Saturday, November 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal seeks sack of Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Alamgir, November 22
SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal today stepped up the attack on the Congress by demanding the sack of Capt Amarinder Singh for reneging on poll promises and for allegedly violating the sanctity of the Golden Temple complex.

Lashing out at the Congress at a function to felicitate newly elected SGPC members at the historic Alamgir Gurdwara here, Mr Badal alleged that the party was resorting to its “old gameplan” to counter the proposed SAD agitation by raising the bogey of large scale violence in the state. He added that the party would also raise the issue at the national level.

“Whenever we launch an agitation, the Congress tries to whip up tension in the state in an attempt to vitiate the atmosphere of peace, amity and Hindu- Sikh unity for which the SAD has always diligently worked. We laboured hard at reconciliation but the Congress now wants to create a situation of confrontation,” he claimed.

Mr Badal alleged that after the recent SGPC poll and the agitational programme launched by the SAD, the Chief Minister was giving statements on an increase in violence everyday which did not augur well for the state. “The Akalis have a history of fighting for the rights of the people but in a peaceful way. Violence is not our credo”, he said.

Commenting on the SGPC elections, he said the stakes were high this time since the Congress Government had made the poll a prestige issue and had declared that it would leave no stone unturned to wrest control of the SGPC from the SAD. Members were offered sums ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. Besides various other concessions to vote for the government-backed faction,” alleged the former Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, 96 members were honoured with siropas and mementos by the youth wing of the party. SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, besides a large number of unit chiefs and party MLAs, also attended it.


SAD distributes ‘pledge forms’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 22
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has got printed a “pledge form” to be got filled in by all workers declaring allegiance to the party’s programme of “Jail Bharo Andolan” on November 27. Mr Dalbir Singh a former MLA who had defected from the Congress to the SAD (B) months before the Assembly elections, showed a copy of the form to be filled in by the workers.

He said that the party’s target was that at least 100 workers showed fill the forms from every village of the district. There are 80 villages, chosen for this in this district. The form reads “zindabad” for Akali party and its president Parkash Singh Badal.

The form reads “I.......... am ready to observe the orders of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and as its worker. I am ready to participate in the Akali morcha and court arrest. Signed “daas” of the Sikh Panth. Address, signatures of the applicant and also his phone number if any is required to given in the form. Mr Dalbir Singh decries the Chief Minister’s remarks on the “Jail Bharo” programme.


Cong men ‘feeling demoralised’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 22
Congress workers belonging to Bathinda, Muktsar, Faridkot, Mansa, Moga, Ferozepore and certain parts of the Majha and Doaba belts of Punjab are sore over the shabby treatment meted out to them by government functionaries.

The workers are also feeling disappointed over the fact that eversince the Congress came to power in Punjab, the state leadership has started snapping links with the grassroot workers.

A majority of workers of Ferozepore, Muktsar and Moga districts pointed out that they had to flee their dwellings to escape police atrocities during the SAD-BJP rule. Now that their own party was in power, they were still being insulted in police stations.

They added that the Congress Government had so far failed to take the necessary steps to review the “false” criminal cases which were registered against them by the police under the “ diktats” of the then ruling party.

A large number of workers pointed out that apart from government functionaries, the local leadership had also stopped listening to them due to which they were facing criticism from the voters.

Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, PPCC, when contacted on his cell phone, denied that there was any disappointment or demoralisation among the workers.

When asked about a large section of workers nursing a feeling that they were getting the same treatment as they used to get at the hands of the previous SAD-BJP combine government, Mr Hanspal said he did not want to comment on it on the phone.

When asked whether the feelings of workers would be conveyed to Ms Sonia Gandhi during her visit to Chandigarh tomorrow, he declined to comment.

He said only those workers would be allowed to express their views whom Ms Sonia Gandhi would permit to speak.

He claimed that the media had been raising the issue on its own.


Nagar Council poll put off
Cong councillors fail to reach consensus
Varinder Singh
Tribune New Service

Phagwara, November 22
The alleged failure of two factions of the Congress headed by Mr Joginder Singh Maan, MLA, and PPCC member Balbir Raja Sodhi to find a consensus candidate led to the postponement of elections to the post of the local Nagar Council chief and the deputy amid protests by SAD-BJP councillors and their supporters, who resorted to slogan shouting against the Congress government.

The councillors belonging to the opposition parties alleged that the Congress government had “interfered” in the civic body poll by resorting to the postponement of the elections and the oath-taking ceremony, just to enable the Congress councillors to “buy time” for grabbing the top positions.

The elections were scheduled to be held at 3 pm. after the oath-taking ceremony, but despite the presence of nine councillors of the SAD-BJP combine and the BSP — Iqbal Singh Kundi, Sarbjit Kaur, Inder Singh Sonkar, Arun Khosla, Veera Mal Baljot, Surinder Singh, Ramesh Kaul, Surinder Kaur and independent Rakesh Duggal — at the venue well in time, the councillors belonging to the Congress and those supporting the party failed to turn up till 3.25 pm. This led the SDM, Mr Pritam Singh, to postpone the oath-taking ceremony and the elections. He said the presence of at least 14 of the total 27 councillors was mandatory. He said the new date for the election would be intimated soon. This provoked the opposition councillors who held a demonstration and raised “anti-Congress slogans”.

Earlier, the 15 Congress councillors, owing allegiance to Mr Joginder Singh Maan and Mr Balbir Raja Sodhi, and three independent councillors supporting the party held a meeting at JCT Mills, while the opposition councillors, including Mr Rakesh Duggal, an independent councillor supporting the opposition, met at the local sugar mill for putting up their respective candidates.

But despite detailed discussions till 3. 35 pm, both factions of the Congress and the independent councillors supporting it failed to reach a consensus as the names of Mr Malkiat Singh Raghvotra, a supporter of Mr Maan, and Mr Brij Bhushan Parbhakar, who owes allegiance to Mr Sodhi, figured for the presidentship in the presence of Congress observers Mr Hans Raj Josan, MLA, and Dr Mohinder Lal Rinwa, a Parliamentary Secretary of the party.

Later, they marched to the election venue, but by that time the elections had been postponed. Apart from the observers, the meeting was also attended by Mr Joginder Singh Maan, Mr Balbir Raja Sodhi and the district Congress chief Mr Sadhu Singh.

Meanwhile, Dr Rinwa and Mr Josan, while cautioning “elements” indulging in indiscipline in the party, maintained that a consensus candidate would be put up soon and asserted that the congress would be able to win the key posts in the civic body.


2 cops held for doing pvt work
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 22
The police has arrested two police constables for indulging in private business in violation of service rules.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, identified the constables as Rajesh Kumar of Gurdaspur and Jaimal Singh of Tibber village near here.

The SSP said today that Rajesh Kumar had been dismissed from service under Article 311 (2) (b) of the constitution for his links with anti-social elements and involvement in property business during his service as constable.

Jaimal Singh had been suspended for running a firm, Gurukirpa Property Dealers, here.

The SSP said he had received information that the accused were indulging in property business and had a regular office in this connection in the city.

The accused were devoting more time to their private business than official duty.

The SSP deputed Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SP, Headquarters to inquire into the allegations. The inquiry found the accused guilty.

A case under Section 419, 420, 168 and 169, IPC was registered against the accused here on November 19.

It was also observed that the accused were doing their business in connivance with police officials at police station level who instead of putting them on duty spared them to run their own business.

The SSP said another inquiry to establish the involvement of police officials had been ordered.


Polio case: SMO, DIO blamed
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 22
Mr Anurag Verma, District Magistrate, has written to the Principal Secretary (Health), Punjab, to take action against the Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, Maur Mandi, and the District Immunisation Officer (DIO), Civil Hospital, Bathinda, for negligence in treating a suspected polio patient a few months ago.

Mr Verma wrote the letter after the SMO and the DIO were found guilty in an inquiry conducted by the Additional District Magistrate, Mr G.K. Singh.

Mr Verma entrusted the inquiry to Mr G.K. Singh following a complaint lodged by a resident of Maur Mandi, Mr Pajinder Kumar, who alleged that both legs of his daughter were paralysed due to the negligence of the two doctors.

Mr Pajinder Kumar alleged that he took his one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Jivika, to the Civil Hospital, Maur Mandi, on July 28. The SMO, however, referred the child to the Civil Hospital, Bathinda, for treatment. At that time, his daughter had a problem in her left leg.

At the Bathinda Civil Hospital, his daughter was not attended to properly. After a lot of time, he was told that the DIO would visit Maur Mandi to treat his daughter within a day or two.

He alleged that no doctor visited Maur Mandi for the treatment of his daughter and in the meantime, her second leg was also paralysed. He was then told by a private doctor at Rampuraphul that his daughter had been affected with polio.

In the inquiry conducted by Mr Singh, it was found that the SMO, Maur Mandi, and the DIO had showed negligence in treating the patient and they were responsible for the “pain” suffered by Mr Pajinder Kumar and his daughter.


Verbal duel over berths delays train
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 22
Members of a marriage party going to Ahmedabad were in for a surprise as they boarded a train at the local railway station last night when they saw personnel of the BSF occupying seats reserved for them. Heated exchanges took place when they asked the personnel to vacate the seats.

The paramilitary personnel, on the other hand, said they were travelling in the coach from Jalandhar and had valid documents. However, the railway authorities said the personnel failed to show any document to prove that they had reservation.

The railway authorities have recommended the registration of an FIR against the paramilitary personnel, who allegedly caused a nuisance that delayed the departure of the Jammu Tawi-Ahmedabad Express train by two and half hours.

The local railway authorities, after taking permission from higher authorities, attached an additional coach and the members of the marriage party occupied it. One of them, however, alleged that they had paid for a sleeper coach but were provided an ordinary one.

Mr Nilabh Kishore, SP (City), when informed, reached the railway station along with a large number of police personnel. He tried to pacify the paramilitary personnel, but to no avail. The BSF personnel said they were going to Ahmedabad for election duty in Gujarat.

About 1,400 passengers had to suffer as they were stranded at the railway station. Some of them were seen pleading with both parties to end the verbal duel.

Railway sources said the local authorities had mentioned in their record book that the train was delayed due to the trouble created by the paramilitary personnel.

Mr S.S. Brar, Deputy Station Superintendent, confirmed that the train was delayed as some BSF personnel forcibly occupied seats reserved in the name of others. He also confirmed that the registration of an FIR had been recommended. He said he had lodged a complaint with the police.

He said the BSF personnel failed to produce any documentary proof about their getting reservation for the coach (No. 5-6). He said a senior police official had also recommended the registration of an FIR.

He admitted that the members of the marriage party might have faced inconvenience as they had to travel by ordinary coach in place of a sleeper coach.

However, Mr Mann said the incident did not occur due to any mistake on part of the railway authorities.


BBMB projects await govt nod
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 22
Delay in permission from the states is hampering work on the new hydel power projects planned by the BBMB.

After obtaining permission from the Union Government to bring up new hydel power projects within its own system, the BBMB had prepared project reports of two new ventures. The 19-MW project on the Nirvana branch of the Bhakra mainline and the 40-MW project on the Baggi tunnel in Himachal Pradesh. But Punjab and Haryana are yet to give assent to work on these projects, resulting in a delay in their execution. The other partner states have given the nod.

The Chairman of BBMB, Mr Rakesh Nath, gave this information while talking to this correspondent at Nangal today.

Mr Rakesh Nath, however, told that the matter was being taken up with the Punjab Government, which is seeking legal aid on the matter.


Recruitment banned, despite 47,000 vacancies
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 22
Mr Yadvinder Singh, state general secretary, Berojgar Adhayapak Front (registered), said here today that even as 47,000 vacant posts of teacher were lying in the government schools of Punjab, the ban on recruitment had not been lifted.

He said the studies had been affected due to the vacancies and added that 350 state-run schools did not have any buildings.

He claimed that in a large number of schools, a single teacher had been appointed to teach five classes.

He alleged that the government was ignoring the educated unemployed, who have been knocking the doors of the successive governments for jobs.

Mr Yadvinder Singh said to press for their demands, a section of their activists had been sitting on dharna at the office of the Director Public Instruction (Schools) at Chandigarh, but no official had heard them even after 146 days.


Call for ‘struggle’ to end poverty
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, November 22
Dr Jatinder Kumar, general secretary of the All-India CPI (ML-New Democracy) addressing a conference organised by the party at Shahabpur village near here on Wednesday on the death anniversary of Shaheed Master Gian Singh Sangha, who was gunned down by terrorists 10 years ago called upon the people to join hands to thwart the nefarious designs of the USA to forcibly grab” the natural sources of all countries of the world. After Afghanistan, new victims of the USA would be Iraq and Philippines, he said.

Mr Darshan Singh, Khatkar, secretary of the Punjab state unit of party, said that corruption, nepotism, poverty, unemployment. etc. were on the rise but the ruling parties at the Centre as well as in states, instead of taking steps to solve these problems were misleading the people by diverting attention towards other issues. He called upon the people to prepare for another “freedom struggle for a solution to these problems.

Mr Sardara Singh Mahil, state committee member of the party Ms Gurbaksh Kaur Sangha, president, Istri Jagriti Manch, Mr Gurmit Singh, Mr Tarsem Peter, Mr Surinder Singh, Bains, Mr Hari Ram Rasulpuri also addressed the conference.


Top cardiologists for Bathinda camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Fortis Heart Institute and Multi Speciality Hospital will hold a free cardiac check-up camp in MSD Senior Secondary Public School, Hanuman Chowk, Bathinda, on November 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Top doctors from the institute including Dr V M Kohli, Senior Consultant, Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Dr Shivpreet Samra, Consultant, Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalra, Senior Consultant, Invasive Cardiology, and Dr Jagmohan Singh Verma, Senior Consultant, International Cardiology, will be present at the camp.

Mr Daljit Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, said: “Our coming to Bathinda is a step forward in reaching out to the people of this region spreading awareness about heart diseases and the benefits of early diagnosis which is the best way to combat the increasing incidence of this disease”.

During the camp the people will be provided with free heart check-up which will include free cardiac consultation and on-the-spot free tests like ECG, ECHO and blood testing.


Immolation threat by AIDS patient
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, November 22
A resident of Bhucho Mandi area, whose husband died of AIDS about a year ago and who herself is an AIDS patient, here today staged a dharna in front of the SDM’s office in protest against the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned and threatened to immolate herself.

The woman was found to be HIV positive during a test conducted at Medical College, Faridkot, where she was taken by social activists of the town. She was refused treatment at the local Civil Hospital about six months ago when she told the doctor that she was the widow of an AIDS patient.

After finding herself HIV positive, she was shocked to know that two of her three children were also AIDS patients.

After the death of her husband, she was thrown out of her in-laws’ house. Her father, partially handicapped, has been finding it difficult to look after his daughter and her three children, she said while sitting on dharna outside the SDM’s office today.

After waiting for hours, she lifted her dharna as nobody came out of the office to take her application. The SDM was reportedly out of town today.

She threatened that if the authorities concerned did not make arrangements for her and her children’s treatment, she would immolate herself in a week.

Dr Shamsher Singh, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, Rampura Phul, said no AIDS patient had come to the local hospital. He said the woman’s allegations were false and baseless.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Civil Hospital, Bathinda, said he would direct the Rampura Phul Civil Hospital authorities not to refuse treatment to any AIDS patient.

Mr H.S. Sandhu, SDM, Rampura Phul could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.


Scribes ‘not treated well’, decide boycott
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 22
“Remarks against the media” by Director-General of Police Punjab, Mahal Singh Bhullar here yesterday sparked resentment among the mediapersons here.

A section of media persons gathered around Mr Bhullar last evening when he was about to leave after presiding over the closing ceremony of Punjab State Hockey (under-17) championship and wanted him to answer a few questions. The DGP, who was not feeling well requested the media persons to leave him but they did not agree.

A journalist of a vernacular newspaper asked for his comment on the corruption rampant in the Police Department. A little annoyed of the press for “forcing” him to answer he said, “in every section and class of the society there are some black sheep which tarnish the image of that section of class”.

A few journalists grumbled that during the closing ceremony of the tournament they were not treated well.

Having not been ‘treated well’ by the organisers of the tournament they made it an issue with the DGP. The tournament was organised by the SSP, he being the President of the District Hockey Association.

A few journalists here, today, decided to boycott all functions of the government. A few journalist associations of the state have also backed the issue of Ferozepore journalists. Asking the DGP to express regret for not “treating them well”.

Talking to The Tribune on telephone Mr Bhullar said he was being misquoted by a section of the Press. He added that he had always had the media in high esteem. He said that the Police Department received complaints from various quarters on the misuse of word ‘press’ by unscrupulous elements. He confirmed that the police had already taken a few steps to check the misuse of word “press” on private vehicles not carrying men and material of the media.


Approver in PPSC scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
In a statement before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, counsel for the state government today said approver in Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam Jagman Singh would be examined as the first prosecution witness after the framing of charges.

Appearing before a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, counsel added that the case had been fixed before the trial Court for framing charges today itself.

Jagman Singh, in his petition, had earlier stated that he should be examined as the first prosecution witness after the framing of charges and then released on bail. The petitioner was taken into custody in a case registered in the PPSC scam under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act by the State Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar on March 25.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, he had added in another petition that his name had not been mentioned in the first information report registered by the Bureau. Counsel for the petitioner had added that Jagman Singh was later projected as a tout of Commission’s suspended chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu. 


6 of marriage party dead
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 22
Six persons of a marriage party were killed and eight persons seriously injured when a Tata Sumo collided with an auto near Baba Bakala in Majitha police district here this evening.

The Sumo was coming from Rayya when it met with the accident. The injured were admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here.

According to eyewitnesses, the auto, which was towing the Sumo, out of order, was loaded with wooden logs. The logs pierced the windscreen of the Sumo, killing the six persons on the spot, when the auto tried to avoid a motorcyclist. The victims included Sukhdev Singh, a child, the driver of the auto and the motorcyclist. The injured included Darshan Kaur, Piar Kaur, Ghulab Singh, Mohta Singh and Sonu, aged 12.


Voters list: Dang for probe
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 22
Veteran CPI leader Satya Pal Dang has asked the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to prove his commitment for free and fair elections by ordering an impartial inquiry into the scandal in the voters list for the elections to the Jalalabad Municipal Council in which 89 per cent of the total population has been shown voters.

Mr Dang, in a press statement here yesterday, alleged that it was quite obvious that a large number of persons below 18 and people belonging to the neighbouring areas had been shown as residents of Jalalabad and enrolled as voters.


Negative roles inspire me, says Samriti Irani
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 22
The negative role played by women characters in television serials virtually inspire the lead characters to establish themselves in the industry.

This was stated by Ms Samriti Irani, who plays the role of Tulsi in the popular family drama “Sas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”, which has wide viewership in the country.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday evening, Ms Irani said the negative roles played by women characters in TV serials often inspire her for finding the truth in the real life. She was in the city to promote sale of Milton Global Company products.


Health Dept team takes water samples
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 22
The district Health Department, though denying that it had received any report of jaundice cases, today responded to the threat posed by contaminated water in the slum areas of Kot Mit Singh, Guru Nanak Nagar and adjoining areas on the Tarn Taran road. A team of the Health Department consequently took water samples from the affected areas and distributed medicines.

However, the All-India Youth Association president, Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, claimed that he had informed the Civil Surgeon, Dr K. K. Sharma, about jaundice in the areas, as mentioned in The Tribune report.


Youth advised to keep off drugs
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 22
A drug de-addiction centre will be set up by the Red Cross Society at the district headquarter here to educate and provide treatment to the drug addicts.

Mr Daljeet Singh, SDM, Ropar, stated this while inaugurating a seminar on “drug de-addiction”, organised by the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle unit of the Government College in the college complex there today. Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, presided over the seminar.

The centre will have 15-bed hospital and cost of its running will be borne by the Punjab Red Cross Society.

A two-member team of the state Red Cross Society will visit the town on November 26 to select a building for the centre.


Upsabha to organise chetna yatra today
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 22
To create awareness among the youth about the adverse impact of social evils like female foeticide, dowry and corruption the Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Upsabha, Punjab, will organise “jan chetna yatra” in all parts of the state tomorrow.

Addressing a press conference here today, the acting president of the sabha, Ms P.P. Sharma, said the motive behind holding the yatra was to inculcate the spirit to fight social evils among the youth. “Infact, it is our duty to provide better atmosphere to the younger generation at home, school and place of work to help them attain greater heights.

Ms Sharma further said students, teachers and non-teaching staff of all educational institutions under the aegis of the DAV College Managing Committee would participate in the proposed yatra tomorrow.


Grewal, Garcha remanded for 14 more days

Jalandhar, November 22
A city court today extended the judicial remand of former Technical Education Minister and sitting Akali MLA Jagdish Singh Garcha and Punjab Technical University (PTU) Director (Outreach) Amarjit Singh Grewal, for 14 more days. The duo were produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate A.S. Grewal today, who extended their judicial remand for 14 more days. PTI


Distt admn launches website
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 22
For information on music, sports, hotels, landmarks of Jalandhar and digitalised map of the state the Jalandhar district administration has developed its website— Public utility forms like birth and death certificates, arms and driving licences or the SC and BC certificates, can also be down- loaded besides information on census, Vidhan Sabha elections, industries and print and electronic media.

“It will be of use to NRIs of the Doaba region,” said Mr R.S. Sandhu, Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, who launched the site today.

Brainchild of Mr K. Siva Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, the site was developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

The DC said a provision has been made for people to send suggestions, grievances and complaints to the administration through the site. The site has been appreciated by persons from Pakistan and Canada, said Mr Prasad.


Admn cautious over ‘deori’ construction
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 22
In an apparent bid to soft-pedal and avoid a direct confrontation on an issue of a religious nature, the administration is making allout efforts to resolve the controversy over the construction of a ‘deori’ (main entrance gate) on the alleged encroached land at Santokhsar gurdwara, by holding talks.

A high-level meeting was held at Deputy Commissioner Iqbal Singh Sidhu’s office comprising the SSP and officials of the corporation here today.

It is learnt that manager of Darbar Sahib, Mr Ajaib Singh, was invited, but he failed to turn up. Mr Harbeant Singh, secretary, and Mr Raghbir Singh, PA to Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC chief, who were in Ludhiana rushed to Amritsar to assess the situation.

If the talks fail the Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti, who is handling the sensitive issue, told ‘The Tribune’ that he would give a call for an all-party meeting to resolve the issue.


Encroachments removal within 2 months planned
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 22
The district administration has chalked out a plan to remove all temporary and permanent encroachments during the next two months in the district. To launch the scheme on a war footing, a meeting of senior officers of various departments like the National Highway and the Nagar Council, besides members of non-government organisations, representatives of various political organisations and leading citizens was held at Kotkapura yesterday.

Expressing concern over the prevailing conditions regarding the encroachments, Mr Devinder Singh SDM, Faridkot, who presided over the meeting, sought the cooperation of all people to make the programme effective. Localities like Shastri Market, Old Grain Market, Main Bazar and Kotkapura-Jaitu and Kotkapura-Moga roads were identified to take the action on the burning issue from next week at Kotkapura.


Home for women, kids on anvil
Tribune New Service

Ropar, November 22
The district administration is open to setting up a home for a short stay of abandoned children and women of the district.

This assurance was given by Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain to a delegation of the Indian Council for Social Welfare, Punjab, at a meeting held here with leaders of various NGOs.

Mrs Jain also assured the delegation that efforts would be made to construct the home for abandoned children and women at the district headquarters.


Truck union leaders booked in assault case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, November 22
The city police has registered a case under Sections 452, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Mr Gurdev Singh Mansahia,president, Mansa Truck Operators Union, Mr Jagpal Singh Aulakh, vice-president, Mr Gurdeep Singh Chakerian, Mr Mohinder Singh Bhame, Mr Bhola Singh Aulakh and Mr Gurcharan Singh Lalianwali, all members of the union, Mr Amrik Singh and Mr Gora Lal, both employees of the union, on the complaint of Mr Raj Kumar Danewalia, president, Mansa Rice Millers Association. No arrests have been made so far.

In protest against the alleged high-handedness of the union, the local Beopar Mandal staged a demonstration here today, raising slogans against the union and the Punjab police. It demanded the arrest of culprits involved in the beating up of Mr Danewalia and Mr Sanjeev Kumar, a rice miller, and the adding of Section 392 of the IPC against those who had forcibly taken away tractor-trailers loaded with paddy, which were later seized by the police.

Mr Radhe Lal, president, Beopar Mandal, submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, enlisting the demands.


10-yr RI for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 22
Mr Justice G.S. Gill, Additional District Sessions Judge, has given 10-year rigorous imprisonment to a man called Kuldip Singh and imposed a Rs 10,000 fine on him for raping a minor in 1999, who was a Class VI student of Government Middle School at Barwali Khurd then.

According to a press note issued here today by Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, Senior Superintendent of Police, a man named Darshan Singh of Barwali Khurd had lodged a complaint with the police that Kuldip, with the help of a man called Jasbir Singh, had raped his minor daughter when she had gone to the fields with her friend Aman.

Kuldip had pushed the girl into a field and gagged her before committing the rape. The SSP said the investigations had led to the culprit’s conviction. The SSP also praised the police officials who had been working on the case.


One held for sale of spurious kerosene
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 22
Officials of the district Food and Civil Supply department along with the police, yesterday unearthed a racket of alleged sale of spurious kerosene after changing its colour at Mandi Gobindgarh. The officials caught red-handed a private trader while changing the colour of blue kerosene, meant for sale at government ration depots, to white colour for sale in open market.

The police has registered a case under Sections 7EC Act, 420 IPC, 178 Light Diesel Control Act, and seized the material along with the chemical used besides among the culprit.


Thapar to start BE (correspondence)
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 22
The Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET) has decided to start the Bachelor of Engineering course through correspondence. The institute has also been selected for computer networking in the first phase of the national-level computer networking programme.

Disclosing this here yesterday on the occasion of the visit of a University Grants Commission (UGC) team to the institute, Dr S.C. Saxena, said the institute had made a request in this regard to the Distance Education Council. He said the course was likely to be started from July onwards.

A memorandum of understanding had also been signed with the ERNET, Ministry of Communication and the Information Technology, for setting up of UGC networking for integration and virtual enhancement of academic infrastructure. Dr Saxena said 90 per sent of the total grant for the project had been released and that the remaining 10 per cent would be released after the completion of work. He said a tripartite agreement was also on the cards for further development of the project between the UGC, the TIET and the ERNET.

He said besides this a five-year plan had been formulated for starting new postgraduate courses and modernisation of computer networking, laboratories, infrastructure in all its departments, schools and centres. The Director said a programme had also been formulated to build a lecture hall complex with electronic audio-visual facilities, a 2,500 seat centrally air-conditioned auditorium and to enhance the capacities of boys’ and girls’ hostels. He said a total projection of Rs 50 crore had been made to the UGC team and the project was likely to be completed in five years.

Dr Saxena said the institute had proved itself by becoming a five-star university during an assessment by the National Assessment and Accreditation Commission (NAAC), an autonomous body of the UGC. He said the institute had secured 85 per cent points which was very rare for a technical institution.

Meanwhile, a team headed by Prof A Kalanidhi, Adviser to the Union Government, Ministry of Labour, held detailed discussions on the plan with the top management of the institute. Other member of the team were Dr R.K. Mittal, Dean, BITS, Pilani, Prof P.C. Upadhyay, Registrar, Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Prof K. Narayana Rao, University College of Education, Hyderabad, Prof Yogesh Singh and Mr K.L. Nandwani.


Dental students want better trained teachers
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 22
A two-day state-level conference of students of the dental colleges of Punjab on group study exchange programme, concluded here today.

It laid stress on following multimedia teaching, updating the syllabus according to clinical requirements and training the trainers. The participants emphasised on giving more training to experts and updating their knowledge.

They appealed to the state government that such conferences and seminars be held with the involvement of the general public on a regular basis as it would not only prove helpful to the students but also make the people aware of the care of teeth. In his keynote address, Dr Mahesh Verma, Principal, Maulana Azad Dental College, New Delhi, while speaking on various dental impressions and materials used for dental care, favoured permanent fixation of artificial teeth and also their fixation in the bones.

Dr J.L. Joshi, Principal, Christian Dental College, Ludhiana, inaugurated the function.

More than 700 students took part and also held a cultural programme.


Paper leak: bail plea refused
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 22
An anticipatory bail plea moved by two main accused in the Punjab Nurses Registration Council paper leak case was today dismissed by a Ropar court.

According to sources, the accused — Gurpal Singh Kang and Charanjit Singh — are at large. The court had earlier granted them anticipatory bail till November 20 which was extended till November 22. Family members of Gurpal Singh Kang, however, said on Monday a fresh bail plea would be filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Punjab Vigilance Bureau registered a case on November 15 against these employees of the Punjab State Nursing Council for leaking question papers of the nursing examination.


Honour bus passes, urge students
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 22
Students of the region, who have been demanding concessional bus passes for the past few weeks today staged a dharna-cum-rally here.

The students have been demanding that the bus passes should be honoured in the mini-buses plying in the state. The students said many of them had been indicted in allegedly false cases registered by the police under political pressure.

Sudeep, a member of the Bus Pass Struggle Committee, said operators of a mini-bus misbehaved with students and had employed goons, who used to threaten them. He said identity cards and bus passes of some students were snatched by a mini-bus operator with the help of armed goons. He claimed that activists of the BKU (E) had gheraoed a police chowki to press the police to help the students. He said students from Chauke, Khokhar, Naruana, Rai Khana, Dhadhe, etc were being harassed.


Traders flay govt on octroi
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 22
Mr Ashok Garg, president, Punjab Yuva Beopar Mandal, in a written statement issued here today, said the Congress government had backtracked on all its poll promises and the demand of the traders to abolish the octroi had not been fulfilled by it.

He alleged that octroi posts were a major source of harassment to the traders and suggested that a new method of revenue collection should be evolved. He alleged that octroi contractors used muscle power to harass the traders. Mr Ashok Kumar Goyal, general secretary of the mandal, said the traders would hold a demonstration in protest against the decision to auction the octroi posts.

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