Thursday, May 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Most dismissed officers clear PPSC exam
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
Former Senior Superintendent of Police Gurcharan Singh Pherurai’s daughter Kuljeet Kaur and a few other candidates, accused of bribing former Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman Ravi Sidhu in 1998, were among 23 former officers who did not sit for the preliminary examination held for the same posts in the city on April 27.

A few others also in the eye of a storm, including former PPSC member T.C. Gupta’s son Rahul Gupta and a former High Court Judge’s son Sukhpreet Singh Sidhu, sat for the re-examination and cleared it.

Informed sources said 23 former officers did not appear for the re-examination.

Sources gave a few other names of dismissed officers who did not sit for the re-examination. They are Deepak Arora, Rajinder Kumar, Sarabjot Singh Sidhu, Gaurav Duggal, Munish Kumar, Amarbir Singh Sidhu and Harcharan Singh, Nitin Bansal and Bharat Bhushan.

Most of the former dismissed officers who sat for the re-examination cleared it. The names of those who cleared the exam are — Rajesh Dhiman, Hargunjit Kaur, Rubinder Brar, Dr R P Singh, Pramjit Singh, Jagjit Singh, Amit Talwar, Surinder Kaur, Uma Shankar, Sandeep Rishi, Balkaran Singh, Karanbir Singh and Ashu Jain.

Two brothers, Kamal Kumar Garg and Jeewan Garg, accused of bribing the former PPSC Chairman also cleared the re-examination.

The PPSC has released a list of 980 candidates who have cleared the written examination. Its Chairman, Lieut-Gen (Retd) Surjit Singh Sanghra, said the schedule for the conduct of the main examination would be announced in due course.

A PPSC press note, commenting on the issue of negative marking, said the syllabi of the 1998 examination was made available to the candidates through a public notice. Samples of fresh answer-sheets with instructions were also sent to the candidates along with the admit cards.

Fresh instructions were printed on the actual answer-sheets. The candidates were required to read the same carefully before answering the questions. None of the fresh instructions mentioned negative marking, it added.


‘PPSC kept no one in dark’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman Lt-Gen Surjit Singh Sanghra (retd) said yesterday said the plea of candidates appearing in the PCS (Executive) examination that they had been kept in the dark on the issue of negative marking was false and was an afterthought by those who had fared badly.

Talking to TNS here, he said the plea of the students who had raked up the non-issue did not have legal status. “I cannot write in the question paper that negative marking will not be done in the examination”, he said.

He said in the 1998 examination it had been clearly mentioned in the instructions and in the OMR (answer) sheet that negative marking would take place. He said on the contrary, in the advertisement for the examination this time, it had been clearly mentioned that the written syllabus would be the same. He said following this, fresh instructions had been issued, which the candidates had been asked read carefully. He said the instructions did not mention that negative marking would be done in the examination.

The Chairman said the sample answer sheets sent to all candidates one month in advance did not mention that negative marking would be done. He said the OMR sheet did not mention about negative marking and no candidate had asked about this prior to the examination. He said in the light of these facts, it appeared that the issue was being raised by candidates who did not fare well in the examination.

Speaking on the issue of mistakes in the question paper, he said the PPSC had set the paper from question by examiners all over the country. He said it was felt that there would be some mistakes, but the examination papers were not got checked locally as it was felt that this would affect the confidentiality of the paper. He said a rechecking of the paper had resulted in the finding of 13 mistakes out of a total of 3,250 questions, which came to around 0.5 per cent. He said the commission had taken action to ensure that the candidates got the benefit as far as these questions were concerned.


Notice issued to CM
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 30
A local court today issued notice to the Punjan Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Chief Secretary, Punjab, in a case filed by senior Akali leader, Mr Gurmeet Singh Matharu, seeking permanent injunction restraining them from appointing members to the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC).The UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Ms Harpreet Kaur, has issued notice to the Punjab Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary, Punjab, for May 10.

Mr Matharu stated in the civil suit that in order to get majority decision in his favour the Chief Minister would appoint to the PPSC two more persons who were his loyalists.The four members who were appointed by the Badal government were not cooperating with the PPSC Chairman, Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh (retd). Therefore the Chief Minister needed more members in the PPSC to “strengthen the hands of the Chairman”.

He further stated that the Chief Minister had first appointed Surjit Singh as member and had then elevated him to the post of Chairman.

Claiming that the Punjab Government was likely to increase the strength of members in the PPSC, Mr Matharu said that he came to know that in the end of March this year the Punjab Government had cleared the proposal moved by the Personal Department to increase the members of the PPSC by two.


Bakshi, Ajaib made PPSC members
Tribune News Service

Bakhsi Ram
Bakhsi Ram
Ajaib Singh
Ajaib Singh

Chandigarh, April 30
The Punjab Government has appointed Chowdhary Bakhsi Ram, ADGP, Punjab, and Mr Ajaib Singh, Professor and Head of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, Panjab University, as members of the Punjab Public Service Commission, thus raising the total number of members to eight.

Informed sources said the Punjab Governor had approved the file pertaining to the appointment of the new members.

It seems that the government has moved fast on the PPSC front as one person has already challenged its decision to enhance the number of members of the PPSC, the usual strength of which has remained six. A controversy has also broken out in this regard in political circles and the commission itself.

Chowdhary Bakhsi Ram joined the IPS in 1974. He served as Senior Superintendent of Police at Ropar, DIG of the Ferozepore range and as IG of the Border Range twice. For a while, he was also posted in the Vigilance Bureau . He hails from Nurpur Brahman village, near Mahilpur in Hoshiarpur district.

Mr Ajaib Singh, born in Gobindpura Papra village, near Moonak in Sangrur district, remained active on student front since he joined Panjab University in 1970. He remained president of the National Students Union of India, a student organisation affiliated to the Congress, from 1977 to 1986. Later, he became general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress from 1986 to 1989 and joint secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress from 1997 to 1999.

He joined the Department of Adult Continuing Education and Extension in 1985 as a project officer after doing M.Sc (Hons) in bio-physics and Ph.D and LL.B from Panjab University. He is an elected senator of the university for the fourth successive term. He had also remained an elected Syndic of the university for long.

Mr Ajaib Singh said after becoming the member of the PPSC, he would resign from both the Syndicate and the Senate. Mr Ajaib Singh has travelled a long distance to become the member of the PPSC. “My parents were totally illiterate, but they had a vision. And because of their foresight, I have reached to the level of becoming the member of the PPSC”, he added.


Kashyap takes over as Chief Secretary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Mr Rajan Kashyap today took over as the 31st Chief Secretary of Punjab. He succeeds Mr Y.S. Ratra, who will join as the Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board tomorrow.

“Where is Rajan”? asked Mr Ratra, who was clearing the last clutch of files. The media persons pointed towards Mr Kashyap, who had quietly walked into the sixth-floor office of the Chief Secretary and stood beside Mr Ratra, who was engrossed in signing the last file. He immediately jumped out of the chair, shook hands and motioned Mr Kashyap to sit down, saying this is all yours. A smiling Mr Kashyap signed his joining report and saw off Mr Ratra.

In a brief, interaction with the mediapersons, Mr Kashyap described his new assignment as a challenge and hoped to live up to the trust reposed in him with the co-operation of his colleagues and the Chief Minister. What mattered most to him was good governance through a team effort by effectively using the instruments of financial management for modernisation of administration, information technology, administrative reforms and science and technology.

Fully conscious of the three-month period he has as the Chief Secretary, Mr Kashyap fielded an awkward question by saying that seniority was in terms of a number of years in service while he had been in the pay scale of the Chief Secretary for the past six-and-a-half years and had handled all tasks given to him.

He is keen on the application of science and technology to transform Punjab from an agricultural to an industrial and service state. For this big leap forward, he looks up to accelerated growth through the afore-mentioned instruments of good governance.


75 health centres raided in 3 districts
18 docs found absent from duty
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
As many as 18 doctors were found absent from duty during raids conducted at 75 primary health centres (PHCs) and dispensaries in three districts of Bathinda, Mansa and Faridkot. The raids started yesterday morning and continued till late evening.

As per information, 439 members of the staff, including doctors, ANMs Staff nurses, pharmacists, multipurpose health workers (MPHW), drivers sweepers, dhobis etc. worked in the PHCs and dispensaries where the raids were conducted. Out of these, 92 staff members were found absent.

Nine PHCs dispensaries were found locked when the Vigilance sleuths conducted the raids.

Officials of the Vigilance had yesterday declined to comment about the raids. However, they accepted today that the raids were conducted.

The Vigilance Bureau of the Bathinda range formed teams to conduct the surprise checking at the PHCs and dispensaries in Nathana, Sangat, Talwandi Sabo, Rampura Phul areas of Bathinda district, Budhlada and Sardulgarh areas in Mansa district, Sadik, Kotkapura and the Jaito areas of Faridkot district.

Besides the doctors, the other staff that was found absent included seven ANMs out of 50, 17 pharmacists out of 76, eight MPHWs out of 65 and 42 other employees, including drivers, safai karamcharis, peons and dhobis.

The civil dispensary at Phul, sub-centre at Mallwala and rural dispensary at Rongu in Bathinda district were found locked when the Vigilance Bureau personnel reached there. Likewise, the Civil Dispensary of Mehmuana in Faridkot district and sub-centres of Gume Kalan, Gurthari, Bhawanpura Heengna, Jhanda Kalan and Gardi Kalan in Mansa district were also found closed at the time of the raid.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance), Bathinda range, while confirming the raids said that as the final report was prepared late in the evening yesterday, they were not able to tell the details. He said the Bureau had written to the government to take stern departmental action against the absent employees.


Chabra accuses cop of vendetta
Writes to CS, seeks appointment with CM
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The irrigation scam took a new turn today as the Principal Secretary, Mr Rajesh Chabra, who was questioned in connection with the scam by a top-level police team, said that “a certain senior police officer, whose annual confidential report( ACR) was dealt by him ( Mr Chabra) as Home Secretary is trying to settle scores with me”.

Mr Chabra has written a letter in this connection to the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, who retired this afternoon and has also spoken to the new Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap, in this connection. “All probe in the scam was a sham and a deliberate effort to fix me”, said Mr Chabra while talking to ‘The Tribune’ today.

“ I have requested the Chief Secretary to withdraw the inquiry from the present investigating team and either he ( Chief Secretary) should himself conduct the inquiry or hand it over to any person of his choice”, Mr Chabra said. “I am prepared to face any probe in this connection, but it should be held by the civil authorities”, he added.

In the letter to the Chief Secretary, Mr Chabra has referred that he held the office of the Home Secretary a few years ago and dealt with the ACRs of various senior police officers at that time. Those police officers had now turned against him, he added.

Upset over the developments with regard to the scam, Mr Chabra today spoke to Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Officer on Special Duty, who is heading the investigation with regard to the scandal and also Mr Manish Chawla, a police officer posted at Ferozepore. “Both Mr Siddiqui and Mr Chawla told me that there was nothing against me so far. Even both the police officers, whom I spoke over the phone, say that I have not been included as accused in the case”, said Mr Chabra.

Continuing in this connection, Mr Chabra said when he spoke to Mr Kashyap this morning , he said that he had also seen the file pertaining to “scam” and there was nothing against him (Mr Chabra) in that file. Mr Chabra has sought an appointment with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. He has also referred his case to the IAS officers Association president, Mr B.R. Bajaj, who has reportedly sought an appointment with the CM in this connection.

“I have told the Chief Secretary that I was treated “badly” by one member of the police investigation team during questioning at a guesthouse a few days ago”, said Mr Chabra. The matter was brought to the notice of Mr Siddiqui then and there, he added.

Mr Chabra, said the scam occurred before his taking over as Principal Secretary of the Irrigation Department. Investigating officers had alleged that “I favoured engineers involved in the scam by not issuing charge sheets and taking other action against them”, said Mr Chabra. But the charges were unsubstantiated and facts on the file prove that what the police says was wrong, he added.

Narrating the scam story, Mr Chabra said the first departmental inquiry against officers concerned was ordered by Mr Bikramjit Singh, who held the charge of the Irrigation Department before him. However, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, the then Irrigation Minister, wanted that the officers concerned should be suspended and the inquiry handed over to the Vigilance Bureau.

Following difference of opinion between the two, the case was referred to the then Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who ordered departmental action. In the meantime, Mr Bikramjit Singh, was shifted from the department and he took over as Principal Secretary, said Mr Chabra.

He added that the Vigilance wing of the Irrigation Department conducted the inquiry and submitted the report directly to Mr Sekhon, who recommended the suspension and ordered a probe by Vigilance Bureau against those involved in the scam. The file came to him and he supported the viewpoint of Mr Sekhon but at the same time thought it proper to refer the issue to the then Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, as there was a note by the Chief Minister on the file ordering the departmental inquiry. Mr Mann referred the matter to Mr Badal, who over-ruled Mr Sekhon and directed to chargesheet all officers involved in the scam. Once again, Mr Sekhon sent the file to him asking for handing over the case to Vigilance Bureau. He again supported the stand of Mr Sekhon and referred the matter to Chief Secretary to decide the issue as the minister differed with CM on the issue. Again file came back with instructions that action should be taken as per the orders of the CM.

“Obviously, as superior authority ( CM) had asked for issuance of charge sheet and not referring the case to the Vigilance Bureau as desired by the Minister, I ordered the issuance of charge sheets to all concerned”, Mr Chabra said. “At no stage the file’s movement was stopped or file was delayed. Neither it was put in cold store”, he added.

Even Mr Badal had recommended the charge sheet under Rule 8 of Punishment and Appeals. That means he had recommended major penalty for those involved in the scam. Under Rule 8, one could be dismissed from service and all his or her service benefits are forfeited. Hence, no one tried to favour any officer at any stage.

In the meantime, one MLA, Mr Ajit Inder Singh, filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking a Vigilance probe into the scam. He pleaded that the officers concerned were being given light punishment. The high court ordered the probe by the Vigilance Bureau. All files were handed over to the Bureau.

Before the beginning of probe by the bureau, the chargesheets were issued to officers concerned and their replies had come. However, as in the meantime, the high court had ordered a probe, its order was implemented. The earlier exercise was rendered null and void because of the beginning of a fresh inquiry by the Vigilance Bureau. The same inquiry was now being handled by Mr Siddiqui and his team, he added.


Punjabi University to open engineering colleges
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 30
Punjabi University has decided to set up the University College of Engineering on its campus next year besides deciding to open another engineering college at its Regional Centre at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district.

Stating this at a press conference after a function organised to mark the foundation day of the university, the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, said two sites of 10 to 12 acres each had been identified for the University College of Engineering. He said early start of the project would not be difficult as the varsity already had facilities needed for the college like an advance library, hostels and play grounds. He said an attempt was being made to get staff who had taught in IITs for the college, adding the teachers would be invited to teach in the college on their own terms. He said the project would be financed by the varsity at an estimated cost of Rs 4 crore.

He said the varsity had also decided to open another engineering college at its Regional Centre, Talwandi Sabo. He said the varsity wanted to develop the area educationally and it had been decided to reserve 20 per cent seats in all professional courses in the regional centre for students of that area only. The varsity would also attempt to open more engineering colleges every year in other areas under its jurisdiction.

The Vice-Chancellor also announced that more changes would be made in the university from the next session, including introduction of the semester system. He also announced that the varsity would observe only eight holidays from the next session instead of 36 holidays.

He also announced that the post of the Registrar would be advertised shortly. He said besides this 70 posts had been advertised for recruitment of teachers in various departments. Mr Boparai when questioned about the appointment of Dr G.R. Kataria as Dean, Languages, after replacing Dr Ranjit Kaur Kapoor, he said a “silly mistake” was responsible for the embarrassment caused to Dr Kapoor who was removed from her post within a month of her appointment. He said a committee formed to look into the issue of back dated seniority given to five teachers, including Dr Kataria, by the former Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.S. Ahluwalia, had not given a hearing to the five teachers while withdrawing the order. He said when this issue was brought to his notice it had been decided to withdraw the order of the committee so that the teachers could be given a fair chance to explain themselves.


Technical education needs fillip: Rajan
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 30
“The long era of terrorism in the state has stunted the growth of technical education in the state and now we have to run marathon race to compete with the other states”, said Dr Y.C. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor Punjab Technical University (PTU), while talking to mediapersons at Baba Banda Singh Bahadhur Engineering (BBSBE) College, Fatehgarh Sahib, today. He had come to preside over the annual convocation of the college.

Answering a query about the steps he had taken after taking the charge as Vice-Chancellor, he said the immediate need to improve the standard of education was to improve the syllabus continuously and the step had been taken in this regard. He said PTU had decided to set up regional centre in engineering colleges for imparting M.Tech and PhD degrees.

He said besides this the Zeal Oriented Project Planning ( ZOPP) method would be used for improvement in technical education. He said a new system of dual degree was being introduced in the state, by which the subject of information technology, and other would be offered along with the basic B.Tech degree, if students were able to clear both the subjects they would be awarded Bachelor degree in IT along with basic degree.

Later, Professor Rajan conferred the degrees to the engineering graduates of Baba Banda Singh Bahadhur Engineering (BBSBE) College . In his convocation address he said the university would sign MoU with big industrial houses to provide better placements to the students as the state was facing the problem of placement as 10,000 technical graduates passed out every year.

As many as 462 B.Tech graduates belonging to 2000, 2001 and 2002 batches were awarded degrees, including 162 in Computer Engineering, 152 in Electronics Engineering and 149 in Mechanical Engineering.

Medals and certificates were presented by Kirpal Singh Libra, Member Secretary of the Management Committee of the college. Dr D.S. Hira, Principal of the college, read out the annual report of the college and highlighted the various achievements during the last academic year in different fields. He said the college got the ISO-9001certification . He said college had organised four short-term courses sponsored by the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE). He said all faculty members were life members of professional bodies, ISTE and Institute of Engineers India.


An Act ignored
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, more often comes up with such issues that concern either Sikhs or Punjab that have seemingly been ignored or deliberately overlooked both by the Panthic organisations and the powers that be.

One such issue that he raised in the Lok Sabha on Monday last was the Anand Marriage Act, 1909. It was enacted by the British. That Act gives rights and recognition to the Sikhs’ way of marriage. Mr Mann says that this Act is still on the statute but has been completely ignored, while the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1920, that gives the Sikhs the right to manage their religious affairs and gurdwaras has been actively implemented. There was a deliberate attempt countrywide to dissuade the Sikhs from using this Act.

But then what is the Anand Marriage Act, 1909? Mr Mann says: “It is a five-clause Act, which was enacted to legalise the Sikh marriage ceremony of “anand karaj”. The operative clause 2 reads: “All marriages, which may be or may have been duly solemnised according to the Sikh marriage ceremony called “Anand Karaj”, shall be deemed to have been with effect from the date of the solemnisation of each respectively, good and valid in law”.

It was further argued by Mr Mann that in the preparation of the Census population details, the Sikhs are classified separately. Even under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, the Sikhs are a distinct minority. Under various pieces of legislation relating to language, the Punjabi language in the Gurmukhi script spoken by the Sikhs is recognised. The Constitution also recognises the separate status of Sikhism. The Constitution Review Committee has recommended the removal of such anomalies so that the Sikhs are given separate status and recognition.

In this backdrop, Mr Mann says, a Sikh man or woman finds it abhorrent to register his or her marriage under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act or the Special Marriage Act. That is why he stresses the need for implementing the 1909 Act. He has suggested the inclusion of the following three clauses in the Sikhs law on marriage: 1) the provisions of the Act be expanded to incorporate clauses for the registration of marriages for Sikh residents in India as well as non-resident Sikhs; 2) the Sikhs should be governed exclusively under the Act only; and 3) a committee of experts should be immediately appointed by the Ministry of Law and Justice to formulate the expansion of the above Act.

Mr Mann has also sent to Union Minister, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa the text of his speech delivered in the Lok Sabha on Monday last requesting that the Bill on the Anand Marriage Act be brought before Parliament in the monsoon session with due additions in accordance with the “Sikh scriptures, traditions, history and culture”.

Some historical records show that the first Sikh ‘anand karaj’, which is today recognised as the Sikh marriage ceremony, was held at the Nirankari darbar in Rawalpindi on March 13, 1855. The occasion was a conference convened by Sahib Darbara Singh (1814-1870), who had fervently continued with the Nirankari mission started by his father. At that congregation, he had called upon a young man and a woman to offer themselves for maintaining pure “Sikh dharma”. It was then that Bhola and Nihali offered themselves. They were married, as per the Anand marriage custom.

It is also said that it was Maharaja Kumar Ripudaman Singh of Nabha, who had introduced the Anand Marriage Bill in the Imperial Legislative Council in 1908. It was passed in October, 1909.


Cong men can’t do kar seva’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 30
The SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, today announced that the Congress, which was allegedly responsible for Operation Bluestar and anti-Sikh riots, had no locus standi on ‘kar seva’ of Sikh shrines.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Badungar, said it was a matter of shock that the Congress, especially the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, wanted to take political mileage by offering to undertake ‘kar seva’ of gurdwara in Baghdad. He said Capt Amarinder Singh who had resigned as Congress MP in protest against Operation Bluestar in 1984 should clarify whether the Army operation was justified or not? He ridiculed the statement of Ms Sonia Gandhi, President of the AICC, directing the Chief Minister for making arrangements to repair the damaged gurdwara. Ms Ratna, a former General Secretary of the PPCC, justified the offer of the Chief Minister. She said the SGPC chief should not create division among the Sikhs by announcing that the Congress had no right to carry out ‘seva’.

Coming down heavily on the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Mr Badungar said non-Sikh could not be allowed to manage the Sikh affairs. He said the credentials of Mr Sham Singh, co-chairman, PSGPC, were doubtful as he was not Sikh by birth.

On the offer of the government of Pakistan to construct corridor to allow Indian devotees to pay their obeisance at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib situated near Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), Mr Badungar said the SGPC had written to the Government of India in this regard.


30 water samples fail in Ropar
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 30
Illustrating the poor quality of water being supplied in the urban areas of the district, 30 water samples collected by the district health authorities failed the purity test. Sources in the Health Department said the samples collected from water sources of the municipal councils and public health were found to be biologically contaminated after testing.

The Health Department sources said three water samples collected from Anandpur Sahib, five from Kurali, four from Morinda, nine from Ropar, five from Nangal and four from Kiratpur Sahib failed the purity test.

The district health authorities had collected 224 samples from various parts of the district. Till date, reports of 118 samples were available. Out of these, 30 samples failed the test.

The quality of water being supplied by various municipal councils and public health authorities in different parts of the district has been in question for long. Last year, all water samples collected by the district health authorities had failed. Following this the then Deputy Commissioner had ordered an inquiry into the incident. It was also ordered that water samples would be sent for testing by the district health authorities every three months.

However, no action was taken against the erring authorities Surprisingly, the water sample from the same source passed the test in an alternative laboratory.

A fortnight ago, there was a sudden spurt in jaundice cases in the Kurali area of the district. As per the data collected by this correspondent, the number of reported gastroenteritis and diarrhoea cases had doubled in most of the government hospitals in the district.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, when asked to comment about the failure of the water samples in the district, said the respective executive officers of the council and the public health authorities had been directed to take appropriate action in the matter.


CBI probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The High Court on Wednesday expressed hope that Punjab state would issue the necessary notification for probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the panchayat secretaries termination case.

Earlier during the proceedings, CBI’s standing counsel Rajan Gupta told the Court that the necessary notification had not been issued by the Punjab state, only a demi-official letter had been sent. He added that CBI’s resources were already over-stressed. Moreover, no Central Government employee was involved in the matter. The case will now come up for hearing on May 7.

The secretaries, in their petition, had earlier alleged that action was being initiated against them in a mala fide manner due to political vendetta. Claiming to have been appointed by the previous government in October 2001, Raminder Singh of Ferozepore and six others, in one such petition, had added that the government had proceeded against them by issuing a blanket order without giving them an opportunity of hearing.

Seeking the quashing of an order dated December 10 vide which the services of a total of 909 secretaries were sought to be terminated, the petitioners had added that the same was illegal and arbitrary. Giving details, counsel had submitted on the petitioners’ behalf that the secretaries were appointed in the department concerned by a duly constituted Departmental Selection Committee. 


Roundabouts cause traffic jams
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, April 30
The roundabouts, which were constructed for beautifying the city, are obstructing the flow of traffic as the number of vehicles have increased manifold in the past few years.

Due to the increased vehicular traffic, the roundabouts are unable to serve the purpose they were constructed for. Most of the roundabouts are causing traffic jams instead of regularising the flow of traffic.

Two main roundabouts — Hanuman Chowk and Fauji Chowk on the Mansa-Goniana road, have virtually become points of traffic jams.

The traffic virtually comes to a standstill at the time of opening and closing of a private school located near Hanuman Chowk. Even he deployment of four to five traffic policemen near the chowk could hardly make things better as no place is left for the movement of vehicles.

Besides the school, there is a local bus stop and an office of the local truck Operators Union near the chowk. Bus drivers stop their vehicles near the chowk to get the passengers, although the authorities concerned have asked them to halt the buses away from the chowk. Trucks are also parked at some distance from the chowk. Although the authorities have banned the movement of heavy vehicles except buses on the road at time of opening and closing of the school, the instructions are rarely followed.

The situation at Fauji Chowk is even worse. There are two local bus stops near it. Although the authorities have raised barricades near the chowk so that the buses should stop at some distance from it, drivers do not care much about barricades.

The poor condition of roads near the chowks aggravates the problem. A cross-section of local residents to whom this correspondent talked said some alternative for roundabouts should be found. They said that either the size of roundabouts should be reduced or traffic lights be installed there.

Mr Nilabh Kishore, SP (City), admitted that the roundabouts were causing inconvenience to people. He said when the roundabouts were constructed there were fewer vehicles. 


Chained to bed for 25 yrs
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 30
Harminder Singh Gola, a mentally disturbed man of Ikolaha village, has been chained to his bed for the past 25 years ago after he had attacked his family and the other villagers in a fit.

His family has been contributing to charities in his name and regularly sending 10 quintals of wheat to Gurdwara Rara Sahib. It is also disturbed over some newspaper reports on Gola. The family alleges that two persons came to their house posing as doctors from Ludhiana and took pictures of Gola without its knowledge.

After reading the reports in print, the family came to know that the persons were reporters. The members of the family said, had these persons declared their true identity, they would have told them the whole story and not felt embarrassed after reading the story in print.

Ms Amarjit Kaur, wife of Gola, said, at the time of her marriage, Gola had been a healthy person. After two years of marriage, he started behaving abnormally. At times, he would become aggressive, so to avoid some untoward incident, they started chaining him. She said once Gola had razed a small temple of Guga Mari near his fields under his tractor, after which, the problem had started. The family is hopeful that, with the blessings of God, Gola will be normal again.


Lawyers form association
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
The Judicial Accountability and Human Rights Promotion Organisation (North India) was formed here today by lawyers to promote judicial accountability, transparency in the working of the judiciary and campaign for pro-people legislation.

Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, a local lawyer who filed a case of corruption against Punjab Agriculture Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has been elected chairman of the association.

The chairman said the association would also undertake research work in the fields of judicial accountability, human rights and legislation. The sphere of activity of the association would be the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Delhi.

Mr Dhillon said in the coming months, units of the association would be established at the sub-divisional, district, state and national levels.

Other office-bearers of the association are: chief patron — Mr Surinder Pal Sharma, senior vice-chairman — Mr Hardev Singh; vice-chairmen — Mr Sukhdarshan Sharma, Mr Surinder Mohan Goyal and Mr Jasbir Singh; general-secretary — Mr N.K. Jeet; joint-secretary — Mr Jagwinder Singh Gill; organising-secretary — Mr Mithu Ram Gupta; treasurer — Mr Gurjet Singh Sidhu; and office-secretary — Ms Suman Parbhakar.


M.S. Sidhu is bar panel chief
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
Senior Advocate Mohinder Singh Sidhu was today elected District Bar Association president, defeating Mr Gurdev Singh Sodhi with a margin of 203 votes.

Mr Sidhu polled 340 votes against Mr Sodhi’s 137. Mr Raj Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, who completed his term this year, had won by a margin of 40 votes last year, defeating Mr Sidhu.

For the post of vice-president, Mr Kewal Singh Brar defeated Mr Rajwinder Singh Sidhu securing 310 votes. The latter got 165 votes.

The neck and neck fight for the seat of the district bar secretary ensured that none of three candidates had a cakewalk and the winning candidate, Mr Rajinder Singh Bhukkal, polled 175 votes, defeating his nearest rival, Mr Jai Gopal Goyal, by six votes.

Ms Phuspinder Kaur Randhawa, the only woman candidate for the seat of secretary, polled 137 votes.

Mr Bikramjit Singh was elected joint secretary unopposed.


Protect natural resources: CPI
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, April 30
Ms Amar Jeet Kaur, executive committee, CPI, while addressing a gathering at Satta Bazaar, here last night, called upon the people to defend national unity and secular values and protect national assets and natural resources that are being destroyed by faulty policies of the Indian government.

She was here on a nationwide Bharat Jan Jagran Yatra, which was received by thousands of party members and activists. She said the NDA government was following such policies which created retrenchment of employees and job-less growth. She urged the people to defend India’s sovereign rights on its resources. 


Cremation ground sans power
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 30
A cremation ground here has been functioning without electricity for the past week as the Punjab State Electricity Board has cut the supply due to non-payment of arrears of a bill amounting to Rs 12,248. People coming to the ground to cremate the dead face an acute shortage of water for bathing and washing purposes as the tubewell has become non-operational due to no power supply.

The PSEB authorities said here today that power supply would be restored within a day or two as the caretaker had deposited Rs 2,500 at the board's office.


Stop cruelty to pets: PFA
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
The People For Animals (PFA), an NGO protecting animals against cruelty has urged the Deputy Commissioner to look into incidents of violence against domestic pets.

In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, the association has said vehicles transporting animals carry more than the permissible limits. 


Despite ban, burning of wheat stubble on
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 30
Despite a ban by the Agriculture Department, a large section of farmers continue to burn wheat stubble to clear fields for the sowing of the next crop.

Eversince harvesting began in Punjab, thick clouds of smoke soaring towards the sky is a common sight. Apart from causing harm to the atmosphere and creating imbalances, the burning of wheat stubble has become a major factor in road accidents.

The district administrations at Bathinda and Ferozepore have registered several criminal cases against those violating the ban in the past four days. The authorities are also making efforts to educate farmers about the ill-effects of the practice.

Information revealed that during every wheat and paddy season, thousands of trees on both sides of main and link roads and in farms are scorched with the burning of the stubble. This has arrested the growth of the forest cover in the state.

Environment experts point out that the practice of burning wheat and paddy stubble has led to a significant climatic change. It has disrupted the weather systems, including the duration and time of seasonal rains and the wind pattern.

During wheat and paddy harvesting, darkness at noon has become a common feature as a thick blanket of smoke settles below the sky, triggering unwanted rains and dusty winds across the state.

A section of medicos pointed out that the number of patients complaining of respiratory problems, irritation in eyes, skin rash and cough had increased after the farmers started burning wheat stubble.

A section of farmers argue that burning of stubble was the easiest way to clear fields for sowing the next crop. Methods to dispose of the stubble biologically was both cumbersome and time consuming.


PSHRC to have 3 new members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Punjab Government has decided to appoint Justice R.L. Anand of the Punjab and Haryana High Court; Mr B.C. Rajput, a retired District and Sessions Judge, Punjab; and Mr V.K. Sibal, a retired IAS officer as members of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), an official spokesman said here today.

The appointment of these three new members had already been cleared by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Speaker Kewal Krishan. After the appointments were cleared by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, these would be notified.


Case against SHO in his police station
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 30
Strange but true, a case of looting has been registered against an SHO in his own police station. The local police, on the basis of a complaint lodged by Jatinder Kumar of Rajpura, has registered a case under Sections 392 and 34, IPC, against Mr Raj Balwinder Singh, SHO. 

The complainant has accused the SHO of looting Rs 2 lakh from him on February near Aur village while he was on his way to Nawanshahr in a car.


4 killed as train hits Gypsy
Our Correspondent

Talhan (Jalandhar), April 30
Four members of a family were crushed to death following a collision between a Gypsy and a Jalandhar-bound DMU express at an unmanned railway crossing here this afternoon.

The family members, hailing from Hussainpur village in Kapurthala district, were returning to their native village after paying homage at Gurdwara Shaheedan here when the Gypsy was hit by the speeding Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar DMU express at 3.22 p.m. All four passengers in the Gypsy died on the spot.

The deceased have been identified as Sucha Singh (70), his wife Jeet Kaur (65), daughter Kulwinder Kaur (45) and nephew Jatinder Singh (22). Eyewitnesses said Jatinder Singh was driving the Gypsy. Kulwinder Kaur was scheduled to fly to England tomorrow, where her son lives.

According to an eyewitness, the Gypsy was dragged along by the train for about 300 metres. The railway police reached the spot and started rescue operations immediately after the accident along with residents of the village. Eyewitnesses maintained that a number of accidents had occurred at the unmanned crossing, but the authorities remained unmoved. “We have approached the authorities concerned for removal of the unmanned crossing time and again but to no avail,” said Ramji Dass.

The bodies of the victims were sent to the Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination. A case has been registered.


SDO held for accepting bribe
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
Mr Sushil Kumar, Subdivisional Officer, Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), posted at the Hussainiwala border in Ferozepore district, was arrested today by a team of Vigilance officials led by Mr Baljeet Singh Buttar, DSP, while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 in connection with the beautification of the martyrs memorial.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance), talking to The Tribune here this evening, said the SDO had demanded a bribe of Rs 60,000 from the complainant, Mr Amarjit Singh Happy, a contractor. Mr Grewal said the SDO had assured that he would make entries in the measurement book of the contractor and ensure that the bills were prepared speedily and payments released at the earliest.

Mr Grewal said the contractor had lodged a complaint with the Vigilance Bureau, alleging that the SDO had been demanding bribe and the deal had been finalised at Rs 60,000, including Rs 30,000 as an advance. A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered and a police party sent to Haryana to search the SDO’s house.


Three held for murder of taxi driver
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 30
The district police has arrested three persons, including two women, for the murder of a taxi driver.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, in a press note here today, said three persons, identified as Ravinder Singh of Nanak Nagar in Ludhiana, Binder of Jhuggian Ghossian Nihal Village in Bilga and Sarabjit Kaur of Guru Nanak Nagar, Ludhiana, had been arrested for the murder of taxidriver Jaswinder Singh of Shadipur village in Bilga.

He said Jagdish Singh of Shampur village in a complaint on April 28 had alleged that his driver, Jaswinder Singh who had been hired by three persons, including two women, on April 25, had not returned since.

He suspected that he may have been kidnapped by the passengers. A case under Sections 364 and 34, IPC, was registered.

Meanwhile, the body of the driver was found on the Anandpur-Naina Devi road by Himachal Police on April 27. It bore marks of injuries inflicted by sharp-edged weapons as well as strangulation.


Travel agent booked on fraud charge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 30
The local police has booked a travel agent, Gurdev Singh, of Paniwa village under Section 420 and 406 of the IPC on the charge of defrauding two persons of a total of Rs 3.80 lakh with a promise to send them to the USA. Inderjit Singh of Dhaur village had complained that he had struck a deal with the agent for Rs 10 lakh and given Rs 80,000 as an advance.

The second complainant, Hardip Singh, of Sayal village had alleged that he had given Rs 3 lakh to Gurdev Singh for the purpose. The deal was originally struck for Rs 20 lakh but the complainant did not give the remaining amount as he smelt a rat. Both persons were neither sent to the USA nor did the agent return the money. They reported the matter to the Kapurthala SSP, who ordered the registration of a case against the agent.


PSEB lineman commits suicide

Phagwara, April 30
A PSEB lineman, Kewal Krishan, today committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence in PSEB colony here. He belonged to Kangra. He was said to be depressed. It is learnt that he had sought pre-mature retirement but later decided to continue with his service. He was to retire today.

The police has started investigations under Section 174 of the CrPc. OC


Mother, kids crushed by train
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 30
Suminder Kaur, resident of Devi Dass Pura village, her son Gurwinder Singh (5) and daughter Gurlin Kaur (3) were reportedly cut into pieces by the Dadar Express when they tried to cross the railway lines near Jandiala Guru, about 18 km from here.


Engineering college puts off interviews
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
The local Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology today postponed the interviews for vacancies of steno/ typists.

Dr Gurdeep Singh, principal, when contacted, said the interviews had been postponed, but declined to give a reason for the same. He said the college could do so for numerous reasons.

Mr Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, Secretary, Technical Education, could not be contacted. Sources, however, said that the interviews had been cancelled and not ‘postponed’ as maintained by the authorities.


Students allege errors in question paper
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
Second-year students of MA (Punjabi) have urged the authorities of Punjabi University, Patiala, to give them grace marks to compensate for the alleged mistakes in the question paper of “Punjabi Vartak”, whose examination was held today.

The students said the question paper was not set as per the guidelines of the syllabus. Mangal Madaan, a student from Malout, said separate books were prescribed for each of the four sections of the paper for which detailed answers for to be given. He said two questions in each section were to be set from the books — one from each book if there was more than one book for a section.

He claimed that in section I, both questions were from one book “Puratan Janam Sakhi”, although there should have been one question each from two books prescribed for the section, he said one of the questions in section II from “Prem Sumarg Granth,” a book prescribed for section I. He said instead of this question, a question from “Partian De Geet” should have been there in section II.

He said in section IV, both questions should have been from “Vartak” but one of these was from “Partian De Geet”.

Sham Juneja, another student who took the examination at a local college, said confusion prevailed among students due to the wrong setting of the question paper.

Students said they would write a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the university to urge him to look into the matter and grant compensatory marks.

Meanwhile, Mr Sudarshan Jagga, secretary of the Lok Chetna Manch Malout, has urged the authorities to take action against the examiner. He said the association would meet the university authorities in this regard.

The university authorities could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.


Stress on interaction among industrialists
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 30
The industrialists, entrepreneurs, trade unionists and engineering students who participated in a national debate, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) today, felt that for the promotion of manufacturing industry in the country, interaction and connectively between small and big industries should be increased.

The participants in the first-ever debate on the topic “Manufacturing excellence” in India — developing national agenda” felt that there was a potential in the country to grow but for this, sincere efforts were needed.

It was a unique experience for the participants as the debate was shown live throughout the country by the CNBC. A special big screen was erected at the local Civil Lines Club for showing the address and interactive session with Dr C.K. Parhalad, an internationally renowned management expert.

The main programme was held at The Taj hotel in New Delhi, from where Dr Prahalad addressed the participants in at least 100 centres throughout the country. The address of Dr Prahalad, in which he stated that India could become an alternative location to China as manufacturing base, was followed by a workshop and debate about the topic at the local level.

Mr Ramesh Kanoria, an industrialist, suggested that the big industry should help the small industry for selling its products in place of giving the former a competition. It was not possible for the small industry in the manufacturing field to complete with the bigger one, he added.

Mr Anish Mitttal, a student of mechanical engineering at the local engineering college, said there was need for more interaction among different manufacturing industries. He said that it was strange that if an engineering student got training for some time in one company, it becomes difficult for him to get training or employment in some other company.

The CII said that the objective of the programme was to generate maximum participation of manufacturing managers, supervisors, trade unions, entrepreneurs and students on the same day with same agenda in order to debate how to promote the manufacturing industry in the country, which would create more jobs.

Mr A.C. Tejpal, Commissioner, Income Tax, Bathinda, Dr Prem Kumar, President, Bathinda Management Association, and Mr Ashok Kapoor, president of the Association of Cotton Traders of North India, were among the prominent persons who participated in the debate.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |