Friday, May 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bhattal case: SC’s no to change in order
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 1
The Supreme Court today declined to alter its order regarding a case of alleged corruption against Punjab Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, was passed on April 21.

Rejecting a plea by Ms Bhattal’s counsel Kapil Sibal, a Bench comprising Mr Justice M.B. Shah and Mr Justice Arun Kumar said the order passed by them earlier would continue.

Mr Sibal had made the plea for change in the order in a special mention before the Bench.

The court, in its April 21 order, had said the complainant, who had filed a complaint against Ms Bhattal, would have liberty to assist the prosecution in the case before a Chandigarh special court and point out the deficiency, if any, in its (prosecution) submission regarding the facts of the case.


CM: water to Rajasthan on humanitarian grounds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab Government today scotched reports that as a political strategy water was being supplied to Rajasthan at the cost of its Malwa belt where cotton sowing is on. While Rajasthan has not asked Punjab for any water for its parched land, “Punjab is willing to share water on humanitarian grounds if a request is received”, said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today.

Commenting on media reports about giving water to Rajasthan he said that it was only a “figment of imagination” that Punjab had released more water to Rajasthan or it had received a similar request from Delhi, where drinking water was an acute problem. Even the Delhi Government has not made any such request. “It is wrong to say that electoral compulsions in Rajasthan and Delhi were behind Punjab releasing water,” he added.

Since Punjab had some water to spare, it had given it to Rajasthan last year, purely on humanitarian grounds. Also, it had sent wheat and fodder to Rajasthan last year.

Capt Amarinder Singh said water in the three reservoirs at Bhakra, Pong and Thein dams was above normal this time of the year. Since Punjab would need it most when Kharif paddy sowing commences, Punjab could spare some water for Rajasthan in the intervening period if a request was received. Thereafter, Punjab would have to meet its own needs.

Meanwhile, Chief Engineer (Canals) R.P.S. Yaduwanshi told TNS that in view of cotton sowing, canals were full and water was being given for irrigation to the Malwa belt, primarily to the Fazilka-Abhoar, Bhatinda-Mansa and Faridkot-Muktsar area. Normally, water was made available from May 1. But this year due to some experiments to be conducted on Bt cotton, the canal water supply was rescheduled. In fact, some repair works on the Ferozepur feeder were left incomplete to make water available for the cotton belt in the state.

Mr Yaduwanshi said, Punjab’s indent for water was accepted at a meeting of the Bhakra-Beas Management Board on April 29 for the Ropar headworks.


Probe ex-VC’s decision: FEAR
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The manner in which ousted Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, gave the scale for the posts of senior scale lecturer and reader to a Political Science Department teacher from the date of her joining as Lecturer in the varsity has come under a controversy with the Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) demanding a vigilance probe into the matter.

The teacher, who was initially appointed as a research associate in the department on a consolidated salary of Rs 1,400 per month (later revised) in January 1988, for four years, was selected as lecturer in February 1992. After getting the grade for the post of reader with retrospective effect from February 1992, she has become eligible for professorship since 1996.

According to the forum, Dr Surinder Kaur had in her application when applying for the post of Lecturer stated that she had worked in Kanya Degree College, Kasiganj, Etah, Uttar Pradesh, from October 1975 to January 1988. After her appointment as Lecturer she applied for protection of her pay and later for a senior scale with a “changed experience certificate” mentioning that she was on leave without pay from January 25, 1988 to February 28, 1992. However, her request was not accepted during the tenure of Dr J.S. Puar.

After Dr Ahluwalia took over the charge of the university on May15, 1999, Dr Surinder Kaur pleaded that her case was one of “victimisation by Dr Puar”. Her plea was accepted by Dr Ahluwalia and her entire previous service as Lecturer was considered without any break. On her demand she was given the senior scale of Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 from the date she joined as Lecturer and within one month she was given the grade for the post of reader from the date of joining as Lecturer.

The FEAR president, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, said the forum was of the considerate opinion that the service of Dr Surinder Kaur research associate could not be considered equivalent to Lecturer from any standard according to the UGC rules. He said getting three grades on the same date was a miracle.

The president claimed that even the induction of the teacher as Lecturer was “manipulated” as the short list file of candidates was kept with the then head of the department for a period of 12 months till the then Dean and senior most faculty member, Dr Manorma Kohli, went on leave. Dr Dhillon said the forum had proved that Dr Kohli protested in writing and demanded an inquiry into the manner.

Meanwhile, Dr P.S. Goraya of the Physics Department, while speaking on behalf of his wife, Dr Surinder Kaur, said the issue was being raked up despite the fact that his wife’s case had been scrutinised by the administration after Dr Ahluwalia was ousted from the university. He said the experience of his wife as Lecturer was only counted while giving her the grade of Reader and that similar promotions had been given to many other teachers in the university.


Meeting with CM mollifies Chhabra
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Principal Secretary, Punjab, Mr Rajesh Chhabra, who was “shabbily” treated by one of the police officers during questioning with regard to an irrigation scam a few days ago, is satisfied with the “outcome” of his meeting with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, last evening.

“I, along with the outgoing Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, met the Chief Minister yesterday. I explained everything to him”, said Mr Chhabra. The Chief Minister intervened then and there to set the things right with regard to the ongoing investigation into the scam, Mr Chhabra said.

Meanwhile, informed sources said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has directed that the officer against whom Mr Chhabra had complained should be kept away from handling the case.

However, it is not for the first time that either the Chief Minister or the Chief Secretary had to intervene in a case which had the potential to blow up as a major IPS versus IAS feud. Take the case of the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board. The police wanted to investigate the multi-crore contracts given by the board for widening of all major roads and to build bridges, etc. The police was given the impression that most of the contracts had been given either at the behest of the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, or by his Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

When the police asked for the records in this connection, it created a flutter among the top IAS officers, who were involved in the allotment of contracts. In the board, such a system has been put into place that no politician can help anyone in securing contracts. The decision to allot the contracts is taken by a top body of seven Principal Secretary-level officers headed by the Chief Secretary. The officers concerned, who have been allotting the contracts, took up the matter of the police investigation with Mr Y.S. Ratra telling him that at no stage did Mr Badal or Capt Kanwaljit Singh ask for favouring any particular contractors in the allotment.

Mr Ratra, according to the sources, told the Chief Minister that there was such a system in place that no politician, even if he wanted, could get any contract allotted from the board. According to the sources, the Chief Minister had to tell the police to stop the investigation.

Then there was the case of Mr R. Venkatratnam, a senior IAS officer, whom the Vigilance Bureau wanted to interrogate with regard to the recruitment in the Panchayati Raj Department. In that case, Mr Ratra told the Vigilance Bureau that it had no business to treat IAS officers like “criminals”. A senior officer of the Vigilance Bureau was called by Mr Ratra to his office in this connection.

In fact, that recruitment case has now run into problems. The Panchayati Raj Department headed by Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has refused to give permission to file the challan in the case against certain officers of the department, who were allegedly involved in the case. Informed sources said the Director of the Department had informed the Vigilance Bureau that at no stage the members of the recruitment committee were involved in checking the eligibility of the candidates interviewed and selected. “To check that whether candidates were eligible or not for an interview was the job of lower functionaries such as the clerical staff and not the members of the recruitment committee. Hence no permission could be given to try the officer concerned in the court”, says the letter that has been written by the Panchayati Raj Department to Vigilance Bureau officers concerned. In fact, with such writing, the entire case pertaining to the recruitment has been deflated. Permission has not even been granted to try Mr Venkatratnam, who was the head of the recruitment committee, by the Personnel Department, it is learnt.

Another case was of a former Managing Director of Markfed, Mr D.S. Bains, with regard to the purchase of machinery for installing Korean rice mills in the state. This case has been withdrawn from the police on the plea that the decision to purchase the machinery was taken by the Board of Directors of Markfed and not by Mr Bains in his individual capacity. Informed sources said a few days ago, Mr Ratra had asked Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies and another junior IAS officer to look into the case of purchase of machinery purchase.


System should outlive my tenure: Kashyap
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The short three-month tenure does not bother the new Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap. At 22, Mr Kashyap was the youngest-ever to join the IAS. When TNS met him today at his second ‘’home’’—the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Complex office in Sector 10 — he appeared a bit nervous but displayed no signs of regrets at his ‘’late flowering’’, saying that “the system should outlive my tenure’’.

As the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Kashyap has drawn up his roadmap. He has also discussed the agenda and approach to implement it with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. His focus is on ‘’good governance’’ through the bureaucracy at the decision-making and at the cutting-edge of the administration. The bureaucracy needs an impetus, ‘’simple, systematic and scientific”, involving ‘’imaginative’’ planning, monitoring and implementation, as also accessibility and accountability. ‘’For this, punctuality is as important as the giving up of ego, a major handicap of the civil service’’.

Occasionally interrupted by phone calls and visitors, Mr Kashyap answered a wide range of questions.

On IAS-IPS relationship:

My father was a police officer and I know about police high-handedness. Once I had suggested to Mr K. P. S. Gill that for better interaction, let there be more IAS officers in the police. The divide between the two has to be bridged. I will talk to the Director-General of Police and narrow down the divide. I am not aware of dismissed cops being reinstated by the previous government. Give me time for specific issues. The police must have a human face. Traditionally, the Vigilance Bureau has been with the Chief Secretary. In the past, some modalities were worked out on police-civil interface. But I am totally against any raids by the police or Vigilance on government offices. Self-discipline is as important as the system’s approach.

On governance:

Ramkrishna Paramhans had said, ‘’Only that country would be happy where honest people could speak as loud as the scoundrels’’. Therefore, good governance demands intelligence, honesty, punctuality, accessibility. I propose to interact with three Administrative Secretaries every week to know their planning priorities and action plans, which will be tailored by a committee comprising the Chief Secretary and the Secretaries of Finance, Administrative Reforms and Information Technology, Planning and Science and Technology.

My approach will be that of a schoolmaster to ensure that the ground rules to complete the ‘’agenda’’ are followed through the application of knowledge, science and technology and systems. The ‘’agenda’’ is outlined in the Congress election manifesto of February, 2002, as also in the resolution of the Congress Chief Ministers’ Council conclave at Mount Abu in November, 2002.

On reforms:

I have also been the Secretary, Finance. For Punjab to be on the fast-forward track, financial management is imperative as it is the fuel for socio-economic and equitable development. The departments are the engine of administration. It requires to be accelerated through science and technology, systems approach and information technology, involving all Administrative Secretaries. Punjab is sitting on a goldmine, not on a dump, as is usually perceived. People are prepared to pay for social, economic and quality-driven services. Therefore, reforms are important. But these have to be people-friendly, who must know where their money went. Thus, once reforms yield dividends and the flow of money starts, at least operation and maintenance costs of these services would be met.

On Punjab bureaucracy’s image:

Corruption is everywhere. But the alert media has exposed corrupt people in Punjab. I am only a day old as Chief Secretary. I cannot give answers to specific questions as I have yet to get the feel of the situation. Mr Kashyap said this when he was asked how come Vigilance inquiries against bureaucrats were invariably swept under the carpet or were not even pursued. Some time back, Mr Kashyap had written a poem — ‘’A Bureaucrat’s resolution’’. He read out one stanza today:

‘Stretching red tape mile by reamy mile;

Master of fact, indecision and guile:

This pledge I engrave

Under hand so brave;

I’ll not cling to chair, nor ever sit on file’’.

He has begun a new journey when he is near the end of his career as a civil service officer.


Ratra takes over as PSEB chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Mr Y.S. Ratra, former Punjab Chief Secretary, today took over as Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). His term is for a period of five years.

A 1966 batch IAS officer, he brings with him to the new office his varied and rich administrative experience. His appointment has come at a of time when the PSEB is restive over the Expert Group’s report on Power Reforms and the Punjab Electricity Bill, which was introduced in the last Budget session of the Vidhan Sabha.

While the employees and engineers are opposing the move on “privatisation’’ of several functions, including generation, transmission and distribution, the state has taken the view that it is only “unbundling’’ the board and bringing about “efficiency’’ in its operations to ensure “cheap and regular’’ power supply to all consumers.

The state electricity board is also in a financial crisis. Its application for revision of power tariff is under the consideration of the Punjab Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Mr Ratra will visit the Board headquarters at Patiala tomorrow. Earlier in the day today, he had attended a meeting on power reforms convened by the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh.


Patiala trader missing
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Ms Poonam Rani of Patiala has been moving from pillar to post for the past three weeks in search of her husband, Mr Ravinder Kumar, alias Guddu, who “disappeared under mysterious circumstances on April 8 after collecting payments totalling Rs 3.5 lakh from various clients in Mandi, Ner Chowk and Sundernagar in Himachal Pradesh.”

The missing man, in his late 40s, is in motor spare parts business.

“Last time I talked to him on his cellphone was on April 8 around 11 a.m. when he was in Sundernagar and he told me that he was about to catch a bus back to Patiala. A few hours later he also talked to his nephew in Patiala. Since then there has been no trace of him,” sobs Ms Poonam Rani, suspecting that one of the clients might be behind his “disappearance”.

At the instance of Mrs Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala, a police party accompanied her two brothers-in-law to Mandi and Sundernagar last week but drew a blank.

On April 12, the Sundernagar police registered a complaint of Mr Kuldip Singh about his “missing brother”. “There has been no breakthrough in the case,” a police officer on duty at Sundernagar police station told The Tribune over the telephone last evening.

Mrs Poonam Rani maintains that her husband carried a mobile phone with a pre-paid card. “It was on this card that I called him on April 8. But when the Patiala police summoned the record of both incoming and outgoing calls made from the Airtel cellphone of Mr Ravinder Kumar, the record up to April 7 was supplied. The company maintained that no call was either made or received on that number on April 8. It cannot be. I myself talked to him on April 8 around 11 a.m.,” adds Mrs Poonam Rani, holding that the cellphone alone could help solve the mystery of his “disappearance”.

When the Patiala police accompanied her brothers-in-law to Himachal Pradesh, it was confirmed that Mr Ravinder Kumar was in Mandi, Ner Chowk and Sundernagar on April 7 and 8 and he had received a payment of Rs 1.5 lakh from Mr Vinod Kumar and another payment of Rs 1.10 lakh from Mr Gurdev Singh. He was also to receive payments from two more persons — Mr Narinder Saini of Ner Chowk and Mr Honey of Sundernagar.

Mrs Poonam Rani maintains that before he went on his business tour, he had a hot exchange of words with Mr Narinder Saini over the telephone. She maintains that her husband was a “teetotaller” who preferred to travel by public transport and never extended his stay during tours. The entire family has been searching for him. “We have gone and checked all hospitals, police stations and other possible places where he could be”, she adds.

The Patiala Spare Parts Dealers Association has also petitioned the district police, Patiala, about his mysterious disappearance. The Association fears that the “missing person has fallen victim to some mischief” and “may have been kidnapped” by one of his clients in Himachal. It has sought a thorough probe in to the case to secure his release.


Follow Gurus’ message: D.S. Bains
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
“Sikhs, including their leaders, must shun their prejudices and personal differences and follow the message of their Gurus,” says Mr Didar Singh Bains, founder President of the US-based World Sikh Organisation, suggesting that the “Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) would do well to treat all overseas Kesdhari Sikhs as goodwill ambassadors of the community.”

Advocating representation to overseas Sikhs in the SGPC, Mr Bains said “There is a provision in the SGPC Act for co-opting 15 members. It is important that Sikh diaspora, which has no interest in gurdwara politics back home, be involved in the religious affairs to lobby for the community so that interests of the community worldwide are safeguarded.”

Mr Bains, considered one of the richest Sikhs in the USA, is the only Indian-American to be on the Round Table of the Republicans.The Round Table takes policy decisions and meets three to four times a year.

“The Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular are ready to plough back their savings in Punjab. All they need is an assurance about the security and remunerative returns on their investments in their motherland. They would be happy to invest provided they get 8 to 10 per cent return on their money here. For this, the government has to reach out to them.”

“The decision of the Union Government to grant duel citizenship is the first step in the right direction. Now if the government delegations go and persuade the NRIs to invest in India by offering them projects, they would be happy to contribute their mite in developing infrastructure here.”

“I am myself considering a proposal to start a multi-speciality hospital in the Doaba region, the area come from. I also need an assurance that there will be no red tapism and the project shall be cleared without any hassles,” he said referring to his meetings here yesterday with the Chief Minister.


May Day observed
Tribune Reporters and UNI

Batala, May 1
May Day was observed here today.

The main function was held at the main bus-stand, which was attended by thousands of workers. CPI(M) leader S.S. Virk, and CPI leader Iqbal Singh addressed the gathering.

GURDASPUR: May Day was observed in the district on Thursday. More than 2,000 workers took out a rally at Jugial. Employees owing allegiance to the Technical Services Union took out a rally at Purana Shalla, 15 km from here.

SHIMLA: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh lauded the role of workers in the reconstruction and development of the country in general and the state in particular, here on Thursday.

He said the state was committed to the welfare of workers. He said the government was committed to the regularisation of the services of those who had completed seven years of service and to enhance their daily wages.

HAMIRPUR: May Day was observed here on Thursday. Mr Roshan Lal Dogra, stage general secretary of the AITU, was the chief guest at a function organised here.

HOSHIARPUR: May Day was observed here on Thursday. A rally was organised at the Shaheed Udham Singh Park, which was addressed by Mr Gurmesh Singh, Mr Gurbax Singh Soos, Dr Jagdish Singh and Ms Rajinder Kaur.

ROPAR: Officer-bearers of the state unit of INTUC alleged on Thursday that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had denied them a meeting 10 times. They were addressing a May Day rally here. The leaders demanded that the Congress should fulfil the promises made to workers in the election manifesto. State Congress President H.S. Hanspal assured the workers that he would take up the demands of the workers with the government. Only 200 to 300 workers attended the AMRITSAR: May Day was observed here on Thursday. The Northern Railway Men’s Union organised a rally at the railway station and a flag was hoisted.

Mr Ashok Kumar, convener of the Northern Railway Coordination Committee, addressed the rally. A two-minute silence was observed in the memory of the persons who sacrificed their lives in Chicago in 1886 while fighting for the rights of workers. The Technical Services Union of the Punjab State Electricity Board also organised programmes to observe May Day.

DHURI: Activists of the CPI, the CPI(M), the Punjab Kisan Sabha and the Punjab Khet Majdoor Sabha organised a rally at Triveni Chowk here on Thursday to observe May Day. About 500 activists participated in the rally.

TARN TARAN: May Day was observed at a number of places here. Workers organised rallies and paid tributes to Chicago martyrs. Mr Tara Singh Khehra, Mr Surinder Pal Singh and Mr Gurpreet Singh spoke on the occasion. Rallies were also organised at Naushehra Pannuan, Goindwal Sahib, Fatehbad, Patti and Bhikhiwind.


Chicago martyrs remembered
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, May 1
May Day was observed at a number of places here today.

The united front of a number of organisations of employees, labourers and farmers observed May Day as ‘Pritigya Divas’. A function was held at Teachers’ Home. Later, the members of the front took out a procession and held a rally near the district courts.

The rally was addressed by Mr Sukhdev Singh Chatha, Mr Gurnam Singh Khialiwala, Mr Sukhdev Singh, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, Mr Harminder Singh, Mr Bishram Singh, Ms Kamlesh Rani, Mr Raja Singh, Mr Hamir Singh Malli and Mr Jeet Singh.

Members of the Punjab Medical Representative Association took out a procession to pay tributes to the Chicago martyrs. Mr Sukhwinder Singh and Mr Paramjit Singh, president and secretary, respectively, of the association, addressed the rally.

The city unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) also took out a rally. Mr Inderjit Singh and Mr M.M. Behl, convener and co-convener, respectively, of the city unit of CITU, addressed the rally.

Members of the Punjab Government Drivers and Technical Employees Union observed May Day at the office of the Agriculture Department. Mr Jagjit Singh Gill, president of district unit of the union, addressed a meeting in this connection.

The National Union of Post Employees Union and the All India Post Employees Union also organised a programme in connection with May Day.

ABOHAR: A May Day rally was held in front of the municipal bus stand here by the Mazdoor Mulajim Sangharsh Samiti on Thursday. Representatives of over 12 employees’ organisations took part in the rally.


Surprise raids lead to a row
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
The surprise raids on the Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Hospital, here, has led to a war of words between the Senior Medical Officer, Dr Jagjit Kaur, who was found absent yesterday, and the Civil Surgeon, Dr Kanwaljit Singh.

Dr Jagjit Kaur claimed that the Civil Surgeon had no locus standi on conducting the raids as she was holding an independent post of the Deputy Medical Commissioner of the Health Corporation. “Moreover, I had gone to Chandigarh to attend a meeting of the Managing Director of the corporation, Mr Darbara Singh Guru, in his office there.” Dr Jagjit Kaur said adding that she would write to the Principal Secretary, Health, against the “unjustified” raids conducted by Dr Kanwaljit Singh.

She further alleged that Dr Kanwaljit Singh wanted to harass her by resorting to surprise checking as he wanted to take the charge of the Civil Hospital from her. Earlier, too he had made similar attempts, she alleged.

However, Dr Kanwaljit Singh claimed he was competent to check the hospital in his capacity as the Civil Surgeon. He said Dr Jagjit Kaur should have given the charge to someone before leaving the station. He claimed that he had conducted the raids, following complaints that health services in the hospital were in a bad shape.


Announcement of DCC office-bearers soon
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib, May 1
The state unit of the Congress will finalise the names of office-bearers of District Congress Committees (DCC) and those of PPCC secretaries within a week. Mr Hanspal, PPCC President, stated this while talking to mediapersons here today. He was here to attend a state-level rally organised by the INTUC on May Day.

Mr Hanspal said a decision had been taken to limit the number of office-bearers in the DCCs. The party was contemplating the idea of limiting the number of office-bearers between 35 and 45. A meeting of the extended executive committee of the PPCC would be held on May 9, which would be attended, among others, by Ms Mohsina Kidwai and Ms Ambika Soni both General Secretaries of the AICC, to take final decision on the matter.

Besides this, block-level training camps for activists would be held till June 15. The district-level camps would be held from June 15 to July 15.

The PPCC chief said a decision on opening of casinos in Punjab would be finalised by the high command. “The Congress is in power in 16 states and the decision to open casinos in any of the states will be taken finally by the high command,” he said.

About the Nanakshahi calendar, he said the way calendar had been implemented it had created doubts about its integrity. The SGPC should have sought the views of various bodies of the Sikhs before implementing the calendar. Since the SAD was not the only representing body of the Sikhs, the decision to implement the calendar had created doubts in the minds of common men.

Responding to another query, Mr Hanspal welcomed the decision of the Punjab Government to increase the pay and perks of the MLAs and ministers. About the decision of SAD MLAs of not accepting the increased perks, he said it was a political decision.


Probe widow’s complaint: PSHRC
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 1
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has directed the Principal Secretary (Home) and IGP (Litigation) Punjab, to get an inquiry conducted and submit report to the commission before the next date of hearing about a complaint filed by Ms Sakhi, widow of Bachan Singh, a local resident, in which she has alleged that a leader of the AISSF has forcibly occupied her shop for the last about four years.

The commission has written in its order that the complainant has alleged that the shop has been illegally occupied after the death of her two sons. Moreover, the AISSF leader has not even paid the rent of her shop till date. She even approached the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, but no action has been taken so far. She has also expressed apprehension of danger to her life and property.

The case has been listed for further hearing on Oct 7, 2003.


Pensioners seek nomination to RS
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 1
Mr V.S. Jolly, general secretary of the All-India Central Government Pensioners’ Association, northern region, Jalandhar, has urged the Union Government to nominate a representative of pensioners as an MP to the Rajya Sabha so that their problems and grievances could be aired in Parliament.

Mr Jolly, while addressing a district-level annual conference of the association here yesterday, urged the Vajpayee government to issue a notification for implementing the policy decision, taken by the government in 1999, for lowering the age limit from 65 years to 60 years for granting the senior citizen status.

He said all those above 60 years of age should be granted benefits and concessions, including income-tax rebate.

Mr Jolly also criticised the Central Government for not fulfilling their demands, including tax-free pension, extra pension for service beyond 33 years and the restoration of commutation of pension after 12 years instead of 15 years.

Mr Banarsi Dass Goyal, secretary of the association, presented annual report of the activities of the Sangrur district unit of the pensioners’ association.

Mr Faqir Singh Titria, while presiding over the conference, urged the pensioners to unite themselves to safeguard the rights of the pensioners.

Mr B.D. Garg and Mr Parshotam Lal, patrons of the association, also addressed the conference, which was attended by pensioners from Sangrur, Dhuri, Malerkotla, Sunam and Barnala.


WTO effigy burnt

Jalandhar, May 1
The Swadeshi Sangharsh Yatra, which recently started from Amritsar to generate public opinion against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and multinational companies (MNCs), today arrived here.

Amdist shouting slogans against the WTO and multinational companies, the protesters burnt king-size effigy of the WTO and products of the MNCs.

“If we want to save our economy, we have to revive the non-cooperative movement against the MNCs, such was initiated by the freedom fighters during the British rule,” said Mr Krishan Sharma, convener of the state unit of the manch. Local industrialists along with leaders of the manch addressed the gathering.

PHAGWARA: Expressing concern over “neglect of national interests” by the government, manch national executive member Sunil Pande said here on Thursday that the leadership had failed after Independence to adopt a strightforward policy against foreign goods. PTI



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Every candidate has the right to be considered for appointment, but no one has the right to be appointed on grounds of being eligible, a Division Bench of the High Court has ruled.

Delivering the verdict on a petition filed by Jalandhar resident Ravinder Pal Singh seeking directions for quashing an order rejecting his prayer for appointment as notary, the Bench comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta, further ruled that it was for the petitioner to establish discrimination for proving violation of provisions of the Constitution of India.

In his petition, Ravinder Pal Singh had contended that the authorities had acted in an arbitrary manner by rejecting his prayer after passing a non-speaking order.

Addl increment

A teacher is entitled to an additional increment on improvement of qualification, a Division Bench of the High Court today ruled in a significant judgement.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice S.S. Saron, Davinder Nath, a teacher of Pathankot, had contended that he was denied increment on improving his division in a subsequent attempt.

Giving details, counsel had added that the petitioner had initially cleared his post-graduation in third division, but had improved upon the score after taking the improvement examinations.


PUDA told to refund money
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 1
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the PUDA authorities to refund excess amount charged from Ms Ranjana Garg who was allotted a plot in the Urban Estate, Phase-II.

The forum has asked the authorities to refund the money within two months after receipt of the order, otherwise PUDA would have to pay an interest on the amount.

Ms Garg was allotted a plot measuring 150 yards in the Urban Estate Phase-II, in August 2001. As per the terms and condition of the allotment letter she was entitled to a rebate of 5 per cent if she deposited the entire consideration money within 60 days of the issuance of the allotment letter.

She deposited the entire amount on September 21, 2001 after deducting the amount equivalent to 5 per cent of the total amount, which she was entitled to. On October 15, 2001, she was told by PUDA that the rebate would be given only on the 75 per cent of the total amount.

As she has to obtain a “no dues certificate” from PUDA she deposited the money as asked by PUDA. She said on November 15, 2001, the PUDA authorities asked her to deposit Rs 15,960 with the authorities. She alleged that the authorities did not mention any reason for asking for the money. She deposited the money on November 20, 2001.

Ms Garg said she visited the local PUDA office a number of times to get the refund of the money, but to no avail.

She said that she had deposited Rs 21,125 in excess than the required money.

The PUDA authorities while contesting the case said Ms Garg was entitled to 5 per cent rebate if she had deposited the total amount in lumpsum within 60 days i.e. up to October 5, 2001. It further stated that Ms Garg had only deposited Rs 2.87 lakh by that date and she had herself deducted 5 per cent of the amount. It was alleged that as the complainant had not deposited the entire money by the said date, she was not entitled to the rebate of 5 per cent.

The forum, however, held that it was clearly written in the allotment letter that the allottees were entitled to 5 per cent rebate if they deposited the entire amount by the specified date. The forum further said that as per the letter the rebate was available on the entire amount and not only on 75 per cent of the amount.

The forum asked PUDA to refund Rs 21,085 and costs of Rs 1,000 to Ms Garg.


NRIs’ cases: CJ to be urged for fast-track courts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The Punjab Government will again take up with the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court the matter pertaining to the setting up of fast-track courts to decide cases pertaining to NRIs on top priority. Most of their cases partaim to property disputes.

Mr D.S. Bains, Commissioner, NRIs, Punjab, said today that he had approached the office of the Advocate-General, Punjab, to get a meeting fixed with the Registrar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this connection. If exclusive courts could not be set up a request would be made to the Chief Justice to designate one court at each district headquarters for the purpose.


A killer stretch of a highway
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Kharar, May 1
Fifteen road-accident deaths in four months on a 5-km stretch are grim pointers to the state of affairs on the national highway passing through this town which is the region’s gateway to western Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and further on to Jammu and Kashmir.

Townsfolk say that, with thousands of vehicles plying on the highway every day, the narrow stretch passing through Kharar has virtually become a death trap, with accidents becoming common on it. “There have been instances when as many as five accidents have ocurred on this stretch in a single day,” Mr Gurnarinder Singh, a local shopkeeper, said.

According to the information available with the police, 98 cases of accident were registered at the Kharar police station in 2002, against 84 cases registered in 2001. Accidents claimed 45 lives in 2002, while 41 persons had been killed in 2001. This year, 15 cases have been registered so far, with 15 fatalities reported. The police says that a large number of minor-accident cases end up in a compromise between the parties concerned or simply go unreported.

The Kharar police has deployed one assistant sub inspector, three havaldars and nine constables on traffic duty. Regular drives are conducted to check traffic violations, but these appear to have had little effect. “Unless people take it upon themselves to imbibe road safety rules and obey traffic regulations, there is little that the police can do,” said Mr Sakattar Singh, SHO of the Kharar police station. “Regular sessions on traffic rules and safety should be held in schools so as to generate awareness on these issues,” he said.

Traffic policemen say that dealing with bus drivers is a major problem. Since Kharar does not have a bus stand, drivers park buses hap-hazardly on the road, and to pick up a maximum possible number of passengers, linger on for quite long.

Though the SAS Nagar-Kharar stretch is being double laned by the highways authority, the stretch passing through the municipal limits of Kharar has been left out, apparently on the ground of jurisdiction. The issue of widening the road was also taken up by the Kharar Municipal Committee with the Punjab PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, a few days ago.

The locals say that a plan to construct a Kharar bypass was prepared some time ago, but its implementation has been hanging fire. The 5-km long bypass would have eased traffic congestion within the town considerably, as about 95 per cent of the traffic on the highway is headed for destinations beyond Kharar.

The president of the Kharar MC, Mr Charanjit Singh, told the TNS that the scheme to construct the bypass also envisioned showrooms and market complexes along it. This, he said, would not only defeat the purpose of having a bypass, but also involve acquiring land in greater proportion than the local farmers or land owners were willing to give up.

The MC proposes that, to resolve the issue of a bus stand, the space occupied by the present bus stop, the MC office and the Block Samiti office be clubbed together and the old buildings in the area be pulled down. A bus stand with offices on upper floors can then come up.

Another option is to construct another bus stand at a different location where the state government owns about 20 acres, while another option for the MC to give land owned by it for constructing a bus stand.

The Kharar police station is doing without a telephone for the past few months as the connection has been snapped by the BSNL for non-payment of bills.

The police authorities had applied for the “100” number facility to make easier for townsfolk to contact the police, but the file was misplaced by the BSNL. A photocopy of the file has, now, been sent to the BSNL.


Patiala Flying Club secretary suspended
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 1
The Punjab Civil Aviation Department has suspended secretary of the Patiala Flying Club S.K. Mittal following allegations of irregularities in the fuel stock of the club as well as spare parts of various planes.

Civil Aviation Director Rakesh Chandra while suspending Mr Mittal has asked club chief pilot G.S. Brar to take charge of the post of the secretary of the club till such time as the inquiry into the case being done by the Vigilance Department was completed. Sources said the Vigilance Department was currently checking the accounts books of the club and the suspension orders have been issued to ensure that Mr Mittal do not come in the way of investigation.

A few days back the employees of the club had requested the Civil Aviation Director to take steps to ensure that the club manager and secretary did not influence the probe. Following this, the department started investigating charges against Mr Mittal made in 1998.

The then secretary (Flying), the quality control manager and petrol pump in charge had recommended that a criminal case be registered against Mr Mittal.

Sources said the recommendations had not been followed till now.

Now with the case having been reopened again, the sources said Mr Mittal had been suspended to ensure he did not have any access to the office records.

Meanwhile, Vigilance sleuths were conducting a check on the fuel register as well as account of money released for purchase of fuel by the Patiala Flying Club.

This was being done intensibly because when the Vigilance Department conducted a surprise check on the club more than a fortnight back, it had found discrepancy in the amount of fuel present in the Patiala Flying Club complex and that recorded in the register.


PTDC offers discounts

Ropar, May 1
Keeping in view the low occupancy rate in the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) complexes in the state, the management has decided to offer discounts.

A letter sent to the PTDC complexs by the Deputy General Manager (M&P) says 30 per cent discount on room tariff and 10 per cent discount on food and hard liquor be offered to ministers and ex-ministers of Punjab, sitting MLAs and MPs from Punjab, all Punjab Government employees while on tour and carrying a letter from respective DDOs, all lawyers belonging to Punjab who are members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, all doctors who are members of the IMA, all employees of corporations and boards of the state bearing a letter from the respective DDOs, all accredited press correspondents, all homoeopaths and ayurvedic doctors, chartred accountants if they produce proof of the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants and all members of Rotary and Loins Club on the production of proof of membership. OC


Satwant Reddy bereaved
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, May 1
Lt-Col. Ranjit Singh Sidhoo (retd), father of the Punjab IAS officer, Mrs Satwant Reddy, died yesterday in Command Hospital here following a brief illness.

Col Sidhoo is survived by his wife, Mrs Harsev Kaur, a son Major J.S. Sidhoo (retd) and three daughters, Mrs Lajwinder Grewal, Mrs Satwant Reddy, who is at present Additional Secretary, Government of India, and Mrs Surinder Sidhoo, another IAS officer posted as Divisional Commissioner, Munger (Bihar). The cremation will take place on May 2 at 4 p.m. at cremation ground, Sector 25, Chandigarh.


Kidney scam: doc surrenders

Amritsar, May 1
Another key kidney scam accused, Dr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, who had been absconding for the last three months, surrendered before SIT officials today and offered to join the investigation into the multi-crore scam.

Dr Sandhu was produced in a local court and remanded in police custody for one day. According to sources, Dr Sandhu enjoyed the confidence of the prime accused, Dr Praveen Kumar Sareen. He had been instrumental in arranging kidneys from poor donors. OC


Sheikh Farooqi Urs concludes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 1
The 391st annual urs in the memory of Sheikh Ahmed Farooqi Sirhindi at Roza Sharif, Fatehgarh Sahib, concluded here today. Thousands of Naqsbandi Muslims from all parts of the country and abroad paid homage. The foreign nationals also visited Chiri Sharif, Brass Sharif and other religious places around Fatehgarh Sahib. The absence of Pakistani pilgrims, who were denied visa due to strained relations between the two countries, was a matter of concern for the organisers as well as a damper for residents of the area, particularly for traders of Sirhind, who used to do brisk business with them.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, expressed satisfaction over the peaceful conclusion of the Urs.


Two murder cases solved
Our Correspondent

Mansa, May 1
The local police has solved two murder cases with the arrest of Ram Singh, a resident of Hasanpur village in the district. One case is of Chand Singh of the same village who murdered in 1991. The accused also murdered Pargat Singh Pargati, a resident of the same village. The body was recovered from the fields of the village on February 4, 2003.

Mr S.S. Srivastva, SSP, Mansa, said today that the accused admitted that he murdered Pargat Singh.


Health centre reopens
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 1
Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) commenced out patient medical services at Bhagwant Memorial Hospital,Narangwal, here today.

The hospital was built in 1953 by the Grewal family in memory of their son Balwant Singh who died at the tender age of 15. The hospital was being successfully run by the CMCH till 1991, but due to some problems, it had to be closed down. 


RI for terrorist

Amritsar, May 1
Judge Manoharjit Singh Randhawa of the fast-track court today awarded seven years’ rigorous imprisonment to terrorist and accomplice of Panjwar, Sukhchain Singh Chaina. Khalistan Commando Force activist Sukchain Singh was arrested in connection with the recovery of RDX on March 25 last. UNI


Wheat yield falls in Sangrur district
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 1
In this district the per hectare average yield of wheat has come down by six per cent during this harvesting season as compared to the last year. In the last season the yield was 4,822 kg per hectare while this year the yield has been estimated to be 4,538 kg per hectare on the basis of 190 of the 262 crop cutting experiments conducted by the Sangrur district Agriculture Department. The yield has decreased by 284 kg per hectare this year.

Sangrur district had topped in the wheat production in the state in the past three consecutive years. In 2000 government procurement agencies and traders had procured 12,07,644 tonne of wheat while 13,36,682 tonne and 12,52,331 tonne had been procured in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

Official sources said here today that agencies and traders had procured 11,07,820 tonne of wheat till yesterday in the district. They were of the view that only 20,000 to 25,000 tonne of wheat would arrive in the grain markets in the next few days. Thus only 11,30,000 tonne would be procured during this season against target of the 13,72,500 tonne.

Talking to TNS, Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, hoped that this year also the district would top in the wheat production and procurement though the yield had decreased by six per cent. He said the yield had come down throughout the state.

Dr Kashmir Singh Bal, Chief Agriculture Officer, Sangrur, said about 3.89 lakh hectares had been brought under wheat crop cultivation during this season in the district. The department had predicted that about 18.86 lakh tonne of wheat would be produced this year, but due to natural calamity in March the crop suffered loss.

Mr Chhaju Singh, a farmer of Bahadurpur village, near here, said due to decrease in the yield, the farmers had suffered a loss of Rs 2,000 per acre. He said the government should compensate the farmers.


Water shortage delays cotton sowing
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 1
A prolonged dry spell and scarcity of water for irrigating fields, have forced a number of cotton growers in seven districts of Punjab to miss the April 30 deadline fixed by experts of Punjab Agriculture Univesity (PAU), for cotton sowing.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that so far only 10 per cent of the area which was likely to come under cotton crop this year, had been cultivated.

Most of branches of Sirhind canal, which were irrigating areas falling in the cotton belt of Punjab comprising Bathinda, Mansa, Moga, Muktsar, Faridkot, Sangrur and Ferozepore district, remained dry for more than in a week last month and it was for this reason that the percentage of cotton sowing remained low.

The other factor, which caused delay in the sowing of cotton was that farmers had been finding it difficult to get the seed of the improved quality.

A tour of different parts of the cotton belt revealed that though the Punjab Government or PAU had so far not recommended the sowing of BT cotton, a section of farmers had been making rounds to various cotton growing states, including Gujarat, for procuring the BT cotton seed.

A section of innocent farmers have fallen prey to unscrupulous traders, who have been selling them normal cotton seed as BT cotton seed.

The Irrigation Department authorities pointed out that to enable farmers to sow seeds in time, the department had decided not to close any canal or its branch till May 21. The department had also made arrangements to carry adequate water up to the tail ends of the canals and distributaries.

Sources in the Agriculture Department said in the current cotton crop season, it was expected that about 7 lakh hectares would be brought under cultivation. Last year, the total area under cotton crop was 4.5 lakh hectares.

Mr Amrit Pal Singh Sidhu, president, Punjab Young Farmers Federation, told TNS that if the state government was serious about its crop diversification plan it should make arrangements of better cotton seed in adequate quantity.


In-laws seek probe from hiding
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 1
Mr Swantantar Bansal and his wife Mrs Meena Bansal, today sent a representation to the ADGP, Railways, Mr S.C. Jain, demanding a probe into the death of Mrs Kanchan Bansal and her two and half years old daughter Mitali here on April 16.

It may be mentioned here that Kanchan (25) had killed herself and her daughter Mitali by jumping before a train at Phagwara railway station. Swatantar Bansal and his wife, who have gone into hiding today released to reporters a suicide note written by Kanchan. Kanchan had in the suicide note written that she was committing suicide due to tension caused by the loss suffered by her husband in business. Nobody should be held responsible for her death and nobody should be harassed, said the suicide note.

Mr Swantantar Bansal and his wife Meena Bansal denied all allegations levelled by Sumit, brother of Kanchan, that the demand for more dowry by the in-laws had driven his sister to commit suicide. “We had very cordial relations with Kanchan even though she and her husband Samir Bansal lived separately,” they said. Even a separate ration card of the young couple was shown to the media. We are wilfully being implicated in the case, they rued. The suicide note was noticed by Ms Rima Bansal, the sister-in-law of Kanchan.


Plea on Anand Marriage Act
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 1
The SAD (Amritsar) has urged SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar to initiate the necessary steps for the implementation of the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, enacted by the then British regime to give recognition to Sikh marriage rites.

Dr Harjinder Jakhu, general secretary of the SAD (Amritsar), in a letter to the SGPC chief, said party president and MP Simranjit Singh Mann raised the issue in the Lok Sabha on April 28.

He said though the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1920, had been implemented in toto by the Central Government after Independence, the Anand Marriage Act, had been ignored to dissuade Sikhs from using the provisions of the Act.


FIR against trust official lodged
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 1
The Civil Lines police today lodged an FIR against Mr Roop Lal Bhagat, an Executive Officer of the Improvement Trust in connection with the multi-crore compensation scam for the new Amritsar scheme. The report has been lodged on the directions of the SSP, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, following a report published in these columns on April 29.

On the basis of the fact-finding report submitted by Ms Gurpreet Sapra the then Deputy Director, Local Bodies, had indicted Mr Bhagat for excess payment of Rs 2.36 crore given to ineligible persons, including dead persons.

Mr Bhagat has already been relieved by the improvement trust on the orders of Deputy Commissioner.

The case has been registered under Sections 404, 419, 420, 486, 467, 468, 471, 447 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

Earlier, the SP (Vigilance Bureau) had obtained record pertaining to the scam.

The inquiry officer had pointed out that there could be more such cases and these should be probed.


Flesh trade: five held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 1
The district police today arrested five persons, including a woman, from a hotel behind the new bus stand for indulging in flesh trade.

Police sources said the hotel was raided after a tip-off. Pirthi and Ramesh, residents of Kallianwali village, bordering Haryana, were arrested while they were in a compromsing position, along with a woman of the same village.

The sources said the two owners of the hotel, Jaswant Kumar and Tarsem Kumar, were also arrested. A case under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking in Girls and Women Act was registered against the accused, the sources added.


2 die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Bhagta Bhaika (Bathinda), May 1
Two youths were killed when their scooter was hit by a vehicle this evening. The deceased have been identified as Harbhagwan Singh (18) of the Bhagta Bhaika village and Jaspal Singh (20) of Lungar village, near here. According to information, the youths were going towards the village when a Tata Sumo hit their scooter.

While Harbhagwan Singh died on the spot, Jaspal Singh was seriously injured. He succumbed to his injuries on way to the Civil Hospital at Bathinda.


10 bags of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, May 1
The police seized 10 bags of poppy husk from the possession of Gurcharan Singh and Bachittar of Ranwan village after conducting a raid at their house last evening. The culprits were arrested on the spot.

Talking to mediapersons, the SSP, Khanna, Mr P.S. Sarao, said the raid was conducted after getting a tip-off from some informers.

According to villagers, the process of selling poppy husk had been going on for the past many months. The accused had admitted that they were addicted to poppy husk, but had denied being involved in its sale, according to the police.


5 held for illegal kerosene sale

Jalandhar, May 1
The district police has claimed to have busted a six-member gang involved in the unauthorised sale of kerosene in the Phillaur area, with the arrest of five members and the seizure of 12,000 litres of blue kerosene.

In a press note issued here today, the police said following a tip-off, a raid was conducted and five persons were arrested. They were identified as Lakhwinder Singh, Satnam Singh, Kanwaljit, Om Parkash and Prem Nath, residents of Amritsar.

The sixth member of the gang, Babbu, escaped. A truck filled with 12,000 litres of kerosene was confiscated during the raid.


Cloth seller shot at

Phagwara, May 1
Three scooter-borne miscreants today shot at and injured a cloth seller on the Palahi-Hoshiarpur link road, near Khurampur village, in a bid to loot him.

The victim, Kulwinder Kumar (22), belongs to nearby Bhullarai colony, hospitalised here, the police said. He had received the bullet injury on the left side of his back. Two cartridges of a .32 bore revolver were found from the site. PTI


Gang of cheats busted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 1
The district police claims to have busted a seven-member gang of cheats with the arrest of its three members and recovery of gold ornaments from them.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, in a press note here yesterday, said that following a tip-off, a police party intercepted an Indica car without a number-plate near Paragpur village and arrested the three cheats. They were identified as Ramesh Kumar, Rani Bala and Sat Pal.

Their frisking led to the recovery of four gold bangles, four gold rings, two gold bracelets and a pair of ear-rings. The arrested persons revealed that they were part of a seven-member gang.


Primary students block traffic
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 1
Students of Government Primary School, Sirhind-2 ,today blocked the traffic on the Sirhind-Chandigarh road protesting against the alleged forced possession of the school building by its owner. Their parents and some social organisations also joined the protest.

District administration officials reached the spot and persuaded them to lift the blockade, assuring them of an early solution to their problem. Parents, students, teachers and social workers told The Tribune that the protest had been going on for the past three days . Teachers have to take the classes of tiny tots in the scorching heat outside the school building.

In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, Mrs Raksha Devi Sood, in charge of the school, has alleged that Dr Krishan Kumar, a BJP leader, who claims to be the owner of the school building, had been threatening the students and staff to vacate the premises. She has written that since 1972, the school had been running from this building and the children of below poverty line families had been studying here since then. The case is already pending in the civil court here. She said as per the directions of the BPEO ,Sirhind-I, she had put a sign board on April 28.The alleged owner got removed the sign board, broke the lock of the school and put his own lock on the gate. He started residing in a room of the building by throwing out the record of the school.

She has also alleged that when she went to talk to him, his men attacked her with lathis and she escaped narrowly by running away . She has urged the authorities to restore the possession to the authorities so that the studies of the students could be continued.

Addressing the gathering, Mrs Harjit Kaur Panjola, a social worker demanded that the possession of the building be restored otherwise the agitation would be intensified. She alleged that last year also the owner forcibly occupied the building but the district authorities came to rescue.

The Sirhind police has registered a case in this connection.

The owner was not available for comments. When contacted, Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner said he had deputed the local SDM, to look into the matter and report immediately.


Now BA (Hons) in social science
Tribune News Service

Malout, May 1
The Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) has decided to introduce a BA course in social science (Hon) from the current academic session to prepare students to perform well in competitive exams being held by different agencies of the Centre and the state government.

“To design this course, introduced for the first time by any university in the country and perhaps in the world, the GNDU will also involve the corporate sector. With the help of the corporate sector, seminars, group discussions and project report discussions will be held to equip the students with the latest technology available in the world,” said Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, GNDU, today.

Dr S.P. Singh, who was here to inaugurate a two-day management festival, being organised at the Malout Institute of Management and Information Technology (MIMIT), said an independent department to run this course had been set up in the university campus for which specialised teachers would be recruited. He said apart from preparing the students for competitions, the course would also be an alternative to MBA and information technology (IT) courses.

In this three-year course, 50 students would be admitted every year through an entrance test. All those having 50 per cent and above marks in class XIII would be eligible to appear in the entrance test.

The GNDU has also decided to do away with the system of subject combinations by allowing students to choose any three subjects. For example, now a student of music would be able to take economics and psychology also in the BA course.

The students are now allowed to have two vocation subjects instead of one in their respective courses, as was being practised earlier. Apart from this, the students have been given the option to take the final test of any subject on any day out of the three different days fixed by the university.

Dr S.P. Singh pointed out that the university authorities had also decided to start a five-year degree course in law at its regional centre in Jalandhar on the pattern of law schools in Bangalore and Hyderabad. During the course, the students would be prepared to enable them to pass competitions for the recruitment of judicial officers and legal officers in the country.

To admit 60 students every year in this course, an entrance test would be held at the all-India level, examination centres for which would be set up at Delhi, Chandigarh and other parts of country.

A court would also be set up at the regional centre for the practical training of the students.

Earlier, Mr Gurdeep Singh, Principal, MIMIT, said about 150 students of eight colleges were participating in the management festival in which paper reading and quiz contests would be organised.


Students damage flying squad’s car
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 1
The rear window pane of a car of the flying squad from Punjabi University, Patiala, was today smashed with stones, allegedly by students of Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera in Barnala sub-division.

The incident allegedly occurred when the flying squad made unfair means cases (UMC) against two girls and three boys in connection with copying during the examination. These students had today appeared in the Punjabi-B examination of BA (part-I).

When contacted, Mr B.S. Cheema, officiating Principal of the college, said the flying squad members found the window pane smashed when they reached the car after performing their duties in the examination hall.

He said it was later found that the window pane was smashed by one of the five students against whom UMC cases had been registered.


Relief for junior residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
Junior residents in the state medical colleges who had been agitating against the withdrawal of their stipends scholarship got relief today after a meeting their representatives had with Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Medical Education and Research Minister, here today. A sum of Rs 8.4 crore was released for disbursement as stipends scholarship after clearance from the Finance Department.


Dream market turns sour
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 1
A magnificent building in the heart of the town was planned to house the first air-conditioned market in the region, with an underground parking lot and the offices of District Education Officers (Secondary and Elementary) on the top floor. Shops on the ground floor were to be leased for 99 years and shops on the first floor were to be given on rent to generate revenue for the school for deaf, dumb and blind children being run by the District Red Cross Society.

Twentyone shops were constructed on the ground floor and 24 on the first floor and no shop was given the number 13, hoping that good luck would always prevail.

No vehicle is parked at the underground parking lot and only two of the shops on the first floor have been given on rent even as the monthly rental has been reduced. Sources said while all shops on the ground floor had been leased out, the authorities had failed to find tenants for the shops on the first floor. Three years have passed since the market was opened.

The sources said initially, 10 shops on the first floor were rented out, but the tenants did not start their business and the Red Cross had not repaid the security to the tenants.

All compact fluorescent bulbs in the corridor of the first floor have been stolen. Some of these have allegedly been removed by tenants on the ground floor to replace the ones on the ground floor. Some bulb holders, a few pieces of false ceilings and parts of motors of air-conditioners have also been stolen. The power connection to the first floor was cut about a year back. The first floor has not been air-conditioned. The toilets and corners can be seen smeared with spit marks of ‘paan’ and empty bottles of cough syrups can be found in the toilets.

The sources said initially, the rent for the shops visible from the Mall Road was Rs 6,000 per month. Now, it has been reduced to Rs 4,000, while the rent for other shops has been reduced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 3,000. The sources said the market had failed to attract tenants as the approach of the authorities had been acting as a deterrent.

Some shopkeepers said if the market was run professionally, it could mint money for the District Red Cross Society. They added that regular meetings of the officials should be held with the shopkeepers and sanitation facilities should be improved.

No official of the District Red Cross Society could be contacted. Official sources said proposals to improve the condition of the market were being considered.

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