Sunday, August 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



134 education board clerks sacked
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 3
While the services of 134 clerks employed at the Punjab State Education Board were terminated here today, three employees of the PSEB, including one deputy secretary, were suspended following a special directive of the Punjab Government issued to the PSEB.

Another Pandora’s Box?

According to sources, a subject expert in the PSEB, Mr Satish Menon was also recently relieved of his charge of the six Adarsh Schools being run by the board. Sources state that the charge of these schools was taken away from Mr Menon following serious allegation of corruption in various purchases made for these schools.

According to sources orders of removal of these clerks and the suspension of these employees were issued by the Board’s Secretary, Mr J. S. Sidhu, last evening. The decision to remove these clerks from service follows the recommendations of the Vigilance Bureau that the selection process of these 134 clerks be scrapped forthwith as the process followed in appointing these clerks was unfair and tainted with irregularities.

While these clerks who were appointed in December last year were still on probation, the three suspended employees, an assistant secretary in the office of the Chairman, Varinder Kumar, Deputy Secretary Mahinder Singh Kler and clerk Balwinder Singh have been suspended and will be charge-sheeted for major penalties.

These clerks had been appointed in December last year just days before the code of conduct of elections came into force and the vigilance investigations had revealed that many of these clerks did not even know how to type, let alone type in Punjabi.

According to sources, the orders terminating the services of these clerks quotes the Vigilance report as stating that it found many irregularities in the selection process and evidence to the effect that corrupt practices were indulged by the employees in selecting the candidates. “Since the whole process was undertaken in a highly tainted and unfair manner, it is recommended that it be scrapped forthwith”.

The directive issued by the government has been issued in reference to Section 21 of the Punjab Education Board Act under which the government can issue directives to the board.

The order, according to sources, also states that the justification of these 134 posts will be re-examined by the Board and in case these posts are required to be filled, the whole process of selection will be repeated and the removed clerks will also be given a chance to apply again.

When contacted Mr K.K. Bhatnagar Principal Secretary Education, Punjab, said: ‘‘The vigilance enquiry held in the matter had found several loopholes and irregularities in the selection process and recommended that the entire selection process be scrapped but the ultimate decision lies with the Board.’’

The former Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, the Chairman of the Board, Dr Kehar Singh, and the Vice Chairman of the Board, Dr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, and his Personal Assistant, Mr Amar Singh, are already facing charges of being involved in these irregularities in the selection process. While Mr Tota Singh and Mr Amar Singh are under arrest, Dr Gurdev Singh Sidhu and Dr Kehar Singh have sought anticipatory bail.


When AG appears against his own CM
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Can an Advocate-General appear against the Chief Minister ?

Yes, the Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, has appeared for the State of Punjab against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in the Haridwar property case. And interestingly, the decision to send the Advocate-General to defend the state was taken by none other than the Home Department of the state government. The Home portfolio is held by the Chief Minister himself.

The appointing of an Advocate-General of the State is the sole prerogative of the Chief Minister and he is considered eyes and ears of the CM.

The state’s concern for defending its rightful claim over the property is understandable because of its market value which, according to sources, is in crores. It may be a mere coincidence that the Advocate-General has been defending the Chief Minister in an election petition pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court here. The state decided to replace its existing counsel defending the case.

Interestingly, when a panel of names was drawn to defend the state in the case, the names of the wife, son and the daughter-in-law of the Advocate-General besides his junior were included. This was probably done to keep the issue in low profile and avoid any publicity. Intriguingly, the Advocate-General and his junior appeared against each other in the Haridwar case.

Investigations reveal that normally state cases in subordinate courts are handled either by the Legal Remembrancer or the Director, Prosecution, as the Advocate-General being the Principal Law Officer defends the state in the high court as well as the Supreme Court.

If, however, there is a case against the state outside its jurisdiction then the normal practice is to write to the Advocate-General of the state concerned to seek his advice for engaging a counsel in defending the state. But in this case, this convention was given a go by.

At the last hearing when the Advocate-General appeared in the Haridwar court, the case was adjourned till next week.

Sources in the Home Department maintain that it was the discretion of the state to engage any counsel for defending the state. “There is no bar on utilising the services of the Advocate-General,” they add.

However, many an eyebrow have been raised as the office of the Advocate-General is already overburdened with work and a lot of important cases are coming up everyday before the high court. In one case, the state had to hire top lawyers to defend the state in the recruitment scam.

In the recent past, the office of the Advocate-General had upheld its professional dignity by disagreeing both with the political bosses and bureaucrats on law points. But in the present case, the hush hush manner in which the whole case has been handled has raised a controversy in legal circles here.


Centre against freebies in power sector
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
The Union Power Ministry is likely to ask the Punjab government to stop freebies immediately and seek assistance from the World Bank to tide over the worst ever financial crisis being faced by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

The Union Power Secretary is scheduled to visit Punjab in this regard on August 16 and will interact with officials of the PSEB at Patiala and also meet the State Chief Minister. The Union Ministry official is also likely to assess power position in the state following demands by the Chief Minister to increase states’s power allocation from the central pool to save paddy crop in the state.

Sources said the central government was making efforts towards this end following appeals by the PSEB to defer payments for power purchased from central generating companies as well as demand for making more power available to it for which it did not have any money. The Power Ministry has been informed of the financial crisis in the PSEB following political compulsions of the government which does not want to increase tariff, and make farmers pay at the rate of Rs two per unit, as demanded by the PSEB. The Board has been insisting that this is the only way out to mop up Rs 2600 crore needed to meet the current shortfall in revenue.

The Union Power Secretary is likely to impress upon the Punjab government to abide by central directions since 1993 to charge the agricultural sector at least Re one per unit besides stopping down all other freebies, including part free power being provided to Scheduled Castes in the State. Sources said this was the best compromise available to the government as the agricultural sector would be able to adjust to the slight charges and the move would also allow the State government for a loan from the World Bank.

The sources said getting a loan from the World Bank was important for the PSEB as the government was opposed to its pleas asking for tariff hike in all categories. Industrialists are also opposing any hike claiming they were going through recession. Besides this the Board also needed funds if it was going to reduce the workforce as demanded by the government and cutting power theft which was at 26 per cent of the total generation of power in the State for which it needed electronic meters as part of the anti-theft drive.

Meanwhile sources said the Power Secretary would also be made aware of the power crisis in the State due to failure of the monsoon and the urgent need to allocate more power to it from the central pool to save paddy crop. Though Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh met Union Power Minister Suresh Prabhu in Delhi last week and demanded an increase in the State’s allocation, this request is still pending with the Ministry.

The Chief Minister had pleaded that the State be given an additional 200 mega watt power from the 800 mega watt power which was at the discretion of the Ministry.

This quota includes 15 per cent of the power generated by central sector generating companies of the Northern region, including the National Thermal Power Corporation, the National Hydro and Nuclear Corporation. At present the State is getting only 80 mega watts from this quota. Sources said the Power Ministry had not cleared this request till now mainly due to objections from Haryana, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.


PSEB ‘not checking’ power theft
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 3
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association has accused the higher authorities of not framing any concrete policy to stop power theft and improve the financial status of the board.

Mr Hardeep Singh, regional secretary of the association, in a statement issued here today said the PSEB was not having any policy to stop or check power theft which had been causing a hefty loss to the state exchequer. The PSEB authorities had failed to impose financial discipline.

Mr Hardeep Singh said the association had been demanding that FIRs should be registered against those who were found stealing power and special police stations should be set up for the purpose. He lamented that the higher authorities had failed to take action against those officials who had been found guilty of aiding power theft. He said the authorities had paid no attention to the suggestions given by the association regarding measures to stop power theft that included installing power meters outside the premises of the consumers.

The financial position of the PSEB would further worsen this month as the authorities have planned to stop the metered paid power supply to residents and instead supply free power to the farm sector. He said the Punjab Government should pay bills of the power supplied to the farm sector and release the payment immediately.


Truck unions collect illegal tax
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, August 3
Truck unions are allegedly levying illegal tax on vehicles entering their “self-marked territories. This has become a bone of contention between the groups controlling these unions. Members of the unions in various towns of this district are levying Rs 50 to Rs 300 on vehicles entering their area.

The Nangal Truck Union, one of the biggest unions in the state with about 1,100 trucks, controls the Nangal area. Any vehicle coming to the industrial establishments, including the NFL or PACL, has to pay tax to the union in the form of “unaccounted” welfare fund”.

Sources told The Tribune that about 30 tankers from other states come to this area to transport various chemicals. The union members charge Rs 250 from each tanker. Office-bearers of the union collect about Rs 6,000 every day this way. The fund was being collected for years but no account has been maintained.

Similarly, the Ropar Truck Union also levies tax on the trucks entering their territory. The sources said in some cases, tax was collected at sales-tax barriers, where the vehicles had to stop to show documents.

The transporters have to give money to avoid an altercation with the truck operators. An industrialist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the truck unions enjoyed political patronage.

Though these unions could stop the trucks coming from any part of the country, they did not even allow industrialists to run their vehicles. They charged hefty freight rates from them, he alleged.

The truck union office-bearers when contacted, admitted that illegal tax was collected from the vehicles coming from outside. They, however, justified it by saying that the fund collected in this manner was used by the unions to meet the “demands” of those in power. The unions were generally burdened with sending vehicles free of cost for political programmes. They also had to pay to politicians and police officials to avoid harassment, they alleged.

Income tax and excise officials, however, denied knowledge about the tax collection by the unions. They said if anything came to their notice, action would be taken against the guilty.

Due to the large amount of funds collected by the unions, political parties also try to take control over them.


Banking laws fail to give justice
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The “customer friendly” banking laws, judicial system and even bank ombudsman have failed to wipe out the tears of Ms Surjit Kaur, an illiterate villager in sixties, who has till today believed that one day she would get bank deposits with interest, deposited by her father about 55 years ago. However, she was unprepared to hear from bank ombudsman that there was no legal rule or section under which she could get the amount. He has asked HSBC and the SBI to refund at least the principal amount on compassionate ground.

Hailing from Bir Khurad village, Mansa district, Ms Surjit Kaur, says, “My father, Kartar Singh, who had a rubber farm in Malaysia, got a draft for Rs 3,000 (No 18862 on October 23), issued from Kuala Lampur branch of Mercantile Bank of India in the name of Phawara Chowk branch, the Imperial Bank, Ludhiana. After a few months, when he came back, branch manager told him that he could not withdraw more than Rs 250 according to instructions. However, his amount was safe in bank and interest would be added on it.”

After staying for a few months in the village, her father went back to Malaysia. In 1955, he got another draft for Rs 4,665 issued from the same bank, for the Delhi branch of the Imperial Bank. But he was unable to get back the amount. In the meantime she was appointed the legal heir of his property.

Interestingly, the Mercantile Bank later merged with HSBC Bank and the Imperial Bank became the SBI. Kartar Singh continued to approach both banks to get his amount. He was reportedly told by bank officials they were not bound to pay his amount under the bank laws. He died in 1982.

Ms Surjit Kaur continued to run from pillar to post but could not get the amount. Advised by some bank officials, she filed a suit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1982. She said, “I had to sell my land to pay the fees of advocate. After about six years, the court ruled that the bank should follow her case with the foreign bank to refund her amount.” However, she again failed to get any amount.

Consequently, last year, she approached the bank ombudsman which has now ruled that only principal should be paid.

Mr Khizar Ahmad, bank ombudsman, says under the present circumstances, she cannot be paid any amount, however, he has asked HSBC to pay the principal amount on compassionate ground. The SBI has declined to pay any amount at all.


DSGMC ‘battle’ reaches Akal Takht
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 3
After losing the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) elections to the SHSAD, the SAD today took the “battle” to Akal Takht and sought the implementation of the directive of the then Jathedar, Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, to give a compensation of Rs 5 crore to Mr Avtar Singh Hit, former DSGMC president, by the present committee.

Mr Hit who met Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, at his residence here today said he should be given compensation for handing over the building of the DSGMC-run Guru Nanak School to the Gurdwara Committee as per the direction of the then Jathedar.

However, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president of the DSGMC, alleged that Mr Hit had been “misguiding” Akal Takht by staking “false claims” over the building. He claimed that the possession of the school was with the Gurdwara Committee and the resolution passed in “back date”, few days before the elections for giving back the possession of the building to him (Mr Hit), had been nullified.

He further claimed that the then executive members had given in writing that no meeting of the DSGMC was held in which the possession of the school was handed over to Mr Hit.

Mr Hit, addressing mediapersons at Golden Temple “parikarma”, said he had requested Jathedar Vedanti to issue instructions to the DSGMC to give him due compensation. However, Mr Sarna said the matter was between Mr Hit and the DSGMC and it should not have been taken to the Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Mr Sarna said Mr Jaswant Singh Sethi, the then president of the DSGMC, had asked him to give details of Rs 5 crore in 1999, but Mr Hit had failed to respond. He alleged that Mr Hit wanted to complicate the issue by seeking the intervention of Akal Takht.

Mr Hit admitted that all factions of the Akalis, including his party, distributed liquor and money, despite the directives of the Jathedar of Akal Takht.


Governor takes note of cancer deaths
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, August 3
Even as 48 (150 according to unofficial sources) persons, including children, have died due to various forms of cancer at Giana, Malkana, Jajjal and Lalleana villages, bordering Haryana, in the past 10 years, the Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today asked the district health authorities to find out the reason behind this unusual trend.

General Jacob was here to listen to the problems of drought-affected farmers of Bathinda and Mansa districts.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, told the Governor that at Giana village, 20 persons had died in the past 10 years of cancer while six were suffering from the disease and getting treatment. At Jajjal village, 15 persons had died due to cancer while seven were suffering from the disease. At Malkana, nine had lost their lives while four were suffering from the disease and at Lalleana, four had died and six were getting treatment for the disease. The population of Giana, Jajjal, Malkana and Lalleana was 3,795, 2,956, 4,581 and 3,732, respectively, he added.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission took notice of the deaths when a Chandigarh-based advocate lodged a complaint with it on the basis of a report published in The Tribune on April 25, 2000. The commission has directed the Director, Health Services, Punjab and Secretary, Department of Environment, Punjab, to submit a report in connection with the unprecedented increase in cancer-related cases in this area.

Dr Goyal said he had written to the Health Director for involving specialists from medical colleges to find out the reasons for the increase in cancer-related deaths. He added that though the rate of deaths due to cancer was not unusual, the health authorities were concerned over the plight of people. He added that water samples taken by the authorities had been found fit for consumption after tests.

For the past many years, a residents of these villages, living in extreme poverty conditions, have reconciled to their destiny as potential cancer victims. The authorities concerned woke up to see their plight when The Tribune carried some news stories on them a few years ago. Subsequently, the Punjab Government decided to institute a probe into the high rate of cancer in this area.

Though the preliminary inquiry held by the health authorities revealed that about 17 per cent of the population at Giani village had succumbed to cancer over a period of 10 years, yet as per information documented in a register of the village chowkidar, nothing moved beyond that. The visits of various teams of medical specialists to this area failed to mitigate the sufferings of the residents.

Most of the victims have been getting treatment at a hospital in Bikaner, Rajashtan.


Flights to Birmingham may be resumed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 3
The Central Government is likely to deliberate on the issue of restarting the Amritsar-Birmingham flights.

The issue was raised by Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission of Minorities, with Union Minister for Civil Aviation Syed Shahnawaz Hussain recently after the latter had returned from UK.

Mr Tarlochan Singh pointed out that NRIs in UK were dissatisfied with the service provided by the flights running from South Asian countries and hence a direct flight from Amritsar to Birmingham would come as a blessing for them.

He added that the maximum number of Punjabis were settled in UK and it would be commercially viable to start an Air-India flight on the Birmingham-Amritsar route.


SAD to stage dharnas on August 9

Hoshiarpur, August 3
Former Chief Minister and SAD President Parkash Singh Badal, today announced that dharnas would be staged at all district headquarters in Punjab on August 9 in protest against, what he alleged, anti-people policies of Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.

Mr Badal, while talking to mediapersons, demanded the setting up of a commission headed by a sitting high court Judge to probe charges against all politicians in Punjab irrespective of their party affiliation.

He also announced that several National Democratic Alliance leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes, would attend the 17th martyrdom day rally, to mark the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal on August 20 at the latter’s native village.

He said keeping in view the remarks of the Chief Justice, all vigilance inquiries being conducted against his party activists and leaders should be stopped. “We have no faith in the Vigilance Bureau, which has become a mouthpeace of the ruling Congress,” he added.

He criticised Capt Amarinder Singh for transferring officers probing the Punjab Public Service Commission scam. In this connection, he referred to a letter purportedly written by Punjab and Haryana Chief Justice to Punjab Governor J.F.R. Jacob regarding the transfer of officers probing the scam.

SAD Secretary General and Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, addressing a press conference at a gurdwara near Sangrur, also flayed the policies of Capt Amarinder Singh government. UNI


Badal interfering in SGPC affairs: Talwandi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
Former SGPC chief and Senior Vice-President of the SAD, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, today accused former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of interfering in the affairs of the SGPC and violating the Sikh maryada.

Addressing a press conference here, he supported the contention of Mr Kulwant Singh, former secretary of the SGPC, that Mr Badal used to violate Sikh traditions and frequently interfere in Sikh affairs.

Asked whether he intended to quit the SAD, Mr Talwandi said the SAD was not Mr Badal’s “ancestral” or “personal” property that he should quit. He said his was the third generation in the SAD.

He was critical of police action in Malout and alleged that the Congress had imposed police raj in the state.

He also condemned police “excesses” on employees of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital.


Centres to boost cop-public ties
Anirudh Gupta

After the turbulent decade of the eighties, the challenge is to get the police out of their vehicles and doing the beat again. This challenge assumes larger significance in view of the fact that the commonman does not generally have a pleasant impression about the existing police set-up and looks at police officers with awe and fear. Inordinate delays, apathetic attitude of police officials, nepotism, favouritism, corruption, inefficient grievance redressal, lack of information on procedural details are some of the reasons for widely prevalent public disgust. This has created a negative image of the police administration in the minds of people.

The Punjab Police and the Institute of Development and Communication have envisaged a proposal to establish community police resource centres (CPRC) in the state to improve the quality of police-public contact by providing one-stop service at these centres.

Mrs Chitra Bhanu from the Vera Institute of Justice, New York, along with officials of IDC visited all Range headquarters, where these centres are proposed to be set up in the first stage. It is pertinent to mention that the Vera Institute of Justice, an NGO based in New York, has volunteered to help in establishing such centres.

The community police resource centre would primarily consist of a victim relief centre, community service-cum-information centre and a children’s library-cum-reading room. Research suggests that a police station could be divided into sectors for community policing with staff for maintaining regular contact with the people. To start with, such community police teams could be formed in more crime-prone police stations. Such teams, based at these centres, could provide a permanent channel of contact to residents’ associations.

With the establishment of these centres, the citizens would know whom to contact for the solution to their problem and the general complaint regarding low accessibility of police officers would also be solved to quite an extent.

According to the SSP, Mr P.K. Sinha, it has been observed that non-criminal matters or non-enforcement situations dominate police work today, as there has been a tremendous increase in the proportion of service related to the crime-related demands. Therefore, service-related functions and activities of the police demand more attention. These centres, besides offering clean ambience and seating facilities, will provide a large number of services from public friendly counters.

The travel-related services like registration of NRIs, passport verification, registration of travel agents and verification services like NOC for arm licenses, permission for processions, verification of registration of vehicles will certainly make the system more friendly and convenient.

Since prevention is better than cure, so the police could give impetus to voluntary crime prevention activities by organising workshops in residential areas. Sections of society like traders, shopkeepers who have much to gain from close rapport with the police could form the backbone of such crime prevention activities. Businessmen who tend to fall prey to crime can also be encouraged to extend help.

In a society such as ours, the victim still remains a forgotten actor in the criminal justice process. The police response in case of any eventuality plays a vital role in shaping the victim’s experience who need to be provided with information regarding progress of their case, trial dates, bail and sentencing decisions.

The victim relief centre thus established would focus on the victim, their rights and expectations. Efforts have to be made to improve the police response to victims of sexual and violent crime. There is also the need to deploy women officers to avoid questioning of rape victims. For this purpose, services of retired civil servants from the judiciary, police or any other department could be tapped.


Crime on rise in Patiala zone: IG
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 3
Mr Anil Kaushik, Inspector-General, Punjab police, Zonal while admitting the fact yesterday that there was a jump in the incidence of crime in the Patiala zone said the police was well-equipped to deal with the situation. He added that cases of murders and robberies had witnessed a jump in the zone.

Mr Kaushik, who was here in connection with a meeting of Police Public School while addressing a press conference pointed out that though the Punjab police had been facing a financial crunch like other government departments and about 25 per cent of the constabulary was fatigue due to overwork, the law and order situation was under control. He added that the police had been facing problems on account of the bad condition of vehicles and buildings of police stations and absence of police lines in Mansa district.

He added that forces were vigilant to prevent any mischief by Pakistan’s ISI in those pockets where the installation like ammunition depots, cantonments and big railway stations were located. The coordination meetings of senior police functionaries of Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana were being held regularly to keep a watch on the activities of the terrorist groups. He said all arrangements had been made to prevent any untoward incident on the eve of Independence Day.

When asked whether the police was able to deal effectively with the mischief of the ISI in the absence of adequate funds, Mr Kaushik said intelligence gathering and cooperation by the public were important to prevent crime effectively. Awareness among the public about security concerns was required to be enhanced. The constabulary also needed more relief in their duties.

Mr Kaushik preferred not to make any comment when asked why the Punjab police authorities had failed to pay the salaries to the Home Guards jawans for the past many years. He said involvement of men in uniform in crime was negligible.


Refugees fear losing shelter yet again
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, August 3
More than 100 refugee families from Lahore and West Pakistan fear they may yet again have to migrate due to a scheme mooted by the Improvement Trust.

The scheme, sanctioned by the Punjab Government in 1965, curtails the rights of more than 500 residents to “Kutcha Panditan”, a Muslim locality — which subsequently was declared avacuee property and purchased by the refugees — to renovate, reconstruct, repair and add anything to their existing houses, which are more than 80 years old.

The ban on reconstruction activity in the area with at least 80 buildings has put the lives of its residents in danger. Even as the trust restricts construction activities by residents in the notified area, more than 15 houses up to three storeys have come up in the scheme area by new owners in the past six years.

The new construction raise doubts on the integrity of trust officials who in “connivance” with politicians have allowed these constructions.

Successive governments in the state have refused to cancel the scheme and handed it over to the Municipal Corporation for development, despite several letters to Chief Ministers and Chief Justices in this regard by area residents.

Even appeals by Mr Satya Pal Dang, CPI leader, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, BJP leader, have fell on deaf ears.

Although the scheme was mooted way back in 1965, no alternative housing arrangements were made for house owners whose residences were required to be acquired, says Mr K.K. Nanda, a retired government employee.

He alleges when the matter was put before former Chairman Bakshi Ram Arora, he ignored the same. However, Mr Bakshi Ram refutes the allegation and says at least 15-20 owners were paid compensation for acquisition of properties.

He, however, admits that more constructions have come up in the area in contravention of the scheme.

It is alleged that residents of the area, mostly small-time shopkeepers, refused to pay bribe money to officials of the department who could present their case in viable manner. Hence, their predicament.

The Kutch Panditan Welfare Organisation under Mr Ravi Nanda had recently presented their case before Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Subsequently, the Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ms Sarojini Gautam, was asked to conduct an inquiry but she was transferred and the problem persists.


Rajendra Hospital gasping for breath
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
The Government Rajendra Hospital, which was established by former Maharaja Yadavindra Singh and is set to celebrate its golden jubilee next year, is gasping for breath with its five ambulances lying idle for want of petrol, and even basic facilities like cotton, disposal syringes and bandages not being available.

Besides this sources said the situation has come to such a pass that no admissions could be made to the hospital for two days due to lack of receipt books. They said the stock of oxygen cylinders was also almost exhausted and that there was an extreme shortage of medicines and materials even in the Emergency ward of the hospital.

The situation is such says Mr Mohinder Singh Walia, convener of the coordination committee of social welfare organisations, that staff members of the hospital are being forced to ask relatives of patients admitted there to get mops so that the safai karamcharis can sweep the floors. He said the hospital, which had a grand past, had been allowed to deteriorate to such levels now that it was even forced to stop the kitchen being run for poor patients.

Others said the situation had deteriorated drastically over the last five years. They said the hospital did not get any funds during the entire five year regime of the Akali -BJP government to either develop its infrastructure or for maintenance purposes. They said even though the government had increased the fee structure in the hospital, it did not result in any improvement of service because the government did not allow the hospital to retain the extra money earned by it.

Hopes of a better future under Congress rule have been belied till yet. Though official sources said the budget had been passed only recently and that funds would filter down to the hospital, the people of the city were expecting a quicker resurgence.

Officials when questioned on the reason why all the five ambulances of the hospital were lying idle, said no money had been released under the petrol head last month. Authorities say the oxygen cylinders would, however, arrive soon as an order had been placed in this regard. However, doctors point out that an order for X-ray films had been passed one month back but they were still to arrive. They said the fate of oxygen cylinders would be the same because suppliers had not been paid their past bills and they were reluctanct to commit more supplies to the hospital.

Sources said the hospital authorities are also hampered by the fact that all purchases have to be done through the office of the Director, Research and Medical Education and could not be done at the hospital level. They said orders had been placed on rate contract basis for basic items like cotton, bandages and disposable syringes but they were yet to be supplied to the hospital.

The hospital is also suffering because the Vigilance Department has also sealed its stock as on May 3 during special raid on its premises following allegations that substandard drugs and other material had been purchased during the Akali-BJP rule. While this stock is lying unused the hospital has still to receive additional stock.


PRTC employees to launch agitation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
The workers action committee of five different trade union organisations of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) yesterday announced that it would hold gate rallies at all depots of the corporation on August 7 besides taking out a protest march to the New Moti Bagh residence of the Chief Minister on August 20 in protest against the proposed disinvestment of the corporation.

Representatives of five unions of the PRTC, including the AITUC, the Karamchari Dal, the Scheduled Caste and Backward Caste Union and CITU, took this decision during a meeting held at the Nehru Park. The meeting was addressed by Mr Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Gurnam Singh Daunkalan, Mr Bachan Singh Arora, Mr Sohan Lal and Mr Bakkar Singh.

The representatives criticised the State Disinvestment Committee’s report on the corporation claiming that the government was deliberately defaming the board as it wanted to put it into private hands. They said the government should answer why it was not compensating the corporation for Rs 200 crore in lieu of free travel facility given to 16 categories of persons. They said the government was not doing anything to stop illegal plying of private buses on PRTC routes besides being soft on corporation officials indulging in corrupt practices.

They also criticised the corporation management for enforcing cut on overtime charges being given to employees, turning out physically challenged employees from jobs, giving dictatorial powers to the Depot General Managers and for punishing drivers unneccessarily.


Drive to affix reflectors on small vehicles
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh yesterday launched a special drive in which reflectors were affixed on rickshaws, rehris and bicycles. The function was organised near the bus stand.

During the drive, organised in collaboration with Contour India Company, reflectors were affixed on small vehicles, including 200 rickshaws, 150 bicycles and 25 rehris.

Speaking at the function, Mr Tejvir Singh appealed to people to ensure proper reflectors were affixed on all small vehicles so that accidents during the night were averted.

District Transport Officer Dharampal Gupta said the drive was being implemented in the entire district.

Subdivisional Magistrate M. S. Narang was also present on the occasion.


17 buses impounded
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 3
A number of buses have been plying on long routes on the pretext of conducting tours which cause loss worth crores to the state exchequer every month.

This was revealed after 17 buses were impounded from Amritsar in a late night swoop. The buses bore registration numbers of Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi and some other states.

The buses were impounded by the District Transport Officer, Mr A.S. Prabhakar, and Dr S.K. Kalia, SP (City).

These used to ply on the Amritsar-Delhi, Amritsar-Jammu and Amritsar-Chandigarh routes, especially during night. Mr Prabhakar said the owners of these buses would use these for ordinary passengers, violating the terms of the permits.

By illegally plying these buses, the operators had been evading special road taxes amounting between Rs 2000 and Rs 2400 per bus, per day.


52 pc deficit rainfall in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 3
Punjab continues to face drought-like conditions following the failure of monsoons this year.

The state has experienced a deficit rainfall of about 52 per cent in June and July as compared with the rainfall during this period last year, according to information made available from the Agri-Meteorology Department of the Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Nine districts of Punjab have experienced 61.99 per cent deficit rainfall and five districts have recorded 21.59 per cent deficit rainfall during this period.

According to Dr S.S. Hundal, of the Department of Agri-Meteorology, PAU, very little rainfall has been received during the month of July, due to the long delay in monsoons. On an average, 230 mm rainfall is recorded in Central Punjab (Ludhiana) in the month of July. However, this time only 37 mm rainfall has been recorded during the month of July. The rainfall during the past five years has been above normal. But the rainfall figures of July this year have been one of the lowest during the past 15 years.

According to the PAU met experts, the southwest monsoon are expected to become active in the northwest region in about a week.


Bungling in khadi gramudyog accounts alleged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 3
Some members of the Bathinda Khadi Gramudyog Karyakarta Sangh a registered society, has approached the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for holding an independent probe into the alleged bungling by a member in the Sangh’s records and its financial dealings they have alleged that the records and financial statements of the sangh are being tampered with and a senior functionary of the sangh has been claiming fictitious bills and thereby causing losses to the state exchequer.

Mr Satnam Singh and some other members of the sangh have alleged that one of the senior employees of the sangh has been claiming false bills of house rent and TA/DA for the past about three years. They alleged that even as the employee had shifted his residence from Mansa to Bhatinda in December, 1999 and was paid shifting charges of Rs 700(C. No. 594-145), he had been claiming travel allowance.

They alleged that the employee had stayed in the official residence provided to him by the sangh, but still claimed house rent and travel allowance etc, which was against the norms.

They said he stopped claiming TA/DA from the office when they lodged a complaint with competent officials, but again claimed the bills from the office after some time.

Mr Satnam Singh alleged that some police officers had connived with the employee to mould the inquiry into his favour. He demanded that an honest officer should probe the matter again.


Union adviser not allowed to present case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Mr Rajinder Shukla, legal adviser of the Punjab Systems Punjab Employees Union Mohali, today was not allowed to make a presentation before the Punjab Public Sector Disinvestment Commission. The Commission maintained that only inservice employees could appear before the commission. However there was no such condition in the commission advertisement, a union spokesperson said.

The Public Sector Disinvestment Commission, Punjab, in its draft report has recommended the closure of Electronic Systems Punjab Ltd, Mohali. The union had submitted a representation to the Commission against the recommendations.

The union urged the Chief Minister Punjab to intervene to safeguard interests of ESPL and its employees.


Dr Kehar Singh refused bail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 3
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, here today rejected pre-arrest bail application of Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), in a case of corruption, registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar.

It was alleged in the FIR that Jathedar Tota Singh, former Punjab Education Minister in connivance with the authorities of the Punjab School Education Board, an autonomous body, including Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the Board, did some illegalities in the recruitment of the clerks in the board.

The Judge in his order observed that if at this stage the accused (Dr Kehar Singh) was allowed bail it was likely to prejudice progress of the investigation. As such it is not considered fit to allow bail in anticipation of his arrest.

Dr Kehar Singh till now, was on interim anticipatory bail for more than a month.

Meanwhile the Judge today extended the judicial remand till August 17 of G.S. Manchanda, an alleged hawala conduit of the suspended Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, after the expiry of his judicial remand today.


Protest over book’s second edition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Editor of a book on 18th century Sikh paintings, ‘B-40 Janamsakhi Guru Baba Nanak Paintings’, first published in 1987, has in a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, protested against various irregularities committed in the publication of the second edition of the book.

The university has published the second edition without indicating its edition, the number of copies printed and the name of the press which is mandatory under the law. The Editor was not informed about the second edition.

In the acknowledgement, the name of the late Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.S. Bal, has been deleted to give the impression that the “incumbent Vice-Chancellor” (Dr H.S. Soch) has taken the initiative for its publication.

“It is not clear why the present Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, allowed Bal’s name to be deleted. Perhaps, there were other ways of promoting the cause of Sikhism than deleting a dead man’s name,” rues Dr Surjit Hans, editor of the book.


Sunder Singh’s death anniversary today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The death anniversary of veteran Congress leader, Sunder Singh will be observed in Hoshiarpur on Sunday. Among the leaders scheduled to come for the remembrance will be former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mrs Mohisina Kidwai, member, All-India Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Mr Buta Singh, former Union Home Minister.

Sunder Singh, father of Congress MP Santosh Chowdhary and MLA Ram Lubhaya Chowdhary, was born on July 7, 1906 in Larowal village of Sialkot district. Despite his father being a teacher, he was deprived of education because the school was at quite a distance from the village.

On the insistence of the family members, he was admitted to the school. He passed inter from DAV College, Lahore, and subsequently got a job as translator in the high court, but being more interested in social service, he resigned from his job.

Being influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekanand and Mahatma Gandhi, he became a social worker. In the 1946 Assembly Elections, he got ticket and became Parliamentary Secretary. In 1946, when he was an MLA there was an inkling that the country was to be divided. At that time, land was to be divided according to the caste and creed of the people living there.

Sunder Singh belonged to the Scheduled Caste and the percentage of these people was high, thus the Muslim League tried its utmost to win his vote. The league tempted him with a ministerial berth, land and property. Sunder Singh spurned the offer, saying that he would rather die than accept a favour from them.


Advocates go on fast
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 3
Advocates of the District Bar Association, Mansa, who are on a strike since July 21, have now started a fast in the district court complex. They are pressurising the administration to withdraw a theft case registered against Mr Dalip Singh an advocate and a senior member of the bar.

The issue took a new turn when, Mr Baldev Singh Khiala, a former Minister of Punjab had a public rally in the court complex against the strike by advocates and certain derogatory remarks were allegedly made by the speakers against the lawyers. The association members have demanded that a criminal case be registered against such speakers.

A litigant Mr Jugraj Singh, has also moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the strike by the local advocates and the court has issued notice to the local bar to appear on August 12.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, Mr Alok Shekhar, today called a delegation of advocates to defuse the situation but nothing much came out of it.


45 cases settled at Lok Adalat
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 3
A state-level Lok Adalat was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr B.C. Rajput, District and Sessions Judge and 45 cases involving a compensation of more than Rs 20 lakh were settled on the spot.

According to an official press note, cases relating to motor accidents claims, family disputes, rent and cases under Sections 125 and 138 CrPC were taken up.

Mr Rajput said those having annual income less than Rs 30,000 were eligible for free legal aid from the district Legal Services Authority.

Mr A.K. Goyal, member, Bar Association, Talwandi Sabo in a separate press note said 27 cases were settled at a Lok Adalat held at Talwandi Sabo. The Adalat presided over by Mr Karunesh Kumar Kakkar, Civil Judge (Junior Division). The total amount settled in the cases was about Rs 12 lakh and Rs 6,80,000 were paid on the spot.


Muktsar girl scales Sasar Kangri
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 3
Sukhwinder Kaur Sukhi, a resident of this town, became the first Indian non-Army woman to achieve the distinction of scaling the 7672-metre-high Sasar Kangri mountain peak on July 14. Earlier, she had scaled the Mount Comet peak on July 14, 1998.

According to a press note issued here yesterday by the Public Relations Department, the Mount Sasar Kangri was conquered by Ms Santosh Yadav of the ITBP. Sukhi along with her friend Paramjit Kaur Pammi, have already covered the Pandari Glacier, Hanuman Tibba, Sitlidhar. The two girls from economically humble families cycled to Manimahesh from Dalhousie.


VB seeks arrest warrant against ex-chief of PSSSB
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 3
The Vigilance Bureau moved an application in the court of Mr Roshal Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, today requesting that arrest warrant of Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, former PSSSB Chairman, should be issued.

The public prosecutor pleaded that the accused could not be arrested in spite of the efforts of the Bureau. The court has fixed August 5 for hearing the application.

The bureau had registered a case against the former Chairman and former members and secretary of the PSSSB on July 12 for reportedly ignoring merit and accepting bribe.


Clean railway station: Dalit Sena
Our Correspondent

Goniana Mandi (Bathinda), August 3
The local unit of the Dalit Sena has urged the authorities concerned to ensure proper cleanliness and sanitation at the railway station.

Mr Jugraj Singh, president of the local unit of the party, said members of the party had met the railway authorities in this regard. He said they had also demanded that two persons should be employed for issuing tickets.

Mr Jugraj Singh said the union would urge senior officials of different departments to construct a bridge over the railway line.


Judicial remand for bank ex-chief
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 3
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded Parmeshwar Singh Sidhu, former Chairman of Punjab State Cooperative Bank, in judicial custody till August 16 and ordered that he be produced before Special Judge, Ropar, on that day.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, public prosecutor, and Mr Jora Singh, DSP Vigilance, had appeared in the court.

The accused was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau on July 23 after an FIR was registered against him. It was alleged that he had sanctioned loans to seven firms without taking proper securities and had caused a loss of about Rs 53 crore to the bank.


4 of family hurt
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 3
Hooligans on motor cycles and jeeps attacked and injured four of a family, including two women, at Mohalla Hakupura in Hadiabad today. The injured, Fakir Chand, his mother Harbans Kaur, aunt Nanjo and cousin Hem Raj, have been hospitalised.

Jasbir, a member of the family, had reportedly advised the hooligans to drive slow in the locality. This enraged them and they attacked the family. A child was also injured.


Abduction case filed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 3
A local resident, Mr Satpal Kapoor has filed a case of abduction against Aksham, alias Mikki, a resident of Safed Katra here. According to Mr Kapoor the youth with the help of his friends Karan, Mr Luv Khanna and Manav took away his grand-daughter last evening.

Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP City, said Manav, had been arrested. 


Free vegetable seeds for farmers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
The Agriculture Department, Punjab, will distribute vegetable seeds free of cost to farmers in the state. These would include vegetable seeds which could be grown in two months. A survey of the status of paddy crop will be done in the next few days.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, the Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, made these announcements while talking to newsmen here this evening.

Mrs Bhattal ordered officials to ensure sales tax on generators was not charged from farmers.

Earlier, Mrs Bhattal visited areas near Shambhu and Rajpura to see the damage to paddy crops. Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, who was accompanying her, demanded that the Ghanaur Assembly constituency should be treated as a special case for grant of compensation as the damage to paddy there was much more than in other parts of the state. He also demanded that water tankers be put in service wherever there was a shortage of drinking water.

Mrs Bhattal had detailed discussions with representatives of various farmer organisations, including the BKU (Rajewal), BKU (Ekta), BKU (Mianpur) and the Punjab Kisan Sabha she said them that she was going to attend the conference of Chief Ministers at Delhi on August 5.


Jobless youths for more agro units
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 3
A convention of unemployed youths of the region held here today underlined the need for more agro-based units to generate more jobs in Punjab. It would help contain unemployment and improve economic conditions of 80 per cent population dependent on agriculture in the state. The convention also appealed the state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to have comprehensive industrial and agriculture policies framed so that lakhs of unemployed youths were absorbed and played significant role in the society. Criticising the previous SAD-BJP government allegedly for encouraging corrupt practices and amassing huge wealth and properties and failing to take concrete measures for the welfare of unemployed youths during its five-year rule. The convention supported stringent steps to check corruption. Mr Jagtar Singh Langrian an economist and columnist of Punjabi dailies said that with the establishment of agro-based units the farmers would take more to diversification of traditional crops like tomatoes, chillies and watermelon.

Dr Dharminder Singh president of the State Unemployed Youth Union, urged the Punjab Government to revive 16,000 sick units and also realise Rs 500 crore subsidy availed by industrialists and to establish economic zones to revive economy of the state. Steps should also be taken to recover Rs 2,400 crore and tax due from industrial houses as was being emphasised by the state Chief Minister presiding over the convention Dr Raghbir Singh patron of the association lamented criminals running the polity. He demanded more powers for panchayats. More than 500 youths participated in the function.


400 litres of kerosene seized, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 3
The police yesterday arrested Karan Singh of Pathankot for his involvement in the sale and purchase of kerosene meant to be supplied to the general public under the public distribution system. According to Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, two drums containing 400 litres of kerosene were seized by a police naka party at Bhangoli Chowkunder police station, Shahpur Kandi.

The SSP said the accused was purchasing kerosene for the past several years from Surinder Kumar, alias Chhinda, a depot holder of Bhanwar village. After the police seized kerosene from the accused, Mr Sham Lal, Inspector, Food and Civil Supplies Department, Pathankot, was called. When Mr Sham Lal asked Karan Singh to produce documents for keeping such a big quantity of kerosene, he confessed that he purchased it from Surinder Kumar.

The accused was supplying kerosene allegedly to Kohli Forging Company, Defence Road, Pathankot, for melting iron. A case under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act has been registered against the accused at Shahpur Kandi police station.


3 directors of mill held for committing fraud
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 3
The local police has arrested three directors of Sudarshan woollen Mill on charges of defrauding the bank of Punjab of Rs 1.38 crore.

According to Dr S.K. Kalia, SP (City), the culprits had adopted a novel method for committing the crime. According to a complaint lodged by Mr Gulzar Singh, Vice-President of the bank, Raj Rani, a resident of Maqbool road, had taken a loan of Rs 1.34 crore from the bank in the name of Sudarshan Woollen Mill by mortgaging her house in 1996. She nominated four directors of the mill, including Rajinder Khanna and Raman Khanna (her sons), Salal Kathuria and Ajai Bhandari.

However, the directors of the mill decided to dispose of the mill without informing the bank. They also stopped depositing the loan instalments with the bank for two years. They disposed of the machinery installed at the mill with the help of the bank loan. In a smart move, Raj Rani got half of her house registered in the name of her son Raman Khanna and prepared a will to transfer the rest of the house in the name of her daughter-in-law Reeta Khanna.

The police has arrested Rajinder Khanna, Raman Khanna and Ajai Bhandari under Sections 420, 406, 467, 468, 471 and 120-b of the IPC.


Four jailed for demanding dowry
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 3
Ms Kiran Bala, Judicial Magistrate (Ist class), here today sentenced four persons to three years in jail and fined Rs 5,000 each for demanding dowry from Raj Rani of Gagwal village in Himachal Pradesh.

The Judicial Magistrate sentenced husband Tajinder Pal, father-in-law Kikru Ram, mother-in-law Bawi Devi and sister-in-law Rajbir Kaur of Raj Rani to three years in jail. They all are residents of Rajpura village, near here.

According to prosecution Karam Chand, father of Raj Rani, had lodged an FIR stating that his daughter was married to Tajinder Pal on March 5, 1995. After marriage the in-laws of Raj Rani demanded TV, fridge and motor cycle from him but he could not fulfil their demand. They started maltreating Raj Rani and made her leave their house after a few months of marriage and obtained her signatures on some papers.

A case was registered under Sections 498-A, 506 and 34 of the IPC against them.


Woman booked for killing husband
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 3
A resident of Budharwali village under Lalgarh Jattan police station was allegedly killed by his wife on his release from judicial custody on Friday night. Police sources said family members of Avtar Singh were irked at his consuming liquor almost everyday. He was arrested under Section of the 144 on a complaint lodged by his wife Sukhdev Kaur and daughter-in-law Baljit Kaur last month. His father, Munsha Singh, got him released on bail.

It is reported that on reaching home, Avtar Singh started harassing his wife for getting him arrested and consumed liquor again. In the morning Sukhdev Kaur went to her father-in-law’s residence to tell him that Avtar Singh had been killed. She fled after this. The police found the blood-stained body under a bed. It bore marks of injuries from a sharp-edged weapon.


Gang of contract killers busted
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 3
The police has busted a gang of contract killers.
Mrs Gurpreet Deo, SSP, in a press note here today, said they had agreed to carry out a murder for Rs 4 lakh and Rs 25,000 was already given to them by Gurdip Singh, son of Kartar Singh of Mohalla Ajit Nagar, Jalandhar.

Following a tip-off Gurdip Singh was arrested by the police and an unlicenced .32 bore pistal was seized from his possession. There was a dispute over a plot of 18 marlas in Ajit Nagar, near Krishan Chowk, Jalandhar, between two brothers. The members of the gang Kala, alias Gona, Balwinder Singh, alias Binder, Balbir Chand, alias Billa, and Avtar Singh, alias Pappu.

Two of the accused Balbir Chand, and Avtar Singh have a criminal record and they were also involved in bank dacoity in Cooperative Society Bank in Athaula village in Jalandhar.


5 held for immoral trafficking
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 3
Five persons, including two women, were arrested today during raids on a hotel opposite the district courts under Sections 3 and 5 of the Suppression of Immoral Trafficking (Girls and Women) Act.

Police sources said the raids were carried out on a tip-off and two women and two men were found in rooms of the hotel. They said the two men were identified as Jasbir Singh, a constable, and Amarjit Singh, an employee of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). The owner of the hotel, Ishtpal Singh, was also arrested.

The sources said the arrested women, Jaspal Kaur and Ranjit Kaur, were married and belonged to a nearby village.


Rs 1,000 note lands thief in jail

Kapurthala, August 3
The failure to distinguish between a Rs 1,000 and a Rs 100 currency note landed a snatcher in jail within 24 hours.

According to District Police Chief R.N. Dhoke here yesterday, Balbir Singh had stolen a bag containing over Rs 2 lakh and a mobile phone of a businessman, Mr Iqbal Hussain, of Gujarat while he was travelling in an Amritsar-bound train yesterday.

However, this morning he was nabbed by the police at a road side ‘dhaba’ here. After having had some eatables, he gave to the dhaba owner a currency note of Rs 1,000 and demanded Rs 99 back. UNI


Police Public School in Chandigarh soon
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 3
Mr Anil Kaushik, IGP Zonal (Patiala)-cum-Chairman, Police Public School, Bathinda, yesterday said that a branch of the school would be opened shortly at Chandigarh and a site for the same had been allotted by the Chandigarh Administration in Sector 37-C.

Mr Kaushik said that even as nearly 50 big and reputed schools were vying to get this site earmarked for their school, they were allotted the site keeping in view their achievements. He added that the opening a branch of the school would facilitate the wards of the Punjab Police personnel posted at Chandigarh and the surrounding areas as 50 per cent of the seats in these schools were reserved for them.

He said the school, established at Bathinda in 1991, has been providing quality education to the wards of the deceased, retired and serving police personnel, besides civilians. The class X results of the school have always been 100 per cent and computer education was being given to students from class III onwards.

Mr Kaushik said the wards of the deceased police personnel were being given some extra facilities like free uniforms, books and help books.

District Police Chief, Mr Ishwar Singh, said that emphasis was being laid on the all-round development of the students and facilities for sports like football, tennis, basketball etc had been provided within the school premises.

He further said more than 3,000 saplings would be planted in various police stations and thanas of the district, as part of a plantation drive launched with the help of students.


Vacancies may lead to college derecognition
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 3
At the local Government Medical College, 57 posts of Senior Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer and Lecturer have been lying vacant for a long time. In case of an inspection by the Medical Council of India (MCI), the college could be derecognised.

This apprehension was raised at a meeting of the Medical College Hospital Welfare Association held here under the presidentship of Dr O.P. Mahajan, Principal of the college. At the meeting, attended by Dr R.L. Bhatia, MP and patron of the association, Dr Raj Kumar, MLA, Dr H.S. Gill, Medical Superintendent, Dr Bhola Singh and Dr M.S. Khanna, both senior professors, it was decided to write to the state government to fill the posts to prevent derecognition of the college.

Eleven posts of Professor, 17 of Assistant Professor, 12 of Senior Lecturer and 17 of Lecturer have been lying vacant which have adversely affected the working of the medical college and the hospital attached to it.

The meeting also emphasised the need to maintain the autonomy of the college to provide quality education and medicare facilities. The members of the association said the entire medical funds of the medical colleges/hospitals which were collected as user charges from the patients — out of Rs 3 crore collected as user charges in a year, the state government returned Rs 1 crore to the college — should be allowed to be used for the overall development of the health institutions.

The members also requested the state government to appoint a regular Director, Research and Medical Education, at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Dr R.L. Bhatia gave Rs 2 lakh for streamlining the intensive care unit of the college and Dr Raj Kumar gave Rs 1 lakh for the construction of a guest house in the medical college — from their discretionary quotas, respectively.


Notice to school education board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Issuing notice of motion for August 7 on a petition filed against the Punjab School Education Board in SAS Nagar by a Ludhiana district resident seeking directions for rechecking his daughter’s 10 plus 2 examination papers, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the respondents to produce the answer sheets of English, maths and chemistry papers.

In his petition, taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, Mr Sukhdev Singh of Kaonke Kalan had also sought directions for quashing a regulation prohibiting the rechecking of answer sheets “despite the failure on part of examiner to check them properly”.

Arguing on his behalf, counsel for the petitioner had contended that Mr Sukhdev Singh’s daughter, Navjot Kaur, was declared fail in as many as three subjects even though she had secured 91 per cent marks in her matriculation examination.

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