Tuesday, July 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD seeks Governor’s intervention
Reign of terror let loose against SAD, BJP leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal Legislature Party (SADLP) today sought intervention of the Governor, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), in reminding the state government in “the strongest possible terms of the existence of the constitution,” besides cautioning it against the “reign of repression let loose against its political opponents”.

Former Local Bodies Minister and senior BJP leader Balramji Dass Tandon, met Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Home Minister L.K. Advani in New Delhi this afternoon to apprise him of the “reign of terror let loose by the Congress Government in Punjab against both BJP and SAD workers and leaders in the state”. Talking to The Tribune over the telephone, Mr Tandon said he told Mr Advani that the situation was “very explosive”. Because of the deployment of defence forces along the international border and a “rule of terror” let loose by the Congress Government, there was an atmosphere of “apprehension and hidden fear” everywhere in this border state. “The Union Home Ministry must intervene and take prompt action to deal with this abnormal situation. The police and the Vigilance Bureau have lost both relevance and their credibility and have virtually become an official arm of the ruling Congress in harassing its political opponents,” said Mr Tandon.

In a memorandum submitted to General Jacob, the SADLP said it would also apprise the Union Home Ministry of a report on serious violations of the Constitution and human rights being committed by the state government.

“We request you to take effective steps to restore the confidence of the people, especially of the overwhelming majority opposed to the myopic political approach of the rulers of the day. As representatives of responsible opposition, we urge you in addition to apprise the Government of India of the insults being heaped on the Constitution by the brazen misdeeds of the government,” said the memorandum which was presented by a SAD delegation led by its President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The memorandum added the state police had been reduced as a violent political adjunct of the ruling party. “We are constrained to observe with deep anguish that since nothing visible has been done at your level to enforce the letter and spirit of the Constitution by disciplining the government that runs under your seal, they have been emboldened to carry their wanton and wild ways to inhuman extremes. Clearly, they have interpreted your restraint to mean a licence to rape the very spirit of democracy in broad daylight.”

Earlier, after a meeting of the SADLP, Mr Parkash Singh Badal appreciated the CPI for condemning the “inhuman actions of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau” and decided to appeal to other political parties to join the fight against the “unconstitutional and inhuman” methods used by the ruling Congress against its political opponents.

“We will organise protest rallies a all district headquarters throughout Punjab on August 9,” said Mr Badal, maintaining that workers’ meetings and conferences would also be organised at Hoshiarpur (August 3), Mansa (August 4), Ropar (August 5) and Amritsar (August 11). “We are asking the BJP and the BSP to join us in these protest rallies on August 9” he added.

Mr Badal said though he had not met his former colleague, Sucha Singh Langah, but information reaching him reveals that he has been subjected to “severe physical torture by the Vigilance Bureau”.

The “bureau had been trying to extract a statement out of him not only to link Sucha Singh Langah but the entire SAD with militants”. The bureau has also reportedly made a cassette by forcing Sucha Singh Langah to deny all allegations of torture by the investigators.

Mr Badal said he would visit Delhi on July 30 or 31 to meet the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and apprise him of the “inhuman treatment meted out to SAD workers and leaders” in the state.


Badal meets Tota Singh, others in jail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other senior Shiromani Akali Dal leaders today visited Central Jail here to meet former Education Minister Tota Singh and former members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board.

Mr Badal, who was accompanied by his son Sukhbir Singh Badal, and party General Secretary Balwinder Singh Bhunder, senior leader Jagdish Singh Garcha and All-India Sikh Students Federation leader Karnail Singh Peermohammad, alleged that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Ravinder Singh were responsible for the conspiracy under which attempts were being made to weaken the SAD.

Claiming that he had been Chief Minister three times but had never adopted a revengeful attitude, he cautioned Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to observe ethical values. He said his party would not take the present methods under which its leaders were being tortured lying down, adding that the matter of “torture” of former minister Sucha Singh Langah would be taken to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mr Badal met former minister Tota Singh besides former Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board members, Virsa Singh Baltoha, Jarnail Singh Wahad, Munawar Masih, Ashok Loomba and Kulbir Singh Randhawa, for around half an hour. He also requested the Central Jail authorities to provide medical treatment to Mr Baltoha claiming that he had only recently gone in for bypass surgery.


DIG denies allegations of Langah’s counsel
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 29
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has denied the allegations of the counsel of Sucha Singh Langah, former PWD Minister Punjab in respect of torture and humiliation.

Denial was filed by the DIG (VB) in the court of Mrs Preeti Sahni, Duty Magistrate here today in reply to July 27 request by Langah’s counsel seeking curtailment of police remand of Langah. Counsel alleged that Langah was tortured, humiliated, detained and troubled under the direct guidance of Mr B.K. Uppal, DIG, Vigilance Punjab, who also interrogated the accused using “shameful” ways to humiliate and torture him. Other counsel in his application on that day alleged that Langah told him that he had been paraded naked in the police station. The judge issued notice to the DIG and the Bureau for July 29 to file the reply.

The DIG has written that it was incorrect that the accused was ever tortured and humiliated under his guidance. He has written that there was nothing wrong in questioning the accused by the Investigating Officers in the head office of Bureau in Chandigarh. He has written that contents of the application moved by the counsel of the accused clearly projected his intentions for the accused that they were distorting the facts with a view to misguiding the court so that the remand was not extended beyond July 30 and investigations derailed and purpose of the investigation was sabotaged. He has written that they were obeying the court order. He has written that the welfare of the accused was being looked after and he was being examined regularly by the Medical Officer. He has prayed that the application of the counsel be dismissed as it had been made to mislead the court.

The counsel of Langah moved another application in the court alleging that Langah was being interrogated intensively by a police team from Gurdaspur which was against the law. Talking to The Tribune the counsel said that when he met Langah he was looking terrified.

The court will take up all these applications on July 30 when Langah would be produced in the court in connection with further remand. The police has planned strict security for tomorrow. According to sources entry of ‘unknown’ persons will be restricted in the judicial complex.


VB’s action criticised
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 29
Leaders and members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (youth wing) have taken a serious note of the reported shabby treatment meted out by the vigilance officials to former minister Sucha Singh Langah.

In a press note issued here today, president of the SAD (youth wing) Sharanjit Singh Dhillon stated that Capt Amarinder Singh was encouraging inhumane and undescribable third degree torture on senior leaders of the SAD under the garb of anti-corruption campaign.

He also alleged that the vigilance department was trying to book Langah under POTA and other senior officers of the Badal government under false cases.


PPSC scam: produce answer sheets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
Taking up a bunch of applications filed in connection with the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the state of Punjab and other respondents to be ready with the record, including answer sheets of all candidates.

Issuing the directions, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, also fixed September 9 as the next date of hearing following the failure of the state to file written statements in almost all the cases.

The Bench verbally observed that as far as possible counsel for the petitioners should try and conclude the arguments by September 10. Counsel for the respondents could carry on with the arguments on September 11, the Judges concluded.

After going through applications seeking the production of original answer books of the candidates appearing in the PCS and allied services examinations, the Judges added that the record pertaining to the selections had already been produced in the court in connected matters. The remaining record, including the answer sheets of all the candidates, should be kept ready.

Earlier during proceedings, an Additional Solicitor-General, appearing on behalf of the state, assured the court that the government would file written statements within two weeks from today. He also apologised to the court for the delay in filing written statements.

Judges’ case hearing today

After an Additional Solicitor-General appearing on behalf of the High Court claimed that a city-based advocate had no locus standi to challenge the orders directing the withdrawal of work from three Judges, a Division Bench of the High Court today fixed July 30 as the next date of hearing for enabling the two sides to address the court in this matter.

Appearing before the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Kiran Anand Lall, the Additional Solicitor-General sought half an hour to argue the matter. He added that the petitioner’s right to seek a copy of the order issued by the Chief Justice regarding the withdrawal of work should be considered only if the court was satisfied that Dr Surya Parkash had the right to file the petition.

The petitioner, on the other hand, submitted that he had to challenge the orders and would address the court on the issue the next day. He added that copy of the CJ’s order had not been handed over to him.

During the proceedings, the Additional Solicitor-General produced before the court a sealed envelope containing the CJ’s orders. He added that the document was “privileged” and as such could not be handed over to the petitioner. After having a look, the Judges asked the Bench-Secretary to reseal the envelope without delay and also asked the respondents to keep it ready.

Claiming that the impugned orders were issued in violation of the provisions of the Constitution and the Judges (Inquiry) Act of 1968, besides the law laid down by the Supreme Court, the petitioner had earlier contended that “the Judges, neither alone, nor banded together, could place sanctions on a Judge”. Under the Constitution, the only action that could be taken against a Supreme Court or a High Court Judge was “impeachment and for that purpose a procedure had been prescribed”.

Giving details, he had asserted: “The process of impeachment has not been kept very simple.... A Judge can be removed from his office by an order of the President It has to be supported by a majority of not less than two-third members of each House of Parliament.”

He had added that “the Chief Justice of a High Court or the Supreme Court has not been empowered by any provision of the Constitution or any Act or Rule in existence to conduct an inquiry into alleged misbehaviour by the High Court Judges and punish him by way of withdrawal of work resulting in a dent on the independence of the judiciary”.

SSP told to probe detention

In less than four months after an Amritsar district resident was reportedly rescued by a Warrant Officer from a police post, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the High Court on Monday asked the Senior Superintendent of Police concerned to look into the allegations of illegal detention and fabrication of record.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Goel observed: “This court appointed a warrant officer to verify the allegations made in the petition that Kulwant Singh was illegally detained. The warrant officer submitted his report, dated April 9, to the effect that the detainee was found sitting on a stool outside one of the rooms in police post Kacha Pucca under Bhikhiwind police station in Amritsar district and no case was registered. Thereafter, ASI Palwinder Singh stated that no roznamcha register was maintained by the police of Kucha Pucca police post and the same was kept by Bhikhiwind police station. Finally, the warrant officer went to the police station and found that there was no complaint against the detainee. It was after 35 minutes, a roznamcha register was produced where entry of arrest under Sections 107 and 151 of the Cr PC was made”.

The Judge concluded: “Counsel for the petitioner says that the entry was fabricated only to shield and cover up the illegal detention. Matter requires investigation. Let Amritsar’s SSP look into the matter”.

Mr Gulshan Khurana was appointed warrant officer on a petition filed by Patti resident Ranjit Singh. He had alleged that Kulwant Singh was picked up by the police on March 26 and money demanded for his release.


Development report presented to CM
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 29
The preliminary draft state development report for Punjab was presented to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today. Commissioned by the Planning Commission, the report has been prepared by an inhouse team of the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) and some external experts.

Glimpses of the report were shown to the Chief Minister and a select band of administrative secretaries, who debated on various aspects of the report. The CRRID Director, Mr Rashpal Malhotra, said the report was a perspective plan for the overall development of Punjab. It was intended to serve as a “resource or referral” document for the Planning Commission for use as a bench-mark to make financial allocation to the state in different areas of development.

The report presents a holistic view of different facets of Punjab. It is intended to enable financial institutions allocate funds to the state, attract investors and develop economic and social matrix in an integrated manner. The chapters presented today included demographic development, profile on development and change, fiscal and financial management, rural development, health, agriculture and information technology.

The final abridged draft is expected to be ready by the end of August when senior advisers from the Planning Commission would meet the Chief Minister. Mr Malhotra said the abridged version of the report would have a foreword by Dr Manmohan Singh. The report would “market” Punjab at home and abroad, particularly in Canada, the USA and the UK, as it contains “bankable” schemes that would attract corporate sector to invest in the state.

After sitting through the presentation, Capt Amarinder Singh told TNS that the report, based on facts and figures, gave a true picture of the ground reality. The question, however, is where the money will come from given the near-crisis situation of Punjab finances?

He also referred to his visit abroad next month to hold discussions with the international financial institutions, including the World Bank and United Nations Office for Project Services etc, and remarked, “Mine is an exploratory visit to see how Punjab can rise to the occasion to avail of funds available for development as per the guidelines of those institutions”. He appreciated the efforts of CRRID and experts in compiling the report.

The participants evinced a keen interest in several aspects related to the social sector: education, health etc. The issue of levy of user charges for the services provided by the state in respect of higher education, drinking water and sewerage, transport, healthcare etc evoked much interest. The Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Board, Dr S.S. Johl, said the need was to first determine “efficiency levels” before user charges were levied. The aim was to recover at least operation and maintenance costs and improve the quality of services. The concept, he said, should not be allowed to pass on government inefficiencies to the beneficiaries. Capt Amarinder Singh intervened to say that when neither water supply nor sewerage facilities were available in major parts of any given city, how could user charges be levied for all.

Similarly, the health indices in respect of sex ratio, mother and child healthcare or providing computer education or promoting information technology were commented upon. The practice of “absenteeism” among teachers and doctors in rural areas was taken cognisance of. The Chief Minister said, “The profile of Punjab presented today is exactly the way we want to develop the state. But my worry, however, is where to get money from”.

CRRID staffers pointed out that for most of the actionable schemes spelt out in the development report, finances were required to be raised from non-budget sources and not to burden the state exchequer. However, they also put a rider saying that funds from non-budget sources would come only if the government would improve its credibility and provide the requisite infrastructure in urban and rural areas.

The Planning Commission mandate to CRRID was clear: the report should not to be “influenced” by the state government. It should incorporate policies and programmes of both the governments (Akali-BJP and Congress). It was claimed by CRRID that the presentation was devoid of “ifs and buts” and to the final report would be added an additional chapter “Vision of Punjab 2020”.


Schools, colleges closed till August 4
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 29
The Punjab Government has responded to a proposal by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to close down educational institutions in the state, including universities, colleges and schools, to allow the board to meet the demands of the agricultural sector in the face of low hydel generation due to partial failure of the monsoon.

According to sources, the state government has ordered closure of all universities and colleges in the state till August 4. According to directions received by the Punjabi University authorities here, interviews and counselling for various courses will, however, be held as per schedule.

Similarly all government schools have also been closed for a week. Earlier the PSEB had recommended closure of all educational institutions besides advancing offices hours in government office to ease pressure on the board which is hard-pressed to supply uninterrupted 10-hour power supply to the agricultural sector.

The sources said besides the pressure of supplying power free of cost to the agriculture sector, the board was also perturbed by the declining power generation by its hydel projects. They said the board was barely maintaining the level at the Ranjit Sagar dam at 190 metres and that hydel generation was being done only by two units which were also run according to the water supply position.

When questioned on the issue, board member, Operations, S.K. Anand said problems were being faced because both the Beas and Ravi were rain-fed rivers. He said power generation at Bhakra could also decline next month if its catchment area did not receive adequate rain. 


Judicial magistrates’ jurisdiction changed
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, July 29
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has transferred the work pending before two judicial courts of the district to other judges with immediate effect. Meanwhile, the District and Sessions Judge has also changed the jurisdiction of all judicial magistrates of the district.

The District and Sessions Judge, Mr M.M.S. Bedi, told TNS over the phone that all pending criminal and civil cases before the judicial magistrates, Mr Jaswinder Singh and Mr Sham Lal, who have recently been transferred, have been transferred to Judicial Magistrates (Class I), Mr G.S. Dhillon and Mr Gurnam Singh. Since there was a shortage of judicial magistrates against the sanctioned posts, it became necessary to transfer the cases to other courts so that the work did not get affected, said Mr Bedi.

Meanwhile, the District and Sessions Judge has demanded from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to make available two judges at the earliest so that extra workload on other magistrates can be reduced.

Mr Bedi has changed the jurisdiction of all judicial magistrates of the district. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr D.S. Johal will look after the cases falling under Ferozepore city, RPF and Ghal Khurd police stations. The areas falling under the Sadar police station, Ferozepore and GRP have been transferred to Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr K.K. Kareer. The Mamdot, Jalalabad and Guru Har Sahai areas have gone to Judicial Magistrate (Class I), Mr Gurnam Singh and the Ferozepore Cantonment and Mallanwala areas to Judicial Magistrate (Class I), Mrs Mandeep Kaur Bedi. They will also be the area magistrates of their respective areas.

In Zira tehsil, the areas falling under the Zira and Makhu police stations have been entrusted to Subdivisional Judicial Magistrates, Mr K.K. Lumhas and Mallanwala to Judicial Magistrate (Class I), Mr Kuljit Singh. In Fazilka tehsil, the areas falling under the city and Sadar police stations, including the GRP, have been transferred to the Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Mrs Gurmeet Kaur. She will also look after all the judicial cases of 25 villages falling under Khuian Sarvar police station.

In Abohar tehsil, besides the Judicial Magistrate (Class I), Mr G.S. Dhillon, the areas falling under the Abohar Sadar police station, GRP and city police station have been transferred to the Judicial Magistrate (Class I), Mr R.K. Garg. All judges will also act as area magistrates in their areas.


Bungling’ in UBDC project
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 29
Rupees 180 crore World Bank-funded project to remodel the Upper Bari Doab Canal and its allied channels in Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts is mired in allegation. The works were not executed by the “standard company” and continued even during last Assembly elections and when the poll code conduct was in effect.

According to official sources old gates were removed from Awankha distributary and Nano Nangal distributary. In place of gates mud was heaped to stop the flow of water. Gate of Gazikot distributary was replaced despite the court having ordered a stay on it since 1998.

Sources said that water channel from Sarna to Parmanand was to be desilted under the scheme. But the work was not taken up but payment for it had been withdrawn.

Under the project the UBDC and its distributaries were to be deepened and banks of the UBDC canal were to be strengthened. The banks were to be raised with earth. Capacity of the UBDC canal was to be increased so that link distributaries could get water to full capacity.

Official sources said that the distributaries were not deepened to the specified extent. The banks of the canal which already had raised layers of work on either side were erased only to make it look uniform level. Wherever earthwork was done earth shown in record to have been brought from a distance of 3 km to 5 km to get inflated payment. Wherever earth was brought from the nearby irrigation or forest land trees were felled and no account of the sale of the trees maintained.

The sources said that remodeling of the existing water channels was done mainly to give water to tailenders. The aim remains unachieved due to frequent canal cuts resorted to by farmers.

Complaint regarding the implementation of the project has been made to higher authorities, by Mr Ravail Chand MLA, Narot Jaimal Singh Assembly constituency but in vain. Farmers of the area headed by Mr Channan Singh Dorangla a progressive farmer of this district demanded a CBI probe into the matter.


Dental college MD escapes from custody
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 29
Dr Naginder Singh Harika, Managing Director (MD) of Khalsa Dental College and Hospital, Nangal Kalan (Mansa), who was lodged at the local central jail here as undertrial in various cases of frauds fled from police custody while he was under treatment at the PGI, Chandigarh.

Official sources said Mr Ishwar Singh, district police chief, here had placed a head constable and three constables, who were on guard duty, under suspension. A case in this connection had been registered at Sector 11, police station, Chandigarh.

Sources said Dr Harika, who had been facing various charges of fraud, was shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh from the local central jail, as he was having heart problem on July 19. On July 20, he escaped from police custody.

Dr Harika, who enjoyed all sorts of immunity from any legal action during the previous SAD-BJP government was put behind the bars when his bail application was rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case registered against him at Mansa police station in connection with the fraud committed with various students in admission to BDS, B.Sc. and nursing courses.

Parents of affected students in the complaints had alleged that Dr Harika collected crores of rupees by claiming that dental and nursing courses being run by him were duly approved by the authorities concerned.

The students were allured to the college by inserting advertisements in various dailies claiming that the dental college was duly recognised by the Dental Council of India.

As the college is not recognised, a number of students, who had paid capitation fee in lakhs, are finding themselves on the road as their degrees are not able to fetch them jobs, parents of affected students say.

Mr Swaran Singh, jail superintendent when contacted, said the higher authorities had been informed regarding the escape of Dr Naginder Singh Harika from police custody.


Markfed Manager held for pilferage
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 29
Government wheat worth crores is being pilfered in connivance with officials of Markfed all over the state.

This was revealed following the arrest of a manager and an Inspector of Markfed and three others by the police. The district police chief, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said the suspects had adopted a novel method of pilfering wheat during loading it on trains.

The suspects would drench bags of wheat with a view to increasing their weight and pilfer wheat rendered excess thereby.

He said those arrested were Ajaib Singh Sandhu (Manager), Ram Parkash Puri (Inspector), two of their touts — Rakesh Kumar, alias Kesa, and Dharm Pal, alias Bagoshah, both residents of the Muradpur locality, and Rajinder Mohan, owner of Mahajan Flour Mill. He said 600 bags (weighing 300 quintals) which bore the Markfed mark had been seized.

Meanwhile, Dr Sukhdev Singh Lauka, president of the Citizen’s Council, has sought a high-level probe into the huge properties amassed by Markfed officials and those of other procurement agencies, disproportionate to their known sources of income. 


15 SAD MLAs ‘want to join Congress’
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, July 29
The political adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister, Rana Gurmeet Sodhi, has claimed that 15 MLAs of the Shiromani Akali Dal have approached the Congress to join the ruling party. He was talking to mediapersons here last night.

Reacting to the contrary claims made by Mr Parkash Singh Badal that most of the Congress MLAs are in favour of toppling the Capt Amarinder Singh government, he said before dreaming of toppling the Congress government, the SAD supremo must take care to keep his own house in order.

In reply to another question, he said the power shortage situation was grim in the state but every possible effort was being made to provide maximum power supply to the farmers. 


Sack of Sodhi loyalists kicks up row in BJP
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 29
The removal of four loyalists of the former state BJP chief, Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, has kicked up a row in the BJP as Mr Sodhi has termed the action of the state BJP chief, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, as violation of the party constitution by Mr Rinwa and the state BJP organising secretary, Mr Avinash Jaiswal.

While Mr Sodhi termed the removal of his loyalists and chiefs of BJP’s Amritsar (Urban and Rural), Batala and Mukerian units by Mr Rinwa as violation of the party constitution, Mr Jaiswal refuted the allegations levelled by Mr Sodhi and asserted that it was Mr Sodhi who had “violated” the party discipline by taking party’s “internal” matters to the media.

Mr Sodhi said the removal was illegal since no show-cause notice was issued and as the matter was not discussed by the Disciplinary Action Committee in accordance with the provisions of the party constitution. “Show-cause notices are a must for anybody’s removal. This is pure dictatorship and the action is against the spirit of the party’s constitution,” said Mr Sodhi.

Mr Sodhi also demanded that the state party set-up should be reconstituted on the lines of the recent reshuffle in the party’s central set-up. Mr Sodhi also hailed the elevation of the Gurdaspur MP, Mr Vinod Khanna, as Union Minister and said this would boost the morale of party workers in the state.

On the other hand, Mr Jaiswal said Mr Sodhi had no right to “violate” the party discipline by going to media on an “internal” matter. “It is Mr Sodhi who has violated the party discipline. We have called a meeting tomorrow to discuss the matter,” said Mr Jaiswal.


Anti-graft drive ‘should be fair’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
Mr Brinder Singh Mann, member, Working Committee of the youth wing of the SAD (A), while applauding the anti-corruption drive of the state government has said that it should be fair.

Addressing a meeting of workers of the party here last evening Mr Mann said the campaign should expose the bunglings by members of all previous governments without any partiality.


SAD (A) demands one rank, one pension for ex-servicemen
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, July 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has decided to launch a struggle to secure the one rank-pension scheme for the ex-servicemen.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the SAD (Amritsar) and MP, today said that successive governments had been denying this benefit to the ex-servicemen and now his party had decided to mobilise the support of MPs, belonging to all political parties to urge the Central Government to implement the scheme for the ex-servicemen.

He added that the SAD (Amritsar) had decided to take the issue to its logical end after the Union Defence Minister, Mr George Fernades, had categorically stated that the demand of ex-servicemen for the one rank-one pension scheme had not been found feasible due to large financial and administrative implications. Mr Fernandes had also said that the government had accepted the recommendations of the fifth pay commission relating to pension and had issued orders in this connections.

Phagwara: Mr Mann has written Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee pleading for setting up the proposed national defence university at Anandpur Sahib in recognition of the fact that the Sikhs and the state of Punjab had been in the forefront of the country’s defence.

The Sikh Gurus and the Panth had made martial spirit part and parcel the Sikh identity. It was the creation of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib by Guru Gobind Singh and the down of the Khalsa raj later brought about a revolt against the oppression of which Mughal rule, stemming the tide of foreign invasions says the letter.

Mr Mann’s letter has been recommended by 26 members of Parliament, including those from the Congress, the SAD, the BJP, the SHSAD, the Lok Bhalai Party, and eminent persons like Mr Duggal, Mr Kuldip Nayar and film star Sunil Dutt.


Lack of funds hits flood-control exercise
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, July 29
The Punjab government’s financial crisis has hit the flood control programme severely and crops and land on the banks of Sutlej face threat of erosion.

Many villages near Anandpur Sahib, including Balowal, Burj, Lodhipur, Gajpur, Chandpur and Hariwal are living under threat of floods as the releases in the Sutlej have been above normal this year. Sutlej waters have washed away land in the said villages.

Villagers today showed several places where the river had washed away the land. Water has cut groves along the banks which can lead to breaches.

Recently river water entered the fields in the areas and damaged the crops. District administration officials visited the area and directed the officials of the Drainage Department to take flood control measures. The Drainage Department sent estimate of Rs 8 lakh for flood-control measures. But the funds were not sanctioned and the villagers are forced to be at the mercy of nature.

The sources said that the said villages were flood-prone but the situation had become alarming due to the release of excess water from Bhakra dam this year. Due to bad situation of water in other dams the onus of generation of more power has been put on Bhakra power house. Due to this almost all turbines of Bhakra power house were operating and releasing more water in the natural course of Sutlej.

The villagers alleged that Sutlej was flowing to brims and if it rained in the hills it was certain that the river water would enter the villages. Flood control measures have not been carried out in the area for the past few years, this had weakened the banks of Sutlej, they alleged.

The BBMB authorities admitted that this year releases in the natural course of Sutlej were above normal. Generally minimum water is released in the natural course of the river. However, this year due to melting of snow and poor monsoon the burden of power generation and irrigation has come upon Bhakra power house and excess water had to be released. Generally nearly 500 cusecs is released in the natural course of Sutlej. This year about nearly 12000 cusecs were being released.

The BBMB authorities claimed that carrying capacity of the Sutlej river was about one lakh cusecs and the villagers have encroached on the river bed for the quite some time.

Now, when more water is released it is natural that it would flood the encroached area.


SGPC general secy feels ‘isolated’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 29
Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, General Secretary, SGPC is feeling ‘isolated and helpless’ as many of her valuable suggestions pertaining to ‘dharam prachar’ are being ignored by the President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar.

“It might be a communication gap or generation gap that I have failed to persuade the SGPC chief to concede some significant genuine demands pertaining to the Sikh community,” she rued. She said she had neither sought any personal favour nor tried to interfere in the day-to-day working of the SGPC. However, she said it was a matter of concern that the ‘debate culture’ which was prevalent in the fifties was stopped as far as meetings of the SGPC executive were concerned. Earlier, resolutions were passed after prolonged debates and the trustees (SGPC members) were free to air their views. She said that in the forthcoming meetings of the SGPC she would start giving dissenting notes on decisions, which she considered were wrong or not in accordance with Sikh maryada “I don’t want to be party to any decision which I consider wrong in future”. To a question Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said she would not seek the intervention of the party high command, including the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, since it was purely a religious matter pertaining to the SGPC. When asked as to why she was not quitting the post when she was feeling suffocated, she said she would fight it out from within.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said she was aware of the fact that the statement she was giving would definitely antagonise some of her colleagues in the SGPC. “Even then I want to call a spade a spade rather than adopting double standards, she said.

Earlier too, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur had written to Jathedar, Akal Takht, to constitute an advisory board to scrutinise the complaints before they were taken up by the Sikh clergy. She alleged that she was writing to him (Jathedar Akal Takht) since the SGPC had failed to constitute an advisory board despite directives of Akal Takht and the matter taken up in the SGPC executive.

Giving details of her resentment, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said the SGPC had failed to set up a committee of Sikh intellectuals who were expert in information technology so that the SGPC could give reply to the numerous queries to Akal Takht by people all over the world. “I had promised my voters to spread ‘dharam prachar’ with the strengthening of information technology in the SGPC. However, I have failed to persuade all concerned”.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said the SGPC had failed to take credit for the ‘SGPC web radio’, the inauguration of which was postponed by Mr Badungar for the reasons best known to him. Though the web radio had been working successfully yet the SGPC could not take credit for the same.

“Similarly, the SGPC has failed to revive the Sikh ‘itihas’ board despite a number of reminders,” she said. The re-constitution of the board has been hanging fire since 1996. Earlier, addressing Sikh writers at a seminar, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur had said they (Sikh writers) should stop thinking that the SGPC would help promote their writings.


Ban activities of Mahant Ashutosh: SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 29
The SGPC today sought a blanket ban on the activities of Mahant Ashutosh (Noormehlia) who has decided to organise a programme at Malout in Muktsar on July 31.

In a communication to Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr Badungar warned that if the state government failed to take any step to check his activities it would vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state. He alleged that his followers had attacked and injured many Sikh devotees at Tarn Taran recently.

Mr Rajinder Singh, Chief Khalsa Panchayat, has announced that he would personally go to Malout along with activists to stop Mahant Ashutosh from holding ‘Guru pujan’.

Mr Kanwar Pal Singh, spokesman, Dal Khalsa, said if the state government failed to stop him from holding the function at Malout on July 31, it would be held responsible for the consequence which would follow.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh should take prompt action as the proposed function would hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. He called upon representatives of various Sikh organisations to force the state government to take action.


Failure of rain: farmers look for odd jobs
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Inna Khera (Malout), July 29
The joy of residents of this village and its adjoining areas whose fields were rendered uncultivable due to water logging, knew no bounds when about two years ago, they were able to grow wheat, paddy and cotton crops again after the problem of water logging was solved by the Punjab Government by spending crores of rupees. However, their happiness turned out to be short-lived as the delayed monsoon has forced them to plough their standing paddy and cotton crops this season due to acute scarcity of water.

This village witnessed flood-like situation about six years ago when water flowed over sand dunes. Green fields were converted in to lakes due to severe water logging. The village was cut off from rest of the world. Now again, farmers of the area are facing the worst paddy crop has started drying up in the absence of adequate water supply for irrigation.

Jaswinder Singh, a farmer pointed out that he was left with no other option but to plough his paddy crop on 32 acres where he had spent about Rs 4000 per acre.

Nishan Singh, another farmer had to plough cotton crop in about 1.5 acres apart from ploughing paddy crop in five acres as both had started drying up. He said the canal water supply was not enough to irrigate the fields.

The affected farmers pointed out that canal water was given to them four times in a month. But three times out of four they failed to get even a drop of water as the distributaries remained closed. The underground water was also unfit for use.

Balkar Singh, another farmer, seems to be doubly cursed as the “arindi” sown by him after ploughing dried up paddy crop in two acres, also dried up due to shortage of water. Shubeg Singh said his cane crop had also started withering due to drought-like conditions prevailing in the region.

Meanwhile, a number of farmers have started moving to cities and towns in search of jobs. Most of the small and marginal farmers have started doing menial jobs.

Malkeet Singh of Kotbhai village situated near Gidderbaha, hometown of former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, said he was trying to get sales sub agency of different newspapers so that he could earn his livelihood.

Ram Singh, a farmer of Multania village of Bathinda district has got himself employed as a driver after he failed to earn enough due to repeated failure of crops.

Mr Sanjay Kumar, an iron merchant of Maur Mandi of Bathinda district, said small and marginal farmers had started frequenting various shops for getting odd jobs.


IMA flays PSEB move on generators
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 29
The state unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) will oppose move by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to levy charges on consumers for installing generator sets. This was stated here today in a press note issued by Dr Kuldeep Singh, president (elect), IMA, Punjab.

He said according to a recent letter issued by the board, every consumer had to deposit Rs 250 as permission fee for installing a generator set with capacity up to 25 KVA and Rs 25 per KVA above this limit. Payment was required to be made for power meter, change of switch, other fittings and testing fee. He said the consumers were required to pay electricity duty at the rate of 11 paise per unit of self-produced power.

He said a power meter was priced between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000 depending upon its being single phase or double phase. Thus, every consumer would have to spend nearly Rs 5,000 to install a generator set. Instead of giving concessions for self-production of electricity, the board had issued order to collect funds, he alleged. The people had to install generators as the board had failed to provide continuous power supply. He urged the board to relax conditions. He threatened an agitation by the state IMA unit if remedial measure were not taken soon. 


Reconsider move on generators: PGA
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
The Public Grievances Association (PGA) today said it would file a case in the high court if the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) did not withdraw the fee levied on the use of generators.

The association said the customers were forced to use generators as the PSEB failed to provide them uninterrupted power. It said there would not be any objection from the customers about giving information to the authorities about the use of generators, but levying a fee was uncalled for.

Mr Dharamvir Walia, President of the association in a press note said the association had written to the Punjab Chief Minister, the Power Minister, the Chairman and the Chief Engineer of the PSEB urging them to reconsider the decision about charging fee for the use of generators.

He further said that despite the presence of two thermal plants in the district the residents of Bathinda were not getting adequate power supply. 


PSEB staff strike on August 13
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 29
Employees of the PSEB will observe a strike on August 13 in protest against the deduction in their salary by the board. This was decided at a meeting of the struggle committee of the employees here today.

Mr Om Parkash, member of the struggle committee, said in a press note that employees would observe tomorrow as protest day throughout the state.

He said employees would stage dharnas in front of the head office of the PSEB in Patiala from August 6 to 8.

He pointed out that the loss being incurred by the board was due to the supply of electricity free of cost to farmers.


Octroi evasion hits MC finances
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 29
The local Municipal Council is facing a financial crisis due to its failure to check the evasion of octroi allegedly being done in connivance with certain officials of the council.

Income from octroi came down from Rs 16.27 lakh in May to Rs 15 lakh in June. Officials of the council attribute of the fall to recession.

Sources revealed that the owner of a photographer’s laboratory had imported machinery worth Rs 72 lakh, on which octroi of Rs 1.1 lakh was payable, but he using the influence of correspondent had paid only Rs 10,000. Some time ago, a truck carrying marble had entered the city without the payment of octroi, but the matter had been hushed up on account of the involvement of certain municipal officials.

Directions had been issued to the council to probe the matter and effect the recovery of the octroi evaded with penalty. The owner of the laboratory said octroi had been paid on the basis of the challan and the balance would be paid on receipt of the machinery bill.


A village that lives on Shani’s bounty
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, July 29
Suffering from Saturn’s malevolent gaze? Do not worry. Donate mustard oil or money or both on a Saturday and protect yourself from the adverse effects of Saturn.

This ‘dasha’ of Saturn, or ‘Shani’ as it is popularly called may be a bane for some, but for this small village near Devigarh it is a boon. The entire male population of nearly 300 earns a livelihood by collecting donations given to propitiate ‘Shani Devta’.

Come Saturday, the day known as planet Saturn’s day, and Patiala is swamped by hordes of ‘Shanidevs’ dressed in white. Most of them are ‘Dakot’ Brahmins belonging to Jainagar Rurki village. The residents of the village are mainly Dakot Brahmins who, believe it or not, hire public transport, including buses and Jeeps, to reach Patiala which is about 30 km from their village.

There are few other villages in the vicinity where this subcaste of Brahmins resides.

Traditionally, it is considered desirable to donate oil to ‘Dakot’ Brahmins who for centuries have earned their livelihood accepting oil and money on Saturdays to ward off evil effects of ‘Shani’.

At around 4 a.m. every Saturday morning, nearly 300 men from Jainagar Rurki village wear white clothes and equipped with a ‘lota’ or a ‘dol’ and converge at the Devigarh bus stand.

Once in the city, they go to different localities. Areas have been carefully ‘distributed’ so that no two ‘Shanidevs’ would visit the same house.

Generally, two colonies are allotted per person. After 10 a.m., they go to commercial areas.

As revealed by one such ‘Shanidev’, Kala, each Brahmin earns around Rs 250 to 300 besides two to three litres of mustard oil, every Saturday.

A resident of Jainagar Rurki said it was a routine for every shopkeeper to give donations regardless of whether he believed in the ritual or not. However, those who are eager to propitiate the planet, donate liberally.

However, the eagerness to donate on Saturdays is becoming a problems for shopkeepers as hordes of beggars have started begging almost everyday. Trying to cash in on the trend, beggars posing as Brahmins and wearing the same outfit have started begging on Tuesdays as well.

This, however, does not deter the Brahmins, who claim that residents of the city who donate regularly on Saturday can easily distinguish them from imposters seeking donations in the name of ‘Shani’.

A youngster, Satpal, when asked why he was in this profession, said: “Our caste is blessed by ‘Shani’ and this is our ancestral duty which each generation fulfils”.

However, it may not be long when Satpal, and others like him, can continue to live off Shani. “We get donations mostly from the old city and shopkeepers. The educated lot treats us like common beggars. Times may have changed but for us we are convinced that ‘Shani’ will continue to bless us”, he added.


Writers’ forum honours poet
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 29
The District Writers’ Forum of Fatehgarh Sahib gave away the Allha Yaar Khan Jogi Award to Punjabi poet Surjit Singh Marjara at a function in Sanipur village today. The village hosted the function to promote intellectual and literary outlook.

Prof Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Shiromni Sahitkar and dramatist, was the chief guest. He congratulated Marjara for winning the award and praised the forum for holding such a function. He also stressed the need for motivating villagers to take to intellectual activities.

The award carries a cash prize, a citation and a shawl. Marjara has written a poem on Saka Sirhind in more than 100 couplets. Harchand Singh Ajad got the second prize. Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Principal of Guru Harkrishan College of Information Technology, introduced Prof Aulakh and said the function was aimed at having a direct interaction between villagers and intellectuals for promoting reading habits.

Prof Aulakh inaugurated a village library on the occasion. Dr Ubha, Dr Charn Singh Gill and Surjit Marjara presented books written by them to the library. Mr Vaid Hari Kishan, a Congress veteran who lives in Sanipur, gave a grant of Rs 15,000 to the library and Rs 10,000 to the forum on behalf of Dr Harbans Lal, Minister of State for Forests.

Dr Harchnad Singh Sirhindi, a prose writer of Punjab, said the award had been instituted in the memory of Hakim Allha Yaar Khan Jogi, a respectable personality in the Sikh history and writer of poems on Saka Sirhind and Saka Chamkaur Sahib. He said the award was for a poet who wrote long poems on Jogi’s pattern, so that, the glorious Sikh history was not forgotten.

An annual report of the forum was read out and a ‘kavi darbar’ was also held. The poets who took part in it were Kirpal Pareshan, Surinder Rampuri, Charn Singh Gill, Jasbir Jhaj, Subedar Piara Singh, Gurnam Bijli, Lakhminder Lucky, Surinder Kaur, Anoop Khanpuri, Trilochan Singh, Satinder Singh Nanda and Anokh Singh. Villagers and writers attended the function in large numbers.


Pilgrims’ death: gloom in Sultanwind
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 29
A pall of gloom has descended in the Sultanwind area as 11 Sikh pilgrims who died on their way to Gurdwara Reetha Sahib when their truck fell into a khud in Champawat district in Uttranchal yesterday belonged to this locality. According to a list sent by Gurdwara Mata Sahib to the SGPC here. The deceased include eight women and two children. As many as 74 persons were injured in the mishap. The conditions of some of them is reported to be serious.

The truck was carrying at least 100 Sikh pilgrims from the district to the historical gurudwara.

Grief was writ large on the face of 60-year-old Dua Singh who lost his minor grandson in this incident while seven of his family members sustained injuries. Dua Singh with tears streaming down his cheeks said he was shattered by the death of little Charn Kamal (grandson) who was the apple of his eye. Sharajit Kaur of Gali Drammawali was inconsolable as some years ago she had lost her father now she lost her mother, brother and sister in the unfortunate accident.

The deceased pilgrims were identified as Joginder Singh, Charan Kamal Singh (6), Rani, Golu and Rajni, mother, brother and sister, respectively of Sharanjit Kaur, Manjit Kaur, Puran Kaur, Harvinder Kaur, Sukhjit Kaur, Baljit Kaur and Preetam Kaur.


Close shave for beggars as roof collapses
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
A major tragedy was averted in the city today due to the timely intervention of some pilgrims who alerted beggars sleeping in a verandah in front of a shop in the Gandhi market minutes before its roof collapsed. The authorities say the shop had been constructed without getting the map approved.

The roof collapsed at around 5 a.m. Sources in the municipal council said the owner of the shop was adding an additional floor to the shop although he had not got permission for it. The sources said the authorities had served a notice on the owner to stop construction work.

A group of residents was to leave for Amarnath at around 5 a.m. and the vehicle in which they were to travel was parked near the Gandhi market.

The residents heard a cracking sound. They rushed towards the shop and alerted the beggars sleeping there who immediately left the place. Eyewitnesses said within minutes the roof of the shop collapsed.

Although nobody was hurt in today’s incident, the issue of illegal constructions in the city has once again come under focus. A few months ago, a shop in the new Gandhi cloth market collapsed in which two persons died. The shop had been constructed illegally.

Reacting to today’s incident, Mr Varinder Kumar Bhola, a Congress councillor, said the shop was a part of the market constructed in 1973-74. He said some shopkeepers had added one or two floors to their shops without getting permission.

Mr Ramesh Kumar Chhabra, Assistant Town Planner, confirmed that the construction was done without taking permission. He also confirmed that a notice was sent to the owner to stop the construction work.


Degree holders threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
Members of the Union of Unemployed B.Ed Degree Holders yesterday threatened to start an agitation, if the new education policy was not changed.

They alleged that the policy would make hundreds of youths ineligible for jobs of teacher.

Ms Paramjeet Kaur Chahal, a leader of the union, said the policy was uncalled for. She said the condition laid down by the government for the candidates to be eligible for the posts of lecturer was not practical. She said only a few persons had obtained Ph.D which would be the minimum qualification for posts of lecturer. 


Two boys killed in train mishaps
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 29
Two boys were killed in separate train accidents here today, police sources said.

A 16-year-old boy, Uttal, was run over and killed by a train when he was engrossed in looking at another train to cross the track unmindful of a train approaching from the opposite direction, the police said.

In a separate incident, Mukesh Yadav (17) was killed under Jhelum Express when he was looking at a passenger train coming from Phagwara near the Khera road, for crossing the track. Jhelum Express, which was coming from the opposite direction, crushed him to death.


Travel agents booked for duping three
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 29
Three cases of cheating by travel agents were registered at Mahilpur and Hariana police stations yesterday.

Ms Tripta of Binjon village stated that Balbir Singh of the same village and Baldev Singh of New Delhi had taken Rs 2.65 lakh for settling her son Pardeep in Greece. They had taken him to Greece, where he was arrested.

Mr Manjit Singh of the same village also lodged a similar complaint against the same duo. They had taken Rs 2.50 lakh from him and had sent him to Greece, where he was arrested.

The Indian High Commissioner to Greece had intervened and the two persons were sent back to India. The Mahilpur police registered two cases under Sections 420, 336 and 337 of the IPC against the travel agents.

In another case, the Hariana police registered a case against Kulwinder Singh of Kantian and Baldev Singh and Kuldeep Singh of Delhi on the charge of taking Rs 2.50 lakh from Paramjit Singh of Bhulana village for sending him to Greece.


Co-accused held in cyber cafe murder
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 29
The district police has arrested three persons, including a woman, in two different cases of murder and abduction.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, SP, said here today Ashok Kumar, a co-accused in the murder of Amit Sharma at a cyber cafe in Model Town market here on Saturday, was arrested from his residence this afternoon.

Ashok Kumar revealed that while Gauravjit Singh, the main accused, had stabbed Amit to death with a knife, he had helped him in escaping from the spot.

Mr Ahir further said a case had also been registered against the owner of the cyber cafe for not informing the police about the murder and for preventing the police from collecting evidence from his shop.


Rickshaw-puller burnt to death
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 29
A rickshaw-puller was burnt to death this morning by two persons, who poured kerosene on him and set his clothes on fire after forcing entry in his rented house in the Partap Bagh area.

The victim kept fighting for his life on the busy main road for about 45 minutes in a semi conscious state.

Bhawani Din came out of his house in shape of a human fireball, running helter-skelter in an effort to save himself from the flames engulfing him.

He finally lay down in the middle of the road. Reeling under severe pain, he shouted for help but his cries went unheard except for a shopkeeper who poured some water on him.

Bhawani Din, a migrant labourer from Chattarpur in Madhya Pradesh kept lying on the road for about 45 minutes before he was shifted to the local Civil Hospital by a police party, eye witness said. In his statement to the Duty Magistrate before he died, Bhawani Din, who was allegedly deserted by his wife about two days ago, alleged that he was fast asleep when he suddenly found himself drenched in kerosene. Before he could understand what had happened, two persons set his clothes on fire and fled. He said he could identify the two persons but could not remember their names. Interestingly, none of his in-laws reportedly came to the hospital to enquire after him.

The police suspects the hand of some of his close relatives in his death though no person has been arrested so far.


Lieut-Col held in flesh trade racket
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 29
The district police has busted a flesh trade racket with the arrest of seven persons, including five women and a Lieutenant-Colonel under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act during a raid conducted at a house, near Sports College, on the Kapurthala road here last night. The kingpin of the racket, Vijay Lakshmi, is still at large.

Those arrested have been identified as Colonel Harvinder Singh Chohan, posted at ammunition depot at Bharatpur, Mamta of Dada Nagar, Asha of Ambika Colony, Poonam of Maqsoodan Colony, Paramjit Kaur of Kishanpura and Munish, son of Vijay Lakshmi.


8-yr-old thrashed at school
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 29
The parents of Ravinder Singh, a student of Class III in the local Rana Munshi Srav Hitkari Vidya Mandir School, in a letter to the Chief Minister, Education Minister and other district officials have alleged that due to the severe punishment and merciless beating of their 8-year-old son by the class teacher in the school on July 24 he became unconscious and was mentally disturbed. They have further alleged that when they complained to the Principal of the school in this regard, instead of redressing their grievances, he supported the action of the teacher and asked them to apologise to the class teacher, if they wanted their child to remain in the school. The Principal has however, denied the allegations and said the parents had misbehaved with the class teacher.

According to Mr Amrik Singh, father of the affected student, his son is studying in this school and is a brilliant student and often gets the top rank in the class.

He said 15 days ago also the class teacher had beaten him in the class and the child was so scared that he had passed urine in the clothes. He said they had not complained to the school authorities about this apprehending that there may be some fault on part of their son. But again this time the class teacher behaved in a cruel manner as their son fell unconscious after being beaten up by the teacher.

The other teachers gave him first aid and then informed them. He said he along with his wife went to the school to complain to the Principal and told him that recently due to beating of the teacher a student in Ludhiana had died in school, so they should direct their teachers not to beat up children.

He alleged that on this the Principal said, “Your son had not died then why are you behaving in this manner.” Mr Amrik Singh said as the Principal could not satisfy them, so his wife went to meet the class teacher and asked her why she had beaten up the child mercilessly. On this the class teacher replied that she would continue to beat up the child and that she did not care about anything. The parents complaint to management of the school too did not yield any result, so they had to complain to the higher authorities, so that in future no other minor child was treated like this.

The parents of the child said that instead of giving them a patient hearing the management started pressurising them to feel sorry for going to the class teacher. They also threatened to struck off the name of the student from the school.

The parents have demanded strict action against the class teacher and if the school management struck off the name of their son they should refund the admission fee charges.

The school Principal, however, said ours is a moral value-based institution. The parents went directly to the class teacher to torture her. “They should have discussed the matter with me”. He said there must be something else in the mind of the parents and keeping in mind their behaviour, he had asked them to feel sorry. He said in present circumstances it was difficult to let the child continue studying in the school.


100 doctors get NoC for postgraduate courses
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 29
The Punjab Government has issued a no-objection certificate (NoC) to all 100 doctors who, under the PCMS quota, have been selected by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, for admission to the postgraduate courses.

According to reports most of them have got admission in the three state medical and dental colleges at Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot besides DMC at Ludhiana. More than 80 per cent to 90 per cent aspirants, who have got admission in the MD/MS and MDS courses, respectively, belong to the batch of 672 doctors who were selected for government jobs by the PPSC in 1998-99, and whose (doctors) services the government was planning to terminate.

One of the conditions of the NoC is that the desirous candidates have to execute a bond for Rs 5 lakh to serve the state for five years after the completion of their studies.

Moreover, the same category of doctors who have not served in the rural area for three consecutive years earlier will have to complete the remaining term after the completion of the course. The salaries of these doctors will be disbursed through the principals of the respective institutions.


PCCTU defers district-level dharnas
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 29
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) today postponed its strike and district-level dharnas by colleges affiliated to Panjab University and Punjabi University.

Prof SS Hundal President of the PCCTU, said the protest would now be held on August 9 in colleges affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh. Earlier, the protests were stated for tomorrow.

In colleges affiliated to Punjabi University, Patiala, the protests would be held on August20 instead of August 5, he said.

Professor Hundal said the teachers would go on strike after the second period and hold dharnas at district headquarters in protest against the distortion of pension-cum-gratuity scheme and the downsizing of 95 per cent grant-in-aid. The strikes had been postponed due to closure of colleges till August 7 by the Punjab government, Professor Hundal added. 


GND varsity, centres closed till Aug 4
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 29
All teaching departments and regional centres at Jalandhar and Gurdaspur, besides affiliated colleges, of Guru Nanak Dev University will remain closed from July 30 to August 4, as per instructions of the Department of Higher Education, Punjab.

The university has, however, clarified that elections of the university teachers’ association and counselling for admission to various courses at the university and at colleges will be held as scheduled.


Model parliament’ gives tips for real Parliament
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 29
Politicians will be ashamed of their behaviour in Parliament and the state Assemblies if they see the ‘youth parliament competition’ being conducted by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in the country every year. Students from various schools enact Parliament proceedings.

A ‘youth parliament competition’ was held today in Kendriya Vidyalaya-IV (KV-IV) at the local cantonment which showed up the proceedings of the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and the state Vidhan Sabhas.

The competition, which aimed at make up the students familiar with the proceedings in Parliament, had a ‘Speaker’, a ‘Prime Minister’, ‘Leader of the Opposition’, ‘Council of Ministers’ and leaders of various ‘Opposition’ parties besides ‘marshals’, ‘secretary-general’, ‘foreign delegates’ and other government employees.

The proceedings of ‘Parliament’ went on without any waste of time, raising of slogans, use of intemperate language and throwing of microphones unlike the present-day scenario in Parliament. A teacher of the school lamented that if only this could happen in reality, crores of rupees of tax-payers would be saved.

During the ‘question hour’ members of the ‘Opposition’ asked questions ranging from the plight of farmers due to dry spell to cross-border terrorism and the security of Amarnath pilgrims to which the ‘ministers’ of departments concerned gave answers.

Mr G.H. Yadav, judge for the competition, said the team getting first position in the region, would participate the inter-region competition and the winning team would stage ‘Model Youth Parliament’ at New Delhi to which the Union Minister and other dignitaries would be invited.


DSO to observe anti-communalism day on July 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
The Punjab unit of the Democratic Students’ Organisation (DSO) will observe an ‘’anti-communalism day’’ on July 31, the martyrdom day of Shaheed Udham Singh and the death anniversary of Hindi litterateur Munshi Prem Chand.

The DSO Punjab unit president, Mr Pratap Samal, and Dr Rajinder Singh Atwal will deliver lectures at the main function at Patiala on July 31. A function will also be organised at the Punjab Book Centre in Chandigarh on July 31.

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