Friday, July 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Tohra elected to SGPC executive
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 24
The executive committee of the SGPC cleared the decks for making Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra the next SGPC President as he was unanimously elected as an executive member in place of Sukhdev Singh Bhaur here today. Mr Tohra was accompanied by his son-in-law Harmel Singh Tohra and a large number of supporters.

The meeting was presided over by Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, the acting President of the SGPC, and was attended by 10 members while two members — Bhupinder Singh Asandh, who is in jail and Hardalbir Singh Shah, who is on a foreign tour — did not attended the meeting. The meeting lasted only five minutes as Mr Dilmegh Singh read the agenda while Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke proposed Mr Tohra’s name for induction in the executive committee. Mr Partap Singh Advocate and Mr Gurbax Singh Pudain seconded the name.

While talking to The Tribune after the meeting, Mr Alwinderpal Singh said Mr Tohra had been elected as a member of the executive committee of the SGPC to make him the President of SGPC so that the SAD (B) could be strengthened. He said a special meeting of the executive committee would be held at Guru Nanak Nivas, Amritsar, on July 27 to elect Mr Tohra as the SGPC President. Rejecting the demand of the SAD (A) President, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, to call the meeting of the general house of the SGPC to elect Mr Tohra as the SGPC President, he said Mr Mann had his own party so he had a right to demand anything but we would abide by the decision of Mr Badal.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr Tohra said all differences with Mr Badal had been settled but if this had happened earlier then the political situation would had been different in the state. He said Bhai Ranjit Singh would be given his due place at an appropriate time. He denied that Mr Parkash Singh Badal had come to him only when the Punjab Government had tighten the grip on Mr Badal, saying that he has always believed in unity and it has been done on principles. Answering a question regarding the campaign against corruption launched by the state government and the vigilance raids and enquiry against Mr Badal and his Cabinet colleagues, he said the success of the campaign would depend upon the outcome of the enquiry and raids.

Answering a query about the slogan by Mr Badal that “ The Panth is in Danger”, he said Mr Badal was the head of the SAD (B), which was the representative of the Sikhs and if the head of an organisation was in trouble, then he would extend full support to the head on every issue. Regarding the formation of a new Akali Dal headed by Ravi Inder Singh, he said efforts should be made to unite all Akali Dals to strengthen the SAD, but unity depended upon how both leaders reacted to the unity call.

Giving a clear indication of reversing the decisions taken by Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar as the SGPC President to start IAS and sports training academies by the SGPC, Mr Tohra said there was no need for these centres as the IAS training academy at Punjabi University, Patiala, and the sports centre at Jalandhar, had failed miserably. He favoured sending jathas of Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan gurdwaras and said if the Jathas were stopped then how would the SGPC know about the condition of the gurdwaras in Pakistan. Rather all borders and barriers should be removed and both countries should unite and use their resources in a positive manner. He said the SGPC wouldn’t recognition to the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Later all the members of the executive committee came to wish and congratulate Mr Tohra. He also held meetings with his supporters, including Karnail Singh Panjoli, state president, Youth Akali Dal, Ranjit Singh Libra, R.S. Cheema, former minister, Jaswant Singh Tann and Amardeep Singh Dharni, advocate.


Vigilance raids Sukhbir property in Delhi
Tribune News Service

A police officer looks after the works of Punjab State Vigilance Department and Punjab Police officers
A police officer
looks after the works of Punjab State Vigilance Department and Punjab Police officers, who came to search an office belonging to Mr Prakash Singh Badal, in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, July 24
A property owned by Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in the heart of the Capital was raided by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau this evening.

The raids come at a time when the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, is there to discuss the state plan.

A 12-member team of the bureau raided the office located at Barakhamba Road in the Connaught Place area amidst speculations that the sleuths would raid the official residence of the Rajya Sabha MP on Safdarjung Road.

Mr Jagdish Singh Kahlon, who headed the team, said they had come to assess the value of the property. He said the team would also raid other properties owned by the Badals in the city.

The official residence of the SAD MP also figures in the list of properties for which the bureau had sought a warrant from the courts.

Reacting to the raids, Mr Sukhbir Badal told The Tribune, that the property — New Delhi House — had been with us for over two decades. Indian Railway subsidiary RITES had been on rent on this premises for the past 15 years and only two months ago they shifted to their new office in Gurgaon.

“Official machinery is being used by the Congress government to malign and harass us. All our properties are accounted for and Income Tax returns have been filed for these,” he said.


Date for admissions extended
Fee rollback applicable to varsities too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
While extending the date for admission in government and private colleges till August 8, the Punjab Government said today that the decision regarding the rollback of fees would also be applicable to the universities.

The government today sent letters to the Vice-Chancellors of Punjabi, Panjab and Guru Nanak Dev Universities intimating the decision to withdraw the revised fee structure. The Vice-Chancellors have been advised to extend the date of admission in the colleges affiliated to their respective universities for 10 days beginning from July 30 without charging any late fee.

The date of admission has been enhanced following reports that a large number of students, especially those from the economically weaker and poor sections of society, were unable to get admission because of enhanced charges.

Mr N.S. Rattan Principal Secretary (Education), said the government had instructed the government as well as private colleges to refund excess money to the students from whom admission charges had been taken on the basis of the revised fee structure. The colleges had been told to retain the admission charges as per old rates. Saying that the universities were also covered under the fee withdrawal Mr Rattan said “it is up to the universities how to implement the decision”.

The universities are autonomous bodies and the fee structure for the on-campus courses as well in the regional institutions being run by the universities is decided by the VCs. However a formal approval from the government is taken.

An unusual situation will be created at various places if the universities did not withdraw the enhanced charges for on-campus MA classes. For instance, MA classes for various subjects are held at Government Mahindra College, Patiala. And the same MA courses are also available on the Punjabi University campus in the same town. So, if the charges in Mahindra College will be lower than those on the university campus, students will prefer the college to the university as the difference of charges will be very high. The same is true of other universities.


Report on EPF scam submitted
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, July 24
The long-pending police inquiry into the EPF scam in the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar, is heading towards conclusion with crime wing officials submitting their inquiry report to the DGP. Highly placed sources in the crime branch told this correspondent that the report had indicted many officers of the thermal plant, besides labour contractors.

Indicted include officers of the rank of Executive Engineers and Additional Superintendent Engineers, after the DGP signs the report it will be sent to the SSP, Ropar. Many of the high-ranking officers are likely to be booked by the police.

The EPF scam was committed in the GGSSTP from 1997 to 1999. Labour contractors — Calcutta Construction Company and Sodhi Erectors — allegedly swindled about Rs 1 crore from the EPF accounts of the labourers they had employed. While a case was registered against the proprietor of the Calcutta Construction Company, Mr Deepak Chada, in August 2000, in the Ropar sadar police station, proprietor of the Sodhi erectors saved his skin by depositing the swindled amount of approximately Rs 50 lakh.

Sodhi Erectors grew as one of the major contractors in the GGSSTP despite their tainted background. The inquiry into the EPF scam was taken up by the ADGP Vigilance, PSEB, Mr Lalit Bhatia, who reopened the case. He wrote to the GGSSTP authorities to register a case against the proprietor of the Sodhi Erectors. The ADGP was of the view that merely depositing the amount did not exonerate Mr Sodhi of the crime he had committed by swindling the amount from the EPF accounts of his workers.

After the efforts of Mr Bhatia a case was finally registered against the proprietor of Sodhi Erectors, Mr R.S. Sodhi.

The Ropar police, after the inquiry, held that on each extension of the labour contract, the contractors had to obtain a NOC from the EPF authorities certifying that they had deposited the amount in the accounts of the workers. However, the officers concerned of the GGSSTP did not take any NOC from the contractors and kept extending their contracts every three months, leading to the scam.

However, while the Ropar police was nearing conclusion, the inquiry was handed over to the crime wing of the Punjab Police.

Now that the crime wing is submitting its report it seems that the noose may finally tighten around the officers and contractors involved in the scam.


Wadala rules out merger with new Akali Dal
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 24
Ruling out any move of merging his party with newly formed “Akali Dal” headed by former Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Ravi Inder Singh, the president of SAD (Democratic) Kuldeep Singh Wadala yesterday hinted at joining ranks with the former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal provided he was acquitted in corruption cases registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Wadala said there was no point in merging his party with the Akali Dal as he was in favour of complete Akali unity involving all Sikh political parties.

“In fact, the political situation will be clear after the forthcoming general election as it would be test case for both the Akali Dal and the SAD. “We will definitely side with the party having strong mandate of the people after the elections,” he said, adding that he had discussed the issue with senior leaders of earstwhile Panthic Morcha.


PPCC district chiefs appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, has appointed the following as district presidents.

This was stated by party’s Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Cell Chairman, Mr Pritpal Singh Bishanpura today.

Mansa — Mr Gurjant Singh Ali Sher; Sangrur — Mr Rajinder Singh Sangreri; Ludhiana — Mr Dilbagh Singh Kadon; Nawanshahr — Mr Chaudhari Sarabjit Singh Balachaur; Ferozepore — Mr Dilbagh Singh Suba Kahan Chand; Faridkot — Mr Paramjit Singh Faridkot; Fatehgarh Sahib — Mr Kewaljit Singh Bhuller Khamano; Gurdaspur — Mr Mohan Singh Ramnagar; Muktsar — Mr Rajinder Singh Dhaliwal Duhewala; Kapurthala — Mr Vinod Kumar Pathana; Amritsar — Mr Ajitpal Singh Patti; Ropar — Mr Jagir Singh Magror; Hoshiarpur — Mr Jaswinder Singh Kangmai; and Bathinda — Mr Varinder Singh Rampura.


Notice of motion on Thandal’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Taking up a petition by MLA Sohan Singh Thandal seeking the grant of regular bail in a corruption case, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the state for August 14.

The MLA was booked under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Claiming to have been implicated in the case due to political vendetta, the petitioner, in a similar petition, had earlier asserted that he had signed a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Governor for initiating action against Finance Minister Lal Singh.

Bail petitions dismissed

Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall today dismissed the bail petitions of seven Ludhiana residents allegedly involved in a murder case.

The accused, Munnavar Ali and others, were earlier booked by the police after the death of Abdul Rahim of Qadian village in Gurdaspur district. According to the prosecution, the murder had taken place on Ludhiana on April 15, 2000.


Fresh summons to Bibi Jagir Kaur
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 24
A local court today issued fresh summons against former SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur on a defamation case filed against her by Kulbir Kaur Dhami, Director, Gur Ashra Trust, SAS Nagar. The Judicial court of the Magistrate (First Class) has issued summons against Bibi Jagir Kaur for November 4. Meanwhile, Jaspal Singh Dhillon was today granted bail in the case.

In a defamation case filed against Bibi Jagir Kaur and Jaspal Singh Dhillon, the complainant, alleged that Jaspal Singh Dhillon had released a booklet in Punjabi titled "Zimmewar Kaun" and had levelled serious allegations against her.

The complainant stated that Jaspal Singh had levelled a total of 18 false and frivolous allegations against her pertaining to the embezzlement of the Trust funds, mismanagement and wasteful expenditure in the name of the Trust.

Kulbir Kaur also stated in the complaint that the entire expenditure of the Trust had been duly accounted for in the record book maintained by the trust, contrary to the false imputations levelled against the complainant. Clarifying her stand, the complainant further stated that most of the allegations levelled against her of withdrawing Rs 90,000 from the bank account of the trust by forging the signature of Jaspal Singh Dhillon on a cheque. But the complainant added that allegations had been levelled to defame her.

Talking about the role of Bibi Jagir Kaur, the complainant alleged that Jaspal Singh Dhillon had handed over the booklet containing allegation levelled against her to Bibi Jagir Kaur, who distributed it among a section of the press.


Improvement Trust told to pay compensation
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 24
The District Consumer Forum, Ropar, has directed the local Improvement Trust to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 to complainant Hargovind Singh, a resident of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Ropar.

In a complaint to the forum Hargovind Singh had alleged that he bought a plot measuring 160 sq yards in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar of Ropar from the original allottee Gurpreet Kaur on March 3, 2003.

The Improvement Trust authorities, however, did not sanction his site plan or transfer the plot in his name on the plea that the original allottee had not deposited the non-construction fee levelled on her for not raising the structure on the plot allotted within three years.

His repeated plea that he was not liable to pay the non-construction fee levied on the original allottee fell on deaf ears of the trust authorities. The complainant also alleged that even after the original allottee deposited the non-construction fee the trust authorities neither transferred the plot in his name nor sanctioned the site plan.

The complainant besides the transfer of plot in his name and the sanction of his site plan demanded a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the harassment he allegedly had to undergo at the hands of trust authorities.

The trust authorities in their reply filed before the forum raised various objections.

After both parties submitted evidence in the form of affidavits the forum comprising of president Mr J.P. Gupta and member S.K. Bhatia held the improvement trust authorities guilty for dereliction in duty.

The forum besides awarding a compensation of Rs 25,000, directed the trust authorities to transfer the plot and sanction the site plan of the complainant.

The trust authorities were also directed against raising the demand of non-construction fee from the complainant. The complainant was also awarded Rs 2,000 as litigation cost.


Kidney scam suspect gets judicial remand
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 24
Gurdial Ram, a former security officer of former IG (Border Range) Rajan Gupta, was today sent to 14-day judicial remand by the court of Ms Ranjit Kaur, Judicial Magistrate (Class I), here. He would now be presented in the court on August 7.

Gurdyal Ram was arrested by the special investigating team (SIT) on July 20 when he was coming here from Jalandhar in connection with the multi-crore kidney scam busted by the police.


Legal notice to Ravi Inder Singh

Chandigarh, July 24
In less than a week after a report appeared in some newspapers accusing Mr Parkash Singh Badal of accepting money from an accused in the kidney scam, 10 SAD MLAs today issued a legal notice to Vidhan Sabha’s former Speaker Ravi Inder Singh.

Claiming that the reports were allegedly based on a signed statement issued by Mr Ravi Inder Singh they said it was false, malicious and motivated. They said a photograph, showing Mr Badal in the company of the accused was also computer generated. Requesting him to withdraw the “false allegations by issuing an apology in the newspapers within seven days, Mr Ajit Singh Kohar and other MLAs added that legal proceedings would otherwise be initiated. — TNS


Judicial remand for Narottam
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 24
A court here today remanded Narottam Singh Dhillon, a relative of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister of Punjab, in judicial custody till August 5 and ordered that he should be produced before the Special Judge, Ropar on that day.

The Vigilance Bureau pleaded for police remand of the accused saying that the accused deposited Rs 12.17 lakh in different banks. The Bureau pleaded that information was yet to be got from the accused about other bank accounts. The defence refuted the charges of the prosecution and opposed the police remand.


Judicial remand for constable
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 24
Mrs Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Judicial Magistrate, today remanded Sarup Singh, a constable attached with the SSP of Jagraon, who fired shots at a car outside the residence of the SSP at SAS Nagar yesterday, in judicial custody till August 6.

The SAS Nagar police has registered a case under Section 307, IPC, and under the Arms Act against the accused.


Army claims recovery of 2-cr lost in Punwire deal
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
The Army has filed a claim with the official liquidator of SAS. Nagar-based Punjab Wireless Systems Limited (Punwire) to recover about Rs 2 crore which it lost due to its failure to ensure that the now defunct company furnished bank guarantees when it was contracted to supply communication equipment.

Punwire was to manufacture and supply the radio trunk systems (RTS) to the Army. Twenty systems at a cost of approximately Rs 31 crore were to be supplied with deliveries commencing in November, 1991.

The company did not adhere to the stipulated delivery schedule and it could supply only 15 systems by April, 2000. Before the remaining systems could be supplied, the company was wound up in July, 2000, on the recommendations of the Bureau for Industrial Finance and Reconstruction, following which the Punjab and Haryana High court appointed an official liquidator to take custody of the company’s assets.

Had the bank guarantees been renewed or got extended while granting extension of the delivery schedule to the company, it might have been possible to recover the outstanding amount, the Comptroller and Auditor General, in its latest report has remarked. Though the Defence Ministry had filed a claim with the official liquidator for recovery of the outstanding amount along with interest and liquidated damages, no recoveries had been made so far, the report further stated.

Following two letters of intent, the Defence Ministry had placed the first contract with the company for the supply of 10 RTS in June, 1991, and the second contract for the remaining 10 systems in June, 1998.

Two systems were to be supplied initially by November, 1991. The delivery of the remaining systems was to be made at the rate of 2 per month, commencing within 16 weeks of the receipt of the bulk production clearance which was issued on July 31, 1996.

Advances and progressive payments totalling Rs 25 crore were made to the company between March, 1990, and October, 1992. The company, however, did not adhere to the stipulated schedule and was granted extension on eight occasions. The last extension granted to the company expired in April, 2000, shortly after which it was wound up.

The outcome of the claim filed with the liquidator could not be predicted with any degree of certainty and the recovery of the dues could conceivably be a long-drawn process, the report remarked. It revealed that the two bank guarantee bonds furnished by Punwire at the time the letters of intent were placed on it were valid only up to June 6, 1992, and July 19, 1992. They were not suitably extended or renewed further at the time of granting extension of the delivery schedule up to April 2000, the report pointed out.


Schism in zila parishad hits development
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 24
Rift between 10 members of the zila parishad and two chairmen of the Faridkot and Kotkapura Block Samiti in the Congress has marred the entire development in the rural areas in the district. During the past over four months no development project has come on the map.

The members of the zila parishad include Mr Darshan Singh Sahota, Mr Harbans Singh, Mr Harcharan Singh Sandhu, Mr Natha Singh, Mr Sukhmander Singh, Mr Harkirat Singh Gill, Mrs Manjit Kaur, Mrs Harbans Kaur, Mrs Sonia and Mr Kuldip Singh Chameli besides Mr Chinderpal Singh and Mrs Chinderpal Kaur both Chairman and Chairperson Block Samiti Faridkot and Kotkapura, respectively.

According to reports available the members are divided in two groups and engaged in letting down each other. Under the same circumstances six of the members did not attend the first meeting convened by the Chairman, Mr Kuldip Singh Chameli, here on May 7 to clear the annual budget of the zila parishad by giving lame excuses and also blocked the working of the parishad.

Later, Mr Chameli brought the matter to the notice of the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the PPCC President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, who directed the members to mend their ways in the interest of the party. The picture is not yet clear in this connection. Although all members had reiterated their determination to strictly abide by the directions of the party high command to mobilise its policies in developing the rural areas yet talking to this reporter on the telephone on Tuesday. Mr Chinderpal Singh, Chairman Block Samiti, Faridkot, regretted the indifferent attitude of the Chairman Zila Parishad towards the members. He alleged that even some of the members were not informed well in time to attend the previous meeting.

Categorically refuting the charges, Mr Chameli said he personally informed all members to attend the meeting. Even he disbursed a grant of over Rs 31 lakh to the members with the understanding given by the Punjab Government in the last week of March for various development works in their respective areas.

He disclosed that even all members had also been given information by him personally to attend the next meeting convened here on August 1 to clear the annual budget of the parishad and other official procedure. He regretted that four of the members had told him that they would attend the meeting only after getting a nod from their political bosses.

Mr Chameli further disclosed that a grant of Rs 59 lakh was lying under different scheme for various other development works in the rural areas in this district. It is pertinent to mention here that infighting among the members came to the fore on February 24 last during the election of the Chairman, Zila Parishad, when the members failed to make a unanimous choice for the post of Chairman, zila parishad.


Widows form panel to fight govt apathy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Widows of deceased government employees of Punjab and Chandigarh are up in arms against the government for not giving them or their wards jobs on compassionate grounds. These women, who lost their husbands while they were in service, have been running from pillar to post for jobs, but to no avail. A letter of the Punjab Government issued on May 13, 2002 said all such posts, which fell vacant upon the death of an employee, were to be abolished. This has spelled doom for the affected families.

Over 24 widows, along with their children, yesterday formed the Joint Action Committee of the Deceased Employees Families to fight for their rights and seek jobs from the government. The newly-formed committee also a held a meeting. Families of about 16 odd employees, who were working in the Punjab Secretariat, are yet to get jobs.

Narrating her tale of woes, Ms Suman Kumari of Bathinda said that her husband, Gurmeet Singh, who was a Constable in the Punjab Police, sustained serious injuries in a road accident, while he was coming on duty from Barnala. He died on January 4, 2001, after remaining in coma for four years. But even after two and a half years, she was still without a job and was finding it hard to bring up her only child. Having also lost her father and brother, she was finding the going tough.

Similarly, Rupinder Kaur, who lost her husband Harwinder Singh Patwari in a road accident in September 2001, was still waiting for a response from the Education department. Rupinder, who stays in Morinda, has the requisite qualifications of MA, B.Ed, but no job.

Manjit Singh, who belongs to Jhunir in Mansa district, said that he lost his father Baltej Singh Dhaliwal in October 2001, but his repeated visits to the Education Department did not get him a job. He too meets the eligibility criteria fixed by the department.

Mohan Prakash Singh of Bagrian in Sangrur district, who lost his mother in 1993, had been waiting for a job in the Ayurvedic Department since then. A son of Mr Jaswant Singh Randhawa, one of the former union leaders of the Punjab Civil Secretariat Association, who died over a year ago, was also without a job in the absence of vacancies.

The list of such cases was endless as following the UT Administration’s decision not to give jobs to the dependents of the deceased, the authorities concerned were also indifferent to their pleas.

According to sources, the recent orders of the UT Administration asking the dependents of the deceased to vacate government accommodation if they did not get jobs within a year of their husband/father’s death was bound to add to their problems.

While earlier orders of the Punjab Government dated November 21, 2002, clearly specified the norms under which jobs could be given to the dependents of the government employees, who die while in service, but the letter issued subsequently by the government on May 13, 2002, was a hindrance in the implementation of the scheme. The fresh orders stipulated abolition of posts, which fell vacant following the death of an employee or retirement.


SSP asked to probe ‘false’ criminal case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
Some persons, against whom, a criminal case had been registered at the city police station for allegedly making an attempt on July 6 to forcibly evict a tenant from a shop owned by them, have urged the district police chief to get the case investigated from a senior police official to establish the truth. They have alleged that a false criminal case had been registered against them.

In a representation to the SSP here, Mr Ishwar Singh, three of the suspects namely Mr Raj Kumar Garg, Mr Ramesh Kumar Garg and Mr Radhe Shyam claimed that they had been falsely implicated in a criminal case though they were not present on the spot when the alleged incident took place on the basis of which the case was registered against them.

The police had registered a case under Sections 452, 447, 427, 323, 511, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC against six persons as they had allegedly threatened Mr Hari Parsad, a tenant of a shop in the Sadar Bazaar area of the city, on July 6 and had damaged the roof of his shop.

According to the FIR registered at the Kotwali police station, Ramesh Kumar Garg, Jiwan Kumar, Raj Kumar Garg, Radhe Shyam, Ramesh Kumar and Arun Shekhawat had gone to the shop of Mr Parsad, where he is a tenant for the past about 20 years. They threatened him to vacate the shop or face dire consequences. They also threatened him that they would throw out the items in the shop in case he did not vacate it.

The complaint alleged that the six persons damaged the roof of his shop to force him out of the shop and after he resisted the move, he and one of his relatives was attacked and injured by sharp-edged weapons. He claimed that they were also beaten up. The suspects fled after injuring the complainant and one of his relatives who were hospitalised at the local Civil Hospital.

The suspects alleged that they were falsely implicated in the case by the tenant as he feared that he may have to vacate the shop due to its bad condition as he was not able to carry out repairs.


Ex-servicemen to get tubewell connections on priority: PSEB
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 24
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to provide ex-servicemen and their dependents with tubewell connections on a priority basis. Besides, a serviceman, in his last year of service, may also apply through his Commanding Officer to the PSEB for a tubewell connection on a priority basis on production of a certificate from the Commanding Officer to the effect that the applicant is due for retirement from the Defence services within one year.

The board has also decided to reverse its decision regarding the ban on issue of a demand notice to this category of applicants.

The service connection charges may be recovered in two instalments, Rs 3,000 per BHP at the time of submission of the test report and Rs 2,000 per BHP at the time of the reverse of connection.

The board also said that there will be no cut-off date for the issue of a demand notice provided it was technically feasible to release the connection.


Slum-dwellers milking PSEB dry
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 24
The Punjab State Electricity Board, (PSEB) SAS Nagar circle is losing Rs 1.5 lakh per month due to the theft of power by slum-dwellers.

Power theft is rampant in the state with a large chunk of revenue being lost due to thefts in the industrial sector followed by pilferage in the commercial and domestic sectors.

There are 7000 jhuggis in the town and for the PSEB it is a tough task to minimise kundi-connection related revenue losses. Conceding that solving the problem is virtually impossible PSEB officials point out that a consistent effort since the past one month has led to good results in SAS Nagar.

“Over 300 kundis have been removed from four different colonies in the past few days and the campaign will continue,’’ informed Mr K.S. Sidhu, ASE (Operations). “On an average, we lose Rs 200 per jhuggi per month, is if the slum- dweller is using only a bulb and a fan. But this is a direct loss to the PSEB and will not be tolerated,’’ he added.

Direct tapping of electricity lines seems to be only the tip of the iceberg. Bypassing meters at odd hours is rampant in villages, and inter-change of cold and hot wires has become common in commercial units while domestic thefts are a result of tampering with meters and affixing fake seals.

“Power thieves are using novel methods to hoodwink us. An industrialist was caught using a remote control to tamper with readings of his meter. He had put a cutout device in it to make it respond to a remote-control led device. He would reduce the reading everytime it went beyond a certain limit and continued to do so for months till he was caught. Then there was another person who had divided his electricity usage between the meter and the direct line. We found the device he was using hidden behind clothes in an almirah,” said Mr Sidhu.


Errors in certificates leave them jobless
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
Mr Gurwinder Singh’s joy had known no bounds when he had completed the two-year course in electronics trade from the Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Jaitu, in Faridkot district in 1996.

Seven years after he completed the two-year course he is a disappointed man due to the apathetic attitude of the Department of Industrial Training, Government of Punjab. Despite his qualification he is without a job.

The Department of Industrial Training did not issue Gurwinder Singh and 14 other persons certificates for six years and when the authorities concerned took action, the issued certificates were not fit for fetching jobs either in the government sector or in the private sector as they had a number of errors.

“We could not apply for any post for six years as no certificate was issued to us by the authorities concerned while those who completed the same course from other ITIs have been working for the past many years,” they pointed out while talking to the TNS today.

They added that when they finally got the certificates they were wrong as a number of mistakes and cutting had been done on the same by the authorities concerned. They were unable to get a job as no institution recognised the certificates. There were cuttings on the mark lists also.

Mr Hardeep Singh, Principal, ITI, Bathinda, whom these students approached today, said he had taken up the matter with the authorities concerned earlier also but had failed to get any response. He added that he was now sending an employee of the ITI to Chandigarh to get the right certificates for these students at the earliest. He hoped that by August 4, 2003, these students would get the right certificates.


CRPF SI cremated with honours

Gurdaspur, July 24
Mr Wasakha Singh Sub inspector 121 CRPF Battalion who died fighting Nexalites near Ranchi in Jharkhand State was given state funeral today in his native Munan Khurd village under the Purana Shalla police station in this district.

On July 22 a CRPF party in a bus near Ranchi had an encounter with Nexalites in which two Nexalites were killed. The CRPF official also received bullets. His companion was also injured.

The body of the deceased was flown to Amritsar where from Mr R.C. Meena, Deputy Commandant and Rahul Kumar Assistant Commandant 124 CRPF Battalion brought the body to the village of the deceased today morning. The body was received by people of Munnan Khurd and surrounding villages.

Mr Raman Bahl President Municipal Committee, Gurdaspur placed wreath on the body of the jawan behalf of Mr Khushal Bahl, Education Minister Punjab, Mr Phuman Singh, Naib Tehsildar on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner and Mr Jagdeep Singh Hundal, DSP (Rural) on behalf of the SSP.

Later the body was taken to the cremation ground where a contingent of nine jawans of the CRPF 124 Battalion headed by Havaldar Ranvir Singh reversed arms, and sounded the last post. Mr Parshotam Singh younger brother of the deceased lit the pyre. — OC


Privatisation move condemned

Patiala, July 24
The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) Workers and Employees Union has condemned the Punjab Government’s reported move to privatise several government-owned ventures, including the PRTC and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Mr Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, general secretary of the union, said that the government should do a re-think on its proposed move to privatise the power board and the PRTC as it would also render hundreds of employees jobless. He added that the government had already decided to go in for the full-scale privatisation of the PRTC on the basis of the report prepared by a subcommittee constituted by the state government.

He said that this was proving to be detrimental to the interests of the government as private transporters were fleecing the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 100 crore every month. He also criticised the government’s move to shift the local bus stand to a new location due to which hundreds of families would be displaced. TNS


4 more law officers appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
In less than 72 hours after the Punjab Government’s Department of Home Affairs and Justice released a list of 19 advocates appointed as law officers, two more Deputy Advocate-Generals and an equal number of Assistant Advocate-Generals were today added to the team.

The number of law officers, with these appointment, has gone up to 116, including five advocates on record in Delhi. The sanctioned strength is 55. According to the new list, Ms Reeta Kohli has been appointed as Deputy Advocate-General for Delhi. Mr Prem Kumar has also been appointed on the same post.

Mr Narinder Kapoor and Mr Rajinder Singh have, meanwhile, been appointed as Assistant Advocate-Generals. Two others, Ms Pooja Chaudhary and Mr Ranjit Singh, were appointed on the same post on Tuesday.


Mandi board DGM retired compulsorily
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 24
Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Sant Ram Singla said today the board had compulsorily retired a Deputy General Manager because he was charged with taking bribe during the Akali-BJP government.

Speaking at a function at the grain market here, Mr Singla said the board had retired Deputy GM Darshan Singh Brar because he had been caught red handed while taking a bribe of Rs 3,000. He said even though the Akali-BJP government had reinstated Mr Brar, the Congress regime had taken strict notice of the corruption case and decided to compulsorily retire him from service.

The Chairman said the government had decided to spend Rs 228 crore for the repair of link roads in the state. He said in the first phase the board would repair 5,137 km of road at a cost of Rs 80 crore. 


Woman burnt to death over property
Tribune News service

Bathinda, July 24
Ms Bindar Kaur of Jhandu Ke village in this district, was allegedly brunt to death by her brother-in-law Dhute Singh, his wife Birpal Kaur and two others — Mr Maggar Singh and Mr Kaka Singh last evening as the husband of deceased had property dispute with Dhute Singh.

Police sources said that Dhute Singh along with others came to his house he sharing with this brother, Mr Jagsir Singh. He asked Mr Jagsir Singh to vacate the house and also started abusing him. To resolve the issue with Dhute Singh, Mr Jagsir Singh went out to call some respectables from Jhandu Ke village.

When, Mr Jagsir Singh returned to his house, he saw his wife Bindar Kaur in flames. He took Bindar Kaur to Rampura Phul civil hospital where she died today.

Bindar Kaur in her statement to the police alleged that when her husband was away to call respectables, her brother-in-law and others poured kerosene on her clothes and set these on fire. Bindar Kaur had suffered 82 per cent burns.

Sources said certain staff members of Rampura Phul Civil Hospital were not present in the hospital, when Bindar Kaur was admitted there.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, said that he had not received any formal complaint in connection with absence of staff members. He added that he had already written against a doctor to the higher authorities, as he (the doctor) stays away from Rampura town without getting station leave sanctioned.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered against the four persons at Balianwali, police station on the statement of deceased but no arrest has been made.


Dacoits kill one, injure three of family
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 24
Parkash Ram died on the spot while his daughter-in-law Bimla Devi (40), grandson Jasbir Singh (15) and granddaughter Paramjit Kaur (20) were seriously injured when some unidentified persons assaulted them with sharp-edged weapons while they were sleeping in their house at Ghumiala village near Mahilpur last night. They looted the house and escaped.

Swinder Singh, another grandson of the deceased, on his return from the village gurdwara found his grandfather dead and other members of the family injured. The Mahilpur police reached the village today afternoon. Meanwhile, Ms Gurpreet Deo, SSP, Hoshiarpur, also reached the spot.

All injured were admitted in the Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur.

The SSP told mediapersons four bicycles on which the dacoits had come, were recovered from the fields. About 25 persons around Mahilpur have been arrested and are being interrogated. Sital Ram, Bimla Devi’s husband works in Dubai.


Station Superintendent held for bribery
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 24
A Punjab Vigilance Bureau team headed by Mr Vinod Kumar Chowdhary, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) Mansa today caught Mr Yogendra Partap Singh, Station Superintendent of Northern Railway posted at Mansa while he was accepting Rs 1000 bribe from Mr Ajay Kumar, salesman cum vendor at the local railway platform.

This amount was said to be monthly payment for of June and July 2003 as the Station Superintendent was taking Rs 500 per month from the above salesman cum vendor on the threat of reporting against him. The Vigilance Bureau team was accompanied by two gazetted officers, Dr Parshotam Jindal of the local Civil Hospital and Mr Manjit Singh, SDO, PWD (B&R) Mansa. An FIR has been registered against the Station Superintendent. The Station Superintendent has been taken into custody.


Cancel FIR, demand students
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 24
Students of the local government college staged a dharna outside the SDM’s office demanding cancellation of the FIR against eight students leaders — Kuldeep Singh Gosal, Harjinder Singh Chohan, Prince, Amandeep Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Gurjant Singh and Gurmukh Singh Mann — registered by the local police.

After the rally they presented a memorandum to the SDM. A protest march was also held from the SDM’s office to the DSP’s office and slogans were raised against the college authorities and the police for registering a false FIR against the students.

Raminder Singh Patiala, state president of the Punjab Students Union, while addressing the gathering demanded immediate withdrawal of the cases registered against the union leaders. He also urged the Chief Minister to extend the date of admissions without late fee.

Mr Gurmukh Singh Mann, student state leader demanded a refund of the fee that had been deposited by some students in hurry to ensure their admissions.

Master Krishan Kumar, president District Consumer and Public Welfare Organisation said as the fee hike had been rolled back, cases should also be cancelled so that a cordial atmosphere can be created in the college.


Varsity makes examinees buy answer sheets
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 24
Practical examinations by the physiology and bio-chemistry Department of Government Medical College here, are reported to being taken on ordinary sheets, as proper answer sheets have not been issued by Baba Farid Medical University, Faridkot.

Sources in the medical college told the Tribune that the students were told to purchase answer sheets and then to take the test.

However, Dr Usha Monga, head of the Physiology Department and officiating Principal of college, refuted the allegation. She clarified that for practical examinations there was no need of answer sheets. She added if the students needed sheets for rough calculations in the practical tests they were provided with the same.

The sources alleged that actual answer sheets should have serial numbers, stamps and things written on it for confidentiality and credibility. But using ordinary answer sheets would affect the credibility of examinations. The sources added that when sheets were given to students, for calculations or diagrams, it should be on the answer sheets provided by university. There is a procedure and it should be followed what the students have observed in the practical and what procedures they adopted for practical should be written on university provided answer sheets”, sources said. The sources said that there were more than 250 students in both departments and they were taking examinations on ordinary papers which is against university rules.

However, Dr Monga said that the university had not been providing the answer sheets for practical test for past few years. She added in practical examinations, examiners and observers evaluate practical tests on the spot.


Protest by students
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
Members of the Students Coordination Committee today organised a protest in front of Government Rajindra College here today to press the authorities concerned to implement the state government decision rolling back tuition fee hike immediately.

In a press note here today, Mr Manpreet Singh, convener of the committee, said that so far the government had not issued any order in connection with the decision rolling back tuition fee hike of different college courses and students had been suffering due to this.

He added that the state government had also failed to make arrangements for the refund of the money to those students, who had taken admission in various courses by depositing the hiked tuition fee. The state government also had failed to make arrangements for the admission of the bright students, who had failed to take admission due to high tuition fee and now finding it difficult to get admission as all seats in various courses had been filled, with students with lower marks. They demanded that apart from increasing the number of seats in each course, the state government should also extend the date of admission.

Later, students staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office and submitted a memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda.


Demonstration by students, staff of polytechnic college
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 24
Hundreds of students and teachers of Government Polytechnic College here today held a demonstration at Bibi Wala chowk and gate rally in front of the college in protest against the state government decision handing over polytechnic colleges and ITIs to private hands.

In a press note here today, Mr Jagsir Singh, member of The Government Polytechnic College Employees Association, pointed out that the association would participate in the dharna and rally being held at Chandigarh on July 25 by other associations to protest against the government’s decision.

He pointed out that the State government had issued a notification handing over 18 polytechnic colleges and 94 ITIs to private hands despite the fact a section of private ITIs and polytechnics being run by private managements had been playing havoc with the future of students as these were running without proper staff and other infrastructure.

He alleged that the government had taken this decision despite the fact that almost all polytechnic colleges and ITIs, to be handed over to private hands, were running well and had been producing excellent results.

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