Friday, April 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Privatisation not in Bill draft: Power Minister
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 17
Privatisation of state electricity boards was not in the draft of the Electricity Bill 2003. Employees of state electricity boards have been opposing the Bill based on a fear that it would affect their job security, but privatisation of state electricity boards was under the purview of state governments and the Centre had nothing to do with it. Mr Anant G. Geetai, Union Power Minister, said this in a conversation with this correspondent at Sutlej Sadan rest house of the Bhakra Beas Management Board today. He was at Nangal on a visit to Bhakra Dam.

The minister said the Bill was aimed at creating an environment for attracting private investment in the power sector. At present, the generation capacity in India was 1.7 lakh MW and the government aimed at giving electricity on demand by 2112. To reach these goals, however, an extra generation capacity of 1 lakh MW was needed.

The financial position of state electricity boards was such that these could invest in new projects, so the only alternative for generating an extra 1 lakh MW over the next 10 years was to attract private and foreign investment in the sector.

The Bill also had provision for open access to transmission infrastructure for private power generators, so that, the companies could sell their power anywhere in the country. The private operators would also be given open access to the power distribution system on the condition that they would have to create their own distribution network.

When asked about the failure of the Enron experiment, the minister said the mistake of Enron would not be repeated. In future, the government would not give counter guarantee to any private company investing in the power sector.

The Bill would also lay provisions for the unbundling of state electricity boards. About the failure of this experiment in many states, the minister said the process was in its infancy and more time should be given to the new system to show results.

He also said the total loss of state electricity boards was Rs 30,000 crore which the government aimed at nullifying over five years. To achieve this aim, Rs 40,000 crore had been kept under the availability-based tariff scheme, out of which, Rs 20,000 crore would be spent on upgrading the existing power systems and the rest on giving incentives to boards that cut their losses.

Under the scheme, the electricity boards of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana have already given statements that they have reduced their losses by Rs 1,600 crore. The government would, now, provide them with an incentive of Rs 800 crore, which was equal to 50 per cent of the losses cut.

Earlier, the minister was given a guard of honour by a contingent of the Punjab police at the Sutlej Sadan rest house. The BBMB chairman, Mr Rakesh Nath, and member irrigation BBMB, Mr Balbir Singh, accompanied him to Bhakra Dam.


Powermen burn effigy of govt
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 17
Members of the Technical Services Union of the state electricity board today burnt an effigy of the Punjab Government here in protest against the “disinvestment move” for the board.

Mr Karora Singh, president of the city unit of the union, told the gathering that the board was being made a scapegoat in the disinvestment move and a section of politicians and bureaucrats would be minting money in this. He said the board was a victim of the mess created by successive governments and employees were being made to pay for this.

He said the government had cut generation allowance by 10 per cent and employees were not being paid for working overtime. He said the government was trying to force a section of employees working in thermal plants to give in writing that they would not avail themselves of the generation allowance, even though it was their right. He said, by inducting employees who would not be availing themselves of the allowance, two factions of employees would be formed. The other speakers there said their struggle would be intensified in all subdivisions of the board.


Anti-privatisation convention today
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 17
The Punjab Subordinate Service Federation will organise an employees’ convention at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar hall here tomorrow in protest against the privatisation policies of the Congress government in the state.

Mr Ramesh Chander Sharma, general secretary of the federation, in a press note issued here today said the Congress government was pursuing anti-employee policies by deciding to privatise education, health, power, transport, sewerage and water supply in a phased manner.


Nihangs to counter anti-Panthic elements
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 17
Nihangs have now started feeling concerned about their public image as over the past few years certain unscrupulous elements after attiring themselves in the traditional Nihang dresses, are indulging in serious offences, which include selling of “bhang”, illegally possessing land and making fake arms licences.

At a meeting of about 12 different nihangs’ organisations held at their cantonment here last evening it was decided that a “flying squad” comprising its members armed with weapons should be constituted to check the activities of those who had been indulging in anti-Panthic activities.

Interestingly, Baba Santa Singh, head of the 96 Crori Baba Budha Dal, had refused to accept the ban on the consumption of “bhang”, which was imposed by the apex Sikh clergy at Takht Kesgarh Sahib about three years ago. He remained excommunicated from the Sikh Panth for 17 years for carrying out the construction of Akal Takht after Operation Bluestar against the Sikh “maryada”.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the participants also decided to launch a campaign in this connection throughout the state. To make the campaign a big success, they said they would seek help from the state government. The meeting was presided over by Baba Udeh Singh, secretary of the group comprising 12 organisations.

From now on any Nihang found indulging in anti-social activities would be dealt with severely. Certain persons who had been violating laws while wearing the traditional dress of Nihangs had already been caught by the other members of organisation in Punjab in the past few months.

Baba Anokh Singh, a Nihang of Baba Budha Dal sect, confirmed that a meeting was held yesterday.


Suicide case: protests against police ‘inaction’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 17
Irate relatives of Kanchan Aggarwal today resorted to a series of traffic blockades here demanding the arrest of the “killers” of Kanchan and Mitali. They raised slogans against the indifferent attitude of the Punjab police and Government Railway Police (GRP).

The blockades lasted for about one hour and were lifted after SP, Harmanbir Singh Gill assured action against the culprits.

The protesters alleged that while a GRP official had misbehaved with them a local police official had beaten some of them.

The protesters including Sumit Kumar, brother of Kanchan, demanded the arrest of Kanchan’s husband Samir Aggarwal, her father-in-law Swatantar Aggarwal, mother-in-law Meena Aggarwal and sister-in-law Reema, for harassing her and abetting her in suicide.

Kanchan’s brother alleged that nobody from her-in-laws’ side came forward to take the bodies for cremation. However, Kanchan’s in-laws said they had kept away fearing mob fury. A mob had last night attacked the house and shop of Swatantar Aggarwal.

Kanchan along with her daughter Mitali had committed suicide by allegedly jumping in front of the Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express here yesterday. On the complaint of Sumit the GRP had booked four persons.


Murder suspect says he did not surrender
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 17
Relatives of Sheeshpal, who was murdered last week at his nursery near the new water works of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board here, have rejected the police investigation that held Ram Avtar responsible for the killing.

While taking out a silent protest march here residents of Ramsara and adjoining villages said Satpal, brother, of the victim, had identified four persons including Ram Avtar who had allegedly beaten up his brother with lathies before killing him with a sharp-edged weapon. The city police had registered an FIR against all four, stated to be employees of the water works. Now the police claims that the only suspect had surrendered.

Interestingly, Ram Avtar told the Press in the presence of police officials that on that fateful day Sheeshpal preferred to stay here instead of going to his village Ramsara. He said they consumed liquor at his residence at the water works. He added that his married sister was cooking food for them, when Sheeshpal allegedly entered the kitchen and “misbehaved” with her. When she shouted for rescue Ram Avtar said he got and hit Sheeshpal with an electric heater injuring his head. Kewal Singh and others who were taking drinks with them, escorted him to the hut inside the nursery. Ram Avtar claimed that he stayed back and came to know the next morning that Sheeshpal had died. There was no question of using any sharp-edged weapon he said and added that he was picked up by the police from his residence and had not surrendered.

The protesters said the police had “delivered exonerated other “culprits” for reasons best known to the investigation agency.

Police sources, however, insisted that Ram Avtar was responsible for the murder and he was wrongly pleading not guilty. 


Money changed hands in lecturers’ selection: VB
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 17
The Patiala Vigilance Bureau has, in its report, on the recruitment of government lecturers in the state claimed that money changed hands in the recruitment process during the period of former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu.

According to sources here, the bureau was entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out investigations in this regard. They said the bureau interviewed the candidates who had got through as well as those who could not make it to ascertain their views.

The sources said the allegations made by former Markfed employee Randhir Singh Dheera, who had acted as a tout for the former PPSC chief, that Rs 4 lakh had passed hands to ensure selection as lecturers in some cases had also been substantiated. The bureau had also reported that besides this “sifarish” had also resulted in some selections. The bureau, however, was able to pinpoint only some cases where underhand means were used to ensure recruitment.



Mann flays decision on Mukul Joshi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, expressed concern over the Punjab Government decision of opening casinos and posting Mr Mukul Joshi on his previous post.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the SAD(A) chief said, had taken the stand that “if Punjabis can play in casinos in other states or countries, then why not in their own state?” “We expect better reasoning from a well-read and educated Chief Minister,” Mr Mann said.

Putting Mr Joshi back in his previous post was nothing but exonerating immoral behaviour and self-control by a senior IAS officer. “How can Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra function with self-confidence, self-respect, dignity and keep his mental balance, knowing that an officer involved in an unsavoury controversy with his wife has been reinstated without adequate punishment or retribution,” the Akali leader asked.


PYC not to be recast: Randeep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, president of the Indian Youth Congress, who chaired a meeting of Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) office-bearers at Punjab Congress Bhavan today, ruled out restructuring of the Punjab unit.

He appealed to the participants to donate foodgrains for Rajasthan, hit by drought-like conditions. Mr Surjewala said that the main objective of the Youth Congress was to serve the people.

The Indian Youth Congress, he said, organised a blood donation camp in 21 states on the 58th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi on August 20, 2002, where 14,089 units of blood were donated. The IYC had decided to organise a blood donation camp on May 21, 2003.

Prominent Youth Congress leaders present were Mr Ketan Patel, treasurer, Mr Devinder Singh Babbu, president, and Mr Pawan Diwan, senior vice-president, PPYC.


4,000 defaulters get notices from BSNL
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 17
Disturbed over the piling up of unpaid telephone bills for over Rs 7 crore, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at Jalandhar, has slapped 4,000 notices on defaulters, including the Punjab police and several other government departments.

The Punjab police tops the list of defaulters, as it owes Rs 30 lakh to the BSNL, which has not been paid for over two years. There are certain officials, government departments and STD-PCO owners who have not paid their bills for over five years, sources in the BSNL say.

The recovery of bills from the Punjab police could not be done due to non release of the budget on this account to the Jalandhar police. “We recover bills whenever they get the amount,” said Mr K.C. Jindal, General Manager of the BSNL.He also said legal action would be taken against any of the 4,000 defaulters who failed to pay the balance even after receiving the notice.

The Jalandhar telecom district has the largest list of defaulters, say sources in BSNL. “Some defaulters had managed to get new connections after acquiring new names and addresses, which is not possible without the active connivance of certain officials of the BSNL,” said an official of the BSNL.


More social efforts needed for checking sex tests’
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April, 17
If we want to control the menace of sex determination and female foeticide, we have to improve social efforts and only then medical efforts would work, said Dr O.P.S.Kande, member, Punjab State Advisory Board on PNDT Act, while addressing a seminar on amendments to the PNDT Act, 1994, organised by the district unit of the IMA at Sirhind town today.

Dr Kande said medical professionals by and large had disassociated themselves from the menace, whereas now this practice had started in government hospitals and dispensaries on one pretext or the other. Not only this, more alarming is that the unqualified doctors and nurses, particularly in rural areas, have started carrying out abortions and when the patient develops complications he is referred to the Civil Hospitals, he added.

He said the sex ratio in the state was a matter of concern and it was more alarming in the district with 751 females for 1000 males between the age group of 0-6. He said medical professionals had not stopped sex determination tests. Owners of ultrasound centres were pressurised by influential section of the society to under take particular cases.

He stressed the need for social awareness in this regard, adding that by just punishing the doctors and by registering the cases against them the problem was not going to be solved.

Dr P.L. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, gave a detailed information about the amended Act. He said it was a matter of shame that the most historical district had recorded lowest sex ratio in the state. He called upon the IMA to take immediate steps and to help the district medical authorities to launch a drive to improve the sex ratio. He urged the IMA to educate the doctors and their patients about the menace.

Dr Jagdeep Singh, president of the Private Practitioners Association, urged the authorities not to harass the doctors for petty legal lapses. He said the medical community was very much disturbed over this trend and wanted to improve the sex ratio.

Dr N.S. Bawa, district president of IMA, highlighted various steps taken by the district unit to improve the sex ratio. He said all 18 owners of ultrasound centres operating in the district had taken an oath that they would not indulge in the determination of sex, rather they would educate their patients about the effects of sex determination and female foeticide. Dr Mohinder Singla, Dr Kulwinder Singh Sohal, Dr Vinod Gupta and Dr Mahesh also addressed the seminar.

Later, an interaction of the doctors with the authorities was also arranged, where officials allayed various apprehensions of medical professionals with regard to the amendments to the PNDT Act.


Doctor alleges harassment by MCI
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 17
Dr Darshan Kumar Bansal, a city resident, has alleged that the Medical Council of India (MCI) was harassing the medical graduates holding degrees of foreign universities.

Dr Bansal alleged that the MCI had arbitrarily laid down that before permanent registration they (medical graduates with foreign varsity degrees) would have to pass a test to be held by the council. He said that before getting admission in the foreign colleges, the MCI had given a approval by saving that the said colleges were duly approved and they would be allowed to practise in India.

He said that the students had chosen to study abroad not because they had failed to secure admission here, but because the study in foreign institutes was cheaper. He said that MCI teams had been visiting these foreign colleges and had said that those who passed their examination there by 2005 would be allowed to practise in India. He said that this decision of MCI was chellenged by people and then the MCI declared that all students who wanted to acquire medical degrees from foreign universities would have to go through the MCI and after obtaining the degrees would have to pass a test, irrespective of the fact whether that the institute was recognised by the MCI or not.

He said that the MCI should stick to its decision of allowing those who had completed medical education from foreign universities to practise in India without any screening test. He claimed that the quality of education in foreign universities was better than that of Indian colleges and the MCI should not impose rules, affecting thousands of students. 


Afforestation plan for Laddowal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Centre has decided that “compensatory afforestation” would be carried out in 20.028 hectares of “degraded land” in the protected forest area of Laddowal near Ludhiana.

The decision was taken in a matter pertaining to the diversion of 10.014 hectares of forest land for the construction of parking lots, footpaths and service lanes on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road.

In a letter to the Punjab’s Financial Commissioner-cum-Secretary Forests, Central Conservator of Forests D.K. Sharma has added that the afforestation would be carried out “at the cost of Rs 16,62,400 already deposited by the user agency”.

The officers asserted that in addition to the “compensatory” afforestation, “penal compensatory afforestation” would also be done near the GT road on 12.734 hectare of forest land “at the costs of Rs 12,22,464 also deposited by the user agency”. The afforestation work would be completed by the end of this year.

Efforts would also be made to “retain the trees standing at the site”. Minimum number of trees would be chopped. “In any case the number would not exceed 98”. Suitable species would be planted at “the cost of the user agency at appropriate places on land being diverted for the project”. Ludhiana’s Divisional Forest Officer and Municipal Corporation Commissioner would personally ensure the implementation of the condition, it was added.

After going through the letter, a Division Bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice Mr Binod Kumar Roy and Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar disposed of a petition filed by 17 Ludhiana residents seeking directions for the removal of parking lots constructed on the sides of Ludhiana-Ferozepore road “from Jagraon bridge to Sidhwan canal area”.

The petitioners, Mr Raj Kumar and others, had claimed that the parking lots were nothing but “encroachments on the public land” and were leading to “severe traffic congestion”.

The Judges observed that in view of the decision taken by the Centre, they were of the view that the “government could be moved by the petitioners for the ventilation of their grievances” if there was any breach of the conditions.


Punjab to revamp law on Cooperatives
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 17
The Punjab government was planning to restructure the Cooperative Societies Act to reduce government or bureaucratic interference in cooperative societies.

Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, Minister of State for Cooperatives and Removal of Grievances told reporters here yesterday at a function of the Municipal Council.

The minister said that cooperatives in the state were not as successful as these were in Gujarat or Maharashtra. Government interference and bureaucratic control were two major reasons for the failure of several cooperatives, he added. The new Cooperative Act would be finalised in the current year, the minister said. He said that the Grievance Committees in the state would be finalised by month-end.

The minister presented a cheque of Rs 38.25 lakh to the Ropar Municipal Council for development works.

Deputy Commissioner Ropar Ms Seema Jain and president of the Ropar Municipal Council Ashok Vahi were among others who attended the function.


Popular teacher, erudite scholar
D. D. Narula

Eminent economist and educationist, Prof Karam Singh Gill, died after a brief illness on April 12. He was 85. Having graduated from Government College, Lahore, with a Master's degree, he joined Khalsa College, Amritsar, initially as lecturer in history and later shifted to economics. He built up the Economics Department of the college as one of the foremost postgraduate centres of learning, teaching and research in economics in post-Independence Punjab.

Prof Gill had the distinction of having worked in the three universities of Punjab—Panjab University (1055-59) as Reader, Punjabi University, Patiala, as Professor and Head, Department of Economics (1963-64) and Guru Nanak Dev University, as founder of the Punjab School of Economics. He served as the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University with distinction, converting the university's finances from deficit to a surplus during his three -year term (1978-81).

A popular teacher and erudite scholar, he was deeply involved in the studying of problems of economic development and of planning processes. His article on "surplus manpower as source of capital: the economies of the Chinese achievement" appearing in the leading economic journal, The Economic Weekly, in mid-1958 invited the attention of policy-makers and planners. He was invited to join the Perspective Planning Division (PPD), which he did in 1959. During his tenure with the Planning Commission, first as chief PPD, and later as adviser, he served as consultant to the Organisation for European Cooperation and Development (DECD) in Turkey (1967-71) and later in Iraq for one and a half years.

Prof Gill also served as Secretary and Commissioner, Planning, Punjab Government, briefly during 1977-78. He also served as Vice-Chairman, Planning Board, Punjab. He was deeply concerned with the emerging grim employment situation in Punjab, even as early as 1980, when he presented a paper on this theme at the international round-table conference on "employment policies in developing countries" held at Pune, under the joint sponsorship of the International Economic Association and Indian Economic Association in 1980.

Prof Gill will be remembered by his students, colleagues and friends as a genial, warm and humane personality, imbued with deep insight in development processes.

—The writer is a former Member-Secretary, Indian Council of Social Science Research New Delhi


Fire destroys 60 jhuggis
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 17
Sixty ‘jhuggis’ of Madrasi Colony in Batala were destroyed in a fire late yesterday. A woman, Parnai Devi, was admitted to Civil Hospital of Batala with serious burns. Fire engines were rushed to the spot from Batala, Gurdaspur and Amritsar, but the loss of property worth several lakh rupees could not be prevented.

Persons from neighbouring areas rushed to remove several ‘jhuggis’ of Rajasthani Basti connected with Madrasi Colony to prevent the fire from spreading. Eye-witnesses said loss of life has been averted because inhabitants of the basti had gone to Pandori Mela for selling toys and balloons.

Mr Parneet Bhardwaj, Subdivisional Magistrate of Batala, said all possible government help would be given to the affected persons. All inhabitants of Madrasi Colony are migrant labourers, who have temporarily settled at Batala to earn some money by selling toys and balloons.

The cause of the fire could not be ascertained.


Nanakshahi calendar
Minorities panel chief writes to SGPC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar April 17
Following the release of Nanakshahi calendar Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Minorities Commission, in a letter to SGPC chief Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar has asked him to inform him of the changes so that the matter could be taken up with the Union Government and the state government in respect of alterations.

The letter written yesterday, stated that it was imperative to get dates of holidays and other celebrations changed as printing has already been completed. He further stated that the SGPC should undertake extensive advertising for Nanakshahi calendar so that correct information could reach people. He pointed out that information so far in newspapers have been selective and inadequate. 


Councillors barge into octroi post, kick up row
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 17
Employees of the Municipal Corporation and a group of Congress councillors have virtually locked horns over the alleged maltreatment of some octroi employees by four Congress councillors at the main Paragpur octroi post late yesterday.

According to sources, four councillors, three of whom were allegedly under the influence of liquor, barged into the octroi post and started abusing the employees on duty. The affected employees have said in a letter to the SCBC Union that the councillors wanted know why to recommendations regarding octroi collection were not being followed.

Mr Surinder Mahey, Mayor, is believed to have given a clean chit to the councillors and said no employee was insulted. His version is that the employees were raking up the issue because the councillors had found irregularities in the accounts kept at the post.


Woman, girl hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 17
An 80-year-old woman, Ramdatti, was injured when a scooter hit her at Sanguana Basti today.

Meanwhile, a three-year-old girl was injured when a truck hit her while she was going along with her father near the local railway station around 11 p.m. last night. She was admitted to hospital where her condition is stated to be out of danger.

Vasudev Sharma a native of Hardwar was found in an unconscious state near the local thermal plant. He said two youths gave him some eatables when he was returning from Jaisalmer on a train. He added that after his falling unconscious the youths decamped with his money. 


Quota to women in coops sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Punjab Government has written to the Union Government to enact a uniform act for providing adequate reservation to women in cooperative organisations.

Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Cooperation, said today that there was reservation in other elected bodies such as Zila Parishads, block samitis, municipal committees and panchayats. But there was no provision for such reservation in cooperative organisations the governing bodies of which were elected by member cooperative societies at the grassroots level.


Hotel owners warned on LPG misuse

Moga, April 17
The Punjab Government has received numerous complaints regarding the alleged misuse of cooking gas by big hotel owners and kerosene by dhabas.

Stating this here, Punjab Food and Supplies Minister Avtar Henry said that he had received a complaint even against a five-star hotel in Amritsar for “misusing” LPG. He had directed his department officials to verify it. “If the hotel owner is found guilty, a case will be registered under the violation of Essential Commodities Act”, he said.

Mr Henry directed all District Food Controllers in the state to conduct raids on hotels and dhabas to stop the misuse of kerosene meant for the poor. PTI


3 girls become sadhvis
Tribune News Service

Dhuri, (Sangrur) April 17
Pooja (19), daughter of Mr Bir Bhushan Jain of Dhuri, Ms Seeju (15) daughter of Mr Surinder Kumar Jain of Bareta (Mansa, district) and Neha (14), daughter of Mr Surinder Kumar Jain of Sonepat, Haryana, today became Jain sadhvis by getting deeksha (initiation into the order of Jain monkhood) at the Jain Bhagwati Deeksha Mahotsav held at the Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha Ashram here.

There names were also changed from Pooja to Sanveg Shree, from Seeju to Sabhayak Shree and from Neha to Subodh Shree.

All three belongs to affluent families. They have passed their school-level examinations, and were now studying under the guidance of Sadhvi Shree Kamal ji.

Besides thousands of Jains Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, 15 Sadhvis and 12 Jain saints also participated in “deeksha”ceremony. Mrs Gurpreet Kaur, wife of Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, MLA from Dhuri, also participated in the ceremony.

Earlier, in the day, Pooja, Seeju and Neha were taken to venue of the ceremony in an open jeep in procession.


Two die in accident
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 17
Jaswant Singh and Bittu both residents of Batala died when the Zen car they were travelling by had a head-on collision with a truck near Rania 11 km from here on G.T. road last night. The deceased were going to Batala.

The bodies, after post-mortem examination, were handed over to kin.

Meanwhile a woman resident of village near Naushehra Majja Singh died in the hospital here today after she was brought in a serious condition. The woman was working in her fields and was hit by own tractor by mistake.


Missing youth found
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 17
A youth, Harish Kumar, of the local Preet Nagar Mohalla, who had gone missing since Tuesday, was today found lying near Jyoti Model School of the locality and had to be hospitalised.

He told newspersons that he was drugged by two persons when he was going to Singla market to fetch milk after closing his shop near bus stand. The two had been following him. After he fell conscious he was bundled into a car by three others and taken to an undisclosed destination.

He was repeatedly beaten and was asked about the whereabouts of his sister.

He was thrown near the school early today and his brother took him to the hospital.


4 illegal liquor shops shifted
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 17
The administration here shifted four unauthorised liquor shops from different villages of this district for the past many days.

Official sources said that Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said that unauthorised liquor shops had been shifted from Akalia Kalan, Chak Heeran Singh Wala, Kothe Chappri and Mandi Kalan following the complaints of panchayats and residents of the villages, ordered that no unauthorised liquor shop should run in the district.

Recently women agitated in some villages of the district in protest against unauthorised liquor shops in villages. The agitators had also complained to the Deputy Commissioner.

Mr Verma said of the total 57 complaints received by the District Grievances Redressal Committee, 19 were disposed of at today’s meeting. He added that complaints of shortages of potable water by residents of Jhujar Singh Nagar of the town, the officials had been ordered to supply potable water to this locality twice a week.

On complaints regarding encroachments, PUDA had been directed to remove encroachment, the DC added.

He pointed out that the SDM and the Executive Officer (EO), Municipal Corporation, Bathinda had been directed to examine the house in Afeem Wali Gali in the town, which was in a dilapidated condition and take action to dispose of the complaint that the dilapidated building of the house had endangered lives of those living there.


Action recommended against Tehsildar
Tribune News Service

Mansa, April 17
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, of Mansa, said here today that he had recommended disciplinary action against Ravinder Walia, Tehsildar at Sardulgarh, to the Divisional Commissioner, at Faridkot and the Financial Commissioner (Revenue) of Punjab for alleged irregularities committed by him in registering land-sale deeds.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Ahluwalia said, after a complaint had been received against the Tehsildar, the ADC Mansa had conducted an inquiry into the allegations and concluded that these were true. After that, the Tehsildar was given an opportunity to explain his position. After his reply was received and all evidences in the case were examined, it was found that three out of four allegations against him stood proved.

It was found that the Tehsildar had not been fair while registering the deeds between relatives, which had caused a huge loss to the state exchequer. The state government had notified that no stamp duty would be levied on the registration of deeds between blood relatives, but the deeds registered by the Tehsildar did not fall in that category.

“The district administration has not suppressed inquiry report from any authority in this case, as reported in a section of the Press,” Mr Ahluwalia said.


Hotel owner booked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 17
The Food and Civil Supplies officials raided Mohan International hotel and found 22 cooking gas cylinders meant for domestic use being used for commercial purposes, yesterday evening.

In a press note, here today, Mr Ajit Singh, District Controller Food and Civil Supplies and consumer affairs said that the raid was made on the direction of the Food and Civil Supplies Minister Avtar Henry. He said the hotel was found misusing the cooking gas refills.

However, Mr D.K. Khanna, manager of the hotel, claimed that the cylinders were actually recovered from the residential quarters of the hotel complex. He said copies of the bills which proved that the cylinders were being used for domestic purposes are also being attached.


Four arrested for selling pirated VCDs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 17
Four persons were arrested today for the manufacture and sale of pirated VCDs in the city. As many as 2,600 such VCDs were recovered from them. The discs, being manufactured here, were being supplied to dealers in the city and neighbouring towns and cities.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said the racket came to light with the arrest of Ashok Kumar, who used to manufacture fake discs at his Harziratan area residence in the city and sold the same through his “agents” Rajwinder Singh, Hari Mohan, Rajinder Kumar and Sunil Kumar, who have also been arrested.

The SSP said the police had received information about the racket some days ago. A case under various sections of the IPC and Copyright Act, 1957, has been registered.

In another case the police has booked Rajiv Gupta of Street No. 9, Partap Nagar area here for keeping porno CDs. He used to show these at his department store and some CDs have been seized from his shop.

Meanwhile, the police arrested three persons under the NDPS Act and recovered 18 kg of poppy husk and 200 gm of opium from them.


Bank looted

Bathinda, April 17
Three car-borne youths looted Rs 73,000 from the Sekhopura branch of the State Bank of Patiala under the Talwandi Sabo police station yesterday, the police confirmed today.

The dacoits looted the bank at gun point in the afternoon yesterday, while the hunt was on to nab the culprits, district police chief Ishwar Singh said in a press note here today. UNI


Guru Nanak Dev varsity teachers strike work
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
Teachers of Guru Nanak Dev university today observed stay-in-strike to protest against to the Deputy Controller Local Audit (DCLA) of the varsity not admitting their cases.

Addressing a rally in front of the Vice Chancellor’s office, Dr Narpinder Singh and Dr Parminder Singh, president and secretary respectively of the Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association (GNDUTA) accused the authorities of not implementing the demands of teachers accepted by competent bodies. They also decried the alleged arbitrary and illegal functioning of the DCLA for refusing to admit teachers’ cases supported by relevant documents. The demands of the teachers include grant two increments to the teachers who had done Ph.D during service, July 1998 as cut-off date for benefits of promotion, release of readers pay to the teachers of Guru Nanak Dev University already promoted to that position relaxation in refresher orientation course up to December 2004, counting of previous service. 


Govt teachers to stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 17
Dubbing the new education policy anti-student and anti-employee, the Government Teachers Union, Punjab, has decided to organise a dharna in front of the residence of the Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl, on May 13 for the latter’s failure to consider its suggestions to be incorporated in the new policy.

Mr Sucha Singh Khatra, general secretary of the union, in a press statement issued here yesterday said that an awareness drive would be launched at the school level to tell students and their parents about the adverse effects of the new policy.

Regarding the suspension of teachers for their alleged involvement in cheating during recent examinations, the union demanded that they should be reinstated immediately and a detailed inquiry conducted into the whole matter.

Mr Khatra said it had been decided to postpone districtwise dharnas for a month following an assurance by the DPI (Secondary) that demands that had been already accepted would be implemented soon.


Failed students can appear in April
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 17
Those who in the B.A., B.Sc., B.Com part-III examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University will not be able to appear in all subjects in the supplementary examinations to be held in September 2003.

These students could appear in the annual examinations to be held in April, next year.


Staff of 4 schools await salaries
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 17
Employees of four privately managed government aided schools — JSFH Khalsa High School, Nawanshahr, Doaba Sikh National High School, Nawanshahr, Guru Nanak Khalsa School, Mazari and Khalsa High School, Charan Kanwal, Banga — have not got salaries for the past couple of months.

Mr Bhupinder Pal Singh, an employee of the local JSFH Khalsa High School, in a press note alleged that the grant-in-aids sanctioned for these schools had not been drawn and disbursed by the local District Education Officer (DEO).

Meanwhile, Mr K.C. Kapoor, DEO, denied the allegation as baseless and said the bills in this regard had been submitted to the local treasury.


Ayna selected for painting contest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
Ayna Jain, a student of Manav Mangal School at Amritsar, has been selected for the National Painting Competition — 2002.

According to Secretary of Punjab’s Child Welfare Council, Lt Col Uma Ratra, Ayna has secured second position in the age group of nine to 12. She will be honoured at a function organised by the Indian Council for Child Welfare at New Delhi.

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