Monday, October 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



PPSC gearing up to retest ‘tainted’ men 
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) has not received any communication from the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the latter’s reported move to conduct a re-examination of the entire batch of 39 “tainted” PCS (judicial) officers, even as the commission is gearing up to conduct the re-examination of such officers.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had reportedly decided to conduct a re-examination of the PCS (judicial) officers of the 1999 and 2000 batches, apart from scrutinising the selection of 21 other such officials selected in 1998. The selection of 39 officers has been annulled by the court on the basis of investigation conducted by a committee comprising senior judges.

Talking to ‘The Tribune’ Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh (retd), Chairman of the PPSC, here today said the PPSC had not received any communication from the high court regarding the latter’s reported decision that it would conduct the re-examination of the judicial officers.

He, however, said that in case such communication was received, a full commission meeting would be held to discuss the issue.

Since it had not received any communication, the PPSC was gearing up for the conduct of the re-examination and scrutiny.

Referring to a query whether the PPSC would make any fresh recruitments in the near future, Gen Surjit Singh said new recruitments would only be made after the ban on fresh recruitments was lifted by the Punjab Government. “At the moment, we are in the process or dealing with about 400-odd cases of the promotion of officers of various departments,” he said. He informed the PPSC had made some changes in the procedure for recruitments.


Help bright poor students: PPSC chief 
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 27
Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Lieut Gen Surjit Singh (retd) today urged business and industrial houses to help bright students with scholarships for higher studies.

He was speaking at a function organised by FC Sondhi Charitable Trust here today to honour bright students. He said that there was great need to educate women since primarily it was mother who helped a child to grow into a responsible citizen. “In fact, it is a matter of pride for us that most of the positions in various examinations are being achieved by girl students. The society is changing at a fast pace and role of women is getting important in the present context,” he remarked.

Lauding efforts of Mr P.C. Sondhi, Chairman of the Trust, for acts of charity in the past 20 years, General Surjit Singh said that business and industrial houses should come forward to help such meritorious students, belonging to poor families, for completing higher studies.

“In fact, there is need to improve quality of life by providing proper education at the grass root level. Besides, the younger generation should imbibe discipline in which in turn, leads a country to attain greater heights as is the case with China, which is on the threshold of becoming a superpower,” the General added.

Mr P.C. Sondhi, in his address, said that the trust was set up in May 1978 to help students in the fields of education and vocational training.

The trust was providing 364 scholarships to outstanding students of VI standard to post-graduational-level for the past 20 years.

“Besides, we are providing Rs 200 per month as grant-in-aid to 129 old, destitute and needy widows. To encourage the students to achieve good percentage of marks, we have started Brilliant Scholarship for students of 10+1 to post-graduation level. While Rs 5000 per year is given to the students of secondary level in arts Rs 6000 per year is for science and commerce students,” Mr Sondhi added.

Ms Nina Sondhi, Trustee, enumerated activities of the trust while the students of Red Cross School for Deaf presented “Bhangra”.

Later, the General gave away prizes to Rubab, Charanjit Kaur, Ranjit Kaur, Vishal Thapa, Ravi Pal, Rajni Arora, Alka Rani, Sonia Chabra, Sharma Rani, Ravjit Singh, Vishal Kapoor, Nitu Bhandari, Pooja, Bharat, Deepawali, Sharwan Kumar, Kuljeet Kumar, Anita Rani and Tamanna for outstanding performance.


Will the Amarinder Govt deliver?
Disinvestment of Punjab PSUs
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The story of disciplining 49 public sector undertakings in Punjab begins now. The Disinvestment Commission has drawn up the roadmap for their closure, merger, restructuring, strategic sale etc.

Disinvestment cannot be viewed in isolation. It has to be seen in the context of the overall economy, transparent, efficient governance and replacing old systems to obtain new results, as envisaged by the commission. To withdraw from the PSUs will mean overcoming legal obstacles political hassles and ensuring that the socio-economic sector get its due share in the Budget.

The implementation will depend upon how the state first deals with the PSEB, a mirror-image of the financial position of the government — heavily in debt, where revenue does not meet the committed expenditure and a terrible mismatch between assets and liabilities exists. The commission expects the board to downsize its staff of 91,624 by 33 per cent. While the board has failed to carry out power reforms, provide quality power/service/cut down on losses and overhead expenses or bring about parity in pay with that of government employees, it has succeeded in ‘’blackmailing’’ the government into getting more money by creating a fear psychosis that Punjab will plunge into ‘’darkness’’! Therefore, the PSEB provides the litmus test!

The major stakeholder in PSUs are employees numbering 118,624, the silent majority. To give a ‘’humane face’’ to its recommendations, the roadmap suggests several steps, including the opening of a ‘’dialogue’’ and ‘’counselling’’ with employees. The commission has stressed on a ‘’social safety net’’ for PSU employees.

Experience shows that since 1981, the when murmurs of disinvestment/restructuring were first heard, nothing tangible has been achieved, so far. Even the six PSUs “closed’’ 1991 onward are yet to be “wound up’’ because of the indifference and vested interests of the politicians/administrative departments concerned.

On the one hand the government talks of parity in salaries between its employees and those of the PSUs. On the other hand, it tells the PSUs to become profit-making/competitive entities. This has not been possible for want of ‘’professionalism’’. Thus, the PSUs have accumulated losses totalling Rs 1,445 crore with no responsibility/accountability ever fixed on the chief executives — politicians as chairpersons or bureaucrats as Managing Directors.

Also, all these years, the government denied the PSUs a level playing field, desired service conditions, autonomy and imposed non-professionals as chairpersons and Managing Directors.

The government is yet again in the process of appointing politicians as chairpersons and has also allowed new subsidiaries in some PSUs. Neither such ad hoc approach nor fire-fighting will help discipline the PSUs or jack up the economy.

Again, it happens only in Punjab. Here, despite the financial position being ‘’precarious’’ (forcing the government to put development on the back-burner), 30,000 employees get salaries (Rs 360 crore per annum) without their doing any work.

The implementation of the report would mean a ‘’compensation package’’ of Rs 2,500 crore. In respect of 18 PSUs to be ‘’shut down’’, the financial involvement is Rs 650 crore, in subsidiaries Rs 86 crore, in restructuring Rs 1,800 crore and already closed but not wound up PSUs Rs 6 crore.

It is obvious that the roadmap shown by the commission cannot be traversed unless the government takes quick decisions, including the setting up of a Punjab state assets management authority. Will it be established? The government will also have to adopt efficient bankruptcy procedures to allow the PSUs to open the locked-up assets either by way of “distress sale or transfer of assets, onetime settlement, restructuring of term loans, amended labour laws etc’’. Over to Capt Amarinder Singh.


Punjab notifies new industrial plots policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Punjab Government has notified a new policy for the allotment of industrial plots and semi-developed land to entrepreneurs. Under the new policy, a fixed percentage of plots would be reserved under ‘off-the-shelf scheme’ to cater to immediate land requirement of entrepreneurs, said Mr Avatar Henry, Minister for Industries and Commerce, here today.

In a press statement, he asserted that the new allotment policy would provide a user friendly and transparent mechanism to accelerate development of industry in the state. Under the scheme the applicants would have to submit applications to Udyog Sahayak, Department of Industries, along with the applicable earnest money provided their projects were ready for implementation.

He disclosed that a committee had been constituted under his chairmanship to consider and finalise the allotment of plots under the scheme. The government would allow transfer of the plots if the unit remained in production for two consecutive years. However, the allottees would have to pay an applicable transfer fee for industrial purposes, subject to condition that there is no sub-division/fragmentation of the site and departure from the building bylaws.

Mr Henry further said the SSI units would be allotted plots under the general scheme of allotment. The applications would be scrutinised by a single sub-committee, instead of five sub-committees as was laid in the previous allotment policy. Another committee, headed by the Director of Industries and Commerce, Punjab, would finalise the allotment of plots.

He said, acceding to the demand of industry, the government had decided to abolish the system of ‘letter of intent’ and from now the applicants would be issued regular allotment letters in the first instance. The allottees shall be allowed a period of three years to attain the stage of commercial production on the plot along with provisions of allowing an additional two-year extension by paying an applicable fee, he added.


Singla warns of system collapse
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, October 27
The economy and system of governance in Punjab are moving towards total collapse. The political class should think in the interest of the state and give time to the government to bring back the state on the right track.

In an exclusive interview to The Tribune here this evening, Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the high-powered economic committee, Government of Punjab, said the state needed to invite industrial capital, private investment in infrastructure development, agriculture reforms in the form of diversification and above all, raise the standards of education to make Punjab a prosperous state.

He said the overall education system in Punjab was rotten, with government institutions more badly affected. No big academic achievement was seen at the university level, with the quality of higher education reaching a pathetic stage. There was need to improve the quality of education, with more stress on agriculture and technical education. He said the state government was spending Rs 680 per student per month on school education, much more than the private education sector, but the quality of education was lacking far behind. It was not a question of money but the system was rotten. “I fear if the mindsets are not changed at the right time, Punjab cannot be lifted out of this morass”, said Mr Singla.

The other major problem before Punjab was shrinking jobs, leading to increase in unemployment. Politicises of the past 10 years had virtually brought the state at a stage of collapse. The financial position was so bad that it had become difficult for the government to raise resources in the present set-up. “We have reached at a saturation point, where harsh steps are the need of the hour to bring in reforms with political will”, he said.

One could not raise taxes further to generate more revenue, as it would lead to the temptation of evading taxes. The past five years were critical and had brought the state into deep financial crisis.

He favoured the visionary political entrepreneurship of Captain Amarinder Singh in bringing reforms that had a great test to implicate radical steps for economic revival. He asked all political classes to play a positive role for economic revival that was in the interest of the state as a whole.


SAD agitation may prolong: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal said here today that the statewide subdivision-level protest marches to be organised by the party would be the beginning of a long and sustained democratic struggle to set aside unjust policies and decisions of the Amarinder Government.

In a statement here, Mr Badal said the charter of demands put forward by the party in the shape of a November 15 ultimatum was, in fact, providing a platform to the party workers to interact with the people, the media and other sections of opinion-makers in the country so that the people’s voice could also be heard outside the state. Apprehending a repetition of the old and dangerous Congress conspiracies against Akali struggles, the SAD President further said that the party was fully prepared to deal with any infiltration into the morcha by agents-provocateurs from the Congress. Mr Badal emphasised the truly democratic and peaceful character of the agitation “which could be a prolonged one”, adding that the SAD was fully geared to meet any challenge.

Mr Badal had a jibe at Mr GS Tohra and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, saying that “It must be pretty embarrassing for them to be seen supporting a government that is at war with the people of Punjab”. Regarding Mr Tohra’s criticism of the Akali performance in the Assembly elections, Mr Badal said the total votes polled by the SHSAD candidates throughout the state was less than the votes polled by the SAD in just three constituencies. “We still have nearly 55 MLAs belonging to our alliance or sympathisers in the Assembly. What about Mr Tohra? He could not ensure the victory even of seniors like Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra or any of SHSAD’s former ministers, vice presidents and general secretaries”.


Khalsa Panchayat wants Vedanti to quit
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, October 27
Hundreds of activists of the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, led by Mr Rajinder Singh, convener of the panchayat, today took out a second march from Loh Langar gurdwara to Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, here, seeking the resignations of Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, and Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, for “failing” to provide justice to a rape victim who had approached Akal Takht against the head of a religious dera.

They also wanted all takhts “freed” from the “clutches” of the political system. They said the appointments of jathedars of takhts should be made as per the Panthic tradition and not by ruling politicians.

Mr Rajinder Singh performed ardas at the Takht.

Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Mr Amrik Singh, president of the Dharmi Fauzis Organisation, Mr Charanjit Singh Khalsa, panch of the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, Bhai Kanwar Pal Singh Dhami, head of the Guru Asra Trust, Mohali, and Bhai Jasbir Singh of the Khalra Action Committee, were present.

The Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat will take out another march on December 1 at Akal Takht if both the Jathedars did not resign till then. The panchayat had taken out its first march on September 29.

Later, addressing a press conference, Mr Rajinder Singh alleged that the jathedars of takhts were being appointed under the influence of the RSS. He asked the seven-member committee, led by Mr Mal Singh Ghumaan, to propose the name of a non-political Sikh for the post of President of the SGPC. He said the Khalsa Panchayat would not contest the SGPC elections, but it could extend its support to certain candidates.


Sikh jathas write to Kalam
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 27
Following a negative reply over the issue of permission to Sikh jathas to visit Pakistan gurdwaras by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mr H.S. Bhullar, president of the International Bhai Mardana yaadgari Kirtan Darbar Society (BMYKDS), has written to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, saying that the Sikh gurdwaras were falling into disrepair due to the failure of Indian Sikhs to visit Pakistan.

He stated that no Sikh jatha had been allowed to visit Pakistan during the past one year due to tension between India and Pakistan.

Out of the 170 gurdwaras in Pakistan, the buildings of only 20-25 were intact. The rest had been occupied by locals. He stated that there are five historical gurdwaras in Pakistan — Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Chuna Mandi, Lahore (birthplace of Guru Ram Das), Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore (martyrdom place of Guru Arjan Dev), and Panja Sahib, Hasan Abdal in the memory of Guru Nanak Dev where freedom fighters, mainly Sikhs, stopped a British train carrying prisoners to Calcutta for Kale Pani (Andaman Jail) — that hold much reverence among the Sikhs.

Due to the stoppage of jathas to Pakistan after the December 13 terrorist attack on Indian Parliament House, PSGPC officials had mismanaged the gurdwara funds and no attention was paid to the care of gurdwaras.

Meanwhile, many prominent Sikhs and mediapersons have received invitation letters from the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee co-chairperson Sham Singh to participate in the celebration of Gurpurb from November 17-19 on birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev at Nankana Sahib.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, chief of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), and Mr Harpal Bhullar are amongst the invitees.

While the DSGMC has decided to hold a protest against the government decision disallowing jathas, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC chief, has endorsed the popular view of sending jathas to Sikh shrines. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, too, had expressed his displeasure over the refusal to grant permission for jathas.

Mr Bhullar stated that according to the Jawahar Lal Nehru-Liyakat Ali agreement, the Pakistan gurdwaras are to be looked after by Indian Sikhs through the SGPC added that with the elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan over, the atmosphere was congenial for opening up the rail or road route with the neighbouring country. He had also writer to Gen Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, highlighting the alleged mismanagement of Sikh shrines which had caused hurt amongst Sikhs. He advised that the management of Pakistan gurdwaras be handed over to the ‘World Sikh Organisation’ through the PSGPC and SGPC.

He welcomed the formation of a three-member probe committee into the alleged embezzlement of gurdwara funds. 


Sarpanch harassed at minister’s behest?
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Patti, October 27
Even as an Akali Sarpanch and his three brothers, residents of Dhaliwal village who have absconded have alleged that they were implicated in ‘false cases’ at the behest of the Irrigation Minister, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, his confidant Tarlok Singh Chakwalia, who had unsuccessfully contested the previous assembly election on Congress ticket, claimed that they were trying to hoodwink the police by using the media.

Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, former Congress MP and relative of Mr Badal, alleged that the Tarn Taran police had beaten up near and dear ones of the Akali sarpanch.

Mr Gurdip Singh, Sarpanch of Dhaliwal, his three brothers Gurvinder Singh, Gurmit Singh and Gursharn Singh have alleged that their family members, including women and children, were forced to flee following the terror let loose by the police. He said their at least two buffaloes and two cows out of 25 head of cattle died as there was nobody to fend to them.

Mr Narinder Bhargav, district police chief, Tarn Taran alleged that Mr Gurdip Singh and his brothers against whom at least six criminal cases were registered had absconded about three months ago. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has already rejected their bail applications. He claimed that intelligence inputs pointed out that the Sarpanch had become a drug peddler.

The Akali Sarpanch alleged that certain Congress leaders of the area could re-enact the Bhikhiwind episode when senior Akali leader Gurdial Singh and six others were killed in broad daylight. He said the police had been conducting raids at his native village and had beat up his neighbours. However, the police had not made any effort to arrest Chakwalia who had been facing at least 22 cases, he alleged.

Mr Chakwalia said he had already got bail in different cases as most of them were registered during the Akali-BJP regime.

Mr Bhargav, SSP said Mr Chakwalia was not wanted in any case. He further claimed that nobody was beaten up by the police as alleged by Mr Gurdip Singh and his brothers.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has sent a special messenger to the Principal Secretary (Home) and ADGP of the commission regarding allegations levelled by Mr Gurdip Singh who had sought the intervention of the commission for directing the police authorities to not file a chargesheet till the final disposal of the complaint. The hearing of the case has been fixed for March 12, next year.


Protest against PUDA scheme
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 27
The Anti-Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) Action Committee Barnala blocked vehicular traffic for two hours at Courts Chowk and organised a dharna here today to protest against PUDA move to develop an urban estate on 270.24 acres here by uprooting those who had built houses in the area on the Barnala-Sangrur bypass road.

The PUDA decision on urban estate has sparked dharnas, rallies and traffic blockage from those who either had houses or plots in the area. The action committee has been demanding scrapping of the scheme.

Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu, MLA, Barnala, Mr Prem Chand Aggarwal, Chairman, Punjab Beopar Mandal, Mr Surinderpal Singh Sibia, a Congress leader, Mrs Naresh Bawa, Bahujan Samaj Party leader, Mr Jarnail Singh Bhotna, press secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Sangrur district unit, Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, a leader of the Internationalist Democratic Party, and Mr Harvinder Singh Mithu Municipal Councillor, Barnala also participated in the dharna of Courts Chowk to protest against the PUDA move. Most of the speakers who addressed the protesters wondered why a large number of people was being uprooted when the Municipal Council had spent crores on various development schemes. PUDA had been giving no objection certificates and Municipal Council water schemes and sewerage connections to the residents of this colony. The colony reportedly has 6000 houses. PUDA at a meeting on October 10 under the chairmanship of Mr Husan Lal, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, decided to develop a colony on this land acquired by the Housing and Urban Development Department SAS Nagar (now PUDA) on September 3, 1981. The meeting was attended among others by Mr N.S. Walia SDM Barnala, Mrs Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, Estate Officer, PUDA Patiala, Mr S.S. Dhillon District Town Planner, Sangrur, Mr Vipan Jethi, Law Officer, PUDA Patiala, Mr Rachhpal Sharma Tehsildar Barnala and Mr Gurmukh Singh Naib-Tehsildar, Barnala decided not to allow fresh construction on this land and also not to approve any sale deed relating to this area. It was also decided that mutation of all land measuring 270.24 acres in the revenue estates of Barnala, village Handiaya and Harigarh be entered in name of the Punjab Government Housing and Urban Development and fresh demarcation of this land would be given by tehsildar within seven days to assess the area encroached on following acquisition of the 270.24 acres of land on September 3, 1981 though possession was taken by the Acquisition Collector yet mutation of land was not effected then in name of PUDA.

According to reports, residents and plot owners of this area had moved court but Additional Chief Administrator PUDA, Patiala, said that law was on the side of PUDA following May 5, 1987 Supreme Court Judgement of the Mr Justice Ranganath Mishra and Mr Justice B.C. Ray and November 21, 2001 Supreme Court Judgement of the Mr Justice C.B. Pattanaik and Mr Justice Ruma Pal. On Thursday, PUDA team led by Mr Husan Lal visited Barnala to assess situation in the light of PUDA October 10, meeting decisions, holding meeting in Barnala SDM’s office to translate urban estate idea into reality on October 24 house owners and plot holders of the area held a rally in front of SDM’s office. Additional Chief Administrator PUDA and the SDM Barnala talked to affected residents and protesters. The affected residents apprehended uprooting at the hands of PUDA authorities. The protesters were demanding sale deeds in respect of 270.24 acres of land, entry registration of mutation in name of PUDA be cancelled and water, sewerage and power connections in the colony be allowed. The Additional Chief Administrator PUDA assured the protesters that houses in the colony would not be demolished. 


Ludhiana set to meet water-for-all target
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 27
Ludhiana is set to become the first city of India to supply municipal water to its entire population within the next four months. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will formally launch on Punjab Day (November 1) a water supply augmentation project for supplying pure drinking water to all inhabitants of the city. This was stated here today by Mr S.K. Sharma, Municipal Commissioner, while talking to The Tribune. The new project constitutes the third and final stage of the multi-crore scheme to supply all authorised colonies and other settlements in the city with piped water. The Municipal Corporation has just completed a Rs 32-crore project for supplying water to about 70 per cent population of the city. The scheme which was under execution for some time past was speeded up by Mr Sharma after he took over as the Municipal Commissioner in May.

“The provision of pure drinking water to the entire population of Ludhiana was one of the major priorities set by the Chief Minister for the Municipal Corporation. I am proud to say that we have covered a major milestone in this direction in a relatively short period of time and are now well on the road to become the first Municipal Corporation in India to supply municipal water to the entire population of the city”, he said.

Under the just-completed project, 59 new tubewells for covering 31 wards of the corporation were sunk, 18 km overhead reservoirs with a storage capacity of 1 lakh gallons of water were constructed and an additional 624-km length of water supply lines laid. This took the total number of tubewells to 290, overhead tanks 63 and water supply lines to 1330-km length.

“But even this proved to be insufficient for providing piped water to the entire population. So we commissioned a study to assess not only the present needs of the city but also its future ones. The new project will address its short-term as well as long-term requirements,” said Mr Sharma.

The Rs 18-crore project envisages sinking of 45 new tubewells, 290 km of pipelines and four overhead reservoirs. The project has been divided into two phases. In the first phase, all roads and streets of the city which have already been dedicated to the general public shall be covered. The corporation will sink 21 more tubewells, construct four overhead reservoirs and lay 288-km length of water distribution lines at a cost of Rs 8.50 crore by February, 2003.

In the second phase, considering the growth of the population over the next 30 years, another 24 tubewells will be installed and 128-km length water supply lines laid. Thus all areas of city spread over 70 different wards shall get piped water supply.

It is worth mentioning here that although in many areas the water supply main lines had been laid, there was no distribution of water because the linking supply line had not been provided. Thus, a large section of the population was not getting municipal water. There had also been complaints from different parts of the city about low water pressure in taps.


Cerebral malaria case reported
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 27
Sanjeev Kumar, a native of Assam, an employee of a private canteen at Bhisiana Air Force station, 25 km was reported cerebral malaria a few days ago, but not admitted in the Civil Hospital here despite directions warranted it.

Sources said here today that the patient had high grade fever and was treated at Air Force station hospital but his fever did not subside. On his being referred to the civil hospital here the doctors attending on him got his blood sample. It tested positive for cerebral malaria (Plasmodium falciparum). He was given treatment but not admitted in the hospital. He was allowed to go home.

Sources alleged that as per guidelines such cases are required to be reported to higher authorities and the patient kept under observation in the hospital for 72 hours. But the guidelines were not followed by the doctors, the sources alleged.

Dr S.K. Goyal, civil Surgeon, denied that the Air Force station authorities had not prepared blood slides of the patient. He added that they had taken samples of patient’s blood only to confirm that he was suffering from cerebral malaria.

Dr Goyal said that there was no need to panic and directions had been issued to spray insecticides to kill malaria spreading mosquitoes near patient’s house. He said that more than 50 slides of blood taken from these associated with the patient had been prepared to examine of whether more persons had been infected. A survey of the area where the patient lived had also been ordered.

He said that the patient had got himself admitted in the Goniana Mandi Health Centre and he was responding to treatment.


Infantry Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 27
Infantry Day was celebrated near Dabwali town today to commemorate the first successful combat action by the infantry after the Independence of India in 1947.

Wreaths were laid by senior officials of the Army at a memorial of the gallant Infantry soldiers to pay homage to the war heroes. Later, a special sainik sammelan was also organised during the programme, various heroic acts of the soldiers were recounted.

The senior officials of the Army present on the occasion the Infantry Day was a red-letter day not only for the Infantry but for the entire Indian Army. It was on this day that the Infantry set its foot on the Srinagar Airfield in the Kashmir valley in 1947 and successfully push back the Razakari raiders from the valley after inflicting heavy casualties. As a result, the Indian Army was able to save Kashmir.

The officers said the Infantry had always played a crucial role in maintaining the security and integrity of the country. They urged the soldiers to maintain their glorious tradition.


Police stations to be made people friendly
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
The look and working of police stations is likely to be revamped and made more people friendly soon, following the “good policing” competition, set rolling by Mr M.S. Bhullar, Director-General of the Punjab police here today.

The competition, introduced in the Jalandhar police range, envisages people-oriented and more accountable policing apart from strengthening the normal policing functions with the involvement of people.

Under the scheme, one reception office, equipped with sufficient chairs, drinking water facility and newspapers, would be set up in each police station, which would be manned by a woman constable. The objective is to render services to people.

Patrolling parties have been instructed to make a list of chowkidars and sentries of vital installations and  factories. Police Advisory Committees would also be set up at the police station level comprising women and members of political parties.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, SSP, said under the scheme, job cards have been issued to policemen on duty to enable them understand their job and sensitise them about the expectations of public from them.

Mr Rohit Chaudhary, DIG, said women cells at line subdivision level would deal with crime against women and family disputes apart from offering counselling to affected people with the help of social activists.

Earlier, the DGP inaugurated a tree plantation programme at JCT mills at Chohal near Hoshiarpur.


Board in offing to choose awardees
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 27
The Punjab Government has decided to go in for a permanent Advisory Board with a fixed term for the state Language Department to decide the award of as many as 13 Shiromani Puraskars given each year to eminent writers and poets in Punjabi, Hindi and Sanskrit languages.

Till now the government had been following a policy whereby the Advisory Board was constituted every year to select the candidates who were to be honoured with the Shiromani awards, the highest official recognition from the state government to writers and poets. The government gives as many as 13 Shiromani awards every year with 12 of these carrying an award money of Rs 1 lakh and one with an award money of Rs 1.25 lakh. The awards cover various spheres of writing and poetry, besides the field of journalism. The term of the last Advisory Board constituted by the government expired on September 22. The government has yet to give the Shiromani awards for the year 2001-02 as well as the current financial year.

Sources said the government had decided to establish a permanent Advisory Board with a three-year term to decide the Shiromani awards as well as to advise the Language Department on other issues. They said while the earlier Board which had a strength of 35 members included four to five ex officio members, the board would now have more ex officio members on its rolls.

It has also been decided to start a system wherein one-third of the board members retired after every three years. In the beginning two-thirds of the members of the board will have a term of four years following which one-third of the members will retire each year.

The sources said this system was being evolved in consultation with prominent writers, including members of the Kendriya Punjabi Lekhak Sabha. With the Advisory Board yet to be finalised, the Shiromani Puraskars, which are given usually during the Punjabi Week celebrations, have been delayed further. The Language Department will hold its Punjabi Week celebrations from November 14 to November 20.

Sources said it might be some months before the Shiromani awards are finalised with the Language Department currently not even getting funds to maintain its day-to-day functioning. The department is still to get funds for the celebration of the Punjabi Week. 


Experts favour change of NACO norms on AIDS
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
At the two-day, 28th regional conference of dermatologists, veneorologists and leprologists of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir, panellists discussing AIDS scenario said National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) guidelines far removed from reality vis-a-vis ground realities about the disease.

The conference, held at Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research focused, especially on AIDS. Discussion on AIDS conditions in north India was held by a panel of mediapersons, lawyers, NGOs, doctors, writers and NACO officials. Mr Radhe Shyam Shamra a journalist, said though media had spread awareness it was organisations concerned to use of the media for giving messages to the public. He said vested interests had infiltrated into the media and government organisations and marketing had become a big pressure tactics, and hampered objective reporting. Mr BD Kalia, “Hamdam” a writer, said HIV was a ‘live wire’and required to be dealt with on all levels, sociological, psychological family etc with help from NGOs, as NGOs to government outfits. Chairman of the conference Dr SD Chaudhary, Professor and Head of Skin and STD department, at the ram Dass Institute and Dr Rakesh Bharti and Dr Ravi Sahni both from the NGOs helping project on AIDS favoured NACO guidelines changed especially in the ‘pact of secrecy’ in respect of tackling the infection. Dr AS Rathore, Joint Director NACO, found it hard to defend government effort on providing awareness at the grass root level.

Dr Ferdinand Handa, former Director Research and Medical Education (DRME) Punjab, and Dr US Dhaliwal, Director and Principal of the Institute, stated that tardy government approach to check spread of AIDS had led to deterioration of the situation in the world.

Mr Vipin Bhasin, a lawyer, lamented that there was no government incentive for doctors and paramedical working in hazardous conditions and ran the risk of contracting the disease. Dr Arun Kapoor a surgeon from LNJP hospital Delhi said nearly 1800 accidents took place on Delhi roads every day. The figure is alarming because many patients are detected to be AIDS positive in the course of seeking medical help for injures.


NRIs keen to develop airport, hospital
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 27
Prosperous Punjabi NRIs have offered to contribute in the rebuilding of Punjab’s economy. The president of the NRIs entrepreneurs association, Mr Narinder Dhir, told newsmen here today that they had explored different avenues for making investments. These include building an NRI colony, superspecialty hospital, airport and modern agro-based industries.

The secretary of the association, Mr Vikram J.S. Bajwa, said that after the September 11 attack a large chunk of NRIs settled in Canada and the USA was keen to establish second homes in Punjab. They had identified a piece of land near Anandpur Sahib offered to them by PUDA to construct a modern housing complex. He said that the Punjab Government should provide the land without any strings attached so that they could offer houses to fellow Indians.

To develop hotels, the government has offered them four different sites in Ludhiana. The group is in touch with an international chain of hotels for providing knowhow and other services to improve tourist flow into Punjab. The NRI group has pledged $ 100 million for the construction of an international airport between Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Mr Bajwa said an MoU would soon be signed between them and the Punjab Government regarding project.

The NRIs are also keen to invest in a superspecialty cancer hospital in Gurdaspur and have requested the government to provide land for this purpose.

He said the farmers should switch over to the cultivation of olives which could be a major source of exports and fetch higher cash earning through the export of olive oil. He gave the example of Italy which had to face a similar situation in this regard.

Mr Bajwa felt the government should cut down bureaucratic hurdles and red tape to facilitate the flow of dollars. He said the government had assured that in the new industrial policy, there would be one-window clearance of all projects.


Police remand for SC lawyer
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 27
Mr Arun Madan, an advocate of the Supreme Court, has been remanded in police custody till October 28 in connection with a case of forging orders of the apex court of the country.

The forged bail orders were produced in the court of Mr Sukhdev Singh, the then Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Mansa, by a litigant of the district. On inquiry, the orders were found to be forged and fabricated.

The court of the CJM, Mansa lodged a report at the City police station here and the person who produced the orders was got arrested by the then CJM, Mansa from the court.

After investigations, the police found that the orders were got issued by Supreme Court advocate Arun Madan.

The police, after arresting the said advocate, produced him in the court of Mr Harsh Mehta, CJM, Mansa, and requested for his police remand for further interrogation.


SHSAD to block rail traffic at Rajpura
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 27
The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal will stop rail traffic at Rajpura on a call given by various ‘kisan’ organisations protesting against injustices done to Punjab farmers.

Disclosing this here today in a statement, party General Secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra said workers of the party would assemble at the Rajpura byepass towards Shambhu and stop rail traffic from 11a.m. to 1p.m. adding that the party would also enforce closure of shops across the state on the same day.

Mr Chandumajra said the Punjab Government had played a cruel joke on the farmers by withdrawing the free power facility.


Gadhri mela from Oct 30
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 27
To inculcate a spirit of sacrifice among the youth, the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Committee has decided to dedicate “Gandhi babian da mela”, which will be held here from October 30 to November 1, to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives at the Andaman and Nikobar Islands during the British regime.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, the president of the committee, Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga, said: “Though Punjabis made the highest sacrifices during the freedom struggle, the then Indian Government chose to setup monuments in the memory of Vir Savarkar at the Andaman and Nikobar Islands, which is nothing but disrespect to the true martyrs”. He said at the three-day long mela, painting and quiz contests would be held.


Enlisting of bogus voters alleged
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 27
Dr Shiv Kumar Tejpal, general secretary of the district unit of the BJP and Municipal Councillor, in a complaint submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, has alleged that bogus voters were being enlisted while several genuine voters, whose names had been registered in Form 5, had not been included in the electoral rolls being revised for the ensuing municipal elections in the town. Complaining that as many as 219 such genuine voters had been excluded, he alleged that though he was the sitting councillor of Ward No. 9 and his and his family members’ names had been registered in Form 5 by the officials concerned yet their names had not been included in the voters’ list. He has demanded that an inquiry into the matter be conducted and the voters whose names had been registered in Form 5 be included in the voters’ list.


ASI among 3 cops suspended

Moga, October 27
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Shiv Kumar, yesterday suspended three policemen, including ASI Ajmer Singh, and ordered a departmental inquiry in this regard.

The SSP, while confirming the action, said the SP (detective), Mr Ashok Kumar, had been asked to conduct a departmental inquiry against the three. He said he had received a number of complaints of irregularities against Ajmer Singh. Head Constable Jaswant Singh and Constable Lakhvinder Singh were reportedly involved in a cheating and extortion case registered by the Faridkot police yesterday. UNI


Checks at mandis, case registered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today registered a case under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 420 read with 120-B of the IPS against an Inspector of the warehousing corporation and a commission agent of the Apra and Goraya grain markets.

According to a press note, surprise checks were conducted at more than 150 grain markets throughout the state to detect corrupt practices or irregularities being committed in paddy procurement.

At the Apra and Goraya mandis, the Vigilance Bureau team found out that farmers were being charged Rs 10 per quintal by an Inspector of the warehousing corporation in connivance with a commission agent.


Sarpanch booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, October 27
The Rahon police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 B of the IPC against Mr Hari Parkash, Sarpanch, Dariyapur village under Aur block of the district, following a complaint lodged by Mr Harbans Lal, panchayat member.

The member had alleged that the sarpanch had fraudulently withdrawn Rs 45,050 from the bank account of the panchayat on July 30 and not undertaken any development work in the village.

Earlier, on the basis of his complaint, an inquiry had been conducted by the BDPO, Aur following which the DDPO, Nawanshahr, in a letter to the Director, Rural Development and Panchayat Department, Punjab, had recommended action against the sarpanch.


Inspection of primary schools from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The Punjab Education Department has decided to launch tomorrow a unique “Jan sampark abhiyan” aiming at comprehensive inspection of primary schools in all 216 education blocks to give impetus to the “Sarv shiksha abhiyan”, a scheme to ensure universalisation of elementary education, bringing all out-of-school children in the 6-14 age group under the school system, a press note said here today.

Led by Education Minister Khushal Bahl and Principal Secretary, School Education, K.K. Bhatnagar, all officers posted at the headquarters, including the Secretary, Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary; Directors, Public Instructions (Secondary and Primary); Director, SCERT; and all other gazetted officers in the three directorates will fan out in the remote areas and villages of Punjab for three days to cover all education blocks and conduct comprehensive inspection of primary schools.

All field officers, including the Circle Education Officers and the District Education Officers (both Primary and Secondary), will also be in the villages to conduct inspections.

Each inspecting officer has been given a booklet containing forms in which component-wise details of funds received by schools for improving the infrastructure will be recorded.

To encourage strong and effective community participation, village education development committees (VEDCs) have been formed consisting of panchayat members and other non-official and official members.

Each inspecting officer will inspect at least 10 to 12 primary schools.


Teachers’ wards honoured
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 27
Kapil Goyal, 11, a student of Class VI, dreams of becoming an IAS officer and is trying his best to excel in studies to realise his goal.

And when Kapil was presented with a memento by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma at the annual function of the Teachers’ Home Management, Education and Welfare Trust here today, he was on cloud nine. With innocence, Kapil said he tried to keep abreast of the latest happenings by listening to the DD news bulletin every evening.

He was one of the 42 wards of teachers who were honoured by the trust during the annual function. They belong to Bathinda and Mansa districts. The trust has been honouring meritorious wards of teachers who have excelled in board examinations for the past some time.

Mr Jagmohan Kaushal, chairman of the trust, said students of classes V, VIII, X and XII were eligible for these annual honours if they had excelled in their examinations. At least one of the parents of the students should be a teacher and a maximum of eight students in each of the four classes were eligible. A similar condition was there for the students from rural areas, thereby taking the maximum number of students who could be honoured to 64.

Anshul Mittal, who stood first in these two districts in Class V, said success should be the main aim of one’s life. Almost all students honoured at the function said they had defined their goals clearly. The students who had excelled in Class X and now joined Class XI seemed very confident about their choices.

Engineering and medicine still seem to be the hot favourites of these youngsters while the commerce stream has few takers. “Getting 87 per cent marks in Class X was just a trial. The real test would be securing a seat in a reputed medical college,” said Shivinder Jit Singh Kang, a Class XI student of the medical stream.

The students were presented with mementoes and Rs 100 each as a token felicitation. The trust also honoured at least 45 teachers who had retired recently for their distinguished services.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, addressing the gathering of students, parents and teachers, said agencies like the trust inspired students to strive for their goals. He appreciated the cultural programme, including a skit on Shaheed Bhagat Singh by students of the District Institute of Education and Training. Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, local MP, failed to attend the function.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |