Monday, April 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kanishka trial begins today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
The trial in connection with the bombing of an Air-India flight in 1985 will begin tomorrow in Vancouver in the court of Justice Iam Bruce Josephson. A high-security courtroom has been set up for the first time in Canadian history at a cost of $ 100 million, according to Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Akali Dal (Amritsar).

Three accused namely Inderjit Singh Riyat, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri are facing the trial on charges of murder and manslaughter. They were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted police.

Another blast had also taken place on the same day in Tokyo’s Narita Airport in which two persons were killed. In the Kanishka blast all 329 passengers and crew were killed.

The police arrested Malik (56) and Bagri (53) in February 2000. Malik, who belonged to Ferozepore district, is a known philanthropist in Canada. He has been running a trust and the Khalsa Credit Union with 10 branches in Canada. Bagri hails from Amritsar district.

In February 2003, Riyat pleaded guilty on charges of manslaughter and was sentenced to five years in prison.


Shortfall in wheat output likely
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The wheat production in Punjab is likely to fall by at least 16.5 lakh tonnes due to unfavourable weather at the early stage of the crop and reduction in the area during rabi 2002-03. It is expected to be around 138.5 lakh tonnes as compared to 155 lakh tonnes in 2001-02.

This is as per the latest report of an experts’ committee of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, which has studied the wheat prospects in collaboration with the state department of Agriculture and the Remote Sensing Centre.

Dr J.S. Kolar, Director of Extension Education at PAU, told TNS that due to unfavorable weather, the wheat production would be less by 13.5 lakh tonnes, while the decrease in the area — about 70,000 hectares over that of last year — would mean 3 lakh tonnes less wheat. Even the productivity was down by four quintals per hectare.

For Punjab farmers even kharif was a bad patch when due to severe drought the paddy yield could be sustained and saved only by investing more which raised the per unit cost of production. The state has already lowered the price of sugarcane by Rs 30 per quintal. Farmers are being paid Rs 70 per quintal as against Rs 100 per quintal last year. Add to these woes of farmers the glut caused by potatoes. And now when wheat procurement is at its peak, inclement weather continues to threaten the harvested crop.

Crop simulation period studies had indicated normal length of crop duration but revealed relatively a “lower leaf area index, fewer ears and grains per unit area and consequently a relatively less potential yield compared to rabi 2001-02’’, said Dr Kolar.

As to the actual area under wheat, there is variation in the data collected by the three agencies — The PAU (Department of Economics and Sociology), the Remote Sensing Centre and the state Department of Agriculture. The PAU estimated that in rabi-2002-03 wheat was sown in 33.67 lakh hectares, the Remote Sensing Centre put the area at 32.73 lakh hectares and the state Department of Agriculture gave the figure of 33.5 lakh hectares.

PBW-343 is the main wheat variety sown in Punjab. The committee pointed out that this variety was increasingly under attack by ‘aphid’ every year. Even wheat weed, “phalaris minor’’ (gulli-danda) had shown resistance to some herbicides. Attack of brown rust was also seen in Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts and pockets of Nawanshahr. Even the incidence of powdery mildew was observed.


Lifting of procured wheat slow
Chander Parkash and Anirudh Gupta

Gazniwala (Ferozepore), April 27
As tension on the Indo-Pak border has de-escalated to a considerable extent, villages located near the border have been humming with activity as the harvesting and procurement of wheat have been going on smoothly.

A visit to various villages located near the zero line by a Tribune team revealed that farmers had been harvesting the wheat even in fields which shared boundary with fields in the Pakistani territory. The farmers were using combine harvesters up to the zero line for harvesting their wheat crop at the earliest. The harvesting operations were going on under the constant and close observation of Border Security Force personnel.

“Last time, I could not reap my wheat crop due to the heavy mobilisation of the Army during Operation Parakram, launched by the Army authorities after an attack on the Parliament in December, 2001. I am happy today as I am harvesting my crop which I have grown with a lot of hard work and spending thousands,” said a farmer.

Most of the farmers who were lucky as their fields had not been mined by the Army during Operation Parakram, said they should be allowed them to harvest wheat till late in the evening so that they could unload their produce in the markets and could get returns at the earliest. They also sought permission to engage extra hands to expedite the harvesting of wheat manually. They expressed their happiness over the fact this time, they had been able to reap their wheat crop and would earn enough to meet both ends meet.

On the other hand, the procurement of wheat crop by various agencies of the state and the FCI was going on in full swing. The district administration had set up 18 purchase centres in the border belt for the convenience of the farmers. The procurement operations were being kept under close watch by the district administration so that harassment to any farmer could be checked.

Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, said till April 26, about 71,170 metric tonnes of wheat had been procured in the 18 purchase centres in the border belt of the district.

He added that the Aaraf Ke, Rukne Wala, Basti Vakila, Bare Ke, Gatti Rajo Ke, Sucha Kadim, Mamdot, Tibbi Khurd, Fathe Wala Hitad, Hazara Singh Wala, Rao Ke Uttad, Khunder Uttad, Megha Rai, Panje Ke Uttad, Bharbat Singh Wala, Kheo Wali Dhab, Patre Wala and Mahatma Nagar purchase centres in the district had been catering to the needs of border farmers.

A section of farmers, who had unloaded their produce at these purchase centres pointed out that the procurement operations were fast, but the lifting of procured wheat was slow. They added that bags of procured wheat had been adding up in almost all purchase centres and they had been finding it difficult to find space to unload produce there.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the lifting of procured wheat was slow due to fact that a section of procurement agencies could not arrange enough trucks for transporting the procured wheat to the storage places.


APHC has no mass base in J&K: Gupta
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 27
Reacting to the refusal of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) to participate in talks with the Centre’s interlocutor N.N. Vohra, Union Minister of State for Defence Chaman Lal Gupta today said there was no need to enter into a dialogue with the Hurriyat leadership, which had no mass base in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Gupta, while talking to reporters here today, said Mr Vohra should not talk to Hurriyat leaders, who were acting on the instructions of the neighbouring country and the APHC had lost the faith of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The Hurriyat leadership was no more influencing Kashmir politics, said the minister, adding that the boycott of Assembly elections and the Prime Minister’s rally had virtually exposed the Hurriyat’s anti-India policies.

Terming the healing touch policy of the PDP-Congress coalition government as a political gimmick, Mr Gupta said, “If at all a healing touch is required by anybody, it is Kashmiri Pandits, who had to leave their houses due to the threat of militants and the families of those who were killed by the ultras”.

Launching a scathing attack on the Mufti government for not implementing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in the state, Mr Gupta said most of the 150 persons booked under POTA for killing innocent persons during the regime of the previous government were being granted bail and even acquitted by the high court due to the non-committal approach of the government.

“Who will be responsible if the acquitted militants once again kill innocent persons”, he asked. Criticising the state government for disbanding Special Operations Groups, he said the security forces had been demoralised as no offensive operation could be launched against militants in hiding.


Invite us formally: Bhim Singh
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 27
The president of the Panthers Party here today said that his party would not talk to the Centre’s negotiator for peace in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr N.N. Vohra, unless proper invitation was extended to the party.

“Instead of publishing advertisements in newspapers for inviting political parties to participate in peace talks, Mr Vohra should have extended partywise invitation and I am sure that All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), which has recently said no to talks, will also join the process if a formal invitation is extended to it,” said Mr Bhim Singh.


From a labourer to a barrister
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
NRIs both in England and North America have been in the news as official recognition has been conferred upon them. While Mr Kuldeep Singh Grewal, who started as a labourer after migrating to the UK in 1972, was recently called to the Bar of England and Wales and permitted to practise as a barrister, Mrs Ajit Kaur Deol of Winnipeg has been awarded the Order of Manitoba, the highest state award.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Grewal of Assi Kalan village in Ludhiana moved to England as a 17-year-old boy in 1972 and started working in a factory at Uxbridge . In 1975 he moved to London underground as labourer-fitter’s mate and progressed to become Design Engineer, Project Engineer and Project Manager. Meanwhile, he continued to pursue his interest in academics and enrolled himself with Panjab University, Chandigarh as a distant education student. He did his B.A. He then followed it up with a postgraduate diploma in law from Thames Valley University and a Bar vocational course from Inns of Court School of Law. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales and given a licence to practise as a barrister.

Mrs Ajit Kaur Deol, though originally from Wanjari village in Multan, now comes from Nangal Karar Khan village. Her father, Mr Sant Singh Dhillon, was a great social worker and a philanthropist.

After her M.A. in History and a diploma from Panjab University, she accompanied her husband Mr Udepal Singh, to Canada in 1967. She did her B.A.(Hons) and M.A. from Toronto University and organised Caroline MacMorland School for handicapped children in the basement of a church and later upgraded it to a high school. Her family later moved to Beasejour, a village close to Winnipeg and established a successful grain and dairy farm there. She did not give up her passion for teaching and worked as a resource teacher and retired from Naples College, Winnipeg, in 1991.

Mrs Deol has another distinction to her credit, heading a gurdwara committee in North America. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Sikh Review Journal and Manitoba Punjabi Foundation.

Besides the prestigious Order of Manitoba, she was also honoured with the Queen Elizabeth second golden jubilee medal. She is also the Commissioner of Human Rights in Canada


Punjab SC officers rue ministers’ behaviour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Punjab Scheduled Caste Officers Association, which celebrated the birthday of Dr B.R. Ambedkar here today by holding its 3rd annual convention, said efforts made by the association to improve the lot of the weaker sections had shown good results.

Dr M.L. Puri, general secretary of the association, said the association created an environment for SC students to work hard for the entrance tests for admission to medical colleges last year. As a result all reserved category seats were filled and no relaxation had to be given in the benchmark fixed by the government for SC students.

The association expressed concern over caste-based discrimination prevalent in society. Such discrimination had also been reflected in the behaviour of certain Punjab ministers. Certain ministers belonging to the general category had tried their best to stall the enactment of the Reservation Act and the implementation of the 85th constitutional amendment in the state. The association had set up a five-member panel to meet the Prime Minister and opposition leaders for getting the 85th amendment implemented.

It said the most disturbing development was the promotions of officials on the basis of seniority fixed as per the Janjua case judgement and not as per the 85th amendment of the Constitution.


Kidney scam: key doc surrenders
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 27
In a significant development in the multi-crore kidney scam, Dr P.K. Jain, against whom proceedings for declaring him a proclaimed offender were initiated today, surrendered before Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP (City) and SIT member, here today.

Dr Jain had been absconding since the unearthing of the scam. His bail application had been rejected by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court had dismissed his writ petition.

Dr Jain used to remove the kidneys while Dr P.K. Sareen, the prime accused who had been arrested, used to transplant the kidneys. Though the SIT had submitted a report to the state government, Dr Jain was likely to provide vital clues. He would be produced in the court of Ms Ranjit Kaur tomorrow.


Akali unity soon: Badal
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 27
Equipped with power to forge unity with the party headed by former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former Chief Minister and president of SAD Parkash Singh Badal today revealed that the unity would become a reality very soon.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Badal said that a meeting with Mr Tohra would be fixed soon on the unity issue.

Asked about the impact of the unity, if achieved, on the forthcoming general election, he said that the Congress would be routed out of Punjab as the people of the state were totally against the functioning of the Amarinder government.

Criticising the recent fee hike in government educational institutions, Mr Badal termed this step as anti-people and said that no student belonging to poor families would be able to achieve education even at the primary level.

Commenting on the recent CD expose on police bribery in Ludhiana, the former Chief Minister said that the functioning of the Punjab police had been exposed in the Congress regime which had promised to eradicate corruption from the system.


Singla: govts lack dynamism
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, April 27
Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, High-Powered Finance Committee, Punjab, yesterday said that different governments lacked dynamism and were not changing policies for generating more jobs in the services sector.

Mr Singla, who was the chief guest, stated this at the 11th Northern Regional Convention of the All-India Management Association (AIMA) here today. He said that due to vested interests the governments were reluctant to keep pace with the times, which led to unemployment.

“There are many opportunities in the services sector, but the governments are not opening up,” said Mr Singla in his views on the “Services Sector — Challenges and Opportunities”.

Mr Singla gave the example of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to bring home his point. He said that the employees and some vested interests were opposing privatisation of the board. The keynote speaker of the day, Mr Sudershan Banerjee, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VXL Consumer Care contradicted certain statements of Mr Singla.

Mr Banerjee, who spoke after Mr Singla had left, said that it was not true that governments in the country lacked entrepreneurship qualities. “Mr Singla is not right while saying that all governments failed in generating entrepreneurship,” said Mr Banerjee. He alleged that most of the politicians did not have will to work. He also contradicted that statement of Mr Singla that entrepreneurship could be taught in management institutes. He also criticised Mr Singla for talking about only the problems prevalent in the country without suggesting remedies to that.


Cable operators beat up customer
Mob manhandles Civil Surgeon
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 27
Working of the Ahluwalia Goldstar Cable Network, the premier cable operator covering about 90 per cent of the city area, has been lying paralysed since last evening following a dispute between the cable operator and a consumer.

The trouble started when Rohit (15), son of a consumer, Mr Rakesh Kumar Goyal, went to lodge a complaint against poor visibility of the programme on his television set. He was reportedly apprehended by Ramesh Kumar, and Navdeep Ahluwalia, both partners of the cable network, and Pawan Kumar and Jaswinder Singh, both employees of the cable operator, beat him up.

On hearing the cries of Rohit, his father along with his friend, Mr Ashok Kumar Jindal, who were waiting for Rohit, also sent upstairs to help Rohit but they were also thrashed by the men of the cable operator.

Many people from the area collected on the spot and started raising slogans against the high-handedness of the cable operator. The mob smashed the installation of the cable operator. The police, which also reached the scene, was a mute spectator for about four hours. The crowd continued to swell and it put Hero Honda motor cycle of cable operator on fire. Fire brigade officials reached the spot but the mob did not allow them to extinguish the fire.

In the meantime, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, accompanied by Mr S.S. Srivastava, SSP, reached the spot and the police restored to a mild lathi charge to disperse the crowd. The mob raised slogans against the district administration for the lathi charge and accused the Deputy Commissioner of helping the cable operator.

Thereafter, the scene was shifted to the Civil Hospital where the injured persons were taken for medical examination and treatment. The mob manhandled and gave a beating to the Civil Surgeon, Dr P.D. Sharma, past District Governor, Rotary International, Dr Ram Bhardwaj, and DSP Mukhtiar Singh. Members of Punjab Today TV channel, who had reached to cover the incident, also suffered the wrath of the mob. There cameras were allegedly snatched by some of the miscreants forming part of the mob. In this regard, a case under Sections 307, 342, 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC has been registered against the four partners and employees of cable operator who were taken to police station by the police last evening.


Temple board’s direction reversed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 27
Miscreants have reversed the direction of a board put up by the district administration at the Baba Bhola Nath shrine at Mandour village, around 17 km from here, which proclaims that all people, irrespective of their caste, can enter the shrine.

The board was installed at a height of around 20 feet on the main gate of the shrine yesterday by some officials of the district administration. The officials installed the board and took its photographs.

Earlier, The Tribune had highlighted that Scheduled Castes were not being allowed entry into the shrine. The district administration had sent a team to the site the next day and it had reported that no discrimination was taking place.

A visit to the shrine today revealed that the district administration had apparently not been briefed about the true picture. The caretaker-cum-priest said earlier Dalits were told not to go in, but were not physically stopped. He said now Scheduled Castes could enter the temple, but it was his right to cleanse the temple afterwards.

Meanwhile, Dalits said the team of the district administration had not interacted with them during their visit to the village. They said an attempt was being made by the administration to cover up the truth.


Work on escape channel halted
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 27
The construction of the escape channel of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant here has come to a halt allegedly due to the poor quality of the work on stage 1 and stage 2 ash dykes of the plant. Sources said the contractor who was to carry out the construction of the escape channel along the ash dykes had abandoned the work.

The sources said he had alleged that the construction of the escape channel was not feasible due to the poor quality of the ash dykes. The sources said the contractor had alleged that the clay content, as per norms, should have been between 8 per cent and 15 per cent, but was only between 1 per cent and 2 per cent. There was constant seepage of water, due to which the concrete retaining wall being constructed on the escape channel could not be sustained, the contractor had alleged. The sources also said many internal reports of the thermal plant authorities had pointed towards the poor construction of the ash dykes. Despite these reports and the apprehension of large-scale misappropriation of funds in the construction of the ash dykes, no action or inquiry had been ordered.


Dayal terms CM as defaulter
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 27
Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the state unit of the CPI, has alleged that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Mr Rana Gurjit Singh, MLA from Kapurthala, besides some Akali leaders, are among the defaulters of the Punjab Finance Corporation (PEC). He said this while addressing a press conference here today.

He said while rural indebtedness had shot up to Rs 800 crore, the Chief Minister’s policies were focused upon destroying the traditional industry of Punjab and increasing joblessness amongst the youth. He said tax evasion in the state was to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore. He cautioned that these were signs of anarchy and there was fear of narco-terrorism taking roots.


Pay-off scam: Badal demands probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, Punjab, said that the Ludhiana police pay-off scandal exposed through a video-film was just the tip of the iceberg regarding the extent of corruption that was prevalent in the state.

Talking to mediapersons at a function here, Mr Badal demanded the institution of a high-level inquiry into the allegations. He said as the name of senior officers had come up in the allegations, the Congress government should take steps to ensure a free and impartial inquiry.


Govindacharya flags off yatra

Amritsar, April 27
Mr K.N. Govindacharya, BJP leader, today said he feared that the Indian Government might be forced into accepting more anti-agro regulations in the next WTO discussions to be held in Mexico in September this year.

Mr Govindacharya flagged off a ‘swadeshi sangarsh yatra’ from the Jallianwala Bagh here. He said the rally was a nationwide movement by the ‘Swadeshi Jagran Manch’ aimed to generate public awareness about the designs of the WTO to subdue developing countries, especially in the agricultural sector.


Tadpoles in drinking water?
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 27
Residents of the Namdev Marg area in the city have alleged that contaminated water was being supplied to their locality.

In a complaint, they alleged that the water being supplied to their area was contaminated with foreign bodies. The letter, signed by nearly 25 residents, alleged that there were tadpoles in drinking water and some nearby areas were also getting contaminated drinking water.

Mr Kamal Kant Goyal, Executive Officer of the local Municipal Corporation, said it was not possible that residents were getting tadpoles in drinking water. He said the taps and the pipes were too small to permit these creatures. He claimed that some residents might have tampered with the water-supply pipes.

Mr Goyal said the authorities were trying their best to provide clean drinking water to all residents of the city. He said some pipes of the affected residents might have got mixed with their sewer pipes, resulting in the contamination.


Home Guard official, son held for theft
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 27
The police here has arrested Sham Lal Chhabra, Commandant, Punjab Home Guards, here and his son Neeraj Kumar under Sections 380, 420, 467, 468, 471 of the IPC for alleged theft of a cash memo from Hindustan Petroleum filling station.

Sources said Hindustan Petroleum decided to set up petrol and diesel filling station on the Seeto road in this subdivision last year. Mr Sham Lal Chhabra and his son owned 9 kanals 18 marlas land along the road. They reportedly struck a deal with the representative of the company but while giving physical possession of the said land it was found that three rooms had already been constructed on the demarcated land. When officials of the oil company pointed this out to the owner, he demolished the rooms. Mr Chiman Lal and Mr Banarasi Dass of Ferozepore claimed that the owner of the land signed an agreement for sale of the land with them on December 27, 2001. They planned to install a weighing machine at the same place, which had three rooms for the purpose. They asked Mr Chhabra either to execute registration of the agreed land in their favour or refund Rs 4 lakh taken from them as advance.

In their complaint they alleged that the Commandant, Home Guards and his son removed some papers from the cash memo of the oil company that became functional in June 2002. An FIR was registered at the Seeto Gunno police post last year in this connection. The complainants alleged that Mr Chhabra and his son had been forging the cash memos for issuing excess charge bills and later started sending complaints against the filling station and the complainants to harass them. On investigation the complaints were found to be forged. The SSP had asked the Sadar police station here and CIA staff at Fazilka to investigate. The inquiry report said prima facie there was a case against the suspects as even letter pad of the local Truck Operators Union had also been misused to file such complaints. The allegations of theft, forgery, cheating etc. were substantial, investigators said. Accordingly a case was registered and arrests made today.


2 foetuses found in clinic, nurse arrested
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 27
A raiding party of the Health Department has arrested a retired nurse for conducting illegal abortions. Two female foetuses were found in a dustbin at her clinic-cum-residence at Banur.

Stating this here yesterday, Civil Surgeon Inderjit Kaur Walia said a case under the PNDT Act had been registered against Sudha Rani. She said the department was trying to identify the women who had got the foetuses aborted.

The Civil Surgeon said a raid had been conducted on the clinic after information was received that she was conducting abortions on the premises. When the team reached the spot, it found that no woman patient was present, however, a search led to the recovery of the foetuses. The foetuses had been cut into pieces for disposal.

On being asked about the source of the medical instruments, the nurse could not give a satisfactory reply. The instruments had been seized, sealed and sent to a forensic laboratory for examination.

The Civil Surgeon said only an authorised doctor could conduct an abortion. As per the MTP Act, the person conducting the abortion and the place where it was being conducted should be authorised.


3 rounded up in girl bazar case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 27
As a follow-up action on the report regarding a girl bazar at Mansa village, the district police has rounded up Manjit Kaur, originally from West Bengal and married to Charan Singh of Maghania village in the district. She has reportedly been bringing girls from West Bengal for sale in Punjab.

The police has also taken into custody another woman and her daughter, both from West Bengal, for interrogation. Nineteen-year-old Sangeeta, purchased for Rs 30,000, died in hospital today.

The Civil Surgeon clarified that Sangeeta was suffering from tuberculosis of the abdomen. There was no perforation of the uterus. The Boha police registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against Raju, a pimp from West Bengal, and was searching for him.


1 booked for using fraudulent means
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 27
The police has booked Gulzar Masih of Ghagguwal for getting a Scheduled Caste certificate issued fraudulently though he belongs to the backward class. The police today said the accused had got this certificate issued in 1988 from the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Gurdaspur.

The Deputy Commissioner cancelled the Scheduled Caste certificate in 1997.

The accused filed a civil writ in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the order, but the court dismissed it. The accused then moved the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the villagers complained to the police. The police found that Gulzar Masih was a Christian and belonged to the backward class. A case under Sections 420, 465, 467 and 468 of the IPC was registered. The police was raiding the possible hideouts of the accused to arrest him.


One stabbed to death
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 27
Balal Ahmed (21) of Shah Masjid was allegedly killed by Pradeep, Lovely and Sonu over a minor dispute last night. A case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered.

According to the FIR, the accused stole the bicycle of Amba, a friend of Ahmed. When Ahmed raised the issue with the accused, they stabbed him with a knife. Balal was admitted to a private hospital and later shifted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.


Truck looted
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 27
A gang of robbers reportedly looted a truck loaded with tea leaves near Goraya on the GT Road last night.

According to a report received here, robbers drugged the truck driver and the cleaner and threw them in the bushes in an unconscious condition and sped away with the truck and tea worth Rs 15 lakh.

The police has registered a case under Section 379, IPC.


Punjabi University Dean sacked

Patiala, April 27
Punjabi University has removed a senior teacher, Dr Ranjit Kaur Kapoor from the office of Dean, Language Faculty, a month after appointing her by withdrawing a cancellation order it had itself passed on a decision giving backdate seniority to five teachers by ousted Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, one of whom has been appointed to the post now.

Dr Kapoor has clearly indicated that she has been humiliated by the decision. She said “If the authorities want to favour a particular person by bending and breaking the rules, it makes no difference to me. There are higher things to aspire for”. Dr Kapoor also said that now she would not accept the post of Dean even if the case was decided in her favour saying faculties could not be dismantled and rules manipulated to favour certain persons.

Informed sources disclosed that Dr Kataria had been appointed Dean, Languages, after the university authorities withdrew a letter cancelling the earlier backdate promotion given to five teachers, including Dr Kataria, by former VC, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia. If the back date order is accepted by the university, Dr Kataria becomes senior to Dr Kapoor by a few months. According to the sources the university took this decision after all five teachers appealed to Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai stating they should be heard in the case. The sources said even though the varsity was to still consider the fate of the five teachers, it had issued an order appointing Dr Kataria as Dean, Languages.

Meanwhile, the Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) has also taken up cudgels on behalf of Dr Kapoor by condemning the VC for “humiliating” the teacher. The forum president, Dr Amarjeet Singh Dhillon, said Dr Kapoor had been appointed Dean Languages for two years on April 1 without any condition and replaced suddenly on April 25 with a person junior to her. TNS


Sharma heads PCCTU’s Sangrur unit
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 27
Prof P.K. Sharma of Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera (Barnala), was today re-elected president of the Sangrur district unit of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) for 2003-04 at the annual election meeting held at Lal Bahadur Shashtri Arya Mahila College, Barnala.

Mrs Kamaljit Kaur of R.D. Jain Girls College, Malerkotla, was elected district secretary of the union.

Immediate after his re-election as president of district unit of the PCCTU, Professor Sharma constituted the district council of the union.

The members of the newly constituted district council are Mrs Hardarshan Kaur of the Akal Degree College for Women, Sangrur, Dr Amarjit Kaur of Lal Bahadur Shastri Arya Mahila College, Barnala, Mrs Seema Suri of R.D. Jain Girls College, Malerkotla, Prof Harbans Singh of Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera (Barnala), Prof M.L. Sharma of S.D. College, Barnala, Prof Hazura Singh of Desh Bhagat College, Bardwal (Dhuri), Prof G.S. Randhawa of Guru Teg Bahadur College, Bhawanigarh, Prof Surmukh Singh of Akal Degree College, Mastuana Sahib, and Prof Malkit Singh of Khalsa College, Sandaur (Malerkotla).


Should mobile users’ directory be printed?
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 27
Though about 9 lakh persons have mobile phones in Punjab but no mobile phone users’ directory has been published so far by any mobile phone company. According to an information the Spice Telecom has about 4.5 lakh subscribers while the AirTel and the BSNL have about 3 lakh and about 1.80 lakh subscribers, respectively in the state. On the other hand, the BSNL has provided more than 20 lakh landline telephone connections so far in the state.

Whether the mobile phone companies should publish mobile phone directories, a number of persons from different sections of the society, to whom TNS talked, described the mobile phone directory as a need of the hour while others opposed the concept of mobile phone directory on the plea of “secrecy”.

Those in favour of publication of mobile phone directory had specific reasons to support it. They said the publication of the mobile phone directory would help the security forces in curbing the crime and would discourage subscribers from changing their numbers frequently. They were of the view that the mobile phone directory would also help the Income Tax Department in collecting information about holders of mobile phones and amounts spent on mobile phone by the users.

They also viewed that it would also impose a check on those, especially the limited income officers and politicians, who use the mobile phones in the name of others to keep themselves away from the net of income tax due to heavy expenditure on the use of mobile phones.

They also said now a majority of subscribers purchased mobile phone sets without bill which led to evasion of sales tax. In the presence of the directory, maximum persons would prefer to buy phone sets with bill. The directory would also help in maintaining record of every subscriber, they added.

On the other hand those discard the concept of the mobile phone directory were of the view that every person wanted secrecy in the case of mobile phone and did not want to disclose his mobile phone number to everyone due to personal reasons. They said the disclosure of mobile phone number through he directory to everyone might lead to various problems for subscribers, including unwanted calls, Besides, many subscribers did not keep the same number for months and changed the number when the same number became common. They also viewed that the directory could not be updated even for a short span of one year, as subscribers also preferred to change the mobile phone operators due to competition in the market.

Sources said no company had plans to publish a mobile phone directory so far. Even the BSNL had also not a proposal to publish it. It also stated that a mobile phone directory could only be printed if the government took necessary steps in this direction in view of curbing the crime in the larger interests of national security. They also said if landline phone directories could be published throughout the country then what was a “hitch” in making the publication of mobile phone directory mandatory.

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