Tuesday, April 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dy chairman of PHRO ‘abusing position’
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, April 14
Mr Kirpal Singh Randhawa, deputy chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), has come under a cloud, following a letter against him to the Chief Minister by inhabitants of Kabir Park and the adjoining Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar.

They refute the statement of Mr Randhawa that some “outsiders” attacked him on March 22 in his house, following which an FIR was lodged. They allege that he had himself initiated the fight, following which, he forced his gunmen to fire in the air to scare off the opposite party. However, Mr Randhawa refutes the charge and alleges political vendetta against him.

He said he had a counter statement by persons of the area who said they had been misinformed about the contents of the letter. He said a case had been registered regarding the incident that night and refuted charges of any foul play on his part.

However, 25 persons of the area have alleged that he has been misusing the security given by the police to threaten and subdue anyone who tries to oppose him. In a signed statement, they have said that the deputy chairman is spreading terror in the area. “He has misused his position and good relations with the media. He is hand-in-glove with anti-social elements and two terrorists had taken shelter in his house. Arms and ammunition belonging to these terrorist were found by the police from his house. He often uses abusive language while talking,” they have said in the statement.

Mr Randhawa produced the counter letter addressed to the IG Border with signatures of nearly 40 persons of the area. They say in this letter that the earlier signatures were taken from them on the pretext that it was part of a signature campaign against the Improvement Trust move to demolish a fence. The letter says that each allegation in the earlier letter is false and baseless.

The deputy chairman says that, on March 22, at about 11.30 p.m., three persons came to his place in a white Maruti Zen. They threatened and abused him and one of them even tried to hit him, but he was saved by his gunman who fired in the air to disperse the assailants. The accused were the opposite party in a PIL filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding grabbing of the Improvement Trust land here. These persons thought he, too, was connected to the PIL.


Genesis of BKU agitations
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The BKU faction of Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal has given a call for ''rail roko'' at Rajpura tomorrow. This step is to register protest against the ''unremunerative'' minimum support price (MSP) of wheat. Admittedly, the cost of production has outstripped the price farmers get for their produce. But agitations seldom help. This is neither the first time nor the last time that the BKU has given such a call.

Rail roko’ stir today

Khanna (Punjab), April 14
Farmers owing allegiance to the BKU (Rajewal) group in Punjab would launch a “rail roko” agitation tomorrow at Rajpura to protest the Centre’s decision of freezing the Minimum Support Price (MSP), a top leader of the BKU said today.

Urging the government to review its decision, BKU (Rajewal) chief Balbir Singh Rajewal told newsmen here that the decision of the government would have an “adverse effect” on the farmers. PTI

A snapshot of the past BKU-led agitations show that the demands of farmers were in protest against high electricity bills, unremunerative MSP, non-payment or delay in payment of bonus on wheat or paddy or non-clearance of dues of sugarcane growers, and to demand relaxation in specifications of paddy, rollback of input prices, postponement of recovery of co-operative loans, better and fair deal or farmer-friendly laws or bank loans on easy terms etc.

The government has been purchasing substantial new arrivals of wheat and paddy at higher and higher MSP for years since the eighties. Yet, the market forces of demand and supply have resulted in decreasing margins between the cost of production and the price of produce. Incidentally, the MSP, has always travelled upward, since 1981-82 (see chart).

Bonus given by the Central and State Governments is applicable to Common, Fine and Superfine and Grade-A varieties of paddy. The state government has also announced a bonus of Rs 30 per quintal on paddy (2001) to be disbursed in three equal instalments. No bonus was paid by the central and state governments from 1981-82 to 1983-84.

All these decades, the Centre and state(s) have been announcing bonus either on their own or under political lobbying. The MSP today obstructs diversification in Punjab, as farmers are unwilling to switch over to alternative crops. The higher MSP for wheat and paddy every season did not have any relevance to developing production, supply, demand and the stock situation of foodgrains in the country. The increase in the MSP of paddy from 1990-91 to 2001-02 was 159 per cent and that of wheat 184 per cent. In the five years from 1997-98 to 2001-02, while the MSP of wheat went up by 47 per cent (Rs 415 per quintal to Rs 610 per quintal), that of paddy (Grade-A and common variety) increased by 26 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.

It is for BKU factions to realise their potential and social responsibilities to create awareness among farmers and educate them about implications of the WTO or why wheat-paddy was unsustainable on social, economic, ecological and political account, rather than agitate. ''Rather that adopt an agitational approach, the BKU factions'', says BKU president Bhupinder Singh Mann, ''must act as harbinger of social transformation through focused movement to wean farmers away from wheat and paddy as also liquor, drugs and competitive extravagangance on social functions. Several farmers admit that neither agitation nor political solutions to economic problems will help.''Agricultural fields are not a turf for playing politics but for working out technologies for stable, sustainable agriculture to up lift rural society'', says Mr Mann.

To checkmate agitations by the BKU, there is need for an ''agricultural policy'' both at the national and state(s)-levels. Like specific schemes suited to specific agro-climatic zones, agricultural policies should also be specific, flexible and have an in-built mechanism to resolve farmers' problems. the absence of such a mechanism has forced hundreds of farmers to commit suicide.


Anti-quota rally by General Categories Federation
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), April 14
For the first time after the protests against the Mandal Commission during the early nineties, those belonging to the General Categories were seen up in arms against the much-debated caste-based reservation policy, which the successive governments had been patronising, to ensure that their vote banks stay intact.

Mr Shyam Lal Sharma, state president of the federation, while addressing the rally, said here today that the successive governments had failed to muster enough courage to put an end to this system. He lamented that the political parties had been using it as a handy tool to “milk” innocent Dalits.

Mr Sharma said bad blood was being created due to the caste-based reservation policy and the plight of the students affected due to reservations could not be described in words. He said the present system had been promoting castes at the cost of efficiency and crores of rupees of public were being sent down the drains to pay the employees who had been recruited not because of their ment or efficiency, but because of their castes.

Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, district president, said the present set of promoting certain castes should be ended as it had failed to uplift the dalits. He said in the present set up wards of ministers, IAS, IPS and other officials “misused” Dalit status. He said if Dalits had not been ‘uplifted’ by giving lucrative government jobs, or by giving Cabinet berths, it was proof enough that the present system had failed to work and should be done away with.

He said the caste-based reservations for the ward of employees of all ranks should be done away with, as they were by no means downtrodden or underprivileged. He alleged that the members of the SC/ST communities had started using the SC/ST (prevention or atrocities) Act to blackmail the employees of the General Categories.

Mr Laxman Tiwari, president, Swaran Samaj Party, Madhya Pardesh, said the political parties had been cashing in on the caste-based reservations to keep the government with them. He alleged that those who entered the government service on poorest merit get promoted to the highest ranks by getting accelerated promotions. “Out of turn promotions, that too, based on castes had been costing the government departments dear in terms of increased corruption, resentment and decreased efficiency” he added.

Mr Rajbir Singh Sidhu, general secretary, General Samaj Party, said the presently ruling political parties had turned the caste-based politics into a goose, which had been laying golden eggs for them. He said when the political leaders had got their ticket and Cabinet berths on caste basis, it was suicidal to expect that they would oppose the present setup.

Mr Nirmal Singh, state general secretary of the federation, said atleast one member of each family should become a member of the federation if the pressure was to be mounted on the government for putting an end to the caste-based quota.

Mr Hari Harpal Singh Batth, Chief Editor, General Samaj, a quarterly magazine of the federation, said senior editorial staff of various newspapers, including Mr Hari Jai Singh, Former Editor, The Tribune, Mr Harbhajan Singh Halwarvi, former Editor, Punjabi Tribune, had been sharing their views on caste-based reservation with the magazine.

The gathering passed many resolutions unanimously which included, ending caste-based reservation and starting reservation on economic basis, scrapping 85th Constitutional Amendment and reservations in Panchayats and Zila Parishads given under 74th Amendment. The gathering condemned the overruling of various judgments of the High Court and the Supreme Court by political parties to gain Dalit votes. Many leaders of the federation and other bodies, including the activists of the Rashtriya Samanata Manch, addressed the rally.


CPI rally against globalisation
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, April 14
The Communist Party of India (CPI) held a rally here late last night, which was addressed by Member of Parliament, Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, who alleged that multinational companies (MNC) had forced globalisation and privatisation policies on India.

He said earlier the Congress had followed the “diktats” of MNCs and now the NDA government was doing the same. He said if the pace of privatisation and so-called liberalisation was not checked then the country could face economic slavery. He alleged that the profit making PSUs were being sold due to vested interests.

Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, former MLA, said during the Budget session the Punjab Government had claimed that no new tax would be imposed, but now it had increased the fee and other charges of state-run colleges and schools to collect Rs 200 crore.

Mr Arshi said the CPI would start the “jan jagran abhiyaan” from May 8 and senior leaders of the party would be visiting various parts of the country to generate public opinion in this regard.

Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, state vice-president, Punjab Kisan Sabha, said the implementation of Nanakshahi Calendar was akin to promoting religious fundamentalism.

The party said agriculture should be made remunerative, bonus to farmers should be paid immediately, hike in the fee of educational institutes should be rolled back and policies for self-employment should be formulated.


Lakhs take holy dip
Our Correspondent

Talwandi Sabo, April 14
Lakhs of devotees paid obeisance at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib on the occasion of the Khalsa Sirjana Divas (Baisakhi) and took a holy dip as part of the ritual today.

Lakhs of devotes thronged to pay their obeisance at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib on Baisakhi at Talwandi Sabo on Monday. — Tribune Photo Kulbir Beera

A large number of langars (community kitchens) had been organised by villages along the Bathinda-Talwandi road. The people were served with sharbat (sweetened flavoured milk), chapattis, lassi and even bread pakoras at the langars. Even the government employees on the mela duty enjoyed the hospitality at the langars.

The roadside vendors did a brisk business with children being their main customers. A large number of stalls and exhibitions were put up by state departments, including health, agriculture, public relations, and the private sector also put up an impressive show. A large number of farm and related items were also displayed. Some direct marketing companies had even deployed sale girls to sell their products.

A section of people had visited the Takht yesterday as the Baisakhi usually falls on April 13. Some foreigners were also seen filming and enjoying the mela. Some bus operators had a tough time handling passengers as they were allegedly overcharging.


Cops put youth in rack
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, April 14
Raj Kumar’s (22) legs were locked in a wooden contraption and he was thrown on the floor of Maqboolpura chowki here in the afternoon today. He is alleged to have been caught in a drunken state while moving about last night. ASI Shiv Darshan in charge of the chowki is alleged to have beaten him up and later locked his legs in a torture device for hours before a few persons of the area informed The Tribune about it.

Raj Kumar of medium height and with wheatish complexion was found locked in this manner. When asked about his crime, he said he was looking for his father Sulakhan Singh last night when he was caught. He said he was a resident of the Jora Phatak area and admitted he was drunk. He said that he had been tied like this for hours. Chowki in charge Darshan said as he had no “hawalat” (lock-up) so had to detain him in this manner.

Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, who was also present there commented that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should come out of his ivory tower to know reality on the ground where a “demon” “cracy” prevailed instead of democracy. No senior police official was available for comments. In a talk to Ms Kanta, SP Headquarters Dr S.K. Kalia over the issue, said he had just arrived from outstation and he would look into the matter and take action. Ms Kanta Chawla however said a person was not guilty till proved in a court of law and here a man not charge with offence other than loafing around was being tortured. She said the Chief Minister’s silence on torture cases in Tarn Taran have already sent negative signals to the public.

Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh in a talk with The Tribune a few days back was told of the pitiable state of jails and lock-ups in the city which were even without clean drinking water, toilets and electricity. He had assured to look into the matter.


NRI family booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 14
The local police had registered a case under Sections 420, 406, 498, 506, 34, IPC, against nine persons, including an NRI, for cheating, criminal breach of trust, criminal intimidation and subjecting a woman to cruelty on the complaint of Ravi Sharan Mehta, a resident of Guru Harkrishan Nagar. He alleged in his complaint that his daughter, Ramita, was being harassed and tortured by her UK-based husband, Nitin Chhibber; mother-in-law, Veena Chhibber; and sister-in-law Pallavi Chhibber. The complainant also mentioned the names of Mr Raj Kumar Bali and Ms Sudershan Bali, maternal uncle and aunt, of Nitin Chhibber, relatives Kishore Chhibber and his wife Rani Chhibber, Ms Doli Dutta and Prem Dutta, who reside in Delhi.

The complainant alleged that at the time of marriage the girl’s family was told that Nitin Chhibber was a computer engineer, had his own house in the UK, was working in a reputed company and was 24 years old. However, the father of the girl found out later that he was only plus two qualified, had no house of his own, had a paltry job and was actually 30 years old.

He alleged that he had been misled and cheated by the boy’s family. The complainant further said in his police report that his son-in-law returned to the UK on November 18 after the marriage. But when his daughter joined her husband there on June 22, 2001, her in-laws started torturing and harassing her for more dowry. Her father gave Rs 54,000 and Rs 1 lakh to the in-laws and husband of his daughter . But in spite of this Ramita was not allowed to enter her in-laws’ house after she returned to UK after attending her sister’s wedding in August, 2002. She was forced to take shelter in the house of a friend of her father and has been staying there since then.


Gill co-chairman of Kisan Cong
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 14
Mr Parminder Singh Gill has been appointed co-chairman of the Punjab Pradesh Kisan and Khet Mazdoor Congress by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, president, AICC. A letter in this regard has been issued to Mr Gill by Dr Balram Jakhar, chairman, AICC Kisan and Khet Mazdoor Department. Mr Gill, who belongs to this border town, has been associated with various social and former organisation in the area since long.


Ludhiana tops in fatal accidents
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Sahil (14), a 7th standard student, was the only son of his parents. He had come to Patiala to meet his maternal grandmother from Kangra. To celebrate Basant Panchami he expressed the desire to buy a kite. As he, along with a friend ventured out from the house on a bicycle to buy a kite, he was hit by a truck. He died on the spot while the other boy was hurt.

On April 10, a five-year-old child, Viresh was crushed to death by a truck on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway. The truck sped away. On March 29, a bus turned turtle near Doraha, killing Surinder Singh and injuring seven others. Baldev Ram, sarpanch of Gura Village, near Kharar, was run over by a truck only a few days ago. The list of such accidents is endless.

The Punjab’s killer roads, killer buses and other vehicles have devastated many families. Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Ropar are notorious for being dangerous zones as far as accidents are concerned. If Ludhiana zone is the most congested, the Chandigarh- Ludhiana and Ludhiana- Jagraon roads are the most unsafe stretches for road users.

In the past three years, Ludhiana has topped in fatal accidents, claiming 334 deaths from April to January last year. The figure during 2001-2002 was 388 and 349 during 2000-2001. Widening of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road, it seems has made no difference.

Zirakpur-Ambala and Zirakpur-Patiala roads is the most dangerous one in Patiala district.


Students ‘forced’ to welcome CM who did not turn up
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 14
Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab who was to preside over the 11th anniversary function of Mansa district did not turn up today to attend the function.

The district administration had made elaborate arrangements for the function. Government employees present following directions by the district administration. Their attendance was marked at the venue of the function. The police was deployed in strength in the hall of the Government Nehru Memorial Postgraduate College here where the function was to be held.Those entering the hall were checked with the help of metal detectors. The District Red Cross Society and the District Cultural Society here organised cultural function. Mr Ram Paul Dhaipi, General Secretary, PPCC Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, Mansa addressed gathering. Sources said the district administration collected more than Rs 11 lakh for the Red Cross Society for the function.

A group of college students complained that they were forced to attend today’s function when they were busy preparing for annual examinations. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner said the Chief Minister could not attend the function due to health reasons.


Hike in MLAs, ministers’ perks decried
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 14
The Government Pensioners Association has criticised the state government for increasing perks and allowances of MLAs and ministers by getting a Bill in this regard passed in the last session of state Assembly.

Mr Yash Pal Ghai, Additional General Secretary of the association, in a press statement here today, alleged that though the pensioners were being given old-age allowance at the rate of 5 and 10 per cent on reaching 65 and 75 years, but the recently passed Bill had entitled the former MLAs and old-age allowance at three stages, including 15 per cent on becoming of 80 years.

Mr Ghai said that though the Third Pay Commission had recommended this allowance at three stages, but the state government had failed to implement its recommendations in toto.


New bridge on Kahnuwan drain
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 14
Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD (B&R) Minister, laid the foundation stone of bridge over the Kahnuwan swamp drain, near Ghallughara village, today. The 30-metre bridge will cost Rs 57 lakh. Another bridge on the same drain has been sanctioned on the Tughalwala Chacksharif road. Both bridges will be completed during this year. The construction of the bridges is being taken up under the NABARD project.

Mr Bajwa said that the Punjab Government had taken a decision to release funds for the special repair of those roads which fell due for repair during 1994-95 and 1995-96. A sum of Rs 11.64 crore would be spent to carry out all repair of link roads. In the Kahnuwan constituency, 25.51 km of roads at a cost of Rs 104 lakh would be repaired during this year.

Mr Bajwa earlier laid the foundation stone of upgradation of link roads like Sri Hargobindpur to Mann Chopra-Kotli Sainian-Ghallughara-Saidowal-Chacksharif and Batala-Dera Baba Nanak roads. The Mann Chopra to Chacksharif road will be widened to 12 feet along with strengthening of the road wherever required. The upgradation of this road shall provide an easy access to the pilgrims who come in large numbers to visit Chhotta Gurudwara Ghallughara Shahidan. There was a proposal to upgrade other nine roads in the district at a total cost of Rs 13.22 crore under the NABARD project.

Mr Bajwa said that the Batala-Dera Baba Nanak road will be widened to 23 feet at a cost of Rs 3.1 crore.


Probe ordered against suspended cop
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 14
After having suspended three police officers, Mr Uttam Singh, former SHO of Malerkotla Sadar Police station, Mr Gamdoor Singh, Sub-Inspector, and Mr Satnam Singh, Head Constable, the Sangrur SSP has ordered an inquiry against them for “hushing up” of a case of death of Santokh Singh of Dasaundha Singh Wala village near Malerkotla. It was alleged that the police was “bribed” to “hush up” the case.

Earlier, Mr Uttam Singh, Mr Gamdoor Singh and Mr Satnam Singh were shifted to the Sangrur Police Lines from the Malerkotla Sadar Police station

To a question, SSP A.S. Rai said the SP (D), Sangrur, and the DSP, Malerkotla, had been asked to explain positions in this case as they were not directly involved, though their names had been figured in the inquiry reports.

The inquiry was conducted by Mr Mandip Singh Sidhu, SP (Headquarters), Sangrur, who had recommended action against these officers. The SSP said he had taken legal opinion and on the basis of which he had asked the SP (D) and DSP, Malerkotla, to explain positions.


Cable operators accuse Mayor of discrimination
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 14
The issue of imposing a fee of Rs 500 per pole per annum on cable operators of the city by the Municipal Corporation has taken a new turn, with cable operators accusing the Mayor of discriminating against them even as the corporation has now decided to take the matter to the General House. The managing director of City Cable, Mr Naresh Mittal, has claimed that the Municipal Corporation was more keen on watching the interests of a corporator who had started his own cable network recently. Talking to this correspondent. Mr Mittal claimed that people would suffer from the move as all cable operators would be forced to raise their rental by at least Rs 25 in case they were to pay the corporation the fee.

Mr Mittal also claimed that the Municipal Corporation had not served any notice on the cable operators before unilaterally deciding to charge for digging of poles on its land. He said the corporation had also announced the move without putting the matter in the General House, which alone could take a decision on it.

He said the corporation was talking of a Rs 500 fee for each pole even though the cable operators had rejected a proposal by the Punjab State Electricity Board that had demanded Rs 375 per pole from them. He said cable operators had decided to erect their own poles. He said now when a network of poles and wires had been laid down, the corporation had made the demand. Cable operators alleged that the corporation was out to ruin the cable operators to please new operators.

The cable operators said during a recent meeting with the corporation they had expressed their willingness to pay Rs 50 as fee for each pole. They said the operators could not afford to pay the fee demanded by the corporation. Sources in the corporation maintained that the issue would be finalised in the next fortnight or so and such a decision was imperative to generate income for the corporation.

The proposal would be taken up at the General House of the corporation during the next meeting.


Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations
Tribune Reporters

AMRITSAR: A function was organised by the Bhartiya Dalit Samaj Morcha (BDSM), on the occasion. The national president of the morcha, Mr Surinder Khosla, while speaking on the occasion rued that political parties using Dalits as a vote bank.

A function was also organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sang (RSS). Dr Amarjit Singh presided over the function and Mr Kashmiri Lal, state pracharak of RSS, said the RSS was committed to uphold the views of Baba Saheb who fought all his life to put an end to discrimination on the basis of caste, community and religion.

JALANDHAR: The state government has decided to bring a legislation on the implementation of reservation policies and filling of backlog in the government offices, during the next Assembly session.

This was stated by Punjab Local Bodies Minister Choudhary Jagjit Singh.


Hahnemann's birth anniversary
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 14
Members of Homoeopathic Education and Research Foundation here celebrated the birth anniversary of Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homoeopathy system of medicine. The foundation members also organised a function in this regard.


Fervour marks Baisakhi
Tribune Reporters and Agencies

BATALA: Thousands of villagers of nearby villages visited Achleshwar Sarowar and took a holy dip there and prayed at nearby Gurdwara and Achleshwar Temple on Monday on the occasion of Baisakhi.

Farmers also started manual harvesting of wheat as against mechanical harvesting last year to save on wheat husk.


Rice millers’ houses raided

Gurdaspur, April 14
Punjab Vigilance sleuths have raided residences of rice millers here for allegedly having embezzled paddy amounting to several crores in the border district.

A vigilance team raided the houses of three rice-millers at Batala and Dera Baba Nanak in the district yesterday, vigilance sources said today.

The rice mills against which the case was registered included Narwaha Rice Mill, Dera Baba Nanak, Siri Krishna Trading Company, Batala, and Shital Rice Mill, Batala. PTI


Farmer awarded for high cotton yield
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 14
Mr Budh Singh, a farmer of Bhamekalan village in the district, has bagged this year’s Vardhman’s first prize, including a cash reward of Rs 25,000, for achieving the highest yield of cotton — 1,100 kg lint per hectare. The prize was given to Mr Budh Singh by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at a kisan mela organised in Bathinda by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and the Chamber of Indian Industry (CII).

Mr Budh Singh, while talking to this correspondent, here yesterday said he had sown hybrid cotton on 12 acres of land. He attributed his success to hard work, high quality seeds and judicious use of pesticides.


36 pilgrims hurt in accident

Hoshiarpur, April 14
As many as 36 pilgrims, including women and children, were injured, three of them seriously, in a road accident near milk plant at Dasuya on Jalandhar -Pathankot national highway this morning.

According to sources, the accident occurred when a tractor-trailer in which the pilgrims were going to Gurdwara Garna Sahib from Patian Jattan village under Dasuya police station collided with a truck.

Thirty-three of the injured were admitted to a hospital in Dasuya, while two of the serioulsy injured were admitted to DMC in Ludhiana and one at Hoshiarpur. They were identified as Surjeet Kaur, Harpreet Singh and Saroop Singh.

The Dasuya police has registered a case in this connection and impounded the truck while its driver managed to escape. UNI


DSP’s brother commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 14
Teja Singh, brother of DSP Joga Singh, CID, committed suicide late on Sunday. The body was found hanging from a ceiling fan and was spotted by a waiter of Hotel Bharat, near the bus stand, where he had been staying since April 12.

Staff of the hotel reportedly said Teja Singh had given wrong address.

Mr Ashwani Kapoor, DSP, who is investigating the case, said “foul play” had been ruled out and the latter seems to have ended life due to mental stress as he was under heavy debt.


Two teenagers commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 14
Two teenagers Amandip and Sita of nearby Bakhlaur village allegedly committed suicide when they were reportedly prohibited to meet each other by the village panchayat. Sita ended her life by consuming poison on Sunday evening when she came to know that the body of her lover Amandip was found in the fields. The police has registered a case under Section 174 and handed over the bodies to parents concerned after conducting the post-mortem.


Take work as pleasure, teachers urged
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 14
Dr Rajneesh Garg, Director, Institute for Personality and Aptitude Test (IPAT), an NGO based in Chandigarh has stressed to the countering of physical and mental strain before appearing in any type of professional test, particularly that of teaching.

Mr Garg said this while inaugurating a seminar on self-evaluation test of teachers organised by Major Ajaib Singh Educational and Social Society at Jiwanwala village, 35 km from here today. He emphasised the need for taking work as pleasure.

Sharing his own experiences he advised both teachers and parents to discuss the problems faced by students by holding joint meetings.

Ms Ashupriya, a senior psychologist of Chandigarh, underlined the need for having a patient hearing to students’ problems by teachers.

Presiding over the function, Mr Sukhchain Singh Brar, director of the society, emphasised the need for holding such type of seminars on regular basis at all government and private educational institutions to promote awareness among teachers, parents and students.

More than 150 teachers of various schools participated.


Teachers to man administrative positions
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 14
Teachers of Punjabi University are making hay at the cost of the Non-teaching staff with the new varsity management giving them control of the key departments by appointing them Professor In charges.

The management of the university has created the posts of Professor In charge to man various administrative positions. These additional charges have been doled out to the teachers while ignoring the non-teaching functionaries whether it be the Examinations branch, Sports, Finance or Publications Departments.

The choice of appointments is also strange. Dr Baldev Singh, Professor of Economics, has been appointed Professor In charge of Examinations, Dr G.R. Kataria, Professor of English, has been appointed Professor, In charge of Sports, Dr B.S. Mangat, Professor of Mathematics, has been appointed Professor In charge of Publications, Dr R.K. Sehgal, Professor of Punjab School of Management Studies, has been appointed Professor In charge of Finance, Dr B.S. Sandhu, Professor of Psychology, has been appointed Professor In charge of Public Relations.

The latest addition to this category is Dr N S Atri who was made Coordinator of Examinations yesterday. A Professor In charge, Information Technology was also appointed but the move could not be confirmed. Earlier, the university appointed Dr R.K. Sehgal, Director, Planning and Monitoring, and also Professor In charge, Finance, thus giving him three posts in the university, besides the post of Professor, Punjab School of Management Studies. Both appointments were made through a single order.

Sources alleged that new Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh had doled out posts mainly to the supporters of the anti-Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia (former Vice-Chancellor) group which had formed an alliance as the Teachers United Front in which different groups of teachers of the varsity were represented. Though the pro-Ahluwalia group had been largely ignored, confusion and a virtual split had been ensured in it with its convener Dr R.K. Sehgal being given two important positions in the university administration.

The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) has said this is for the first time in the history of the university that positions like Examinations, Finance, Publications and Sports are being put under the charge of teachers. Forum president Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon said the acceptance of posts like the Head of the Sports Department spoke of the reluctance of teachers in refusing any post coming their way. He said this trend continued, the teachers would find it difficult to refuse offers like Professor In charge, Transport or Professor In charge, Security Guards.


AIFUCTO dharna in Delhi on April 17
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 14
The All-India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations (AIFUCTO) and the Federation of Central Universities Teachers Associations (FEDCUTA) will hold a protest dharna in front of the office of the University Grants Commission (UGC) at New Delhi on April 17 to press for the implementation of the agreement signed between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the AIFUCTO on September 5, 1998. This was disclosed here today by Dr V.K. Tewari, national secretary, AIFUCTO.

He denounced the failure of the HRD Minister, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, to do the needful in this regard even after repeated reminders. Three major clauses of the agreement — total parity for DPE’s and librarians, career advancement scheme for all teachers from January, 1996, and promotion — had not been implemented, Dr Tewari alleged. The minister, after signing the agreement, had been misleading Parliament by harping upon his ministry’s efforts to solve teachers’ problems but doing little, he regretted.

The AIFUCTO felt that Dr Joshi was wilfully blocking the redress of grievances of teachers, was not taking any positive interest in raising standard of education and was rather busy in inviting local and foreign private universities to accomplish his agenda of privatisation and commercialisation of education with a view to destroying Indian educational system and culture, alleged Dr Tiwari.

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