Sunday, June 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD will fight its own battle: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
“I do not want any NDA team to come here. We in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have the capacity to fight our own battles,” said Mr Parkash Singh Badal here today, asserting that the party would fight this “political vendetta” launched against him and members of his family by the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh.

Talking to The Tribune at his official residence, a couple of hours after a Vigilance team started a search of his private house in Sector 9, Mr Badal said the SAD had a long history of fighting its own battles.

A meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD had been convened for June 30 in Chandigarh to decide the future course of action, he said.

Though Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, general secretary of the SAD and minister in the Union Cabinet, had taken up the issue with the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister, no NDA team had come to the state for an on-the-spot study.

Mr Badal and Mr Dhindsa were convinced that the Punjab Government would try to prolong the investigation by searching one property a day to keep the media focus on the SAD and its leadership.

Meanwhile, Akali workers, led by Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, distributed langar among a large number of youth wing activists and others who had assembled at Mr Badal’s residence from various parts of the state. Vigilance officers avoided the food, snacks and cold drinks offered by the Badal family and made their own arrangements while constables of the Chandigarh police and mediapersons had their fill.

Youth activists of the SAD did not interfere in the Vigilance team’s operation, but raised slogans against Capt Amarinder Singh and his government. They and SAD leaders burnt an effigy of Capt Amarinder Singh in front of the main entrance to protest against the search operation.


Most properties in VB list not mine: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today that most of the properties mentioned in the search warrant availed by the Bureau did not belong to his family. He said “It is ironic that even my government house ( H No. 20, Sector 2) and my son’s official house in Delhi also find mention in the list of my properties’’. The bank building at Killianwali, which is 30 years’ old, was constructed by taking loan from a bank which is now housed in it.

“The petrol pump at Badal village belonged to Mr Gura Singh, not related to my family in any manner. The petrol pump at Killianwali is 30 years’ old, but is owned by my brother, Mr Gurdas Badal. The workshop at Dabwali is also about 30 years’ old. Flat No 23, Punjabi Bagh, is owned by my family, and has been lying vacant. Even the poultry- cum- hatchery at Palanpur, near Ropar has been lying abandoned for the past 10 years. House No. 30 in Sector 9 does not belong to the family and likewise Flat No. 501 in Delhi is not among our properties. In the case of SCOs 54 and 55 in Sector 9, the family has only a 33 per cent share. The Balasar property was given to me by my maternal grandmother. However, the farm house has been recently built there.”


Recall search warrants, Badal requests court

Kharar, June 28
Accusing the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) officials of “exceeding the ambit of court orders” while raiding one of his premises in Chandigarh, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today requested a local court to recall the search warrants, permitting the VB to search 16 properties reportedly owned by his family.

For filing reply on the application before passing any appropriate order, Duty Magistrate Harinder Sidhu issued a notice to the VB for July 1.

Submitting that on the basis of search warrants issued by a Kharar court, a police party went to a residential house of his family in Sector 9 in Chandigarh this morning and started taking measurements of the house, Mr Badal’s application stated that the cops were requested not to exceed the court orders, which were only meant for searching the premises and not for taking the measurements.

But the raiding party refused to accept the request.

Mr Badal urged the court that since the police were using search warrants for different purposes, the same be withdrawn by way of recalling the order or alternatively issuing directions to the State and the VB to search the property but not to exceed the ambit of the court orders.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president contended that the police had gone to the house after taking specific orders from the court, therefore, the search warrants could not be misused for other purposes.

On the request of the VB in connection with a corruption case registered against Badal and others on June 24, a Kharar court had issued warrants to search 16 different properties, including Orbit Resorts, official residences and ancestral house besides other residential and commercial property reportedly owned by the Badal family in different parts of the country. — UNI


SAD, BJP workers in Badal
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Badal (Muktsar), June 28
The scene at the residence of former Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal here today was different. Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) workers have come to be here at the time of search to be carried out by Vigilance Bureau. Many of them were frisked at the entrance of the house by security men.

Apart from warm welcome by kin and associates of the Badal family, the workers were served food and tea. Most of them were seen relaxing in the drawing room of the palatial house of Mr Badal.

Tents were pitched in the big courtyard of the house and chairs were placed there for the convenience of workers, who reached Mr Badal’s house. Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of Mr Badal and Mr Gurdas Badal, brother of Mr Badal were also attending the workers.

It is not known when the Vigilance team will start the search of the house, many workers including former Ministers, MLAs and a section of BJP leaders have decided to camp there till the situation demanded. Apart from the house teams of workers have been camping at different premises where officials of the Vigilance Bureau were expected to carry out search any time as search warrants have been obtained from a court after the registration of a case against Mr Badal, Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal, Mr Sukhbir Badal and others.

“No body believes Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh as his sole motive is to get Mr Badal and his kin by hook or crook. We are camping here, as we fear that officials of the Vigilance Bureau may plant any thing illegal on Mr Badal and his family members during the search operations”, pointed out Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, a former Minister and a confidant of Mr Badal while Mr Narinder Mittal, a senior BJP leader alleged that officials of the Vigilance Bureau had already searched the Balasar farm of Mr Badal in Sirsa district and failed to find anything incriminating. It showed that the Congress government had been using the Vigilance Bureau as tool against Mr Badal and other Akalis to victimise them during panchayat elections.

Others who were present at Mr Badal’s residence included Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, MLA Nathana, Mr Rajinder Mittal, vice-president, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) Punjab, Mr Tajinder Singh Midhu Khera, Senior Akali leader, Mr Makhan Singh, former MLA and Mr Sikander Singh former minister.

The workers alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had been misusing power.


SAD threatens ‘chakka jam’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
Shiromani Akali Dal General Secretary and former minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today said the party would organise a two-day “chakka jam” in the state in case its President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was arrested by the state government.

He was talking to newsmen at the residence of former MP Charanjit Singh Walia where other leaders of the party, including former ministers Raja Narinder Singh, Harmail Singh Tohra and Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur and legislators Surjit Singh Rakhra and Nirmal Singh were also present.

The Akali leader said the party had the organisational capacity to stop traffic on roads across the State and bring all activity to a standstill in case the Congress government arrested Mr Badal on “trumped up charges”.

He said the party would simultaneously start a “jail bharo andolan” in case Mr Badal was arrested.

Meanwhile, speaking on the panchayat elections, Capt Kanwaljit alleged that the police was harassing Akali candidates contesting panchayat poll.

He said even though the party had brought the matter to the notice of the Election Commission, nothing was being done in the matter.

He said the situation had been explained to the Centre and a NDA team led by Defence Minister George Fernandes was expected to visit Punjab in the coming few days.

He said certain leaders who were weakening the party by their actions had been identified and the matter would be presented to the Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party for necessary action.

CM helping Badal destroy evidence: Bhaura
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 28
Senior CPI leader and Member of Parliament, Bhan Singh Bhaura today alleged that Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was giving time to Mr Badal to destroy evidence, by delaying action against him.

Mr Bhaura talking to this reporter said that Capt Amarinder Singh was giving time to Mr Badal by delaying the action against him. He said that Mr Badal might have shifted his moveable property to some safer place, while he (Mr Badal) might have made arrangements to legalise the immovable property, which he allegedly made through corruption.

The CPI leader said that if Capt Amarinder Singh did not have proof against Mr Badal why he had been claiming that he (Mr Badal) would be arrested in corruption case.

He said that the statements of Capt. Amarinder Singh about arrest of Mr Badal, which had been appearing in the media for months together, might have awakened Mr Badal and he must have destroyed proofs against him.

"The delay in action against Mr Badal by the Punjab Government had raised suspicion about its seriousness to curb corruption" said Mr Bhaura.

He added that if the government would take so many months to take action against each corrupt leader, it would need years to succeed in its campaign against corruption.


Hanspal’s statement ‘unfortunate’
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 28
Mr S.K. Gupta, a veteran Congress leader and Chairman of the local Improvement Trust, in a press note issued has expressed surprise over the statement of Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, PPCC, published in a section of press today against the move of the Punjab Government to arrest Mr Parkash Singh Badal under petty economic offences.

Describing the statement as unfortunate by the head of the Congress party, Mr Gupta said that it would not only damage the party image but also send a wrong signal against the Congress government for adopting dual parameters for senior political leaders and the common masses in the state. Moreover, it would also strengthen those vested interests who were already engaged in harming the Congress, said Mr Gupta.

Stage set for panchayat poll
Tribune Reporters & Agencies

Jalandhar, June 28
The stage is set for conducting gram panchayats elections tomorrow as all arrangement have been made for holding the polling.

All arrangement for conducting election in 881 panchayats have been made, for which polling material to the 1113 polling stations have already been dispatched, Assistant Returning Officer S.S. Bains told reporters here today adding that although there were 886 panchayats, for which elections were to be held but as in five panchayats, the villages of Talhan, Pawar, Taggar, Chakrala and Taletha, elections have been postponed due to certain reasons, now only in 881 panchayats would go to the polls tomorrow.

Out of 1,113 polling stations, 342 have been identified as sensitive and elaborate security arrangements have been made there to avoid any untoward incident.

As per the panchayat segments, the district have been divided into 10 blocks comprising Jalandhar East, Jalandhar West, Bhogpur, Adampur, Rurka Kalan, Phillaur, Nurmahal, Nakodar, Shahkot and Lohian, where more than 12000 police and civil officials were deployed for conducting free and fair elections.

As many as 1710 candidates for the posts of sarpanches and 7707 candidates for panches were in the fray and over 7,80,000 voters will cast their vote to elect their representatives. Election results of 178 gram panchayats had already declared as the candidates in these panchayats were elected unanimously.

Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta today said those voters whose names were listed in the voters’ list but do not possess voters identity card would be allowed to cast their vote on production of documents, including passports, driving licence, income tax identity card, services identity cards, bank or post office pass books, ration cards issued prior to January 1, 2003 SC-ST-OBC certificates, students identity cards, property documents, arms licence, conductor licence, pension documents, ex-servicemen’s widow certificate, railway or bus passes, physically challenged certificates and freedom fighters identity cards.

Amritsar: Denying that the political vendetta was reason behind the registration of a case against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, Mr Pervez Hashmi, Secretary All-India Congress Committee, said “what Mr Badal had done was an open secret and it would come out”.

Mr Hashmi, who was on a visit to the city in connection with the panchayat elections, in a press conference here today said the Congress was in power in 15 states and no question of political vendetta had ever arisen.

Mr Hashmi claimed that his party would win in the panchayat elections as the Congress had won in Assembly and corporation elections with a convincing majority.

Meanwhile, condemning the use of ‘lahan’ being distilled and distributed openly in the border villages of the district and drugs to woo the voters in panchayat election slated for tomorrow, the All-India youth association has said it had exposed the police and district administration.

Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president of the association in a press statement here on Saturday said the Congress government had condemned the previous Akali-BJP government for using illicit liquor in the election. But, he added, during this panchayat elections it had crossed all the limits.

Ferozepore: Senior Akali leader and former Irrigation Minister, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, while addressing a press conference alleged that the Congress government has unleashed terror in the state and “Jungle Raj” was prevailing alleged that false cases were being registered against Akali leaders.

He further alleged that in the villages Lalle, Karmuwala, Bhangar, Vada Bhaika, Badli, Bhangar, Mirjeke, the police was forcing the villagers to vote for the Congress candidates or unless face their wrath.


Premis keep no-liquor vow as poll bars mushroom
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
The dera of “Sachcha Sauda” in Sirsa may have been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past, but it is the “premis”, as its followers are called, who are staying away from liquor, even though bars have sprung up in the entire countryside due to the panchayat elections. The “premis” are the only ones who are keeping away from liquor. Even candidates belonging to the “Sachcha Sauda” dera are not offering liquor to anyone in their villages. While the candidates for the post of sarpanch are spending thousands on countrymade liquor, the “premis” are spending money on serving cold drinks, “kheer” and “jalebian da langar” to the electorate of their villages. The followers of the “Sachcha Sauda” dera are spread over the most poor villages in the district and its followers mostly belong to the Backward and Scheduled Castes. Though the “premis” are settled all over the Malwa region, in Patiala they are concentrated in the Dakala constituency. The followers of the dera stay away from liquor as well as non-vegetarian food.

The villagers also do not insist on being served liquor or non-vegetarian food wherever followers of the “Sachcha Sauda” dera are in the fray. “We know it is against their tenets to serve liquor and we don’t want to embarrass them by making such a demand”, says Harpal Singh of Jhandi village. Surprisingly, there has been unanimity on the choice of a candidate for the post of a Sarpanch in some villages dominated by the followers of the dera. Elections in such villages are cleaner and less expensive than those held in rest of the district.

In Seona village, near here, Ramji Das and in Panjola in Sanaur block Jagroop Chand are not offering liquor to anyone. Even in Akalgarh village, where Harbans Kaur was elected unanimously to the post of the Sarpanch, the followers only offered “ladoos” as thanksgiving to the villagers.

The “premis” may keep away from liquor, but liquor is the buzz word at the fag end of the election. Bars have sprung up all over the countryside and it is normal to see liquor being served in jugs. Liquor contractors have also “risen” to the occasion slashing rates as well as offering home delivery wherever the demand is more. The rates of country liquor, which was earlier Rs 800 a carton, have come down to Rs 500 per carton.

Besides serving liquor, some candidates have started the process of enquiring and wooing government employees who are slated to do duty as Returning Officers in their villages. Sources said while earlier employees were told about the village in which they would be doing duty only one day before the poll, presently they had been informed about their place of posting nearly four to five days ahead of the poll.


Cops gear up for panchayat poll
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 28
The local police has made special arrangements for the panchayat elections scheduled for June 29 in the two blocs of Kharar and Majri, under which all villages of Mohali subdivision fall.

Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, SAS Nagar, will be overall in charge of the security arrangements during elections in the 215 villages of these two blocs.

Of the 155 villages falling in the Kharar block, 24 villages have chosen their sarpanches and panches unanimously and elections will be held in 131 villages. Forty six booths in this bloc have been listed as sensitive for which a total of 506 police personnel have been put on duty,” said Mr Bhullar.

The DSP Mohali, Mr Daljit Singh Rana will supervise elections in Kharar. The SHO of Nayagaon, Mr Amarpreet Singh, SHO of Phse VIII police station, Mr Ramandeep Singh, and SHO of Kharar police station will be posted with him.

Similarly, arrangements have been made for the elections to the 11 villages falling in Majri bloc. Out of these, 26 have declared their results following unanimous elections of village heads. Twenty polling booths personnel posted. The Kharar DSP Rupinder Singh, will supervise the elections in this bloc.

Meanwhile, a large number of employees of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) here along with some employees of the Municipal Council of the township have been inducted for special election duty. Most of the employees have already attended the rehearsals organised by the SDM’s office here.


Elected’ candidates needn’t rejoice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Even after the declaration of panchayat poll results on Monday, over 200 “elected” candidates will have little to rejoice following orders issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Taking up a bunch of petitions, mostly alleging wrongful rejection of nomination papers, the high court had earlier ruled that the results of the elections, scheduled to be held on Sunday, would be subject to the final decision of the writ petitions.

Issuing the directions separately, Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta of the high court had fixed July 1 as the next date of hearing on the petitions.

Refusing to give ad-interim stay in the matter, the court had ruled that the same could not be granted in view of the fact that the election process had been started in the state.

In the petitions, a substantial number of candidates had earlier cited political reasons behind the rejection of their nomination papers. The candidates had also accused the authorities of functioning in a malafide manner. They had alleged that their nomination papers were rejected as they belonged to the rival Akali party.

Seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents for allowing them to contest the elections, they had added that the reasons behind the rejection of their nomination papers had not been communicated to them.

Arguing before the court, Mr Dalbir Singh Pheruman had asserted on behalf of the petitioners that till date, the copies of the orders rejecting their nomination papers had not been handed over to them.


Vote count of 15 panchayats stayed
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 28
The Punjab Election Commission has stayed the counting of votes of 15 villages including Thakkar Sandhu, Dehriwal Daroga, Bhangwan, Razada, Kahnuwan, Kahnuwan-I, Kahnuwan-II Saidowal Khurd and Khan Mohammad in Kahnuwan development block and Purowal Jattan, Khan Piara, Ghumman Kalan, Kotla Chahal, and Deenpurin Dhariwal development block till further orders. In an intimation to the district election officer the Punjab Election Commission said that irregularities in voter lists in the said villages had been received by the Election Commission.

The commission, however, allowed polling in these villages but the counting of votes will only be done after the complaints received by the commission regarding malpractices in voter lists were settled. Meanwhile a deputation comprising Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Mr Sucha Singh Baath, MLA from Sri Hargobindpur Assembly constituency met the Deputy Commissioner and demanded stoppage of malpractices by the ruling party. The deputation said that the ruling party changed presiding officers without complaints. It said that the presiding officers appointed in Kahnuwan assembly constituency now to hold panchayat polls are mostly from PWD B&R Department. PWD B&R minister in the ruling government represents this assembly constituency in the Punjab state Assembly.


Village poll put off due to RO’s action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
After a Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) pointed out that a Returning Officer was allegedly involved in the removal of affidavits from the nomination papers filed by some candidates, the Punjab State Election Commission today postponed the elections to the Chabhal Khurd Panchayat in Amritsar district.

In the order the Punjab State Election Commissioner, Mr C. L. Bains, also fixed July 13 for holding the elections. He also directed that: “the original files relating to the candidates, handled by the Returning Officer and the dealing hand in the Block Development and Panchayat Officer’s office, should be brought before me at 11 am on July 30.”

Mr Bains observed: “In this case, there were three candidates for the post of Sarpanch — Harbant Singh, Daljit Singh and Bhagwant Singh. The nomination papers of Daljit Singh and Harbant Singh were rejected by the Returning Officer on the ground that the affidavits on page four were missing. In the case of Jaswant Kaur (candidate for the post of Panch), the same reason has been recorded by the Returning Officer.”

Mr Bains concluded: “An inquiry was conducted by the district administration into the case. The SDM has pointed out that there has been tampering by the Returning Officer and even removal of affidavits by him in certain cases.”


Voters’ list ‘against norms’
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 28
A supplementary list of voters released yesterday sparked of a controversy. In a complaint to the Chief Election Officer, Punjab, a contestant to the post of the sarpanch in Bodiwala Peetha village has alleged that the list was released in gross violation of the rules framed by the Election Commission.

The contestant, Mr Dharampal, who is a former Sarpanch alleged that the supplementary list for booth number 83 had listed voters at serial number 770 to 829 in which 80 per cent of them were minors, and remaining, outsiders. The age of minors was quoted as 18 year in the list.

The last date of enlisting new voters was June 12, put the authorities had rejected outright the claims submitted by other groups in Bodiwala Peetha village before the last date, he alleged. He demanded that the illegal list should be rejected and stern action be taken against erring officers.


Returning Officer booked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
On the orders of the Subdivisional Magistrate, Election Officer, Baba Bakala block, the police has registered a case against Sardool Singh who was appointed as Returning Officer of the Tarsikka block in panchayat elections for cheating.

According to information, the accused changed the set of documents submitted by Kulwinder Kaur, wife of Ranjit Singh and a resident of Kot Hathatin Mehta, about 35 km from here, falling under Majitha police district for the candidature of sarpanch.


Ladoos give way to mangoes
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 28
Fed up with ladoos, supporters of Ms Pushpa Devi Sharda, who is contesting for the post of sarpanch, weighed her against mangoes on the last day of the panchayat election campaign at Bhangarkhera village in this subdivision.

Meanwhile, the supporters decided that none would take more than one mango. Normally, ladoos go waste during the distribution but not a single mango was wasted.


Punjab power reforms speeded up
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service


In Punjab, incidentally, the maximum demand is 4,936 MW. The number of consumers is 53.72 lakh. From the general category consumers, the PSEB annually collects a revenue of Rs 1,438 crore, from industrial consumers Rs 2,671 crore, from agriculture sector the revenue is nil and the others pay Rs 475 crore. The per unit cost of the supply of power up to a consumer’s door-step is 337 paise, while the revenue collected is 224 paise. The units sold in lakhs per employee is 2.28 and the units sold per consumer is 3,695. The number of consumers per employee is 62.

Punjab has 8.29 lakh energised tubewells against 23.27 lakh in Maharashtra. The percentage of technical losses annually suffered by the boards is 17.25 and that of theft of power 9.26. Punjab’s own resources annually generate 13,446 million units of thermal power, 369 million units of hydro power, while the state’s share from the BBMB (Bhakra-Beas Management Board) is 3,673 million units.

Chandigarh, June 28
The process of implementation of power reforms has been accelerated in Punjab with the Council of Ministers having approved the ‘’unbundling’’ of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) on June 24. It had accepted, with some modifications, the recommendations of the Experts’ Group, headed by Mr Gajendra Haldea. With the Central Electricity Act, 2003, already having come into effect from June 9, the legal experts are now examining whether to withdraw or not the Punjab Electricity Bill, 2003, that was introduced in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on April 1, as the National Act is now applicable to all states. 

The National Act has incorporated several suggestions that Punjab had made. Even the Joint Consultative Committee of Parliament on power reforms has agreed to incorporate some more suggestions by making necessary amendments in the Act. That now takes care of the contents of the Punjab Electricity Bill, 2003, including anti-theft measures making power theft a cognisable offence with deterrent punishment for both the consumers and the ones who connive with them.

Moreover, the National Act replaces the three earlier legislations: The Indian Electricity Act, 1910, the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 and the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, 1998. As such the new Central Act advocates ‘’open access’’ for generation and distribution of electricity.

In this context, the Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap, today told TNS that the entire thrust of ‘’unbundling’’ the PSEB was to introduce competition by breaking this ‘’monolithic, monopolistic’’ organisation into separate entities or companies to look after generation, transmission and distribution allowing ‘’open access’’ to ensure accountability, cost cutting and giving affordable, assured power to consumers. The word ‘’unbundling’’ did not mean privatisation. It meant ensuring greater responsibility and accountability on the part of the PSEB, which would be the holding company for the three separate entities.

Mr Kashyap also pointed out that it was erroneous to compare the ‘’unbundling’’ with Orissa and other states, where the same had failed. The basic reason of failure in those states was that there was a shift from one ‘’monopolistic’’ public sector undertaking to another ‘’monopolistic’’ private company. Such ‘’weaknesses’’ had been taken care of in the Central Act. The National Act had also taken care of many such fault-lines. ‘’We are aiming at corporatisation of the electricity board. It will mean continuation of subsidy to agriculture sector and other categories of consumers, as the Regulatory Authority may decide depending upon the money that the state will give to the PSEB as cross-subsidy,” he explained.

He told TNS today that every care would be taken to protect the interests of 87,066-odd employees of the PSEB. He also allayed the apprehensions of employees on their service conditions. Consumer interests would be of paramount importance in the envisaged set-up, which had to be in place by June 9 next.

To accelerate the restructuring of the PSEB, two consultant companies out of five have been short-listed and asked to make detailed presentations within a week and complete the process within 90 days. These consultant companies are to assist Punjab in ‘’corporatisation of the PSEB’’, its restructuring and introducing ‘’open access’’. Once the process is completed, there will be greater role of the State Electricity Regulatory Authority, which will decide on tariff and other related issues.


Girl, boy found dead in car
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 28
A boy and a girl were found dead inside a car parked in a garage in a densely populated area of the city.

According to police sources, the boy and girl, both in their early twenties, were found lying dead inside a Maruti Zen car parked in a garage in the Kanshi Nagari area of the city. The sources said the duo had been missing since 1 pm yesterday and when they did not return home till late evening, their parents started searching for them. The boy’s parents found them lying dead inside the car in their garage near the Manjit Palace area. The body of the boy was lying on the front seat of the car whereas that of the girl was found on the rear seat.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Praveen Sinha, SSP, said the police was working on different theories and an inquiry had been assigned to Mr Munish Chawala, SP (Detective). He said as per the preliminary investigation, it could not be established whether it was a murder or a suicide.

Meanwhile, a panel of doctors in Civil Hospital conducted the post-mortem examination of the bodies today. The doctors revealed that a strong poison had been found in the bodies of the both, and their visceras had been sent to the Forensic Laboratory for detailed examination. The bodies were later cremated by the parents.

The Kinetic Honda of the girl was found parked in the parking zone of the local railway station. The attendant of the parking said the Kinetic Honda was parked there in the evening by a boy of around 25-year age.

A case has been registered.


Punjabi varsity Pro-VC divested of powers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
The Punjabi University authorities said today that all powers had been withdrawn from the varsity Pro Vice-Chancellor as he was unable to run the administration.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, who had not being seeing eye to eye with Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, was yesterday divested of all powers given to him earlier by Mr Boparai. The Pro Vice-Chancellor had been entrusted with attending to service-related matters of B and C Class employees, sanctioning of TA and DA bills, assisting the Vice-Chancellor on legal matters and hostel administration besides forwarding of research projects. All the powers have been distributed between the Registrar, Dean, (Academic Affairs), Dean, (Students Welfare) and Director, Planning and Monitoring.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor was also in overall command of the university in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor during the first few months of the tenure of Mr Boparai. However, the Vice-Chancellor stopped delegating his powers to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor later claiming that the delegation of powers to the Pro Vice-Chancellor on two occasions had led to disastrous consequences for the university. Even though, Dr Pal had protested against this move to Higher Education Minister Harnam Das Johar, the Vice-Chancellor had remained steadfast not to delegate powers to the Pro Vice-Chancellor during his absence from the university.

The latest move is being seen as a complete deterioration in relationship between the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro Vice-Chancellor in the university. The varsity Public Relations head did not mince words in criticising the Pro Vice-Chancellor while speaking on the issue today. He said it would not be in the interest of the institution to give details of what the Pro Vice-Chancellor did whenever the Vice-Chancellor gave any administrative powers to him. He said, however, the Pro Vice-Chancellor was known for crossing all limits of ethics of administration when he was delegated any powers or authorised to exercise the same.

The varsity spokesman said this was not the first time that Dr Pal had been divested of powers. He said earlier also during the tenure of former Vice-Chancellor Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Dr Pal was divested of all his powers.

The varsity has also questioned the “honesty, personal integrity and commitment to the institution’’ of the Pro Vice-Chancellor. The varsity spokesman said these were three prerequisites on the basis of which Mr Boparai was delegating powers in the university. The spokesman, however, refused to elaborate on this statement by only saying that the Vice-Chancellor was ready to give responsibility to all persons who possessed these qualities.

Meanwhile, sources disclosed that the Vice-Chancellor had taken a decision to withdraw all powers from the Pro Vice-Chancellor because the latter allegedly used to pressurise varsity officials to act according to his orders in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor even though a committee had been formed by the Vice-Chancellor to take all decisions in his absence.


Pakistani Hindu arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
The desire to meet his relatives in India has landed Dinesh Lal, a Pakistani Hindu, in jail. He crossed over into India illegally even when the Pakistan government denied visa to him due to strained relations with India.

Dinesh son of Chaman Lal, a resident of Umar Kot village, Sindh (in Pakistan) was caught by the Border Security Force (BSF) while he was to enter India through gate 101 at Wagah border here. As he did not possess legal documents and had entered illegally the BSF handed him over to Gharinda police station.

During his interrogation he revealed that he wanted to meet his aunt in Gujarat, he said he had applied for a visa which was denied by the government. The police had not recovered anything from him. The police has registered a case at Gharinda police.


Jakhar blames NDA govt for chaos
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 28
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Bal Ram Jakhar has said there was no logic of celebrations over the outcome of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to China. We must not forget that China, in any crucial situation, would support Pakistan and not condemn terrorism abetted by the latter to weaken our country. China is not going to oblige us on original geographical boundaries, nor would it endorse our genuine stand on Kashmir. Mere trade passage through Sikkim could not be termed as “historic success” as the NDA was putting it.

At his Panjkosi residence, 14 km from here today, Mr Jakhar said the NDA had promised three major things viz. foolproof security on the borders, unprecedented development and good governance. The government headed by Mr Vajpayee had failed on all these fronts. Communal disturbances all over the country, corruption in political and administrative fields, and social injustice and atrocities on the downtrodden spoke volumes for the poor governance. Borders had not been safe. The BJP celebrated Vijay Divas on regaining control of Kargil hills at the cost of considerable sacrifices. Even in this episode they tried to make profit from Coffins for the brave soldiers of our Army. Scores of innocent Indians had been maimed due to ravage of landmines during futile exercise that cost us billions. Unemployment and poverty had registered upward trend during the five years of NDA governance. They had not been able to protect minorities, rather incited people to spread communal hatred in different states. The court verdict on Vadodra’s Bakery incident certified that the police was not “allowed” to evidence gather against the culprits.

Former Union Agriculture Minister Jakhar said the NDA government had completely ignored Agriculture and concentrated on saffron culture only. Half of the daily schedule of the BJP leaders and their parent body was eaten up by controversies. Farming experienced the darkest period during in the past five years since Independence. The Union Government could not find time even to frame a rational agriculture policy. Farmers were denied remunerative price for their produce. There was no clear direction on crop diversification. The government could not arrange certified seeds. Effective steps were not taken to check adulteration of fertilizer and insecticides. The government failed in providing stable marketing avenues to fruit and vegetable growers. There was crisis of water resources but government looked apathetic in promoting drip irrigation system on substantial subsidy. Debt-ridden farmers had to sell tractors and other agriculture implements at throw away prices or to commit suicide. Interest on agriculture loans especially in cooperative sector was highest. The agriculture universities, research centers and Krishi Vigyan Kendras had no funds for research. Foodgrains piled up in some states, others faced starvation deaths due to the availability of grains. The government virtually scrapped the Public Distribution System. Midday-meal scheme collapsed totally. Students’ bags were becoming heavier day by day. Moral values were on the decline the lamented.

On political situation in Punjab Mr Jakhar, who heads Farmers and Labour Department of the AICC, said the SAD loyalists were issuing of statements daily condemning registration of “false” cases against senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal. They were threatening to create law and order problem if such leaders were arrested. He wondered how these workers could decide that the cases were false when investigation was yet to be initiated. He emphasized on a result-oriented drive to weed out corruption from the grass-root level. The loot and plunder in the five years of the misrule by the SAD and the BJP in Punjab had shattered the economy, people had lost faith in the democratic system as only those got employment who could pay for it. The present government had to work hard to restore the faith of the people, he felt.

He hoped people would elect Congress workers as members of panchayats and sarpanches tomorrow for development-oriented future. Mr Jakhar described as totally baseless propaganda by the opposition parties that there was factionalism in the Congress. We are one and would fight any challenge, Mr Jakhar said.


Rift in DCC widens
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 28
Infighting in the district Congress today intensified with supporters of district president Amarjit Singh Saini holding a press conference today and demanding action against state minister for grievances Ramesh Dutt Sharma and Minister for Sports and Animal Husbandry Jagmohan Kang.

Supporters of the district president alleged that the said ministers had violated party discipline by airing their views against the district president.


Infant buried alive in building collapse
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
An eight-month-old-child was buried alive while three persons, including two children and the mother of the deceased were injured when a two-storey building of a house in Indra Colony on the Jhabal road collapsed due to rain, here this morning.

While the condition of the mother, Divya, is stated to be serious, the two children, Kiran (3) and Toti (12), suffered minor injuries in the incident. The injured were admitted to a private hospital near the area.

Residents of the colony helped to drag out the injured and the body of the infant child from the debris. The infant died on the spot. According to residents of the area, the crew of the fire brigade came a little later.

Mr Pawanjit, father of the child, while talking to The Tribune said he had just went outside his house when the unfortunate incident occurred. He said he had made the two-storey back portion of the house about a year ago. The kachcha roof, made from earth, bricks and wooden sticks collapsed due to rain in the last few days, he added.

The debris of a two-storey house which collapsed leaving an infant dead and eight hurt on Saturday.


Talhan inquiry officer to record statements
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 28
The inquiry officer appointed by the state government to hold a magisterial probe into the Talhan incident and subsequent death of a Dalit youth in alleged police firing in the Buta Mandi area on the night of June 5, will record statements of those police officials who were deployed in the Buta Mandi on that night on July 2 and 3.

The district administration, according to Mr Ashok Gupta, the Deputy Commissioner, has already produced a list of those police officials who were on duty on the night of June 5. Their statements would be recorded on July 2 and 3.

He also claimed that the probe was progressing on a fast pace and the Inquiry Officer, who was also the Additional Chief Administration of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) posted at Jalandhar, had already recorded statements of those who were injured and were admitted to the local civil hospital following the Buta Mandi incident.

The administration had also made a announcement in the Buta Mandi area that anybody who was eyewitness to the incident could recorded his or her statement with the inquiry officer. He also denied that the five-member high-powered committee, comprising of five Punjab ministers, had failed to do anything in the matter.

“The committee has been making efforts time to time and the peace in Talhan was outcome of cooperation by one and all. It was due to this that the vexed problem was solved by the administration with utmost wisdom,” said Mr Gupta.


Motor scam: panel violated spending limit
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 28
In an another development in the high tension motor scam in Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar, the authorities concerned have found that the spending limit of the project purchase committee was violated. Highly placed sources told this correspondent that project purchase committee that sanctions the budget for carrying out the works in the thermal plant had the limit of spending Rs 20 lakh at a time. If the limit of the work exceeded Rs 20 lakh it needed the sanction from the permanent member of the board. However, in the high tension motor scam committed in 2000 the work worth Rs 23 lakh was sanctioned to a single firm through a tender without any prior sanction of the permanent member of the board.

As earlier reported in these columns a high tension boiler feed pump motor (No. 4-A) was got repaired by the plant authorities in July, 2000, from a SAS Nagar based firm at a cost of Rs 17.10 lakh. It had now been discovered that the motor might not have developed any fault and the entire repair was fake. Technical experts discovered that at the time motor allegedly developed fault none of its protections operated. The protection was a type of fuse that disconnect the power supply to the motor if it develops any fault. The sources said the 4000 kw high tension motor allegedly developed a snag on July 22, 2000. The officials concerned recorded in their report that some smoke was seen coming out of the motor. On July 26, 2000, the SAS Nagar based firm was called for inspection and on August 2, 2000, the order was placed with the firm on proprietary or single quotation basis. Besides the motor repair worth Rs 17.1 lakh another repair work worth Rs 6 lakh was allotted to same firm in violation of the guidelines.

The scam came to light when the current PSEB authorities decided to call open tenders than getting the high tension motors repaired on single quotation basis.


Punjab Recorders Ltd workers await salaries
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, June 28
As many as 100 workers of Punjab Recorders Limited, a subsidiary of the Punjab State Electronics Development and Production Corporation (PSEDPC), here, are waiting for their salary for the past seven months. The management has, however, said unless the state government bails out the company, it will not be able to pay the wages due to huge financial losses.

Interestingly, the state government had offered voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to employees in March on the recommendations of the Public Sector Disinvestment Commission. The Commission had recommended that the company should be closed down as it had no future in the changed economic scenario. It had observed that against an asset value of about Rs 3.5 crore, the company owed over Rs 5.54 crore loans to the financial institutions, including Punjab National Bank, the Punjab Finance Corporation (PFC) and the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC).

The company had been set up in 1977 to supply highly sophisticated spares to the defence forces, especially for T-72 battle tanks. Later, it had developed solar pumps, digital meters and pocket dosimeter. But due to low capital base, financial mismanagement and lack of technical upgradation, the company began facing problems during 1998-99. The authorised capital of the company, disclosed a senior official, was just Rs 1 crore as on March 31, 2001.

Mr Rajinder Singh, general secretary and Mr Ramesh Chand, president of the Employees Union, alleged that they were fed up with the promises made by the Managing Director, Mr Varinder Singh and the Chairman of the company. They said, “Most of the employees have already applied for VRS, but the government is neither relieving them from their duty by paying due compensation and allowances nor paying salary to the workers since December 2002.”

They lamented that workers were finding it difficult to meet their daily expenses. A worker said, “We have survived so far by withdrawing our savings from the provident fund account. Now we have nothing to bank upon. Unfortunately, the company has not even deposited its share in the provident fund account for the past two years.” He claimed that one worker had already committed suicide due to financial problems.

A senior official of the company claimed that the annual wage and salary bill of the company was about Rs 72.72 lakh. Since the state government was not ready to bail out the company, it was finding it difficult even to pay regular expenses. It required at least Rs 3 crore to offer VRS to the company.

He said since the company had an assured annual orders worth Rs 4 crore from the defence forces to supply spare parts for tanks, nuclear bacteria and chemical warfare production systems and electronic control systems, it could be revived with some additional investment and diversification.


Four-laning of Tripri road soon
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
The municipal corporation has decided to four-lane the road from the Tripri water tank to Rattan Nagar to solve the problem of traffic congestion in the area. This was announced by city Mayor Vishnu Sharma at a “Mayor aapke dwar” programme organised at the Rattan Nagar park here today. The Mayor said the work on the four-laning project would be started immediately and would be completed in a time-bound manner.

Besides this, the Mayor said it had been decided to beautify all parks situated in Tripri township, Deshmesh Nagar, Anand Nagar and Rattan Nagar and all potholed stretches of roads in these colonies would be repaired. He said areas which lack sewerage facilities would be identified and work on laying the same would be started during this year.

Residents of Rattan Nagar complained to the Mayor that the police was helping few unscrupulous persons in usurping a piece of land which had been earmarked for a park in the area. The residents said the persons had also registered false cases against some residents to terrorise them and stop them from agitating on the issue. They asked the Mayor to intervene on the issue and ensure justice to the residents.

Mr Sharma said as the issue was now in court, it would be up to the court to take a decision in the matter. He said, however, the police would be directed not to harass any colony resident on the issue and would also be asked to cancel the false cases registered against them. He said the matter was in the notice of both Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and MP Preneet Kaur and that justice would be done on the issue. Others who spoke at the function included Senior Deputy Mayor Kabir Dass and councillors Sunita Gera and Mr Tharu Ram.


Allotment of tenders postponed
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 28
The controversy over the allotment of tenders for various development works in Municipal Council, Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, has taken a new turn with the Executive Officer of the council postponing the tender up to July 4 while the authorities said that no contractor had submitted the tender forms, certain contractors alleged that these tenders had been postponed as certain favourite contractors, who had got enlisted with the council could not be accommodated, where as they had deposited the required charges for the issuance of tender forms and necessary earnest money and even got the G.A 8 receipts from the council. They said, “when the process for the tenders once starts, these cannot be postponed but can be cancelled as per rules and it is illegal to postpone.

Meanwhile taking a serious note of the publication of a news item in The Tribune regarding “Row over tenders in MC Sirhind”, the Deputy Commissioner Mr S.K. Ahluwalia has directed the Executive Officer, MC, Sirhind Fatehgarh Sahib to produce the relevant record relating to the issuance of tenders and allotment of works. He has also directed to show whether all instructions issued by the Secretary Local Government have been observed. He has also directed to issue tender forms to those contractors, who were denied the tender forms earlier.

Mr Ahluwalia told The Tribune that transparency would be maintained in the allotment of development works and no pooling of contractors and allotment of works to the favourites would not be tolerated at any cost. He said he would depute some senior officer to supervise the tender allotment process. He said he had called the EO to his office on Monday to sort out the matter. He said that he had been getting regular complaints.

The Tribune had highlighted the complaint of certain former councillors and acting president of the council alleging that the council had floated tenders for various development works worth about Rs 1 crore, which were in violation of the orders of the Secretary Local Government who had directed all the councils not to create any financial indiscipline by inviting tenders without clearing outstanding liabilities, as the Government had to face unnecessary litigation.

They alleged that the Municipal Council, Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib already owed about Rs 85 lakh to contractors and even the employees provident fund to the tune of Rs 15 lakh was due to be deposited. Besides this the pension benefits to the retired employees about worth Rs 15 lakh were lying unpaid.


Scribe’s brother approaches PSHRC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 28
Mr Bhagwant Singh, elder brother of Jaswant Singh Editor of Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, today approached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) and sought protection of his family and an end to unnecessary harassment by the district police. Jaswant Singh had earlier been booked by the district police on the complaint of Ms Prem Lata, wife of Harbans Lal Forest Minister. The anticipatory bail application of Jaswant Singh was cancelled by the District and Sessions Judge and was at large.

Mr Bhagwant Singh in his complaint stated that a false case under Sections 352, 452, 506 and 34 IPC, had been registered against his brother. He alleged that the police during a raid on his house humiliated the family members and tried to take them to the police station. He has urged the commission to intervene and put an end to the undue harassment.

The commission has asked for a report from the state and the Home Department by October 23 this year. The commission has also directed the SSP to ensure the safety of the family members of the complainant.


Congress workers deface Hall Bazar to welcome
3 MLAs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
Is the ban on banners and posters only for the common man, asked eyewitnesses who saw the entire Hall Bazar and its surrounding areas covered with hundreds of banners welcoming the three MLAs who had been appointed chairmen of different departments, respectively, here today.

Congress workers went overboard in welcoming Dr Raj Kumar, Mr Harjinder Singh Thekedaar and Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, nominated as the chairmen of the Information and Technology Commission, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation and the Kisan Khadi Board, respectively.

Even the statue of Shaheed Udham Singh was not spared as its parts were used to sling the banners.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has banned the display and pasting of posters and banners on roads and crossings. Banners can only be displayed after getting the permission of the municipal corporation on payment of fees.

However, bans seem to be only for commoners and not for the leaders.

Barely a few days ago the state president of the party, Mr H.S. Hanspal on directions of the high command had recommended to exercise economy in welcoming party men and leaders. He had also requested party members to deposit the money spent on advertisements in the party fund. However, no one seems to have taken this seriously.


Villagers sore over land erosion by Beas

Gurdaspur, June 28
Resentment prevails among the residents of Samrai, Rampur Talwara, Sri Hargobindpur, Ballarhwal, Marh Buchian Fatta Kulla and Budda Bala located on the right bank of the Beas for continuous land erosion in the villages by the river.

The Beas is only 100-300 feet away from Rampur Talwara and Samrai villages.

Official sources on the condition of anonimity said no floor protection measures had been taken on the Beas close to the villages after 2000 due to lack of funds.

Central grants have been received by Hoshiarpur district on the plea to protect the National Highway and railway line close to the left bank of the river. Since the flood protection measures have been taking place continuously in Hoshiarpur district even after 2000 on the left bank of the Beas, the river with the passage of time has changed its course towards these villages and started land erosion.


Councillor hurt in road accident
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 28
Mr Parminder Bajaj, a Municipal Councillor and former president of the council, suffered serious injuries when his car met with an accident on the Bhawanigarh-Nabha road last night. He is being treated at DMC Hospital in Ludhiana.

A member of his family said that Mr Bajaj was returning from Nabha last night when his car met with an accident.


CM’s ‘durbar’ postponed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 28
The “Khula Darbar” programme which was to be attended by the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh at the Circuit House here on June 30, has been postponed to July 14.

Disclosing this here today, city Mayor Vishnu Sharma said the programme had been postponed due to the panchayat elections being held tomorrow which would curtail party activists from attending the June 30 proposed programme. He said the people having any grievance were free attend the programme.


5 IAS officers reshuffled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 28
The Punjab Government today shuffled five IAS officers.

Mr Gurinderjit Singh Sandhu has been posted Secretary, Punjab Housing and Urban Development. Dr Swarn Singh has been posted as Commissioner NRIs and Industrial Liaison. Mr Satish Chandra has been named the Secretary, Medical Education and Research.

The Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board Secretary, Mr Paramjit Singh Aujla, is new Director of the Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, relieving Mr S.S Rajput of the additional charge.

The Special Secretary, Agriculture, Mr A. Venu Prasad succeeds Mr Aujla in the Agricultural Marketing Board. However, the successor of Mr Prasad would be announced in due course, an official press note said here today.

The Sub-divisional Magistrate, Jalandhar-II, Mr Gurpreet Singh Khera, PCS, has been asked to look after the work of the posts of Land Acquisition Officer, Public Works Department ( Buildings and Roads) and Special Land Acquisition Officer, Jalandhar additionally, till further orders, the press note added.


Fake currency racket busted 
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, June 28
The district police here today claimed to have busted a four-member gang involved in manufacturing fake five-rupee coins with the arrest of three members of the gang.

Dr R.N. Dhoke, Senior Superintendent of Police, identified the arrested persons as Puneet Kumar, son of Manohar Lal of Mahavir Enclave, Delhi, Partap Singh, son of Avtar Singh, residnet of Gopal Nagar Amritsar, and Ramesh Kumar of Uttam Nagar, Delhi.

The police recovered a coin-making machine, two dyes and 2124 fake five-rupee coins from them.

Narrating the details of the arrest, the SSP said that on a tip-off, the Dhilwan police station SHO Sarabjit Singh conducted a raid and arrested Puneet Kumar and Partap Singh near Dhilwan for allegedly circulating the fake coins in Amritsar and adjoining areas. During the interrogation, the accused told the interrogators that Ramesh Kumar of Delhi was doing the business of fake coins and they were acting as conduits. The police party raided the hideout of Ramesh Kumar in Delhi and recovered the machine used for making the fake coins and brought the accused to Kapurthala.

The SSP further said Ramesh Kumar told the interrogators that he had bought this machine from another accused, whose identity was kept secret by the police, at a cost of Rs 60,000. The SSP said that the manufacturing cost comes to Re 1 per five-rupee fake coin and Ramesh used to take the profit of Re 1 each for five-rupee fake coins. Puneet and Partap Singh, after buying the five-rupee fake coins at the cost of Rs 2.50, used to circulate these in the market in Amritsar and Delhi.

Dr Dhoke said that Partap Singh came in contact with Puneet Kumar in jail in Amritsar where they conspired that after release from jail, both would engage in the trade of selling fake coins.

The police has registered a case under Sections 232, 240, 243 of the IPC at the Dhilwan police station.

Mr Sarabjit Singh, with whose efforts the gang was busted, would be suitably awarded, Dr Dhoke added.


12 arrested for smuggling drugs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 28
The police today arrested 12 persons from different parts of the district for allegedly smuggling narcotics.

The SSP, in a press note issued here today said 2.75 quintals of poppy husk had been seized from their possession and a scooter used in the crime had also been confiscated. Ten cases under the NDPS Act has been registered against them at different police stations. However, the SSP did not give detail about the persons or the places from where they were arrested.

Fourteen cases have been registered against 19 persons under the Excise Act as they allegedly distilled or stored illicit and country-made liquor. The police has seized 2,030 kg of lahan, 52 bottles of illicit liquor and 724 bottles of country liquor from the possession of the accused. The police has also confiscated a jeep used by them.

Five persons have been arrested under the Gambling Act and four cases registered against them at different police stations in the district. The police has confiscated Rs 3790, two mobile phones and a scooter from their possession.


Woman found dead
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 28
A woman was found hanging from a tree near the cantonment in the city today.

The body was brought by an NGO, Sahara Jan Sewa, to the local Civil Hospital, where postmortem examination will be held tomorrow. The woman who seemed to be a migratory labourer could not be identified.


19 unfair means cases in B.Ed test
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 28
For the first time in the history of any university in the state, unfair means cases (UMCs) have been initiated against 19 candidates for impersonating during the joint entrance test of B.Ed. for admission in Punjab and Chandigarh educational colleges.

An ASI posted at Amritsar was caught from the Abohar centre while impersonating one Satwant Singh (roll number 12770), Surinder Puri, who is running an academy at Faridkot, was spotted while helping his student, Monika Bhullar (roll number 34824), at the Faridkot centre.

Giving this information to The Tribune, Dr Gurnam Singh, coordinator for the entrance test, conducted on June 15 (result declared in late evening on June 26), said that the rest of the candidates were detected with the help of computer.

Dr Rajnish Arora, deputy coordinator, said that command was given to computer to detect the names of candidates repeated in the list. Much to the surprise of the coordinators, as many as 14 candidates were detected (their fathers’ names, addresses and even date of birth was found to be same). Dr Gurnam Singh said that to secure seats in the B.Ed., these candidates sought the help of their friends to appear simultaneously from different centres of the state.

The photographs affixed on the forms also helped in detecting the persons who tried to be impersonators.

Dr Gurnam Singh said that when a vigilant superintendent got suspicious that a clean-shaven person was taking entrance test at the Abohar centre in place of one Satwant Singh, he got suspicious. When the superintendent asked the ASI to give proof that he was the actual candidate (Satwant Singh), he started threatening the staff. The staff on duty got the photo copy of the identity card of the ASI and also got his photograph with the help of a polaroid camera.

The names of the candidates who were found guilty of impersonation included two Gurmeet Singhs (34294 and 52189), Gurpreet Kaurs (94921 and 94942), two Gurwinder Singhs (34288 and 52186), Kulwant Singhs (41042 and 59166), Rachhpal Singhs (34905 and 78465), Ramesh Singhs (34300 and 52194) and two Sarbjit Singhs (34290 and 52192).

Dr Gurnam Singh said that the case along with all proofs had been handed over to the Registrar of the university for taking action against the accused candidates. He said that the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, had constituted a UMC committee comprising Registrar, retired IAS/IPS officers and a retired Sessions Judge to further probe the matter.

In yet another case, one Gurbaksh Singh (85881) and Sham Singh (25882) were caught while exchanging and tampering answer sheets.

It may be mentioned here that as many as 43,484 candidates had appeared in 20 centres in Punjab and Chandigarh.

It was for the first time that the university had decided to allow candidates to check their response sheets by depositing Rs 1000 with a view to maintaining transparency. However, the fee for checking the response sheets of others is Rs 2000.


Rs 4-cr UGC grant for GND varsity
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 28
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has sanctioned Rs 4.29 crore as grant-in-aid to Guru Nanak Dev University during the tenth five year plan. Disclosing this Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said the university would also establish drug development center and bio-rhythm and human health center at the university campus. He was addressing the Syndicate meeting held here today.

The grant would be spent for strengthening the existing teaching departments, construction of new buildings and purchase of books and journals during the tenth five year plan. The drug development research center would be established in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences with the collaboration of the Indian Council of Medical Research . While the center of bio rhythm in human health would be established in the School of Punjabi Studies, this center would focus on scientific approach about benefits of meditation, early rising and recitation of gurbani and comparative effects of such a practice with the otherwise sedentary lifestyles causing stress.

These centers would be established with the assistance of Mr Hardyal Singh, former Director, Research and Medical Education, Punjab.

There was also a proposal to establish “heritage village” besides this the varsity’s folklore museum also needs expansion , the V-C said

Addressing the members the Vice-Chancellor said max-planck institute for molecular genetics, Berlin, Germany had given $20,000 for a project on clinical and molecular genetic research. CSIR has identified the center for genetic disorders for this university as collaborating organisation for research on “novel molecular diagnostics for eye diseases”. This center would be one of the 11 centers in India.

CSIR has sanctioned Rs 27.84 lakhs for Dr Jai Rup Singh, Coordinator of the center for genetic disorders, for the project.

Dr M.D. Singh, Head of the Law Department, was nominated as member of the Punjab Legal Services authority while Dr Sukhdev Singh of the English Department was selected for ‘effulgent star -2003’ by the home of letters (India) for his commendable contribution towards literary work.

The Syndicate was informed that the GND Varsity was recognised by the renowned IT company of India, Tata Consultancy Services for recruitment purposes. This company would conduct campus interview of M.Tech (IT), MCA, B.Tech (computer science) and B.Tech (electronics) in July. While 11 national and multi national companies had selected 50 students from different department, as many as nine students had been recruited during off campus interviews. Dr Kulwant Singh, Professor of physics, was appointed as the director of center of preparation for competitive examinations for one year, the Syndicate was told.


Local boy 14th in AIIMS test
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 28
“Hard work, dedication and focussed approach are the key to success in competitive examination,” says Jatinder Goyal, a city boy, who got the second position in the entrance test of the CMC, fourth in CBSE, fourth in Banaras Hindu University and 14th in All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The success of Jatinder, a student of the local SSD Senior Secondary School in different medical entrance examinations has broken the myth that for getting entry into medical colleges of repute in the country, a student must do his plus two from big cities.

He says, “It does not make much difference in which city a student studies. If he or she works hard, success would definitely come”.

Jatinder is all praise for his parents, both of whom are employed in a bank, as he feels that the moral support from family is also helpful to be successful in competitive examinations. His father, Mr Rakesh Goyal said, “We tried out best to provide him atmosphere so that he should concentrate on his studies. It is a proud moment for the entire family”.

Jatinder said although he was sure to be successful in different entrance tests, but he was not sure that he would be among the toppers in these tests. “While taking the tests I did my best and was hopeful of getting admission to medical college of my choice, but I was not sure what position I would get.” he added.


Accept teachers’ demand, Mann urges CM
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 28
Mr Simranjit Mann, MP from Sangrur and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), has asked the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to accept and implement in letter and spirit the demands of more than 7,000 college teachers, serving in at least 172 non-government colleges of Punjab.

In a letter to Capt Amarinder Singh, he has stated that a deputation of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), led by Prof P.K. Sharma, the Sangrur district unit president, had told him that the Congress during the Punjab Assembly elections had promised to continue the 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges of Punjab and to implement pension-gratuity scheme of December 18, 1996 for private college teachers.

Mr Mann said the state government should immediately implement the genuine demands of the private college teachers.

The demands include the continuation of 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges, implementation of pension-gratuity scheme area allowance and constitution of the Punjab State Council of higher Education.

Mr Mann said Prof Sharma had also shared PCCTU’s apprehension with him that if the Punjab Government did not offer 95 per cent grand-in-aid to the private colleges, it would jeopardise the future of higher education and private colleges in Punjab, especially private colleges in Punjab would come to a grinding halt.

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