Thursday, May 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Powermen’s strike evokes good response
Thermal plant calls Army men for help
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, May 7
Even as the strike of PSEB employees entered the second day today, the local thermal plant authorities have sought the help of Army personnel for work.

The Army personnel have been called for maintaining the supply of coal to the boilers. Sources said the need of the Army personnel was felt as most of the employees in that department were on strike.

The employees on strike claimed that authorities were finding it difficult to maintain the supply of coal and they were running the units at reduced load. However, the authorities say the units are running at full capacity.

The Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant Employees Federation claimed that all members of the federation were on strike. However, the authorities said engineers were not observing strike and more than 40 per cent other employees were on duty.

Mr Gursewak Singh, president of the federation, claimed that the authorities were facing problems due to the strike. He said the government should talk to the employees before taking any decision about the formation of corporation in place of the PSEB.

Mr Gurnam Singh Khialiwala, general secretary, said the PSEB authorities had implemented the decisions taken at a meeting of the employees with the board management. He threatened that if the government did not talk to the employees, more such rallies and dharnas would be held.

Meanwhile, one of the engineers, while claiming that the working of the plant was not affected, said they were doing the jobs of junior employees also so that the generation from the plant did not suffer.

Mr S.C. Mahajan, Chief Engineer of the plant, said there was no problem in running the plant. He said only six Army personnel were called for help. He said they were asked to drive the bulldozers for putting the coal in the boilers. He said the strike did not have any affect on the generation of power from the plant.

Meanwhile, some other unions of the employees of the PSEB also observed strike for the second day today. The Technical Services Union claimed that the employees who had not participated in the strike yesterday joined them today. They claimed that employees working at the cash counters and complaint centres also participated in the strike today.

BATALA: The second-day of the strike by PSEB employees evoked a good response in Batala and Gurdaspur circles.

Mr Ashwani Kumar, joint secretary, PSEB Employees Federation, and Mr Tirath Singh, president, Council of Junior Engineers, Batala Division, criticised the Central Government decision for moving a Bill for the privatisation of the PSEB.

HOSHIARPUR: PSEB employees of Hoshiarpur circle continued their strike for the second day on Wednesday.

Mr Kamaljit Chopra, Superintending Engineer, PSEB, Hoshiarpur, said the strike did not affect the power supply in the circle.

FAZILKA: PSEB employees in Fazilka city, Ladhuka and Khul Khera observed a complete strike here on Wednesday. The employees held rally at the gate of the PSEB office here.

JALALABAD: PSEB employees abstained from work for the second consecutive day on Wednesday.

The employees also held a rally in front of the SDO’s office here. Mr Jagdish Chander, division president while addressing the rally criticised the management for causing huge losses and for its failure to arrange adequate power supply.

The offices of the SDO and the Executive Engineer remained closed as the Ministerial Staff Union joined the strike along with the Technical Staff Union. However, the power supply remained uninterrupted.

PHAGWARA: Streetlights of the local Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Scheme No. 3, a locality of the Improvement Trust, remained on throughout the day on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the strike by PSEB employees. These lights were switched on as usual on Monday night and remained so since the employees went on strike and nobody switched them off.

PATIALA: Operational work was marginally affected due to the strike by PSEB employees even as the board management on Wednesday decided to take disciplinary action against erring employees.

Sources said the operational work was affected in some areas due to the strike, with complaints not being attended to. Besides, they said the board lost out on collecting a revenue of nearly Rs 40 crore across the state, with cash counters remaining closed at most places.

Meanwhile, the impact of the strike was negligible in the PSEB Secretariat, Shakti Vihar, Shakti Sadan and other offices of the board in Patiala. A board release here claimed that the thermal and hydro-generation plants of the board at Ropar, Bathinda, Lehra Mohabat, Joginder Nagar, Pathankot, Talwara and Anandpur Sahib functioned normally.

Board Chairman Y.S. Ratra claimed that the strike passed off peacefully and had virtually no impact on the power supply in the state. He said the board had decided to take disciplinary action against the erring officials.


Punjab CM is ‘most threatened’ VIP, says police
CM’s secret visit to Baba’s ‘dera’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 7
Is Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh “most threatened” VIP?

The answer is yes, if the message flashed to the district police from the state headquarters last evening are any indication.

Yesterday a message was conveyed telephonically to the district police by the state police authorities that a “most threatened” VIP from the Centre would visit Dera Baba Roomiwala located near Bhucho town, 18 km from here tomorrow (On May 7). The police here was directed to keep the visit of the “most threatened” VIP a secret and make fool-proof security arrangements including a helipad, for the chopper of that VIP.

However, the police and civil authorities came to know of the fact today morning that “most threatened” VIP was Chief Minister of the state, Captain Amarinder Singh. The police was not sent any teleprinter message (TPM) by the higher police authorities in connection with today’s visit of Captain Amarinder Singh.

Sources said that Captain Amarinder Singh today visited Dera Baba Roomiwala to pay obeisance and seek blessings. The Chief Minister’s media adviser, Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, accompanied him. Though Captain Amarinder Singh was not “most threatened” VIP, the message was flashed by the state authorities to keep his visit a secret and to keep people and other Congress men away from the Chief Minister.

As the people and Congress men of the area came to know about the visit of the Chief Minister, they started gathering outside the Dera to meet him. However, their movements were restricted and they were directed not to make any demand to Captain Amarinder Singh by the Dera management.

Captain Amarinder Singh, who came at 10.30 a.m. remained in the Dera with its head for half an hour. After coming out from the Dera he headed for his cavalcade of cars and did not meet his confidants, waiting outside. Even some of reporters of Bhucho Mandi, present in the Dera, could not get time from the Chief Minister. Only an elderly person of Mehraj village — the ancestral village of Captain Amarinder Singh, could meet him.

Mr Chahal, said that Captain Amarinder Singh visited the Dera Baba Roomiwala to pay obeisance only and he came back after staying there for a short time as he was to attend other functions else where.

No senior police official of he district, made any comment in connection with the visit of “most threatened” VIP at ‘Dera’ Baba Roomiwala. 


CM to consult Sonia on board, corpn chiefs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Giving due representation to Dalits in his Council of Ministers and the appointment of chairpersons of various boards and corporations are some of the issues which Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh plans to discuss with Congress President, Sonia Gandhi during his next visit to New Delhi from May 14 to 16.

Talking to newsmen here this afternoon, the Chief Minister said: “Everything is ready,” referring to the appointment of chairpersons of boards and corporations. “I just want to discuss the list with the party President before it is declared,” he added.

“I will also discuss the matter of representation to Dalits in the Council of Ministers with Mrs Sonia Gandhi,” he said.

Referring to criticism of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission for ignoring Sikhs, women, Dalits and ruralites, the Chief Minister said “such a thing never occurred to him. Our intention was to bring the best people to the top. Mr Badal did make a point but he had signed the recommendation,” he added.


Vigilance raids chemist shops
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Raids by the state Vigilance Bureau detected serious irregularities in the execution of a major sewerage project in the city besides confiscating large stocks of spurious and substandard medicines and life-saving drugs from reputed chemists here today.

The raids, which were carried simultaneously at more over 12 locations including the premises of leading chemists, went on late in the evening and officials disclosed that they were “on the right track” since the information provided to them had proved true. While the “poor and shoddy construction” was visible to the naked eye in the case of the sewerage project, raids on the premises of the chemists yielded large stocks of spurious and medicines date of which had passed.

The entire operation was supervised by Mr V. K. Uppal, DIG, Vigilance, who was assisted by Mr K. S. Sandhu, SSP, Vigilance, Ludhiana, and Mr D. S. Kahlon, SP, Vigilance, Chandigarh. The material seized has been sealed and will be sent for analysis at the government laboratory. Similarly, the medicines will also be subjected to tests and samples have been despatched for further tests.

According to Mr Sandhu, they had received information that the city had become the hub of the sale of substandard and spurious medicines.

The chemists run their business from the Pindi Street and vicinity of the local CMC and some of them reportedly have good political links.

The SSP said private chemist shops had been raided since many of those supplied medicines to the government institutions and to see if there was any nexus between the suppliers and Health Department officials. He refused to comment on this angle but said they were examining all possibilities and a clearer picture would emerge once they went through the seized records.

On the Rs 150. 61-crore sewerage project being executed by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board on Dhaba Road and Punjab Mata Nagar on Pakhowal Road, he said they had received a tip-off that large-scale irregularities were taking place in the project. So far only works worth Rs 20 crore had been completed.

Sleuths of the department raided various sites and also sealed the records pertaining to the project. “We have seized several receipt and dispatch registers. The ledgers are incomplete and we do not rule out the fact that they have been left out for making entries from a previous date,” he pointed out.

The parties also saw that at many places the locally available sand was being used in place of the one from the Ghaggar bed and the bricks used to line the trenches were also of poor quality. The pipes being laid did not conform to the specifications and at many places no gravel had been laid at foundations before laying the pipes.

Meanwhile, there was panic among the chemists fraternity as word about the raids spread. Many big shopkeepers shut down their shops in apprehension of their premises being raided too. The main gate of the board-office too was locked during the raids. Several senior board officers connected with the project were questioned about various aspects by a technical team which had accompanied the Vigilance Bureau team from Chandigarh.


When Indian handball team visited shrine
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
‘Gurdwara’, “the Guru’s door” or “by means of the Guru’s grace”; the Sikh place of worship i.e. the temple or room in which Guru Granth Sahib is kept, reads Sikh History and Religion in the Twentieth Century by Joseph T. O’Connell, Milton Israel, Willard G. Oxtoby with visiting editors — WH McLeod and J.S. Grewal.

This definition of “gurdwara” given by these Sikh scholars becomes relevant in wake of the controversy over Guru Nanak Dev’s monument in Baghdad .

India’s national handball team, which undertook a tour of Iraq in 1989 — perhaps the last by any Indian sports contingent to that country — visited the “shrine” at the instance of the then India’s Ambassador to Iraq, Dr Sangat Singh.

Mr Teja Singh Dhaliwal, Manager of the Indian team, told The Tribune that “Since Dr Sangat Singh came from my home district of Ludhiana, we accepted his advice and visited Guru Nanak’s shrine located opposite Baghdad-Samara railway station. We were given a brochure carrying details about its history.”

“We were confused whether to call that shrine a gurdwara or just a monument as there was no Guru Granth Sahib there that day,” recalls Mr Teja Singh Dhaliwal. “Besides, there was no ‘Nishan Sahib’ — Sikh flag over a gurdwara — either. It is a big hall, about 20 feet long, adjoining two platforms — one from where Guru Nanak had preached during his four-month sojourn in Baghdad and the other where Pir Bahlol Dana, a Sufi saint, was buried. It was the wish of the Pir Bahlol Dana that he should be buried beside the platform from where the Guru had preached.

Those who have visited historic Sikh shrines in Pakistan must be aware that many of these have neither any “parkash of Guru Granth Sahib” or “any Nishan Sahib” there. A “gurdwara” is normally required to have both. It was Guru Hargobind Singh, who introduced the concept of “Nishan Sahib” to beckon one and all, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion.

Mr Dhaliwal, who possesses a copy of the brochure given to him in 1989, says that it carries a lot of details about the history and importance of the shrine. It quotes Sikh historians like Khushwant Singh and Dr Gopal Singh. It also quotes Swami Anandacharya who recorded beautifully the inscription seen by him in Baghdad: “Here spake Hindu Guru Nanak to Faqir Bahlol; and for these sixty winters since the Guru left, the soul of Bahlol has rested on the Master’s word, like a bee epoised on a dawn lit honey rose”.

The brochure records that after many years of obscurity, it was only in 1917 during World War I that some Sikh soldiers discovered the tomb of Pir Bahlol Dana and the Turkish inscription referring to Guru Nanak. This was made public by Subedar Fateh Singh through a printed letter he issued from Baghdad on May 9, 1918. Translated, the inscription reads as follows :

“Murad saw the demolished building of Hazrat Rab-i-Majid, Baba Nanak, Fakir Aulia and rebuilt it with his own hands so that the historic memorial may continue from generation and the Murid-i-saeed (the blessed disciple) may obtain heavenly bliss”.

Year 927 Hijri (1520 A.D.)

The brochure further says that the present shrine was constructed in April, 1943, by a company of an Indian Engineers Sikh Regiment. Additions and renovations have been made since then by Indian construction companies working in Iraq.


MLA shines shoes to fund road repair
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Garhshankar, May 7
People at the bus-stop here today witnessed unusual scene — local BJP MLA, Avinash Rai Khanna, shining people’s shoes and requesting them to donate money for the repair of the pot-holed 43 km-long-stretch of the Garhshankar - Hoshiarpur road. A good number of BJP activists and people from other walks of life were helping him in his road-repair mission.

As lawyers, students, employees and others lined up to put money in the donation box, Mr Khanna collected thousand of rupees in a short period.

Mr Khanna, who seems to be clever politician, has been trying to kill two birds with one stone by starting the shoe-shining drive. On the one hand he is trying to prove that he feels concerned about the problems of people in his constituency and prepared to go to any length to redress these. On the other hand he is delivering a political message that the Congress government is indifferent and insensitive to people’s suffering.

Mr Khanna, was joined by BJP’s state unit president, Brij Lal Rinwa for a while. He also contributed to Rs 1000 as symbolic help to Mr Khanna’s drive. Speaking to The Tribune, Mr Rinwa, said that Mr Khanna had left with no choice but to collect money by shoe-shining. It was a “constructive act” on his part, he added. Otherwise, at most places, politicians do nothing but stage routine dharna to protest against government’s inaction .

Mr Rinwa said that such a drive would awaken the government and provide a chance to Mr Khanna to make the people aware that official machinery was doing nothing for them. When told that some people said that it was a “political stunt” for gaining publicity by the BJP, Mr Rinwa said that there were several other ways to earn publicity. One could be in headlines by squatting in the road and blocking traffic. “It was not a political stunt but a small effort to do something for people”, said Mr Rinwa.

Mr Khanna said that before starting the shoe-shining drive, he knocked at every official door to get the road repaired. I raised the issue in the Punjab Assembly a number of times, made a request to the Chief Minister and the Minister concerned, but all this made no difference. The road’s condition had been worsening. Several fatal accidents have taken place in the past few months. The road has become a nightmare for the drivers of heavy vehicles especially trucks.

“After spending a day here , I will proceed to Golian tomorrow and next day to Satnaur, Saila Tutomajra, Mahilpur and Chabbewal etc. I will not stop the drive till I collect nearly Rs 10 lakh required for patchwork of the road”, he added. “I will involve school and college students, members of truck, tempo and taxi-stand unions in this drive and ask them to donate, he said. I am certain that I would succeed in my mission”, he added. And the response he had today, it seems that it is not difficult for him to collect Rs 10 lakh.


Policy panel on influx of migrant labour
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 7
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said that he would approach Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi to secure the release of a local girl who was being held in captivity by supporters of a Bihar BJP MP, even as he announced the formation of a Cabinet sub-committee to form a policy to streamline the influx of migratory labour in the state.

Talking to newsmen here after addressing a rally organised by Mayor Vishnu Sharma before which he inaugurated work on a Rs 126 crore water supply and sewerage project, the Chief Minister said he had received a report from Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal about the kidnapping of a girl from the city to Bihar. He said it had been brought to his notice that the abductors were being shielded by the Motihari MP, Mr Radhey Mohan, and that a Patiala police team, which had gone to retrieve the girl, had been insulted and sent back. He said he would, however, take up the matter with the Bihar Chief Minister personally and get the girl released.

According to a report sent to the Chief Minister by the SSP, the minor girl had been kidnapped by Chunnu, a migrant labourer. The report said the girl was being kept in confinement by supporters of the MP. It said when a police party, led by a Sub-Inspector, had gone to rescue the girl, it was insulted and told to release a close relative of the accused, who is at present in police custody, if it wanted to get the girl released from their custody. The report said a maternal uncle of the girl, Satpal, who had gone to Chakia in the Motihari constituency in connection with the release of the girl, had also been kept under illegal confinement by henchmen of the MP for a few days before being released.

The Chief Minister also announced that a Cabinet sub-committee had been formed to suggest ways to channelise as well as keep a constant check on migrant labour coming to the state annually from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Finance Minister Lal Singh, who was present at the press conference, said the committee was thinking on the lines of issuing identity cards to all migrant labour upon their entry into the state. He said the identity card would be essential for a labourer to get work in the state. Other steps would also be taken to ensure that incidents of robbery and dacoitees by migrant labour did not happen in the state.

Earlier, while speaking at the rally held at Vir Haqiqat Rai School, the Chief Minister said Rs 126 crore would be spent on the National Capital Region water supply and sewerage project. He said Rs 60 crore would be spent during the first phase of the project which would include laying of 173 km of distribution pipes for water supply and 120 km of pipe sewer for sewerage and sewerage treatment plant. He said besides this an Information and Biotechnological Park would be set up in an area of 300 acres at Baran at a cost of Rs 66 crore.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) had chalked out an ambitious programme at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore for strengthening and upgrading of the existing infrastructure during the “development year of 2003’’. He said under this project, work on the construction of roads and railway overbridges would be undertaken.

Earlier, Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh, speaking at the rally said water and sewerage works would be completed in a time-bound manner. Patiala MP Preneet Kaur said augmentation of water supply and laying of sewerage facilities in a time span of two years would result in considerable improvement in the living conditions at Patiala, specially the outer colonies. Others present on the occasion were Finance Minister Lal Singh, senior leader Sant Ram Singla, Mayor Vishnu Sharma and District Congress (Urban) President Ved Prakash Gupta.


Protesting ABVP students lathicharged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 7
The police allegedly resorted to a mild lathi charge on students who were about to set afire the effigy of the Punjab Government in protest against “anti-education policies and fee hike”.

Today was the first day of the week-long protest announced by students against the government policies. Two students — Raghu of Class XII and Rohit of Class X — were allegedly hit by lathis on the elbow and hips.

According to eyewitnesses, the police snatched the effigy, posters and banners carried by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members in the Hall Gate area and used the lathis to disperse the students.

However, Inspector Prabhjot Singh, manning the security in the area, denied having used lathis on students. He said they had merely tried to disperse them as they had not obtained the permission to hold a demonstration by the Deputy Commissioner.

Mr Suraj Bhardwaj, state executive member of the ABVP, condemned the action of the police.


2 more sworn in PPSC members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Dr Ajaib Singh and Mr Bakshi Ram were sworn in as members of the Punjab Public Service Commission by the Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob(retd), at Punjab Raj Bhavan this afternoon. With their appointment, the number of members of the commission, including the Chairman, has gone up to seven.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and members of his Council of Ministers, senior civil and police officers, lawyers and others were present at the ceremony.

Both Dr Ajaib Singh and Mr Bakshi Ram took the oath of office, secrecy and allegiance to the Constitution in English. Members of the families of the new members and their friends were specially invited to witness the ceremony.

Dr Ajaib Singh, a Senator and a Syndic of Panjab University, belongs to Gobindpura Papra village in Moonak Tehsil of Sangrur district while Mr Bakshi Ram, who sought voluntary retirement as Additional Director-General of Police, Punjab, comes from Noorpur Brahmana village in Hoshiarpur district.


Three Independent MLAs form separate group
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Three Independent MLAs — Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Mrar (Muktsar), Mr Harmeet Singh Sandhu (Tarn Taran) and Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar (Rampura Phul) — today parted company with two other Independent MLAs — Mr Suchha Singh Chottepur (Dhariwal) and Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh (Talwandi Sabo) — and formed a separate group in the Punjab Assembly.

Addressing a press conference here at the MLAs’ Hostel, the three MLAs said they had elected Mr Mrar as their leader in the Punjab Assembly and a request in this connection was today submitted to the Speaker, who formally recognised the group.

Earlier, there was a group of five Independent MLAs and it was headed by Mr Chottepur in the assembly. Difference cropped up in the group after the organisation of a political conference by Mr Chottepur and Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh in collaboration with the Panthic Dal on Baisakhi in Talwandi Sabo in April.

Mr Mrar and others said they would maintain the policy of equidistance from the ruling Congress as well as the main opposition party headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

They said Mr Chottepur had close association with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and was annoyed with Mr Badal. “It did not suit us politically,” they added. When asked whether they would indirectly support Mr Badal, they said there was no question of extending support to him. “We would take every issue on merit and decide whom to support”, they asserted.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, who was earlier an active member of Mr Badal’s party, denied that he had ever contacted Mr Badal after the assembly elections. “As Badal did not give me the party ticket in the assembly elections.

I severed all political ties with him”, said Mr Kangar. When asked which party they would support in the Lok Sabha elections, the three legislators said that no decision had yet been taken in this connection.


Cong infighting comes to fore
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 7
Infighting among district Congressmen here came to the fore when six of its 12 Zila Parishad members, including chairmen of two block samitis Faridkot and Kot Kapura, did not attend the Zila Parishad meeting held today. The absentees include Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Sukhmander Singh, Mr Harbans Singh, Mrs Sonia, all Zila Parishad members, and Mrs Shinderpal Kaur and Mr Surinder Pal Singh, Chairperson and Chairman, Block Samitis, Kot Kapura and Faridkot, respectively. Those who attended the meeting include Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Harcharan Singh, Mrs Manjit Kaur, Mr Harkirat Singh and Mr Kuldip Singh Chameli and Mrs Harbans Kaur, both chairman and vice-chairperson, Zila Parishad, respectively.

According to reports available it was the first meeting held to clear the annual budget of the Zila Parishad and block samitis. Mr Kuldip Singh Chameli chaired the meeting. Dr Harkesh Singh Sidhu, ADC, also attended the meeting. However, the meeting was postponed in the absence of proper decorum.

Refuting any difference among the members Mr Chameli clarified that Mrs Sonia did not attend the meeting due to illness and had informed him. Moreover, Mr Harbans Singh was also not feeling well and had expressed his inability to attend the meeting, he added.

Dr Harkesh Singh Sidhu said the meeting was convened at 11 a.m. and after waiting for more than two hours it was postponed. The next date will be announced shortly.


PPCC media secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Mr Raj Pal Singh has been appointed Secretary (media) of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee by President H.S. Hanspal while Mr Lakhwinder Singh has been appointed political secretary to the PPCC chief, according to Mr Upender Sharma, general secretary of the PPCC.


IHRO takes up issue with state panel

Ludhiana, May 7
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has taken up the sexual harassment case of an ad hoc lecturer of local Government College for Boys with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC).

The lecturer, Ms Anurag Gill, resigned in protest against humiliating, intimidating and derogatory role of the Principal and his coterie of teachers.

The PSHRC Chairperson, Mr N.C. Jain, while taking cognisance of the matter has asked the Principal Secretary, Home and Inspector General, Litigation, Punjab, to inquire into the matter and submit their report to the commission within four weeks. The notices to this effect, along with copies of the complaint, were sent through special messenger on May 5.

The copy of the notice was being sent through registered AD post separately to the District Police Chief, Ludhiana, for personally looking into the matter and submitting his report by June 24.

IHRO chairperson D S Gill said here the commission had ordered that pendency of the complaint would not be a bar for the Education Department to take action as it deemed fit on the basis of either a complaint by the petitioner or others who were concerned with the matter.

The IHRO took up the case on behalf of Ms Gill against the college Principal V.P. Gaur and others, including Prof Prithipal Singh Sohi, pleading for justice. She had alleged that justice had been denied to her because the offender was having a strong clout in the Education Department and an administrative influence on the staff members, who had ganged up against her.

Ms Gill alleged that the police investigated the matter since the college authorities had miserably failed to take the case against the guilty students.

Urging the commission that the police be directed to start criminal proceedings against the Principal and his coterie, the IHRO chairperson also pleaded that Punjab Education Minister be asked to start departmental action against the offenders.

The IHRO secretary (Public Relations), Ms Inderjeet Kaur said the Education Minister had been approached separately for demanding departmental action against the principal and his coterie, and Ms Gill would not take back her ‘protest’ resignation unless and until the Principal was transferred. UNI 


Court wants CBI to investigate termination case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today expressed the hope that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would rise to the occasion and investigate the Panchayat Secretaries termination case.

A Division Bench of the high court, Chief Justice Mr B.K. Roy and Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi, also expressed the hope that the CBI would write to the Government of India for additional funds and resources and the same would be objectively considered. The case will now come up for further hearing on August 13. The judges also fixed May 19 as the next date of hearing arguments on an application seeking the grant of stay on the operation of the termination orders.

Earlier during the proceedings, a notification issued by the Punjab Government giving consent for a CBI probe was handed over to the Bench. CBI’s standing counsel, Rajan Gupta, however, told the court that CBI’s resources were already over-stressed because of so many cases handed over to the agency. Moreover, no central government employee was involved in the matter.

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

Seeking the quashing of an order dated December 10 vide which the services of 909 secretaries were sought to be terminated, the petitioners had added that the same was illegal and arbitrary.

Notice issued

Admitting a petition filed by Dr Rattan Singh and seven other MLAs seeking directions for the registration of a first information report against Punjab minister Lal Singh, Member of Parliament Shamsher Singh Dullo, besides former minister Balmukand Sharma and Lakhmir Sing h and others was also admitted by a Division Bench of the high court.

In their petition, the MLAs had earlier claimed that the FIR should be registered on the basis of findings and recommendations of the Lok Pal in its reports. Directions for investigating the matter before submitting the challan in the court of competent jurisdiction were also sought, along with directions for prosecuting the four in accordance with law.

The MLAs had added that the investigation in the matter should be conducted by an independent agency and by officers of integrity as the “present set-up of the Punjab Vigilance Department did not inspire confidence.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioners had asserted that the Lok Pal, acting on a number of complaints alleging misconduct, had submitted separate reports “indicting” four Congress ministers of the Beant Singh government for misconduct and abuse of power.

In the other petition, the MLAs had stated that the revamping should be done by posting competent officers of integrity who would discharge their duties in a fair and objective manner regardless of political pressure or the status of the accused. Claiming that the former Chief Justice had adversely commented upon the department’s functioning, they had added that the officials were currently working to suit the whims and fancies of the ruling party and the Chief Minister.

Orders on May 9

Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the high court fixed May 9 for orders on petitions seeking the grant of an anticipatory bail filed by a doctor and a manager of the hospital concerned.

The duo was apprehending arrest in two first information reports registered by the police. Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Dr Bhushan Aggarwal, in his petition, had contended that he was not practising with the hospital as he was an employee of the state government and was just an “observing doctor”.

In his petition, manager Hardial Mehta asserted that he was not named in the FIR. Moreover, no role had been attributed to him. Arguing before the court, his counsel added that the petitioner was ready to surrender if his role could be shown. He further said that the petitioner was merely working as a manager.

Petitions dismissed

Anticipatory bail petitions filed by a retired Chief Engineer and two other officers in the alleged tubewell scam were dismissed by Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the high court.

The three — retired Chief Engineer Chanan Singh Kahlon, besides Rajinder Singh and Vijay Kumar Mittal — were apprehending arrest in a first information report registered at Gidderbaha police station in Muktsar district. According to the prosecution, a large scale bungling had taken place in the installation of 500 anti-logging tubewells in Malout, Muktsar and Faridkot. After hearing the arguments, Mr Justice Amar Dutt ruled: “The inquiry has been completed and the relevant record taken into the custody, but these would not be sufficient grounds for denying the investigating agency the custody of the petitioner when they want to interrogate about the circumstances in which the alleged offences were committed”.


MLA files suit against ex-minister
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 7
Talwandi Sabo MLA Jeet Mohinder Singh has filed a Rs 2-crore defamation suit against former minister Harminder Singh Jassi and a Punjabi daily, claiming that both of them had connived to defame him and his family by stating that his father, former Punjab Public Service Commissioner Chairman Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, had amassed properties worth Rs 160 crore.

The suit, which was filed in the court of Civil Judge, Senior Division, stated that it was alleged in an article published in the Punjabi daily that the family of Mr Bhupinder Singh Sidhu owned hundreds of acres of land at Jharoli village. It was also alleged that during the last election in which Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh had stood as an Independent, money had been distributed by him to secure votes.

The application said the “false” information was provided to the newspaper by Mr Jassi, who had fought and lost the elections from Talwandi Sabo on a Congress ticket. He claimed that this had been done to give credence to the election petition filed by Mr Jassi which had been filed much before publication of the news. He said in the petition the same allegations had been repeated, which showed that the newspaper had been used to create and fabricate evidence against the plaintiff.

The application said neither Mr Jassi nor the newspaper had contradicted the “false and politically motivated” news item despite the fact that the plaintiff and his father had held a press conference to deny all charges. Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh submitted a court fee stamp of Rs 1.97 lakh along with the application.

The court has given a notice to both Mr Jassi and the Punjabi newspaper for July 27 in this connection.


Ex-Jathedar case: hearing on May 29
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 7
The next date of hearing in the case of a former Jathedar, Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, was fixed May 29, while the status quo on appointment of new Jathedar in his place was extended by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, comprising Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, Chairman, and Mr Raghbir Singh, member, here yesterday.

Counsel for the complainant, Capt Channan Singh Sidhu, president, Sikh Forum, Punjab, filed a reply in response to the application filed by the SGPC that the petition was not maintainable. It was stated on behalf of the SGPC that service matters of an SGPC employee could not be challenged by the employees. It was also stated in the application on behalf of the SGPC employees that a notice was mandatory to be issued to the SGPC for the institution of a petition under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

The reply filed by the counsel for the complainant stated that the case had not been filed by Prof Manjit Singh but by Capt Channan Singh Sidhu. It was also responded that since the opposite party in the case had been named in their personal capacities, no notice was required to be issued before filing the petition.


Remand of PMT scam accused extended
Tribune Reporters

Kharar, May 7
Devinder Singh, alias Pappu, the prime accused in the PMT scam, was today sent to further police remand till May 8 by the Judicial Magistrate here, Mrs Harinder Sidhu, in another case.

Public prosecutor Jathinderjeet Singh Punn and ASI Jarnail Singh appeared on behalf of the state and while demanding a police remand informed the court that the accuse had set up a factory at Bad Majra village after taking a loan of over Rs 49 lakh from Punjab Financial Corporation. However, the hypothecated machinery was subsequently removed from the factory, they added. They said since the accused was a heart patient and his ECG was done, he could not be questioned much yesterday.

Meanwhile, the accused has been remanded in judicial custody till May 20 by the same court in connection with another case registered against him under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, 506 and 504, IPC. They informed the court that the accused along with his wife and sons sold out the same plot twice at Bad Majra village.


Case filed against Bihar MP
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 7
The Patiala police has included the name of Bihar BJP MP Radhey Mohan in the case involving the kidnapping of a minor girl from the city, accusing him of conniving with the culprits.

According to police sources, Section 120(B) IPC has been slapped against the Motihari Lok Sabha constituency MP.


Chahal’s bail plea rejected

Ropar, May 7
A court here today rejected the bail application of G.S. Chahal, former Director, Animal Husbandry, Punjab, booked for corruption. In the similar case the bail application of Harman Singh, former reader in the Vigilance Bureau Department who has been accused of passing secret information to Mr G.S. Chahal, was, however, accepted. OC


300 trees axed at cremation ground
Tribune Reporters

Gill Patti (Bathinda), May 7
At least 300 trees, including some full-grown ones and some planted by the state Forest Minister, Dr Harbans Lal, about a year ago, were uprooted and remains of the body of a small boy got exposed when tractors with ploughs were pressed into service at the local cremation ground allegedly by Mr Akbar Singh, husband of Mrs Paramjit Kaur, local Sarpanch, with the help of Sant Baba Borewala and a small section of local residents.

After the incident, tension gripped the village and a section of its residents managed to stop the Akali leaders from continuing with the operations. By the time, the tractors were stopped, hundreds of trees, including the newly planted ones which were about four to five feet high, were uprooted.

Mr Jagjit Kumar, member, Block Samiti, and senior Congress leader, and Mr Babu Singh, former Sarpanch of the village, alleged that Mr Akbar Singh and his associates had uprooted the trees from the cremation ground in their bid to grab it. They alleged that earlier Mr Akbar Singh had given the local cow shelter of the panchayat to the Jain Sabha on lease for 99 years.

They added that they had moved an application for the registration of a criminal case against the culprits who were being supported by a senior Congress leader, who claimed himself to be a close confidant of a party central leader.

Mr Akbar Singh said only three trees were uprooted when the tractors were levelling the cremation ground. He denied that remains of any body were exposed when the tractors were ploughing the cremation ground. He pointed out that as per the law, a panchayat could uproot 10 trees, situated on its land, any time after passing a resolution in this connection.

He said all those trees which were planted by Dr Hanbans Lal had wilted away due to high temperature and were not uprooted by anybody. He denied the charges that the cremation ground was levelled by Sant Baba Borewala with a motive to grab it.

Mr Gurdev Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Thermal Plant police station, under whose jurisdiction Gill Patti village falls, while confirming the receipt of an application against Mr Akbar Singh and others said the application had been forwarded to the concerned Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) as the matter was connected with the panchayat affairs and the police had nothing go do with it.

Meanwhile, Mr Jagjit Kumar said he had brought the matter to the notice of Dr Harbans Lal.


Patiala to have rail overbridge
CM announces development projects
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 7
It was bonanza time today at the mass contact rally organised in the city to announce various development schemes for the town, with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, announcing that work on the proposed overbridge at Railway Crossing Number 22 would start on July 1 and will be completed in three months.

The Chief Minister also announced a number of other developmental projects for the city at the rally held in the Vir Haqiqat Rai ground near the bus stand which was organised by city Mayor Vishnu Sharma. He said two roads coming into Patiala from the Sirhind and Sangrur sides would be four-laned. He said the four-laning would be done from Baran village to Dukhniwaran Gurdwara on the Sirhind road and from Bhakra Main Line canal to the Fountain Chowk on the Sangrur road. He said the Nabha and Bhadson roads would also be broadened.

Speaking about Railway Crossing Number 22, the Chief Minister said all care would be taken to guard the interests of shopkeepers who had built shops on the both sides of the Railway Crossing. He said it had been decided to complete the work in three months. Besides this, he said the space beneath the overbridge would be landscaped, besides creating parking facilities for people coming to the market.

He said the water supply was also being augmented in the city adding that new tubewells had been dug up in areas where there was a shortage of water. He said besides this all old water tanks had been repaired to ensure that there was sufficient water pressure in the summer months. He said along with this a major beautification drive had been started under which a nature trail was being constructed along the Jail Road.

The Chief Minister also announced that required funds would be provided for the restoration of the Quila Mubarak. He said a lot of interest had been generated about the Quila following the Heritage Festival organised in the city in February following which the government had decided to take on the restoration of the monument in a big way. He said besides this old buildings which would be vacated following the construction of the Mini Secretariat would be utilised for heritage purposes.


Policemen moot counselling sessions
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 7
The Ferozepore police has embarked on a programme to settle cases pertaining to marital disputes and other crimes related to physical, emotional and mental abuse of women through counselling sessions. In this connection, a workshop was organised today, in which Dr Ravinder Kala, an eminent psychiatrist, delivered the keynote address.

Dr Kala said respect for women was a strong element of Indian tradition, but unfortunately this was not the case anymore. She said the reality was one of deep-rooted societal prejudices, practices and customs that had led to discrimination against women. She said the counselling sessions planned by the police were aimed at having an interface between the police and clients, especially those who were facing marital problems. She said due to the fear and awe of the men in uniform, certain atrocities and other cases of sexual abuse against women went unreported.

Dr Kala, associated with the Ludhiana police for several years now, said she had dealt with more than 2,000 cases pertaining to marital disputes. She said through counselling sessions, around 60 per cent of the cases had been solved and in 20 per cent cases divorcee was recommended.

Mr Praveen Sinha, SSP, Ms Kalpana Naik, SP, Headquarters, doctors, advocates, social workers and mediapersons were invited for an interactive session.

Mr Sinha said during 2002-03, 407 complaints received by the police were settled out of court amicably. Bolstered by this, the police had mooted this proposal so that cases related to marital disputes and dowry demands could be settled. Mr Sinha said 25 persons had been selected and six counselling groups formed. He said the police was creating a separate counselling cell on the premises of the women police station, wherein all marital and related disputes would be referred to counselling groups for settlement.

Ms Kalpana Naik said all counsellors would meet twice a week to discuss the cases referred to them. 


Alive man declared dead
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 7
A strange situation arose during the lok darbar of the Deputy Commissioner when one Hardial Singh of Railon village gave him an application alleging that the local Social Security Office had declared him dead and stopped his old-age pension.

The Deputy Commissioner order-ed an inquiry into the case.

Mr Hardial Singh said the pension had been sanctioned vide PLA no. 36575 (on January 10, 2002), and he had opened a joint account with the department concerned in Punjab National Bank at Nandpur Kalour. For the past one year, he received no pension, and when he contacted the office to know the reason.

He was told that he had been declared dead in the records of the department and his pension had been stopped. Officials refused to believe that he was alive and said his death had been established in the investigation conducted by the department. 


Docs call Punjab Medical Council poll mockery
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 7
Terming the election process for the revival of the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) after more than 20 years as a “mockery” the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) and a faction of the Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is opposing the election as names of more than 75 per cent doctors registered with the PMC are not on the electoral rolls of the PMC.

Dr Surinder Singla, general secretary of the state units of the PCMSA and the IMA, said here today that doctors now wanted to get their names enrolled on the voters’ list for participating in the elections.

Dr Singla said the PCMSA state president, Dr Hardeep Singh, had sent a representation to Capt Amarinder Singh, damanding removal of the returning officer for the alleged lapses in the preparation of electoral rolls. He had also urged the Chief Minister to allow all doctors, registered with the PMC, to cast their votes.

He added that on the other hand a few candidates were not in favour of providing the right to vote to those doctors who had not responded to the notices of the PMC for getting themselves enrolled as a voter. He rejected the demand of such candidates by saying that the PMC needed a minimum number of voters to make it a credible body.


‘Women quota in elected bodies not needed’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 7
Mr Rajbir Singh Sidhu, general secretary, and Mr Suresh Kumar Goyal, organising secretary of the General Samaj Party, respectively, in a joint statement issued here today said that there was no need to give reservation to women in elected bodies. Rather they should be encouraged to compete with men.

They said that instead of providing reservations, a level playing field should be provided to women to compete with men in elections. They alleged that no political party had any clear-cut ideology or policy on reservations — whether for women or on the basis of caste. They alleged that even as all political parties had been cashing in on caste-based reservation and were advocating reservations for women in elected bodies, they had failed to develop a consensus on the issue as it was seen in different perspectives among them.

They alleged that reservations for women would open another door for criminals whose wives would contest from these seats and they would rule by proxy. They claimed that the phenomenon was evident from the village to the highest level throughout the country. They urged the people to join hands to fight against a caste-based reservation policy and eradicate casteism from society.

The leaders condemned the ban on the entry of a section of people in some religious places in Patiala and Jalandhar as reported in a section of the Press.


New Rajdhani coaches in June
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 7
Passengers of the Rajdhani Express on the Delhi-Mumbai section will experience a more comfortable ride in the new German-designed coaches built by the Rail Coach Factory (RCF), here by the end of June.

This was disclosed here today by Railway Board Member (Mechanical) S. Dhesarathy who visited the RCF to inspect the production of new coaches. He disclosed that the RCF would shift fully to the new German-designed high speed coaches within three years.

The RCF General Manager, Mr M. Sirajuddin, disclosed that the RCF coaches would roll out the second rake of 16 high-speed coaches by mid-June. He said the RCF would manufacture 126 coaches of the new design this year.


Reception awaits Pak MPs

Amritsar, May 7
Thirteen members of Pakistan’s National Assembly led by Mr Ishak Khan Khakhwali will visit India through Wagah Check Post on a peace mission. They will be received on the border by activists of the Folklore Society India and Pakistan friendship and other organisations.

The delegation would visit the Golden Temple to pay obeisance, and visit Jallianwala Bagh. This was stated in a joint press release by Dr Jarinderpal Singh Jolly, Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu and Mr Ramesh Yadav. TNS


India’s peace move hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The Aalmi Punjabi Parivar has hailed the bold and positive moves by India and Pakistan as a new beginning towards the normalisation of relations between the two countries.

In a resolution adopted at its meeting here today, the Parivar, a non-political organisation, committed to fostering cultural ties between India and Pakistan, urged the governments of both countries to carry forward the latest initiative.

The reopening of rail, road and air links between the two neighbours would be a major confidence-building measure, parivar president and former Punjab minister, Harnek Singh Gharuan said in a press statement.

In another resolution the Pariwar said it was earnestly looking forward to restarting its cultural exchange activities between India and Pakistan. In 2001, a 30-member delegation of top Pakistani artistes had performed a cultural show in memory of renowned Pakistani singer Noorjehan in Chandigarh at the invitation of the parivar. 


Ex-ASI’s murder case: panel formed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 7
A three-member committee has been constituted in a sensational murder case in which a retired ASI, a resident of Rana Garden in Maqboolpura area, was kidnapped and murdered on May 3.

The committee headed by Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SP, City I, includes Mr Teja, DSP, line, and an SHO of Sultanwind police station.

While the main accused is still at large, the police had arrested his nephew Vikramjit Singh in this connection.


Ex-minister hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 7
Former Punjab Higher Education Minister Mohan Lal was injured in a road accident yesterday.

According to Mr Lal, his scooter skidded on the road and he fell down, resulting in a fracture in his arm.

Doctors operated upon his broken arm and plastered it.


Soldier cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, May 7
Gurjant Singh, a jawan of Indian Army killed fighting militants in the Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir some days ago was cremated at his Khokhar village in the district today.

A jawan of 11 Sikh Infantry Battalion Gurjant Singh was at old Tingri post when he was killed. He was cremated with full Army honours. An Army contingent reversed the arms in his honour. Col Dinesh Kumar, Administrative Commandant Station Headquarter, Faridkot, Major Charanjeet Singh, Capt Subash Mohato. Deputy Commissioner, Ms Usha R. Sharma represented the Punjab Government.

Gurjant Singh (22) joined Army in 1999.


New phone exchange

Jalandhar, May 7
The General Manager (Telecom), Mr K.C. Jindal, said today that the telephone numbers with level “2292”, presently working from Industrial Area exchange would be transferred to the newly installed Siemens exchange from tomorrow. He added that though telephone numbers would remain unchanged, the subscribers would have to register their secret codes afresh to lock and unlock the connection. OC


Teams to check sale of fake seed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 7
Majority of the farmers in this belt have sown cotton including BT cotton after buying the seed from registered and unregistered seed traders in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Agriculture Department officials here took notice of the problem of fake cotton seed formed two teams to check the menace of fake seed.

Mr Harwinder Singh Bhatti, Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO), in a press note here yesterday, said that the two teams would check at least five seed shops a day to check the sale of fake cotton seed in the district. Apart from it, the farmers have been requested to keep watch on the sale of BT cotton seed in rural areas by moving from one village to other in jeeps.

Farmers of the cotton belt in Punjab have been facing American bollworm attack on cotton crop for the past seven years.

They become aware of the BT cotton and were keen to have its seed for Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat for better yield.

Though the Agriculture Department for the past two years have been claiming the sale of BT cotton seed will not be allowed as its cultivation had not been allowed by the Punjab Government but many farmers were being cheated by traders by selling them fake seeds claiming it to be that of BT cotton hybrid varieties.

Mr Amrit Pal Singh Sidhu, President, Punjab Young Farmers Federation, Punjab alleged that the state Agriculture Department acted only when they came to know that cotton growers were being ‘looted’ by traders in connivance with those, who were supposed to check the sale of fake seeds by supplying them fake seed at high prices.

Last year also cotton growers were cheated by traders and they had to sow the uncertified seed and found that yield of cotton fell drastically. Officials of the Agriculture Department started a drive against the sale of fake BT cotton seed but it failed to achieve any breakthrough.

This year too, the Agriculture Departments campaign did not achieve much despite its using public address system of religious places in rural areas, to educate farmers against buying cotton seed from unregistered dealers. Problem of farmers becoming victim of seed traders became more severe as demand for the seeds went up due to increase in area under cotton cultivation this year. Various seed agencies of state and Centre Government have failed to meet the demand of certified cotton seed of farmers.

Mr Bhatti pointed out that farmers had also been urged to catch ‘unscrupulous’ seed traders so that action could be taken against them under the Seeds Act.


Park’s allotment to Ram Sharnam Trust goes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 7
The Municipal Corporation today took control of the ‘disputed’ park in the Ranjit avenue from Shri ‘Ram Sharnam Trust’.

Corporation officials handed over a notice cancelling the allotment of park to the ‘trust’ that had become a bone of contention between the ‘Ram Sharnam Trust’ and the ‘Ranjit Avenue Park Development Committee’ in the past many months.

Discontent was brewing amongst 258 owners of flat near the park and their families over the park’s takeover for maintenance by the Trust after Mayor Sunil Datti handed it over to the (trust) for upkeep in August last year.

Area residents said they were happy that the maintenance was to be done by others and not by them which they had been doing for more than five years. They alleged misuse of the park by the trust for its functions twice a week. A function led to a now row last night. Locks of the parks were broken by the trust members. Area residents blocked the gate by piling up bricks against the broken gate to stall trespass. Area residents stood outside their houses last night and prevented parking by the Trust members or any other outsider, surrounding the park.

Mr Dhandwal Singh Gill, president of the Ranjit Avenue Park Development Committee says “their religious functions go on till late night. The narrow road surrounding the park is packed with vehicles leading to brawls.

SP City II Shiv Kumar intervened last night and defused the situation. Later the corporation cancelled the allotment to the trust. Dr Suresh Chauhan a resident said after the langar prepared in the park was taken, leftovers and waste littered sidewalks. Mr D.S. Mann and Col Gurdeep Singh chairman and member of the committee respectively said they took these flats facing the park for the open view and paid Rs 20,000 extra each to the Improvement Trust and now our children are denied to play there. He said many trust members attending the functions used their (residents) staircases as toilet. The entire area is blocked and the park is being used by the Ram Trust for personal use. They said even the dispensary allotted to the trust is being misused for bhajans, kirtans and hardly any free medical services was provided as promised. Mr Tilak Raj Walia a trustee of the Ram Sharnam Trust, admitted the grievances of residents justified were and said they too wanted the corporation to take over the park.


Expansion plan of jail sanctioned
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 7
The Punjab Government has sanctioned the project pertaining to the expansion of the local Central Jail by earmarking funds for the construction of a barrack and 57 residential quarters on its existing premises.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the Punjab Government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore for the construction of the residential quarters and Rs 40 lakh for the barrack for accommodating 150 persons. The Punjab Police Housing Corporation (PPHC) would execute the construction work, which was likely to start soon.

Official sources stated that this was for the first time that the state government had sanctioned funds for such a project. Ever since the Central Jail was set up here in 1960 no expansion has been undertaken so far, except for the construction of the residence of the Jail Superintendent.

Presently the Central Jail houses more than 1,300 prisoners against its capacity of 500.

The jail authorities have converted one of its stores into a barrack. There are three barracks for undertrials and three for convicts. At one point of time due to huge rush of inmates the jail authorities had to pitch tents in the jail courtyards. The jail authorities have been finding it difficult to accommodate female prisoners as there is space to accommodate 10 women.

Official sources said the Jail had been witnessing a heavy rush of prisoners for the past many years due to fact that Mansa district, which was carved out from Bathinda district in 1992, has no jail building of its own and convicts and undertrials from there were being accommodated in the Central Jail here. Besides, a number of convicts and undertrials of Faridkot Central Jail, which has been declared unsafe, had been shifted here. Some inmates of the Muktsar sub-jail were also being lodged in the Bathinda jail due to space shortage here.

The sources added that due to the heavy rush of prisoners the jail authorities were finding it difficult to keep a close watch on the activities of the inmates. This had also led to smuggling of narcotics into the jail by inmates. Incidents of violence were also on the rise.


Encroachments razed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 7
The Municipal Corporation undertook an anti-encroachment drive in the Putlighar area here today.

Ditch machines and police security accompanied corporation employees who cleared the encroachments in front of shops in nearly two and a half hours.

Many residents protested to ‘The Tribune’ that the drive by the corporation was selective and partial to a certain person.

However, Mr Kirpal Singh, Additional Commissioner, denied the allegations and said the area would be freed from encroachments without discrimination.


R. K. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Mr R.K. Sharma, a retired IPS officer, has been appointed Member-Secretary of the Punjab Law Commission, it was officially stated here today.

The commission has been set up to suggest ways and means to improve the administration of justice in the state.

Justice A.S. Garg has already been appointed Chairman of the commission.


Hawala racket busted, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 7
The district police today busted a hawala racket with the arrest of one operative and recovery of Rs 2.90 lakh from him.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, stated here that a police party deployed at a naka near Basti Bawa Khel here last night stopped a two-wheeler driver. The person tried to escape but the police caught him and on searching him recovered currency notes in a belt, he added.

Another Rs 10,000 were recovered from the dickey of the scooter and a paper containing names and addresses of the persons to whom certain amounts were to be delivered by the accused as part of hawala transactions was also seized, the SSP said. The arrested person has been identified as Gurdip Singh.

During preliminary interrogation the accused has revealed that he was merely an operative working with the Hawala racketeer Surinder Kumar, alias Jaggi, proprietor of Savita Silk Store in Rainak Bazaar here, who has been running the racket in an organised manner and had developed a professional network.

A case has been registered against the accused under various Sections of the IPC and FEMA.

Meanwhile, the police arrested six persons involved in looting incidents along with weapons.

Following a tip-off that certain armed persons had gathered at a scheduled place in Nakodar a special police party raided the spot and arrested them.

Those arrested have been identified as Ashwani Kumar, Nirmal, Sandeep Kumar, Gurdip Singh, Harsh Nayyar and Lakhvinder Kumar. Those arrested were later produced in the court.


3 cops booked for blackmail

Moga, May 7
The Punjab Police has registered a case against three policemen for allegedly blackmailing, cheating, exploiting and coercing a social worker and an employee of a multinational company to pay Rs 1 lakh.

Senior Superintendent — Police Major Singh Dhillon said here today that according to a complaint made to him by Mr Ram Singh that three policemen — Malkiat Singh, Constable Gurpreet Singh and the third head constable not identified — sent a woman, Rani allegedly of dubious character, to his house for some financial help for her ailing husband as he was a member of a social organisation.

In the meantime, two policemen on a motorcycle — Constable Gurpreet Singh and the unidentified head constable — arrived at his residence and asked for a search of his house for contraband opium.

During the search, nothing was found. Then the policemen asked Mr Ram Singh to pay Rs 1 lakh or face action for bringing the woman to his house.

In the meantime, Head Constable Malkiat Singh, alleged to be related to Mr Ram Singh, intervened and matter was settled for Rs 60,000. PTI


Two killed in road mishap

Barnala, May 7
Two persons were killed in a road mishap today near Harigarh Basti, about 15 km from here, on the Barnala-Sangrur road.

According to police sources, two persons on bicycles and one person who was coming out of his house were hit by an Ambassador car.

Two persons died on the spot and were identified as Joginder Pal and Chemkur Singh of Harigarh Basti.

Ajaib Singh sustained serious injuries and was shifted to a hospital in Ludhiana. OC


Rs 1 lakh hospital computer parts stolen
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 7
The Central processing units (CPUs) of three computers and one laser printer worth Rs 1 lakh were stolen from the civil hospital here. Official sources said that the computer parts were stolen after removing wiremesh of windows of the room on Monday night. The Civil Hospital authorities could not know that how thieves entered OPD wing of the hospital which is locked from outside.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, said that stolen CPUs were loaded with official information and other data of various hospitals looked after by the Deputy Medical Commissioner, here. He added the police was informed of the incident. Finger print experts visited the place to establish the identity of the accused. He said that a case in this connection had been registered and higher authorities have been informed of the incident. 


Man’s body found hanging from tree
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 7
The Kurali police found the body of one Rajpal Singh of Khizrabad village of Kharar subdivision hanging from a mango tree in the village today and registered a case under Section 302, IPC, against two persons.

According to information, the body was noticed at about 6 a.m. by some women who informed the police.

According to the police, the deceased and other members had returned to home at midnight after attending a religious congregation and he along with other went to sleep, but was not found in his bed in the morning.


PTU online education dream goes sour
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 7
By failing to conduct the examinations for its courses, the Online Virtual Campus launched by the Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, to provide technical education through the online and e-correspondence mode, the university has failed to provide “real education” to its students.

In the first-of-its-kind project by any university of the country, the Online Virtual of the PTU had started various technical courses, including MBA, BBA, M.Tech and B.Tech (information technology), MCA, M.Sc and B.Sc (computer science), BA (professional), masters diploma in computer application (MDCA) and masters diploma in international trade (MDIT) in collaboration with a Jalandhar-based private business house.

Sukati name, changed student of M. Tech (IT), says that she had taken admission in the course, hoping to get a degree and a job thereafter. But without exams, no certificates and degrees could be provided which was the “real education” considered applying for a job and the entire learning process has been rendered useless. “All attempts to get the details of exam schedule have failed and repeated phone calls to the university are being directed and redirected,” she alleged.

She added that the only communication received from the PTU Virtual Online Campus last year was in connection with the student-faculty interactive chat session for all courses, which was to be held from December 16 to 31.

Some other students expressed apprehension about the recognition and validity of these courses in getting jobs and pointed out that replies to their queries by PTU were “evasive and unsatisfactory.” The students alleged that even their study centres were not informing them about the exams and they had failed to secure admission in the second semester of their respective courses.

Official sources said the project was started by PTU with an intention to provide computer education to the aspirants at their doorstep and more than one thousand students had taken admissions in these courses, which were widely advertised by PTU.

The sources said the then Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Mr Hari Gautam, had appreciated the efforts of the Virtual Online Campus of the PTU and that letter is on display at the official website ( The letter not only praises the efforts of PTU but also the course content and quality of the compact disk (CD) being provided with the course as an optional mode of instruction.

The students have alleged that the prospectus of the PTU virtual online campus mentions that PTU was set up by the state legislature under Punjab University Act and that the degrees would be conferred directly by the PTU. The prospectus also motions that PTU has 26 degree engineering colleges, 51 management and IT Colleges and 12 colleges running degree pharmacy courses, which had been approved by the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). “No mention has been made whether the courses and degrees to be awarded by the PTU Virtual Online Campus had been approved by the AICTE, which is the apex body to recognise all the technical courses,” alleged one MBA at a centre near Bathinda.

Mr S.K. Bhatia, Registrar, PTU, Jalandhar, when contacted on his mobile phone said exams for the course of the Virtual Online Campus would be held shortly. He said that the Academic Council of the university had sorted out the problem in this connection.


No extension for Dr Kapoor as Dean, Students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 7
After the removal of Dr Kuljeet Kapoor as Dean, Languages, within one month of her appointment, today her husband, Dr N.S. Kapoor, was the lone Dean who failed to get further one-year extension in Punjabi University here.

The university had removed Dr Kuljeet Kapoor within one month of her appointment after it withdrew an order by which it had withdrawn the seniority given to five university teachers by ousted Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia. One of the five teachers affected by the order, Dr G.R. Kataria, was appointed as the Dean, Languages.

A University press note said Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai had decided to give a one year extension to the Dean, Academic Affairs, Prof U.C. Singh, the Dean, Colleges, Dr S.P.S. Virdee, and the Dean, Research, T.A. Sarma. Dr S.S. Khaira, who had earlier served as Provost of the university, has been appointed the Dean, Students, in place of Dr Kapoor.

Dr Kapoor had requested the Vice-Chancellor on two occasions to relieve him of the responsibility of the Dean, Students, but had carried on the special request of the Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor appreciated the role of Dr Kapoor during his tenure as the Dean, Students, of the university.

Dr Kapoor, when contacted, said there was no connection in his opting out of a further extension as the Dean, Students, and the removal of his wife as the Dean, Languages. He said when he had been appointed as the Dean, Students, by then Vice Chancellor N.S. Rattan it was with the understanding that the term of office would be one year.


Rationalisation policy enforced
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib May 7
As per the directions of the Education Minister, the District Education Officer yesterday implemented the rationalisation policy in the district. As per the new policy, the surplus staff members in the schools have been shifted to those schools where teachers are needed. All teachers having long stay in the schools have been adjusted with post at new stations and with the implementation of these orders, there is no surplus teacher in any school in the district.

As per the orders handed over by the DEO(S) to all heads of the schools during their meeting here yesterday 11 social studies and eight science teachers have been shifted and heads have been directed to immediately relieve these teachers.

Sources said that with the implementation of this policy the surplus lecturers would also be adjusted in the schools where they are required more. Several Congress leaders have welcomed the move of the government.


Teachers flay education policy
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 7
Some teachers today alleged that though it had been a month since the new academic session began, the authorities had failed to form any policy for admission to classes VI and XI.

The teachers at a dharna near the District Education Office alleged that though the government was planning to implement the new education policy, the authorities were not sure about the contents of the new policy.

Mr Madan Pal Bhagta, president of the Democratic Teachers Front, said as there was no policy regarding admission to some classes in government schools, the private schools were attracting more students. He urged the authorities to issue guidelines in this regard.

He also condemned the surprise checking of schools by the Vigilance Bureau. He alleged that some teachers were transferred to faraway places for not being present in the school, even though they were on leave or had gone out to for some official duty.


Grant for pvt colleges soon, says Johar
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 7
The Punjab Government has decided to release 95 per cent grant to all private-managed government-aided colleges in the state. This was disclosed by Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said the government would however, only release 95 per cent grant of its regime period. It would not release the arrears of this grant for the period of the SAD-BJP government, which, he alleged, had spent public money on its sangat darshan programmes and imposed heavy cuts on education funds.

Mr Johar justified the enhancement in college fee, saying that a student of a government college was annually paying a fee of Rs 1,400 as compared to Rs 8,600 in a private college.


Master-cadre teachers form union
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 7
B.Ed teachers working in the Punjab Education Department at a meeting organised here yesterday formed a new organisation, the Punjab Master Cadre Union.

The meeting was organised under the presidentship of Mr Kirpal Singh, Sohal who has also been elected patron of the union. The other office-bearers are: President — Mr Rajinder Kumar Mannan; senior vice-president — Mrs Nirjal Kumari; vice-president — Mr Maninder Singh Randhawa; general secretary — Mr Gursewak Singh Pannu; and secretary — Mr Gurinder Singh.

The meeting resolved to fight against the alleged indifferent attitude of the state government towards the financial and promotion demands of the master cadre teachers.


Move to display details of school funds
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 7
Signboards showing details of funds used for various schemes in the state-run schools will be installed at public places and in schools to ensure transparency in the functioning.

Mr Lachhman Singh Brar, DEO (S), while speaking at a seminar on “Punjab Education Policy-2002 and Sarv Sikhya Abhiyaan”, said by the installation of such signboards a kind of social audit would be done. He said officials of the Education Department would approach every family to motivate it for sending its children to school.

He said under the Educational Guarantee Scheme (EGS) 10 schools would be opened, while 16 under the same category were functional. He said “Sikhiakarmis”, who would be teaching at the EGS schools, would be paid Rs 1,000 per month. They had been trained at the local District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), he said.

Mrs Surinder Kaur Kataria, DEO (E), said the two-tier system of education had been implemented in the state from April 1 and all primary schools had been converted into elementary schools, while the senior secondary schools had been renamed as secondary schools. She claimed that subjectwise timetables had been made for class III to class VIII. She said funds for the development of the schools would be provided through the Pendu Sikhia Vikas Committees. She said the Block Elementary Education Officers could monitor the working of the teachers and submit a report to the DEO (E). 


Minister inspects land for college
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 7
Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Higher Education Minister, Punjab, inspected a piece of land measuring 37 acres in Lamini, near here, to set up a government degree college yesterday.

Mr Johar said the department had prepared a detailed report on the project, which would be sent to the Finance Ministry for clearance. Mr Ashok Sharma, MLA, urged the minister to speed up the process for setting up the college, stating that it would only be the second government college in the district and would cater to the requirements of students of more than 200 villages, besides those of Pathankot Mukerian and Dhar subdivision.


Gaurav Jain tops B.Com (III) exam

Amritsar, May 7
Gaurav Jain of Doaba College, Jalandhar, has bagged the top position in the B.Com (III) examination of Guru Nanak Dev University by securing 1568 marks. Priti Khullar of HMV, Jalandhar, stood second with 1523 marks while Natasha Sharma of the APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, was third with 1506 marks. Of the 2,066 candidates who appeared in this examination, 1774 were declared pass. OC


Children’s education scheme
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 7
The Punjab Government will provide education to children in the age group of six to 14 years at Government schools and education centres. They will be admitted till December 31 under the compulsory education campaign being launched by the Government. This was stated by Mr Harpreet Singh Garcha, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur, after inaugurating a special workshop organised by the District Education Department at the local S.D. Senior Secondary School here today to impart training to principals, headmasters and block primary education officers.

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