Wednesday, July 2, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal clan’s 50-year hold over panchayat ends
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Badal (Muktsar), July 1
Mrs Jaswinder Kaur, wife of Mr Randhir Singh Dheera, who was elected sarpanch of this “VVIP” village on June 29, is the first person outside of the Badal clan to bear the mantle of the post.

Since 1953, when the first panchayat election was held in the village, set up by ancestors of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal until 1998, members belonging to the Badals clan became sarpanches. While Mr Badal became sarpanch in 1963, his father the late Raghuraj Singh became sarpanch in 1960.

It had become a trend in the village that the post of sarpanch would go to the Badal clan. However, the “hegemony” was broken this year by a section of the Badal clan that opposed Mrs Gurdas Kaur, opponent of Mrs Jaswinder Kaur and a prominent member of the clan in the elections.

Mrs Gurdas Kaur is the wife of Mr Joginder Singh, nephew of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and brother of Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, who has been facing criminal cases. A section of the clan, including the family of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, backed Mrs Gurdas Kaur while some others supported Mrs Jaswinder Kaur. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Sukhbir Badal and Mr Manpreet Singh Badal could not campaign during the panchayat elections, as they were busy fighting the alleged atrocities on them by the state government.

Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Badal, a prominent member of the Badal clan who contested the last Assembly elections unsuccessfully and later made president of the District Congress Committee, Muktsar, and Mr Sanjam Badal, former sarpanch and a close associate of Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s family, contributed in the victory of Mrs Jaswinder Kaur. Mr Sanjam Badal changed his loyalty and joined Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Badal’s group, causing a furore in the Gurdas Kaur camp.

Mr Sanjam Badal, who defeated Mr Joginder Singh Gaggi, a candidate put against him by Mr Parkash Singh Badal during the last panchayat elections, joined hands with Mr Badal about two years ago.

Talking to TNS, he said in the Lambi block, which was considered a stronghold of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the candidates put up by Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Badal had won in over half the panchayats.

Mr Gurtej Singh, member of the Badal clan said the late Shivraj Singh became sarpanch in 1953, Raghuraj Singh in 1960, Mr Parkash Singh Badal in 1963, Mr Mohinder Singh Badal, nephew of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in 1972, and Mr Paramjit Singh Lalli in 1978 and 1984. In 1993, Mr Mohinder Singh again became sarpanch. Mr Sanjam Singh Badal succeeded him.

He said Mr Karnail Singh, a non-Badal clan, member who was panchayat member when Mr Parkash Singh Badal was sarpanch, was made in charge of the village panchayat when Mr Badal became the Chief Minister.


Repoll for three panchayats
Our Correspondent

Nabha, July 1
Of total 168 panchayats of the Nabha block, results of 144 were declared today while 22 panchayats were already elected unanimously. Elections in Kotli and Pedni villages were withheld due to the rejection of papers of unanimously elected candidates. SDM Nabha Balraj Singh Sekhon said that these villages were expected for the polls on July 13.

MOGA, UNI adds: The Punjab State Election Commission has ordered repolling at two polling booths of Mahla Khurd village on July 13 as per the recommendations of the District Electoral Officer G. Ramesh Kumar.

The repoll was necessitated following disturbance at the polling booths soon after the polling ended on Sunday when some people forcibly entered the polling booth damaged the ballot boxes and destroyed the ballot papers.

According to official information available here today that on written complaint of the polling officer Prem Kumar, the Bahapurana police registered a case against Akali Dal supported candidate Karam Singh his election agents Kuldeep Singh and Bohar Singh and also 12 unidentified people.

The case was registered under Sections 382-353-186-332 of the IPC and also the under Arms Act.

AMRITSAR: No results of panchayat elections were declared on the second consecutive day here today. Queries to the office of Additional Deputy Commissioner elicited no response while the district public relations also remained mum on the winners or losers. Instead a press release of the Public Relations indulged in ‘designed’ propaganda to suit the ruling party. “The mention of two ministers Gurchet Singh Bhuller and Mr Sardul Singh thanking the public for their overwhelming response to Congress-supported candidates of whom the department claims to have 65 per cent to 70 per cent winners”. In the following paragraphs Akali strongholds have been negated, by highlighting the win of rival candidates claimed to be Congress supported.


Sarpanch elected
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, July 1
Pandit Sukhraj of Patial village has been elected sarpanch of the village at the election held here on June 29. Mr Ramkishan, Mr Bishan Dass, Mr Gurbhaj Singh and Ms Kamlesh Devi have been elected panches.

They assured the residents of the village to resolve the water crisis during their tenure and get the road from Patial village to Unit HP recarpeted.


Cops want to frame Narottam: Badal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said he had apprehensions that the police would plant explosives, arms, fake currency and narcotics on his nephew, Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, who had been remanded in police custody in a case registered against him at the Lambi police station in Muktsar district on June 11.

Talking to TNS on phone today, Mr Badal alleged that Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh had revealed his one- point agenda of finishing off the political career of his opponents.

Mr Badal said the police had already stood exposed as during investigation of the case against Mr Dhillon, the investigation officer had changed the witness to record a statement to establish the allegations in the FIR. He said the statement of Mr Sukha Singh Baba was recorded against Mr Dhillon and when he denied making the statement, the investigation officer recorded the statement of Mr Manna Singh to support the allegations.

The police might plant some illegal things on Mr Dhillon during search operations, Mr Badal said.

He said the police authorities had decided to harass Mr Dhillon and his family members for not following the “diktats” of the Congress government for making a statement against the Badal family. He alleged that even officials of the Vigilance Bureau had pressured Mr Dhillon, when he was admitted in a hospital, in Patiala, to make a statement against the Badal family.

He said during the searches carried out by sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau last month on the premises belonging to Mr Dhillon, no incriminating document had been found.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SSP, Muktsar, when contacted, said the apprehension of Mr Badal that some illegal things would be planted on Mr Dhillon was baseless. It had been decided not to search the premises of Mr Dhillon in connection with the criminal case registered against him, he added.


Narottam declared fit, gets further remand
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 1
Doctors at the Ropar Civil Hospital today declared Narottam Singh Dhillon, a cousin of Mr Sukhbir Badal, fit for travelling. After this, he was taken by the police to Muktsar.

Earlier, Narottam Singh Dhillon, who was produced in a Ropar court today, moved an application before the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, Mr Karamjit Singh, pleading that he be hospitalised. He said he was suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and spinal pain. Cases against him in various courts were forcing him to travel extensively between Patiala and Muktsar, which was affecting his health. He wanted to be sent to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh for treatment.

The public prosecutor, however, opposed the plea of Narottam Singh by saying that he was needed by the Muktsar police for interrogation.

The Judge ordered the medical examination of Narottam Singh to be done at the Ropar Civil Hospital. The bail application of Mr Narottam Singh in the corruption case against him registered at SAS Nagar also came up for hearing today before the Duty Judge. The next hearing will be on July 8. The Duty Judge also extended the judicial remand of Narottam Singh till July 12.


Wimpy’s staff remand extended

Ropar, July 1
The judicial remand of five employees of Wimpy’s International Sanjeev Kulshetra, Raj Kumar Gupta, Harjinder Singh, Yash Pal Dhawan and Davinder Singh was extended today by the Duty Judge, Ropar, till July 12.

The employees were booked by the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, on charges of helping Hardeep Singh, OSD to Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, in converting latter’s black money into white.

The employees also moved a bail application before the judge, the hearing on which has been fixed for July 11. — OC


Case made against freezing paddy MSP
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
The recommendation of the Union Ministry of Agriculture to freeze the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy for 2003-04 at last year’s level will mean a loss of Rs 70 per quintal or Rs 3,668 per hectare to farmers in Punjab.

This recommendation, if approved by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs, will also reduce the income of Punjab farmers to the tune of Rs 928 crore.

This is the conclusion drawn by a professor of economics, Dr Joginder Singh, at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Arguing against the proposed freeze in the price of paddy, he told TNS that farmers had to incur an 8 per cent to 10 per cent higher cost of production every year for getting the same level of output. Thus, there was no justification in freezing the price of paddy.

The price freeze at last year’s level, despite giving Rs 20 per quintal as special drought relief, does not mean anything in ‘’real terms’’. The current year’s recommendation is Rs 550 per quintal, including Rs 20 per quintal, as special drought relief. Last year, it was Rs 530 per quintal and Rs 560 per quintal for two grades of paddy. Technically, it seems the price has been raised by Rs 20 per quintal but in real terms it remains the same, as arrived at by the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Dr Joginder Singh explained that the cost of production in major paddy-producing states was taken into consideration to arrive at a support. The CACP also takes into account the parity with input prices and the wholesale prices index. It, therefore, seems that due to surplus stocks, the government appeared to be backing out from the decision taken when the country was facing an acute shortage of food, the world prices were much higher than the prices in the national market and Punjab had risen to the occasion to make the country self-sufficient.

The minimum support price is one phenomenon, which has always moved upward each year. Right from 1982 when the MSP for paddy was Rs 115 per quintal, it has risen every year. From 1987-88 there were three levels of the MSP, one for common varieties, one for fine and the third for super fine. This lasted till 1996-97. From the following year, 1997-98, only two MSP levels were maintained, common and A-grade. Occasionally, either the Centre or Punjab would announce bonus as well, except for 1981-82 to 1983-84.

In fact, the increase in the MSP for paddy was 159 per cent between 1990-91 and 2001-02. And in a five year period, 1998 to 2001-02, the MSP for paddy (A-grade) rose by 26 per cent and for common varieties by 28 per cent. The same happened in the case of wheat.

Therefore, the Centre is having second thoughts on the entire foodgrain management system, including pricing, procurement, storage, transportation and distribution, much to the consternation of agriculturally advanced states like Punjab that are demanding financial support from New Delhi as much for diversification as for sustainability of their agricultural economies and environment.


Explanation sought from Pro-VC
Membership of academic bodies
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 1
The Punjabi University authorities, who had recently withdrawn all powers from its Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, have further tightened the screws against him by asking him to explain whether he had taken permission from the university to become a member of various academic bodies in the country.

The university had sent a letter in this regard to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor two days ago. This was apparently in response to a letter written by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor to the Chancellor, informing him that he had to leave the university to attend meetings of various academic bodies of which he was a member. He had indicated that he should be allowed to do so on a standing basis.

According to sources, Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai has taken umbrage to the fact that Dr Pal does not take permission from him before proceeding on leave. The Pro-VC has till now preferred to inform the Chancellor whenever he wants to take leave. The letter for permission written to the Chancellor reached the VC through the Punjab Government and the VC accordingly wrote a letter to the Pro-VC telling him that he alone was the competent authority to sanction leave. The Pro-VC was also asked to take permission from the VC before proceeding on leave.

The Registrar Dr Param Bakshish Singh, when questioned on this issue, said the university authorities had informed the Pro-VC that all leave applications would have to be submitted to the VC as according to the university calendar, the VC alone was competent to sanction leave to staff members of the university. The Registrar said the Pro-VC was yet to reply to the letter and that he had also not replied to the recent query asking him to explain whether he had informed the university about his membership of various academic institutions and committees.

Meanwhile, the present status of the Pro-VC is also not clear. He could not be contacted at his residence, with the attendant saying that he could not be reached. The Registrar said he also did not know whether the Pro-VC was presently on leave or not.

The sources disclosed that the latest letter by the university authorities to the Pro-VC seemed to be aimed at making him fall in line as well as opening a new front. Earlier, the VC, Mr S.S. Boparai, withdrew all powers from Dr Pal, making his post redundant. The Pro-VC till now enjoyed administrative powers over B and C Class employees, besides being the in charge of research projects and the overall hostel management and sanctioning of TA and DA allowances.

Earlier, the VC had, in another unprecedented move, given his powers in his absence to a committee of senior functionaries which did not include the Pro-VC. Till now the Pro-VC had handled the administration of the university in the absence of the VC. Despite a protest against the move to Higher Education Minister Harnam Das Johar by Dr Pal, the VC stuck to his guns and even claimed that he would hand over the administration of the university to only men of proven honesty and integrity.


Punjab board ends cumulative merit list system
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
For the first time since its inception in 1969, the Punjab School Education Board has decided to declare independent merit lists for the five main streams of subjects at the senior secondary level. Whereas until this year, the board was declaring a cumulative merit list for all five groups of subjects, including science, humanities, commerce, vocational education and agriculture, from the next academic year onwards, the board will be declaring separate merit lists for all five above-mentioned groups.

The decision to this effect was taken yesterday at a high level meeting of the board, chaired by Dr Kehar Singh and attended by the Controller, the Secretary and the Vice-Chairman of the board, besides some members of the academic counsel. The move is significant as it will ensure that students from all streams get a due representation in the merit list. The idea of the board to encourage students of humanities and other streams, who feel demoralised because of being unable to secure a comfortable entry into the cumulative merit list, invariably dominated by the science students. Significantly, the Central Board of Secondary Education declares subject-wise merit list even within different groups.

Ironically, whereas only about 13 per cent of the total candidates appearing in the senior secondary level examination conducted by the board, have science subjects, most of the top positions as well a major chunk of the scholarships go to them. Rest of the 80 per cent students, who appear from humanities and other streams do not get a chance to secure high merit in the list and are hence devoid of scholarships.

Significantly, out of 2.25 lakh students appearing in the examination every year, about 1.75 lakh have humanities; 15,000 have commerce; 30,000 are science students, while about 8,000 are vocational education students.

Highly placed sources in the board said the issue had been pending for a long time now. They added that there was also a demand to make a policy on scholarships because most of the scholarships are bagged by the science students.

An official said: “The plea most institutions offering humanities took was that humanities subjects were less scoring than science subjects. So a separate scholarship policy be framed for students of humanities so that they don’t feel discouraged. However, after studying the data, we found that even humanities students were scoring higher marks like 85 or 90 in some subjects, which are at par with marks attained by the science students. It was, however, felt that a separate merit list for all groups of subjects was essential to keep the morale of students high. It is true that most of the top positions in the cumulative merit list being declared until this year are going to the science students, thus demoralising students of other subjects.”

This decision has been taken to encourage students to take up humanities and other streams and to enable them to assess their comparative position within different groups. The board, meanwhile, also considered revision of the question papers of various subjects to make all of them equally scoring and challenging.


Priests can’t sack me: Romana
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 1
Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, president of the management committee of Takht Patna Sahib, who is also a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, has rejected yesterday’s decision of the five priests of the Takht to sack him, which was reported in a section of the Press today.

The five priests — Giani Gurinder Singh (Head Granthi), Giani Baldev Singh (Senior Vice-Granthi), Giani Dalip Singh and Giani Nihal Singh (both Granthis) and the Takht head, Giani Iqbal Singh had said yesterday that Mr Romana, declared ‘tankhaiya’ on May 20 for using derogatory remarks against the Jathedar and Dasham Granth during the three-day function on the eve of celebrations of 400 years of Gur Gaddi at Chicago, had failed to clarify his position by the June 30 deadline. Mr Romana said the priests had no power to sack him and only Akal Takht could give such a decision.

“The priests have not only misused their powers but also violated the Sikh maryada. Under the 1953 Act of the constitution of Takht Patna Sahib, even a no-confidence motion against a president, senior vice-president, vice-president or general secretary of the management cannot be brought after the expiry of two-years-and-a-half of the management term. Even Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and a former President, Giani Zail Singh, had rejected the decision of the priests of Takht Hazur Sahib who had misused their powers to excommunicate the leaders in 1984,” said Mr Romana.

Mr Romana said he had said at the function that, in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib, the recitation of Dasham Granth was against the Sikh Maryada, as said by Guru Gobind Singh. Even the Supreme Court had, last year, described Guru Grandth Sahib as the juristic person for the Sikh nation. On this occasion, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht; Giani Rajinder Singh, Head Granthi of Gurdwara Sis Ganj in New Delhi; Mr Harbhajan Singh Walia of the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, Jathedar Kesgarh Sahib and many other senior Sikh leaders had been present. He said he would accept any punishment given by Akal Takht and had already written to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to give his side of the story. The Jathedar had told him to appear before Akal Takht on July 10. He said the priests had acted at the behest of some politicians and he would soon file a defamation suit against all of them.

Yesterday, the Takht head, Giani Iqbal Singh, talking to our Amritsar reporter from Patna Sahib, had clarified that the clergy had not excommunicated Mr Romana, a confidant of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, from the Sikh Panth.

Giani Iqbal Singh said he would not attend the meeting of Akal Takht as the “chapter of Mr Romana” was closed.


Samata Party reviews situation
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 1
A meeting of the Punjab Pradesh Samata Party was held here today to review the political situation in the state, especially after the registration of criminal cases against former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and members of his family.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Inderjeet Singh Saini, President of the state unit and Mr Ajay Sood, a member of the National Executive, said the party was in favour of the anti-corruption drive of the present state government. But Capt Amarinder Singh was using this drive against his political opponents to settle old scores as the methods adopted by certain government officials, particularly those in the Vigilance Bureau, were unconstitutional.


Mandate against SAD, BJP: Jakhar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 1
PPCC vice-president Sajjan Kumar Jakhar has said the electorate of over 12,000 villages has given a clear mandate against the SAD-BJP alliance, in the panchayat elections. In Abohar and Khuyiansarwer blocks, more then 70 per cent of the candidates supported by the Congress have been elected sarpanches, he has claimed.

Talking to mediapersons at his farm near here today, Mr Jakhar said the people had endorsed the anti-corruption drive launched by the Congress government. The SAD and the BJP should hear the voice of the people, he added.

Mr Jakhar said their opponents had made Maujgarh and Panjkosi villages as points of their prestige, but Mr Rajesh Jakhar had won from Maujgarh and Mr Rai Singh Poonia from Panjkosi. Another significant contest was at Danewala Satkosi village, where Mr Baljit Singh had won.


Cong men stay away, meeting adjourned

Phagwara, July 1
The special meeting of the Phagwara Nagar council convened to elect three trustees of the Improvement Trust from among the councillors had to be adjourned due to a lack of quorum after all Congress councillors stayed away yesterday. In the 28-member council, 19 members are either from the Congress or supported by it. The number includes the ex, officio member and the Congress MLA, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, who is also Punjab Social Welfare Minister.

While all nine councillors belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiromani Akali Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party were on time to attend the meeting, the Congress councillors, barring the council president, Malkiat Singh Raghbotra, did not turn up till 10 am, which forced the adjournment. Some of those who had abstained started trickling in soon after the meeting was adjourned.


15 in race for DCC chief’s post
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 1
The post of president of the Jalandhar District Congress Committee (Urban) falling vacant after appointment of Captain Amarinder Singh loyalist Tejinder Bittu, as Chairman of the Improvement Trust, 15 aspirants have been vying for the post.

The Congress high command would likely adhere to the advice of the CM and PPCC chief H.S. Hanspal for deciding the appointment of the DCC chief.

Mr D.P. Sehgal, a senior Congress leader and a former president of the DCC, Vijay Khullar, a Senior Vice-President of the Punjab Pradesh Committee and another former DCC chief, Ram Pal Thakur, Mr Daljit Singh Ahluwalia, Mr Vishwakirti, a son of late Mr Yash, a Congress MP, Mr Arun Walia, Mr Ashok Palta and Mr Manoj Arora are said to be serious contenders for the post. Mr Anil Dutta’s candidature was said to be supported by a section of the party leaders, particularly, senior Congress men of Jalandhar.


Judicial custody for BCC chief
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 1
Mr Sadhu Ram, president, Block Congress Committee, who was booked by the district police allegedly for tearing and destroying the ballot papers during the counting for the post of sarpanch at Bhatmajra village, was produced in the court of Mrs Neelam Arora, Civil Judge, after the expiry of his one-day police remand. After hearing the arguments, the judge sent him to judicial custody up to July 3 and he would remain admitted to Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib. The judge also ordered that as Sadhu Ram was admitted to hospital for treatment, further police remand was declined and the police could move fresh application for police remand on July 3.

Besides this, the post-election violence incidents have been reported in the district and the local Civil Hospital is flooded with the injured persons who got injuries in clashes between the rival groups. The incident of firing was also reported at Mustafabad village in the district.


667 thermal plant workers on payroll
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 1
In what may be termed as a major victory for the contract workers of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) here, the PSEB took on its payroll 667 labourers of the coal handling plant. The labourers had been working on contract at the unit for more than a decade.

As per an agreement between the Labour Commissioner and the PSEB, the board would regularise the services of these contract labourers after six months. the contract workers rejoiced by holding a rally in front of the main gate of the GGSSTP and distributing sweets.

The president of the contract labourers union, Mr R.K. Tiwari, while talking to this correspondent, said the contract labourers got their services regularised after six years of litigation. The workers had moved the Supreme Court against the PSEB.

The Tiwari alleged that the PSEB was not implementing all recommendations of the committee set up to look into the case of the contract workers. The PSEB had not taken on its payroll about 170 workers, he added. A total of 400 workers had been taken on payroll as labourers though earlier they were working as skilled or semi-skilled workers, resulting in a pay loss of between Rs 400 and Rs 1,000 to each of them, he said. Pay parity was being denied to the contract labourers whose services were not being regularised, he further said.


Dowry victim writes to CM
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 1
Mrs Neelam Rani, a resident of the Paras Ram Nagar area in the city, in a letter to the Chief Minister, has alleged that the police is not arresting her husband and in-laws even after a case has been registered against them for harassing her for bringing less dowry.

In her letter, Mrs Rani said she was married to Mr Harvinder Kumar, a resident of Tibba village in Ludhiana district, in September, 2002, as per Hindu traditions. She said the expenses on the marriage were borne by her family and she was given gift items and dowry worth nearly Rs 1 lakh. She said after her marriage she was harassed and beaten up by her husband and in-laws for bringing less dowry.

She said she was denied food for some days and was beaten up mercilessly even while she was pregnant. The matter was brought to the notice of her parents and they expressed their inability to give more dowry. She said her husband demanded a motor cycle and her parents again expressed their inability to fulfil this demand.

She claimed that after she lodged an application with the district police chief, a case under Sections 406, 498-A and 109 of the IPC was registered on June 7 at the local Kotwali police station against Mr Harvinder, Mr Gagandeep, Mr Ramesh Kumar and Mrs Kailash Devi. However, none of the accused in the FIR has been arrested till date. She said as per her information, two of the accused had obtained anticipatory bail while no action had been taken against others.

The SHO, Kotwali police station, said raids had been conducted on the residence and other places frequented by the accused in Ludhiana and they would be arrested soon.


Protests mark Doctors’ Day
Tribune Reporters

Tarn Taran, July 1
On a call given by the Punjab IMA, all doctors and members of the local unit of the IMA today observed Doctor’s Day as protest day. A protest rally was held in front of the Civil Hospital here. The doctors wore black badges in protest against the enforcement of Section 304 of the IPC against doctors in cases of hospital deaths without a proper inquiry.

Expressing concern over the registration of criminal cases against doctors in Punjab, Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal and Dr G.S. Dhaliwal, president and honorary secretary, respectively, of the IMA, Tarn Taran, urged the Chief Minister and the Health Minister to issue a notification at the earliest on the Kerala pattern. They said Section 304 should not be applicable to hospital deaths and if a case of negligence had to be registered against a doctor, the police should refer the case to a high-level committee of medical experts for examination. If the committee found the doctor guilty, only then a case should be registered.

HOSHIARPUR: Members of the IMA, Hoshiarpur, observed Doctor’s Day as “black day” by wearing black badges in protest against police excesses against doctors in recent months. In a press note issued here, Dr Rajender Sharma, president and Dr B.S. Ahuja, secretary IMA Hoshiarpur, said the high-handedness of the police had created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity among doctors. The police had been acting with a vindictive attitude against the doctors by booking them under Sections 304 and 304 A of the IPC in case of hospital deaths on mere complaints of relatives without proper preliminary inquiry.

PHAGWARA: The Phagwara branch of the IMA also observed “Doctor’s Day” as protest day.


Top Health Dept posts to be filled soon
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 1
All vacate posts including that of Deputy Director and Civil Surgeon in the state Health Department would be filled. This was stated by Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, here last evening. He said that he had asked the Health Secretary to convene a meeting of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) at the earliest to approve names for promotion.

Referring to the news “Top Health Dept posts vacant” he said that due to ineffective functioning of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC), promotions of doctors could not be made as a result senior posts at the directorate and district level could not be filled. To ensure working in the department, temporary charge of some posts had been given to the senior doctors. He said that though three or four meetings of the DPC were held in past but these had not given any results. The last DPC meeting of April 7, 2003, had approved names of eight persons for promotion, but the same were not cleared.

To one more question on giving of charge of one Civil Surgeon of a district to a doctor who had been allegedly charge-sheeted a number of times, Mr Dogra said that inquiry to the allegations against the doctor had been done and the inquiry officer had submitted his report to the bureaucrat concerned. But he had not cleared the same so far.


Cleanliness drive launched
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 1
Residents of Talania, native village of Simranjit Singh Mann, and part of ward No 1 of the Municipal Council, Sirhind, were surprised to see that at about 6 am today, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner accompanied by municipal council staff reached their village with a big caravan of tractor-trailers and a JCB machine. Without wasting any time, the staff started lifting heaps of garbage and residents of the town gathered in large number to cheer the Deputy Commissioner and the staff. The residents told the Deputy Commissioner that it was after 14 years that any one from the council had come to lift the heaps of garbage from the village.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the Deputy Commissioner said after successfully launching an anti-encroachment drive, the district administration has launched cleanliness drive from today in the entire district. He said both campaigns would continue side by side and would be implemented in rural areas too. He said he would personally monitor these campaigns and the respective SDMs would be made in charge in their subdivisions. He said he would himself visit all wards of the town and would listen to the grievances of the public and would recommend to the council about the priority of development works to be initiated at the earliest.

On the occasion the villagers took the Deputy Commissioner to a street, where a house owner had blocked drain water and the residents of that area had been living under knee-deep sullage water since long time. The residents complained to the DC that their repeated requests to the council authorities have fallen on deaf ears. They alleged that the house owner had managed stay orders from the court. The Deputy Commissioner immediately directed the council officials to present the court record of this building.


Hindus threaten to stall “smagam”
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
A controversy has erupted over the alleged derogatory language used by Acharya Swami of Bhagwan Laxmi Narayan Dham, Delhi, for Hindu religious symbols.

The Durgiana Management Committee officiating president, Mr Surinder Arjun, accused the Hindu organisation of making allegations and trying to create hurdles whenever a significant development took place for the betterment of the mandir.

A meeting of Hindu organisations today criticised the language used by the Swami during his two-day “smagam” (religious function) that concluded here a few days ago.

Members held a meeting at the Parsuram mandir at the Durgiana Temple complex and threatened to stall the “smagam” in Ludhiana if an apology was not tendered.


Aulakh flays police action
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 1
Expressing his sympathy with the government employees who sustained burn injuries in the truck set ablaze after the counting of votes at Gehle village Mr Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh, former SAD MLA from Mansa, today condemned the ‘police atrocities’ committed on the residents of the village.

He said the manner in which the residents were taken to the police station and beaten up spoke volumes of the ‘police raj’ in the state. He said he had visited the village with a team of SAD workers.

Mr Aulakh said he tried to contact police officials, but none of them was willing to talk on the issue. He alleged that nobody was allowed to meet the persons beaten up and kept at the police station. The village was in the grip of fear of the police and many persons had left their homes, he said.

The incident was also condemned by the CPI (ML). In a press note, Mr Rajwinder Singh Rana and Mr Bhagwant Singh Samaon, state secretary and district secretary of the party, respectively, demanded punishment for those who were responsible for this incident. They also condemned the police highhandedness.


Vinod Sharma’s arrest stayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Issuing notice of motion, Mr Justice Virender Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the arrest of Punjab’s former Chief Warden of Zoos Vinod Sharma in an alleged corruption case.

Pronouncing the orders in the open court, the Judge also directed the petitioner to join the investigation as and when required. The case will now come up for further hearing on August 4.

Seeking the grant of bail, the petitioner had earlier contended that he was being implicated in the matter. His counsel had added that the allegations against the petitioner were baseless.

The High Court, it may be recalled, had earlier issued notice of motion for August 12 on another petition against the state of Punjab and other respondents filed by Deputy Director of Chhat Bir Zoo Gurpal Singh.

The petition was taken up by Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court just over two months after a first information report was registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau regarding the alleged purchase of meat for the animals at higher rates. According to the prosecution, the meat was purchased at higher rates from Saharanpur.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, the petitioner had contended that he was not a member of the high-level committee on whose recommendations the meat was purchased.

He had submitted that the allegations were vague and devoid of merit. He had asserted that the first information report was registered in the matter after a long delay.

Giving details, he had submitted that the matter pertained to period prior to 2000, while the case was registered on March 4, 2003. Counsel for the petitioner had added that ironically the FIR was based on surmises and conjectures even though it was lodged after such a long time.


High Court
Petitions relegated to poll tribunal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 1
Over 200 petitions mostly alleging wrongful rejection of nomination papers during the recently held Panchayat elections were today relegated to the Election Tribunal by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Pronouncing orders, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta ruled that the poll process was over and the remedy was now with the Tribunal. The text of the judgement was not yet available.

Taking up the petitions, the high court had earlier ruled that the fate of the elections would be subject to the final decision of the writ petitions. Refusing to give ad-interim stay in the matter, the court had also ruled that the same could not be granted in view of the fact that the election process had already 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 mala fide manner.

Go-ahead to courses

Allowing a petition, a Division Bench of the high court today directed Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and other respondents to allow Ludhiana-based Guru Nanak Dev Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital to start postgraduate courses in three subjects.

In their petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi and Mr Justice N.K. Sud, the hospital authorities had earlier contended that the university had granted them affiliation. Moreover, the Central Council of Homeopathic had granted them the permission to run the courses.

The state of Punjab had, however, objected to the start of the courses stating that they would charge Rs 6 lakh for inspection before the issuance of a no-objection certificate. Arguing before the court, counsel for the petitioner had contended that the certificate was not required for colleges already imparting education in degree courses.

OSD’s bail plea

After hearing at length arguments on a bail petition filed by Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s officer on special duty Hardeep Singh, Chief Justice of the high court, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, today fixed July 3 as the next date.

In his petition filed to bring the correct facts to high court’s notice, Hardeep Singh had earlier stated that the investigating agency was proceeding in a mala fide manner. Giving details, he had asserted that the action against the Wimpy officials and Badal’s relative Narottam Singh was a testimony to this effect. The intention, he had asserted, was to force him into making a confession against Badal.

His counsel had added that Hardeep Singh’s custody was not required as he had joined the investigations at least 11 times. Moreover, he had tendered the entire record. Going into the background of the case, counsel had added that the Supreme Court had permitted the petitioner to bring correct and relevant facts to notice of the high court and as such the bail plea was being filed.

Corruption case

Taking up a petition filed by Jalandhar’s suspended District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta seeking the grant of bail in a corruption case, Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the high court today issued notice of motion for July 11.

Gupta, along with an other accused in the case, was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on May 9 under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Gupta had asserted that the allegations were false, fabricated and baseless. The former Judge had added that he had neither demanded, nor accepted illegal gratification.

Refuting the allegations, Gupta had asserted that he had no relation either with accused Judicial Magistrate S.S. Bhardwaj or with the complainant in the case. In fact, he had never met the two. His counsel had contended that the petitioner was taken into custody by the CBI on May 10 at 6 pm, but was shown to have been arrested on May 11 at 5 pm.


Dharnas by power board staff stayed
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 1
The Punjab State Electricity Board Executive Engineer Satish Munjal, SDOs Joginder Singh, Malkiat Singh Sidhu and Jeet Ram Shenmar moved an application in a local court praying that Power Board staff should be restrained from creating nuisance outside their offices and residences. The court stayed holding of dharnas or protest rallies within 50-metre distance from the offices and residences of these officers. But the Power Board staff continued the agitation.

Now the PSEB officials marked some of the technical power board employees absent as they had participated in the dharna and rallies during duty hours. These employees initially refused to accept salary as wages were cut but they reversed their decision yesterday. A protest rally was again held to condemn the action of the authorities.

The PSEB issued a circular stating that the technical employees could not seek any meeting with their officials to discuss transfers and duties.


PSEB decision
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 1
The Punjab State Electricity Board has reviewed the power supply position in the state and has decided to withdraw the compulsory weekly off to industry, including arc and induction furnaces, from July 2.

PSEB withdraws weekly off

Patiala, July 1
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has reviewed the power supply position of the state and has decided to withdraw the compulsory weekly off day on industry, including arc and induction furnaces from July 2.

During June this year the board had met a maximum demand of 5538MW and maximum energy requirement of 1204lu in a day. The board has also provided an average supply of 9 hours and 18 minutes against 8 hours and 56 minutes 3-phase supply given to tubewells last year. OC


Fault in power supply

Bathinda, July 1
A technical fault in the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) has caused power failure in some areas here.

PSEB officials said the situation was likely to improve by Thursday. A section of residents of some colonies complained that they had been without electricity for more than 15 hours. The sources said parts of the 132-KV power lines had developed a fault.


Union to stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 1
The Yuva Shakti Union will hold a dharna on July 7 in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner in protest against the state government not releasing salaries of employees of three spinning mills in the state, including Bacospin Spinning Mill in the district. In a press note issued here today, Mr Ravi Singh, general secretary of the union, said a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting.


Yoga camp organised
Our Correspondent

Malout, July 1
About 40 residents of the city attended a camp organised by the Vyakti Vikas Kendra here today in which they were educated on how to get rid of stress and be healthy, both physically and mentally, through yoga.

Mr Vivek Sharda, instructor of the Art of Living camp, which would continue for six days, said the camp was organised to impart education to people to help them overcome stress and tension of the day-to-day life.

He said these days many people were affected with various diseases relating to stress.

He claimed that a number of persons had benefited from such camps.


Jigar Jalandhari missing
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 1
Noted Urdu poet and Shiromani litterateur D.P. Marvah better known as Jigar Jalandhari has been missing since June 28.

According to information, he had gone to Hardwar by train to perform some rituals in the memory of his wife. When he did not return, his sons Anil, Rakesh and Devash — went to Hardwar to inquire about him.

His sons said when they reached Hardwar they found his luggage lying in a dharmshala.


Two proclaimed offenders arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 1
Darbara Singh and Nirmal Singh, both wrestlers and close associates of Jagdish Singh Bhola, an inspector who is lodged in jail as he is facing trial in a case pertaining to the smuggling of narcotics, have been arrested as they had been declared proclaimed offenders (POs) in a murder case.

Police sources said the accused were arrested about two days ago while they were camping at Rai Ke Kalan village to support a kin of Jagdish Singh Bhola, who was contesting the panchayat elections. As the accused tried to disturb the law and order situation in the village, villagers lodged a complaint against them and the police took them into preventive custody by registering a case against them under Sections 107 and 151, CrPC.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, SHO, Sadar, said when the accused were questioned about their identity, they concealed their real names. When their identity was verified, it was found that both of them had been declared POs in a murder case.

He said that after it was found that the accused had been cheating the police, a case under Sections 468, 420 and 465 of IPC was registered against them.

He said that in three separate cases, four accused had been arrested and poppy husk more than 2 quintals had been recovered from them in the past two days.


Girl, paramour beaten to death
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 1
A girl and her paramour were killed at Palasour village, 5 km from here today, by the girl’s family. The police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC against the accused, who have been arrested.

The girl, Rupi (16), and her paramour, Heera Singh (18), were neighbours. Their affair had been on for the past more than a year. Mr Narinder Bhargav, Senior Superintendent of Police, said Heera and Rupi had been together at the house of another neighbour when someone had bolted the door from outside and brought the matter to the notice of Bara Singh, father of the girl.

Bara Singh, his son, Surjit Singh, and two others, Manga and Dilbag Singh, went there and found them in a compromising position, at which, they attacked the lovers with wooden sticks. While Heera died on the spot, Rupi died on way to hospital.


Eight students’ forms rejected
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 1
Eight students who had appeared in the commerce stream Class XII examination were left in the lurch as their forms for the compartment examination were rejected by the Punjab School Education Board authorities here today.

Mr Mansa Ram, Manager of the board, admitted that some students were having a hard time in the commerce and science streams. He said the last date for submission of forms, which was July 16 without late fee, was advanced to June 17 without late fee and June 27 with late fee.

This information, according to the students, had not been given to them. Mr Mansa Ram said advertisements had been inserted in newspapers in this regard. The students complained that after the declaration of results, they went to submit their forms, but were told to come on July 1.

Mr Pardeep Sareen, Principal of Prem Ashram School, said the board authorities had not provided the changed schedule to the school.

This would affect many students financially as they would have to pay more than Rs 1,500 to submit their forms.

The students said the board had decided to advance the examination dates from September to July 20. This information was allegedly given to some while many others were not intimated.


Students wait for marksheets
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 1
Interview for admission to MA English (regular course) would be held by the Punjabi University, Patiala tomorrow, all students of BA (final) of the university feel upset over the non-receipt of detailed marks cards (DMCs) in their respective colleges.

Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that none of the students of BA (final) of this district, result of which was declared on June 27 by the Punjabi University, Patiala, has received marks card till this evening. Their colleges also expressed helplessness in this matter. The students said that generally 15 days were given between the declaration of results and admissions to the next higher class of the same university.

The students alleged that due to complete lack of coordination between the various departments of the Punjabi University they had been made to suffer. They alleged that their college authorities had given them in writing that they had been declared successful in BA examination with their university registration number and aggregate of marks. They said that at the time of interview the marks of the subject in which admission was being sought were taken into consideration and they had no knowledge about their subject-wise marks.

They said that it was practically not possible for the university to prepare and send the marks cards of all its students within three working days (Friday, Monday and Tuesday). They said that the date of interviews for the MA and some other courses should have been scheduled with sufficient interval to avoid these troubles.

Authorities of a college said that as per the message received from the university officials the marks cards of the students had been despatched by a special messenger today, but confirmed that they had not received these till late evening.

Some students said that arrangements at the university-level should be made so that the marks obtained by them in their qualifying (BA final) examination were made available to the departments where they would be appearing in their interviews of admission to MA and other courses.

No university official could be contacted for comments.


Students decry fee hike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 1
Mr Manpreet Singh, convener of the Students Coordination Committee, said today that the steep hike in fee in colleges and universities by the government was uncalled for. He said a number of students would be deprived of education following this decision.

In a press note issued here today, he said the committee also held a rally at the local Government Rajindra College yesterday in protest against the fee hike. He said it seemed that the government was trying its best to make education accessible to the affluent class only.

Mr Swarn Singh, an activist of the Shaheed Pirthipal Singh Randhawa Manch, who was also present on the occasion, said the bus pass facility being provided by the previous government to students had been withdrawn by the Congress government.

He said girls’ education in the state had also been affected after the state government withdrew the facility of free education to them.

It was also resolved that various organisations, along with the students, would hold an agitation in the city on July 4 against the fee hike. He urged the government to review its decision.


Varsity nod to mass media course
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 1
Guru Nanak Dev University has accorded its nod to Banarsi Dass Arya Girls College here to run a one-year course in mass media (Radio-TV) from the current academic session.

According to Ms Swaraj Mohan, Director of the college, GND University has given its nod to start the course with 30 students. The college recently set up a multipurpose audio-video studio to impart quality training to the students using latest technologies, for which they have received a grant of Rs 7 lakh from the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Besides, the college has started a three-year B.Sc (clinical nutrition and dietetics) course with an intake of 30 students.


Last date extended

Amritsar, July 1
Guru Nanak Dev University has extended the last date for the submission of application forms for admission to MA (I) psychology, philosophy and religious studies classes. The candidates can now submit their forms till July 4 for psychology while the candidates for philosophy and religious studies can submit their forms till July 10.

The entrance test for MA (psychology) will be held on July 7. — OC

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