Saturday, July 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sales tax hike on petrol to be opposed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 18
Petrol station owners in Punjab today decided to launch a formal protest against the decision of the government to increase sales tax on petrol by 5 per cent.

Alleging that this decision of the government will lead to loss of revenue, petrol pump owners said that petrol stations on border belts will suffer the maximum and it is the neighbouring states that stand to gain from this decision.

Quoting figures, Mr G.S. Chawla, who runs two petrol stations in SAS Nagar and Kharar, stated that with the hike in the sales tax, the rates of petrol in SAS Nagar will go up by over Rs 1.30 per litre, which in turn means that the difference of rates with Chandigarh will be as high as Rs 2.65 per litre. ‘‘Who in his right mind will get petrol filled from Kharar or SAS Nagar if the difference is as large as this?’’ he asked. ‘‘And it is not just SAS Nagar and Chandigarh, the complete Punjab border belt stands to lose business and it will not be surprising that many petrol stations close down in these areas.’’

According to figures provided by some petrol station owners, Punjab in the last financial year recorded the lowest growth of revenue from petrol compared to other northern states. ‘‘Uttar Pradesh and Uttranchal recorded a growth rate of 12.5 per cent to 13 per cent while Chandigarh recorded a growth of a whopping 16 per cent. Even New Delhi, where a major shift took place from petrol to CNG managed to record a growth of 7 per cent. Punjab was the lowest with 2.7 per cent. This just means that we are losing out on our markets to our neighbours,’’ said Mr Chawla.

The Punjab government has been since July 9 last year, charging Re 1 infrastructure tax on petrol. ‘‘The tax is not consumer friendly. Immediately after its implementation, we were selling petrol at rates higher than Chandigarh and Haryana. Sales dropped immensely then and now with this hike. We will have no sales left at all,’’said Mr Sohan Singh, owner of a petrol station on the Chandigarh-SAS Nagar border.


Punjab IAS, PCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Punjab Government tonight reshuffled 22 IAS and PCS officers with immediate effect, according to an official press note issued here.

Mr S.S. Puri is now Special Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs and also Special Secretary, Co-ordination. Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, Managing Director, PRTC, Patiala, will be Special Secretary, Public Grievances and Pensions. Mr Rahul Tewari has been posted as SDM, Shahkot, and Ms Alkananda Dayal is now SDM, Faridkot.

Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh is SDM, Batala, and Mr Priyank Bharti is SDM, Jaito. Mr Khushi Ram has been posted as Additional Director, Administration, Industries and Commerce. Mr Amrit Lal Garg is now Additional Secretary, Co-operation.

Mr Praneet is Additional Deputy Commissioner, Moga. Mr Amarjit Singh Dhindsa is Joint Director, Administration, Health and Family Welfare. Mr Prem Chand has been posted as District Transport Officer, Kapurthala, while Mr Deepak Raj Garg goes as Secretary, Subordinate Services Selection Board.

Mr Harcharan Singh Sandhu is SDM, Baghapurana, and also SDM, Nihal Singhwala. Ms Indu Malhotra is SDM, Malerkotla, while Mr Pardeep Kumar is SDM, Amritsar-II. Mr A.P.S. Virk goes as Administrator-cum-Additional Controller, Government Press, Patiala.

Mr Amarpal Singh is now Joint Secretary, Agriculture and Mr Ajmer Singh-II is SDM, Budhlada. Mr Dharminder Pal is Joint Secretary, Personnel. Mr Devinder Singh is SDM, Zira and Mr Sunil Bhatia is Assistant Commissioner, Grievances and General, Nawanshahr.

Mr Bikramjit Singh Bajwa is now Assistant Commissioner, Grievances, Hoshiarpur, Land Acquisition Collector, Dolhana Dam Construction Circle and in addition, Executive Magistrate, Hoshiarpur. Meanwhile, Mr Harjit Singh, Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Jalandhar will also look after the work of post of Land Acquisition Collector, Improvement Trusts, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Hoshiarpur and Batala.

Ms Ranjit Kaur, Executive Magistrate, Jalandhar, will also look after the work of Assistant Commissioner, Municipal Corporation there.


Badungar, Jagir Kaur brief Badal on Tohra’s role
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 18
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra is likely to be elected as the next SGPC chief on July 23. A secret meeting between Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC chief and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar was held for more than an hour in the sub-office of the Shiromani Committee at Chandigarh today raised many eye-brows in Sikh circles.

Earlier, Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Badungar held closed-door meeting with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal separately. Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Badungar had been criticising Mr Tohra and had levelled serious charges against him.

The SGPC circles consider these meetings as a major development. During the stint of Mr Badungar as SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur had made some statements against him too. As far as Sikh principals are concerned, Bibi Jagir Kaur never supported Mr Badungar. However, the closed-door meeting of both senior leaders has indicated that they had come on a common platform against Mr Tohra. It is reliably learnt that 25 SGPC members, close to Mr Badungar and Bibi Jagir Kaur also met Mr Babal. During the tug of war between Mr Tohra and Mr Badal, many SGPC members had taken stand against the former (Mr Tohra).

Sources, close to Mr Badal told this correspondent that Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Badungar told the SAD chief that it was at the behest of Mr Tohra that a number of cases were filed against them in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission in the past. However, Mr Badal assured both leaders that he would get all cases withdrawn.

Some of the cases, pending in the judicial court included seeking the sacking of Bibi Jagir Kaur as SGPC member for purchasing 15 buses for ‘dharm parchar’, drawing of 10 lakh from the account of Darbar Sahib for attending ‘Sarb Dharm Sammelan’ in South Africa along with her daughter and brother-in-law etc. Similarly, a number of cases were filed against Mr Badungar by the Tohra men.

Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Badungar told Mr Badal not to allow Mr Tohra to replace all Executive Committee members in Shiromani Committee otherwise he (Mr Tohra) could reinstall Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht without any problem.


Call SGPC House to elect Tohra: Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 18
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today demanded conveneing of a meeting of the general House of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) for the election of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra as the SGPC President instead of his election at a meeting of the executive committee of the SGPC.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (A), said in case Mr Tohra was elected as the SGPC President at a meeting of the SGPC executive committee then the SAD (A) would approach the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission. He asked Mr Tohra why he was shying from facing the SGPC general House to become the SGPC chief ? He also asked Mr Tohra to explain why he wanted to become the SGPC chief, for which earlier he had taken support of Capt Amarinder Singh and now Mr Parkash Singh Badal under the garb of unity.

Mr Mann also criticised the SGPC for allotting residential plots, belonging to the Golden Temple, to the SGPC employees. He said the SAD (A) would appeal to the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission against the allotment of Golden Temple’s land to the SGPC staff .

Mr Mann said Mr Badal was now presenting the corruption cases against him as an issue before the Sikh Panth.


SGPC puts off decision to allot Golden Temple land
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 18
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today puts off decision to allot prime land, belonging to Darbar Sahib in the Golden Avenue worth crores to its employees.

A press note, issued by the SGPC states that the decision had been taken following a news item published in these columns. The official spokesman said the outgoing president of the SGPC had directed the SGPC secretary to stall the process of allotment immediately. Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar said that the case would be put up before the new president of the SGPC.

After the news about the allotment of residential plots to 100 employees by The Tribune, was broken, Mr Badungar had described it as ‘baseless’. Mr Harbeant Singh, Secretary, SGPC had termed the news as part of a ‘conspiracy’.

Sikh leaders had threatened to take up the case to the general house of the Shiromani Committee. Though the press note claimed that the proper procedure was followed, yet Bibi Jagir Kaur said that nobody had the right to allot the land.


Govt to exempt SGPC vehicles from toll tax
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 18
The Union Government has decided, in principle to exempt SGPC vehicles from toll tax.

This was informed by the SGPC chief Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, after meeting the Union Minister for Surface Transport Major-Gen B.C. Khanduri in Delhi yesterday.

Talking to this correspondent over phone, Mr Badungar, who was accompanied by the Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, said the Union Government had decided in principle to exempt the SGPC vehicles, engaged in charitable work throughout the country, from the purview of toll tax, which amounted to Rs one crore per annum.

Mr Badungar had earlier written a letter to the Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in this regard. “General Khanduri assured us that a formal notification will be issued after receiving a report from the legal cell of the ministry, which has been told to work out the modalities in this regard,” said Mr Badungar and added that the case would be finalised during the next meeting with the union minister scheduled to be held next month.

He said the SGPC had taken the plea that since it was a charitable organisation and its vehicles were mainly engaged in works like education, religious activities and health services, these should be exempted from toll tax.


NDA govt spineless, says Hanspal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 18
PPCC President H.S. Hanspal today dubbed the BJP- led NDA government spineless and expressed apprehension that under it the country might disintegrate like the Soviet Union.

Talking to mediapersons before addressing a block-level party meeting here, Mr Hanspal alleged that there were other forces working for the Central Government.

The Centre had no policy on terrorism, he said. It had earlier repeatedly said that no dialogue would be held with Pakistan unless the latter stopped cross-border terrorism, but the government had succumbed to pressure from the forces “operating it” and the bus service had resumed, and the dialogue was also going to be started, he added.

“I am not against the Indo-Pak bus service or trade and dialogue, but I am just pointing out how this spineless government said one thing and did exactly the opposite,” he asserted.

Mr Hanspal directed Congress MPs and MLAs to regularly attend party offices at the block and district levels and redress grievances.

Addressing a block-level meeting, he said the programme of the visit should be displayed on the board outside party offices. Referring to the issue of voting rights to “Sehajdharis” in the SGPC poll, Mr Hanspal said: “I am against any discrimination but the term should be defined in the right perspective”.


Gobind Sagar yet to attain optimum water level
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A vigorous start to the south-west monsoon notwithstanding, major reservoirs, including Gobind Sagar (Bhakra) and Pong dam are still far below their optimum levels.

The water level in Bhakra stood at 1610.28 ft yesterday, 20.35 ft higher than what it was on this day last year. Still it is almost 40 ft short of its optimum level expected at the end of July.

In the case of the Pong Dam, the inflow is almost double than what it was at this time last year — 17,625 cusecs against 8,619 cusecs. The water level in the Pong dam yesterday was 1299.44 ft, 14.40 ft more than last year but it again was far below the optimum level expected.

“Since last year was virtually a dry year, things look better this time. We also had a very good summer because of the melting of snow and as such the water level in all reservoirs is comfortable,” says Mr RPS Yadhuwanshi, Chief Engineer (Canals), Punjab, claiming that all irrigation requirements of the state are being met.

“As of now, we do not foresee any threat of floods in the state,” he adds.

His observations are corroborated by the Chairman of the Bhakra Beas Management Board, Mr Rakesh Nath. Says Mr Nath :”Because of a cloudburst in Kulu and torrential rain in Himachal and some catchment areas, the inflow into major reservoirs had temporarily gone up on Wednesday. But it also brought in a lot of trash, including trees and rocks.

“The south-west monsoon has not been very active in the catchment areas so far. But since the meteorologists have predicted that the northern region will have a normal monsoon, and the start of the season has been good, the situation looks comfortable and under control. Last year , we had only 82 per cent of the average monsoon in the catchment area of Bhakra and only 67 per cent of average rainfall in the Pong dam catchment area. Fortunately, we had good inflow throughout the last summer because of the melting of snow.”

“As of now, we are meeting all irrigational requirements of the partner states. In case, the monsoon turns vigorous, we can call a meeting of the technical committee to review discharges into the canal network. At present, the canals are flowing at their capacities,” adds Mr Nath, holding that Bhakra still needs more water to reach its optimum level.

In spite of a moderate-to-heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh in general and the catchment area in particular, the inflow into the Bhakra dam has been 47,208 cusecs, compared to 39,527 cusecs at the same time last year. At this rate, the level of the reservoir is going up by a foot a day meaning thereby that at best by end of July, it would touch 1630 ft, which will be 20 ft short of the optimum level.

The water level in the Ranjit Sagar dam yesterday was 800.82 metres, 10.83 metres more than that at the same time last year. The inflow in the Ranjit Sagar dam was 11,375 cusecs against 6,105 cusecs at the same time last year.


Executive Engineer held for graft
Tribune Reporters

Nangal, July 18
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today raided the Nangal Municipal Council office and arrested the executive engineer Sukhdev Singh while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000. The Vigilance Bureau laid a trap on the complaint of contractor Jagjit Singh Jaggi.

Mr Jaggi in his complaint to the Vigilance Bureau had alleged that he had constructed cycle stand of the Mojowal Shivalik School against the contract of Rs 98,732. Though the clerks cleared his bills on June 3 the accused officer raised an objection on the bill. He later allegedly demanded Rs 5,000 for clearing the bills.

Today the contractor handed over Rs 4,000 to the accused officer according to a trap laid by the Vigilance team led by DSP Jora Singh Brar. Soon he was arrested by the Vigilance team. The Vigilance team later searched the office and residential premises of the arrested executive engineer.

Mr Jora Singh Brar said that four insurance policies each Rs 1 lakh and a bank passbook having Rs 13,000 balance were recovered from the residence of the accused officer. A case under Section 7, 13, 2 and 188 of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the engineer.

The sources said that certain Municipal Councillors which included office-bearers of the council fled the office while the Vigilance was busy arresting the executive engineer of the Council. The sources also said that Vigilance officials also raided the Patiala residence of the arrested officer.

A case of corruption in which the work worth Rs 5 lakh had already being executed by a certain contractor while the tender for the same has yet to be issued came to the fore today due to infighting of contractors.

PATIALA: The local Vigilance Bureau on Friday raided the Ranbir Nagar house of Nangal Municipal Engineer Sukhdev Singh in the city who was caught taking a bribe at Nangal today and seized a large number of fixed deposit receipts and other documents from his possession.

The team, which was led by Superintendent of Police Balkar Singh Sidhu, raided the residence of Mr Sukhdev Singh who is an Executive Engineer in rank, in the Model Town area of the city. Team officials said that there were 45 buffaloes at the residence of the Municipal Engineer which was spread over an area of 600 sq yard.

They said besides this the team found one tractor, one car and a new motor cycle at the residence. Besides this some fixed deposit receipts and property-related documents were also found from the residence of the officer.


Ammunition found dumped in sewer
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 18
A huge quantity of ammunition was today found dumped in a sewer near the Church Road area in Ferozepore Cantonment. Ammunition experts who inspected the cache said it could be either some kind of mortar shells or cartridges of some gun without the attachment required for propulsion. More than 28 live shells and 6 used ones have been found from the sewer.

Jaipal and Shivram, workers of the Cantonment Board, found the bag containing the ammunition while cleaning the sewer. They then informed the Cantonment Board, who further sounded the security agencies.

Mr Praveen Sinha, Senior Superintendent of Police, also reached the spot. Some of the Armymen sent here said on the condition of anonymity that the ammunition found did not belong to the Army, as the guns in which it was used had been phased out long ago.

Earlier also, ammunition has been found dumped at various places in this border zone, but this time it has happened in the heart of the cantonment area.

When contacted, Mr Parshottam Lal, CEO, Cantonment Board, said the sweepers had informed the office immediately after the discovery.

Security officials said the ammunition found today might have been dumped there by militants during militancy in Punjab when the area was a hotbed of their activities. The condition of the ammunition also indicates that it must have been dumped here long ago. While the Indian Army has phased out the guns using this sort of ammunition, the Pakistani Rangers are still using these.

Another theory is that some junk dealers situated near the area might have purchased it long time ago and finding it of no use might have dumped it in the sewer. Meanwhile, in Moga the police seized huge quantity of ammunition from a deserted plot belonging to Karnail Singh following a tip-off by a local resident yesterday.

SP (Detective) Harjit Singh said 70 live and refilled .12 bore cartridges, 14 live cartridges of .455 bore revolver, 9 mm pistol barrels, two .12 bore out-barrels and three magazines were seized.


Akali, BJP councillors boycott meeting
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 18
Five Opposition members in the local municipal council belonging to the SAD and the BJP today boycotted the meeting of the council held today in protest against the way the president of the council, was handling matters. They said no probe had been ordered into various scandals that had been brought to the notice of the House at a meeting held on June 27.

Those who boycotted the meeting are Mr Sham Sunder Aggarwal (BJP), Mrs Bhupinderjit Kaur Walia, Mr Sukhjit Singh Walia, Mr Chajja Singh and Mrs Shaminder Kaur, all Akali Councillors.

They alleged that since the installation Mr Sudesh Kumar Aggarwal as president of the council, the loan on the council had increased to Rs 1 crore because of a mismanagement.

In a joint Press conference, they claimed that they had the support of three more members but they were out of station.


Amarinder hails Centre’s decision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today welcomed the decision of the Centre to pay the difference between the state advised price (SAP) and the statutory minimum price (SMP) to the cane growers of Haryana, Uttaranchal and UP.

He also urged the Government of India to immediately release Rs 125 crore to Punjab as well for clearing the cane price arrears, including Rs 73 crore for cooperative sugar mills.

The Chief Minister impressed upon the Centre to give Punjab its share in Rs 600 crore provided as a financial package to the states to pay the difference between the SAP and the SMP.


PCS officer’s reversion set aside

Chandigarh,  July 18
A Division Bench of the high court on Friday directed the setting aside of an order reverting PCS officer B.S. Jatana from the post of additional registrar to joint registrar in the Department of Co-operation.

Claiming to have been reverted because of mala fide reasons, Mr Jatana had earlier submitted that the order was unsustainable as it was passed by an incompetent authority. Arguing before the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, counsel for the petitioner had added that the order was patently illegal.

Patiala SSP summoned

Taking a serious view of the fact that low rank officials were providing assistance to the state counsels, a Division Bench directed Patiala’s senior superintendent of police (SSP) to be present in the court on August 25.

The Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, also asked Patiala’s former SSP to be present in the court. He was also asked to explain why the state counsel was not briefed.

PCS (Executive) results challenged

In less than three months after examinations to PCS (Executive) were re-conducted by the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), Mr Gurbax Singh and several other candidates today filed a petition seeking directions for re-evaluating or re-conducting the tests.

In their petition against the state of Punjab and other respondents, they asserted that the written test were not conducted as per the rules in the brochure. Giving details, the petitioners added that contrary to the rules there was no negative marking.

The exams, initially held in 1998, were cancelled following the unearthing of the PPSC recruitment scam. They were again conducted on April 27. Taking up the petition, the high court issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab and the PPSC for August 5.

Notice on petition against ex-minister

Acting on a petition filed by a city resident seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents for taking action against former minister Sucha Singh Langah and other accused in accordance with a vigilance inquiry report, Mr Justice Nirmal Singh of the high court today issued notice of motion for September 12.

In his petition, Gurmukh Singh had earlier stated that the respondents were not taking action against the accused even though the allegations were found to be true. On the other hand, he was being threatened to withdraw his complaint, his counsel concluded.


Lawyers seek dist HQ status
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 18
An indefinite relay dharna by members of the Bar Association, Fazilka, entered its 11th day today. A batch of five lawyers and representatives of traders, political and social organisations of the town had been joining the dharna daily in the court complex. They had been demanding a district headquarters status for Fazilka and for creating post of the Additional District and Session Judge here. Today a batch including the former president of the Bar Association, Mr Anil Kumar Jain, Mr Sukhdev Singh Warwal, Mr Hardeep Sarwana, Mr Rohit Watts and Mr Vijay Wadhwa sat on dharna.

The leading organisations of the town, including the Punjab Beopar Mandal, Bharti Kisan Union, Milk Dairy Union, Advocates Clerks Union, some women organisations, SAD, BJP, Congress, Senior Citizen council and the Arya Samaj were also supporting this demand.

The Bar Association, Fazilka, in its meeting today constituted a five-member action committee to intensify its agitation. This committee would maintain liaison with the social, political and traders organisations of the town for getting their support in favour of its demands.

Mr Angi, while justifying the demand to set up the court of Additional District and Session Judge said in 1986 a subdivision of Abohar was carved out from parts of Fazilka subdivision and the judicial courts started functioning there from 1992. He said that at present there were two judicial courts and about 5,600 cases were lying pending there. The judicial courts had started functioning at Jalalabad also which was earlier a part of Fazilka subdivision. Both the towns of Abohar and Jalalabad were at a distance of 30 km from Fazilka.

At present the litigants of all these areas had to travel to Ferozepore to appeal cases in court of the District and Session Judge there. The litigants of Abohar subdivision areas adjoining Sriganganagar (Rajasthan) border had to travel about 300 km daily to attend the courts at Ferozepore.


Govt betrayed us, say Dalits
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 18
Failure of the district administration to implement Talhan peace formula arrived between Jats and Dalits with the help of civil and police officials, on June 14 and delay in the completion of magisterial inquiry into the killing of a Dalit youth in police firing at Buta Mandi on June 5 has disenchanted the Dalit community, which felt betrayed by the Congress government.

President of the Dalit Action Committee Chanan Ram Pal and state Vice-President of the BJP, Mr Vijay Sampla, alleged today that most of the terms of the “Talhan” peace formula were still to be implemented by the district administration.

They alleged that indifferent attitude of the state government towards this sensitive issue could be ganged from the fact that the magisterial inquiry ordered by the state government into the incident of killing of Vijay Kumar in police firing at Buta Mandi on June 5 could not be completed as senior police officials concerned fail to get their statements recorded with the inquiry officer even after a one and a half months.

Resentment was brewing among Dalits, who felt betrayed by the state government as district administration had failed to disburse compensation to the Dalits, whose houses were damaged in clashes in Talhan village on June 5. Those injured in police firing were also yet to be compensated according to the terms of the agreement, they said.


Rs 1 lakh for man hurt in Talhan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 18
General secretaries of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Mr R.C. Tyagi and Mr Bhagwan Singh Chouhan, today handed over a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to Mr Des Raj, who had been injured in the Talhan caste violence of June 5. Mr Des Raj is presently in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital here. The cheque was given on the direction of Ms Mayawati, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.


Nanded to have Banda Bahadur memorial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A meeting of the management committee of Gurdwara Hazur Sahib at Nanded will be convened soon to elect its Chairman, Maharashtra Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde assured Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, in Mumbai today.

Accompanied by the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Tarlochan Singh called on Mr Shinde in his office this afternoon to discuss various demands of the minorities in general and Sikhs in particular, pending with the Maharashtra Government.

Talking to The Tribune over the telephone from Mumbai, Mr Tarlochan Singh said members of the managing committee of the historic shrine had been elected some years ago, no meeting was called to elect the Chairman. As such, the administrative control of the shrine was still with the Collector of Nanded. It was at Nanded that Guru Gobind Singh spent the last days of his life.

Mr Tarlochan Singh said the Maharashtra Chief Minister agreed to the suggestion for setting up a Baba Banda Singh national memorial at Nanded. Mr Shinde also agreed to set up Hazur Sahib Development Board committee to ensure overall development of the town on the lines of the Kurukshetra Development Board.


Ravi Inder asks Badal to quit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, today demanded the resignation of Mr Parkash Singh Badal from the presidentship of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for allegedly accepting money from and providing patronage to Dr P.K. Sareen, the prime accused in the infamous kidney scam.

In a signed statement accompanied by a photograph showing Mr Badal in the company of Dr Sareen and currency notes sticking out of his pocket, Mr Ravi Inder Singh asserted that this "gave credence to the Punjab police's claim that Dr Sareen had paid money to the former Chief Minister for getting an FIR registered against him by the Tarn Taran police cancelled.

The photograph and the accompanying statement of Mr Ravi Inder Singh were circulated among mediapersons by officials of the Punjab Public Relations Department. However, the photograph raises certain questions. When was it taken? And how does it prove that what is seen protruding out of the pocket of Mr Badal does not belong to him?

When contacted, Mr Badal dismissed the picture as a "computer-generated doctored" photograph. He said Capt Amarinder Singh's followers were known to be "masters in doctoring photographs and creating false evidence". The former Chief Minister alleged that Mr Ravi Inder Singh had entered into a conspiracy with the Congress government to implicate him in some case or the other.


Badal case: order on Vigilance plea reserved

Kharar, July 18
A local court today reserved orders for tomorrow on an application moved by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, seeking a 15-day extension in the warrants returnable till July 20 already issued by a court here to search 14 properties owned by the family of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

In an application moved before the court, the Vigilance SP submitted that on June 27 and July 4, 14 search warrants had been issued by a court in connection with a corruption, disproportionate assets, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy case registered against Mr Badal and others on June 24.

It was submitted that of the total 14 properties, seven had been searched and search on the remaining properties was in progress and was expected to take some more time.

Expressing inability to complete the search operations till July 20, the SP sought a 15-day term extension. However, after going through the application, the court reserved its orders for tomorrow.

If the search of the listed properties was delayed, the purpose for the same could be defeated, the Vigilance had submitted in the application. — PTI


Heaviest rain in 15 yrs, says DC
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 18
A heavy rain lashed the city this morning, causing a flood-like situation as a number of areas were cut from the remaining parts after these came under waist-deep water.

The movement of vehicles and human beings has come to a complete halt in these areas, which have converted into big water pools. People in the flooded areas have shifted to the rooftops of their dwellings along with their belongings.

Goods worth lakhs lying in commercial establishments and residential dwellings situated in the flooded areas have been damaged. Residents in the flooded areas could not move out of their dwellings to procure food items.

The flooding of various areas in the city has triggered off a protest by residents. They raised slogans against the municipal corporation authorities, the district administration and a close associate of the local MLA, Mr Surinder Singla, while holding a demonstration in front of the MC office.

The situation in the main commercial centres in the city, which were under 4 to 5 ft of water yesterday evening, turned from bad to worse today as almost all shops remained closed due to the heavy rain coupled with a defective drainage system.

The affected areas include almost all trans-railway colonies, Nai Basti, which is thickly populated, Power House Road, Ganesha Basti, Cloth Market, Mall Road, Power House Road, a part of the Civil Lines area, Aggarwal Colony, Birla Mill Colony, Ajit Road, Veer Colony, the Purana Thana area and Sirki Bazar.

Besides, a number of government offices, schools and the District Courts complex also came under waist-deep water. Water also entered the courtroom, bringing its functioning to a complete halt. A number of students and teachers could not make it to their respective schools as a large number of main roads and streets were converted into streams.

Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, who are supposed to help residents of flooded areas, found it difficult to move out of their residences, which also came under 4 to 5 ft of water.

“I am finding it difficult to move out as my residence has come under 4 to 5 ft of water. I have sent my officers to look after the residents of the city, who have been suffering due to the flooding. It is after 15 years that the city has received such a heavy rain”, Mr Aggarwal said while talking to TNS over the phone. He said the SSP, whose residence had also been inundated, had started shifting his belongings to a safer place.

A section of residents to whom TNS spoke during a tour of the affected areas, claimed that they felt “orphaned” as their elected representative remained unavailable to them despite the fact that they made a number of telephone calls at his residence last night and this morning.

Mr Chander Mohan Ruby, a resident of Sirki Bazar, the worst-affected area in the city, alleged that every time shopkeepers in the area made a call at the residence of Mr Singla, Mr Anil Kumar Bhola, a close associate of Mr Singla, who attended the calls, repeatedly said that Mr Singla was not present there.

Mr Bhola said he, along with Mr Singla, had left for Chandigarh for some urgent work and added that Mr Singla had given instructions to the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner, Mr D.K. Tiwari, for making arrangements for draining out rainwater. He added that two new motor pumps would be installed in the city for the speedy drainage of rainwater.

Meanwhile, to avoid the wrath of agitated residents, some Congressmen in the city are not making themselves available to the former.

Former minister, Chiranji Lal Garg today alleged that the district administration had failed to make proper arrangements for draining out rainwater that had flooded a major part of the town.

It is learnt that some official records of the District Treasury Office were also damaged when rainwater entered the office premises.


Rain washes away MC’s claims
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 18
The first rain has exposed the tall claims of the Municipal Council of Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib. The town has been converted into a lake and most of the localities are submerged under knee-deep water. Adding to the chaos are over flooded sewer pipes.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, who visited different localities of the town, told The Tribune that he had been getting several complaints from the people, but what he himself had witnessed was beyond imagination as he had not seen such a bad situation in any town.

He said even the office of the municipal council was flooded with water. He said his top priority was to solve the problem of disposal of sullage within the next two months, even if he had to postpone other development works to arrange funds for the project.

The early morning rain played havoc with not only school children and employees, but also shopkeepers. The water entered shops in the main bazaar, causing losses to some shopkeepers.

The shopkeepers lamented that the council had failed miserably to make adequate arrangements for the disposal of sullage. Due to lack of planning, the sewer pipes had become choked. They said some people had constructed platforms before their residences, resulting in accumulation of rain water.

They urged the Deputy Commissioner to direct the council to make necessary arrangements for the disposal of water.

Mr R.N. Sharma, president, Citizen’s Welfare Council, Sirhind has also criticised the working of the council and said it had failed to provide basic amenities to residents. He said the first rain had exposed the working of the council and caused loss to the property.

He said development works had been carried out in unplanned manner in the town. Heights of roads was being raised without any reason and no arrangement had been made for the disposal of water.

He said the sewer pipes were not of adequate size and diameter and a motor with a generator set should be installed to flush out the sewer water.

After taking a round of the town, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said the town required a proper master plan and the disposal of rain water and sullage should be initiated on priority. He said after the successful completion of anti-encroachment and cleanliness drive, he would monitor development works being initiated in the town.

He said hence forth all development works would be initiated according to plans.

He said he had started visiting wards in the town so that grievances of the people could be sorted out at the earliest. He also urged the people to cooperate with the administration.


CBI begins probe into assault on ex-MC chief
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 18
The CBI today started investigations into the case regarding the beating up of Mr Kewal Jindal, the then acting president of the Municipal Council, during elections of the council chief. Mr Jindal had been assaulted while coming out of the MC office last year.

The investigations have begun on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Mr Sat Narayan, Inspector of the CBI, Chandigarh branch, who came here for the investigations, told this correspondent that he had not recorded any statement, but collected some relevant records from the local police and the council.

He said a case under Sections 343, 344, 379, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC had been registered against six persons who had prominent persons of Malerkotla and some high ranking police officials among them. He declined to disclose their names but said the investigations would be completed in three months.


Protest rally by PWD staff
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 18
Employees of the Punjab PWD and the B&R Department today organised a rally in front of their office in protest against the decision of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to shift the office of the Chief Engineer to the newly constructed Mini Secretariat building.

Employees said the administration was forcibly trying to shift the ‘A’ class office with an intention to use the building for commercial or heritage related projects. They claimed this was being done despite the fact that the administration was allowing some ‘B’ and even ‘C’ class government offices to retain their rented buildings.

The general secretary of the Employees Action Committee, Mr Gurcharan Singh Pardesi, said there were several offices that should be shifted to the Mini Secretariat.

Mr Darshan Singh, convener of the committee, said a memorandum would also be sent to the rural and urban District Congress presidents and the chairman's of all Nagar councils, boards and corporations in this regard.

A senior Congress leader, Mr Rawel Singh, also announced to participate in the state-level rally being organised by the Joint Action Committee, Punjab, in collaboration with the UT employees on July 23. Mr Inderpal Singh, Mr Gagandeep Singh and Mr Balveer Singh also spoke on the occasion.


DGP gives clean chit to IG
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Punjab Police chief M.S. Bhullar today gave a clean chit to Mr Mohd Mustafa, IG, who faced several charges from the BJP that he had got about 10,000 Muslims from Bihar, UP, besides Bangladesh and Pakistan, settled in the border district of Ferozepore during his tenures there.

Meticulous inquiries conducted into those allegations had made it clear that the allegations were absolutely baseless and appeared to be politically motivated, a press note issued by the DGP said.

The inquiries revealed that there was no role of Mr Mustafa in the election of his brother as Vice-President of the Ferozepore Municipality.

Of the 3400 votes in the ward of Mr Mustafa’s brother, only 77 were Muslims, and that he had been elected in a purely democratic fashion, the DGP said.

Mr Sukhpal Singh, MLA from Ferozepore, on being requested to furnish any evidence to substantiate his allegations, backtracked and confessed that the complaint had been made for political reasons and failed to stand up to his allegations.


Suspend executive officers, says poll commissioner
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 18
The state Election Commissioner has recommended the suspension of the executive officer of the Nangal Municipal Council, Mr A.L. Bansal, for dereliction in duty during the recently concluded panchayat elections.

Highly-placed sources said the Election Commission had recommended action against the officer on the report of the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, Mr Bhupinder Singh.

The SDM in his report to the Deputy Commissioner and the Election Commission had alleged that the executive officer left his place of duty without handing over the documents properly, resulting in mismanagement and chaos. Though the Deputy Commissioner has asked the executive officer to explain his position, the Election Commission has recommended his suspension.

The executive officer was not available for comments.


NRIs’ stir against Punjab Govt today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Prominent businessmen, councillors, community leaders, representatives of overseas cells of both the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP and others will assemble at Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Southall in England tomorrow to protest against the “illegal and unjust actions of the Punjab Government under the garb of its fight against corruption”, says Mr Kanwal Sidhu, Chairman of Wimpy International.

Talking to The Tribune over telephone from his London office, Mr Sidhu said Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, General Secretary of the Punjab unit of the BJP, has specially come to London to attend a press conference held today. It was also addressed by Mr Dalbir Singh Sandhu, former President of the Chamber of Commerce of London.

“The NRIs are worried that the existing stable and good relationship between different communities is being threatened by the illegal and unjust actions of the Congress government. This will seriously affect investments by NRIs in India,” Mr Sandhu told newspersons there. Besides members of the Chamber of Commerce of London, the Friends of Overseas BJP is mobilising support for protests that will be organised at different venues, including gurdwaras and temples, throughout the UK from tomorrow, he added.


Probe into Dalit woman’s claims
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 18
Mr Raj Kamal Chowdhary, Deputy Commissioner, has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the allegations of a Dalit woman, Manjit Kaur, of Dalel Singhwala village. She had accused three Jat farmers of outraging her modesty.

Mr G.P.S. Sahota, SDM, has been asked to conduct an inquiry and submit the report within four days to the Deputy Commissioner.

The Deputy Commissioner passed the order after hearing representatives of Dalits of the village. Stating this yesterday, Mr Chowdhary warned the villagers to be wary of anti-social elements. He said if such persons tried to disrupt law and order by making provocative speeches, the district administration should be informed immediately.


Doctors resent allowance withdrawal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 18
The local unit of the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association at its meeting held here today under the presidentship of Dr P.S. Sibia, president of the unit, while condemning the abolition of non-practising allowance (NPA) for doctors by the Punjab Government, urged the Chief Minister to withdraw the decision immediately as NPA had been part of the basic pay of the doctors for the past 20 years.

Dr Sibia said abolishing the NPA was totally “unjustified” and “unfortunate”.

The meeting also clarified that the NPA was treated as part of the pay of the doctors for a long time.


Call for consumer rights awareness
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 18
Out of 12,582 complaints filed in the State Consumer Commission, Punjab, 9,548 have been disposed of. In the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums of the state, 69,437 complaints were filed, out of which, 63,581 have been disposed of, Mr Justice H.S. Brar, president of the State Consumer Commission, said this during his first visit to the district in his address to district officials and members of the Bar Association here today.

He said the district forums could give claims upto Rs 20 lakh and for claims from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore, consumers could approach the State Consumer Commission. Claims for amounts over Rs 1 crore were decided by the National Commission in New Delhi.

Mr Justice Brar said the consumers should be aware of their rights. 


Chandumajra’s plea to Haryana on Ghaggar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A senior leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, said today it was unfortunate that the Haryana Government had linked the channelising of Ghaggar river with the SYL canal issue. He said the Ghaggar had become a big problem not only for certain parts of Punjab but also of Haryana.

During monsoon, Ghaggar overflows almost every year, leading to devastation of paddy crops in areas of both states. However, the proposal of taming the Ghaggar had been rejected by Haryana Government, Mr Chandumajra said.


Cassette on Bhai Kahn Singh’s poems released

Patiala, July 18
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai yesterday released a cassette, “Nirmal Panth”, comprising Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha’s compositions, poetry and songs. The cassette has been compiled by Dr Jagmail Singh. Speaking on the occasion Mr Boparai said there was a need to make the world community aware of the importance of the pioneer work done by Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha.

The Vice-Chancellor further said Punjabi University was planning to publish his work in English. OC


Bombs defused

Phagwara, July 18
The anti-bomb squad of the Army today defused three bombs near Mauli village. These bombs had been seized by the police from a gang last year. The police had also seized two pistols and five cartridges. After getting permission from the court, the police sought help from military ballistic experts who defused the bombs. — OC


Admn gears up to tackle floods
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 18
The local administration claims to have made elaborate arrangements to tackle floods that wreak havoc in some villages of this subdivision every year.

The administration has declared four villages — Khelan, Malan, Bhankharpur and Chhat — sensitive and deployed flood guards for round-the-clock surveillance. Apart from educating the residents of these villages about floods, they have also been warned not to wade through or cross rivulets and the Ghaggar while they rise.

While talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mr M.S. Sidhu, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, said a flood control room has been set up in the office of the Tehsildar at Dera Bassi. The administration currently has two boatmen and has asked for two more from the Deputy Commissioner.

The administration has also deployed police personnel at various observation posts set up by the Drainage Department.

Mr Amarjit Dullet, Executive Engineer of the Drainage Department, claimed that the breaches that had appeared on the embankments of the Ghaggar and its tributaries on July 14 night had been plugged.

Work on protecting vulnerable areas has been taken up on the Ghaggar river at Bohra, Bohri, Bhankharpur, Maru, Shankargiri Colony, Chhat Bir Zoo and some other places.

Mr Dullet claimed that desilting of Kalwa Sunarheri drain and Sarai Patti drain had already been completed. Digging of Miranpur choe that started in May this year had been completed.

Moreover, a control room had been set up at Patiala Nadi for round-the-clock surveillance on the flood situation and empty EC bags had been placed at all vulnerable sites, he added.


ETO shifted over trader’s  complaint
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 18
The campaign against corruption launched by the Chief Minister got a boost in the district when on the complaint of a trader alleging corruption charges against the Excise and Taxation Officer, Fatehgarh Sahib the Punjab Government ordered his immediate transfer to Excise and Taxation Commissioner’s office at Patiala.

According to information, the Punjab Government has ordered that Mr S.P.Sharma, ETO, Fatehgarh Sahib, is immediately transferred on administrative grounds from Fatehgarh Sahib to ETC office, Patiala.


One kg of smack seized, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 18
The district police has arrested one person and seized 1 kg of smack from him.

According to the police, following a tip-off, they set up a naka near Sudama Vihar colony and intercepted a person coming on his scooter.

A search led to the seizure of 1.1 kg of smack. He was arrested and was identified as Dalbir Mohammad of Muthadan Kalan village in Phillaur. A case under various Sections of the NDPS Act has been registered. The arrested person would be produced in a court.


Five held on charge of peddling drugs

Amritsar, July 18
Five persons were arrested today on the charges of peddling drugs and snatching chains.

The district police chief, Mr Kultar Singh, told newsmen here that there had been a major crackdown on drug addicts and chain-snatchers. The SSP said drug addiction was forcing the youth to indulge in petty crimes. During the last few months, 21 such cases had been reported here, while many had gone unreported.

From Rashpal Singh, Sukhdeep Singh, Onkar Singh, Jaspal Singh and Jaipreet Singh — who were arrested today Rs 8,000 in cash and a Hero Honda motor-cycle were recovered. The SSP said the kingpins in the drug racket had been identified and would soon be caught.


One attacked for ‘complaining’ against cop
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 18
A complainant Ashu Sharma, who got the Cantonment SHO trapped in the Vigilance net, was attacked and severely thrashed by some persons who had earlier lodged a criminal complaint against him.

On Tuesday, Vigilance sleuths had arrested the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Cantonment Police Station, Inspector Amarjit Singh, while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 from Ashu so as to absolve him of the charges in case filed against him.

Police sources claimed that the assault on Ashu was an outcome of the professional enmity between two groups of the area engaged in the lottery trade. Earlier on May 11, 2003, an FIR was registered under Sections 452, 427, 386 and 506 against Ramesh Kumar (Mecha) on the basis of a complaint filed by Ashu in the Cantonment Police Station. Thereafter, the other party filed a counter case on the basis of a medical report of Mission Hospital, Ferozepore, against Ashu on charges of severely thrashing Ramesh. Inspector Amarjit Singh, SHO, allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 10,000 from Ashu to clear the charges against him and cancel the case after inquiry.


Two Inspectors arrested
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 18
The Budhlada police has arrested Jangir Singh and Mukhtiar Singh, Food and Supplies Inspectors, in a case registered under Sections 406, 467, 468 and 471, IPC, against partners of a rice mill.

The accused were produced in the court of Mr Harsh Mehta, Chief Judicial Magistrate, on Thursday and were remanded in police custody for a day. The police yesterday also arrested Sri Niwas Sharma, a retired Assistant Food and Supplies Officer, Budhlada, in the same case.

According to the FIR, the rice mill was entrusted with 52826.10 quintals of paddy out of which the mill delivered only 25900.78 quintals of rice to the Food Corporation of India.


Gang busted, 4 arrested
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, July 18
The district police has busted a gang of dacoits and seized pistols and guns from them. Four of the gang members have been arrested.

The district police chief, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, said today that the gang was planning to loot a bank at Rajpura. He said they were arrested from a place near Rajpur village.

Those arrested have been identified as Jaswant Singh, a resident of Shankarpur, Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Sanour, Gurmeet Singh and Gurjit Singh, a resident of Mohabbatpur. However, one member of the gang, Malkit Singh, has managed to abscond.

Mr Umranangal said two country-made pistols, one .315 bore rifle, two .12 bore short barrel guns and some ammunition had been seized. A case has been registered under Sections 399, 402, IPC.


Teachers told to develop cultural values
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 18
In the present scenario, when society is losing moral and cultural values, teachers have to play an important and fundamental role as the destiny of the country is being shaped in classrooms, and if the students are handled properly, the future of the nation would be safe, said Dr D.R.Vij, a renowned scholar, while addressing a seminar on Wednesday on “Motivation and Effective Teaching” being organised by Rotary Club, Sirhind, in the background of International Literacy Month being observed by Rotary International.

He called upon the audience to strive for excellence in their professions. “If we Indians start sticking to principles, we can become a powerful nation.” Educating teachers about effective teaching, he reminded them to be one with their students, subject and self, and after becoming one, they should develop communication, speaking, explaining, questioning, writing and sympathising skills. He stressed the need for strengthening the teacher-student relations and said when the teacher become one with his student, he enjoys his life and profession.

Satisfaction and self-confidence was the solution to all problems and the happiest moments in the life of teachers are those when he sees satisfaction, respect and understanding in the eyes of students. He called upon the teachers that if they want to keep up the their reputation and make their life meaningful and purposeful, they must involve themselves in teaching and bring their mental level at par with those of students

Addressing the gathering, Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, called upon the teachers to be punctual, dedicated and honest about their profession. He urged the teachers to first strengthen themselves with good habits and principles. Only then would they be able to convince their students. Good teachers were always widely respected by every one. He urged the teachers to develop positive and good thinking. He appreciated the efforts of Rotary Club, Sirhind, for choosing this theme at the seminar. He called upon them to help the district administration in its war against social evils.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, president Rotary Club, Prof Dharminder Singh Ubha, secretary Mr Nakesh Jindal project chairman, also addressed and assured the administration and gathering to arrange such more seminars in future.

On this occasion brilliant students and seven best teachers of the district were honoured by the club.


Effigies of Sonia, CM burnt
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 18
Hundreds of members of the All-India Students Federation today burnt effigies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in protest against the decision of the state government to increase hike in college fees without thinking about the future of the students.

They raised anti-government slogans and alleged that the Congress government was pursuing anti-student policies and it would be given befitting reply by holding statewide rallies and demonstration till this ‘uncalled’ for hike was not withdrawn.

They alleged that the state government had increased perks of MLAs and the ministers without showing concern about empty coffers, even as it chose to burden the student community by affecting a steep hike in college fees to ‘oust’ bright students of poor families from pursuing higher education.


Left parties’ rally against fee hike
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, July 18
Workers of the Communist Party of India CPI(ML), the Pendu Mazdoor Union, the Kirti Kisan Union, and the Democratic Teachers Union, today held a demonstration in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma and presented a memorandum of demands. The workers were protesting against the hike in fees and funds in schools and colleges. They also opposed privatisation of education system in the state.

The workers assembled in Shalamar Garden from where they marched in procession to district courts where they held a rally.

Mr Rachpal Singh, an employee leader, Mr Gurdev Singh, state president of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, Mr Balwinder Singh Bajwa, state general secretary of the Kirti Kisan Union, Mr Tek Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhullar, Mr Sucha Singh, Mr Girdawar Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Kulwinder Singh, all employee leaders addressed the rally.


SAD’s stir threat on Baba Farid varsity
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 18
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has threatened an agitation if the Punjab Government shifted Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, to another place. Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon and Mr Mantar Singh Brar, MLAs, Faridkot and Kotkapura, respectively, commenting on press reports in this regard in one of the leading Punjabi dailies published from Chandigarh yesterday said today that party chief and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal set up the university here in 1996 for promoting health education in the Malwa region. Moreover, 155 acres of land by paying more than Rs 4 crore was acquired and all the maps plans had been finalised to start the work.

However, the construction of the complex could not be started due to the change of guard. Both Akali leaders alleged that it seemed that Mr Santokh Singh, Minister for Medical Education and Research, had also not released grant of Rs 4 crore to start construction of varsity complex.

Meanwhile, describing the press reports just as a rumour to damage the image of the Congress government, Mr S.K. Gupta, a Congress leader and close associate of former President Giani Zial Singh and Chairman, Local Improvement Trust, said that he along with other senior district party leaders would meet Chief Minister Amarinder Singh next week.


Health team finds college in mess
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 18
Food poisoning yesterday among several students staying in the hostel of Government College for Women here has exposed laxity on part of the Health Department and the college authorities.

A five-member team of the Health Department led by the Civil Surgeon, Dr Kanwaljit Singh, and including food and sanitary inspectors visited the college today.

“Eight girls were taken ill and about 40 others administered precautionary medicine after they complained of preliminary symptoms,” said the Civil Surgeon, who was accompanied by the Principal, Ms Surjit Kaur, and visiting doctor Amarjit Girgila.

The team found poor hygiene among the staff serving and cooking food in the canteen and the hostel mess and ordered them to report for thorough medical check-up. It also sought recent records of college food staff procurement.

The Principal called an emergency meeting of the college council attended by the college doctor and members of the hostel, mess and canteen committees to quash the rumours of food poisoning having been on a large scale. However, students told this correspondent that all this had happened due to the custard served in the hostel mess yesterday. The health authorities did not take the sample of this custard.


Shortlisting of PA’s son sparks row in Pbi varsity
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 18
Punjabi University, which had asked candidates with B. Tech qualification in electronics and computer engineering with M. Tech computer engineering as a preferable qualification, for appointing lecturers at its Guru Kashi campus in Talwandi Sabo, has shortlisted the son of the personal assistant to the Registrar for the post despite the fact that he has done his B.Tech in food technology.

The university, while calling for applicants for the post of four lecturers at Talwandi Sabo, had asked for candidates who had done their B. Tech in either electronics or computer engineering. It had said that M. Tech in computer engineering would be a preferable qualification. The university while shortlisting students who have studied B.Tech and M. Tech has completely ignored students with MCA degrees.

The ignored students have petitioned the university, claiming they are being discriminated against. The students said while it was understandable to give weightage to B.Tech and M.Tech degrees in either computers or electronics instead of taking students having MCA qualification, the university had deviated from its stand as far as the shortlisting of the son of the personal assistant was concerned.

The students said the a B.Tech degree in food technology was not even remotely concerned with computers or electronics. They said it seemed the candidates main reason for shortlisting seemed to be his M.Tech computer engineering qualification. They said if an M.Tech in computer engineering who did not have any computer background at the graduation level could become eligible for the post, the preference for an M.Tech degree over an MCA degree did not have any justification.

According to sources, the duration of a M.Tech course was one-and-a-half years and comprised two semesters of classroom teaching and one semester for project work.

The students said against this background it was hard to understand how an MCA was denied a call for interview for the post of lecturers scheduled for July 24. They said moreover it was strange that the university had called a candidate who had studied food technology for the interview for the post. They claimed the university had ignored MCA candidates with over five years of meritorious industry and postgraduate teaching experience.

While the Dean, Faculty, Prof U.C. Singh, could not be contacted, varsity Public Relations Director Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu said the university had decided to prefer B.Tech candidates for course because of the demand for the same from Guru Kashi Regional Centre at Talwandi Sabo. He said the Centre had asked for candidates with hardware experience instead of software experience. He said as far as the son of the personal assistant of the Registrar was concerned, the shortlisting committee may have overlooked his B.Tech food technology degree and considered his M.Tech degree as the basis for his selection for the interview.


Nod to BDS course
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 18
The local Desh Bhagat Dental College and Hospital has got approval from the Family Welfare Department, Government of India, for the BDS fourth year course for the session 2003-04, according to a press note issued by Dr Zora Singh, Chairman, Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes.

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