Friday, April 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Anandpur foundation revamped
Badal, Tohra, Capt Kanwaljit Singh removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The Punjab Government today reconstituted the Anandpur Sahib Foundation. The old notifications and orders with regard to the setting up of the foundation have been rescinded and a new order has been issued in this connection.

Former Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, who had been made the lifetime Chairman of the foundation stands removed from it. Likewise, other Akali leaders such as Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Capt Kanwaljit Singh and the Editor of a Punjabi Daily from Jalandhar, Mr Barjinder Singh, have also been removed.

Though Mr Barjinder Singh had resigned from the foundation but his resignation was not accepted by the previous government. After his resignation, the activities of the foundation were being run by Capt Kanwaljit Singh. In fact, out of 20 members, there were about 15 private members of the general body of the foundation.

But in the new set-up announced today, all 11 member are either Government officers or political executives. The new set-up will be headed by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. He has been designated as ex-officio Chairman of the foundation. Its other members will be the Finance Minister, the Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, the Principal Secretary (Finance), the Principal Secretary (B and R), the Principal Secretary (Planning), the Principal Secretary (Cultural Affairs), the Principal Secretary (Public Relations), the Secretary (Local Bodies), and the Secretary (Information and Technology).

Besides that, there will be a seven member executive headed by the Finance Minister to run its affairs on routine basis. Other members of the Executive will be the Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, the Principal Secretary (Finance), the Principal Secretary (Cultural Affairs), and the Chief Executive Officer of the foundation will be the Secretary of the Executive. The Chief Administrator (Punjab Urban Development Authority) will be a special invitee in the executive meetings.

The declared objective of the new foundation will be to complete the work on the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib by September 2004 because the year has a special significance due to three historic events such as 300 years of martyrdom of Sahibzadas, 400 years of installation of Guru Granth Sahib in Golden Temple, Amritsar and 500 years of “parkash utsav” of Guru Arjan Dev.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said funds for the project would be arranged by the state government and a matching contribution would be sought from the Union Government besides seeking contributions from public.

Meanwhile, the Member Secretary of the foundation, Mr Romila Dubey, explaining the circumstances necessitating the reconstitution of the foundation today said it had become a non-functional body as no meeting of its general body had taken place for the past three years. The last meeting presided over by Mr Parkash Singh Badal as Chairman was held on February 24,2000. Even its executive committee did not meet since December 4,2001. For many crucial decisions regarding the Heritage Complex Project, the government’s intervention was sought. The object of the earlier foundation was primarily tercentenary celebrations. Though the state government released Rs 73.48 crore, yet it had no role to play in its day to day affairs.

In today’s meeting, the foundation also approved a project relating to research work to be undertaken by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad at a cost of Rs 1 crore. The meeting also recommended to the Punjab Government to co-opt more members of the foundation. Recommended names included Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Sardool Singh and Dr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, all ministers, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar and Mr Kartar Singh Duggal. In addition to it, Mrs Kiranjot Kaur, member SGPC, Dr B.N.Goswami and Bhai Mohinder Singh of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Britain have also been recommended for nomination on the foundation.


2 ATPs, Building Inspector chargesheeted
Varinder Walia and Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, April 10
The state government today chargesheeted three building officials, including two assistant town planners (ATP) and a Building Inspector, for allegedly clearing a multi-storey shopping complex. The violations of bylaws came into light hours before the inauguration of the building by the Chief Minister.

The swift action to charge-sheet the officials involved in the ‘scam’ was initiated following the arrest of Bankey Bihari, ATP, by the Vigilance Bureau yesterday. The others against whom the bureau registered a case include, Iqbal Preet Randhawa and Building Inspector Madan Gopal Singh. They were charge-sheeted under the Punjab punishment and appeals rule 1970 under rule 8 of the Act for awarding major punishment in connection with their role in giving clearance to the Rs 6-crore multi-storeyed “illegal” shopping complex (Central Mall).

The registration of case by the bureau has brought to light the modus operandi of corporation officials who allow violations. Over the years the building department has emerged as one of the most corrupt corners in the corporation, defrauding civic authorities of crores annually.

Nearly 4,000 notices went missing last year when The Tribune consistently exposed the rot in these departments. The corporation budget shows Rs 2.36 crore in actual income from this department last year. However, the revised income this year was pegged at only Rs 1.50 crore and approximate income drops to Rs 2 crore this year.

While strict vigilance and random checks in six commercial categories of buildings have been initiated by the Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, to keep a close watch on violations, he claims that out of the six such buildings under construction not a single one is violating any construction norms. He, however, admits that keeping a close watch on all types of construction activity, especially residential, is nearly impossible.

The reason for this is not far to find, as many as three building inspectors are deputed in a single municipal ward area without any major reshuffling in duties from ward to ward over the years. A nexus between many officials of corporation, politicians, owners and even the vigilance authorities plays major role in corrupt practices. The modus operandi is thus: The inspector spot surveys the construction in progress. He notes the violations and asks the owners to stop the construction threatening to demolish it. The owner pleads and asks for the inspector’s “seva” (code word for bribe) they meet at place that is decided just minutes before the deal is struck so the owner gets no time to manipulate. The official deputes a layman to collect the money and himself remains in the shadows. The owner is asked to give a blank cheque to be kept in the custody of the Building Inspector. The blank cheque is kept as a safety mechanism and in case the violation is exposed, a small amount is filled in the cheque and is deposited in the department’s account. The files and notices of these constructions then are “suppressed”, “misrecorded” or “simply vanish”.

The vicious circle also operates when a politician intervenes to shelter the constructor, passing building plans contrary to bylaws. He/she also steps in to stop demolition and to give a go by to violations. He also collects money from the owner for “work completed” at every step and even helps him to procure completion certificates and no objection certificates (NOCs) sometimes even before the said task is complete. In one such instance, a NOC for fire fighting facility was obtained even before the building was completed.

For all this the money is shared with top officials of the corporation while records are manipulated. This nexus has soured the building inspectors who are reportedly left in the lurch. Thus the ‘new rule’ among these inspectors is to get the written ‘sifarish’ from the politicians. Most of these so called ‘sifarish parchis’ (recommendation slips) are kept securely with these inspectors to be used against the said politician in case any of these politicians tries to expose such deals at any time. Most building inspectors also share these slips. Thus to save a fellow Building Inspector a colleague can provide these slips. Even the Vigilance Department is also allegedly hand in glove with the building department in this regard.

Reportedly a set amount is collected by the building staff monthly according to their ranks and deposited as security against any vigilance probe. Thus any complaint of an employee of the department is “taken care of” at their (vigilance) level and the matter is hushed up.


Probe indicts ex-Chief Engineer in pontoon scam
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 10
The Punjab State Electricity Board’s (PSEB) Vigilance Department has recommended initiation of disciplinary proceedings against Mr P.R. Locham who retired as the Chief Engineer, Human Resource Development, on March 31 last for recalling a tender for the purchase of pontoons for the Anandpur Hydel project thrice besides other matters.

A report in this regard has been forwarded to the PSEB’s management after it was completed under the supervision of board’s Vigilance head, Additional Director General of Police Lalit Bhatia. The ADGP has recommended that appropriate action should also be taken against some junior officers who were involved in reinviting bids for the tenders.

Though official word could not be got on the issue, sources said the board’s Vigilance Department had found fault in the manner in which Mr Locham held the tenders for acquisition of three pontoons. It said the officer first rejected a bid of Rs 6.69 lakh per pontoon made by M/s Swastika Enterprises in November, 1999, stating that it was on the higher side. Following this another tender was called in which the rates of Swastika Enterprises were found to be the lowest at Rs 4.75 lakh per pontoon. This, too, was rejected because the tenderer deposited an earnest money of Rs 24,000 against the required deposit of Rs 28,500. The sources said the other tenderers had also deposited Rs 24,000 each.

The report said had this case been sent to the PSEB for relaxation with regard to depositing of the earnest money as recommended by the Additional Superintending Engineer, Talwara division, one pontoon would have cost the board Rs 4.75 lakh. It said, however, the tenders were recalled following which Swastika Engineering quoted a rate of Rs 5.11 lakh which was the lowest. This, the report said resulted in a loss of Rs 1.08 lakh to the PSEB.

The Vigilance report said while going through the case it was revealed that the fact that the same firm had earlier quoted a rate of Rs 4.75 lakh was concealed. It also claimed that under the PSEB rules tenders could be reinvited only after taking the approval of the next higher authority which was not obtained by Mr Locham. The report also stated that out of the three contractors who had bid for the tenders, two of them did not meet the requirement of the notice inviting tender. It said the Chief Engineer had held his subordinate officers responsible for this. The report however holds him guilty of not using his supervisory capacity to check the technical competency of the two other firms who had bid for the pontoons.

Meanwhile, other allegations levelled against Mr Locham were getting his damaged staff car repaired from M/s Kapoor Automobiles, Patiala, at a cost of Rs 42,000 whose proprietor at one time was his tenant. This the report said was in contravention of the Work rules.


Punjab hikes user charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The Punjab Cabinet sub-committee yesterday approved enhanced user charges on the social and economic services. The hike has been effected in respect of the Departments of Higher Education, Transport, Revenue, Irrigation and Local Bodies. In higher education, besides enhancing the student fee, the facility of free education for girls has been discontinued. About 10,000 girl students will now have to pay fees during 2003-04.

As a consequence of enhanced fees, the government envisages a substantive increase in the income of government colleges as well as non-government aided colleges. The government also expects an additional income of Rs 46.53 crore by 2005-06. It expects income of non-government aided colleges to be up from Rs 9 crore to Rs 75.85 crore, leading to a decrease of Rs 5 crore in the grant-in-aid to these colleges by 2005-06. This will stabilise the grant-in-aid at Rs 35 crore per annum.

Though there has been an increase of 1017 per cent in the budget expenditure on higher education from 1983-84 to 2002-03, the fee had remained the same. While the fee was meagre in the case of government colleges, non-government aided colleges charged hefty sums from students.

The grant-in-aid for these colleges would be Rs 100 crore in the current financial year, against Rs 72 crore in the previous years. This amount was reduced to Rs 64.80 crore for 2002-03. These colleges enroll 75 per cent of the total students against 25 per cent enrolled by government colleges.

The new fee structure for colleges in Punjab is as follows:

Admission fee: Under graduates Rs 750 per annum, postgraduates Rs 1,000 per annum, M.Phil and Ph.D registration Rs 1,250 per annum.

Tuition fee: Undergraduates, BA, BSc. B.Com. courses Rs 350 per month; professional courses, B.Ed., M.d, M.P. Ed. etc. Rs 500 per month; postgraduate courses Rs 650 per month and M.Phil, Ph.D courses Rs 750 per month.

Other charges: Science, home science, music, fine arts, agriculture Rs 50 per month for each subject; amalgamated fund Rs 50 per month; parking fee per month — Rs 25 for cycle, Rs 50 for scooter, motor cycle and Rs 75 for four-wheel vehicle.

Annual charges: Medical fund, red cross fund, identity card etc. Rs 500 per month (DPI will issue details). Besides paying Rs 500 per annum towards building, construction, addition, maintenance fund etc, a student will also pay Rs 300 per annum towards the parent-teacher association fund.

Refundable college/library security: Undergraduates Rs 500 per annum, postgraduates Rs 750 per annum and M.Phil, Ph.D Rs 1,000 per annum.

For hostel charges, a single bed would cost Rs 300 per month, double bedroom Rs 200 per month, each bed; dormitory Rs 150 per month each bed. A student will pay Rs 100 per month as “hostel service charges”.

The new rates will be applicable to the students seeking admission for the first time in the 2003-04 academic session and not to the ones already studying. The facilities available to the Scheduled Castes and backward class students would remain unchanged. The amount thus collected would remain with the colleges. These rates would be revised after every seven years.

The transport Department was given a target of Rs 350 crore in 2003-04. It had collected Rs 318 crore in 2001-02. A major part of the revenue comes from the special road tax on goods vehicles, special road tax and road tax on vehicles, route permit fee and compounding fee in respect of goods vehicles carrying excess load. The special road tax contributes 60 per cent of the total revenue.

The special road tax on goods vehicles will be as follows: light motor vehicle (less than one tonne) Rs 1,500 per annum and more than one tonne Rs 2,400 per annum; medium goods vehicle — Rs 2,800 and heavy goods vehicle — Rs 3,000. Similarly, other taxes have also been raised.


Punjab reimposes house tax
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Punjab has decided to reimpose house tax on self-occupied residential buildings. This tax was withdrawn by the previous SAD-BJP government, effective from April 1, 1997. That decision had resulted in the loss of revenue of Rs 30 crore per year to the Department of Local Government all over the state.

In Punjab, only those buildings, which were being used commercially, were assessed for house tax. These included both self-occupied and rented buildings. The total income from these that accrued last year was Rs 67 crore. The 1997 populist decision of the previous government had upset the financial revenue earnings of the Department of Local Government.

Even the World Bank had listed the exemption from payment of house tax as one of the four populist fiscal giveaways introduced in the first quarter of 1997. That had consequently led to fiscal deterioration in Punjab in the second half of the 1990s. The other populist measures listed in the World Bank assessment report on fiscal management include free canal water for surface irrigation, free electricity for ground water irrigation pump sets and abolition of land revenue.

According to sources in the Department of Local Government, Punjab is also entitled to a share of Rs 14.45 crore (2002-03) under the Urban Reforms Incentive Fund, which has a corpus of Rs 500 crore. The availability of this sum is subject to certain conditions. One of these is property tax, a major source of income to the civic bodies.

Punjab has now prepared a strong case for obtaining this sum of Rs 14.45 crore, having moved effectively to fulfil the four specific conditions: 1 removing all exemptions on property tax and barring buildings actually and exclusively used for religious worship or running charitable institutions; adopting objective methods and transparent procedures of property tax assessments; measures to achieve total coverage of all properties under the relevant Act; and achieve 85 per cent collection efficiency by the end of the Tenth Five-Year Plan period and provide an annual target towards this purpose.

Most part of the road map that Punjab is following has been drawn by the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, who circulated the 11-point programme to Congress Chief Ministers after the Guwahati and Mount Abu conclaves. The Chief Minister, who reviewed the progress of implementation of the party high command agenda on Wednesday, was astounded to observe that the progress on most of the items was nil.

The main reason for no progress given by the administrative secretaries concerned was paucity of funds. In some cases, schemes had not been sanctioned and in other cases, money had not been released by the treasuries.


Efforts under way to forge Akali unity
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The talk of unity between SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and his comtemporary in Akali politics, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, is in the air again. They parted company three years ago when Mr Tohra challenged Mr Badal’s monopoly in the party and the government.

Sources say serious efforts are on for unity even though certain irritants remain to be thrashed out. Leaders of both Akali factions have been desisting from making any statement that can jeopardise the unity bid.

The Chairman of the National Minorities Commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh, supported by union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, has been playing a key role in the unity bid while.

It was decided at a meeting of both factions that no precondition would be laid for unity. However, the issue of restoration of the honour of former Jathedar of Akal Takht Ranjit Singh and Mr Badal’s appearance at Akal Takht for seeking pardon on certain Panthic issues have resurfaced.

Mr Badal is not ready to appear at Akal Takht at the bidding of Mr Tohra. A confidant of Mr Badal told The Tribune that Mr Badal would be ready to appear even 100 times at Akal Takht but not as a person accused by Mr Tohra. The Badal faction’s stand is that let all senior Akali leaders from both factions appear at Akal Takht together to seek pardon collectively for the mistakes committed with regard to issues pertaining to the Panth.

Regarding Bhai Ranjit Singh, the Badal faction says the Tohra faction should first make it clear that whether the SGPC is competent to take action against the Jathedar of Akal Takht or not. It was the SGPC decision to remove Bhai Ranjit Singh.

“We are prepared to give the honour due to Mr Tohra in the SAD but there are people who are out to sabotage the unity bid by laying preconditions that are unacceptable at the moment”, said a close associate of Mr Badal.

In fact, both factions need unity desperately at present. There is no political future for those belonging to the Tohra faction without unity with the SAD. On the other hand, there are religious and other issues which have been troubling Mr Badal for long. Mr Badal knows it well that Mr Tohra can handle such controversies easily.

Mr Badal has realised that he has not been able to manage properly the religious affairs being the President of the SAD which controls the SGPC. He faced a big political challenge during the elections of the SGPC President last year. Even though his party won the elections Mr Badal had to approach former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who reportedly spoke to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, asking her to direct the Punjab Government to stay away from the SGPC poll.

Had Mr Tohra been with him, Mr Badal would not have faced that challenge. Secondly, under his overall command, the SGPC has failed to tackle controversies with regard to the Jathedar of Akal Takht and Prof Manjit Singh, former Jathedar of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib. In fact, the sacking of Bhai Manjit Singh by the SGPC has created a political problem for Mr Badal. Prof Manjit Singh had extended all help to Mr Badal when he was facing a big political crisis in Panthic circles a few years ago.

Mr Tohra’s re-entry into the party can provide great relief to Mr Badal, who can then be more active on the political front. The immediate objective before Mr Badal is to score victory over the ruling party in the Lok Sabha elections due next year.


Punjabis in Pak jails: society to meet Musharraf
Chander Parkash and Anirudh Gupta
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, April 10
Heads of 25 families from Punjab and Haryana, whose sons/wards are in Pakistan’s jails for the past two years, today gathered here and appealed to the International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society to make efforts for the release of their kin.

The family members also brought clothes and other items of use for sending these to their wards in jails through the members of society, accompanying the Sikh jatha going to Pakistan tomorrow to pay obeisance at various Sikh shrines on Baisakhi.

Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, President of the society, assured them (family members of the jailed) that he along with others would meet Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister, Mr Zaffarullah Khan Jamali, Foreign Minister, Mian Khursid Mehmood Kasuri and chairperson of the Human Rights Commission Ms Asma Jahangir Kazi and urge them for the release of Punjabi youths in Pakistan’s jails for the past two years.

They demanded special visa for them to visit Pakistan and meet their kin in jails and give them items of use apart from paying obeisance at Sikh gurdwaras. The society would submit this request to General Musharraf through a memorandum.

Mr Bhullar told The Tribune that nearly 25 youths who had gone abroad through illegal means for employment were caught in Turkey and Iran. They were beaten up, then travel documents destroyed and pushed into Pakistan along with other Pakistani youths, while trying to reach European countries.

He alleged that Pakistani authorities had already released all Pakistani youths while the Punjabis were still in jails for no offence. He added that in jails they were being forced to embrace Islam. They were also being maltreated, he alleged.

Accusing the Centre for doing nothing for the release of these Punjabi youths, Mr Bhullar pointed out that four youths were lodged in Mach jail of Baluchistan, 12 in Quetta jail and six were lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore. He added that the society had also appealed to the Government of India for the release of these youths.

Out of the total 25 Punjabi youths in Pakistan jails, four are from Hoshiarpur, four from Nawanshahar, three from Kurukshetra, two from Jalandhar and two belonged to Ambala district. Two other youths are from Yumunanagar, two from Fatehgarh Sahib, one from Moga and one from Kapurthala districts of Punjab and Haryana. The remaining youths belonged to Patiala and Gurdaspur districts of Punjab. 


Dual-degree system recommended for PTU
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 10
In a unique move, the Punjab Technical University (PTU) is likely to introduce dual degree system in its engineering colleges. Following this system, students doing one engineering course in the college can simultaneously do another engineering degree in the same college, provided that they are able to pass their ‘parent’ degree.

This along with some other important recommendations, has been made by a special task force constituted by the PTU for improving the quality of its engineering courses in the state. The task-force chairman and former Vice-Chancellor Anna University, Dr. A. Kalanidhi, stated this while talking to the Chandigarh Tribune during a ZOPP workshop organised by the Chandigarh College of Engineering, Landran, for various PTU Engineering College Principals.

In case the recommendations made by the task force are implemented by the PTU, it will be the first university in the region to introduce a dual degree system in the region. According to this system, for example a students who is admitted to an M.Tech in electronics can also attend classes for M.Tech in IT, and appear for both the examinations simultaneously and pass both. The student will, as a result, hold two degrees instead of one. But it will be essential for the student to pass the degree he was originally admitted into, (i.e. M.Tech in electronics in this case), also called the 'parent' degree.

In yet another vital recommendation, PTU’s engineering students will be given an option to learn at least one foreign language keeping in mind the future placement opportunities for the students. ‘‘This is being done so that students can avail opportunities in job markets other than the USA. These could be Germany, France or Japan. And in case the student is already proficient in English, he or she can take up another language given an option.’’ said Dr Kalanidhi.

Another future-oriented recommendation, the task force has made to the PTU Vice-Chancellor is the introduction of smart I-cards for the students. These I-cards will have chips containing information about the student. ‘‘Other than the basic information that the chip will carry, it will have the potential to store data over many years like results, health problems etc. All one needs is a card reader and the student’s complete history as a student of that college is available.’’

Dr Kalanidhi further said that engineering colleges could function as professional development centres where they could provide to their former students and even professionals living in the area upgradation courses. ‘‘Other than this, we have recommended that the curriculum and syllabus be revised every four years and the academic council make changes whenever required each year,’’ said Mr Kalanidhi.


Cong gets Ferozepore MC chief’s post
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 10
The Congress today grabbed the post of the president and vice-president of the Municipal Committee in the elections held today at Town Hall amidst tight securiy. Nirmal Sahota, Congress councillor was elected as president and Javed Akhtar as senior vice-president of the committee. As many as 14 councillors voted in favour of the Congress candidate as against 11 who supported the SAD-BJP candidate. In a house of 25, the Congress has strength of 11; the SAD-BJP has 10 where as there are four Independent councillors. It may be recalled that the election for the post of the president, which was slated to be held on March 22 was postponed indefinitely due to the reasons best known to the administration. In today’s election, 24 councillors out of 25 came for the voting and one councillor, Harjit Kaur, of the BJP was conspicuous by her absence.

The BJP MLA, Mr Sukhpal Singh, alias Nannu, alleged that the district administration played a biased role during the election. Mr Nannu alleged that the husband of Harjit Kaur was kidnapped before the polling, which forced her to abstain from the voting. Noisy scenes were witnessed as the BJP councillors started airing slogans against the Congress and the district administration.


BJP committee

Chandigarh, April 10
The Punjab BJP today set up a committee under the chairmanship of former minister, Balramji Dass Tandon, to put the party’s viewpoint before the Delimitation Commission. Other members of the committee are Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Mr Swarna Ram, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Mr Tikshan Sud, Mr Sukhpal Singh and Mr Darshan Lal Chugh. TNS


Big gurdwaras to be computerised
SGPC for disenfranchising Sehajdharis
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 10
Keeping pace with globalisation, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has decided to computerise all big historical Sikh shrines, which fall under Section 85 shortly.

This was disclosed by Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President of the SGPC, while talking to the press here today.

Mr Badungar said the SGPC would not allow Sehajdharis to cast votes during the general election of the committee which is due at the end of the year. He said he had already informed the Chief Gurdwara Election Commission of this view during his recent visit to the Golden Temple.

He said the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and the Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, had already assured the deputation of the SGPC that an amendment would be made in the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925 to disenfranchise the Sehajdharis before the elections.

In another development, Mr Badungar said Akal Takht had convened a meeting on April 25 to discuss whether baptised women should be allowed to perform seva inside the sanctum sanctorum of Golden Temple. He said a decision on this issue could be taken by taking various Sikh bodies into confidence.

Mr Badungar reiterated that the Nanakshahi calendar would be released on April 14 and one lakh copies had been printed. Replying to a question, Mr Badungar said the SGPC would not discuss the issue of holidays with the state government.

The SGPC has also decided to honour all those who had been participating in morchas held by SAD.

About the ongoing kar seva of the gilding of the interiors of the Golden Temple which has kicked off a controversy, Mr Badungar said the kar seva would be completed as per the guidelines of art experts.

Mr Badungar said that the SGPC would give financial aid to those lodged in Patiala and Jalandhar jails under TADA.


Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Mr Gurdev Singh, Secretary, Gurdwara Election Commission, clarified today that May 30 was the extended date of electoral rolls for the SGPC elections. Reacting to a report in The Tribune on April 8 a wrong impression might have gone in the public that the period for enrolment as voters had been extended up to May 30, 2003, which is not factually correct.

The correct position was that the last date for registration of voters expired on February 28 after which a programme for preparation of the draft electoral rolls, filing claims and objections and their disposal before the final publication had been issued by the commission.


Chamkaur Sahib to get a facelift
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 10
The Punjab Government has decided to develop the historic town of Chamkaur Sahib in view of the forthcoming tercentenary celebrations of the martyrdom of Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Jhujhar Singh.

Talking to this correspondent, the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, said funds were being diverted from various schemes to develop Chamkaur Sahib.

The various development projects being undertaken in Chamkaur Sahib include the widening of roads. The Executive Engineer, Link Roads, has been directed to prepare an estimate of widening of all roads leading to Chamkaur Sahib. The estimate would be sent soon to the government for the release of funds.

The streelights in Chamkaur Sahib have been disconnected due to the non-deposition of electricity bills. The EDPO of the area has been directed to look into the matter.

A theme based on Sikh religious history has also been planned in Chamkaur Sahib. A sub-committee of experts has been formed to give suggestions regarding the development of the theme park. Two chowks in the name of Sahibzadas Ajit Singh and Jhujhar Singh would also be constructed near BASJS Senior Secondary School opposite the historic gurdwara of Chamkaur Sahib.

The Executive Engineer, Panchayati Raj, has been directed to beautify all gates in the town. A new gate to mark the tercentenary celebrations is also being bought by the market committee of the town.

Tenders have been called for the construction of a new bus stand in Chamkaur Sahib. A portion of the cremation ground adjoining the current bus stand would be included to enlarge the proposed bus stand.

An estimate of Rs 3.5 crore has been sent for approval to the Principal Secretary, Public Health, to improve the sanitation of the town. Bus routes from Ropar to Chamkaur Sahib, Chamkaur Sahib to Ludhiana, Samrala, Amritsar and Delhi were sanctioned but have not been functioning since long. The DTO, Ropar, has been asked to make the routes functional.

The government has also ordered the construction of stairs and bathing ghats near the historic gurdwara and the upgradation of the Irrigation Rest Houses in the town. Under the Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan, a block resource centre and cluster are being built in Chamkaur Sahib.


Devotees denied permit to visit Pakistan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 10
Even as the token jatha of 100 Sikh pilgrims will visit their shrines in Pakistan from tomorrow, the Ministry of External Affairs has refused to grant permission to the Hindu devotees to visit Katasraj and other temples for security reasons.

In response to the letter of Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, Mr Ram Singh, Under-Secretary (Pak III), Ministry of External Affairs, said some lead time was required to consider any proposal in view of various aspects, including the security of pilgrims.

The letter of Mr Ram Singh addressed to Mr Billa says that the government had been facilitating visits by Indian pilgrims to Katasraj regularly till 1999.

There was no request received from the coordinators for a visit during 2000. They had received proposals from the Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha and All-India Hindu Shiv Sena the following years which were processed with the Government of Pakistan. The visits, however, could not be materialised due to attack on Parliament House, it added.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Billa condemned the alleged stepmotherly treatment being meted out to Hindus. He said if Muslims could be allowed to visit their holy places, why (Hindus) were they not being allowed.


Navratra offerings: chicken in, goat out
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 10
With Navratra celebrations on, worshippers thronging Kali Devi temple, which was founded by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh after the “jyot” was brought from Calcutta, have been offering chickens this year, which is a departure from the tradition of offering small goats besides liquor to the goddess, who has mainly rural worshippers.

Discouragement from the Kali Devi temple authorities as well as a steep rise in the rate of goats has resulted in the practice of bringing chicken as an offering to the goddess.

Angrez Singh of Sanaur, who had been in the queue for a “darshan” of the goddess for more than five hours today, said it was all a matter of “shraddha” (devotion).

Those bringing goats with them said they were doing so because they had pledged to do so if their particular wish was fulfilled.

However some of the devotees have clearly started feeling that goats are a costly proposition. “With a chicken available for around Rs 40, it is easier to offer it to the goddess”, said some of the devotees.

Devotees had started queuing up in front of the temple on Mall Road here since 3 am today. Some devotees had to wait between four and five hours for a “darshan”.

Many of them also offered liquor, which was invariably of the country made variety, to the goddess.

Temple authorities said they were storing all offerings, including coconuts, dupattas, liquor and goats, in separate stores.

According to past custom, while the temple authorities sell coconuts and goats, liquor is offered as “parsad” to the volunteers of different organisations doing duty in the temple.

However, like other years, the temple authorities failed to ensure a check on money collection by private organisations. Various private organisations had put up stalls in the temple complex seeking donations for various causes.

Meanwhile some devotees today expressed their annoyance at the inability of the temple authorities to maintain the “sarovar”, which was constructed during the Akali-BJP rule.

They said the “sarovar” was often used as a swimming pool by youngsters during the day. They said the water in the “sarovar” had also become dirty and should be changed at fixed intervals.


2 doctors get bail in kidney scam case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Granting bail to two doctors in the alleged kidney conspiracy case, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed them against leaving the country without the prior permission of the court.

Pronouncing the orders on bail petitions filed by Dr O.P. Mahajan and Dr Jagdish Gargi, Ms Justice Lall also directed the two to surrender their passports. Directing them to furnish bail bonds of Rs 5 lakh each along with two sureties of the like amount, the Judge further asked them to appear before the police station concerned every Tuesday. Dr Mahajan is the Principal of Amritsar Government Medical College, while Dr Gargi is the head of the Forensic Medicine Department.

The two were apprehending arrest in a first information reports registered by the police. Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Dr Gargi, in his petition, had contended that he was member of the authorisation committee for Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur districts.

Notice issued

Mr Justice K.S. Garewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion for July 18 on a petition filed by Nishan Singh, personal security officer of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee’s former President Bibi Jagir Kaur in her daughter Harpreet Kaur’s alleged murder case.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Nishan Singh had submitted that there was nothing in the statement of the approver, Dr Balwinder Singh Sohal, to indicate his participation in the alleged conspiracy.


A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab, Ludhiana’s Municipal Corporation and other respondents on a petition filed by the Traders and Property Owners Association.

In their petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice J.S. Khehar, the association members were seeking the removal of encroachments, besides action against the administrative officers, who, in connivance with the encroaches, had failed to perform their duty.


Hike in ministers’ salaries ‘justified’
Our Correspondent

Sunam, April 10
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said today that the salaries and perks of the MLAs and ministers had been increased to check political corruption and provide basic amenities to them as these were found to be insufficient.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Bir Devinder Singh further said salaries and perks had been increased at a time when the financial health of the state was good. He said criticism in this regard by certain quarters was unwarranted as these had been passed by the general house of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The Deputy Speaker also took credit on behalf of the Congress government in the state for postponing the implementation of value added tax (VAT) system.

He stated that the state government would celebrate 2003-04 as the year of development and introduce new schemes in this regard.


Loans for farmers, unemployed
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 10
Various government and commercial banks in the district will extend loans to the tune of Rs 48,160 lakhs to unemployed youths, farmers for self employment schemes, purchase of farm equipment, fertilisers and machinery.

Information to this regard was given by Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the district level bank committee in which the annual loan plan for the year 2003-04 was released.

At today’s meeting, representatives from various banks, including NABARD, The Reserve Bank of India, participated and contemplated on the various loan schemes. The Deputy Commissioner said 188 branches of various banks and other financial institutions would extend a loan of Rs 59,147 lakh to 118898 farmers of the district during the current financial year.

Mr Raminder Singh said in order to boost small scale industries, 2816 SSUs had been identified which would be extended a loan of Rs 18300 lakh. The annual loan plan revealed that during this fiscal year, there was 15 per cent increase in the amount to be given as loan. 


Action sought against sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 10
Resentment prevails among the residents of Wara village near Dinanagar in the district for the failure of the government in taking action against Balbir Chand, a village sarpanch for misappropriating Rs 2.88 lakh. Residents of the village, including Jagmohan Singh, Surinderpal, Ajit Singh Walia, Khazan Chand, Joginder Singh and Jaswant Singh while talking to the reporter said here today that the Deputy Director, Panchayats, indicted the village sarpanch on August 28, 2002, for misappropriating Rs 2.88 lakh and placed him under suspension. Karam Chand, Panchayat member of the village, was given the charge.

The complainants met the Deputy Commissioner in this regard who ordered the Tehsildar concerned on December 23, 2002, to realise the embezzled amount from the sarpanch but in vain. The block development and the Panchayat Officer, Dinanagar, had declared Balbir Chand as defaulter on October 3, 2002, and submitted the report to the District Development and Panchayat Officer here.

The complainant said the sarpanch had been declared defaulter under the Land Revenue Act but the amount had not been recovered from him by the government, so far, in spite of clear instructions from the District Collector. Also, no police case had been registered against Balbir Chand which was in utter violation of the law.

It may be mentioned here that more than 12 sarpanches in the district were dismissed and police cases registered against them under similar charges last year.


Industrial Chamber leaders end dharna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 10
Following police assurance to leaders of Sangrur District Industrial Chamber (SDIC) of action, members of the SDIC ended dharna here last night.

The dharna was held in front of the police station here yesterday morning demanding the arrest of Mr Balwinder Singh, president of the local truck Union, Mr Gurpal Singh, Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Singla, all employees of the truck union, and 25 truck drivers who on April 8 night allegedly hurt three drivers of trucks engaged from Ludhiana by an industrialist to transport paddy from his rice sheller to Karnal. But carrying of goods from Sangrur by the “outside” trucks was not “liked” by the truck union here. In the alleged “attack” three Ludhiana truck drivers had received injuries. The police registered a case against the Truck Union members yesterday.

The police said it had arrested two munshis including Mr Gurpal Singh, of the local Truck Union in connection in a case registered against union employees.

Mr A.R. Sharma and Mr Vijay Gupta, chairman and president, respectively of the SDIC, said SDIC representatives today held a meeting with Sangrur SSP A.S. Rai on the incident. They claimed the SSP had assured them that the new industrial policy on freedom to the traders to hire and ferry their goods and operate own trucks for transporting goods would be implemented.

Meanwhile, president of the truck union, here Balwinder Singh, claimed that a “false” case had been registered against him. He said he had proof that he was in Ambala when the incident took place.

Mr Balwinder Singh said as per the agreement, in case the local Truck Union did not provide trucks to the industrialists within eight hours, then they could arrange trucks from outside. But they broke the agreement by not booking the trucks with the Truck Union.

He said with the winding up of truck unions, youths and others would face unemployment.


Convert MC into panchayat, demand residents
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 10
A number of residents of the town, including those who boycotted the municipal council elections held on March 2, today urged the state Local Bodies Minister, Mr Jagjit Singh, to convert the local municipal council into panchayat again for the over-all development of their area.

As per Mr Jagjit Singh, in the memorandum, the residents including those persons who had withdrawn their nominations from the municipal council elections held in the recent past to press the authorities concerned to make panchayat in their village instead of the municipal council, had urged him that due to municipal council, they had been witnessing negligible development while during the Panchayati set up, there was considerable development of the area.

During the municipal elections, the candidates of six wards out of the total 11 wards of the local municipal council had boycotted the elections by withdrawing their nomination papers. The local municipal council was left with only five municipal councillors and elected its president and vice-president from among themselves.

The minister said instead of boycotting the elections, those, who had done so, should have contested the election and after becoming the municipal councillors, they should have passed a resolution for bringing their town under Panchayati set up and then they should have sent the same to the state government for necessary action.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the state government has started taking steps to conduct elections in those wards where all candidates had earlier boycotted the same by withdrawing their nomination papers. 


Complaint against medical centre
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 10
Ms Jasbir Kaur of Bhaini Bagha village in the district yesterday filed a complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mansa, through her counsel Devinder Sharma against M/s Parampaul Diagnostic and Medical Research Centre, Bathinda, for giving a “false” ultasound report. She has sought damages worth Rs 5 lakh from the owner of the above research centre, Dr Harmesh Lal Paul.

The complainant was subjected to a hysterosalpingography test at the above research centre the report of which stated that “bilateran blocked Fallopian tubes”, which means blocking of both Fallopian tubes. This had affected her married life, according to the complainant.

At the suggestion of some village elders another test was got conducted at M/s Garg Hospital and Ultrasound Centre, Mansa, along with some other tests in which it was found that the Jasbir Kaur was pregnant.

The forum has summoned the owner of above research centre on April 16.


Delay in marriage leads to suicide
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 10
Sangeeta Rani (19) and Ram Manohar Yadav (23) “committed” suicide allegedly by consuming poisonous substance here today. Both were reportedly engaged to be married some time ago.

According to information, a resident of local Sardar Basti Sangeeta Rani today urged her parents to solmenise her marriage to Ram Manohar soon. But her mother told her to wait for some time. On this, she reportedly went into a room and consume some poisonous substance. Later, Ram Manohar also committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance.


MO not delivered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 10
Mr Raghubir Chand Jain, retired teacher and local resident, has been waiting for the delivery of a money order worth Rs 500, sent to him by his kin residing at Hisar, for the past three years.

Mr Rajinder Bindal, a resident of Hisar, had sent the money order worth Rs 500 to Mr Jain on February 29, 2000. However, the authorities concerned has not delivered the same to Mr Jain so far.

Though both Mr Bindal and Mr Jain took up the issue with the authorities of the Department of Posts a number of times, they failed to get any positive response from them.

Mr Jain while talking to TNS said a few days ago when he met the authorities of the Department of Posts, he was told that since the money order got misplaced three years ago they could not do any thing.


New high-speed coaches soon
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 10
Passengers of Rajdhani Express will now travel more comfortably in the newly indigenously built, high-speed coaches using German technology manufactured by the Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Hussainpur, Kapurthala.

Mr M. Sirajudin, General Manager RCF, said the first 16 coaches rolled out on April 6 which were inspected by senior railway officials in Delhi on April 7. He added that the members of the railway board gave their approval to the new design and suggested some changes in the interior of the coaches.


Chahal sent to judicial custody
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 10
The Special Judge, Mr B.S. Kathuria, here today remanded G.S. Chahal, former Director, Animal, Husbandry, in judicial remand till April 24.

Chahal who is facing corruption charges was today presented in the court of the said Judge after his police remand ended today.


Fire destroys gunny bags
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, April 10
Gunny bags claimed to be worth Rs 10 lakh were destroyed in a rice mill on the Fazilka-Malout Road 3 km from here today. According to owner of the mill 85000 empty gunny bags in the shed of the mill caught fire alleged to be caused by electric short-circuit at 2.30 p.m.


Romila Dubey
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The following postings/transfers were ordered in Punjab today.

Mrs Romila Dubey is now Principal Secretary, Department of Cultural Affairs, Archives, Archaeology and Museum, with additional charge as the CEO Anandpur Sahib Foundation.

Ms Kusumjit Sidhu will be the Secretary, Department of Tourism, relieving Mrs Romila Dubey of the additional charge.

Mr Harbhupinder Singh is now ADC, Amritsar, with additional charge as the administrator, Improvement Trust.

Mr G.P.S. Sahota is SDM, Dera Baba Nanak.

Meanwhile, Mr Rajesh Chhabra, Principal Secretary, Department of Medical Education and Research, will also look after the work of the post of Financial Commissioner, Appeals-I.


SHO, 2 other cops shifted to Police Lines
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 10
Mr Uttam Singh, SHO of Malerkotla Sadar police station, Mr Gamdoor Singh, Sub-Inspector, and Mr Satnam Singh, Head Constable, have been shifted to the Police Lines here allegedly for “hushing up” a case of death of Santokh Singh of Dasaundha Singh Wala village near Malerkotla. It is alleged the police was bribed to “hush up” the case by the accused.

According to information, Santokh Singh died on February 4, 2003, and on a complaint of a son of the deceased the police booked Mr Darshan Singh of the same village. But he was allegedly let off after two days. The son of the deceased approached police officers. An inquiry was ordered. It was conducted by SP(H) Mandip Singh Sidhu. Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, Sangrur, said the inquiry established that transaction of money led to the “hushing up” of the case. He also said the role of the Malerkotla DSP would also be probed.

Mr Rai said as there were some missing links in the inquiry report and he asked the SP (H) to look into the inquiry again. He added the SP submitted the revised inquiry report to him last night. He said legal action would be taken against all persons concerned. The SSP said the postmortem examination report of the deceased mentioned that he had been under the influence of liquor.

The Malerkotla police had reportedly closed the case considering that Santokh Singh had died after falling into a well.


89 cr for SC, ST welfare
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 10
The Punjab Government will spend Rs 89.98 crore during the current financial year on the welfare of those belonging to the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Backward Class categories. Last year Rs 61 crore was spent for the same purpose.

This was stated by Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary for NRI’s, while presiding over a function organised by Punjab Scheduled Caste Development and Land Development departments and the Financial Corporation here. Various NGO’s at block, tehsil, district and state level would be encouraged to take up the cause of the upliftment of the poor of the downtrodden, he added.


Six held in fake currency racket
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 10
A 21-year-old computer savvy youth, who is already facing trial in a fake currency case and was out of jail, has been arrested again by the Patiala police along with five other men for printing fake currency notes in the city.

Stating this here today, the district police chief, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, said 21-year-old Gursimran Singh was the kingpin of a fake currency racket. He took the help of small-time shopkeepers, including butchers’ shops, to ensure circulation of the fake currency notes. The police has seized Rs 80,000 in fake currency from the gang largely in Rs 100 notes besides some Rs 50 notes. The racket had allegedly been continuing for the past nearly two and a half years.

Mr Umranangal said Gursimran Singh had taken to computers after completing his plus two studies and had come in contact with anti-social elements following which he started printing fake currency with the help of a computer system, a scanner and a printer. He said when Gursimran Singh was caught in a fake currency case, he had further strengthened his contacts in the jail so that he could continue with the work once he was released on bail. He said after coming out of the jail in October 2001, Gursimran Singh teamed up with a local butcher to restart the work on a bigger scale.

The SSP said the butcher, Paramjit Singh, alias Pammi, of Tafazalpur provided a computer, a professional series scanner and a printer to Gursimran Singh at his home. He said other persons, including Baldev Singh of Alipur village, Munna Lal of the factory area in the city, Shiv Kumar, alias Rinku, of Jagdish Colony and Hemraj of Patran, were recruited as agents by the duo. He said all of them had been arrested even as two others, Shankar and Raju of Tej Bagh Colony, were missing.

Talking about the modus operandi of the gang, Mr Umranangal said the members of the gang included petty shopkeepers who dealt in the meat trade and were able to palm off fake notes to customers in the evenings. He said the agents were also entrusted with the responsibility of palming off fake currency notes to petrol pump owners, juice stall owners and other small shopkeepers in the evening or at night.

This is the second fake currency case to have been detected in the city in the recent past. A week ago, the Faridabad police had arrested Sonia, a resident of Anaj Mandi here, who was the kingpin of a fake currency racket in Haryana. The computer, in this case, had been programmed to print Rs 1,000 notes. Kotwali police Inspector Krishan Kumar Panthey said a case under Section 489 (b), (c) and (d) had been registered against the accused.


Teacher alleges police harassment
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 10
A case of harassment by the police came to light here today. Raghbir Singh, centre head teacher, Saidowal Kalan, who was robbed of Rs 1,17,431 on March 7 by two motorcycle borne youths when went to the police station for the registration of a case on March 7 was himself taken in police custody and interrogated.

Mr Raghbir Singh told newsmen here today that when he went to the police station for the registration of the case, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Station House Officer, instead of registering a case started interrogating him. He said he was physically tortured by the said police officer and it was only at about 9 pm that he was let off at the intervention of the SSP, who was present there at that time.

Mr Raghbir Singh who is still under shock fears that he might be implicated in some case. He said the police had registered a case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC on his complaint and not a case of robbery as reported by him. Gurcharan Singh and Baljit Singh, president and secretary, respectively, of the Government Teachers Union of the Kahnuwan block demand the registration of a case of robbery as reported by Raghbir Singh and action against the erring police officer.


Three held for immoral trafficking
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 10
The district police today busted another immoral traffick racket being run in the city, this being the third in as many days.

Gurpreet Kaur of Gidderbaha town (Muktsar), was running the racket for the past about six months. Police sources said she along with Ram Kumar and Ashok Kumar were arrested in this regard.


Patwari held for graft
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 10
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested Roop Lal, a patwari posted at Malakpura in Mansa district yesterday, for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 300 from Mr Bant Singh, a farmer, for favouring him.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance), Bathinda range, in a press note issued here today said Mr Bant Singh of Khiala Kalan village, Mansa, wanted to get a copy of the girdawari of his land from the patwari, Roop Lal. The patwari reportedly asked for bribe for getting the work done and was caught redhanded.


Held for killing parents

Jalandhar, April 10
The police today arrested Darshan Singh for murdering his parents at Manakpur village under the Shahkot police station.

Darshan Singh was arrested and produced before a magistrate who remanded him in police custody, a police release said. The accused murdered his father and mother with a sharp-edged weapon on Tuesday.

Murders had been committed as the accused was denied share in the family property by the victims, the release said. UNI


Inter-state IT fest begins
Our Correspondent

Malout, April 10
Dr P.B.S. Sidhu, Registrar, Punjabi University, Patiala, today said that even as Indians had got worldwide recognition in the field of information technology, many milestones still needed to be achieved in the field.

Dr Sidhu, who was here today in connection with the opening of the inter-state Technology Festival conducted by the Malout Institute of Information and Technology (MIMIT) lamented that while Punjab was leading the country in agriculture production, the southern states had defeated Punjab in the field of IT. He said that the largest share of IT exports and latest developments had been cornered by the southern states.

He hoped that during the two-day festival, exchange of information and ideas amongst the students would help the students try new ventures. He added that the university would open an engineering college at Patiala in the near future.

Dr Gurdeep Singh, Principal of the institute, said that 450 students were being groomed in MBA, MCA, IT and electronics and communication disciplines. He said nearly 350 students from 30 colleges of Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab were participating in the festival.

During the first session, competitions of software development and hacking were held.


Workshop by Oxford University Press
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 10
Oxford University Press yesterday started a two-day teaching workshop on English language teaching at Army School, Bathinda cantonment. It was inaugurated by Brig S.P. Rai, Cdr 25 Infantry Brigade.

Brigadier Rai said English had emerged as the global communication language and its role could not be underestimated. But, at the same time, one should not forget the glorious history of India and its languages.

The resource persons, Dr Meera Srinivas and Mr Paul Gunashekhar, stressed upon the teachers to adopt the communicative approach while teaching English and the use of interactive methods and techniques. They further stressed that the curriculum aimed at enabling the learner to become a member of a ‘humane and enlightened society’.

The main objectives of the workshop included mastery of grammar and vocabulary, development of four main skills while using English i.e. reading, writing, speaking and listening. The development of essential communication skills and inculcation of literary appreciation were also stressed.

Teachers of various Army schools under the Western Command are attending this camp.

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