Wednesday, May 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SSP gives ‘clean chit’ to judicial, police officers
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, May 27
Investigation into the sex scandal entrusted, to Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, S.P (City-I) has brought to the fore tussle between senior police officials of the border belt. Earlier, the SSP ignored the orders of the IG (Border range), Mr Chander Shekher, to hand over the probe to the S.P. (City-I) last week.

Mr Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had come into limelight after busting the multi-crore kidney scam. The investigation had to be transferred due to conflicting reports of the sex scandal. Though the FIR mentioned that the culprits used to supply call girls to the senior police officers only after 48 hours the press note issued on behalf of the SSP gave a ‘clean chit’ to the police and judicial officers.

Meanwhile, another dimension was added to the sex scandal when another girl came forward to lodge complaint that she was raped repeatedly by the prime accused — chairman Siti Cable Operators Association when she was minor (17).

Partners and business associates of Sarbjit Singh Raju, including a brother-in-law of Dr Manmohan Singh, a former Finance Minister have gone underground due to fear of arrest.

As the police has been investigating the ‘illegal’ housing colony on agriculture land on the Batala road which had come up without the approval of PUDA. According to sources 60 farm houses have already been sold while some houses on prime land had been ‘gifted’ to influential persons including a former Mayor of the corporation, Income Tax officers and doctors etc. The colony on the prime land had been carved out with the connivance of PUDA officials. While the Punjab State Electricity Board had given connections without needed formalities. The PUDA officials went to the extent of scuttling any move to register a criminal case against the promoters of the colony for building the illegal colonies. So much so the promoters of the illegal colony did not give any heed to such notices of Rs 90 lakh. It is learnt that a senior PUDA official had taken a Maruti Esteem car and certain other favours to allow the promoters for carrying out ‘illegal construction’. By using political clout, the prime accused used to evade entertainment tax and the corporation tax to the extent of several lakhs. The promoters of the colony are also accused of indulging in power theft with connivance of PSEB officials.

Meanwhile, a splinter group of the Cable Operators Association, addressing a press conference here alleged that the junior police officers conducting the inquiry were close associates of the prime accused and justice could not be expected from them. The association demanded a CBI inquiry for fair investigation. The association alleged that the Siti Cable had embezzled lakhs collected to help the victims of Kargil conflict.


Change investigating officer: IG
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 27
The order of the IG (Border range) addressed to the SSP reads: “you have not dealt with the five files sent to you on the Siti Cable issue, so far”.

The order further reads that it is necessary to change the investigating officer with a view to restoring confidence of the general public in the police that had been dented by conflicting reports in the media on this issue. The IG also directed the SSP to hand over the files and other papers.


Move to appoint docs on contract basis opposed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 27
The National Medicos Forum and In-Service Doctors Wing of the Punjab branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) today opposed the move of the Medical Education Department, Punjab, to appoint around 400 medical teachers in various medical colleges of the state on contract basis.

The forum has demanded immediate filling of the vacant posts of the medical teachers in state medical colleges, several of which are lying vacant since many years.

The president of the forum, Dr D.C. Sharma and Chairman In-Service Doctors Wing of the IMA, Dr D.S. Bhullar, said there was no dearth of eligible candidates for the posts.

They said the Medical Education Department had, however, been avoiding the filling of vacant posts of medical teachers on one pretext or the other resulting in a large number of vacancies in state medical colleges.

Dr Sharma and Dr Bhullar have also opposed any move to invite fresh applications for filling up the vacant posts, ignoring the previously received application submitted by eligible candidates in response to the earlier advertisement. They have also demanded that the department must do away with the criteria of considering marks on the basis of Annual Confidential Reports for promotions to various posts.

They appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to stop the Medical Education Department from initiating any move to fill up the vacant posts on contract basis.


Dreams turn sour for wives of NRIs
Poonam Bath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Big city .. bright lights! A dream of a life in a foreign land. All has gone sour for Virpal Kaur, a resident of Rampura Phul village in Bathinda district, as her NRI husband from USA refuses to accept her as his wife and is seeking a divorce just a year and a half after their marriage.

Little did Virpal Kaur, (25) who dreamt of a happy married life in the USA and is 8-months pregnant now, know what lay in store for her. A US immigrant, she has nowhere to go for her husband has gone back leaving all her travel documents in the possession of his brother-in-law, Jaswant Singh, who happens to be a jail warden of the Central jail in Bathinda. Today, she is running from pillar to post to get those documents so that she can give birth to her child in the USA next month.

Married to Napinder Singh of Pitho village last year, Virpal joined him in Virginia (USA) six months after her marriage. But, happiness was shortlived as when she was five-months pregnant, her husband brought her to India (Punjab) in March this year on the pretext of meeting his sister, who was not well. Breaking down every now and then while narrating her story, Virpal said her husband started showing his true colours when her father Amarjit Singh refused to give him the money , which they had got on her mother’s retirement as a government school teacher this year.

He flew back to the USA without telling her and leaving all her travel documents — green card, passport and original certificates — with Mr Jaswant Singh. Even after promising to return her those papers vide a panchayatnamah, Mr Jaswant Singh refuses to part with them and would do so only if she signed the divorce papers.

With mixed feelings of joy and sorrow, Virpal is apprehensive of her child’s future. She has appealed to the Minister for Prisons and other authorities concerned to help her get those papers so that she could fly back to her husband in the USA before the child’s birth and thereby get whatever is legally due to them.

Be it Veerpal Kaur, Ravinder Kaur, Joginder Kaur, Jagir Kaur, Tirath Kaur — their tales of woe have a common streak of betrayal. Few of these women, including young married girls who have been deserted by their greedy and fraudulent NRI grooms, were produced before mediapersons by Mr B.S. Ramoowalia, president of the Lok Bhalai Party, here today. Mr Ramoowalia has started a major campaign to support such distressed women married to NRI men.

Twenty years down-the-lane, Ravinder Kaur of Jagraon, who got married to Kulwant Singh in India in 1983, is a helpless woman as she neither has her husband nor her children. Talking to TNS she said he had left for Canada for better job prospects in 1986 and had promised to take her soon after. Though he kept visiting and living a normal life with us whenever he was in India, but to her dismay she learnt in 1993 that he had already given her an ex-party divorce in Canada in 1988. In 1996, he took away both the sons and wanted to get her killed. But by God’s grace she was saved. He had been repeatedly asking her to arrange for money and a car as dowry.

A JBT teacher in Government Primary School, Bhumipura Kalan (Jagraon), she is desperate to get back to her siblings, from whom she was separated when they were just 7 and 9 years old. “He does not even let them speak to me on the telephone and makes life hell for them if I give them a call from here’’ Such is the level of injustice that even the ration card of her in-laws family finds mention of the girl whom he married in Toronto and not her name. While she has been pleading her case, but has got no relief so far since her in-laws are all out to get the same cancelled allegedly by bribing the police.

The glitter of gold in foreign land has also ruined the life of Jaspal Kaur, (23) a resident of Balerkhanpur (Kapurthala), who was married to Amarjit Singh Nijjer, an NRI from USA on January 7, 2002, but only to face divorce proceedings soon after. She is presently contesting a case filed by her husband in Virginia (USA) for mutual divorce but her problems are getting compounded due to the non-issuance of a visa by the embassy to enable her to attend the trial of the case.

Joginder Kaur of Rattowal village in Ludhiana district, who has a 26-year-old son, Satwant, continues to wait for justice. She got married to Paramjit Singh of Akbarpur Channa village near Ahmedgarh in 1976, but he moved to the USA in 1980. He continued to give us false hopes that he would take us, but got married there. Her brother-in-law, who continued to play spoilsport right from the beginning wanted her to move there with his two children and showed her a divorcee with two children in the court marriage performed in 2001. But sensing his game plan, she refused to admit them as her children when passport enquiries were made. Her problems kept growing and as he gets ready for his fifth marriage there, she has been able to get the passports of her in-laws confiscated by the police, as they were preparing to go there.

Both Jagir Kaur and her sister Tirath Kaur, hailing from Jhingran village of Nawanshahr district, continue to suffer pangs of isolation and desertion due to unreasonable dowry demands. Jagir, who was married in 1999 and has a three-year-old son Manwinder has been at the mercy of her in-laws. Even Tirath Kaur, who has a 12-year daughter is awaiting justice as she was made to forcibly sign on some false papers, which were divorce papers from the USA. She later got to know of the same from the police..

After highlighting the plight of these women at the hands of the NRI husbands, Mr Ramoowalia listed out certain suggestions for the necessary procedural changes. This includes making registration of FIR’s against guilty grooms/their parents/relations mandatory (within 90 days) followed by speedy investigation and filing of challans; compulsory registration of `istri dhan’ and marriage with NRI grooms, followed by authentication by the local panchayat and the police on the correctness of marriage. The police should resist any political pressure favouring guilty NRI grooms, their parents and erring police officials shirking responsibility towards the complainant bride and her parents and they should be made accountable for deterrent punishment.

The NRIs, without certified divorce papers from the previous wife should be stopped from re-marrying in India and the passports of NRIs should bear the picture of both husband and wife after marriage. The wife should also be made a partner to the NRI’s property outside India a week after the marriage is solemnised. 


Vedanti for end to Romana-Iqbal Singh row
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, May 27
Efforts have been initiated by Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to bring to an end the controversy relating to “relations” between Bhai Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Patna Sahib and Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, President, Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee, who has been declared “Tankhaiya” by the former recently.

For this purpose Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti is likely to meet Giani Iqbal Singh shortly. High priests of other Takhts will also participate in this meeting.

Bhai Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, told The Tribune that as per his information, Giani Vedanti had written a letter to Giani Iqbal Singh asking him to attend the meeting of high priests to be held on May 30 at Akal Takht. He added that at this meeting, the efforts would be made to make Giani Iqbal Singh understand that no edict could be issued from any Takht other than Akal Takht as per Sikh ‘maryada’.

A few days ago, Giani Iqbal Singh declared Mr Romana “Tankhaiya” by issuing an addict for his alleged use of derogatory language against him and Dasam Granth. When Akal Takht Jathedar opposed this edict on the basis that it was issued by violating the Sikh maryada, Giani Iqbal Singh claimed that Akal Takht was not empowered to declare edict issued by him as null and void.

Since then this issue has been snowballed into a major controversy as Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and Bhai Iqbal Singh have been issuing statements against each other in the Press and creating embarrassing situation for Sikh Sangat.

Bhai Nandgarh said that use of derogatory language against Bhai Iqbal Singh by Mr Romana was condemnable. He added that issuance of edict from Takht Patna Sahib against the Sikh maryada was also not good on the part of Bhai Iqbal. He added that if this thing continued then all Takhts would start issuing edicts and it would be bad for Sikh ‘maryada’.

He said that he had been advocating that only Guru Granth Sahib had been given recognition by Guru Gobind Singh and so Dasam Granth could not be equated with it. At Takht Patna Sahib Bhai Iqbal Singh tried to do the same, which was also against Sikh ‘maryada’.

He added that as per his information no action against Bhai Iqbal Singh and Mr Romana would be taken by the Jathedar Akal Takht and efforts would be made to bring about rapprochement between them.


Vedanti confidant meets Bhai Ranjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 27
Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, a former P.A. and relative of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht today held a closed-door meeting with Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht at latter’s residence here today.

What transpired in the meeting could not be ascertained, it is learnt that both discussed the ‘edict’ issued by him (Bhai Ranjit Singh) on December 31 directing all warring leaders of various Akali factions to maintain truce till celebrations of tercentenary of the birth of Khalsa Panth. According to sources, Mr Sandhu urged Bhai Ranjit Singh to give him a copy of the ‘hukamnama’ which he politely refused on the pretext that he had sent the material to the Press for the publication of a book.

Akal Takht secretariat failed to keep proper record as previous Jathedars who were removed by the SGPC had taken the same with them. It is reliably learnt that Bhai Ranjit Singh told Mr Sandhu that the Badal Akali Dal had violated the ‘edict’ and also failed to keep decision of the general house of the SGPC which had decided not to replace any office-bearer till the tercentenary celebrations. However, despite ‘Ardas’ performed by the then Jathedar Damdama Sahib, Giani Kewal Singh in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was removed as SGPC chief.

On the other land, some senior leaders of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal took a serious note of the summoning of Mr Tohra at Akal Takht secretariat on June 5. They said it was unexpected that Mr Tohra had been called at Akal Takht. The leaders who were with Mr Tohra at his residence at Patiala told The Tribune that it came as a shock for him (Mr Tohra) that he too was called for ‘discussion’ on June 5. The SHSAD leaders alleged that Mr Tohra suffered an attack as he never expected such a treatment from the Sikh clergy, according to eyewitnesses, the spontaneous reaction of Mr Tohra was that “why he should go to Akal Takht secretariat when he had not moved any application”.

Sources said that Mr Tohra is unlikely to visit Akal Takht secretariat on June 5 as directed by the Sikh clergy due to his ill health. The Sikh clergy might give him relaxation and could accept his written reply.


Ex-SGPC gen secretary writes to Advani
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
Ms Kiranjot Kaur, a former general secretary, SGPC, has sought the intervention of the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, in the case of ‘discrimination’ meted out to her in the issuance of passport.

Alleging discrimination against SGPC members, in a letter to Mr Advani, she expressed shock over the fact that the Regional Passport Officer at Jalandhar told her that the passport would be reissued after clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Clean chit to Bhaniara irks SGPC chief
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC Chief, has taken exception to the “clean chit” given to Baba Bhaniara, who was accused of showing disrespect to Guru Granth Sahib, by a court in Ambala. He said the charges against the accused were not suitably presented in the court.


Punjab ‘poor in ST collection’
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Planning Commission is not happy with the Punjab Government’s performance in the collection of various taxes, especially sales tax. This has been officially conveyed by the commission to the state Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap.

Actually worried over the state of economy of Punjab, the commission wanted to discuss the issues such as poor tax collection, ballooning public debt and resources gap in the Annual Plan, etc with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. A meeting was fixed for May 15, the day the state’s Annual Plan for the current financial year was to be discussed by the commission for clearance. However, the meeting was postponed.

Meanwhile, the commission has advised the state government to pull its socks up to improve the tax collection. The net collection of the state government from sales tax during the last financial year was Rs 2,684 crore against the budgeted estimate of Rs 3,400 crore. At the beginning of the last financial year, the state had projected its collection from sales tax and excise at Rs 4,800 crore. However, at the end of the financial year, the government was able to actually mop up Rs 4,034 crore only.

For the current financial year, the government has fixed a target of Rs 5,036 crore from excise and sales tax. But it will be again a difficult target to achieve.

However, the Planning Commission is of the view that Punjab has the potential to collect

annually about Rs 5,500 crore to Rs 6,000 crore alone from sales tax. Dr N.J. Kurian, Adviser to the Planning Commission, in a letter to Mr Kashyap, has stated that “in comparison to other states, Punjab is a prosperous state with a highly monetised economy. Surprisingly, this is not reflected in the tax revenue. Revenue from sales tax was Rs 2,634 crore during 2001-02. The neighbouring Haryana had collected Rs 2,945 crore”.

In the letter, a copy of which is with The Tribune, Dr Kurian said that there was a need to rationalise and streamline the sales tax administration to improve tax realisation and to generate resources for financing the Annual Plan. The letter, in fact, has also pointed a resource gap of Rs 682 crore in the state’s Annual Plan worth Rs 3,200 crore for 2003-04 — yet to be cleared by the commission.

The commission has expressed its worry over the ballooning public debt of Punjab. The total outstanding debt at the end of last financial year was around Rs 40,000 crore, besides the state guarantees of Rs 19,000 crore for various public sector undertakings. In fact, Punjab has a highest ratio of debt vis-a-vis its gross state domestic product (GSDP).


Boycott of Dalits: SC panel summons Chief Secretary
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 27
The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Commission has summoned the Punjab Chief Secretary, the Director-General of Punjab Police, and the Principal Secretary (Home) in its Delhi office on May 28 in respect of alleged boycott of Dalits in Talhan village near here.

Stating this at a press conference here today, Mr Vijay Sampla, vice-president of the state unit of the BJP Mr Chanan Ram Pal, Dalit Action Committee Chief, and senior Dalit leader, Mr Lahori Ram Bali, maintained that top officials had been summoned by the commission on a plea made by the Dalit Action Committee that no action was being taken by the administration in the case pertaining to boycott of Dalits in the village. They threatened that if the administration failed to take action against people who had given a call for boycott of Dalits by May 30, the committee would have no option but to take a “direct action”.

Mr Sampla said some so-called leaders were politicising the issue only for their vested interests, particularly, for the hefty annual income of Rs 5 crore being offered at the “samadhi” of Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh. He said it was a matter of concern that despite submission of three reports, the administration was doing nothing against people responsible for the boycott of Dalits in the village.


Cong gears up for elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The occasion to mark the death anniversary of the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was today used by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) to hold a meeting of its executive committee and interact with the new district presidents and other office-bearers at the party office here.

The PPCC President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, were joined by their colleagues to pay tributes to Nehru. Besides Prof Anuridh Joshi several Congressmen spoke on the contribution of Nehru to the nation building.

Later, Mr Hanspal interacted with the new district presidents and urged them to prepare the ground for the panchayat elections in June and the general election next year. The district units were asked to gear up to organise block-level conferences. The theme of these conferences would be to educate the people and create public awareness about the policies, programmes and achievements of the government.

By way of the material supplied to propagate the achievements of the government, the PPCC today distributed copies of two publications brought out on the occasion of completion of one year of the Congress government in February last. One publication is ‘’Punjab on the path of resurgence’’ and the other ‘’Media monitor, news and views—newspaper reports on Punjab’’. Besides, post-card size pictures of Mr Hanspal were also distributed among the district presidents.


BJP not to allow ‘manipulation’ of poll results
Our Correspondent

Morinda (Ropar), May 27
The Punjab unit of the BJP will seek the Union Government’s help if the state government tries to use the administrative machinery to “manipulate” the results of the coming panchayat elections.

The party will either ask the Union Government to issue directions to the state government or deploy the CRPF to ensure fair panchayat elections. Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, state President of the BJP, talking to the media here today, alleged that during the municipal council elections, the Congress had got the nominations of BJP candidates cancelled on flimsy grounds.


5 BSP leaders expelled
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 27
The Bahujan Samaj Party Punjab’s in charge, Mr Narinder Kashyap, who is also party’s co-ordinator for Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, and Chandigarh, has expelled five state-level Bahujan Samaj Party leaders including Dr S.K. Sukhi, Jasbir Singh sarpanch, Sukhwinder Singh, Ranjit Sajjan, Baldev Bedi for violating party’s discipline.

In a press note, Mr Kashyap said these five BSP leaders were removed from the primary membership of the party. These BSP leaders raised slogans against party high command.


Mayor points finger at MC ex-chief
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 27
The case of alleged octroi evasion by a local trader in electronic goods has taken a new turn with Mayor Vishnu Sharma announcing that former Corporation Commissioner Gurinder Singh Grewal had been guilty of negligence in the case and that he would write to the Secretary, Local Bodies, to demand a Vigilance probe in the matter.

The Mayor had earlier alleged that the Commissioner, who was transferred yesterday, had deliberately kept him in the dark about the case. The case involved seizure of electronic goods from Orient Traders of Dharampura Bazaar. He alleged that though the corporation had locked the godown in which the goods were stored, these were removed from the godown and the corporation did not take any action in the matter.

Immediately after coming to know of the incident, the Mayor had instituted a five-member committee consisting of Local Bodies Deputy Controller, Charanjit Singh Bhatti, Legal Adviser Rajinder Moudgill, Law Officer Yashpal and councillors Rupinder Tiwana and Harish Aggarwal to inquire into the case and submit the report to him. However, the then Commissioner, Mr G.S. Grewal, had not signed the file and instead formed a one-member committee of Joint Commissioner Bhupinder Singh to look into the case.

The Mayor today said the Joint Commissioner had reported to him that the latter had informed Mr Grewal that he was unable to conduct an inquiry into the case as all files pertaining to the case were with the Mayor. The Mayor claimed that Mr Grewal had asked the Joint Commissioner to get the files of the case from him but that he had refused to give these files to him.

Mr Sharma says now he has again passed an order asking the five-member committee formed by him earlier to start investigation into the case and submit its report by June 3. He said he would give all files pertaining to the case to the committee members. He said action against those found guilty of negligence would be recommended to the Local Bodies Department. The Mayor also said he was writing to the department that all powers regarding octroi collection were vested in Mr Grewal during his tenure as Commissioner and were never deputed to anyone else.

The Mayor said it seemed that the trader had been helped by the corporation. He said the corporation had even failed to recover the octroi dues from the trader what to speak of the Rs 6 lakh penalty due from him. The Mayor said the corporation authorities instead of seizing the goods had allowed them to be put in a rented accommodation. He said besides this the trader had not been issued any seizure notice nor penalised for keeping goods for which no octroi had been paid.


Delhi-Lahore bus service opposed
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 27
The Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) Punjab has condemned the Union Government’s decision to restore bus service between India and Pakistan.

Talking to mediapersons here today Sena’s state unit President Swami Pushpender Swaroop and vice-president Surinder Dogra also criticised the Union Government’s move to release Pakistani prisoners three times more than those released by Pakistan.

Sena leaders said India should not be in a hurry to revive cordial relations with Pakistan and it should first watch Pakistan and its policies on India. Moreover, the Union Government should first ask Pakistan to stop abetting terrorism against India.

They welcomed the state government’s decision not to open casinos in the state. They urged the Union Government not to restore the train and bus service till Pakistan proved its sincerity.

Sena leaders alleged that the Congress government was following directionless policies.


MC forced to change Gurdas Mann nite venue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
Even as invitation cards and passes had been issued days ago, the local municipal corporation was forced to hurriedly change the venue of the pop-cum-folk singer Gurdas Mann’s live performance, scheduled for May 30 here.

The show is being sponsored by NGOs and top commercial establishments.

The show came under cloud due to the controversy regarding its venue in the historic Ram Bagh, the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The venue has been changed to the Malibu farm house.

The INTACH convener, Dr Sukhdev Singh, while talking to The Tribune, said holding a function in Ram Bagh, irrespective of the cause for which it was being held, was violative of the Protected Areas Act. Even if permission was sought from the municipal corporation or administration, the violation remained.

The Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti, had reportedly denied that any permission was given to the organisers of the function. The outgoing Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, also expressed ignorance over the permission.

The Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) an NGO, objected to the function being held in Ram Bagh, patterned on the Mughal architecture and declared heritage zone and protected in October, 1997 vide a Punjab Government notification by the Director, Culture Affairs, Historic and Museum Department.

Mr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, president of the AVM, stated that numerous correspondences, besides litigations, were underway demanding the shifting of three posh clubs, besides other encroachments, in Ram Bagh to preserve its historical flavour.

Earlier too, the administration and corporation have been accused of the misuse of the heritage site for activities incompatible with its special status.

Marriage parties, political rallies, ‘langars’ have pock-marked and littered the area, without any serious notice by the authorities. According to Punjab Ancient and Historic Buildings and Sites Act, 1964, any political, social or religious function is violative in the protected garden.

Mr Manmohan Singh Basarke, president of the Amritsar Sarhadi Sahit Sabha, in a press note here today, criticised the usage of the heritage garden for frivolous functions. Mr Ajit Singh, president of the Maan Boli Sangharsh Manch, castigated the organisers for using the protected site for a pop-nite.

Although the organisers defend that the nite was in aid of anti-drug campaign, many organisations have taken objection to the venue chosen for holding the function.

The citizens forum president, Mr Brij Bedi, criticised misuse of Ram Bagh by organising such functions there. He said laying of ‘shamiana’ needed digging of holes, which were left in this condition after the function. In addition, the venue was left heavily littered after the conclusion of such functions.

However, many point out that if the (Taj Mahal) could be a venue for the performance of world-famous composer Yanni and many heritage temples allow dance performances, the objections here are unnecessary and merely to raise a controversy.


Clubs to be shifted from Amritsar Company Bagh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Acting on a public interest litigation, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the shifting of clubs from Company Bagh at Amritsar. The garden, developed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has been declared a heritage site by the state of Punjab.

Delivering the verdict on a petition filed by Amritsar Vikas Manch, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice N.K. Sud, also directed that temporary injunction would not be granted by courts at Amritsar or Chandigarh on any civil suit that may be filed in the matter.

In its petition, the Manch had earlier sought directions for the protection of the site. Appearing before the court, counsel for the petitioner Sukhjinder Singh Behl had revealed that there were four clubs operating in the garden spread over 728 kanal. He had further submitted that a police post, along with a sub-office of the electricity department, was also in existence.

Describing the garden as a “priceless treasure”, counsel had added that the government was duty bound to protect it. The case of a lodge at Shimla was also cited in an attempt to substantiate the contention.

During the hearing of the petition, the court was informed that the Punjab government’s Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, vide notification dated October 8, 1997, had declared the garden a heritage site.

Former minister’s arrest stayed

Issuing notice of motion for September 9, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the arrest of Punjab’s former Minister Jagdish Singh Garcha in an alleged cheating and corruption case. His brother Man Singh Garcha’s petition in the same matter is likely to be taken up for hearing tomorrow.

The former Minister was apprehending arrest in a case registered under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, besides the Prevention of Corruption Act, by the Vigilance Bureau at Ludhiana. According to the prosecution, the petitioner had assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Seeking the grant of bail, his counsel had contended that a false case had been registered against the petitioner. He had further submitted that the Congress government was framing cases against its opponents due to political reasons.

Driver gets bail in kidney scam case

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted bail to an ambulance driver in the alleged kidney transplant conspiracy case. Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court also directed that another petition for the grant of bail filed by Dr P.K. Sareen will come up for orders on May 28.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Dr Sareen, in his petition, had earlier submitted that he had not been named in the first information report registered by the police at Amritsar under the provisions of the Transplant of Human Organs Act, besides Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. 


Poll staff not paid dues
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
While the state authorities have started gearing up for the panchayat elections to be held on June 29, the employees who had performed duties during the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections held last year are yet to be paid their honorarium.

Sources said that during these elections held last year, about 3,500 employees of various government departments had performed poll duties for four days, including compulsory rehearsals. Sources said that before the elections, the employees were told that they would be paid honorarium according to the nature of their duties.

The sources said that five-member polling parties, for conducting the polls, had been constituted for each polling station, which consisted of a presiding officer, an assistant presiding officer and three polling officers. The sources said that police personnel were also deputed at all polling stations according to the nature of the polling booths — normal, sensitive or hyper-sensitive.

The sources said that the polling staff was assured that it would be paid honorarium as per the norms, about Rs 450 for presiding officers and Rs 400 for others immediately after the election process was completed. The sources said that during the state assembly elections and parliamentary elections, the honorarium to the polling staff is paid before the end of the polling hours.

Some employees, particularly from the Education Department, had been called on election duty during their summer holidays and they were given assurance that they would be given an equal number of earned leaves as the number of days they had performed the election duties, according to the rules. Sources said that nearly one year had passed since the elections to the zila parishad and panchayat samiti were held and neither the polling staff had been paid anything nor any letter or orders regarding the grant of earned leaves to these employees had been issued.

A large section of the employees, who had performed election duties in the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections, said that they had been made to pay for their election duties. They alleged that they had incurred expenses to attend the compulsory election rehearsals for the polling duties at Talwandi Sabo, Rampura etc and then for travelling to their respective polling stations. They alleged that their queries regarding the expenses incurred by them and the grant of earned leaves to them had fallen on deaf ears.

An officer of the zila parishad admitted that none of the employees who had performed polling duties in the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections had been paid any honorarium. Pleading anonymity, he said that only Rs 40,000 had been received for payment to the 3,500 staffers who had performed polling duties. He said that those who submitted their travelling allowance (TA) bills would be paid according to the rules but added that no employee had been paid so far.

A section of the employees expressed resentment over the non-payment of honorarium to them and said that the authorities concerned should make necessary arrangements for the funds for the purpose during the coming panachayat elections.


Trust adopts 21 children
Our Correspondent

Morinda (Ropar), May 27
The Dharamarth Trust here has adopted 21 poor children from North-East states.

A member of the trust, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, former Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Punjab, while talking to newsmen today said the children adopted by the trust belonged to Mizoram and Tripura. Their families were the victims of the Naga-Kuki conflict. Before being brought here, they were living in a destitute state in camps set up by the government for displaced families of the area.

In the first year the children will be taught Punjabi language and culture. Next year they will be admitted to the local school. They will also be provided technical training to make them self-sufficient in life, he said.

The children admitted to the trust would also be given knowledge about the Indian culture. They would be provided board and lodging and other facilities.

Mr Mittal said the children had been handed over to the trust by Swami Giananand Maharaj and Dr Prem Chander Jain, RSS, in charge of the northern region. When asked if the admission of the children to the trust was an attempt by the RSS to prepare its cadre for the north-eastern state. Mr Mittal said the trust had no such objective. The trust would, however, impart the children with knowledge regarding the Indian culture.

The trust will bring up adopted children by collecting donation from the donors. The state unit president of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, former Minister for Local Government, Punjab, Mr Balramji Dass Tondon, and the former BJP MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain also attended the today’s function.


Bairagis seek quota
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The Bairagi Maha Mandal, Punjab, has demanded reservation in panchayats for Backward Classes and other downtrodden sections of society.

A meeting of the mandal was held here yesterday under the chairmanship of its president, Mr Krishen Kumar Bawa.

The meeting observed that after the Mandal Commission, while 27 per cent jobs were reserved in the government departments for the Other Backward Classes, no such provision was made in the legislatures and panchayats.

Mr Bawa sought that a similar provision be made for the Backward Classes for providing them reservation in legislative bodies.

He pointed out it was necessary that these classes got reservation in panchayats, which were grassroots governing bodies.

He said a delegation of the mandal would visit Delhi and submit a memorandum to the Chairman of the National Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes Commission on the matter.


‘Pay income tax honestly’

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 27
“The Income Tax Department has simplified its procedure to encourage people to pay income tax, besides initiating various programmes like holding seminars, camps and other functions to create awareness among the masses to pay taxes, said Mr R.S. Mathoda, Commissioner, Income Tax, Patiala division, while addressing a “sanman samaroh” organised by the department to felicitate the highest tax payers of Income Tax Office, Sirhind.

He said it was the moral responsibility of every citizen to pay tax. He said to bring down the apprehensions among the public as well as to build trust, special awareness camps were being organised at the grass roots level. He said by using Information Technology the department had achieved efficiency in its working and all cases submitted by the tax payers up to 31 March, 2003 had been settled. OC


Withdraw hike in power tariff, warns JD (U)
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
The Punjab State Janata Dal (United) sought immediate withdrawal of hike in the power tariff. It has threatened to launch an agitation if the government fails to withdraw the same.

In a press note here yesterday, Mr Jaspal Singh Kapoor, President of the PSJD, said after the “unprecedented” increase in water and sewer charges, the state government had decided to put an additional burden of Rs 1350 crore on the public through the steep rise in electricity tariff and transportation charges.

He said domestic and commercial sectors would have to pay Rs 350 crore in excess while private bus owners and truck operators would have to contribute Rs 1000 crore to the government exchequer in this financial year.

He alleged the Punjab Government was misusing its authority by imposing “irrelevant” taxes under the pretext of grim financial position of the state. Instead, the government should restrict unplanned expenditure.

He threatened if the government failed to withdraw the proposal, the Dal would start an agitation. In the first phase, the PSJD President said, the party would organise protest rallies at district headquarters and offices of the electricity board.


Tributes paid to Nehru
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 27
Tributes were paid to Jawaharlal Nehru on his 39th death anniversary at a function organised by the District Congress Committee (DCC) here today.

Recalling his services rendered to the country in different fields, Mr S.K. Gupta, a veteran Congress leader, said Nehru not only worked for the overall development of the country but also played a significant role in strengthening the Non-Aligned Movement in international level, besides promoting peace, amity and brotherhood among all sections of the society. More than 500 Congress workers and leaders attended the function.


Man run over by train in critical state
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
Jiwan Singh (71), a resident of the Paras Ram Nagar area of the city was run over by a train here this evening. Sources said that Jiwan Singh got under a stationary train while trying to cross the Railway lines and the train started moving crushing and injuring him badly. He was referred to the civil hospital where his condition was said to be critical.


Remand for Animal Husbandry chief

Kharar, May 27
The Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, Ms Preeti Sahni, today remanded the Director, Animal Husbandry, Punjab, Dr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, in judicial custody till June 4 and ordered that he be produced in the court of the special judge, Ropar, on that day. The public prosecutor pleaded for police remand of the accused saying that the accused had taken the copies of some secret documents about his enquiry report from Harnam Singh Rana after bribing him. OC


Farmers urged not to pay tubewell bills
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, May 27
The kisan conference organised here today by the Kisan Sangarash Committee has called the farmers not to pay the power bills of their tubewells.

The conference was attended by a large number of farmers, including womenfolk. Workers of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) and different employee unions, too, participated in it and declared their support to the agitating farmers.

Mr Kanwalpreet Pannu, convener of the Kisan Sangarash Committee, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the BKU (Ekta), Mr Jagtar Singh Uppal of the TSU, Dr Parminder Singh of the Jamhoori Adhikar Sabha, Mr Aldev Singh Bhail and others while addressing the conference condemned the state government for its “anti-kisan policies”. They also called the farmers to implement the Haldia Committee report to privatise the PSEB.

In the resolution passed at the conference, it was demanded that free power be restored to the farming sector, dissolution of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, cancellation of the Haldia Committee recommendations, waiving off of loans of the farmers and labourers, 16 hour’s uninterrupted power.


Father-in-law booked for rape
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
A young married woman, resident of Chheharta, has alleged that she has been repeatedly raped by her father-in-law of the same area.

In her complaint lodged at Chheharta police station, she has stated that she was married 14 months ago. She alleged that one day her father-in-law locked her in a room after sending her husband on an errand. He raped her and also threatened to kill her if she disclosed this to anyone.

She said by threatening her, her father-in-law repeatedly raped her for a month.

Police sources claimed that the husband of the victim was allegedly a drug addict and let his father commit the crime to sustain his habit.

A case has been registered at Chheharta police station under Section 376, 342 and 506 of the IPC.


3 hurt as members of truck unions clash
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, May 27
Three members of two truck unions — the Truck Union, Rampura Phul, and the Guru Nanak Truck Operators Union — were injured when a clash took place between them at two different places today. Besides, some persons, who suffered injuries, were missing.

The injured, identified as Albel Singh, son of Mr Gurdev Singh, president of the Truck Union, Sukhdeep Singh and Bhola Singh, have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital as they suffered multiple injuries. They were, however, stated to be out of danger.

Police sources said that first the members of the Guru Nanak Truck Operators Union went to the cold store, owned by Mr Gurdev Singh and started pelting stones. When they met with resistance and came to know that the police was informed about the incident, they fled from the scene. Sukhdeep Singh, who accompanied the members of the Guru Nanak Truck Operators Union, suffered injuries when he was hit with a stone during stone-pelting from both sides.

Albel Singh and Bhola Singh, working as a checker with Mr Gurdev Singh, suffered injuries when they were beaten up by members of the Guru Nanak Truck Operator Union in front of its premises this evening.

However, Mr Sandeep Singh Sunny, member of the Guru Nanak Truck Operator Union, who was being accused of attacking Mr Albel Singh and Mr Bhola Singh with the help of his associates, alleged that Mr Gurdev Singh and his associates detained one of the trucks belonging to the Guru Nanak Union at a cold store situated in Gill Kalan village. When some members of the Guru Nanak Union went to get the same released, they were attacked with firearms, resulting in pellet injuries to some.

He added that though they informed the police, no action was taken against the accused, including those who were close to the Congress government. Even the local police authorities did not allow them to hold a protest in the town.

After the incident, senior police and civil officials reached the spot.

After Mr Gurdev Singh was made president of the Truck Union without holding any elections for the same, a major section of truck operators set up their own union under the name of the Guru Nanak Truck Operators Union. However, the new union was allegedly not allowed to function by the parent truck union with the help of the police and civil administration and tension starting building up on May 21 in the town. Members of the Guru Nanak Truck Operators Union held rallies and staged dharnas many times.

While Mr Paramjit Singh Sidhu, brother of Mr Albel Singh, and a close confidant of Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his media advisor alleged that members of the Guru Nanak Truck Operators Union had attacked his brother without any provocation with the motive to take control of the parent union, which had been functioning in a peaceful manner, members of the Guru Nanak Truck Operators Union alleged that they were being victimised and repeatedly harassed by the police and civil administration under the “diktats” of a close confidant of Capt Amarinder Singh. They added that no member of their union attacked anyone today.

Mr Devinder Attri, SHO, local police station, denied that firearms were used in any sort of clash. He added that members of the Truck Union were attacked by members of the Guru Nanak Union. He said that no accused had been arrested so far. A case in this connection would be registered shortly.

Meanwhile, a section of the Guru Nanak Truck Operators Union has been making efforts to contact the state Congress leadership regarding the harassment being faced by them at the hands of those who were running the affairs of the truck union.


Drug addict held with stolen LPG cylinders
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 27
When Gurbir Singh had started taking drugs some years ago he had not thought that the addiction would one day land him in police custody.

Gurbir, a resident of the local Parasram Nagar, was arrested by the police last night for allegedly stealing LPG cylinders. He allegedly used to sell these cylinders at cheaper rates for getting money to purchase drugs.

The 25-year-old youth could not continue his education after 10 plus two due to the addiction. As the years rolled by, his capacity of taking drugs increased and with that the need for more money was felt. He started committing petty thefts and subsequently started stealing LPG cylinders.

Sources said the police got specific information about the activities of Gurbir and raided his residence last night. As many as 20 LPG cylinders, a scooter, a CD player were recovered from there.

Gurbir said as he did not have any source of income, he was left with “no option” than to committing thefts. He said he used to sell the LPG cylinders to the owner of a dairy.

He said he stole the cylinders from eating joints, marriage palaces, etc where these were stored in bulk.

The police authorities said a case had been registered and they were investigating to find out the persons who purchased the cylinders from Gurbir.


Tehsildar, patwari held

Bathinda, May 27
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested Girdhari Lal, a tehsildar, and Babu Singh, a patwari, posted in Mansa district for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 7,000 from Mr Nasib Singh, a farmer of Sangha village, for getting land mutation attested.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SSP (Vigilance), Bathinda range, said this in a press note issued here today. He said Girdhari Lal and Babu Singh were posted at Sardulgarh and Sangha in the Mansa area, respectively. A case has been registered. OC


Boy killed

Fazilka, May 27
A boy was crushed to death by a truck today.

It is learnt that Balwinder Singh and his brother Kaka (17), residents of Ghubaya village, were going on a tractor-trailer near Ghattianwali village this afternoon. Kaka Singh fell down from the tractor. A truck coming from opposite direction crushed him. OC


Cops beaten up

Phagwara, May 27
Two youths beat up two policemen and torched their scooter here last night. It was learnt today that constable Manjit Singh and head constable Baldev Singh of Rawalpindi police post were going on a scooter to Lakhpur village while on duty when the incident occurred. A case has been registered. OC


Ajmer Singh is ADC of Faridkot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Punjab Government today transferred Mr Ajmer Singh to Faridkot as Additional Deputy Commissioner. Mr Sucha Singh Mast, Subdivisional Magistrate, Payal, has been given the additional charge of Raikot subdivision.


CV Raman varsity to open centres in region
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, May 27
The Dr C.V. Raman University of Science, Technology, Commerce and Management is all set to make its presence felt in the northern region of the country by opening 50 of its distance education centres in Punjab, 18 in Haryana and 14 in Delhi.

The forte of the Chhattisgarh-based university, according to its spokesman Mr M. Dewan, would be maximum utilisation of Information Technology for its distance and continuing education courses, each of which, unlike other universities, would be “nurtured” by a highly qualified official called “Developer”, who would be visiting each of centres once in a month with the purpose of striking a liaison with students, faculty members and centre heads. The university already has 68 study centres in different states with 2500 students on its rolls.

“For the purpose of maximum utilisation of IT towards imparting distance and continuing education, we have collaborated with Vidya Infosys, a leading Ludhiana-based company which has been handling different universities in other states,” said Mr Dewan. He said keeping in mind the present distance education scenario wherein centres were not being properly taken care of the university had developed the concept of a developer, who would be a senior person from the industry and who would be visiting the centres atleast once in a month. “This concept has shown very optimistic results as the centres have an advantage as their people can discuss their routine problems with the representative of the service provider,” said Mr Dewan adding that apart from this the university had developed a system to ensure proper vigil on the performance of the study centre through monthly inspections for the advantage of students.

“The high bandwidth connectivity at the centres and developers would enable them to have online data base management, tutorials and advanced communications,” said Mr Dewan.

The university was planning to offer courses from the coming session in the stream of information technology and science, paramedical sciences, management, commerce, library science and arts apart from courses like MBA, MCA and diplomas and degrees in physiotherapy, nursing, mid-wifery, dental hygiene, occupational therapy, medical lab technology, radiology and imaging techniques, hospital management, microbiology and bio-technology.

The university’s education programme was supported by the All-India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT) while the university has been set up under the Government of Chhattisgarh Legislative Act-2001, said Mr Dewan.

He said the university had already brought out books and study material in Hindi, English and regional languages and its objective was to spread the technical and vocational education related to computers to all sections of society, particularly the backward communities. The university has decided to organise a faculty training programme on June 22 during which the faculty of centres would be trained as per the university’s faculty guide book.


Poor show by rural schools
Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, May 27
The result of Class XII science group under the Punjab School Education Board in Ferozepore district has been disappointing, particularly in rural areas. Crores of rupees spent on providing education seems to have gone waste.

According to details provided by Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, an educationist, of the total 944 students who had appeared in the examination (science group) 704 cleared the examination while 141 were placed in the compartment category, 93 failed and the result of six would be declared later on.

Interestingly in the five rural senior secondary schools for boys of Aarifke, Mauzgarh, Duttaranwali, Nihal Khera and Guruharsahai villages no student appeared in the exam although there are three lecturers of physics, chemistry and biology in each school along with laboratories. Surprisingly, there is no vacancy of science teachers in these schools.

In seven other rural schools 45 of the 66 students have passed while 10 have failed, 10 are in the compartment category and the result of one student will be declared later on. Moreover, the total number of students in five out of the seven schools is less than 10. According to rules of the Education Department, classes should not be run in schools where the strength is below 10.

In Government Senior Secondary School of Ladhuka village, Fazilka subdivision, only two students appeared in the examination and failed. In Government Senior Secondary School, Makhu, only two students of the eight have passed.

Similarly, in 12 government senior secondary schools 322 students of 426 have passed, 65 are in the compartment category; 37 have failed while the result of two will be declared later on. The result of Government Senior Secondary School for Boys at Zira has been below average where only 11 of the 28 students have passed. The results of GSSS for Girls at Fazilka, Abohar and Guruharsahai have been heartening. Of the 46 girls 42 have passed in Fazilka school, 34 of the 38 girls have passed in Abohar while 16 of the 17 of Guruharsahai have passed.

In five private colleges in the district of the 303 students 209 have passed. In three private schools of the 149 students 128 have passed. The results of DC Model Senior Secondary School, Ferozepore Cantonment, have been commendable where 94 of the 95 students have passed while the result of one will be declared later on. Shivalik Senior Secondary School, Jalalabad, follows suit where 10 of the 11 students have passed.

Mr Kalra lamented the fact that the overall situation of education, particularly in rural areas, is far from satisfactory as huge expenses are incurred on salaries of teachers, staff and maintenance of laboratories and equipment.


4 lecturers ‘tampered with marksheets’
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 27
The district education authorities indicted four lecturers of government senior secondary School Nangal for tampering with mark sheets of the class XI students.

Sources here said that science lecturers of the said school including Ms Kanchan of Physics, Mr Dharma Pal Saini of biology, Mr Gurdeep Ram of Chemistry and Mr Pathak of Mathematics allegedly tampered with passing mark sheets of the class XI of the said school to help certain students.

The matter was brought to the notice of education authorities after a complaint was made by parents of some affected students.

On the complaint the education authorities marked an inquiry to the District Education Officer (DEO) Ropar. The DEO Ropar after an inquiry found the said lecturers guilty of tampering with the mark sheets of the students.

The sources told that in the inquiry report the DEO has pointed out that the said lecturers changed the marks in mark sheets of certain students from 12 to 42, 3 to 33 etc.

The sources said that the DEO had recommended action against the guilty officers. The DEO said that the report had been sent to the DPI (schools) for action.


Governor visits PTU
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 27
The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, today stressed the need for taking effective steps towards the development of human resources for the cyber industry.

Speaking after a presentation held at Punjab Technical University (PTU) during his first visit to the university, the Governor said the technical education system of the state had to be responsive to innovation in technology and fulfil the requirements of new industrial and economic environment of the country.

Emphasising the need for updating the technical education system of the state, Justice Verma said the state known as the granary of India had reached at an unparalleled height in farm production. The employment potential in the agricultural sector was dwindling for over-mechanisation on one side and fragmentation of land holdings on the other. He said surplus rural population had to be trained in technology, especially in those trades which would enable them gain employment in the world market.

He said the state’s human resources, for their entrepreneurial qualities, would excel in every field if they were technologically and professionally competent, especially in upcoming technologies. He said the export of human resources would be one solution to channelise their energy and to thwart any frustration among youth.

Justice Verma said while the world economy had entered a new phase, globalisation had thrown open new opportunities as well as new challenges. In this new era of science and technological revolution, the need of the hour was to make most out of the technological revolution.


DEO’s assurance to teachers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 27
The District Education Officer (Secondary), Sangrur, today assured teachers that the transfer of nearly 17 teachers would be cancelled. Giving this information here this afternoon, Mr Tarsem Lal, district secretary of the Democratic Teachers Front, said the DEO (S) gave this assurance at a meeting held between the DEO (S) and front leaders here today.

Meanwhile, the front today lifted its dharna on the assurance of the DEO.

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