Sunday, January 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Heritage case: SGPC chief signs dossier
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 11
The Shiromani gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, today signed a dossier on the Golden Temple, prepared under the supervision of Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a former general secretary of the Committee. The dossier running into more than 400 pages will be sent to Unesco for declaring the Temple as world heritage shortly.

The state government has convened a meeting in this connection on January 13 at Chandigarh. Invitation has also been extended to Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, Dr Kharak Singh, Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Dr Swarn Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University and Dr Harnam Singh Shaan. However, the meeting would be a mere formality as there is hardly any scope to suggest changes due to shortage of time. The dossier has to be sent to Unesco before February 1 the deadline fixed for accepting the entries. The SGPC is of the view that if the state government suggest some major changes in the dossier, prepared with the help of professionals and technical persons, it will cause delay. If the Centre Government failed to send the entry on time, the SGPC will have to wait for another two years to submit its case as many projects had already lined up with Unesco.

Projecting the case for declaring Harmandar Sahib as world heritage site, the forward of the dossier, authored by Prof Badungar reads, the Golden Temple is not merely a place of worship — it provides school for learners, library for scholars, respite for the tired, dispensary for the sick, shelter for the homeless, fort for the helpless persons in addition to providing kitchen to the needy inespective of caste, creed, complexion, region or language”.

The dossier reads “Sri Harmandar Sahib is a unique example of Sikh architecture which fascinates tourists and devotees from all corners of the world. The craftsmanship on the marble, wood or the gold is incommunicable in words”.

Prof Badungar while welcoming the decision of the Government of India to nominate Sri Harmandar Sahib for declaring it as world heritage site, thanked Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, the state government and intach for preparing the dossier. He assured Unesco to preserve the temple, improvement in facilities and infrastructure and take steps to ensure that the site can meet the challenges of future.

Apart from a team of intach which had spent more than a month to prepare the dossier, senior professors of the guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Jodh Singh, Prof of Sikhism and Dr Balwant Singh Dhillon, Prof and head, Guru Nanak Studies Department also gave their opinion before it was finalised.

Badungar writes to PM on PSGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 11
A delegation of the SGPC would seek the disbanding of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) during its proposed meeting with Gen Pervez Musharraf.

In a demi-official letter addressed to Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar sought the taking of necessary steps in connection with the proposed meeting. He said the Sikhs were concerned over the gross violation of the Sikh maryada in Pakistan gurdwaras. The SGPC said as per the Nehru-Liaquat Ali pact it had the sole right to manage gurdwaras in Pakistan. He alleged that the PSGPC had committed irregularities with regard to gurdwara funds.

In a scparate letter to Mr Vajpayee the SGPC chief sought permission for a jatha of 3,000 pilgrims to visit Pakistan on baisakhi. He urged Mr Vajpayee allow the SGPC to form 60 per cent of the jatha.

Meanwhile, Prof Badunagar in yet another demi-official letter asked the Prime Minister to exempt a chapati machine from duty. It is likely to reach Mumbai within a week from Lebanan.

Later, while addressing a press conference he said the SGPC would mobilise public opinion on the issue of Nanakshahi calendar.


Human smuggling big business in Pakistan
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
If human smuggling is a Rs 100 cr industry in India, it is no less in Pakistan. Allured by western world, more and more Pakistani youth have been trying to sneak into Europe through land route. Early this week, the Iranian authorities caught a group of 100 Pakistanis which was heading for Italy and Greece and handed them back to the Pakistani authorities.

This was not an isolated incident of its type, says Mr Liaqat Ali of Legal Awareness Watch — LAW — a voluntary organisation. In a letter to Mr Satya Paul, Secretary, Servants of the People Society here, Mr Ali says that human smuggling has become a big business in Pakistan. Everyday human smugglers in the guise of travel agents and manpower agents, are arrested but the menace continues to widen its net day by day.

Some of the boys handed back by the Iranian authorities confessed that they paid huge amounts of money to their agents on the promise that he would get them entry either in Italy or Greece through land route using Turkey as the corridor. But the plan got awry as they were caught.

In another case, says Mr Ali, a young man from a lower middle class family, Imran, paid Rs 80,000 to an agent who gave him menial jobs on the ship before getting him an irregular job of a packer in a toy manufacturing company in Italy where he was caught and deported back to Pakistan.

“He is lucky to have got back after seven months,” says Mr Ali, as others languish in jails in various European and West Asia countries. At the time of entering if any moment is noticed, the security forces start firing and continue until they become certain that there is no infiltrator left alive.

“Tariq Mahmood, who was one of the successful youth to have entered Greece this way, was subsequently caught by the authorities and also deported back to Pakistan,” adds Mr Ali.

Mr Ali says that various surveys and studies conducted by LAW reveal that in many cases, the unsuspecting youth, determined to go to Europe irrespective of the risks involved, are made to work on cargo ships as loaders and are paid only half of their actual salaries the other half is kept by the agent concerned — before they are issued “seaman card” which entitles them to visit city of the port where the ship is anchored. Once they enter the city, they are reported missing. The Captain or the crew of the ship then pays the local fine for “missing persons” before it sails off for its next destination.

In Pakistan, cases of such economic frauds and cheating are generally investigated by FIA, a federal agency. Recently, it sealed a travel agency in Lahore and arrested its owner.

Other than human smuggling, other major problem handled by LAW is overcrowding of prisons in Pakistan. At present, there are 52,988 prisoners in 30 jails of Punjab province of which only 970 are women and 3262 children, including 51 girls. Among the condemned prisoners are 5163 men, 23 women and 64 children. Besides, there are 2341 persons in jail who are accused of Hudood laws. The number of prisoners is almost three times more than the capacity of jails in Pakistan Punjab.

Beheading in public is another area of concern for LAW. On the New Year’s Day, one person was hanged to death at Mach in Baluchistan. In another case reported from Kotli city in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, one Mohammed Riaz has been sentenced to be beheaded in public.


Mohali to include 33 villages
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
To increase the number of sectors from 80 to 107 in SAS Nagar, (Mohali) area as many as 33 more villages will be included in it. The Punjab Government, at a meeting held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, approved this expansion plan yesterday.

However, residents of these 33 villages will not be displaced. They will be accommodated within the township. As per the approved plan, the implementation of which is to be completed by 2016, the city will be able to accommodate six lakh persons including 50,000 people in the villages which are supposed to be included in the expansion programme. At present, SAS Nagar has urban settlements to accommodate 1.25 lakh people.

Mr Gurmukh Singh Girn, District Town Planner, said new sectors would have wider roads and several new features. In the newly approved plan, we had tried to most of the problems found in the old sectors, said Mr Girn. The width of main roads in new sectors would be up to 200 feet, 150 feet and 100 feet, respectively. There would be a separate transport nagar, golf course and sector for institutions such as a university.

Half a sector has been reserved for setting up a multi-purpose sports complex, including a modern stadium. The other half would be for the economically backward and weaker sections of the society, he added. Sector 87 would be developed as a central business district. The existing industry would stay where it is. But the new industrial zone would be on one side of the city. A small portion has been reserved on the Kharar side for the development of the small-scale industry. However, only non-polluting industry would be allowed to be set up in township. Some area would be reserved for setting up a 500-bedded hospital.

The total area to be covered under the plan will be about 16,642 hectares. Among the villages to be included are Sohana, Mouli, Manuli, Chilla, Papri, Raipur Khurd etc.

The city will be linked with three bypasses. One will be on the road from the Dera Bassi side bypassing Chandigarh. The other will be from the Khanpur- Kharar side and third will be straight from Zirakpur. Mr Girn said the bypasses had been planned in such a manner that these would smoothen the flow of traffic in the region. All major bottlenecks had been removed in the new plan, he added. 


DD to telecast film on Hari Jaisingh on Friday
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 11
Recognising the services of Mr Hari Jaisingh, Editor of the Tribune group of newspapers and President of the Editors’ Guild of India, in the field of journalism, the Prasar Bharti authorities have produced a documentary film, “Kalam Seenche Sachh” on his life and works.

The half-hour film, showcasing varied aspects of Mr Hari Jaisingh’s long innings in journalism, his personal life, likings, hobbies and comments of personalities like former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh, the former Army Chief, Gen V.P. Malik, will be telecast simultaneously at 5.30 p.m. on January 17 on DD1 and DD Punjabi.

Giving information about the documentary film, Mr Ashok Jailkhani, Director of DD’s Jalandhar centre, said the film had been conceived, executed and edited in the best possible way and in a period of about six months. “Since the film is about a person who has dedicated his entire life to the cause of journalism apart from keeping his hobbies alive despite his busy schedule, special care has been taken to make it lively and yet with a very realistic approach,” said Mr Jailkhani. He said apart from India, the film would be simultaneously telecast in about 42 countries of Asia and the Middle East, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Muscat, Dubai and Sharjah.

Earlier, the DD authorities had produced a film on the life of late Tribune Editor Prem Bhatia.

The highlights of the film produced and directed by Mr Daljit Sandhu, a DD award winner for DD’s new year programme “Tik Tik-2001”, and shot at different locales in Chandigarh, Kasauli and Delhi, will be telecast on Monday in DD’s programme, “Jhalak”, at 7.55 p.m. The script of the film has been written by Mr Jaswant Singh, former Director, Training Programme, The Tribune, while it has been edited by Bali Surinder Singh. “We hope it will be one of the best documentaries produced by DD,” said Mr Sandhu.


Doaba College awaits Yash Chopra
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Yash Chopra with B.R. Chopra
Yash Chopra (middle) with B.R. Chopra (extreme right) during a family function at Jalandhar. — Photo Pradip Pandit

Jalandhar, January 11
Elated residents of Mohalla Gobindgarh are all set to receive their once young and coy neighbour and noted prolific filmmaker Yash Chopra, who has made them proud by producing over 30 box-office hits and winning the prestigious Dada Phalke Award this year.

The news that Chopra has been selected for the prestigious award made the residents and his family members here dance with joy particularly because he has created history in the world of Indian cinema by becoming-second member of the family — after the legendary B.R. Chopra — to bag the award in a row for his contribution to Indian cinema. Not many people know his optimum use of his vision and beautiful foreign locales, especially the ones in Switzerland, in his films not only enamoured the Asian diaspora, but also made the Switzerland government name one of Switzerland’s lakes as “The Chopra Lake” and give him with a special award for rediscovering Switzerland.

Yash Raj Chopra, as he is known in the Chopra family of the local Mohalla Gobindgarh, where he has his ancestral home, was the youngest of six brothers — Dharam Raj Chopra, Kuldip Raj Chopra, B.R. Chopra, Hans Raj Chopra — all of whom were known figures associated with Indian cinema after the family shifted to Jalandhar from Lahore after partition. Not many people might be knowing that B.R. Chopra, whose writ still runs in the family, apart from Bollywood was the Editor of Cine Herald, a film magazine published from Lahore, before he shifted to Bombay in 1945 to try his luck in films. Known for unforgettable musicals like “ Kabhi Kabhi” and “Chandni,” Yash Chopra did his schooling from Government Senior Secondary School, Ladowali Road, and his graduation from Doaba College, where he will be honoured by the college management on January 14 at a special function.

“From the very day I got the news about the award being conferred on Yash, I have been having a feeling that I am getting the award. Yash was a very shy boy and had a few friends. He used to read a film magazine of yore ‘Film India’ with great interest and had almost no interest in sports,” reminsced Vishwa Mitra Duggal, a college-time friend of Yash Chopra. “Oh taan yaaran daa yaar hai. Mainju jaffi paa ke milia jadon usnu milan Bombai gia,” said Duggal adding that the entire mohalla was eagerly awaiting the son of the soil, particularly, after Yash sent a message through his nephew Lalit Chopra that he was coming to his ancestral place on January 13.

Talking about Yash Chopra and his journey to Bollywood, Lalit Chopra said originally after his graduation, Yash had planned to go to some foreign country to undertake journalism as a profession there, but his mind changed and he decided to join the film industry as an assistant director after he went to meet brother B.R. Chopra, who had established himself as a prominent filmmaker by then. “The entire Chopra family is united and obeys the wishes of B.R. Chopra, who had got all of his five brothers married,” said Suman Chopra wife of Lalit Chopra, who maintained that Yash Chopra was a very down-to-earth person. “He doesn’t like sycophancy and is very affable,” she maintained.

Dr R.P. Bhardwaj, Principal of Doaba College, maintained that the college was all set to felicitate Yash Chopra during his visit to his alma mater. He said Yash Chopra was the only living producer-director, who earned laurels by winning the National Award five times and filmfare Award seven times, apart from being the lone Indian recipient of the BBC Asia Award twice. The British Film Institute handpicked him for a famous book entitled, “World Director Series” in which the author Dr Rachel Dwyer showcased the glorious five-decades career of Yash Chopra.


Urban MLAs resent move on funds
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 11
Resentment prevails among MLAs from the urban areas as the state government recently announced to provide Rs 1.25 crore annually only to the MLAs from the rural areas.

A senior Congress MLA preferring anonymity told The Tribune that they had already expressed views on the strong rural bias of the government and said the urban segment could not be ignored. He pointed out that the Congress had come to power primarily on the urban vote bank and this move by the government was likely to cause disappointment among their strongholds in the cities.

Lamenting discrimination on part of the government he felt that cities which were busting at the seems due to influx from the rural areas were lacking civic amenities, including proper water and power supply, sewerage, good roads, street lights and other facilities. The mushroom growth of the slum areas in and around the city were increasingly becoming eyesores and had compounded the urban problems he added.

He pointed out that a majority of the cities were facing severe financial crunch and municipal corporations and committees were not able to undertake any development projects causing resentment among the city dwellers.

The MLA sought special funds for the holy city, which had been neglected for the past many years and required more focus in view of the large influx of tourists both from India and abroad.

The government must come forward with a comprehensive master plan for each city of the state for complete planned growth with modern civic communities. He said Amritsar should be made a model city in view of its religious and historic importance.

He felt that the Chief Minister was already aware of the problems facing the big cities and small towns due to paucity of funds and a large population living in the periphery of the cities was literally living in inhuman conditions.

Quoting the recent example of the spread of jaundice in the Tarn Taran road area locality the MLA pointed out that residents were not being provided with potable drinking water and were drawing water for their daily needs from hand pumps, where the broken sewerage pipes mixed water with sewage causing health problems. He said already more than 14 persons had lost their lives in the past two months in that area.


It’s encroachers vs residents
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 11
Certain residents of Subash Basti of this town have socially boycotted two retired policemen after they allegedly encroached upon a piece of land located in Lal Singh Basti. A war of sorts has been going among the residents and the alleged encroachers for the past many days.

The war between the two groups of land mafia erupted when two groups stuck deals with the owner of the same piece of prime land, measuring about 40 acres on the Bathinda-Goniana road. The first group struck a deal at the rate of Rs 12.5 lakh per acre. But the second group struck the deal at Rs 13 lakh per acre resulting in the first deal being cancelled.

A section of plot owners have been running from pillar to post to get justice because a 20-ft wide road leading to their plots have allegedly been encroached upon by a businessman. A dispute between two property dealers erupted when an owner of a shop located at a prominent place in the city struck deals with two different persons for the sale of same.

The town has been witnessing such wars among the land mafia groups and real estate businessmen after the prices of property started an upward trend for the past two months. However, most of such disputes do not come to the notice of the authorities concerned. A number of cases pertaining to land disputes are also pending in various courts.

The real estate prices in the town are witnessing an insignificant increase for the past five years since businessmen, government officials, professionals, including doctors, money lenders and builders started pumping money into it. In almost all pockets of the town the prices of commercial pieces of land have triPple and that of residential plots doubled in the past two months. The proposed granting of municipal corporation status to the town from April by the Punjab Government is stated to be one of the main factors for the increase in the prices.

Though the authorities concerned are still to wake up to the trend and take necessary steps to implement PUDA rules residents feel that the city, which has already witnessed a haphazard growth due to non-implementation of town planning schemes and encroachments would further go this way as deals for unauthorised colonies are being struck. Even a piece of land adjoining to Asia’s biggest cantonment is in the possession of certain land sharks.

The residents feel that if the authorities concerned did not take effective steps the plan to develop a modern transport nagar, for which 68 acres have been acquired on the Bathinda-Goniana road, would run into rough weather as there would be few takers of plots in the transport nagar as residential plots in the nearby areas would be available to people at much cheaper rates.

However, Mr G.K. Singh, Chairman, Improvement Trust, when contacted, said the coming up of unauthorised colonies around the proposed transport nagar would not affect the residential plots there. He added that PUDA officials were entitled to take action against those who were violating its rules by disposing of a big chunk of land by carving out small plots.

Mr Ishwar Singh, district police chief, while admitting the fact that there were a number of complaints pertaining to trespassing and irregularities made in the registration of sale deeds of land, stated that legal action was being taken against the accused.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, said the district administration would not allow any unauthorised colony to come up. He added that whenever instances pertaining to the development of unauthorised colonies came to the notice of district administration strict action would be taken against such persons.


Controversies dog complex
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 11
Even as a case against former Improvement Trust Chairman Maninder Singh Heera and other trust officials has been registered by the Vigilance Bureau with regard to one of the blocks of the Nehru Shopping Complex in connection with its construction, an earlier inquiry by the Vigilance had cleared the other block of the same complex.

A controversy has arisen after the trust officials have reportedly refused to give the vigilance report the departmental clearance.

The shopping complex was constructed at a cost of Rs 12 crore and has as many as 380 shops but only 130 have been auctioned so far since its completion six years ago.

The trust officials admit that the construction material and the structural norms have been flouted with regard to the block mentioned above, hence even if the vigilance has ‘‘absolved’’ it of any wrong doing, none among them could take the responsibility as an inquiry could be reopened at a later stage.

Trust engineers said the use of granite tiles for exterior walls and marble tiles for interior walls had made the matter worse. Temperature difference has led to the granite tiles falling off. The four-storey structure poses grave threat to those who park their vehicles below.

Owing to dampness paint has pealed off at various places. Moreover, many walls have developed cracks when some repair work was undertaken. Electric wiring and water and sewerage pipes were also alleged to be of substandard quality.

Unofficial estimates put the unpaid construction dues at more than Rs 25 lakh in addition to the accruing interest for six years. However, despite pressure to release the dues the increasing list of complaints against structural mediocrity of the complex has made the trust officials wary of clearing the enquiry report.

Apart from this, 27 cases of shops sold are still under litigation over the payment of instalments.

The trust officials said the project’s profit estimates, which were envisaged during the plan, have not been met despite the complex’s vast parking area.

Mr T.P.S. Sandhu, SP, Vigilance, admitted to the filing of challan against Mr Heera, SDOs, Executive Engineers, etc.


Make power theft cognisable offence’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 11
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has recommended amendments in the anti-power theft legislation to the Punjab Government which is set to debate the matter in the Cabinet.

Disclosing this at a press conference here, Board Member, Operations, S.K. Anand said wide-ranging steps had been proposed to discourage power theft and cut down on the commercial losses of the board which are 26 per cent of the total power generated. He said while around 16 per cent of the generation could be attributed to loss during transmission, the remaining 10 per cent could not be accounted for.

Mr Anand said the new legislation involved making power theft a cognisable offence. The period of the sentence in case of conviction was also proposed to be increased to five years from the present three years prescribed in the Act. He said registration of an FIR in the case would be made mandatory under the new Act even if the accused agreed to pay compensation to the board for the excess power drawn by him. He said this was being done to ensure that everyone indulging in power theft faced criminal proceedings.

The Member, Operation, said there had been a 1.5 per cent increase in the amount recovered through checking under the anti-power theft drive. He said the South Operation Zone had recovered Rs 16 crore this year. The Board was simultaneously carrying out a drive to replace electro-magnetic meters with electronic meters to make its system more efficient.

He also announced that the Patiala Circle was being modernised through an investment of Rs 65 crore. He said 66 kv substations and 11 kv Distribution systems would come up in the circle. The Board had also decided to accept payment of electricity bills of consumers of the Patiala circle through post offices from January 16.


Probe’ funding of ultras’ lawyers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 11
In a significant development, the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front today demanded that the Central Government should order a probe to ascertain the source of funding from which the lawyers were being paid hefty fees running into lakhs of rupees for fighting the cases of terrorists in Indian courts.

Addressing a press conference here today, the President of the front, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, alleged that some foreign agencies were providing huge funds to lawyers for fighting the cases of terrorists, who were accused of anti-national activities and killing of innocent people in the courts.

“Keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter, the Central Government should order a probe to ascertain the source of funding to expose the anti-national forces. Besides, the government should check the antecedents of those lawyers to expose conspiracy in this regard,” he added.

Launching a fresh salvo on the Bangladesh Government, Mr Bitta accused the former of joining hands with Pakistan-based agencies to patronise terrorists in India. “There are clear reports that at least 100 terrorist training camps were operational in different parts of Bangladesh, wherein, foreign mercenaries are being imparted arms training to cause unrest in India. Mr Bitta said the front would organise a “rashtriya ekta sammelan” at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi on January 27 to honour the families of those security personnel, who were killed during terror attack on temples in Jammu and Gujarat in the recent past.

“Noted Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar will participate in the sammelan to honour kin of martyrs. Their families will be given monetary help during the sammelan,” he said.

Mr Bitta announced the appointment of Mr Balwinder Singh Kaka as the president of the state unit of the front while Jagmit Singh Sahota, a former state unit president, was appointed Chairman of the state unit. While Mr Davinder Malik and Mr Harpal Singh were appointed general secretary and secretary-general, respectively of the state unit, Balwinder Singh Kaka was authorised to announce the body of the state unit in consultation with senior leaders.


LPG cylinders misuse: councillor held
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 11
The police has arrested a councillor of the local municipal committee, Mr Rameshwar Sharma, for using LPG cylinders meant for domestic use at his sweet shop. The municipal councillor was arrested after a team of officers of the district Food and Supplies Department, led by the DFSC, raided his shop in the power colony and found in his possession five LPG cylinders meant for domestic use.

A case under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act has been registered against the councillor. He was later produced in the court of the CJM and remanded in judicial custody till January 25.


Builders’ concern over declining standards
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 11
Builders expressed concern over the declining standards in the construction industry at a state-level meeting of the Builders Association of Punjab, which was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr P.S. Sandhu, president of the association.

Mr S.K. Malhotra, organising secretary of the association, while welcoming the participants stressed the need for improving the professional approach of civil engineers in the construction industry. Mr Sandhu, while explaining the aims and objectives of the association, shared the problems faced by civil technocrats.

The guest of honour on the occasion, Mr V.P. Takyar, of the Building Consortium Ludhiana, emphasised on the need to improve the image of builders.

It was decided at the meeting to bring out a yellow page directory of practising civil engineers of the state and their specialisation fields.

The builders also agreed to facilitate the demonstration of new products and techniques of various manufacturers, suppliers and firms through seminars so that newer and specialised services could be adopted in construction work.



Cash counter need of the hour
Bharat Bhushan Dogra

Telephone subscribers of Dinanagar have urged the telecom authorities to open a cash counter in the telephone exchange so that they can deposit their bills in time and avoid inconvenience while depositing these at the post offices. More than 10,000 connections have been provided in the Dinanagar area and there are only two post offices where telephone bills can be deposited.

* * *

Mr Lalit Kumar was declared Mr Pathankot at an under-21 Mr Pathankot bodybuilding competition organised by the Gurdaspur Amateur Bodybuilding Association. The association held competitions in the senior and junior categories also. Mr Sikander, Mr Gagan Salaria, Mr Navdeep Singh and Mr Harcharan Singh also stood first in their respected categories.

* * *

Mr Santosh Kumar, Principal of Mr Chuni Lal Government Senior Secondary School, Feroze Kalan, has demanded stern action against the octroi staff posted at the bus stand octroi post in Dinanagar for confiscating the school goods meant for its science lab. In letters written to the Education Minister, the Secretary (Education) and the Secretary, Local Self-Government, the Principal alleged that Mr Kuldip Raj, a schoolteacher, was sent to collect goods related to science experiments from the office of the District Education Officer, Gurdaspur. When he was returning with the goods he was intercepted at Dinanagar by the octroi staff who confiscated the goods in spite of the documents produced by the teacher showing that the goods were meant for the science laboratory and procured from the DEO’s office. Paying no heed to the pleadings of the teacher, the staff imposed a penalty of Rs 200, equivalent to 20 times the transit pass fee.


Panel member rues diversion of funds
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 11
A member of the National Commission for Safai Sevaks, Mr Ganga Ram Teja, while talking to newsmen here today rued the diversion of funds allocated by the Union Government for the welfare of SC/STs by the state government. He alleged that though the Union Government had released liberal funds under the special component schemes for the SC/STs the state government, had however, either diverted the funds provided under the schemes or were delaying their distribution.

Mr Teja was here to preside over the meeting of the district officials of review progress of various schemes being run in the district.

He further said that the commission had taken up the issue of safai sevaks serving in Punjab with the state government. The state government had agreed to adhere to the norm of keeping at lest five safai sevaks for a population of 1000 in urban areas. Besides this the government had also agreed to supply gas masks and gloves to those looking after the sewer lines.

Mr Teja directed the District Education Officer, Ropar, to identify the children of safai sevaks studying in various government schools. The Union Government would provide stipends to such children, he added.


Daughter’s first Lohri celebrated
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 11
In the age of female foeticide, Dr Jaswinder Pal Singh set an example for the new generation parents by celebrating the first Lohri of his daughter at Bahadurpur village, near here, last evening. Mr Neelkanth, SDM, Sangrur, on behalf of the administration attended the function to share happy moments with the parents of the daughter.

Mr Neelkanth appreciated the family of Dr Jaswinder Pal Singh for organising this function to show that there was no difference between a son and daughter. He said not only sons, but daughters also brought name and fame to the family. He said Sunita Rani and Neelam J. Singh, both international sportspersons, had brought international-level laurels for the country. The BDPO, Mr Jasbir Singh Dhanju, and the CDPO, Mr Darshan Singh, also blessed the baby girl, Shubhleen.

Among others present on the occasion were Dr Makhan Singh, Medical Officer, Longowal, Mr Darshan Singh, Block Panchayat Samiti member, Ms Pushpa Devi, Sarpanch, Mr Makhan, Sarpanch, and Mr Dal Singh.


Dalits yet to benefit from quota’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 11
“The benefits of the caste-based reservations have not reached the downtrodden and only a section of those who have entered the privileged sections of the society by enjoying caste-based reservations continue to block the progress of Dalits”, claimed members of the General Categories Welfare Federation, Punjab.

The activists, who had been pressing for the discontinuation of the caste-based reservation policy, said under the present set-up a section of the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, had reached the top positions including the IAS, IPS and PCS, besides other government services, and their wards continued to enjoy reservations originally meant for the downtrodden.

They said government servants and their wards continued to enjoy reservation benefits, even in promotions.

They alleged that the present set-up was only meant for 10 years, but no political party had dared to dismantle the same, as it would affect their vote bank politics and therefore they had been extending the caste-based and discriminatory reservation policy.


Youth dies due to cold
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 11
A youth died due to cold last night even as fog continued in the city and its surrounding area today.

The youth was found shivering with cold at the local railway station. Volunteers of an NGO admitted him to the Civil Hospital, where he died later.

The deceased could not be identified.


Govt to release Rs 10 cr for sugarcane growers
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 11
The Punjab Government has decided to release an amount of Rs 10 crore as an immediate relief to the farmers sitting on dharna even as it entered the fourth day today.

This was announced by the local MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, while addressing a gathering in Khanpur village today. He hoped that the distribution of money to the farmers would start today.

The MLA said he met the Chief Minister today in this regard and added that this money had been taken by the government from the rural development fund. He said the Finance Secretary, who had gone to Mumbai had been asked to come back immediately. The Chief Minister had assured him that the remaining Rs 20 crore would also be given to the farmers within three to four days. He said the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, had been sent to Delhi to pressurise the Central Government to immediately lift the levy on sugar worth Rs 400 crore or release Rs 100 crore.

Meanwhile, adamant farmers belonging to the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) today continued their dharna and blocked the traffic on the National Highway 21 for fourth consecutive day today over the non-release of sugarcane arrears amounting to Rs 80 crore.

While talking to this correspondent, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, President, BKU-L, expressed shock over the statement of the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, that none of the BKU leaders apprised him of their demands. While rejecting the appeal of the Punjab Finance Minister that the government was ready to release the first instalment of Rs 30 crore, he said since the government had betrayed them last year, there was no reason to believe any announcements of the government till the money was received. He added that the government was not giving any subsidy or bonus that was going to be released in instalment and that farmers were only demanding their rights. He reiterated that when the farmers were sitting on dharna in September, the Finance Minister had promised that their payment would be made by Dushera. He said he met Lal Singh and Gurchet Singh Bhullar during the recent meeting over the issue of the SYL canal, however, they didn’t pay heed to his demands.

Since the dharna was affecting the business, a large number of trader outfits, including the retail Karyana Association and the chemist associations have demanded that the dharna should be lifted immediately and the peoples’ right to mobility restored. They also expressed surprise as to why the farmers were sitting on dharna in Kharar despite the fact that the sugarcane arrears have no connection with it and that all ministers were in Chandigarh and that the farmers should have staged dharna in front of the sugar mills or residences of the ministers.


Order to lodge FIR against MC chief
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 11
The Under Secretary, Local Government Department, Punjab has directed the Regional Deputy Director, Ferozepore to lodge FIR against Mr Babu Ram Arya, President, Municipal Council, and a former Executive Officer, Mr Harbhajan Singh, for tampering with the proceeding book of the council.

Sources said the council had held a meeting on April 29 last year the agenda for which was set by the President himself. The council passed resolution number 281 and 283 in the meeting to place Mr Ashok Kumar, fireman and Mr Raj Kumar Munjal and Mr Subhash Chander Nagpal, both octroi clerks, under suspension for different reasons. The three employees challenged the action levelling allegations against the President of the council.

Mr Ashok Kumar had complained to the Regional Deputy Director and the Director of the Local Government Department alleging that the proceeding book had been tampered with by using erasing fluid on the text of the resolutions. The complaint was also submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr D.K. Tiwari, also the Acting Regional Deputy Director, Mr Desh Deepak, was asked to hold an inquiry. Meanwhile, five councillors, including those belonging to the BJP, also filed complaints endorsing the allegations levelled by the affected employees. Mr Arya also belongs to the BJP.

Mr Ashok Kumar had challenged the action in the Punjab and Haryana High Court also. The council reinstated octroi employees “pending inquiry” and Mr Ashok Kumar unconditionally. The department had suspended and later dismissed the disputed resolution.

Mr Desh Deepak submitted the inquiry report to the Director, which was forwarded to the Principal Secretary, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal. The report reportedly indicted President Mr Arya and then EO Harbhajan Singh. Accordingly directions were received vide letter dated August 19, last year for lodging FIR against “guilty” persons. The Regional Deputy Director sought clarification on September 24 for proceeding in the matter. Sources said the Under Secretary of the department yesterday made it clear that the FIR was to be lodged against Mr Babu Ram Arya, president of the council and the former Executive Officer. The Regional Deputy Director has been asked to take action immediately and send the compliance report to the government.

Mr Arya had been served a show cause notice by the state government. A hearing had been given by Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Principal Secretary, Local Government Department but the decision was still awaited.


MC launches drive to clean Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 11
In view of the heritage status being granted to the holy city by UNESCO the municipal corporation here has launched a major cleanliness drive to give a new look to the city. Addressing newsmen here today the Municipal Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, presented a blue print of the sanitation project which started in January.

The Commissioner said in spite of severe financial crunch the civic body was trying to upgrade the entire garbage handling, transportation and disposal system by purchasing new equipment and revamping the old machinery. Giving details of the major equipment to be immediately purchased by the corporation, he said 60 new garbage bins of various volumes, trucks, tractors tippers, ditch loaders and rickshaws were being listed to be inducted into the city to undertake the handling of 600 metric tonnes of garbage daily which the city dwellers throw out of their houses, shops, commercial establishments, hotels, marriage palaces and hospitals.

The Commissioner pointed out that during the past few years the government had been unable to fulfil its financial commitment towards the corporation, but in spite of this handicap the corporation had now decided to overhaul its entire mechanical garbage handling equipment by spending Rs 50 lakh, which would be inducted into the corporation within next two to three months.

The entire project was likely to be cleared by the general House of the corporation in its meeting scheduled to be held on January 15. The Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti had already cleared the proposals for the entire sanitation project.

Mr Bir, however, lamented that the entire staff of 1,690 for cleaning the city had remained at the level of 1974 while the city had grown manifold both in population as well as in the area.

He said it was not possible to keep the city clean with that kind of manpower. He urged the elected representatives to get more posts sanctioned in view of the growth of the city.

The Commissioner expressed his annoyance over the serving of langer on the main roads and in the public places and said the corporation was going to take strict action against the organisers for spreading the liters.

He admitted that the corporation was unable to ban the use of plastic bags, which were responsible for clogging the sewerage in the city.

Mr Bir pointed out that it was the responsibility of the councillors and social organisations to create awareness among public to stop the use of plastic bags and to save the city from ecological degradation.

Traffic chaos in Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 11
Even as the state government has been trying to bring the holy city on the world heritage list, the district administration seems to be little concerned over growing traffic woes while the traffic and corporation departments seem incompetent to handle the problem.

Tourist rush in the holy city is unprecedented owing to several places of historical value like the Golden Temple, Durgiana Temple and Hanuman Mandir, Jallianwala Bagh, Ram Tirath where Sitaji’s two sons were born.

Unfortunately, problems such as traffic chaos due to unplanned construction with rampant encroachments have tarnished the beauty of the city, causing inconvenience to tourists.

Traffic bottlenecks have become a regular feature and the traffic police is finding it difficult to handle the situation. During peak hours, particularly in the evening, vehicle owners are stuck in traffic jams leading to unsavoury situations with brawls being a common sight. School and college gates on narrow or busy roads have become a source of harassment to commuters during the opening and closure times of educational institutes.

The problem inside the narrow walled city is worse, including roads leading to the Golden Temple, the Jallianwala Bagh, near the railway station and bus stand. Even the road leading to the airport, being levelled as an international airport, is still narrow and undivided.


Murder case: 2 cops issued warrants
K.K. Goyal

Mansa, January 11
Ms Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mansa, issued non-bailable warrants of arrest returnable for January 15, 2003, against DSP Sherpur in police district Barnala Gurjit Singh and Inspector Chuhar Singh at present posted in the district. The court has also ordered attachment of salary of both these police officials through their respective SSPs.

The accused failed to appear in the court on December 2, 2002, despite directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court issued warrants of these police officials in a case registered against them in police station Sadar Mansa under Sections 302, 364 and 34 of the IPC on the directions of the high court.

According to the FIR of November 7, 1998, Gurmail Singh, son of Bachan Singh of Akkanwali village in the district, had been missing since January 29, 1993. Gurmail Singh’s father alleged that Gurjit Singh, the then Inspector CIA staff Mansa, Inspector Chuhar Singh along with another police Inspector kidnapped Gurmail Singh on January 29, 1993, as witnessed by the residents of Dulowal village of the district. Later, Gurmail Singh was liquidated by the cops, he alleged.

He filed a writ in the high court which ordered an inquiry to be conducted by District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda. The Judge submitted that Gurmail Singh must have been abducted by Gurjit Singh and Chuhar Singh, both police officials, and was killed in an encounter on January 29, 1993.

Earlier, in another case, Gurjit Singh, DSP, Sherpur, had allegedly liquidated Paramjit Singh of Bathinda and as per directions of the high court, an FIR dated July 17, 1992, under Sections 302, 364, 201 and 34 of the IPC was registered against him. The trail is still going on.

Despite the pendency of two murder cases against Inspector Gurjit Singh, he was promoted to the post of DSP in 2002.


21 travel agents booked for duping
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, January 11
The district police has booked 21 travel agents of Kapurthala, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur districts and Delhi under Sections 420 and 408 of the Indian Panel Code and Section 24 of the Immigration Act for duping 14 persons of Rs 60 lakh on the pretext of sending them abroad.

Dr R.N. Dhoke, Senior Superintendent of Police, identified the travel agents as Vinod Kumar, Pritpal Singh, Makhan Singh, Rohit Kumar, Parveen, Dilraj Singh, Balbir Singh, alias Jagga, Moti, Asha, Manjit, Balwant Singh, Akhtar Ali, Ajnila, Deepak, Lucky Happy, Yakub, Karmi, Tannu, Gurdev Bagga and Mohammad Kadim.

In a press note issued today, the SSP said 14 persons of Kapurthala district, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar had filed complaints with the police, alleging that these travel agents took Rs 60 lakh to Rs 70 lakh from them for sending them to the USA, Germany and other countries but they were neither sent abroad nor was their money returned.


ASI booked for graft
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 11
An ASI of the Majitha police station was booked allegedly for taking bribe from a medical store owner here last evening.

Narinder Pal, a resident of Majitha town and owner of the medical store, complained that ASI Sawinderpal Singh along with others raided his medical store and searched his house and even women’s purses. He alleged that the accused threatened to frame him and demanded Rs 50,000. He said he gave Rs 20,000 to the ASI and other persons accompanying him.

He said the accused persons also took away Rs 2,000 in cash, a mobile phone and watches, which were in women’s purses. A case has been registered against the ASI at the Majitha police station. No arrest has been made.


DEO’s office headless
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 11
In the absence of almost all top officers in the District Education Office (Secondary) here, the office seems to be “orphaned”. Besides its functioning has been adversely affected because many important papers are on the list of pending cases as the DEO (Secondary) is on a month’s leave till January 31.

Sources said the DEO was on leave for a month while two posts of Deputy DEO had been lying vacant since February, 2002. The post of Administrative Officer in the office of the DEO (Secondary) has been lying vacant since June, 2002.

The sources said the post of District Science Superviser had also been lying vacant for the past several years. However, stopgap arrangements have been made by the department in this regard.

A large number of posts of Principal, Headmaster, Headmistress and school lecturer have also been lying vacant in the district for a long period.

It is learnt that more than 80 posts of Principal are lying vacant in government senior secondary schools of the district. Some posts may also fall vacant in the months to come. The district has about 110 government senior secondary schools. Keeping in view the number of vacant posts of Principal, one can imagine the fate of these schools which are reportedly being run by making stopgap arrangements.

The sources said more than 100 posts of Headmaster/headmistress in the district were also lying vacant. In Barnala subdivision of the district, 38 high schools have no Headmaster or Headmistress. In Sunam and Moonak subdivisions, at least 40 schools have been waiting for a Headmaster or Headmistress. The posts of Headmaster/Headmistress have also been lying vacant in Dhuri and Malerkotla subdivisions.

Besides the vacant posts of Principal and Headmaster/Headmistress, more than 70 posts of lecturer of various subjects have also been lying vacant. On this list, the number of vacant posts of English lecturers is 20, followed by posts of Mathematics and Punjabi lecturers. The posts of lecturer in History, Hindi, Chemistry and Economics are also vacant in different schools of the district.

In the DEO (Secondary) office, the Office Superintendent is perhaps the only top officer.

It is learnt that all major matters relating to policy decisions in the DEO’s office will be taken up after the return of the DEO from leave. However, minor matters are being handled in the office by two persons of the rank of Principal for the time being.


Team probes sexual harassment charge
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 11
A four-member team led by Punjab Deputy Director, Colleges, and consisting of principals of three local colleges today held an inquiry into the alleged sexual harassment meted out to a student of Physical Education College here on the directions of the DPI, Colleges.

The team was led by the Deputy Director, Colleges, Mr Chattar Singh Virk, and included Mohindra College Principal Dr R. K. Sharma, Government College for Girls (GCG) Principal Gursharan Kaur Jaggi and College of Education Principal Dr Kanwarjit Singh.

A delegation of students of Physical Education College had met the DPI, Colleges, Ms Nisha Sharad, yesterday when she came here to attend a Syndicate meeting in Punjabi University to demand a high-level inquiry into the alleged sexual harassment. Students had claimed that a College-level Committee formed by the DPI included a teacher who had, in fact, approved the atrocity committed on a second-year student in MA, Physical Education.

The girl student had earlier met the DPI, Colleges in Chandigarh along with other students of the college to demand action in the matter. The student has charged a college teacher with demanding sexual favours to ensure her selection in various teams of a particular sport.

The girl had in a written memorandum to the DPI also claimed that another woman teacher had taken the side of her tormentor and had afflicted her with mental torture with mental when she was made part of the college-level team constituted to inquire into the case. The student also submitted that the college principal had proved to be totally ineffective in giving justice to her.

The high-level team, constituted by the DPI today met the complainant as well as the teacher accused of sexual harassment. The teacher purportedly claimed that the ‘entire story’ against him had been cooked up and that factionalism in the college was responsible for this.

Sources said students of the college came out in support of the complainant during their separate meetings with team members. The students reportedly threatened to boycott classes and go on strike in the college in case the girl student did not get justice.

One more student had handed over a written statement to the team, but it could not be confirmed whether it was another complaint on sexual harassment in the college or some other grievance.

The team remained closeted in the Physical Education College till late in the evening. It said it would submit a report to the DPI on the issue in two days’ time. 



Seminar on legal institutions
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 11
A seminar on “Legal education and teaching methodology” was inaugurated by Justice R.L. Anand here today. Prof J.L. Kaul of Delhi University, spoke on the necessity of ensuring proper functioning of legal institutions.

Other speakers touched upon the need for creating an all-India Legal Council which would go into the issue of grant of licenses for law colleges as well as their governance.

Noted advocate M.L. Sarin, in his presidential remarks, said it was necessary for the teacher to mould students through motivation and encouragement.

Institute Director Dr GIS Sandhu spoke on the steps taken in formulating syllabi and curriculum of the institute.

The workshop was attended by 60 delegates from all over the country.

Two working sessions were held on “Professional legal training vis a vis liberal legal education” as well as “Science, technology and legal education”.

Mr Justice A.K. Goel presided over the second session.



Warden raises funds for better facilities
Sukant Deepak

Patiala, January 9
While there are allegations of poor maintenance of existing infrastructure in different hostels of Punjabi University owning to poor grants from the university, the warden of Hostel No. 6, Dr Sarabjinder Singh, has pursuaded old students to donate Rs 70,000 to provide the students of the hostel with a comfortable reading room complete with wall-to-wall carpeting, overhead fans, newspapers and latest periodicals. All this without any financial grant from the university.

All set to open a modern gymnasium in the hostel, the construction for which has begun without any financial aid from the university, the man who took over as the warden of the hostel in October, 2002 has donated his entire salary as the warden to procure chairs for the common room. Dr Sarabjinder Singh, who stayed in the hostel which he is heading now as the warden, stressed that his effort had been to provide the students with comforts that he could not enjoy during his years as a student at the university.

Stating that some of his contemporaries, who had stayed with him in the hostel, had even offered to finance more facilities like air-conditioners for the common room, all he needed with the permission of the university authorities to install the same.

When asked whether he encountered any difficulty in mobilising old students to donate for the facilities, Dr Sarabjinder Singh stated that whoever he approached, appreciated the efforts and besides donating freely also urged him to approach them whenever he conceived any new project for the hostel. “It is just a matter of candidly approaching the old students of the university and convincing them of the project undertaken. I am sure those who are doing well financially would extend whatever support possible.”

When he took over as the warden, several student bodies had approached him to add to the existing facilities, as nothing has been done for years due to lack of funds. Kulwant Sidhu, who has been staying in the hostel for the past four years, emphasised that the hostel had witnessed a “metamorphosis” in a few months. He stated that when he had joined the hostel, there was even the problem of cold drinking water due to non-functional water coolers but now things had changed for the better.

Shying away the praise he had been getting from different quarters of the university for his efforts, Dr Sarabjinder Singh said: “I have not done anything big. It’s just my way of giving something back to the hostel that I stayed in during my student years”.

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