Tuesday, February 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Records of transplants sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
In less than three weeks after the kidney conspiracy was reportedly unearthed, an Amritsar-based advocate today sought the grant of anticipatory bail in the matter. Taking up the lawyer’s petition, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the summoning of the record.

Pronouncing the orders in the open Court on lawyer Pardeep Saini’s petition against the state of Punjab, the Judge also issued notice of motion to the respondent. The case will now come up for further hearing on February 5.

The advocate was apprehending arrest in a first information report registered on September 21 last year under the provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organ Act, besides under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 371 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. According to the prosecution, he was the legal advisor of the hospital where transplants were carried out.

Seeking the grant of bail, the petitioner had contended that the police was trying to falsely implicate him. He was not named in the first information report. Moreover, he had no role in the preparation of any document or identifying any person before any Magistrate regarding the sale or purchase of kidney.

His counsel had added that none of the documents, including the affidavits, had his signatures. Counsel had further added that the petitioner would surrender in case the state was able to show even a single document signed by the petitioner. If the state was able to show even once such document, he would “face any charges framed against him”.

It may be recalled that as per newspaper reports, two well-known doctors were in the docks, while several donor-labourers were in jail. Reports had added that the estimated value of the kidney racket was Rs 100 crore. As many as 1,922 transplants had taken place in Amritsar, while 650 had taken place in Delhi, since 2000. About 300 labourers had lost their kidneys, approximately 25 their lives.


Commencing arguments on a bunch of petitions in the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam, counsel for the PCS officers, challenging the action of termination, submitted there was no material with the state government for passing the order.

Arguing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, counsel added that the state should have acted only against the tainted candidates, and not all. The arguments will continue on Tuesday also.


Lawyers seek CBI probe
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 3
After conducting an inquiry into the kidney transplant racket, a joint team of Insaaf International and Lawyers for Human Rights International today asserted that the probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation was the best option as the “politico-bureaucratic nexus had not been explored by the Special Investigation Team”. Setting up of fast track courts for speedy trial was also sought.

In their 14-page interim report — ‘Unholy trade in holy city of Punjab’ — The general secretary of Insaaf International, Dr Vineeta Gupta, and general secretary of Lawyers for Human Rights International, Mr Navkiran Singh, further demanded identification of politicians and police officials allegedly involved in the offence. Legal action against them has also been sought.

They asked for “appropriate compensation for the donors, besides arrangement for their future treatment from the pocket of the guilty”. Compensation was also sought for recipients “who lost their lives due to the negligent treatment by the doctors involved in the scam”. Suspension of licence pending proceedings for the cancellation of the same was also asked for.

Addressing a press conference, they added that they would offer free legal aid to the victims of the kidney trade scam and monitor the proceedings.

They asserted that “it was discovered beyond doubt that the kidney scam nexus included politicians, law enforcers and powerful key players in politics and the government, but none had so far been identified”. They added that “major stress had been on action against small middlemen, doctors and donors. The role of the politicians and the law enforcement authorities, including the police and the administration, had not been touched.

It was stated that “96 per cent donors had sold their kidneys to pay off debts. Most of the money received was spent on debts, food and clothing”. It was added that “India’s trade in human organs was growing despite a government ban on kidney trade. Renal failure patients were flying from developed countries like Japan, Germany, Canada and the oil-rich West Asian countries looking for cheap kidneys and transplant services in India”.


NFL may wind up depts
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, February 3
National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) has been planning to wind up the transport and horticulture departments, besides schools, a hospital and rest houses.

Sources said at a board meeting held recently, company Directors had decided to cut workforce of these departments.

The NFL was also planning drastic cuts in its workforce at Nangal, Bathinda, Panipat and Vijaypur plants. The cuts in the workforce were being made to make for the losses that the company was likely to suffer after the implementation of the new retention price policy of the government.

The Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NFL, Mr P.S. Grewal, said on an average, the NFL had 25 per cent surplus staff in all its units which could be shed. The cuts in the workforce had become pertinent because after the implementation of the new policy, the Nangal and Bathinda plants would start accumulating losses.

In the new fertilizer policy, the government had launched the group pricing scheme for vintage and new plants. The classification of vintage and new plants had been based on the pre and post 1992 period. The plants had further been classified on the basis of fuel oil being used in them. The prices of fertilizer and the subsidy given by the government would depend upon the average cost of the classified groups, he said.

Under these criteria, the Nangal and Bathinda plants would incur a loss of about Rs 39 crore per annum. If the establishment expenditure was not reduced the plants would become unviable, he claimed.

Mr Grewal also admitted that the management was considering the proposal of handing over the schools to some private trust or an NGO. The employees of the school would be offered the VRS. However, if they didn’t opt for the VRS, none of them would be retrenched. They would be given training and adjusted in other departments.

About the winding up of the transport, hospital and horticulture departments, Mr Grewal, avoiding a direct answer, said in the current scenario it was unviable to run these departments.

About the allegations of employee unions of the NFL that the management was forcing them to opt for the VRS by making unnecessary transfers, Mr Grewal said none of the employees were being forced.

However, after the company offered the VRS, around 1,000 workers had left the company. The surplus workers in various departments would be transferred to other places to rationalise the staff, he said.

Regarding the proposed privatisation of the company, Mr Grewal said the government had called for bids from interested buyers by February 10. The privatisation process was likely to be completed by June end this year, he added.


Norms for leasing out forest land flouted
IAS officer’s sister-in-law beneficiary
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, February 3
The Irrigation and Forest Departments here are under a cloud for allegedly flouting rules and regulations laid down for leasing out strips of prime forest land at many places in Gurdaspur district.

During the past few years, it is reliably learnt that all norms prescribed by the authorities were set aside and strips of prime land worth crores were leased out allegedly under the influence of officials.

A nexus between the alleged violators and lessees, has come to light and a number of cases have been reported in which members of the land mafia, who allegedly enjoy the patronage of politicians and officials of the Irrigation Department, had forwarded cases of prime forest land to the authorities for leasing these out.

In one case, the Irrigation Department had leased out a strip of protected forest land measuring 10,000 sq ft reportedly valued in lakhs near Malikpur, to a sister-in-law of a senior IAS officer of Punjab. It was claimed that the site was vacant and was given for some commercial activity to increase the revenue of the state.

The sister-in-law of the IAS officer allegedly cleared the site by axing trees and started construction work on a hotel.

The lease amount for the land was a meagre Rs 500 per annum in the first year which was deposited with the revised leased amount by the sister-in-law of the IAS officer till 2002-2003.

The boundary wall of the building on the site has been constructed on the extreme edge of a canal, and the flowing water touches the wall, which is in gross violation of the rules. When contacted, Mr Aseem Sharma, DFO, said the information had been forwarded to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests. The Chief Conservator of Forests (Hills), the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, and the Executive Officer, UBDC, Gurdaspur, for action.

The Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur Mr K.A.P. Sinha, however, said he had not received any letter from the DFO.

The Executive Engineer, Punjab Irrigation Department, was not available for comments.


Private bodies may run govt schools
Tribune News Service

Bargadi (Faridkot), February 3
To reduce the dropout rate and enhance the standard of education, the Punjab Government is contemplating to hand over the management of some of its schools to privatise institutions on an experimental basis.

Giving an indication to this effect, the Chairman of the High-Powered Finance Committee, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singla, while addressing the annual function of Dashmesh Public School here this evening, said he was preparing a report on this aspect which would be submitted to the state government.

He said children of most of the teachers of government schools were studying in private schools as they (the teachers) knew that the standard of education in government schools was deteriorating despite the fact that the state government was spending Rs 682 on each student per month.

According to a survey, even illiterate parents want their children to study in private schools.

He said the situation had come to such a pass that teachers had stopped feeling concerned about the future of students. Instead, they were only bothered about their convenience and sought transfer to better places. He added that to tackle this problem, the government should fix the minimum tenure of a teacher in a particular school.

“In many government schools, some teachers have engaged sub-teachers. This trend should be checked and the Punjab Government is working in this direction,” he said.

Mr Singla appealed to all parties, including the state Congress leadership, not to make allegations and counter-allegations against one another, at least on issues which were in the interests of the state.

Mr A. Venu Parsad, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, Mr Karnail Singh Doad, president, Management Committee, and Mr Gurcharan Singh, Director, DPS, also spoke.


Bhattal’s kin held for graft
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 3
A close relative of Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Harwant Singh Marahar, Block Agriculture Officer-cum-Assistant Project Officer with the office of the Chief Agriculture Officer, here, was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau from his office, today.

Mr Santokh Singh Saini, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Sangrur, said here that Mr Marahar was arrested while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 3,000 from a pesticide dealer of Longowal village. Mr Saini said Mr Harbans Singh, a resident of Longowal village, had lodged a complaint with the bureau that Mr Marahar was demanding Rs 3,000 from him for renewing the licence of his pesticides shop.

A case under Sections 7, 13(2)88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, has been registered.

According to the information, the bureau also searched the house of Mr Marahar.


Salary of DSP, Inspector attached, warrants issued
Our Correspondent

Mansa, February 3
A court here today issued non-bailable warrants against Gurjit Singh, DSP Sherpur of Barnala police district and Inspector Chuhar Singh posted in this district. The court also attached their salaries and wrote to the SSPs concerned to secure their presence in the court on February 24, 2003 and attach their salaries.

On January 21, 2003 Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Mansa Harsh Mehta had recalled the orders of non-bailable warrants against Gurjit Singh and also ordered the release of his salary (which earlier attached by the court of Ms Bhatia on December 21, 2002 as both police officials failed to appear in the trial court on December 2 and December 21, 2002 despite directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court) as Gurjit Singh appeared in the court of the CJM on January 21,2003 after obtaining orders staying his arrest from the camp court of Mr Jaspal Singh, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mansa.

The camp court later, on January 29, 2003 dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of Gurjit Singh DSP so the order staying his arrest was also vacated on the same day January 29, 2003. Both police officials today again failed to appear in the court of Ms Bhatia, leading to the above order by the court. A case (FIR No. 111) was registered on November 7, 1998 by the police here under Sections 302, 364 and 34 of the IPC against Gurjit Singh and Chuhar Singh on the directions of the high court.

According to the FIR Gurmail Singh alias Mela son of Bachan Singh of Akkanwali in the district had been missing since January 29, 1993. Gurmail Singh’s father alleged that Gurjit Singh, then Inspector CIA staff Mansa, and Inspector Chuhar Singh along with another police Inspector, all then posted in the district kidnapped Gurmail Singh in January from a village of the district. Later Gurmail Singh alias Mela was liquidated by the police officials as alleged by Bachan Singh who filed a writ in the High Court which ordered an inquiry by the District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda.

The Judge submitted that Gurmail Singh alias Mela must have been kidnapped by Gurjit Singh and Chuhar Singh, and killed in an encounter on January 29, 1993.

Earlier both police officials failed to appear in the trial court on December 2 and December 21, 2002 and January 15, 2003 despite the issuance of non-bailable warrants against the above police officials by the court of Ms Bhatia. The salary of the said police officials was also attached by the trial court on December 21, 2002 as both failed to appear in the court despite the directions of the high court to the effect.


Traders oppose Exim form, stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 3
Hundreds of traders and owners of sports goods manufacturing units today gheraoed Congress Bhavan here in protest against the imposition of the Exim form by the state government.

The agitating traders raised anti-government slogans and sat on a dharna outside the Congress Bhavan for about two hours. Subsequently, the DCC (Urban) Chief, Mr Tajinder Singh, Bittu, came out of the Bhavan to receive a memorandum of demands from the agitators. Everything was going on peacefully till one of the traders started criticising the state Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, for his reported statement that all traders were thieves. He further alleged that the Congress ministers were found involved in objectionable activities during the Gujarat elections and the recent Panchkula episode, involving a senior IAS officer with the wife of the Chief Secretary, had exposed the true face of the Congress government among people.

This infuriated the Congress workers led by Mr Bittu, who damaged the sound system, being used by the traders. Mr Bittu said the district Congress leadership was not going to tolerate any offensive language against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his Cabinet colleagues.

He alleged that some traders were BJP workers, who were trying to mislead the trading community by raising insignificant issues. As tension was building up due to a stand-off between the Congress workers and the traders, the police swung into action and pacified the agitating traders.

Later, talking to this correspondent, Mr Bittu said the Chief Minister had assured the Punjab Congress chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, this evening that the state government had stayed the imposition of the Exim form till the introduction of the VAT from the next financial year.

AMRITSAR: Re-imposition of the Exim form by the Sales Tax Department for trade, commerce and industry would prove to be a noose for the already failing industry in the state. This was the general view expressed by the beopar mandals, business houses, political parties and others here on Monday.

The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal headed by Mr Amrit Lal Jain said the imposition of this form was a unilateral decision to ‘wreck’ trade and industry of Punjab and would hit hard any plans of expansion and development of trade and industry.

The mandal members, traders, industrialists have announced their decision to hold a protest rally and dharna against the Exim form throughout the state tomorrow in front of the Excise and Taxation Departments. The Janata Dal (United), Punjab, led by Jaspal Kapoor, president said the government had merely added to the troubles of the people by imposing such a form. Echoing the views of different trade organisations the Amritsar tea traders association has called for a strike against the implementation of the controversial form of government tomorrow.


Residents seek closure of Civil Hospital
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 3
Residents of Maur Mandi, a town in this district, have urged the state government to close down the Civil Hospital as the functioning of the hospital was not up to the mark.

A large number of residents, who had earlier lodged a complaint with the Punjab Human Rights Commission, alleged that more than Rs 1 Cr had been spent on the building of hospital and about Rs 15,000 was being spent on the salaries of the staff working at the hospital per day. They alleged that even after these expenses the patients were not getting good quality health care and that the doctors and other staff indulged in absenteeism.

Mr Satpal Singla, one of the residents of the town, alleged that the patients were forced to go to private doctors as they were being denied people services in the government hospital. He pointed out that the patients were not attended to properly and that the medicines were also not being given to them from the state supplies. He said as the hospital was practically of no use to the people of the town, they had requested the government to close down the same and save public money from going down the drain.

The residents pointed out that the PHRC has taken a notice of their complaint and has ordered an inquiry to be conducted by the Director, Health Services, Punjab. The case would come up for hearing on February 25, they said.


Lawyers plea to HC on judicial officers’ posts
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 3
The District Bar Association here today urged that the Punjab and Haryana High Court to direct the Punjab Government for the completion of the selection of PCS (Judicial) officers.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, secretary of the association R.K. Bhalla, said nearly 6000 cases were pending in every court where as per rules 500 cases could be allocated to a court. Five judicial officers here were dismissed by the state government in the wake of PPSC recruitment scam, he said, adding that Mr B.J. Sansi, senior Subjudge, was promoted Additional District judge recently. He added that the cases pending in six courts were later transferred to the other courts, increasing the workload of other courts. The letter revealed that Mr A.S. Grewal, Chief Judicial Magistrate, presided over the court of civil judge senior division before lunch session. Mr Bhalla further added the cases involving urgent matters were also being delayed. “Similarly in the time-bound cases including the Negotiable Instruments Act, the courts were not being able to dispose of the matter in stipulated time. The judicial officers are fixing the said cases for October or November for hearing position, making the judicial officers to take up 150 cases per day. “Delay in the disposal of cases is making the public lose its losing faith in the judicial system,” the letter said.

The association criticised the state government for not initiating the process of selection of PCS (Judicial) officers.


Stress management course for cops
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, February 3
One of the best ways to handle stress, a side-effect of the modern competitive world, is to keep physically healthy through strenuous exercises.

This was stated by Dr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, while inaugurating a six-day national-level Vertical Interaction Programme for senior officers of different states and paramilitary forces at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Police Academy here today.

The theme of the course is — Stress management for high stress managers’. The bureau of Police Research and Development has nominated 48 officers of ADGP, IGP and DIG rank for the course. However, only 15 officers turned up at the venue. Others were expected to join the course tomorrow.

Dr Boparai said jogging and morning walks were immensely helpful to overcome stress. He said stress was unavoidable in the contemporary world.

Dr G.S. Aujla, Director of the Academy, presented the welcome address. He said stress was a major challenge to the police and to the public. He said most of the illnesses were caused by stress only.

Eminent speakers and renowned experts will interact with the delegates.


Clinton invited to Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 3
Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC chief has invited former US president Bill Clinton to visit the Golden Temple on his visit to India.

In his message to Mr Clinton here today, Prof Badungar has written that the Golden Temple is a rare symbol of spirituality and universal brotherhood, preaching tolerance, equality and service without discrimination of caste or creed, a symbol of Sikhism.”

Plea to commute Bhullar’s death sentence
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 3
A deputation of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), led by Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president, and Mr Surinder “Babbi”, press secretary of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), today gave a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sarvjit Singh, here with regard to commuting the death sentence of Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar to life imprisonment in a TADA case. Bhullar was awarded death sentence in a bomb-blast case. In this bomb blast, some persons were killed in 1993 at New Delhi.

The memorandum has been addressed to Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, and the same was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner to forward it to the President.

Members of the district unit of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) also held a meeting in the complex of the local Gurdwara Singh Sabha today before presenting the memorandum to the DC.

The meeting also adopted a resolution, expressing grief and shock over the untimely and sad demise of space scientist Kalpana Chawla.

Bitta to contest Bhullar’s mercy appeal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AITF) Chairman, Mr M.S. Bitta, claims to have mustered the support of some terrorism-hit families to meet the President, Dr Abdul Kalam, to seek the rejection of demand for mercy for Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, convicted for carrying out a bombing on Mr Bitta’s convoy in New Delhi.

“Pro-terrorist appeals for commuting execution of Bhuller to life imprisonment will not go uncontested, as victims of terrorism will accompany me to the President to seek the rejection of such a demand”, Mr Bitta told reporters here.

Mr Bitta said such demands would strengthen extremist elements amongst Hindus to demand for mercy for criminals and terrorists of their community, endangering integrity and security of the country.

Mr Bitta asked the Akal Takht Jathedar, Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, to constitute a committee to inquire into whether the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Committee President, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, took help from Sajjan and him in the elections to the body. Mr Bitta said he had evidence to prove Sarna’s liaison with Congress leaders in the election.

He said Mr Sarna was now linking the case of execution of Bhullar to that of Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Mr Bitta also criticised the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, for having reportedly said the “issue of attack on Bitta was old enough”.


Punjab IMA’s tribute to Kalpana
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 3
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided to dedicate all its programme, including seminars and conferences, to Kalpana Chawla, who died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster on February 1.

Dr Surinder Singla, state secretary of the IMA, said here today that the state unit of the IMA had issued directions to all its 57 branches in this regard. He said the directions to all branches were being sent through telephonic messages and e-mail.

Dr Singla said the best tribute to Kalpana would be to put an end to female foeticide. He said the IMA would not leave any stone unturned in making its contribution towards achieving this objective.

PSEB staff burn govt’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 3
PSEB employees today burnt effigies of the Haldia Committee, Board Management, and the Punjab Government on the local Banga road, disrupted traffic for a while, held a gate rally and sat in dharna in protest against the government’s move to split the PSEB for privatisation. Protesters shouted slogans against the Punjab Government, the Chief Minister, head of the Haldia Committee and the PSEB authorities. They announced their decision to go on a strike tomorrow against the privatisation move. Today’s protest was organised by the PSEB Struggle Committee and the Employees Federation. The rally was addressed by various union leaders.


JEs against PSEB restructuring
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 3
The Council of Junior Engineers Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) will hold dharnas and organise protest marches in the state from February 11 to 25 against the reported restructuring of the PSEB by the Punjab Government.

The president of the council, Mr Davinder Singh, said the council would take all necessary measures to defend the present structure of the PSEB. It was also disclosed that the council would commence a mass contact programme wherein the council members would meet and convince village sarpanchs, municipal councillors, state Legislative Assembly members, MPs of the state and consumer representatives such as industrialists and agriculturalists about the negative ramifications of restructuring the board.

Meanwhile, the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCEEE), Punjab unit, has expressed solidarity with the employees of the PSEB against the issue of restructuring of the power board.

The convener of the NCCEEE, Mr H.S. Bedi, said the committee would organise a convention on “Future of power sector in Punjab and challenges ahead” on February 12 at Jalandhar.


TSU workers to strike work today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 3
The Technical Services Union (TSU) today said that they would be observing a strike tomorrow in protest against the privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the implementation of the Haldia Committee Report.

Mr Karora Singh, a member of the struggle committee formed for ensuring the success of the strike, said the government was bent upon privatisation of the PSEB to cater to the needs of the capitalistic forces and a section of their favourites. He alleged that it had become routine with the government to draft and implement such policies, that leads any department or institution into losses and then the government blames the workers of these organisations and departments.

Mr Karora Singh said the main demands of the employees pertained to the cancellation of the Haldia Committee report, stopping the privatisation of the PSEB, and implementation of the already accepted demands of the employees.


CM condemns attack on XEN
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today condemned the attack on Mr D. P. S. Virk, Executive Engineer, PWD (B&R) and his family near Neelon bridge, while travelling from Ludhiana to Chandigarh.

He has directed the police to take immediate action against the guilty persons.

While condemning the incident, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Public Works Minister, has spoken to Mr Virk and conveyed his sympathies.

The Excise and Taxation Department has also been directed to take immediate steps to prevent any such recurrence. 


Probe sought into death of labourers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 3
The Centre of Indian Trade Union Congress (Citu) while mourning the death of two workers, who died in a local factory, demanded that a judicial probe should be ordered into the incident.

Mr Inderjit Singh, convener, and Mr M.M. Behal, president of the district unit of Citu, in a join statement issued here yesterday said the incident had exposed the callous attitude of the factory management. They claimed that if the Factory Act (1948) had been followed by the company and a ‘safety committee’ comprising members from labourers and management established the incident could have been prevented. They alleged that the labourers were trained by the management of the factory to tackle such incident as was required under the rules.

Mr Behal said the families of Amit Kumar and Gurlal Singh had lost their bread winners.

The families should be given immediate relief of about Rs 5 lakh each. He alleged that the attitude of the factory management was suspicious.

Other trade and labour unions have also demanded suitable compensation for the affected families.


Worker buried as well caves in
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 3
A worker was buried under debris while working in a well at Kalyan Sukha village, about 25 km from here.

According to information, two workers had gone inside the well for some repairs, when it caved in, burying both of them. Ambulances of various hospitals and cranes were pressed into service. While one of the workers was rescued after half an hour, the other could not be saved.

The deceased has been identified as Harbans Singh (35) of Akkanwalai in Sriganganagar.

The villagers said Harbans Singh, a mason was hired by farmer Balwant Singh for constructing of a well and for installing tubewell in his fields. Harbans Singh had come to the village to meet his sister, who lives there.

The body of the deceased has been sent to the Civil Hospital here for a post-mortem examination.


Protest against US move on Iraq
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 3
Members of various revolutionary and democratic organisations of the district today held a rally in the local Banasar Garden in protest against the possible attack on Iraq by the USA. They also took out a protest march through the main bazar, carrying placards and banners.

The rally was addressed among others by Mr Nardev Singh, state secretary of the All-India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF), Mr Sukhwinder “Pappi”, a representative of the CPI (ML) New Democracy, Mr Gurmel Singh, a representative of the Lok Sangram Morcha, Mr Amarjit Raju of the PRSU and Mr Tara Chand of the Inqlabi Kendra, Punjab.

All speakers condemned the policies of the USA for imposing wars on different countries to prove its supremacy. They also protested against the policies of the UN for becoming a mute spectator in these circumstances. The protesters also raised slogans against the USA and its policies towards Iraq. 


Police clueless about student’s murder

Moga, February 3
Despite questioning 30-odd persons in the murder case of a Lala Lajpat Rai Polytechnic student, Baghel Singh, whose decomposed body was found on January 29, the district police is still clueless.

Stating this here today, SSP Major Singh Dhillon denied media reports regarding the arrest of the victim’s father, Mr Harinder Singh, who is a Deputy Commandant in the CRPF, his second wife and her brothers in connection with the murder. According to the SSP, no arrest has been made as yet in the case. Meanwhile, the police also took blood samples of the victim’s mother, Ms Charanjit Kaur, and pieces of flesh of the victim’s body, he informed.

He said after taking blood samples of the father of the victim, all samples would be sent to a Kolkata laboratory for DNA tests. UNI

Dalits gherao police station
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 3
Hundreds of dalits today gheraoed Sadar Police station here for four hours to protest against police failure to arrest those, who allegedly used derogatory remarks against Guru Ravidass during elections to the Managing Committee of Shaheedan Gurdwara in Talhan village near here 15 days ago.

They raised anti-police slogans and demanded that the ‘guilty’ police officials should be suspended and culprits booked. The dharna continued for four hours, disrupting traffic, which later was diverted to the Ladowali road.


70 loan cases solved at adalat
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 3
Mr Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the first cooperative lok adalat in the district at Bachat Bhavan yesterday. Additional District Sessions Judges, Mr G.S. Gill and Mr B.J. Nangali, presided over the function. At the lok adalat, two Division Benches were set up; one headed by Mr G. S. Dhillon, CJM, and the other headed by Mr S.S. Sahni, Additional Civil Judge. Adalat about 70 cooperative loan cases involving a total amount of Rs 9.26 lakh were disposed of and compensation of Rs 2.91 lakh was provided to members of the cooperative institutions.

Addressing the gathering, the Deputy Commissioner appealed to the cooperative members not to misuse loans and repay these in time.


Tribune employee bereaved
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 3
Om Parkash, father of Ashok Kumar posted at the Tribune sub-office here, died after a prolonged illness at his native village of Gunglahar in Una district yesterday. The kirya will be held at the village on February 8 at 12 pm.


Commendation for 102 cops
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, February 3
The Jalandhar range DIG, Mr Rohit Chaudhary, today gave commendation certificates to 102 police officials of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr in recognition of their good work.

Addressing policemen, Mr Chaudhary said systematic effort was being made to bring about objectivity in the performance analysis with a view to exercising better control over expanding force and for optimal utilisation of available manpower.

He said this exercise of objective performance analysis was aimed at developing the subordinates through reward, punishment and training.

He claimed that objective performance analysis started in July last year had yielded very good results in areas like supervision, crime detection, crime prevention, inspections, disposal of complaints, verifications etc thereby bringing all round performance in all ranks. PTI


Defence college team calls on CM, Ratra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
A 16-member team of National Defence College led by Rear Admiral L.K. Saluja, Senior Directing Staff (Navy), today called on Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and held discussions on a wide range of issues pertaining to military education, agriculture, industry, female foeticide, drug addiction and Panchayati Raj System etc.

Responding to the suggestions put forth by the visiting team, Capt Singh said that Punjab had already emerged as a “role model” to eradicate corruption from public life. The next target was drug addiction and female foeticide. Earlier, the team also called on the Chief Secretary, Mr Y. S. Ratra.


Gill appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Mr Sukh Pal Singh Gill, IAS, Special Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab will also be Project Director, State AIDS Control Society and Mr Mohinder Singh, PCS, will now be Additional Director (Admn), Department of Information and Public Relations and ex-officio Additional Secretary, also Chairman-cum-M.D. of the Punjab Film and News Corporation, says a press note.


Home Guard kills son, commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 3
Pala Ram of the, a Home Guards, committed suicide after giving celphos tablets to his son Narotam (7) at Ramsara village near here yesterday.

According to an FIR lodged at the Sadar police station here by Mr Surender Kumar, his brother Pala Ram was having strained relations with his wife and in-laws. Pala Ram’s brother-in-law Subhash Chander visited the residence of the victim yesterday and alleged that Pala Ram had been torturing his wife, so her parents had decided to teach him a lesson. Subhash allegedly informed Pala Ram that some persons were on their way in a jeep to beat the latter within a few minutes.

The complainant said Pala Ram, afraid of being an attacked, slipped away on some pretext along with his son Narottam. He reportedly arranged Celphos tablets. After giving two tablets to his son the Homeguard him self consumed four tablets. When both of them started vomiting, they were rushed to the Civil Hospital here late evening but could not be saved. The bodies were handed over to the parents today after the post-mortem examination at the hospital.

The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 306, 149 of the IPC against Chander Kanta wife of Pala Ram, her brother, Subhash Chander, Khiali Ram, Mohinder Singh and Bal Ram. All were reportedly absconding.


PSEB employee strangled
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 3
Arpandip Kaur, wife of Baljinder Singh, a resident of Akal Garh, was found strangled
near the Majitha road drain here last evening. The victim was an employee of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Hall Gate.

Lakhbir Singh, maternal uncle of Arpandip Kaur, in his complaint said that on January 30 she went to her office but did not return. Later, her body was found near the Majitha road drain. The police said she had been strangled with her “dupatta”. The police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, the district police has booked Sukhwinder Singh of Khairabad, Ludhiana, for allegedly possessing a fake passport. He was going to the UK when he was nabbed during checking.


Gang of thieves busted, 6 held
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 3
The police has busted a gang of thieves, who besides committing thefts in various parts of the district, were allegedly involved in robbing pilgrims to the Naina Devi and Chintpurni shrines.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, told newspersons here today that Suresh, Raju and Madan Lal of Rohtak, Krishan of Sonepat, Surajbhan of Jind, and Ashok of Jind, were arrested while they were planning a dacoity in Ban Majra village, near here. A .12-bore gun, two cartridges, a country made pistol along with five rounds and a vehicle were seized.

They confessed to committing thefts in LIC Colony, Kharar, Madwara village, near here, and in government colony, near veterinary hospital of Chamkaur Sahib. They have also confessed to robbing pilgrims going to the Naina Devi and Chintpurni shrines, the SSP said.

A case under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act has been registered.


Talent search toppers awarded
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 3
The Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, gave away prizes to some of the outstanding students of the state, who achieved meritorious positions in the 2nd Talent Search Examination conducted by Dhilwan International Public School at Desh Bhagat Yadgaar Hall yesterday.

While the overall first position was bagged by DAV Public School, Ludhiana, St Joseph Convent School, Hoshiarpur, and Springdale Senior Secondary School, Amritsar, won the second and third positions respectively. As many as 6,000 students of different schools in the state gave the examination.

Nandini Bhatia of Gobindgarh Public School, Mandi Gobindgarh (Class II), Anmol Garg of S.D. Model School, Jalandhar Cantt (Class III), Rakshit of St. Joseph Convent School, Hoshiarpur (Class IV), Mehda Gupta of St. Joseph Convent School, Jalandhar Cantt (Class V), Jaskaranpal of DIPS School, Dhilwan (Class VI), Saurav Khanna of St Joseph Convent School, Jalandhar Cantt (Class VII), Shakul Bansal of DAV Public School, Ludhiana (Class VIII), Akshey Sehgal of Army Public School (Class IX) and Ranbir Singh Gill of Springdale Senior Secondary School, Amritsar (Class X) bagged the first positions in the individual class category.

The first position holders were given cash prize of Rs 15,000 each, while the second and third position holders were given Rs 10,000 and Rs 3,000 cash, respectively, for their performance in the Talent Search Examination.


UK cultural delegation arrives
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 3
A 31-member UK delegation, including 12 students and a media crew arrived here at the BBK DAV College here today on a two-day cultural and educational exchange mission.

The Britons were delighted with the traditional welcome they got under ‘phulkari’ canopy amidst singing of Punjabi folk songs. The scenes of rural Punjab created in the college premises to give them a glimpse of the Punjabi flavour and colour also fascinated them.

“It is bhangra which has brought us to India and Punjab”, confessed Mr Inderjit Sandhu, Arts Officer, UK, who is the leader of the delegation of students and members of the performing arts and educational experts. Students of this college (BBK DAV College) had performed in UK in July and ever since then the British team had been addicted to the Punjabi dhol and the bhangra, he said.


Entrance test: CM holds meeting today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 3
For the holding of joint entrance tests for (engineering) by all universities of the state, Chief Minister Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh has convened a meeting in Chandigarh tomorrow.

According to sources, the meeting would be attended by the Minister for High Education, Minister for Technical Education, secretaries of both departments and Vice-Chancellors of all universities.


Arya College wins overall trophy
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, February 3
A three-day Youth Festival of Vikas Sheel Girls Colleges Association of Punjab concluded at the local Arya College yesterday. Eight colleges of the association namely the Gandhi Memorial College for Women, Kot-Kapura, the Shaheed Smark College for Women, Rampura Phul, the Punjab Public College for women, Bhadour, Nand Ram Malik Girls College, Lehra Gaga; 3, Kanya Maha Vidyalaya, Bhucho Mandi, Arya College, Dhuri, Lal Bahadur Shastri College, Barnala, and Kanya Maha Vidyalaya Jaito, participated in the festival.

Mr Devinder Nath Sharma, Registrar, Arya Vidya Parishad, Punjab, who was the chief guest at the concluding function, gave away the prizes to the winning teams. Mr Harjit Singh, Member Finance, PSEB, Patiala, also attended the function as guest of honour.

Mr Ashok Jindal, manager and Mrs K. Singla, Principal of the college, said than 200 students participated in 15 cultural items at the festival and Arya College, Dhuri, won the overall trophy in the festival.


School education survey
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The seventh All-India School Education Survey will start in various parts of the country this month. The Punjab Government has appointed the Deputy Director of Education Department, Mr Baldev Raj, as the State Survey Officer.

Mr Baldev Raj said today that the first educational survey was undertaken in the country in 1957. Among the main objectives of the survey were to asses the availability of schooling facility for primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary stages within the habitations and availability of basic facilities.

He said that a two day workshop-cum-training programme would be held from tomorrow for district survey officers, assistant survey officers and others concerned at Mohali. Among the speakers will be Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, Principal Secretary, School Education, Mr B. Sarkar, Secretary, School Education, and Mr Alok Shekhar, Director-General, School Education.


Punjab science cong from Feb 7
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 3
The 6th Punjab Science Congress will be held at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology at Longowal village from February 7 to 9. The topic of the congress is — “sustainable innovations in science and technology for regional development”.

More than 200 research papers, covering areas of basic sciences, engineering, agriculture and medicine, have been received by the organisers from various institutions of Punjab. Over 400 delegates are expected to participate in the congress.

“Young Scientist Award” will be given for the best research contributions by the scientists below 35 years of age. The Academy of Sciences will also felicitate newly selected fellows of the academy.

It will also be graced by the Vice-Chancellors of Punjabi University, Patiala, Panjab University Chandigarh, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. It is being organised by the institute under the auspices of the Punjab Academy of Sciences.


Seminar on Hindi journalism
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 3
A one-day national seminar on ‘Hindi Journalism: New Dimensions’ will be organised by the Hindi Department of Punjabi University on February 5. The seminar will be inaugurated by a former Editor of ‘Jansatta’, Mr Prabhash Joshi. Senior journalists from Chandigarh and New Delhi, including Mr Radhe Shyam Sharma, a former Editor of Dainik Tribune and Chairman of the Haryana Sahitya Academy, Mr Chander Trikha will present papers in the seminar. The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Dr S.S. Boparai, will preside over.

The Head of the Hindi Department of the university, Dr Chaman Lal, said Editors of five daily Hindi newspapers of the region — Mr Vijay Seghal of ‘Dainik Tribune’, Mr Babu Lal Sharma of ‘Dainik Bhaskar’, Mr Vijay Kumar Chopra of ‘Punjab Kesri’, Mr Aku Shrivastva of ‘Amar Ujala’ and Mr Nishi Kant Thakur of ‘Jagran’ from Jalandhar would be honoured after the seminar.


Punjabi varsity students attend course at FTII
Our correspondent

Patiala, February 3
Students of the Department of Journalism and Communication of the Punjabi University are all agog with excitement over their recently concluded orientation course at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. They also have to their credit the distinction of being the first batch of students from any university all over India to be allowed to visit the institute.

The 10-day orientation course in television production techniques included lectures, demonstrations, previews and discussions on a varied range of topics, including screen grammar, editing, graphics, scriptwriting and single and multi-camera production, familiarisation. The course director and Lecturer Television Production, FTII, Ms Smita Pawaskar, conducted the course.

Associated with the making of several documentaries with single-camera technique, Dr Gurmeet Mann, Reader also admits to have benefited from the visit. “Dealing with the latest betacam and digital cameras has enhanced my understanding of the subject”, he says. Inspired by the state-of-art equipment at the FTII, Dr Navjit Singh Johal, Head of the Department of Journalism and Communication is keen to establish an advanced centre of mass communication research at the Punjabi university.

The course provided an intense learning experience to students, especially those wanting to arm themselves with the latest understanding of the audio-visual media. Simran, a first year student of the department, said they learnt that television production and film making were two separate entities and both required different techniques. Another student Ramanjeet Singh Sidhu said he had grasped a good deal about how a broadcast media reporter should work in tandem with the production team and how knowledge of various aspects of lighting and placement could help the reporter.

Gurmeet Singh, another student, was all praise for the staff at the FTII, while Pikkie Sharma , a second year student, said she had learnt that it was the eye behind the camera that made all the difference, no matter how latest or expensive the equipment was being used. Parminder Singh seemed to sum it up for the students by concluding that students should get more facilities and practical training.


Prof for forensic science education
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 3
The role of scientific methods in criminal investigation were stressed during the valedictory function of a UGC-sponsored refresher course in forensic science organised at the Department of Forensic Science at Punjabi University.

Dr M.S. Rao, Chief Forensic Scientist of the Directorate of the Forensic Science also emphasised the need of public awareness on the issue and mentioned the role of the media. He said attempts were also made to ensure that the investigating agencies made use of modern detecting methods in even routine investigation.

Dr Rao also spoke on the need for forensic science education in colleges and universities and disclosed that efforts were being made to frame curriculum which could be used in forensic science laboratories effectively. More than 16 topics as diverse as law, computer crime and explosives were discussed during the course.

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