Wednesday, August 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



3 Independent MLAs support Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
At least three independent MLAs today threw their weight behind the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, joining him in the “fight against anti-people policies” of the Congress Government in Punjab.

All three — Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar from Rampuraphul, Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Mrar from Muktsar and Mr Harmeet Singh from Tarn Taran — were denied the SAD ticket in the February, 2002, State Assembly elections. They had contested the assembly poll as rebels. At least nine such MLAs had all along sat as an independent group in the Vidhan Sabha.

Due to constitutional and technical reasons, the three may not be formally seated as SAD MLAs in the House. They would, however, voice the ‘’growing public disenchantment with the ruling party and its leadership over disastrous and anti-people political and economic policies of the present regime in the state,’’ the three said in a joint statement.

All three were presented to newspersons by Mr Badal at his residence. Also present was Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla, a former member of the Badal Ministry, who, too, was denied the party ticket, forcing him to contest the poll as an Independent. He, too, had later switched his loyalty to the SAD.

Welcoming them Mr Badal endorsed their comment that it was a ‘’homecoming’’ for them. 


Worried Punjab Congress leaders in Delhi
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The consolidation of the position of the Shiromani Akali Dal in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha appears to have added to the worries of Congress high command, which has been trying desperately to find solutions to problems of growing dissidence in its state Legislature Party (CLP).

At least three Independent MLAs today announced their decision to back the Shiromani Akali Dal in and outside the Assembly.

While Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the number two in his Council of Ministers, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, are camping in the Capital to inform the high command of their respective positions , speculations are rife here about an important political development taking place in Delhi after the former met the party chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi,today.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, who was in Delhi yesterday, is expected to be back in the Capital tomorrow to remain available for consultations with the high command.

Mrs Bhattal is also expected to meet Mrs Sonia Gandhi tomorrow. Interestingly, both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mrs Bhattal will attend a national-level meeting on rural development together as they are expected to stay on in Delhi for a couple of days more.

Sources in the party point out that of late the high command has been calling senior members of the state Legislature Party to Delhi to resolve their differences, if any, with the state leadership.

“We have already explained our position to the party high command,” remarked a senior member of the Punjab CLP, maintaining that now was the time for the party high command to take a decision. “Unless immediate remedial measures are taken, the party may face an uphill task in the Lok Sabha elections in the state," the member said.

“There have hardly been any meetings of the CLP. Where do the MLAs highlight their problems or problems of their constituents ? The state bureaucracy does not care for the ministers, what to talk of MLAs," rue senior members of the CLP, holding that "dinner diplomacy does not hold good any more".

Differences in the CLP, sources reveal, have been on more than one count. "While some favoured ones are getting everything, including protection from the law, the remaining are being made scapegoats because they are not favourably inclined to the clique of the top leadership in the state."


Govt draws flak for tardy pursuit of
Malta tragedy case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
The Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission has decried the government laxity in pursuing their case. Mr Balwant Singh Khera, chairman of the mission, said it was ironical that while the Malta Parliament paid homage to the 300 departed souls and also urged the government to salvage the wreckage of the ill-fated ship so that the remains of the Asian victims could be sent to their families but our government had merely a meagre ex-gratia payment to the families of the victims.

He said Rajya Sabha MP B.P. Singhal had raised this issue through question No. 5057 and 5058 in the Rajya Sabha and had asked the government to inform the House why our country had failed to pursue the cases of 170 young men who lost their lives in this episode. The MP also requested the government to raise this issue in European Tribunal and urged the CBI to transfer the case against 27 human traffickers being heard in Delhi to a special court. Mr Singhal also wanted that the mission should be declared an NGO by the government.

Mr Khera said that Minister of State for External Affairs Vinod Khanna, MP from Gurdaspur, informed the House that total number of victims was 300 and the government provided the list of 79 victims, as obtained from the survivors of the tragedy, to the Punjab government in January, 1997. The state government had sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 50, 000 to the family of every victim.

The minister also informed the House that there is no proposal to take the case to the European Tribunal based in Brussels, Belgium. Once the hearings in the case were complete in Itlay, the victims’ relatives could implead themselves as plaintiffs and sue for damages at a later stage.

He further informed the House that 27 criminals involved in this case are being tried in the Court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi, and there is no proposal to hand it over to a Special Court.

To a question by MLA Avinash Rai Khanna in the Punjab Assembly, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister of State for Revenue and Rehabilitation Department informed the House on behalf of the CM that the total number of Punjabis who died in the Malta Boat Tragedy was 79 and Rs 39 lakh was sanctioned on January 27, 97 for disbursement of relief to 78 affected families at the rate of Rs 50,000 to every family. Since the address of one deceased person was not supplied by the Centre, relief could not be sanctioned in that case.

Mr Khera disclosed that the mission presented papers to the former MP Kamal Chaudhary and the sitting MP Charanjit Singh Channi for raising the issue in Parliament and other relevant forms, but they were unable to do anything for the victims families.

Mr Khera disclosed that a delegation of the mission was visiting Pakistan where it will meet the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and other officials dealing with this episode. They will also meet the families of 39 Pakistani victims.


Dal Khalsa may replace Gajinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 5
A senior leader from India may replace Gajinder Singh, (one of the most wanted Indians) as Dal Khalsa chief at its silver jubilee function, to be held at Jalandhar tomorrow. This decision is being taken to reactivate the party due to prolonged absence of its leader who has taken refuge in Pakistan since his release in 1994. Gajinder Singh had hijacked the Indian Airlines plane from Srinagar to Lahore and was sentenced life imprisonment in Pakistan.

The Dal Khalsa would adopt revised constitution, reaffirming to achieve the goal of ‘self rule for Sikhs’, replacing the word, “Khalistan”. The Dal Khalsa which is responsible for first hijacking of a plane after the arrest of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale (on September 29, 1981) would revoke the suspension of its former chief (Mukh panch), Mr Harsimran Singh. He was suspended on January 1982 by one of its ‘panch’ Jaswant Singh Thekedar for ‘anti-party activities’.

Mr Kanwarpal Singh said that it was a blunder on the part of the Dal Khalsa to suspend Mr Harsimran Singh on ‘flimsy grounds’ without seeking any explanation. The executive committee of the party has already passed a unanimous resolution to restore the pride of Mr Harsimran Singh which was hurt due to wrong allegations levelled against him. The Government of India banned the Dal Khalsa in 1982. The ban lapsed in 1992.

According to sources, the Dal Khalsa is likely to change its image with the appointment of working president with moderate face. The message of Gajinder Singh would be read out at the function.


Takht Hazoor Sahib rejects Nanakshahi calendar
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 5
Confrontation among the Takhts continues as Deputy Jathedar of Takht Hazoor Sahib categorically rejected the ‘Nanakshahi calendar’ which has been approved by Akal Takht.

Baba Rattan Singh and Bhai Vinodh Singh, Deputy Jathedar and ‘Ardasia’ of Takht Hazoor Sahib respectively, said that Nanakshahi calendar could not be acceptable to the Sikh sangat (of Hazoor Sahib) and it would continue to stick to the traditional calendar, based on ‘Bikrami’ era.

The representatives of Takht Hazoor Sahib have clearly said that other Takhts (other than Akal Takht) had the right to issue edicts (Hukmnamas) with regard to the ‘regional issues’. They said that declaring Mr Mohinder Singh Romana ‘tankhaiya’ was justified.

The issue of Mr Romana could not be taken up due to the absence of Jathedar of Patna Sahib. Jathedar Akal Takht had declared the edict of Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib (declaring Mr Romana tankhaiya) as null and void.

In another significant decision, Akal Takht has directed the SGPC to withdraw the title of ‘Prof of Sikhism’ bestowed on Mr Gurtej Singh, a former IAS officer for supporting Mr Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana, who was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth. 


Punjab Govt, police official told to pay
Rs 2.50 lakh relief
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 5
Ms Sunita Kumari, Civil Judge (Senior Division), Faridkot, has directed the Punjab Government and ASI Mangal Singh, posted with SSP, Mansa district, to jointly pay a compensation of Rs 2.50 lakh to Hony Naib Subedar Gurdeep Singh and his wife Ms Ajmet Kaur, whose son Bharpoor Singh was killed by a police party, led by Mangal Singh.

The incident took place on the Moga-Talwandi road on the night of December 27 in 1990. She also asked them to pay 12 per cent interest on the compensation to the sufferers from the date of the registration of the case till the realisation of the amount.

In her 13-page judgement, the trial court, while accepting the statement of the main witness Mr Satnam Singh, totally rejected the plea of the State Legal Advisor regarding the death of Bharpoor Singh during cross firing between the police and militants on the night.

According to the prosecution, Bharpoor Singh along with Bobby Monga and Satnam Singh were on their way to Faridkot from Ludhiana in a Maruti car while they were crossing Moga, a police party stopped the car near the Nestle milk plant and made a complete search.

However, after finding no objectionable material, they were allowed to go. Later, another naka party, led by Mangal Singh the accused ASI, stopped their vehicle near the Khukhrana village bus stop and started indiscriminate firing on all three youths, killing Bittu on the spot.

Another youth Bobby Monga later succumbed to his injuries at the Civil Hospital Moga. Satnam Singh, who was driving the vehicle and got various injuries, managed to escape. The police party declared that the two youths were killed in a cross firing between the police and militants.


Restore NPA, demand docs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
PCMS doctors from all over the state staged a dharna at Matka Chowk here today. They were protesting against the withdrawal of non-practising allowance (NPA) for government doctors in lieu of private practice.

Addressing the protesters, Dr Hardeep Singh, President of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA), said the association would intensify its struggle if the government failed to restore NPA. They would observe a pen-down strike on August 8 from 10 am to 12 noon and a day-long strike on August 13. Public awareness rallies would be organised to impress upon the government to take back this “anti-people” decision.

Under the garb of fiscal reforms, a section of the bureaucracy had misguided the government by presenting wrongs facts and figures about NPA. The agitating doctors contested the government’s claim that the withdrawal of NPA would save the state Rs 80 crore. The association claimed that the actual saving would be Rs 15.5 crore only of which Rs 5 crore per annum was returned to the government as income tax.

They clarified that NPA was given to doctors for arduous duties done at odd hours and was not in any way linked with private practice.


Docs’ protest hits health services
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 5
More than 10 civil hospitals being run by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC), including the local 150-bedded Civil Hospital, today wore a deserted look as doctors went on casual leave to protest against the decision of the Punjab Government to withdraw the non-practising allowance (NPA). OPDs witnessed a thin turnout and many patients from far-flung areas had to go pack disappointed.

Mr Gurmukh Singh, a patient from a remote village in the district, said, “ I have spent about Rs 50 for reaching the Civil Hospital, here, to get treatment for a throat ailment. But there was no doctor available in the hospital.”

The local Civil Hospital looks after patients from Bathinda and adjoining districts including Sirsa district in Haryana and Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh and Bikaner districts in Rajasthan.

Information gathered by TNS revealed emergency services remained unhampered in the district, the OPD services were badly affected and many poor patients had to visit private practitioners and pay exorbitant consultation fee and clinical tests charges.

Sources said that only 93 patients reported in the local Civil Hospital against the daily average of about 700 patient. In the local children’s hospital, only four patients visited against the daily average of 200 patients.

When contacted, Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, said casual leave applications of about 55 doctors posted at various hospitals in the district had been received by the authorities. 


Demand to expel Bir Devinder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
Punjab Pradesh Congress Secretary and Punsup Director Narinder Singh Sehgal today appealed to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Punjab Pradesh Congress President H.S. Hanspal to expel Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh from the party.

In a statement here, Mr Sehgal said Mr Bir Devinder Singh had damaged the image of the party through his irresponsible statements recently. He said the statements made by the Deputy Speaker were not needed at this juncture, specially when the Congress government was running the affairs of the State in a smooth manner.

Mr Bir Devinder in a statement at Banur yesterday asked the Chief Minister to hand over the charge of the Home Ministry to another member of his Council of Ministers as he did not have time to do justice to it. He had also called for appointing of an independent Home Secretary even as he lamented the rise in robberies.

The Congress leader also claimed that the Deputy Speaker had a history of using the party for his selfish ends. He said the party should also highlight the past activities of the Deputy Speaker. 


SGPC colleges ordered to submit admission details
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Punjab Government today warned the two SGPC-run medical and dental colleges at Amritsar to submit all relevant details on the admissions made against the management quota by noon tomorrow or face action.

Official sources said the warning had been delivered to both colleges through Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. Earlier, the Director, Research and Medical Education, had been directed last week to submit a report on admissions made in both colleges against the management quota. But both colleges allegedly did not provide any detail to the Director.

The sources said the Baba Farid University authorities had now been told to seek the relevant information. They had been trying to get the relevant information for the past four days but both colleges were not extending any cooperation in this connection. “We are totally in the dark till date about the admissions made against the management quota in both colleges”, said a senior officer of the state government.

No admission against the management quota could be made without the supervisory control of the “selection committees” set up by the state government for admission in all recognised medical and dental colleges.

If the requisite information was not furnished by tomorrow, Baba Farid University would be directed to take appropriate action against both colleges. “The government can also derecognise both colleges”, said the officer.

The government has received a number of complaints about overcharging of the admission fee etc by the SGPC-run colleges. Both colleges can’t charge a single penny more than the fee structure fixed by the Punjab Government for the private medical and dental colleges.

As per the complaints the SGPC’s medical colleges had charged about Rs 3.50 lakh per head whereas the admission fee etc, including hostel charges for special rooms and security etc, should have been in the range of Rs 1.75 lakh. The SGPC medical colleges have allegedly charged Rs 50,000 as an infrastructure development fund, besides heavy refundable securities. However, the government notification had cleared stated that “no building fund or any other fund apart from that specified in the notification” could be charged by the private medical and dental colleges.


Water release in Gang canal not to capacity
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, August 5
Water has not been flowing to capacity in Gang canal (Bikaner canal) to Rajasthan even after a week when the canal leased was opened by Chief Ministers of Punjab and Rajasthan after 75 per cent repair of the canal. Sources in the Canal Department disclosed that the Punjab Government had decided to release 2200 cusecs of water in the canal for Rajasthan, but 1200 cusecs of water were released.

In the past two days due to technical reasons only 800 cusecs of water could be released. Sources point out that according to the design of the canal 3.5 cusecs of water is required for irrigation of 1000 acres of land. Due to poor release of water lakhs of acres of land in Rajasthan remains unirrigated. On other hand, due to excessive availability of water 6900 cusecs of water is being released in Sutlej from Hussainiwala Headworks at Ferozepore which is flowing as waste to Pakistan.

Mr S.C. Chaudhary, Superintending Engineer of canal circle, Ferozepore, said that following the remodelling of major chunk of the canal water is released gradually. He said that after the release of water in Punjab it reaches the terminal point in Rajasthan after 34 hours. Mr Chaudhary said that this issue was being taken up with his counter parts in Rajasthan and Punjab is capable of releasing 2300 cusecs of water. He said that he himself conducted a survey of the entire process and found it to be satisfactory.

Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner had got the Gang canal dug in 1902, a century ago. Now it is being remodelled. Two of three phases have been completed. Out of 98.63 km length in Punjab, 72 km have been completed and construction activities in third phase has also begun.

Due to impending sowing season and Assembly elections in Rajasthan, the state government perhaps wants to get political mileage, hence the repair and remodelling has been stopped midway. Apparently for this the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and Punjab had released the water in the canal. Despite release of water in the canal, the contractors who carried out the construction of the canal have not been paid crores to them.


Health staff not paid for 5 months
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 5
More than 2500 employees, including officers, of the Punjab Health Department, working in hospitals and rural dispensaries in the state, have not been paid salary since March 2003.

These employees are covered under plan schemes and all posts of four central schemes are sanctioned every year. Budget for these plan schemes is provided to the Punjab Government by the Centre every year.

Sources in the Health Department said that the Central Government had sent budget for the purpose to the Punjab Government this year, but no body knew about the funds, meant for salaries to the employees.

Mr Balwant Singh Saini, president of district unit of Punjab Health Department Subordinate Offices Clerical Association, said in Sangrur district only, 200 multi-purpose health workers (female) had not received salary from March 2003 so far. Besides, a district Immunisation Officer, some medical officers, staff nurses, Class III and IV employees, working under the above plan schemes, and employees working in multi-purpose health workers (female) Training School, Sangrur, had also not received salary for the past five months.

Mr Saini added the issue of non-payment of salaries, the employees of multi-purpose Health Workers (Female) Training School, Sangrur, filed a writ petition last year in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court had decided in the favour of the employees and asked the authorities vide its order of January 10, 2003 to pay the salary before seventh of every month. Following this order, the government paid salary to the employees up to February 2003. Thereafter no salary for five months was paid to the employees, he added. 

Sales tax on selected items in CSD, says govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Punjab Government today clarified that it had levied the sales tax only on selected items in the canteen stores department (CSD) which included liquor, automobiles, washing machines, television sets, computers and refrigerators only and not on general consumer items.

An official spokesman here said the goods in the CSDs were being purchased by civilians, thus misusing the benefit of exemption of sales tax provided to the Army personnel and ex-servicemen.


Rally by ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 5
Ex-servicemen under the leadership of Lt Col (retd) B.S. Ghuman, president Indian Ex-Services League Gurdaspur district participated in a rally here today to protest against the increase of prices of Canteen Stores Department items in Punjab with the imposition of 50 per cent Sales Tax.

Addressing the rally Col Ghuman said that all governments in the country have been in the lead in the country in announcing benefit and welfare schemes for the ex-servicemen.

Mr Ghuman said that bulk of our armed forces retire at very young age in the age group of 35 -40 years and their pension was very meagre. He said that in case the hike in the prices of CSD items is not withdrawn the ex-servicemen would resort to agitation much against the norms of discipline. Later they presented a memorandum for the Deputy Commissioner for submission to the Chief Minister of Punjab.


Jhanjhar’, ‘biscuit’ gangs active in border areas
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
Punjab may have become familiar with the “Kale Kachhewale” gang and its deadly strike strategies. Now it is facing the menace of the “Jhanjhar” and “Biscuit” gangs, which are swarming the state from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. These gangs are particularly active in the border areas of the state as this gives them an opportunity of easy escape.

The Patiala Police has busted three different gangs and arrested 14 persons in this connection. All accused were paraded before newsmen today by Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal.

The “Kale Kachhewale” gang is the most dangerous of all. The members of the this gang are “Bohria” tribals, who originally came from Madhya Pradesh. Police sources disclosed that this gang never commits any dacoity at its base camp and tries to commit crimes near the borders of various states.

A survey conducted on the Bohrias has revealed that they operate as balloon sellers and even sell “papads” and other goods. The gang members never take any weapon with them while going on the “strike”. The Bohrias believe in only taking gold, silver or cash.

Besides this gang, there has been a recent intrusion of the “Biscuit” gang in the state. Members of this gang operate in railway stations and bus stands, “mela” sites and also work as taxi drivers. They strike persons who they feel may be carrying valuables. A gang member casually opens a cream biscuit packet, has one himself and casually offers another in the packet to his target. A drug is mixed in the paste of the cream biscuit, which renders the victim unconscious, enabling the gang members to loot him.

The “Jhanjhar” ‘chors’ pit themselves against shopkeepers, particularly gold and silver smiths. The gang has got its name from the “kanjars” of Maharashtra, who love to steal silver and have a penchant for stealing “jhanjhars” or “pajebs”.


Youth dies of snakebite

Phagwara, August 5
Jagjit Singh alias Ladi of Jalandhar died of a snakebite at nearby Dosanjh Kalan village last evening. Ladi (28) was fond of snakes. He had come to Dosanjh to meet his friend Happy.

Happy told Ladi that he had found a venomous snake which was kept in a covered earthen pot. Ladi insisted on seeing it. Happy asked Ladi to wait a while. Ladi ventured to view the snake. He uncovered the pot and the snake pounced upon him killing him instantly with its bite. — PTI


8 chemists rounded up
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 5
The district police rounded up more than eight chemists, including Mr Krishan Kumar, elder brother of sacked Punjab minister Dr Harbans Lal, from various areas of the district. The chemists were taken to CIA police station, Sirhind.

All chemists of the district immediately pulled down their shutters and gathered outside the CIA Staff office and jammed the traffic for some time on the Sirhind road. Mr Krishan Kumar was later released.

While talking to The Tribune outside the CIA staff office, Sirhind, Mr Surjit Mehta, state president of the Chemists Association, who along with other state office-bearers reached Sirhind, alleged that the police was harassing the chemists unnecessarily. He said the police had no right to raid the chemist shops without the Drug Inspector.

He said they sell medicines after seeing prescription slip. He said he had talked to the SSP about the police highhandedness on chemists and he had assured to release the chemists after interrogation. He said the police had no power to interrogate the chemists and only a Drug Inspector can make inspection. 


Protest against exim form
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 5
On the call of the Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal, traders of the district today observed a protest day. A large number of traders, gathered from all parts of the district by Mr Varinder Rattan, President, District Beopar Mandal, submitted a memorandum to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Fatehgarh, in protest against the imposition of exim form.

Mr Rattan in a press note issued today said the state government had earlier also tried to impose exim form but under the pressure of trade and industry of the state, the Chief Minister deferred it. But the bureaucracy again misled the Chief Minister.



High Court
Joint Registrar’s order stayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Admitting a petition filed by 101 members of Tarn Taran Central Co-operative Bank, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the operation of an order passed by the Joint Registrar of Co-operative Societies for Jalandhar Division amalgamating it with Amritsar Central Co-operative Bank Limited.

The Bench, headed by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, also issued notice on the petition filed against the state of Punjab, Excise and Taxation Minister Sardool Singh and State Minister for Education Darbari Lal, besides other respondents.

The petitioners had submitted that the two ministers had been openly saying that persons owing allegiance to Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) would be thrown out to adjust the supporters of the Congress party.

Officer allowed to take exam

Taking up a petition filed by an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer, discharged from the force at his own request, a Division Bench on Tuesday directed the state of Punjab and another respondent to allow the petitioner to take the “main examination” for Punjab Civil Services (executive branch).

In a related matter, the Bench directed the respondents to file an affidavit regarding negative marking in the examinations recently conducted. The directions were issued on a petition seeking directions for re-evaluating or re-conducting the examinations to PCS (executive).

Issuing the directions on the petition filed by Bathinda-based ex-IAF officer Tejinder Singh, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, ruled: “We are satisfied that the petitioner could not be found ineligible for participating in the selection process on account of the fact that he had been discharged from the IAF at his own request. The action of the respondents is, therefore, held illegal and unsustainable in law”.

In the other petition, Mr Gurbax Singh and several other candidates had asserted that the written test was not conducted as per the rules in the brochure. Giving details, the petitioners had added that contrary to the rules there was no negative marking. 


One gets jail for smuggling
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 5
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr J.S. Khushdil, has sentenced Jagtar Singh of Hira Thana village in Una district of Himachal Pradesh to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him for being convicted under the NDPS Act.

In case of the non-deposition of the fine, the imprisonment would be increased further by three years. The Nangal police caught Jagtar Singh on June 26, 2002 while trying to smuggle 50 kg of poppy husk brought from Uttar Pradesh into Punjab.



Dhillon’s remand extended

Ropar, August 5
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Karamjit Singh, today extended the judicial remand of Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, a cousin of Mr Sukhbir Badal, till August 16 in a disproportionate assets and corruption case registered against him and a former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. — OC


11 officers transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Punjab Government today transferred 11 PCS officers.

While Mr G.R Bansal has been posted as Additional Secretary, Coordination, Mr V.K Ohri has been shifted as Additional Secretary, Excise and Taxation, against a vacant post. Mr Prem Chand will move to Ludhiana as SDM (East).

Mr Gurlovleen Singh has been posted as SDM, Dhuri. Mr Malwinder Singh has been shifted as AC ( Grievances), Ludhiana, with additional charge as AC (General), Ludhiana. Mr Kuldip Singh has been moved to Ludhiana as SDM (West).

Mr Preetdev Singh Shergill has been posted as Joint Secretary, Local Government. Mr Vinay Bublani has been shifted as DTO, Kapurthala.

While Mr Sandeep Hans has been shifted as SDM, Amloh, Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi goes as SDM, Phillaur.


Man killed by in-laws
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 5
Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Sant Mishra colony was allegedly stabbed to death by his father in law and brother-in-law over family dispute here today. According to information available Dalbir Singh and Jaswant Singh, father-in-law and brother-in-law, respectively, stabbed Lakhwinder with kirpans when he (Lakhwinder) went to their house to take his wife Rajwinder Kaur. Rajwinder was residing with her parents after some dispute with the deceased.

Besides two accused the police has also booked Mahinder Kaur, wife of Dalbir, Rajwinder and her sister Baljinder in this regard. The police has nabbed two persons Davinder Singh, a resident of Hussainpura and Rajkumar of new tehsilpura and recovered three kg of opium from them. A case has been registered.


Retired engineer commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 5
A retired Superintending Engineer committed suicide last night even as a 18-year-old woman was killed following a stove burst and a boy was knived to death.

Retired SE Kuldeep Singh committed suicide after locking himself in a room at his residence in Jagdish Ashram. The retired engineer had gone into depression and was getting himself treated. He used a. 12-bore gun and shot himself in the chest. In another incident, an 18-year-old Meena Kumar, a resident of Goodearth Colony was killed when a stove burst in her residence. Her husband Mohan Lal was also injured while trying to douse the flames.

Last night, Gurvinder Singh Tinku was knived to death in the Khalsa Mohalla area in the city. 


Proclaimed offender arrested

Moga, August 5
The CIA police in the district yesterday arrested a proclaimed offender, Sukhdev Singh, who allegedly shot dead a man about five years ago. Sukhdev Singh shot dead Karamjit Singh Manchanda of this district on October 9, 1998, and was declared a proclaimed offender by a local court in January.

According to the Superintendent of Police, the accused was initially discharged by the police during the investigation of the murder case, but the trial court summoned him. The accused escaped from the police custody while a police party was escorting him from Ferozepore to Moga. Later, he was arrested. In June, last year, Sukhdev Singh was released on bail but did not appear in the court for a future hearing in the case. Finally, the court declared him a proclaimed offender on January 23. — UNI 


3 gangs busted

PATIALA: The police today claimed it had busted three gangs by arresting 14 persons from different areas in the district.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, said six members of a Kale, Kachhawale gang had been arrested from the Dosanjh forest near Nabha last night. He said the arrested persons had confessed to committing number of dacoities, including the one at Dhakauli near Chandigarh in January and two others in Lalru.

From the accused — Dhan Singh, Bhim Singh, Lekh Raj, Godan, Sher Singh and Sohan Pal — two country-made pistols, besides other crude weapons, had been seized.

The SSP said four persons of the Jhanjhar gang that targeted silver jewellery merchants had been arrested by the Samana CIA staff. From the accused — Arjun, Varinder, Ram Singh, Dheeraj Pawar and Surinder Malhi — silver anklets weighing 450 g had been recovered. The gang had been active in Delhi and Punjab.

Mr Umranangal said another gang that drugged and looted travellers had also been busted. This gang had earned the sobiquet “Biscuit gang” due to its modus operandi. While three of its members — Kewal Shankar, Lal Chand and Dinesh — had been arrested, two others were absconding. The police was looking for an RMP, as Dr Ashok Kumar of Tripri town, who had been supplying the drugs to the gang.



Students challenge late fee reduction
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
It is confirmed. So many students could not take admission in the institutes of their choice because Punjab’s Department of Medical Education and Research reduced the fee for clinical subjects in private medical colleges only after the counselling was over.

The admission granted to the students on the basis of the old fee structure of Rs 5 lakh will now be subject to the decision of writ petitions filed in the matter before the Punjab and Haryana High Court here.

Sonia Mehta is among the students affected by the late reduction in the fees. Her case is a classic instance. The Panchkula resident, after scoring “high merit” in the common entrance test conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences at Faridkot, wanted to take admission in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital at Ludhiana. She, however, could not apply as Rs 5 lakhs were being charged by the institute as fees for clinical subjects. The government colleges, on the other hand, were just charging fee “in thousands” making them affordable.

She was later informed that the fee for clinical subjects in the post-graduate courses in the private institutes had been reduced to just Rs 2,60,000. A notification to the effect was issued by the authorities concerned on July 25. As per the notification, Rs 1,75,000 was to be charged for the basic subjects, while Rs 2,00,000 was to charged for the diploma courses.

Aggrieved by the late reduction in the fee, Sonia and some other students have now moved the high court. In their petition challenging the notification, counsel for the petitioners has submitted that the candidates would have taken admission in the institutes of their choice “where they were being offered seats” had the notification been issued before the date for counselling.

Taking up their petition, a Division Bench of the high court, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, clarified that “any admission granted on the basis of Rs 5 lakh fee shall be subject to the decision of the writ petition”.

Pronouncing the directions in an open court, the Judges also issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab, the university and other respondents in the case. 


Franchisees dupe students
Our Correspondent
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 5
Franchisees of the SSI Computer Center at district headquarter town Sirhind, a reputed computer education company, has duped a large number of students of the area by suddenly closing down their establishment at Sirhind. The computer centre had allocated the franchise for Sirhind town to Mr Gurleen Sandhu and Mr Mandeep Singh from Chandigarh. The center was started with much fan fare and attracted a large number of students, who deposited lakhs of rupees as fees for various courses keeping in view the good reputation of the SSI.

The franchisees fled after subletting the SSI center to one Umesh Sharma of Chandigarh, who ran the center for some time and later he also fled away by collecting the remaining installments from the students.

While talking to The Tribune today a large number of students alleged that a majority of them had deposited the entire fees in advance ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 45,000 each for different courses. But their courses had been left unfinished and even in the case of those, who had completed their courses, no examination was conducted and no certificates were awarded to them. They said some of the students, who had opted for short duration courses and were awarded certificates later found their certificates to be fake. Mr Naib Singh, PA to the Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, alleged that he had admitted his daughter, Paramjit Kaur, by withdrawing Rs 25,000 as a loan from his Provident Fund account and deposited the same with the SSI branch at Sirhind. He said there were many parents and children, who had also been duped by the SSI. The students said they also approached Mr Dhiraj Mathur, Territory Manager of the SSI, Chandigarh, who visited the Sirhind center and called the meeting of students concerned and assured them that the center would soon be started but till today nothing concrete had been done.

The students further told that a few months ago, a team of SSI officials from its head office in Chennai visited the Sirhind center on a complaint of some students and it was during their visit that fake certificates issued by the owners of the SSI Sirhind branch were detected. The students said the team had assured them that the classes as well as the examinations would be resumed by engaging a new faculty at the earliest, though the franchise ehad not deposited the fee with the head office. The students alleged that instead of resuming the classes the SSI franchisees had handed over the center to the owner of the building who in turn had assured the students that he was negotiating with the higher officials of the SSI and he was making all out efforts to restart the center in this building by getting the franchise at his name. The students said now they have decided to more the consumer court and file a complaint with the SSP in this regard against the franchisees. They demanded that either the fees deposited by them should be refunded or the classes should be resumed so that they might get the certificates of the courses completed by them.

When contacted Mr Dhiraj Mathur, Territory Manager of the SSI at Chandigarh, said SSI franchisees had duped the students and had brought a bad name to the organisation. He said the franchisees instead of depositing the fees with the head office had pocketed the entire money and issued fake certificates, which was a serious matter. He said now they were not cooperating with the SSI to restart the center. He said the company had initiated action against them.



Landran library in bad shape
Shashi Pal Jain

Kharar, August 5
The 50-year-old library in the nearby Landran village has been in a dilapidated condition due to the alleged apathy of the Panchayat Samiti and the administration.

Mr Harcharan Singh, the Sarpanch of Landran village near here, has appealed to the administration and the Panchayat Department, Punjab, to make the 50-year-old library in the village functional.

He said the library had been started by Dr M.S. Randhawa, Deputy Commissioner of Ambala, under the District Board Ambala. The library was functioning smoothly till the administration of the library came into the hands of the Panchayat Samiti. He said five years ago, the librarian had retired and no librarian has been appointed since then. Even the watchman was shifted to the Kharar office of the Panchayat Samiti and the library was locked.

He added that last year some repair work was carried out in one of the rooms and the remaining rooms are yet to be repaired. He alleged that the Panchayat Samiti was not paying heed to the condition of the library.

He said not even a single newspaper was being subscribed to by library. He said he had also written to the BDPO-cum-the executive officer of the Panchayat Samiti, Kharar, to either improve the condition of the library or transfer it to the village panchayat so that it can be used in a proper way.



Furore in varsity over student’s death
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 5
The death of a B.Tech III year student, Parneet Kaur Tiwana, allegedly due to the shock after receiving the news of having failed in the second semester reappear examination has caused a furore in Punjabi University with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) warning the authorities to withdraw the decision of reducing the reappear chances from two to one failing which it would start an agitation.

The B. Tech Department remained closed today. There was resentment among the students who today attended Parneet's cremation in the large numbers. The ABVP spokesperson said a total bandh will be enforced by the students tomorrow in protest against the decision of the varsity to reduce the reappear chances from two to one. Students would also meet the Vice- Chancellor, Mr Boparai tomorrow in this regard.

The secretary of the campus unit of the ABVP, Mr Rajat Bansal said a meeting of the unit was held today to mourn the death of Parneet and to chalk out further course of action. Terming the decision as irresponsible he said the entire blame for Parneet`s untimely demise rests on the varsity authorities.



Principal gets custody of 2 students
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 5
Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, here today handed over the custody of two minor children (brother and sister) of nearby Sahorah village, who were allegedly being ill-treated and harassed by their stepmother, to the Principal of Indian Public School where they are studying.

Mr C.S. Cheema, Principal, recorded his statement in the court of the SDM that he would look after the children.

Mr Cheema had written to the All-India Human rights Watch (AIHRW) that the two children, Sarabjeet Kaur and Kashmir Singh, were studying in Class VIII and Class III in the school and being ill-treated by their stepmother. He had requested it to varify and take necessary steps about this.

Mr Anil Kaushiq, Chairman of the AIHRW, approached the SDM, Kharar. The SDM issued notices to the parents of the kids for today.

According to Mr Kaushiq, the statement of the father of the kids was recorded, who admitted that the kids were being harassed by their stepmother. The mother, however, did not come to record her statement.

The SDM recorded the statement of the children, who said they did not want to go to their stepmother. The Principal recorded his statement that he would take care of the children.

The father, meanwhile, said he would give Rs 2,500 per month for the welfare of the children and the AIHRW promised to contribute something for the children.

The SDM handed over the custody of the children to the Principal.



Workshop on patent awareness
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, August 5
The Shahid Bhagat Singh College of Engineering and Technology organised a workshop on “patent awareness and intellectual property rights”, in collaboration with the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) and the Patent and Design office of the Government of India, here today.

Today’s workshop provided a platform for intellectuals, industrialists, technocrats and faculty members to remove doubts regarding patent laws and intellectual property rights.

In his inaugural address, Mr Praveen Sinha, SSP, Ferozepore, appreciated the initiative taken by the college and emphasised upon the need of understanding the patent regime and its relevance in the trade.

Dr R.P. Singh, Principal of the college, exhorted faculty members and students to come up with new inventions and designs for patenting.

Mr B.S. Soch from the PSCST highlighted the role of the council in generating awareness in the field. Delivering the keynote address, Mr M.R. Gupta, Assistant Controller of Patents and Design, gave an insight into intellectual property rights and the patenting system in India.

Mr Kamaal Singh, a patent examiner, talked about the filing procedure of patent applications. Mr Sameer Swarup, an expert on patent designs, briefed the audience about the design registration system and patent research tools. Later, experts interacted with the audience and answered their queries. Mr S.K. Kajal, PRO of the college, said the workshop acted as a stimulant in generating awareness on the topic. 

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