Monday, April 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder’s bulging agenda
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, has indicated yet another expansion of his Council of Ministers. This announcement has come after an additional Rs 8.5 crore burden the MLAs have put on the exchequer by raising their own salaries, allowances and perquisites.

This news will follow the World Bank mission team that has just returned to New Delhi. It was here for an assessment of severe fiscal stress, weaknesses in governance and low agricultural growth rates in the state and study the small steps that Punjab is taking to correct distortions through reforms. Going by the feedback from the mission team, it is believed that in the absence of “political will’’ all reforms initiated in these three sectors will get unstuck.

While the districts get busy with wheat procurement, Chandigarh is preparing for the annual reshuffling of its bureaucracy. A guessing game is on as to whether Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra will get yet another extension at the end of this month or not. The Chief Minister is keen that the Centre allows Mr Ratra to continue for some more time. Several names are being mentioned as his success.

Though it will take some time, Punjab has initiated the process to legislate its posting/transfer policy to effect good governance, transparency, efficiency and accountability. Punjab will perhaps be the only state to have such legislation in place.

On the other hand, the political executive has its own priorities. It is keen that recruitment should be re-opened and chairpersons of boards/corporations appointed at the earliest. Aspiring MLAs are also lobbying for a berth in the Council of Ministers.

The Chief Minister has to perform a balancing act as he reviews the progress of his reforms and the two unfinished items on the agenda: one the Congress election manifesto of February, 2002, and the other, the 11-point ‘action plan’ of AICC President, Sonia Gandhi, approved by the Council of Congress Chief Ministers at their two conclaves at Guwahati and Mount Abu, last year. The Chief Minister is committed to implementing the election manifesto, but he is yet to get down to the brasstacks on framing a politico-administrative strategy for the action plan. The stress of this plan is on good governance, effective delivery of socio-economic services to the poor/needy, expanded food security, economic empowerment of rural women, fighting malnutrition and providing universal elementary education.

In fact, not much headway has been made on certain decisions already taken on good governance. For example, The Punjab Civil Services (Re-deployment of Surplus Employees) Rules, 2003, have not yet been approved, though, these have been framed. Till then, there is no way “surplus’’ pool employees can be dealt with.

For the first time Punjab has a clear picture on the number of its employees on roll, not counting those in boards/corporations. As per the master manpower register, there are 321,811 employees whose breakdown is — “A’’ category — 11,189; “B’’ category — 13,212; “C’’ category — 210,337; “D’’ category 64,640; and miscellaneous — 22,433. Their annual salary bill is Rs 4,112 crore. Punjab is yet to cross hurdles in the disinvestment policy, discipline loss-making PSUs and introduce power reforms — key to sustainable agriculture, fiscal improvement and good governance.


No move for Akali unity,  says Badal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 6
There was no move to unify various factions of the Shiromani Akali Dal. This was stated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons at Dhuga village about 37 km from here today.

To a question, Mr Badal said the SAD could make alliance with any of the political parties, including BSP, in the Lok Sabha elections to defeat the Congress. However, the SAD-BJP alliance was permanent, he said.

Referring to diversification of agriculture through contract farming, he said it was not practical.


Bulletproof cases for ‘jalao’ items offered
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 6
The Birmingham-based Guru Nanak Sevak Jatha, which has already undertaken gilding of the interior of the Golden Temple, has now offered to put priceless gifts and rare artefacts of ‘jalao’ (show of splendour) in bulletproof glass cases.

This was disclosed by Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, while talking to TNS here today. He said Baba Mahinder Singh of the Guru Nanak Sevak Jatha had told him that they were ready to bear all the expenses to put the ‘jalao’ items in bulletproof cases within the Golden Temple complex. Mr Tarlochan Singh said they would them be exhibited through the year.

These artefacts are traditionally put on grand display on four occasions, the birth anniversaries of Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Ram Dass and Guru Gobind Singh and the installation ceremony of the Guru Granth Sahib. Apart from these artefacts were exhibited on two special occasions. The first was in 1965 when sacred relics and arms of Guru Gobind Singh were brought from the UK and the second was to mark the concluding of ‘kar seva’ in 1973.

The artefacts are of rare craftsmanship, elegance and beauty. These priceless articles were presented by Sikh sardars to the Golden Temple from time to time. The four silver gates of Harmandar Sahib were replaced with golden ones believed to be presented by the legendary Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the time of ‘jalao’. The other articles include the bejewelled peacock canopy, gold ‘chakras’, pearl tassels, golden frill, golden fans, bejewelled gold and pearl headband, two necklaces, gold-plated clubs, a canopy, silver pans, golden spades and the sword of Maharaja Ranjit Singh with a golden handle studded with rubies and emeralds.

The NMC Chairman also held a meeting with the UK based jatha and members of kar seva institutions. He said representatives of various institutions who attended the meeting agreed in principle to carry out kar seva in the Sikh shrines strictly in accordance with the Sikh traditions. Mr Tarlochan Singh said much damange had already been done to the invaluable Sikh heritage while carrying out kar seva in the past.

He suggested that the silver gates of Darshani Deori in the Golden Temple needed to be repaired at the earliest. He said these gates should be preserved with the help of experts. He claimed that the SGPC had agreed to the proposal and the gates may be replaced with new ones. He also emphasised upon the need to preserve Ramgarhia bungas in the Golden Temple complex with the help of Ramgarhia association.


Khalsa College students get degrees
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 6
Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, has said the ‘illiterate Sikh leadership’ had not been help to the community as it had failed to rise to the occasion.

Delivering a speech at the 97th convocation of Khalsa College, here today, Mr Tarlochan Singh said an intellectual leadership was the need of the hour among the Sikh community. He expressed concern over the downhill trend in the IAS, allied service and armed forces and said that institutions like Khalsa College should come forward to take the role of leadership.

He alleged that certain “misguided” students and teachers had raised black flags when the Prince of Wales came here in 1921 to give university status to Khalsa College as was done in the case of Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University. He pointed out that this blunder of a few individuals had damaged the institutions. “I do feel hurt that the nation and the successive governments of India after Independence have not compensated this college,” he said. He called upon educationists to come out with remedies so that the mistake could be rectified.

The chairman conferred degrees on 254 post-graduates and 528 graduates on the occasion. He also honoured 13 eminent alumni, including Dr S.S. Negi, Vice-Chancellor, University of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh, Dr Jagtar Singh Mann, Director, Horticulture, Punjab, Dr R.K. Rampal, Director Agriculture Punjab, Mr J.S. Gogia, Managing Director, Chambal Fertilisers Ltd, Brig Hardip Singh Sandhu, Mr Gurdip Singh, AIG (CID), and Mr Karnail Singh Josan, former Conservator, Soils, Punjab.


Vendor’s daughter tops in district
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 6
Even as some parents have been trying hard to arrange the best possible educational facilities for their wards, Pooja Rani who has topped the district in the list of primary students of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) is the daughter of a poor local vegetable vendor. She has shown that money cannot buy education and dedication is the key to success.

Pooja Rani of class V has stood first in the district by securing 488 marks out of 550 (88.73 per cent). She shares the position with Gurinderpal Singh. The results were declared on March 31.

A visit to her house — a one-room rented accommodation shared by her family of five — shows that she was deprived of even “basic” facilities that are usually considered essential for excelling in education.

Her father Kashi Prasad, who holds an M.A. (economics) degree, told ‘The Tribune’ today that while he knew that his daughter was intelligent, the result came as a pleasant surprise to him. While he had failed to secure a job after doing MA, Mr Prasad said he was confident that his wards would find a suitable place in society after completing their education.

He said he earned about Rs 2,000 per month while his wife who works as a helped in a private school is paid Rs 500 per month. He said that all his three children study in a local private school and the school had waived the fees of one of them.

He said he did not believe in tuitions. His elder daughter Kanchan, who has passed Class IX, had been helping her younger siblings. He said that due to his long working hours (6 a.m. to 8 p.m.) when he sells vegetables in various parts of the city on a rerhi, he finds it difficult to help his children in studies but he made time during examination days to help them.

He expressed ignorance about any scholarship scheme of the state government or NGOs.

Pooja, who does not know what the future hold for her, said she wanted to be a successful person. She added that just following what her ‘Babuji’ (father) said would see her through in life. She also said that the grace of mata (Goddess) was essential in getting success.

Meanwhile, of the 24,270 students who appeared in the exams in this district 22,142 were declared pass. Gurpreet Singh, son of Mr Sukhwinder Singh of a private school of Talwandi Sabo, has bagged the second position by securing 487 marks out of 550 and the third position has gone to Ramandeep Kaur, daughter of Mr Harbans Singh, with 481 marks.


Fight against quota first priority: GSP
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 6
About a year after contesting the local Assembly seat unsuccessfully, the General Samaj Party today announced its election symbol and constitution at a function held here today.

Mr Rajbir Singh Sidhu, general secretary of the party, said the party had got encouraging response from all sections. He said the present caste based, “discriminatory” reservation system had been creating bad blood and frustration had been brewing in society.

Releasing a copy of the constitution, Mr Sidhu said while ending the caste-based reservation system would be the top priority, economic, social and educational justice would also be ensured. The taxation system would be rationalised and simplified and commercialisation of education stopped.

He said their party would work for universalisation of elementary education and uniformity in curriculum all over the country. He proposed that even government employees be allowed to participate in political activities.

Mr N.K. Garg, cashier, said the party had got about 6,000 votes from this Assembly constituency without any funds for campaign or use of unfair means. He said the party was launched on January 13 last and had contested the Assembly elections on February 13. He asserted that the main publicity of the party was word of mouth and personal relations.

He pointed out that in Uttar Pardesh, caste-based reservations had been introduced even in games and teams were being constituted accordingly. He lamented that people under the general category shied away from attending rallies and protest marches, even though hit by the reservation policy.

The Regional Director, DAV Management, Mr SR Bansal, addressing the gathering, said the fight of the party was not against any group or caste, but the system that had destroyed the “spirit” of the country. He alleged that only one per cent of SCs were “eating away the benefits of reservation” and “real” Dalits remained downtrodden. He said giving reservations to government employees and their wards was akin to giving crutches to able people, who would shun their competitiveness.

Many other speakers who shared their views said that an alternative to the present set-up must be found.

Those who addressed the function included Mr Chaman Lal from the Arya Samaj, Mr Kaur Singh Dandiwal, convener, Mr Suresh Jain, Mr Suresh Kumar Goyal, organising secretary, and some other office-bearers. They announced that the party would contest local elections as well.


Civic poll rebels to be expelled, says PPCC
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 6
Congress men who opposed official candidates in the recently concluded municipal elections, would be expelled from the Congress. This was stated by Mr Ram Pal Dhaipi, General Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) while talking to mediapersons here today.

He was replying to a question regarding the role of Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, Mansa MLA , and Mr Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, former Sardulgarh MLA, who opposed Mr Narotam Singh Chahal, Congress candidate, from ward no. 18.

He said a memorandum enlisting the demands of the district would be presented to Chief Minister Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh on the eve of Baisakhi, during his visit to the district in connection with the celebration of the 11th anniversary of Mansa district which came into exist on Baisakhi in 1992.

Giving details, Mr Dhaipi said it included provision for a railway underbridge, introduction of science classes at the degree level, restart of the Budhlada Cooperative Sugar Mill, setting up of a college at Sardulgarh, construction of water works for population across the railway line and an inquiry into the sale of Mansa Cooperative Spinning Mill. 


Bhattal’s remarks on suicides ‘wrong’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 6
The Ugrahan faction of the Bharati Kisan Union (BKU) has flayed the statement of the Punjab Agriculture Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, that the farmers had committed suicide in Punjab due to family problems and not because of their harassment by arhtiyas.

Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the union, said in a press note here today that the statement of Mrs Bhattal was issued to please the arhtiyas.

Due to wrong policies of the government formed under the pressure of the WTO and other world powers, the farmers in the state find themselves in a vicious cycle of debt.

He alleged that there was no check on the working of arhtiyas and the petty loans taken by farmers for agricultural purposes increased large amounts with the passage of time.

Mr Ugrahan said the union was ready for a probe into the suicide incidents of farmers by an independent agency.


DGP visits crash scene
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The two victims of the MiG-23 crash continued to oscillate between life and death, three days after the accident. Despite suffering 80 per cent of burns, the two women have survived.

The women are 45-year-old Kuldeep Kaur, wife of Purshottam Singh, alias Bhola, and 70-year-old Bimla, wife of Dewan Chand.

Mr M S Bhullar, Director-General of Police, paid a visit to the crash site. He surveyed the area and asked the people about the working of the police. He was accompanied by Mr M S Chhina, SSP, Jagraon.


Mann: hasten relief to border farmers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 6
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), in a statement demanded adequate compensation for border villagers who faced a difficult time during the troop build-up on the border and mining operation thereafter.

The apathy of the Union Government could be gauged from the fact that it seemed to have washed its hands off them. He accused the government of not paying proper compensation to these villagers who had not only lost their crop, but also had to resort to selling their milch and other animals at throwaway prices to sustain themselves.

He said, till date only one instalment of compensation, that, too, much less than what was required, was released in four instalments. He pointed out that many farmers who had lost three crops consecutively owing to delay in handing over their fields due to demining operations had been at the receiving end.

He demanded a survey to ascertain the “real” losses.


Riot victims to get govt jobs

Amritsar, April 6
The Punjab Government will give jobs to all riots and terrorist victims and their dependants, said Punjab Additional Secretary and Director of the Rehabilitation Department Vinod Kumar Bhalla.

In an official release here today, he said this decision was taken at the meeting of the sub-committee chaired by Punjab Cabinet Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal recently. Bhalla said in past many riots and terrorists’ victims and their dependants could not apply for government jobs.

Proposal to provide small houses and booths to riots, terrorist victims and their dependants was already in pipeline and in this regard Punjab Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra has called a meeting at Chandigarh on April 15, said Bhalla. PTI


Badungar writes to PM on riots case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 6
Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC, in a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and Mr LK Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, has requested them to ensure that the Director CBI filed the appeal tomorrow against the decision of the Sessions Court, which had acquitted prime accused in the anti-Sikh riots case.

He stated that the said acquittals have shaken the Sikh community, who was beginning to feel alienated and was shocked by the judgement in a case where thousands of Sikhs were butchered after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.


RCF rolls out new high-speed coaches
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 6
The Rail Coach Factory (RCF) today rolled out India’s first indigenously-built German designed 16 high-speed coaches to be run on the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express track.

This was disclosed here today by the RCF General Manager, Mr M. Sirajuddin, in a press note. These coaches would initially make a dry run on the Delhi-Mumbai section for a few days during April.

The new coaches were manufactured and designed by the RCF based on German technology. These coaches are aesthetically designed for comfort and have many advance features they have been provided with wider windows and controlled discharge toilets, which become functional when the train attains the speed of 35 kmph.

It is reliably learnt that the Union Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, will flag off the new coaches. 


G.S. Chahal put under suspension

Chandigarh, April 6
Consequent upon the arrest of Dr G.S. Chahal, Director, Animal Husbandry, the Punjab Government today placed him under suspension, with effect from March 29, the day of his detention in police custody.

He will draw subsistence allowance as admissible under rule 7.2 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules Vol. Part-I and his headquarters during the suspension period will be at Chandigarh.

Dr Harswat Singh, Joint Director, will hold additional charge of the post of Director till further orders. TNS


Vet officers condemn Chahal’s arrest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 6
The Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association has rallied around the Director of Animal Husbandry (Punjab), Dr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, who was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance bureau.

The association, at a meeting held here today, has condemned the registration of a case against Dr Chahal and his subsequent arrest. In a press note, issued here yesterday, office-bearers of the association have criticised the Vigilance Bureau and also refuted the charges levelled against Dr Chahal. Dr Ashok Sharma, Dr Rakesh Kaura, Dr Ranjeet Singh Sandhu and Dr Bhagwant Singh, President, senior vice-president, vice- president and general secretary, respectively of the association, also attended the meeting.


Demonstration by handicapped
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 6
A large number of handicapped persons, who reached here today from different parts of the state to appear in a written test for 12 posts of Patwari (handicapped quota), staged a demonstration in front of the residence of the Deputy Commissioner. The test, scheduled to be held today, had been cancelled by an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, delivered on April 4.

The handicapped candidates said though the test had been cancelled on April 4 but they had not been informed in time about it. They also said they had only come to know about the cancellation of the test after arriving here.

They said the non-intimation of the cancellation of the test had led to harassment for hundreds of handicapped candidates.

Mr Balwinder Singh, ADC, Sangrur, said the administration had tried to inform the handicapped candidates about the cancellation of the test through media and by pasting notices about it at the notice boards of the DC office and the written test centre.

He said due to shortage of time, all candidates could not be informed individually as the test was to be held today.


Sewing teachers to observe fast
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 6
Unemployed sewing and tailoring teachers will resort to observe fast in front of the residences of the Education Minister, Chief Minister and the Prime Minister and intensify their stir if their demands are not met immediately, Mrs Satwant Bir Kaur Sarkaria, state president of the Unemployed Sewing and Tailoring Teachers Union said here today.

She said more than 25,000 posts of sewing and tailoring teachers were lying vacant in the state as only 35 sewing and tailoring teachers had been recruited since 1970. Sewing and training centres still continued to function, adding to the number of unemployed every year, she said.

Mrs Sarkaria said they had observed a fast in Chandigarh in December, 2002, which ended after Mr Khushal Bahl, Education Minister and Mr Mahinder Singh KP, Technical Education Minister had assured them that the vacant posts would be filled by April, 2003. She said at least 10 deputations of teachers had met the authorities, who had failed to respond till date. She also accused the previous SAD-BJP government for delaying tactics during their rule.

Mrs Sarkaria, accompanied by district heads of the union met the Education Minister here today and presented a memorandum of their demands, which included filling of vacant posts, introduction of sewing and tailoring as a compulsory subject in all middle, high and senior secondary schools. Stopping the recruitment of sewing and tailoring teachers on contract basis and a grant of Rs 5000 per month as unemployment allowance.


City being beautified for corporation status
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, April 6
Come April 10 and the city would formally become a Municipal Corporation. The authorities are working day and night to beautify the city, so that the residents should see a noticeable change when its status is raised from council to a corporation.

Encroachments are being removed, traffic is being streamlined, parking places are being developed, posters, hoardings, banners etc defacing the buildings are being removed and roads are being repaired. The authorities are not leaving any stone unturned to give the city a new look so that the stigma of a backwardness attached to is removed when the city becomes the fifth corporation of Punjab.

The authorities are making surveys to find spaces in the city where saplings could be planted to increase the green belt. The process of planting trees on the sides of main roads of the city has already been started.

To eradicate the nuisance created by the dairies and transport vehicles, dairy and transport nagars have been developed on the outskirts of the city on the pattern of big cities. The owners of transport companies and dairies would be allotted plots there to establish their businesses.

The anti-encroachment campaign going on for the past many weeks has removed encroachments to a large extent, with the residents cooperating with the authorities.

Sheds and verandahs erected by certain shopkeepers on roads, pavements and footpaths have been removed.

Official sources said for developing parks and gardens in the residential colonies, the authorities have earmarked Rs 2 crore. The work on such projects would start soon. For the repair of roads in the city, Rs 1.72 crore has been put aside.

The development of infrastructure in the markets of the city is also in pipeline. The district administration has prepared an extensive plan for the repair and construction of urinals at public places.

The residents were surprised some days ago when they saw traffic policemen in large numbers asking them to park vehicles at proper parking places. They said it was for the first time in the city that parking lots were earmarked in Dhobi Bazar, Sirki Bazar, Hospital Bazar, The Mall etc. They said the police authorities were working overtime to enforce traffic rules. It was perhaps for the first time that so many vehicle owners, irrespective of their position, were challaned for improper parking.

Mr Nilabh Kishore, SP (City), visits different places in the city everyday to check the implementation of traffic rules.

It is learnt that Mr Surinder Singla, local MLA and Chairman of the High Powered Finance Committee, is taking a personal interest in beautifying it.


Farmers’ camp organised
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 6
The Punjab Government plans to bring 22 lakh hectares under paddy cultivation during the coming season. To make the scheme effective, 1.23 quintal of certified seed and 11 lakh tonnes of urea will be provided to farmers at subsidised rates.

Moreover, district-level farmers’ camps will be organised in backward areas. This was stated by Mr Kulwant Singh, Joint Director, Agriculture, while speaking at a camp in Sadiq village in this district. He said 2.5 lakh hectares would be brought under sugarcane, oilseeds, sunflower and pulses under the crop diversification programme.

For this, 25 per cent subsidy on the purchase of tractor tools and 50 per cent on spray pumps would be made available.

He said the Agriculture Department took over 8,800 samples of insecticides and pesticides and found 500 of substandard quality. The erring firms would be punished. The next district-level camp would be organised at Dera Bassi in Patiala on April 22.


PWD field staff seek promotion
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 6
The PWD Field and Workshop Workers Union, in a press note issued here yesterday said that the state government was denying them the 4-9-14 promotion scale, while the same had been given to the clerical staff of the same department.

Mr Mahinder Singh, district press secretary of the union, said there were 50 vacancies of junior engineer in the department and the state government had even conducted a test amongst the junior employees to fill the same but the employees had not been promoted till date.

He said the department was not following even the one work, one pay rule.

He said the services of some of the employees of the department had not been regularised since the past many years and their union would stage a dharna at Chandigarh on April 9 to press for the acceptance of their demands.


Withdraw power Bill: PSEB panel
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 6
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Engineers Association has moved a resolution asking the government to withdraw the controversial Punjab Electricity Bill-2003, which is based on the Haldea Committee report.

In a press note, the association said the government should constitute a committee comprising engineers, doctors, industrialists and representatives of consumers so that a work plan should be implemented by the PSEB which should be managed by professionals and a five-year period should be given to the board to undertake reforms.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Mr M.S Quadian, president and secretary of the BKU, respectively, who also attended the meeting where the resolution was passed, asserted that by simply unbundling and privatising the Board, the farming community would be the hardest hit. Both leaders said their unions would resort to agitations if there was any move to unbundle the PSEB.

Mr Manmohan Singh, vice-president, Small Scale Industry, said since industry was already wilting under the WTO regime, any increase in tariff would be unreasonable.

Dr S.S. Gill, Professor, Economics, Punjabi University, also condemned the Haldea Committee report. He felt that the committee, before finalising its report, should have consulted economists of universities instead of consulting World Bank economists, who he said, were not aware of the ground realities.


In-laws booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 6
The Gurdaspur police has registered a criminal case against Dr Vikas Sharma, now in England, his father Raj Kumar Sharma, mother Santosh Sharma, sister Mamta Prashar and brother-in-law Rajiv Prashar, all residents of Kapurthala, for demanding dowry. Mr RPS Brar, SSP, in a press note issued here today said Raj Kumar Sharma and Santosh Sharma had been arrested while the other accused were still at large.

Mr Brar said Gopal Krishan Sharma had lodged a complaint with the city police here on March 31, stating that his daughter Dr Meenu Sharma was married to Dr Vikas Sharma on December 6, 1995, and gave birth to a son on October 29, 1997. He spent Rs 6 lakh on the marriage and also continued to meet the demands for more dowry. He, however, could not give a car in dowry a result of which his daughter was tortured by her-in-laws. At times she was not even provided food, he stated.

The complainant said Dr Vikas Sharma then went to England on August 5, 2000, and visited India in August 2002, for about two weeks but did not meet his wife and son. When ever Meenu contacted her husband on telephone she was abused and threatened.

The complaint said his daughter along with her son was thrown out of her residence on February 28, 2001. Mr Brar said the police had registered a case.


10 arrested under NDPS Act
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 6
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in press note here today, said under the NDPS Act, 10 persons had been arrested and eight cases registered against them. The police had recovered 86.5 kg of poppy husk from their possession. Similarly, under the Excise Act, 15 cases were registered and 15 persons arrested. An illegal distillery, 225 kg of lahan, 39 litres of illicit liquor and 205 litres of country liquor was recovered from their possession. Under the Gambling Act nine cases were registered.


Keep city clean, urge students
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 6
Students of various local schools held a procession in the city yesterday to motivate people to keep the city clean and shun drugs.

Mr Nilabh Kishore, SP (City), flagged off the march from Arya Girls High School. The organisers said the march was aimed at informing people about the hazards of using polythene bags and steps for keeping the city clean.

The march, which passed through Dhobi Bazaar, Hospital Bazaar, Fire Brigade Chowk, Court road and the Bathinda-Mansa road, concluded near Circuit House. The students also represented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

The students asked people to use paper bags instead of polythene bags, reduce emission of harmful substances from vehicles and minimise the use of loudspeakers.

The student carried placards bearing slogans asking people to save the environment, keep the city clean and shun drugs.

The students said it was strange that they had to hold such marches to tell elders about steps to check pollution. They said during examination days, they found it difficult to study properly due to the noise pollution caused by loudspeakers. They requested people to plant more trees to minimise environmental pollution.

The students also urged the Deputy Commissioner to take measures to tackle the stray cattle menace. They also urged that the roads should be repaired and the drainage system be properly maintained.

Students of Arya Girls School, Arya Model School, Police Public School, DAV Public School, Des Raj Memorial Government School, Guru Nanak Public Senior Secondary School, MSD Senior Secondary School, St Xavier High School, Summer Hill Convent School and St Joseph Convent Secondary School participated in the procession.


PCCTU to boycott exam duty on April 16

Phagwara, April 6
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union will observe a one-day boycott of the ongoing university examinations, on April 16. They will proceed on casual leave en masse to converge at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh for a rally in protest against failure of the Punjab Government to honour its poll promises of restoration of 95 per cent grant-in-aid and implementation of the pension-gratuity scheme in spite of repeated assurances given by the Punjab Chief Minister and the Education Minister.

This was decided by the PCCTU’s Executive Committee at meeting with Prof SS Hundal today. Disclosing this here Dr V.K. Tewari, General Secretary, PCCTU, said keeping in view the interest of students, the union did not decide for a total boycott of exams.

However, if this boycott did not achieve the desired results, the union would intensify agitation, warned Dr Tewari. The PCCTU called upon the Federations of Managements and Principals to join the struggle to save the higher education in Punjab Chief had imposed a 20 per cent cut on grants in its budget.

The executive flayed the “negative” attitude of the Punjab Government towards the staff of non-govt colleges.

The meeting condemned the termination of Prof Baljinder Singh and Prof Kaura of Khalsa College, Amritsar, by the Managing Committee in flimsy ground and urged it to withdraw the orders, Dr Tewari orders. OC


Teachers sans salary for two months
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 6
Employees, including teachers of government aided schools in this district, have not been paid their salaries for February and March. The Punjab Government has not released the grant.

Mr Amar Singh Goraya and Mr Davinder Kumar, president and general secretary, respectively, of the district unit of the Government-Aided School Teachers Union, yesterday said that grants released by the government were not regular and teachers working in these schools were not paid for months together. These leaders said the revised scales of teachers working in these schools had also not been released.


College honours toppers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 6
The local Multani Mal Modi College honoured students who have topped their classes at a function held on the college premises here today.

Kushgeet Kaur and Dilshad Kaur were felicitated for standing first and second in the plus one and two arts examinations, respectively. Qudrat and Jasmeet Kaur were honoured for attaining the first and second positions in the commerce stream of plus one and two classes, respectively. Robina Duggal and Damanjit Singh were honoured for standing first and second in non-medical examinations of plus one and two examinations, respectively. Nidhi Rani Gupta and Akhil Garg, who topped in the medical stream, were also felicitated.

Dr S.P.S. Virdi, Dean (Colleges), Punjabi University, presided over the function. 

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