Tuesday, August 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



10 Akalis have sought clemency, says Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Nabha, August 11
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said that no Congress legislator was hobnobbing with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). He claimed that on the contrary 10 SAD legislators had approached him recently pleading that action should not be taken against them for alleged irregularities committed by them during the Akali - BJP reign.

Addressing a large gathering after laying the foundation stone of an urban estate here, the Chief Minister said there was no truth in the statement made by SAD leader Capt Kanwaljit Singh claiming that a few legislators had approached the SAD. He said the truth was that the opposite was happening. “I can tell them the names of 10 legislators who have approached me”, he said adding that the government however would not forgive such elements.

Capt Amarinder Singh also let loose a diatribe against Union Defence Minister George Fernandes who will visit Baba Bakala tomorrow. “What will he tell the people of the Majha region who have always fought for the Indian Army?

Later while talking to newspersons, the Chief Minister said the outbursts of the Deputy Speaker, Mr Birdevinder Singh, had been brought to the notice of the party high command, who had expressed concern at the development and was looking into it. He, however, refuted the statement of the Deputy Speaker regarding the breakdown of law and order. He also made it clear that the government was in no mood to compromise on the question of non-practising allowance. He said the government would not subsidise Rs 60 crore which was being given to the doctors in the state on account of the NPA.

Speaking on the occasion, Ropar MP Shamsher Singh Dullo urged that the “shagun” scheme should be revived.

Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated a statue of former minister Gurdarshan Singh at the entrance of the town.


Badal backs out of debate on corruption
Tribune News Service

Sherpur (Sangrur), August 11
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), today refused to share platform with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for a debate on corruption saying Amarinder Singh as is junior to him. However, he said he was ready to participate in such a debate if a senior Congress person from Delhi of his (Badal) stature came forward for such debate with him.

To a query, Mr Badal said he could also not participate in such a debate with Mr Amarinder Singh as people like him (Amarinder) were power-hungry and defector.

Mr Badal was here for the mobilisation of Akali workers to participate in the death anniversary function of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal to be observed at Longowal on August 20.

Mr Badal said now law and order had been deteriorating in Punjab day by day.


Punjab lags behind Empowerment of Panchayati
Raj institutions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The empowerment of panchayati raj institutions in Punjab has been in suspended animation for the past several years. Though the Amarinder Government has announced several times to hand over powers to panchayats, Zila Parishads, it continues to dither. Now the empowerment of such institutions has been postponed to October 2.

The Congress high command, not happy with Punjab’s performance, has repeatedly reminded Capt Amarinder Singh to finish the job of decentralisation of powers to panchayati raj institutions at the earliest. The high command had taken up these issues with Capt Amarinder Singh at the party conclaves held in Guwahati, Mount Abu and Shimla.

Undoubtedly, Punjab is one of the most prosperous states if one is to go by its per capita income. However, it is also a socially backward state. Because of weak democratic institutions at the grassroots level, social transformation has been slow in Punjab. Social evils such as dowry deaths, female foeticide, casteism, use of narcotics are rampant in the state. Its literacy rate is rather poor compared to states like Kerala .

Though panchayati raj institutions have been in place for several decades, these are just a “filler” in the panchayati raj system. Only after examining their power structure in Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, one realises that Punjab, which used to be a role model a few decades ago, is now one of the backward states as far as the power structure of these institutions is concerned.

Punjab’s misfortune is that since Independence most of its Chief Ministers were men of feudal mindset. Even Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who was the Chief Minister thrice, did not decentralise powers to these institutions though his government was morally bound to do so. In fact, Mr Badal’s party has been locked in a long struggle against the Centre, seeking the decentralisation of powers to the states. The most crucial part of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, which remained in the focus for years at the national level, was more powers to the states.

However, contrary to it, when Mr Badal himself became the Chief Minister in 1997, he did not give any powers to panchayati raj institutions. The SAD-BJP Government continued to study the issue of empowerment of these bodies for full five years.

Before the SAD-BJP Government, the Congress Government took a decision on November 13 to transfer seven subjects — agriculture, animal husbandry, health and family, primary education, rural water supply, rural development and panchayats and revenue. However, nothing concrete followed thereafter.

The Punjab Government has now shortlisted five subjects — primary schools, primary health centres, drinking water, social security for women, children and aged persons, and veterinary hospitals — to be handed over to the panchayats. However, until an executive order is issued to this effect, nothing is definite as “there is a lot of resistance from the departments concerned to the decentralisation of powers.


No trace of 3 friends of tribal girls
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 11
Even as there is no trace of three tribal girls and other tribespersons, who were brought along with three Jharkhand girls who were allegedly sold for Rs 2,000 each, the Nawanshahr police is yet to arrest the Bhin village-based father-son duo who were booked for kidnapping and raping one of three tribal girls respectively.

Though three Jharkhand girls Asnita, Somi Badra and Sangeeta had been rescued from the clutches of the father-son duo, who were allegedly working as kingpins of a human trafficking racket in Nawanshahr district for over two decades, there was still no trace of three other girls who were also brought by the alleged agents from Jharkhand. These girls were also allegedly sold to residents of different villages.

These girls, according to Sangeeta, one of three rescued girls, were Mariyam, a resident of Gairi village, Sunita, also from Gairi, and Sisir, whose village was not known. “Mariyam was my friend and we had fled as she was sold for Rs 2,000. We don’t know where she has gone,” said Sangeeta.

These six girls were part of a group of 20 tribespersons, including seven boys and three married couples, who were allegedly brought to Punjab by the agents in the first week of June. Except for three rescued girls whereabouts of others were not known.

Activists of the Pendu Mazdoor Union, had presented the three girls before the Deputy Commissioner on August 5 after they were rescued. They apprehended that the influential agents were trying to keep them away from public gaze to prevent them from falling into hands of the police or social activists. “We have come to know that the recently brought entire group was being shifted from one place to another,” said an activist of the union, adding that no effort was being made to arrest the accused.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that despite a lapse of about a week no arrest had been made by the Nawanshahr police. Though the police claimed that raids were being conducted at different suspected hideouts of the accused, these had have failed to yield any result. “We are still conducting raids at houses of their relatives. Where will they go,?” questioned Ms Neerja Voruvuru, SSP, Nawanshahr. She said according to her information the accused were in Chandigarh.


SGPC colleges face action on fee structure
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
A crucial meeting of the top brass of the Punjab Medical Education Department and the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences has been called here tomorrow to take “appropriate action” against the two SGPC-run dental and medical colleges, which have been violating government instructions regarding fee structure and admission.

Informed sources said today that the state government authorities concerned had turned down the plea of the SGPC colleges to charge various fees and other funds from students on the basis of the decision of their management. The government today told the authorities concerned of the SGPC colleges that the admission fee and other charges should be taken from students on the basis of the fee structure fixed by the state government on July 25. All earlier notifications regarding fee structure had been superseded in the light of the decision of the Supreme Court.

The government has also made it clear that the NRI seats have been done away with from all private and government medical and dental colleges in the light of the Supreme Court instructions. So, the SGPC-run colleges cannot make NRI admissions.

Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Medical Education Minister, said no discrimination had been made with the SGPC colleges regarding fee and admissions etc. “A wrong impression was being created by the SGPC authorities in this connection”, he added.

Meanwhile, several students today submitted a detailed representation to the Chief Minister, the Medical Education Minister and others concerned alleging that the SGPC-run Guru Ram Dass Institute of Dental Sciences and Research was harassing them.


13 Pakistan MPs may join candlelight vigil
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
A 13-member delegation of members of parliament of Pakistan is likely to participate in the eighth annual candlelight vigil organised by the Hind-Pak Dosti Manch in collaboration with the Folklore Research Academy at Wagah joint check post on August 14. The candlelight vigil programme is being organised regularly at the border by the two organisations for better relations and to end hatred between two countries.

This may be for the first time that representatives of both countries would participate jointly in the candlelight vigil programme at Wagah. This was claimed by the Folklore Research Academy while announcing its new elective member of the state unit in a press conference here today.

Besides Pakistan MPs, Mr Raj Babbar, film actor-cum-politician along with his wife would participate in this programme. The Folklore Research Academy has also extended invitations to Mr I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister, Lok Bhalai Party chief Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, CPI leader Harkishen Singh Surjeet etc. Folk singer Pammi Bai, Jatinder Dhillon, Master Salim and others would join the programme.

Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, patron of the academy, said that the programme would start by taking ‘jyoti’ from Jallianwala Bagh. Mr Jassowal said all arrangements in this regard had been completed. He said all administrative and BSF officials had been apprised of at the programme. He called upon all religious and social organisations to participate in it.

The new office-bearers of the state Folklore Research Academy, include Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal (Ludhiana), Mr Gumangal Singh Gill (Amritsar) and Mr Bakhsish Singh (Jalandhar) as the patrons, Mr Sohan Singh Bai as chairman, Mr Ramesh Yadav president, Mr Talwinder Singh and Mr Paramjit Singh senior vice-presidents, Mr Gurpal Singh, Mr Jasbir Singh, Raman Bakshi, and Mr Sukhjinderpal Singh as vice-presidents. While Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu was elected general secretary of the academy. 


Acquitted 4 years after death
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
A Junior Engineer, booked by the Punjab Vigilance Department 17 years ago, got justice, but a bit too late — four years after his death. Sentenced to 18 months rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case by Sangrur’s Special Judge in 1995, the engineer has now been acquitted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The accused, Manak Chand, working with the Punjab State Electricity Board, was accused of accepting Rs 500 as bribe for the release of electricity connection to one Bhagwant Rai.

In his complaint before the Vigilance Department, Rai had claimed that Manak Chand had initially asked for Rs 1,000 as “consideration for the issuance of the connection”. Following his refusal to pay the amount as the papers were complete, the deal was finalised at Rs 500.

Unwilling to pay the money, the complainant, along with another acquaintance, visited the Vigilance Department at Sangrur. A trap was, subsequently, laid. According to the prosecution, Manak Chand accepted the money which was later recovered from him. After the completion of investigation, the challan was submitted before the court of competent jurisdiction.

The accused, when confronted with the incriminating evidence against him, denied the allegations. Claiming to have been implicated in a false case, he asked for trial.

In an attempt to prove its case, as nine witnesses were examined by the prosecution. After hearing the arguments and going through the record, Manak Chand was held guilty by the Special Judge before being convicted under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Aggrieved by the order, Manak Chand moved the high court, but died during the pendency of the appeal in August, 1999. His wife, Santosh Kumari was, however, impleaded in the case and allowed to be continue the appeal in Manak Chand’s place.

Taking up the appeal, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the high court ruled: “I have heard Mr D.P.S. Kahlon for the appellant and Punjab’s Senior Deputy Advocate-General G.S.Gill... Independent witness Hardev Singh stated that an amount of Rs 500 was not recovered from the pocket of Manak Chand’s pant, he was carrying the money in his hands. Thus, the version of Rai and another witness that Manak Chand had put the money in his pant’s pocket and the same was recovered from that pocket is not believable”.

In his detailed order, Mr Justice Gupta further ruled: “The essential ingredient of the offence that money was passed to Manak Chand on demand is missing.... Consequently, the appeal is allowed, Manak Chand is given benefit of doubt and is acquitted of the charges levelled against him”.


Doctors object to CM’s statement
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 11
The PCMS Association has strongly reacted to a statement given by the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, here yesterday against doctors of civil hospitals and dispensaries.

At an emergency meeting presided over by Dr Resham Singh Atwal, president of the association here, the doctors condemned the Chief Minister for his adamant attitude. They suggested that instead of financially hitting the doctors and the poor patients, the Chief Minister should reduce the size of his ministry.

All doctors of the Abohar block unanimously resolved to go on another pen down strike on August 13 to press the government to change its decision on the NPA.

However, the PSMS association’s agitation suffered a setback with the Punjab Civil Ayurvedic Medical Services Association deciding to support the state government on its decision to withdraw the NPA.

In a signed statement, Dr Harbhajan Singh Kamboj, state executive member of the association, said the government should either give the selection grade to ayurvedic and homoeopathic doctors working in hospitals and rural dispensaries or withdraw the same from allopathic doctors also. He asserted that doctors of all categories and faculties had been performing emergency duties and had equally participated in national campaigns to check polio, malaria and small pox besides family welfare campaigns but there was disparity in their allowances and grades.


Govt opens dialogue on NPA issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Punjab Government today made its first attempt to open a dialogue with representatives of the PCMS Association to resolve the non-practising allowance (NPA) issue.

Two close aides of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, including his Principal Secretary, Mr S.K Sinha, and Chairman, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, Col C.S Kamboj, held a meeting with members of the association and urged the PCMS doctors not to seek premature retirement in panic.

In a press note, Dr D.S Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, have claimed that they were able to convince the two senior officials that the calculations of financial burden were “absolutely wrong and misleading”.


Clerks’ case kept pending
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 11
The case of 134 clerks of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), who were demanding that they be treated as regular employees of the board since the case of their removal from service had been quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was once again not discussed and kept pending by members of the board at a special meeting held here today.

The 134 clerks were also demanding arrears from the board authorities. The board has filed a civil miscellaneous plea in the court to clarify whether these employees be paid arrears or not.

The item relating to the reinstatement of the 134 clerks to their original posts was earlier deferred at a meeting of the board members held on July 18.

These employees had been employed during the tenure of Mr Tota Singh, former Education Minister. Their services had been terminated after a vigilance inquiry had pointed out that board officials had indulged in favouritism while making the recruitments. Since then these employees had been working on an ad hoc basis. They had moved the high court against their termination orders. The high court had set up a three-member panel to decide on the issue.

Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the board, said the case of the representation of 134 clerks had been kept pending till the date the three-member panel and the honourable court clarified the position.

The Chairman said the board members also unanimously rejected the appeal of an employee of the board against the order of the Chairman under which he was removed from service.

The employee, Harcharan Singh, was removed from service on June 6, 2000, after an inquiry had held him guilty of misappropriation of funds to the tune of about Rs 92,000.

Harcharan Singh had approached the high court complaining that the board members were not taking any decision on his appeal against the orders of the Chairman. The high court had then directed the PSEB authorities to give a hearing to Harcharan Singh or decide the case within three months. Harcharan Singh was present at the meeting today where he even presented a document which he thought could support his case.

The PSEB authorities had got a case registered against Harcharan Singh on charges of breach of trust after which he was arrested and even put behind bars. As such his services were also terminated in 1986.

However, the high court acquitted him on benefit of doubt and he was taken back by the PSEB authorities on September 9, 1999. But an inquiry held by the board found him guilty of misappropriation of funds after which he was removed from service by the Chairman of the board.

The board members also made a provision, after changing the regulations, to set up another committee to clear the backlog of about 600 cases in which corrections regarding date of birth or name had to be made.

Dr Kehar Singh said the board members appreciated the efforts of the Controller of Examinations, Ms Narinder Kaur, for getting the results of the supplementary examinations of Class XII declared within 10 days.


PUDA to develop 3 more urban estates
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 11
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has decided to develop three more urban estates at Sujanpur, Kharar and Khanna.

Stating this at Nabha, near here, Housing and Urban Development Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri said today PUDA would also develop integrated townships with one slated to be developed at Sirhind in an area of 330 acres. He said the township would be developed at a cost of Rs 66 crore with the state government contributing Rs 16.50 crore and the National Capital Region Planning Board Rs 49.68 crore.

Mr Puri said the Integrated township would include information technology, electronics, Agro and institutional parks. He said infrastructural development of the township would be done on a turnkey basis by August end.

The minister said PUDA’s decision to develop an urban estate at Nabha under the name Hira Complex was the outcome of a demand survey done last year. He said the enclave would have 800 residential plots, a school, a commercial area besides green belt. He said the Enclave would also house the new sub divisional administrative complex for which five acres had been reserved. The administrative complex would be spread over 35,000 square feet of area and all offices in the subdivision would be shifted there, he added.

Mr Puri said since the foundation stones of the urban estate and the administrative complex had been laid, PUDA was set to begin development works pertaining to water supply, sewerage, electrification and roads. He said both projects were expected to be completed simultaneously by December 2004.

He said PUDA had now also decided to focus on sub divisional and tehsil headquarters in the state, where also government offices would be brought under one roof. He said parties would be invited to take up these projects so that they could be completed in time. He said PUDA had also decided to earmark 10 per cent of its annual construction Budget for undertaking construction by using new materials and proven new technologies to facilitate their absorption within the organisation.


Cheaper loan to uplift down-trodden
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 11
The Punjab Government in collaboration with the Central Government has formulated a plan to generate sources of income for the Scheduled Castes and backward classes under self-employment schemes in the current year in the state. Under the plan a soft loan of Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh will be advanced to the beneficiaries at 5 per cent to 6 per cent of interest. To monitor the plan an eight-member committee led by ADC Development at the district level has been constituted. This was stated by Mr C.S. Talwar Managing Director (MD) Punjab Financial Corporation, Backward and Minority Classes here on Saturday. Mr Talwar was here to discuss the scheme with district officers said that the government had fixed a target of 2000 to provide them opportunities.

He disclosed that the Central Government had sanctioned Rs 6.50 crore and a share of Rs 1 crore in the shape of marginal money would be borne by the state government. He made it clear that no subsidy would be given to the beneficiary on the scheme.

He said in the past two years the scheme could not take off as the previous SAD-BJP government had failed to deposit the marginal money for the implementation of the scheme. He has visited Ludhiana, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar and discussed the scheme with the senior officers. The MD hoped that the scheme would be implemented in a month.


Notice to Badal, Badungar for violation of edict
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
President of the Punjab Sikh Forum Capt Chanan Singh today served a legal notice on Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar through his lawyer, for violating the Hukamnama of Sri Akal Takht Sahib. He said it was a political drama by Mr Badal on July 16 seeking forgiveness as directed by Sri Akal Takht Sahib. He said Mr Badal had violated the Sikh traditions and maryada by wasting lakhs from the donations received from devotees.

The notice said that the hukamnama of Sri Akal Takht Sahib had imposed a punishment on Mr Badal of Rs 500 ‘karah parshads’ and to make arrangements of Sri ‘Akhand Path Sahib’ at Manji Sahib Dewan hall for forgiveness.


Retirees protest hike in water, sewerage charges
Our Correspondent

Nangal, August 11
Retirees of Nangal today held a protest in front of the council office against hike in sewerage and water charges.

About hundred retirees residing in the Shivalik Avenue colony here went to the council office and raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the local council authorities.

The president of the Shivalik Avenue Welfare Society, Mr K.D. Bali, led the retirees to the council office. He alleged that most of the retirees had a meagre source of income. The reducing interest rates had further reduced their income.

However, the government was putting unnecessary burden on them by arbitrarily increasing the sewerage and water rates.

The government had recently raised their sewerage rate to Rs 50 per month for houses built in 5 marla plots, Rs 75 for houses built between 5 to 10 marla plots and Rs 100 for houses built in above 10 marla plots. The rate of water charges had also been increased from Rs 1.20 per kilolitre to Rs 2 per kilolitre.

To add to the agony senior citizens had been asked to give arrears as per the new rates from April 2003, they alleged.


Four patients escape from mental asylum
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
Four mentally challenged persons escaped from a mental asylum allegedly after overpowering the warden and tying him up before locking him in a room last night. The four patients include Naresh, Avtar Singh, Kamaldeep Singh and Sukhwinder Singh. While Naresh was an old patient of the asylum, other three patients had been admitted a few days back.

However, two of them, Naresh and Avtar were later found in their homes while the other two were still untraceable.

An inquiry was ordered in this regard by Dr B.L. Goel, Director, mental asylum, here today. He said that Naresh, who was to be discharged a few days allegedly instigated the other three to flee.

The sources claimed that the security guards at the main gate of the newly constructed building were sleeping and the four persons taking the advantage of this fact ran away from the hospital. However, Dr Goel denied this charge and said that the patients had fled the asylum.


Recast Pak gurdwara body, says Bhaur
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 11
Former SGPC Acting President Sukhdev Singh Bhaur today mooted the recasting of the PSGPC by including in it one-thirds of SGPC members, 1 percent of DSGPC members representatives of the five Takhts, five renowned Sikh scholars and a representative each from Canada, the USA, Australia, Europe, the Gulf and Pakistan Sikhs for broadbasing it and getting recognition from the SGPC.

Talking to reporters at the local Guru Nanak College after inducting a new bus into the institute’s fleet, Mr Bhaur, a close confidant of SGPC President G.S. Tohra said the matter was earlier taken up with Mr Rafiq Tarar, the then President of Pakistan.


CM urged to have people-to-people contact
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 11
Former BJP MLA Laxmi Kanta Chawla has urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to get to the ground realities of the crime situation in the state by a people-to-people contact.

In a statement issued here yesterday, Ms Chawla said the Chief Minister, who was openly declaring an improvement in the crime scenario of the state, was systematically being misguided by the coterie around him.

The recent dacoity in the PSEB office in Bathinda, the killing of a cashier of the PSEB in Amritsar, and a daylight murder of a son of a petrol pump owner at Rayya were a pointer towards the rising crime rate.


Protest against Coke, Pepsi
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 11
ABVP activists organised a campaign in protest against the sale of Coke, Pepsi and other soft drinks on the university campus here today.

Students spilled and emptied bottles of Coke and Pepsi and raised slogans against the manufacturer of these soft drinks. ABVP secretary Rajat Bansal said people should now raise slogans like ‘Thanda matlab maut ka gola’.


City teachers allowed to join duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Punjab and Haryana High, Court in a significant judgement, has held that the state of Punjab was incorrect in its submission that ETT qualifications acquired by two teachers from Chandigarh were not in consonance with an advertisement issued in December 4, 2001, for filling the posts.

In their petition, Manisha Gupta and Vanita Rani of Bathinda had earlier submitted that they were not permitted to join on the pretext that they had qualified the course from Union Territory of Chandigarh which was not recorded by the state of Punjab.

Allowing their petition, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill also directed the state of Punjab and other respondents to join their respective places of postings as mentioned in their appointment letters.

Certificate issue

If allegations in a writ petition are to be believed, a Bathinda student was not issued certificate for completing Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery course because her fiance was the president of a students’ union.

Arguing before a Division Bench of the high court, student Paramjeet Kaur Sandhu’s counsel submitted that the petitioner was a brilliant student and had stood third in the university, but the authorities of Shri Dhanwantary Ayurvedic College at Chandigarh were deliberately not issuing the completion certificate. Giving details, counsel had asserted that the college authorities were bearing a grudge against fiance Ripudaman Singh Bains because of his union activities.

After hearing the submissions, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, directed the college authorities to decide the petitioner’s representation for the certificate within seven days of receiving the order’s copy. “In the event the representation is rejected, the respondents are directed to pass a speaking order giving reasons in support of their decision”, the Judges observed.


Four get life term for bride burning

Moga, August 11
Four persons, including husband and mother-in-law of a young bride, were today sentenced to life imprisonment on the charge of burning to death the bride, six months after her marriage, in 1999. Dying declaration of Kanwaljit Kaur, (20) of Hanskalan village in Ludhiana district, was recorded by a magistrate in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital there. Kanwaljit was fatally burnt in her in-laws’ house at Badni Kalan village near here on June 23, 1999 by her husband Harjinder Singh, mother-in-law Charan Kaur, sister-in-law Baljit Kaur and Baljit’s husband Gurjant Singh.

While awarding life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 4,000 each to all four convicts under Section 302 of IPC, Additional Sessions Judge Jagmohan Singh Chawala also sentenced them to two years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 each on the charge of torturing the bride. — UNI


Licences of two cinema houses cancelled
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, has cancelled the licences of Urang Cinema and Ajaib Cinema for allegedly exhibiting blue films and displaying a nude poster. Mr Aggarwal has also asked the Bathinda SSP to arrest the owners of both cinema houses.


5 dacoits held, Banur case solved
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 11
The local police today claimed to have arrested five members of a gang of dacoits which was responsible for the killing of an ex-serviceman at Banur recently, besides a spate of other robberies in the district as well as in Delhi and others parts of the country.

District police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal said the two of the gang members who had been arrested were hardcore criminals belonging to the Pardi tribe of Madhya Pradesh who had just been released after serving a seven-and-a-half-year term for killing a Delhi-based doctor while committing a dacoity at his residence.

Mr Umranangal said the culprits had been identified as Raka, Kishore and Bala, all brothers, and Lakhan and Banaras. He said two .12-bore guns, two .315-bore pistols and special instruments used to prise open locks and doors had been recovered from the gang members. He said two members of the gang — Pappu and Belu Ram — were still absconding.

The SSP said all accused belonged to Khajra Chak village in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh. He said the gang operated all over the country and at least 11 more such gangs were functional in Punjab.

The SSP said it had been responsible for the killing of ex-serviceman Prem Pal and his son Sat Pal at Banur recently. He said the gang had also killed a person at Chaunthkheri village in Samana and looted gold ornaments and other things from the house of the victim.

He said the district police was sending its CIA in charge Didar Singh, who had been instrumental in the arrest of the gang, to Guna in Madhya Pradesh to enable further arrest of the gang members there.


Villagers lock school on teachers’ transfer issue
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
Residents of Chuge Kalan village, 15 km from here, today locked the building of the Government Senior Secondary School in the village to protest against transfer of more than six teachers from here to some other school by the Education Department authorities under its rationalisation policy and thus putting the academic future of students in jeopardy.

After locking the building of the school, all residents of the village and the students today staged a dharna in front of its building to urge the authorities concerned to cancel the transfer of those teachers, as these were needed in the school.

The villagers said that they would not allow anybody to open the lock till the teachers, who had been transferred to other places, were again posted in the same school. They added that under the rationalisation policy, the education authorities had transferred more than six teachers from this school to other places and it was adversely affecting the studies of students.

They pointed out that district education authorities had transferred a teacher of history under its rationalisation policy despite the fact that there was only one history teacher for a considerable number of students.

They said that though a section of residents had met district education authorities regarding their grievances, their problems were not solved by the authorities. They added that they would continue their agitation till their demands were met.

Mr Hans Singh, Principal of the school, when contacted, said that though he had tried to pacify the agitated villagers and asked them to open the school, he had failed to get any positive response. He added that so far three science teachers, two teachers of science and social study and one history teacher had been transferred from this school.

Mr Lachhman Singh Brar, District Education Officer (DEO), Bathinda, when contacted, pointed out that there were only nine students of history in the village school and that is why history teacher of this school had been transferred to Goniana school as per the policy of state government with the approval of DPI (Schools), Punjab. In Goniana school there were 190 students of history and the transfer was done in the interest of those students.


Confusion over fee in Punjab colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Even though the Punjab Government rolled back the revised fee structure on July 22, copies of the formal notification were not made available to government and private colleges.

While certain colleges charged the admission fee etc at the new rates, a few others charged the tuition fee on the basis of old rates but certain funds at the new rates.

Sources said a government college at Ludhiana charged the admission fee etc at the new rates. Mr Jaipal Singh, general secretary of the Government College Teachers Association, told The Tribune over the telephone that no intimation was sent to government colleges regarding the withdrawal of the revised fee structure till August 8.

Mr N.S. Rattan, Principal Secretary (Higher Education), said approval for the withdrawal of the revised charges was to be issued by the Finance Department. However, he claimed that the colleges were intimated about the withdrawal of the revised fee structure.

Government College, Nabha, has partially charged the revised admission fee etc, according to information received here. It has taken an undertaking from the students that in case the government did not withdraw the fee hike they will have to pay the balance. As per the old rates, a student was supposed to pay Rs 823 for admission in the BA (Part I) in government colleges, However, the Nabha college, according to sources, has charged Rs 1480. This college has charged certain funds as per the revised structure while the tuition and other fees have been charged at the old rates, it is learnt.

Private colleges have applied their own yardstricks to charge the admission fee. The certain colleges charged the fee as per the revised rates, others charged the fee partially at the new rates.

Utter confusion prevailed at a college in Muktsar. Eight students applied for admission on the basis of new rates in MA (Economics) whereas a minimum of 10 students were required. More students were ready to take admission at the old rates. However, there were no official instructions to charge the old rates.

Mr Jaipal Singh urged the Chief Minister to take appropriate measures so that students did not suffer.


College students block traffic
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 11
Activists of the Punjab Radical Students Union, the Students Federation of India, the All India Democratic Students Organisation and the All India Students Association today blocked road traffic for four hours in front of Government Nehru Memorial Postgraduate College here in protest against the arrest of two students and the alleged highhandedness of private bus operators. The traffic was diverted to other link roads. However, the blockage was lifted after Mr H S Sekhon, SP ( Headquarters), met the agitating students and the arrested students were released.

The leaders of the student unions alleged that on last Friday, a bus of Libra Transport Company stopped at a distance of about 2 km from the college gate and when students, including girls, protested they were allegedly beaten up by the driver and the conductor of the bus. The girl students were also insulted .

On August 9 the students gathered in front of the college gate and stopped the bus of the company and beat up its conductor. The conductor of the bus lodged a complaint with the police and two students were arrested. This led to the traffic blockage today. The students demanded that every bus should stop for one minute at the college gate and a traffic police constable be posted there. Mr Sekhon, reached the spot and assured the students that their demands would be considered sympathetically.


B.Tech students allege poor facilities
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 11
Students who got admission in Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in private engineering colleges are not satisfied from the facilities being provided there. Students at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, where large number of parents as well as students have turned up to get the admission, alleged that they were being fleeced by the private institutions as majority of the colleges don’t have infrastructure as promised. And now when they want to change the college or branch at the second counselling, Punjab Technical University charges heavy amount for this purpose.

They said this was happening due to wrong policies of the government as a record number of self-financing engineering colleges have mushroomed in the state. These institutions started selling their NRI-sponsored seats and earned high profits and later more private trusts were formed and they also started engineering and management colleges in connivance with politicians and the government.

As the demand for information technology and computer science courses increased, the parents also started paying huge sums to get admission in B.Tech (computers and IT).

They alleged that these self-financing colleges also started exploiting the parents and students and majority of them were only doing their business thus posing great threat to the standard of technical education in the state.

They said there were only few engineering colleges with a genuine commitment to provide good technical education in the state.

When contacted Dr Dilbag Singh Hira, Principal of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, he said there was nothing wrong in allowing more engineering colleges in the state but at the same time it was the duty of the parents and students to select proper college having proper infrastructure at the time of counselling and before depositing the fee.

He said he had no knowledge about hiring the agencies for the admissions by certain private colleges but there was huge rush in his college for admissions.


NIFD opens 2-day exhibition
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 11
The local centre of the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) opened its two-day annual exhibition-cum-fete, ‘The Designer’s Call’, at its campus on the Mall Road here yesterday. It is to display the works of their students. The exhibition has been divided into different sections with attractive names.

The first section titled “Creative Spirit” shows creations of students of textile design. It comprises a range of bedspreads, hand-printed suits, sarees in leaf printing, block-printed duppattas, and tie-and-dye collection. The section “Pret 2 Party” shows evening wear, including gowns, A-line dresses and skirt tops.

Another section “Imprint” has items of tie-and-dye, batik, screen printing, block, leaf printing, murals and tile painting. “Naughty Angels” shows bed linen, quilts, pillows, napkins, caps, frocks and hand-painted towels. The “Oorni” section has hand-painted sarees along with theme boards, suits and lehangas in bright colours.

Speaking on the occasion, the NIFD, Bathinda centre manager, Mr Sunil Gupta, said his dream was to make Bathinda the centre of designing in the Malwa belt and impart training to students in the region.

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