Tuesday, July 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Talhan Dalits feel betrayed
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Talhan (Jalandhar), July 28
Dalit residents of this village are aghast over the delay in inclusion of one of two Dalit nominees, Mr Amarjit, in the Shaheed Baba Nihal Singh Gurdwara Management Committee as a regular member on account of his inability to attain the ‘Sikh saroop’. Mr Amarjit said he was disturbed over the ‘discriminatory’ approach adopted by the Jat-dominated committee.

Mr Amarjit also asserted that he held ‘amrit’ in the highest esteem, but, he would not partake it under any pressure. “I want to partake ‘amrit’ on my own and at my own time but if they (committee members) think that I would do so to get the membership, they are mistaken,” Mr Amarjit added.

Other Dalit residents of the village were also disturbed over the delay in inclusion of Mr Amarjit as a regular member and felt that going by the developments, they had apprehensions about the proper implementation of the June 14 peace pact.

Mr Vijay Kumar, a Dalit, said he doubted that the peace pact would ever be implemented and honoured by the other side. “Earlier, at the time of signing of the accord they had assured that Amarjit would be taken as a regular member within a month or so, but now they have extended the period for another one and half month.

At the time of signing of the accord a DSP, who had trimmed his beard, had come to the village and was asked by our people about the definition of a Sikh, had said that the proposed member should have an appearance like him, but now they are saying something else which is generating doubts among the Dalit community,” said Mr Vijay Kumar.

Mr Swaran Dass, another Dalit resident, said Dalits had no objection if Amarjit partook ‘amrit’ but they would not give advice to him on this account. “It is purely his personal matter and we would not interfere, but, we feel humiliated over the delay which is being caused in the implementation of the pact.”

Mr Gian Chand, a Dalit resident, said it was ironical that while Amarjit had earlier been included as a member and was also accorded recognition, but now he was not being inducted as a regular member. “When administration officials came to the village, they (Jat members) promised that he would be inducted as a regular member but things turned the same way again after the officials left.

It is ironical that with his present appearance (with a pagri on his head and sporting a small beard) Amarjit could partake ‘amrit’ as per the Sikh rituals, but he cannot be inducted as the member of a gurdwara committee,” said Mr Gian Chand.

Mr Amarjit said, “The delay on our part has led to this problem. Our people should have ensured implementation of the accord while they were in jail. The problem is that in their hearts they (Jat members) think that we have no right to sit alongwith them. Though they do not say so openly. There was no condition that Dalit members should be ‘amritdharis’. Once we agreed to become ‘keshdharis’, they put another condition that to be in the committee members have to be ‘amritdhari’.”


Cong Dalit rally put off
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 28
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has decided to postpone “Dalit” rally earlier scheduled to be held at Jalandhar on August 10, for one month.

Talking to reporters here yesterday, the Punjab Local Bodies Minister Choudhary Jagjit Singh said that during a high-level meeting attended by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Congress chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal and senior Congress ministers from the Doaba region at PAP Complex here yesterday, it was decided to postpone the rally to September 10.


NPA withdrawal may spur exodus from PCMS
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Growing resentment over the withdrawal of the non-practising allowance (NPA) may lead to an exodus from the Pujab Civil Medical Service (PCMS) as senior members of the service, especially those in the last five years of their service careers, are seriously contemplating to quit before the 25 per cent slash in their salaries is notified.

The directorate of Family Welfare and Health as well as that of Medical Education and Research have been receiving inquiries from senior members of the service who want to “say goodbye” before their last pay drawn, used for calculating pension, is reduced as a sequel to the withdrawal of NPA.

“One doctor has already put in his papers and we have accepted them,” confirmed Mr D.S. Jaspal, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, holding that the government was in the process of finalising modalities for implementing the decision taken by the Council of Ministers. The immediate attention is on finalising guidelines by which government doctors doing private practice will be required to share the money with the state. “We have to issue these guidelines immediately so that in case the withdrawal of NPA is notified from August 1, the guidelines governing private practice have to be in place by that time,” he added.

Doctors have contested the basic view taken by the government over private ptactice indulged in by government doctors.

“Only 10 to 15 per cent of the total PCMS doctors have been doing private practice. If the state government failed to contain this problem, why it is punishing the remaining 85 per cent doctors who have been working honestly and dedicatedly. Once NPA is withdrawn, every doctor will focus on curative medicine thus defeating the basic philosophy of preventive and primary medicine,” claims Dr Ajay Bagga, press secretary of the PCMS Association.

Further, he says, NPA is a misnomer. The Third Pay Commission of the Central Government held that NPA was given to doctors in lieu of arduous nature of their work as they are on call of duty round the clock and also because of their prolonged training befoe joining the profession.

The Central Government pays 25 per cent of the basic pay as NPA to doctors working in the Central Government Health Service (CGHS). The Himachal Pradesh Government also pays 25 per cent of basic pay as NPA.

In Haryana, the government has a slab system. Doctors up to five years of service get Rs 1500 per month as NPA while those up to 11 years of service get Rs 2,000 and those with more than 11 years of service get Rs 2,500 per month.

There have been contradictory claims about NPA paid to doctors, including teachers. While the government maintained that it would save Rs 60 crore by allowing doctors to do private practice, the PCMS Association contests this claim.

The association maintains that the state pays less than Rs 25 crore per annum as NPA to 3850 doctors. Doctors teaching in medical colleges may have been getting another Rs 3 to 4 crore and in no way the total amount exceeds Rs 30 crore.

Sources in the Department of Health and Family Welfare reveal that NPA, including pension benefit, costs the state exchequer Rs 24.70 crore.NPA withdrawal may spur exodus from PCMSIn 1972, the Punjab Government had introduced the pay clinic concept in which doctors belonging to the PCMS-I cadre were allowed to do private practice from government clinics after their duty hours. Under that scheme, the revenue so earned was shared in the ratio of 50:40:10, with doctors getting 50 per cent, the state 40 per cent and the remaining 10 per cent going to paramedics. But the scheme was withdrawn in 1975.


Restore non-practising allowance: doctors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Statewide protests and rallies against the withdrawal of non-practising allowance (NPA) to doctors were held today on a call given by the Punjab PCMS Association. The doctors also criticised the government’s decision to hand over the health delivery system to the private sector.

In a joint statement on the statewide protests, Dr M.S. Randhawa, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, all office-bearers of the association, said here that the government acts were ‘immoral’ and ‘betrayal’ of the public faith. The allowance withdrawal was on the pretext of financial crunch.

Reports from different parts of the state indicate that doctors wore black badges and held rallies in front of hospitals, dispensaries and primary health centres. It was resolved, said the statement, that all doctors would resort to ‘work to rule’ from August 1, the date of the implementation of the withdrawal of the NPA. A state-level rally was also proposed to be held here on August 5.

A Finance Department notification of July 22 stated that the abolition of the allowance was applicable to all doctors registered as PCMS doctors. They would retain two-third of the earnings and share one-third with the state. The doctors, who were now free to do private practice, however, were warned not to affect normal health delivery services in the hospitals.

A report from Amritsar said that the Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association had decided to resign en mass in protest against abolition of the NPA.

There were 350 doctors in government medical and dental colleges, who were likely to submit their resignations. The association has contested the government figures on the savings that would accrue to it upon withdrawal of the NPA. While the government claims it would effect a saving of Rs 30 crore, the teachers said it would not be more than Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore.

Reports of protests were also received from Sangrur, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Samana. In Sangrur, the PCMS president, Dr P.S. Sibia, and the general secretary, Dr Surinder Singla, condemned the government decision. Dr Tej Pal Singh claimed in Hoshiarpur that all doctors in the area held protests and resolved to intensify the agitation.

The central body of the PCMS Association met in Ludhiana. Dr Ajay Bagga and Dr Sardul Singh later said that a mass protest dharna would be held in Chandigarh on August 5. It was decided that Dr Manjit Kaur, daughter of the late Giani Zail Singh, should arrange a meeting of the association with the Chief Minister.

While over 100 doctors wearing black badges held a rally in Jalandhar, Dr Manjit Singh, secretary of the association, addressed a rally at Samana.


Crucial SGPC meeting from Aug 5
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 28
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC chief, has convened a two-day meeting of the executive body and the Dharm Prachar Committee from August 5 at Teja Singh Sammunderi Hall here. His close confidant, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, is likely to be appointed as Chief Secretary at the meeting.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, who had resigned from Executive Committee to pave way for Mr Tohra to become SGPC chief is likely to be re-inducted into the executive body.

The Dharm Prachar Committee meeting would also touch upon many controversial issues which have been pending with the SGPC for a long time. Despite repeated reminders the predecessors of Mr Tohra had failed to implement the directives of Akal Takht.

Meanwhile, Mr Tohra did a minor reshuffle in the Shiromani committee. He appointed his close aide, Mr Ranbir Singh, as his personal assistant in place of Mr Raghbir Singh who has been shifted to the Dharma Prachar Committee. The Shiromani Committee is likely to appoint Mr Harbir Singh Bhanwar, a noted journalist as media director.


Oust Cong, Badal’s call to Punjabis
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 28
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has given a clarion call to Punjabis to join hands for voting out the Congress in the forthcoming General Election in Punjab.

Launching the party’s poll campaign at an impressive political conference held at Kot Kapura, 12 km from here, in the district today, senior Akali leaders alleged that successive Congress governments at the Centre had not only failed to perform its duties in a democratic manner but also never remained sincere towards resolving the problems of the Punjabis.

In his speech Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, criticised the Congress government led by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for Operation Bluestar.

He added that the SAD-BJP combine would contest the parliament elections on the issue of the anti-Punjabi role adopted by the state Congress government. Lashing out at the Congress Mr Badal said Capt Amarinder Singh had only one-point agenda i.e. to harass senior Akali leaders. He also flayed Chief Minister for selling PEDA company and Punjab Tractors Limited to the private sector. He said the Chief Minister had betrayed the interests of the people by backing out on the establishment of an oil refinery project in Bathinda district.

Other senior Akali leaders who addressed the conference included Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, senior vice-president, SAD, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Jathedar Tota Singh, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Mr Janmeja Singh, all former ministers, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, MLA, Gidderbaha, besides Mr Mantar Singh Brar and Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, MLAs, Kot Kapura, and Faridkot, respectively.

Later, talking to mediapersons Mr Badal said his party might have an alliance with all like-minded parties, except Congress, in this regard.


Paddy support price unchanged
Sarabjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Union Government will shortly announce the minimum support price ( MSP) of paddy for the current year, according to sources.

Sources said the farmers would get the same price as last year plus drought relief, with the only difference that the drought relief had been merged into last year’s support price.

It means the prices for grade A and grade-B paddy will be Rs 580 and Rs 550 per quintal, respectively, against last year’s prices of Rs 560 and Rs 530. Farmers were given Rs 20 per quintal as drought relief on paddy last year.

Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies, Punjab, said his department had received no intimation about the decision taken on the MSP by the Central Government.

When contacted over the telephone in Delhi today, the Chairman of the National Commission for Agriculture Prices and Costs, told The Tribune that a formal announcement on the paddy price was expected to be made in a couple of days. The commission, which had discussed the issue with all concerned, had no difference of opinion with the Union Government over the fixation of the MSP for paddy.

Asked about an increase in the MSP, he said he could not disclose anything in this connection. The decision had been taken at a very high level.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab Government has sought Rs 726 and Rs 660 per quintal as the revised MSP for A and B grade paddy, respectively. The state government has made a report of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) as the basis for seeking this price.

The state government has also sought an appointment with the Union Food Minister to seek an adequate increase in the MSP. 


Farmers protest against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 28
A large number of farmers protested against the state government’s policies and corruption in the Revenue Department in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today.

Mr Kanwalpreet Pannu, convener of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee, alleged that the chief minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had failed to eliminate corruption.

He alleged that besides government fees, farmers had to pay thousands to patwaris and other revenue officials for registries and ‘intqal’ of land.

The farmers also presented a memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner. They threatened to gherao officials.


Farmers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28
Hundreds of activists of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), led by Mr Maluk Singh Harike, state senior vice-president of the union, today staged a dharna in front of the office of the Chief Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), here to lodge their protest against the privatisation of the board by the state government to implement the policies of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Addressing the activists, Mr Harike alleged that the government had been taking care of the interests of the rich by ignoring the economic interests and problems being faced by farmers and other poor sections of society.

Those who addressed the activists included Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, president, BKU (Ekta), Bathinda district unit, Mr Ram Singh Bahini Bagha, president, BKU (Ekta), Mansa district, and Mr Gurditta Singh Bhamsar, president, BKU (Ekta), Muktsar district.

The BKU activists demanded that the government should make arrangements to remove disparities in the power supply to rural and urban areas. 


Farmers found misusing domestic power supply
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28
Thirty-six agricultural consumers were found running tubewells on single-phase supply during a surprise checking by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) officials in the area under the 66 kv Banur substation.

These consumers were doing so by using shunt capacitors. An official release said some persons managed to remove capacitors just before the checking indicating that a much larger number of agricultural consumers were misusing the single-phase power supply ment for domestic use.

The release said the board Chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra, today visited various substations in Banur and Landran areas following complaints of erratic power supply during single-phase supply hours. The primary reason of overloading of feeders during single-phase supply hours was the running of tubewells by installing capacitors. This, he said, resulted in switching off the feeders due to overloading.

Mr Ratra appealed to the agriculture consumers not to run tubewells during single-phase supply hours so that the board could ensure proper supply to the domestic consumers. He directed the officials of the Distribution and Enforcement wings to carry out regular checking to identify defaulters.

He also directed the Substation staff not to switch off 11 kv feeders during single phasing as far as possible.



BJP appoints poll officers
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 28
Mr Anil Sareen, secretary, state unit of the BJP in his capacity as returning officer, Amritsar (Rural) district for the organisational elections for the party in the district has nominated 13 assistant returning officers (AROs).

Mr Sareen talking to newmen here yesterday said the AROs nominated for mandal level were as under: Patti— Mr Janak Raj Mehta, Valtoha — Mr Sulakhan Singh Dhunna, Khadooi Sahib Mr Satish Bhanot, Tarn Taran — Mr Rakesh Bhardwaj, Majitha— Mr Ram Singh Panwar, Verka — Mr Chander Aggalwal, Ajnala — Ms Navneet Singh Lovely, Raja Sansi- Ms Sarabjit Kaur-Beas — Mr Surinder Agarwal, Jandiala Guru — Mr Rajinder Dheer, Naushera Pannuan — Mr Baba Partap Singh, Bhikhiwind-Mr Surinder Narula for Attari — Mr R.P. Singh Maini.

Mr Sareen said the organisational-level poll at village and mohalla level would be done till August 15 and the organisational elections for the mandal-level office-bearers would be completed till August 20. The district level elections would be over by August 30.


Left parties’ dharna against Punjab government
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 28
Activists of four Left parties — CPI(M), MCPI, CPI(ML) Liberation and All-India Forward Block — staged a protest here today against the Punjab Government’s failure to honour its poll promises.

The protest started from the Fountain chowk near the local Improvement Trust office for the Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s office here, where they organised a dharna.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Barhi, Punjab state secretariat CPM member, while addressing the rally, reminded Capt Amarinder Singh that the Congress before the Assembly Poll had promised to exempt bills of power motors, enhance old-age pension and the amount under the Shagun Scheme.

Major Singh Punnawal, Sangrur district CPM Secretary, flayed Capt Amarinder Singh for implementing anti-public policies.

Mr Sher Singh Pharwahi, Punjab Dehati Mazdoor Sabha president, and Mr Malkiat Singh, Jamhoori Kishan Sabha leader, while addressing the rally demanded that the Punjab Government should ensure the payment of arrears to farmers due with sugar mills of Punjab.

Prominent among others who addressed the rally included Mr Karamjit Singh Bihla, president, Punjab Field and Workshop Union, Mr Nevtej Singh Deharh, convener, Punjab Students Federation, and Mr Gursewak Singh, CPI leader.

A memorandum containing demands was submitted at the SDM office, Barnala, for forwarding it to the Punjab Chief Minister.


Pepsu roadways suspends manager
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28
The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) today suspended its Bathinda depot General Manager following charges of corruption levelled against him by the state Vigilance Bureau.

PRTC Chairman Ved Prakash Gupta said that the corporation had received information from the state Vigilance Department that a cashier, who had been caught red handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 3,000 from an illegal vendor, had claimed that he was doing so on behalf of the Bathinda General Manager. He said after a formal receipt of the complaint from the Vigilance Department, he had decided to suspend the General Manager, Mr Harbaksh Singh Dhillon.

The Chairman claimed that earlier also complaints had been received against Mr Dhillon and that they would also be investigated. He said he had also given direction to speed up the inquiries against other senior corporation officials who were facing charges of corruption. He said all such inquiries would be completed soon.

Mr Gupta also said that flying squads had been formed at his level besides that at the level of the Managing Director and Additional Managing Director. He said these flying squads had already started brining in results with some personnel being caught committing irregularities. He said warnings had also been issued to all employees that corruption would not be tolerated and that quick punishment would be awarded in corruption cases.

The Chairman said he had also directed all depot General Managers to issue a no objection certificate to each bus before it left the depot. He said this was being done to ensure there was proper checking of all mechanical parts before the bus left the depot. He said officers giving no-objection certificates would also be held accountable in case proper checking of buses was not being done in their depots.


Mill Managing Director suspended
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 28
Mr T.R. Sarangal, Managing Director, Sugarfed, Punjab, has placed Mr Kulwant Singh Saggu, Managing Director, sugar mill Paniar, 5 km from here, and Mr Bhawra, sales officer, under suspension for committing various irregularities. Both have been asked to report at Sugarfed headquarters in Chandigarh. Mr Balbir Singh Jaffar, Managing Director, sugar mill, Batala, has been given the additional charge of managing director of sugar mill, Paniar for the time being.

Official sources said the Sugarfed Managing Director had deputed Mr Partap Singh, General Manager, sugar mill, Nawanshahr, and Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Sugarfed engineer, from Chandigarh to hold an enquiry. Both had visited the Paniar sugar mill and in their enquiry report had held the said officials guilty.

The official sources said a high-powered committee from Sugarfed, Chandigarh, was likely to visit the sugar mill to hold an extensive enquiry.


Wadala tried to grab mandir, says sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 28
Members of Ghumiara village panchayat today accused the SAD (Democratic) president, Mr Kuldeep Singh Wadala, of creating a rift between the Hindu and the Sikh communities by trying to grab “Sati Mata Asthan” situated at the outskirts of the village in the name of a gurdwara.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Sarpanch of Ghumiara village, Mr Surjit Singh, along with other panches, alleged that Mr Wadala was trying to establish “Sati Mata Asthan” as a gurdwara even as revenue records clearly indicted that no gurdwara was ever constructed at the place.

He refuted the allegations that residents of Ghumiara village had attacked Mr Wadala during his visit to the mandir on July 26. “I had personally stopped agitated residents not to break the law and the police was informed immediately even as Mr Wadala, along with his associates, raised slogans to vitiate the atmosphere,” said Mr Surjit Singh, adding that the whole village was united on the issue and they would not allow any outsider and politicians to disturb the communal harmony of the village.

The villagers were of the view that the district administration should strictly deal with such elements to avoid a Talhan-like situation. Interestingly, not a single Hindu family live in Ghumiara village and confrontation had erupted between two factions of Jat Sikhs following Mr Wadala’s decision to support one of the factions.

Mr Wadala had earlier alleged that the villagers had attacked him with sharp-edged weapons on July 26 and he was only saved by the police, whom the former contacted over phone before locking himself inside the shrine.


Heroes of 10 Dogra remembered
Our Correspondent

Dera Baba Nanak, July 28
Major-General Ashok Samantaray today laid wreaths at Dera Baba Nanak war memorial in memory of the Indian soldiers who attained martyrdom in 1971 war. The memorial was constructed by 10 Dogra regiment after the success of operation ‘Akal’ undertaken by valiant soldiers of the brigade under the command of the then Brig K. Gaurishankar.

The General, recalling great victory of the brigade, said that the Pakistan’s army lost 34 men while 28 were taken POWs besides large quantity of arms and ammunition. He said that India also suffered 21 casualties while 32 were wounded while three men were missing.

The memorial was redesigned and renovated recently and landscaping was carried to give new look to the entire area. The wreaths were also laid in memory of those who died in Kargil operation on ‘Vijay divas’.

The General said that the brigade which carried out the operation in the area had earned three MVCs, seven Vir Chakras, 15 sena medals and 14 mention in despatches. The Brigade Commander Gaurishankar was also awarded Mahavir Chakra and then Captain Narinder Singh Sandhu also won MVC while young Capt Devinder Singh Ahlawat of the 10 Dogra got MVC (Posthumously). 


CPI workers protest ‘anti-people’ policies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
In protest against the visit of a World Bank team, which held talks with the top brass of the Punjab Government here today and “anti-people” policies of the state government, a large number of CPI activists from all over Punjab, held a dharna and a rally at Matka Chowk here today.

CPI leader Joginder Dayal said the Amarinder Government had surrendered completely to the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO.

The World Bank-dictated reforms would not be able to pull Punjab out of its financial problems. “A solution to the state’s financial problems is with its people and not the World Bank teams”, the CPI leader asserted.

Dr Dayal said a section of the state bureaucracy, which had become obsessed with institutions like the World Bank and the WTO, had been misleading Capt Amarinder Singh and putting the state in further financial trouble. “It was the same World Bank which had ditched Punjab only a few years ago by refusing to give a penny for developmental projects,” Dr Dayal said.

Most reforms dictated by international institutions were in reality meant to capture the economies of developing countries. Policies advocated by these institutions were “anti-people and pro-elite”, subsidies given to farmers and the poor sections were being curtailed. Privatisation of public sector undertakings was being promoted. Under the dictates of the World Bank, the charges for power, water, sewerage and other utilities had been enhanced.

Questioning the sale of Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL), which earned a profit of Rs 137 crore last financial year, Dr Dayal said assets worth Rs 500 crore had been sold for half a price. 


Excise raids on transporters’ premises
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28
Raids were conducted on the premises of various transport companies in the state by teams of the Excise and Taxation Department today to intensify the campaign against tax evaders after Head Constable Amarjit Singh was killed by the driver of a truck owned by Patiala Carrier near Sardulgarh in Mansa district on July 26.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the department had been conducting raids on the premises of various transport companies to check their “illegal business” and to boost the morale of the field force, which had been feeling discouraged after the murder of Amarjit Singh.

Amarjit Singh died on the spot when the Gypsy in which he, along with other officials of the Excise and Taxation Department, has travelling was hit by a truck of a renowned transport company, which they were chasing. The truck driver fled in a Maruti car, which was following the truck. The truck had been transporting goods from Delhi to Punjab and it had entered the Punjab territory from an illegal route.

Mr D. P. Reddy, Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, Punjab, pointed out that the raids were being conducted to detect the evasion of sales tax and this had nothing to do with the death of Amarjit Singh. He said an FIR in connection with the killing of Amarjit Singh had been lodged.

He said the field staff had been asked to conduct raids along with the police. He said information wasbeing collected about tax evaders and more raids would be conducted.

A section of officials of the Excise and Taxation Department pointed out that drivers of trucks owned by a renowned transport company, which was involved in the killing of Amarjit Singh, had tried to harm them physically on many occasions.


Four-yr-old boy electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 28
A child was today electrocuted at his residence in the Ali Mohalla area here when he came into contact with a desert cooler, police sources said.

The incident occurred in the morning when the deceased identified as Rahul (4) was at his residence along with his sister. He suddenly came into contact of a operational cooler and was electrocuted, sources said, adding that Rahul was rushed to the local Civil Hospital by the neighbours, where he was declared brought dead. 


Bodies still untraceable in drowning case
Our Correspondent

Nangal, July 28
The bodies of four of the five persons of Talwara village, near Nangal, who had drowned in the Sutlej yesterday, could not be recovered till the filing of the report. Though the divers of the BBMB had started searching for the bodies from morning but in vain.

The SDM, Anandpur Sahib, Mr Bhupinder Singh, who was supervising the operation to retrieve the bodies, said vigil would be maintained at the Nangal dam lake.

Ravinder Kumar, an eyewitness, told this correspondent that all had died while trying to save each other. He added that about 40-50 women along with their children had come to the river banks yesterday at about 7 p.m. for performing religious ceremonies when the incident took place.

The MLA, Nangal, and the Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board visited the affected families today and announced a relief of Rs 50,000 each to the kin of deceased. 


MP seeks funds for sarovar
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 28
Mr Shamsher Singh Dullon, MP of the Ropar Lok Sabha constituency, has requested the Punjab Government to provide monetary help for the ongoing development works at the historic Maharaja Ajj Sarovar which is associated with Lord Ram.

He was addressing a gathering at the Shri Ram Bhawan community centre built on the banks of the Maharaja Ajj Sarovar. He laid the foundation stone for a tubewell for which he gave a grant of Rs 2 lakh from his MP Local Area Development scheme. Mr Dullon also gave a cheque for Rs 2 lakh for the completion of pending work of the Shri Ram Bhawan community centre.

He said preservation and development of such historic sites was essential so that the coming generations were able to know about then rich cultural heritage. Praising the efforts of the managing committee of the sarovar, Mr Dullon said this project when completed would change the face of the township.



Fortis free health camp in Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
A free health camp has been initiated at the newly launched Fortis Multi-Speciality Hospital in Amritsar. People of Amritsar and surrounding areas can get benefited by availing free consultation along with free diagnostic tests recommended by the Fortis team of specialists and doctors.

The camp which began today will be on till July 31 at the Fortis hospital located at Ranjit Avenue.

According to Mr Harpal Singh, Chairman, Fortis Healthcare. “The multi-speciality centre in Amritsar will provide the medical facilities of international standards within easy reach of people.”

Dr Subrata Das, Director, Fortis Multi-Speciality Hospital said: “As a part of our outreach programme, we are organising this health camp to create preventive awareness among masses and raise the health standards by providing the required counseling.

We will continue organising such community initiatives for the people of Amritsar in future as well.” 


50 physically challenged to get tricycles
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28
About 211 physically challenged persons were examined by ortho surgeon Dr Ujagar Singh at a free medical camp organised at Government School, Gumanti Kalan, in Phul tehsil, by the Helping Hand Educational Society, Bathinda, and the Bathinda Rural Youth Clubs Association, Bhagta Bhai Ka block today.

Mr Anurag Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner, who was the chief guest, said the district administration would welcome non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working for the welfare of humanity and he asked people to come forward to rehabilitate the handicapped.

Out of the total 211 physically challenged 50 persons were selected for providing tricycles and wheelchairs while measurement of 85 persons were taken for artificial limbs and calipers.


Tricycles, sewing machines given
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28
The Patiala Social Welfare Society has given 10 tricycles, 14 sewing machines and notebooks to the needy with the help of the District Red Cross and the State Bank of Patiala.

The society president, Mr Vijay Kumar Goel, said here today that besides serving the handicapped and needy woman, the society had provided 100 children with free notebooks. He said Hind Samachar’s Vijay Chopra and Mayor Vishnu Sharma had distributed the notebooks at a function yesterday.

Mr Goel said the society also planned to give scholarships to meritorious students to help them continue higher studies and join professional courses. Mr Vijay Chopra had promised all help in this venture. The society was also providing the poor with free medicines and blood in cases of emergency.



Police gets 6 motor cycles
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 28
Mr Bhagirath Lal Danewalia, president, local Municipal Council, on Saturday presented six motor cycles to the police for patrol duty.

The 21 wards of the municipal council have been divided into six zones and one motorcycle has been given to each zone for patrol duty.

Mr H.S. Sekhon, SP (H), flagged off the police party.


Change social set-up to contain crime’
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 28
Shashi, a student of class X of MRSD School, underlined the need for change in social structure for containing the crime in society.

Speaking at a workshop organised by the district police under its community policing programme here she appealed to police officials to bring criminals into the mainstream of society for proper rehabilitation. Another girl student Aneja Gupta of Class XII laid stress on improving the education system in the state. Regretting the prevailing conditions Umesh a student of Plus Two emphasised on special periods to promote the education of moral values and national spirit among the younger generation.

Mrs Sunita Khurana the teacher who accompanied the students stressed on more such workshops on regular basis. Presiding over the function Mr Harinder Singh, Chahal, District police chief said that a decision had been taken to set up a special child welfare centre headed by a SP-rank officer to resolve problems of children. 


Notice issued in corruption case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Acting on a petition filed by Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s officer on special duty Hardeep Singh seeking the grant of bail in an alleged corruption case, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for August 7.

Hardeep Singh was apprehending arrest in a first information report registered on June 24 under Section 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Claiming to have been implicated due to mala fide reasons, the petitioner had submitted that no offence was made out against him. The petitioner had asserted that he was already facing a case for the same offences. The second case was registered simply to curtail his liberty.

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

Pick and choose policy alleged

If allegations in a writ petition filed before a Division Bench of the high court are to be believed, employees working with Shahpur Kandi dam project were promoted after adopting a pick and choose policy.

In their petition, Mr Pawan Kumar and others had earlier alleged that employees junior to them were promoted even though their names were higher on the seniority list. Arguing before the Bench, comprising Mr Justice N.K. Sud and Mr Justice S.K. Mittal, claimed that they had been working with the project since 1998. Taking up the case, the judges issued notice of motion to the state and the Chief Engineer concerned.


6 Bangladeshis arrested
Our Correspondent

Along the zero line (Ferozepore), July 28
Alert troops of the 14 Batallion of the BSF nabbed six Bangladeshi nationals while they were attempting to cross over to the Pakistani side of the international border near Chowki Jagdish along the zero line last night.

According to sources, in the BSF, the six Bangladeshis were brought here by a travel agent, who promised them lucrative jobs in Pakistan and charged huge sums of money. The Bangladeshis during interrogation by security agencies revealed that they had come to India in search of greener pastures when they met the travel agent, who lured them with a false promise and left them in the lurch here.

The Bangladeshis are Mohammed Alam (22), a resident of Hussainpur, Sapan Mia (24), a resident of Sharifpur, Mohammed Firoz Mia (33), a resident of Lalo Mutabar, Asfar Mohammed (26), a resident of South Zamira, Mohammed Zalal Mia (45), a resident of Akhora, and Jasim Ahmed (36), a resident of Debagram. They entered India on valid passports through the Agartala border.

The sources said of the six arrested, only one was carrying his passport, while passports of the others were reportedly with the agent. The Bangladeshis told BSF officials that the agent introduced himself as Rajiv and had met them in Silhet town in Bangladesh. He swindled Rs 10,000 each out of them and promised them jobs in Pakistan. They entered India through the Agartala border with valid passports after obtaining tourist visa and reached Guwahati. From Guwahati they came to New Delhi via Ajmer Sharif and finally reached Amritsar before coming to the Ferozepore border. Last night, when these persons reached near the Hussaniwala border, the agent asked them to go towards Pakistan, stating that he had passed on a word to the persons concerned to ensure smooth passage for them. While they were trying to cross over to the Pakistan side, they were apprehended by the BSF troops.


382 fake cassettes seized

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 28
The district has nabbed a cheat who used to prepare fake audio and CD. The police has also recovered 382 fake cassettes from his possession.

In a press release issued here today, Mr B. Chandra Shekhar, SSP, said that Mr Sant Ram, a representative of India Music India, lodged a complaint with the police that Mr Hans Raj, a resident of Division No. 4, Patiala, running a shop in Ward No. 8, Mandi Gobindgarh, in the district had been preparing fake audio and CD cassettes and using the stamp of his company, thus he is cheating the company and the government. He said the CIA staff, Sirhind, raided his shop and seized 382 audio cassettes from his shop. OC


Youth attacked with knife
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28
Aashik Ali, alias Pappu, a local youth, was seriously injured when he was attacked with a knife by a group of youths this evening near a bridge of the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind canal.

Civil Hospital sources said the condition of victim was critical. Police sources said a case in this connection had been registered and efforts were on to nab the suspects.


200 centres of technical varsity to be interconnected
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 28
To streamline its Distance Education Programme further, the Punjab Technical University (PTU) here has decided to inter-connect its more than 200 learning centres in the country and to issue “smart cards” to 15,000 students enrolled for various courses under the programme.

Vice-Chancellor of the PTU Dr Y.S. Rajan told reporters here today that it had been decided to interconnect its more than 200 learning centres in the country to provide latest information on course contents, academic updates and for monitoring of students.

The PTU learning centres are spread over Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Delhi and southern states. Tenders for inter-connectivity and issuance of “smart cards” have been allotted and work would be completed in two months.

“We have also decided to open more learning centres in Jammu and Kashmir soon as the state had been affected on the education front,” he said, refuting the media reports that the university was planning to close Distance Education Programme (DEP).

“You see, we are committed to provide better education facilities at the grassroot level for the working professionals and students, who earlier failed to pursue regular studies.

According to the recommendations of the Special Task Force on the DEP, all centres are properly supervised and these are told to maintain complete academic record of every student,” said Dr Rajan.

The PTU has also introduced fresh courses including the two-year MBA and MCA course, B.Tech (Tourism) and Postgraduate Diploma in Tourism and Fashion Technology.


Pro-VC accused of politicising differences with VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28
The Punjabi University authorities yesterday accused the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, of using a personal function to launch an attack on Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai by taking the help of a political party.

Punjab Bharatiya Janata Party President Brij Lal Rinwa, who had come to attend the birthday party at the residence of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor on Saturday evening, had said that he had already taken up the issue of withdrawal of powers of the Pro-VC with Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and would also take up the issue with the Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma. A number of local BJP leaders and workers had also attended the function along with Mr Rinwa, which was held at the official residence of Dr Pal.

University spokesman B.S. Sandhu disclosed that there had been differences between Vice-Chancellors and Pro-VCs earlier also, but never had anyone used his residence to attack the other by inviting leaders of one particular political party to the function. He said the manner in which BJP leaders and workers had attended the function had made it in reality a political meeting instead of a personal function.

Dr Sandhu said the BJP leaders had realised only now that powers had been withdrawn from the Pro-VC. He said there was no protest from any BJP leader when former VC Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia had withdrawn powers from Dr Pal. He said similarly BJP men had not protested when their own minister, Master Mohan Lal, was humiliated by Dr Ahluwalia, with the minister being accused of plagiarising portions of his Ph.D thesis.

Meanwhile, sources disclosed that the Pro-VC had also invited Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai to the function but the latter had refused the invitation, citing an important engagement as the reason. The sources said university teachers had also been invited to the function, but only a few attended it as they came to know that the VC was not going to the function.

Chancellor’s intervention sought in varsity affairs
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 28
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform today urged the Chancellor of Punjabi University to intervene in the affairs of the university before it was too late.

Prof Nirbhai Singh has claimed in a statement issued on behalf of the forum president, Dr Amarjit Singh, that the varsity Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, was not caring even for the Syndicate that had demanded the details of the so-called engineering college proposed to be set up on the campus within 15 days.

The forum felt that Mr Boparai wanted to use the Syndicate as a rubber stamp. It said it was strange that the Vice-Chancellor wanted to make the proposed engineering college an institution of excellence without bothering about the university.

The forum also termed the controversy between the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor as the “most unfortunate” for the institution’s reputation.


Parents resent fee hike move by medical college
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 28
A large number of parents of students who had arrived to appear for a two-day PMT counselling, conducted by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, here yesterday, held a peaceful demonstration against the Punjab Government for its failure to check the alleged violation of rules by the management of the DMC institution, Ludhiana, in admissions to the MBBS course.

The parents said though the government had recently fixed an annual fee of Rs 1.5 lakh to be charged by private medical institution, the DMC institution had made a proposal to charge Rs 4 lakh. They said counselling should only be conducted after settling the entire matter.

Making a demand for immediate cancellation of the counselling, they appealed to the government to cancel the affiliation of the DMC institution, if it didn’t reverse its proposal.

Dr P.S. Bedi, Principal of Government Medical College, Amritsar, and chairman of the selection committee, said the admissions of the aspirants to all private and government medical colleges would strictly be done under the conditions laid by the state government.

However, Dr S.C. Ahuja, Principal of the DMC institution, Ludhiana, who is also one of the member of the selection committee, said the issue would be decided by the management of the institution. The private medical colleges had filed a writ in the Supreme Court seeking powers to decide the fee structure on their own.

Meanwhile, around 200 students out of 600 reached to appear for the interview for 381 seats in the MBBS course. As many as 208 seats have been reserved for the general category. Only three students opted for admission to the DMC institution.


Move to privatise ITIs flayed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 28
Members of the Government Polytechnic Employees Association, Bathinda, while condemning the state government’s decision to hand over the government-run polytechnic colleges and industrial training institutes (ITIs) to private sector, today sported black badges to lodge their protest against the decision.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Jagsir Singh, member of the association, said the association had decided to hold a protest rally and burn the effigy of the Technical Education Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, on July 30.

He said the state government had issued a notification for handing over 18 polytechnic colleges and 94 ITIs to the private sector despite the fact that a section of private ITIs and polytechnics being managed by private managements had been playing havoc with the future of students as these were operating without proper staff and other infrastructure.

He alleged the state government had taken this decision despite the fact that almost all polytechnic colleges and the ITIs, which were supposed to be handed over to the private sector, were running well and had been producing excellent results. The decision of the state government would prove fatal for technical education in the state, he added.

Mr Amarjit Singh, another member, said the state government was making an attempt to take technical education away from the reach of commoners.

The association demanded that the state should government withdraw its decision immediately and make efforts to improve the standard of education in the technical institutes being run by it.


Education institutes’ staff to strike work
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 28
The Punjab DIET Staff Welfare Association will launch a statewide agitation from August 1 to protest against the non-payment of salary for four months to more than 400 employees, including Principals, senior lecturers, lecturers, and Class III and Class IV employees, working in various District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) in the state.

Mr Gurmail Singh, co-convener of the association, said due to non-payment of salaries, the employees had been facing financial problems. He said no concrete steps had been taken by the authorities to get the salaries released.

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