Wednesday, May 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Top-level changes in police deferred
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
If the re-designation today of Mr A.A. Siddiqui as Additional Director-General of Police (Operations), in addition to his existing charge as Officer on Special Duty (Law & Order), is any indication, a major top-level reshuffle in the Police Department appears to stand deferred.

There have been speculations not only about top-level changes in the department but also about impending promotions and reshuffling of district-level officers. According to the new transfer policy, now is the time for the state government to order annual transfers and postings.

Sources pointed out that the re-designation of Mr Siddiqui was more on administrative grounds than anything else as the post of ADGP (Operations) had been lying vacant. The government was also thinking of putting Mr Bhatnagar, currently ADGP Home Guards and Civil Defence , in operations to make room for Mr Sarabjit Singh there.

The state government is also yet to decide about the posting of Mr Sarabjit Singh, who reported back for duty on March 23 after remaining on leave for almost a year. He is likely to be given a non-policing posting. Before retirement on January 31 this year, Mr S.V. Singh was Director-General of Home Guards and Civil Defence.

The post of Additional Director-General of Police (Operations) had fallen vacant when Mr B.P. Tiwari retired. At one time, there was a strong speculation that Mr Tiwari, being the then seniormost ADGP, would be promoted so that he retired in the rank of DGP. But it remained a speculation.

The sources said the government would wait for the present Director-General of Police, Mr M. S. Bhullar, to retire on superannuation on July 31 before Mr Siddiqui was elevated to the top slot. In that case, Mr S.K. Verma and Mr A.P. Bhatnagar , both being senior to Mr Siddiqui, will also be promoted as Directors-General of Police. Both Mr Verma and Mr Bhatnagar are also in the running for the top slot in the department.

Mr Anil Kaushik, the only officer of the 1975 batch, is in the running for promotion as Additional Director-General of Police. His promotion is now linked to the top-level administrative reshuffle.

The voluntary retirement sought by Mr Bakshi Ram, who would be sworn in as a member of the Punjab Public Service Commission here tomorrow, has been approved, thus creating another vacancy of ADGP. In case the state decides to promote two officers, then Mr Anil Kaushik and Mr R.C. Prasad (only officer of the 1976 batch) will be promoted.

As a sequel to these promotions, the chances of officers from the 1986 batch — Mr Mohammad Mustafa, Mr Ravinder Paul Singh, Mr Hardip Singh Dhillon , Mr Jasminder Singh and Mr S. Chattopadhyaya — as Inspectors-General of Police cannot be ruled out.


Disband PSGPC, says SGPC resolution
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib, May 6
The SGPC executive in a resolution adopted here today has urged the Union Government to take up the issue of gurdwaras in Pakistan in the proposed bilateral Indo-Pak talks. In the resolution the Centre has been urged to ask the Pakistan government to disband the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and hand over the control of the gurdwaras in Pakistan to the SGPC.

Giving this information to mediapersons, the President of the SGPC, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, said Pakistani gurdwaras were in a poor state. A non-Sikh president of the PSGPC failed to maintain the ‘maryada’ of the gurdwaras. Reports said in four gurdwaras even Guru Granth Sahib had not been installed, he said.

“It is an ideal time that the Centre should take up the issue with the Pakistan government”, Prof Badungar said.

The other resolution condemned the Punjab Government for not giving the Sikhs representation on the Punjab Human Rights Commission. Prof Badungar said that this decision of the government illustrated the anti-Sikh bias of the Congress.

It also condemned the decision of the government to oust 1984 riot victims from PUDA flats, the SGPC chief alleged that the riot victims were humiliated when they tried to approach Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, at his residence to appraise him of their woes. Discouraged by his response, a few riot victims had even threatened to commit self-immolation. The SGPC has now decided to fight their case.

Prof Badungar said the unity move between Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr G.S. Tohra was welcomed by all party workers. When asked about the indications that he might have to step down from the post of SGPC President if the unity move materialised, he said he would abide by any decision taken by the party high command.

About the unity move, the vice-president of the SHSAD, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhor, who was also here to attend the meeting of the SGPC executive, said the party had given the rights to decide regarding unity to Mr Tohra. The unity, however, be carried out after streamlining all issues that caused the split between the Akali Dals.

About the concession of the sale tax given by the government to the SGPC, Prof Badungar said it was eyewash. The government had given the concession of just Rs 15 lakh, whereas the SGPC paid crores annually. The SGPC was examining the proposal whether to accept it or not.

In another resolution the SGPC approved a grant of Rs 1.5 lakh for Guru Nanak Public School, Nankana Sahib; and Rs 1 lakh for Waheguru Vidhyalaya in Sind.

UNI adds: The executive has decided to celebrate the ‘Sirhind Fateh Diwas’ at the Fatehgarh Sahib Gurdwara on May 12 to commemorate the victory of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and his forces over the Mughals in Sirhind. Executive members will meet in Amritsar on May 9 to chalk out the detailed programme in this regard.


SLIET in thick of controversy
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Longowal (Sangrur), May 6
Since the initiation of an inquiry by the Vigilance Bureau into the alleged “irregularities” in the appointments and money matters at the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) here and curtailing of financial and recruitment powers of the SLIET Director in April this year by the board of governors (BOG) of the institute, SLIET is in the thick of controversy these days.

Sources in SLIET told TNS that many appointments had been made allegedly in violation of rules and regulations since 1997. Besides, financial “irregularities” had also been committed by the SLIET authorities. On the other hand the authorities of SLIET refuted the allegations saying all appointments had been got approved from the SLIET board of governors or top authorities concerned while no financial irregularity had been committed in the institute during the tenure of present Director of the institute.

The sources alleged that an employee who was interviewed for the post of senior technician in the Mechanical Engineering Department, was appointed as technician against the same advertised post as he had not requisite qualifications. In another case, a care taker was appointed in the institute though he did not have the requisite qualification at the time of interview in 1997 as per the advertisement want. They also alleged a woman lecturer in the Instrumentation Department of SLIET was sent on deputation (during the probation period) to Regional Engineering College, Jalandhar, in 1997 as a special case in violation of the rules of the institute.

The sources alleged that the appointment of a storekeeper had also been made in violation of rules. They alleged that in the case matriculation was advertised as the minimum qualification for the post of storekeeper whereas earlier the minimum qualification for the post was graduation. They also alleged in certain cases, against one advertised post, more than one persons was appointed.

With regard to the alleged financial irregularities the sources alleged that the accounts of SLIET entrance test (SET) had not been got audited from the Accountant General, Punjab, for the past many years. They further alleged every year a new account of the SET was opened in SLIET ledgers without showing the closing balance of the last year. The SLIET authorities had opened bank accounts at Dhanaula and Longowal perhaps to maintain secrecy though there was a bank branch on the SLIET campus.

The sources also alleged that the authorities had also transferred huge amounts from the SET account to the Chief Warden’s account and had made purchases directly from the funds of “Persons with Disability Project” by bypassing the SLIET purchase section. They also alleged during 2001-2003 computer parts worth lakhs were purchased through spot purchase committees in violation of the purchase rules. Some officers were getting honorarium to the tune of more than Rs 30,000 per annum from different heads of SLIET though the Director’s power of granting honorarium to a person was just Rs 2,500 per annum, they alleged.

It was also claimed that the SLIET Director had appointed his kin on different posts in the institute.

When contacted, Dr R.C. Chauhan, Director, SLIET, refuted the allegations and claimed that these were being levelled to lower the image of the institute.


Principals allege bungling in engineering exams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Principals of government polytechnic colleges at a meeting here today alleged bungling in the conduct of the examination of various engineering diploma courses in the state.

The principals, in the presence of the Secretary of Technical Education, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, and Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University, Y.S. Rajan said that a lot of “politics” was played while preparing the results of the diploma course. They alleged that the results of government institutions were deliberately downgraded, while the pass percentage of private institutions was scaled.

Seeking probe in this connection, they said the question papers were solved on black boards at examination centres in certain private institutions. There was no check on copying at these places, they alleged.

Sources said that several attempts were made to stop the principals from making their point at the meeting, but they were adamant in saying what they wanted.

The issue of lowering the fees and other charges in engineering colleges in the state was also raised. With the existing fee structure, even those belonging to the middle-class cannot afford to admit their wards in engineering institutions. With boarding and other facilities, one has to spend about Rs 75,000 per year for getting their wards admitted to such institutions.

It was stated at the meeting that the government had shut the doors of engineering colleges for common people. Only elite could afford to send their children to do engineering courses. Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee Minister of Technical Education, said that he would look into the matter and try to bring down the fee structure further. Earlier, admission charges were brought down from Rs 66,000 to Rs 45,000.

The meeting was called to discuss various issues pertaining to technical education. The issue of privatisation of industrial training institutes (ITIs) was also discussed . A plan was also mooted for a tie-up with industrialists to secure jobs for youths trained in ITIs.


Powermen go on strike
Tribune Reporters

Tarn Taran, May 6
The first day of the two-day strike call given by different organisations of powermen evoked a massive response in the area today. Striking employees organised gate meetings and rallies and condemned the move of the Punjab Government and the PSEB management to privatise the board.

Mr R.K.Salwan, Deputy Chief Engineer of the local PSEB circle, told this correspondent that the strike evoked a massive response. However, he claimed that the power supply to the area remained normal.

PATIALA: Protest rallies were organised by various unions of the PSEB at various places here on Tuesday.

The unions were protesting against the implementation of the Haldia Committee report, which calls for the privatisation of the PSEB.

Those who took part in the protest were the Employees Federation of the PSEB, the Sangharsh Committee, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the Workers Federation of INTUC and the Bijli Mulazam Front.

The field staff aligned to these unions also held a demonstration at the Rajpura colony grid sub-station in which several union leaders spoke.

ROPAR: The Ropar Thermal Plant employees Union went on a 48-hour strike in protest against the implementation of the electricity Bill, 2003. The strike, however, did not have any effect on the functioning of the plant as officers and contract labourers are not participating in it.

JALANDHAR: Hundreds of employees of the PSEB observed a strike against the proposed move of the state government to privatise the board.

Mr Vinod Salwan, president of the Employees Federation, while addressing a gathering, said the privatisation of the PSEB would hit the agriculture sector, which was being provided power at subsidised rates even as the state government was compensating the loss of Rs 950 crore per annum.

HOSHIARPUR: PSEB employees of Hoshiarpur circle went on a two-day strike on Tuesday to oppose the Haldia Committee report.

In a press note, Mr Om Parkash, general secretary of the Punjab Ministerial Service Union of the PSEB, stated that reports of complete strike by PSEB employees in Hoshiarpur, Patiala, Sangrur, Mohali, Ropar, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Bathinda, Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur circles had been received here. He said cash collection centres also remained closed during the strike.

BATHINDA: Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today alleged that the decision of the Central Government on the dismantling of electricity boards in states aimed at opening doors to multi-national companies for generation, transmission and distribution of power.

The employees who went on strike for two days last night alleged that the opinion of the employees was not considered, while deciding the dismantling of power boards. The members of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) Employees Federation started the strike at 10 p.m. last night while the Technical Services Union (TSU) went on a strike from midnight yesterday. Employees said that the strike would be continue tomorrow also.

Mr Gursewak Singh, president of the GNDTP Employees Federation, addressing a rally near the plant said that the government should talk to the employees before taking a decision on the formation of a corporation in place of the PSEB. He said that the ban on generation allowance to the employees of thermal plant should be withdrawn.

Mr Gurnam Singh, general secretary of the GNDTP Employees Federation, said that the government was transferring employees to far-off places to pave the way for the privatisation of the board. He condemned the government move to hire private agency for thermal plant security.

The units of the TSU at different subdivisions like Urban, Sub-urban, Cantonment, Civil Lines, Goniana etc. and members of the PSEB Federation and the PSEB Employees Front also participated in the strike.

MANSA: Employees of the PSEB went on 48-hour strike today in protest against the privatisation of the board and transfer of employees. Employees today hold a rally in front of the SDO, PSEB Office here.


Verma to be sworn in tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Justice O.P. Verma will take oath as the Governor of Punjab and Administrator, Union Territory of Chandigarh, at Raj Bhawan here on May 8, according to official sources.

The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the Governor-designate.

Justice Verma succeeds Lt-Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (Retd.) and will be the 30th Governor of the state.


Move to bar docs from civil services decried
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has strongly resented the move to bar the entry of doctors in civil services and demanded a permanent scientific remedy to the problem of brain drain from the medical fraternity . It may be recalled that a parliamentary committee had suggested a bar on technocrats from joining central civil services on the plea that huge investment on technocrats was being wasted as more and more technocrats are opting for civil services.

Dr Hardeep Singh and Dr Ajay Bagga, president and press secretary, respectively of the association, termed the move as highly undemocratic, unconstitutional and yet another conspiracy to degrade the medical fraternity.

“On the one hand, the government is recognising that society spends lakhs to make a doctor, on the other it is turning a blind eye to frustration among members of the medical fraternity.”

“The main reason for this trend is the widening social and economic gap between technocrats and bureaucrats . Besides, there are more and time-bound promotional opportunities in administrative services than in medical services. The bureaucrats have succeeded in grabbing more powers and establishing their supremacy over technocrats. Lavish lifestyle, well-furnished offices , better transport and other facilities at the government expense has made the civil service more lucrative. On the other hand, the doctors have poor infrastructure, no proper office and facilities like transport, residential accommodation are negligible. There is insufficient budget allocation for the health services. The promotional chances in the state medical services as well as central medical services are comparatively low, “ they said.

“The PCMS Association has already submitted a memorandum to the government to remove stagnation by reviewing the PCMS cadre and has submitted a proposal to create more promotional posts so that every doctor can get one promotion after 18 years of service. Efforts should be made to lower the gap between technocrats and bureaucrats,” they concluded.


Doctors raising ‘bribery’ fund?
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 6
Certain medical officials who got panicky after the surprise raids on rural dispensaries and hospitals have reportedly started raising fund to bribe senior officials to prevent future raids.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Kanwaljit Singh who got this information from SP, Vigilance Bureau, has immediately sought a report from the Senior Medical Officer, Lopoke, (in charge of border dispensaries where all doctors were found absent during the checking) whether any employee of the block was collecting money to offer to him and Vigilance Department employees.

Dr Kanwaljit Singh said he had summoned the SMO in his office and inquired about the allegations. The Civil Surgeon, however, claimed that the SMO had denied having knowledge of such activities. The Civil Surgeon directed him to send a written reply within two days and name the persons so that strict action could be taken against them.

The Vigilance Bureau and the Civil Surgeon had conducted surprise checks at Lopoke on April 29 and 80 per cent of the staff, including all doctors, were found absent from duty. Dr Kanwaljit Singh said he had already sent a report about the absentee staff for further action.


Directive on FIR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Acting on a petition filed by an accused in the fake arms licences case, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the high court directed the transfer of a first information report, allegedly involving former Senior Superintendent of Punjab Police Gurcharan Singh Pherurai’s relatives, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

In his petition seeking probe by the premier investigating agency into the allegations, Darshan Singh of Ludhiana district had earlier stated that the CBI was already looking into the matter and all relevant documents were already in its possession. His counsel contended that the matter was being investigated properly and it would be in the interest of justice and equity to hand over the case to the CBI. Otherwise, the petitioner would have to face two investigations regarding the same offence, counsel had asserted.

Going into the background of the case, counsel had submitted that as per the first information report, accused residing outside Ferozepore district, had ensured the issuance of fake licences after giving fictitious addresses.

Bail confirmed

Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the high court confirmed the anticipatory bail granted to former Chairman of Punjab State Subordinate Service Selection Board Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu. He was booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on July 12, 2002.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Justice Dutt ruled: “In case the petitioner, at any stage, absents himself from the court proceedings without prior permission or threatens, even tries to pressure the witnesses, it will be open for the trial court to cancel his bail and secure his presence through non-bailable warrants.”

In his detailed order, Mr Justice Dutt observed: “During the pendency of the petition, the petitioner was admitted to interim bail.... Since then the investigation is over. The order, dated February 12, 2003, granting concession of interim bail to the petitioner is made absolute.”

The petitioner had earlier submitted that he had left the country on June 12 while the first information report in the matter was registered a month later. Going into the background of the case, counsel had submitted that it was registered against the petitioner on the basis of a statement made by a co-accused even though the same was not admissible.


Lawyers demand HC bench
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 6
Members of the District Bar Association, here have appealed to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to establish a bench of the court at every divisional headquarter to provide justice at the door in the state. According to reports a request in this connection was made yesterday at a meeting with Mr Justice M.M. Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court who was on a four-day tour of the area. Mr Bikramjit Singh Brar, former president of the Bar Association, said that this step would expedite judicial work and help litigants who had to visit Chandigarh for seeking justice. Mr Brar said that Rajasthan an d Uttar Pradesh had already established such benches of the high court even at many district headquarters and Punjab should follow it.

He said that such a bench earlier functioned here before partition. Mr Brar also demanded strengthening of lok adalats. Mr Brar also demanded the filling all vacant posts of judicial officer in different parts of the state. He also appealed for the restoration of the three holidays of quota allocated to the District and Session Judges at district headquarters. The judge told members of the bar to send their views in writing to the high court for consideration. Mr A.N. Jindal, District and Sessions Judge, and other judicial officers were also present on the occasion. Mr Sukhwinder Singh, President Bar Association, Faridkot said here today that a resolution on the demands would be sent to the High Court shortly.


‘Punjabi Haas Raag Rang’ staged
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 6
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, presented “Punjabi Hass Raag Rang”, a monthly theatre programme of Punjabi humour, music and drama as a part of the series “Theatre on First Sunday of Every Month” under the Patiala Baradari Gardens Theatre Movement, at Patiala.

Mrs Sunita Sabharwal, producer of the programme, and NTAS director Pran Sabharwal expressing gratitude to the public for their good response and interest in theatre, urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to clear the construction of Baradari Gardens open-air-theatre, as conceived by the Patiala District Administration earlier.

Mr Tarlochan Singh Jeet, convener of the Baradari Clubs Association, honoured the Sabharwal couple with siropa, mementoes and gifts. He also presented mementoes to all 20 participants of the programme, prominent among whom were Dharampal-Santosh Bains, Kamaldeep Bains and their music group, Davinder Kaur, Lakhwinder Lucky, Sandeep Kailay, Gulshan Pandey, Laxman Leen, Suneel Chauhan, Sham Thapa, Gopal Sharma, Sher Singh and Vikas Sabharwal, group.

The next, first Sunday monthly “Punjabi Haas Raag Rang” programme will be organised on June 1 at Baradari Gardens, Patiala.


PSEB not keeping promise, say villagers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 6
Even as residents of Mand and adjoining villages on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road have deposited the requisite fee with the PSEB to get uninterrupted power supply, the situation in these villages has gone from bad to worse. Power is available for about six hours a day.

According to the residents, requisite fee was deposited to get uninterrupted power supply in Mand, Gazipur, Sanghal Sohal, Chamiara, Feroze and Waryana villages about two years ago. But, contrary to assurances, the residents alleged that they were getting power for about six hours a day.

They alleged that though they had approached the authorities concerned time and again in the past one month, nothing had been done to improve the situation.

When contacted, the Deputy Chief Engineer, (Operations), Mr U.C. Saroa, said they had set up a special control room here to redress the problems of the customers. “I will check the problems of these villages and necessary action will be taken in this regard. Besides, the customers can dial 2235615 to register their complaints, which will be redressed within 24 hours,” he added.


Youth’s death: suicide or murder?
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 6
The police today disposed of the case of death of Prem Kumar Premi (21) under Section 174 of the IPC. He died at the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital here last evening.

Sources said Premi’s family received a phone call from a PCO near Bhawani Cotton Mills here yesterday evening. The caller said that Premi had come to make a call but fell unconscious. The parents went to the site and brought Premi to the civil hospital where he died after half an hour. Some celphos tablets were reportedly recovered from his pocket. Nearly six cases of suicide were reported recently in the region.

Mr Tilak Raj, a tea-stall owner in Sadar bazaar here reportedly complained to the police on Sunday that a friend of his son Premi had arranged a job for him. On Saturday the complainant was reportedly informed that his son had taken away Rs 16000 from a liquor shop, owner of which reportedly arranged a job for Premi.

Tilak Raj reportedly said that some persons forced entry in to his residence in the morning and took away Premi’s younger brother Lalit with them. After this the family reportedly received a phone call demanding Rs 16000 for releasing his son. Few hours after the complaint to the police, Lalit was released on the condition that Premi would be produced before the manager of the liquor shop or money allegedly taken away by him would be refunded.

It appeared that Premi (21) might have consumed celphos fearing torture at the hands of owners of the liquor shop. The body was kept in mortuary last night and handed over to the parents this afternoon. The police said that parents did not insist on an FIR.


Wife of missing JE files complaint
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 6
Mrs Kunta Devi has, in a complaint to the police, alleged that her husband, Mr Harpal Singh, employed as a Junior Engineer in the canal department is missing.

The JE went to Hoshiarpur to meet his parents on April 26. The wife, in her complaint to SP (D), stated that her husband phoned her up on April 27, after reaching Hoshiarpur, informing that he would be back the same day. However he did not return. She further alleged that her husband was carrying Rs 50,000, alongwith jewellery, mobile phone and other items.


Fate of pensioners’ files unknown
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 6
The fate of 347 files of pensioners is not known. The Punjab Government Pensioners Association in a complaint faxed to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh yesterday said following the transfer of state government pensions from the Treasury to the banks, the pensioners had been suffering a number of difficulties. Most of them had not been paid their pension since February. The worst sufferers were those who opted for the State Bank of India to open their pension account, it alleged.

Mr R.S. Behal, president of the association, said nearly 400 pensioners had requested that their accounts be transferred from the government Treasury to the State Bank of India here.

The District Treasury Officer, Ferozepore, had told the association that all 400 cases had been sent to the SBI at Ferozepore. The SBI branch officer when contacted on phone claimed that all files had been cleared and forwarded to the branch manager of the bank at Abohar. However, the local branch has acknowledged the receipt of 53 cases only.

The fate of the rest of the files is not known.

Mr Behal said the pensioners had no means of income other than the monthly pension and they were facing hardships.


Release of 18 jail inmates ordered

Moga, May 6
The Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar, and the District and Sessions Judge, (Faridkot), Mr A.N. Jindal visited the district jail at Faridkot and listened to the grievances of the inmates even as 18 inmates were ordered to be released.

Mr Jindal said here that Mr Justice Kumar had ordered the release of 18 inmates on the furnishing of bail bonds. Ten of the inmates were very old.

In 10 cases the high court judge directed the police authorities to expedite the investigation of their cases and challans must be put in the courts at the earliest.

Mr Justice Kumar also inspected the food provided to the jail inmates. PTI


Jail inmate shifted to PGI
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 6
Kewal Krishan, an inmate of the Central Jail here, admitted to the civil hospital, after he allegedly swallowed a lizard has been shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh for treatment.

Official sources said that the inmate, a drug addict, was referred to the Civil Hospital by the jail doctor after he had a fit at the hospital. Hospital sources said that Kewal Krishan had swallowed a lizard three days ago after failing to get drugs.

Sources said that he was facing trial in a case under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC registered against him in Mansa district. He was lodged here as Mansa did not have central jail. Kewal Krishan was admitted to the jail hospital on May 3 when he started vomiting and felt uneasiness. When his condition did not improve, he was shifted to the civil hospital here.

Mr G.S. Mann, Deputy Superintendent (jails), when contacted confirmed that Kewal Krishan had been shifted to the PGI at Chandigarh. He said that the pharmacist of the jail had been sent with the inmate. He claimed that condition of the inmate was improving.


Police remand for accused in PMT scam case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 6
Devinder Singh, prime accused in the PMT scam, was sent in police remand in another case till May 7 by Kharar Judicial Magistrate Harinder Sidhu here today. The accused was produced in the court in connection with a case registered under Sections 406 and 420, IPC, here.

The prosecution pleaded for police remand of the accused saying the accused had set up an oil seal unit in Bad Majra village near Kharar and taken a loan of Rs 49,6000 from the Punjab Financial Cooperation. It alleged that the accused had removed all machinery from the factory hypothecated for the loan.


Re-employment of ex-DSPs resented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Punjab Police Officers Association has objected to the re-employment of superannuated Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) on a contract basis.

Official sources said today the association, which held a meeting with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, had submitted a representation to him opposing such appointments. Four retired DSPs had been re-employed on a contract basis.

The association pleaded that such re-employment would block the promotional avenues of those serving as Inspectors.


Rs 328 crore for better sewerage

Jalandhar, May 6
The Punjab government has earmarked Rs 328 crore to improve sewerage in 33 towns and Rs 65 crore would be spent for providing drinking water facilities in 12 towns.

Punjab Local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh stated this at a function held to distribute cheques of grants to Municipal Councils in Jalandhar district here yesterday.

He added that the work on the Rs 230 crore Satluj Action Plan had been started. OC


CM urged to check sale of fake seeds
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 6
The Judicial Accountability and Human Rights Promotion Organisation has urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to look into the selling of spurious seeds and pesticides by traders allegedly in connivance with officials of the Agriculture Department.

The organisation has alleged that many dealers in Bathinda, Mansa, Moga, Muktsar and Faridkot were selling fake seeds and pesticides and the authorities concerned were turning a blind eye to it.

The organisation has sent a letter to Capt Amarinder Singh in this regard, in which it alleged that some of the dealers were openly selling spurious seeds at the doorsteps of farmers. It also alleged that such dealers did not give any cash memo to the farmers.

Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, president of the association, alleged that the sale of spurious seeds and pesticides had been brought to the notice of officials of the Agriculture Department, but no action was taken against the dealers.

He alleged that some of the employees of the department had even tried to help a seed dealer of the district, when his shop was raided some days ago. He said the office-bearers of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) had informed the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP about the sale of spurious seeds at that shop following which the raid was conducted.


Wheat damaged during storage
Ashok Grover

A large quantity of wheat damaged during storage with the Food Corporation of India has put a question mark on the working style of the Union Government’s premium procurement agency. About 70,000 quintals of damaged wheat worth Rs 5 crore (crop year 2000-2001) has been lying at local Shakti open plinth and Laxmi open plinth.

Not only is the damaged wheat unfit for human consumption but it is also a threat to the environment of the area.

In fact, due to a sharp decline of Punjab’s wheat demand in the domestic market in the past couple of years, the stocks of wheat have piled up with the procurement agencies. Before the introduction of subsidy on the sale of wheat in export last year, the procurement agencies were holding stocks, as old as that of crop year 1997-1998. But the ongoing subsidy policy enabled these agencies to get their stocks liquidated. Even the FCI here has no remaining stocks other than the damaged wheat.

Reliable sources in the FCI confirmed that the stock was damaged due to heavy rain in the year 2000 as the wheat was not covered with tarpaulin. An official in-charge, on the condition of anonymity, admitted that the stocks could not be covered. He also alleged that covers were not supplied in time by the higher authorities in spite of numerous written and verbal requests.

The local FCI sources confirmed that an inquiry to assess the loss and fix responsibility had been initiated. A total of 15,000 quintals out of total stocks of 70,000 quintals had already been declared unfit for human consumption.


Govt announces transfer policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Punjab Government has issued guidelines for general postings and transfers during 2003-2004.

An official spokesman said here today that the transfers would be made from May 1 to May 31. Transfers would be kept to the barest minimum and made against vacant posts except where these were justified on administrative or compassionate grounds. Employees due to retire within two years would be allowed to continue in the same district or at the same station of posting till retirement as far as possible.

For couple cases it was desirable to keep them at one station for a period of not more than five years. Thereafter, they would be transferred as per the policy. Even in the cases where the wife was in government service and the husband was working in a private undertaking, the same attitude would be adopted. Efforts would be made to post unmarried girls and widows at stations suitable to them as far as possible.

To mitigate the sufferings of handicapped and blind employees, they would be posted at the station nearest to their homes. While postings or transferring government employees whose children were mentally challenged, efforts would be made to post them at the place of their choice.

A stay of three and five years would be treated as the minimum and maximum period at a particular place, respectively. Similarly for employees transferable within the state, particularly Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ officers, none would be allowed to serve in one district for more than seven years in his entire service.

Within a particular office, seats having extensive public dealings, establishment, monetary sanctions etc would be clearly defined and the maximum stay there would be kept at two years.

Employees or officers posted in the border, bet and kandi areas would remain there for a minimum period of two years.


EC seeks Inspector’s suspension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Punjab State Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains, has sent another letter to the Chief Secretary urging him to get Inspector Baldev Singh Brar suspended immediately.

Mr Bains, according to sources, has pointed out that if no action was taken against Mr Brar, he would move the court to get the police official suspended.

Action against Mr Brar had been ordered on the basis of a complaint which was later authenticated by election observers immediately after the municipal elections held at Khanna recently. It was alleged that Mr Brar, who was posted as SHO (City), did not take any action when a candidate damaged ballot papers at a polling booth in Khanna. A re-poll had to be ordered in that ward.7

Following reports from election observers with regard to the conduct of Mr Brar, the Election Commissioner wrote to the Senior Superintendent of Police at Khanna to suspend Mr Brar and also chargesheet him. A letter in this connection was also sent to the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana.

However, the SSP forwarded the complaint to the DIG and to other senior officers to seek guidance as to what action should be taken against the Inspector in the light of the Election Commissioner’s order. The case was also sent to the Director-General of Police (DGP).

As nothing happened at the DGP level, Mr Bains wrote twice to the then Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra. But no action was taken at that level also. Mr Bains has again written to the new Chief Secretary.

Mr Bains, according to sources, has urged the Chief Secretary that there was no need to seek guidance from any senior officer for implementing his order with regard to the suspension of Mr Brar. It was established law that action has to be taken when orders are issued by the Election Commissioner. Other departments have chargesheeted about 150 officials and suspended about 20 on the basis of the directions given by the Election Commissioner.


Panel to supervise grants’ distribution
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 6
The Union Government has formed a district-level vigilance committee to supervise development works and process of distribution of grants under various centre-sponsored schemes.

The committee met here for the first time under the chairmanship of MP Zora Singh Mann. Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Hari Singh Zira, MLA, Mr Prakash Singh Bhatti, MLA, Mr Parmjit Singh, former MLA, Mr Gurtej Singh, former MLA, Mr Raminder Singh, DC and other officials participated in the meeting.

Mr Mann said the list of all development works undertaken so far and the list of beneficiaries would be made available to all members. He said continual monitoring would be done to ensure proper utilisation of grants. The use of Rs 89.86 lakh grants under Sampooran Gram Yojna, Rs 241.72 lakh under Gramin Rozgar Yojna, Rs 73.88 lakh under Indira Awas Yojna, Rs 49.80 lakh under Swaran Jayanti Gram Yojna was discussed. Mr Mann said Rs 5 crore had been released under the Prime Minister Sadak Yojna, Rs 212.29 lakh under the Rural Water Supply Scheme and Rs 235.83 lakh under the Border Area Development Programme.

The Deputy Commissioner said a proposal to develop 25,000 acres of wasteland in the district and plant trees on the land had been sent to the Union Government on which Rs 91.50 lakh. would be spent.

Panel to prepare reforms agenda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The first meeting of the newly constituted state appraisal and reforms committee was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Rajan Kashyap, Chief Secretary.

An official spokesman said here that the committee discussed the measures to be taken for preparing a comprehensive strategy for modernisation of the departments concerned. The review of the identified departments in phase I would be completed by month-end.

Four officers — Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Technical Education and Industrial Training; Mr N.S. Kalsi, Director-cum-Secretary, Information Technology; Mrs Vinni Mahajan, Director, Disinvestment, Punjab; and Mr Vishwajeet Khanna, Managing Director, PSIDC; would assist in preparing the strategy and agenda for the committee.


CM’s directive to Chief Secy, DGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today directed the Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap; and the Director-General of Police, Mr M.S. Bhullar, to undertake joint tours to the divisional headquarters regularly to monitor the functioning of the civil and the police administration.

The decision had been taken to redress promptly public grievances. The spokesman pointed out that the Chief Minister also asked the DCs and the Senior Superintendents of Police to reserve at least one day for redressal of public grievances.


PPSC members take oath today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Governor will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the newly inducted members of the Punjab Public Service Commission at Punjab Raj Bhavan tomorrow, an official spokesman said here today.


Rice mill owner arrested for fraud
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 6
The district Vigilance Department yesterday arrested Shanti Swarup Markan, a rice mill owner of Sirhind, under Sections 406 and 409 IPC for allegedly misappropriating paddy belonging to the Punjab Ware Housing Corporation (PSWC) worth over Rs 24 lakh.

Mr P.S. Khaira, DSP, said he would be produced in court tomorrow.

The MD of the PSWC in a letter to the Director (Vigilance) had lodged a complaint against the mill owner partner for the defalcation of paddy of the Central pool.

The mill was supposed to deliver 14852 quintal of rice after milling to the FCI in the account of the PSWC. Out of 44,784 bags of paddy, only 39,420 bags were milled and delivered to the FCI. During verification, 6,214 bags were found missing.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance Department also conducted surprise raids on schools, particularly in the rural areas, to check absenteeism.

At Government High School Pola, only one Punjabi teacher was present while all other teachers, including the headmistress, were absent. The department has written to the education department for action.


Booked for forcing wife into flesh trade
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 6
A woman (22) married Parminder Kumar of Lahri Mahantan village of this subdivision two years ago.

The husband alleged to be jobless and habitual drinker, a month ago took his wife to a tent house in Sunder Chak village for some work. To satisfy his urge of drinking he took Rs 1500 from the tent house owner Babba and allegedly forced his wife to have illicit relations with Babba. When she refused he forced her again and left the place for two hours during which she was allegedly raped by the tent house owner.

Again the husband took her to Bhoya village where Babba raped her again. A request of hers to the husband not to force her into such activities invited the husband wrath & torture.

Truly she reported the matter to the police which booked Parminder and Babba under Sections 376/34 of the IPC.


XEN booked on corruption charge
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 6
The Vigilance Bureau here has booked Mr D.K. Syal, Executive Engineer Gurdaspur division, Upper Bari Doaba Canal, on charges of corruption. A case under various sections of the corruption Act and IPC was registered yesterday at a police station in Jalandhar. Official sources allege that irregularities had been committed in inviting tenders for 32 works by Mr Syal.

A rape case was also registered against the said officer at Pathankot on May 2. The Senior Engineers Association contested it and alleged that the officer had been implicated in a false case at the behest of the land mafia as he had got some land of the Irrigation Department vacated from the mafia in Madhopur area.

Mr R.P.S. Brar, SSP, said today that the Pathankot police has registered the case on the complaint lodged by a woman.


10 travel agents arrested
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 6
The police here has arrested 10 “self-styled” travel agents for cheating persons wanting to go abroad.

Seven cases have been registered against these travel agents at different police stations of the district, said Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP. The accused have been identified as Gurdial Singh, of Golden Avenue, Lovely, Dheena village, Yashpal Bhushan, of Bhargo Camp Jalandhar, Bhupinder Singh of Dilbagh Nagar, Surinder Singh, Basti Nau, Barjinder Singh, Ajit Nagar, Prem Kumar and Naresh Kumar, both of Mehatpur Ladhni near Balachaur, and Tarlock Singh, of Vishnupuri in Delhi.

The SSP said in this year 74 complaints were received against travel agents, while 24 travel agents were arrested for cheating. In case of 32 complaints, the travel agents returned Rs 51 lakh to complainants. The police arrested one person and recovered 1 kg of charas from his possession.

The accused, identified as Mansur Alam of Motihari township in Bihar, was from the Shamshan Ghat road in Nakodar. He revealed that he had been bringing narcotics from Bihar to supply it to drug-peddlars here.

In another case, the police arrested an audio-video shop owner for possessing 819 pirated video, audio CDs.

He was identified as Jaspal Singh, owner of Sonu Audio and Video based at Mallian Khurd village. A case has been registered.


4 held in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 6
Four persons have been arrested in connection with the dowry related death of Kiran, daughter of Mr Baldev Raj Sharma, a resident of Anand Nagri here, police sources said. The body of the victim was brought here from Bhawanigarh late last night. The cremation took place this afternoon.

According to an FIR registered on a complaint of the victim’s brother, Harish Kumar, at the Bhawanigarh police station, Kiran was married to Sanjiv Sharma, son of Tarsem Sharma, on April 17, 2003. Her in-laws allegedly demanded Rs 2 lakh on the first Karva Chauth festival. Kiran’s parents claimed to have given Rs 90,000 by arranging the amount from different sources. Harish alleged that the in-laws forced Kiran to terminate her two months’ pregnancy. After that she was allegedly sent to Abohar. Her parents had to spend Rs 25,000 on her treatment.

The parents alleged that the in-laws were demanding Rs 1 lakh more for their daughter’s marriage. Kiran’s parents borrowed Rs 45,000 from a relative and gave the amount to her in-laws. Last month, Kiran contacted her mother on the phone, stating that she feared for her life. The mother went to the residence of Kiran’s in-laws along with another relative from Nabha a few days ago.

Yesterday, the Sharma family at Anand Nagri here received a telephone call from an unknown person who reported that Kiran had been “murdered”. On reaching Bhawanigarh, they found Kiran’s body hanging from a ceiling fan. The post-mortem was conducted at the Civil Hospital, Sangrur. The police registered a case under Section 304 A of the IPC against the husband Sanjiv Kumar, mother-in-law Kanta Rani, father-in-law Tarsem Sharma and four other relatives.


Dowry case: raids in Jalandhar
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 6
The police has conducted raids in Jalandhar and Ferozepore to arrest Sat Krishna Mehta and her daughter, Madhu Prashar, who were booked along with four NRIs under Sections 420, 406 and 498-B of the IPC on Friday. Madhu Prashar is the Principal at Dev Samaj College for Women Ferozepore.

Ms Rashmi Sharma, the complainant, had alleged that her NRI husband, Bhagat Ram Sharma, her mother-in-law, Prem Rani Sharma, her brother-in-law, Raghunandan Sharma, and Diwakar Sharma, all residents of the UK, a sister of her mother-in-law, Krishna Mehta and her daughter Madhu Prashar tortured her for more dowry.

Meanwhile, one more accused in an NRI murder case was arrested here yesterday. The arrested person has been identified as Manjit Singh of Reru village. Earlier, three persons had been arrested.

The NRI, Mohan Singh of the UK, who had come to attend the marriage of Jaswinder Singh of Reru village, was killed when a bullet hit him at Windsor Palace here on February 23. Bikramjit Singh Khera, a youth leader of the Punjab unit of the Janata Dal, another accused, is still at large.


Fake CDs

Moga, May 6
The Moga district police has arrested Jai Pall of Amit Market under various sections of the Copyright Act for allegedly possessing fake 600 CDs on a complaint of Rubi of East Punjab Distributors, Jalandhar. This was stated by Mr Major Singh, SSP, here on Tuesday. OC


Patwari held on graft charge
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 6
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested a patwari posted at Saidewala in Mansa district for allegedly accepting a bribe from a farmer in return of some favours.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SSP (Vigilance), Bathinda range, in a press note issued here today said the patwari, Jagdish Singh, was arrested yesterday. The patwari had demanded a bribe of Rs 1,300 from a farmer, Mr Mann Singh of Saidewala village for giving him some documents with regard to the latter’s land.

Jagdish Singh had already taken Rs 500 and the rest of the amount was to be given yesterday. He was arrested in the presence of official and private witnesses. A case has been registered under various sections of the PC Act.


142 kg of poppy husk seized

Moga, May 6
The police today claimed to have seized poppy husk weighing 1.42 quintals after it raided a hideout of a smuggler near Mastewala village in this district.

District police chief Major Singh Dhillon said here that the police party while on a patrol duty acted on information that the smuggler, Balkar Singh was distributing and selling poppy husk to addicts.

He said when the police reached the village the suspect escaped under the cover of darkness yesterday. PTI


Female literacy rate falls in dist
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 6
The female literacy rate has fallen from 49 per cent to 42 per cent during the past five years in the district.

This was stated by Dr Puran Singh Jassi, former Director, Health Services, Punjab, while presiding over a function. The function was organised to distribute school bags and exercise notebooks among needy students by the Sangrur Book Bank Samiti, a wing of the Samaj Sewa Manch, at Lajpat Rai Arya Kanya Vidyalaya here today.

Dr Jassi said the fall in the female literacy rate was a matter of concern. He said steps should be taken to increase the female literacy rate. He also stated that the Social Welfare Department, Punjab, had drawn up a special education programme under which societies would be formed at the village level to monitor the education standards and rate of literacy in the state.

Dr Jassi also said the difference in the number of males and females in Punjab was a big challenge to non-government organisations. It would create social problems if female foeticide was not checked effectively, he said. He called upon the NGOs to launch campaigns to create awareness among people against female foeticide. He also said he would try to get a study centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University opened in the district.

Prof Udhey Partap Singh, president of the manch, said folk singers could play a vital role in eradicating social evils like female foeticide, dowry and use of drugs through their songs. He said his NGO would make efforts to increase female literacy rate in the district.

Dr Jassi gave away school bags and notebooks to 90 students.


Girls’ hostel incident: panel formed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 6
A five-member committee was formed at Dental College here today following the incident of an alleged intruder into the girls’ hostel premises late on Sunday night. The Principal, Dr Amarjit Singh Gill, formed the committee comprising Dr Bhupinder Kaur Padda as chairperson, Dr Navneet Grewal, deputy chairperson, Dr Poonam Sekri, Dr Renu Bal and Dr Sukhwinder Pal Singh as members.

The committee will oversee the functioning of the hostel and submit a report.

Meanwhile, the Director Research and Medical Education, has been urged to fill three vacancies of gatekeepers, lying vacant for the past three years. A report in this regard says that the institute is facing difficulty in providing security to the girls’ hostel as employees from other departments have to be deputed to undertake the gate-keeping duties in case of absentee chowkidars. There are only six gatekeepers at present for the entire institute which requires a minimum of nine persons. The Principal has assured to get the boundary walls raised by at least 3 ft for security reasons.


Law school Director threatened
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 6
A father of a student of the School of Law Studies, being run by Guru Nanak Dev University at its Ladhewali Regional Campus here, today created unruly scene and allegedly threatened to kill the institute Director, Dr Daljit Singh, after he found that his ward might not be able to appear in the examination due to shortage of lectures. The school authorities have informed the GNDU Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, about the incident.

According to information, Dr Daljit Singh even tried to pacify the father by explaining that according to norms nothing could be done at this point of time. “As the father heard the explanation of the teacher, he abused the Director and even allegedly threatened to kill him in case his ward failed to appear in the examination,” said a staff member, while requesting anonymity.

The incident occurred in the presence of school staff, stated Dr Daljit Singh in a complaint to the police. The complaint was signed by four members of the staff.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, said he would take action after looking into the matter.

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