Friday, May 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CMs meeting: Amarinder does homework
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today left for Srinagar for a two-day Congress Chief Ministers’ Council meeting beginning tomorrow.

If the guidelines for the discussions circulated by the All-India Congress Committee are any indication, the meeting will focus on seven areas: 1. Agriculture, rural development, decentralisation and food security; 2. Weaker sections; 3. Education and health; 4. Administrative reforms; 5. Investment promotion; 6. Law and order, harmony and security; and 7. Employment.

Besides, the Chief Ministers are to present their respective progress reports on he implementation of the Guwahati Resolution (April 2002) and 11-point Mount Abu Agenda (November 2002). They are also to indicate to the party high command: 1. The most outstanding successes in implementation, thereof; 2. Which programmes or schemes will have maximum political impact and how these are to be projected; and 3. Where have been the shortcomings, delays in implementation and where has the Mount Abu agenda been unrealistic.

Sources say that finding convincing answers to these questions and preparing a realistic progress report had engaged the attention of Capt Amarinder Singh these past several days. Yet, his brief for the meeting tomorrow may not directly or adequately answer all questions that the party had posted to the chief ministers. But he has enough pointers and roadmap to show how he proposes to resuscitate the Punjab economy.

The Capt is likely to flaunt his government’s crusade against corruption and talk of unearthing disproportionate assets of politicians and bureaucrats, unmasking land mafia gangs, exposing cash- for- merit in pre-medical test and CBSE exams and recruitment scam in public service and subordinate service commissions, besides kidney scam. He would also refer to correcting the fiscal imbalance that saw revenue receipts increase by Rs 540 crore, non-Plan expenditure decrease from 16 per cent to 2 per cent, revenue deficit reduce by Rs 415 crore and fiscal by Rs 1,057 crore.

Aware of the party directive on the focus on the social sector, rural development and empowerment of women and panchayats and urban local bodies, the Chief Minister taken with him data-based briefs on all these issues, which give glimpses of his government’s priorities, attempts at performance and commitment, as per the February 2002 Assembly election manifesto.

Sources say that Punjab is yet to hold a special session of the Vidhan Sabha for discussing the effective implementation of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments though a Cabinet discussion has been held as desired by the party high command. Some concrete steps are being taken on the devolution of administrative, financial and functional powers, in respect of 29 items, to panchayati raj institutions. Even a training programme for panchayats is envisaged. It will complete in six months. Though 2003 is the ‘’Year of Development’’, the government is still in the process of bracing up for making its presence felt through development works. Even the administrative reforms are being slowly unfolded and implemented.

In respect of weaker sections, Punjab has just completed a survey showing that there are 3.84 lakh families below the povertyline. It is proposed to increase items under the essential commodities for distribution through the public distribution system.

On education, he will talk of setting up of ‘village development and monitoring committees’ for empowering people to supervise education, health, welfare of Scheduled Castes and social security services. Even the recruitment of teachers for village schools is to be entrusted to panchayats.

Of late, in Punjab focus has been on promoting industrial investment and infrastructure and urban development, administrative, power and fiscal reforms, besides transforming agriculture through a second ‘’green revolution’’ and introducing diversification (the Centre is yet to respond to Punjab’s request for the Rs 1,280-crore proposal on this scheme) and ‘’contract’’ farming (introduced by the Punjab Agro Food Corporation) of which technocrats and farmers’ organisations are very critical.

The brief on health and family welfare is not only about public-private partnership in health care management but also reveals that female foeticide prevention is top priority. There are 1,022 registered centres. Strict enforcement of the Act has led to the registration of 41 cases. These are either pending in courts or are under investigation. Penal action has been taken in 29 cases.


Accused names BJP leader
Gosain refutes charges; ready to face probe
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service.

Ludhiana, May 29
The controversy surrounding the sheltering of an allegedly notorious criminal by a senior BJP leader and former Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly, which was simmering in the district for the past one week today came out into the open when the accused claimed before mediapersons that he was at the beck and call of the political leader.

An alleged criminal Anil Kumar alias Lalla, accused in about 20 cases of serious nature, today levelled serious allegations against BJP leader Satpal Gosain.

The accused was presented to some select mediapersons in the civil hospital in a dramatic manner, surrounded by police officers in uniform and mufti.

This is for the first time in the last two years that reporters have been allowed to talk to an accused. Not even DSPs or SHOs are allowed to talk to media persons on record about crime cases or the working of the department in Ludhiana.

Police sources had made telephone calls to reporters saying they were ‘secretly’ informing them about the accused’s visit to the civil hospital in connection with his medical examination.

While denying all the allegations, Mr Satpal Gosain, called a CBI inquiry into the entire episode. He counter-alleged that the Ludhiana police was ‘hell-bent’ on implicating him in a false case ever since he had taken up the infamous VCD-expose case and demanded action against senior police officers under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He admitted that the accused had worked with him for two weeks or so ‘‘I had my transport and had recruited him to run the business. I threw him out as soon as I knew he was a criminal.’’

Mr Gosain yesterday approached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, the state Chief Minister and Union Minister, besides senor BJP leaders. In his application, he alleged that the Ludhiana police was implicating him in a false case. He had denied any relationship with the accused Lalla.

Senior police officers here were not available for comments despite repeated attempts to contact them.

Anil Kumar alias Lalla claimed that he worked in Jalandhar and was called here by the BJP leader. He claimed that Mr Gosain had committed misappropriation of funds in the execution of the Mini Rose Garden Project in the city.

He claimed the BJP leader bought some buses and his children and relatives bought some cars. The buses were used in the Sri Krishna Travels Company launched by Gosain couple of years ago.

He also claimed that Gosain used him to forcibly evacuate some persons possessing two flats on Tajpur road.

Reacting to this, Mr Gosain said he had taken the vehicles on loan and had all papers with him. He said the allegation regarding the flats was just a figment of imagination.

Mr Gosain said he was willing to face any kind of inquiry but would continue against crusade his corruption in the state.

Mr Harish Kumar, SP (City-I) had claimed before mediapersons early this week that Anil Kumar alias Lalla, a resident of Durga Puri Haibowal, was wanted in about 20 cases of extortion, kidnapping, violence, Hawala racket, fake currency racket, car theft, attempt to murder and illegal transport business in the region.

He had disclosed yesterday that during initial questioning the accused had revealed that he was close to an important political leader of the city who patronised and used him for enforcing deal of property dispute cases as well as compromise cases of give and take of money.


Hanspal meets Vedanti on Purkh Guru
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 29
Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and a leader of Namdharis today held an in-camera meeting with Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti for 45 minutes at latter’s official residence, here today to resolve the controversy over the book, ‘Purkh Guru’ published by the Namdhari sect.

Though Mr Hanspal pleaded that the author of the book, Mehar Singh and Nihal Singh (who wrote foreword to the book) are no more, yet Jathedar Vedanti asked him to give clarification in writing on the letter-head of the Namdhari sect.

The meeting of Mr Hanspal with Jathedar Vedanti is being considered significant as any action by Sikh clergy against the Namdhari sect could harm Congress prospects during panchayat and parliamentary polls.

A former Jathedar of Akal Takht Prof Darshan Singh had written a letter to Jathedar Vedanti for snapping relations with Namdharis for printing and publishing a book which raised questions on the Sikh traditions. Prof Darshan Singh had said that if Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana, a Canada based Sikh could be declared ‘tankhahiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct) why no action was being taken against the Namdhari sect for ‘Purkh Guru’ the author of the book had claimed that the 10th Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh did not install the holy Guru granth sahib as ‘living guru’ as claimed by Sikh historian.

However, when contacted Jathedar Vedanti refused to divulge the details of the meeting. He, however said that Mr Hanspal had assured that the book won’t be re-printed and he (Mr Hanspal) did not agree with the contents of the book. Mr Hanspal also told the Jathedar that the book was now out of stock.

Replying to a question, Jathedar Vedanti said that he would give his comments only after receiving a written clarification from the Namdhari sect.

The Congress under Ms Sonia Gandhi has been giving special attention to the Sikhs and their places of worships. Recently, Ms Gandhi directed Mr Hanspal that he should correspond with Iraq for ‘kar seva’ of the gurdwara in Baghdad damaged during shelling.


Edict against Panth, says Sikh board
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 29
The SGPC in a press note issued here today, claimed that some Sikh organisations, including the Bihar Sikh Board, had dubbed the edict, pronounced by the Sikh clergy of Takht Patna Sahib regarding Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, president of the Takht Patna Sahib management Committee, as “anti-Panthic” and unprecedented.

A resolution in this regard was passed at an emergency meeting held at Patna Sahib under the presidentship of Mr Kuldip Singh Bagga, president, Bihar Sikh Representative Board, which was later faxed to the SGPC, alleging that the Sikh clergy of Takht Patna Sahib had “misused” his powers.

Meanwhile, the SGPC has convened a crucial meeting of the Religious Advisory Committee here which would be attended by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, and SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, to discuss the action taken by the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib against Mr Romana. It is learnt that the meeting would suggest that Akal Takht had the sole right to pronounce “hukmnamas”.

In another development, Mr Kalian Singh, a member of the Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee, held a marathon meeting with Jathedar Vedanti at his residence here.


Afghana’s conditions for appearing before Takht
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 29
Canada based cop turned Sikh scholar Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana has offered to appear before Akal Takht to clarify his position on certain conditions. Earlier, the five Sikh high priests had declared Kala Afghana ‘tankhahiya for blasphemy and directed him to appear before the Takht by July 10.

Earlier, Kala Afghana had expressed his inability to appear before the Takht due to ill health. He had also expressed apprehension that he would be arrested by the Indian police due to his close relations with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

In a two-page letter, written to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Kala Afghana said he was shocked to read the contents of the “hukamnama’ issued by the Sikh clergy, using ‘derogatory’ language against him. He said Jathedar Vedanti had backed out from the promise to hold a video conference even though his associates had made all arrangements.

Expressing anguish, Kala Afghana said despite best efforts, Jathedar Vedanti refused to listen to his clarification during his recent visit to the USA.

Kala Afghana said he would make all efforts to appear before the Takht if Jathedar Vedanti gave him a written assurance that the deadline of July 10, fixed for his appearance, would be extended till he was released on bail as he would be arrested when he landed in India.


Integrity of 19 PSEB engineers ‘doubtful’
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 29
The Vigilance cell of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has submitted a list of 19 engineers, including one Chief Engineer and two Superintending Engineers, said to be having “doubtful integrity” to the Board authorities.

The Vigilance cell, has also recommended that these officers be transferred from sensitive posts to improve efficiency of the Board. The Vigilance wing has named only gazetted officers above the rank of Sub Divisional Officers in its report. Though earlier the list contained 20 names, one Chief Engineer named in the list, retired recently.

The list has been forwarded to Chairman Y S Ratra by the Vigilance cell Additional Director-General of Police Lalit Bhatia. The ADGP said he could not comment on the issue. According to a copy of the letter written by the Board’s Vigilance cell, it has claimed that the list has been prepared on the basis of record and complaints of officials substantiated through inquiries. It has claimed that the inquiries had reflected on the integrity of the officers.

The communication to the Chairman states that the Vigilance cell had followed six criteria before finalising the list. This it said included proved cases of the officers demanding and accepting a bribe, misappropriating money and material of the Board, claiming bogus travelling allowance bills, demanding money for the clearance of bills, possessing disproportionate assets and committing irregularities in matter of purchases.

Meanwhile sources said the PSEB Vigilance cell had taken this step after it received a note from the State Vigilance Department that it was not maintaining any such list. The sources said the purpose behind this move was to ensure creation of an “agreed list” of corrupt officials in concurrence with the PSEB management so that these persons could be removed out from important posts.

Meanwhile in another first, the PSEB Vigilance cell has also written to the Board to create a mechanism for monitoring the progress of departmental inquiries. The Vigilance cell has claimed that presently there was no system of monitoring the vigilance cases against various officials and that in some cases the monitoring had not taken place for years. It has listed 14 points under which all aspects of the Vigilance inquiry are to be listed including date of submission of report of the Vigilance wing, the type of punishment recommended, the charges against the officer, date of submission of reply by the charged official and date of submission of findings by the inquiring authority besides other details.

In another related move, the Vigilance cell has initiated an inquiry into purchases worth crores made through the propriety route. The Vigilance cell had earlier requested the Board authorities to allow an inquiry into such purchases. Sources said purchases had been made from suppliers who have claimed that they were the sole suppliers of such equipment. The Vigilance cell has claimed that competitive bidding through sealed tenders could have been done for several items listed as single source items of a particular manufacturer only. It has submitted that the Board could have been put to loss by such purchases and that all these purchases needed to be scrutinised. The sources said it had started examination of the items purchased through the propriety route with the help of technical and financial experts.


PSEB officer held for graft
Rs 22 lakh recovered from house
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 29
The Punjab Vigilance Department today arrested the Chief Electrical Inspector of the PSEB, T.N. Sharma, while accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000 even as a raid on his house led to the recovery of Rs 22 lakh in cash besides papers showing he owned property worth crores.

Vigilance sources said a trap was laid in his office here this afternoon. They said he was caught red-handed while accepting the bribe from Mr Jaswinder Pal Singh, a resident of Ludhiana. A case was registered against him under Sections 7, 13 (2) and 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Later, sleuths raided the house of Sharma in the Ajeet Nagar locality of the city. The sleuths found Rs 22 lakh stored in a brief case in the house. Most of the notes were of Rs 1,000 denomination. Mr Balkar Singh, SSP, Vigilance, said the officials had also found some property papers, which indicated that he owned property worth crores in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The sources said there were registries of a showroom in Chandigarh, besides landed and commercial property in New Delhi, Faridabad, Ambala and Patiala. Besides this, the officials also recovered around 60 tolas of gold from his residence. The officials were making a detailed list of the properties and other seizures till late in the evening.

Meanwhile, the sources said the arrested official was responsible for checking of wiring in government and commercial establishments. They said anyone wanting to install a generator or an additional transformer had to take a no objection certificate from the Chief Electrical Inspector. They said the complainant wanted to instal a 630-KV transformer at his hosiery unit in Ludhiana, besides a 500-KV generator. They claimed that a deal had been fixed with the official who had demanded a bribe of Rs 55,000. They said the complainant had paid Rs 35,000 in one instalment and had sounded off the Vigilance Department when he was to pay the second instalment. The sources said the officer was suspected of laundering his ill-gotten wealth through his son, who is an employee with a private bank. They said this lead was still being examined.


SSP queering pitch: Dang
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 29
Names of only two top police officers posted at Chandigarh were floated as having been named by two girls in the sex, extortion and murder scandal which has rocked the state. It is clear that police rivalry at the top is playing a part. Some may be interested not in punishing those behind the sex racket but in ensuring who would become or not the DGP”.

Veteran CPI leader Satya Pal Dang in a letter to the Chief Minister has alleged that the SSP here seems to be trying his best to scuttle the probe into the sex scandal to the extent of using it to present in bad light the top police leadership possibly at the instance of former IG Border Range.

Questioning the police promptness for recording a particular report as FIR Mr Dang pointed out that it was a police practice first to record a report and then start investigation in the recent sex scandal the police straightaway recorded an FIR before any investigation. He added that thereafter the main culprits were called for questioning but let off soon thereafter and they were re-arrested following pressure of public and the press.

Mr Dang felt that the case had not been handled properly leaving many questions unanswered.

The CPI leader alleged that the district police chief had been hand in glove with the former IG Border Range who presently was working as IG Crime at Chandigarh. He also alleged that he had even tried to scuttle probe into admissions scandal in the department of computers of the GNDU and pointed out that he was involved in the kidney scam also. He was transferred from Amritsar but a transfer is no punishment. Mr Dang said the IG had been entrusted with a large number of kidney transplant files for investigation in his capacity as IG Crime.

Mr Dang also blamed the SSP who had tried to help culprit doctors in the kidney scam and gave a clean chit. Quoting media reports Mr Dang said that the district police chief had defied the orders of the present IG.

Again quoting from news reports Mr Dang said that the original statements of the girls involved in the sex scandal had been destroyed, which would be looked into.

Mr Dang sought attention of the Chief Minister and reiterated that all steps should be taken to ensure impartial probe. He also demanded that the probe should not spare any politician, bureaucrat or police officer involved in the sex scandal.

He also urged the CM to find out which officers based at Amritsar were having free cable connections.

Mr Dang sought the transfer of the SSP as he was responsible for scuttling the probe.


HC orders recording of statement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
In less than a week after reports appeared in certain newspapers regarding a sexual exploitation case in Amritsar, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed Amritsar’s District and Sessions Judge to depute a Judicial Officer for recording the statements of the alleged victims.

Pronouncing the orders, the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr B.K. Roy and Mr Justice V.M. Jain, also directed that the statements should be sent through a special messenger “so as to reach the court by 10 am” on Friday.

The Bench also directed Punjab’s Director General of Police to take all steps to see that the girls “were not murdered or coerced in any manner by anyone”. The Bench further impleaded as party The Times of India through its Resident Editor Dinesh Kumar and Indian Express through Resident Editor Vipin Pubby.


Differences in Cong units over holding of function
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 29
Differences between the Congress Committee (Bathinda city block) and the District Congress Committee (DCC) have come to the fore over the holding of a function in connection with the workers’ convention here on May 31. The function is to be presided over by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president H.S. Hanspal.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that differences arose between these two units of the Congress when both claimed that it was their exclusive function and they would organise it under their respective banner.

Mr Anil Bhola, president, Congress Committee (Bathinda city block), and Dr Bhagat Singh Dhaliwal, president, DCC, had been booked two marriage palaces here by paying the advance money for the function.

Both units approached the state Congress leaders over the issue and tried to convince them that only they had the right to hold the function. The issue was settled after a section of state leaders intervened in the matter and told the Congressmen that the Congress Committee (Bathinda city block) would organise the function.

Meanwhile, Dr Dhaliwal denied any differences between the DCC and the City Congress. He said that all block units of the Congress and the District Congress Unit had been working in complete harmony to prepare the workers to face any sort of challenge. He said a big gathering would attend the convention on May 31, as it was the first function of Mr Hanspal in the city.

Mr Bhola, when contacted, pointed out that it was purely a function of the Congress committee (Bathinda city block) and the DCC had nothing to do with it. He said tat no banner of the DCC would be displayed on the stage that day. He said that had the DCC gone ahead to organise the function, the Congress Committee would have organised a separate function on the same day. The function was being organised as per the directions of the AICC chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi. The motive of the function was to mobilise workers at the grassroots level for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

He said that apart from Mr Hanspal, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Technical Education Minister, Ms Satinder Kaur Nabha, in charge, Bathinda Congress affairs, and local MLA, Mr Surinder Singla, would attend the function.


Dalit Councillor elected MC chief
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 29
The Congress today sprang a surprise and elected a Scheduled caste Councillor as president of the Municipal Council here though the post has been put under general category. The party has 26 members in 31-member house.

Mr Jaskiran Singh SDM conducted the election.

All Congress Councillors assembled on the business premises of Mr Sunil Jakhar MLA this morning and later went to the Municipal Town Hall led by Mr Jakhar. Mr Tulsi Ram, was elected president of the council for five years Mr Des Raj Singla and Mrs Anita Wadhwa were elected senior and junior vice-president of the council.

Rebel Congress councillor Vijay Nagpal, BJP Councillor Satish Narang and independent Anil Kumar walked out of the meeting saying that they would challenge the election of two vice-presidents in a court. Reacting to this, supporters of Mrs Wadhwa said it was shameful that those who claimed to be saviours of the Arora community were resenting the election of a woman from the same community as vice-president.

Mr Tulsi Ram was elected councillor from Prem Nagar locality for the third consecutive term. Dalits were happy. They had voted for Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar in the Assembly election. A crowd gathered outside the Municipal Town Hall. Heavy security arrangements were made. SDM Jaskiran Singh and Mr Sunil Jakhar MLA addressed the gathering.


Water samples fail in Bathinda
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 29
A section of trans-railway colonies in the city are being forced to drink underground yellowish water, containing suspended particles and bacteria, in the absence potable water supply.

On the other hand, a major section of colonies in the city, which get municipal water supply, are being supplied with water containing heavy metals, totally unfit for human consumption.

These facts came to light today when the Civil Hospital authorities received a partial report of the chemical and biological examination of few water samples, taken from different parts of the city during a health awareness campaign in the past three days.

Dr Avtar Singh Sekhon, District Health Officer (DHO), when contacted, said about 39 water samples, drawn about a week ago, had failed the tests. Even the water sample from a leading school of the town was found unfit for human consumption. The report of nine water samples, received today, was equally shocking, he added.

This report pertained to 134 samples taken from Basant Vihar, Namdev Nagar, Sanjay Nagar, Janata Nagar, Paras Ram Nagar, Jogi Nagar and Aggarwal Colony.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that due to the consumption of underground water, containing heavy metals and other bacteria, a sizeable population of the town was suffering from different ailments related to bones, teeth and skin.

The civic authorities have failed to provide potable water even to those colonies, which had come up about four decades ago.

In the absence of potable water, a section of residents, who are economically well-off, had started using expensive bottled water.


Old handbills used for health awareness!
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 29
Hit hard by an acute shortage of funds, the district health authorities have started using old publicity material to spread awareness about water-borne diseases under a state-wide six-day campaign, launched on Monday.

Interestingly, the authorities are distributing handbills, giving information about diseases which strike during the rainy season, under the signature of a former Civil Surgeon of Bathinda, Dr Bawa Ram Gupta, who had retired about two years back.

Dr H.S. Dhillon, whose name also figures on the handbills as the District Health Officer, has since been promoted as the Assistant Civil Surgeon (ACS).

We are short of funds for making publicity material. This is why old bills are being distributed,” said Dr Avtar Singh Sekhon, District Health Officer.

Dr Sekhon added there was no harm in distributing old publicity material as the idea was to make people aware of the subject and these handbills were lying unused for the past one to two years.

He said vehicles, fitted with public address system, had also been pressed into service for making announcements in the rural and urban areas so that the message could reach the maximum number of people. Apart from this, a number of water samples had been taken from different parts of the district. The sale of rotten fruits and vegetables was also being checked.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Human Rights Committee, an NGO, has written to the Punjab Government, the Health Department and the Punjab Waste Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) to conduct an investigation into why old handbills were being distributed.

Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary of the committee, alleged that the main job of the department was to supply potable water to the public and by distributing handbills and using other gimmicks, it was trying to absolve itself of its mainduty.

He alleged that the state government had failed to make arrangements for the supply of potable water and every year thousands of people fall ill due to this laxity.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, could not be contacted for his comments as he is on a leave.


Raju implicated, says wife
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Ms Dolly Sarabjit Singh, wife of Sarabjit Singh Raju, main accused in the Amritsar TV channel scandal, today lashed out at the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) and the local police for implicating her husband and others in a false case. She appealed to the judiciary and other authorities concerned for speedy justice in the matter.

Addressing mediapersons here today,Ms Sarabjit Singh alleged that the case germinated from a tussle for the post of the chairmanship of the Amritsar channel of Siti Cable between her husband and his rival Joginder Singh Jagga. She alleged that Jagga, who had been an employee of her husband for the past 10 years now wanted to be the chairman, but her husband was occupying the post because of the majority support he enjoyed. Of the total 150 cable operators in the area, he had the support of 130 operators, she claimed.

Among those who have allegedly implicated him in this case, she named Mr Kulbir Singh Mattewal, Mr Jagga, Titoo, alias Lovely, Mr Manohar Sharma, Mr Arvind Kaushik, Mr Sunil Bedi, Mr Raman Kumar and his former partner Binny Chattha.

Expressing faith in the character of her husband, she emphasised that during the past 25 years of their married life, no incident of character assasination had come to light. But now he had been painted with a black brush by his rivals who were all out to settle scores with him, she alleged. Rajni, who works with Siti Cable, Jalandhar, was also produced before the mediapersons to vouch for his good character.

She urged the Chief Justice and the Punjab Chief Minister to ensure a fair investigation, with their version also being taken into account. Breaking down every now and then, she blamed the media for portraying the family in bad light, especially at a time when her children — two sons and two daughters — were of marriageable age.

Sarabjit Singh Raju and his associates have been booked for extortion, immoral trafficking and land grabbing following a complaint by the PHRO. She said the PHRO had taken a one-sided view of the matter and not considered her husband and his associates in the inquiry proceedings.

Accusing the local police of supporting her husband’s rivals, she said Jagga and his son Sunny had come with the policemen when they came to arrest him from a Jalandhar hotel and his mobile phone was still in their possession. She also said that she and her family were facing harassment due to the presence of the police in and around the house, ever since her husband was arrested.

She questioned the role of the police in re-opening the case of Ikhjot Singh, a cable operator in the Verka area, after five years, she said.


Tohra’s condition improving
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 29
Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) President and former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s condition improved today further with the veteran leader being able to take milk and cereals.

Patiala Heart Institute Managing Director Dr Gurpreet Singh Sidhu disclosed that the veteran leader would however continue to be in the hospital’s Intensive Cardiac Care (ICCU) for another week or so. Dr Sidhu ruled out travelling for the veteran leader for some time indicating that he would not be able to present himself before Akal Takht on June 5. The doctor said tension could have an adverse affect on him.

UNI adds: Five Sikh priests today visited Patiala Heart Institute to enquire after the health of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal president and former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Takht Kesgarh Sahib acting chief Tarlochan Singh, Golden Temple priest Jaswinder Singh, Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib head priest Sukhdev Singh and a priest of a local gurdwara blessed Mr Tohra and prayed for his early recovery, Tohra’s loyalist Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said.


Special drive against encroachments
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 29
To ensure the smooth flow of traffic particularly in all towns of the district and to recover the government land from illegal occupants, a special drive to remove encroachments in the district has been initiated.

The menace of encroachments had become a matter of concern not only for the administration but for people in general too.

The district administration had been getting regular complaints in this regard. “The administration has decided to tackle this problem now and no body will be spared, whosoever he may be”, said Mr. S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a meeting of all Executive Officers, council presidents as well as the employees of the councils here.

He called upon them to co-operate with the administration in this drive and directed them to make announcements continuously for two days requesting the encroachers to remove the encroachments on their own. He directed the Executive Officers to call meetings of beopar mandals of their respective towns to discuss the menace of encroachments .

He said that he along with the SSP would attend all these meetings and would make spot visits to educate the encroachers. He directed the Executive Officers of the councils to file petitions with in three days against those encroachers, who had obtained stay orders from courts to get the stay orders vacated.

He said the bazars of all towns are so congested that it was difficult to pass through them. He urged the trading community to co-operate with the administration.

The council presidents as well as the Executive Officers of all councils of the district assured the Deputy Commissioner of full co-operation in the drive against encroachments.

Mr Charnjeev Channa, president MC Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Joginder Pal, president MC Mandi Gobindgarh, Mrs Amita Tangri, president MC Bassi Pathana, Mr Harinder Singh, president Khamano, Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh, president MC Amloh also addressed.

Later presiding over another meeting of the Revenue officials and staff of the district, the Deputy Commissioner warned the revenue officials particularly the patwaris to ensure transparency and corruption free working.

He assured the patwaris that their genuine demands would be accepted.

On the request of the Patwaris Union the Deputy Commissioner reinstated one of the suspended patwaris.


Making cops more responsive

Moga, May 29
As the country is passing through a competitive stage of development, it has become extremely essential that officers and men at all levels in the police organisation bring functional effectiveness to prepare themselves to meet the challenges of the future.

This was stated here yesterday by Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Additional Director General of Punjab Police (Law and Order). Mr Siddiqui said that the Police Department had taken a number of steps to make the police responsive.

The police force was being educated that it must resist the undue political pressure in performing its duties, he said, adding that technology was the key to modernisation and changing the work and culture in the police organisation needed to be given the highest priority.

The change in the police, according to Mr Siddiqui, should not be restricted to change in gadgetry but to bring about changes in the overall traditional system of policing.

Mr Siddiqui, who is due to take over as next Punjab Police chief, said that efforts were being made to use latest scientific aids in the investigation system with special stress on the lifting of finger prints in more and more cases.

“As the criminals are now using technology in all possible manners, we have to keep pace and all records of crime, criminals, motor vehicles are being computerised even at the police station level with necessary inter-connectively and networking so that all information could be available at the click of a single key,” he said. PTI


SDMs to pay for bogus pensions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Action is likely to be taken against a number of Subdivisional Magistrates (SDMs), Block Development Officers and other officials concerned in Punjab who sanction old-age pensions illegally. In a detailed exercise, 1.14 lakh such pensions have been found illegally sanctioned. Besides, 22,000 pensioners were not traceable. The Punjab Government has suffered a loss of several crore rupees because of this illegal sanctioning of pension.

At a press conference here today, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Social Security Minister, said he had written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, about the “pension scandal”. What action would be proposed by the Chief Minister against the guilty was not known yet. Among the illegal pension cases, 40 per cent pertained to Sangrur, 23 per cent to Muktsar and Gurdaspur each and the remaining to other places in the state.

At present, there are 9.25 lakh sanctioned cases of pension, out of which, 7.34 lakh are of old-age pension, 1.15 lakh of pension for widows and the remaining of pension for the disabled and dependents of widows etc.

Mr Mann said the state government had sanctioned Rs 90 crore to clear arrears of pensions up to March 31 this year. From the current quarter (April to June), the payment would be made on a regular basis. He said arrears, due since October last year would be paid to pensioners in 15 days.

He refused to comment on whether the arrears were being paid to win the support of pensioners for the coming panchayat elections. There was an impression that panchayat-elections politics was involved in the payment of the arrears. He said, to add more eligible persons to the existing list of pensioners, an exercise would soon be started. About the giving of free books to the Scheduled Caste students, Mr Mann said most books had been handed out and the Punjab School Education Board had been approached to make available the books for the remaining subjects.

Meanwhile, a large number of the Congress MLAs have been pressurising the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to revive the Shagun Scheme. Earlier, they had condemning it because it had been introduced SAD-BJP government. The Congress MLAs have, now, gained a fascination for the scheme. When asked about it, Mr Mann said the decision to revive the scheme or not would be taken by the Chief Minister. Under the scheme, the SAD-BJP government used to give Rs 5,000 as financial help to the Scheduled Caste girls at their marriage.


SDM for action against 4 panches
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 29
In various cases involving violation of the Village Common Lands Act in the district, the sarpanch and three members of Kalyan village, near Kiratpur Sahib, have been indicted by the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, Mr Bhupinder Singh. They have been charged with illegally selling the common land of the village.

The inquiry conducted by the SDM has pointed out that none of the panchayats of Kalyan village since 1974 got approved the resolution for allotting the common land of the village. The panchayats had been allotting the common land of the village by adopting a simple resolution without getting it approved from the competent authority.

In violation of the Common Lands Act committed by the current panchayat in 1999 through a simple resolution, place for 25 shops were allotted on the Kiratpur Sahib-Manali road. No approval was sought for allotting the place for shops that has value worth lakhs.

In 2001, 41 five-marla residential plots were allotted by the panchayat in an unauthorised manner. As per the Punjab Village Common Act, the common land of any village can be allotted to the poor and landless Scheduled Caste of the same village. However, the current panchayat of the village, by adopting a resolution, allotted the common land to outsiders in an unauthorised manner.

This year also on April 3, through a simple resolution, the Panchayat allotted 23 plots to outsiders without getting the resolution approved by the competent authority. The sources said that the panchayat members had also been illegally charging money from the allottees of the village common land. In some cases, the allotted land had been sold many times and the allottees had the registries of the land.

Kalyan village was not the only village in which the common land had been allotted by the panchayats through illegal resolutions to unauthorised persons. As reported earlier in these columns, common land worth lakhs had been allotted in an unauthorised manner by village panchayats in Dobeta, Patti and Nikkunangal villages. The Punjab Vigilance Department was conducting an inquiry into the sale of the common land in Dobeta village.

For the violation of the Common Land Act the SDM has recommended action against the sarpanch of Kalyan village, Mr Harvinder Singh, and three other panchayat members.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, when asked to comment on the matter said she had sent the report of the SDM to the Director, Panchayats, for further action.


Special grant for unanimously elected panchayats
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 29
The state government will give special grants to those panchayats, which will be elected unanimously, so that the overall development of villages could take place without any hindrance, according to Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forest.

Addressing a rural gathering at Khera village yesterday he called upon the villagers to elect only honest, educated and those who had clean image as panches and sarpanches. He declared that the active participation of these rural institutions would be ensured in the rural development works.

He said the government was committed to providing basic necessities of life to people belonging to the rural areas on a priority basis.

He said the government would ensure free and fair elections. Lashing out at the Akalis, the minister said they had always interfered in the poll process so that their favourites could be elected panches or sarpanches. This resulted in the misuse of funds and the development works could not be initiated, he alleged.

Mr Brij Lal Goyal, senior vice-president of the PPCC, in his address alleged that earlier the Akalis always won these elections forcibly but now the state government would ensure a free and fair poll.

Mr Gurwinder Singh Dhillon, chairman, block samiti, Bassi Pathana, in his address assured that the grants for development works in the Bassi Pathana zone would be given without any discrimination.


Villagers to dig 17-km minor through kar seva
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 29
Residents of six villages — Arainayawala, Bellewala, Machai Khurd, Machaki Kalan, Mehmuana and Sher Singh Wala with help from the district administration have decided to construct Bellewala minor for better irrigation in their areas. The work will involve digging of 17 km of the minor by villagers by kar seva.

A four-member committee headed by sarpanches of the villages has set up to coordinate the work. The work on the project has been started and half of the distance covered the remaining work will be completed in the next two months. The self-help by villagers will save more than Rs 1 crore of the government after the completion of the work. The government had spent Rs 2.50 crore for the purchase of land required for the project. Naming the minor as peoples’ project Mr Hussan Lal Deputy Commissioner lauded villagers’ effort. After completion the project 6327 acres of land will become cultivable. The Deputy Commissioner said the administration had given Rs 10.50 lakh to the villagers for the scheme. The DC disclosed that on the same pattern Dohak minor irrigating 4403 acres in six villages — Quila Nau Sukhanwala, Chet Singh Wala, Dhab Sher Singh Wala and Dhoke was also constructed by villagers in September 2000. The DC assured that water would be released from the Mudki distributary to the Bellewala minor after it was completed. He added that bricklining of the minor would be taken up later by the government. Yesterday at Machaki Khurd sarpanch Ms. Malkiat Kaur said that the project would benefit 400 acres of land and improve condition of farmers. It will also improve drinking water supply to people consuming saline water in the village. Mrs Rajinder Kaur, sarpanch of Bellewala village, said that with the functioning of the minor it would also provide irrigation facility to sow paddy, cotton and other crops. Dalit families in the village who owned 500 acres of land of the total area of 4200 acres will also be benefitted. Mr Labh Singh, a committee member of the project of Mehmuana village, hoped that the project would increase the yield of wheat crop from 25 quintals an acre to nearly 50 quintals an acres besides helping produce paddy and fodder for the benefit of 70 per cent population of the farmers who mainly depend on wheat.


Charge-sheet Milkfed MD: minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Punjab Cooperation Minister, Mr Lal Singh, has asked Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang to charge-sheet the Managing Director of the Milkfed, Mr B.B. Mahajan, before his (Mahajan’s) retirement on May 31.

Mr Lal Singh told The Tribune today that he had sent an inquiry report to Mr Kang for taking action against Mr Mahajan. A senior officer of the Department of Cooperation had conducted an inquiry against Mr Mahajan.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance Bureau has also completed an inquiry against Mr Mahajan. A detailed complaint was submitted against him by a Bharti Kisan Union leader, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal. A number of irregularities committed in the Milkfed were pointed out in the complaint.

Informed sources said the inquiry report had been submitted to the Chief Director of the bureau, Mr A.P. Pandey.

During the course of investigation, the bureau has, according to the sources, found a lot of irregularities in the distribution of agencies, etc. The bureau has raised questions about the raising of loans by Mr Mahajan with regard to the purchase of a house in Chandigarh.

The sources said because of allotment of agencies by Milkfed, a number of influential persons were benefited. Action was also expected against them. The bureau had found the involvement of two former top bureaucrats in the allotment of agencies. Among the beneficiaries were close relations of a top Akali leader and a senior Congress leader.

The sources in the bureau said the entire Milkfed smacked of scandals. Meanwhile, Mr Lal Singh said there was no question of giving extension in service to Mr Mahajan.


Kidney case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion for August 5 on a petition for grant of bail filed by another accused in the alleged kidney transplant conspiracy case.

Sandeep Singh of Delhi, now confined in Amritsar’s Central Jail, was earlier booked for cheating, forgery and other offences by the police under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 371, 109, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of Transplant of Human Organs Act. According to the prosecution, he was working as a conduit.

Seeking the grant of bail, the petitioner had earlier contended that he was being implicated in the case. Claiming to be innocent, he had asserted that his name had not been mentioned in the first information report.

Fire in train

In less than a fortnight after four bogies of the Amritsar-bound Frontier Mail caught fire leaving 38 passengers dead and many others injured, a Division Bench of the High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion on a public interest litigation seeking the adoption of fire safety measures in trains.

Captain Navdeep Singh, in his petition against the Union of India, the General Manager of Northern Railways and another respondent, had earlier stated that fire extinguishers, besides other devices, should be installed.

Giving details, he had asserted that smoke and fire alarms had not been installed. He had added that the respondents should at least provide fire extinguishers in the bogies.


Case registered against BKU leaders
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 29
The district police registered a case against Mr Manjit Singh and Mr Chand Singh, leaders of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) of the Ugrahan faction. The case has been registered as these leaders and some residents of Bhucho Khurd village had gheraoed some officials of a bank who had gone to the village yesterday with the recovery of a loan.

Mr Bikkar Singh of Bhucho Khurd village had not reportedly returned a loan taken from the Nathana branch of Primary Development Bank (PADB). A team of the bank officials along with a policeman had gone to Bikkar Singh in connection with the recovery of the loan.

When the team entered the village, the office-bearers of the kisan union along with some villagers, including women and children, gheraoed the vehicle of the team, fearing that bank officials had come of arrest Mr Bikkar Singh. The villagers and members of the kisan union shouted slogans against the bank officials and the Punjab Government. The bank officials were allowed to go after about two hours when they said that they had not come to arrest the farmers, but were on some other official duty.

Police sources said no arrest had been made so far.


Families of 75 ultras honoured

Jalandhar, May 29
London-based Punjab Radio today honoured the family members of 75 militants, killed in Punjab, and distributed Rs 7.5 lakh among them at a function held the Gurdwara Guru Teg Bhadur Nagar here today.

Family members of Harjinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Sukha, who killed General Vaidya, Dharam Singh Kastiwal, of the Khalistan Liberation Force, Jugraj Singh Toofan, of the Khalistan Commando Force, Tajinder Singh, who tried to highjack an Indian Airlines plane and was killed at Amritsar airport, Kulwant Singh Khukrana, of the Khalistan Liberation Force were given financial aid.

During a simple function in the Gurdwara Punjab Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Chief of Akal Federation Bhai Narian Singh and representative of Punjab Radio Harjeet Singh Ghuman distributed the financial aid among the family members, who were given Rs 10000 in cash each and a siropa for the sacrifices made by the militants.

No information was given to mediapersons about the function. A spokesman of Punjab Radio revealed that they had collected Rs 7.5 lakh, for helping the families, from various Sikh organisations based in England and neighbouring European countries.

President of the Gurdwara Managing Committee Jagjit Singh Gaba, is a associate of SHSAD Chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra and district president of the SHSAD. Mr Gaba said as the function was held inside the gurdwara, there was no need to get any permission from the district administration.


Kidnapped boy returns home after 6 years

Moga, May 29
A Dalit boy (16) kidnapped from Ludhiana six years back and taken to Jammu was forced to beg at bus stands by a gang of child lifters, returned here and narrated his story.

Parveen had gone to Ludhiana six years ago to visit his sister when he was kidnapped on the way.

Only a few days back when he reached here he narrated the whole story. Praveen said that he found himself in Jammu with six more children who were like him also picked up by the gang.

They were all kept under watch all through the day. He disclosed that how gang members used to put drops of some sort of chemicals in their mouths which caused their tongues to swell which made them difficult to speak and eat.

They were used by the gang members at bus stands and other public places for begging, the boy told reporters here.

In the evening the gang members used to take them back and kept them in a rented room.

The gang members used to stay at one place only for a fortnight, he said, adding that gang members took them to various places of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal during this period of six years.

Praveen said that only a few days back he had managed to escape from a Jammu town when the gang members were busy in viewing of a video film and walked whole night and then he succeeded in catching a train from a small station and reached Ludhiana.

When he arrived a Ludhiana he was arrested by the police at railway station and when he told them the whole story they set him free, he said narrating his tale of woes. PTI


Train fire: probes under way

Ferozepore, May 29
Two railway probes and one by the Punjab police began today into the train fire near Jalalabad yesterday in which nearly 800 passengers had a miraculous escape. The Chief Mechanical Power engineer, Mr Ashwini Lohani, who arrived here from the Delhi today, examined the charred engine and three coaches of 7 FF Ferozepore-Fazilka DMU which were brought here last night. He declined to answer media queries, saying he would submit his report to his superiors in New Delhi.

Ferozepore Divisional Railway Manager, Mr Hukam Chand Punia, today set up a three-member probe team. UNI


Mutilated body of foetus ‘disappears’ from mortuary
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 29
Mutilated body of a foetus from bushes war Bhawani Nagar area here last night, disappeared from the mortuary of the local Civil Hospital this morning mysteriously. It is reported that the body of a foetus part of which was eaten by animals was found lying in bushes in Bhawani Nagar Mohalla. Residents of the Mohalla informed the police which took the body to the Civil Hospital at 9 p.m. last night. It was packed in polythene bag and kept in the freezer of the mortuary a postmortem examination in the morning. The police has registered a case under Section 315 of the IPC.

When the duty constable opened the mortuary this morning he found the body missing. The employee concerned was called who revealed that one body was also brought to the mortuary at night for keeping it in the freezer. Before putting it into the freezer he took out the polythene bag in which the body of foetus was packed and placed the same on the table as there was no space for keeping it in the freezer. He locked the mortuary and went home. Mr A.S. Bedi, SMO, told that the police had been informed in this connection.


Mentally challenged chained for 19 yrs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 29
A poverty-struck family of Kotha Guru village in the district has been forced to chain its mentally challenged member Partap Singh for the past about 19 years.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that Partap Singh was a Class IV employee in the Sangat Veterinary Hospital. During the service, he started having fits, following which he started throwing household goods and abusing people. He had to quit his job due to this.

His brother Rajinder Singh said they tried everything, but failed to get Pratap Singh treated and were left with no option but to chain him.

Rajinder Singh, who runs a tea- stall, said he takes care of the three children of Partap Singh. He lamented that during every panchayat election candidates make promises to arrange treatment for his brother, but do nothing after coming to power.


Providential escape

Phagwara, May 29
Nearly 24 school children had providential escape near Bhabiana village when a tempo carrying them caught fire, the police said today. The driver drove the tempo to a roadside field yesterday and with the help of farmers and other villagers extinguished the fire. The straw lying on the road had got entangled under the tempo and the sparks ignited the fire, they added. PTI


Rs 3 lakh looted from showroom
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 29
Panic prevailed in the old walled city here when seven unidentified dacoits with pistols and daggers looted Rs 3 lakh from the Omega Foreign Exchange private limited showroom at Garhi Gate near Kanak Mandi Chowk at about 1.15 today.

Mr Raj Chopra, one of the partners of the showroom, said that first partners of the showroom, said that first three persons came to the showroom and enquired about the foreign exchange. Later their four accomplices came with pistols and daggers and took the money from the cash counter. Mr Raj Chopra resisted them and fought with one of them. But they beat him, tore his clothes and later locked him in a bathroom. The dacoits escaped in two Maruti cars parked in the adjoining street. On receiving information, the Station House Officer (Hoshiarpur City) launched a search for the dacoits. A case has been registered. A case has been registered.


Dacoits loot 12 houses

Sangrur, May 29
Dacoits in police uniforms looted 12 houses in Sabina Woollen Mill Colony in this district last night.

Police sources said eight dacoits, wielding swords and two pistols, attacked the colony and looted the houses of labourers.

The police said the dacoits first went to the house of Eam Kumar. One of them introduced himself as a police inspector and took away Rs 2,000 at pistol point. Later they went to other houses and decamped with cash and valuables.

They also decamped with Rs 4,300, the offerings at a bhog ceremony. UNI


SHO held for demanding bribe
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 29
A Vigilance Bureau team arrested Davinder Singh, SHO, police station Khui Khera, his gunman, Gurdeep Singh, and Madan Lal, a tea-stall owner, on charges of demanding a bribe of Rs 4,000 and recovery of 61 bottles of IMFL from his residence last evening.

Balram, a resident of Saidanwali village, had complained to the bureau that the SHO was demanding the amount to settle a case. Acting on his complaint, the bureau raided the tea-stall and recovered the money from Madan Lal. The SHO and his gunman had directed the complainant to pay the amount to the owner.

Later, the team arrested the SHO and seized 61 bottles of IMFL from his residence.


Woman murdered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 29
Some persons murdered Ms Kashmir Kaur (65) with sharp-edged weapons in the Deep Nagar area of the city late last night.

Sources said that the killers ran away after looting cash and valuables from the house. The deceased was the wife of Mr Makhan Singh, a retired Punjab police havildar. They were living with their daughter.

Kin of the deceased came to know about the murder early this morning.

A case has been registered under Section 460, IPC.


Prostitution racket busted

Jalandhar, May 29
The police has busted a prostitution racket by arresting four women and a man under the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act at Khurla Colony here.

The SSP, Mr Varinder Kumar, said today that the police raided the house of the gang leader and arrested them. The arrested women told the police that the woman residing in the house had been coordinating between the girls and the customers. UNI


Teachers protest against colleagues’ suspension 
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 29
A delegation of around 25 members of the United Teachers Front (UTF) of Punjabi University protested against the suspension of two senior teachers of the varsity recently, during a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, yesterday evening.

The delegation, which was led by former Dean, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, also urged the Vice-Chancellor not to create further factionalism in the university by appointing teachers belonging to the rival Teachers United Front (TUF) at all important administrative positions in the university.

According to sources, the immediate provocation for the meeting yesterday was the recent suspension of a Reader of the Fine Arts Department, Dr Saroj Rani, and a senior teacher of the Law Department, Prof Gurpal Singh.

The university authorities had suspended them recently on the ground that charges had been framed against them in local courts.

While Dr Rani is a co-accused, along with former Vice-Chancellor Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, in an attempt to rape case, Dr Gurpal Singh is accused of committing irregularities while marking the PCS (Judicial) papers during the tenure of former Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu.

According to sources, the teachers argued that there was no reason to suspend the teachers as they had not been convicted by any court yet. They also alleged that the Vice-Chancellor was unfairly favouring one segment of teachers on the university campus, which would lead to unnecessary friction.

Sources said the Vice-Chancellor said that he had taken action in the matter after taking due legal advice. As far as allegation of favouring one group was concerned, Mr Boparai said running the university affairs was his prerogative.

The VC also claimed that the only criterion in making appointments was to ensure that the men holding administrative posts were men of integrity. The meeting remained inconclusive, sources added.


PCMSA opposes move on teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has opposed the move to fill 400 posts of medical teachers in the state medical colleges on a contract basis ignoring the applicants from the PCMS cadre.

In a joint press note issued here today , Dr Hardeep Singh and Dr Surinder Singla, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, termed the move as unjustified for patient care, medical education, rural health services and the PCMS cadre.

They said although there was no scarcity of qualified doctors in the PCMS as well as teaching cadre of the state, but due to the “arrogant attitude” of the previous government, more than 50 per cent posts of medical teachers were lying vacant. This was affecting the standard of medical education in the state which was being threatened with de-recognition of the state medical colleges by the Medical Council of India.

The PCMS Association urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to stop this move immediately and fill these teaching posts from the PCMS cadre.


Principal’s bid to take away records
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Residents of Bhagwantpura Singh in Ropar today foiled the attempts of the school Principal, Mr Jeet Singh, to take away some vital records of the school.

The Principal of Government Senior Secondary School was placed under suspension yesterday by the Education Minister (Schools), who took serious note of the contents of the news report “Poor results: villagers up in arms’’ published in The Tribune on May 25.

According to the villagers, the principal who had received the orders, reached the school at 7 a.m. and had asked two teachers to bring the records which he wanted to carry with him. Sensing foul play, sarpanch Karam Singh and few others reached there and asked the police to prevent the Principal from taking the records.

Sources said he had the reputation of taking away the records whenever he was transferred from a school. He had done so when he was transferred from Government High School, Dalla, and Government High School, Salabatpur Kheri.

The police has locked the office and given the responsibility of keeping the records to Ms Balwinder Kaur, seniormost teacher.


CET results today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Panjab University will tomorrow declare the results of Combined Entrance Test (CET) conducted earlier this month, an official press note said here today.

The CET covers courses in MBBS, BAMS, BHMS, B-Pharmacy, BE (Food Technology, Micro-electronics, Software Engineering and Telecommuni-cations). It also covers students appearing for B.Sc (Honours). The result gazette will be available at the enquiry counter of the university on working days from tomorrow noon. Enquiries on the phone can be made on 534818 and 784869.



Amritsar, May 29
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, yesterday released the admission schedule for admission to B.Sc/M.Sc agriculture (hons) and food science and technology courses at Khalsa College, here.

According to a university press note, the admission will continue till August 31. OC

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