Friday, May 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



How Punjabi youths landed in Pak jails
Anirudh Gupta

The Pak announcement to release Indian prisoners has brought happiness to the parents of 24 innocent Punjabi youths languishing in various jails there. These 24 innocent Punjabis landed in Pakistani jails when they were left in the lurch by unscrupulous travel agents. Lured by these travel agents, these Punjabis in search of greener pastures went to Turkey where they were arrested and their passports, other documents and money were confiscated.

Thereafter, these youths were taken to the Iran border and told to run away towards a nearby jungle otherwise they would be shot dead. They were again arrested by the Iranian police and imprisoned for three days. Their terrible voyage did not ended there as they were later handed over to the Pakistani Rangers two years ago and had been languishing in different Pakistani jails since then. According to information, there are eight Punjabi youths in the Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, 12 in the Quetta jail and four in the Baluchistan jail. Mr Sher Singh of Kashmirgarh village, near Yamunanagar, said his 19-year-old son, Rakesh, who had gone to Lebanon in search of bright future had been in the Quetta jail for the past 10 months. He had paid an amount of Rs 3.50 lakh to a travel agent to send his son abroad.

Mr Pritam Singh, a resident of Malean village in Moga, said his son, Karam Singh, had been languishing in a Pakistani jail for the past one year. Mr Sujan Singh said his 17-year-old son, Swaranjit Singh, was arrested in Turkey from where he was sent to Iran and finally landed in a Pakistan jail. He had sent his son abroad to rid the family of poverty. Mr Surjan Singh of Brara village in Ambala said his son, Inderjit Singh, had been in a Pakistani jail for the past one year.

It is pertinent to mention that three months ago three Punjabi youths — Gurmeet Singh, son of Teja Singh, a resident of Fatehgarh Sahib; Karam Singh, son of Pritam Singh, a resident of Moga; Amarjit Singh, son of Gian Chand, a resident of Hoshiarpur; and Gurnam Singh, son of Gurbaksh Singh, a resident of Nawanshahr — had written a letter to the Indian High Commission in Pakistan with a request that they should be shifted to the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore as the conditions in the Baluchistan jail were very bad. The youths had alleged that they were being forced to adopt Islam or face the wrath of the Pakistani jail authorities.

The youths languishing in the Quetta jail are Gurpreet Singh (Jalandhar), Kuldeep Singh (Jalandhar), Manminder Singh (Hoshiarpur), Shiv Kumar (Nawanshahr), Harvinder Singh (Hoshiarpur), Kehar Singh (Hoshiarpur), Jagjit Singh (Kapurthala).

Those detained in the Baluchistan jail are Gurmeet Singh (Fatehgarh Sahib), Karam Singh (Moga), Amarjit Singh (Hoshiarpur), Gurnam Singh (Nawanshahr) and Sukhdev Singh (Fatehgarh Sahib).

Last month when a Sikh jatha visited Pakistan the Pakistan Government had assured a delegation led by Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar that 24 Indian youths detained in various Pakistani jails would be released.


Bhai Ranjit Singh no hurdle in unity: Tohra
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
Even as Bhai Ranjit Singh claims that he is still the Jathedar of Akal Takht and will take over the charge at an appropriate time, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHAD), has categorically stated that the condition of his (Bhai Ranjit Singh’s) re-installation as Jathedar will no longer be a hurdle in the way of the “Panthic unity”.

Mr Tohra, however, said that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the SAD, was likely to appear before Akal Takht to seek pardon for violating an edict pronounced by the then Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, for maintaining truce till the celebrations of the trecentenary of the birth of Khalsa Panth were over.

He said in the past too, Akali and Congress stalwarts like Sant Fateh Singh, Master Tara Singh, members of the entire working committee of the then SAD, Giani Zail Singh and Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi had appeared before the Takht while accepting its authority.

Earlier, Mr Tohra held closed-door meetings with his supporters here to know their views about the proposed unity with the SAD.

However, Bhai Ranjit Singh, while talking to TNS, said he would adopt a wait-and-watch policy. “Let them (Mr Tohra and Mr Badal) join hands and only then shall I give my reaction on the issue”, he said.

He, however, said he had pronounced the edict to maintain truce as per maryada, which was binding on true Sikhs.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Sikh clergy and the Dharam Prachar Committee of the SGPC is likely to discuss the proposed unity between the SAD and the SHSAD, scheduled to be held at Fatehgarh Sahib on May 17. Though the meeting of the Dharam Prachar Committee was called to discuss the forthcoming tercentenaries, including the installation of Guru Granth Sahib, yet members may discuss the edict issued by the then Akal Takht Jathedar, which was violated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and leaders of his party, in an effort to pave the way for Panthic Unity.

Interestingly, the Akal Takht secretariat is in a fix as it does not have the original copy of the edict issued on December 31, 1998, which is like to become the base for the re-union of the SAD and the SHSAD. Though the SGPC secretary, Mr Harbeant Singh, has written to Bhai Ranjit Singh to return the record of Akal Takht, yet he is unlikely to oblige the Shiromani committee.

Mr Tohra parried a question whether he accepted Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti as Jathedar as his party had been claiming that Bhai Ranjit Singh is the “real Jathedar” of Akal Takht. To another question, Mr Tohra said he had never removed any Jathedar during his stint as SGPC chief.

Mr Tohra was here to attend the bhog of “akhand sahib”, organised by Bibi Amritpal Kaur, an SGPC member from Ludhiana, at “Har-ki-Pauri” (Golden Temple).


Final decision with Amarinder
Recruitment of teachers in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A high-level meeting of the Education Department (Schools), which met here yesterday under the chairmanship of Education Minister, Khushal Behl, decided to let Chief Minister Amarinder Singh take a final decision on future recruitments in the Education Department.

The meeting was called to take a policy decision on whether the recruitment of teachers should be made on a regular or contract basis to fill about 17,000 vacant posts. Another issue was to hand over the recruitment of teachers to elected bodies of the Zila Parishads in the state. The third issue was pertaining to the "Sarab Sikhsha Abhiyan". Since there was no unanimity even after several rounds of deliberations, it was decided to leave it to the Chief Minister to take the final decision.

Sources said no exact figures were available at the meeting with regard to the vacant posts.

Though, officers of the Education Department were for recruiting teachers on a contract basis, there was no consensus on the pay packet to be offered to the new appointees. While on the one hand, one official suggested that such teachers should be offered a lumpsum pay up to Rs 4,000 per month, others wanted it to be Rs 8,000. Another officer suggested that the Chandigarh pattern should be followed and those recruited on a contract basis should be given the basic pay scale of the post against which they have been recruited. However, there was no final word on it.

The department is keen on handing over the recruitment of teachers to the Zila Parishads. But the criteria to be followed are yet to be decided. The dominating view at the meeting was that the Zila Parishads should be asked to recruit teachers purely on merit with no discretion to members of the selection committee. Officers of the department should assist the selection committee in the recruitment process.

The Chief Minister is also keen on handing over the recruitment of teachers to the Zila Parishads because it was part of the national agenda of the Congress to empower local self government institutions in the states ruled by the party. However, a proper policy has to be framed by the Education Department about the mode of payment, entitlement to leave etc.

Sources said it was also doubtful whether a meeting on all these issues would be held with the Chief Minister on May 20 or not as scheduled earlier. It was pointed out that Chief Minister would be too busy that day to hold a meeting.

About the Sarab Shiksha Abhiyan, sources said the Union Government wanted to give as much money as the state government wanted for the scheme. However, for every Rs 100 crore, the state government, which itself was facing a severe financial crisis, would have to contribute Rs 25 crore. The government wanted to submit a Rs 161-crore project for the scheme but its clearance would depend on the Finance Department.


Holy town victim of govt neglect
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, May 15
After compiling Guru Granth Sahib, 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, accorded the status of “Guru-ki-Kashi” to this town situated on the southern tip of the Thar desert. Later, it was called the fifth takht of Sikhs by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on the basis of its historical and religious importance. But no development board has been formed so far for this town despite the fact that a number of chief ministers made announcements to this effect to drive political mileage.

The development board was constituted a number on times in the town, but it was disbanded subsequently. The development board, if any, came into existence, it failed to carry out development of the town.

For the first time, Giani Zail Singh, late President of India and the then Chief Minister, had set up a development board for this town in 1971. A number of plans were made by the board, but these failed to materialise.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, again announced the constitution of a development board for this town while addressing a party conference on the occasion of Baisakhi on April 14 this year.

A month has passed since the announcement was made, but no development board has come into existence so far. Even the state government has not taken any step in this direction.

Late Congress Chief Minister Beant Singh had also made an announcement to this effect in 1993. After a year, the development board was formed on March 17, 1994.

During his rule, the district planning board had sent a Rs 28 crore plan for the overall development of the town. However, no money had been given to the board and the district administration asked to make arrangements of funds on its own by the then Secretary, Housing and Urban Development and also ex officio secretary of board.

In the past 31 years, the successive state governments have failed to accord the status of town to Talwandi Sabo as it has been classified as village and the panchayat has been running its affairs. The governments have also gone back on their word to set up a university here. Four former Chief Ministers, made announcements that a university would be set up here but nothing concrete came out of it.



Single window system brings relief
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 15
This district has set an agenda for good governance and transparent working for the entire state by introducing administrative reforms and cutting down long established procedures, delays and alleged corrupt practices by introducing all public services related to Deputy Commissioner’s Office at a single window. It has not only brought transparency in working but also made all officials accountable as they are always available now to the public.

Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary, Information Technology, lauded the efforts of DC Vikas Partap during a visit to take on-the-spot study of the projects implemented by the district administration. He said the district administration had done an extraordinary job for the welfare of people and that he would recommend to introduce this model in the entire state.

Mr Partap, who innovated the single user-friendly window disposal and helpline, said the project which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh recently for a few branches, is being extended to all branches of his office. For this purpose the government has already approved a project for the creation of citizen database worth Rs 2.20 crore. Under this project all citizens of the district will be issued multiservice cards (MSC) for providing on the spot services to them.

Mr Partap said the window would facilitate the citizens in getting easy and convenient access to government services. Now the citizens would not be required to visit different branches but all services would be made available at a single window. In order to ensure the timely delivery, the progress is monitored regularly on Intranet so that citizens do not have to visit the office time and again. Still a core group of officers has been set up to monitor the difficulties being faced by the public and to suggest means and reforms.

Mr Navneet Kukreja, Director, NIC, said the response of district administration in the implementation of e-governance projects was very encouraging. Now the citizens would be able to know the status of their applications and the procedures for submitting applications.


Eight lecturers for eight students
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, May 15
The vicinity of Chandigarh has made Government Senior Secondary School at Khizrabad village in Ropar district as favourite posting place of influential teachers. Eight lecturers have been posted in the school for eight students.

The fact came to the fore when the Director, Sarva Sikhya Abhiyam, Mr Sadhu Singh Randhawa, conducted a raid on the school on May 10.

Sources said Mr Randhawa in his report to the DPI (Schools) had stated that in the school three lecturers for vocational courses had been posted despite the fact that there was no admission. All the three lecturers are getting salary without doing any work.

In the commerce department, two lecturers have been posted for just two students. On the day of the raid there was only one student present in the school. At the rate of two admissions the cost of teaching a single student in the school comes to about Rs 3.5 lakh annually per student.

In the science department, there are three lecturers to teach six students. Four students were admitted in this session. In the last two years there were two science students and three lecturers to teach them. At the current rate the cost of teaching a single science student in the school comes to be about Rs 4.62 lakh per annum.

Mr Randhawa in his report stated that during his visit to the school at 11 a.m. no student was present despite the fact that the timing of school ended at 11.30 a.m. on Saturday. The last period was of physical education. However, the physical education lecturer allowed the students to go home early. Mr Randhawa has recommended the transfer of the lecturer.

Besides this, the Director has recommended the rationalisation of the staff. When contacted, Mr Randhawa admitted that he had made a report regarding irregularities in the school.


Dharna by SAD, BJP workers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 15
Activists of the BJP, the SAD, and residents of the town today staged a dharna at the Pheruman Chowk here to protest against the assault on Mr Nanak Chand Kalra, former chairman of the Sangrur Improvement Trust, and his son Jatinder Kalra, a BJP Municipal Councillor and demanded the arrest of the remaining four accused.

The police booked six persons, including Ravi Chawla who had lost to Mr Jatinder Kalra in the recently held Municipal Council elections, his brother Sanju and their mother Santosh Rani under Sections 148, 149, 186, 323, 353, 427, 452 and 506 of the IPC on March 11 for assaulting Mr Nanak Chand Kalra, Mr Jatinder Kalra trespassing into the house of Mr Kalra, and damaging to a showcase and other articles. The police arrested Ravi Chawla and his mother on the same day while others were at large.

The protesters condemned the assault on the Kalra family and demanded action against the accused.

Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, district president of the SAD, Thakur Jagdish Rai, district president of the BJP, Mr Sukhwant Singh Dhanaula, vice-president of the Punjab BJP, and Mr Anurag Chopra, vice-president of the District Bar Association, Sangrur, also addressed the protesters.


Punjab issues taken up with BJP top brass
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
There is a fresh move to get various issues pertaining to Punjab resolved before the Lok Sabha elections.

Among the issues are the transfer of Chandigarh, distribution of river waters between Punjab and Haryana, removal of more names from the blacklist and return of the Sikh reference library material allegedly taken away by the Army after “Operation Bluestar”.

Mr Rulda Singh, General Secretary of the All-India Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, an off- shoot of the RSS, confirmed that there was a definite move to get these issues resolved by the top brass of the BJP and its sister organisations. Mr Rulda Singh, a Sikh Sangat leader, has a good rapport with top leaders of the BJP, the RSS and other sister organisations.

A few years ago, Mr Rulda Singh and Mr A.R. Kohli, now Governor of Mizoram, had played a pivotal role in initiating a dialogue with several Sikh organisations and their leaders to resolve issues pertaining to Punjab.

Sources said one view was that no change should be made in the existing status of Chandigarh. Both Haryana and Punjab Governments should be given adequate funds to develop their own capitals.

About the river waters issue, a way out should be found to meet the Haryana demand for water. A judicious study should be conducted to measure the exact quantum of river waters to be shared between Punjab and Haryana.

Efforts are being made to locate the material taken away from the Sikh reference library at the Golden Temple allegedly by the Army after “Operation Bluestar”. The Army has repeatedly denied it.

There is a move to send a senior political leader to the USA and other countries to talk to certain groups of Sikh youth, who have bitter feelings towards India. Efforts will be made to bring them back to the mainstream.

The blacklist, containing the names of persons barred from entering the country will be reviewed after the return of the leader.


3 Dalit panches resign
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 15
Three Dalit panches of Hasanpur gram panchayat (near Dhuri) yesterday submitted their resignations to the Dhuri BDPO to protest against the alleged “auction” of village land on which Dalits had “roorris” (heaps of garbage) and “guharas” (heaps of cowdung cakes).

Mr Nikka Singh, a Dalit Panch of Hasanpur village, said yesterday that he along with two other Dalit panches, Chuhar Singh and Gurjant Singh, submitted resignations to the BDPO, Dhuri, in protest against the “action” of “Deh shamlat” land by the village panchayat in the presence of some officers.

Mr Nikka Singh alleged on “Deh shamlat” land a gaushala was also being constructed illegally. He said despite orders of an officer to stop the construction of gaushala, the construction had been going on.

He also alleged that he had got information on mobile phone from the village that in their absence some persons had also started demolishing of their “gaushala”.

Mr Nikka Singh, accompanied by more than 100 men and women of Dalit community, visited Sangrur yesterday evening and met the SDM Dhuri Dr Indu Malhotra at her residence here and explained the incident to her.

Dr Indu Malhotra assured them that justice would be done to them.


Advance payment of power bills scheme from today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
The Punjab government has released Rs 176 crore to improve transmission, replacement of traditional meters with electronic meters and replacement of service lines etc under the Accelerated Power Development Reforms scheme of the Punjab State Electricity Board. Under this scheme four 66 kv sub-stations, each costing Rs four to five crore will also be installed in the city and more power stations set up in the border zone. The scheme will start from May 16 in the state.

Mr C.J. Rai, Chief Engineer (Border Range), (PSEB) slated this ‘incentive-based pre-paid scheme’ for deposit of electricity bills at a press conference here yesterday. The PSEB would also provide power connections free of cost, to persons below the poverty line and no security, service connection charges, meter cost and rent would be charged.

The Chief Engineer revealed that farmers of the border area whose fields were mined would not be issued bills till the mines were removed. Mr Rai said the farmers who had been issued bills earlier, when their fields were under mines, were very few and bills were issued inadvertently. To rectify this mistake, the amount in the bill deposited by any of these farmers would be adjusted when their field becomes mine-free and new bills issued to them, he assured.

Under the new deposit scheme, Mr Rai said, consumers could deposit bills of six months in advance. The PSEB would also give incentive on the advanced deposit by issuing 4.5 per cent interest one per cent more than the interest on deposits in nationalised banks.

Domestic, agriculture, commercial and small-scale industry consumers would be included in the scheme, he added.

The farmers could deposit their dues till May 31 without any surcharge. He said one-time settlement of disputes between consumers and the PSEB scheme had been extended till June 30. Under the Central government ‘Kutir Jyoti’ scheme Rs 80 crore were spent last year and connections were provided to persons below poverty line.


PSEB to give 8-hr supply to farmers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 15
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had decided to provide a minimum of eight hours of uninterrupted power supply for agricultural pump sets in the state from June 10.

Board Member (Distribution) S.K. Anand said here today that instructions had been issued to field officers to supply adequate power to the cotton and sugarcane growing areas.

Mr Anand said the PSEB had also allowed farmers to run their pump sets on generators up to 10 KW without permission.

The board had appealed to farmers to get their unauthorised loads regularised under the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme which, he said, was available till June 30.

The PSEB official said the board had requested the farmers to sesist from running pump sets during single phase supply by installing condesers. He said this would disrupt the single phase supply being provided for domestic use in the rural areas.

He also appealed to farmers not to install high-capacity motors without sanction, saying this would only lead to overloading and consequent burning of the distribution transformers.



Immolation threat by ’84 riot victims
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
Even as victims of the Delhi riots today decided to commit en masse immolation on June 3 in front of the official residence of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in Chandigarh, Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, totally disapproved of the idea on the ground that the ‘gurmat’ did not allow such misadventures.

The victims of the Delhi riots, who met Jathedar Vedanti at the Akal Takht secretariat here under the banner of the Danga Pirat Welfare Society; said they were left with no alternative but to commit suicide. Bibi Gurdeep Kaur, president of the women wing of the society, Mr Surjit Singh, president of the society and Mr Surjit Singh Saluja urged Jathedar Vedanti to take up their case with the state government for giving them proper compensation. However, Jathedar Vedanti insisted that he would only take up their case if they decided not to resort to self-immolation.

The activists of the society, however, announced that if Jathedar Vedanti failed to get them any relief, they would resort to self-immolation as per schedule. They said the ‘shaheedi jatha’ (suicide squad) would launch its ‘march’ from Ludhiana on June 1 and reach Akal Takht for performing ‘ardas’. They would commit suicide the next day.


All members should attend ZP meetings: CM
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 15
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has directed all 12 zila parishad (ZP) members to attend all meetings convened by the zila parishad chairman to maintain party discipline. In a message sent to all members concerned through a PPCC office-bearer, the Chief Minister said he had taken a serious view of the absence of six zila parishad members, including the chairmen of the Faridkot and Katkapura block samities, from the first meeting of the zila parishad held here on May 7 to clear the annual budget.

The Chief Minister warned them to stop such practices, failing which stern action would be taken against them. The absentees included Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Sukhmander Singh, Mr Harbans Singh, Ms Sonia, Ms Chinderpal Kaur and Mr Surinderpal Singh. The details had been brought to the notice of the Chief Minister by Mr Kuldip Singh Chameli, chairman, zila parishad, Faridkot.

The Chief Minister also took a serious view of the encouragement being given by a PPCC office-bearer to infighting and factionalism in the district unit of the party. A warning was being issued to the person concerned.

A member of the district Congress committee said Capt Amarinder Singh and PPCC President H.S. Hanspal were determined to enforce party discipline. A meeting of senior Congress leaders was held here today to find out ways to sort out differences among party workers and leaders in the district and to finalise the date for the next zila parishad meeting.

Mr Chameli said a grant for Rs 31 lakh, released by the state government in March, had been distributed among, all 24 villages in the Faridkot and Kotkapura blocks for development schemes. The grants pending under the SGRY had been given to the respective villages in both blocks, he added.


Panchayats to get NOCs on funds

Chandigarh, May 15
No objection certificates regarding the utilisation, or partial utilisation, of funds for development work would be issued to the gram panchayats at least a week before June 16, the date on which the process of holding elections was scheduled to begin — counsel for the state of Punjab today told the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The certificates would enable the gram panchayat members to contest the polls.

Appearing before a Division Bench of the high court headed by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, counsel also placed copies of two memos, regarding the release of the certificates, issued by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats on May 12 and 14.

After going through the memos, the Judges observed that the grievances of the gram panchayats, which had fully or partially utilised the funds under the Sangat Darshan scheme or otherwise, would be largely resolved.

Punjab impleaded

Taking up a petition filed by Phagwara residents alleging noise and air pollution due to the presence of industries in a residential area, Mr Justice Viney Mittal of the high court impleaded state of Punjab, through the Chief Secretary, as a party in the case.

Issuing the directions on the petition filed by Ms Vidya Bhalla and others, Mr Justice Mittal ruled that participation of the state was necessary in the process. The Judge also expressed the hope that necessary steps would be taken so as to redress the grievance of the petitioners.

Mr Justice Mittal, on the last date of hearing, had ruled that either the residences, or the industries, would have to be shifted from the area.

Time given

The high court granted Punjab’s Director of Industries 48 hours for taking decision in a case pertaining to the grant of Sales Tax exemption to an Amritsar-based firm.

Taking up the case, a Division Bench headed by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, also fixed May 19 as the next date of hearing in the case. The firm had earlier contended that they had fulfilled all the conditions for the grant of Sales Tax exemption to small-scale industries.

Giving details, counsel had submitted that the firm had a plot in its name, had applied within the specified time limit and were registered as a small-scale industrial unit.


Going was tough but he persevered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 15
It is the story of a 40-year-old Nepali who did menial jobs in several restaurants to earn sufficient to fulfil his ambition of attending school.

In poverty and in debt Mr Babu Ram Sharma faced the worst situation of his life when his father disowned him, his mother and sister, he was hardly 12 then. While living in a remote village of Nepal, the question of survival weighed on Mr Sharma’s mind who, then, had some formal education in a school when he reached teenage, his ‘decisive’ mind made him to migrate to India in search of a job and to earn enough to feed his family and fulfil his desire of education.

Facing all odds this young Nepali now turned 40, has done his Masters in English from Punjabi University, Patiala. Now he has been again appearing in a examination to improve his score in the master’s degree to get himself registered for Doctorate in English. After doing his Doctorate in English, Mr Babu Ram Sharma aspires to become a big ‘babu’ of his country.

In 1981, when Babu Ram Sharma came here, he found himself lucky to get job of washing utensils in the canteen of the Rose Garden here for a salary of Rs 60 a month. Later he started as a waiter. Luck favoured him when a doctor couple from Patiala, who happened to visit Rose Garden, employed him as domestic help for Rs 160 a month for his hardworking nature. Babu was 14 then.

After serving the doctor couple for one and a half years, Babu’s destiny favoured him and he got class IV government job in the Health Department at Bathinda. Though some of his superiors used him for domestic work even though he was a government servant.

Babu was thrown out of the house of his superior while he was preparing for his bachelor’s degree examination at night. The wife of his superior even slapped him for wasting electricity for studies. This disappointed Babu a little but strengthened his determination. After this Babu made use of streetlight for studying.

Condition of his ailing wife, children, mother and other kin back home (Nepal) though upset him a lot, but could not suppress his ambition. From his meagre income he continued to send part of it to his kin in Nepal and would spend part of his salary on studies.

With a master’s degree in hand, Babu has started giving shape to his experiences, thoughts and feelings of life by composing poems till date, he has penned 10 poems and plans to publish his first book of it.

Babu, never sought help from any one, says that he is thankful to all those who helped him in his life. He also says that he is more thankful to those who misbehaved with him, because they strengthened his resolve to face odds.


Telephone not installed, but Rs 1227 bill sent

Gurdaspur, May 15
Manjeet Singh Dalla of Dalla village under the Dinanagar telephone exchange in this district deposited security of Rs 500/- with Dinanagar Telephone Exchange for a telephone connection on February 27, 2002 but a telephone has not been installed at his place so far. He has received a bill for Rs 1227/- to be paid by May 8.

When Manjit Singh enquired about this irregularity from the Telephone Department he was told that telephone number 223912 had been allotted against his security deposit to a resident of Dalla Baleen also under the Dinanagar telephone exchange. OC


18-cr distillery project hangs fire
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 15
The Rs 18 crore distillery project, the first industrial project in South-Asia which was started by Pioneer Industries Limited at the industrial growth centre here, has been hanging fire. The centre has the dubious distinction of perhaps being the most ill-maintained industrial growth centre in Punjab.

Members of the Pathankot Chamber of Commerce (PCC) yesterday alleged that the PSIEC had allotted industrial plot in 1999 comprising 22 acres in the industrial growth centre here. The company had invested crores for the first phase of the Agro-based unit for the manufacture of starch, vital gluten, liquid glucose and EN Alcohol from its distillery with wheat as its only raw material.

Some persons held a protest on May 13 before a team of the Punjab Pollution Control Board. The team was present at the industrial growth unit to listen to the grievances of the people. Members of the PCC alleged that the setting up of the unit was being opposed as it was being apprehended that it would cause pollution. 


Protest over distillery
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 15
Over 400 residents of Ranipur, Jadari, Badaoi, Baupur and Arwawana villages on the Lamini-Mamun Cantonment road held a demonstration before the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) office here yesterday to protest against the setting up of a distillery in the Industrial Growth Centre here.

Mr Bakshish Singh, Mr Dharam Pal, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr Parveen Singh and Mr Tara Singh, sarpanches of the villages, asked the PPCB authorities to prevent the construction of building for the proposed distillery.

Mr Vijay Passi and Mr Rakesh Kumar Mahajan, president and general secretary respecitvely of the local unit of the Punjab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, deplored the PPCB restrictions on the coming up of factories and industries here.

A meeting of the rival groups concluded without any positive result. 


Jail tainted judges for life’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 15
The North India unit of the Judicial Accountability and Human Rights Promotion Organisation yesterday said that the judicial officials involved in cases of corruption should be sent to jail for life.

Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, an advocate here and Chairman of the association stated this in a press note here yesterday. He said that the cases of corruption in which the judges were involved should be made a non-bailable offence. He said that the advocates who worked as “agents” of judges should also be given the same punishment.

Mr Dhillon said that the association had passed a resolution to that affect and a copy of it would be sent the Union Law Minister, the Chief Justice of India, the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said the resolution demanded that the judicial system should be revamped so that the people’s faith in it was strengthened.

He said that there was need of making the judicial officials more accountable and more transparency be brought into judicial system, and chinks in the system be plugged.

He said that there should be transparency in the investigation of complaints against judicial officials. He added that there was need to checkthe trend of criminal elements influencing some judicial officials for favours.


Marriage palace ‘a nuisance’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
Twenty-two residents of Lawrence Avenue on Sasunda Singh road in a letter to the Commissioner Municipal Corporation here have alleged that their lane was becoming a haven for anti-social elements due to its proximity with a marriage palace. Opposite the palace is a hospital. Both these commercial establishments are a nuisance for residents due to lack of parking space for buildings that cater to huge rush. The vehicles are therefore parked haphazardly in the narrow lane and outside main gates of residents leading to frequent brawls.

The leading persons attending the functions at the palace take liquor in the lane and cause ruckus at night. They litter the place with bottles and eatables. Several cases of theft and chain snatching and purse snatching are reported from the area almost daily. These anti-social elements roam the area. 


Pharmacists to hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 15
Resentment prevails among pharmacists over the alleged indifferent attitude of the state government towards their demands.

Mr Baldev Sharma, secretary of the district unit of the Punjab State Pharmacist Association, in a press note issued here today, said the government was not paying any heed to their demands like the revision of initial pay scale, making transfer rules, and the regularisation of services of pharmacists working on a 89-day basis.

He said the pharmacists should be allowed to do private practice after 10 years of government service. He also demanded that their designation should be changed from pharmacists to pharmacy officers.

Mr Sharma said the office-bearers of their union had met the authorities concerned on several occasions and apprised them about their demands, but no action had yet been taken so far.

He said in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands the association would hold a dharna in Chandigarh on May 22.


Pak intruder shot dead
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
A Pakistani intruder, aged 16, was shot dead by the BSF while entering India in the Kahangarh area today. Sources said the Pakistani national was chased by BSF jawans for a long distance before he was shot dead.

A case has been registered.


Two sarpanches suspended

Phagwara, May 15
Kulwant Singh and Kashmir Singh, sarpanches of Rawalpindi and Chaiheru gram panchayats have been suspended for irregularities. According to an official press note, the two sarpanches were suspended by Mr Baldev Singh Sidhu, Deputy Director, Panchayat, Punjab, empowered by the Director. OC


Food joints raided, 27 LPG cylinders seized
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 15
Officials of the Food and Supply Department today conducted raids on various hotels, dhabas and restaurants to check the commercial use of LPG cylinders meant for domestic purpose and seized 27 such cylinders.

Two Assistant District Food and Supply Controllers along with other employees of the department and police personnel conducted raids on the hotels, restaurants and dhabas situated in the Gole Diggi market, fish market and the railway station area.

It is learnt the raids were conducted as the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma had asked the officials of the Food and Supply Department to check the misuse of LPG cylinders meant for domestic purpose.

As the news about the raids spread, the owners of restaurants, hotels and dhabas started hiding the LPG cylinders meant for domestic use, being used by them.

Some shopkeepers alleged that the raids were selective. They raid the officials were not checking all dhabas hotels and restaurants.

Ms Gurmeet Kaur Sidhu, District Food and Supply Controller, said 27 LPG cylinders were seized during the raids today. She said token raids were conducted so as to warn those misusing LPG cylinders meant for domestic purpose.

Such raids would continue in the coming days, also she added. She refuted the allegations that the raids were selective.

Ms Sidhu claimed that stern action would be against those LPG dealers, who stacked the LPG cylinders by the roadside. She said a campaign in that regard would also be launched soon.


Ajnala’s house, hideouts raided
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
Vigilance Bureau sleuths led by DSP Rashpal Singh raided the residence and hideouts of Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, a former Akali minister, at Ajnala and Chandigarh today.

According to Mr T.P.S. Sandhu, SP, (Vigilance Bureau), the residents of Dr Ajnala at Amritsar and Ajnala were found locked. The Vigilance Bureau also raided Bonny Hospital at Ajnala and other places.

A criminal case had been registered against Dr Ajnala, his wife and two sons. The raids were conducted following the rejection of his bail application by the Additional Sessions Judge yesterday.


Jawan dies in accident
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 15
Jawan Satnam Singh of 12 Dogra Regiment who came on leave to his Bhambotar village for his marriage died in an accident.His body was found in Kandi canal near Shri Pandvan village yesterday morning. It is reported that Satnam Singh came on one month’s leave for marriage. He went on a motor cycle from his village to Datarpur on May 11, while coming back on May 12 to his Bhambotar village his motor cycle overturned into Kandi canal. His marriage was fixed for May 18, 2003.

In another accident a truck hit the scooter of Darshan Singh of Hardo Khanpur while he was coming back from Tanda to his village on it. He was injured seriously and admitted to Civil Hospital Tanda where he succumbed to his injuries.


Sadbhavna rally flagged off
Our Correspondent

Wagah (Amritsar), May 15
To spread the message of communal harmony and to inculcate a spirit of adventure among the youth, a “west-east sadbhavna motor cycle rally-2003” was flagged off from the Wagah joint checkpost here today. The rally, organised by the NCC group, Jalandhar, under the aegis of the NCC Directorate, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, was flagged off by Dr Satinder Singh, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and Col A.K. Sharma, Group Commander, NCC group, Jalandhar.

Colonel Sharma said the team comprising 223 participants would cover 7,500 km from Wagah to the eastern border at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The rally will pass through 10 states and a union territory. The JCOs and NCOs would provide administrative back-up to the rally en route, he said.


Hit’s petition: panel set up
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
Akal Takht today constituted a five-member committee, comprising a senior Akali leader, Mr Manjit Singh Tarn Tarni, to resolve a case pertaining to the payment due to Mr Avtar Singh Hit, a former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

Mr Hit in his petition lodged with Akal Takht claimed that he had not received Rs 5.16 crore from the DSGMC which he had spent on Sukho Primary School, New Delhi. The then Jathedar Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, had directed Mr Hit to hand over the school to the DSGMC. However, in a fresh appeal to the Jathedar Akal Takht, Mr Hit said as per the directive of the then Jathedar he was allowed to claim the amount which he had invested on the school. However, this amount was not given to him so far.

Buses collide, 18 injured
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 15
As many as 18 passengers were injured in a head-on collision between buses of Express Transport Company and Punjab Roadways, Hoshiarpur depot, at Mahilpur, 24 km from here, this afternoon. In another accident, Manmohan Singh, 35, of Nangal Bihala village and Mithu Tiwar of Hoshiarpur were killed when they fell off the roof of the bus at Kang Mahi last evening.

In third accident, Mukhtiar Singh of Bhuga village died on the spot and Satpal and Surinder, both of same village, were inured when their TATA Sumo rammed into a tree near the village last evening.


2 hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 15
A youth was injured when his motor cycle skidded near the Bibiwala Chowk here today. The youth, identified as Jagga Singh of Gidder village, was hospitalised.

In another incident, a youth travelling by the Abha Express was injured near the local railway station last night. His leg, dangling from the train, hit a pillar. Identified as Dinesh Kumar of Rajpura in the Patiala district, he was given first-aid at a hospital.

Meanwhile, Mr Vijay Goyal, president of a local NGO, Sahara, said in a press note that it today cremated two bodies which had no claimants. One body had been fished out of a water channel and the other had been found at the local railway station.


Copies of Kala Afghana’s books burnt
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 15
Sikh sangat today burnt copies of the books of Canada-based cop-turned Sikh scholar Gurbaksh Singh Kala Afghana, which had been banned by Akal Takht.

In a fax message received here, Mr Rattanjit Singh Sherry, secretary, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, said the copies of the books of Kala Afghana would be burnt in other parts of the country in the coming days.


Lightning called, but not on mobile
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bhattiwal Kalan (Sangrur), May 15
It was not less than a miracle for me when my mobile phone set got burnt in my pocket after a flash of lightning on May 10”, said Mr Jagdish Kumar, a milk supplier, at his residence here today.

Narrating the incident, Mr Kumar (42) said in the evening when he was on the way to Bhawanigarh town on a tractor-trailer, suddenly the lightning flashed. The front part of the tractor started emitting smoke and his hair was burnt. He also felt pain in the right side of his body. He said after the incident, he had not gone out.

He said the mobile phone set had burnt in his pocket. Moreover, he had not received any phone call at that time. When he was asked to show the burnt mobile set, he declined to show it saying he had thrown it. He also did not allow the photographer to take his photograph on the plea that after seeing his photograph in the newspaper, his relatives would throng his house. He said in the future, he would keep his mobile phone closed during inclement weather so that no such incident could recur.

His mobile phone number was 98145-76061 and the hand set was of Siemens’. He said he had one more set which he sent for repair.


Rs 50,000 stolen
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 15
Rupees 50,000 in cash were stolen yesterday from a scooter of Mr Rajinder Sharma, a shopkeeper here. 

Mr Sharma, who owns a shop near Nirankari Bhavan, had put the money in the tool-box of his scooter parked in front of his shop. He said that after attending to customers, he found that the money had been stolen.


Remove encroachments, says traffic expert
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 15
Dr Shankar Vishwanath, traffic expert, who was called from Mumbai by the district authorities to suggest measures for improving the flow of traffic in the city has presented his report and given suggestions.

Dr Vishwanath has pointed out that there are no road markings, centre line markings and lane markings on the highways, leading to traffic hazards. The stop lines, zebra crossings and lane markings are also missing at all intersections.

He has suggested improvements in the structure of roundabout, roads and traffic indicator signs. The report points out that the signals installed at the bus stand chowk do not meet the standards recommended by the Indian Roads Congress., the Bureau of Indian Standards and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. These are not maintained properly.

The report highlights that besides rampant encroachments, poles and transformers fixed on the roads .

Occupy precious space. The roads are being used for parking vehicles. The poles should be relocated and the authorities should go in for underground cabling in the inner city areas.

Under the immediate traffic management plan, the report says poor condition of roads, including stretching of national highways within the city limits, is also hampering the smooth flow of traffic. The poor streetlighting is also causing traffic problems. The reports says a majority of the roundabouts of the city are placed non-geometrically and act as a bottleneck at time. Reducing the width has been suggested as a remedy. Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said pamphlets on road safety had been distributed and school students were being trained in traffic rules. 


DC warns erring officials
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 15
Deputy Commissioner of Patiala Tajveer Singh yesterday said strict disciplinary action would be taken against any kanungo or patwari who displayed laxity in conducting “nishandehi” proceedings of land on request in the district.

Speaking at a meeting on the District Development Board here, the Deputy Commissioner said all “nishandehi” applications must be dealt with immediately adding laxity in this regard was the main reason for a number of quarrels in rural areas. He ordered them to complete the remaining “inteqals” of land in their respective areas. Mr Tajveer Singh also announced that concerned officers would be held responsible in case any government land of their department was encroached upon. He said officers of all departments must keep a check on all vacant land of their department and take steps to ensure no encroachments took place at the sites.

He also directed all Subdivisional Magistrates to conduct a tour of their subdivisions at least twice a week to ascertain and solve the problems being faced by the people. He directed the Health Department staff to conduct an awareness drive regarding malaria along with taking other precautionary measures to curtail mosquitoes in slums and rural areas. The Horticulture Department Deputy Director has been asked to pay more attention to the maintenance of the Baradari Gardens. The Deputy Commissioner said more care was needed to be taken of the garden to make it a tourist attraction under the Heritage Tourism Project launched by the government.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner came down heavily on officers who did not attend today’s meeting. He said strict disciplinary action would be taken against officers who did not attend the meeting in future. 



DC suspends patwari
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 15
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, has suspended Mr Harmohinder Singh, patwari, posted at Mallanwala village, for tampering with an official record. The DC has also ordered a departmental inquiry against Mr Kewal Singh kanungo, which will be conducted by the tehsildar, Zira.

Mr Raminder Singh also held ‘Sarkar Apke Dwar” programme at Malanwala Khas village in which 42 complaints solved. He was accompanied by Ms Kalpana Naik, SP (Headquarters), Ms Alak Nanda Dyal, SDM, Zira, Mr Resham Singh Joura, Chairman, Block Samiti, Zira, and other government officials.

The DC exhorted the villagers not to bribe any government official for any work and if any official demanded bribe, the matter should be brought in the notice of senior officials.


Proclaimed offender held

Hoshiarpur, May 15
The Mahilpur police last night, arrested Randhir Singh alias Dhira a proclaimed offender of Balaspur, wanted in several cases of looting, attempt to murder etc. 

Ms Gurpreet Deo Senior Superintendent of Police in a press note here yesterday said that Randhir Singh was wanted by Anandpur Sahib Police in case No. 12 of February 10, 2000, registered under Section 307/34 of the IPC against him. He had been operating in Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Phagwara and Ludhiana districts since 1992. He was also wanted in cases registered against him in Ropar and Ludhiana districts.


Uncle held for beating up girl
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 15
A 12-year-old orphaned girl, Mamta, was beaten up with screw driver, iron rod and hammer by her paternal uncle Gurcharan Singh.

The incident took place at the residence of Gurcharan Singh in Behrampur Bet near Chamkaur Sahib on May 11. Gurcharan Singh came to his house allegedly in intoxicated condition. He got angry with the girl over some trivial matter and started beating her up.

He took the wailing Mamta to a room and beat her up with a screw driver and iron hammer. When her grandmother Dhan Kaur tried to intervene she was also hit by the accused. Then he chained Mamta and kept beating her up till he assumed that she was dead.

Mamta was left tied with the chain in an unconscious state for more than 24 hours. Her maternal aunts finally came to her rescue. and took her to the Civil Hospital, Chamkaur Sahib.

Mamta’s condition is tated to be stable but she is not in a position to give any statement to the police.

Police sources said they were also investigating the rape angle. The medical report is likely to be received in the next few days.

The police has arrested Gurcharan Singh and registered a case under Sections 323, 376, 354, 342 506 and 511 of the IPC against him.

However, the role of the police officer incharge of Dala Chowki is being viewed with suspicion. The sources said. The police officer had let the accused off without registering any case against him due to unstated reasons.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, has directed the SDM, Mr Daljit Singh, to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report within two days.

The SDM visited the girl in the hospital and inquired about her health today. He said the district administration had decided to bear the expenses of Mamta’s treatment.

The chemist association of Chamkaur Sahib had also come forward to provide medicines free of cost for the treatment, he added.


Groom, father held in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 15
A bridegroom and his father were arrested at Dhariwal, near here, yesterday after the bride refused to accompany the marriage party on the plea that the bridegroom had demanded a car in dowry.

Mr Chanchal Singh of Khuddi village, near Dhariwal, the father of the bride, while talking to mediapersons last night, said his daughter Kamaljit Kaur, who was a post Graduate, was married to Joginder Singh of Bal village. During the marriage ceremony, the bridegroom whispered to the bride that a car was not being given in dowry. The bride kept mum and later left for her village with her parents.

The bridegroom, accompanied by his parents and elder brother, went to Khuddi village to take the bride to Bal village.

Meanwhile, the bride narrated the incident to her parents and refused to accompany the marriage party.

The bridegroom and his father were handed over to the police at Dhariwal while his mother and elder brother escaped.

The police was trying to make the two families arrive at a compromise. 


Mahant’s murder solved
Jeep fished out of canal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 15
The murder of Mahant Nirmal Muni, whose Uadasin dera owned of nearly 900 acres at Akar village in Rajpura subdivision, has been solved with the police claiming that the murder had been committed by the Mahant’s disciple Pathardas in league with villagers, who had been ploughing the dera’s land on lease.

Meanwhile, the police had fished out the Armada jeep of the Mahant which was pushed into a canal near Pabri village along with the bodies of the mahant and his driver today afternoon. The jeep had travelled half a kilometer from where it had been pushed into the canal.

Earlier the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, said at a press conference that he was murdered by a disciple in league with some villagers because the lease of the land being ploughed by the villagers was about to end and the mahant said he would not renew the lease.

Mr Umranangal said the mahant had come to the dera on May 5 in the evening. The mahant was suspicious of the intentions of his disciple and only partially partook of the drugged tea served on him and his driver Charan Singh. Following this the accused Pathardas, Balbir Singh, Ramdhari and Savinder Singh Bittu shot both of them with a 9 mm pistol.

The police officer said the villagers did not hear the gun shots because the accused had raised the volume of the music system installed at the dera. He said the accused put both bodies in gunny bags which were taken in the late evening to a nearby canal in the Armada vehicle of the mahant which was pushed into the canal.

After committing the crime, Pathardas and a few other villagers also went to the Rajpura Sadar police station and registered a complaint claiming that the police was not doing anything in the matter, Mr Umranangal added.

The Rajpura Sadar police has registered a murder case against Pathardas, Balbir Singh, Ramdhari and Savinder Singh even while Nirmal Singh and Rai Singh and Phoojha have been booked for conspiracy.


Cong leader’s house burgled
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 15
Robbers broke into the Delite Colony house of city Congress leader Ajay Thapar and decamped with lakhs in Indian and foreign currency, besides gold and electronic goods.

Mr Ajay Thapar claimed that he and his family had gone to sleep at 11 pm last night and they came to know of the robbery only at 6.30 am in the morning. He said when the family woke up, it found that all almirahs has been searched and cash, gold and electronic goods had been taken away. He said the family also found briefcases and other bags on the roof of the house where the robbers had apparently searched for valuables.

The Congress leader said the robbers were so bold that his mobile set and ring which had been placed near his pillow before going to sleep had also been lifted. He said the robbers had taken $ 1,950 which were in his house as he dealt in foreign currency and money changing, besides more than Rs 5.50 lakh in cash. He said besides this a few electronic items and imported goods had also been stolen from his house.

The local police lifted the fingerprints from the scene of the crime, besides using its dog squad. A case has been registered in this regard.



DEO(E) in soup over spending govt fund
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 15
The District Education Officer (Elementary) is in soup as she on her own has spent Rs. 2.21 crore provided under Sarv Siksha Abhiyan without the formal approval of the District Education Development Committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner. When the committee sought an explanation from the DEO(E), instead of explaining her position she proceeded on medical leave for a month. According to sources the Deputy Commissioner has written to the Principal Secretary (Education) to initiate disciplinary action against the DEO(E) for non- compliance of the government’s order.

According to information available this district got Rs 3.39 crore under the abhiyan scheme of the state government to provide infrastructure in government schools as well as to ensure compulsory education to the children up to 14 years of age. As per the government’s directions a District Education Development Committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner gives an approval to use the funds, where as the DEO(E) as a projects director, assesses and submits the proposals according to requirements of the schools. Initially the DEO(E) took the approval of the committee for only Rs 55.20 lakh for constructing toilets and providing drinking water in 75 schools of the district and spent Rs 2.21 crore on her own without taking any formal approval of the committee. In the meeting of the committee held on March 10 chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, the DEO(E) was directed to submit all records pertaining to the amount spent to ADC(D). The ADC(D) in his inquiry report submitted to the Deputy Commissioner indicted that the DEO(E) had violated the government’s. direction and spent the funds on her own. Not only this even after the inquiry and the directions of the committee, the DEO(E) continued to spend the funds regularly without any approval and knowledge of committee.

When the Deputy Commissioner ordered physical verification of the schools where infrastructure was required as per the list, the DEO(E) hurriedly released the funds to these schools on her own.

When contacted Ms Mohinder Kaur, DEO(E), said she had been writing to the Deputy Commissioner for approval. She said she had attended the meetings of the committee but due to the instructions from the Principal Secretary (Education) she released the funds on her own. She refused to further talk alleging she was not medically fit.


Encyclopaedia of Sikhism on university net
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 15
Punjabi University has decided to put the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism on the university net.

A university note said here today the decision had been taken at a meeting of the Standing Committee for Punjabi Development which was presided over by Vice-Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai.

The note said the Vice-Chancellor while speaking on the occasion, said to meet the commitment of the university to the development of Punjabi language, literature and culture, the university had taken up the project of preparing an English version of Bhai Kahn Singh Nabhas Encyclopaedia on Sikh Literature. The VC said besides this, the works of Nobel Prize winners would also be translated into Punjabi under another project.

The meeting also decided to promote 41 new projects on Punjabi language besides preparing monographs of literary figures. Among the prominent scholars who participated in the meeting were Prof Gurdial Singh, Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Dr Surjit Singh Dhillion, Dr H.S. Deol, Dr Gulzar Singh Sandhu, Dr Jagjit Singh Anand, Dr Surjit Patar, Mr Harbhajan Halwarvi, Dr Madan Lal Hasiza, Dr Kirpal Singh Dr Devinder Singh and Dr Vikram Singh. Earlier the Punjabi Development Department head Dr Dhanwant Kaur, presented a detailed report of the achievements of the department.



Govt teachers take out rally
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 15
A large number of teachers from all over the state participated in a rally organised by the Government Teachers Union, Punjab (Bari faction), to protest against the introduction of the new education policy, here today.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bari, president of the faction, said the new education policy had nothing positive to offer. It aimed at getting 85 per cent aid from the Centre and was a step towards the privatisation of education, he claimed.

Mr Bari said 18,000 vacancies in schools for the past five years and the recent fee hike in schools and colleges were steps to hasten privatisation. The stopping of teaching of science and commerce in schools and an end to free education to girls upto graduation were steps to close government educational institutions, he added.

He said under the Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan, any individual with 20 students was allowed to start classes in school buildings, which would adversely affect the strength of students in government schools. He accused the Education Minister of backing out of his commitment to the union at a meeting in Chandigarh on October 23 last.

Mr Bari said the union would intensify its stir. He said flag marches would be organised in the constituencies of the Education Minister and the Chief Minister.


PG medical entrance exam on June 3
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 15
The Punjab Government has fixed June 3 as the date for the postgraduate medical entrance examination. Students had demanded a change in the date as it clashed with the Manipal University entrance examination.

This was announced Punjab Medical Education Minister Santokh Singh here today. He said the state government would ensure complete transparancy in the conducting of the PMT and postgraduate entrance tests.

He said he had visited the Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences at Faridkot a few days ago and reviewed arrangements for conducting the examinations.

Asked about the Punjab Medical Council elections, he said the election process would begin on May 22. He said 7,468 doctors are on the electoral roll as compared to 2,310 in 1996.


Engineering college to start M. Tech courses
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 15
The Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology here will start M. Tech courses in many branches of engineering, including electronics and communication, computer science and electrical engineering, from the next academic session.

Dr Gurdeep Singh, Principal of the college, said here today that a proposal was also underway with Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, for starting a regional centre at the college from the next academic session. He said the M. Tech courses would be introduced in almost all disciplines for which graduate courses were being already run in the college.


ABVP protests by begging
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
In a unique way of protest against the state government for its alleged anti-student policies, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists begged to generate money for their fees here today.

The students, led by Suraj Bhardwaj, district secretary of the ABVP, along with activists of the girls’ wing of the ABVP begged in the main bazars, houses and public places for at least an hour and a half. The protesting students said the students were facing hardship due to the ‘unjustified’ fee hike by the government.

The ABVP activists demanded the lowering of fess for higher education.


A Sikh as PU VC demanded
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 15
Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, in a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has urged him to appoint a Sikh as Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University.  He stated that the university originally located at Lahore was shifted to Chandigarh after the Partition and enjoyed a reputation among Indian universities. He regretted that despite the university being in Sikh majority state it never had a Vice-Chancellor of this community. He urged the PM to intervene in the matter as the present incumbent would retire shortly.


ST officials ‘harassing’ dealers
Our Correspondent

Batala, May 15
A lawyer and member of the Sales Tax and Income Tax Bar Association, Mr P.L. Sharma, has written to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, Mr Suresh Kumar, that officials at the Sales Tax Office, Batala, are resorting to delaying tactics.

A glaring example is that of the registration certificate application of M/s Anmol Trading Co, Grain Market, Batala. The assessing authority entertained the application on January 14, 2003, but the dealer got the registration certificate on May 6, 2003.

Mr Sharma has also requested higher authorities to find out the cause of delay in issuing the certificate. He has also written that whenever any dealer applies for duplicate copies of registration certificates, these are sent to the inspector working in the ward for report. As a result the dealer keeps on visiting the office for getting his work done.


PCMS Assn lauds IMA statements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has appreciated the statements of representatives of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in support of the medical fraternity struggling for voting rights, besides objecting to irregularities in the electoral process of the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) elections.

They have demanded that the PMC elections should be held after updating the electoral rolls to include all 34,000 doctors registered with the council.

Dr Hardeep Singh and Dr Tejpal, President and Vice-President, respectively, of the Association, said:

“There is no doubt that the medical fraternity is welcoming the elections to the PMC as a major step in restoration of democracy after 20 years in this supreme governing body but no one should be allowed to exploit the situation to favour a few candidates at the cost of the democratic rights of 75 per cent doctors, “ they said.

The PCMS representatives also welcomed the statement of the chief of the Punjab chapter of the IMA who had raised his voice for the 26,500 registered medical practitioners deprived of their constitutional right to vote in the PMC poll.

The PCMS representatives supported the demand of the IMA chief to change the returning officer-cum-registrar who is responsible for gross irregularities and autocratic functioning.

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