Friday, August 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC removes 175 ‘temporary’ employees
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 31
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has decided to remove all 175 “temporary employees”, appointed after July 16 — the day when Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar had announced to step down to pave the way for the appointment of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra as SGPC chief.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Harbeant Singh, secretary SGPC, said that he had received a message from Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC chief, to relieve all temporary employees, appointed after the joint Akali conference addressed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Tohra on July 16 here. Though Mr Badungar had announced his resignation on the same day, but he formally stepped down as SGPC chief at the executive committee meeting held at Dukhniwaran Gurdwara, Patiala on July 20. However, at least 175 persons, mostly “sewadars”, clerks were appointed in a hurried manner between July 16 and July 27 when Mr Tohra was elected SGPC chief.

These appointments created a flutter as not even a single manager of any Sikh shrine had made a demand for it. Most of the appointments, especially from Tarn Taran tehsil were made by Mr Alvinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, who remained acting chief of the SGPC after the stepping down of Mr Badungar for less than a week. There was hue and cry in Sikh circles over these appointments as the manager of a gurdwara had written to the SGPC that he had “surplus staff” which could be transferred or relieved anytime.

The sources in the SGPC said that the employees who had joined before the formal appointment of Mr Tohra were asked not to come to office from tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a number of senior functionaries of the SGPC had been reshuffled. Mr Satbir Singh has been posted in charge of the SGPC chief’s office, he would assist Mr Ranbir Singh, personal assistant to SGPC chief Mr Roop Singh has been made in charge of the monthly magazine of SGPC ‘Gurmat Parkash’ and the Internet section. Mr Shabegh Singh, Mr Kulwinder Singh and Mr Devinder Singh have been transferred and posted as managers of Fatehgarh Sahib gurdwara, Dera Baba Gaandha Singh gurdwara, and Degsar Katana gurdwara, Ludhiana respectively. Mr Satnam Singh has been transferred to the Dharm Prachar Committee, Mr Amarjit Singh and Mr Sukhwinder Singh have been posted inspectors, SGPC.


Nakai’s remand extended

Kharar, July 31
A local court today extended the police remand for Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Joga and former Chairman of Punjab Milkfed Jagdeep Singh Nakai till tomorrow in a case of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy, corruption and accumulation of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income registered against him by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Monday.

The prosecution sought a seven-day extension of the police remand of Nakai on the ground of recovering a "forged" register, in which Nakai was registered as a milk producer or member of the Cooperative Milk Producers Society at Dhadey village in Bathinda district, which was the basic qualification required to become the Chairman of the Milkfed.

It was submitted that during the custodial interrogation, the SAD MLA had revealed during his tenure as the Milkfed Chairman, he recruited 28 persons as Milk Producer Assistants in an "illegal manner". Nakai was accused of recruiting these persons, who mainly belonged to his constituency, by "misusing his power" and accepting a lot of money as "bribe".

The prosecution submitted that Nakai had also given a disclosure statement under Section 27 of the relevant Rules, wherein he had said he had hidden the "forged" register of the Cooperative Milk Producers Society at the society office in Dhadey village and he could get it recovered.

Meanwhile, Mr Naginder Singh, uncle of Nakai, has submitted separate applications to the chairmen of National and Punjab State Human Rights commissions seeking their intervention in the matter, calling for the relevant record and summoning the Vigilance Bureau officials, besides probing the matter on the ground that the "fundamental right to life and personal liberty was under a grave threat".

Besides, Nakai’s father Balvinder Singh has written to the Punjab Governor, the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Roopnagar Sessions Judge and the Kharar Illaqa Magistrate in this regard.

Agitated Akali activists, mainly from Joga constituency, led by Nathana SAD MLA Gura Singh Tungwali, former SAD MLA from Mansa Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh, SAD youth wing general secretary and former Punjab minister Sikandar Singh Maluka’s son Gurpreet Singh Maluka and Rampura Phool BJP president Sunil Bitta staged a dharna and blocked traffic on the National Highway in front of the judicial courts complex here around 4 pm after Nakai was taken away by the Vigilance Bureau sleuths.

They protested against the police for not allowing them to meet Nakai, besides the alleged "misbehaviour" with Nakai during the police remand.

Raising slogans against the Congress government and the Chief Minister, the protesters squatted on the busy highway for around half an hour before moving away.

The defence counsels opposed the prosecution’s request and argued that since there was no confession from any of the said 28 persons regarding money exchanging hands in their recruitments, the allegation was "vague and baseless". — PTI


Nakai’s bank transactions being probed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 31
Sleuths of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau have started probing the bank transactions of the Akali MLA, Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, with Chandigarh and Delhi-based business firms to verify their genuineness.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that during the search of residential and official premises of Mr Nakai, who is a confidant of Mr Sukhbir Badal and former Chairman of Milkfed, Punjab, the sleuths came to know about some bank transactions with Delhi and Chandigarh-based companies. Later a senior official of the Vigilance Bureau scanned the bank account of Mr Nakai in the Rampura Phul branch of the State Bank of India.

Mr Nakai was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau a few days ago after a case was registered against him at Mohali police station for forgery and indulging in corrupt practices while he was the Chairman of Milkfed, Punjab. He was remanded in police custody till today by a Kharar court.

The sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau had carried out searches of Mr Nakai’s houses at Rampura Phul and Chandigarh, his business premises, petrol pump and godowns at Rampura Phul.

According to information, Mr Nakai had been doing business deals with five business firms of Chandigarh and Delhi. He had reportedly done transactions worth several lakhs of rupees with these firms.

The Chandigarh-based official of the Vigilance Bureau would take further action in this connection after investigating the genuineness of the firms Mr Nakai had been dealing with.

Mr B.S. Grewal, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda range, who had scanned the bank account of Mr Nakai, could not be contacted.


Row over transfer of college lecturers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
A controversy has arisen over the transfer of lecturers in government colleges of Punjab.

Mr Jaipal Singh, secretary of the Government Colleges Teachers Association, claims certain transfers have been ordered violating the transfer policy. As many as 103 of the 1354 teachers have been transferred even though as per the transfer policy “only a minimum number of teachers should be transferred”.

Pointing out other violations, the association says that the authorities concerned have violated the clause regarding couple cases, who are supposed to be kept at one place, Mr Jasbir Singh, who was posted in Government Mahindra College, Patiala, has been transferred to Sunam while his wife is posted in Patiala.

Mr Jagir Singh Kahlon has been transferred from Jalandhar to Fazilka while his wife is posted in the Health Department at Jalandhar.

Mrs Kusum Lata, a widow, who was posted at Mohali has been transferred to Sangrur. As per the transfer policy, the transfer of widows is allowed in the rarest of rare cases. Mr Bhag Singh Sandhu has been transferred from Government Mahindra College, Patiala, to Government College at Nayal, near Patran. His daughter has serious medical problems.

Mrs Manjit Kaur has been transferred from Government College, Ropar to Hoshiarpur while her husband is posted at Ropar. Likewise, Mr Parminder Singh has been transferred from Jagraon to Malerkotla while his wife is posted in Jagraon. A number of other such examples can be cited.

The association says that in the past few days 17 transfers have been cancelled. “The authorities concerned were resorting to arbitrary transfers which they had to cancel later,” said a senior leader of the association.

There are 2195 sanctioned posts of lecturer in 47 government colleges. But the existing cadre strength is 1354. “How can vacant posts at various places be filled by transferring teachers from one place to another with the existing strength of the cadre,” the association asked.

The authorities concerned say that they have ordered certain transfers on the basis of a letter circulated by the Finance Department, which had directed that those teachers, who have been “adjusted” elsewhere from their actual places of posting, should be sent back. However, the association says the Finance Department had directed that no one should be sent on deputation from his or her original place of posting.

The association has urged the Chief Minister to get all transfer orders cancelled except for those which have been made on request against vacant slots.


UT withholds grant to pvt colleges
Overcharging by private colleges live issue
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
While the Chandigarh Administration was yet to rollback the hike in the fee and funds in the city colleges, Punjab withdrew the hike on July 22 after widespread protests and a poor student intake.

Even as this issue remains unresolved, a new problem of “over-charging” from students by government-aided private colleges is threatening to snowball into a major confrontation with the government. This issue was first raised by some members of the Panjab University Syndicate in May. They had drawn the attention of the university to overcharging through two funds collected by the private colleges: one is the Employees Welfare Fund towards which every student contributed Rs 300 to Rs 600 per annum; and second is the Fund for uncovered posts towards which the colleges charged between Rs 250 and Rs 600 from each student every year.

These colleges pay a prescribed share from the money collected from the tuition and admission fees and fines to the Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration, which together comes to about Rs 11 crore.

The Principals and managements of private colleges say that the two funds were collected to meet educational exigencies because the government had backed out from its own notification. In the notification of 1977-78, when the concept of 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges was introduced by the then Akali Government, it was stipulated that there would be a “review” of the staff strength every five years. But this was not adhered to. The last such review was in 1981-82. But in the meantime, the student strength continued to grow as also the government share from the tuition, admission fee and fines.

To meet the academic requirements and in the interest of students, the colleges have been recruiting teachers since 1981-82 who, till date have not been covered under the 95 per cent grant-in-aid. There are 1,500 such teachers in Punjab and 250 in Chandigarh.

A Panjab University Fellow, Prof Charanjit Chawla, asks “Where from are these teachers to be paid their salaries as well as gratuity on retirement? Each teacher gets approximately Rs 3.50 lakh as gratuity. This is done from the two funds charged from the students. Is it overcharging”?

Therefore, if the Punjab and Chandigarh Administration were to decide to meet these financial exigencies and take on added responsibility, the private colleges would forgo the two funds, added Professor Chawla.

The Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. K.N. Pathak, has sought the fee and fund details from all affiliated colleges within a fortnight.

But trouble is brewing in Chandigarh’s seven private colleges, which have not been released the mandatory quarterly grant, since March. The Chandigarh Administration pays approximately Rs 8 crore to these seven colleges annually. A piquant situation has arisen with the DPI writing to these colleges to submit class-wise details of even the funds collected by these under the two heads — employees’ welfare fund and the fund for uncovered posts — besides the tuition and admission fees and fines realised by them.

This has caused much consternation in these colleges which perceive such a directive from the DPI as an infringement which could lead to estrangement between the managements and the administration.


Peace top priority, says Siddiqui
Takes over as Punjab DGP today
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Improving police-public interaction, maintenance of law and order and crime detection are high on the priority list of Mr A.A. Siddiqui, an IPS officer of the 1968 batch, who will take over as the 30th chief of the Punjab Police here tomorrow.

Mr Siddiqui, who had a stint as the Director-General of Police of Manipur, before being called back prematurely by his parent state last year, feels that prioritising things “is a long process but my immediate concerns are to maintain peace and make the Punjab Police live up to its reputation of achieving targets and goals.”

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune, Mr Siddiqui said that though “community policing is a subject very dear to my heart, my endeavour is to seek cooperation from each and every section of society and make the force responsive to their needs. The Punjab Police has an excellent record of meeting challenges. In the eighties and the nineties, it accomplished the challenge of fighting terrorism with flying colours. Now the next challenge is to improve its public image and become people friendly.”

Mr Siddiqui, who headed a team of senior officers in drafting a new Police Act to replace the 142-year-old Act, hopes that the “government would keep its promise by getting it approved and implemented. We have done our part of the job in drafting a new extensive act, defining duties and responsibilities of the police. Now the state has to get it approved and implemented.”

Mr Siddiqui is not in favour of any immediate major changes. “We will assess the situation and performance of our field officers and wherever required changes will be made in due course.”

An experienced officer, Mr Siddiqui was one of the pioneers of the Rapid Action Force which the Union Home Ministry introduced some years ago. He also served in Ferozepore at the peak of militancy and at one time was tipped to be the chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

“My viva is scheduled for August 5. Once my thesis is approved I will get it published as a book,” says Mr Siddiqui whose love for literature in general and “Sufism” in particular has made him a founder member of the Sufi Foundation which will be formally launched in November.

“I do not agree with those who feel that Sufism provides a dichotomy to policing. What the police needs more is patience which is the main thing in Sufism,” adds Mr Siddiqui.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Armed Police, Jalandhar, and the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and members of his Council of Ministers organised a farewell for the outgoing police chief, Mr M.S. Bhullar, here today.


Chief Secretary relinquishes charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap, had a meeting with his successor, Mr Jai Singh Gill, before relinquishing charge this afternoon. Mr Gill is expected to assume charge of his new assignment as Chief Secretary tomorrow afternoon.

Meanwhile, Mr M.S. Bhullar also relinquished charge as Director-General of Punjab Police this afternoon. His successor, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, will assume charge tomorrow morning as his promotion as Director-General of Police becomes effective from tomorrow. Two other officers — Mr S.K. Verma and Mr A.P. Bhatnagar —will also be promoted to the rank of Directors-General of Police from tomorrow.


Mochi Bazar demolished under galliara plan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 31
The traditional Mochi Bazar was demolished yesterday under the galliara scheme (scheme for beautification of surroundings of Golden Temple) making way for a road under the fifth phase of the scheme.

As many as 12 shops and nine kiosks were demolished even as the entire area around the bazar near the Golden Temple was cordoned off by more than 30 policemen under the supervision of DSP R.S. Ghuman. Mounted police also kept a vigil.

Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, talking to the Tribune said the operation was conducted after giving notices to the shops/kiosk owners and alternate sites at the new shopping complex.

Ms Harjinder Kaur and Mr Arvinder Singh, the only two occupants in the area, who have not been allotted shops, were crying and begging to be heard by the higher authorities. They said they were paying Rs 240 per month to the Improvement Trust as rent and had filed a case against the decision of the trust.

Mr S.K. Sareen, SDO, galliara project, stated that Ms Harjinder Kaur, who had been staying there for 20 years, and Mr Arvinder Singh, who has been living for the past 12 years, needed to complete a number of formalities for getting an alternate site.

An ancient gate was also destroyed in the demolition to make way for a 200-foot-long road for the proposed corridor.


Luxury double-decker on Delhi-Jalandhar route mooted
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 31
A double-decker super luxury bus service is proposed to be launched by the Delhi Government, which is holding negotiations with a coach manufacturing unit here for buying luxury bus manufactured by it.

The Delhi Government, which has already tested the luxury coach, was reportedly planning to add 300 such double-decker luxury buses in its fleet to compete with the ‘Shatabdi’ Express trains on different inter-state routes by fixing competitive fare.

The Delhi Transport Minister and officials of the Delhi Transport Corporation have already tested the bus on the Delhi-Agra route a fortnight ago and have expressed satisfaction over its quality and efficiency, maintained Mr Daljit Singh, MD of the Sutlej Motors. He said the Delhi Government wanted to introduce 300 such buses on Delhi, Jalandhar routes, covered by the Shatabdi Express. The transit points of the bus service were likely to be Jalandhar and Ludhiana in Punjab, for NRIs around the two cities in the Doaba region of Punjab.

“Primary objective is to compete with the Shatabdi Express by offering more facilities to tourists and NRIs at lower rates,” said Mr Daljit Singh, who was testing the 48-seater luxury bus manufactured by his unit with the help of a 350 HP power Mercedes Benz diesel engine and having facilities like pantry, toilets, sleepers, sofa-cum-reclining seats, TVs, luggage cabin.

The 3.5-metre-high bus, according to Mr Daljit Singh, was first such double-decker vehicle in India having tubular frame, and air filled shock absorbers. The bus would cost around Rs 55 lakh. In case of accident, only damaged part of the vehicle would need replacement, said Mr Singh, adding that his company had already supplied such buses to Nigeria and South Africa and a couple of non-double decker ones to the Jet and Sahara. He maintained that the first simple double-decker bus was manufactured by his company two years back and it was plying between Mumbai and Bangalore. “Our next plan is to manufacture a 72-seater double-decker bus,” said Mr Daljit Singh.


Mayawati, Cong blamed for exploiting Dalits
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 31
The Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM) has criticised the state government for alleged failure to implement promises made to the Dalits.

Talking to reporters Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, a former MP and the president of the BSM, alleged that a number of promises, including doubling of the ‘Shagun Scheme’ amount from Rs 5100 to Rs 11000, doubling the amount of old-age pension and implementation of the Mandal Commission in the state were made by the Congress in June 2 rally at Jalandhar, but none of these promises were fulfilled. He alleged that the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were politicking over Dalit issues for decades but not doing anything for Dalits.

He said the recent rally by Ms Mayawati in Chandigarh was nothing but a stunt to appease Dalits in view of the parliamentary elections. He said the BSM would organise a ‘Dalit Chetna Rally’ at Jalandhar and Phagwara on September 24 for creating awareness among Dalits on different roles played by the Congress and BSP and to apprise them how these parties ‘used’ Dalit card for benefit.


Talhan Jat-Dalit issue resolved
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 31
After membership issue, the two Dalit nominees on the Shaheed Nihal Singh Gurdwara Management Committee and Jat members paid obeisance jointly at Anandpur Sahib Gurdwara today.

The Dalits and Jats, who were divided over according of regular membership to Amarjit, the one of two Dalit nominees on the committee for his inability to attain ‘Sikh Saroop’, joined today and proceeded to Anandpur Sahib following a joint meeting of the two sides in the office of Mr Dinkar Gupta, Jalandhar Range DIG, last evening.

Mr Gupta said the issue had been resolved and the ‘misgivings’ between the two sides removed at the meeting where the Jats agreed to take Amarjit as a regular member and implement the June 14 pact. Mr Gupta said Mr Amarjit would also attend the weekly meeting of the committee at the gurdwara on Sunday as a full-fledged member. He maintained that both parties had agreed to maintain peace in the village.

Though Dalit Action Committee chief Chanan Ram Pal, who admitted that both sides had decided to abide by the agreement, maintained that real picture would come out on Sunday. A spokesman of the management committee, said that Mr Amarjit was accorded full honour and has started working as a member of the supervisory committee (Nigran Committee). “The committee has accepted both Dalit members and the Jat community members would not raise any doubt about it,” said the spokesman.

Mr Chanan Ram Pal welcomed the development.


Admn resolves Dalit-Jat dispute
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 31
The administration has resolved a communal land dispute in Rurrka Kalan village.

According to reports, Dalits in the village requested Jats to give 55 marlas of land for celebrating Guru Ravi Dass birthday a few months ago.

The Dalits constructed a stage, fixed fencing wires and hoisted Nishan Sahib of Guru Ravi Dass on the land. This was objected to by the Jats and tension mounted in the village.

SDM Sandeep Hans and DSP Kamaljit Singh Dhillon called a joint meeting, attended by Goraya SHO Pritam Singh, Naib Tehsildar Inderjit Singh, Jat leaders Balbir Kaur, Dhanna Singh and Kala, and Dalit leaders Surinder Chhinda, Buta Ram, Swarna Ram and Mohan Lal among others.

Mr Dhillon said the matter was resolved and Jats agreed to give the land permanently to Dalits. Fifty per cent of the land would be used for the Guru Ravi Dass mandir and fifty per cent for a Shri Balmiki mandir.


Sunam renamed after Shaheed Udham Singh
Sushil Goyal and Sumer Garg

Sunam, July 31
A state-level function, to observe the martyrdom day of Shaheed Udham Singh, was held under the presidentship of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at the local New Grain Market today. Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Mr H.S. Hanspal, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Mr Surjit Singh Dhiman, MLA, Dirba, and Mr Jasbir Singh, Chairman, Punjab Agro, also attended the function.

Capt Amarinder Singh visited the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial at the local stadium and laid a wreath. He also paid floral tributes to the portrait of Shaheed Udham Singh.

Capt Amarinder Singh announced the renaming of Sunam town as ‘Sunam Shaheed Udham Singh Wala’ to keep the town’s links with Shaheed Udham Singh alive in the minds of the people. He said he would soon initiate the matter with the Central Government to complete formalities before the issuance of a notification to rename the town.

The Chief Minister announced that the Punjab Government would set up a museum here in the memory of Shaheed Udham Singh. He said he would take up the matter with the UK Government and the Pakistan Government to bring back certain articles, belonging to the Shaheed Udham Singh, from their museums. He said Shaheed Udham Singh’s revolver, wrist watch, jail diaries and studs of his shirt were lying in the London Museum.

Capt Amarinder Singh announced that he would take up the issue with the Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, to keep a photograph of Shaheed Udham Singh in the Assembly hall. He also honoured four members of Shaheed Udham Singh’s family, Mr Inder Singh, Mr Bachan Singh, Mr Khushi Anand and Bibi Inder Kaur.

The Chief Minister also released a book on Shaheed Udham Singh, authored by Prof Sikander Singh and announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the development of a park in his memory. He announced a grant of Rs 6 lakh for the local Government College and Rs 5 lakh for the Shaheed Udham Singh stadium here.

Regarding floods in the Ghaggar, due to which crops in thousands of acres are destroyed, the Chief Minister said Nabard had sanctioned Rs 33 crore to tame the river and problem would be solved before the next monsoon.

Capt Amarinder Singh lashed out at the Central Government, saying that it had been discriminating with the state. He said the Centre had not increased the MSP of paddy or made arrangements to give relief to sugarcane farmers in the state even though it had announced Rs 600 crore relief for other states. He said he would meet the Prime Minister on August 6 and take up these issues with him.

The Chief Minister also lashed out at former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family members and announced that he would expose Mr Badal’s Rs 3500 crore property before the people.

He said Mr Badal would be arrested to show that every one was equal before the law.

The Chief Minister justified his opposition to the Bathinda refinery and the disinvestment of Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL). He said five departments of the state, primary education, primary health, social welfare, veterinary and drinking water supply, would be brought under the control of village panchayats from October 2 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. He said a formal announcement in this regard would be made by the AICC Chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, on the day.

Mr Subhash Grover, DCC Chief, Sangrur, and Mr Rajinder Deepa, a Congress leader, also paid tributes to Shaheed Udham Singh on the occasion.


Citizens recall Udham’s sacrifice
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 31
On his martyrdom day today, Udham Singh was paid rich tributes at his memorial at Rauza Sharif here. Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, in his address at the gathering, said the privileges of the Independence were due to the supreme sacrifices made by Udham Singh and others like him.

He described Udham Singh as a symbol of National integration who had avenged the killings of thousands of innocents at Jallianwala Bagh not for any particular community, but for the entire nation. The memorial of Udham Singh would now be given a facelift.

Mr Hari Krishan, president, District Congress Committee, recalled the contribution of the Congress in the national movement.

In 1975, the then Chief Minister, Giani Zail Singh, brought the urn containing the ashes of Udham Singh from London, which was then buried at Rauza Sharif.

Udham Singh wanted his last rites to be performed according to traditions of all religions.

He had even christened himself Ram Mohamad Singh Azad.

AMBALA: Tributes were paid to Shaheed Udham Singh by the president of the Anti-Terrorist Front of India, Dr Viresh Shandilya.

Fruits were distributed among patients at the Civil Hospital.


Shopkeepers threaten SDM
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 31
SDM Pardeep Kumar was allegedly threatened by shopkeepers of the Sainik Rest House yesterday. The shopkeepers also allegedly assaulted Mr S.P. Singh, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Board.

The SDM had asked the owners to vacate the shops as the Deputy Director had already served a notice on them. This was disclosed by Mr S.P. Singh in a written statement here today.

However, when a team went to get the shops vacated, a shopkeeper, Mr Ashwani Kumar, allegedly refused to vacate the shop on the plea that he had got a stay order from the court when he was unable to produce the order, the SDM asked his staff to remove his belongings and hand them over to the Sainik Welfare Department.

Following this, the shopkeeper started tearing his clothes and was joined by other shopkeepers in slogan shouting and abusing. The SDM was also threatened and the Deputy Director assaulted and abused.

The shopkeepers reportedly pelted stones at staff of the SDM. When the situation worsened, the police was called to disperse the mob.

However, the shopkeepers alleged the SDM and Deputy Director, along with the police, had thrown the belongings of Mr Ashwani Kumar and when they tried to stop them, they allegedly started assaulting the shopkeeper.

The Deputy Director claimed that it was mentioned in the agreement that the board could get the shops vacated without any prior notice. He said the shopkeepers had violated the agreement by sub-letting their shops.

He said the board was running a prerecruitment course in the rest house, which is why it was decided to get the shops vacated.


Khalra panel for action against Patiala police chief
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 31
Demanding the suspension of Mr Paramjit Singh Umranangal, SSP, Patiala, allegedly for registering a “false” case of rape against Mr Kirpal Singh Randhawa, Deputy chairman, Punjab Human Rights Organisation, the Khalra Mission Committee today sought that the case should be probed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In a press note here today the committee said Mr Umranangal was a relative of Mr Ajit Singh Sandhu, former district police chief of Tarn Taran, who allegedly was indicted by the CBI and human rights organisations in connection with the disappearance of Bhai Jaswant Singh Khalra, an human right activist. Mr Kirpal Singh Randhawa is the key witness in the alleged disappearances.

The KMC activists said that Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh should immediately take action against SSP (Patiala) and should withdraw the “false” case of rape registered against Mr Randhawa. The KMC would soon announce its further action, if the government failed to take action against the SSP.


Breathalysers for railway stations
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 31
The Northern Railway authorities have decided to equip all main railway stations with breathalysers to check use of liquor by drivers and other staff of trains, while on duty.

This was stated by Mr Keshav Chandra, Division Railway Manager, Northern Railway, who conducted a surprise checking of the local railway station, which is one of the biggest railway junctions of the Asia.

In a press note issued here today, the Public Relations wing of Northern Railways stated that Mr Chandra said portable breathalysers would be given to safety inspectors and loco inspectors. He added that at several stations these equipments were being distributed.

Mr Chandra, who also listened to the grievances of the employees, went from one stall to other to check the quality of food items being sold there. He also checked whether the Railways Neer, a bottled drinking water launched by the Railways, was being sold at railway stations.

He also visited the residential colony of the railway employees and instructed the officials concerned to replace the roofs of those quarters which were unfit to bear heavy rain on a priority basis. He added that the Railways was contemplating to convert the local railway station into a modern station.

Later, Mr Chandra also held a meeting with the senior officials of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant and National Fertiliser Limited.


MC’s offer to regularise illegal water connections
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 31
The local Municipal Corporation has decided to serve notices on around 10,000 persons having illegal water connections in the city, offering them a chance to get their connections regularised without penalty.

Sources said a recent survey had indicated that there were around 10,000 illegal connections in the city and many of them had come up during the past one year. The sources said the survey was conducted after the corporation collected less revenue in 2002-03 than that collected in the previous year.

The corporation hopes to earn money from the regularisation of the illegal connections and has fixed a target of Rs 5.50 crore from water and sewerage bills this year. Mayor Vishnu Sharma said the corporation had decided to give three-month notices to persons drawing piped corporation water without even applying for a connection. He said initially, the corporation had decided to regularise the illegal water connections to boost its revenue, adding that if the experiment was successful, the corporation would also regularise illegal sewerage connections, besides allowing the collection of house tax from defaulters without any penalty.

Mr Sharma said under the present scheme, all persons wanting to get their connections regularised would not have to pay any penalty. He said after the expiry of the three-month period, the defaulters would have to pay penalty, besides having their connection cut.

He said the process of applying for and getting a water supply connection had also been made easier. The Mayor said mobile teams had been constituted which would provide connections to the residents in collaboration with municipal councillors of the ward concerned.


Rs 17.47 cr to be spent on development of Ropar
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 31
A meeting of the Planning and Development Board of Ropar held yesterday witnessed a tiff between the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Mr Bir Davinder Singh, and the district authorities. The Deputy Speaker later blamed the officials for having failed to utilise developmental funds.

He alleged that due to the failure of the district administration to utilise the funds, an amount of Rs 4.9 crore had lapsed. He said he would write to the government about the mismanagement of the district administration.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, when asked to comment on the allegations levelled by the Deputy Speaker, said only Rs 18 lakh of developmental funds had lapsed. She added that these funds pertained to the financial years 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 and the officers of the departments concerned had been directed to explain the non-utilisation of funds.

At the meeting of the planning board, the members were informed that the Punjab Government had provided Rs 17.47 crore for various developmental schemes to be carried out in the district during the current financial year.

Mr Tej Parkash, the Chairman of the planning board, said of the funds, Rs 7.4 crore would be spent on various social welfare schemes and Rs 10.43 crore on developing new infrastructure.

At a meeting held today, the board gave permission for Rs 8.98 crore, of which Rs 8.44 lakh would be spent on the Swaran Jyanti Swa-Rozgar Yojana, Rs 16 lakh on the Indira Nivas Yojana, Rs 63.58 lakh on the Sampooran Gramin Yojana, and Rs 9.48 lakh would be provided to the Municipal Council, Anandpur Sahib.

At the meeting, permission was also granted to spend Rs 4.9 crore on the state government’s scheme to develop ideal villages. Under the said scheme, modern facilities would be provided in two villages selected from each block of the district.

Ms Jain, who is also the Secretary of the planning board, informed the members that in the last financial year, 56,250 persons were given old-age pension worth Rs 9.5 crore in the district.


Rice shellers raided
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 31
Mr Manpreet Singh Chhatwal, SDM-cum-Administrator of Market Committee, Sangrur, raided the premises of three rice shellers, Sat Kartar Rice Mill, Parveen Rice Mill and Jaspal Rice Mill, here on Wednesday, in connection with keeping “unaccounted” paddy (purchased during this season).

Mr Chhatwal said he had got information that some rice shellers had purchased ‘sathi’ paddy during this season directly from the fields and had not paid 4 per cent market fee and rural development found (RDF) on it. He said to check this evasion of market fee, he had raided the three rice shellers and found 1100 quintals of “unaccounted” paddy in these shellers.

Mr Chhatwal said notices had been issued to the owners of rice shellers to explain their position by August 2.


Minister blamed for Ghumiara row
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 31
The Gurdwara Asthan Sati Mata Ghumiara Sangharsh Committee today alleged that Punjab Local Bodies Minister Choudhary Jagjit Singh was driving a wedge between two communities by supporting those, who were making attempts to convert gurdwara into a temple at Ghumiara village.

The committee has convened a Sikh convention at the disputed place in Ghumiara village, on August 31, to decide the future course of action.

Addressing a press conference, a spokesman of the committee and president of the SAD (Democratic) Kuldeep Singh Wadala alleged that the minister was trying to vitiate atmosphere in Ghumiara village with the help of police. “Choudhary Jagjit Singh is creating terror in the village through the police, which is issuing threats to the innocent villagers,” he alleged, adding that the designs of the Congress government would be given a reply.

“All Sikh religious and political organisations are united on the issue and nobody will be allowed to construct a temple there,” he said. General Secretary of the SAD (Amritsar) Anoop Singh Minhas, Sukhbir Singh and Surjit Singh Cheema, both SGPC members were also present.


Man buried under earth for 5 days!
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Tapa Mandi, July 31
Various agencies of the state government along with the Army have failed to take out a man who was buried under earth here ago five days. He was digging a pit for installing a tubewell motor when the incident took place.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the man, Bhinder Singh of Daraj village, near here, was buried as the earth had become very soft due to frequent rains in the past few days. This was also affecting the rescue operation.

Hundreds of men and machines, including tractors and excavators, were pressed into service. The rescue operations were carried out on a war footing and the pit was deepened to nearly 45 feet, but due to the rain the dug-out earth started caving in and the rescue operation had to be stopped.

After the authorities concerned failed to rescue the man the assembled people resorted to agitation. They also stopped a train, which was let off after the Sub-Divisional Magistrate gave an assurance regarding the calling of the Army to assist them.

However, the crane and heavy machinery of the Army could not be put on job as the surface near the spot was wet and soft.


Speaker refers report to panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, has referred to the Privileges Committee a report published in a local Punjabi newspaper wherein some objectionable matter had infringed upon the “independent status” of the Vidhan Sabha besides causing aspersions on the high office of the Speaker.

A press note of the Vidhan Sabha said the newspaper a mouthpiece of the CPM, took upon itself to get into an imbroglio by mentioning that a number of appointments had been made in the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat without getting the facts confirmed from the office of the Speaker, as required under the normal procedure, and by bypassing the long established norms and conventions.

The committee has been asked to submit its report at the earliest. The press note also said that since the Secretariat enjoyed a separate and independent status under Article 187 of the Constitution of India, the ban on recruitments to various posts in the state government departments was not applicable to the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat. The government departments, unlike the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat, were governed under Article 309 of the Constitution.


Dead phones annoy subscribers
Our Correspondent

Batala, July 31
Resentment prevails among local telephone subscribers due to non-functioning telephones for the past few days.

Mr Ashwani Kumar told the correspondent here today that their residence telephone has remained non-functional since July 11. They had lodged a complaint in this regard. However, he further stated that two telephones at his business premises at Prem Nagar had not been working for the past one week.

Another subscriber who is a government contractor on the Railway road has also been facing a similar problem for the past few days. However, Mr I.S. Gill, Divisional Engineer, Telecom, Batala, said repair work had started.


Train damages vehicles
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 31
A train, going from Jalandhar to Nawanshahr, damaged two scooters, two rickshaws, a cycle near the Satnampura railway crossing here yesterday.

Eyewitnesses said the train was shifted to another track to let another train pass.

A large number of vehicles, including bicycles, rickshaws and scooters were parked very close to the track.

One scooterist managed to escape along with his damaged scooter. The GRPF has taken the damaged vehicles in its possession.

Two persons, Ram Das from Bihar and Prem Kumar, a student, sustained minor injuries after the rickshaws hit them. The train was delayed for 20 minutes. Two other trains, Delhi-bound Superfast and Darbhangha-bound Jan Nayak, were also delayed by 10 minutes due to the incidence. Mr Taranjit Singh, ASI of the GRPF, has confirmed the incident.


SSP’s escort vehicle overturns, 6 injured
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 31
Six gunmen of the district police chief had a narrow escape when the vehicle they were travelling in overturned near Tapa on the Bathinda-Barnala road today.

Sources said when the district police chief was going to Chandigarh this morning, his escort vehicle overturned.

The injured have been identified as Mr Amritpal Singh, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Mr Gurjant Singh, Mr Jagdish Kumar, Mr Prempal, Mr Kabir Singh. They have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, here.

Sources said the vehicle overturned at a sharp turn. The injured were shifted to the hospital by volunteers of the Sahara Club, Tapa.


CM out to scuttle refinery, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was out to scuttle the Bathinda oil refinery. And he was bent upon bartering away Punjab's interests for personal profits.

In a statement, he also criticised offloading PSIDC shares in Punjab Tractors.

Mr Badal said the Chief Minister did not know that the refinery had been taken out of the ambit of disinvestment process of the HPCL. He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh was keen to have this project “ passed over” to his friends in a big industrial house.

Mr Badal criticised the Punjab Government's decision to offload PSIDC stakes in the Punjab Tractors Limited and said, “This clearly smacks of some under-the-table consideration running into multiple crores”.


Notification on private practice today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The Punjab Government has failed to issue guidelines to regulate private practice of government doctors.

The Council of Ministers had decided to withdraw the non-practising allowance (NPA) of doctors and allow them private practice from August 1.

Meanwhile, the PCMS Association has decided to continue holding dharnas and protests at district headquarters.


Five injured in cylinder blast

Ropar, July 31
Five persons injured in an LPG cylinder burst at Jhallian village near Ropar last night. Sources said the incident took place when the family was trying to replace the cylinder.

Due to a power cut, candles had been used to facilitate the movement of the cylinder. However, as soon as the cylinder was opened, it caught fire and burst, seriously injuring five inmates of the house. The roof of the house was also damaged. OC


Controller alleges torture in custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
In less than two months after five officials of Wimpy International Limited were “picked up” by the Vigilance Bureau from their residences in Delhi, company’s Controller, Raj Kumar Gupta, today alleged that he was “mentally and physically tortured” in police custody.

In his petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking the grant of bail in an alleged corruption case registered by the Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar in August last year on the basis of “secret information”, the Controller added that he was also “stripped, harassed and humiliated” by the officials “using filthy language”.

Gupta added that he and Wimpy’s other officials were taken in custody even though the Vigilance Bureau neither had the jurisdiction to arrest them, nor to carry out raids at their houses. Going into the background, he claimed that the bureau personnel had barged into his house, along with the residences of other officials, on the night of June 13 before bringing them to Punjab where they were tortured.

Claiming to have been implicated, the Controller maintained that he was booked in a case registered against Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s Officer on Special Duty Hardip Singh even though he was not even known to him. The Controller asserted that neither he, nor Wimpy, was even named in the first information report against Hardip Singh.

The Controller added that there was no link between Wimpy and Gurgaon-based Orbit Resorts run by Badal’s son. Gupta said he had joined Wimpy on June 1, 2002. Since then there had not been any business transaction between the two firms. After hearing the arguments, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court today issued notice of motion to Punjab’s Advocate-General for October 6.


Bajaj Auto told to pay Rs 25,000
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 31
The Consumer Forum here directed Bajaj Auto to pay compensation of Rs 25,000 for misleading advertisement.

According to the information, Bajaj Auto Limited, Pune, released an advertisement showing that average petrol consumption of the Bajaj Boxer Motorcycle costing Rs 35,400/- was 91 km per litre. Harwinder Singh, who purchased the motorcycle on October 11, 2002 believing the advertisement complained to the forum that he found that the average consumption was not more than 50 km per litre. The complainant said that he felt cheated and compensation be paid to him. The Bajaj Auto in reply said that the average consumption of 91 km per litre was under standard conditions, which stated that the rider be single and his weight should not be more than 68 kg, road should be standardised and the speed of the vehicle should not be more than 40 or 50 km per hour.

The Forum held that the above said conditions were never conveyed to the complainant orally or in writing. The Forum found that the advertisement released for the sale promotion of the Boxer motorcycle, it was mentioned that the average consumption of the motorcycle was 91 km per litre with a star. The star was carried to the right side middle of the advertisement wherein in small letters it was written that the above said consumption of the motorcycle was under standard conditions.

The Forum found that a person, who reads the advertisement cannot notice the words “Standard Conditions”, which were written in small letters and moreover those standard conditions were not mentioned in the advertisement or in the service book. The forum accepted the complaint and directed the Bajaj Auto to pay Rs 25,000/- as compensation and Rs 1,000/- as litigation expenses to Mr Harwinder Singh on account of unfair trade practice.


6 farmer unions start statewide stir
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 31
The joint action committee of six farmers’ organisations of Punjab today announced the launch of a statewide agitation in protest against the failure of the state government to redress their grievances. The decision was taken at a state-level convention held at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here today. Through a unanimously passed resolution it was decided to organise regional kisan panchayats at Patiala on August 25, Amritsar on August 27, Ferozepore on August 29 and Bathinda on August 31.

The committee comprises Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, Punjab Kisan Sabha, Zamhoori Kisan Sabha, Punjabi Kheti and Vikas Front and Kirti Kisan Union.

The convention, through another resolution, condemned the decision of the Central Government to freeze the minimum support price of paddy. It also criticised Capt Amarinder Singh for his alleged failure to implement the already accepted demands of the farmers.

It also rejected the Central Power Bill, 2003, terming the same as an attempt to encroach upon the rights of the employees and the farming community.


Man tries to cheat mother-in-law, booked
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 31
Lust for money can make a person even cheat his close relatives. A case of impersonation for grabbing Rs 2 lakh from his mother-in-law by Prithi Singh has been reported in the Mahilpur police station.

According to the FIR, Surinder Kaur, wife of the late Tarsem Singh of Binjha village, lodged a complaint against her son-in-law Prithi Singh, son of Kehar Chand of Sarhala Mundian, and his five accomplices for trying to grab Rs 2 lakh from her. She said some of them posed as CBI personnel.

She said after the death of her husband, she withdrew money from his account by providing all relevant documents. When her son-in-law Prithi Singh came to know about this, he threatened her that she had withdrawn the money on fake documents and the CBI was investigating the case.

He said if she could give Rs 2 lakh to these officers, they would favour her in the inquiry. Under duress she agreed to his proposal and on June 13 she paid Rs 25,000 to Prithi Singh and his accomplices, who posed as CBI personnel. She promised to pay the remaining amount soon.

Prithi Singh, along with his accomplices, came to her house in a Tata Sumo on Wednesday to collect the money, but she refused to pay the balance amount, following which they started harassing her.

She raised the alarm. People of the locality came to her rescue. Meanwhile, Prithi Singh and Deepak Khosla, one of his accomplices, escaped while Jaswant Kaur, Kamaljit Kaur, Baljinder Singh all of Phagwara and Pradeep Kumar of PS Satnampur were caught by the residents. They were handed over to the Mahilpur police, which registered a case under Sections 419, 420, 384, 506, 171 and 120B of the IPC.


Granthi assaulted with axes, dies
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 31
A granthi of Gurdwara Sherpur, Mr Bhagwan Singh, succumbed to his injuries at the Civil Hospital, Mukerian, last midnight. He, his son Harjit Singh and wife Surjit Kaur were seriously injured when three or four unidentified persons assaulted them in their house with axes while they were sleeping last midnight. On hearing the cries of the members of the family, people of the locality came to their rescue. The assailants escaped under the cover of darkness.

Mr Naresh Dogra, Station House Officer, Mukerian, said personal enmity was suspected behind the incident. He said thikri pehra was being held by youths around the village. He said two suspects from the village had been rounded up. He ruled out the involvement of the Kale Kachhewale gang in the incident.

The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 307, 326, 452 and 34 of the IPC.


Dowry death case registered
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 31
The Sadar Mansa police today registered a case following the mysterious death of Kulwinder Kaur in her in-laws house, in Khokhar Kalan village, yesterday. Her father Jagtar Singh, a resident of Kanakwal village in Bathinda district, alleged that his daughter had been murdered for dowry.

He said his daughter got married to Kulwinder Singh of Khokhar Kalan village about three years ago and he had spent more than Rs 5 lakh on the wedding. But her in-laws were not satisfied with the dowry, he alleged.

The police has registered the case under Section 304-B of the IPC against Kulwinder Singh, his father Babu Singh and mother Tej Kaur and sent the body for a post-mortem examination.

In an another incident, Maya Devi of Ward No 8 committed suicide yesterday by hanging herself. Maya Devi was living alone and did not have any children. Neighbours said that her husband had died 20 days ago. The police is investigating the matter.


Farmer found murdered
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 31
Mr Bhola Singh, a farmer of Nathpura village in the district, was found murdered in his field last night. Police sources said Mr Bhola Singh (70) was sleeping in his field when the crime took place. The deceased had injury marks on his head. A case has been registered.


Board vocationalises Hindi syllabus
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
After years of dithering, the Punjab School Education Board has finally taken the first step towards inspiring its syllabi with relevance. To begin with, the board has approved vocationalisation of Hindi syllabus in its schools all over Punjab. The subject, which had been losing out on popularity because of lack of innovation in the syllabus, will now be fully vocationalised at the senior secondary level, thus directly effecting about 40,000 students in various schools across Punjab.

As per the new arrangement, Hindi will no longer be just about literature, grammar and composition, as it had been for the past 17 years. The subject will now have a practical side, with special courses in proof reading, translation, reporting and interviewing being introduced in the existing curriculum. Besides, the syllabus of Hindi will also have special vocational subjects to offer basic working knowledge of banking, and other systems to the students. So there will be training in fax messaging, the art of commentary making and even acting. There will also be courses in writing for newspapers and writing on name plates.

The new Hindi syllabus, complimented with a full-fledged vocational set up, will be implemented in all Punjab board schools at the Class XI level from this very year. In class XII, however, the new syllabus will be inculcated from the next academic year. This decision was taken at a board meeting held recently at Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Jalandhar.

Giving details, a board official said “We will have courses to train students in the smallest possible things, like filling a railway form, forms of various banks and learning the technique of fax messaging. The idea behind introducing these vocations streams in the syllabus of Hindi is to generate interest of students, who are looking for a secure future.

There is no use following the beaten track. So the board decided that apart from accommodating the usual elements of Hindi in the syllabus, there was also a need to vocationalise it so that it can prove financially fruitful in the future. The senior secondary level is a crucial stage, from where many students, instead of opting for higher studies, go on to earn a livelihood. We want to help them do that.”

The students, from this year onwards, will be evaluated through special vocational projects that have already been designed by a team of experts. Every student will be supposed to interview eight people during the year and submit each interview in the form of a project. Similarly, those who opt for news reporting, will have to report at least eight events in the academic year.

Apart from revising the Hindi syllabus, the board has also installed a medal, to be awarded to outstanding students in Hindi. 


Governor lays stress on IT-related education
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 31
The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, has appealed to the management of DAV institutes to reach out to far-flung areas and provide quality education. The Governor expressed these views at the inaugural function of the design and technology complex in the BBK DAV College, here yesterday.

Impressed with the number of vocational courses started by the college, the Governor said conventional education had become meaningless in view of fast changing global scenario and the focus should be on education related with information technology.

He said the apex body of the DAV institutes was doing yeoman’s service in the field of education. The Governor advised the younger generation not to run after the white-collared jobs since the government was not in a position to provide such jobs. Instead the youth should concentrate on developing entrepreneurship skills, he said.

Mr V.S. Abroj, vice-president, DAV Managing Committee, also attended the function. The Principal of the college, Ms J. Kackeria, welcomed guests and spoke about the achievements of the college. An audio cassette, “Chamba Khirrya”, was also released by the Governor.


Juniors forced to strip, 3 students suspended
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 31
Three students of B.Pharmacy Department of Punjabi University have been suspended with immediate effect following a complaint of extreme ragging against them lodged by six students of the department .

The defaulting students have also been debarred from entering the hostel premises, as per an order passed by the Vice-Chancellor. The order shall stay in effect until further notice.

According to university sources, the incident occurred on the night of July 28 when six juniors roaming around the Gol Market area were asked to reach a hostel on the campus by senior students. From there they were taken to an open space and ragged till about 2.30 am in the morning. The ragging which commenced with frog marching, took an ugly turn when the juniors were made to strip by about 20 seniors. Around 1.30 am, two juniors were sent to the city, nearly 9 km away, to bring “Paranthas” for the seniors, some of whom were drinking.

The facts came to light the next day following a complaint by the students. All Deans and wardens participated in the inquiry and found three “ring leaders” of the group guilty. According to the sources, the students confessed to the ragging and were suspended from their classes and hostels with immediate effect.

The Provost of the university, Dr S.S. Bhatti, said a committee had been constituted which would look into the role of other seniors who participated in the ragging. Action might be taken against other students also.


Teachers’ alliance wins varsity poll
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 31
The ‘Pro-Teacher Alliance’ (PTA) group led by Dr Narpinder Singh, Head of the Food Science and Technology Department, had defeated its opponent the United Progressive Teachers Front with the biggest margin in the teachers association elections in Guru Nanak Dev University held on its campus recently. The PTA won all five office-bearer seats and four executive seats, while the latter could win only two executive member seats.

Dr Narpinder Singh of the PTA was elected president. Dr Lakhwinder Singh of the Commerce and Business Department and Dr Kuldip Singh of the Political Science Department were elected vice-president and secretary, respectively. Dr Dalbir Singh Sogi of the Food Science and Technology Department and Dr Adarsh Pal Vig of the botanical sciences were elected secretary and treasurer, respectively.


Senior secondary school for Kharar okayed
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 31
The Punjab Government has approved the plan to open a Government Senior Secondary School here.

This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly and Kharar MLA, here today. He was here to participate in the meeting of the local Municipal Council.

He said all formalities for handing over 5 acres of land by the Municipal Council for the school had been completed.


B.Ed counselling
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 31
Counselling for admission to the B.Ed course in all educational colleges affiliated to Punjab, Punjabi and Guru Nanak Dev universities of Punjab commenced at the GND University complex here yesterday.

Dr Gurnam Singh, coordinator for B.Ed admissions-2003 said the counselling for all ranks/general ranks would include candidates belonging to the general category and all served categories and residents of Punjab, Chandigarh and other states.


Petrol pumps to remain closed
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 31
Petrol pumps in Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Ropar and Sangrur will remain closed tomorrow for a day in protest against the decision of the government to increase Sales Tax on petrol by 5 per cent.

According to a press note issued by members of the Petrol Pump Owners Association today, this was decided at a joint meeting of petrol pump owners of these districts on July 24.

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

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