Monday, December 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Contract system for teachers likely
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 1
Having realised that the private sector was playing a “creative” role in the promotion of standard education, the state government, which was in the process of evolving a new education policy, was likely to involve private resources and introduce the contract system for teachers for strengthening the infrastructure and for making schools, colleges and universities really function in accordance with the changing world education scenario and the needs of the people.

Giving an indication that the new education policy might see private participation, Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the high-powered Advisory Committee on Fiscal Reforms and Financial Reconstruction and Resource Mobilisation, constituted by the Punjab Government, told The Tribune, that having known that the private sector’s performance was excellent in the field of education, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was actively involved in evolving the new education policy with an objective to put Punjab ahead and achieve a higher economic growth rate.

Lauding the role of The Tribune in initiating a debate in the state on the issue of education, particularly on teachers on contract, Mr Singla made an interesting observation that contrary to common perception, low-quality education was not a result of inadequate resources, but of low-quality human capital, particularly in the field of education. He said, “Though we consider a teacher to be a key changer or factor, the biggest handicap in the way of Punjab’s growth was deterioration of human capital during the past 15 years and the acceleration of this process during the past five years”.

“That there is no known centre for excellence in the field of education in Punjab is an indication of this deterioration,” said Mr Singla, adding that the committee headed by him had suggested several remedial measures in its report to the Chief Minister. He said the myth that the low-quality education in government institutions was the outcome of lack of resources was wrong as the per capital monthly cost in the government sector was Rs 680 as compared to Rs 400 to Rs 500 in the private sector.

Observing that another factor which had led to deterioration of education was the failure of teachers to educate or update themselves in accordance with the times at a time when there was a phenomenal “growth of knowledge all around.” He said, “Most of them have really failed to update themselves, resulting in a dull educational atmosphere in both government and private institutions. That is why the contract system was considered as it comes with an inbuilt accountability”.

The UGC has initiated this process. Moreover, it is working well in the West. In this system, teachers remain more alert and make optimum use of their capabilities. Though the contract system brings insecurity, it helps creativity and forces teachers to perform. If in all other businesses you have to be competitive, then why not in education,” said Mr Singla, adding that the priority of the Punjab Government was education as it was the basis of growth and economy.

He also expressed concern at the 38 per cent primary school dropout rate, which was the highest in the country. “No such negative development is seen in private institutions,” he said, adding that teachers should realise that if they wanted to avoid the contract system they had no alternative but to perform. This led the private sector to come forward and set up good educational institutions even in rural areas.

He said under the new educational policy, the existing infrastructure would be strengthened at every level in schools, colleges and universities with the help of private resources. Earlier, Mr Singla attended the seminar organised by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union at the local Khalsa College. He also assured teachers that the Punjab Government was seriously considering the demands of the union.


Classroom interaction must’
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, December 1
The major difference between the Canadian and Indian systems of education is that the students there interact more in the classroom while here the students only listen to the teacher.

Mr Bruce Condie, director of the Canadian Institute for International Studies (CIIS), SAS Nagar, said yesterday that there should be more interaction between the students and teachers, lest education became a formality in place of a learning process.

Mr Condie, while talking to this correspondent here, said there would be no use of schools if teachers just read out from textbooks and asked students to learn topics by rote in a specified time.

He said learning should be a lifelong process and it should not be confined to obtaining degrees. He said in most Indian schools, students merely completed the formality of attending classes for a specific time to be eligible for appearing in annual examinations.

Graduate from a Canadian institute, Mr Condie said homework for students was not an issue in Canada, unlike in India. “During my stay in India, I have observed that a major part of the day’s time of a student is spent on completing the homework. Even the parents have to labour so that their children complete the homework”, he said.

He said in Canada, students did not get any schoolwork to do at home. If some tasks were given to students to do at home, the students could do those easily, he added.

About the English-speaking ability of Indians, Mr Condie said although it was their second language, they were able to communicate in English. He said they were better than the Chinese, where one could hardly find someone who could communicate in English.

Mr Condie was of the view that learning English was a must these days. He said he was not saying that English was important as it was his first language, but given the present situation, English has become a global language.

He said although the teaching patterns were different in India and Canada, students in both countries were eager to learn more. He said during his interaction with Indian students, he had observed that if given proper guidance, they could earn a name for themselves at world level.


Sikhs have distinct identity: Vatican envoy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 1
The Vatican envoy in India, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, said his country would positively respond to any request by the Sikh high priests to visit the Vatican city, headquarters of the Catholics.

Addressing mediapersons at the Circuit House here today, he, however, refused to be dragged into any controversy with regard to granting Vatican status to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. He said it was a political decision and he would not like to comment on it.

He said in January last year a delegation of Sikh religious leaders, headed by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht were invited to visit the Vatican. He said the Sikh religion enjoyed distinct identity because of its traditions. All religions shared the same views about universal brotherhood, peace and harmony.

On the strife in the world, he said the Vatican had always been taking a lead to defuse the situation and intervene at various levels to bring about peace in the Universe. He said last year Pope John Paul II had undertaken a week-long visit to Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt to forge goodwill and harmony in the region.

Answering another question about dreaded disease of AIDS, the Vatican envoy said they were the first to organise a world conference 20-year-ago on the subject and had established a committee to combat the disease. They would do their best to cooperate with the world agencies for controlling the menace.

On the controversy of conversions, the envoy said they never force the change of faith but their mission to elevate their poverty was always misunderstood. He said they were running a large number of projects in the most backward areas of India.


SHSAD to begin stir on people’s demands
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 1
The SHSAD chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, today said his party would launch an agitation on the long-pending demands of the people, the programme for which would be announced at Fatehgarh Sahib on December 26. He flayed the SAD for allowing the Noormehlias to flourish and said the Congress, too, was protecting them.

Mr Tohra, who was in the city today, addressed mediapersons on issues before the party and ways to get these solved with active cooperation of the people. He touched all points raised at the meeting. He was flanked by senior colleagues Manjit Singh Calcutta, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mahesh Inder Grewal, besides former MLAs U.S. Rangretta, B.S. Khalsa and H.S. Gabria. Local office-bearers were also present in numbers at the Circuit House.

Reacting to the Noormehlia controversy, he caustically commented: “What was lacking in the life of the Badals that compelled the wife of the SAD chief to pay obeisance not to the Almighty, but to the self-styled godman. This alone proves that Mr Badal encouraged the sect to flourish during his tenure and is now trying to wriggle out of the mess by laying the blame at the door of the present regime. He is a hypocrite who does not practice what he preaches”.

Terming the Jail Bharo Andolan as a flop he said it had sent jitters among the rank and file of the party since farmers and employees did not come out in large numbers to support the stir. The people know that the so-called agitation was a ploy to force the government to go slow on the anti-graft drive against SAD leaders. The power tariff and other long-standing demands of the people were yet to be solved.

He said the party was against the proposed national river waters grid and would oppose the flow of state waters to neighbouring states. Besides, the party would press for remunerative prices for sugarcane and other crops. Mr Tohra condemned the interference by the Centre in the internal affairs of the Sikhs. “Who are they to decide who is a Sikh?” While demanding for early election to the SGPC, he said it was for the Sikhs to decide who could or could not vote.

He said a mobilisation drive was under way for district-level protests in the state from December 7-24. Party workers would stage dharnas besides submitting memoranda to the respective DCs. Meanwhile, party sources claimed that they had evidence of several close aides of Mr Badal paying obeisance to the controversial godman at his dera and would be placed the same before the people at an appropriate time.


Police ‘overthrows’ truck union chief
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, December 1
The tussle over the leadership of the local Truck Union between two groups in the city has taken a new turn with the local police ‘overthrowing’ the sitting president, Mr Harbans Singh Palla, member of the Zila Parishad, and helping a Congress supporter, Mr Narinder Singh, to sit on the chair.

Talking to The Tribune in an exclusive interview here today, Mr Palla said eversince he won the elections of the Zila Parishad on the BJP ticket, the local police had begun to harass him. “The police has tried its best to implicate me in a case of fake currency along with former SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, pressurising me to leave the presidentship of the Truck Union and help the ruling party in the coming elections to the chairmanship of the Zila Parishad and Block Samiti, he alleged.

He said he was arrested on November 7 as a preventive measure and released on November 22 evening. But during the time of the judicial custody the local police registered a general FIR under Sections, 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act against him and a few others on November 10. “It is very strange that when I was already in the jail, the local police has registered an FIR against me”, he added. Moreover, so far the police had neither arrested him nor recovered anything from him, he said.

Mr Palla had been the president of the Truck Union since the past one and a half decade. His rival Narinder Singh joined the union along with his followers two years ago and was unsuccessfully trying to manage the affairs of the union. But as the majority of the members were with Mr Palla, he could not succeed in his gameplans.

Since the formation of the new government in the state, Mr Narinder Singh shifted his loyalty to a Congress leader close to the Chief Minister and sought his help to get hold of the union. Subsequently, the local police got involved in the matter and Mr Palla was picked up by the police many times.

Meanwhile, the DSP (City) forcibly got Mr Palla to write that the office of the union be got sealed till the dispute was over. But the police did not impose the Article 145 of the CrPC as demanded by Mr Palla to prevent any clash between the two groups. Instead, Mr Narinder Singh was called and handed over the keys of the office to run the affairs of the union.

This reporter tried to contact DSP (City) Barjinder Singh but he was not available for comments as he was on a VIP duty with the political secretary to the Chief Minister.

Mr Palla has alleged that the leaders of the ruling Congress are using government machinery, police in particular, to harass the supporters of the opposition parties.

He has asked the Punjab Governor to mark a judicial inquiry into the role of the local police in harassing the supporters of opposition parties.


5 of marriage party crushed to death

Amritsar, December 1
Five persons of a marriage party, including a woman and a child, were killed here tonight after they were run over by a truck allegedly being driven by the driver under the influence of liquor, police source said here.

The victims were dancing in a marriage procession on the Batala road here, police sources said, adding that the truck allegedly ran over them when they were in the midst of celebrations.

Irate member of the marriage party caught hold of the driver and thrashed him, injuring him seriously. The driver has been admitted to the government hospital.

The truck, carrying crusher stone, was set on fire by some people of the marriage party. Fire brigade personnel immediately reached the spot and put out the fire, but the truck was damaged.

The victims have been identified as Darshan Lal, Asha Rani, Jaspal, Kewal Krishan and the child, Kritik. PTI


PAC meeting of SAD on Dec 10

Jalandhar, December 1
The Shiromani Akali Dal has called a meeting of Political Affairs Committee (PAC) on December 10 at Amritsar to discuss the current political situation after the Jail Bharo Morcha on November 27.

Former Chief Minister and President of the party Parkash Singh Badal would preside over the meeting, at which the political situation and future strategy of the party, along with other issues, would be discussed, said party spokesmen Daljit Singh Cheema here today.

As Badal told the media here yesterday the issue of taking disciplinary action against former SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi, who revolted against the party during the recent SGPC election, would be discussed at the meeting. PTI


Check interference by MLA, CM urged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
Mr Paramjeet Singh Dhillon, Vice-President, Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress Committee, and Mr Tejbir Singh Dhillon former president of the Municipal Council, Kotfatta, has urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to look into the interference by an Independent MLA into the affairs of Pakka Kalan. They have alleged that although the MLA belonged to some other constituency, he helped certain Akali Dal activists of Pakka Kalan on certain issues.

Mr Jasbir Singh and Mr Paramjeet Singh said the MLA was supporting certain activists of the Akali Dal, who were instrumental in getting false cases registered against Congress workers during the previous SAD-BJP government.

They said the interference by the Independent MLA would have an adverse affect on the prospectus of the Congress during the coming municipal council elections. They alleged that some of the officials were also supporting the Akalis under the influence of the MLA. They have urged the Chief Minister to make sure that the MLA remain aloof from the affairs of the Pakka Kalan constituency.


Drug abuse middle class bane: study
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, December 1
The menace of drug addiction has assumed alarming proportions in Amritsar so much so that even people staying in religious places or ‘deras’ are reportedly taking drugs. There is hardly any case of conviction of such persons belonging to these deras in police records. This is revealed in a report “Addiction to alcohol and other drugs” prepared by the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), Mr Baljit Singh Virk.

The survey conducted in 16 areas identified for high drug abuse in the holy city, including Maqboolpura, Islamabad, Putlighar and Chheharata, Guru ki Wadali and the Batala road area showed that drugs like bhang and charas, which have wild growth and are easily available are being increasingly used in religious places or ‘deras’.

The problem aggravates because of the Judiciary expects a concrete proof. As a result the culprits go scot-free and even senior police officers are hesitant to undertake such investigations. Most of the bhang and charas users are found in the Gujjarpura and Gilwali Gate areas which have some of the religious institutions.

The highest incidence of cannabis and charas users were reported in Chattiwind (80 per cent). Whereas the use of pharmaceutical drugs was 70 per cent of the total users in the Antaryami Colony, Batala Road and the Nawi Abadi areas followed by 60 per cent of the total drug users in Guru ki Wadali Jaura Pippal and inside Lahori Gate.

Some registered medical practitioners (RMPs) or chemists were reported to be injecting drugs the study added.

The study revealed that most of the addicts start consuming drugs between the age of 10 and 30 years and a maximum number of them reported for detoxification between the age group of 15-40 and with the highest incidence in 26-30 years of age, which indicates that addicts continue to consume drugs at least for 10 years before they come for treatment.

The incidence of addiction was found to be higher among labourers or higher income groups like businessmen. Persons belonging to large families were found to be more addicted to drugs than those belonging to small families. Drug addiction in Amritsar is mostly a middle-class problem. Lower classes generally consume cheaper drugs like bhang and charas while those belonging to higher classes consume costlier drugs notwithstanding a few poor addicts using heroin and smack which they manage to get for themselves while they work as peddlers for dealers.

Expressing concern over the increase in drug addiction, the Additional Deputy Commissioner in his study says the seriousness of the problem called for consorted and mutually supportive efforts by all wings of the governments and the non-government organisations. He says the relapse rates being very high among treated addicts, propriety had to be accorded to the prevention of drug abuse.

On the role of education, he laments that the schools and colleges were also not doing much to carry out their assigned responsibility of providing complete education to the new generation.

The so-called ‘clubs’, which are meant for recreation, have also become centres which encourage drinking, smoking and gambling among youngsters and the taboos attached with drugs are fast vanishing and parental and social controls are minimal.

Talking about preventive measures, he said the primary responsibility is with the educational institutions. Special training programmes need to be run in the educational institutions where students are given factual information about drugs and their harmful effects.

To control drug trafficking one has to create a strong public opinion and punishment should be given to smugglers, the study concludes.


HC directs payment of DA on family pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Allowing a bunch of 18 petition filed by Punjab Education Department employees “whose spouses had died in harness”, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice M.M. Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday directed the state and other respondents “to grant dearness allowance on family pension in accordance with law”.

Delivering the verdict, the Judges added: “Let the revised pension be commuted within a period of two months from receiving a copy of the order. After the pension is re-computed, the arrears of the family pension should be released to the petitioners within two months thereafter. If the arrears are not paid within the stipulated period, then the petitioners shall be entitled to receive the benefits with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date it became due till the payment”.

In their detailed order, the Judges ruled: “Petitioners in this case are working in the department of education on various posts. Their spouses were also working in various departments of Punjab when they died in harness. None of these petitioners were appointed in the department of education on compassionate ground on the death of their spouses. Thus, the petitioners were working on the posts in their own independent capacities. The petitioners claim the benefit of family pension, inclusive of dearness allowance, under the relevant rules”.

The Judges added: “The short grievance of the petitioners is that although the petitioners have been granted family pension, they have been denied dearness allowance on the same. The benefit of dearness allowance has been denied to the petitioners on the ground that they have already been granted dearness allowance on the salary they earn. Consequently, the petitioners were constrained to move the Court for necessary directions... After hearing counsel for the parties, we are of the considered opinion that in view of the law laid down by this Court and the Supreme Court, the writ petition has to be allowed”.


Dairies continue to make residents’ life miserable
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 1
Even three years after the Patiala Municipal Corporation first expressed its commitment to shift hundreds of dairies situated in various localities in the city to somewhere outside the city, the move has not met with any success and no land has been earmarked for the purpose yet. Dairies, meanwhile, continue to pollute the city, clog drains thereby causing blockages in the sewers, besides causing health hazards.

Various proposals have been made to shift dairies outside the city, but none of them has borne fruit. Earlier, the Improvement Trust has also committed to allocate land outside the city for dairy owners, but it could not do so.

Although owners of big dairies are ready to shift their business out of the city, the small dairy farmers are against any such move. Those who have got a few milch animals say they cannot afford to buy plots from the Improvement Trust and then develop them. They would rather prefer to close down their business, they say. Dairy farmers have also expressed fears that then the public will also have to pay more for milk as dairy farming will be run as an industry outside the city.

Even as the corporation and the Improvement Trust have yet to arrive at a final decision on shifting of the dairies, residents of the city continue to suffer. A visit to Old Bishen Nagar and Gurbaksh Colony reveals that some streets are laid with dung with the brick-lined roads no longer visible. Residents of these areas say work from dairies not only block sewers, but it is also a main cause of various health problems during the monsoon season.

Prem Nath, a resident of Gurbaksh Colony, says some dairy owners have devised a unique system whereby the dung collected in their houses was directly put into the sewers after being diluted with water. Sometimes even jet pumps are used to make this process faster. Some dairy owners throw dung along the ‘ganda nullah’ which causes a stench in the entire area. Besides these two localities, people of Badungar Colony and those in Khalsa Mohalla and Dhobi Ghat areas of the city are also suffering due to the presence of a large number of dairies in their areas.

The MC Commissioner, Vishnu Sharma, says the corporation has a land measuring 15 acres in Ablowal village, beyond the Bhakra main line canal on the Sangrur road and nine acres in Alipur Raiian village on the Sirhind road which can be given to dairy owners. Besides, around 18 acres of PWD land is also available on the Sanaur road which can also be used for the purpose. He says either of the sites or all of these can be used to develop dairies according to the convenience of the dairy farmers. He says the corporation has held talks with dairy owners and that one or two of the sites have even been shown to them. The corporation will soon take a final decision on the matter, he says.

Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by the corporation through its health inspectors has revealed that there are around 670 dairies in the city which have around 6,500 milch cattle. The corporation has, meanwhile, decided to take action against dairy owners who dump dung outside their houses or put it into the drains or the animals outside their premises. It has challaned around 70 dairy owners in this regard during the past three months.


Judicial remand for MC president, EO
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, December 1
Mr Charanjit Singh Jatana, President, and Mr Rakesh Kumar Garg, Executive Officer (EO), local Municipal Council, who were booked in a criminal case pertaining to embezzlement of council funds and for corruption charges by the local police had been sent to judicial custody when they were produced before the Judicial Magistrate here yesterday.

Police sources said Mr Jatana, a confidant of a former Power Minister, Mr Sikander Singh Malooka, and Mr Garg were arrested on Friday after a case under Section 408 of the IPC and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against them in the police station, Rampura Phul.

The sources said both accused had been remanded in judicial custody up to December 4.

A case against them was registered on a complaint filed by a local resident, Mr Vijay Kumar. He alleged that Mr Jatana and Mr Garg had embezzled the money deposited by him in the local municipal council in connection with the auction of its shops. He also alleged that as the auction was cancelled on some technical grounds, the accused repeatedly demanded a bribe of Rs 30,000 from him for making the payment of money deposited by him.

The sources said when the accounts of the council were checked, it was found that only Rs 1400 was there and the rest of the money had been embezzled. Mr Vijay Kumar had deposited Rs 1,97,500 with the municipal council.

Immediately after the registration of a case against them, they were arrested by the police.


Drug store row costs patients dear
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, December 1
Patients are made to cough up more than the market cost for medicines as the drug store of the Red Cross Society in the Civil Hospital, Ferozepore, has been lying closed since October, 1993, following a dispute between the local administration and chemists.

An interview was held on October 22 to recruit a pharmacist for Rs 3,000 per month on a contract basis to enable the Red Cross Society open its shop. Four candidates were called, but the interview was postponed, inviting fresh applications for the single post.

Talking to TNS, a candidate for the post alleged that the local administration was under pressure from a local politician close to the Chief Minister to recruit a particular candidate.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken stern note of running chemist shops in civil hospitals on a commercial basis in the case of Kuldip Singh versus State decided in September, 2000. Following this judgement, the State Drugs Controller in its letter dated September 13, 2001, directed all secretaries of the District Red Cross Societies, civil surgeons, deputy medical commissioners and district drug inspectors to ensure that such medical stores are not run indirectly or on a contract basis by the Red Cross Society on commercial lines.

It has also come to the notice of The Tribune that the persons who had earlier applied for the post of pharmacist and had been called for fresh interview along with new applicants regularly pay income tax. How is it possible that a person already paying income tax is interested in working as a pharmacist on meagre salary of Rs 3000 per month?

Interestingly, the drug store has to remain open for 24 hours and how can a single person manage the store? In a similar case, single pharmacists are managing the 24-hour drug stores run by the District Red Cross Society of Ferozepore at Abohar and Fazilka. Further, the society is violating Section 18 (C) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, by running these two drug stores without their own licences. The licence of the pharmacist recruited by the society is being used to run the shops.


Missing youth’s father alleges police inaction
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
Mr Balbir Singh, a resident of Maur Mandi in the district, in a complaint to the Punjab Governor, has alleged that though his son is missing since November 22, the police has not registered a case.

In the complaint lodged today, a copy of which is with The Tribune, he alleged that his 21-year-old son Harpreet Singh had allegedly been kidnapped by two local residents. He alleged that the accused had misguided his son to go with them to earn about Rs 8,000 per week.

He said the accused had been roaming freely and when he went to the police station concerned, his complaint was not heard. He alleged that even the prominent residents who went with him to the police station were not given a hearing. He said instead of registering a case, the police officials wrote their version and got his signature.

Mr Mohan Singh, Station House Officer, Maur Mandi, could not be contacted. Sources said no FIR had been lodged in this connection and no one had been arrested. The sources claimed that they had received a complaint from Mr Balbir Singh and had started investigations. The FIR would be registered after the investigations, they added.


Bathinda finds place on cultural map
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
The city has been brought on the cultural map of the world with troupes from foreign lands performing here as part of the cultural exchange programmes of the Ministry of External Affairs.

This was stated by Mr Balbir Singh, Senior Ragional Director, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, a wing of the Ministry of External Affairs, while talking to this reporter here last evening.

He said it would be decided later that the cultural group of which country would be sent to Bathinda.

He said a delegation of 23 politicians of Bhutan was on a visit to Haryana these days to learn about the Panchayati Raj institutions. He said a jazz band from the Netherlands was in Chandigarh.

Mr Balbir Singh, who was guest of honour at annual cultural fiesta “Rangayan” of the local Silver Oaks School, said the cultural exchange programme was aimed to educate people of a country about the cultures of other countries. He said the cultural exchange was a continuous process.


Mann favours ban on cow slaughter

Sangrur, December 1
Akali Lok Sabha member Simranjit Singh Mann has extended support to the demand for a ban on cow slaughter in the country.

Mr Mann told reporters here today that he had supported the proposed resolution on the matter inside Parliament when he asked the government to have a legislation on cow protection.

Mr Mann said Maharaja Ranjit Singh had banished capital punishment during his regime but had retained it only for those who killed the cow. He added that he had also highlighted this historical fact inside Parliament.

He said the government should revive the “gaushala’’ system to take care of the incapacitated and old cows which wander on roads and feed on garbage.

He said the MPs should be given the responsibility of efficiently running these cow shelters in their respective regions.

The Lok Sabha member from Sangrur informed that he had given a grant of Rs 5 lakh each to some of the ‘gaushalas’ in his constituency. UNI


Cost of delay in Kandi project
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 1
Since the Shahpur Kandi Dam Project (SKDP) is yet to start the Ranjit Sagar Dam (RSD) is proving less beneficial.

Laying the foundation stone of the SKDP in April, 1995, the then Prime Minister, Mr Narsimha Rao had said that if the Punjab government completed the project within four years, the Centre would meet the entire cost of the project.

The Punjab Government has spent Rs 80 crore on the SKDP. Part of surplus machinery and buildings of the RSD have been transferred to the SKDP. As many as 1,000 employees of the RSD have been transferred to the SKDP, but the RSD management continues to pay their salaries from its own resources.

The Punjab Government is still toying with the idea to handover the project to a multinational company. The project management has Rs 22.25 crore which is enough to get the Rs 1700 crore project going.

The multi-purpose RSD will not be able to generate 600 mw till the SKDP is completed. To run the RSD to its full capacity at least 24,000 cusec of water will be necessary. The water channel system has a capacity of only 7500 cusec. The RSD at present generates only 100 mw against its total capacity of 600 mw.


PSEB seeks data on purchases by plant
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, December 1
The PSEB has sought data regarding the purchase of ‘proprietory’ items by Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant authorities (GGSSTP) in the past few years. Reliable sources said the board had sought the data apprehending misappropriation.

The items are those said to be available with a single dealer in the region. For these items generally no open tenders are called for. The items are purchased from a single dealer on the plea that they are not available anywhere else in the market. As there is no competition for the supply of such items, the ‘proprietory’ dealers decide their rates.

The plant authorities consider an item to be ‘proprietory’ merely on an undertaking by the manufacturer concerned that it is available nowhere else. No effort is made to confirm the authenticity of the claim.

The sources said the board was suffering losses worth crores as in several cases the so-called items were available in markets at comparatively low prices. Recently a report of the Audit General of Punjab had raised objections to the anomalies in certain purchases by GGSSTP. In one such case, as reported earlier in The Tribune, an anomaly was noticed in the repairs of high tension (HT) motors.

After the publication of the news in The Tribune, the ADGP, Vigilance, PSEB, Mr Lalit Bhatia, wrote to the board authorities for confiscation of record of the repairs of HT motors. However, till date, despite the audit report, the PSEB has not allowed the Vigilance to proceed in the matter.


Follow ethics, pharmacists urged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
The national pharmacy week was celebrated with enthusiasm at the local Government Polytechnic College by the Pharmacy Department and the Punjab Pharmacy Graduates Association.

Mr Gyan Rajan, Principal of the college in a press note issued here yesterday, said the aim of the week was to highlight the role played by pharmacists for the welfare of society. Students and members of the association also took out a procession.

Mr Rajan said a session on “improving access to medicines through pharmacist” was also held under the aegis of the Indian Medical Association. Mr Anil Sood, president, Punjab Pharmacy Graduates Association, and Mr Inderjit Singh, president, Medical Representatives Association also spoke on the occasion.


World AIDS Day observed
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, December 1
Volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of the local SSD Girls College have been working for the past many years to spread awareness about AIDS. The University Talk AIDS Programme, launched by the Union Government in 1992, has drawn regular participation of the volunteers.

PATIALA: Students of the Baba Deep Singh Institute of Health and the local ITI and staff of the Civil Surgeon’s office participated in a rally organised here on Sunday. A function was also organised at the Multani Mal Modi College. An exhibition and essay and slogan-writing competitions were organised.


BJYM to honour brave soldiers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
A meeting of office-bearers of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Punjab, here today decided to honour the brave soldiers, who sacrificed their lives warding off the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001. It was also decided that at least two families of soldiers, who had sacrificed their lives in anti-terrorist operations throughout the country, especially in Kargil, would be brought to Amritsar that day and honoured by the party.


PAN grievances redressal fortnight
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 1
The Income Tax Department is observing a “PAN (permanent account number) grievances redressal fortnight” from today to December 15. Special enquiry counters are set up at the office and head office of the Range Additional and Joint Commissioners of Income Tax, where assessees can enquire about their PAN documents.

Giving this information, the Commissioner of Income Tax, Patiala, Mr R.S. Mathoda, said the persons to whom the PAN had not been allotted, could file an application along with a photograph at the counters.


BKU (E) rally on December 3
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) will hold a state-level rally at Mansa on December 3 to show resentment against the indifferent attitude of the state government towards the demands of farmers.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, state general secretary of the union, in a press note issued here yesterday said village-level meetings were being held throughout the state to mobilise the farmers to participate in the rally.

He said they wanted the government to take steps so that farmers could be saved from the bad policies of the WTO. He said as the economic condition of farmers in the state was very bad the government should stop the recovery of loans taken by farmers. Mr Kokrikalan said the rally was aimed to generate strong public pressure to make the government accept the demands of farmers.

Mr Kokrikalan said during the rally at Mansa, a long term agitation would be chalked out to avoid suicides by Punjab farmers.


RDOs up in arms against bureaucrats
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 1
The Rural Development Officers (RDOs) Association, Punjab, has decided to raise a banner of revolt against a section of bureaucrats for their alleged “unjust tendency” to make cases against departmental officers and send them to the Vigilance Bureau or the police without prior permission of the department.

The association has decided to boycott the meeting of the Financial Commissioner, Mr J.R. Kundal, on December 3 at Chandigarh apart from observing pen-down strike if their demands were not met by the authorities concerned.

Before taking the step, the representatives of the association will meet the Minister concerned and officers of the Rural Development Department to make them aware of their demands.

Though Mr Shivdev Singh, president of the association, who is also divisional Deputy Director in the department, in a press note issued here today said all members of the association had decided to gather at Chandigarh tomorrow to make aware the minister and other officers of their demands, information revealed that the association has decided to launch an agitation in protest against legal action taken by the Punjab Government against its members, which is against their service rules.

As per information gathered by TNS, the association in its meeting held at Ludhiana yesterday decided to observe pen-down strike and boycott the meeting of the Financial Commissioner if their demands were not met.


Notification for MC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The Punjab Local Bodies department today issued a notification for holding the general election to elect the members to 82 municipal council and five nagar panchayats. These are to be held on any day not later than January 25 next year, falling within one week preceding the said specified date.


Three held on car theft charge
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
The police today claimed to have busted a gang involved in smuggling of drugs and vehicle theft and arrested three members of the gang.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note issued here, said Harvinder Singh, Sukhjit Singh and Amandeep Singh were arrested after a tip-off from Bir Behman village.

He said a Zen, a music system, an iron cutter and a hammer had been seized from their possession. He said the police had information that the accused were planning to rob prominent residents of the town and might try to loot a bank.

He said the culprits had admitted that they had stolen the car from Delhi and were involved in many crimes earlier. He said Harvinder Singh, alias Bittu, and Amandeep Singh were wanted in a case under Section 379 and 392 of the IPC, Section 25 of the Arms Act and Sections 18, 22, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act, registered against them on May 23, 2000, at Rampura police station.

He added that the Ludhiana police had seized a stolen car from the possession of Amandeep Singh, Harvinder Singh and Mandeep Singh and had registered a case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC. A case under Section 25 of the Arms Act was registered against Harvinder Singh after the seizure of one country-made revolver and three live cartridges in 2000.

He added that a case under Section 382 of the IPC was registered at the Ferozepore police station against Sukhjit Singh Harvinder Singh, Kirpal Singh and Mandeep Singh. The culprits — Harvinder Singh, Amandeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh — were again booked in a case under Section 223, 224 and 120-B of the IPC when they were planning to break out of the central jail. They were also booked in a car theft case when they stole a Cielo from Ludhiana.

The SSP said they had been arrested under Sections 399, 379 and 411 of the IPC. Important clues were expected from the culprits, he added.


2 held on rape charge

Kapurthala, December 1
The Sadar police has arrested Mangal Singh and Dalbir Singh of Madhupur village on the charge of raping Harpreet Kaur (15) of the same village on November 24

Mr R.N. Dhoke, senior superintendent of police, has said that the suspect raped the minor at knife point. A case under Sections 376, 342, 506, 34 of the I PC has been registered against them. The knife used in the crime has been found. OC


8 of family booked for murder

Tarn Taran, December 1
One person was killed in a firing incident at Pakhoke village on Saturday. A case has been registered against eight persons of one family of the village.

The deceased has been identified as Kuldeep Singh and the accused Satnam Singh, Billu, Baldev Singh, Kulwant Singh, Harjit Singh, Avtar Singh, Karaj Singh and Resham Singh. OC


Spate of thefts at village
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 1
A number of thefts were reported at Bachhoana village in Mansa district on Friday night. Thieves broke into the branch of Punjab and Sind Bank at the village decamped with a .12-bore gun and 15 cartridges. In another case thieves took away the cash box from a village gurdwara.

In a third case the shop of Ashok Kumar near government school at the village was broken into and goods worth about Rs 2,000 stolen.


3 of family killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 1
Three members of a family of Model Town here were killed in a road mishap early the morning while coming from Chandigarh when their car crashed into a truck at Bahadurgarh. Deepak Kumar (35), his wife Sonia (33) and their eight-year-old son Osan died on the spot while their companion, Sandeep, was critically wounded. He has been admitted to Rajindra Hospital here.

A case in this regard has been registered at Bahadurgarh police post.

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