Saturday, August 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal demands special session of Vidhan Sabha
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 8
The former Chief Minister and President of the SAD, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today demanded that a special session of the Vidhan Sabha should be called to discuss the economic condition, law and order situation, atrocities being committed on political opponents and restlessness among all sections of society of the state government.

“There is a need for special session of the Vidhan Sabha. Though the SAD will press the state government for calling the session, the Chief Minister will not call it as Capt Amarinder Singh has no faith in democracy”, said Mr Badal while talking to mediapersons here today.

The SAD chief refused to comment whether the party would bring a no-confidence motion against the government if the session was called. He said the motive of the party was to restore democracy.

He, however, stated that the party was preparing a report on atrocities being committed on party activists by the Congress government. The report would be submitted to the National Human Rights Commission, the Centre and Amnesty International. He said the government had been using the Vigilance Bureau to harass Akalis, Mr Badal alleged that the government had been deliberately scuttling the oil refinery project under the pressure from an industrial house.

While supporting Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s view that the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha elections should be held simultaneously, Mr Badal said it would save time and money.

He said the party’s conference would be held at Baba Bakala in Gurdaspur district on the occasion of Rakhar Punia. On this day Mr George Fernandes, Mr Sahib Singh Verma and other Central ministers would address the gathering.

Mr Advani, Ms Uma Bharti and Mr Arun Jaitely would address the August 20 conference to be organised at Longowal in Sangrur district to mark the martyrdom day of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

Mr Badal said the party set up would be revamped only after its membership drive was over. He said the SAD was in favour of one body for managing all historical gurdwaras.


Cong leaders’ plea to Vedanti on Akal Takht
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 8
Several senior Congress leaders have appealed to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht and other priests to stop politicisation of Akal Takht.

They regretted that in the past over two or three decades Akal Takht had turned not only into a political forum but also had taken the shape of a disciplinary action committee (DAC) to resolve political issues of different Akali factions ignoring the basic object of settling religious affairs.

Holding of the SAD, particularly Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, responsible for misusing Akal Takht for political gains the Congress leaders cautioned that if no steps were taken to check such activities it would tarnish its (Akal Takht) image and damage the Sikh community internationally.

They also charged Mr Badal with misusing the SGPC for solving his personal issues when Mr Badal with the support of his henchmen removed Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra from the presidentship of the SGPC two years ago and now had joined hands with him by electing him (Tohra) again president of the body to save him (Mr Badal) from corruption charges and amassing huge property through unfair means during his five-year rule in the state. By another appeal to the Jathedar and the priests the Congress leaders demanded steps so that both religious institutions like Akal Takht and the SGPC were not used as political platforms.

The Congress leaders are Mr Basant Singh, ex MLA and member of the Disciplinary Action Committee, PPCC, Mr S.K. Gupta, chairman local Improvement Trust, Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh Brar and Mr Pawan Goyal president and senior vice-president respectively of the Faridkot DCC.


SGPC dental college returns fees of students
Ashok Sethi and Pawan Kumar

Students turned back by the SGPC-run dental institute after taking fees from them count cash on Friday.
Students turned back by the SGPC-run dental institute after taking fees from them count cash on Friday. — Photo Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, August 8
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Dental Sciences and Research here today forcibly returned the fees of more than 20 students after having admitted them yesterday under the free quota merit seats allocated by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

The parents of the students while talking to The Tribune alleged that the SGPC had in a dictatorial manner, thrown the norms of admission to wind and put the future of their children in jeopardy. The parents said they would protest to Baba Farid University against the “arbitrary and high-headed attitude” of the Principal, Dr C.S. Bal. They alleged that the Principal pressurised the students this morning to take back their fees after getting a letter signed in the back date.

The parents said attempts to seek an interview with the Principal proved futile as he sent a message through his staff that the management had instructed him to return the fees.

The parents alleged that Sri Guru Ram Das Institute had asked them to deposit the full fee of Rs 2.62 lakh as mentioned in the college prospectus and it would not accept the revised fee structure of Rs 1 lakh as notified by the state government on July 25. However, the Registrar of Baba Farid University, Dr S.S. Sekhon had directed them to deposit the balance fee of Rs 86,500 as they had already paid Rs 13,500 at the time of counselling.

They said the Principal, who had taken the fees yesterday and allowed the students to attend classes, had today turned back without any explanation.

According to informed sources, the SGPC had taken a serious view of the admissions granted by the Principal yesterday and warned him to either face suspension or return the fees of the students admitted under fee quota at the revised fee structure notified by the government last month.

However, the secretary of the SGPC managing the dental institute, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, denied the charge of the parents. He said the SGPC had already apprised the state goverment that since this institution was enjoying the minority status, as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court it was allowed to set its own norms for the fee structure. He said the state government had no right to interfere in the working of Sikh education institutions, as they received no financial grant from it and were autonomous.


Govt warns college

Amritsar, August 8
Taking a stringent measure against the Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Science and Research, Amritsar, run by the SGPC, the Punjab Government has issued a warning note to the college.

The warning says that the college should stop harassing innocent students at the time of admission by charging exorbitant fee and not following the prescribed fee structure.

Talking to reporters, Director Principal of Government Medical College, Dr P.S. Bedi, said the Punjab Government had issued a circular to keep a check on the functioning of the private medical college since.

A deputation of the parents of students had approached the government saying that the college was charging excessive fees from students even though they had secured merit in the PMT. — PTI


Cop accused of murder reinstated, promoted
Director-General of Police to review case
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
A policeman facing trial for the murder of a Ludhiana youth has not only been reinstated but also given two promotions and a prized posting.

The beneficiary of this largesse is Gurmeet Singh, alias Pinky, who after being charged with the murder of 17-year-old Avtar Singh at Ludhiana on January 7, 2001, was reverted to his substantive rank of Head Constable. His trial in the murder case was shifted from Ludhiana to Chandigarh where the next date of hearing is August 12.

The Punjab Government has not only reinstated him but also given him promotion as an Assistant Sub-Inspector and given him the local rank of Sub-Inspector (under ORP — own, rank and pay) and posted him as a Station House Officer in Ropar district.

Though the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Punjab Police in 2001 to discontinue the practice of ORP, hundreds of policemen have been given this benefit in the recent past. And in many cases, the department has objected to these promotions and ORPs ordered by the state government or the previous DGP. In a number of cases, these have been set aside because the records of the “beneficiaries” were either not “clean” or they were facing trial for serious offences.

Early this week, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, had demanded screening of the Punjab police, alleging that a number of policemen with shady past and responsible for heinous crimes were occupying “important positions” in the department. Besides referring to the recent killing of a 12-year-old boy in Patiala by two policemen from the Chief Minister’s security, he also hinted at other cases in which policemen facing trial for serious crimes had been reinstated and given prized postings.

“I am not aware of this case. How can a man charged with such a serious crime be promoted. Since orders were passed before my taking over as the DGP, I am not able to comment on the merits of the case. But we will certainly review it,” said Mr A.A. Siddiqui, the Punjab Police chief.

The Police Department, sources said, had opposed Gurmeet Singh’s case. The orders for reinstatement, promotion and posting came from “top”, they added.

These sources also point out that the number of such cases in which policemen were facing serious charges was less than 15. In almost all these cases, the accused policemen have been reinstated and, in some cases, given promotions also.

In another case, another Sub-Inspector on an ORP basis then posted at Jalandhar had been accused of arranging the contract killing of an NRI girl near Narike village in Sangrur in June, 2000. He had reportedly arranged the deal for the mother and the maternal uncle of the deceased and her husband for a few lakhs. The former were reportedly sore about her marriage with a boy of a lower socio- economic status. While the girl had died, her husband was seriously injured. The Sangrur police booked him on a charge of murder. He was later reverted to his original rank of constable. He is under trial now.

A former ‘cat’, Gurmeet Singh was holding the rank of Inspector when he and eight others were charged with the murder of Avtar Singh. Immediately after the January 7, 2001, incident, the then Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, ordered his reversion to his substantive rank of Head Constable, besides placing him under suspension.

In fact, it was the local rank of Inspector given to Gurmeet Singh which prompted the then President of the Punjab Police Officers Association to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court in January, 2001, to get all policemen holding higher ranks under the own rank pay (ORP) provision reverted to their substantive ranks.

The court had then directed immediate withdrawal of ORP benefits enjoyed by 100-odd policemen.


Roads: Punjab seeks private sector help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Punjab Government today called upon private entrepreneurs to help it affect reforms in the road network, Mr Partep Singh Bajwa, PWD (B and R) Minister, said at the inaugural session of “Financing infrastructure development through public-private partnerships” at the CII here today.

The session was organised by the CII in co-operation with the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy.

Mr Bajwa said public-private partnerships in such areas would not only cut costs but also ensure better services. In view of the limited resources, the government was also looking for assistance from the World Bank to spruce up 42,000 km of link roads in various districts and villages, besides the highways.

Expressing confidence that the public would be willing to pay reasonable charges for using “better and safer” roads, Mr Bajwa said the government could offer some subsidy to keep these user charges affordable.

In his keynote address, Mr Edward Murray, Washington State representative, 43rd Legislative district, Seattle, USA, gave an overview of alternative financing methods the state of Washington, the home to demanding corporates like Boeing and Microsoft, had used to finance capital infrastructure projects.

He listed certain preconditions, which were necessary to create a conducive environment for public-private partnerships. These include feasibility of the project, reliable revenue forecasts, credibility of the venture, political stability and transparency in dealings.

Earlier, Mr Gaurav Kumar, convener, urban development panel, CII, Delhi State Council and Head Strategic Consultancy Group, CB Richard Ellis South Asia Pvt Ltd, talked about the key challenges of infrastructure development in India.

To ensure that private and public entities worked together to develop and maintain infrastructure, it was essential to remove procedural obtsacles, build adequate capacity and create an environment of economic and political stability, added Mr Gaurav Kumar.

Ms Vini Mahajan, Managing Director, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, said such partnerships were already under way in the road and transport sector. This included 1,000 km of state highways, and the bus terminals at Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar. Bids for such partnerships would be held in October

Presenting the private sector’s perspective on such partnerships, Mr K. Venkatesh, General Manager, Infrastructure, Development Projects, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, said the thrust areas for public-private partnerships were in sectors like highways/expressways/rural roads/port connectivity, seaports, airports and industrial parks.


PCMS doctors hold rallies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Members of the Punjab Civil Medical Service ( PCMS) Association today observed a pen-down strike for two hours from 10 am and held public awareness rallies at various district and sub-divisional hospitals in protest against the abolition of the non-practising allowance (NPA). Representatives of various social organisations, including political parties, supported the cause of the doctors by joining these rallies held all over the state.

To avoid any inconvenience to the public, doctors on duty in the emergency services did not participate in the strike to ensure that no patient returned without getting medical aid. The doctors attended their OPDs after duty hours.

In a joint statement, Dr Hardeep Singh and Dr Surinder Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the association said public awareness rallies were held to explain to the public the adverse effects of private practice on the health services in the state and the national health programmes.

According to a statement issued by the patron of the PCMSA, Punjab, Dr M.S. Randhawa, “black day” would be observed tomorrow as part of the state-wide protest against the “anti-people, anti-employee and anti-patient” decision of the Punjab Government to privatise the health services. The doctors would hoist black flags at hospitals, health centres and organise protest rallies to mark the day. On the 12th day of their agitation, they continued to work under protest by wearing “black badges”.

Meanwhile, doctors holding a dharna in front of the OPD at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar, resolved not to perform more than 36-hour duty per week. The PCMSA district unit president, Dr Navtej Pal Singh, said since the pay for one-hour duty stood withdrawn, they were not bound to do any extra work. He also flayed certain bureaucrats for presenting wrong facts and figures about NPA.

The Jalandhar unit of the association at a meeting urged the government to revoke its decision failing which they would be forced to intensify the agitation. Its members, later submitted a memorandum to the Civil Surgeon.

Similar protest rallies were held at Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur, Fazilka, Bathinda and Sangrur.

In Sangrur, PCMS doctors led by Dr Surinder Singla, PCMSA general secretary, presented a memorandum to the Sangrur District Congress Committee President, Mr Subhash Grover, emphasizing that NPA was never linked with private practice and had been abolished without consulting them.

Dr S.S. Romana, general secretary, Punjab Ayurvedic Medical Services Association, also condemned the decision on NPA.


Docs resent privatisation of health services
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 8
On a call given by the PCMS Association, Punjab, patients and doctors jointly held a protest demonstration and blocked the traffic near the Lahori Gate here yesterday. They were protesting against the state government’s move to privatise the health services and allow private practice by in-service doctors by withdrawing the non-practicing allowance (NPA).

Dr M.S. Randhawa and Dr. D.S. Gill, patron and president of the association, respectively, while addressing the gathering urged the doctors not to resort to any such agitation which might weaken their mass base. The association added that it was very clear in its mind that their struggle would be won on public strength.

The president, Lahori Gate Market, Mr Madan Lal, the vice-president, Mr Satpal Singh, and the secretary, Patiala Beopar Mandal, Mr Prem Chaudhary also addressed the gathering and urged the government to withdraw its move to privatse the health services.


Report on synthetic milk sale sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The current countrywide uproar over the presence of insecticides and pesticides in popular brands of soft drinks and milk has invited the attention of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) which has asked the Punjab health authorities to report to the commission within a week what steps have been taken by the health authorities to combat the menace.

“In particular, the health authorities would report to the commission about the preparation and sale of synthetic milk and the ingredients found in the cold drinks which may be injurious to health and unfit for human consumption”, said the order signed by the full commission comprising Justice N.C. Jain, Chairperson, Justice R.L. Anand, Mr N.K. Arora, Mr V.K. Sibal and Mr B.C. Rajput, all members.

The order said the commission was “conscious of the fact that the Punjab Government has ordered the health authorities to give a report in this direction. The commission in the discharge of its mandate for the protection of human rights cannot shut its eyes to these matters of high public concern”.

A copy of the order was sent yesterday itself to the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, and to Director, Health Service, Punjab, through a special messenger for compliance.

On the next hearing, the case will be heard by Justice Jain and Justice Anand.


Quality of Milkfed milk being checked
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 8
The State government organised random tests in the state to check quality of milk received by Milkfed and private milk factories.

The Health department has ordered District Health Officers to test milk being supplied to Milkfed and private factories in the state. The Health Department officials tested milk sold by vendors yesterday. Today officials took samples from Collection Centres of Milkfed and private factories.

Sources said this was being done to detect adulteration of milk. The sources said in the final stage the department was also expected to take samples of the product produced by the milk cooperatives and private factories.

According to the sources the samples are being tested first in the state with very senior department officials conducting checks under their supervision. The sources said a few samples were also expected to be sent to a Delhi-based laboratory where the quality of products of Mother Dairy were checked. They said some samples had failed the preliminary test but that these could be checked again.

Punjab Minister of State for Health Ashwani Sekhri, said he had ordered checks in the state following a direction in this regard from state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. He said samples would be subjected to state of the art checking to detect adulteration.


PSEB engineer held on bribe charge
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 8
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested a Deputy Chief Engineer, Mr Sukhjinder Pal, of the Punjab State Electricity Board for accepting Rs 15,000 in cash from a suspended SDO, Mr Paramjit Sharma.

The SP, Vigilance, Mr TPS Sandhu, told reporters that Mr Sharma had tipped off the bureau that Mr Sukhjinder Pal was demanding a bribe to help him to get his suspension revoked. The bureau laid a trap and arrested the Deputy Chief Engineer while accepting marked currency notes in his office.

A case has been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Meanwhile, the PSEB Engineers Association of the border zone, at an emergency meeting held here today condemned the “highhandedness” of Vigilance officers.

It said the situation had been manipulated to arrest the senior most engineer of the suburban circle here. The association in a press note said that it had already apprised the Chairman of the board about the activities of the suspended SDO who was personally involved in a major power theft case to the tune of Rs 88 lakh. It said the SDO had been chargesheeted more than 15 times during the past five years.

Mr Sukhjinder Pal, who was produced before the reporters, alleged that he was being framed by the bureau at the behest of Mr Sharma. He said the suspended SDO came to his office and requested for his help in the inquiry being conducted by Mr Sukhjinder Pal against him. Immediately after, the SDO shook his hand and said a packet of money was lying in the drawer of his table and the Vigilance sleuths trapped him for allegedly accepting a bribe.


Sirhind Canal bridge in bad shape
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 8
The century-old bridge constructed over the Sirhind Canal in the district is in a pathetic condition due to the government’s apathy. However, most of the traffic of the town passes through the bridge.

The local municipal council authorities have time and again written to the government regarding the poor condition of the bridge. The council authorities on the condition of anonymity told this correspondent that due to the erosion over a period of time the thickness of the concrete slabs over the bridge had decreased considerably. Some of the concrete slab might collapse leading to casualties.

The local health authorities and the telecom companies have covered the footpaths of the bridge with water and telephone lines. Deposition of dust under these pipes was damaging the bridge.

Recently the local Jan Hit Seva Samiti had written the authorities concerned regarding the poor condition of the bridge. Similarly many other organisations have also written to the government about the urgent need to repair the bridge but to no avail.

Earlier, the district administration had erected barriers to stop the entry of heavy vehicles over the bridge. However, even those have now been uprooted.

Since the bridge links the town with the main Ropar-Chandigarh road the locals have time and again demanded the construction of the new bridge. However, the government has not even sanctioned funds for repairing the bridge.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, said the proposal for the construction of the new bridge had been sent to the government. Since neither the Irrigation Department that owns the bridge nor the local municipal council had funds for the construction of the new bridge the case had been sent to the government. Meanwhile, Rs 1.8 lakh had been sanctioned for repairing the bridge, she added.


Maintain streetlights, industrialists told
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, August 8
After years of enduring bad roads, choked sewerage and poor lighting, the industrialists at the local Focal Point have now been asked to take over the maintenance of civic amenities of the area or face their disconnection.

The Focal Point Industries Association has received a notice by the Punjab State Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) to give consent for taking over the maintenance of the streetlighting system from the municipal corporation or pay consumption charges, besides providing the lighting fixtures within a fortnight, failing which the electrical load will be disconnected and the fixtures removed.

The local Focal Point was developed by the PSIEC in 1995. As per the sanctioned project estimate, a provision for maintenance by the PSIEC for an initial period of five years was made an integral part of the development scheme. Thereafter Focal Point was required to be transferred to the local municipal corporation for maintenance which has not taken over the area yet.

As the financial position of the PSIEC does not permit it to continue with the maintenance of Focal Point, the association has been asked to fend for itself with regards to its streetlighting system.

Industrialists at Focal Point lament that the area has been left in the lurch by both the PSIEC and municipal corporation as none is ready to take over its maintenance.

They said this was being done despite the fact that the industrialists had paid development charges to the PSIEC and were paying both octroi and house tax to the corporation. Mr Paramjeet Singh, president of the association, stated that the tussle over the control of Focal Point was costing the industrialists dear with both agencies spurning the area.

The Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, when contacted said since Focal Point fell under the municipal limits, the industrialists were liable to pay both the house tax and octroi . He stated that unless the PSIEC handed over the whole area to the corporation, it was not feasible for the latter to maintain the area.

The PSIEC, however, wanted to hand over only about 200 constructed sites to the corporation while retaining the selling rights of about 400 vacant plots in the area.

As the stalemate over the possession of Focal Point continues, the difficulties being faced by the industrialists keep on compounding. Hitherto, they had to contend with only broken roads and large potholes, now with the advent of monsoon, the sewerage is almost choked and the streetlights have ceased to function almost months ago.

The vice-president of the Focal Point Industries Association, Mr Jaswant Singh, states that with the ongoing recession and general decline in business, bearing the cost of maintenance besides paying house tax and octroi to the corporation would be too much to bear for industrialists. Now to add to their woes, the PSIEC has threatened them with the disconnection of streetlights and removal of lighting fixtures.

Mr Paramjeet Singh says that the industrialists are ready to maintain the area provided they are exempted from taxes by the municipal corporation as a special case.


MPs cross over to Pak today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 8
Indian parliamentarian peaceniks will cross over to Pakistan tomorrow to strengthen track-II diplomacy between the two nations.

The delegation of MPs includes RJD president Laloo Parsad Yadav, former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyer, Mr Balbir Punj, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Mr Swaraj Koushal, Mr Naval Kishor, Mr Krishnamurthi, Mr Bhan Singh Bhaur, Mr Ashwani Rai, Dr Akhtar Hussain Rajvi and Mr Talib Hussain. Folklore Research Academy will organise a reception in honour of the MPs at the Wagah checkpost.


Fruit sellers using chemicals to be checked
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 8
The Punjab Government has issued instructions to all Civil Surgeons in the state to check those wholesale fruit sellers of their respective districts who inject calcium carbide in various fruits to increase their size for more profits and take strict action against them.

In a fax message by the state Health and Family Welfare Department to the Civil Surgeon, it has been stated that it had come to the notice of the department that at many places wholesale fruit sellers are using poisonous chemicals like calcium carbide to increase the size of fruits, official sources said here today. The department has instructed the district health authorities to send a daily report regarding the action taken by them in this regard.

Dr S.K. Sharma, District Health Officer here, said he had asked all senior medical officers of the district to take action against such wholesale fruit sellers of their respective areas. He said a team was being constituted at the district headquarters to monitor the action of senior medical officers. The Director, Health Services, Punjab, had been asked to fill the vacancy of the District Food Inspector so that dairy owners and milk vendors could also be checked.


Immolation plan by 5 youths
Tribune News Service

Handiya (Barnala), August 8
Five youths of this village have decided to immolate themselves on August 15 at the place where the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will unfurl the National Flag. The decision has been taken to press the state government to dissolve the local municipal council and to convert it into a Panchayat body.

Ms Naresh Kumari Bawa, a member of the Handiya Action Committee, which has launched a struggle since February 27 to convert the local municipal council into a panchayat body, while talking to TNS today, pointed out that the decision to take the extreme step was taken by the committee after its various modes of agitation had failed.


Enough water released for Rajasthan: Rinwa
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 8
Mohinder Rinwa, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, has refuted allegations that the state had not released sufficient quantity of canal water to Rajasthan for irrigation and was, instead, allowing surplus water to flow to Pakistan.

Speaking at his residence here today, Dr Rinwa, quoting officials of the Irrigation Department, claimed that canals in Rajasthan were getting a record discharge of 12,500 cusec from the state. A majority of the areas in Rajasthan had heavy rains.

On the irrigation prospects in Punjab, Dr Rinwa said now all canals were having full supply of water at the tail-ends.


Two die after consuming ‘poisonous’ lassi
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 8
Two children died while five others were taken ill after consuming “poisonous” lassi at their home in Rampur Gujran village near Dirba yesterday.

Pooja (7) and Gurmukh Singh (10), daughter and son, respectively of Mr Arjun Singh of Rampur Gujran village died, while Mr Kartar Singh, his brother, and five members of his family fell ill after consuming the lassi.


2 die as truck hits oil tanker
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 8
Two persons were killed when a truck collided with a stationary oil tanker near Bidhipur village on the Jalandhar-Amritsar national highway here this afternoon.

According to the police, the accident took place when the driver of the truck lost control over the vehicle and hit the oil tanker.

The driver of the oil tanker, Mr Nirmal Singh, was sitting at the rear of the vehicle to replace its tyre. Mr Nirmal Singh of Kalak village in Ludhiana and the cleaner of the truck, Harbhajan, died on the spot. A case has been registered even as the driver of the truck fled.


Brahmakumaris tie rakhi to CM
Patiala, August 8
Brahmakumari sisters today tied a rakhi to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his wife and MP Preneet Kaur at their New Moti Bagh Palace residence here.While tying the rakhi Brahmakumari Nisha said that the Brahamakumari Movement was committed to universal brotherhood and was spreading the message of peace all over the world. OC
A Brahmakumari sister ties a rakhi on the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh’s wrist
A Brahmakumari sister ties a rakhi on the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh’s wrist at New Moti Bagh Palace in Patiala on Friday. Photo by Subhash Patialavi


Departmental action ordered against DSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Taking a serious view of the fact that a false affidavit had been filed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in an alleged illegal detention case, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed departmental action against him.

The DSP had earlier claimed that the alleged detainee was summoned to a police post, but was “allowed to go”. On the other hand, another officer, in a communication, had stated that the victim was made to sit the whole night and was beaten up by an Assistant Sub Inspector of Police (ASI) before being released the next day.

After going through submissions and documents, Mr Justice Gupta ruled: “The DSP has filed a false affidavit, therefore, departmental action be taken against him”.

Issuing the directions the Judge also directed the registration of a case against the ASI involved in the offence. The Judge also asked Punjab’s Director-General of Police (DGP) “to take necessary action in the matter within a month”.

In his petition, Harjit Singh of Cheema village in Ludhiana district had earlier alleged the detention of his nephew Sukhwinder Singh. He had claimed that Sukhwinder was taken into custody by the officials of “Issru police post” on July 29, 2000.

Meanwhile, DSP Mohinder Paul Singh Chokkar stated that Sukhwinder was summoned to the police post in connection with some dispute, but was allowed to go. Later on, another officer had asserted that Sukhwinder was released the next day after the panchayat members talked to the ASI.


Four remanded in Khamano graft case
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 8
Mr G.S.Dhillon, CJM, yesterday remanded all four accused —Tarsem Lal, Executive Officer, now posted at the MC, Morinda, Harbans Raj, Sectional Officer, Dharmpal, former president, and Rajinder Kumar, contractor, of Khamano Nagar Panchayat, — in the police custody for two days.

They were arrested by the District Vigilance Department yesterday in a corruption case.

The Vigilance Department had received a complaint against them alleging that substandard and below-specification material is being used in the various ongoing developmental projects in Khamano.

After conducting an enquiry, the charges were found to be true and the District Vigilance Department had registered a case under Sections 409, 467, 468, 477A, 120B and 13(1)D of the IPC.

Police remand for seven chemists

The district police presented all seven chemists arrested for selling illegal drugs in the courts of Mr G.S. Dhillon, CJM, and Ms Neelam Arora, Senior Sub-Judge here today. All chemists were remanded in police custody for one day.

Meanwhile, the representatives of various social organisations today thronged the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and SSP to congratulate the officers for taking a bold step in curbing the menace of drug abuse in the district.

The chemists in the district opened their shops and worked normally.


Chowhan files recovery suit against Badal
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 8
The former Deputy Director of the Information and Public Relation Department, Punjab, Mr Jagdip Singh Chowhan, has filed recovery suit against former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and other 15 persons, including senior IAS officers, Public Relation Officers, claiming damages of Rs 2.0143 crore. The court has issued a notice to Mr Badal and other officials in the case to file reply in the case for November 12.

Besides Badal, other officers against whom the case was filed, include Chief Secretary, Punjab, R.S. Mann, IAS (retd), Sarvesh Kaushal, IAS, Mr S.K. Verma, Additional Director General of Police(ADGP), Punjab State Human Rights Commission, P.S. Aujla, IAS.

Mr Chowhan, alleged that Mr Badal had ordered a vigilance inquiry against him on a false and frivolous complaint filed against him. Giving details he added that the records of the case which was called for by the Vigilance Department and investigation initiated in the case made out no case against him. He further alleged that, however, an FIR under sections of Corruption Act was got registered without any reasonable and probable cause.

Giving details about his innocence, Mr Chowhan added that Special Judge, Ropar, had heard arguments of the case. On June 4, 2002 in his order the judge said no prima facie case of corruption was made out against him to frame charges against him and he was discharged by the court in the case.


SDM indicts Nangal MC authorities
Our Correspondent

Nangal, August 8
The SDM of Anandpur Sahib, Mr Bhupinder Singh, in the interim inquiry report submitted to the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, regarding the work done without opening the tenders in the Nangal Municipal Council has indicted the council authorities.

Sources here said the SDM who confiscated the records of the council had informed the Deputy Commissioner that the work in the tender notification of the council was got done before opening the tenders. The said work for the construction of the retaining wall from the Dobeta cremation ground to the Sharma Store area was worth Rs 5 lakh.

The council authorities continued with the work even after the Deputy Commissioner ordered an inquiry into it. It was only after the direct invention of the Deputy Commissioner that the work was stopped.


Couple held for selling mortgaged property
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 8
The Economic Offence Wing (EWO) of the district police on Wednesday arrested a couple on the allegations of selling one of the four properties, which had been mortgaged with the Bank of India to obtain a loan of Rs 80 lakh for the enhancement of their business activities.

According to the police, the Manager of the Company Bagh branch of the Bank of India, Mr S.K. Malhotra, in his complaint, alleged that the partners of Messrs P.R. Steel Corporation, Sandhya Rani and her husband Rajnish Kumar, obtained a loan of Rs 80 lakh after formally mortgaging their four properties with the bank on July 15, 1997.

Subsequently, the firm failed to timely deposit their monthly instalments. The complainant further alleged that later they came to know that the firm had sold a mortgaged plot.

The arrested persons were remanded in 14 days of judicial custody.


Pardi” gang busted, 2 arrested
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 8
After the “Bawaria”, the “Jhanjhar” and “Biscuit” gang, a gang comprising “Pardis” of Karnataka, known to be ruthless killers, has been busted by the district police. The gang was involved in a number of dacoities in areas adjoining Chandigarh as well as in several districts of Punjab.

The police has nabbed two members of the gang for questioning, which is likely to lead to further exposes. Initial investigations have revealed that the gang was one of the most ruthless tribal gangs operating in Northern India.

Police sources said the “Pardis” usually adopt sharpening of knives or some such other work which enables them to tour residential localities and choose targets. While sharpening of knives in some households gives them an idea of the financial status of the family, collection of newspapers at doorsteps of some others enables them to know that the family was out of station.

They said gang had nine to 10 members, adding that the gang members belonged to Belgaum, Dharwad and Raichur areas of Karnataka.

Earlier, the district police had nabbed members of ‘Bawaria’, ‘Jhanjhar’ gang and the ‘Biscuit’ gangs. The “Bawarias” who are also known as the ‘kale kachhewale’ thieves, use force to silence their victims. They use any weapon available at the scene instead of carrying a weapon with them. The ‘Biscuit’ gang comprising men who operate as taxi drivers or befriend persons at fairs or other public places. They offer biscuits laced with drugs to the victim, which renders him unconscious, allowing the gang members to loot him. The ‘’Jhanjhar’ gang members generally use sleight to befool shopkeepers.


19,000 euros confiscated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 8
Immigration officials confiscated 19,000 euros (about Rs 9 lakh) from Joga Singh of Kapurthala at the Rajasansi international airport here yesterday.

His belongings and the amount was seized, said the officials. Joga Singh was coming from Belgium.


Board set for major syllabus changes
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 8
The Punjab School Education Board is set to bring about major changes in the subject curriculum it offers to students across the state.

While subject syllabi of all classes starting from Class I to Class XII will be updated, some for the first time since their formulation, major changes are expected in courses offered in Class VIII, X and XII.

A Curriculum Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Kirpal Singh, a former Pro-Vice Chancellor Guru Nanak Dev University has been formed by the board for the purpose. The frame of reference of the committee is to establish continuity within the course content at various levels of education. For example, the syllabus for Class XII will be revised in consonance with the syllabus offered at the college level and the secondary level syllabus will be revised in continuation with the syllabus at the primary level.

At the its first two meetings, the committee has also recommended categorisation of the subjects being offered by the board into five streams instead of three. Two streams, fine arts and vocational have been added to the already existing Science, Commerce and Humanities stream. This will be followed by a re-grouping of the options available to the students. ‘‘Offering so many options meant that the annual examinations would continue for over a month. In order to limit the examination days, the options are proposed to be regrouped. All the same options will be available to the students but within limited groups,’’ said Dr Jagir Singh, a member of the Curriculum Committee.

In order to undo the sharp shift from studying five subjects in Class V to eight subjects in Class VI, one subject has been reduced in class VI which will be introduced in class VII instead. Similarly, in order to prepare the primary level students for introduction of science and social science in class VI, subjects like cleanliness and hygiene and environment studies will be introduced in some primary classes.

Stating that the recommendations of the committee will be finalised only at subsequent meetings, Dr Jagir Singh said that some of these recommendations, if passed, could be implemented during the current session.

Other members of the committee include Dr T.R. Sharma, Mr Tara Singh Hundal, Mr M.L. Hasija, Mr Roshan Lal Sood and Mrs Swaranjit Kaur.


Retired teachers to gherao ministers today
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 8
More than 13,000 retired teachers of the government-aided and other private schools will gherao ministers tomorrow in their respective areas in protest against the failure of the Punjab Government to give them pension and other benefits for the past about seven years.

Stating here today, Mr Sewa Singh Chawla, member of the state executive body of the Punjab Aided Teachers School Association and coordinator of the Faridkot and Muktsar units, said only 1,000 teachers retired before the year 1996 were availing the pension benefit whereas the 2,000 teachers who retired after that had not been given the benefit though the government had regularly deducted 50 per cent share of their provident fund from their salaries during their service period.

He said several teachers had field a writ in the Punjab and Haryana Court to seek justice last year and the court had directed the state government to release the pension without delay.

But it was to no avail. Rather, many contempt of court petitions were running in the high court against the government for failing to implement the orders.

The government recently announced its decision to stop the paying of pension to all those teachers who had retired after May 31 this year. This “stepmotherly” treatment to the teachers would compel them to launch an indefinite stir in this connection if the government did not relent Mr Chawla added.


From Colleges
MCA students await result
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 8
The final year students of MCA doing the course from various colleges affiliated to Punjabi University are unable to apply for jobs as the university has still not declared the result.

While urging the university to declare their result immediately, the MCA students have demanded that in future both written and practical examinations be held in time.

No notification

Despite the state government having been rolled back its decision regarding the massive hike in the fee in various colleges of the State no notification in this regard has been issued by the State government to the various colleges so far.

State president of the Punjab Students Federation Darmindar Singh and district president Hari Singh Tiwana in a joint statement said the delay in issuing notification by the state government in this regard was creating problems for poor students who did not earlier seek admission in colleges due to hiked fees.

They said the government had earlier extended the last date for admission from July 31 to August 8 but in the absence of the notification, no new admissions had been done in the colleges.


Students burn posters of Sachin, Kareena
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, August 8
Students and members of the ABVP today burnt posters of star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Bollywood icons Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor, who have been main advertisement campaigners for promoting these brands, as a mark of protest against drinking and selling of these soft drinks.

Students of most of the local colleges held a demonstration outside DAV College here against drinking and selling of these soft drinks. They demanded that Sachin Tendulkar, Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor should disassociate themselves from the advertisement campaigns of these soft drinks.

Bottles of Coca Cola and Pepsi were broken by the students to register their protest. They demanded that the state government should impose a ban on the sale of the allegedly toxic soft drinks.

The agitating students urged the managements of all educational institutions in the district to ban these soft drinks.


Varsity bans sale of Coke, Pepsi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 8
Guru Nanak Dev University, through a notification, has banned the sale of Coca Cola and Pepsi on the university campus and in all its hostel canteens from today.

Stating this in a press note, Dr R.K. Bedi, Dean, Students Welfare, said the ban had been imposed in view of the ongoing controversy regarding the pesticide content in these soft drinks. Students of the university had also demanded a ban on these soft drinks.

Meanwhile, the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front activists today organised a rally against soft drinks giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi for using banned pesticide in the beverages. Coca Cola bottlers say that the soft drinks conform to international quality standards with period checks by international laboratories.

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