owner of ultrasound centre in Chandigarh today testified in the Harpreet death case that the check up of Harpreet, daughter of former SGPC President Jagir Kaur, was carried out at his centre.

Testifying in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Inderjit Kaushik, Dr Bikramjit Singh, who runs the ultrasound centre in Sector 22, Chandigarh, however, maintained that he did not know the reason behind this. He said the patient had been referred by Dr Jyoti, also of Chandigarh.

More witnesses are likely to testify in the case tomorrow and day after in the same court.


DRDA asked to disburse subsidies
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 25
With a view to encouraging self-employment in the district, the Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner yesterday instructed the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) to form self-help groups of unemployed youth for disbursal of subsidies and other aids to such organisations under various central and state sponsored schemes.

Presiding over a meeting of the DRDA and the Red Cross Society here, the Deputy Commissioner said 400 unemployed youths would be given jobs in the district during the current year, while “self-help” groups would be provided with a subsidy of Rs 60 lakh under various schemes. He instructed heads of banks to disburse loan to unemployed youth under different schemes and file a report in this regard.

Mr Prasad said the Red Cross Society had decided to hold six camps in various localities of the city and at Devi Talaab Hospital between July 28 and 31 for the disabled. Artificial limbs would be given to the needy free of cost.


BJYM district chief held for murder
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 25
Nipun Sharma, district president of the local unit of the BJYM, was arrested by the Sadar police yesterday night under Section 302, IPC, for allegedly killing Sudesh Dimple, wife of Shiv Dev Singh of Chohal village on June 8. Om Parkash, father, Romesh Kumari, mother and Pooja, wife of Nipun Sharma, are still at large.

In her dying declaration read out before the Duty Magistrate, Sudesh Dimple, stated that Nipun Sharma and his aforesaid family members had forced him to consume some poisonous substance in their school at Pur Hisar. The accused was today remanded in police custody for two days.


Delhi boy among 5 killed in mishap

Patiala, July 25
Five persons were killed in a van-truck collision on the Patiala-Rajpura road, near Muradpur village here.

The accident occurred when the van collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction at around 11.30 p.m. on Tuesday. Only two of the deceased could be identified. Bodies of the other three have been kept in a hospital here. The deceased who have been identified are — Prakash Singh, driver of the van and Sumit Kashyap of the R.K. Puram area in Delhi. A case has been registered against the driver of the truck. UNI


Tonsillitis operation: doctor held
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib. July 25
The police arrested Dr Saroj Sethi, a doctor of the local Civil Hospital, today. She was later released on bail. It may be mentioned that the doctor was blamed for alleged negligence while operating upon Saroj Wadhwa, who died during the operation. Saroj was being operated for tonsillitis.

Mr S.S Gill, DSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, said the other doctor, Dr Sham Lal, who was also part of the operating team, was still at large.


Complaint against MLA dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Punjab Lokpal, Justice D.V. Sehgal, has dismissed the complaint against Mr Sadhu Singh Rajiana, an Akali MLA from Baghapurana.

In his order, Justice Sehgal says that there is no substance in the allegations of misconduct made against Mr Sadhu Singh and there is no sufficient ground for inquiring into the complaint.

Mr Kulwant Singh, a resident of Baghapurana, had filed a complaint against the MLA, alleging that the police had maltreated him (complainant) and member of his family under pressure from the MLA in a property dispute case.


Diarrhoea cases on the rise
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 25
Water-borne diseases and respiratory problems are on the rise in the region due to non-potable water and delayed monsoon.

The SMO, Dr Dalip Kumar, said today that jaundice outbreak was seasonal. Dr Ram Niwas, in charge of the HMCA hospital, said on an average 15-20 patients with stomach problems checked into the hospital. Some cases of typhoid had also been reported.

Dr Satish Jain, child specialist, said he got at least two cases of jaundice daily. However, nearly a dozen cases of diarrhoea had to be treated daily.

Dr Subhas Nagpal GAMS said he had diagnosed three patients with hepatitis recently. He received at least 10 cases of diarrhoea daily. He said respiratory problems were on the rise due to humidity. The Municipal Council had failed to provide money to the PWSSB for running the water supply system properly, despite intervention by the Deputy Commissioner, sources said.


Action against former MLA sought
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 25
The President and members of the District Bar Association submitted a memorandum to the SSP here demanding action against Mr Baldev Singh Khiala, senior Akali leader and former MLA, Mr Maghar Singh, a retired Principal and Mr Bahadur Singh, a retired teacher, for allegedly maligning lawyers, particularly Mr Dalip Singh, member of the bar.

The local lawyers have been on strike since July 23. They have resolved to abstain from the court till the proceedings against Mr Dalip Singh were dropped.


Farmers await paddy compensation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
As many as 25 farmers from the Tarsikka block are being driven from pillar to post to get compensation from the government. They had approached arhtiyas for the payment of compensation for paddy sold at rates below the minimum support price of Rs 580 per bag.

The paddy sold by the farmers to market committees is registered with Tarsikka committee but not recorded in the register of the Department of Food and Supplies. An amount of Rs 1.83 lakh is pending as compensation.

Despite several letters by the Food and Supplies Department to the Director of the department, underlining the non-registration of paddy sold by it, no notice has been taken. The department had written three letters last year.

The farmers had met the MLA, Mr Sawinder Singh Kathunangal (Majitha), and got an assurance from him but nothing came of it.

The farmers have procured a statement showing the details of unspent money in respect of paddy compensation after disbursement. The statement which shows Rs 25 lakh as balance amount has been forwarded to the Director of the department.

The farmers have urged the authorities to release the compensation, saying that the bank statement showed that the department had enough money to pay the compensation.


Dry weather hits milk production
Jaswinder Paul

Bathinda, July 25
With no sign of arrival of monsoon in the region and low moisture content in the air not only the kharif crops like paddy and cotton are in bad condition but dairy farming is also affected. Due to drought-like situation there is a scarcity of green fodder which has adversely affected the capacity of milch cattle.

According to Animal Husbandry Department authorities this would affect milk production next year also as the cattle would not be able to conceive.

Farmers were giving only dry cattle feed and wheat husk to the cattle, which is not sufficient food for the cattle.

Ponds in most of the villages have dried up and farmers are finding it difficult to arrange sufficient water to give a bath to animals.

As milch cattle have failed to conceive prices of the animals will decrease next year. Cattle traders from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other states come to Punjab in May every year and buy pregnant cattle.

Veterinary Officials said milch cattle become pregnant if there is specific moisture content in the climate. Due to excessive heat and disturbed climatic conditions the dairy farm owners are finding it difficult to induce pregnancy in cattle. Adverse climatic condition have disturbed the reproduction process of the milch cattle. These are not producing milk to their full capacity.

With the harvesting of wheat during the previous rabi season by combines by most of the farmers, there was a scarcity of wheat husk. But farmers had thought that during the monsoon, there would be sufficient green fodder, for the cattle.

A farmer of Mehma Sarja village said even after four attempts of artificial insemination of his cow, it had not become pregnant. He had spend a big sum on the process.

The other problem which farmers are facing is the poor health of calves. Due to present weather there are several cases of worms in stomachs of calves. The farmers are spending huge sums on their treatment.

Besides, owners of different “Gaushalas” are finding it difficult to rear large number of cattle in absence of green fodder. The condition of stray cattle is worst. These are eating whatever comes their way to keep themselves alive.

Dr Ashok Kumar, a veterinary officer said if the present climate did not change most of the milch cattle would not become pregnant.

Certain kind of weather was necessary so that the cattle could conceive.

Mr Ashok said farmers should pay special attention towards their cattle and should follow the instruction of the veterinary doctors.


PSEB step on salaries ‘illegal’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
“Any cut in salary is illegal and unconstitutional,” claim 300-odd policemen on deputation with the PSEB maintaining that they would accept their salaries for July “under protest”.

Talking to The Tribune, they maintain that Article 360 of the Constitution clearly provides for that the salary of an employee cannot be arbitrarily cut or slashed without prior approval of both Houses of Parliament. Among those facing the cut would be the Chairman, the Secretary as well as the Member (Administration), besides the ADGP (Vigilance-cum-Security) and 300-odd policemen working under him. While the Chairman and the Secretary belong to the IAS, the Member (Administration) is a PCS officer and the ADGP (Vigilance and Security) an IPS officer.

The decision of the Punjab Government as well as the PSEB to “slash the salaries of all class III to class I employees of the board by 25 per cent and of class IV employees by 10 per cent for July and August was bad in law and against the spirit of Article 360 of the constitution, allege employees. “It was all the more illegal for deputationists who are otherwise government employees,” they said.

Though the board has subsequently tried to clarify that there is “no slashing of or cut in salaries, it is only a deferment of parts of the salaries” which has been ordered keeping in view the financial position of the board, the employees are resentful and may resort to an agitation.


Thermal plant staff refuse to accept pay
Our Correspondent

Lehra Mohabat (Bathinda), July 25
Employees of the local thermal plant have refused to accept the salaries as they alleged that about 60 per cent cut had been imposed on the salaries and allowances by the authorities concerned.

The employees said the Union decided that they would not accept the salary if the generation allowance was not given to them in cash. They said the boycott would continue till some decision was taken.

Mr Malkit Singh Maari, general secretary of the GHTP Employees Union said after the imposition of 25 per cent cut, their salary was reduced to mere 40 per cent of the fixed salary.

The PSEB authorities had said the generation allowance given to the thermal plant employees would not be given in cash rather the same would be deposited in the GPFs of the employees.

A similar decision was also taken regarding the 25 per cent cut in the salaries of the PSEB employees.

Mr Maari said they would hold a dharna at the thermal plant on July 29.

Meanwhile, the TL Sub-Division of Employees Federation of the PSEB said in a press note issued today that the employees would hold a rally in Patiala on July 26 to show their resentment against the decision of the authorities.


Property records computerised
Our Correspondent

Doda (Muktsar), July 25
Mrs Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, while inaugurating the computerisation of the property records said here today that the same facility had been provided at Muktsar, Malout and Gidderbaha tehsils and Lambi sub-tehsil.

She said under the new system photographs of sellers, buyers and witnesses would be taken and stored in computers through a special camera.

She said there was a provision to display the rates of properties at the time of the registration of the deed.

Meanwhile speaking at another function in Muktsar, Ms Sharma said efforts should be made to plant maximum saplings. She also planted a sapling at the mini secretariat here.


Scholarships for wards of martyred cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Punjab Government has announced the release of scholarship to 1299 wards of police personnel, who sacrified their lives while fighting terrorism in the state.

The grant of scholarships was earlier discontinued by the previous government in the year 1997. The state government has also decided to construct at least one police lines every year in the newly created five revenue districts, namely Mansa, Fatehgarh Sahib, Muktsar, Nawanshahr and Moga.

Mr M.S. Bhullar, DGP, Punjab said today that the state government was committed to the welfare of police personnel.

The DGP said two new police public schools would be opened at Patiala and Mohali and the land for this purpose would be allotted through PUDA. The Punjab Police had already been running four such schools at Amritsar, Bathinda, Jalandhar and Phillaur.

The government had also enhanced the permanent advance fixed for emergency expenditure to the districts from Rs 3000 per unit to Rs 50,000.


Husband held for murdering wife
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 25
The district police has succeeded in solving a blind murder case with the arrest of the husband of the victim whose body was exhumed from the outskirts of Dhogri village near here last night.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, SSP said here today that Atma Nand Singh of Ghouawali village in Bhogpur had brutally murdered his wife, Rekha Rani, and had buried the body on the outskirts of Dhogri village about four months ago.

He further said Atma Nand Singh was running an STD booth in Bhogpur town and Rekha used to visit his booth. They got married on February 6, but none of the family members of the couple attended the ceremony due to inter-caste marriage. After some time, relationship of the couple got strained over alleged extra marital affair of Rekha. Atma Nand Singh, according to the SSP, had strangled her to death with a scarf four months ago. The body was buried at Dhogri village by the accused.

The incident came to light when the brother of Rekha Phinas, asked about her whereabout from Atma Nand Singh during his recent visit to their house. Atma Nand Singh told him that Rekha had gone to Phagwara. But Phinas, failed to contact her and reported the matter to the Bhogpur police on July 23. A case was registered and Atma Nand Singh was arrested.


Gang of car thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The Patiala police has arrested three members of an inter-state gang of car lifters and recovered four Maruti cars and four motor cycles from their possession.

Disclosing this here today, district police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal said the car lifters had been arrested from the T-point at Kharajpura village by a team consisting of SHO Krishan Kumar Panthey and ASI Raghbir Singh. He said when the accused were asked to stop at a naka laid there, all of them got out of the car and tried to run off. He said they were, however, nabbed by the police party.

Mr Umranangal said the three car lifters had been identified as Chamkaur Sahib, resident Gurmit Singh Ghaggi, Neelpura (Rajpura) resident Gurbachan Singh and Dadumajra resident Jeet Singh. He said a 315 bore pistol and two live cartridges had also been recovered from Gurmit Singh.

The SSP disclosed that the gang had been active in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula besides adjoining districts of Punjab and Haryana. He said the Maruti car numbered CHH 346 in which they had been travelling when they had been nabbed by the local police had been snatched by them from a Mohali resident at gunpoint. He said three other Maruti cars had also been recovered at their instant.

He said false number plates had been affixed on all the Maruti cars recovered from the accused and superficial changes had been made in the cars so that they could not be easily recognisable. He said three Yamaha motor cycles had also been recovered from the accused, one of which had been stolen from Rajpura and another from the Kali Mata temple here. He said one Bullet mobike without any number plates had also been recovered from them.

Mr Umranangal disclosed that the accused had also admitted to have looted one liquor shop at Nadha village in Panchkula during questioning. He said more members of the gang were expected to be arrested soon.


One held for cheating Vigilance Bureau
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 25
When the Vigilance Bureau was giving a prize of Rs 25,000 to Balbir Singh for getting a ‘corrupt’ patwari nabbed little did it know that the drama was erected for getting the prize money.

After getting the money Balbir Singh seemed to have forgotten that he was given the prize for a good cause. He changed his earlier statement given to the police, while the case was pursued in the court.

As per information a revenue patwari, Prem Singh, posted at Bhuchu Kalan was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau on November 26, 1998 under the Prevention of the Corruption Act for accepting a bribe of Rs 400. The Vigilance Bureau had laid a trap to arrest the patwari on complaint of Balbir Singh.

Balbir Singh had complained to the bureau that the said patwari had asked for the bribe for registering the mutation of a piece of land owned by him. A case was registered against the patwari at Ferozepur police station in 1998.

In the meantime, Balbir Singh, received the prize money given by the Punjab Government to those give information about corrupt officials.

But during the trial Balbir Singh gave different statement in the court. The authorities concerned asked the Vigilance Bureau that as Balbir Singh had cheated the bureau he should be booked.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance) Bathinda, said Balbir Singh was yesterday booked under Section 420 of the IPC. He said the accused was arrested today.


Ex-minister’s son held for giving fake job letter

Faridkot, July 25
The district police has arrested former minister, Gurcharan Singh Panjgrayan’s son Amarjit Singh, for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh from a youth and giving him a fake appointment letter in return.

According to police sources, Harbans Singh, in his complaint to the Deputy Commissioner, had alleged that the former Congress minister’s son had promised him to get a government job and demanded the bribe. But the appointment letter, which the accused had given to him, turned out to be fake, he added.

He further said when he demanded his money back from Amarjit Singh he refused it outright.

Acting on the complaint of Harbans Singh, a case was registered against Amarjit Singh under Section 420 of the IPC. UNI


Industrialist’s killers held
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 25
The two alleged killers of multi-millionaire industrialist Bal Mukand Jindal have been arrested, senior police officials confirmed late last night. Jindal (41) was killed yesterday morning when he was having tea near the main gate of his house in Vinoba Basti at Sri Ganganagar, 40 km from here.

Sources said Jindal was taken to the district hospital immediately after the murder bid yesterday but the doctors declared him dead. The police flashed a message asking all the police stations to rush police parties on all main roads and seal borders with Punjab and Haryana. After dodging the police on the Hanumangarh-Abohar road and Karawala route, the culprits drove to Kheechranwali.They left the motor cycle in the fields and fled but were overpowered by the police. One of the assassins said it was a ‘supari’ killing.


Principals to meet today
Pension-cum-gratuity scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The shadow of despondency in the private-aided colleges over the pension-cum-gratuity scheme notified on July 9, 2002, will eclipse the meeting of the Principals of government and private colleges convened by the Punjab Education Minister at Ludhiana tomorrow.

The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) has already burnt copies of the July 9 notification.

Though the focus of tomorrow’s meeting is on higher education to raise academic standards, related burning issues like upward revision of fees, tuitions and adhering to UGC recommended teaching days in an academic session will also crop up. The government theme song is to make higher education “self-financing” rather than colleges looking upto it for financial help. Some trouble, according to informed sources, is not ruled out as the PCCTU is already agitating and the Ludhiana chapter is likely to submit a memorandum to the minister, Mr Khushal Behl, in protest against the Punjab Affiliated Colleges (Pension and Contributory Provident Fund) Rules, 2002, in respect of regulating pension-cum-contributory provident fund of the employees (teaching and non-teaching) appointed in the privately managed recognised affiliated aided colleges. The PCCTU protest is also directed against the non-release of pending Rs 50 crore, as salary grants to 140 colleges under the 95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme, and the non-payment of Rs 21 crore UGC pay scale arrears.

As per the July 9, notification, the cut-off date is now July 9, 2002. Even the mode of payment has again been changed. The scheme of granting pension is now to be operated through a trust, which is to be controlled by representatives of the management committees of the affiliated colleges as also the PCCTU. Meanwhile, on the request of the Punjab government, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has lowered the contributory provident fund deductions from 12 per cent to 10 per cent on the total salary of an employee.


Punjabi University results
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 25
Mr Sukhjitpal Singh has topped the B.Ed. entrance test held by Punjabi university on July 14. The result has been declared seven days ahead of the scheduled date.

Dr Baldev Singh, coordinator of the test, said out of the 45,000 candidates 3,000 candidates belonging to science and 7,000 belonging to the humanities had been declared by the university. The candidates can look up their results on the university website

The university authorities have also notified students seeking admissions to Master of Computer Application (MCA) in colleges affiliated with the university. The counselling for admission for general category will be held from July 25 to 27 and for reserved categories on July 29 in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering on the campus.

The Controller of Examinations, Mr Paramjit Singh Khaira, said the results of the examinations of MA sociology (1); MA Urdu (I); MA Sanskrit (I); M.Sc. Zoology (I); M.Sc. Human Biology (I); DP.Ed; BP Ed (II); BA (honours school course in Punjabi) and Economics (I); and BA (honours school course in political science Part II) conducted in May were declared today.

He added that the results of MA Linguistics (II); MSc Biotechnology (II); MSc Sports Science (II); MSc Microbial and Food Technology (I); MSc Microbial and Food Technology (II); and BA (honours school course in political science Part I) would be declared on July 26.


No move to close down PTU centres: govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Punjab Government today clarified that it had no intention of closing down the distance education centres of the PTU operating in the state and elsewhere.

An official spokesman told TNS here that the government was fully aware that thousands of students were taking education at these centres and therefore, it would not do anything which might disrupt their studies. At the same time, the government was keen on ensuring that the distance education centres followed certain basic norms with regard to providing of infrastructure, qualified faculty, etc. It was in this context that an attempt was made to keep admissions to the first year of courses in abeyance for the time being. However, the matter had since gone to the court, where the impugned order had been stayed.


Canadian experts visit site for college
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
A Canadian team of educational experts yesterday visited the nearby Athouli village to assess the feasibility of a nursing college that the Guru Nanak Nursing Educational Trust proposes to set up in the village with the help of the village panchayat and NRIs led by Mr Lehmber Singh Ghagg.

The team visited the site of the proposed project. It said it had taken up the proposal with the Indian Nursing Council and the Canadian High Commissioner, besides discussing the issue with three colleges in British Columbia, Canada.

The village panchayat led by sarpanch Tirath Singh honoured the two team members with siropas and replicas of the Golden Temple. Mr Lehmber Singh Ghagg, Mr Harshinder Singh Sandhu and Mr Harnarinder Singh, all NRIs were also honoured with robes of honour.


Security in varsity to be revamped
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
The Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University Dr S.P. Singh, has accepted the demands of agitating students, including revamping of campus security. The students had blocked traffic in protest against the alleged high-handed manner of security personnel on the university campus yesterday.

Assuring a review of security system, he said the necessary training would be imparted to the security staff.

The demands include that all pending enquiries against students be dropped and any future inquiry be conducted by academic staff jointly with student representation.


Medical college admission rule relaxed
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 25
The Punjab Government now again has given a relaxation to those medical students who have secured merit position in PMT and are keen to get admissions to medical colleges of the state by deleting the controversial clause 9 (R), of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, through a notification.

Earlier, in clause 9 (R) a condition was imposed on students under which “candidates who have got admissions under CBSE quota or have got admission to any other college shall not be given admission unless they have left the earlier seat by the date of interview or before second counselling of the CBSE in other state, whichever is earlier.

The decision of the state government has been welcomed by parents of students.


Amritsar exporters rue shift in Pak trade
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
The continuous standoff between India and Pakistan notwithstanding some Mumbai-based exporters have managed to expand their commercial ties with Pakistan via Karachi while Amritsar traders have been forced to cool their heels till both countries decide to open rail and road cargo traffic. The Amritsar Chamber of Exporters has been crying hoarse to allow trade with Pakistan from the city through the rail route.

A spokesman for the chamber, said the government seemed to be encouraging Mumbai exporters at the cost of the traditional local traders, who had been dealing with Pakistani businessmen for the past many decades.

During 1999-2000, Indo-Pakistan trade was worth Rs 300 crore and in 2000-2001 it went up to Rs 600 crore. The custom revenue earning during these period stood at Rs 43.47 crore and Rs 39.13 crore, respectively.

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