Saturday, February 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab in vortex of crises
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, has written a letter to his Rajya Sabha colleague, Union minister, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, suggesting that he call a meeting of all MPs from the state for a discussion on issues that concern Punjab and Punjabis. Though focus of his letter is on the matter that concern the Sikhs, he has weaved in some other equally crucial economic and educational issues as well.

This letter has come at a time when a wide spectrum of problems have pushed Punjab into a vortex of crises — fiscal, socio-economic, agro-industrial, religion-cultural, etc. — that are now spilling onto the law and order turf.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has twice met the MPs from Punjab to identify the issues and post them with briefs on them, hoping they would raise them in Parliament and pursue them with the ministries concerned. While the critics may dismiss it as a political cosmetic move, the fact is that it has created public awareness of the problems that beset Punjab. Despite the process of “reforms” having started in 1990s, these “reforms” are still to remedy or remove “deformities” that afflict the state’s politico-administrative governance.

Where Mr Mann talks of ‘’inadequate’’ minimum support price for wheat, he also regrets the Centre withholding its consent to Punjab to sell its sugar to neighbouring J and K which gets it from Maharashtra and Gujarat. Punjab has a stock of sugar worth Rs 500 crore.

Mr Mann has reiterated the need for reconstructing the social and economic life of the people living on the razor’s edge in the border districts, of Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ferozepore, who have suffered on account of heightened tension between India and Pakistan, which necessitated prolonged deployment of the Army. The letter seeks an official statement from the NDA government and adequate compensation to the people.

Bringing Punjab on the ‘’religious-tourism circuit’’ is another issue raised by Mr Mann. Should not the Union Ministries of Tourism, Culture and Aviation put Punjab on the international map by developing proper facilities for the Punjabi diaspora around the world? He refers to the on-going Punjab heritage show at Patiala and also Baisakhi ahead, preceded by Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib. For these events the Union Government must step in and declare them national festivals. Since a group of pilgrims visits Pakistan on the occasion of Baisakhi, Mr Mann is keen that Mr Dhindsa take up the issue with the Prime Minister and let it be known well in time if a jatha would visit gurdwaras in Pakistan. Mr Mann has opposed linking up of rivers and cited riparian principles. He hopes that Punjab’s interests would not be ignored on the river and water issues as in the case of the Rajiv-Longowal accord. Also, the issue of the SYL should be buried once and for all.

The letter reminds Mr Dhindsa of a memorandum that a score of MPs had submitted to the Prime Minister for setting up of a defence university at Anandpur Sahib. He has suggested that the issue be taken up in the Cabinet. In the same manner, Mr Mann has pleaded that since both represent Sangrur, it is high time that ‘’our area’’ also has some institution of higher learning, say a university. There is no engineering or medical college. ‘’We are terribly lacking in central investment in the field of education. We do not have a single IIT in the state’’.

He has also suggested an Urdu academy for Malerkotla. Mr Mann has sought special favour for the poor Muslim families to be allowed to go to Pakistan to meet their relations via Wagah, rather than their taking an unaffordable air route via Gulf.

If Mr Mann has expressed his concern over black-listed Sikhs abroad, who are not allowed to visit India, he has also spoken about 30,000 Sikhs in J and K, who have remained ‘’stateless’’ since 1947. Mr Mann’s letter also lists as many as 15 international and UN resolutions on human rights that he took up with the Prime Minister hoping that once India ratifies these, the life of minorities would be much better in India.

In the current Budget session, the Hindu Code Bill is coming up for an amendment. Since the Sikhs are a ‘’different’’ people and ‘’separate’’ from the Hindus, as has also been declared by the Constitution Review Commission set up by the NDA government, Mr Mann has asked Mr Dhindsa to take up with the Law Minister to have a draft prepared for a "Sikh code bill".


Relief work politicised, say villagers
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 21
Even after the visit of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to Jandwala Meerasangla village, the worst affected by Tuesday’s squall majority of the villagers said the relief operations had been politicised. Residents on their own had collected wheat and cash and distributed the same among those who had been rendered homeless.

Mr Aad Lal Jakhar, district president of the Indian National Lok Dal, who visited the village today along with a team of newspersons today was told by Lachhman Singh Nambardar and Pannu Ram, a former Sarpanch, that the Chief Minister had yesterday distributed cheques for Rs 50,000 only to the kin of three residents who had died in the squall.

The administration had announced that a relief camp would be set at the government school but normal studies and exams were in progress today at all schools there. The BSNL had restored telephone links of some PCOs and that of some individuals. The drinking water supply remained suspended. No effort had been made to make available essential items to those affected. Almost all officers and individual visitors had concentrated their attention on the area around the damaged temple but damaged houses on the other side of the village remained ignored, the residents said.

Des Raj, a member of the village panchayat, claimed that 20 families were provided tarpaulins but the visiting newspersons were shown old, partly damaged ploythene sheets by the beneficiaries.

Mr Jakhar suggested that a relief committee of all ex-sarpanches, besides the present Sarpanch and nambardars should be formed to ensure quick and fair operations.


Man killed in front of SDM’s court
Our Correspondent

Batala, February 21
Mr Hardev Singh (34) son of Narangan Singh of Khujala village under Ghuman police station of Batala police district was killed today in front of the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate here.

Mr Jagdev Singh son of Mr Naganjan Singh, brother of the deceased said here today that he had love affair with Rajwant Kaur daughter of Jasbir Singh of Khujala village, which resulted in their marriage last year at Sat Kartarian Gurdwara, Batala against the wishes of the family of Rajwant Kaur. He added that after the marriage, he had sent his wife (Rajwant Kaur) to Singapur to work there and she came back on January 5, 2003 and they started living together at places other than their village.

He added under pressure from family of the girl the police arrested them under Section 109 of the CrPC on February 8, 2003. He told that today, they had come to the court of the SDM, Batala to apply for the registration of marriage and while they were sitting with their advocate to prepare the papers, family members of the Rajwant Kaur came there and attacked them with sharp-edged weapons, causing the death of his brother and injuries to Rajwant Kaur and him.

Eye-witnesses said many police persons were present there but they did not intervene and arrest the culprits. The police did not registered a case till the filing of this news.


Dadwan — village of forgotten spies
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, February 21
Dadwan a small village near Dhariwal in the district, which has produced many spies engaged by the intelligence agencies is a forgotten village today. The families of these spies, who are in jails in Pakistan, are leading a life of starvation these days. So much so that when these spies, who after completing their sentence in Pakistan jails, enter Wagah they are arrested by the Punjab police on one pretext or the other.

Ashok Kumar, who had been to Pakistan 30 times in this regard under the Immigration Act when he entered Wagah. He is now on bail and is living a life of starvation. He was being paid Rs 1,000 per trip and Rs 3,000 per month by some intelligence agencies. But this family during his 42 months’ detention in Pakistan was not paid even a penny.

The fate of Santosh and Larence Masih, who have spent four years in Pakistan jails is no different. Their wives had to do menial jobs to make both ends meet.

David Masih has completed his sentence in a Pakistan jail and is likely to come to India any time. But a case of charas smuggling has already been registered against him by the police and he is likely to be arrested as soon as he enters India.

The wives of these spies demand that they should be given compensation and other facilities on a par with terrorist-hit families.

A charter of demands has been sent to Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister and Human Rights Commission.


Kidney racket: remand for middleman
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 21
Vickey Bhatia, a middleman in the multi-crore kidney scam was remanded in police custody for five days by a court here today. He would be now produced in the court on February 25. Vickey Bhatia surrendered before the Special Investigation Team yesterday.

The accused reportedly made huge sums by arranging donors for the hospital and Dr Sareen, main accused in the kidney scam. Meanwhile, the court of Mr K.C. Puri, Additional Sessions Judge, fixed the date of hearing for the bail application of Dr O.P. Mahajan, Dr Parveen Sareen and Dr Jagdish Gargi to February 28.


No-trust motion withdrawn

Fatehgarh Sahib Feb 21
The no-confidence motion against the president of Municipal Council, Sirhind, Fatehgarh Sahib, was not taken up today as 15 councillors withdrew the motion in writing.

Earlier, 18 councillors had submitted a no-confidence against the president of the council and he had fixed February 21 for deciding on the motion. OC


“Earmark funds for gaushalas in Budget”
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 21
The vice-president of the Punjab Gaushala Mahasangh, Mr Deepak Maghan, yesterday urged the Union Government to make provisions in the Central Government’s Budget for providing financial assistance to gaushalas. The provisions should be made in the proposed bill, regarding ban on cow slaughter, to be tabled by the government in the current Budget session of Parliament.

Talking to TNS here, Mr Maghan said an effective ban on cow slaughter could only be implemented by earmarking sufficient funds in the Budget for providing shelter, fodder and medical facilities to the cows.

Mr Maghan also demanded from the Union Government to grant NGO status to the gaushala management committees so that these could also get financial help from different state governments and semi-government institutions for the maintenance of gaushalas and protection of cows.

He also sought 100 per cent exemption in the income tax, sales tax and other such taxes on the donated amount by the donors to enhance the income of the gaushalas in a big way.

The mahasangh leader said the properties of the gaushalas should not be covered by the Rent Control Act for the betterment and good economic health of the gaushalas.

Mr Maghan urged the Punjab Animal Husbandry Minister to take effective steps to frame out a time-bound programme for the scientific development of cows and welfare of stray cows by setting up cow shelters at every district headquarters in the state. 


Dutch offer on waste management
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 21
A Dutch expert on solid waste management, Mr Ed Garsvo, said Holland was willing to offer its technical expertise for solving the problem of pollution and handling of the solid waste. Talking to mediapersons after a day-long visit to the city, organised by the Municipal Corporation, Mr Garsvo could offer expertise in agriculture and food processing. A comprehensive solid waste management system for Amritsar had been chalked out during their two-week long visit in December last year, he added.

Expressing his apprehension over the alarming increase in the pollution levels, particularly in urban areas, the Dutch expert said the preservation of environment and maintaining of ecological balance was very important and needed attention.

Earlier, he met representatives of the Municipal Corporation and various social welfare organisations to work on the solid waste management project report, which they had presented to the civic authorities. He said the government would have to take immediate steps to manage around 600 tonnes of daily solid garbage along with polluted water and the hospital waste. He suggested that the report had recommended to initiate the project in select residential and commercial areas. but would cover the entire city, later.


SGPC chief ‘ignores’ Takht directive
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 21
Almost ‘ignoring’ the directive of the Sikh clergy, issued in 1996, which had allowed baptised Sikh women to perform any ‘seva’ in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple, the SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar today announced that the ongoing religious practice which was being viewed as “maryada, could be changed only after taking all sections of the Panth” into confidence. In a press release, issued by the SGPC, here Mr Badungar categorically stated that no decision would be taken in haste on the maryada of the Golden Temple.

He asked the Sikh Panth to beware of the ‘anti-Panthic’ forces.


Notice to CBI in Bibi Jagir Kaur case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
On an application seeking the cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation and Bibi for March 7.

In his application, her daughter Harpreet Kaur’s “husband” Kamaljit Singh had earlier stated that Bibi’s nephew, arrested by the police, had revealed that he had gone to kill him on three different occasions, but could not succeed because of the security.

It was further alleged in the petition that Bibi was threatening the witnesses. Kusam, a key witness, had turned hostile during the cross examination though she had fully supported the prosecution case during the examination-in-chief.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, it may be recalled, had earlier “made it clear” to Bibi that she and her followers should maintain distance from Kanwaljit Singh and his family.

The Court had also observed that the directions were necessary so that “there was no interference with the due course of justice and there was a fair trial of the case”.

Notice issued

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab on a writ petition filed by Sukhdev Singh of Hoshiarpur challenging the election of Chairman of Hoshiarpur’s Block Samiti — I. The case will now come up for final disposal on March 11.


PPSC Secy (Exams) shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 21
The Punjab Government today shifted the PPSC Secretary (Examinations), Mr P.S. Gill, and posted him SDM, Sunam, vice Mr Balraj Singh Sekhon, who goes as SDM, Nihalsinghwala.

Mr Gill has been shifted following a controversy raised by certain members at a meeting of the commission at Patiala yesterday. One of the members had sought his transfer from the commission. The slot vacated Mr Gill has been left vacant. The FCI's Senior Regional Manager, Mr V.K. Singh, is back and posted as Secretary-cum-Director-General (Schools) in place of Mr Alok Shekhar, who goes as Additional Registrar, Cooperative Societies.


Residents refute PUDA claim
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 21
Even as the residents whose houses were demolished by PUDA authorities last evening for reportedly being constructed on encroached land have started shifting to other places, owners of the houses whose boundary walls were demolished claimed today that they had not encroached upon PUDA land.

Sources said the PUDA authorities had decided to take the opinion of the Revenue Department about the claims of such residents. The sources further said the Revenue Department would demarcate the land and only after that it would be known whether or not the residents had encroached upon PUDA land.

No senior PUDA official could be contacted as some of them had gone to Ferozepore, while others were busy in a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner regarding some official work.

Mr Iqbal Singh, an employee in the Agriculture Department, whose house was demolished, said they were not given any notice about the demolition. But the PUDA authorities claimed that this and the adjoining house was constructed on PUDA land.

Mr Randhawa, a relative of former Punjab minister Nirmal Singh Kahlon, who had reportedly encroached upon PUDA land, refuted PUDA claim. A boundary wall of his house was demolished. He said in 1996 the then PUDA Estate Officer had got the demarcation of the land done and he had constructed his house in accordance. He said he did have a copy of the demarcation report or any order passed by then PUDA authorities in this regard. He alleged that the boundary wall of his house was demolished without prior notice and the action was politically motivated.


DC orders probe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 21
Taking a serious note regarding the infusion of blood of wrong group to two patients who were under treatment at two local private clinics, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, today directed the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.K. Goyal, to take action against those found guilty.

Mr Verma has asked Dr Goyal to examine all details pertaining to the case.

Dr Goyal, who has already terminated the services of Mr Sunil Mehta, technician, blood bank, who had issued the wrong blood to the attendant of patient Chattar Singh while talking to TNS said a detail inquiry was being held into the whole affair.

He added that it was also being examined that whether a private clinic which had kept a unit of the blood group at its hospital for days together could do so or not as it was not having a licence for the same. It was also being examined whether it had committed contempt of court, which in its ruling had laid down that any clinic which did not have a licence to keep blood units in its premises could not keep the same.


Probe into ‘death due to negligence’ ordered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 21
Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda today ordered an inquiry into a death of a married woman namely Sona, a resident of Talwandi Sabo, who died in the civil hospital here allegedly due to negligence of a doctor posted in the Civil Hospital, Talwandi Sabo, who refused to admit her when she was taken there when she was injured after she got entangled with belt of a flour mill. Dr Goyal said he had deputed the District Health Officer (DHO), Bathinda, to hold the inquiry.

In a complaint, Mr Pirthi Ram, husband of the deceased, alleged that a few days ago when he took his wife to the civil hospital, Talwandi Sabo, the doctor concerned refused to admit her. Then he took his wife to civil hospital, Bathinda where his wife succumbed to her injuries. He added that his wife died due to delay in her treatment. He added that delay in the treatment of his wife was caused by the doctor, who refused to admit her in the civil hospital, Talwandi Sabo.


People enlightened on women’s health
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 21
The health authorities here conducted a ‘Girl Child Health Competition’ at Teona village near here where people were enlightened on of female foeticide, reproductive health and immunisation of children.

Dr Rajpal Singh, in charge, miniprimary Health Centre, Teona, in a press note here today said that villagers from Chughe Khurd, Teona and Teona Kothe participated. He said that women told about the benefit of breast-feeding, vaccination against six major diseases of the children, family planning and reproductive health. He said that female foeticide was a social evil of the society and laws and awareness would be able to tackle it.

Dr Avtar Singh Sidhu, SMO and Dr Rajpal Singh, later answered villager’s queries in the areas concerned.


No case against rice miller yet
Our Correspondent

Mansa, February 21
The district police has not registered a case against the owners of M/s Bishna Mal Puran Chand Rice Mill, Bareta, for alleged misappropriation of paddy and tampering of official records despite a written information sent by the District Manager of Punsup here to the SSP, Mansa, on August 9, 2002, as per the instructions of the head office of Punsup at Chandigarh.

According to a copy of the letter sent to the SSP, the Manager wrote that 44,660 bags of paddy had been stored in the mill during 1999-2000 for milling. The mill owner allegedly sold the paddy in the market and used the money for his own benefit. The owner removed his signature from the original milling agreement with Punsup, paddy receipts and other documents and managed to get signatures of somebody else decipherable as Vinod Kumar.

The possibility of involvement of employees of Punsup is also not ruled out. The department had requested the SSP for registration of a criminal case under Sections 420, 406, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

Mr S.S. Srivastva SSP, said an inquiry was going on in this connection.


BKU alleges farmer’s harassment
Our Correspondent

Maur Mandi (Bathinda), February 21
The BKU (E) has alleged that a farmer of Kotbhara village was manhandled by an arhtiya when the former refused to sign blank papers as was asked by the latter.

The farmer, Joginder Singh, had been selling his crop through the arhtiya for the past many years. The union alleged that the arhtiya had not given ‘J’ form giving information about the produce sold by the farmer for the past over one year. The union alleged that the arhtiya wanted to get the signature of the farmer on blank papers so that he (arhtiya) could write something against the farmer on these papers later.

Mr Raj Mohinder Singh, senior vice-president, of the local unit said during a meeting of the office-bearers of the union here today that the arhtiya also tried to take possession of the land which was taken by the farmer on lease. He added that the incident which occurred a few days ago was brought in the notice of the union today. Mr Raj alleged that the arhtiya was harassing the farmer, as he (arhtiya) did not want to declare the accounts of the crops the farmer had sold through the arhtiya.

On the other hand, the arhtiya, Mr Bittu, when contacted refuted the allegations. He said the farmer and the union were making false stories to malign his image. He said that the farmer wanted to gain sympathy so that he did not have to repay the loan taken from the arhtiya. Mr Bittu said the farmer raised false hue and cry, when he (arhtiya) asked him to repay the loan amounting to Rs 1.64 lakh.

He said the allegation that he wanted to take possession of the land being taken on lease by the farmer was also baseless. He added that to help the farmer for getting land on lease, he had given Rs 29,000 to him. He said he always gave ‘J’ forms whenever he purchased crop from farmers.


Judge divested of powers

Phagwara, February 21
On the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the powers of Ms Ramesh Kumari, Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, Phagwara had been withdrawn, Court sources said today.

The orders had been passed on to the judge concerned by Districts and Sessions Judge, Kapurthala, Gurdev Singh.

On being contacted, Mr Gurdev Singh confirmed it but refused to say anything more on the subject.

The powers now had been transferred to Ms Navjot Kaur Sohal, Civil Judge, Phagwara.

However, the cause of the withdrawal of powers could not be known. PTI


DC orders probe into birds’ deaths
Our Correspondent

Ropar, February 21
The Deputy Commissioner here, Ms Seema Jain, has directed the DFO, Ropar Range, to visit the site where birds perished in Nangal and conduct probe into the cause of death of birds.

The DC said that directions had also been issued to the Nangal Municipal Council to pay dues of the veterinary doctor to certify the health status of the animals of the slaughterhouse of Nangal.

The doctor was not allegedly paid his dues by the Nangal Council for the past five years.


Ban orders
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 21
Mr Anurag Verma, District Magistrate, has banned the use of olive colour (military colour) vehicles or clothes by the general public. The order will remain in force from February 24 to April 23. Mr Verma said the order had been passed so that any miscreant should not use military colour vehicles or clothes for anti-social activities.

Through another order Mr Verma has made mandatory the prior written permission of the Executive Engineer, Public Health Department, or Executive Engineer, Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, before digging wells in the rural as well as urban areas. He said the officials concerned would also supervise the work. He said the order would be in force from February 23 to April 22.


Ayurvedic doctor booked
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, February 21
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau sleuths have booked Dr Pankaj Bansal posted at Government Ayurvedic Dispensary, Janer in Moga district. Ms Anita Punj SP Vigilance Ferozepore Range said that Dr Bansal instead of going to the government dispensary, was running a private clinic in Moga where he was caught while accepting Rs 500 from Jagtar Singh. Mrs Punj told that Jagtar Singh, Kot Sadar Khan village went to government dispensary, Janer, to get medicine. He was advised to go to Dr Bansal’s clinic in Moga. She told that when Jagtar Singh went to Dr Bansal’s clinic in Moga, he was told to shell out Rs 500/-. Acting on the complaint of Jagtar Singh the police raided the clinic of Dr Bansal and caught him while accepting the money.

Mrs Punj told that inquiries reveal that Dr Bansal hardly used to go to the dispensary but managed proxy attendance. She disclosed that Rs 19,000 from his clinic besides cash amounting to Rs 3,11,710 from the residence of Dr Bansal. She revealed that in addition to the cash amount fixed deposits worth Rs 13 lakh besides 23 passbooks of different banks, numerous land registry deeds, share certificates, Indira Vikas Patras worth lakhs have also been recovered.

The SP Vigilance further told that in addition to the huge recovery of money, the Vigilance during the search of the house also seized 21 gm of opium. A case has been registered for possession of opium in City Police Station Moga and another case has been registered by the Vigilance Bureau police station Ferozepore.


Scuffle at wedding, 4 held
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, February 21
Three persons were injured at a wedding in Vandala village following a scuffle during which shots were fired at the marriage party. According to the information, during marriage of daughter of Sukhwinder Singh, some persons started fighting allegedly after consuming liquor. Balkar Singh, went to his house and came back with his three sons and allegedly fired at the marriage party with his .12 bore gun. Three persons Bakshish Singh, Sukhwinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh were injured and admitted in the Civil Hospital Ferozepore.

The police has arrested Balkar Singh, Nirmal Singh, Ranjit Singh and Sandeep Singh and a case has been registered.


2 cops held under Excise Act
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, February 21
The police arrested two constables Jaswant Singh and Rakesh Kumar SPO who were found distilling illicit liquor in their quarters in the compound of Sadar Police Station here. The police recovered 5 kg Lahan from their quarter. Later, they were remanded in judicial custody till March 6. A case has been registered under the Excise Act.


2 killed in accidents
Our Correspondent

Bhuchu Mandi (Bathinda), February 21
Mrs Aruna Rani, of this town was killed when she was run over by a jeep on the Lehra Khana road today.

Sources said that the deceased was on evening walk and was run over by the jeep, the driver of which, Jagjit Singh, has been arrested.

In another accident here today, Gursharan Singh, a resident of Bhuli village near here, married 10 days ago, was killed on the spot when a canter ran over him and two of his associates, while they were repairing a car on the main road.

Sources said that Gursharan Singh, Harjit Singh (village Nath Pura) and Nikka Singh (village Bhuchu Kalan) were repairing a car on the front side of their workshop when they were run over by a canter. The injured were rushed to the hospital and the driver of the canter, Rajbir Singh was arrested by the police.


VC clears stand on Punjabi
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 21
The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University said here today that the allegations coming from some quarters that the varsity was not doing enough to promote Punjabi were untrue and motivated by individual interests. He said the organisations that were trying to project him as ‘anti-Punjabi’ were doing the same because of vested political interests.

Criticising the individuals and organisations that had been trying to project that Punjabi University was more inclined towards other languages, the Vice-Chancellor said, “Punjabi development activities being carried out the so-called Punjabi lovers have been reduced to a few ceremonies of rotating awards, grants and favours between themselves.”

Some private organisations had been distributing press notes in newspaper offices alleging that the Vice-Chancellor had done away with the condition of having passed a Matric-level Punjabi examination for various university jobs.

The Vice-Chancellor clarified that the condition stood as it was and had not been tampered with as was being claimed by some persons. Appealing to those who have been criticising the decisions of the varsity, he said, universities should be ‘exempted’ from politicisation in the name of language. He said Punjabi University had undertaken projects to develop a website for online teaching of Punjabi and Gurmukhi, developing lexical resources for carrying out research through computers and to provide best Punjabi literature in Shahmukhi and Devnagri scripts.


Varsity to honour Kiran Bedi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 21
Guru Nanak Dev University would honour four Indians for their contribution to science technology, art and administration, with doctor of philosophy (honouris causa) degrees at 29th annual convocation to be held on March 8. The syndicate of the varsity took this decision here today.

It was also decided that from this year the varsity would also honour scholars of the university and affiliated colleges who excelled in sports, academics in administrative fields.

Prof Arun Nigavakar, Chairman, University Grants Commission, would deliver the convocation address where Indians like Dr Anil Kakodar, Chairman Atomic Energy Commission, and secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India, Dr Kiran Bedi, Sunil Dutt MP, and Gurpreet Singh Ghugi would be honoured.


Governance by RBI sought
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 21
Worried over the poor state of affairs, employees of the Bathinda Central Cooperative Bank have sought that the governance of the bank should be under the Reserve Bank of India and the present bureaucratic set up should be dismantled.

Sources in the bank said the elected representatives of the bank had been pushed to a corner by officials of the state government, who had been enjoying sweeping powers. The sources pointed out that the representatives elected by loanees had no decision-making powers while the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, was the ultimate authority in these institutions.

Sources added that the economic state of the bank could be improved if the Model Cooperative Act was implemented in the state and a grant of Rs 8,200 crore be released by the Union Government.

Mr P.S. Sidhu, president of the employees union of the bank, said the elected representatives were unable to take decisions for the improvement of the bank due to the present set up.

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