Wednesday, February 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



10 teachers with fake degrees sacked
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Though the Punjab Government has dismissed 10 teachers who got jobs on the basis of fake degrees, it has not taken any conclusive action on the cases of recruitment of teachers decided by the late Justice D.V. Sehgal, Lok Pal, Punjab.

The story regarding fake degrees was broken by The Tribune.

Deciding on a number of cases of teachers’ recruitment made during the SAD-BJP regime, Justice Sehgal had not only indicted certain members of recruitment committees but also recommended the removal of hundreds of teachers selected by these committees and of making recruitments afresh.

In fact, a number of cases decided by the Lok Pal were approved by the Punjab Governor, who as per the Lok Pal Act is authorised to scrutinise such verdicts, and had been forwarded to the state government for action.

Among these cases was the one decided on the complaint of Ms Nisha Kaura, a qualified teacher from Jagraon. The other pertained to the complaint filed by Mr Kartar Singh Sangha regarding the recruitment of ex-servicemen against the reserved quota of seats. There was another case based on the joint complaint regarding the recruitment of science and other teachers. However, it was the Nisha Kaura case which had attracted the attention of all concerned the most.

A top officer of the Punjab Government said the Education Department, after proposing action on the cases decided by the Lok Pal, had moved the file to the Chief Minister for deciding the matter. However, the Chief Minister has desired that since the Vigilance Bureau is also investigating these cases, let it submit its report to the government and after that action should be initiated.

However, it is not known when the Vigilance report will be completed.

Mr Tota Singh, former Education Minister, was also indicted by the Lok Pal in the teachers’ recruitment case. However, when the Governor’s office scrutinised the Lok Pal’s verdict, it found that there was lack of conclusive evidence against Mr Tota Singh and the matter required to be looked into again.

Meanwhile, sources say that the 10 teachers dismissed from service were on probation. Action had been taken against them after it was established that they had procured fake degrees to secure government jobs. Action against them had been taken by their respective appointment authorities, it is learnt.

Though the exact number is not available, sources inform that about 150 teachers have been found to have got job on the basis of fake degrees. On the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Education Department, Punjab, had set up a number of committees to verify the suspected degrees of certain teachers recruited in the recent years. Teams went to various places in the country to check the antecedents of the institutions which had issued such degrees.

The interim report regarding fake degrees has been submitted to the high court and the final report is being prepared.


Lalli summoned by PPCC chief
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 11
Congress MLA Kanwaljit Singh Lalli, who created ripples by openly accusing the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of ignoring the Congress MLAs, has been summoned by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, to “explain” his position and the reasons behind his outburst against the Chief Minister.

Mr Lalli MLA from Adampur, is considered close to a senior Congress leader, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and the Phillaur MP, Ms Santosh Chaudhary. He openly alleged during a public function at Jallowal village near Jalandhar that the Chief Minister was “ignoring” the party MLAs, particularly him. He said he was one of the victims of the Chief Minister’s “apathy”. He had alleged that all development works in his constituency had come to a standstill after the Congress came to power, adding that he was not even informed about the Chief Minister’s visit to his constituency. He had also accused the organisers of the function of ignoring Ms Chaudhary while extending invitations for the function and inserting advertisements in newspapers.

Meanwhile, Mr Lalli left for Chandigarh this evening where he was called by Mr Hanspal.


Zila Parishad chief’s election put off
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 11
Elections to the posts of Chairman and vice-chairman of the Sangrur district Zila Parishad (ZP), scheduled for today, have been postponed .

Political sources here view that groupism in the Congress had led to the postponement of elections as the party, which had majority, could not decide the candidate for the chairman’s post.

However, Mr Balwinder Singh, ADC-cum-Returning Officer for these elections, said that the elections had been postponed due to law and order problems as the administration had received police reports in this regard.

Out the 37 members who are to vote for these posts, the Congress has 31 members while six members belong to the Akali Dal. These 31 members belong to different factions in the party and names of four candidates for the post of chairman were being floated by groups or individuals.

However, the name of Mr Sarbjit Singh, a retired BDPO, is on the top for the post of chairman. He is considered close to Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, MLA from Lehragaga and Punjab Minister. A supporter of Mrs Bhattal claimed that Mr Sarbjit Singh had the support of 29 members.

The name of Mr Darshan Singh Majhi is reportedly being proposed for the post of chairman by the faction of Mr Arvind Khanna, an MLA from Sangrur. Besides these Mr Bhagwant Singh Lakhmirwala is also said to be in the race. It is said that Mr Bhagwant Singh is in touch with Mrs Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala. In this regard another member of the ZP, Mr Sham Singh, is also being mentioned for the post of chairman. He has reportedly has the blessings of a senior Punjab minister.

A confident of Sangrur MLA Arvind Khanna said the election had been postponed as consensus on the candidate for the post of chairman eluded. He said that now these elections might be held after election to the Himachal Assembly as Captain Amarinder Singh was busy campaigning there.

Sources added that Mr Sarbjit Singh, a candidate for the post of chairman, wanted an election for the post while others favoured a consensus candidate.

Kapurthala: Mr G.K. Sabharwal, Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Presiding Officer, again postponed the election to the posts of Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Zila Parishad today on the pretext that a few members could not attend the election process.

In a press note issued by the District Public Relations Officer on behalf of Mr Sabharwal the date of election to the post of Chairman and Vice-Chairman was fixed for today at 11 a.m.

Meanwhile, seven members of the Zila Parishad owing allegiance to the SAD and the BSP along with Bibi Jagir Kaur, former President of the SGPC and Akali MLA from Bholath, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, an Akali MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi, Mr Raghbir Singh, former Transport Minister, Mr Swarna Ram, former BJP minister, and other senior leaders of the SAD, the BJP and the BSP reached the office of the Zila Parishad, venue for the election, and kept waiting for Mr Sabharwal, who was to conduct the election. But Mr Sabharwal arrived late and informed the members that the election could not be conducted as a few members of the Zila Parishad could not attend the election process.

This enraged the members of the Zila Parishad and leaders who raised slogans against the government and the ADC. Thereafter they marched in a procession to the office of Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Verma, and presented a memorandum protesting against the postponement of the election. Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Raghbir Singh told The Tribune that the seven members, who were present in the office of the Zila Parishad, had elected Mrs Kulwant Kaur as the Chairman and Mr Kashmir Singh Mahi as the Vice-Chairman. They asked the Deputy Commissioner to intimate the Punjab Government of the election of Mrs Kulwant Kaur and Mr Kashmir Singh Mahi.

Interestingly all eight members belonging to the Congress today again did not participate in the election process as they could not decide on consensus candidates for the posts.

Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Mr Rajanbir Singh, both former secretaries of the PPCC, who had been camping in the local Civil Rest House, along with Mr Sadhu Singh, president of the DCC, and Mr Arun Jalota, senior vice-president, admitted that no decision could be taken on consensus candidates by the Congress members.


Kuldeep Kaur heads Ropar Zila Parishad
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 11
Ms Kuldeep Kaur of the Congress from the Bharatgarh zone was unanimously elected as President of the Ropar Zila Parishad in the election held today under the supervision of the Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) here, Mr Vikas Garg.

Earlier Ms Kuldeep Kaur was unanimously elected as the Zila Parishad member from the Bharatgarh zone. Besides, Mr Harbans Singh of the Congress from the Teur zone was unanimously elected as the Vice-Chairman of the Ropar Zila Parishad.


Cop facing criminal cases gets VIP treatment
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 11
The hangover of unbridled powers enjoyed during the heyday of militancy in the state by a dismissed Inspector of the Punjab police, Budh Singh, seems to he still continuing. Budh Singh, though facing more than seven criminal cases, was given VVIP treatment at the local court complex by the policemen who brought him from the local Central Jail to present him in the court in a corruption case.

Budh Singh was given a chair to sit in the sunshine and was offered tea and snacks while the other accused, whose court hearing was fixed for today, were bundled into a dingy room, known as Bakshi Khana, situated in a corner of the complex. These accused were not allowed to meet their known persons and kin but Budh Singh was allowed access to everyone.

When the photographer of The Tribune tried to click a photograph of Budh Singh enjoying the “hospitality” of the Punjab police in the court complex, the policemen on duty tried to snatch his camera. However, he managed to escape from there.

Mr Swaran Singh, Superintendent of the Central Jail, when contacted, said the jail authorities had nothing to do with the appearance of an accused in the court. The accused were taken to the court from the jail by personnel of the Punjab police. He added that he had nothing to do with the “VVIP” treatment meted out or not to Budh Singh in the court complex.

Budh Singh earned notoriety for indulging in all sorts of human rights violations, including stripping a woman in front of her son in the local police station, indulging in extortion, intimidation and theft, and enjoyed political patronage in the past. He was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau in the recent past for amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. He has been facing at lead six criminal cases in different police stations in Bathinda and Mansa districts.

A case against him was registered under Section 13 (I) E read with Section 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act in the Vigilance Bureau police station, Bathinda, for amassing wealth worth Rs 16,75,329 during January 1, 1987, to December 31, 1998, which was disproportionate to his known sources of income. During this period Budh Singh had spent Rs 21,58,024 against his income of Rs 4,82,695.

According to the documents seized from his house by the Vigilance team, Budh Singh had purchased different pieces of land worth lakhs in Thandewala village of Muktsar district, Bhadurgarh Jattian village of Bathinda district and in Muktsar town. Another case against Budh Singh was registered under the Excise Act for possessing about 10 bottles of liquor against the law.


Now cinemas turn to World Cup
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 11
Facing a slump in business over the past many years due to dwindling number of cinegoers and heavy overhead expenses, including taxes, a section of cinema houses of Punjab has tried to increase income by showing all one dayers of ICC World Cup 2003 on big screen.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that at present three cinema houses in Gurdaspur, Patiala, and Bathinda districts were showing world cup matches on the big screen to attract the crowd to fill their coffers as over the past few years people had started preferring to watch their favourite Bollywood movies at home on their TV sets. Many other cinema houses were setting up infrastructure to show one day cricket matches live.

Sources said these cinema houses were showing world cup matches after getting rights for it from the authorities concerned. However, Mr Yashpal Mittal, secretary, Northern India Motion Picture Association, Punjab, said so far the association had not received any application from any cinema owner for exhibiting the cricket matches. He added that the cinema houses which were showing one day matches, were doing it on their own.

“So far the response of the public to watch world cup matches on the big screen is not encouraging as few people are actually turning up. May be after some time the cricket enthusiasts make the house full,” pointed out one of the cinema owners while talking to TNS on the condition of anonymity. He added that he was expecting a great rush one the day Indian team played a match.

The cinema owner said tickets were being sold at normal rates. Viewers were being extended all facilities which were available in the cinema house. He hoped that the revenue from the exhibition of world cup matches would affect their balance sheets positively.

Information revealed that some cinema houses had started advance booking for the India-Pakistan match on March 1.

Meanwhile, some social clubs including the Bathinda Civil Lines Club, had also started showing cricket matches by installing projectors in their halls.


‘Punjab on brink of precipice’
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Thousands of Akalis, who had participated in “rasta roko” by converging on the main roads of Punjab on Monday have returned home. So have six of the 20 MPs who had met Capt Amarinder Singh at Punjab Bhavan in Chandigarh to discuss the state’s problems/issues that the Chief Minister expects them to raise in Parliament.

While Capt Amarinder Singh has dubbed the Akalis’ action as “uneventful”, Mr Parkash Singh Badal has criticised the Congress for its “non-performance” and “anti-people” policies.

Capt Amarinder Singh has repeatedly promised to “honour” every word of the election manifesto, which for the Congress is not merely a “political ritual” but “voice of the people” with the Congress committed to their welfare. On the contrary, Mr Badal has repeatedly said the government has “backtracked” on all poll promises, forcing people to fight against the Congress “injustice”. He wants all “facilities” given to the people by SAD-BJP government to be restored and all “police atrocities” to end. Is the cause of Punjab served in any manner by either the presence of Akalis on the roads or the absence of MPs at the meeting?

Even as this perennial tug-of-war between the Akalis and Congress continues, a question arises. Who will nurse Punjab’s bruised economy, galvanise its administrative delivery system for equitable distribution of social/economic services, eradicate mismanagement, misgovernance, nepotism and greed that have made the state sick?

In its election manifesto, the Congress has said, “Punjab today stands on the brink of a moral and economic precipice”.

Has the situation improved in the past nearly one year with the Congress in power? Has Punjab pulled itself back from the edge of the precipice? The answer will generate a debate. The fact remains that problems/issues that pushed Punjab to the edge of the precipice are still live and same. These were often taken up by SAD-BJP with the Centre. Yet these remain unresolved. Despite being an ally of the NDA-government, the Akalis did not do enough vis-a-vis Punjab’s fiscal/socio-economic interests to save it tumbling over the precipice. The Akalis are as much to be blamed for the ills that beset Punjab today, as the Congress, whether during an elected government or in President’s rule with Punjab still perched on the brink.

The common perception in Punjab today is that on “vital issues”, the Congress ministers are shy of personal meetings with their counterparts in New Delhi. They are contended with writing demi-official letters, drafted by bureaucrats.

It goes to the credit of Mr Badal, who at least went around the union ministries for projects/grants or joined hands with his Haryana counterparts, Mr Bansi Lal/Mr Om Prakash Chautala to lobby for remunerative MSP (minimum support price) for wheat/paddy. It is a different matter that because of political exigencies or political convenience, Mr Badal never raised contentious inter-state issues. Also, the Akalis cannot be absolved of subverting the administrative systems to suit their populist agenda. The Congress, as per its election manifesto, is committed to competitive populism. Is the Congress administration any better?

Therefore, the 25-odd problems/issues that the Chief Minister identified and twice placed them before MPs, means much to Punjab in resuscitating/rejuvenating the state’s economy or initiating development or implementing its fiscal reforms. The key issues still revolve around the “revival” of agriculture through remunerative MSP, attracting investment in industry/infrastructure, special economic package, squaring of dues of Rs 4,342 crore that the Centre owes on foodgrain procurement alone, resolving sugar crisis/pulling sugar mills out of the molasses, development of border districts, relief for fighting drought, deciding the future of the Bathinda oil refinery in favour of the state etc. Does it also mean getting reduced to the level of “supplicant” before the Central government, as the Congress has accused the SAD-BJP of in its poll manifesto?


BJP spreading communalism, says CPM
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 11
Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, general secretary of the CPM has alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party heading the Union Government was spreading communalism only to retain power at the Centre.

He was here today to address party’s conference organised to make preparations for the All-India Kisan Conference being organised at Jalandhar in March. Mr Surjeet said that in the event of a change at the Centre the CPM would have understanding with the Congress. Mr Surjeet said that the BJP has been ignoring the NDA agenda and was after issues like Ram mandir and other controversial issues.

He said the Union Government was doing nothing to counter moves of America’s attack on Iraq. The CPM leader blamed the BJP for adopting the communal approach to foment lawlessness in the country. Prof Balwant Singh, party’s state secretary, Mr Vijay Mishra, district Amritsar secretary and others also spoke on the occasion..


Chhattisgarh’s offer on power plants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Punjab is exploring the possibility of setting up a thermal power plant in Chhattisgarh to bring down its per unit expenditure of 25 paise per kw to 3 paise.

“Talks between the Punjab Chief Minister and me, energy ministers of the two states and secretaries of the states have taken place for the purpose,” Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi told a press conference here today.

Mr Jogi said the offer for setting up a power plant for Punjab was made to Captain Amarinder Singh’s predecessor and now it was moving in a positive direction. He said the offer had also been made to Haryana in this regard.

Mr Jogi said the tribal state had an optimum capability of 50,000 MW of thermal power and had been able to get commitment of Rs 65,000 crore investments during the last two years of the creation of the state.

He said Gujarat and Delhi had started setting up their power plants in the state.

The Chief Minister, who opposed disinvestment of BALCO tooth and nail, however, expressed his inability to cancel privatisation of 20 km of stretch of the Sheonath River.

Mr Jogi said the agreement had been reached by the Madhya Pradesh Government headed by Mr Digvijay Singh at least ten years back.


Strengthen’ groups of Red Cross volunteers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, February 11
Dr Vimala Ramalingam, Secretary-General of the Indian Red Cross Society, today advocated further strengthening of groups of volunteers across the country to serve without any discrimination.

Dr Ramalingam, while presiding over the first meeting of the secretaries of the district Red Cross branches of Punjab here today, said Red Cross should be accorded an autonomous status maintaining close coordination with the Central and state governments. “We have decided to further strengthen groups of volunteers by imparting them training which will help in motivating them to serve,” she added.

She said the main aim of her visit to Punjab was to know about the achievements of the Red Cross officials here and the problems being faced by them. This would help her in improving the functioning of the 17 Red Cross branches in the state.

The Deputy Commissioner and president of the District Red Cross Society, Mr K. Siva Prasad, said it was decided to impart vocational training to 165 students of the Red Cross School for Deaf to help them become self-employed after completion of their studies. He presented a Rs 32 lakh proposal to Dr Ramalingam pertaining to upgradation of the vocational training programme in the school.

The meeting was also attended by Capt R.S. Jaiya, secretary of the Punjab Red Cross Society. Later, Capt Jaiya visited the Red Cross School for Deaf and distributed 65 super special hearing aids, four group hearing aids, and 150 blankets among the students. He also gave to the school authorities a cheque for Rs 15,000 for the purchase of toys for students.

Dr Ramalingam approved a proposal to release Rs 5 lakh for the construction of a regional training centre at Chandigarh.


Railway anti-collision device’s commissioning
in Dec
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 11
Union Minister of State for Railways A.K. Murthy today said the Anti-Collision Device developed by the Railways would be commissioned in December this year after testing the device throughout the country.

Addressing a press conference here after reviewing the functioning of the Diesel Components Works (DCW) here, Mr Murthy said the device was being tested in the North Western Railways for the past a few months and testing would conclude soon. He hoped with the induction of the Anti-Collision Device railway accident rate would fall further.

The Minister said an air brake unit was being fitted in locomotives. The brake unit would be linked with all railway stations and level crossings. He said if the track was not clear at any place the train would be brought to a stop by the device. All vacant posts related to Rail Safety were being filled. He said refresher courses for drivers and conductors were being organised to make them aware of latest safety norms.

Mr Murthy said steps were also being taken to expand the Diesel Component Works (DCW) unit. Rubber shop was being expanded locomotives would also be built here in a collaboration with General Electric Company of the United States of America. An attempt to give a fillip to the export of spare parts made by the DCW, was under consideration.

DCW Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ashoka Baijal said spare parts worth Rs 60 lakh had been exported to Tanzania and South Africa in the current year and more exports were likely. Mr Baijal said traction motor rewinding facilities were being created for Vietnam and 40 orders had been received in this regard.

Mr Baijal also added that the DCW had started upgradation of old locomotives received by it for remodeling and fitting these with a Microprocessor Based Control system after these had been in service for 20 years. He said DCW had upgraded 2600 horse power rail engines to 3300 horse power during their rebuilding. He said the additional 700 HP was added at negligible cost. The locomotives with upgraded horse power would haul longer trains with additional Air-Conditioned coaches at higher speeds. Fitting of Microprocessor-Based Controls in locomotives would ensure safety, Mr Baijal added.

Northern Railway Divisional Manager Keshav Chandra disclosed that after the Bathinda-Delhi Shatabdi was discontinued the Malwa region had been given another train - Inter City express in its place with same halts.


PSEB imposes penalty of 61 lakh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 11
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today claimed it had imposed a penalty of Rs 61 lakh on both industrial and general consumers found indulging in power theft during a five-day anti-theft drive conducted by its enforcement wing.

A PSEB release here said as many as 39 teams had been constituted to raid industrial and general premesis in a random manner in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Gobindgarh, Khanna, Ludhiana, Mohali, Zirakpur and Dera Bassi during the drive.

It said the drive was initiated from Jalandhar on February 7. A total of 66 connections were checked with 23 belonging to the industrial sector and 43 being general connections. The Board claimed that 18 consumers were found guilty of power theft and a penalty of Rs 3.49 lakh was imposed on them.

The release said in Amritsar a total of 250 connections had been checked by 27 flying squads. It said 81 consumers were found to be indulging in power theft and a penaly of Rs 16.89 lakh was imposed on them. At Gobindgarh and Khanna 37 of the 127 consumers checked were found to be indulginging in malpractices and a fine of Rs 7.63 lakh was imposed on them.

The PSEB claimed that 119 industrial and 78 general connections were checked in Ludhiana city. It said 78 persons were found guilty of malpractices and a fine of Rs 24.15 lakh was imposed on them. At Mohali, Zirakpur and Dera Bassi 38 consumers were found to be indulging in malpractices.


Raids in Haryana likely
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 11
The Punjab police is planning to conduct raids in Haryana to arrest 10 residents of the state booked on the suspicion of having purchased 350 acres in Naglian and Khairpur villages of Ropar on behalf of the former Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

According to sources, the Punjab police had laid a trap in Chandigarh for two accused in the case Sandeep Godhara and Amir Singh. However, they escaped the police trap and fled to Haryana.

The police was now planning to send teams to Haryana to arrest all accused in the case. The police officers, however, were apprehensive about the success of their raids in Haryana due to the unfriendly government there.

Meanwhile, Kamir Singh, a Mani Majra-based Development Officer of the LIC, who was arrested by the police in the case, had been remanded in police custody by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ropar, till tomorrow. The sources said the police was now relying on his confession to identify the real owners of the benami land purchased here.

The district administration was also examining the role of the revenue officials, who affected the said benami land deal.


Arrest of 3 stayed in kidney scam case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
In less than a month after the great kidney conspiracy was unearthed, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the arrest of a doctor, an advocate and another accused in the case.

Pronouncing the orders in the open Court on petitions filed by Dr Bhupinder Singh, advocate Pardeep Saini and Suresh Kumar, the Judge also fixed February 25 as the next date of hearing in the case.

They were 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.

Seeking the grant of bail, Dr Bhupinder Singh’s counsel had earlier submitted that the police had no jurisdiction to register a criminal case. The police, he had added, was trying to snatch power from the appropriate authority appointed by the state government which was to inspect the hospitals, besides the nursing homes, and in case of complaint look into the matter before filing complaint before the Magistrate if there was any violation.

Counsel for the advocate 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.

He had further added that none of the documents, including the affidavits, had his signatures. 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.


The delimitation of wards of Batala Municipal Council was challenged by four SAD-BJP Councillors of Batala. Taking up the writ petition filed by Mr Manjit Singh and others, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents for February 17.

In their petition, the four had also sought directions for quashing the order of delimitation dated December 11 last year. They had added that the respondents should be directed to go in for a fresh delimitation strictly as per the rules. Giving details, they had added while some wards as per the new scheme had about 1500 to 2000 voters, others had more than 7000 voters.


Rally by PRTC men
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 11
The 24-hour fast of the PRTC employees ended peacefully with a rally addressed by senior PRTC employee union leaders here today. Mr Pritam Singh, a senior leader of the union, alleged that the government was not serious on the revival of the PRTC and interests of workers were being ignored to benefit vested interests. He said that state transport authorities were not taking action against illegal plying of buses and taxis, affecting the business of the corporation.

He said that recommendations of the Disinvestment Commission were being implemented without going into the cause of losses of the PRTC. He alleged losses of the PRTC were due to large-scale corruption in the purchase of various items, including buses, and policies of the government in which the workers had no role.

He said that even regular posts were vacant in the PRTC but employees were being recruited on ad hoc and contract basis. He said that the government had not released Rs 7 crore due as arrears. He demanded that the officials found guilty of corruption should be sacked and those facing charges should be suspended. The union also demanded that at least 200 new buses should be added to the flect of the PRTC.


Phone services in bad shape
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 11
Telephone services in the city are in bad shape. A number of complaints have not been attended for a long time.

Mr Ram Lubbaya, retired Head Clerk of the local Municipal Committee, said his connection had been disconnected on the plea that he had not paid the bill for the last month on time.

He said the fact was that he had paid the bill before time and had to face harassment without any fault. His telephone was restored after about four days on the production of a receipt against the payment of the bill.

When this correspondent visited the exchange in this connection, he found a large queue for the restoration of connections.

There are complaints that since the takeover of the exchange by the BSNL, bills are being issued late. On inquiries, it was found that the preparation of the bills had been entrusted to a private party of Amritsar.

The bills are computerised before being dispatched and at times reach the subscribers quite late.

There are also complaints that faults are not being attended to in time.


ASI dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, February 11
An ASI of the Punjab police, Mr Harvinder Singh Lali (34), son of Mr Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Sant Ram Street Malerkotla, was killed in a road accident near Barnala last night.

According to information Mr Harvinder Singh was coming here from Mansa after attending a marriage on the way near Barnala, his Maruti car was hit by a truck. He died on the spot. The driver of the truck escaped. His body was cremated here today.


Manch workers hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 11
Hundreds of workers of the ‘Rashtriya Bihar Vikas Manch’ today held a dharna in front of the post-mortem room here. They were protesting against the alleged carelessness shown by doctors of a government hospital in treating a migrant labourer who was critically injured in an accident and later died on February 9.

The manch demanded the suspension of doctors and Rs 10 lakh as compensation for the family of the deceased labourer. The manch chairman, Mr S.P. Giri, threatened to launch an agitation and suspend work in all industrial units in the district.


Pak intruder arrested
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, February 11
Troops belonging to the 14 Battalion of the BSF have apprehended a Pakistani intruder near the Gatti Hayat border outpost in Mamdot block.

According to BSF officials, the intruder has been identified as Rasool, aged around 50 years. He came 300 yards inside the Indian territory when he was spotted by troops deployed at the Gatti Hayat border outpost and surrounded. Later he was arrested and sent in police remand after investigations.

The BSF officials said the intruder knew only Pashto language and had just Rs 8 in Pakistani currency with him.


Sacked labourers taken back
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 11
Mr Kiranjit Singh, state president of the Dalit Sena, said here today that the sacked contract labourers of the NFL had been taken back afer a fast and protests by the Dalit Sena.

He claimed that a meeting with senior officers of the NFL was held here today after which the contractor and the workers were asked to rejoin their duties from tomorrow. He said the contractor had promised not to reduce the work force.

Mr Nagpal, General Manager, NFL, confirmed that the issues had been settled. 


Train derailed in Ferozepore

Ferozepore, February 11
Two coaches of the city-bound 10FF Fazilka-Ferozepore passenger train derailed near the Ferozepore Cantonment railway station last night, railway sources said today. However, nobody was injured in the incident.

The coaches derailed when the train from Fazilka was halting at platform number five of the station, the sources added.

Meanwhile, Senior Divisional Safety Officer R.S. Geera has ordered an inquiry into the incident. UNI


Farmers gherao PSEB office
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 11
Hundreds of farmers from Gohalwar, Kot Dosandhi Mal, Behla, Rataul, Pandori Takhat Mal, Pandori Rehmana, Pandori Sidhwan and other villages of the area gheraoed the subdivisional office of PSEB, Gohalwar, in protest against the move to charge power supplied to tubewells.

Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener of the sangarsh committee, and other leaders of the committee addressed the farmers and warned the PSEB authorities against disconnecting their power connections.

The sangharash committee has decided to intensify the move against the government.


Eight drug inspectors soon
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 11
The state government will appoint eight doctors as drug inspectors soon.

This was disclosed by Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health Services Punjab, while talking to a deputation of chemists here yesterday.

The deputation which was led by Mr Dharambir Kapoor, president, All-India Chemists and Doctors Forum, had met Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, where the Director, Health Services, was also present. Mr Kapur suggested that the state Drugs Control Committee be constituted and the appointment of drugs inspectors should be done on a regular basis from pharmacy graduates.

Mr Dogra said the constitution of the Drugs Advisory Committee was in progress.


Two held, fake currency seized
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 11
Acting on a tip-off, the police yesterday arrested two persons and seized fake currency notes, worth Rs 900 from them. According to information, a policy party near MK Hotel got information that Sukhjit Singh, a resident of Kohala village and Rajinder Singh of Siala Kalan village who were going to Ranjit Avenue from T-point were supplying fake currency. The team headed by ASI Parvesh Chopra intercepted the two who tried to flee after seeing the police. They were arrested near the old jail road and fake currency notes worth Rs 900 were seized from their possession.


Students go on strike
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 11
Students of Ropar Government College today went on strike to protest against the illegal detention of a student by the police allegedly at the behest of a local cable operator.

A tiff between the students residing in the hostel of the college and cable operators started on Sunday night. At least five to six workers of a local cable operator, Grewal cables, allegedly entered the hostel of the college forcibly under the influence of liquor at about 11 pm on Sunday and manhandled Parshotam Lal, a student of BA III, on the suspicion that he tampered with the cable wire going over the hostel building

The Principal of the college, Mrs Sukhjinder Kaur Bhattal, while talking to this correspondent said that after being informed about the incident, she called the cable operator to her office. However, he refused to resolve the issue and instead boasted that he had links with police officials.

At about 5.30 pm on Monday he came along with a few policemen and picked up Parshotam Lal from the hostel without informing the college authorities. Parshotam Lal was kept in illegal detention at the local police station and was released only after three lecturers of the college gave a security of the student in writing at about 8.30 pm.

The students of the college peeved at the high-handedness of the cable operator and the illegal detention of a hostel resident of the college went on strike today, the Principal said.

A delegation of college teachers and students, led by the Principal, Mrs Bhattal, today met the SSP, Ropar. Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, to report about the illegal detention of the college student and illegal entry of the workers of the cable operators in the college premises. The SSP assured the delegation of action against the erring workers of the cable operators.

The Principal of the college also said that the college management had decided not to allow cable operators to lay their wires across the college campus.


Rs 2.46 cr for Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 11
The district administration has launched comprehensive plan to implement the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan in the district and Rs 2.46 crore have been earmarked for the same.

Under the scheme, primary education would be strengthened at grass-root level so as to ensure compulsory education for children between six to 14 years of age, said Mr Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman of the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan, while presiding over a meeting of the Education Development Committee in the Bachat Bhavan here today.

He said Rs 94.93 lakh had been already spent out of the total amount on various schemes for various works. He said 450 primary schools in the district had been adopted under the scheme and Rs 26.25 lakh had been spent on providing clean drinking water and on sanitary in 75 schools. Besides, Rs 100.34 lakh had been spent on repair and maintenance of 577 primary and upper primary school buildings and repair of furniture.

He said Rs 1.92 lakh had been spent on other official expenses of six block offices and 47 Central schools. An amount of Rs 19.56 lakh had been already spent on printing of books under the abhian. He said Rs 15.1 lakh would be spent under the education grant scheme, which aimed at ensuring compulsory education for girls. He said Rs 46.08 would be spent on improving the quality of education while Rs 3.93 lakh would be spent on remunerations of temporary teachers.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, asked the officials to identify poor families and to extend the facility to them. Ms Iqbal Kaur DEO(S), Ms Mohinder Kaur, DEO(P), also spoke on the occasion.


GND varsity wins overall trophy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 11
Guru Nanak Dev University has won the all-India Inter-varsity overall national youth festival trophy for the third consecutive year.

The festival concluded at Warangal today. Earlier it won this trophy for 2001 held at Varanasi and for 2002 held here. The festival was organised by Association of Indian Universities and the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India.

North zone champion, Guru Nanak Dev University participated in music, theatre, literary and fine art contests. To win the overall music trophy, the university represented north zone in classical vocal, classical non-percussion, light vocal, western vocal (solo), group song, classical percussion and western group song contest, it has also win theatre trophy at this festival and participated in mime, mimicry and skit to win this trophy.


VC honours sportsmen
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, February 11
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai today honoured sportsmen of the varsity who excelled in the All-India inter-university championship held at Gulbarga in Karnataka recently.

Vir Vikram Singh and Amandeep who annexed gold medals in the hammer throw and discus throw, Gurkirat Singh who bagged the silver medal in the Javelin the varsity archery and korfball teams who bagged silver medals at the championships were among those honoured.

The Vice-Chancellor also appreciated the efforts of the Dean, Students Welfare Dr Narinder Singh Kapoor, Director, Sports, Prof Gulshan Rai Kataria, Joint Director, Sports Dr Bhupinder Singh for the efforts made by them saying a team effort resulted in a good showing in any game event. Mr Boparai also interacted with the players on the occasion.



Class VIII exam from Feb 14
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 11
Over 10 lakh students from the region will be appearing in the Class VIII, X and XII final examinations to be conducted by the Punjab School Education Board. While the Class VIII examinations are scheduled to begin from February 14, the Class X and Class XII examinations will begin from March 5.

Over 4.58 lakh students will be appearing in the Class VIII examinations, 3.76 lakh students in the Class X examinations while over 1.58 lakh students are appearing in the Class XII examination. The roll numbers for the Class X examinations will be sent from February 24 to 26 to the heads of the centres on the pattern of the middle exams. The roll numbers of the private candidates are being sent by registered post.


Annual function

Nabha, February 11
Mr Romesh Dutt Sharma, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, on Monday presided over the annual prize distribution of the local Government Girls Senior Secondary School and distributed prizes among the students. OC

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