Sunday,  December 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Gujral blames Punjab’s slide on politics of hate

Jalandhar, December 21
Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral today said the politics of hatred was responsible for the economic and educational degradation of Punjab.

Addressing delegates on the concluding day of the three-day ‘Global Educational Conference on Culture of Peace and Non-Violence at Hansraj Mahila Mahavidyalaya here, he said “We just cannot go on talking of the Green Revolution but should think about the future.”

The Punjab government could also seek the help of non-resident Punjabis for formulating a policy of development. In the Silicon Valley in the USA, the maximum number of software engineers were Punjabis and they would be willing to lend their expertise in developing this state into an info-technological centre, he added.

Referring to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the former Prime Minister said 80 per cent of the foreign investment was going to these three states. The reason for this was these states had progressed in the field of education while Punjab was lagging behind, he added that while pointing out that there was not a single software park or a high-tech management institute here.

Without naming Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu, Mr Gujral said the state had progressed as they had a Chief Minister who had vision and today Hyderabad was the centre of information technology in India.

He lamented that the politicians of Punjab lacked this vision.

Investment would come to Punjab but only if a proper atmosphere was created, he added. He urged the educationist not to wait for the government and take steps to develop the state into a centre of information technology.

He said the DAV movement was launched without any help from the government and today there was so many DAV institutes here and abroad. Likewise, Khalsa College at Amritsar was built and progressed without any government help and “if we could build our educational infrastructure without any government assistance we could also bring back Punjab onto the road of progress without any help”, he added.

Later, while answering questions from mediapersons, he said the ‘Gujarat experiment’ of Narendra Modi was a challenge to the secular fabric of the country. “I do not think in a secular country like India these experiments will be a success in other states,” he said when questioned whether the Modi-style election campaign would be repeated by the BJP in other states.

In his address to the delegates, he said the strength of India lay in its secular fabric. In Pakistan, Urdu was recognised as the official language after Partition which was not acceptable to the

Bengalis of the then East Pakistan and everyone knows what happened, he said without referring to the creation of Bangladesh.

Moving to Sri Lanka, the former Prime Minister opined that the main cause of the civil war was that the majority community Sinhalese refused to give equal recognition to Tamil. There was a need to respect and appreciate each others view-points and not follow the policy of suppression, he opined.

Regarding peace, he said the world peace was currently in peril and in this context referred to the impending dangers of another Gulf war. War comes out of supremacy and its after consequences are dangerous, he added

Without naming any nation, he said that no one with a gun has the right to control South Asia or Central Asia. Some countries think that they have the sole right on oil even if it (oil) is extracted in another nation, he added.

Turning to Iran, Mr Gujral said that rise of ultra-fundamentalism there was because the Iranians did not appreciate that another country had the rights over its oil wells. It was when this realisation came about that fundamentalists took control of Iran, he added.

Speaking further he said India was a powerful country but at the same time it appreciated other nations also. He also urged the educationists attending conference to keep abreast with the changing educational standards of the world as good education was a key to global peace. UNI

Our Correspondent adds: The conference resolved to foster a culture of peace to promote sustainable economic and social development through education by introducing core-curriculam from primary to higher education to contain themes relating to culture of peace and human values.

It was decided to identify the tasks, structures and rewards necessary for transformation from a culture of war of peace by writing and publishing lessons for the younger generation.


Badal: probe ‘immoral acts’ of ministers
Tribune News Service

Chamkaur Sahib (Ropar), December 21
The former Punjab Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Parkash Singh Badal today demanded a CBI or judicial inquiry into the alleged involvement of certain Punjab ministers in a reported case of immoral activities during their stay in Ahmedabad in connection with the Assembly elections in Gujarat.

Mr Badal said such an inquiry was the need of the hour as this had brought a bad name to Punjab. An inquiry should be conducted by such an agency on whose credentials the people had faith. So only a CBI or judicial inquiry into this matter should be ordered to bring the truth on the surface, he added.

Mr Badal was talking to mediapersons after addressing the annual shaheedi jor mela SAD conference in the complex of Gurdwara Katalgarh Sahib here.

Mr Badal said the ensuing municipal elections in Punjab would be fought by the SAD-BJP jointly. He said an alliance could also be formed with any other political party to defeat the Congress. He said the SAD had empowered its district units to decide whether they wanted to contest the municipal elections on party symbol or as Independent candidates.

Mr Badal also called upon the people to join the “rasta roko andolan” on February 10 being organised by the party for the acceptance of people’s demands, like restoration of old age pension and shagun scheme, withdrawal of imposition of power bills on the farmers.

Mr Badal also claimed that the Congress government had failed on all fronts during nine months of its regime. He said Capt Amarinder Singh had not initiated any action so far. He alleged that its two ministers had fake doctors’ degrees and a minister had been indicted by the Lok Pal.

Mr Badal criticised Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi for declaring Capt Amarinder Singh as a better Sikh. He said he represented the government of the Congress which had committed various excesses on the Sikhs in the past.

Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, President of the SGPC, also lashed out at Jathedar Talwandi for declaring Capt Amarinder Singh as a better Sikh than Mr Badal.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundar and Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu, both MLAs, Mrs Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, former MP from Ropar also spoke on the occasion.


Promotion scam in Irrigation Dept
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Punjab Irrigation Department reeks of scandals. The latest addition to the list of scandals is out-of-turn “promotions” of a number of junior engineers to the rank of sub-divisional engineers by inventing a new route that is called “current duty charge” (CDC) system.

Earlier, a scandal worth Rs 100 crore pertaining to the remodeling project of Upper Bari Doab Canal and another scandal pertaining to the removal of water logging from the Muktsar belt are also under investigation by special teams set up by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. A number of other scandals of minor dimension are being probed at the departmental level.

The promotions of a number of junior engineers under investigation were done during the SAD-BJP government. Informed sources said that the Vigilance Bureau had summoned a relevant record pertaining to the “promotions” from the Irrigation Department for investigation purposes. The authorities have reportedly directed the officers concerned to hand over the record to the bureau by following the laid down procedure.

But interestingly, while the bureau has started investigations in earlier such promotions, the department is under pressure from its present political bosses to order more promotions on the similar pattern. Informed sources said that the officers concerned had been resisting political orders by citing the earlier vigilance inquiry and several other official and technical reasons.

Sources said that 90 posts of SDEs were vacant in the Irrigation Department. There is lot of pressure to fill these through the CDC route. Officers concerned say that the promotions should be ordered by following a government laid down procedure because CDC route was full of many flaws and has no legal sanctity.

Promotions under investigation were allegedly made without devising any proper system and procedure. The Vigilance has got a number of complaints in this regard. Under rules, junior engineers having outstanding record can be promoted to the SDE rank.

Sources said that taking advantage of this rule, authorities concerned resorted to “pick and choose” policy and even several junior persons were promoted ignoring the senior ones having equally good record.

A senior officer of the Irrigation Department said that before ordering such promotions, a committee should have been appointed for scrutinising the record of JEs concerned and to formulate the guidelines. The minimum period of service should also have been fixed for ordering such promotions. He said that first the annual confidential reports should have been examined by fixing the “consideration zone”.

He said that there were several flaws in the writing of ACRs. Giving instances in this connection, he said Officers concerned authorised to write ACRs had not mentioned reasons while giving outstanding ACRs. There were cases in which in certain columns of the ACR performa, officers concerned have remarked “good” but concluded the report by remaking “outstanding”. How can it be possible when there was a lot of difference between the word good and outstanding? he asked.

The concluding remarks can only be outstanding in case the official whose report is being written is found outstanding in all aspects of his personality such as integrity, honesty, efficiency, competency and dedication to work etc. There were also allegations pertaining to the tampering of certain ACRs to enter “outstanding” remark shortly before the process of promotions put in motion. But there is no official confirmation of these allegations.

There were cases in which junior engineers having a few outstanding reports had been promoted, ignoring their over-all record. Elaborating this point further, a senior officers said that for instance if “A” (JE) with 20 years service having only last five outstanding reports compared to his “B” counterpart having 15 out of 20 as outstanding ones, then the latter should have been promoted. But this had not been done.


Another probe into coop bank scam
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 21
The SP Vigilance Bureau Ferozepore, Ms Anita Punj, has started investigation into a Rs 6.69 crore scam of Mansa Cooperative Primary Agriculture Development Bank Limited, Mansa.

Earlier the then SP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, Mr Satpal Singh had conducted an inquiry into the whole scam on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of the IPC read with Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was registered in police station Vigilance Bureau Ferozepore against 12 persons including five officials of the bank four partners of a bogus spinning mills known as the Skylark Spinning Mill, Mansa and three proprietors of bogus firms.

According to the FIR the then managers of the bank Mukhtiar Singh and Jaswant Singh field officers Rajinder Singh and Raminder Singh and bank clerk Gurbachan Singh sanctioned the said loans. Four persons namely Angrej Singh, Jagdev Singh, Gurdev Singh and Mohan Lal all residents of Mansa were advanced loans of Rs 10 lakh each to establish four spinning mills, but only one spinning mill was established.

The proprietor of three bogus and defunct firms namely Kulwant Singh, Vinod Kumar and Wirsa Singh issued bills for crores of rupees in the name of the loanees for boring machines, tent houses shuttering goods and other materials which they never purchased from any manufacturer or distributor but sold against fake bills.

Ms Anita Punj has called all the loanees for recording their statements about the cheating of loanees. Sources reveal that no goods were ever supplied to any loanee and 60 to 70 per cent of the loan amount was repaid to the borrowers in each case by the fake firms and 30 to 40 per cent loan money was pocketed by the said fake firms and the bank employees. Sources further reveal that bungling of Rs 6.69 crore has come to light and is under investigation but actually there is bungling in the loans of more than Rs 12 crore took place which has not come to light. A loanee on the condition of anonymity told this correspondent that the real kingpin had not been indicted in the earlier inquiry and only pawns were booked.


Pick and choose in booking scamsters?
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Gidderbaha, December 21
Will the various irrigation and drainage scams, which occurred and came to light during the previous SAD-BJP combine government in Punjab, reach their logical ends?

This question has acquired significance after a criminal case was registered in the local police station against only eight officials of Irrigation and Drainage Department on December 13 for their alleged involvement in large-scale irregularities while executing three projects. The authorities concerned were silent about taking action against the other officials, who were also involved in the scam.

As per the documents available with The Tribune, Mr Fateh Singh, Assistant District Attorney (ADA), Legal, in his opinion given to Mr Major Singh, SSP, Muktsar, regarding the registration of a criminal case against the guilty officials on the basis of the inquiry report of Mr R.K. Arora, Chief Engineer (Vigilance) and Quality Control, Irrigation Department, Punjab, mentioned that the culpability of officers senior to the persons named in the related documents had not been examined.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that when comprehensive inquiries were conducted during the previous SAD-BJP combine government headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal into various aspects of the irrigation and drainage scams, many senior and junior officials of the department were found guilty of committing large-scale irregularities in the execution of various anti-waterlogging projects, causing a loss worth crores of rupees to the state exchequer.

The Punjab Government had decided to take all scams one by one and said it would not spare anyone involved in the same. However, a section of those, who raised their voice against these scams during the Akali rule, suspected that the government could hush up the matter with the registration of criminal case against only eight officials.

A few years ago, 13 Members of Parliament (MPs) of Punjab and other states in a joint representation to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had urged him to order a CBI probe into the multi-crore irrigation and drainage scams. Though an inquiry was conducted by the Central Government by sleuths of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), no action was taken in the connection.

During the Chiefministership of Mr Badal, engineers and other field staff, who were found tainted in the inquiries, could not be allegedly touched by anyone due to their “wide connections” and huge influence in the corridors of power. Even the slips, seized from a section of engineers which established that money meant for anti-waterlogging projects had been diverted for non-official purposes, were not used to secure any punishment for the guilty. The government also ignored the report of an inspector of the CID in which he alleged that two engineers of the Irrigation Department posted in Mansa district had embezzled Rs 1.5 crore with the help of a state minister.

Instead of taking action against the guilty officials of the Irrigation Department, the Akali government transferred the then Deputy Commissioner of Bathinda, Mr S.R. Ladhar, who exposed the Rs 2.5-crore irrigation scam in the Bathinda circle.

Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, former Irrigation Minister in the Akali government, Punjab, had once admitted that Rs 40 crore to Rs 50 crore had been pocketed by engineers out of funds made available by Nabard for anti-waterlogging operations in various parts of state.

During the previous SAD-BJP combine rule, the anti-waterlogging operations included the project of digging of over 400 kilometres of drains, construction of three aqueducts, 943 water course crossings, 119 village road bridges, two railway crossings, 292 field path crossings and 24 drainage crossings and sinking of 500 deep tubewells along the bank of the Sirhind feeder.

Official sources said that Nabard had sanctioned Rs 242.86 crore for anti-waterlogging operations, mostly in Muktsar district. A sum of Rs 155.23 crore was given as assistance from the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).


Remove SDM as poll official: councillors
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, December 21
In a letter written to the Chief Secretary and the Punjab Election Commission, all sitting councillors of the local Municipal Council belonging to the BJP have sought action against the local SDM, Mr Sukhminder Singh, for his alleged partisan role in the registration of 3,700 fake votes in the voter lists being revised for the coming Municipal Council elections.

The councillors also demanded the SDM’s removal as Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer (ERO). In support of their complaints, they have provided some copies of objection and claim forms, which were allegedly tempered with the ERO for facilitating the registration of bogus votes.

Mr Prem Kumar Valecha, president, Municipal Council and senior BJP leader, stated that they had to file 3,700 appeals against the orders of the SDM. In gross violation of the powers of Electoral Registration Officer conferred on him, he tampered with the record, allegedly in the connivance with field staff, Mr Valecha alleged. Showing copies of how tick marks had been converted into crosses to prevent objections being accepted, Mr Valecha also presented the voter lists of nearby villages, showing hundreds of similar names in the freshly revised MC’s voter lists.

Mr Valecha pointed out that a few days ago, fresh lists for the Assembly constituency had been prepared by the authorities concerned, according to which, there were not more than 21,000 eligible voters in this town. The newly prepared MC lists have more than 26,000 eligible voters, which according to Mr Valecha, are fake votes allegedly registered on behalf of the ruling party.

A majority of the complaining councillors, who are also likely to contest the coming elections have alleged that keeping in view the partisan style of the local SDM-cum-ERO, they were apprehending rejection of their nomination papers at the behest of the ruling party.

Meanwhile, Mr Roshan Sunkaria, Director Technical Education, who was deputed by the state Election Commission to conduct a probe into the alleged being faked votes of complaints has completed his inquiry. Mr Sunkaria, when contacted, refused to reveal the details of the inquiry conducted.


Municipal poll: Congress’ invitation to aspirants
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 21
The Ferozepore District Congress Committee today set in motion the process for contesting municipal elections by inviting applications from interested party workers slated for January 23.

The district unit president, Mr. Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, had an informal meeting with senior party workers at the district headquarters yesterday. He said here today that the aspirants for party ticket, for the general category had been asked to submit their applications, to the district office secretary Mr Ajit Singh Bhalla at Congress Bhavan, Ferozepore or to the DCC treasurer, Mr Sat Narain Singla at Abohar immediately.

There were reports from the party state headquarters that election panels for each Vidhan Sabha constituency will comprise of the DCC President, local MLA and an observer from any other area. The panels were expected to finalise the lists of party candidates by the end of this month.

Mr Jakhar said the BJP had failed miserably in providing basic amenities to over 1.25 lakh residents in spite of increasing water and sewerage charges four to five times. There had been allegations of large scale evasion of octroi duty with the connivance of ruling BJP leaders. He alleged that there had been gross misuse of funds released by the then Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, under his Sangat Darshan programme. The local BJP MLA had reportedly prompted the authorities not to release grant amounting to Rs 50 lakh to the municipal council suspecting foul play by the civic president of his own party, he alleged. The localities, which had elected Congress councillors, were completely ignored in the development, he said.


Cong educates women on rights
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 21
Ms Alka Lamba, general secretary of the Mahila Wing of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC), has said keeping in view the exploitation of women and increase of atrocities against them the wing has decided to launch a national-level campaign to help them.

Ms Lamba, who is also in charge of political affairs of the Mahila Wing of the PPCC, was talking to this correspondent here today.

She came here to participate in a convention of women organised by the Mahila Wing of the District Congress Committee (DCC) here.

Ms Lamba said to create awareness about legal rights among women, the Mahila Wing of the PPCC has started chain of conferences in the state. The first conference in the chain was organised at Hoshiarpur today. Conferences in other district headquarters of Punjab would be organised shortly.

She said after taking views of women she would prepare a report of suggestions and submit it to Ms Sonia Gandhi President of the AICC, for its implementation at least in those states where the Congress was in power.

Replying to a question, she said she would soon meet Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, and stress him to implement all those promises made to women in election manifesto of the Congress in the state Assembly elections.

She said she would try to get covered all poor widows and destitute women under the pension scheme of the state government. She would try to get restarted the Shagun Scheme.

Ms Taranjit Sethi, president of the Mahila Wing of the DCC, presented a memorandum to Ms Lamba in which 33 per cent reservation was sought for women in all government jobs in those states where the Congress was in power.


Cong unit chief not allowed to take charge
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 21
Agitated women Congress leaders today locked the Congress Bhavan here from outside to stop Ms Gursharn Kaur from taking over the charge of district chief of the party’s women cell. The newly appointed district president had to return without taking the charge.

Several senior women leaders protested against the appointment of Ms Gursharn Kaur, alleging that senior leaders were ignored while appointing the district chief.

Mr Joginder Pal Dhingra, district Congress chief, was among the senior Congress leaders who were not allowed to enter the Congress Bhavan. Mr Dhingra, when contacted, confirmed that the office was locked by some women leaders led by Ms Kamlesh Kumari and Ms Sumitra Gill. He said the bhavan was later opened. He said he would bring the matter to the notice of Dr Gurkanwal Kaur, state president of Mahila Congress.


Riar is president of UT SAD’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal High Command today clarified that Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar was the president of its unit and that he had been elected by the party following all constitutional requirements.

For this, the high command had authorised Mr Sucha Singh Langah to conduct the elections as an observer. These elections were held following the directions of the high command.

It had come to the notice of the high command that some members were illegally corresponding with newspapers and the Chandigarh Administration by representing themselves as the president of the unit against the party’s policies, thinking and discipline and the SAD had to clarify its position on the issue, said a press note issued by Mr Iqbal Singh Tiwana.


Punjab ordered to pay pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Premature retirement from service and voluntary resignation have the same effect — that the employee is retiring, Mr Justice M.L. Singhal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held in a significant judgement.

In a ruling on a petition filed by a master working with the Punjab Education Department before submitting his resignation, Mr Justice Singhal has further held that, as per the applicable rules, an employee became entitled to the grant of pension on completion of 10 years of qualifying service.

The verdict is significant as in several cases a plea against the release of certain pensionary benefits was being taken on the ground that the employee had resigned on his own.

Mr Mehar Singh, in his petition, had earlier sought directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to release gratuity and other retiral benefits along with 18 per cent interest. Claiming to have resigned in September 1995, Mr Mehar Singh had submitted that he had put in 12 years of service.

Opposing the plea, counsel for the state of Punjab had contended that the petitioner was not entitled to the grant of the any pensionary benefits, except “GIS” and “GPF”, already paid to him as he had resigned on his own.

After hearing the arguments in the case and going through the record, Mr Justice Singhal held that as per the rules an employee “becomes entitled to the grant of pension on the completion of 10 years of qualifying service. Since the petitioner resigned after he had put in more that 10 years of service, he was entitled to pension and other retirement benefits as premature retirement from service and voluntary resignation from service will have the same effect, that one is retiring”.

Allowing the petition, the Judge directed the state “to release pension and other retiral benefits to the petitioner”. The Judge concluded: “The petitioner will be given interest at the rate of nine per cent per annum on amount payable to him...” The payment is to be made within six months.


Archives Dept to be shifted to Pbi varsity
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 21
The Punjab Government has decided to shift the State Archives Department, situated in the more than a century old Rajindra kothi in the heart of Baradari Gardens here, to the Punjabi University campus and develop the ‘’kothi’’ as a heritage hotel.

A decision to this effect was taken at a recent meeting of the Patiala Development Authority (PDA). The PDA has also recommended shifting of the archival record in the Rajindra kothi to the State Language Department on a temporarily till a building for the department in the university is completed.

It has been also decided that PUDA will take possession of the Rajindra kothi only after it has made available an alternate site to the Archives Department. The Archives Department has, meanwhile, been asked to submit its requirement with regard to the covered area needed by it, including racks and other infrastructure required for the proposed building.

The decision to shift the department from Rajindra kothi has been taken with a view to use the kothi as well as Baradari Gardens to give a fillip to tourist activities in the city. The PDA has decided to explore the possibility of a PUDA-Public party initiative to convert the Rajindra kothi into a heritage hotel . As most of the government offices in Baradari Gardens will be shifted to the new District Administrative Complex by February next year, it is envisaged to hand over these buildings to PUDA. These will be used keeping in view the comprehensive proposal being made for Baradari Gardens.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh said once the Rajindra kothi was renovated, it could also be used as an exhibition venue in which the world famous medal gallery, which is closed to the public, or the arms at present dumped in stores could be showcased. As regards the state archives, he said shifting them to the university and creating new infrastructure would help researchers as the present building did not even have filming or photostat facilities. He said, moreover, researchers would get the right atmosphere in the university where other complementary facilities could also be made available to them.

Though the shifting of the state archives to a new building in Punjabi University has been welcomed by academicians, they are skeptical about the temporary shifting plan of the PDA. At present the Archives department has been given possession of only one hall in the Language department while as the Language Department has expressed its inability to give more space to it.

Archives employees as well as scholars said there was no way in which the archival record could be crammed into this room or even in double the space. At present the archival material is being kept in around 12 rooms in the Rajindra kothi. Thousands of bundles of archival material tied in cotton cloth are being kept in wooden and iron racks which are as much as 16 feet high.

Employees working in the Archives Department said there was no way this material could be stored in the limited space available in the Language Department. They said, moreover the record would be at risk during shifting to the Language Department and then again to the new building. They advocate that the department should be shifted only once after cataloguing the record in a proper manner so that it could be stored safely in the new premises. Some scholars are also of the same opinion besides demanding that all important files must be xeroxed and stored on a computer before they are shifted to any new place.


SSP directed to probe beating
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 21
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has directed the SSP to look into a complaint of Dr G.S. Bhalla of Guru Amar Das Avenue, Airport Road, and has registered his complaint under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

The complainant had alleged that on November 4 he was attacked and injured by his neighbour, Kashmir Singh.

Dr Bhalla, a senior Reader in Guru Nanak Dev University, stated in his complaint that on that day he was going to see off his wife and one of his friends when he found the road in front of his house blocked by the construction material belonging to Kashmir Singh.

The complainant said he requested Kashmir Singh to get the material removed to one side.

However, Kashmir Singh got angry and attacked him with a brick. He said he went home but was chased by Kashmir Singh and his son who forced their way into his house and beat him up in the presence of his family members.

Dr Bhalla said he was injured and was taken to hospital where he remained admitted for two days.

Thereafter, he approached the police to get his case registered. But he claimed that a senior police officer shielded the accused and used his influence so that a case could not be registered. He then approached the PSHRC on November 7.

The PSHRC has directed the city police chief to submit his report within five weeks as the complainant had alleged that the SHO, Sadar police station was forcing him to have a compromise with Kashmir Singh.


BKU(E) to burn govt’s effigies
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 21
The BKU (E) state general secretary, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, in a press note issued here today, alleged that neither the state government nor the Union government was looking into the problems of farmers. BKU (E) activists would stage demonstrations and burn effigies on December 23, he said.

Mr Kokri Kalan alleged that all ‘modern’ policies concerning agriculture were being drafted under pressure from the WTO and other such agencies which favoured the rich.

He said, the state government had failed to release Rs 80 crore due towards payment for sugarcane procured. He said compensation for the border-area farmers should be paid immediately and power and irrigation free of cost be restored to them.

He said the MSP of the produce should be fixed so as to offer at least 16 per cent profit to the farmer and demanded that diesel for the farming sector be provided at half the cost. He said those found selling adulterated or counterfeit seeds, pesticides and fertilisers should be given rigorous imprisonment. He also demand that the government should order an independent inquiry into the properties made and acquired by commission agents or traders of pesticides.


Bank speeds up renovation work
DC, architects express resentment
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 21
The State Bank of Patiala, which is presently giving a facelift to its century-old headquarters, housed in a vintage building on the Mall Road, by fixing tiles on its facade, today accelerated the ongoing work, setting up lights to ensure that workers could work till late night.

The Tribune had reported yesterday how the bank was pasting tiles on its facade and replacing wooden windows with aluminum fittings. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, when contacted on the issue, had said that he would ask the bank’s management to desist from changing the look of the vintage building.

The bank, instead of heeding any such advice, today increased the workforce for carrying out the renovation. Workmen could be seen fixing tiles even at 8 p.m. today, even though such work does not continue till such late time.. This effectively means that the bank may well complete most of the work by Monday, before any attempt is made by the DC to get the work stopped.

The DC said today that he had written a letter to the bank’s officiating Managing Director, Mr B.M. Jain, in this regard yesterday. He said he had highlighted the concern of several residents of Patiala on the manner in which the renovation work was being conducted. He said he had asked the bank authorities not to alter the architecture in any manner, besides informing the Director, Cultural Affairs, in this regard. Mr Tejveer Singh expressed surprise that the bank management had increased the pace of work, adding that he would immediately take up the issue with the top management of the bank.

Meanwhile, many prominent citizens of Patiala have expressed resentment over the manner in which the bank is carrying out the renovation work on the building, which is considered a landmark in the city. Veteran Rotarian Mandeep Singh said there was no logic in using modern material for the vintage building. He stressed that the way in which the construction work was being carried out on the building would do more harm than good. He said the construction work, besides ruining the vintage character of the building would also look very unaesthetic.

Several architects also said that the manner in which the bank was undertaking the renovation work defied all standard practices of renovating a vintage building. They said the modern aluminum and other materials being used would fail to blend with the vintage aesthetic outlook and character of the building.


Hearing of plea against Amarinder, Hanspal adjourned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 21
The UT Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S. Bhardwaj, today adjourned a civil suit filed against the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the President of Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S Hanspal, by a Propaganda Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal Badal of Ropar district Mr Gurmeet Singh Matharu, till January 18.

Mr Matharu had filed a civil suit for mandatory injunction directing the defendants to declare their assets since the day they have taken oath in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The Assistant District Attorney (ADA), Punjab, today withdrew his power of attorney on behalf of Capt Amarinder Singh, in the case as per the instructions of his senior official. Meanwhile, advocate, H.S. Awasthi, appeared on behalf Capt Amarinder Singh as well as for Mr H.S. Hanspal, in the case. Mr Awasthi has also filed an application before the magistrate for directing the plaintiff to produce the documents supporting their claim in the case.


VIPs’ companions pose security risk
Chander Parkash

Bathinda, December 21
A section of the VIPs, particularly political figures, seems to have learnt no lesson from the assassination of the late Chief Minister Beant Singh and his commandos in a bomb blast in August 1995 in the Punjab Secretariat building as they still insist on carrying along their companions without checking and frisking.

Mr Ajit Singh, Commandant, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), who is responsible for the protection of the Punjab Secretariat building, has brought the matter to the notice of the Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP), Security, Punjab.

In a recent letter to all ministers, MLAs and IAS officers of the Joint Secretary rank and above, the ADGP, Security, has made them aware of the fact that if such companions were allowed in without checking, it will pose a security risk. Therefore, it is mandatory that all such companions are regularly checked and frisked. He has also sought the cooperation of all ministers, MLAs and IAS officers in this regard.

Sources told TNS that the state police authorities had been getting reports that Pakistan’s ISI had been making efforts to revive terrorism in this border state. The trend of contract killings had also been catching up in Punjab, which was worrisome for the state police authorities. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had also called a meeting of all SSPs, DIGs and the DGP to review the law and order situation in the state.

The ADGP, Security, also urged the MLAs, ministers and IAS officers that they should follow the system evolved by personnel of the CISF for checking the briefcases. In case a briefcase was carried by the staff, which normally keep changing, of the VIPs, it was to be thoroughly checked.

He added that to improve the situation, a certain number of staff members of VIP could be vetted from the security angle and allowed to carry the briefcase.


Alarming rise in HIV positive cases
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, December 21
Fiftyone HIV positive cases have been reported so far in the border district.

Disclosing this to TNS here yesterday, Dr G.S. Dhillon, District Nodal Officer in charge of the AIDS control programme said 20 cases had been reported from Ferozepore subdivision, 15 from Abohar subdivision, four from Fazilka subdivision and 12 from Zira subdivision. Two AIDS patients, namely Palwinder Singh of Zira and Jaggar Singh of Abohar subdivision, had, died last year.

Medical experts say the patients are under stress on account of social stigma attached to the disease. A majority of people does not come forward for HIV tests. Therefore, the possibility of more HIV cases cannot be ruled out.

“An exercise of motivation among the rural folk is the need of the hour to bring them to the clinics for medical tests, besides creating awareness about AIDS”, added Dr Dhillon.

Dr G.S. Kahlon, Civil Surgeon of Ferozepore district said the state government had established a voluntary counselling and testing centre (VCTC) on the premises of the Civil Hospital, Ferozepore for free counselling on AIDS and conducting HIV tests at a nominal charge of Rs 10 per test as against Rs 400 being charged in private laboratories.

Meanwhile, a rally was held in the city and cantonment areas to create awareness about AIDS. Later, a seminar was also organised. Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, stressed the need to create awareness among people.


Hope for drug addicts
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul (Bathinda), December 21
For five brothers of Dhade village of this area who had been hooked on to drugs for the past many years and had sold all their landholdings and household goods for purchasing their daily doses of “kick” it was a new beginning of their lives yesterday.

The civil administration, the police authorities and voluntary organisations came to their help and put them on the process of deaddiction by admitting them to the deaddiction centre here after a lot of persuasion. They had been consuming poppy husk in large quantities daily and had virtually turned into labourers from landlords.

“Now we wish to join the mainstream. We want to work hard so that we can earn enough to live a dignified life after becoming normal human beings,” they said at a function in connection with the launching of a war on drugs here yesterday.

Jhujar Singh (name changed), a resident of Sidana village, who had lost all hopes of surviving due to his deteriorating health due to the consumption of drugs in huge quantities daily for the past many years again has begun to hope to survive after joining the deaddiction camp.

After getting admitted to the deaddiction centre, Jhujar Singh appealed to police officials and others not to leave him alone till he shunned drug addiction.

He had been consuming about 7 kg of poppy husk in a month and had never been motivated earlier for leaving the same, he added.

Bachhittar Singh (name changed), a resident of Mehraj, who has been hooked on to drugs for the past 32 years, found himself in a new world as he considered that it was a new beginning for him.

To check the menace of smuggling of drugs and addiction in this district, having close proximity with Haryana and Rajasthan, the district administration and the police authorities have started taking the help of all sections of society including voluntary organisations.

A series of camps would be organised under this exercise while a number of deaddiction centres had been started earlier.

While the SSP, Mr Ishwar Singh said the police authorities would not spare anyone indulging in the smuggling and sale of organic and inorganic intoxicants, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma urged people to attach top priority to check the menace of drug addiction. At yesterday’s camp, about 60 hardcore addicts were given treatment.

The police authorities also launched a movement for blood donation and 51 policemen donated blood. Nearly 49 civilians also donated blood.

Later, a rally for promoting the causes of blood donation and deaddiction was held in the city.


Arrests under NDPS Act double
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Batala, December 21
Even as the Director-General, Narcotics Control Bureau, Mr M.N. Singh, today paid a quiet visit to the border belt to hold meetings with senior officials of different departments here, the drug peddling has recorded an increase this year.

The number of arrests under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act this year was 609 in the border belt comprising Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts. This figure is more than double of last year when 286 persons were arrested under the Act.

According to Mr G.S. Sahota, DIG (Border Range), 5178 kg of poppy husk was seized this year as comported to 3427 kg last year. The Border Range had seized 2 kg of heroin priced at more than Rs 2 crore this year while no such seizure was made last year. The seizure of charas has been recorded more than three times this year. Against the 9 kg seized last year 33 kg charas was seized this year. Similarly, the seizure of bhang, smack and capsules recorded a manifold rise. Drug trafficking which has assumed an alarming situation this year led the Punjab police to organise seminars and other programmes to eradicate the menace.

Mr Sahota said that 70 police officials were being trained to confront the drug menace at a workshop being organised on January 4 next year with the active support of NCB. He said NGOs and police officials would be educated about the drug enforcement laws most of the drug peddlers get released due to procedural lapses and efforts would be made to increase the conviction rate.

Meanwhile, Dr Naresh Kumar, SSP, Batala, said 56 cases had been registered under NDPS Act this year. He said 2.25 kg opium, 19 kg poppy husk, 15 gm charas and 23 kg ‘bhang’ had been seized by the police recently. He said the police had also launched a movement against chemists who had been selling drugs without the prescription of doctors.


Drive to end leprosy
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 21
To eradicate leprosy from Punjab, the state Health Department launched its fourth campaign in this direction yesterday. A state-level function was organised at Talwara, 80 km from here, at which Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, was the chief guest.

Mr Dogra said the Health Department would organise special camps in all government hospitals and dispensaries in Punjab to examine people to check the spread of leprosy disease. As many as 1,358 leprosy patients were living in the state out of which 180 were Punjabis while others were from different states of the country. Mr Romesh Dutt Sharma, state Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, who presided over the function highlighted the various schemes being implemented by the Health Department for the benefit of the people in the state.

Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, Deputy Commissioner here, said 65 leprosy patients had been identified in the district out of which seven were Punjabis. However treatment of leprosy was being provided to 330 persons in the district.


Minister’s assurance on hospital posts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 21
The Minister of State for Medical Education and Research, Health and Family Planning, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, today gave an assurance that all the vacant posts in government medical and dental colleges would soon be filled.

Talking to newsmen after participating in the golden jubilee celebrations of Government Dental College here today, he said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had issued directions to fill the vacant posts in the state medical and dental colleges.

He said that the government was aware that in case there was delay in filling the posts Punjab might face de-recognition by the Medical and Dental Council of India. However, the DRME, Dr Ravinder Singh, said that although the government had cleared the proposal to fill the vacancies but due to administrative hurdles the process had not taken off.

The Minister pointed out that the government had already taken the decision to put Rs 20 crore, collected as user charge from patients by various hospitals and colleges, at the disposal of these institutions for upgrading the existing infrastructure and meeting day-to-day expenses on medicines, X-ray and other essential items.

The government had already issued instructions that the money collected by way of user charge from patients and the payment received for NRI seats in the medical colleges would be kept at the disposal of these institutions.

He said that the modalities for spending this money would be worked out soon and the committees under the chairmanship of principals and medical superintendents had been constituted for this purpose.

Mr Sharma said that the World Bank was likely to approve the proposal for better childcare and health care.

The funds made available under the scheme would help to upgrade the existing health services in the state.

The bank had already given extension to the Punjab Health Service Corporation scheme for two years. Under the scheme Rs 456 crore was given and 154 hospitals were built.

Answering questions about the kidney racket, he said the government was preparing guidelines to plug loopholes in the Act for organ transplant.


Docs’ transfer to hit OPDs
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 21
The posting of nine postgraduate doctors on emergency duty by the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the Civil Hospital here has led to resentment among the doctors of the hospital.

In a representation by 14 doctors, out of a total of 16, sent to the Managing Director, Punjab Health Services Corporation (PHSC), with copies to the Civil Surgeon, the Deputy Medical Commissioner, the SMO, the Director, Health Services, Punjab, and the Principal Secretary, they said the transfers would paralyse specialised services.

The doctors would not be able to attend to VIP duty or take part in specialised medical camps, they said.

There are 16 posts of Medical Officer and all of them are specialists. The Civil Hospital is the only hospital in the district where specialised services are available round the clock and patients are referred to it from subdivisional hospitals and primary health centres. The transfers would affect the functioning of the OPDs.

Dr B.D. Mittal, SMO, said he had taken action as per the orders issued by the corporation through a letter dated September 26.


HC stays MC chief’s removal
Our correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 21
Issuing a notice of motion for January 10, 2003, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the orders of the Secretary to the Department of Local Government of Punjab, removing the Dera Bassi Municipal Council president Mr Jagjit Singh Dalli, and a councillor, Mr Paras Jain, from their posts.

It may be recalled that Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Secretary of the department, had ordered removal of the duo from the membership of the civic body under Section 22 and 16 (1)(D) and (E) of the Punjab Municipal Act 1911 on land encroachment allegations leveled against them by a local resident.

The department had also issued show-cause notices to the president and the councillor of the civic body in September asking them to submit their replies within 21 days from the issuance of the notices.

Reacting over their replies, Mr Kaushal had observed that they had tried to level frivolous allegations against the inquiry officer.

The complainant, Mr Satpal Singh, had alleged that Mr Paras Jain, in connivance with Mr Dalli had encroached upon the land by constructing a shop behind the local Jain School and along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway.

The complainant had also alleged that the councillor had grabbed a piece of government land on a prime location, causing huge loses to the civic body.


VB inquires into duty evasion case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 21
A team of the Vigilance Bureau, Chandigarh, visited the office of Mr Ravinder Walia, Sub-registrar-cum-Tehsildar, Sardulgarh, in the district to inquire into the complaints of evasion of stamp duty on the documents produced for the registration.

It is learnt that the VB team inquired into a sale deed (No. 989) registered on August 5, in which evasion of stamp duty worth about Rs 90,000 is reported in connivance with the said Sub-registrar. Married girls were allegedly shown as unmarried to deceive the state exchequer.

Similarly, in another case, registered deed (No. 1075) of September 6, 2002, the Sub-registrar transferred about 3 acres of land of a person to his nephew after registering the adoption deed the same day to make a “genuine” case.

Both these deeds were related to the office of Sub-registrar, Jhunir, but were registered at Sardulgarh by the official.

Efforts to contact Mr Ravinder Walia proved futile.

Mr Gurprret Singh Chahal, naib tehsildar, Sardulgarh, confirmed about the visit of the VB team but refused to give details of the visit.


Bridge inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 21
Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Public Works Minister, Punjab, inaugurated a high-level bridge of 10 metres span on the Seim nullah at the Hoshiarpur-Tanda-Sri Hargobindpur road, about 60 km from, here today.

Mr Bajwa said a flyover bridge on the railway crossing in Tanda town with a cost of Rs 11.25 crore would be constructed. The construction work would start within next three months.

The Hoshiarpur-Tanda-Sri Hargobindpur road is a state highway having a total length of 47.13 km. The length of the road from Tanda to Sri Hargobindpur is 19.23 km. Earlier, a boat bridge used to be installed over the Beas river crossing. The boat bridge used to be dismantled during the rainy season. A high-level bridge over the Beas river was constructed during 1998. But people faced inconvenience while crossing the Seim nullah. On public demand, a high-level bridge having 10 metres span has been constructed on this nullah for the smooth flow of traffic. The work on the bridge was started in November, last year and has been completed in all respects.

The total cost of the bridge Rs 93 lakh and cost of the approaches is Rs 9.70 lakh. The length of the approaches on the Tanda side and the Sri Hargobindpur side is 58 metres and 66 metres, respectively. The bridge has been constructed with the funds released by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board. The long-pending demand of the public has been met with the completion of this bridge.


‘Literacy mission’ men dupe villagers
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 21
In a novel way to dupe villagers, a team of people has been roaming in the district and collecting money from villagers.

Sources said these people passed themselves off as workers of a literacy mission.

They initially introduced themselves to the members of panchayats or village chowkidars as workers of a company entrusted with the job of nailing aluminium plates outside the houses of literate people under the literacy mission. They would go along with the panchayat member of the village chowkidar to people’s houses enquiring about the literate people living there.

Wherever a literate person was staying, a two-inch plate stating ‘Sakhar Punjab’ was nailed and Rs 10 was charged from the inmates of the house against a receipt which stated ‘receipt for aluminium house number plate’. The receipt, however, did not carry the name or address of the issuing authority. The villagers said the people who came with the number plates said the drive to nail the number plates was going on in the entire state. Similar number plates were also nailed outside their houses three months ago at a cost of Rs 5 each.

The conmen told members of the panchayats that they were authorised to do the job by the block development and panchayat department authorities. The sources also said that people with such number plates had already operated in many villages of the Anandpur Sahib block and collected thousands from villagers without the knowledge of the local authorities.

The Deputy Commissioner here, Mrs Seema Jain, when asked about any such government project in villages said there was no such project. She said the matter will be investigated, adding she that nobody had been authorised to nail aluminium plates in villages.


Records of brokers summoned
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 21
The District Mandi Officer (DMO), Mansa Mr Ramesh Jindal has summoned the records of commission agents or brokers who purchased ginned cotton from factories of the district or textile mills between April 1, 2001, and March 31.

The DMO has written letters to four firms, including M/s Basant Lal Banarsi Lal Limited, M/s Dawarka Dass and Company (Patiala) Limited and M/s Setia Synthetics, functioning at Bathinda, Muktsar and Abohar. The information has been sought to find out the evasion of market fee and the rural development fund (RDF).


Bar Association honours Dosanjh
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 21
Legal luminary Harbans Singh Dosanjh was today presented a lifetime achievement award at a function organised by the local Bar Association. The late Babu Ram Chopra was posthumously awarded the Nyaya Ratan. Mr Jastice Amar Dutt of the Punjab and Haryana High Court presented the awards. The awards, conspiring a trophy and a citation were instituted by the local Bar and sponsored by the Suhagwati Khraiti Lal Aggarwal Trust headed by Dr Raman Aggarwal.

Mr S.N. Aggarwal, president of the local Bar Association, felicitated Mr Justice Dutt with a memento. Mr Rajmohan Singh, Director (Operations), JCT Limited, also felicitated Mr Justice Dutt.


Bar association elections
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, December 21
Mr Sarjivan Jain was elected president of the Sangrur District Bar Association here, defeating his nearest opponent Sudarshan Garg by 80 votes. Mr Anurag Chopra and Mr Gurpreet Singh Nandpuri were elected vice-president and secretary, of the association, respectively.

FARIDKOT: Mr Sukhwinder Singh Dhudi, Advocate, was elected president of the District Bar Association in a four corner contest in the polls held here today. 


Commission agents get plots
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 21
All commission agents who fulfil the conditions of the Allotment Policy of 1998, have been given plots on concessional rate in the new Vallah market. This was disclosed in a press note by Harish Taneja general secretary of the Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Union (FVMU). He said in 2000, as many as of the 75 applicants got plots on concessional rates in Vallah following decision of the court. The remaining 35 applicants had moved the court again and now 32 of them had been given plots whereas the remaining three would be given soon.


NRI Sabha convention
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 21
The NRI sabha, Punjab, will hold its 7th annual convention here on January 14 to discuss the problems of the NRIs belonging to the state.

“The convention will have thorough discussions on various issues including the setting up of fast-track courts for the problems of the NRIs, setting up of the grievances committees at the district level and exclusive investment policy for the NRIs,” Mr Balbir Singh, vice-patron of the sabha, told reporters here yesterday.

He further said the issue pertaining to matrimonial frauds with girls of Indian origin by the NRIs would also be debated during the conference.


Cut in water supply resented
Our Correspondent

Tungwali ( Bathinda) December 21
It seems that residents of this village are paying the price for having an MLA belong to an opposition party.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, sarpanch of the village, in a statement issued here today alleged that even as the village was having piped water supply for their village water works since 1965. It had been cut off now. He pointed out that the water works was getting piped water from the Tungwali Rajwaha.


Jalandhar MC launches website
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar December 21
The local municipal corporation (MC), launched its official website,, here today.

This is the first civic body in the state to go online to bring more transparency in its function.

Residents can downloading the utility forms for getting a water supply or sewerage connection. Besides, they can access the status of ongoing development projects in all 55 wards of the city.

The residents can lodge their complaints regarding different departments of the civic body online.


2 JEs suspended
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 21
Two junior engineers (JEs), of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB, Jai Chand and Inder Maheshwari posted in the Abohar circle, were suspended by the Superintendent Engineer, Muktsar, Mr S.S. Gill, for their alleged involvement in committing various irregularities while performing their duties.

Official sources said the headquarters of these two employees had been shifted from Abohar to Muktsar for the suspension period.


Youth’s murder case solved, 6 held
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 21
The Sultanpur Lodhi police has solved the murder case of a youth whose body was found floating in a nullah near the Beas in the area of Lakh Warah village 10 days ago. The police has arrested six persons in this connection.

Dr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, in a press note issued today said the youth was murdered because of illicit relations between the deceased and Binda, a nurse both working in a local hospital. The deceased was Harkirat Singh, a driver working in local hospital.

His identity was established from the chits bearing his address and telephone number. The father of the deceased identified the body of his son, who belonged to Brahmpur village.

Dr Dhoke said Mr Sarwan Singh, father of the deceased in a complaint lodged with the police alleged that Lakhwinder Singh, alias Lakha, a resident of Tajipur and brother of Binda resented Harkirat Singh’s illicit relations with his sister. Lakhwinder Singh of liquidation also threatened to kill Harkirat Singh.

The SSP said Lakhwinder Singh hatched a conspiracy with his friend Jasveer Singh, a resident of Bhawanipur, and Gurmej Singh, his brother-in-law and hired contract killers to kill Harkirat Singh.

They allegedly struck the deal with the contract killers for Rs 2 lakh and gave Rs 10,000 in advance. They paid Rs 25,000 more after Harkirat Singh was killed and the rest of the amount was yet to be paid.

The SSP identified the arrested persons as Lakhwinder Singh, Jasveer Singh, Gurmej Singh and three contact killers — Mangaljit Singh of Padde Bet, Naresh Kumar and Sarabjit Singh of Bhawanipur village against whom a case under Sections 302, 201, 120-B of the IPC has been registered.


Gang of vehicle thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 21
The police has busted an inter-state gang of vehicle thieves. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, told mediapersons here today that the thieves had been identified as Kulwinder Singh, resident of Allechack, near here, Mangal Singh, alias Bhutto, resident of Daburiand, and Pardeep Sharma, resident of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. The SSP said on a specific information Kulwinder and Mangal were intercepted and arrested at a naka at Dhussi Bandh, near Tanda village in the district. He said the police recovered 10 motor cycles and a scooter from Kulwinder Singh and Mangal. Pardeep Sharma was absconding.

He said the gang used to steal motor cycles and scooters in Uttar Pradesh and sell them in the district after preparing fake documents of the vehicles.

The SSP said the police arrested Joginder Singh, resident of Sadda, Sunil Kumar, resident of Sallopur, and Roop Lal, resident of Dorangla, in the district for purchasing stolen motor cycles.


Dogra honours dental college alumni
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 21
Lauding the role of Government Dental College here during, its history of the past 50 years, the Health Minister, Mr R.C. Dogra, said the contribution of the institution would be remembered. Mr Dogra was inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of the college.

Complementing the alumni of the college who had passed out with distinction, he said today they were occupying the highest positions in their professions both in India and abroad.

Earlier, the minister honoured the distinguished alumni of the college including the President of the Dental Council of India, Dr R.K. Bali, the Director-General of the Army Dental Services, Lt-General J.L. Sharma and others.

The Principal of the dental college, Dr Amarjit Singh Gill, said more than 300 old students of the college attended the golden jubilee celebrations and had come from various parts of the country and abroad. Later the Minister of State for Health, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, released a souvenir on the occasion.


Non-teaching staff continue stir
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, December 21
Though the teachers of the local R.K. Arya College ended their week-long dharna yesterday with the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, the college is still lying locked as the non-teaching employees refused to open the college till the teachers accused of an ‘assault’ on their colleagues apologised.

Mr D.K. Manro, vice-president of the Private College Non-Teaching Employees Union, Punjab, and Mr Rajiv Bhasin addressed the dharna staged by the non-teaching employees here in front of the college today to express solidarity with them.

Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta and Mr Bhupinder Thakur, president and secretary, respectively, of the local Non-Teaching Employees Union, said if the college teachers did not relent, the union would intensify the stir.


Aided school staff hold rally
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 21
Members of the Punjab Aided School Teachers and other Employees Union today held a rally at Nehru Garden here today to protest against the “anti-employee policies” of the state government. The president of the union, Mr Surender Sharma, alleged that though the Fourth Pay Commission had recommended all the benefits for the employees of the aided schools on a par with their government school counterparts, the state government had failed to implement the report in toto. He said the payment for the pension of the retired employees had not been released for the past several months, causing hardships to their families.

He said a memorandum had been submitted to the Punjab CM, Capt Amarinder Singh, to enhance the grant-in-aid for privately managed schools to 100 per cent from its present level of 95 per cent.


Atlas of Anandpur Sahib
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 21
Prof Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Chairman of the Guru Gobind Singh Chair in Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, today told mediapersons that an atlas was being prepared to document in detail the scientific and technical reasons for the selection of Anandpur Sahib by the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, for training his army and carrying out his activities.

He said for improving information technology (IT) and technical education, the university would have collaborations with foreign universities, including American universities.

Dr Bachan was here to address “environment mela” held by the local Environment Association, headed by Mr K.K. Sardana.

A former secretary of the SGPC, Mr Bachan stressed that the role of the SGPC should be positive.

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