Saturday, July 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab border petrol pumps to go dry
from August 1
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 25
Petrol pumps along the interstate boundary of Punjab will go dry from August 1 in protest against the increase in sales tax on petrol by 5 per cent.

This decision was taken jointly by the petrol pump owners associations of Ropar, Patiala, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib and Bathinda districts today. Alleging that over 200 petrol pumps on the inter-state border of Punjab face closure due to this hike, petrol pump owners said these petrol stations stand to suffer the most as they are in direct competition with the petrol stations in neighbouring states.

“We cannot sell petrol at a rate which is Rs 3.10 per litre higher than the next petrol pump on the same road that falls in the neighbouring state,” said Mr G.S. Chawla, owner of two petrol pumps in SAS Nagar and Kharar.

Stating that at least 250 petrol pumps on the inter-state border belt would stop vending petrol from August 1, Mr Vijay Singhi, President, Petrol Pump Owners Association, Patiala, said if the notification of the Punjab government decision is received before August 1, these petrol stations will not purchase any fresh stock at the new rates. ‘‘We will be on an indefinite strike till the Punjab government rolls backs its decision,’’ he said.

According to the figures provided by some of these petrol station owners, Punjab in the last financial year has recorded the lowest growth of revenue from petrol as compared to the other northern states. ‘‘From a gradually declining graph over the last few years to minus .35 per cent last year. This means that Punjab is suffering losses due to its petrol being costlier than other states. Why does the government fail to realise that a hike in sales tax of petrol is not going to contribute much in the overall revenue growth of the state, it will merely result in Punjab pushing its market outside,’’ pointed Mr Chawla.


Health Director says no to Vigilance orders
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health Services, Punjab, has refused to implement the orders of the Vigilance Bureau to withdraw the reinstatement orders of two officials of the Punjab Nursing Council, who were placed under suspension following their arrest in a question paper leakage case.

The two officials — Mr Gurpal Singh Kang, (superintendent) and Mr Charanjit Singh, (junior assistant) — were reinstated after six months by the DHS, who is also President of the Punjab Nursing Council, pending their trial in a corruption case.

However, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau through a letter on July 8, opposed their reinstatement in view of the pendency of the case, especially at the same place from where they were arrested.

Mr Satish Chandra Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab has also advised the DHS to comply with the bureau orders. In a letter written to the council two days ago, he has directed that the two officials should be removed from their present posts during the pendency of the trial.

The challan against the two officials is slated to come up in the court on September 16. Vigilance Bureau officials, in another letter issued yesterday to the Director, Health Services (DHS), sought implementation of their previous orders.


PPSC selections held up
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The Punjab Public Service Commissioner (PPSC) today said the selection process for the posts of lecturers and medical teachers, besides veterinary officers and employment officers had been held up due to non-receipt of relevant documents from the state government.

Disclosing this here today, the PPSC secretary, Ms Bhawna Garg, said the posts for which the selection process was to be restarted were lecturers in the Education Department, professor, Ayurveda Charak Darshan, assistant professor, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and nuerology, lecturer, anatomy, biochemistry and clinical psychology, demonstrator, dental in the Health Department, veterinary officers in the Animal Husbandry Department and employment officers in the Employment Department.

The secretary said the commission would commence the process of recruitment in these categories after the receipt of the relevant documents from the state government.


MPs, MLAs’ plots cancelled
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Quashing the allotment of residential plots in Khanna in Ludhiana district to Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assembly, besides non-resident Indians under the discretionary quota “with effect from January 31, 1989”, a three-Judge Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today held that the same were illegal and void. The text of the judgement was not yet available.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court, the Bench, headed by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, ruled that the allotments were being quashed subject to certain conditions.

Giving details, the Bench ruled that the allotments made to bona fide purchasers who had raised construction as per the plans sanctioned by the Improvement Trusts or the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA) before the date of publication of the notice regarding the petition dated June 6, 1996, would remain.

The Bench added that the trusts and PUDA shall issue general instructions for restraining the alienation of constructed houses and buildings to third parties by the allottees or transferees for the next five years.

Allowing the petition, the Bench further directed that the Punjab Government should set up a committee headed by a retired High Court Judge preferably from states other than Punjab, Haryana or Delhi. The committee would examine the cases of allotment made to the members of the armed and the para-military forces who had made sacrifices for the nation, or those who had rendered distinguished service.

The Judges asserted that the cases of police personnel who had fought terrorism in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, or elsewhere in the country, besides the civilians affected by terrorist activities in these states shall also be reviewed by the committee.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Singhvi directed that the allotments recommended by the committee would be finalised by the trusts and PUDA. The allotments shall be cancelled and appropriate action would be initiated if PUDA or the trusts were of the opinion that false information had been furnished.

Mr Justice Singhvi added that the government, besides the trusts and PUDA shall also issue notices in the newspapers regarding the quashing of the allotment under the discretionary quota specifying that the allottees were entitled to refund.

The Judge added that the government may also notify a policy regarding the allotment of plots to specific class of persons after framing it. The allotments should be made by inviting applications through public notices, the Judge asserted.

Challenging the allotment, Dr Amar Singh and others of Khanna had earlier claimed that the state of Punjab and other respondents had failed to hold the draw of lots as the plots had been allotted to their favourites, including the ones with political connections, under the discretionary quota.

Going into the background of the case, they had asserted that the advertisement regarding the allotment of plots measuring 400, 250, 150 and 100 square yards in Khanna appeared in December, 1988. The allotment was to be made through the draw of lots. The number of plots was not specified.


Woman lifts extortion idea from TV; nabbed
Demands Rs 7 lakh from ex-Sarpanch
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
Inspired by a crime serial on television, a 42-year-old village woman tried to extort Rs 7 lakh from her neighbour who had recently sold off his land in the village and shifted to the New Officers Colony area in the city.

The woman, who was presented before mediapersons today by the Senior Superintendent of Police Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, said she had got the idea to extort money after watching the crime serial “Hello Inspector” on Doordarshan.

The woman-Jasbir Kaur — said she had accordingly started making phone calls to former Sarpanch of Bibipur Gurvinder Singh, who had recently shifted to the New Officers Colony from the village. She said she demanded that the former sarpanch pay Rs 15 lakh to her or she would get his children kidnapped and get them killed.

The SSP said Gurvinder Singh got panicky on receiving such phone calls and informed the police. Gurvinder Singh was advised to install a call identification device on his phone besides recording the messages received from the woman.

He said Jasbir Kaur rang up two more times again during which the extortion amount was “negotiated” between both the parties. However, the police reached the place from where the calls had been made a few minutes late allowing Jasbir Kaur to flee. He said the woman was using public phones to make the calls.

Mr Umranangal said Jasbir Kaur rang up again on July 19 last and expressed her displeasure over the inability of the family to pay up and threatened them of dire consequences. He said following this Gurvinder Singh agreed to pay Rs 7 lakh on July 21 by placing the money on a wooden bench at a dera in Bibipur village at 11 p.m.

The police officer said a police team positioned itself at the spot and arrested Jasbir Kaur when she came at five in the morning to take the money.

He said while earlier Jasbir Kaur claimed that she had come to the tubewell to start the motor to irrigate the fields, later she confessed to the crime. She said she had resorted to this to make some money for her two children and had not even involved her husband Gurdhyan Singh in the matter. She said she had consulted her sister before making the phone calls who had asked her not to do any such thing. However, chose to do otherwise despite the fact that she had good relations with the family of Gurvinder Singh.


Poor results lead to action against teachers
Our Correspondent

Ropar July 25
The district education authorities have recommended departmental action against teachers of those schools which have got very low pass percentage in the board examinations, this year. Most of the schools in their category are located near SAS Nagar and Chandigarh.

Departmental action has been recommended against four lecturers and 12 schoolmasters, serving in these schools. Besides this, action has also been recommended against teachers in other parts of district, who have been found guilty of dereliction of duty.

The District Education Officer (Secondary), Mr Ujjagar Singh Mahi, gave this information at a meeting of principals, held by the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, to review the reports regarding poor results in the district.

At the meeting, Mr Mahi said though the result of most of the schools was above 90 per cent, the result of some schools near Chandigarh had distorted the overall pass percentage in the district. The pass percentage of middle classes in the district was 72.20 per cent against the boards ‘pass percentage of 66.60 per cent, Class X 53.42 per cent against the board's 63.43 per cent humanities group 65.02 per cent against the board ‘60.59 per cent, Class XII (science group) 66.33 per cent against boards the 67.87 per cent and Class XII (commerce group) 87.86 per cent against the boards 77.88 per cent.

In the view of the poor results of Class X, Ms Jain directed Mr Mahi to ensure attendance of students and teachers in schools.

SDM and BDOs have also been asked to check the attendance of teachers in their respective area.

Besides this a formation of committees of principals to evaluate the level of education being imparted to students was also proposed.


One minister, 2 names
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
The Punjab Minister of State, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, said yesterday, “I am one person with two names. The other is Harmesh Dutt Sharma. At times to complete legal formalities, I interchange using either of the two names. How does this matter when no one has ever challenged this? Moreover, the name of my father, Anant Ram, remains the same.”

These remarks were made by the minister at a press conference specially convened to give his side of the story on the charges of “fraud and forgery’’ lodged against him in an alleged Wakf Board land-grab case in Ghey Majra village of Ropar district. Mr Sharma represents the Anandpur Sahib Assembly constituency.

As he reeled off facts from the revenue records and sought to put a lid on the allegations, he was confronted by the mediapersons with sharp, probing questions and also shown photocopies of bank documents that he had signed as “Harmesh Dutt Sharma’’.

He failed to satisfactorily explain as to why he had not corrected his name in these bank papers while earlier all along he had been blaming the village patwari for wrongly spelling his name, as “Harmesh Dutt Sharma’’ and not Ramesh Dutt Sharma. He would not answer as to why he had not got the name corrected in the revenue records.

The mediapersons had apparently come prepared with several photocopies of the relevant documents and other facts to needle Mr Sharma. These photocopies and facts pertained to his alleged shady deals in the Wakf Board land-grab and bank loan case and also the ‘’fake’’ certificate that he had obtained from J&K, making him use the prefix “Dr’’ with his name.

Mr Sharma said he met Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, yesterday and showed all documents to him. ‘’I have requested him to institute an independent inquiry by a sitting or retired judge against me and if I am found guilty, I will quit politics or if the Chief Minister had even an iota of doubt about my integrity, I will quit or he can drop me’’.

When persistently asked why he had not given it in writing or if he was willing to do so now what he had orally told the Chief Minister, Mr Sharma was evasive. Mr Sharma was also asked about the legal notice served on the Chief Minister because of him. He replied that he would legally contest it as he had nothing to fear. He, however, demanded that let them (who have served the legal notice) also quit politics and give an undertaking that they would also abide by the inquiry findings.

The minister feigned ignorance about the complaints filed against him by the Wakf Board first in 1992 and again in 2003. He also said he was not aware of any inquiry report — following investigations by the police — lying pending for legal opinion with the Legal Remembrancer.

Interestingly, the Chief Minister, has already given Mr Sharma a clean chit, saying, that “he is a fine minister”.


Youth Cong holds protest march
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
The Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress today held a protest march against terrorist attacks at Katra and Akhnoor. Youth Congress workers also burnt the flag of Pakistan.

Starting from Congress Bhavan, the march culminated at the Hall gate. The workers were shouting slogans against terrorism and Pakistan. Mr Narinder Kumar Tinu, secretary of the PPYC, held Central Government responsible for such activities.


Statements in Harpreet case recorded

Patiala, July 25
The hearing in the murder case of Harpreet Kaur, daughter of former Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Bibi Jagir Kaur, was today adjourned till tomorrow by the additional Sessions Judge, Mr S.P. Bangar.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, her friend Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi, Sanjiv Kumar, Satya, Paramjit Singh Raipur, Harwinder Singh and Punjab Police ASI Nishan Singh, all accused in the case registered by the CBI, were present in the court.

The court today recorded the statement of Mr Pardeep Sharma, owner of Chandigarh's Sector 22 Motel Oasis, where Kamaljeet Singh, who claimed to be husband of Harpreet Kaur, used to stay during his visit to the city. Mr Sharma, while accepting that he was the owner of the motel, said they had closed it in 2001.

He said motel manager Mr Amarnath looked after it and maintained record. He, however, told the court that once when he saw two girls come to the motel in an official vehicle with a red light, his manager told him that they had come to meet Kamaljit. But Mr Sharma failed to recognise Harpreet Kaur from the photograph shown to him by the CBI counsel.

The court also recorded the statement of Mr Amarnath, who also did not recognise Harpreet. But the recognised Kamaljit in the photograph, adding some girls visited Kamaljit frequently in the motel. Recording of his statement will continue tomorrow. — UNI


Jagman given bail

Chandigarh, July 25
Taking up a petition filed by approver in the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam Jagman Singh, a Division Bench of the high court today directed the grant of bail to him. Detailed orders were not yet available.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice N.K. Sud, Jagman Singh had earlier sought the grant of bail, besides the quashing of a section in the Code of Criminal Procedure which stated that an approver would continue to remain in jail till the trial concluded.

Seeking directions for the striking down of the Section, the petitioner had contended that the same was unconstitutional. Jagman’s counsel had asserted that all other accused in the case, except him, had been released on bail. Even the accused who had turned approver at a later stage were out on bail.


Villagers block traffic over diversion of rain water
Tribune News Service

Adhnia (Muktsar), July 25
Hundreds of residents of the village today blocked the traffic on the Fazilka-Delhi national highway for about four hours to protest against the decision of district administration to divert the stagnating rain water from the fields towards their village.

The traffic was diverted to the link roads because of the traffic blockade while the residents allowed some vehicles carrying patients to cross the area. They threatened that if the district administration did not stop draining out water in the village ponds, they would observe a fast.

The protesters raised slogans against the district administration and a section of the Congress leaders. They alleged that water was being diverted towards the village as the district administration was trying to drain out the rain water which had stagnated around two houses owned by a Congress worker.

They pointed out that at present the water, which had collected in the fields, was being drained out in two ponds of the village posing a threat to the dwellings near the ponds. They said due to mixing of rain water with the pond water, it had become polluted and unfit for the consumption of animals. The collection of a huge quantity of rain water into the ponds had also become a threat to a school and a religious place.

They said the heavy rain which lashed this village a few days ago had damaged about 50 houses and if the district administration did not stop draining out stagnating water from the fields into the village ponds, more houses could collapse.

The residents lifted the traffic blockade after district officials assured them that their problem would be solved. The SDM, Malout, held talks with the residents of the village, who had blocked the traffic.

Mrs Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, said the traffic blockade was an outcome of political groupism in the village. She added that the district administration was taking steps to provide immediate relief to the residents of the village.

She pointed out that the village ponds were big enough to accommodate the stagnating rain water from the fields. As there was no other drain located near the village, the district administration had asked a technical team to find a solution to the problem of draining out the rain water.


Stop children from participating in parades,
PHRC urges CM
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
The Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC), has urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to stop district heads from forcing schoolchildren to participate in Independence Day and Republic Day parades.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, General Secretary, PHRC, said district officials were apathetic towards the plight of thousands of schoolchildren during the rehearsals of such parades.

The authorities never made arrangements for drinking water, transportation and shelter. Last year, a schoolgirl had collapsed due to heat stroke and later died “Every year, many schoolchildren collapse in parade grounds when they are mercilessly made to stand for hours to appease the so called VIPs,” he said. “If the district officials really want to teach students about independence and its values, then they must first learn to treat them well and take care of their comforts during such celebrations,” he said.

The PHRC also appealed to parents of schoolchildren to take care of the welfare of their wards as school managements and the district officials were negligent towards the plight of the children.

A copy of the letter had also been sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda.


Nagar council area work on despite probe
Our Correspondent

Nangal, (Ropar) July 25
Work without opening the tenders is continuing in the Nangal Municipal Council despite the Vigilance arresting the executive engineer by laying a trap and the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, ordering the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, to inquire into the issue.

As reported earlier in these columns, despite the fact that tenders have not yet been opened, the work on the retaining wall, worth Rs 5 lakh from the Dobeta cremation ground to Sharma Store in the Nangal municipal area was almost half complete. The case highlighted the blatant corruption indulged in by a nexus of officials of the council and some contractors enjoying political patronage.

After the case was reported in The Tribune, the Deputy Commissioner ordered the SDM, Anandpur Sahib, to conduct an inquiry into the incident. The local Congress MLA, Mr KPS Rana, also condemned the blatant corruption and said heads might roll in the council being ruled by the Congress.

However, despite all this, the work that opened the Pandora’s box of corruption in the Nangal council was still continuing. On a tip-off, when mediapersons visited the scene the work on the retaining wall was being carried out by labourers despite the fact that the tenders for it were lying in a sealed box in the council.

No official was present in the Nangal council to comment on the matter. Sources in the council said with the executive officer and the executive engineer under suspension, other officials associated with the work had proceeded on leave. One of the junior engineers of the council who was allegedly getting the work under dispute executed had got himself admitted to a Ludhiana hospital fearing arrest in the matter. The Deputy Commissioner said she would get the work stopped after talking to the council President, Mr Ranjit Singh Saini.

The sources also said that without tender work being executed by the contractor on an assurance in this regard from ruling party councillors that ultimately the work would be allotted to him.


Daughter lodges complaint against mother
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
In a rare incident a daughter lodged a complaint against her mother for allegedly kidnapping her and forcing her to marry against her wishes here today.

Minor Gurpreet Kaur, a resident of Amargarh Kaler village in Ludhiana district, in her complaint has alleged that her mother Amarjit Kaur along with Shinder Kaur of Sangrur district, Mangal Singh and his wife Amarjit Kaur of Amritsar, forcibly married her to Dilbagh Singh, who lives in Rajasthan, earlier last month. Gurpreet alleged that her mother had illicit relations with Dilbagh Singh.

The police has registered a case against the accused persons at the Islamabad police station here. However, no arrests have been made so far.

Meanwhile, in another incident Pargat Singh, a resident of Jundu Sarai village, Jalandhar district was nabbed by the Immigration Department at the Amritsar international airport for possessing fake passport. He was to board a flight to England.


Complaint filed in Malta boat tragedy case
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 25
Mr Balwant Singh Khera, chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, yesterday filed a complaint with the Indira Gandhi International Airport police station in New Delhi regarding the human trafficking of persons by political leaders for consideration.

In a press note here today, Mr Khera stated that the mission had taken up the issue with the state government. Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had given an assurance to the mission for a high-level probe into the matter. But his government did not take any effective steps to proceed against the accused, as all were officials of the SAD (B) and the SGPC. The Congress government had also not taken due note of the scandal, he rued. It was mentioned that leaders of various political parties in power send people abroad as part of delegations and collect huge amounts from them for their organisations.


Youth urged to serve the needy
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 25
“The present man has become materialistic and joined the rat race creating more problems for himself. He has no time for society, family and self. The present man is not as much disturbed by his problems as he is disturbed by the happiness of others,” said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, in his keynote address at the seminar ‘Problems of the present man’ organised by the District Cultural Society here today.

He said the main cause of our problems was that there was a difference between what we said and what we did. He decried depleting moral and ethical values and said a way out of this crisis was to control desires.

“Service of the needy gives mental peace. The youth should respect their parents and the parents should be good role models,” he said.

Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, Senior Superintendent of Police and the chief guest, called for self-introspection on what we were giving back to society. He said ego was the root cause of all problems, besides stress.

Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Head of the Commerce Department of MG College, said cultural invasion via television was corrupting the youth. He said the Internet posed a new challenge.

Mr Gurkirpal Singh Ashk, journalist, and Dr Charan Singh Gill also spoke.


Badal for relief to rain-hit farmers
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 25
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal yesterday said that the state government should pay adequate compensation to those, whose houses, paddy, cotton and other crops had been damaged due to rain in 10 villages of Lambi subdivision of this district.

Mr Badal toured the affected villages — Punjaba, Hakuwala, Kandu Khera, Midhu Khera, Bhullarawala, Adhnia and Bhitiwala and talked to the Deputy Commissioner, seeking compensation for affected farmers and other residents.

Mr Badal said that authorities should also make efforts to drain off water from submerged crops. Paddy, cotton and other crops were damaged due to rain in this area few days ago. The District Administration has ordered a special Girdawri to assess the loss after Deputy Commissioner Mrs Usha R. Sharma toured the affected areas on Wednesday.


Mazdoor sangh organises rally
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 25
Members of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) today organised rallies in Patiala, Samana, Nabha and Rajpura to protest against the state government’s decision to privatise the public sector.

While addressing the rally, vice-president of the Punjab BMS Balwant Singh said that privatisation would harm the economic dependence of the country and ruin the economy.

He said that the government move to disinvestment was a step in the wrong direction which would severely hit the employees.

Leaders demanded that all employees who had put in more than 240 days of service should be regularised without any preconditions. Besides this, they should also get medical allowance of Rs 500 per month and minimum wages of Rs 5,000. They demanded regularisation of part-time sweepers in the local bodies and grant of 5 to 10 per cent old-age allowance for the pensioners.


Protest against withdrawal of NPA
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
Members of the Senior PCMS Association and PCMS Association of Bathinda yesterday, raised slogans against the state government in protest against its decision of withdrawing the Non-Practice allowance (NPA) being given to doctors them.

In a Press note issued here yesterday, Dr G.S. Mauji, Secretary, Senior PCMS Association, said that NPA was a part of salary of the doctors and could not be withdrawn. He added NPA was being paid to doctors for rendering duties for 24 hours.

He said at a joint meeting of both the association, it was decided that these would participate any agitation, launched by the state body.


Another blood scam accused commits suicide

Amritsar, July 25
Another blood scam accused committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping tablets here today.

Amrik Singh a medical laboratory technician, is the second person to resort to suicide after he was arrested in the 'blood scam' exposed here. Amrik was arrested along with Ranjit Singh, an employee of the Blood Bank.

Earlier Kamaljit Singh, a lab assistant, who was also arrested in this case, had committed suicide. Four blood donors were arrested in the blood scam.


Couple commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 25
Perturbed over their failure to have a child after three years of marriage, a young couple allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at their Beant Nagar residence here today.

According to the police, Gurdeep was a technician and hailed from Sirsa in Haryana. He was married to Monika about three years ago.

According to the police, Gurdip consumed the pesticide in the presence of Monika, who also took the extreme step.


Factory destroyed in fire
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
A printing machine factory situated in East Mohan Nagar area was gutted here late night when a fire broke out in the factory. A patrolling police party first noticed the fire and immediately called the fire brigade. It took about three or four hours to control the fire.

While no one hurt in the incident, printing and cutting machines worth lakhs were reduced to ashes. It could not be ascertained how the first broke out.


Farmers to be trained in pest control
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 25
Sixteen villages under Talwandi subdivision of this district have been included in the Integrated Pest Management (IPM), for cotton crop, launched by Central Integrated Pest Management Centre, Jalandhar.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr Kartar Singh, Technical Officer, Central Integrated Pest Management Centre, said on Thursday that 35 farmers from every village would be trained in the Integrated Pest Management in 10 weeks. The farmers would be taught to protect crops from the ‘pest attack’ by using the natural resources and reducing sprays of pesticides, to cut down the cost of cultivation.


Excise Dept attaches cinema
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 25
Under its campaign to collect arrears of different types of taxes in the district, the Excise and Taxation Department has attached Gurmail cinema of Kot Kapura after its owners failed to pay the entertainment tax amounting to nearly Rs 30 lakh. In a press note issued here today, Mr Partap Singh, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Faridkot district, said the defaulting party did not pay heed to the verbal and written notices served on it for clearing the arrears.

The AETC said the theatre had been sealed after taking into possession the immovable property of the defaulters. He further said that a gur dealer of the town had been arrested for failing to pay arrears of Rs 2.35 lakh against sales tax for the past about two years. He had been sent to the local district jail.

The AETC has appealed to all dealers of different trades to cooperate with the department in paying their arrears and fresh taxes timely to avoid unpleasantness between the department and the trading community. He said he would sort out all their problems in this connection on a priority basis.


Dacoits kill boy, injure nine
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, July 25
About 12 armed dacoits struck at nearby Bajwara Kalan village, killing a teenaged school boy and injuring nine members of his family, shortly after midnight.

The dacoits, waring ‘kachcha-baniyan’, were armed with swords, iron rods an sickles. They barged into the house of Surinder Kumar around 1 a.m., after one of them climbed the boundary wall and opened the main gate.

After entering the house, the dacoits started beating up members of the family with iron rods, hand pump handles and sickles. They also attacked Jatinder Kumar, the 13-year-old son of Surinder Kumar, with the handle of a handpump as he tried to raise a hue and cry after seeing his family members being beaten up.

Jatinder succumbed to injuries and died after some time.

After beating up the family members, the dacoits forced the women of the house to part with their jewellery, estimated at lakhs of rupees. Such was the ruthlessness of the attackers that they forcibly pulled out earrings of women before fleeing from the house under the cover of darkness.

Sonia, a family member, who was hiding in a room, called up one of her relatives, who in turn informed the police.

The injured have been identified as Parminder Kumar (32), his wife Neelam Kumari (26), Mohinder Kaur (50), Vijay Kumar (28), Bhagwanti (70), Hanso Kaur (50), Manjit Kaur (15), Raj Kumar (20) and Dalbir Kaur (19).

Earlier, in a similar incident, armed persons had struck at Ghumlala village in the district on Wednesday and killed an old person, besides injuring three others.

Vijay Kumar, who has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, here, said the dacoits were of average height, had dark complexion and were speaking in Hindi.

After fleeing from the house of Surinder Kumar, the dacoits reportedly went to a tubewell where they bathed and washed their blood-stained clothes after tying up the chowkidar there.

The police, which summoned fingerprint experts and sniffer dogs in the morning, has registered a case under Sections 459, 460, 148 and 149 of the IPC. About 12 migrant labourers have reportedly been detained from nearby villages.


4 held for robbery
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 25
The police here arrested 4 persons for robbery at Rara crossing near Tanda last evening.

Ms Gurpreet Deo, SSP, said that the Tanda police arrested Lakhwinder Singh alias Manna of Jaida, Sohan Alias Langha of Sorkhan, Kamaljit alias Kambu and Romesh alias Meshi, both of Nadali.

She said that they looted Rs 25,000 from Swarn Kaur wife of Balwinder Singh of Khakhan village on July 18, 2003 while she was coming with her son near the village.

On raising alarm by Swarn Kaur people of the area came to her rescue and the robbers escaped after leaving their scooter on the site. She said that Rs 20,500 from the looted money and a motor cycle No (PB-08AE-3453) were recovered from them. The police registered a case under Section 382/34 of the IPC against them.


Youth killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 25
Lalit Kumar (21) of the local Bhagatpura mohalla, died after falling from a train near the level crossing in Santokhpura locality here this evening.

The youth was standing in the door of the Chhattisgarh downline train when he fell down due to jerk. The deceased was a student at Jallandar and was returning to Phagwara.

Lalit was the only son of his parents and brother of four sisters whose bewailing rent the skies here tonight.


Punjabi Dept Head seeks action against Pal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
Dr Amritpal Kaur, Head, Punjabi Literary Studies Department, Punjabi University, today urged the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, to take action against the Pro Vice- Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, claiming that he was spoiling the academic atmosphere on the campus.

In a letter written to the Vice-Chancellor, which was released to the press, the teacher claimed that she had been at the receiving end of “misbehavior” from Dr Pal about which she had complained to the Vice-Chancellor also. She said on November 29, 2002, Dr Pal had “misbehaved with her when she went to his office and had slighted her for not performing her tasks properly while organising a seminar which had been presided over by the Pro Vice-Chancellor in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor.

The teacher reminded the Vice-Chancellor after the receipt of the letter that he would not let such an incident to happen again. She claimed, however, that the Pro Vice-Chancellor was continuing to release information to the press the latest of which was a letter written by another lady teacher Dr Robinder Powar to him. Dr Amritpal Kaur said the reputation of the lady teacher had been compromised by such an action.

The teacher in her letter claimed that the Vice-Chancellor was being “very lenient” in taking action in this matter which was sending wrong signals and that some persons were even taking advantage of this. She said there was no dearth of honest persons in the university but what was lacking was the leadership. While asking the Vice-Chancellor how long he would continue to be lenient, she urged that action should be taken against Dr Pal for destroying the atmosphere of brotherhood on the campus.

The letter for Dr Amritpal Kaur comes soon after the release of a letter written by Dr Pal to the Vice-Chancellor. The Pro Vice-Chancellor had in the letter brought to the notice of Dr Boparai that some documents had come to his possession from an anonymous source and he was sending the same to the Vice-Chancellor. The documents pertained to a decision taken by a former Vice-Chancellor Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, to revert the Dean, Academics, Prof U.C. Singh, to the post of a Reader and ordering an inquiry into “plagiarism” committed by Dr Robinder Powar in her Ph.D thesis.


Students threaten stir on Nisha case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 25
The Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Sikh Students Federation of India (SSFI) today in a joint statement said they would launch a struggle on August 10 if the government did not take definite action in the Nisha Bhati sexual harassment case.

Association leaders, Jaspal Singh Manjhpur and Harmandeep Singh Gill, said it was a matter of shame that no definite action had been taken in the case despite a number of inquiries. They said in case the inquiry ordered by Minister for Technical Education Mohinder Singh Kaypee into the case also did not result in any concrete action, they would be forced to go to the public on the issue.

The leaders said according to all laid down norms of holding inquiries into the cases of sexual harassment, the accused person was always transferred from his post and then only an inquiry was conducted. They said, however, in Nisha Bhati’s case Naresh Nagpal continued to hold the charge of Principal of Government Women Polytechnic at Jalandhar.


DEO promises to bring back pupils to govt schools
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 25
The preference for public schools is a challenge for government schools and the staff should be prepared to bring back students to government schools by providing quality education.

Mr Daya Singh, who assumed charge as District Education Officer (S), Fatehgarh Sahib, today, said though the staff in government schools was more qualified and experienced than private schools, yet the impression of government schools remained poor.

Listing his priorities, he said he would visit all schools and ensure punctuality among the staff members. He said stress would be on free and fair examinations and the progress of a teacher would be judged from his pupils’ performance.

He would hold meetings with heads and teachers separately. A spirit of competition would be developed among teachers and those doing their duty with dedication honoured.


Varsity extends date of admission
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 25
Guru Nanak Dev University has extended the last date without late fee for admission to various courses in its affiliated colleges till August 11, 2003.

This decision was taken by the university following the rollback of fee hike by the Punjab Government and to enable students who could not get admission to the courses of their choice earlier due to fee hike to join colleges. Principals of affiliated colleges have been informed about the decision. The other dates of admission in colleges shall remain the same. This was informed in a varsity press note here yesterday.

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