Tuesday, August 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Give Rs 10,000 per acre to drought-hit: SAD
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 5
Describing the registration of corruption cases as an act of revenge against leaders and former ministers of the SAD as a wrong precedent set up by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today asked Capt Amarinder Singh to set up an inquiry commission for probing corruption cases, as promised by the Congress in its election manifesto, rather than getting “false” cases registered against Akalis by the Punjab Vigilance Department.

Mr Badal, who presided over an impressive meeting of the SAD workers held at the local historical Bhatha Sahib, gurdwara further said “false” cases were being registered against the Akalis by the Vigilance with the sole motive of defaming and harassing them.

In an important resolution, the gathering asked the Punjab Government to cover all parties under its anti-corruption drive and not only the SAD. The resolution also demanded the registration of corruption cases against the already indicted Congress ministers. In another resolution, the gathering asked the Punjab Government to give Rs 10,000 per acre as compensation to the victims of drought and rejected the Rs 700 amount per acre as compensation, announced by the government. The gathering also adopted a resolution asking the government to curb the activities of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala and Maharaj Ashutosh which were anti-Sikh.

Mr Badal said there were two ministers in the Cabinet of Capt Amarinder Singh who had “fake” degrees, but they had not been removed from ministerships while youths with “fake” degrees were removed from the jobs by the government.

Mr Badal also offered to Capt Amarinder Singh to arrest him and his family members as he (Amarinder) was stating this for the past some weeks. He predicted that the Amarinder government would fall under its own weight in the months to come as the Captain was insulting his MLAs and ministers daily.

KHARAR (UNI): Top Sad leaders also addressed a rally in Kharar as part of the party’s statewide political programme here today. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Kanwaljit Singh and some local leaders addressed the rally.


Govt serious about stopping free power
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 5
More than four lakh hectares of paddy crop out of total 24.46 lakh hectares has been damaged due to failure of monsoon in Punjab in the current season. Besides this the farmers have ploughed 1300 hectares so far of paddy due to failure of monsoon. Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Revenue Minister, Punjab, stated this at a press conference here today. According to an estimate Bathinda and Mansa districts had suffered the most, said the minister. Exact loss will be known only after the completion of girdawari by August 25. Girdawari process will start from August 10. The Deputy Commissioners of respective areas have been directed to identify the exact position to save farmers from harassment. Expressing concern the minister said if monsoon did not come this week the situation might worsen. Mr Samra was here to assess the position in Faridkot district reiterated government resolve to help the affected farmers by all means.

He clarified the compensation of Rs 700 per acre as announced by the government for the affected farmers was just token help to enable them to sow next crop. Sufficient help will be provided to them on the receipt of Rs 800 crore aid from the Union Government.

He made it clear that if the Centre failed to come to the rescue of Punjab farmers who suffered on many occasions had met foodgrain needs of the country. The Punjab government would help them. He disclosed that a high-level meeting was held at Chandigarh today on generating more financial sources. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was already in touch with the World Bank to get sufficient funds for the development of the state and farmers. To a question, Mr Samra replied, no doubt, the government was considering seriously to withdraw free power and water supply facility to the agriculturists due to the economic condition of the state but assured to help the farmers through other ways after withdrawing the above facility. Steps were also under way to improve irrigation following fall of watertable to meet the demands of the farmers for the next crop. The MLAs have been directed to visit their constituencies on priority to redress grievances of villagers. Later addressing a meeting of senior district officers he ordered Irrigation and PSEB officers to ensure uninterrupted supply of power to the farmers. Deputy Commissioners of Bathinda, Mansa and Faridkot districts were also present on this occasion. Mr Samra accompanied by Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot and other officers besides, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, former MLA also visited the Hithar area of Faridkot block where more than 50 per cent paddy crop has withered. He assured farmers all help at this juncture.


MLA promises 10-hour power to farmers
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 5
Mr Hans Raj Josan, MLA Jalalabad and a former minister, Punjab, in a statement here today reiterated government resolve to provide more power and water to farmers with fields at tail-ends. He said that to provide 10-hour regular power to farmers Punjab was purchasing power from other states.

Mr Josan lamented that due to dry spell 50 per cent of paddy crop in Ferozepore district had been destroyed and cotton crop too had suffered the heavy loss. He said a survey had been conducted in the district under the leadership of Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Punjab minister, Mr Josan disclosed that the Deputy Commissioners and Subdivisional Magistrates have been directed to submit a report of special girdawari of dry spell areas in a week to enable the government to take up the issue of compensation to farmer with the Union Government.

He said to check canal water theft special efforts were on so that water reached tail-ends. He warned those engaged in water theft would be dealt with sternly.

He added that the payment of old-age and widow pensions held up since January this year due to financial crisis shall be made within fortnight. He said sanction for the release of pension had been accorded.

Mr Joshan said that second instalment of compensation of Rs 6500 per acre to farmers in whose fields lamdmines had been laid shall be paid from Thursday onwards. Besides this the cases of farmers whose land fell across the barbed wire fencing and who had not been able to irrigate crops had been sent to the Union Government for grant of relief of Rs 2800 per acre every year.

Mr Josan who is the Chairman of the Public Undertaking Committee of Punjab Assembly said that efforts were being made to strengthen economic position of the corporation and boards. The case of Punsup is being handled on priority.


64 power connections cut
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
Acting firmly against defaulting government offices, the Punjab State Electricity Board today cut power connection of a number of offices, including the State Language Department, Building and Roads and Irrigation and Horticulture departments, besides serving notices to the police and other departments to pay their dues within three days.

The PSEB has even asked the Commissioner’s office, DIG office, Deputy Commissioner’s office and the Sessions Judge Court to pay the dues. Sources said the above had reportedly promised to pay the dues by tomorrow.

Besides, the board has also given a three-day notice to the Municipal Corporation and the Public Health Department in this regard. Similar notices have been given to the Central Jail authorities here for the four connections held by it. Dues on account of both heads have totalled up to Rs 18.30 lakh.

Board Superintendent Engineer T. P. S. Gambhir said the action had been taken by the Patiala circle to pave the way for other circles to follow suit.

He said as many as 64 connections were disconnected during the special drive launched today, adding that the defaulting government departments owed the circle Rs 40 lakh.

Mr Gambhir said there were a total 130 defaulters in the circle. He said the Language Department owed the board Rs 1.75 lakh, Horticulture and Health Department Rs 50,000 each, offices situated in the district courts complex Rs 1.40 lakh and Police Department Rs 2.65 lakh.

Mr Gambhir said notices had also been issued to various government rest houses and Health Department dispensaries to cough up the dues within three days, adding that the power supply to parts of Mata Kaushalya Hospital and the Model Town dispensary had been cut. He said the move had apparently forced some of the government departments to start paying up the bills with Rs 3.57 lakh in dues being received within a few hours of the drive.


Surcharge likely on power bills
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 5
In its bid to generate extra revenue to cope with the grim financial situation, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has proposed to impose 10 per cent surcharge on those domestic and commercial consumers whose bimonthly bills exceeded Rs 2,000.

Addressing a press conference here today, the member (Operations) of the PSEB, Mr S.K. Anand said they had forwarded the case pertaining to the imposition of 10 per cent surcharge to the state Power Tariff Regulatory Authority for approval.

He further said the surcharge would be imposed for the current season to generate extra revenue.

Mr Anand maintained that the board had also recommended a hike in the power tariff from 22 per cent to 40 per cent, whereas they had recommended Rs 2 per unit on the supply to the agriculture sector.


Hardwar case: A-G snubs Badal
Verify facts, says Harbhagwan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, today snubbed SAD chief and Leader of the Opposition, Parkash Singh Badal, suggesting him that before bringing the constitutional institutions and the law fraternity into dispute, responsible people like him should verify the facts.

In a letter addressed to Mr Badal, Mr Harbhagwan Singh reminded the former Chief Minister that a suit was filed by Capt Amarinder Singh as a plaintiff in a Hardwar court on November 12, 1998.

“After two years of unexplainable delay under your chief ministership, the state of Punjab had woken up and filed an application for becoming a party to the suit on March 16, 2000. This application was not defended by your government through any senior lawyer and was consequently dismissed on February 2, 2001.

You were the Punjab Chief Minister at that time and the reasons for not contesting it thoroughly should only be best known to you. Perhaps your concern for the case is rather too recent and aimed at using it only as a propaganda tool in your political strategies,” wrote Mr Harbhagwan Singh in his letter.

He further said that the “Punjab Government during your tenure as Chief Minister filed a revision petition before the District Judge, which was allowed to remain pending for a long time. Keeping in view the fact that the Punjab Government may not be blamed for the negligence as shown during your tenure, it was decided that the case should be contested at the highest level. I was requested to defend the case on behalf of the state of Punjab. This matter was dealt with by the PWD and not by the Home Department.

“You may have wrongly assumed the fact that a panel was drawn up to defend the state of Punjab in which the names of my relatives figured. No such panel was drawn up and that way there is no question of any relative to be included therein. The whole thing is a figment of imagination perhaps based on a wrong interpretation of the standardised printed power of attorney format.”

“I may state that none of my relatives was ever considered for such engagement or empanelment as counsel and none of them has signed any power of attorney by way of its acceptance. None of them has ever appeared or accepted any case fee in this matter”, he said.

“It has become imperative to take the pending case seriously and at a higher level because the application for becoming a party was earlier dismissed because of inept handling of the case during your tenure as the Chief Minister,” said Mr Harbhagwan Singh in the letter.


Osama hiding in Pakistan: Afghan police
Cops undergo training at Phillaur academy
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Phillaur, August 5
Corroborating claims of Indian Intelligence agencies, the Afghan police also has ‘reliable’ information that Osama bin Laden is alive and hiding somewhere in Pakistan.

This statement, which upholds India’s stance that Pakistan is a terrorist state, was made by the five-member delegation of the Afghan police that has arrived at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, for a week-long training programme. The academy was specially chosen by the Indian Government for imparting training to Afghanistan policemen.

“He is very much alive and is in the shelter of the Pakistan Government” said Major Abdul Qaheer, while talking to ‘The Tribune’ after the inaugural function marking the opening of the training session at the academy here this morning. Dr G.S. Aujla, ADGP-cum-Director, PPA, performed the inauguration ceremony.

Major Qaheer, the only member of the delegation who can talk in Hindi, also disclosed that for over five years, Pakistani policemen and ISI agents had taken their positions while the original Afghan policemen had to live a life in hiding or side with the forces of the late Ahmed Masood, the greatest rival of the Mullah Omar regime which was supported by Osama bin Laden. He said the policemen regrouped after the defeat of Laden and were now trying to maintain peace in the country.

He said terrorist activities in India were supported and abetted by the Pakistani Government through the ISI. Being a Muslim, he also took special pains in teaching the concept of jihad. He stressed that what the Pakistan supported terrorists were doing in Kashmir and earlier in Afghanistan was nowhere near the true meaning of jihad.

One of the greatest changes effected in the Afghan police was the introduction of women police officers. Their number was 150 in the field and another 100 under young training and more recruitments were being made.

The language barrier notwithstanding, the Afghan policemen were quite receptive and open while talking to the media. They revealed that the Afghan police was in the restructuring mode and was looking forward to such training programmes. “Things are changing rapidly in our country. Schools and colleges are functioning properly. People have the freedom to dress and make-up,” he said. The change was visible from their dress as well. None of them sported a long beard, as enforced by the Taliban. One officer was clean shaven. The delegation members were in mufti and not wearing their uniform.

Their ranks are similar to the Indian armed forces. The other delegation members are Colonel Sharif, Colonel Bismillah, Lieut-Col. Mohammed. Nazeer and Lieut Col Zamal Meer.

They disclosed that any Indian thing was hot property in Afghanistan and people held the country and its citizens in awe. Indian movies are the big crowdpullers. The movies of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Karisma Kapoor are in great demand.

Dr Aujla disclosed that more delegations of the Afghanistan police would arrive shortly and take training at National Police Academy Hyderabad, the CBI headquarters and the police academy in Madhuban. He said the academy had specially sent books on policing and the lessons imparted here to Afghanistan so that they could translate then in their language and use them.

Giving details about the training programme Dr S.S. Chauhan, Deputy Director of the academy, disclosed that the broad issues to be discussed with the Afghan officers included organisation of the police, introduction to personnel management issues in police, legal basis of police functioning, management of man-power requirement and planning, recruitment and training, social role of police in a society, role of leadership command and control, parameters of personnel evaluation system, parameters of police dealings with women and children, human process lab, modernisation of police forces, job analysis and placement in police, performance rating standards and methods, human rights and police, accountability in police service, communication skills, discipline — polices and practice, motivation and job satisfaction in police, conflict management, police misconduct and departmental enquiry, building attitude and ability, police sub-culture, constraints in the use of fire arms and welfare measures in police and personnel planning for big events — fairs, gatherings and unlawful assembly.

The officers will also be taken for visits to Chandigarh and Amritsar where they will also interact with senior officers.


Three-tier inspection system for schools soon
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Punjab is set to introduce a three-tier inspection system to check absenteeism and the falling standard of education in government schools. The qualifications of teachers for primary and secondary schools will also be revised.

Under the new inspection system, the Principals of high or higher secondary schools will be given powers to supervise primary and middle schools falling in the 5 to 7 km radius of their schools. The Principals will have to visit such schools for a specific number of days. A proper record of inspection will be maintained. Attendance of teachers and students, the standard of education, dropouts will be the three main areas of inspection.

District Education Officers, both primary and secondary schools, will have to inspect schools falling in their jurisdiction for a specific number of days in a month. Officers from the state headquarters will also have to inspect schools at random.

Education Minister, Khushal Behal said today that an executive order would be issued in this connection by the end of this week.

The Vigilance Bureau recently conducted raids to check attendance of teachers in schools. A large number of teachers were found absent. However, this was resented by teachers. That is why the government has now opted for departmental inspection in schools.

For providing proper infrastructure in government primary schools under the Sarab Shiksha Abhiyan, Rs 64 crore had been released. School Development Committees were being set up to monitor spending . For monitoring the development work in schools, a monitoring cell would be set up at the state headquarters.

As the government had decided to introduce English from the 3rd standard in primary schools( It is at present from the 1st standard), the educational qualifications of teachers would be revised to B.Ed. At present it is elementary teacher training, a two-year course, after passing the 10 plus 2 examinations. Likewise as the medium of mathematics and science subjects would be English from the 6th standard, the qualification of teachers for middle and high schools would also be revised to MA B.Ed from B.Ed at present. In-service training would be mandatory for teachers. Sports would be compulsory for every student.

Tuitions at schools or colleges would not be allowed in any case, Mr Behal said. Vocational subjects would be introduced at the high school level, especially in industrial centres. The government wanted to set up specialised commerce and non-medical colleges, at least one in each district. Such colleges would be known for their excellence.

The presence of teachers for six hours would be made mandatory in colleges.


Produce CJ’s letter, HC tells Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
In less than a week after a letter written by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice appeared in The Tribune on the transfer of “key officers” posted with the intelligence wing, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked counsel for the state of Punjab to produce its copy.

Taking up a public interest litigation accusing the government of being involved in “Operation Coverup”, instead of revealing the truth in the PPSC scam, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, observed that the letter, in no uncertain terms, had indicted the government.

The letter, published on August 1, had quoted Chief Justice Arun B. Saharya as saying that the transfer of Mr A.P. Bhatnagar and other officers of the intelligence wing had “hampered the probe” being conducted by him into the involvement of certain High Court Judges in the PPSC scam.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Singhvi, after referring to The Tribune report, observed that the matter had assumed greater significance following developments that had taken place during the past four days.

The Judges, after hearing arguments in the case for almost half an hour, granted seven days’ time to state counsel for filing a “better affidavit” and fixed August 16 as the next date of hearing.

During the proceedings, petitioner Rupinder Khosla objected to a remark made in a written statement filed on behalf of the respondents, claiming that he was close to certain Akali leaders and the petition had been filed for publicity. Following his objection, state counsel was asked by the court to explain the basis of making such a comment. After his inability to satisfy the court with his reply, the case was adjourned to enable counsel to file a “better affidavit”.

Mr Khosla, had claimed that the transfer of officers belonging to the intelligence wing in the middle of the investigations “may have been done to thwart the probe”. Giving details, he had asserted: “So far as the strategy of emasculating the intelligence wing is concerned, the coup de grace was delivered when its head, Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, along with three colleagues, was unceremoniously shunted out”.

He had added: “It was this team that nabbed the then PPSC Chairman and later unearthed crores of bribes collected by him. Transferring them in the middle of the case would no doubt affect the case. But what is more serious is the fact that the High Court Chief Justice had specially asked the particular officer to assist him in the probe against Judges alleged to be involved in the scam. Even more serious is the statement made by Mr Bhatnagar and widely reported in the press that an amount of Rs 2 crore out of the money lying in the lockers of the then Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu stood unaccounted for and the same was most probably used to influence higher-ups”.

Arguing in person, he had submitted that the scam was not being properly handled by the investigating agency and the police was not being permitted to perform its statutory duty of apprehending criminals and bringing them to justice. “Certain prime witnesses were allowed to flee the country after siphoning a substantial amount of money from their lockers. Certain other witnesses were made to retract their earlier statements. Besides this, the challans were not properly put up on time. Some high-ups were allowed to go scot-free whereas certain others were targeted. The feeling of the general public, including the petitioner, was that it was being deliberately allowed to go by”, the petitioner submitted.


Hearing in Sidhu case on Aug 8
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 5
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, here today fixed August 8 as the next date of hearing for supplying copies of the documents relating to challan to Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, suspended PPSC chairman.

The copies of the documents will be supplied to Sidhu by the Vigilance Bureau. The bureau had presented challan in the court against Sidhu on July 13.

In another case, the Special Judge extended the judicial remand of former member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, Kulbir Singh Randhawa, until August 17.


Warrants against ex-chief of PSSSB
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 5
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today issued non-bailable warrants against Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, former Chairman of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board for August 14.

These orders were passed on an application moved by the Vigilance Bureau through Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, public prosecutor who pleaded that the bureau has already registered a case against the former Chairman, former Secretary, and former members of the PSSSB at SAS Nagar under the Prevention of Corruption Act and five members of the Board had already been arrested. The Chairman could not arrested despite the best efforts of the bureau.


Tohra predicts SHSAD win in SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, August 5
Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President Gurcharan Singh Tohra said today that his group would defeat the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal in the forthcoming SGPC elections and emerge as the real Akali Dal.

Speaking at a function held here to welcome Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) President Paramjit Singh Sarna, the veteran Akali leader said the Sikhs had voted SHSAD to power in the DSGMC elections and the same would be replicated in the SGPC elections.

Speaking on the occasion, party General Secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra said party workers of the SAD were joining SHSAD. He said SHSAD would organise a conference on August 20 at Sherpur village in Sangrur district on the death anniversary of Harchand Singh Longowal to chart out its further line of action.


Badal ‘violated’ Panthic ethics
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 5
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister, had violated all Panthic principles for his lush for money, power and to serve interest of his family members. This was the most corrupt regime in the history of the state. Now, the Sikh sangat of Delhi had punished him for his misdeeds and voted him out of the Sikh politics in the national Capital. This was stated by Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, while addressing a function held to honour Jathedar Sarna, newly elected President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), in Sirhind town today. He alleged that at the time of the elections Mr Badal promoted Baba Bhaniaranwala through his confidants and now he was promoting Ashutosh.

Jathedar Tohra said SHSAD would not tolerate any anti-panthic activities of these so called religious leaders and would give them a befitting reply. He urged all real Akalis to leave the corrupt SAD and form a true Akali Dal. Jathedar Sarna lashed out at Mr Badal and said he was surprised to learn about the bunglings in the accounts and in educational institutions of the DSGMC committed by its outgoing president.


Till Badal is held, anti-graft drive incomplete: Mann

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 5
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President and MP Simranjit Singh Mann has said that until former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was arrested, the anti-corruption campaign would remain non-conclusive.

Speaking to this correspondent here today, Mr Mann said the anti- corruption drive launched by Punjab Government was partial as it had adopted a pick and choose policy in the anti-corruption campaign. He said his party had decided to launch a struggle to secure the one rank, one pension scheme for the ex-servicemen. UNI


Forward Bloc stir from Aug 9
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 5
Implementation of WTO-guided policies is anti-Constitution. It is against the concept of socialism which forms the basic structure of the Constitution. If the NDA government wants to denationalise the public sector then it should first amend the Constitution.

Making these observation here yesterday Mr Debabratta Biswas, general secretary, All India forward block, said here yesterday the party would launch a month-long nationwide campaign to mobilise public opinion on WTO-driven policies on August 9.


Home Secy pulled up in Kaunke case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Coming down heavily on Punjab’s Home Secretary for demonstrating disrespect for court proceedings in the Kaunke disappearance case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today observed that no purpose was being served by acting upon undertakings given by government counsel as there was a deliberate effort on the part of the officials to flout court directions.

The observations were made after state counsel informed the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Kiran Anand Lall, that the Home Secretary, directed to be present in the court, had left for the USA on August 2, along with Punjab Chief Minister.

The Home Secretary, on the last date of hearing, was asked to be present and explain why an undertaking regarding examination of Kaunke disappearance case by an “independent senior officer” within a specific period of time had not been honoured.

In an undertaking, state counsel on April 24 had sought two months’ time for getting the matter pertaining to the alleged disappearance of Akal Takht Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke examined.

Earlier, in his petition, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, had sought directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to make public the report of inquiry conducted by Punjab’s Additional Director General of Police regarding the alleged murder of Akal Takht Jathedar.

The petitioner had further stated that the Jathedar was shown to have escaped from police custody on January 3, 1993, and since then his whereabouts were not known. In all probability, he had been killed, the petitioner had claimed. His counsel had contended that the ADGP, in statements after submitting the report to the then Chief Minister, had stated that he was being pressured to give findings against the authorities. The case will now come up for hearing on August 25.

Private candidates allowed for JET

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, today permitted candidates passing the matriculation examination as private candidates to appear for counselling in JET-2002 examination as per merit.

In their petition, a group of students had earlier sought the quashing of a memo disqualifying the students passing matriculation examinations as private candidates from taking admission in technical institutes in Punjab.

Challenging the memo, Mr R.S. Bains had contended that the memo had resulted in the denial of equal opportunity of admission to all the students who had studied by making private efforts and were still competing with the regular students having access to better schools. The case will now come up for hearing on August 19.


Scholars warned against distorting Sikh history
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 5
Some Sikh missionary colleges and their writings have come under fire from certain “Panthic” organisations and a number of intellectuals. The organisations have asserted that the missionary writers had no right to twist Sikh history and that both the “Dasam Granth” and Sri Guru Granth Sahib were sacred sources of inspiration for the Sikhs.

The Damdami Taksal, Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Budha Dal, Tarna Dal Shaheedi Misal, Tarna Dal Harian Belan, Gurmat Sidhant Parcharak Sant Samaj have maintained that there is no weight in the assertion of some scholars associated with missionary colleges that Guru Gobind Singh had not given a “bedawa” (letter of desertion) to “40 muktas” and the former had not torn it later, as was mentioned in the “Dasam Granth”. The organisations have warned such “scholars” against indulging in the “act of sacrilegious writings”.

The organisations convened a special meeting at Naunvin Patshahi gurdwara here today to discuss the issue. They charged the missionaries, including Gurmat Missionary College, of “distorting” and “ridiculing” the “Bani” of Sri Guru Gobind Singh and making an effort to “disseminate” disbelief about history.

Bhai Mohkam Singh of Damdami Taksal said though guruship was bestowed upon Sri Guru Granth Sahib, “Dasam Granth” was also important for the Sikhs, as it was the source of daily prayers and for administering “amrit”.

Giani Sher Singh of the Nihang jatha, Tarna Dal Harian Belan, gave details on how the “Bani” of Sri Guru Gobind Singh was also same in spirit, tone and tenor of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. He said Akal Takht had already given its findings that each and every word of the “Dasam Granth” had come from the pen of Guru Gobind Singh.

Sharing this view, Dr Harbhajan Singh of Punjabi University, gave a detailed account of the efforts made by some people to undermine the importance of the “Dasam Granth”. Dr Harpal Singh Pannu, also from Punjabi University, said all four “granths” such as Guru Granth Sahib, Dasam Granth, Vaars of Bhai Gurdas and writings of Bhai Nand Lal were of great importance for the Sikhs and were being recited at the Golden Temple for ages.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, secretary general of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, lashed out at the SGPC chief, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, by alleging that though he had assured at an executive meeting that no recognition to missionary colleges would be accorded unless their ideologies were brought on a common platform, he “betrayed” his commitment by according recognition to such colleges.


Hospital again in eye of storm
Relatives claim patient died due to lack of oxygen
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
The local Rajindra Hospital is again in the eye of storm with relatives of a 30-year-old woman, admitted to the hospital yesterday, claiming that she had died because of lack of oxygen cylinders in the hospital.

Savita, a patient from Rajpura who had undergone a premature delivery, was admitted to the hospital yesterday in a serious condition. The relatives of the woman, who raised a hue and cry after her death at around 10 p.m. last night, said she had died because oxygen supply in the hospital was exhausted.

They have claimed that Savita was put on oxygen for nearly four to five hours and when the cylinder was exhausted, doctors got another cylinder to replace it. The cylinder was fond empty and another was procured which again was found empty. They said, in the meantime, Savita’s condition deteriorated and she died soon.

Hospital authorities have, however, refuted the allegations claiming that they had provided proper medical facilities to the patient even though she had been brought to the hospital in a serious condition. The Medical Superintendent said the hospital still had oxygen cylinders in its stock and that other patients had also been put on oxygen along with Savita in the Emergency Ward yesterday.

Dr Sekhon said Savita had been gasping for breath when she was brought to the hospital and had developed severe infection. He said the patient had been given two units of blood and the seriousness of the case was explained to her relatives by the doctor in charge.

Though Dr Sekhon said the hospital still had oxygen cylinders at its disposal, sources said the stock had run out since long. They said though the hospital had already placed an order for more oxygen cylinders to replenish its stock, these had not been received till now. The sources said this was because the hospital owed the term supplying the cylinders around Rs 30 lakh which were still to be paid.


21-year wait for health centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Rattewal village, near Balachaur, in Nawanshahr district has been clamouring for a primary health centre for the past 21 years.

A cluster of 10 to 15 villages in the vicinity of Rattewal village have negligible medical facilities and people have to rush to Balachaur in the case of an emergency.

Mr Baloo Ram Banth, who represented the area in the Punjab Assembly from 1952 to 1969, got a 30-bed PHC sanctioned for the village in the eighties. It was decided then that as a 50-bed hospital was to come up at Balachaur, the PHC working at Balachaur should be shifted to Rattewal. The then Civil Surgeon wrote a letter to the village sarpanch on October 11, 1981. Again in July 1985, the Civil Surgeon informed the village panchayat that funds to this effect had been provided in the 1985-86 budget for the PHC and the panchayat should arrange about 3-acre of land for the purpose.

Mr Baloo Ram Banth donated his own land and an agreement was signed with the Department of Health in this connection. Accepting the gesture of Mr Baloo Ram the government agreed to name the PHC as Banth Medical Centre. Interestingly, the agreement was signed then by Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, who is at present Director, Health Services, Punjab.

However, construction could not be taken up. In 1991, the Civil Surgeon wrote to Mr Baloo Ram that he would inspect the private building offered by the village panchayat to run the PHC till its own building was constructed. However, this proposal did not materialise as employees working in the Balachaur PHC were not keen to work at Rattewal. The shifting of the PHC from Balachaur to Rattewal continued to be rejected on one pretext or the other.

Then in 1996, the government sanctioned Rs 25 lakh for the construction of the PHC. A small portion was constructed and it was assured that the PHC would start functioning soon. However, it has not started working as yet. The government has started sending one doctor along with one or two health workers to the village on a daily basis just for two hours. As Baloo Ram died in 1994 his son, Mr Om Parkash Banth, has taken up the mantle to see that the PHC becomes functional in the village soon. He has met the authorities concerned but there is no positive response. The main excuse is that doctors did not want to go to the village.

“We are trying to fix an appointment with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. As he is said to be a tough man, he may be able to make the PHC run in the village,” says Mr Om Prakash with a glint of hope in his eyes.


Minister faces protest

Jalandhar, August 5
A few activists of the Rashtriya Sanjha Morcha, were detained by the police near Nakodar Chowk here today. They were raising slogans against Punjab Minister for Local Bodies and Labour, Choudhary Jagjit Singh who was unveiling life-size statue of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar at the Chowk.

The protesters, nearly 15 in number, were stopped by the police a few metres away from the statue lifted, put into police vehicles and taken away.

They were released after the unveiling ceremony.

Later in a press note Morcha Chairman Lahori Ram Bali, publisher and editor of ‘Bhim Patrika’ a monthly paper, alleged that Choudhary Jagjit Singh had no right to unveil Baba Sahib’s statue as his family had never shown respect to Dr Ambedkar’s ideals and thoughts.

He clarified that the protest was not against the installation of the statue but against Choudhary’s unveiling it.

Choudhary Jagjit Singh in his reaction to the protests, said it would be better if he did not comment.

The statue costing Rs three lakh was installed in place of the bust of Baba Sahib at the same chowk also known as Ambedkar Chowk. Rupees three lakh was spent on the beautification of the chowk.

Sardari Lal and Balbir Singh Chauhan, both Congress councillors, whose wards border the Ambedkar Chowk did not participate in the ceremony. Both are confidants of Punjab Technical Education Minister Mohinder Singh Kapyee, who too stayed away from the function.

Choudhary Jagjit Singh today said that the Rs 700 per acre relief announced earlier for dry spell hit farmers was only a temporary relief. Amount of compensation would be decided after the completion of special girdawari (revenue assessment). UNI, PTI


Truckers gherao police station
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 5
Irate members of four transport unions today gheraoed the local police station in protest against the high-handedness of the police authorities for its alleged continuous process of implicating truckers in false cases.

A large numbers of truckers assembled at the Dera Bassi police station against booking of Gurcharan Singh Pappu, president of the Bassi-Mubarikpur Truck Operators Union, and other truckers blocked traffic on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway for over three hours.

Tension has prevailed in the town when two truckers — Gurcharan Singh Pappu and Baldev Singh — were picked up by the police and were detained for over eight hours in the police station.

As the news spread, over 1,500 members of the Bassi-Mubarikpur Truck Operators Union, the Welcome Light Vehicle Operators Unions, the Goodwill Operators Union and the Four-Wheeler Tempo Union assembled in front of the police station and protested against detention of the truckers.

Gurcharan Singh and Baldev Singh said they were picked up by the police at 10 a.m. “Police personnel told us that they were wanted in two criminal cases”, said Gurcharan Singh. He said, “We were having pre-arrest bail documents with us so we stepped inside the police station fearlessly.”

They were booked under Sections 311, 323, 427, 379, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

The agitators alleged that some senior police personnel were playing in the hands of industrialists and were harassing the truckers by implicating them in false cases.

Meanwhile, security guards on the main gate of the police station restrained mediapersons from approaching Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, DSP, for his comments.


Notice to CM on asset declaration
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 5
A local court today issued a notice to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) through its President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and Punjab Congress MLAs through CM, Punjab (defendants), acting on a civil suit filed by the propaganda secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Ropar district, Mr Gurmeet Singh Matharu.

The notice has been issued to the defendants for September 4 by the UT Civil Judge (Junior division), Mr S.S Bhardwaj. Mr Matharu had filed a civil suit on August 3 through his counsel, Mr N.S. Minhas, against defendants for mandatory injunction directing the defendants to declare their assets.

The plaintiff had stated in the suit that the PPCC had contested the Assembly election in February, 2002, and in its election manifesto the PPCC had made a promise to the general public through newspaper, electronic media and in public rallies that if they came to power after the election, the CM and other ministers as well as their MLAs would declare their assets on the day of taking the oath in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

It was also stated in the suit that earlier a legal notice was issued to the defendants but no reply was received. Hence the suit had been filed against the defendants.


Alert train driver, guard avert tragedy
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 5
An alert driver, Jawant Singh and guard Bhola Parshad averted a tragedy here today when an engine of the Lohian-bound 3LL diesel multiple unit train suddenly caught fire between Phillaur and Bilga, 1.5 km away from the railway station here today. Railway sources, while confirming the mishap said as soon as the driver and guard of the train noticed the fire, they stopped the train at the nearest tubewell. The sources said the passengers, including women and children jumped out of the train while the male passengers with the help of nearby villagers and train staff tried to control the fire.

The sources further said one of the passengers informed the Phillaur railway station about the incident from his mobile, which called the fire bridgade from Ludhiana and Phagwara, and the fire was extinguished.

A departmental enquiry has been ordered. The train was later brought back to the railway station here. The 3LL/5LL diesel multiple unit train service between Ludhiana and Lohia has been cancelled for today.


Stamp vending licence: unfair selections alleged
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 5
The outgoing Badal government had raised the limit of stamp vendors from Rs 1,000 to Rs 50,000, which made as many as 125 persons apply for licence in this district for vending stamps. However, without holding any interview, the district authorities reportedly selected four persons for the grant of licences. Those rejected, have expressed their resentment over the manner in which the selection process was held.

Anticipating trouble, the district administration asked all aspirants to appear for an interview today. The candidates alleged that the interview was eyewash as the subordinate officer of the rank of District Revenue Officer simply looked at the certificates and did not ask questions.

The candidates have sent telegrams and fax messages to the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary, the Commissioner, (Faridkot division) and the Deputy Commissioner Mansa, demanding the scrapping of the selection and issuance of licences on merit

They alleged that 16 candidates had been selected in an unfair manner.


Old-age pensioners to be screened
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 5
Following the Rs 23-crore pension scam in the social Security, Child and Women Development Department, a statewide screening of old-age and destitute pensioners has been ordered by the ministry concerned. Meanwhile, the state government has decided to earmark Rs 204 crore to ensure regular supply of pension to all concerned.

This was disclosed by Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Minister for Social Security, while addressing a press conference here today. He said he had received evidence that many ineligible persons had succeeded in getting pension. “Some come in their cars to collect their pensions”, he said.

The minister said a special component plan of Rs 400 crore was in the pipeline for the upliftment of the downtrodden.

Chaudhary Santokh Singh said the state had no plan to revive the Shagan Scheme which was introduced by the previous Badal government.


‘Make drinking water available’
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 5
Mr Birdevinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, has asked the local administration to make arrangements for the supply of drinking water to the residents of Mundi Kharar village, which falls under the Kharar Municipal Committee.

During the MLA’s visit to the village, two residents presented him a bottle filled with muddy water supplied by the committee. The MLA asked the authorities concerned to make arrangements for the supply of water and install a tubewell in the village.

Earlier, Mr Birdevinder Singh heard problems being faced by Khanpur villagers. Officers of the administration were also present on the spot.

The villagers complained him that effluent discharge of a mill in the village had polluted the underground water. The villagers demanded that encroachments in the village, especially on common ponds, should be removed soon and arrangements for the discharge of dirty water should be made. He asked the officers to prepare an estimate of lying of sewerage in the village and promised help to the committee. 


Coop fertilisers cost more than in market
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 5
The DAP fertiliser is available in the market for Rs 430 plus sales tax per bag of 50 kg. The cooperative societies sell the same for Rs 451 plus sales tax. The societies have been selling urea at the rate of Rs 241.50 plus sales tax per bag, while the same is available for Rs 235 plus tax in the market.

According to Mr S.K. Goya, Chief, Markfed, the federation gives the DAP fertiliser to cooperative societies at the rate of Rs 8,720 per MT and the societies sell the same at the rate of Rs 9,020 per MT. He adds that Markfed gives urea to cooperative societies at the rate of Rs 4600 per MT whose minimum retail price (MRP) is Rs 4830.

When a major section of Punjab peasantry, has been reeling under debts, why has the Punjab Government imposed sales tax of 4.4 per cent on fertiliser, asks Mr Iqbal Singh of Phallar village in the district. Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, President, Punjab Young Farmers Federation, says that it reflects the anti-farmer attitude of the Congress government which is no different from that of the SAD-BJP combine government.


Grant for water may lapse
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 5
The district administration has been fighting to save the grant of Rs 11 crore, given by the Centre for providing safe drinking water in rural areas. The grant is likely to lapse on account of its underutilisation by the authorities concerned in the past more than two years and the failure of panchayats concerned to contribute their share of 10 per cent of the cost of the project.

Official sources said the district administration received the first instalment of Rs 11 crore, out of the total Rs 37 crore allocated to the district for increasing the capacity of waterworks by carrying out the necessary repairs, on January 1, 2000. However, only Rs 50 lakh could be utilised as only seven panchayats contributed their share.

Mrs Usha, R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, who held a meeting of senior officials of the Public Health and MLAs of various segments falling in the district, have urged them to arrange the contribution of at least five villages from one segment so that grant could be used effectively which was on the verge of lapse.

Senior district officials have also been holding talks with the Central government for getting an extention of time to implement the project. The district administration has decided that any village which is ready to contribute its share in lieu of the villages that were supposed to contribute their share, would be given grants. About Rs 20 lakh is being given to each village for improving the water supply.

Mr Sharma said about 100 schools in the district had been given money under this project for setting up toilet blocks in the past few days. The remaining schools would be given money for same purpose shortly.


Man kills 2 after rape bid

Hoshiarpur, August 5
After failing in a rape attempt, a man of Sujon village in the district allegedly murdered the girl who resisted the heinous act as also her grandmother who tried to thwart the attempt, the police said today.

The incident happened last night when Kulwinder Singh entered the house of Hardeep Kaur and allegedly tried to rape her. Her grandmother Joginder Kaur, who was with her came to her rescue and jostled with the intruder, the police added.

Feeling frustrated, he attacked the duo with a sharpedged weapon resulting in their death, they said, adding that a case had been registered in this connection. PTI


Cinema owner arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 5
The city police last night arrested Dalbir Singh, managing partner of Gagan cinema, with regard to a case pertaining to bounced cheques.

Giving details the SP, city-II, Dr S.K. Kalia, said Dalbir Singh had issued six cheques for Rs 19 lakh to Jalandhar-based film distributor Gurdip Traders during the past couple of years.

Gurdip Traders charged that Dalbir Singh had issued the bounced cheques. A case under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act was registered but summons could not be served upon him as he used his influence and evaded them. 


Medical officer assaulted
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 5
Dr Jawahar Dhir, a medical officer in government Ayurvedic Dispensary, Behram, who was assaulted and beaten up today, had to be hospitalised.

Dr Dhir said he was going to attend an official meeting at Jalandhar on a scooter when he was attacked. Dr Dhir also named the assailant.


Education Dept to spell out criteria for lecturer’s job
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Punjab Education Department will write to the PPSC about the criteria to be adopted for the selection of lecturers and other posts in the department falling under the commission’s purview, Mr Khushal Behal, Education Minister said here today. “We are going to change the entire procedure for the selection of teachers to make it more just and impartial”, said Mr Behal.

The selection of teachers in future would be purely on academic and professional merit. There would be lower marks for the interview which would focus on the communication and rendering skills of the candidate concerned, to be duly recorded by the interview committee the candidates will also be asked to write a few lines on a specific topic.

“We will not leave any scope for the interview committee to manipulate any selection”, said Mr Behal. Earlier, the government wanted to withdraw the posts of lecturer from the purview of the PPSC. But now it was re-examining the issue as a new Chairman of the PPSC had been appointed. 


Punjab to resume mid-day meal scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Punjab, which had abandoned mid-day meals for students in primary schools, would reintroduce the scheme soon on the directions of the Supreme Court, according to informed sources.

As a pilot project, the scheme will be introduced initially in 17 school blocks before the entire state is covered.


School hours changed
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, August 5
Mrs Usha R. Sharma, District Magistrate, in an order issued here today, changed the hours of the schools. The order would be applicable from tomorrow. All primary schools of the district would remain open from 7 a.m. to 12 noon, while the middle, high and senior secondary schools would function between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. The timings of double-shift schools would remain unchanged, the order said.

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