Saturday, May 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Tainted cops likely to get duty benefit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
In yet another benefit to the tainted cops who are facing charges of police high-handedness during the terrorism era, the Punjab Government is likely to treat such cops on duty during the period they were suspended from service.

The Punjab Government has also decided to discontinue the controversial contractual system, introduced in the police service recently, in which some DSPs and SPs were given posting after retirement. It has also been decided that 135 posts of SP in the state would remain with the PPS cadre. Nearly 10 police officers on deputation with the Punjab Police would also be sent back to their parent organisation.

This was stated to a delegation of the Punjab Police Services Officers Association by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh at a meeting by the association in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Sources said a decision regarding this was taken by the Chief Minister in principle and the government would issue orders shortly.

A large number of police officers had remained suspended for some years owing to allegations of misuse of police powers, including masterminding false encounters. The case of these officers had always remained controversial with the Central Government even contemplating a general amnesty for them at one point of time.

Mr Harman Bir Singh Gill, general secretary of the association, said here today that Capt Amarinder Singh had directed the IG (Headquarters), Sanjeev Gupta, to prepare a case of such officers, whose suspension time was to be considered as duty time.

Besides affecting the seniority of these officers, the move would get them full salary of this period also. This is the latest sop for the tainted cops. Shortly after assuming power, the Congress government had ordered all benefits to their families, besides extending all legal and financial support to fight their cases.

Mr Gill said the association raised several demands on the occasion, most of which were accepted in toto. The association claimed to have achieved a major victory when the Chief Minister agreed that the new contractual system introduced in the department needed to be withdrawn. He announced that the government would not make any new posting on contract nor extend the contract of the existing posts beyond the contract period of six months or one year.

The state government had recently appointed three DSPs on contract and given them key postings. Two SP-level officers were also given extension in the same manner. This had caused immense heart burn among the PPS Officers Association. They argued that the contract system blocked promotions.

Mr Gill said that the Chief Minister also agreed that nearly 10 officers belonging to other police or para-military force and posted with the Punjab Police on deputation for the past several years would be immediately sent back to their original force.

Another major demand of the association regarding giving permanent rank of Superintendent of Police to eligible Punjab Police officers was also accepted by the Chief Minister. Mr Gill said presently over 100 Punjab Police officers were serving as officiating SPs.

He said the Chief Minister had agreed that the posting would be permanent. It was also agreed that out of 210 posts of SP in the state, 135 would always remain with the Punjab Police Service Officers.

Besides the Chief Minister, others present on the occasion were PPCC president H.S. Hanspal, political adviser to the Chief Minister, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, DGP Punjab, M.S. Bhullar, ADGP (Law and Order), A.A. Siddiqui, ADGP (Vigilance), A.P. Pandey, ADGP (Crime), K.K. Attri, and IG (Headquarters), Sanjeev Gupta.

Mr Inderjit Singh Randhawa, president, PPS Officers Association, read out the demands.


Treat fellow officers decently: CM 
Chhabra seeks 15 days time; Saini to continue on probe panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today sent a clear message to the police team investigating the irrigation scam to treat the “fellow officers honourably and not as criminals”. He was reacting to a complaint made by Principal Secretary Rajesh Chhabra against certain police officers probing the scam.

Capt Amarinder Singh said there was merit in the issues raised by Mr Chhabra in his letter to the Chief Secretary. “I have not rejected what Mr Chhabra says and have told the investigation team to treat him with respect, dignity”. He made it clear that if he found any complaint about “improper treatment” to Mr Chhabra and others, he would take action.

Mr Chhabra had complained that he was treated “shabbily” during questioning with regard to the irrigation scam at a guest house here. In fact, he had briefed to the Chief Minister about the police behaviour with him on April 30.

The Chief Minister said Mr Sumedh Saini, an IG rank police officer, would continue to be a member of the investigation team. A section of the Media had reported that Mr Saini had been removed from the investigation team. In fact, official sources say, the announcement about the “moving out of Mr Saini” from the investigation team was made on April 30 by the then Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra, at his farewell meeting with Administrative Secretaries. Mr Ratra had specifically said at the meeting that he had spoken to the Chief Minister in this connection.

Sources said Mr Chhabra had sought 15 days’ more to reply to the questionnaire handed over to him on April 24 by the investigating team. Mr Chhabra had been told to submit his reply within seven days. However, according to sources, Mr Chhabra had written a letter to the head of the team, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Officer on Special Duty, seeking more time. Mr Chhabra has sent a copy of this letter to Chief Secretary Rajan Kashyap.

Sources said Mr Chhabra wanted that he should be shown the relevant record before he replied to the questionnaire. He has taken the plea that he had dealt with thousands of files as Principal Secretary of the Irrigation Department and it was not possible for him to recall what he had exactly written on a particular file.

Mr Chhabra, according to sources, again contacted Mr Kashyap today. Sources said Mr Chhabra had reiterated that the investigation should be withdrawn from the police and it should be conducted either by the Chief Secretary or any other civil officer. Court had ordered Vigilance probe

An interesting aspect with regard to this case has come to light. While disposing of public interest litigation filed by former MLA Ajit Inder Singh Mofar in connection with the scam, the Punjab and Haryana Court had issued a specific order that the case should be investigated by the Vigilance police and completed within six months. This decision was announced in April, 2002. However, the investigation is being done by the Punjab police.


Close ranks in state’s interests: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, today sought constructive support of the Opposition in the larger interests of the state.

Speaking at the concluding function of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Punjab Legislative Assembly in the Vidhan Sabha complex, Capt Amarinder Singh said all political parties must unite to place Punjab at that very pedestal, where it had been put by past leaders, known and unknown martyrs, who had sacrificed their lives so that democracy would live on.

The paid rich tributes to the country’s martyrs who had sacrificed their lives fighting the tyranny of British rule. He also recalled the contributions of the past Punjab Chief Ministers, particularly, Mr Partap Singh Kairon, Giani Zail Singh, Mr Lachman Singh Gill, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, who had taken the state to new heights.

It may be recalled that the first session of the Vidhan Sabha was held at Shimla on May 3, 1952, when Mr Bhim Sen Sachar was the Chief Minister. The golden jubilee celebrations commenced on May 3 last year.

If it was the coming together of the veterans (who were honoured on the occasion) and new legislators to mark the beginning of the celebrations on May 3 last year, it was today the turn of 125 retired employees of the Vidhan Sabha to be honoured and their services recognised. Each one was presented with a memento and a shawl. The Chief Minister personally presented these to 10 former Secretaries and Additional Secretaries. The oldest among them was Mr Krishan Swaroop, (88), who had joined service, as a clerk in the Legislative Assembly in 1934, and retired as a Secretary in 1974. He is 88 now.

In his welcome speech Speaker Kewal Krishan recalled that it was a coincidence that he was the Speaker, when the Assembly celebrated its silver jubilee and he happened to be the Speaker again during the golden jubilee year. He paid tributes to the past 31 Governors, 19 Chief Ministers and 16 Speakers for their ‘’valuable contributions to the growth of Punjab’’.

Two publications were released on the occasion. One, a compendium of who’s who of Punjab Vidhan Sabha members from 1960 to 2002, listing 768 MLAs. The second, ‘’Our Legends — bio-sketches of martyr legislators’’. It has brief thumb-nail sketches of 39 MLAs, who fell victim to militancy in Punjab.

Special invitees to share their experiences were Mr Umrao Singh, Capt. Rattan Singh of the INA, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Ch Jagjit Singh, and Mr Hans Raj Sharma. The common refrain of their speeches was that the Treasury and Opposition benches must work hand-in-hand for the welfare of the people and progress of the state, the concluding function ended with cultural items presented by the Vidhan Sabha staff.

However, Capt. Kanwaljit Singh made an oblique reference to the attitude of the ruling party when it came to keeping harmonious relationship with the Opposition, particularly, inside the Vidhan Sabha. The Opposition should not be ignored.

Mr Umrao Singh dragged the bureaucracy as well when he said that given its attitude, it was not helpful to democracy in any way.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, proposed a vote of thanks.

Talking to newspersons, the Chief Minister said Punjab would take the lead in initiating regional co-operation among the northern states. As convener of the Council of northern states, he would shortly write to his counterparts, inviting them for a meeting sometime in June, Capt Amarinder Singh said.

Elaborating on the subject, Capt Amarinder Singh said there was tremendous scope for regional co-operation to develop the economy of the northern states with joint projects on tourism, agriculture, communication, power projects, infrastructure, healthcare etc.


UK cops, scribes on Maninderpal’s trail
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
A three-member team of the Hampshire police and a group of journalists from the UK are here to look for Maninderpal Singh Kohli, wanted by the Scotland Yard in a rape and murder case. This case has been in the headlines since March 19.

Maninder, as reported in The Tribune on April 11, had come to Chandigarh to visit his mother, who has been in coma since December last year. He came here on March 19 . Though his family maintained that he got a telephone call on March 29 and decided to return to England immediately, there has been no trace of him since then.

It may be mentioned that Maninderpal Singh is suspected to have murdered 17-year-old student Hannah Foster and allegedly fled from London a day after her body was discovered in Southampton. Hannah was not seen after March 14.

The visiting policemen and journalists, however, feel that Maninderpal Singh has been hiding in India and had not return to England on March 29 as claimed by his brother, Mr Ishtpal Singh Kohli, a constable in the intelligence wing of the Punjab police.

Detective Superintendent Alan Betts, Detective Sergeant Jim Park and woman police constable Kim Ghali are expected here either on Sunday or Monday morning. At present, these police officers are in Delhi.

Though the Scotland Yard had requested Punjab police through Interpol for help in nabbing the suspect, the long-drawn procedures reportedly came in the way before decks could be formally cleared for the arrest and immediate extradition of Maninderpal Singh Kohli.

On their arrival here, the British police officers are expected to meet the CBI officials here before holding a meeting with the crime wing of the Punjab Police.

The British police officers are also expected to hold a joint press conference with Punjab police officials on Tuesday where they may release the pictures of Maninderpal Singh Kohli and reveal some evidence suggesting his involvement in the case.

“It is an international story,” remarked Jamie Pyatt, Correspondent of The Sun, holding that “Hannah was a highly talented girl.” Her funeral was held only a few weeks ago.

All visiting British journalists and representatives of TV channels were also trying to establish contact with the family of Maninderpal Singh here. The family originally belonged to Patiala where the mother of Maninderpal was a teacher. One brother of Maninder is an engineer posted at Rajpura.

The Kohlis have a flat in Sector 44-D but they have moved to the vacant house of a relative in SAS Nagar. “We had to shift there because of my mother,” Ishtpal had told The Tribune last time.


Fake seed of Bt cotton hybrid varieties seized
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Chief Agriculture Officer Dr S. Bhatti and BKU (Ekta) district president Jhanda Singh Jethuke
Chief Agriculture Officer Dr S. Bhatti (right) and BKU (Ekta) district president Jhanda Singh Jethuke (cent
re) after the raid at Bathinda on Friday. — Photo Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, May 2
Fake seed of hybrid varieties and Bt cotton in packets and cloth bags of different brands and other packing material was seized today from a shop in the grain market here and from the godown of that shopkeeper when Agriculture Department officials accompanied by policemen raided it today.

The raid was made by officials of the Agriculture Department led by Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO), Dr S. Bhatti on directions of Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma. Though the DC ordered the CAO to check the sale of fake cottonseed in the market after a complaint from activists of the BKU, a news in connection with the sale of fake cottonseed was carried in the Tribune on May 2, 2003.

For the past two years, since farmers of Punjab became familiar with Bt cotton, they (farmers) have been visiting cotton-producing states to get the Bt cotton seed. To exploit the situation, several traders have been supplying fake cottonseed to farmers claming it to be Bt cottonseed. A part from a section of traders have also been fleecing farmers by supplying the fake cottonseed claiming it to be the hybrid seed.

Sources said the raiding team seized some boxes containing Bt cottonseed from which the name of the manufacturer, batch number and address of the manufacturer was missing. Some of the cottonseed, which was also seized, was shown to be of hybrid variety manufactured by a Gujarat-based company.

During the raid, it was also noticed that though a trader dealing in seed was required to take permission for it from the Agriculture Department, the accused whose godown located on the Bhagu road in the city, was raided today, had not taken any permission for the storage and packaging of seed.

The farmers, who also accompanied the raiding team, alleged that accused had adopted a new way of making money. Apart from selling fake Bt cottonseed, the accused had been packing seed of hybrid varieties in small packets by purchasing the same at the rate of Rs 150 per kg. The accused had been selling every small packet of cottonseed weighing 450 gm for Rs 250 to Rs 300. The accused had also got registered a brand of the seed prepared by the company run by him.

Farmers also alleged that some of the traders had been selling cottonseed to them by making tall claims in connection with the production of cotton from it despite though no field trial was being done of it before its marketing. A number of companies had been doing this illegal business in Punjab, they pointed out.

The DC, said that he had deputed ADC (General) to monitor the raid and get the report from the raiding team. He added that if any thing against the norms was found a case would be registered.

Mrs K.P. Brar, ADC (General), said that she had sent a Tehsildar for a report of the raid. She added that she would be able to comment after receiving the report.


Uncertainty ails govt schools: DTF
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 2
The district unit of the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) has alleged that education in state-run schools has been badly affected by the uncertainty over the implementation of the Punjab Education Policy, 2002, by which the four-tier system of school administration had been changed into a two-tier system.

Major Basant Kumar, district secretary, and Mr Madan Pal Bhagta, district president, in a press note issued here today, said school authorities had not received clear instructions pertaining to periods, admissions to Classes VI and XI, re-distribution of staff and maintenance of registers.

They said admissions to government schools had been hit while private schools were minting money.

They said the government had stated that books would be provided free of cost to students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and girl students till Class VIII, but no books had been sent to the schools.

They said due to non-availability of books and changes in syllabus, teachers had been kept waiting.

The DTF leaders said officials were not clear about the running of the department and no clear policy about the rationalisation of existing posts had been made public.

They added that the government had banned transfers of teachers, but a number of teachers had got their transfer orders and some of them had been transferred on administrative grounds.

They alleged that some teachers had been transferred after some raids were conducted overlooking the fact that the ‘absent’ teachers were actually on leave.

They said due to non-teaching work, including the mid-day meal scheme, the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan and reports and details about staff strength, state-run schools were giving poor results.

They said a number of teachers had not been paid their salaries due to delay in the sanctioning of their budgets, DDO powers and the sanctioning of their posts by the authorities concerned.

The DTF would stage a dharna in front of the DEO office on Wednesday to press for their demands and to seek the redressal of their grievances.


Vigilance Bureau raids schools

Bathinda, May 2
Ten vigilance parties conducted raids in 100 schools of Bathinda, Mansa and Faridkot today to check absenteeism among teachers. About 30 employees were found absent. Mr Barjinder Singh Grewal, SSP (VB), said here this evening that no hospital or government office was checked.

Of the 100 schools raided, 60 were elementary and 40 secondary schools. No headmaster/Principal (permanent) was found posted at 55 of these schools. Two headmasters/principals, 20 lecturers and seven Class IV employees were found absent in today’s raids, which would continue, Mr Grewal added.

MOGA: In view of the complaints of absenteeism of school teachers, Punjab Vigilance Bureau sleuths on Friday raided 35 schools, including senior secondary, high and elementary schools in the district. As may as 34 school teachers, including the Principal of a school, besides class IV employees were found absent from duty. One of the schools was found to be having no science teacher. One Senior Secondary School at Jalalabad East was found closed at 1.45 pm. Only class IV employees were present whose statement was recorded that all staff members had left the school half an hour earlier, bureau sources said. OC, PTI


Navjot tops Ropar dist in Class VIII
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 2
Navjot Kaur, a student of Vikram Public High School, Kharar, has topped Ropar district in the Class VIII (middle) examination conducted by the Punjab School Examination Board (PSEB). She holds 11th position in Punjab by securing 756 marks out of 800. Novjot is followed by her schoolmate Sunanda, who is 12th in Punjab, second in the district and second in Kharar. She has secured 755 marks. Neelam Sharma of the same school has secured 21st position in Punjab with 746 marks and is third in Kharar and sixth in the district. Anupama is fourth in Kharar with 742 mark.

Anuwinder Kaur, a student of Shastri Model School, SAS Nagar, has topped in SAS Nagar with 751 marks. She has secured 16th position in Punjab and is third in the district. Nitika Bansal of Gem Public School, SAS Nagar, is second in township with 740 marks and holds 27th position in the state. Sumel Singh Brar of the same school is third in SAS Nagar with 737 marks. Navjot Kaur of Paragon Senior Secondary School, SAS Nagar, is fourth in the township with 729 marks. Poonam Rani of Shastri Model School, SAS Nagar, is fifth in the township with 727 marks.

PATIALA: Dimple Garg of Green Wood Public School, Patran, has topped Patiala district with 749 marks and holds 18th position in Punjab. Ramanpreet Kaur of Sunflower Model High School Patiala tops the city with 747 marks and holds second position in the district and 20th in Punjab. Kanika of C.S. Model Senior Secondary School, Rajpura town, has topped in Rajpura with 745 marks, securing 22nd position in Punjab and third in the district. Shveta Sharma of Sunflower Model High School, Patiala, is 23 in Punjab with 744 marks. She is fourth in the district and second in Patiala city. Rohini Goel of Green Wood Public High School is third in the city with 741 marks.

MORINDA: Kamalpreet Dhiman, a student of Swami Shivananda Public High School, Morinda, has topped the town with 742 marks. Karanvir Singh of the same school is second in the town with 727 marks.

ROPAR: Anu, a student of Model Middle School, Ropar, has secured 750 marks and has topped Ropar holding 17th position in Punjab and fourth in the district. Archit of Bhai Nand Lal Public School, Anandpur Sahib, is fifth in the district and first in Anandpur Sahib.


Mansa boy tops Class VIII exam
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 2
A Mansa student has topped the Class VIII (middle) examinations conducted by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) in February this year securing 97.5 per cent marks. Releasing the results, here today, the PSEB authorities pointed out that among the top positions, three students shared the third position. While the topper and one of the third position holders belonged to the same school in Mansa, the students who stood second and third were also from the same school in Sangrur.

Among the top 50 positions 16 positions were secured by students from various schools in Sangrur alone, seven were from Bathinda and six from Mansa. Among the top 50, at least 42 were girls, proving once again that girl students were faring better in school than boys.

The results will be declared at the various PSEB depots across the state tomorrow morning where the result gazettes will be made available to the candidates. The result cards of the private candidates will reach them by post by May 14.

The pass percentage was 74.6 per cent. A total of 447427 appeared in these examinations out of which 344317 appeared as regular students and 103110 as private candidates. While 265407 regular students passed, 68674 private candidates also passed. The pass percentage of regular candidates was 77.08 per cent, and that of private candidates 66.6 per cent.

The topper, Anmol Deep Singh, who secured 780 marks out of 800, studies in Chetan Singh Sarvhitkatri Senior Secondary School, Mansa. To the same school belongs Pooja Goyal, who stood third securing 768 marks. Bhisham Mittal of Springdales Public Sr Sec. School, Sangrur, stood second while his school mate Ravneet Kaur stood third with 768 marks. Roopam of MSD Sen. Sec School, Bathinda, also stood third with 768 marks.

The names in the merit list are as follows: Monica (Bathinda), Prabhjot (Sangrur), Deepika Pathania (Pathankot), Kiranveer Kaur (Moga), Choudhry Lavy Garg (Sangrur), Jaganbir Kaur (Navan Shahar), Kamal Garg (Mansa), Minu (Sangrur), Nishu (Sangrur), Rajbeer Kaur (Phagwara), Jagdeep Kaur (Sangrur), Gurvinder Singh (Bathinda), Jaswinder Kaur (Bathinda), Amanpreet Kaur Kang (Ludhiana), Subodh Kansal (Mansa), Ravneet Kaur Sidhu (Sangrur), Geetanjali (Navanshahar), Navjot Kaur (Roop Nagar), Prerna Gupta (Sangrur), Jyoti (Navanshahar), Sunanda (Roop Nagar), Sabiha Sachdeva (Moga), Meenakshi (Sangrur), Arshdeep (Ferozepur Cantt.), Peeyush Goel (Sangrur).


Khushboo Arora tops B.Com I examination

Amritsar, May 2
Khushboo Arora of BBK DAV College for Women here topped in B.Com I examination of Guru Nanak Dev University in the results declared here today. She secured 476 marks. Ms Nandini Sharma of Hans Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Jalandhar, stood second while Ms Richa Kapoor of BBK DAV College here stood third. As many as 2,144 candidates appeared in this examination. OC


Gurdev Badal’s son goes underground
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 2
Even as a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against Mr Manjeet Singh Badal, alias Suba Singh Badal, son of a former Akali minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, at the local police station of the Vigilance Bureau, the leakage of this information has sabotaged the plans of the bureau authorities to arrest him.

Though the case against Mr Manjit Singh Badal was registered on April 28 for acquiring properties and other assets disproportionate to his known sources of income during the five-year rule of the previous SAD-BJP government, it was being kept as a closely-guarded secret to deprive the accused of an opportunity to approach the court for pre-arrest bail.

Sources said senior bureau officials were perturbed that now they would find it difficult to arrest Mr Manjit Singh Badal as he had come to know about the criminal case registered against him and had gone underground. The bureau authorities were of the view that if their investigators could not question Mr Manjit Singh Badal, the department would fail to get vital information on the corrupt practices of the ruling politicians of the previous government.

Earlier also the bureau had suffered a set back when information regarding the raids, conducted at various places belonging to a senior Akali leader, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, was allegedly leaked to him beforehand and he escaped from Bhunder village in Mansa district. Later, he secured bail in a criminal case, which was registered against him by the local bureau authorities.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, said that as a report regarding the criminal case registered against Mr Manjeet Singh Badal had appeared in a section of the Press, it would be difficult to arrest him now.

He said the case against Mr Manjeet Singh Badalwas registered when it came to notice during inquiry that he had required property and other assets worth lakhs of rupees in different parts of the state and particularly in Faridkot district.


Gurdev Badal for meeting with CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Despite the “ill-treatment” and “humiliation” he has received at the hands of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, Akali MLA Gurdev Singh Badal remains soft on his choice of words while expressing anguish. This was evident at the concluding function of the golden jubilee celebrations in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha here today.

Out of jail after over five months, he sat beside Capt Kanwaljit Singh, within hearing shot of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. During tea-break, Mr Gurdev Singh walked up to the Chief Minister and greeted him with folded hands. Mr Badal politely asked the Chief Minister: “How long will you torture me and my family? Give me time to pour my heart out and state facts I am just out of jail and now my son is being involved.” The Chief Minister promised to give an appointment. He even pulled him and Capt Kanwaljit Singh closer to him for a photograph.

Mr Badal told TNS that he had been chosen MLA 11 times. “It is a record that I have won 11 consecutive elections from Panjgarain in Faridkot district. Yet, this is how I am being treated. I will meet Capt Amarinder Singh,” he sighed. Asked what the Vigilance is investigating, he replied: “It wants to know where from I got money for a 10-marla plot on which I have constructed my office in my constituency and is also making inquiries about my modest house in the village.”


Give Nanakshahi calendar free of cost: SAD (A)
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 2
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has urged the SGPC President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, to distribute the Nanakshahi calendar free of cost among people so that confusion prevailing among the Sikhs about the celebration of different festivals linked with Sikh Gurus is removed. The SAD (A) said the Sikhs should celebrate these festivals according to the Nanakshahi calendar. Mr Barinder Singh Mann, district president of the party, said during a meeting of the party workers here today that the party would soon meet the SGPC functionaries in this connection. He said the party would urge the Central Government to make arrangements for holding the SGPC elections at the earliest. He said delaying of these elections had raised a suspicion about intentions of the Union Government.

Mr Mann condemned the mistreatment of women victims of the 1984 riots near the residence of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at Patiala some days ago. He alleged that the Congress was responsible for the riots and the treatment given to the riot victims at Patiala could be expected only from the ruling Congress in the state. He said little could be expected from the Congress when Akali leaders like Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra failed to do anything for the welfare of the victims of the 1984 riots.

He said Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of the National Minority Commission, should confine himself to working for the welfare of the minorities and should not indulge in Akali politics.


Strong winds create havoc
People near thermal, NFL plants worst hit
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 2
The strong winds that blew in the region today proved to be a nightmare for the people residing near the ash dykes of the Ropar thermal plant and the NFL plant at Nangal.

The sky turned black in these areas and the houses of people were filled with ash rising from the ash dykes. So severe was the impact of the flying ash that even plying vehicles on roads in the vicinity of the ash dumps became difficult.

The fly ash dumps of the NFL plant in Nangal are situated on the banks of the Sutlej near Majowal and in the NFL colony of the Nangal town. Due to the strong winds, the life of residents in these colonies became miserable. The authorities of Government Shivalik College in Nangal reported the matter to the NFL authorities.

Even the NFL authorities and the families of their employees could not escape the wrath of the fly ash. The entire administrative block of the NFL was filled with fly ash, while houses of employees in the NFL colony got enveloped in a layer of ash flying from their dumps.

The ash also formed a black layer over the river waters. Bela Dhiani and Majowal villages were the other badly affected areas.

The fly ash dumps of the Ropar thermal plant that are situated near the Ropar wetland area also released the fury of their ash on the residents of many villages situated in the vicinity of fly ash dumps of the thermal plant due to the strong winds. Ghanauli, Doburji, Noohon and Lodhimajra villages were the worst affected.

Sources available here told that the fly ash of the NFL and the thermal plant caused pollution and trouble to common people today because the authorities violated the regulations laid down for the maintenance of ash dykes. As per rules, the ash dykes should always be immersed in water so that the ash is not carried away with wind.

However, both the NFL and the thermal plant authorities have not been immersing their ash dykes in water. Due to this, the ash in them was lying in a totally dried state that was carried in huge quantity by the strong winds today.

The NFL authorities, when contacted , said that the fly ash was being shifted from one of their dykes due to which it was not immersed in water. The unprecedented strong winds today carried away the fly ash from that dyke, they maintained.

The authorities concerned at the thermal plant were not available for comments.


Teacher with fake degrees surrenders
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 2
Kulwinder Singh, son of a former SGPC member, Mr Hakam Singh, against whom the Punjab Vigilance Bureau had registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471, IPC, and the Prevention of Corruption Act last year, as he had obtained some of this educational degrees through fraudulent means, has surrendered before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance), in a statement here this evening, said all efforts to arrest the accused had failed and the bureau had started proceedings to declare the accused a proclaimed offender. He said the court had sent the accused to Central Jail and the bureau had geared up to grill the accused in connection with the procurement of fake degrees.

Mr Grewal added that the accused had managed to obtain a fake BA III degree from Punjabi University, Patiala, and on its basis had managed to get MA (Political Science) and B.Ed. degrees from Sampoorna Nand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, Varanasi. He said as the two degrees had been obtained by the accused on the basis of a fake degree, it was being investigated how the university authorities at Varanasi failed to detect it.

The accused was appointed a Lecturer in Political Science at Government Senior Secondary School, Ghanda Banna village near Rampura Phul town of the district, he added.

The SP said in another case, the bureau had registered a case against Gurjit Singh, son of Mr Gurcharan Singh, of Khemuana village of the district as he had also got a government job on the basis of fake degrees.

He said the accused was appointed as a maths master at Government School, Akkan Walli village, Mansa, but when his BA and B.Ed. degrees were verified from Sampoorna Nand University, Varanasi, the university denied having issued the degrees to the accused.

The SP said the accused had managed to get these degrees using fraudulent means and a case under Section 420, 467, 468 and 471, IPC, and Sections 13(1) D and 13 (2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act had been registered against him.

Raids had been conducted at his place of posting and house, but he was still at large.


Employees greet Ratra with slogans
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 2
The new chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), Mr Y.S. Ratra, today on his first visit to the board headquarters here was greeted with slogans by employees protesting against the government’s move to dismantle the organisation.

The employees, members of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee, included representatives of the PSEB Employees Federation, the Bijlee Mulazim Front, the PSEB Workers Federation (AITUC), the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the Thermal and Hydel Plant employees, also announced to go on strike on May 6 and May 7 to protest against the anti-employee” policies of the government.

Meanwhile, Mr Ratra held a meeting with various heads of departments of the Board and members on his first visit to the Board headquarter. An official release here said Mr Ratra cautioned the senior officers that frequent tariff increase was not the solution for pulling the board out of the red. Mr Ratra asked the officers to make every possible effort to increase internal efficiency of the organisation.

The release said the Chairman stressed on the need to improve work culture and to increase the revenue by reducing commercial losses and curbing the theft of energy. He also emphasised on prompt service and regular power supply at affordable price.

He assured the officers of support to curb power theft. Board Member, Operations S.K. Anand gave suggestions on internal efficiency. Administrative Member K.S. Kang, Member, Finance H.S. Sohi, Member, Generation H.S. Sahi and Secretary, Board, Jaspreet Talwar also attended the meeting.

The PSEB today, decided to launch an incentive-Based Prepaid Scheme from May 16 applicable to Domestic, Commercial, Small Power and Agricultural consumers. According to an official spokesman, consumers could take advantage of the scheme by making an advance deposit. The spokesman said the scheme offered an interest at the rate of 4.5 per cent for 2003-04 on the money deposited with the Board.

The spokesman added it had been decided to start with the minimum amount of advance deposit would be equal to previous six months’ power bill. He said the receipt of the advance deposit would be issued by the Operation Sub Division concerned. He said the Board would supply consumers a copy of the yearly statement of account.

Meanwhile, agitating employees of the Board also submitted a memorandum of demands to the district administration.

The employee leaders who spoke on the occasion were Mr Amarjit Singh Sodhi, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Radhey Shyam, Mr Karam Chand Bhardwaj, Mr Phaljit Singh and Mr Swarn Singh. The leaders said the Board instead of implementing agreed to demands like the nine-16 promotion scale, removal of anomalies in pay and giving jobs on compassionate grounds, was making a cut on various allowances besides taking other steps which would not be allowed.


Probe finds self-help group guilty of fraud
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 2
A fraud allegedly by the members of the self-help group of Gill Khurd village, who used to give loans under the Swarn Jayanti Gram Self-Employment Scheme, for tent house business was detected by Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) following a probe into a complaint made to the Deputy Commissioner, here.

After the probe established a fraud by members of the Self-Employment Group in connivance with the bank manager and tent material supplier, the DC recommended registration of a case against five persons namely — Ms Sukhjit Kaur, Mr Alexander, branch manager of the bank, Mrs Manjit Kaur, Mr Chatar Singh and the owner of the Bathinda Dyeing and Tent Works, Bathinda.

In a press note here today, the DC said that loan of the Rs 2.5 lakh was sanctioned to the self-help group of Gill Khurd village for a tent house under the Women Saving Scheme. Out of the Rs 2.5 lakh, Rs 1.25 lakh was deposited in the bank account of the self-help group on account of subsidy by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Bathinda.

The inquiry revealed that the self help group did not start any work.

Two drafts worth Rs 80,000 and Rs 20,000 were issued in favour of Bathinda Dyeing and Tent Works. But Ms Sukhjit Kaur, President, Women Saving Scheme of the self-help group received cash from the tent owners in place of goods of tent house.

Similarly, Mr Alexander the then Branch Manager of the State Bank of Patiala, Ballianwali, also committed irregularities in the loan amount while making transactions in the bank account of the self-help group. Mrs Manjit Kaur, another member of the self-help group, and her husband Mr Jagtar Singh also helped the bank manager in the irregularities.

The DC said that a case under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC would be registered against the five accused.


Two Bathinda docs make it to IAS
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 2
Two doctors of the city have been selected in the civil services examination, the result of which was declared by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) last evening.

Dr Sanjay Goel and Dr Parshant Goyal have been ranked 24 and 158, respectively. Dr Sanjay Goel made to the IAS in his second attempt. Last year he was selected in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) after securing the 125th rank in the merit list. Dr Parshant Goyal made it to the IAS in his first attempt. Dr Sanjay Goel is a son of a retired bank employee, Mr Chiman Lal, while the father of Mr Parshant Goyal is working in the Food and Supply department and his mother is a teacher.

Dr Goel, who had both medical and non-medical subjects in class XII, was the youngest student of Punjab, who completed the MBBS course at the age of 22 from Government Medical College, Chandigarh. As Dr Goel was under age, he first got admission in the local engineering college and remained there for one year. After that he joined the MBBS course.

Talking to TNS from the National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN), Faridabad, Dr Goel said that the credit for the achievement went to his elder brother, Mr Ajay Kumar Goel, who had done master of engineering in Structures and was serving as a Junior Engineer (JE) in the PWD.

Dr Goel, whose mother, Ms Benti Devi, is also a teacher, said that he had his primary education in rural schools, where English used to be taught from class VI. He added that he never took tuition in his academic career. He prepared himself on his own for the UPSC examination.

He said he would try to bring more laurels to Bathinda by serving the country to the best of his capabilities.

Dr Parshant Goyal (23) said that though he was satisfied with his rank, he would make efforts to improve his position by appearing in the test again. He added that he took coaching for the examination at Delhi.

Bathinda district has earlier produced a number of IAS, IPS and IRS officers, which include Mr Ashok Kumar Singhal, Mr Rohit Kansal, Dr Jagdeep Goyal, Mr Vitul Goyal, Mr Mahesh Aggarwal, Mr Rajiv Gupta and a physically challenged girl, Ms Manisha Bansal. According to information, even Mr Ankur Garg, who has topped the civil services examination this year, belongs to Bathinda and had his primary education at a local school.


Curb deras, Dang urges SGPC, govt 
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 2
Senior Communist leader Satya Pal Dang expressed concern over the mushrooming “Dera culture” in Punjab and lamented that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the Akali leadership and the Punjab government had done nothing to control the Deras.

Mr Dang here today narrated incident of repeated rape of a minor girl by the head of one such dera in Amritsar district.

Mr Dang said a minor girl (13) daughter of a resident of a village in Uttaranchal along with her sister was brought to Amritsar by her uncle a Granthi in a Dera in the city. Quoting from the statements of the girl to the police on August 14, 1997 she alleged sexual abuse by the acting head of Dera Baldev Singh repeatedly. On the complaint of her uncle Surjan Singh a rape case was registered against Baldev Singh under Sections 376 and 506 of IPC and he was later arrested.

This was brought to notice of a social organisation at Jalandhar and it was conveyed to former CPI MLA Mrs Vimla Dang who also heads the Punjab Istri Sabha. These organisation want the case should be handled properly. On the request of Mrs Dang the girl was admitted to an institution at Amritsar.

Mr Dang said that what had shocked was that the accused was acquitted. . He alleged that the Mahant of the Dera has used influence for the acquittal and also tried to pressurise the parents of the girl to change her statement.

The Punjab Istri Sabha filed a criminal revision petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and added that Mr Justice R.L. Anand in his order of October 25, 2002 said that it has become necessary for reappraisal of the evidence recorded by the trial court judgement dated December 17, 1997 passed by the court of Additional Sessions Judge Amritsar was accordingly set aside and directive was imparted to the Sessions Judge to reappraise the evidence led by the parties in the main case to rewrite the judgement in three months.

Mr Dang said that the Sessions Judge sentenced accused Baldev to Singh undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and fined him Rs 10,000.

The CPI leader pointed out that the Jathedar of Akal Takht and Sikh high priests were apprised of such incidents and were urged to issue an edict against these deras.

He felt all right-thinking people religious, political and social leadership should expose the negative role of the dera culture and take effective steps to cleanse these.


35 centre head teachers get relief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
After holding that 35 centre head teachers were entitled to the benefit of two advanced increments from the date their juniors were promoted, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the state of Punjab and other respondents to refix the petitioners’ pay after granting them the benefit.

Delivering the verdict in the open court on the petition filed by Mr Om Parkash and others, Mr Justice Nijjar further directed the respondents to pay consequential monetary benefits to the petitioners within three months of receiving the order’s certified copy.

In their petition, Mr Om Parkash and others had earlier sought directions for the grant of two advanced increments on account of higher responsibility following their appointment as centre head teachers from JBT teachers.


The High Court will continue to hear an election petition filed against an MLA, Mr Tota Singh, by a voter and a defeated candidate. Preliminary objections raised by them were today dismissed by Mr Justice Hemant Gupta of the High Court.

The MLA had earlier alleged that “covering candidate and election agent” Baljinder Singh, against whom allegations of corrupt practices had been levelled, had not been impleaded a party.

Challenging his elections, voter Ram Pal Dhawan and candidate Vijay Kumar Dhawan had alleged that the booths set up by a candidate for issuing slips were pulled down. He was also manhandled.

Petition dismissed

A petition seeking quashing of a notification whereby the Punjab State Public Service Commission (Condition of Service) Regulations were amended for increasing the strength of members from five to seven was dismissed by a Division Bench of the High Court.

In his petition, former commission member Ramesh Chander Gupta had also sought directions for restraining the state from appointing or administering the oath of office to two additional members.

Describing the notification as arbitrary and unjust, the petitioner had submitted that an increase in the strength would not reduce the workload as the members were required to decide the matters jointly. He had added that the appointments would simply increase the burden on the public exchequer.


Judicial remand for dowry death suspect
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 2
Ms Navjot Kaur Sohal, Sub-Judge, Junior Division here, has remanded Mr Samir Bansal in 14 days’ judicial custody. Mr Bansal was presented in her court yesterday, it was learnt here this evening. Mr Bansal was wanted in connection with a case of abetment of suicide by her wife Kanchan Bansal. He had surrendered before the GRP last Friday and was in police remand for five days.

Twentyfive-year-old Kanchan Bansal had killed herself and her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Mitali, by jumping before a running train at the local railway station here on April 18. Sumit, brother of Kanchan, had alleged that the husband of his sister and her in-laws had driven her to suicide as they had been tormenting her for more dowry.


10-yr jail for Pak national

Gurdaspur, May 2
A Pakistan national was sentenced to 10 years by a fast-track court here today.

Awarding the sentence under Section 307 of the IPC, Section 25,54,59 of the Arms Act, Section 4/5 of Indian Explosive Act, Section 3-34-20 of Indian Passport Act and Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, the court imposed a fine of Rs 1000, Mohammad Akram of Kalaswala village in Sialkot district.

He was arrested from near Rattar-Chattar border outpost in Dera Baba Nanak (DBN) sector of this district on July 29 last year after he had infiltrated by crossing the riverine stretch of the international border between India and Pakistan.

The police had recovered one Ak-56 rifle along with three magazines and 100 rounds of ammunition, one .30 MM revolver with a silencer and 16 bullets, two pencil bombs, one grenade launcher and five HE-36 hand grenades, a few detonators, one wireless set and a swimming kit.

During interrogation, the Pakistani national had confessed to his links with both Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir terrorists, the prosecution said, adding it is perhaps the first conviction of such an infiltrator from the neighbouring country. UNI


10 jhuggis destroyed in fire

Jalandhar, May 2
Ten jhuggis and one house were today destroyed in a fire due to sparking in a transformer in a field at Rahimpur village in the Kartarpur area, near here.

The fire broke in the afternoon, when sparks from the transformer near the tubwell of Bahadur Singh, fell on the nearby jhuggis of migrant labourers, destroying these before reaching the house of Bahadur, which was also badly damaged.

Although there was no casualty in the incident, loss of property worth lakhs of rupees was reported. Fire and tenders were rushed to the spot to control the fire. PTI


Cong MLA warns govt officers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 2
Mr Arvind Khanna, Congress MLA from Sangrur, instructed government officers today to either mend their ways of functioning or be ready to face stern action if they showed reluctance in redressing problems and grievances of the people.

Mr Khanna was addressing a gathering at a function at Bhawanigarh, organised by 32 social organisations. He was given the Diwan Todar Mal award for his contribution to the welfare of the people of his constituency.

Mr Khanna lashed out at PSEB officials for the delay in the execution of the work on the Bikhopir grid near Bhawanigarh.

Mr Khanna said deserving persons would soon get benefits of the old-age pension scheme. He announced that a grant of Rs 25 lakh had been sanctioned for the development of Bhawanigarh. He also inaugurated a municipal park and a municipal chowk at Bhawanigarh.


All set for gilding of temple ‘deori’
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

The historic Devi Talab temple in Jalandhar.
The historic Devi Talab temple in Jalandhar.

JALANDHAR: The historic Devi Talab temple here is all set to adorn a fresh look with the gilding of its “deori” (entrance), which is scheduled to take off on May 5.

The temple the main dome of which has already been gilded is thronged by devotees from far and wide daily for its historical importance. It is said that a part of the body of Parvati had fallen here after she gave “ahuti” of herself in the “yajna” performed by her father without the presence of Lord Shiva. Another belief says that the land where the temple exists was donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh after one of his “Risaldars” got enthused after witnessing the supernatural powers of Baba Hem Giri and his goat whom the baba referred to as his “kamdhenu cow” and narrated the incident to the Maharaja.

The gilding of the main “Deori” would be undertaken by a team of 20 well-known artisans from Rajasthan. A survey of the Rs 12-crore project has already been conducted by the group, maintained Mr Shital Vij, Chairman of the Devi Talab Temple Committee. “In any case, the gilding would start on Monday. The estimated weight of gold plates to be used in the project would be between five and 10 tonnes”, said Mr Vij, adding that the “deori” was being beautified with special marble brought from Makrana in Rajasthan. Since the work involved exceptional expertise, it would take about two years to get completed. “In the first phase, the committee is undertaking gilding of the main gate “deori” only”, said Mr Vij. The gilding of pillars and the main dome of the temple — standing beautifully in a huge pond of water — has recently been completed by artisans.

The construction of the foundation of the main temple in the pond which started way back in 1950 got stalled for want of funds. The construction was resumed after about 20 years in 1970, leading to the coming up of several buildings in the complex.

A large number of devotees come to the temple to have “darshan” of a beautiful and the country’s only huge replica of the Amarnath cave, which was set up by the committee about two years ago.

The temple complex is also famous all over the world for being the venue for the annual Sri Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan.


Cancer stalks Hameedi village
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Residents of Hameedi village in Sangrur district are facing an unusual problem. As many as 30 persons from the village have died of cancer in the past five years. At present, about 15 persons are suffering from the disease. The people have urged the Punjab Chief Minister to send a team to their village to study the problem.


Sacrilege case: action demanded
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 2
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Sikh religious and political parties today demanded action against those who showed disrespect to Guru Granth Sahib at Ghumiara Sahib Gurdwara in Kartarpur six months ago.

Addressing a joint press conference, the convener of the JAC, comprising the SAD (Democratic), the SAD (Amritsar), the SAD (Badal) and other religious institutions, Mr Kuldeep Singh Wadala alleged that the police along with some influential persons, were instrumental in renaming a gurdwara site at Ghumiara village as “sati” mandir had shown disrespect to Guru Granth Sahib by removing it from the gurdwara six months back. The JAC demanded that the government should order a high-level probe into the incident. 


Pattabhiraman is Vajra Corps GOC
Our Correspondent

Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman Jalandhar, May 2
Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman took charge as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Vajra Corps here today.

An alumni of the National Defence Academy, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, an active paratrooper, was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers (Bombay Sappers) on December 25, 1966. A graduate from the Defence Services Staff College, he had attended a higher command course at the Army War College, Mhow.

He had been the defence attache in the Indian Embassy at Ankara (Turkey) and had been awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, the Sena Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal. He was Additional Director-General, Military Operations, at the Army Headquarters prior to his present assignment.


Schedule for BJP organisational elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The Punjab BJP today announced the schedule for its organisational elections.

State Returning Officer, Avinash Rai Khanna said that the membership register would close on May 15. District Returning Officers would be appointed within a day or so. They would be authorised to appoint assistant returning officers.

The election of local committees and mandals would be completed by June 30 and August 15, respectively. The District Presidents will be elected by September 15 and the President of the state unit would be elected on September 28, he said.


BJP to start shoe-polishing drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
BJP MLA from Garhshankar Avinash Raj Khanna announced here today that he would lead a team of party workers to collect money for the repair of a 43-km stretch on the Garhshankar-Hoshiarpur road by polishing shoes at Garhshankar, Golian, Satname, Shella Khurad, Tutumajra, Bahowal, Habewal and Chabbewal. The shoe-shining campaign would start on May 7.

The government was approached for getting the road repaired but there was no response, he said. “We will collect money by starting a shoe-shining mission to repair the road. About Rs 10 lakh would be required for patchwork,” he added.

Mr Avinash Jaiswal, General Secretary of the BJP, said if such a campaign proved successful at Garhshankar, it would be extended to other areas.


Function in memory of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 2
A function is being organised on May 3 at local state gurdwara in connection with 285th Birth Anniversary of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia a great Sikh warrior and founder of the Kapurthala state. Guru-Ka-Lal, Sultan-ul-Quam Nawab Singh Ahluwalia Memorial Trust in co-operation with Ahluwalia biradari is organising the function.


Special camps for asthma patients

Jalandhar, May 2
The Association of Chest Physicians of Punjab will launch an awareness campaign and hold special camps in different parts of the state to provide treatment and information about various preventive measures to be adopted by asthma patients to mark World Asthma Day tomorrow.

This was stated here today by the convener of the association, Dr H.J.Singh. OC


Arrested for selling PDS wheat
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 2
The police today foiled an attempt of a depot holder of the district to sell wheat meant for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, in the open market.

As per information Rajinder Kumar runs a fair price shop (ration depot) for giving grain and other items on concessional prices to BPL families at Balluana village.

He allegedly refused to give wheat to the BPL families and declared that there was no wheat for the purpose.

He purchased wheat from another depot holder Lakhbir Singh of Sardulgarh and tried to sell it in the open market. He was reportedly arrested from grain market when he put up the wheat for sale. A case under Section 420 of the Essential Commodities has been registered against him.


PSCST holds National Science Day

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 2
The National Science Day was observed jointly by the National Council for Science and Technology, Delhi, and the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), Chandigarh, at Baba Banda Singh Bahadhar Engineering (BBSBEC), Fatehgarh Sahib, on April 30. At least 400 children from different schools of Punjab and Chandigarh participated.

Mr N.S. Tiwana, Executive Director, PSCST, Dr Neelam Gulati Sharma, Principal Scientific Officer, PSCST, Mr D.S. Hira, Principal of the college, attended the function. Dr Y.C. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor, gave away the prizes. OC


National award for varsity professor
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 2
The Punjabi University Hindi Department head, Dr Chaman Lal, has been given a national award by the Central Hindi Directorate of the Union Government for his book, “Kabhi Nahin Socha Tha.”

The award in the category for Hindi writers of non-Hindi speaking states was presented to Dr Chaman Lal by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at his residence recently. “Kabhi Na Socha Tha” is an edited and translated collection of poems of Surjit Pattar, an eminent Punjabi poet. In his critical introduction, Dr Chaman Lal has analysed the content of Pattar’s poetry.


Fee hike: ABVP activists to beg
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 2
Members of the state unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) will observe “Bheekh Saptah” from May 7 to 14, during which students will beg, to protest against the recent fee hike by educational institutions.

Addressing a press conference here today, the state secretary of the ABVP, Mr Subash Sharma said, “While the government is affecting the fee hike to cut down fiscal deficit, the Punjab Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution to increase perks of the MLAs and ministers,”

Mr Sharma said 70 units of the ABVP in the state would burn on effigy of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on May 7 the state to protest against his ‘anti-student’ policies. 

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