Friday, April 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Lord Williams vows to bring Duleep Singh’s ashes
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, April 24
Lord Williams, Leader of the House of Lords, Britain, has promised to make efforts to bring the ashes of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last scion of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, to India. On a query, he said it was possible to bring the ashes and he would put the suggestion forward in his personal capacity.

He said this in an exclusive talk with The Tribune today.

Earlier, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of the National Minorities Commission, had raised the issue in September at the global Punjabi meet in Britain.

Mr Vikramjit Singh Sahney, president of the World Punjabi Organisation, who accompanied him, said they had requested the British Government to build a memorial in the name of the Maharaja Duleep Singh at Aldwych near Cambridge. Mr Sahney announced that the President, Dr A.P.J. Kalam, had consented to unveil the statue of Maharaja Rajnit Singh, in British Parliament on May 8. To a question Lord Williams said more Indians were applying for visas to Britain due to relaxation in visa restrictions. He said total visas issued last year was 64 per cent higher than the preceding year. The British Government plans to further boost this number in 2005. Britain has also simplified procedures for work permit in multiple applications and extended its validity to four to five years.

Lord Williams accompanied by Lady Williams who is an Indian by origin and other Indian and British luminaries, spoke on “Indians in Britain and the British in India” Guru Nanak Dev University here today. The lecture was arranged by the Centre for immigrant studies, Guru Nanak Dev University in collaboration with the world Punjabi organisation and the Shrimati Pushpawati Loomba Memorial Trust.

Talking about ethnic minorities, he said 8 per cent of the population in Britain was of Indians numbering over 1.3 million and overall the most prosperous and successful in field of business, politics, arts.

Lord Dholakia, Member of House of Lords and President of the Liberal Democratic Party, who accompanied Lord Williams said here that more than 10,000 Indian restaurants operate in Britain. Indians are in the forefront in health services transport etc employing a number of persons. So much so that “Indian curry” can now be found anywhere in the world. Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education and Languages, presided over the function while the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, welcomed the guests.


Shun communal hatred: Staines
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 24
“Despite my being a Christian, Indians have been praying for me and sharing my woes, which has been a source of solace for me. This has strengthened my resolve to spread the message of communal harmony. I will not leave the people who have showered love upon me and my daughter.”

These are the words of Ms Gladys Staines, widow of Australian missionary Graham Staines, who was burnt alive along with his two sons in Orissa a few years back.

Talking to ‘The Tribune’ here today, she said, “People still have the tragedy in their minds. This can be observed from the act of an unknown person who came to me at Chennai railway station and expressed sympathies with me. This shows their concern for communal hatred.” She has authored a book, “Burnt Alive, the Story of the Staines,” on the tragedy.

Referring to the allegations of forced conversions, Ms Staines pointed out that Article 25 of the Indian Constitution entitles every person to practise, preach and propagate his religion. “A person, who changes his faith does so on his own and is not forced,” said Ms Staines.

Ms Gladys Staines was here to participate in functions organised by the Unique Home and the Bhai Ghanayiaji Charitable Trust. 


Pro-VC humiliated me: teacher
Dr Pal denies Dr Amritpal Kaur’s charge
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 24
A controversy has erupted over the alleged humiliation meted out by Punjabi University Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, to a lady teacher during his tenure as in charge of the varsity in the absence of the VC.

The teacher has been identified as Punjabi Literary Studies Department head, Dr Amritpal Kaur. She claimed that Dr R.N. Pal had humiliated her in front of five to six male members after calling her to his office.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor when contacted, however, claimed that the charge was false and said V.C. Swarn Singh Boparai remembered the incident after he complained about the manner in which the latter had embarrassed his wife at a meeting of the varsity’s Lady Club by criticising him (Dr Pal) at a meeting of the club.

Meanwhile, Mrs Amritpal Kaur, when contacted by Tribune, said the incident had occurred in November last year after her department organised a seminar on 21st century Punjabi poetry.

She said a day prior to the seminar the Vive-Chancellor had left the University for Delhi but had come back to attend the seminar the next day.

When the VC had left the campus deputing his powers to the Pro-VC, she was called to the VC’s office early in the morning and made to wait for one hour during which the Pro-VC did not come to the office. She said when she went back to her department she was called again. She said when she entered the office, the Pro-VC was sitting with fix to six men. She said the Pro-VC started humiliating her saying that she should have finalised the seminar details with him if the VC was not on the campus.

The department head alleged that following this she was accused of ignoring the Pro-VC at the seminar and was even pulled up for not giving a set of university publications to him.

The teacher further alleged that the Pro-VC also threatened that he could take action against her and ordered her to send the photographs of the function, its proceedings as well as a set of university books to him immediately. Mrs Amritpal said she informed the department Academic Council of the humiliation meted out to her and also spoke to the VC on the issue. She said following this the Pro-VC sent her congratulatory note for conducting the seminar successfully.

Meanwhile the Pro-VC, Dr R.N. Pal, said if he had committed any misconduct, the issue should have been taken up earlier. He claimed that the issue was raked up because he had complained against the VC to the Higher Education Minister for making inappropriate remarks about him at a meeting of the Ladies Club in which his wife was present. He said as far as the visit of Dr Amritpal Kaur to his department was concerned, the varsity’s Security Officer, a retired teacher as well as Valmikhi Chair head Dr Manjula Sahdev was present on the occasion.

Dr Pal said he had congratulated Dr Amritpal for the successful conduct of the seminar on the occasion and was shocked after he received a letter from her the following day stating that she had been insulted during the meeting. The Pro-VC said he had complained about the matter to the Vice Chancellor and asked him to take action in this regard.


Boparai accuses Pro-VC of misconduct
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 24
The Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, a day after the Higher Education Minister, Mr Harnam Das Johar, told him to cooperate with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, said today that he was not bound to delegate his powers in his absence to the Pro-VC. He also said the decision to form a committee without the Pro-VC to take policy decisions in his absence had been taken after the Pro-VC head taken some “disastrous decision” and got involved in “unsavoury incidents” like indulging in misconduct with a woman teacher.

Mr Boparai, in a press note issued here today, said he was displeased at the leaking of the minutes of his meeting with the Pro-VC and the minister. He said no one close had been present at the meeting and it had been decided that no one would divulge the details of the meeting to the Press.

The Director Public Relations of the university, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, said the Vice-Chancellor had apprised the minister of various issues and his decision to delegate powers to senior university officials in his absence. He said, according to the university rules, powers of the Pro-VC had not been specifically defined. The Pro-VC could only exercise powers assigned to him by the VC. Dr R.N. Pal, even during the tenure of former VC Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, had no special power.

According to the press note, Mr Boparai had twice delegated his powers to the Pro-VC with disastrous results for the university. There were incidents like misconduct with a senior woman teacher by Dr Pal. The Academic Council of Development (ACD) of the department concerned had even deplored the behaviour of Dr Pal and a large number of teachers had demanded an inquiry against him.

The DPR said the teachers had urged the VC to ensure such incidents were not repeated and that the VC had delegated his powers to senior officials with this in mind. In future, powers to anybody would be delegated only on the basis of commitment to the institution, where honesty and integrity would be the main considerations.

On the issue of giving additional charge to professors, the university was aware that part of its administration had brought infamy to the institution. The working of the examination branch was quoted in this regard.

The press note said the hiatus created by notorious joint-venture institute’s (set up by Ahluwalia) had presented new administrative challenges, so, an arrangement had been made by taking help of senior members of the faculty. Computerisation of finance and examination systems had begun and more such arrangements would continue to be made.


Punjab promises support to PTU
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 24
The Punjab Government today reiterated its “moral, financial and political support” to the Jalandhar-based Punjab Technical University and its Distance Education Programme (DEP).

Speaking on the second day of the Zeal-Oriented Project Planning (ZOPP) workshop organised by the PTU Service Providers Association at Zirakpur, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Technical Education and Industrial Training, Government of Punjab, recalled that at one stage, the PTU was seriously thinking of burying the DEP in the wake of controversy over the opening of distance education centres. But that was all past and there was no question of burying this programme.

Dr V.P. Singh, Director (Outreach) and Dr Narsimharao, ZOPP moderator, were the guests of honour at the workshop which is being attended by delegates from all parts of country, including Kerala, Maharashtra, MP, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh attended the workshop.

Mr Sidhu said: “In this competitive era, there is a long way to go to attain perfection in the PTU distance education programme.” He enlightened the delegates on the trends and challenges in the field of technical education, for which he felt that distance education mode was the best possible method to reach the technically starved audience across the country. He commended the latest combination of public and private organisations in the light of the global economic revolution. He noted with approval that the service providers and study centres across the country were playing a vital role in the implementation of this programme.

Dr S. Narsimharao, a renowned ZOPP expert, said, “ZOPP is a German technique, which helps an organisation to locate the problems and solve upon them. It is needed for every project and will help the study centres to deliver quality in the whole system.”

Speaking on the occasion Mr M. Dewan, secretary of the association, said, “PTU under its distance education programme is working hard to meet these challenges. Currently, there are around 250 study centres in Punjab and other states offering education in IT, fashion technology, hotel management & paramedical technologies”.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, a regional service provider from Chandigarh, said, “The PTU DEP has achieved a tremendous success during its inception in the year 2001 when more than 15000 students showed faith in the programme and took admission on a single day, which itself is a record. The students again showed their faith and gave verdict in favour of the PTU DEP last year when despite of all controversies, more than 8,000 students took admission in Punjab alone.”

The major reasons for its success are the economical fee structure, latest technology curriculum, state of the art study centres and the option to work along with the studies, which is why many working professionals, house wives are our students,” he said.


Plan to commemorate Sahibjadas’ martyrdom
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 24
The district is gearing up to observe the 300th year of the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh’s sons Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh, who were bricked alive by the Mughals for not embracing Islam in December, 1704. While presiding over a meeting of the Fatehgarh Sahib Development Board, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, constituted a state-level committee for making arrangements to commemorate the supreme sacrifice.

Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Adviser to the Chief Minister, said the state-level committee headed by the Chief Minister would look after all arrangements and development projects to be initiated to pay homage to the Sahibjadas. He said four memorial gates would be constructed at various entry points to the city. These gates would be named after Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, Baba Moti Ram Mehra, Diwan Todar Mal and Nawab Sher Mohamad Khan of Malerkotla. The gates would be constructed by PUDA, Mandi Board, Markfed and Ware Housing Corporation. He said all roads would be widened and beautified. Sodium vapour lamps would be installed along these roads. He said all heritage buildings such as Todar Mal Haveli, Lal Masjid, Roza Sharif, Aam Khash Bagh etc. would be preserved and the Department of Archaeology and Cultural Affairs had been directed to start the work. The surrounding of Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib and Jyoti Swarup Sahib would be beautified by planting ornamental trees and flower plants.

Mr Vikas Paratap, Deputy Commissioner and member secretary of the board, said the Chief Minister had issued clear instructions to the secretaries of the departments concerned to immediately take up this assignments. He said the CM was taking keen interest in the development of the district. He said the CM had also sanctioned various development projects like construction of an urban estate, Ambedkar Bhavan, Sahikarta Bhavan, Circuit House, Sainik Rest House, record rooms and government houses for employees. He had also directed to introduce science and information technology streams at graduation level, besides starting postgraduation courses in English and Punjabi at Government Girls College, Mandi Gobindgarh. He said all projects would be completed in time as desired by the Chief Minister.


2 more declared proclaimed offenders
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 24
The Special Investigation Team (sit) has submitted report to the government of the kidney scam. Two of the key accused, Hardyal Mehta, manager, Kakkar Hospital and Dr Bhushan Aggarwal, a PCMS doctor, have been declared proclaimed offenders. They have been absconding after their bail pleas were rejected.

Remaining accused, including Dr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, and Dr P.K. Jain of the hospital, whose bails were rejected by the Supreme Court, the SIT raided their hide-outs in Punjab and other states to nab them. When contacted Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, S.P. (city), said that the SIT was contemplating sealing their properties and had sought the help of the Income Tax authorities here for a list of their moveable and immovable assets.

After getting the manager declared a proclaimed offender, the SIT is contemplating roping in Ram Saran Das Kishori Lal Kakkar Charitable Trust hospital where more than 2,000 operations were done since 1997 after the enactment of the Human Transplantation Act. The government medial inspection team had recommended withdrawal of recognition of Kakkar hospital for conducting kidney transplant surgery vide its letter No 365/s-1 of July 11, 1998. A report was submitted to the Director Research and Medical Education by Dr I.S. Shergill, the then Professor and Head, Department of Surgery Government Medical College and signed by two other members of the team, Dr Bholla Singh Sidhu and Dr Urmil Mohan.

However, the DRME disregarding the recommendations allowed the hospital to continue with the kidney transplants.

According to records available the hospital allowed the prime accused Dr P.K. Sareen, the renal transplant surgeon to do 12 kidney transplants even as the DRME withdrew the approval of the hospital in the month of October 1998 which is viewed as serious lapse on the part of the management of the hospital.

The inspection report of Dr Shergill was ignored by the DRME while allowing authorisation to Kakkar hospital. The report reads “there is no separate renal transplant unit, ICU, operation theatres”. The report pointed out that the hospital was understaffed and hence not equipped for kidney transplants. The report pointed out that as per government directions two trained transplant surgeons were required for the centre but there was only one surgeon.

Against the requirement of two full-time nephrologists, only one part-time person was there. The microbiology, biochemistry and pathology services were also found to be unsatisfactory.

Objections were raised as how the “ill-equipped” hospital was allowed to go ahead with operations by ignoring the recommendations of the inspection team. As per the inspection report “there is no provision for containment of infection in the laboratories. If further stated that the laboratories of the hospital also lacked facilities for “anaerobic cultures mycology culture and micobacterial culture and parasitological tests.”


No fast-track court for NRIs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has reportedly turned down the Punjab Government’s proposal for setting up a fast-track court for Non-Resident Indians. Modalities are being worked out for taking up the matter with the high court again, government sources have claimed.

About 16 fast-track courts are expected to be set up in near future for imparting speedy justice to the litigants. The government is hoping that at least one court would be set up for adjudicating NRI cases.

The proposal is significant as in Punjab a large number of cases involving NRIs are pending in the courts.

Punjab’s Advocate-General, Harbhagwan Singh, when contacted, said he had no information about the fast-track court for NRIs as the “government must have taken up the matter directly with the high court”. 


Former minister cremated

Amritsar, April 24
Senior Congress leader and former Minister Gurmej Singh, who passed away last night, was accorded a state funeral at his native Ghumanpur village near here today.

He was 85. His son, Baldev Singh, sarpanch of the Village, lit the pyre.

Many Congress leaders, including his son-in-law Sardool Singh, Minister of Excise and Taxation in the present government, was present at the funeral. Others present were Congress MLAs O.P. Soni, Dr Raj Kumar and Jugal Kishore Sharma and many others.

The late leader’s body draped in the Congress party flag was carried in a procession from his house in the village to the cremation ground. Wreaths were placed on behalf of the Chief Minister by Mr Sardool Singh and also by others present on the occasion.

Mr Gurmej Singh, a ‘Dalit’ leader began his political carrier in the fifties and was first elected to the state Assembly in 1962 by defeating CPM leader Darshan Singh from the then Amritsar Sadar Assembly segment but in the 1967 polls he lost to Akali candidate Karnail Singh Marari from the same seat.

In 1969, he won from the Verka (reserve) constituency and retained this seat in the 1972 polls and was appointed parliamentary secretary in the Zail Singh ministry. In 1977, he again won from Verka (R)in 1992 and held the minister of state for social welfare and grievances portfolio in the Beant Singh government.

Mr Harcharan Singh Brar appointed Mr Gurmej Singh as Minister of State for Printing and Stationery. In 1997 he joined the Shiromani Akali Dal but after Capt Amarinder Singh took over as Punjab Congress chief he rejoined the Congress but did not contest the February 2002 polls. UNI

CHANDIGARH (TNS): Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC chief H.S. Hanspal expressed grief over the death of the former minister.

All Punjab Government offices, educational institutions, offices of boards and corporations remained closed on Thursday as a mark of respect to Mr Gurmej Singh (90), a former minister, who passed away yesterday after a brief illness.


Punjab to build ‘gaushalas’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Cow politics seems to be catching up fast in the country. After Madhya Pradesh, Punjab today decided to build “ gaushalas” in the state. The decision was taken here at a meeting of Deputy Commissioners, presided by the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Sources said each block headquarters would have a “gaushala”.

The government says the stray cattle menace has become unmanageable, and has become a big problem not only for farmers but also in urban settlements where stray cattle hinder the smooth flow of traffic.

The issue of stray cattle was raised yesterday at a meeting with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, by Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, a leader of the Bharti Kisan Union.

At today’s meeting, a decision was taken to start the process to nominate members of the 145 market committees. The government also decided to make better use of focal point complexes in rural areas.

Meanwhile, Mrs Bhattal has asked the Deputy Commissioners to submit her a report regarding the progress on diversification of crops by farmers. She was briefed at the meeting that there was no marked progress on the front and farmers were turning to paddy transplantation in a big way. 


Commissioner refutes builder’s claim
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 24
The multicrore illegal building scam took a new turn today with Ms Sarojini Gautam Sharda, Commissioner of the local municipal corporation, refuting the contention of builder Charanjit Singh Channi that a fact-finding committee, headed by her in the capacity of the Deputy Director, Local Bodies, had given a clean chit to him or to the owner of any illegal building in the city.

Builder Charanjit Singh Channi, who was booked by the Vigilance Bureau, along with his relative Mohinder Singh and three civic body officials, had in a press note issued yesterday had claimed that a fact-finding committee of the Local Bodies Department headed by Ms Sharda, had “not found him guilty”, that none of his constructions were pointed out by the committee, and that he had been “falsely implicated by the Vigilance Bureau”.

Talking to mediapersons, here today, Ms Sharda, refuted the claims by maintaining that she had not given a clean chit to anybody and that no such fact-finding committee was constituted by the Local Bodies Department and that her name was being dragged in the controversy by certain people to influence the ongoing probe.

“Actually, the department had instructed me to pinpoint the role of the civic body employees in the construction of illegal buildings and not that of any private person. I have not given a clean chit to anybody. Only the role of civic body officials, if any, was under the purview of my inquiry. My name was dragged unnecessarily,” said Ms Sharda. 


Lawyers’ memo to HC Judge
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 24
Mr Justice Nirmal Singh, a Judge of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana is on six-day inspection tour of Gurdaspur district courts arrived here today at PWD Rest House.

Mr Dev Raj Sharma, a senior advocate presented a charter of demands to Mr Justice Nirmal Singh on behalf of the lawyers’ body. It demanded mini secretariat at the sub division level and a court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge at Pathankot.

Mr Justice Nirmal Singh said direct workload here, certainly called for the posting of those an Additional District and Sessions Judge. On injunction applications, the judge said a directive will be issued to dispose of the applications within 30 days from the filing of the written statement, even if no temporary injunction was granted.

Mr Justice Nirmal Singh accompanied by Mr A.K. Sharma, District and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur and Mr Puneet Goyal, SDM, Pathankot, also inspected the local sub-jail and heard problems of jail inmates.

The judge also planted a sapling in the court complex.

He also heard the grievances of people. The lawyers hosted lunch in honour of the judge.


Sham Singh offers to resign

Amritsar, April 24
Mr Harpal Singh Bhuller, president of the International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, in a report yesterday alleged that former founder member of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC). Gian Singh and Mr Sham Singh, present co-chairperson of the PSGPC, were at loggerheads.

In a fax message today Mr Bhuller said Mr Gian Singh had illegally broken locks of nearly 40-50 rooms and locked them with his own padlocks. He said Mr Gian Singh had admitted that such an incident had happened and even the co-chairman was not allotted a room there.

In another instance in Pakistan recently Mr Sham Singh had offered to resign from his post if the SGPC here was unhappy with him.

Mr Bhuller said the SGPC must make every effort to provide literature on Sikhism.


Punjab ex-minister granted bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Punjab’s former Agriculture Minister, Gurdev Singh Badal, was today granted bail in an alleged corruption case by Mr Justice K.S. Garewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The former minister was booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau at Patiala on November 23 last year under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. As per the first information report, the then minister had misused his official position. During his tenure, he had given promotions to his favourites with mala fide intentions after ignoring seniority. Besides this, the former minister had “gathered movable and immovable property”.

Claiming to have been implicated in a false case, Gurdev Badal had alleged that the FIR, registered to “wreck vengeance and take revenge”, was misuse and abuse of law. His counsel had submitted that the former minister was 70-year-old and had been elected MLA 11 times.

Seeking the grant of bail, counsel had added that the former minister had been in custody since November 23, 2002, and no useful purpose would be served by not releasing him on bail. Gurdev Badal would not tamper with the evidence, nor leave the country without court’s prior permission, counsel had concluded.

Notice issued

Taking up a petition filed by a lottery dealer accusing the police of looting his shop for paying money to the family of a custodial death victim, a Division Bench of the high court today issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab for May 20.

In his petition against the state, Ludhiana Superintendent of Police Gur Kirpal Singh and other police officials, Subhash Chander alias Katty alleged that lottery tickets worth Rs 7 lakh were taken away from his shop on the ground of being fake. The tickets were, subsequently, sold off for paying compensation to the victim’s family.

Tired of being blackmailed, the petitioner and others managed to get a video-cassette recorded in which the victim’s killing, along with the method adopted for paying money to his family had been admitted, his counsel contended.

Going into the background of the case, he asserted that the decision to book lottery sellers on the false allegations of selling fake tickets was taken after the police arrived at a compromise with the victim’s family. A case of cheating and forgery was subsequently registered under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the Gambling Act,” he claimed.

Counsel further added that the victim Raju died of harassment and torture in police custody in October, 2000. Following pressure from all sides, the police was left with no option, but to compromise, counsel asserted.


Action against restaurant likely
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 24
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Verma, has directed the Additional Chief Administration, PUDA, and the PSEB authorities to take action against the Haveli restaurant on the Jalandhar-Amritsar National Highway for violating the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995.

Mr Verma issued the directions on the basis of the finding of an inquiry ordered by him. The report had found that the building plans had not been approved by PUDA. The construction had been done in violation of the undertaking given by the restaurant owner that no construction would be done within 100 feet of the road. Furthermore, the parking was being done on khasra nos. 73, 74, 75 of panchayat deh which was in the charge of PWD (B&R).

On the basis of the report, the Deputy Commissioner has written to the ACA of PUDA and the PSEB for taking necessary action.


Gargi’s ashes to be immersed today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 24
Ashes of Punjabi playwright Balwant Gargi who died on April 21 would be immersed in the Sirhind canal here tomorrow.

Jagmohan Kaushal, editor, “Sahi Buniyad” and Tony Batish a playwright stated this here this evening at a condolence meeting held to pay homage to Gargi. The ashes would be immersed as per the wishes of Gargi. Gargi wished that his ashes to be immersed in canal of the city where he was born and spent childhood.


IT raids on jeweller’s shop
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
The Income Tax Department yesterday unearthed unaccounted assets worth over several crores from a prominent jeweller on the posh Lawrence Road area, here today.

According to reliable information, the Income Tax sleuths conducted simultaneous raids at the residence and showrooms of the owners in Amritsar and New Delhi. The sources pointed out that it would take at least a week to ascertain the correct value of the assets, including cash, stocks and valuables.


Assault on ETO condemned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Punjab Excise and Taxation Officers Association at a meeting here yesterday condemned the “brazen assault on a departmental team led by Mr Balkar Singh Gill, ETO, at Ludhiana on April 20.”

The association sought strict action against the culprits.


Junior doctors meet minister
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 24
Members of the JDA, MSA and DSA of Patiala and Amritsar met the Minister of Health and Medical Education, Principal Secretary and DRME to apprise them of their demands.

Stating this in a press note issued here today, Dr Jimmy Mangla said their demands include no withdrawal of the stipend of PGs, interns and house surgeons, no hike in the fee of PGs and clear instructions to the authorities concerned.

Dr Mangla said the minister said he would consider their demands.


VB quizzes 6 persons
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, April 24
On the directions of Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, Mr Inder Mohan Singh, a Vigilance flying squad former Chandigarh visited Malerkotla to probe a suspected bribery case.

The case came to light when Ms Razia Sultana Congress MLA from Malerkotla, returned the bribe money of Rs 5 lakh to Chand Singh of Bodhai village allegedly taken by her PA Harpal Singh and Congress leader Santokh Singh of Bodhai.

Mr Inder Mohan Singh today recorded the statement of six persons allegedly involved in the case and said he would submit his report to the government shortly. The persons questioned include Harpal Singh, Jarnail Singh, former Sarpanch, Kamikar Singh and Gurbhajan Singh, both former SHOs of Ahmedgarh police station, Mahavir Singh, ASI at Ahmedgarh, and Satnam Singh, a financier.


IMA meeting on April 27
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 24
The working committee of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) will meet on April 27 at Ludhiana to formulate a plan for the disposal of Bio-Medical Waste according to the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998 in the state and to get the PNDT Act implemented.

Dr Surinder Singla, state secretary of the Punjab IMA, said proper disposal of bio-medical waste was possible only if all government and private health institutions followed the rules.

Dr Singla said the meeting would also draw up strategies to curb unethical medical practices by certain qualified doctors. 


Licences of 3 agents suspended
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, April 24
Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, today suspended the licences of three commission agents — two belonging to the Mallanwala purchase centre while one belonging to Sade Hasham purchase centre — for their alleged involvement in bunglings in the procurement of wheat and violating the norms.

Apart from it, Mr Raminder Singh had also recommended disciplinary action against an inspector of Punsup and an inspector of Markfed and one auction holder of Markfed, who were on duty in these purchase centre for the procurement of wheat.

Mr Raminder Singh, who carried out surprise checking of various grain markets and purchase centres in the Makhu area while talking to TNS this evening, pointed out that during checking it had come to his notice that a section of farmers in connivance with the procurement agency officials had been filling unclean wheat containing sand, weeds and other contaminations in the bags.

He added that at one purchase centre, he directed the procurement agency officials to unload the wheat procured and put in the courtyards again so that it could be cleaned and weighed again before filling in the gunny bags.

The Deputy Commissioner, who was accompanied by a number of senior functionaries of various procurement agencies said the state government had issued an order that no farmer should face any harassment in connection with the wheat procurement. He said he had made repeated appeals to the farmers to bring cleaned wheat in the markets and the purchase centres.


Special girdawari ordered

Kapurthala, April 24
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Verma, has ordered a special girdawari to assess damage caused by recent rain and hailstorm Mr Verma said a considerable damage had been reported in Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodi tehsils. He said compensation would be paid at the rates prescribed by the government to the farmers after the special girdawari. He has directed the staff to complete the girdawari within a week and the report will be submitted to the government by April 30. OC


MC told to clear encroachments
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 24
Even as a police post continues to function from the site demarcated for the panorama project at the historical Ram Bagh Gardens, the Principal Secretary, Ms Romila Dubey, has written a DO letter to the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, directing him to clear all encroachments in the area immediately.


10-yr-old gagged to death
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Nakodar (Jalandhar), April 24
A 10-year-old school girl was allegedly gagged to death after an attempt to rape her, stuffed in a big plastic bag and thrown in a pond at Dhaliwal village here.

The body, bearing signs of attempt to rape and strangulation marks, was recovered from the pond this morning.

Gurpreet, had gone to her school in the village but did not return, forcing her father Harjinder Singh and other villagers to launch a search operation.

The preliminary inspection of the body, stuffed in a plastic bag used for packing cement, revealed that the death occurred probably due to strangulation. The victim’s neck had been strangulated with a ‘salwar’, which made the police believe that the accused might be an acquaintance of the family.


Seven criminals arrested
Our Correspondent

Batala, April 24
Dr Naresh Arora, chief of Batala police district, told mediapersons here today that a special task force had been constituted to nab criminals. Seven members of the Kale Kachhe wale group who had committed crimes in Batala, Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts had been nabbed in this connection.

They were arrested from a brick kiln near the Amritsar bypass and Batala.

They have been identified as ringleader, Amir, alias Sajan, Hamid, alias Dhadkan, Salim, alias Mohabbat, Hanif, alias Akhay Lukhman, alias Shahrukh Khan, Nasim, alias Nadin and Satar, alias Sattu, all of them belong to Uttar Pradesh.

They confessed to murdering Manjit Kaur of Qadian about 18 months ago and Channan Singh of Batala has been registered at police station, Civil Lines.


Doctor nabbed

Muktsar, April 24
Sleuths of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau have apprehended a doctor posted at Government Health Centre on charges of taking Rs 300 from a patient.

A vigilance bureau official said Balwant Singh of Panniwala village complained that doctor Saggan Lal, a radiologist, was running a private clinic and demanded Rs 500 for a medical check-up. Currency notes were given to the complainant yesterday and vigilance officials caught the doctor red-handed, the official said. PTI


Temple burgled
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 24
Cash was stolen from Shiv Temple in the Mehna Chowk area here late yesterday.

The thieves took the collection box of the temple to the roof and broke it open.

First, they tried to open it with iron rods, but were unsuccessful.

The cash stolen is estimated to be about Rs 1,6000, which is about the average monthly collection of the temple.


7 youths held

Muktsar, April 24
The district police has arrested seven youths planning to commit a robbery and seized four pistols, live cartridges and sharp-edged weapons from their possession near Lahru village in Lambi police station area bordering Haryana and Rajasthan.

The seven accused are Majit Singh, Sikhandpur, Mohit Kumar, Bikramjit Singh, Gurvinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Bohar Singh. UNI


Travel agent lands in lock-up
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 24
The police has arrested a travel agent, Surinder Kumar, alias Shindu, of the nearby Khera village for duping a youth of the same village, Surinderpal, of Rs 8.25 lakh in the name of sending him to the USA in 1996, but instead himself going to that country. Shindu had returned only last month from the USA.


Probe into corruption in engg college
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 24
The probe into the alleged large-scale corruption at the Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology (GZSCET) began as Mr Amar Singh, Additional Director, Technical Education, Punjab, today recorded the statements of about 200 employees of the college.

It all started with an unsigned letter, which was addressed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, urging him to order a through inquiry into the allegations of corruption in the functioning of the college and listed as many as 13 detailed points of omissions and commissions. The letter is claimed to be sent by the staff of the college.

Sources said the Additional Director reached the college yesterday. The sources said the employees were given a proforma listing the 13 allegations and asked to comment on the same. The sources said separate statements of the employees were recorded and Mr Gurdeep Singh, Principal, assisted the inquiry officer.

According to a copy of the complaint, procured by The Tribune this evening, the “staff” has alleged that a Superintendent working in the college can do anything for money and a large number of employees of the college managed to get many undue favours from the Superintendent.

The complaint states that the case of a lecturer working in the college was recommended for promotion as Workshop Superintendent even as he did not fulfil the conditions of Ph.D. Also, three other Assistant Professors were more experienced and qualified for the job.

The letter states that a case of the promotion of a JE to SDO was sent to the government, even as the JE holds diploma against a BE degree mandatory for a SDO. The letter says an employee who had joined against a leave vacancy on deputation was not relieved even after the employee who was on leave joined in last June. The letter says in the department there is negligible workload and the lady paid a huge amount for getting her job ‘permanent’ in the college.

According to the complaint, an employee in the Textile Department allegedly paid Rs 1 lakh as bribe to a former Technical Education Minister and the Superintendent and is now getting Rs 18,000 as pay while other technicians are getting Rs 9,000 only. Another workshop instructor was promoted as foreman instructor even as he holds a diploma, whereas the qualification for the post is BE degree. The complaint alleged that the technician took a loan from the college to buy a scooter, which was given to the Superintendent and the registration of the scooter was transferred in the name of the Superintendent after the loan was paid over. One other junior technician was also promoted wrongfully as he allegedly became aware of the corrupt moves of the Superintendent and threatened to expose the same.

The complaint states that the wrongfully promoted junior technician also helped the Superintendent settle deals with five instructors who were given higher pay scale then granted by the government. A staffer in the college Principal office, who holds MBA (IGNOU) degree, was allegedly ‘made’ lecturer in the college and allowed to join ‘secretly’ and now her husband is being “considered” for her original post in the Principal’s office.

The letter states that besides these some authorities misappropriated Rs 2 lakh in the purchase of furniture during the recently held college convocation, attended by the Punjab Chief Minister.

The letter says despite a blanket ban on the recruitment, nine lab attendants joined in 2002 and two of them are close relatives of the Superintendent.

The letter alleges that being on a key post the Superintendent was a member of the selection committee and allegedly changed papers in the recruitment test by taking huge sums.


2,500 surplus teachers in state
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Surplus teachers from urban government schools in Punjab will be shifted to rural educational institutions. About 2500 surplus teachers have been identified in government schools.

Sources said efforts were also being made to fill 2,400 posts of lecturer, Headmaster and Principal in schools. A nod from the Finance Department was awaited, to fill these posts.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Education Department has failed to utilise funds given it to recruit 2500 resource persons under the Sarab Shiksa Abhiyan by the Union Government during the past financial year. Each resource person was to be paid Rs 7000 per month. 


Coop bank staffers’ stir continues
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 24
Employees of cooperative banks in the state have been wearing black badges and organising demonstrations in front of the banks during lunch time since April 14. They will organise a rally in front of the Punjab State Cooperative Bank, Sector 34, Chandigarh, on April 28 to press the state government to withdraw its circular regarding parity of pay, allowances and perquisites of employees of public sector undertakings/corporations with government employees.

Mr Gurmit Singh Tiwana and Mr Resham Singh Bhangal, president and general secretary of the Central Cooperative Bank Employees Union, respectively, told this correspondent that the State Cooperative Bank Employees Federation in a representation to the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, had argued that as the Cooperative Banks were neither a Public Sector Undertaking, local bodies, corporations nor quasi-public institutions as defined under Section 617 of the Companies Act 1956. These are Cooperative Societies registered under the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961. The Apex Cooperative Bank is a banking institution and its working is different from that of government departments.

Moreover, the financial health of the bank is very sound and it is viable and profitable institution. The pay scales fixed by the managements of the cooperative banks with the approval of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, always remained higher than the Punjab Government employees since its inception due to different nature of duties. As the cooperative banks pay salaries to its employees from their own sources, by reducing the pay of cooperative bank employees, in government will not get any financial benefit.

Besides, the service of the Cooperative Bank employees is non-pensionable and holidays being observed by the cooperative banks are much less than the government employees, they further argued.

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