Friday, May 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Govt gears up for PMET
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service


Informed sources said the names of about 40 teachers in medical and dental colleges have been cleared by the departmental promotion committee for promotion. Of these, 13 names each have been cleared for promotion as Professors and Associate Professors. Fourteen senior lecturers have been promoted as Assistant Professors. The file has been sent to the minister for approval.

Chandigarh, May 22
Alarmed at the CBSE PMT scam, the Punjab Government wants to make foolproof arrangements for the Punjab Medical Entrance Test (PMET) to be held on June 29 by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

Sources said a series of meetings have been held among the Medical Education Minister, top officials and the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

The Vice-Chancellor has been told to take all steps to prevent any mischief in the PMET. Secrecy should be maintained about the computer programmes related to the conduct of the examination and the question paper. Employees of high credibility and enjoying the confidence of the Vice-Chancellor should be appointed to the key posts associated with the conduct of the examination.

A senior officer said as the roots of the CBSE scam had been in Punjab, it had a more adverse affect on aspirants in this part of the country.

Meanwhile, the issue of improving the lot of government medical and dental colleges has also been taken up with the state government.

The Finance Department has been asked to release the allocated budget for these institutions, which are facing problems galore.

Because of the poor upkeep of these institutions, various mishaps, such as a fire incident in the Patiala medical college yesterday, have started happening, says a senior officer. Following the fire incident at the Patiala college, students started protesting. The government had to rush a senior IAS officer, besides the Director Research and Medical Education (DRME) to Patiala to placate the students

The government last year allocated Rs 39 crore for these institutions but released only Rs 3.6 crore in the whole year whereas these colleges contributed Rs 22 crore to the state revenue by way of income from user charges. The government did not release even Rs 13 crore given as aid by the Union Government for providing better infrastructure facilities in such colleges. There are three medical colleges, two dental colleges, one ayurvedic college and one homoeopathic college in the government sector in Punjab. Efforts are being made to add another government medical college next year. The college is being constructed at Jalandhar.


Take CET even if no admit card
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 22
While Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, seems to have done its duty by publishing a public notice in leading newspapers today, saying that the students could appear in the Common Engineering Test (CET) at the centres of their first option (as filled in their application forms), without the admit cards, the worries of the students are far from over, as more than one centres have been established in the district and the students are not sure where to report.

Mr Mann Singh (name changed) said that he was not sure about which centre to report to and had decided to report at the local Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology (GZSCET) of his own. He said that the PTU notice has given some reprieve to the students who had failed to get their roll numbers either by post or from Internet, as they had not noted down their application numbers.

The sources said that the CET exam would start at 9 am tomorrow (Friday) and would conclude at 12.30.

Meanwhile, official sources at the GZSCET said this evening the cut lists, having the names and the roll numbers of the students, who would be appearing at their centres had been received and a seating plan as per the directions of the PTU was being set. They claimed that a smooth conduct of CET-2003 would be ensured and added that all the arrangements for the same had been completed.

However, it could not be known that how the question booklets and the answersheets would be distributed amongst the local centres as the officials concerned were not sure that how many students would be actually reporting to their centres. The Registrar, PTU, has asked these centres to allot provisional roll number to the candidates without admit cards.


Siddiqui to be next Punjab DGP
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Two announcements made by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at a police seminar here today sent conflicting signals.

First he said he would respect the principle of seniority while ordering promotions of police officers. But a few minutes later, he announced that ADGP A.A. Siddiqui, junior to at least two ADGPs, would be the next Punjab Police chief with effect from August 1. The present state police chief, Mr M.S. Bhullar, is due for retirement on July 31.

In fact, to reinforce his assertion of sticking to the seniority principle, Capt Amarinder Singh said “I served in a uniformed force (Army) and am of the view that ignoring seniority while ordering promotions causes demoralisation among the affected officers”.

However, later talking about the elevation of Mr Siddiqui to the rank of police chief, Capt Amarinder Singh said he had given a word to Mr Siddiqui for elevating him before he was recalled from Manipur where he was serving as the police chief. Mr Siddiqui of the 1968 IPS batch is currently posted as the ADGP (Crime), besides being the Officer on Special Duty (Law and Order). Two other ADGPs — Mr S.K. Verma (due to retire on November 30, 2005) and Mr A.P. Bhatnagar (due to retire on May 31,2004) — are senior to Mr Siddiqui.

To appoint Mr Siddiqui as the police chief, he will have to be promoted to the rank of DGP. And with him, Mr Verma and Mr Bhatnagar will also have to be promoted. With this, the number of DGPs to be promoted from the rank of ADGP will be three. Besides, there are already two other DGP-rank officers — Mr Sarabjit Singh (due for retirement on May 31, 2004), who remained the state police chief during the SAD-BJP Government; and Mr Jarnail Singh Chahal (retirement due on June 30, 2004), Chairman of a public sector undertaking in the state. Thus, the total number of DGPs will go up to five. However, there is just one sanctioned post of DGP in Punjab. Mr Sarabjit Singh is without posting at present.

In case Capt Amarinder Singh sticks to the principle of seniority, Mr Siddiqui can’t become the police chief from August 1. A senior police officer said the Chief Minister’s two announcements had a strange kind of contradiction.

Meanwhile, Capt Amarinder Singh said the names of politicians to be appointed as chairpersons of various boards, corporations and members of such organisations had been finalised.

When asked if there was a proposal to add new faces from the minority community in the Council of Ministers, the Chief Minister said it would be decided after attending the party conclave to be held at Srinagar from May 29 to June 1.


Amarinder hits out at Union minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Taking a serious note of the comments made yesterday by the Union Minister of State for Rural Development, Mr M.K. Anna Saheb Patil, that the state government has not utilised the grants meant for the development of rural areas, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has decided to lodge protest with the Union Government.

Mr Patil’s comments figured at a meeting of the Punjab Council of Ministers today. The Chief Minister said Mr Patil’s comments were uncalled for as these were not based on facts. The present government had surpassed all previous records as far as the spending of money on rural development was concerned, he claimed.

“I have told Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Rural Development Minister, to send a strongly worded letter to the Union Government and Mr Patil citing facts and figures about the money spent on development in the rural areas,” said Capt Amarinder Singh. “I failed to understand what made Mr Patil to make such comments,” he added.

The Chief Minister said the government was not in a position at present to give free education to girls. “I welcome the suggestion given by the party high command in this connection and education will be made free for girls when the state’s financial situation improves,” he added.

The Chief Minister said the state government had returned Rs 2,700 crore to a consortium of banks through the RBI as per a commitment made a few months ago. Punjab was paying the price now for diversion of funds meant for the procurement of foodgrains by the SAD-BJP Government.

A trust would be formed soon to help old and aged writers, histrorians, novelists etc. The government would provide Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month as pension or say financial aid for life to 20 such persons. In the case of death of any such writer, another name would be added to the list.

A meeting of the Chief Ministers for coordination at the regional level would be held soon. 


Need to keep morale of police high: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
The growing drug menace and cybercrime, the modernisation of police and giving a more humane face to the police force were some of the main issues highlighted by eminent speakers during the inaugural session of “Challenges before Punjab police”, the two-day seminar organised by the IPS Officers’ Association, Punjab, at the CII complex here today.

The key speakers for the day were Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, former Punjab DGP K.P.S. Gill, Member of Parliament Renuka Chowdhury, Chief Secretary Rajan Kashyap and the Director-General of Police, Mr M.S Bhullar.

In his inaugural address, Capt Amarinder Singh stressed the need to keep the morale of the police force high since the challenges ahead of them were far too many. Cybercrime, crime against women, white-collar crime and drug-related problems today posed the most formidable challenge before the Punjab police, which needed to acquire the required skills to tackle them before they assume alarming proportions.

To further check the growing incidence of crime, he emphasised on the need to tap the potential of over 20 lakh unemployed youths in the state by setting up industry. “The fallout of unrest among the youth could be adverse for the state as it has a 700-km border with Pakistan, which is trying to destabilise its neighbours.”

Expressing concern about the menace of drug addiction, Capt Amarinder Singh pointed out that as per a recent survey in Ludhiana district, 67 per cent of school/college-going boys and 52 per cent of girls had tried drugs in one way or the other. He exhorted the state police to evolve a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the problem, which was gripping innocent youths at an alarming rate.

Capt Amarinder Singh also called upon the officers to take stock of the situation arising out of money laundering (hawala) and cybercrime, which were also on the rise due to the wide exposure of violence on the electronic media.

Capt Amarinder Singh assured to equip the force with the latest equipment, besides providing modern IT facilities to deal with the most sophisticated crimes in the times to come.

He reiterated his firm faith to keep the morale of the police force high as the force had done a commendable job of containing terrorism and pulling out the state from turbulent times during the days of terrorism.

Earlier, Chief Secretary Rajan Kashyap impressed upon police officers to have better interface with the public and live up to the high traditions of the department. Hinting at community policing, he said the police should be seem more as a friend of the people.

In his welcome address, Mr M.S Bhullar, DGP, said cross-border terrorism was another problem that would continue to trouble us.

The seminar was attended by a number of senior officers of the state, civil and police administration, besides retired police personnel.

During the second session, Ms Renuka Chowdhury, MP, stressed on the need to involve more women in decision-making and power-sharing.

Later, during the interactive session, members of the public raised important issues about the need for a friendlier police and a user-friendly grievance handling mechanism.


Sikh clergy meets tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 22
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, has called a crucial meeting of Sikh high priests on May 24 here to discuss the letter of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal. He (Jathedar Vedanti) is also under pressure to summon Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), SGPC members and some SGPC employees who had openly participated in the tug-of-war between the warring Akali stalwarts in violation of the ‘hukamnama’ issued from Akal Takht on December 31, 1998.

The Akal Takht secretariat is busy studying the developments after the pronouncement of the edict which had directed all Akali leaders to maintain truce till the celebrations of the birth anniversary of Khalsa Panth. However, instead of obeying the edict, Mr Badal and Mr Tohra had both paraded the SGPC members loyal to them separately. While Mr Badal had paraded 112 SGPC members before journalists at Jalandhar on January 10, 1999, as many as 131 SGPC members belonging to the Badal faction had sought the withdrawal of the ‘hukamnama’.

Earlier, Mr Tohra had claimed that he had the support of 92 SGPC members. However, Mr Badal had informed the media that Mr Tohra had got the signatures of at least 47 SGPC members ‘forged’.

Certain SGPC employees too were party to the violation of the edict issued by Bhai Ranjit Singh on December 31, 1998.

The case was moved to the Sikh Judicial Commission by the pro-Badal SGPC members. The commission directed the then SGPC chief, Mr Tohra, and the then secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, to summon a meeting of the SGPC Executive on February 10 which suspended Bhai Ranjit Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht.

Mr Kulwant Singh, the then SGPC secretary, had already confessed that he was guilty of misguiding the Badal faction which violated the directive of Akal Takht.

Mr Tohra had announced that he would not appear before Akal Takht as he had not violated any edict. However, Mr Tohra is being persuaded to accompany Mr Badal for ‘face saving’ of the SAD.

Efforts are afoot to bring about a rapprochement between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra at the earliest so that both the leaders could jointly address the conference scheduled to be held on June 3 at Dera Begowal to mark the death anniversary of Baba Prem Singh.


Badal-Tohra unity, ‘unity of opportunists’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 22
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD-Amritsar) headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann will contest panchayat polls in Punjab independently but it apprehends that the polls may be postponed to December.

Mr Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singhwala, General Secretary, SAD (A), said here today, that a meeting of the party will be held to draw up strategy for the polls.

On Badal-Tohra unity, Mr Kahan Singhwala disclosed that he had telephoned yesterday Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to inform him that the SAD (A) should be taken into confidence before a decision by the Jathedar. Mr Jaskaran Singh claimed that the then acting Jathedar of Akal Takht Prof Manjit Singh had united the various Akali factions and the SAD (A) was born on April 14, 1996. He claimed that the Jathedar asked him to put forth his views in person. Our party’s office-bearers would meet soon to putting forth party’s viewpoint before Jathedar Vedanti, he informed.

He urged Jathedar Vedanti to make public the letter of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former CM and SAD (B) President. He also asked Mr Badal to clarify why he did not present himself at Akal Takht when its Jathedar had directed him to do so in the past many times and why now he was so keen to present himself at Akal Takht and had written a letter to its Jathedar when none had asked him to do it. When Akal Takht calls Badal, he does not go there but when L.K. Advani Deputy Prime Minister tells him to go he does so, quipped Mr Jaskaran Singh. Mr Badal had lowered the dignitary of Akal Takht by disobeying its edicts first in 1996 by not merging his faction in Amritsar Akali Dal and then by not keeping truce for a fortnight on the directive of Bhai Ranjit Singh, the Akal Takht Jathedar, during Khalsa’s tercentenary celebrations, he alleged Mr Badal-Tohra ekta was not Panthic ekta but unity of two opportunistic individuals at behest of the BJP and the Congress which we rejected, he asserted.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, member of the Lok Sabha today decried hate crime against Sikh truck driver Avtar Chiera in Phoenix in America, Mr Chiera was shot at and injured by a group of whites early this week.


Wheat stubble burning poses hazard
Fear of fire in oil dumps, ammo depot
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 22
“Markets forget very fast”. This oft-quoted one-liner by commercial companies to hide their faults seems to define the psychology of the district administration as the fires which broke out in the ammunition depots located at Bharatpur, Pathankot and other parts of country have failed to raise concern that the same can happen at Bathinda.

As the authorities concerned virtually have turned a blind eye, the farmers near the oil dumps, which are located at stone’s throw from the ammunition depot, have been burning the wheat stubble and thus putting the lives of thousands of residents at risk.

After the Bharatpur ammunition fire incident, the then Commandant of the Bathinda ammunition depot, Col Gopal Bhandari, had written to the then Deputy Commissioner, asking him to expedite the proceedings into the clearance of the 2,000 yard radius around the depot to ensure safety.

The orders issued by the Ministry of Defence (dated February 26, 1979) stating that the 1,000-yard radius should be kept as clearance zone had been violated and the oil dumps set up very near to ammunition depot. The residents of Phoos Mandi, Gulabgarh and Bhagoo villages have expressed concern over the proximity of the ammunition depot and the oil dumps of the IOC and BPC to inhabited areas.

Though the District Magistrate in his orders issued under section 144, CrPC, has banned the burning of wheat stubble in the entire district and has laid special emphasis on banning this practice near the oil dumps due to security and safety reasons, the farmers have been burning the wheat stubble in the fields adjacent to the oil dumps.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the ban has failed to deter the erring farmers as no action has been taken against them. In the past about more than one month, a number of farmers set the wheat stubbles on fire and damaged a number of full grown trees apart from causing damage to soil fertility.

“Bathinda city is sitting on a powder keg as it is surrounded by the ammunition depot, oil dumps, National Fertiliser Limited factory and Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) from all directions. As all these installations contain highly inflammable material, a spark can make the city an inferno,” pointed out a cross-section of citizens while talking to TNS. They also concerned at the apathetic attitude of authorities concerned towards checking the burning of wheat stubbles.

Though no senior official of the oil dumps could be contacted despite repeated efforts, a section of officials with whom TNS talked to on phone claimed that due to the long distance between the oil tanks and fields, the burning of wheat stubbles did not pose any threat. They said the civil administration was responsible for checking the practice.


Chaos forces Hanspal to make hasty exit
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 22
Chaos prevailed on the inaugural day of the block level conventions of the Congress today, which was presided over by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president, Mr H.S. Hanspal.

Trouble started immediately after the arrival of Mr Hanspal at the Congress headquarters when party activists pushed each other to get themselves photographed with the president, who was approaching the stage along with other Congress leaders. The microphone fell before a free for all started as senior leaders and police personnel tried to pacify the workers. However, no body seemed to listen as confusion prevailed for more than half an hour.

Certain activists took the opportunity to protest against the nomination of District Youth Congress president Navdeep Singh Goldy, who they alleged had got the position by allegedly bribing Congress leaders.

They added that the new district youth president had a criminal record.

Senior Congress leader R.L. Bhatia also failed to silence the crowd.

Later, when the PPCC president was asked to address the convention he said he wanted complete silence before saying anything. This too failed to pacify the crowd. The PPCC president hurriedly said a few words criticising the NDA government and its policies before making a quick exit.

Mr Hanspal said later that he was in the mood to spend at least three hours with Congress workers to hear their grievances and to bring warring factions together but nobody seems to be in a mood to listen.

While the press conference continued inside a room Congress workers indulged in loud sloganeering outside the door, which was bolted from inside.

Mr Hanspal during the interaction with the media revealed that a four-member panel had been set out to select an appropriate youth Congress state-level president. He indicated the possibility of a Dalit leader emerging as the new Youth Congress Punjab chief.


21 pc de-mined area returned
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 22
Admitting to hardships caused to the border residents of Amritsar and Ferozepore following the laying of mines after the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament and the consequent troop buildup on borders, the Army authorities have prepared a comprehensive document relating to Amritsar and Ferozepore districts which were among the most affected areas due to the laying of mines.

According to the details available, mines were laid in 7,241 acres of land in Amritsar district and 15,858 acres in Ferozepore district hampering movement. The mines were laid in January 2002 and de-mining was ordered in October last year.

Lt-Col Anurag Shukla, General Staff Office Grade-I (Intelligence), spokesman for the General Officer Commanding, told The Tribune that 1547 acres of land in Amritsar district and 3,347 acres in Ferozepore district had been handed over to the owners. However, admitting that only 21 per cent of the total de-mined land had been returned to the owners as compared to the mined area of more than 24,000 acres in both the borders districts, Army officials stated that maximum precautions were being undertaken to avoid any tragic incident.

In a comprehensive chart, the Army has listed the amount of compensation to be paid for the various affected areas and crops, etc.

The Army has identified 36 persons who have been injured in mine blasts. Pending verifications, Rs 2.5 lakh will be paid for fatalities, Rs 2 lakh for 100 per cent disability and Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh for less than 100 per cent and less than 50 per cent disability, respectively.

The Army claims to have distributed Rs 8.98 crore so far in Amritsar district. It further claimed that Rs 12.62 crore had been released for Ferozepore district. It noted that while the rates of compensation were being worked out by the state government payments of compensation were being made by revenue officials in the presence of the Army representatives.

Some of the reasons for pending compensation were dispute over ownership of land, death of owners of land in the interim period or the unwillingness the beneficiaries to receive small amounts.


Pension for aided school staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
The Punjab Council of Ministers at a meeting here today Punjab, today decided to grant pension in the revised scales with effect from January 1, 1996, to all employees of privately managed government-aided schools, who have either retired or are due to retire by May 31.

An official spokesman said a modified contributory pension scheme would be formulated for those retiring after June 1.

The Council of Ministers also decided to include the Kachhi (Shakya, Maurya and Khuswaha) caste in the list of other backward classes (OBCs) in Punjab on the recommendations of the Punjab State backward Classes Commission. The council also decided to make certain change in the rules of reservation for ex-servicemen in the state services. Keeping in view the interests of ex-servicemen, an amendment to these rules was required to ensure that if 4 per cent Scheduled Castes ex-servicemen were not available the posts reserved for them should be offered to ex-servicemen belonging to the backward class category. Similarly, in case 2 per cent backward class ex-servicemen were not available, the posts reserved for that category shall be offered to ex-servicemen belonging to the Scheduled Castes category.

However, if no Scheduled Caste or backward class ex-serviceman was available, the posts reserved for these categories of ex-servicemen may be offered to ex-servicemen belonging to the general category.

The council also decided that the Department of Posts would be allowed a 10 per cent commission on the sale of revenue stamps.

It was decided to create two posts of ADGP to adjust Mr A.A. Siddiqui and Mr R.K. Gupta.


Swamp to be made tourist spot
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 22
A seminar on biodiversity was organised at Ashoka Senior Secondary School on World Biodiversity Day by the Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM), in collaboration with the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology.

Mr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, president, AVM, and Dr Bhajan Singh Lark spoke about endangered species. While 3647 species have been identified as ‘vulnerable’, 7200 species have been classified as ‘rare’ species.

A resolution was passed to preserve and develop a swamp, Magar Muddian Chhamb, as a tourist resort. The area is spread in 1,000 sq km near Gurdaspur, where migratory birds from Siberia and other parts of the world come.

A special fund was also demanded for the development of the Harike Pattan wetland, besides the removal of encroachments, in the area and purification of the Satluj and the Beas.

Mr Y.P. Gupta presided over the function, said Mr Kulwant Singh Sufi, general secretary, AVM.

JALANDHAR: A function was held here by Pahal, a local NGO, on World Biodiversity Day.

In his keynote address, the president of the NGO, Mr Lakhbir Singh, said people in developing countries were not aware about the need to preserve biodiversity. “Efforts should be made to inform people about the ill-effects of failure in this regard. Only three per cent of the world’s land is devoted to the preservation of nature,” he said adding that NGOs should intensify their campaign against the excessive exploitation of natural resources for the sake of industrialisation.

Dr Satnam Singh Ladhar, Principal Scientific Officer, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, said population was fast expanding, resulting in intense misuse of land and wild animals and their habitats had started disappearing.

Mr C.K. Shahi, District Forest Officer, also spoke on the occasion. Later, students were given prizes for their performance in a painting and a quiz contest.


Missing child: DC orders probe
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 22
To probe the missing of female child of Mrs Rekha, wife of Balwinder Singh of Muridke in Batala sub-division on April 29 Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, yesterday ordered Dr Niranjan Singh Suman, Civil Surgeon and Mr Parneet Bhardwaj Sub-Divisional Magistrate Batala, to enquire into the matter.

Mr Sinha said that Rekha became pregnant after nine years of marriage and was being treated by Sharanjit Kaur nurse in government service who also runs a nursing home at Fatehgarh Churian in Batala sub-division. It was on April 29 that the couple reported to the nurse at her nursing home for the delivery of Rekha. The nurse after examining Rekha directed Balwinder Singh to arrange Rs 1000 because Rekha was to deliver the child through surgery operation.

Mr Balwinder Singh left the place to arrange money and in his absence Sharanjit Kaur performed operation on Rekha who reportedly delivered a female child. After the operation, Rekha became unconscious. Later, when Rekha regained consciousness and her husband had also arrived they asked the nurse to hand over them their child. The said nurse said that no child was born to Rekha and added that Rekha was not pregnant.

The couple rushed to civil hospital, Amritsar for medical examination which confirmed that a child had born to Rekha. The couple complained to the SSP, Batala alleging that the nurse had abducted their child. The SSP Batala ordered an inquiry into the complaint.

Meanwhile, the couple met the Deputy Commissioner and complained against the conduct of the nurse. The Deputy Commissioner ordered an inquiry into the complaint. The said nurse is in government service and also runs a nursing home.


‘Blacklist’ firm of accused
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 22
The PSEB vigilance has recommend the blacklist of the Ms Sodhi Erector, a major labour contractor of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) and the Lehra Mohabat thermal plant.

The ADGP, vigilance, PSEB, Mr Lalit Bhatia, in a letter to the PSEB chairman, has recommended the action against Mr R.S. Sodhi, the proprietor of M/s Sodhi Erectors,, in view of the criminal cases registered against him at Ropar and Bathinda in the EPF scam.

Mr Sodhi’s has on its roles as many as 800 contract labourers working in the Ropar-based thermal plant alone.

After the rejection of his anticipatory bail application, Mr Sodhi, has been on the run. As a result, the 800 labourers of the GGSSTP have yet to be paid off the salary for April.

The GGSSTP have decided to pay up the labourers. They had asked for the muster role from Mr Sodhi, who has obliged. The authorities are now planning to prepare their own muster role. Besides Mr Sodhi a few other contractors have not been given payment for April. The authorities are planning to make payment to the labourers on their own.


Probe into private practice by doctors
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 22
Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, has ordered an investigation to find if any doctor employed at hospital run by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation was doing private practice.

A team led by an SMO would conduct the investigation. The team would visit the residences of the doctors employed at the local Civil Hospital to ascertain whether they were running any private clinic at their homes.

Dr Goyal said though he had not received any complaint against any doctor, reports in the media said a doctor with the blood bank ran a clinic and a laboratory at his residence. He said while ordering an investigation against that particular doctor, he thought it fit to conduct investigation against other doctors also.

Dr Goyal, however, said that it was not decided what action would be taken against the doctors found doing private practice. He said that the investigation would be conducted in about a week.

He said it had come to his knowledge that the wife of that doctor was running the laboratory. It was to be ascertained whether the doctor also did private practice at his home and availed the services of the laboratory.

Meanwhile, the inquiry into the alleged sale of blood by a private doctor has been completed. The hospital authorities have submitted the report to the Deputy Commissioner.

The sources said that the allegations levelled by a patient that a private doctor had charged a hefty amount for giving her blood which he had taken from the blood bank, were found to be true. However, the Civil Surgeon declined to comment on the findings of the inquiry. He added that it was up to Deputy Commissioner to take action.

The patient admitted to the private hospital in the city had alleged that the doctor had charged Rs 1,500 for a unit of blood, though the government fee for it was Rs 300.


Withhold PMC poll results: doctor
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 22
The Punjab Government should withhold the notification of results of the electing of three members to the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) in view of various alleged “irregularities” in the election process, including non-enrolment of more than 75 per cent doctors registered with the PMC. The results should be notified only after an independent and high-level probe into the alleged “irregularities”.

This was stated here this evening by Dr Surinder Singla, state secretary of the Punjab unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the PCMSA, who retired from the PMC elections a few days ago in protest against the alleged “irregularities”. He further said that this election process had “flouted” all principles of natural justice and so would shatter the basic democratic functioning of this supreme council of the doctors.


Approver moves court for bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Taking up a petition filed by an approver in the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam Jagman Singh seeking the grant of bail, besides the quashing of a section in the Code of Criminal Procedure which stated that an approver would continue to remain in jail till the trial concluded, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today fixed May 27 as the next date of hearing.

Seeking directions for the striking down of the section, the petitioner had contended that the same was unconstitutional.

Jagman's counsel had asserted that all other accused in the case, except him, had been released on bail. Even the accused who had turned approver at a later stage were out on bail.


Seminar at Anandpur Sahib
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
A seminar-cum-workshop on the assessment and accreditation of colleges for principals and staff members under the SGPC management will be organised tomorrow at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib.

All college principals and five teaching staff members of each college will attend the seminar.

Dr B.S. Madhukar, Deputy Adviser, NAAC, Bangalore, and Dr K.S. Arya, a former principal, DAV College, Chandigarh, will speak on the importance of assessment and accreditation of colleges.

Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, President of the SGPC will preside over, according to Mr Chanan Singh, Principal of S.G.T.B. Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib.


BJP memo to Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
A Punjab BJP delegation led by its general secretary, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, today submitted a memorandum to Governor Om Parkash Verma, pointing towards the concentration of destructive elements along the Indo-Pak border in Ferozepore district.

The BJP delegation submitted a report given by a fact-finding committee of the party which went deep into large -scale rehabilitation of Muslim population in and around Ferozepore district.

The delegation held that since the present Congress Government was not serious about representations submitted to it about the problem, the report of the fact-finding committee was being submitted to him as he was the constitutional head of the state.


Parcel sender given relief
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 22
The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Gurdaspur, presided over by Mr Gurdial Singh Sandhu, has directed First Flight Couriers Limited to pay a compensation of Rs 4500 along with costs of Rs 250 and interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the complaint to the complainant Amit Dogra of the Dogra Engineer Works, Pathankot, to compensate for the loss of parcel booked by the complainant.

The complainant stated that on April 20 last year, he had sent a parcel of worth Rs 9850 to Miss Sonia Sharma at Amritsar through the courier company. He also stated that the parcel had been lost in transit.


Computer dealer told to pay Rs 10,000
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 22
Mr Chetan Majithia, a local resident, was awarded Rs 10,000 as compensation and replacement of his defective monitor ordered by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here.

The forum Bench comprising President G.S. Khurana and member Daljit Pannu said the Compact Computer Corporation’s local dealer, Kochar Infotech, had supplied a defective monitor to Mr Majithia. The complainant is entitled to compensation for the defective piece purchased in January, last year, the forum observed.

The company was told to pay compensation within 15 days in addition to Rs 500 as costs.


Concern over drug menace
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22
Taking a serious view of the growing drug menace in rural areas, the Punjab Government has set up two four-member teams comprising two Deputy Commissioners and two SSPs each of Patiala and Ferozepore Divisions to suggest an “implementable policy” to check this alarming trend.

The teams have been asked to submit their recommendations as soon as possible before a state-level policy is announced.

Talking to the newsmen here yesterday, Chief Secretary Rajan Kashyap said that some districts had already initiated action on their own to check this alarming trend.


Officially there is diarrhoea, fever

Phagwara, May 22
The local SDM, Mr Pritam Singh, visited Onkar Nagar here yesterday. He was accompanied by Nagar Council President Malkiat Singh Ragbotra, councillors, SMO Civil Hospital, Dr Subhash Sharma and the SMO ESI Hospital, Dr Harcharan Singh. After an interaction with the residents, it was found that not all the patients in locality were suffering from gastroenteritis. They had high fever, diarrhoea and other ailments, an official press note issued here stated. Over two dozen cases of gastroenteritis had been reported from this slum in the past five days. OC


Dhanaula victim of vendetta: wife
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 22
Mrs Jagdeep Kaur, wife of Mr Bharpur Singh Dhanaula, former Chairman of the Punjab Forest Corporation, who has been detained for his alleged involvement in a case under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act registered at Dhanaula police station has alleged that her husband had been implicated in the case.

She said the police charge of the recovery of opium from Mr Bharpur Singh during raid was baseless.

Talking to this reporter on telephone today from her Dhanaula residence, she alleged that her family was a victim of political vendetta.

Mr Jagnaher Singh, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Barnala, had remanded Mr Bharpur Singh in judicial custody up to May 31 when the police produced him in his court on May 18.


Patna Sahib Jathedar ‘misusing’ powers
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 22
Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Chairman, Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission and former MLA, Faridkot, has challenged the authority of Jathedar Iqbal Singh along with four other priests of Takht Patna Sahib in Bihar, who had declared Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, president of the Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee “tankhaiya” yesterday.

Talking to mediapersons here today Mr Brar said under the Sikh traditions no Takht jathedar could issue such edicts on political or religious issues. Only the Jathedar of Akal Takht along with two or three head priests of other Takhts can issue such type of directions, Mr Brar added. The Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib had misused his powers in this connection.


No power supply for three weeks
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 22
Village Jalal near Bhagta Bhaika town has been without power supply for the past three weeks following damage to a PSEB transformer. Residents of the village have met the official concerned, but to no avail.

A transformer at Giana village in the Talwandi Sabo area was damaged three days ago. Residents of Akalia Kalan and Aalia Khurd staged a dharna yesterday near the office of SDO at Goniana town to protest against poor power supply.

Mr Bawa Singh, SE (headquarters), has said two or three days’ delay could be caused for replacing a transformer.


PSEB’s restrictions
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 22
The Punjab State Electricity Board has changed the timings of the evening peak load hour restrictions for consumers falling under all operational zones expect the central zone from June 1.

The revised timings of the peak load hour will be from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm and the same for consumers in the central zone from 8 pm to 11 pm. The revised schedule will remain in force from June 1 to July 31.


A new experiment at Jakhar Farms
Raj Sadosh

ABOHAR: Bitter gourd has replaced grapes at the Jakhar Fruit and Agriculture Farms, Maujgarh, in this subdivision. The seedless grapes had helped Mr Bal Ram Jakhar in winning the Udyan Pandit Award at the national level in early seventies when he was yet to join politics. Mr Jakhar was credited with growing grapes in the desert bordering Rajasthan braving high speed dust storms. The family succeeded in growing quality citrus, kinnows, peaches and plums.

Now all the grape plants have been uprooted. The Bawar system iron structure once used for bunches of grapes is now being utilised for growing hybrid quality of bitter gourd. The farms of Jakhar family at Panjkosi and Maujgarh are looked after by Mr Surinder Kumar Jakhar, second son of former Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Bal Ram Jakhar, as all other male members of the family had joined active politics. Explaining the reasons behind dispensing with grape cultivation Mr Jakhar said earlier grapes suffered due to dust storms. Later rain damaged the fruit when it came to the ripening stage. Sometimes grapes had to be sold at Rs 2 per kg fearing its perish ability. The Union Government had once provided an air-conditioned wagon to send grapes to Calcutta but the system collapsed on the way at Lucknow. The entire consignment got damaged.

According to Mr Surinder Jakhar, cotton crop had been ruining farmers in the Malwa region for three years continuously due to attack by American bollworm. Even after spraying insecticides 20 times, most of the cotton crop failed to survive. Diversification in crop was the only answer. Vegetables could prove a better cash crop as its consumption was enough in the region. People had been buying vegetables at a high cost as the they were carried from Delhi, 380 km from this town.

Some companies marketing in hybrid seeds had selected the Jakhar Farms for its hi-tech care. Bitter gourd needed iron structures. It was a costly affair. Since the farms already had structure for grapes, it was possible to switch over to bitter gourd. The hybrid produce was 8 inches in length. A neighboring market at Sri Ganganagar proved convenient for marketing. The customers spoke high of taste, better than that of ordinary quality. Mr Jakhar removed some poplar trees and made way for vegetable bunches using abandoned stock of iron wire. Another structure was created for growing hybrid tomatoes.

The most amazing experience was in growing onions. Besides ordinary onions grown with seed provided by NAFED, hybrid quality was also put to experiment. Male violet onion weighed 500 gm, female peach onion weighed up to 1300 gm with an average of 750 gm.

Shimla chilly had been the monopoly of farmers in the hilly areas. But its production in this desert had also given good results. It is neither less tasty nor smaller in size. Ordinary green chilies grown in the farms are sweet enough and 6 to 8 inches in size.

Mr Surinder Jakhar, a former Chairman of IFFCO, said the family had to make lot of arrangements for growing vegetables in 5 or 6 acres only. Vegetables needed more care and safety. The green farming technique had to be adopted. The cloth net which covered the entire crop got damaged due to recent dust storm that lashed the region after a gap of a decade. Regular water was required for irrigation. Then, there is a problem of erratic electricity supply for lifting the stored canal water from the tank. Solar system had to be installed to ensure punctual lifting water.

The farmers, Mr Jakhar said, will have to involve young educated members of their families in farming. The co-operative societies should purchase latest agriculture implements and provide the same at reasonable rates to small and marginal farmers. This will bring down cost of farming and improve yields. Unfortunately many farmers under estimated utility of wheat straw left in the field after harvesting by combines put the same on fire. Such straw was capable of strengthening the fertility of the agriculture land whereas its burning caused pollution and led to respiratory problems for the residents.


13 officers found absent during surprise raids
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 22
To ensure the punctuality and presence of the officials and the employees in their respective offices as well as to curb the menace of absenteeism, the Deputy Commissioner made surprise checks in the district. On the very first day of the surprise checking drive, 13 officers and 23 employees were found absent in different offices.

According to Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, this drive has been launched to ensure the in time presence of the employees so that the public may not face any difficulty in their routine work. He said he had been getting complaints about the habit of absenteeism among the employees, so he had warned the officers as well as the employees that late comers would not be tolerated. He said as per the directions of the Chief Minister, the main priority of the district administration would be to provide transparent and good governance. He said after launching this drive, anti-corruption drive would be launched with full force in the district and the corrupt would be booked and punished strictly. He directed the officers and the employees to redress the grievances of the public on priority to avoid their repeated unnecessary visits to his office.

Mr V.K. Ohri, ADC (G) conducted the surprise checking in the offices of Bassi Pathana subdivision, where as the surprise checking in district administrative complex was conducted by GA to DC. Those found absent include SDO (PWD), AR (Co-Operative Society), DR (Co-Operative Society), two ETOs, District Education Officer (S), District Sanik Bhilai Officer, District Food and Civil Supply Controller, District Social Security Officer, Chief Agriculture Officer, District Town Planner, Audit Officer Co-Operative Societies and other employees of various departments.


DC suspends 4 officials

Gurdaspur, May 22
Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, yesterday placed four officials under suspension of the MA branch in the office of the Deputy Commissioner for dereliction of duty.

Ashok Joshi, Balwinder Singh, Surinder Kumari and Neelam Saini had misplaced the files of four IAS officers under training which contained confidential reports of the said officers written by the Deputy Commissioner. OC


Galiara scheme to get top priority: DC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 22
The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, said the Galiara Scheme for the beautification of the surroundings of Golden Temple project would be taken up on a priority basis.

The Deputy Commissioner, who was addressing mediapersons here today, said the scheme for phase-IV and V, which had been hanging fire for some time would be taken up in the right earnest. He said he would take up the matter with the authorities concerned for its immediate implementation.


SI booked for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 22
Mr Randhir Singh sub-inspector (SI) posted at Verowal police station has been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for taking bribe of Rs 17,000 from a widow of Verowal Bawaian village.

Police sources said today here that a case under Section 13 (1), (A), RW 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against Randhir Singh. He has not been arrested as yet. He had demanded Rs 25000 from Manjit Kaur wife of late Malagar Singh of Verowal Bawaian village to help her get bail for her son facing trail under Section of the 304 IPC. Manjit Kaur paid him Rs 17000 and the remaining amount was to be paid after the grant of bail but the bail application was cancelled and Manjit Kaur brought the matter to the notice of the SSP Mr Narinder Bhargav who got the matter be investigated by Mr Surjit Singh, DSP (Headquarters). In the inquiry Randhir Singh was found guilty. The police sought legal opinion and registered a case against him. He is yet to the arrested.


Fruit seller shot dead
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 22
Rajesh Kumar, alias Goldy, a resident of the Bhadarkali Gate Khazana area, was shot dead in broad daylight in the Katra Safed locality here today. He was killed by Bhola of the Lahori Gate area who fled the scene after committing the crime.

According to information available, Kumar who was a fruit seller, was arranging fruits when the incident happened. The accused, who had some dispute with the deceased over money, shot at him in the morning. He was immediately taken to the government hospital where he succumbed to his injuries in the evening. A case has been registered at D-division police station under Section 302 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, the district police rounded up three Bangladeshis from the Ajnala roadside here late last evening. Mr S.K. Hardatt, Security Officer, Air Force, Ajnala, in a case registered at Civil Line police station stated that the suspects were roaming in the area when they were held on suspicion. During investigation, they said they crossed over to India from the Assam border side and were to cross over to Pakistan. The suspects are: Shahjahan, Ferozalam and Mohammad Bahal, all residents of Balihara in Bangladesh.


47,294 stolen from office of insurance company
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 22
A gang of robbers yesterday stole Rs 47,294 from the Oriental Insurance Company office on the Dalhousie road.

A spokesman of the police said the manager of the company lodged an FIR today, stating that when he opened the office in the morning, he found the locks broken and the cash box empty. It being a strike yesterday, the money had not been deposited.

Robbers also struck at the office of the National Insurance Company on the Dhangu road, but went back empty-handed as the could not locate the cash box.

The police has registered a case in this regard.


Man ‘murders’ friend’s son
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, May 22
A one-and-half-year-old boy, Shivam, was allegedly murdered by Bhushan, a local resident, who was a friend of the father of the victim. The suspect allegedly threw the boy into a canal passing through the town.

Police sources said Bhushan and Jagmohan, father of the deceased, were fast friends. A few days ago some difference cropped up between them over the payment of some money.

Bhushan came to the house of Jagmohan today and beat up his wife Lalita. After this he snatched the boy from his sister Priyanka and fled. The accused then threw the boy into the canal near Kuitya bridge.

The boy was spotted by two persons who were washing their vehicle near the canal. They managed to pull out the boy and on finding that he was alive took him to hospital. However, the boy died after reaching the Civil Hospital.

Mr Devinder Attri, SHO confirmed the incident and added that case against Bhushan had been registered under Section 302 of the IPC on the statement of Priyanka.

The accused is still on the run.


Man kills estranged wife

Barnala, May 22
A woman named Jassi was stabbed to death by her first husband Pal Singh yesterday in Bhotna village near here in Sangrur district, the police said here today. The incident occurred when Pal Singh had a heated exchange with the woman who had come to his residence to meet her two children, staying with the father. The deceased was living with another man, Soma Singh, in Barnala. The police has registered a case. UNI


Held for collecting money in Judge’s name
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, May 22
The Dhuri police has registered a criminal case under Section 420 of the IPC against Pritam Singh of Burjseda village for collecting Rs 1 lakh in the name of Mr K.R. Mahajan, Additional Sessions Judge, fast track court, Patiala.

Police sources said today that the case had been registered on the complaint of Harish Kumar, a local resident, who alleged that the suspect had duped him of Rs 1 lakh on January 26 for getting his brother-in-law Ashok Jindal acquitted in a murder case. He said Pritam Singh had claimed that he had good relations with the Judge, Mr K.R. Mahajan, in whose court Jindal was facing trial. The deal was struck for Rs 2.2 lakh and the balance amount was to be paid after Jindal acquittal.

Jindal was sentenced to life imprisonment. After his brother-in-law’s conviction, the complainant asked the suspect to return the amount. But when Pritam Singh refused, Harish Kumar complained to the Sangrur SSP in this regard.


M.Com course for GND varsity college
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 22
Guru Nanak Dev University has awarded the M.Com (Semester system) course of the local Guru Nanak Dev University College. Despite initial reluctance, the GNDU Syndicate has finally given its nod for running the course at the Jalandhar college for the special interest taken by the GNDU Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh.

“The course will prove to be a boon for students from Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Jalandhar districts”, said Dr Usha Kapoor, the Principal GNDU College. The common entrance test for admission to the masters degree would be held in the Department of Commerce on the GNDU campus at Amritsar on June 23.


B.Com part-I results
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 22
The results of B.Com (professional) part-I examination conducted in April by Guru Nanak Dev University will be declared on May 23. The results can be accessed from the university website ( after 5 p.m. the same day. This was informed in a university press note issued here today.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |