Tuesday, April 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjabi NRIs facing identity crisis: Harjit Atwal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 21
Noted Punjabi NRI writer Harjit Singh Atwal said today that the present NRI Punjabi generation, particularly teenagers, was facing an identity crisis and there was a serious problem of preserving our culture before it becomes part of heritage and archaeology. In a two-hour interaction with Punjabi writers and critics of Doaba region on his new novel “Ret” followed by an interview with the correspondent here, Mr Atwal said the crisis of “parvas” was a crisis mankind. “We are being sandwiched between two cultures. Our roots are here but our children have their roots abroad and have reached a point of no return,” he continued.

Atwal has authored nine books, including two novels, five volumes of short stories and one of poems. He belongs to the nearby Pharala village.

When asked that how “Ret”, which had generated a lot of interest in Punjabi circles, was different from his first novel “One Way”, Mr Atwal claimed that his new novel dealt with the new shape of relations evolving in UK, where he has been living for the past 25 years. He said while “One Way” was a multi-dimensional novel underlining the fact of no U-turn in relations, “Ret”, a metaphor for crumbling relations, highlighted the gravity in the decline of human relations leading to breaking of families and homes.

The relationship between a husband and wife used to be complimentary to each other earlier but now it was that of contradiction, he said.

Calling his 320-page novel “Ret” a turning point in Punjabi literature both story and form-wise, Atwal claimed that he had used new techniques in his multi-layered novel.

An NRI writer, Atwal, however, admitted that the term had come into vogue to categorise the literature of the Punjabi writers settled abroad. He also admitted that certain half-baked writings had led to the belittling of Punjabi NRI writers.

Speaking about the novel Dr Jaswinder Singh, a critic and writer from Patiala, said “Ret” was the search of a man gone astray in the over-developed capitalist system, a story of relationship crumbling due to the invasion of consumer culture and materialism in which the ambitious protagonist Ravi is looking for something that he does not know, he added.

Prof Avtar Jaura, general secretary, Kendari Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Prof Surjit Jaj, former general secretary of the sabha, Mr Des Raj Kali, Dr Mohinder Singh Kang, Dr Sukhwinderpal Singh Thind, Charanjit Singh Pannu, Sadhu Singh, Harbans Singh, all writers, discussed the novel.

The interaction was organised by the Preet Sahit Sabha.


Little work, good salaries
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 21
The Punjab government is giving Rs 35 crore in salaries annually to as many as 2,000 science and commerce teachers of senior secondary schools in the state who teach less than 20 students each. Some teachers are teaching only four to five students and some are teaching none, but continue to get salaries.

This has been continuing for years with the government unable to carry a rationalisation exercise despite repeated announcements. The earlier SAD-BJP government had announced that it would conduct such an exercise and created nodal schools for teaching science and commerce in each block, but the exercise remained on paper only.

According to a study of the Punjab School Education Board result gazette, there are as many as 265 schools in the state where there are less than 20 students enrolled in the science and commerce streams. All these schools have an average of three science and commerce teachers, besides three laboratory attendants.

In Patiala district there are at least two schools in which there is no science student even though the requisite number of teachers are posted there. These include senior secondary schools at Tohra and Gharochan villages. At the old Police Lines school in the city only five students were enrolled in the science stream last year. Similarly at Kalyan village only two of the five students enrolled in the science stream last year could pass their examination. In Devigarh of the two students enrolled in the science stream none passed.

According to the board gazette, in Amritsar district there were 27 schools which had less than 27 children enrolled in science and commerce streams. At the Senior Secondary School, Naushehra Pannun, there was only one student in the commerce stream while at Jethuwal village there were two students of which only one could pass the examination. The record was no better in Muktsar district, Malout and Bhagsar schools.

In Ferozepore there were 16 Schools with less than 20 students on their rolls, including the school at Malwala Khas, where none of the three students enrolled in the commerce stream passed the plus II examination. Ludhiana had 33 schools with less than 20 students for both science and commerce while Sangrur had 22 schools, including a school at Ganera where the lone commerce student failed the examination. Fatehgarh Sahib had 11 schools with less than 20 students on its rolls in the two streams while Ropar and Kapurthala had 14 each, Hoshiarpur 16, Gurdaspur 22, Nawanshahr eight, Jalandhar 20, Bathinda 11, Faridkot five and Moga 14.

The pass percentage has also been dismal in most of the senior secondary schools. Nearly half of the students could not pass the board papers despite being having a surfeit of teachers and being part of small groups.

Sources claimed that even the present strength of students in science and commerce streams in rural schools was fudged. Master Om Prakash said in many instances children got-themselves registered in rural schools but attended classes in urban schools and only came back to the rural schools to give examinations.

DPI (Secondary) Sohan Lal said the government would go in for a rationalisation exercise soon. He said teachers would be transferred from all schools where the strength of students was less than 20 in both science and commerce streams.


Gurmat Music Chair at Punjabi varsity
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21
With the aim to revive the Gurmat music tradition, particularly the “kirtan chowkis” system at the Golden Temple, Amritsar, the World’s first Gurmat Sangeet Chair has been set up in Punjabi University, Patiala.

The Chair has been established by the Guru Gian Prakash Foundation, a Delhi-based socio-religious organisation, after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Punjabi University, Patiala.

The foundation Chairperson, Bibi Jasbir Kaur Khalsa, said the university Syndicate had also approved the decision. Setting up of music archive, christened as Sant Sucha Singh Archives of Music, will also be part of the Chair.

Deploring that the Sikh traditional music has weakened in the recent times, Bibi Jasbir Kaur stressed that the Sikh religious bodies — the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) — and other socio-religious organisations would have to combine their efforts to ensure the rendering of Gurbani in accordance with the ragas laid down by the Gurus.

The foundation Chairperson also opposed the singing of the “shabads” on popular commercial tunes. In the beginning, the foundation will release a grant of Rs 6 lakh of a total of Rs 90 lakh to be mobilised in 15 years for the purpose.

Foundation member and university Music Department representative Dr Gurnam Singh said the Chair would start classes in ‘Gurmat sangeet kirtan tradition’ up to postgraduate level. It will impart diploma courses for kirtan performances in gurdwaras under various teaching programmes and research even at the doctorate level.

It will also preserve, record and document classical music, folk music, Sufi music, Indian kirtan traditions. Senior fellowship will be granted to aged musicians and music professionals besides publishing a research journal on Gurmat sangeet and making documentaries on aged musicians.

The foundation and the university also have the proposal of constructing Gurmat Sangeet Bhavan at the university campus.


Badal’s challenge to Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today challenged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to initiate a probe by a high court judge into allegations of corruption pertaining to any 10 selected leaders of the Congress and the SAD after which the leader of the party with the largest number of indicted leaders should quit politics forever.

Talking to newsmen here today, Mr Badal said the Congress government was subjecting Opposition leaders “mental and physical torture” by arresting them on baseless charges.

The issue could be settled once and for all by pinpointing 10 leaders and workers who could be subjected to a probe by a senior judge. “I will select 10 of their leaders and they should select 10 leaders of my party. Any side found guilty after the probe and with the maximum number of those indicted should quit politics. This is my challenge to them,” said Mr Badal, who was here to address a meeting of workers of the district unit of the SAD.

Stating that the “rule of the jungle” prevailed in the state, Mr Badal, who was accompanied by Mr Sarbjit Singh Makkar, former Improvement Trust Chairman, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, official spokesman of the SAD, and Mr Baljit Singh Neelamahl, a senior Youth Akali Dal leader, said the Congress government was following the “king can do no wrong” policy under which leaders and workers of the SAD were being subjected to harassment. “There have been so many scams in the state but no concrete action has been taken against the persons responsible,” said Mr Badal.

He suggested that to curb corruption, the institution of Lok Pal should be set up.

Referring to the damage caused to crops by the recent hailstorm and rain, Mr Badal demanded that a special girdawri should be ordered to assess the loss. Suitable compensation should be given to the affected farmers.


Flays CM over PPSC issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal’s President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today expressed “shock and disbelief” over the manner in which the Punjab Government first lied and then misguided the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), over the Punjab Public Service Commission’s issue in order to completely politicise this constitutional body.

“The gravity of the situation can be judged from the fact that even the Congress-appointed Chairman of the PPSC has refuted the Chief Minister’s claim that the PPSC needed to be enlarged to cope with increased workload”, commented Mr Badal in the statement issued here today.

Mr Badal said that the government’s move to appoint two additional members was all the more inexplicable as it came amidst government’s claims of stringent financial crisis. Mr Badal has appealed to the Governor to recall the entire record and review the case in the light of fresh facts.


Same power tariff likely for agriculture sector
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Punjab Government, according to informed sources, has decided to convey to the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission to retain the power tariff at the existing level for the agricultural sector and not to make any increase in it.

However, for other categories of power customers, the Commission will be asked by the State Government to decide on merit the application filed by the Punjab State Electricity Board for tariff revision. The board has asked Commission to allow it to increase the power tariff to the range of 42 per cent to mop up Rs 1862 crore as revenue for the current financial year. However, as per the indication available in Commission, the increase in the power tariff will be in the range of 15 per cent.

The representation regarding the subsidy to be given by the State Government to the farming sector and the scheduled Castes on power is expected to be submitted to the Commission in a day or two. The Commission that has completed public hearings on the petition filed by the PSEB for tariff revision, has been awaiting the response of the State Government for the past several days. The government had taken extension twice to submit the representation to the commission. It is now expected that the Commission will announce power tariff revision by May 15.

The government, according to sources, will not make any increase in the subsidy that is being given to the Punjab State Electricity Board ( PSEB) in lieu of providing power at subsidised rates to the agricultural sector and the Scheduled Castes. Informed sources told The Tribune today that the Commission will be told that the Punjab Government will allow the PSEB to retain interest to the tune of Rs 700 crore on the loan given by the State Government besides electricity duty worth Rs 150 crore. The overall amount of the subsidy given by the government to the board was about Rs 950 crore (It includes Rs 50 crore for SCs) last year. Almost the same amount will be paid to the Board as subsidy for the current financial year by the State Government, according to sources.

The decision regarding not to increase subsidy to the board was taken a high-level meeting held under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. The Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Finance), Principal Secretary (Power and Irrigation) and senior officers of the board were present at the meeting.

In its application, the PSEB has proposed to increase the power tariff for the farming sector to 286 paise per unit or Rs 330 per horse power per month for the tubewells getting unmetered supply and Rs 320 per horse power per month for metered supply. These rates have been proposed in case no subsidy is provided by the government to the board.

The prevailing rate of tariff that has been fixed by the commission last year for farming sector is 200 paise per unit or Rs 212 per horse power per month. But the PSEB is actually charging only 57 paise per unit or Rs 60 per horse power from farmers concerned as the remaining balance is provided.


CM’s mantra for contract farming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, today called for close coordination with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to develop agriculture and network with farmers to encourage contract farming under crop diversification.

Taking part in the deliberations in an interactive session at a presentation by FICCI on the “Indian Agriculture Unbound: Making Indian Agriculture Globally Competitive”, Capt Amarinder Singh said that crop diversification was a long drawn process and could not be accomplished without an adequate financial support by the Government of India.

In Punjab 84 per cent farmers had less than 5 acres and 60 per cent less than 3 acres. The steep hike in prices of inputs and declining MSP had resulted in low return to farmers. That was why the government preferred crop diversification in a phased manner, he added.

Referring to the Crop Adjustment Programme, Punjab submitted to New Delhi in October last seeking Rs 1280 crore, per annum funds for diversification of one million hectares of paddy and wheat area, he said if implemented, this would save more than Rs 3,800 crore for the Union Government every year.

Earlier, Dr A.C. Muthiah, President, FICCI, said the objective of the report was to identify major bottlenecks in the growth of Indian agriculture, study its competitiveness in global market and suggest a policy framework of rejuvenate it.


CM mourns Imam’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, today expressed profound grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed Sahib, the fourth Imam of Ahmediya Community, who passed away in London yesterday.

In a condolence message, Capt. Amarinder Singh said that the Imam was a pious personality who spent his entire life in the service of humanity.

He was a renowned Homeopath besides a prolific writer and a poet.

The Chief Minister also shared sympathies with members of the bereaved family.


Doc mints Rs 1 cr via fake bills
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, April 21
The local Civil Hospital authorities have unearthed a scam pertaining to the bungling of more than Rs 1 crore by a medical officer. The officer had been allegedly withdrawing money from the treasury through fake bills of salary, arrears and other expenditures since last year.

A case under Sections 409, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC was registered against the medical officer, Dr Sohan Lal Arora, in the Sadar police station here on April 19 on the direction of the Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Usha R. Sharma.

Mrs Sharma directed the district police to register the case against Dr Arora when he was found guilty of bungling more than Rs 1 crore by withdrawing money from the district treasury through fake bills of salaries of employees, arrears of salaries and other expenditures. The inquiry was conducted by Mr Gurcharan Singh, Accountant, Civil Hospital, on the direction of Civil Surgeon, Dr S.S. Toor.

Dr Arora was working as medical officer at Tarkhanwala village when he first bungled government funds to the tune of Rs 4.42 lakh by getting his pay fixed at a scale higher than he was entitled to by making a fake letter of order of the then Secretary of Health, Punjab. He was made officiating Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the Primary Health Centre (PHC) of Chak Sherewala village and also given powers of the Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO) by the authorities concerned.

Dr Toor told TNS that at Chak Sherewala, Dr Arora withdrew about Rs 13 lakh from the government Treasury by making fake bills of arrears of DA of the employees working there. Then he withdrew nearly Rs 71 lakh from the government Treasury by making more fake bills of salaries, arrears of DA and other expenditures of the employees. While he made the entry of Rs 13 lakh into the register, he did not make the entry of Rs 71 lakh in the register of the PHC, Chak Sherewala.

The accused, Dr Arora, had shown in the record that he (Dr Arora) had made payments to the tune of about Rs 13 lakh to the employees of the PHC, which the employees allegedly never received.

These bunglings came to light when Dr Jaspal Kaur joined as regular SMO of the PHC, Chak Sherewala. An inquiry into the matter was got conducted by the Accountant, Mr Gurcharan Singh, and Dr Arora was found guilty. The matter was then taken up with Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Sharma, before the case was registered against Dr Arora.

Mr Shiv Kumar Sharma, SSP, confirmed the registration of a case against Dr Arora and said further investigations were on.

Meanwhile, a section of doctors and other staff members of the health services alleged that they suspected a foul play in this matter as no official of the Treasury had been booked as it was impossible to withdraw money from the Treasury on fake bills without the connivance of officials concerned.


Amritsar airport has a long way to go
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 21
Is the upgradation of facilities at the Amritsar airport, which has been accorded the status of an international airport, a distant dream?

The answer seems to be in the affirmative if the official figures of the Ministry of Civil Aviation are any indication.

As per official information, only Rs 20.42 crore had been spent on the expansion of the airport to make it an international airport till February 2003, even as this project was envisaged and approved during the prime ministership of Mr H.D. Deve Gowda and Mr I.K. Gujral in 1997. A direct Amritsar-Sharjah flight was also introduced on December 17, 1997.

A former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Badal, while talking to TNS said as per official information, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had spent Rs 20.42 crore on the ongoing construction of the new terminal building, the construction of a cargo complex, re-carpeting of the main runway, and taxi tracks, the extension of the main runway and the construction of an apron, new technical block-cum-control tower and a fire station.

He added that while answering a question put by him, the minister concerned said in Parliament that a provision of Rs 35 crore had been made for the upgradation of the Amritsar airport in the Tenth Five Year Plan. He also pointed out that in all Rs 79.27 crore had been approved for executive major works. He said SAD MPs had been keeping a constant pressure on the authorities concerned to complete the work at the earliest.

At present, the airport has a runway length of 9,150 ft. Customs and immigration facilities are available at the airport for international flights. The terminal building can handle 200 passengers only, while the apron can accommodate two AB-320 and one B-737 aircraft. The airport is equipped with navigational aid like the DVOR, the NDB, the ILS, the VHF and the HF facilities.

Information gathered by TNS reveals that if all goes well, it will take three to four years for the airport to become an international airport, having all modern facilities. It was accorded the status of an international airport on the demand of residents of the Doaba and Majha regions as a large section of people from there had migrated to foreign countries and visited their homeland frequently.

During the chief ministership of Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, the Punjab Government had proposed to set up an international airport in the Doaba region on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road in 1996. A piece of land was also acquired for the purpose. However, the proposal could not move forward.

After becoming the Chief Minister of the state for the third time, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Badal, took interest in the upgradation of the Amritsar airport into an international airport. The additional land required for upgrading the airport was also acquired. However, things moved slowly and this project was not given enough money.

Mr Sukhbir Badal alleged that the Congress government was not doing anything in this regard.

Official sources said Air-India and Indian Airlines had no plans to operate direct flights from Amritsar to destinations in Europe and Canada.

None of the airlines from Europe and Canada had approached the Ministry of Civil Aviation for access to the Amritsar airport for their carriers. However, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had permitted foreign airlines to operate tourist charter flights to and fro from Amritsar as per the existing tourist charter guidelines.


Return of five natives from Pak
Our Correspondent

Wagah (Amritsar), April 21
Five persons Kotli Bajwa village in Narowali, Pakistan, returned to their native village in India after nearly 55 years since they fled the country in 1947. Together they returned to India via the Wagah joint checkpost here yesterday.

The five — three named Harbans Singh and two named Gurnam Singh — were overjoyed to meet their old friend.

Now in eighties, they were however, distressed to know that their entire village had been swept away by floods in the Ravi. They hugged old friends Rehat Masih Jamal Din and Kamal Din.

The only house that is still intact in their village was the one belonging to Dr Niranjan Singh.


Dang for review of SIT working
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 21
The CPI leader, Mr Satya Pal Dang today urged the Chief Minister to ensure that all politicians, police officers, Magistrates and lawyers involved in the kidney scam should not be allowed to go scot-free.

Mr Dang in a letter to Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, which was released to the Press pointed out that the government must properly review the working of the special investigation team and especially the task entrusted to the Inspector General supervising the investigation as he alleged that he had been acting as the de facto chief of the SIT. He appealed to the Chief Minister to take action in expect of all acts of commission and omission which might have been discovered by the investigating team.

The letter written by Mr Dang has urged the Chief Minister to release poor donors who had been arrested while being forced to donate or manipulated to donate kidneys.

The CPI leader advocated that the government hospitals attached to medical colleges in the state should be fully equipped and properly staffed to undertake kidney transplant operations at the earliest.

Mr Dang has questioned the wisdom the ADGP, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, for giving confusing statements with regard of the involvement of senior IPS officers, including an IG. He urged the Chief Minister to clarify the role of police officers and the criminal action being contemplated against them. He added that SIT had confirmed that eight police officers, including two IPS officers, were party to the kidney scam while being posted at Amritsar and had recommended departmental action. He felt that it was the prerogative of the government to decide about the case being filed against these officers and not the head of SIT.

Mr Dang has also added that SIT had given a clean chit to the present SSP of Amritsar while on record the SSP had earlier exonerated the prime accused claiming that the preliminary inquiry had not revealed any involvement of the doctors. However, SIT did not explain the statement issued by the SSP about giving clean chit to the culprits.

The veteran leader pointed out that there was no provision in the Organ Transplant Act for the submission of affidavits and wondered how the system was introduced while dispensing away with physical verification by the authorisation committee. Mr Dang complimented the Chief Minister for his timely intervention last year when the kidney mafia managed to get the case transferred from SP (City) to Vigilance Bureau to expose the nexus between the operating doctors, policemen, authorisation committee and the middlemen.

Mr Dang also questioned the wisdom of SIT for not unearthing the role of local hospital and its management in the multicrore kidney scam. He added that one doctor and a women employee of Kakkar Hospital who were described by him as close to the prime accused had not been booked as yet while SIT was not coming out with any explanation about these person being let off.


Kidney racket report submitted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Special Investigating Team (SIT) has submitted its detailed report on the kidney racket to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, according to sources in the Police Department, who also said today, that it was a secret document and speculations regarding its contents in the media were exaggerations. The report was submitted last week. The sources said no police official should make any public statement decrying a fellow official on the basis of mere speculations. The state government would examine the report and, then, take a decision on the future course of action.


Channi, others evade VB
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 21
Even as the Vigilance Bureau has not been able to arrest the three remaining accused, including Chairman of C.T. Public School Charanjit Singh Channi in the multi-crore composition fee scam even after four days, the Duty Magistrate, Ms Harreet Kaur, today extended police remand of two civic body employees, who had been arrested on Friday, till April 23.

Meanwhile, the three accused — Charanjit Singh Channi, his relative Mohinder Singh and the then Senior Town Planner A.S. Tuli — have applied for anticipatory bail in the court of District and Sessions Judge here, which will come up for hearing tomorrow.

Earlier, the Vigilance Bureau officials produced the then Municipal Town Planner Raj Kumar and the Assistant Town Planner Bhagwant Singh in the court of Duty Magistrate Harreet Kaur since the Chief Judicial Magistrate was on leave. After hearing the arguments of the defence counsel and the public prosecutor, the magistrate extended the police custody for two days.

The VB sleuths today conducted raids at several places in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Chandigarh to nab the remaining three accused, who were alleged to have caused loss to the state exchequer worth crores of rupees. The VB today sealed the bank accounts and lockers of A.S. Tuli and seized some documents from the residence of Bhagwant Singh.

Meanwhile, there were reports that Charanjit Singh Channi was using his influence in political circles to hamper the investigation into the case.

The VB is also scruitinising the records of the Municipal Corporation and it was learnt that Rs 100 crore was evaded by as many as 92 influential builders of the city, who had raised highrise buildings, shopping complexes, hotels and restaurants without getting the mandatory building plan approved from the civic body during the past six years.


Human error ruled out in MiG-23 crash
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
While the verdict of the court of inquiry instituted by the Indian Air Force into the MiG-23 crash at Mullanpur Dakha on April 4 is awaited, preliminary investigations conducted by the senior officers have almost ruled out the human error angle into the crash that claimed seven lives.

Highly placed Air Force sources revealed to The Tribune on condition of anonymity that after detailed questioning of the pilot, Fl-Lt. B.S. Gill, the probability of human error leading to the crash was found very low.

The pilot was grilled by senior officers and technical experts who took into account his reaction to the problems occurring on the ill-fated plane.

The sources said it would take some time for the experts to find out the exact cause of the crash. The machinery was being examined by Air Force experts at a place that was not being disclosed for security reasons.

The machinery seemed to have revealed little as high-level team took up fresh digging at the site a few days ago. The sources disclosed that some vital parts of the machinery were missing and the crash site was dug up to find these.

The sources disclosed that the pilot did not expect the plane to fly up to Mullanpur Dakha. He stated that after the engine developed some problems and the plane was over Gujajrwal village, he ensured that he ejected out only when the village was safe.

The pilot, who belongs to Moonak town in Sangrur district, stated that he thought the plane would crash in the fields and never imagined that it would fall into a residential area, over 10 km from the place where he ejected out.

The Air Force is planning to change the engines of the MiG-27 fighter aircraft. The MiG aircraft was at the centre of a controversy regarding use of spurious parts in its machinery.

Meanwhile, nothing much seems to have changed at the air crash site at Bank Colony. The residents of houses damaged due to the impact are forced to live in dilapidated houses in the midst of rubble as the state government is yet to carry out an inspection to pay them compensation.

The residents are in a catch-22 situation. Neither can they construct houses till officials visit the site, nor can they live like this as most the houses are lying open.


Gujral: Iraq war has weakened UN
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 21
Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral yesterday said that the recent US-led aggression on Iraq had weakened United Nations Organisation (UNO), “US-British Aggression on Iraq has undermined the significance of “United Nations Organisation and it is not the first time, earlier also during Bosnia war UNO was sidelined” Mr Gujral told reporters suggesting the reforms in the UNO were needed to regain its significance.

UNO was formed after 1945 World War II and had played a significant role to avoid any kind of conflict among the countries over one issue or another, Mr Gujral said adding but this time it had failed to stop aggression on Iraq.

Even the Security Council was against any attack on Iraq and wanted more time to inspect whether the Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction or not. Two nations of P-5 the USA and the UK, sidelined the Security Council view and initiated action on Iraq. Mr Gujral alleged adding that this happened although Russia, France and Germany were against the aggression.

In the present scenario the Security Council should broaden its base and enroll India as its permanent member, he demanded.

After Iraq, future of Central Asia, which was having natural resources in the form of gas,was in danger and the strategy adopted by the Americans in South Asia could be dangerous for the region, he added.

As far as South Asia was concerned the USA had already established its say in Nepal by supplying arms and ammunitions in Sri Lanka also peace talks were being held under the supervision of foreign powers. Pakistan was already having American military base after Afghan war and Bangladesh was also getting close to the USA. Mr Gujral said adding time was ripe for India to improve relations with its neighbouring countries.


‘They perished before my eyes’
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, April 21
Jairam Yadav, a rickshaw-puller who lost six members of his family in a lightning incident on Saturday night, is yet to come to terms with the catastrophe.

The lightning resulted in a fire which engulfed two jhuggis belonging to Jairam and led to the death of his wife Anita, three daughters — Suraj Mani (10), Gunja (9) and Puja (7) — and two sons — Muna (5) and Budh Dass (4). Jairam and his two-year-old daughter had a miraculous escape. The family had migrated to the city from Faridkot along with 10 other families of migrant labourers in search of greener pastures and had pitched its jhuggis in the backyard of the grain market about four months ago.

“They perished before my eyes. I am still unable to believe it,” said Jairam, who broke into tears while talking to The Tribune. I still imagine that my kids are playing by my side and that my wife has just cooked for the family,” said Jairam, pointing towards the hearth, which was the central meeting point for the family till three days ago.

A round of the place showed cereals, foodgrains and utensils scattered all over. The jhuggies were reduced to ashes.

“When Jairam saw the flames, he came out crying for help. A large number of people from the nearby grain market came with buckets of sand and water, but by then everything was over. The kids, except Raju, who was sleeping with Jairam, had died and so had his wife Anita,” said Suresh, a labourer, who hails from Raria district in Bihar and stayed next to Jairam’s jhuggies. Suresh, however, said he did not know the exact cause of the fire as he did not hear any blast or loud noise.

The bodies were shifted to the local Civil Hospital where post-mortem was conducted.

Meanwhile, Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, said the Red Cross had given an aid of Rs 10,000 to the victim, while more relief would be given by the state government. He confirmed that the incident was caused by fire.


Ruling on insecticide case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
A criminal complaint or proceedings initiated against a dealer, accused of contravening the provisions of the Insecticide Act, cannot be quashed until the prosecution has led its evidence, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled in a significant Judgement.

Pronouncing the orders on a bunch of three petitions, a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice V.M. Jain and Mr Justice S.K. Mittal, ruled: “An accused dealer can avail defence only after the prosecution leads its evidence to prove its case. Before that stage of prosecution, a criminal complaint or criminal proceedings initiated against an accused dealer cannot be quashed in exercise of powers conferred under Section 482 of the CrPC on the basis of averments made in the petition”.

The Judges further ruled: “The only exception in which the criminal complaint can be quashed is where defence available to the dealer under Section 30 (3) of the Insecticide Act has been accepted by the Appellate Authority under Section 15 of the Insecticide Act while setting aside the order of suspension or revocation of his licence”.

The matter was referred to the Division Bench by a Single Judge of the High Court due to “conflicting decisions while interpreting the provisions of Section 30 (3) of the Insecticide Act”. The question referred to the Bench was “whether a dealer can agitate and challenge his prosecution in the High Court in a petition filed under Section 482 of the CrPC by pleading that he had acquired the insecticide from an importer or duly licensed manufacturer, distributor or dealer”.


A widow’s case pertaining to the recovery of money lying with Patiala’s Municipal Corporation was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court after she failed to prove her marriage which took place in 1962.

Delivering the verdict on a petition filed by Kanta Devi of Patiala, Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the High Court ruled that an affidavit filed in the matter could not be a substitute for due proof of marriage. The Judge ruled: “The petitioner’s claim was based upon her marriage with Shambu Nath in April 1962. No evidence has been led by the plaintiff for proving her marriage. Reliance placed by her was merely on an affidavit of Shambu Nath wherein he is alleged to have married Kanta Devi”.

The Judge further ruled: “The affidavit cannot be taken as a substitute for due proof of marriage. When the factum of marriage was denied by the defendants in the case, it was for the plaintiff to prove the same by leading cogent evidence”.

Kanta Devi’s suit for the recovery of Rs 4,850 was initially decreed by the trial court, but the judgement and the decree were subsequently set aside. Going into the background of the case, she had claimed that Shambu Nath had died in 1969 following which she sought the withdrawal of the amount lying with the corporation.

Meanwhile, another relative Saraswati Devi filed application for revocation of the succession certificate which was allowed, Kanta Devi’s counsel had asserted. During the proceedings, Saraswati Devi had also denied Kanta Devi’s marriage with Shambu Nath.


SGPC files plea in Manjit Singh case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 21
Mr M.S. Gill, counsel for the SGPC, today submitted a application before the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) in a case related to the removal of Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Kesgarh Sahib, saying that it was not maintainable and hence should be dismissed.

The application was submitted by the SGPC in a petition challenging the removal of Jathedar, Takht Kesgarh Sahib, filed by Capt Channan Singh Sidhu, president, Sikh Forum, Punjab, in the SGJC.

The counsel for the complainant, Mr Ajay Virmani, was issued a notice by the SGJC to file a reply on the application on May 6, which is the next date for hearing in the case.

The two-member SGJC Bench, headed by chairman Kashmir Singh Patti and member Raghbir Singh, today also extended the status quo on the appointment of a new Jathedar which is to be maintained by the SGJC till the next date of hearing.

Mr Gill pleaded on the behalf of SGPC that under Sections 143 of the Sikh Judicial Act no notice was issued to the SGPC for the additional application, which is mandatory under the Act. He also cited several high court judgements in this regard. He stated that under Order 7, Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Court, the petition was not maintainable.

The complainants had earlier filed an application against the SGPC president, vice-president, secretary, general secretary and 12 executive members alleging that they had misused power in the removal of jathedar Manjit Singh. The miscellaneous application was filed on March 21.


Vigilance to seek cancellation of Hardeep’s bail

SAS Nagar, April 21
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has decided to move the Punjab and Haryana high court for seeking the cancellation of the pre-arrest bail of Hardeep Singh, PA to the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The action of the bureau follows failure of Hardeep Singh to appear before the SP Vigilance Office in Chandigarh today.

The vigilance bureau on April 19 had pasted a notice outside Hardeep Singh’s residence in Phase 3B1 here asking him to appear before the SP Vigilance Office in Chandigarh today.

Sources in the bureau also informed that Hardeep Singh was on anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court and was expected to be present in the court on April 23. TNS


Badungar opposes move on casinos
Our Correspondent

Amritsar , April 21
Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC chief, has condemned the proposal to open casinos in Punjab.

In a press note today he said the proposal was aimed at destroying the social, economic, mental and religious fabric of the Punjabis by mooting such schemes. Clubbing another proposal wherein liquor was allowed to be sold at general stores, prof Badungar said the government was promoting socially detrimental policies in Punjab. He said that with a view to filling the state’s coffers the government was trying to make Punjabi youths addicts.

He demanded the withdrawal of such policies and appealed to a youth not to get lured by such temptations.


Tandon demands action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
A former BJP minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, said today that the government should take an appropriate action in a case of bribery allegedly involving a personal assistant of an MLA of Malerkotla and certain other persons.

Mr Tandon said today that the case should not be swept under the carpet in a filmy manner. All involved in the case should be booked under relevant provisions of the law, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Tandon, in a separate statement, said that the staff of the Central Excise had created problems in the talks between small scale textile industry and the Union Government. He said as the talks were on regarding excise duty, the officers concerned threatened the factory owners to get their firms registered. It was most unfair, he added.


ST exemption on langar supplies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Punjab Government today notified exemption from payment of sales tax on items supplied for the preparation of langar and construction work in the Golden Temple complex to a limit of Rs 15 lakh per annum for two years.

A press note issued by the government late in the evening said exemption had been granted under the Punjab General Sales Tax Act and would be valid retrospectively from April 1 this year to March 31, 2005.

It may be mentioned here that Capt Amarinder Singh had announced at Sri Anandpur Sahib during Hola Mohalla celebrations that all supplies for the langar and construction work inside the Darbar Sahib complex shall be exempt from payment of sales tax.


Cancel PMC poll, says PCMSA
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 21
About 26,000 doctors of the 34,000 doctors registered with the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) have been deprived of their right to vote in the ensuing elections to members of the PMC as their names do not figure on the electoral roll.

Alleging this here today, Dr Surinder Singla, state general secretary of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA), said resentment prevailed among the doctors whose names were missing from the voters’ list. He said the PCMSA also criticised this action of the authorities concerned. Dr Singla said the Punjab Chief Minister should immediately order a high-level probe in this regard.

He further stated that the electoral roll seemed to be prepared without adopting any criteria as all registered doctors had not been informed in this regard. He said even the notification issued by the returning officer did not mention the number of vacancies for which the elections were to be held.

Dr Singla said the PCMSA wanted that the elections should be cancelled immediately and a fresh election process should be ordered under the supervision of a three-member election commission in place of one doctor. The PCMSA state president, Dr Hardeep Singh, has already submitted a written representation in this regard to the Returning Officer-cum-Joint Director, Research and Medical Education, Punjab, he added.


5 get life term
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 21
A local fast track court today awarded life sentence to five persons, besides a fine of Rs 2,000 each for a murderous attack on four persons of a family of Kami Kalan village under Ghanour police station in the district in which a woman was killed.

The court held Avtar Singh, Gurdev Singh, Gurnam Singh, Surinder Singh and Amarinder Singh guilty with regard to the incident which took place on April 21, 2001. The accused had entered into a quarrel with a family of the same village over ownership of a small piece of land in the village. They later attacked the family with sharp-edged weapons resulting in multiple injuries to the victims, including Jasmail Kaur, who succumbed to her injuries in APJ Jain Hospital at Rajpura.


District mandis receive 2.05 tonnes of wheat
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 21
Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the High Power Finance Committee, today claimed that wheat procurement was going on smoothly.

Mr Singla today visited the local grain market along with Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Upjeet Singh Brar, SDM, and officials of the District Food and Supply Department and procurement agencies to listen to the problems being faced by farmers.

He claimed that the officials had been told that if anybody was found taking bribe stern action would be taken against him. He said arhtiyas had been instructed not to deduct money while making payments to farmers on the pretext of bribing officials.

Mr Ramesh Jindal, district mandi officer, said so far 2.05 lakh tonnes of wheat has arrived at mandis in the district and of it 1.89 lakh tonnes has been procured. He said 13,688 tonnes of wheat had arrived at the local mandi and 12,813 tonnes have been purchased by different agencies so far.

MUKTSAR: Ms Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner said on Monday that 1.2 lakh tonnes of wheat had been procured in the district. She was presiding over a meeting of officials here today convened to monitor the procurement of wheat in the district.

She claimed that flying squads had been formed to curb malpractices during procurement. She said the farmers should inform the SDMs concerned if any official of the procurement agencies or the arhtiyas asked for bribe.


Truck union chief, ex-chief booked
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 21
The Rampura police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 408, IPC, against Satnam Singh Bhairupa, former president of the truck union, and Basant Singh Krarwala, president of the union, for allegedly misappropriating money of the union.

Sources said some members of the union wanted to know the details of the tax deducted at source (TDS) from the president of the union, but request was declined. As the amount involved ran into lakhs of rupees, some members lodged a complaint with the police.

The Income Tax authorities had returned Rs 5,56,248 to the union that had been collected as TDS, but the president of the union did not disburse the amount to the members and instead allegedly pocketed it.

The Superintendent of Police (H) had conducted a probe into the allegations and found the accused guilty of misappropriation of the TDS money. The accused had pleaded in public that they would return the money but later refused to do so.

Some members of the union had also approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this connection and the court had pulled up the police.

It is learnt that while Bhairupa is a confidant of former Punjab Power Minister Sikander Singh Malooka and had sided with the Badal faction during the Badal-Tohra feud, Krarwala is said to be well connected with the ruling party.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said a case had been registered against the two, but no arrests had been made so far.


4 travel agents booked

Kapurthala, April 21
The police has registered a case of fraud against four travel agents for duping three persons about Rs 7 lakh on the pretext of sending them abroad.

In a press note issued here today, SSP R.N. Dhoke identified the travel agents as — Bhupinder Singh, Avtar Singh, Major Singh and Jagir Singh.

The complainant, Balwinder Kaur, in an FIR alleged that Avtar Singh and Major Singh took Rs 2 lakh from her for sending her husband to France. Instead of sending her husband to France, they sent him to Tunis on a fake visa and her husband returned to India after five days.

Another complainant, Gurnam Singh, in the FIR alleged that Jagir Singh took Rs 4 lakh for sending his son to Italy and instead of sending to Italy his son was sent to Nigeria. He further alleged that his son was kept in illegal detention in Nigeria and the agent demanded Rs 1.45 lakh more for sending his son from Nigeria to Italy. His son returned to India after spending seven to eight months in Nigeria.

No arrest has been made so far. UNI


Wife, 3 others held for man’s murder

Jalandhar, April 21
The district police arrested four persons on charges of murder, including the wife and sister-in-law of the victim, from Kotla village yesterday.

According to police sources Gurdev Singh of Narangpur alleged in his complaint to the police that his brother-in-law was married to Ranjit Kaur of Sadiqpur and had two children out of the wedlock.

On the objection of Lakhbir Singh his wife started living with her widowed sister Balbir Kaur.

When Lakhbir Singh visited Rajni on April 12 to bring her back he was allegedly served cold drink mixed with some poison. He died on way to hospital.

On the basis of his dying statement, the police registered a case against his wife Rajni, sister-in-law Balbir Kaur, Sukhwinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh and arrested them. UNI


Man booked for daughter’s death
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 21
The police has booked Rajiv Bansal, his parents Aasha and Dharampal, residents of the city, for allegedly killing his (Rajiv’s) daughter and injuring his wife by pushing them into a canal last evening.

Rajani (28), wife of Rajiv, has alleged that he took them towards the canal from their Parasram Nagar residence on the pretext of a walk. Her eight-year-old daughter Divya was overjoyed that they were going out. “But she did not know what fate had in store for her,” she said and broke down.

She said when they neared the canal, they were pushed into it. While she managed to come out, she could not save Divya. The body of Divya has not yet been found.

Rajani who is undergoing treatment at the local Civil Hospital alleged that her husband did no like their daughter. It is also learnt that the relations between the husband and wife were not very cordial and tension prevailed in the house.

A case has been registered on the complaint of Rajani under Sections 302, 307, 201 and 120-B, IPC.


7 suspected robbers held
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, April 21
The police today claimed to have arrested seven youths who were allegedly planning to loot people of Punjab villages near the border with Rajasthan and Haryana.

Mr Shiv Kumar Sharma, SSP, said in a press note issued today that the suspects were arrested from near Luhra village in the district while they were moving in a car under suspicious circumstances. When the police intercepted the youths, four of them tried to flee, but the police overpowered them.

Six suspects — Manjit Singh of Sikandpur village, Mohit and Bikramjit Singh, both from Sirsa town, Manjit Singh of Sularpur village, and Gurwinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh, both of Chando village under the Ratia police station, belong to Haryana while the seventh, Bohar Singh belongs to Rode Lande village in Muktsar district.

The SSP said the suspects were planning to loot residents of Killianwali, Luhra and Barring Khera villages.


Armed men take away 15 youths
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 21
Resentment prevails among the Nath (Jogi) community over the taking away of 15 youths allegedly by the CIA staff, Amritsar, under mysterious circumstances today.

Mr Bittu Nath and Mr Mukhtar Nath, representatives of the Naths, also known as Jogis, who have been living at the local Gokulpur Mohalla for the past many decades, told this correspondent here that about 30 armed persons claiming to be employees of the CIA came around 4.30 a.m. and ordered all youths living there to gather at a spot. They inquired about one “Raju” from them and took away 15 Nath youths aged between 16 and 35.

Mr Gurdev Singh Sahota, DIG (Border) Punjab Police, border zone, said the police was investigating the matter.


ASI held on looting charge

Amritsar, April 21
The Ram Bagh police today arrested Inderpal Singh an assistant Sub-Inspector, Tarn Taran, along with his accomplice Gurwinder Singh, a local resident for allegedly looting a couple who had stayed at hotel Khera opposite bus stand.

The couple had booked a room after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple. According to an FIR registered under Section 392 of Indian Penal Code, the ASI in uniform entered the room of the couple on the pretext of searching and snatched Rs 4300 in cash, pair of ear rings, one gold ring and a mobile phone from the couple. TNS


3 die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 21
Three persons — Surinder Kumar, Ajay Kothari and Sonu (driver) — all residents of Solan in Himachal Pradesh, were killed on the spot and two persons — Yuvraj Singh and Ashwani Kumar injured when their Tata Indica car rammed against the road-divider near Banga on Sunday night.


Eve-teasing accused ends life

Jalandhar, April 21
A youth today committed suicide here by consuming some poisonous substance allegedly under fear of being victimised by family members of a girl, whom he eveteased along with his friend about three days back.

According to the police, Sunny of Rasila Nagar was shifted to the local Civil Hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

A case has been registered under Sections 306, 452, 506 and 34, IPC, against the family members of the girl, who have absconded. OC


2 drug peddlers arrested
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar April 21
The police has arrested two drug peddlers and recovered narcotics from them. The police, in a press note issued here yesterday, said following a tip-off, a naqa was laid near HMV College here and two persons coming from DAV College side were intercepted by the police. Their search led to the recovery of 2 kg of ganja and 3 kg of ‘charas’. They were arrested and were later identified as Lakhu Ram Yadav and Ranjit Kumar of Betia district in Bihar.


Rs 64 cr earmarked for 596 schools
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 21
In order to provide basic amenities like drinking water, writing desks, toilets in 596 government schools of the district. Rs 64 crore has been earmarked for the purpose. This was stated by Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary for NRI cell, while addressing a gathering at the inauguration ceremony of the newly upgraded secondary schools at Ughoke, Machi Bugara and Tumbar Bhan villages.

Mr Sandhu revealed that the state government in order to streamline and improve the education system in the state has brought all schools under two categories — elementary and secondary schools. He said block and district-level education development committees had been formed for the supervision of various works related to education.

On the occasion he gave cheques to 41 schools meant for various development schemes.

Addressing farmers to the region, Mr Sandhu said work was on to clean and repair the rivers falling in the area so that unobstructed supply of water could be ensured for all villages. He told Rs 30 lakh were being spent for the purpose.

Mr Sandhu also inaugurated a 24-hour water supply scheme for Machi Bugara village.


Varsity bigwigs’ tussle to be legally examined
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
As the the tussle between the Punjabi University’s Vice-Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, and the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, continues over certain issues, the Punjab Government has decided to get the issue legally examined from the authorities concerned.

Informed sources said Mr Harnam Das Johar, Higher Education Minister, today discussed the issue in detail with Mr N. S. Rattan, Principal Secretary, Higher Education, and other officials . It was decided not interfere in the functioning of Punjabi University without getting the issue legally examined. “The university is an autonomous body and the government will not like to interfere without any solid reason”, said a government functionary.

Mr Rattan, according to sources, has been asked by Mr Johar to submit a note in this connection to him ( Mr Johar) after getting the matter legally examined.

During a recent visit of Mr Johar to Patiala, Dr Pal, brought in his notice that Mr Boparai has been keeping him away from the decision-making in the university. In fact, the quarrel between the two started following which Mr Boparai constituted a committee of certain professors to take run the affairs of the university in his absence as he was to proceed on a leave. It caused a lot of heartburning to Dr Pal, who has been expecting that the charge of the office of the VC will be given to him when Mr Boparai proceeded on leave. And that led to a wordy duel.

After a meeting with Mr Johar, Dr Pal had reportedly claimed that the minister called them both — VC and Pro-VC — for a meeting to settle the issue. However, Mr Boparai has been quoted saying that he will not meet the minister because he has not received any official letter in this connection. The other issue that has caused a controversy is giving charge of certain non teaching departments to certain teachers.

The most crucial word is “assigned”, that gives discretion to the VC. The officer said that no important meeting is scheduled to be held in the absence of the VC, so there is no question of asking the Pro-VC to preside over the same. As far as other powers and duties are concerned, the VC has assigned the task to the committee.

Following the winding up of IT courses on the campus and regional centre at Talwandi Saboo, Prof Janak Raj Gupta has been asked to handle the legal and other matters that have arisen following the winding up of the IT course. He said certain senior members of the faculty had been given charge to improve the functioning of the non-teaching departments without tempering any existing set up. No one should harbour any ill feeling till sincere efforts were made to improve the functioning of the university, he added.


SC body writes to National Commission
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 21
The Punjab Scheduled Caste and Backward Class Employees Coordination Committee today appealed to the National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes to intervene and help revive the policy of reservation in promotions, abolished by the Punjabi University Syndicate in January this year.

In a letter to the commission, coordination committee president Malagar Singh said the abolition of the policy had resulted in the demotion of seven employees to lower ranks after they had earlier been promoted on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

He said another example of the anti-Dalit attitude of the University was the premature retirement of a Superintendent, Mr Harpal Singh. He said if some amendments were to be made in the university calendar, the Vice-Chancellor should have sought the approval from the Chancellor of the varsity.

The committee also highlighted that the university had increased the admission and the late fee to such an extent that poor people, particularly those from Scheduled Castes, were facing difficulties.


Joshi apprised of paper leak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 21
The Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, was today apprised by the Union Minister of State for Secondary and Higher Education, Dr Vallabhbhai Kathiria, about the arrest of Devinder Singh, alias Pappu, by the Amritsar Police on April 18 for allegedly making deals with aspirant candidates for the PMT entrance test by offering to provide them question papers.

Talking to The Tribune from Delhi, Dr Kathiria said he had asked the CBSE Chairman, Dr Ashok Ganguly, to get the complete report about the police case registered at Amritsar. Dr Kathiria, however, asserted that the CBSE had a foolproof system of question papers.

Meanwhile, the Controller of Examinations, CBSE, Mr Parnesh Kumar, when contacted on phone said they had not received any information from their regional office at Chandigarh about the arrest of Devinder Singh who claimed to leak question papers for the all-India PMT entrance test scheduled to be held on April 27.

Meanwhile, the city police has got two-days’ remand of Devinder Singh.


Nabha students to get weapons training
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 21
The Army will give weapons training to students of Punjab Public School, Nabha. This was decided at the meeting of the Board of Governors of the school held here today.

The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), suggested to the chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S.S. Mehta, to provide technical, financial and weapon training assistance to the shooting club of Punjab Public School, Nabha, so that they could be given basic weapon training on .22 rifles and air pistols. General Mehta agreed to help the School.

The Governor underlined the need for inculcating the spirit of adventure amongst the students to encourage them to take calculated risks. He said the primary aim of Punjab Public School was to prepare students of rural areas of Punjab for getting commissioned in the Army. The school should encourage adventure trips of students of the school to the army cantonments especially located in the Himalayas and Shivaliks. Gen Mehta agreed to organise adventure trips of the school to various cantonements loacted in the Himalayas and Shivaliks.


Protest against fee hike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 21
A section of students of Government Rajindra College protested against the steep hike in fee by wearing black badges during their annual exams and raised slogans against Capt Amarinder Singh after their exam today.

The students said the fee hike would deprive middle class and rural students of education as the fee for the three-year degree course had been increased to about Rs 60,000 and if the cost of books and travelling expenses from villages to the city were included, it would cross Rs 75,000. The students claimed that their college, which incidentally finds its name in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, even lacked some basic facilities. The boys’ hostel had outlived its life and because of shortage of rooms, BA classes had to be held in the open.

The students claimed that the government had been collecting about Rs 8 lakh as PTA fund, Rs 45,000 as sports fund, Rs 2 lakh in lieu of equipment for practicals, Rs 30,000 as medical fund and about Rs 60,000 through the sale of prospectus from students, but the amount was not being utilised properly.

The students raised slogans against the Chief Minister, and the Education Minister, and used derogatory remarks against a section of the ruling politicians.

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